Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bunk Neck

It's that time of the week again. What time? The middle. For those of us on a 9/80 schedule it's almost like Thursday since we have Friday off, but that doesn't make it any better.

Jacked My Neck

Last night I was making my way around the local high school track when I noticed a slight twinge in my neck. I made a mental note of it and moved on. A few laps later I noticed the twinge was becoming less and less slight, and ultimately it started to tighten up and form a knot. I was having a great run and didn't want to stop, but eventually the pain won out and I had to walk.

Today I'm piling on the Aleve, massaging the knots and drinking plenty of water. I can only hope it goes away quickly because, well, it sucks.

After my neck tightened up I tried to think of what I could have done to aggravate it. I settled on all the driving I had done over the weekend. The Lesbaru has a horrible seat, and I frequently have a sore back after long trips. That must have been it.

Well, maybe it was when I watched a movie with my neck craned around so I could lounge sideways on the couch. Oh, or maybe it was the foreign pillows I used at my parents' house. Hmm, maybe it was when I fell asleep in my own bed with the pillows stacked up too high. Geez, maybe it was when I really overdid the abs workout Monday night.

Yeah, it has to be one of those. I'm leaning towards the driving because it's not something I can change. I'd hate to think it was something I did to my self.

No Dibs were harmed in the entweakening of my neck.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Return Trip

As promised, I'm back one more 'gain to holler at y'all 'bout my return trip this weekend. So here it goes...

I was Eggsnecstatic

It took us a few days to pull it off, but we finally got out to breakfast on Sunday morning. I got the call moments after putting some Grands cinnamon rolls into the oven; I'd have to eat those quickly to be ready for breakfast.

If you haven't had Grands for breakfast, you really should. No, they're not good for you and yes, you will immediately get fat after eating them, but they're wicked good. My family has them on holidays and they're such a treat. Knowing that soon after the Turkey Trot I will be diving into a hot, tender cinnamon roll makes it just a little bit easier to get psyched up for 10 miles (because I'm a junkie and have to run it both directions) in the 34-degree rain.

Anyway, after my second round of Grands in a weekend, I got scooped up by Dom to go get some breakfast. We rolled just outside of the 'lo to The Original Pancake House where half of Williamsville had convened for Sunday brunch. Oops. Fortunately we had some rough riders with us who were able to mean mug and ice grill us to the front of the line in next to no time. Yeah, we got Wesside on them suburban bitches.

The payoff came when the waitress rolled up with our breakfasts. The ultimate goal of the weekend (and most weekends that involve Dom and Buffalo Dan) was to get eggsnextowe (eggs next to we). The first person form is eggsnextome (eggs next to me), second person is eggsnextothee and the plural as you've seen, is eggsnextowe. And you know there ain't no tellin' what the side effects could be. Next time I'm gon' have two om-e-lettes or three.

Speaking of the waitress, man was she dull. First of all, we had to pour our own water until she caught us, then she insisted on doing it for us lest she should be fired. Wanted your coffee refilled? You better be prepared to wait. Ordered the smoked ham with glazed eggs breakfast? She was blown away when you said you wanted your eggs "glazed", as if that idea never crossed her mind.

In the end, I was in eggsnecstacy. The eggs, ham and pancakes were mingling nicely with the cinnamon roll and I would soon be ready for my return trip.

Hittin' the Highway

Shortly after 1:00, with the Bills sufficiently losing already, I packed up the Lesbaru Lesbacy with my bounty of goods and hit the road. I'll have to get into the bounty another time as it's more than I can cover here.

By 1:45 or so I was cruising carefree, eastward bound on the NY Thruway. I found the Bills game on 97 Rock and listened until I was out of range. The traffic was a little heavy, but it was a holiday weekend and I was sure it would thin out once I got away from the city.

At 3:45 (I know this because I wrote it down) traffic slowed from a comfortable 72 MPH to a less-than-comfortable 0 MPH. We then spent the better part of an hour in a clutch burning stop-and-go quagmire. At 3:50 we passed a dead deer and traffic sped up to 3rd gear range (20-ish MPH). "Wow, all that for just a deer" I thought to myself.

Nope, false alarm.

We continued the inchworm pace until 4:03 when we passed a young mother in a minivan pulled off to the side of the road. She must have had half a dozen small children in the car with her and from my perspective it looked like she was feverishly changing a diaper. Shit-tay. "Well, this must have been the problem. Here we go."

Wrong again.

At 4:12 we sped up to cruise control speed, only to slow to 26.2 MPH three minutes later. It was probably not exactly 26.2 MPH, but an old Nissan in the lane next to me had a 26.2 sticker on his bumper signifying his Marathon achievement. We were going roughly that speed, so I noted it in my notebook.

At 4:18 we passed a black BMZ 328i with obvious internal distress. The hood was opened, the owner was on his mobile telephone and traffic sped up a little. Nope, that's not the cause. By 4:23 we were back to a halt. It was here that I noted the bumper sticker on another neighboring car that read "Quagmire Accomplished" and had a picture of W on it. I thought it was funny that we were in a bit of a stalemate ourselves.

Ten minutes later we were moving again at a steady 3rd gear speed. I was hesitant to shift into 4th lest I should jinx us, but we seemed to be at least moving steadily.

At 4:51 we passed a 3-car pileup on the westbound side of the Thruway. Our side was in no way impeded by the wreck or ensuing police and emergency response frenzy. In fact, by the time we got there the cars had been pulled off the road and everyone seemed to be casually chatting on his/her mobile telephone. So the cause of my hour plus holdup was people's need to rubberneck. Damn I hate that.

I rolled into the Pitt around 7:45PM, over an hour later than anticipated. The Patriots game was on at 8:00 so I swung by the old Shamrock for a few tonics and wings and watched the Pat's ease one by Philly. Around midnight I was unloading the car, feeding the cats, brushing my teeth and calling it a night.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tales from the Trail

Well, I got home last night from the long weekend in Buffalo. As usual, I stayed too long and was driving across NY State during peak across-NY-State-driving hours. Added to this was the accident I would crawl by later in the day. But for now, I want to add a few little stories from my trip out to the 'lo that I forgot to mention.

Lot Two-Stepping

I pulled into a parking spot at a rest stop, and was walking across the lot to the building and noticed a humorous phenomenon. Whenever a car's backup lights would come on, nearby pedestrians would instinctively perform a little parking lot hustle or shuffle, depending on the person. In a busy lot you could see the same person or group of people (in unison) performing this little shuffle several times en route to the building, taking what appeared to be short intermissions to walk. I'm sure the people didn't know this was happening, it's all built into our genetic code. The next time while you're performing a shuffle of your own, keep your eyes on your fellow pedestrians.

Thank You, Come Again

Another strange phenomenon that I noticed while entering and leaving the rest stop was the politeness with which everyone treated one another. I always hold doors for people, and thank those who do the same for me. In our "Me first" society that's not always the case.

However, this trip I noticed that everyone was holding doors for everyone else. It was almost like that movie Pay It Forward where you do something nice for someone and in return they're supposed to do something nice for others. There was also a continual exchange of Pleases and Thank Yous.

At the risk of sounding sexist, I generally find that women do not thank us men often enough. Yes, we're bound by our extra chromosome to hold doors for the fairer sex, but the least our chromosomally challenged counterparts can do is acknowledge the act. This weekend I found that everyone was holding doors, everyone was saying 'thank you' and everyone was saying 'you're welcome'. My mind was blown.

To you ladies out there who appreciate having the door held for you and take it one step further and thank the holder, I say "You're welcome, any time."

Just Here to Freshen Your Air

You know those damn automatic air fresheners in public restrooms? The ones that release a doo-doo enflowering scent after every plop? Well, those things eventually run out and need to be replaced.

During a #1 visit to the men's room, I had assumed my position at the pisser and was dutifully facing the tiles direction in front of me. I heard a muttering voice and the telltale "PSST PSST PSST" of an air freshener. I couldn't stand it, so I slowly turned my head - taking care to keep my eyes above waist level - and saw the restroom attendant walking the length of the aisle of stalls spraying eau d' deuce-fleur over his head.

Having completed my task, I walked over to the sinks and was met with a tear-jerking, convulsion-inducing fog of poop covering air freshener. I noticed another gentleman rubbing his eyes and coughing, victimized by the same fog. I can still taste that stench.

The only thing I could think of was that the muttering restroom attendant was instructed to "Replace the men's room air fresheners", so he did just that. He manually performed the task of the air fresheners. I can only imagine what his hands must smell like.

Oh, here's the excerpt from my notebook detailing the incident:

The guy who replaced the automatic air fresheners... Not that he put in new ones, but performed their roles w/a little too much enthusiasm, blinding restroom patrons and offending our olfactory and (taste) senses.

I intended to replace (taste) with the appropriate word for the sense of taste: gustatory.

Okay, I'm going to stop here for now. I have another story or two from my return trip, but I'll hit you up with that later. I don't want this getting too out of control or those of you in Readerland with short attention spans might change the channel.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

This will be a short one since I just wrote the post I was supposed to write back on Wednesday. I planned to write about things for which I am thankful, but instead I'm just going to talk about the Turkey Trot.

Another Record Year

Each year the Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot sets another record or two. As the longest continually run road race in America (longer than the Boston Marathon), each year it beats the record it set the previous year. Also, it's growing popularity continually sets a growing record of entrants every year. The first year I ran it (2004), there were roughly 5,500 entrants. The following year was about the same. Then last year we came roaring in with over 8,200. This year, the total reached 8,720 registered runners and walkers. From the results, not all of those who started finished and from the weather I'm guessing not all who entered started.

Race Report

It was 34 and rainy when I left my parents' house donning my new running jacket, a pair of grey shorts and my trademark red Nike baseball hat. I left my car at Delaware Park, ran the 1.25 miles to the starting line as a warm-up and found my place at the front of the mob. From my experience, nobody lines up by ability except the guys at the front. Since I've been training pretty hard for this race, I felt that was where I belonged so I pushed and shoved my way up to the front of the pack. Not the front-front, but only a few people deep. I was lined up between the 5:00 and 6:00 milers (not where I truly belonged). I would then spend the next two miles passing people who were even less qualified to start that far up.

By the time the race started the rain had all but let up. We had a strong tailwind and the streets were flooded in places. Unlike years past, the crowds that gathered on the sidelines were thinner and less enthusiastic. I still cheered for them and thanked the volunteers for coming out and helping. My fellow front runners were apparently too businessey to follow suit, and they looked at me funny when I screamed in the underpasses. What the hell is wrong with those people? You always scream in underpasses!

As I passed the spot where my parents were going to be I noticed that they were not there. My superior training had apparently propelled me there too quickly and they had not been able to make the 5 minute walk to the corner yet. That corner was close to the 3 mile mark, which is coincidentally close to the 3.1 mile mark, AKA the first 5k. My plan was to break 20 minutes in the first 5k, then do whatever I could for the final 3k. My stretch goal was 32:30 for the entire race, a 6:30/mile pace.

Upon downloading the results from my watch, I found that I was 26 seconds shy of my 5k goal and 28 seconds shy of my overall goal. Not too shabby methinks, since they were both tough goals. Also, I never saw the 2 mile flag, so I didn't know if I was on track until I hit the 3 mile mark, when was too late to break 20:00. Oh well, there will be other races. I can make all the excuses I want, but ultimately I can only blame myself for not being ready.

But How'd You Do Overall?

Since you asked, I'll give you my overall results for the race. Recall that there were 8,720 registered entrants. Some people who registered probably didn't show, and some who showed probably didn't register. The newspaper claimed the field was nearly 9,000 people deep.

Anyway, I finished in 270th place in 32:58. That means that while 269 people finished ahead of me, I finished ahead of roughly 8,450 people! I also placed 14th out of 311 guys in my age group, putting me in the 95.5th percentile! What whaaaat!

The Cooldown

After finishing the race (where I smoked some punk who thought he could pass me with half a mile to go) I hit up the Convention Center for a bottle of water and a banana, searched in vain for Dom who promised to be there to trip me at the finish line, and headed back along the race course to my car.

By the time the race finished, the temperature had dropped the few degrees necessary to turn the rain into snow and the wind had turned from bitter into biting. If you recall, there was a strong tailwind during the race which means there was a headwind going back. Sufficiently sweaty from the Convention Center, I suffered for a mile or so until I warmed back up. Along the way I took the opportunity to stop and cheer for the people still running. I got a few cheers back and a few of my favorite "Let's Go Buffalo!" cheers, the cheer commonly heard at local sporting events.

Point of Reference

This is mostly for me when I'm re-reading these posts while compiling notes for my memoirs. My first running of the Turkey Trot back in 2004 took 51:12 at a pace of 10:18/mile. The gun time was over 56 minutes, but there was some walking to be done before we got to the starting line. This year I was almost back to my car in that same amount of time. I think if I don't break 6:00 miles next year I'll be disappointed. I've been training hard and I'm still improving in leaps and bounds, so I think that's a fair goal.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Westward Bound

Happy Tri-Centennial. This is our 300th Issue of The Rantings of an Old Coot.

Wednesday morning I awoke to my alarm, lounged in bed in the knowledge that all I had to do today was pack up for the weekend, get the cats ready, run a quick errand or two and go into autopilot for a few hours. At the end of all that I'd be in Buffalo casually relaxing for a few days, eating Thanksgiving dinner and running a Turkey Trot.

The Check Engine Light

Let me set the stage for you. It's November 21st, 11:00 AM and I just stopped to top of the ole gas tank before driving for 6 hours. According to my odometer I've traveled a hair over 4 miles when, wouldn't you know it, the check engine light (CEL) comes on. I'll be damned. From what I understand the CEL is almost always en emission issue, so short of creating a little more pollution (maybe I'll get one less mile per gallon, which over 12 gallons is not a problem) and spending a few extra cents driving out to the 'lo it's not a big deal. BUT, my inspection is up in December (9 days away) and it'll fail if the CEL is on. Excellent! There will be no putting this damn task off.

A few miles down the road it dawns on me that when I topped off the gas tank, the gas cap just didn't feel quite right. I pulled over at my earliest convenience, took the cap off, put it back on real good and hoped for the best. The light would never go off for the entire drive, but those things can take a while. I was not overly worried.

At a rest stop I took a few moments to jot down the details of my trip so I would remember to pass them along to all y'all and I noticed that the last thing I wrote in my little notebook was P0031 - the fault code from the last time my CEL was on.

In-Car Snacks

With little more than an orange Check Engine Light, the occasional tail light and the dirt on my glasses to look at, I passed the time by looking into other people's cars and judging them. DVDs playing? Bad parents. Radar detector? Scofflaw. Navigation system? Directionally challenged. Nevermind that I have a radar detector and navigation system, that's not important. What I found to be the most fun was seeing what people eat while driving.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the standard in-car snacks: coffee, huge slices of pizza, Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, and so on. I myself had pretzels, bananas, apples and a granola bar. Nothing funny about those things. Then there was the woman who came swerving out of a rest stop. I thought for sure she was trying to stir a coffee or eat soup, but she was not. Of all things to be eating A) while driving and B) on a cold November day, she had a big ass ice cream cone.

If you've ever eaten an ice cream cone, you're probably well aware of the mess it can make if you don't stay on top of it. Add the fact that she's probably got the heat blasting, and it was a recipe for disaster. Chuckling in amazement to myself, I then proceeded to drink from my 32 ounce wide-mouth Nalgene bottle which, under the most controlled circumstances, is a freaking mess. How I managed to keep from pouring it down the sides of my face I'll never know.

Race Packet Pickup

Before ending my trip at the family homestead, I stopped by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) to pick up my race packet for the morning's Turkey Trot. By this time it was pouring rain out, and I was quite drenched by the time I got into the building. I waltzed up to the table for last names G-L, announced myself and received my timing chip and bib number. She asked if I would like a small or extra large t-shirt, to which I replied 'No'. I would have actually preferred a medium, but I was SOL. I took a small, thinking if it didn't fit well I could at least wear it under something. Like the pile of Red Cross t-shirts I've received over the years, an XL would never be worn.

Passing by the racks of discounted running gear for sale by Runner's Roost, I nabbed a jacket I've been eyeing for years. It was 50% off which put it down to a reasonable splurge for yours truly. In the morning, it proved a welcome addition to my running wardrobe since it was the only sleeved windbreaker I had. Excellent!

When I got home I dug through my race bag to collect all of my goodies. Usually these bags are stuffed with granola bars, strange jelly bean style food supplements, and coupons. Apparently mine had already been pawed through, leaving me with only the latter - coupons for shit I don't need. Oh yeah, hair bands for my close-cropped hair. Excellent.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

High Living, Cold Temps

Well, here we are again at the end of the week. I've been saving up some tender anecdote morsels for all of you so I could drop them all on you at once. Also, before I start I'd like to mention that this is my 299th post here at Blogger. I don't have anything special planned for #300, but maybe something good will happen today.

Fog Rolls In

It was midweek and I was drearily driving into work, running through the normal list of reasons why I might be able to play hooky. As usual, it really just came down to "I just don't want to go", which is not a valid reason.

Anyway, as I cruised down East St., surrounded by the dilapidated buildings, empty restaurants and railroad tracks something better caught my eye. I looked above the urban blight to the mountains. The sun had just begun to peek over the top of the mountains, and it looked as if someone was pouring fog down into the valley. The mountainscape was a mixture of grey, green, and the deep orange of early morning sunlight.

I find it interesting how seldom we look up above our day-to-day lives to see the greater picture. The mountains are frequently my refuge from real life, and that morning it felt like they were up there yelling "Hey Old Coot, come for a visit." I haven't found myself out there yet, but maybe after I finish writing.

Busting Up and Busted Up

Yesterday morning HECOW and I took a ride up to J&BC's house to help JC split some firewood. Armed with our new work gloves from Walfart and a pair of coffees from Starbucks (yeah, we're both ghetto and high class in one stop) we headed up into them there hills. The wind was howling, and there were signs of snow; a perfect day to be outside handling downed trees.

The first two trees we were to split were on the far side of a muddy, muddy section of the yard. Within minutes I had found the muddiest part, sinking up past my ankle into the mire. We hauled the remains of those trees out to the driveway and I loaded the wheel barrow while HECOW ran the splitter.

As I picked up a couple of freshly split pieces, another piece ever-so-gingerly glanced off my thumb nail. It was cold out, so it hurt like a sumbitch, but over the course of the day it continued to throb. This morning I still can't work zippers and buttons, and just hitting the space bar is mildly unpleasant. But for some reason there's something manly about being out in the cold and mud, hauling logs, making firewood with a hydraulic splitter and coming home with a blackening thumb nail.

Just to make sure we felt plenty manly, BC (JC's wife) brought us out a thermos of hot cocoa and fed us roasted chicken with potato and asparagus salad for lunch.

Burger (Spice)

Just to keep things out of order, I'm backing up to Thursday night, and the dinery where we ate after the Thursday Night Run - Burger (Spice). For the locals who know about Spice, this is their latest addition and it's fantastic. While it's slightly pricier than other burger joints, I can see myself frequenting their menu. While I forgot to order the eggplant fries, the chef slid one into my order of regular fries anyway. I highly recommend them, they're awesome!

The Penguin Club

As usual, The Colonial scheduled me to volunteer for a show, didn't tell me directly, and I found out the day before. Oh yeah, and they scheduled me for shows two nights in a row. Then when I got there in my black and white volunteer getup, I wasn't even on the list. On the up side, Arlo Guthrie was performing and it was definitely worth seeing.

They had me acting as a greeter, which in my mind is a "Welcome to Walmart" position. I asked the head volunteer and he confirmed my fears. I was supposed to welcome every patron ("Welcome to The Colonial"), and help direct them to their seating area. Additional ushers would take over from there. Well, if you hate Walmart greeters (the position, not the people) as much as I do, you'll understand why I did not greet everyone. If they made eye contact, I'd welcome them and ask if they knew where they were headed, but that was it.

Once the show started and the stragglers had been seated, the volunteers were allowed to go sit in the audience. We aren't allowed to sit just anywhere, but the theater isn't so big that there are any bad seats. Because Arlo is a local favorite (he lives right here in the Berkshires), the show was sold out and we had to find seats in the gallery.

The first thing I noticed about the gallery, besides the fact that it's above the balcony, is that it's stadium seating. I was also quick to note that in many places the domed ceiling had a closer seat than I had, but I was there for free so who was I to complain. Plus, the acoustics are great and I could hear just fine.

If, like me, you've never listened to Arlo Guthrie, you'll find his folk music to be pretty much standard folk music. What made the show for me were the stories he told in between songs. They were hilarious and gave a better understanding of his song lyrics, which was good for a novice like me.

If, unlike me, you are familiar with Arlo, you'll understand what a treat it was to hear him perform Alice's Restaurant. I missed the first few minutes, but in a 25 minute song it's not a big deal. He had the audience roaring with his story. I won't even attempt to recreate it here or point you to the lyrics, because reading them doesn't do them justice (I just tried); you have to hear him perform the song to truly appreciate it.

Aside from the nosebleed seats, the sore thumb (and back) from splitting firewood and the big-haired lady in front of me, I'd say the show was fantastic. If you get the opportunity to hear him perform, I say take it. Especially if it's free.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Windows, Tiles and Wood Chips

Hey folks. I've been working on an interesting story or two to share with everyone, but so far I'm OOIS (out of interesting stories). I guess we'll all have to get by on my normal droning for today.

Got My Glaze On

This here is a corner of one of the windows I've been working on. As you can see, the glass is installed (you know it's an after picture because there is glass where there once was not) and I've glazed it and everything. To the untrained eye, it looks like I may have done a shoddy job with the glaze, but in reality it cleans up nicely with a scraper. In fact, I've already done that in preparation for priming.

With the work week and running schedule as tight as they are, I probably won't get to the priming and painting until Saturday or Sunday. The real question is: do I paint it white or try and guess what I'll want my trim color to be next year? I might just stick with primer white for now and have it look slightly ghetto all winter. It can't look any worse than that God awful red color it's painted now.

Do You Scrabble?

Attention Scrabble aficionados and aficionadas! Scrabulous has a free Scrabble program that allows you to play against 1-3 people (for 2-4 total) and it's all handled via e-mail. You place your tiles, hit submit and everyone else gets an e-mail telling them what you did and how many points you got. They click the link and it brings them to the board where the next person can make his/her move. It's a nice, slow-paced game for people who don't have time during the day for a full blown game. I'm currently involved in a rubber match against a friend from high school. I was in the lead for mere two rounds; apparently my vocabulary is sub par.

Anyway, if you're interested I highly recommend it.

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck...?

It's that time of year, when the leaves have turned autumnal colors and fallen, the air is crisp and fresh in the morning, and a man's thoughts turn to gasoline powered, hydraulic log splitters. Yup, I'm fittin' to do some splittin' out at the JC estate. If you've never used a log splitter, you should stop what you're doing, knock down a tree, chop it up, rent a log splitter and get to work. Just make sure you wear hearing and seeing protection.

That's it!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Weekend Is Looking Up

Merry Sunday, sucka uckas. I'm glad some of you enjoyed yesterday's Venn Diagram. If Dom ever finds his way to my bliznog he should be proud to have been showcased. Speaking of Dom, I'm gonna roll that fool when I'm in the 'lo in a few weeks.

Friday Was Wack

Friday night I was bored as hell. I finally got some energy up to bring my radar detector to the Post Office to send in for service. We have one of those handy do-it-yourself mailing stations so you can mail stuff at any hour of the day or night. Oh, it's sweet.

So I waltzed in, package in hand, ready to get to doing-it-myself. I placed the box on the scale, entered all of the info, added insurance and tracking, printed my receipt and was happy knowing that in a few moments I would be able to check this off my list.

The last thing the machine tells you before it thanks you for visiting the Post Office is to place a Priority Mail sticker on each side of the package. "Right, I'll just reach over here to the Priority Mail station and grab a few stickers" I thought to myself. Eeee-wrong. They had no stickers. I walked around a bit, even checked in the trash, and came up empty-handed. I would have to go back on Saturday.

After that, I hit up Target for some items I've been lacking. Mostly I wanted to buy a movie to watch, but I threw in some dried cranberries ($1.79 a bag, yo), AAA batteries (for my headlamp, $1.00 for four) and some black socks for work. I ended up crashing out at 9:30. Yup, I'm old.

Saturday, A Day of Productivity

Saturday I awoke at 9:30 after a measly 12 hours of sleep. Work has had me running around, thinking, answering questions, and generally doing work and it's taken a toll on me. Oh, plus I've been doing a lot of running which also tires a guy out.

I had some breakfast and set to work on the storm windows I was fixing last weekend. I spent most of the morning cleaning the old glaze out, removing (much more carefully) the one good pane, cutting a new pane, and installing all four panes. I took some pictures but I doubt you care to see a ratty ass window.

After that, it was off to the Post Office (which was closed by then) in the hopes that they'd have more stickers out. They did, and I sent the package off to Ohio for repair. Oh my way back, I swung by the auto parts store and picked up a new wiper blade for the rear windshield of my Lesbaru. Finally, I've needed one for over a year now. The old one was just about to either rip in half or turn to dust, so I got to it right in the nick of time.

While I was installing the wiper blade, I took some window cleaner to the rear windshield. The glass had apparently last been cleaned at the factory, and there were times when I couldn't see out of it. A few swipes of the paper towel and it was good as new (ish).

After that I pretty much hung low for the night. I watched the movie I had bought the previous night (Caddy Shack) and turned in. Oh yeah, I may have snuck a run in there too. It was the maiden voyage of tights for the winter. I held off as long as I could, but the mercury dipped below freezing so the tights came out.

Tricked Again

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me every weekend, we're all fools. This was the case this morning when I showed up for the group run. It was supposed to be a nice, easy run in the woods, serving as a recovery run for a woman who ran the ING NYC Marathon last weekend. Instead, it was 5.5 miles up Mount Greylock (on dirt roads), then back down another road. For good measure, we ran around a little when we finished to round it off to an even 12 miles.

Let me tell you, I was freezing. It was around 30, windy as a bitch (you know how windy bitches can get), and I was dressed all wrong. I had no wind breaking gear, no gloves and a cotton sweatshirt. I had to pull one sleeve down over my right hand, and wear a bandanna on my left hand (I couldn't cover the GPS watch, lest I should not have the route captured). Thank God there were no gangs up there or we surely would have been clapped at for sporting the wrong gang bandanna.

What we did see were hordes of New Yorkers on their way to the visitor's center to check out the view. The condo/time share consortium likes to show people the nice view in the hopes of selling them a piece of property. In reality, they cannot see that view from what might become be their property. In actuality, the condosare on the other side of another mountain, but whatever. Let them pay $400k for a small apartment next to the slopes.

Word, I'm out.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Never the 'Tween Shall Meet

My homebizzle Dom from the B-lo sent me an e-mail today. To it he attached a Venn diagram that I think might clear up a few questions for those of you who may have had different experiences to those we had back in high school. Take a gander and let me know if there's anything you don't understand.

Is Wu Tang Clan Anything to Fuck With?

If you're having trouble seeing where Wu Tang Clan and Things to fuck with overlap, click the picture. It should be clear that The Wu Tang Clan ain't indeed nothin' to fuck with.

Big Ups to The RZA, The GZA, the Old Dirty Bastard, Inspecta Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killa and the M-E-T-H-O-D Man. Rest in Peace, Big Baby Jesus.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

List of Things To Do: Update

Hey guys. I was just perusing my Olde Blogge (remember the blog I had before I came here to Blogger?) and I stumbled upon a list I made on January 11, 2006. I had been inspired by a popular television show to come up with a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 30. I still have plenty of time, but I thought I'd check in and see how I'm doing.

The List

  1. Run a marathon
  2. Take a bike trip somewhere far (not a day trip)
  3. Throw a huge party
  4. Get married
  5. Have people genuinely cheer for me
  6. Work at a coffee shop
  7. Take a cruise
  8. Have somebody work for me
  9. Be mentioned in a magazine
  10. Skydive
  11. Rescue a Damsel in Distress
  12. Get my ass kicked by a woman (not the Damsel, preferably)
  13. Travel outside of North America
  14. Grow a vegetable garden
Okay, let's take a look at these one at a time:

  1. Run a marathon - Haven't done it yet, but I have plans in the works.
  2. Take a bike trip somewhere far - I assume this means further than a day trip. Haven't done it yet, but I would still love to.
  3. Throw a huge party - Nope
  4. Get married - Negatory and highly unlikely at this point. This is a dumb goal anyway, probably part of the reason we have a 50% divorce rate in this country.
  5. Have people genuinely cheer for me - Well, at the Brock Trot I had people cheering for me (although, they didn't know my name). As I got closer to the finish line they really started cheering, and it seemed genuine. I'm taking credit.
  6. Work at a coffee shop - Nope. I think this is more of a lifetime goal anyway, not a "by 30" goal. I wouldn't put it on the list if I rewrote it today.
  7. Take a cruise - Nope, and probably won't happen. Again, not a real "by 30" goal anyway.
  8. Have somebody work for me - Not yet, but maybe soon.
  9. Be mentioned in a magazine - Nope, but I've been in the paper several time. Wait, I was in Berkshire Living magazine, but only in a picture and they spelled my name wrong. I'm taking credit.
  10. Skydive - I'm thinking next summer for this one.
  11. Rescue a Damsel in Distress - Hmm, tried once but she was a bitch anyway. I'll take credit but it's not exactly what I had in mind.
  12. Get my ass kicked by a woman (not the Damsel, preferably) - Still working.
  13. Travel outside of North America - Done! Went to Japan this past summer.
  14. Grow a vegetable garden - Damn, still haven't done this.
Conclusion: I've achieved only 3 of the goals. If I remove the ones I think are dumb (or at least have no place on this list) that's 3 out of 11, still not a good number. Some of them are not necessarily under my control (getting ass kicked by a woman), and some I truly think I'll be able to fit in during the next year. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

The Weekend Three-Banger

Hey y'alls, what's up? Or, in the words painted in blaze orange on one of the boulders up in The Boulders "Whast (sic) tha (sic) word". Yes, that's correct. Two misspelled words in a three-word sentence, painted on a boulder for all to see. Dumb bastards.

FYI, The Boulders is 634 acre piece of land owned by Crane & Co. (they make the paper on which our money is printed) and protected by the MA Department of Fish and Game. At the top is, you guessed it, a bunch of boulders. It's a popular destination for hikers, bikers, runners and unfortunately, punk-ass high school kids.

Friday, Perfect for Spring Cleaning

This past Friday we had the day "off" as the 10th day in our 9/80 schedule. The company counts this as a vacation day, and likes to tout it as a real bonus. In reality it's just a day filled with all of the chores that you couldn't do for the last two weeks because everything was closed by the time you got out of work. Anyway, I put it to good use this week.

My plan was to clean out the garage (or put the shit back in the basement where it belongs), take the 5 bags of lawn detritus (needles, etc) to the transfer station, "winterize" my kayak (put a tarp over it), get new panes of glass for my last remaining storm window, take the four bags of clothes to one of those clothes bins (like Goodwill, only convenient), mow the lawn and have a fire.

Well, I did manage to pick up the glass (damn, $18 a pane for a window I barely need), drop off the sacks o' pine needles and clothes, mow the lawn, run the gas out of the lawn mower (for winter) and do a bunch of laundry. I didn't get to the garage or the kayak, but I had my reasons.

Back Story: I have two storm windows with two panes of glass in each. A few years back one pane in each window was broken in a wind storm. Conclusion: two windows with one good pane and one broken pane in each.

After picking up the 2 panes of glass for my storm windows, I felt inspired to start working on them. I scraped the paint, got the old glaze out of the track, removed the little glazing points (the little metal things that actually hold the glass in place) and was ready to install the glass. That's when I thought to myself, "Well, I really should re-do the glaze on the old glass too. Why half-ass it?"

So I set to work removing the glaze and glazing points from the good pane. I cleaned it up real purdy-like and just when I almost had the glass out, CHINK, the damn thing broke. Now I have three panes to replace. My next step was to steal the glass out of an old window I don't need, cut it down to size and replace both panes.

With handsaw in hand, I cut the old window frame to pieces, gently removed the glass, set it aside, and quit for the day. That was enough suffering for one day. I didn't want to risk breaking another piece of glass.

I think tonight I'm going to reassemble the first storm window and get started on the next. Hmm, maybe I'll clear out the garage so I can work in there.

I Know There's a Reason...

This weekend I decided to rearrange my bedroom. It's always a refreshing task that seems to give you the feeling of having a whole new bedroom. As with any task, it also introduces a few more tasks that, if tackled, improve your quality of life. This one was no different.

For a while now I've been trying to figure out a new configuration for my bedroom furniture. Every time I think I have a plan, there's some reason why that plan won't work: the bed would be right in front of the door, bad Chi, outlets in the wrong places, etc. This time, I threw caution to the wind and basically just mirrored the old setup, switching the bed with the rest of the stuff.

My bedroom is not quite a square. It has a little cove-like area where my bed used to be. This made sense because it kept me from losing floor space, and it gave me that cozy cave-like feeling that hermits like me enjoy. Needing a change, I decided I could live without that and I moved everything around.

Besides a new arrangement, there's the added benefit of a clean room. Anyone who's ever moved furniture knows that you better have a HazMat team on call to deal with the shit behind/beneath that furniture once it's moved. Rearrange everything and you're really asking for it. I had more dust, cat fur, spiders and cobwebs than I could imagine in an otherwise clean room and thanks to my decision to rearrange everything it's now all clean.

The other benefit is that my bed (and a pound of cat fur/dust/spider carcasses) used to cover the return vent for the heat. This of course resulted in no (or at least very little) heat in the bedroom. In a house where the warmest room is 58 degrees at night, an unheated (or scarcely heated) room gets mighty cold. We'll see how that works out.

As I rested my head on the pillow Saturday night (the first night in the "new" room) I was prepared for a good night's sleep. It was early and I had a sense of satisfaction that can only come from checking myriad things off a to-do list. I double-checked the alarm to make sure it was off then rolled over to drift off to sleep. BAM! A street light was shining right in the freaking window, right in my freaking eye! Maybe that was the reason I never moved the furniture around.

Alright, I've been working on this for days. If I don't just cut it loose now it'll never get posted.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Off the Dome

I've been trying to keep posting on a regular basis. Over the weekend I spent hours writing, but then pulled the plug at the last minute when I deemed my monologues unworthy. Instead of talking about what I've been doing, I'm just going to put down some thoughts I've been having lately.

Feel-Good Lyrics Pop Quiz

There are some songs in regular rotation in my living room and in my head, songs that just plain make me feel good. Below you'll find a few lyrical selections from those songs (I, II, III). Below those you'll find the artists (A, B, C). See if you can match them up correctly. Since this won't be graded, don't cheat and look up the answers on Google.


The Good Life.
Let's go on a livin spree.
Shit, they say the best things in life are free.
The Good Life.
Sorry, this one doesn't look as good on paper as it does on the airwaves.


The telephone's singing, ringin'
it's too early don't pick it up.
We don't need to,
we got everything we need right here,
and everything we need is enough.
It's just so easy when the whole world fits inside of your arms.
Do we really need to pay attention to the alarm?
Wake up slow, mmm mmm, wake up slow.


Fuck you too, bitch.
Call the cops.
Ima kill you and them loud ass mothafuckin' barkin' dogs.
Okay, this one is not a feel-good lyric at all, but I hate loud ass mothafuckin' barkin' dogs. In fact, whenever I hear a dog barking incessantly (which is often) that line runs through my head over and over.

A. Eminem
B. Jack Johnson
C. Kanye West

Lost Meanings

You know how old people are so worried that today's youth won't know how to tell time on an analog clock? If their fears are correct, in a short while when you yell "Zombie at Five O'Clock!" the kid won't know where to shoot. He'll be so busy digging his mobile phone out of his pocket he'll probably barely even notice that his flesh is being torn from his body.

Some additional phrases in danger of losing their meaning include:

  • Dial a Phone
  • Tapping your wrist to silently ask someone the time (no, not a phrase but if people use the clocks on their cell phones they won't know what that motion means)
  • Area codes - meaningless these days. Phone numbers will soon just be 10 digits with the first three loosely identifying the region of the country where someone resides
  • Rewind - No tapes to rewind. Hell, even CDs are on their way out. You can't rewind a Flash drive. Now the term is "back that up", as in "Yo son, that was tight. Back that up." Remember "Be Kind, Rewind"?
  • Cigarette Break (AKA Smoke Break) - This one I'm trying to keep alive, but with a different meaning. I take smoke breaks but just walk around outside to clear my head.
  • Turn Signal - Use it or lose it.
  • Common Cold - Nobody just gets sick anymore, we have super viruses now.
  • Responsibility - Think about it, this is a do what you want and someone else will cover you society.
Sorry, this list got a little lame on me. I had a real reason for starting it, but nowadays it's taking me several days to put together a posting.

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

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