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Bryan Monzon

websites & triathlons

Hello from Bellingham

I’m writing from a coffee shop in Bellingham, Washington. It’s a medium sized town near the border of Canada. The weather is great, which is to say it’s mostly cloudy and rainy. I love that though. The 4 year drought we’re suffering though in California has been pretty ridiculous. It’s been refreshing to see shiny clean cars, green forests and drinking delicious water straight from the tap.

I haven’t written in a while and I’ll tell you why. I’ve been down. I lost a bunch of weight and wanted to keep it off working out. The scale is creeping up again and I don’t like it. The reason for that is pretty simple.

There’s the shoulder injury, which if I were being honest, isn’t as big of an issue anymore. It’s still a setback though. Another reason is a new cough I got. It’s not the worst thing I’ve experienced, but it’s enough to discourage me. I might try and run this afternoon a bit. Not positive I’ll be able to, though. There’s a lot on my plate for work.

Speaking of work. I’ve been working remote this week. It’s not as fun as I thought. I wonder if it would be different if I were in my own space, rather than our friend’s house. I think it would be better working from my own space. I just know not having control of your work environment is probably more the key than anything else. Even in an office environment, I’d like to control some of the things that are distracting.

Anyway, I’m hoping I can shake this cough and get back to working out. I think I’ll be happier. I always feel better when this pent up energy is released. It’s weird how that happens. A little workout gives you more energy than a little more rest. It’s tough to do, but it’s important. Especially when I sit and stare at a glowing box all day.

My cousin Skyler plays base for his band Swim Team.

San Diego Local Music

It was a rare evening more me and the Mrs. last night. We ventured out to a bar to watch some local music. My cousin, Skyler plays base for Swim Team and he invited us to come out and watch them play.

It’s been a while since I’ve gone out to see bands play live. My schedule for training and work tends to put me under the covers before bands even start to set up for their shows. So I don’t get out much these days. I’ve been sick and hurt lately, so I decided to make an evening of it and support Skyler.

Skyler’s band is great. The unfortunate side of playing small venues like The Balboa (formerly the Tin Can) is sound quality. For punk rock, it’s great! A guitar, bass and drum set will sound awesome anywhere. A band that has a lot of melodies and tones, not so much. Despite this, Swim Team sounded great.

Prior to Swim Team another band played. I won’t name them because I’m not really interested in personally attacking anyone. I respect the fact that they’re people just making stuff they like and really, my opinion shouldn’t matter much. Since this is my blog though, I get to have an opinion about anything I want.

They were terrible. Their description on Facebook says they make “Atmospheric Dream Pop”. Pop is generally standard for popular and what they were doing won’t ever be popular. The were less dreamy than they were nightmarish. Everything about them was boring and awful. The beats were predictable and the guitar parts sound like noise. The keyboardist had little knobs and buttons alongside his keyboard and when he would turn them, nothing would happen.

They were trying and I appreciate that. I shouldn’t judge. But I felt so disappointed in the music quality of the next generation. I asked on Twitter if the music in San Diego was overall just shitty or if I was getting old. The answer I got were that it’s just shitty. I’m glad to know that my taste and opinion of music at least matches some peers on Twitter.

Bottom line, the kids were trying. They were merely pushing buttons from recorded sound loops, but whatever, they’re trying. Good music will rise to the top. I just wonder if the ease to make music like theirs and acceptance that it’s good will lower the bar and the amount of enjoyable music. It’s all subjective, but at some point there needs to be a gatekeeper that says it’s good or not. That shouldn’t be me. If I’m able to spot bad music, then the local scene has a problem.

Anyway, I’ll end with this positive quote.

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. -Kurt Vonnegut

Vagrant and New Technology

I freaking hate it.

There, I’ve said it. I hate Vagrant…so far. I know I’ll love it, but like Ruby and Ruby on Rails, I’m over the whole set up process. I get the advantages and I think they’re great. My set up just works for me. It doesn’t fail and I know how to fix it when it does.

I could let this way of thinking get the best of me. I’ve been trying to get Vagrant & Virtual Box installed forever. It frustrates the hell out of me when one little thing doesn’t work. There are things about my computer I just don’t get. It immediately makes me feel like the guy that says “Where’s the internet? You know the “e”?”. You know because the Internet Explorer icon is obviously the internet.

I hate that feeling of not understanding. Working in the web (and in the world of programming) is often like this though. You constantly run into situations where you have no clue what to do next and running away sounds like a better option. I retweeted this recently:

Right now I’m installing Vagrant again. I want to use it while learning Laravel. Learning Laravel has been yet another challenge. It’s object oriented and the concept of it, I totally get. The execution however, is a different thing all together. I’m getting closer though and will keep at it.

My advice to young programmers. Accept that you will always be learning and facing challenges and always learn and face new challenges.

I’ve Been Writing

On January 8 of this year I wrote a post about writing. I may have written another but I can’t seem to find it.

I’ve been especially committed to writing this year. This will be my 15th post since January 1st. That’s pretty close to how much I’ve written all the other years combined. That doesn’t include what I’ve been doing on Tri Coaches. There I’ve got a 4 posts published plus 1 more that’s been written and needs some graphics.

I’m not sure what’s different for me this year than any other. I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve always felt like I didn’t do it enough and had the desire to do it more. Writing has always been a great way for me to purge some feelings and thoughts but it’s never been a consistent thing in my life. When something happens, like my dad in the hospital (something that’s never been published) I write. It’s cathartic for me. I’m dealing with this shoulder injury, so I write.

What is different for me is my desire to be a triathlon coach. I posted about it here and here. One of the things I realize about coaching triathlon versus swimming is my confidence. I can coach just about any level of swimmer. I’m less confident coaching about any level of triathlete.

I need to learn. I need to continue reading books. One of which I need to pick back up. I need to write and form thoughts and opinions. I need to show my expertise and I realized a blog is a great place for that. They don’t need to be set-in-stone facts but they need to be formulated and communicated.

I had the domain and was thinking about using it for some kind of coaching job board. I was looking to monetize it. I think that’s putting the cart ahead of the horse, though.

One of the things I’ve learned from a few podcasts and content marketing people on Twitter is 1) you have to just write valuable content and hit publish. 2) You need to find a market that will find your content interesting.

So, I’m writing content. I’m writing about the business of triathlon and what’s it’s like starting my own business. I’ve invited an old friend to start writing as well because she’s starting her career in coaching/personal training.

Our next hurdle is getting content out in the world. I’m always nervous about this. It’s a lot of the fear I mention in my post about what is going to make this year different. I need to get over that. Working with someone will make it easier, for sure.

Working with someone is also motivating. I want to keep up and stay on top of things and keep coming up with ideas.

Ideas are easy to come by if you’re paying attention. It’s really tough when it’s not on the forefront of your mind. I’m trying to keep it there and schedule posts immediately with a working title.

Using CoSchedule is proving invaluable. I’m plotting out 2 posts a week and I’m good through the middle of March. I can’t believe how much CoSchedule helps. It’s like magic. I’ve tried other calendars but this one seems best. It might just be the timing but I think it also has to do with it being a software as a service and hosted elsewhere. It just does way more than the top plugins that operate within the confines of your WordPress site.

This blog will still be a dumping ground for me. I don’t give a shit if no one reads it. I don’t publicize it at all and that’s fine by me. It’s not for others. It’s for me. If someone finds it useful and wants comment, great! But I’m not trying to do anything special here.

Road to Recovery – Staying Motivated

Recently I took a spill on a snowboarding trip. I sprained my shoulder and haven’t been able to work out at all. Don’t forget 3 weeks ago I had some issues with carpal tunnel. The last month has been difficult to say the least.

Staying motivated during training is hard. It’s even harder when you get hurt or sick. Then stack injuries or illnesses and it’s a recipe for quitting. I’m starting to feel that negative self-doubt creep in and it’s time to switch things up a bit.

Last week my shoulder felt awful. Little things like putting on a tee shirt was painful and I needed my wife’s help to finish. Sleeping was awful. I could only sleep on my left side and back. The slightest move to the right and I was wide awake. This week however, I’m able to do a lot more. Mobility is still lacking, but no shooting pains. I tried to run this weekend and unfortunately couldn’t do much. The jostling was uncomfortable and I was forced to walk.

I think by next week I’ll be 95-99% healed. In preparation for that I’m getting back in the habit of going to the gym early in the morning and making that a priority. I’ll have to take it easy and listen to my body.

I think it’s important to take these steps as soon as possible. I don’t want to get any more discouraged than I already am. I’ve already had to make to the hard decision of skipping Super Seal. I’m just not ready for it.

This is the year of triathlon for me and I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I just gotta keep plugging away and doing what I can. I’ll get there, it will just take some time.

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