Monday, November 28, 2005

Dirt Floor

Hey, happy Cyber Monday, everybody. You know, the busiest online shopping day of the year. I'm doing my part by not doing any online shopping.

That four-day weekend just flew by. The T-giving Day race was a chilly, wet affair. We got a dusting of snow the night before, but the snow turned to rain that morning. I ran faster than I have in a long time (7:33 pace); it was fun to run in a race with Deb and my brother-in-law Matt, as well as several friends of mine. Later in the day, I definitely ate too much, but not to a ridiculous degree. On Friday, Matt and I held down the fort while the ladies went shopping at 5 a.m. After they got back, we went running and then caught Jarhead at the local googolplex; I had heard and read mixed reviews, but it was pretty good. Certainly doesn't match up to other classic war films like Apocalypse Now, but I enjoyed it.

Wiggity wack:
  • Some crazy doings up in Canada, where the minority Liberal government received a no-confidence vote from the three opposing parties today. This means an election is going to happen in January. It's pretty interesting to see such major shifts midstream, unlike the U.S., where we're stuck with a president for four years no matter what. Something similar happened in 1979, when conservative prime minister Joe Clark was given the boot only nine months after taking office.
  • Having a fat ass can be hazardous to your health. That's the conclusion reached by a new Irish study that found that fatter butts are causing many drug injections to miss their mark. The study recommends that hospitals use longer needles to ensure that medication is effectively delivered. Laying off the donuts might help, too.
  • Nut allergies are no fun, let me tell you. As someone allergic to all types of nuts, I have to be extremely careful about what I eat. Of course, my wife loves peanut butter, so she steers clear of me after she's had a PB&J sandwich. Nothing's ever happened to me based on someone else eating something with nuts in it, but a girl in Quebec died after kissing her boyfriend, who had just eaten peanut butter. My allergy is mild, but it's still scary to read stories like that.
  • The American Heart Association just released new CPR guidelines, emphasizing chest compressions over mouth-to-mouth. Now germophobes have no excuse.
  • InPhase Technologies and Maxell have developed a new disc that holds 300GB of storage, about 60 times the capacity of a DVD. The only drawback is they've dubbed the technology Tapestry...a name sure to appeal to Zeppelin-loving stoners everywhere.
  • This is typical: A festering piece of crap like The Simple Life is able to find a home on a new network, but great shows like Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, and Undeclared get cancelled. WTF?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nothing But Green Lights

Just whiling away the hours 'til turkey time...

Had a rough day yesterday. I woke up fully expecting to go to the gym, go to work, and then play hockey, but my stomach had other plans. I ended up spending much of the day in the bathroom courtesy of a nasty stomach bug. It was really at its worst until about 1 p.m. or so, but I ended up going about 20 hours without eating by the time I was able to eat a bagel at 2:30. I just watched a lot of TiVo'd shows and a couple of Netflix rentals that had been languishing on the shelf. But thankfully, it was just a temporary bug. I feel fine today and have been eating normally. Also, Deb and the girls managed to escape it, which is also good news.

Got out of work early today to help Deb make the house presentable for Matt, Tricia, Danny and Timmy, who are staying with us for T-giving. They should be arriving in about an hour or so. Looks like it will be cold and possibly wet or snowy tomorrow morning when we run our race.

Congrats to Deb, who found out yesterday she was accepted to the Boston Marathon charity team sponsored by the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange. Which means she has to raise $2,500 for MARE in addition to training for the big race next April. She ran the marathon in '98 as a bandit, long before I ever harbored the slightest desire to run more than a couple of miles at a stretch.

Zippity do dah:

  • It was sad today to hear of the death of Chris Whitley, a truly great guitarist and songwriter whose work I have followed for the past 14 years or so. He died of lung cancer at the age of 45. His 1991 debut album, Living With the Law, was a blues-rock masterpiece, and his follow-up, Din of Ecstacy, went in a totally different direction, embracing Hendrixian feedback and loudness. The one time I saw him live was when he was touring with the latter album, almost exactly 10 years ago at the Middle East in Cambridge. There were only about 25 people there (it was a Tuesday night, I think) and he had some sound problems at first, but holy crap, did he wail. He followed an adventurous musical path in the years that followed, from acoustic blues to electro-jazz. I regret never seeing him play again, but I'm glad I saw him when I did. He will be missed.
  • You've probably seen this already, but our fearless leader is at it again. Y'know, leading and stuff.
  • Here's a great story from Florida about a guy who got hit in the genitals with a taser. But he was naked, breaking windows and asking women to touch him, so I'd say it serves him right.
  • Talk about timing. The creator of Stove Top stuffing recently shuffled off this mortal coil just before her favorite holiday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Feel Good Inc.

What is up, mein freunds? I've been remiss in my blogification lately. My bad.

Bracing for the annual gorgefest that is Thanksgiving. Actually, I was pretty good last year. As fun as it is to stuff one's face, I don't like feeling afterward like I just swallowed a Yugo. We're staying local this year; Matt, Tricia, and the boys will be visiting from NJ. Deb, Matt and I have all signed up to run a 5-mile race in Salem on Thanksgiving morning; although Matt ran the Philadelphia Marathon today (big ups to Matt for getting his second marathon in the books), so I'm not sure if he'll have recuperated in time to run Thursday.

Homina de homina:
  • Met up Friday night at the Miracle of Science in Cambridge with the crew from my Webnoize days: Dr. Doobs, Briggy, Cable Elk and OJ and his wife Amy. It was the fourth anniversary of Black Friday, the day we all got shiznittcanned. As with all our get-togethers, a good time was had by all. Well, I had a good time, anyway. Dave pointed out that the World Series champeen White Sox hosted former Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung (yes, yes, domi arigoto, Mr. Roboto) during their playoff run. If that wasn't enough, former Journey mouth Steve Perry was also a featured fan of the Pale Hose because the team had adopted "Don't Stop Believin'" as its theme song. Desperate to get back on the winning track, Yankees bossman George Steinbrenner has signed REO Speedwagon' singer Kevin Cronin and Foreigner yowler Lou Gramm to one-year contracts for 2006.
  • Not sure if this is a hoax, but the BBC is reporting that a 3-year-old boy in India has been running marathons. In his latest feat, he supposedly ran 33 miles in 6:30. Doesn't seem possible to me, but I suppose you never know. I don't think Hannah could run a mile without stopping; not because she's not physically able, but because she would probably get bored after the first couple of minutes. I can't imagine any 3-year-old having the mental fortitude to keep himself going for that long of a period; not unless his Svengali of a coach is driving in front of him the whole way with a big-screen TV playing cartoons.
  • A so-called shout out to the UNH Wildcats football team, which beat Maine yesterday by a ridiculous score of 59-47 and won a share of the Atlantic 10 football title. Ranked #1 in the nation in 1-AA, the 10-1 Cats advance to the NCAA playoffs as the top seed and host Colgate next Saturday in Durham, NH. The game's on ESPN2 at noon. QB Ricky Santos, who's only a sophomore, racked up SEVEN touchdowns yesterday, four passing and three rushing. Awesome.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Positive Tension

Sooooo. A week after NYC and I feel pretty good. My quads were pretty sore for a few days and I felt ready when I ran 5 miles on Friday morning. Of course, about halfway through the run they started getting pretty tight again. And I realized that during the marathon I had sustained a monstrous blister on my right little toe; I originally just thought it was the nail digging into the toe, but since it wasn't bleeding, I paid it no mind. I took a few more days off and it seems close to normal now. Ran today with no problem; of course, how could you have a problem when it's pushing 65 degrees in mid-November in New England? Sweet.

There are a few photos of me running NYC up at Brightroom.com. A bunch of the finish line pics are pretty crowded, but there's one shot of me wincing right after I stopped; this is a better shot of me earlier in the race, when I still had hope for the future.

Good luck to my bro-in-law Matt, who will be running the Philly Marathon this coming Sunday; he should have cooler weather than I got in New York on the 6th.

Whoop de doo:
  • Is it possible for an entire nation to not have a sense of humor? I'm talking about you, Kazakhstan.
  • Now this is where I want to go when I'm old and in the way: to the nursing home/pub.
  • I've run five marathons and I play hockey, but this woman kicks my butt.
  • I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of the Muslim world. I respect it as an ancient and popular religion, and I condemn its extremists just as I would those of any other religion. But what's up with some Saudi Muslims calling a fatwa against soccer rules? I guess some folks in the Middle East are taking a page from the NHL and trying to make their game more fan friendly. (Thanks to Deadspin for the tip.)
  • A healthy "Channel 11" salute goes out to Sony BMG, which installed copy-protection software on about 20 new CD releases designed to prevent users from ripping MP3s that can be played on iPods. Fine, whatever, but when you accept the XCP software installation, it uses a "rootkit" program that hides on your PC and makes it vulnerable to viruses. After taking mucho heat and facing a class-action lawsuit, Sony BMG last week said it was halting production of the CDs with this software on it. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the tainted CDs include new releases from Trey Anastasio, Celine Dion, Neil Diamond, and Life of Agony, among others. As if people needed another reason not buy CDs.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Plague Upon Your Hissing

I'm back from running the NYC Marathon, and I've got the sore quads to prove it. 'Twas a warm day in the Big Apple on Sunday, as predicted, sunny, humid and 65-70 degrees. It actually started out cool and foggy, but sure enough when the race started at 10 a.m., the clouds parted and the sun began baking the 37,000 runners about to make their way through the five boroughs. It's a great experience: fans everywhere shouting encouragement, bands playing throughout the course, runners from all over the world and of all shapes and sizes endeavoring to finish one of the most prestigious marathons on the planet.

I was hoping to break 4 hours and even foolishly thought I still had a shot about two-thirds of the way through the race. But the heat is insidious to marathon runners; even though you think you're hydrated and pacing yourself well, you're slowly being drained of your energy. I felt good coming off the Queensboro Bridge at mile 17 and turning onto 1st Ave. I started stopping for Gatorade and kept moving along at a decent pace. But at about mile 20, my legs started to feel like they were made of lead. I was able to keep running, but not as quickly and it was all I could do to fight off the doubts that were creeping into my mind. But I kept plugging along and was able to even speed up a little on the downhill portions of the last two-mile stretch in Central Park. The last mile felt interminably long (it always does) and I felt incredible relief as I crossed the finish line, followed by pain and then lightheadedness. I finished in 4:10, the same (only 20 seconds slower) as in 2003 when I ran NYC (and the same time I had when I ran the Boston Marathon in '02). Took me a few minutes to get my bearings as I wobbled slowly through the chute, got my timing chip removed from my shoe, got some food, and headed toward the family reunion area where my brother-in-law Matt was waiting for me.

Huge thanks to Matt, Tricia and their boys for feeding and housing me over the weekend; Deb and the girls stayed home, since we're going down to NJ again next weekend for Timmy's 2nd birthday extravaganza. I had originally planned on driving back Sunday night after the race, but I'm glad I changed my mind, because I was exhausted and hurting. Unfortunately, Matt had parked about two miles away from Central Park, so we had a long walk to the car, but in the end, it was probably better to keep moving. It was definitely nice to enjoy a steak dinner and a couple of beers at the Siegel homestead to celebrate. It's also nice to have my fifth marathon under my belt. I'm thinking I'll take next spring off and do one in the fall; Chicago, perhaps?

La de da:

Friday, November 04, 2005

Run Like Hell

Real quick post here. I'm hitting the road tomorrow morning for New Joisey, where I'll be staying before I run the NYC Marathon Sunday morning. The forecast still calls for pain, I mean warm temperatures (high of 70). But at least it'll be cloudy. I'm rested and ready. Let's do this thing! I'll file a full report when I get back on Monday.

Hey, Coke's getting rid of Vanilla Coke, which I actually kinda liked. Apparently, black cherry is the new hot flava. I'm still enjoying Dr. Pepper, though.

Here's an interesting court twist: worker's compensation for hockey goons. Miracles never cease.

Later.