Friday, June 30, 2006

A Perfect Freaking Day

Happy Beginning of 4th of July Weekend! I had taken a few hours off yesterday to get some work done on my porch (which by the way is one handrail short of completion), so today I was going to make them up then take some vacation to get out and do some kayaking. During last night's Thursday Night Run, I was extended an invition for an early morning paddle, so those plans changed.

Since this would be my maiden voyage in the A-Kayak, I thought some company would be nice. Plus, I don't really know of too many places to get out and paddle, so I would have gone to Pontoosuc (pon-TOO-suk) Lake which is not the most serene setting. Instead, we went out to Upper and Lower Goose Ponds. I forget which one you start in, but it was so perfect. The water was like glass and it was very scenic. I was promised that we would get to one end where we'd find a narrow passage to the other pond. The second is protected by the State (or Commonwealth to be exact) so there aren't any houses on the shore. Fortunately we didn't need to know any secret handshakes to gain entry to the protected area.

The little connecting channel feels like you're paddling through a little windy river. It's not a good choice for claustophobes, as it's probably 20' wide at the widest and very shallow. The trees overhang the water and it is absolutely gorgeous. The second pond is just this nice secluded body of water, complete with a little island cropping up off to one side. There are remains of an old beaver dam, some weeds where the geese chill and even an eerie section covered in fog. I'm guessing it's spring-fed and that's where the cold water comes in. Just a guess.

The first half of the trip we saw one other boat and then maybe half a dozen more on the return trip until the very end when a few canoeists were dropping in. They looked like a bunch of New Yorkers (we have great disdain for New Yorkers in The Berkshires) judging by their tacky old lady garb and complete ineptitude with all things natural. This one woman was sporting one of those big ass hats that fancy women wear (it was purple), a gaudy top and a skirt. Seriously woman, you're going in a canoe, what's with the skirt? Actually, what's with the rest of it you wack-job? Oh, and she had this hubcap-sized brass broach on her shirt. It was probably the spinners from her gangstermobile.


After that, I went home and had lunch. Then off to work for a few hours. I plan on getting my bike over to Arcadian Shop for a proper fitting, then I might take myself on a nice ride. I'll have to see if I can find myself some company to make the ride nicer. CPG still owes me a ride, perhaps I can convince her to join me.

Oh, more about the porch. I sat out there this fine morning enjoying the beautiful morning and a hot cup of coffee. PERFECT! It was still damp from last night's rain and the cedar smells SOOOOOO GOOOOOODDDDD.

Mmmm, MMMM bitch. That's my porch, made painstakingly by me, Old L Coot. Don't get the reference? Click on this here hyperlink.

Well folks, tomorrow I get more upload space on flickr so I can post some porch pictures and a few from this morning's awesome kayak trip. There's one in particular that really came out exactly as I imagined it would.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Decked and Railed

DUUU-HUUUUDES! For starters, I am absolutely bushed. I worked out on that damned porch from about 3:30 until 11:30 last night. I got all of the balusters installed for the deck and was setting up to predrill the balusters for the stairs and thought maybe I should take a few measurements.

I probably spent a good hour and a half trying to calculate how long to cut the balusters for the stairs, only to determine that the ones I had weren't going to be long enough. I switched modes to installing the rail along the top and wrestled with that for a while until JC showed up. Two people made it a LOT easier. Big ups to JC once again.

The porch is coming along nicely!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Porch is Almost Done

Happy Sunday Evening to all of my friends out there in Readerland. This has been one busy weekend for yours truly. I had hoped to be able to do some playing, but it was all work for this dull boy. Fortunately it was all work that gave me some satisfaction.

Friday I had taken the day off of work to chisel the front of the house and get it ready to start building. This picture shows my lovely old porch (the concrete mound) and the spot where I chiseled the exterior of my concrete house.

Yesterday I already told you how JC and I got the deck all framed up. And I already told you how we got his shower door in. So I'm going to start right up with today. For starters, the weather geniuses (genii) called for thunderstorms all day. If by thunderstorms they meant overcast with a light drizzle around 5, then they were dead on. JC came over around 7:30 and we got to work on that porch.

Once we got the first of three stringers cut, it became very apparent that we needed something to fasten them to. The fascia (the outside board around the deck, or face board) was a 2-by-8 which didn't give us anything to screw the stringers to, so off to Home Shitpot we went. We picked up a 2-by-12, which I promptly dropped on my big toe. Not cool, I might lose my toenail (sorry for the detail). What made me extra mad was that I made a conscious decision this morning not to wear my steel-toe shoes. Dumbass. I changed when we got back.

JC got the stringers all cut up, and we started to mount them to the deck. IMMEDIATELY, you could see that they were going to hit the bottom stair of the original steps. Of course, the stair is an 8 inch thick slab of concrete with a big fat steel pole down through it. No moving that thing. So we did what we could and ultimately cut out the bottom stair to work around the concrete. It was a pain, but it came out alright (for now). At this point, JC had to split. Click the picture for a better view of how they needed to be cut around the concrete.

After he left, I finished getting the last stringer on, and put the treads on the first few stairs to keep them square. I liked the look of that so much I decided to cut the boards for the deck, then call it quits. After the first few were cut, I figured I might as well attach a few to get a feel for how it would look. So far, the thunderstorms were nowhere to be found, so I just kept working.

I got about 4 boards down when it started to sprinkle. I quickly put away any tools I wasn't using and kept working. Before I knew it, I had all of the deck boards on and it looks FANTASTIC. I'm actually short one board, but I knew that was going to happen. At that point, I put the rest of the tools away, cleaned up the detritus of the day, moved a lawn chair onto the porch and finished my iced coffee in the rain. Suh-weet.

After I finished with all that, I was pretty much bushed. I had dinner then dozed in the recliner. I'm trying to whip out this entry real quick before my eyelids make their final descent. Nope, my laptop battery died and I had to finish it up Monday morning. Either way, you got your story.

I have to pick up a few items today to be able to finish the jobby job, then I'll be done and ready to have it inspected. If all goes well, I'll get the thumb's up and I can get back to playing with all of my new summer toys.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Deck is Framed Up

Hey E'er'one, what's happening? I'm sitting here after a long day of working on stuff, and I'm enjoying some Espresso Chip ice cream. Two words MMM, MMMMMMM. Today, JC came over and we got the porch all framed up and purdy.

Tomorrow morning we plan on starting bright and early on the stair stringers, and I hope to have those finished by the time JC has to leave. Everything after that is just gravy, and I can do it myself at my own pace. But the stringers (the things that the stairs sit on) require some complicated math that I can't seem to wrap my head around. After working in the sun all afternoon we tried and tried to come up with a scheme and just couldn't.

Instead, we went out to JC's house to put in his new shower door and have some dinner. First of all, get this... Last time I worked on a project with JC, it was at his house and they fed me up right. This time, he came to my house and helped me all day. We went to his house, spent an hour or so installing his shower door, and they fed me up right. Notice the pattern here? Cha-ching!

Second of all, let me tell you about this shower door. It's not no shit ass sliding door that gets full of mold after a week. This is some space-age shit right out of Better Homes and Gardens. It is suh-weet! It went it fairly smoothly minus the screw head we had to grind down (man, talk about tight tolerances). The whole thing went in pretty nice and looks fantastic.

Now, I am hating on their shower.

Well, I have to sit out on my "porch" for a few minutes to enjoy it then it's to the shower and to bed. I'll try to put some pictures up on flickr tomorrow; I'm too tired to do it tonight. Latros.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Welcome to the Century Club!

This is my 100th posting, I thought you should know!!!! I feel like I should do something extraordinary in celebration, but instead I'm going to fill you in on my porch progress and a few other tidbits of my life that you need to know.

I spent the better part of the day working on my porch. You might think to yourself that I probably have the thing done. Your thoughts would be dreamlike in quality. I am nowhere near completion. I had to lay out the joists over and over and over again to get them to miss the lump of concrete formerly known as "the front porch". After hours of doing that I finally said "Fuck this shit! I'll get JC over here to help me and he'll know how to correct any mistakes I made. Just get moving or you'll never finish this damned thing!" So I took my final measurements and set forth to level the surface of the house where the ledger board will go.

LEVEL THE SURFACE OF THE HOUSE!?! ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY? Yes, and no. The geniuses (genii?) who repaired the sinking porch over the years repeatedly filled the gap between the disappearing porch and the house with fresh concrete. I'm sure this bandaid solved the problem at the time, but it has made my life worse. Today I stood on the jagged rocks I call my former porch and hand-chiseled the concrete in an effort to smooth the surface. This was a bitch! It's going nicely, but it's going to keep going for some time.

I also drilled out the holes for the ledger (on the board itself, not the house), installed the joist hangers, cut the girder to length and bolted that together, bought the first round of lumber (thank you very much for your help, 'COWs) and am closing in on getting things attached to the house. I'm going to have to recruit someone's help when I drill the ledger bolt holes because the ledger is so damned heavy and it has to be perfectly level. The first hole will be the worst.

Did you note that not only am I using a girder, but I made it myself? A girder sounds like something you would find only in bridges and huge buildings. If you did a survey of all possible uses for one, you'd also find my front porch.

I took some pictures of the "progress" I've made, but they came out crummy. I did have a couple with some artistic merit, so I'll share those with you.

Correction: No I won't. Blogger won't let me upload my pictues. My flickr account is almost full so I don't think I can upload any more this month.

Correction: Yes I will. I put them on flickr and I had enough room.

The first is one of the holes I drilled and "countersunk" for the ledger bolts. I thought it was kind of neat, but then again I've been up since 5:30, been running around all day and it's 11:30 at night. And I missed dinner.

The second one is a shot down two boards I picked up today. They are a couple of 12-footers I have sitting on saw horses. Enjoy them at your leisure...

The pictures look a lot better if you see them in a larger format. This means you should click on them and see what I'm talking about.

Well folks, it's time for the Old Cooter to get in the shower and go to bed. I have another fun day of getting to work early, busting my hump on the porch project then running with the Thursday Night Crew in Kennedy Park. Latros.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

I'm Getting Oh So Poor


I bought my kayak today. Now it's going to sit in my garage/basement for a few weeks until I finish my porch. However, if I start to feel like I'm in good shape with the porch, you can bet your pretty panties I'll be out there paddling like it's going out of style. Below is a picture of it for your envying pleasure.

Well, I don't have a lot to tell you today. I'm bailing out of work early to get some hardware and a few pieces of lumber to get going on the deck. Once HECOW is free, I hope to be able to get the rest of the lumber (at least a good portion of it) as well as a storm door for the front of the house. After 4 years of not opening that door, I'll finally be able to get some air into the livingroom. The one I have my eye on has a screen unroll as you slide the top piece of glass down. You can have a little bit of screen, a lot bit of screen, whatever amount you want (up to half the door). That way, the cats won't eff up my screen. Sweet. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to wait until I get it installed and take pictures.

Okay, that's it. I'm outta here. I'll holler at your jealous asses later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

The Clouds Broke and I was Out

While yesterday was slightly better than the day before, it wasn't 100%. I did manage to finish a document I've been writing at work, which has been the bane of my existence for months now. It's out for review, and I expect it to require some real rework. However, for the next couple of days I don't have to work on it. The real ballbuster was that when I left, I went to a real hardware store to buy some concrete lag bolts. They didn't have them and the store that was most likely to have what I needed closes at 5:30. Come on now! Can't we have stores with real store hours?

So I went home, did some more research to find out what exactly the bolts are that I need and stumbled upon a few references to exactly what the guy was trying to sell me. So now I'm gonna go back with my tail betwixt my legs and buy the stuff he showed me. Either way, I was set back yet another day. But not to let it go to waste, I decided to get out in the sunshiny day and ride my bike.

Minutes after I got home, the sky closed up with monstrous dark clouds and the air was filled with debris and garbage can lids. A storm was a-brewing. No bikey for me. I looked at the radar (on, not my own personal radar) and thought maybe it would pass and the sun would be back out. I ate dinner and sho-nuff the sun made an encore appearance. I changed into my cycling gear, filled up my Camelbak and shoved off.

At this point it was 7:15 so I knew my riding time was limited. I figured I'd ride as far as I could in half an hour, turn around and head home. Conveniently, that half hour took me to the middle of the rail trail (from home, not from the beginning). I had to take the visor off my helmet so I wouldn't have to crane my neck so hard, then I was back on my way.

I'm not sure, but I don't think this bike is quite set up for me correctly. I rode for an hour and was experiencing what is commonly known as "numb ass". You have two substantial nerves running between your "sit-bones" which is the medical term for your ass bones (not your tail-bone). When you sit, your sit bones support your weight. When you sit on a bike for too long, you can hit the nerves running between the sit bones and you start to feel numbness here and there. Numbness = doing something wrong. Often, it takes a few rides to get used to the saddle again, so I'm gonna tough it out and see if I can figure out the correct seating position. I did find a few that kept me from going numb, I'll try those first next time.

All in all, my trip was just shy of 20 miles and it took me just a hair over an hour. To the average John Q Mathematician, that relates to an average speed of roughly 19-20 mph. Suh-weet! The best part is that when I was really flying down some of the hills, I never felt like I was going to die. On my mountainbike, high speeds even on the road felt like death was imminent. Not on the A-ride, that puppy feels so stable at high speeds. PlacaTAN!

Today is the first day of the killer sale at EMS. I'm going to leave work early to get in there and buy myself a kayak! They open at 10:00 and I plan on getting there a few minutes later so as not to run the risk of them selling out. I'm not 100% on the paddle I want yet, I'll probably let them talk me into the expensive Porsche-quality one. I think it's actually made of recycled Indy cars. As for the jacket, I'll probably do the same, but I'll be more discriminating. Hopefully the dude who ran the demo will be there; he's friendly and very knowledgeable in the area of kayaks. He's one of those crazy waterfall jumping, backflip doing 'yakkers who claims to be able to do cartwheels in a kayak. Dag, I just plan on paddling around some lakes.

So, friends, I hope to be able to tell you all about my new 'yakking setup in my next installment of Rantings. Oh yeah, and about the uber progress I will have made on the porch. In the meantime, start putting your donations together (I prefer my cash bundled) and get that in the mail to me. My goal is to raise a buttload of money, so whatever you can do to help would be appreciated. Maybe all you can afford right now is $500; that's fine, just get me the rest whenever you can.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sucky Day with a Positive Spin

Today sucked! I went to work early, it started sucking immediately. I stayed at work late, it sucked the whole time. Then it started raining as I left work. After dinner I went to Home Depot to get a few things to finally start construction of my porch. They didn't have what I needed, then they closed 10 minutes later. That sucked.

The only good thing to come out of today was that I got to return my bike pump and get a better one. I tried it, it worked, done deal.

In the interest of positive thinking, I have my thoughts on one prize and my eyes on another, a kayak. Here's an equation I hope to bring to fruitiion:




Since all of my pictures are self-portraits and Nano is one of my biggest supporter, I chose this as my "action shot". "The Josh" is a triathlon with paddling, biking and running. Like I said, this is the best action shot I have. We'll see about "The Josh", but it's something to look forward to and a goal to set my sights on. I have to get that #1 first, then train train train (and sing lots of songs with Nanwhores). It would be a blast though from what I've heard. Like my folks always said, we'll see.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day 2006!

Happy Father's Day! I haven't called my father yet, as he's probably in church as I sit here typing. I will, I just haven't yet.

Yesterday I traveled to SPAC to see the Dave Matthews Band show and it was great. We left a little too early and the cops had all of the cars circling in a holding pattern until the lots opened. Once we got in and situated, it was a chill time. We had tons of great food and the car next to us played a good mix of non-DMB music. I don't like when people tailgate listening to the band they're about to go in to see. We didn't have to listen to that, and it was nice.

The show itself was fantastic. I heard some songs I didn't expect them to play, a few new songs I didn't know and it was a rockin' good time! Ha ha, how old did that last sentence make me sound. What I appreciated most was the fact that there weren't any jackasses fighting, shoving and performing other assorted concert faux pas. Last year a few kids got their asses handed to them, rightly so, but during some really chill songs. It was a bummer. This year, no such thing.

One thing I noticed was the widespread consumption of pot during the show. I've been to a number of shows of all types and you always have people smoking, but it seemed like this year people were wilding out. I mean, I saw Willie Nelson last summer and it wasn't that bad. I'm not complaining, just making an observation. Only one kid got busted that I saw, and all they would do was (to use Q-Tip's phrase) "interrupt your cypher and crush your blunt". I thought that was nice of security to be "lenient" on people. Sure, it probably sucked for those people who lost their pot, but they could have been thrown out or arrested.

Afterwards, we chilled in the parking lot and had a snack while everyone else sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to get out 13 seconds faster. Good times. The whole time we sat there, this jackass was emptying all of the garbage out of his pickup truck onto the ground. He then stood leaning on the bumper as if he didn't know what to do next. As we drove by, I took pity on him and asked if his battery was dead. I wasn't keen on taking everything out of my car to get to my cables, but I thought I'd do the right thing and help out if he needed. "Do I look like I'm dead?" he responded in an arrogant drunk tone, befitting his arrogant daddy-bought-me-a-huge-truck-and-the-world-is-here-to-serve-me demeanor. "Okay, you're welcome anyway" I responded and I left his sorry ass standing in the empty parking lot. I secretly hoped the cops who were clearing everyone out would give him a DUI, as he was clearly drunk. Daddy would probably bail him out, but "boy would he be mad".

Okay, I have a couple pictures that I took the other day when I found a caterpillar who had fallen victim to a spider. I dislike both and I'm not sure what to think of this display. My initial thought was that it was just "how spiders roll", but since The Spider King and I have been at war for the last 27 years I think it may have been a warning. See for yourself...

The first picture was taken from inside my screen door on the side of the house. You can see the web and some goo (spilled out of the caterpillar on the bottom right of his body), it's really pretty nasty.

The second shot was from outside the door. What really skeeves me out is that you can see the shriveled up caterpillar carcass, but his eyes are still big and round. Caterpillar eyes must not be tasty to a spider. Is the same true for human eyeballs?

I came home the other night and immediately went to the bathroom to try and remove whatever was in my eye. I was leaned right in on the mirror when I turned on the light and found a huge clear spider inches from my eye. I wasn't wearing protective eyewear or anything, just my naked eye right next to the spider. And I swear he had some sort of cloaking device, because he was damn near transparent. Well, a few dozen squares of Charmin introduced him to his maker.

Okay, that's it for my Father's Day, DMB, spider update. I hope you all get to enjoy the day and the upcoming work week. I'll be a-porch-building, so keep me in your prayers.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A-Bike is A-OK!

As I sit here in my dining room with a cat on my lap, anxiously awaiting the end of the rain I thought I'd drop y'all a line. I was supposed to head out to Stockbridge Bowl (not a football event) to test drive some kayaks. I feel bad, because I know I'm going to end up buying one from EMS and that's not who's sponsoring this demo day. However, I stop feeling so bad when I remember I just dropped a month's pay on a bike two days ago at the store who is sponsoring this event. Guilt Averted!

First, let me tell you I took my new A-bike out for a test ride yesterday and it was a highly eventful trip. First, my bike came complete with one properly inflated tire and one quasi inflated tire. And being a "fancy" bike, it has different valve stems in the tires (the doohickeys that you put that there air intuh) that you're used to. They aren't the same as car tires or American bike tires. I had to buy a pump before I could even ride the sumbitch. No biggie, there's a bike shop around the corner.

As I left the bike shop empty-handed, I was getting frustrated. At this point I had arranged to pick someone up and drive to the Rail Trail, I'm suited up in my riding clothes, I spent forever getting everything together and ready and if EMS doesn't have any pumps it'll all be for naught. When I picked up my friend, I called EMS and confirmed that not only do they carry pumps (the kind I need) but they in fact have one in stock. Out we went.

It wasn't until we were halfway through the mall that I realized, as Adam did when he ate from the Forbidden Fruit, that I was walking through the mall in biking shorts. Well, at least my shirt wasn't lycra.

At EMS, I grabbed a pump, some tire patches (just in case) and checked out. They hooked me up with a coupon for a sale they're having next week. This sale is 20% off your most expensive item, and 15% off the next two items. The dude working there (the same guy who ran the last kayak demo day) put it like this... "Your kayak is 20% off and your paddle and lifevest are both 15% off. Come in as early as you can this day and buy them." Yes sir. I'll be ditching work if I have to.

So off we went with the new bike pump. I pulled my bike down from the roof and attempted to inflate the tire, just as the bike salesman had showed me the day before. I proceded to let all remaining air out of the tire while adding none. Finally, I asked a fellow cyclist to help out. He gave me new directions which also didn't work. At long last he busted out his frame pump (a pump that hooks onto your bike frame for emergencies or when young punks need their tires filled and don't have a functioning pump), got it going and handed it off to me. As it turns out, it takes a lot of oomph to fill a tire to a high enough pressure. I was mildly successful, but able to ride.

That bike is so freaking awesome. I got zero workout going at the pace we were riding and probably could have ridden upwards of 1,000 MPH. At one point I think I even heard the bike groan because it was so bored with my speed. AWESOME! It's not as nimble as I would have liked since my bicycle upbringing has been with BMX and MTB bikes, but I'm sure I'll adjust soon enough.

I have what might possibly be good news to share with all y'all, but I'm not going to out of fear of jinxing myself. You'll just have to wait it out until I know for sure what the dilly is, yo.

Well, I think I should answer the call of nature and head off to test out some kayaks. I'll holler at y'all later.

Oh yeah, I'm going to see Dave Matthews Band today. The Summer of Todd is alive and kicking. Hate all you want, bitches!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Toy Fund is Dwindling

Today is Friday, it's a payday, it's chicken pizza day, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous and I bought a new bike yesterday. If you combine all of those factors, I plan on having today be a great day. That is, aside from the work part.

Last night I headed out to The Arcadian Shop early for my weekly run in Kennedy Park. I went over early to check out some trail shoes, as mine were falling apart rapidly. The guy set me up with a pair (oh man, they are great!) and I had about an hour to kill, so I asked him about bikes. I told him I was thinking about getting a cyclocross bike (not a hybrid like most people think) that would let me ride roads easily but also give me the flexibility to ride dirt roads and even trails if I wanted. He showed me a few that they had, and was of course steering me towards the most expensive one. After fitting me for the frame size, he went downstairs to look for a slightly smaller one and they had one of last year's models in the in-between size he thought I should have. Maybe that was his gameplan to begin with, but it sounded good.

So I stepped onto the bike, sat on it, tested it out on the trainer and they hooked me up with a slightly different stem. I told the guy I was going to have to marinate on it during my run, but I'd be back in afterwards either way. I had a few people I was going to be running with who I could count on to pressure me into buying it, which was what I wanted.

As everyone was showing up, I got the rundown on all of the people who were bagging the run. Damn, those were the people who I was relying on for peer pressure. The one woman I did talk to had the look like she didn't like the idea of the bike. "You'll never be able to keep up with us on that thing" she said, which sounded like it was entirely due to the "knobby" tires. Sure, they aren't road slicks, but they're definitely not MTB tires. Moral of the story, I'll keep up.

For anyone who cares to understand what a cyclocross bike looks like and how it isn't a "hybrid", click this link.

So I bought that mug, threw it on the roof and called it a day. On my way home I saw the most beautiful rainbow coming down in front of a mountain, landing in what looked to be someone's yard - next to a barn. I didn't squint, but I almost think I saw leprochauns. Ooo-weeee.

Okay, that's it. A test ride is in my near future, I'll let you know how it went latah.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I Have a Problem

Hi, my name is Old Coot and I'm a runaholic. I thought it was some I had under control, but last night I realized that I have a real problem with running. I've been trying to take some time off from it lately to give my poor body a rest, but it seems like everyday there's an excuse to be out there.

Yesterday, my plan was to stay in and clean the house/do laundry. I sat down to a bowl of cereal after work when the phone rang; the next thing I know I'm backing down the driveway headed for the woods. The lady I was going to meet had mentioned earlier in the week that I might have a problem because she too had one last summer, and she knew the warning signs. I figured it was something that happens to other people, I could stop any time I wanted. But as I stepped out of the car I realized that my ankles were sore, I could barely straighten my right leg and I had a tightness in my lower back. "Must be getting old" I told myself, but in reality old age has nothing to do with this. I'm an addict.

So we walked a little at first to let me work out the kinks. A few stretches and we were into the woods at a leisurely pace. The plan was to do an easy 4.5 mile figure-8 through Canoe Meadows and call it a day. Canoe meadows is a nature preserve, with well-maintained trails for birdwatchers and wildlife nerds. The cushy trails are gentle on the joints so it was a good easy run. In contrast, the section of road back to her house felt like I had 50 lbs strapped to my back. It just goes to show you (me) the difference surfaces make.

As an aside, I need new trail shoes; mine have had it. The holes in the top are spreading. Oh well, I've put a hurting on them over the last 6-7 months and they've served me well.

Last night after my run I did manage to get some cleaning done. I threw out some crap I've been hanging onto for years for no apparent reason. I've been trying to teach myself that just because I should have a sentimental attachment to something doesn't mean I should keep it. Many times I don't even care about the thing, I just feel like I should care so I hang onto it. That drives me crazy! Last night I threw some of that crap out.

I also whipped through a few loads of laundry and did some power ironing. My pile of WRINKLED shirts left my closet barren and my wardrobe thin. It was time to take the old Black and Decker iron to that shit and get some clothes back. Conveniently "Wednesday Night Fights" was on, so I got to watch some good ole boxing. There's just something manly about standing in your livingroom in your silk shorts, ironing and watching boxing.

One at a time please, ladies. Form a line, please.

That's it, I'm out.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

No Chicks, No Riches, Just Mosquitos

Yesterday was designated as a day of rest for me. I was going to bum around the house, wash my car, clean my filth-hole of a house and so on. Instead I went running with a couple of CRG ladies and some other girl I didn't know (but did wash my car). I think she's on a track/cross-country team that one of the women coaches. I was lured to the run with promises of riches and single women. Technically, this girl may have been single but she also looked to be all of about 16 yrs old, so she didn't count. I received no tangible riches. In summary, I was duped.

So I don't want to brag or anything, but yesterday I was a superhero. Well, I'm not sure the suffix 'hero' applies since I didn't rescue any damsels from pterodactyl attacks, help any old ladies across the street or pluck any cats from precarious tree branches. But akin to superheroes, I whooped some mountain ass.

Our run yesterday took us into Kirvin Park which has a nice, gentle rolling start then BAM! over a mile of steep uphill rocky trail. Plus, to make it worse, you go up and up and up and when you see what appears to be the end of the uphill section, you hang a left and head uphill. This section is extra rocky and treacherous, plus mad steep. Then, you get to the end of this leg, hang a left and head uphill. Surrisly, at this point you've turned roughly 180 degrees and somehow you're still going up. Come to think of it, the uphill section must be more than a mile because the whole run is 7 miles. Hmmm.

Common sense tells you that if you're going uphill and you turn around you should be going downhill, but common sense and physics don't apply to CRG runs. Anyway, I've done this run a few times now and it seems to be longer and steeper every time. But yesterday I was NOT the weakest link. I was tired, drenched in sweat and winded, but I probably could have done it non-stop. The only breaks we took were to wait for people to catch up, and one time we just turned around and ran back to meet them. So there! I'm not trying to brag or anything, but I'm freaking diesel.

Well, after that I sat out in the front yard and had some green and red peppers with horseradish dipping sauce for dinner. The pork roast and jambalaya didn't sound too appealing to me (I've had it for two dinners and two lunches so far) so I wussed out and had a plate of veggies. Plus Strawberry/Blackberry Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert.

Mmm MMM bitch!

Around 9:00 I was DONE. I dozed a little but then got hooked on this PBS show about some journalist in Iraq. His story was pretty interesting, as was what he had to say about the war over there. I'm not going to recap it for you, but let it suffice to say it held my attention. At 10:00 I went to bed and layed there not falling asleep for about an hour and a half. WHAT GIVES?! I was tired, I was laying in bed with the lights off, I wasn't worrying about anything; that was bush league!

So now I'm tired, hungry and itchy. I forgot to mention I didn't wear any bug spray in the trail I lovingly call "Mosquito Alley". I was late and they were waiting for me, so I didn't bother putting any on, a big mistake. At least the silk worms were gone.

Well, that's it folks. I'll holler at you later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pinky Jackhammering

Ooooh doggy! Yesterday was warm and sunny. I went to work early so I could spring out that mug around 3 and it was oh so nice. I could have done anything in the world that afternoon, and I chose to play in the dirt. Sweet. I got the footings poured for the porch so my concrete work is done. But this post today is not about dirt, it's actually something that the ladies might not want to read. Ladies, I'll let you know when you can rejoin the conversation. The beginning of this post is about something personal to guys, and I don't want to skeeve out the ladies. The coast clear?

I was picking my nose last night and I was having a really hard time getting some of the stalagtites loose. Then it dawned on me, when I was emptying the bags of concrete mix, I was certainly getting some of the dust in my nostrils. The end result was me inhaling concrete particles which inevitably turned into concrete boogers. Yum! I did some hearty spelunking last night since blowing my nose wasn't cutting it. This morning, I did a little more pinky-jackhammering to free up a few more stragglers then gave it a good rinsing in the shower. I'm pretty clear now.

Ladies, you can rejoin the conversation.

So, with the footings poured, my next step is to attach the ledger board (the board that attaches the porch to the house) to the house. Once again, this is one of those "do-it-right-the-first-time-because-you'll-be-sorry-if-you-screw-it-up" jobs. The footings were another such task because if I missed the mark, I'd be stuck with misaligned footings. If I screw up the ledger board, I end up with a bunch of extra holes in my house. And as you might imagine, that would suck.

Now, I have a hammer drill which I have used on several occasions to drill into concrete. It has worked well, but in the interest of time I think I'm gonna rent something a little more powerful for this job. Plus, to buy the right bit for my drill would probably cost just as much as renting the better tool. So there you have it.

Tonight is mountainbike night, and of course my bike isn't quite ready to ride. I was planning on bailing out today, but I wanted to do a little more porch planning before I rented any tools so I won't be working on the porch today. Now I just have to get my bike up to snuff before heading out. And someone scheduled a meeting at 3, so I can't leave when I wanted to. Balls!

The clock is certainly ticking on the porch, but I think I still have time. Worst case scenario is I have to take a day or two off of work to finish everything up. Not a big deal in my book. Let's just hope the weather stays nice!

Okay, that's it for today. I'll holler at you all later.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Boo this Weather

Alright, what gives? I mean for real, they claim we've been into the 70's in the past few weeks but that shit must have been at night or something because I never saw it. Today's run in Richmond was cold and wet, weather you'd expect in early November. For real, the car said it was 49 degrees and there was a constant drizzle. Some of us get bummed out when there's no sunshine for a while, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep a smile on my face.

Last night was one of those days when you wish you could crawl under the covers and sleep until the sun came out. I stayed in, watched a movie and fell asleep in my recliner. This morning when my alarm went off, I forgot that it wasn't a work week and did like I usually do; I kept sleeping. Then, it dawned on me that I was supposed to be picking people up for a run so I jumped up, busted my ass to get out the door and got to the meeting house a little early. Phew!

When we started out, we were joined by two guys who went out at 6:30. They ran the same route, just an hour earlier. Feeling good, they joined us for a little while. That little while turned into our entire run, so these guys did around 15 miles this morning. At the end, they were still kicking my ass up and down the hills. I know they've been at it longer than I have, but I still try to keep up. This time, my right hamstring was not having it; I should have held back.

Afterwards I grabbed myself some coffee and a muffin at Juice 'n' Java, read the paper and now I'm psyching myself up to drive out to Sam's Club out in Latham, NY. They closed the "close" one, so now I have more like a 75 minute drive. It's hardly worth it at this point, but it's going to get me out of the house so I guess I don't mind too much. I'm freezing my ass off this morning, and I know a shower would help but I'm not looking forward to getting out of the shower. Plus I'm all scuzzy from running so a shower is pretty much needed, but still.

Well, that's it folks. Life here is pretty blah and I blame the weather. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Staking my Claim

Happy Friday to all my work-a-week friends. This has been a long, dreary week filled to the brim with a lack of motivation and lots of running. You may ask yourself "Self, how can something be filled to the brim with a lack of something?", to which I will answer with "Just read the damn thing and don't analyze it."

Last night was the Thursday Night Run at Kennedy Park. I'm finally starting to feel like a regular. Some of those people have been running together for years, and it's tough for me to join up with a group like that no matter how nice they may be. I don't have the history so I try to work my way in slowly. Going out afterwards certainly helps because it gives me a chance to work my magic on folks. Plus the cute Polish girl (CPG) usually goes out when she runs, so that's a real added benefit.

After running 7 miles of roads with a few killer hills (okay, just one killer hill) on Wednesday, I was afraid I'd be really slow last night. I started off okay and figured I'd let the fast guys get up ahead and I'd hang back with the either the middle or slowest bunch for an easy cruise. Then I got to chatting with CPG so I had to keep up with her pace. I was huffing and puffing - not complaining - the whole time. At the end we finished in just under 47 minutes. My previous ass-busting record was 52 minutes, and before that was 56. It's funny what a little motivation will do. Of course, CPG claimed it was "an okay run" meaning she either held back for me or felt like 47 minutes was too slow and was pretending like she could have done better. It was wicked muddy and slippery so I wouldn't have been comfortable going much faster. Any way you look at it, I've shaved 9 minutes off of a 5-6 mile run and a girl talked to me. WHAT!

At one point, one guy came running up from behind and from seemingly out of nowhere. It turns out he was just watering the trees. He was talking about how his ankle was healing after an injury and how he had gone to see Bob Lee. I had heard of this Bob Lee character before and figured he was a therapist or something. It turns out that Bob Lee is also Dr. Robert Lee, my doctor. It's good to know I have something in common with my Dr. I haven't met him yet - he's really just my doctor on paper - but I'll be sure to play up the running angle with him when I do meet him. Sweet!

Okay, so I talked an awful lot about running. Sorry, it's what I do and I'm a junkie for it. I can tell you that the chicken parm sandwich I had at Cim's Pub was delicious and the chips and pickle that came with it were fantastic. I'm gonna add that place to my Approved Dining Establishment List. The service was a little slow since it's more of a bar than a restaurant but, like I said before, the company was good.

Oh, one last thing. What's the deal with the depressing programming on TV lately? It seemed like every channel I hit was either showing something about divorces, drug addicts or Waiting to Exhale. Is it too much to ask for some comedy? Dag! Plus my back is sore from lifting those concrete bags incorrectly. Oops.

Oh, another last thing. One woman at the run last night was talking about her annual run up Mount Greylock. It's 8 miles up, some quick celebrating at the top, then 8 miles back down. At this point I'm sure I can handle the 8 miles up, but downhill beats the shit out of me. She usually runs it herself, but this year she's looking for company. I have about a month to get into shape for that but I think it would be a good time. I'm looking for sponsorship if anyone's interested in sending me money for apparel or even a bottle of water. 16 miles would certainly require better gear. 6-7 miles isn't a big deal, but once you get much beyond that you really start getting into problems with chafing. Plus I could use one of those belts that holds a water bottle and some energy goo. I'm picky about my gear, so please just send cash.

That's it.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This Title Intentionally Left Blank

I've been trying my damndest not to complain about the weather because it's out of our control and I don't like to dwell on negative things. Thinking negatively has proven to send me on a downward spiral, so I keep my eyes on what's good in the world. With that being said, this weather blows!

So far, our summer here has consisted of Memorial Day Weekend. That was nice, it was a gorgeous weekend complete with warm sunshine and pleasant breezes. Since then, it's barely broken 60 degrees and rained every single day. The forecast for the next week doesn't look any better either. Monday and Tuesday of next week might have something going for them, but then it's gonna shit right back up again before the weekend. Surrisly, can we get a freaking break?

There, got that off my chest.

Yesterday the inspector came out and eyeballed the depths of my postholes. Two minutes later he was on his way and I was cleared to pour concrete. I picked up some material at The Home Depot after work and could have started, but it was raining. I'm not afraid to get wet, but working in the rain is just miserable. I decided I would just have some dinner and go for a run.

During dinner, the doorbell rang. I wasn't expecting any packages so I didn't know what to think. It was HECOW, stopping by on his way somewhere. There's nothing like a fresh set of eyes to really point out everything that's ghetto about your home/situation. The tools and laundry in the kitchen, the piles of mail on the dining room table, the fact that I was eating in the dark, in complete silence. Awesome, bachelorhood at its finest. At least I took the leftovers out of the Gladware® container and heated them up on a respectable plate. Using the table as my bread plate was ghetto, but I had the main course on my last small plate. Eh, I'm a simple guy, what can I say.

During dinner I got a call from a running friend seeking motivation. She claimed to not want to run, but the fact that she picked up the phone and dialed my number (or picked it out of the phone's phone book) said otherwise. We planned to run roads around 7:00, I just had to finish my dinner.

The run was good, I practiced my ChiRunning techniques - which are amazing - and got to do some hill work. The technique I'm working on right now is the basis of ChiRunning form. You really let gravity do the work and just lean to adjust your speed. All your legs do is move to get under you so you don't fall. It sounds simple, but it can be difficult at first. Kids have this down perfectly, but once you grow up and stop running everywhere you tend to run more upright I think because it feels more stable. Anyway, I was working on that (and the other things you have to do to make that happen) and trying to avoid the roadkill.

I watched two hours of Dateline last night and they were re-running a special on online predators. It was pretty disturbing; some of these guys drove hundreds of miles to meet their "prey" and when busted, most admitted to everything. When they left the house, they were all arrested. From what I've found in a brief search, very few are actually ever prosecuted due to red tape and legal roadblocks. Sweet. They weren't going to meet up with 17.5 year old girls, they thought the decoy was 13 or 14. Those dudes have issues. One was a 6th grade teacher!

The end result for me was a less than restful sleep and now I'm irritated that our legal system can't or won't do anything about these guys. Sure, the fact that they were caught and ended up on Dateline probably ruined their lives, but they're free to go out and do it again with no consequences and nothing left to lose. I'm not looking to start a discussion on these wackos, these were just my thoughts.

In other news, tonight is the Thursday Night Run in Kennedy Park. I heard a rumor that it might be cancelled and moved to a road run due to all of the rain we've been having. Trails are fun and all, but the mud might be a little too much tonight. The road run would be out near Tanglewood on the Josh Billings Runaground route. I hear it's a real ballbuster but scenic as a mug and equally fun. Either way is fine with me, I just like to run with other people and I'll run pretty much anything for the company. I'm an accomodating dude.

Oh, I also heard that the Wednesday night, pre-Live on the Lake races have been given the green light. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, we have a live music series here in the summer that's held every Wednesday night at the lake - hence the name Live on the Lake. A few guys with whom I run are organizing races that would be held before the music to try and promote running and get people interested in exercise. It's pretty basic: no t-shirts or corporate sponsorship, just people getting out and running. I think the proceeds will go to support a local girls' running club, so you can feel good about that too. I'll probably try and run a few of them and then help out with a few more.

Well, that's it for now. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Once, Twice, Three Times a Klutz

Good morning loyal readers! It's another rainy one here in the Berkshires, so I guess it's business as usual. Yesterday was dry despite threats of thunderstorms. These weather guys are getting wicked lazy these days; they just put "70 with a 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms" up for a week and go on vacation. I'll tell you what, once I get a kayak it had better be "80 and sunny with a 0% chance of precipitation" at least 5 days out of every week. Wishful thinking I know, but a fella can dream.

Last night's mountainbiking excursion was another winner. My new tires performed beautifully although they did pick up a lot of mud. The new clipless pedals were a real treat as well, although I'm still working out some of the finer details. And by finer details I mean how to get out of them without falling to my death.

The first stop I made was an eye-opener because I wasn't paying attention. Once I realized I was attached to the bike, I quickly recovered and my foot popped right out. The next few times I was A-OK, but realized I was always unclicking with my right foot. That wasn't going to do me any good in an emergency when I needed to unclick my left foot first, so I decided to concentrate on using that foot as much as possible.

The first time I tried to dismount with my left foot was on a rocky uphill where I was waiting for someone to catch up. "Let me just rest my foot here on this here ..." SLAM! I broke my fall with some rocks to the forearm, but no real damage. It was a real slow-mo fall.

Lesson learned: remember to twist your foot, don't try to slide it off the pedal.

The next time I tried to stop was at another rocky intersection, with similar results. After that one, I practiced a few times to get the feel for twisting out of the pedal. "There, I think I've got it".

I didn't have it. Lesson not learned.

At the end of the ride I crossed the street into the parking lot, right up behind my car. As I slowed to a halt I gently (read roughly) placed (slammed) my forearm on the rocky ground. For those of you who weren't counting, that's three times I plummetted to the rocky ground - each time from a standstill. Real smooth move, Ex-Lax.

I will say that I had a couple of close calls in the mud, and the pedals actually made it easier to pull myself out. With your feet firmly attached to the bike, you get power throughout the entire rotation of the pedal, which means on the upstroke too. Grinding your way through mud and rocks just got a while lot easier.

Oh, I also climbed my way over a huge downed tree for the first time. Let me tell you, that's fun. Where you would normally have to stop, dismount (or fall on your forearm) and walk the bike around/over the log I am now able to just ride right over that sumbitch. I have to give credit where credit is due though. The new tires added about 1/4 of my new log clearing capability, the pedals another 1/4, my stunning good looks added the third 1/4 and the raw power unleashed by my chiseled physique gave me the last 1/4. The new shorts probably added a little, but I think their contribution was that they kept me arse from tiring, plus they really contributed to the third quarter - my stunning good looks.

The caterpillars are STILL out there, but not nearly as bad as last time. During one of the more technical downhills (and by technical I mean downhill and turning) I caught a hitchhiker to the face. The bastard dangled from my visor and blocked my view of the trail. Shaking my head side-to-side served only to slide my helmet into an uncomfortable, view-blocking position as well. I was forced to stop (but not fall). Jebus, when will you take these devil-spawned air mines away?

OH, I also forgot to mention the kickass views we saw. Up at the "top" we climbed a hill and you could see clear to NY in one direction and clear to somewhere else in the other. I wish I had my camera (although it would have certainly been broken with all the falling). Berkshire mountains, why must you be so scenic?

Well, since nothing in this world is free I would like to request that anyone who enjoys reading about my (mis)adventures send a monetary donation to me. I'm also willing to accept a kayak (a late model Pungo 1200 is preferred), kayaking equipment (also only good stuff) and/or a Barrecrafters US-212 kayak attachment for my roofrack. These donations are not tax deductible at this time, and never will be unless I become a real charity case, but don't let that deter you. If you're sending money, please just send cash in small bills (no larger than a $20 bill, but lots of them) so we can keep in under the table.

You've heard it here folks. And with that, I'm gone.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Devil-Day Update

Today is June 6th, 2006 (6/6/06) so be careful what you do. That's all I'm gonna say about that. What I am gonna say is that I wrote an awesome post yesterday only to have it lost in the ether somewhere. I stopped writing my blogs in MS Word and then pasting them because Blogspot seemed to be failproof. I had the whole thing finished yesterday, was proofreading it, went to lunch, came back and the freaking thing was gone! BALLS!

I'll summarize yesterday's post, but you won't get the links to pictures of pterodactyls or descriptions of "the new chick" who ran with us Sunday. Okay, I did put in the link. Here's what I did on Sunday:

  • Ran in Richmond with a few people. It's such a nice run, dirt roads through a ruralesque area. The air raid siren at 9:00 set off the dogs at the Beagle Farm (seriously, it's a farm for beagles) and it sounded like a pterodactyl attack.
  • Used the rain-free day to mow the lawn and whack the weeds. Damn my lawn is nice.
  • Set to work on the second of two porch footing holes.
  • Finished the second porch footing hole in 45 minutes, slightly faster than the 3 days the first one took.
  • Got smoked in the head by my 45-pound digging bar - that really, REALLY hurt. I managed to not swear.
  • Ate some lupper (lunch/supper).
  • Test-drove some kayaks, now I want one really badly. I'm gonna test drive a few more when they have the next demo day, then I will buy one.
  • Chatted with the folks, my dad's sick again. Kids: smoking is bad for you!

So there you have it.

Last night I went to the Red Cross for a good old-fashioned blood donation. Actually, it's new-fashioned because they have some fancy new techonology almost every time I go. I think I set a personal best with 5 minutes between the time she tapped that "juicy vein" (as she called it) and I finished with my pint. Damn, I should have stayed for another at that rate. A few freshly made cookies and some shortbread later and I was good to go.

When I got home, I had my new bike toys waiting for me. Instead of eating dinner, I installed my new pedals and tires (or tyres as you wacky Brits call them), adjusted my brakes practiced clipping and unclipping into/out of the pedals. I'm a little nervous about clipless pedals because you are ATTACHED to the bike. I'm deathly afraid of breaking my shoulder or arm or neck. Once you get used to them, I guess they're a breeze but there is a definite learning phase.

I also tried on my new cycling shorts. I hate to say it, but I think they're too loose. Is it possible for cycling shorts to be too loose? Historically, they aren't known for their baggy fit. Plus these fit like "mom-pants", halfway up my torso. I think that's so you don't sport plumber's crack while you're riding, but they looked goofy when I first put them on. Today will be the maiden voyage for my new gear, how exciting!

Since I gave blood yesterday, I didn't want to push it by riding my bike or running, so I went for an afterdinner stroll (I eventually ate a sandwich). It was fairly uneventful save the rottweiller who took a fancy to me. He was in a fenced-in yard, but could have easily hopped the fence and eaten me. After that, I kept my eyes peeled for an escape route should I encounter any more dogs.

I hate dogs! Maybe once I take up kayaking I can relax; I doubt there are a lot of loose dogs in the lakes around here.

After my walk, I sat down with some ice cream and watched "The New Adventures of Old Christine", starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Elaine" from Seinfeld). That show is really pretty good and I'm not ashamed to say it. I think Julia has broken the Seinfeld curse and has landed herself a successful role in a sitcom.

Well folks, that's all I have for you today. I'll let you know what happened with the ride tonight so you can enjoy the out-of-doors through me.

Over and Out,

Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Don't Give Me No Flack

How's is shaking homebizzles and homegizzles? I'm sitting here in bed typing because my run was cancelled this morning due to rain. Normally, running in the rain is okay - and I still might go by myself - but it was really coming down and would have just been a chore. Considering how late I was up last night, I was kind of glad to be able to stay home and chill.

Last night I went out with the 'COWs and Snicky. We grabbed some good ole dinner at The Heritage, threw some darts, played some foosball and headed out to see a band. This place was jam packed with crunchies! As you walked in, you were alerted to the presence of crunchy types by the incense burning at the door. Aside from crunchies, there were gads of jail bait, and these hoes knew it. Why is teen pregnancy such a problem in Berkshire County? Because these sluts are out getting drunk with hippies. A few were easy on the eyes, but you can't tell how old they are without asking for a few forms of government ID.

Another wonderful addition to the scene was a gentleman I dubbed "Flack Jacket". He's also known as "Parachute Dude", "Helicopter Guy" and "That Crazy Dude from La Cos". For those of you who might not know this fine upstanding member of society, he can ALWAYS be seen wearing full camo, a bullet-proof vest and a huge knife strapped to his hip. Occasionally - probably when the shit hits the fan - he'll be sporting the helicopter pilot helmet. Yeah, wearing the helmet at a bar, on the street or even at the park. WAAACCKKKOOOOO!

So anyway, this guy is definitely unstable. He's got that look like at any moment he's gonna break that empty beer bottle he's been pretending to drink for the last three hours on the bar and start slicing some jugulars. I kept my eye on him, but did NOT make eye contact.

Other than the jail bait and Flack Jacket the place was pretty chill. The band was your typical local hippie jam band, with a little added funk. They put on a good show and a good time was had by all. We hung for a few hours then hit the road for some chicken wings.

As we pulled into the roundabout at Patrick's (not to be confused with a proper traffic circle), everyone scoped for a parking spot. BAM, backup lights went on so I stopped and put my car in reverse. As the other person pulled out, someone bush leagued my spot. The drunk ladies in the car felt they should holler at the guy who was certainly going to the same place that we were, never a good choice on a Friday night. Someone was gonna catch a shiv to the ribs. We parked on the next street, went in and got our order on.

A few minutes later, the guy came over to apologize and buy the next round. He insisted. Ahh, a decent person makes things right. Buddy, if you read this (and I'm sure you don't), thanks again.

That was about it. Everyone (save yours truly) was drunk as a skunk and had a good time. My faith in humanity was restored, and Flack Jacket didn't knife anyone. A perfect evening in the Pitt.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, June 02, 2006

I Told You So

Boy, I had some real ball-busters for comments yesterday. As promised, I re-googled the word 'Placatan' and it came up with the picture you see here. If you would like a closer look, feel free to click on it. My conclusion on this matter: PlacaTAN!

I don't have a lot to talk about today so I'll see what I can do to come up with a few items of monology.

Item 1: I ordered some stuff for my bike yesterday. I've been saving for a road bike for a long time now, and since I've started mountainbiking I haven't found a need for one. So I broke down and bought myself some toys to make riding more enjoyable. For starters, I got some clipless pedals. Those are the ones that - despite the name 'clipless' - clip into your shoes. With the power biking I've been doing, my feet keep slipping off the pedals leaving me with huge gashes down the back of my leg (see the other day's post).

I also noticed when I started riding this year that my tires are pretty shot. There seems to be a good amount of tread left, but the rubber is cracking in what looks like your basic case of dry rot. This is a recipe for disaster in my book, plus they aren't very good tires to begin with. So I got some hot new tires for my riding pleasure, both come highly rated and are specific for front/rear wheels. Neat!

Lastly, I ordered some shorts. I have a pair of cycling shorts with the baggy look. They work fine and dandy, but are just too much short on hot days; the two layers is just too much. So we'll see how these other ones work out, and if they're decent I'll consider some more.

Since it's now taken me two days to put this post together, I'll add that I after work yesterday (Friday) I went and picked up some shoes to go with the new pedals. You need actual cycling shoes, so I scooped up a pair at Arcadian Shop. They were slightly more than I was looking to spend, but I've had the money for so long I figured I might as well spend it. Plus I have a feeling there is a difference between the cheap, entry level shoes and the better, more expensive shoes. Now I just have to wait until Monday when my shipment gets in and I'll be riding in style. Booyeah!

Item 2: These mosquito bites are out of control. I itch from head to toe. I have bites all over my legs, arms, back, even some on my forehead, head-head, next to my eye, the back of my neck, e'erwhere. At least the sunburn has gone away so itching those isn't a double-edged sword.

Item 3: I have bruises all over that I don't recall getting. Now that my drinking days are over, I can't blame that. My only guess is that I'm so diesel I can withstand a beating without even flinching. My tender, juicy skin on the other hand bruises up in response. Damn, why must my skin be so luscious?

That's all I got for ya. Let's hope this rain ends soon so I can get back to work on my porch.

Over and out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Plagued by Plagues

Good morning comraderinos and comraderinas. I think the Northeast has been feeling a little ignored what with all the hurricanes and whatnot going on in other parts of the country. Then, to top it off we had that weak ass showing of a winter (with which I was very happy). So this spring we're being inundated with whopping thunderstorms. And caterpillar storms. It's like two of the seven plagues at once.

I rode my bike into work yesterday despite claims of afternoon thunderstorms. They said the same thing on Tuesday so I drove, but it didn't rain until later so yesterday I said "eff it" and rode in. It was a good call, as the rain didn't come until almost 9:00 and even then it was mostly off to the Wesside. But I'm not here to talk about thunderstorms, I'm here to complain about those freaking caterpillars.

Yesterday's run in Kirvin Park started around Humid:30. I rode home from work, changed into some yardwork clothes, dug a hole and freed that poor rock from it's shallow grave. You may recall the rock that has been the bane of my existence the last few days. This bastard was just low enough that I couldn't get two hands on it, but not deep enough that I could just ignore it. Yesterday I gave up on trying to keep my digging neat and tidy and just went to town on that ish. I was able to tip the rock up on end and put a steel cable around it. After a few tries, I managed to hoist that sumbitch out of the hole.

PlacaTAN, you rocky bastard.

After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. I had to loosen the dirt with the pinch bar since it got pretty clay-ey towards the bottom, but that was a welcome reprieve from the ass-whooping the rock gave me. When all was said and done, I had spent about an hour digging yesterday. That was just enough time to get soaked head to toe in sweat, expend all of my energy, and put me in a foul mood (the heat/humidity always seems to get to me). I cooled down in the basement while cleaning up and was good to go.

Interjection: if you Google 'placatan', you'll find that I am the number one hitter. That's what I'm talking about, bitches.

At 5:00 my alarm went off signaling it was time to get a move on. I changed my clothes, hopped on my bike and shuffled off to Kirvin Park. We have a strict 10-minute rule where, you guessed it, if you're more than 10 minutes late you get left. Not wanting to get left behind I hustled over there. Let me tell you, I was real glad I spent so much energy getting to the park (note my sarcasm).

There were two new (to me) women on yesterday's run. As it turned out, one of them lives approximately one stone's throw from my house. And get this, her house is the same as mine. Somehow I have to get myself invited over there to scope the joint out. I imagine hers is better, but I secretly hope that it's dated and boring. Plus she's hot (but married) and has a 27-yr-old sister. I'll be building that porch with my shirt and pants off now!

Okay, so the run was absolutely miserable for the first 5 miles. Being in the woods, I had those damned caterpillars with which to contend, along with their associated rappelling lines. But in addition there were roughly two gazillion mosquitos. They pretty much left you alone, but god forbid you had to slow to a walk or stop and wait for people to catch up, they swarmed like piranhas on a sirloin steak. Plus, my skin is so tender and juicy they had a waiting list to dine at the Coot Cafe.

Somehow I was always up front which meant I always had to stop and wait at intersections. Between the heat, humidity, caterpillar strings and mosquitos I was nearing my wit's end. I tried not to complain too much because nobody likes a whiner, but every once in a while I just had to let out a scream to vent. Fortunately the downhill section was much less buggy and much less uphill so I was able to simmer down (Summer, Donna) on the way out. Ahhhh.

After that, it was into the shower then off to the G-rocery store. My fridge looked like your stereotypical bachelor's fridge, minus the Coors Lite and moldy cheese. The freezer is jam packed, but the fridge had next to nothing. By the time I got home and sat down to dinner it was 9:00 and I was B-E-A-T. I picked up some California Rolls (sushi) for dinner knowing there was no way I was going to cook after shopping. They tasted delicious and I washed them down with some delicious milk. Then I jacked up some Soy Delicious icecream. A perfect cooldown for a perfect day!

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