Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Monthly Archives: March 2018

Mental Toughness

I refuse to give my physical pain any value. I shove the pain aside, focus on something different, and force myself to keep moving.” Dauwalter cites her preferred mental tactic being race-day mantras. “I keep repeating over in my head, ‘Keep moving. Keep moving. Keep moving.’ Or sometime’s it’s, ‘You’re fine. You’re fine. You’re fine.’ If I’m being nice to myself, sometimes I will cheer myself on and repeat, ‘You’re doing a good job. You’re doing a good job. You’re doing a good job.’ “

Courtney Dauwalter, Winner MOAB 240, 2017; She ran 238 miles in 58 hours and slept 21 minutes. No special diet and no plan. Just sheer unfathamable will power.

Quitting is a decision


It was gently raining on a soft summer night in East Berlin. Maybe 10 or 11 pm and the streetlights glowed in the cool, humid summer air. You wanted to walk down to the street – little did either one of us know that it would be your last time out.

You had your shorts on, I remember you were worried that someone you knew might see you with your “baggage.” I carried your oxygen tank while you had the umbrella in one hand and in the other the shopping bag we put your bile drainage device in.

I remember thinking “well this might have been a mistake” when you had trouble getting down the stairs. But I sensed this was important, so I acted like all of it was the most normal thing in the world. I loved you so much – I just wanted to be with you in these last moments we had together.

We sat on a stoop in the rain, talking like we always had, sometimes just sitting in silence, with the sounds of the city and life flowing by us like a river. We knew each other deeply and our flaws only drew us closer. We were alike in so many ways – forever escaping a past that would never let us be. We shared a childhood experiencing things no child should have to go through. It forged in us an extreme toughness and resiliency but without making us hard, and ultimately it bound us together.

When you died I wept, and I don’t cry easily. Life is cruel, but it was a little easier just knowing that somewhere, if I ever needed you, you were there. I’ll always miss you and carry you in my heart until the day I die. You’re gone but never forgotten my gifted, handsome, and hilarious brother. This shit show of a world can be brutal, but it dealt me a good hand when I met you.

Rest In Peace.

Be Kind To Yourself

If something is going on in your life that is impairing your ability to function, realize it’s okay. This is part of the pain of living and things will eventually get better.

Be kind to yourself.

The Inevitable Leader

First things first: nobody wants to be the leader except, well, leaders (and even then there might be some reluctance).

Secondly, everyone, and I mean pretty much everyone (unless they’re a completely self-defeating nihilistic anarchist), recognizes that someone needs to lead. Without a leader, not much gets done.

So that means that someone is left with the often thankless job of leading. An interesting side note here is that it’s not unusual for the job to be thrust upon them almost by default. When a role needs to be filled, the group will naturally turn to the one who seems to have the qualities needed to get the job done.

It’s not a job that most people would want. Failure or success will fall on the shoulders of the one who leads. There will be lots of unpleasantness to be dealt with, and many, many frustrations. Those being lead will constantly grumble and often question the decisions of the leader, even while privately thinking “thank god it’s not me.”

But for those who have a natural predilection for it, there can be an almost perverse pride in overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles and doing a job most wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do. Even in the face of hardship, they steadfastly look out for the safety of the ones they are leading, and never lose sight of the objective. The more you beat them down, the more determined they become. They pay a price, of course – but they accept their responsibility and forge ahead.

That’s what leaders do. Against all odds, sometimes reluctantly and always self-questioning, at the end of the day they serve the greater good for the group, because that’s who they are.

Inevitably someone must lead. Fate or circumstance will thrust someone into the position, and if they are a leader, they do the only thing their nature allows.

They lead.

Rock And Roll Crucible Part 1

If you really take the time to dive deep down the rabbit hole to investigate and learn about specific genres of music, you will often find a whole cast of characters you never heard of. For example, in rock music, a good argument could be made that the period of 1967-1974 was the crucible that spawned virtually all of the sub genres that followed. It was the Wild West of rock and roll and the laws had yet to be written.

In those pre-internet days, geography played a large part, and in this context the Detroit-Michigan scene was hugely influential. A lot of the important players would never become household names, and today have faded into history, but if you’re interested in rock music they are fascinating and larger than life characters whose contributions loom large. Richard “Dick” Wagner was one of those people.

He was a guitar player from Oelwein Iowa, born in 1942, who really helped define a specific and highly musical style of playing. His sound was inextricably tied to his Les Paul cranked up through a Marshall amp, but he refined it to a degree that put him in a category occupied by a rarefied few. Anyone who is a fan of “classic rock” has heard his work, though few would know his name. If you’re a musician who’s into guitar and production, Dick Wagner was a great example of an incredibly gifted musician who honed his craft by playing thousands of gigs in the mid west club scene in the mid to late sixties. In those early days of “heavy” rock guitar sounds, there was only one way to get that tone – take your guitar of choice and plug it directly into a Marshall amp turned all the way up. No pedals and no preamp channel on the Marshall – the only extra technology required might be a wah wah pedal, and I’m not aware of Dick using that.

If you’ve ever been in the same room with a Marshall amp cranked up, you’ll know that it is so loud it’s actually frightening. We’re talking loud on a level that’s actually changing your biology on a molecular level – affecting hormonal cascades and altering neurological functioning to create an alternative state of consciousness. Volume at this level is actually acting like a drug, and (at least before you go deaf) can trigger euphoric states. So someone who has mastered an ability to harness and control this immense power begins to take on the role of a Shamen, whether anyone witnessing this phenomenon is aware of it or not.

Once again, this is the power of great art – it changes the lives of everyone who comes into contact with it. All hail Dick Wagner, gone but not forgotten. For everyone who loves this stuff, he made our lives just a little bit better. He was truly one of the pioneers of the art form, and armed with a Les Paul and a Marshall, he made life a little more exciting for everyone. Some people are visionaries who show others what might be possible. Thank you and RIP, Dick Wagner.

You Can Do Whatever You Want

This is the cool thing about creating something – there is no right or wrong, and the only person you have to please is yourself.

It is whatever you want it to be.


Say you’re of sound mind, you’ve got a bit of a drinking problem, and you present to an ER intoxicated with a necrotic ankle secondary to osteomyelitis. The only treatment is to amputate your foot, but you don’t want to do that. It’s not hurting because the bone is dead – it looks grotesque but hey, you can kind of hobble around and cover it up so no one sees it. The problem is eventually you’ll become septic and die. You don’t want to be admitted because you’ve got a date with a bottle. If you’re the doc, what do you do?

Welcome to the ER!