Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why do we not fear a web presence?

I am astounded at the incredible success of sites like Blogger.com, MySpace and Facebook. Utterly astounded.
Why are we so willing to post pictures of ourselves (often at our worst) to the internet where anyone in the world can access them?
Why is someone willing to wax philosphical to complete strangers and even open his or her life to the scrutiny of others in this way? We don't treat our homes this way, do we? We are often very guarded about who we let into our personal life, who we allow in our home, what information we are willing to let out about ourselves. But the internet is a free-for-all, especially sites like Facebook or MySpace. I can be careful about what I post on my blog, carefully consider my words, make myself look intelligent, charismatic, whatever I choose, but if someone wants to "tag" me in a photo on Facebook, I am there, for better or worse, for the entire world to see.
This hasn't bothered me until just now.
Why is this?
I know that nobody subscribes to my blog and I am pretty sure that only an occasional lost blogger ever looks at my blog, so I feel some sense of security while remaining open and vulnerable on line. So why do I even post?
I had some semi-active readers when I began this endeavor, but that was because I read their blogs. Once I stopped posting and visiting their blogs, they stopped visiting mine.
Now nobody bothers.
Maybe that's for the best.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Of distance and the cleansing power of rain

First things first... Still no visible completion of the dissertation, but the stress of it all remains constant (if not steadily increasing.)
Next, I am really glad to have found the Shoals Cycling Club here in Florence. There are a bunch of guys (and a few women) who just enjoy riding. The average age of the group is a little older than myself, which puts me in a nice position to outpedal a couple of them. For the most part, these guys are in shape and can really crank when it comes right down to it.
Over the past couple of months, I have had the privilege of riding with them on a handful of different rides and have thoroughly enjoyed every last minute of it. Most recently, though, I have fallen in with a couple of riders from the group who are very capable of burying me when they want to. One of the guys is Larry, known as Oldman on the Shoals Cycling Club forum. He's 66 years old and three weeks ago invited a few of us to ride 75 miles with him. These weren't 75 easy miles, but fairly hilly and pretty fast. I had to abandon the ride about half way through to get home for another event, but Larry and the others made it without trouble.
On Saturday the 20th, I missed out on a 100-mile hill climbing challenge (probably for the best) and opted for an 80-mile ride with one of the other guys from the club. Kyle is a hardcore rider. He's got some incredible stamina and just cranked and cranked the whole way. I tried to pull at least half the time, but he's not much of a follower. Who can blame him?
Sadly, the battery died in my odometer about 10 miles into the ride, so I was stuck guessing my speed based on my cadence and relying on Kyle to give me the splits. I'll get the battery changed today and hopefully be back in business.
This morning I decided to try and overcome the inertia and get back to running. Working for UPS and all of the other distractions in life have left me without time to run, but what's worse, without the desire to run. I got up at about 5:45 this morning with the intention of hitting the streets for a quick three miles before school. As I readied myself, I heard the thunder roll in, saw a few lightning flashes and ALMOST talked myself back into bed.
I fought the urge and headed out on my first run in at least four months. Five minutes up the road, the rain came gently at first, but soon I was soaked. The temperature was a balmy 67 degrees and the rain was warmish, so I just kept running, splashing through gutters and along the new asphalt on the road by my house. 27 minutes later I decided it was time to go in and start my day.
I have never enjoyed running and the rain so much in my life.
Hopefully the inertia is over and I can start the good kind of inertia now.