Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It's Self-Eval Time Again...

...and what can I really say that I haven't said every year for the past (who even knows) how many years? My job has not really changed that much. I've already told my manager that he's getting the same damn document I wrote last year (which is probably the same damn document I wrote the year before). I'll just list out all the new projects I worked on over the year. If I can even remember them all at this point. I hate doing this kind of crap so much.

Monday, November 29, 2004


ARGH! Okay, and so they apparently live in a brownstone and not a row house -- although, in NYC, brownstones are actually built with brown stones (thus the term) and their house is brick. But WHATEVER!!! GAH!!!

Just to Clarify

Julia & Joe live in the South End of Boston. Not in South Boston. Sheesh!

Thanksgiving Weekend

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday for a change. After my father dissed me about the holiday, Julia graciously stepped in and invited me to come up to Boston (with Lola) to join her and Joe and Joe's entire family for Thanksgiving. Our friend Harriet, who was also coming, was nice enough to even pick me up in Queens (something my own family won't even do) and let me ride along with her.

The traffic on Wednesday was truly terrible. Bumper-to-bumper in the pouring rain, it took us 3.5 hours to get to Danbury, CT (not even halfway). After that it somehow, miraculously, cleared up and it was smooth sailing all the way into Boston. We finally made it to Julia & Joe's and I could finally see the wonderful Boston Row House with all the renovations that Julia has been blogging about for over a year now. What a incredible house, and what a wonderful place to live. I've always loved South Boston, ever since I was in college and used to visit friends who lived there. After some hair-raising introductions, Lola & Cassidy (J&J's dog) started to get along and play, er rather enthusiastically (much to Julia's chagrin) -- around and under the table already set for Thanksgivng. There was some amusement as we tried to introduce Lola to the doggie door, but she was not having it -- so I basically had to push her through to illustrate that it was harmless (I don't think she ever ended up being fully convinced). After a lot of catching up we finally went to bed because we planned to be up early in the morning to participate in a local 5K race.

I slept very poorly because Lola was jumpy, excited that there was another person in the room (Harriet) and also aware of the different sounds that come with being in a strange place. Finally got up at 7 AM to accompany Joe and Cassidy to the doggie park. A little later, we dragged Harriet to the race, she tried to weasel out of it by saying that she preferred to go to the gym, but we weren't having it. We picked up a local running friend of Joe's, fast-Josh (he came in third in the race -- recovering from a marathon no less, ah, Hello! sheesh!) Anyway, it turned out to be an agreeable morning, the rain had stopped (at least until later that day) and it was relatively warm, upper 50s-low 60s. Humid though, but nice for milling around at the start and at the finish. My performance was pretty pathetic and discouraging, but it was great to get out there and to be doing something so positive before the glutton-fest.

After the race it was a rush home to shower and be ready for the arrival of Joe's family. It was all slightly overwhelming, but Harriet is always so calm and self-assured in any situation and Joe's family are so incredibly nice, that I was quickly able to relax. Julia slaved away in the kitchen turning away all offers to help, but she was also able to relax after Joe handed her a generous snifter of scotch. Luckily, they've designed the kitchen so that it is all open to the rest of the living area, so she was still able to participate.

Let me just say that the food was unbelievably delicious, as predicted. Of course I had to have two helpings of the "fully-fatted mashed potatoes" and "drunken stuffing", yum! There goes whatever burned calories I had banked from running the race (and then some), but oh well. Lola even had some turkey (with my permission) fed to her by Joe's six-year-old nephew (she's not stupid, she knew just who to sit next to).

Finally around 6 PM, Harriet and I had to say our goodbyes and head back to NYC. On our trip home, it soon became apparent that something more than turkey had been fed to Lola over the course of the day, as we had to endure the Incredible Farting Pug for four or so hours. Fabulous.

Friday was devoted to major loafage and relaxing and recovering from traveling and eating. Even Lola could barely be roused all day long.

On Saturday morning, Harriet called me to say that she and Daniel were meeting in Central Park for a run, so I decided to join them. After my shower, I checked the train schedule and realized that I had to catch a train in the next 15 minutes, because the one after that would make me late for our arranged meeting time. So it was a rush to get dressed and out the door with my hair soaking wet, and then up to Central Park around 45 minutes early. It was a beautiful day and a perfect one for running (cool, sunny and breezy), but not the best day to stand around in running clothes, so I decided to do some running on my own before I was due to meet them. I ran the lower loop of the Park, and then ran partway up the West Drive, and then back down and then up my hill on the access road out of the Park to W. 72nd Street. I then looked at my watch and realized that I still had about 15 minutes. So I meandered down to the bridle path and did some additional running down there. Finally hooked up with Harriet & Daniel -- we ran up to the Reservoir from 72nd street. That route is all uphill, for over half a mile, and we ran it entirely without walking -- woo! Then we went once around the reservoir (1.6 miles) without walking a step, and then around again, this time I had to walk a couple of times due to side stitches. And then back down the West Drive and back up my access road hill (for the 2nd time that day). Total run with H&D (by Harriet's GPS): 4.5 miles. I did about 2 or so miles before meeting them, so I'm going to call it 6.5 miles for me. Yeah me! After the run, we all retired to the City Grill for some well-deserved lunch.

I had made plans to meet Ellen on Sunday for lunch, after first running or working out. I was glad that we had the plans in place because Sunday morning dawned with horrific weather. Torrential rain and heavy winds, just the sort of weather that makes you want to stay inside all day. But because I had the plans, I forced myself up and out and to the gym in Chelsea where I completed a workout of elliptical, stairmaster and rowing machine, after which Ellen and I enjoyed a nice lunch at a local diner.

So, all-in-all a pretty excellent weekend. I'm feeling a bit tired from it all now however. Somehow I have to drum up some enthusiasm for work. Ugh.

Thanks again to Julia & Joe for including me in their wonderful family Thanksgiving and to Harriet for chauffeuring me to/from Boston from Queens.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Streets of NYC

In this neighborhood where I work, there are always people on the streets and sidewalks trying to give shit away. Anything from samples of Pepto Bismal or gum to coupons for strip clubs. Today there were a bunch of people stopping passerby and asking, "Do you like comedy?" I've seen these people before around here and in other parts of the City. I think they're giving out tickets to some comedy club or something, but I always just brush by with a, "no thank you." Anyway, today this guy tries to stop me with that line, "Do you like comedy?" I said, "no thank you" and kept walking. Then he said, "Do you like skinny white guys?" WTF? That's a new one, but I still just kept moving along. They'd be better off targeting tourists, I would say, rather than my own cranky self.

Annoying Spinning

My Tuesday night spinning class is becoming increasingly annoying. I don't know what it is, but this instructor just irritates the crap out of me, and, no, it's not just because she's hard. I think the thing that bugs me the most is how she revs up the speed on the music she's playing when she wants us to go faster. Rather than trying to coordinate the intervals with the natural tempo change in a song, or play a song that is appropriate to what she wants us to do. This is particularly annoying if you like the song. I hate the way she has us doing some hard intervals -- sprinting or hill climbing or something, how she has to talk through it constantly reminding us of form or speed or whatever. It would be one thing if it was mentioned sporadically through the interval as a reminder, but to talk constantly through it I find distracting. She has also started doing this new thing where we do an interval of upper-body movements on the bike. This pisses me off! It is not a spinning position -- I find it utter bullshit and refuse to do it. Also, one of the things I really like about spinning is that it is very simple, there are no complicated choreographed movements or gymnastics and this new crap compromises that attitude of the class. Additionally, she always goes over on class time and she never tells us how long, or how many sprints we'll be doing in any given time period -- thus I never know how to pace myself. I'm thinking of dumping her class, it all annoys me so much.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


There is one thing I hate to do, and that is clean up someone else's shitty code. This annoys the crap out of me. Grrrrrrr.

4:31 PM: I've been cursing and muttering to myself all day as I work on this damn thing -- ARGH! This has got to be the first time ever that I'm actually looking forward to Scary Spinning Class.


I'm toying with the idea of training for the Utica Boilermaker - 15K race. I think perhaps having a goal may help to keep me on target and this race isn't until July, so that gives me some time to get my mileage up there. This is also a fun, fun, FUN race. The entire town comes out for it, you feel like you're running a marathon -- that's how enthusiastic the crowd-support is. And (most importantly) there are beer wagons at the end! There is nothing like finishing a 9.3 mile race early on a Summer morning and right away pounding beer at the finish line. You gotta love it.

Monday, November 15, 2004

A Run

I had a nice run in Central Park tonight -- it was a gorgeous evening. I walked down the very dark path through Strawberry Fields vowing to never do that again, it was really creepy! At one point it was so dark, I couldn't even see the path I was on. Scary. Anyway, once on the Park Loop, everything was fine. Ran counter-clockwise down around the lower loop until I was back around and about parallel with the Bethesda Fountain where I turned around and ran the loop again in reverse. This ensured that I hit every hill possible on the course. Ran past the 72nd street exit on my return trip to get to the access road the winds up a hill, exiting at 72nd street. I always find this a good hill to finish up with. Wasn't a great run, as is pretty much par for the course for me these days, but it was a wonderful evening to be out in Central Park for a run, so I enjoyed it very much, nonetheless. All-in-all, it was a little over three miles.


I wanted to thank everyone for all the birthday wishes last week -- both online and off, it was much appreciated. I always find my birthday rather depressing, especially with my not having much in the way of family. Knowing that I have friends who wish me well helps quite a bit, so thank you.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Open House

Last weekend while I was in Manhattan for one of the many marathon-related activities, my upstairs neighbors apparently had an Open House. I came home and saw all the signs and saw the woman and her hellspawn sitting on the stairs waiting for the last person to be finished looking. I would take this to mean that they are actually serious about moving -- which I am thrilled about (of course, I should be careful what I wish for, someone worse could move in, afterall). Anyway, last night when I came in, there was an official-looking memo from the Co-op management company that had been slipped under my door proclaiming that open houses are not allowed in our building (with a bunch of BS about how it is out of consideration for one's neighbors, etc. But having three people, including a two-year-old brat in a studio apartment with no rugs is apparently okay -- no need to worry about the neighbors on that one -- argh!) My first thought on seeing the note was that now these people are going to think that I complained about it. I am, afterall, the one who would be most directly effected by an open house going on over my head (luckily I was not home that entire day). But how much worse could it really be than the brat constantly running, screaming, throwing and scattering hard objects across their bare, hard-wood floors? I mean, really.

For what it's worth, this is the apartment listing.

More on my Father

So today is my birthday (ugh). I received a card from my father on Wednesday with a check enclosed and a note that said, "we'll have to put off dinner" (my birthday dinner) "until sometime around Hanukkah" (Hanukkah???!!! We're Catholic!) "because Lori's sister is visiting now." What-ever. If he really wanted to take me out for my birthday, he could do so without Lori and her damn sister.

I feel like I have no family at all.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Conversation with my Father

This morning on the phone:

Him: "You weren't expecting to be invited out here for Thanksgiving, were you?"
Me : "Er, I guess not."
Him: "Oh good, because we're going to Lori's daughter's place in PA."

It's a good thing I've learned to have zero expectations from my family.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


I ended up having a lovely run in Central Park this evening. It was so dark and quiet and cold and, while there were runners out there, there were far fewer than before the marathon. It was quite nice, actually. And I felt that I ran much, much better & stronger than I did on Saturday, even though I did the same route -- the inner 4-mile loop. Only tonight I did it in the clockwise direction, Saturday was counter-clockwise, I wonder if that has anything to do with it? Hmmm, three runs in less than a week, I must be on some kind of a roll or something. Woo!

NYC Marathon Weekend

So, people have been giving me a hard time about not updating my blog much lately -- I'm sorry, but I've been busy! Anyway, so I thought I'd post a bit about NYC Marathon Weekend (this weekend just past).

My excitement for the Marathon weekend waxes and wanes in direct proportion to the amount of running I've been doing that year. This year has seen me become interested in running again, I'm not running as much as I want to, or as much as I "should" be running, but my interest in running and in the running community is pretty strong right now -- so I wanted this weekend to reflect that as much as is possible.

Thursday night was the annual W&B (wings & beer) gathering of my local running friends. We started this tradition five years ago as a way to get together, catch up and regroup before all the marathon craziness started. It's always been a way for us define our group and to tell our "war stories" from the year. Also, it's a chance for those running the marathon to blow off a little steam, since we usually hold it a few days before the marathon (and so it's still safe to party a little bit). This year we were lucky to have Julia and Joe join us who were visiting NYC for a week for a conference and for the marathon. It was a rainy, rainy night but spirits were high and the beer was flowing. Everyone seemed to have an excellent time and most were reluctant to let go of the evening. I enjoyed so much being a part of the old group again that I started to regret my running limitations at the moment as I can only currently participate in short running events. We all finally said our goodbyes however and went our separate ways.

Friday night Julia, Joe, Ellen, Ken and I planned an impromptu dinner at Carmine's (Uptown). I got there early and was able to impress the bartender with my tip, so he passed me a bit of apple martini and, later, a free beer. Woo! I always appreciate free alcohol. Dinner was stuffed artichoke, penne a'la vodka and very thin (scallopini prepared) chicken marsala and a nice chianti. Yum! For desert and spiked coffees we continued down Broadway to French Roast. My friend Stephen joined us as we were finishing up, everyone was pretty much done for the night by then and Stephen wanted to see a movie, so I decided at the last minute to join him. After checking 777-film and discovering that "The Incredibles" was playing near Lincoln Center, about a mile away, in about 5 minutes, we jumped in a cab and raced there where we discovered an enormous and packed theater with practically no available seats (this is why I never go to see a movie the weekend it opens). We finally ended up sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row which was a rather bizarre experience. I think it would have bothered me more if the movie hadn't been a cartoon. I also found myself somewhat irritated listening to the laughter and comments of the people around us. Not that anyone was particularly obnoxious, it's just that it's been so long since I've actually been to a movie (particularly in a packed theater) that I am used to solitude or the company of friends only. Anyway, after the movie, with a few minutes to go, I managed to bolt and catch a subway and make it to the 12:35 LIRR train home literally at 12:35 on the dot. I still don't really know how I managed to catch it -- especially slipping and sliding across Penn Station, down the stairs and across the platform in my high-heeled boots, but I did.

Saturday I had planned a last-minute brunch/lunch gathering on Columbus Avenue. I managed somehow to get myself up and showed and dressed and up to Central Park early enough to get in a four-mile run before our meeting time. It was a wonderful day in the Park. Beautiful, sparkling, cloudless skies. Crisp Fall temperatures. Runners from dozens of different countries everywhere. My run pretty much sucked, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Finished my run and met everyone for our walk to the restaurant where we were joined by more last-minute people. We ended up with 11 or 12 people or thereabouts. After lunch, I took a long walk with Julia, Joe and some NYC friends of theirs' down Columbus into various stores, and then through Columbus Circle, across Central Park South and then into various chi-chi stores on Fifth & Madison Avenues. Finally, exhausted from my late night the night before and all the activity, I begged off and took the F Train home.

Sunday was the Marathon. I woke up and took Lola for a short walk to the Bagel Store and was appalled at how warm I was. I immediately re-thought my planned clothes for the day and emailed Ellen to comment on the weather. I turned on the NYC Marathon coverage to watch the pre-race stuff and to see the start and the first part of the race until it was finally time to head into Manhattan. Met Ellen at her apartment and then we both negotiated the subway system to get to the Upper East Side for our volunteer station at the Powergel stop (Mile 18). Somewhere along the line we picked up an older lady who turned out to be the mother of the president of one of our running clubs. She was nice enough, but wouldn't stop chattering away and moved rather slowly. We couldn't shake her. And since it turned out that she was going to the same place we were, it would have been rude to try to. Volunteering turned out to be rather fun. After a harrowing dash across First Avenue through a bunch of 3-hour-paced marathoners, we were given the task of holding out powergels for the runners. This ended up being a surprisingly satisfying activity and it also gave us a great vantage point to spectate as well, since everyone else was corralled behind police barricades. About half an hour or so into our volunteer stint, we were joined by Joe and Julia who just jumped in and started volunteering as well. It was actually a lot of fun. We managed to see some of our friends running, but once we completely ran out of Powergels, there was nothing left for us to do but move on. We walked West up the HUGE hill up 93rd Street to Fifth Avenue a little bit down the hill before the runners turn into the Park. We stayed here for a good while and cheered for the masses of marathoners. We saw everything from people barely able to move or even stopped in their tracks with cramps to people smiling and looking strong. It made no difference the pace of the runner, we saw the same variations for the people in the back as for the people running a faster pace. You also just knew that the unexpected and unseasonably hot day was a factor for many of these runners. I know it would have been a factor for me, had I been running. I was actually too warm standing on the side of the road with no jacket. We managed to catch Ken just before his turn into the Park and he was smiling and feeling good. The stream of runners had thinned out a good bit when Ellen and I decided that we had finally had enough. We did a good bit of meandering West through the Park, hoping to get somewhat close to or parallel to the Finish area or, at least the baggage truck, where we hoped we might run into Ken, but our progress was stopped at some point by Park officials and we were made to walk North up to 85th Street to exit. From there we wandered down Central Park West and through the family reunion areas, but we never did find Ken, who probably just jumped on a subway anyway, once he was able to get out of there. Finally admitting we were completely exhausted, Ellen and I grabbed a subway at West 72nd Street and I was able to get on a LIRR train home after a very short wait in Penn Station. It sure did feel good to finally sit down. My legs were sore from my run the day before and walking and standing around for six hours or so on Sunday didn't help that much. The marathon and the beautiful day was a nice cap off to a wonderful weekend however, and I was glad I had been able to take full advantage of it all.

I had wisely taken a vacation day for Monday, correctly assuming that I would be tired. I spent part of the day loafing and then went for a run in Forest Park in the afternoon. I had a nice run on the bridle trails, which were mostly deserted on this chilly Fall day. The fallen leaves covered the ground so thickly that in places, you couldn't even see the trail. I had brought Lola with me and was able to leave her off of the leash for most of the run as we really did have most of the Park to ourselves. It was an amazing contrast to the hot temperature of the day before, to have to keep running to keep myself warm that afternoon.

Anyway, all in all it was an excellent and busy weekend. Now back to my regularly scheduled, dull life.

A Day without Roe

This (no registration necessary) is a very real and scary issue with the current administration.


"Now that President George W. Bush has been elected to a second term, he may appoint new Supreme Court justices who fundamentally disagree with the premises of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that provides U.S. women the right to legal abortion."


"For the past four years, Williams and her group's 13 other members have explored the post-Roe challenge on many fronts.

Among other options, they've looked at maintaining services by strengthening state laws and the possibility of providing abortions in places where federal laws don't apply.

To prepare for what would likely be a health epidemic, they've urged physicians to get special training so they know how to treat infections, uncontrolled bleeding and other life-threatening complications caused by botched abortions"


"Immediately after Bush took office four years ago, we realized he would try to revoke Roe vs. Wade," says Williams. "Since three Supreme Court justices are nearing retirement and since Bush is likely to appoint anti-choice justices, we knew we had to be prepared."

Abortion services have already been curtailed, with only 13 percent of U.S. counties offering an abortion provider, according to Medical Students for Choice, based in Oakland, Calif. State legislatures have enacted more than 380 measures to restrict abortion since 1994, according to the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.


"We are absolutely delighted to have four more years with pro-life President Bush," says Carol Tobias, political director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Right to Life Committee."


"If Roe v. Wade is revoked, task force members say their biggest concern will be treating women harmed by botched abortions. "Just as they did before Roe v. Wade, women with unwanted pregnancies will take desperate measures," says Wilson. "They will have back-alley abortions. They will insert sharp objects like coat hangers into their uteruses. And they will douche with toxic chemicals like lye or Clorox."

To prevent such a potential health crisis, task force members are urging doctors to get special training so they know how to treat the complications of botched abortions, which include infection, cervical tearing, uterine perforation and blood in the uterus."

Bush-appointed Supreme Court Justices will be with us for decades.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

please, Please, PLEASE remember to vote today!

I was up by 5 AM and was showered, made-up, Lola walked, etc. and at the polls by 6:01 AM. And there was already a line. Not a long one, but enough to not bode well for people who planned to come a little later. By the time I exited, about 10 or so minutes later, there was already a line out the door and halfway up the block. I'm glad to see that there appears to be a good voter turnout, but am I ever glad I decided to get up and to the polls right when they opened. I've done the waiting on line for an hour or more to vote and it is NOT pretty. But regardless of your polling situation, PLEASE VOTE TODAY! Thank you.