Friday, June 29, 2007

Heading Out to the Highway

Well, we're about to get on the road for the long drive to Disney. Wish us luck. We'll be in Orlando until next Saturday, when we start the long slog back. Not sure if I'll have a chance to file any reports from FL, so it's very possible I won't have any posts up until next Sunday. But check back anyway.

Lots of stuff happened this week, but I've been too busy to report: I ran the Corporate Challenge last night and saw my buddy Bob at the post-race bash; Pantsy McPantserpants lost his stupid lawsuit; Frank Thomas hit his 500th homer last night for the Jays; it looks like I'm going to run the Baystate Marathon on October 14 instead of the Maine Marathon a week earlier because I might have to travel for work that week; and plenty of other crap I can't remember right now.

Aiight, check in with you later.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Completely Conspicuous Episode 30: Hit the Road, Jack

Just cranked out a nice, sweaty, pre-vacation episode of tha CC. Download it here (right click and "save as," yo).

The show notes, if you will:

- Third-party candidates
- The summer road trip and new rules of the road
- Overrated rock albums
- Pro sports drafts
- Pinhead of the Week

- Frank Black - Ten Percenter (live)
- Rocket From the Crypt - Delorean

- New England Podcasting. Find out more here.

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes, Yahoo Podcasts and Podcast Pickle podcast directories. Subscribe and write a review!

The song from Frank Black is on the album '93-'03 on Cooking Vinyl Records; find out more here. The song from Rocket From the Crypt is on Runnin' On Fumes: The Gearhead Magazine Singles Compilation on Gearhead Records; find out more here. Both songs are courtesy of IODA Promonet; find out more here.


Download "Ten Percenter" (mp3)
from "93-03"
by Frank Black
Cooking Vinyl

More On This Album

Runnin' on Fumes: the Gearhead Magazine Singles Compilation

Download "Delorean" (mp3)
from "Runnin' on Fumes: the Gearhead Magazine Singles Compilation"
by Rocket from the Crypt
Gearhead Records

More On This Album

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling here. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull; find out more here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Run Pig Run

I'm loving this stuff. Summer's officially here, it's gorgeous out, it's Saturday. Just got back from a nice 13-mile run. Felt good, although my right little toe is a little sore. I definitely need new shoes, but they'll have to wait until we get back from Disney in a few weeks.

This was the first week of training for my fall marathon. I'm doing the Furman FIRST plan again, which worked well for me last fall. It involves running three times a week--a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run. The idea is to minimize wear and tear and cross train on the other days. This week, I ran twice but didn't really do what I was supposed to, but I will get a speed workout and tempo run in next week. I'm supposed to run 15 miles next weekend, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen because we're leaving for Florida at the crack of dawn Friday morning and driving for 21 hours or so. But no biggie. I've been running all spring and am in pretty decent shape, so missing a long run here and there won't mean much. I'm not going to stress about it.

Both wiggity and wack:

  • I got to watch the first round of the NHL draft last night. The Leafs made a splash earlier in the day by trading their first, second and fourth-round picks to San Jose for goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Mark Bell. Definitely a deal to address their shortcomings in net last season, but one that gave the lie to general manager John Ferguson Jr.'s supposed plan of building for the future. Obviously, he was feeling the heat from management to make the playoffs and he got a good goalie, one who's better than last season's starter Andrew Raycroft. But the bummer of it all is by trading away that first pick, number 13 overall, they missed out on the chance to pick a top-notch prospect in Alexei Cherepanov or Angelo Esposito, both of whom went late in the first round to the Rangers and Penguins, respectively, and both of whom could have a huge impact on an NHL team in a few years. Instead, the Leafs added more salaries before free agent season, when they could have used that money to lure a top-tier forward like Daniel Briere, Chris Drury or Scott Gomez. Ultimately, they may make the playoffs, but down the line they may regret giving up that top pick.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Completely Conspicuous Episode 29: Preparing for the Worst

Here's the latest installment of CC. You can download it directly here (right click and "save as", already).

On with the shizzow notes:

- The threat of a flu pandemic
- The decline of TV ratings
- The enduring popularity of Journey
- Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's all-time HR record
- Pinhead of the Week

- I Walk the Line - Just Like the Rest
- The Hellacopters - Baby Borderline

- New England Podcasting. Find out more here.

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes, Yahoo Podcasts and Podcast Pickle podcast directories. Subscribe and write a review!
The song from I Walk the Line is on the album Desolation Street on Gearhead Records; find out more here. The song from the Hellacopters is on their High Visibility album on Gearhead Records; find out more here. Both songs are courtesy of IODA Promonet; find out more here.

Desolation Street

Download "Just Like The Rest" (mp3)
from "Desolation Street"
by I Walk The Line
Gearhead Records

More On This Album

High Visibility

Download "Baby Borderline" (mp3)
from "High Visibility"
by The Hellacopters
Gearhead Records

More On This Album

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Read his excellent music blog. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull; find out more here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

The Man Who Was Too Loud

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. My, it's been a busy week. Thursday night, I went to a farewell for a co-worker at a local establishment. On Friday, I met up with the Webnoize crew at the always-awesome Redbones for some fine Texas beef ribs and Smuttynose IPAs. My man Briggy and his lovely wife are expecting their second child any day now, so it was good to see him and wish him well. Got up bright and early yesterday and ran 10 miles with my buddies Matt, Rick and Jon; I felt fortunate to be able to keep up considering what I had consumed the night before. Deb and the girls got back from Joisey around midday. Then I went and played a quick nine holes with Stevie Z. at Wenham CC; it was a great day and I actually played pretty well by my standards, shooting a 46. Steve and I had originally planned to play 18, but his back was bothering him. As it turned out, playing nine turned out to be perfect, cheaper and much more manageable as far time away from home. I'm going to try to get out and play nine a few more times this summer.

Today was pretty mellow. We tried to go out to breakfast, but the diner we tried had about 20 people waiting outside, so we bagged that and just picked up some bagels and donuts and ate at a playground before church. We came home and filled up a new wading pool we recently bought for the girls and let them splash away for a few hours. Good stuff.

This, that, and the other thing:
  • So Thursday night, while I was out, I TiVoed the NHL Awards show on Versus. I got home and started to watch it, only to find two hours of mixed martial arts coverage. The next day, I found out what really happened (courtesy of the excellent Off Wing Opinion blog): turns out the CBC's broadcast truck outside the event caught on fire and technical wackiness ensued, causing Versus to replace the show with the MMA event and show the awards at 11 on tape delay. This could only the happen to the NHL; the few diehard hockey fans who even knew the show was on Versus, an audience made even smaller by the fact that many can't even get Versus on their cable systems, and they still can't watch the damn thing. You just have to shake your head and smile at this point. I'm fully expecting a Martian attack will wipe out the satellite so I can't watch the NHL draft next Saturday.
  • Hey, a little self-promotion here: I'm featured on the latest episode of Jeff Cutler's A Life of Play podcast. Jeff interviews folks from all walks of life about their various recreational pursuits; in this show, he talks to me about playing pickup hockey. You can download it directly here (right click and "save as"). Jeff's a fellow member of New England Podcasting.
  • Watch out for angry squirrels; you never know what will set those things off.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

We Gathered in Spring

Hola, rancheros. So we had fun at Deb's college reunion, although I was quickly reminded why I like sleeping in my own bed. We were in a third-floor dorm room that was hotter than hizznell, tiny and featuring two of those good old single cots with the wafer-thin mattresses. Hey, we're saving for Disney in a couple of weeks. Deb was worried not that many people from her class were going to show up, but there was a decent turnout. They had babysitting available, which was nice, although we were the only ones who used it Friday night. I knew some of Deb's friends who I met at the last reunion five years ago, so I wasn't totally clueless. But as I mentioned, I had a hard time sleeping because of the uncomfortable beds; guess my back was in a lot better condition back when I was in college.

Freshen your drink, Guvner?
  • Boy, I guess I was right about the Sopranos finale: Nobody could have predicted that ending. It really has divided fans, with many folks pretty pissed that they didn't get any closure. If you haven't seen it or read about it, well, you're doing a good job of avoiding all forms of information. With everyone expecting Tony Soprano to get whacked or have something major happen to him, the show puts him in a diner with his family. Tension builds as the camera cuts to any number of suspicious-looking characters who may or may not be assassins. As Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" blares on the jukebox, the show essentially just...ends. It literally cuts away to black, leaving you to wonder if Tony was about to get shot by the guy who went into the bathroom or if the family just kept on eating their onion rings. I thought it was brilliant, but plenty of people, including my lovely wife, were stunned by the lack of a set conclusion. Creator David Chase reportedly shot three endings so the cast wouldn't know which one he'd use and there has been endless conjecture on the InterWeb about what happened after the fade to black. Whatever the case, it was a ratings bonanza for the show, which was watched by more people than any major network show with the exception of the NBC crapfest "America's Got Talent." And that's not counting all the folks who TiVoed or otherwise recorded it; I usually TiVo it and watch it a few days later, but I had to watch it live so the ending wouldn't be ruined the next day. I'm sure glad I did. The guys from Journey are certainly psyched that their song was played at such a pivotal moment, not that they need the money. I plan on watching the finale again. Then I'll have to rent Season 1 on DVD and relive the glory days of one of the best shows in history.
  • The case of Judge Douchebag vs. the Dry Cleaner continues on. In today's installment, the judge cries over his lost pants. Unbelievable.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Underdog

Just a quick post before I head off to work for a half day, and then we hit the road for lovely Springfield. Deb and I yesterday had an orientation at the school where Hannah will start kindergarten in the fall. It's hard to believe she's essentially starting her school "career" in a few months, although she's been in daycare and preschool since she was a little baby. I'll be dropping her off at school in the mornings, which will be a different routine for all of us. Lily will probably be bummed at first that her sister's not with her, and then she'll likely enjoy having her mom to herself every day. I'm excited for Hannah; I think she'll have a lot of fun.

Sunny side up:
  • Well, the hockey season's finally over. It still sounds weird to say it, but the Anaheim Ducks are the Stanley Cup champs. First West Coast team to win it all. I'm not surprised they won, because they have a stacked team, but I was surprised that Ottawa rolled over so easily, losing in five games. I know one place in Canada where folks are rejoicing at the Senators' misfortune: Toronto. It would have been tough for Leaf fans to see their hated rivals skating around with the Cup. Now they've got something new to taunt the Sens and their fans about. So now it's on to the draft and the free agent season; the Leafs need to pick up a big-name scorer, but I'm not optimistic. Hey, it has been 40 years since they won the Cup, what's another few, right? Ugh.
  • One of the best shows in TV history, The Sopranos, is wrapping up with its series finale this weekend. Some major characters have been killed off in the last few weeks and last week's penultimate episode had us wondering if Tony Soprano would be next. Should be a fun time this week, but sad, too. Whatever happens, it probably won't take a predictable route.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Completely Conspicuous Episode 28: Less Talk, More Rock

I was under the gun to get the latest episode of CC done before we left tomorrow at midday for Deb's college reunion in Springfield, so I decided to go with an all-music show for a change. I think it came out quite nicely. Downloadimafy it here (right click and "save as").

The show notes and shizz...

- Midlake - Roscoe
- Tim Armstrong - Hold On
- Ziggy Marley - Into the Groove
- Frank Black and the Catholics - Robert Onion
- Jesse Malin - Prisoners of Paradise

- New England Podcasting. Find out more here. The song from Tim Armstrong is on his A Poet's Life album on Hellcat Records; find out more here. The Ziggy Marley song is on his Love is My Religion release on Tuff Gong Worldwide; go here for more info. The Jesse Malin song is on his new album Glitter in the Gutter on Adeline Records; visit here to learn more. All four songs were provided by the Podsafe Music Network; find out more here.

The Frank Black and the Catholics song is on Frank's forthcoming compilation album, 93-03 on Cooking Vinyl; find out more here. The song is courtesy of IODA Promonet; find out more here.


Download "Robert Onion" (mp3)
from "93-03"
by Frank Black
Cooking Vinyl

    More On This Album

    The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Read Senor Breitling's fine music blog, willya?

    Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    Making Money for the Freak Machines

    It's a lazy Sunday afternoon. The hazy and humid temps of the last few days are gone, replaced by cool 60-degree and cloudy weather. Great running weather, so I got a quick 10-miler in before we went to church this morning. I haven't signed up yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the Maine Marathon in Portland on October 7, which means I have to start my 16-week training program in a couple of weeks. More on that later.

    Yesterday, I went to the driving range for the first time in a few years. It's not like I'm going to be playing every week like I used to back in the day (i.e., before marriage), but I want to get at least a couple of rounds in this summer. Deb and the girls will be away in NJ in a couple of weeks, so I figured I could get 18 in then. I actually hit the ball fairly well for not having swung a club in a looooong time. We'll see what happens when I'm actually on a course, but it felt good to get a few hacks in.

    I was at the Apple Store yesterday and a guy came up to me and asked if I used to work at the Beverly Times, which, of course, I did. Turns out it was a guy I knew about 15 years ago who worked in circulation there; now he's got a job that's a tad more interesting: he's a CIA agent, traveling around the world, working with Condi Rice and stuff. Damn.

    Last night, there was a thunderstorm warning issued around 7:30, but what was really interesting was the bulletin flashing on TV that there was also the possibility of tornadoes. The sky got really dark and scary for a while, and Deb was getting ready to flee for the basement, but other than a little thunder and lightning, nothing eventful took place. Deb gets really nervous when storms move in, but I've learned to trust her instincts. About seven years ago, she had a bad feeling about the Nor'easter that was about to hit and moved her car onto the street in front of our apartment because she was nervous about the trees that lined the small lot behind our house. I blew it off and sure enough, a few hours later, an 800-pound tree branch fell on and totaled my car. Lesson learned.

    It's all fun and games...
    • Stanley Cup Finals update: Despite abysmal ratings, little or no attention, and getting pre-empted by the NBC affiliate in Tampa last night for a children's telethon, the finals have been pretty great. Anaheim came out and just pounded the living hell out of Ottawa the first two games. Things didn't look too good for the Senators going back home last night, but they came out and played a strong game, bouncing back from a couple of deficits to win 5-3. The series so far has had huge hits, great goaltending, controversial goals, some fighting, and a cheap shot by Chris Pronger. I'm hoping the Sens win again tomorrow and take this thing to the limit.
    • No doubt you've heard about the jackass with a rare form of TB who flew around the world disregarding warnings from health officials so he could get married in Greece, endangering hundreds of passengers in the process. Now it turns out the guy may not even be legally married because of some paperwork problems. Nice going, pal.
    • Google's new Street View map technology: Cool or creepy? Sounds like a little of both. The mapping tool, currently available to view streets in five cities including San Francisco, lets you see images captured of people on the streets doing whatever they may be doing: sunbathing, picking their noses, going through trash, etc. How long before the feds co-opt this to use as a crime-fighting tool?
    • Apparently, folks in the Philippines take their karaoke seriously. A guy was shot to death Tuesday night for his poor singing. When American Idol starts struggling in the ratings, they may go this route to spice things up a little.