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!