Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bah Humbug!

Wouldn't you know it? Most of you probably know that I'm not one for holidays. It's not the holidays themselves that I dislike, but really just the overcommercialization of them that gets my goat. This year I decided to start turning myself around. Maybe I'm getting older, maybe I'm just weak, who knows.

This year I got excited about Halloween. I figured if one holiday was alright to get into, it would be Halloween. The reason I made the jump is simple, it's about little kids getting dressed up and excited to go Trick-or-Treating. Kids don't have anything to do with sending people Hallmark cards, or buying over-priced "hot items". All they know is that they want to wear fun costumes and go door to door. So in that light I went out about a month ago and bought four bags of candy, which I managed to keep in the cupboard until last night.

Tonight I raced home from work, turned on the porch light, cleaned up the front of the house, vacuumed up the downstairs, played some upbeat music, lit some holiday cheer inspiring candles, and nestled in for an evening of answering the door and handing out candy.

Well, I got all fucking nestled in for nothing! ONE KID came to my door. Had I known that I would have given her the whole damn bowl of candy. The people across the street had to practically hire a bouncer to keep the kids under control, and I get one kid at my door.

Now you know what kids? Don't think I'll be making this mistake again next year. You missed it. I had the good shit too, none of that candycorn crap, but name brand treats for anyone willing to walk up to my door. I didn't even care if you were "too old" for Trick-or-Treating; shit, I'd probably give you more. Nope, now I have a big ass bowl of candy to bring into work.

And just for this, I'm gonna hate on Christmas with extra vigor this year. The holiday gods can take their sugar plums, greeting cards, fake snow/leaves/spiderwebs/gourds and shove them up their arrogant little asses.

I'm going running.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Smiling at the Pearly Grill

Mark this date on your calendars, people, because something remarkable happened to your humble narrator. I left work early (but to later return) and went to the dentist. Okay, people go to the dentist all the time, but not this guy. I've been meaning to go for the last few years but never got around to it. Plus, I have a mental block with making phone calls. I'm not one for talking on the phone to begin with, but making appointments is a whole other story. Having taken that step a while ago, today was all about turning that appointment into reality.

Would the Real Dentist's Office Please Stand Up?

Before I delve into the details of my visit, I have to admit that I'm an idiot when it comes to getting around. This won't come as a surprise to many of you, as I have been lost on more occasions that I can count, but this one was just ludicrous. All I knew about the dentist office is that it was in a white building (a house actually) on South Street. Like an idiot, I figured that was enough to get me to the place. I didn't bother remembering the address, nope I was going to rely on my keen navigational skills to guide me to the dentist's chair.

As it turns out, every building on South Street is white (this is New England, every house is white), a house, and a dentist's office. Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, most are dentists, some are doctors and the rest are orthodontists. Either way I was in and out of every driveway, parking lot and side street in a four block stretch before I turned my attention to the other side of the road. There it was in plain block letters on a white sign, my new dentist's office.

Like a Detailing for my Teeth

It had been at about six years since I moved to Pittsfield, and I haven't seen a dentist in all that time. I know I was still seeing my dentist throughout college, so my best estimate is six years without a professional poking and prodding at my teeth and gums. I like to think I take good care of my pearly whites, but without regular feedback I can see how I might have had some things go awry.

After dealing me a healthy dose of tooth and gum scraping, the hygienist asked if I use an electric toothbrush. I figured the next words out of her mouth would be "Well, maybe you should start", implying that my teeth would frighten George Washington. Instead she say "Oh, your teeth are in excellent shape for not having seen a dentist in six years." That's what I'm talking about. My hygiene is top notch! I should have asked for that in writing so I could put it on my resume, but I didn't think of it until just now.

She also asked if I had worn braces, which I always thought was an obvious 'no'. She made no comments on the alignment of my teeth, which are fairly straight but certainly not perfect.

Okay, so the whole thing was not 100% positive. They discovered 3 VERY small cavities, two of which were on the edge of old fillings. She said there wasn't much I could have done about those. The third was from clamping my teeth too much, which I don't think I do anymore. Who am I to argue, they're the professionals. So I have to go back in a few weeks to get those puppies taken care of, just in time for Thanksgiving.

The x-rays also showed that my lower wisdom teeth are pushing my molars around a bit. Now that I told the dentist that I wasn't experiencing any discomfort, I remember (thank you Animal Crackers) that some foods really bother my most rear molars on the bottom. If Animal Crackers weren't so delicious and crunchy I would probably never have any problems, but I think I'll get them yanked at some point so I can eat my zoologically depictive snacks ad nauseum. They mentioned the wisdom teeth, but didn't specifically say I should have them removed. Maybe they wanted to make sure I'd be back before suggesting surgery.

Flex This!

In other news, we're getting bush leagued out of our flexible work schedule at work. We used to be required to work 40 hours a week, and as long as our managers approved we could really work any 40 hours we wanted (within reason). The next step was to move it to two week pay periods, where we had to get in 80 hours in two weeks. This allowed for slightly more flexibility. They said we wouldn't be moving to a 9/80 schedule (I suggest you google it if you don't understand), but then today announced exactly that. My theory is that they're going to dictate rigid work hours in the near future.

I'm kind of peeved about this new development, as I have been using flex time to my advantage quite frequently. Basically, all summer I worked when the weather sucked and didn't when it was nice. I figure that was win-win for everyone. I got to enjoy the nice weather, and I wasn't at work detracting from people who were trying to get things done. Now I have to be there 9 out of 10 days per two week period, and I guarantee it'll rain every other Friday when we have off.

Maybe I'm a Freak, But...

Back to the dentist thing. You know how most people are afraid of the drill at the dentist? That whirring sound gives most people the creeps. Not me, I love me the sound of pneumatic tools. I wanted to say something to the hygienist, but I didn't want her to think I had some sort of dentist drill fetish. I'm not into pneumatic tools that way.

Now I must bid you adieu. Make sure to brush your teeth and get to flossing.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hooo Weeee

Alright, I hope everyone remembered to set his/her clocks back. I set mine before bed instead of trusting myself to remember in the morning. I had The Brock Trot this morning, so I had to be up on time lest I should be late. I have some info on that for ya, plus some more goodies. Tune in for further details...

Overlooking the Little People

Okay, I'm not going to pretend to be an extremely seasoned racer, but when you charge $25 for a 10k people expect a little something extra. This race had all the trimmings you would expect from a fund raiser. They had the speeches, they had the sponsors (who were repeatedly thanked while we waited at the starting line), they had a million volunteers (also to be expected), they had fancy goody bags and they had press coverage. What they didn't have was prizes for the people who ran the race.

The people running the show were very interested in getting some elite racers to show up, so they offered big prize money. The website implied that there would be prizes for the top 8 in each age group, but what they meant was that they were paying out only to the top 8 men and top 8 women overall. The age groups didn't mean anything. That literally put 60 year old guys on the same playing field as 21 year old Kenyans.

While the top winners walked away with huge money, backpacks, shoes, trophies, and gift certificates to a local spa, the rest of us watched. Most of the winners were not locals, so the spa gift certificates are sure to go to waste. They then raffled off about 8 pairs of shoes, where it turned out you didn't have to be there to win. Winners would be notified by mail. The rest of us just watched.

Basically, we all stood around in the cold, the snow and the wind while they handed out a few prizes to people we don't know. I would have been just as happy reading about that in the paper, there was no need for me to stand there shivering. The real kicker was that there was no mention of any age group winners!

If anyone from the Brock Trot organization is reading this, you better have awards or at least MENTION the age group winners next year or you might as well just have a fund raising dinner. Races are for runners and if you ignore 90% of the runners, we won't show up.

HOWEVER, I still ran an awesome race. Here's a shot of me passing my doctor (can you can tell I've been working out a little?). I seem to be neck and neck with him at every race, and the way I see it if I can beat my doctor I'm doing pretty well. Of course, he has a few years on me.

Ho Lee Wind

So we have some serious wind kicking out there today. The skies are littered with leaves, snowflakes and plastic lawn chairs. I've already had to fix the tarp covering my bark pile (don't ask) a half a dozen times, and drag my lawn chairs back onto the porch and lawn. I would try out my grill, but they don't work so good in the wind and I don't want her maiden voyage to be under less than ideal conditions. Meanwhile, I have some sausage links sitting in the fridge just itching to be cooked.

Volunteers in Action

Oh I forgot to mention that I helped out in the two Kids' Races held after the "Adult Race". Here's a picture of me working the timer. I got to type in the kids' numbers as they came in. The other lady worked the actual button that marked each runner's time. I now see why race directors want you to make your bib number as visible as possible. Some kids had them on their backs, some were only pinned at the top so they flipped up when they ran, some kids had coats on over their numbers. With all of that, it was tough to get them all entered in order. Of course they're kids and probably don't really care.

Oh man, my battery is dying so I have to go. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Foggy Skies but Clearer Outlook

Good morning y'all, it's a blustery, rainy day here in the Berkshires. Despite that, I've been making good use of my day including sleeping in. My cat sat outside the door and hollered at me until I gave in and got up to feed them. I can't blame him, it was almost 10:30 by the time I got up. Anyway, listen close as I tell you what's what.

Post-Rant Pickup

After I got that rant off my chest yesterday, things seemed to go much more smoothly for me. Work was straight up boring, but that's what I expected when I had to work that late on a Friday. By the time I got home I had an evening run all lined up, complete with free dinner at the end. Cha-ching!

For some odd reason, we were going to start at the mall, run to the Adams end of the Rail Trail, then to the dealership where LS had to pick up the B-Ride. That would have been absurd, so instead we left my car at Cheshire Lake and went from there.

As we strolled into the parking lot, it dawned on us that if the car was locked or didn't have the keys inside we had no option other than to run back to my car. Neither one of us had a phone, a quarter, a megaphone, a damp blanket for smoke signals, talking drums, or anything else to call someone to help out. Fortunately, the dealership was true to their word (word is bond, yo) and left the B-ride open and ready to roll.

Once inside the comfort of the '96 Pontiac, we proceeded to the Freight Yard Pub, a place I had never been before. The parking was terrible and just finding the place was something else. But, once inside it was a different story. I was a little self-conscious showing up after having just run for an hour. I had regular warm up pants on and a real shirt to cover my lycra getup, but still.

I had a cajun chicken sandwich and about 200 coffees, plus dessert (which required more coffee). We kept asking the poor waitress for more and more coffee, long after I'm sure she was ready for our lollygagging asses to be on the road. Honestly I didn't realize it was so late or I would have vamoosed. Thanks for the coffees and the smiles that went with them.

Big ups to the pub though, good food and much, much better service than your typical Berkshire restaurant.

Up in My Own Grill

After picking up around the house for hours, I decided to get started on my new grill while there was still daylight. It ended up being quite the fiasco, followed by more fiascos. Eventually I was able to tighten the last screw and call it a day. At that point it was pouring rain and I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I still haven't been able to fire it up yet, as I find myself out of propane plus it's been raining. Monday I'll probably get that bad boy fired up and cook me some dinnah.

Off the Heezie

I got an e-mail from Dom today demanding my butter lyrics over a beat he invented for a contest he's also invented. Actually, I think Lerla (Laila) had a hand in the contest/beat too. The beat is called "Introducing the Chimps", a DCLS (pronounced "Dickles") production. The instructions said to record your rhymes over the beat, with a banana theme. The only catch was that you couldn't mention chimpanzees. With a contest name like "The First Annual Beat-Off", I can only imagine what everyone else is going to come up with.

What's that? Oh, you want a sample? Alright, check these dope rhymes...

Copyright, copyright, copyright.

Don't front with no plums, best check yo attitude
No Chiquita, del Monte for my organic crew

Copyright, copyright, copyright.

Of course, out of context you don't see the whole theme of it, but let me tell you this is some hot shit. When the record stops spinning, it's going to make a PlacaTAN noise.

Need my Beauty Rest

Alright y'alls. I need to rest my weary bones, for tomorrow morning brings the long awaited Brock Trot. I'm praying for cold, wind, snow, rain and locusts - anything to keep other people in my age group from showing up. They pay out for the top 8 in each age group, so I stand to actually win something for once. How dope would that be?

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, October 27, 2006

NOT My Day

Bad news here readers. Life has shit upon me thrice today and it's only 9:15. As we all know, after delivering bad news people like to tell you that everything happens for a reason, and I'm just going to head that off at the pass. As logical as that saying is, and as much sense as it makes down the road, it is NOT comforting in the moment. Now I'm going to vent...

"It's Not You, It's Me"

Okay, so those aren't the exact words but I'm starting to get the idea that the new way to let someone down is "Just know that you're a great person to have had in my life (past tense)". I get that more often than you'd think. Since you probably don't know what I'm talking about, I was just informed that CPG has officially fled the country to (presumably) avoid me. She even said her paperwork was all finalized and she was free to return, but chose to stay in Poland. Now I can add "Fled the country" to my list of rejections.

Since highschool, the top three rejections/dumpings are now:

  1. Fled the country.

  2. Fled the state (later, the whole northeast).

  3. Fled the county.

Editor's Note: Runner-up goes to "Oh, this is my boyfriend. We met while I was in Canada this summer. I probably should have said something before."

I think at this point I would welcome something more traditional like "Why? Because you're an asshole", "My friends and family all hate you, your friends and your family" or "I was just slumming to make my ex jealous. We're back together now.". On the bright side, suicide and lesbianism haven't made the list yet.

Anyway, being the last-finishing nice guy that I am, I can see why she might choose Europe over Pittsfield, but it still sucks. Since everything happens for a reason, I can only assume that my refocused, creepy, across-the-street gaze will eventually wear down Walker Girl to the point where she'll cross the street and strike up a conversation.

Okay, that was really only strike three for the day. Let me back up a few hours...

Strike One

After a restless dream state this morning where I dreamt of having my ass handed to me at work in one dream and of being socially outcast in another, I awoke to find that it was not only time to get up, but 3 hours later than that. There's no better way to start the day than to leap out of a warm bed into a 54 degree bedroom, scarf down breakfast and hustle out to a car covered in frost, knowing that you have a full day ahead of you and you're wicked late for work. So much for getting out early today.

Strike Two

People don't normally schedule meetings for Fridays, since many people are not at work. In the event that someone does schedule one, it's typically later in the morning. Today I had a meeting I thought began at 9:00 (my calendar had it scheduled for 8:30) which I was more than certain I'd be at work for when I agreed to meet at that time. I'll refer you to strike 1 if you don't see why this becaome a problem for me. Fortunately it was only a security briefing. It's just the government, what can they really do to me anyway?

Putting Things into Perspective

This is more of a shoutout to Russ-T who once again was able to trump all of my complaints with problems (much, much worse than mine) that are just business as usual for him. I'm not going to delve into his stories, but he ended his storytelling session by saying "... and this is why I suggest staying single forever". It was almost the real-life equivalent of the scene in Billy Madison when he shook the fat kid who couldn't wait to get to hike (sic) school and told him to "Stay here as long as you can".

You know, I'm starting to think Russ-T might have it right. Fortunately it's going to be cold/windy/rainy all weekend, so that should lift my spirits.

P.S. I received my new grill last night and got a cardboard cut while trying to open the box. Nice, real nice!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vegas Report

Well Coot Fans, I'm back from my vacation and let me tell you, I need another. Yes, I know that's the oldest cliche in the book but it's for real. Allow me to go into detail...

Monday morning started at 9:00 Pacific Time with a quick jump into the shower and then off to breakfast. JD and the Newlyweds were trying to get on the road for home and didn't want to lollygag all morning, so we hit up the cafe in the hotel. It was super. A round of handshakes and hugs and they were off; NM and I headed out to catch the {Jazz Hands} Monorail {/Jazz Hands} to the south end of the strip. Or is it the north end? Well, the other end.

Once we reached the other end, the day was filled with walking, eating, a little gambling, fine cigars, and dessert. It was a nice, peaceful end to a somewhat hectic week. I won't bore you with the details other than to say they need more bathrooms in Caeser's Palace. I walked for 20 minutes looking for a bathroom only to have to go through the casino. Surrisly, the place is jam packed with stores, restaurants and bars, but no bathrooms.

We arrived back at The Luxor in time to eat dessert at The Chocolate Swan, gather the bags from the Bell Hop, hail a cab and get to the airport. With bags checked, we were greeted by a serious line for the security screening. To make things more pleasant, there were two large, obnoxious, stinky women ahead in line. I tried not to talk to them, but the one wouldn't shut her yapper. She apparently missed the sign that said "One Carryon Bag and One Personal Item (purse, laptop, etc). I don't care how you looked at them, the four bags she was toting could never be confused for two bags. I'm sure she complained her way through security anyway, I wish they would have told her she had to check some of them to teach her a lesson.

At the gate, I met a wonderful grandmother type who, in the interest of saving a few dollars, was placed on four planes to get from Cali to Florida. She was traveling for 36 hours. Ho-Lee-Crap! She was very upbeat about her situation and everyone within earshot had a good laugh about it. Then there was the girl who was passed the eff out. Not drunk passed out, just regular passed out. They were making the 5th last call when we finally woke her up. The ticket had the wrong gate (which is why we didn't awaken her) and she leapt to her feet and up to the gate. Phew.

Here's a lesson for you traveling folk. If you want to sleep at the terminal, make sure people can read your boarding pass so they can wake you up if you oversleep.

By the time I got home it was after 9:00 Eastern Time and I had been up for some ungodly amount of time, walked for hours, flown several thousand miles, driven for an hour and change and somehow in the mix missed the night.

Word on the Street

At the beginning of our walk on Monday, we passed two ├ęses, one of whom was on the phone. As we passed, we overheard him telling the guy on the other end of the line the following.
Yo man, I'm in Vegas. I just got one of those prostitute cards and it had yo mahm on it dude.

Of course in written text I can't do it justice, but if you re-read it in your head with a latino accent with this image in your head you might just see the humor in it. I literally busted out laughing right there on the street at that shit. Priceless.

Smoker's Paradise

With a name like Old Coot, you might expect that I'd do a lot of complaining but I'm more of a "meh, what can you do?" kind of guy. But do you know what really gets my goat? People in Vegas smoke like it's going out of style and they do it everywhere. You can't go anywhere or do anything without sucking down two packs of second-hand smoke an hour.

On Friday morning I went for a run down The Strip around 7:15 to avoid the crowds. When I finished, my clothes reeked with a stench I can only describe as having been licked for an hour by chainsmoking grannies with complexions akin to boot leather. I prefer swamp ass to that malodorous scent.

Burt's Bees Has No Place in an Airport

After a week in the desert's hot, arid climate, my lips were as chapped as those of chainsmoking grannies whose stink-saliva would cover even the swampest of ass. NM was packing Burt's Bees which is commonly referred to as The Bomb Lip Balm. In highschool, Kilm used to tote that shit and we would all soothe our ailing lips with a quick swipe of the finger. Ahhh, so nice. In fact, if you didn't keep your eyes on it, haters would jack your balm never to return it. You'd have to place an order with Kilm for the next time she went to her secret Burt's Bees supplier. Nowadays you can buy it in any store, but back then the shit was rare.

Anyway, it sounded like I was sanding granite whenever I spoke and I asked NM for some of The Bomb Lip Balm. It was too late to stop myself when I realized that I was in an airport and probably shouldn't be yelling things like "Bomb" or even "Balm" for that matter. I checked myself and didn't say that shit again.

I Like Making Snobs Nervous

We were walking down a particularly seedy section of The Strip on Monday when I noticed a wealthy woman ahead of us. She seemed to be a little iffy about her surroundings and I thought I'd take advantage of the situation to do my part. Making sure the traffic noise was low and she was within earshot, I belted out "Damn, my fucking lips are chapped as hell! I fucking burned the shit out of 'em on that crack pipe last night; that was stupid." She nervously turned around and looked at me, a seemingly well-dressed white guy with a shit-eating grin on his face. I'm sure she expected to see some hoody-sporting delinquent. Oh the surprise.

There's a Reason They Call it Sin City

I found myself sitting in a casino making 50¢ bets at one of the many one armed bandits when the drink girl came by. Not wanting to waste the opportunity for a free drink, I asked for a chocolate milk. Apparently you can have all of the Long Island Iced Teas or Cosmopolitans you can handle, but no bartender has time to stir chocolate syrup into milk. I argued the point with the waitress and she saw things my way, offering to ask the bartender if he could do it. Minutes later she came back with my chocolate milk. It was made from hot cocoa mix, but at least she tried.

The next night we were at the rehearsal dinner in a fancy steakhouse. The waiter was taking drink orders and I asked for a chocolate milk, to which he quickly replied "we don't have that". I thought maybe he thought I was joking so I asked if they seriously didn't have any and he shut me down with a quick "No".

Now, it's possible but highly unlikely that a bar wouldn't have milk and chocolate syrup, but I find it difficult to believe that a restaurant would lack both of those ingredients. Since he seemed angry with my request so I ordered a Diet Coke. Just to make my point, I should have asked if they knew how to make one.

So my point is that they make every effort to provide visitors with alcohol, tobacco and prostitutes, but God forbid you want a glass of chocolate milk you're SOL.

One Last Rant

I'm not going to pretend that I'm a world traveler but I've stayed in my share of hotels. Each one, down to the shittiest of shit holes came equipped with a coffee maker. Staying at the Luxor, I expected to find maybe even a fancy coffee maker in place of the cheap 4-cup Mr. Coffee jobber you find in traditional hotel rooms. To my dismay, the room was equipped with no coffee maker. However, they were more than happy to supply me with all the Starbucks I could drink for the small fee of $3.01 per cup.

And what's the deal with things costing $X.01? The cashier actually counted out 99¢ one time instead of taking a penny from the give-a-penny, take-a-penny. I'm sure they want me to leave my change as a tip, but 99¢ for pouring a cup of coffee is just a little absurd. The next time I was prepared with the extra cent.

Well, that's all I have for today. HECOW, you'll be glad to know that I barely even talked about running. I'll have more on that another day.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Refurbished an Old Entry

One more thing. I just noticed that My Great Pumpkin entry was defunct. Well, I dedefuncted it, so you can peruse it at your leisure. Sorry for the delay, it was a typographical error on my part. It was a little error with my use of html. Tee hee.

Get the Whole Story Here...

Out of the Office Preply

Good morning urryone. This is going to be my last entry for a little while as I'll be on vacation sans computer. I might have access here and there, but I wouldn't bet on it if I were you. I'm not bringing my laptop so I'd have to borrow someone else's and I'd rather just read a book by the pool instead. Where am I going, you ask?

I'll be sunning myself poolside in Las Vegas by 11:30 tomorrow morning. Ahhhhhhhh! While most people go out there for the gambling, "free" drinks and naked dancers, I'm going out there to sit by the pool and read a book. Oh, and also for a wedding. My homebizzle and homegizzle from AZ are getting hitched and they thought I might like to witness it. I would, and I will.

Y'all know how I like to tell stories, and how I specifically like to tell stories about other people. The best man is incredibly shy about speaking publicly (so they say), so they asked Old "Windbag" Coot to say a few words. I hope they paid extra for the reception hall cuz I can jaw for hours. I'm actually not that comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but once I get going I'm sure I'll be fine. Maybe I'll make a few mental notes before I head up to wing it. Here are a few:

1. Embarass the groom.
2. Embarass the bride.
3. Say something funny, but not embarassing.
4. Tell everyone how much these two mean to me, blah blah blah.
5. Wish them well.

I think the key is to end on a real tear-jerker. That seems to be the standard finishing for a toast these days, and since I'm no toastmaster I'll probably follow suit. It's hard to say until I get up there; I'll either get on a roll or I'll flounder and resort to making armpit fart noises. I'd say it's a 50/50 shot either way.

Speach TrailerI hope you two don't have a made-up story of how you met that you told your parents, because that's the quasi-embarassing funny thing I'm gonna tell. The way you met seems innocent enough, but I'm going to Old-Cootize it and hopefully make it good. Don't worry, the embarassing part is not what you may be thinking.

Who Put the Bride in Charge?

The bride sent out an agenda detailing what everyone will be doing for the duration, and I don't mean just the wedding part. She has me scheduled to pee at 8:13 PST on Thursday morning. If I can't perform, I have to hold it until 11:48. I better drink some water before I go to bed to make sure I have to go.

What I didn't see on the schedule is where I get to go to Red Rocks National Park to run trails. I'm pretty sure that was on the unwritten agenda, I best get to do it. I even picked out a trail called "Turtlehead Peak" to entice the fart joke humorists to join. Turtlehead Peak is not an easy trail so we probably won't do it, but it's just fun to say. I've got a "Turtlehead Peak"ing out.

Now that I think about it, I should get myself a waterbottle holder doohickey for this trip. I don't run with water around here, but it isn't hot or dry, and if you're really thirsty you can just take a sip from one of the streams you have to hop across. Out in the desert, they don't have fancy waterways running hither and thither, you have to bring your own H2O. Damn, one more thing to buy. But check this out...

I went into Staples last night after work to buy an SD memory card for my camera. I've told you all of the reasons, so I won't repeat myself. I expected it to run me in the $60-70 range but much to my delight they had a 1 GB card on sale for $29, plus a $10 rebate. PlacaTAN! So in theory I earned $50 by shopping there. I'll spend that on my new water bottle carrier at my friendly neighborhood Arcadian Shop, and maybe some other treats for me.

Okay, that's all I have for you right now. If anyone wants me to place any bets for him/her, please give me your cash today. I promise to bring you your winnings should you hit big (minus a small handling charge), so you can feel safe knowing that it's as good as your hand placing the bet. For real though, I'm trustworthy.

P.S. Send your thought waves of hot chicks in bikinis my way. You know I need all the help I can get.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Here, Let Me Hold That for You

Hey e'erybody, it's your old pal Old Coot again. I just got an e-mail about this doormanning gig I told you about. I thought I'd share a picture of the get-up I have to (get to) wear with all my homies here at Old Coot Productions®.

I know what you're thinking "I hope you got paid to pose for that picture." but that's not really a picture of me. I'm good looking, but not Doorman Outfit Monthly good looking.

Well, that's all I got for you tonight. I'm trying to get some laundry squared away before I turn in for the night. That and I need to find out where to pick up a nice white dress shirt and plain black tie. Okay, I'll holler at you later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Great Pumpkin is Real

Hey y'all, it's time for Old Coot to holler at you one more 'gain. Did any of you catch the moon last night? It was humongous, and right when it began its path across the sky, it was a deep orange. When I first saw it I didn't even know what it was. Surrisly, it looked like Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin.

For all you haters out there, here's something else you can hate on me for. I watched the moon come up in all of it's lunar splendor last night from the comfy seat in my kayak. Leroy (the bat) was out most of the night binging on bugs and generally keeping them away from me, and the temperature was just right. I had a hot coffee in my cupholder and lazily paddled my way to and fro about the lake.

For my B-lo folk, there was a big red ball anchored in the middle of the lake. I proceeded to paddle up to it and try to play with it (which is when I learned that it was anchored). Had it been loose, you can garr-rohn-tee I would have carried it up to the steps of my friendly neighborhood art gallery and played a hot game of Red Ball. What! And when I say 'big red ball', this thing was probably six feet in diameter. I'd put a picture up, but Blogger won't let me.

For my B-erkshire folk, I'm getting a grill. Having deemed my charcoal grill unworthy, my parents have taken pity on my soul and ordered me a big honking gas grill. This puppy puts off enough British Thermal Units to suck a propane tank dry in no time. It's like the Hummer of the gas grill world. Granted, I haven't seen it yet as it won't be delivered for another week or so (oh man, I hope it gets here before I leave for Vegas), but we'll be getting hurricanes up here in New England after a season of cooking on this bad boy (that's a global warming reference, dumbasses).

In other news, I might be doormanning at a ritzy, lah-dee-dah fundraiser this weekend. From the sound of it, I would dress up in a doorman getup complete with top-hat, tails and white gloves - thank you very much - and greet all of the wealthy Berkshire folk, charming all the ladies with my Libran charm. Once full of appetizers and champagne, I will once again hold the door for them as they head across the street to a showing of Mame starring Sandy Duncan (I know you remember the show about Sandy Duncan and her family from the 80s). Drunk off Alize and Crystal, the wives will all tell me how charming and handsome I am (pinching my cheeks), and tell me how perfect I would be for their wealthy, beautiful, tennis-star daughters. Perfect that is, if I weren't a lowly doorman.

Once the last guest has moved across the street, I will quickly change into my debonair outfit (the same outfit as before minus the coat, tophat and gloves) and join them in their uppercrust event. Afterwards, we will all adjourn to a fancy nearby restaurant to tell stories about places ending in 'ingham (Wetheringuppitingham) and enjoy gourmet chocolate truffles. Ahh, you may hate some more.

Okay, that's that. Time for Old Coot to get his beauty rest.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vegas and Log-Lugging

Well Cooterinos, it's back to the grind this week. I've got a little over a week left before it's time for me to saddle up and fly out to Vegas. I heard a rumor that the pools close in the off-season, which really worried me. Since I don't fit the description of a traditional Vegas visitor, I'm not sure what else I would do in my free time. However, a quick check to the Luxor website eased my concerns. Phew, I'll be a-sunning myself afterall.

With just over a week left, I have a few things I really need to get in order for the trip. I have to pick up a memory card for my camera for shizzle. The one I have is fine for a weekend or so, but I'm not going to have my laptop with me, so I have to be able to store an entire week's worth of pictures on memory cards.

I also wanted to pick up a camping pad in case I end up sleeping on the floor. We might have a lot of people in the room some nights and I don't want a repeat of my Florida trip with JO, when I had to sleep on the floor w/o any cushioning. Man those girls were wenches. They wouldn't give me the cushions off the fold-out couch because they didn't want their pillows to fall down into the couch, so I had to sleep on the hard ass floor. Nope, this time I want to be prepared.

Next, I need some clothes for the trip. The difficulty here is that it's going to be hot during the day, then cold at night, so I have to be prepared for everything. Plus, there will be plenty of pool sitting and I don't want to be that guy wearing the same thong to the pool everyday; how embarassing. Considering my current broke ass finances, I'm not sure how much cash I'll have to be buying tons of stuff, but I'll see what I can do.

HECOW, cover your reading ears. I just checked on Sunday's trail race results, and I finished 31st overall (out of 99), and second in my age group. Of course, there were only two people in the race in their 20s, so that doesn't really tell you anything. Had we stuck around, I probably would have taken home some hardware.

I checked out the cute girl I chased for the last third of the race and she's in her 30s and from CT (she finished one minute before me). Not much of a chance of seeing her again. Oh well, she didn't seem real interested anyway, although my attempts to slow her down by asking open-ended questions did get long answers. Unfortunately, she could hold a conversation and kick my ass at the same time.

There's a race coming up in a few weeks to benefit Cancer Research, with an emphasis on lung cancer. It's in memory of a lifetime runner (and non-smoker) who died suddenly of lung cancer, and the organizers are really trying to get money out of you. The entry fee is $25, which is already pretty steep for a race around here, then they tack on handling fees, convenience fees and everything else which gets you to $33. Then, if you want to partake in the post-race feeding frenzy, you better open your wallet up for another $8. Usually that stuff is included, but this time you have to shell out for it.

I did find however, that if you mail in the entry form it doesn't say anything about late entry fees ($5) and active.com doesn't get a chance to add on their ticketmaster-style convenience charge. Needless to say, I'm going to enter for a mere $25.39 (including the stamp). Score!

The directions on the entry form say to make checks payable to: The Brock Wilkerson Memorial Cancer Research Fund. Apparently the people coordinating this thing have never filled out a check before, because you need two lines to fit all of those words. How about just the name of the race, The Brock Trot?

Got Wood?

Yesterday I got wood, firewood that is (you are all scumbags). I went out to JC's house to help haul wood from the woodpile to the other side of the house (down a hill), then into the basement and around the corner into the superheated boiler room. Man, it's hot in there. Using wheelbarrows and good old fashioned elbow grease, we lugged almost a cord into the basement.

It wouldn't have been so hard except we had to hand carry the logs from the basement door to the wood racks. Anyone who's carried firewood before knows that you load up your subordinate arm with logs, each one pressing a corner into your flesh. After you've moved a ton (literally) of logs, your arm is criss-crossed with red marks, bruises and spider carcasses.

As payment for my services, I received exactly - to the ounce - one truckload of firewood. By the time we had lugged all of his firewood, there was no way I was going to wheel another 2/3 of a cord up the hill to my wood rack. Nope, we tossed that mess into the driveway and I settled into a bowl of ice cream. Now tonight I have my work cut out for me.

I was also hoping to reinforce my woodrack and maybe even put a rudimentary roof on it so I'm not fussing with tarps all winter. I have several packs of shingles in the garage, I could really do it up. If I'm gonna go that far, I should probably replace the busted pavers beneath the thing so it stays good and level. All that work just to stack wood that's gonna be tossed into a fire. Hey Russ-T, wanna put a roof on my woodrack?

Well, I think that's about it for me today. I'll let you guys know how the woodrack goes, as I'm sure you'll be wondering about it all night. Take care and don't forget to floss.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Chicks, Dicks, Soaking Kicks and Burnt Sticks

Hey y'all, I meant to holler at you yesterday but I wasn't home very much. I had a busy day that kept me on the porch and on the go most of the day. Before I get to that, I'll go back in time to Saturday.


Before you go getting your hopes up for your old pal Old Coot, the chicks I'm talking about are highschool chicks, not real chicks.

Sorry HECOW, this is a bit about running. I was supposed to take Friday and Saturday off to rest up for Sunday's trail race. Instead I went out and ran trails Friday, on what was supposed to be an easy 3 mile jaunt. Of course, that never happens and it turned into what I estimated was more like 7 miles. Oh well, I still had Saturday to rest.

Saturday morning I awoke at the crack of dawn (maybe before) to suit up and run with the cross country team from the local highschool. Two of the women I run with are the coach/assistant coach for the team and they always need adults to go with them on the runs. The team has over 40 kids of varying ability, and they need responsible people to accompany them so nobody gets lost or in trouble. Lacking responsible adults, I was asked to join. It was somewhere between 7 and 8 miles on a dirt road not far from my house, and it was their long, slow run. I figured I could squeeze a slow run in, just to keep the legs loose for Sunday.

That was dumb. I wouldn't say I wore myself out by any stretch, but my achilles tendon (which was sore) was bothering me at the end. I went home and massaged my calf to try and relieve some pressure and ended up with a wicked sore calf.

[Georgia Mass Choir]BACKFIRE![/Georgia Mass Choir] It did help the AT, but the calf was ruined and I could barely walk. I thought maybe I'd get out and stroll a bit to see if I could work it out.


Pittsfield is now the proud owner of a sporting goods store. A city of this size should not have gone so long with out a proper place to buy things like, oh, baseball gloves. I don't care about baseball, but the only place to get stuff like that has been Walfart or more recently Target. Now we have a Dick's! WHAT! Plus, it is actually in town, no more driving out to the mall to buy athletic equipment.

I took myself a drive over to Dick's and was pleasantly surprised by the way the store is organized. I'm not counting my chickens yet, as Pittsfield's ghettoness has its way of ruining even the best stores, but this one seems like it might just make it. I even treated myself to some running treats as my prize for shopping there. Ahh, treats!

Soaking Kicks

Sunday I awoke with the sun again to head out to Monroe, MA for a trail race. It was cold as hell but was supposed to warm up. Saturday started the same way so I wasn't worried.

I walked over to a friend's house in the thickest fog ever. I thought his street was only a block or two away, so I hoofed it instead of driving. I made a quick stop at the ATM (not really on my way, but I was broke as a joke) then headed down Elm St towards his house. I passed one street, then two streets, then five. I started to get worried that maybe I didn't know where he lived when I finally found it. It turns out he lives a little more than a half mile from my street. In the foggy, 40 degree morning this wasn't the most pleasant walk I've done. I will say that the fog made everything look cool, but I would have rathered that it was warm.

After the guy and his daugher had breakfast, we loaded up the car and headed out. I figured it would warm up some on the way, but it did not. As race time approached I was starting to question my choice of apparel. I had on a long sleeve shirt, but my favorite shorts (so nice for summer running, but not warm in the autumn) and I was contemplating keeping the windbreaker.

Apparently other people had a similar problem, some were dressed in fleece, others in t-shirts, singlets and one guy even had no shirt. That's ballsy, I don't care how tough you are.

I won't bore you with the details of the entire race but they were not kidding about the walking. Apparently the fast people managed to run the whole way, but I could barely walk up one mile-long section. I was praying for a chance to run to give my legs a rest, as running does not prepare you to walk, it uses different muscles. After a ten minute walk we were past that steep ledge.

Once we finally made it to the top I was ready for a nice easy rolling downhill. There was no such thing. Instead, it was rocky, rooty (is that a word?) and covered in leaves. You were fighting gravity the entire time down with only a few exceptions.

There was a mud crossing where you sunk up to your ankles in thick, nasty stagnant mud followed by a stream crossing, where you were up to your ankles in frigid water. The water was refreshing until your feet went numb. Then of course, your shoes were heavy with water making it that much more difficult to run. We would cross two more streams then a river. By the end my poor feet were soggy and aching.

I finished at about 1:50, 10 minutes longer than I had hoped. Oh well. We had to leave shortly after I finished to get the guy's daughter to a birthday party, so I didn't get a chance to graze like I wanted and I didn't see where I placed in my age group. I don't think there were many people my age, so I might have done well. Keep your fingers crossed please.

Toenail Update

I'm sure you have all been wondering about the toenail I jacked up a few months back. After repeatedly jamming it into the front of my shoe, it turned dark red, then purple, then black. It was very close to falling off, and yesterday pretty much got me there. Finally, no disgusting toe!

Wrong, now the one next to it is starting to go. The jamming slowly peels the nail back in a painful, non-bandaid like manner. There isn't any bleeding (thank God), but it still sucks. Like a hangnail, once it starts to lift up it gets caught on everything (like your sock) making even walking an unpleasant activity. Yup, this one sucks! You can rest easy knowing I'm not going to post any pictures.

Burnt Sticks

Saturday night I built myself a little bonfire out in the backyard. I was hoping to get rid of a few piles of branches, old lumber and other assorted lawn detritus. I got that bad boar cooking, and got rid of a lot of stuff. There was the old fence that's now almost gone, a pile of junk lumber that's almost gone, and I even got into a pile of logs that have been sitting lifeless in the corner of the yard for a few years. I'm thinking if I can have a few more fires like that I'll be in business. Ahh, cleaning up the yard.

Today's Plans

I took today off of work in celebration of Christopher Colombus's birth or death, or when he discovered America; whatever. Whatever the reason, all I know is that I'm not working. I'm heading up to help JC with some firewood, always a good task. Other than that I'm hoping to get some crap done around the house and then just generally relax. It's supposed to be close to 70 today so I hope to be outside as much as possible.

I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Slowly Checking Items off the List

"Do do do do dooooooo, do do do do doooooo" Quick, what's that the opening synthesizer "riff" to? This is an EASY one, I'll give you time to think about it.

Yesterday was indeed a good day for checking things off my list that are hard for me to do. I can't discuss the details of the first task just yet out of respect for all individuals involved, and even worse out of fear of jinxing myself. The second however, I can discuss. I threw caution to the wind and picked up the phone, dialed the numbers myself (or pushed the buttons, my mobile is not a rotary phone), and made myself a dentist appointment. I knew the call would be relatively painless but still, I don't like making those types of calls.

The new and improved Old Coot now makes lists using Google Desktop and has to cross things off of those lists. He is held accountable to the good folks at Google who - should they want to invade my privacy - would know that I need to see the dentist (among other things). This has made my life both simpler and extraordinarily more complicated. Simpler, in that I have a nice tidy list to remind me what I need to do and more complex in that the things I need to do aren't simple or easy for me to do. Since I no longer fall within the careless, youthful, irresponsible, age 18-24 demographic I think it's time to hike up my pants and take charge of my life. Contrary to the beliefs of some, my lifestyle is not "unhealthy", but there are things I should be taking care of.

Enough of that crap. I've now reloaded my to-do list with items around the house, primarily cleaning. Two cats make a mess of the joint in no time, plus I have entire rooms I've neglected for months. Other items relate to the afore-unmentioned task, and can be divulged at a later date (I hope).

Damn, it's getting cold out. Last night I had the Thursday Night Run and I suited up with shorts and long sleeves. Eventually I warmed up enough that my hands weren't freezing, but I'm afraid the time is soon coming that I'll have to change my garb. With temps sinking into the 40s, we're looking at two upper layers and tights instead of shorts. That's right, tights. I'm even considering buying a pair of these to keep me warm in the frigid winter months. I haven't decided which pattern yet, though. I posted a question on my message board to see if people even like them. I would hate to drop hard earned cash on something fun like that and have them suck. We'll see how it turns out.

Today is Bagel Day, Chicken Pizza Day as well as payday. So far I've partaken in a bagel. Come lunchtime I'll be dining on only the finest chicken pizza (with hot sauce) money can buy. Or at least the finest pizza that $2.75 can buy. Them shits are delish!

Sunday I'm heading up to Monroe, MA for a trail race. A few of the guys I run with on Thursdays and other assorted weekdays are going up to run it and have nothing but good things to say about it. I guess it's a real ballbuster, but it's a very scenic course and ends with a chili lunch. I heard rumors that there might not be chili, in which case I'll be somewhat disappointed. Having never experienced the post-race chili I won't be heartbroken, but it would be a nice touch. Me likey the chili.

One of the catches to this particular route is that you run uphill for 6 miles, then downhill for roughly 3, through a river, then downhill for one more. For a race where you start and finish at the same place it would seem that you should spend half of your distance going up and half down, but the geometry of those MA/VT mountains doesn't have to play by the same rules I guess. The river is just a kick in the nads to make sure you feel like crap at the end of the course. A change of clothes is definitely required for this one!

Well Cooterinos, I must bid you adieu. Take care and I'll holler at you later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I've Got Some Shit to Do

Today is Thursday. As I lay in bed in a continuous loop of looking at the clock and calculating what time I could reasonably get to work, if I hurried, I was reminded of the fact that it was Thursday by the sound of the garbage truck. "DAMN" I announced - as I do every Thursday morning - when I realized that Thursday meant trash day and I may or may not have my trash out in time, and once again I didn't know if it was paper or glass/metal/plastic day.

I used to have a foolproof system for remembering which recycling week it was. I would put the empty recycling container beneath the other container when I brought it in. As long as I didn't miss a week, there was no way for this rotating scheme to fail. Over time, I changed my ways and grew comfortable in having the paper bin on top. I can slip recyclable items into the appropriate tub in the dark if I want without worrying about accidentally getting a tuna can mixed in with my credit card offer medley.

A simple calendar, available at this website would solve all of my problems. However, if you look at the calendar you'll notice that the blue and green highlighting is very similar in color. So similar, in fact, that on a black and white printer it comes out identical. Not useful. This time I finally broke down and colored it myself, thank you Uncle Sam for the use of your blue highlighter.

Next on my agenda for the day is to get out of work early. I have some personal business to which I need to tend. In fact, two items with an option for a third. The second is really only a phone call, but an important one. The trouble is that the Thursday Night Run also falls on Thursday night this week, so my time is limited. And with the shortening days, we meet earlier than we do in the summertime meaning less time for personal business. For that reason, I'm leaving early today. Any overflow business requiring my attention will be tended to on the morrow.

Last on my agenda will be taken care of after The Run and after The After-Run Dinner. This chore is more of a mega-chore; I have to put my laundry into the dryer. I've washed it twice now because I took so long to get it into the dryer that it got a tad stank. DAMN! Really, it takes about 2 minutes to walk downstairs and switch the laundry over and get it drying. And when it's done I'll have socks and underwear, so I can stop wearing these damned tighty-whities.

Coot's Cranky Corner

I hate vinyl siding. I will tell anyone of this hatred, whether they own vinyl siding or not. My across-the-street, only-neighbors-to-speak-to-me-for-the-first-three-years-of-living-in-my-house neighbors are in the process of siding their home in vinyl siding. No offense to them, but they're not even half-assing it. They're covering the charming New England wooden clapboard in pink foam insulation (step one in installing vinyl siding) but using wafer-thin foam. This stuff is so thin it probably encourages the house to lose heat in the winter. They've been out there for days doing the smallest sections they can. The shit cuts with a knife, it should go up in no time.

To ensure that the job goes as unsmoothly as possible, they're installing the siding before they finish the insulation. I'm sure this is out of a desire for instant gratification, but it's causing them to quarter-ass the job. To make matters worse, they're working from the top down, doing about 8' wide swaths. What they should be doing is starting from the bottom and doing the whole width of the house first, then moving up. The technique they're using will ensure that water can easily find its way beneath the siding, eventually causing the siding to fall off. Plus, it'll line up the seams so it'll look like they bought big panels of pre-fab siding.

{georgia mass choir}Ghet-toooo{/georgia mass choir}.

End of rant. The people are very nice and I don't mean to bust on them, but siding just makes me so mad. There was nothing wrong with the wood clapboard that a fresh paint job (not one done with a sprayer) wouldn't have solved. As a matter of fact, I offered this suggestion to them a few years back when they complained about how poorly the paint held up. I told them sprayers are bandaids, you need to use a roller and brush. I painted houses for 4 years, several of which had been painted the year before with a sprayer.

Now they're going to have ghetto vinyl, ghetto insulation and me hating on them from the comfort of my livingroom (in my half-painted house). Hate, hate hate.

And that's the end of that chapter.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy New Year

Welcome Coot followers. Today is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and that has next to no impact on my life. I just thought I'd point it out. To all of my Jewish readers out there, Happy New Year! To the rest of you Gentiles/Other/Athiests, Happy Monday!

This weekend was very productive for yours truly, despite the wack weather. Saturday I slept in all the way til about 8:00 when a combination of cat screams and a full bladder persuaded me from my heavily blanketed resting spot. You heard all about my breakfast already, but what you haven't heard is what I did with the rest of my day.

Once the sun was out and about, I too headed out and about to clean up some of the detritus in the yard. No, I didn't tackle the sinks/doors/lumber, but did rake up the gobs of needles, tree debris and pine cones. I yanked out the weeds that were starting to take over my driveway and even straightened out some of the rocks on the retaining wall next to the driveway. To the layperson, it would seem that I did absolutely nothing, but it really felt like an accomplishment to me and that's what matters.

Once the needles and other assorted junk was bagged up, I turned my efforts to mowing the lawn. As promised, I gave it the diagonal treatment and it came out looking pretty good. It wasn't as hard as I expected, just a little hairy by the driveway where one wrong step would mean falling over the wall followed by a running lawnmower. That would not be good.

After the outside was tended to, I moved in to clean up the house a little, launder some clothes and bake some "Absolutely Chocolate Chip Cookies", which are basically chocolate-chocolate chip cookies. Those puppies came out pretty good. I just passed the remaining dozen around the office, building my popularity. Those were originally earmarked for the lunch crew, but I forgot them and had to get them out of my possession before I ate them all.

Back to Saturday: With the cookies cooling silently on the racks, I headed to the garage to work on my adirondack chair. This is the chair I started assembling a few months back, only to be thwarted by my own inability to follow the directions. After gluing and screwing the first two pieces together wrong I put that on hold.

Saturday I got to work again; sanding off the excess glue and re-attaching the pieces in the correct position. SHIT, I did it wrong again! This time I caught my error quickly and it was pretty easy to get them apart and reassembled correctly. Now the project was moving forward.

After I got the first few pieces attached, I stopped to both let the glue set up and to eat some dinner. Having spent the entire day without human contact, I thought I'd go to my friendly neighborhood coffee shop for a coffee and a sandwich. I had plenty of coffee and food at home, but the trip was just to get out of the house.

Upon ordering, I realized that they had everything cleaned up. I asked what time they close and she told me "In about 2 minutes". "Oh, so I bought this coffee and sandwich only to have to eat it in my own house?" I thought to myself. Sweet.

I did a little more laundry and settled into the recliner for a movie. That was about it.

Editor's Note: Okay, I forgot to post this one the other day so I'm just going to stop in the middle. Sorry, work must have gotten in the way.

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