Friday, January 30, 2004

Kate pointed me to this toy. It gets stumped less than you'd think, and the more esoteric you get, the better it works.

Hornby talks about true Bob Dylan obsessives, and includes himself out, even though he says he probably has more Dylan in his collection than any other artist. I don't quite have as much Dylan as I do say, Monk, or Miles, but on the rock'n'roll shelves one could conclude that I am a Dylan fanatic-- and yet, I'm not. Like Hornby, I know Dylan fanatics-- they have ten disc bootleg collections, they follow him around like Deadheads, they bought the live album with the Dead. That ain't me, babe. No, no, no-- wait-- what I mean is, I don't do that. You want proof? Here's proof: I have no intention of buying "Live 1964" when it comes out in March. I figure I really don't need second (or in some instances third, or even fourth) versions of these songs, even if these versions were recorded at a historic concert that I never heard of. So there you have it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Five element cooktop, one with max 15,000 BTU
Tile cooktop backsplash
Double convection ovens
Warming drawer with moist/crisp option
Appliance garage
Impala Black granite countertops
Waste/recycle drawer
Curved island with 5 stool overhang
Additional cabinetry throughout
Recessed ceiling speakers

Saw the drawings this week. It’s like kitchen porn.

I'm thinking that I am just about where I want to be in terms of establishing a base-- I am going 3 miles a day, five days a week, pretty much, at 8 minute mile pace. On Saturdays I have supplemented this with a 20 minute swim.

What I want to do for February is pick up the pace a bit, while keeping the distance more or less constant-- ideally finish Black History Month working out somewhere between 7:30 and 7:45 minute miles, with my Saturday Blast consisting of a four mile run and a half hour in the pool. At that point I will have as much speed as I am likely to get, and I can start focusing on adding miles-- I don't figure on running outside much in February, and adding distance isn't realistic until I can do that. By the end of March, I want a couple of five milers a week-- and isn't that when we start going to the Ridge? Ideally I'll be down around 185 by then, still shaped like a seal, but a buff seal....

In the meanwhile, I'm going to have to get hooked up with some anti-inflamatories.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant should roast in hell for Stairway to Heaven, and I say that as the proud owner of Houses of The Holy, Presence and ZoZo (or whatever) on CD. After acquiring a Les Paul I was compelled to learn some Zep riffs - - The Ocean, Heartbreaker, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, etc. - - and they rule. Played hockey last night and based on my progress to date, it looks like I might score a goal in the next year or two. By the way the Toronto Marathon (course is mostly downhill, except for the end, gulp!) is October 17th, so if that's the one, we should back out the Higdon 18-week schedule from there. I'll defer to those who want to follow the Novice schedule.

This will take some getting used to.

Bill has been blogging for a couple years now, and moves seamlessly from topic to topic -- politics, food, music, running, what EGA is up to. I imagine a mindset eventually develops where writing it down is just part of the natural progression of thought. I, on the other hand, rarely give the voices in my head something to write with -- or anything sharp, for that matter; this will take some getting used to.

But we can't let Bill carry the load, fully capable of that task as he may be. So, I'll try to get into the rhythm a bit, and get some things out there. My fear now is that, when my thoughts are pixelized and available for constant review, I may discover just how boring I truly am.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I've never really been a Led Zep fan-- I have never owned a Led Zep side, in any format, for example--nothin'. Not so much as a used 8-Track of ""Physical Graffiti"". If the need to listen to Jimmy Paige ever arose, there were always plenty of copies of "Houses of the Holy" around-- no need for me to have one. Still, oddly, with advancing age comes an appreciation of Zep-- maybe they weren't Cream, but they were hardly Mountain either, and I am starting to realize that I may have been unfairly dismissive of a band that actually was pretty great. The song that has me fessing up to this is "Heartbreaker". Hornby included it on his list, so I dutifully burned it onto the CD I made of his picks, and now I can't get it out of my head. Hornby says:"[I]n fact, if I ever had to hum a blues-metal riff to a puzzled alien, I'd choose "Heartbreaker".... I'm not sure that me going 'DANG DANG DANG DA-DA DANG, DA-DA-DA-DA DANG DANG DA-DA DANG' would enlighten him especially, but I'd feel that I'd done as good a job as circumstances allowed."

To which I will add that as I was cooking over the weekend, listening to the CD, A. came in as "Heartbreaker" came on. "DANG DANG DA-DA DANG, DA-DA-DA-DA DANG DANG DA-DA DANG...". "Zeppelin!" she exclaimed. Married to someone for all those years, you think you know them. Or something.

I have to go to NYC on Feb 1 (11:25am flight) and will have to miss the Mr Ed's race. I've been running on the treadmill. playing hockey and lifting weights but I haven't been outside in weeks.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Going down the hill Friday night, I thought to myself, "This is great. Why don't I do this all the time?" Thinking about it, I realized that about 10% of skiing consists of moments when it is so perfect that you exist in a world of bliss. The rest of the time is consumed by finding your stuff, dealing with your stuff, being colder than you thought possible, standing in line, riding the chairlift, getting to the slopes, going home from the slopes-- all that, and it's expensive, too. Before I learned to ski, I didn't understand what people meant when they compared it to sex. The similarities are clearer to me now.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Reading the article in last week's NYTimes Magazine about sports doping I was once again struck by the cognitive dissonance this topic creates for me. Ben Johnson was a big cheater, and a despicable person, but it is hard to say how what he did is all that different from a big old cup of Starbucks before a 5k. "Against the rules" is the answer that springs to mind, and I suppose that's true, but it seems to me that you would have to say that the offense of doping is malum prohibitum, not malum in se. Maybe I'm rationalizing (okay, I am rationalizing), but one of the things that I did last season to stay healthy was to lightly dose myself with the anti-inflammatory meds I had left over from the summer before that. It worked, but I have no idea if my urine would have passed muster with USATF. Come to think of it, it probably wouldn't today, either.

I'm not sure where this fits in with my Pete Rose problem.

I'm in, baby.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The KRAC Chef is hard at work. I'm taking a couple classes at Patina in EA this week and next. I have learned a lot of things in the past from Ray Flor, the Executive Chef there; his spice mixtures in particular are staples in our house. I'm thinking the 3rd Annual KRAC Banquet will take place as soon after the marathon as we are back on solid foods; Ray's Thai Crab Cakes appeared on the 1st Annual's menu -- perhaps one of his dishes will surface again this fall.

And I'm thinking seriously of expanding our kitchen. A bad stove started the thought process, and it took off giddily, and expensively, from there. I'll know this Saturday what the estimate will be. It ain't gonna be pretty.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

When I was a schoolboy, indoor meets at the Armory were as close as I ever got to running where the elites ran. The Garden was never going to happen for me, but Marty Liquori had run at the Armory, and Craig Masback, and a lot of guys that were seniors when I was a freshman. I didn't get to go when I was a freshman-- my school only brought the runners they were looking to showcase-- but by my sophomore year I was going pretty much every Saturday, on the Long Island Rail Road, then the A train with the other guys on the team, in our red St. John the Baptist warm-ups, bunch of Long Island white boys walking around wide-eyed on 168th Street. The track was flat, and splintery-- with a raised wooden inner border, like an embroidery hoop. Races at the Armory-- I usually ran the 1000, sometimes the mile-- were marked by their physical quality. You had to be prepared to shove, and elbow, and someone always fell, ending up with long splinters from the track as a souvenir. Your team sat in the balcony above the track, and as the pack ran by, they'd pound on the metal balcony wall, and stamp their feet. The noise was incredible when you were running, and the vibration when you were up there was always enough to make you wonder if the structure could stand it. The place had the sort of over-heated quality that buildings in the City all seemed to possess back then--steam radiators that almost glowed. It was always cold out when we went to the Armory, so we found ourselves going from one temperature extreme to another.

Oddly enough, although I recall several of my races there pretty vividly, what I really remember about the Armory was that after we ran we'd go out to a pizza joint around the corner for meatball heros. As I sit writing today, I remember those heros-- I'm not sure if I could find the place today, and I know if I did it would be a hole in the wall with nothing that I would consider even picking up with my hands, let alone eating, but back then, man, those sandwiches were like nothing we could get back home in the 'burbs, and I knew that the City was going to be my destiny.

Now that the Track and Field Hall of Fame is going to be at the Armory, I know I'll probably go back. For the most part I try to avoid exercises in nostalgia, but this is one I think I'll allow myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Coming late to the sport as I did, I have always associated skiing with certain unwholesome activities. I had not quite realized this until I got on the chair for my second run of the night and suddenly found that I was really craving a cigarette. Man, I'd forgotten how nice that chairlift smoke used to be, but I shook it off. We were in serious single digits last night, and a little something on the hip would have been nice too, but it is a high school ski bus, and even I realized that whisky breath would be regarded as inappropriate.

It was funny too how whatever skills I had returned to me. They came in increments, little things, so that on my first run it was almost like I'd never skied, and on the second I remembered how to use the hill, and on the third I remembered how to use my edges, and on the fourth I was able to start shifting my weight effectively. I took it easy, and I should have taken a lesson, but by the end of the night I felt like I more or less had it back. There shouldn't be a slope on that mountain that I can't ski, but I think I'll have to take it in stages.

The other thing I discovered is that I have no quads. I can't think where they could have got to, but they aren't on my legs, for sure. I hate that, because it means I'm going to have to do squats, and I hate squats.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Had a decent week, actually -- Arena at lunchtime once and treadmill two mornings. I'll be going to Fleet Feet in a week or so to replace my Saucony with the same model -- these have felt very good. I think they're called Trigon.

I have had one of those weeks where the gym was just a dream. Skiing tonight, and catch-up over the weekend, I guess.

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