Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Morning weigh-in: 167.5#, 9% BF

Woke up this morning totally wasted, legs destroyed from the previous several days of play, especially the skiing yesterday. I'm not used to that anymore. Got on the slopes a little before 9:00 AM and got in an even dozen runs before I quit at 12:30, my quads were burning. My arms and upper body were shot too, since I went out straight after skiing to play hod carrier at the Sals trailwork day. I was going to do a morning yoga class today but I just hurt too much...

It didn't help that last night was my "New Year's Eve." I met Brian for dinner at Porters, and we stayed for a few to punch the clock: I'm more than halfway to my new mug, and Brian is almost done. As I was getting ready to leave, one of the bartenders (I know him because he dates one of the Which Brew barmaids) came in off duty and wanted to socialize, but I just couldn't hang -- a couple of beers and a big meal on top of all that fatigue, and all I wanted to do was get some sleep. I was home by 9:00 and asleep by 9:15. Awake at 4:00, played with the computer until maybe 5:30 then crashed again, woke up at 8:00 for real and decided to blow off any physical activity until tonight. Too bad, it was beautiful out, but I got some shopping and other chores done, and now I have another pot roast waiting in the crock pot for tomorrow. That crock pot does rock.

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot: One of the bartenders at Porters, a guy named Matt who I credit with causing me to like hanging there again -- not that it was bad or anything before -- said his goodbyes last night: he's relocating to go back to school. Oh well, good for him but I'll be sad to see him go.

Tonight I'm riding out the old year on the towpath, hopefully I'll be in Bethlehem for the midnight fireworks -- I may try to hook up with Brian, since he'll be with speed-skating friends, watching the show from somewhere near the historical graveyard. I'll hike the new year in at Sunfish Pond, then I'm stopping by a friend's place for an afternoon get-together. I'll be bringing the bundt cake.

Happy New Year! Catch y'all on the flip side.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

dont u no me im ur native son

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 10% BF

Checking in, still fighting that cold, just playing with the 'puter and eating some breakfast. I'm out the door to go skiing in a few minutes.

I consider yesterday duly seized: yoga in the morning, coffeeshop breakfast, then the gym, some errands, and then the towpath for what I hoped would be a hot lap (eh, not so much) but it was good nonetheless -- I also checked out the singletrack along the river, and it's in excellent condition. The day was a total "brick workout," and by the time I was done I felt like I'd been hit by a ton of them.

I was tired and hungry and the pot roast was all gone, so after cleaning up I walked downtown for an early Which Brew night, last one of the year. Gobbled down a ton of food, hung out and talked with the early evening regulars (there is a regular Saturday dinner crowd). Mark, cousin of one of my co-workers, was showing me his new i-pod thingie, pretty sweet little device. We started talking gadgets, iPhones, talking vs texting -- bartenders (younger) said they prefer texting, while us oldsters went with talking.

Caught a little bit of the music before I left, first set of the Skulldiggers. They played Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans," and for some reason it really grabbed me. But I had to go: I was tired, it's more than a mile uphill walk, and the day was starting to seize me back anyway.

PS Kick-ass road ride with Joe on Friday, a real confidence booster.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Fly-By

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 12% BF

Just popping in to record the weights. Sun's out and I'm meeting my friend Joe around noon, rendezvousing on the bikes somewhere out by Carpentersville. Gotta leave around now, but in the meantime, I leave you with this. As someone said, this will not end well, but my plan all along has been to be stringy & unappetizing by the time we resort to cannibalism...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Days Fly By

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 11.5% BF

I was thinking of either skiing again or riding this morning, but it was raining. I guess I could have done either one anyway, but I am pretty tired from yesterday's skiing and yoga, and tonight is alterna-workout nite -- I may bust out the singlespeed and cruise the neighborhoods later this evening, my Easton street sprints workout.

Today was just laundry, general housework, and of course fiddling with the computer, but we're talking mostly just browsing, even though I've been messing again with that Octave, trying different things etc. That kind of play just eats time.

I remember when I was hurt/sick last year, making all sorts of promises to myself -- bike every day, get back into skiing, get a pedicure, etc -- as soon as my foot was healed. By the time it was over I was totally jonesing, ready to make up for all sorts of lost time, but (in the case of the bike) within a few weeks it was no longer a joyous gift and luxury, I was more like "eh, whatever" when I missed a ride. Now I have the skis: I had big plans to ski every day, maybe take a trip over Christmas -- one day on the slopes and it's back to "same old same old, think I'll take a day off." Still haven't gotten that pedicure...

BTW and TMI: My left big toe, the one I dropped a log on once, has a bad case of "old man's toenail." I cut and file and buff, but nothing seems to help; that pedicure would probably be a good idea if I weren't so embarrassed to show the toe.

Anyway, had that pot roast last night, though I cooked it more like "New England Boiled Dinner:" just a bunch of carrots, celery, onions and potatoes (you can actually buy this combination pre-cut in a bag, like a salad - who knew?), some onion soup mix and a chunk of meat. It cooked in the crock pot for about 8 hours, and I had it with some salad and a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. It was so good, I'll probably do the same thing again tonight, or at least hit the leftovers.

I'd like to do a NJ road ride with my friend Joe tomorrow -- he's also off, this crappy weather is getting to him too but the morning weather should be cooperative enough for the road -- but I haven't heard back from him yet. I'll do a little bike prep while the laundry continues, then I'm off to the gym.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wow, That Was Bad

Morning weigh-in: 166.5#, 10.5% BF

Just got back from skiing. I was supposed to go very early this morning, like roll out of bed and leave, but I decided to dick around with the computer when I got up, and then I realized I had to buy veggies for the pot roast I wanted to cook, then I had to cook it... Suffice to say I did the things I had to do, but didn't actually hit the slopes until about 12:30 or so -- and by then the place was a mob scene, mostly teenagers and families.

Still it was fun, except for the part where I realized how much I now truly suck at skiing. I did about six runs on the easier slopes before I even tackled anything harder (never did hit the diamonds), and kept it slow and cautious. Things did start coming back to me, but I was sure surprised at how off my game I really was, and how un-confident I felt, too. Oh well, it will all come back I'm sure, and at least I didn't screw up too badly in front of those teenagers... Skis & boots felt good; I didn't notice anything amazing about them though, but I didn't really give them the chance to shine yet.

Anyway, I got out of there just before the rain started to fall, now I'm uploading Christmas photos (check 'em out) before yoga. After that -- well, there's a pot roast with my name on it waiting in the crock pot.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Le Bon Sansculotte

I'm back. Didn't even skip a day...

Reading: Got Peter Reich's A Book of Dreams (thanks Mom - I can't believe you got this, even used it's so expensive), also Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail and that new Charles Schulz biography. All are awesome, and I'm almost done with the first two.

Listening: I forgot its name, but I played it through a few times on the drive home, and already have some new favorite songs... that collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss -- Raising Sand is the name. My nephew gave me that.

Eating: Soon enough anyway -- my uncle gave me a food processor.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 11% BF (wow even after all that cheese)

Merry Christmas Eve, anyway. I'm out of here, heading down to the new ancestral home for the holidays in a few hours, light/nonexistent posting for a bit. Bringing the bike, I might hit Allaire tomorrow morning -- I haven't been there in years. It's not the greatest place, but it's close to Jackson and I figure it'll be mostly snow-free.

The Year In Review: I'll leave you with this: it looks like Achewood is now Time Magazine's #1 Graphic Novel for the year -- it's a webcomic dammit! But I'll take the validation...

Also: And for those keeping score, my new (to me) skis are K2 Apache Recons, while my new boots are Nordica Speedmachine 10's. Those reviews make them seem pretty extreme, but I guess I'll grow into them.

Have a safe and happy Christmas.

"Hark! The herald angels sing,
Mrs. Simpson's pinched our king."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One Last Camera Dump

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
I posted my photos from last night's Solstice Party, which was a total blowout by the way. Unfortunately, I didn't start taking any pictures until relatively late in the evening, when things had already shifted into hijinks mode; the earlier mood of the party was more like "food and conversation."

(The guy in the sweater is Larry, who I've been riding with on weekends lately. We were out on the towpath earlier in the day, and also tried the singletrack along the river, but found the snow down there less than ideal for riding. It was a serious "resistance workout:" two hours of slogging, and we probably went ten miles...)

Anyway, I stayed over last night, hung out for a bit in the morning (Fred made us all a killer breakfast), then went and finished my Christmas shopping. I also picked up my new skis and boots -- my plan was to go skiing tonight, but this warm, rainy weather is more suitable for laundry-type activities. Oh well, maybe later in the week.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More Party Photos

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
I just posted more photos on flickr; this batch is from last night's VMB Christmas Party. Had a good time there, but it was a late night which caused me to skip yoga this morning...

I'm leaving in a few minutes to go to Fred & Lara's "Solstice Party." Should be good.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Woo Hoo! Another Milestone!

Don't Ask
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Morning weigh-in: 168#, 10.5% BF

This photograph is my 2000th one on flickr, which means I posted a bunch this morning, mostly from the re-gifting party last night. Go check them out, most of them are better than this.

Good day yesterday: rode the benchmark in 1:45, not bad for this time of year, my mellow-ride intentions, and the fact that I was on the Iguana. Wed roads, spring tights, it was pretty chilly, at least for my shins... Got home, few chores/errands, hit the gym for alterna-workout nite, more chores, then I went to the party. Very strong sense of community last night, lotta social interactions, some of them of a revelatory nature that I am still digesting...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Off And Spending Money

Morning weigh-in: 169.5#, 11% BF

Tuesday was my last day of work until 2008, so I went out (on foot) to celebrate... Yesterday I spent most of the day recovering, which meant playing with the computer, walking around town, and riding the Iguana, until it started to rain.

Finally went to Nestors and bought some ski boots. The process was much easier than I would have thought; those guys really are experts and had no problems working with the ankle. I paid for that expertise though: the boots themselves came to about $699, and I also got them fitted, got special insoles, got some work done on those new (to me) skis...

Ah well, the skis were my Christmas present to myself, and "in for a penny, in for a pound," as the saying goes -- the boots should last for a long time, too, through at least a few sets of skis. Meantime, I found out yesterday that the skis I did get usually sell for about $900, so I'm ahead of the game -- and my inner miser can console himself with the fact that this is a drop in the bucket compared to what I'd spend, without batting an eye, on the bike. Of course, actually riding the bike is usually free, unlike Teh Downhill.

Evening yoga (many many back bends), dinner at Which Brew: Caribbean Beef. Tonight is the gym, then back to Which Brew for the re-gifting party. It looks super-nice out, I may go for another ride in a few minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent And Stillness

Morning weigh-in: 168#, 11% BF (been there, done that, seen those weights)
Bad food choices yesterday for the most part, lucky break I wasn't punished too severely for it...
Things seem quiet, all the world is waiting for this year's Bottom Dead Center. I don't have much to say either: yoga last night, followed by a whole lotta nothing, unless you count the computer and reading. River colors were so-so this morning. If I finish what I'm doing here, I may take the rest of the week/year off -- I still have to buy new boots, but I want to go skiing in VT this week sometime, maybe hit Von Trapp for XC as well as downhill at Stowe. Meantime, tonight is the gym.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Morning weigh-in: 169#, 9.5% BF (Holiday season, steak-and-beer weekend, what did I expect?)
Here's a fun thing, and if they're to be believed, you're helping feed the poor too!
Walked around downtown yesterday in the rain: lunch and a coffee purchase at the Quadrant, then I stopped in at Porters later in the day. No food, just punching my ticket -- I am now about 20 beers down, of the 60 you have to drink to get your mug. Caught part of the Steelers game, saw some peeps, walked home, still raining. Played with the computer for a few hours,  noticed that the sun finally came out, but it was too late in the day to take advantage so I just went and dug out the car. That was some nasty ice-glazed snow, I had to bust out the camping shovel because the regular ones just couldn't deal...
This morning was cold but beautiful out, perfect sky, clouds and sun like breaking fresh bread, one of those rare days when the winter sunlight is golden rather than silver. Drove along the Lehigh & Muskenetcong Rivers on the way in, and the light on the water was my favorite gray-green "light on cold water" color. Bonus!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tin Soldier On A Pale Horse

There is apparently a dude in North Jersey who looks just like me, guy by the name of Barry that the Piccatinny crowd knows. I'm constantly hearing "Wow you look so much like him it's uncanny," and in fact I was at a restaurant once in Newton, and as we left, someone knocked on the restaurant window and chased us outside to say hello, thinking I was Barry...

I never met the guy, and everyone involved seems to get a kick out of the fact that we've never been seen together, like Superman and Clark Kent or something. Well I didn't meet him last night either, but I got to the dinner late, and Barry had been there, early, and left only moments before -- I ended up in his seat. The party was upstairs at the Long Valley Pub, where there are two staircases, and apparently he went down one as I was coming up the other. Much chuckling as we figured that out. (If that was a movie, they'd cut that scene as being just too implausible.) Pretty good party overall, too, nice people. Crazy-fun drive there too, Rt 57 then over Schooley's Mountain, via roads that seemed just one step up from dirt.

Which Horseman? Meanwhile, back at the stealth apocalypse... no, the other one.

Anyway, going to deal with the car now (the old one), I pretty much have it towed and sold, just have to go make the final handshake. After that I may go for a walk or a ride, depending on what I find on the ground outside. I might be going to a wake this afternoon: a woman I used to work with (she retired several years ago) passed away Thursday. The viewing is in Rockaway though, and I don't know what road conditions I'm willing to deal with. We'll see.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Easter!

Found an Easter egg last night, in fact two of them: playing an old CD on my new car's stereo, and when it got to the end there were two tracks I'd never heard before. This was a Fu Manchu CD from 2000 or so, and I'd played it to death years ago -- it seemed impossible that I wouldn't know every note of every song on it, let alone finding two whole unfamiliar songs. Turns out they were bonus tracks in MP3 format, and since I now have an MP3 player built in to the car stereo, it just played them like the others. Well whaddaya know...

Anyway, rode last night with Larry, then caught Steve McDaniels at Which Brew, plus a little bit of Post Junction at Porters. This morning was yoga and then the gym; now I'm getting ready for the Picatinny Arsenal mountain-biking engineers Christmas dinner -- Joe & Dawn both work there, and I ride (and hang) with that crew on occasion.

And finally, your word for today is ergodicity -- that's the term that describes a population model's independence between initial conditions and long-term results. The example I was playing with the other day was not very ergodic.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Oh, And Another Thing...

Go read this. Wow.

In The Shadow Of The Wolf

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 10% BF
Well that wasn't so bad! I had the dates mixed up -- the "regifting party" is next Thursday (a-and Which Brew was closed last night anyway because of weather), and the VMB Christmas party is next Friday. Car is still parked where I left it, but there was no snow emergency even though schools (and work here) got out early. Went home, played with the computer, then went to the gym but it was closing too. Porters was still open though, so that's where I went next, had dinner (Irish peasant stew & a cheese plate) and a Corsendonk Chistmas Ale, huge bottle. So, there's some un-suppression in those numbers up there... Usual Porters crowd, but I also saw Tim S there; usually I see him at WB of a Thursday.
Went home, prepped the bike for tonight & got the batteries charging. A little more with the 'puter, then early bed. Funny, I've been sleeping well, and with the early bedtimes I've been waking up refreshed every morning about 4:00 AM, then falling back to sleep -- and waking up tired at 6:30. Wazzap widdat?
Lycanthrophobia: We used to pay a guy to walk his dog by the lake here, to chase away the geese, but the dog got downsized and now we've got these sort of scarecrow-thingies, very lifelike coyote statues placed here and there around the grounds. It seems to work, but I noticed the other day a colony of geese by one of the evergreen "landscape features," all packed together on the visual leeward side of the bushes -- where they couldn't see the coyotes, and the coyotes couldn't "see" them...
(Had a dream last night that I was the sole, severely wounded survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, and I was exhausted, dying, lying trapped at the top of a cliff over the Colorado River, and just waiting for the Indians to catch up with me before throwing myself over it. Cut to a medium-long aerial shot, watching my blood cascade down the cliff into the water, where the wolves were waiting in the shallows. Next thing, I'm partway down the cliff, waiting for the wolves to close in, as they move along the cliff face like goats.)
Anyway, tonight is the towpath, then maybe WB or just more computer play, and tomorrow is yoga/gym/Jacobsburg, then that dinner party at the Long Valley Pub.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Constant Whitewater

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 10.5% BF
What A Revoltin' Development: Turns out that there are two people living in my apartment, one named <me> and the other named <me> Junior; one of them owns my old car (his name is on the title), and the other has a driver's license plus other forms of ID, and can prove that he exists... I cannot sell the car until that gets fixed, maybe some time after Christmas -- the paperwork is in, but the PA bureaucracy may grind a little slowly at this time of year. Oh well. Car was "parked"  (read: "broken down") on a snow emergency route, so I called and had it towed into storage before the cops came and, uh, had it towed into storage...
Meantime: Yoga last night, then Which Brew for dinner, broccoli soup and fish 'n' chips. Very early night though, I was in and out by 10:30 so I could finish messing with the car. (The roof rack is basically rusted on, I may ask the shop to cut the mounts off so I can salvage the racks & crossbars.) Tonight is a late night here, then alterna-workout nite at the gym, followed by the Which Brew "Re-Gifting Party" -- I'll be ditching that Xmas Elmo P.O.S. from the Chain Gang party, not sure what I'll come home with.
I have a Christmas party tonight, tomorrow night, and Saturday night. I don't feel up for the season and I'm already dreading it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Insects And Cobwebs

Morning weigh-in: 167.5#, 9.5% BF
Is that you, Shaun Ryder? Wow I had a dream about this last night, must have heard it on the news or somewhere & not realized. (I was at work in my dream, and I told my co-worker, who happened to be George Bush, that I had the President's cell number. I then told him what the number was, and he crank-called it -- using my phone.)
Busy evening: I dropped off the rental car and picked up my dry cleaning, each within minutes of the place closing, and then I went to the gym. Dinner unfortunately was Taco Bell, but I got two (relatively) healthy 7-Layer Burritos instead of the usual ground beef calorie fest. After dinner I cleaned the old car. I still have to take the roof rack off -- it was almost midnight when I got to it last night, and I was just too tired -- but it should be ready for sale/junking by tonight.
Finger Exercise: Working my way through the first and thinner of those two bio-math texts. I've been basically bouncing back and forth between Chapter 1 (insect populations, types of competition, and stability analysis of the population size), and Appendix A ( ie "the math you need for Chapter 1"). Very information dense; the second, larger book seems much more conversational in tone, though I've only looked at the introduction so far.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Got It, And Other Odds & Ends

Morning weigh-in: 169#, 10.5% BF
Picked up the car last night, car-purchasing process took forever but now I have my new Outback -- I may be able to sell them the old one too, we'll see. Doug helped me move cars around, and so he and Lori got the first ride in it; we went to Brew Works for dinner afterward. It was a very early night though, went home after dinner, bed by 10:30.
Quote of the night: I was babbling last night about my computer adventures, Lotka-Volterra, Achewood, blah de blah blah, and Lori said "Why can't you just be into porn?" Oh you're a riot Alice...
No yoga last night (obviously); tonight will be the gym. In other news, the humidifier is now back up and running, pumping 1.5 gallons of water into the air per day  -- indoor air at home feels great.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Reichssieger Von Thanatz Alpdrucken

Morning weigh-in: 170#, 10% BF (Sigh... good times, bad choices this weekend.)
The Finger Exercise: I've been playing again with Octave, basically just doing what I'd done before with the Lotka-Volterra equations, but this time using scripts to help automate the process & save it for later -- also, Octave can be run from within emacs, but that's not quite as convenient as it seems so I'm back to running both programs separately. Coupla insights:
1. The final steady-state (or rather, periodic) populations seem more dependent on initial conditions than I realized -- I would have thought that the final state would depend only on things like birth and death rates, and that no matter what the initial population it would trend to the same end state for any given set of those rates. Um, not so; I found that where you end up is very dependent on where you start.
2. It bothered me for a while that the actual predator-prey equations didn't look the way I thought they should. I expected to find some term for death rates based on starvation, for both predators and prey, and neither one has anything like that. (The prey only die from being eaten, and the predators have a constant death rate.) Another surprise for me was the food-dependent reproduction rate for the predators, but I now remember reading something in Bear Attacks about the overriding importance of food in reproductive success, at least for bears... Anyway, my insight is that I might have to learn some real biology along with my modeling: logistical death rates may not be as important as I once thought, at least compared to other factors.
Reading: Gravity's Rainbow, coming to the end of Part 1. Yowza, forgot about that, I thought all the truly crazy-brilliant writing was in Part 4... Imperial soldier of the death-nightmare, don't you know me? Don't you really know me? (Also working my way through those new biomath textbooks, though "studying" would be a better term for that.)
Sunday Afternoon, Coming Down: Spent most of the morning yesterday sleeping in, then reading/playing as stated above. Went out in the early afternoon, lunch at the Quadrant, then back home for more reading/playing and laundry. Caught part of the Colts-Ravens game, 2nd & 3rd quarters at Porters while the laundry dried. Boring game. Taco Bell -- D'oh!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Black Is The New Green

Meet the new car, same as the old car... I made an agreement to buy a Subaru Outback, the "basic trim package" with 5-speed manual transmission; color is "black obsidian pearl." Stopped in this afternoon at Faulkner Subaru, on the way back from getting a haircut at that new place in Bethlehem: Eskandalo, owned by a friend of friends, a really good stylist -- and I must say I clean up pretty nice when put in the hands of experts...

Anyway, the car I was eyeballing online (the only manual transmission Faulkner had in stock, according to their website) was parked right by the front door, and so the very first Outback I saw was the one I came to buy, and the one I ended up actually buying. I did not take possession of it yet, but that will happen Monday. I also have to get a check cut Monday for the amount of the car -- yes I'm paying cash from the credit union account, I cannot see a downside or any hidden catches so I'm going for it.

Last night was the towpath with Larry, then a burger at Which Brew but I left immediately afterward -- friends were across the street at Porters, my main destination but the kitchen there was already closed, hence the stop-in at WB. Bob & Karen, Doug & Lori, E-Rock, and some great music in a crowded pub -- a good Friday night! Only had two beers, one in each place, but it was a somewhat late night anyway, since my night had such a late start.

Early morning yoga (and I am glad I went though it was a hard hard wake-up), then breakfast at the Coffee Exchange where I saw Chris & Cara, nice coincidence since Cara's brother was the music last night. Then came the gym with Dawn, and after that all the stuff I already said.

Tonight is Which Brew (again!), Dan DeChellis Trio's album release party. Probably going to hoof it down there. Tomorrow is supposed t be freezing rain, so I think I'll treat myself to a "sleeping in and playing with the computer" day, or at least morning.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Meet George Jetson

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 8.5% BF
Alterna-workout nite at the gym, then dinner at Which Brew. Killer conversations with Eamon and a dude I'd seen there before but didn't really know -- I think his name was Curtis. It was a later night than I'd planned, but since they close at 11:00 (though they allowed us some extra time for BS'ing), bedtime shouldn't have been too late, until...
The New Phone Books Are Here! The New Phone Books Are Here! Got home and there was my little package from Amazon, waiting for me on the porch. (I'd ordered two books off my wishlist: Essential Mathematical Biology and Matrix Population Models.) The verdict? They're awesome, everything I expected -- I should have done this years ago. The second book even has a Kandinsky on the cover... strange cultural pathways, that would put that on the cover, and thus make me think of The Jetsons.
Anyway, towpath ride tonight, then meeting up with a few guys for dinner and discussion of bike-club-related issues.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lotka-Volterra Redux

Morning weigh-in: 166.5#, 11.5% BF (OK back to square one)
Bought a few Christmas presents for myself from Amazon, two books on matrix methods in population modeling. (Basically, we're talking computational biology, methods for modeling ecological systems.) They should arrive tonight, and my "winter finger exercise" project will be ready to start -- I want to make a generalized predator-prey population model, with multiple predators and prey, food chains, competition for food etc. I'll probably do it in Octave.
First will be the gym after another late night here, alterna-workout nite, then a possible stop at WB -- I always remember Mike, and toast him with a drink there, on his anniversary. It'll be a quick pit stop though, just in and out. I want to do some car cleaning tonight, get it ready for trade-in, sale, or junking as the case may be.
One other thing I now have, at least temporarily: a rental car. Some Ford econo-box, good enough for my purposes; it was waiting for me at enterprise when my carpool buddy dropped me off.
Last night was yoga -- lotsa cute petunias, but I was the lonely onion in the petunia patch, no other guys and I felt very conspicuous. Dinner was leftover tuna/pasta/greens/garlic, not sure what tonight's dinner will be though there's still more of that stuff left.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Winter Requiem

Morning weigh-in: 168#, 9% BF
Day two, car-free. Carpooled in this morning (in a hybrid), have a rental lined up for when I get home, and will probably own a new car by the weekend if I do this right. Got a loan application from the credit union, but checked and found that I have enough in that account (it's sort of my "forgotten money" pile) to pay cash. That might give me some serious leverage when talking price, but I know of no one who ever paid cash for something that big, there may be a hidden downside, I fear being the lemming that doesn't leap...
Took a taxi to the gym last night, big hit to the pocketbook so I walked home rather than take the hit twice. My return path took me right past Which Brew's door, and I know I'm supposed to be dieting but I stopped in anyway. Place was pretty empty except for the corner, where some of the usual suspects were hanging out, and they seemed a bit subdued. (Subdued on the inside, they were raucous as ever in terms of externalities.) It turned out that Pete's mom had just passed away -- recent conversations, where "visiting" and "nursing home" were mentioned in passing, suddenly came to mind with greater significance. Pete was flanked by friends, among them Ed and Andy, both of whom lost a parent this year. (She wasn't there, but one of the bartenders lost a grandparent recently too I believe.) Common enough at this time, what with the cold and the holiday stress (at work we call it the "winter cull"), but the holidays are a tough time to have to be mourning. Is there an easy time?
I just remembered, tomorrow is the anniversary of Mike K's passing. Synchronicity, I was thinking about him last night... There's a regular at Which Brew who moves a little like Mike -- I often see this guy move out of the corner of my eye, unconsciously assume it's Mike and then catch myself. One of the newer bartenders has a big blue van like Mike's, and seeing that in the parking lot is also kind of freaky. The past is never that far away I guess.
Anyway, picking up the rental tonight, then going to yoga. Dinner will be leftover pasta w/ tuna & wilted greens, which I made last night.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More Photos Uploaded

Doug, Eric And The Bellydancer
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Yeah, still stuck at home, no car. I took some time and uploaded photos from the past two weekends, you knwo where to go to check them out. I am now eighteen away from the 2000-photo milestone.

Car B Gone

Morning weigh-in: 169.5#, 10% BF (a disturbing trend emerges, but I know the cause & cure)

Stuck at home today, at least until the rental company calls me back with a vehicle: it might just be the cold but my car will not start. Battery seems OK, it's more like it's seized up or something, bad bad news but we've been flirting with end-of-life issues for about two years now. I am not a car person, and I still got almost 200,000 miles out of that one while beating the snot out of it -- it's time to move on. I'm researching new cars in another window as we speak -- I am leaning towards another Outback, since I just can't bring myself to like the Honda Element despite its buzz among the outdoorsy types, and its supposed geek appeal. (Geek appeal? Geek appeal?! That thing is butt-ugly.) Not seeing much that I like among the Outbacks either though, only the lame-ass "basic" package seems to be available with manual transmission, and the mileage is pathetic.

Anyway, last night was yoga, then a cool night at Which Brew (as seen in the tale of the tape above). The usual crew: Larry, Bobby & his son Brian, Lou, Lee, a few others including fellow biker (and my yoga teacher's husband) Mike. Saw another Mike there, and apparently I have a new blog reader -- hi Mike! I said I'd pander but sorry I got nothing today.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weekend Update

Morning weigh-in: 168.5#, 7.5% BF (zoinks! yeah good weekend I guess)

Lotsa schtuff happened this weekend -- no drama or anything, just many many events, so here are some highlights:

Friday night I rode with Larry P on the towpath, which was pretty nice. I'm hoping that this gets to be a social ride, and it looks like Larry is pretty committed though he probably will need to look into better cold-weather riding clothes. we ran into the Cycle Funattic peeps out riding as well, which made it look more like a normal activity... After that was a trip to Which Brew, but I got out of there pretty quickly, I was on the wrong side of the generation gap this time so I absconded over to Porters. Great band over there (Dan DeChellis Trio plus a guitar/sax player), and I noticed many Which Brew regulars, fellow refugees of a certain age were now also in the audience. Sigh...

It was still an early night though, because Saturday started with early morning yoga. Great class, very different, and the owner/instructor waxed a bit emotional announcing their seventh anniversary of being in business. Breakfast, gym with Dawn, then I did a mellow ride by myself at Jacobsburg until dark. Saturday Night was the Chain Gang Christmas Dinner at the Aladdin, which included fatoush, hummus, babaganouj, turkish coffee and a belly dancer. We also had our gift exchange; the thing I ended up with (some sort of dancing Xmas Muppet thingie) has "re-gift" written all over it.

Sunday morning I went back downtown to the Coffee Exchange for breakfast, and got to congratulate the owner on the birth of his new baby boy -- then we talked bikes. I was heading to Sals after breakfast, and his friend rode to the shop on his bike -- did I mention it was snowing out, and there was about 3" on the ground? Well it was, and we were duly impressed with ourselves.

Anyway, I went to Sals, met up with Bob R and another guy Matt, sort of a tag-team thing because they were finishing as I was starting, but we rode for a bit, from my starting point back to theirs, and then I did a loop on my own. It was freakin beautiful out, and the snow made the riding especially fun. (As I finished, another crew of riders passed me on the way in.) This was supposed to be a pre-trailwork ride, but when I got to the trailwork meeting place the only guy there was Trevor. Ground was frozen, not much we could do and a few phone calls confirmed that no one else was coming, so we bagged it.

Home, cleaned up, then I stopped back in at Easton Yoga for their holiday open house. That was pleasant and low key, just the way I like it: some conversation, had a little chai and cake, made an origami crane for their window decorations, and checked out the brand new stained glass windows they just got.

The last stop, but one, was seeing the movie Into the Wild with Brian -- we were basically the last two not to see it. Great movie, and I thought the basic story was stronger than the book (though I think the book was better, and it certainly was more dispassionate) -- Krakauer is a great writer, but his tone and point of view can be a bit overwhelming. They de-Krakauer'ed the story for the movie though, leaving just the story of Chris McCandless to shine through. Like I said, great movie, but it sure was depressing, definitely not a feel-good hit.

Porters for dinner afterward, but I got there too late for dinner so I just finished my beer and hit Taco Bell, oh well. And that was my weekend!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Walking On Sunshine

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 10% BF
Which Brew last night, and I did has cheezburger, plus a coupla brewskis as the scale does indicate...
A Heartwarming Story: Ran into Michele there, former bartender, until she finished school and became a grade school teacher for developmentally disabled kids, pretty cool when you think about it.
Anyway, she's been seeing this dude from where she used to live, he's been visiting on weekends lately, and I already knew from talking to him that he's gaga about her. Well last night I was talking to her, and she brought him up, thanked me for hanging with him the other day -- hey no prob, good conversationalist & he bought me a beer -- but I think that was her excuse to start talking about her guy, and I could literally see the stars come into in her eyes when she thought about him. She was walking about an inch off the ground for real, I've never seen her so happy. Nobody sang "Kumbaya" or anything, but she pretty much lit up the whole room.
No walking on sunshine for me, riding in the dark with dudes tonight before prosecuting my own social life downtown. Early night though, tomorrow is morning yoga.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Death Imitates Art

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 11% BF
No Country, Part Deux: Went outside this morning, and there was a helicopter positioned over downtown -- all the schoolkids were milling about in clusters & watching it too, like in the Little Rascals or something... It's usually a bad sign when you see helicopters hovering over Easton, since it usually means either a flood, a crime/manhunt, or a spectacular traffic jam; we got two of three with this one because there was a triple homicide overnight, first one in twenty years, cops were investigating (with street closures), and the crime scene was basically in front of the Route 22 entrance ramp.
Anyway, interesting & challenging yoga class last night, then the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers. Tonight is a late night here, followed by alterna-workout nite at the gym, then laundry and dinner at Which Brew.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No Country For Old Men

Morning weigh-in: 166.5#, 8.5% BF (hmmm, wazzap widdat?)

Crazy hungry yesterday, and except for a whole turkey sub for lunch (as opposed to half for lunch, half for dinner), I was pretty good I thought. Hit the gym last night, then had more leftover chili for dinner -- I now have one last batch left. This morning was post-lifting protein day, scrambled eggs instead of yogurt. Oh how I do love those scrambled egg days, tabasco & ketchup, golden scrambled eggy goodness...

I'm falling behind on my movies. I still need to see Into The Wild, and now No Country For Old Men is out. Here and here are two reviews for NCFOM, pretty much what I expected. I'll probably see NCFOM on the 8th with a bunch of friends, and so I have to see ITW sometime before that with Brian. That should be interesting: both of us read the book, and I see Chris McCandless as an essentially sympathetic character, while Brian does not.

Tonight is yoga, and then the last of the leftover turkey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Watchin' A Vapor Trail

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 10.5% BF
Yoga last night. My Monday instructor has always looked sort of half-familiar to me, not sure why but it just dawned on me the other day: she did some trailwork at Sals with her husband a few years ago, and I ran into them at one or two brew fests afterward. (He's friends with a guy who used to work at Which Brew, and both dudes also bike.) It doesn't help that she seems ten feet tall in yoga class and she was just another trail girl at Sals, but I also think that my "she seems familiar" feeling actually blocked my ability to remember, sort of like vapor lock.
The Fire This Time: Holy living fsck, look what I found! A book written in words of fire... I remember reading The French Revolution not long after I moved to Easton, bought it used from the Easton Library during the 1992 presidential campaign (I remember that " Hunger Strike" was all over the airwaves); this, even more than Gravity's Rainbow, is what made me, politically and socially, who & what I am.
Sorry, I can't help it, here's an extended quote from deep within the book :

Here perhaps is the place to fix, a little more precisely, what these two words, French Revolution, shall mean; for, strictly considered, they may have as many meanings as there are speakers of them. All things are in revolution; in change from moment to moment, which becomes sensible from epoch to epoch: in this Time-World of ours there is properly nothing else but revolution and mutation, and even nothing else conceivable. Revolution, you answer, means speedier change. Whereupon one has still to ask: How speedy? At what degree of speed; in what particular points of this variable course, which varies in velocity, but can never stop till Time itself stops, does revolution begin and end; cease to be ordinary mutation, and again become such? It is a thing that will depend on definition more or less arbitrary.

For ourselves we answer that French Revolution means here the open violent Rebellion, and Victory, of disimprisoned Anarchy against corrupt worn-out Authority: how Anarchy breaks prison; bursts up from the infinite Deep, and rages uncontrollable, immeasurable, enveloping a world; in phasis after phasis of fever-frenzy;—'till the frenzy burning itself out, and what elements of new Order it held ( since all Force holds such) developing themselves, the Uncontrollable be got, if not reimprisoned, yet harnessed, and its mad forces made to work towards their object as sane regulated ones. For as Hierarchies and Dynasties of all kinds, Theocracies, Aristocracies, Autocracies, Strumpetocracies, have ruled over the world; so it was appointed, in the decrees of Providence, that this same Victorious Anarchy, Jacobinism, Sansculottism, French Revolution, Horrors of French Revolution, or what else mortals name it, should have its turn. The 'destructive wrath' of Sansculottism: this is what we speak, having unhappily no voice for singing.

Surely a great Phenomenon: nay it is a transcendental one, overstepping all rules and experience; the crowning Phenomenon of our Modern Time. For here again, most unexpectedly, comes antique Fanaticism in new and newest vesture; miraculous, as all Fanaticism is. Call it the Fanaticism of 'making away with formulas, de humer les formulas.' The world of formulas, the formed regulated world, which all habitable world is,—must needs hate such Fanaticism like death; and be at deadly variance with it. The world of formulas must conquer it; or failing that, must die execrating it, anathematising it;—can nevertheless in nowise prevent its being and its having been. The Anathemas are there, and the miraculous Thing is there.

Whence it cometh? Whither it goeth? These are questions! When the age of Miracles lay faded into the distance as an incredible tradition, and even the age of Conventionalities was now old; and Man's Existence had for long generations rested on mere formulas which were grown hollow by course of time; and it seemed as if no Reality any longer existed but only Phantasms of realities, and God's Universe were the work of the Tailor and Upholsterer mainly, and men were buckram masks that went about becking and grimacing there,—on a sudden, the Earth yawns asunder, and amid Tartarean smoke, and glare of fierce brightness, rises SANSCULOTTISM, many-headed, fire-breathing, and asks: What think ye of me? Well may the buckram masks start together, terror-struck; 'into expressive well-concerted groups!' It is indeed, Friends, a most singular, most fatal thing. Let whosoever is but buckram and a phantasm look to it: ill verily may it fare with him; here methinks he cannot much longer be. Wo also to many a one who is not wholly buckram, but partially real and human! The age of Miracles has come back! 'Behold the World-Phoenix, in fire-consummation and fire-creation; wide are her fanning wings; loud is her death-melody, of battle-thunders and falling towns; skyward lashes the funeral flame, enveloping all things: it is the Death-Birth of a World!'

Whereby, however, as we often say, shall one unspeakable blessing seem attainable. This, namely: that Man and his Life rest no more on hollowness and a Lie, but on solidity and some kind of Truth. Welcome, the beggarliest truth, so it be one, in exchange for the royallest sham! Truth of any kind breeds ever new and better truth; thus hard granite rock will crumble down into soil, under the blessed skyey influences; and cover itself with verdure, with fruitage and umbrage. But as for Falsehood, which in like contrary manner, grows ever falser,—what can it, or what should it do but decease, being ripe; decompose itself, gently or even violently, and return to the Father of it,—too probably in flames of fire?

Sansculottism will burn much; but what is incombustible it will not burn. Fear not Sansculottism; recognise it for what it is, the portentous, inevitable end of much, the miraculous beginning of much. One other thing thou mayest understand of it: that it too came from God; for has it not been? From of old, as it is written, are His goings forth; in the great Deep of things; fearful and wonderful now as in the beginning: in the whirlwind also He speaks! and the wrath of men is made to praise Him.—But to gauge and measure this immeasurable Thing, and what is called account for it, and reduce it to a dead logic-formula, attempt not! Much less shalt thou shriek thyself hoarse, cursing it; for that, to all needful lengths, has been already done. As an actually existing Son of Time, look, with unspeakable manifold interest, oftenest in silence, at what the Time did bring: therewith edify, instruct, nourish thyself, or were it but to amuse and gratify thyself, as it is given thee.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why, It's A NATIONAL HOLIDAY In Pennsylvania!

Morning Weigh-in: 166.5#, 8% BF
The long weekend is over, now it's time for back-to-work. I noticed that the roads were a little less busy this morning, and then I remembered that today is opening day for rifle season. Not a good idea to go into the woods, except on Sundays, for the next two weeks.
Return of the Grievous Angel: I'm a hurting puppy today; yesterday's ride -- on top of everything else -- took more out of me than I realized. We rode at a fairly good pace, and since I could keep Joe in my sights most of the time I hammered extra-hard to keep up.
This is the time of the year that his asthma holds him back, and I make the annual mistake of thinking "wow I'm better than I thought," until his lungs thaw out and my bubble gets re-burst in springtime, but I do think I was riding a lot better than usual yesterday, noticeably so, and so it was very gratifying that Joe noticed and complimented me on my weight/riding. Got a couple of compliments from others on Thursday's ride too, so I'm pretty stoked, and also pretty motivated to continue doing the right things.
Interesting conversation on the drive home yesterday: Joe went back to school recently, and we noticed the parallels between his school decision and experiences, and my own with the training. Knowing the right thing to do for a while, then suddenly the time just came to do it... also, how much harder it turned out to be than expected.
The next level in my program is coming, and it means giving up a few things that I like, such as the pub scene, and it also means becoming a bit of an asshole about the training and the cutting back on the nightlife. Just warning y'all ahead of time...
Tonight is yoga, then Thanksgiving leftovers.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Standard "Weekend Update" Post

Friday night I saw Brujos at Which Brew, also drank some beer and ate some cake for T's 50th birthday party. Late night, but not too late because I had big plans...

Saturday: It's rare that I seize a day as thoroughly as I did this one. Yoga in the early morning, then breakfast at Coffee Exchange (saw some bikers getting ready to ride Sals, basked in a little "thank you Mr. Trailbuilder" adulation), hit the gym for a monster workout, then went and rode Jacobsburg with Larry and Pete. Which Brew again to catch Trouble City All Stars, and finished the night at a friend's backyard bon-voyage bonfire for his girlfriend, who is relocating to Colorado. Walked there, arrived after midnight, got home at 4:00 AM -- didn't think I still had it in me to do that.

Sunday morning I got a call from Joe G: he was doing homework right then, but wanted to ride at Deer Park (aka Allamuchy South) in the afternoon. We got there at around 2:00, rode until almost dark -- we were out for about three hours, but our actual ride time was maybe 1:45, and we rode about 18 miles. A pretty good ride actually, especially for something out of the blue like that. Some new stuff over there too, or at least new to me, fun and technical.

Now I'm just kicking back, doing laundry.

Time To Say Goodbye

Mom And Dad
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Back home after the ride, had a couple of turkey sandwiches before getting ready for the trip home, I took a few pictures of my parents in their new house.

Something To Be Thankful For

Inside The Bunker
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
On Black Friday I rode at Huber Woods and Hartshorne Parks, which are just outside Red Bank NJ.

These are on the same spit of land as Atlantic Highlands, and some of Hartshorne used to be part of the New York Harbor defenses in WW2. The guns are long gone, but you can still see the bunkers (think Guns of Navarone), which were themselves protected by pillboxes and defensive works all through the woods -- if it ever did come to an invasion, there probably would have been a massive fight for this piece of land, and we would be reading about "The Battle of Atlantic Highlands" in the history books. So that's one more thing to be thankful for, that it never came to that, and these guns and defenses were never used...

Anyway, at one of the lower bunker complexes I found a way in, crawled through a hole in the fence and took some pictures.

A Righteous Bird

Turkey For Three
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Thanksgiving dinner was with my parents, at their new home in Jackson. This turkey is just one of the things we ate... and then my brother and his family came over and we had dessert, followed by Independence Day on the TV.

Turkey Ride

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
This is a shot of Eric B (and part of Joe C) on Thursday morning's pre-turkey ride at South Mountain. Just a really nice way to start the day, burn off some calories and a little guilt before the feast...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

FEAR Is A Weapon Of Mass Destuction

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 9.5% BF
Gym -- long, killer workout -- then Which Brew for dinner, and even though I had a nice ego stroking conversation with the owner at one point, there was a tense vibe in there last night, nothing I could put my finger on but unpleasant nonetheless. Went over to Porter's afterward, punched my mug club clock & got the previous taste out of my mouth... Tonight is yoga, and I was thinking of going back to WB tonight, but now maybe I might check out someplace else. Tomorrow morning (early) is a ride at Lehigh.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Looking Outward, Just A Little

Morning weigh-in: 166.5#, 8.5% BF
The Mystery Revealed: There are two kinds of people in this world -- those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. I'm one of those who do, or at least I like his familiar older stuff, and for us there's this interesting bit of trivia: "Sweet Caroline" was actually about Caroline Kennedy.
AAARGH! Wham! Wham! Wham! A righteous post by the Doghouse
Laying Some More On The Line: And here's a righteous post over at alicublog. Then again, some cluelessness is self-protective, and not all mysteries should be revealed at once...
Yoga last night, followed by chili & a bag o'salad; tonight is the gym.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Boring You In Real Time Since Whenever

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 9.5% BF
All caught up, nothing new happened since my last posts except getting on the scale... hmmm, what to say, what to say... Still snowing, ride in was interesting. Working late tonight, then going to yoga. After that is leftover chili, more laundry and a little grocery shopping -- I'm still playing catch-up from missing my Saturday "selfish day."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What I Did Today

The Whole Sick Crew
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Today was trailwork at Sals, and since the weather was less than optimum we had a huge turnout...

I had breakfast at the Coffee Exchange (my usual coffee place in Easton), and overheard two guys and the owner talking about "mountain biking behind St Lukes." I had to interject, said I helped build those trails and was heading down to work on them after breakfast, and these guys raved about how much they liked the trail system there. I left the coffee shop walking about three inches off the ground.

Good day of trailwork, mostly heavy, slow going (ie moving dirt) but we got things done. Lunch was JP McGradys. I'd brought my bike but no one else did, so after lunch I just went home, did laundry and took a nap.

What I Did Saturday

Sandy: More Cooking
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
A scene from later in the evening, at Beth & Kevin's "13th Annual Chili Ride And Contest." We rode at Allamuchy, then went back to their place for the party and contest. This girl wins almost every year -- my chili was a bit experimental this time; I didn't expect it to win, and things worked out pretty much as I expected...

By the way, the girl in the green jacket is Laurie G, haven't seen her in years. She and her husband Bill used to do a lot of adventure races, then maybe 8-10 years ago they were rappelling off cliffs near the Water Gap when a rock broke free and fell, crushing her arm. She very nearly bled to death -- Bill climbed up the rope, got her & climbed down, carried her to I-80 & flagged down a car, and rushed her to a hospital. (Basically he saved her life by being Superman.) She spent several months with the arm sewn inside her abdomen while all the nerves & veins healed, had many operations but they saved the arm. There was actually a TV movie made about their story... Anyway, I guess that kind of slowed them down a bit, they now have two kids.

By the way, I have more photos from the party here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Well That Didn't Last Long

Colossus took a whuppin' in that cryptography challenge, as the code was broken (in about 45 seconds) by some guy in Germany. So remember kids:
#!/bin/perl -sp0777i<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0<j]dsj
$/=unpack('H*',$_);$_=`echo 16dio\U$k"SK$/SM$n\EsN0p[lN*1
Because when cryptography is outlawed, only outlaws will xcraso buvflp tryhz kmmiqw. Or something like that...


Ghostwriter In The Sky

Morning weigh-in: 167.5#, 7.5% BF
Gym, chili prep, then Which Brew for dinner, followed by a visit to Porters. A bit of a late night actually...
More Starrrrrr-Gazing: Uh-oh, I wonder what the Zookeeper has to say about this ?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Colossus Redux

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 10.5% BF (Wow those were some heavy heavy tacos...)
Chain Gang meeting last night, and we have a new administration. My two terms as President are up, and I was voted in as club secretary  -- nominated myself, ran unopposed. I'm Prez through the end of the year, but the next meeting is January so I'm basically done! The meeting itself was very pleasant, beef taco dinner at Joe & Dawn's.
Tonight is the gym, after a late night here, then the start of my chili prep. I have to pick up some cheap-ass tequila on the way home, to marinade the meat -- I have beef chuck and pork butt for this recipe. (I also still need Coke and some chocolate, but that's not as exciting as tequila.)
Meanwhile, Out At Bletchley: Looks like they have Colossus Mark II up and running , and breaking WW2 codes once again, competing against amateur crypto buffs and their fancy-pants modern PC's. Anyone up for a challenge?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 9.5% BF
So, there was an earthquake in Chile just a few minutes ago, and yesterday was the anniversary of the destruction of the town of Armero... By the way, if the Yellowstone supercaldera blows (and it is bulging rather ominously), there will be nothing left of North America.
Good gym workout yesterday, then I hit Which Brew for a bowl of chili before shopping for my own chili ingredients. Tonight is the Chain Gang meeting, pretty much the last one of my administration, and tomorrow I make chili for the weekend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heartsong Consumer Galvanic Reaction

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 10.5% BF
Advent, or A Silent Extinction Beyond The Zero: I noticed the other day that Christmas decorations were going up downtown, though there weren't any on Sand Island Friday night (all lights were off down there). I really like that city/town feel in winter, and especially that Christmas excitement, but then again I usually avoid the malls and places like that, see no TV advertisements, don't listen to the bullshit radio stations etc... The standard joke is that Xmas Season starts the day after Columbus Day, but there's more than a grain of truth in there. The less people care about the hype, the more desperate and strident the hype becomes, chasing a response that has long since faded away. Transmarginal, ultraparadoxical, it's like beating a dead horse, or maybe just shocking the frog's legs for one last twitch... Anyway, and maybe it's my own conditioning, I still like the Christmas lights.
Reloaded: Yeah I guess everything's beginning to look like Gravity's Rainbow, again.
RIP Norman Mailer: Take it away, Roy.
Yoga last night, and tonight is the gym (after working late here). I need to make my entry for Saturday's chili contest, so tonight is shopping.
"Our hearts were singing, it felt like Christmas Time." -- The Pretenders

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend Update: Stupid Singing Swans

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 10% BF
"I said, 'Kiss me you're beautiful -- these are truly the last days.'
You grabbed my hand and we fell into it, like a daydream, or a fever..."
-- Godspeed You Black Emperor
Another great weekend. I keep thinking "this is it, the swan song for the summer/partytime/whatever, better make the most of it." So, I do make the most of it, and the very next weekend it's yet one more last chance, this is it, better make the most of it...
Friday: Towpath ride, followed by dinner at Which Brew. It was a mite cold out, and just a little breezy so I broke out my new jacket as well as the winter-weight gloves and tights. Verdict? The ride felt great: the ground was frozen so things felt fast, and though I wasn't actually going very fast I was pumping enough calories that the cold breeze felt refreshing. It was really a pleasant ride, totally a boost to the old mental health, and I think it set the tone for the whole weekend.
The band that was playing at Which Brew is called Wrong, and is part of that younger Bethlehem crowd -- WB bartender Andrea's boyfriend Steve plays drums, and Johnny (ex-bartender Tara's boyfriend, and the drummer for the Insidious Rays)  was playing sax Friday. I've seen them before and knew they rocked out, but Friday's show really grabbed me for some reason. I was totally enjoying myself, and you could tell they were having fun with it too. It must have been kind of a generation gap thing though, since Gary and Perry, both about 10 years older than me -- well, they both hated it.
Despite all that, it was an early night.
Saturday was early morning yoga, then errands, then breakfast at the coffee shop, then the gym with Dawn. Home, chores, laundry, bike prep, and I was out the door for the First Annual Allentown Brew Fest. I think this is basically the same brew fest that used to be in Easton, which was great at the State Theater two years ago but horrible & crowded last year in that tent along the river. Allentown Brew Works has enough room that they dedicated medium-sized banquet halls on two floors to the event. It was agreeably crowded, plenty of buzz and activity but also a little elbow room if you needed it. I went with Joe G and Sue, and we had dinner afterward at O'Malley's -- Sue was the manager there in a previous life, and still maintained some connections.
Bedtime after that: I was a bit tired, and that show at Zoellner was not going to happen even if Eric had the date correct...
Sunday: I'd say I consider this day seized, maybe even throttled. Leisurely wakeup, a little surfing before I rode downtown for breakfast, then I rode the towpath to Sals. I ran into Pete H and we bopped around on the trails for a few hours, running into Doug & Lori hiking (their weekend was not going as well as mine, I guess they just had to get out of the house for a bit), then heading back.
Home, shower, haircut, then out to Porters for dinner as the laundry dried -- I'm working on another mug over there, and I wanted to catch at least part of some game, but the TV was off, and in the end I was happier that way. As per usual though, the nuts rolled my way -- one nut anyway, but that was enough. It was that wingnut guy, Colonel (yes that's really his name). I kept it friendly, kept up the verbal judo until he started talking politics... luckily, the girls from across the street were there, and I made my escape by going over to say hi, then I took off.
Yoga tonight, active rest. By the way, the photos from last weekend are posted, check them out.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Celebrity Bear Stories

Morning weigh-in: 168.5#, 6.5% BF (uh oh)
I sent this news article to my friend Dawn to pass on to her sister Heather, who is a bear control officer in New Jersey. Heather sent me back an email: yup, she was involved, and was one of the ones investigating this. She was a little irate at the "lookit the cute bears" tone of the article, thinks that kind of attitude will eventually get someone hurt -- and she's right.
Anyway, the VMB meeting at Allentown Brew Works was pretty nice last night. To cap it off, I bought a pair of skis off one of my friends, picked them up after the meeting. Rudy and I went back inside after that, had a beer with Matt who showed up after he got out of class. Like I said, the place is pretty nice -- not as nice as good old Which Brew, and definitely too far away for regular visits, but hey, they are smoke-free... I'll be back there with Joe and Sue tomorrow for the Brew Fest.
Tonight is Wrong at Which Brew, after a towpath ride. Early night, since I have a lot to do tomorrow, starting with 8:00 AM yoga and finishing with an 8:00 PM show at Zoellner.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Logo-Pepto Bismal

Morning weigh-in: 166.5#, I forget the percentage
Passing through, not much to say. My logorrhea seems to be drying up...
Tonight is VMB meeting at Allentown Brew Works, where I may end up buying skis from a fellow member. (I'd still have to get boots though, and they'll probably need to be custom. Must investigate.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Name Of The New Rose: How Can I Resist?

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 9.5% BF
Worked late, then hit the gym: full workout except that I skipped the final ab stuff (it was getting late). Dinner was a plate of black beans and a bag o'salad. Tonight is yoga. Not sure what dinner will be, but probably a turkey sub of some kind -- I'm here late again, the money is too good. I'll be buying new skis/boots for this winter, ditto new XC skis.
One More For The Wishlist: I saw this the other day, Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail, and thought "this must be a joke, right?" Nope, it's actually a non-fiction buddy/travel/mystery story about a dude whose neighbor, once the drummer for The Damned and now all into that DaVinci Code stuff, drags him along on his quest. Looks very good, in that British, A Walk In The Woods kind of way.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Just An Experiment

Trying something, uploading a photo from an email post. This is a shot of me on Saturday's ride, taken by my friend "Allamuchy Joe." If this doesn't work out I'll fix the post tonight.

UPDATE: It worked (sort of, except for formating) at first, but then crapped out later -- stupid yahoo images! This ought to do it.

Waving Scallions Gradually Laughing Into Seahorses

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 11.5% BF (Stupid cheeseburger...)
Yoga last night, different kind of class, since we did a lot things with chairs as props. The teacher also announced that she was pregnant, which I'd sort of suspected for a while, but I sure wasn't going to ask -- as the old joke goes, what if you're wrong?
After that was Mug Club Night at Which Brew, hanging with Brian. He's been kind of scarce lately, and a bit pissy when he was around, but last night I was able to remember how good a friend he is -- he lent a sympathetic ear as I did a little venting.
Cloudy night, no stargazing, after WB I went home. Brian said he's been watching this event thru the telescope all week, and it's been pretty cool, though not nearly as cool as back when Hale-Bopp came by.
Tonight will be the gym, after another late night here. By the way, we now have coyotes here, or rather "coyotes," as they're actually super-realistic statues, meant to keep geese out of the pond.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Remember, Remember

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 10.5% BF (not great, but not bad for weekend damage control)
Happy Guy Fawkes Day! -- though they say the Gunpowder Plot imploded on Nov 5 in the Julian Calendar, so the actual anniversary would be a little later. Go blow something up anyway, or build a bonfire, or whatever it is you do...
Working late tonight, then "active rest" with a beginner yoga class, followed by the Mug Club dinner. Finally, I'll just kick back and  astronomize
Meantime, this is pretty funny. Mmm, I reckon... (Even better !)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We Like Birdland

Great weekend, but now I'm afraid to get on teh scale...

Friday night was Karen singing with Philly Funk Authority. A different context and a totally different view of her: you know someone for years and you suddenly see a side of them you never even suspected. By the way, she was great -- she mostly did backup, but was the main singer for a few songs. The place (Stanhope House) was cool too, I'd definitely go back there.

I crashed that night at Joe and Dawn's, and in the morning we hit Allamuchy for Joe's "40th Birthday ride." There were probably 17 people on the ride, including Bob & Karen on a tandem, and Doug & Lori on one as well. Good riding, but short for the amount of time we were out -- not everyone there was a rocket, but we had fun. Birthday party afterward back at their place, but I only stayed for a bit, had to do the Brew Ha Ha.

That party was another blast. Kathleen and Lisa (some of my sisters in the PPRAC brotherhood) live in the Poconos, and have this party every year but I could never go before now. Everyone had to bring a different beer, something in one of four categories; there were about six beers (or ciders) in each category on average, for about 24 beers total. Even just taking small "sampler" sips, everyone was pretty loopy by the end. Plenty of great peeps I didn't know but there was also Joe & Cindy, Greg & Judy, and Eric & Kris. Plenty of appetizers and other food, great fun, prizes (I didn't win anything) and most of us stayed over.

I left this morning after watching "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." Got home, did what I called a "hangover ride" even though I actually felt fine, towpath/sals at a nice easy pace.

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: Actually, yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the death of Wilhelm Reich, pioneering psychoanalyst and inventor of the Orgone Box. One of my favorite songs is a semi-spoken-word thing by Patti Smith called "Birdland," which is based on a memoir of Reich written by his son, who was a teenager at the time of his father's death -- in it he slowly comes to grips with all the crazy things his father told him as he drifted into eccentricity, which naturally the young boy believed absolutely. Anyway, the book is now on my wish list...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hey Hey Sparky Everyman

Morning weigh-in: 166.5#, 4.5% BF (dehydration?)
"The best part of the emergence of blogs is when you can match up John Updike with Roy Edroso and they play to a tie. Both brilliant." -- Tbogg
I guess I wasn't the only one to notice, Alicublog does rock... I checked out that John Updike thing by the way, a review of the new Charles Schulz biography. That was brilliant, and now I might have to get that book.
The Money Pit: Anyway, wrenching last night, put on the new handlebar and also new tires. The WeirWolfs just don't look as aggressive as my (apparently now defunct) all-time favorites, the MotoRaptors, but some friends swear by them. We'll see tonight on the shakedown cruise, and tomorrow at Allamuchy, and so on, and so on. (Actually, I think they sent me the wrong ones -- the downhill rather than race version.) Well, if I don't like it I'll just get another one... Meantime, I think I'm going to need a new front derailleur real soon.
Oedipus With a Twist: Hit Which Brew for dinner last night while the laundry dried, hanging for a bit with the bartender and her (relatively new) boyfriend, who has a young, say toddler age, son; I'm guessing he has partial custody from the general drift of the conversation. At one point she said something along the lines of "he hates me." Well, I would run with with "just feels threatened," but that still must be a tough situation.
Tonight is Philly Funk Authority, tomorrow is the Allamuchy birthday ride, and tomorrow night is the Brew Ha Ha -- and I cannot find the beer I want to bring.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ima Think Out Loud Here

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 10% BF
Yoga last night, felt kind of inept, not quite the "be here now" that I would have liked. Oh well, always start with where you are and move forward... Dinner afterward was pasta & tuna with wilted greens. Haven't made that in a while. Tasty, I made it super-extra-garlicky, and I have enough left over for dinner Friday, which may or may not be a good thing:
My friend Karen (better half of "Bob & Karen") is a singer, mostly studio work and wedding bands. I've heard some session tapes, and one time on vacation she banged out some tunes on an old honky-tonk piano (at the only saloon in Downieville, California: locals were tipping her with gold nuggets), but in the fourteen years I've known her I have never seen her perform for real. That will change Saturday, because she's singing with the Philadelphia Funk Authority at the Stanhope House, and a bunch of us are going to check it out. I'll be crashing at Joe & Dawn's new place, which is nearby and also right up the road from Tranquility Farm, because we're doing a 40th birthday ride out of Tranquility for Joe on Saturday morning. (My bike parts arrived yesterday, and I'm blowing off the gym to slap them on tonight.)
I can usually get away with a bit of garlic on the breath -- with a little help from gum, or hoppy beer, or whatever -- at Which Brew, since garlic is pretty popular there, and I'm normally not the only offender by a long shot. Friday night's crew will be a bit on the conservative side though, not quite white-bread-and-mayo, but close enough that my food choices will make it harder to blend in.
Saturday night I'm going to Kathleen & Lisa's "Brew-Ha-Ha" beer tasting. I'll be bringing the Weyerbacher Winter Ale if I can get it, otherwise it'll be Autumn Fest. Probably stop at WB tonight, grab dinner and pick up a six pack of whichever one they have. My routine is gone: I am back into the rocks, water will flow disturbed for a few days or a few weeks more.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Errata Stigmata, Yadda Yadda

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 7.5% BF
Car: Finally it was finished, and I picked it up around 1:00; I was at work by 2:00. Worked late to make up for some of it.
Bodywork: Hit the gym on the way home, did my long workout. Cruised through it, like a hot knife through butter, even added some stuff.
Loose Ends: Took care of laundry, and stopped in at Which Brew for dinner. I was under the impression that I might have left without paying on Saturday, thought I'd better take care of that ASAP. Felt some trepidation, didn't know what kind of reception I'd get, but everything was cool, probably would have been cool regardless but in fact I had paid -- good! I can still walk in there with my head held high... I think I'll be cutting back on the nightlife anyway though, since it doesn't fit in with my other plans, and I've had my party.
Pass The Popcorn, part 2547: We-heh-hell, another one bites the dust... I saw something once that compared "the closet" with "the patriarchy," the same self-loathing, denial, the same enforcement of its norms even by its victims. Granted, the only gay people I know -- that I know are gay -- are of necessity out of the closet, but they seem like nice, grounded, ordinary people, maybe even a little boring at times. (Also granted, I know them as people, not as some bizarre Other.) These guys however -- the current Republican Freakshow crowd --  seem driven and tormented by personal demons, too bad we all have to suffer along with them.
Roy On The Arts: Yet another great post. It's funny, speaking of "new cartoon paradigms," I first heard about Achewood from Alicublog.
Parting Shot: One from the Doghouse.
Tonight is yoga, though that means I'll be missing Trick Or Treat. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 11% BF

At home right now, just got back from my 2nd trip to the garage (they're just around the block from me). I thought I'd be able to pick my car up first thing this morning, but nothing seems to be happening...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Got A Car I Got, Car Trouble

Morning weigh-in: 169#, 9.5% BF (whoops! good weekend I guess)

Rode the Giant in to work today; the car is in the shop. I'm guessing that the battery got run down a little bit, since apparently I didn't shut the door totally when I got home Saturday night -- the door is a bit tricky since the car got hit last year. I saw the door somewhat ajar on Sunday morning, and then the car wouldn't start, so I figured that the interior light must have been on and drained the battery. I walked downtown for breakfast -- my original plan, except for the "walk" part -- and on the way I stopped in at the garage, asked the guy to give me a jump, and then decided I wanted an oil change, also new belts and hoses, and my wish list kind of snowballed from there. They picked up the car in the afternoon, and I figure I'll be car-free for a few days.

Bike Trouble: The commuting actually fits in with my current agenda, I can call this the start of "Phase 1." It was supposed to start Friday night but...

There's a saying, "I've forgotten more about [area of expertise] than you'll ever know;" it seems that I'm in that boat right now with cycling. It was raining Friday but hey no problem, I've got the gear so I went to do the towpath. It was coming down pretty hard, and my glasses were wet and all fogged up... anyway, the towpath is wide, and flat, and easy to stay on even with limited visibility, but every so often they have anti-vehicle poles to keep cars off, and I rode right into one, at speed. Didn't flinch, never even saw it until -- WHAM!

I was rattled but stayed upright, and I thought I was none the worse for wear until I noticed that I'd broken my handlebar. I finished out a very abbreviated ride after that, but was still suffering from visibility issues the whole rest of the way. I used to have a whole set of infrastructure for dealing with this, anti-fog products etc, but don't have any right now, and went out unprepared and not even thinking about the issue. I guess there will be many moments like that in the next few weeks, where I realize once again why I used to roll this way and not that.

After that was dinner at Which Brew, then over to Porters where I discovered that the nuts still all roll towards me -- I swear, they must smell that I'm an easy victim or something. Some woman buttonholed me at the bar, and over the music (Post Junction, or why I wanted to be there in the first place) I learned that:

1. Her dog can kill me!
2. Her husband is hooked on crack, that's why they live in Easton now.
3. None of my friends would rescue me.

I left right after that, didn't feel like waiting around for the UFO-abduction stories to start...

Saturday was the gym, then the Which Brew Halloween Party, which was lovely -- I think it was their best party ever. By the way, you can see my pictures here . Sunday was the car, and breakfast, and then I just worked on the bikes, and played with the computer (uploading pictures, buying bike parts) until bedtime. And now it's Monday!

UPDATE: Edited for clarity.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another Late Night

No morning weigh-in: overslept, forgot, dammit don't get complacent...
Good upper-body workout last night at the gym. Didn't do legs, and hit the core and upper body with non-standard exercises; weights were high but not ridiculous. I felt good. (Before the gym I did some Halloween shopping, looking in vain for some necessary accessories for my costume -- I'm not getting a good feeling about this.)
After that I hit Which Brew for dinner, where I got into a few really good conversations. I was talking bikes with Gary early on, and then it turns out that the girl sitting next to him knows Lars Tribus -- small world, though he does live somewhere in NJ, like near Holland Twp or something.
Later in the evening some of us let our geek flags fly: talking with two guys (Ed's roommate Mike, and a buddy of his wearing a GNU teeshirt), turns out they do network stuff for Lafayette College, working on some major project, and they are big into Open Source. Some dude on the other side of the room joined in, and poor Ed got stuck in the middle...
The girls were cool, letting us hang out & BS for a while after last call while they cleaned up. Since last call there is 11:00, it was once again a late-but-not-too-late evening, at least not until I got home. Some thought struck me, and I wanted to look up something or other... computer, internet, Google, Wikipedia, saw a whole bunch of other shiny things to go ADD over and completely forgot what I was originally looking for. Ended up at like 1:45 AM reading the Anabasis online.