Monday, October 19, 2020

I got my flu shot!

I had Guillain-Barre syndrome.  My immune system got confused and decided to attack my motor nerves. It usually happens after an event which gets your immune system going.  Something like a virus, a bacterial infection,  surgeries where they leave stuff in you, pregnancy or a vaccine.  There is some evidence now that covid-19 is a trigger for GBS. My GBS was triggered by food poisoning,  the doctors found evidence of the campylobacter bacteria in me. And I had the worst stomach bug of my life a week before my GBS happened

GBS is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune sounds like a misnomer it should be called disorder immune. Because you are immune system usually works correctly automatically. But when you have an autoimmune condition your immune system attacks and destroys parts of your body you need.  Guillain-Barre syndrome is when your immune system decides to attack the sheaths that cover the nerves. It affects about one in 100,000 people in the United States.  I actually have a variant of Guillain-Barre syndrome called acute motor axonal neuropathy. My immune system also attacked my motor nerves themselves. Sheaths heal slowly,  axons not so much. So I have permanent damage.

But I'm not really posting about myself today. The past two paragraphs were just a little background. But I did mention that one of the triggers for Guillain-Barre syndrome is a vaccine. Because I am really really not wanting a relapse., if a vaccine can trigger GBS I was really wondering if I should get one. So a couple of years ago after getting GBS I did my own research. I also talked to my neurologist and my general practitioner. They all told me the same thing I found on the Guillain-Barre syndrome Foundation website. If a vaccine didn't trigger your GBS the first time, it's not likely to trigger a relapse. In fact if you're going to get a relapse it's going to be from the same thing that triggered it in the first place. So I make sure my chicken is cooked. And I also want to stay healthy and I don't want the flu. So I get the vaccine as directed by my doctor every year.

In fact, last year I got the flu shot at the hospital where I was volunteering. They were requiring it
for all staff. I was volunteering at that hospital because I used to be a patient. With my volunteer ID I got online to get the shot.  When I got into the big room they handed me a tablet for me to fill out a form.  It's a common form and you have to fill it out no matter where you get the flu vaccine. It looks like this. (The form doesn't say you shouldn't get the flu shot if you've had GBS. It says you should talk to your doctor because there's no room to indicate that if your  GPS was triggered by a vaccine you shouldn't get another GPS. This also applies to about one in a million people)

It's a list of things that you really think you should check no to every one of them. But item number 4 says, " do you have a history of  Guillain Barre syndrome?"...   I checked yes and the nurse's aide who was going to give the shot told me I was exempt I could wear a mask if I wanted to work in the hospital but I didn't need to get the shot. I told her I didn't want to be exempt I didn't want the flu. She called the supervising nurse, who repeated the same thing. I said no I talked to my neurologist and my family doctor and I told her what I learned about GBS and the flu shot. She took a big swallow and looked at me and asked when I had GBS? I looked her right in the eye without looking at her name tag and called her by name. And said in June of 2014 when I was here and paralyzed and you were my nurse.  She put the shot right into my tattoo, without hesitation

Today I went to my local pharmacy to get the flu vaccine. It was a paper form and I circled yes  for that same question. I was prepared for a little fight. But I got the opposite. But it was my turn on the pharmacist called my name and called me into the little private corner. She looked at my form and ask me one question. Did a vaccine trigger your GBS? Nope, it was bad chicken.  Then she just asked me which are my one of the shot in. I rolled up my sleeve and showed her my tattoo. "That's great but I'm sorry I'll have to cover it with a Band-Aid"

And she said that with an Eastern European accent. Which really got me thinking about this anti-vaccine movement and how it's being encouraged by Russian trolls

You know something, the vaccine isn't supposed to be perfect. It's supposed to reduce the likelihood of you getting the flu and it supposed to make the flu less severe then if you would not have taken the shot.

 It stops an epidemic, also. 

Show to the people who blurt out it's a personal decision. No!  It should be an informed decision based on facts and it affects more than yourself it's a  decision that affects everybody around you. Send a personal decision to wash your hands after using the bathroom if you work in a restaurant.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fuck YOU, Donald Trump Fuck YOU

There are many reasons is bad that Donald Trump retweeted this. Never mind that it's a photoshopped fake ad. Nevermind that is reproducing the hateful stereotype that Biden is frail. What really pisses me off is that it reproduces The Stereotype that using a wheelchair is a sign of weakness. I use one of those for about a year and I hated it but it was a tool. I wasn't confined to a wheelchair. It was not a prison. It allowed me to escape my prison of indoor confinement. It allowed me to go out and do stuff.. So double FUCK YOU to Donald Trump. That shit and his supporters have done so much to destroy the lives of the disabled. People are disabled. It's not the end of the world. Who knows what illness is Trump has. The fact that he hides them makes other disabled people look bad

A long long time ago there was a giant apartment complex called The Trump buildings. They were kind of on the edge between Brighton Beach and Coney Island. I knew I had full people that live there. They weren't the goldplated buildings of Donald Trump. They were the affordable housing created by his father, Fred. According to my sources, Fred used to show up at the staff holiday parties and shake everyone's hand and give everyone an envelope. When it was time for the senior Trump to step down, the staff in these buildings (who could afford it) quit. They walked away saying, "I ain't working for that putz."

If you don't believe me you might not believe the New York Times either.

To all the people who believe in Donald Trump, here's the real question: If he were to take out his schlong and takes a wiz all over the stage at the next debate, will you still have a reason to support him?

I am really sick of people who defend the right to be an ass hole, by saying they don't want to be politically correct. There is nothing wrong with being politically correct if it means not hurting other people's feelings. I am one of the first people to acknowledge that I am not politically correct, but at the same time I acknowledge that I might be an ass hole, but I'm not running for President.

Let me try to get this out of my mouth. I don't have a problem with people being ass holes, I have a problem with people thinking that an ass hole should be President. I'm not really worried about Donald Trump becoming president. I really think that when people go to the polls and actually vote they will pull the knob for someone else. I am bothered that there is a large chunk of people who continue to support a man who lies just to stir up the hate. He didn't see any Muslims celebrating in the streets of Jersey City on September 11, 2001. It didn't happen. If it did we'd all be looking at the videos. The New York City area was in chaos, no one knew at that time that this was an attack by religious fanatics. Let alone what religion they were. I don't really care that Donald Trump wants to keep repeating this, what bothers me is that people are starting to believe it.
It's clearly a pattern with Donald Trump that if your reporter and don't make him look good he personally attacks you Then he denies you and your media outlet his interviews. Since people are only watching the news to see what kind of stupid thing he's gonna do, the networks are afraid to offend him.  Which means they're afraid to call him out on his lies. He didn't like the what Megyn Kelly asked him questions, so he said some pretty nasty things about her. It blew my mind how her bosses let this go.

And now Donald Trump is making fun of another reporter that would backup his story.

Thanks Gothamist
This really bothers me a lot. You see, the guy on the right has arthrogryposis, which visibly limits flexibility in his arms. I have acute motor axonal neuropathy. And while I've been bragging about how I've been walking further and doing better in the gym, the damage to the nerves in my hands is much more serious. My hands and wrists are showing severe signs of atrophy, like Serge Kovaleski. If the axonal damage in my hands doesn't reverse soon I will look a lot like more like Serge.

When you choose a president, choose a role model. Choose a person that you want to be your leader.
It saddens me that people are choosing a leader as nasty as Donald Trump.

Yeah, look to the right. Who is your role model? Do you want to live in a country that is led by a man who mocks the disabled? Who encourages people who disagree with them to be roughed up?

Misee Harris
They say people choose leaders who emulate what they think is best in themselves.Is this who you want to be? A thug? Who at his best makes fun of people and at his worst has been beat up.

I'm sorry. I usually enjoy having political conversations with people I don't agree with. Often, I find the people who are most passionate about politics even if they disagree with me have Something interesting to say. Because while we disagree on how we want the country to get better, we both agree we want the country to get better.

But not now, these are political conversations.  The people who support Trump don't support him because they want the country to get better. They just want someone to represent them in the White House. They want someone to represent their inner thug, their inner asshole.

What I'm trying to say is that Donald Trump's popularity really frightens me. It's one thing for a politician to lie so that they get a little extra money were to cover up a mistake they might've made. But Donald Trump is making up stuff to change the agenda of the American public. He saying stuff about Mexicans and Muslims that just isn't true but people start repeating it like it's true.

People, it's not okay to mock the disabled.

People aren't crossing the borders to figure out how to rape your daughters.

Refugees are going through a more strenuous vetting process than your wives.

One faith is no worse than any other religious people when it comes to doing stupid stuff.

People, if you want to know what happens when a potential leader makes stuff up about other people in order to generate hate, look to Germany in 1928.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

More than a race report for the VIRTUAL Superfund Super Run 2020

Back in the late spring of 2014 I spent a significant amount of time in NYU Langone Hospital.  When I was there I was  suffering from Quadrophenia.  I couldn't move my arms or legs but I was able to move my hips and shoulders and neck. The first chunk of time I was there underwent five days of plasmapheresis.  I had my carotid artery opened up so they can run a tube down to my heart and filter out my immune system. It was quite unpleasant. then,I had IVIG infusions which meant I basically laid there and had a day-long injection.   Then I went back to rehab because they thought that would stop  my immune system from attacking my motor nerves. But it didn't. So I went back there, even more paralyzed and they wound up giving me an off-label non FDA-approved chemotherapy. That honestly sounds a lot more scary than it was. The only negative side effect if you can even call this negative was that all the hair fell off my feet. It didn't grow back. It either works or my immune system was done attacking my motor nerves.

Too me this is ancient history now.  I literally laid there passively while the greatest teams of doctors in the world did their battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome.  But I'm bringing this up now please that's all happened to me while I was on the Upper Floor of a building on 1st Avenue in Manhattan. The whole time I had a great view of the East River and Queens and Brooklyn.  I looked out there a lot and I quickly noticed some big towers going up that I didn't know anything about. It turned out it was the beginning of the replacement for the Koskosco Bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Queens on the highway known as the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.  I said to myself and I'm sure out loud, "When they finish that thing I'm going to run over it". 

 Today I did. 

This morning I went live on Facebook and with a lot more emotion basic said what I wrote above.  I was kind of wondering why I didn't have any comments but just now I noticed the audio didn't come out at all.  But I do remember saying that it's a good thing they put a bike path and a recreation Lane on that new bridge otherwise I would have had to have stopped traffic

But I did take some pictures. You cannot see it in the picture I took with my puny camera phone it from the bridge you can see NYU langone

At this point you might be  wondering about the title of this blog post.  Yeah there was a virtual race.  Even before it was virtual it was an alley cat race. I didn't know what that meant but it was erased from the Newton Creek to the Gowanus Canal. Choose your fastest route. I figured since I wasn't going to win and it was virtual anyway and I was doing it alone I can do it my way. It was an excuse to start on the other side of the Newton Creek and cross the Koskosco Bridge.  And since I wasn't interested in dealing with lots of intersections I didn't go in a straight line I hugged the water line from Greenpoint to Williamsburg to Vinegar Hill through Brooklyn Bridge Park and then I went straight up Union Street.

Pretty excited about this run is an understatement. Not just that I did it but that I was able to do it that fast. I was wearing my new carbon fiber ankle-foot Orthotics and covered over 11 miles in under 16 minutes per mile.  The mobility impaired standard for qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 6 hours.  That 13 minutes 40 seconds per mile.  I'm on my way.  Training for marathons and ultra-marathons help me prepare for this terrible disease.  I'm okay with goals and it just beyond the horizon.  I think running 11 and a half miles within 10% of my Marathon goal pace means dawn is coming

I'm still getting used to them and I'm going to get faster. I also have to break them in. I guess you don't really break in carbon fiber, so I guess they have to break me in.  Lots of rubbing. It didn't hurt much but I kind of lost track of where all the blood was coming from when I took a shower.

Along my route I saw some things

 I also watch them built in buildings while riding an accessory ride vehicles to physical therapy. They're done now and Domino Park is beautiful.

Did get to see the most amazing graffiti. If I was into Valentine's Day cards this would be the cover.

It was on the sidewalk right under the Williamsburg Bridge.

Across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in a playground where they would be to handball courts who's six guys were playing/ practicing what could only be described as bicycle polo. I think it was just a workout because they will all aiming at the same net and if the goalie had to leave the nearest person on a bike would just roll into that spot. But it was pretty intense.

Along the run I did pause to see all those iconic views have the New York City skyline and the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. I didn't take a picture. You can buy a postcard or Google it. But towards the end of my run I did stop to take a picture of the finish line. Lavender Lake and the Gowanus Canal.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Looking good is good, but.....

I'll admit I was getting chunky before GPS but I gained a lot of weight being completely inactive and on steroids. In the past 9 months I went from 228 to 173 lbs.  I don't need blood pressure medication anymore and I don't need the CPAP machine anymore.

And I can run now

And I can reach the Holy Grail

Monday, August 31, 2020

Central Park On August 31st 2020

 I ran super hard on Friday (a real race! I'll get back to that.)  So I basically took the weekend off from working out,  and my physical therapy was at 10:30 this morning at Rusk over by the UN.  It was a cool day so I was playing with the idea of running home. But traffic and congestion made me consider Central Park. I jumped in and accessorized Taxi after therapy and went up to a 110th Street. I figured I do a loop and start and finish at the top of the hill.

 Central Park was full of surprises. First, I forgot that the top of the park was not the top of the hill. I was at the bottom of the Harlem Hill. Not really a big deal.

 But upon entering the park up in Harlem I noticed right away how quiet the park was compared to Prospect Park. The roadway didn't get any busier as I got downtown, nor did the grassy areas. No pods of kids.  No pelotons of cyclist.  I guess I forgot that Central Park is really a tourist attraction. People who live in New York City live in Brooklyn and go to Prospect Park to wreckreate.  But compared to Prospect Park, Central Park was pristine. The grass look like a golf course and wherever things were being repaired when neatly fenced-off.  The park was not being used as a warehouse for all the trees destroyed by the hurricane a couple of weeks ago. It frustrates me how conservancies and alliances can have earmarked money for special things even when there's no one around to appreciate them. Prospect Park has to have to have special projects to have citizens collect garbage and the smaller parks in the outer boroughs have nothing.  Anyway I didn't mean to go on a political rant, but there is a great unevenness and how parks are maintained in New York City.

In any case the park was very quiet. About a quarter mile into my run I noticed people looking into the woods. Because we were on top of a hill we were about 20 feet from a hawk hanging out on a branch looking for lunch.   I took a picture but I'm not going to post it here because you're better off Googling a picture of a hawk on a branchAbout four miles into my run I did notice something interesting. One cop car is not interesting but then I saw 2 and looked over.  Three then four. Three then four. 

For a second I was thinking about these lyrics from Alice's Restaurant

You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he's
Really sick and they won't take him
And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and
They won't take either of them
And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin' in, singin'
A bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? They may think it's an

but only a second.  It stopped when I saw what the cops were doing.  All thoughts of Arlo Guthrie will push through my mind when I saw that for police cars and all the cops that came with them regarding the fuckin  statue of Christopher Columbus
Holy Ship! (Voice to Text did that and I'm going to leave it there).  Melt it down and turn it into something useful for the Native American population or put a plaque next to it explaining what a piece of crap he was but until people woke up everyone thought he was okay.  But the police have a lot of better things to do. Or maybe this is a way of giving these officers a little bit of a paid vacation. Maybe they're being rewarded for something and get to spend 8 hours leaning on a car in Central Park.
anyway, I made it back to the top of the park and felt pretty good so I did a loop that included the 103rd Street transverse.  It's the first time I've been there since I saw the movie  about the Central Park 5  and read the autobiography of the Central Park joggerNYRR organized a lot of races that use that area as a Finish Line. I ran a lot of them. I also helped measure the Central Park marathon where the Finish Line was right there. It's a different kind of place when I go there now. I guess if the police send a small Squad to protect a statue of a rapist and murderer it would make sense to put a plaque where someone was raped and left for dead?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Was I lost?

So lately my buddy Larry and I have been going to the locations of the open runs. The open runs are the community runs the roadrunners organization organizes but they're not organizing them now but we're going anyway. Sometimes we've been meeting people there we've been doing the same thing. But we're not talking about it. Because we're not allowed to meet anyone anywhere. But we are all wearing masks and we stay 6 feet apart.  Sometimes I run there. Running to Marine Park or Bay Ridge Park or Canarsie Park is easy for me. I know those neighborhoods. It's where I grew up. The other open run in Brooklyn is in Highland Park. I'm not that familiar with that part of Brooklyn. The mapping programs tell me it's only five and a half miles away, but without a map in my hand I can only get close. The last week I ran down Eastern Parkway and when I was about a mile away I turned on my GPS and told it I wanted to go to Highland Park. 
I made the classic mistake.
Highland Park is big.
Google took me to the "other" part of Highland Park.
I'm not going to start disparaging the part of Highland Park that the Road Runners Club uses for its open runs. Well yeah, I am. It's basically a hill with a couple of paths around it.  A lot of the pavement is worn out and there's not much shade. There is also an out-and-back on some busted up pavement. If you look at the whole thing you'd kind of think that is the kind of place at Robert Moses gave to a neighborhood and said "Here, here's a park leave me alone."  That was where I was supposed to go. I didn't think it was so bad because I was kind of used to it and I was meeting nice people there.
 But my GPS took me to the part of the park that used to be a reservoir. 1.18 mile Loop. The reservoir was filled in and fenced in and is now in a growing forest and pond. Here is a link to all the pictures Larry took. Cuz after I ran a loop of the reservoir I went down to the crummy part of the park found Larry and convinced him to come up to the reservoir.
This is what it looks like to run around the reservoir part of the park
You also get views like this

I don't know, the open run has pads that look like this.  Maybe when and if there is a post covid-19 to change the meeting place for the Highland Park open run. Is a parking lot and bathrooms the Reservoir also.  But there might be some inter-governmental political considerations that I am out of the loop of.
anyway, here's a link to my new mapmyrun
When I was  "lost"  up by the reservoir I found  myself running alongside a little group. I introduced myself and  ask them about this part of the park. They wanted me to keep it a secret. But then they told me they were just kidding. I told them I had run from Park Slope by Grand Army Plaza and they were impressed. I asked them how close I was to Queens. They told me I was actually in Queens and I was actually surprised. Who knew? I left Brooklyn without my passport!

Friday, July 31, 2020

You can't make a living finding MetroCards anymore (Updated 7-31-2020)

Actually updated again July 31st 2020

I didn't think I'd be updating this blog again. But here I am. Since I got out of the hospital 6 years ago I have not been on the subway as much as I used to. Also,  the MTA smartened up and started charging a dollar if you need a new Metrocard.  Which means if you refill a MetroCard you can save a dollar. So a lot less people are discarding their empty or almost empty metrocards. Furthermore, many people are picking up MetroCards to save themselves a dollar when they need  to buy a new Metrocard.

That said, that doesn't mean I stopped finding metrocards. The streets full of them. People still drop stuff. Just a few weeks ago I was running a virtual 5K in Prospect Park and there was a MetroCard on the roadway. I asked my buddy to pick it up and he reported to me just now that it had $3.25 on it.  But MetroCards found in the street often take a beating. When I get to the subway they often say "see agent" when I run them through the scanning machine. But "see agent" does not mean garbage. When I get a handful of them I ask the token clerk for an envelope and I mail them back to the MTA. A few months later I get a letter in the mail with some MetroCards in it with random amounts on it. Sometimes $0.25 sometimes $5. Many times the other letter says that the cards were actually void or expired. A few times I got letters like the one I have a scan of here. Someone dropped a monthly card that they bought with their credit card. Because I mailed it back the MTA credited them back $55.

Probably final update, July 21, 2017.

Back in May 2014 I suddenly stopped taking the subway on a regular basis. About the same time the MTA started charging a dollar if you didn't bring them a Metro card when you wanted to put money on it. Now that I'm back taking the subway on a somewhat regular basis I've made an observation that there are a lot less Metro cards laying on the floor in subway stations. This could be because people are keeping their valueless Metro cards for refill purposes, or that people are picking them up to save a dollar and they need a new card, or that the MTA is doing a better job at cleaning the stations. In any case, I'm not finding subway stations with their floors strewn with MetroCards.

However, when I do find cards laying around the subway the ratio of how many have value on them is about the same as it was before 2014. Between 5% and 10% of the cards I find sitting on top of the vending machines have some money or some days of use left on them. Also, I'm still noticing the same amount of cards on the floor in supermarkets, parks or places that are not subway stations. Those cards are still worth bending down and picking up. Every time I do that I remind myself that there was three years where I couldn't bend down and pick them up.

Update, May 24, 2016

It's been a long time but I'm finally updating this.

It's kind of ironic but the MTA gave me a Metro card with my picture on it. I don't have to put money on it and it just comes loaded with eight swipes a day. I guess they'd rather have me on public mass transit then send an Ack-Stress o Ride to go get me. This past Saturday when I was approaching the starting line to the Brooklyn half Marathon there was a Metro car on the ground. I can bend down but it's hard to pick things up off the floor, so I compels my friend Josh to pick it up. He didn't need it so I wound up running the whole race with it in my pocket. I just checked it, and it's going to work till May 31. 

It has been a week since the fare went up and the MTA is collecting an extra buck if you don't refill you existing MetroCard.  The is not less litter.  In fact, I have seen many people pay the extra $1 for a new card when the top of the MVM is strewn with cards.  I also assume that I will start finding many $1.95 cards instead of $1.70 cards. People are just going to put $10 in the machine and get a $9.45 card.  After they ride 3 times for $7.50 they will toss the card with $1.95 on it.  (3-8-13)

The card to the above was found sitting
 on top of the scanner box.  It had $7.25 on it
So next week the MTA will start charging $1 if you need a new card.  I really don't think I will find any less.  People leave $45 cards on top of the MVMs because they are careless, not because they don't care about the money.  So instead of finding a lot of  $1.70 card I will find a lot of  50 cent cards.  (3-1-13)

The other day I watched a guy freak out as he was trying to swipe his way onto the subway.  He kept swiping cards and  could not get in.  He slammed a pile of cards on top of a payphone and stored over the the machine and bought a Single Ride.  After he went through the turnstile I check the value on those cards.  They added up to over $20, mostly $1.70 cards and a few larger cards that had recently expired.  People just don't know that they can go over to the booth and get them combined. (12-25-11)

Now the bonus is 7%.   $10 gets you $10.70 and the fare is $2.25.  But, 4 trips is $9.  With $1.70 left our the card there is no extra ride when someone buys a $10.00 card.  Since 2011 started I have been finding cards with $1.70 on them for every one that used to have a nickel on it.

In the sidebar of this Blog I list the sum of the value of the MetroCards that I find. If I find 5 or 10 cents in a given day I don't post it, I wait till it adds up to something worth typing.

I would like to point out that I believe that every MetroCard that I find was lost by somebody. They were not put there for me to find. On more than one occasion I found some valuable cards (Transit Check Gold) and moments after I scanned it at the reader I saw a desperate individual looking at the ground in a subway station. Asking that person if they lost their MetroCard and returning it to them was more satisfying that riding for free for the rest of the month.

I think the design of the MetroCard lends itself to getting drooped. It is the thinnest thing in your picket. If you keep it with your cash or keys it can slide out without being noticed. I would urge everyone who uses a MetroCard to use a MetroCard holder of some sort.

That said; finding value on MetroCards is like winning at gambling without the risk of loosing your own money.

If you are interested in doing this either for sport, competition or to save money or to supplement your income; here is some advice.
  • The further you are from the subway the more likely the card has value on it. The highest value cards that I have found have been in on the Brooklyn Bridge, on the courses of races, in the middle of intersections, in supermarkets, parks, etc. These were not drooped by careless litter bugs. Nobody would walk to the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge just to flick their MetroCard onto the sidewalk. It was dropped by somebody pulling their camera out of their pocket. So if you see a MetroCard in a place having nothing to do with the MTA, pick it up.
  • The cards just inside the turn-style are not worth picking up. I have seen countless slobs swipe their MetroCard with one fair left on it and drop it like they drop everything they have no more use for.In a subway station don't just look at the MetroCard Reader. Look on top of the MetroCard Vending machines. Look in the cracks in the vending machine. Look on the little shelf on the front of the "token booth". Especially the stations that do not have anybody working in them; the burgundy stations
  • Most of the cards I find in the subways station have 5 cents on them but many have $1.50 or some other amount under the subway fare. But like the lottery slogan, "Ya never know" sometimes there is $20 or more just sitting there waiting to be pickup. The upcoming increase in fare will obviously improve the quantity of cards with left over fare on them.
  • Many of the cards I find with more then $10 or $20 on them are "expired" I don't think many people know that you can exchange them for a new one
  • Follow the instructions on the card reader. If it says "Please Swipe Again", do it, just 2 or 3 times, then put it in the trash. If it says "See Agent" do that, but first try it again another day. That card probably has some value on it.
  • When it comes to combining MetroCards, don't over burden the "token clerk". It might be their job to combing MetroCards into a usable amount but some evoke unwritten "I can only combine 4 or 5 rule". Some have refused to help me at all because they said they have been on the ground. One clerk even told me her machine did not combine cards. I would not advise arguing with these people. They work in a bulletproof booth and it is an extra felony to "assault" them. They also have a pretty crappy job, there is no point in giving them a hard time.
  • If you look at the rest of my blog, you will see that I am a marathon runner. I run a lot. When I run, I make a point of passing through subway stations (I get some stair training). Also loops around Prospect Park can be a little repetitive. A larger loop can include many subway stations. The F train: Prospect Park and 7th Ave, the Q/B Train Parkside, Prospect Park and 7th Ave and the 2/3 Train Grand Army Plaza and Eastern Pky/Brooklyn Museum.
I once found a Transit Check Gold MetroCard. It worked for 3 and a half months. The original owner did not tell their payroll manager it was lost. But most of the monthly MetroCards I found did not work for as long as they should. The original owner contacted the MTA and reported it lost. They got a prorated refund. I was kinda glad.

Whenever I find a student MetroCard or a Senior/Disabled Card I hand it to the "token clerk". They are issued to specific individuals and it is against the law to use them.

Karma works both ways. If I ever see someone looking for a "swipe" to get them on the train, I always give them one. Also, I befriended a man in my neighborhood of little means (I don't believe he his homeless). We started talking about all the things that can be found. I told him I find lots of MetroCards. He did not even know what they were, he has not ridden mass transit in years he said. Now he picks up MetroCards and keeps them in his picket till he sees me. I do not give him the value on them. I give him 10 times the value on them or $10, whichever is greater.

I asked this question to the MTA:

Customer (******* ****) - 05/06/2009 12:18 PM
I read in the news that a man was sentences to jail time for bending metrocards.

Are there any regulations against

1. Picking up discarded metrocards from the floor of a subway station or on the top of the metrocard testing machine?
2. Asking the booth attendant to combine them into a usable amount?
3. Using them for personal use?
4. Giving them to a friend or family?

This was the response I got:

Response (Melissa Glasgow) - 05/06/2009 03:21 PM
This is in response to your recent e-mail message to MTA New York City Transit regarding MetroCard.

As you may know, you may have uneven balances of several Pay-Per-Ride cards (that you have previously purchased and hold primary ownership of) moved to 1 card at the service booth of any one of our stations. You may only process 5 cards at a time (four old+ the one that the remaining values are being transferred to). This limitation exists to prevent fraudulent activity. You may also send your MetroCards to MetroCard, 2 Broadway, Room B11.59, New York, NY 10004. Due to fraudulent activity at our MVMs, this transaction/feature was removed from our MVMs, several years ago.

However, under the circumstances you have described, the station agent has the discretion to refuse to perform the transaction and summon NYPD Transit assistance, if he/she suspects fraudulent activity at our booths and/or turnstiles.

Thank you for having taken the time to contact us.

I asked what law I would be violating. The responded by telling me to submit a Freedom of Information Act request:

This is in response to your recent e-mail to MTA New York City Transit requesting information regarding the MetroCard tariff and the laws surrounding it.

Please be advised that the information you seek may be available under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). You must submit an electronic FOIL request to the appropriate MTA agency via the FOIL request page on the MTA website. If you send an electronic FOIL request in any other way or to the wrong agency, you will not receive the records you are seeking. You may submit an electronic FOIL request at Be sure to select the appropriate MTA agency. Otherwise you may contact MUNY directly to investigate the feasibility if your request -

We hope this information is helpful and thank you for having taken the time to contact us.

Melissa Glasgow
Associate Staff Analyst

See more information in ,Yelp and The New York Post has an article about a women who finds cards. The New York times has a story about Single Ride Cards and refills. AM New York says the MTA is budgiting $48 Million in extra money from lost and unused MetroCards.  The Daily News thinks this is news.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Baseball just did it

Baseball started the other's not that important to me. But it seems to make a lot of people happy. I think there's a lot of things we got to figure out that are more important like schools, but that's another subject.
I only really noticed cuz it made the news when players took a knee and Doctor Fauci threw out the first ball. And it was important to some of my friends.  Baseball came back in a much different way. Some different rules and a different way to spectate.
But my sport is running. I participated as an athlete and as a race organizer and official. We have all been thinking about the New York City marathon. This year's  race was canceled and it was supposed to be the golden anniversary of the event that was an extra big deal. I was thinking maybe there could be something. Something different and something wonderful.
Maybe on November 1st there could be a 26.2 mile race entirely in Central Park. It definitely wouldn't be the first time that would happen. 
That's how the first few New York City marathons happened back in the 70s. Until the
Runners in the first New York City Marathon turn onto Park Drive in Central Park, 1970. (Ruth Orkin/Ruth Orkin Photo Archive)
Runners in the first New York City
Marathon turn onto Park Drive in
Central Park, 1970.
(Ruth Orkin/Ruth Orkin Photo Archive)

 bicentennial the race happened entirely in Central Park.  Undoubtedly, running a
 point-to-point 5 boro 26.2 mile race in New York City with literally millions of spectators cheering for you is glorious, (I've finished it 20 times!) But, there is nothing wrong with a marathon that has repeating loops if you want to find out how fast you can run.   My fastest marathon was on a 1-mile loop. I have finished the New York City marathon tune-up race over 20 times, it's three full loops of Central Park. In 2012 I finished five full marathons. My fastest was the course of the Brooklyn Marathon it was eight Loops of Prospect Park. I did it alone when the New York City Marathon should have happened because Sandy canceled it. I honestly don't think the people who win world class marathons are looking at the scenery.  
This reminds me of a true story.  About 25 years ago I was running a summer evening race in Prospect Park. They were probably about 50 participants. I knew most of them. At the finish I said to one of my buddies, " did you see the fog on the lake?" he replied that he was running too hard to notice the fog.  The winner happened to be standing right next to me he looked at me and shrugged ,"There's a lake?

Putting on a marathon in Central Park is definitely still doable. It's one of the last things I helped do before Guillain-Barre Syndrome took my motor nerves away.  I'm really proud of my work with NYCRUNS  I think we did a really good thing. It was a challenging course. A few hundred runners had a really good time running a marathon entirely in Central Park that day. 

So a gigantic 55,000 person, point to point, New York City Marathon cannot happen on November 3rd 2020. We can't have tens of thousands of people converging on New York City. We can't have them I'll pick up that bibs some sort of Expo. We all can't go to the starting line together. We can't run. We can't be given water. We can't celebrate at the finish line. And two million people can't cheer for us. It can't be New York City's greatest day of the year.

Or Can it?

On November 3rd the Road Runners Club could put on a marathon completely in Central Park for elite athletes only. This will not bring tens of thousands of people into New York City.  It will not create a temporary town on the  Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge and millions of people will not line the sidewalks to get to see me run by. It can still be New York City's greatest day. We all might have a socially distanced watch party that could be great.

  • The park can be closed to spectators.
  • Elite athletes provide their own hydration stations anyway.
  • Maybe, maybe have some VIP spectator seating
  • Actually have races all day. The handcycles would start at dawn and each gender could / should have a separate start. One race will not start until the previous one ends. Not a staggered start. Staggered races.
  • This could broadcast live on a sports channel all day long and then in primetime there could be a 2-hour TV show selling it all up on a major Network

Hey, I'm not going to get into the Road Runners Club business but the ad revenue here can be enormous.  The sponsors might still show up. They might still have to show up. 

And I know it's not so simple. There's a billion more logistical issues, but this is what I would love to see happen,

And maybe while The Park is closed anyway, the day before there can be a marathon for some special people. I know some special people. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Race report: Hope and Possibility virtual 10 miler

Actually been training for this for a while. Years a while. Wanted to see how far I could run, comfortably.  And I was pretty happy that I found out I could run for 10 miles.  It took me 3 hours and 40 minutes. That's 220 minutes or 22 minutes per mile. Not much faster than my old Pace when I used to walk but I was running. And it was 12 Loops of a marine park.  I hit my watch on each lap and very definitely had a negative split. I started at 6:30 in the morning so I finished before it got too hot. I also stopped at the  same water fountain on each lap (except when a bunch of dirtbags softball players were hovering around it without any masks. Then I just went to the next fountain).

My friend Larry met me when I was about halfway through the 10-miler ncluding the one to the right.

After the run Larry and I did what we usually do. We stopped at McDonald's and then he dropped me off at my mother-in-law's house. She's been kind of hunkered down with corona and all but since I was pooped I had no problem channel surfing with her and we wound up watching the original Rocky movie almost from the beginning.
I was really really excited to see that scene where he goes for a run for the second time in the movie. Where he's in better shape and runs all over Philadelphia and then sprints up the stairs of the Art Museum.  It made me realize that you humanatee can be divided into two groups. Those that can appreciate that scene and those that don't. After having a successful 10 mile run in the morning I'm so glad that I got to see that scene again. I'm sure Sylvester Stallone must have had at least one good run in his life before making Rocky because it translated that onto film.  Stallone definitely captured the joy of success and strength and freedom that comes with running and the ability it comes with it being able to run up a flight of stairs. 
I was interviewed a while ago and was asked to describe how it feels to run. Believe it or not I was speechless. I had something to say but I didn't want to say it. " Didn't you see the movie, ROCKY?!"
I am glad to be able to say that I actually did run up those stairs after running a half marathon. And then I literally had to wait on line to stand in that spot to gaze out at Philadelphia. Their Footprints of Keds in the size that Rocky would have been wearing in that very spot right now.

So maybe virtual  races are not all that bad. They don't provide the herd that I've always relied on in a race. But it's great to have a goal. And it's great to have a sense of accomplishment.

 10 miles at a comfortable pace with negative splits ✔

Thinking about it I'm reminded that the Achilles running club is about accomplishments. This virtual race pushed me to accomplish the goal. It got me out there at 6:30 in the morning so I can run 10 miles. I wanted to find out what I was made of and I'm glad I found out.  There are other organizations that help athletes with disabilities, but they are busy  busy helping disabled athletes only compete against each other. I'm so glad there is Achilles to help athletes with disabilities compete against all athletes. I might be slow but my teammates from the Prospect Park Track Club showed up and showed me on knowing that my effort and accomplishment wasn't diminished by my lack of speed. Thanks everybody..

I'm not done checking things off my list yet and I'm glad I'll help help getting there and teams to cheer for me


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