Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blog Tag

My dear Minnesotan friend Jennifer tagged me....

According to the rules, I am to share 7 facts about myself — some random, some weird. I'll try to put stuff that hasn't been mentioned on here before.

1. When I go to bed and check the lock on the door, I say it out loud. e.g. "Thursday locked". This way, when I'm in bed dozing off, I can remember that I did it. Then, in the morning, I write out the letters O, C, D 100 times (not really).

2. Playing piano is purportedly my favourite thing to do in the whole world. I have thought about playing in a small church somewhere when I retire. And yet I haven't played in almost an entire year. This fact is killing me.

3. There is no "rule" per se but I almost never have pop (aka soda), cookies, or ice cream in the house. However, I can eat a tub of hummus like it is a condiment. I drink a gallon of milk in about 3 days.

4. For years, I go to sleep to KMOX on the radio. Conservative news-talk radio. I'm not very conservative, so this is sort of weird. When I first moved here, it was the strongest signal. Thankfully I don't "need" radio to go to sleep.

5. Until very recently there was a still-wrapped cookie sheet propped up against my closet. It had been sitting there for about 4 years. There was another one just like it out near the kitchen (probably 2 years there). Man, I'm weird.

6. Over 40 courses in my undergrad degree, my average was 90%. That took a lot of work. I won a prize for math and for science (which was a tacit admission that I had come in 2nd place, losing the coveted Governor General award). Unfortunately no one told me that no one would care later in life. I want that average on my tombstone.

7. As a teenager, I napped after school from about 4 pm to 4:30 pm. For years now, I nap after eating circa 6 pm to 6:30 pm.

I will tag others later on.... I have to go to work!

  1. link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

  2. share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

  3. tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

  4. let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


These standings won't last long, so I've made a copy (click on pic). Note that #2 scored 101 and 100 points in 2 races for winning one outright and winning one age-group.

By comparison, my average over 4 races is 93. In rough terms, this means I was 7% slower than the winner of my age group. This is highly inflated due to the short, indoor (easy bike) nature of my races.

But we'll take it.

ps. My friend Jason E wins the prize for the best gag at an indoor triathlon. Last night, he suggested that I wear my helmet on the stationary bike. Brilliant! Too bad the suggestion came after the quatro of tri's.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


When we were young, my family drove to the eastern side of the Island (aka Down East) every 2nd Sunday like clockwork.

There are many people down there who were massively influential in my youth.

We lost one yesterday.

My Uncle Donnie, father of Donald and Jeff, passed away after a long battle with diabetes.

He was a kind-hearted man with a hearty laugh and a sincere concern for others.

I have many stories and memories but this time they remain mine.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Life is Good on the Margin

As disclosed earlier on her blog (click here) and on CC, Hegemom received a diagnosis that was heavy news.

Today, there is great news! See her blog for details... I figure it's ok to share since it's public and wonderful! Many readers of this blog have heard a lot about Hegemom and Fred.

Be sure to check out the wig shopping pics, and the wonderful shot of Fred, replete with a shaved head, done in support. (This is one small example of why I dearly miss working with Fred.)

This is a great day. A day where people shout out loud upon receiving email...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hockey Night in St Louis

BryGuy treated me to a hockey game last night. The seats were rock-star quality and the game was really fun. Seeing live hockey takes me _way_ back to watching games as a youth in a good old rink. No NHL stories from those days: I didn't see my first NHL game until I was 26, and it was in St Louis. In fact, I've only seen NHL games in St Louis (that's weird).

The Blues played the Chicago Blackhawks, an arch-rival and classic Old Six team from the original NHL. Plenty of goals and big hits. It was a terrific game.

I think the best part was the smell: the cool air coming off the ice. Arenas can try and dress up a venue so that it is like a movie theater, ball park, concert hall, etc, but they can never truly hide the fact that one is in a freakin' cold rink. Just the way God intended.

I could write a lot more on this but I have to go to work. A really fun evening... Man, I need to get out to see them more often.

Final score: Blues 5 Blackhawks 1

BryGuy cheerily smiled through all of my old hockey trivia... Here's a couple of tidbits:
  • Chicago currently has the longest "streak since a Stanley Cup". 1960-61. St Louis has been to the finals but has never won.
  • I need to confirm this, but I'm pretty sure that Wayne Gretzky was once awarded all of the game's 3 stars. They had him skate out three times.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I ran tri #3 of 4 this morning... It went pretty well. I had barely worked out all week so I felt well-rested. (Rest, like hydration, is important but I think overstated. These aren't Ironmans!)

I finished 3rd in my age group and received a little medal, which is always nice. I think I have more medals since turning 30 than I ever received as a kid.

Update on the nefarious Jim G: he is down with the flu right now. So he will be iffy for next weekend. I hope he's ok but more importantly, that he can compete. A win is a win so I don't care if he's feeling weak. There's no pride here!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Four in Fourteen Days

On the weekend after next, there is another triathlon: an indoor smackdown with the nefarious Jim G, my dreaded arch-rival, on his home turf: his YMCA in Wildwood.

That leaves this coming weekend for rest and recovery.

Tonight, I decided to recover by doing yet another indoor tri. At the West County Y. Jim G has declined my entreaties to participate. This is pretty crazy since I don't feel good from last weekend yet. But my fans spur me on.

This will be 4 triathlons in the span of 3 weekends. Rock n roll, baby.


ps. My YMCA doesn't host triathlons (yet). That would be pretty awesome. I call the cardio room "my 2nd home" and "the Theatre of Pain". To race in there would be fantastic.

pps. It will actually be 15 days but I like the title for the post.

Tough As Iron

One might think that tough is: doing 2 triathlons back-to-back.

One might think that tough is: coming home 2 nights later, still limping, and then going back out into a cold winter night to swim and run in order to loosen up the calf muscles.

In the big scheme of things, it's not that strong.

Hegemom is tough. Visit her blog and you'll understand.

In related news, please consider donating to the Komen 3-day walk.


ps. Hegemom inspired the Give 'em Hell post.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Double Your Pleasure: 2 tri's in 24 hours

(Editor's note: if you saw the last post, be sure to check it out again. James was kind enough to write a response and give me the link to the website.)

I returned to the JCC for tri #2 this morning. This one was longer and I could feel it on the 5 mile run. Getting up at 4:50 am was 'interesting', but it was a great feeling when it was over.

For doing both events, I received a medal from the event. Ha ha! A medalist, no less, though I doubt if I placed on the podium in my age group. Certainly not today. Yesterday's time is looking pretty good (though still not podium-worthy).

The next tri is at Jim G's YMCA in Wildwood. I'm trying to talk him into a good old smackdown. Either way, this will make a tri-fecta for February.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Team in Training

I haven't blogged much on it but I'm returning to the JCC this weekend for two triathlons: the shorter one was today; the longer one is a 6 am swim tomorrow (yikes). I've done each event in years past but this is the first time I've tried The Combo.

Enough about me.... Listen to this. At some events, I've run into a chap named James W. We are in the same age-group and are mutual supporters. On the stationary bikes, this morning, he was great in terms of keeping us motivated. Later, we chatted and he told me his story.

He was a cross-country runner in high-school, and like me, eventually became quite un-fit by age 30. Then he decided to do something about it. However, his motivation is infinitely more meaningful than mine.

Through his church, he learned of a young girl who was diagnosed with leukemia. He joined Team in Training and worked his way up to triathlon. He does triathlons now wearing the Team in Training colours and wearing logos for the girl.

Alas, he told me the website, but I can't find it, even with The Google. Egad! Hopefully I can find it and put a link over on the margin.

ps. Thankfully James is craftier than I, and found this site (see comments). Here is the link to the website: (click here) for Kare 4 Kailie

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lament for the Death of Reverend Archie Beaton

I had the distinct honour of seeing Natalie MacMaster in concert at the Sheldon this week.

In my pre-blog days, I wrote an inspired for the first time I saw her perform, with Jennifer. I am forever indebted to Jenn for introducing me to her music.

Growing up back home, my folks would go out and socialize every Saturday night. On that night, there were two constants: Hockey Night in Canada, and "the Hoe-down" on a local radio station: old school bluegrass and celtic music. Jigs and reels, you name it. Really old stuff.

I didn't really care for it at the time, but music is powerful stuff. Here, in the middle of the US, it is quite a thing to see a world-class performer play authentic Scottish music and entertain the crowd in a classic Maritime accent. To be 7 years old again.

This show wasn't as good as the first one. But it was still fantastic. The Sheldon is a lovely, intimate concert venue, tailor-made for Natalie's style. Natalie played fiddle, some other Maritimers played piano and bagpipes; a tremendous prodigy from Mississippi played cello (he is 14 years old and worthy of a post in his own right).

I wish everyone I know in St Louis could have been there. This stuff is where I come from. At times, it wasn't so much a concert for me, as it was a pilgrimage.

One such moment: Natalie explained a bit of the history of the Scot music, which goes back to the 1700s. She said that she has learned some 200+ tunes from others, or recordings, even reel-to-reels that no doubt were once used on shows like the Hoe-Down.

She said that this one was different: it came from a music book. It was a very old, slow Scottish air called Lament for the Death of Reverend Archie Beaton. Some fools laughed at the title, which was marginally forgivable because Natalie had been cracking jokes all evening.

This wasn't a joke. It was a gorgeous, slow melody by a virtuoso fiddler player (who knows that holding a note can be more poignant than 8 fluttering grace notes) accompanied by piano. It was transcendent. I wondered how proud her ancestors would be to know that their music was alive and well, after so much change, and to know it is played true and from the heart. I wondered about old Reverend Archie, and what he was like. He must have been a good man to evoke a melody that lasted centuries.


ps. Nat has a CD called "My Roots Are Showing". Perfect.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Blog Tag for Colleen

My sister's birthday is on the 5th. Happy Birthday!

Here's 5 things that readers may not know about Colleen:
  • She once air-dropped into London, England on a wing and a prayer and worked two jobs for a summer. A bagel place and a pub, I think.
  • She holds an undergrad degree in Math and a Law degree. She excelled, and did it with an academic era that was a helluva lot richer than mine in terms of life (I went under social lockdown).
  • She played the flute in high school. I once asked her to play the hook from Ozzy's Crazy Train. It was weird. To pursue it after high-school, she joined the military, and passed boot camp! That's hardcore.
  • She has a laugh that is both loud and infectious. It's hard to not laugh with her.
  • Occasionally, it seems like she's older (she's not). e.g. For her wedding, she asked me to read Kihlal Gibran's On Marriage which was a bolt of lighting in terms of maturity and wisdom. That piece revolutionized my view on lifelong commitment.