Monday, October 31, 2005

Do They Know It's Halloween?

Here we are on All Hallows Eve and I'm basking in the orange afterglow of a Leafs victory. Wins have been hard to come by lately for my fave hockey team, culminating Saturday night in quite possibly the worst game I've seen them play in a few years, an 8-0 thrashing at the hands of the hated Ottawa Senators. But they bounced back tonight with a nice 2-1 win against Florida. So that's nice.

So I solved the Halloween costume dilemma, but not without some last-second machinations. I went out Wednesday night to pick up a costume or parts of one, but could find nothing that inspired me. I had an idea of being a disgruntled elf, but I couldn't find anything remotely elf-related. I came home with my only option to find costume materials from my own wardrobe. As I drifted off to sleep, I struck upon the idea of dressing as Barry Bonds, complete with enhanced arms and pecs...I then thought I didn't have any San Francisco Giants gear, so that would be difficult to pull off. Then I figured it would be funny to dress as a nerd on steroids. Then I fell asleep. Thursday morning, I quickly grabbed my white running turtleneck and some t-shirts to stuff inside as fake muscles. I got to work and realized I didn't have enough good nerd stuff, so I went to Vinnin Square in Swampscott at lunch to buy some more material for my costume. At Marshalls, I came across a Giants t-shirt and decided to go with the Bonds costume. Couldn't find a Giants cap, so I got a Nike hat and went to Walgreens to pick up a baby medicine dropper, which resembles a syringe. And voila, a costume was born. Some people got it, some didn't, and I experienced what can only be described as "drooping pec syndrome" because the shirts kept sliding down. But I'd say it was a hit.

I like candy:
  • Hey, with Harriet "Why not me?" Miers withdrawing her name from the Supreme Court hat, Bush decided to nominate someone who's actually been a judge before. Of course, the guy's somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, but what did you expect?
  • I've been digging The Colbert Report, a new show from the funny bastids who bring you The Daily Show. Stephen Colbert has been cultivating his character for years, but he takes it to a new Bill O'Reillyesque level on this show. Funny, funny stuff.
  • Six days to the marathon. The long-range forecast is calling for warm temperatures (68!) and clouds; a little too warm for my liking, but that can change as we all know. I'm taking it easy during the taper period. Ran 6 on Sunday and will do two more runs of 3 miles this week and that's it. It's all about healing and rest. I just hope I feel good on race day and the weather is a little cooler than predicted.
  • Speaking of Halloween, a new survey from Family Media Guide found that impalement is the most frequent gruesome act committed against victims in horror movies. The runners-up are pain caused by protruding object and bite injury. The winner for the most violent movie is 2003's Freddy vs. Jason, with 167 instances of violence (impalements, severed limbs, electrocutions), followed by the truly great Jaws, with 105 (mostly of the chompity-chomp-chomp variety).

    All right, time to go scrape the sugar off my teeth. Later.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Thoughts are a Gas

Greetings from the Garden City (aka Beverly, MA). I need to come up with a Halloween costume. No, I'm not going trick-or-treating, although I will be taking Hannah out for a little while next Monday. On Thursday, my office hosts its annual Halloween parade for the kids of employees; we all get dressed up (well, some of us do) and decorate our offices and hallways and such, and then the kids show up at about 3 or so to trick or treat through the halls. Of course, some of the single folks use it as an excuse to leave early. But I always found it to be a fun event, long before I ever had kids of my own. Deb's going to bring Hannah and Lily right from daycare; they'll transform themselves into Belle (from "Beauty and the Beast") and Snow White, respectively. But I need to figure out what I'm going to dress as. Last year, I rocked it as Elvis Supafly; my profile photo to the right is from '03, when I was Mike Tyson and Hannah was a giraffe. So, got any costume ideas for this year?

Whoot whoot:
  • Just watched the Leafs-Bruins game. As with pretty much every game I've seen this year, it was an exciting tilt, with Toronto edging the B's 5-4 in a shootout. Lots of end-to-end action, great goaltending, sloppy play, stupid penalties, nice goals. Definitely edge-of-your-seat stuff. The Leafs gave up a bad goal to go down 4-3, tied up the game while shorthanded and then had to kill off two straight penalties, including the first four minutes of overtime. Eric Lindros scored the only goal in the shootout to win the game. The two teams play again in Boston on Thursday.
  • Met up with some of my peeps from the Webnoize days at Redbones Saturday night. I enjoyed some Texas beef ribs and entertaining conversation with Briggy, OJ and Amy, Cable Elk, Big Audio Douglass and his girlfriend Carrie, and some Russian friends of B.A.D.'s. Always a fun time. We'll be meeting again at the Miracle of Science in three weeks to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Black Friday, aka the day we all got laid off.
  • So if you weren't old enough to see Led Zep, Pink Floyd, or AC/DC in concert in their 1970s heyday, Kmart will hook your ass up.
  • I was excited to read the other day that one of my fave Canuckian bands, The Pursuit of Happiness, is back together, recording a couple of new songs, and going on tour. I suspect they won't venture down this way, but it sure would be cool if they did since I've only seen them once, back in the '89.
  • Here's the lowdown on a couple of podcasts I've been digging lately: Cinecast is a movie podcast hosted twice weekly by two Chicago dudes named Adam Kempenaar and Sam Hallgren. Intelligent, entertaining, thought-provoking stuff. Phedippidations (yeah, it's a mouthful) is a podcast about long-distance done by a guy WHILE he's actually running. Host Steve Walker (or "Steve Runner," his nom de pod) takes a portable MP3 recorder with him on his Sunday long runs and manages to provide insightful commentary about running, motivation, strategy, observations. It's really great. I actually had a similar idea a few months back, but I concluded that my podcast would basically just be 45 minutes of me breathing heavy and hocking loogies and saying stuff like, "Damn, I'm tired." Trust me, Steve's podcast is the real deal. And A Foot in the Crease is all about the Toronto Maple Leafs, produced weekly by Toronto hockey nuts Dave McCarthy and Jeff Hume.
  • Less than two weeks to the New York Marathon. I'm getting excited. It's amazing how your attitude about running improves when you cut back on the mileage. I went out for 10 yesterday and felt great.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sideways in Reverse

What up? Just sneaking in a quick post as I wind things down toward the NYC Marathon, which is less than three weeks away. I'm in taper mode now, which means my longest runs are behind me (thank glayvin) and I'm just letting my body rest and heal before the big race. Last Sunday, I ran 13.6 miles and next Sunday, it'll be down to 10, then 6 the weekend before the race. The worst injury I have right now has nothing to do with running. I woke up Monday morning and must have slept wrong, because my neck and traps were tight and sore. Two days later and it's still bothering me, but it'll go away.

Homina homina:
  • Another testament to the greatness of the Wikipedia--which, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is essentially an online encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to--is this fine page on the contributions of the Simpsons to our vocabulary. Not just the ubiquitous "d'oh," but also a staggering number of commonly used words and phrases such as "craptastic," the aforementioned "glayvin" and one of my favorites, "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."
  • Wilmaaaaaaaa! What's with these stupid hurricanes, anyway?
  • This is old news, but Apple finally announced the release of the video-enabled iPod last week and started selling TV shows and music videos on iTunes. Not really a must-have for me, but definitely a cool-looking device. I like how Apple convinced Disney/ABC to start selling hot shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" as downloads. Definitely a smart move.
  • The NHL season has been fun to watch so far and surprisingly enough, so have the Leafs. Even though captain Mats Sundin has been out with a serious eye injury since game 1, Eric Lindros, Jason Allison and the rest of the team has really stepped it up. The secret of their success has been the power play, which popped in seven goals last Friday night alone. I'm sure the team will have its ups and downs, but I'm enjoying the early season ride so far.
  • Hey, another bunch of holy rolling nitwits have put together a list of the best and worst family shows on television. What, "Family Guy" has raunchy humor? I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
  • There has been much discussion on the local sports talk radio station about the NBA's edict that players dress nicer when not in uniform. Some have construed the new rules as targeting black players who wear throwback jerseys and chains and such, others contend the league is simply trying to improve its image. I'm just glad they let me dress like a slob at my job; don't know what I'd do if I had to start wearing ties again. Yeesh.

Friday, October 14, 2005

From the Floor Boards Up

Werd up. Just getting a quick post up early Friday morning as the girls enjoy the reopening of our guest room. Since my last post, the sheetrocking was finished and then the dudes came in and plastered both that room and the bathroom walls and ceiling on Columbus Day. Deb's brother Matt and his family will be coming for a visit this weekend, so we've got the room presentable. Deb painted the ceiling this week, but we'll wait until later to paint the walls.

I'm enjoying the best part of marathon training, which is known as the taper. I ran 22 miles last Sunday relatively pain free (just a little hamstring tightness) and now I'm cutting back on the mileage in the last three weeks to the race. Hoping to heal up a bit before the big day, but I don't feel too bad right now.

And boom goes the dynamite:
  • So I had my 20th high school reunion last Saturday night up in Portsmouth. It rained like a mofo all the way up there. The turnout wasn't as good as the organizers had hoped; only 57 out of 100+ showed up. But it was a good time. I thought people looked surprisingly good; maybe the folks who didn't decided not to go. Deb spent the whole time hanging out with the husband of a classmate of mine, commisserating on their outsider status. The following day we went to the wedding of a friend and former coworker, which was held at a beautiful mansion in Manchester. A busy weekend.
  • You know the world's a mess when the terrorists start going after the poor Smurfs.
  • For Motley Crue, it's been the best of times, it's been the worst of times. They've had success on their reunion tour, but the band members have had a tough time of it. First Vince Neil tears a calf muscle on stage, now Tommy Lee almost gets blown up by the pyro.
  • How would you like to go to a wedding and then find the band replaced by the original members of R.E.M.? Granted, it was one of their guitar techs who got married, so you knew the guys would be there, but still...
  • Well, the NHL season is just over a week old and the changes have definitely generated a lot more offense. It's not like every game is a 7-6 barnburner, but the increased emphasis on calling penalties for obstruction have led to a lot of power play situations and better flow. Ironically, the higher number of penalties mean more stoppages in play, but generally, the games move along much quicker so far. We'll have to see if the officials keep calling penalties the same way all season, but I like what I see. I'm still not totally sold on the shootout, but the product is definitely better.
  • The Red Sox and the Yankees are both gone from the MLB playoffs, which no doubt bums out just about everyone except the folks in Chicago, Anaheim, St. Louis and Houston (and anyone who's sick of the Sox and Yanks). The second round so far has been marked by a truly horrendous display of umpiring, as the White Sox were basically given a gift win in game 2 that evened the series instead of seeing them going down 2-0 to the Angels.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need

Hoo-ah! The 2005-2006 NHL season kicked off last night with all 30 teams in action, and I for one was loving life. Wielding the remote like a finely tuned instrument, I deftly zipped from the Sox-Sox playoff game to OLN's opening night coverage to the Bruins-Montreal game to the Leafs-Senators game, which was my primary focus.

The boys in blue played much better than expected, dominating much of the game but only leading 1-0 late in the third when Ottawa tied it up. The Leafs answered back with a big goal from Eric Lindros, who had an impressive night, but the Sens tied it up right away and eventually the game went to overtime, and then the first shootout in league history. Although it's exciting, my problem with the shootout is it takes a team game and transforms it into a head to head competition. The Sens scored twice in the shootout while the Leafs failed to put one past Dominik Hasek, leaving Ottawa a 3-2 winner. The loss was made even worse by the fact that Toronto lost captain Mats Sundin early after he was struck in the eye; he'll be out four to six weeks with a broken orbital bone. The Leafs usually get hit with the injury bug late in the season; this year, their best player is struck down seven minutes into the season. I was encouraged by the play of new additions Lindros, Jason Allison (who was impressive, but damn, is he slow), Jeff O'Neill and Alexander Khavanov. Eddie Belfour was excellent in net, although it looks like he could use some practice on the shootout, and the defense, which included rookies Carlo Colaiacovo and Andy Wozniewski, was solid. Still, it's going to be a tough stretch without Sundin.

As for the play overall, the rules changes definitely generated more offense and more flow. There were fewer whistles and stoppages of play, but a lot of penalties as the officials called anything that looked like obstruction. Special teams is a crucial factor, as teams are getting more power plays now than ever before; at least for now. We'll see if they're still making the same calls in January.

A little sumpin'-sumpin':
  • Scary-sounding alert today out of NYC about potential subway attacks. Let's hope it's just bogus chatter.
  • Here's an amazing story about a battle for Everglades bad-ass supremacy between alligators and Burmese pythons. No kidding. Wildlife officials found the carcass of a 13-foot python that had swallowed a 6-foot gator, which in turn managed to partially claw its way through the snake's midsection before dying. Check out the incredible photos.
  • Say what you will about Dick Cheney, but there's no denying the man just exudes warmth. Warmth caused by the molten lava that courses through his veins, of course.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Electric Co.

Welcome to October, or as the folks in nearby Salem call it, "Cha-Ching!"

Deb and I attended the U2 concert last night at the TD Banknorth Garden, formerly known as the Fleet Center, formerly known as the Boston Garden. It was a great show. Say what you will about latter-day U2, they still know how to put on a helluva concert. We had nosebleed seats in the balcony, but the band really gets the concept of playing to an arena. I don't go to many shows this large anymore, but the tickets were for Deb's birthday (well, we bought them in March and her birthday's in May) and she was psyched to go. I'd only seen them once before, waaaaay back in '87 on the Joshua Tree tour, at the old Boston Garden. That show was incredible, and this one was pretty damn impressive. Bono was in good voice and the Edge is definitely in a rockin' guitar phase. We went with our friends Tammy and Steve and had a good time all around.

This, that, and the other thing:
  • Spent all day Saturday helping our friend Brian put sheetrock up in our guest room. We're redoing the room after five years; it was the only room we hadn't worked on since we moved in. It had 1970s wallpaper on paneling and one day over the summer, Deb got bored and ripped it all down. The room was off-limits until Saturday, when Brian and I covered the walls with sheetrock. Next up is getting his brother in to plaster the walls, and then Deb and I will paint it. We also need to put sheetrock in the bathroom, where we're redoing the ceiling. Just call me Bob Vila.
  • It was a busy weekend. Sunday night was my fantasy hockey draft. I got the second pick overall and drafted Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff (the first pick was Martin Brodeur and I knew that if I didn't take a goalie with the second pick, there wouldn't be any good ones left by the time I picked again at 15; each round reverses the draft order). I ended up with a good team, including Brad Richards, Chris Pronger, Sidney Crosby, Pavol Demitra, Ryan Smyth, Rick DiPietro, and more. Of course, they always look good before the season starts. Speaking of which, opening night is tomorrow in the NHL. Awwwwwww, yeah.
  • Supernormal actor Nic Cage and his wife decided to name their new baby Kal-el, which comic book nerdz such as myself know is Superman's real name. Apparently, Mr. Mxyzptlk was taken.
  • According to this study, we might as well stop working out because we're all going to end up fat eventually.