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July 30, 2007

I've Got Your M-dot Right Here (And Here. And Here ...)

All is well. I’m back from Washington, and counting down the final days until my triathlon this coming weekend. Miraculously, I didn’t even catch a cold after a week of air travel.

I also finished the final Harry Potter book quite a bit earlier than anticipated – there’s nothing like a 2-hour airline delay and a missed connection requiring an additional overnight stay to help a guy tear through a book ahead of schedule.

And as far is the book is concerned … all I’ll say here is, wow. I’d love to write a whole post about it, but I made an Unbreakable Vow that I wouldn’t reveal any spoilers on this blog, so I can’t elaborate any further than that - except to say that it completely lived up to all expectations. And I’ll probably have the whole story on my brain for a long time to come.


**
For today’s post, I’m starting with a confession: after this Saturday’s 140.6-mile triathlon, I won’t really be an Ironman. At least, not an officially sanctioned one. That’s because even though the Vineman is an Ironman-distance triathlon, it doesn’t bear the official Ironman logo - known affectionately throughout the sport as the M-dot.

To casual observers, there wouldn’t appear to be much of a distinction, but within the sport of triathlon, it’s a topic of contention. The question has been asked in countless training groups, magazine columns, and online forums – should someone who completes a non-M-dot event be allowed to wear the official Ironman logo?

It shouldn’t shock you to hear that the answer from the World Triathlon Corporation (the company who organizes the Ironman) is no. However, it might surprise you to learn that many age-group triathletes feel the same way. And I actually wouldn’t have a problem with accepting that line of reasoning - if only it weren’t so hypocritical. Or if the sport of running hadn’t already traveled down this road in a much more accommodating manner.

The M-dot was born back in the days when the Hawaii Ironman was the only event of its kind. As triathlons grew in popularity, the logo came to represent the absolute pinnacle of the sport, attainable by only a select tier of talented competitors. Today, the Kona race remains the universally acknowledged world championship of long distance triathlon, with the M-dot its most easily recognized representation.

So if the sport of triathlon wanted to keep the M-dot logo exclusive to the championship event, I’d completely sympathize. The problem is that they’ve sabotaged their own exclusivity to the point of ridiculousness.

Over the past decade, the WTC decided to expand its brand, and created a series of “Ironman-sanctioned” races to give more athletes the opportunity to challenge the distance. It was (and remains) a noble idea, but it was executed with an abundance of arrogance. They created Ironman races in a handful of cities, and made contractual agreements with some existing triathlons to become trademarked Ironman events. Those sanctioned events would be the only means of qualifying for the annual world championship in Kona.

Some races agreed. Others – most notably Wildflower – didn’t want to play along, and immediately lost their allocation of Kona slots. The not-so-subtle message to triathletes was that if your next event wasn’t an M-dot event, it wasn’t a real Ironman race or official Kona qualifier. Consequently, you wouldn’t be authorized to wear the official M-dot logo.

So in a strictly legalistic sense, I’m not allowed to say that I’m doing an Ironman this weekend. It’s really a long-course triathlon. And when I finish, I won’t be allowed (at least, not in the company’s eyes) to wear Ironman gear or sport the M-dot logo.

Now, I’m a reasonable guy. I understand the appeal of logo protection. You don’t wear the unicorn logo if you haven’t run the Boston Marathon. You don’t wear the silver mountain lion belt buckle if you haven’t run Western States in under 24 hours. You don’t place the Dark Mark upon your forearm if you’re not a follower of Voldemort (sorry, I’ve still got Harry Potter on the brain). Unquestionably, exclusivity carries a certain prestige.

On the other hand, I’ll compete in this weekend’s race with no fewer than 4 M-dots already on my person: one on my Timex wristwatch, one on my sunglasses from Target, and one on each of my Wigwam socks. If I wanted to, I could wear the official M-dot endorsed wetsuit, or bike helmet, or display the logo on a singlet or visor or a myriad of gear that is available from almost any triathlon-related website.

I guess what I’m saying is, if any fat slob can purchase a handful of M-dot logos at the neighborhood store, the luster of prestige takes a significant hit. To put it more bluntly: if you want your product to be exclusive, you probably shouldn’t sell it at Wal-Mart.

Earning the right to wear that M-dot supposedly carries so much prestige that I’ll go out of my way to make my next triathlon an Ironman-sanctioned race. But consider my situation: I’m participating in the oldest Ironman-distance race in the continental United States. Vineman was around long before the cities of Tempe and Madison and Panama City Beach even thought of hosting triathlons. It’s one of the most beautiful, best-organized, and most historically successful races in the country, and it’s less than a 3-hour drive from my house. Oh, one more thing - it costs about $200 less than an M-dot Ironman.

I mean … is there ANY logical reason why I would pass over this race just so I can earn an M-dot? Is the right to wear the logo really worth that much?

I mentioned the Boston Marathon earlier, with good reason. For the first 50 or so years of that race’s existence, during every non-Olympic year – and especially before the advent of World Championship meets – Boston was the universally recognized world marathon championship.

(It wasn’t an entirely accurate designation - given travel expenses and the relative difficulty of going overseas for races – and it’s no small wonder that so many “World Champions” from the first 50 years were Northeastern white guys. But that’s another post for another time.)

The Boston Marathon is organized by the Boston Athletic Association, whose unicorn logo is now synonymous with the race. The entire running community respects it – even novice runners know that it’s completely taboo to wear the BAA unicorn if they haven’t run Boston.

The stature of Boston as a championship event has diminished significantly over the past 20 years. The race remains the only marathon with qualifying standards, although qualifying times have softened in the modern era. There are well-established world-class marathons in New York City and London and Chicago attracting (and paying) the top talent that would have raced at Boston in years past.

But the BAA never tried to gobble up all of its competitors or worried about making endorsement partnerships with other cities. If another city wanted to host a marathon - great. If runners could use their local marathon to qualify for Boston – even better.

Through the years, the BAA logo remains a symbol of significant achievement in the sport. One big reason is that everyday slackers can’t just buy the unicorn at Wal-Mart – runners have to earn it.

That’s why I wouldn’t mind if the M-dot folks decided to restrict the prevalence of their logo to the Kona championship. But if they continue slapping their name and logo on any race or product that helps increase their market share, it sends a mixed message. And hopefully, you can now appreciate my confusion.

So when you hear from me next week, you can think of me as an Ironman, or a Vineman, or a long course triathlete, or whatever the heck you want. Honestly, I’m not going to lose sleep wondering about what my label should be.

Because I know what I am. I’ll know what I’ve done. And it doesn’t really matter to me what you choose to call it.

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July 24, 2007

Teddy and Me

For the third time in nine months, I’m spending the week in our nation’s capital. You can say I’m starting to get a feel for this place.

I’m also starting to like it. In fact, of all the cities I’ve traveled to on business trips, I’d put Washington D.C. at the top of the list. It’s not that I’m na├»ve to its problems - a notoriously high crime rate, widespread environmental pollution, and an enormous homeless population, for starters - but I’ve found that the District has a lot of endearing aspects as well.

It has countless monuments and memorials, distinguished architecture, a blended network of urban and rustic pathways, strong multicultural awareness, and a sense of importance that almost no other city can match. It short, it has a lot of character.

And I’m a character guy. So I love journeying through the city each afternoon to discover whatever awaits me in its parks or along its paths.

Sometimes, the city is slow to reveal itself. For example, last night, here’s how I spent the first ten minutes of my run: dodging rush hour traffic in Georgetown, weaving through pedestrians on concrete sidewalks of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, and racing across six lanes of traffic in Arlington. But eventually, I found my way to a pedestrian bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island, and that’s where the run got interesting.

Roosevelt Island is an 88-acre forest oasis in the middle of the Potomac River, with a spokelike pattern of dirt trails, boardwalks, and footpaths surrounding a memorial to our 26th President at its hub. The island is an independent ecosystem, complete with wildlife, such as the three spotted fawns I observed walking along the swampy eastern perimeter.

(Of course, I immediately started wondering … did these deer ever question how they got here? Did they realize they’d most likely never leave? If so, did that bother them? Or did they spend their spare time building a raft or repairing radio equipment in an attempt to get off the island someday? On a related note, it’s occurred to me that I might have watched a few too many episodes of Lost lately.)

The monument to Roosevelt is a circular clearing with a 17-foot statue at one edge of a fountain. On either side of the statue stand four pillars, with collected quotations from Roosevelt on separate topics.



Here is the inscription underneath the word “Youth”:

*
I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.

Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to successful life.

Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is CHARACTER.


*
Now … maybe it’s just me. I’ve got this Ironman coming up in less than two weeks, and since I’m tapering more and training less, I’m spending an inordinate amount of time pondering how my training has prepared me, and how I’ll respond to the challenges ahead. I’m also seeing baby deer and thinking of television dramas. What I’m saying is, I may not be in a completely objective state of mind.

Having said that, I’ll give you one guess what I thought about after reading those quotes.

I mean … did Roosevelt know about the Ironman? Did he know about the tender balance between confidence and humility, between ambition and remaining grounded? Did he recognize the traits that each triathlete strives for to successfully reach his or her goals?

Most importantly – did he know how I feel about character? Because over the years, I’ve come to think of this quality as the cornerstone of any training program.

All of us have varying amounts of natural talent. We all have variable amounts of time we can dedicate to our training. We all struggle through difficult times when obstacles seem overwhelming.

The thing that gets us through all of these is character. And 45 minutes into my run through a wooded river island, I was reminded of that by none other than our former President – who also happens to be a character guy.

Those are the kinds of things that you can find in Washington. And that’s the reason I like visiting here.

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July 20, 2007

Brer Donald

(Admin note: Harry Potter mania has officially come upon our family. My wife and son will be at a midnight book release, and I’m going to chase down the mailman as soon as he pulls onto our street with my own copy of the book tomorrow.

I’ve had a couple of requests to refrain from announcing plot details here, for the benefit of people who haven’t read the book yet. And I wholeheartedly sympathize. So if it turns out that Aunt Petunia is a wizard, or Nagini is a horcrux, or Snape helps to kill Voldemort – rest assured, you won’t hear it from me. At least not for a while.)

So that’s that. If you need me for the next few days, I’ll be at Hogwarts. Now on with today’s post …)

**

This is Brer Rabbit:


He’s the favorite companion of my 6-year-old daughter. She developed an affection him after visiting Splash Mountain at Disneyland last year, and she’s become completely fascinated with the Uncle Remus stories.

(And although he is dearly beloved, Brer Rabbit is in a rather tight competition for “overall favorite rabbit” in my daughter’s mind. Bugs Bunny has been closing in very fast lately – but, as I’ve become fond of saying lately, that’s a topic for a future post.)

This is Brer Bear and Brer Fox:



They go along with Brer Rabbit, and, by extension, with my daughter. Our family hears all of them speaking to each other, and watches all of their various games and activities from one day to the next. They appear to have many things to bond over.

The relationship between Rabbit, Fox, and Bear can get fairly complicated. Sometimes Brer Fox tries to trap and eat Brer Rabbit. Other times the two of them collaborate to trick Brer Bear. Sometimes Brer Bear tries to help Brer Fox catch the rabbit, and other times he just interferes (intentionally or otherwise) with the whole process.

Most of the time, all three of them get along well together – but other times, they’re each other’s biggest annoyance. In that regard, they’re like any other tightly knit, but slightly dysfunctional family.

As I mentioned, all three are the property of my oldest daughter. It’s a noteworthy arrangement, if only because the situation mirrors the ebb and flow of my own relationship with this same girl.

When she was born, I didn’t feel the least bit prepared to raise a girl. Six years later, I can’t say that I’ve improved that much. It’s not that I’m not crazy about her - it’s just that sometimes I find it hard to relate.

My daughter is perceptive and shrewd, selfless and thoughtful, nurturing and compassionate – none of which I’d exactly consider my strong suits. She’s artistic and creative, emotional and passionate, tempestuous and combustible – whereas I tend to be logical, even-keeled, and level headed.

I try to connect with her the best I can. I share the details of my life, and look for common interests we can share to compensate for our differences. And being the compassionate person she is, she tries her best to reciprocate. So we’ve bonded over cartoons and Jack Johnson music, pancake breakfasts and bike rides.

Sometimes she has difficulty with things I introduce to her - such as the half-mile race she did in May. (It’s a long story, but you can read it here if you’re interested.) I tried to spin her experience into a lesson about the nature of competition, and showed her my marathon medals to show her that simply doing your best is its own reward.

But after several more days went by, I wondered if the lesson sunk in. Our discussion of the event had generally stopped, and I wasn’t sure if racing was something she’d stay interested in.

All of which brings us back to Brer Rabbit.

A few weeks after the race, my daughter showed me something she made for her favorite companion:



She went on to explain: “They all had a race in my bedroom – so I made this medal for him.”

At first I thought it was merely a cute gesture, but then I looked more closely, and realized I had almost overlooked the best part.

Brer Rabbit’s medal doesn’t say “winner” or “1st place”. It says “Yay for you!” Which, when you boil it all down, is exactly what every marathon or triathlon medal should say.

My best race memories don’t have anything to do with winning, or even earning an age group award. Rather, they recall the satisfaction of preparing well prior to the event, and performing to the best of my ability on race day. Those medals hang on my wall, and say “Yay for you!” to me every time I glace in their direction.

Curiously, the medals from my worst races tell me the same thing. There were days when I ran through illness or injury, through poor preparation, or through the self-induced implosion that accompanies a foolish race strategy (there are LOTS of those). But somehow in each of those races, I made it to the finish – and the medals from those races say “Yay for you!” for doing so.

And when I line up to do an Ironman in two weeks, I won’t pay any attention to who else is racing against me, or how I’m going to finish relative to everybody else. All of my competitors will be Brer Foxes or Brer Bears: sometimes they’ll help me, other times they’ll interfere and annoy me - but either way, we’ll be stuck with each other for a while.

I can’t really control what goes on around me – but I can anticipate problems and avoid dangerous situations and escape trouble just like a nimble rabbit. I’m going to race as well as I possibly can. Then as I finish, I’ll get a medal that says “Yay for you!” – and that will be prize enough for me.

So that’s the lesson I learned from Brer Rabbit, and from my daughter. Sometimes I’m so concerned with what I’m supposed to be teaching her, it doesn’t occur to me that she has a lot to teach me as well. I guess it’s a good thing she has her three best friends to help.

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July 17, 2007

Lake Alpine Vacation Report

It seems like the same thing happens every year.

Sometime during the spring, my wife, her parents and I sit around the table and discuss our summer vacation options. We go through the usual suggestions like Yosemite, Central Oregon, or the Colorado Rockies, and we all kick those ideas around for several days.

But inevitably, one of us comes out and says, why don’t we just go to Lake Alpine again?

Lake Alpine, at an elevation of almost 7400’ in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is only a half-day’s drive from us. It’s located in the least populated county in California. There are tons of outdoor activities for everyone to do. And until recently, we had family members who lived there. It’s hard to argue against watching our kids doing activities they love alongside their grandparents and great-grandparents, creating memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.


Oh, one more thing: the lake happens to be breathtakingly beautiful. So you can understand why we always end up returning here each summer.

The one downside is the lack of Internet access anywhere near the lake. Last year, this almost drove me insane – not only was I missing all my blogging-related activity, but we also happened to be there during the crucial mountain stages of the Tour de France. By the end of the week, I was spending an inordinate amount of time curled up in a ball on the ground, sweating profusely and growing paranoid with Bloglines and Phil Liggett withdrawal.

To my surprise, this year’s Internet downtime didn’t bother me one bit – which I suppose could be seen as an indication that I’m becoming more well-adjusted. However, I think the real reason has to do with a certain “stash” I brought to help me pass the time, as I’ll explain in a minute.

As for the actual vacation report, I’ll run down the highlights in bullet form. Think of it like an awards show – there were many great moments to choose from, but these were the best. And since this is ostensibly a triathlon blog, I’ll start on an athletic note.

Best workout: One day, while my kids were out fishing with Grandpa, I did an open-water swim across the lake and back - a total distance of about 1.5 miles.

Remember that Michael Phelps commercial during the Summer Olympics, where he swims across the ocean, touches the shore and says “One!” before turning around and swimming back the other way? I got to do this at one end of the lake, where the water ends at an outcropping of boulders in front of a spillway area. I swam right up to the rocks, touched them with my palm, and shouted “One!” before pushing off with my feet in the opposite direction. Sadly, I don’t think anybody on or around the lake saw me do this - but for that brief moment, I sort of felt like an Olympian.

Best moment with my 3-year-old: My daughter sat in my lap one afternoon while I paddled her around the lake in a single person kayak. This girl loves singing, and often breaks into song on a whim.

So as we’re paddling around this beautiful mountain lake, taking in the tall trees and blue skies and other majestic sights surrounding us, she decides to sing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. I mean … I don’t know if she chose the song on purpose, or if she really felt like Jasmine flying around on a magic carpet - but on the cuteness scale, her singing that song scored about a 9.9.

Best moment with my 6-year-old: At one end of the lake, there’s an outcropping of rocks that have a near-vertical drop into the water below. In other words, it’s a perfect rock-diving spot.


Once our family paddled over to the lake and saw the rock formation, the first volunteer to jump was my 6-year-old daughter. The rise was maybe 7 feet above the water – not a dizzying height by any stretch, but enough to make you think twice when you’re looking down from the precipice.

My 6-year-old is the adventurer of the family. She’ll try anything new, and she loves looking for new thrills (not exactly qualities I’ll be fond of when she’s 16 – but for now, they’re admirable). So after I took the first plunge, she didn’t hesitate to fly in right after me.


She got out of the water with an astonished smile on her face, and climbed right back up to the top of the rock to jump again. She probably jumped at least 10 more times by the time we were finished.

And every time, she had that same astonished smile.

Best moment with my son: One afternoon, my soon-to-be 9-year-old son and I had the following series of exchanges:

Son: Dad, can I take the kayak out by myself?

Me: No. I don’t think you can handle it well enough yet.

Later on …

Son: Dad, I really think I can do the kayak by myself.

Me: Um … maybe, but not right now – I want somebody to be out there with you when you try it.

Even later …

Son: Dad – how about when you paddle one kayak to the dock, I’ll paddle the other?

Me (growing weary of this): OK, fine. You paddle the other one.

And you know what? He did just fine. Then he spent the next day kayaking all over the lake by himself. I guess my parenting instincts aren’t exactly foolproof. So next time, when he tells me about eight different times that he thinks he’s ready for something … I’ll know he’s probably ready for it.


Best pop culture moment: Actually, before we get to this one - Is there any question that the portable DVD player is one of the top-5 parenting inventions of all time? Seriously, I’d put it right up there with infant car seats and disposable diapers. My wife and I felt absolutely no shame in cueing up a couple of movies and slapping headphones on the kids so we could have a few hours of normal conversation on the drives up and down the mountain.

The DVD player also allowed us to bring along 20 episodes of the first season of Lost. We clicked through 3 or 4 episodes per evening, until we polished off the entire season.

I’m completely hooked on the series. My wife had a moment’s hesitation, but I think she’ll hang in there. About halfway through the season, we had an exchange that went something like this:

Wife: I don’t know if I can keep watching this show. Some of these storylines are getting a little disturbing.

Me: I know what you mean. But I’m definitely going to keep watching.

Wife: OK … but don’t watch any episodes without me.

Predictably, she ended up watching the whole season. The whole thing became simply mesmerizing.

So now we’re both chomping at the bit to watch season 2. In fact, the only thing keeping us from rushing back to the video store is the Harry Potter countdown timer (which, not surprisingly, I never figured out how to make for the blog), and the knowledge that after midnight this Friday, our entire family will shift into bunker mentality until my wife, son, and I have all read the final pages of our all-time favorite story.

Thank God it’s taper time for my Ironman. Otherwise, all this vacation and leisure activity would put a serious dent in my training.

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July 12, 2007

Metamorphosis

“You never know just how you look through other peoples’ eyes.”
- B-Hole Surfers, “Pepper”

*
With my Ironman less than 4 weeks away, I’m starting to reflect upon the journey to this point, and the transformations (both mental and physical) I’ve undergone to get here.

I think it’s impossible to spend the time and effort required for Ironman training without the activity coming to define you in some sense or another. It took a long time for me to think of myself as a triathlete first and foremost - instead of a runner who has dabbled in triathlon for almost 10 years – but the countless pool laps and cycling miles of the past few months have, at long last, solidified the transition in my own mind.

It’s a subtle distinction, and perhaps not apparent or appreciable to most passive observers. At least, that’s what I thought - until I overheard two naked guys talking this week.

Four of us just finished a swim workout, and I had hopped out to hit the shower a few minutes early so I could hurry back to work. Afterward, as I was busy tucking and tying and buttoning things, I overheard two guys who had just exited the shower a few rows of lockers away from me.

The lockers are tall enough that you can’t see over them, but sound carries very well in the concrete interior of the room. So it was easy for me to listen as they started the following conversation:

Naked guy 1: Hey, sorry I couldn’t swim with you guys today. My shoulder’s still bugging me. How was the workout?

Naked guy 2: It was great. We did some pretty tough sets.

Guy 1: Who was that fourth person swimming with you guys? The one on the end.

Guy 2: That’s Donald.

Guy 1: Oh, I know him … he’s that triathlete, right?

Guy 2: Yeah. I think he’s a pretty good one, too. I’m not sure, though.

After that, I figured it was time for me to evacuate. The last thing I wanted was to be discovered within listening distance where I’d have to confess to eavesdropping. So I quietly packed up my things and scooted out the back door of the locker room as quickly as possible.

But on the way to the car, I couldn’t help thinking, these guys see me as a triathlete. They could have just as easily said I was a runner, or the guy who brings up the back of the pack with every long swim set, but they didn’t.

They saw a triathlete. They saw what I’m feeling inside. And it felt wonderful to hear.

Sometimes I’m a little slow to recognize things that seem readily apparent to others. I guess I’ve really been a full-time triathlete for more than a year now, but it’s taken me until now to fully embrace the conversion.

And the fact that it took two naked guys gossiping in a locker room for me to complete the transformation doesn’t bother me one bit.

*
“Some will fall in love with life and drink it from a fountain –
That is pouring like an avalanche coming down the mountain.”
- B-Hole Surfers, “Pepper”

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July 11, 2007

Eminent Domain

“I’m back, baby!!”
- George Costanza, from the TV series Seinfeld

*
See, I told you I’d be back.

In some ways, a two-week blogging hiatus can be a very good thing. I had free time to take a short vacation with my family (a separate post on that coming soon), and enjoyed some quiet time catching up on other projects without feeling compelled to check my site meter every 108 minutes like that guy typing numbers on the computer inside the hatch on Lost.

(Yes, I’m still making my way through those Lost episodes. More on that later, too. I’m just full of future post promises today.)

Actually, my self-imposed down time lasted a bit longer than I anticipated. If you tried visiting my blog on Saturday through Monday, you were most likely blocked by a “File Not Found” error message. I apologize if this happened to you. Allow me to explain …

(Or - if you’d rather skip the technical details - this would be a good jumping off point. Except that you'll miss a funny video link towards the end. Otherwise, just know that I’ve returned, and thanks for stopping by. Normal programming will resume tomorrow.)

I decided that my period of Internet silence would be a good time to take Blogger up on its offer of switching the address of this blog to my own domain name. I’ve held the domain name runningandrambling.com for a couple of years now, and hosted a website there through GoDaddy.com that was the precursor of this blog.

Unfortunately, since I had an established site at that address, switching domain names was much more complicated than I bargained for. I adjusted my Blogger settings to point to my own domain name, which continued to show my old website. Then I changed my GoDaddy settings to forward that address back to the blogspot site. Basically, it was the cyber equivalent of chasing my tail. So I tinkered with my GoDaddy settings some more, until I managed to hopelessly sabotage the whole thing – that would be my Saturday night.

I spent much of the next couple of days surfing various help pages, and placing desperate phone calls to GoDaddy.com. Let’s just say it wasn’t my proudest moment as a blogger. But I learned a couple of important things in the process:

1) The Blogger setup pages and help pages are remarkably accurate. If I hadn’t already had another website hosted on my domain name, the conversion process would have been a breeze. In fact, I’ll probably grab up another domain name for another blog within the next week (more on that later). I know everybody complains about how Blogger sucks sometimes, but in this case, the one who complicated everything was me.

2) The support services at GoDaddy.com are incredibly helpful. Once I explained my problems, they helped me try a few different strategies to remedy them, until we finally found something that worked. And somehow they managed to do it without making me feel like a complete idiot (even more remarkable, considering that “idiot” is more or less my baseline). As if that wasn’t enough, they volunteered to give me a refund for the remaining time on my web hosting contract with them, since I won’t need their services for this particular blog anymore.

The only way the GoDaddy experience could have been any better is if they had let me talk to their spokesmodel girl after I finished. But for some reason, they became suspiciously vague when I kept asking if she was available to chat. I guess the marketing department was having another party or something.

So if you want to establish your own domain name and you’re looking for a recommendation, GoDaddy is a pretty good way to go – with or without the hot chick.

As you’ve probably deduced (since you’re able to read this blog right now), the story has a happy ending. The domain name you see above is the new, hopefully permanent address of my little corner of cyberspace. I’m fairly certain that any links or bookmarks to the old site will end up here – but please let me know if you find any glitches. In the meantime, welcome to my home. Come on in, help yourself to a drink, and feel free to kick off your shoes and crash on the couch for a while.

Because I’ve got a lot of stories to tell you in the days and weeks to come – and I’ll begin with a short one tomorrow.

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