Monday, July 30, 2007

Wunderbar: Confirmation

VY2 has 2nded the motion put forth by Binky: my cousin Richard bought a used Porsche Boxster (click here)?!!

We need pics! Can someone email me Rich's phone number?

I wonder how many are even on The Island.... 2? 5?

Pretty big stuff

ps. I later realized that if The Island has grown to host Aerosmith (one of Rich's favorite bands btw) then certainly The Island has more than 2 Boxsters on it. I'll up my guess to a dozen... but I bet there isn't a dealership. Surely not?

Strap Snap

Our hero, a handsome Orca whale, slices through the waters of the northern Pacific in preparation for a great voyage to come later in the week.

Strangely, the Pacific is sectioned off into lanes. And his highly tuned chemical receptors taste a high concentration of chlorine.

Throughout the water, many smaller fish frolic about. The great whale could dismember them at any moment, but he is focused on the task at hand. He glides past the junior fish and continues his strong, steady pace.

Before long, a Beluga whale drifts into his lane, seemingly oblivious to the scene. Frustrated, our hero sighs and stands up in 4 feet of Pacific seawater. The smell of kelp is in the air.

While plotting to take advantage of another lane, he takes off his goggles. And then it happens.


Zounds! Our hero instantly realizes that this is not good: mere days before the upcoming triathlon, he suffers a goggle failure of some kind. Disaster! He looks at the equipment and sure enough: the strap has sheared off at a place that is impossible to fix.

Egad! This is not good. Goggles are not expensive but breaking them in takes weeks: it seems impossible to adjust them so that they don't leak and yet don't leave lacerations on one's visage.

Moments later, the great whale sits at the computer. Water rains down all over the chair and the floor. The Orca finds a tri-shop online and begins to click furiously. Time is of the essence.

Old Home Week

Here are some miscellaneous factoids about home:
  • Old Home Week is a festival in August on PEI. There is a parade, concerts, and a major horse race (harness racing) called the Gold Cup and Saucer.
  • Miss C's fam (and BryGuy's soon-to-be fam) have sent a missive from their vacation on The Island. They are having a fun time but find the water at the beach to be pretty nippy. Like me, they find the temps to be a bit chilly (probably 70s) whereas the locals are suffering. LOL
  • I have it from a reputable source that my cousin Richard has a new ride that is very cool indeed. And yet there are no photos to substantiate this claim! Help!
  • Both Nickelback and Aerosmith played The Island this summer. That's just crazy and is a testament to the tourism planning board. Especially Aerosmith. The population of The entire Island is 140,000. I doubt if they could cram more than 15,000 at the venue, even if it was outside. That is so much better than when I was there.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Appetite for Destruction

Of course it would be a Saturday night.

Alone. In an introspective mood. In a bookstore.

I come across an issue of Rolling Stone that shouts that Guns N Roses' first effort came out 20 years ago.


I knew my high school reunion was at 20 years this year, but that's fine. I'm in a reasonably good place and never lie about my age: every year that goes by means that junior high is just one more year further back in the rearview mirror.

But the aging of music stings. Depending on your age, for you maybe it was a Beatles record. Or the Eagles. Or maybe it will be Nirvana (though I hope Pearl Jam instead). Or Alanis Morrisette. It doesn't really matter. We often freak out at the age of our context rather than us. Anyone who has a younger sibling that hits 30 knows this.

For me, it was Guns. A massively influential record at the last vestigial stage of adolescence, and being highly influenced by such things. I wanted to be some of these rockstars, and only one other as much as Axl Rose. To this day I could write a 5 page character sketch of him from interviews that I've read. Fascinating, tragic character actually.

Ah well.... I guess it is time for the dreaded retrospective. Forgive me (I hate long introspective blog posts). The good, the bad, and the ugly...

If you told me at 17 that I would be/have/etc.......

  • Not married, no kids. Not really surprising
  • Undergraduate degree in Comp Sci. Fine
  • I would see my family once a year, and have lil' cousins who don't know me.
  • I still can't play most of the guitar tunes I wanted to learn. I peaked at 24.
  • I have lost serious touch with the Canadian culture. I don't know the music, the jokes, or one of the official languages (though it is dormant).
  • I'm alive (don't laugh)
  • Triathlete? Are you kidding me!?!
  • I play piano with better muscianship than guitar. (WTH?)
  • I live in the United States. (whoa Nelly?)
  • Master's from the University of Waterloo. (American readers: um, this is kind of a deal) Full scholarships for both schools with no student loans.
  • Two great guy-in-laws are in the family: Bruce and Dave.
  • Babies! Lots of babies with families and friends. I get to visit, coo, and then leave.
ps. Check out Rolling Stone for a brief summary of the album. Factoid: it was one of the last ones to be produced for vinyl with "5 studio engineers furiously pushing levers and spinning knobs". It's great stuff: raw, brilliant, and on my top 3 rock CDs of all time, easy.

5 out of 4 People Have Trouble With Fractions

Well, in preparation for the 1/2 Ironman, I've signed up for a 1/3 Ironman next weekend, back out in Mattoon, IL.

This should be a good challenge: longer than the Olympic distance (which I have done) but not completely crazy.

I ran 9 miles Friday night and biked 28 miles this morning. My knee got really tight which is freaking me out but c'est la vie.

I was telling BryGuy just today that I have realized that it will be ok to not finish the 1/2 Ironman. Though I love t-shirts that say "Death before DNF", "2nd Place is the First Loser", etc, I'm not going to jeopardize my "tri career".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Here Comes That Funny Feeling Again

Well, I did it. I just registered for a Half Ironman in September. (See New Year's resolutions)

I am not where I want to be in terms of training but "le feu sous mon derriere" has just been ignited. (Fire under my butt)

This is definitely taking me outside of my comfort zone. I guess that is the point, n'est-ce-pas? But that funny feeling is so, er, uncomfortable!

The only solace is that I think I'm going to do a 1/3 Ironman in early August, back out at Mattoon IL. This year should be way better since I'll be driving a car that has AC.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pulling out of a Nose Dive

Back in black, hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back
Yes I'm let loose from the noose,
You've got to catch me if you want me to hang.

-- paraphrase of Back in Black by ACDC
The pool is the womb. The bike is my mistress. But running is my home, my 'hood, a church of sorts.

After a lousy week of non-fitness and general stress: a lil' 1/2 marathon on a Friday night, and all is well.

13.1 miles.... Including breaks (which are the trick), about 2:15 which is getting strangely close to my race pace of ~2 hours.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

2 Goals = LED Feet

Woo-hoo! My cousin, Miss L.E.D., scored 2 goals back home in her weekly soccer game.

The press has reported that she also made some important saves as a netminder.

Mike aka CC

ps. In other Island news, fam of Miss C and soon-to-be-fam of BryGuy should be on the Island now. Say hello if you see 'em! (population of The Island is ~140,000). Hopefully there will be decent weather (I'm nervous).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tour de Kirkwood !

Check out this article on the upcoming Tour de Kirkwood, 7/22.

Yo, Hegemom: Livi should check out the action, especially the swim! (Fred & Stacey's daughter is a natural born swimmer)

I will be out there, volunteering, in some capacity....


Kathy Waldemer founded the triathlon in 2001 as a way to allow novice athletes to experience the thrill of participating in a triathlon in a non-competitive environment. "I wanted to be in a triathlon but was intimidated by the large crowds and the lake swim," she said.

She approached the City of Kirkwood about organizing a small event, and the city gave her the go-ahead. "Our first year started with only 11 participants and grew to over 150 participants last year," Waldemer said.

They anticipate more than 200 participants this year.

Proceeds from the race go to The Children’s Home Society of Missouri. This organization provides for social services and adoption services to families, as well as services for children with significant multiple developmental disabilities.

"Our goal is 100 percent of the race registration to go to charity," Conway said.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Song Appreciation

The lyrics are prosaic, but the song rocks:
I've been trying all night long
I put up with your favorite songs all night
Tempted by your tainted love
I surely like the way you come inside my crystal ball: what can I do?

Is it true what they say?
You won't give it away?
I don't know what to do to get next to you, next to you
Every night, everyday, you just push me away
Tell me what should I do to get next to you, next to you
-- Next 2 You, Buckcherry

This song has been my backdrop for most of 2007. Interestingly, it doesn't relate to dating for me: I have sung it about a technical article, a 6-minute mile, a new car, a triathlon, and a work assignment.

'Tis an all-purpose anthem for getting it done. And a blast of rock-n-roll from a bygone era. Check it out. (Note that Buckcherry's lyrics, in general, are fairly explicit).

Monday, July 16, 2007



Our hero strains against the pedals of Blackbird, his iron steed. They climb slowly up the steep ascent, in slow motion -- almost stalled. The heat rises above the summit in shimmering waves. The morning fog burns off. High above, birds of prey glide effortlessly in thermal drafts.

It is the last leg of the Tour de France. Weirdly, it is being held in Ballwin, MO. Our hero wears the yellow jersey and hopes to bring victory home to his manic homeland: Canada.

He looks back. Egad! The pack is closing in, full of Americans and some Italians. His nefarious rivals lick their chops like wolves homing in on a newborn fawn.

Our hero considers the road ahead: just over the summit, there is a dip and a sharp turn to the right. If timed properly, a technical yet risky gear-shift could vault him even further ahead of the goons behind. He confers with Blackbird. They elect to go for it.

As they crest the rise, CC shifts into a harder gear to maximize the brief descent, and seconds later, slams the shifters again in anticipation for the turn....

Zounds! The pedals slam to a stop: mechanical failure! Furiously, our hero backpedals, only to have the chain come off of the front cog! Disaster! The Dynamic Duo faces ignominious defeat!

He deftly hops off of Blackbird as the others zoom by. Bravely, he grabs the greasy chain and pulls it onto a cog, spinning the pedals with his foot. The chain catches. He hops back on and is literally off to the races.

Angry now, he and Blackbird form the inorganic union known as The Velocitizer. Fueled only by adrenalin, they shift into the strongest gear and quickly make up for lost time. One by one, they weave through the pack.......

The result is a smashing success. Ballwin Triathlon: 1 hour 2 minutes, beating last year's time of 1 hour 13 min.

ps. A major kudos to BryGuy and Traci for coming out to watch, replete with signs, no less. My own fan base!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

King Louie, we barely knew ye

This is sad news for locals. King Louie's was my favorite restaurant in town, and many people had wonderful memories there.

I'm not sure if it is the city or MODOT (state agency for highways etc) is to blame, but it is a shame all around.


King Louie's Restaurant, which would have been open 13 years this fall, has closed and will not reopen.

Owner Matt McGuire, son of former Post-Dispatch reporter John McGuire, blamed the loss of business on construction on the Chouteau Avenue Bridge off Vandeventer Avenue.

From this article

More reaction is here

Saturday, July 14, 2007

First Half '07: a report card

Here's a fairly self-indulgent post. At least it will be brief.... A quick look at the targets for the year and my current situation.


The 2 goals were 1/2 Ironman and a marathon. I am way off track on both. However, I beat Jim G again, had some crazy long runs at the gym, and ran the 6 minute mile (repeatedly). Grade: B

Career Part 1

The meat and potatoes of my career is my daily work. It is not going especially well and I don't enjoy it. The people are very nice though and the commute has proven to be less tortuous than I feared. Grade: C

Career Part 2

The extracurricular part of my career is going fantastic. 2 articles now and some nice props from within the organization. And the tech blog is exceeding expectations. Grade: A+


Two great trips to Memphis and Phoenix... No Europe yet and sadly none likely. Also unlikely to see "home" until the holidays. There is always a hope that the first marathon will be back home in October. Grade: B


I am ashamed. I haven't played since March. Ugh. I get in this mode where I go off the rails and can't bear the pain of hearing how much I've degraded. It eats at me day after day. Grade: F


I traded in Herbie before he blew up, and got a fun, functional ride. Very happy with Rowdy. Grade: A

And so there you have it... I never had letter grades in school: do you average 'em? Never had a GPA either... so to mix metaphors, I would say '07 gets 80% so far.

Soccer Star Part 2

My cousin, Action Girl, scores another gooooooaaaall!

See pics here

Athleticism and, more generally, victory clearly run in the family.

Way to go, LED! You are making everyone proud.

Oh my, I just realized that my adorable cousin's initials are pure rock 'n' roll... wow.

A No-Info Update

At CC, we receive tons of mail each week asking about the site. Our intern staff wade through these missives to try and sort out the questions into categories.

A common theme lately is Chicago, the feral attack-cat who helped CC fight off the dreaded raccoons last summer.

Sad to say, no sign of Chicago for quite some time. I did see him in April, after the fairly cold winter, so he survived that long. But I have no idea where he is now. He may have migrated to a new part of the apt complex where food is available.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

World Wide Wackiness

Here's a map of the last 100 hits for my tech blog (not CC). From all over!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Banzai !

A bit of a splash on my tech blog... I wrote a post on "seven wonders" on Sunday night. It was picked up by an aggregation tech news site and my hit rate is through the roof. Check out this graph...

Note this is for my tech blog, not CC. It has almost doubled my total hits in the span of 2 days. On the site DZone it hit #3 in terms of popularity. That's pretty cool.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not So Glamorous (A Day in the Life #14)

On Wednesday, July 4th, 11 am, the heat rises in a steamy shimmy above the lake. The mercury approaches 100 F. The humidity is relentless.

Our hero and Blackbird are on the Proving Grounds, cranking out lap after lap. He eases past roller-bladers, bicyclists, walkers, children, dogs.

At mile 28 of 35, there are no heroes, no velocitizers, no arch-rivals. Just heat and sweat.

He looks around, feeling lonesome. "This kinda sucks", he muses aloud.

He wipes his brow and peddles on.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day, USA !

I hope everyone has a very happy and safe 4th of July!

I'm honoured to be a guest in the land of the free. When one thinks about the genesis of the country and the principles of the time, it's pretty cool stuff. It is easy for every country to be cyncical about 'the system' but this system of the "American experiment", when viewed through the prism of history, is profound and wildly successful.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blog tag for Mom

In honour of her birthday, why not more blog tags?

1. Mom made my sister and I go to bed pretty early. I remember being 7 years old and going to bed before it was dark in the summer. Years later, both my sister and I reaped major academic awards. I think there is a direct connection.

2. She does a cryptoquote and crossword every day.

3. Not only an award-winning baker (see previous blog tag) but also an excellent cook. I now (and for years) appreciate the good food. Every time I go home at Christmas, there are some key dishes made. Even though I eat just fine here in the USA, I think a part of me starves between visits. True for all of us, re: home, I think.

4. Mom is a very good listener. A lot of people in our family seek her council on a wide-range of stuff, from taxes to medical sanity checks. And if she doesn't know, she'll tell you straight.

5. She once drove a Pontiac Lemans back when the gas was leaded and the engines were monsters. Once, I had gotten a deep cut at school and required stitches. Rumour has it that the old "Bronze Lemans" hauled serious ass up our road as she came to get me. Smoke show and a bit of a wheelstand!

Happy Birthday, Mom

A Fun Post

I don't link very often to my tech blog but the readers of CC might enjoy this...

Check out my parody of a very popular tech gadget