Monday, August 09, 2004

Auto blotto

Hola. Sorry for the gap between posts but it was a busy week. First and foremost, my car officially bit the big one. Things weren't looking good over the winter when the coolant kept leaking, but our mechanic was able to get it working again. Unfortunately, the same problem started happening again and it turns out the head gasket is cracked, which would require mucho bucks to fix it. Quite frankly, we decided it was too much. The car's a '94 Civic with 123,000 miles on it. I was hoping to get a couple more years out of it before we had to shell out for a minivan because we're still paying off the Maxima. I was only using it to go to Marblehead and back (round trip: 15 miles) every day, although there's a lot of idling involved because of the glacial crawl of traffic to and from M-head. We're not in the position to get a new car right now, especially with two kids going to daycare in the fall, which means we must get creative. I was thinking I could get a bike, but that won't work in the winter. Sooooooo....anybody got a car they don't want?

We've been through this before. Back when I was working at Webnoize, I was just using my '92 Hyundai to get to the train station and back. One blustery night in June 2000, just six weeks before we got married, a Nor'easter dropped an 800-pound tree branch on top of my car while it was parked in our driveway. Totaled the damn thing. The only thing that survived was my UNH alumni sticker, which Deb preserved in a frame with a couple of photos of the carnage. Since I was taking the train anyway, I went for a year and a half without a car to save money. It worked out okay because I was working in Cambridge and we had no kids, but once I came back to HCPro, I needed a car. And dammit, I still do.

The awful season for the Blue Jays continued yesterday as they fired manager Carlos Tosca after losing their third straight shellacking to the Yankees. Just about everything that could go wrong this year went wrong. It wasn't totally Tosca's fault, but it's always the manager who takes the fall when the team sucks. That said, he also made a lot of questionable moves with the bullpen, among other things. Well, at least I have the hockey season to look forward to--oh, crap. Go Pats! compiled a list of some of the songs playing when baseball players step up to the plate? Pretty interesting, but what's up with Jays outfielder Reed Johnson requesting William Hung's version of "She Bangs"? Dude, the whole season is your fault.

I ran the Yankee Homecoming 10-miler last week and finished in 1:22 (an 8:15 per mile pace), which I was pretty happy with. Especially considering it was in the low 80s and humid as hell out, even with the rain we got at the start of the race. I started with my buddy Matt, who has clearly surpassed me in running ability during my hiatus from serious running. Man, I was sucking wind after two miles trying to keep up with him, so I just decided to let him go on and run by myself. Eventually, I got into a good rhythm and felt a lot better and finished pretty strong, only three minutes behind Matt. Two nights later, Deb ran the Beverly Homecoming 5K
and Hannah ran her first race, a 50-yard dash for kids 2 and under. She started off going to the right before straightening out and finishing strong, staying on her feet the whole time. And she wore her race number the rest of the night. Fun stuff.

Funkateer Rick James departed this mortal coil last week. Autopsy was inconclusive on the cause of death; he died in his sleep Friday. But let's face it, the dude lived an insane life. Crack, whores, crack whores; you name it, he did it. His "Behind the Music" was epic. But he did write some good songs: "Super Freak" and "Give It To Me Baby"chief among them. Unfortunately, he was also responsible for Eddie Murphy's music career; remember "Party All the Time"? In 1990, "Super Freak" was hijacked by MC Hammer for "U Can't Touch This," and James couldn't take advantage because he was rockin' the crack pipe. He cleaned up his act in the late '90s and tried to make a comeback before having a stroke. One of the most interesting factoids is James' shortlived band with Neil Young, the Mynah Birds, which was formed in Toronto while James was AWOL from the Navy. The band broke up before recording an album because U.S. authorities came to retrieve James, leaving Young and bassist Bruce Palmer to head to L.A. to form Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills. Very cool stuff, well documented in the fascinating Neil Young bio "Shakey,"which I read last summer.

By the way, if you're into music, you've got to check out the revamped AllMusic Guide. They've really spiffed that thing up. Looks great.

Speaking of books, I'm onto "The Culture of Fear" by Barry Glassner. It was featured in "Bowling for Columbine" and looks at how the mass media overhypes various "threats" to society that people commonly fear such as road rage, violence in schools, Internet addiction. Being a former member of the media (albeit the local media), I usually bristle at the "blame the media" mentality that uninformed people often have, but in a lot of cases, I can understand it. Just look at the Boston Herald these days. I've been reading it for 15 years and it's always had a refreshing trashiness to it, but it's turning into the Weekly World News. During the DNC, it trumpeted a lead front-page story about how Kerry's daughters were throwing themselves at Ben Affleck. Based on a gossip column item. Was that really the biggest story that day? I have some good friends that are fine reporters there, but they're getting overshadowed by the circus act.

Don't you just love it when scientists try to scare the crap out of you?


jbreitling said...

Bummer about the car, dawg. If I had a spare I'd give it to you. Perhaps it is time to think about the moped? You could get a double sidecar for Baby Kumar 1.0 and 2.0. Or a Segway HT, perhaps.

Jay said...

Thanks. Yeah, it's either a moped or the homemade wings I've been working on in the lab for the last 12 years. They only work when I'm listening to Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus."

jbreitling said...

Best not to rely on wax in your wing technology, if my memory of mythology serves me well.

Jay said...

Dammit! Back to the drawing board...