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Software development, running, music & beer

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A Fresh Start

After a long layoff from blogging, I have decided to give it a try again. My first step was to move it over from Blogger to WordPress which will hopefully allow me to get a little more creative, if I choose to do so.

I have recently started blogging again over at Cleveland Hops, which is run by my friend Kyle, about my love of craft beer and my first attempts at homebrewing. But that site is obviously limited in it’s scope, so I am opening this back up to hopefully blog about some of my other interests including running, software development and music.

In regards to running, I have kind of plateaued over the past few years and am trying to finally break through and keep improving, if that’s even possible at this point. I am registered for the Cleveland Marathon and am hoping to break my now 3+ year old marathon PR. I have added spinning and yoga to my training repertoire, and am trying a new training plan to change things up quite a bit. So we’ll have to see what happens in May.

As for software development, I am kind of stuck in a rut at work doing the same things I have been doing for 5 years, and using some now dated technologies. But I have been trying to regularly attend some local user groups and try to reignite my interests in coding. I just attended the CodeMash developers conference last week and saw a lot of great presentations and talks, and it was exciting to see so many people passionate about programming.

Music has been an interest of mine for a long time, and I’m always up for sharing my latest finds with others, and learning what others are listening to. My constant search for the next great thing has kind of slowed over the past few years, but I still love finding a new act or catchy song. So look for regular posts on what I am listening to lately.


no more birthdays

It’s been a while since my last post. In the meantime, I turned 30. It was a pretty good birthday, besides the shock of no longer being in my 20s. Kristy & I hit up Melt in Lakewood for some brews, grilled cheese, and deep fried twinkies. My birthday continued into the past week, as she scored tickets to see David Byrne, former singer of one of my all time favorite bands, Talking Heads. It was an awesome show (see review here) with many classics, a lot of energy, and a good crowd. David Byrne put on such a great performance, and it was a real show with dancers and a large band and such. Best show I’ve been to in a long time. And to round out my birthday, the past Friday we hit up the Fall Beer Fest as the Heinen’s in Brecksville. 36+ craft & import beers, gourmet appetizers, cheese & sushi, and a crowd of beer snobs. It was a great event and I got to try many beers which I had never heard of, and found quite a few excellent brews that I hope to enjoy again sometime in the future. It is a great event for only $25, that I highly recommend to all Cleveland-area beer lovers, as I think they have one every 3 months or so.

Other than that, not too much going on. I was initially excited about this year’s baseball playoffs, but never ended up watching any. I am very much looking forward to the election being over next week, as I am beyond sick of all things political. I’ve been hot and cold with my running lately. One week I’ll be totally inspired and get in a few great runs, and the next week I’ll struggle with getting in just one run for the week. Still trying to break out of this year-long running slump I’m mired in. But hey, I’m married now….I can just let myself go and get fat and out of shape, right?

end of summer

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First pitch
First pitch,
originally uploaded by thespacerace.

Yesterday, Kristy and I headed downtown for the final Indians home game of the season. It was bittersweet since we love going to games, and saw the Tribe win their 6th straight decision and move above .500 for the first time since May. But on the flipside, it was the final home game of a season of disappointment, a season that was so promising when we went to see them back on March 31st hammer the Sox, a season in which a number of experts picked them to win it all, and at the very least win the division, instead of finishing 3rd. Hopefully they can recover next year, especially since they have really turned things around the last few months and will most likely have lower expectations to meet.

Before the game, we hit up the Winking Lizard (since sadly GLBC is closed on Sundays), where I enjoyed a couple pints of Paulaner Oktoberfest, the draft special of the month. The weather for the game was awesome. Too bad it probably won’t be anything like this next April when I hopefully make it to the opener again.

Saturday went by very fast. Kristy and I headed out to the park to run. Kristy did 11 miles for her last run before this Saturday’s Akron half-marathon, which will be her longest run ever. I was dumb and went out and did my own half in rather sad fashion. My right hamstring started cramping in mile 9, but I struggled to the finish in a very bad time. So I am looking forward to being a spectator instead of a participant this Saturday. Hopefully I’ll get back in shape someday and make my return to racing.

Beer – hooray beer!

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Lounging in Jamaica
Lounging in Jamaica,
originally uploaded by thespacerace.

Kristy & I are enjoying our first full day here in Jamaica after arriving late yesterday afternoon. We are staying at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios resort in Jamaica. So far, everything has been nice though the humidity is taking a little getting used to since it has not been too bad back home this summer. But all the staff at the resort have been awesome, and the resort itself is beautiful. I am currently hanging out on the patio of our villa suite, as seen in the picture, overlooking our mini-pool. Kristy, as always much more ambitious than myself, is currently getting her run on at the fitness center while I sit back here enjoying a Red Stripe and getting caught up. Once she gets back, we are likely going to hit up the much larger resort pool (complete with swim-up bar), and eventually make our way down to the beach.

So far so good. We just had a little rain last night, but otherwise the weather has been beautiful. Now we just hope those pesky tropical storms that keep lining up in the Atlantic stay away until we make it back home.

start together

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Walking off into the sunset
Walking off into the sunset,
originally uploaded by thespacerace.

Well, yesterday was the big day and I am now officially a married man. The weather was awesome, our friends and family came out to be with us, and we had a great time. No drama, no fights, no fainting. We could not have asked for a better day. I’ve been a little short on time today, getting ready for our trip, but I posted a few pictures on flickr that my brother’s girlfriend took, and there will likely be many more to come as other friends share theirs, and eventually the photographer’s as well.

As far as Jamaica, we are going ahead tomorrow and are going to roll the dice and hopefully slip in between the hurricanes. It looks like Hanna is going to hit the U.S. and totally miss us, but now we have Ike that popped up today which looks like it might be headed our way.

Bye Bye Byrdie

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Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

I was somewhat saddened this afternoon after reading that the Cleveland Indians finally managed to trade pitcher Paul Byrd. I wasn’t excited when Byrd first came to town, and while he played in the shadows of CC, Carmona and Lee, he has put in a very solid effort the past couple of years. He just went out there every night and did his thing, and more times than not ended up winning somehow, including twice in the postseason last year. I will definitely miss that weird looking guy and his olde-timey pitching style.

As a good-bye to Mr. Byrd, I poured myself out a beer to enjoy and wish him well on his way to Boston. As much as I hate Boston, maybe he’ll enjoy some success and maybe even get a chance at a ring. I didn’t have any Boston beers, so the closest thing I could find was a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA from nearby Delaware. I’ve been trying to chronicle all the new beers I try at home on my Flickr account, which you can check out here. My good friend Will recently moved to Portland, so I am really looking forward to him scoping out the town and taking me on the grand tour of beer when I make it out to visit him. According to this article, Portland has more breweries (28) than any other city in the US, and possibly even the world. I might need to plan for a few extra days, depending on how many good ones he finds.

one month less

Today I mailed in mortgage payment #5, with an extra $50 to pay down the principal. After making my first two payments, I have included an extra $50, 100 & 50 with my monthly payments, and I just calculated (using this handy tool) that I have already knocked one month off my 30-year mortgage as the extra $200 I’ve chipped in so far has saved me $818.33 in interest. I know that most people would advise me against paying extra, since I got such a good rate (5.5%) and that money would be better off invested (though look at what the stock market has done this year), but when I sit down and calculate it all and come out with results like I see above, where an extra $1 now saves me more than $4 in the future, it’s hard to resist as long as I’m able to continue to do it. Not to mention that it moves me slowly closer to ridding myself of that one big monthly bill. I’d love to move up that party from it’s current scheduled date of February 2038.

hard to understand

Over the weekend, a senseless act of violence hit very close to home. On the other side of town Saturday night, a police officer was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop. While this happened on the opposite side of town from where I live now, it’s in the same quiet suburban city that I live in. And it’s literally a 5 minute walk from where I used to live, a place I used to run by. It’s one of those things that always happens “somewhere else”, so when it’s that close to where you live, it’s a shock. I’ve always been against the death penalty, but it is an incident like this one that inevitably makes me question my position.

last place

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last place
last place,
originally uploaded by thespacerace.

It’s been a bad month, especially for the Cleveland Indians. With another loss last night, they moved into last place in the American League Central. How does that happen to a team that was one win away from the World Series? I realize there have been a lot of disappointing performances by players this year, but I really put the blame on the fact that they did nothing in the off season while everyone else around them made moves to improve.

Yet here I am tonight, watching the game as I write this. I need to find some new hobbies….

Mr. 1124

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Mr. 1124
Mr. 1124,
originally uploaded by thespacerace.

I just looked at the Cleveland Marathon website which informed me, via it’s countdown clock, that Sunday’s race is only 1 day, 11 hours, 20 minutes and some odd seconds away. Which means it’s about the time I start getting tense. Even though I’m by no means a serious runner, I still get excited (and anxious) whenever a race is coming up. After all, I’ve spent the past four months training for this.

Today I went downtown to the marathon expo to pick up my free stuff, along with my number and timing chip. I’ll be sporting #1124 on Sunday, in case anyone is out there watching. The forecast for Sunday, unfortunately, is calling for a 50% chance of showers. I don’t mind the mid 50s high, in fact, I actually like that. I would just rather avoid any sort of rain. But it’s not the end of the world. It’s better than 80 degrees and sunny.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has actually done some very good coverage of the race through the week, which you can find here. It was interesting to read about how last year’s marathon pumped an estimated $12 million into the local economy. You think with that kind of an impact, it would get a little more attention than it does.