On Not Running The Marathon

The last time I didn’t spend the summer marathon training was 2011. At the time, I was underemployed, waking up all July long to drag myself to Staten Island, and just basically trying and failing to date. That was my whole entire life that summer: try to get dates and watch nothing really work out.

That fall, I was convinced to give the marathon a shot the following year, and then you all know how the next 7 years went.

Last November, literally during the middle of the NYC marathon, my legs cramped hard because of a muscle imbalance and a weak core, and I decided right then and there that I needed a year off, hoping that would magically erase the damage I had built up in my body.

Well, that’s not really how bodies work. My core is still weak - I think due to an old, old, old back injury, itself due to not taking care of myself in college, and lately due to not focusing on core muscles like I did for the sake of vanity back in 2014-2016 - and so I still have some aches and pains. If I were actually running in a few weeks, I’d probably still start with too much effort and run myself into a wall by mile 20.

Ultimately, I was planning to take a single summer off and get back to it next year. BUT THEN… it turned out we are having a child, so I don’t think next summer will be the best time for 20 mile training runs (though I won’t stop running; I can’t be losing all my fitness and then have the energy to take care of a child). So I think winter 2021 will be my tenth marathon, with less pressure though still lofty goals to motivate myself.

But my lord, as much work as marathon training is, it’s weird not to have that as a guiding star to orient oneself. I’ve been doing this every single summer and fall, and although I took it to some unhealthy places, the way I developed as a person and a runner in that time is pretty remarkable. I was still Party Boy Not Dealing With His Stuff before this all started, and I come out of the marathon-every-year era an impending father and an eventual holder of a doctorate, and also a person much healthier inside and out. Running wasn’t the only reason for my changes (surely a certain spouse comes to mind, as well as friends, family, and professionals), but it has been a throughline, and because I’m a big weirdo, it was the marathon and its immensity that first convinced me to take running seriously. So not being a part of it this year has been very strange, and frankly pretty boring.

I thought, once I ran a few races, running would be the top priority in my life forever, and while that was never realistic, it’s still interesting to note this transition into running just being some thing I do for fun that I enjoy and am still very good at. I don’t need to live and breathe the sport, nor will I ever discard it. There’s still nothing like race day, and I expect to have one comeback top year at some point in the future.

This year has been odd, and next year will be odd but I won’t notice what with the parenting and all. So in a way I’m glad I had this one summer where I get to just think about how far I’ve come with running’s help, and for once, I don’t have to go to Staten Island and DO THAT to myself. It’ll be weird to just cheer, but it’ll be nice, too.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Prison

Of course I experienced the same emotions the rest of us did during the Amber Guyger mess this past week. Shock, at first, that she was convicted, not just of any crime but of murder! And then resigned acceptance she will be out of prison at about age 40, depending on good behavior etc.

In this world we currently live in, prison is a fact. It is a fact in every “developed” nation. Regardless of your feelings on the system and the institution, there is no magic wand that will make it disappear tomorrow. So in this system that we have right now, it feels wrong for Guyger to receive such a light sentence. I’ll come back to her, though.

I’ve grappled with the idea of fully embracing prison abolition as an ideology for a long time. It always made some sense to me, but I had that externally-imposed idea in my head: what about the really bad ones? I watch a lot of serial killer documentaries (I just wonder how people work, I guess), and I think to myself, but BTK? Ted Bundy? When they’re caught, we should let them go? There is nothing that will fix them. What of the people like the current president, who have transgressed against countless victims? We let him go? (Probably we will, but you get my point.) Shouldn’t a Cosby or a Weinstein be in jail?

A lot of the arguments for abolition have left me cold. I have read a fair amount of summaries that bring up all of the oppressive criminality by system actors and others in power (warmongering, etc). This is very true but in my opinion, rather besides the point. I am not enough of a moral scholar to make that type of complex argument. To me, the simplest argument for why prison is a societal failure is that it doesn’t work.

What is prison for?

It doesn’t work as a preventative deterrent. It doesn’t successfully rehabilitate. It doesn’t “even the scale.”

If prison were actually correcting wrongs, and all those with power were being punished for their exploitation, it might make more sense. But again, the way to resolve that is to change society overall, not to make ourselves feel better through a fault stopgap bandaid. Most people in prison are people who have been denied an equitable life and are acting out accordingly. The handful of people outside of this group, especially the men, need to learn it’s okay to seek treatment before harming others. And then the very small group of people who are in neither of these groups, well… if we found a way to make it so we were actively treating and supporting those who would otherwise harm others, and we were left with a very small pool of Ted Bundy types, it would be much, much easier to address them. I don’t actually have to have a perfect solution for what to do with every violent person with antisocial personality disorder to say I think prisons are ultimately a bad idea, even if it might be satisfying to watch the people in this adminstration get perp walked. But that’s it, right? Should we be acting based upon catharsis and perceived satisfaction, or a larger, more discomfiting version of justice? I understand if folks disagree, and I always did, but I don’t anymore.

I know in reading this you may run to the logical conclusion, that we’ll be letting every serial killer run free with no consequence. Resist that emotional temptation. The point is to create a society where the people who would otherwise commit crimes receive intervention, support, and treatment before the inflection point, and the very small number of people who are both treatment resistant and also not victims of abuse or other forms of oppression will be much easier to deal with without all of the others as an obstacle. Frankly, it’s clear to me that the violent outliers have a much easier time doing what they do because we spend so much time on people who are just struggling and lacking in support and/or capacity.

Back to Amber. In a just world, she’s taught by anti-racist teachers from childhood, she learns full empathy for other groups, and she isn’t trained to shoot first when “scared.” We live in an unjust world, so, emotionally, it is contextually fair she is held somewhat accountable for her actions, although I am coming to believe it is not “good” to add more people to prisons. Contextually fair, though, in that her oppressive racism is deserving of a response, and a longer sentence would have thus been appropriate as well. (Note: I don’t begrudge the family any of their reactions.)

These discussions are hypothetical anyway, because little will change the power and prominence of prison anytime soon. Like most black people, I’ve known and been related to people who have served time, for things both big and small, and I don’t say this as some pure soul of unblemished character. But the only thing prison is good for is punishment, for reifying the power and hegemony of the few (all of us reading this included). It doesn’t actually make us safer, so long as our current power structures remain in place to endanger all of us. And if we changed all of this, we could focus on the true outliers. This is my view as it stands right now.

Prison won’t go away in any of our lifetimes, yet I felt it necessary to be clear on my perspective.

Hopefully this goes over well!

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

A Very Nerdy Love Letter to Running

I didn’t know what a z score was until I finally took stats this spring. But, basically, on a normal curve, a z score of 2 means you’re at the 97.5 percentile, or, only 2.5 percent of people are better than you at a given thing. That is unequivocally good.

So I’ve been keeping track of my z scores in my races this year, and after I had a hot, not-great race today, I decided to average them out to see how I was doing. On average, over these 7 races, my z score is 1.965. Converted into percentile, that’s about the 95th percentile. Now, you can quibble, saying that the last several people in an NYRR race or similar might be walking or something. But if you’re casting aside those at the end, you’re casting away some hardworking athletes I know. Anyway, if they don’t count, then neither should the professionals at the top who run for a living.

So, 95th percentile on average. Better on cooler days, worse on hotter days. That’s good! I also looked at my Age Graded percentile, and that’s 69.47 (nice). 70 is really the line between “local class” and “regional class,” which I define as “one of the better runners in the city” vs “one of the best runners in the city.”

But it feels like it’s bad. Why does it feel bad? Well, because I used to be superman. I used to be one of the best runners in the city.

I went back tonight and looked at my pantheon period. From the Staten Island Half in October of 2014, through the NYC Half in 2016, a period that included 4 BQ marathons, three of which were in a 6 week period on 2015, and also included the year of 2015 in which I ran every single day, my average z score was 2.19. Z scores are really small, so, in percentile, it’s 97.2. We’re talking about a year and a half where, on average, I finished in the top 3% of finishers. I took zero time off, and I ran hard almost every day. I ran, like I said, 3 marathons in 6 weeks and ran all three of them faster than the BQ standard. And at the time, I had the nerve to be disappointed in both of my best-ever performances. I didn’t hit my lofty goal in the Chicago marathon in 2015 and so I didn’t bother to snag any pictures. And I just missed my 1:20 goal in the NYC half in 2016, so I was annoyed, despite that single race remaining my best AG performance ever.

But physically? I felt super strong every mile. I went into each race ready to attack huge goals, and I only missed them because they were set so high (or low, since we’re talking about running times). I was a goddamn beast.

Outside of running, I was still going out pretty late pretty often. I was going to trivia every week, and running was absolutely the thing in my life I was proudest of. I met Alissa during the year of super running, but we weren’t married. I wasn’t anywhere close to the real challenge a doctoral degree presents. And truth be told, under the hood, I was a mess. I needed running to feel proud. I need running for direction and success. I needed running for stability.

And then what happened?

Well, right after I got married, I got hit with the Boston disaster. All my hard work and my confidence was shattered. And then I started having issues in races, stopping every so often for stomach or leg issues. I still had some excellent performances in me, and one more BQ, but my superhero running was over, at least for now.

Basically, I literally ran myself into the ground, and it took me a few years to accept my body had basically rejected the intensity I’d put it through, albeit slowly and gently.

And so I may just not be that guy anymore.

So what am I now?

Well, the thing is? Those stats from 2019? THAT IS NOT BAD. I’m in the top 5% of NYC racers rather than top 2.5%? Okay! I’m at an average of 69% AG, rather than 70? Okay! I’d like to stay as close to 70 as I can, but the whole point of AG is that I am older now, and slowing down is expected. I’ve only slowed down by the slightest bit relative to my age. I’m 5 years older. It’s not a surprise.

What have I gained while I’ve lost some (objective) speed? A marriage that I didn’t have. A career that may actually take me to interesting places. And health.

I wasn’t physically unhealthy then, obviously. But I was doing a lot of damage to myself in some ways. And mentally? Emotionally? I was hanging by a thread.

I was so upset at myself for missing numerical goals, so upset because running felt like it was my whole world. My world is so much bigger now, and so much brighter. And it’s growing all the time. I’m so much closer to the person I need to be.

Does this mean I don’t care about running? Come on now. I love running. I love racing. I miss marathon training this summer, and I’ll return to the big distance in March of 2021. It will always be a part of me, and frankly, running carried me. It put me on its back and dragged me from the shiftless mid-20s person I was when I got serious about it to the actual adult I was when this superman period came to a halt in Boston.

I write this as if I’m done with it, and I never will be. In a way, I want to offer my gratitude to the sport of distance running for showing me what I was capable of, even if I wasn’t clear-eyed enough to see how well I was doing while I was doing it.

I may yet never reach those same speeds again. I probably won’t. But now, each race is such a joy, each strong mile as fun as it was when I first started marathon training seven years ago.

I never would have ended up where I am today if I hadn’t listened to a friend and signed up for that marathon on a whim when I watched those people pass my apartment while I was hungover and feeling sorry for myself in 2011.

On to the next race, then. I can’t wait.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Neptune Notes 9/23/19

  1. Neptune will be a year old next month. I remember the day we brought him back, he was so confused and scared and he was shaking and he wouldn’t eat. AND THEN HE IMMEDIATELY PEED EVERYWHERE.

  2. Neptune has always been scared of stairs. We don’t have stairs in our home - we live in an apartment and we are not Succession characters - but occasionally we come across a stair or two, and he has resisted using them. Yesterday, we were at my sister-in-law’s house, which is an actual house, and at one point I went upstairs to use the bathroom. He stared at me from the bottom of the stairs. When I came out, he was right there next to me! What?!! And then, we were about to miss the train to head back to NYC, and it turns out we had just a minute to catch it, so we had to go down one flight of stairs, and back up another. If it had been any day before yesterday, we would have missed the train, but he ran right alongside us and saved us 30 minutes sitting around the station. What a good boy.

  3. He misbehaves, like all dogs. He acts out and he whines (though he rarely barks). But overall he is growing into a well-behaved dog and there is something to be said for the fact that most of the time there is nothing on earth he gets more excited for than to see one or both of us at the end of a long day.

  4. He still needs to learn not to eat random pieces of chicken and paper (!??!) off the ground. That mess is nasty.

  5. I think he’ll do well when the baby comes. I hope he’s not too jealous. He does well with our nephew, though he gets a little whiny when the two of us embrace. I guess we’ll see. He has shown remarkable ability to adjust.

  6. There’s another dog in our building that I worry about. They never really trained that dog correctly and I think they hit him for misbehaving. I always was a bit uncomfortable around dogs as a kid, and I realize now that most dogs are just REALLY poorly trained and are only acting according to what they’ve been taught. It is an INSANE amount of work to make a puppy grow into a happy, healthy dog, especially in a city, and most folks aren’t prepared. We weren’t! But I think we’re doing it.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

A thought exercise about animals and cowardice

I wasn’t a very strong student in most of college, but I remember getting inspired a few times. One time, in my very first semester, I was assigned a presentation on Hobbes in a survey course on classic politics and philosophy, which was mostly a very dull endeavor. But I liked the way Hobbes wrote, and I put real work into my presentation and did well.

I think about his most famous line every so often even now, how, without society, our lives would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And he’s right. It’s not really pessimistic to say that. You only need to look at the lives of undomesticated animals to see. It wasn’t cruel when the seagull I saw on my run yesterday plucked a fish out of the water and ate it. Indeed, the only animals we can consider unkind are the smarter ones. Chimps can exhibit brutality for its own sake, and so can dolphins.

So if intelligence (baseline intelligence, not some sort of human genius) is required for true cruelty, and I believe it is, then what does it mean when so many of us seem to desire dominion over others and endless, ceaseless power and influence? I’m sure it’s fun, to be able to do what you want. But these people have convinced themselves that their social status inherently imbues them with additional worth, and to risk losing it is to risk becoming less worthwhile. To become less worthwhile is to become vulnerable to the whims of the people of whom they consider themselves to be equals. And to challenge the hegemony of their peers is to expose yourself to their animal wrath.

Ultimately, as much as the people in power enact laws and construct social mores that devalue the others, what would send them truly quaking is the full emancipation of their perceived peers. I grew up with a fair amout of class privilege, had (and have) access to people and institutions that most black people are fully excluded from. That’s not a good thing, that these spaces are private, but if they are (and they are), and I’m allowed to stick my head in, it’s on me and the people like me to speak truth to the people around me. And it’s on you, too, because most of the people who read what I write are in the same position as me.

They should be scared of the masses and the uprising that may yet occur someday. But they’re not. They’re so far removed they don’t really think about them in the daily routine, though they’re happy to enact the type of brutality only human intelligence can conjure, so long as they don’t really have to look directly at it.

But us? If we’ve been to the same schools, held the same jobs, felt some of the same power, and we reject what has been constructed? If we shine a spotlight strong enough to burn their flesh? That’s what they can’t accept.

Ultimately, humans are born with a nearly infinite capacity for love, barring a quirk of genetics. If things work out okay, we can continue to bring love to ourselves, our families, our communities, the disadvantged in our societies. Or we can only love the status quo and the people protected by it. It’s easier to be a coward. It’s exactly what society, broadly speaking, was supposed to prevent, the necessity of perpetual fear. People may think that the poor live closer to an animalistic lifestyle because of the trauma inherent in their lives, but it’s really the pampered and cosseted that live the same way our cave-dwelling ancestors once did, constantly afraid of their loosening grip on power and willing to exact ceasless cruelty to maintain it. The poor aren’t more violent by nature; after all, slaves learned violence from the people who enslaved them. The cowards who run the world had every opportunity to learn courage and they felt it easier to stay afraid. This has been exacerbated by capitalism but it precedes it and will be here long after its demise, before you start with that.

It’s really sad, actually, and it would be easy to empathize with if it weren’t for the devastating results of their refusal to help build a society that benefits all of us.

We can be better than this. We don’t have to go live in a fantastical place where all are perfectly kind to one another, as this won’t ever occur. We don’t have to just up and quit our jobs, because being self-destructive won’t actually help anyone. But we, those who went to those schools and hold those jobs, when we’re around these folks, the most fearful of all people, those who are the closest to the animals from which we evolved yet so dearly obsessed with trying to prove otherwise, we cannot allow them to feel comfortable. At the very least, we need them to fear their peers who have learned to think and behave differently from them. We need them to know, hard though it will be for them to admit it, that they can never be the best and the brightest through pure brutality and exploitation. Because, honestly, most animals rule their sphere in that way. We can do more in a society. Or we can let these people doom us to the fate of the natural world.

All it takes is courage, and if you are someone who reads what I write, I believe you have it in you. It took me many years to find mine, years wherein I didn’t know how to both be smart and kind, and I don’t blame you if you haven’t quite found all of yours yet. Keep reading, keep talking, keep learning. And then let’s make them scared of the fact that we can do what they never could: be brilliant and loving at the same time.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Running and Thinking

In May of 2014, I was convinced that it was happening.

What is “it?”

At that time, I was just beginning to race regularly, and I was coming to realize I was capable of running pretty fast. I’d just run Brooklyn at what, for that time, seemed an impossibly fast rate (1:26:47), and I was contacted by the running store I was fond of (JackRabbit) to possibly feature in a commercial they were filming. I wrote here on this very site about how I was convinced I was on my way to some sort of success through running. I was planning to get coaching certified and maybe start some sort of organization based on running and education, sort of like the nonprofit where I once volunteered that merges squash and educational guidance.

But then I didn’t get the commercial (a friend of a friend did, actually), and although I did indeed become a faster runner (until I overdid it and hit a level of consistently-fast-but-not-otherworldly, where I am happy to remain as long as I can), my loopy ideas (which included possibly running across the entire country and raising money, somehow) faded into the background, and I settled into a gradual maturity I think I was avoiding.

You see, thinking running would become my life’s work was just an expression of the fact that I felt like I’d found something I was good at (and I was, and am). I hadn’t really ever felt that way - the way I felt while racing from my first marathon until the Boston crash - in anything aside from teaching. Yet here was a new skill I had the chance to turn into a life, I figured. And ultimately, my career didn’t seem likely to take me much of anywhere, so I thought this was a safer bet.

The truth is, you can argue all you want that we shouldn’t be defined by our professional lives, but if you want to feel your career is something in which you can take some pride, you can’t just turn off that desire.

I came to the realization recently that I have always, since I was a small child making up stories about superheroes that were suspiciously similar to me, wanted my words and my ideas to be recognized, and to resonate. I chased this without knowing so for many years, and went about it in wrongheaded fashion. It took me until (checks notes) 19th grade to find the right match for my skills and my needs, yet the present is here now, and unlike my fantasies about becoming some well-known person in the running sphere, there’s nothing unrealistic about my belief that my work - situated at the juncture between race, language, and adult learning, with other topics mixed in - can’t carry some serious weight so long as I continue to work at my craft. If the goal has always been recognition and resonance, the realization of late has been that neither is truly possible in an authentic fashion without a third “R:” respect. But respect for myself. With running, as with any other thing I’ve ever loved, I got so obsessed that I treated myself poorly. I’m in a place now where I refuse to cause harm to myself, and work as hard as I can to value my abilities and my experience. And as I enter (checks notes) 20th grade, it’s working well. I’ve started to have proposals accepted for both writing and presenting, I’m earning better grades than I ever have, and I’m also, here’s the key, really enjoying it.

The thing about running is that it doesn’t change that much. I’m not going to break new ground, and there are so many people in these races with their own stories to tell that we really should just be running our own races, as the cliche goes. I’ve run 9 marathons now and I’ll run a 10th (and final?) at some point in the next few years. I’m happy I chiseled a fit person out of the inactive person I was in 2011, and I’m going to keep my health and ability where it needs to be and then some, but if I never ran another race, NYRR would be okay. I can be vital in my field, eventually, and it seems like it has a good chance of actually happening if I continue to develop my nascent skills.

This is not any kind of goodbye to running. If I didn’t run, I’d be much worse off. And now that I’m not killing myself and running myself into the ground, it’s back to being a lot of fun like it was before I turned it into my entire identity.

It’s just that I always wanted my ideas to matter. And it seems like they just might. And that’s a strange but wonderful feeling.

When I was five or so, I used to skip in circles, just imagining things for no particular reason. I didn’t dare do this at school because I was teased, but I felt free to do it at home. And my relatives would sometimes ask me what I was doing. I always just said, “I’m thinking.” And I still am.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Beating Last Year

Ever since my superman status sort of blew up in late 2016 (though it was really early 2017 when I started to struggle) and I couldn’t just count on dropping sub-six miles repeatedly, my goal has shifted to being better than the previous year in each specific race.

So far this year, here are the approximate results:

Gridiron 4 miler: -35 seconds from last year

Wash Heights 5k: -32 seconds from last year

UAE 10k: -57 seconds from last year

Brooklyn Half: +25 seconds from last year

Queens 10k: Didn’t run last year, but -27 seconds from two years ago

Team Champs: -15 seconds from last year

So, ignoring Queens for a second, that’s overall 4/5. No PRs (though UAE was very close and I’m kinda mad about it), but I’ve done well. Brooklyn is annoying, but I got hit hard by the sun and I just wasn’t weather acclimated, so it is what it is. Otherwise, though I’m not at my 2015/2016 peak speeds, I’m staying strong.

What’s interesting is I’m running less than I did the last two years. I’m still running a lot for a normal person (always at least 40, usually 50, though with more elliptical and/or bike days mixed in) and I haven’t suffered. Sure I am not at my absolute fastest, but the previous two years showed me that the super high mileage was basically breaking me down after doing it from 2014-2018, and this year I’ve found a more sustainable level.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to my BQ heights. I wish I hadn’t taken my unsustainable talent for granted when I had it. But honestly, considering how terribly I was treating my physical and mental health and not really enjoying the experience (as much as I was proud of the results), this is better. And a better lesson to set for a future child of mine, who doesn’t need to see Daddy running himself into the ground for no good reason.

It also shows me that so long as I’m running top speed a few times a week and pushing myself through the weather (whether cold or hot), I will race well.

Now to back off a bit for a couple weeks (no race until the Bronx) and then build up some endurance for the fall.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Some 2019 Emmy Nominations Reactions

Here are some shows I have seen, dislike, and got a lot of nominations:

Game of Thrones

GoT was always bad. Fight me. Hopefully people realize now that it ended terribly. Whatever.

Here are some shows I have checked out, don’t personally enjoy, but, like Mad Men, see why people love them and so, good for them for having good showings:

Killing Eve

Fleabag

Good Place

Here are some shows I am indifferent towards that did well but aren’t necessarily huge among people I speak to, so, you know, whatever:

This Is Us

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Schitts Creek

Here are some shows I’ve seen several seasons of that I very much enjoy and again did well:

Veep

Better Call Saul

Barry

Some new shows that did very well:

Russian Doll

Succession

Here are some performers who I’ve long enjoyed and am happy for their continued support:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (the biggest lock ever? Last season? Great performance? Literally about to win 7/7 times and set a record not to be broken for perfect winning percentage?)

Tony Hale

Jonathan Banks

Bob Odenkirk

Giancarlo Esposito

Bill Hader

Henry Winkler

Some first-nomination folks:

Joey King

Anthony Carrigan

Sarah Goldberg

Some snubs:

Aw, man, give the Good Fight some love, eh?

Why can’t they remember Kim Wexler ever?

And then there’s When They See Us.

When They See Us got a total of 16 nominations , and 8 of the performers were nominated. From the very opening sequence of this show I felt a deep internal unease and strain, in a good and compelling way. I enjoyed it greatly but even I was truly unable to watch more than one a day.

They obviously can’t all win, and knowing the Emmys they’ll give the Limited Series award to Chernobyl because prestige or something. But I hope at least one person from this show wins during the telecast to speak on everything it meant to so many people, and especially to men of color. No matter what happens, it will always exist and I am grateful for this.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Neptune Notes 7/5/19

I haven’t written one of these in a long time.

  1. So he’s about to be 9 months old. We cured the big issues from the early months, the constant barking, by giving him a new place for bad behavior. We had been placing him in his crate, but since he could still see us, he just barked. We lost many nights of sleep to this. But now he knows to self-correct most of the time.

  2. We have a routine for him in the morning, and from dinner on. But right after work he tends to be… “turned up” and unable to focus since he’s been alone for a while. This is the final frontier, the only challenging time. We’ll get there.

  3. For reasons, he’s becoming more my responsibility than Alissa’s, which I wasn’t prepared for when we got him. Now that he’s older and generally has a very sweet personality, I really enjoy spending time with him, and it’s a pure mutual affection I’ve never really had.

  4. I’m learning how to run short distances with him. I don’t think I can ever bring him on training runs because he doesn’t have the attention span. But I can absolutely take him out for a sprint here and there, and it’s good for both of us.

  5. He hates the heat. So do I. Honestly, he seems to take after a lot of my personality. Living with two of us is a lot of fun for Alissa. Haha.

  6. Things I still don’t enjoy:

    1. Dude, stop lunging for paper. Why do you want paper? Why?

    2. Why do you want every nasty chicken bone?

    3. Why do you want every piece of plastic? Stahp.

    4. He really hates being picked up, but I like picking him up so I need to get over this. He’s not a baby anymore. He’s more of a small child or even a pre-teen.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Blast From The Past

I wrote for a weekly paper in college. It was more of a magazine, really, styled after the New Yorker in a lot of ways, which means that, although it was pretty funny, it was exceptionally pretentious for people who were college-aged. I wrote for it for all four years, and it was the only extracurricular I did consistently through my entire fairly mediocre undergraduate academic career.

One other thing I did in college was play rugby, poorly. I joined the club team (ie no cuts) part of the way through freshman year when three friends decided to sign up. I was very much a follower at the time. But I liked rugby. It was unique, and it was fun, and I felt like I was part of something, the same way I feel like I’m part of something with my running team and the running community in general.

But I wasn’t very good, mostly because I was slow (funny to say that now) and I wasn’t very coordinated. I mostly stayed on the sidelines and I played when they needed a body.

So, I say all that to say that I got a message today from a teammate from the class of 2004 who remembered an article I had written in said paper about a rugby tournament we had won. The team, apparently, remembers that Ivy League win very fondly, so he wanted to know if I had a copy he could share. I googled, and lo and behold, there it was, so I sent it to him, and he shared with the alumni email list, which I’m still on.

I wrote for that magazine for all four years, like I said, and I rose to manage one of the sections, and eventually to become Managing Editor, which sounds great, but that role made zero editorial decisions, and I’d really wanted to be Editor in Chief. They picked people whose writing they were more fond of, and I lost a lot of confidence in my writing ability. I had said, to anyone who would listen, that I wanted to be a writer after college, but since I didn’t really have a plan (I was no Elizabeth Warren), it never took off, and I banked on leading a prominent campus publication as a springboard, and when it didn’t happen I kind of gave up.

So now here I am, getting a doctorate, and realizing that I may well end up making my living from my writing in some fashion, all these years later. I placed far too much emphasis on the decision that didn’t go in my favor those years ago, and I should have found my way into writing long ago, but it’s useless to regret and useful to cherish reality, so I’m just glad I was reminded that a group of rugby guys - perhaps more representative of the general public than my colleagues at the paper - thought I had some skills when I was 17.

So here’s the article. It’s pretty good, very clearly written by a kid. I think at this point what’s clear is that I’m not all that great at writing from anything other than my own personal perspective, but I’m pretty damn good at that.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality