Saturday, January 29, 2005


Sangeet is Hindi for "music," and is the name of a show on WPRB, which I was listening to this morning. "Music of the Indian subcontinent," classical and folk, Bollywood dance numbers, world beat and hip-hop. What caught my ear when I first turned on the radio was a very simple flute melody, with sitar behind it. Reminded me, with the snow on the ground and the cold clear air, of Kashmir, Nepal, someplace high in the Himalayas, with a touch of incense in the thin air... Next song of course was some filmi pop, kind of broke the spell.

Reading: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, plus others. Sangeet also happens to remind me of George and Irma Rajamuttu, the grenadine-soaked conspirators living next door to protagonist Gnossos Pappadapolis, and their record collection. Small world.

I was on my way to Coffee Works this morning when I heard the music, but last night I met Doug & Lori, and Kris & Eric at an upscale Italian place on College Hill called Juliana's. Good food, some decent BYO wine that they brought (fine by me anyway, I can never tell good wine from bad), good talk which became depressing for a while: several recent sexual assault and child molestation/porn cases came up, a bit of a buzzkill.

Crazy... so when I got to Coffee Works there were two high school girls working, and a bunch of their friends there, all BS'ing with this big fat old guy, shabby, suspenders and a gray-white Santa Clause beard, that I've seen down there a few times lately. I opened the paper, saw the stories we were talkng about last night, plus another, and another... The fat guy started looking pretty creepy and ominous, until one of the girls said to him "we should get this [brand of cream cheese or something] at home, Dad." Um, OK, and the mom of one of the workers was sitting next to me at the counter, calm down...

Listening: Right now I just downloaded a Duende MP3, one of my favorites: a live version of their song "Overboard." I've got the CD, guess I'm just stocking up in case something goes wrong. I'm also downloading "West Virginia," a song thak kind of reminds me of the way I feel about Easton, or at least the Easton of my dreams. (I dream a lot about Easton. No plot, just drifting throught the streets and houses, almost like an alternate universe, brickwork and downtown, night and alleys...)

After Coffee works I went to the gym, met Dawn there. Excellent workout, I feel pretty strong on the weights especially my legs. Dawn's heading up to Maine for some snowmobiling, and I won't see her again until almost March; when she gets back I think I'll start switching from strength back to endurance workouts.

Tomorrow is hopefully a road ride (reasonable conditions and I'll break out the Iguana) otherwise I might go DH skiing at Blue Mountain. When the song finishes downloading I'll listen to it, then hop in the shower & go out for some dinner. Yo later.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday And My Weekend's Already Come And Gone

Morning weigh-in: 181#, 8.5% BF

Went to the gym last night, again getting there a little late and again running out of time before I ran out of exercises... I got there a little after 7:00, and I was doing alright, on schedule up until about 8:00 when the yoga class got out. My friend Violetta had taken the class, saw me on the way out, and engaged me in conversation -- something she's very very good at! Twenty minutes of talking about Alaska, bikes, health & finances, just enough time to put me in the hole & I didn't quite dig out. She used to be a member of the health club, quit and now has re-joined; I guess I'll have to relearn my "friendly but short gym greetings" technique.

After that I went to Which Brew to see Alex Radus play solo. He's half of the duo Duende, and as good as Maria is I've often felt that Alex is the better musician and singer. Last night however, though he was very good, I felt that he was missing something -- like Maria -- to complement and balance his style. (He did have a few guest musicians on stage for one or two songs, and that was good. And in case I've given the wrong impression: the show was fantastic, he sang and played beautifully, and it was definitely worth seeing. I really like those guys, Alex and Maria, and sort of hold them to pretty high standards -- and my "missing something" feeling last night may have been just because I'm too used to hearing the two of them together; someone going in with no preconceptions would have been blown away.)

Anyhoo, when I got to WB the first thing I see is a car stuck on ice trying to get out, one other guy pushing and it's going nowhere. I go over to help and it's Perry's car, he's got about six feet of slightly uphill ice to beat and he'd be on dry pavement, and we just can't get him there... I go inside, recruit another volunteer, turns out he has a 4WD truck and towing chains -- nope, that didn't work either, but Perry was able to roll backwards out of the lot, through the space that the truck dude vacated. Later in the evening, Murph got stuck and we went through a similar drill...

UPDATE: I guess I missed the news, but it looks like Duende broke up. Damn, no wonder the new Year's Eve show ("fifth anniversary of our first gig") was such a big deal, and I had to miss it.

I'm not sure what's up for the weekend yet, but I think I'll be staying in tonight, I'm tired. Next week is the same out-on-a-school-night drill: Wednesday the Democrats for America are having their Meetup at Brew Works, then Laurie Anderson is at Zoellner Arts Center on Thursday.

Just dodged that bullet: unplanned (forced) outage at a power plant near Nashville, they need people to go and take advantage of the unscheduled shutdown to measure a few things. Would I be willing to go this weekend? Uh, yeah (never say no), but then it transpires that a service guy is available and they're sending him. That's good, Nashville is expecting an ice storm, and we know how those can be, just ask Pap Thomas...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different

Morning weigh-in: 179.5#, 12.5% BF

Actually, not that different. In fact it's the same old same-old, except maybe refracted, run through a coordinate transformation to the mirror universe of Bethlehem... Instead of me riding the towpath to Sand Island, we (others being Doug, Greg, and Eric & Kris) skiied it, starting from Sand Island, and then went out to Bethlehem Brew Works for dinner afterward rather than going to Which Brew. So except for the differences, it was exactly the same...

The skiing was better than I expected, though the towpath had been walked on and the snow flattened. It was a little colder than it was during the day, maybe mid-twenties, so there wasn't any slushiness or stickiness (which I was worried about), and the footprints were for the most part so constant it was like a flattened track to ski in rather than annoying postholes. We started out towards Allentown, but only got as far as the railroad "humping yard" because the path was plowed from that point west. We stopped, watched the trains move around the yard, headed back, and made the mistake of trying Sand Island itself: the snow over there had been beat up so much by pedestrian traffic that it was frustrating rather than fun, so we headed back.

Brew Works was OK: food was good and draft beer so-so, though Doug went downstairs to the Steelgaarden and got some amazingly good bottles of belgian stuff, for himself & for Lori who joined us. I had a cheesesteak, Kris had some wasabi tuna thing, and everyone else sat too far away for me to get a good look at their food.

Tonight should be the gym, then I'd like to see Alex Radus (the guy from Duende) play solo at Which Brew.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Nose That Can See Is Worth Two That Sniff

Morning weigh-in: 181.5#, 8.5# BF

Oral, anal, genital -- nasal? I think I've discovered a new complex... Actually, I have nothing to complain about right now, just my usual endless obsession. Breathing easy even here at work (land of indoor pollution), no colds or sinus infections, minimal stuffiness... I got a humidifier for Christmas, still must set it up, probably will try to do it tonight.

Light dinner last night (soup & salad), then I went to the gym, then Which Brew while the laundry dried. Ran into Mike and Carole, Scott -- and T and Perry. Oh well, guess I saw that coming. Perry's a nice dude & I'm glad they're happy -- but I wish I found someone new first, because then I would have won.

Linux Voyager, not all oars in water: I was looking at that bash getopts built-in, and it's supposed to replace the getopt(1) command because it's better, but getopt actually has more, and more useful, features. Is this a new version of getopt(1), and reviews were panning the old one? What gives, which one should I use? Going around in circles...

Meantime, tonight will be more XC skiing along the towpath. It's been pretty warm, and the expected new snow didn't really happen, so I hope the conditions are OK.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Got Garlic?

Morning weigh-in: 182#, 12.5% BF

I stayed a little late at work and, since I needed to hit the drycleaner, I had to skip the spin class (most of those classes are way too early for me). So, no exercise yesterday, but I did find out how to use the bash builtin getopts command. (One of those things I should have understood and been fluent with long ago, but self-education means you're gonna find gaps.)
Dinner was tuna & wilted greens in garlic & oil, over fettucine, quite the garlicky delicious treat. The apartment may need fumigating, pores exhaling garlic, meeting-deflection technology, my poor co-workers... Tonight is laundry, soup & salad, and the gym (there's no schedule I have to meet, so I should be OK), then maybe a little more bashing around when I get home.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Ranting to the Masses

Morning weigh-in: 183#, 11.5% BF (uh-oh, wrong direction)

At the gym on Saturday, I was talking with my trainer and she told me she downloaded and installed the Firefox browser, on my advice. I didn't realize she was listening that closely to what I was saying... maybe I should listen more closely to what I'm saying, since I don't remember actually advising her, just ranting and raving about how Mozilla -- I use the big Mozilla "kitchen sink" program, rather than the little pieces like Firefox or the Thunderbird email client -- was so much better than Internet Explorer. Just now I listened to my co-workers' tales tales of woe with kids, home computers and viruses/spyware/AOL/whatever, and simply said "get Slack, and get happy!" I don't even use Slackware (I'm a loser Red Hat man myself), but the slogan fit the moment, hope all this doesn't come back to bite me...

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Winter Wonderland

Hey Get Out of the Water
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Friday night I took the singlespeed out in the 12 degree cold, and I felt it especially in my lungs and my feet, much colder than Thursday. Good ride though: got in about two hours of riding, partway down the towpath & back, up the ruins of Hope Road to the missing bridge and back, then I returned via the bike path. After that was Which Brew, with a decent blues band and an empty room -- everyone out buying bread I guess...

Saturday morning I hit Coffee Works (semi-crowded) while the snow was just starting, then the gym (crowded) while the snow got down to business, and finally I went to Weyerbacher Brewery (packed) in the full storm to check out their full house. Very cool, bought a mixed case of Heresy/Insanity, $48.00, sheesh. Give it a year and it'll be priceless... Later in the day I walked downtown to take pictures, but light was already failing so I stopped in Porters -- the only thing open, and quite a lively scene I must say -- and I got some dinner there. I got out of there when some newlywed girl, out drinking with her brother-in-law, started calling me a "pussy" for not doing shots with her. I could sense trouble brewing, made my escape... nice girl though, up to that point anyway.

Today I met Doug & Lori, and Eric & Kris, down in Bethlehem for some XC skiing. It was pretty nice, pleasant if windy day, cold enough that the sunshine didn't ruin the snow. We started at Sand Island, and went about 3/4 of the way to Freemansburg and back, then circumnavigated the Ice House. Click on the photo and you'll go to Flickr, where you can find the rest of my photos.