Thursday, June 29, 2006

6/4-6/2006 - On a roll

So the Sox have won 12 straight. It's been fun. They won in the last at bat; they've won in the second inning. They've won on the backs of verteran and the arms of babes. Streaks are weird.

It really is the case that going 11-1 would have been no cause for remorse, but once you get on the roll, it becomes painful to fall off.

More intense than the playoffs? Maybe. I'll have to check my blood pressure and let you know.

Sports are bad for your health.

59,600 steps over these 3 days. Cheers,

6/1-3/2006 - Into the Abyss

The baby didn't sleep too good last night.  Trying to take a page out of Elizabeth Pantley's playbook, I have started to keep a log of his sleeping habits:

7:50 PM Fell asleep in my arms.  Put in crib.
8:30 PM Woke up yowling.  Moved to carseat
10:50 PM        Woke up.  Inconsolable.  Brought to mummy for nai-nais.
11:20 PM        Back in crib
1:05 AM Out of crib.  Back to mummy.
2:10 AM Msme,4,.4
2:25 AM No, you take him.
4:00 AM Time to walk the halls
4:30 AM Back to mummy.
6:00 AM The eldest is up, dammit.  Baby in crib
6:45 AM Eldest out of bed, baby surprisingly still in crib
7:30 AM Dad in crib
9:00 AM Moved dad from crib to keyboard.  Good luck with those internal rate of return models.

So as I stood blinkingly in the lunch line, my eyes hit on a bottle I hadn't noticed before.  Starbucks Frappuccino.  With a star over the "I."  How cute.  I looked at the diet soft drinks or tea that I usually walked away with, but somehow ended up purchasing the Frapp.  For $2.25.  I hope it tastes bad.  It doesn't.

Today coffee.  Tomorrow I'll be injecting caffeine subcutaneously.

44,500 palpitating steps today.  Cheers,

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

5/27-31/2006 - St. Joseph, MI

Today I arrive at St. Joseph, MI, the "Riviera of the Midwest." Since I am passing through, I might as well take advantage of the Virtual, Historic tour. The city traces its roots back to the 17th century, when the St. Joseph river was discovered and documented for the first time (by European folk, that is). A fort was built and the city eventually grew into a succesful port town.

In 1880, some investors built an amusement park with slides, roller coasters and a "people mover." For some reason I am surprised to hear of such things in the 19th century.

Although the tour continued on, I ended my tour at the Krasl art museum, with its outdoor sculptures. I am reminded of my own beloved DeCordova museum, not far from Walden pond.

All in all, a delightful town and delightful website.

95,600 enlightened steps today. Cheers,

Monday, June 26, 2006

5/24-26/2006 - A load of corn

Mexico may be out of the World Cup, but it's still in my heart. A combination of allergies (particularly milk, eggs and wheat) have conspired to keep us from eating much of American cuisine (sandwiches, omelets, pasta, etc.) As a result, we have been experimenting with other cuisines.

Today's experiment: Arepas.

2 cups of white corn meal
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of water

Mix well. Fry until golden brown on both sides.


Being the non-Mexican that I am, I am anxiously considering variants. Tonight I tried adding black pepper to the batter. Next time, I might try sugar (with syrup on top).

58,500 pasos hoy. Aclamaciones,

5/19-23/2006 - Paw Paw, MI

There's a little ditty
They're singing in the city
Espeshly when they've been
On the gin, Or the beer
If you've got the patience,
Your own imaginations
Will tell you just exactly what you want to hear...

That's how it goes,
Ev'ryone knows.
They all suppose what they want to suppose
When they hear...oom-pah-pah!!

To tell you the truth, I've never fully "got" that song. But if you're trying to figure out in which city they sing, it is surely Paw Paw, MI.

According to the city's website,

"Paw Paw is nestled in the heart of wine country in central Van Buren County, the Paw Paw area provides an idyllic setting for raising a family or relaxing through retirement. The village has several popular restaurants that draws [sic] patrons from miles around; it also boasts one of the few surviving small town movie theaters in the area. In the center of town is beautiful Maple Lake which features an outdoor amphitheater on it shores which is host to many concerts in the summer and fall. Maple Island offers picnic facilities, a beach and a recreational park."

I'm not much of wine drinker and I'm not ready for retirement, so I think that I will head off to Maple Island to picnic. Happily, Wikipedia furnishes more details:

The MapleStory world is a set of explorable continents in the MMORPG MapleStory. There are three main continents common to all versions in the MapleStory world: Maple Island, Victoria Island, and Ossyria Island. There are also two subcontinents common to all versions in the MapleStory world: Florina Island and Ludibrium Island.

In the JapanMS version, there is an additional continent called Jipang which is based on Japanese culture; similarly, Fairy Tale Village is based on the Korean culture. There is also a Peach Blossom Island accessible only to the ChinaMS, MapleSEA, and TaiwanMS versions where traditional Chinese marriages take place.

Dongfang and Formosa are continents exclusive to ChinaMS and TaiwanMS versions respectively.

There are also event towns, such as Happyville, which is available to players only during the Christmas season.

In addition, Premium Road has been made available to KoreaMS, JapanMS and ThailandMS; it can be accessed only if the player is connected from a real-life Internet Cafe which has previously made contracts with the local programming staff of MapleStory.

Well, heck. Why didn't I go to Happyville to begin with?

73,100 incredibly virtual steps today. Cheers,

5/16-18/2006 - Time to get serious

I am more than a month behind! As several of you have noted the inverse relationship between the quality and lag of posting, I'm going to start doubling, nay, tripling and even quintupling up.

For now, I will let myself post 3 days at a time just because and 5 days when I post a city. That should catch me up fast. I'll "let the air out" as it becomes clear I no longer need such crutches.

Speaking of getting serious, I tried a new strategy yesterday. As I may have mentioned in prior posts, I take long walks early on Sunday mornings (typically from 6-8). I don't want to stretch these out too often, because they become onerous on the Wife if the kids wake up at 6:10. So, I had pretty much hit my limit around 14,000+ steps for such trips. On my FIL's advice, I decided to kick it up a notch yesterday. After I had gotten warmed up, I started jogging 100 steps out of each 500. This had the desired effect in that I managed to fit in about 16,000 steps in 2 hours, but I must confess, I am second guessing myself today.

I forgot how brutal running can be. I probably ran 1 mile tops yesterday and I am expeiencing some weird aches and pains. Not muscle pains, I generally regard those as objects of pride. Rather, I have some weird discomfort in my gimpy knee (not actual pain, happily) and some mild soreness in my shins.

It's probably time to dial back a notch.

30,200 impulsive steps today. Cheers,

Monday, June 19, 2006

5/15/2006 - Award ceremony

Well, Kevin and M.O.M. teamed up to figure out my Miller's puzzle, so a poem each:

First to Kevin, who recognized my refernce to Chaucer's Miller's Tale:

When in April somebody writes
The answer my question incites
I'll put up a poem
To happily show him
His reading, this author delights!

And now to M.O.M., who caught the Glenn Miller reference:

She's glad she heard of,
(The mother of my children)
The best trombonist.

8,100 most deserving steps today. Cheers,

5/14/2006 - Daddy's day

I'm sorry not to have been posting much recently, my day-job has heated up a bit (and I still have to keep it, despite the roaring success of this blog).

Yesterday, in real life, was Daddy's day. My wife gave me a lovely gift. We have been homebound for this reason or that, but she sent me an my eldest down to the City for a 24-hour whirlwind tour. We saw my parents and in-laws (complete with brothers-in-law and attaches). The boy played all sorts of games with his cousin, ranging from frisbee, to baseball to cycling. We tried to convince them to play chess, but they mostly just wanted to mash the pieces together.

We drove back to Boston, to the heartfelt strains of "Joseph" and ambled our way into bed, an almost perfect weekend. I was only sorry not to catch up with the Gnome (speedy recovery). I look forward to our next visit.

10,000 happy steps today. Cheers,

Friday, June 16, 2006

5/13/2006 - Spammity spam

You know what spam I'm getting frequently these days?

    "I found your profile on the web recently so I decided to e-mail you to get to know you better.  I will be coming to your country soon…"

Thanks.  I'll alert the National Guard.  The thing that gets me about these spams. 

And the "African Financial" spams. 
And the cheaper drug spams. 

Is that it is almost beyond belief that the authors even expect to get hits.  I am led to understand that every so occasionally someone hands their financial information when asked to do so, but I just can't believe it.

As much as I hate to say it, I almost have more respect for the spams that make an effort.  Oh?  My company's technical support department is alerting me to a security threat?  No, it's coming from an outside e-mail address.  You almost got me.  Now that I can disrespect less.

I used to get more artistic spams.  My e-mail system provides a brief snippet of each e-mail before I open it.  If the e-mail only consists of HTML, I will see nothing in the snippet, but some HTML e-mails include a brief note letting me know what the spam is about, just in case my e-mail application can't handle HTML.  And some HTML e-mails contain a brief note that isn't remotely related to the subject of the e-mail.  For example, I used get bits of Shakespeare soliloquies, e-mailed to my very own inbox.  But my favorite was the spam that included an excerpt from St. Augustine's Confessions in Latin.

In the interest of full disclosure, the only Latin I know is "sempre ubi sub ubi" and I failed to get through "Confessions" in English when it was assigned in college.  But happily, I have Google.  Without opening the e-mail, I typed a few words into Google and quickly discovered what I was reading.

Of course, my favorite sub-HTML note may have been the one that said: "Get a better e-mail application."  My heavens.  I'm sorry for causing you inconvenience, Mr. Spammer.

12,500 slithering steps today.  Cheers,

Saturday, June 10, 2006

5/12/2006 - Hidden contest

The sign-off on the end of the Kalamazoo post has two meanings. I'll dedicate a haiku, limerick and sonnet to the first commenter to guess both of them.

11,000 cryptic steps today. Cheers,

5/9, 10 and 11/2006 - Kalamazoo, MI

I gotta gal (do doo, doo-doo)
In Kalamzaoo.

I've never actually set foot in Kalamazoo, but my wife has. Why? Their annual symposium on all things Medieval. Yes, every year this surprisingly large city of 70,000 is over-run by pilgrims who have had their courage pricked (not screwed to its sticking place. That would be Early Modern.)

So what has my wife to report of these lovely climes?

First, that there is a billboard in the middle of town that reads:

"Yes, there really is a city of Kalamazoo."

I don't blame them. I asked the question when my wife first went.

Second, that the local pubs do include such names as "Grendel's Den" suggesting that feeding Medievalists is one of the major industries in town.

All in all, it really seems a lovely, though quirky town. I can't wait to come next time my wife finds herself there.

And in case anyone is curious, my wife is the toast of Kalamazoo.

41,200 Miller's steps today. Cheers,

5/8/2006 - Yin and Yang at your local Starbucks

Yesterday, I went to Starbucks to order my usual. My order was taken (or not taken, to be exact) by an attendant who smiled but was incompetent. After I rattled off my drink, she stared (still smiling) like a deer in the headlights.

To be fair, my drink has 4 adjectives, and they get it wrong about 1 in 3 times, so I cheerfully repeated my order. Still nothing. I was about to repeat myself again when the other attendant called out:

"Venti vanilla soy chai latte?"

I couldn't help noticing that the other attendant, though quite competent, was frowning. Perhaps she didn't approve of my drink.

60 seconds later, I got my drink. It was perfect. Soy? Yup. Vanilla? Yup. Tea? Yup. And just the right mix. I was about to walk out when I realized that I had just received perfect service. Exactly the drink I wanted, served with a smile.

I tipped them. They smiled.

13,000 well served steps today. Cheers,

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

5/7/2006 - If so, please cancel my subscription

I thought I read a unique cooking instruction today:

Drain the meat with coriander

I considered the possibilities. Perhaps if I poured the meat juice into some prepared coriander, it would imbue the spice with a meaty taste. But to what end?

Or, perhaps, I was supposed to add the coriander earlier and now I need to get rid of it. But how?

Or, just perhaps, I was suppoed to

"drain meat with colander."

20,400 misunderstood steps today. Cheers,

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

5/6/2006 - And here's the pitch

When I watch a baseball game, I always count pitches (surprised?). I'm not sure how this started but there it is.

With the introduction of more recent theories on pitching staff management, more managers are focusing on pitch count and as a result, I have gotten better at making predictions. But predictions don't always come true.

Last night, my beloved (and patient) Sox took 62 pitches through the first 3 innings. I thought there was a chance that they would bench the opposing pitcher after 5 innings. Alas, they then saw only 26 pitches in the next 3 innings, allowing the pitcher to go 7 (and win).

Ah, life. You fickle distributor of uncertain fortune.

12,500 disappointed steps today. Cheers,

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Sunday, June 04, 2006

5/3-5/5/2006 - Ceresco, Michigan

And so I pad my way into Ceresco, MI. As I root about the internet for information on this fair city, I find much less than I do about Ceresco, WI, but that's not my point. Back in the east, I frequently found cities' official websites and was able to use that to track down interesting historical facets to dig into. In the midwest, I am finding such sites more infrequently.

I wonder whether that is a legitimate regional difference. For example, are we Northeasterners the types who loudly proclaim whatever the heck we happen to be doing while the Midwesterners quietly go about their business? Or are we intellectual types who take pride in self-examination while they are content to what is be.

Were I really going on this hike, I would be struck by the changing character of the U.S. and Canada as I set foot in such different regions. In reality I am forced to sit in my ivory enclave in Massachusetts and surmise about what would have been.

Incidentally, Ceresco, Wisconsin was the home of the "Wisconsin Phalanx," an attempt at Utopian living modeled on the philosophy of Charles Fourier. The U.S. is littered with such attempts. A few of them ended in tragedy, but most just faded out as jaded citizens faced the reality that Utopia wasn't worth the effort.

Fourier's Utopia was based on limited population, capitalism and, um, whoopee. The largest, most succesful American version of his Utopia was the "North American Phalanx," in Monmouth County, NJ, of all places. It muddled its way through about 12 years of existance before booze (abolition) women (suffrage) and God (religious affiliation) drove the community apart.

42,300 perfect steps over the past 3 days. Cheers,