Sunday, November 26, 2006

Turkey Trot Review

Well Coot fans, I'm back in the Pitt after almost a week at my folks' house. It was a nice trip but as the saying goes, it's good to be home. I'm sure you're all wondering about my Turket Trot results, so I'll share them here. I'll forewarn you that I think one of the clocks was wrong by an entire minute. As I passed the finish line it read 35:0x, with x being something less than 10. I'll explain all of the details in a second.

Turkey Trotting

First of all, the Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot is the oldest continuously run foot race in America. This was the 111th consecutive race, running more continuous years than even the Boston Marathon. Last year they set a record of 6,500 runners, unheard of in local racing. This year they were hoping for that number again, but instead there was a turnout of (I believe) 8,260. I'm thinking that at some point they're going to have to limit the number of entrants. 10,000 would be sweet!

So I positioned myself close to the starting line since I was planning on running it as a race instead of a fun run. Somehow I passed about 20 people for every one who passed me and still managed to finish 509th overall (473rd male). I'm not complaining, just wondering how many people must have been lined up ahead of me. Maybe I should be more careful in selecting a place to start.

With all of the results tallied, I finished 45/342 for my age group (males 25-29) which I think is somewhat of an accomplishment. Plus as an added special bonus, my parents came out to watch. I always hope that they'll show up, and this year there they were on the sidelines (curb) cheering as I ran by. Talk about a boost, I was flying after that! Thanks again mom and dad.

At the end of the race, I just kept running through the finish line (with a short pause to turn in my timing chip); I had to run almost all the way back to the starting line to get my car. I left it at Delaware Park for those of you who know what that means, and it turned out to be the ideal spot. I had no traffic with which to contend, no parking issues and it was 1.25 miles from the starting line, a perfect warmup.

On the way back I passed a few kids and one said to the other one "He's going the wrong way." to which his brother replied "No, he's already finished". The kid looked up at me with the look of astonishment and asked if I won the race. I should have lied and told him I did, and that if he ate his vegetables he could win someday too, but I told the truth and kept going. The line of runners/walkers stretched all the way back to my parents' neighborhood (2-3 miles back towards the starting line) before I passed the sweepers (the trucks that follow the last person). Man that's a lot of people!

Well, that's about it for me. I'll holler at y'all later. Oh, and do NOT go see Babel (the movie). It sucked.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So .... Bored

Hey y'alls, this is just a quick shoutout to say what's up before I head out to lunch. As my mother's favorite child, I was asked to join her for lunch today in what I assume is her chance to once again showcase her wonderful son. My older sister apparently didn't have time in her busy schedule to return to the Homeland (AKA Buffalo) for Thanksgiving so I'm shouldering all of the offspring duties. Sorry Ab, more brownie points for yours truly. I think after lunch we're going to see the lawyer about changing everyone's will to make me the sole beneficiary.

Okay, I didn't get this written before I went to lunch so I'm finishing up now. Lunch was fun, I got to meet all the people with whom my mother works, then I ate a free lunch. Plapow! Then to make things even better a medical student hit on me right in front of my mother. Well, she asked how to sign up for the Turkey Trot (I'm already sporting the shirt, thank you very much) which I obviously interpreted as hitting on me. With the powerfulness of my beard I don't blame her. This thing is almost two weeks in the making and I've already had to pull a bird out of it.

Well, maybe it wasn't a bird but it easily could have been.

On the verge of full boredom, I'm sitting here trying to decide whether I should read a book and nap or go see a movie. I want to see that Borgat movie, but seeing that by myself somehow seems a little too lame. I'm not sure what movie would be less lame, but that one certainly could be.

Ha Ha, Nerd!

OH MAN, my cousin was showing me pictures that she took and there was one of this nerdy teacher at her school. Upon closer inspection it was my friend Aaron from the old neighborhood. Our dogs used to play together before they both went down in the struggle. What makes it funny is that I'm sure he doesn't think his students think he's nerdy. He's a real playboy and probably feels that it carries over to school. Ha ha, NERD. Aaron, you're a nerd.

She did mention that most of the girls are in love with him, which makes sense; that's how Aaron rolls.

NEWS FLASH: Alright, I just checked the showtimes at the closest theater and I'd have to wait until dinner time to see anything good. I guess that settles that. Now I'm officially bored. Coming back to Buffalo used to be so exciting, but now that I don't have any friends left who live here year round, it's not so exciting. I usually just head out and walk down Elmwood, but I'm not feeling that today. The sun is shining and it's warm out, but something is telling me to just stay home and chill. I guess that's the plan.

Okay, I got nothing else fo ya.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

One Week Later...

Hey everybody, it looks like it's been an entire week since I rapped at you. My bad. I'm sure there's an excuse in there, but the important thing is that I'm back. I'm sitting in the sunny livingroom at my folks' house preparing myself to head back out into the cold to pick up my race packet for the Turkey Trot. While I was already out in the cold today for my "morning" run, I'm not interested in venturing back out, so here I sit stalling.

The Storm Cometh

Okay, let's get the snow jokes out of the way first thing. Yup, Buffalo gets a lot of snow. What they had a few weeks back (a month or so?) was that heavy ass snow that you can almost hear hitting the ground. What Buffalonians heard instead was the branches of their beloved trees hitting the ground. For the most part, the branch piles are all cleared up, but as you drive into the city all you can see are beheaded trees. One can only hope that when spring comes the trees will blast out new branches and once again line the streets in leafy splendor.

After the storm and subsequent cleaning crew, my parents planted a new tree out back. I haven't ventured out to inspect it yet, and it's in a strange place and I'm not sure if I'm ready for such a change. Traditionally they've planted their flora around the perimeter of the yard, but this new tree falls within the coveted lawn space. I'm sure great care was taken to find the best spot and Ann from across the street undoubtedly had her input (she's the crazy garden lady on the street who knows WAAAAY more than anyone else and always has the most butterester garden you could imagine). If you're lucky when you die you either become a cat at my mother's house or a plant in Ann's garden.

Race Packet Day

I was supposed to run this morning to the YMCA where Thursday's race will start. From there I was going to run the race route, then end up at home. I had the idea that I would use this opportunity to pick up my race packet, but when I realized it meant carrying all that crap for 7 miles I thought better of it and just went to the park. This leaves me with picking up the race packet still on my agenda.

Every year I get my race stuff (t-shirt, timing chip, coupons, snacks, etc) at the start of the race. This also leaves me with the problem of having to do something with all of that crap while I run, and I tend to tie the shirt around my waist, tie the timing chip to my shoe (like you're supposed to do) and throwing everything else away. This year I'm in town early enough to get it ahead of time and save myself the agony of throwing all of that away right before the race. Instead I'll bring it home and throw it out there.

Cat Mastering

Any of you who know me on a personal level will know that I am the Cat Master. I can win over any cat, and frequently find myself draped in cats, AKA Cat Mastering. My parents' house is the true test for my Cat Mastering skills as it is currently staffed with 6 cats.

There are the two OCs (Original Cats), two hand-me-down cats, and my sister's two cats. As is the case with all aspects of life, the guys are pretty chill and occasionally get bent out of shape. However, they just fight real quick and that's that. The ladies just bitch and moan and hate each other and all of the other cats (except for their "partner"). I still haven't even seen Tita-Bonita-Mi-Amorcita cuz her bitch ass probably won't come back in until I leave.

This morning I was laying on the floor stretching, which is sign language to cats that means "please come share your fur with me and my sweaty self". True to my magnetic Cat Mastery, I was soon surrounded by three cats (only the dude cats) who needed my attention. I even almost had Pati (my sister's female cat) sitting with me. One more cat and I would have mastered every cat in the house (recall that Tita won't come inside). PlacaTAN!

Well, I'm pretty much out of stories today. I'll try to keep y'all filled in with my goings-ons so you don't feel left out. Dom, if your bitch ass is in the 'lo, you need to holler at me. But not if I holler at you first.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Encumbered by Idjuts

Hey urrbody, Old Coot giving you a fix in '06, with no tricks.

Okay, that was dumb. Thanks for not immediately closing your browser after that lame intro. Today I wanted to holler atchall about some of my experiences yesterday and perhaps a few thoughts I have rambling around in my mind.

On Sale for 25% More

Being a AAA member, I was privy to a sale at the local Reebok Outlet where members receive 40% off the lowest price on an item. This of course was followed by all of the loopholes like prices ending in .95, percent off discounts and so on.

As I perused the store I was disappointed to see that everything was on sale, meaning I couldn't use my bigger and better AAA discount. I kept being drawn to these fleece jackets on 40% OFF LOWEST TICKETED PRICE rack when it dawned on me that the 40% discount already applied to these items was the same discount I'd get through AAA. I tried one on and it was oh so comfy; and the price was equally comfy. The $19.99 price tag meant I'd get this bad boy for $12.00.

After browsing the entire store, I brought my one item up to the counter to check out. The cashier scanned the tag and demanded $24.99. I asked him about the discount and he told me it was 40% off; the original price was $45. Not trying to sound like a jerk I told him it was priced at $19.99, which he denied. I showed him the price tag and he kept pointing to the register, telling me that the sale price is $24.99. I reinforced the fact that the sale sign clearly states the item should be 40% OFF LOWEST TICKETED PRICE, and that the lowest ticketed price on the item is $19.99. He was confused.

Finally the manager came over and took over my situation. He punched in whatever manager override codes he needed and rang me up for $12. Sweet, a $45 fleece for $12, and it's wicked comfy. As I was leaving they were pulling the rest of the fleeces off the rack due to mispricing. Ha ha, I WIN!

Afterwards I stopped at the Saucony Outlet to check out their deals. The Clearance rack had shirts marked down from $25 to $20. What the hell kind of clearance pricing is that? Nothing for me, thank you.

Speed Demons

Last night was supposed to be Track Workout Night, but my track partner had family in town so I was left to do my own thing. I decided to do some fartleks (go ahead and laugh), which is simply running fast for some distance, then slower, then fast, then slower, lather, rinse repeat. You just pick a landmark on the side of the road and run fast until you get to it, then you run slower until you reach some other random landmark. I used lit streetlights as landmarks, which posed a problem.

As you may or may not have noticed, city streetlights are seldom all on at the same time. There are always some that are either burned out, busted, non-existent, or nonfunctional for some other reason. I decided that only lit streetlights counted when I picked a distance to run fast. Another anomaly you may or may not have noticed is that streetlights sometimes turn off when you approach them. This is very apparent when you can't rest until you reach the next lit streetlight, and they keep turning off as you get closer. It's like when your mom is teaching you to swim and she keeps moving away from you.

Anyway, when I got home I uploaded my run data from my watch to the PC and got to analyzing my run. Two words for you: Damn I'm Wicked Fast. Apparently I'm not very good at gauging my pace, and I was hauling ass for each of the fast sections. Keep in mind that you aren't supposed to be sprinting during fast sections, you're running at some predetermined pace (5k race pace or 10k race pace were my choices last night). At one point I was cruising at under a 4:00/mile pace, it was 16 mph to be exact. WHAT!

Plus I was full of shish kebobs.

Why so Ghetto?

Why is it that so many people aren't content to just be poor, they also have to be ghetto? I was at one of my favorite places to buy irregular clothing, Marshalls, when I realized I was surrounded by the trashiest white trash this side of the Mason Dixon. Let me just say that I have no problem with people not having a lot of money, I don't have a whole lot myself. Yes, I probably make more than a lot of people, but I'm not looking down on anyone.

Except for trashy ghetto scumbags.

Why is it that I can't shop in peace without having some crustache-sporting, no shoelace-tying, XXL G-Unit sweatshirt-wearing, greasy-hairdon't-sporting, armpit-stinking, no-self-respect-having dirtbags running around throwing clothes on the floor and wrestling with eachother? These were highschool or college age kids too, not little kids. At one point one of them almost ran into me, which would have rendered my jacket a total loss and I'd have to burn it at my nearest convenience to rid it of the stink.

Pretty soon I'm going to stop shopping at those kinds of stores if I have to deal with those lowest common denominator types. How do you people procreate?

That's it, I'm outta here. I need to sanitize my hands just thinking about those losers.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Like Christmas in November

Hey Coot fans, what a freaking boring day today was. B.O.R.I.N.G. I accomplished very little, and feel exactly like I accomplished even less. There were however, two good things that came out of the day, if you read on I'll explain them to you.

Send Me a Message

I, with the assistance of MC, started my own very own message board dedicated to running in the Berkshires. Yup, more about freaking running. It hasn't gone out to the masses yet so I'm not going to share the URL. Come to think of it, I don't know that anyone reading this blog runs in the Berkshires so maybe I'll just tuck that morsel away for just me. Mu waa ha haaa!

5 Star Dining in My Own Home

For dinner tonight I whipped up some delicious chicken/onion/red pepper shish-ke-bobs with chicken couscous. The chicken was marinated in Spedie Sauce which makes it awesomely delicious. The real bonus was that I got to use my grill again; so far that's 4 sausages and 7 kebobs. BUT, to my defense I also haven't been cooking very much lately so it's not that I've been ignoring it.

Oh Yeah, Christmas

When I got home from work today my mailbox was jam packed with two goodies. The first was a $10 rebate check from a memory card I bought for my camera. YESSSS, $10 for free in the mail. Sure, I paid $10 plus tax to earn that free $10, but it was a while ago so this money is considered free as far as I'm concerned.

The second goody was a free razor, the kind with 5 blades PLUS the one on the back to trim under your nose and/or sideburns. It couldn't have arrived at a better time, I only have 10 more blades left for my Mach III Turbo razor, which equates to about 10 months. As soon as those are gone I'll tap into that new freebie.

Hmm, now that I'm working on the A-Beard I might not need that freebie for 20 months. Yes, you heard it here, the A-Beard AKA the Power Beard. It's on a bit of a bet/challenge and I'm free to shave it on Thanksgiving. If this good looking Power-Tee is any indicator, I look damn good with facial hair.

Well, that's it. I told you today was boring. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

XX and XXX

Yo, Cootakinte coming at you live from P-field. Today was a long, dreary one bookended in rain. I made do as best as I could, which seemed to be pretty damned good.


After yesterday's grueling half marathon (Half Mary or HM), I thought today would be a good day to rest and catch up on some home-makery. That idea lasted about five minutes and I was already involved with playing with my new watch and the assorted analysis software programs I have. Cool shit I tell you, cool shit.

Then came the moment I was waiting for, the call (text message) to go run some more. As if 13.1 miles (plus 0.5 miles) wasn't enough yesterday I was gearing up for another 9 today. It didn't work out to exactly 9, but we did get a good 7.1 in. I know it was 7.1 because my watch told me so.

Whatever it was, I rounded 20 miles for the second weekend in a row (XX miles).

We hit the hills of Lanesboro, home of Mount Greylock, but not on the trails. The roads were hilly and my legs were great. I don't know where this all came from, but the hills have nothing on me. When others were winded and faltering, I was sprinting up with little effort. WHAT!


Oh, and today's run was in full RRF dress: 3XL Tighty Whiteys. We have some pictures of the four of us in our man panties, but they're on other people's camera phones so I can't share them until they are sent to me via electronic-m. I was the only one brave enough to carry out the entire run in my hefty sized briefs, and was glad to have done it. One lady used the wang maze as a handwarmer; classic.

They drooped, sagged and generally looked terrible and it was awesome. If I hadn't been wearing a white shirt the look would have been more apparent to passersby, but instead it looked more like a long white shirt. Blast!

Afterwards, I ate half of a large pizza from Liberty Pizza. It's delish, I'll be dining on it tomorrow too. PlacaTAN I tell you. PlacaTAN indeed.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Indian Summer Weekend

Hey everybody, it's another scorcher here in New England. It's been in the 60s all weekend and I'm loving it. It's great considering it's the middle of November. I kayaked, mowed the lawn, ran really far, cleaned the garage...aaahhhh

Toy Report

Friday night my plans were rearranged for me by an outside source. My plan was to run a route I came up with called the Figure Eight Bi-Lake 5K (plus 10 miles) Race. For those of you who aren't familiar with metric/standard coversions, that's 13.1 miles, or roughly 21Km. Instead of doing this run however, it turned into a kayak trip. The run would have to wait.

So we loaded the boats onto the A-ride for the last time of the season and headed out to Onota Lake. The only reason for going to that lake is that they have a dock at the boat launch so I could wear sneakers and not get my feet wet. It turned out that they had already taken the docks out for the year, clue #1 that we shouldn't be in the water. It was cold and windy and I was soaked after about 10 minutes.

But that's not why I'm writing. I'm writing to tell you about the new A-Watch. My new GPS watch performed flawlessly. I'm still not 100% sure about all of the menus and screens but I'm getting there. I used it to track the route around the lake, and when I got home it was cool to see the path I took.

I went out to one end, turned around and took almost exactly the same route back. It was purely accidental, but I was within feet of my original path almost the whole way back across the lake. Considering there was wind, drifting and all that jazz it's quite amazing to have covered the same route. Neat!

The Figure Eight Bi-Lake 5K (plus 10 miles) Race

Saturday morning I awoke, put the finishing touches on the new and improved route around the two lakes that would allow for a good start/finish point and got myself geared up. The race starts at a middle school, loops around Onota Lake, back past the school, around Pontoosuc Lake and back to the school.

The idea is to have the race make a figure eight with the intersection being the start/finish/midway point. Then, if the crossing point was also at a school/business/parking lot it would substantially improve logistics (bathrooms, parking, timing, etc). It just so happened that there's a school on the route, so I made it start there.

I ran it yesterday with a friend to get a feel for how the course would work for a race, and to map it out with my new GPS watch. It isn't the best race course as it lacks some in scenery, despite circling two lakes. The roads aren't exactly conducive to a race either, but for now I can use it as a training run. It's chock full of hills for those of us who prefer rolling hills to flat courses. According to my heart rate monitor, the course allowed for an assortment of challenges. Ahhh, another score for the Old Coot.

Cleaning Up Some

I spent the afternoon yesterday cleaning out the garage and mowing the lawn. I have the garage mostly ready for my car but I need to build something to house my kayak for the winter. Being the smart guy I am, I bought a boat that doesn't really fit anywhere in my garage/basement other than the floor. My goal this afternoon (after a run in a bit) will be to build somewhat of a cradle for it so I can store it out back. I don't think the cold is the best for it, but if I stored it in the garage it would be pretty much the same temperature. There's no chance of fitting it in the basement and leave the basement free to work/move.

I Was a Little Hasty

So the other day I told all of you that I was cleared to move on the house refinance project. What I should have said is that I'm no closer to getting started than I thought. Since paperwork will have to be signed over the mail I need a valid mailing address for the ex-gf. Several requests for her new address have been ignored and I'm starting to wonder if there aren't other things at work that I don't know about. While I like to remain optimistic I have thoughts of her having borrowed money against the house without my signature (i.e. forgery) and so on.

Peace of mind, where are you?

Okay, that's all I have for today. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, November 10, 2006

What I Learned from the Irish

Hey folks, I learned a thing or two last night that I wanted to share with my audience. While I learned them in a running related environment, they do not require me to discuss running for you to get the full enjoyment. Here we go...

The Grudge

One of the guys in our group had a minor altercation at a local watering hole some 30 odd years ago. He was removed from the building (he recalls it as being entirely unwarranted) for underage drinking (?) and somehow causing a disturbance. The whole scene was a little unclear after all of these years/beers. Whenever he runs with us on Thursdays, we can't go to that restaurant despite the fact that it has changed hands and the wait staff/bartenders are completely different, all because he has boycotted it for life.

Last night (while dining at a different watering hole) we pointed out those facts to him and he still refused, claiming to suffer from Irish Alzheimer's. "Irish Alzheimer's? What's that?" I naively asked. "It's when you get shitty, and in the morning all you can remember is the grudge." He's stuck to that grudge for over 30 years. Them Irish are some stubborn folk.

Fill in the Blank

The same gentleman, whose last name shall remain Murphy, was speaking with some of his family who also happened to be at the restaurant in a separate party. As they filed out of their booths (or boothas to Tollbooth Willy), someone claimed "Boy, it's lousy with Murphys in here."

Ha ha, 'lousy with ___' is an hilarious way of saying there's a shitload of them and they're no good. Classic, absolutely classic.

My New Toy Arrived

Last night around 5:30 I got my new GPS watch. Unable to use it for my run I was a bit let down, but like the good boy I am I charged it fully before use. After the run/dinner I strapped the heart rate monitor (HRM) chest strap to my strapping chest and headed out onto the front porch to link up with some satellites.

Being the genius I am, I put it way too close to the house and blocked 180 degrees of the night sky. I had to get it close to the porch light so I could see when it was ready, but apparently I should have just gone down by the road and let the street light do the work. Oops.

When I tried to test it out by going around the block I also forgot to start recording. Oops.

Once I realized it wasn't running I fired it up, jogged, walked, skipped and even hustled once to check out its ability to keep up with my varying speeds and heart rates.

Over the course of my 0.2 mile sampling, it was a little off at the beginning and then at the very end where buildings interfered. Having learned not to aquire the satellite lock with 50% of the sky blocked by a house, I have to assume that my subsequent tests will be more accurate. So far I have to say this is one cool toy.

Patchwork Pete

In my office, we have four guys whose cube share a common corner. Yesterday afternoon, the four of us decided that the year of the goatee might be over, and the year of the full beard is upon us. Of course, we want to hit the road running so to speak, so we're getting started as of some time yesterday afteroon.

Not only are we all trying to grow beards (some of us are follicly challenged), with the option for only the porn-stache if you don't like beards, but our team will have a name and we each have to come up with nicknames. LB chose "Black Beard", a very creative name. I went with "Patchwork Pete" to reflect certain qualities of my soon-to-be-beard. Danny Badmeat went with "The Old Brawny Man", to reflect his rugged good looks without being confused with the wussbaggery shown by The Brawny Man of late. JO is out of the office today, but I'm sure he'll come up with some stupid Yankees shit. That's just how he rolls.

That's it, I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another Leaf on the Tree

Hey y'alls why don't you gather around Old Coot and let him spin you a yarn. Okay kids, here we go...

Actually I don't have a whole lot to share with you guys today. My sister remound me of one thing that I had been overlooking. My uncle, at the young and tender age of 60-something, had a baby boy the other day. Okay, his wife (my aunt) had a hand in it, but he's the blood relative. Actually, I've never met his wife as they met and live in Honduras. But the gist of it is that I have a new cousin named ElĂ­as Daniel (surname removed to protect the innocent).

I have a strange family. This same uncle has two grown chilluns here in the States, one of who has a child of his own. That means my cousin's kid has an uncle younger than him. That's just how we roll!

Nobody out here will get this, but Ab you know how the song goes "Elias, Elias, Elias to the taste of it, Diiiettt Coke". And Mom, I don't want to hear squat about grandbabies, I have 40 more years to get started! If you don't like example your brother is setting, take it up with him.

That's all I got. I gotta get my g-rage cleaned up so I can get the A-ride back in there. Gotta proteck that Tinsel Wagon from the elements, yo.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Random Mix of Stuff

Hey guys and gals, it's been a few days since I hollered at you so I thought I'd say a few words so you didn't think I was dead. Now that it's been getting colder and darker, I've been having trouble adjusting. The time change has made it easier to get up in the morning, but only getting half an hour of daylight after work is a little more difficult to embrace.

Like most people, I tend to ease into a recliner once the sun goes down, and that's been happening around 5:00 - 6:00 in the evening. Once again, I've been neglecting things I should be doing in favor of sitting on my duff. Can I get some motivation?!

Refinance My Problems Away

Now that I've brought it to the attention of all parties who hold an interest in my house, I feel I am free to blog about it. Those of you who have known me for some time know that I was once young and stupid. And in those days, contrary to the advice of everyone I talked to, I bought a house with a soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. In retrospect, it can almost be seen equated to when a guy get engaged just to shut his girl up, only I sort of wanted a house too and I got to keep it once things went sour. I don't mean to give the impression that I didn't like her, but I learned a valuable lesson about buying houses for girls.

When she made the transition from soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend to actual-ex-girlfriend, we made an agreement that she was free to walk away from the house without financial obligation, and would sign paperwork when I sold it. Any profit would go directly into my pocket. Well, years later I'm still there and as lives get more complicated it's becoming more and more difficult to even keep current with e-mail addresses let alone mailing addresses and so on. With that in mind, I'm going to refinance the house to get her name off the mortgage and deed. It's a pain in the ass and the wallet, but it's going to be a huge load off my mind. Conveniently I had money earmarked for a ring, which will now cover closing costs, a wiser investment at this point. Hey, everything happens for a reason.

That was the big news I mentioned oh so long ago, sorry it wasn't more exciting. It's more of a personal thing than anything, and unfortunately it's like paying for a new roof when the old one still works; all I get is peace of mind.

I Dined on Lobberts

This weekend, JC stopped by to reclaim his TV. It's been sitting dormant in my parlor (yes fools, I am so fancy as to have a parlor) since last November and he's now ready for it in his mansion. I think after Sony made this TV they decided to put all of their efforts into flat panels because this sumbitch has to weight 150 lbs. I'm Shaq diesel and the damn thing was about all I could handle. Of course, they don't exactly put handles on the sides of TVs. Instead they sharpen every little nook and cranny you might want to use as a handle.

So we loaded the tube into his truck and the stand/DVD player/stereo, etc went into my car. We drove those puppies up into the woods and deposited them in their guest bedroom. Let me tell you, I should have been using this TV all along. I guess I didn't realize he had a high def TV, but the picture is much better than that on my TV. Hmmm, maybe it's best I didn't get used to it lest I should have to upgrade my own.

Yes, it's better this way.

As usual, J&BC felt the need to feed me while I was out at their house. I swear they're like the Italian grandmother I never had. I had stuff to do - fun stuff like grocery shopping and laundry - but they were able to convince me to stay for lobsters. Their son calls them 'lobberts' which was so cute I was not about to correct him.

I have to admit that while I wanted to stay for dinner from the first mention of it, I was secretly afraid that eating lobberts meant ripping a lobberts apart and digging meat from it's dripping carcass. Let me remind you that I can't even smoosh a spider without half a roll of paper towels in my hand.

Unable to come up with a valid excuse, I stayed for dinner and the ripping apart of the crustaceous body was not nearly as terrifying as I imagined. As a matter of fact, it was really secondary to the eating of the delicious "meat". Yup, put me down for having overcome my fear of eating real lobberts.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had to turn the torso away so he didn't look at me while I ate his claws. Even if he was still alive and missing his claws and tail, I'm sure he could have jacked me up in some mysterious aquatic way. That's just how lobberts' roll.

Lay Down Some Tracks

Okay, this isn't about recording the newest hot shit. It's about me running at the track. I tried to visit a new one this week, at a school out in Great Barrington (I think). As I pulled into the parking lot I was psyched to see that they had the lights on. As I got closer I was un-psyched to see that there was a soccer game going on in the middle of the track. Damn, defeated!

Well, back to the Pitt to Taconic HS and all of its darkness. I did my speed work and was handed a healthy dose of ass whooping. Fortunately for me, I was pretty much able to maintain the pace I was shooting for. Yup, I'm closing in on my goal slowly but surely.

For those of you who care, that goal is 6:00 miles for a 5K, and perhaps for a 10K since I don't really like 5K races (believe it or not, 5K is too short to be fun). Currently I'm in the 6:30-6:45 range, but with the times I did today I think I was hovering in the 6:00-6:30 range. Suh-weet. A few months of this training, maybe shed a few more lbs and I'll be right at my goal.

Then I'll set a new seemingly unachievable goal and have to work my ass off (literally and figuratively) to achieve it. Ahh, the life of an addict. It should get here on Thursday!

A Trainer's Paradise

Since I'm not just an addict, but an addict with a toy fund, I recently bought myself a new toy that normal people would never dream of buying. It's a GPS watch with built-in heart rate monitor function and optional cycling cadence-o-meter (which I will add when summer comes).

It cost an arm and a leg but I'm worth it. Dammit, I have two vices and since I can't quite justify the cafe quality espresso machine I have to feed my other addiction. Plus now I'll be able to see exactly where all the trails have taken me, how fast I was going, how fast my heart was going, and so on and so forth. There's some killer software I just downloaded - but can't use yet - that lets you save maps of your run with overlays of your path, speed, HR, elevation, hydration level, etc. It keeps track of how many miles you have on your shoes and if your dog went with you. I don't need this feature, but maybe I'll add my lard-o cats and make them go with me.

A Moment of Clarity

As I was sitting out on the porch waiting for my ride tonight I remembered a CD I wanted to bring. Wishing I had a key to the front door, I decided not to go back in because I'd have to walk all the way to the side door to get in. Just then an image of the missing keys to the front door flashed in my head. I ran to the side door and headed for a mug in a box of crap and to my amazement found two keys on a ring. I tried them and I'll be damned if they weren't the keys to the front door. CHA-CHING! Now I can do more than just walk out that door; I can also walk in it!

Well, that's all I have for ya tonight. I have to get my shower on and take my sweet ass to bed. I'll holler at you later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Go Whiteboys, Go!

Hey everybody, I had a hankering for a rap video of yore and thought I'd share it with you. House of Pain's self-titled album was the first CD I owned and this video holds a special place in my heart. Enjoy!

Jump Around

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

While You Were Sleeping

Hey everybody, I'm having one of those days when everything seems well with the world. I woke up early to meet up with some folks for a run (I promise I'm gonna talk about something different) and was damn close to bagging it. Knowing I'd have to feed my addiction at some point today I just sucked it up and got outta bed. It was about 273 Kelvin above absolute zero this morning, so I had to get mildly bundled up. It's a tricky temperature where you're right on the line of too hot and too cold. Anywho, let me tell some things I saw while most of y'all were probably sleeping.

Lost in the Wilderness

As usual, we got lost in the woods because our leader had bagged the run in trade for an earlier run. We headed up into the trails only to still not be able to find the trail we were looking for. While lost, we came across some of the most unnatural landmarks of the woods behind Kirvin Park. I could never find them if I wanted to, so it was kind of fun to stumble upon all of them on one morning.

Is This a God Dam?

Just off the beaten path on the way up to one of Pittsfield's water reservoirs is waterfall created by a man made dam. I have been in the vicinity of this dam on probably half a dozen occasions and this is the first time I saw it. I can see myself taking a dip next summer, the pool beneath the waterfall looks wicked inviting.

After standing around pondering the dam, its waterfall, the pool beneath it, and what people must have used it for in the past, we started back up the mountain. At the top of the dam there was an interesting sight: a dam. Apparently Pittsfield's forefathers weren't the only ones to find this to be the perfect spot for a dam, because a clan of beavers had set up shop at one point or another.

Leaving it All Behind

Local lore tells us that one day a guy just had enough with society and left to live in the woods. He built himself a log cabin and spent the rest of his days living communally with the animals. He's since passed away, but his cabin is still there, complete with a sign asking visitors to "Please Treat this Cabin with RESPECT". My guess is that he put up the sign while he still lived there to keep passersby from jacking up his pad.

The cabin has since fallen into disrepair and the roof is riddled with bullet holes, the obvious victim of a showdown between the cabin and a disrespectful gunslinger. I'm not sure how long he lived there, but from what I understand he was a harmless recluse.

It Does a Body Good

Another manmade landmark of the trails out behind Kirvin Park is the carcass of a milk truck of yore. All that's left of the milk truck is its exoskeleton, engine and drivetrain. When you come up on the truck, it catches you offguard because it's sitting in the middle of the woods surrounded on all sides by trees. It's another reminder that these woods were once used for farmland.

Speaking of Farmland

As we were reaching the conclusion of the trip, we were standing around trying to decide which trail would get us home the easiest. Looking around, I noticed something I hadn't seen before: a stone wall. The woods of New England are full of stone walls, the only remaining evidence of the farming history of the area.

You could see that the farmers had cleared the land of large rocks, arranging them into walls outlining their fields. The fields have long since been abandoned and have been reborn as a dense forest of young, spindly trees. The only trees larger than a few inches are found to be in a straight line along the field stone walls. Those must have been left standing when the farmers cleared the land.

The Woods are On Fire

The last visual I have from the route is of a field of burning red brush against a barren autumn backdrop. I had to stop and take it all in; it's one of those views nature gives you for about 2 days out of the year before it extinguishes the brush and turns the landscape brown until the snow flies.

So there you have it. While most of the city was asleep I ducked out its backdoor into the woods and took advantage of some of what New England has to offer. It's amazing to see that mere steps from my neighborhood is a wooded wonderland full of little treasures. Ahhh.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Comedy and Errors

Hey errebody, I got a special treat for y'all today. You'll have to read on to get the tender comedy morsels but I find it to be worth every penny. It's actually a free video, so you don't have to read it and you don't have to pay for it. Win-win for all you cheap, illiterate sumbitches.

And It's All Free

I'd just like to give a shoutout to YouTube for providing the world with videos as far as the eye can see, sometimes further depending on cloud cover. The price is right, and if you're willing to do some searching you can find anything. In my case, I let other people do the searching and then send me links. An example of such a video can be found below. If you're at work or in a church, I recommend wearing headphones. Bob Sagat is a ill muthafucka, yo.

Living Our Lives for Another Day

Yesterday I ducked out of work a little earlier than I wanted because I had to hook up some propane for the new A-grill. I've been driving around with two empty tanks in the A-ride and the propane place closes at 4:00. Yesterday was gorgeous, so I dipped out and took care of bidness.

Historically I haven't done a lot of grilling, but I've also never had a big ass propane grill before either. Not wanting to run out, I filled two tanks so I'd have a reserve.

When I got home I lubed up the grates with Crisco, fired up the 5 individual burners and just let it get to cooking. About 45 minutes later I tossed some sausages on there to add to the ground beef in what was to become sauce for lasagna. Mmm mmm bitch!

Let me tell you, lasagna has to have the longest prep time of any meal I cook. When all was said and done I spent close to 3 hours making a matching pair of lasagnas. Granted, I simmered the sauce for 45 minutes while I showered and I let all the ingredients mingle after assembling the pan, but still. Oh, and the cheese grater I own is more like a cheese grater keychain. Grating two blocks of mozzarella cheese took FOREVER.

By the time it came out of the oven I had already filled up on leftover pasta scraps and Halloween candy. Now I have a 9x13 pan of lasagna to finish before it spoils. On the up side, I have another one in the freezer for a rainy day. I won't be complaining about the eggstra effort then!

Everything in Moderation

Everyone knows that you burn calories when you exercise (A). Everyone also knows that sugar has lots of calories (B). If (A) is true and (B) is true, then it should also hold true that more (B) allows for more (A). Attempting to apply this theory to my personal fitness routine (running), I ate a shitload of candy yesterday and then went running.

As it turned out, the simple sugars did not hold out long enough and I hit a real dip in my blood sugar early on. The run was scheduled for roughly 8 miles but had to be cut short, to around 5.25. BALLS!

After my efforts at the track the previous night, it was probably a good thing to stop short but I also had some demons I was trying to exorcise and they were going to take as many miles as I could throw at them.

Now Accepting Donations

And speaking of everything in moderation, I am considering expanding my activity repertoire to include rowing. I've been talking to a guy about rowing machines and one of the good ones out there lets you track all sorts of data about your efforts. You can even - through the magic of the futureweb - connect up with others and race, all in the comfort of your own basement/garage/spare bedroom. I have been looking for something I can do a few times a week to get an upperbody workout (that doesn't include lifting weights), and rowing seems to fit the bill.

The issue I have with this is that I've never actually rowed before and it's a substantial investment for an activity I might not enjoy. The best way to mitigate any risk is to ask my readers to send me donations in the form of cold hard cash ($50 each should get me started) and rowing machines (Concept 2 is the brand name, I'd prefer the best one but can suffer with the next one down).

So that's all I have to say about that. I hope you guys can find it in your hearts to send me some cash and rowing machines. I promise to tell you all about it in great detail.

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