Monday, September 26, 2005

The Loving Sounds of Static

Yello. It's officially fall now, which I've always considered my favorite season. The weather has been downright amazing the last month or so, great for training. Good news on that front. My foot didn't bother me at all when I ran early last week, but then I started having tightness in my left IT band, a common runner's ailment that has plagued me in the past. I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish my 20-mile run on Sunday, but I had no problems with it. It's still very sore, but it didn't bother me while I was running. I left around 6 a.m. and it was in the mid-40s out, which made things pretty chilly until the sun came out. Two more long runs of 20 miles or more and then I start winding things down until the race.

This, that, and other thing:
  • Man, all my old childhood TV icons are dying. First Gilligan, now Maxwell Smart. I used to love everything about "Get Smart" from the awesome theme to the spy spoof to the lovely Agent 99. Sure, the jokes were kinda corny, but you've gotta love how the show pioneered shoe phone technology.
  • Strange casting news of the week (yeah, I know this actually broke a few weeks ago): Elijah Wood is going to play Iggy Pop in a new movie. Right. Separated at birth.
  • I totally dig the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive's digital library of web sites that aims to archive the entire Internet. You can find defunct old sites like Webnoize. It's pretty cool. And like all things that are pretty cool, somebody's suing it. I hope this doesn't force the site to go dark, because it's a valuable resource and record.
  • The craptastic world of reality TV gets even crappier with the announcement of the newest "Surreal Life" cast of has-beens: Sherman Hemsley (aka George Jefferson), Poison axe-mangler C.C. DeVille, the tool singer from Smash Mouth, and Whitesnake video car humper turned husband abuser Tawny Kitaen, among others.
  • Just over a week until the NHL season kicks off. Hockey nerdz everywhere are getting fired up. My fantasy league draft is set for next Sunday, so I've got to start figuring out all these crazy free agent moves. I ordered the Center Ice package so I can get my fill of the Toronto Maple Leafs, which as always will be sure to disappoint me.
  • For the sports fans out there, check out a couple of cool new blogs (new to me, anyway): Just Another Blog on Sports is a clever offering from Toronto Star sportswriter Chris Young, while Deadspin is a funny, gossipy look at the sports world from the folks who bring you Gawker and Defamer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

38 Years Old

Greetings and nerdutations. So here I am celebrating yet another birthday. As the song title indicates, I'm 38 now. No parade or fanfare, but my co-workers did make and/or purchase breakfast food in my honor. Deb and the girls got me an Oreo cake and presents. It was all good. 'Nuff said about that.

Hither and thither:

  • Damn, Rita ain't no lovely meter maid. Rather, she's a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on the Texas coast. It's times like these that I'm glad I come from the land of the ice and snow.
  • A Chinese company hopes to hit it big with new condoms named after Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Nothing like striking while the iron's hot. What's next, Donna Rice string bikinis?
  • Baseball's pennant races are heating up: as of this writing, the Yankees were half a game behind the Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians were making the Chicago White Sox nervous, and several other races were still going on. The Jays are playing out the string, hoping to finish above .500. Closer Miguel Batista has been blowing saves left and right; he must have pictures of somebody. The team's biggest problem this year, aside from losing ace Roy Halladay, is its failure to replace monster slugger Carlos Delgado after he signed with the Marlins. Talk about a popgun offense. That said, they never quit and are a fun team to watch at times. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed in the offseason.
  • Meanwhile, the NHL's exhibition season has begun. St. Louis star Keith Tkachuk was suspended for showing up overweight; his playing weight in 2003-04 was 230 and reportedly he came into camp at around 260. Perhaps he had too many donuts during the lockout year. Certainly, the game of hockey and the donut have a rich history. Why, there's Tim Horton's, the Canadian equivalent of Dunkin' Donuts which was started by the Hall of Fame defenseman of the same name. And then there's the classic Jim Schoenfeld line back in the 1988 playoffs, when the Devils coach yelled at referee Don Koharski to "have another donut!"
  • Played hockey last night for the first time since May and felt surprisingly good for the first time out. We're not playing Waltham anymore; we decided to stay at Valley Sports in Concord, MA, where a bunch of the guys played from April to August. I played until late May and then basically hung up the skates for the summer. The rink manager always gives us an extra half-hour or more, so we end up playing about 100 minutes. My timing was off for most of the night, but I popped in a few goals near the end of the night when everyone was getting tired. Sore today, but not as sore as I thought I'd be.
  • My foot's still bothering me, but I'm continuing to run. I think it's one of those things that I'll just have to deal with until after the race, much like my Achilles' problem last year. Unless it gets really unbearable. I've come this far, so I'm going to try to keep going. But I think this may be my last marathon. Too many injuries and too much time spent doing long runs. I'd rather do shorter races and run the occasional half-marathon, and not feel like I'm beating the hell out of myself. Besides, I will have done five marathons, which is a lot more than I ever thought I'd do.

Okay, time to go catch up on some TiVo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Early Today (and later that night)

Wow, time flies when you're not blogging. Seriously, that week went by quicklike. We're rockin' a little Indian summer action here in New England: temps have been in the 80s all week. Tuesday night hockey started last night, but I missed it because I had too much work to do; I should have gone, because I didn't get a whole lot done anyway, between running to check the Blue Jays-Red Sox game on TV, helping Deb clear some stuff out of the guest room, and dealing with a certain toddler who woke up at 10:30.

The marathon training is proceeding. Got up to 18 miles on my long run on Sunday, but I aggravated my first real injury since training began: the arch in my right foot is really sore. I've never had this problem before, at least not to this extent. I think it might be caused by my new shoes, specifically by wearing my orthotics in them; my guess is I went from shoes where the arch support was worn down to new ones with stronger arch support, so maybe that was enough to cause a strain. I'm going to try and run in the shoes without the orthotics and see how that feels. I haven't run since Sunday, so hopefully I'll be able to run the next few days and then do 20 on Sunday. At the same time, I don't want to make this any worse.

Other stuff:
  • The Katrina fallout continues. First FEMA Director Mike Brown had the decency to resign on Monday, then Bush admitted the government screwed up in its slow response, and now it comes out that Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff was the one who really delayed the federal response.
  • As training camps begin this week in the NHL, several longtime mainstays are calling it quits. Last week it was defensemen Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis, and James Patrick, and forward Vinny Damphousse. This week, it was the legendary Mark Messier and Ron Francis. All but Damphousse and Patrick are first ballot Hall of Famers. The lockout unfortunately cost all these players (except possibly Stevens and MacInnis, who both had serious injury problems) a final season to soak in the accolades and farewells. There are still many other older players such as Steve Thomas and Mike Keane who still hope to latch on with teams but may find themselves victims of the salary cap.
  • Think John Roberts is getting a little transfixed at his confirmation hearing? Great googily moogily.

Okay, more later. Have fun storming the castle.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Everybody's Gotta Live

Hoy. One good thing that's come out of the whole Hurricane Katrina mess is that the generosity of spirit of the American people remains alive and well. It's been heartening to see all the fundraisers, large- and small-scale, all the donations, and the general rallying for our fellow Americans in need. Even though the government (federal, state, and local) screwed up royally in its preparation and response to this disaster, it's good to know that people still care.

I'd like to say you can expect to see FEMA Director Mike Brown fall on his sword over his unparalleled ineptitude during this crisis, but judging from the recent past, he'll probably get a medal or a promotion. Check out his spin control memo; this is from a guy who got the job because he was a college roommate of the previous FEMA director. His previous job was as head of an Arabian showhorse association, which let him go because he couldn't handle that job, either. Of course, the prez only cut his vacation short after the storm hit and it was obvious that he had a mess of unbelievable proportions on his hands. Maybe he gets his people skills from his mom. Sheesh.

In other, less weighty, news:
  • Apple continues its domination of the portable entertainment space with the release of the first iTunes-enabled phone and the newest wonder device, the iPod Nano. Thinner than a no. 2 pencil, this latest iPod is flash memory-based, instead of hard drive-based, so it won't skip and battery life is longer. It comes in 2 gigabyte and 4 gigabyte models, starting at $199. This thing looks pretty damn cool, although it's so small I'd almost be afraid to snap it in two by accident.
  • Even though the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler, I love this time of year. The baseball pennant races are underway, the NFL season starts tomorrow, the NHL finally starts up in a month, and the new fall TV shows are premiering. And I love running in the mornings; the past few days it has been in the 50s, which is perfect running weather for me (things warmed up into the 70s later in the day, which also rules).
  • Burger King has ticked off the already pissed-off-sounding doods in Slipknot, who are threatening a lawsuit over the fast-food chain's Coq Roq ads, which feature a fake heavy metal band wearing chicken masks. Y'see, the Slipknot kids wear crazy Halloween masks, so they feel BK is treading on their schtick. I just can't believe BK was able to say Coq Roq on the air; the home of the Whopper also caught some heat for its Coq Roq web site, which featured photos of supposed groupies with the tagline "Groupies love the Coq." The photos have since been removed, but I think this is a pretty funny ad campaign for the most part. Wonder who's actually playing the music?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mod Girls, Old Fashioned Men

So a few moments ago, I sat down at the computer to check out a few news and sports sites. It's a beautiful Saturday morning, just before 7 a.m. and the street is quiet. A car drives up and parks across the street in front of the house of our 20something neighbor; the driver appears to be a 20something woman herself, so I assume she's a friend. She opens her door and I figure she's going to go in the house. Then I hear the unmistakable sound of a body expelling toxins: I look outside and sure enough, the woman's puking in the street. Fortunately, I hadn't eaten anything yet (hope you haven't, either). This went on for a few minutes as she apparently completely emptied the contents of her stomach. Finally, she closes her door, has a swig of water, and drives off. Nice. Hey, I'm not judging anyone. I've certainly got my share of puke stories, although none of them involve driving onto a random street to puke. Must have been quite the night for Ms. Technicolor Yawn. Hope it was worth it.

In other, non-stomach acid-related news:

  • Help finally arrived in New Orleans yesterday, with convoys of National Guard troops bringing food and water. Oh, and the president toured some of the disaster sites as well. Nice of him to stop by.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the world is offering aid and a few choice potshots at the same time. I'm sure after hearing about the "American way of life" over and over, they relish the chance to poke a few jabs at Uncle Sam.
  • Killer whales at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, have learned how to use fish to catch seagulls. Scientists say the whales have also been working on telemarketing scams.
  • Sad to hear that blues great R.L. Burnside passed away this week at the age of 78. He didn't become well known until his 60s; I first became familiar with him nearly 10 years ago when he made an album with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, A Ass Pocket of Whiskey. He had a very raw, real storytelling style. Good stuff.
  • An inventor in South Africa unveiled an "anti-rape condom" that attaches itself to the rapist's penis with small barbs. Great idea, but why would the rapist buy these particular condoms in the first place?