Thursday, April 27, 2006

Taking it easy

The previous weekend was no less draining than this already hectic week.  Friday, Rich and I picked up my tuxedo on a weekend rental before we went to buy his new running shoes, then dinner, then a trip to the poker room at Ameristar, then a late night meal at the Falcon Diner with children and tipsy houseguests in tow. . . T & S were being followed by security for showing signs of intoxication on a gambling floor.  I had to tell the badges that I was the sober driver to avert trouble.  Uh huh.  After a short sleep, I got up again and went to Saturday morning dress rehearsal for Sunday's performance of Haydn's "The Creation."  I went to the gym for my hamstring/bicep workout from which I didn't really recover, because I didn't stop there.  I went to the Chinese buffet and ate three plates of food, then went to Worlds of Fun to ride roller coasters with the fam and the hungover outtatowners.  Adam D joined up with me and we left the group to cram in as many rides as possible before going to the charity hockey game.  The line to ride The Patriot, my favorite hot new ride there, made us a bit late, but the point was more to drop off a donation than to see the game, which was excellent!  Jake even scored on a very good goalie.  I was impressed. . . but I have to give credit to a beautiful assist from the left winger.  The USA team won by a good margin.  We grabbed dinner at Ixtapa, which is the top fresh-mex baja style place in KC.   I then went to The Hurricane to meet up with Jason and Tricia, who had been to the Parkville Brewfest prior. . . and had been drinking since noon.  Lovers in Transit were taking the stage as I got there.  They rocked the place.  Then some other band played some stuff that sounded like The Swans.  It got late and dramatic and we parted ways.  I met the members of the band Alien8, who are from Wichita.  James, their singer, is a really great guy with a positive attitude.  I really want to see them live soon.  He seems knowledgable, enthusiastic, creative, and an all-around smart musician who has surrounded himself with talented people. 

Sunday, I donned my tuxedo, got a small lunch, and proceeded to the pre-show warm-up for the Northland Community Choir performance of Haydn's "The Creation" in which I sang in the bass section.  It sounded incredible.  The house wasn't packed, but I was duly impressed by how it came together.  The soloists were top notch, but some were more top notch than others, if that makes any sense.  I've paid good money to see worse shows, and this was free!  The show went later than I thought.  I helped raze the risers and remove chairs from the stage, changed clothes, grabbed a snack, then left Parkville toward Lees Summit.  I had a fine meal at Shawn and Christina's, looked over some work related items, and chatted for a while as I waited for a storm to blow over.  Just then, my new tenant, Lori, appeared.  She's a card.  An opinionated, aspiring paralegal.  I think we'll get along just fine.  She's a cat person.  I had to allow for that in the lease, which includes a requirement for her hiring an exterminator at the end of the rental.  There's no carpet in that house, and my thoughts of adding carpet were dismissed when I found that she didn't want to make a pet deposit OR carpet.  She wants to paint.  I say, go for it.  Give me those receipts and I'll deduct that from the rent.  I'll deduct the price of the materials from my taxes AND I'll deduct the rent loss as a labor fee.

I got a lot of work done today, bopping around town and plugging in fiber optics.  Some of the sites are underground.  So, I'd put everything I might need into my backpack, open the hatch, turn off the alarm, wait for the blowers to freshen the air, then climb 20+ feet down a ladder into a room full of whirring fans and blinking lights, and run fiber optic cables.  If I needed a tool or a longer fiber, I had to climb up and down the ladder again.  After a day of this, I was kinda tired, so I rested instead of going to the gym.  I attribute my lack of energy to the fact that my sleep was interrupted twice due to work calls after an evening hockey game.  Plus the fact that I ate mostly junk food today.  Plus the fact that I worked all night the previous night.  After a nap, I felt human again.  For now, I'm getting a midnight snack, then a good night's sleep <fingers crossed>, and maybe I'll have energy for a morning workout and get back into my routine.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rich got his new running shoes at Metro Walk & Run where they put him on a treadmill, video taped his gait, and played it back in slo-mo to see why his getting leg pain from his cardio workout. I was impressed that they were able to diagnose his walking issue and prescribe some shoes to help him. While there, they hooked me up with some orthopedic insoles, which made my favorite shoes feel new again. I asked the sales guy if he could do the same thing for my ice skates. He nodded, so I brought them in. I can't wait to try them out now.

The new Red Robin Gourmet Burgers at 95th & Metcalf in Overland Park shares a parking lot with Metro Walk & Run, so we ate there. I love that restaurant. I may buy the stock again. I made money on it before. NASDAQ:RRGB

Friday, April 21, 2006

Weekend ready!

I catch myself having conversations with people at the gym facing the mirror instead of their face.  When I catch myself doing this, I then turn and face them, because it seems slightly, uh, not "rude". . . less friendly to speak toward the mirror.

Why is this good?

Anyone with editing skills can do that.  I kept expecting it to get funny.  Feeling a laugh coming on and then not is worse than feeling a sneeze coming on . . . or an orgasm coming on . . . and then nothing.  Very frustrating, really dumb video.  Wow--what people do with their down time.  I remember having that kind of time.  I wish there was a big store where I could go buy back all the time I wasted during the summers when I was young.  Maybe that's a business of the future. . . or the past.  If someone wants to come to me and buy some of their wasted time, I'd gladly take their money.  Maybe I should set it up and see if there are any takers, like selling swamp land or your name in the star registry or something.  If someone wanted to buy back an entire wasted 3 years lost to a pointless relationship, I'd have to charge quite a bit to be able to handle that kind of request.  If someone just wanted, say, the hours they've wasted at left turn stop lights when there's no oncoming traffic for miles. . . I can surely help them out.  A fancy certificate awarding you your time back would be nice.  So, I'm just looking at advertising and printing costs.  The eleven hundred hours you spent playing Tetris, I can award that back to you for $20.  Maybe even a line of t-shirts and ball caps.  The crowd that would be buying this product, definitely wear ball caps.  I think we've all wasted time.  The waiting room at the dentist office reading People magazine?  Complete waste.  Americans Idle?  Complete waste.  Have you ever seen those life expectancy clocks, where you put in your age and they tick backwards from a life expectancy of 75 years or so and it motivates you like nothing else.  I saw one that ticks in hundredths of a second so you can watch your life tick away quickly.  Morbid?  Maybe.

Monday is a training day for me on our fancy wireless inventory control system, so it'll be an easy day.  The same training was offered today, but I never take training on the first available day.  I let them work the kinks out of the presentation before I take it.  A coworker is logging onto the meeting now, and I was commenting.  He says he takes training on the first day so he has an excuse, like "They didn't cover that when I took the training."  It's mostly review, but I have a ton of questions.  I'd rather get the max benefit.  The meeting started and they're working out technical difficulties already.  The leader is telling everyone how to turn off their pop-up blocker to see the slides.  So typical.

I'm picking up a tux after work.  I have a dress rehearsal tomorrow to prepare for Sunday's community choir performance of Haydn's "The Creation".  I found out the rehearsal is over by noon, so I can work out at 12:30 tomorrow.  I'm working hammies for sure, then a biceps reprise.  I'm hitting biceps twice a week, since they're lagging.

Metro Walk & Run is the next stop tonight.  Rich wants some good shoes to prevent shin pain following lots of "treadmiles".  I know about shin pain.  It's not to be ignored.  I found that massage is beneficial, but good fitting shoes are the fix. 

There's a crew of very good tournament poker players organizing a blitz on the poker room at Ameristar tonight.  I think I'll go play for a while just to witness.  They're not colluding, but seeing just how well they can do collectively against the ploppy drunk weekend players who show up out there.  I'm intrigued.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Strength gains.

I sort of impressed myself tonight with eight 55-pound plates on each side of the leg press machine (880 pounds).  I got 10 reps up with a spot on the last two.  Friday I was doing shoulder presses with 50 pound dumbells, which is also new territory.  Chest presses with 100 pound dumbells is next.

I'm sorta glued to the SciFi channel tonight watching the Dune mini-misery which won't end.  I think they're on the third book at this point.  I think I only ever read the first two.

I just finished a book, How I Retired at 26! by Asha Tyson.  I didn't grow up black, poor, abused, neglected, or homeless, so I guess I can stop bitching.  The girl is wise beyond her years, and I gotta hand it to her.  She has the right attitude and some excellent advice.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mr. Zombie and Mr. Brown

The Rob Zombie show was exactly what I expected it to be, although not too loud.  Since it was general admission, we ended up with balcony seats off to the side, but it was worth every penny.  His voice was kinda rough, but I'm glad he didn't cancel the show.  He pointed the mic to the crowd and let them sing the chorus many times.  I particularly liked the gratuitous car crash scenes during Dragula and the giant robot guy with green eyes on the stage during More Human than Human.  I think it was less artistic, but more entertaining than the recent NIN tour.  If I had to choose, I'd choose the NIN show, though, because they played more songs that I liked.

I played hockey on the same team as Jake at Monday night drop-in last week.  He is a very strong skater, despite having one leg.  I'll never forget the first time I saw him about two years ago when he went blazing by me on the ice at a public skating session and I noticed that he skated kinda funny. . . then I saw that one of his legs is plastic and was thoroughly speechless for about five minutes.  He's a cool kid and his dad is a great guy.  His brother is also a very strong hockey player.

Subject: USA vs Canada game to benefit Jake Brown

As many of you may know, Jake Brown (once a Saint, always a Saint), has made the USA Hockey Amputee team and is travelling to Riga, Latvia to play in the Amputee World Championships. Jake is a freshman at Oak Park High School and is only 15 years old. What an accomplishment ! If you didn't know, we are having a charity hockey game, benefiting Jake and his family, so he and the Brown family can make the trip to Latvia. The game was scheduled for April 15th, but because of a shortage of players (ex blades players, college players, etc) on the Easter Weekend, we have re-scheduled the game for Saturday, April 22nd. The game will be played at Line Creek at 7:00pm. The game is being sponsored by KC Hockey, LLC. Donations will be accepted The front door on the night of the game. Come see some great players, playing for a great cause!! (the teams will be made of ex-NHL players, ex-AHL and IHL players, former KC Blades, ex NCAA division 1 players and other standout players from the area. Jake Brown will be playing for the USA Team).

Dan Smith CAM, CAO, CAP

Line Creek Ice Arena Manager

Kansas City Parks and Recreation

816-513-0761 816-505-1521 f.

I'm definitely going to donate, whether I make it to the benefit game or not.  It should be a really fast game and fun to watch.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


And when there's nothing to say, a hockey fight link will have to suffice.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Xtreme Fitness and Bodybuilding Competition

Saturday I went to a fitness and bodybuilding competition for the first time and was disgusted, intrigued, confused, and inspired all at the same time.  I'm thinking it can't possibly be healthy to get so dehydrated and to kill off so much subcutaneous fat that you can literally see tiny muscle striations through the skin.  And the bottle tan stuff made some of the white competitors look more like big oompa loompas.  That stuff must be toxic.  Which is worse, a mega dose of D&C Orange #10 or some natural sun rays?  Ironically, the event was a World *Natural* Bodybuilding Federation "pro qualifier" regional event in Liberty, Missouri.  By "natural," they mean that the competitors achieved their physiques without the use of drugs and certain supplements which the natural bodybuilding leagues prohibit (i.e. ephedra, prohormones, prescription diuretics).  And they do a lot of drug testing.  But bottle tans are natural?  <shrug>  The most confusing part was the judging.  They would announce the winners and I would be surprised every time.  Afterwards, I had to read the judging criteria to even begin to understand the placements.  The Fitness model competition was the biggest surprise.  Swimsuits and heels.  Hair and makeup.  And the fitness routines. . . Full splitsStraddle holds.  Wow.  What an excellent use of electronic music!  Now that I've seen the spectacle of self-made freaks lining up and showing off their muscles, part of me wants to lift heavy and see if I could get that chiseled.  The part about shaving off all my body hair, painting myself orange, applying body oil, and flexing in lycra skivvies in front of a crowd?  Not so much.

Friday, April 7, 2006

April First Friday

First Friday was fun. A large, messy Philly with Cheez Whiz and several napkins later, I was fed. The wind picked up out of the north and it got a little chilly. Walking through a few of the galleries on the east end of the Crossroads District, I saw some interesting art, but nothing really stood out as excellent. I only saw a couple of things I might tolerate looking at every day if they were inexpensive. . . and they weren't. Again, for a couple of hours KC felt like a real city. "Y'know if you're ever in Kansas City and you wanna hear some good music. . ." We saw Spinal Tap at Screenland. It's still funny, but not as funny as the 10th time I saw it. And not as funny as it might have been 20 years ago when it was newish. Like Fear of a Black Hat was 10 years ago. Maybe a mockumentary of the trendy music of the day is due. An emo slam is overdue.  Backwards hair and skinny distressed denim with a sport coat. . . fake band with make-up spoof. . . could be funny.

Jetta plan and colonization

I have recieved a quote for a replacement OEM 1.8T engine with a 27000 mile or 6 month warranty shipped for $2000. That, plus some cool, yet inexpensive, upgrades which I have learned about in my reading, and my Jetta is capable of 400+ horsepower and 13 second quarter miles. I'm getting excited.


And. . . on the immigration topic:

C Hill (4:00:44 PM): Oh no they didn't. . .
Kj (4:01:22 PM): christ
Kj (4:01:32 PM): and that is Nixon's home town
C Hill (4:01:37 PM): And I *love* this quote. . . "I argue that when people come from abroad to make a new home for themselves, and they are committed to the goal of becoming part of our nation -- that's immigration. When they come to exploit economic opportunities while proudly flaunting their determination to continue in their allegiance to a foreign flag -- that's colonization."
Kj (4:02:01 PM): that's an excellent quote
C Hill (4:02:06 PM): Alan Keyes

Dead legs, scallion mulch, and speed shop.

Yeah. Today, my trapezius muscles were hating. 80 pound dumbells shrugs will be easier next time, though. Today was my quadriceps workout. I nearly puked. Pushing up 12 plates on the leg press sled device of self torture took all the wind out of my sails. Plus, I supersetted those with 20 rep leg extensions at half my max to keep the muscles warm, and lots of stretching. THAT is why I split my quadricep and hamstring workout onto separate days. If I had done my hamstring workout subsequently, I surely would have hurled.  Since I've been benched on Tuesday night hockey, I didn't play this week and my legs were really ready for some tough work.  I'm an alternate in the invite-only game, but I could still play in the Tuesday night "D-League" game at Line Creek and work on my passing.  That game is slow enough that I can recover in less than a day.

The mowing season has begun. My yard looks good. It smells like scallions instead of cut grass, though. A lot of wild onions sprang up during the mild winter.  Mowing shouldn't make one salivate, but when the bermuda grass starts really getting green it'll crowd them out.  Yes, I've tasted them.  They're very strong.  You could season two pounds of hamburger with just one stalk, I think.

I helped Rich clean out his garage, which I'll be using to change the engine and turbo on my Jetta.  And I've been shopping for the right engine.  The learning curve is significant.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

USB port in the dash.

The new radio in the Jeep not only has Sirius satellite radio, but it has a USB port.  Today, while roaming around the north end of town installing routers, I plugged in a flash drive containing a podcast of the Jim Rome Show.  The cool part is, when I start the Jeep, the mp3 picks up about 10 seconds before the place where it left off.  Nifty.  I'm in love with this feature.  If I could snag podcasts periodically and keep my flash disks up to date, I wouldn't need the satellite radio.  With this I can pause and come back and not miss one sarcastic punchline.

I did shrugs with 80 pound dumbells in each hand.  My shoulders might just kill me out of spite tomorrow.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Save our Stadiums/River

Of the spam I got today, I got a couple of items which I found interesting. The KC Star sent me a very nice piece of "Save Our Stadiums" propaganda, with a nice link to the rolling stadium roof animation. Here -->

And I got a solicitation from Missouri River Relief, in whose events I have been a volunteer. You get to ride around on the river in speed boats and put bottles, cans, and tennis balls into big plastic bags and drag discarded car parts and refrigerators to the pickup points. It's huge fun, good exercise, and you get to see the city from the water.  Here -->

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Where'd the weekend go?

Jason's birthday party was a fun break from the norm.  Now that I know where Lake's house is, I might go back for the Thursday night poker game.  And then it rained.

The weather has settled into that familiar springtime pattern of storms almost every night and gorgeous sunny days.  I hope it keeps up.  It was a fantastic weekend.  I didn't get everything done, but I played some poker at Harrah's for a while.  I bought groceries.  I rested a lot.  I ate a lot.  And I played hockey. . . twice.

The Jerusalem Bakery buffet (Roanoke & Westport) is good grub.  For the money, it's hard to eat so healthy for so little cash.  And I love the format.  Two steps in the door, you grab a fork and a plate and start piling food onto it.  Then you pay $9; the drink is included.  Find a seat and chow down.  Free refills.  No frills.  And when you're really hungry following a leg workout, it's just the best.

I'm addicted to Beatbox 34 on Sirius satellite radio.  They play too much Fatboy Slim, but otherwise it suits my taste for driving around town music.  DJ Icey is good.  DJ Red Alert is way better.  I don't miss the local radio much.  I must admit I'm not very knowledgeable about next Tuesday's vote to support improvements to the stadiums.  When I need some news, I switch between Fox Talk 145, CBC News, and Howard 101.  They sort of balance each other out, so when one annoys me, I flip to the other.  If I could get the local KMBC traffic, weather, and local talk shows via the satellite where it's crystal clear, it would be perfect.

About the stadium issue, I never agreed with the policy of taxing everyone to build a stadium which will be used primarily by a sports league with pockets deep enough to pony up the higher rent.  But in this town, football is the unifying theme, and baseball is. . . well, not so much.  A stadium in this culture is really a piece of infrastructure.  Since the city can't negotiate a sweeter rent deal from the Chiefs, I suppose a little more sales tax is worthwhile to upgrade the stadiums, which haven't seen any significant improvements in years.  I'm glad the NFL agreed to pay for any budget overruns.  The construction projects are good for me, because my rental properties are in the vicinity of the stadiums.  In principle, I hate the additional tax and thespirit of the "keep the teams" ads, but the stadium improvements will benefit me personally, so I'm going to vote 'yes', I'm afraid.  What happens to that $20 a car they get from all those football fans who park on any given Sunday, though?  Can't they just go $30 a car to make the stadium roof payment?

On the hockey front, half our team was gone again this week doing battle readiness drills and it was, again, a blowout.  If we lose one more, we could find ourselves in next to last place. . . which, from a playoff seed perspective, is kind of a sweet spot.