Friday, October 31, 2008

And now for something completely different

Last night, I went to the gym. And......

I went swimming.

I wound up doing laps like this:

  • A lap of crawl swimming, which literally crawled along
  • A lap of breaststroke
  • A lap of elementary backstroke
  • A lap of sidestroke, half lap on each side.

And repeat.

All in all, 16 laps. I got a terrible cramp in my calf on lap 13, so I stretched it out, finished up my course of 4 and got out. It's still slightly cramped this morning. My recently broken elbow was starting to feel it too, so it was good to call it quits.

Looking at the length of the pool, it's 25yards, so that's just short of a half mile @ 800 yards.

Not terrible for not having swam in a couple of years.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctor Who?

Sigh. Just read an article that the Doctor is leaving. No more David Tennant.

It took me a bit to get used to him, but I really like him. I always tell my wife that you shouldn't get attached to the characters, because they come and go, but it always throws me when The Doctor goes.



So, I got a PS3 a few months back.. One of the big reasons why was to play GTA IV. One thing led to another, and I didn't get fully immersed into that game until recently.

So, I'm playing GTA, and I've got about ~40% completion. (I'm shooting for the full hundred. For those that aren't familiar with this sort of thing, you have to do all sorts of silly mundane things, as well as some harder things, in order to get to 100%. You can finish the game around 60%).

The PS3 also has new support for "trophies", which are tied to your account. If you do more challenging things within certain games, you get trophies. The harder it is, the more valuable the trophy (bronze/silver/gold/platinum).

Where's this going, you may ask? On Monday, a patch was released to add trophy support to GTA. Awesome. I can finally get some trophies.

Yeah. As soon as I fired up the game and loaded my saved game, I get a message to the effect of: You're going to have to start over to get any trophies.

Are you freakin' kidding me?

Apparently, this is to combat people exchanging saved games with each other and gaining trophies they didn't rightfully earn. Really? People are that lame?

Sigh. I don't particularly care about the trophies, but I do like do get all of the little things that can be obtained when going for a 100% completion.

I guess I'm just not the target demographic anymore. My few hours a week doesn't compare to the folks that put in 50+ a week. In my defense, I do have to work to buy crap like this, Sony.

In other PS3 news, I downloaded the BioShock demo, and it seemed pretty sweet. Pretty much identical to the XBox version, from the 30 minutes I spent playing/watching it on the XBox.. I may have to get that as my next game, after I figure out what I'm going to do about GTA. (Finish it without trophies, or start over? Grrrrr)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter weather

So, last night, it was flurries in the air and dark. That was the tipping point.

I went and did it. I signed up to go to the gym. The gym is about a mile away from me, so the distance thing can't be an excuse. It's pretty nice, really. Lots of cardio machines, weight rooms, a pool (albeit, a bit small), etc. I only bought in for a month, due to not wanting to part with 700 clams right up front.

So, day 1 of the gym experiment (version 2008) was a success. I did 3 miles on the treadmill, followed by 1 mile on the indoor track.

The indoor track is something. It's pretty small, in that 15 laps on the running lane is a mile (or 16 on the walking lane). I had trouble keeping count. You wouldn't think it would be hard, but yeah, I had trouble. Pretty nice though, compared to the sidewalk. Nice and cushiony.

The treadmill miles were awkward for me. I never have run on a treadmill, and I kept worrying I was going to go flying off the back and wind up as a youtube video. There are TVs in front of the treadmills.. I'm not a big TV person, and didn't want to lose my concentration, so I didn't worry too much about that yesterday.

The track mile was untimed.. I did a couple of fast laps, mixed in with my regular pace. The treadmill miles were 10 min, 9:20, and 9 min.

All in all, it was 4 miles, and I felt pretty good today. The running surface really does play into your leg health, I suspect.

I wrapped up the night with 5 minutes on the stair stepper. Good workout, but while doing it, it's like trying to step your way out of hell. You keep going, but never get out. And, it sucks while doing it.

My running buddy re-upped at the gym, and she was there too, owning the stair stepper. 35 minutes! Props to her.

Keep on rockin'.. I guess I'm rockin' indoors for a while..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First 5K

So, there's a local 5K that my running buddy and I have talked about running in the past.

This weekend, we actually did it.

It's my first official 5K. Whoo hoo! Finally got around to just doing it.

So, to set the scene, my running buddy hadn't run for 2 weeks. She's been having trouble with all that's happened lately. I've been battling some various physical issues.

So, yeah, we're not at our prime. Not that our prime is all that prime, either.

We drive up to the area the race is being held, and see some real pros. Guys and gals running faster than I can on a sprint, just to warm up. I casually mentioned that unless we start throwing a few elbows, we sure aren't going to win this thing.

We did the registration, got our shirts, and proceeded to do our warmups. Our warmups consist of absolutely nothing. They certainly pale in comparison to what was going on there.

The race eventually was getting underway, and we lined up. In the street. I don't know what I was expecting.. a crowd of 150 to run down the sidewalk? I dunno. I thought that was pretty cool, though. A decent police presence to prevent bozos from driving near us. If they'd do that every time I want to run, I'd really appreciate it.

Anyway, the starter pistol fired (barely.. really wimpy pistol, if you ask me), and we were off. It took about 6-7 seconds to get up to the starting line, and that's when I started my Garmin. We kept it at an easy pace, and ran the race just to run it.

(The nice thing about it being your first is that it's an instant PR).

The course was mostly flat, with a small downhill and a small uphill. It was 2 loops around some city streets, and there were crossing guards at each intersection.

A few locals came out to watch.. some were even cheering a bit.

The first quarter mile was really congested. There were 141 runners and a whole bunch of walkers. We slowly picked people off and moved past them. After about a half mile, it had spread apart pretty decently, and we could move at our desired pace.

I think our first mile was about 9:14.. (Don't have the splits in front of me. I know.. what kind of race report is this?)

After the first mile was the uphill, which was pretty taxing on a lot of folks. We kept up our pace, more or less, and kept on trucking. At the 2 mile mark (my Garmin said 2.03.. either it was measured wrong, or I turned a bit wide, or both. Probably me, though), we were doing pretty well. We wound up passing one of the walkers we knew, and said "hi". She proceeded to mention that she knew we could run faster.

probably, but not today.

The second loop's hill was pretty taxing on my buddy, so we slowed it down a bit. All through the race, she said I could go ahead, but I'd have nothing of that. I wouldn't be running at all without her, and I was going to run my first race with her, no matter what speed we were going.

We finished up the final push and arrived with a clock time of 29:24. So, actual time was ~29:17. Of course, nimrod here didn't actually hit the stop button until a minute later when he realized that the Garmin was still going.. Smooth move, ex-lax!

We grabbed some water and headed out.. Figured, there was no need to stay for the post-race ceremonies.

Turns out in this field, we both wound up second for our age groups. I was quite fortunate in that there were many many age groups, and my group only had two people in it. I'll still take it, though. Our friend we passed walking picked up our winner's hats, and I'll have to pick that up from her at some point this week.

The whole racing thing was a lot of fun. At some point, I'll try really racing it, rather than just running it, just to see how it goes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleaning out my phone pix

I've had a bunch of pictures on my phone that I didn't post directly here, mainly due to wanting to add weblinks and such. I think this is the last of them.

While out and about, we stopped at Moe's to eat. While there, I saw this:

It's a Negra Modelo dark beer. Never had one. Hmm.. Why not? For the research, of course!

It's OK. Something different, but not terribly exciting. It started out OK, and midway through my nachos (pictured), the taste sort of soured. The taste came back near the end of the meal, but.. eh. Reminded me of a Michelob Dark I had 14-15 years ago at Busch Gardens. Alas, that was quite a while ago, so I'm going on vague recollections there. Very vague.

It's a darker beer, not a lot of carbonation. But, not very potent/strong like dark beers often are. Had a bit of a sweet taste to it, even.

Something different, probably won't bother with it again, though.

Speaking of beer, I'm hoping to head up to Cooperstown and hit one or two breweries up there, in addition to the baseball Hall Of Fame. A similar trip to what Viper just went on, I believe.

I was giving some thought to cutting back on the whole alcohol consumption thing. Not quitting, because that just wouldn't work. Not at all. But, come December, I've got a good long sabbatical amount of time off of work. I figure, with that stress out of life for a bit, it may be a good opportunity to ease up. Factor in the extra time that I'll have to be exercising, maybe I can wean down some.

Honestly, if I stopped drinking, I'd lose mad weight. Not that I need to lose a lot, but it's my thing which puts it on.. Not the dessert. Not the fried foods. I keep all of that in balance. Just the booze. Sigh.

Jury is out. We'll see.

Ooo.. It's a lady!

Anyone like The Ladies Man? Funny flick. My brother in law mentioned I should watch it. Hilarious, in a not-very-advanced-comedy sense. I recently watched it, and truly enjoyed it. It's so stupid, it's funny.

The drink of choice for Leon Phelps is Courvoisier. I had some once after a serious set of 18 holes of golf, so I was well on the way to not really caring what was going down.. Even then, I enjoyed it.

So, I decided after watching the movie.. why not. Went down and picked up a bottle.

I'm not a cognac expert. Not by a long shot. But this stuff is pretty darn good. It's Courvoisier VS, the entry level. Very smooth, and has an excellent underlying fruit/grapey smell.

Besides, if you drink it, you'll be as refined as Leon is!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I just signed up for Yeah, I know. Late to the party. Not the first time.

Feel free to friend me up.. 'raulgonemobile'.

Same with FriendFeed. 'raulgonemobile' there too. Damn, I could have written that app. That would have been my ticket out! Makes perfect sense!

It's getting cold

Went for a run yesterday, and it was cold. I put on my long sleeve running shirt and left the sleeves down, even. Yuck. I may have to visit the gym and look into a membership. I used to go to the Y nearby my place, but it was really expensive. The gym is reportedly cheaper.. hrms.

I just worry about having another membership I'll use for a while and then stop. (Of course, with my Y one, I used it faithfully for a year, and after re-upping, stopped using it. Super.)

But yeah, it was damn cold. I'm just used to the nice weather, I suppose. So, in order to stay warm, I went fast. At least, that was my goal. I banged out a 5K. The first mile was a 7:40 pace, not too shabby. I decided to back it down for the second mile, yielding ~9:40 pace. For the last mile, I said "let's turn it on" (the "'s" being me talking to my body, as no one else was around. Perhaps I should look at that issue of me talking to myself at some point).

Well, not much left to turn on, it turns out. I netted about a 9:00 pace. It was partly uphill, and I'll stick to that being my story.

Other than that, nothing doing. I didn't get to my RSS reader until this afternoon, so I'm just way far behind. Way way far. I'm over-subscribed, too. Between the e-mail, twitter, the news.. how does one stay on top of this stuff?

I did figure out what was wrong with my phone and listening to music. The headphones have to use this adapter to get down to the ultra-mini-headphone-jack size.. That adapter wire wound up being the bad part.. Too bad.. It's not terribly convenient, either, since the damn thing bounces around while running. I need to find a solution if I'm going to become a hamster at the gym...

Keep on rockin'. I will, especially if I can figure out a music listening thing..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hill workout

I was debating what to run last night.. The weather was perfect, around 55 and clear. I had an hour's worth of daylight to run in.

I opted for a portion of one of my favorite runs.. It starts out going uphill from our place, more or less slowly and gradually. There's some steeper spots, but nothing too crazy.

Here's an elevation chart of it:

The hill itself is 3.5 miles up, but I figured my calves weren't healed enough for that. So, I capped it at 2 miles up, yielding a 4 mile run.

It went fairly smoothly.. Just about a 10:00/mile pace on the way up, and a 9:00/mile pace on the way back. Nice and easy. Today, the calves are tight, but not painful.

Keep on rockin'...

Monday, October 20, 2008

More strange cucumbers

To follow up on a previous cucumber photo, here's a new one:

This strange critter grew around the grill and became mis-shapen as a result. Looks like it was impaled, even.

Not a bad weekend

Went out for dice baseball on Friday. I started out the evening by going 3-1. Sweet. Of course, I dropped the next four. So, 3-5 on the night. Not stellar.

Saturday morning we decided to break out a new gadget. A couple of years ago, I got my wife one of those 'pod' coffee makers.. The idea being you could make a cup or two of coffee quick & easy. I was thinking she could take it to work, and I got a stellar deal on it.. The maker and a couple of bags of pods for $10.
Yeah, it sat in a box. For a long time.

But, we busted it open Saturday morning and gave it a shot. My review of the 'Home Cafe' is this.. (granted, ours is a few years old now.. so, maybe this has all been fixed) Neat idea, ok execution. The maker tended to spit coffee in little bits around the cup. Not a lot, but a bit messy. More noticeably, the coffee was warm, but not hot. My wife likes a bit of milk in hers, so once you do that, it really needs to be warmed up. Furthermore, I felt the coffee was a bit oily (I had the Columbian Supremo of Folgers).. Neat toy, though. Easy enough to wipe up the counter and throw the cup of coffee in the microwave.

It was easier than making a whole pot or the like. For instance, I got up before my wife on Sunday, felt like a cup of coffee and went to the pod, rather than farting around with the pot, filter, measuring, etc.

Back to Saturday, I logged 3.6 miles running. Pretty non-eventful, but I felt reasonably good. Sunday, my feet hurt a bit, probably that tendonitis hasn't gone completely away, but it wasn't terrible. I wanted to do 4-5, but we were supposed to be heading out.

I also got cleared by the doctor to resume doing pushups. Although, I can't do too much too fast (who, me?), or I'll develop some tendonitis there. So, I did some bent knee pushups. Midway through, I realized that I had no idea how to do bent knee pushups, and spent some time working out the proper position. It wound up being a success, but I kept it pretty light. I'll try some more tonight.

On Sunday, I met a friend of mine out, and we watched the Jets game. Damn Jets. They were supposed to win! I suppose it's my fault.. I had told someone that this week was "a lock". Sigh.

At least the Red Sox aren't in the World Series.. :)

Better than the weekend Joba Chamberlain had. C'mon.. what are you thinking?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Midweek workouts

I took Monday off.. no running, no work.. just goodness. My wife and I hit some of the wineries on Cayuga lake. The usual assortment of wines, except we stopped at Six Mile Creek Vineyard as well. (We usually don't hit this one, because it's out of the way of the others.)

The most awesome thing there was that they had some real spirits there. Woot! So, I threw my dollar on the bar and asked for a sample of their vodka. Very excellent. They kept it chilled (in a fridge, not a freezer). The vodka was made from Seyval Blanc, and was very very smooth. Went down nice, no bite. It did have a bit of a pleasant scent to it, as well. Not quite grapey, but you could sense something. The taste of that smell wasn't too strong, no doubt partly from it being chilled. It's pretty expensive, ~$25 for a small bottle. But, worth a buck for a sample.

I also saw that they'll have some gin soon.. I'll have to venture back. I do love a good gin. Some time after Thanksgiving, I was told.

Anyways, Tuesday I did a run after a rest day, and banged out 3.2 miles. It was pretty non-eventful.

Wednesday, I did 20 minutes on an elliptical. I wound up having to change the batteries midway through the workout, and never really got into a rhythm. I decided to try different cadences, different foot positions, and alternating between going forward and backward, just to mix the workout up a little. It worked, my legs felt really worked out, and that's good. (Certainly seems to use more of the 'cycling' muscles than the 'running' ones, though)

Thursday, I hit the pavement again. Wound up doing 3.5 miles, and I felt really good. I thought my IT band might be acting up, but I made it through without any severe issues. Calves felt good. Honestly, it was one of the better runs I've had in a while. Too bad it was so short.

No running tonight, but I'm hoping to do 4-5 on Saturday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin roundup

This is probably my last photo of pumpkin beer for the season. I saw that Smuttynose Brewing had a pumpkin, but my fridge runneth over in beer currently.

So, this is the Saranac Pumpkin Ale. It's got a pleasant brown color to it, and is medium to full bodied. I didn't find the carbonation overwhelming. Smelling it and tasting it led to a sense of vanilla, mixed in with the pumpkin. Very well balanced.

I also had some Shipyard Brewery Pumpkinhead Ale the other day. That reminded me of a Coors light waved near a pumpkin. Really. Didn't do much for me at all- pumpkin taste was pretty weak & the beer was pretty weak.

I think my favorite pumpkin beer was the Southern Tier Pumking. Again, not one you could do a case of in a night, but a very very interesting tasting experience.

As far as Octoberfest beers go, I really liked the Harpoon. Probably my favorite there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some weekend coverage

Yeah, it's Wednesday, and I'm finally getting around to discussing some of the stuff that went on this weekend.

First up was dice baseball.

I had the pleasure of hosting the guys, so I got the necessary supplies. A pic of the beverages is included for your viewing pleasure.. (Yes, I took the time to line them all up, 6 deep, by brand and style). Plus, a whopper of a good sheet pizza was had by all.

The results.. well, I went 3-2 this week, putting me one game under .500. Not terrible, especially for this being my first season.

My wife was really pleased about the hosting experience, surprisingly enough. She said that the guys didn't leave a mess at all. That they were cleaner than the ones that come over when she has PartyLite parties. Hmmmm.

On Saturday, we went for a bike ride. It was my first ride since I broke my elbow while riding.

I decided to take the toe clips off, too. I'm just not ready for them.

And, well, since I haven't been riding, it was a struggle on the hills. Big struggle. Some I won, some I lost. But, at least I was out there. And so was my wife. Props to her for taking the hilly route back home. All in all, it was a little under 6 miles done.

Sunday, I went for a run.. first run since I figured out what the hell was wrong with my feet. The rest did some good, as my feet can be walked on now. I took it easy and did a little under 3 miles. It wasn't stellar, but it was some miles at least.

More topics coming up...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Today is a bit of an un-fun post. Did some interesting things over the weekend, but that's not today's topic. We'll save that for another day.

I'm not a big fan of politics. I don't particularly side with either party (although some friends who get my 'shared items' from my RSS reader may beg to differ). As a result, I'll try to keep this non-political.

I just don't understand the war. I don't get it. What the hell is the point? I've never been in favor of it. My take is that we have enough issues here at home, that our resources would be better spent fixing ourselves up before we try to help the world.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, today, my running buddy's husband deploys to Iraq.

They've been married a month. A month. They never get a chance to spend any time together as it is.

The guy is awesome. He can fly helicopters. That right there is awesomeness. I suppose his skills are part of the reason of him going.

But that just sucks.

He's a good guy. I first met him a few years ago. Our place flooded due to some hurricane remnants. He was literally the first one at the door. I had never met him, yet there he was, the first knock. He was in town to visit his future wife, and he spent the day cleaning up our mess.

I may bitch about my ITBS or tendonitis. I may hate my job. Our economy is going to hell. Yet, all of that is just peanuts compared to what he's doing. He's leaving his wife, his family, his friends, just to do his job. His job.

Makes me realize that I need to keep things in perspective.

And yet, he's been lucky. It's his first deployment. The families that do it over and over, 3, 4 times. Wow.

That doesn't make it easier, of course. Just trying to keep it in perspective.

We had a "we'll see you when you get back" dinner for him on Sunday. At the end, he handled it all super well, and was happily consoling those that needed it.

I don't know. The whole thing just totally sucks. I think all of the men and women overseas should come home. Today. Right now.

Perhaps I don't understand the big picture, but I think that area has always been unstable, and will remain to be whenever we get the hell out of there. But, I'm digressing..

Due to logistics and where each of us live, I haven't had the opportunity to get to know him as well as I'd like. I enjoy spending time with him, and I hope I get to spend more with him once he gets back.

So, in summary. This really sucks. He's a great guy, and this really blows.

Sigh. And this isn't even the end of it. There's another deployment coming up that I can't even bring myself to talk about much yet. Another day.

J.K. - Be safe. We'll see you when you get back, and we'll write in the meantime. We're all thinking about you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Still got nothin' doin'

Just a relatively quiet day yesterday. (As quiet as days get, at least)

My previously mentioned foot issues are healing, albeit slowly. My right foot actually feels pretty good.. It's probably at 95% goodness. My left is sitting around 75%. I want to try to do some sort of exercise on Saturday, just to minimize my downtime. Maybe a flat easy run or some time on the elliptical. My left calf certainly feels tight, but that helps me believe that this is a temporary condition.

But, yes, I'm resigned to not doing a half marathon this year. The one I'd want to do is in 3 weeks, and I just haven't done enough prep for it. My ITBS issues earlier this year set me back (not that I'm sure I'm over them), and I just haven't put in the long runs.

I've got a better base in this year, and I hope I can maintain that over the winter by going to the gym. We'll see what happens next year for races. Maybe I'll be able to build up to a marathon in the spring.

There are some local 5k races in a couple of weeks, so maybe I'll hit one of those.

Tonight is dice baseball night. I'm hosting. For better or for worse, I'm not making any food. Just didn't feel up to it. Ordering a pizza, got some chips, calling it a day. And, at least the hosting part of this gig will be done and out of the way.

I do need to leave work early to go clean up the joint, though. Yeah, I got here late too. Have to figure that one out, yet.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Coffee Makers

Speaking of coffee..

We just got a new coffee maker. The old one crapped out after 10 years. I figure that we got our money's worth out of it. 1-4 pots a day for 10 years.. yeah.

The breakdown was quite odd. The power cord wound up melting while plugged into the wall. I suspect that there were too many broken wires overall in the electrical cord, and it eventually overheated, trying to throw the current through the intact paths.

It was sad.. an old friend that was just the way I liked.

So, yes. We got a new one. Wound up with the same brand. We got this pot (Mr. Coffee) from Target.

Absolutely nothing like the old one. I truthfully hate the damn thing.

Where to start? Well, when I went to plug it in, leaving the pot in the same place as the old one, I discovered the extension cord is probably a foot long. That's nice, I can't hang myself with it. It's not very functional though. So, we have to angle it underneath a cupboard to get to the outlet.

Of course, when it's angled, you can't open up the ultra large stupid looking top to fill it or put in the grounds.

So, as you curse the stupid thing and unplug it, you move it to the side and open it up. Of course, opening it up causes all sorts of condensation to drip off the top.

A 'feature' of this coffee pot is listed as follows: "Brewing Pause 'n Serve lets you pour a cup of coffee while the coffee maker is still brewing."

Yeah. My old one had that. It worked really well. There was a lever in the back. With the pot in the machine, the lever was opened, coffee dripped in. Remove the pot, lever closes, no drippage.

This one has this spring-tension knob right above the pot. You pull the pot out, you're getting drippage. Pop-pop sizzle-sizzle right onto the warming element. Consistently. Even after the coffee is done.

Speaking of, I really liked my old one which would beep when the coffee was done. But, that's minor. I can live without it.

So yeah, I'm not a fan of it. Maybe this one will die quicker than 10 years.
I miss my old coffee pot.


I love coffee. Lots of it. It was really an issue for me in high school. I was mere steps away from hooking up an IV filled with coffee.

So, one of my brother in laws mentioned a new coffee to me. I hemmed and hawed, and he actually was kind enough to send us a pound of it.

Previously, we'd been drinking Tim Hortons as our everyday morning coffee. Very nice grind, very good flavor, decent price. (As an aside, the Tim's stores absolutely rock. Too bad we don't have one closer than an hour away...) I can say nothing bad about this coffee.

But, what was recommended was Peet's Coffee. I received a bag of Major Dickason's Blend (roasted on 9/10/08). This was billed by my BIL as Starbucks without the acidity.

He was spot on. Props to him. I kept the coffee in the freezer until we finished up some loose coffees and the remainder of our Tim's coffee.

A very strong flavor, but it didn't bite like Starbucks often does. I'm honestly not a huge fan of the Starbucks coffee. Some of their more 'out there' blends are good, but the run of the mill stuff is just 'ok'. Making it strong just because you can isn't really necessary. It's about balance and flavor. But, I digress.

Good flavor, a reasonable grind. Not ultra fine, but far better than you're going to do at home with a $15 coffee grinder. The taste was strong, but smooth. Very very enjoyable.

Anyways, the Peet's stuff rocks. Anyone from Peet's, I'm willing to sample whatever you want to send.

Keep on rockin', just like Peet's.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yeah, I've got nothin' doin'

No running.. still working on getting my feet and calves in order. My calf cranked up really good at lunchtime, so I don't even think I'm hitting the elliptical tonight. Blah, whatever.

So, what to discuss? Random thoughts.

There's an old industrial building near work being torn down. It's kind of cool to watch. There are these hydraulic snippers which can just cut an I-beam in half on a whim. That's pretty spectacular to see.

Dice baseball last Friday was another session of 2-3. Fricken Warren Spahn just isn't getting it done for me. We'll see if it turns around this Friday. I get to host the league this Friday, too.

On Saturday, I abandoned my barber. We bought some hair clippers by Wahl with a variety of attachments, and my wife went to town on my hair. I don't have too much any more, and I like it short, so this works out pretty well. She did a bang up job, and I'm going to keep her. She's much more attractive than Tony, anyways.

I really should get to work, so my upcoming coffee and beer reviews will have to wait.. (Yeah, you weren't expecting the coffee one, now were ya? Eh?)

Keep on rockin'...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bathroom is finally done

Yeah, so a long time ago, I started a bathroom redo. Nothing major, just a facelift.

This past weekend, I finally finished. Finally.

As you can see, the walls are nice and green. We went for something bold, just because we can.

The last thing I did was put in a new sink & drain. Of course, that's always a fun time. Plumbing. Such fun. As one would expect, the shutoff valves didn't quite work completely. And, I started the project about 45 minutes before we were to leave the house.

(Why make it easy?)

I wound up getting it half done, threw a new supply line on from the shutoff valve up to the faucet, and we went out.

Yeah, well.. The line wasn't on tight. Came home 7 hours later to find a nice pool of water on the floor. Oops. Shouldn't do these things in a rush.

Interesting story about that night. My brother and law and I went out to this little bar we'd never been to before. Nice little place, friendly bartender. While there, we made friends with some guy who said "money is no object" half a dozen times. No joke. And he put his money where his mouth was. He wound up buying us a bunch of drinks. We walked out of the bar having had 6 beers or so with only a $10 tab. Not bad.

As one could extrapolate, since I started the night there, the boozing continued for a few hours.

So, yes. I came home that night, having a good number under my belt, to find the aforementioned pool of water.

Maybe that actually helped, but I don't remember minding it too much. Did the cleanup, did the tightening and fixing and some more hooking up, and went to bed.

Lo and behold, Sunday morning, no water. Awesome.

But yeah, bathroom is done. New light, mirror, faucet, paint, caulk, towel bars, etc etc.

Only thing I cheated on was that one of the toilet bolts was rusted up, and I couldn't tighten the nut up. I really really didn't feel like cutting the bolt, removing the toilet, doing the new wax ring, etc. etc, so I just put a little shim in under the washer and called it a day. I did tighten the other side, if that counts for anything..

Gmail labs feature

Check this out.

A feature which will help you not do something stupid: e-mail people when you have no business e-mailing them. Namely, during/after a prolonged session with some alcohol. Looks like you need to take a little timed quiz, with questions which would take a sober person not too long to solve, but would be difficult for a non-sober person.

Wish this feature existed ~10 years ago.. there were a few I'd like to have gotten back.


One of the interesting things about running is that I'm always learning something new.

In this case, that isn't always a good thing.

Saturday, I went for a long run. Sunday, I dutifully took the day off.

Monday, I was walking around work, and I noticed that my feet hurt. I mean, really really hurt. It was painful walking around. The pain seems to be on the outside of my foot, opposite of the arch. It doesn't go to the top of the foot or to the heel. And, this was on both feet.

Ugh. I came home and decided to bang out a few miles. I planned to do 2 miles, just to get out there, but wound up doing a little over 3. I had once read that if you just get yourself out the door under the premise of doing a short workout, you'll often wind up doing a full/normal distance. It was painful, but eased up after about 2 miles. Of course, at home afterward, it hurt.

I woke up this morning and was disappointed that the pain was still there. The right foot was slightly better, but the left was unchanged.

After doing my research this morning, I'm going to diagnose myself with Peroneal Tendonitis. It's an overuse injury, which would seem probable. I also saw references in a forum saying that calf issues may lead to it. I certainly have had calf issues over the past month, so it's not an unlikely link. I think I have about 56 miles in over 17 runs this month, after taking a week and a half off due to my broken elbow. That's a bit more frequent than usually do, and I think I'm paying the price. Add in my 10 miler over the weekend, and I think we've got it figured out.

Plus, as I work on fighting my ITBS issues, I think the problem starts to shift to a different area. (I saw references as this being called the 'Kinetic Chain'). Not that my IT band is fixed by any means..

I think my goal of a half marathon this year is now officially shot. I just haven't done enough long runs, and I sure as heck am not going to be able to rest myself and squeeze in the long runs over the next couple of weeks. Oh well. I'm hoping I'll just be able to maintain my fitness as I work through this issue.

I'll probably switch to my elliptical for a week and see what happens.

On a bright note, I have my first official 'follower'! Woot! Hello to Cyberpenguin!

Monday, October 6, 2008

10 miles of suckage

Yeah, I'm a bit behind on blogging. Lots to rant about, rave about, and discuss.

I ran Wednesday & Thursday, I think, but I don't really remember. Heh. Wow. I didn't realize I hadn't posted since the 1st.

So, Saturday, I had a dilemma. There was a 10K locally that I had some interest in running. I wanted to pick my half marathon target pace and see if I could sustain that for the entire race, to see how fathomable the idea was. I also wanted to do a long run, as it's been a while since I have, and I kind of want to run the Red Baron half marathon in November.

So, a quandry. What to do? Well.. it was like this. The 10K started at 9, so I figured I had to have myself out of bed by 8. If I woke up and felt like it, I'd do the 10K. Otherwise, it was a long run.

8:00 came and went, so there ya have it.

Mid day came, and out I went for a long run. Had a t-shirt and some track pants on, and felt pretty comfortable, temperature wise. I also brought my phone to serve as a lifeline, worse case, and a music player, best case. (It is somewhat relevant).

My goal was for 10:30 miles for 8, followed by 2 at 9:00.

Off I went.

Wouldn't you know it, I was starting to settle into a groove, and about a mile into it, a dog started chasing me. A little dog, mind you, so I could indeed outrun it. But, there went my 'zone'. And I had to disrupt my pace, of course.

People, if you're going to have dogs, and you want them to run free.. get some land to do it. A little tiny lot in the middle of town is not space for them to run free. It just isn't. I'm all for them running free. (It seems so much more humane than a leash). But give them some space.

So, I outran the dog as the owner just stood there. Nice. OK. Whatever.

I meandered through the neighborhood of one of my old apartments, and it was actually pretty decent. Having the vacant crackhouse burning down a few years ago must have helped. Not that it was a bad neighborhood, but it could be a little rough around the edges at times.

All along this way, the headphone plug kept loosening slightly out of my phone, so the music would cut in and out, or just be on one side. Etc etc. I may have to invest in some Bluetooth headphones or something. Not that I really want to drop the coin for that. Anyone use any of those?

Meander, meander.. run through the streets and neighborhoods. My run was sitting at about 5 miles at the time, and I felt the outside of my left leg tensing. Sigh. ITBS. Again. Yay. So, from here on out, I stopped and stretched about every mile. That helped some, but it was just nagging on me. Just suckage.

And, my times were slipping.. 10:30, 10:35, 10:40, 10:45. Grrrrrr. Suckage.

That wears on you. It really does. I know I should be really happy that I'm out here running. 2 years ago, the prospect of me getting up and running just wasn't even on the horizon. So now, I'm upset that my run of 5+ miles wasn't going smoothly. Grr.

I did find a really really nice street around mile 6, that I had never been on. The streets were all clean, the sidewalks were double-wide slate tiles. Really nice homes. Kind of neat seeing that. I'll have to run over there more often. (Too bad the street is only .75 miles long)

So, I'm on the way back, running downtown. This is where the run really went to crap. There's these two women walking towards me, and one of them starts to make fun of me running. Really? You really had to go there? I don't know what it was about her, but it just totally got under my skin. Normally, I just don't care what people think. Certainly not what strangers think.

I know I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I'm not fat by any means. I think I look like I'm in decent enough shape. And this woman was just so totally obviously not. I'm not trying to judge her, and maybe she has a medical condition or something, but.. ok, I'll judge her. She was a fat slob with nothing to do on a Saturday but make fun of someone who is trying to take care of themselves.

And, so even worse than her getting under my skin was...

I stooped to her level.

Yep. I may have muttered something as I ran by.

Don't know if she heard me or not. Doesn't matter.

I was mad at myself for doing that, too. Even more suckage.

But really, she wasn't the type who would understand a debate of "Yeah, I'm out here running 10. What are you doing today?"

Anyways... I got the 8 done, (somehow winding up at a 10:30 pace.. must have poured it on after a bit) and set the watch for 9:00.. Banged the first one out really well.. 8:50, I think. The second one was 9:12, I think, so I didn't quite make the 9 min/mile pace.

But, I did 10.

And yeah, my leg was sore Sunday. And today. Suckage.

Oh well. Keep on rockin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So much for a rest day

My running buddy sent me a txt yesterday asking if I wanted to run.. I had previously said I was taking the day off, but hey.. Why not?

Besides, I think the last time we exercised together was my great bike accident, so it was good to spend some time with her.

We wound up doing 2.75 miles in a decent rain. It wasn't raining when we started, but at about the furthest distance from the start/end point, the sky opened up. Figures. It wasn't too bad, though. I do like running in the rain. Wore my 'fall' running gear (track pants and a long sleeve running shirt) for the first time this year. My only problem with my fall gear is that I only have one set. So, it's either run sketchy/skeevy or wash laundry every day.

I think the run was 26-27 minutes.. something like that. A monster hill to start (downhill), ending on a glorious monster uphill. Not too bad. Today's a rest day, though. For real.

After the run, what else to do? Try a new libation, of course!

What we've got here is Bunnahabhain 12 year single islay malt. My local scotch go-to guy recommended it in my initial inquiry to him, and I've finally got around to trying it. He indicated it was one of the best values for the dollar around. I must say that I agree. The bottle was about $40.

Inside the bottle was the scotch itself, a little informational booklet, and a registration card to become a friend of the distillery.

The scotch itself had a subtle smoky smell and taste to it. The liquor did not have as velvety of a feel as the Oban scotch did, but it was smooth. I tried it both neat, and opened up with a bit of water. A nice, sophisticated taste, both ways. I think I preferred it neat, but opened up had a few more scents to it.

I do like the smoky/peaty scotch, as Islay malts often are. This one isn't as strong, and may be a good introduction to the style.

I really did enjoy it, and went back for seconds at the end of the night.