We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Thursday morning, on the train, not hungover but certainly not 100%. I went out with my boss for beers last night after doing some on-site support for a few installtions the Ops guys were running. These are new systems coming online in QA and there are all sorts of problems getting it up and running. Not unsurprising but this is getting a little ridiculous. At one point the dev guys were disagreeing with each other on whether or not the post-install scripts were a good idea to run or not. All you can do is shake your head when the devs really don't know what their scripts do.

So we go out to the bar in the Marriot across the street from work. It's convenient and they have Brooklyn Lager on tap which is a good drinking beer. And of course this is why the magic won't happen this year, because I'm doing this stuff more often than I should be. Nothing of the sort on the radar for this weekend but the Darkhorse 40 is next Sunday and I sure won't be 185 for that unless I cut off some body parts, and maybe not even then.

So we're having beers and the moment always comes when I need to do a quick train time check. It was 9:03. The schedule says a train leaves Penn Station at 9:25. There's probably less than a 50-50 chance I make it. The next train after that is 10:49 so if I miss the 9:25 I'm sitting in Penn Station for 1:20. So I did what any sensible person would do and ordered another beer and a chicken quess...ah...not going to spell this right. Quesadilla? Kay-suh-DEE-uh. And threw in the towel and said it's going to be a late night.

I got home at midnight. So I'm tired today. Going to try and post some pictures a little later on.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Life of a Blender

Don't ask me, sometimes there's just no useful title to give a blog post


"I've seen the new trains as well. Do you walk in and have the option to go up or down? Agree good call on the nixxing of the flip flop seats. A few days late but I bought Nicole the new Weezer and shes really liking it."

Each side, front and back, has 2 doors about 5 feet apart from one another. They both open up to this vestibule area where you can go up a few steps or down a few steps. Now that I think about it, this is another zero seat area which is surprising. I'm back on the 6:58 this morning because my ride got rained out and I'll be damned if I'm riding in the basement right now. This car holds 125 people if fully packed, which it never is because the seats up front are 2 facing 2. So you never have 4 people sandwiched in there unless you have train delays coming out of Penn Station. The Effective Full Capacity (tm Norm 2008) is 121. I should be back on the double decker tomorrow so I'll have to count how many people it can hold.

As we've established before, if Nicole likes music I probably like it as well, since she and I tend to share musical tastes more than you and I do. Though thanfully for you that doesn't go both ways, as there's plenty of stuff I listen to that I'm sure she was hate, and you would likely kill over.


"I don't read you blog for a while and now your taking pictures of women and posting them on-line. I think I need to pay more attention. ...and I thought planting a blow-up doll in the woods was going to get me in trouble. You a brave man! I think you should take the picture as you stroke her leg. Do I make you horney?!? Yeah Baby!!!"

You see, I'm here for you guys, my loyal readers. As I was pasting this comment into the post I got my victim for today and I may have to retract my decision to not take anymore pictures. There's no doubt that if I keep trying to get pictures of the girls I'm going to get burnt before too long, but like I said I'm here for the readers, the people who pay my salary.

I'm not sure how I would handle it if I got snagged. I think most people who just get uncomfortable if they caught me taking a picture but would say nothing. But you know someone would bust out an incredulous, "Are you taking a picture of me?" That could lead to an interesting discussion, but more importantly I would be tabbed as a pervert by the other regualar riders on the train. Maybe I could then turn the phone to video and post it on youtube?

Cycle 43

Sue me if the cycle number is wrong.

Victim: Tough call on age but I'll say 19-29, New Providence, woman, white, married, regular, not fat. Fairly tall and thin, diry blonde but mostly brown hair, nice build, not the best looking but the fat bald 45 year old guy across the aisle puts it into perspective. Wearing a blue and white striped (horizontal) shirt and grey slacks. Flip flops and a medium-big bag that she could probably use as an assault weapon. She crosses her arms and closes her eyes.

While I'm looking at her to describe her, and remember I'm all of 1 inch away from her so this is a fairly close condition you have on the train most days, she springs up, takes her phone out of her Assault Bag, and starts texting someone. I imagine her phone buzzed her with a message and she is replying.

Assessment: Good.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No Magic in 2008

Today I opted for the lower level of the double decker. I'm shifting hours this week to align more with when my boss is here. He never made it yesterday because his plane didn't leave Chicago until 1:00. I guess he went right to the hotel and called it a day. The lower level is also a new perspective because you're lower than normal. Still comfy and smooth.

I find people who sit on the outside of the 2 seater obnoxious. They clearly don't want to share with anyone and often time put their bag on the other seat and sigh when you ask to sit there. What's wrong with people?

But that has nothing to do with the magic. The magic is the biking magic. I had fairly high hopes coming into this year and I think today I'm going to go ahead and say that those lofty hopes are not going to bear fruit, or at least the kind of lush, tropical island fruit I was hoping for. The plan was to come into the season really hot and compete for a top 5 spot in each of the first 5 races. Well I bagged Tymor but in those 4 races I did compete in 3 but came up empty, getting 6, 6, and 7. Not bad by any stretch. But not what I was hoping for.

Of course a lot of my spring momentum was stalled by going to Taiwan and going from 186 to 195 and even above, at one sad point seeing 200 again. So understandable I would drop a few spots out of the top 5, no big deal. This still left the second half of the season, and right before Chicago I saw 189 again and things were looking good.

But then a week out there, drinking before, drinking after, and a scale which read 195 yesterday and 194 today tells me I'm just not going to get there. I thought I was back on track last week but then I jumped from 191 to 195 in 2 days. I need to string together some reasonably healthy weekends but this summer shit and the gatherings with the neighbors suck the life out of any momentum I build during the week.

It's not like I'm having a bad time of it. I'm totally enjoying myself on the weekends (obvious), getting in huge rides and then having fun with some friends after. But following up a 50 mile ride with 5 beers and pizza leaves me all sorts of beat up, unable to consistently make a push for those much needed lower 180 scale days I need in order to compete for a podium.

And it's not like I'm slow on the bike either. This morning I went out at 5:25 am. Without question when I ride at that time of day I'm unable to pull the same average as mid-morning or afternoon. But I did my long 24 mile swamp loop and pulled a 20.3 average. That's goddamn fast for a fat drunk. 2 years ago a 17 would have made me happy now I'm doing 20+ at 6:00 am. All in all, not bad.

But I don't think I'm going to take that magic step this year. It's not an awful realization but it is a realization regardless. So there I am. I don't think that changes anything but maybe I need to come to grips with the fact that I'm never actually going to see 179 like I had hoped. Maybe I make it to expert after next year. Or maybe I get sick of waking up at 4:30 and 5:00 am and dial it back and enjoy things more and push myself less. Or maybe I get on track, hit 182 by September, and podium the last 3 races. Either way as long as I'm enjoying the ride, literally and figuratively, I guess I have to take what I can get.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

New Train

Over the past few months I've started to see some new train cars coming in and out of Penn Station, double decker jobbies that seem to be the start of the slow step of New Jersey transit walking into the future, something they've not really done much of. Most of the cars I ride home in at night are probably from the 1970s, literally from the 1970s. So it's about time the slow revolution gets a move on.

My boss is in from Chicago this week so I decided to take the later train, getting the 7:50 from Gilette and switching in Summit. The first leg was the standard Junk Pile that always buzzes back and forth to Hoboken. But much to my surprise the connector from Summit to Penn Station was a new double decker. Sweet! New train!

The first thing is obviously 2 decks to accomodate more people. But you then see that they've made it just 2 seaters on both sides of the aisle so that nobody ever has to be sandwiched between 2 other people. Given that they could have chosen to squeeze an extra seat in there I applaud the decision. The seats, aside from less crowded, are more comfortable. And half of them are facing the rear of the train instead of forward. They've done away with the flip-flop seats and just face half forward and half back. Again, major good decision in the name of comfort as opposed to some somewhat random reason of conformity. Finally, the train is really smooth. The ride is more like a boat than a train from the door. Maybe a little wobbly up here at first but I'm really liking it.

The challenge now is finding all these double deckers that go back and forth on my line. I'd consider a shift in work hours if I knew I would be more comfortable. If only they went right to Brooklyn.

I'm sure the transition from old to new will take 10 years, or longer if it ever fully happens at all. I think NJT has a lot of things they need to improve on, the main one being timing and efficiency. A train should be able to travel the 25 miles from my town to NYC in 30 minutes. Yet somehow the express line still takes 52 minutes officially, an hour most days.

Neat way to start the week. An unexpected surprise.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Riding

Another Sunday post about my riding weekend. Nothing of note for those of you who come looking for the chicks on the train or my musical tastes or even my general observations on life. So you've been warned.

WFH Friday so was out on the mountain bike and did some local boy scout trails, repeatedly sprinting up hills until that got boring then found the one dirt road in town and did repeats up that hill. Today (Sunday) was hill repeats on the road bike. 24 minutes Friday and 30 today. Saturday was my long ride.

Did almost 50 miles up in the Mendham Hills yesterday, MB link here. Overall had a really strong ride considering the vertical on that ride. The middle third was just ridiculous climbing. I didn't hit any sort of wall at 2:40 this time, though by the end I was starting to fade. I think I have my 3 hour pace down fairly well though yesterday was too hot for the DH40 pace.

I used my lap button on the GPS and once I got out of the hills I managed to pull a 19.8 average in the 2:00 to 2:30 time range. That really picked up the average which had fallen quite a bit from the climbing. I have been making myself stand on hills more and more and I found myself more comfortable than ever out of the saddle yesterday. I decided at 2:10 to not stand anymore because I was starting to feel it, but then just got out of the saddle again less than 20 minutes later.

The ride today was in the dead middle of the 97 degree day and it didn't bother me at all. So I think I'm getting used to riding in the heat. In all the GPS tells me I did 1400 feet of climbing in 6 miles and 30 minutes of actual "on" time. The other 30 minutes and 9 miles were going down and between hills.

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