Friday, September 26, 2003

Another week down. Got back from Atlanta today after a quick two-day trip. It was productive from a work standpoint. Didn't do much else, although what I did see of Decatur was pretty nice. I certainly liked it a lot more than I liked downtown Atlanta, where I stayed a year ago.

Hockey was good on Tuesday. We had a contingent of guys from Quincy who played the last few years, but who this year aren't playing, and it seems to have picked everyone else's game up. Two of them are twins who just dominated the games, but now the rest of us get the puck a lot more and it's more fun. We were wondering if anyone would score when after the first 20 minutes it was a scoreless tie, but I actually popped in the first goal of the year. I got another later on, plus an assist, and we won 8-3. One drawback is last year the kid who worked at the rink let us play for an extra 20 to 45 minutes every week. The dink working there now rung that buzzer right at 10:50. Although it wasn't totally a bad thing, since I had to get up at 5:15 the next morning to go to the airport.

Carlos Delgado hit four homers last night. Awesome.

Well, gotta get up early and run 20 miles tomorrow. I've got that run and a 22-miler next weekend, and then I start winding things down before the marathon. It'll be here before I know it.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Hey. Today was a hot one, with temps in the mid-80s. Of course, it was also the day I ran a 30k (18.6 miles) race. Same thing happened last year when I ran it. Every time I ran during the week, it was in the morning and it was cool and comfortable. Today was tough. I brought water and paced myself better than last year, but the heat definitely got to me by the last few miles. Walked a bunch. I finished in 2:47, 10 minutes slower than last year, when I started out way too fast and staggered in at the end. I was pretty woozy today after I got done, but it was nothing serious. I basically looked at it as another long run in my marathon training. It didn't help that the race started at 10, meaning it finished at the hottest time of day. If they started it at 8, it would have been much better. But whatever, it's over now.

So tomorrow I turn 36. Pretty weird. Honestly, I don't feel that old. I wouldn't look that old if it wasn't for the gray hair, but even then I don't think I look that old. Physically, I feel like I'm in my late 20s. That's gotta count for something, right?

Getting psyched to start playing ice hockey again next week. I always look forward to those Tuesday nights, even though it means getting home at midnight.

Got together with my old co-workers from Webnoize the other night in Cambridge. We had been talking about it for a while and finally just decided Thursday was a good night. Always an entertaining time, sharing war stories about the old days in the dot-bomb world. We're planning to get together again in mid-November to mark the second anniversary of Black Friday, the day we all got laid off. I had already given my two weeks' notice at that point to return to HCPro, and was at the end of the first week, so obviously it didn't hit me as hard as the others. But it was still pretty damn strange. The company ended up keeping going for another few weeks with a skeleton staff before giving up the ghost in December '01. At first, they said they'd be re-launching the site in early '02 when they got some funding, but they never got the funding and haven't been heard from since. Another case of a good idea that fell victim to poor management. Oh well, as the French say, what the hell.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Word up. Let's see, it's been a few days again. Lots of stuff going on. Roy Halladay just won his 21st game of the season with another shutout. I don't want to jinx him, but the man's looking good for the AL Cy Young. The Leafs kicked off the NHL preseason in Finland yesterday with a nice win over Jokerit, a Finnish pro team, but in typical fashion, they've already got a bunch of injured guys. I watched the first period on tape delay on NHL.com; that InterWeb thingie's got a future. Deb and I went to the Sox game last night against Tampa Bay. I got free tickets from work. It was my first game at Fenway in two years, since Cal Ripken's last appearance in Boston. Last year, I was busy with the new baby and then later in the season was kind of annoyed by all the strike talk, so I never bought any tickets. This year, I didn't try again, but tickets were hard to come by because the Sox have been doing so well. The seats were pretty good in the grandstand behind home plate. Pedro Martinez pitched well and the Sox won 3-2, although we left early to beat the crowd to the subway. As is typical, we had this annoying bozo behind us who thought he was hilarious, telling bad jokes throughout the game ("Hey, Marlon Anderson is on the wrong team. He should be on the Marlins. Get it?"). Ugh. It was all I could do to keep from turning around and telling him to shut the fuck up. Other than that, though, it was a good time.

We had a new fence installed yesterday. Our old one was falling apart because the dimwit who used to live here never treated the wood when he installed the damn thing seven years ago. We also replaced the fence behind our house, which actually belonged to the senile old lady who lives behind us, but was leaning into our backyard. We got permission from her daughters to replace it. The new fence is pretty sweet, and it has gates on either side where the driveways start. We can finally let Hannah play in the backyard. Well, there's still the matter of all the dogshit that my mother-in-law's dog deposits on a daily basis, but somehow never gets picked up. Well, you don't expect me to do it, do you? Anyway, that's another issue entirely. Suffice it to say, we'll put in new grass back there when there no more poop production, which could be in the next year or two. The next big project is having our gravel driveways paved over before the winter hits.

Hurricane Isabel is all over the news as it prepares to hit the East Coast. I think all we're supposed to get up here is a bunch of rain on Friday, but the Carolinas are preparing to get whacked.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Ah, Saturday morning. It's 10 a.m. and the day is full of possibilities. Not to mention the fact I already got out and ran 17 miles. It's nice to have that out of the way early. Felt pretty good today--my calf didn't bother me at all and I ran pretty fast. My buddy Matt joined me for 10 miles of the run. Six weeks to the NYC Marathon and I'm feeling good.

So yesterday was pretty cool. Skipped out of work early to join Deb at her doctor's appointment. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time, which is always an intense experience. That little sucker was beating fast, too, at 148 bpm.

From there, we headed to the FleetBoston Pavilion (the venue formerly known as Harborlights) to see Guster, a mostly acoustic pop trio that Deb's been a big fan of for years. I got her the tickets for our anniversary, which was in July. Guster's not really my cup of rock, but I don't mind them. They write decent songs. We saw them there three years ago, right after we got back from our honeymoon. Last night's show was pretty good, although we froze our butts off. Down on the water, the temps dropped down into the low 50s, so my shorts didn't offer much protection from the steady breeze blowing through the place. Of course, that didn't deter the vast majority of the audience, which consisted of females aged 16-23. Most of them were wearing the low-cut jeans and the high-cut t-shirts, which led to another new fashion phenomenon: a preponderance of back fat. While a lot of the girls were pretty damn skinny, others appeared to have shoehorned themselves into impossibly tight jeans and equally tight tops, forcing the exposed midsection flesh to be pushed out at the sides. Not overly attractive. Needless to say, Deb and I felt pretty old at the show, although not as old as the parents who escorted their kids to the show. Damn, I hope Hannah doesn't like too many crappy bands when she's in her teens, because guess who gets to take her?

Lots of celebrity deaths these days. In the last five days, we've lost Warren Zevon, Johnny Cash and John Ritter. While the only Zevon album I have is the Hindu Love Gods side project he did with the boys from REM, and the only Cash album I have is the first one he did with Rick Rubin, certainly both men were formidable talents. Especially the Man in Black. Zevon and Cash had both been very ill for a while, so their deaths weren't surprising, but still sad nonetheless.

As for John Ritter, I grew up watching "Three's Company" reruns--he was a talented and supremely silly physical comedian, and even had some good roles in recent years in "Sling Blade" and on other shows. The scariest part of his death was the sudden nature of it--out of nowhere he had an aneurysm at age 54. Yikes.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Hard to believe it's been two years since the September 11 attacks. I was working at Webnoize in Cambridge. We were all settled in for a day's work, when at about 8:50, Ric Dube comes over and says, "I think something just happened in New York." He was listening to Howard Stern as he does every day, and in the middle of a typical discussion about Pamela Anderson's boobs, they just stopped. Turns out they had a perfect view of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. So we switched from WMBR, the MIT station that we usually listened to in the mornings, to WBZ and sure enough, they were reporting that a plane hit the tower. Not long after, another plane hit and we knew this was more than just a messed-up accident. I sent Deb an email at school about it, and it turns out that was the first she'd heard about it.

And of course, everything unfolded from there. Our boss Tom had a cable-less TV in his office, so we were watching ABC when the towers fell. Even in fuzzy black and white, it was one of the most disturbing things I had ever seen live. Being an online publication, we were of course trying to get as much information as we could from sites like CNN.com, but Web traffic was overflowing at that time, as you can imagine. The irony was not lost on us, as we continued to listen to the AM radio for our information. Then we heard about Washington, and Pennsylvania, and speculated amongst ourselves that maybe something would happen on the West Coast later in the day. I was supposed to do an interview that afternoon with a guy at some dotcom out in LA; he called to reschedule and I asked him what the mood was like out there. Kind of a mixture of fear and uncertainty. Everything was happening so fast. They sent us home around noon, so I took the subway to North Station to catch a train back to Beverly. It was like rush hour. The place was packed like it was when I usually arrived there at 6:30 p.m. every day. I was waiting for the next train to Beverly when I saw a guy I play hockey with, so we hung out talking about how messed up everything was. I got back to Beverly around 2 and just started walking home; usually Deb would pick me up but I wasn't sure she was home and I didn't know when I would arrive. It's about a half-hour walk and about halfway there, Deb's mom Susan drove up and picked me up. I had left a voice mail at home when I left the office, so Deb (who wasn't home yet) got it and called her mom to see if she could find me. I spent the rest of the night like everyone else, glued to the tube for the latest. They were showing all the different footage of the planes hitting the towers and no matter how many times I saw it, I had to watch it again. It was just so unbelievable. It was tough for Deb and me, because we had just found out Deb was pregnant and we wondered what kind of fucked-up world we were bringing a child into.

The next day, I went to work because what the hell else was I going to do? Everything was really somber and low-key. I went to the gym and there were the usual 5:30 a.m. workout freaks there like myself, going through the motions. It was comforting, really, to do that. Walking from the train to work, I started feeling really conscious about being Indian, not knowing if people were looking at me differently because I wasn't white, because I looked a little like the terrorists. I even came up with a snappy reply if someone confronted me on it, but of course, nobody did. I did hear some horror stories about idiots attacking Sikhs and other south Asians in misguided revenge attempts, but fortunately I never dealt with anything overt like that. It was definitely a strange time to be an American, and an even stranger time to be an American who looked like me. Soon, a jingoistic fervor began whipping up, people driving down the street with huge flags in their trucks and the like, which also made me uncomfortable. I've never been the type to start chanting "USA, USA" at the Olympics or something. I love this country and never want to leave it, but blind faith in a flag is never a good idea for anyone.

Anyway, enough reflections for one day. How 'bout that Roy Halladay? He won his 20th game today for the Jays. Can you say Cy Young? And the Leafs signed Joe Nieuwendyk last night, which was a decent move. Now they need some defensive help.

All right, I'm done with the typing already. Later.

Monday, September 08, 2003

It's been about five days, but what can I say? The weather around here has been too damn nice lately. Had a busy weekend. On Friday, my softball team promptly lost our big game, ending our playoff chances. Not that we would have gone far anyway, but it would have been nice. Still, we came back on Saturday and swept a doubleheader to finish 11-15. We need to get a few good female players next year.

Managed to get 17 miles in over the weekend, although not in one day. Five on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. I didn't have time to do more for a long run because we went to a christening of a friend's baby boy. Actually, I sat in the car and read the Globe sports page because Hannah was fast asleep; that was fine by me. Deb said just like the last christening we attended at that church, the priest passed the collection plate around twice. Then it was back to the house where there were kids everywhere. Fortunately, Steve and Tammy have a huge yard and a sweet playground set, so we kept Hannah busy.

Lately I've been listening to Sloan's new album, Action Pact, a lot. It's excellent, chock full of riff rockers and catchy mid-tempo pop; not so much of the wussy stuff they had on the last album. Although I would have liked some of drummer Andrew Scott's off-kilter psychedelic tunes, which serve as a nice counterpoint to their power pop standards. But he stuck to just playing drums this time because he and his wife just had a kid. I'll cut the dude some slack. I can relate. I picked up the disc while in Toronto and it's a good thing I did, because they haven't secured U.S. distribution yet. Too bad. It's way better than the crap that gets played on MTV like Good Charlotte; I loved Chris Rock's line after their performance on the VMAs a few weeks back: "Good Charlotte? More like Mediocre Green Day."

Doug Gilmour retired today after 20 years in the NHL. He was an ornery little bastard not much bigger than me, but in his prime 10 years ago, he was arguably the best player pound for pound in the league. I got to see his last game, which was his first back in a Leafs uniform last year; he played about five minutes before a freak collision demolished his knee. Well done, Killer. I still wear my Gilmour Leafs jersey with pride.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Holy crap, it's September! Where did the summer go? Speaking of which, softball season is winding down. We played our last work game tonight. We've been playing in Salem against a team of locals that practices every Wednesday night. At first, they were kicking our butt because they're pretty serious in their baseball uniforms and don't let women play, while we let anyone play regardless of ability or gender, and we eat and drink copious amounts of pizza and beer. As the season went on, we got better. Tonight, we only had nine players on each team, but we kicked their arses, 21-10. Nice way to end the season. I absolutely croaked a home run; it helps that there's no fence and that if you hit past an outfielder, it just keeps going. This coming weekend, my coed team has three makeup games to play. We need to win them all to make the playoffs. Should be fun.