Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sang Soprano

Driving to the gym. Middle of a thunderstorm.  Traffic at a glacial pace. Thirty feet of visibility.And a sun-bright peal of lightning detonates on the other side of my passenger seat. The shockwave bouncing off the door. And my lungs. Ghostly phosphenes fills half the world. Everything layered in white. And I sang soprano during that unexpected instant of pure panic. A teen-age horror show scream. As traffic rolled past, unaware.

I think a stray bolt struck a road-side light pole. Afterwards, my face felt sunburned.

Hours later, my brief brush with lightning still lingers, Like the leftovers from an old slap.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Training Again

Good to be REALLY training again! Crushed a ride on the bike then did a one mile run. Drenched in sweat. Stoned on adrenaline. 12 days until my next race. The Sunfish in Meridian. Hope to be better on my feet this time. Break the 30min barrier. Or die trying.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

At The Lake

Another Sunday. Another day of training at the lake. Liam behaved himself very well while I swam 1200 meters. (Helped that there was some a Labrador Puppy there, owned by some 13yr old girls splashing in their bikinis!) Really powerful swim for me, too. Found a good pace. Passed a couple of folks. Lots of strength left over, too. Liam loves jumping off the pier, but he really leaps when I'm doing it with him. So we practiced doing cannon balls and one of the other swims (Lisa) snapped photos.

The folks training for longer distances (Half Ironman and beyond) did several more laps. Liam hopped in the rescue kayak to paddle around for a while. Really cool tandem unit. Would love to get one for the family. Maybe once we get some bills paid off. Would crack me up to have them paddling along side me as I train. Something for everyone to enjoy.

We neglected to put on sunscreen, though. Paid a painful price for that. But it was a great time. Hopefully I'll get Meg to join us next time!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

MOVIE: X-Men: First Class

Liam, Bryce (far right,) and I went to see X-Men: First Class after lunch. They loved it, of course. A very good flick for almost-teens. Though there IS an expected (and un-needed!) F Bomb dropped. But only once.

Bear in mind that I grew up reading X-Men comics and I still enjoyed this. It is BASED ON A COMIC, but the acting is fairly good. Plenty of action. Though developing a reasonable plot and background takes times. Could have used a quicker pace in places. But the story developed nicely, without too much divergence from the historical narrative. However I was extremely happy that there were several somewhat effective villains in this one. Not sure if I liked the re-tooling of some of the characters. "Angel" for example had dragonfly wings and could spit some kind of acid. Not sure where Darwin came from. And Havok as a criminal?

Taken on its own, without any knowledge of the original comic series, this was the best one in the series, to date.Fans of the other movies will love it. Fans of the comics ought to like it. And for matinee prices, it was a great way to spend two hours.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Three Bears At Arts Camp

Cindy, Gigi, and I visited three bears at Arts Camp, tonight. It wa actually the closing ceremonies. A three hour adventure featuring: ballet, gymnastics, singing, jazz, salsa, Zoomba, and multiple interpretations of Goldilocks & The Three Bears. Liam ended up playing Papa Bear. Did a great job. And danced his butt off during most of the other events (except ballet & gymnastics.) We were all proud of him and his performance. Hope he stays that adventurous a few more years. 

Meg was at a birthday party. With plans to convert it to a sleepover. Unsurprisingly, we received a call at 10:30P. She wanted to come home. The umbilical didn't stretch quite far enough. But she's home now. And Liam's sleeping like a rock. So a good night for all involved. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Found the complete results of the Buster Britton Triathlon today. Out of 399 people who finished, I ranked 322nd. That's in the bottom 25%. Not even average. Well below average.

I guess I should be easier on myself. I'm a full time geek. Never competed in any sports in my life. And this is only my first year of trying. But I don't like knowing that everything I did only put me in the bottom quarter of the race. Didn't think I was in the top 10%, but I never thought I was below average...

Been struggling all day. Had a pitiful workout. Back and biceps. Then an even worse performance on the bike. Not into it at all. Feel nothing but personal disappointment. And an overwhelming sense of defeat. Training so hard to do so poorly?

Have to improve my perspective. I did beat 77 other people. And three fat guys in my age division! I've got that going for me. If I improve my running game and keep making improvements on my swimming, I should climb up through the ranks. Four more races this season. I plan to do better with each one. But for now, it hurts. And I'm having a hard time getting past it. For now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Up at oh four forty five this morning for some upgrades at the office.  Fortunately I had staged much of the work ahead of time. And nothing went sideways. Just eleven hours of expected drudgery and excessive CYA. Much yawn.

Training again this week. Chest and triceps yesterday, then an hour on the bike. Shoulders and legs this morning. Only two and a half weeks until my next event. Want to focus on my running. Get THAT time to less than thirty minutes. Much yawn there, too.

Feeling good. But making it an early night. Perchance to dream.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mine Mine Mine

Proof arrived today. I own my car! Six years of payments. No major problems or complaints. Mine mine mine.

Cindy already owns hers.

And there's the Beetle. For now.

Feels good to have one less debt burden. Need to keep it this way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Even the clown

Cindy worked all day. So I dropped the kids off at "arts camp," and picked them up after work. Surprised them by heading over to Buffalo Wild Wings, for some wings and things. Had a clown making balloon animals. Kids didn't think he was a clown since he didn't wear makeup. I said some people are clowns even without it.

Meg had a white swan. Liam had a green parrot he wore on his shoulder. I had two pints of cold cold Woodchuck. Everyone was happy! Even the clown.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers Day 2011

When you're as fortunate as I am, every day is Fathers Day. The kids had cards and smiles for me. Then off to church with everyone, where Liam was Acolyte for the day.

Pastor Andy asked, "What did Your Father teach you?"

Meg said, "Happiness." Liam said, "Chicks dig scars."

Am I good, or what?

Afterward, we visited Cindy's Dad. Then I took Liam to Robinwood Lake so I could train in open water. He didn't think he'd like it. He was wrong. He loved it! We actually hung out more than I trained. Checking out the minnows. Tricking them into chasing little pebbles. Jumping off the pier. Doing cannon balls. Had a great time. And he wanted to stay longer than I did!

A very quiet, peaceful, restorative weekend. Just what I needed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Trip

Resolved an unfinished project in Tunica, MS, today. A brief day trip. On the corporate jet! A Lear 40, that seats six and can hit Mach 8, if needed. Driving would have taken six hours. On the Lear, forty six minutes. And none of that unpleasant check-in / check-out, body frisking business associated with commercial flight. Only way to fly! (NOTE: I cleverly disguised my boss in the photo.)

The project wrapped up nicely. We had a delicious lunch to celebrate. On the way home, Warren (bald guy in front of me) gets a call that one of our competitors is having a major malfunction with their gaming floor that just re-opened. Brand new technology. A complete failure for them. To the tune of millions of dollars if it is as bad as it looks. Warren laughs and says, "That's what we get for depending on geeks." Warren is old school, from Atlantic City. He grew up without instant access to a player's financial data and had to make decisions based on gut feelings and established relationships. "The Good Old Days," Warren calls them. Otherwise, the trip was quick and uneventful. Home by dinner time. And I will sleep better tonight.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Caught Up With Me

My efforts this past weekend final caught up with me. Terribly sore. Especially my quads. And unusually tired. Certainly won't be able to train today. My plan is to get more rest and just recover this week. Shoulder was acting up for a while, too. Probably over did a workout.

Need to work on my running game. But I'm glad to know all those hills only added five minutes to my 5K time.I just loathe running. Soooo boring.

But I'm getting better and seeing constant improvement. My swimming game is much better. Biking is great. Just have to refocus on the running portion. That's AFTER all this soreness is gone!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lunch And Racing Fuel

Driving home after my triathlon yesterday. An hour south west of Tuscaloosa and I pull off to refuel the car and my belly as a small gas station / grocery. Grabbing a bite at Subway, inside the store, when I noticed the oddest stack of cans I've ever seen. Had to look three times. Thought is was a joke, actually. Like cigarette-shaped candy for kids. But it was real. Miniature barrels of racing fuel, conveniently located next to the potato chips!

So you could pick up a pecan log, some pork rinds, and a half tank of jet fuel for the dragster on your way to the track.  Only in The South...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Buster Britton Triathlon 2011

Seven in the morning. Five hours from home. Nestled in a quiet valley amid the green peaks of Oak Mountain State Park. Surrounded by four hundred other eager competitors. The 25th Annual Buster Britton Triathlon. A minimalist transition setup. Just the bare essentials. Trying to keep it simple, quick, and clean.

The swim was great. One of my best performances. Was shooting for ten minutes. Did it in 9:32. Could have done it quicker, but I made the mistake of following somebody who went off course! Wasted a good thirty seconds to get back on track. However, I was really pleased with my performance in the water. Training in the lake at home made a huge difference.

Transitioned to the bike and hoped to do the ride in 42 minutes. Did I mention it was held in Oak MOUNTAIN State Park? MOUNTAINS being the critical part of the name. The hills CLOBBERED me at two points, and my computer showed I was down to 5MPH. Of course on the downhill, I hit 32MPH, which was a new personal record. Eventually, I made the trip in 45:11.

And then, the run. (Did I mention mountains? And do recall that I live in the flatlands of Coastal Mississippi.) My last triathlon run time was 39 minutes. I was only hoping to beat that. But the hills at Buster Britton were brrrrrrutal on me. I pushed through it. And ended up doing the run in 34:05. For me, a great time!

Was shooting for a total race time of 1:30:00. With transitions and all, I made it in 1:35:05. For my division I finished 29th out of 32 men. Meaning the old computer dork beat three old fat guys.

Next time, I'll bring the wife and kids. They'd LOVE the park. And then I'd have somebody ELSE to drive me home. For my 2nd actual event, I think I did pretty well. I finished. And that was enough for me!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pre-Game in Pelham, AL

After an excessively dull drive, five hours from home, I find myself at the pre-game show in Pelham, AL. Pick up my race pack. Listen to the Q&A. Bunch of other beginners. We're all eager and bright eyed. Amazingly, I'm #400. And the lake is akin to a warm bath.

I walk the transition area, getting my bearings. Go over the process in my mind. Try to take notes of directions and the likely flow of contestants. Eventually drive along the bike course. Getting a taste for the hills and where I'll need to shift to easier gears. And then the rain comes. Ending the research.

My hotel is nearby. Cell signal is shit inside the valley. I'll grab a light dinner, chicken and salad. Then pack and try to sleep. Even though I know I won't.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

FOOD: Noodles, Biloxi, MS

Noodles, in Biloxi, MS, opened today. I was expecting a place called "Noodles" to be something akin to the noodle shops we had in Atlanta, like The Real Chow Baby or Doc Chey's Noodle House. Nice location. Nice decor. Interesting feel to the place. Lots of potential!

We must have missed the grand opening lunch rush. Nobody else there when we arrived at nearly 1PM. Only one lone waitress. And a bartender.

Then one look at the menu told me I was going to be disappointed. None of the "lunch specials" even had noodles on them!

Turns out that Noodles isn't a noodle shop. It is just a Chinese restaurant with a bar. Not a "fusion" place. No touches of Southern style on traditional Asian themes. Nothing remotely inspired or unique. And as far as I could tell, very few noodle dishes!

I had the spicy beef. With a cup of hot & sour soup. The soup was the best part of the meal. The rest was just average. The same thing I could get at any Chinese place or buffet.

I really wanted Noodles to be something special. An interesting place in Biloxi where I could take my friends and say, "Check this out! Isn't this cool!" But there's nothing cool about Noodles. And I doubt I'll ever return.

There really is nothing remotely appealing about another Chinese menu serving the same dishes the same way as everyone else. I'd pay less and have a bigger choice at a buffet.