Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recreation: Five Fast Miles

I'm supposed to go run five miles today with two intervals of one mile each. That means 1.25 miles warm-up and 1.25 miles of cool-down. I never liked the concept of warm-up and cool-down. It seems to blow away necessary fuel, thereby reducing the amount of work one is able to do. I know the intention of it is to get blood flowing where it needs to go, when it needs to go there. Also, with cool-down, there is some risk of fainting if you stop dead in your tracks from a hard run. In addition, training with warm-ups and cool-downs will eventually build one's stamina so that it is completely normal and doable.

I guess, warm-ups and cool-downs kindof have a point, but so do I. My point is the fact that it is 6:30 a.m. and really foggy and I can't seem to motivate myself to go back upstairs, put on my gear and get out the door for five fast miles.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Recreation: Not so bad

After last week's abysmal run, today's run wasn't so bad. Actually, I almost might call it good. My legs felt like jelly for the last half mile and I had to walk twice. Other than that, though, it was pretty good. The training plan called for me to repeat last week's six mile run, which is good. I don't think I could have done seven miles today. Actually, I don't know how I will be able to do seven miles next weekend, but that is something I don't have to think about for another week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Random Thoughts: Not tired

I had a really broken sleep last night. I did something I haven't done in over a year. I woke up smack in the middle of the night. About 2 a.m., I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep until after 3. Considering I usually wake up at 4, that is right in the middle of what should be a nice deep sleep. Whatever woke me up, my brain wouldn't let me fall back asleep. All things considered, though, I am wide awake today. I haven't even needed much caffeine.

Oh, on that note, I decided that I am giving up caffeinated soda, more or less. It's nothing special, I just don't want to throw money into an addictive habit. I don't gamble. I don't do illicit drugs. I don't really even drink more than occasionally. That said, I am hooked on soda... for now. Soon I will be free of that habit too. I think I might replace it with tea, though. That stuff is great!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Recreation: Worst run ever

I know they can't all be great. I know sometimes, they're downright bad. Today my run was bad. No... Not bad... Abysmally terrible. It was, by far, the worst run I have ever had in my entire life.

The first runs I ever did were pretty bad. The terrible feelings about not being able to even run continuously for half a mile were almost overwhelming. This run was worse.

The run I had this past winter where I decided to increase my mileage was really bad. It was changing between freezing rain and slushy snow with high winds. My knee decided to lock up almost precisely half way through a 6 mile run. After a moderate amount of stretching, I was able to walk again, intermixed with some running and further knee lock-ups. Today's run was much worse... Much, much worse.

I ran and walked a grand total of 1:05:02 to cover a huge distance of 6 miles. Hopefully, next weekend will be better.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Random Thougts: What's new with you?

Nothing much new here, except the world is coming crashing down around on top of me. Other than that, though, I'm great. What's new with you?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Entertainment: Dr. Horrible

I have seen quite possibly the most unexpected, most hilarious thing ever. It is called Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. If you have never heard of it, that isn't suprising. It is, at this time, an internet-only miniseries from Joss Whedon. It is broken into three parts which are being posted July 15th, 17th and 19th. At midnight on July 20th, they go offline. If you want to watch them, don't delay. If you choose to watch, you won't regret it. If you choose to ignore my advice... Well, actually, that's fine with me too. You can choose your actions and they in no way affect me, good or bad. Seriously, though, you should really give take a look.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Random Thoughts: Feeling "Off"

It's strange. I don't feel sick. I don't really feel all that tired. Everything seems to be in full functioning order, but for some reason I feel "off." I don't really know what it is, but I can most compare this feeling to my preflight state of mind.

I enjoy flying. I am perfectly content to sit and people-watch for long periods of time. I love the fact that I can walk into a metal and plastic cylinder and a few hours later walk out on the other side of the world to see new and different things. Where I encounter my problems is getting to the airport. I don't know why, but for some reason I have this overwhelming anxiety that I will miss my flight. Have I ever missed a flight? No. Never. Not even close. Does that matter? Apparently not. I move around in a blur, talk very fast, drive very fast, walk very fast, and get jumpy standing in line very slowly. I bug the hell out of my wife with this personality "feature."

Anyway, I guess that defines the feeling that I have right now. I am feeling anxious. Why? Maybe it's sleep deprivation. I did wake up at 4:00 a.m. Should I call home and make sure Erin and Laura are OK? I'm sure they're fine. It's me that has the problem. Maybe I left the coffee pot on, even though I didn't (and wouldn't) turn it on in the first place. Actually, come to think of it, we don't even have a coffee pot. Well, I guess everything is OK then.  So, why do I feel like this?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Entertainment: Back by popular demand

I have finally added my movie countdown timer back into the site. I tried countless things to get my old version working, but I don't have the time to devote to understand the intricacies of javascript, php, and wordpress plug-ins. Fortunately, I realized that I don't have to. I don't know why I never thought of this before, but there is a huge library of plug-ins available for free download. I downloaded one, installed it and tweaked it. I suffered a few minor setbacks, but I eventually got it working right.

Anyway, now you can all see the list of movies I am looking forward to watching. Doing this, though, I realize how sad the movie listings are these days. Granted, there are a few movies I might want to see here and there, but the next big one I am looking forward to is Harry Potter in November. Four months of summer and early fall without a "big" movie.

If you go to the site directly, you will see the sidebar that has my list. Enjoy it. Hopefully, there will be more additions to the countdown in the near future.


It appears that date code in this plug-in isn't exactly precise. Going back in my mind, now, I remember having this problem when I tried to make my own. It looks like the programmers of this plug-in did not fix this bug. I believe, if I remember correctly, that it has something to do with the fact that there are not the same number of days per month or something. Maybe I will fix it. Maybe not. At this point, it's close enough.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Random Thoughts: Endless? Not so much.

What happened to the endless content of the net? I remember back when the "web" was first created there were like 18 sites and it was awesome. I could pull up weather satellite photos and utilize my amateur meteorology skills. The boom times followed with content on anything and everything. Whatever I was interested in, the internet provided. It was a glorious day when someone figured out how to get the internet to provide basic human sustenance (aka, food).

Now, it seems like we have entered the dark times. Gone are the days of the five-minute time wasters that held interest for the full five minutes. Gone are the days of people doing all sorts of stuff for free because they could and it was fun. Now, it's all a business. Now, it's all generic. It only takes 10 minutes to exhaust my daily content, whereas just a year ago, it would have taken an hour.

I have nothing better to do while my report is generating than create my own useless internet content. Damn you, internet! You have failed me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Random Thoughts: Insulation Update

After making that post the other day, I stopped in Home Depot and purchased three rolls of R-30. Upon closer inspection, I only need to replace a couple sections of the R-19 that is already there. I still haven't figured out what I will do about the stuff I am storing up there. I really don't have a place to keep baby clothes, Xmas ornaments and a few other miscellaneous things. This would be one of those big detractors to owning a raised ranch house. No basement means no storage.

As a long term idea which would be decades from now, I would like to add on an addition to the garage side of the house. If it were open season on house modifications, I would build as close to the neighbor as possible so that we would have a two-car garage facing the street instead of underneath the house. This would allow me to create a dedicated storage area (aka, basement) between the living area and the garage. My aunt and uncle have something similar and it seems to work really well. As a short term solution, I think I will move things around so that they are all in a blocked off area which I can insulate around. Anyone know the R-value of Xmas ornaments?

A mid-term solution I thought of was to build a raised platform to store stuff while insulating under it. Addition aside, I think I still will do this. You can never have too much storage space. The problem there is designing something that is raised up at least a foot, but is still accessible aperiodically. While I'm at it, I think I might add extra lighting up there. A single, exposed 60 watt bulb isn't the best attic lighting system I could imagine. I have lightly bumped it when working up there and burned it out. I don't know what can take the heat-cold cycling that is experienced in an attic. Maybe I'll go for a low-voltage system. They seem to be cheap enough.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Random Thoughts: Warm and Toasty

That's what I want to be this winter without breaking the bank if that's possible. The other day, I saw the post written by a former coworker who is pre-buying the oil to heat his Bed and Breakfast in central Vermont. In his post he discusses the option (converting to wood heat) he is considering as a result of the high price of oil. I have considered seriously using wood as a supplemental heating source, but it is impractical to use it as a primary source unless I want to invest in the infrastructure of a wood boiler. Knowing that I will need it soon, I checked the price from the place I buy my oil. I think I actually heard my wallet faintly scream when I saw $4.44 per gallon.

On my way to work that day, it just so happened that the talk-radio host was taking a deviation from rampant local corruption and outrage. He was soliciting ideas from people to save energy (money) and improve efficiency of their homes. The first and only caller I heard had the best, most cost-effective, logical suggestion... Insulation. That fluffy pink stuff can turn a drafty ice box into an oven.

Naturally, I wanted to know some additional information. First off, I checked what I "should" have. According to various places, in this area of the country I should have an R-49 in my attic. OK, great. So now I have to find out what I currently have. I grab the tape measure and climb up into the attic and find that I have about 4.5-5 inches of partially compressed fiberglass in my 2x6 joists. Being generous, I would have R-19. More realistically, I have somewhere around R-16. Hmm... That doesn't sound all that great.

OK. I have made the choice to find out what it would cost to replace what I have with a full R-19 and add an additional R-30 on top of that. The only place I can think of locally that lists the prices online is Home Depot. The cost per Kraft-backed R-19 roll is $19.78. I would need approximately 18 rolls for a total of $356.04. The cost per R-30 unfaced roll is $23.75. Because they are thicker, they cover less square footage. As such, I would need 28 rolls for a total cost of $665.00. The total comes to $1021.04. That seems like a lot of money. Is it worth it?

A little (actually, surprisingly, a lot) of searching led me to a pretty nice calculator. Using the estimate of 5750 heating degree days, 864 square feet, $4.44 per gallon and a switch from R-16 to R-49, I would save $186.81 per year. Factoring in error and the fact that I couldn't easily find space to store the stuff that is in the attic, I would safely say that I could probably save $125 per year. If the price of oil stays flat, I would make out after 8 years. If it rises, I would obviously do better. It seems like a pretty good investment to me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Random Thoughts: Blockbuster

I am less than pleased with the service provided by Blockbuster for their through-the-mail rental system. Certain things are and always have been listed as "Very Long Wait" since adding them to the queue. Other things are listed as Available, but never ship. The second one is more troubling because I believe it is a form a throttling. I will have a mediocre movie in my queue that I am willing to give a chance. I put it down the list around 20 or so. I have another much more popular movie in my queue right at the top. Both are listed as Available. I end up receiving the mediocre movie, almost without fail and the wife scolds me for adding nothing but crappy movies to the top of our queue. In the end, we still get to see the good movies because we will trade in the bad movie for a good one in the store, but it's still annoying. If something is listed as available and its at the top of my queue, why isn't it the next one shipped, damn it?!? I wonder if they need some remedial instruction on the technical definition of a queue... First-in, first-out (aka, FIFO).

Anyway, I am not annoyed enough to cancel my service. I'm not even annoyed enough to call and complain, but I am real close. If one more piece of crap comes in from the depths of my queue, I might just call and bitch. Maybe they'll throw me some additional in-store rentals or something.