Thursday, September 30, 2004

Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing

Hey. Quick post because it's late and I haven't written in a week. Just watched the first Bush-Kerry debate. I thought Kerry acquitted himself pretty well, especially considering I saw clips from an interview he did with Diane Sawyer in which he was all over the map. But he was forceful and impressive tonight. Meanwhile, Dubya kept hammering away with his talking points: "You can't lead when you give mixed messages" being one of the big ones he repeated over and over. The best part of it was watching the candidates' reactions when the other guy was ripping into him. Kerry would just have this grin/grimace on his face while he scribbled on some paper, whereas Bush would get this squinty-eyed annoyed look. It was classic. Anyway, it was nice to see an actual debate instead of the campaign trail potshots we've witnessed so far.

The chumps in the NHL may not be playing, but I laced 'em up for the first time since March Tuesday night. I was dying after the first shift, but I felt better as the hour wore on and popped in a couple of goals. I was also pleased that my Achilles' tendons were none the worse for wear afterwards. I've got the Applefest half-marathon on Saturday and I've decided to stop running for a month after the race in the hopes that my injuries will heal. I'd like to run a spring marathon, but I need to take it easy for a while or it ain't gonna happen.

The Expos are moving to Washington. The worst-kept secret in baseball is finally confirmed for next season. It remains to be seen if they can come up with a nickname, uniforms, marketing plan, etc., in time for the beginning of the '05 season because right now, they don't have any of that stuff done.

If this is to be believed, apparently all it takes to please a woman in Japan is a bizarrely-shaped pillow.

Aiight, more later. Soon. Really. Bye.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

In the drink

Today was the second full day of fall, but it was about as nice a day as you'll find during the summer. Luckily for those of us at the good ship HCPro, the company chose today for a booze cruise from Marblehead to Manchester and back. It was a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour. Seriously. Even though I had a shiteload of work to do, it was nice to get away for a while, even if it was with 150 of my co-workers. Past cruises have devolved into drunken messes, so they limited everyone to two free drinks, but I managed to procure a couple of extra drink tickets. What the hey, I wasn't driving. Nobody got really drunk or stupid, although there was some bad dancing to make fun of.

The Tragically Hip show was a good time Tuesday night. Although I was surprised to find that the T stop I always park near, Lechmere, was shut down. I had to take a shuttle bus to North Station and found that the entrance to the Green Line had been moved across the street; I felt like I had been away for a few years only to return and discover everything had changed. It had only been about four months. Anyway, I enjoyed the concert except for the drunken fat-ass from New Brunswick who kept bumping into me and others, spilling beer all over the place. Afterward, I took the T back to North Station and had to walk a few blocks to catch a shuttle bus to Lechmere. Unfortunately, this meant I had to stand by myself on a dark sidestreet hoping the bus would arrive before I got mugged. It still beat parking near Lansdowne Street on the night of a Sox game.

Senor OJ has become a webcaster. Alas, it's just once a week when I'll be off playing hockey. But that doesn't mean you can't tune in. He'll be spinning the rockity rock rock for two hours next Tuesday the 28th starting at 9 p.m. here. It's a ShoutCast server run by the cool Rob "Guitar" Matthews, who spins tunes himself from it much of the time. Very cool. Right now, he's playing "She" by the Misfits, and it don't get much cooler than that.

People are always changing their names for different reasons, but this guy's new moniker is pretty funny.

The Onion does it again, this time taking aim at the crapulent faux-rockers of Matchbox Twenty.
Easy target, but humorous nonetheless.

Speaking of sucky rock artistes, nice to see former Creed poser Scott Stapp staying in the news.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Quick One

So I hit the big 3-7 today. Not that I make a big deal out of birthdays anymore. They just seem to whip by. We actually cut the birthday cake last night, because tonight, I'm going to see the Tragically Hip play at Avalon in Boston. Should be a great show...not a bad way to spend the evening. Basically, the place will be full of Canuckian college students and expats (not to mention folks who drive down from the Great White North just for the show) fired up for the Hip and bummed out about the NHL. I should fit right in.

More later.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Bop Til You Drop

It was a total bummer this week to hear of the passing of Johnny Ramone at the age of 55 from prostate cancer. He's the third original Ramone to die in the last few years, which is pretty disturbing. The Ramones were amazingly influential when they came along in the mid-'70s, and it's hard to believe that three of them have departed this mortal coil.

Barry Bonds hit his 700th homer this week, which is a truly staggering feat. Regardless of what you think of him as a human being or whether you think he's taken steroids, it's still pretty amazing that he's hit 700 and could approach 800 before he's done.

Another potential record could be set this season if Ichiro Suzuki continues at the pace he's on and beats George Sisler's single-season hits mark of 257. He's been slumping a little bit the last week or so, but he's still hitting something like .430 since the All-Star break. I hope he breaks it.

There are many folks who are suffering from the NHL lockout--team employees, local businesses, charities, etc. And of course, the fans are the big losers. But this lunatic from Nebraska probably takes the cake. Wow.

Hey, for those of you gearing up for the college basketball season, definitely check out this blog. I have to admit I'm one of those losers who only pays real attention to college hoops during March Madness when my office pool kicks off. But this guy knows his stuff.

This is one time Macaulay Culkin should have stayed home alone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

2 Minutes to Midnight

So they actually went ahead and did it. A day after Canada won the World Cup over Finland in an exciting final game, the NHL's owners announced they would lock out the players beginning at midnight tonight until they could establish a salary cap. Which, of course, the players' union is dead-set against. Result: No hockey for the foreseeable future. Both sides are being obstinate here, but one columnist really points the finger at NHL Commish Gary Bettman, whose tenure has now seen two lockouts, diminished popularity, a dilution of talent, pointless expansion and a more boring style of play. Way to go, Gary, you weasel.

Well, the majority of Americans probably won't notice the NHL is gone, what with the baseball playoffs, the NFL, college football and hoops (and hockey)...hell, even the NBA. Canadians will suddenly find themselves with nothing to do on Saturday nights, when normally they'd be watching Hockey Night in Canada. Imagine if there was no NFL football on Sunday afternoons...same deal. If there's no agreement by January, the league will cut bait on the entire 2004-05 season, making it the first season without a Stanley Cup since 1919, when a flu epidemic wiped out the finals.

As for me, I'll watch more college hockey, play with my kids more, and get some more reading done. Maybe I'll even blog more often. Who knows, this could be a good thing, after all.


Friday, September 10, 2004

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

Don't worry, I'm not gonna start moping about the good ol' days. The Boston Globe had a story the other day about twentysomethings afflicted with the "quarter-life crisis," that post-college ennui that has been well documented in film and song. Apparently, it's such a problem that a book was written to document it, complete with a website at which angst-ridden quarter-lifers can commiserate. I had a job right out of college doing what I went to school for, so I never had any slacker moments, I suppose. Sometimes I look at what some of my fellow classmates are doing now and I get a little envious, but that never lasts long. I'm pretty satisfied with my life and career for the most part, although the whole bills/taxes thing is kind of depressing, especially considering I've been bumming rides from co-workers for a month now because I don't have a freakin' car. Ah, don't get me started.

The U.S. team lost in the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey tonight, 2-1 to Finland. Canada plays the Czech Republic tomorrow for the right to face the Finns in the championship Tuesday. Then it's no hockey for who knows how long. Fools.

In other sports news, my coed softball team has our first-round playoff series tomorrow afternoon. Our best player will be on the sidelines because of a suspension and the other team is probably looking past us to the next round, but we could surprise some people.

My race on Labor Day went well. The weather was great--sunny in the 60s--and I felt good as we ran the torturous 15.5-mile course through Gloucester and Rockport. I was just thankful it wasn't hot and humid. Our goal was to run it in 8-minute miles (or 2 hours and 4 minutes) and we finished in 2:06; the only hitch came around mile 14 when we had to walk up a hill because we had no energy. Once at the top, we started running again and finished strong. I'm still a little sore from it, but I have three weeks until the Applefest Half-Marathon up in Hollis, NH. After finishing the Cape Ann race, that one should be no problem.

Hands down, this will be the scariest costume this Halloween.

I'm still dealing with the after-effects of a head cold and it feels a little something like this.

Friday, September 03, 2004

School daze

Labor Day weekend is here. Looks like it will be a nice one, dry and sunny and comfortable. Pretty much the complete opposite of what's about to hit Florida. Hurricane Frances is swooping in and is expected to slam the entire state, not just the coastline. I'm working with a potential author out of Orlando and when I called him today, he was outside boarding up the windows on his house. Damn.

The Republican convention wrapped up last night with Dubya's big speech; I only saw about a minute before I fell asleep. More interesting was this Zell Miller dude, a Democratic Senator out of Georgia who was frothing at the mouth Wednesday night as he ripped into Kerry and his own party. And then he went all 18th century on Chris Matthews of "Hardball" fame, challenging him to a duel. The Democrats responded by reminding Miller that PAX was showing a "Matlock" marathon, at which point he flew right back to his nursing home.

Watched some good hockey this week as the World Cup of Hockey got underway. The U.S. finally won a game tonight over Slovakia after getting dominated by Canada and Russia. I'm a little peeved that ESPN isn't showing any of the games this weekend; I understand college football is also starting this weekend, but for crying out loud, ESPN's got three or four freaking channels. Coverage picks up again on Tuesday.

It looks almost certain that the NHL season won't start on time; the players' union and the league have been meeting all week, but they're nowhere near a resolution. In the meantime, you can find some good hockey analysis and writing at Off Wing Opinion.

A shout-out to the UNH Wildcats football team, which started its season last night with a huge upset over 1-AA national champ Delaware. The Cats have struggled in recent years, so it's nice to see them off to a good start. Unfortunately, they lost their starting QB, Mike Granieri, for the season with a knee injury. A redshirt freshman, Ricky Santos, came in and led them to the victory.

Music lists are always the subject of great debate, but this one is fun to read: The Ten Most Hated Men in Rock. Very vitriolic, but also very funny. I would put Don Henley much higher than this guy did, though. Thanks to Largehearted Boy , consistently the best music blog around, for the tip.

My big race is Monday and it looks like the weather will cooperate. I took the week off from running until today to rest my sore Achilles' tendon. Ran five miles in Marblehead at lunch and felt pretty good, so hopefully I'll be okay Monday when I run three times that.