You Know Where To Find Me

Software development, running, music & beer

Monthly Archives: November 2005

not quite frozen

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I started mine off by venturing to downtown Cleveland for the 24th annual “Turkey Trot”. Driving there started off as an adventure in and of itself as the highway was reduced to one “drivable” lane, which itself was not overly drivable. But the closer I got to downtown, the better the roads were. I managed to secure a pretty good parking spot in the street and stepped out of my car into what almost seemed like a bitterly cold snow tornado. I quickly decided that the hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants that I had just worn for the ride would become part of my running attire, along with two knit hats and a much heavier pair of gloves.

The race started at the Cleveland Convention Center which is literally a few hundred feet from Lake Erie. While inside keeping warm before the race started, I heard an announcement that the five mile run had been reduced to “between 3 1/2 and 4 miles” because of the bad weather conditions. I was disappointed, but figured it was better than nothing. Around 9:20, we all headed outside for the 9:30 scheduled start. We all lined up headed east, and after a few minutes everyone turned around as we were now apparently starting off to the west. And then we all stood around, many hopping up and down trying to stay warm as the minutes ticked by…9:30, 9:35. Finally around 9:40, the race started.

The streets were slick, but I only saw one person fall during the race. We were running at a decent pace, but slower than a normal run given the conditions and the mass of people. After about 12 minutes, we were back to where we started and that apparently was what the race was reduced to. It could not have been much more than a mile. They didn’t even bother keeping time. I started walking around the course again which would take me to my car, but I noticed there were quite a few people still running, so I followed along and a number of us did another lap around, taking a slightly longer route this time, along the sidewalk. The winds were incredibly strong that close to the lake, and there were some serious 50+ mph gusts that literally blew people sideways. A couple times, I felt just like one of those birds you see that is flying in place due to the strong wind, because I was literally almost running in place, shoulders down, trying to beat the wind and keep moving forward. At one point when we were on the sidewalk, the wind was so strong for about 20 seconds that it was blowing people towards the street, self included. A couple of girls in front of me actually sat down to avoid being sent into the street. I’d never experienced wind like that before where I had to grab something to keep from moving.

So in the end, I only did about 3 miles, but it was sort of fun, especially the second “unofficial” lap with the other diehards. It was just frustrating that the communication was so poor between officials and runners because no one knew what was going on. It was very annoying to stand out in the cold for an extra 10 minutes waiting for the race to start late. But it was all for a good cause and gave me a new story to tell. I think some people would consider this more “insane” than the marathon I did last month. I did manage to burn off a few more calories before the big dinner by shoveling the driveway when I got home. So bring on the food!

UPDATE: The Turkey Trot website has the lowdown on the race, saying the Cleveland Police Department wanted to shut it down altogether because of hazardous road conditions, but eventually conceded to the abbreviated 1.5 mile course. I just don’t see why they didn’t have people do 3 laps around which would have made it close to 5 miles instead of only keeping it open for one lap (my 2nd lap was done on the more snow-covered sidewalks as the streets were opened back up to traffic by that point).

Advertisements

the joys of northeast ohio

Today was the first real snowfall of the season here in Northeast Ohio, since everyone got some and not just the lucky lake effect people east of Cleveland. As such, I experienced my first 2+ hour commute home from work this evening. I was all excited because we were let go early, but my excitement quickly diminished when I hit brake lights a couple miles south of work on the highway. And the further south I got, the harder the snow, and the slower the traffic. Even once I exited the highway, I was still subjected to stop and go traffic (mostly “stop”), and rarely exceeded 10 mph until the last 2 miles of my drive. So even with my early headstart home, I still managed to get home later than usual.

Tomorrow morning I am doing the unthinkable and heading downtown to run in the annual Turkey Trot, which helps to raise money to feed the hungry. I had actually been looking forward to it for a while, until I saw the forecast. It is supposed to be in the low 20s, windy, and snowing. Not exactly the 80 degree and sunny conditions that I was used to running in all summer. I have all my gear ready to go, though I know I’ll be frozen by the end, just like the turkeys they will be donating.

akron to be smoke-free….sort of


Yesterday, the Summit County Council (where Akron, OH is located) voted 6-5 to approve an ordinance to restrict indoor smoking in their county, including restaurants, bars, and workplaces (story here). I welcome this ordinance, though it is rather bizarre that a county council is the one putting it in place. Whatever happened to a vote of the people?

Unfortunately, people are already looking for loopholes in the ordinance, including Akron’s Law Director who says he believes his city’s less-restrictive Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, on the books since 1990, prevails in the city, which does allow for smoking in bars and restaurants (more info here, via Rubberbuzz). So it sounds like I’ll keep breathing in the smoke while this is battled out in the courts. Maybe I should just move to a more progressive city like Columbus or one of the 21 other cities in Ohio which have smoking bans.

There is hope though. An effort is going on currently to have a statewide ban placed on the ballot next year. Here’s to hoping I’ll be seeing that on my ballot next year.

Worst

The Real Josh Anderson pointed out this rather amusing new logo. What better way to commemorate our President’s abysmal approval rating (down to 34% at last check).

The creator of this logo posted it here, where there have been some rather amusing comments in response. The opposition really needs to get it’s act together, because the way they go about it only makes them look worse.

And for those of you into fashion, you can even purchase your Worst President Ever attire here (including shirts, stickers, and buttons!).

kicking television

Today was one of those weird days where it almost felt like a holiday at work, thanks in large part to the first snow of the year. There was a lot of slacking around the office and everyone was in a good mood and there was plenty of sharing of war stories about driving in the snow. I now work in the “snow belt” which is the area where lake-effect snow off Lake Erie falls most frequently. It snowed all day and we had about 4 inches by the time I left (thank goodness for parking garages). But after I left, there was barely any snow on the ground just a few miles south, and nothing on the ground where I live.

– Heard an interesting news story this morning that the Ohio legislature is considering a bill that would require sex offenders to have pink license plates for at least 5 years following their offense. This comes only a year after a similar bill was passed that requires DUI offenders to have a yellow plate (as pictured above). I’m still mixed on how I feel about these. Yes, it’s a major invasion of privacy and will result in more police profiling of these individuals. But is that necessarily a bad thing? In many cases, these people are habitual offenders and being able to quickly identify them could help save lives. But for those who maybe had a one-time lapse in judgment (I’m talking the DUI folks here), is it fair to be punished and subject to public humiliation for years after the fact?

– During my commute the other day, I saw the most redneck sticker ever, where else but on the back of a big ol’ pickup truck. The sticker proudly proclaims that the driver is a Rackaholic, displaying a large set of deer antlers. Very nice…

my lobotomy

Today on NPR there was an amazing story. While I am an admitted NPR-junkie and enjoy a lot of the unique stories they offer up each day, this story was quite a standout. It was simply titled ‘My Lobotomy‘, one man’s story of having a transorbital (or “icepick”) lobotomy performed on him 45 years ago, at the tender age of 12.

The 22-minute piece is narrated by Howard Dully, the lobotomy patient mentioned above, and is quite captivating. For those of you unfamiliar with the procedure, it was brought to the U.S. in 1946 by psychiatrist Walter Freeman and touted as a treatment for mental illness, though it eventually grew into a so-called “cure all”. The procedure involves inserting an icepick through the patient’s eye sockets, one at a time, and moving it around the brain like one would scramble eggs. Freeman believed that mental illness was caused by overactive emotions, which would be eliminated by this procedure.

Over the years, Freeman performed over 2,500 of the procedures, with mixed results. Some subjects were successfully “cured”, while others got worse, and some even died. But Freeman stood behind the procedure until it was almost rendered obsolete overnight when the first psychiatric drugs to come to market.

Dully was fortunately a survivor of the procedure with no noticeable side effects, besides the trauma and shame he has felt ever since. In this story, he interviews other physicians, families of other patients, and even confronts his own father on why he did this to him. This is storytelling at it’s best.

Listen to the story here, via NPR.org.

a refreshing site


I observed a couple of interesting things while driving home tonight. First off was that the thermometer in my car showed 72 degrees. Given that there is snow in the forecast for tomorrow and the fact that I live in Northeast Ohio and it’s mid-November, I think it’s save to say that it was probably the last time I’ll see the 70s, or even the 60s for that matter, until at least April. Guess I should just be glad we’ve made it this far into the year-end without seeing any flakes or freezing temperatures yet.

The other welcome sight I saw on the way home was gas prices under $2 for the first time in months. After spiking around $3 a few months ago, prices have fallen down almost as fast as they shot up. Experts say it is a decrease in demand and not an increase in production. Who would have thought Americans could conserve? Of course there was money involved which has as much influence over people’s decisions as anything else. Fortunately, I think this summer’s high prices have finally pushed companies to produce more efficient products and consumers to conserve and buy more efficient products. That was worth a few months of hardship.

Also, I was surprised to hear Major League Baseball’s new tougher steroid policy announced today. After taking a lot of heat for their soft anti-drug policy, baseball really silenced critics today by announcing first-time offenders would face a 50 game suspension (as opposed to the current 10 game penalty), a 100 game suspension for second offenses (currently 30) and expulsion after a third (currently only 60 games). While only a handful of players have tested positive in this first year of real testing, I’m surprised that any of them were dumb enough to think they wouldn’t get caught. Of course those that are act all surprised, but do they really think the fans believe they might “accidentally” take steroids? That’s more insulting than their attempts to cheat. Hopefully these stiffer penalties are enough to appease the media critics so we can get back to talking about the games next year instead of the politics surrounding it.

the breaks

I’m back again after yet another lapse in posting. I like to play the blame game, so this time I credit my crappy 2 year old eMachines desktop which apparently had the motherboard go bad. I guess you get what you pay for.

This time I think I’m back for good, rededicating myself to blogging. I often find myself inspired by my friend Will‘s daily blogging and envy the regular readers he has attracted (along with 60,000 hits he has managed to get in less time than it has taken me to accumulate 4,000). So I’m going to try to keep up with this and my music blog, and not bore you with the mundane.

I watched a couple movies over the weekend. I ventured out and dropped $8.50 to see ‘Jarhead‘, the most I’ve paid to date for a movie. I had been looking forward to seeing this for a couple months, and felt a bit letdown. It was a good movie, but I think I was expecting a little more after reading about all of the controversy that the book led to. It’s a surprisingly funny movie about the boredom of the first Gulf War experienced by a Marine unit. It’s no comedy though as there are some very dramatic scenes, some of which are pretty disturbing. The acting is very good, as is the imagery, but don’t go in expecting to see a “war movie” because there is not much fighting going on.

I finally watched ‘Last Days‘ on DVD and it is the worst movie I have seen in quite some time. It is inspired by the days leading up to Kurt Cobain’s death, and follows a rock star who ends up killing himself. I feel bad for anyone who saw this at the theatre, because I at least had the luxury of fast forwarding through most of the movie. There is very little dialogue in this movie, as the camera follows the subject around recording mundane tasks like walking through the woods, making a bowl of cereal, and sitting by a fire. No dialogue, no narrator, nothing. I suppose this is supposed to be really artistic, but it offers no insight whatsoever into the character and what he may have been thinking. Very disappointing.

This week I’m looking forward to catching some more of the Season 2 DVD of ‘Arrested Development‘ which is the best show on TV these days. Unfortunately, it will not be for much longer as FOX announced last week that it has been cancelled. The current season, it’s third, has been cut to 13 episodes which will resume airing in early December. I guess I should just be happy that it has made it this far since it’s ratings have always been bad yet Fox has kept it going this long.

just another phase

Last week we had our annual health fair at work, which involved me getting my cholesterol and blood pressure tested. Things were fairly good with my “good” and “bad” cholesterol numbers in the range they should be (though the “bad” was up a few ticks from last year). However, my blood pressure was a little elevated. Could have been nerves from having a needle stuck in me, or maybe I was just having a bad day, but it would be nice if I had a low enough number than environmental factors would only have a minimal effect.

So, needless to say, I was a little surprised. This past year I was more active than ever with all of the running and biking over the past 6 months, and have not gained any weight. I honestly expected my numbers to improve instead of worsen. So my new obsession of the moment is eating healthy. I went to Trader Joe’s and loaded up on more healthy foods (whole-wheat bagels, oatmeal, protein shakes) and am also trying to hit up the salad bar at lunch more often than not (which is very hard). I know it’s an overreaction, but the sooner I start trying to be more aware of my eating habits, the easier they are to stick to.

Also, I have been trying to hit up the fitness center at work at least 3 days a week. In addition to getting regular exercise, I’m trying to keep my body in good running form so I will be ready for future races. I have yet to decide on my next marathon, though I recently became interested in the Cleveland Marathon in May, which is obviously very convenient geographically. I do plan to run in the Turkey Trot in downtown Cleveland on Thanksgiving morning. It will be my first and I hear they are quite fun, so I’m pretty excited. It’s a 5 mile run through the downtown area with a few thousand other people, helping to burn some calories and make some room for all of the food that will follow later in the day.

clinically dead

…well, not really. Just taking a brief break from blogging. Just when I was starting to get some posting momentum, I slack off again, disappointing all 10 or so of you regular readers.

Not much exciting info to share. Enjoyed the wonderful sunny & 60 degree weather on Sunday with a bike ride on the towpath with Kristy. We started off in Penisula this time, which was a mistake since it was super hella crowded. But once we got about a mile south, the crowds started to thin and we were able to get around without fear of running over entire families. It was nice. I did pretty much cancel out all health benefits of the ride though by downing a container of apple cider that had like twice my daily intake of sugar. But it tasted so good!

Watched the movie ‘High Tension‘ this weekend which I recommend you never even consider watching. It was really bad. I ended up fast forwarding through a lot of it, which I’m glad I did because the ending made no sense at all and I would have felt even more disappointed if I had sat through the whole thing to be let down by it. I did get through the whole first disc of Season 2 of ‘Arrested Development‘ which I’m very happy to report is even better than the first season. So good. If you have not seen this show yet, do yourself a favor and rent season one. Very funny, in a non-conventional sort of way (hence the poor ratings).

Annual health fair thing at work tomorrow. Getting my cholesterol tested along with my blood pressure. Not too worried about that stuff yet since I’ve always had good numbers, though I guess I should start keeping it in mind when making my food selections. One of these days it will catch up to me. Though I rarely eat fast food and shy away from red meat, I still manage to make plenty of poor eating decisions. Here’s to hoping that marathon helped clear my system out!