Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Blind Man

Does it strike anyone else as odd that a blind man would get onto BART, call 911 and report a suspicious package at the previous BART station?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Middlesex and Beyond

Due to a couple of 15 hour travel days, I had more reading time than usual and I finished Middlesex. I give it a thumbs up. Superb writing. Engaging story. I was happy to step out of my usual mix of history, science, and other non-fiction. Very good summer read.

Next up, The House of Morgan. A specific history about the rise of J.P. Morgan the institution and more importantly, a history of modern finance. I've read two other Chernow books, Alexander Hamilton and Titan and loved them both. Chernow has a very easy to read writing style and his detail is to the nth degree. After I read Alexander Hamilton, I always felt a little bit differently about walking past his tombstone at Trinity Church on my way to school.

Sick of the Tampon?

First of all, it's not a tampon. It's an ultradense foam roller. It has healed me. Don't make me choose between the two of you. Second of all, I've been more than a little busy. 15 hour travel days, insane people with insane requests, and of course trying to escape this awful heat. 113? That's simply wrong. We left Arizona for many reasons. Number 6 on the list was escaping the awful heat. Our neighbors are blaming us. That's ok, they're all pretty dull anyway.

So today's post. I won't bore you with my 16 mile run in triple digits. Nor will I comment on any of the movies I've seen lately. What I will write about is the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Because as most of you know, boardwalks are where the entertainment is. Deep fried twinkies, check. Centrifuge-like rides, check. Young girl who looks half drunk puking two feet from my feet, check. Swimsuits that are much, much too small in a very bad way, check. Pretty much the only thing that prevented the SC boardwalk from being Coney Island was the complete lack of freaks. I however refused to let the lack of freakiness deter my ability to be amused. I am a ghost faced killa, but c'mon, it was a Saturday at the beach.

I will now share my two favorite boardwalk events (and yes, I've reverted to the writing style that one of my International Relations political science professors dubbed, "The Most Boring Writing Style I've Ever Read". I blame my reversion on the enormous length of time I've spent on Excel over the past two weeks.). I will not use this space to comment on the heavenly reception we received at Vasili's post-boardwalk. I don't want to sully that experience with boardwalk dirtiness. Event #1: Parking at the boardwalk.

This event would be much more amusing with either a picture or a personal demonstration. The wait to park was a little long. As cars approached the $10 a day parking lot (Liz and I gave each other high fives that it wasn't $10 an hour.), three lanes of traffic were merging into one lane to enter the lot. As we were merging, a minivan next to us began honking like mad and pulled up next to our door. What we then witnessed was beyond amusing. Again, a picture or a demonstration would be worth so much more than this paragraph. A man with three teeth and a woman with purple hair were both screaming at the top of their lungs at us. The woman was especially amusing as she was also jumping in her seat and pointing at us. Instinctively, I knew what to do to infuriate them further. I simply pointed at them and began laughing. It was then that I saw her begin to foam at the mouth, at which point, I threw back my head and laughed even more. Unfortunately, once we got into the parking lot, we couldn't find them. We would have had the camera ready.

Event #2: Dance Dance Revolution 2. Again, a picture would make this story much much better. As we were making our way back to the car in order to go to Greek heaven, I had to visit the men's room. The closest one was in one of the boardwalk arcades. At the entrance to the arcade was DDR 2. Surrounding DDR 2 were about 15 guys with shaved heads, no shirts, and plenty of tattoos. One guy was dancing, but he was holding onto the bar. He was obviously doing very well. As he finished up the round, another huge guy with a shaved head, no shirt, and plenty of tattoos told him, "If you were a real dancer, you wouldn't hold onto the bar." The other guys with shaved heads, no shirts, and plenty of tattoos all murmured in assent. I'm glad that I stifled my laughter as I'm sure they would have first kicked my ass and then used me as their dance pad.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mexican Food

Always gives me a little charge for the rest of the afternoon. At least for the first 30 minutes. After that, I'm more than a little sluggish. You might ask if it's worth it. I'll tell you that in those 30 minutes, I accomplish more than in the remaining 4, er, I mean 2 hours of my workday. Did I just say that out loud? I take late lunches. Late I tell you. Good thing the internet is anonymous.

For those who are looking at this as correlation, rather than causation, and are attributing my renewed energy to the walk to the taco stand, rather than the tacos themselves, you're wrong, dead wrong. I function off of grease and fat. It is my fuel. Short bursts of hyperactivity. Do you want to be a supernova or whatever the opposite of a supernova is? (If anyone knows, please share. Wikipedia AND Google both failed. Unbelievable.)

25 minutes left.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dear Mr. ITB Part Ni

foam rollerHi there. Haven't heard from you in a while. Guess what? I'm pretty happy about that. I know we are close and you know some of the more intimate details of my life, but really, have we ever had a close emotional relationship? It's simply been physical and basically, you've only caused me pain and suffering. Well, after speaking to my therapist, we finally figured out that I couldn't let you run my life for me and I needed to take control. My medication wasn't working, resting wasn't working, and ice wasn't working. It was finally time to do what I'd talked about doing for years, but never really had the courage to do. Buy an ultradensity foam roller. I don't want to hear about your complaints. I know, I know. It hurts you not having the type of control over my life that you're used to. I finally don't give a damn. You should count yourself lucky that I didn't have you removed.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've rolled on the new love of my life. Sweet rolls that bring such pain. As you are squished between the roller and my femur, the pain slowly builds and by the third roll, I'm sweating and grimacing, but I know it's for my own good. Once I'm finished and stand up, the pain is gone. I can see you run away like a little girl into the corner and cry because of what you've lost. Just remember that I own the ultradense foam roller now. It has a special place in my closet right next to my running and cycling shoes. I will never get rid of it. Now crawl away into the darkness. I'm through with you.

With complete indifference,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For My

Econ geek loving friends. I know there are only two of you. Makes me nostalgic for business school.

Thank you Andrew Sullivan for making YouTube a part of my daily routine.

Update: The guy singing this is the Dean of Columbia's business school. Apparently he coveted Alan's old position.

Monday, July 10, 2006

For The Haters

Now tell me you're not saying, "Holy...". And this doesn't even do the last mile justice. 15% grade.

Many thanks to Klimb. What a sweet program. Sorry for those that don't live in the Bay Area or Ohio (how random is that).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Slow Afternoon

Funniest YouTube clip ever.


middlesexApparently my devotion to non-fiction doesn't cut it on the Left Coast. I have been coaxed into trying a work of fiction that doesn't involve dragons or planetary travel. This should be interesting. I've heard and read the reviews. Hermaphrodite? Ok. As I have an open mind, I'll read it, but this is no guarantee that I'll continue down Pulitzer's fiction list. Why read make believe when I can read about reality?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Devil Mountain

p2k-2001-bgWalnut Creek is home to Mt. Diablo State Park. The centerpiece of the park is of course Mt. Diablo. Well, ever since I bought my tri-bike, the Cervelo P2K pictured here (stock photo, not my actual bike - mine has an upgraded seat and Rolf wheels), this mountain has been taunting me. Granted, it's only been two weeks, but I thought, "Hey, I'm an endurance athlete, let's do this." (I was speaking to my bike. I haven't named it yet, as it still feels like I'm just borrowing it.)

So off we went late Monday morning. I would have started earlier, but I had to hold my son down while the doctor tortured him. That cry. Ouch, makes me sweat. Horrible. At first, I wasn't really planning on going to the top. It is a 3900 foot climb over about 12 miles. That seemed a little too aggressive. I entered the park and the climbing began immediately. Switchback after switchback after switchback. I passed several people and was passed by several people. I quickly learned one thing. Tri-bikes are not made for climbing. They are made for speed. Oh I was wishing for some bigger sprockets or at least a granny wheel up front, but I had to make do with what I had.

Early on, there was a climb that almost caused me to puke. I haven't had that much lactic acid in my system since I ran cross country in high school. But I made it through. I passed the 1000 foot marker. I passed the 2000 foot marker. I passed the ranger station. I passed the Livermore lookout. It was at this point that my legs were beginning to get a little, actually more than a little rubbery. They just weren't used to this punishment. I made it up to Juniper ridge (a lower peak at around 2900 feet) and looked up at the summit. I didn't have it in me to go the rest of the way. Another 1000 feet over a mile and a half just wasn't happening. I wish I had had my camera because that was one steep road. It made the puking, lactic acid climb look like child's play.

I reluctantly stopped and it was at that point that I looked around. It was pretty amazing. I look forward to summitting the peak in another two weeks. I'll bring my camera this time.

The ride down was another story. I'd never gone 40mph on a bike before. I'd never gone 40mph down a narrow, steep, windy road on a bike before. Now that was a rush. Terrifying, but definitely exhilerating. I did use my brakes, sparingly. At one point, even though I was using my big gear up front and my smallest gear in the back, my hips were rocking because I couldn't pedal fast enough. It was extremely entertaining. Now if only I didn't need to share the road with those pesky cars. A guard rail would be comforting as well.