Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Merry Thanksgiving!

To use Susie Q's lovely example:

Things I am Thankful for:

The Family I've Chosen and have been chosen by. I love you all.

The years we got to spend with Spot (I will....not....cry...)

Dear friends who come in all shapes, sizes & interests, including:
  • New friends
  • Old friends
  • Crazytown friends (you know who you are)

Rounds of golf where I don't feel I've gotten my money's worth (few & far between)

Good red wine

Dark chocolate


Thinks I'm less happy about:

Being a Farmville addict. I think I have a problem just because I don't think I have a problem - I can quit any time...and have.

The extra 15 pounds I'm carrying on MY ASS.

Knowing my job is ending, but not having a clue when, but I'm still VERY thankful to have a job.

Happy holidays & safe travels everyone (all 4 of you).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Race Report

Short & Sweet: it was chilly to start, but fun to see all the dogs. Luckily, no one had a terrier that I saw, so no tears!

Who knew Stony Point Fashion Park wasn't flat! Up and down, up & down. Felt pretty good the whole time, but perhaps that was because i was running my 1/2 marathon race pace and didn't have to run a 1/2!

Great to see newly minted Ironman, Mary T. out there.

Way to go Anita for running her first 5k in a while. We're getting back out there, right?

And now, we've exercised enough to enjoy a Thanksgiving Roast Beef!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jingle Bell 5k

Come out and play with me Saturday at the Jingle Bell Run.

http://jinglebellrunrichmond.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=315549


Monday, November 16, 2009

Spotless


We put good ole Spot down tonight. He was an 18+ year old wire hair fox terrier whom we loved very much.

We spent the last 8 years finding that the word "spot" appears in an amazing number of sentences & words & experiences.

When cataracts began to impair his vision, we put a tiny LED light on his collar to help him see. He loved his Spotlight (really fun was when we met up with his friend Maggie, who was without a light - Spot suggested her owners get her a Maglight).

He could always find us a great parking spot.

Loved his hometown of Spotsylvania. He was the mayor.

He starred in the movie "Spotacus".

We loved seeing Spot before our eyes.

X marked the Spot he loved to have rubbed.

With 8 years of coming up with Spot-related sayings, it about broke our hearts when we came up with the subject line of the email to tell our friends of his passing and the subject line of this post. The "spot" sayings always seemed so obvious in hindsight. Glad I didn't see this one coming either.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Race Report



Yes, I use the term "race" loosely. However, the paper & the website categorized it as a race, ergo, this is a race report.
Big decisions prior to leaving the house: what to wear....hmmmm....weather report on Friday morning said clearing overnight, high of 64. Wow, excellent, t-shirt & shorts.

Friday night report: clearing by early Saturday, high of 64.

Saturday morning, 5am: Clearing by noon, high of 64. Currently: 48. Fuck. Oh and windy. Double fuck, but not in a good way. Ok, maybe by the time we leave the house it'll at least be in the 50's.

6:30am: 48, raining, windy. Sweet. Maybe I'll be the only one to show and I'll win money, but what am I going to WEAR to the awards presentation and on camera??? Ok, shorts, running pants, long sleeve race shirt, long sleeve very light pullover, gloves and bring a jacket until we get out of the car.

7am: Pick up Joy. Was that the sun? No, headlights. Fuck. OK, no sun, but we have Joy.

7:20: get out of the car...what to wear? Still with that, really? Ok, it's not really that bad. Take off the running pants & jacket. Leave the gloves & pullover. Bye, Love, yes, one more picture, great...gotta go - 10 minutes to race start and we're 5 blocks away!

Oh shit, it's cold, that is a biting little wind and now it's full on drizzling. Let's run!!!

I don't think my legs have EVER felt heavier than for the 1st 3 miles of the 1/2 marathon yesterday. Ever. Not in Jethro's Ironman at 2am, not in Ironman Arizona, not when I have actually had lead weights around my ankles. But Joy & I were troopers - we didn't mention how awful we felt for 3 miles. Even though it was raining steadily. Even though we had a significant headwind. Oh look - the 1 mile marker at 11 minutes. Damn, we're fast. We better slow down. Gawdammit - that was the 8k 1 mile marker - they started 2 blocks before the 1/2 marathon start. Ok, get back up to the pace we were at because we're right on 12 minute miles - that's perfect to start. If we feel good, we can pick it up later (yeah, right).

After 2 miles, we start mentioning how heavy our legs are. How, even though we've made a 90 degree turn to the North, we STILL have the same headwind (why is that always the way?). Wait, there's Anita & Stacey to cheer us on. Yay. And we can stop for a moment. Double Yay.

We continue up Boulevard to the 1st hill of the day. We make a command decision to walk it - after all, we're really very close to that 12 minute mile pace and we stopped to talk to A&S. We can make it up on the downhill.

I announce at the top of the first hill that the Blue Ridge Marathon is DEFINITELY out. OUT I SAY OUT!!!!

We realize that Annnn did not quite make it out to cheer us on or we missed her. Too bad, but no blame, it's a nasty day so far.

Oh crap, there's a turn I forgot about - stupid extra mile loop. YAY, Stacey & Anita - right after we decided to walk for another minute. Crap - start running to get to them. Yay. We have to run some more? Really? Dammit.

We see some friends along the way - Sharon, Ricky, Susie, Lynn - that was all good and we were running as we passed each one (OK, maybe not entirely running past Rick & Susie as it was a water STOP)...

Bryan Park Sucks. Best part about it was the apparently homeless man under the bridge cheering us on, telling us we were competitors and winners and that we were "doing" it. On the return trip, someone in our area called him the "Wise Man Under the Bridge". I don't know about all that, but it was the driest place on the course. The park course was up & down hills and I kept expecting a water STOP and there wasn't a single one in the park, nor for a mile or so afterward. And I did not see Angela who I had hoped to see there, but she's smarter than standing out in the cold wind & rain. She has earned additional respect for not being there.

OK, so onto Northside some more. This is where I have no idea of the neighborhood names or street names, but it was a very nice area. We continued to ask neighbors who were partying there if they could spare a mimosa or two. No one did and they looked askance at us. WTF - don't all racers ask for alcholic beverages? I always have. I heard somewhere that if you don't ask for what you want, you'll never get it.

running, running running...where the fuck are we?

Ah, a bunch of trigirls in a very pretty neighborhood - oh look there's Anita & Linda - so good to see her. Oh wait, there are a hundred trigirls calling my name & cheering. I tried to get them to cheer on Joy too. Then I was distracted.

I heard a little voice cry out in the night (OK, it was morning, but it was still overcast and it's poetic license for chrissakes, just chill). "CJ....do you want a shot of bourbon?" Bourbon you say? Well, it would be rude to refuse...SCREECH to a halt and take an immediate left turn to the girl with the glass. Is that a black label? Nice. OK, it was only half a shot and Cathy who handed it to me knows that this is certainly only for medicinal purposes. Smooooth. Didn't take but a second to catch up with Joy. I immediately informed her that although the Blue Ridge Marathon was OUT, the Bourbon Chase was definitely IN. Hello & goodbye to friends & loved ones and we're running some more.

Sure could use a water stop to chase the bourbon. LOOK, it's the Hash House Harriers - Drinkers with a Running Problem....serving beer. Um, it's only been about 1/2 a mile since the bourbon. Joy urgently informs me that "liquor then beer never fear", so I downed a shot or two of beer. Really important not to be rude. I'm just a social drinker. Really.

Oohhh, Drunk. For about 3 minutes. Everything is accelerated when you're racing. OK, now cotton mouth. Nice. Great - hangover. Where's the water stop....yes I was whining (preferred to be wining, but I don't think there's a rhyme for that)?!

YAY, water stop, downed my last GU and checked the watch at the 10 mile marker. We have a bunch of time to run a 5k and still finish in 2:45, Joy's secret race time goal. It's not a secret anymore, right Joy?

As we're running down Cary Street, headed for home, I can hear my ride approaching (always with the sirens). Ah, it's not my ride it's the )@&*$)@)* marathon winner. Dammit, I always used to try and finish the 1/2 before the winner finished the whole. Guess I have slowed down considerably, since this dude started 25 minutes after we did. Oh well.

Joy beat me by a bit - I just couldn't get my legs to turnover any faster and was barely able to keep my nose off the pavement. I know she wanted to finish together, but I hollered at her to beat her goal time. I was 4 seconds off. Story of my life, but a whole lot closer to the goal than 14:20.

Why does that always come up?

Here are 2 happy girls, right before they tried to walk again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Own Personal Hell...

is having to shop in person for a baby shower gift....with a hangover.

The whole plan about not shopping online so as not to get on any mailing lists really doesn't work when you also forget to bring cash to the store and then have to use the credit card because you are out of time.

It helps a lot that the soon to be new mom is a terrific person.

But it still doesn't make it right.

Thought you should know.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming

So, on the hottest day of the year, back in late July, I struck up a conversation with Joy as we walked 9 holes. Anita & Stacey were smart enough to ride.

"So, Joy, how's the running going?"

"OK, good thing I can run inside on the treadmill. This heat is awful."

"What are you training for now?"

"Nothing really. I might run the 8k in November."

"Hey, you know what we should do? We should get Anita & we should all sign up & train for the 1/2 marathon in November."

Moron.


--- Anita wants all of you to know that she's smart enough not to have signed up for this, though she's run 3 times (that's just 1 less than I have). Ah....she adds that she is still pondering the race. ---

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What...

Too Heavy? Tell me about it - I'm living the dream.

I don't understand...

This will be a long one. For my republican friends, I am pleading with you to read it. I am not intending to bash. I've learned a lot from the last 3 presidential elections and I'm really tired of all the bashing.

I don't understand the politics of hate. I don't understand why people need to find a group to blame all the world's ills on. I don't understand why we can't all just get along.

Instead of blaming a minority group (and how are white christian men really the majority anyway) for a shortage, why isn't energy focused on eliminating the shortage? This morning I heard of a conversation about how the Mexicans were going to use up all the healthcare and all the money. Really? Mexicans are that sick?

Election night 2009. Bad news for me personally. Maine voters decide they don't want homosexuals to have the right to marry as their legislators decided. A bit of a surprise to me, but I do understand that the subject of gay marriage is a polarizing one. I'm OK with it being that way, as long as your argument isn't that it's a threat to heterosexual marriage. If your argument is a religious one, I'd have to agree that you are entitled to your religious beliefs - but I also believe strongly in the separation of church & state and believe that government should stay out of the marriage business and way out of my relationship. How would you feel if your religious beliefs were in the minority?

In my current home state of Virginia, we have elected a governor that believed strongly enough at age 34 to dedicate an entire thesis to his belief that women should not work outside the home, contraception should be illegal, and homosexuality is well, the worst thing of all. But that's thesis is 20 years old and he says some of his views have changed. Virginia's new attorney general put front & center on his web page that he led the fight for amending Virginia's Constitution not only against gay marriage, but against any contracts between people of the same sex "to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." That is so important to him that he put it front and center in his campaign. The newly re-elected lieutenant governor spent $25k of his own money to write this discriminatory language into the Virginia Constitution.

Virginia's governor-elect has vowed to overturn the current governor's first executive order, which extended discrimination protection to sexual orientation. He's saying this is because it is not a governor's right to make law, but if he agreed with it, I'm guessing he wouldn't have a problem. I can't look at this as an exercise. This is my life here. I'll be looking for a new job during the governor-elect's term. Fabulous.

I only came out of the closet at work when the original Virginia House Bill 751 to write vague law discriminating against homosexuals into the code of Virginia came up. I understand that some folks have a problem with homosexuality. I understand that some folks think my love is against God's will and they probably think they're trying to save me from that (as well as saving their marriage, which I really don't understand at all), but how can a contract ensuring I can care for my partner be a bad thing.

I came out of the closet at work because I consider at least some of my co-workers friends. I figured the only way they can vote for this discriminatory law is if they don't know they have a gay friend that isn't evil and that they haven't read this very short law, because this law is not just against gay marriage. I figured lying was worse than coming out: how can we be actual friends if coworkers ask me how my weekend was and I change all the pronouns or just say "we" a lot? If I say "fine" or "great" there are more questions. If I don't answer them, I'm considered anti-social. If they really didn't already know I was gay (duh), I figured that their discrimination against homosexuals was partly my fault. They deserved to know that a friend of theirs was gay and still not hitting on them (or their children or their pets).

I didn't choose this lifestyle. I didn't choose Anita to love (ok, my Mom did), but I thank your God and mine for her love.

I wouldn't choose this lifestyle - it comes with a full load of crap & baggage - people devote their lives to the eradication of my love for Anita. I REALLY don't get that.

For those of you that read this blog and voted this slate of elected officials in, I understand that there are many other issues on the table. I recognize the weakness of the democratic gubernatorial candidate. I also believe that many of you are my friends. I like to hope that you don't believe that my love is evil or threatening in any way - that I am evil or threatening in any way - if you did, how could we be friends? I like to hope that you don't think my relationship is any threat to your marriage or your children.

I propose this as a compromise: Go one step further than voting and a lot less than asking you to believe that gay marriage is OK: please call or email your elected official and ask them not to discriminate against sexual orientation in hiring/employment. Does it really matter if your accountant is gay?

I have another proposal that no one will be happy with - right or left:

Make marriage solely a religious institution. Your church will define it any way you like and I will have no problem with it. My church may define it differently.

Make civil unions legal between consenting adults. Allow me to provide for my partner both in life and in the event of my death or incapacitation. Allow her to collect my social security benefits in the event of my death. Allow me to file one freakin' tax return instead of having to complete 2. Allow us to purchase health insurance together, etc.

Children. I believe a child raised in love is a healthy child. You may believe there is more to it than that, especially when you find out that I also believe that the rearing of a child into a responsible adult has to be at least 1/2 luck. I will never raise a child, but I've seen plenty of children raised in rage and fear and hate. Most of these that I have seen have been in a "typical" family. Some turn out OK, some don't. I am no expert.

Thanks for reading. For both sides of this issue, if you care to comment, please do so, but please maintain respect for each other. This entire entry is really just about respect.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Stupid PC, Stupid MAC

So, how can I blame Comcast for this? Damn, I can't - we don't have Comcast internet.

Why the fuck do people devote their lives to screwing with other people? What kind of reward do they feel for hosing up pc's? Yeah, there are financial rewards aplenty, I'm sure, but many of the turdblossoms (heh, heh) screwing with our pc's are simply doing it to screw with our pc's.

We have a MAC. We have a PC. I used an Apple back in college when they were the only thing around besides mainframes. It takes me a long time to adjust. I love my MAC, but I'm so ignorant about how to accomplish tasks that I do find it frustrating at times. I want to grab a single frame from some video I shot and use it as a picture....that was 10 days ago, so far no picture. But my MAC functions. I can surf the web. I don't have to upgrade my virus software every 3 minutes. Very occasionally, something will go kablooey on the MAC and I will watch it heal itself. That's right. No "did you try rebooting" advice needed. It basically says, "I'm sorry, could you wait just a moment while I fix a minor problem..." and then it fixes it. Without downloading the Encyclopedia Britannica. Without turning it off and on multiple times, often having to unplug it before turning it back on.

Our PC is infected. We have the latest, biggest version of Mcafee installed, in use, scanning regularly. Doesn't matter - infected - AND Mcafee didn't notice & didn't care. Fortunately, I have lots of former IT coworkers that know a lot about PCs. Some even still speak to me, generously forgiving me for still working for their former employer. So, I've downloaded a full working trial copy of Casper the Friendly Ghost's Save My Life software or something like that. had to uninstall Mcafee first because none of the virus software plays well with others. Mcafee didn't want to go - over & over again. You didn't really think that the uninstall & remove program would really erase itself once it was done, did you. Ok, I might have thought that. I was wrong. But Casper offered me a way around it and now, after seemingly half my life, it's installed and running. Took 17 seconds to identify an active threat. It's now taken 46 minutes to get 36% of the way through scanning the hard drive and has found 28 problems it is in the process of fixing. The estimated time to completion occasionally reads 3 days and occasionally reads 54 minutes. I'm putting money on 3 days.

I can learn how to use my MAC. I have 3 days to get started.

Monday, October 26, 2009

FYI

It came from Australia first. Yay for Australia, my new favorite country.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend

This is my second consecutive weekend without seeing P!nk.

Today I consoled myself by golfing with AJ and Stacey and attempting to corner the market on Farmville neighbors, both real & fictitious, as well as four legged. I believe the four legged ones are real. We even now have a deceased neighbor. That one is a little over the line, I think.

We also stopped by Barnes & Noble and visited the P!nk dvd that will be released Tuesday...unless it comes from Australia first. I got to touch it, but it made the clerk very nervous. Can you see me throwing $20 on the counter and running out? Would that be stealing? Hmmm. May have to ponder that one some more.

And we spent some quality phone & FB time with She Who Deserves a Better Nickname Than I Have Currently Come Up With. Tomorrow we will plan the P!nk pre & actual dvd viewing party (may need to rent a hall, or perhaps break it up into smaller parties) and console ourselves some more by running with SWDABNTIHCCUW (Swadabn for short)....or at least planning a run and then backing out when I haven't had enough sleep because I stayed up hoping more FV friends will show (only 4 more needed - that's AMAZING). Ok, perhaps AMAZING is overstating, but 50 is a lot of FV crazies, I mean neighbors. Sure wish the cross out feature worked on this thing.

Then we will have Halloween rehearsal. I'm truly thinking we need to rethink our Halloween plans or at least our Halloween friends for next year.

G'night. Thank goodness I don't believe in editing before publishing, right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Someone's Footsteps

I ran Sunday evening. About 6.5 miles with Anita & Joy (Ironannn had the kids, so no go there). We had a really good run and were just about 1/2 mile from the finish when I decided I really missed Ironannn. So I tripped, did a very nice somersault, and came up running, already reassuring Anita that I was fine.

I HATE scaring Anita way more than I hate being a klutz. But I've always been much more of an aspiring athlete than an actual athlete, so I should certainly be used to it, wish she'd get used to it....sorry Love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The P!nk Cruise or The Triathlon of P!nk

Just couldn't decide on whether to describe this as a cruise or a triathlon...wait...I enjoy cruises all the way through and triathlons I only enjoy when signing up. Ok, The P!nk Cruise it is!

We learned last year that the more friends you can take on a cruise, the better
off you are and the more likely you are to have a grand time for the entire trip. If ever there's a down or slow moment, a friend will come along to get the party started (restarted).

So, we sailed into Fairfax 2 Mondays ago for our first port. We had general admission tickets, so we had to get in line. Thanks so much to our cruise team anchors, Robin & Sherry, for getting to the venue nice & early and securing space for the 6 of us. Fairfax was a lovely port. People were extremely friendly, especially considering we were all competing for the best "seats" in the house.

OK, maybe too friendly. I call this picture "there are people nuttier than us". This is one of
at least 2 pictures of P!nk on this man's body. He also has copies of her tattoos tattoo'd (OK,
 I have no idea how to spell that).

We arrived on line about 3 for the 8pm concert.  Mj & JJ beat us by only a few minutes, which is good for us, considering we're ALWAYS on GST (Gay Standard Time).  Mom was a real trooper and hung out with the 6 of us, even though she had choices since she had a seat. Here's where Mom's seat was:

Yes, I'm a horrible daughter for getting her a crap seat AND making her wait in line for said crap seat. From the discussions
in the car on the way to the hotel afterward, it seems we saw completely different concerts. Mom couldn't understand anything P!nk said when she spoke and she also observed several things we didn't see.

We met several new friends on line, including Morgan & Whitney, two local college students.  Not sure I was ever that young & energetic, but Morgan loves P!nk, so it's OK to be a little perky.  Morgan gave P!nk a homemade shirt onstage and P!nk said "thank you Morgan".  Damn, I could have made her a shirt.  Next time.  I'd say I'm a dork, but I'm too old to be a dork.

The Ting Tings opened for P!nk or should I say they played before she came on stage. Opened for her connotes they're on a similar talent level. No. We were sadly forced to attend as we'd lose our spots if we left. It took us 3 concerts to learn they were indeed better from the beer/drink line - even before you got to buy your $9.50 Madison Square Garden beer.

In Fairfax, we were to (our) right of the catwalk/stage, on the security barrier. It was awesome. P!nk worked to make eye contact with everyone and we had a great view of her dancing & singing. She was in great voice and seemed to really enjoy herself. I think all 6 of us on the floor were in total awe.

She opened with a video of "Highway to Hell", then entered from beneath the stage to swing high overhead to my fave of the new album, "Bad Influence". Loved the entrance & the song
selection. Not going to go through the set list or the costume changes. Seems a bit boring unless you're obsessed enough to go to 3 concerts or more. I'll try to just hit the highlights. Looking at the pics again this evening made us wish we were going to see her more!

The stage was very large and intricate with a bed, slides, 2 stairways, a runway/catwalk into the middle of the audience with a small stage at the end. She changed costumes a lot, but was not offstage much - she changed jackets and such, but had about 6 major costume changes. The costumes were fun - designed by Bob Mackie of Cher & the Carol Burnett Show fame. Amazing what you can do when you start with a sexy, strong body and then add a little spandex, ribbons, lace & glitter. Mmmmm. Let me say that besides the body, I have never 
appreciated any of these (well, maybe a little glitter) until P!nk. Now, Mmmmm.



The Entrance:








We had a good spot to see the concert.




Yeah, that's what I was watching, the concert...





It was a bit of a religious experience for me:


And then Freddy Mercury showed up! At least P!nk channeled him on
"Bohemian Rhapsody".











She then took off the hat & jacket to perform "Funhouse".  








I really like her taste in clothes.

After Fairfax, we lost some of our cruisers.  So just 4 of us flew up to Boston.  I've clearly run out of gas for this blog, so I'll post more about Boston & NY another time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

P!nk

About 56 hours until the first P!nk concert for us.  I'm so excited that I'm nearly wishing away the weekend, but not quite.

We have 2 tickets available for the Fairfax concert Monday night, if anyone is interested.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Farmville

Farmville is addictive and should be avoided. Anita and I are dreaming of harvesting crops. I've gotten up early two days this week because my tomatoes/pumpkins were in. Perhaps I'm actually growing poppies. I don't know.

Sorry Cathy. Sorry Joy. Sorry Marilou. Sorry Anita. Gary, you're not really my fault.

However, I was growing bored with it last weekend and then the worst thing happened. I thought of something new I could do on it. Leave messages. Not little signs you can't see without clicking.

Here's yesterday's appropriate message.



I especially liked how it looked like a digital billboard as the crops matured.




Yes, I already told you the message was appropriate.
And thanks for all the signs that had some variation of "there's not enough help in all of Farmville".

Today's message is "Some Pig" with an advertisement by Charlotte offering a billboard for rent.

Tomorrow's? Join Farmville on Facebook, become my neighbor and find out.

But, you were warned AND I even showed you a helpful diagram of how bad this addiction is.

The Saga Continues

One other thing Mark the Comcast Dude said on Tuesday was that a customer service rep would call us on Wednesday to discuss/confirm the confirmation. Friday around 2ish, I email Mark. I get an OOO message. OK, I can wait until Monday. But Monday isn't good enough for Mark. He emails me back within the hour, tells me that I'll be getting a credit for the service and both late fees and that a local rep "tried" to call us and is there another number she can use.

I finally get a voicemail from the rep. I then get her voicemail and give her my work number. Guess what, she doesn't call back today.

Is there a lesson here? Not really - we already knew there were a precious few outstanding Comcast employees. But Mark IS one of them. I have no doubt that he'll at least give me my money back and that has to be enough. My local rep, not outstanding, but with Big Brother watching, it'll get done.

FYI, we have another cable box apparently going bad. hysTERical. But it is a few years old and it doesn't take much to trade it in for a new one....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Comcast as Big Brother

We have a new reader, Comcast National Customer Support.  Welcome to the program!

Anita & I both spoke with Mark today and we look forward to at least a full credit on late fees and the service call that did not fix our problem that turned out to be the cable box (FYI, this in the "Comcast Guarantee" on their website).

He's apologized repeatedly and will be reviewing the service we received by phone and online chat and will be discussing the problems with our regional office - Sheila, baby, this means you.

We'll see if the expected compensation materializes.

Oh, and the next blog will definitely use the phrase Carnival Cruise ship Holiday is lame repeatedly.  Wait, I already did that.  So much for compensation from Carnival for a pretty bad shipboard experience.  They're just lucky I had some of my peeps with me to make it fun among the lameness.  Words to live by:  never travel without some peeps, marshmallow or otherwise.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comcast, Key to My Heart

OK, I may be calm enough to post a tribute to Comcast.  Perhaps not quite a tribute, but a definite homage.  Alright, maybe not an homage, maybe more of a rant.  Rant or diatribe.  OK, why are you making me categorize this?  You people really annoy me.  :-)

On July 28th, after Anita complained to our beloved cable company that the signal on one of our TV's was breaking up, they sent a technician to the house.  Said technician jimmied with this, jiggled with that, replace a whatzit here and a doojobbie there and Anita thought the signal had improved, so fine.  We found out later that evening that no, it didn't help at all, but the signal breakup didn't really start until we'd been watching TV for 15 minutes.

So, we decided it wasn't the cable signal.  I switched out the Tivo box for another one.  No improvement.  We bypassed the Tivo, no improvement, hmmm, uh oh, flat screen TV for the bedroom, here we come.  This all took several days to move around as we never did get started on the "project" until we were ready for bed.

On August 10, we got our monthly invoice for cable, which included a $28.90 charge for the service call.   We were surprised as we had never been charged for service before, but, well, they did come into the house to jack around with stuff, so perhaps, well, whatever.

We decided to switch out the cable box.  Anita brought the old one in and got a new one (nice and shiny and new and about 1/3 the size of the monster we had.  Problem solved.  I gotta say that getting the service, getting the bill and switching out the cable box to solve the problem happened far enough apart that it has only just occurred to me that Comcast now owes us $28.90 as the jerkwad that "fixed" our cable didn't fix it and it was Comcast's problem.  I was OK with him not fixing it if it was something that belonged to us.  Oh, great, another call to Comcast.  Fuckmuffins.

Well, back to the original rant, though I seem to have a whole nother one to go off on (or soon will anyway).

When we got the new cable box, not all the channels we get were programmed, even though they said they would be.  Bastards.  So, we called our friendly, neighborhood cable company at 11pm.  Oddly, the first recorded message we heard was that we had a large, past due amount.  We didn't think much of it, our payments are electronically transferred on a fixed date every month, so clearly their accounting department was a little behind or something.  The technician was able to get our box reprogrammed after only about 30 minutes of hold time and unplugging and replugging the damn thing.

On September 1st, we were watching TV and realized all of our premium channels were gone, on all our TV's.  Anita called the cable company and because of our large past due bill, we were sent to the credit & collections department.  WHAT????  We've been Comcast customers for 15 years (OK, they've gone through name changes, but I met the cable guy the day we moved into this house greater than 15 years ago, leaving Anita with the movers at the apartment).  Anita gets a real person in credit who says that the only way to get our cable back on tonight was to pay our bill by phone (for a 4.95 charge or via their website for a 2.95 charge).  WHAT!!??  Anita read our bill to them:  "Previous Balance XXX.XX, Payment 8/5 for same, "thank you" etc.  At the top it says "UNPAID BALANCE $0.00 - DUE NOW".  "New Charges $xxx.xx - DUE 9/6/09".  How do we have an unpaid balance?

Evidently, Comcast billed us late for the service call.  Somehow, because the service occurred in July, we should have paid for that service on August 5.  But they didn't bill us until the 9th and we didn't get the bill until the 10th.  No matter to them, our entire invoice is past due.  Well, we'd be willing to pay the service call now, but not the whole bill.  Nope.  Whole thing is due.  Nothing comcast credit & collections dude can do for us except Visa, AMEX, etc.

Anita says fine, thanks for nothing and hangs up to tell me what happened.  We call back to try to talk to someone in customer service.  Nope, back to credit & collections.  I talk for 10 minutes about what has transpired and that our bill said it's due on 9/6, the day of the month it's been due on for 15 years. "I'm in credit & collections and there's nothing I can do to change that."  I remained calm and yes, I know, but can you transfer me to someone who can help?  Well, I could put you on with my supervisor who could transfer me to customer service, but she can't make the transfer herself.  OK, please do that.  I hear a click and I think OMG, bitch cut me off, I am going to cut someone and then I hear a ring and think whew, that was close and then I hear a recorded message "the supervisor queue can not handle your call right now. Please call back later."  Click.  And scene.

FUCK! FUCK! Fuck.  Assholes.  Greedy sonofabitchin' assholes.

I call back (what's the definition of insanity again).  I get another woman, fine, who will absolutely not let me finish a sentence but manages to make it sound like I'm the one interrupting her. Yes, I have her name - Sheila, I'm coming for your job, bitch.  Anywho, she asks if I've called the 800 customer service line.  I say no, I've called the number my freaking invoice says to call.  Evidently, my invoice is lacking in many social graces.  She politely gives me the 800 #.  I hang up with a little violence.  I hate cordless phones.  It's much harder to make a statement hitting the off button with violence than slamming the phone in it's cradle.  Yes, I'm a classic lady.

I call back.  Do ya feel me?  Guess what?  The 800 customer service line directs us right back to credit and collections.  This happens to be the number Anita first called, but I didn't realize that.  FUCK.  Oh, but wait.  It is now 9pm and customer service closes at 9.  Please try again tomorrow.  Bitch Sheila probably knew the 800 number would send me right back here to her closed department and I would no longer be her problem.  Really?  I'm not going to be her problem any longer?  Really, you think that?

All this time (about 1.5 hours), I've been on the internet (thank God, we have Verizon FIOS internet, not that I'm advocating for them, but at least it also didn't get cut off), researching Verizon cable services.  I now go to the Comcast website and find they have a customer service online chat.  Sweet.  24 hours.  Sweet.  I log on.  "We are currently experiencing an outage in your area and a very high volume of calls.  Calls will be worked in the order they come in."

Start at 14.  OK, not so bad, quickly go to 12, 11, 9, then back to 14.  What the holy fuck.  But it's OK, I can work on my blog.  Farm on Farmville.  Rant on Facebook.

12, 9, 6, 12.  Goddammittt.  No, wait, I'm cool.  I can wait....about an hour!

I go through the whole thing again.  She writes that my invoice is overdue and has the audacity to quote the invoice I'm staring at.  I asked if she can get an email scan or fax.  She suddenly asks if we can pay the invoice by the 6th.  YEEESSSSS, the freaking electronic payment is actually already scheduled for the 5th and has been since the day we got the invoice.  OK, she can turn on my cable.  Is it working now?  Uh no.  About 5 times for that with bitch continuing to ask if it's working like 5 times while I go in the other room to check.  She didn't get that I wasn't in front of the TV chatting - not everyone has a laptop & a wireless network (I do, but wanted my MAC desktop).  5 minutes later, we were all set.  I then asked for the interest and one days service to be credited.  And she seems to have done it - won't know until the bill comes next week.

SO, I am TRIUMPHANT!  Jumping & dancing around the house, even though we have about 4 hours of Tivo'd blackness saved (and in high def, thank you very much), I still conquered the evil forces bent to destroy me.  And oh yes, upon closer inspection of our invoice, under the heading "News from Comcast" After it says "As of 8-9-09, we haven't received payment in full from last month's bill."  Hysterical.  Who reads Comcast news and how exactly were we supposed to prepay a charge we didn't know we were going to get?

I hate F*ing Comcast.  Say it with me now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation Revue

OK, I suspect this will be more of a review than a revue, but there could be some singing and dancing included, so it is feasible that someone would consider the alternate word. OK, maybe not.
Ok, I'm really pissed off at Comcast right now, but I'll try to finish this post which I started more than a week ago (#14 in the online chat waiting list).

Here's a picture of when I was really happy and not thinking about my crappy cable provider. Perhaps it's just the cocktail I was holding.

This was taken aboard the incredibly LAME-O Carnival cruise ship, "Holiday".  

Now let me start by saying that I had a marvelous time on our cruise.  Every single one of the personnel aboard the ship was professional, courteous and helpful.  It was awesome to reconnect and spend some quality time with old friends aboard ship.

But, the ship is definitely showing it's age.  I knew we were in trouble going in when I checked out the Carnival website and the "Holiday" was the only ship in the line that Carnival decided not to put their line name in front of.  You know, "Carnival Destination", "Carnival Party Boat", "Carnival Merchant of Death" or something like that.  No, we were sailing on "Holiday".  Uh oh.

We opted for the best cabin they had:  suite, balcony, jacuzzi tub.  We walked in and it looked nice.  How odd - one of the drawers is broken.  Look, there's a nasty crack in the bottom of the sink.  Honey, do you smell that (always make sure there is water in the toilet or the sewer gas will back up into the room).  Later we found out that you couldn't actually get enough water in the jacuzzi tub to turn the jets on (and I'm betting there was no turning the jets on) and the shower head was at about 5'.  Anita's 5'4"...it just occurred to me (I'm a little slow sometimes) that the gym was about 25' from our room and had individual showers - bet Anita could have gotten a nice shower.  Oh well.

# 11 in the Comcast customer service online queue.

Anita competed in the "Master Mixologist" competition.  She signed up before they published the rules, which said you could only use one type of liquor.  So much for the No Recall Martini she is now famous for.  Here's a pic.


We think she came in 2nd (a bartender won).  She did really well, considering she had a migraine and the competition was in the direct Mexican sun and about 100 degrees.

#9 in line...

Here's some pics of how lame the ship was.  Here's the bar, which was used only twice for events the entire cruise.  Most events were held in the Bus Stop Bar, which was a lot more like a bus stop than a bar.  4 chairs, 4 stools, 400 people wanting to sing karaoke....maybe it was a good thing there were no chairs.  Scheduling everything here wAdd Imageas absolutely due to greed by the cruise line.  The Bus Stop was right outside the casino and beside the picture selling area. Bastards. Good thing we snuck liquor on and didn't have to pay $6 a drink.

Dead Cow Chairs, Check.

Saddles for Bar Stools, check (why are Terry & Geoffrey so happy?)

Strange, red leather bondage chairs in the middle of the same bar, check.
I did think those would be more fun.
Cupholder on a saddle, OMG, I'm in love.
 
#14 in line WTF!!!!  I HATE COMCAST.

First port was Progreso.  As far as I can tell, Progreso consists of a 5 mile long pier and nothing else.  On the bright side, we decided to take the 2.5 hour bus ride to the Mayan ruins named Chichen Itza (pronounced chicken pizza by most of my friends).  There were no chickens on the bus, so that was a plus.  We were not hijacked and kidnapped - another plus.  This place was amazing.  The Pyramid of Culculcan represents a calendar.  There are 91 steps on each of 4 sides, then one step at the top (365 days).  On the solstice (I don't remember which one or all), the sunlight makes it appear as if a snake is coming down the steps and the sunlight goes through the openings at the top.  Cool.  

Hopefully, this pic gives an idea of the scale of this massive thing.


Because I know this picture doesn't.


And there were lots of other structures:  the playing field with home & away benches.  Amy's in the home picture.

No one would stand next to the away bench->








, the skull wall thingy field, 

The Mall


Yes, that is a Gap Kids on the right.

OK, too tired to do anymore & I can't figure out how to easily transfer photos from Picasa to Blogger....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gone Cruisin'

But I leave you with one of my favorite triathlon pictures:



Debbie seemed worried, I was thrilled not to freeze my betooties off at SML a few years back. Of course, they let/made us swim, damn it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pre-Vacation Post

Last post before the cruise. Ahhh.

September 12th is clearly the antidote to September 11. We've been invited to another party. Another party I want to attend. Yet there's nothing to do on the 13th. What's up with that?

So, a golf tournament, 3 parties, and oh yes, I'm supposed to go to a board meeting. All on the 12th....hmmmm.

Angela, don't you think you should announce your presence on this blog?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anthem Moonlight Ride

This was a LOT of fun and I recommend it to everyone - whether you've ridden a bike the last 10 years or not. It was a very casual ride. It was a little hairy at first as hundreds of riders tried to get going. Lots of coasting on one pedal and I even walked my bike for a few hundred yards. But everyone was very friendly and we did finally get moving. I was just glad the ride start did not resemble this:We had a great time waving to kids who were watching. We rode up Hermitage/Lakeside from The Diamond, then through Bryan Park. As we entered Bryan Park, the sun went down for real. It got DARK. Funny how that works. Anita, of course, carefully outfitted our bikes with headlights and taillights, but it was still crazy-dark and lots of riders had no lights. The organizers had put down glow sticks to keep us on the road, but some kids were stopping unexpectedly to pick the glow sticks up! It was a little frightening, but we got through it with no casualties.

As we finished up, we saw the entire IMUSA team lounging around. This was a little shocking as they said they were riding the full moon and gave us a comical look when told we were doing the 1/2 moon. Now I know I'm slow, but to have them be well-rested and have their bikes put away before I could ride 8 miles is a little ridiculous. Turns out that the long course turn was only a few hundred yards away from the finish and the beer was calling louder than more biking. So, we didn't get lapped!


Here's a picture of "The Dream Team" getting ready to ride with Anita playing caboose in her Christmas lights:
After the ride, we put our bikes away and shared a beer or two with the dream team and IMUSA dream team. Not sure how I took no pictures of the IMUSA team, but it was fun hanging out with them and hearing just a few of their tales.

Everyone has to do this one next year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Help!

Can someone please answer why I'm thinking & talking about drinking more Koolaid? Thinking about backing off a game of skill (and some people consider a sport) that I'm actually good at to go back to a sport I'm awful at? A sport that I pretty much hate while I'm doing it? I did it. I finished the (*@&$_!*( thing (twice). Yes, 14 minutes and 20 seconds shy of glory. I don't know if I'm trying to prove something and if so, to whom? OK, I don't know the proper use of whom, but you get it.

Please help me figure this out and fast.

Friday, August 7, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance

We love this show.  It starts again in 1 month.  Watch it!  For inspiration, here's a picture of Spot playing "Dance Dance Revolution" - it's his favorite game.

On another note, I am wondering why September 12th is such a popular day this year.  Way too many fun things to do (to waste time with non-fun things).  Why haven't you invited us to do something fun on September 12?  No danger of us accepting!

And speaking of Wii, we bought the Wii Sports Resort last week.  Having fun with it, though I expect it'll get old fairly quickly.  We have been enjoying sword fighting, frisbee golf, 3 point bball contest, and canoeing better than the rest.

Looking forward to posting pictures of the Anthem Moonlight Ride...


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hi

Gee, I missed you.

Moments of excitement the last 2 months, but mostly just work, golf & sleep.

It was awe-inspiring to follow the IMUSA crazies. I say "crazies" with all sorts of affection. DB having her toe broken in the swim and continuing. Not just continuing, but excelling. Doesn't matter, did it anyway. Awesome. CD with a bad hip that had to kill on the bike and couldn't have been comfortable on the run. Doesn't matter, did it anyway! SK doing the whole race with a bad hamstring. Not supposed to run. Doesn't matter, did it anyway. SS enjoying a picnic on the bike, but them suffering new forms of leg & foot cramps. Wanted to quit. Doesn't matter, did it anyway, and with an hour to spare. KB kicking ass & finishing in daylight! What!? Just don't get that. And to think I knew her when she'd never run a race of any kind. How cool.

Got new irons. Very exciting. Got a new putter. Very exciting. Played great for a week, then came back to my regular golf game. Finally broke a 20 handicap again (on the good side). Thought I'd crack it by May. Took until July 31. Oh well. Playing lots of golf, but still haven't found the groove.

Still haven't played Roller Derby Mountain Bike Polo Golf. But soon, I just know it.

Haven't been on my mountain bike since the day I put on the clips....and immediately fell down. Didn't get hurt, but crushed my confidence. Need to get another lesson as it feels like everything has changed on the bike because of the pedals.

Riding the Anthem Moonlight Bike Ride Saturday night. Not for exercise, just for the costume possibilities & the party afterwards. Hope it'll be fun. Come on out!

Going on a cruise a week Saturday with friends. Looking forward to not working for a week, but it is a pretty critical time with potentially large asset sales in the offing for my bankrupt company. Lots of work between now & vacation.

Thinking about restarting some training. Not over the top training, just some training. I'd like to swim faster (Ok, a lot faster - much more than 14 minutes/20 seconds faster)...

Maybe I'll just go back to martial arts; I used to enjoy that a lot and I'll need something for the winter months when it's too cold for golf.

And so ends this stream of consciousness. Just needed to check in. No guarantees as to the next time I'll post. I know you miss me, but you can't smother me, I need my freedom. Set me free and if it's true between us, I'll return....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This week

Disjointed post alert.

I'm a little depressed this week. Work is just sooo difficult to maintain any motivation. It's pretty depressing - I estimate there are 57 people still employed by my company in Richmond. Next Friday that number drops to 40 or so. Down from 2000 in December. Every day is like the final episode of "Survivor" where you reminisce about those voted out. But we don't ever get a bonfire. I'm thinking a nice bonfire would help with the depression. No, I'm not contemplating being the source of a fire nor instigating a fire. I'm just saying.

Now in the past 9 days, Anita & I have played golf 7 times, I think. That's been fun. We've decided to form a support group, "Golfers Anonymous". "Hello, my name is CJ and I shot a 40 for 9 last night. Yes, there are dishes in the sink and the clothes aren't washed, but did you see that drive on number 8? Sweet!" Golf may be the only thing keeping me sane these days. I almost ran over the weekend. See, I do need help!?

Oh, and the word for the day is "Fuckmuffins". I mean, why not?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

NYC Retri

Obviously I don't speak French because I have no idea what's after dux or duex or dues or whatever.

I had to go to Manhattan on business a week ago, so we decided to make a weekend out of it.  Anita walked the city as I had my meeting - she spent a lot of time at the NY Public Library and 
Bryant Park, then headed uptown to try to see "The View", but there were no openings.  She emailed me throughout the day so I knew she was wandering and was OK and safe.

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on 8th and 48th, which was fine - a large room by NY standards, but nothing to write home about, though we did have a decent view of the river & sunset.  

We had checked "The Times" for what shows were playing and decided to see two of our favorite actresses, Angela Lansbury in "Blithe Spirit" and Susan Sarandon in "Exit the King".  "The Times" gave each of these shows reviews in the fair to good category.

We saw Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" Thursday evening.  Besides Angela Lansbury, it starred Rupert Everett and Christine Ebersole and also had Jayne Atkinson and Debra Rush - all of whom you'd know if you saw if the names don't ring a bell.  It was OK - mildly amusing without any significant charm.  Of course, it was wonderful to see eighty-something Angela Lansbury larking about but the play suffered when she wasn't onstage.  Unfortunately, Rupert Everett was on stage for most of the play and there was just something "off" about his performance.  This is pretty funny as he played an Englishman.  He is an Englishman - you'd think he could've pulled that off.  But he mugged a lot and seemed to be overacting; I wondered several times if he was just bored with his role and the play in general.   I'd call this mildly recommended for Angela Lansbury fans, decent 3rd choice in the TKTS line for others seeking mild amusement.

We walked the city together on Friday as it was a gorgeous day - high 70's and beautiful blue sky.  we spent a lot of time exploring Central Park and debated renting a row boat for an hour and then debated lunching at "Tavern on the Green".  We went so far as to go inside and review a menu at the latter, but decided we really could just have a $2 hot dog and be just as, if not more content than if we'd spent $25 on a shrimp cocktail.  We found the Castle in the Park and thoroughly enjoyed exploring.

Next we walked south, checking out the neighborhoods of monied folks as we made our way to Madison Square Garden to see if P!nk (you didn't think I'd write a blog entry this year that fails to mention her, did you?) tickets would be on sale at the box office on Saturday when they went on sale at Ticketmaster (otherwise known as the thief in the night).  Regretably MSG box office only sells tickets the day after Ticketmaster sales start.  So, instead of paying only a $4 convenience fee (can anyone tell me what's convenient about flying to NY to see if I can buy a P!nk ticked at the box office of the venue she'll be performing at),  we had to pay the outrageous $12 PER TICKET convenience fee of Ticketmaster.  After checking out MSG, we had a couple of burgers at White Castle, then headed to Macy's.  I'm in the market for a couple of new suits as I'll be interviewing some day soon and (I know this is hard for some of you to believe) I've put on a few pounds.  A few being my ASS IS AS BIG AS CHICAGO....  When I had to put my suit on Thursday morning to fly to NYC, I realized that the suit I had tailor made in Singapore is no longer just a bit large on me.  Now it's tight.  Everywhere.  I HATE it when the dry cleaners shrink my pants.  So we spent some significant time in the ladies suits department and I found a couple I liked that were very reasonably priced.  Then I tried them on.  Damn it, either my ass is REALLY as big as Chicago, or they've just started making the asses and waistlines of these suitpants smaller (and the legs longer).  WTF.  So, newsflash, I'm thinking my ass is as big as Chicago.  Fuckmuffins.  (God, I love that word).  Anita & I are going on a diet...when we're ready...cruise in 80 days....hmmm.

But back to the point....we left Macy no poorer and not weighted down with purchases!  Then it was time, once again, to head to TKTS.  Tonight's goal was "Exit the King".  We checked the theater to see if there were any rush seats available, but they only sell student rush.  We took the time to read the entire "Times" review which was posted at the theater and it felt like a rave...I say felt like, because clearly we misread it.  The first act was funny - well, a little funny anyway.  Geoffrey Rush's entrance and physical comedy was quite good.  Susan Sarandon looked magnificent and was spot on in her role as the first Queen.  Lauren Ambrose of "6 Feet Under" fame was good; Andrea Martin was quite amusing as the maid.  As I said, the first act was funny.  Probably very funny for a good 30 minutes.  But it lasted 1.5 hours or so.  The last hour was the same joke, retreaded for our enjoyment.  It really didn't work, but it was OK, it just got a little old.  Intermission and big laugh as the performers run back to the positions that closed the 1st act.  That was the last laugh of the show.  I actually hit sound sleep at one point.  It wasn't funny.  It wasn't poignant.  It made no new points, broke no new ground from the first act.  It was a very large relief when the King exited.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

On the walk to the hotel from the theater (one block if we went directly, but probably 20 blocks as it was a beautiful evening), we decided we were done with plays for the season.  So, if we saw a show Saturday before leaving for home, it'd be a musical.  We checked the Tony nominations and saw that "Next to Normal was nominated for best musical.  Someone in the TKTS line (because you have to chat with total strangers in the TKTS line to sort out and verify your choices) said that it was great, but being about a bipolar actress did not make it the feel good musical of the year.  We decided that if it were on the board, we'd see it.

Saturday dawned a little chilly & overcast.  We took another long walk and had breakfast in an Irish restaurant on 8th Avenue.  The food was not good, but when we reported this to the manager, she charged us only for what we liked, which was nice - so we paid for my bacon and a diet coke!  Anita's coke wasn't even very good.  Weird.

Standing back in the TKTS line, we made some new friends and we all decided that "Next to Normal" was the thing to see.  As we were only a step or two away from the ticket window, I chatted up one of the TKTS paid wanderers and he told us that we had made a really good choice, but ominously added "I don't think we have very good seats though".  Not very good at all as they sold out as we got to the window!  Crap, once again we did not have a good second choice ready.  There were tickets available for last year's best musical, "In the Heights", but I'd heard quite a bit of the soundtrack and wasn't that excited about it.  Another 2009 best musical nominee was "Rock of Ages" which is a love story that takes place in 1987 (GLORY DAYS, BABY), but we were a little concerned about the decibel level of a musical featuring the music of Foreigner, Twisted Sister & Poison.  I asked the people behind us in line what they were seeing  - "Rock of Ages".  I asked our new friends who were in the line next to us - either "In the Heights" or "Rock of Ages".  It was again our turn at the ticket window.  I asked "what do you have better seats for - ITH or ROA?  He said "eh, there about the same."  Crap.  Now how do we decide.  I said "2 for Rock of Ages" at about the same time that Anita said "In the Heights".  The ticket guy only heard me.  I turned to the folks behind us and said "see you there" and "I bet we have better seats than you" (trust me, it was funny).  We then got some lunch and went to the drug store to buy earplugs - just in case.  We have about 100 "Just In Case" earplugs in the house now.

Big build up to this show, right?

We get in line to go in and they're passing out something that looks like a lighter, says "Rock of Ages" and is really a flashlight to hold up as if we're at a concert.  Cool AND funny before the show even starts.  Nice.  The entire theater is decorated like 1987 Los Angeles/Hollywood, the stage looks like a bar with a small bandstand in the rear and there are waiters and waitresses taking drink orders.  Drink Orders.  At a Broadway show.  Awesome.  What do you mean I don't have to wait until intermission to buy a $4 bottle of water, $6 beer or a $10 mixed drink?  You'll bring it to my seat.  FUN.  Then the people sitting behind us turn out to be the people behind us in line.  Of course, I mentioned again that our seats were waayy better than theirs.

The lights go down and this awesome and funny and inspiring show comes out of nowhere.  It was really great.  It probably helps a lot that I was in my 20's in the 80's, but I don't think it's a prerequisite.  There is a narrator that channels Jack Black and the whole thing was intelligent and touching and well, just great.  Didn't even need the ear plugs.  There probably isn't anything to give away, but just go see this show, especially if you were in your teens or 20's in the 80's.  It was a blast.

We capped Saturday off with another long walk that took us to just south of the fashion district, looking for a restaurant.  We found Keene's chophouse and though we were clearly underdressed, it was early enough that they didn't say a word.  We had a lovely dinner, another nice walk, then cabbed to the airport for our 10pm flight that finally took off as Saturday Night Live was ending - bummer.  We got home at 3, watched the "Survivor" Thursday night episode where Coach was FINALLY voted off. Mosied off to bed at 4:30 or so and slept clear until noon Sunday, which was fine since the weather was rainy & cold (sorry we missed cheering all our friends on at the Rockett's Landing Olympic tri/duathlon).

Great weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Question

I refuse to go back and review my blog posts, but I'm pretty sure I've only written about the following this whole year:
  • P!nk
  • New York City visits
  • Golf
  • Mountain biking
So, question: am I boring you? Should I just keep a diary? Or do you want to propose topics I should cover (yes, I'm a little nervous about this question)?

In my defense, when I was training for IM, I mostly was one track there too...you just may have been more interested in it...

Monday, May 18, 2009

For Annnnnnn

I can very nearly review the P!nk concert already as I have watched quite a bit of her European & Australian tour via youtube:

It was amazing. I laughed. I cried. I was awestruck.

I wore earplugs to ensure my old ears were protected yet I was still able to hear P!nk's amazing voice. We lined up 3 hours before the doors opened in order to get in the front of general admission. The Ting Tings were fine, but I'd rather have had no opening act.

My only regret is that I did not buy tickets to more of her concerts. I guess I'm a P!nkhead, which is better than having pink eye and about on par with being a Dead Head, but with fewer compatriots.

I'm sure I'll have more to write about this in late September.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

FYI

P!nk was on Ellen on Friday.  Ellen is giving a way a set of tickets to each P!nk concert (among others).

www.ellentv.com

P!nkest

Fairfax.  Check
Boston.  Check
NYC.  Check


WOOOOOHOOOO.

Friday, May 8, 2009

P!nker

By this point, I'm guessing that my loyal readers may be bored with the subject matter (or jealous), but we scored tickets to P!nk in BOSTON today.  Yeah BABY.  FYI, it's not stalking if you buy tickets.

Yes, we intend to see her in NYC too....

Oh and a special shout out to my favorite Caps fan....yoohoo, don't look now, but that series you were winning is TIED UP.  Go Pens!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

P!nk Eagle

Ok, so last Monday, Anita got her first eagle ever. I was working late, so I didn't get to see it, just got the completely hysterical, thought somebody had died phone call, before figuring out it was a "good" kind of hysterical. She pitched in from a sand trap on number 3 at the Crossings.

Thursday morning P!nk tickets went on pre-sale and I FOOLISHLY volunteered to buy for our "group". I'm not sure I've ever experienced that kind of pressure before, but I managed to buy 2 sets of 4 seats, completely opposite each other in the arena, but both sets look to be OK.

Friday night, Anita & I went to Cambridge, Maryland for the "Wild Goose Chase" bike ride through a nature preserve. Ride was on Sunday, so we played golf on Saturday. We decided to be lazy and play the gorgeous, but expensive course, on the hotel property. I got my first ever eagle on # 11 at River Marsh. So Anita & I have been playing golf together for just about EXACTLY 19 years and we both get our first ever eagles within 5 days of each other. I'm thinking: "Weird". She's thinking "we're meant to be together". Guess which one is the romantic? But very cool anyway and I no longer have to be extremely supportive and jealous at the same time, which was just a little painful!

At the same time I was getting my eagle, Michelle & Jody were once again online for P!nk tickets, checking out the general admission floor seating - rush the stage tix, which were oddly sold out on Thursday. They got 6 tix. So, now we have 14 seats for 8 folks. Major dilemma - save fixed seats or sell them...hmmm...fortunately, we have months to decide whether or not to sell the extra seats. P!NK!!!!! so cool. Deanna & Cathy - I believe seats are still available and I can tell you she has a great show, just based on when she opened for Justin Timberlake...check her European concerts out on youtube - definitely a must see for any P!nk fans. Rumor is she'll announce more dates/venues as sales are successful.

The "Wild Goose Chase" bike ride was a lot of fun. Not just because the goodie bags had cool stuff. Not just because a bunch of friends did it. Not just because it wasn't a RACE and I could just coast occasionally. Not just because I could stop to pick up the maps folks had dropped on the way - my bit to save the planet - and then pedal hard to catch up with my peeps. Not just because I COULD catch up with my peeps. Not just because I was repeatedly excited to remember that I could get off the bike and get a beer and food at mile 25. Not just because I didn't have an additional 87 miles to ride. Not just because I had no race cutoffs to calculate & beat. Not just because I hadn't already swum 2.4 miles. Just because I didn't have to run off the bike. Hallelujah. It was difficult just walking from putting the bikes in the car to check to see if we won prizes (I won a buff, woo hoo). I'm thinking I don't miss triathlon. Yes, I have to remind myself fairly constantly - especially after reading Peep's blogs. Yes, this means you.

So, yes, this was a helluva week AND it doesn't mention that we filed all the first schedules & statements with the bankruptcy court, which means I'm pretty much done with 16 hour days, 6 days a week. One helluva week.

FYI, still haven't decided whether to race the Urban Assault Mountain bike race (haven't actually been on the mountain bike with the new pedals - too much golf and waaayyyy too much rain). Anyone out there considering??? Not sure there are any mountainbike afficianodo's reading this.....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

P!nk

YAY - P!nk is finally touring the US - for 4 whole concerts before returning to Europe.  

Can't wait for September - she's coming to Fairfax!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Great Weekend

Anita & I took Mountainbiking 101 with Endorphin Fitness on Saturday.  The instructors were 3 of the same folks who taught the RTC mountainbiking clinic and they were again very informative, very patient and very encouraging.

3 hours of instruction & drills gives me almost enough confidence to get clipless pedals for my mountain bike - a thing I thought I'd never do.  But there is only so much you can make your bike do when you're not attached to it.  Not sure I can make it do anything when I am attached, but what the heck!  I think Anita enjoyed it too, though she got two really nasty pedal knocks.  I was very proud of her for getting back on the bike after the second, really bad one.  She's very brave.  She's also thinking about clipless - or at least pedals without teeth!

We also found out that the bike race associated with Xterra isn't cancelled, it's just not on the same weekend as Xterra.  It's sometime in May...not sure I'll be ready for that, but maybe...

So Happy Easter!  We celebrated just the way we like to - traditional Polish breakfast with my Mom - kielbasa, hard-boiled eggs & horseradish (let the burping begin) and then off to the golf course with good friends.

We played 27 holes of golf with MJ and JJ.  We were only planning on playing 18, but it turned into such a gorgeous day and the golf wasn't killing us either, so we just kept right on.  Yes, my golf game has come back, at least a little - I'm much happier with it.  Friday at lunchtime, I went to the driving range and hit the worst bucket of balls I've ever hit, so I had a bit of trepidation when teeing off today.  But I played pretty well until I started thinking about it too much...had a great day though.  The rest of the group also played well, so we were all happy with the day.

Hope you all had as good a weekend as I did.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Xterra Mountain Bike Assault...

has gone the way of the dinosaur.  So run bike run, or just run run run.  Hmmmm.  Guess I'll check out the Poor Farm races this year....

FYI,  I played OK golf this evening - started off bad, but got better, so I think I'm turning the corner - shame that the corner is one of 4 - I keep going around the same block!

Thanks to Fave, Anita & I are doing the Endorphin mountain bike 101 clinic this weekend.  Anyone else doing it?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bad Golf

Anita & I played in a golf tournament today.  I played very badly.  It was a very long day.  Fortunately, Anita played well and we were playing as a team, so we came in 4th place and won a prize.

So if I'm bad at golf and I suck at triathlon....

wouldn't it be nice to be good at a sport?

Oh well.  Maybe I'll find a new sport.  I've been told not to play darts.  People could get hurt.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm Baaaack

Really fun mountain bike clinic last night. Great job RTC and Endorphin.

It's official - I REALLY DO LOVE MOUNTAINBIKING! I'm still a hill slug and I really need to work on my cardio - I have lost any fitness level I had! I was the only one in the group huffing & puffing - so much so that it made me think perhaps I held my breath coming up the hill, but nope.

So anytime anyone wants to hit the Buttermilk trails along Riverside, let me know and I'll be ready. We can meet at my house and head out. Come one, come all. I'll speed past you on the downhills and you can pass me as I hike my bike up the hills!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mountain Biking

I am so excited about the Richmond Tri Club's mountain bike clinic tonight! It means so many things to me:
* It's going to be 70 degrees today and it's not raining
* I will be out of work at 5 to get there and be ready at 6
* I've finally dusted off my mountain bike after 3+ years of doing nothing but road biking
* I can now have fun while getting exercise instead of just looking at my bike computer to
see how slow I'm going!

Just think, maybe I'll get back into trail running! Then I can consider the Xterra!

But wait, when I used to mountainbike, I'd crawl up the hills (hence my favorite "Hill Slug" jersey), then fly the downhills. I'm guessing that my mortality awareness factor is way up from 3-5 years ago, so I may be crawling up and down. And what if that means I don't enjoy it like I used to? Or perhaps I never really did enjoy it - maybe it's just like road tri's - it sounds like a good idea right up until you actually start doing any of the sports! Aggghhh!

My friends say I think too much. But I don't think so. (I stole this line from a comedian I once saw on TV).

I am comforted by the fact that if I don't enjoy the clinic tonight, I can always play more golf!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Proposal

One of the blogs I read regularly recently told the incredibly super-romantic story of how she was proposed to:

http://joneslovesnewbones.blogspot.com/

Allow me to (who's gonna stop me, you?) recreate for you the truly romantic proposal I received from my lovely bride.

The year, 1990. The time, Christmas Eve. The place, Asheville, NC. OK, this sort of sounds like "Rent". We were in Asheville to visit our parents. Both sets of parents lived in Asheville at the time - Asheville is Anita's hometown and my folks had moved down from NY just after I graduated college. Anita & I met in Richmond, but my Dad worked less than a mile from where Anita's Mom lived. We truly were destined to be together.

So, Christmas Eve in Asheville. We were hungry. Not a lot of places open for a late lunch. Pizza Hut was pretty much our only choice. So, after ordering a romantic pepperoni & mushroom pie, we start chatting. Talking about how we were always destined to be together. Anita says "hey, want to get hitched?".

No ring. No candlelight. No bended knee. Just a "you've got tomato sauce on your chin" kind of statement.

Naturally, I was swept off my feet and immediately said a teary yes.

What I didn't mention to her then is that I would make fun of this proposal for the rest of our lives. She's been a really good sport. So far.

Love you Sweetheart.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Running of the Bulldogs and the Return of Spring

What an amazing day.  6 days ago, we in Richmond received about a foot of snow and the temperature hovered at 11 for several days.  Anita & I built a snowman prior to the temperature plummeting.  We had a wonderful time doing it.

Friday it got up to 50 degrees and Saturday morning dawned with temperatures in the low 60's.

I got up early to join Annnn, Deanna & Jen for the St Bridget's Bulldog 5k.  Annnn's young daughter decided to join us at the last minute, which changed our race strategy (but only slightly).  After some significant and last minute changes to where the actual starting line was (and which direction the race would go), we started off on what was supposed to be a run a little (slowly), walk a little kind of an outing.  Turns out Deanna was sandbagging just a bit because somehow having just finished recovery from a foot stress fracture, she was fast.  OK, fast is not objective.  However, I'm here to tell you as a fully indoctrinated back of the packer that Deanna no longer qualifies (I don't know if she ever did).

That's nothing against Deanna.  Nothing.  One of the nicest and most generous folks on the face of the Earth, she can hang with us back of the back of the packers any time.  But that doesn't make her a member!

Anyway, I hung with Deanna & Jen until a little shortcut was taken by young race pack.  When we caught back up with Lulu's group, I dropped out of the overachievers and walked/ran with Annnnn, Ashley & Lulu - all dictated by what Lulu felt like.  

The whole "run" was wonderful and I enjoyed every minute.  And then it got better!  After losing Ann momentarily, we all went over to Cafe Something or Other on Grove, just a brief walk from St. Bridget's where Annnnnnnn indoctrinated us into the newest and best after-race event ever. Good wine, good friends and good food.

I'm thinking of running 100 yard dashes every Saturday, just for wine at 9am with good people!


So after a great Saturday morning, I hurry home, shower & change and hit the golf course by 11:40 with Anita & Deanna's husband, Gary.  We had a great time, though the golf was slowed dramatically be people in front of us.  Slow golf is awful, but it was offset by chatting and catching up some with Gary.

All in all, a GREAT Saturday!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Qimonda voicemail message goes viral

My buddy, Jim Ellis, who I spent the last 7+ years with at Qimonda, was let go a couple of weeks ago.  He left a parting gift for those left behind and, as it turns out, half the country.  He recorded a parting voicemail answering message.

As of tonight, his work phone number is still live:  804-952-8984.

I heard this was on the CBS Richmond News last week, but the station did not contact Jim at all - he didn't even see it!

Check it out on youtube with some pictures of mostly former Qimonda employees.  By the way, Jim's the one in front in the last picture.



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Everything is going to be OK

Thank God!  I now know everything is going to be OK.  Really!

Last night we watched a very important address by President Obama.  I'm willing to make sacrifices for the greater good and I'm hoping that others listening will do the same.  I'm sure he will help us through this crisis.

Then, today, the ultimate sign that the impending apocalypse has been averted happened.  

Tiger's back.  His first two holes after an 8 month layoff?  Birdie - Eagle and a crushing win in match play.

Let the optimism begin.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Most Boring Reality Show Ever

See our hero wake at 2am, wondering how the bankruptcy petition will work.

See her toss and turn for 3 hours - flipping channels - watching "The Grapes of Wrath" and getting new fears about this economy.  Please no massive drought, please!

See her smash the alarm at 7, searching for the elusive snooze button.

See her go through Qimonda's version of tribal council, where you must prove your usefulness or be dismissed.

See her close the financials with 25% of the original staff.

See her try not to be depressed and cynical.

It's "The Accounting Manager", coming this Fall.

I keep expecting to see Jeff Probst's dimples somewhere, but he hasn't shown up.   Someone should tell him to stop coloring his hair (not that I know he is).  I bet he'll look distinguished if he goes for the aging gracefully look.


PS, we won't even talk about the plodding hours of triathlon training and now the added excitement of golf.