Sunday, April 30, 2006

Would you just look at that beautiful day!

Happy Sabbath y'all. Today is gorgeous day #2 for the weekend and I plan on getting my self outside for the remainder of the day.

I met up with a couple of folks from the CRG early this morning for a run up into Pittsfield State Forest. Of course, it's that strange time of year when you it's wicked cold in the morning and it warms up as soon as the sun comes up. So I was way overdressed, and it became a real problem about 20 minutes in when I was dying. Had I just left the vest in the car, I would have been much better off, but I had on tights, a thick longsleeve shirt and a windbreaker vest. Man, oh man was that too much.

Yesterday, also known as Day #1 of a Gorgeous Weekend, I headed out and bought some of that lazy-man's grass seed. You know the stuff with the mulch and the fertilizer and all that included in the bag, and it looks blue until the grass grows through it. I wanted to do the dirt wall next to my driveway and I knew there was no way it would grow with just seed, so I sprung for the good shit. It covered about half what the bag said it would cover, but it did the whole wall. Now I just have to keep it watered and hopefully a nice patch of grass will fill that nasty dirt wall I've been looking at for 4 years.

I also bought myself some plants. I got a pair of hostas, some blueish-purply things and some white things. I got the hostas in yesterday, right next to the side door and my goal for today is to plant the other ones in the garden out front. My hope is that a little bit of life will inspire me to add more plants and have a real garden. We'll see.

I also got the call yesterday to bring my bike that I so handily fine-tuned over to have someone fix it. I tuned it so well that you could no longer shift into all the gears. Not a useful setup on a mountain bike. That lead to an awkward ride on Friday, where I had to ride someone else's bike who, by the way is a good deal taller than I am. Needless to say, the seat wasn't in the "sweet spot" and 30 miles later I was a hurting unit. But, literally one click of this little adjuster and my bike was back in shape. D'oh.

Boy did I feel stupid.

I figured while I was there, I'd have the guy take a look at the rear wheel. It was making this grinding, grit-in-the-bearing noise that I could only assume was some grit in the bearings. His suggestion was to take the whole hub apart, clean out the bearings, repack it with fresh grease and I'd be in business. It took some trial and error, but we got it all hooked up. Of course, now the freewheel (the thing that lets you stop pedalling while the bike is rolling) has some grit in it and he didn't have the tools for that. Meh, that's not as big of a deal. I'm gonna look into getting a bike stand and some basic tools so maybe I can fix my bike the right way next time. I'm also looking into a new bike for riding on the road. A mountain bike isn't quite the right setup for long rides on pavement. Perhaps some new tires would make a difference?


Over and out,
Old Coot

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Pimping the B-Ride

Good afternoon y'all. I have a few exciting things to talk about today, some of which may only be exciting to me. One of which is a feature you may find annoying, but I will find very useful.

You have just encountered the feature I added to my blog. I wanted to be able to do a thing or two behind the scenes, and those things require readers to click on something on my site. If I give you the whole story from the get-go and you don't have to click anything, I can't do what I wanted. Sorry, you have to work to get the whole posting.

Yesterday after work, I stopped at Dave's Bike Shop (or whatever the correct name is) over on Elm St. I liked the way the guy treated me there. I was up front with the fact that I didn't know anything about anything, and he walked me through the process of selecting a chain oil to suit my riding needs. After some more bullshitting and the purchase of my oil (and some gloves), I went home and got to work on the B-ride.

I sprayed the whole thing down with Simple Green, which is an awesome degreaser. It's biodegradeable, environmentally friendly, relatively cheap and does a pretty good job. I often use it to clean the engine compartment in my car. Anyway, I cleaned up the bike REAL GOOD, lubed up the brake and shifter cables (who knew you had to do that?), lubed up the chain, made a few adjustments here and there, and it's smoother than ever.

Plus I had my shirt off to catch some rays, and that walker girl (the girl who's always walking by) smiled at me. It's almost embarassing how badly she wants me. Next time I'll just stand there and flex to put her out of her misery.

Anyway, last night around 11:30 I was riding home from the 'COW residence when I pulled up onto my lawn (a hill) and the bike stopped dead. I tried to walk it up the hill and it was slow going. What happened is the rear wheel must have been loose and it started to fall off when it wedged on the frame. What are the odds of that happening the last 10 feet of my ride? And on my own lawn no less? I didn't think of thanking Jebus then, but I might tonight.

The last topic of conversation I have is more out a conspiracy theory. I'd keep it to myself if I did standup comedy (I even have the whole delivery figured out), but I don't so it's not quite a waste of standup material. My theory is this, what if there was a specific combination of Earth's minerals and compounds that, if consumed, would make people more easily controlled by television? And what if the government knew the recipe and had a simple way to get most Americans to willfully ingest said combination everyday. And not only would we all do this voluntarily, we would pay for it out of our own pockets and think we're doing something good for ourselves. If only Uncle Sam could disguise these compounds with names that wouldn't arouse suspicion. I know...

Vitamin A
Vitamin B
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
and so on.

There, those won't arouse suspicion. Just put them in pill form and make some into fruity cartoon character shapes to get kids taking them. There. Now people will be more receptive to the crap we put out on the airwaves and the country will be ever so malleable.

Okay, not too valid of a conspiracy but it got me thinking. It won't stop me from taking my Centrum everyday, but I also don't watch a lot of TV so I'm somehow beating the system anyway.

Lastly, I'm not sure what the main reason for this is, but I'm going to attribute it to giving up red meat. You see, ever since JD moved to AZ, I haven't had a bite of red meat. I had been considering this for a while, but when cooking for other people you have to be considerate of their needs. A carnivore like JD wouldn't be able to live on chicken and tofu, nope he needs beef (or pork, the other red meat, ha ha). Anyway, in the last four weeks I've broken a weight barrier that's been laughing at me for the past two years and lost around 8 pounds. Not that I can see or feel the difference, it's just what the freight scale at work tells me. I'm not going to give you the final count at the moment, but if all goes well I should finally be able to hit my penultimate goal.

Then on to my ultimate goal! Muwahahahahaaaaa!

Of course, my goal is not really a number anyways, it's just to be a healthy person which I am. Other people need numbers to quantify healthiness, so when they ask I can give them a number to satisfy those needs. So there.

Well, I might toss another post up here tonight after my bike ride. I'm supposed to be going for about a 30-miler, we'll see how I feel afterwards. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't have any major problems.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Test Post

Hey y'all, this is a test post. I'm trying something new with my blog and now that you've clicked the link, you should see what I've done. This will help me with some of the features I've installed.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Got my ride tweaked

Morning y'all. I hope you haven't all gotten accustomed to multiple entries a day, because I tend to go through phases. That's my excuse for why you didn't get anything yesterday. Plus I was busy most of the day AND then busy again later on. Then, I was too tired.

Work was another one of those SSDD (we love us some acronyms here) - Same Shit Different Day - kind of days. Nothing special happened, but at least it wasn't a bad day. I rode my bike in to work, knowing that it was going to be nice and warm in the afternoon. Apparently, we're still in that part of the year where the temperature swings by 30+ degrees every day. So when I got to work, numbhanded and eyes full of tears, I checked the weather and it was 32 degrees. Oops, my bad.

After work, I ate dinner (mmm, more of that delicious leftover chicken) and played some Solitaire. I was somewhat prepared to do nothing for the rest of the day, but it was so nice out I had to do something. I suited up in my biking shorts (no, not lycra) and went out for about and hour and fifteen minutes. I kind of cruised around my part of town for a bit, then headed out to another section, did some hills (hoo-wee those were some sumbitches of hills).

My speedometer read 5 mph for about a mile straight, which was crazy on two counts. The first is that I finally figured out how to get it to display speeds and distances in American. Until last week it would only display metric, which required me to convert it to American urrtime I wanted to know how fast I was going or how far I had gone. The second is that 5 mph is slow. I run faster than that, even uphill. But I just kept my little legs spinning and slowly made my way up the hills. At the top of the last one, I thought my heart was going to explode. I slugged about half of my water (mmm, grape Fruit-2-O) in one chug just to make sure I was extra winded and headed on downhill.

On the downhill, as I was topping 30mph, I made a keen observation - "Mmmmm, it tastes like the mosquitoes are out".

After my ride, I decided to tweak my bike a little, since it had never before been adjusted. It was in the same position they left it in when they assembled it at the store, wrong. I rotated the handlebars so that I didn't have to bust my hands anymore (a straight bar isn't really straight, more of an arc), rotated the brake and shift levers, slid the seat back a little and adjusted the brakes. Don't get me wrong, I don't know much about bikes, I just guessed well and made some real headway.

Which brings me to my next accomplishment - my tools formerly known as "The Tools Soaked in Cat Urine" have been upgraded to just "Tools". At some point, my cat whizzed in my toolbox and I've been avoiding those tools for as long as possible. Last night I needed my allen wrenches and had to open the box. WHEW, damn that reeks! So I took out the suspect tray, sprayed it down with Ammonia, rinsed everything under HOT water and set it all out to dry. Hopefully that'll remedy the situation. I might have to clean the whole thing, but that's more than I really want to undertake, so I'm gonna go with just the tray for now and hope for the best.

After that, I had just enough time to clean up my kitchen and get situated for Lost. Ahh, got some more Fruit-2-O, a couple of lap cats, a belly full of cereal, let's get to vegging. Nope, it was a rerun. BALLS! I ended up watching some investigator/CSI-style/prison/computer-graphic-heavy/take-a-long-time-to-get-to-the-end-result-you-know-is-coming show, but I mostly used it as background noise while I did some stretching. Then, shower and bed.

And there you have it,
Old Coot

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm Even-Stevens!

Evening Update

Karmic redemption is mine. I knew if I just maintained a positive attitude, good things would come my way. And oh how good those things were.

First, I used this afternoon's rain as an excuse to load up my iPod with some good ole tunes. Granted, I screwed one album up, but next time I sync up that'll be corrected.

After the rain, I headed out to take part in 10-Miler Day. I can't say for certain if I actually ran 10 miles or not, but my estimate is 10 miles and it took me 80 minutes. I run about an 8-min mile so that would be just about right.

As I first started out, some punk highschool soon-to-be-dropout stoner longhair leaned out of his rusted out Jeep Cherokee to offer the following words of encouragement: "You're fat!" Now, had I not been listening to Wu Tang Clan, I probably would have let it slide off my back, but I returned the compliment with the basic "Fuck You" complete with middle finger extension. Asshole!

Minutes later, I was encouraged by the honking from a car containing two broads. They might have been honking at some squirrels, but since the squirrels don't care, I'll take the credit. Heeeeyyy!

After my run, I prepared what was to be the most delicious chicken I've had in a long time. So delicious was it, that I took a picture of it before eating. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the three breasts I had defrosted (ha ha, breasts) but I turned on my creativity and came up with the following. You should grab a napkin to catch the drool.

First I butterflied (butterflyed, butterflew?) the breasts and layed down a few slices of sundried tomatoes (ha ha, breasts). Then, I covered that with a slight drizzle of olive oil and some fresh ground pepper. On top of this went thinly sliced portobello mushrooms, crushed garlic and parmesan cheese. I closed up the chicken and drizzled a little more olive oil (I love me some olive oil) and sprinkled the tops with rosemary garlic seasoning. This went into the oven for 25 minutes (just enough time to shower, shave and throw on some jams).

I accompanied stuffed chicken with some mixed vegetables and a slice of whole wheat bread (appropriately shredded by the pat of butter). This was all washed down by some vanilla soy milk.

mmm MMM bitches! This is MY chicken, made painstakingly by ME! Old L. COOT! It'll fill you UP! You'll be licking fingertips in NO time.

Okay, enough of the Chapelle Show parody. I'm gonna make a damn fine wife for some lucky lady one day. Hmmm, I wonder what those squirrel-honkers are doing?

Alright, I'm funna chill out for a bit and get my delf to bed. Later players.

Over and out,
Old Coot

P.S. I found a $5 bill in an old coat today. PlacaTAN! That's going right into my dollar glass, to be spent one day on something kickass.

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Requirements (shalls) for the day

In response to yesterday's expletive-rich outburst, I would like to make the following statement: My kitties are so cute, I can't stay mad at them. Plus being mad makes them want my attention more, so they act up more; lather, rinse, repeat. I end up being the only one to lose.

In response to a comment made at lunch, I have the following statement: being single does not make a person gay. Being gay makes a person gay, and if a gay person is in a relationship, it doesn't make them straight. Sexual orientation is not dependent on a person's relationship status.

Well, with that out of the way I'll continue. My mood has improved somewhat from yesterday. The cats received some attention this morning to ward off any clawing of the rug or snacking of the headphones (which are on the bookshelf in the livingroom, shhhh). The snackclub is out of Animal Crackers, which has been a real mental setback, but I'll find a way around it. Perhaps I'll just leave early.

It's been three days with no running and so far I've compensated for this loss by eating my weight in snacks. Granted, I'm sure there was some caloric deficit from Friday's biathalon, but three days later I think I should have caught up. Stupid rain, I blame you! Today I proclaim to be 10-miler day. I shall go to the Rail Trail and run to Cheshire and back.

Unless it's snowing or I'm wicked tired.

I shall use my new headphones to listen to uplifting music such as DMB, BNL (Barenaked Ladies) or other three-letter-acronymed bands. MNM (Eminem), DrD (Dr. Dre)? Not exactly uplifting except for a few motivational songs, perhaps I'll throw them in the mix. If I'm lucky the UPS guy will have left my road shoes by the garage door. I'm not counting on it, but stranger things have happened.

Then I shall cook some chicken or other protein-rich food, to be thrown in the mix with some carbohydrate-rich foor such as pasta or toast. And if I eat toast, it shall be heavily laden with butter. Me love butter.

Then, I shall clean the kitchen, and perhaps run the vacuum. I should clean my bedroom but I'm pretty sure I won't. Stupid outlets that need to be finished, curse you. Perhaps I'll finish the outlets so I can put my bedroom back together.

Nope, I'm almost positive that I won't. And now, I'm ghost.

Old Coot

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Monday, April 24, 2006


I'm gonna complain about some shit right here. The worst thing I did today was get out of bed. Since then, the day has gone downhill.

My cat - who had clawed up my brand new rug - struck again whilst I was sleeping.

Then I went to work, where nothing happened. My blog wouldn't post, I got zero e-mail, the test plan I wrote went unreviewed (it's now two and half weeks late), I felt like I was going to pass out all day (low blood sugar? perhaps) and everytime I turned around someone had another fucking problem for me. Oh, then the one thing I did get accomplished was lost when the god damn piece of shit DOORS program decided it no longer wanted to save my work. I had to close it without saving. FUCK!

I locked up my computer and left.

When I got home, I thought a run would help clear my head. I changed my clothes, put in my contacts, laced up my shoes and went to plug in my headphones. Oh, someone ATE MY FUCKING HEADPHONES! Nano, was that you? Probably got hungry after clawing the piss out of my rug and climbed on my diningroom table to have himself a little snack. FUCK! I headed out.

No sooner than my sneakers hit the stairs did it start fucking raining. I went back inside, changed into some comfy gear and got ready to sit down and veg for the rest of the night. "I know, I'll go to Target, pick up a cheap movie, stop at Price Chopper and grab some sushi for dinner."

With movies in hand (and new headphones) I stopped at Price Chopper. Let me set the mood: the place had more people in "I can't walk on my own but I can still shop in complete oblivion" Scooter-people and baby's mamas than I've ever seen in one store. I headed up to the do-it-yourself aisle and scanned in my stuff. I paid in cash because it seemed appropriate for the $7.18 purchase I was making. As the machine spit out my change it said to see the cashier for my remaining $0.82. I looked over just as she walked away with some Pittsfield Player (AKA highschool dropout wearing dirty oversized sweatpants, a crooked hat and sneakers with no laces, but somehow gets all the chicks pregnant). Asshole.

I left without my $0.82.

When I got home, I nestled in my recliner with my sushi and my chips to watch my movie. About halfway through I see the cat (Nano again) slinking around. I don't think much of it. Then I hear what sounds like a cat in the basement taking care of business, complete with scratching (if you have an indoor cat, you'll understand). Seconds later, Nano comes skulking out of the bathroom, where he just pissed all over my fucking sink. WHAT THE FUCK, CAT!?

I clean that mess up, go down to the basement, clean the litter box and RRRRIIPPPP, the fucking bag tears open spilling nasty ass cat litter all over the floor I just cleaned yesterday. For Christ's Sake, can someone please throw me a bone? I threw the bag in the trash, washed my hands and resumed my movie.

Tomorrow better be a better day.

Looking for the positive in this shitstain of a day,
Old Coot

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If you see Pepe or Haywood, send 'em my way

Okay, okay. It's time to clear a few things up here. As I was going through my multitudinous e-mail messages I noticed a few were not spam, but were in fact a discussion of one of my previous postings. Apparently, there is a section in there that one might say has homosexual undertones. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not for me. I'll let you re-read the entry (since I know you've all read it already) and find the part for yourself.

Anyway, I had been berated over the weekend for my literary foulup, and now that it made it into the workplace I feel I should address the situation.

I'm not usually one to pass blame onto others unless of course it really isn't my fault. And even then, I try to shield the guilty who may be less capable of withstanding any attacks coming his/her/their way. In this case, I have no choice but to pass the blame. So here's the formal explanation from Old Coot Productions(TM)...

Apparently a few of the blokes in our London office were out for fish and chips last week when they had a few pints to celebrate the coming of spring. Here at Old Coot Productions(TM) we have a healthy tolerance for members of the staff imbibing a few quaffs during the work day, it's just a perk we feel helps with morale and the creative process. Sometimes, things can get out of hand. Apparently, one chap in particular felt he should take The Honorable Old Coot down a peg by rewording his entry a bit without sending it back up to yours truly for approval. It was nearing press time, and bypassing my approval is not uncommon in situations such as this. What was unreasonable was how he changed it, then got the two other signatures required by our process to bypass my signature. That means there were three individuals in on this libelous scam.

After some simple investigation, I managed to find the responsible individuals. While no formal retribution is in order, Tibor has had a large black mark placed in his file as he is the individual responsible for re-penning my anecdote. The other two signatures belong to two members of our staff for whom I cannot find a file. I do all of the hiring myself, but I can't seem to remember these fellas. But mark my words, once I find the files for Mr. Pepe Roni and Mr. Haywood Jablomi there will be a nasty letter describing their actions placed right at the front of the folder!

I hope you can all understand that this was a cruel attack against your humble narrator and should not be interpreted as any sort of "coming out letter". I just hope that all of you in Readerland can understand this was a practical joke taken a little too far. Tibor has expressed great regret for his actions, and has offered the following apology to excuse his actions "Sorry Guvnah, I was pissy". He doesn't know the whereabouts of Pepe or Haywood but thinks they might be on holiday.

Sorry for the confusion,
Old Coot

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Jiffy Cornbread, and I Don't Care

Happy Saturday morning, readers! Today is the first dismal day here in the Berkshires in a while. I am in no way complaining, because I have things to do and lawns that need water. Of course there's myriad things I should be doing around the house, but instead I think I'm gonna drive out to Albany, get my Sam's Club on and maybe stroll around the mall. I should really stay at home and not spend money, but I'm going to do exactly the opposite.

Yesterday I blew off work around noon. It was a gorgeous day and I had outdoorsing to do. As I may have mentioned, I finally got my bike out so I rode that home from work, coordinated a run (with some biking) with one of the women in the CRG, and cleaned up the kitchen a bit. I was expecting to meet up at her house, so when she offered to ride over to mine my "visitor's eyes" turned on and I realized my house was a disgrace. So instead of changing my clothes, I cleaned the kitchen. I have to say I did a pretty good job, all things considered.

Our run was to be from the mall entrance of the Rail Trail. The ride out there is about 5 miles. Instead, we opted to ride a little further down so that the run would include the scenic part of the trail. Good times. The run was nice, as it was absolutely perfect running weather. Sunny, 60s, slight breeze, Friday, etc. Afterwards, we rode back to Juice 'n' Java where I broke my coffee fast with a double-shot latte.

Mmm MMM, bitch.

I went home, cleaned up my act a little, made dinner plans and got ready to leave. As I rolled my bike into the basement, I noticed something funny. I looked down and saw that I had picked up a safety pin between Juice 'n' Java and my house. Now, I can probably almost throw a baseball from my house to JnJ, so after riding 18 miles, I punctured my tire in the last 1/10 mile. DAG!

Eh, no biggie. I'll pick up some tubes today and get that all fixed up (with one to spare for the next time I bust a tube). It's probably been well over a decade since I last changed a bike tube, but how hard can it be?

So did I mention that our little biathalon included 18 miles of biking and 7 miles of running? I was tired, but not nearly as tired as I thought I'd be. Man, I'm a ninja! I stunk to all hell, and got some strange tan lines, but I was still able to function. And I was covered in that funny salty crust you only get when it's warm enough for a good sweat, but not so humid that the sweat rolls off of you (or if you live in AZ). It has to dry right as it seeps from your pores. Well, that's how it was yesterday and I was kuh-rusty.

Well, I've had my Jiffy Cornbread pancakes (I highly recommend them to everyone who isn't counting calories) and a cup of coffee. I think it's time to give my mullet a quick trim, shower and head out to Sam Diggidy's Clubhouse.

Later players,
Old Coot

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Christmas Trees Roasting on an Open Fire

Halleluiah, it's FRIDAY! And on top of that, it's also PAYDAY! Geah!

So I busted my bike out of retirement last night to start riding around town. This town is too small to be driving everywhere, especially when I'm driving to go running. That just seems asinine. So towards that end, I busted the ol' mountain bike (MTB) out.

Ideally, I'd like to get my hands on something a little better suited for road riding, but the roads here can be a lot like the mountains elsewhere, so I'll probably stick with the MTB for now. I wouldn't mind getting it tuned up and maybe even some new grips, some gloves and so on. My hands take a beating the way I have it set up now.

And you know what else takes a beating? My ass. Man, I rode it 2 miles to the 'COW's house last night and 2 miles home. In bike land, that's really not far. When I hopped on it this morning to ride into work, I could feel the tenderness that is my ass. A little shifting around in the saddle (that's cyclist-speak for bike seat) and I was able to find a comfort zone, but I'm looking forward to when I'm used to it and it doesn't bother me anymore. Perhaps if I take it to the shop to get it tuned I can have them properly fit it to my body size/shape.

And after my hands and ass, my legs got whipped too! I would think that all the running I do would have me in tip-top shape for all things leg-powered. I was wrong. I'm sure I started out too fast and didn't properly warm up, but still, I was wobbly after my first ride. I suppose if the warmup time is anything like running, it should take me close to 2-3 miles (at my current speed) to really warm up. And since the two places to which I'll be riding are 2 miles from my house, I probably won't really get warmed up. Eh, it beats driving.

Last night was officially the first bonfire of the season. We cleaned up a bunch of crap in the 'COW's yard, including a Christmas tree that the ladies felt should be dragged to their house. Let me tell you, that is the best use for a Christmas tree that I can think of. The bastard lit the yard up like it was noon (it was closer to 9 PM) and threw off some HEAT! Ho-lee-shit. Me likey burning Christmas trees.

Well, it's time to go eat some pancakes. I was waiting for some people to come in so I wouldn't have to eat alone, but I guess they're not going to be in early enough for me. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let me count the ways

Animal Crackers, How Do I Love Thee?

In no particular order...

  • Your satisfying crunch
  • Your fun animal shapes
  • Your more fun misshapen animal shapes
  • Your light, sweet deliciousness
  • Your ability to withstand dietary fads despite being made of enriched flour, sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other lesser ingredients
  • The smiles on all of the animals' faces, even ones who probably can't smile in real life
  • Your ability to meld in flavor with milk, coffee, tea and even water
  • The way you cling to my molars, providing me with invaluable tooth-digging opportunities
  • Your gram of fiber
  • The way people take me less seriously when I'm eating your fun shapes
  • Your fun circus wagon packaging (although my current package is just a bag)
  • Your bloggibility
  • The way your finest qualities are so listable
  • The way you look good indoors and out
  • and so on

Thanks for listening while I ate my afternoon snack. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Good night and good luck,
Old Coot

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Navigational Snafu and Tofu

Yo yo yo. I got up bright and early this morning to get to work bright and early, to do some testing in the lab. Of course, our process does not allow people to simply get their work done, and I had to fill out a request form for permission to look at something. Awesome. And this request has not yet been granted, so I'm sitting on my hands. By the way, they want to know my progress by 10:00 today. Super!

In other news, I've been off coffee since Tuesday and I have to say I'm doing much better than expected. Now, nobody jump off the deep end just yet, I've been drinking green tea in its place. I know it has some caffeine, roughly 1/4 that found in coffee, plus I'm also not drinking as much of it. My stomach had been really bothering me after the weekend, as I drank approximately one shitload of coffee each day, starting Friday when I had an entire pot straight to the dome while driving to B-lo. That was after my regular 3 cups at work. Phew, I was flying high that day. I'm hoping that I can get back on the pot - so to speak - after taking a little time off.

Yesterday I went for a run in the woods with a couple of ladies from the CRG. They had to drop their kids off for soccer practice or something, then run, then pick them back up. So I figured they weren't going to have a lot of time. Operating under this assumption, I decided to run to the meeting place, do the group run, then run home. This would add a little over 3.5 miles to the group run, but no biggie I thought. Wrong! They kicked the shit out of me.

The first mile is just straight uphill, over treacherous rocks and so on. Then you get a reprieve as the terrain levels off to just a regular uphill slope. At the tail end it turns downhill to give your quads a real workout. If you're confused, here are some translations I've learned since I started running with the CRG:

  • Uphill = Steep, lung-wrenching incline where you feel your pulse in your eyeballs. Not a reason to stop, walk maybe, but only if you're a wuss.
  • Flat = No uphills greater than about a 1/4 mile. Rolling terrain for the most part.
  • Downhill = Uphill, but not as steep.
  • Flat and dry = No impassable rivers, mud is no deeper than the top of your shoes.
  • It's all downhill from here = There's some more uphill, but at some point the laws of physics require that we have some downhill eventually.
  • An easy 6-miler = It probably really is only 6 miles, but you're going to end up at the top of a mountain.

So there you have it. Yesterday was about a 7 miler plus the runto the park (roughly 2 miles due to a navigational snafu on the way). I got a ride home - thank God - so all told it was a nasty 9 miles in the scorching 65 degree heat.

Afterwards, I cooked up some Spicy Garlic veggies. I had some Spicy Garlic Sauce that I added to a bunch of vegetables and - watch your step - tofu. Oh man, tofu is my new thing. I forgot how tasty it can be. It doesn't have much for flavor on its own, but it takes on the flavor of whatever you're cooking. What it does add is a bunch of protein (my new beefless diet needs protein), and other assorted goodies. Anyone looking to try it, if you crumble it up it has the consistency of scrambled eggs. I think my weekend breakfast is going to be tofu scramble with veggies and cheese. Pretty soon I'm gonna bust out my Birkenstocks, wear only wide wale corduroys, stop shaving my armpits and carry everything around in a handmade bag.

Now, I'm gone,
Old Coot

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Coot Battles the Spider King

Good morning/afternoon y'all. I have another update for your reading pleasure, plus somewhat of a public sevice announcement. The real gist of it is: I'm pretty sure the Spider King is out to get me.

You may recall the mother of all spiders that I killed in my shower the other day. She was a doozie and as always, I feared retribution. I'm not sure if The Spiders are in cahoots with The Caterpillars, but I had a freaking whopper of a green caterpillar in my kitchen last night. No, caterpillars don't move quickly, and as far as I know they have no defensive measures. But it's not what I know that scares me; it's what I don't know. What if green caterpillars are capable of burning your retinas out with their laser-beam eyeballs? I wasn't taking any chances; if the cats wouldn't mess with this bastard, I wasn't going to either. I grabbed a piece of mail and scooped up the caterpillar. He curled up into a defensive ball, probably charging his flux capacitor in preparation to blast my eyeballs out the back of my damn head. I quickly ran to the door and flung him onto the neighbor's yard. My house was now safe!

Well, after that I was rinsing off some grapes I had bought on Monday. I didn't know from whence the caterpillar came, but I had the idea maybe he rode in on my grapes. I was in the process of giving them a thorough inspection (with eyelids ready to snap shut at the first sign of eyeball laserbeams) when an effin spider jumped out of the bunch. "Whaaaaa, shit!" I exclaimed as I threw the grapes into the sink (and spit out the ones I was eating), "God damn spider". He fell under the vengeance of my peanut butter jar, then scalding hot water to rinse him into the sewer where all spiders belong.

Needless to say, I threw those grapes the fuck out, along with the rest of the grapes I had leftover from last week. I was taking no chances with that.

So later on, I was making some Flan, which is fun to say. When I talk to the cats, I speak in rhymes (i.e. Nan-whores, kerplam-stores or Binners, Dick-skinners) so the logical step from Flan is Placatan. "Nan, do you want some flan? Placatan!" Yes, another quality use of the word! But I digress. The first step in making flan is to carmelize 1/2 cup of sugar. For those of you unfamiliar with the carmelizing process, you just melt it over low heat until you have an aptly named carmel-colored liquid. I was stirring it with a spoon when my finger brushed against the side of the sauce pan. The impulse reaction is to pull your hand away, which I did, which flung molten sugar all over the place, which hurt. I really lucked out that I only burned my hand in a few places, and not my face. Molten sugar is HOT, and it sits on your skin for a few seconds burning the hell out of you as it slowly cools from one billion degrees Centigrade to human body temperature. And if you're lucky, you get to rip the cooled piece from your burned flesh. Good times.

I'm making it sound worse than it really was. As of this morning, I only have two burns left. I'm not sure why I healed as fast as I did, but I'm certainly not complaining. Moral of the story, be extra careful when carmelizing sugar. Plus, the flan didn't even turn out that good. I probably won't be making it again.

So, had I not killed the spider the other day, The Spider King would not have sent his caterpillar and other spider spies into my kitchen, I would have been able to eat grapes for dessert. Since those were tainted, I had to make flan, which burned me. This was most likely all part of That Spider King's master plan; he has some real forethought. You won this battle, you bastard.

Don't mess with The Spider King,
Old Coot

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'll show you, Jesus

Today was not my day to run. First I was supposed to meet up with the CRG at 5:30 for a run in Pittsfield State Forest. I was psyched since I was away all weekend; the fix was just what I needed. I went home from work, cleaned up a little, got suited up and headed over to the meeting place. I was even about 10 minutes early for the first time. I cleaned up my car for a few minutes, laced up my shoes and went up to the house. I was greeted by our leader's daughter with the news that nobody was going to show. DAMN! I don't know the trails enough to run them myself, so I went back home.

Once home, I thought I'd just throw on my road shoes and do a few miles myself. Eeerrroonnngggg! Apparently I left my road shoes at my parents' house this weekend. Now I had to break my business sneakers out of retirement but I was determined to get my run on. After all of the garbage I've been eating I needed to sweat out some serious candy. And sweat I did, because Jesus had to test me by providing me with only a long sleeve navy shirt. Way too hot for the sunny day we had today. For the record, I'm not religious I just blame Jesus for this one.

Well, I need to get some dinner in my belly. It looks like I won't be having that pork tenderloin afterall. It's gonna take at least an hour and I'm too hungry for that mess. Welp, I'll holler at all y'all later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Tuesday AM update

Happy Tuesday morning everyone. I didn't have an update for you yesterday because I was on the road most of the day. I'm pretty sure that I dislike the drive to Buffalo more each time. Something about sitting in a car for 6 hours by myself with a rug jammed in my ribs that really gets my goat. But I'm sure you don't want to hear about that. Or about how the NYS Thruway is now several dollars more to cross the state than the last time I went. It now costs almost $22 in tolls to go to Buffalo and back. DAMN!

Oh joyous day, I got home with my new rug and was psyched to get my whole rug situation settled. Of course I just had to vacuum the hell out of the place and wash the floors with Murphy's Oil Soap, but now the house smells Murphy-licious so it was worth it. Plus the floors were disgusting.

So shortly after I had everything back in place, I went into the kitchen to clean up and get things ready for the work week. I hear Vinny hoarking in the livingroom (you know, when cats hunch over and say "Hoark-a-hoark-a-hoark..."), and I know he's trying to work up a hairball to display proudly in the middle of my brand new tan rug. Sure enough, he was in position. I shooed him away and he made a beeline for another rug. DUDE, GO ON THE KITCHEN FLOOR!!! Fortunately, I think he just does it for attention because he rarely produces anything. But still, it's the principal of the matter.

Other than that, there isn't much else to tell. I did some good cleaning around the house, although to the untrained eye it still looks like a freaking mess. A little at a time is what I keep telling myself. I'll get caught up eventually.

Okay, I'm outta here.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dress up your home for less...

Ho Ho Hoooo! Merry Easter!

Tee hee hee. Well folks, it's Easter morning and I'm somehow the first one up. I had a recurring theme in Dreamland last night (which I'm not gonna share), but it was really making me mad. And there's nothing less restful than mad dreams (aside from insomnia, which really sucks), especially ones that continue on all night. I even tried taking off my socks, as they have proven to be the root of mad dreams in the past. No luck.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the B-lo. I took a stroll down Elmwood in search of a t-shirt and perhaps a hat. There are tons of shops that sell Buffalo paraphernalia, so I thought I'd find something for sure. I did not. But I did enjoy the stroll and the overpriced latte that accompanied my stroll.

At 2:00 I had a mother-son appointment to get the oil changed in my car (gasp, I hate having someone else do it), and my mother to get her car inspected. The place was mad busy, but there was this couple there who kept my spirits high. The woman found EVERYTHING to be hilarious, and also found the need to comment on anything and everything. She was killing me. Example: her steering wheel apparently did have the tilt function, but did not have the stop tilting function, so it would shift all over the place while you're driving. She made the mechanic aware of this in a most comical way.

Then when it was time to pull her van into the bay, she realized that it might be the right time to make sure they knew the brakes do not work. Not that they're bad, but they just plain don't work. I guess it was in for brake work, so they knew. Hilarious again. As they were pulling the van in, she described a fictional scene where it would continue off the lift and through the back of the shop. Just then we heard a loud bang which turned out to be a hood slamming shut, but it definitely produced a round of chuckles and her belting out "Whoo hooo hoooooooo! See I told you!" in her stereotypical oversized black lady voice.

Well, my oil change went without a hitch. They of course recommended that I have a power steering fluid flush and change, which I declined. "It's not bad, but I wouldn't drive any long distances" the guy told me, knowing full well that I don't live in NY. "Okay, good to know" I told him, and I left.

Afterwards, my mother and I made up some egg salad sandwiches. As we were peeling the eggs, I almost crapped my pants. My dad, who had been MIA all afternoon, appeared to have lost two fingers in the garbage disposal. Upon closer inspection, the two finger tips turned out to be wrinkly white grapes. Phew!

After lunch my mother and I went to FWS to check out rugs. If you're from Buffalo, you know the song "Dress up your home for less, FWS" has to be sung in the ridiculous radio voice whenever you speak of the store. (Ab, I'll wait while you wipe the snot off your upper lip) I'm in the market for rugs, as my house is very echoey nowadays. The long and short of it, I bought an 8x13 (roughly) real wool rug for the living room and a 2x3 oriental rug to put in front of the fireplace so I don't burn up the good rug. The plan was to find something for the dining room, but I can move the rug that's currently in the LR into the DR and all will be fine.

After that, a nice 8-mile run was needed. I ran to the park, twice around it, and back. Apparently nobody around here runs in the road (or street as WNYers call it) because drivers were looking at me like I was crazy. You wanna talk crazy, you should see what running on concrete sidewalks does to your knees and hips. No thanks, I'll take blacktop and traffic any day.

So that was about it. After that it was chilling, a nice ham dinner, some ice cream and the movie Chocolat, which I had never seen before and was pretty freaking good.

Well folks, that's it for this morning. I hope you all enjoy your egg hunts, baskets of loot and swine dinners. As for me, I'm gonna have some breakfast and go to (gulp) church. Gotta hurry though, brunch at 3:00.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Friday, April 14, 2006

... and I Pressed On

As I lay here in the guest bed at my parents' house, I feel like I should write something to keep everyone posted on what I've been up to, as if I've been gone forever. In fact, I only left P-town around 2:30 this afternoon. Below, you'll find the details of my drive.

I'll get my navigational mishaps out of the way first so we can move on to the better stuff. I tried a new route to bypass Route 20. Anyone who has ever driven on Rte 20 knows it sucks. So I opted to take 90 as soon as possible, even if it cost more in tolls. I estimated about $0.70 more in tolls. I estimated wrong(ly). The tolls were about $4 more, which equates to about a 50% markup. But, it's only money and I didn't get lost, so I didn't sweat it.

Before leaving, I made a pot of coffee which almost fit exactly into my travel mug and thermos. "Shit" you may say to yourself. A pot of coffee for one person for a 6 hour drive, that seems excessive. It was, but I knew that if I ran out I'd be buying coffee no matter how much I had already had, so I brought plenty. Problem 1 - the coffee was weak. This was a blessing in disguise since it allowed me to drink waaaaay more than I should have without the ill effects of overcaffeinating. Problem B - my second half-and-half was bad. Not so bad that it had floaties (which I tested before adding it to a pot of coffee), but after a while it was tasting pretty gnarly.

Needless to say, I hit the first rest stop after Albany for a nice pee. I wanted some food, but didn't like the selection. I pressed on.

As dinner time approached, I decided I should find a place before 5:00 so I didn't have to deal with all of the people. As I neared the next rest area, I noted that it did not have a McD's. I'm not a fast food guy whatsoever (I used to be, and I was also fat) but they have decent chicken salads under the Golden Arches. I decided to wait until the next service area, "how far can it really be?"

Answer - 38 miles. Dammit!

I got my chicken salad, and it was indeed delicious. The dressing was good too, a nice caeser dressing of which I used about half. I pressed on.

Shortly after dinner my stomach started whispering things to me. Naughty things like "Dude, stop at Cinnabon and get one of those huge freaking gooey things" I checked my Map of the NYS Thruway Rest Areas and found that the next stop had Cinnabon. KILLER!

As I neared the rest stop however, the signs led me to believe that there would be no huge freaking gooey things for me - NO CINNABON! I figured if I didn't stop, there would actually be one there and I'd miss it, so I pulled in. Sho-nuff there wasn't. I opted for a muffin at Starbucks.

Let me explain something about my OCD issues. Lately, I prefer to have plenty of ones, fives and tens in my wallet. Twenties I couldn't care less about. I noted that I was running low on small bills, and I knew I was going to need $12 come Exit 50, so I broke a $20 on my $2 muffin. The girl handed me my change - a fist full of bills - which I had to rearrange so that all the bills were in the proper direction. Then I had to organize them in my wallet from $10 to $1 - outside to inside. This of course held up the line and in a panic I literally pounded the last single into my wallet. The Starbucks chick even felt it was necessary to comment on my goings-on, to make sure everyone was aware of my disorder. Plus I'm pretty sure she wanted me. And if I wasn't old enough to be her father (well maybe not, but she couldn't have been more than 18), I would have definitely thought about perhaps considering the off-chance idea of entertaining a suggestion to flirt back. Alas, I'm a pussy and I was already in a fluster. Nope, I retired to the mom-mobile, ate my double chocolate muffin and pressed on.

I got to the folks' house right on time. We sat up for a few hours chatting, at which point I was losing my voice (thank you very much Bare Naked Ladies and Dave Matthews Band and Eminem for making me rock the hell out for 6 solid hours). So here I am writing to my fans.

No longer pressing on,
Old Coot

P.S. I watched someone attempt to parallel park for 10 minutes. The owner of the vehicle in front of her even went out and moved the van up to give her more room, which didn't help. When she finally got her car situated, I got out of my rocking chair, waved and gave her the thumb's up. It was someone visiting the nextdoor neighbors. Score one for Old Coot!

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The Leaning Tower of Goodies

Just an update. I killed a HUGE spider yesterday who made the deadly mistake (on his part) of loitering in my bathtub. Well, his mistake was followed by the swift hand of the Grim Reaper incarnate - executed through my hand and a Dove (made with 1/4 moisturizing cream) soap box. His remains were flushed down the drain with gallons upon gallons of HOT water, just in case he was playing dead and tried to swim upstream to seek revenge upon me.

I'm sure a lot of you have been wondering about recent developments concerning my latte and dessert. I broke down and - I'm afraid to admit - bought my latte from Starbucks. It's in the same shopping center as Price Chopper, so when I went to buy a pie (and ice cream, and Power Bars, and cereal) I stopped in and had them prepare a large vanilla soy latte for my drinking pleasure.

Once inside Price Chopper, I made a beeline to the pie department sans shopping basket. I figured I could manage to carry a pie without a basket, but was quickly tempted by the Power Bars, then GoLean Crunch (which is eternally on sale, yet I continue to buy it in case they stop with the sales). I balanced the two boxes of cereal and Power Bars, then the pie and sandwiched all of that with my latte. An unruly stack to say the least.

On my way to the checkout line, I thought maybe I should pick up some ice cream to accompany the pie, and my stack grew by one half gallon of ice cream. Noticing my precarious Jenga-style tower of goodies, a kind gentleman offered the advice - which can only be gained through experience - "Shudda gotta cart". Thanks pal, I've been shopping for years and that thought never crossed my mind.

So, the pie was delicious as was the ice cream, as was the latte. My Name is Earl and The Office were both hilarious. I put the cereal in the basement and saved the Power Bars for the next time I run and need a quick meal.

The End.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Word of the Day: Uncouth

Maybe it's the warm spring air blowing through my house, or the fantastic curry vegetable leftovers from dinner the other night (man I love my veggies), or the uplifting music blasting on my hi-fi, I don't know - but whatever it is I am in a fantastic mood.

I just had a ballbuster of a run, where I got a few miles from home and my legs started sending my brain the old "... ---...". That's S.O.S. if you don't know. I can't blame my legs though, it could have had something to do with the fact that I pushed myself a little too hard yesterday or that I drank a huge chocolate milk right before I went out. Oops, who knew it wasn't the same as Gatorade. Of course, after I had made the decision to head back and call it, I got my legs back and I was Cah-Roosing.

Enough about running, I'm sure most of you don't care. My plans for the evening are fairly simple: finish dinner, buy some dessert, buy a huge latte, eat the aforementioned dessert, watch some quality comedic programming, col' chill, go to bed. HECOW, I'm counting on you to provide my evening with hilarity (supplemental to the televised hilarity) and debauchery. I'll bring the bauchery, you debaucherize it!

And another thing, the word uncouth is extremely hilarious to me. One day during lunch with The Lunch Crew, we decided that this word was funny. Partly because only snooty people use it, but mainly because the only way to define it is "Having no couth", which lends itself directly to "Devoid of all couth". Genius. Pure genius.

The next time you go to say the word uncouth, feel free to tell people what it means; devoid of all couth.

Placatan, bitches!

Old Coot has spoken.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lawncare and egg salad

Yes, that was me. I was that lawn nerd out watering my lawn yesterday. But I swear, I had a perfectly good reason. Really! I'll explain...

After work yesterday, I picked up some peat moss at the local Home Despot. I also almost bought "The Lazy Man's Garden", a package of different seeds with instructions on how to arrange them for the horticulturally inept. I'm no green thumb, but I don't like people thinking I'm lazy so I didn't get it. Plus, I'd like to get take a few moments to pick out the right package if I were to get it, and yesterday the clock was ticking. Anyway, I bought my peat moss and hit the road.

When I got home, I quickly changed into shorts and a t-shirt (YES!) and headed back out. I put down some fresh grass seed to fill in some of the thin spots, ran the fertilizer spreader over the entire lawn and proceeded to spread the peat moss. I had three bags, but that was gone in next to no time. Toward the end, I saw the end of the last bag closing in on me and, using a new technique, started spreading it faster to make sure it would last. It didn't but I covered most of the bare spots.

Next, I had to water in the fertilizer. It comes in these little granules, so to make sure it gets down into the soil, you have to water it. Plus, the peat moss is wicked dusty and I wanted to make sure that stayed put. So there I am, April 11th, watering my lawn. Some people are still driving around with studded tires and I'm out there with garden hose in hand, watering the lawn like a damn fool. Ahhh, me love me lawn.

One of these days I need to get my hands on a burning barrel to get rid of all the branches in my backyard. Normally I would just burn them in my firepit, but there's a lot and I want them GONE. Every year I have to deal with all of the branches and whatever other nonsense is scattered about the yard (old kitchen cabinets, old bathroom vanities, a countertop, moulding, linoleum scraps, etc.) for the first two months of summer and this year I do not want that. Give me a good afternoon of burning and I can be DONE with that shit.

After that, I whipped up some DELICIOUS egg salad on toast. I put sliced green olives in it, and man oh man was that good. Some sliced red and green bell peppers on the side with a dipping sauce and I was in business. No, it wasn't anything extravagant but I was working in the yard all afternoon. Plus I haven't been to Sam's Club in a while and I'm pretty much out of everything. There's some ground beef in the freezer, but I'm on a quest to eliminate red meat from my diet. JD, pork is not red meat, so I can still have roasts. I don't have any roasts, but once I get some, I can have them.

And finally, why didn't anyone tell me this Sunday is Easter? I got an e-mail from my mother asking if I had any plans for the weekend. I thought it was just small-type, but then she went on to talk about Easter and I put two and two together. Ab, don't think just because you're in Japan you don't have to remind me of these things. See, I have become accustomed to my sister calling to see if I want to ride out to Buffalo with her. That serves as a reminder to me that it's either Mother's Day, Father's Day, someone's birthday or a holiday. Now I have to remember these things myself (which I usually do, just when it's too late).

Anyway, work's calling. I holler at all y'all later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I have "The Knack"

I need to stop making grandiose claims on the interweb, because I'm not what you would call a "closer". I mentioned yesterday that I was going to do all sorts of lawncare after work. And I had every intention of following through with that plan. That is, until something better came along. I ended up going for a run where I was forced once again to describe what it is I do for a living.

Now, people think "Oh, you're an engineer. You work in the defense industry. That must be so exciting, getting to build cool stuff all the time." When I try not to dash their hopes and dreams of living vicariously through my job, I find that I can't actually describe what it is I do. Not that I have some legal obligation to keep my mouth shut for fear of being tried for Treason. Nope, I don't know anything that could be useful to anyone other than the average Microsoft Office user.

You see, what we do is often called Powerpoint Engineering. And engineering is not as cool as they make it look on TV. Combine that with being a military contractor and you take something mildly boring and introduce all of the overhead associated with government work (think red tape) and sometimes you want to shoot yourself in the face. But then one day you actually get to see something you've designed and you're good for another 6 months.

Which brings me to my point: there should be a politically correct term for "engineer"! People have the wrong idea about us, and it's high time we get a better reputation. Sure, there are some extra power nerds out there who hang on to their slide rules and pocket protectors, but the rest of us are pretty cool guys. I suppose I should use the word "people", but there are so few women in the business, "guys" is a safe enough approximation. Not only do we make great money (okay, no we don't) but we also understand how almost everything works. We have what's called "The Knack". And if we don't already know it, we can figure it out pretty quickly. And for those out there who can't do that, they know they can just ask me and I'll tell them. Yes, we're handy sons-of-bitches to have around. So people, cut us a freaking break.

We were tossing ideas around the tri-cube area today and the best idea (or only idea) that came up was "stud". While that surely describes yours truly, it's not a broad enough description to cover all the nerdy-looking dudes. I have some of my best engineers on the job, hopefully we can come up with something. I encourage all of you in Readerland to write in with suggestions.

But keep them nice, lest I should smack you with my slide rule!

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, April 10, 2006

I need Homer's Spine-o-cylinder

Good afternoon. Today is Monday and I'm doing my damndest to make sure nobody can claim I have a Case of the Mondays. I do not, so don't try and say I do. If it weren't for this little thing I have to do at work today, I would have taken the day off. I have lawncaring that needs to be done, a garage that needs reorganizing, a lawnmower that either needs a new blade or I have to sharpen the old one, a plant that needs repotting, a dozen cookies that need eating, a gallon of milk that needs drinking and I wouldn't mind getting started on fixing the rock wall next to my driveway. But, since work is once again getting in the way of my good time I'm going to complain about it.

Yesterday I got out, bought some groceries, then set to work thatching the lawn. I started this project about a week ago and only quit because it got dark. I had a beautiful day ahead of me, so I got to work circa noon. Let me tell you, thatching is nothing like traditional raking. It's a real ballbuster of a chore. It took me about 4.5 hours to finish the job and I think I generated 7 huge bags of stuff to take to the compost joint. I'm not living on any massive estate either, I have no idea how I can get that much material out of my lawn, but I did.

My goal today is to pick up some peat moss, lay down some seed and starter fertilizer and cover it with the aforementioned peat moss. Of course, I'll need to water it in so the moss doesn't blow away (as it's prone to do) which is another favorite lawncare job of mine. Basically, I like every aspect of lawning with the exception of bagging up stuff I've raked. Raking okay - bagging not okay.

After I finished thatching, I went inside to just chill the fuck out. And what can be more relaxing that sitting on your favorite recliner with a fire crackling, a pair of cats and a soothing movie? Nothing! So I popped in my current favorite relaxation flick - 8 Mile - and got a roaring fire going. Of course, in the meantime Nano made himself comfy in my spot, and not being one to disturb a comfy cat I "shared" the chair with him. Basically, I got the edge of the seat and just layed back over him. He didn't budge.

So there I sat for nearly 1.5 hours until I had to stoke the fire. In the meantime, my aching back molded to the shape of a prostrate feline, which required that it kink in a most unnatural place. When I attempted to get up, I had to summon every ounce of strength in my body to not fall back down, crushing Nano. A few bends and twists and my spine cracked back into place. Aahh!

After the movie, I whipped up a batch of cookies, had some dinner and sat back down to finish my pre-bedtime resting. That God that Spiderman was on, lest I should have to watch The War at Home. For the record, I do not care for that show in the least. I let the fire die out, cleaned myself up and went to bed.

Good times.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Saturday, April 08, 2006


Man, something has bummed me the eff out today. I was riding a nice high for the past week or so, but today something came crashing down. I didn't do anything differently, perhaps it's the lack of sleep catching up with me or the planetary alignment. I know this morning I had next to no energy for my run, which subsequently went two hours and fifteen minutes. Man those guys don't quit! I had to take a nap this afternoon, which the cats ensured wouldn't be as restful as I would have liked. Eh, they needed the attention anyway.

Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in as late as I want, eat pancakes for breakfast and see where the day takes me. I've got an idea or two of where I'd like it to take me, but we'll see.

Weak post? Yup. My A-Game is on sabbatical, and I'm running on fumes. Send some good vibes my way tomorrow and we'll see if I can't get back on top.

Later players,
Old Coot

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Patience is a Virtue

This has to be a quick one. I'm wicked tired and I have to get up early to drag my overly tired carcass into the woods to punish myself for my sins. No, I'm not going to church camp, I'm going running. And of course my sins are many; I believe at one point I listed the 7 deadly sins and how I fall victim to each and every one pretty much on the daily. But that's not what we're here to discuss right now. We're here to discuss my virtuousness, and how it relates to my patience.

Yesterday I tried to buy some cookware, and I'm sure you are all well aware of how that turned out. I was calm and treated the people at Filene's respectfully despite how I felt they should have been treating me; like the Pillar of Excellence that I am. But again, I digress. Today I was supposed to get a call from the manager, which I did receive via mobile telephone. I didn't actually receive the call, but my caller ID informed me that someone had called and since I didn't recognize the number I assumed it was Filene's calling. He left no message. So anyway, I returned to Filene's despite my better judgement. I wanted my cookware yesterday, but decided to give them another chance today. I was rewarded.

As I walked in, the woman working approached me and asked if "there's anything I can help you with, sir." While I call myself an Old Coot, I'm really not that old. And she was clearly older than I am, but I call people "sir" and "ma'am" all the time, so I didn't take offense. I explained my situation to her, and although her handwritten nametag implied she was an idiot employee she proved to be more than helpful. She knew exactly what I was talking about and said that she didn't know about the sale items I had mentioned. She said the last time she sold that set they were giving away an 8 quart stock pot (cha-ching) and a stainless kettle (CHA-ching). She was happy to honor that since she didn't have anything telling her otherwise. I was happy to receive the free goodies. According to the futureweb, I made out with a $40 kettle and what appears to be a $210 stockpot. I want to say the pot is less expensive than that, but I can't find a lower price. So I really cleaned up, all because I was willing to be patient.

Score TWO for the Summer of Todd,
Old Coot

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Ain't life Coot-tastic

Good afternoon post browsers. Although the weather has turned less summery, I have to say that the Summer of Todd is progressing swimmingly.

I had been reflecting on a former Summer of Todd (back in twenty ought-one), during the early years of the Bush Administration. That was the only other SOT before this year, and it met all of my expectations. Of course, I was 22 and my goals were fairly short-sighted. I outfitted the car with stereo equipment, bought my turntables (which are currently keeping the dust off the floor in my office), a girl touched my leg (look RC, a TIDBIT), and most importantly partied and had very little responsibility. Plus it was the summer everyone got $300 from the gubmint just for being an American. Life was good.

This year, SOT version 2.0 will be a major upgrade. I'm older, wiser, and more Coot-tastic, so what I do this summer will have longer reaching implications. I still have few details that I can divulge, as they are proprietary to SOT management. Contracts are being worked out, deals are being brokered, staffing is being outlined and material selection is in the primary stage. Most information is on a need to know basis, with really no one cleared for the access list (sorry for the job jargon).

The plan was never set in concrete, which is what truly makes the SOT powerful thing. I am free to change direction as needed. I understand that priorities change, people move out of and into the picture, cool stuff goes on sale, and so on. And if I had concrete goals by which to judge my failure I'd be way too stressed out to appreciate the minor details. For example, today smelled like lightning or the first day of spring. Had I been bogged down with how far I was behind on my porch project (which is 100% not underway), I would have totally missed that.


For those of you familiar with the P.E.P., it may have hit a welcome but unforeseen snag. Hmmm.

So today I'm going to meet up with some folks for a romp in the woods. And by romp, I mean running in the rain or whatever weather Mother Nature throws at us. I'm sure I'll be either underdressed and cold or overdressed and hot, then cold because I'm sweaty. I haven't run all week, so I need to get out there. Running is the time when I sort out all of the stuff that's been piling up on my mental inbox, and this week has my inbox bursting at the seams. Then, I'm going to buy some cookware.

I went to Filene's last night after work to pick up the cookware set that has caught my eye. I did all of the research I needed to do, found the set I wanted and I was ready to buy. They have a deal going where you get some bonus crap with the set, and when I got to the store there was no mention of said bonus stuff. They had boxes of different items labeled "Bonus", but the lady working didn't know if I would even get one, let alone pick any one I wanted.

I dealt with the manager, some other lady and a dude on the phone and came up with the following solution: they'd call me the next day. Well shit, if I wanted to wait until the next day I would have ordered it online already. I was surprised the manager was going to let me leave the store when I was ready to buy. He should have just given me whatever I wanted to make the sale. Instead I went down to another store in hopes of finding it there, but was rejected. No cookware for me.

My mood took a turn a sharp turn for the better on my way home. RC's schedule had freed up and she wanted to get together. I had played a few rousing games of pingpong after lunch, so I showered up and hit the road. Who wants details? Sorry, I'm not talking. But me likey!

So it looks like today I'm going to have to go back and buy that set today and like it (pout!). Then I'm going to cook up something delicious to break it in. I'm thinking crabcakes. And maybe I'll bake some cookies with mini Reese cups. Who knows, the world is mine!

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lacking Blog Rebuttal

I've been hearing some complaints lately that my blog has been lacking. At first, I took this as a personal attack since the blog is a fairly direct reflection of my life. But as I heard more and more attacks on the lackiness of the blog, I noticed a distinct pattern; HECOW was the main complainer. Here's my rebuttal:

With JD out of the picture, I have 3 people with whom I hang on a regular basis. HECOW, his 'wife' ECOW, and Snicky. If my blog is boring, pal, it's at least 1/3 your fault. YOU need to step up your game and start contributing to the hijinks and hilarity.

Well with that out of the way, I don't have much else to say. I hung out with the 'COWs last night along with JD and Snicky. I drank a vanilla soy latte, and some water. We played cards and watched Lost. Then I went home and went to bed.

But, we have begun a new era. I'm going to suggest that any visitors to the Coot Pad call before stopping by. I'm going to be taking full advantage of the solitary house, and I'll be in the buff whenever I want. I may have mentioned such activities as walking around, baking, cooking (nothing greasy though, grease splatters might hurt), vacuuming, and so on. If you don't mind catching me in the transparent union suit then by all means don't call. I've still got some shame, so I'll probably cover up, but you might catch a glimpse if you're lucky!

Over and out,
Old Coot

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not an axe-murderer!

I have been talking about putting some pics up here for a little while now, but I haven't been able to find my camera. Who would have thought that the pile of stuff on the couch would be the perfect hiding spot for a troublemaker of a camera? Anyway, here are a few.

This first picture is the first sign of spring the season. As we all know, I'm a month and a half into summer, but Mother Nature is a little behind me. These are some random plants that come up next to my house. Please ignore the peeling paint on the one unpainted side of the house. Soon enough, friends. Soon enough.

The second picture is the Axe-Murderer's Starter Kit I packed up for my first date with RC. Actually, it was to help JO dig up tree stumps in his yard, but they both happened on the same day. And I was sure to cover up The Kit before we met.

Since you can't really see exactly what this kit contains, I'll show some closeup shots to emphasize why I had concerns.

This shot shows the rope, gloves and duffel bag containing a change of clothes.

Over in this pic, we have the real hardware; there's the freshly sharpened rusty Collin's Axe, the pick-mattock (a miniature pickaxe basically), the rusty shovel and the all-important 10-pound sledge hammer.

As you can see, this might frighten an unsuspecting person with no real knowledge of who I am. Combine all this with the dark blue hoodie I was sporting and I was even scaring myself.

Not an axe-murderer,
Old Coot

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Who's that talking?

Just a quick note. Someone out there in the Ether is talking about me something fierce. My ears are burning so much I can't concentrate on reviewing this wiring schematic for the MTM test box. I mean really, as riveting as this work is and I still can't concentrate!? So I beg you, please turn your conversation to someone/something else.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Here's Where My Brain's Been

The trouble with wishing for stuff I find, is that you often get exactly what you wished for. I have been posting updates of my life on this here instantweb for dang near a decade, give or take 8.75 years. Everyone out there in Readerland has been nothing but supportive (with the exception of ECOW and HECOW, who are royal ballbusters) and at this point, I have found myself in somewhat of a jam. You see, there's one reader out there who has caught my eye. The jam being that I can't use my journal as a private forum for discussing her (for anonymity sake, I'll call her RC) since she's a regular reader. Now what do I do?

I have edited and re-edited this posting and have decided not to mention the details of our initial "meeting". We have a difference of opinion in terms of who may have stalked who, so I'll leave it to the collective imagination of everyone in Readerland. I'll just add one unbiased comment; RC stalked me into submission.

This is file footage of what RC might look like stalking me in a bear suit, although she'd be undoubtedly sporting a knitted skull cap with reversed, ambulance-style lettering.

So, at any rate her interstate admiration (she lives in NY) has overpowered my usual self-destructive powers. I scoured her own blog (which I will not share with you, so don't ask) in a fruitless search for something wrong with her. It's looking like there's nothing I can do but throw caution to the wind and pray that I don't completely blow it.

Dear Jeebus, please give me a pair.

We met up last Saturday night and while I may have appeared calm and collected on the exterior, I had a turkey sub doing cartwheels on the interior that was convincing me otherwise. Fortunately, RC felt the same (replace the turkey sub with Fritos). We've agreed our next date will not be at a restaurant.

Anyways, I thought the date went well. Conversation flowed with very few of the expected awkward silences. I only dripped coffee on myself a little (the damn waiter spilled it all over my saucer), and my turkey sub stayed inside. Pretty good for me, I'd say. I wasn't expecting a full-on makeout session or anything requiring an awkward morning departure, plus she seemed like too nice of a girl for me to risk clumsily overstepping any boundaries. As it turns out, my wuss-baggery (that's the trait of a wussbag) was once again my downfall. Lesson learned? Probably not, but I'm at least taking notes to study up for next time.

Here are some details for those of you who need them. I told her I was gonna share, but I'll be a little vague so as not to give too much away. What makes us most compatible is a fear of spiders, birds and vermin. I'm not so afraid of mice, but birds hate me and I don't even like spiders on TV. She's 26, knits, claims to bike (sans bike at the moment), reads, puzzles, and laughs at people's mishaps (YES!) and gets my sarcastic wit. She likes OTHER people's babies (which are also currently on my list of things I fear, but I'm getting better), cats/small dogs, Oprah, omelets, and playing cards (need a fourth for Euchre?). She has a good job (a big plus), zero children (legitimate or otherwise, also a big plus), likes Buffalo, does yoga and most importantly has been paying attention to me. Plus she has these really mesmerizing eyes.

So, feel free to rain praise on me in comment form. Showing up for our first date with my Axe-Murderer's Starter Kit in the car (photos to follow) wasn't a good choice, so any comments you can make to show I'm an alright guy would be helpful. I've already shared most of the things people told me to never tell a girl, so don't worry about blowing my cover (for the record, it wasn't The Clap, so don't tell that story). Despite everyone's advice, I've just been myself and it seems to be working. Strange!

P.S. She's not a transvestite named Andre, despite what the fellas in the office think. And she's not a 40-year old man, despite what I feared.

Thanks for your help,
Old Coot

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Daylight Savings Time + Tylenol PM + Monday = Sleepy

Well folks, it's Monday and I'm starting to feel the effects of Daylight Savings Time. I might also be feeling the effects of the Tylenol PM I took last night. For some reason I thought I was going to need help falling asleep, despite the fact that I was falling asleep in my recliner. Sometimes my brain just don't work good.

Speaking of movies, I was on a mission yesterday to find a movie to watch. After learning that Target didn't stock any of the movies I wanted, I decided to hit up Walfart. I had to go there for a few other things, so I figured I'd pick up a flick too. Eeerrrooonngg. Apparently they've cut out most of their movie selection in favor of TV shows on DVD. Dammit!

I did pick up everything else I needed while I was there, so it wasn't a complete waste. Then off I headed to Price Chopper for some fresh groceries. As I walked in, I remembered that I wanted to get a coffee grinder. You see, JD provided the coffee grinder and since we bought a pallet of beans at Sam's Club, I couldn't just make the switch to grounds. He has his ready to pack, so I didn't want to get it dirty this weekend. I'm sure Walfart or Target would have had a better selection, but I needed one ASAP.

So, to prevent my short term memory from failing me, I headed directly to the appliance section of the store and picked up a grinder. I got the basic, run of the mill grinder which also happened to be on sale. Cha-ching! However, I was at the opposite side of the store from where I usually start, which means I was going to have to shop backwards. I figured it would be simple enough, but it wasn't. I had NO idea what I was doing. I was wandering aimlessly half the time. Now I know what it's like to suffer from dementia. At long last, I finished my shopping and was in search of the fastest checkout line. Of course, half of the lines were closed and the rest were starting to coil around the store so I knew I was in for a doozie of a time. Fortunately in my quest for the best line, I wandered by the movie section and spotted the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring movie I wanted to see. It was about $10 cheaper than Walfart since it didn't have the extra 2 discs (it was only a two-disc job, which is one more disc than I need) and I was sold.

I checked out and was on my merry way. When I got home, I did some quick cleaning with some of my new cleaning supplies, and put away my clean dishes. Ahhh, counterspace again! I whipped up some delicious dinner, watched most of a movie and hit the sack. That's it.

P.S. I really need to learn how to cook for one person again. I have three meals worth of leftover taco stuff. I'm sure JD will polish off one when he returns from his parents' house, but after Thursday I'm gonna either have to scale back or get used to eating the same thing several days in a row.

Over and out,
Old Coot

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"Something inside of me just said 'Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him.' and I just took off." -Pre