Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Had Dinner at the Cranky Corner

Good evening Coot fans. Tonight, as every Thursday night, was the Thursday Night Run. I was dogging it something fierce, so I took it pretty easy. I actually cut off from the trail onto a dirt road with one of the other guys, it was nice and breezy. The heat and humidity was getting to me, so I took it to the streets and slowed it down. And that was the highlight.

Afterwards, we went to a friendly neighborhood pizzeria for dinner. Food was good, convo was good then one guy asks CPG if she's booked her tickets yet. As it turns out, she's going back to P in a couple of weeks and is not necessarily coming back. Super. I guess the P-ish government isn't real keen on losing young professionals to other countries. They can basically say "sorry, you're staying here" and that's that. So, the moral of the story is for me to keep my hopes low. Damn, this belongs in The Cranky Corner.

Well, I am exhausted and need to get myself cleaned up and into bed. I'm gonna have a long day ahead of me tomorrow so I best get my beauty sleep. Enjoy your last day of the work week, and for the fellas at work remember that it's Chicken Pizza Day!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dem Dere Rocks is Funneh Lookin

Hey suckas and chumps. As I sit here drinking Gatorade and eating marshmallows out of the bag with a fork, I think to meself "You should blog this shit, man." So here I am.

Once again, I gotta be brief. I have some cleaning to do and my body is mad tired, so my time is limited. I went for a mountainbike ride with KH who is, as far as I'm concerned, Lance Armstrong. He was telling a story the whole way up a mountain while I was sucking wind. At one point I tipped over because I was going so slowly. And nothing kills your momentum like falling into the weeds.

Anyway, after the initial ascent, we reached cruising altitude somewhere above where Leer jets fly. At this point, we made a turn and went uphill some more. The terrain was a little more forgiving and I managed to not fall, for most of the way. Then I fell into the weeds again. Actually, it was weed covered rocks. Dang my elbone hurts.

Eventually we reached a dam that I had no idea existed. Looking up from below, it was impressively large. Apparently ignorant people thought the same thing one day and had come back to throw computer monitors down onto the rocky riverbed below. Nice. We had to walk the bikes up onto the damn dam because it was too steep and too rocky. We admired the view then busted out the map to figure out where to go next.

At this point, it was either ride a little and go home, or ride a bunch more then have a longer ride home. Without a map in front of me it's difficult to explain this. Being the glutton for punishment I was I voted for more riding and a longer ride home.

This proved to be well worth the punishment. We had somewhat of an incline, but it was easy going and lacked the rocks that make the earlier section so hard to ride. We reached the top where - on a clear day much unlike today - you can see forever. "Hey look at that funny rock" I thought as a rock I was inspecting turned out to be a porcupine. No wonder it had such a lumbering waddle to its gait.

After that was a STEEP downhill on a dirt road. By steep I mean at times your shirt generated enough lift to pull you off the ground. When we finally got to the fork in the road at the "bottom", my brakes were just about molten and my rims were cooking. Plus my legs felt like they were leaking something other than sweat. Something much gooeyer and much hotter. They had the feeling you get when you pee in a lake and it comes back to get you.

We parted ways at this fork, as KH lives out in Lenox and I do not. He pointed me in a direction and described the route I needed to take simply as "go that way until you hit Williams, then you'll basically you'll be home". He offered me a ride home if I went to his house, but it was 6 miles to mine, tops, so I rode it out.

Roughly 300 feet into my solo adventure I could smell something rotting, perhaps trash. In the woods when you smell trash it means animals are probably nearby as well. Fortunately, all I saw near the trash was a rock. Unfortunately that rock was a bear about 10 feet off the road in the woods. The same legs that failed me earlier in the ride seemed to have been hiding a pair of clydesdales because I was the fuck out. To reduce the risk of accidentally sneaking up on any more bears, I whistled the entire way home. As a matter of fact I was still whistling as I walked into my kitchen just in case one of those crafty motherfuckers snuck up in there to catch me slipping. And bears hate when you whistle, so that would have kept him from eating me in my own home.

At that point I made a couple glasses of Gatorade, ate some chips and sat down at the computer with a bag of marshmallows and a fork. For the record I only had three.

So, Cooterinos that's my evening story. I'm bout to do some power cleaning then I'm going to bed. I'll holler at y'all later.

P.S. That wasn't brief.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Matty's Run and Pancakes

It's Saturday, and it's raining. It's been hot and muggy all week here, so this water is a welcome change, hopefully reducing the humidity. It's also very welcome in my lawn. I gave one of the drier sections a good watering yesterday; immediately followed by rain. I worked hard to get a nice green lawn, and this summer has been hard on it. First there was too much rain so I couldn't mow it. Then there hasn't been much rain at all, so it doesn't recover from the occasional "scalping". I'm not too good with the weedwacker on the driveway wall, and I keep burning circles into it by cutting too short. However, it's my learning lawn at my learning house, so I'm not overly worried.

Last night was the 15th annual Matty's Run at BCC. It's a charity race in memory of Maurice Matteodo (someone I have never met, obviously), with the proceeds going to various Berkshire charities. They describe it as a "true cross country race", complete with fences to hop, hills, fields, a couple rivers to ford (seriously) and then "regular" trails. They claim it's a 5k (3.1 miles), but from what I understand it's closer to 3.5 miles, maybe more.

I started out pacing myself with one of the guys from the Thursday Night Run. He's faster than I am, so I figured I'd keep up with him just to get a feel for what my own pace should be, then adjust accordingly. And when I adjusted accordingly, I really just upgraded the scenery from the rear view of a dude to that of the CPG. I ran with her for most of the rest of the race until then end when I reached for the nitrous button. BAM, I powered up the last hill, around the final loop through the field and across the finish line. Some punk kid who I had passed on a hill overtook me on the downhill (my weakness, I guess). And by 'punk', I mean he's younger than I am and apparently faster. Punk.

Not that I race to win, but it would be nice to be somewhere near the top. While I finished 32nd of almost 200, I was only 7th (or so) in my age group. As you might imagine, the 20-29 year-old mens group tends to finish towards the top. In a couple years I'll be at the low end of the 30's group, so I suppose I have that to look forward to.

I just saw in the paper that a father and his two daughters CLEANED UP the races, each winning his/her respective category. The father was the overall winner, finishing in something crazy like 20:xx, the asswipe. I'm almost positive that one, if not both, of his daughters (ages 12 and 15) also beat me. Asswipes!

Enough of that.

With the rain today, I think I can finally get around to cleaning the house, a task I've been ignoring most of the week. I opened up the spare bedroom downstairs the other day to get some use out of it for once. The couch in there is perfect for pretending to read while I really just nap. I need to tidy it up a little before next weekend when the fam comes to town, since the couch is a foldout and will be someone's bed. For a long time, that room has been a place to put stuff I don't have anywhere else to put. Now, I think it's time to just get rid of most of it.

Oh, I just bought a new electric skillet with the sole intention of using it to cook pancakes. Oh, man is it sweet. I overcooked my pancakes a little this time, but I'm learning a new tool. It's nice to have them all come off at the same time instead of standing in the kitchen eating one while I tend to the next. Unfortunately, this luxury allowed me to eat at my computer and read my sister's blog which had a funny picture on it. I almost choked to death on my whole wheat chocolate chip pancake. I don't know where she gets it from, but that girl is straight buck nutty. I might almost go so far as to say she's off the heezie. Almost. She's probably on the heezie precipice.

Heh heh, how's that for a white guy misusing gangster rap phrases (heezie)? You'll never catch Snoop saying anything close to "heezie precipice". I'm so white. As a matter of fact, below is an example of someone more ganster, thuggish and ruggish than I am...


Yup, that's my mother's cat sitting on the dining room table on Christmas. I'm less gangster than that.

Well, I'm through procrastinating; it's time to get to work. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Midweek Recap, Coot Style

Good evening Cootviewers. Life's been hectic lately, so I've been a little remiss in my postings. And by remiss, I think I may have missed one day. But don't get to thinking that I've been holed up in a cave or hiding out in the basement, because I have not. In fact, it's been quite the opposite.

This past week has been a warm one. Add to that a few tablespoons of mug and you have a recipe for sweating. Monday I was bummed to find that I couldn't get out to run, so Tuesday morning I got up and went out before work. I think you've heard about that. I did the same on Wednesday, but shortened the route to roughly 5 miles. I was planning on running the first Live on the Lake (LotL) Race Series race that evening, so I didn't want to overdo it. The last time I went with my heart instead of my head I almost ended up with some serious health issues. I was seeing spots that turned into damn near complete loss of vision. No thanks, I'll just take it a little easier.

Wednesday night was the race. As usual, I was good and nervous beforehand. Had I been able to show up with someone else, I probably would have been okay but arriving alone can make me uneasy. I knew I'd know other people there, but still. I ended up (have a seat) finishing 4th overall and 2nd in my age group, with a pace of 7:12 (minutes per mile). WHAT! Sure, there weren't a lot of people there but I whooped some ass. The third place guy was within range, but I was running with CPG and didn't want to lose any valuable chatting-up time there. I did smoke her at the end because I figured I'd only get one chance in my life to go on record with a better time than her (she's fast). Ahhh, and it'll be in the local paper. Me, my name in print with real race times and all. Score! I'll try to get it electronically for you folks.

The 'COWs were supposed to show up at LotL with a chair for me, but the po-pos weren't letting cars anywhere near the event after a certain time, so they bailed and hit up a friendly neighborhood (owners out of town) pool. Being the sweaty, nasty, stank mess that I was, I joined. Ahhh, swimming. After the race I had about a half gallon of water and watered-down Gatorade and peed only once before bed. Dag.

I'd also like to point out that CPG bought me ice cream after the race. Hmmm, perhaps not a dead end there afterall. Or, just being nice. Who knows. It might have been that I wore my sexiest shorts and new orange tank-style shirt. They actually had to airlift 29 girls out of LotL all with broken necks from a simultaneous rubbernecking accident caused by me showing up. Not to be politically incorrect, but the Old Coot isn't trying to get with a quadraplegic so all those girls are now off my radar. Just tragic.

Faux Engaged Girl Update

I saw that girl who's been pretending to be engaged for the last 3 years at LotL. She was once again with only girls (and some babies), sans a man. I think I saw a ring, but she had the liggity left hand on the down low. This doesn't prove anything, but it shows that she's still around and has yet to be seen with a dude. Plus she's easy on the eyes, so I don't mind checking for her.

Tonight I had the Thursday Night Run which was fantastic once again. I started off strong, but once the fast guys went ahead I slowed it down. I have Matty's Run tomorrow night, so I wanted to leave a little gas in the tank for that. I've also been really running a lot this week and there's no need to end up injured. That would suck.

We dined at The Heritage in Lenox afterwards, a fantastic place to eat. The service is slow, but it's nice there. Some time I would like to sit outside, but tonight it was full up out there. Meh it was still good times, good folks, good food.

Well folks, I know most of you like to hear about better stuff than running, but that's all I got for now. I would like to say that our publicist has been more than happy with the feedback we're getting on "The Cranky Corner®". It seems like an oxymoron to thank the readers for their compliments on the negative section of this publication, but Thanks. You'll be seeing more CrankinessTM in the future.

I have some thoughts on how I plan on promoting The Cranky Corner®, which I'll be unveiling in the days to come. I'm not sure how big of a can of worms I'm willing to open, so I need to marinate on it a little before I bust out the can opener. Prepare yourselves.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Testing Out a New Section

Merry Hump Day, Coot Fans!

Yesterday, astute reader and certified Ribfest '06 Champion Bizarro Todd made a comment to me concerning the content of my blog. No, not a blog comment but rather he just said the words to me like people did in the olden days when verbal communication was more commonplace. Anyway, his comment was that I may have veered a little off course from the original intent of my blog. Apparently, my good mood has offended some people and they described it to me as being a little too "foofy" (my word, not theirs). Ashamed that I have deserted my roots, I have decided to add a section periodically to my entries where I will complain about shit. Since BV is bailing on us, I am commandeering one of his maxims to use as the title of the new section. After a few rounds of market testing, we here at Old Coot Productions® have settled on "The Cranky Corner©". Koots Kranky Korner didn't lend itself well to acronymizing.

Well, I'll get to The Cranky Corner© in a little bit. First I have some things to discuss. My sister is making a short trip back to The States during a break in her teaching stint in Japan. As an aside, some people haven't realized that the Japanese are no longer our enemies. Christ, they have it better than us in many ways. We're not talking about the South here! But that's neither here nor there. In celebration of her return visit to the Old Country, she's coming to stay at my house for a few days. I thought it might be fun for the folks to come out too, since they haven't seen my house in years. Oh, it'll be a good time. No sooner than I had made arrangements to pick her up in NYC, and for our folks to come out from B-lo did I come to the realization that my house is a pig sty. A plan was needed.

True to form, my plan was defined around unachievable goals with unachievable budget and schedule. I planned on cleaning one room top to bottom every day until everyone arrives. That leaves me roughly a fortnight, give or take, to get the place into tip-top shape. Don't get your panties all in a bunch now, my house does NOT have 14 rooms. I have allowed some slack in the schedule for things like Live on the Lake (and it's associated race series), the Thursday Night Run, days when I just don't feel like cleaning, and days when I have to go shopping.

The shopping is where the budgetary concerns come into play. My plan was to take my newly-reclaimed (actually, soon-to-be-reclaimed) box springs and outfit them with a new mattress for the guest room. That way I can have a proper spare bedroom for all of my guests. Not only do I have to buy a mattress, but I also need sheets, pillows (or panillas, if you will), perhaps a table, a rug or two, and so on. I want this room to be the jam so that people will be more inclined to visit. I also want to get that new storm door for the front entrance. I double-dog dare Home Depot to ever have one in stock so I can buy it. STOOOCCKKK IIITTTT (in Homer's voice, shaking fist). The problem is that toys and porches have rendered my savings all but extinct. Hmm.

Last night I decided to tackle the kitchen. It was by far the most disgusting room in the house, and would require the most effort. Sidetracked only a few times by plants that needed watering, an A/C unit that needed installing, cupboard shelves that needed lining and a few songs that needed rocking, I eventually got the kitchen damn near clean. I even went so far as to scrub the floor on my hands and knees; the bastard was filthy.

The Cranky Corner

Here's my beef with drivers on my street: you all suck. Well, many of you at least. For some reason people with loud exhausts feel like they should stomp on it as they turn onto my street, deafening everyone within a two-mile radius. Yesterday, I saw a cop out presumably pulling over speeders, and I was happy. Then I saw the types of people being pulled over and was unhappy. I am willing to stereotype, generalize and profile drivers to assist the po-pos in catching the problem drivers.

Here's what you do: pull over every car driven by a punk-ass, sideways-hat-wearing, seat-too-far-back-reclining, fart-can-having kid. I bet you'll find some illicit materials in their cars too, the hoodlums. While you're waiting for those guys to come by, you can pass the time by pulling over every person matching the previous description riding a crotch rocket. Those guys hit 45mph in first gear - 15 over the limit - half a block after turning the corner. You don't even have to watch for them, just listen. Truck with a hemi? Pull 'em over, they're speeding. Don't waste your time on the moms in their Camries (pl of Camry) I saw you pulling over yesterday, except for that dumb broad who didn't know what flashing blue lights on a cop car meant.

I appreciate any feedback on the content of The Cranky Corner©. If you make asinine comments however, you can expect I'll be griping about your punk ass next. Plus I'll tell the cops to keep their eyes peeled for your car screaming down my street.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ribfest '06

Good afternoon Coot fans. I've been berated by a bevy of burly dudes regarding the lateness of my Ribfest Two Double-Ought Six issue. To this beratement I will issue the following statement: "Tough shit". You see, I am a freelance writer who is extremely underpaid for his efforts. Plus, this blog is my arena to state my opinion on things and voice my discontentness with all aspects of life. I try not to take requests because then I'd be catering to what the readers think they want instead of telling them what I know they want. I'm so in tune with what my readers need that I can provide that material sans request. Most of you are parents, you should understand.

With that being said, I feel like my readers might enjoy a little recap of Ribfest '06. I have a few photos provided by the Ribfest's host and caterer, JC. I'm not into taking pictures of people, so mine sucked. Here we go...

When I arrived, people were mingling and roaming about the estate. Some were on guided tours, others were stocking the coolers with their beverage of choice. I was walking around just plain old looking good. I mean really, I'm freaking good looking (see picture at screen left). Once the snacks came out, I found myself parked next to the snack table for most of the afternoon. I knew there was to be a Rib-Off against Bizarro Todd, but like J&BC's kid, I couldn't keep my hands out of the dip. That and I had about 15 assorted sodas. WOW, my system was getting riled up.

Now, while I was gorging myself on crackers, cheese, fruit, cream cheese dip, sausage, and so on, my Rib-off opponent was smartly running around tending to children. It wasn't until the shrimp came off the barbie that he sat down to graze. And while I ate things that could go from the table into my mouth without any real effort on my part, Bizarro sat down with unpeeled shrimp. Working up a pre-pork sweat, he got the old tummy churning with a handful of grilled crustaceans.

Once the Great Grill Debacle was settled, the rib cooking was underway. JC can't stand to have less than 36 lbs of swine per person, so rack after rack of ribs went onto the grill. Here you can see a few racks crammed onto the grill. This ain't no wuss-sized Forman grill either, this is a biggun. As we waited in the starting gates, Bizarro announced his training secret: he had trimmed his goatee so that it wouldn't interfere. A rookie mistake (this is my first year with a 'tee), I hadn't trimmed mine in over a week. This mistake could prove to be costly.

Enribbening in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

I think we had about ten or so down before we needed a break. Our shirts soaked with runoff of the pork sweats, we stepped outside onto the deck for some pork-free corn.

After the mid-pork corn a few more ribs went down, but I was getting weak. My eyes burned from the swine juice oozing from my pores, and I was running out of room in my digestive system for anything other than my own finger. In a dead heat, we called it a tie.

BUT THEN, like a phoenix rises from the ashes, Bizarro Todd walked back into the house with his slimy, barbecue sauced fingers grasping at what was to be the winning rib. My rib-side doctor had already put an end to the madness, disallowing me from consuming more swineage. The uncontested rib carried Bizarro from a draw to the winner's circle. Congratulations, BT! My hat is off to you.

Other Points of Interest

  • In a rant about how far HECOW's nose is up ECOW's mother's ass, she was heard saying "If anyone's shit is going to be on his nose, it should be mine!"
  • BV, I know you read this. Your move to NC has been denied pending a formal review. You need to prepare slides containing: a transition plan, risk analysis, trade-off decisions, cost analysis, fing-fong reflacement flan, sound byte website layout (we'll need sound bytes for things like Jaysus' favorite snack cracker, and cheese product spread), schedule and parts list. Your plan will then be reviewed at The Design Review Table for no less than one week.
  • J&BC's neighbors are drunks. Not only did they spill all over the deck, but as the night went on they started hooting, hollering and kicking out screen doors. Tsk, tsk I tell you. Tsk, tsk indeed.
  • I hate horseflies.
  • 6 pieces of flooring scrap and a match do not produce enough flame to ignite a four-foot log. I don't care if it was split in "half" or not, that shit is just too big.
  • JC's dad has no respect for "college boys". Go play with your guns, you hippie.
  • After a long night of enribbening, the DPTs can be worse than a hangover. For those who don't know, that's the Deporkening Tremors. Plus your farts STINK!
  • Not my farts, yours.
  • If we had just a little more time, we would have had Bizarro wearing the burlap sack that the corn came in. But no-oo-oo, "the kids are sleepy" his silly wife proclaimed as she took him away. Damn, a few more drinks and he was putty in our hands. Nice work HECOW, your one job was to sauce the bastard up!
  • With both hands busy carrying a grill, JC can still carry and finish a gin and tonic. It's not a far stretch to say that he can probably make himself another. He's perfected the alcoholic's response to the feedbag.

    Well, that's it. Time to go home to defrost some pork chops.

    Over and Out,
    Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I Didn't Bat an Eye

Welcome to the Sunday Wrapup Episode of the Old Coot Report. I'm sure many of you have been awaiting a writeup of the Ribfest 2006, but you won't be getting it in this post. I haven't had enough energy to marinate on the day, so you'll have to wait another day for that issue. What you're gonna get today is a quick addendum to yesterday's post.

In yesterday's post, I talked about my fear of natural bodies of water. I stand by my fear of aquatic life, but today I had quite the interesting experience. I was out in my kayak on Pontoosuc Lake sorting my thoughts while getting some exercise. I like to combine the two because if you happen upon an unpleasant thought, you can beat yourself up physically and work your way through it. Well, while I was working my way through some clearance items in my mental catalog the sun went down. I got to paddling quickly and then, not only had the sun set, but it got wicked dark.

As I passed Matt Riley's Pub, I noticed there were a lot of birds out over the water. Then I noticed that they were swooping and diving, with an un-birdlike erraticness (no, not eroticness). Thirdly I noticed that these birds were making a lot of clicking noises; holy crap, they were bats! There must have been hundreds of them.

As I lifted my eyes from the water directly in front of me, I realized that I was literally surrounded by my avian, mammalian kin. I sat there watching them zip around catching insects. What later struck me as odd was not the notion that there were so many bats zipping around my head, but that I didn't care. I was more concerned about the fish periodically surfacing to catch a bug, or the pontoon boats who didn't seem to notice me. Weird. I practically pee myself when a fish swims by beneath my boat, but when hundreds of bats are swooping and diving mere feet from my head I don't miss a beat.

That, my friends, can be found in the Oddity section of the Old Coot Mental Catalog.

Now, beddie bye time.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Coot, Big Dogs and Attack Fish

Good morning and happy Saturday to my friendly neighborhood Coot Fans. I was up at the ass crack of dawn this morning to join The Fast Guys in Richmond. I almost bagged the run and was going to use my recent digestional difficulties as an excuse. I know for a fact that it wouldn't impact me at all, but I was grasping at straws at 5:30 this AM.

Four minutes after my alarm went off, my watch alarm reiterated that I had to get up. I use the second alarm to remind myself that it's Saturday and getting up early doesn't mean work, it means running. So I hauled my bones out of bed, pounded some Gatorade, ate some yogurt and got ready to go. The heavy fog made navigation just a little more difficult which was ideal because I had never driven to this place before. I had passengered many times, always from the back seat and always soaking up the beautiful countryside. Never did I pay a lick of attention to which roads we traveled.

As I showed up there was a good crowd already waiting. They were anxious to get moving, so I didn't get much of a chance to hang out beforehand. I won't bore you all with details other than to say not only did I keep up, but I lead the pack for a while. Suh-weet! We went kind of slow anyway, but faster than I would have gone on my own. If the guy with a broken collarbone hadn't added an extra handful of miles to his own run I would have said I kept up with the big dogs pretty well. He's gung-ho, so I'll let him have his extra miles.

Plans for the Day

I have a barbecue this afternoon way the hell out in Windsor at the JC mansion. While it isn't mandatory that I bring something, I figured I could whip up some tasty (read: calorie laden) dessert to bring. I also have to pick up some lumber for JO's picnic table. That's gonna have to get cut today before the BBQ so I can head out to his place tomorrow to hopefully finish up that project. There's a race in the Albany area that I would really like to run (a 15k trail run), but if I try to do that AND the picnic table I'll end up half-assing both. And by Albany area, I mean somewhere in NY.

How My Mother Ruined Nature for Me

When I was a kid we used to take our vacations at a fishing camp way WAY up in Canada. The drive was horrendous, but it was so worth it. We spent everyday fishing off the dock, swimming, waterskiing, tubing and of course roasting marshmallows at night. Those were some fantastic vacations.

The first year I was swimming out to the floating dock (the first day) and about halfway out my mother yells "Hurry, I can see the fish nibbling at your toes". I don't think I touched the water the rest of the way out. That settled it, they were going to have to send a boat out for me. There was no chance in hell I was going to swim back with fish like that in the water. She later admitted that she hadn't seen fish biting at me, but the idea was already in my head. Eventually I was able to go back into the water, but it was some time before I was able to swim without worrying about losing a toe to a pissed off bass.

Ever since then, I have had a fear of natural bodies of water. I'm constantly on the lookout for anything that might touch my feet such as fish, dead fish, seaweed, zombies, a stick, air bubbles and more recently beavers. My kayak expeditions have been no exception to this fear either. As far as I know, both fish and beavers would like nothing better than to leap out of the water into my boat and just jack me up. Deer too, I saw some deer in the water one day and I know for certain there were more just aching to creep up on me and unleash the Dogs of War. Fortunately for me, their cover was blown and they were forced to retreat back into the woods. I'm on to you, you bastards.

Well, it's time for the Old Coot to clean himself up and start working on my baking/woodworking chores. I'd like to chill out at some point too, but I might have to save that for the BBQ.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, July 14, 2006

An Evening Paddle with the Old Coot

Quick, before I forget I want to tell you the story about my kayak trip today and why I'm enjoying the Berkshires. It all started when I didn't go out to dinner with the 'COWS.

It was exactly 6:38 PM when I made the decision to take the kayak out for a quick paddle. I figured I could get a few hours in before HECOW called to say they had finished dinner. By 6:44 I was changed, had the car loaded and the boat strapped to the roof rack. At 7:00 I pulled into the parking lot at Laurel Lake in Lee, MA (or Lenox, who the hell knows?). As I paddled away from the boat launch, my watch read 7:05 PM.

To the average John Q. Timekeeper, that would tell you from the instant I decided to go out in the boat until I was paddling around the lake was less than half an hour. Where else would you be able to do that? Thank you Berkshire County for your wonderful nature.

Here are some of the pics I took tonight. I started out on a photo shoot of sorts, but once the sun started to drop I realized maybe I should pick up the pace a little.

The first picture is what I saw when I got out of my car in the parking lot. I don't usually like to include pictures of cars, but I really like how my car looks with a kayak or two on the roof, and this one really caught my eye.

This next shot is of a weed I saw growing out of an old, long-dead tree stump. It caught my eye from a ways away so I got in close to get some pictures. I played with some features in Picasa to get the half color, half B&W effect. I'm not sure how well it worked, but I like it.

The last shot is one of the setting sun. I just happened to turn around and caught this sight. Using Picasa, I oversaturated the colors to get this neat effect. I like it better than the original in some respects, so this is how you get it here, Coot Fans.

After this shot I took one more lap around the lake for the sake of exercise. My first lap was a lazy one, so I put the pedal to the metal and did another lap. The second lap was worth it because the mosquitoes were out. Yes, it was a mess to paddle through swarms of hungry mosquitoes, but it was neat to see the fish surface to catch them. The dragonflies were also out, zipping about grazing on the mosquito bounty.

So there you have it. Now I must take to the shower, then off to bed. I have a long day of running, dessert making and rib eating so I'll need my rest. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Running with the Big Dogs

So, where to start? Today was a pretty fantastic day. I have to admit it started out as one of those days that wipes its swampy ass on your bathtowel, but it turned around pretty quickly. My morning was one of those where everything you touch either tips over, spills, falls apart or somehow costs you money. I rolled with it and in the end came out victorious. If I could go back in time to this morning I would surely wipe my ass on its bath towel.

I'm pretty much ready to retire for the night, so I'm gonna be brief. I attended the Thursday Night Run in my best form. I was rocking my new orange shirt (which goes nicely with my trademark red hat) and for once my socks matched the rest of my getup. I don't try to match, but it's nice when it works out. I was in the zone. CPG once again failed to show up, which was probably for the best because it turns out all this time she's had her eye (and now apparently more of her person) on someone else. Damn, that's what I get for getting my hopes up. Most of you don't know much about CPG, and now you never will cuz she's out of the picture. I kept her on the downlow because I tend to give away too much info then I have to relive my own patheticness every time someone asks "how's that going?" I'll pretend then that I don't care and say "Oh, it didn't work out" when what I'm really thinking is "Well, I fucked it up again". Fortunately, my even keel keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Okay, that went astray. The analogy to highschool was meant to illustrate how I felt when some of The Fast Guys from the Thursday Night Run invited me to join not only their "Cool Guy Early Saturday Morning Fast Run in Richmond" but also a race they're running on Sunday. WHAT! All of a sudden I'm not just another dude at the TNR, but I can hang with the big dogs (for the most part). They even talked to me and asked questions that led to other questions. Not smalltalk, but what appeared to be genuine interest. Now, before you get any ideas, I'm not gay and these guys are all married with 3+ kids. I imagine it'll be a while before I can keep up with them without putting myself in the hospital, but even just the gesture is nice.

I feel like I'm working my way up the ladder. Before I started running with the TNG I was mediocre at best. Often bringing up the rear, I was more of the comic relief and/or token young person. Now I feel like I have something else to bring to the table - my awesomeness.

An Accord Has Been Met

I hope I don't overstep any invisible boundaries - or visible ones that just miss my radar - when I say that I think the Bizarro Conflict has settled down for now. After what has been a long, hard battle for who is the Original and who is the Bizarro Todd an agreement has been unspokenly met. That agreement my friends, is to disagree.

For some time now, post-lunch ping-pong (AKA fost-lunch fing-fong, ahhh) has been played with the two Todds on one team. The Todd Coalition will not dominate the sport by any means, but has been able to defeat even some of the more difficult opponents. Lately, due to the escalating tension in The Great Todd Debate, the team has suffered. Today, after a handshakeless agreement (you know how guys are when it comes to shit like this), we put up some punishing ping-pongery (funishing fing-fongery, ahhhh). TC was hitting The Cranky Corner like it wore a short skirt and owed him money, and my unbelieveable returns kept us alive for what has been dubbed The Dozen Skunk. Yes, BV was keeping us in check with his patented Bisquick Beatdown and BS was rattling our cages with his laserlike forehand (and apparently backhand as I learned the hard way, several times). But we would not be stopped. We even served up a filthy victory in a 3/4 Dozen Skunk.

Below is a picture illustrating how Bizarro and Original Todd would have looked not shaking hands.

Definition Corner

Skunk - Leaving your opponent scoreless (score: 11-0)
Dozen - 12
Dozen Skunk - Skunking your opponent after you ignore their 12 points (score 14-12, win by two)
3/4 Dozen Skunk - Similar to a Dozen Skunk, only 3/4. Skunking your opponent after you ignore their 9 points (score: 11-9)
Fing-Fong - Ping-pong pronounced by the lazy
Bisquick Beatdown - undefined form of ping-pong asswhoopery
Ruthless - Devoid of all Ruth

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Schedule Was Off, I Had No Ice Cream

Good morning to all the players out there in Readerland. Ballers, I'll say what's up to you too. Pimps, hoes and scaliwags - you're on your own. Yesterday, I had great plans to go home and make the first step toward my karmic cleaning but karma tested me once again. 3 minutes before I was going to leave, the phone rang with a problem in one of the labs. Since the stuff I designed is the often the first to get tested, they assume every problem with the lab has something to do with my equipment. And most times it turns out that the problem has nothing to do with my stuff, but rather everything to do with the software folks loading effed up software. But none of you cares, so I'll stop right there.

Except to say that I assumed too much when I went up there to troubleshoot. Rule #1: ask if it's plugged in. I bypassed this step - like an idiot - assuming that they had checked to make sure the freaking thing was turned on. It was not. Thanks for calling me up there. The second problem turns out to be unrelated (as I expected) to the stuff I'm responsible for, but now my name is attached to the problem and they want me to fix it. Right, I don't even know half the words they're using. I'll be pawning that off on someone else.

So after dealing with that mess, I didn't get home until after 5:00; too late to start on my cleansing. What's a boy to do when he finds himself in that situation? Go shopping! For groceries at least. Down to only one tub of ice cream, I was starting to get nervous. Not only that, but I also didn't feel like cooking dinner, so I thought maybe I'd pick up some sushi while I was there. Two excuses - perfect.

After I picked up my rations for the week, I sat down to a lovely plastic tray of smoked salmon roll thingies. You know, the things rolled in rice with a bunch of colorful items inside - not one of which could you pick off the Surgeon General's Food Pyramid except the salmon because that's in the name. I enjoyed each and every one of those rollups until my belly was full of rice, smoked salmon, *insert unknown food products here*, and a diet Pepsi. And what better way to celebrate a full belly than a nice long after dinner run in the opressive heat/humidity.

Monday night was my day off of running, so I only did 5 miles or so in the woods. Feeling like a slacker for having taken the day off (somehow I can't convince myself that those miles counted) I thought I'd push it and do a longer run last night. What the hell, I might as well throw the worst hill in my arsenal in there too. And just in case those two weren't enough, I should probably try and keep up a decent pace too.

I was shooting for 8 minute miles, which is a little slow for me at this point. I do better than that in the woods (which is typically slower), but when I run alone I tend to find myself slowing down. I also knew that the hill was going to kill my average, so there was no sense in worrying about it. In the end, it turns out my pace was about 8:10 which isn't great but isn't bad.

Let me tell you about this hill... It's a residential road where you have to own a Jeep Grand Cherokee or an H2 to get to your house. I passed people wearing climbing harnesses, with chalk on their hands. I saw a mountain goat slip. This hill is so steep it doesn't show up on a map. Bald eagles nest on this hill. The interconnecting sidewalks and road confuse even MC Escher.

I made that hill my bitch! After I ran up that hill, it gave me $20 and a ham and cheese sandwich on rye, cut diagonally into quarters with toothpicks in each piece. That's just how I roll.

The rest of the run was fairly uneventful, except a girl walking a dog smiled at me during my cooldown walk. Picture it: I just finished 7.3 miles in my new orange tanktop, sweat pouring down my tanned arms, my long flowing hair matted against my forehead; it's a wonder her knees didn't buckle right then and there.

Truth in Advertising Disclaimer

My hair is neither long nor flowing. It's actually getting quite thin and I was wearing a hat anyway. Mmmm, and she had a ponytail.

Speaking of girls walking, Walker Girl was passing by as I strongarmed my groceries into the house, at 7:30! Not that I'm a stalker, but I've never seen her walk by that late, and never in that direction. BO-NUS! For those of you who haven't checked lately, I'm Shaq Diesel, and my arm-veins were in perfect form as she undoubtedly locked in on my form like a tractor beam in some Star Trek episode. As I stumbled into the house fumbling with the bags of produce, ice cream and sushi she gave me the old smile and finger wave combo. Check! Now if I just had the balls to chase her down. I stared like the creep I am in the hopes that she'd turn around to see if I was checking her out. What I lack in self-confidence I make up for in both creepiness and willingness to get caught looking.

She didn't turn around. Eh, it was a bonus walk-by anyway, so I considered myself lucky and carried my softened ice cream into the house.

Truth in Advertising Disclaimer II

I'm not Shaq Diesel, but my arms are mad veiny. Yummm. I hear chicks dig that, so I'll use it to my advantage.

After all that, I was ready to sit down for the night when I realized that I wasn't going to have any lunch for the next day. A simple remedy was to whip up some pasta and sauce to bring in. I've taken to making my own sauces lately, so this wasn't as short of an order as I would have liked. Plus the pots and pans were dirty, so I had to wash them before cooking then again after. But it was delicious. I even treated myself to fresh romano cheese which is much better than the stale tub of parmesan I get at Sam's Club. I've got about 3 meals worth of pasta now, so I can slack on dinner tonight and still have enough for lunch tomorrow. PlacaTAN!

Full of dinner #2, I sat down to watch Tuesday Night Fights on ESPN. I am really digging boxing lately, so that was a good way to end the evening. This kept me up late, so now I'm extra tired.

That's it. I have to go help with more problems in more labs. Then lunch.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Flan is Soft and Jiggly

Coot Fans, I had to add another tidbit of info for all of you out there who have been appalled by the slanderous remarks of Bizarro Todd. He even went so far as to claim that like flan, it's on. Whatever that means, you dirty Mexican. I thought I'd bring as my defense a photograph proving my Originality in the realm of Todds.

Three words for you, Bizarro: Un Dis Putable. Consider yourself defeated.

Over and Out,
Old "Original Recipe Todd" Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

The Winds of Change a la Mode

Dearest Coot Fans, sorry for the lagging posts lately but I've been a bit of an outdoors junkie. By the time I finally drag my weary bones into the house, it's so late I don't want to sit at the computer. I just want to eat ice cream and go to bed. I have a few life details I am hesitant to share with the world because, well, I don't restrict who reads my blog. The details of my plan are not the kind I would like to learn on someone's blog, so I don't want any affected person(s) to learn about them via blog. With that being said, you'll get minimal info.

What I can share is that despite not following the path I intended for it to follow, The Summer of Todd has been turning out to be a wonderful ride. The beauty of it is that I purposely set out on TSoT without plans so that no matter what happened I would not be disappointed. I will be able to look back on this summer as a defining era for me, and it will be worthy of celebration.

That was the plan, and thus far it's been exactly what's happened. I finally got my Berkshire Toys (bike and kayak), I built the porch, I've done lots of small projects on the house. My next step is one that I expect will cleanse my life's palate, allowing me to move forward with my life almost entirely unfettered by some of my pasts major goofs. If all goes well.

For some time now, I have been of the impression that my own inability to tie up loose ends has been holding me back. With one of the loose ends being a porch (recently approved), I can feel the momentum shifting. Alas there are more that require my attention. Now is the time to lash those loose ends and tighten my sails (I have no idea if my nautical reference makes the least bit of sense). You'll all be kept posted as details are cleared for public release. Until then, keep sending your positive thoughts my way.

And your money.

Damn, got that out of the way

With that being said, I have to confess that I have become an ice cream junkie. At no point in my day do I find myself without a desire for the delicious dairy confection. Even after a post ice cream binge of smorgasbord proportions I do not find my ice cream dreams sated.

Just this past weekend I "just finished the last little bit" of two tubs of ice cream. Since that could be (and was) considered an act of public service, I felt I deserved a treat. "Hmm, how about a bowl of that new tub of ice cream?" methought to meself. "Sure, you just cleaned the freezer. Go ahead and enjoy a nice heaping bowl of Moose Tracks." Needless to say, after that bowl I had to even out the top of the ice cream so that it didn't spill over when I replaced the lid. That held me over for about 2 hrs when I returned to the scene of the crime for that well-deserved second round. All in all I probably consumed somewhere on the order of 18 Imperial gallons of ice cream that day.

Now, my penance for such gluttony was to run myself ragged both literally and figuratively. I did run, and it dug me halfway out of hell, but I also kayaked and biked just to make sure I was in the clear. After that, I felt safe to enjoy one of life's little rewards - a bowl of ice cream.

I am a junkie and when I grow up I want to be on the ice cream wagon. Until then I'll happily fall off that wagon over and over again. Bless you miniature Reese Cups for breaking my fall.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boy Did I Work My Gas Trucks

Whew, yesterday was a doozie! I'm not sure where to start, so I'll get into it with what I did on Saturday, then on to the crazy day I had Sunday.

Saturday was a pretty low-key day, as I was tired as a mug from Friday. I kept thinking that I didn't do a whole lot on Friday, but I guess I paddled for a few hours, then the work we did do on the picnic table was fairly labor intensive. Plus it was hot, so I'll take credit for that too.

Anyway, on Saturday I slept in, had some breakfast, lounged around the house then got to work on the lawn. With the grass on the hill next to the driveway filled in, I have to weedwack it every time. I normally only got out the old string trimmer once a month, but now it's a weekly ritual. I also have these "bushes" right at the property line that my previous neighbor kept in check pretty well. They're ugly as sin at best, and have gotten out of control lately. Frustrated with their complete lack of control, I took the weed wacker to those puppies. Let me tell you, the weed wacker is not the tool of choice for pruning bushes but I did a kickass job. Next step: rip those damn things out and plant something reasonable.

The neighbor actually stopped me again to discuss ripping them out. What a treat it is to be on the same page as your neighbor when it comes to property line flora. But that's for another time, perhaps one of my truck owning friends can be persuaded to help pull a few scraggly bushes from the ground. Hint, hint.

After the wacking came the mowing. I got the lawn good and cut, with nice pretty lines running perpendicular to the road and parallel to eachother. Ahh, me likey a properly groomed lawn. After that, I rested. Remember, I was mad tired.

After dinner I got a good old fashioned barrel fire going to try and burn a stump and some other yard detritus. Conveniently the stump didn't fit down into the barrel so it was a battle to keep the fire going beneath it. Eventually I got the coals deep enough that it pretty much consumed anything I dropped in. Barrels are ugly as sin (especially my dented up, rusty barrel), but they get the fire so hot they make short work of just about anything you put into them. With the stump gone, I can concentrate on the rest of the mess I need to burn. It really slowed me down to have to wait on that; it was still in stump form when I left it around 9:30, but a solid night of smoldering and it had reduced to ashes by morning.

Warning: High Activity Ahead

Sunday I awoke ready to do some paddling. The plan was to load up my boat, pick up my friend at 7:00 and be on the water shortly after. We did alright and managed to get out by 7:30. We were going to tackle the Housatonic River and eventually end up in Woods Pond in Lenox (or is it Lee?). From the way it had been described to me, it was about an hour and a half paddle to the pond and about the same back to the launch. With the leisurely pace and the unending supply of photo ops, the paddle down the river took 2.5 hours. We sat in some pond-like body of water and called it quits; we were going to have to try and find Woods Pond another time.

In the interest of time and not getting sunburned, we paddled ferociously towards the other end of the river, back to the car. The current is weak, but it was an uphill battle nonetheless. We made it back in about 2 hrs at which point the insides of my legs were nice and red, as were my arms (nice farmer tan). It was a scorcher, so the post-paddle coffee run turned into a post-paddle ice cream run.

After 4.5 hours in a kayak and a belly full of ice cream, I rested. After that, I rested until I could rest no more. That time was 4:00. Feeling refreshed, I suited up for a quick bike ride to New York and back. For those of you familiar with the area, I'll describe the route I took.

I headed out Rte 20 towards Albany. In Hancock, MA I busted a south onto Rte 41 and followed that through to Richmond, where I banged a west onto Rte 295. This took me up and down a killer hill, at the bottom of which I swung a north onto Rte 22 (somewhere in NY). This too was a nice long downhill with a few uphill sections, ending back at Rte 20 in Lebanon, NY. The fun was over.

Anyone who has traveled east on Rte 20 would describe it as "heading over the mountain". This is a terrible drive in a car because of the slope of the mountain. It's even worse on a bike where you exercise more than your right foot. This section of the ride required a short break about halfway up where I stretched out my back and drank some well deserved water. The sweat was pouring off my head, arms, legs and back.

Back on the bike, I finished the ride feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the road. And tackle it I did!

The entire ride covered roughly 30 miles and took almost exactly 2 hrs. It seems hard to believe that I averaged 15 MPH when a long section of it was at a snail's pace, but I guess that's why it's called an average; some of the downhills were FAST!

After the ride was crash time. I chatted with my mother for a while, showered up, ate more ice cream, watched about 1/2 hour of TV then caught some Zs. Oh, my mother asked if I had given my lateral or medial gastrocs a workout. Not knowing what the hell she meant, I changed it to 'my medium gas trucks' which obviously I had given quite a workout going up that mountain.

For the record, medial and lateral gastrocs have something to do with your calves. They may in fact, be your calves. I don't know for certain, but what I do know is that my gas trucks are tired today.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

One Last Thing

This didn't fit with the theme of the last entry, so I thought it deserved its own. I came across someone's account on flickr, who happened to have no pictures and a doo-doo icon. He had commented on one of my photos, and I thought I should say something. To be certain that the guy understands who I'm talking to, I'll use his real name: Bizarro Todd.

Bizarro considers himself to be the Original Todd based solely on the concept that he was born earlier. I consider him to be Bizarro Todd based on the undeniable truth that Old "Todd" Coot is more original. So original in fact that he's been called "Original Recipe Todd" by the Colonel himself (Col. Sanders). Tell me that's not an endorsement.

So at any rate, I found a picture that Bizarro Todd can use until he (and his unoriginal self) can manage to get a real picture. Enjoy.

Note the "Bizarro No. 1" button on his chest. BT, you can call yourself the #1 Bizarro if you'd like. I'm willing to grant you that title.

Over and Out,
Old "Original Recipe Todd" Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Floating in the Lake

Hey y'all, Old Coot here coming at you live and direct, correct, in full effect, break yo neck! Today is one of those days. "What kind of day is that, Old Coot? What kind do you mean?" You know, a Saturday.

What's nice is that I found that excuse not to go to work yesterday. Instead I went out kayaking at 6:00 in the morning, then headed to Albany to help JO with the summer's hottest project: a picnic table. More on that later.

It was Thursday night when I had the bright idea to play hookey on Friday and go for an early morning paddle. I had planned on going to Albany anyway, but this just solidified my resolve to not work. Originally, I wanted to be out there before the sun came up to watch from the lake as it rose. I figured that would be a real inspirational way to start the day. Fortunately, I also figured that was way the hell to early to get up and out this time of year. That mess comes up about 5:15.

So the plan was to pick load up my boat, head over to pick up LS (AKA MB) from the Crazy Running Group (RCG) and hit the lake by about 6:15. I ran a little late, there were complications with loading the second kayak onto the car, and so on. We got to the lake around 6:45 or so. Still mad early, that lake was quiet and still. The following pictures show you how calm it was out there. If you click on some of them you'll see that there's a layer of fog over the lake due to the chill morning and warm water.

Getting Geared up for the Trip

Fog in the Boat Launch Cove

Paddler in the Mist

Pretty neat, huh? When I'm out a-paddling there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

Next subject: JO's picnic table

I headed out to Watervliet or wherever the hell he lives around 11:00. The plan was to leave a lot earlier since it's a little over an hour from my house ("as the grandma drives"). Nevertheless, I had a coffee that needed drinking and the garden needed a watering. I had some lunch and hit the high road.

When I got there, we were waiting for his cousin and his truck. Unfortunately, the cousin was working until 2:30. We had some time to kill, so I bought a chisel. Next stop, 84 Lumber. I'm gonna trash that place right here, right now. The people were dumb as hell, not informative, slow-witted, and funny looking. And smug to boot. It took forever and they couldn't help with any of our questions. It probably took about an hour and a half to buy 15 boards and some hardware after all was said and done.

When we left 84 Lumber, we followed the salesman's directions to a hardware store where we should be able to find the last few bolts we needed. There was no such store.

After that, we went to Home Depot and found exactly what we needed. That kind of mess doesn't happen around these parts, but out in Latham or wherever we were they have all kinds of perks. Time to start.

Once we layed out the directions and started figuring out the exact process, two things became devastatingly obvious. The first was that this thing was going to take us forever to finish. It was after 4:00 by the time we had the lumber, there was no way we were putting this beauty together today. Instead, we concentrated our efforts on cutting the pieces that the plan called for. The second was that the plan was rife with errors. Pieces called out with the wrong parts, misspelled words, ambiguous descriptions, and so on. This was a professional, purchased plan. Being engineers, we were able to figure out the intent of the plan and cut the parts using our modified plan.

It took until almost 10:00 before we had cut everything we could. Many parts will have to be cut on the tablesaw, so I packed those up and brought them home. I can whip those out one of these nights instead of sitting at my laptop blogging. We had some dinner at a diner in some other region of the Albany area, then I headed home, tired as hell. The drive was treacherous due to my sleepy state, but I managed to defeat Death again and arrive home safe and sound.

That's it! It's too damn nice out for me to sit in here typing. I'll holler at you later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Permission to Speak Freely? Permission Granted.

Happy Thursday, Cooterinos. The beauty of a three day week is that it's already Thursday. After one day of work, I feel like I need a weekend. Work has been really quiet this week as well, and I've been contemplating taking Friday off. I'm sure I won't, but I try to keep my schedule flexible these days. Maybe something good will come up and I'll be forced to take the day off. A kayaking trip, a bike ride, the sun will be shining, I'll have some coffee that needs drinking. Who knows, anything might come up.

I started reading a book entitled "Naked" by David Sedaris. If you haven't heard of this guy, you need to put down your computer and run to the nearest media store to buy either one of his books or one of his readings of one of his books. The readings are great because he has a good voice for it. Not good in the James Earl Jones kind of way, but more like good in the little whiney gay guy kind of way. And yes, I think he's small in stature and yes, he's gay. His stories are so outlandish and well thought out, you can't help but to pee yourself or crash your car when listening to his narratives. If you'd like, I can provide you with a bootleg copy of his story, but you'll have to promise to buy a book or something to ease my conscience.

In other news, I rode my bike to Live on the Lake last night. For those of you who aren't local, or who have your head in the sand, it's a free concert series at Onota Lake. The lake itself is about a 10-minute ride from my house, but due my advaced state of addiction to physical activity, I took the long cut. It was about an hour and change ride from my house up and down hills, around a few bends, past the mall, beside some lakes; it was generally a nice peaceful ride. What wasn't peaceful was the traffic.

I'll never win the battle, as I'm sure it's been an ongoing problem since the advent of the automobile but drivers are generally jerks. Let me preface my rant with the following statement: bicycles have a right to be on the road. Bicycles are considered part of traffic, and conscientious riders obey traffic laws, stop at lights, signal when turning (75% of Berkshire county drivers can't even manage to push that little lever up or down before turning) and so on. When there isn't a breakdown lane - or there is one but it's filled to the brim with the detritus of, you guessed it, ignorant drivers - I prefer to use the rightmost lane. People offer all sorts of colorful suggestions when they find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to pass me, often without changing lanes and with a heavy foot. "Get a car!" or "You're fat" are common suggestions. Other less family-friendly suggestions often come from people whose car is worth less than a little girls pink Huffy (and not nearly as roadworthy), who ride in their smog-spewing Chevette with remnants of last night's McRib sandwich caught in their pitstained wifebeaters.

Yesterday, I noticed that while I was occupying a majority of the right lane, several drivers felt there was no need to move into the left lane to pass. They would simply squeeze by while flooring it, having no consideration for my safety whatsoever. It gave me some satisfaction to cruise by them at the next light, but clipping me with their mirror would certainly hurt me more than it would them.

Anyway, that's it for my rant on drivers inhumanity toward cyclists.

Live on the Lake was a pretty good time. I forgot to arrange to have a chair brought for me, but ECOW was kind enough to offer hers up to me. Talk about your reverse chivalry. I think P.I.M.P. was playing, but I can't say I paid enough attention to know whether it was or wasn't them. The eye candy was better than I remember, so that gave me something to do while I wasn't watching the band.

HECOW and I were both on the lookout for the fake engaged chick who has been sighted at many L.O.L. shows, "clubs" and bars, but never with a man. I'm pretty sure she's one of those chicks who walk around wearing engagement rings to justify not finding a decent guy. She enjoyed the company of JD and I years ago at La Cocina, but then slipped in some story involving her fiancee effectively putting an end to the conversation. "I come here all the time, maybe I'll see you again", she added as we walked away. Perhaps, but she's exhausted all of her free drinks.

Boy, I'm pessimistic today. I guess having to be at work more than one consecutive day is wearing me down. I had better take tomorrow off.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day Update

Happy 4th of July Coot Fans! It's about 2:30 and I am ready for a nap. This morning was the Pittsfield Independence Run, a 5k held directly before the parade. As we waited for the race to start, everyone was dripping with sweat. It was in the 80s by 8:30 and mad muggy. I've noticed lately that if I run in the humid weather, I not only have a hard time but I also get terrible side cramps. Such was the case today.

We piled into the starting area, somewhat in order of ability. There wasn't much in the way of pre-race fanfare, just the cops directing everyone to the starting "line", then the starting pistol. And off we went.

Then everyone ran into the person in front of him or her. Everyone tries to start at the same time and when they realize that you can't really run in a cattle pack, they stop. Then the domino effect results in quite the comical pileup. Unfortunately, one guy did take a spill and seemed to be scraped up pretty bad. He came in 3rd place, so I don't feel too badly for him.

At what I assume is a mile into the race, a guy was yelling out everyone's time. It could have been handy if it meant anything to me. I knew what I was looking to do in terms of pace, but after one mile you aren't "settled into your pace", so you can't really adjust yet. The people on the sides were pretty neat, cheering and hollering for people they knew. I didn't know any of them. Actually, I knew a few but not well enough that I would yell out to them, and one I could have done without ever seeing. Don't bother trying to guess who this person is, it's not who you're thinking.

ANYWAY, I busted tail to the finish line a tad too early. I misguessed the distance to the finish line since you have to turn a few corners before you get there. At the end I felt like hell; between the thick air and the empty stomach I thought I was going to boot. I wasn't the only one who felt that way, I found, as we commiserated in the post-race sprinklers they had set up. One guy actually did boot right at the finish.


In conclusion, I finished in 22:33 with a pace of 7:16. Not bad for my first 5k! My goal was to finish under an 8-minute mile and I'd say I did that handsomely. My running chums were very supportive of my time, as I have improved immensely in the last few months.

I didn't win any trophies or anything like that but I wasn't expecting to. Those go to people who finish in more like 16-17:00. I think with a little practice I might be able to get there someday, but the Cootster ain't a competitor. I run for fun and for sanity. If I pressure myself with race times and crap like that I'll lose focus of my original goal - to not go crazy.

In a related story, there's a midnight race this weekend that has tickled my fancy. It's another 5k up between Williamstown, MA and Bennington, VT. It starts at 12:00AM on what I guess is technically Sunday; HOW FUN! I'm going to try and scare up some folks to join me so I don't have to run it alone. I'll have to work on staying up late if I'm going to make it until midnight, let alone be able to run a race at that hour. Then, there's another one in a few weeks that has also tickled my fancy. I'm looking into that one, but odds are I'm going to do that one too. Damn, these things are addictive.

In an unrelated story, the building inspector gave me the final thumb's up on the porch. The saga has ended. I have to go tomorrow to pick up a copy of the officially signed permit for your viewing pleasure. I also want to clarify with the inspector that I don't have to go to court, since tomorrow is my court date. He told me if I finished on time I wouldn't have to go, but I don't have that in writing and I'd hate for a misunderstanding to lead to my arrest. Ha ha.

But for real.

Well, readers, I think it might be time for the Coot Doggy Dogg to take an Independence Day nap. I've been running myself ragged as of late and I feel that I deserve a hot porch nap. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Finishing Touches Went On

Welcome Coot Fans. I am uber tired and my last post wasn't nearly as short as it should have been. This one will be.

After I last wrote, I tried to nap but alas my body is in go-go-go mode. I did manage to lay in my recliner for a while, then in bed but if I did sleep it was lightly and not for very long.

I had a few things left to finish on ye olde porche and I think they were heavy on my mind. With the inspector coming tomorrow I wanted to be DONE tonight just in case I had to redo anything or hit any kind of snag.

One of my tasks was to install a handrail. I didn't want it to look ghetto, so I tried and I tried and I tried to figure out the compound miter to get it right. As it turns out, I don't think it's possible. I cut the bastard at a 45-degree angle and attached it. But before that, I cut it too short.


I had attached one of the hangers so that it would stay put while I measured the other end. I had to take it down a few times to keep trimming a little bit at a time and apparently the last time I fit it, I put in on wrong and my measurement was off by about an inch. Hopefully he doesn't notice that. It looks fine, actually better than it would if it were "to code", so I'm happy with it in that sense but I won't be able to rest easy until he signs my piece of paper.

The very last thing I did was cut off the ends of the shims so that they weren't sticking out for all to see. For those of you who haven't cut a shim before, it's fairly simple. You score it with your knife (box cutter, Stanley knife, utility knife, whatever you like to call it) and snap it off. For some reason these didn't want to snap, so I was cutting the hell out of them when my hand slipped and smashed my finger against the corner of a board. Yup, got a nice bruised nail now. It seems to be going down though, so I don't expect it to look too bad by the morning.

After that, I picked up all of my scraps, tools, trash and so on and put it all where it goes - on the floor in the garage. My task for next week will be to put the garage back together, that is unless I decide to put the skirt around the porch. In which case I might as well leave all of the tools out where I can get at them.

Okay Cooterinos, it's time for me to shower up and hit the sack. I think some Tylenol PM might be in order to make sure I get enough rest.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Apparently a Triathlon Tires You Out

Hey everyone! As promised, I uploaded some pictures to my flickr account so I can slowly start using them in my recollections of my goings-ons. This particular post is going to be short, as I am nap prone today.

Let me back up my tiredness story to Thursday night when I joined up with the crew for the Thursday Night Run. I was so tired that day, but went anyway partly because my horoscope said I should, and partly because the scenery can be nice at times. The run was good and it felt really good to get out and burn off some of my porch aggression. About halfway through the run, one of the guys invited me to join him and his wife kayaking in the morning. You've heard about this, so I won't bore you.

To keep you all interested, here is my favorite picture from that trip. It's a nice shot, so click on it to get the full experience.

After that trip and the few hours I worked, I went out for a bike ride. What felt like dozens of miles turned out to be merely a dozen (actually, it was more like a baker's dozen, but who's counting). I was fairly beat after that, and headed to the 'COW's house for dinner. Funny story about the ride:

After turning a corner and heading up a hill, I felt like I was really doing well. Yes, I was going slowly, but it was a long steep hill so I wasn't getting down on myself. At one point, I hear someone ride up behind me and the guy yells out a "Hey I saw your bike as you rode by". Note that cyclist know eachother by their bikes, or so I'm told. He was riding a very similar bike to mine and was looking for someone who might be interested in buying it. But that's not what's important. What was important was the fact that while I was dressed for the ride, warmed up and feeling good, this guy not only had time to see me ride by and run me down, but he did so in jeans, a polo shirt, sandals and was barely even winded. Dag.

It turned out he is one of the people who run Berkshire Cycling so I felt a little better.

The next day I awoke bright and early to do a training run for the 4th of July race downtown. We went out to run the route and get a feel for the terrain (it's flat). That was an easy 6 mile run (we did the second 5k loop in 23 minutes at an easy pace, what!) preceded and followed by half-mile runs to and from the house where we met. 7 miles by 9 o'clock is nothing to shake a stick at. Correction: it's nothing at which to shake a stick. You happy, dad?

After our run, I went home and had my Saturday morning pancakes. I usually get all set to make them only to realize I have no milk. Yesterday was different, yet the same. I checked on the milk and found that there would be plenty. I put in some laundry and washed up a little, then had a nice tall glass of chocolate milk. Moments later, as I stood there enjoying my frosty beverage, I reached into the fridge for the milk only to realize that I had finished it when I made the chocolate milk.


So I ran to Palmer's for a fresh gallon and I was back in business.

After pancakes, I loaded the old A-kayak onto the car and headed over to Laurel Lake in Lee, MA. It's about a 12 minute drive to the lake and it proved to be a wonderful paddle. I didn't put many pictures of this trip on flickr, but below is a shot of the mountains above the lake. The small one does this shot zero justice, so click the picture for the full view.

After paddling around the lake a couple of times for a couple of hours, I went home to have lunch. No sooner that I started a-munching on some chips that I got a phone call about a bike ride later in the afternoon. I agreed to it, knowing full well I was tired and shouldn't. The weather's finally turned nice so I can't waste any of it.

At 4:30 I showed up at the prescribed meeting place to find nobody there. Eventually the woman who had called me showed up and giggled as she described stopping at a store for a Pepsi. Buying the Pepsi wasn't funny in itself, but she stopped at a friend's liquor store only to be tempted by a wine tasting. Four "tastes" later and she was out the door for our ride. Since you don't know this woman, let it suffice to say that she's a LIGHTWEIGHT!

The next person to show hopped out and stated bluntly "I am so freaking tired". I was happy to hear this, as I had already run and paddled. Minutes later the last guy showed up and proceded to tip over in the parking lot. Ha ha, silly clipless pedals. I felt good knowing that even seasoned riders fall victim to those things every once in a while. You may recall my problems with them...

After the ride, I picked some strawberries and lettuce (an unlikely combo), headed home, had some dinner and just SAT. JC stopped over to borrow some bandwidth from me. We bullshat for a few hours and ate vanilla ice cream with fresh picked strawberries.

Mmm, MMMM bitch! Those are my strawberries, picked painstakingly by me: Old L Coot.

THERE, now you know why I was tired this morning when my alarm went off at 6:30.

I had a run scheduled for 8:00 this morning in Richmond; a 7.5 miler complete with some mega hills. About a mile into the run I started seeing spots, which turned into one big spot. I stopped, rested and continued on with a woman who is new to running and always lags behind. We finished the 5.7-mile loop (a shortened version of the original path) in something like an hour and twenty minutes. MUCH slower than usual, but at least I didn't die. And she's really quite interesting so we had a nice chat.

After the run, I kicked back some more pancakes and got to work uploading, organizing and touching up some pictures (not in that order). At this very moment I'm blogging about blogging, so I'll end it here and take my ass a nap. So long, players.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

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