Monday, March 27, 2006

This is why I don't gamble.






No, I didn’t have Villanova going to the championship.  No, I didn’t have Villanova winning the prize.

I’m pretty sure nobody who didn’t graduate from Villanova or who was particularly sober had ‘Nova picked to win it all.  I’m not even willing to say they’ll get out of the Final 4—I’m done predicting.

Certainly nobody who deserves to be driving had George Freakin Mason in their Final 4, and if they did I want my oxygen back because you’re not putting it to good use.


Wow.  What a tournament.


Like I said, you can either put money on this, or expect the favorites to win and be pleasantly surprised when they don’t.  No hair pulling, no fretting about where rent money will come from this month.  It’s just pure enjoyment.


It was almost an exciting enough basketball weekend to cover up the sad bad (but not unexpected) news about Mr. Bagwell’s status going into the ’06 season.  I wasn’t really expecting him to break camp with the team, but I’m glad he got his chance to do so.  Cutting him off at the knees (or the shoulder) would have been a travesty and only pushed him to attempt a comeback with another team just to spite Uncle Drayton.  Now it’s time for those two to sit down and have a dinner and clear the air.  Mr. Bagwell is to great of an asset for the Astros to part company with him on bad terms.  Besides, what would a bar and grill in the Ballpark at Union Station be without both Bagwell AND Biggio hosting?  It just wouldn’t be right.  Do the right thing, gentlemen, be grownups.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Falling apart

I kinked a muscle in my chest somehow.  It’s not supposed to hurt to breathe.


40 miles this weekend.  I won’t be hitting 300 before the MS150.  I may not even hit 200.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John Culberson, you're a dirty rat

I don’t care if you disagree with light rail or commuter rail or whatever.  We can’t continue to expand freeways indefinitely.  Some alternative has to be put in action and that alternative should be decided by the folks who will be served by that alternative.  The decision should be put in the hands of the folks selected by locally elected representatives, not some rabbit turd suburban representative to the national government.

That rat bastard Tom Delay—a rabbit turd suburban US representative—blocked and complicated every effort that Houston made to put rail lines on the ground.  Efforts, mind you, that were voted on and approved every time it was put before the people.  Why?  My only guess is because he’s a rat bastard who is comfortably nestled in the pocket of freeway construction firms.  It’s not a principle thing, because he didn’t have a problem with Dallas, or San Francisco, or LA, or Portland, or any number of other urban areas getting funding for rail lines, only Houston

Houston finally got up the nerve to do the light rail thing without federal money (mad props and crazy applause for that), but now that rat bastard Tom Delay’s rabbit turd successor on the Ways and Means Committee John Culberson (who has not yet earned the title “rat bastard” yet, but he’s close) is at work with some new tricks.

Expansion of the light rail line is apparently dependent on real federal funding.  We did the first stretch without them (yay!), but to effectively expand we’re going to need a little cash.  He who owns the purse strings makes the dolls dance, and sure enough that rabbit turd representative Culberson is pulling strings and making the dolls dance.  The current row is over the route the next expansion will take from the downtown area to the Galleria area.  For those of you who don’t know, traffic can be pretty bad in the Galleria area.  In fact, during the NBA’s All Star Weekend the area was pretty much shut down—like 1970s gridlock shut down—to through-traffic by the volumes of people trying to get back and forth and through.  It can be a little bit crazy ‘round there.


What it comes down to is the people voted for route A.  Federal funding is available for route B.  The people along the roads of route B don’t want the line going past their front door—rightfully so—which is why they voted in favor of route A in the first place.  That rabbit turd representative Culberson has his fingers all over making sure the funding was available for route B and not route A.


This is how it’s going to play out from here:

Metro’s going to attempt to get the money and put the rail along route B.

Someone’s going to sue the city and Metro.

The adjusted route will go to a vote (again).

The PAC funded by that rat bastard Delay and rabbit turd representative Culberson will fight the referendum.

Fueled by the local opposition along the adjusted route, the low turnout due to an off year vote (probably in March), and the PAC funding, the referendum will be defeated.

That rabbit turd representative Culberson and that rat bastard Delay will get their way, the rail line will not be expanded, and Houston will be stuck in traffic hell forever.


What these idiot suburban reps don’t realize (and their stupid constituents since they keep electing these clowns) is that THEIR CONSTITUENTS will be served by expanding this rail line.  The core light rail line will be the network that the commuter rails can plug in to.  If there’s nowhere to plug in to, there’s no reason to have the commuter rail lines.  It already takes 5 hours any time of day to do anything on the west side because of all the people trying to get out of their suburban hells to come to the city for entertainment, jobs, or simply some form of human contact.  And from the southwest side all the way out to the west side you have people being represented by the two most brain dead (and corrupt) representatives in congress—that rat bastard and his crony the rabbit turd.


It’s enough to make you want to move to their district and vote against them.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Bracketology II

If you’re seeing this on “Doing something” it’ll be moved to Sport Junkie soon.  Don’t fret.


Round 1 is in the books (so is round 2, but we’ll get to that in a minute).  At the end of round 1, picking only favorites, I’m 23-9.  There are a couple of big upsets with a #3 and #4 going home early.  5 through 12 were all 50/50, except for the 8/9 slot that was 3-1 in favor of the 8’s.  Honestly I’m a little surprised that fully half of the “upset seeds” pulled off the upset.  I was expecting something more along the lines of a 3-1 shot in favor of the higher seeds.  At this stage of the game (end of round 1) there is a real possibility of some party crashers in the Sweet 16—not a real big possibility, but a real shot nonetheless.  Even more significant is a chance that someone from the middle will work their way into the Elite 8.  Regardless, with history and statistics on my side, this is where I say “I hope you bottom seeds enjoy it, because in a game or two you’re going home.”  If the middle seeds get lucky they may be able to hang around, but I don’t count anyone as a Cinderella unless they’re seeded 9 or lower.


In round 2 on the first day we have 1 notable upset with #7 seed swapping plane tickets with a #2.  Somehow Wichita State’s family talked the doctors into not unplugging the device for just a few more days, assuming North Carolina takes care of business…


BUT THEY DON’T!  Wow, at the close of round 2 there is a very real possibility of a gate crasher in the Elite 8.  Not a Cinderella story, but a good story all the same.  After looking at my updated bracket there are actually 2 teams at the end of round 2 who have a good shot of gate crashing.  Unfortunately they play each other—George Mason and Wichita State.  No, Bradley(13) will not beat Memphis.  Their run will end in the Sweet 16.  I’m sure they enjoyed it.  I’m sure it was fun.  Mad props to you for getting that far.  But Memphis is better—there’s a reason they’re #1 and you’re not.  However, Bradley and George Mason win the prize for making the rest of the tournament interesting and exciting.  There are now a thousand new variables for UCONN on that side of the regional bracket.  What fun.


In the context of my system, though, consider this.  There are 2 teams out of 65 who made it from the bottom half of the bracket to the Sweet 16.  Every year 1 or 2 manage it-out of each set of 16.  So, 1 team out of the bottom 8 in each regional bracket is 12.5%.  Probably lower if you take into consideration relative strengths of the teams.  Bet on the favorites, enjoy the upsets for the pure sport of it.  Through 48 games I’ve picked 33 winners and missed on 15 of them.  


Or better still, love the sport, be a stat junkie, and don’t gamble.  [I haven’t put any money into this, by the way, which means I’m already ahead of most of the people who bet on college sports.]


So, into the Sweet 16 we go.  I’ve still got 10 horses running and only 6 have bowed out—3 in the Washington DC regional alone.  The good news is that since UCONN is facing a #5 instead of a #4 their chances of getting into the Final 4 are even greater than they normally would be (though complacency can be the bane of even the best teams), and their shot at the championship is looking good—not great, mind you, only good.  How cool would it be for the championship game to feature a gate crasher?  Before the 7-11 matchup happens it’s hardly even worth seriously considering, but statistical fantasies are allowed in March. 


What fun.

Yesterday's ride

I can’t remember the exact stats, those will come later today.  Yesterday was roughly 20 miles in about 1:30.  Top speed 26.0, average speed near 14.

I discovered quite a pleasant place to ride.

From my house, down TC Jester, west on Pinemont (bike path equipped road).  Pinemont crosses some RR tracks and hooks left, then the path turn right on Clay.  Follow Clay all the way west until you can’t go any further.  Then, if you go just a little further, you’ll hit the Addicks Reservoir.  I rode the levee of the reservoir—no traffic, flat surface (mostly), and beautiful country to ride in.  Granted, it’s not a very long path, only about 1 mile, but it’s worth it.  You can put you head down and fly! 

I stuck to the north side of the reservoir because the wind was making me pretty gassed and I didn’t want to fight that again.  The stuff was whipping and swirling around—it seemed like it was in my face both directions, not cool.  But at least I got some good wind training in.

The post script is that I wasn’t all that tired and the legs felt springy and strong the whole ride.  I haven’t prepared much for the MS150, but 4 weeks out I feel pretty darned good.


So riding the levee raises the question.  What the hell is Addicks Reservoir?  It’s not a reservoir like you’d expect, you know, with water and stuff.  Picture a rectangle with the long ends on the north and south sides.  Then run a vertical bisector down the middle.  Then put a road (Clay Road) into the middle.  Now you have the levee.  If you drain all the water and put some houses—yes, houses—in the middle, you have the reservoir.  What the hell’s that all about?


Saturday, March 18, 2006

No Tour de Houston

My wife just got back from a week in San Fran.  I slept in this morning.  I made her promise to kick me out tomorrow so that I can get in some miles.  I may even hit a few organized rides in the next couple of weeks.
Saw this article: 
"How to Plan a Cross Country Bike Trip
WASHINGTON - The best way to start a cross-country bicycle trip is to pretend you're not doing it."
Funny, that's how I trained for the marathon.  But the advice is pretty sound.  Folks say "you're riding a what where?  That's like...  um..." and I chime in "187 miles.  The rides in May and October are shorter, though."  But the secret is that it's only 16 rides of 10 to 15 miles each with one immediately following the other.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lunch sightings

I saw possibly the funniest thing I’ve seen all week today at lunch.


I’m walking to the magazine store and see a guy wearing a red warmup suit that says “Harvard Athletics” over the left breast.  That by itself is pretty funny, but that wasn’t it.

I think nothing of it mostly because Harvard is about a million miles away and it was probably just some guy wearing the Harvard gear to be funny (or stylish?), and Harvard athletics gear to be even funnier.  After all, he was shorter than me and white so he wasn’t here for any basketball tourney.


While I’m waiting on my burger, I see a kid wearing a “NCAA Athlete” sticker on top of a regular t-shirt.  I think “hm, maybe the Cougars are hosting the next round of the NIT.  I’ll have to see how Stanford did yesterday.”  He was also short and white, so I figured he would be a trainer or something like that.  Then I see a “Penn State” warmup jacket.  Then I see “Duke”.  Then I see “Yale”.  Then I see a couple of other “NCAA Athlete” stickers.  All are being worn by short white guys.

Then I see the “Rosetta Stone” that brings all this oddity into focus—a kid wearing a Notre Dame Fencing t-shirt. 


No wonder they had to wear “NCAA Athlete” stickers.  Nobody would guess the short, white, ivy league smart guys were athletes.  Apparently there’s a fencing championship going on somewhere in town and all the kids descended on the Galleria for lunch.  If memory serves page c10 of the daily cage-liner has a story on it (page c10 also has the back end of a Richard Justice column about a UH Football great).


Bonus points if you can explain the origins of “Ivy League”.  Hint:  it has nothing to do with foliage.

Pondering concluded

You’ve had a couple of days to ponder what men want.

So have I.

Now I have an answer.

But I’m not telling.



Just kidding.

I exposed a few days back the most romantic line from a movie ever—“You make me want to be a better man”.  It’s the most romantic line because it essentially embodies in 9 words exactly what women want, that is, men in character not merely gender.  So, what do men want?

That’s easy.  I discovered it while being actively petrified over the prospect (still a 50/50 prospect) that my little bundle of joy will be a baby girl.  Men want women in character, not merely gender.

But there’s a catch, and a catch is that makes me actively petrified over the prospect (still 50/50) of raising a little girl.  Society despises the values and traits that make a woman a woman in character and not merely gender.  Men are expected to be men; women are expected to be female men or merely physical toys.  As female men they’re looked at as second class citizens (cheap copies of the genetically authentic male men) and are compensated accordingly; as physical toys they’re not even regarded with basic humanity but are bought, sold, traded, and generally passed around.  Females of the species are not expected to be, nor encouraged to be, women in character by general society.  There are a thousand voices telling women what they should be, but not a single one saying “be a woman, it’s ok”.  In fact, it’s more than ok; it’s what men really want.



The shoulder is almost completely pain free.  It was a good pain, but I don’t really want it again.  It’s currently a 75% chance that I’ll be at the Tour de Houston and the weather has no bearing on that at all.  I’ll probably sign up for the 40 miler and if I do there’s a good chance I’ll ride the 70 anyway—the weather does have a bearing on that, though.


And they don’t hand out chips for bike rides.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another step down the path to becoming one of YOU PEOPLE

I’m “eating” a smoothie for lunch.

Apple something-or-other.

I’m not sure, but I think it’s actually making me hungrier.

Aches and Rains

The drizzle this morning means I may not be getting out on the bike this evening.

The ache in my shoulder means I may not be getting into the gym—although the gym is a more likely occurrence than the road right now.

My wife returning from a week in San Fran means I may not even have to leave the house to get a workout in.


That’s because she has a lot of luggage that I’ll have to lift, carry, move, unload, etcetera.  What’d you think I meant?



The Tour de Houston is Saturday.  There’s a moderate chance I’ll sign on for the 40 miler, then dip into Memorial for a quick run.  Anyone else going?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Something to ponder

Lifted weights.  Shoulder’s sore.  Ouch.

I hate treadmills.  I hate stationary bikes.  I like rowing machines, though… might be because there’s no outdoor place to replicate the machine actions, unlike with a treadmill or bike.


Now for the “something to ponder”…

If “You make me want to be a better man” is the most romantic line in movies (and it is), then what is the reciprocal sentiment from the fairer sex?

Here’s a hint:  It’s not “time for dinner” or “do me”.  Yes, men want food and sex (not necessarily in that order) and not much else, but we can get those anywhere from anyone.  What sentiment changes the desire for “food and sex” to “food and sex with you”?

In the statement “you make me want to be a better man” is packed hundreds of layers of complexity.  You make me want to provide security to you; to nurture you; to protect you; to comfort you; to appreciate you…  to do all the things a man does (and I mean “man” as in character, not genetics).  You make me want to do these things and more.  You make me want to be a better man.


So, what’s the reciprocal?  Enough already with what women want.  What do men want?


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Training update

Events have precluded me from training.  There’s been no biking and no running.  It’s just been too late after getting home and getting stuff done and the Cougars didn’t get picked for the NCAA tourney.  Yea, I could ride in the morning.  I could also start a mushroom farm in my belly button.

Tonight I’m going to hit the weights, though, and address a couple of issues that came up last time I rode--specifically, weakness in the shoulders and back.  I’m not so much worried about the leg strength or cardio strength (that’ll snap into shape real quick like when the miles start to stretch out behind me), but the core strength might be an issue.

I’m still aiming for 300 miles.  I’ve only got 287 miles to go.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


3 things came up that alone wouldn’t prevent a ride tonight, but together make it close to impossible.

Tomorrow, though, I ride.  I’m looking at something close to a 20 mile ride tomorrow, and then Saturday I’d like to follow with something in the neighborhood of 30 miles.  We shall see, though.

Who’s going to be riding in the vicinity of Saturday morning?  Maybe this weekend would be a good one to shake the fear of riding in the street.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ok, movie fans

Ok, so people love the Oscars.  I don’t get it.  I don’t care.

I dig movies, though.  They’re fun.

I even dig movie trivia.

This, though, is not movie trivia:


What’s the most romantic line ever uttered in a movie?


No, it’s not the “get on that plane” line from Casablanca.

It’s most certainly not “you had me at hello” from Jerry MacGwire.  In fact, if you suggest that I’ll come over there and smack you right now.

It’s not “I wish I could quit you” from that stupid cowboy movie.

It might be Jim Belushi’s profession of love to in “Blues Brothers”:  Hm… no, that’s just plain funny.



Keep guessing.

I’ll give you a hint:  Jack Nicholson said it.

No, it’s not “honey, I’m home” from The Shining.  That’s just creepy.

Maybe “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.  Hm… no, that’s just creepy, too.

Homer Simpson’s version is pretty funny:

Homer:  All work and no play makes Homer something something…

Marge:  Go crazy?

Homer:  DON’T MIND IF I DO!!!

That cracks my ass up every time.

But no, it’s not that one.


Training update tomorrow.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I hate the Oscars

The one line from last week that bugs me more than anything else was from E!:

“We’re bringing America closer than anyone to the stars they adore.”


Adore?!?  Adore!?!  GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!

It’s not enough that this crap is all over my evening news for a week, all over the morning news for a week, all over the newspaper for a week, all over the Sunday AM commentaries for a week, all over the slobbering entertainment news for a week, and all over the radio for a week, but you have the gall to suggest to me that I adore these buffoons?  Come on!  They act.  Nothing else.  They have no idea who you are, and quite frankly don’t care who you are.  They’re just people.  They’re rich people, but just people all the same.  Do I care if someone is dating/breaking up/making a baby with someone else?  Not the least.

At least I can be happy knowing that the one night of the year when the most self serving industry in the world spends some time to reflect on themselves in an orgy of self gratifying excess is finally over and America’s teeny tiny attention span can move on to something else that’s shiny.

Yes, I hate the Oscars.  It screws up all the TV schedules for the night and gets me a little cranky.


And Crash was a fantastic movie (I saw the winners in the morning fishwrap).

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Yardstick Ride

12.09 miles
15.43 mph
27.50 max mph
Total time:  0:47:52
Number of times I vomited:  3.
Ok, so don't drink milk before riding.  I know this rule, but I drank some milk this morning anyway.  Milk tastes a lot better going down than coming back up.
Other than the vomiting (which didn't get on me, by the way, and didn't cause me to break cadence either) it wasn't a bad ride.  A little slower than I'd like but still faster than the first ride last year and faster than the ride on the same day in 2004.  Of course, in 2004 I rode 44 miles on March 6, not 12 and I didn't vomit. 
All in all, I'm not disappointed.  I'm right where I'd like to be.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Training rides

In 2003 my first training ride was March 1 and I logged 159.7 miles before the big ride.
In 2004 my first training ride was January 9 and I logged 460.5 miles before the big ride.
In 2005 my first training ride was April 9 and I logged 126.66 miles before the big ride (I skipped the Houston ride and only rode the Dallas ride, plus it was post marathon collapse).
In 2006 my first ride was back in January 28, post marathon.  I haven't rode since (I know, I was going to ride Thursday but worked late, so stick it).
So far I've logged 13 miles.  I've got 55 total days remaining, probably only about 30 training days in the mix.  300 miles will be easy.
The trick will be finding time and/or a place to run AND swim.
Times will be posted tomorrow.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Great business idea

With the US Treasury issuing new $10 bills today I offered to take some folks old $10s and swap them for new $10s for a small, 1% fee.  You never know, someone might say yes then that’s a little extra change in the pocket.


But that got me thinking…

What about starting a “Currency Authentication Service”?  You give me your cash and for a small fee, I’ll certify that it’s not counterfeit and replace any bills that are.  It’s cheaper than going to jail for inadvertently trying to pass some phony money at some quickie mart.  I could set up a website.  The “customers” would just fill out an order request, I’d ship the packing bags, you fill and seal the bags, include a check, and in a couple of days your certified authentic currency will be in a UPS box coming back to you 100% free of any counterfeit bills with a detailed explanation of any counterfeit bills found in the lot.  I’ll even include a certificate of authenticity!


How much is avoiding a stay in a “Federal Ass Ramming Prison” worth to you?  5% of your cash?  25%?  Try a measly 2% (plus shipping and handling).  You send me $500 and it’ll only cost you $10 (plus shipping and handling) to authenticate your bills so that you can avoid jail.  What a fabulous deal!

But be warned, if you’re trying to launder counterfeit money through the Ajax Currency Authentication Corporation we will call the feds and you will go to Federal Ass Ramming Prison.  Ajax is not a money launderer; it is an Authentication Service only.


The best part is that it’s perfectly legal.  There is nothing illegal about separating a fool from his money.  Unethical?  Sure.  Preying on ignorance and fear?  Yea.  But illegal?  Not hardly.  Why should we leave all the fun to the feds and credit card companies?

Plus if you’re dumb enough to be a counterfeiter in the first place, you’re likely dumb enough to try and pull one over on someone who’s clearly preying on idiots, so you’re very likely to go to jail and I’m very likely to collect the reward for putting you there.  It’s a win-win!


I should get started on this right away.  I’m sure there are plenty of suckers—er, customers—out there who are just waiting to make me rich.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Thanks to the unusual glowing ball that is hanging in the sky when I get off work now days I should be able to make a trek out of doors tomorrow evening and actually get some exercise.  The current plan is to bike about 13 miles after work, then whip off a quick mile down the way and back.

That is, of course, if the weather holds.

And, of course, if I feel like running after getting off the bike. 

Place your bets now.  The ride is almost a lock, but the odds of the run actually happening are somewhere close to 50/50.



Meanwhile, what’s with the (>|<) button on elevators?  Those don’t work—ever.  Why do they even have them installed?  I mean, the (<|>) button always works.  Hit that sucker and the doors practically fly back open.  Hell, if you stand close to the button the doors fly open.  But try and make them snap back shut by hitting the (>|<) button and what happens?  Nothing.  That’s what.  A big, fat nothing.  I think they put those in there just to make us feel comfortable.  Like… parachutes on space ships, or something.  Or seats that turn into floatation devices.

And what’s up with those?  What, just in case you’ve managed to survive a plunge from 30,000 feet into shark infested waters and you wanted to float around a bit before you died, your friendly neighborhood airplane designer thought of you and decided to help you out?  He made sure your seat would float. 

It’s not like he could have thought of having your seat turn into a helium balloon to maybe, oh, I don’t know, help to prevent you from crashing into the giant planet zooming up at you. 

Or maybe a parachute.  Or a tiny little airplane. 

No, a floatation device, so the shark food can float on the surface. 

Thanks, bunches.

Cross training report

Yes, paintball is cross training.

The original plan for the weekend was to ride on Saturday and play paintball on Sunday.  The weather on Saturday was inhospitable, so instead of postponing the ride to Sunday I scrubbed it all together expecting Sunday to be more of the same.

Next time I won’t be so hasty—and I’ll actually watch the weather reports.

Anyway, paintball was 3 hours on Sunday afternoon with me and 8 other guys on some property out in Crosby.  Heavy underbrush, lots of palmettos, thorns, and generally crappy visibility.  You could literally vanish 5 feet away from somebody simply by dropping down to your belly and laying perfectly still.

What fun.

It was kind of an open scenario field where everybody went out and basically teamed up as they saw fit.  You started a new game by shooting at someone as they walked off the “field”.

I bagged 5 “kills”; I was “killed” 1 time—and it took 2 of them to do it.


We are pretty close to the 6 week mark for the MS150.  Plans are still to log about 300 miles training in preparation for the big ride.  For those of you keeping score, that’s twice the number of miles ran in preparation for the marathon in a quarter of the time.