Sunday, July 24, 2011

What I've Been Doing - Bryan's Update

I have had a really busy summer so far.  Work/school has been in full swing and basketball has been going 4 nights a week.  Yes, Tuesday is currently the only evening I am home during the week.  Occasionally, I can make it home in time to play with Dylan for a while and say hello (while eating dinner) to Dana.  These past weeks have been grueling and could be a recipe for a total breakdown somewhere towards the end of the long basketball season, but I am trying to strategically use my ample vacation to minimize the insanity and prolong the inevitable burnout. 

Speaking of Urlaub (Vacation), we will be taking a couple of weeks off in August.  We can't wait to share our adventures with you.  We have established our budget and have made our accomodations (I will let Dana share the details of where we are going if she wants.) 

Since I spend most of my week on a bus and in the gym, here are a couple of noteworthy updates from me this summer.

Enjoying Germany's Public Transportation/ Mastering the 'Do Not Disturb' face

After 6 weeks of riding the bus from Borken to Münster every day, something happened.   I stopped getting sick when reading/doing work on the bus.  This was a far cry from my first two weeks where I almost needed to get off the bus halfway through the trip so I could throw up and was totally sick for the first 20-30 minutes once I got home. 
This is huge for me, as it means I get 10 extra hours of work in per week. 

I also noticed that I am typically the last person to have someone sit next to me on the bus.  Normally, if there is room, each person has two seats to themselves (one for them and one for their bag/jacket).  When the bus becomes more crowded, the people getting on must ask if they can sit next to someone else (implying that they move their crap, I want to sit down.)   I have learned that it must be important that you ask permission before sitting down.  I once sat without asking and the woman glared at me the entire 55 minute ride.  
Usually, asking for permission to sit is the end of the discussion with the person until it’s your stop and you need them to move again.  German’s aren’t very chatty when there isn’t beer involved.  This is a good thing, because the commute is more of a work time for me now and I would rather not be obligated to make small talk with somebody every day.
Anyway, I have noticed that all other seats are totally filled before somebody asks me to move.   I have thought about this quite a bit and can only think of a few reasons why.

1.       Maybe I smell.  You can’t rule it out. 

2.       Maybe I look like I don’t speak any German.  Unfortunately, this theory does not work in other situations.  We currently blend in well here (although I still won’t wear black socks under sandals and Dana won’t wear a scarf when it’s 90 degrees /35 degrees Celsius outside.)  Also, nobody on the bus knows if I speak German or not (see above:  we don’t speak, period.)

3.       Maybe I am incredibly good looking or really ugly.  I am still not sure which one I am, but it could be why nobody wants to sit next to me. 

4.       Maybe I have developed a great ‘do not disturb’ face. 

I am pretty sure it’s not number 1, 2, or 3.  Therefore, I am fairly certain that it’s #4.
The purpose of the ‘do not disturb’ face is to make someone feel (in the ½ second they walk by my seat) that asking me to move over would be a really inconvenient/confrontational task for them and for me, so they might as well ask somebody else. 
To successfully pull this off, it’s important that you must do it in a very discrete way.  Because you ride with a lot of the same people every day, you can’t overtly stare at somebody and say with your eyes while shaking your head, ‘there is no way you are sitting next to me.’  After all, it still is public transportation and you might be asking them to sit the next day.   
My key to becoming the last person with an open seat is to become very serious (and very intense) about what I am reading/working on at the time.  I don’t look up from my work, which I think helps add to the ‘do not disturb’ face.  It would almost appear that I would also be surprised to see you as well as annoyed if you were to ask for the open seat. 
If the theory ever breaks down (and it does occasionally), it is important to be extra nice when someone actually asks you to sit next to them.   If someone asks me to sit, I give an overly friendly, ‘kein problem’ (‘not a problem’) just to show them that there are no hard feelings and that the ‘Do not disturb’ face was not an ‘I’m a mean person’ face.  

Bryan's note:  Ok, I just realized after proof reading this that I spend way too much time on this bus.   Sorry to bore you with those details.  Here is the other update:

Basketball Boot Camp
The basketball team that I coach (2nd Mens) have been working really hard this summer.   We decided at end of the season, as a group, that we would do some sort of fitness program in the 13 weeks of summer that the gym is open to replace just having open gyms.  What they didn’t know is that they were about to join ‘Bryan’s Boot Camp.’ 
For the last 12 weeks, we have met two days per week and spent the first 45 minutes doing various basketball centric exercises.  The rest of the time is working on our individual games (shooting, 1 on 1, etc.)  
For the fitness part, we first do jump rope (we currently do 1200 as our warm up.)  Second, we do the Medicine Ball 200, which is the core muscle workout used by the University of North Carolina basketball team (essentially 200 sit ups/crunches.)  We recently did the Medicine Ball 200 twice in a row. 
After that, we play cards.  Not in the way you’d think.  We currently go through an entire deck of cards one card at a time.  However, all red cards are sit ups and all black cards are push ups.  Jacks count for 11, Queens count for 12, Kings are 13, and Aces are now 15.  That means when the entire deck is finished, we will have completed 210 push ups and 210 sit ups.  Add this all together and you have Bryan’s Boot Camp.
I figured we would be doing the last workouts with 4 people maximum.  I had originally said that these practices were optional, so only the serious guys would come.  What actually happened was the group grew in size.  We started with 12 and the group grew to about 18.  It’s back down to about 14 down each workout, but I have been pleasantly surprised how many guys are serious about getting better at basketball.  Even Dana and Dylan come to the gym most nights while we are working out and Dylan gets involved by doing jump rope (without the rope) and sit ups.  He did 30 sit-ups on my lap the other night.  I'm so proud.
When one of my players calls me ‘Drill Sergeant,’(and they do) I am quick to point out that I am doing the exercises right next to them (and I also point out that I am the oldest in the group) and a real drill sergeant would only shout the orders.   I am more of a crazy fitness instructor that really enjoys hearing people yelling in pain. 
As of Friday, we are finished with the 13 week program.  We did our final fitness test on Wednesday (and had the celebration party at my house on Friday.)  I am really proud of my team for working so hard this summer.  They have improved so much (with fitness and their overall basketball game) in the last 12 weeks.   I can’t wait for the season to start. 
Bryan's note:  That story wasn't much better. I will go try to get a life in the next month and come back with more interesting stories. 

Here are some photos of other things we've been doing lately:

Bryan played in Philip Lensings "transition game" from being a Wulfen player to a Borken player.  This was a friendly game in which Philip played for 1 team during the first half, then switched to the other team for the second half to represent his switch to a new team. This photo is after the game when Philip was giving a speech to the 300+ people who attended the game.

We went to a birthday party for one of Dylan's friends who has a trampoline.  It was so cute watching all 6 kids jump and run around together.  Miraculously, no one collided and bumped heads.

For the end of summer training celebration, we had Bryan's team over. I still can't believe we fit this many people in our living room. 

Dylan had a blast at our little party too.  Each time the buzzer rang and  a new person showed up Dylan would point and shout "New one! New one!" excited that there was somebody new for him to pester, I mean, play with.

Here is Dylan's reaction every time we watch the video of him and his "Papa" (Grandpa) on the choo-choo-train at a park in Maryland.  It never gets old.

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