This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

In Sad News Today...

This is what I would expect to see upon reading a 'celebrity' obituary.  It appears, however, with Count Gottfried von Bismarck, this was not the case.

von Bismarck is the great-great-great grandson of Otto von Bismarck, the "Iron Chancellor". Gottfried apparently passed sometime in April of this year. I learned about it from a peer and found this 'obituary' written about him. Sadly(?), it is quite hysterical. An award should be given to this writer.

From the Telegraph:
Count Gottfried von Bismarck, who was found dead on Monday aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyantwaster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies.

How the Hell?

So I have no clue how to freakin' move my blogspot posts to this site. I have set a feedburner site for RSS feeds from my old blog...only to get an error message when I try to import this site to my new blog.

I've tried to FTP the freakin' posts to my new blogspot only to have it time out.

So WTF else am I supposed to do?? This is really freakin' frustrating. This is NOT the most USER-FRIENDLY method to move things over and I find it ridiculous.

I'll be working on this shit this weekend. I am determined to have my blogspot moved.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Simpson's


We got to see The Simpson's tonight.  I 'won' tickets from the Zone site of the News and Observer site.  Well, I was actually trying to get Hairspray tickets, but something went wrong and to sum it up, the nice folks at Zone offered me these instead.

We all were very excited about seeing this movie.  Even better since Cerina mentioned how today was 'the most boringest day of camp ever'.  This should cheer her up.

We headed towards Mission Valley, which is where the sneak preview was being shown.  We stopped at Cloo's Coney Island for food.  I've only been here once before and didn't notice anything stand out.  Today, however, was pretty cool.  Service was AMAZING and the two 'servers' appeared to be college students.  I have a little bias that college students could give a shit about offering good service, but so not true here.

The place started out pretty empty but by the time we left, it started bustling.  We ate at the booth and enjoyed a greasy meal of hot dogs, cheese fries and baby burgers (sort of like Krystals).  Tim mingled with a guy named Jake, who sat at the bar with us.  We took his seat, since I moved his cup that had "Jake" on it.  But for some reason, Jake liked to come and go, so he doesn't stay put.

After that, we headed to Mission Valley.  It has been YEARS since I've been to this theater.  I've wanted to return since it went under new ownership years ago.  I knew they served beer and wine (wrong about the wine - none, but there is beer!).a

The place was packed.  Oddly enough, for having such a packed house, the audience was awesome.  There was a sense of Simpson comraderie.  No one talked on the phone, talked to their friends, or used any other bad theater behavior.

The movie was AWESOME.  How could they put a Simpson show in the theater?  Well, they figured it out and they figured it out well. 

You HAVE to check it out.  And may I advise that you check it out at Mission Valley.  This will be my theater of choice, NOT because they serve beer (but it helps) but because this IS a LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED theater.  I like supporting them and I hope you all do too.  Oh, and don't forget to stop by Cloo's Coney Island either.  Great hot dogs and burgers...and they serve beer too!!!

Another Crappy Run

I had five miles to run today and I did it.  It wasn't easy though.  Still waiting for these to get better.

I felt relatively strong the first two miles.  About 2 1/2, my legs felt
weak.  I was trying to figure out what route I could do to make this
run go better.  But, I'm running around a lake, so my choice is to keep
going *this* way, or turn around and go *that* way (the way I just came
from).  Both ways suck because during today's run, all the gradual
inclines feel like mountains to my legs.  I run every one of them,
though, knowing that each one is making my legs feel weaker.

I end up running almost full circle - clockwise at Lake Lynn - stopping
before the incline up the hill that turns into the strip that is
between the lake and the parking lot.  I turn around and go back the
way I came.  I'd rather run down that hill, when I finish, which turns
into a path that comes from Lake Lynn into some apartments common areas.

It was a battle of my brain to keep going.  I thought of taking a walk
break during the turn-around.  But I somehow knew that if I did, I
wouldn't be able to run again, or running would be more miserable than
it already was.

So I kept going and really, I didn't slow my pace down too much.  I check my GPS often, but not often enough so that the words 'SHIT - that's all I've done so far?" wouldn't bring me down.

I tried to keep my head in tuned to my Keith and the Girl podcast.  It was good and I paid attention, but now that I am so good at counting, I ended up counting while listening.  Nothing was keeping me focused except trying to end this run.

What is wrong with my legs?  Why do they feel so weak??  I ate a Luna Bar before the run and I carbed up last night.  Drank lots of water and no alcohol.

I made it all the way around again but once my GPS read five miles, I STOPPED.  I walked most of the way back home, which was just as difficult for my legs to do.  I thought: there's no way I could've done anymore than this.

Well, I ran probably 1/4 mile back home.  It's the easiest piece of this route - flat, even toward a downhill slant.  I actually ran across Lynn Road -- you have to since the pedestrian crossing starts warning you to once your foot hits the street.  It actually didn't feel too painful until I stopped and then the weak pain feeling was back. 

But I kicked it to the end, probably impressing anyone who saw me at ~7AM in the morning (i.e. nobody). 

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bus Me In

It looks like the city was able to negotiate a plan with those pompous shopping centers that banned the CAT buses from entering their shopping centers.  You can read more about it from WRAL's article.

It looks like Creedmoor North will allow the bus to go through its shopping center but Brier Creek will need to make some changes - as in restructuring parts of the center - to allow the transit system to run through it.  This is quite strange since it is a new facility and one would think they would have considered that.

Well, whaddayaknow?  It appears, the developers DID think of that -- at least according to this WRAL report:

The Brier Creek developer wrote a letter to the city in 2001 promising "to accommodate reasonable future access needs on the Brier Creek Commons site."

I guess I shouldn't try to poke holes in the intention of money-grubbing developers.  At least they are working towards the right goal, whether begrudgingly or not.

BTW, the other two shopping centers were no longer considered, what I'd like to say, WORTHY enough for the CAT system to go through their centers.  I don't know if this is good for them (and perhaps they think it is?) or good for the rest of the community...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hang In There

This is what a 'fellow' runner said to me this afternoon, well after we passed each other during our track workouts earlier in the day.  He actually sped past me with his group, but eh, semantics.

This 'fellow' is actually an elite triathlete.  The great thing about him, and the other (to me) really fast, more experienced runners I know are that they are such great motivators.  There is no talking down to me, or ignoring me during my workouts, since I am nowhere near there class of athleticism within the running community. 

So lately my runs have felt really HARD.  Sure, I have had some bad runs, but when nearly every run feels as though I have zero energy, or that my legs feel like lead, or the feeling of this ticklishness - that actually does not make me feel happy but weak - in my legs, well, running starts to become more laborious, it's hard to feel ENCOURAGED.

But I have some really good runners around me and they keep me pretty encouraged.  Plus, I have been running for several years and despite my crappy runs these past few weeks, I still LOVE to run.

But when I have days like today, I love running even more.  Not so much the act -- but the community.

Today I was lagging a few seconds behind everyone.  A few seconds behind someone *on the track* looks like a great distance for the lagger (i.e. me).  I was up for running solo today because I didn't want to keep pace with my regular crowd, which today felt too fast.

The last workout, which was a single freakin' 400 meters, was a slight struggle.  We had a hard workout and I just wanted to finish this thing.  The regular group kicked it in for the last 200 and all I wanted to do was crawl to the finish.  As I passed one of the elite runners, I heard one of them yell "Come on!  You can catch them!!"  Well, they were yards ahead of me and even if I had the punch to kick it in, I would've had to do some sub-outrageous-minutes to catch them.  I yelled back "I can't!" and he promptly replied with "Yes you can" with attitude.  I loved it.

When we were done, my best pal (and best running pal) said that I kept the pace and finished the hard workout.  He's always encouraging and not really the fake way.  He means it.  The only time he 'lies' to me is when he's explaining how flat or great a running route is when it's NOT but that's another story...

But the encounter later in the afternoon with the most elite athlete I know (his wife is too, but I don't really _know_ her) asked how my run went.  I gave him a cliff notes version of my runs and he related by stating that he too has a hard time with the heat.  As we parted ways, he gave a turn to me and said "Hang in there" and I decided that today was not such a bad day of running afterall.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

All Aboard!

I am moving on. I have decided that this blogging thing is a lot of fun and it's time to move forward. I have decided to go out on my own and have my own domain. All my new posts will now be located at

This is all somewhat new to me, so I'm pretty green at this. Bear with me while I figure out what tools I need, etc. Right now, I'm in the process of figuring out how to move all my posts from here to _there_. I found a few website articles that should help, but until I actually start doing it, I have no idea how it'll go.

If any of you have done this and have some instructions, I'd greatly appreciate the pointers to moving from blogspot to my own domain.


She's Got Balls

Today, my youngest daughter asked if she could play outside.  She went out front and explored the yard, while we tried to wake the other daughter up from a very deep, tiring nap.

Mia came in and fortunately, Tim saw her carrying something in her hands.  He asked her what she had and she said, very excitedly "I found balls!"

Tim asked her where she found them and she said "In Brenna's poop!"  He repeated "In Brenna's poop?" and she corrected him:  "Not *IN* Brenna's poop, *ON* the poop".

Tim then explained to Mia that Brenna had in fact, ate these balls and they had come back out, well, the other end.  This was said as he ran her to the sink to scrub her little hands and the balls she happily found.

They must have been lost toys because she was yelling to Cerina "sahREENA!  I found the balls!  I found the balls!"

So after all that 'exploring' the front yard for treasure, she decided to end their journey (the balls) by pushing these little suckers down one of our HVAC vents.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Movin' On Up

I am in the process of moving my previous blog address to this one.  I have decided to move into the 21st century and have my own domain address for my blog.  I had to have help (thank you Nick!) in getting my blog and its domain set up, so I'm not doing so hot with this idea.  But hopefully soon, I'll have my previous posts on this site -- as well as new updates to making this blog a better experience for me and you.

In the meantime, please read my other blog at my blogspot account.  I plan to post my new ones from here.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Brenna's First Trip

Today we took our 1 1/2 year old mutt, Brenna, to Wilmington (that would be NC). We took a day trip, with one night at a pet-friendly hotel (Courtyard by Marriott, for those interested).

She did awesome. She has always been a great car rider. She is adopted, so I believe the travels she did to adoption fairs made her feel better about riding in the car. However, she isn't that keen in actually _getting_ into the car. But once in, she just lies down and waits for us to stop and let her out.

It sure is odd walking this dog through the hallways of a hotel, but we did it without fear of being reported to the hotel authorities.

We found information about a dog park somewhere near us here in Wilmington. We thought we'd try to tire her out before we went out to our favorite restaurant, leaving her "home" alone.

We finally found the park, but it was not the safest looking place we'd ever seen. Dog park destination: NIXED.

We headed towards Wrightsville Beach. We knew there was a park with some paths we could walk, so a backup plan came into play.

The park was fine -- not a dog park, although Mia kept calling it that. I walked Brenna around and she did her favorite thing, which was sniff everything in sight. Tim walked her, then I walked her again, then Cerina and Tim walked her one more time. This time, she happily jumped into the car -- enough walking for her!

We got her back into the hotel and waited a bit before we ventured out to our favorite place, Wild Wings Cafe.

But while we waited, we had to deal with the chaos of our two girls. Brenna was great; our girls, NOT. We thought briefly about leaving them in the crate and going with Brenna, but at the last moment, we thought they would make too much noise in the room, so we took them along.

We had a FABULOUS meal at Wild Wing Cafe -- which is actually a place we have never been to _here_ but at Hilton Head, SC. But our last trip to Wilmington, we noticed it here and flipped so this was our primary destination...not the beach. :-)

Wild Wing was great - probably better than the one in Hilton Head...but that may be because our kids finally settled momentarily. I love them dearly, but my gosh, they can go BESERK.

We made it back to the hotel and Brenna appeared as 'just awoken' when we entered the room. It was great to be back with her and keep her company. I would say that thus far, it has been a successful first adventure with Brenna. This is our 'dry-run' for next month, when we make it to Hilton Head with her for a week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No More Christmas Presents For You

I heard about this on Keith and the Girl and I just had to include this here. I LOVE the part where the kid says "A lot can happen...You can think."

This is just awesome. I love the god-fearing mother too.

From YouTube: Pissed Catholic Mother

5, 10, 4

These are random numbers that came to me this past week: 5 on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday and 4 on Thursday. But they vary day-to-day, week-to-week.

I have a weird habit that borders being OCD. Well, I don't know if it falls into the OCD category, but it certainly is in some psychological weirdness category. Let me clarify that I'm not saying if your OCD you're weird, but if you are, you gotta agree that some of the OCD characteristics are, well, just weird.

So what do I do with these random numbers? I count them. Actually I count TO them. Usually, it happens once I get to work. At least, that's when I notice it. I get out of my car, and suddenly, without really _thinking_ actively about it, I start counting my steps before I get to the door. But I don't count my actual number of steps, I count to a random number.

So on Tuesday, I did this all the way to my office:

"One, two, three, four, five, One, two, three, four, five, One, ..., Five"

On Wednesday, it was:
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, One, ..., Ten"

And today:
"One, two, three, four, One, ..., four"

I have no earthly idea why I do that, but I do. I _think_ I can stop, but I don't because I think, what am I hurting by doing that?

But I don't do that everywhere. Like the number of steps in stairways. I actually DO count those.

I know that there are 80 steps from the bottom floor to the floor in which my office is located.

I also know that both sets of my stairways in my home have 14 steps.

And the steps from the outside of my building to the bottom of the hill equal 49.

The steps from the main floor to the first level basement of my office building, 11. Everything else is 10 to a landing, except this one.

I don't think I'm OCD because I don't really care if I end up losing count and actually come up short/more on the number. I can still get through my day. (Of course, I'm OCD-ignorant, so I'm going by what I have heard OCD is for some folks.)

I do, however, try to challenge myself and actually count the steps AND figure out the number remaining at the same time. For instance, if I am on step 71 going towards my office, I recite the number nine, (meaning nine remaining steps) while I count my steps. Odd, but it keeps my brain active (or so I think). That's when I usually lose count since I'm not quite that good at it yet...

But, not to sell myself short, I don't miscount and subtract too many times. I am PRETTY DARN GOOD at it, just not at 100%.

What do you think? Is this OCD or just some other odd neurotic disorder?

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Bus Stops Here....NOT!

Do you live in Raleigh? Have you taken notice to the bus stops in our city? If you have, you already know what many of us know...THERE ARE NO BUS STOPS!!!

What I mean by this is that there are no really good bus stops in our city. I used to live near Capital Boulevard. As I drove to work every day, I would see people standing in the heat, the rain, the cold, the wind, just standing there. The first time I'm sure I thought "Why are those people just standing there on the side of the road?" Until I realized, hey, that's a bus stop.

Then I moved a few miles away and noticed that the bus stops that I pass by every day for work also do not appear to be bus stops. Just a few people sitting or standing, as though they were just loitering.

My point is this: here in Raleigh, we have the CAT system -- which was recently highlighted as being 'banned' from entering those hoity-toity-wanna-be-NY-style shopping centers. For the mere mortals who rely on public transportation, i.e. CAT, they have to deal with standing, or finding a grassy area to sit on, while waiting for the bus. And the bus schedule? Well, that's another story. I digress...the main point is that there are no shelters at bus stops in Raleigh. In fact, the only designation that a bus stop exists is the orange (or is it red?) and white sign designation "this space" as a CAT bus stop.

There are no schedules listed at the bus stop. There is no bench. There is nothing but asphalt not but two feet away from the bus stops I pass on Creedmoor Raod, Glenwood Avenue and Edwards Mill Road. I know that Capital Boulevard falls into this category, since I ran by that spot for nearly ten years.

Why? I wish I could answer that, but I never did the research. But I'm ready now. This is outrageous. We want to be this great up-and-coming city and yet, we make mere mortals stand in the elements to wait for a bus. Ridiculous. This has to change. I have no idea how to make this a priority for someone, but I will make this my effort to bring this to the attention of our city council -- or whoever is responsible for making our city transportation improve.

If anyone that pays any attention to my blog (thank you :-)) has any ideas how to make this move forward, I would GREATLY appreciate your advice. I am serious about this. I think it's incomprehensible to have bus stops without a place to sit and have shelter.

Thankfully, the N&O also feels the same as I do and featured an article in today's (Sunday) issue. They outlined a bus stop - which was not one of the ones I mentioned above - where the folks used shopping carts -- SHOPPING CARTS -- as benches to sit on. And yes, it is also not sheltered

Come on Raleigh-ites - we need to fix this!!!!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Til Death Do Us Part

I don't know why this is, but I read the obituaries. I have been for many years.

Some days, I skim through them all, merely glancing at the ages of the deceased and honing in on the younger ones.

Other days, I read the longer ones -- the "featured" ones. It doesn't matter how old they are - I read their life stories in just one small column.

My mindset is this: these people who died were loved, still loved, and are greatly mourned by friends and family. Even if I did not know this person, I feel the need to commemorate their life by reading their bio. The person who put together this summary took great lengths and great strength to write a few paragraphs of great accomplishments of someone they love so dearly. While they struggle to put these words together, they mourn. "Parting is such sweet sorrow" is what I think fits perfect in this analogy.

In today's Sunday paper, I read one obituary about a man, just six days shy of his 70th birthday. This one had no picture and, wasn't as young as I usually read. But it caught my eye, nonetheless.

It was an inspiring write-up. It was obvious that he leaves many behind who will miss him too much. But what I loved was that it was written as though his life was too short -- this is unusual for a person close to 70.

These are the statements that stand out for me - inspiring me to be something close to what people said about "him":

"If you knew him, celebrate his life with us. If you didn't, we're sorry for your loss."

"...get busy liviing fiercely as he did."

"He believed that death would be the end of him. But he was wrong. He will haunt us forever."

"Instead of sending flowers, he would ask that you contribute to anything but the Republican National Committee."

Of course, I loved the last one. And to think that someone would put that in an obituary just shows what kind of man he was and what kind of friends/family he had to include such a statement.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


No, not the beautiful Evelyn at Hayes Barton, but the movie. After our fabulous time at Hayes Barton, we enjoyed this flick at The Rialto.

I was really surprised when Tim mentioned that he would like to see this movie. I have wanted to see it after reading about it awhile back, so I jumped at the chance when he said his favorite girl (not Keri Russell, but Cheryl Hines) was in it.

What a sweet, sweet, endearing, albeit, unusual movie. But hey! It's an indie at the Rialto and I would not expect anything less.

Keri Russell was great in the movie. I wasn't a Felicity fan and anything I ever knew of Keri Russell was from that show and something to do with the tragedy that occurred when she cut her hair.

She was pretty dead-pan in the flick but she delivered enough that I shed a few tears at key moments in the movie.

Jeremy Sisto was in it, which I had no idea beforehand. He's on my cute list. Well, make it my "hot" list. This tall, dark, brooding man who was amazing in Six Feet Under. He did so well in this movie, and his character was written so well, that I was repulsed by this hot actor.

And the best of all, Andy Griffith was in it. He was supposed to be an old curmudgeon, but nothing Andy Griffith does could have me believe he is really a surly character. It was wonderful to see Sheriff Taylor in such a movie.

Hayes Barton Cafe & Dessertry

The menu at this place would make an uppity person think twice about trying it out. But let me tell you, this place is amazing. A very small, intimate place with old movie memorabilia adorned on the walls.

Most of the waitresses appear as actresses from the 1940s and 50s - beautiful and surreal. The owner is warm and genuinely appreciative of any compliments. His wife is the 'chef' and steers the kitchen.

The place is small, as mentioned before. There is a 'bar' and more often than not, Tim and I tend to park our butts at the counter when asked if the counter is okay. Despite our keep-to-our-space-like personalities, sitting next to someone at the counter does not bother us at this place.

I've dabbled in many of the items on this menu in the past several years: crab cakes (to-die-for), the Annie "Get Your Goat" Salad, the meatloaf, and the pasta bella. The oyster appetizer (fried oysters) are the best ever.

A couple of years ago, we were told by our neighbor (from our last house) that there is a steak filet special the cafe offers but does not put on the menu. Our next visit, after being told this 'secret', we ordered it and my god, this is the meal of the gods.

Sometimes, when time passes, I'll tend to think that I must've exaggerated my recollection of my taste buds at this place. But we had another fine meal there last night and the filet was what we shared. All I could do with that first bite is close my eyes and relish the heaven that my taste buds were experiencing.

This is no exaggeration: Hayes Barton Cafe has THE BEST STEAK I have ever had in my entire life.

Put the atmosphere of this quaint diner, add a beautiful 1950s look-alike actress with the red lips, a great bottle of Merlot and this meal designed for the greatest people in the world, and you will have one of the best culinary moments you could ever ask for.