Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I hate paying corporations

I begrudgingly signed up for Directv last September to watch KU basketball.  I seriously hate all forms of cable TV.

When I signed up, I had to sign a 24 month contract with a 12 month price guarantee.  That sounds completely stupid to me, and I called the sales rep on it.  He goes on to assure me as long as I pay my bills on time, I'll be able to take advantage of other offers once the 12 months is up.

I CLEARLY MUST BE A GULLIBLE IDIOT.

13 months later, after my bill goes up by over $37 a month, I email support, and they offer me $10 off a month.


Thanks Marilou.  I bet you're a nice person, and that's why I didn't go off on you.  I hope you get a job someday where you're not working for some soul-sucking corporation.http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/directv-ceo-michael-whites-compensation-690065Boo-Fing-Hoo


Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Hi, my name is Marilou M. (ID 100709617). How are you today?CHRIS SMITH:okay, how are you?Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:I am glad to know that you're okay, Chris I am good, thank you. I got your concern and I'd be happy to help.CHRIS SMITH:It appears that $37/mo of promo credit has expiredMarilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Yes, I noticed that as well. I certainly understand that cost value is of great importance to our customers, Chris. I found that you have CHOICE package at $66.99 a month. Would you like to change your pacakge? We have other packages here that may suit your entertainment needs on a more affordable price.CHRIS SMITH:What would you recommend?Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Can you tell me what channels are important to you and to your family? I want to make sure that you will be able to watch your favorite programs even before we change your package.CHRIS SMITH:primarily espn.Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Thanks. Anything else that you enjoy watching?CHRIS SMITH:fox sports midwestMarilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Thanks for letting me know, Chris. Please give me a minute or two while I check on the best package for you. Would that be ok?CHRIS SMITH:sureMarilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Thanks. I'll be right back.Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Thank you for waiting, I appreciate your time. I see here that CHOICE is the best package for you so you'll be able to watch your sports channels. I am now checking on the offers available on the account. Please bear with me.CHRIS SMITH:okMarilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:Thanks for your patience. I was able to do an override here on my end that will enable me give you a $10 off for 1 year without changing the package! How does that sound to you?CHRIS SMITH:It sounds like I'm still paying $27 more a month.  I was told when I signed up that as long as I kept my account in good standing, that I should be able to maintain my rate once the 12 month promotional period expires.  I was told that after I expressed my concern about signing a 24 month contract with a 12 month rate guarantee.Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:I understand that the discount I have may not be sufficient to your needs. I apologize if I am only able to provide you what my restrictions allow. For your convenience, you may call us at 1-800-531-5000 anytime between 8:00 AM and 1:00 AM Eastern time to inquire on other offers available.CHRIS SMITH:that's not really convenient, as my time is worth something as well.Marilou M. (ID 100709617) DIRECTV:I definitely understand that time is valuable, Chris. I will be able to provide you with a $10 off but it seems that it's not what you are expecting so it's best to give us a call to make sure all our resources are checked regarding the offers available on your account.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Riding

My riding has been getting a lot better, but still SO far off of where I'd like to be.  The idea of racing next year has some appeal to it, but I'm hesitant to commit at this point due to 1) all the potential conflicts in our already jam-packed calendars 2) I need to keep training this winter at least as much as I am now.  Excuse #1 is more of a frustration point.  I love the boys doing their sports and everything, but sometimes it makes it difficult to commit to any other type of weekend activity, at least consistently.

I'm trying to ride 3x a week for at least 50 miles.  That's baby stuff for a racer, but some weeks it's tough for me to fit that in.  I just need to be more creative with how I fit my workouts in.  Speaking of workouts, I really need to start hitting some weights and core training.  I remember when I used to race, and even now, the first thing that gets tired is my core.  I can feel the issue starting when more weight starts getting supported by my hands/arms/shoulders, then my shoulders get tense, then my lower back and hips start getting tired/locking up, then there's no power.  It should be easy enough to fix, or at least make better, given what poor shape those muscles are in that they should train up pretty quickly.  I think even if I stick to riding hard 3x a week, plus train up my core and supporting muscles, I'll be a better racer than ever before (that's not saying too much, but still).

I've been reading Shannon Sovndahl's book, Cycling Anatomy.  It's a good read, with enough detail to be educated without going too deep into the weeds.  There's some good exercises in there I hadn't seen before and am anxious to try.  First workout is tonight, so that's exciting.

That's it for now, more later.

Friday, September 5, 2014

My blogging skills lack severly

Life has given me so much to write about, but I'd rather be living and recovering than writing about it lately.  So that's that.

I started riding nearly semi-seriously again.  It feels good to be out, getting back in some sort of shape other than round.  Going from slow to fast-ish back to slow is tough.  There was a brief point where I was racer fast.  That's addictive.  You can go along so fast, wind roaring in your ear, you have a high pain tolerance and can jump and sprint and corner and do all those fun things.

Then you eat worse than you should, and you start looking at your bike like an ex-girlfriend.  You remember the good times, but somewhere along the way you went separate ways for one reason or another.  I broke up with the bike because I couldn't dedicate enough time (5-10 hours a week) to ride hard enough to have a level of success while racing.  There were other things I wanted to do, plus AB was starting to get into sports.  How anyone gets a 3+ hour ride in on the weekends is beyond me, at least with a family situation like mine.

Racing was my motivation.  It kept me riding hard, doing intervals, trying to be stronger race after race.  Beat someone who beat me before.  Keep dropping the lbs.  Push a little harder.  Finish a little higher.  Top half of the field.  Then top third.  Then top 10.    I never sniffed winning, and there's a lot of reasons for that.  But they were reasons I was ok with.  Some were me, some were the nature of the sport.  These aren't excuses, it's just the way it was.

So then I decided to start playing guitar, embracing the musical part of my brain.  It was pretty good back in the day (high school).  Good enough to get a scholarship.  But then I broke up with that girlfriend too.  Probably a time thing.  I probably didn't want to starve my whole life too.  Well, maybe that's severe, but there's a lot more starving musicians than psychologists or computer nerds.  On the other hand, there's a lot of freedom there that you don't have when your in a cube most of your waking hours.

Anyway, so I've been playing.  I've made some good advances, and starting to see the big picture.  Which is really like just pulling a giant textbook off the shelf and getting ready to dive in.  There's so much to learn, but that's the fun part.

This life is for conquering.  Being the best you can be at as much as you can.  That's probably why I hardly watch TV.  That's time you give away.  I had a random though today as I was driving in.  How much would an 80 year old billionaire give to have just one year in his 20's back?  Probably everything.  Yet a lot of us in our 20's aren't focused on living a full life.  Maybe because we're scrambling with work, kids, etc.  I'd love to be 20 again, and I'm only 37.  Youth is wasted on the young indeed.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sweet victory

Monday, June 9, 2014

Here I sit


I had my first "gig" as I played at church a couple of weekends back.  I don't know if that's really a gig, since it's volunteer, and church.  Nevertheless, there it was.

I'd say it went pretty well.  I learned a lot, and learned I have a lot more to learn.  One of the big things I learned was to not turn up my guitar too much in my monitor, because the end result is me actually playing too quiet since my perception was skewed.  Other than that, it was a lot of fun.  I had to learn 5 songs in 3 days, and that was some nice pressure.  It also made me realize that I've came pretty far in a short time, but I'm only about to a 3 on a 100-pt scale of where I want my playing to be.

That's all I'm going to write for now, even though so much else has been going on.  Tschuss for now.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

That'll do

Lame post.  Excellent bourbon.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Trolley Run

I had a lot of goals for this season, and between the late winter and my apathy, I didn't really train very well.  I had some runs, not many rides, and not really feeling confident coming into the Trolley Run today.  Fortunately the Trolley Run is a net downhill 4 miler through some of the prettier parts of the city, and I knew there would be a lot of people there cheering and running, so I knew I would do alright.

The race starts near Waldo Pizza (mmm...pizza) and finishes on Ward Parkway on the Plaza.  I wasn't super amped up until I got there and then I had the pre-race jitters once I was milling about all the racers.  I miss those.  There is something about those jitters that I like.  It is its own unique kind of tension, and the questions flood the mind.  Did I train hard enough?  Did I remember everything?  Don't start out too fast...just relax...run your own race...  The list goes on and on.

As I stood in the staging area/stockade, I had a lot of regret about not being more consistent.  I will say this about being athletic.  It's hard.  It's hard to sit on your arse for 8+ hours a day, get home to get the kids working on homework/fed/sent to activities, get the kitchen cleaned up, play with the kids, try and have some sort of decent quality conversation with your spouse, then go hit the trainer or run, get back, shower, hit the hay, and do it all again.  The important part is to do it all again.  It's one thing to do it for a couple of days, but to keep at for weeks/months/years is tough.  Being athletic isn't a 3x a week for 30 minutes kind of thing.  That barely keeps you out of the doctor's office.

Back to the race, we got the usual "pep" talk and thanks from Sabates Eye Center (the title sponsor), and then the red (fast) heat went off...shuffle forward...blue (good runners) heat went off, shuffle forward...green heat (my heat) went off.  I'd love to be at a running race where you actually got to run from the gun.  Most races, like this one, start with "go", and then you stand around while the front takes off, and about 30-60 secs later you finally get up to the start line and your timing chip activates.

I started off feeling ok, passing a lot of people and getting passed by a few too.  I just tried to settle into some sort of steady pace, and not get stuck behind anyone going too slow.  That took a little effort the first half mile or so as everyone got sorted into their order.  Once that was on, it seemed that the mile 1 marker took awhile to get too.  I thought I felt ok, but knew I'd be walking soon enough.  I know during my training, that I tend to run fairly fast (9:00 min miles), then stop and suck wind for a few hundred feet until my heart rate comes down.  Interval training, I guess, but it'd be nice to have some consistent runs.

Anyway, I kept plugging along.  By this time, my left calf was getting tight, even though I did my best to loosen them up this morning.  I'm wondering how much longer I was going to run.  I wasn't feeling like I was dying, so I kept my head down and knew I have some time to recover, but race time was right now.  Mile 2 came up, and I felt a little happy knowing that this is probably the furthest I have ran non-stop in over a year or two.  It was getting pretty warm at this point (67* at race start), and there wasn't much wind as Brookside Blvd. has a lot of nice trees and homes to block the wind.  Every now and again you'd get a puff of wind and that was nice, but those were far and few between.  I walked through the water station, guzzled half a glass of water as my mouth was super dry, and then picked it up again.

Mile 3 came and went, and about where a 5k would end (3.2 miles) I feel like I'm slowing down and getting hungry.  I saw people walking, and really wanted to join them, but again I reminded myself that there's a big difference between running the whole thing and having to walk once, so I kept on.  That was tough.  Once I got close the final turn on Ward Parkway I tried to remember where the finish line was, and how nice it will be to stop.

I made the turn, and enjoyed a nice downhill with a hump over the Central St. intersection, then cranked up the heat for the last 100 m or so.  Finished!  I saw Penny, AB and K right at the finish line and I gave them a big wave and smile.  Somehow K didn't see me, but he gave me a big hug when we finally met up.  I started guzzling water and Propel and Door-to-Door Organics bananas, and then a chocolate milk.  Of course the boys had their share of donut holes/chocolate milk/bananas as well.

It was a good race, I'm glad I did it, and it makes me want to shave 10 minutes off my race time for next year.  I think I'll pencil that in for now, but will start looking for the next race!

my 26th Annual Trolley Run - 4 Mile results

I'm looking through Strava, and I had some weird splits.  Maybe I should have just kept running!

mile 1: 11:18
mile 2: 10:12
mile 3: 9:55
mile 4: 9:32