Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall has arrived

Work has just been mentally crushing the past few months. I haven't taken a day off this year. I pretty much have the full month of December off. That will feel good. I still have no plans for what to do. I wonder if I will still have any money. The market has pretty much taken every dime from my 401k, stocks, and bonds. At least I still have money under my mattress :)

I'm still swimming 2-3 times each week. Feels great. And running is continuing. I still haven't signed up for any marathons this year. I really need to pay the money to the knee doc one of these days and have an MRI done to my left knee. It never recovered from when I yanked it a few years back. The tendon on the left side of the left knee is not a happy camper.

I just haven't had the energy to do much posting here lately. Ragweed hasn't been helping. Very bad year for it.

Time for some dinner....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Swimming is Fun

No posts in awhile. Technology continues to be misery and glory. Some days one, some days the other.

My swimming technique continues to improve. I'm really enjoying it more every time as well. When running the main issue is always survival of the heat, but with swimming the fixed temperature really lets me enjoy it  (plus no knee pains or anything else). I can focus on improving my form every time I get out to the pool. I'm still getting there 2 or 3 times every week. I have a feeling I'm going to try a mini-triathalon one of these days.

It is also very relaxing. Dark (with goggles on), the sound of water, no voices. Very nice.

I'm currently in a really good three day rhythm. Swim, weights, run. Tomorrow is weights.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Summer Drags On

This summer is trickling along and seems to be lasting forever, but I never seem to have any free time :(

One of these days I want a vacation. I can't remember the last one I went on. Was it 2005? It is so easy to see why the "sabbatical" concept is so good. I just need a year of extending myself in to something different and unique. Why can't the business world adopt the policy?

Swimming has become my relaxing hobby. I can swim for an hour doing back and forth laps. I go from freestyle to breast stroke, to back stroke.

Football season is just around the corner. Looking forward to lazy Sundays, but if it doesn't cool off at all this year it won't be enjoyable. I think I had my air conditioner running in to November last year. May the fall be cool.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

entertaining documentary

I enjoyed watching The King of Kong. Gave me a good throwback to the early days of video arcade games. I still haven't figured out the name of the racing game that I could roll over. I remember the feeling of having 30 people behind the machine watching me roll it over and play for an hour on one quarter.

I found it entertaining that class video game competition is still going. So geeky :)

I continue on my swimming kick. I can now swim laps in a pool for forty minutes without taking a break. On my first swim a few weeks ago I lasted about 1 minute. Swimming really hits a lot of muscles I haven't used in years. I also did a 6.5 mile run yesterday. I just have an issue with oxygen lately. I just always feel a bit short of breath during heavy workouts. With swimming I just don't quite have the good timing of breathing yet, and with running the heat seems to suck all the wind out of me. Maybe I need more iron in my diet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

swimming, heat, and humidity

It has been very warm and humid for a good chunk of this spring/summer. Mosquitoes are due to show up any day, and I have a feeling this will be a brutal year. I'm glad my house sits high in its area, so they tend to not attack me as much.

I've been swimming three times in the past two weeks. Swimming really is a great workout. It certainly isn't as rough on the knees as running. I'll try to keep this going for awhile.

I ran tonight though. It was hot and humid. I really felt miserable during the entire run. Not good. Between running, swimming, and basic gym workouts I've only had one day off in the last six. I think tomorrow night will be lazy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

hard to stay motivated

I've been blogging since 1994. I really wonder why I continue. I never read any other blogs, so why do I write my own?

The summer is rolling along. Massive workload has me exhausted. I came home the other night, was going to go out for a run, but just fell asleep. I woke up around 8:30 and popped in a movie. I feel so crushed from the workload that I tend to not want to touch technology at home lately, which is not good. You get good at things by playing in the evening.

I saw Vantage Point the other night. Although it didn't get very good reviews I enjoyed it. A basic action flick with a bit of timeline entertainment thrown in. The ending was a bit unrealistic. Too American.

Here are some other movies I highly recommend: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Caramel, and Blow Up. I was somewhat shocked by how hot Vanessa Redgrave was back in the 60's.

It's hot. Time to turn the AC on. I was hoping to make it through the evening without it. Our utility rates went up 18% yesterday. People will be hurting. The country has really settled in to a depression, and other than weapons our country no longer seems important in the world. Not good. When is the election?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hot summer + Friday 13th

We set a record for the hottest four day string of days since they began keeping track of the temperature here in 1895 last weekend (plus Friday/Monday). The heat is really crushing my spirit, especially after our cool spring.

Since today is the dreaded Friday the 13th I'll assume this will be a bad day. Will Jason or Freddy show up? I hope not :)

And talk about bad luck on this day, the shuttle saw a chunk fly away from it. Not good while in space.

Monday, May 26, 2008

non-productive weekend

A three day weekend which was rather relaxing, but not very productive. I did get out for a run on Saturday and Monday morning, but neither one felt great.

I enjoyed watching the Redwings win Saturday evening, and they are currently ahead tonight. On the movie side I watched Charlie Wilson's War, Trade, and Ladron Que Roba a Ladron. All had a few positives, but none were worth more than three (out of five) stars. The latter two were close to four stars. Trade was a powerful message movie based on a story in the NYT.

HBO did a movie called Recount that premiered this weekend. It was a docudrama that covered the election in 2000. It was rather depressing. If Bush hadn't taken Florida there is a very good chance that we wouldn't have wasted years in a war that has crushed the US in many respects. I really wonder how Bush can sleep.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2 good runs, not much sleep

I had two good runs this week. Both 8.5 milers at a pace of around 8:40. One on Monday and the second earlier today. I'll be a bit tired tomorrow :)

The heat is about to arrive. This has been a really cool spring, but for Sunday we'll be up in the high 80's and it won't cool down again (at least in the long range forecast). I've had all my windows open the past few weeks and my indoor temperature has been hanging out around 65. Very nice. Something tells me I won't get that temperature again until November.

A bit of insomnia last night. I'm still dragging. Time to head to bed and get some sleep.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lack of goals

How often do people set goals? I wonder this a lot, since I rarely set any goals for myself. For running I usually have something in mind for each run. Most days I usually have some little task on my mental list of things to get done. These typically include things such as picking up a prescription, getting an oil change, or catching a movie. Should any of those be considered a goal?

Other people always seem to set specific goals, such as what to do with life by the time they hit a specific age, or just what career they want. I don't ever seem to set any of that sort. Of course, on the other hand I seem to get a lot of things done by meandering through life.

I got a Ph.D. in nuclear physics. Could I have really done that without having a goal? I know I don't like to fail at things.

I left the academic world to get in on the ground floor of a company which is still going a decade later (and is now part of a larger company). But I really don't know if I had any specific goal associated with the move. It just seemed interesting. And I didn't want to fail.

What will/should I be doing in one year, five years, ten years, or twenty years. I have no idea what I'll be doing. I have no goals. Should I? If I don't set a goal would that be considered a failure?

Why do I spend time thinking about this? There are too many things to try that seem interesting. And there are lots of movies I haven't seen.

Speaking of which, the movie of the weekend was 3:10 to Yuma. It was a remake of an old western. High production value. It was an easy four star flick. I do know that the main character definitely had some goals set for his life, although I'm not sure if I'd say he was 100% successful.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend movies

My two movies this weekend were In the Valley of Elah and The Golden Compass. The latter was aimed toward younger kids but the special effects were nice. Three stars (aka average). It was easy to see why the movie was a bit of a bomb...it didn't have a "simple" ending that wrapped things up cleanly. Americans can't handle that.

The Elah movie was a good four star flick. There were some points that were corny, but the overall message was clear. If you aren't on the left side of the political world you probably won't like this one.

On the tube side of things I watched the Pistons win yesterday (in superfast TIVO mode), and saw the Redwings win last night. Tonight is the season finale of Survivor. I can't believe how stupid some of the players are this year. Of course, I'm watching the show. That speaks for itself :)

Playing with Mulch

The week was mentally crushing. I was sound asleep by 10pm on Friday night. I slept in on Saturday and then did something I hadn't done in ages. I played with my yard.

On the front side of my house I had some hedges put in near the road. Since then I hadn't really touched them. I did a lot of watering two years ago when they were first put in since I was reminded how important it was to get the roots to take that first year.

I bought four cubic yards of mulch earlier in the week and it was dropped in my backyard so it wouldn't look like a big pile of crap in my front yard all week. One load after another I'd shovel my wheelbarrow full of mulch in the backyard, walk it to the front, and after six or seven loads do some spreading. I spent about five hours working on it.

Today I'm sore. The muscles involved in mulching hadn't been used in a few years (or maybe decades). While I was out doing the work three strangers stopped by to tell me what a gorgeous house I have and how beautiful the yard is. I guess I would agree if I didn't have to pay my mortgage every month and think about the fact that I'll need new siding one of these years.

I wonder if I will ever buy again. Renting makes so many things easy, but you really get big discounts on taxes with a house. But in the world today, is a house a worthy investment? Probably not.

Anyway, my shrubbery looks pretty good. Heavy rain is the forecast for the next day. The mulch should settle in pretty well.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekend roundup

As always, I caught a few movies. Diving Bell and the Butterfly was 5 stars, Sweeney Todd was 2 stars, .The Seventh Seal (an old classic) was a 5 star movie, and Far Side of the Moon was good for 4 stars. The latter was certainly a bit quirky. And Canadian. I can't think of a lot of Canadian movies I've seen.

Time to eat dinner. Lettuce, beans, rice. Summer has arrived.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

cool evening

Work has been so frustrating lately. Such is life. Everyone gripes about work...right?

My Saturday run almost took me down. It was so warm and humid, and my body wasn't used to that. I gave up after just 6 miles and walked the last 2. I actually broke out in a heat rash. Not fun at all. Two other people I know in town were out working that day and also experienced a bit of heat rash.

It is really cooling down tonight. Chance of frost. I still have my windows open. I'm enjoying the last of this cool weather. I'm sure I'll sleep like a rock tonight.

The last few days I've been thinking about the expression of having "the last ounce of energy" sucked out of me. Where does that expression come from? Why is energy in ounces? Hmm...guess I'm always worried about units. The fun of physics.

In any event, I though about that expression because I have no energy. Some days I despise technology. Other days I love it. I battled a rather nasty WordPress hack that attacked a lot of servers in the past two weeks. Loved the challenge. Hated the challenge. It is so easy to sit down, start digging in, and then six hours is gone. Should I be doing something else? Should I care about blogs and such?

Every day I wonder. I'm just amazed at the slim line between sanity and frivolity.

Now, time to get back to the Redwings game, and cool air drifting through my window.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

hot hot april

Noon on a Saturday. 81 degrees. I'm going to head out for a run. I hope I don't get dehydrated/overheated. Maybe there is a track meet at UVA. If so I'll be able to get a few glasses of Gatorade, but I don't think there is one. At least I'll refill my water (the track is about 3 miles in to my 8 mile run).

My week felt very unproductive until Friday afternoon when I had some good ideas that worked out really well.

Today I'll watch a bit of the NFL draft, the Redwings game, and a movie or two while sitting around in air conditioning. Sounds exciting...right? :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

server security, choice of goals

I've spent far more time learning about web server security this week than ever before since my hobby sites were hacked last week. I definitely learned quite a bit. I continue to see that people are attacking the site, but it seems secure for the moment.

Between that and work I'm a bit exhausted. The Pistons looked pretty exhausted in the first game of the NBA playoffs but perked up this evening. The Redwings start the semis tomorrow night. I hate the fact that Detroit is in the western conference since I end up staying up till 1am to watch west coast games every now and then. Teams have goals...but do I have a goal?

Currently I'm contemplating setting a goal of 3 hours 30 minutes for a marathon. Not easy. If I choose to set the goal you can bet I'll work to it, but I really tend to spend a long time debating if I want to set it. Last year I set the goal of running my first marathon in under 4 hours and that one went pretty well :)

The reason I'm thinking about the lower time is so that I would qualify for the Boston Marathon. One of the big ones. I should also see if the NYC marathon has qualification times...that is the one I really want to get in to. I've entered in the raffle for that one this year. I think June is when I find out if I'm in.

One can hope. Or one can set goals. Or both. Hmmm....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

making the burgers

I like that Michigan Tech made it to the finals of the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest where building hamburgers in the most steps was the goal. Very entertaining stuff for college students. I just wish I could spend time doing this sort of thing! Maybe next year they'll win. Go Huskies.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Good run. Not great.

It sure was early as I headed off to the race. I got there with about five minutes to spare and got my chip on. Off I went. My unrealistic goal was for sub 8 minute miles, but I couldn't quite do it. 8:19/mile. Much slower than last year, but I just haven't been training as much.

I'm definitely wasn't as dead at the end of the race as I was last year. Maybe that explains the slower time :)

I've been trying to deal with a hacked site of mine most of the day. I can't believe people are bored enough to hack tiny little sites on the web. Yeesh. Get a life.

Confessions of a Superhero. 4 stars. Very entertaining documentary.
Juno. 3 stars. Brutally overrated. I think the movie appeals more towards women.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

8 mile run

I survived the run tonight. The first four miles were rough. Mentally I just didn't want to run. I really wanted to sleep or watch something mindless on the tube. The latter four miles were better, although I never felt strong during the entire run. I just am not in great shape right now.

I'll take a shot at the half marathon on Saturday morning. I just can't see (or maybe feel is a better word) getting below 8 minutes per mile. If I manage to wake up for the race I'll let you know how it goes.

Last week I started going with a mustache/goatee look. Why? No reason. I've never done this look before (at least as far as I remember). It is very popular in my office right now. Since I'm really lazy about shaving this cuts down on how much face I have to deal with :) I don't think it will last more than another few days though. I'll try to snap at least one shot of my grizzled look before the electric razor goes wild.

up late...stomach hurts

Frustrating day of work. A half dozen different projects ongoing, and every one of them is high priority. Often tough to decide where to put the effort.

The weather has been fluctuating quite a bit here in spring. 82 one day, 42 the next. Last night I woke up freezing and dug out the big comforter (I shut the heat off the other day since the AC was already on last weekend). It won't be as cold tonight.

My stomach has really been bothering me all day. I almost never have an upset stomach. I ate a bunch of curry from a new place on Monday. It sure tasted good at the time. Maybe it left an impression.

I should really be asleep by now, but I am just starting to recover from watching the Redwings play like fools earlier this evening. Series tied up 2-2.

Tomorrow is another day. Sunny and 72. If my stomach has recovered I'll go out for a run after work. Should I do a relatively short run and then enter the half marathon on Saturday morning? Guess I'll see how I feel tomorrow around 6pm as I'm putting on my running shoes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

hot run

I ran on Saturday. It was about 76 degrees. I wasn't used to that heat at all. My first and only run so far this year where I decided to walk a few blocks of it (the 7.5 miler). Much much cooler for the next few days. It always takes a few weeks to get used to the heat...but after that it feels pretty good after a long day of work to relax in the heat.

There Will Be Blood

I usually catch at least two movies (on DVD) every weekend. I've been in NetFlix since a few days after I moved here. Couldn't live without them. Anyway, I really loved There Will Be Blood. The music that went along with it was really well done. It reminded me quite a bit of the late 60's/early 70's sci fi movies where people were often left alone due to world cataclysm and would slowly work their way to insanity. This was the 1920's version :)

I also watched American Gangster. It was good, but a bit of a disappointment compared to the former. How I feel about movies is often dependent on how I feel that day and what I recently watched. Such is life.

Resurrecting the Champ also made it on my list this weekend. Nothing special. On NetFlix you can rate things on a one to five star system. If I give it a one or a two that means I truly hated it. One usually means I couldn't make it past the 20 minute mark. Most movies are three. Decent enough to watch, but somewhat forgettable.

TWBB was a 5. AG was a 4. RTC was a 3.

Now, time to go drink a milkshake.

------- SPOILER ALERT -------
-- Don't view this if you haven't seen the movie --

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

One point away

I missed out on the big bucks of my office pool by one stupid free thrown tonite. If only Memphis would have held it together for just a bit longer. Such is life. Next sport up: NHL playoffs. At least while the Redwings are still going. I'd watch how the Pistons do, but a few years ago I got sick of how much the refs were controlling who won games so gave up on it. A year later some ref got accused of gambling on games. Go figure. Is football here yet?

I should have gone to the gym tonite but didn't feel up to it. Very lazy. I'll go out for a 10 mile run tomorrow night and then mow my lawn. The latter part of that will probably be more strenuous than the former. I need to build up my mowing muscles.

Time to sleep. If possible. A bit of tossing and turning lately...waking up to dreams/nightmares in which I'm programming. That can't be a good thing.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Exhausting Week, Exhausting Run

It was a really long week with far too much work and not enough fun. But the week is over.

The Final Four get going in an hour or so. If Memphis wins I'll have a pretty good shot and winning our office pool this year. I won it last year. Can I do two in a row without having watched a single college basketball game during the entire year?

I went out and did a half marathon training run earlier this afternoon. I felt pretty good. There is a half or whole marathon here in town in two weeks. Still not sure if I want to run in it. If I do it will probably just be the half. It is a really hilly course and I don't think I'd be up for 26 miles of that. Flat rocks for marathons. Of course, I've only done one in my life, so what do I know :)

Time to go pick up some wine and clean the house a bit. Houses sure can get nasty when you don't get any sleep or free time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

First mow of the season

Spring has arrived. 75 degree day followed by 55 degree day with rain. Up and down. Rain and dry. Mostly dry though. For the past few years I've been getting my lawn mowed by a company, but decided to save myself the bucks and do it myself this year. I have an old manual push mower (I believe it runs at exactly 1 human power) that I'd loaned out to someone else the past few years (after having just used it once). I now have that back.

After a brutal day of work I headed out for the yard. It took about 40 minutes to do the first mow of the year. A good chunk of the time was just cleaning up lots of sticks and twigs that had fallen during the winter.

I'm now exhausted. I need to build up my mowing muscles during the next few weeks as the grass attacks. I also need to go get a weed whacker. Probably an electric one will be plenty for my small yard. Guess that will be my weekend shopping.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Foolish Run

Running can be such a finicky sport. Some days after a brutal day of work I feel better and better with every step of a run. Sometimes the opposite occurs and each step feels worse than the last. Tonight was the latter.

During the 10 miler my calves were definitely getting tight. Despite stretching they never really recovered from that run. I paid the price when I ran tonight. In a very rare occurrence I decided there was no way I felt up to the full 8 mile run, so I took an alternate route to cut it to 7 miles. A 9:30ish pace. Not bad, but my calves were screaming the entire way.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit coolor but sunny. I think I'll go for my 7.5 miler tomorrow. I hope it is the "every step gets better" run.

 After the run I heated up some veggies and opened up some wine. I caught the season premiere of Hell's Kitchen (the Tivo version of course...no commercials). It is a mind numbing ludicrous show, but many nights that is what I need. I also played with NetNewsWire. I have somewhat skipped the whole RSS thing, but am becoming a fan with recent versions of the app (donationware).

As for this blog, I'm still debating what I think of blogger. The email to blog feature has some quirks. I'm continuing to play. Guess I'll tell someone about it one of these days :)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I worked for a few hours today, but mostly bummed around watching movies and basketball. I'm currently tied for first place in my company office pool, but most of us have at least two of the final four teams, so the last few games will totally decide the outcome. I picked with the simplest method possible...the higher seeded team wins every game. In the final four the better record wins. I have Memphis winning it all.

The race went better than I thought. A 7:51 pace for 10 miles. Much slower than last year, but I was happy. One thing that I notice is my knees don't bother me very much after actual races, but they really do during my normal training runs (much slower pace). My legs really don't seem to like the slower pace. More to think about. One of these days I'll see a knee guy.

I loved The Kite Runner. My favorite movie of the day.

Monday. Brutal work load tomorrow. Hope to make it to the gym tomorrow evening. Weather this week is a bit wacky and springlike. Cold today, cool the next two, then 72. I guess I'll run on the warm day :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

No sleep. 10 miles.

All I could do last night was dream about work. I got almost no sleep.
I'm really exhausted.

Tomorrow is a 10 mile race that starts at 7:45am. Very early. I really
don't feel in great shape lately, and am hoping for anything under 80
minutes. I'll be going to bed very early tonight.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wacky Dreams

One side effect about too much work are dreams. Rather wacky dreams.

As is so often the case, I can't remember the details from last night, but I did wake up a few times thinking "Wow!" I also woke up a few times dreaming of programming and wondering things weren't all working correctly.

I'm really dragging this morning. Should be 70 degrees, so will get out for a run after work.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Long Monday

Deadlines at work can be crushing. The project I'm currently working
on will never get done by the deadline. I constantly wonder why more
thought isn't put in to setting reasonable deadlines. Oh well.

I got out of work at 7, jogged home, put on the sweats and went to the
gym. Really short workout. My schedule feels so out of sorts for
running the 10 miler this weekend. Spent the whole time at the gym
debating what to do for the rest of the week.

Now it's time to eat and watch How I Met Your Mother. Rice and
veggies. French red wine.

PS. This is my first post via email..hope it works!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Run up and down on green grass.

As Spock was wandering around like Alice in Wonderland he said, "On my planet, to rest is to rest -- to cease using energy. To me, it is quite illogical to run up and down on green grass, using energy, instead of saving it."

Work is mentally exhausting...and I do far too much of it. Should I get more "actual" rest, or should I keep playing with technology in my spare time. Some days I really want to get away from it all.

Instead of rest I think I'll take the illogical approach and start this blog. I'll focus on personal life and daily thoughts rather than a community or technology :)