Veggies and Running

Today is my third day of vegetarianism.  So far, so good.  I will say this…it’s hard to shop for vegetarians.  Or maybe you get used to it, but I went looking for soup the other day, and it’s extremely difficult to find a soup without chicken, or beef, or some meat broth.  Short of tomato and certain lentil soups, it’s not really an option.  I did have creamy portobello mushroom soup yesterday and it was pretty good.  Not filling enough, unfortunately, so I had a Boca burger last night as well.  I think part of the “not-full” feeling was increased exercise.

I ran 10k yesterday in between bike rides to work.  So, overall, I ran 6.2 miles and biked about 5 miles yesterday alone.  That’s quite a few calories for which to compensate.  I also would like to run again today, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.  I’m running a race on Saturday morning…4 miles.  So that should give me a little over 16 for the week.  I’m behind in training, but I think I’ll be able to ramp it up next week. March to the Mini Update

And now, for the Friday Five, in honor of the Police reunion:

  1. Who’s got you wrapped around his or her finger? Nobody really.  C and I share a relationship of mutual respect.
  2. What’s as easy to learn as your ABCs? I’ll tell you what isn’t…Advanced Quantitative Methods.  Although, I continue to get As, so maybe it is easier than I imagine it is.
  3. Whose destiny is to be the king (or queen) of pain? After a brief look at the lyrics for this particular song, I don’t really have an answer.  My first answer was Dubya, because he seems to be able to inflict pain on the populace with everything from his actions to his mangling of the English language, but that’s not really the gist of the song.  I guess I don’t really know a king (or queen) of pain.
  4. Who would you like not to stand so close to you? Smokers.  Seriously, you’re killing yourself and you’re killing me at the same time.  Plus, the stench, it’s just unbearable.  I’m through with smokers.  You’ve been warned more times than I care to count and I’m done with ya.  No more smoking.
  5. Which animals’ stings have you experienced? Bees and wasps.  I think that’s about it. I’ve never had the fortune of meeting a scorpion, so that one’s out.  I suppose if you count cat claws, then I’ve been subject to that one several times.

That’s about it.  See you in the funny papers!


Happy Fat Tuesday!

Unfortunately, gone are the days when my friends and I could spend carefree hours (days, even!) wandering St. Charles in search of cheap plastic beads, aluminum coins, gallons of beer, and naked breasts!  We all have real jobs and real lives and we couldn’t possibly be bothered to drive all night to New Orleans, stay in a rickety shack in the Lower Ninth, spend all day/night in the Quarter, and speed home avoiding the Tennessee State Troopers.  Those were the days.

Some brief moments from those days gone by:

  • Our first introduction to Mardi Gras was a young man who had soiled himself and was stumbling down the middle of the street barely upright…when suddenly he face-planted in the asphalt.  Fortunately for him, he was able to right himself before the police were alerted.  Where were this young man’s friends?  I forgot to mention…this was 10 a.m.
  • We sat down to dinner one evening and John disappeared.  Moments later, he came bursting back through the restaurant to let us know that there was a girl outside showing her tits.  Little did we know at that moment that this particular occurrence would become almost mundane over the next 4 days.
  • Kristen got tagged in the forehead with a clay medallion from the Bacchus parade.  Some guy tried to steal it from her, but she quickly corrected him saying, “NO!  If you get hit in the forehead with it, it’s yours to keep!”
  • I forgot how many of my memories involved John…here’s another one.  John, obviously drunk from one too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s, said audibly to the rest of the van in a slurred voice, “This is good turkey.”  Everyone heard it.
  • I flashed Julee for some beads one night as we were walking throught the gay section of Mardi Gras.  I still have those beads.
  • Quick memories: Stephen snoring, John’s “telephone polish”, the Hooters guy from Canada, What’s a muffuletta — I don’t know, but I’m getting one, $4 for the bathroom, HUGE ASS BEERS!
  • One final John memory.  We got pulled over by the Tennessee State Trooper for speeding on our way home.  John wakes everybody up and has us put our hands in the air (like we just don’t care!) and then after some mild questioning, John proceeded to offer the trooper some of our beads.  To his credit, he politely declined and asked us not to speed through his state.

Ah, Mardi Gras…we hardly knew ye.  Still, tomorrow begins the long 40 days of Lent wherein I begin my vegetarian sojourn.  Wish me luck.

See you in the funny papers!

Grading on the curve

Currently, we’re in a month of holidays that for the most part we hardly celebrate, and we certainly don’t get any time off work.  That’s a shame, because with 2 presidential birthdays and a day for presidents in general, a huge Mardi Gras celebration before Lent…and lest we forget, Valentine’s Day…you’d think that at least one of those days would be reserved for some time off work.  But no…instead, we endure the shortest month with the coldest weather and hope for spring.  Hope for eternal Spring…or something like that.

Anyway, C’s feeling better, so I had to get back on the bike this morning.  It was a cold, cold ride which I was truly unprepared for.  I had not ridden to work at all since Monday, and I think I got soft.  The brisk ride this morning certainly toned me back up in a hurry.  Also, I ran 5 miles last night, in 50:20 which was pretty good.  Here’s a March to the Mini update.

And now…the Friday Five:

  1. For these first seven weeks of 2007, what’s something you give yourself an A for? I’m truly proud of my work in school.  It’s 2 classes that I don’t particularly care for, and are seemingly difficult on several levels…and yet, I persevere because they’re my last classes before thesis and I can’t quit (again) now!
  2. What’s something you give yourself a B for? For being a good husband.  I got C some flowers for Valentine’s Day, but no card.  I’m a little lax in writing a love letter to her.  And I have taken care of her while she’s been sick, but I did complain about her making me late (which I really wasn’t) the other day.
  3. What’s something you give yourself a C for? For running.  I know it all sounds good on the blog, but honestly, I’ve been pretty slack with running.  I’ll skip a day or two, run a couple days, skip the cross training, run another day.  I’ve only run one day outside, so that would be the only day with any hills.  In my defense, it’s been cold, rainy or snowy most of the time.  Still, other people run outside, so I shouldn’t be such a wuss.  But, I think I’m in pretty good shape to repeat in the mini-Marathon…and by repeat, I mean, come in 5214th like last year.
  4. What’s something you give yourself a D for? D for?!  You sank my battleship!  D is such a hard letter grade, because you haven’t failed, but you really sucked for a long time and then tried to make up for it in the end.  I suppose my D would have to be for saving money.  I’m not very good at it, especially when you live from check to check like we do.  But we have plans in place now that car is paid off.  We’ll see how it goes.
  5. What’s something you give yourself an F for?  This one is a little easier.  F for friendship.  I have not seen or been available for many of my friends thus far this year.  It’s a combination of things.  Schedules rule our lives and now with most of them having children, for some reason, it becomes harder to get together.  Rest assured, I’m working on that as well.

Hmm, that was pretty interesting.  Maybe I’ll grade myself later in the year as well.

See you in the funny papers!

News and not-so News

Today, I’m gonna focus on various news items that caught my eye. For better or worse, this is the sort of crap that gets passed off as “newsworthy” ’round these parts.

  • Challenged on the accuracy of U.S. intelligence, President Bush said Wednesday there is no doubt the Iranian government is providing armor-piercing weapons to kill American soldiers in Iraq. But he backed away from claims the top echelon of Iran’s government was responsible. ~AP White House correspondent Terence Hunt Okay, seriously…is this guy really this reprehensibly stupid? We always hear about the “President’s advisors”, are they seriously advising him that this is a good idea? We’re still tiptoeing around the lions in the den over in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this guy wants to poke the biggest lion. Oh, will 2008 get here soon enough?Old Man
  • Anna Nicole Smith Could this story have been any more overblown? A two-bit golddigger known only for a variety of court cases, her Playboy appearances, and an apparent inability to speak coherently. Yet, she died (probably from an overdose) and networks across the country spend hours upon hours detailing her every breath. We get less coverage on the war in Iraq these days. I sincerely hope that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has uninterrupted coverage of my death. Oh, but wait, I work for a living, so that’s probably not going to happen. Still, had she been a Derby-winning horse, they might have tried harder to save her.
  • Rising tuition at Kentucky universities is pushing higher education beyond the reach of many residents, according to a study released yesterday by State Auditor Crit Luallen. That ultimately will undermine the state’s efforts to double the number of Kentuckians with four-year college degrees by 2020, slowing economic development and lowering residents’ earning potential, the study said. ~Nancy Rodriguez, The Courier-Journal Well, duh! If you continue to raise the price in a state that is known for its poverty, obviously less people are going to be able to attend. Apparently, tuition has gone up 128% in the last 8 years. I can tell you that my salary hasn’t gone up that much in the last 8 years. As a matter of fact, after some quick calculations, my salary has gone up 66% in that same period and that’s only because I’ve job-hopped twice. First they tell you that you need a degree. Then they jack up the price on getting that degree. Finally, they complain about the lack of people getting degrees. If my salary had kept up with the tuition rate, I’d be making almost as much as if I’d gone to work at Ford, where people are losing their jobs left and right. The term “no-win” comes to mind.
  • The Senate Transportation Committee yesterday approved a bill that would raise the speed limit on rural parts of Kentucky’s interstate highways to 70 miles per hour, from the current 65 mph. Committee chairman Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, said he will amend the bill on the Senate floor so it also would raise the limit to 70 mph on rural stretches of four-lane parkways.Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal Finally! Why hasn’t this happened before now?! I mean, we consistently have about 980 highway deaths a year, so I can’t imagine that changing it to 70 mph is going to make much difference. Plus, the increase in CO2 from the Ford F-250s and Excursions traveling to see Tubby and the ‘Cats blow another one shouldn’t have much effect on the atmosphere. Hmm…am I for this or against this? I like to drive faster, but I can’t see how 5 mph is really gonna make that much difference. Let’s boost it up to 90 mph. That would make it worth my while I suppose.

So, that’s my Andy Rooney impression for the day. I guess that this extremely long week and the lack of heat outside is seriously harshing my buzz, man! Either that, or I’m just becoming cranky at an early age.

See you in the funny papers!

Out of Touch

I, for one, stand with Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks. Dixie Chicks albumIt is apparent from this story that country music is as out of touch as the current administration. I’ve heard the new Dixie Chicks album, “Taking the Long Way”, and it is some of their best musical work to date. Plus, the controversy surrounding Natalie is summed up perfectly in the song “Not Ready to Back Down.” However, I will say this…if you base your listening preferences on your favorite singer’s political views, then you’re missing the point. The point is to enjoy good music, regardless of what comes out of their mouth the rest of the time.

Louisville CardinalAnd, how about those Louisville Cardinals beating Pitt last night, 66-53? Hmm…where are all the naysayers now. I’m telling you right now, with Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa and Earl Clark, in 2 years, the Cardinals are going to be phenomenal. We’re talking national championship phenomenal. There, I said it. Commence contradictions and laughter…but we shall see.

40 Days and 40 Nights

In nine days, a season will begin. No, not baseball season…I’m speaking of a liturgical season. Now, I’m not the most religious person, although I go to church a lot more than most people who would claim to be religious. And ordinarily I don’t go in for all the dogma that trails most religions, but Lent has always been a season that has intrigued me. To many, Lent involves choosing something to give up; to deny yourself the ordinary in order to transcend to the extraordinary. To others, there is also the commitment to become something new and better by adding something to their lives during Lent, e.g. being involved in community service.

So, in the spirit of Lent, I’m going to try and do both. For the denial portion of Lent, I’ve decided to give up meat. That’s right, I’m going to be a vegetarian for Lent. I like a grilled burger as much as the next person, but not only will it be an exercise in willpower, it should contribute to a healthier me. As for the commitment portion of Lent, I’m going to attempt to pick up trash in my immediate neighborhood as part of being a better steward of the planet.

Now, here’s the challenge: I’m inviting everyone who reads this, regardless of your religious beliefs, or lack thereof to become involved in the season of Lent. Lent begins on February 21 and runs until April 8. For those more worldly types or those of you without a calendar, Lent runs from the day after the last parade float on Mardi Gras to a week into baseball season. I’m also inviting you to share your Lenten challenges and progress on the comments page of this post.

In other news, the Movies page has been updated and the March to the Mini continues.

See you in the funny papers!

Tambourines and Elephants

The above title has nothing whatsoever to do with this post.  If you came looking for tambourines or elephants, you’re unlikely to find either.

The Friday Five this week is for my bon-bon eating, Oprah-watching, stay-at-home sister because she’s only got one week left before she goes back to work and she might as well have something to do today:

1. Given a choice, and imagining that money and time were no object, would you rather cook dinner, eat out or order in? Money and time are no object?  Please, I would so eat out.  Why would you do anything else?  I don’t cook as well as professionals and anything you can order in is just as good as something you might prepare yourself…so you should definitely go out for dinner.  And if you need recommendations, let me know…I can think of wonderful places to eat.
2. What is the most elaborate meal you’ve ever prepared yourself or purchased at a restaurant? The most elaborate meal I’ve ever purchased has to be when John, Angie and I went to New York and we ate at the Rainbow Room for dinner one night.  I had the lobster thermidore for dinner and creme brulee for dessert.  The ambience and the food made the evening unforgettable.  It also made it one of the most expensive meals I’ve ever had.  Now, the most elaborate meal I’ve ever prepared was mine and C’s first Valentine’s Day which was about 11 days after we had started dating.  I went out and bought chicken and fresh broccoli and rice and even wine to make her a candlelight dinner at my place.  It took me a long time to make that meal.

3. What food do you find yourself making and/or eating way too much? I eat way too much food that’s not good for me.  I’ve been known to eat chips or crackers for dinner. We tend to eat a lot of risotto which is probably not good for us.  You know, anything without a lot of vegetables or with a lot of fat grams.  That’s generally what I find myself eating way too much.
4. What was your most disastrous cooking/eating out experience? I have two stories for this one.  First off, the most famous one, is when my mom had gone back to work and we were basically left to fend for ourselves in the kitchen.  She had set some bean soup in a crockpot that morning and it was to be ready to go for dinner that night.  Well, my dad and sister and I all sat down that evening for dinner and got ourselves big bowls of soup.  The beans were literally crunchy and my sister quickly decided it wasn’t for her.  I just figured it was al dente and kept eating and my dad thought nothing of it.  After a few more bites, I decided that I really wasn’t all for crunchy beans, so I passed on anymore.  Dad continued to extol the virtues of this soup and finished his bowl.  When Mom got home, she fixed herself a bowl and after one bite proclaimed it uncooked and we realized that the crockpot was broken.  To this day, we claim my father will eat anything.

The second story was when I had first moved out of the house and was cooking on my own for basically the first time.  I cooked myself a casserole in the oven.  Well, when it was done, I went to get it out of the oven and I didn’t have a pot holder, so I grabbed a tea towel instead.  Well, as I used the towel to grab the pot, the fringe of the towel caught fire on the oven heating element.  I basically tossed the casserole onto the counter and held the fiery towel.  Realizing I needed to get rid of it, I tossed it into the air.  It hit the kitchen floor, still burning, mere inches from my new carpet.  I realized that if it continued to burn, it would set fire to the linoleum, so I grabbed it again, still flaming, and threw it into the sink.  The casserole was good, but disaster had nearly claimed more than just a towel.

5. Would you rather cook for someone else or have them cook for you? I think I’d rather have someone else cook for me.  Especially my mother because she’s been doing it for so long.  But I really enjoy cooking for other people provided that it’s leisurely and not on a schedule or anything.  I’ve been given rave reviews for my cooking…especially my Spicy Peanut Chicken.

And that’s the Friday Five…which is about all I have time for.  Ang, get off the couch and do something.  Angie, this should give you something to do for the next hour or so.  Everyone else…

See you in the funny papers!

Odds and Ends

I looked around today and could find very little to write extensively about.  So, you’re getting a lot of random crap in lieu of something sustaining and fulfilling.

  • I got a haircut last night at Fritz’s Salon.  My first haircut since I’d been to Paris.  By all accounts, it’s a decent haircut and I look pretty damn handsome if I do say so myself.
  • I rode my bike to work today.  C had been taking me to work the last couple of days, but I decided that I could tough out the cold this morning.  All in all, not too bad.
  • The Cards lost last night to Georgetown.  They’ve begun, I’m afraid, their slow spiral to the NIT again this year.  The Big East is a tough conference…maybe next year.
  • I think I enjoy Climatology, but I’m less enthused about Advanced Quantitative Methods.  We’ll see how it goes.
  • LOST was pretty good last night, but if you saw the “survivor guide” episode before, why were all the dead people missing from the show?  Boone, Shannon, Libby, etc.  None of them appeared in any of the guide.  And Michael and Walt were missing from the episode as well.
  • Spring Training is exactly one week away and I am truly excited.  Gentlemen, this also coincides with Valentine’s Day.  Buy your gal some flahrs!

That about covers it.  Speaking of covers…the book site was updated.  I finished Jonathan Miller’s The Compassionate Community and while it is compelling and has a wealth of information in the appendices, I couldn’t help but see it as an extended stump speech for his gubernatorial campaign.  Ha ha…I said goober.

See you in the funny papers!