Category Archives: reflections

Writing and blogging

Tadashi is here.” -Baymax to Hiro, in Big Hero 6

Someone had told me once that one day I would stop writing about my brother, that it would end. I didn’t believe it. Judging by the lack of posts over the past year, it might seem that that person was right. I always had it in the back of my head.

My first post detailed what my blog would be about: memories of my brother. I had it all mapped out. Physicists tend to like to think deterministically, or classically (Newtonian). Uncertainty about future events makes us uneasy; we like to be able to predict things, and knowing what the blog would be about made that aspect of writing simpler. No need to have to worry about the focus of the blog, I already determined it. Can’t get any simpler than that, right?

It’s not the first time well laid-out plans went awry. Nor should it be. As time went on, I realized those memories were in the past. And it became more and more unnecessary to dwell there. Maybe that’s why I received the omen above.

While that was becoming clear, something else became clearer as well: if writing was about the past, blogging is about the present.

Tomorrow’s race

“Slow and steady wins the race.” –The Tortoise and the Hare

I remember last year when I had wanted to run in 3 Spartan races for the next year. This year is next year. Funny how time flies by. The Spartan Sprint is already tomorrow.

I’m not as in good shape as I was last year, at least not running-wise. I had been training but caught a nasty bug a few weeks back that sidelined me. Luckily, I’m back on my feet in time for the race. Tomorrow’s race is half as long (~ 4 miles) as the one I ran in last year (~ 8 miles) so it shouldn’t be too tough, I hope. And I have the benefit of some experience this time. I’ll be running with a familiar face tomorrow, and a new one. It should be fun.

I wonder if my brother would have wanted to complete the trifecta, or if he would have just been content with running one race last year. He always was a trailblazer and knew when to quit before something got old. Then again, he did like to run and liked these types of obstacle races. Maybe he’d have convinced me to run with him this year after telling me how much fun he’d had. I don’t know. What I do know is this: tomorrow, we’ll be running together.

Last run of the year

“No matter where you go, there you are.” –plaque on the starship USS Excelsior, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

It’s been about 5 weeks since my last run. Normally I’d think it was just a phase and that it was all out of my system. But I’m pretty sure my lack of running recently is due to the cold weather. I much prefer running in the spring or summer, though even then there are some annoyances. I’m not a fan of running in the cold because, well… it’s cold. It’s a whole production with the layers of clothing, hat(s), etc. And breathing in the cold air is no fun, at least for me. Louie went running in the cold. I’m not sure if he liked it or just tolerated it too. On the flip side, running in the summer can be annoying too (one word: sweat.). Pick your poison I guess. I’ll just tone it down during the winter months, or maybe just hit the treadmill instead of running outside.

Today, though, I felt the need to get out there. Maybe because it’s the last day of the year; Maybe because I felt the need for some familiarity amongst the upcoming newness the next year will inevitably bring; I think mainly because I felt the need to pay someone a visit. So there I was: I ran a mile to my son’s school and performed my familiar routines. In between, I take notice of the calm: school is out and no one is around. I’m reminded and I smile.

I was a little slower on my runs than usual, and a little more tired on my exercises too, but it was rejuvenating nonetheless – like visiting a good, old friend.

A battle of wills

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” –common proverb


I think about a lot of things when I run: My pace, my breathing, how far I want to run, and a few other things. For the first half mile, I feel great; I feel I can run all day. Then it starts to set in: the slight burn in my legs, a bit of labored breathing, and arms that feel like they’ve got a tad more extra pounds attached to them.

“No sweat,” I think, “just a little burn.”

At a mile is where I really feel it: More leg burning, heavier arms, and a more concentrated effort to control my breathing. This is when the mental battle begins:

“Do I really feel like running today?”

“Why’d I get up so early – I shoulda stayed sleeping.”

“I don’t think I can go on much longer.”

“I’m tired. A mile is good, I’ll do more tomorrow.”

“I hate this, why am I doing this?”

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Spartan aftermath

“A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.” –Trinity to Neo, in The Matrix

I had a lot of déjà vu during the race. Even though I’d never done it before and had not previously seen any of the 25+ obstacles, mostly, there was a soothing familiarity to them. I had expected to experience a lot of things during the race (fatigue and bruises, obviously) but this was not one of them. It was a welcome feeling.

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The Spartan Race

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” –Confucius

My brother and I used to go to Pelham Bay Park to exercise. Nothing fancy, just the usual calisthenics: push-ups, dips, etc. The park was an easy 10 minute walk from our home. We had exercised there together for years. As we got older, we both continued to exercise but more so apart than together. This morning I exercised at my son’s school near my house. There’s a nice field there, some benches, and a playground. I’ve been going there regularly now and do the same exercises I’d done with my brother years ago. It’s comforting to go to the school to workout. Though it is different from the park we frequented it is very familiar. I think about my brother.

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Three amigos

“Tous pour un, un pour tous (All for one, one for all).” –motto of The Three Musketeers

Today is my Mom’s birthday. Other than taking her to dinner at her favorite restaurant or getting her birthday cake from her favorite bakery, I know exactly what will light-up her beautiful green eyes: a trip to the casino. Yep, we’re a gambling trio. My mom likes the action at the slots. She goes from one one-armed-bandit to the next looking for that one big JACKPOT. I remember when she won several hundred dollars at the Sands in AC once. She came over to my brother and I, gleefully telling us she’d won. My brother and I hardly believed her.

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Only in my dreams

“Have you ever had a dream that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”

–Morpheus to Neo, in The Matrix

We were at Fordham Rd., waiting for the bus. It was dark out, early in the morning, but it was crowded – a lot of people were about. I’m not sure where it was coming from, but there was music in the air and we were ‘dancing’ to it – if that’s what you want to call it. We were really just goofing-off, jumping up and down and waving our arms in and near the street like a couple of clowns. People were giving us funny looks; my wife was embarrassed and wished we’d stop.

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