Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Merry Bi-Centbloggial


I have a few stories to whittle, but nothing terribly exciting I'm afraid. We have cake here at Old Coot Productions®, chocolate with chocolate frosting. There are also balloons and confetti; it's a wild and crazy place. Uh oh, someone just filled the oatmeal pool!

The Shirt on My Back

Okay, due to matters to be addressed below (see mortgage section in a minute), I was in need of a mood pick-me-up after work. I was also (due to a possible recent growth spurt) in need of some pants. Buying stuff, especially new clothes, seemed like a good remedy for both.

I've noticed lately that it always looks like I'm expecting some serious rain the way my pants don't quite reach all to the appropriate cuff height. It's one thing when you're sitting and your sock is exposed, but when you can see argyle when I'm walking down the hall it's time to invest in a longer inseam.

Anyway, I picked up some new pants (ack, more freaking khakis; I hate khakis) and headed to another store to check out the shirts they sell that have caught my fancy as of late. Sho nuff they had some new colors and such in stock and even had my size. I grabbed two (since they were also on sale) and hit up the check-out. It wasn't until I was home and ironing some clothes that I realized I pretty much bought a shirt I already have. It's slightly different, but so close it'll be heavily scrutinized by certain people at work.

Yet Another Toy

It was a snowy, blustery night in Albany, NY and I was driving home from an evening out with some chums. Imagine, if you will, driving someone else's car (I'm a built-in DD) in snowy, slippery conditions. Also imagine that the driving you're doing is both city and expressway driving. When I finally got back to my friend's house to drop him and his woman off, I really had to convince them to let me drive back home (an hour in good conditions). The beauty of course, is that while I have a less fancy car than he has I: A. know my car better that I know his, 2. have less horsepower and wheel spinnability and III. have all-wheel drive. You combine those forces with some kickass driving music and I wasn't going to have any trouble.

My drive home was going along swimmingly and devoid of event. I even got to use my new bluetooth headset to field home maintenance calls from my blacked-out wasted friend. Apparently he had flushed the toilet with such force that he broke the handle. If any of you have attempted to fix a toilet you know how effed up some of the mechanics can look to a novice. Add 18 beers to that novice's arsenal and then try to explain the inner workings of a toilet to him over the phone at two in the morning and you can imagine how well it played out. Finally, I convinced him to go to bed and deal with it in the morning when he'd be able to see.

But that's neither here nor there, I'm just giving you an idea of how little extra attention the roads needed. By the time I hit Route 20 (if you're from this area, you'll know about our beloved Rte. 20) I figured I was home free. I figured wrong. At 2 AM there was a 95 alarm fire that required, you guessed it, 95 fire trucks to respond. They directed the traffic (me and two other cars) down a windy road known as Route 9.

I have never before set tires on this road but I figured that they'd surely have someone directing traffic along this detour. I surely figured wrong. Relying on my internal navigational skills is seldom a good idea but I guessed that I was going south on 9. Hang an east on 295 (God I hope 295 hits this road) and a north on 41 and I'd be back to 20. About 20 minutes later I struck 295. This was one hell of a detour.

After this experience I realized that I could use an electronic navigator in day-to-day driving and decided that the Garmin c340 I had been coveting would soon be mine.

Long story short, a Garmin c340 is currently en route to my house. I hope they don't get lost.

P.S. As of press time, FedEx already tried to deliver my new toy once. Thank God I didn't try to pay $10 for shipping as they suggested. I ordered it yesterday afternoon and it could have been delivered this morning. That's prompt service! I should have it in my hands tomorrow after work. Hey-Oh!

I Am the Anti Bank Robber

Friday was a day off for us here at the local powerpoint presentation factory. I used such a wondrous day to run errands, make cookies and handle my bidness. That's right you jerks, I handled my bidness, and by bidness I mean finances and other such demands. Not bidness as you're thinking.


Anyway, after I got the oil changed in my car, I swung by the credit union to unload a few hundred dollars in change. I had been worried about walking up to a bank with a heavy duffel bag, and my fears were met with a lobby full of nervous people. Two women even came out of an office to keep an eye on me. Finally I relieved their fears with the following statement to a teller:

I have an assload of change here. Is there anything special I have to do with it before I wait in this long line?

She told me that as long as they were rolled and I have an account there I'd be fine. Everyone else seemed to be put at ease. The poor teller who had to help me got a killer workout. We had to load up the counting trays with all of the rolls, then she had to move them to another bench for storage until they could get a cart to haul it all away. All said and done, my checking account was fattened by $462.

Plus I found a quarter on the floor, score! I pocketed that though, to be spend on something at a later time.

Mortgage Update

You'll all be pleased to know that I've gotten absolutely nowhere with my mortgage in the last few days. After the attorney had not received the deed, I took their advice and sent a reminder e-mail. The explanation I received was "I can't sign it, it has my maiden name." Well, two weeks ago when you received the fucking thing in the mail you knew it had your maiden name, you could have said something then. Of course she "just got it the other day". No, no you didn't because they sent it 2nd day air almost three weeks ago. She also promised to call my attorney to figure out what to do.

Knowing full well that she would, in fact, not contact my attorney, I took care of that myself and was told that she was wrong. She HAS to sign it with her maiden name, then write in something like "Now Known As" and her current legal name. Apparently she never went to the Notary Public because I guess that's common knowledge to those people.

I'm running out of time with the bank and out of patience with the level of cooperation I'm getting. I was promised full cooperation and as you've all heard (albeit from only my point of view), and if this is full cooperation I'd hate to see slacking. I initiated contact for this nearly four months ago, and all I need is one fu(k!n& signature!

End of vent.

Well, that's all I have to share with you. I hope you've enjoyed the last 200 entries, and that you'll stick around for the next 200. Hopefully by then we'll be able to share our cake with you in physical form instead of electronically. Until then, you'll have to take my word for it, this shit is the BOMB!

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Magnetism is Attracting the Wrong People

Today is Shirt and Tie Thursday here at work. I instituted Pink Shirt Friday last week, where everyone in my department is supposed to wear a pink shirt on the Fridays we have to work (since every other Friday we have off). Only two of us wore pink, but another guy did the best he could with what he had. In fact, he went out the very next day and bought a new pink shirt. Talk about a team player. Anyway, the same guy wears a shirt and tie every Thursday and suggested that I do the same, so I have dubbed Thursdays Shirt and Tie Thursdays.

Note: Big ups to my sister for providing me with the only shirt/tie combo worthy of wearing on a momentous occasion such as Shirt and Tie Thursday.

Man's Night. Holla!

Yesterday, we held another installment of "Man's Night" complete with dinner, beer (for some) and pool (also for some). We chose a different restaurant to mix things up and mix them up we did. Instead of the old standby, we hit up a new place closer to where some of the fellas live.

As it turns out, this place has a worse waitstaff than the original place, which is known for its terrible service. We were literally the only table there and it was like pulling teeth to get anything out of this woman. You'd ask for a drink (she never asked if you wanted another) and she would walk away without acknowledging what you said, leaving you wondering if she heard you or was just plain ignoring you. Sure enough you'd get your drink, but why the attitude?

And who the hell picked the pirate music on the jukebox? As if the country music wasn't bad enough, they had to drop down to Pirate Pete! They're lucky I couldn't convince M-to-the-C to put something ghetto on there.

I should add that while the waitress hated everyone else there, she had a real thing for your humble narrator. This cannot be explained by anything other than my overwhelming charm. I mean, I was the guy ordering a diet Coke instead of a tip inducing beer or mixed drink, yet she even joked with me about the diet at one point. This could have been misconstrued as flirting, had there not been a half century divide between our ages. Actually, with a group of 6 guys it was construed exactly as flirting. What can I say, I'm charming.

A lot of things were discussed at this outing, none of which would be of any interest to any of you, with the exception of the people who were there and don't need to be told. To Bizarro, JC and Bill: sorry players you missed out on a root-tooting good time.

As we were leaving, we made sure to joke about the fact that Russ-T was going to be followed once again by the po-lice, and would he please go ahead so as not to inconvenience any of us with his escort. Sure enough, at the corner of the street there was a cop with his lights off who pulled out behind us. Since I was the last in line, he chose to follow me. Obviously Russ-T - AKA The Cop Magnet - would have been a better choice, followed by the four guys who had been drinking (although lightly), with yours truly being the least likely target.

Nope, he followed me and to show my appreciation for this service I drove 27 mph. I'm sure this annoyed him no end and he turned off with the quickness. Later, player.

The List is Growing

I've been putting together a honey-do list for myself all week in preparation for having Friday off. It seems like a good thing to have this day off - to accomplish all of these tasks - but in reality I only have to do them all on one day because I can't get out of work early enough any other day to take care of them. My list involves:

  • Bake some brownies and some cashew brittle. Technically the cashew brittle doesn't bake but you get the idea.

  • Get my oil changed. I'm only 1,000 miles overdue. I'm sure oil manufacturers design for a 33% factor of safety, no worries.

  • Go to the Post Office. I have 6 packages that need to be sent out (Ab, one is yours) to various people in various places, on various continents. I also want to get the ball rolling on my passport. I was going to wait until after I closed on my mortgage so I'd only have one thing to worry about, but you see how that's going.

  • Go to the bank. That damn sack o' change has a hot date with a bank teller, let's just hope I don't get gunned down by the security guard if there is one.

  • Handle some bidness. There are many things that need doing, which I will classify only as bidness. I hope to be able to handle some/all of them on Friday.

  • Buy some clothes. That about explains it, I just want to buy some clothes to replace the ones I'm taking to the Goodwill. Oh yeah...

  • Go to the Goodwill. Drop off the 26 gallons of clothes plus the box of stuff I don't need anymore.

Mortgage Update

Okay, no news to report. It looks like I'm going to have to send off a reminder. I'm so close I can smell it, but this last little bit is really dragging. Jeebus, help a brother out.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Old Coot Chillin at Start of Desert Race

Apparently it's not always warm in the desert. Sometimes (like every time I go to AZ) there are record lows, citrus dies on the trees, pipes freeze and so on. The trip a week and a half ago was no exception.

This picture was taken by one of my many hosts. In it, you can see that everyone is bundled up (it was 29 degrees F). I'm busy acquiring a satellite lock on my GPS watch, hence the wack pose.

The headband was a new addition to my running arsenal. I traveled, and stayed, with many the Jew, and was deputized as an honorary Jew for the weekend. The back of the headband had the words "Team Schwartz" written in puffy paint; everyone on the team was wearing one. Mine had the team name in the back so people would know who was passing them.

One last thing, doesn't the A-Beard look fantastic? I mean really, that is one damn fine arrangement of facial hair. Oh, and I think the lady in the green hat is checking out the old A-Caboose.

Get the Whole Story Here...

Recovery is Slow

Hey everybody, your old pal Old Coot here again. Once again I have been slacking on the blog front lately, but there hasn't been a whole lot to report. Blogging for blogging's sake leads to a stale blog, so I try to only bring the hottest, freshest shit to the table. Anyway, here's some stale shit to keep your neurons firing.

All Day Long, All Day Strong

Late last week someone got tired of hearing me complain about my piriformis pain (previously called "butt pain") and suggested I try Alleve. "Okay," I thought, "everyone has some pain killer they think is the best and they're really all the same." He proceded to tell me that Alleve is not ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or aspirin (aspirin), but some wonder drug called Naproxen. "This stuff works so well I was able to play through a groin pull and really hurt myself" he told me. Cool, where do I get some?

So I picked up a bottle at my friendly neighborhood Brooks pharmacy and gave it a shot. Mind you, Friday night I went for a walk of about 2.5 miles and practically had to crawl home it hurt so bad. Saturday morning I was hurting pretty good, but about an hour after taking it I felt like a million bucks. I'm now on a regular Alleve diet, once in the AM and once in the PM. I've even run the last 3 nights!

Alleve, where have you been?

The Can Man Cometh

Saturday was pretty much a productive day. At every turn I found one more thing to take care of that made my life just a little bit better. One such activity was to return the bottles and cans that have been piling up in the basement since that last Bush administration. I know, because I don't drink beer anymore (or 40s).

My new plan is to simply return the empty Coke cans whenever I shop for the measly 60¢, but first I had to rid the house of the hundreds of empties littering the place. They were all bagged, and for the most part sorted and counted, but they still had to find their way into my car and to the redemtion center.

So I got dressed, collected all of the bags, sorted the remaining empties and relabeled the bags with the appropriate empty count. I had about $13 worth, hardly worth driving to the redemption center for, hence the new plan. My basement is about twice as big as it was before without all that junk lining the walls. Ahhhh!

I blew $10 of the $13 on Alleve.

Making Room in my Drawers

Another task for the weekend was to get rid of some of my t-shirt collection. These aren't t-shirts you keep around for when your kids (which I have none) are in high school and need some retro gear. Nope these are t-shirts with dumb ass pictures on them, or shirts from stupid activities I've been involved with.

I sorted with reckless abandon, too. If there was any hesitation whether I'd wear it again (or should wear it again), it went in the donation pile. Using this techinque I managed to clear approximately 13 gallons of t-shirts out of my drawers, enabling them to close without that last shirt hanging out the top.

"13 gallons? Who measures clothing in gallons?" you might ask. I folded the shirts nicely and placed them into a 13 gallon trash bag. Simple enough.

Feeling inspired, I then turned my attention to my closet. There were clothes in there from the Bush Sr. administration. We're talking highschool, folks. Sure, some of the shirts would be fun party shirts but A. I don't party and B. I don't need 10 party shirts (some of which I have never worn). I also took the liberty of voiding my closet of clothes that are still in Grade A condition, but don't fit. Anything from the Lard-o Years was gently folded and placed in the donation pile.

Another 13 gallons out of my way.

This was just Phase 1 of what I hope to be a thorough, multi-phased overhaul of the wardrobe.

"Dolla Dolla Bills, Y'all"

Well, more like "Coin rolls everywhere around me, C.R.E.A.M. get the money, Dolla Dolla Coins, Y'all".

I've been saving change in my bedroom for the better half of a decade now and Saturday was the day to cash it in at the bank. I counted the rolls and came up with $462. CHA-CHING! I loaded the change into a duffel bag and humped it down to the car. I wasn't real sure about walking into a bank with a heavy duffel bag, but if I could avoid being shot long enough to prove it's just change I would be okay.

Let me tell you, $462 in change is a LOT of change, especially when $67 of it is in penny form. I ran some errands (returning empties) and hit up the bank. Wrong, the bank was closed by the time I got there. I guess I should have gone first. I tried the main branch thinking it might have longer hours. Wrong, shorter hours. Knowing that if I carried the change back into the house not only would I have to look at it for God knows how long, but it would be another half-decade before I took it to the bank.

And another thing... you know those mailing labels that every charity sends you by the pallet? I packed a few hundred of those in with the coins in case they require me to write my address on them. [Georgia Mass Choir]GENIUS![/Georgia Mass Choir]

Mortgage Update

I spoke with the paralegal at my attorney's office yesterday and was informed that the deed has not yet been returned. It was sent out Overnight on the 12th, which tells me it was in the proper hands on the 13th. A little math tells me it's been 10 days, 7 of which were business days (okay, 6 if you count MLK Day).

I don't want to come across as pushy, but this chick better sign that shit and send it back in the pre-addressed stamped envelope pronto. If I don't hear anything from the attorney by Friday I'm going to have to send a gentle reminder. Of course, everything I say has to be 100% kind so as not to enrage someone with the potential to make my life very difficult. Plus ALL girls are crazy and unpredictable, I can't afford to push this one over the edge just yet.

The second the ink dries on my new mortgage though, no holds will be barred. I don't expect any further communication, but if there is any I won't have to be so worried about what I say (or that I even respond in the first place). Oh, what a joyous day that will be!

Thanks for listening, I feel better now.

Well, that was a long one. I'll see if I can drum up some better stories for ya and holler at you one more 'gain.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More Details on Yesterday's Topics

Alright yo, we're steadily closing in on the bicentennial - or bicentbloggial - posting here at Old Coot Productions®. This isn't the 200th yet, I'm just letting you know it'll be coming. I'm not saving any big stories or news items for any sort of unveiling, but I sure hope that post is worthy of such an event.

Paint Sprayer Update

For all of you out there in Readerland who care about air tools, power tools and so on, I'd like to inform you that I am now the proud new owner of a paint sprayer. I stopped off at the local Home Despot last night to pick up some paint booth-ah items (I'll tell you about this trip in a minute) and set to work in my garage.

Contrary to my normal half-assery, I bought a canvas drop cloth to use as a backdrop for spraying. Normally I would buy a regular tarp only get paint on it and then track said paint all over my house, but this time I did it right and went with canvas. A good move by yours truly; it was a real treat to work with and only cost about $10 more than the plastic one.

With the tarp hung from the garage door tracks with care, I set up a piece of cardboard and practiced spraying it with water. This sprayer almost brought a tear to my eye as it made neither a mess of the cardboard nor a cloud of particles in the air. Next, I sprayed a piece of plywood with the aforementioned water and figured I had the hang of it.

My next step was to get the gun set up for primer. I carefully filled the cup with primer, got everything all set up and... nothing. Oh, the primer must be a little too thick, I'll thin it with some water. Here, we go... nothing. Okay, thin it again. Aaaannnnndddd... nothing.

When I say 'nothing' I don't really mean that there was no paint coming out, I just mean it wasn't working as it should. The troubleshooting section of the manual basically lists all of the adjustments for every problem you could encounter. For example, it was dripping paint at one point and the manual said that the problem was either the packing nut (some nut on the thing) was too tight or too loose, the air flow is set too low (or too high), the paint flow knob is set too low (or too high) or they paint is too thick (or too thin). "OH, now I can fix it" I thought.

I felt that the packing nut was the problem, so I tried that next. I can't describe it very well in words, but the way the nut works you also can't tell which way is tighter and which is looser. I tried both and neither seemed to work very well. By this time I had lost feeling in my big toes and a few fingers so it was time to start cleaning up. I'm thinking that I might just wait until it isn't in the single digits to try it again; maybe that was too cold for the paint.

Home Despot has Improved

At the end of my trip to the Home Despot, I was walking toward the checkout aisles when - are mine eyes deceived? - they have installed self-checkouts! Most HD's already have these I'm told, but this is relatively new to the Pittsfield scene. I was out of there in no time!

God Damn Sockets

Before I could use my new sprayer, I had to change the air hose on my compressor. I have a fancy new polyethylene one to replace the old rubber hose, and I needed to switch over some fittings. I busted out my million piece Mechanics Set of Craftsman sockets/wrenches and set it gently on a prostrate door, resting on sawhorses. I removed one wrench and BAM! the whole door fell down spilling sockets all over the god damned basement.

Nothing makes a job smoother than digging through piles of shit to find that last missing 4.5mm socket (for the record, that's really small). Then, to make matters worse, I had to put them all back in the proper spots in the case. Since I have the extra deluxe set, there are several of each size with subtle differences. So a 9mm socket goes in one of four places, but it has to be the right one or the case won't close. This was fun.

I will say that it was worth the hassle, because the new hose is pretty nice and will allow me to move more easily around the house without necessarily having the compressor right next to me. Instead of the basic 15-footer that came with the compressor, this puppy is 65 feet of lightweight, flexible polyethylene!

Mortgage Update

No news today. I'm not sure if no news is good new or not, but it's at least not bad news. I'm hoping to hear from the attorney soon, when he tells me he received the signed deed and everything is set for the closing. If the soon-to-be-former co-owner drags her feet too long I could be in some trouble. With the holiday this week (MLK Day) it's possible that she just got it on Tuesday, so I'm not worried yet.

Butt Pain Update

I gave my butt pain a roll on a tennis ball last night, and a lengthy heating pad treatment to no avail. It's possible that the massaging action of the tennis ball really just released some lactic acid (the stuff that makes muscles sore) and that's what I'm feeling today, but I'm definitely not feeling better. Limping around is getting old.

Okay, that's all for today. If I hear anything about the mortgage, I'll be sure to let you all know. I'm hoping that the 200th will bring news a closing gone/going well.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Playing with My New Toys

Happy Hump Day! Like last week, it's really not Hump Day for me because I am, once again, not working a full week. It's been so nice to work short weeks every week since some time in December. This is a long week for us at the old paperwork factory, as it's the 44 hour week in our 9/80 schedule. Thank God I took Monday off or I never would have made it. I'd also like to have Friday off, but I think I'll be a good boy and finish out the week.

The Doors

As you may recall, I started painting some doors last week, only to determine it was far too much work to finish without buying myself a new toy. Well folks, that new toy is out for delivery on a UPS truck as I type. If all goes well, I'll be playing with my new HVLP Conversion Gun TO-night. Don't those words just flow off your tongue? Say it with me: HVLP Conversion Gun. Ahhh.

In order to do a good job with the doors, I'm going to spend tonight (hopefully) setting up a makeshift paint booth in my garage. It'll need to be simple enough that I can either break it down when I'm done so I can get the car in and out, or just pull the car in afterwards. I'm not going to have my garage back out of commission again, on the real.

Once the booth-ah is all set up, I'll take a few practice swipes with the gun on a sheet of plywood or some cardboard to get the hang of it and get it set up for the kind of paint I'll be using. After that, I'll probably try it out on one of my many spare doors I have tucked away in a corner of the basement before unleashing it on the fleet of doors to be painted.

Heating Pad, Work Your Magic

I decided that I should take an active approach towards the healing of my leg/butt pain. Last night I applied a heating pad to the area of concern as well as my lower back just in case it's sciatica (caused by the lower back). Plus a heating pad on the back is just a lovely way to spend an evening. I had a fire going and heat applied to my leg/butt/back, life was swell.

Just to make it even better, I cracked open a new tube of toothpaste last night too. I love opening new toothpaste; for some reason it seems like it works better than the end of the last tube.

Bluetooth Headset Report

Last night I called my folks using my new Bluetooth headset, and it worked pretty well. There was an occasional hiss of static, but certainly nothing worth mentioning. Since I just mentioned it, I guess it is worth mentioning but not in a negative, complaining tone. The next test is in the car.

Mortgage Report

Okay, I had another round of paperwork to sign and send back to the bank, which I mailed off today. I don't remember this much paperwork before getting to the signing last time, but that was years ago and I was much more hands off that time. I was assured that this was the last thing I had to do before the ultimate two-hour signature bonanza. All that's left to do is wait (and pray) for the return of the deed from my soon-to-be-former co-owner.

As promised, I'll keep you posted.

Well, I guess that's about it. I told you everything you need to know to be able to consider yourself up to date on the details of my life.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Half Marathon Race Report

Hey Coot fans, this is your old pal Old Coot here to give the promised report on my race. To get you up to speed, it was the Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon, held in Phoenix, AZ. In this posting, you'll find all sorts of interesting tidbits about the race.

A Cold Wind Blows

Okay, so it wasn't necessarily windy but it was certainly cold. When I was thinking about running this race, I had ideas of plodding through the desert in shorts and a t-shirt, sweat pouring down my face, scorpions nipping at my toes, and so on. What happened instead, was a cold front blew in the day I got there (and back out again when I left) bringing the bitter cold with it. At the start of the race it was 29 degrees.

Phew, thank God it was a dry cold.

A Sea of Runners

As of race time, there were 27,000 people entered in the half marathon and another 10,000 in the full. For those of us accustomed to running races of several hundred or less, this was a big deal. When you entered the race, you had to give an estimate of how long you expected to take and they arranged the "corrals" accordingly. All told there were 30 corrals of roughly 1,000 people per corral. Obviously the fastest people were in the front and the slowest in the back.

To prevent the inevitable congestion, they sent the first corral off at the starting gun, then walked everyone up until the people in the second corral were at the starting line. Every two minutes they sent off the next wave of runners until - an hour later - everyone had begun. Each person had a timing chip affixed to his/her shoe, so your time was really the time between the starting and finish lines, not when the gun went off. In theory you could start dead last and win the race.

It Pays to Plan Ahead

Every major race has it's Port-o-John farm where you wait in line to relieve yourself prior to the race. This one was no exception except they had them spread all along the starting area. I had to whiz like it was going out of style when we got there (thank you 5 glasses of water) and by the time I made it to my corral (#2, yup I was in the second corral) the lines were pretty much nonexistent.

I stood in a line of one while awaiting an open 'o-John when I saw one with the green vacant indicator showing. Having been embarassed by this before, I chose to knock before opening the door. Thank God, because the guy inside quickly hollered out "Whoa, I'm in here!" and I resumed my spot in line. Finally, he slowly and nervously opened the door as if he was looking for someone. He stepped out with his shorts and his pride hanging low, and muttered the words "No toilet paper in there" to me.

The poor guy probably had the nervous trots with no means of cleansing himself. His bad, should have taken care of it ahead of time. I took my whiz and was out of that shithouse with the quickness.

Through the grapevine, I heard of a woman running with about 4 feet of toilet paper hanging out of her shorts. I can't verify it, but I am willing to laugh at it. Someone finally had the guts to talk another woman into helping her out.

5K with 10 Mile Warmup

Feeling good, I decided somewhere around mile 9 that when I crossed the 10 mile mark I was going to run at my 5K race pace for the rest of the course. When I hit the 10th mile, I checked the watch to find my pace and kicked it up a notch. By the time I hit the finish line I was cruising at somewhere around 5:30 min/mile (wicked fast for me) and was feeling great.

I would have kept a faster pace the entire time, but I've had a pain in my leg/butt (this much you know) that I was not willing to risk aggravating. I figured I could easily suffer for 3 miles if I really hurt it.

The Envelope, Please

When all was said and done, the results tabulated, recounts recounted, absentee ballots added, I came in 804th place overall with a time of 1:40 (one hour and forty minutes). "Holy shit, that's bad" you might be thinking, but allow me to refresh your memory. There were 27,000 people in this race, meaning I was in the top 3%.


Even if you adjust it for age group (M 24-29), I was 102nd out of 937 or something like that. Not quite the top 10%, but pretty damn close. Considering this was my first half marathon I think I pretty much cleaned up.

Closing Remarks

I'd just like to thank all of you who sent fast thoughts my way this weekend, they really helped.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Medley of Topics

Alright, this is going to be a quick one today. I know I've said that before and then given you something that'll make your legs fall asleep on the crapper. So take this preface with a grain of salt.

Get Yo Freak On

Okay, this isn't really a rant or a story, but rather a link someone sent me to this ridiculous video today. It's no YouTube video, but the fact that someone manufactures this and is probably making money hand over fist really speaks to the state of the world today.

Plans A-Changin'

I know I told all of you that I'd be heading out to Arizona tomorrow for a race (which is on Sunday). Apparently the word really got out causing people to feverishly book seats on my flight, and one leg of the flight was booked too heavily for comfort.

Upon checking the status of the flight we were left with a choice to make: take our chances on the second flight and hope for the best or leave Thursday night. I'm an habitual non-risk-taker so we opted for the latter.

Dammit, Busted My Ass Again

After taking a few days off from running, I thought I'd test the waters (and my new UnderArmour ColdGear tights) last night with an easy few miles. My plan was to just get out, stretch my legs and see how my ass muscle performed. I felt fine the entire time, often having to remind myself to slow down (lest I should risk injury). A good stretch afterwards and I should be golden.

Well, the stretch never happened as it was pre-empted by a visitor, but I did some preliminary stretching outside in the cold.

Speaking of cold, the A-Beard was working overtime last night as it was 20 degrees and WINDY. The tights performed as advertised, and my fancy Ibex wool hat (thin, yet effective) proved to be a worthy addition to my winter running arsenal. As I was making my last few strides down my street, it became evident that my facial expression was literally frozen in place. My first thought, I better get a picture of this as soon as I get home. I did my best but the ice had melted by the time I got to the camera. Here's the result...

20 and Windy

You may need to click on the Other Sizes or All Sizes or whatever the option is to get the full size shot. If you look closely you can see how soaked the A-Beard is; sorry it's not icy but I had to get my shoes off before I tracked muddy snow through the house.

In conclusion, my glute sore again today. I've been stretching, but so far it hasn't relieved the problem. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll be in tip-top shape this Sunday.

[shaking fist]Cross 'em[/shaking fist]

Mortgage Status

I think this is going to be a regular section in the Old Coot Blog until the status is 100% Complete. For now what you need to know is that the paperwork should be going out today (from the attorney) for signature. Once returned, he'll schedule the closing, I'll go to the closing, I'll sign 300 lines where there's an 'X', I'll initial 100 places, and I'll go home to the Old Coot Estate.

That's what I have for all of you today. I don't want anyone getting worried this weekend when you don't hear from me. I'll be on assignment in AZ sans laptop, but if you wait patiently at your web browser you can expect a full report early next week.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Hodgepodge of Stories

Happy Hump Day, readers. Actually, with our new work schedule Hump Day this week fell sometime between yesterday and today, since we won't be working on Friday. Aaaanyway, I have a few topics of monversation (not conversation, since it's a one-way street) ranging from someone's nasty ass fingernail clippings to an update on my mortgage situation. So strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

The Fingernail Fairy Didn't Show Up

Yesterday I was throwing out an apple core when I noticed some fingernail clippings next to my garbage can. "That's strange," I thought to myself, "considering I don't clip my nails nor do I throw the clippings on the floor next to my garbage." I am a biter, so I thought maybe over the course of the last few years a few nails had built up next to the trash. It's not likely, but not out of the question either.

Later in the day I was chatting with someone when I mentioned the aforementioned nail clippings. He asked me to see how many there were, and to my amazement there were eleven individual clippings. Either the person who left them had eleven fingers or, my favorite option, ten fingers and one toe. Either way, who the hell clips their nails in someone else's cubicle and leaves them on the floor next to the garbage? Did he expect The Fingernail Fairy to come and leave him money for his nails?

Ass Update

Thank you all for your concern; the flowers and cards were very supportive during my recovery from the pain in my ass. It's looking like today the muscle soreness is gone and I'll be going for a nice, easy, short run tonight.

New Mortgage Update

As I was dining on chicken and sweet potatoes yesterday, I received a phone call from my bank. The woman congratulated me on being approved for my new mortgage. She also informed me that I would not have to have an appraisal done, and the money I paid them for that would be applied to my closing costs.

While on the surface that seems like a win-win situation for yours truly, it also would have prevented me from getting rid of my mortgage insurance (PMI) and from borrowing more money for things like furnaces and rooves (or roofas, plural of roof). I mentioned these things to her and she had to check into it and get back to me.

Several hours later, I got the call telling me that I would still not have an appraisal done, and that they would not be requiring me to pay PMI. In my excitement I forgot to ask about borrowing extra money in the future, but I'm supposed to get the promissory note today and I'll see what that says. Even if I want to borrow money and need to get an appraisal down the road, I guess it's no net difference. Moral of the story: I'm almost free!

Ode to Cashews

Oh cashews, why art thou so delicious? Be you sprinkled in the byproduct of cooking coca leaves and baking them with baking soda? Hast your salty exoskeleton been drizzled in the tasty oils of the poppy plant?

A New Toy? Already?

Those of you who know me know that I like to paint. Why then are half of the rooms in my house unpainted? While painting a door the other night it dawned on me that what I like about painting isn't the actual application of paint ot a surface, but being on a ladder outside. So, that helps explain why I dislike painting indoors.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that I painted a door the other night and it came out looking like hell. Years ago I researched HVLP sprayers (High Volume, Low Pressure) that are very efficient at transferring paint to a surface without putting a huge cloud in the air. Last night I was counting up the doors in the house that I'm either planning on painting or I wasn't planning on painting but should, and I'm looking at 9+ doors. That's a lot of doors, and a lot of time. If I had a sprayer not only would they come out looking better but I'd also be able to crank them out in short order. My final decision? Crack open the wallet and buy a sprayer. YESSS!

That's all I have to say about that.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Takeoff in T Minus 4 Days

Dang, my ass is killing me! I'll explain that in a minute, but first I wanted to alert everyone to the fact that Old Coot Blog (a subsidiary of Old Coot Productions) is quickly approaching its bicentennial posting. You heard it right, folks, this here is number 192. Considering I have the attention span of a horsefly, it's amazing that this documentary has gone on as long as it has. If I can remember, I'll thank people during the 200th posting. Until then you'll just get the regular old business.

Flight is Booked

Okay, so I'm flying Standby so it's not exactly "booked", but it's looking more and more like I'm going to be flying First Class for my first time ever. I'm going to order all the champagne they'll give me and use it to wash my feet, just because I can. I'll also wash my face over and over again with warm towels simply because the option is there. It'll be sweet.

For those of you who might be interested, I'll be making a special guest appearance in Phoenix, AZ this upcoming Friday. Actually, I'll be there all weekend soaking up any extra heat and sunshine they have to throw my way (although it's probably been warmer here the last few days). So far the plans look like this:

Fly out on Friday, arriving somewhere around noon (ahh, time difference how do I love thee?) whereupon I'll be hitting up the Race Expo to pick up my goodiebag and make any purchases I might like to make to commemorate such an event.

Saturday will be a fun-filled day of visiting a Frank Lloyd Wright house (Taliesin West), then hiking in some sort of desert hiking environment.

Sunday is race day, which I can only assume will be packed with activity. The race starts at 8:30, and if all goes well I should be done by 10:00 or so. After that, there's a bunch of Rock 'n' Roll related events, including a concert headlined by the Gin Blossoms. Okay, so I don't care much about the Gin Blossoms but I'll go with the flow.

NOTE: I mentioned in a previous posting that the concert was headlined by The Goo Goo Dolls. This was incorrect, I apologize.

Monday will probably be a lazy day, with the flight home commencing in the early afternoon. If the flights all line up correctly, I should be home again in the late evening, refreshed for a nice week of work. Ahhh!

In Need of Ass-pirin

Last week I belive I regaled you in a story involving my left leg and its soreness. I then mentioned that I rested it for a day or two, then ran too fast on hills resulting in re-aggravation of the aforementioned muscle(s).

I took Friday off (from running) to get a buttload of things done, including, but not limited to, applying for my new mortgage. Saturday I was tempted with the idea of a short, easy run which turned into two short easy runs bookending a race. Not so good for the hammies/glutes. To ensure that it was as well rested as can be, I gave it another healthy dose of rest on Sunday morning when I joined the ole RRF group for an "easy" 11.5 miler. Any incline was causing me extreme discomfort, and the pain slowly crept up the back of my leg to my "sit bone", where the hamstring connects to the hamstring bone (or ass bone, pelvis, whatever).

As directed by a nurse friend, I applied the "sit on a tennis ball" technique of massaging the muscle. You don't actually shove the tennis ball up your ass as I'm sure some of you are imagining, you roll one cheek around on it until you find the sore spot. The reason for this is that the hamstring is buried beneath layers of muscle and it's damn near impossible to massage it without really putting some weight behind it. Conveniently, you can use your body weight to do this and it works pretty well.

If you've ever had a sore shoulder or neck and had someone massage it, you'll be familiar with the clunking feel of rolling over the knot of muscle fibers. You'll also be familiar with the way this can take your breath away. It was a similar experience with the hamstring muscle only with much more weight and more clunking. Today it's still sore, with the added soreness of having massaged it. Sweet.

Pats Won

If you haven't heard, the Patriots won yesterday. End of story.

I guess that's all I have to tell you today. It was a pretty lazy day yesterday, involving lots of sitting around and eating, and watching TV. Oh, two words for you: "Corn Bread is Awesome"! Yum, I love corn bread.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hot Damn it's Hot!

What up playerinos? After the whopper of a day I had yesterday, I was hoping I'd be able to at least recreate half of it. I'm not so sure that I did, but it was a good one nonetheless.

Warm as a Mug

I awoke this morning to a sweltering day here in the Berkshires. At first I thought it was the new comforter on my bed, but it turned out to be the simple fact that it was 60-something odd degrees outside. I went out to check the mail in my flannel pajama pants and terrycloth bathrobe and quickly learned that it was about the same temperature outside as it was in. Note to self, turn off the heat and open the windurs (yes, windurs).

With the sun shining, it felt like a warm summer morning. In the shade, it felt like a warm spring morning. Even with the intense wind it was warm all day. I finished up some things around the house that would have been nagging me all winter.

A Race that Wasn't a Race, but Was

This afternoon I attended what was to be a race, but not a race, but really a race. We were going to run the Live on the Lake Race route, minus the race. But as an added twist, it would be a race. With my recent "training", I whipped everyone by minutes. I even slowed my roll at one point to let the others catch up so I wouldn't have to run alone. They were just too slow, and I was left with no choice to burn them. Ha ha ha ha haaaaa!

Soon to be Cool

You know those cool Bluetooth headsets you see all of the coolest people wearing? Well yours truly ordered one, so I too will soon be cool. Actually, I just got it to use in the car and when I have to make long calls. I don't plan on wearing it all day like some people, just when needed. Oh, and while kayaking. You see, sometimes people call me whilst I'm a-paddling and with a killer headset I'll be able to leave my phone in the dry compartment and not risk dropping it into a lake. Oh technology, why are you so cool? Why?

National Geographic Learned Me Something Cool

I have a subscription to National Geographic, courtesy of my enlightened sister. This morning, while I enjoyed my pancakes, I breezed through one of many unread issues.

Originally, I read all about pelicans, but what really caught my fancy was the article about nanotechnology. I'm not going to get all nerdy on you, I'm just going to pass along the way the author conveyed the concept of a nanometer.

First, there was the marble to earth analogy, where the marble represents a nanometer and the earth represents a meter. Super, the marble cliche.

The second, which I enjoyed a little more was that a nanometer was the length a hair grows in the time it takes a man to remove a razor from his face. I'll be damned, that's pretty neat.

We Need to See You in Person

Today I got yet another bank statement for an account I have been meaning to close out. About a year ago I went to the credit union to close out all accounts with my name on them. The woman on the other side of the counter interpreted that as "Please just close one".

The deal with this place is that it's a credit union for teachers and people who work at the credit union. The same person whose name I'm in the process of having removed from my mortgage once worked there and we had two joint accounts. Since I am not a teacher, I had to be on her account so that I could open my own, which then had her name on it. The one account that was closed was the latter.

When I got the statement today, I said "Eff this, I gotta get this credit union to stop sending mail with her name on it to my house" and I called the credit union. The guy on the other end of the phone said I had to come in to take care of it, so I dressed as quickly as I could and hauled ass over there. The teller took my name off it without asking for ID, which makes me wonder why I had to drive over there. They could have just as easily not looked at my ID over the phone.

The next order of business was to change the address to her new address so it wouldn't keep coming to my house. The teller said she had to come in (or call) to do that, which I pointed out would not happen since she's not in the area. I gave her the new address and assured her any correspondence sent to me would be promptly thrown away. She asked for a phone number and I relayed how difficult it was to just get the address. My business with that credit union was done; I left. Check another closet-cleaning task off my list!

Well, that's all I got for now. I'm going to get back to watching Kill Bill on my thirty-two inch cathode ray tube. Channel 15 is showing Kill Bill and Kill Bill II back-to-back.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, January 05, 2007

I'm a Productivity Machine!

What's up everybody, welcome to the weekend. This week has pretty much been the Week of Productivity as far as my odds and ends are considered. I don't know if I'm riding the wave of New Years energy or if it's because it feels like spring around here, but whatever the case I have been taking care of bidness.

In Review

First I'll state some truths:
  • I don't like talking on the phone

  • I don't like calling people about money

  • I don't like being pushy

  • I don't like dealing with unpleasant things

  • I don't like dealing with unpleasant things that also require me to just accept things I don't understand

  • I procrastinate

Now, here's how I had to overcome all of those fears this week:
  • I called the dentist about my erroneous bill (successful)

  • I called the eye doctor about my overdue glasses (successful)

  • I called my lawyer about the mortgage (successful)

  • I painfully got all of my finances in order complete with tracking down the owner of my school loan (successful)

  • I finished filling out my mortgage application and made an appointment with the bank (successful)

  • I went to my appointment with the bank and got all of my questions answered and my application filed (successful)

The painfullest part of this whole mortgage thing is that the bank and attorney kept telling me to call the other one. The attorney wasn't going to tell me anything until he was on the payroll, and I couldn't convey to him that I wanted him on the payroll. The bank kept telling me to get answers from the attorney, and the cycle continued. Finally the other day I called the attorney and said "How do I make you my attorney?", to which he replied "Oh, just put my name on the attorney notification form that you give the bank.". I also had to give my info to the secretary, but it was relatively painless once I was able to persuade him to accept my money (or that of my legal insurance company).

The second most painful part of this process was finding all of my freaking loan information. Heaven forbid the company with which I consolidated should hang onto my loan for five minutes. Nope, they sold it after a while. Then that company sold it, then somehow the original company ended up with it. But then they apparently partnered up with another company who has the first company manage it, but with their name affixed to it.

Confused? Yeah, now try to do it when the only information you can get is that the lender you thought had your loan doesn't know who the hell you are, despite the fact that they get hundreds of your dollars every money.

All in all, I was ready to kill someone this morning as I was finishing up the last minute details before I had to meet with the man (who passed me off to someone else) at the bank.

Spring Cleaning

I aggravated a leg injury (or just a sore leg) last night during the Thursday Night Run. Today it was wicked nice out and I was just DYING to get out and run, I'm talking shorts weather here. Being the good boy that I am, I figured I'd take it easy and rest for a day. By rest, I meant do some yard work.

In preparation for cleaning out my garage so I can park in it, I decided to take the wheelbarrow-ful of tree bark to the transfer station. That way I could put the wheelbarrow out in the back where it can chill for the winter. I bagged that up and thought to myself "Self, why don't you bust out a rake and clean all the new needles and pine cones in the back yard? You'll be much happier in the spring when you don't have to mess with them." So that's what I did. After the two dozen bags of yard debris I've already taken to the transfer station in the last few weeks, I managed to fill four more with needles and pine cones. Thank God I got my new cargo mat for the Tinsel Wagon from LLBean today. Booyacah!

The Garage is Cleaned Out

Folks, it's with a tear in my eye (or is it dust) that I tell you I have the garage cleaned out well enough to park in it. There are a few things that could have better homes, but for now there is ample parking room. I even took the bike racks off the roof, so my car is ready for the winter. I've had to scrape the windows twice this "winter", but not no more Billy.

Not no more, Billy.

POP QUIZ: What movie is that line from? Abbey, I know you know it so let someone else have a chance.

I'm not Gay

I have to preface this section with the disclaimer that I'm not gay, because often times the things I do are normally only done by members of the fairer sex or men who prefer the company of other men.

As a treat for taking care of the mortgage today, I bought myself a big ass latte (triple shot, yo) and went for a drive. Originally the drive was to make sure the transfer station was open, but I also ended up at Home Goods looking for window treatments and duvet covers. What I ended up getting was a duvet cover complete with two pillow shams (I'm not big on shams, but everything matches real purdy-like and the cotton is so cottony soft), a big brown bottle for my loose change and a picture frame for a sign my sister brought me from Japan. Actually, here's a picture so you can see how hot it looks atop my desk...

Click on the picture for a better view of it. You'll see that it's a picture of a dog biting a guy on the ass. Classic! I can only assume the kashi (okay, Kashi makes cereal but I can't remember what Japanese symbols are called) says something to the effect of "You gotta worry about a dog, CATCHIN YO ASS!".

POP QUIZ: What's that last quote from?

That's it folks, enjoy your weekend. It's good to be back.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Word Verification

I was remound by my sister that making words out of the Word Verification clues is fun. When you post a comment, add your Word Verification and what you interpret it to be. It's a fun game that makes everyone's life a little more enjoyable.

For example, if I got the letters ddstkr I might come up with "Doo Doo Sticker". Then you can use it in a sentence like "I thought I had all the shit off my shoe, but when it rubbed off on my gas pedal I realized I had a real ddstkr."

Ahh, such fun. And play as often as you like.

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Okay folks, it looks like I might be back into blogging. I've been trying my damndest to think in blogthought, as in paying closer attention to the little things that give my blog world that little something extra. I have a few more tidbits for you tonight, as well as some pictures I took outside. By the way, JC, I need my tripod back when you get a chance. I should have grabbed it when I was at your house, but I was so hopped up on snacks and swine that I just plain forgot.

Stuck it to the Dentist

Since I was on the lam for a while, I don't even know if I told you about my trip to the dentist. I had a few cavities after all of these years, but the hygienist told me my teeth were in excellent shape. As a matter of fack (yes, fack) she said they were as clean as any teeth she sees biannually. Word up!

Anyway, I got my bill the other month and they charged me for the fancy white, cosmetic fillings reserved for front teeth. Of course the insurance company doesn't cover shit like that for molars, and I was delivered a whopping bill. Far be it from me to complain, but I told myself that if someone was going to pay me a few hundred dollars to make a phone call I would do it without question, and I called. Sho nuff it was their mistake and they're resubmitting it to the insurance company. PlacaTAN!

I wouldn't say I stuck it to the dentist, I just got my bill fixed. For me, that's a huge deal.

Now Gimme My Specs

Next on the agenda was my long overdue glasses. I ordered them shits last year and still had not heard a peep about them. I rang my friendly neighborhood optometrist and sho nuff they had them at the office. I swooped down on that place like Pterodactyls on live Pterodactyl prey. After quick fitting I am looking good. Let me tell you, I like these new spectacles. They prompted me to buy new pants.

The Mighty Mos Def

This past weekend I heard about that new new Mos Def album. A true fan, I decided I needed to pick that joint up with the promptness. I grabbed it today at Best Buy (I know, I hate that place too) and let me tell you a little something about it. You need to hit me up for a bootleg, or better yet spend the $13 and get it yourself! While some of his more recent stuff has been a hair on the wack side, this is that true Mos Def ish I love to hear. There are some tracks that literally made me get up and dance.

The album comes in a flimsy plastic jewel case, the kind I would use if I had to pay for jewel cases for my own alba (plural of album). Fortunately, I have yet to record an album so that hasn't been an issue yet. It also came sans book and sans flair. It's a CD in a case, that's it! Even the plastic wrapping on the outside that usually requires an act of God to open was more like a cheap sandwich bag. In my opinion, that's very conscientious of Mr. Def since Mos people just rip it to their iPod and put the CD in a box somewhere. Less waste makes the world a better place. Thanks a lot, Mos Def!

The View from My Side Door

I tried taking some pictures of this cool streetlight behind a big tree the other night when it was mad foggy, but the pictures came out crummy. Tonight I went back out again and tried to use the Shutter Speed Priority setting and what would you know, they came out alright. This might be my new thing for a little while (JC, this is why I need the tripod back).

And PLEASE, before you just disregard these pictures, click on them (and then the All Sizes zoom icon) for the full size version. I scaled them down so that the page would load better, but they look much worse than the originals.

I took the first of these with the shutter open for two seconds. I waited in the cold for a car to go by, away from me, for that cool tail light effect. From the amount of light the camera captured, you'd never know how dark it really was out there. Even with the streetlight it doesn't look that bright to the naked eye.

Two Seconds

The second picture was taken with the shutter open for one second. For effect, I saturated the colors of the second one in Picasa. Oh, that light blue orb at the top is the moon. Enjoy!

One Second at Night - Saturated

Well, that's it for tonight. I hope to drum up some more hot shit for you tomorrow.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

That's One Fine Doorman

Sup, y'all. It was brought to my attention that maybe all of you don't get or read Berkshire Living magazine. In light of this, I have searched high and low for electronic copies of my doorman pictures.

For those of you who may not remember, I had a doorman gig a few months back. I was working the door for an Alzheimer's benefit event. Once the doorman part was over, I was free to enjoy all of the same perks as those who had donated: fancy hors d'ouvres (sp?), a show at the Barrington Stage Co., fancy chocolates and coffee at a fine local eatery (Spice).

Anywho, here are the pictures...

The first is a picture of my cohort Brian and I right after we finished holding the doors. If you don't know, that's me on the left. Can you tell that the jacket is 14 sizes too big? Seriously, when it comes to coats I wear a 40 and it's a 54. The thing was humANGous.

The second shot is, well, pretty much the same thing only it looks better. It's also the picture used in the paper and presumably in Berkshire Living magazine. Ahh, a celebrity is born.

Well, that's it for now. I hope you've enjoyed this installment of the Old Coot Blog.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year, But and Old Coot

Hey y'all once again it's been some time since I hollered at you. Last year I started off my new season of bloggetry with a recap of the previous year. I took the first post of each month and gave a brief summary. I'd like to do that again but it's rather time consuming so I'll have to get to it a little later. For now I'm going to give you a little New Year writeup.

Cashew Brittle Started and Ended Late

This year I was going to be ringing in the new year at the J&BC compound up in Windsor. If you've ever met me, you know that I like to cook/bake, and typically have some tasty concoction to titillate even the most stubborn taste buds. The problem with the way I cook/bake is that I do so without regard for what others can or cannot eat. My policy has been that if you can't eat what I make, it's your loss. Since J&BC have fed me approximately a thousand meals in the last year, and JC is unable to eat much more than air and water, I thought I'd bring something he would be able to enjoy.

After perusing some online recipes at AllRecipes, I found a holiday treat that contains no wheat products whatsoever - Peanut Brittle. Not being one to stick to traditional recipes, I thought I'd give that a whirl but substitute cashews for the peanuts. If peanut brittle is good, cashew brittle has to be better. If there's someone out there who doesn't like cashews I've never met him.

By the time I got around to making the cashew brittle it was about 2:45 AM on Sunday morning. A late start, but I was wired from chocolate covered espresso beans so there was no cause for concern. My favorite part of this candy treat was that I got to use my candy thermometer. The sugar mixture had to be cooked to exactly 300 degrees F (or degrees Candy as I called it since I was using a candy thermometer and it was wicked late) before adding the butter and baking soda and pouring out onto a greased cookie sheet. If we learned anything from the 80s drug scene, it's that you need baking soda to make things crack.

So on New Year's Eve, my cashew brittle went untouched for the entire night. At 12:45 I was prepared to bring it back home and drown my culinary sorrows into the sugary deliciousness when the frenzy began. The next thing I knew there was nothing left but crumbs, sweet sweet crumbs.

Slow But Steady Wins the Race

Well, it may not win the race but at least it beats death. The rain we got Sunday night turned into one large sheet of ice on the hilltown roads. Of course, the Tinsel Wagon didn't really notice it due to its superb All-Wheel-Drive, but it's not acceleration you're worried about in those conditions, it's deceleration (which, to the true nerds out there, is just a negative acceleration). When the SUV ahead of me decided to "test" his brakes I almost rear-ended him (or her, but we'll assume for the sake of the story that it was a dude). I ended up on the other side of the road a few times to avoid rear-ending this yahoo. Thanks pal.

In the end, it was nice that someone made me slow down to such a ridiculously slow speed. Honestly, 12 MPH is a bit slow for a road with a posted limit of 55 but since I had nowhere to be I chose slow and steady over hurrying to the grave. Mom, you're welcome.

Big Sis Booster Shot

Big ups to my sister who came through with some siblingly advice for your humble narrator. I believe she ended her pep talk with "Chin up, buckeroo." so you know her speech was TIZIGHT!

Work is Mad Boring

Two weeks of vacation and work is still wicked boring. Nuff said.

I'm Going, Going, Back, Back to AZ, AZ

Like the late great Notorious B.I.G. said, I'm going back to AZ. Well, he was going back to Cali but A) I've never been there once to be able to go "back" and 2) I'm not going to Cali, I'm going to AZ.

In case you haven't heard, I'm going to be running in the Rock 'n' Roll (Half) Marathon. I was wicked tempted to sign up for the full marathon but that would be an injury waiting to happen. Instead, I'm going to run the half which is still 13.1 miles. For those of you who don't regularly run that far, the shit is far.

I'm shooting for a time of 1:46, which is around an 8:00 mile. If you don't know about paces, that's way slower than the good people run it. However, it's a HUGE race with tens of thousands of people all of whom will undoubtedly be in my way. Experience has taught me that fighting your way through a crowd is both tiring and hardly worth it. Therefore, I'm going to shoot for a time of 1:46 (that's an hour and forty-six minutes).

Old Coot, where did you come up with 1:46? Why not 1:45? It comes from a guy named Lasso and his famous 800s. His theory is that if you can run 8-800s at some pace, you'll be able to take the minutes and seconds and determine your marathon pace. For example, if you can run 8-800 meter laps around a track at 3:25 (three minutes and 25 seconds), you'll be able to run a marathon in three hours and 25 minutes. Since I'm doing a half, I figure I can safely divide my 800m times in half and go with that. Realistically I should be faster than that, but since it's my first half marathon and I'll be in a strange land with strange heat and strange sunlight, I'm going to play it safe.


If you've ever been in a situation where I'm looking for you, you'll know that I make bird calls to get people's attention. That's how I roll, you better recognize. Last night I was out for a late night 8-mile glute busting hill run when I saw an an elderly couple was getting into their car. Over my hip-hop blasting headphones I heard what I thought was the sound of a bird yelling at me. Sho nuff it was this old man making bird calls at me.


I promptly put one fist in the air and yelled "Hey, how you doin'?" to his old ass.

My theory is that people all over Berkshire County have been hearing me making bird calls. Teenagers have picked up on it, MTV has picked up on it, a shiny, baggy-pantsed rapper named Birdman has taken it as his catch phrase and even hip old folks use it to connect with todays youth. And to connect with me.

I'm a trend setter, bitches!

Well Cooterinos, I'm sorry for the extended delay in my blogging but it was for the best. I have unpublished drafts awaiting publication, but they are so sub par that I've determined they will never see the light of your Cathode Ray Tubes (or LCDs).

Over and Out,
Old Coot

P.S. I hope to be back in full effect, it's been a struggle the last month but as my big sister pointed when she dropped motivating wisdom bombs on my dome piece, "we'll soon be at the top looking down".

P.P.S. If you receive Berkshire Living magazine, you need to check it out for pictures of yours truly as a doorman. For the record, the numbskulls spelled my name wrong.

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