Tuesday, January 30, 2007


the Secret is Out

For those of you who don't already know,..


  I've been bitten by a Firefly!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Favorite George W Bush Moments

OK, I'm still in bed when I should be outside running.  My dog isn't being much help, all curled up in the blanket like she just don't care.

To inspire myself to get out and hit the pavement, I'm lying here thinking of some fast runners I admire:

That's right, folks, there is something I admire our fearless leader for aside from his loyalty to his friends like Dead Duck Dude.  Laugh if you want, but the guy finished the Houston Marathon in 3:44.  You try that!

Speaking of laughing, here for no particular reason are some random George W Bush moments.  Enjoy.

Let's start with one of my favorites: "Drunk at a Party."  Take notice how much the president admires his newly married friends for their marathon running abilities.

I thought this guy was supposed to be in AA, but I guess not.

Like music?  Irish nationalism?  Well then, duder, this next one goes out to you: "Sunday Bloody Sunday!"

In a few days January will be over and soon it will be February, the shortest month of the year.  But don't tell that to George W Bush!

Now, getting serious for a moment, here is some recently de-classified video footage from before the Iraq invasion.  Now we know the real story!

This next one is my all-time favorite.  WARNING: George Bush's rendition of an old folk saying is painful to watch.

And finally, a "sub-blim-in-a-ble" compilation of great W moments, set to music.  Now, let's all have a cheeseburger!

OK, procrastination over.  President Bush wouldn't be lazy on a day like today, so neither will I.

So I'm going to go outside an run now.

Then I'll have a cheeseburger.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Clark Street Ale House


Jay and Out of Shape Guy and me at Clark Ale House.

Topics discussed:  

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Lou Pinella 5K

Last night Jay and I did a test measure of the Lou Pinella 5K.  The temperature was a glorious 25°F but it was still a good night to run through the residential and industrial sites of Bridgeport.

Distance:  3.1 miles (5K)
Time:  29:04

I met my goal of coming in under 30 minutes, but I was pretty winded from the effort.  I'm going to have to do a lot better in the next 60 days if I want to beat my 8K PR at the Shamrock.

So, my intrepid runners, are you ready to participate in Chicago's most unusual short-distance running event?

The Lou Pinella 5K will take place on Saturday March 3 at 10AM.  This will be a self-timed, unorganized race.  Participants can look forward to:

Think about it.  Then think again, because you'd really be nuts to do this.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Bears and Colts Triumph

Today was a good day to watch some football.  Especially if you love the Bears and hate the Patriots.

Watched the Bears-Saints game with Jay and Brian and Brian's three cats and some lame dude who only drank Orange Crush.  Jay and I drank very heavily during this game, hoisting our glasses every time either team achieved a first down.

I don't have any pictures from Brian's house because I was too busy drinking and screaming at the television to record the moment for posterity.  Suffice it to day that the Bears won, I got drunk (and still am), and I no longer have easy use of my speaking voice.


After the NFC game was over I headed to Cans to catch up with Jason & Leah and watch the AFC championship between the New England Douche Bags and the Indianapolis Colts.

Leah & Jason after 9 hours at the bar. Leah says "You gotta give me credit!"

When I left Cans with only 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter things didn't look good for the Colts, and I wanted to beat the rush for a cab.  But on my way home I found out the Colts ended up pulling it off with a dramatic win.

Thank goodness!  Now there is much less risk of me overhearing people singing the Superbowl Shuffle.


(and for those beers.. as in all the beers I've had tonight)

Friday, January 19, 2007


Thanks for Two Years!

Today is the second anniversary of this blog.  Thanks to all of my readers for your interest in my self-centered postings and occasionally amusing anecdotes.

Two years ago today I was sitting by myself in the 2nd sub-basement of a downtown bank, killing time as an hourly consultant.  I started this blog because I had nothing better to do.  (JB had planted the seed in my head of starting a blog, even though she didn't have one herself.)

A year later I decided to take up running and Leah introduced me to the amazing RBF social subculture of people who train for marathons and then write about it on the Internet.  Since then I've met lots of great runners online, and this is largely responsible for my still being a runner today.

Thank you everyone, for helping me realize my potential as a geeky extrovert.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Heart, Balls, and Belgian Muscat Lambic

Nothing like a routine physical to put one at ease!  Here's how it went:

Turns out the heart murmur is probably benign and the hernia is at least a year away from being an actual problem (which is good, because recovery from surgery would take 8+ weeks and I have a full race schedule this year).  But I still have to see a couple of specialists to run further tests on my groin and heart.  Great.

Other than that, today was a good day.  I'm training a new guy at work and he seems to be learning fast.  With things going so well, I left the new guy alone while Jay and I ran off to Chinatown for a nice lunch of pan-fried noodles and some kind of barley soup.

After my doctors appointment I bought some new running pants really cheap at Sears and then came home in time to have a nice long chat on the phone with someone special.  

Now I'm going to take a nap and then head over to the gym for a nice workout.  Then I'm off to the Hopleaf for some yummy Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek.

All in all, a good day for someone with a potentially bad heart and testicles.

UPDATE:  After a fantasticly intense workout I headed over to Hopleaf, only to find out that they were out of Cantillon Lou Pepe.  But not to worry--they now have Cantillon Vigneronne, which it turns out is even better.  Sour muscat labmic!  Now THAT's what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Guilty as Charged!  Oh, the shame of it!


Well, folks I have a confession to make:  I have committed a corporate crime.

Companies have rules for a reason, which is why we can't just go around cheating customers, poisoining the water cooler, deceiving shareholders, or stealing big bags of money out the back door.

But oh my transgression is worse than all of the above--so bad that it actually triggered a warning from corporate headquarters in New York!

My crime:  

I checked my personal e-mail at work!

(I can see you are all gasping in horror!)

[sound of me slapping myself in the face]

NEVER [slap] DO [slap] THAT [slap] AGAIN! [slap]

Ouch!  Slapping myself sure does hurt.  But I certainly deserve it for the terrible crime I have committed.  Now I can only do my best to serve as a deterrent to others.

I feel like Richard Nixon, only balder and more evil.

And for any of you out there who would even consider emulating my terrible crime, let the e-mail below serve as a dire warning.  (Names blanked out to protect the hard working men and women of JPMC Info Security who risk their lives every day to make sure that this will never ever be a fun place to work.)

N------ C---/JPMCHASE
01/16/2007 03:55 PM


CSIRT received the alert below showing that you used webmail (st17.startlogic.com) from your machine via the infrastructure. Use of external webmail is a violation of the IT Control Policies due to the inherent security risks involved.

Please provide your exception ID for this usage, or cease using it from JPMC assets and infrastructure. Please note that continued violations without an exception requires CSIRT to notify Employee Relations as well.

Thank you,

N------ C--
Computer Security Incident Response Manager, Americas

N------ C---, Vice President
JPMorgan Chase
Information Technology Risk Management
Computer Security Incident Response Team
1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, 24 Floor
New York, New York 10005

I sure do miss my glory days consulting at Arthur Andersen, where no one would even think of doing anything naughty.

Now be good, kids!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Firefly at the Finish Line

Unofficial Results:

Chip:  2:30:03
Division:  33 / 572
Gender:  172 / 3155
OverAll:  401 / 6638

Let's hear it for the lovely and speedy Firefly!!!!!!

(And the Bears did pretty good today, too!)

In your face Bob!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


See Bears Score! See Firefly Run!

On Sunday I will be celebrating two big events in the wide world of sport:

At 8:30AM MST Firefly will be running in the PF Chang Rock 'N Roll Arizona Half Marathon.

Denise has trained very hard for this race, and she greatly appreciates everyones' support.  Feel free to leave a comment here and I'll relay it to her via text message.

Denise will be running in the 2:07 pace group.  How awesome is that?!!!!

The other big Sunday event is the Bears-Seahawks game at noon CST.  I'm kinda nervous about this game for all the questions it brings up:

Time will tell.

I'll be updating this post throughout the morning and afternoon, so feel free to check back often.

Go Denise!  Go Bears!  Yea beer!

Sunday 8:00AM - Firefly Update -  Denise just called from the starting line where she is freezing her ass off.  Who could have expected 29°F in Arizona?  Temperatures are not expected to climb much above freezing before the starting horn, and not much more afterwards.  So send Denise your warm thoughts, because it's going to be an interesting morning.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


War Pigs

 News Item:  Bush Orders 20,000 More Troops to Iraq

Lately I've had the song "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath stuck in my head.  Although written in 1971 as a protest against the Vietnam War, the lyrics of this heavy metal political protest seem as applicable now as ever.

Listen to "War Pigs" for yourself and tell me that Ozzy isn't singing about Bush and Cheney instead of Nixon and Kissinger.

Politicians hide themselves away.
They only started the war.
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor.

And as an added bonus, in case you can't get enough of that song, here is a video of the Dresden Dolls performing an amazing cover of "War Pigs".  They take a different approach than Black Sabbath, but the message is the same.

      Firefly Marathon Update
1/12/2007 2:44PM MST

Firefly enjoys a Michelob at the PF Chang Rock 'N Roll Arizona Marathon Expo

Watch this page for regular updates on Firefly's progress at the PF Chang Arizona Rock 'N Roll 1/2 Marathon.  Go Denise!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Wisconsin Beer Adventure

Good morning everybody!  

I started working on this blog post Monday morning but never had a chance to finish it. Yesterday was horribly busy at work, and the fun actually started very, very early.  Sunday night, just as I was drifting into comfy sleepy land, I got a call from a co-worker saying that she needed my help.  So, not really rested from my Wisconsin beer adventure, I jumped into my pants and into a cab and made a midnight appearance at the coldest, ugliest building on earth.  This sort of thing only happens when I least expect it.  But I knew I was in for adventure when I first put on the uniform (jeans and a t-shirt).

But this blog post isn't about the absurd universe that is my carear (muffled laughter).  That's a tale for another day.

Now let me tell you about my weekend.

Jay and I set off for Wisconsin behind schedule on Saturday.  We had a big agenda and lots of beer to drink.  But we still had enough time to stop on the way at Quaker Steak & Lube, which in spite of its cheesy name serves the very best spicy chicken wings in all of south central Wisconsin.  Jay ordered the spicy cajun wings, which he was nice enough to share.

Our first destination was Lake Louie, Wisconsin's most notoriously difficult-to-find microbrewery.  This tiny operation certainly isn't setup with busloads of tourists in mind, and is located down an unmarked dirt road in the little town of Arena.

Brewmaster Tom Porter and his wife DeAnn started Lake Louie as a very tiny operation and are still very small time.  Their product, though excellent, can be notoriously difficult to find even in Wisconsin.

When we reached the brewery building we opened the door and found... no one.  The door was unlocked an nobody was inside.  Jay joked that we should just let ourselves in and show ourselves around.

We had arrived too late to meet Tom Porter, who had left for Madison and normally conducts tours in person earlier in the day.  But we lucked out when DeAnn emerged from her house (just across the gravel driveway!) and offered to show us around.  Like her husband, DeAnn is is an engineer and she played a big role in setting up the brewery.  Although she modestly appologised to us for the quality of her tour, it was apparent that she understood every part of the production process and knew what she was talking about.  (And she was not the least bit put off that two obnoxious big city tourists just showed up in the middle of her Saturday afternoon.)

DeAnn wasn't able to get the taps working, but was nice enough to pull some bottles out of the cooler for us to sample.  This proved to be a special treat, as we were given the opportunity to sample the Reserve Scotch Ale.  This very rare beer had previously sold out in only four days and is not available anywhere!  What an incredible treat it was to sample this amazing brew with DeAnn Porter and also Tom's brother Gary, who dropped by while we were there.  DeAnn even gave us each a bottle to take with us.  Now I possess a bottle of Wisconsin's rarest beer and am almost afraid to drink it.  Almost.

Oh my God, what an amazing place!  While Tom and DeAnn deserve all the success, I hope they never grow so big that they lose the magic and turn into something like Goose Island.  (You know what I mean Jay!)

After checking in to our fabulous roadside motel, Jay and I drove into Madison for our next beer stop: Riley's Wines of the World.

Why travel all the way to Wisconsin just to visit a liquor store?  Because strange laws, arcane distribution arrangements, and poor economy of scale make it so a lot of great Wisconsin brew is not available anywhere near Chicago.  And it also provided me an opportunity to purcahse some of my favorite cherry wine.

Jay in particular appreciated being able to purchase beer he doesn't get to see every day, and for him this seemingly routine shopping stop was one of the most important elements of our visit to Wisconsin.

I was at first surprised that Jay was even buying beer at all, given the massive quantities of beer he already has at home.  But by the next day I wouldn't be shaking my head at Jay anymore, becuase in the end I would buy way more than Jay!  (More on that in a minute.)

While at Riley's I snapped up a couple of four packs of New Glarus Unplugged Enigma (2006).  As I've said previously, this very special 2006 limited edition is my favorite beer ever, EVER.  So, even though we were already planning on a visit to New Glarus on Sunday, I wasn't going to take any chances; I purchased two four packs.

We then drove back to our motel for some rest time... and to drink some of our new purchases.  I think I fell asleep at some point with bad cable TV on while Jay was outside smoking cigars.

Around 8:00PM Jay and I finaly ventured out, jumping into a cab and heading downtown to capital square for a night on the town.

What happened next could be described in one of three ways, depending on who you ask:

   1.  It was the cab driver's fault
   2.  It was Jay's fault
   3.  It was just meant to be

It all started when Jay engaged the hippie cab driver and asked him where we should go downtown for a good bite to eat.  The driver didn't hesitate to suggest Great Dane, and at this suggestion Jay seemed uncomfortable.  You see, Jay knew about Great Dane from its reputation as being one of the largest brewpubs in the United States.  He had been silently hoping we would avoid this place altogether, for fear he would drink every beer they have.  And that, of course, is exactly what would happen.  (I'm getting ahead of myself.)

It turns out Great Dane is a popular family destination, with lots of children wearing uncomfortable sweaters and a 45+ minute wait for a table in the dining room.  So, as inevitably always happens, Jay and I sit at the bar.  [Cue ominous music]  The bartender comes over and Jay asks for a sampler.  The bartender asks what beers we would like to sample and Jay replies, "All of them."


"No, Jay!  Are you crazy?!!  They brew 17 different beers here!"

But Jay was unswayed by my pleas, and moments later we were presented with a wooden tray holding 17 full sampler glasses.

Each glass held four ounces of beer.  Now bear in mind that this is not the same as drinking 17x4oz of Budweiser.  All but one of these beers was significantly alcoholic, and the fact that each was different from one another meant they would be especially potent in combination.  We were in for quite a ride!

Desperate to protect myself from what would surely be a horrible shock to my stomach, I ordered the most disgusting hamburger I've ever seen (which I suppose probably just made things worse).  Consider, if you will, the Great Dane "Bratwurst Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Burger:"

*  1/3 lb burger patty
*  1/4 lb bratwurst patty(!)
*  lots of bacon
*  very thick slice of melted Wisconsin cheddar(tm)
*  thick, salty pretzel bun

Now, I wouldn't say this was a bad combination of ingredients so much as it was a counterweight to any health benefits I may have inadvertantly gained from running.  Yum!

It was not easy making our way through all the beer in front of us.  Some, like the Barristers' Brown Ale, was easy to drink.  Others, like the barleywine, felt like shots of tequila.

(By the way, who really drinks barleywine anyway?  Does anyone really need to get drunk on beer that badly?  The stuff should be outlawed, I tells ya!)

Stumbling out of Great Dane at last, we made our way to The Local Tavern.  This was not our ultimate destination, and we shouldn't have even gone in there.  But we had our minds set on it because earlier in the day DeAnn told us that this was a bar in Madison where we could get Lake Louie served on draft.  Of course, once we clumsily sat upon our bar stools at this non-descript yuppie bar the last thing on our minds was drinking Lake Louie; we had had too much beer already.  So, ironic given my arguments with Jay about Goose Island and the fact that we had specifically come to Wisconsin to drink local beer, I ordered a glass of Goose Island -- I don't even remember which one!  The bar was uncrowded and we were already quite drunk, so we settled in to nurse our beers and watch the third quarter of the Seahawks-Cowboys game.  Seeing the Seahawks lose (so we thought) and seeing the evening slip away from us, we left our beer (and the game) unfinished as we shuffled off down the road.

Our final destination--and in fact our main reason for visiting Madison in the first place--was Maduro.

I cannot say enough things about this amazing place, and is certainly one of the top 5 bars I have ever been to in my life.  Consider..

*  a cigar bar that is not too smoky
*  a traditional atmosphere that does not seem stuffy
*  not fake or pretentious--unlike similar places in Chicago
*  chill dub music playing softly in the background
*  comfortable leather sofas
*  cigars for sale at decent prices
*  friendly, knowledgeable bartender

The appeal of Maduro for me was the best grappa selection I have ever seen in the United States.  Most people don't like grappa; some describe it as tasting like motor oil.  But I love the stuff, and was excited to taste whatever the bartender recommended.  She got up on a very tall ladder and pulled something off the top shelf that ended up being way too advanced for my modest pallate.  So I ended up ordering a glass of Marolo, which I combined with one of Jay's Rocky Patel cigars.

Perfect synergy!

It was finaly time to go home when I could no longer sit upright on the leather sofa.  A few of other patrons laughed at me for not finishing my cigar, but it didn't matter.  I had had my fun.

The next morning I woke up early.  This was not because I wasn't hungover and not becuase I didn't need the sleep, but because my wonderful job (which I'm really not going to talk about) has trained my body to wake up early 7 days a week.  Finaly tired of staring at the ceiling and listening to Jay snore, I put on my running clothes and attempted to jog to Lake Monona and back.  Ha!  Yeah, right.

Distance:  1.5 miles
Time:  16 minutes
Temperature:  29°F

I had my good shoes, my best cold weather running pants, and my hooded "Pug Life" sweatshirt.  But of course I forgot my gloves.  And I'm just not all that good in cold weather.  So I never made it all the way to the lake.  But at least I got my circulation going for a short while and also worked off a portion of the previous night's food and alcohol.

A couple of hours later we were on the road and on our way to New Glarus.

Our original plan had been to stay the night in New Glarus, but after Dana had to cancel due to work we changed our plans to stay the night in Madison and visit New Glarus on Sunday.  The good news was that Dana was able to finish his work and join us in New Glarus, where he found us at the Sportsman's Bar & Grill playing pool and talking about..what else?..football.  I tell you, nothing bring people together like good pizza w/ real cheese and hating the New England Patriots.  (It was at the Sportman's Bar that we finaly found out that the Seahawks had beaten the Cowboys and that we had missed an amazing fourth quarter of football the previous night dammit!)

The New Glarus brewery itself was either fun or just OK, depending on how you look at it.  Dana and I enjoyed the self-guided tour through the brewery, but we (especially Jay) felt let down that there wasn't a tap room on premesis.

Fortunatley they had a good gift shop.

  Dana on the self-guided tour

New Glarus is definitely a lot bigger than Lake Louie!

  This copper brewkettle was rescued from the scrap pile in Germany

  I enjoyed walking around with nobody there!

While Jay complained to the gift shop clerk about the lack of a tap room and Dana browsed the souveniers, I noticed off in the corner.... Enigma!!

So I grabbed an entire case and put it up on the counter.  Suddenly, all conversation stopped and everyone just looked at me.  Even Jay was astounded that I was purchasing this much.  But what can I say?  I love the stuff.

At this point you're probably thinking, OK, that's all the beer they are going to see this weekend.  Well, not quite.  Jay, still dissappointd at the lack of a tap room at New Glarus, suggested that we visit one more brewery: Tyranena.

Located east of Madison on the way to Milwaukee, Tyranena is a cool microbrewery that I had never heard of.  They weren't conducting tours on Sunday, but fortunately for us they did have a nice tap room where got to hang out, drink beer, and watch..what else?..more football.

Jay ordered another sampler tray, which Dana and I also shared.  But I have to admit that by this point I was so sick of beer that I didn't even order a glass of my own.  Instead I enjoyed the Tyranena root beer.  The stuff is made on premesis and is actually quite good.  Mostly it was nice to just hang out with my buddies before returning home.  A perfect end to a fun weekend.

Friday, January 05, 2007


January sucks. Roadtrip!

What do Lake Louie, Spotted Cow, a swiss chalet, and a downtown cigar bar have in common?

They are all destinations on my weekend Wisconsin Beer Roadtrip!

Accompanied by Jay and Dana I will be visiting:

We'll be staying at the fabulous Chalet Landhaus, home of the guys who blow those big horns and say "RI-COLA!.."

My goal for this weekend, other than to escape the January blahs, is to purchase some of the elusive New Glarus Unplugged Enigma.  The 2006 is one of the best beers I have ever tasted, but it is unavailable in Illinois and is already out of production.  So I plan to purchase as much as I can carry to get me through the winter blahs.

So I'll be offline this weekend but will check back in Sunday night or Monday morning.

Note to my central-Wisconsin readers:  My friends and I will be at the Maduro Cigar Bar in Madison (next to the capitol square) after 8PM this Saturday night if you'd like to stop by for a drink.


Thursday, January 04, 2007


Looking Towards the 2007 Chicago Running Season


Hey there, campers!  Did we all have a fun New Years Eve?  I myself had a good time, thanks to Firefly, Running Jayhawk, Out of Shape Guy, Jason and Leah, and of course Phog.

   Photos by Firefly

Now it's Thursday and I'm finally back at work.  *Groan!*  Best not to think about it.

Instead I'm focusing my energies on preparing for the 2007 Chicago running season, starting with....

I'm all signed up!  Are you?  I can't imagine anyone would want to miss the opportunity to run on cold, wet pavement and drink light beer at the finish line.

What's that, you say?  You haven't signed up yet?  Good God, man!  Hurry up and register for the Shamrock Shuffle right now.

I'll wait.


All set?  Good.

Now let's talk about 2007.

I officially kicked off my 8K training yesterday with my first outdoor run of the year, accompanied by Jeanne.

Distance:  2.98 miles
Time:  35:00
Pace:  11:58/mile

I know, I know, nothing to write home about.  We had decided to take it easy, since Jeanne and I both have old injuries.  And we were also slowed down by wind resistence and darkness.

Jeanne (and possibly Jay) will be accompanying me this Saturday for my first long run of 2007.  My goal will be to do four miles without hurting myself.

Here is my plan for the coming year...


Train individually at slow recovery pace.  2-3 days per week in the gym and 1-2 days outdoors (including one weekly long run).

training pace:  10:00-13:00/mile
goal #1:  Set 5K PR of 35 minutes at the Lou Pinella 5K
goal #2:  Beat 8K PR of 45 minutes at the Shamrock Shuffle
obstacles:  Frostbite, lack of enthusiasm, bad elevator music at gym


Jeanne and I are organizing a half marathon spring training group open to anyone interested in doing Saturday long runs at a 10:00-11:00 pace.  Leave a comment on mine or Jeanne's blog if interested.

In addition to the weekend long runs, I plan on doing lots of indoor cross-training at the gym and at least two midweek days per week running outdoors (including Wednesday evening speed training at Chase Park in Ravenswood).

training pace:  10:30/mile (long runs), 10:00/mile (mid-week), 8:00 (speed training)
goal #1:  Drink and run with distinction at the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon.
goal #2:  Excel as a member of the yet-to-be-named team at the Great Midwest Relay.  Try not to get kicked out of van.
obstacles:  voices in my head


If I have managed by this point to avoid injury, it's time to train for the big one, el gordo: the 2007 Chicago Freakin Marathon.  (Note that at the time of this posting a lump is already forming in my throat.)

How I train this year depends entirely on how my knee holds out.  I'm already feeling some pain even from my recent short runs.  Hopefully stretching and icing will keep the pain in check and regular cross-training will relieve the pressure on my IT band (and thus my patellar tendon).  My training goals for the summer will thus depend on my condition.  Here is my most optimistic assessment:

training pace:  9:30/mile
goal #1:  Beat my marathon PR from last year of 5:15
goal #2:  Beat Oprah's marathon time of 4:35
obstacles:  patellar tendonitis

And that's my plan for this year.  Comments, suggestions, and encouragement are appreciated.

Good luck out there, everybody!


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