Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Year's Photos

Appalachian Trail
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Just posted the photos from my hike on New Year's Day, as well as a few from the last Sals trailwork day of 2007. Go check 'em out, yo.

An Army Of Lovers Can Be Beaten

So here I am, finishing off another pot roast, with a little bit of Ray's Rad Chilies to help it go down...

Read any good books lately? Like I said, I have Gravity's Rainbow as my bathroom reader, on top of five other new books I'm working my way through. Thus it was bound to come to pass that I get one more book today in the mail: Male Fantasies -- it's not what you think, but rather a psychological analysis of Freikorps literature (published stuff, cartoons, letters, diaries, etc) -- from my Amazon wishlist. Thanks and Merry Christmas, Kevin & Amy!

That one's going in the kitchen but for now it's on the counter, to be read while I stand -- the place of honor (i.e. on the table) still goes to Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail, which is almost done. The mathematical biology books are in the bedroom next to the computer, and the other Christmas gifts are in the living room.

(By the way, the title of this post is a quote from Gravity's Rainbow, a slogan that appears as graffiti in the reveries of one Leni Pökler, after she leaves her rocket-scientist husband and seeks refuge among her revolutionary comrades, in Inflation-era Germany. I thought it was appropriate -- like this -- given the nature of my new acquisition.)

Last night's towpath ride was a bit slow and difficult (sort of like the one on New Year's Eve), so today I blew off all exercise and in fact slept in until almost 11:00. I plan to stay in tonight and read (natch) unless Brian calls me back -- we had tentative plans to go skiing tonight, but I have not heard from him.

UPDATE: He just called, we're not going. Besides, it's raining.

UPDATE #2: Check this out. That "code pink" ad is basically straight out of my new book...

Friday, January 04, 2008

More Goodbyes

Rest in peace, Andy.


Morning weigh-in: 166#, 9.5% BF
One thing I really like about the higher metabolism and lower body fat, is that I no longer feel cold the same way -- I'm back to just leaving a coat in the car for emergencies (and of course dressing appropriately when playing outside, but that's usually less clothes than you think anyway), feeling invigorated by the wind rather than chilled to the bone...
Huck 08! So the Iowa caucuses have come and gone. I'd feel OK voting for any of the big three Dem candidates, so I'm not as interested in Obama's win as in Huckabee's, and the turmoil it's causing in the Republican establishment. Meantime, here's another view with an interesting, if sad, look at his base .
Lifted last night, alterna-workout, then there was the crock-pot-and-reading fest, as already documented -- I am also working through that Matrix Population Models book, by the way. Tonight is the towpath, then Firkin Friday (cask-conditioned Raspberry Imperial Stout) at Which Brew. The group trip to Amsterdam should be back by now, so Larry P should have some good stories to tell.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Whip, Sangraal, And The Lake Of Piety

At one of the Christmas parties last week, two guys gave the hostess a gag gift (consisting of a negligee and a riding crop), then told the following story: they were out, with kids in strollers, to get her some gift, and they were at a loss for gift ideas so one called his wife at work. She replied that she was busy and "just get her something slutty."

So, off they went to an adult novelty store at the mall, where one guy -- big, heavyset, large beard and shaved head -- waited outside with the strollers while the other went inside. He asked the clerk for something slinky in a certain size, "for a friend," and she kept looking dubiously at the big dude outside with the strollers, and trying to steer him toward the larger outfits...

There was much juvenile snickering of an adult nature, and later the talk turned to merkins. Now, I knew what a "merkin" was (you'll have to look it up yourself) from Gravity's Rainbow, but not everyone there was as well-read, so the discussion got interesting once again -- but I now believe I'm also the only one in that crowd to see Dr Strangelove. Anyway, just for laughs I looked up "merkin" in Wikipedia the other day, and found this quote from Lolita:

"Although I told myself I was looking merely for a soothing presence, a glorified pot-au-feu, an animated merkin, what really attracted me to Valeria was the imitation she gave of a little girl."

So then I had to look up "pot-au-feu," and found -- that's what I've been eating for dinner these past few weeks! What I had for dinner tonight. Small world.

Anyway, the reading material at the dinner table is Rat Scabies And The Holy Grail, where our intrepid adventurers have just arrived home from a second trip to Rennes-le-Château. Not sure what they ate, but they are discussing the very real possibility that the whole set of Grail-shaped mysteries centered on the town could just be one very elaborate hoax, albeit one so large and complicated as to be a paranoid wonder in and of itself -- like, oh I don't know, maybe the Trystero...

That's what's in the kitchen; Gravity's Rainbow is my current bathroom reader. I happen to be doing some bathroom reading, not even going to bother explaining what's going on but all of a sudden there's a passage about the Grail. And the circle gets tighter...

Introvert Day?! Nobody Told Me...

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 10.5% BF
Well that explains my relief! Been there, done that.
Anyway, very good yoga class last night, followed by leftover pasta & tuna and some computer fun. Tonight is the gym, then some more pot roast plus laundry. I'll be skiing again this weekend, probably Saturday or Sunday night, so this cold snap is my friend -- but it would have been nice if the cold weather hit last week: they'll be blowing snow all night, and morning conditions will be primo. Things should still be good in the evening though.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back To Work

Morning weigh-in: 167.5#, 9% BF
Not much to say, I think I covered everything with the last few posts... Back here at work after two weeks off, and I fell right back into the groove without missing a beat -- but I'm working on a new and different project, so the groove is a bit amorphous, and it's easier to define whatever I'm in right now as "the groove."
Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf? The geese here have figured out that those coyote statues are fake, and have now taken over the lawn and lake out front.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I, Proteus

Well, here it is, 2008.

Rode last night down to Sand Island, but the island was closed off (probably for First Night, and for all I know that's where the fireworks were being launched too), so I couldn't really get into town without some backtracking. I wasn't interested in hanging around anyway -- it was kind of cold out, maybe 20 degrees -- so I just turned around. Hard slog, working the whole way out and back, and my time was about two hours. I was on my front porch at exactly midnight, when everyone came out their doors with noisemakers and fireworks.

Decided to go out after all, so I cleaned up and walked to Porters, where I hung with Mike, an ex-Genesis employee from way back. They had an unusual show going on: two DJ's, and apparently it was a record release party for them too. Pretty nice, and I did get a "real" New Year's after all.

Played with the computer this morning, then went for a hike at the Water Gap, on the AT starting from behind the Deer Head Inn. I got a bunch of pictures, so stay tuned. This afternoon was Judy's New Year's get-together. Nice people, most of whom I only know from other parties she's had but I did see Ann, Lee and Pete, so I felt at home. Older crowd, my age to about mid-50's I'd guess, more socially confident and the stories are better than the usual scene... Got my "good luck" pork and sauerkraut (a local "PA Dutch" tradition), plus lotsa cake and munchies... at home, dinner tonight was that pot roast, plus a salad.

Cha-cha-cha-changes: Was looking at my New Year's resolutions from last year. I'd have to say that #3 was a bit of a mixed bag, but all in all I think they were good ideas, and now that I'm finally seeing some results on #1 & #2 I think I'll just keep them all for this year as well -- with the added intention, of doing whatever it takes to take it all to the next level. I'm purposely leaving that a little loosely defined, we'll see where it goes...

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.