Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spitting Out the Demons

Spring hath sprung, although it reserves the right to dump a snowstorm on us at a moment's notice. So far, so good. I wish I could run right now, but I won't spend this time whining about that. I'm resting and hopefully healing, so we'll see where things stand in another week or so.

We're getting ready for a visit from my mom and my brother and his family, all to mark the 10th anniversary of my dad's death on Friday. It's hard to believe so much time has passed already. I'm not going to get into the details of it here, but suffice it to say the man had diabetes, didn't take care of himself, and died young. He was 55 but he looked 20 years older. I'd like to think I've learned from his mistakes.

Anyhoo...
  • The baseball season is right around the corner, and that means I've got my fantasy baseball draft on Saturday. Haven't really done much reading about who's on what team, etc., but I will be doing so in the next few days.
  • Apple has released software that will let owners of the Nano and video iPod to set a limit on how loud the volume can go on the devices. A good idea, I suppose. I use my iPod throughout the day, but most of that time it's either plugged into my PC speakers at work or my car stereo, so I don't have those earbuds blasting away directly into my skull. And at work, I have to keep my volume pretty low. I've done plenty of damage to my ears over the years by going to rock shows, so I'm trying to care of them now.
  • The NFL is the best-run professional sports league by far, but those dudes have got to lighten up. The owners voted today to ban end zone celebrations such as those popularized by Chad Johnson of the Bengals and Terrell Owens. Who is harmed by these celebrations, anyway? As long as the guy's not dropping trou, what's the big deal? This is entertainment, after all.
  • In the rock reunion department, it was nice to see that the Replacements got back together to record a few songs for a greatest hits CD. Now if they could get a tour together, that would be the icing on the proverbial cake.
  • The infamously named show "Love Monkey," which CBS dumped after three episodes, will return on VH1, sort of. Tom Cavanaugh of "Ed" fame starred on the show, which focused on a music label talent scout; I watched one episode and thought it was pretty good. At any rate, VH1 plans to air the eight episodes that were filmed starting next month.
  • Inaccurate death rumors happen all the time, especially these days what with the InterWeb and all that. Apparently, there was a Will Ferrell death rumor making the rounds, although I never heard it until two minutes ago. Some of the more notable rumors I heard as a kid were that Mikey from the Life cereal commercials had died after consuming Pop Rocks and Coke (a lethal combination if ever I heard one), Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott had died, that there were spider eggs in Bubble Yum bubble gum, and one about Elton John and Rod Stewart that I won't elaborate on. I heard all these rumors in the 70s and 80s, well before kids were spending half their time on the Web reading all sorts of crap on message boards.
  • Well, well: MLB plans to investigate Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use. Way to step up to the plate, you nitwits. Do you think they would have bothered if that new book hadn't come out covering the story in painstaking detail? Yeah, me neither.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Another Roadside Tragedy

Bad news on the injury front yesterday. Well, the good news first: Deb, who sprained her ankle three weeks ago and was sidelined for a couple of weeks without doing any running, ran 21 miles from Hopkinton to Boston College yesterday and felt pretty good doing it. As for me, I stopped running for a few days after my right Achilles tendon started really bothering during a run Tuesday morning. It had started to feel better the last few days, so I tried running an easy five miles yesterday, but I could feel it pulling almost immediately. I turned around at the two-mile mark and only made it another half mile before I had to stop because of the pain; had to walk the remaining 1.5 miles home. I was not happy at this turn of events. The most disheartening thing about the whole situation is the Achilles' feels a lot worse than the last time I had these problems. In the fall of '04, I could run with some tightness that would clear up after a while; now, I can't run at all. I guess I can point the finger at my increased mileage due to the Pfitzinger program I was on. I've got two months until my marathon, so all is not lost yet. But I'm going to have to shut it down for a few weeks and see if there's any improvement. Unfortunately, the last time I shut it down, it didn't seem to help, and that was with a less serious injury. All in all, it's pretty disheartening, especially after putting all the miles in already. But as I was telling Deb yesterday, maybe it's my body telling me I shouldn't be doing marathons. I remember thinking the same thing last fall when I was training for NYC and feeling crappy, but I never ran into anything close to this bad during the ramp-up for that race. Something to think about. If I can't run this race because of injury, I'm leaning towards never trying any marathons and just sticking to half-marathons and under. Hey, I've done five marathons and I broke four hours once. That's five more than I ever thought I'd do. I'd rather have those memories than keep getting injured every time I try to run another one. We shall see.

Do the humpty dance:
  • Got together with OJ and Amy and two of their friends in Cambridge. We hit the Miracle of Science for a while and then headed over to the Abbey Lounge to see J. Mascis' new stoner rock band, Witch. Even saw Mascis sitting out front talking on his cell when we got there. Alas, as with most club shows, the scheduled start times were way off and we ended up leaving after 11 without even seeing Witch because Amy was pretty exhausted; frankly, I was, too. Normally, I would have stayed, but we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to take Deb in to Boston for her run and I was already beat, so I was happy to get home by midnight. Good to hang out with those guys as always.
  • The Leafs played their way out of the playoffs by getting smoked by Montreal back-to-back, UNH's men's and women's hockey teams both got bumped from the NCAAs, and my March Madness sheet is in a shambles. Ugh.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Truckloads of Nothin'

Word up. Dashing out a quick post on a Tuesday night when I would normally be playing hockey. Getting up this morning, I fully expected to be skating tonight, but after my six-mile run, my right Achilles was killing me and it didn't ease up the rest of the day. So I figured I'd play it safe and take the night off. Of course, I ran 18 on Sunday and felt great. Sucks, because this is a big mileage week for me and I'll have to ease up a bit. I iced it a little while ago, so hopefully that will help.

The only good thing that came out of not skating was I got to watch the Leafs knock off Carolina, 3-2, to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They're chasing Atlanta and Montreal for the last playoff spot in the East; Montreal lost tonight and Atlanta came back and beat Boston in a shootout. On Saturday, Deb and I had a great time at the Bruins-Hurricanes game in some awesome fourth-row seats; the B's won 4-2.

In other hockey news, UNH managed to make the NCAA tournament despite the drubbing they took at the hands of BU last Friday. They travel to Albany to play Michigan State on Saturday. Hopefully, they'll be able to redeem themselves.

Top story at 11:
  • Holy crap! The Colts just signed Adam Vinatieri. There's just something really wrong about that. Even more so than Johnny Damon playing for the Yankees.
  • Whoever said having two extra legs is a good thing apparently never met this six-legged lamb.
  • So you're a Nirvana fan. You bought all their albums, you were lucky enough to see them live before Cobain blew his brains out, you bought the box set and the Cobain journals. Naturally, you must buy the Cobain action figure. Or maybe not. Wonder if Courtney's got a piece of that action.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Granite State Destroyer

Hola. Sorry for the state of bloggio silence this week. Things have been extraordinarily busy around here. Last night, I went to the Hockey East semifinals at the TDBanknorth FleetBostonGarden. My friend Rick had a last-minute cancellation and hooked me up since my alma mater UNH was playing BU in the first game; Boston College and Maine played in the second game. This had all the makings of a great night of college hockey. Unfortunately for me, UNH just fell apart after the first period. They trailed 5-2 going into the third and there was still a glimmer of hope. But the third period was just ugly. BU totally dominated them and UNH ended up losing 9-2. Terrible. BC took out Maine in a much more competitive game, 3-1, setting up the final tonight between the Beanpot rivals. Meanwhile, UNH waits to find out if its season was good enough to get it into the NCAA tournament.

I'll be back at the rink today when Deb and I go to the Bruins-Carolina game at noon; I won fourth-row seats in a raffle at work. Carolina's been one of the best teams in the league this year, so hopefully it'll be a good game.

Speaking of the NCAA, the March Madness hoops tournament is underway. It's the only time of year I really follow college basketball because I fill out the brackets for our office pool. I'm just mad because I left my picks at work, so I'm not sure how I made out in last night's games. I think I'm in good shape; only the Iowa upset yesterday is really damaging to me because I think I had them winning again in the second round.

Drop the puck:
  • It's hard to believe South Park has been on the air for 10 seasons (although not quite 10 years), but the controversial animated show has made some noise lately. First soul legend Isaac Hayes--who provided the voice of Chef since the show began--quit the show, claiming it had gone too far in lampooning his religion, Scientology. Then Comedy Central this week pulled a repeat of a show making fun of the religion and its main proponent, Tom Cruise, purportedly because Cruise had threatened to skip all publicity duties for the upcoming Mission Impossible 3, which is owned by Comedy Central's parent Viacom. This is interesting to me because I used to love South Park the first few seasons, but haven't watched a single episode since I saw the SP movie, which was absolutely hilarious. I don't have any good reason for not watching it; I'll have to rent the show on DVD one of these days. As for Hayes and Cruise, they need to lighten the hell up.
  • CBS finally announced who the "secret band" is for its upcoming Rock Star show, and it's not Van Halen or Alice in Chains. Instead, it's Supernova. Who, you ask? It's a new outfit formed by Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. They'll be auditioning singers for their new band, which I would hope would rule out the musical theater twits who showed up on the previous edition of the show trying to take over for the late Michael Hutchence in INXS. One good thing about this is the new person won't have to fill the shoes of someone like Hutchence or David Lee Roth. I'll check out the first few episodes at the very least.
  • This woman in China redefines the term "tall drink of water." She's about 7 foot 9. Dang. Wonder if they added an annex at the Dress Barn Beijing for her.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Happy

We had the big second birthday party today for Lily. Around 20 kids aged 4 and under running rampant, although I must note that the party was expertly run by Deb and Tricia, who had games and activities going throughout to keep the kids occupied and for the most part happy. An impressive showing. In all, the party was a whirlwind and by 2 p.m., everyone was gone. Now THAT's how you throw a kids' party.

Friday, March 10, 2006

That's the Punch Line

Back at ya on a Friday night. We had ourselves a little heat wave today. Temps got up into the mid-60s; of course, I was stuck in the office all day, so I never got to actually go out and enjoy it. But it's supposed to stay warm well into next week. I'll take it.

Here's mud in yer eye:
  • I've seen mixed reviews of Jon Stewart's performance as host of the Oscars last Sunday. I think some people were expecting him to trash everyone and do some big anti-Bush rant, but that's really not his style. I thought he was really funny, made some good points without being overly harsh, and kept things moving. The awards pretty much went as expected, with the exception of Crash winning best picture over Brokeback Mountain. I was shocked. Crash was the only one of the best picture nominees I've seen (I catch about 99.99% of my movies on DVD these days, usually about a year after they come out), and while I applaud the sentiment, it came off as heavy-handed to me.
  • Holy crap, what happened to Eddie Van Halen? He looks like someone's deranged aunt.
  • Speaking of freaky photos, here's the latest strange species discovered by scientists: Furry lobster-looking crustaceans. I sure hope this doesn't lead to the furry lobster roll. Yecch.
  • My buddy Bob tipped me off to this cool comics-centric blog today. Basically, it's a dude reviewing selections from his comic book collection, complete with scanned-in art and funny commentary. Good schtuff, if you're a dork like me.
  • Supposedly, Osama Bin Laden's niece is going to star in a reality show about her search for stardom; she lives in NYC and is an aspiring singer. In about 20 years, there will probably be more people with reality shows than without them.
The Art of Everyday Communication

Word up. I've been crazy busy this week, which sort of explains the lack of communiques. Please forgive me.

Lily celebrated her second birthday on Wednesday. She's kind of aware of what it means, although I think the bottom line for her is it means she gets cake. The big bash is happening tomorrow, which meant Deb and I were in housecleaning mode last night. The theme is Dora the Explorer, so it should be a noisy good time.

Some quick hits to the head:

  • The NHL trade deadline came and went yesterday and the Leafs sat on their proverbial hands. They made a couple of moves Wednesday, including reacquiring aging d-man Luke Richardson, who was a Leaf draft pick way back in '87, and trading much better defenseman Ken Klee for a prospect. Just seems like a waste of a few draft picks. Besides, they're eight points behind Montreal for the last playoff spot and they're playing terribly, so these moves make little sense. Another lost year in Toronto.
  • Kirby Puckett died Monday after suffering a stroke. He had some problems after his career ended, but I'll always remember him as a great ballplayer who seemed to have a lot of fun out there. And his homer to win game 6 of the 1991 World Series was unforgettable.

I'm running late. More later.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Human Technology Will Render You Obsolete

Ah, Saturday morning. Just hanging out for a bit before I head out on a 17-mile long run. I've been feeling some Achilles tightness lately after longer runs, so I need to make sure I do all the stretching and the icing and the glaaaaaayven.

Bounce to this:
  • This week's dominant figure in the news: Paula Abdul. First, she appeared to be drunk on a live American Idol show the other night. Then, she caused a security breach after she was allowed to board a flight in Las Vegas without going through a screening checkpoint. And, of course, there's this frightening image of Barry Bonds' "tribute" to Ms. Abdul. What's next? I'm guessing it'll be the return of MC Skat Kat.
  • A new study encourages women to lift weights to reduce body fat. Not a revolutionary finding, but maybe it'll get some more people exercising. Still, I've known plenty of people who lift regularly but don't seem to lose any weight. I'm betting they go home and shovel the food in, which of course negates any benefit derived from weight training. The best approach is to combine weights, aerobic exercise, and a sensible diet. Just sayin', is all.
  • Just surfing the InterWeb can be a massive time-waster, but if you want to focus your wastage, you've got to check out YouTube. It's basically a repository for uploaded video, be it homemade clips of 12-year-old boys slapfighting and more unsavory stuff, or more importantly for my purposes, old rock videos and TV clips. It's pretty hit or miss and the image quality is often lacking, but what the hey, it's free.
  • Hey, so you don't say I never gave you anything...here's MC Hammer's sports blog. Seriously. Enjoy.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Walking on a Wire

Got some sad news yesterday. Dan Peterson, a great guy from Beverly who we've known for years, died yesterday morning at the young age of 55. He was diagnosed with cancer several years and continued to run the Boston Marathon every year, even last year (his 24th consecutive) after he had his right arm amputated. He had every right to be angry, but he to the end he remained the most positive person you could imagine, always with a smile and a kind word. We saw him about a month ago when we took the girls out to breakfast at a local diner and he was in pretty rough shape, but still came over to say hi. Ironically, the Boston Globe published a nice feature about him in yesterday's paper; I only read it after hearing of his death. I'll miss seeing him around town. I first met him through the Beverly Y, where he and group of buddies would meet to go running every afternoon. The world's a little darker without him.