Monday, April 28, 2008

That Does It!!!

Despite the moniker Old Coot, I am actually not old and not a coot. My Libran fairness gives me a world of reason and understanding that often works to my disadvantage. Alas, even I have my limits...


Yesterday morning I was startled awake by the yelping howl of the neighbor's loud ass mothafucking barking dog (LAMFB dog) at the ripe hour of 7:30AM. As usual he would continue to yelp and howl all day, but the pièce de résistance came when a car broke down in the road next door to the LAMFB dog's house.

The driver of the broken down car spent the better part of 2.5 hours in the street trying to figure out what went wrong and then what to do about it. All the while the LAMFB dog yelped and howled without so much as a pee break. I was forced to endure a suffering that tested my patience and brought me to the edge of sanity. I wanted so badly to walk over and punt the freaking thing into the back yard, but I know he's such a piece of chicken shit that as soon as my foot touched the driveway he'd run away with his tail betwixt his legs.

Loud-ass-muthafucking-piece-of-chicken-shit-ass dog.

Today I shall put the finishing touches on a letter I've been writing to LAMFPCSA dog's owners. In it, I simply point out that their dog is a nuisance, that I have been more than tolerable for a long time, that the city code specifically prohibits people from allowing their dog to yelp and howl to the detriment of the neighborhood, and informs them of the consequences of failing to comply with the city's code. It is a fine piece of diplomacy if I do say so myself. There is a firm tone, but it is entirely non-threatening.

The next step will be to call in the authorities and let them handle it. The letter is basically a warning shot.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

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Friday, April 25, 2008

One Helluva Day

Cooterinos and Cooteristas, I had one hell of a day. I am absolutely pooped, and not from what you're probably guessing. It all started when I played hookey from work...

People Watching for Breakfast

I had breakfast this morning with a friend of mine and we sat out in the sun drinking our coffee and watching all the people. Not too shabby.

Holy Oke!

Sorry, that heading might be a hair lame. After breakfast meant a trip out to the Holyoke mall to check out iMacs at the Apple store. I've been eyeing the iMacs for some time now, partly because I'm somewhat of a sucker for cool looking electronics, but mostly because I am sick and tired of Windows-based computers and their penchant for suck-assery.

I originally thought I'd get a laptop again, but after marinating on it for a few days I felt that the iMac was more up my alley. It's small, as in not a big ass tower and CRT monitor, yet has more power and a bigger display than a laptop. The next question to answer was whether I needed the 20" or the 24" model. That was the real reason for going to the Apple store, to see the difference. It's a good thing I did, because the 24" jobber was way too big for what I need.

Trader Joe's is the Bomb

A drive all the way to Holyoke calls for a stop at Trader Joe's for some quality groceries. I loaded up a cooler with frozen goods, and a few more bags with the remainder of my sundries. I'll be eating like a king for weeks now. Well, a king who eats veggie burritos.

Then I Pulled the Trigger

When I got home I was absolutely whooped from spending the whole day out in the sun (minus the hour or so I was in the stores). I gathered up all of my energy, plus some Trader Joe's brownie bites, and ordered a refurbed iMac. It'll be here next week!

After the heavy day of spending I had to rassle up enough energy to run 7 miles. I had to do 10 yesterday, most of which was on trails, so my gams were beat. I'm glad I forced myself to get out there but I'm also happy to be back home.

The next question: smoothie or veggie burrito?

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


It was about 50 degrees this morning when I was riding my bike into work. I was wearing a wind breaker, but my ankles (I roll up my pants to avoid the grease tattoo) and hands were exposed and quite frosty. That's to be expected, since they're always the coldest. What I wasn't used to was my upper lip being so cold. There's nothing like a freshly shorn lip to really catch the breeze. Mustache, where are you?

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Goodbye to a Friend

Our friendship lasted only a few weeks but in that time I had really grown attached to my new friend. We spent all of our free time together, poking fun at each other, laughing, eating meals and enjoying the leftovers. Alas, the world was not ready for a relationship like ours and we have been forced to go our separate ways...

Who is this Friend?

This friend about whom I am writing is my Speed 'Stache. The ridicule at work turned from friendly laughter to outright vicious jabs. Jokes that could have been taken as just that, jokes, were followed with "but seriously, it has to go" leaving me to think that maybe people not only didn't like it, but were offended (or threatened) by it. Then there was the half hour "you'll never find a woman..." monologue this afternoon where I could only defend myself with "yeah, but no other facial hair configuration seems to be working either".

So friends, I have decided to bid the 'stache adieu and go back to the little boy clean shaven look. That is, until I go a few days without shaving and start back in on the Power 'Tee.

For those of you saddened by the loss, I'll leave you with this. The Speed 'Stache did not live up to his name. In fact, today was the nicest day of the year (or one of the nicest) and my track workout was pretty sorry. I dug deep looking for the power to push through the workout but the 'stache had his mind elsewhere and the pace slowed to a miserable glorified jog. Maybe he was already getting ready to leave, or maybe he was just not cut out for such a finely tuned athlete. Whatever the case, we won't be working or playing together anymore.

Not Leaving without a Photo Shoot

I set up my camera on my desk and fired off a few dozen shots, looking for one that would capture the 'stache's true essence. I found out that he was also a curious, caring, in-your-face kind of mustache that has simply been misunderstood.

Inquisitive Mustache

'Stache Tweak

In Yo Face! Mustache

And that's the end of that chapter (wiping hands).

Little Boy is Blue

The 'Stache Met His Maker

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm Getting There

A few weeks ago I told y'all out there in Readerland about the bike ride I'm doing in support of the local Multiple Sclerosis chapter. With my road running training, I haven't been able to ride yet (until this afternoon) but I am certain the ride will be a no-brainer. Things are underway...

I'm In!

I set a lofty fundraising goal for myself, above and beyond what they ask each participant to raise, and I hope to get there by the time the ride comes along. As of this morning I have met and exceeded the minimum fund raising amount, but am still a ways off from my ultimate goal of $1500.

They haven't worked out the "posting your progress on a separate website" widget yet, but if you're interested you can find my progress here. If you'd like to make a tax deductible donation to support me, you can do so right from my progress page, or by clicking right here.

As I said before, I wouldn't want anyone to contribute who doesn't want to, but I will be soliciting support until the ride just in case anyone is on the fence. And, with it being tax deductible just think that you'd not only be giving money to a good cause but you'd also not be giving money to Uncle Sam! Every little bit counts, so please consider contributing.

Since this didn't make the press yesterday, I'm cutting it short here. For the record, the bike ride was a lot harder than I expected but it was the first one of the season, it was after a 2+ hour run over a mountain (and back) and I was a little short on food yesterday.

I've made a pact with myself to ride my bike to work more often than I did last summer, which was admittedly very little. I started fresh today and it was a nice start to the morning. I still had to work out some logistics like bringing shoes to change into, remembering my badge and grabbing my lock on the way out but tomorrow should be smoother. The best part is the ride through Brattlebrook Park along the dirt road, with big wide fields on either side and mountains off in the distance. Not too shabby a way to start the day I'd say.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tuesday Night - Pow Pow

Cooterinos, I'm hollering at you one more 'gain and let me tell you, things are looking up for The Coot. Grab a glass of milk and some cookies, plunk down in your favorite easy chair and let me spin you a yarn.

The Painting Project

It's been a long, nasty battle against the funkiness that was my spare bedroom. I've been looking at it in it's Kilz Primer White anti-splendor for so long that I didn't realize how bad it really was. What's funny is that this was the first room I touched a paintbrush to before I even closed on the house. Almost 6 years later I'm finally taking that God awful flat white(ish) room and making it into something I might enjoy looking at. And enjoy it I will.

As of tonight, I have the ceiling and walls painted, the trim scraped (it had some FUNK on it), nails from the old shoe molding pulled, holes - from where I nailed the window trim back up after replacing the windows - filled, and all of the trim primed with good oil based primer. Sherwin Williams makes some nice paint, but the shit doesn't come cheap.

Last night I got into a groove and got the trim all prepped, then started in on priming it. On the last bit I had, just one window from completion, I found I was getting sloppy. I stuck the brush in a plastic bag, covered the pail and called it a night. When I looked at the clock I realized I had been working on that room for damn near 4.5 hours. No wonder. Midnight is well past my weekday bedtime.

Tonight I finished up that last window (God bless you oil paint for not getting funky like latex), put all of the outlet covers and switch plates back on, cleaned up the primer/brush/pail and called it quits. I thought about getting into the last step - painting the trim with real paint - but decided by the time I was all cleaned up then set up for that it would be late again. It'll have to wait a few more days.

The Speed 'Stache

Tonight was Track Night, and I put the Speed 'Stache to work. I'm starting to think I can't blame donating blood anymore, but maybe the blame lies in staying up late last night and breathing paint fumes all evening. Wherever the fault should lie, I still wasn't able to run quite at the level I'd like.

This week was 4x1 Mile, meaning 4 intervals lasting 1 mile each with recovery in between. I tend to do 1/4 mile recovery because that's one lap on the track. Don't forget the warm up and cool down. Tonight ended up somewhere in the vicinity of 7.5 miles, about par for speed night.

As usual the first lap was my fastest, and as I settled into an appropriate pace I found myself fairly consistent. That was nice, but I was consistently slow.

Hmm, maybe it was the people who just had to walk 5 abreast on the track, almost forcing us off into the grass, or the gobs of other people who insisted on taking the inside lanes even though they're out there for fitness, not time. You can't get a good feel for consistency when you're constantly changing lanes. Yeah, that's my excuse. I wished there was an appropriate way to ask the people not to use the inside lanes if they're walking and talking, but it's a public track so I bit my tongue.

One of the good things I noticed tonight was that my severe long run the other day did not seem to have any ill effects on tonight. I was a bit sore at the beginning, but that faded away within a lap or two. In fact, once I got into the third interval I was in the zone.

Lastly, I usually end the final lap before my cooldown with an all out 100m kick to the finish line. Tonight I decided to take it a step further and start my kick at the 200m line. When I crossed the finish line I was huffing, puffing, and on the hairy edge of booting. If a mosquito had farted on me I would have lost my lunch, but I eventually got over it and the the post-run euphoria hit. I think 200m will be my new thing.

That's it, it's bed time. Sorry Ab, still no 'stache picture. Maybe when I finish painting the spare bedroom and take pictures of that I'll getcha something. Suffice it to say that it's killer.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jesus, Mother of Joseph!

Yeah, I know it's supposed to be Jesus, Mary and Joseph but Jesus Mother of Joseph is funnier. Anyway, I' sitting here drinking my coffee trying to muster the energy to type and I gotta tell you, it's not easy. Allow me to egg-splain.

Hancock/Richmond 12 Miler

This morning I set out at the crack of 9:30 to meet up with some folks for the Sunday long run. When I arrived at the meeting spot it was very clear that those folks wouldn't be joining me. I waited the obligatory 10 minutes just in case, then headed out.

The route I picked started at the Hancock Shaker Village, headed west, then south through some back roads into Richmond. From there, many of the roads are dirt which this time of year feel like running on sponges. It's a nice treat to the joints to have such a soft surface and the dirt roads themselves tend to slow traffic, which is light anyway.

Oh, did I mention I had two sore knees, a snug calf and a shin threatening to splint (is that how one gets shin splints?). And my shoulders and sides were sore from painting. My plan was to head out, see if any of the above became an issue and turn back around if they were. If not, I'd push through for an easy 12 miles. Within a half mile or so everything smoothed out perfectly.

My first complaint is with the weather. Accweather still claims it'll be sunny and 50 today, but so far it's cloudy and 40. I expected to have it warm and clear up, but that never happened.

Aaaanyway, at just shy of 8 miles I was supposed to hang a left onto Dublin Rd. I'm not sure if my brain said "Hell no, it's uphill to the left. I'm going right." or what, but I went right. At this point I should be cruising in until the end on Dublin Rd. with only a slight zig zag on Sleepy Hollow Rd.

Part of the problem I would have from here on out is that they don't label both streets at intersections, so you have a 50/50 chance of finding out which street you're on and which one you're turning onto. Add in that they change names frequently and some streets don't exactly go straight through intersections and someone like me who's navigationally challed to begin with is doomed.

So there I was cruising down Dublin Rd. dreaming of the stack o' hotcakes I would soon be enjoying when I hit the end of Dublin Rd. Shit! I headed right, decided that was wrong and turned back the other way. Eventually I came upon a kindly woman who informed me that Dublin ended where we were, and that I should just head back to Rte 41 and take the non-scenic route back so I would be sure not to get lost. I agreed.

Following her directions I came across Dublin Rd again. Hmm, I pulled out my route notes and saw my error from before, turned the correct way onto Dublin and away I went. Now I'm home free, I thought to myself.

Wrong-o! I came upon another intersection and the road signs informed me that I was on Sleepy Hollow, NOT Dublin (and failed to tell me what I was crossing). Shit! Fuck it, I knew what was at the other end of Sleepy Hollow, so I went that way. Worst case I would have to stop at Bartlett's Orchard, eat a muffin and call someone for a ride.

Okay, so I was back on familiar grounds. I gambled and headed down a road named Summit Rd., which I had been on earlier in the morning, but at the other end. I knew that if I just stayed on this road I would be able to find my way back from there. Well, unless it was a different Summit Rd.

A few miles down the road I was back on Dublin (I needed a map to show me how that all worked) and heading towards the car. There were a few mirages that looked like the end of the road, but they were just there to test my willpower and inch me towards the edge of sanity. The last mile or so was up a huge hill, and at this point I was ready to be done. I was cursing like a drunken sailor at inanimate objects, saying things like "I hate that tree stump!" and "Who left that god damn shovel there?" It wasn't pretty.

As I approached the driveway I passed a sign reading "Hancock Shaker Village Parking 400 feet" and was ecstatic. I actually said "God bless you, 400 foot sign" as I passed it. As I turned into the driveway my GPS watch read 17.25 miles. If my math is correct, that's 5.25 miles further than I was supposed to go. Jeezum Crow!

The good part if there is one, is that aside from some belly grumblings at mile 14 (which I suppressed by telling my stomach that was only making things worse) I did pretty well until the last little bit. My form was good, pace was pretty much even, and my muscles held off the cramps and knots I could feel a-brewing. I tried an ice bath to help with recovery, but I was already so cold I couldn't stand it and only lasted about 15 seconds. I guess I won't be walking tomorrow.

Moral of the story, draw a map in addition to the route notes.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Please Consider Sponsoring Me

Coot fans, I'm not one to ask people for favors or solicit funds, but I think this is a worthwhile cause so I'm going to give it a go.

Multiple Sclerosis Bike and Hike the Berkshires

Later on this summer I'm going to be riding in the MS Bike and Hike the Berkshires 100 mile bike ride. They have a few different rides, but I thought the 100-miler would be the one for me.

For a while now I've been looking for a way to put my favorite activities to good use. Sometimes I help with Kid's Races, and I run a lot of charity races but this is something different. We're not talking about a $30 10K where half of the money goes to offset the cost of holding the races itself. My goal is to raise $1,500 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). They ask each registrant to raise $250, but I am challenging myself to take it to another level.

If you're worried about where the funds go, the ride itself is paid for by the registered riders/hikers (meaning there's an entry fee separate from the donations). Every donated dollar goes to the NMSS to help pay for reseach, education and support of those who suffer with MS.

If you'd like to make a donation to help me reach my goal, and to help the NMSS reach their goals, you can do so here. Any amount you're comfortable with is appreciated. There's no pressure to donate, I'm just giving you Coot fans out there in Readerland the opportunity to contribute if you'd like.

Thanks for reading, and if you choose to make a donation thank you again.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

It's a Lazy Afternoon

Cooterinos, it's a lazy blah-zay afternoon here in Newe Englande. The weatherfolks said it would be warm, sunny and calm which means you can precisely rule out the possibility of it being any of those three. As it turns out it's cool, cloudy and windy. Check.

The Multi-Function Room is Underway

The last two weekends I successfully put off working on my spare bedroom slash yoga studio slash computer room but this past week I got down to business.

The ceiling took a few coats of sky blue, and is looking sharp. I've been to Sherwin Williams and found a few colors that I think will work well in there. I was originally thinking of a chocolate or cappuccino but then thought better of it. Yeah, they're neat colors but it would be really dark in there, so I'm going with something closer to an extra-light coffee. To the good folks at Sherwin Williams it's known as Camelback.

The new light fixture went up without too much fanfare. I gotta say, it looks a hell of a lot better than the two bulbs I used to have just hanging from wires. Prior to painting I had done most of the work and all that was left was to actually wire it up and tighten the screws. I'm still a little worried about the fact that there's 120V between the hot and return wires when the switch is off, but I have my theories (ground loop current). And really, I didn't make it any worse than it was so I'm not going to sweat it.

Mostly, my motivations right now are to get the room back to normal so I can start practicing yoga again and get the house back together. I have the contents of that room strewn all over the place, and if my house wasn't already a mess it's really a mess now.

After I finish blogging I'm gonna head out and pick up the paint. I even have a color picked out for the hallways; God bless ye, motivation!

Tender Foot

We all knew it could happen, but I thought for sure I was being careful enough not to get hurt. Well, at the moment I've got what feels like the beginning of a case of shin splints and some sort of foot ailment. My calf on that leg is tight as all get-out, so I think if I just put an effort into limbering it back up (see, I need my yoga back) I'll be back in business. I've got my weekly long run tomorrow so I'd like to be feeling good by then.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Speed 'Stache Results

Last night included a track workout at our friendly neighborhood highschool. There were tons of people there enjoying the first warm day of the season (it stayed in the 60s until somewhere in the middle of the night), including some mildly decent lookers who were probably jail bait.

Just Get to it Man!

You didn't come here to hear about the jail bait and old ladies in big ass sweaters wearing cheap knockoffs of French perfumes at the track. Ladies whose perfume was so strong that the 30MPH wind couldn't usher it away fast enough. In fact, I think I hacked up a chunk of perfume this morning.

Well, as I mentioned yesterday it was the maiden voyage (is there a masculine form of maiden?) for the Speed 'Stache in a real speed situation. I was doing 800m intervals (twice around) with one lap (400m) recovery in between. My plan had me doing 8 sets, which when you add a mile warmup and cooldown ends up being about 32 laps or ~8 miles. The speed 'stache would take care of the 800m intervals and I would have to do the recovery, warmup and cooldown laps. It seemed like a marriage made in heaven.

Well, I don't know if I was still feeling the effects of my blood letting last week or if I was dehydrated from only drinking coffee all day, or if my belly was unhappy with the peanut butter sandwich I ate right before running, or if maybe the Double-Ess just needed to blow out the pipes, as they say, but I was dogging it.

My first 400m was right on the money, but the second was way slower. The idea is to be consistent so the next set I took a little off the first lap in the hopes I would run the same pace the second. Nope, slow again. Finally I decided if I was going to be able to run the full workout I'd have to slow it down even more, which was way slower than I wanted to go. It worked though, and until I started getting full body cramps in the second-to-last set I was pretty consistent.

The steady 30MPH wind made it slow on one side, and there were some booties that were very distracting every few laps, but I managed to do 7 of the 8 prescribed sets. All in all, I can't say I was disappointed with my performance though. It was the first real track workout of the season and also the first day above 43 degrees since last fall. I actually felt like heat was a factor; how absurd is that?

Oh, but my kick (or the Speed 'Stache's kick) for the last 100m of the last interval clocked in around a 4 minute mile pace (for 100m, not a whole mile). WHAT! That shit is fast. This dude was sitting on the bleachers with his son and I'm sure all he heard was hoo, hoo, hee, hee, hee, hoo, hoo, hee, hee, hee as a handsomely mustachioed train flew by him, snapping his neck.


Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The First 48 Hours

I realize I sort of bombarded y'alls with postings on Sunday, so I'm going to take that as an opportunity to get myself motivated to blog some more. Mostly I want to update you on the Speed 'Stache.

Some Positive Feedback

As expected, there were a lot of chuckles, snickers and guffaws at my expense yesterday. Our young, non-male secretary seemed to be having the most fun with it and laughed right in my face at every opportunity. She's clearly attracted by it and is using laughter as a cover; being a married woman and all.

Another buddy of mine who goes by the pseudonym Easy-E found the picture of Cochese you see right here and doctored it up with my name (which is not shown for personal security reasons). I have made it my avatar for our work website as well as several other online profiles. Oh, my speed 'stache is bad ass.

Then, to seal the deal I walked out of a meeting this morning and one of the guys on the team looks over and says "That. Is. AWEsome. You're gonna keep it, right? That's not for April Fool's Day?" Oh, it's a keeper.

Tonight I have a track workout where I'll get to put this 'stache's speed to the test.

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