January Footbag Recap

Since last post, I played a week, skipped a week, played a week. January’s total comes to 4:30. It’s odd sometimes how the sessions go. This week, I started out really weak; I could have skipped the first hour and not lost much. But the last 30 minutes came together, and I hit some decent strings. The session before that, I came out of the gate smoking hot, but totally fizzled the last 30 minutes. 

It is very hard to get motivated in the winter. All told, the Secret Hideout is a great place to kick. But I can’t get started before 8pm. The cold makes it very difficult to do the whole thing by bicycle, so I end up riding home, trading for the car, and the typical sidetracks I deal with at home. With all the setup and breakdown time on each end, it’s 10pm by the time I’m done. I get tired sometimes.
An hour and a half shred session consumes my entire evening. It’s a stark choice; I get one free evening a week, and I must choose between playing footbag, or anything else, including visiting friends. So, I don’t see much of my friends. Someday, this will change. Be patient, old man.

Speaking of old men, one of my footbag friends Scott Davidson from Chigago Illinois has just completed 1500 consecutive days of playing footbag. Since I can’t do my own video from the Secret Hideout, I’ll share his instead. Enjoy!

Resetting the Counter for 2011

Happy New Years peeps!

I’m not immune to the irrational New Year’s Resolution thing. But, I like to call them “Goals” instead of resolutions. In the true spirit of OCD, I’m basically re-stating the same goals I set last year. Zone out for a moment, while I re-hash:
2010 Goal: 60 hours of footbag: I did 71. Very pleased with that. New goal? 60 hours. OCD has a name. It’s “h4x354x0r”. But this year I will celebrate my 30th anniversary of playing footbag, by… playing footbag! I hope.
2010 Goal: 3,000Km on the bike: I did 2,515. FAIL! But, I suffered the worst bike breakdowns, EVAR!!1! And, they closed my favorite lunchtime bike ride route all summer. Bastards. This year, the trails will suck. The money to maintain them has run out. I’m planning some vigilante trail maintenance this year. But I expect to meet my cycling goal.
2010 Goal: Be more affectionate with the Wife: ?!? Very conflicted on this. It seemed like it was working out, until the start of the school year. Suddenly, we were both going different directions at the same time. Pressure to deliver children to two different places at the same time conspired to rob us of our 24-year tradition of kisses and hugs every morning before we parted. Major. Negative. Impact.
2010 Goal: Maintain my anger-free outlook. ?!? Again, worked out great for the most part. But I always get edgy around the holidays, and this year was no exception. I should be satisfied I didn’t completely blow a gasket, what with a 3rd year of no pay increase (but basic living costs going up), the suck-ass pressure of having kids in school. The 2 times this year I did get truly angry, OMG! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I just can’t do that anymore. Fuck that Goddamned anger shit, you hear me?
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For 2011, I only carry over the footbag and bike mileage goals. Well, I also tweeted, “Do more fishing.” Considering I only got to go fishing 3 times last year, that shouldn’t be hard to beat. I hope. The rest? No promises, no goals. I’m just gonna deal with it a day at a time.
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On to footbag, the primary purpose of this blog. Today marked my 1st session of 2011. I had a chance to play footbag at the MU Rec center (they’re running a ‘trial membeship’ promotion), and at first I was really stoked about it. I’d be able to bring my camera in, and make a footbag blog video. But then, I realized I probably couldn’t bring my boombox in. Music is to my footbag, as breathing is to life. So, I bailed on the Rec center thing, and went back to the Secret Hideout. I can’t film in the secret hideout, because it wouldn’t be so secret anymore. So, no hassle of setting up a camera, and plenty of music!
It was a fairly average session, but I did hit a 30-contact “tiltless” string. “Tiltless” means a difficulty level of 3 or greater. In footbag, each aspect of difficulty is called an “add” becaue each thing beyond a basic kick adds a difficulty point. Stalling the bag on the foot (instead of just kicking it): 1 “add”. Going around the bag (a leg-over): another “add”. Spinning or doing a “cross-body” (touching the bag on the left side of your body, but with the right foot), another “add”.
To be honest, there are young punks that make me look like I’ve got broken legs. For every time I can go around the bag once, they can do it twice, maybe 3 times. The average difficulty level among today’s elite footbag players is over 4; mine is barely 2. OTOH, here I am, throwing down my own gauntlet: “OK, punks, keep that up for another 20-25 FUCKING YEARS.” Few athletes are still active in their sport at 47. I am. I have no intention of quitting.
I put in 1:30 tonight. That brings me back to the blog’s title: resetting the counter. It’s always a bit of a bummer to do that, but it also renews the drive; fuels the fire. At the end of almost every footbag-centric blog post, I end it with a line thats [today’s time] [year’s total time] Thanks for tuning in! So…
1:30 1:30 Thanks for tuning in! 

Happy New Year!

Here’s the wrap-up for h4x354x0r’s footbag in 2010: 
Total number of kicking sessions: 43 (I think, not certain about that)
Total hours kicking: 71
Estimated total contacts: 40,000
Estimated add contacts: 25,000
Estimated total adds: 50,000
Number of Journalism student projects done on me: 4
The high point: July 1st (averaged ~60 secs per rally) 
The low point: July 29th (talk about a nosedive…) 
The best part: New City Hall and it’s “Hack Key” sculpture 
The worst part: Speaker Circle getting torn up: 
The funniest part: Getting busted on New Speaker Circle 
Honorable mention funny: Girls volunteer some “shakin it” for my camera (very end)
Looking ahead at 2011: This new year will be  very special for me and footbag. I will be celebrating 30 years of playing footbag! There may be a whole bunch of young punks out there that can make me look like I’ve got broken legs, but there’s some weird old dude, who’s not wearing a shirt, challenging all those young punks to keep at it for another 20-25 years. 
My 2011 footbag goal will be to play at least 60 hours of footbag. My 2010 goal was 60, but I did 71. However, I think I got a little bit lucky, and all those times I pushed my sessions past 2 hours added up. Also, I plan to keep up my footbag blog. I’ve been at it for over 2 years now, and have about 70 footbag videos posted. My long-term goal with my footbag blog is to get at least 5 years of documentation. 5 years of footbag as I near, and cross, the 50-year-old barrier. 
Best wishes, best of luck, best of shred, best of everything… Here’s wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous 2011! 

Bicycling: The bad year

I set a goal of putting in 3,000 kilometers (~1,875 miles) on my bicycle this year. It didn’t go well. My final tally is 2,515 kilometers (~1,570 miles). At least I think that’s it; it’s hard to read the screen on my crappy cyclocomputer. That’s a fitting end to this year in bicycling: 

January 2010: Weather hits. Snow, ice, more snow, more ice… Riding my mountain bike, which doesn’t have a cyclocomputer, to cope with nasty street conditions. Mileage is estimated, but when the weather’s bad, I take the shorter route to work. 
January 2010: The “Old Route K ” bridge, which was used for the ~8km bike route I frequently take on a lunchtime bike ride, has been shut down and demolished for replacement. Estimated re-opening: September 2010. The next closest alternate loop adds almost 4 more Km, and another brutal climb on a narrow, busy road. So much for lunchtime bike rides this summer.
January 2010: My frame breaks. Very. Seriously. Breaks. My right rear drop-out cracked apart. Amazingly enough, there’s a welder in town that might be able to fix it. I check my bike into the shop, and accidentally leave the cyclocomputer on it. In the meantime, back to my mountain bike. 
February 2010: Road bike still in the shop. Weather still nasty.
March 2010: Road bike still in shop. At least the weather is improving a bit finally.
April 2010: My road bike has been at the welder’s for over 2 solid months. The shop warned me the guy wasn’t fast. But… the bike finally comes back, with the most incredible weld job imaginable. It’s whole again! To bad the crown of the cyclocomputer got all scratched up in the process. 
May 2010: POW! Front rim on road bike totally blows out, ruins tire and tube too. Dang new wheels and tires are expensive… back to the mountain bike.
June 2010: Finally found a killer deal on a new front wheel from Walts Bike Shop. The road bike rides again! But boy am I behind on my mileage by now…
June 2010: No sooner do I get a new wheel and tire, than I get a pinch flat from a rock on the trail. I spend the next 2 weeks getting flats every other day. Finally discover that my brand new tire has a cut in it just big enough for the tube to start bulging out after a couple days of riding. I fix it with layers of cut up piece of tube, mr. tuffy, more tube.
June 2010: Shifter cable on mountain bike breaks. Coming to the conclusion that the universe does not want me to meet my cycling goal for the year. 
The summer: No lunchtime bike rides. Old Route K bridge still out. More footbag, less riding. 
September 2010: New “Old Route K” bridge finally open! Lunchtime bike rides commence!
October 2010: Poor weather and a crushing workload pretty much put an end to lunchtime bike rides. I officially give up on even thinking I’m gonna be able to meet my mileage goal for the year. 
December 2010: Weather, weather, weather. Mountain bike it still fried, doing the minimum route on my road bike. 
So yeah, it’s been the worst bicycling year I’ve had for a while.
Looking forward to 2011: You bet your ass I’m setting my goal at 3,000Km again. I can do it if I don’t suffer an endless chain of breakdowns and other disappointments. The challenge will be the fact that funding for trail maintenance is drying up. Trail conditions will continue to deteriorate, and flooding will really put the whammy on it. I may be forced to do vigilate maintenance on the trail this summer.
Best wishes, lots of miles, best of everything. Here’s wishing you a wonderful and prosperous 2011!