Friday, July 30, 2010

I have been running close to barefoot for the last few months. I did mention in my last post that my stride and pace have changed. However, I feel that I am moving slower, though more efficiently through my jogs. When I run, my heel rarely if ever touches the ground and my steps are quick and deliberate. I feel every contour of the ground and react accordingly. But I can’t seem to pick up the speed. If I am running at a good clip a sub 7 min mile is not that hard to pull off, but when I settle into my long term stride I am averaging 9-10 min miles, and that is no good. I think I am going to work on sprint intervals both with riding my bike and running to get some of the twitch muscles more engaged. I think they took a backseat to stabilizer muscles when I made the change to barefoot running. I am not a doctor, so I have no idea if what I said makes sense, but…facts: (1) ever since change to barefoot alex = no injuries (2) pace though slower I can keep going and I am not exhausted at the end (3) my posture has improved overall (4) there is no shortage of people looking at my feet wondering if I am going to roundhouse kick them Chuck Norris style. We’ll see if I can pick up the pace soon enough.
Identity is defined as “the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions,” per Webster’s dictionary. I think that the part of the definition that is missing is the perception of third parties since our identity is integrally tied to our social context. Most communication is non-verbal, these non-verbal communications are physical reactions due to the perception we have of one another. Others reactions to us will undoubtedly change how we react and thus influence what we think of ourselves. I think that America’s current political and ideological status can be analogous to social networking sites. America exports our culture: capitalism and democracy and it imports: cheap labor, consumerism. Likewise social networking sites have users create a profile that displays the “best” of us, and at the same time this profile imports reactions to our “best” by others. The verbose reaction would be a comment on our wall, in America’s case, a wall is a demonstration, speech of praise or condemnation for an international action, whatever side left or right you want to take with any story, etc. Silent responses are the most important but most overlooked. Yet these are the most important. The silent responses for America are ill-will and can escalate to terrorist acts trying to subvert our main export - democracy; silent perceptions for individuals are ill-will and gossip. Inevitable some with love or hate you and in both cases you did nothing to deserve the criticism or praise. I agree with anyone who thinks the following: - people can say whatever they want, I know the truth - or - I do not care what people say about me - or - people should mind their own business, etc. I think they are right in principle, and it shouldn’t matter because no one really cares; but the reality is that what people perceive is what they believe. It does not take a genius to understand that; remember what Saint Augustine said “conscience and reputation are two things…Conscience is due to yourself, reputation to your neighbor.” - nuff said.  mericans as well as social individuals have a responsibility to present ourselves in light of our ideals: independent, free, intelligent, strong-willed, etc., etc. But often private as well as public stupidity closes our eyes to the reality that how we show ourselves is how people think of us. For example the politician who is tough on crime but then subsequently embezzles millions from the community he is serving. I am not trying to say to walk around thinking you are God’s gift to man nor thing that you are the last coke in the freezer on a hot day nor am I saying that what others perceive should be your utmost concern, but when you are perceived as an idiot you attract idiots, when you are perceived as bright you attract a bright people, that’s a fact. What you attract is based on how people look at you because like-gravitate-to-like. George Bernard Shaw said “few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” Like America, individuals harp on particular issues and only think a few times a year maybe three times in an election year, when we should probably try to open our minds and hearts to positive things that come to us from every direction and even the least expected ones. American Identity and Individual Identity are best cultivated by taking all of it in and filtering through only the beneficial; timely advice, a stern warning or even a friendly suggestion from an old friend.
Law school final on wed night was a breaker. Can’t say much more than that…I probably will be writing more about law school come the full semester: Property, Constitutional Law, and Civil Procedure, dam.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

To what degree should the will of a few subject the country to their will. Today I have heard a lot about Arizona. I have already commented on it in previous posts. But the facts are these; AZ can’t afford it, it’s a piece of legislation that steps on the toes of the federal government’s rights and not even the police themselves in AZ want to enforce it. It has become in my opinion the national scapegoat for what is wrong with this country. - official compliant by az cop
As Americans we seek answers and solutions on the backs of others, in this case the whole immigration issue, a few months back it was the financial reform bill (Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill), that became a huge piece of pork barrel legislation and even sought to regulate factions that had nothing to do with the financial crisis - and did practically nothing with regards to Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, before that it was the subprime industry as a whole, etc, ad infinitum. According to economist Gary Becker, these organizations in 2008 held over 50% of mortgages and almost all subprime, yet we do nothing to them with our sweeping bill, we blame the banks for preying on the poor consumer who purchased a home on stated income that they knew they could not afford. Logically why did people think…hmm… this is a 30 year mortgage, i.e. had to be paid in 30 years and I can’t take the value and divide it by 360 months and expect to make the payment…maybe I should not purchase this home. Similarly AZ is encroaching on the Federal Governments power and authority to regulate immigration and clearly overstepped their bounds. Most will argue, well we are just enforcing the laws on the books, or that AZ is not in conflict with federal law. Really? Clearly there is an issue of law and that’s why there is an injunction on it. To be honest I bet that AZ will not make it to the Supreme Court, I think that the Federal level will rule dead. I think Nichols has it right.
“John Nichols, writing in the Nation, says the ruling is firmly grounded in the Constitution:
This is not complicated stuff.
Article 1, Section 8 of the document gives Congress the authority “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…”
This is not some totalitarian scheme hatched by James Madison and George Mason back in 1787.
It was one of the most practical things the founders did.
For any country, especially any large country, there has to be basic uniformity with regard to questions of who gets to enter the country and how.” (WSJ Law Blog)
As I have stated before, the AZ law should not be a dividing force, it instead should be a calling to comprehensive immigration reform for the country and not just the feeble attempt to “enforce the laws on the books” - slavery and “separate but equal” were on the books for a very long time, that still did not make slavery or racial segregation right. We as a country, not a state need, comprehensive immigration reform that will both enforce laws that should be enforced and remove those that limit our humanity to squabble and racism.
I took a law school final last night. It was long and I was beat afterwards. I am happy that I answered all the questions and I felt that I covered the material I had to cover, but whether or not I did it well the grade will determine. I studied as much as I could and really attempted to get in the good hours. Tuesday night my anxiety over the test boiled over so I even went running at 1 am because I could not sleep. One of the reasons I was so anxious was because of a conversation I had this weekend. It both bothered me and made me a little sad. I generally do not let things get to me and I brush them off fairly quickly, but the combination of being stressed about school, rings (don’t ask), and lack of sleep along with a conversation of things past bummed me out for a minute there. I have been really good about rallying out of those days but every so often you get bummed out. Anyway for now it is over and I am excited to have summer for a change. Now summer for me means not driving as much to LA during the week, golf in the afternoons, and a renewed relationship with my fiancĂ© sleep, I missed her a lot.
My swing is beginning to take shape. I have been using the stack and tilt method for a few weeks and have discovered the following. When I am adhering to the S&T rules I strike the ball well, with a slight draw and I hit down on the ball. It’s a good feeling. The point of impact is between the hostel and the middle of the face. It produces a loud crack, I have caught people on the range turning to check who hit the ball, it is a really nice feeling. Also this swing method, since I am hitting down on the ball has forced me to focus on balance and swinging with conviction. Now the bad stuff: when I am off I still have a massive backswing which caused me to go flat and wristy. When this happens I get a powerful pull, like 15 to 20 yards offline and that is no good. I am going to stick with it for a little longer, then create a modified swing that incorporates both the leftward weight distribution and hitting down, but that is not as hard on the knees. - Also still running!!! I have been wearing my Vibram 5 finger shoes, caused my stride to shorten but I am getting faster and I have not been injured. I am ticking up more miles on both those and my bikes. I think I should be ready for the Disney half marathon and the 100 mile ride for aids. ( - sponsor rider: Alex Mares - DO IT). I am going to try and fit two or three half marathons prior to the LA marathon. I feel I got a new lease on life. (P.S. I did get a RoadID - I really don’t want to talk specifics, but running and riding again has returned me to a calm place, and with the experience I have gained and a better knowledge of myself I feel better and want to have a positive impact on the community.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I signed up for a 100 mile bike ride.  I did it because it is held to raise funds for AIDS Services Foundation in Orange County, Ca to provide services for thousands with HIV/AIDS (  I immediately reconsidered my decision after seeing the map, but I am going to go at it hard.  Naturally I decide to go riding immediately afterwards because I have issues like that.  I have been sticking to golf and running (Neo-Barefoot) recently and had only done a few trails on the bike.  I took it out and rode; did 17.4 miles around San Clemente, avg speed of 11.4.  Not excellent but not decrepit as I had expected.  Stats are courtesy of (download this app for your phone and make it a workout tracker using GPS, its legit).  Anyway I am very excited to get back into working out.  I have been reading a lot about ultra marathoners and it is impressive how inspirational yet crazy they are.  “Born to Run” and “Ultra marathoner Man” are must reads for anyone who wants perspective.  I am naturally going to continue running because I do want to run the Los Angeles Marathon next March, the 100 Mile OC Aids Ride and a few things in between.  Anyway, enough about that; I feel stronger even though I am beating myself into a pulp with school, running, golf and now riding (again).  I really missed it and its time to put it all together, sharp mind and sharp body.  I was living in a life that did not suit me, lackluster to say the least.  Now, I feel rejuvenated thanks to an important person in my life.  There was one street that I almost lost it, funny I used to love riding it but avoided it the last few months.  An ex-girlfriend lives there; but it is one of the curviest streets in San Clemente that you can go almost full speed on.  So the temptation was too great and I rode down it.  It is a short shrinking “S”.  From the top you start at the bottom of an “s” and have a large swing to gain speed then it tightens up releases at the end.  The tightening caught me off guard and I went wide.  The bike shook a little and I felt my back wheel fish tail.  I thought, great I am going to be lying dead near my ex’s house.  I am sure this will go over well with the mexican grape vine.  Luckily, I was able to correct the bike in time.  I was fortunate the curb opened up just after the fishtail.  I knew I could not hit the brakes which would have meant some nice road rash or worse.  I straightened up right and cruised right onto the sidewalk.  Ever since I bought my second bike (first was a gift - Columbia Mtn Bike from Montgomery Ward), a Dyno VFR (8th grade by mowing lawns and an allowance), black with flames on it; that curve made me happy, and devil’s hill near Ole Hanson beach, but that’s another set of stories.  I really do like riding that curve though.  I will just have to be more careful maybe I can take it faster with more practice.
I have a law school final on weds that is freaking me out a little because the class is all about criminal defenses.  I like learning criminal defenses because they seem very practical and reflect the society that wrote them.  They reflect the moral standard that everyone in a particular jurisdiction is to live by.  But being tested on them is still intimidating.  Next semester is going to be brutal, just brutal.  I do not even want to fathom the work load, and the only light at the end of the tunnel is that I have already entered the tunnel by finishing the first year. Bleh we’ll see.
No news has really called me today. The only thing was that lady from the Stephen A. Smith Show from a few days ago.  I guess I am boring in that regard today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It was hot but I had a chance to play Los Verdes Golf Course in Palos Verdes, Ca for my birthday. A buddy of mine invited me out and it was a great course to play. The course was very similar to San Clemente weather related overcast in the morning felt the heat until the 15th hole; it offered stunning views and greens that confound the mind. They were breaking towards the ocean in a ridiculous fashion, for those of you that play near the coast; you know what I am talking about. I hit some impressive shots and the tee box was really good to me. I was driving the ball longer than normal and giving myself shots at hitting the green on most par 4’s - now I am not saying I hit Greens, but at least there was a chance. Handicap went down to a 24.7…yes I practice lot but I am also honest about my scores so if you think my handicap is high try playing sometime and count all your penalties and see what happens. The shot I think was the best was a 7 iron (second shot) into a par four that landed 6 ft from the cup. It felt so pure and just bore through the wind like a bullet. It was sweet.

Summer school ended this week. I am looking forward to sleeping again and taking a little advantage of summer, maybe hit the beach. These last few weeks I have not been running as often because the reading and work load. We have learned a lot and I have become a better legal writer, and hopefully it will carry over to the rest of my tenure at school.

This morning I was listening to AM 570 on the way to work, and there was a guest on the show who wrote a book, “how to train your man”. Her demeanor on the show was simply weak; I did not trust her just based on how she expressed herself. I am sorry, but she was commenting on the Mel Gibson tapes and how his rage was built over years, Steven A Smith asked her if it was possible that the girlfriend just knew how to press his buttons to get him into that kind of rage, she avoided the question and kept repeating that it was rage that was building for a while. What the hell does she know? I understand that you may have an opinion but we do not know the lives of others or the circumstances of their relationship. She was simply assuming. Just like her book and website assume that you can “train” a man. She was asked what kind of advice can she offer all women regarding relationships and she said to be honest from the very beginning. Wow, we have a genius here people. Honesty - really that’s your advice, the same thing mothers have been telling their children for hundreds of years? What a breakthrough. I think I should write a book about how to train your women. It would be about a paragraph long…it would say,

1. Thanks for spending money on my book - cha-ching!

2. go out there and talk to women instead of trying to train them,

3. don’t look for universal life answers in any book, use others wisdom as a guide to life not an instruction manual,

4. have passion about something worth being passionate about (not BS - BS= vanity, gossip, 99.9% of TV),

5. do something with your life (like reading well written material or learning something new (and useful - no learning how to breathe on Mars or kill a zombie - sorry ladies Cosmo, US Weekly, Star, and other gossip junk do not count as reading),

6. and get your own personality (don’t be a follower),

7. avoid night clubs after age 23 (guys you should have a career that involves making money not pissing it away buying shallow women and overpriced drinks and gals - really? Your manner influences the way you are perceived and treated; Want price charming? - Act like it, do you think it’s a coincidence that Snow White and Cinderella were good daughters and/or responsible people? And that they got their jobs/responsibilities taken care of, Charming came to them not the other way…think about it.)

8. Dress appropriately for you. (please you know what I am talking about - guys, Ed Hardy shirts equal failure to match, it says - I can’t coordinate a darn thing so let me wear a loud annoying shit that has every color in the spectrum and ladies wear clothing; guys will tell you that you look great - ask yourself - what kind of man (note: man not boy) wants me to look like I am working Vegas? A man wants a classy lady who is confident not a shallow girl who only looks good because her self esteem is trash and she needs the attention…trust me men notice, but all the boys will like you…and then you wonder where all the good guys have gone…step 1-look in a mirror and ask - would I let my daughter wear this? 2-repeat until decent.

9. Hug babies and/or own puppies, know history and at least one magic trick,

10. Send me a thank you note for saving your life, bam done.

Now, I am not condoning what Mr. Gibson said, it is never ok to threaten or hit a woman, ever. (period). That having been said I am concerned about the girlfriends steely demeanor when taping Gibson. What kind of person does that? Allowing your significant other to yell at you like that? She has a child to protect and she allows herself to be placed in danger and speaks as if she does not care, really? Grow some fortitude and protect that child. And I am serious about #7, go to bars or hit up a nightclub if that’s what you are into, but be aware of what you are looking for and have some standards…I know alcohol does things to people but it’s not excuse for stupidity. If your thing is dancing and having a fun time, go meet fun like minded people. I do not hate on going to clubs in general. The issue is that they have become meat markets for both sexes and that’s scary. They seem, to me, to be factories for objectification and a place where idiots have game and intelligent people turn stupid. They look good now, but give it a few years, a kid, work, stress, etc. you will kick yourself for not finding someone who read rules 4, 5 and 6 a couple of times. Just be smart is all I am saying. No one wants to settle for something that will only make them wish they had not, buena suerte.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yesterday I read an article in the Orange County Register regarding “rule of law” cities.  Apparently, cities that declare themselves as a rule of law city simply enforce the laws on the books evenly for everyone within the city limits.  From all the information I have read, it seems that this declaration means is that immigration laws will be more strictly enforced in an effort to “blank.”  The reasons offered are different, fight crime, raise property values, create jobs for citizens, etc.  I think it’s a way city council can blame a group for the woes of the city and be law abiding.

To a degree I am all for enforcement of the laws on the books.  The laws were written in order to protect the rights of the community.  However, just because it’s a good idea does not mean that it is feasible or even practical.  Likewise many of the laws “on the books” are not practical to enforce.  Example, in England you are not allowed to die at Parliament, if you do then you are entitled to a state funeral, weird.  Immigration laws are great because they seek to better the country by limiting access to resources to those who are citizens, but at the same time…can these be enforced without violating human rights?  How do you not racially profile in southern California, Arizona, Texas, or any other state?  Would you deny emergency healthcare to an illegal alien?  If your son or daughter married an illegal alien…should the children (your grandchildren), born on US soil, be citizens?  If Mexico were communist like Cuba, could they just step on US soil and be allowed to stay?  Should we not support our democratic neighbor to the south?  Volkswagen and other US imports pit stop there before coming over to the US, why are we so hostile, and/or why are they even coming; how can we help a country better itself and have its citizenship stay within its borders.  Is the US help just limited to throwing supplies and goods at a population?  Is that how we help others, giving fish but never teaching how to fish? Weak.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yesterday was my return to road riding.  The course was to be a light ride, approx 10 miles, over some hills and at a leisurely pace.  Another Mudd Run is coming up July 18th in Irvine and I figured I should get some different exercises in prior to that day.  I have been good about jogging, but I have not really pushed it in a while so I figured with the Tour de France and the World Cup going my fitness level was pale in comparison.  I got home after getting an oil change, 10k on the car in a little over 3 months, and I felt dizzy.  Things just seemed to move and I figured I must be more exhausted than I thought since my whole sense of balance was off.  I decided to err on the side of caution and took a three hour nap, yeah three hours.  It was so nice to sleep because I wanted too instead of passing out over a book.  Come to find out there was an earthquake yesterday.  And what do you know it was right around the time I was walking out to take a ride.  Lesson to be learned; none.  I am an idiot who obviously needed rest, and needed God to shake the earth in order to figure it out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I have changed up my swing yet again.  I know same story.  I tried to get steeper but was having a tough time integrating the new feelings into my existing swing so I figured a dramatic change would be the better option.  So I went to the Stack and Tilt method.  It advocates starting the backswing with most if the weight on the left foot, taking a shorter backswing and hitting down through the ball.  I have experienced some success with it, and I think the feeling of hitting down through the ball is teaching me how much compression I should be getting on all my iron shots, very crispy indeed.  I went to the range with an old set of Tommy Armour 845s, if you do not know them then you obviously lack equipment knowledge, just kidding.  They are in the top three best selling irons of all time and quite good looking, but they use the old lofts, e.g. a 9 iron is somewhere between a PW and a New 9 Iron and so on, so the distances are a touch off.  I took them to the range and cranked out farther crisper shots than with my regular irons, Ping ISI-K.  So, ago when firing with weaker lofts I was getting the same yardage as my newer irons, I officially am more of a badass, kind of.  I will definitely stick with the stack and tilt until the sense of compression is engrained then I will go back to a traditional swing, which I think is more repeatable and does not work at your left knee as harshly.  Anyhow, that’s the update.
Law school = stress.  It’s a good kind of stress though because it keeps the mind active.  Now, that having been said, having to work full time and then go to school does rub me the wrong way at times, but I know that its for a good purpose so I have to keep stomping the pavement and getting it done.  The class I am currently in focuses on criminal law.  And the positive thing is that our teachers actually and legitimately care that we become good attorneys.  I say teachers because it is taught by two professors.  They are kind and answer even the worst questions in class.  There was one day that I really wanted to tell the person to shut up and go to office hours because they were wasting my time and biting into my gnarly commute, but I resisted.  I know that I have been that person asking all the annoying questions at one point as well.  Such is life, but it is a good experience.  I am pissed I did not go to South Africa even though I had two tickets, one for Qtr Finals and one for the 3 v.4 game, but that’s the way it goes, a sacrifice now for a better future tomorrow.
This week I had the opportunity to talk to two people I had not really spent time with.  One of them I had not seen since we graduated from LMU, the other I see but not as often.  It was very refreshing to talk to them because you realize how much things change, yet remain the same.  I had different types of relationships with each and characteristics that I recall in both, even back then were still present and very much a part of who they are.  One of them is defiant in a hardworking way.  They seek approval from themselves first and foremost and then secondly of everyone else.  When we were younger I recall the passion with which they would speak of the future; now, that passion is not as alive because the plan that we enacted as youths is in full swing.  However, they still have that desire to be more and never stop learning, its intoxicating.  It makes me happy to talk to persons like that.  For a few years my conversations were very limited and instead of talking to an inspiration to the future I would speak to relics of the past; which was fine until you realize you are not becoming a better person having them in your life.  The other friend is brilliant, can’t say anything else.  They are teaching the things that we learned at LMU, its insane to think that we would have 4 am “think tanks” before finals discussing Kant, Rousseau, Descartes, Hume or whoever else we were studying and this group was one of the reasons I stayed at LMU.  Speaking at such a precise level forces your mind out of the pigeonhole we throw it into everyday.  The friend had a party and even after a few beers we were brilliant, well worth the trip out there and definitely something I would want to do again.
Recently, I have felt like I am an idiot and simply trudging along without a clear sense of focus.  I know what I want to do and where I want to be, but the steps to get there scare me.  I don’t like being scared; it is not my “thing.”  I think a lot has to do with my personality.  If you have talked to me for longer than a minute, you know that I like to be prepared even for things that one cannot prepare for.   I usually try to go with my “feeling” on things, but sometimes the world gets so convoluted that I find myself seeking guidance in those whom I respect and admire the most.  They never give me a straight answer, which I would never want them too.  But it is hard to see the wisdom others offer when you are feeling lost yourself.  Usually whenever I feel this way I snap out of it in a few hours, but this time is different.  It is coming to that time in life when the tough decisions get tougher and those things I used to brush off are thrown back.  Helen Keller once said “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  I hope I can rise to that level of self awareness and self knowledge.  I think it would be a tragic loss if I wandered through life seeking momentary goals and living event to event; all for what?  To seek a life of loose change? I cannot chase a life of dimes knowing there are dollars to be had.