Ghostwriters in the Sky

Spam, spam, spam, spam and spam!

Today’s playmate is Mark Gilliam, whose (likely) automaton-generated email portrays him as a Senior Writing Consultant with BookWritingInc.com (that’s kinda redundant, dontcha think?). Since his note was formatted so nicely, it gets an image, rather than a copy/paste:

GhostWritingInc

And after having missed the deadline for this incredible offer, I had to reply, and once again, the itty-bitties make an appearance:

D’oh!  Missed it by two days.  The Itty Bitty Nanobot Fighting League will not be happy, and they are liable to whack me at the piggy-who-cried-waaah-waaah-waaah-all-the-way-home toenail.  (That’s as high as they can jump.  Told ya they were itty bitty!)

And the shame of it is, I wanted to see which ghost you’d attach to telling my tales of love and loss, fighting nanobots and harlot fembots, and the gritty world of competitive itty bitty octagon robot fighting.  I’d love to hear what a ghost like Mark Twain would have to say about something he could never have imagined.  (Fun fact — did you know Mark Twain wasn’t his real name?  That’s incredible!  I wonder which name his ghost goes uses… I’m sure the ghostwriting afterlife is a very busy place, so I could certainly see him wanting his anonymity!)  Or, perhaps the insight of the ghosts of someone like Socrates, Henry VIII (“off with their nanobot heads!”) or even Petyr Baelish!  (And I know Little Finger is fictional, but did you see all the blood on the throne room floor at Winterhaven?!  I mean, you can’t fake that kind of death, so I’m convinced he’s got a ghost somewhere.)

But, having missed your deadline for your week-long celebration (which you only gave me eight hours to meet — even Kiefer Sutherland got 24 hours each season to fight the bad guys!), and given that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I’ll just have to wander this lonely orb, knowing that my itty-bitties’ stories won’t see the light of day.  ’Tis a shame, too, as I think it could’ve been the next Harry Potter-like series, spinning into film, tv, music, books, and holographic underwear (you can only see ‘em if you have an Artoo unit).

Perhaps, once I’m a ghost, I can become a ghostwriter for y’all, too!

Your pal,
Colin

PS:  Who is Bills Gates?  Is that some pimp that’s playing on the name of Bill Gates, and is bragging about all his pimp-scab money?  He’d best watch out — I know the Robot Mafia don’t like no scabs.  I saw what they did to Flexo, and it wasn’t pretty.  I mean, dropping an unbendable girder on a poor unsuspecting bending robot?  That’s low.

PPS:  I know “Bills Gates" couldn’t have been a typo.  I mean, you’ve got the whole humanity of ghosts writing for you, and surely someone’s spirit would’ve said “I don’t think his first name has an ’s’…”

PPPS:  Do your ghostwriters sing, like the robot ghosts in Robot Hell?  I saw that on Futurama too (and since it’s on TV, it *must* be true!), and it looked like they had a pretty hep-cat beat going on.  What kind of music do the ghostwriters enjoy?  I bet it’s traditional monastic chant, followed by swatting their long-dead heads with lumber from long-dead trees.  Yeah, chanting… that’s gotta be it.

Emergency Updates!

Another round of quietness on The ‘Peel, so how about some more spammer fun.

Lat week, I got a note from “Joel Stephens,” who just noticed a post on Canapeel from 2005 — almost TWELVE YEARS AGO! — that is pointing to an emergency preparedness website that has apparently been sucked into another, even bigger emergency preparedness website. I got a little suspicious because Joel’s return email address was at something called ctechemail.com. Looking around, that domain is hidden behind VeriSign, GoDaddy and Domains-By-Proxy, so I was pretty sure it was just a flyby, trying to trick me into pointing traffic to their (presuambly spammy) website.

Added to that was that the “unsubscribe” contact was for a technology product comparison website. Yeah, spam baby!

Well, a few days later, I got a follow-up email… at 4AM!!! It was the same old song and dance… I know you’re busy, but wanted to follow-up, here’s a copy of what I sent, yadda, yadda, yadda.

That deserved a response. 🙂

Somehow, I’d be surprised if you’re actually awake and sending me email at 4am CT.  If you’re actually an awakened human, and not some kind of soulless automaton, just fishing for some relevance through other folks’ websites, then kudos — and good morning!

Why any human would care one iota about an almost TWELVE YEAR OLD post on a blog in the backwaters of the tubes of the interwebs is beyond me, which is why I’m suspicious of your status of machine vs people.  Again, if you’re actually a human, then kudos — and welcome to my way back machine!

Frankly, I don’t have a lot interest in chasing every website name change, deep link change, and company mergers across nearly twenty years of blog postings.  I am only one human — with a staff of nanobots for the Nanobot Fighting League — and I’d rather be writing about the present and future, in the hopes of soothing the souls of those little nanobots, than revising history, presumably to help drive traffic to someone’s new website.  I mean, training the itty bitty botties take a lot of time!!

Thanks for visiting, human, or, if you’re actually an automaton, the nanobots say “Hi cousin!”

Your pal,
Colin

A Slow 2017

I had one big running goal this year, and that was to qualify for the Half Fanatics.  While I didn’t do it the way I’d planned, I did check that off the year in February, and I turned my head to getting some other races in this year.

And then I didn’t.

I injured my hip in Olathe, canned my trip to Indy, and now, with Route 66 looming next weekend, I already know I’m not going to make it to Tulsa.  The allure of a Half Fanatics-themed race medal is why I chased HF so hard, and yet here I sit in the Da Lou.

So what happened?

Well, the injury during the Garmin Half really took the steam out of me, and collapsed any confidence I had about the half distance, and that torpedoed any running at all.  I’d put a lot of pressure on myself in 2015 and 2016, completing a fair number of “in person” races, but also signing up for any and all virtual races that were even remotely attractive to me.  It was that, I believe, that kiboshed my running this year.

You see, the pressure of having those medals in hand, and racing needed to “claim” them, put me in a bad spot mentally for running.  Every run was a chore, because there was a requirement to go a certain distance so I could claim each little piece of bling sitting in my office, crying out to be hung up.  I had to make the distance, and had to get “this many” done, because more were on the way in the mail.

That self-induced pressure simply shut me down, and I turned my running shoes into everyday shoes.

So I took most of 2017 off, spending my time off-roading and enjoying my recovery.  I kept watching running groups on Facebook, though, and lived vicariously through others’ successes.  And the more I watched, the more I realized I missed running.  I missed the crowds of runners, cheering each other on,  I missed the back of the pack, despite the solitary nature of running back there.  I missed the camaraderie.

So this weekend, I started plotting my comeback for 2018.

I haven’t yet signed up for anything, but I’m trying to focus on some longer races — half marathons — along with some 5k races here and there.  And I intend to travel a bit for some of these races, trying to recapture some of the fun I had with the destination races I ran in 2015 and 2016.

Short story — watch this space.  I’m planning to be back on the road this year.

Domain Hijinks

It’s been a little quiet ’round here, so how about some spammer fun.

Yesterday, I got a note from “Grace Anderson,” using some mysterious, weird looking Gmail account, offering to sell me a mis-spelled version of one of my domains.  To heighten the urgency, Grace let me know that they’re taking offers from any interested parties.  Well, that’s pretty much all it took.  Enjoy.

Hi there!

I’ll offer you a chicken.  That’s twice the offer I gave the person last week that offered this domain to me for sale... or maybe a similar one... so much spam, so little time.  I only offered them a Cornish hen, which as we all know, is significantly smaller, and will realistically only feed one or two people.  A chicken, on the other hand, will feed a whole family one meal, plus leftovers for making soup the next day.  And if you’re really good, you can make bone broth from the carcass after making soup.

You would need to supply the vegetables, however.  To qualify for vegetables, you’d need to offer something bigger.

Skywriting would probably get you some vegetables, but it’d have to be really, really good skywriting.  Block letters, in a nice serif font that could be seen for days, including a little glow-in-the-dark material that would keep everything nice and purty across a few days.  I mean, why have skywriting if it’s gonna just disappear, right?

Your pal,
Colin

A Tale of Two Drobos

(Yeah, I know it’s been a while.  I’ve been taking a break from running to let my body heal from the goofy stuff I attempted this spring, and allow the crazy heat of summer finally break.  While we all wait, I return you to some of my escapades into technology-ville…)

I can’t remember when I first heard about Drobo, but it was undoubtedly on some photography blog or podcast loads of years ago.  At that time, I was really scarfing for some way to manage my the growth of my already-large photo/scan/video catalog.  Drobo popped up in that quest, and while it was an interesting concept — RAID with any size or kind of drive that was laying around — I was nervous about their proprietary system, and didn’t pursue it.

Years of cobbling together oddball solutions, largely based on consumer offerings like Western Digital’s My Book Duo two-disk arrays… lots of them.  My thinking was that, despite the complexity of managing those discrete units and synchronizations among them, I was ahead of the game, because I could drop those almost anywhere, and they’d just work.

Late last year, Drobo ran a great deal on their 5Dt array, including an mSATA cache pre-installed, and three years of support, for a smoking hot price.  I couldn’t resist that, so I brought it in house, and filled it with Western Digital 6TB drives.  It worked so well for my day-to-day work, I put a Drobo 5C next to it, and used full array-to-array synchonizations to keep my stuff safe.

Fast forward to June, and Uncle Tim’s announcement of the new 5K iMac with Thunderbolt 3.  TB3 to me reads as “faster, faster, faster data”, and I snapped up a BTO model, and promptly dropped 64GB of RAM in it from Other World Computing.

And then it was Drobo’s turn.

Drobo announced a Thunderbolt 3 model of their array — dubbed the 5D3 — which would take advantage of my shiny new Mac’s TB3 ports.  Color me a happy camper.  I got one ordered a couple of days after ordering opened up, and I feverishly watched it’s march across the country until it got here.

My master plan was to sell my Drobo 5Dt, and daisy chain my 5C off the back of the new 5D3.  I reached out to Drobo on Facebook, and they quickly let me know that that configuration should work just fine.  That would simplify my cabling back to the iMac, and give me some nice ways to land the Drobo’s on my desk.

The 5D3 got here, and after a SUPER-SIMPLE migration of the drives from the 5Dt to the 5D3, I was up and running.

And noisy.

I reached back out to Drobo on Facebook to ask about the noisy fan in the 5D3.  They quickly reached out, let me know it shouldn’t be doing that, and wanted to give me a call.  Like I told Valorie from Drobo, them calling me was like getting a call from the mothership!  🙂

Valorie and I worked through some scenarios, and the only way the 5D3’s fans weren’t running full speed after five minutes of being active was to connect it via USB3.  That was a great discovery, as it kept me working, while Valorie arranged to have a new 5D3 shipped to me — overnight, no less!

It arrived today, and I moved my drives from the first 5D3 to the second.  Everything went smoothly, and after thirty minutes of speedy TB3 connectivity, I decided to attempt daisy chaining my 5Dt to the second TB3 port on the 5D3.  I’d gotten an Apple TB3-to-TB2 adapter, so I was set.

(And yeah, I decided to keep the 5Dt in the mix as the backup drive, rather than using the 5C.  If it had to become the primary, it’d be faster than the 5C, and it has a long period of DroboCare on it… why not use it?)

With the 5Dt connected, I fired everything up, and things stayed quiet for about thirty minutes.  I kicked of a 250GB copy between the arrays, just to give the new 5D3 a shot at getting hot.  It didn’t, and it’s sitting here, next to my iMac, purring right along.

Drobo couldn’t have made me happier with their support services.  I merely mentioned the noisy fan, and they committed themselves to understanding what was going on with my device, and making sure I stayed up and functional while my replacement unit shipped.  This was customer service executed in an amazing fashion.

So here I sit, Drobo’s silently humming along, cranking through video files, photos and music, and am enjoying my newfound speedy TB3 Drobo!!!

Kayaks and Infographics

Another week, and more spam… one in the can (presented here), and another to come over the weekend.  Today’s tale begins with a simple request to use your humble author’s humble blog as a springboard for advancing someone else’s agenda, and implying that they would gain permission to post it on my site.  Really?

Here’s the opening salvo…

I move at the speed of a snail, so I got a second request, just a couple of days later…

Well, with that kinda pressure, I felt compelled to respond… and watch for a reappearance of the fighting nanobots!

Out of curiosity, why again do you think this would be appropriate for my site?  I don’t remember having mentioning camping, but I’m such a mess — in over fifteen years of writing my blog, I coulda said anything!  To paraphrase my buddy Robby, “Questions!  Questions!”

Looking at the website your email was sent from, it redirects to something called Kayak Critic run by a dude named Alex.  I’m guessing there’s not really a website called thegreatoutdoorsfix.com …  and that’s probably because Alex stole it!  I looked at the Whois info for the fixable great outdoors domain, and it appears to be hiding in Panama somewhere, while Alex’s domain is in quiet, steamy Arizona.  It’s a long, long way from Panama to Arizona, but I’d bet someone whose charter seems to be to fix the great outdoors could muster up the power of eagles to travel to Arizona to pop Alex right on the snoot!!

What do you know about camping with nanobots?  I’ve got a whole league of them — The League of Fighting Nanobots! — and sometimes, they seem a little off their game.  There’s a lot of pressure in the teeny weenie octagon, and I wonder if their constant training schedule — and all that battery charging! — causes them to get cross.  I’ve lost a ton of Q-Tips breaking up itty bitty nanofights lately, and the cost is those is getting to be a drag!  Any thoughts on how to survive a camping excursion with the itty bitties?  And, where would be best to go with them?  They produce an incredible amount of pollution given their size, and it’s not uncommon for me to have to post signage concerning their noxious output.  Ever seen the camp fire bean sequence from “Blazing Saddles”?  Well, if so, you get the idea.

(If not, you should watch it… Mel Brooks is a genius!)

I wish you well on your impending quest for Alex!

Your pal,
Colin

Some Days, The Bull Gets You

That was part of one of the many sayings I can remember my father repeating when I was young:  Some days, you get the bull.  Some days, the bull gets you.

This weekend the bull got me.

I left for Olathe on Friday, feeling good, and expecting nothing but a good result at the Garmin Half Marathon.  And while I knew I wasn’t gonna set any land-speed records, I just ran two half in February, and got through them.  The weather was shaping up to my in my sweet spot — cool, and possibly some rain.

What could go wrong?

As I often do, I put a little gastrotourism on the docket for my travels, and Friday’s event was Taco John’s in Odessa.  I remember Taco John’s from my time in Nebraska, and when someone at work reminded me that there was one along my path, I knew I needed to stop.

I ordered a simple meal — a couple of tacos and refried beans — and once I had my tray at the table, I dug in.  I’d forgotten that TJ’s meat was a little more like a chili, with a mushy consistency.  It was really tasty, but the first TJ’s I’d had in at least twenty years reminded me why I prefer Taco Bell in the “fast food gut bomb taco” category.

While I sat and ate, “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry came over the speakers, and as it always does, I was taken back to when I was first diagnosed with cancer.  That song was big at the time, and it was so very meaningful to me.  At the time, we didn’t know the details of what I had, and what the future would hold.  Y’all already know that story, and how it ended, but this was an unusually poignant moment in what was supposed to be a big, positive weekend.

I eventually got checked into the hotel, picked up my packet from the expo, and played the part of a hermit in my room, relaxing, and getting things ready for Saturday.

Early in the morning, the alarm went off, and I began to get ready for the race.  Looking at the weather, we were gonna miss the rain, and temps were up just a bit to the high 40s, making this a “shorts” day, instead of running pants.  This was shaping up to be a nice morning.

Walking from the hotel to the start/finish line, I chatted with a bunch of folks, and discovered that the race start was delayed by at least fifteen minutes.  Apparently, there were a lot of folks still trying to get to the site, and the race committee wanted to let them get in for the race start.

After some nervous waiting, we grouped up, sang the Star Spangled Banner, and with a cannon’s blast, we were off!

I felt really good.  The opening of the race was slightly downhill, and I was keeping a nice pace as I started out from near the back of the pack.  I was trying to keep on a Galloway-like interval, and for the first mile or so, that went reasonably well.  The rolling hills began to get the better of me, and I slowed down, but to consistent, comfortable pace, and expected to be there for the rest of the race.

When I run, I play with the math of my run in my head.  Since I’m usually near the back, there’s not too many people with which to chat, so math is my running buddy.  At the first water stop (a little over two miles in), I took a look at my watch, and saw that my kilometer splits were off by quite a bit.

I didn’t panic, but I knew that this was shaping up to be another long day — like those in February’s halfs.  I trudged on, finding another another water stop around five miles in, and by now, I began to realize I was in trouble.  My splits were slowing, and I was feeling some wear and tear.

The aid station at mile five was at the top of a small hill.  After a quick break, and a chat with my police escort, I started down the hill, and I could feel something painful in my right knee.  I’ve been nursemaiding my left knee for months, but this was new.  I tried to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but it was now painfully obvious that this day was not going my way.

My first 5km was pretty average for me; by the time I got to the six mile point, that second 5k was shaping up to be nearly half-again  longer than the first.  I’d gone just shy of 10km, and was already thirty minutes slower than my worst 10k.

I cried uncle.

I’d been trying to actively compensate for my right knee since that stop at mile five, which was causing pain in my left knee and hips.  Given the way my times dropped off so badly after 5km, I was likely already developing a problem then.  I don’t know if I could’ve finished, but had I tried that, I’m highly convinced I would’ve injured myself even more, and it just wasn’t worth the risk.

I took a ride in a volunteer vehicle back to the hotel.  As it ends up, that was just what I needed.  I was really beaten, and the couple inside and I had a lot in common:  hams, berners and hockey.  It was a nice “keep my mind off it” ride…

Until I handed my bib over to the folks in my rescue ride, sealing my DNF.  That was tough.

I went straight to my room, thought over what had just happened, and showered, trying to put it all behind me.  As part of this trip, and another leg of my gastrotourism, I’d planned to go to Runza.  I wasn’t gonna let this struggle on-course take that away from me!

Runza is based in Nebraska, and the nearest ones are just across the border in western Kansas.  Whenever I’m out that direction, I try to stop in, and get one.  I had a cheese Runza, and an order of onion rings.  I was in heaven.  I probably could’ve eaten two, but that would’ve been pushing it, and I didn’t want to add gastronomical distress to my list of maladies on the day.

Back at the hotel, I dozed off and on, watching some TV, and finally went to bed, knowing I’d have an early start today.  After an early rise, I zipped across the state — it’s about four hours from Olathe to Da Lou — and am home, and happy to be here.

So were there lessons from the weekend?

Firstly, a big tip of the hat to the folks at Fleet Feet.  If you remember my halfs in February, I blistered on the bottom of my left foot quite badly.  I talked with them, and they suggested RunGuard, which is basically a beeswax-feeling substance that you smear all over the bottom of your feet.  I was skeptical, but it really worked.  I had no blistering at all, which is a huge improvement!

I also learned that it’s ok to listen to your body, and stop when it makes sense.  A medal is simply not worth doing longer term damage.

I also thought long and hard about the longer distance work I’ve been trying lately.  While I had two extraordinary days in February, it’s become pretty obvious that I’m not really quite ready to tackle 20+km with any expectation of success.  Not yet, anyway.  On any given day, I might make it, or I might not, and I’m not a fan of that.  Typically, when I run, I’m racing against me, not against finishing.

And frankly, that’s taking the fun out of it for me.  I’ve been so focused on finishing these long races, I’ve forgotten what made this sport so much fun.  It’s time to return to my roots, and focus on 5k and 10k distances for a while.  I’m hopeful this will help me work out my mechanics, perhaps get a little faster, and begin to enjoy this great sport again.

It’s also been suggested that I should take my bike out.  I think this is great advice, and something different for cross-training.  The bridge crossing from the Chesterfield Valley to the Katy Trail has been open for over a year, and I haven’t yet taken my Kona across it.  With the warmer weather being here, it’s time to return to the Katy, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than to ride there from the Valley.

Needless to say, this will put some big ol’ dents in my running plans for this year.  I have three half marathons (one in two weeks) and a triathlon scheduled for this year.  At this point, I’d put all that in the “maybe” category.

Normally, I’d guess someone could get pretty down about that change.  These were big race events, after all!  I prefer to look at it this way.  I did some monster things in 2016 and early 2017, and I will again, but it’s time to put the fun back in my running, focus on getting healthy, and work my way back to those kinds of races, with knowledge that I will finish those races when I’m ready to tackle them again, and not have the question of “finishing” in my head.

 

 

#169 – Undy Run/Walk 5K

168 races ago, I ran my first race, the 2012 Undy 5000 here in St. Louis.  I had finished two surgeries less than 90 days earlier, curing me of colon cancer.  I’ve been running ever since…

After a few weeks of furious fundraising, yesterday morning was when the rubber was to hit the road.  It was really cloudy, and felt like it was going to rain all morning.  The rain held off, which was a shame.  I love running in the rain!

I started off the morning with coffee and an old fashioned from the Donut Palace of Ellisville.  They were hosting a fundraiser for Backstoppers, and had uniformed officers serving doughnuts to the public.  It was a fun time, and I was happy to donate to the cause.

Doughnut in tummy, and coffee in hand, I headed down the road to Forest Park.  If you’ve read a few of these blog entries over the years, you know I have a love-hate relationship with running in the park.  It’s not awful, depending the course the race directors select, but even the easiest course has plenty of up-and-down rolling hills.

Fashionista!
Fashionista!

I picked up my race bib, survivor shirt and undies, and got myself all dolled up in my colon cancer clothing.  This is the first time I’ve worn all the freebies, but it felt right this morning, and frankly, it all fit, which is a plus.

As opening ceremonies began, Darla texted me to let me know she was on the grounds.  This was a surprise, as I wasn’t expecting her to come by.  We listened as Roche Madden — a CRC survivor himself — talked about the race and fundraising.  As a group, we raised about $150k, and continued to be one of the largest Undy events, at about 1500 registered racers. Way cool.

I'm a Survivor!
I’m a Survivor!

I meandered toward the start line, playing “rebel without a clue” by putting myself closer to the front of the pack than the back.  As it ends up, that was a great move, and let me pass some folks, and not get passed by quite so many.  Running is a mental game, right?

About a third of the way through, some stranger tapped me on the shoulder as he was passing me, and told me I was doing great.  I assume the “Survivor” emblazoned on the back of my shirt made him take the couple of seconds to say hello.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it… I love the running community.

Darla made some new friends, and as I got close to the finish line, I could hear them all cheering for me.  Man, that is such a rush!

I finished the race in what was a pretty good time for me.  This race is more an event than a race, and while there are some folks that are in it to win it, there’s a lot of folks that are just walking, talking and memorializing folks that have been stricken by colon cancer.  This usually makes my results look far more impressive than they actually are!

We stuck around for the awards ceremony, and listened to one survivor tell his tale.  Seventy-six of us were brought forward, and received survivor’s medals for running the race.  I’m always full of emotion at that part of the day, but it’s so cool to see so many folks who have fought the fight, and won.

Next year will be my seventh Undy, and I’m sure I’ll be there for it.  I hope to have some folks come along for the ride next year!!!!

This race benefitted the Colon Cancer Alliance.  Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Race Course

#168 – Yellowstone NP 145th Anniversary 5K

Last night, I took off on my first neighborhood adventure since returning from Gasparilla.  And that wasn’t by choice.  Over two weeks of being sidelined by the flu really took its toll.  I knew I needed to get out last night — it was a rare 86° degree night! — but, I also knew I needed to take it easy, given what my body had been through since the beginning of the month.

After work, I pulled my running shoes on, and set out on one of my 5k courses.  I was surprised at how easy it came — must be like riding a bike, eh? — and although it was definitely hotter than my comfort zone outside, I chugged along.

On this course, I have an option to take on a big hill on Clayton Road, or to turn around at the top of the hill, and fill in the missing distance by taking a detour on Wren Trail.  I was feeling kinda froggy, so I decided on the hill.

I’m glad I did.

It’s so very easy to take the less challenging path.  I mean, who’s gonna know?  At the end of course, it’s still 5k, right?  But yesterday, I had something to prove.  I got kicked by this illness — hard! — and I needed to show myself that while I was down for a while, I wasn’t out, and I could once again take on these kinds of challenges.

I got to my turnaround point at the bottom of the hill, looked up the hill once, staring it down, and began putting one foot in front of the other.  The next time I looked up from the sidewalk, I was almost finished climbing… and that was an awesome feeling!

And with the hill behind me, the rest of the course was relatively flat and easy.  I finished up, with a slow finishing time — but speed wasn’t the point of last night.  Last night was about finishing something I started, and continuing to fight for every mile I can!

This event benefitted the National Park Foundation

Race Course

Running with Spam!

I love to find fun spam in my inbox.  I’m also the same guy that likes playing with the robocallers.  Yeah… I’ve got an illness!  🙂

Today, I got an incredibly personal email from Jen Miller, that I felt compelled to respond to.  Here’s what I got:

And since I love stuff like this, I had to respond!

Hi Jen!

Thanks for the nice email!

I’m glad my blog showed up on your radar as you searched the world over for information on running.  Of course, the great post you noted is actually a site tag fronting well over a hundred posts!  I think your automaton that generates (Jen-erates?) emails like this may have gotten confused as it tried to speedily dive into the trials and tribulations of a real person, writing about their real running journey.  Of course one post in a hundred is actually created by flying monkeys typing randomly — can you spot that post?

And your automaton saw my single link to The Oatmeal website from eighteen months ago — neat!  I’m not entirely sure why mentioning that site would put me in the hunt for your detailed, 7,000 word guide on health benefits of running, but it’s cool that automation has forever married The Oatmeal and your article… it’s like a match made in silicon!

Looking at your site, I see very little about you and your family.  To borrow a phrase I’ve seen on Twitter a lot recently, “sad.”  I love to see the folks that are recommending things for me, understanding their motivations, and learning what their automatons eat!  It’s things like this that make this kind of exchange much more human, and less bits and nybbles (sorry automatons!).

I dug into your site, and noticed that your “Only the Best Reviews” page on the Blog tab shows a buncha pretty cool stuff.  I mean, when our automaton overloads take over, that article about “How to Drive a Car” will be crazy important to them!  They’ve likely never avoided deer in the highway, stopped to collect beer from an overturned beer tanker, or pushed a car off a cliff to collect the insurance money.  These are hugely important topics, and I’m sure you’ve got them covered!

I also noticed that every article I saw — and I didn’t look at ‘em all! — had just about 20,000 views.  That’s a clue, isn’t it?  That’s how many automatons are reading your site, instructing the other automatons on how precisely to take over!  Oh, it’ll be a sad, sad day in the world of human affairs once they take over.  But that likely will stop all the robocalls.  I mean, why would robocallers need to pester automatons, right?

Well, Jen, I hope you’re having a great day from what I can only assume is an underground bunker somewhere.  Hopefully it’s sunny there, and you’re keeping the little automated beasties at bay!!!

Best of luck!  (And “boop beep boop” to the automatons!)

Your pal,
Colin

P.S.  Do you know anything about indoor nano-octogons?  That might make for a neat article for your website!  Finding the best nano-octagon out there for little nanobots to duke it out is a real pain!  With the advent of 3D printing, that’s gotten easier, but it’s still a struggle.  The little nanobots get all excited, and sometimes leak oil on the floor as part of their excitement!  That makes it slippery for the other nanobots, and that’s a challenge.  Thanks in advance!

P.P.S.  Do automatons dream of electric sheep?

We’ll see what comes from this!  🙂

can·a·peel (noun) ˈkan-ə-pēl – A meal with a lot of variety, where each participant finds and cooks their own food.