Monday, June 30, 2008

Fuel 7 Hour Energy Shot - one cup of coffee

Okay, the seven hour stuff has enough caffeine that you would find in one cup of coffee. This stuff didn't make me a complete nervous fup. No more of the six hour, two cups of coffee crap. I'm going to give away the second one that I have, or have it in place of coffee in the morning. But 5-Hour Energy is still the best.

Other running notes, I am going to sign up for a half marathon tonight. Wish me luck, as of right now I have never run more than 10-11 miles in one day in my life.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Let the 5-Hour Energy Copycat Games Begin!

A week ago or so I described by addition to 5-Hour Energy bottles. Well, to make a long story short, I went to CVS during my lunch break to get an Odwalla Bar, and what do I see right next to 5-Hour Energy on the checkout counter? Copycat quick energy drinks!

Of course I had to buy a two pack of each out of curiosity. One tells of 6 Hours of Energy, the other 7. I haven't tried the latter yet, and since the bottles are at work, I don't remember the name. What I do remember is: Stay away from Extreme Energy 6-Hour Shot. One bottle allegedly has the caffeine of two cups of coffee as opposed to one for 5-Hour Energy. Way. Too. Much. Stay away, I needed to say it twice. All this drink did was make me an over-agitated, nervous, light-headed, and then flat out depressed wreck. Of course an issue with my car battery and car alarm contributed to the mayhem, but I was feeling like crap at work. All in all a day I'd rather forget. At least tomorrow's my birthday. I hope work and all is better, at least I know I'm running at night.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New grill review: well, it got rain delayed

Since my apartment complex took out the charcoal pits and grill racks, I had to go to Target to get myself a grill. Thermos brand, $15 bucks, only took my not very mechanical butt 25 minutes to put together. Got my instant charcoal, my chicken, the BBQ sauce to put on said chicken, I'm set to grill a few days worth of lunches and tonight's dinner. Right? Wrong.

I'm sure the grill will work very well when my grillin' session doesn't get rain delayed like it did tonight. To make a long story short, the storm that I thought was going to the east of my complex started arriving earlier than I thought. The wind the a bigger problem at first, to tell you the truth. But I've had too many close calls with lightning to take any chances whatsoever. I packed up the food, dumped the water I brought on the coals, and brought everything inside.

In short, the good, I have a grill that I already enjoy using. The bad, I got rain delayed and 45 minutes after I have everything in, it is just now raining. sorry, I don't like thunderstorms that don't drop any rain, this goes back to my Colorado days where this was too common of an occurence in an area that needs all the water it can get. The I'll learn, even with instant briquets, I can't just toss a bunch of them in this smaller grill, light a match, and have chicken finished in 7 minutes like I could with a flame-broiled ribeye steak on a big grill pit. Gotta wait a bit until the coals get gray and hot before really gettin' grillin'.

All in all, I can't wait to grill again next weekend.

Soccer played in the middle of a lakeside village, where's the marina with the ice cream freezer?

I flipped over to the USA-Barbados World Cup Qualifer (Yes, Spain-Italy in Euro 2008 gets top billing in my household, that's what happens when you have a major tournament quarterfinal vs a scrimmage that had an 8-0 goal advantage coming in) and what do I see?

A field that quite frankly looks like it may not even be 60 yards wide. Hell, this field makes Spartan Stadium look like a Nebraska plain. They've got some green seats put up in random spots, a couple of big video screens, and some houses that look like they are only 100 yards or probably a lot less from the grounds. No one is sitting in the seats on the TV side of the field. There's a boat stand or horse stable building behind one of the corners. Reminds me of a little lakeside village somewhere in the northeast where people go to their small summer homes. Where's the marina with the ice cream freezer?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not quite the Braves returning to Boston

This weekend the Washington Nationals are playing a home series against the Texas Rangers, who were the Washington Senators until 1972. I saw the normal blurb about a weekend series in Express but no other acknowlegement that this series even exists from any other media source. Definitely not the 15,550 stories of the old Boston Braves returning to Boston in 1997 as the Atlanta Braves for inter-league play. Or the 3,300 old Braves fans that were in the park. That series was really nostalgic actually. I should know. I was at all three games. My next visit to Nationals Park? Next Week vs the Angels and the Orioles.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My newest addiction: 5 Hour Energy

Okay I kicked a soda habit about 8 years ago. Food prices are forcing me to give up my Gatorade addiction. I'm still addicted to coffee but I don't drink as much of it as I used to. My new addiction is 5-Hour Energy. I'm reasonably active so I need a kick from time to time. The popular canned energy drinks: Not for me, too much sugar and sodium. Not to mention that they mess up my stomach. So if I need the kick and/or extra caffiene, 5-Hour Energy is my addiction on choice. I feel a bit stronger after drinking one, it helped me complete the 9-10 miles I ran in spurts tonight. I'm prone to addictions, so I might as well be addicted to something that doesn't do a number on my stomach via carbonation and sugar. There you have it, even if it doesn't help me save money. $3.99 at 7-11, $2 at my work.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

All Great Cities Must Have...

Someone, I forget exactly who but I am too lazy to look up, even on Google, said every great city has a river that runs through it. Well, maybe that dude was right. I've only lived in three cities (or Metropolitan areas if you look at it that way): Boston, Denver, and Washington, DC. All three have rivers running through them, the Charles, North/South Platte, and Potomac, respectively.

But there has to be more to cities than a river, right? I'm going to start a list of things that I think enhance the quality of cities. Just because.

Things that cities need to have:

- A River: I already talked about that, but walking or running along a river is a must do.

- Cool architecture: Boston has all the historical buildings and Victorian houses, Denver has better architecture than you think, DC iffy but Baltimore has tons of cool looking row houses. I really like Old Town Alexandria, The Fan in Richmond (next time I'm there I have to hang out near the James River) and the old part of Charleston, SC too.

- Cool statues: DC really shines here with all the monuments. I don't think I need to say anything more. Okay, I do. The Red Auerbach statue outside the Navy Memorial is priceless.

- Cool bars: I mean places where I can hang out, have a beer or two without paying ridiculous, near aged wine prices, can actually hear what people are saying, and don't have to wear $200 jackets and pants to fit in. Davis Square, Somerville and Porter Square, Cambridge are good for this, as is Lower Broadway, most of LoDo in Denver (although I avoided the clubs and the idiots that stagger out of them at closing time), and various pockets of Denver. Old Town Alexandria has it here, I can't really comment on Adams Morgan since I never make it up there, Capitol Hill has some decent places. Baltimore has tons of them in the Inner Harbor and a sufficient amount in Mount Vernon. Not to mention Fells Point. Smaller cities often offer great stuff too, and killer microbrews to boot. Case in point: Burlington, Vermont. I swear if I ever move back to New England it will be there.

- Running/biking paths: I like to run and stay fit so these are a must. Even people who think they're training for the Tour de France on the Mount Vernon trail are usually safer than some sidewalks here in DC. I can't say enough good things about running in Alexandria. Denver had more paths than I could ever go to. Boston has some, but the Minuteman trail gets way too crowded.

- A fun sports team to watch: Always a great way to stay occupied if the weather is crap or if you need something to do. I don't need to pimp Boston's teams any more than they're already pimped. As much as I can't stand the Broncos, they have an emotional grip on the rocky Mountain Region, and the Nuggets were fun to watch while I lived there. And the Avalanche will always be a great franchise, Vive Ray Bourque and Joe Sakic! Here in DC it's all about the Caps. And not just Ovechkin either. They're the team to watch in DC. While I don't have a dog in the hunt, DC United usually provides good entertainment value for the dollar at RFK Stadium. I like Nationals Park but they still have a ways to go.

- Coffee places: I like Dunks as much as the next New England born and bred person, but I like the local, independent places as much or more. Help me out here since where I work is usually near Starbucks and Caribou (which is actually pretty good).

- Restaurants: I stay close to Old Town since they're not as pricey as a lot of places in DC. There's something for everyone in the area though. I may start reviewing Fairfax County Restaurants again if food prices slow down a bit.

- Street Carts: Carlos at 16th and K in DC cooks up burritos that are restaurant quality. Best vendor ever is either him or the old sausage carts outside Fenway Park. Baltimore has good stuff near Camden Yards on game days too.

Throw some more stuff out there. What else makes a city cool?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why I pimp Baltimore from time to time - Mount Vernon neighboorhood

Okay, I needed a place to stay for my race on Sunday since I was not about to leave DC at 5 am to drive up to Baltimore. Way too stressful, way too big of a risk of a wreck-induced traffic jam. Yeah they happen at 5:30 am on a weekend too. And would happen to me if anyone.

Enough of stress, time to talk about good stuff. I pimp Baltimore from time to time because I really enjoy visiting there. I pimp places and things I like. We'll start with the place I stayed at last Saturday evening. Abacrombie was recommended to me. Small, quaint, but very enjoyable room at a B@B right in the Cultural Center in Baltimore. AC Worked, it was peaceful, and fit right into the Cultural Center / Mount Vernon area of Baltimore.

After a hiccup with a Light Rail train being delayed because a door wouldn't close, and another hiccup caused by my misreading of a map and walking the wrong way towards the packet pickup area as a result, I returned to Baltimore with some time to wander around Mount Vernon a bit. Charles Street has a lot of things to offer, restaurants, bars, coffee places, an outdoor concert just north of Penn Station last week, and The first Washington Monument.

I really enjoyed my dinner at Aloha Tokyo, great salmon, noodles, and eel, not to mention the complementary sushi which I received extra from the staff as an opening night gift. Friendly staff always helps. It's right across from a new housing thing at 1219 Charles for Baltimore peeps. Bar opens Saturday. After dinner I explored the neighborhood areas a bit. Definitely no shortage of bars to go, the outdoor concert that I referred to, and some cool row houses. Definitely a neighborhood feel for sure, you really don't get that in most of DC. Penn Station is a ten minute walk , fifteen at the most, from the Cultural Center light rail stop. Hey look, Maryland Transportation Authority upgraded their web site!

I walked east down North Avenue a bit, stopping at the rite Aid across from "">Green Mount Cemetery. While I saw a lot of boarded up houses, many with roofs alos busted, around North Avenue, I also saw a ton of potential in not only the area but the city. There's a lot to like about Baltimore, and with some capital, a lot of these boarded up houses can turn into quality housing quickly. Public transportation is not far from North Avenue at all. They say, Live Baltimore: Get in on it. Truth be told, if I could get a guarantee that my current employer will keep me around for 5-6 years (I'm a 10-15 minute walk from Union Station), I'd give moving there a real shot when my lease runs out in March. Mount Vernon has just about everything I'd want. If anyone goes to North Avenue, please let me know how Tyrone's is, it's a fried chicken place next to KFC. I couldn't eat there since I already ate dinner and wasn't about to toss fried chicken down 12 hours before a race.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

How do you have a quart of water, a 20 oz SoBe Herbal Life Water, and a 12 oz Tava and STILL BE DEHYDRATED?

Easy. Run a 7 mile race very hazy, very hot, and very humid weather. This morning I ran the Survivor Harbor 7 in Baltimore. This race is to support the Active Survivors Network. I was more than honored to make even a small contribution by participating in this race. I admit that I am not a Survivor of any severe illness, disease, or injury, so I face nowhere near the challenges of living an active life that a lot of people do. Other than occasional kidney pain for 36 hours or so, every 8-10 months or so, I have no known concerns. I feel I have quite a bit of appreciation of others face challenges that I may not.

However, that does not mean that this race was not difficult for me. The toughest one for me by far in my brief racing career. I started this year, have run a couple of 8K and 10K races, 7 miles: from a distance standpoint, not a big increase. However, none of those races were run with heat indicies near and probably over 100 degrees. Yeah, it felt like it was 100 degrees or more at 8:15 am this morning. I'll browse the web for recaps but it was as hot as it's ever been when I've tried to run further than to the bus stop. That's why today's race was extremely difficult. Before the weekend, my goal was to finish this race in under one hour. After running a 5K yesterday in similar conditions, my new goal was to participate in the cause and jog the seven miles as slowly as I need to in order to finish.

Running through Fort McHenry was a real treat, when you're there you feel like a real part of American History. I had ridden my bike through there in the past, never ran. But by about mile two, when I was still running at a good clip considering the crowds and narrow, I realized that there was no trying to get doen in under an hour. But that's okay. By mile five, to be truthful, all I wanted was some ice water and to be finished, but I was not going to stop if I could still run, thinking of those who face greater struggles beyond jogging seven miles on a hot day.

I did get through the finish line at 1:07:37 clock time, maybe 1:06:00 or so Net Time, since I was quite a bit towards the back of about 1,500 runners at the start. It was tough but worthwhile. I probably looked like I was about to collapse at the end, which would be an accurate description of how I felt. A quart of water, a 20 oz SoBe Herbal Life Water, and a 12 oz Tava (similar to Enviga - sparkling water drink) but still a bit dehydrated when I got back to my B@B to check out. Won't stop me from going to the pool later to swim a bit though now that I'm back in DC. All in all a great weekend. Set a personal best in a 5K by 9 seconds on Saturday, ran for a great cause today, really enjoyed the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore (more on that later), and my cable came back from a brief crash just in time for the second half of Germany-Poland in Euro 2008. It's all good.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Okay, who is the biggest villain in sports right now?

I've been thinking of posting a poll on this for a while. I got sidetracked by the insanity at Fenway Park so I'm throwing this up quickly. Here are the choices, with a brief case for, then against:

Barry Bonds:

For - Come on, flaxseed oil? Give us a freaking break! Your head's ten times the size it was at the start of your career, and you're been a totally pompous asshole from the get go.

Against - he's not playing right now.

Kyle Busch:

For - many say he is an over-aggressive driver who doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks, he'll cause any crash he wants whenever he feels like it. he eggs on the crowd during introductions, basically telling booers to bring it. And he wins all the damn time. I'm a casual NASCAR observer, but even I know that he spun Dale Jr. into the wall at the end of a race a month ago and you just don't do that.

Against - to NASCAR detractors it's just a bunch of left turns so some people can't consider him for this poll. I, however, can, and he would get my vote if someone else wasn't on the list. Read on.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco:

For - One of the most polarizing people in the soccer world. Here's a sample of evidence:


Don't forget that he wasn't allowed to enter the United States for a while because of a charge that he beat his wife, and there was probably something else on his rap sheet too. I know fans of nearly every Major League Soccer team, and while each has their rivals, everyone save for Chicago Fire fans share one thing: hatred of him.

Against - Soccer isn't quite in the American Mainstream yet, but does that matter? People who are in the know usually hate him with the fury of 1,000 suns. He was close to getting my vote.

Alex Rodriguez:

For - He's a prima donna bitch. Plain and Simple. Going to Texas wasn't about the money, he didn't think he slapped Bronson Arroyo's glove like a 6 year old who wants her Barbie doll back in 2004, he decided to announce that he was opting out of his contract just as the Red Sox were wrapping up a World Series title. The biggest phony of them all, he's the pick for me. On principle.

Against - Has he ever come through when he's really needed?

Scott Boras:

For - he was the one who leaked the opt out of contract garbage.

Against - he did eventually let Varitek and Dice-K sign their contracts.

Bill Belichick:

It pains me to put him on this list, but in order to have a shred of objectivity I have to. The taping of signals thing, I'm over it, it cost the Pats a key first round pick, caused the organization some embarrassment, let's move on. Besides, even after the tape from the Jets game got confiscated, the Pats did pretty well last season.

Kobe Bryant:

For - selfish, the rape charge that was dropped. Dubious as it was, those things usually surface for a reason. A me guy for sure. Even if we'll never know the truth, he put himself in the position to be accused of it.

Against - to his credit he has let his play on the court do the talking for him, has stayed out of trouble, and let's face it, he's probably the best player in the world today.

Sean Avery:

For - an annoying little puke who borderline cheap shots opposing players at will, felt the need to wave a stick in Marty Brodeur's face to try and screen him, allegedly made a callous remark about Jason Blake's battle with cancer in pregame warmups (never proven, as with Kobe officially it's innocent until proven guilty but again these things surface for a reason). Just an obnoxious little punk.

Against - he is effective, and does back up his talk with solid contributions for his team. Occasionally he'll drop his gloves and fight his own battles too.

Terrell Owens:

For - where to I begin. Dancing on the Star in Dallas after scoring a touchdown. The Sharpie incident. The entire saga of him doing curls in his driveway when he was pissed off at the Eagles about his contract. The whole I want to be traded to Baltimore but I don't to go there so trade me to Philly ordeal.

Against - T.O. bashing is so a few years ago. And when he does play, be plays balls to the wall hard. No loafing from him. Coming back from the broken leg in two plus months to have a solid game in the Super Bowl. Yeah, he's good.

Someone else.

Fire away.

The heat is here. Finally. But I'm thrilled about it. Not.

The 90 degree plus heat that's supposed to be here from Friday through at least Monday came a day early. Or at least it felt like it. I was miserable when walking back to my work building after lunch. Don't think I'll be walking outside every day at lunch much longer. Just too hot and humid. It wasn't quite as hot when I went for an 8 miles or so run (1/2 with my group) but I could really feel the humidity. Must. Keep. Water. Bottles. Full. Food's getting too expensive for me to buy a lot of Gatorade.

I get home, chug some water, work my abs a bit, turned on my radio subscription , then found out all hell has broken loose at Fenway Park. In the last 24 hours, here is what has gone down.

1. Last night, bottom of 6th: Coco Crisp tries to steal second base, Tampa Bay Rays Shortstop Jason Bartlett drops his knee in front of the base to block it and jams Coco's thumb. Not only is that a no no in the baseball code, it's a good way to get your knee really damaged, dipshit.

2. Eighth inning, Coco tries to steal again, slides hard and knocks over second baseman Akinori Iwamura. Rays pissed off, manager climbs up the dugout steps and yells at Coco, who yells back at the Rays.

3. Tonight, 1st inning, Dustin Pedroia gets hurt. I didn't see it (unlike last night) so I don't know if it was intentional but given last night and Pedroia's knack for pissing off opponents, you wonder.

4. 2nd inning, Jon Lester throws behind Tampa's Aybar. Bottom of inning, James Shields plunks Coco Crisp on the first pitch. Coco charges, not so nice little brawl, Tampa's Johnny Gomes jumps into a pile and punches Coco, all three players ejected. Not really what either team needed but good on Coco for taking a bunch for the team. had the fight tape up pretty quickly.

5. 4th inning, Jacoby Ellsbury makes a diving catch but jams his wrist in the process. Coco, appeal your suspension.

6. End of fourth inning, Youk and Manny need to be separated in the dugout. Reports so far are no one seems to know what was going on.

7. 7th inning, Jon Lester throws high and tight to Cliff Floyd. After he strikes out, Floyd startes at Lester all the way into the dugout. Lester wisely ignored him according the the Sox radio broadcast team.

In the Nationals game, a middle reliever for the Cardinals hit a three run homerun in his first major league at bat. Some guy name Mark Worrell, I wonder if he's related to Todd and Tim.

And oh yeah, the Celtics are playing their first NBA finals game in 21 years right now.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Nasty Storms Today

Stay safe all. That was some scary ass shit today. Took a late lunch so here I am sitting outside at 3 pm to get some air. The sky is a bit yellow to the east of me (near Capitol Hill) side, dark on the west side, albeit of the you've got 15 minutes to duck variety. Nope. I was under a roof, but I had about 90 seconds before I saw sideways blowing rain, rain that got pushed through the building ramps like it was on a whirlpool, lightning to top it off. Yeah, no soccer game at RFK Stadium for me.

Cirucumstance influences my rating. I was driving on BW Parkway when the storms ran through the metro area on Saturday. From what I saw, I give Saturday's the worst, i.e. nastiest grade. Heavier rain then, believe it or not. But I can only rank the parts of the storms that I saw. I understand a tornado touched down near Fredericksburg, VA and also in Huntingtown, MD. I have never seen a tornado, and hope I never see one.

I lucked out today, a report from the National Weather Service mentioned that a trained spotter saw a tornado touch down in Huntington, Fairfax County. That's exactly where I live. Shit. Luckily, I walked home from the Metro Station and didn't see more than one branch down. Whew. I saw quite a few while walking from work to the Metro.

Stay safe everyone, thoughts go out to those who sustained property damage today.

On a lighter note, send me some ideas on what I can write about.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Highs near 90 on Sat and Sun

Means 70s at 8 am most likely, maybe I should rethink going for a personal record in Saturday's Race. Sunday is up in Baltimore for the Survivor Harbor 7 mile race. Anticipate heat but fun.

Interesting Torrential Downpour Tonight

I decided to get some more mileage in running wise so I ran the 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 miles to Pacers for the Tuesday fun run. No rain, but threatening clouds that looked like they were coming our way but I couldn't tell for sure. I get to the store at 6:55, run starts around 7:05, and the skies opened up and then some. Running in the rain is a blast actually, unless there are leaves on the ground, then it becomes outright dangerous. But the trouble with the rain is it all too often comes with lightning. Luckily that stayed away until the run was over.

5.4 miles, heaviest rain at the beginning and end of the run. Close to ten miles overall. I thank my friend Pat for giving me a ride home as waiting for the bus with lightning being around is not fun. Or safe. And there really isn't a place to wait inside for the bus stop, the only place you can see it come is from the Cosi which I think closes at 8.

I'm a hurting dude, but a good kind of hurting. No problem sleeping tonight whatsoever. The extra mileage is giving me confidence that I can handle 10 milers and a half marathon later in the year. And allowing me to meet some great people. And allow me to lose 15 pounds since the beginning of the year and maybe a few more to come. And improve my overall Outlook.

Get Well Soon, Big Papi.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Manny. 500. History. I. Was. There.

Red Sox - Orioles at Camden Yards, the one weekend series of the year, of course I was going to see two games. Saturday I leave for my hotel around 1:45 pm. While I was running near the George Washington Parkway earlier on, I was warned about a nasty thunderstorm that was near Leesburg. I said, crap I got about two hours to get home (still 30-40 minutes away at least), shower, change, eat lunch, and get on the road. I made it, but only got as far as Pennsylvania Avenue before the skies opened up. And holey moely did it pour. Heavy rains, nasty lightning, almost stop and go conditions to just south of Fort Meade. I would have pulled over on two occasions had there been a place to pull over. Finally get to my hotel to find out they may not have a room for me for over an hour. Luckily, they had one.

Off to the game, met some cool Sox fans who came down from Connecticut for the games this weekend. Hung out with some other fans at the Wharf Rat on Pratt Street. Made it into the game just as it started. Going into the game, Manny Ramirez was sitting on 499 home runs. Only 23 other players in the history of Major League Baseball had even hit 500 home runs in Major League Baseball. So as soon as Manny strode to the plate, all the Sox fans in attendance rose to cheer, camera bulbs went off with each pitch. The game went back and forth for several innings.

The the seventh the Sox took the lead for good at 4-3. Baltimore brought in Chad Bradford, a right handed pitcher who throws submarine style, almost underhand. Would this be the moment we were there for? Submarine pitchers tend to dominate or get shelled. Pitch number one.......

BOOM!!!!! Deep right center field, no doubt about it, 500!!!! The crowd went nuts, truly a moment that sent chills up my spine. An unbelieveable moment that I will never forget. And I saw it in person. As soon as I figure out how to scan my ticket stub, I'll post it here. Wow. Things got a little dicey in the bottom of the ninth, but Papelbon got a lineout double play, 6-3 win.

Jumped on to a light rail train with 1000 others, got some late night Wendy's (which I only have in emergencies), and made it to my hotel in just enough time to flip channels and see Kimbo Slice fight in a Mixed Martial Arts fight. Of course, CBS is putting Gus Johnson on the broadcast to liven it a bit. Quality entertainment while I was chugging water to lessen the hangover that was coming.

Sunday's game was fun too, 9-4 cruise to a win. Bartolo Colon won his third straight game since being called up, (sign him for another year, Theo!) showing a bit more velocity than I expected this early into his comeback. Bullpen was solid, especially Craig Hansen, whose eighth inning was dynamite. 8 pitches, 2 Ks, 1-2-3, 7 of 8 for strikes. As nasty as I've seen him throw in his career. Drive home was uneventful, which was good since my plates had expired the day before and I had nothing to use to put on the new ones.

It's all good. In person I've seen a 3 Home Run Game by John Valentin, Yaz Day in 1983, Scott Hatteberg hitting a grand slam and into a triple play in the same games, John Valentin go 5 for 5, all three games of the Atlanta Braves' first visit to Fenway since leaving Boston, a walk off home run by Spike Owen of all people, the game where Orel Hershiser's 63 scoreless innings streak started in Montreal.....but this was the best in person memory by far. I still can't believe I got to go and see number 500. I want to see 600 now.

Do other states do this?

Okay, when it came time to renew my car registration after two years, I decided to pay an extra $10 for a theme plate. I chose Mountain to Sea since well, I dunno, maybe I wanted something that shows the entire state that I live in. There are mountains and an ocean. Or did I not want a plain plate anymore, especially since the 400th anniversary celebration was last year? That was probably it. But I was surprised to get my plates last week to find out I have a different license plate number. Shoot. I finally memorized the one I had so I don't have to go back outside when I get asked to fill out my plate number at hotels or wherever. Now I have another number to memorize. And my registration says something about submitting a title. Yeah, that thing I just got last week, a year after I paid off the car loan.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Old School Town Halls, Harpers Ferry, and Trail Conservation

The last few weeks have been crazy busy, and the weekends even busier. Three Saturday's ago my friend Stevan celebrated a birthday at McCathran Hall in Washington Grove, MD. This was a great day with some bluegrass music, some good Honey Brown beer, and the hall is the old town hall that is still used more than 100 years later! The town website describes itself as a town within a forest. Which it really is. Remember the small, sometimes but usually not paved, roads at summer campgrounds! This was Washington Grove. The coolest thing after seeing friends and celebrating the day was this house that had a tree going straight through the front porch. No a thunderstorm didn't knock the tree through the roof. The porch was built literally around the tree, and the tree pops through the roof.

After that was a birthday dinner for a friend from the Pacers Fun Run group - these are becoming common and fun. Old Town is always a good place to go. We ended up at Union Street Public House because Chadwick's was too crowded. Always a good time, and I could even go to the gym the next day! That's quite an accomplishment after a night on the town at my age. he he

Harpers Ferry was on the docket for the Memorial Day weekend. The MARC Train was a half hour late in leaving, the walk to the hostel was interesting since the C&O Towpath beat up the wheels on my travel case, but everything else was okay. Lots of hiking led to a sore ankle for a day or two afterwards, but that happens when you hike 35 miles or so over two days after not hiking for months. The view from Weverton Cliffs, MD was a bit of a disappointment, and the ice cream shop ran out of waffle cones on Sunday. But calling those things negatives is really grasping at straws. A fun weekend all around, and the Amtrak ride was suprisingly comfortable on the way back.

I also joined the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. I believe in doing whatever I can to clean up the environment for current and future enjoyment and health, and being a member is the least I can do. I used to be a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club back in Boston so I sort of feel like I'm back in that groove. It's a good feeling.

More on this past week and weekend when I get the time to write it up right, likely tomorrow night.