A History Lesson

In 1942, about 80,000 American and Phillipino prisoners of war were forced to relocate 60+ miles through the jungles of Bataan by their Japanese captors. Carried out over 5 days, this march would eventually claim more than 10,000 lives.

Among the troops being forcibly moved were 1,800 soldiers from New Mexico. Out of that number, only 987 survived what would eventually be renamed as the “Bataan Death March.”

Every April, an event is run in Southern New Mexico to honor those soldiers. Running 26 miles through the White Sands Missile Range, the event is known as the Bataan Memorial Death March. This year over 7,000 hardy souls participated in this grueling event.

In 2020 my brother and I will be among them.

An Idea Gone Astray

A few months back I mentioned to my brother that Lor and I would be doing our first ever 5K this May. He was appropriately excited about our participation, being a lifelong fitness buff. A few weeks later, he called me. The conversation went something like this:

“Dude! You guys are doing that 5 K in May, right?”

“Yeah, why do you ask?”

“Because I have a great idea! You and I should do the Bataan Death March event in 2020!”

Silence. I may or may not have dropped the phone when I passed out.

Now, it is important to establish something here. My brother has already done this event once, in his twenties. I, as you know, have never walked, run, swam, or crawled a marathon-length course in my life.

Is Half A Century Long Enough?

2020 is also significant for a very specific reason. It is the year he and I both turn 50.

Now, the question is two-fold. First, is 3 years enough time to train for an event like this?

Secondly, will I be able to hack this at 50 years old?

As it is, I am having serious trouble these days just getting in my 3.1 miles every day in support of an event coming up in only 2 months. To train for this event in 2020 I will have to be able to increase that distance literally 10 times. And my training is taking place in a nice, comfortable, air-conditioned gym. The Memorial this year took place in 80+ degree weather with no cloud cover. (Southern New Mexico, remember?)

To say I have some grave reservations would be an understatement.

A Memorial and a Celebration

But, the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me.

My personal war hero was my grandfather, who was part of the “Greatest Generation.” He served in the Pacific Theater in World War 2, though (thankfully) he was not part of the Bataan Death March. What an awesome tribute it would be to be able to complete this event in his honor.

Also, the fact is that I was not even supposed to be around in 2020. In 2004, during the worst part of my seizure activity, I was informed by a neurologist that I would “most likely not make it to 50.” Uncontrolled temporal lobe seizures have a depressingly high mortality rate.

I am turning 47 in 3 months, and have no immediate plans for departure. Being able to participate in an event like this during the year I was not supposed to reach would be an awesome slap in the face of my disability. And to that idiot neurologist as well.

Accordingly, my brother and I reached our accord this weekend. We would both begin training for this event taking placing only 3 short years from now. It warms my heart to be able to think about participating in an event with him.

Because now I know I will have someone to carry me to the finish line when I collapse from heat stroke.

I HAD Been Looking Forward To 50,

Jeremy

 

 

(Fiction Friday:) Vampires Suck!

The Perpetuals Release

What happens if you are attacked by a vampire and it doesn’t finish the job?

Do you get yourself patched up and then attempt to go through life like any other trauma survivor?

Or, do you suddenly find yourself drawn to darker desires…without any way to fulfill these dark imaginings?

Welcome to life as a dhampir.

A Life of Perpetual Suffering

K. Edwin Fritz tackles this very subject in the latest Ash Falls series The Perpetuals. A fresh take on classic vampire mythology, The Perpetuals dwells on a community of “half-turned” humans. Losing grip on their humanity, but fighting to not take that final step into eternal darkness, these victims are attempting to preserve what remains of themselves as the desire for blood slowly overcomes them.

There are no sparkly vampire sex scenes here. No happy undead playing joyful baseball games in thunderstorms. Instead, there is a community increasingly aware that they are staring into the abyss of eternal torment.

Juicy stuff. You owe it yourself to go grab Episode One right now.

Five For The Price Of One!

Or, if patience is not your strong suit, you could just download all 5 Episode #1s at once. Like, get the introductory episodes of Fallen and Reborn before they are even officially released!

“How do I do this?” you ask?

Head over to NoiseTrade, where we are currently running a promotion for the Ash Falls Storyverse Sampler. Download a copy of all 5 first episodes in your preferred format and, if you are so inclined, leave a tip!

Because Starving Writers, you know.

Despite the fact that the NoiseTrade promo is in my name, any and all proceeds from tips are going to promotional costs and then being shared out between the five of the Ash Falls authors. So, tip early and tip often!

The NoiseTrade promo runs through this Sunday, thereafter you will actually have to head out to NoiseTrade and search for the sampler, rather than it being featured on the shiny front page.

And if you know someone with the slightest interest in reading, direct them out to NoiseTrade as well. They may start with our sampler, but there are tons of other books to be checked out there. Trust me, I know. I’ve already grabbed a few myself.

Next Week on Fiction Friday: Demonic Fire Spirits and You!

Burning Down The House,

Jeremy

When Wrists Go Wrong

Working through injury

I think I have previously mentioned my usual weight loss “cycle”. I get fired up to lose some weight. I engage in a new diet. I start up an exercise program. Inevitably, I push too hard because I am in a hurry. Then, I injure myself and sit on the sidelines for several weeks, binge-eating for comfort. Meanwhile, the pounds pile on.

I had really thought that this time would be different. My diet is dictated by my surgery now. I have been cautiously ramping up my exercise resistance and intensity for months. But, as with most things in life, something went wrong anyway.

Something Goes Crunch

A couple days back I was working my way through my usual routine. I had reached the end of my weight training and had now moved over to abdominals. While on the reverse crunch bench, while pushing through my third set, something in my left wrist made an audible “pop”. I finished my set, but it hurt so much I decided to skip the hanging leg lifts and just call it a day.

How does one injure a wrist while doing crunches, you ask? Heck if I know. My arms are normally not involved at all while I am doing reverse crunches, sort of hanging out behind my head. All I can figure is that I was not paying close enough attention, and had wrapped my hands around the back of my head. In that position, it is possible that I was unconsciously pulling my head forward instead of letting my abs do the work. If I was pulling before I was sitting up, I could have strained the wrist. Nothing else makes much sense.

My First Roadblock

Later that afternoon, the wrist had swollen up impressively. We kept an eye on it, wondering if we would be making a trip to the ER. But, the application of the old standby “Ice and Elevation” seemed to do the trick, and it finally stopped inflating like a balloon at the State Fair.

However, it never stopped hurting. By the time my next workout rolled around the following day, it was apparent that I was going to have to skip any resistance exercise for the day.

In times past, this is the point where I would have given up. Frustrated, I would have sat down on the couch with a bag of Cheetos and binge-watched a couple of seasons of The Sopranos. All the while pissing and moaning about how the Universe had it in for me.

Moving Forward

Instead, yesterday Lor and I decided to just change up our routine.

We walked to the gym. We did extra long cardio sets on the treadmill (me) and elliptical (Lor). Then we walked home. At no point did I try to push through the pain and lift weights.

You have to understand, this was a major feat for me. I am infamous within my circles for trying to push through injuries and winding up really hurting myself. High pain tolerance + mule-headedness = “Danger, Will Robinson.” But I managed to escape without taking a frustrating situation and making it a debilitating injury.

Today, thanks to constant use of ice packs and a wrist brace, I actually feel almost normal. So, when we head back to the gym I may experiment with my normal Thursday routine.

But I won’t jump straight in the deep end of the pool, either. If I feel up to it, I will run through my routine for the day using minimum weights. At the slightest sign that I am not ready for prime time, I will quit.

Because I have no interest in forcing myself to visit an Emergency Room.

And I can’t eat Cheetos anymore anyway. Carbs, you know.

Moving Forward (Slowly),

Jeremy

Processing

I would really like to be able to put together a coherent post today. I honestly would.

However, some news came in yesterday that has left me pretty scattered and unfocused. And I would normally talk to you about what was going on. But, while this news impacts me personally, it is not exactly my news. Not my story to tell and all that.

So, rather than make you suffer through 500+ words of oblique language and non-specific references, I think I will just give Misdirected the day off instead.

We’ll catch you all again on Thursday, when my head is screwed back on straight. Thanks for understanding. Go spend some time doing something nice for yourself as a reward.

Jeremy

The Seven Pound Anchor

The Seven Pound Anchor

As the weather continues warming up, we are finding ourselves spending more and more time outside in the Real World. Breaking out from the gym and doing our cardio time in the foothills is not only refreshing but actually challenging. Nothing like adapting to sand and gravel when you have grown accustomed to hiking on treadmills.

However, there is a fly in the ointment. Yesterday we spent about an hour hiking, covering just over 2 miles of ground. We could have gone much further, and stayed out much longer, if not for one little problem…

The Terror Of The Trails

As she has gotten older, Vixen has been getting steadily more cantankerous. Where she used to bark at other dogs, she now lunges at them. She used to love people universally – now she actually attempts to make friends with some and barks at others. Her obedience was rock steady once upon a time. Now, she pulls stunts like running out the front door and chasing a postman halfway down the street, ignoring me as I attempt to call her back.

Where this is really affecting us, though, is her behavior when we are out attempting to exercise.

Yesterday’s hike is an excellent example. We had to change directions several times due to spotting other dogs walking the trails. Those times when we were unable to avoid other creatures, we had to stop and pick her up. Otherwise, she snarls and bites as if she were infected with rabies. It is simply impossible to maintain any kind of a pace while walking her. If she is not attempting to assassinate pit bulls and german shepherds, she is diving into cacti and having to be dragged away from interesting smells.

Frankly, she is walking us, not the other way around.

Short Legs = Short Walks

The other problem is that we would both like to start lengthening our outdoor excursions. And while our endurance has grown exponentially over the past year, Vixen’s has not. She can still manage about 2 miles. After that, she simply adds 7 pounds of resistance exercise to any additional distance walked.

We have discussed the possibility of getting a larger and higher-energy dog to take on walks. But that still leaves us with our current issue: we hate leaving her at home. We have no kids, so we have inflicted serious anthropomorphic personalization on Vixen instead. We watch her looking out the window when we leave without her, and imagine that she is pining away, desperately wanting to be included.

In reality, she is probably perfectly happy to hang out on the couch and bark at every moving object that passes by the front window. But that is not how we see it. Taking a second dog with us and leaving her at home will undoubtedly just make us feel even guiltier.

The Long-Term Solution

The other thing to remember is this: Vixen is only 10 years old. That is middle-age for a Chihuahua. Her big brother lived to be 21 years old. By the time she slows down enough to want to stay home, I will be in my mid-50s. I am not sure I want to wait that long.

No, we are just going to have to bite the bullet and get our disobedient furry child some re-training.  I have serious doubts about socialization training for a dog her age. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” right? But we have to do something, and we are obviously not up to the task of making her “trail-worthy” ourselves.

I wonder what Cesar Milan charges for an in-home visit?

Because A Chihuahua Looks Ridiculous In A Muzzle,

Jeremy