Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy New Year!!

I know what you are thinking (and by 'know' I actually mean 'I think I know) (and by 'thinking' I'm actually trying to implant thoughts into your head for my convenience) upon reading the title of this post.

1. You're thinking, "Where the hell have you been?"
2. Hey doofus, it's December and not the New Year yet. Even the Chinese, with their warped calendaring system, don't call this the New Year. What's wrong with you?

The answers to both questions are complicated and I'll do my best to explain as much as possible.

What is the Answer?
On point #1, back in July, I was hanging out with one of my friends (which narrows down the field since I pretty much have only 1 friend anyway)(and the word 'friend' might actually be an exaggeration) who suggested that I grab a towel and we go for a ride. Now, I'm not normal in any sense of the word and I don't think twice about it when my non-normal friend makes a non-normal request. Mostly, I oblige and follow along.

Well, what happened next is a blurr of events that's rather bizarre to explain. I went off world, the Earth was rumored to have been exploded, I met some aliens who were intent on my death, and had dinner at a restaurant near the end of the Universe. (It was quite nice. If you happen to go there, I suggest that you try the fish.) Just don't go to any Cricket matches and you'll be golden. Trust me on this.

And, just in case your were wondering, the answer is indeed 42. I know this now that I have returned. Just don't ask me to explain how I know. I could explain it, but that's not the point of the post. Plus, the moment you ask the question, the answer's going to be 42 again anyway. You and I will get stuck in an infinity loop when all that's really needed is your acceptance of the 42.

As for number 2, I've got a different version of a calendar than the government. To be honest, I've got several, different, non-governmental-type calendars that I regularly use.

On Calendars in General
Let's start by looking at the traditional calendar that lists the days and months in sequential order. It ends on December 31 and starts anew on January 1. Yes, I'm aware that January was so named in honor of the God of Doors and Gates. I'm not normally in the habit of pissing off deities, regardless of how petty their specialty is, so I refuse to put dates and times on my calendar. I'm also aware that the actual decision of when January 1st arrives was pretty much arbitrary. The Romans tried to encompass the Greeks, which was later edited by the Christians and forced upon the rest of the world during the Middle Ages.

In my opinion, a calendar should represent something very real and measurable. I'd have a lot more respect for that thing that hangs on my wall if there was some sort of clear criteria for why they picked Jan 01 in the way that they did. It does not fall on the solstice, or equinox, or aphelion, or perihelion, or moon phase, or the first day of Shark Week. Someone just said, "Today feels like a new year" and went forward. Later on, they found some research by Confucius, Copernicus, Kepler, and Sheldor the Great which may or may not have matched the aforementioned arbitrarily chosen day.

Deviant Calendar Systems
There is precedence for ignoring the Gregorian calendar. Car sales do this all the time. We are only 90% of the way finished with 2013 and they are already selling 2014s. I'm not sure how this is exactly legal, selling a model car named for a year which hasn't happened yet. It reeks of false advertising to me but it is quite common practice.

The new season of TV shows doesn't seem to follow any sort of concrete system. They do reruns in the summer and the 'new season of Fox' starts sometime mid fall. Some guy (not being sexist here, it's just that I'm pretty sure it's a guy) (but, really, you never can tell with Hollywood types these days so you have a good point there) tosses a dart at the arbitrarily chosen calendar hanging on his wall and the network airs the first original content (using those terms loosely) on that date.

Every school year starts off at some point in space-time that barely uses any logic. If you are in a non-NY state, the system typically goes as follows:

  • Decide on when you would like Christmas Break to occur.
    • But, don't call it Christmas break. You might offend someone. Call it "Holiday Break" or some other form of non-religious type word. Examples: End of Semester Break. End of Year Break. Breaking 2- Electric Boogaloo.
      • But, still treat it as Christmas Break even though the name says differently.
  • Read the State law on how many days are required per school year. That number is typically between 180-190 and may be different (for no real reason) that last year. Divide this number by 2.
  • Since you are likely a graduate of the public school system, do not do any real math. You'll likely screw it up. Instead, start counting backwards beginning at the answer to the first bullet point and continuing until you've arrived at the answer to the second bullet point.
  • Once again, go to your State Charter and find out which, ahem, non-religious holidays that you are required to adhere. Keep in mind that "Superintendent's Conference Day" is a legal holiday.
  • Extend your calendar to include these dates as days off.
  • Viola- you have successfully discovered the start of your calendar, which is somewhere in the heat of August.
If you live in NY State, the process goes as follows:
  • Start on the first Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day, thus ensuring that NYS menses are out of sync with the rest of the country
  • Add in Holidays and Christmas Break (see disclaimer above)
  • Ignore all of the research and data showing regression over extended periods of time off. End your semester about 3 weeks after Christmas Break with large, standardized State tests. 
    • Make sure kids know that their ability to graduate depends on their success on the test.
    • Make sure teachers know that their ability to teach will be based on their students' success.
      • But, don't hold the teachers accountable for student scores anyway
The Banter's Calendar
The start of my calendar is just as arbitrary as everybody else's calendar. The only difference is that I'm not afraid to admit that I just made it up. And, like all the other calendar creators out there, I have a reason for my calendar. I suggest that all athletes develop a similar calendar for themselves.

My calendar calculation starts with my big A-race of the 2014 season. In my case, I signed up for Ironman Mt. Tremblant. Note: This is not the END of my calendar, it's only a benchmark to determine the beginning. IMMT 2014 is on August 17th of the Gregorian Calendar.

Next, I have to determine how many training days are needed to achieve my race goals. This includes full analyses of my weaknesses coupled with the amount of time needed to see the desired results in a realistic fashion (meaning I pulled a number out of my wazoo). Then I add a couple of weeks for setbacks, such as illness, injuries, family obligations, and pansiness. The number of setback days is usually greater that the number of training days.

Now, since I too am a graduate of the American public school system, I do no math and I start counting. Since my number is right around 252 as of this post (I admit that I had to use an internet calculator to help me out with this. It can be found here), I started counting. 

As a result, my training season has already started. I have begun training for the season. Not the 2013 season. That season is long over and since been swept under the rug. All of my current work is being done for a year that most of the world hasn't recognized yet. Let them put it off. Not me. I'm already in 2014. Feel free to join me in the new year and don't delay the start of your season any longer.

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