Monday, May 29, 2006

Blister in the Sun

Another long weekend comes to a close. We got back around noon from Vermont, where I successfully completed my sixth marathon yesterday. Once again, Mother Nature conspired to give me a warmer-than-usual day that kicked my butt. It wasn't as warm as the NYC Marathon was last November, but the sun was blazing early and by mile 15, I was hurting. The official equation was: Heat + hills = D'oh! Add to that the fact that I was developing some nasty blisters on my toes and I was not a happy camper. But I trudged on, alternating walking with running until I finally came in at 4:22:59. Not what I was hoping for, but considering I didn't have many really warm days to train in, especially in the last month or so, it'll have to do. There were definitely more hills than I expected; and yes, I know Burlington is very hilly, but everything I had read downplayed the hills. That aside, it was a very well-run marathon, we had a great time hanging with our friends Rick and his family, Jon and Kerry (Rick, Jon and Kerry all ran), and Ann and Rick, who just came up to cheer us on. Our hotel was located about five minutes from the downtown, and the girls had fun with Deb while they waited to see me at various points during the race. Today, I feel okay except for my two little toes, which are both severely blistered. So I won't be running for a week or more, but I'll live.

  • It's nice to hear that blogs can actually make a difference in the world, aside from letting everyone know what your favorite bands are. Not that I have any pretenses about this Internet home page, but it's pretty cool that a guy being oppressed by his government can get the word out. Of course, don't worry: I'll always let you know when I'm being hassled by The Man. Hells, yeah.
  • Now that he's been bleepcanned by CBS, David Lee Roth says a Van Halen reunion is inevitable. Well, why wouldn't he? Makes sense to me. Your move, Eddie.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are in the Stanley Cup finals. Wish I'd put $100 down on them back when I was in Vegas last December. Meanwhile, Carolina's up 3-2 over Buffalo, but I think that series may go seven. And I have no idea who's going to win. All I know is it's been some good hockey.
  • The Pearl Jam show last Thursday was fan-freaking-tastic. Although I missed the opening mini-set by Eddie Vedder and My Morning Jacket's opening set, PJ's set was packed some songs they haven't done in years. Including "Leash," which hadn't been played in 12 years...since the last time I saw them at the Garden (I also saw them play it at the first PJ gig I saw in '92). The message-board obsessives proclaimed the show to be one of their best ever. Can't argue. It was pretty great.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good, Not Great

Getting ready for Memorial Day weekend, that unofficial springboard into summer. Appropriately enough, the weather's finally warming up. Temps are moving into the 70s, with forecasts calling for 80s and higher into early next week. Lucky for me I'm running a marathon on Sunday; the fact that it's in Vermont will cool things down a little. Our original plan was to go up early Saturday, stay the night and leave Sunday after the race, but Deb added another night to our hotel reservation so we could stay Sunday night. It'll be nice not to cram my weary body into the car for a three-hour drive home on Sunday.

Speaking of running, I just entered a team into the River to Sea Relay adventure run in New Jersey in August. It's a 14-leg, 92-mile event with teams consisting of seven runners each. It was my bro-in-law Matt's idea; the team is the two of us, a couple of speedy friends and some friends of theirs. It should be fun and punishing at the same time. I've never done anything like this, so it will definitely be an experience.

Huevos rancheros:
  • I'm going to the Pearl Jam show at the TDBanknorthFleetPantsGarden tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to it. The new album's excellent, and I haven't seen PJ in 12 years. Of course, it'll be a far cry from when I saw them play at the small club Axis in Boston back in '92. Me and my brother got right up front and were a few feet away from Eddie Vedder. It was just before they got really huge. They played Saturday Night Live a few days later and then joined Lollapalooza that summer, when we saw them again at Great Woods in Mansfield (now known as the Tweeter Center). I caught them two years later at the Boston Garden, but haven't seen 'em since. My Morning Jacket is opening the show, so I hope to catch their set as well.
  • I hadn't mentioned this at the time, but I picked up a new iPod 2GB Nano a few weeks ago. My 10GB iPod still works fine, but I wanted something a little more lightweight that I could run with; plus the Nano doesn't skip because it's Flash-based, not a hard drive. Speaking of Apple, they recently unveiled a new wireless device that can transmit data from your Nikes to your iPod while you run. Of course, you have to buy new shoes that have a special sensor that can communicate with your Nano. Wiggity wack. I can't see blowing $100 on special shoes; my first concern with running shoes is whether they help me with my pronation. Still, cool technology.
  • Apparently, they're having a problem in Australia with fatcats. I mean fat cats.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Marker in the Sand

Sun, glorious sun! After what seemed like an endless torrential downpour, the last two days have been pretty nice. Of course, it's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so I guess we'll have to enjoy it while we can. Things got pretty messy around here; we had minor problems, but plenty of people sustained serious damage to their property.

Happy birthday to Deb! I won't say how old she is, but she likes to take solace in the fact that she'll always be younger than me. Mother's Day and her birthday in the same week. The double whammy.

Ten days until my marathon. I'm feeling good, although I'm trying to cut down on all the junk I've been eating lately. I attribute it to stress and laziness, but my diet has not been good the last few months: lots of ice cream, candy, soda, and assorted other crap. Hopefully, it won't slow me down too much on race day.

You're with me, leather:
  • The NHL playoffs are down to the final four teams, and it's proof positive that the salary cap is working. All four teams are in small markets and have had financial struggles in recent years. The outcomes so far have been impossible to predict: Carolina vs. Buffalo in the East, Edmonton vs. Anaheim in the West. Carolina had one of the best records in the league, so they're not too much of a shocker, although nobody expected them to have this great of a season. Edmonton and Buffalo are bigger surprises, both knocking off tough opponents; the eighth-seeded Oilers upset Detroit and San Jose while the Sabres dispatched the Flyers and Senators. The teams all reflect the new NHL: skilled, fast, and hard-working. I'm looking forward to the third round. I'm thinking Anaheim and Carolina will win, but what do I know? I've been dead wrong so far.
  • Macca, wha hoppen? Paul McCartney may be a musical genius, but he was pretty dumb not to make his wife Heather sign a pre-nup. Now they're on the outs, and she stands to take a sizable chunk of his $1.5 billion fortune with her.
  • Some definite anger issues for the baseball-playing Young brothers. First minor league prospect Delmon throws his bat at an umpire and hits the dude in the chest, and now Tigers DH Dmitri is charged with domestic abuse. Don't cut those guys off in traffic.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

The amount of rain we're getting here in New England is reaching Biblical proportions. I've already started working on our ark in the backyard; some of the neighbor's 37 cats have moved in and plan to tell their friends. Seriously, it's getting ridiculous. We've got some leaks in our roof that have led to the strategic placing of pots and pans in certain spots in our kitchen, and there's even a leak into our bedroom (converted attic). [UPDATE: We just discovered that our basement is flooded, too. Awesome.] Getting a roofer to return your calls around here is like finding a Mensa member at a monster truck rally. And I've got a puddle in the back seat of my Olds. Bring back the drought!

Chock full o' nuts:
  • My marathon training is winding down as I'm exactly two weeks away from the race in Burlington. I was supposed to do 15 miles this weekend for a long run, but I ended up on the treadmill yesterday and only had the time and inclination to do 10. But whatever. I feel good and hopefully that will continue as the race approaches. Also, hopefully this rain will end before then.
  • The NHL playoffs roll on. Anaheim and Buffalo have already advanced to the third round, while Carolina holds a 3-1 lead over New Jersey and San Jose and Edmonton are tied at 2. Ottawa, who lost to the Sabres in OT last night to bow out in five games, were picked by many to contend for the Cup. Instead, they've once again disappointed their fandom (and delighted Leafs fans) by tanking early. There could be some big changes in the Canadian capitol this offseason; a lot of the Senators' big-name players (Alfredsson, Chara, Heatley) turned in subpar efforts.
  • This guy has to be considering a career change. If not, he needs a new agent.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hornets! Hornets!

Happy so-called Hump Day. It has been raining like a mofo for the last few days, with no signs of letting up anytime soon. So I'm in marathon taper mode, which for you non-runners means I've completed my longest run (21.4 miles on Sunday) and am now ratcheting the mileage down until race day in a little over two weeks. Despite some tightness in my left leg that had bothered me last week, I felt great during my run Sunday. Very encouraging. Last night, I played hockey for the last time until after the race and was glad to escape unscathed; in fact, I scored four goals and had a lot of jump in my legs. A guy who used to skate with us was training to run Boston and separated his shoulder the week before the race; he ran anyway, but was in serious pain.

Whoop! There it is:
  • I haven't seen a lot of full games for various reasons, but I have been lucky to catch some exciting playoff hockey. The other night, I watched New Jersey seemingly win game 2 over Carolina by scoring a goal with 20 seconds left in the third period; Carolina came back and tied it up with three seconds left and then scored the game-winner 18 seconds into overtime. Meanwhile, Buffalo, San Jose and Anaheim are all leading their series. I hope Anaheim doesn't win for the simple reason they're called the Mighty Ducks, but they're playing really well and the tourney seems wide open.
  • There's already speculation that Jeb Bush may run for president. Would the American people vote for a third Bush? Hell, anything's possible at this point. Yeesh.
  • Three years after the Rhode Island club fire that killed 100 concertgoers, the guy who lit the pyro that started the fire was sentenced to four years in jail. Doesn't seem like much, huh?
  • So can someone explain to me why anyone gave a rat's ass about David Blaine's stupid submerging stunt? How is this related to magic in any way, other than creating the illusion of spectacle? I'd rather watch competitive eaters gorge themselves on SPAM cutlet subs.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Careening With Conviction

Hey there, ho there. Cranking through another week. Today was glorious out, sunny and into the 70s after a raw and rainy couple of days. On Monday night, Deb and I joined our friends Kate and Brian at the Sox-Yankees game. It was damn cold, but a great game. There was plenty of hoopla over Johnny Damon's return to town, but the Sox reacquisition of catcher Doug Mirabelli got lots of attention as well. The Sox won the game and it started raining right as we left Fenway.

Meanwhile, back at the Batcave:

  • It's been quite the fortnight for Kaavya Viswanathan, the 19-year-old Harvard student who went from hot young author with a book and movie deal to disgraced plagiarist with a book taken off store shelves, no movie deal, and a lot to think about. It was a meteoric rise and even more spectacular fall, as various news outlets pointed out the similarities between passages in Viswanathan's book and several others. She apologized, calling them "internalizations" and her publisher Little Brown originally planned to release a revamped version of the book, but after the story snowballed, those plans were scrapped. What I wonder is, with all the press given to the similar downfall of James Frey earlier this year, you'd think she would have known better. Perhaps it was too late by then; but how could she not know that this would come out eventually?
  • The first round of the NHL playoffs are over, and it's a nightmare for the league's head office. Major market clubs Detroit, Philly, the Rangers, Montreal, and Dallas all lost, along with Nashville, Calgary, and defending Cup champs Tampa Bay. But there's been some great hockey, so if you're a hockey fan, you shouldn't be disappointed. The league also announced the finalists for its awards today: my picks to win are Thornton for MVP, Ovechkin for rookie of the year, Miikka Kiprusoff for the Vezina (best goalie), Nick Lidstrom for best defenseman, Peter Laviolette for best coach, and Rod Brind'Amour for the best defensive forward.
  • Stephen Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner last weekend has ignited a raging debate over whether he was funny, whether he disrespected the president and the White House media corps, and whether the mass media conspired to not report on the speech. I don't know about a conspiracy, but you certainly heard more about Dubya's comedy routine with his lookalike than Colbert. I personally think Colbert's hilarious, but I can see how people wouldn't get the joke, especially those self-important blowhards covering the White House. His whole schtick on the Colbert Report and during his speech centers around playing a Bill O'Reilly-esque pundit; it's not for everyone. Still, if you want to judge for yourself, you can find the video in three parts on IFilm. And here's a site singing his praises. I think the funniest part of the whole thing is the look on Bush's face as he tried to figure out what the hell this guy he never heard of was talking about. UPDATE: IFilm took down the Colbert speech after C-Span asked, but it's officially available at Google Video now.