Neuralink and the future of us

So there is this great article that has been going around the social-sphere all day about Neuralink, a new Elon Musk venture that aims to basically melt computers into our brains so that we can download and upload thoughts the same way computers do. What’s more is that the way we’ll do this is by implanting electrodes in our brains. Then, just like computers, we’ll be able to send each other information, or pull it from some database of information.

So here is a conversation that will probably happen in the Neuralink-future:

6:00:00 p.m. (person 1): Have you heard the new Kendrick Lamar album? It’s FIYA!

6:00:15 p.m. (person 2): No, but hold on let me download it to my brain.

6:00:20 p.m. (person 2): Holy shit I just listened to the whole thing because my brain is a computer. However, I can’t determine whether or not I enjoyed it because my brain is a computer.

As that happens, Keanu Reeves will be in your brain shooting bad guy viruses and dodging bullets.

Keanu

Yes… yes I am.

I can’t make up my mind on how I feel about this. I mean, one side of my brain thinks that humanity (I’ve written this before BTW) is destined for a cross between WALL-E and Idiocracy. I basically see a world where we live in chairs and drink nutrient-dense Big-Gulps and robots follow us around and keep us alive.

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The other half of my brain thinks that we can use the technology Neuralink is trying to develop and solve all of the issues humanity faces. The initial goal is to cure brain injuries in humans brought about by stroke, cancer lesions, etc. Beyond that, it’s not hard to imagine this technology solving things like illiteracy, or even monitoring the entire body for any signs of cancer and self-fixing anything at a cellular level before it spreads.

I remember reading an article a few years ago about some Nobel prize winning scientist who was on his deathbed and saying his greatest regret was that he wouldn’t be able to see how far the field of medicine would go in the next 25 years. I think the arc of humanity has seen such a rush of ideas in the last 50 years in regards to technology. I mean, from 4,000,000 B.C.-1900, we basically made fire and figured out how to put that inside a metal box and make things move. Then, fast forward 70 years, and we learned how to fly, played golf on the moon, and sent live video from one side of the globe to the other in real time. Fast forward another 50 years, and we can share information instantly with the entire world through computers, cured just about every single disease known to human existence, and even taught the human body to eat 73 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

What I’m getting at is that technology is exciting and it’s generally good for mankind, but at what point are we going to design ourselves out of existence? That article I linked to at the beginning of this rant talks about how humans got to the top of the food chain because we are the first and only species to think complex thoughts. If computers can do that a million times faster and more efficiently than we can, where do we stack up in the pecking order?

I guess to wrap it all up, I feel more excited than not about what we are doing with Neuralink and I hope Elon Musk figures it out. Rumor has it, he’s a pretty smart guy so I’d give him a fighter’s chance. I think as long as we figure out how to use technology to enhance our existence rather than replace it, we should try and push things as far as we can. I just hope that we figure it out before the Terminators come.

5,000 feet, 48 ounces, 9.5 minutes and the destiny that awaits on the other side

Close your eyes. No wait, that isn’t going to work…

Imagine looking out over the ocean at sunrise. You’re the only person on the beach, and in front of you, the darkness begins to shift from black to grey, slowly morphing into deep shades of purple and orange. The waves roll slowly toward you, but are as quiet as the absence of sea gulls that are still sleeping off last night’s storm. The air is cool but comfortable, and you squint your eyes ever so slightly as the first hint of sun peaks above the horizon and bleeds out over the sky.

Are you there?

I am standing 5,000 feet away from that moment and a year’s worth of sweat and grit say that I will have it again…soon.

#BeerMile2017

Of course, I am talking about running a mile, drinking four beers, and doing it in less than nine minutes and twenty-six seconds. #BeerMile2017

Completing the beer mile is one of those moments in life that take your breath away and remind you what it is to feel. It is to be both everywhere and nowhere and I can only imagine it being equaled by climbing Everest or stepping foot on the moon.

Last year, in Destin, FL, I successfully ran my first beer mile (#BeerMile2016). But, like most dreams realized, my desire for bigger, better, faster consumed me and I could hardly eat that next year, my mind racing at the thought of chasing that dragon again.

As it was then will be again. I did not discover this dream alone. My cousin, Chris, also ran the inaugural beer mile with me, and my brother Tyler was there to document the action. Expect the documentary to debut at Sundance in the next year or two.

To recap — to successfully complete the beer mile, you begin by drinking one 12 oz. beer, and then run a 1/4 mile. You repeat this activity three more times. The goal is to complete all required “activity” in the least amount of time possible, all the while doing your best to keep all that goes in you…in you (if you catch my drift).

On a crisp Spring morning, we found ourselves on the battlefield that was the jogging path that ran past Pompano Joe’s, parallel to the Gulf. It was a field fit for kings. Nine and a half minutes is what I posted last year. Chris, despite a few “reversals of fortune” along the way, finished somewhere in the 20+ minute range.

I do believe that Chris and I both will be more ready for this year’s quest, which will take place in Siesta Key, FL, in just over a week. I can close my eyes and picture the sun rising, but until I am staring down that mile, I can’t feel the stillness or hear the vacuum of that moment.

Tyler will again be there and will again document the activity. Due to the overwhelming curiosity and commotion around last year’s beer mile, I do expect a 200-400% increase in spectators this year.

OK, pretend to close your eyes again…

Find that beach again. Now the sun has risen and people are beginning to crowd around you on the beach. The seagulls are prattling above and the waves cascade and recoil back from the busy beach.

Deep breath.

As the memory of the ocean settles into the sands of your mind, remember how it felt to own a moment all to yourself before the world stepped in. That is where I’ll be, running the wake of a dream, 5,000 feet and 9.5 minutes from eternity.

#BeerMile2017

 

Golden advice from a dental assistant that changed my life

Sometimes people give you advice that is meant to get out of a rut in life. “Keep your chin up,” “persistence pays off,” or “when life hands you lemons…” This kind of advice is solid, but it is more of an overarching, catchall-type thing you say to someone when you don’t have any specific advice for a specific problem they have.

Such was not the case in regards to the advice I unexpectedly got from the woman who gets in there before the dentist and does most of the grunt work (ie – the real hero in the dental office [even though she was going HAM on my teeth with the scraper thing, but I digress]).

After the plaque-scraping-around-my-gums fun was over, she began to polish my teeth, and began to tell me that I had “two internal fractures” in one of my front teeth. She gave me a mirror and pointed them out. Sure enough, two little horizontal lines were streaking across my front tooth like tiny rivers on a little white map.

My first thought was “how am I going to fix this? Do I need a tooth cast? Will my tooth just break off when I am eating breakfast?” But then, my 50-something dental assistant began giving me some of the best advice I would never have thought to ask for.

Keep in mind, there was no joking around when she gave me this advice — in her mind, this was info I might not have otherwise thought of, and should take seriously to protect my fractured tooth.

She told me that I should try to avoid getting hit in the face, specifically in the mouth. She told me that if I were ice skating and should fall on the ice, that I should NOT allow myself to fall without bracing myself and landing directly on my face. I should instead put my hands up, or better yet, put my hands up and turn my head so that I would not absorb the impact directly on my mouth.

While she’s telling me this, she is polishing, spraying water in my mouth and using the little water vacuum to pull it right back out, rendering me unable to ask any follow up questions regarding a potential ice skating incident that may or may not be in my short term future. Before I could say anything, she thought the need to elaborate on other situations where I might be in danger, and without a plan to protect my tooth.

She cautioned me to be wary of, and I am going to throw this one in quotes because you’d think I were exaggerating otherwise, “parties where people are swinging around beer bottles and you might get hit in the face.”

This woman is cautioning me about not being at parties where people opening swing beer bottles around at face-level. Parties where everyone is playing whack your neighbor in the hip with your beer bottle, sure we’ve all been there, but I can’t imagine a party where you need to be worried about getting hit in the face with a beer bottle! I mean, I’m glad I canceled my Pete Townshend themed Edward 40-Hands birthday party this year, right?

And she was dead serious. Mind you, I went to the dentist at 11:20 on a Wednesday. It wasn’t like I got the 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and I came straight from the rav. I was wearing slacks and a collar shirt. Granted, I’m sure there are some white collar workers who like to turn it up on the weekends, but the advice still felt a little out there.

She did go on in regards to the swinging beer bottle parties I might attend… Like the ice rink, if I were to see someone swinging a bottle that was going to hit me in the face, I should (and I swear to god this happened, she stopping cleaning my teeth to demonstrate this) I should turn my head (she did this) and put my hands up to block that beer bottle (she did this).

So here I sat, mouth full of fluoride and spit, watching this 50-something woman turn and block an invisible beer bottle with cleaning tools in her hands. This was, needless to say, not the last piece of advice I thought I would get as I finished up at the dentist. Let’s handicap this — before I went in yesterday, if someone gave me 1,000,000:1 odds that the last piece of advice I’d get before leaving wouldn’t be “floss more” or “make sure you wear your night guard,” but instead “protect your face from swinging beer bottles,” I would not have given you the dollar that would have won me a million.

People say you learn something new everyday — that’s one of those blanket-phrase pieces of advice that you take with a grain of salt and forget about as soon as you hear it. However, yesterday, from the unlikeliest of sources, I learned one of the most valuable lessons I don’t know that I’ll ever forget.

You can only have three hobbies…

Everybody needs three hobbies – one that makes them money, one that keeps them in shape, and one that keeps them creative.

I read this the other day and it kind of struck a chord in me because I’ve always been the guy who tried a little of everything (you should see my plate at Thanksgiving… literally a little of everything!). The thought of only three hobbies is a hard thing to wrap my head around because I spend more time thinking about the things I’d be giving up than I would those things that I would hold on to and keep in my life.

How do I choose between running and Crossfit? One is good for my soul, while the other is giving me some semblance of abs (only visible in the mornings after I dehydrate myself with alcohol the night before).  Likewise, how do I choose between playing guitar and blogging. One is good for my soul, while….well you get the point.

On the other hand, none of my hobbies make me any money, and I would love to begin pouring some of my energy into something that might help me accumulate wealth one day. Everything I have ever done, from marathon training to learning guitar has either taken time or money (usually both) and I never see a return if I look at it like an investment, which it is if you think about it.

Then again, I don’t want my life to be joyless, where every decision I make has to have a dollar sign attached or take me one step closer to something. I think the one thing I’ve always held on to about myself is that most things I do, I do because they make me happy. I think I am done getting tattoos, but if I did ever get another one, it would either be a wedding ring tattoo (unrelated) or something that said “do what makes you happy.”

I think what works for me is to kind of make some creative, executive decisions. For example, instead of choosing between running and crossfit, I can say that the hobby that keeps me in shape is “racing.” Racing requires endurance and cross training, so I can kind of bundle a few things into one larger umbrella of a hobby.

With that being said, these would be my three hobbies that will make me money, keep me in shape, and keep me creative.

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One that makes me money…

Sweat Local Columbus – my wife and I have this really cool thing, and we both want to figure out a way to take this really cool thing and turn it into something that can make us a little money on the side. Who knows, maybe one day we can make a lot of money on the side. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what we can do with it and we’re still trying to figure out the best way we can make it as accessible and worthwhile to the active community in Columbus as we can.

Currently, Kelly IS Sweat Local Columbus. She is the one who has had to shoulder all the work for it and, to be honest, she is much more involved in the fitness community around Columbus than I am. She teaches spinning, knows just about every Yoga studio and instructor that teaches in Columbus, and she is the one who has been making the connections that have helped get Sweat Local Columbus off the ground.

We both know that if Sweat Local Columbus is going to grow into what we want it to be, it is going to take both of us, which means I need to step up and contribute beyond helping set up and clean up at the events we do. So, my new hobby that will make me money, even if it’s in the future and not RIGHT NOW, will be to pour my effort and energy into matching Kelly’s passion for it and see it grow.

RaR

One that keeps me in shape…

Racing – Anyone who knows me knows that this past year I found the sport of obstacle course racing. My wife and I joke about how I ever found this sport, and the truth is I don’t really know. I had done 5K’s and a few distance races since I graduated college, but nothing that wasn’t just running on flat ground for however long. Then, last February, I did a trail run (little different). Then I did a Spartan Race. Then  Kelly was out of town one Saturday, so I drove up and did a Warrior Dash. Then I talked Kelly into doing another Spartan Race with me. Somewhere along the way I qualified for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championship, so last month we drove eight hours up to Canada and I did that.

The point is, I think this is a hobby that is going to stay with me, and one that keeps me in shape. In order to train for these races, I go to Crossfit twice a week to work on my strength and cross training, and I also run twice a week or so to keep my endurance up. Kelly now wants to get a Spinning bike for the house (might be a ploy by her as a way to get me to clean the basement…jury still out on this one), which would also help with my endurance. The long and short of it is that racing, to me, can encompass all of these things but still be “one” hobby.

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One that keeps me creative…

Writing – This one is tough because I feel like if I say writing, then I should consider giving up playing guitar. But, as an executive decision maker in the Ryan Rauch brand, I will allow myself the ability to play a minimal amount (let’s be honest, that’s all I do now anyway) of guitar. But the best way I know to channel my creativity is through my writing, and I would like to develop a voice not just for myself, but be able to cultivate a voice for other brands as well.

I already blog here, you know that, but I also write blog posts for Sweat Local Columbus. They’re fine, but I was to write in a way that is more engaging with an audience. I want to be able to excite people when I write.

Last night, I was talking to Kelly about one of her favorite bloggers (slash Snap Chat follows), and she was talking about a blog post she had written recently that Kelly could relate to every word. I wish I could tell you what the subject was of the blog, but I think I’d be in trouble so I’ll leave that part out. Anyway, I don’t think anyone can really say that about my writing. I think it’s good, but it doesn’t make people say, “every word he wrote was spot on to how I feel.” As soon as I can develop THAT kind of voice, I think I’ll be at a point with my writing where I can genuinely add value to Sweat Local Columbus, or maybe even some Local Anywhere clients!

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With that said, it seems like I won’t have much room in my life for fantasy football, my dog, any sort of chores, my dream of being on the Senior PGA Tour, or anything else that doesn’t help Sweat Local Columbus, my racing career, or my writing… Then again, who doesn’t love a good dog story, and I’m sure 18 holes would improve my shoulder flexibility in a way that might help me on some obstacles.

 

Fill in the Blank: 2017 – The Year of ___

So my wife and I have been doing something fun each of the past two years, and if you read this blog, you know that 2015 was the year of concerts and 2016 was the year of Travel/Yes. We have kind of joked about 2017 being the year of “yes, continued,” but that kind of feels like cheating.

Here’s how the “Year of” works… Basically, anything you want to do within the general parameters of the word or phrase, you get to do without any (too much) fight from the other person.

Example:

Kelly: “What do you think about going up to Pittsburgh for a night, then doing a race there the next day?

Ryan: “OK. Then do you want to go up to Canada the next week for a different race?”

K: “Seems far, but sure! #YoY right?”

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I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how that conversation went down. 2016 ended up being probably the most fun year of my life. We traveled to Grand Cayman, Destin, Ireland, Pittsburgh, and Canada. Toss in a few trips up to Cleveland to see the family and probably one other weekend trip I’m forgetting about.

So 2017 has to be good. I don’t know if it will be able to top 2016, but so far, every year has been better than the one before. I know Kelly and I want to do some more races, and no less than one of us has some big plans for some house updates and projects, but we are otherwise fairly open.

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Maybe 2017 will be the year of business? Kelly and I have committed to refocusing our brands (Sweat Local Columbus, Local Anywhere) to figure out what the best way is to make those two things as successful as possible. We have had some high’s and low’s on both of those fronts, but I think we’re starting to figure out what does and doesn’t work and will attack both of those next year with more passion and purpose.

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Or maybe 2017 will be the year of fitness. I think having had a taste of what the OCR world can offer, I love the idea of (broken record word of the day) focusing my training so that I can be a better racer. I think Kelly and I are both learning a few things about better ways to eat and train so that we can be the best and healthiest versions of ourselves.

Side conversation – the other day, we had some siding coming off the side of our house. I fixed a piece of it with a ladder, but another piece was up near the top of the house and was too high for me to reach with the ladder. So I went through the bedroom window to the first level of our roof, and was able to Irish Table my way up on to the second level of our roof. I know this level of fitness doesn’t mean a whole lot, like, being able to get up on top of my roof isn’t a reason to get fit, but it makes me feel good knowing that I can. I feel like there is very little I can’t do, which in itself makes me extremely happy.

Or, maybe 2017 will be the year of something much more significant. Whatever the case, I’m open to suggestions and really hope that whatever we decide to do with this upcoming year, it’s as exciting and brings us as much joy as the year of concerts and the year of travel/yes.

Eat Better, Move More, Live Longer

I get it, self-sabotage, talking yourself into a bad habit or out of a good decision, having one more piece, not feeling it today, starting on Monday because you want to enjoy this weekend or in January after the holidays. You’re stressed, upset, tired, too this-or-that to take the time to make the right choice. I get it. I’ve said all of these things to someone at some point and I’ve told myself all of these things when I am accountable only to myself. I used to smoke cigarettes, dip, literally lock the door to my bedroom and eat entire large pizzas, after which I’d wait until the middle of the night to take the pizza box out to the garbage so no one would see that it was gone.

I used to buy pants that were way too tight at the waist because I didn’t want to accept that my waist was bigger than 36″. I used to buy all my jeans from American Eagle because their sizes ran big, and I convinced myself that I wasn’t getting any bigger so long as the number on the inside of my pants didn’t go up.

I tried Adkins diets, fat burning pills, any kind of supplement that promised to build muscle and get rid of unwanted belly fat; I would tell people that I didn’t want to workout because I wanted to slim down first before I worked out because I was afraid of looking too bulky. I was my own biggest cheerleader while at the same being my own biggest road block to transition toward a healthy and active life.

I don’t remember having any kind of “a-ha” moment where I threw away all the junk food from my cabinet or wrote a goal weight number on my wall. I do remember being fed up with flirting with being this close (thumb-index fingers nearly touching) to 5’10” and this close to 200 pounds when I graduated college. I recently read that males peak physically at 25 years old, and I laugh at the thought of me when I graduated college being at my athletic apex. Soon after I graduated, I did sign up for a half-marathon and gave a mediocre effort at “training” and changing my diet. I finished the race, but hardly made any real changes to better myself afterward.

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Then something changed. Instead of wanting to lose weight to be more attractive or date attractive people, or even to get away from all of the negative things I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror, I decided I wanted to be able to do things when I got older. I decided that I wanted to be able to play basketball with a son, daughter, or grandchild. I didn’t want to be the 50 year old guy who sits at a desk, then goes home and sits in a chair waiting for a weekend that was full of more TV. I wanted to experience everything I could in this world and not through a lens or a screen.

I think the biggest issue with weight loss is that people want to do it for the wrong reasons. People want to lose weight only when a doctor says it’s killing them or when they can’t afford blood pressure medication. There is NOTHING more important than your health, period. Your family, friends, loved ones, anyone close to you is impacted directly by the choices you make in (or more often out of) the kitchen.

I think it’s critical for anyone who is trying to lose weight or change unhealthy habits to make a decision. Either you are going to accept yourself the way you are and be OK with increased risks of heart disease, bone and joint problems, cancer, and even little things like body odor, bad breath, general fatigue, poor range of motion and lack of motor skills, OR you can decide to make changes to improve each and every single one of those things.

Being healthy is about so much more than looking good naked, but because we are so obsessed with how we look, we often times think that’s what matters and tell ourselves that life is about more than what is on the outside that counts. While that’s true, what’s on the inside is also directly effected by those choices you make regarding your body. Tell me that you can’t be equally happy, or charitable, or kind, or good natured if you felt better physically. Tell me you wouldn’t have more energy to get out and do the things that already make you a good person if you could breathe easier, stand up or sit down without any pain, or know that you’re doing everything you can to make whatever time you have left in this world better.

If you truly want to become healthier, the only things you need to do are eat better and move more. That’s it. Cut out any excuses you have. You don’t have to go from couch to marathon in 12 weeks, just move more and eat better. You’re not going to lose 20 pounds in a week like Biggest Loser contestants do when they start working out (and if you do lose that much weight, great!). Be realistic and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to lose X pounds or fit into a size whatever by a certain date. Lose weight because you want to be healthy and you will lose the weight. The biggest change you need to make is your outlook on life, and I promise with just a little bit of effort, you will meet and exceed your goals.

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5 “Stranger Things” Thoughts

The other title I had was “5 Things I Think about “Stranger Things,” but I kind of like the way my first one sounds. Anyway, last night my wife and I powered through the second half of Season One of Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen it yet, it means you don’t have Netflix. If you don’t have Netflix, it’s 2016 and costs like $15/mo. Get it so we can move on…

Moving on…oh, and SPOILER ALERTS AND SPOILERS AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION’S are in order. I’m obviously going to be talking about the show, so if you don’t want it ruined, thanks for the site hit, but it’s best you move along.

Thing One: there isn’t a bad character on the show

I was laughing with my wife while we were watching it because, during the show, she noticed I was in a “deep-though gaze.” When asked what I was thinking about, I kind of laughed because it wasn’t like I was wading into the deep-end of my mind, rather I was thinking about a Facebook poll I saw called “which ST character are you?” I didn’t take the poll, but I wish I would have now that the series is over. But the thing is, I can see myself in just about every character. The characters are bold, extremely relatable, and each has depth beyond trying to find their friend or fight the monster. Even Brenner/Papa played his role well, and while his “death” was extremely underwhelming, I read that he’ll likely be rewritten into season two. Oh it’s happening!

Thing Two: the show keeps you guessing from start to finish

Remember the movie “Signs?” Remember how good the thing was all the way up until you see the alien, and then you kind of think “well that’s kind of stupid.” Stranger Things is like the best half of “Signs” through all eight episodes. Even after you see the monster, we really don’t know much about it. Is there only one monster? Did the fire/bear trap work (didn’t seem to, but then again…)? Does the gate move around and how does it move? Are El and the monster one in the same, or how are the connected? There is a lot going on, but never really grasping what is going on keeps you excited for what’s about to come.

Thing Three: something is always going on!

There are multiple subtle storylines that play into the show as a whole extremely well. Aside from Barbara (sorry, Barb) who kind of gets killed, semi-searched for, then “meh, we don’t need to really look for Barb anymore,” there is the mystery of the DOE building and the gate, there’s the search for Will, there is who/what is El, there’s the Other Side, Hopper might be my favorite character and we learn a whole lot about him (then get thrown a whole new “what’s his role next season” kind of loop at the end of the last episode). There’s the love triangle with the sister…

Side tangent – how is cocky boyfriend going to get beat up by Will’s brother in the street, then go total bad ass on the monster and save the day?

Anyway, at all times I am watching whatever is happening on screen and thinking about two things that either just happen or are about to happen. It’s a collection of great casting, writing, and actors that really get their characters and play them perfectly.

Thing Four: it’s not like anything else we’ve seen (in a long time)

I admit that when  I watch shows or movies, I have a big part of me that wants to cast it off because it’s too much like that show or basically the same thing at this show, only they changed X for Y. There really isn’t any of that with Stranger Things. The core group of friends are great heroes (brave, funny, unbreakable bond). They have to deal with social bullies, parents who won’t believe them, the government, and the monster, all while using their brains to figure out the things that the adult world can’t. The show is both nostalgic and original at the same time, and each character (and I mean EACH of the 20 or so characters that we see for more than 5 minutes during the show) is really, really fun and entertaining.

Thing Five: I still don’t want to play Dungeons and Dragons

I wanted to throw this in there because, there is a moment at the end when Mike is the narrator for a 10 hour game of D&D, he kind of makes up this story about a six headed hydra and I have the single (SINGLE) moment that thinks that could be fun. But, in the end, I’m much happier just catching the climax and waiting for Mike and the gang gear up for season two.

CAN’T WAIT!