Monday, July 30, 2007

Heavy Weather

Another week begins. Looks like it's going to rain all day today. The weekend was fairly relaxing. Saturday began with a long run. I had planned to do 20, but I knew from the start that I didn't have a lot of energy. Not sure why, but I was still pretty tired and the humidity didn't help. I got myself through 16 before I just felt I couldn't run anymore, so I walked the last four miles home. Deb was worried because I was later than I planned, but I was fine. I just couldn't run and didn't see the point in pushing it. If it was a race, I would have, but not for a long run in July. Not too long after I got back, the weather took a turn towards the volatile, with rumbling thunder giving way to periodic rain for the rest of the day. We all just hung out. I had considered getting together with some friends who were up on the North Shore and also checking out The Simpsons Movie, but nothing materialized. Yesterday, we went up to NH to take my mother out to breakfast, then came back to go to a children's day as part of Beverly Yankee Homecoming. We spent several hours at Lynch Park before coming home. Like I said, very relaxed.

I picked up some new running shoes Saturday because I was way overdue. I'll break 'em in this week with a couple of races: tomorrow's Yankee Homecoming 10-miler in Newburyport and Thursday's 5K in Beverly. Then next weekend I'll cut back the long run to 13 miles while we're down in Joisey.

Summer summarizations:
  • Tough weekend for aging rock stars. Paul Stanley, 55, of KISS had to miss a show Friday after suffering a rapid heartbeat. He was admitted to a hospital to get his heartbeat back to normal while his band played its first show as a trio that night. Meanwhile, 58-year-old Ozzy Osbourne was treated in Denver for a "minor outpatient procedure" that some reports said was surgery for a blood clot in his leg. He was also on tour. It ain't easy getting old, or so I'm told.
  • People, please don't try conducting exorcisms at home without a trained professional on hand. Look in the Yellow Pages for a certified exorcist near you.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Completely Conspicuous Episode 33: Get a Haircut, Hippie!

Here be the Larry Bird episode of CC. If you're not subscribed (and why wouldn't you be?), you can download the episode directly here (right click and "save as," yo).

Ah, the show notes:

- The Summer of Love turns 40
- Tough times for pro sports leagues
- Pinhead of the Week

- The Who - My Generation (live at Monterey)
- The Shods - I Know a Place
- Mondo Generator - So High
- The Descendents - Everything Sux

- The Phedippidations World Wide Half Marathon. Find out more here.

- 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 The Who is on the album Monterey International Pop Festival on Razor and Tie Records; find out more here. The song from The Descendents is on their album Everything Sucks on Fat Wreck Chords; find out more here. Both songs are courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The song from The Shods is on their album Bamboozled, Jilted, Hornswoggled, and Hoodwinked on Killing Floor Records; find out more here. The Mondo Generator song is on their new album Dead Planet on Suburban Noize Records; find out more here. Both songs are provided by IODA Promonet.

Bamboozled, Jilted, Hornswoggled + Hoodwinked

Download "I Know a Place" (mp3)
from "Bamboozled, Jilted, Hornswoggled + Hoodwinked"
by The Shods
Killing Floor Records

More On This Album

Dead Planet

Download "So High" (mp3)
from "Dead Planet"
by Mondo Generator
Suburban Noize Records

More On This Album

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

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Keep It Cool

Holy crap, I can't stop sweating. It seems as though we're in for the hot, hazy and humid stuff for a few days. I didn't help matters by doing a speed workout at the Beverly High track around 6 p.m., when it was about 87 out. I wasn't able to run in the morning or at lunch, so I had no choice. At any rate, I'd say it's about time to get the old air conditioner out of the basement. Maybe tomorrow.

So the golf tournament Monday was fun, although the weather wasn't ideal. It was pouring for the first few holes, but thankfully that changed to an infrequent drizzle. It was a scramble format, which was good because I hit some pretty bad shots. Had some good ones, too. Whatever, it still beat working.

Flip your lid:
  • They have tonight off, but the Jays are finally on a modest roll, winning five straight. Better yet, their starters won every game, which hasn't happened in four years. Too bad it's probably too late to mean anything, because the Sox and Yankees are so far ahead.
  • What the hell's going on at NASA? First there's that crazy astronaut who drove from Houston to Florida to attack the woman who was dating another astronaut she liked. Now a new report says there have been cases of astronauts being drunk before shuttle launches and another of sabotage of equipment before takeoff. Major Tom to Ground Control, indeed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn

'Sup? It was a gorgeous weekend. The humidity of the previous week was gone, replaced by nice, dry, 80-degree, sunny days. I got an 18-mile run in Saturday morning, but the last half was a struggle. I stupidly did a cardio workout Friday that included 20 minutes on the stepmill; my legs were dead tired yesterday. Molly met me for the last half of the run and she can testify that I was definitely dragging ass. But I got through it and won't make the same mistake next time around. I'm doing 20 next Saturday, so Friday will be a day of rest, or at least nothing involving my legs.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing. We did make a run to Barnes and Noble so Deb could pick up the new Harry Potter book. She's already plowed through about 300 pages.

Today, I played nine holes of golf at Wenham CC with the Z-man. There were a lot more folks out on the course because it was so nice out, but I shot a 49 and had a good time. As it turns out, I got drafted to play in a tournament tomorrow afternoon that the company bought a foursome in, so it was nice to have some practice.

Make with the bullets:
  • The Guinness Book of World Records has named a Mexican resident the world's fattest man, weighing in at 1,234 pounds. Damn. What's more, the guy has lost 440 pounds. This dude is so big he can't even leave his bedroom.
  • "The Simpsons Movie" is coming out next Friday and the hype is growing, but dammit, it looks good. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a fan of the show, so I may have to sneak out to catch a late-night viewing next weekend.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Completely Conspicuous Episode 32: I'm With Stupid

I've finally stopped sweating for the first time this week. Just in time for the latest edition of CC. Download it here (right click and save as, dood).

Ze show notes:

- The ubiquity of stupidity
- Harry Potter mania
- Pinhead of the Week

- And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Mistakes and Regrets
- Matt Mays and El Torpedo - Stand Down at Sundown
- The Wildhearts - Let's Go

- The Phedippidations World Wide Half Marathon. Find out more here.
- 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 And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead is on the album Madonna on Merge Records; find out more here. The song from Matt Mays and El Torpedo is on their self-titled album on Sonic Records; find out more here. Both songs are courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The song from The Wildhearts is on their album Riff After Riff on Gearhead Records; find out more here. The song is provided by IODA Promonet.

Riff After Riff

Download "Let's Go" (mp3)
from "Riff After Riff"
by The Wildhearts
Gearhead Records

More On This Album

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Check out his fine music blog, willya? Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, aka the mighty Mark Campbell; find out more here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sounds Better in the Song

Hey there, ho there. Busy weekend. Saturday, I got up early and ran 16.1 miles. I felt pretty good and was joined by my friend Molly for the first half of it, but as the temps creeped up closer to 80 during the last half of the run, I was definitely ready for it to end. Speaking of running, I finally signed up for the Baystate Marathon today. October 14, baby. It's flat and a lot of people run it to qualify for Boston. I don't expect to do that, but I do hope to improve on my Chicago time last fall.

Ran a bunch of errands yesterday, including picking up the last piece of my wedding anniversary gift for Deb. It was our seventh anniversary yesterday, which means you're supposed to get a gift made of copper or wool. Since wool in July is out of the question, I struggled to find something affordable made of copper until I realized that Duracell is the copper top battery. Turns out Deb realized the same thing. Anyhoo, we decided to spend the night at a hotel near the wedding we were going to. It was in lovely Sherborn, which BTW is the home of the sheep-lovin' lad I linked to in my last post. On the way to the ceremony we saw a farm and wondered if it was the one he visited. And then we laughed.

It was a small, outdoor ceremony for about 90 people or so. It was a beautiful day and kinda cool to spend our wedding anniversary at another couple's wedding. Even better, the reception had open bar all night and a great selection of beers (I stuck with the Magic Hat Hocus Pocus).

My cousin Dev was in town with some of his Toronto homies to check out a few Sox-Jays games and I was planning to meet up with them after today's game. But he called me Saturday because they had an extra ticket for today, so I headed in and met them. It was a sweltering 88 degrees in the right field bleachers, but it was worth it to see the Jays and rookie Jesse Litsch beat the Sox and Josh Beckett, 2-1. The bleachers were surprisingly drunk-free, a big change from the first time I visited Fenway 20 years ago. I went with a couple of friends from UNH and we had a bunch of frat boys from Plymouth State sitting behind us. One of them accidentally dumped his beer on my buddy Chris' head, but since we were outnumbered heavily, we chose not to make a big deal of it. I also remember seeing a guy so drunk he fell down the bleacher steps before the game even started. Ah, the good old days.

It's both the heat and the humidity:
  • Okay, I finally uploaded a bunch of vacation pics to my Flickr page. It was our first time using our new camera, a Canon PowerShot SD1000. Very sweeeeeet.
  • Sad to hear of the passing of John Ferguson, Sr., one of the NHL's original tough guys and later an executive with several teams, at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer. He's also the father of current Leafs GM John Ferguson, Jr. I never saw him play (unless it was as a little kid, because he retired in 1971), but certainly read many tales of his toughness on the ice.
  • There's a new documentary out that riffs on the Haterade dished on my hometown, Toronto. It's called Let's All Hate Toronto and examines the loathing of the Big Smoke that goes on pretty everywhere else in Canada. I definitely need to check it out.
  • I suppose I understand the need for dudes to prove their manhood by running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, but there's no way in hell you could get me to do it (at least not without substantial financial compensation). And pictures like this one, in which two American brothers were simultaneously gored (one in the arse) by the same frickin' bull, help remind me of why people who do that are stupid.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Time, Gentlemen, Time

Twas a strange week. I still haven't quite caught up on sleep from our marathon drive last weekend. But I'm not stumbling around in a punch-drunk stupor, either.

I'm getting back into the marathon training swing of things after about 10 days off; I missed two long runs the last two weekends. So tomorrow I'm heading out for a 15-miler first thing in the morning. Fortunately, it shouldn't be too hot out. Then I've got to run some errands before Deb and I head off to a wedding in the evening; the couple are friends of Deb's from work. Tomorrow also happens to be our seventh wedding anniversary. Wow, that went by quick. Of course, I feel that way about my entire life to date.

Deb and I went to the Sox-Jays game last night at Fenway. She had a better time than I did, as Roy Halladay and the Jays got smacked around a bit to the tune of a 7-4 loss. But it was a beautiful night to be at a ballgame, so that was nice.

And that's the way it was:
  • When you're a teenager, you've got the whole world in front of you and a future full of possibilities. Unless you're this kid and all you can think about is getting it on with sheep. Hard to imagine the reasoning here, but one thing's for sure, he won't ever live this down.
  • I didn't get hear any of last weekend's Live Earth concerts because we were driving through the countryside, but this story was pretty funny. Metallica singer James Hetfield was delayed by London authorities after they deemed his beard a little too Taliban-y. Eventually, they realized their mistake and sent him on his way. I don't know, I think he's rockin' more of an Amish look than anything else.
  • It's summer and there ain't a whole on the teevee, but HBO's holding up its end of the bargain with interesting programming. In addition to Entourage, I've been digging a strange show called John From Cincinnati. It's a quirky drama from the creator of the awesome and late lamented Deadwood and NYPD Blue, David Milch. People are split right down the middle about this show: they either love it or hate it. It took me a few episodes to get into it, but more than anything else, it's interesting. It's hard to even describe what's going on because it's so damn weird. Essentially, the title character is this mystical simpleton who shows up in a California surfing community and causes all sorts of paranormal things to happen. Ed O'Neill, aka Al Bundy of Married With Children fame, is acting his ass off as a retired cop who has OCD and talks to his pet bird. There's a lot of unexplained (so far) phenomena, profanity, surfing, and Milch's amazing writing. I don't even know if I can recommend it to everyone because not everyone will like it, but I think it's cool.
  • So it looks like Van Halen may finally have its act together and announce a David Lee Roth-led fall tour soon, at least so sez Billboard. Meanwhile, former VHers Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony this week announced a fall tour of their own. Hell, Sammy doesn't even need to tour. He recently sold an 80% share in his Cabo Wabo tequila business to liquor conglomerate Gruppo Campari for $80 freakin' million! Wow. He will no doubt keep his money in a three-lock box.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Completely Conspicuous Episode 31: Lessons Learned on the Road

Here's a Very Special Episode of CC, detailing some valuable life lessons I learned whilst driving to Disney and back. Don't miss it. You can downloadimafy it here (right click and "save as").

The show notes and such:

- I detail seven key lessons learned while driving to Disney World and back.

- The Mooney Suzuki - 99 Percent
- The Whigs - Technology
- Midlake - Van Occupanther
- Destroyer - Sublimation Hour
- The Black Angels - Black Grease

- New England Podcasting. Find out more at

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

The song from the Mooney Suzuki is on the album Have Mercy on Elixia Records; find out more here. The song from Midlake is on their album The Trials of Van Occupanther on Bella Union Records; find out more here. Both songs are courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network; find out more here. The song from the Whigs is on their album Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip on ATO Records; find out more here. The song from Destroyer is on the album Streethawk: A Seduction on Misra Records; find out more here. The song from the Black Angels is on their self-titled EPon Light in the Attic Records; find out more here. The three songs are provided by IODA Promonet; find out more here.

Give 'em All a Big Fat Lip

Download "Technology" (mp3)
from "Give 'em All a Big Fat Lip"
by The Whigs
ATO Records

More On This Album

Streethawk: A Seduction

Download "The Sublimation Hour" (mp3)
from "Streethawk: A Seduction"
by Destroyer

More On This Album

The Black Angels

Download "Black Grease" (mp3)
from "The Black Angels"
by The Black Angels
Light In The Attic

More On This Album

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Check out his fine 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.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fantastic Voyage

We're baaaaaaaaack. We got home about three hours ago from Florida, after our second full day of driving in a week. Needless to say, I'm friggin' exhausted. A quick recap before I go catch some well-needed Z's.

We left last Friday, hitting the road at 9 a.m. Everything went pretty smoothly until we got past DC around 6 p.m. and hit some serious bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. It took us three hours to work our way through that mess. For some reason, every time I was behind the wheel, the conditions worsened considerably. First it was the aforementioned rush hour, then later during the overnight, it was a thunderstorm. Whatever the case, we got to the condo in Orlando at around noon after taking a break to grab some breakfast along the way. We met up with my bro-in-law Matt and his family, whose condo we were sharing and Matt's brother-in-law Mike and his family, who were staying next door. We took the kids down to one of the pools and hung out for a while. But from Sunday through Thursday, we got up early and hit a different Disney theme park: MGM, the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom and Epcot. The kids had a blast and we were wiped out by the heat and all the walking by the end of each day, but it was definitely worth it. We kept things economical by eating breakfast and dinner at the condo most days and bringing sandwiches to eat in the park, thereby avoiding the expensive food. All we paid for was parking, beverages and the occasional ice cream or popsicle. We went on some good rides: Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Runaway Train. The kids met a lot of their favorite characters and had fun just being with each other.

The weather was typical Florida: 90s and humid every day, but broken up by a thunderstorm almost every day. I got three morning runs in around the golf course at our condo (didn't play any golf, though), but nothing too strenuous. On Thursday night, Deb's mom looked after the kids while we went out with Matt and Tricia. We went to MGM for dinner and then the Boardwalk for a beer, but we were so tired we got back to the condo by 11. Friday, we took it easy in the morning and then hit some of the Disney stores in the afternoon before heading over to MGM in the late afternoon to catch a few more rides. We went to the Fantasmic show in the evening, which was a combination animation/fireworks/lightshow/character performance that we all enjoyed, although the kids were up waaaaay past their bedtimes.

Yesterday, we hit the road around 9 again and made much better time, benefiting from it not being a workday. We hit some nasty rain along the way, but for the most part it was pretty decent. We actually met up with Matt and his family on the North Carolina-Virginia border and had dinner at an Applebee's before getting back on the road again. Deb drove more this time around than the last, but I got my third wind to drive from the end of the New Jersey Turnpike to the Massachusetts border. We got home and unpacked and are in the process of unwinding, which means I've gotta go lie down right now. And then it's back to the grind tomorrow. Hooray.

P.S. Mucho congrats to my good buddy Briggy and his wife Beth, who had a baby girl named Amelia on the 29th. Amelia joins forces with the mighty Owen, who was born just after Hannah back in '02. Well done, folks!