Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cabin Fever

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 14.5% BF

Almost felt good enough to call myself "better" yesterday, but I'm still not 100%. I went out today though, for the first time since last Thursday: grabbed brunch (coffee, corn muffins) at the Quadrant, then got some non-prescription decongestant/antihistamine and cough suppressant/expectorant, and finally dropped my rear wheel at Broken spoke, to uh, get a spoke fixed. I know I should have just done it myself, but I'm lazy & felt too tired -- in fact, going out wasn't the thrill I'd hoped it would be, it was kind of a drag.

I can tell I'm geting better though, by the way I want to go out. Earlier in the week it was all I could do to just get out of bed; eating, showering or just about anything were major chores, and boredom was not an issue. Now I'm going crazy, online every hour or so to see if anything's changed, looking out the window, basically I'm well enough that my mind is working again, and I'm bored.

How bored? I broke out my copy of Indian Trails of Pennsylvania (a very boring book about a cool subject -- maybe this book is why I'm bored?), I'm running through all the bike forums online, ditto various trail reviews, thinking about riding. I've got ...Cabin Fever!

Reading: I busted out Edward Abbey's The Serpents of Paradise (selected readings from his books, articles etc), and ran across a chapter about when he lived in Hoboken, probably in the late Sixties I'd guess. There was some neat stuff in there about taking the ferry into NYC; it reminded me of commuting with my dad into Battery Park (by ferry, from Staten Island). My destination was Newark, but I'd go that way to save money carpooling w/ Dad then taking the PATH from the World Trade Center into Penn Station. Best part of the day was the ferry ride into New York. That was fifteen years ago, wow.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Morning weigh-in 176.5#, 14.5% BF

All I want for Christmas is some health... missed all of yesterday -- literally, went to bed thursday night, only got up for bathroom & medicine breaks until this afternoon. Now I'm up and about, sort of, but still not feeling much better.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Happy Festivus! I'm So Disappointed...

Morning weigh-in: 181#, 13.5% BF

Well it might not be the flu for Christmas, but I will definitely have sinus/bronchitis for Festivus. I sure won't be going to the Which Brew party tonight... I'm expecting a call back from the doctor any moment, get my prescriptions phoned in (I'm guessing Astelin spray, some antibiotic, and a decongestant/expectorant) -- I may skip out of the rest of work today, especially if the doc sez start the meds ASAP.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Stupid Magic Cauldron

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 10.5% BF

Well, I have a sinus infection, guess all that healthy herbal magic couldn't quite stop it. Tonight will be Janna's party and run/bike through the Christmas lights down in Bethlehem. I'll probably blow it off, at the very least the run part (I would have biked), which is too bad because I have a really good "grab bag" present... If this cold gets any worse I'll schedule a trip to the doctor, get a prescription for some antibiotics and that nasal spray.

Hit Which Brew last night for dinner, saw Heath & Hans there, as well as Scott, and Jessica, and Mike & Carole who were just leaving as I arrived. Bartender Maura's off on her honeymoon -- or at least, post-wedding vacation -- and her sister was there in her place. Reasonably big crowd, all of people that know each other, lots of conversation which actually got loud at times but it was still a mellow night. They have a "Festivus Party" planned for tomorrow night, I might have to blow that off as well -- and I have a great present for that one too.

Reading: I recently re-read Neuromancer and I just finished Count Zero; now I'm in the middle of Mona Lisa Overdrive. That'll give me something to do for the next couple of days, sigh...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Drive A Stake Into The River, Cap It With A Bone

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 11% BF

Obligatory Pynchon quote:

"He was my good health," she often says. "Since he passed away I've had to become all but an outright witch, in pure self defense."
Like good old Mrs Quoad, I've been hit with disease, and resorted to a magic cauldron of herbal remedies & potions (teas, oscillococcinum aka "duck sauce," echinacea, vitamin C, etc etc) to hopefully beat it back. That and last night's early bedtime should save me. It's probably just the low humidity messing with my respiratory system -- very cold out, relative indoor humidity at home was 25%, which is bad. (Meanwhile, props to any of my faithful readers who can discover the meaning of this post's title. Hint: they were out of Olympia, and Google probably won't help.) I still feel a little under the weather, respiratory system is stressed out but the "I'm sick" feeling is not there.

Ring out, Solstice Bells!
It's the first day of Winter. Io Saturnalia! "The very bottom of the year," as old T.P. might say. Will probably hit Which Brew for dinner tonight, no workout until I'm sure I have no chest infection. (BTW, I usually have a song stuck in my head when I'm riding. Back in 1998 -- my best year -- I always raced to the instrumental part of "The Whistler.")

Monday, December 20, 2004

Flowing Underground

Morning weigh-in: 179#, 11% BF

Drove along the Muskenetcong River on the way in today, and it had that "glowing green" look about it -- schweet! I also saw some info (on the web, while looking up some info about Mithraism and its underground temples) about the rivers in London, tributaries of the Thames that have been covered over and now flow as sewers; they're starting to recover (rather, uncover) them, and have even been able to stock a few with fish...

-- anyway --

Friday night: I got home planning to ride, but instead worked on that shell script which builds static HTML photo galleries (my photos, the non-yahoo ones, were made by an earlier version). I recently decided to revamp it, using unordered lists and CSS rather than tables for the index page, and also I decided to use "here documents" in the script, rather than loads of echo statements. Anyway, I started playing, never got around to riding, and only left the house at 11:00 PM for the VMB Christmas Party... things were in full swing when I got there: beer pong, a fog machine, bike videos, etc. I made a valiant effort to play catch-up, and ended up sleeping in Doug's basement -- but only after we drunkenly made some of the worst music ever, with some cool new software he got.

Saturday was "selfish day," when I hit the coffee shop, then the gym, then the natural food store, then the other coffee shop (got one to go), then the farmer's market in the square... After that I drove out to Emmaus to that new bike store, did some more Christmas shopping and got an espresso while I was there. Ran into Hans whose bike was being repaired, also Selene who was just enjoying the bike store / coffee shop scene; Selene & company were riding French Creek on Sunday, but I talked Hans into joining us for an Allamuchy ride. I just made it home in time to get my drycleaning, then worked on the bike, got cleaned up and went to Joe G's party. I just stopped in to say hello, had a beer and then left for Gary & Gina's party. Both parties were pretty cool, but I was kind of partied out (and I really didn't know many people at Gary's) and left early, was home by 11:30.

Sunday I met Hans (who lives in Salisbury I think) at the Easton Perkins; we had breakfast --talked bikes with the manager as well as some guy I've seen at Jacobsburg, doing post-church breakfast with the wife -- then caravanned out to Allamuchy. Ten miles over there in slight drizzle/flurries with Brian and Bob, short & sweet & done before the bad weather, then home, laundry, more online xmas shopping and my weekly afternoon nap.

Now it's today. I have one more "real" gift to get, and two gag gifts (for parties Wed & Thurs), then I'm done, and not a moment too soon.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Ahhh, Friday!

Morning weigh-in: 181.5#, I forget the % BF

Busy here today, getting some stuff out the door.

No workout last night, did some Xmas shopping instead, then played with the computer and finally Which Brew for dinner. Standard Thursday night down there, Leechboy was playing -- he's actually very good, now if he would just play the goddamn songs instead of screwing around...

Tonight is the towpath, then the VMB party. I re-registered at their website, so I guess I'm a member again.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

That Guy's A Good Salesman

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 14.5% BF

Did the South Mountain Cyclery night ride last night with Mark, the shop owner, and a kid named Steve. I felt pretty good, they took it easy on me for the most part and we avoided the really log-strewn sections until later in the ride, when at least my confidence level was higher. I'm thinking of getting a new rear tire, asked in the shop about the one I usually get, and the other dude who works there recommended -- strongly recommended -- some old-school Ritchey tire that's all the buzz among that crowd. Pretty good tire I'd guess, but I was simply looking to replace my Velociraptor & said so... out on the trail we stopped for a minute, and Mark all of a sudden starts talking up that Ritchey tire. One of the big problems with the WTB tires is how hard they are to get on & off the rim, and he says the Ritchey is super-easy in that regard, then a few miles later he gets a flat and demonstrates. Sold! However, at the end of the ride we all went our separate ways, the shop was closed anyway & so I'll just pick it up some other day.

On the ride we once again saw other lights in the woods. I said I'd invited Heath & Hans, (who start later from a different trailhead) but Mark said he told them to call his cell if they were riding, and maybe it was Jon G. We wait, the lights get closer, and the lead light suddenly goes airborn... yep, it's Jon, Joe G's younger brother and one of the best cyclists I ever met, riding down the trail and jumping rock ledges in the dark. I said hi but I don't think he recognized or remembered me.

I'll probably see him Saturday: his brother Joe emailed me a party invite; unfortunately, I'd already accepted an invite fro a party the same night from Gary & Gina (two more of the really good cyclists). I'm surprised they didn't coordinate their party planning ahead of time since they're all really close. Well, as a compromise, I'll go to both parties. There's also the VMB party this Friday night, at Spanky's house. Gotta love that Christmas season.

Tonight is Christmas shopping, then the gym, then Which Brew for dinner and entertainment: Leechboy is playing, not my total favorite but at least it's interesting.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Lake Woman River

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 10% BF

Coldwater, lake woman, loudwater, laughing water... I like the look of the water when it's very cold out like it is now, but my favorite is late winter, when the river is still cold but warmer than the air, and its color is like greenish-gray rocks, and milky, almost luminescent. I like driving along the river in the morning, and riding along it at night.

Hit the gym last night (excellent workout), did some chores & errands, then went down to Which Brew for dinner, got there around 9:45. Tuesdays for a while were the night for regulars (weekends it gets too crowded), but the past few weeks it's been almost deserted on Tuesdays -- except last night the bar section was full (Scott, Ed, T, Joseph of Nazareth, Rachel, etc etc), though the dinner area was pretty sparse, and K-Jo was in da house, working behind the bar. Dinner, good conversation, some attempts to decorate for Christmas... They're having a "Festivus, for the rest of us" party on the 23rd, so I must get one more gag gift.

Saw something interesting about Mohenjo-Daro the other day. I forget what the point of the article was, but what caught my eye was some new theory on why Harappan civilization might have collapsed. Nobody knows, but I've seen speculation that it might have been an invasion of Indo-Aryan nomads, or maybe agricultural collapse when irrigation caused the soil chemistry to change (hello, California!). This new theory said that the civilization was not centered only around the Indus, but also around a second life-giving river, which dried up when seismic activity diverted its headwaters into the Ganges. Like the other theories, this one fits pretty nicely with someone's political agenda: Indian nationalistic propaganda is now pushing the view that the Indus Valley civilization was actually the one mentioned in the Vedas, and this dried-up river has been identified with the mythical Sarasvati. (Judging by the wikipedia articles, it looks like I'm the last to find out.)

An interesting thing I heard the other day: the DJ on WNTI had a contest, played a song & asked "who wrote/sang the original?" The original singer was Pete Seeger, and the song was "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy." Pretty cool, check it out, wish I caught the name of the singer on the radio because he was good too.

Riding tonight, South Mountain. Oh, and one more thing about the rivers: Rumpelstiltskin is my name...

Monday, December 13, 2004

Weekend Update

(Oops, no morning weigh in.)

Friday night I went to Cannon's (voted "Best Dive Bar in America" umpteen times in a row), met a bunch of friends for dinner. The place is just a hole-in-the-wall, one of many in Allentown, but their cook is a chef from some 4-star restaurant who got burned out, and left the rat race behind to cook for us dive-bar types. The food as usual was excellent, good beer and great company but I made it a reasonably early night.

Saturday was errand day, first breakfast at the coffee shop, then the gym (more vertigo problems), then a bunch of errands followed by some online Christmas shopping. That night was the Chain Gang Christmas party, at Madison on Main: very appetizer-oriented, very good but pricey. Lotsa fun, especially the gift grab-bag.

Sunday was more trail work at Salisbury, maybe four hours of moving/breaking rocks and armoring the trails, followed by a one or two hour ride. That place is sweet. I went home, tossed on some laundry and napped until 9:00, when I went to bed...

Friday, December 10, 2004


Morning weigh-in: 180.5#, 12.5% BF

Went to the gym last night, had vertigo problems when I was on my back (bench, crunches) but kept going, worked my way through it (muscles performed very well at least). I felt OK afterward, but I was a little headachey -- I had GI distress all day too; all of this probably adds up to allergies of some kind, hopefully not the start of a cold or sinus infection. I almost blew off going out, but I expected to meet friends at WB, also I was hungry and didn't feel like cooking, and I also wanted to see Dave Cahill play, so off I went.

It was the right decision. Dave was awesome, dinner was good too, and I hung out with the usual gang of miscreants... didn't stay long though, got home and was in bed by 10:30. Woke up exhausted at 7:00, still feel tired: typical after a gym night, especially since I changed from "endurance" to a "strength" routine. Think I'll stay in tonight.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Coffee Ride

Morning weigh-in: 179#, 14% BF

Last night I hooked up with the crew from the South Mountain Cyclery and Coffee Shop in Emmaus, for their weekly MTB ride up on, um, South Mountain. The ride starts at 6:00, which is kind of tough for me to get to; I was running late but they were too, so I got there "on time." The owner of the shop is Mark B, a guy I raced with back in 1997: he and I were both walk-ons for Scott H & Doug V's "Team Freakin A-" at the 24 Hours of Canaan. I'm not sure if he remembers that, probably does remember me from the more rancorous of the Valley Mountain Biker days. Anyway, he was there, as well as Dave Prior and three younger guys. (Heath & Hans would be starting at 6:30 from another location, and hopefully meeting us in the woods.)

Anyway, the ride started by going up the mountain on a paved road, maybe a mile of climbing to the trailhead; then came a downhill section of trail that didn't look like it got much use, very hard to even see the trail, and finally we were on some sweet, technical singletrack. We stopped for a bit, and saw lights on another trail so we waited, and it turned out to be Heath & Hans. Ride on some more -- fast bunch of guys, but I think I held my own except for the bigger logs (say 12" diameter and bigger, and there were a lot of them), where I really choked. It was funny, these guys were floating over the big logs, but a lot of the things that slowed them down or gave them trouble (rocks, rough surfaces) I didn't think were all that hard. It was probably the Turner that got me through, but I preferred to think of it as "Don is relatively stronger in the rocks."

At one point we stopped again, and again saw other lights in the woods, this time much further away. It looked like three riders, and somehow these guys surmised that it was Jon Gabor with a few friends, so we waited. And waited, and waited... eventually they were within shouting distance, but we never hooked up.

We rode a little more, over into the parts of South Mtn that I recognize (by the power lines), and finally back through town to end at the shop. Excellent ride! I'm going again next week.

Tonight is the gym, then "Hipster Night" at Which Brew, where Dave Cahill is playing. I'll probably run into Heath & Hans there...

Funny insight: I saw T the other day, and we got to talking. I told her I got another new bike, she told me she got another cat. I guess it's really over...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Morning weigh-in: 181.5#, 10% BF (damn you, Taco Bell!)

RIP John Lennon, killed on this date in 1980 -- he was a year younger than I am now...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

I remember in high school, the day he died, or rather the next day when it was all over the news. Basically, the school shut down, nothing got done. (A very large proportion of the teachers were baby-boomers, who were totally devastated.) I spent the day in the band room listening to Beatles songs with the music teacher and a ton of students.

Went over Doug's house last night, and after much hijinks (can you say Dremmel tool?) I got my old cleat removed and the new one on. Tonight I'll be riding with Heath and Hans and Dave P, and whoever the crew is that rides out of South Mountain Cyclery and Coffee Shop -- dark woods, too much caffeine...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Spanky McSpankerson

Morning weigh-in: 185#, 14% BF

Friday night was Which Brew, where the music was a little on the lame side, then Saturday night was the same thing with a different lame-o... I was tired Saturday, took a nap and only decided last-minute to go out because I'd heard that the singer was pretty good, oh well.

Sunday was supposed to be an Allamuchy ride, but I blew it off to help Doug and Eric up at Salisbury. I rode from home, then rode the trails behind St Luke's and into Walking Purchase Park, where I picked up the trailhead for the aptly-named Spanky (actually named for Greg H aka "Spanky" who made the trails there happen, but it does lay down some serious whoop-ass). Lots of difficult fun, as you climb up to the Luby's Loop switchbacks (the Lubys, father and son, are very active in building the trails), down through John and Dave's section, and I caught up with D & E planning out some new trails in the big rock garden. We played around there for a while, then went up to the trail we were working on a few weeks back, extending it another few hundred yards. This area is all rock, a lot like the "goat trail" and needs quite a bit of work, so the progress was slow.

About 2:00 we knocked off and went riding, which is when I found out I broke one of my cleats while scrambling in the rocks... I tried riding for a while but it was not much fun, so I just decided to limp back home. Got home around 4:00, ate -- leftover rice/tuna/kim-chee in pitas, very tasty -- and napped again. Spanked...

Got up later, had dinner at Porters while I did laundry. Tonight is Mug Club Nite at WB after spinning, so Tuesday won't be laundry nite but xmas shopping instead.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Beyond the Zero

It's the weekend, we don't need no stinkin' weigh-ins...

Rode down the towpath last night, down to Sand Island and across the river to the Banana Factory, where I hung out with Doug and Eric before starting my return trip. I saw they had the Christmas City Craptacular going on in giant circus tents, over where Musikfest is held...

Talking with Dawn at the gym this morning, she mentioned it doesn't seem like Christmas, bit of consumerism burrnout going on. I think it's endemic, and the ever-more-strident marketing has sort of reached the saturation point. Sort of like Pavlovian psychology (as explained in the ever-handy Gravity's Rainbow), and the extinction of learned responses in trhe absence of the reward. Transmarginal, ultraparadoxical, the silent extinction beyond the zero... just realized, the events in GR's Part 1, titled "Beyond the Zero," and heavy into Pavlovian psychology (as well as psi and seances, & post-death existence in general), are set at Christmastime 1944.

Sinister quote:

"Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.
-- Wernher von Braun

That's the quote for Part 1, and the next page kicks it off wih the famous "A screaming comes across the sky..."

Friday, December 03, 2004

Hipster Central

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 12.5% BF

I got home last night, played with the computer for a bit and then went to the gym. It was one of the better nights there, I flew through my workout (which is good since they close early and I arrived late), and really felt like I was hitting a peak. I didn't feel "strong" exactly, but weights seemed lighter and everything felt easy.

I went directly from the gym to Which Brew (get out! really?) where the Sons of Rhythm were playing. More like a drum circle than a band, they were three tribal, rasta-and-hackey-sack-type dudes, with a bunch of bongos, congas, a trap set, and a few more exotic thingies (pan pipes etc). Very, very good actually, though I could see something like this getting old after a few sets -- they'd do pretty good as an opening act, plus maybe an encore guest appearance behind the headlineing band, for some uh, headlining band like that...

Thursday night at the WB is becoming quite the thing for emerging local talent, lotta these cool "under the radar" musicians been playing there the past few weeks, Dave Cahill will be back next Thursday, and much of the Easton arts & music crowd were there last night for the show. Whaddaya know, a local scene!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Okey Dokey Doodley Um, Doo

Morning weigh-in: 179#, 11% BF

Talked to my Mom last night: surgery went OK but took a long time. "Procedure" itself was only an hour or so, but there's pre-op, post-op etc, and then she had to go back yesterday because the cast was too tight & very painful. The doctor fixed that, & now things seem to be on track, slow but sure (hopefully) recovery.

Other than that, nothing happened yesterday... Played with Apache, found there's more to getting PHP to work, and the PHP guys recommend against using Apache2 -- guess which one I've got? Anyway, I'll be downloading the latest PHP4, then delving into those config files some time soon.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

West and Wewaxation at Wast

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 11.5% BF

Got home last nite, played w/ 'puter, then rode the towpath for some "active rest" exercise, very slow pace. About all I could muster, actually: worked quads pretty hard on Monday with the weights, then did a "strength workout" spin class. I wanted to get the blood flowing to remove toxins or whatever from the muscles, and I also knew that today would be rainy, otherwise I would have just blown it off. (Looking outside, it's now sunny & beautiful, but today is officially downtime. I don't need much discipline to ride in the rain, but sunny rest days are tough.)

After that was the weekly trip to WB, as laundry did its thing. No Scott there this week though, just Maura & K-Jo working, and Art having dinner. Turns out, Maura's "bachelorette party" was Saturday night, and they ended up having it at Which Brew -- I enjoyed the Philly trip, I guess you can't be everywhere but it sounded way fun, oh well. For dinner I had sirloin stew w/ juniper berries, while the girls discussed C-section vs vaginal birth, and the post-partum looks of their girlie parts, how much they resembled sirloin stew -- nice try ladies, I told them they were amateurs. I also got a tuna steak sandwich with salsa and wasabi mayo. Both things were fantastic, I was starving too.

My mom had her foot operation yesterday, she should be able to take a call today, think I'll do that. Yo, later.

UPDATE: It's later. I forgot to mention: last might on the ride I saw two fox and an owl (small guy, sitting on a log not 10 feet from me, I think I must have screwed up a kill with my lights), as well as the usual boatload of deer. No bats, though.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Back In The Groove

Morning weigh-in: 180.0#, 11.0% BF

Um, kickin' it old school: when the needle scratches across the entire record, can you say it's "in the groove," for each groove it crosses through? How about a New Year's resolution, when you reaffirm it every morning but break it every evening? Anyway, I went to the gym yesterday, did an abbreviated weight workout and took a spin class -- Colette was the instructor, strength workout, lotsa fun and some seriously cool jams. Tonight will be the towpath, then my weekly "while the laundry does its thing" trip to Which Brew.

Linux Voyager: I got Apache to work last night, very easy. Next step is to integrate CGI and PHP, then start messing with MySQL.

Monday, November 29, 2004

It Seems Like Only Yesterday

Morning weigh-in: 180.5#, 11.5% BF

Been back four hours after four days off, and it feels like I never left. (Alternately: I just posted here last night, and here I am posting again...)

No running this morning, another "get up at 7:00 AM" kind of day since I caught the first half last night at Porters. I plan to hit the gym tonight, take a spinning class -- Colette is teaching it, so I may be able to find out what I'm in for this year with the Science Fair (her husband runs it, sends her out recruiting). It'll be fun, I did it last year and had a ball, I just need to know the date. Meantime, first spin of the offseason.

Funny insight: last week I was reading a bicycle book and riding; this week I'm reading about the matrix and messing with the computer. Hmmmm, maybe it's a good time to bust out the Henry Miller...

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Lazy Sunday

No morning weigh-in...

Last night I went with Doug & Lori, also Brian who drove, to see Mitch Hedburg at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby (aka Philly); Eric and Kris also went but drove down separately -- we ate dinner together, and sat tgether as well, so maybe "separately" isn't the right word, but if we wanted to talk to them on the drive down, we had to call... The opening act was Stephen Lynch, comedy singer/songwriter, pretty funny and actually a good musician. Mitch was great at the start and the end of his act, but the middle really sagged, flopsweat so bad it made the audience anxious along with him, and I was left thinking it was deliberate, like some kind of Andy Kaufmann "avant-garde comedy" schtick. Anyway, the shows were good, not superfantastic great, but worth the money and effort to go see them -- not worth another trip though.

Today was a pretty lazy day: woke up to major rain, sacked out until 10:00 before getting up, then playing with the computer. I went out around 1:00 to the Quadrant for some brunch, walked around downtown for a bit -- stopped in the pawn shop, never been there, oogled all the musical instruments -- then came home and read Neuromancer. (I left The Immortal Class at Mom & Dad's, I guess I'll pick up the storyline again at Christmas.) The afternoon was sunny and fairly warm, but I just felt like hanging inside.

I downloaded the Apache webserver earlier, and am now downloading the MySQL database server. Since I already have perl and PHP, I should be able to set up my own LAMP system at home, maybe put in a wiki or something to play with.

UPDATE: I went and saw the Insidious Rays at Which Brew Friday night, and it was the most crowded Iever saw the place. Incredible show, great crowd (hung out with the Kneller Brothers and Carrie the off-duty bartender, also Ed who came in later), lotsa cuties...

Friday, November 26, 2004

When Black Friday Comes

Well, at this point it's come and gone, and taken Thanksgiving with it. Definitely a good holiday this year, here are some high points:

Thursday Morning: no ride. Rain and thunderstorms allowed me to sleep late, then I read about half of Travis Hugh Culley's The Immortal Class, really a great book, though I'm usually not sympatico with that whole bike messenger thing.

Thanksgiving Dinner: was at my parents' house. For once the drive wasn't intolerable, even Route 9 wasn't too bad, at least not bad considering that it was Route 9 South, south of the Raritan River, on Thanksgiving... But I got down and had a really nice dinner with my parents. Mom wasn't too happy with the turkey (substandard bird), but dinner was fine by me.

Dessert: We went down to my mom's cousin Laurence's place, had dessert with Laurence and Marie and their two kids, also Marie's aunt was there. Very lively conversation, mainly about cool movies and bands etc -- influence of the college girls; when family friend Brian showed up, about the same age, things got very lively, very 20-something, young-adult vivacious, kind of neat the energy they all brought to things. Alas, we were old and went home around 10:30 or so...

Ride: I got up a little late, but went out about 10:00 to ride Huber and Hartshorne Parks in Red Bank, actually just down the road from Laurence and Marie's. I brought the Surly, and was riding by about 10:45. It was really sweet, but I think I'm getting a little afraid of that bike -- I can ride just about anything when I'm fresh, but I lose my freshness very fast. About two hours into things I got so tired (arms and back as well as legs) that most hills became either hike-a-bikes, or at least required a rest partway up. It's literally like I'm starting over with this bike, at least in terms of fatigue levels I'm like a neophyte. I rode for almost exactly 3 hours, then went back to Englishtown.

Lunch: My brother and his family went to his wife's parents for Thanksgiving, so they came over today for leftovers at my parents. I got there and Chris was setting up my mom's computer in the downstairs bedroom -- my mom gets that tendon surgery on Tuesday, and she will be living downstairs for a while. Everyone else was in the kitchen, eating Turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce, so I joined them in the kitchen, played with my nephew. Good times, then they took off about 3:45: Tara to work, and Chris & Christopher to see the Spongebob movie. I got out of Dodge myself not long after.

Now I'm home, just did some laundry, and the traditional weekend is just starting. After a quick shower I'm heading down to Which Brew for to catch the Insidious Rays. Later, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Morning weigh-in: 180#, 14% BF

Well, not really, but I do feel odd and tired... went to the gym kind of late last night (they close at 9:00), so I decided to skip my regular long workout and do legs, for the first time this offseason. It was good to see that my strength hadn't really dropped since the spring, but I hit the weights kind of hard, all parts of my legs plus a few upper-body things, and I think that's what's dragging me down now.

Hit Which Brew afterward while my laundry dried, got there just in time to put in a dinner order. Place was empty: just me, bartender Maura and that dude Scott -- nice guy, but once he starts talking he never, ever stops -- I can't get a word in sledgewise, can't even sit in peace, and he's physically loud like he's deaf... I like going there Tuesday nights, it's a nice routine: gym, laundry, and dinner at WB, but if Scott's there to harsh my buzz every week I'll pick a different day.

Cool song on the radio last night: "Stranger Blues" by Elmore James

Reading (re-reading): Gravity's Rainbow

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More Culture

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 14% BF

Did laundry, played with computer, had dinner, passed out by 9:00 PM, got up at 7:06 --doh! No running this morning, but will hit the gym tonite & do some sort of stationary machine (blech) before the regular workout -- maybe I'll toss in some leg exercises.

Last night's dinner: A nice big salad of baby arugula, then baked stuffed tofu, and saurkraut with a little kim-chee I mixed into it . Microbes are my new friends? Maybe I'll grab a beer downtown tonight...

Monday, November 22, 2004

Monday Morning Blues

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 13.5% BF

Suppression weight loss, dehydration etc, I expect to see the numbers bounce back up in a day or two.

I'm sooo tired right now. Napped yesterday afternoon, went to bed before 10:00, got up after 7:00 AM (uh-oh), and my body feels totally drained... I suppose it's the "good kind of hurt" to be feeling after a weekend, but I think it's time for a rest day.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

And It's Good!

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 12.5% BF

I picked up my new singlespeed from Curt's Cyclery Friday night, and took it out on the towpath as soon as I got home. That's not the place where a bike like that necessarily shines, but I still had a blast. I ran into Joe and Cindy out by Freemansburg, rode back with them. Doing the old hamster legs, 12-15 mph especially on the way out and my legs were spinning; on the way back we had a a more relaxed pace (they had their dog, and they didn't want to overwork her) butI still had a good cadence, and the gearing felt easy. That changed on the way up from the river though: 5 minutes standing climb, ouch.

Friday night was Which Brew for dinner, met Brian and saw Stu & Kathy, also a bunch of the peeps who just got back from Prague. Two guys I didn't see were Heath & Hans; I wanted to invite them to the Chili Ride on Saturday. Oh well, I tried via email earlier in the week. Their loss, since that was a good day as well.

The Chili Ride: I thought I wasn't going to make the start, but I wasn't even the last to arrive (not many showed up to ride in the November drizzle anyway); unfortunately I realized, partway into the ride, that I'd forgotten to change to my riding lenses, so I rode back to the car and played catch-up for a big part of the day. I missed a turn, didn't see anyone and so rode around semi-lost until I found myself on the old racecourse by the scout camp, then everything was gravy -- and then I ran into Beth and two others coming the opposite direction. They were the "slow group," and I hooked up for the last few miles and we rode out together. Back to Beth & Kevin's, where they had a their 10th Annual Chili Contest. A total blast: beer, chili, prizes and even a bonfire though it was kind of drizzly so we trooped back inside after a while...

Saturday's ride was on the Turner. Sunday we (Doug, Brian, Pete, Eric, Joe and myself) went to Riverside Park (or Walking Purchase Park, depending on who you ask -- it's in Salisbury behind St Luke's Hospital), where we helped the VMB with their ongoing project to build a trail system there. Amazing job so far, mostly done by that guy John, and also by Creepy Dave (hey, credit where it's due). We did about 4 hours work, put about a mile's worth of new trail in, then Doug Joe and I rode for about 2 hours -- Joe and I on our singlespeeds, Doug on his Turner.

I was a little afraid of how things would work out with the new bike, since it's completely rigid (no suspension front or rear), and Salisbury is a tough place, but the Surly is a well-set-up bike, good geometry and fit etc, and I felt very confident riding just about anything I'd take the Turner over -- more important, I was able to ride it all too. (The only negative is that the ride is harder & way more tiring on the upper body.) The singlespeed part of it was a bit harder to deal with, since I ended up going a little slower than I'd have liked for that gearing. Twisty, rough surface, lots of slight uphill grades after tight-radius turns, I had trouble maintaining momentum and staying on top of the gear. It was tough, but that's why I got it.

Anyway, now I'm filthy, just woke up from a nap while the laundry was cooking. Now it's my turn in the shower.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Fatty Fatty Fat fat

Morning weigh-in: 182#, 12.5% BF

Nothing to say here, just passing through to drop off the bad scale-tipping news...

Oh -- I'll have my new bike probably tonight. If I do I'll be riding it on the towpath; tomorrow is Beth's Chili Ride (on the Turner), and Sunday will be trail maintenance at Salisbury.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

How Conveeeeenient

Well, finally got the phone guy out -- although he was supposed to show up tomorrow after 5:00 PM, he was here today in the afternoon while I was at work: landlord let him in. I got a message on my cell that he checked the line, and there was nothing wrong with it, he hooked a phone up to my connection & got dialtone etc, whatever is wrong, it was wrong with my phone. I thought "that's odd, phone and brand-new modem crapped out together" but I bought a new phone on the way home anyway. Just for laughs I tried the modem and it worked just fine -- ATH1 got a dialtone, regular old phone has no problems whatsoever either... WTF?? I figure the guy found and fixed something, like a loose connection outside (where it's their responsibility/cost), and just said he found nothing, so I'd get stuck with the bill for the visit. Fuckers.

Anyway, home phone's working, therefore home 'puter is back on the net. I kept up with my epix account via webmail, but my enter.net address had 1099 emails waiting for me. Right now is a little bill-payment catch-up, then I'm going out for a bite.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

So uh, like I was saying...

Morning weigh-in: 181.5#, 13% BF

Rode last night, then stopped by Which Brew while laundry was drying: not much was going on there, kind of dead. Tonight is the Chain Gang meeting, and I might run down by the river beforehand. That is all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Morning weigh-in: 181#, 13.5% BF

No workout last night, instead fiddled w/ computer & did laundry. Also cooked an interesting dinner, tofu stir-fry with onions, garlic, wilted greens (arugula, baby spinach etc), and also some kimchi plus a little fermented red cabbage. I served it over rice w/ lemon juice, but put some tahini on the rice too which was a bit of a mistake, the flavors kind of clashed. I was up pretty late, so ther was no run this AM; I will either ride the towpath tonight (it's pretty nice out) or hit the gym & run there.

My boss's father just passed away this morning, 91 years old, cancer.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Conversations With Women

Morning weigh-in: 181#, 11% BF

Went to bed a little too early last night, 6:00 PM, and woke up at 12:30 for a little tossing & turning before dropping off again. Got up 6:00 AM, ran breakfast, work and now here I am...

Friday night: I stayed in, another early bedtime.

Saturday: got up early, got an early start on my day's errands, early breakfast at the coffee shop, and got to the gym way early. I only ran 2 miles so I had 20 minutes to kill, did some stationary biking before lifting with my trainer.

From there I drifted from one pleasant social situation to another, common thread was good conversation with various women I met along the way: Violetta and her co-workers at Nature's Way, then Mary M at Genesis, various people at the Quadrant, Maura the bartender, and also Rich F's wife, at Which Brew,and finally I went down to Englishtown for a High School friend's 40th birthday, where his sister gave me the lowdown on her life (kids older, she back to work) since we last talked. Really neat, social glue kind of day. The B-day party was pretty good in and of itself, too.

Sunday Morning I hung out with the parents, but had to leave around noon; I had to get back to Allentown by 2:00 for the PPRAC (aka "Perimiter Ride") kickoff meeting. That went well, as well, and things look good for this year. More on this soon...

Friday, November 12, 2004

I'm Sorry, Ben

Morning weigh-in: 180.5#, 13% BF

Well, that "early to bed early to rise" stuff died a hard death: I worked late last night, hit the gym, then went home; I was soooo close to just staying in, but I went downtown to Which Brew anyway. It was pretty good, and I had an OK time but all in all I should have stayed home. The singer, Leechboy, really wasn't my cup of tea, and the evening dragged out to past midnight. I wasn't going to run this morning anyway, and the plan was to sleep until 7:00 rather than (non-run wakeup) 6:30, but I only got moving at 7:10 -- I leave for work at 7:30...

Blasts from the past: I ran into Heath and Hans last night at Which Brew, and I noticed that Heath was walking funny, cramped and kind of stooped over -- turns out he rode with "a bunch of NORBA guys" as he put it, and they layed down a royal butt-whooping on him. I ask him who he means by "NORBA guys," and he names a bunch of young hotshot racers from the Reading area, mostly people I never heard of, but I did recognize one name: Ryan DeWald.

I always wondered what happened to that guy. I remember Ryan D as a teenager circa 1996, riding wheelies through the race-venue parking lots on his Trek Y-bike, winning every local race and moving pretty quickly up to expert, where he still won all the time. His dad would take him to the races, and we would BS about the racing scene, the Grateful Dead, yadda yadda while the junior experts finished their extra laps, pretty cool guy. Last I remember seeing of either of them was an XC race at Whitetail: Ryan was racing for Mt Gretna and I needed to contact them, so he took off his shoe to reveal their number written across his sponsor-provided sock...

I thought maybe he just vanished into senior-expert limbo, or went off to college or moved out West or whatever. It's good to see he's still around and kicking butt, though I suspect he's a pretty familiar name/face to those who (unlike me) still follow the race scene. Apparently, his dad bought a Reading-area bike shop, and these guys ride out of there. Not sure how Heath hooked up, probably through the shop. (Heath was a hurting puppy, but he won some props from me just, for hanging with that crew.)

I asked where the ride was, and he said out by Port Colden somewhere, lots and lots of hills. I asked if there was a reservoir involved, and he said yes... hmmmm, Hamburg?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Splatter Effect

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 14% BF

Garbage night last night. I had a small pumpkin that was starting to rot, getting all soft etc, so I was throwing it out and -- I dropped it on the kitchen floor, and it burst. Yecch! Nasty cleanup, made worse by thinking that I dropped it because I was trying to minimize contact with the pumpkin in the first place. The smell was very wierd though, not "rotten vegetable" at all, more like some kindof industrial adhesive, something I'd smell back in school or at PPC.

That was at the end of the night, getting ready for bed. Before that, I went straight from work to Kurt's Cyclery and got things moving on gettinng that singlespeed. Picked out wheels, whole lotta components, he'll get back to me on final stuff. I should hopefully have it by Thanksgiving. Dinner was Taco Bell rather than cereal, that plus a little reading before another early bedtime -- Ben Franklin would have loved me, except there were a few unexpected chores so I wasn't as early as the past few days... Got up early and ran again; tonight is the gym, then probably a trip to good old Which Brew see what's up and to see Leechboy play, also maybe drop off that skateboard literature.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Mr. Healthy

Morning weigh-in: 179#, 14.5% BF

The bad thing about cereal whenever I buy it, is that the cereal is all I eat, breakfast lunch and dinner, until it's gone... Worked late last night, then went to the gym and realized I forgot my sneakers. Doh! There wasn't enough time to get them & still get in a good workout, so I blew it off. Dinner was cereal, then I did a little more reading & had a good phone conversation w/ Doug before another early bedtime. Got up early, ran (2 miles) this morning, cereal for breakfast. Tonight I'll be checking out that Surly 1x1, very likely to buy it but I'm not sure what components to get -- I want a fully rigid bike, Hope Mono Mini brakes, and after that I don't know. I should have the bike in a week or so. Another box of cereal to go.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Want The Change, O Be Inspired By The Fat

Morning weigh-in: 180.5#, 10% BF

I was going to ride the towpath last night, but after dinner (turkey chili w/ rice) I read for a while, then just just felt like "screw it, rest day," and went to bed at 7:30. Slept through until 5:52 AM, when I got up and ran. Only went a mile, peristalsis issues as well as cold head/hands, must relearn how to do this AM thing...

Post-run weight was 179#, 15% BF: turkey chili w/ rice...

Tonight is the gym, then more nothing -- maybe early bed again?

Reading: Gravity's Rainbow.
Listening: Velvet Underground's first album.

Happened to listen to "Venus In Furs" on the way home yesterday, and reached the part in GR last night where General Pudding, in a sort of parody of Kabbalic mysticism, passes through a series of antechambers, each with a single "trial" before the infamous masochism/coprophagia scene. In one trial he sees a coffee can that says "Savarin" but he knows it's meant to say "Severin,"which got me thinking again about the VU: they were big on decadence and depravity, but it really was a rather bookish sort -- "Venus in Furs" being cribbed from, uh, Venus In Furs, and "I'm Waiting For The Man" cribbed from Burroughs's descriptions of junkie life. Bottom line, and after all these years: it wasn't street cred, just intellectualism -- they were sophomoric teenage posers. Ahhh, but they were my sophomoric teenage posers...

Monday, November 08, 2004

Situation Normal

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 13.5% BF

Friday night was a towpath ride with Brian, then we went to Which Brew for dinner. He drove, but wasn't staying late. I liked the band, and heard that Duende was playing across the street, so opted for pedestrian status when it came time to leave.

I can't remember the band's name at WB, but it was a blues band, lotta alumni from Illinois Slim's band, plenty of guest musicians on stage at various times. Pretty cool. I picked up on what must be the 50-something white-guy bluesman uniform: the black beret. Plenty of them there, and in comes Arnie after his show, and he's got one on, high-five's the guest harmonica player as he goes by...

Over at Porter's, Duende was taking a break and they had a guest singer/songwriter on stage. He eventiually gets Dave Cahill up there with him, so I guess I didn't miss Thursday's show after all... Duende came on and rocked, but that's no longer news, they're always good.

About 1:30 I started getting hungry, so I left, ran/walked the two miles (uphill) home, got in car and just managed to make Taco Bell's 2:00 AM closing. Mmmmm, bad food...

Saturday started at the coffee shop, then another 2-mile run along River Road before lifting. (Surprising how good I felt, considering the night before, but really the only craziness was the late bedtime.) I had a pretty full Saturday agenda, but stopped at Nature's Way for a little Grocery shopping: ran into Violetta, who I thought had quit and relocated to Alaska, or at least bact to California to be with Mike. Well, she went to Cali, then she and Mike vacationed in Alaska for several weeks, hiking and camping, and she's back but not really working there, just subbing occasionally while she looks for a job. Interesting alaska conversation, & good to see her again, plus they had a "cultured foods" sampler day there -- I actually ate and enjoyed Kimchi.

Next stop was the Bethlehem Bike Co-op. My friend Damion was there until 3:00, so I dropped off a neighbor's discarded bike for refurbishment (they give them to local kids, ship them to 3rd-World countries, or in the worst case break them down for proper recycling), and we had a long conversation about the Ilick's Mill and Bayard Park skate parks -- that history didn't have a happy ending, which I sort of knew but never heard the full story. I also got to congratulate him, because he's now the proud father of a baby girl.

(I didn't have time to do it in person, but on the way over to the BBC I called Kurt's Cyclery, got the ball rolling for that new Surly 1x1 singlespeed.)

I got home, worked on the bike, tossed some laundry on and took a nap, then went over to Eric & Kris's for a little pizza and Taboo (like charades), plus some other games. Mellow fun, just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday was a huge (and very fast) group ride led by Bob at Allamuchy, followed by an early dinner in Hackettstown.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Save It Up For The Weekend

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 15% BF

I was going to go out last night, but I felt tired and headachey after lifting. I got home around 8:30-9:00, skipped dinner and was in bed before 10:00. A loud "POP" outside, followed by my printer running through startup diagnostics, woke me around 1:00. Power outage, maybe a transformer problem? Reset the alarm clock, then slept through until 6:00, then 7:00 -- I guess I needed that.

So, I didn't get to see Dave Cahill play after all. That would have been nice to see, but I could probably find a reason/excuse to go out every night -- and now I don't have to feel so bad about going out tonight, because Which Brew will be serving cask-conditioned Weyerbacher Winter Ale (my favorite, and the first batch of the year), and I wouldn't have wanted to miss that... Hitting the towpath first, trying to get into the night-riding groove.

Saturday I'll lift again, then go down to the Bethlehem Bike Co-op, drop off a neighbor's discarded bike for "recycling" and talk with Damion about how he used to organize skate park volunteers. Sunday is a ride at Allamuchy.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Back to Reality

Morning weigh-in: 178.5#, 13.5% BF

Rode towpath last night, did laundry & then hit Which Brew for dinner. It may have been a mistake, since I plan to go there tonight after the gym: David Cahill is playing and I don't want to miss it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Another Goddamn Post-Mortem

So Bush is Preznit for another four years -- we're screwed. I hear there's a lot of AutoCAD jobs in Ireland... Too bummed to write any more.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Into The Rapids

Morning weigh-in (Monday): 178.5#, 12% BF
Morning weigh-in (Tuesday): 182#, 15% BF

Friday night I skipped riding, went to dinner with the P's and Brian at Tortilla Flat, then stopped by the Steelgaarden at the Brew Works.

Saturday I skipped the gym to do trail work with Bob W and a bunch of JORBA types. I did a ride on the towpath later in the day, out to Sand Island, then up thru Lehigh to tthe top of Suth Mountain -- I was planning on meeting Doug & Greg up there, but time was running out and i just went home from there. Hit the showers, then it was...

Saturday Night: The big Halloween Bash at Which Brew actually started for us at Greg & Judy's, where we ate dinner and got into our costumes. Too much to talk about here, but crazy good times ensued.

Sunday I did a road ride, and just took it easy.

Monday was back to Which Brew for Mug Club Night.

This morning I voted.

Friday, October 29, 2004

It's The Time Of The Season For Weight Gain

Morning weigh-in (Thurs): 179.5#, 14.5% BF
Morning weigh-in (Fri): 181#, 12.5% BF

Uh-oh, I'm not liking those recent weight gains. Not much exercise lately, plenty of bad food, happens this time every year.

Got the last of my costume last night instead of going to the gym, picked up a surgeon outfit. That and the clown wig/makeup, and the horror-movie knife (it plays the screeching shower music from Psycho), and I should be able to put something together. Call me Dr. Bozo!!

Moving right along... I went to Which Brew last night, ran into Theresa for the first time in weeks. Things look OK between us (as friends), and we talked for a while. She's had a rough two months apparently, lot of things going wrong in her life.

Linux Voyager: I cribbed a mini Java-based webserver from that Learning Java CD, which is rather primitive (it can only respond to GET requests), but I was able to browse the copy of my web site that I keep at home, as well as any file on my machine that's in a Mozilla-recognized format. I did that Wednesday night; last night I set up a perl script that writes a little gibberish (inxluding date and tme stamp) to a named pipe, then read the pipe via the server & browser. Results were somewhat unpredictable, but it did work. Very interesting, for me anyway!

By the way, the title of yesterday's post was what Renee Zellweger's character kept saying in Cold Mountain.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

All Right, Then!

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 14.5% BF

Worked late, then hit the gym last night, followed by laundry and a trip to Which Brew for dinner. Before leaving the house I ran into some neighbors, who told me the story of their daughter-in-law: molested by a relative as a child, parental alcoholism and denial, mental health issues later in life, especially after her own daughter was assaulted -- these are people I know & see every day, this is the kind of shit that's supposed to happen to someone else.

Anyway, Which Brew: it was OK, had a decent conversation with some dude about the Easton Skate Park, but all in all I'd say the evening was a wash: some people in there I didn't really enjoy being around.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Commoditization Of Desire

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 12% BF

I've been on a nostalgia kick for the past year or so, listening to the punk (or post-punk, or punkish) songs I heard on WPRB back in the 80's. It's funny how true those songs sound today, almost like prophecy, and how little I "got" some of them back then...

The CD for the ride in this morning was a Rhino Records compilation of the Gang of Four. One thing I picked up on recently is that a lot of these bands had a thematic schtick: the Dead Kennedys, for example, seem obsessed with WMD's, class war, and genocide; while the Gang of Four focused on, say, the Thatcher era's economic enthusiasms, market forces as instruments of control, and the commoditization of sexuality to allow market forces to act upon it.

("The commoditization of desire" is a phrase I cribbed from Mark Leyner's My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, which came out about the same time as these bands, maybe a little later. Some little kid is giving a "what I did last summer" presentation about a trip across the Midwest on I-80, when his brain locks up and all he can do is stutter "corn -- corn -- corn -- corn -- Stukey's... corn -- corn -- corn -- corn -- Stukey's..." over and over.

His parents take him to doctors, speech pathologists etc to no avail, until at one doctor's office some communication passes between the kid and a cockroach on the wall, and he begins to speak: "Well, yes, with respect to the Interstate. Whereas prostitution constitutes the commoditization of desire, the tollbooth exchange constitutes the eroticization of commoditized mobility..." blah blah blah, guess you had to be there and it really wasn't an important part of the story, but the phrase "commoditization of desire" stuck with me.)

Anyway, back to my story. To be continued...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday, Already

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 12.5 BF

The weekend:

Friday: My car was finally ready. I scammed a ride home from my long-suffering friend and colleague John, who was kind enough to actually take me to the dealer instead... a big mistake on his part. They couldn't find the keys or paperwork, or the manager with access to the locked room where they might have been placed accidentally, or get in touch with the service manager at home... Keep in mind, this evening pickup is not a special event: I'm at the "evening pickup desk," where they handle this stuff all the time, and the service has already been paid for; in the absence of bureaucratic screwups, getting my car should have been a trivial matter. While they're dithering, I spot the the car in the lot, use my keyless entry to get in, retrieve my secret spare ignition key and the receipt, and finally let John know I can get myself home...

Of course, there's still no happy ending. The valve tap is pretty audible despite "everything they could do," and the "check engine" light is on. All these are isolated incidents I'm sure, no systemwide signs of incompetence to see here, move along...

Lots of things have been on hold waiting for the car to arrive, so I spent most of the evening running errands. I get a call from Eric that they're going to a new Mexican place in Emmaus, but I can't join them, maybe I'll be at Which Brew later though. Even later, I get a call from Heath down at Which Brew, trying to talk me into coming out -- turns out, he was hoping I'd bring some women with me ("it's like a friggin sausage party down here!"), like maybe I'd bring T and some of her friends... sorry dude, can't help you there.

Saturday was breakfast at the coffee shop, then I hit the gym and ran more errands. Getting home, I found a call from Doug, saying he'd be campaigning in the afternoon, if I'd like to join him. A few more errands plus a shower, then over to his house where was gearing up for a trip through his neighborhood. Results were a bit more encouraging this time around and we were feeling pretty good when we finished, and Doug got a hankering for buffalo wings. He and Lori and I hit the Brew Works, but there was more than an hour wait, so we went to McGrady's, which has a better beer selection but the food isn't quite as good. There wasn't as much of a dinner crowd there, and we were early for the Saturday Night partytime rush, so things worked out relatively smoothly. We went over to the Funhouse after that to see what was going on (not much, we were way early for that place). After that I went home, and was in bed by 10:30.

Sunday we rode Blue Marsh: me, Doug & Lori on the tandem, Greg, Brian, and Joe & Cindy. Great ride, followed by a an excellent post-ride dinner (or late lunch) . The rest of the day was laundry & naptime.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Friday, Already!

Once again, no morning weigh-in...

It was raining last night, but I was going stir-crazy so I put on a raincoat and some hiking pants (not my waterproof pants, but somewhat resistant and fast-drying), and went down to Which Brew for dinner. Quiet night there, and Carrie & her roommate Tara were both working. Of course, they were getting paid to hang out, but it was still pretty cool to monopolize the attention of not just one, but two twenty-something hotties... Same old story though: they were talking about the fun they'd have after closing the bar and escaping, while for me, this was the high point of the evening. I grow old, I grow old, yadda yadda trousers rolled.

I also finished reading Wonder Boys last night. Rereading, actually, and I enjoyed it as much as all the other times.

Got a call this morning, 6:45 AM, the guy I've been riding to work with realized he had a doctor's appointment today. He called another friend to arrange a ride in, but I'd have to be ready in a half hour because that guy likes to arrive a little early. Cue the "Mission Impossible" theme, but I was ready in time; unfortunately there was a tractor-trailer flipped on I-78, two lanes closed and traffic was backed up 6 miles. We took backroads (also congested) and got in at the regular time.

No ride tonight: lights not charged, and I hope to pick up my car. Back on track tomorrow morning, I hope. I hear that stuff springs eternal.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Pizza, But Still No Car

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 10% BF

Car's still in the shop, waiting on "one more shim"... Chain Gang meeting last night at Steve's Pizzeria, good meeting. Nothing much to say today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Car-Free For A Week (and other fallout)

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 11% BF

As of today, I will have been sans car for one week. The Outback has been in the shop with an "internal coolant leak," aka blown headgasket, which necessitated taking the heads off (expensive), also checking the heads at a machine shop for warping. The car's been there since Monday of last week; heads came back OK, but there was a tap in one valve when they put it all back together, which meant it needed some shims, which had to be ordered since no one local had any... I should get the car back tonight. I owe rides, favors to several co-workers.

Tonight is the Chain Gang meeting, which should have been at my place but there's no way I'd have been ready, so we're having it at a pizzeria nearby.

How bizarre, how bizarre: landlord painted my bathroom the other day. It used to be white, now everything (including trim) is painted purple, with a banana-cream yellow sponge effect overlay. Not sure if I like it, but he busted his ass to do it, and he prides himself on his artistic sensibilities...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More Post-Mortem

No morning weigh-in (forgot), which is probably good since I ate 3/4 of a pepperoni pie last night.

AN OBSERVATION: Blogger seems a little really slow and cranky this week.

It's Over: I haven't seen or talked to Theresa in about two weeks, and before that it was probably two weeks since I'd last seen her. She wasn't answering her phone (screening?) and didn't return my calls; emails would sometimes get replies. I guess if I were really committed to our relationship I could have forced the issue sooner, but I've been drifting in the same direction myself, and drifting was easier... I sent a sort of "dear John" email yesterday, committing to writing what seemed pretty obvious, and got a reply towards the end of the day: she's been taking a beating in just about all aspects of her life (ex-husband has been very sick, extra childcare demands, pay cut at work) and sort of retreated into herself to regroup. Nothing to do with me, but she just wasn't up for a relationship anymore.

Really sad, because I do like her and like hanging out with her, and I think she's been thrown some curveballs in her life and I want her to be happy. But I've also sort of realized that we really weren't that compatible -- as friends, yes, but not really at the more intensely close level of a romatic relationship (else why block each other out in times of stress?), to say nothing of shared-life issues (her pets, my bike obsession). Oh well, I hope we can stay friends, or at least not be awkward when we run into each other. I also hope we do run into each other: her haunts are my haunts, her friends and associates are people I know too, and since I haven't seen her around I tried to let her know that she has as much right to hang out (say, at WB) as I do...

Meantime, back to my "bloodless calculus" of compatibility: no smoking, no pets, no drugs, no tats (OK, maybe one or two)...

Monday, October 18, 2004

More Sitrep

Morning weigh-in: 176#, 14% BF

The Weekend:

Friday I was feeling pretty low, the fallout from a rough week. No exercise after work, but I went down to Which Brew with Brian, where we saw a blues guitarist called Charlie Hilbert, very good. Brian was pretty happy since the guy played a boatload of Johnny Cash tunes, then hung out with us between sets. It's official, WB is pretty much a "biker bar": me, Brian, Heath & Hans, Arnie (a confirmed roadie, sad to say), bartendress Carrie (got MTB for birthday), and I even saw Scott S, hardcore biker & co-worker... overheard bits & pieces of another conversation "blah blah Cannondale blah high-end blah." It's soooo 3-months-ago, but I also had a mojito for the first time, and enjoyed it immensely. Those things are deadly.

Saturday was bike trip downtown to the coffee shop, then back home to get my regular glasses before going to the gym, so no time for a run. After that I went home via the bike path, which was in good shape. Housework, computer, walked down to WB (lame) then Porters (only marginally better). An early night.

Sunday was the Central Bucks Bike Club's big Covered Bridges Tour, a hilly 63-mile ride through the backroads of Bucks County. Me, Brian, Joe & Cindy, and also Pete H and his brother. (Also saw Karen F, who rode with me for a while then pulled a Houdini.) Great ride, good day if a bit chilly. Home, naptime, visited Shruty's Pub (open Sunday, Guinness on tap, about 2 blocks from home) for dinner.

Linux Voyager: I was fiddling with the CD player lately, found it didn't work. I spent some time trying to get it running, which I did but still can't burn anything. I think I have to recompile the kernel, or at least make some new module. Soon, soon.

Post-mortem: Things with Theresa are pretty much toast.

Friday, October 15, 2004

At Peace

Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 180#, 8% BF

Wow! hope those numbers are, ummm, anomalous...

My grandmother's funeral was yesterday in Brooklyn: Mass at St Patrick's in Bay Ridge, burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Sad, but I think I'm OK with it.

Been out from work since Monday (a 3 hour fly-by, coming in at noon after renting a car, then leaving early), wakes Monday night and Tuesday afternoon/night, playing catch-up here as well as everywhere else in my life.

Saw a few people I haven't seen in a long time, one major one being Maureen C: her mother was, in some indirect way, my grandmother's cousin, and they also lived in Englishtown; her family and ours were friends especially when we first moved there. I think she and her older brother were my babysitters when I was little. I didn't recognize her but she introduced herself at the gravesite, and we talked for a while before she went with another cousin to visit her own grandmother's grave, which she had never seen. Apparently the area near Holy Cross was where my grandmother's family had settled: multiple generations of her mother's relations, all within a four-block section of Flatbush, lots of aunts & uncles, in-laws, cousins and 2nd cousins...

My grandmother was born (in a house) on Veronica Street, grew up on Cortelyou Rd, married and moved a few blocks away to Snyder Avenue, moved back to the Cortelyou Rd house after her mother's death, living there with her sister and brother (and her husband) before they all moved together to Bay Ridge when the Flatbush neighborhood deteriorated. We drove past a lot of the "old neighborhood" on the way to the cemetery.

UPDATE: wrote most of the above Thursday, finished it today. The current sitrep is that my car is still out getting fixed, my house is a mess, and I feel very run down. TGIF.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Eileen Marie Cecilia (Haran) Barth, 1915-2004

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 13.5% BF

On Thursday, a co-worker said she noticed smoke from my car's exhaust as I was coming up Jugtown Mountain, and on Friday on the way home the temperature gauge pinned itself on hot. When I parked the car I could also smell an ipecac-like smell, probably burning antifreeze. It's very likely that I have a blown headgasket, and possible that the actual head may have been warped by the overheating. Gasket = expensive, head = need new car. OK, so it's going in Monday.

Friday night, riding the towpath, ran into Doug & Lori, rode with them back to Bethlehem and made arrangements to eat at Which Brew, but when I got home, I saw they'd called and left a message: we were going to Porters, to meet Eric & Kris for dinner. Brian eventually joined us, and Leather & Lace played that night (and dinner was delicious), so it was a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday morning at 7:30 -- never a good sign -- I get a call from my mom: my maternal grandmother (my last surviving grandparent) had passed away overnight. My parents got the call at 4:00 AM from her caretaker that something was wrong (my grandmother had live-in assistance, like a nursing home only at her apartment), and I guess she passed not long after. Grandma had her health problems (the worst was a case of Parkinson's, but she'd been very sick with abdominal-surgery-serious situation a number of years ago), but wasn't really sick per se, she just seemed to gradually be getting frailer as she got older, and she actually seemed better than usual lately. But, though she was lucid (hearing problems complicated this) and enjoyed having/being company, her thoughts were halfway into the next world I think. She had a long and pretty decent life, and she passed easy, so I guess that's OK.

Monday and Tuesday will be for the wake, and Wednesday is the funeral. Everything will be in Brooklyn, and she'll be buried next to my grandfather. I'll drop off the car tonight, rent a car probably this afternoon or tonight, and take off part of Monday & Tuesday and all day Wednesday to go in to the city.

Anyway, I hit the gym yesterday, riding there -- stopped along the way for breakfast at that coffee shop -- bringing sneakers and running before lifting, then rode home with a stop at the other coffee shop (Quadrant) for lunch. I got home and totally vegged out for a few hours, then walked to Which Brew where I met Brian for dinner. His uncle just died as well (dad's youngest brother, father to the cousin he always visits in Boston), so we were both a little bit on the somber side for partytime Saturday night.

Some interesting facts about Mrs. Barth:

  • She once told us, reminiscing at Christmastime, that she remembered delivering her mother's homemade whiskey as a child.
  • She never learned to swim, and I'm pretty sure she never learned to drive, and I don't think she ever lived outside of Brooklyn.
She grew up in a different world.

Friday, October 08, 2004


Morning weigh-in: 177#, 13.5% BF

Hit the gym last night, and towards the end I got a real craving for pork lo mein, so when I got home I found a local Chinese restaurant in the phone book (not the one I usually go to, couldn't find their number), and phoned in a take-out order. I have a serious peanut allergy, so I made a point of asking "do you use peanut oil or vegetable oil?" and received assurances that the food was safe -- at least, I think that's what the guy said -- but one bite (after eating the eggroll and the wontons from my soup) told me that there was something wrong.

I was so hungry and frustrated (I really wanted pork lo mein), I was tempted to think it was my imagination, but after a few seconds there was no mistaking the fact that I'd eaten something I shouldn't: my mouth and throat were burning/itching like crazy. I tossed the rest of the lo mein (doh!) but didn't try to vomit anything I already ate, figured part of a mouthful would do less harm in my stomach than re-irritating things on the way back out. Lotsa water, some Taco Bell to dilute it, and I settled in for an evening of suffering. I started to feel better around midnight & went to bed, but this morning came waaay too early...

Welcome to my shit list, unnamed Chinese restaurant!

Riding the towpath tonight, maybe eat some safe food somewhere afterward.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Heritage Chase

Morning weigh-in: 175.5#, 13.5% BF

Not sure if the BF is correct, since I weighed in after my morning shower, probably a little wet and the measurement is uh, electrical or something...

Didn't do any exercise last night, instead opting to go through the living room and toss out all the old mail/etc lying around, put all the books back on shelves, do some laundry and dishes, etc, etc. Four bags of trash, mostly old junk mail, plus a bunch of newspapers for recycling, and I threw out a lot of boxes I'd been "saving." The room is still not livable by the standard of having guests, but it's getting close. I think I'll move the bed into the spare room, and make my bedroom a den/office/2nd living room. Hitting the gym tonight first though.

I saw an article on Wikipedia today about George IV's trip to Scotland and the subsequent revival of Highland culture as a source of Scottish national identity -- except that it mostly wasn't Highlanders (they'd all been driven off their land and deported) , and it was mostly just the trappings of the culture (kilts, tartans)... kind of reminds me of growing up in Englishtown, where a development -- actually in Marlboro, the next town over -- called itself "Heritage Chase."

I remember their oleagenous billboard: "distinctive homes in a distinguished community" -- don't make me retch! This "Heritage Chase" was one of the later developments, after all possible living heritage (as opposed to a few Historical Society museum-pieces) had been paved over or homogenized. The new development surround Old Scots Graveyard, which was the original location of Old Tennent Church (called "the new church" at the battle of Monmouth), and which contains sandstone grave markers carved from the ballast of the ship in which they immigrated, fleeing persecution in Scotland. Some of those graves dated from 1702, I wonder how many of them have survived the past twenty years?

By the way, Manalapan is Lenape for "bread and water" (as in "this is good agricultural land"), and the high school teams are the Braves. How long until the Cub Scouts host a Pow-Wow at the Raceway Mall?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Nice Day

Morning weigh-in: 176#, 12% BF

Pleasant evening last night. Got some things done, then went to the gym: run wasn't hard & wasn't meant to be, but the numbers looked pretty fast (8:54 & 8:57 miles) for a conversational-pace warmup... the rest of the workout went well too, I was pretty happy. I came home & played with computer (natch), made minor change to my web page stylesheet, delved a little more into Java, yadda yadda, had dinner (tortellini w/ Louisiana hot sauce), and then read some more Infinite Jest. Bedtime was a very reasonable 11:00.

It looks pretty nice out, and I'll probably go for a towpath ride tonight but my lights aren't charged, so we'll see what happens out on the trail. Sunset is at 6:30 or so; if I leave at 5:30 and ration the lights (and bring an extra -- but also semi-discharged -- battery) I should be fine.

Richard Ellsworth Savage: I see that Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in a new movie about Howard Hughes, which made me think of Stan Ridgway:

Now if I find a product I like
I'll buy up the whole company
Then I'll shave my face and grin
And smile and sell it on TV
And everyone will know me
I'll be more famous that Howard Hughes
I'll grow a long beard
And watch "Ice Station Zebra" in the nude
And grow my nails like Fu Man Chu
And keep a row of specimen jars
Get other people to work for me
Well no...maybe I'll buy
The planet Mars
And build an amusement park up there
Better than old Walt's place
You'll have to be a millionaire to go
And we'll smoke cigars
And lounge in lace
And talk the talk of businessmen
And bosses that we are
So here's to me
The drinks are free
'Cause I just bought this bar...

-- from "I Wanna Be A Boss"

By the way, my mug number at Which Brew is 1919.

UPDATE: Heard two colleagues talking in the men's room, about how we may actually be lucky our FORTRAN compilers are out of date. That got me thinking about a new product: Object-oriented FORTRAN, ("OOF"). I slay me.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Bouncing Back

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 13% BF

Well, those low weights didn't last too long at all, did they? "Active rest" day yesterday, did about 45 minutes of walking over at Merril Creek, basically was the only one there. After that I went home, tried out the first two Java examples, then went to WB for the Mug Club dinner. I made it an early night there, but I came home & read for a while so bedtime was after 11:00 anyway, oh well.

I realized something about that Java book: the first chapter, which I thought was the start of an impossibly steep learning curve, was really just "here are some examples showing the main ideas, don't worry if you don't understand because we'll explain it all later." Lucky me! Thought I was doomed...

My cousin's husband is pretty sick right now. He woke up in incredible pain the other day, rushed to the hospital where they said he had a growth near his aorta, had to go to Miami for surgical team that could handle it. Very scary situation, but he's at the special hospital now and they've got a good handle on the situation, which looks a little (but only a little) less dire than originally. He should be undergoing surgery as soon as all tests are completed, probably in the next few days.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Java Can Wait

Morning weigh-in: 173.5#, 13% BF

The weekend:

Friday was a night ride down the towpath, where I ran into Joe & Cindy, and then also Doug & Lori. Pretty amazing when you think about it, though maybe I shouldn't be too surprised. Afterwards J&C, also Brian, met me at Which Brew for dinner. Mellow night, but there was an after-dinner shot of high quality tequila involved... The band there was really good, sort of reggae/ska, tight and really talented playing; Unfortunately the rest of the audience (other than our table) didn't seem very appreciative. Brian bought the CD, and I signed up for their mailing list.

Saturday I went to the gym -- almost was late because I was playing with the computer -- where I rode a stationary bike rather than run, and skipped the pushups because my toe (better in almost all respects) still hurts at the tip, and I skipped everything that involved lying on my back because my head was stuffed and I was worried about vertigo. Why did I bother going? Actually, it was a good workout despite everything; Dawn was super resourceful and came up with a lot of exercises to substitute for my normal ones. I also did the first leg exercise of the year, leg raises for the ol quads.

The afternoon was mostly taken with minor chores, especially getting ready for the Gap Gallop century ride. Later in the day I decided to start messing with Java, so broke out that "Learning Java" book and got ready to install from the accompanying CD, then decided to download the next-to-latest version directly from Sun.

Digression #1: I installed the latest "Java Runtime Environment" last week, which allows for Java plugins to run. The very next day, Sun announced the release of a major new upgrade -- doh!

Digression #2: Sun's Java product nomenclature is very confusing.
Anyway, I got the download going, grabbed the laundry & took it to be dried at the laundromat, and went back down to Which Brew, thought I'd grab some dinner, see this weekend's other reggae band (even better thant the other one). That's where I ran into Theresa, hmmmm...

Sunday was the Gap Gallop, a century road ride around parts of Northampton County, the Slate Belt and the Poconos; it climbs over Blue Mountain at Little Gap, and returns via the Water Gap (hence the name). A perfect Indian summer day, on the very cusp of autumn color (my favorite time of year), and the ride was awesome. I rode with Joe & Cindy (also her dad for a while, but he was with a bunch of his friends who branched off the official ride after near the end), Rob G, and Janna's boyfriend Eric; I also saw a whole bunch of other people I know. All in all it was a great ride, though towards the end I started thinking that maybe working legs wasn't such a good idea on Saturday. Afterward, I went to Jack Creek for dinner with Joe & Cindy, then went home and crashed.

My plan was to take a quick nap, then maybe run through some finger exercises from the Java book, but I ended up sleeping throught to this morning. Maybe tonight I'll get to it.

Friday, October 01, 2004

One More Night

Morning weigh-in: 174#, 7% BF

Whoops! Was going to go to the gym (again) last night, but (again) I sat down "just to check my email" and blew off everything including dinner -- well, I ate half a box of Triskets -- went to bed at 1:00 AM. A little too old to be going into a larval stage... nothing I can really point to as an accomplishment either, just browsing the web and generic fiddling.

Nite Ride: I plugged in the batteries; they should be ready for a ride along the towpath tonight. I may hit the Raubsville Inn afterward to see Duende (they're either there or at Pearly Baker's, gotta check).

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ghost in the Shell

Morning weigh-in: 172.5#, 9% BF

Didn't go to the gym Tuesday or yesterday, didn't do laundry or other chores, instead I got home from work and played with the computer. Last night I sat down, "just for a minute, to check my emails" and didn't get up -- except for a bathroom break / fridge raid about 10:00 -- until after midnight. Among the stuff I did was get my newer version of that gallery maker shell script up and running -- now with a style sheet and unordered lists instead of tables, plus a few more cleanup items, like

rather than using something like
link=`echo $photo sed -e "s/[jJ][pP][gG]/html/"`
Really kind of dumb way to do something, when the shell will do it for you...

I also sat down and installed the latest Java runtime library, and installed the mozilla plugin (finally). Don't know what the big deal was, why I had a mental block about it, but it's there now... of course, then I had to mess with java-enabled stuff like yahoo chats, then I had to fool with IRC chat & chatzilla, then at midnight I opened up an O'Reilly book on Java I got a while ago -- now I'm chugging java, trying to stay awake.

Speaking of staying awake: we just had a meeting about another company reorganization (European and North American energy companies will be managed together), plus a bunch of corporate/financial/stock stuff. (Some things were very interesting though, like product and technology-focus strategies for the next few years.) Anyway, lunchtimes over, back to (real) work.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Morning weigh-in: 175.5#, 13% BF

Nothing much to say: cleaned the kitchen (slightly) last night, also laundry/shopping & played more w/ CSS, lists & my galleries. Nothing to write home about... tonight is the gym, then maybe a little more housework.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Busy Beavers, Bees, and Blackfoot

Morning weigh-in (Sunday): 173.5#, 11% BF
Morning weigh-in (Monday): 175#, 12.5% BF

I stayed in Saturday night, playing with style sheets etc. I'm trying to get away from using tables in my image gallery indexes, instead using unordered lists so they flow to fit the page, but I also want them to look exactly like the tables-based indexes. I think I've got it down, but I was up a little late because of it, which made Sunday morning tough.

Sunday was trail maintenance day at an "undisclosed location." We have an unofficial & quasi-legal OK to be riding/working in the area, but officially we're trespassing -- so shhhhhh! Well, discretion is the better part of valor, so we went up there with two chainsaws & cleared out a bunch of trees downed by the hurricane. We removed the first few trees without any real problems, then came across one next to a yellowjacket nest -- practically on the trail, and very, very angry! Eric & Doug both got stung, though we tried to be careful. I didn't have a problem with the yellowjackets, but I guess I used up all my "careful" on them because I managed to drop a log on my foot. It hurt like hell all day, still hurts and now my big toe is black & blue, but I don't think anything's broken. (I was planning to run tomorrow, think I'll skip it.)

After the trail work, I rode with Doug & Lori up in the same trail system near where we worked. (Eric was up there as well, but we never did find him.) They were on their new tandem, and going kind of slow in the twisty and very technical terrain, and this was fine by me, since I felt tired and my strength/enthusiasm had all drained out the bottom of my foot. Rode pretty good though, was happy with that & had fun.

Sunday evening was back to D&L's house, for a dinner party they put together. Eric & Kris, Brian, and Greg & Judy (just off surgery, first time out of the house in a week); salad, bread & olive oil, pasta w/ sausage & meatballs and Doug's family-recipe sauce; cannoli and other desserts, and beer and wine and great conversation. An awesome evening.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Death By Garlic

Morning weigh-in: 174#, 12.5% BF

Well, this weekend is the Easton Garlic Festival, but at Which Brew the weekend starts on Friday night so I grabbed a plate of roasted elephant garlic: each clove must have been about as big as a full bulb of regular garlic, and the plate held about half a dozen cloves. Unbelievably tasty, but it wreaked havoc on my digestion. I guess now I'm honorary Welsh...

Anyway: rode last night, 3 hours on the (slightly damaged) Lehigh towpath -- most damage wasn't from the river, but from water coming down off the hills and cliffs, heading for the river -- then to WB as noted. The band there, The Insidious Rays, were awesome, by the way. Hung out with Stu & Kathy before they left, and Heath & Hans Kneller (their bikes were on their car, who else could it have been?) and Margarita, plus about a thousand cute college girls it seemed like.

This morning I fooled with computer before hitting the coffee shop, then a run along the Jersey side of the river & a standard gym workout; after that I checked out the festival downtown. Got home, played more with the 'puter, and my mouse crapped out. Cheap plastic part inside snapped, so I bought a new Logitech wireless optical mouse (3-button w/ mouse wheel, thirty bucks -- sweet!), which I'm using right now. Feels kind of weird, like using a template on the old AutoCAD systems at work, but I'm sure I'll get used to it pretty quick.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Channeling My Inner Dork

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 12.5% BF

Didn't ride/run/lift or do chores/errands last night, instead played with the computer. I don't know why, but I really like playing with bash.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Little Mercy

Morning weigh-in: 174.5#, 11.5% BF

Heard a cool song yesterday, had to stay in the car to let it finish when I got home from work. I didn't catch the artist/title, but liooked it up and found this:

Whoever watches over all these truckers
Show a little mercy for a weary sinner
And deliver me, Lord deliver me
Deliver me to the next Best Western

Rode last night at Jacobsburg (w/ Doug & Lori on the tandem, Greg M, Greg P, Eric, and Joe & Cindy, as well as seeing Rich B, Lee S on his BMW motorcycle in the parking lot, and Dave J as he was leaving). Lots of damage from the storms & flooding: many bridges out, including small trail bridges (Doug et al fixed a lot of these) and even a few of the big ones. Some trail damage made the trails more technical though, which was fun, a guilty pleasure.

I'm still sick though, and felt like hammered shit after the ride so I went straight home & to bed -- no dinner. Felt a lot better overnight and this morning, thanks to my good friends Actifed, Ibuprofin, Echinacea and Vitamin C. I'm still passing the "neck test"* though, so tonight I'll be heading to the gym, see how I feel there.

*Neck Test: if you're sick and it's below your throat, don't exercise, but if it's above your neck do a warmup, and if you feel up for it you can continue the workout.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Not the Return I Was Expecting

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 10% BF

I seem to be getting a cold, which was once a monthly occurrence but has been almost unheard-of for more than a year. Sore throat started last night, sinuses seem clogged, I hope it blows over pretty quick.

Ran yesterday, two miles down past Baker Chemical before working out, then went home, did some stuff, and went to WB for dinner. Interesting conversation with a dude I see there on Tuesdays: kickboxer, worked as an "armed security escort" in the Caribbean, coupla stories...

Tonight is a night ride at Jacobsburg, check out the flood damage & see the ol' Gang.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Finding My Way Back To The Same Old Same Old

Morning weigh-in: 176#, 11% BF

I was going to run this morning -- but I got a haircut yesterday, which means I visited the bookstore in the mall, and that's where I bought some books on MySQL and PHP, thus causing me to stay up a little late reading and playing with the computer... I'll hit the gym tonight (if it's still there after the flooding), do a quick warmup run beforehand.

I have PHP on my computer, but no web server installed; I haven't checked to see if MySQL is around anywhere yet. I'll probably either download the latest Apache or use the handy CD that came with the book, get it all running & start to play sometime in the next week or so. Meantime, I can always use PHP to generate static HTML in various shell scripts, right? (Yes, still messing with my photo galleries script, which I think I'll be finalizing this weekend. I'll probably post version 1.0 in my gopherspace real soon.) Sad to say, freeshell.org doesn't give access to MySQL without special, paid-for privileges & I won't be setting up anything but a private web server at home, so this is all pretty much just wanking. Actually, 2nd order or meta-wanking, since the web page project is already a bit of a wankfest...

There is a bit of an agenda here, however: I think I may have to switch careers sometime in the next year or so, and am looking to get into computers. Web stuff is probably already saturated; my theory is that home-PC tech support will be pretty stable -- you can't outsource the doctor that makes house calls, right? -- but I'll need a bit lot of retraining before that (hardware, software, MSCE, yadda yadda), & I first want to get a feel for the back office of a computerized small business. We'll see.

By the way, here are some photos of the flood damage, emailed to me from a friend (not sure who took or owns the pictures).

Monday, September 20, 2004

Back From Florida

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 13% BF

Well, I'm back; flew in last night & was home by about 10:30. Some highlights: flew down Thursday, met my uncle at the airport and, on the advice of my other uncle, drove directly to the rehearsal dinner, where we were two hours early... went to Universal Studios on Friday, the wedding on Saturday, and a brunch at my cousin's new house (sister of cousin who got married) on Sunday before flying back. Plenty of hanging out w/ family in the meantime & betweentime.

The weather was good (but very hot), and there was only a little hurricane damage in the Orlando/Cocoa Beach areas I frequented, so when I got home I was surprised to see as much storm and flodding damage as I did around here: bridges and roads out; the downtowns of Easton and several other river towns spent most of yesterday under water.

More later, including many photos (probably in the yahoo galleries), so stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A little bit of catch-up

Morning weigh-in: 176#, 10.5% BF

Rode the towpath last night, OK but a somewhat sluggish pace, I finished with a 1:35 ride time. I didn't feel tired or winded or anything, but my pace never rose -- 15 mph felt normal, the 18 mph pace from a few weeks back felt impossible to sustain. Allergies?

I also updated my website last night. My "photos of Mike" page was really sort of a letter to his fiancee (the online version was there for comments/input from friends & family, and the final version of the original went on a disk for her), so I went in and changed it to a more public document. It was kind of neat, I was logged in to the epix (Solaris?) system, as well as freeshell (*BSD), plus my own computer, also FTP'ing stuff around like some kind of juggler, what a tangled web I was weaving... Later on (after dinner) I started to add comments to some of the newer galleries, but didn't update the site -- bedtime, you know.

Dinner was Which Brew, quiet night there. Figure I'm on vacation this weekend, no food at home and I don't want to buy anything just to let it go bad... Several WDIY types there, talking about Channel 39's attempt to take over the station. I signed the petition (the print version), and the conversation devolved into "cool bands/venues/radio I have experienced" one-upmanship. Interesting!

Went home, messed with 'puter, bed by 12:30.

By the way, stay tuned for more crap, because I now have a gopher site -- does anybody here remember gopher? It's still around, just gone underground. That's what gophers do...