Sunday, December 23, 2007

The first week of marathon training is done. I ran 8 miles today with my dad, after doing 5 miles and going climbing yesterday with Kev. The run yesterday felt a bit rough and when I woke up this morning I was exhausted. My dad has the phrase 'courage to start, strength to finish' on his running ID tag and he encouraged me to get out today and run. I felt really good for almost all of the run so I'm glad he got my ass moving.

Total number of runs: 5
Total number of miles: 24.95
Total time: 3 hours, 9 minutes, 23 seconds

Climbing yesterday went really well. I've been to this gym a few times before and never really enjoyed myself, but yesterday I was on some really interesting V4's and V5's. There were a lot of really interesting heel hooks in these climbs, and a lot of stuff that required me to focus and use my core.

I preordered the Ork codex so I hope to have it on January 10th. I'm really excited to have an Ork army, and I've also been giving some thought to starting a small Imperial Guard army. I really like the Vostroyan models and I think that having a 500 - 1000 point army would be fun. My only concern is having to paint that many models, but if I break it all up with my Marines and Orks I think it is pretty manageable.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Marathon training has begun! The past three days have been icy and cold, but I have persevered and I'm feeling good about the whole thing. I'm going to be keeping some stats.

Total number of runs: 3
Total number of miles: 11.79
Total time: 1 hour, 41 minutes, 17 seconds

I am going home today after work, and tomorrow I have another 5 mile run followed by an 8 mile run on Sunday. That's a bit terrifying, since I haven't run more than 7 miles since I was in high school, but also quite exciting.

I finished my Glade Riders and mounted Noble last night. The riders look pretty good, but I'm very happy with the Noble; I think he is the best mini I have painted. His horse was incredibly frustrating to paint, but it looks passable.

Work has been pretty slow this week and I've spent a lot of time surfing the internets looking for diversion. There are a lot of MMA news sites I've been browsing, as well as various Warhammer sites.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The new Halo3 maps are fun, although I'm not thrilled with the 6v6, social format. Spoony and I mostly just dick around on them and I'm hoping they get more competitive when they enter full rotation on the ranked playlists.

I wanted to go on my third run of the week yesterday, but there was a huge snow storm in Boston that rolled in around 1pm and didn't let up until sometime after 8pm. In total, we got about 6 inches of snow and everything is now covered in a cold, wet, and heavy blanket of white.

The two runs I did take were 4 milers that felt very good. I can't recall what the first one was, but I know that the second one was done at an 8 minute mile pace.

Tonight Spoony and I are going to play poker with some of Dar's friends. I haven't played poker in a damn long time, so I anticipate this being an evening where I had a stranger a bunch of my money. The only reason I'm going to go is because it has also been a damn long time since I've seen Dar or Lauren (who is also rumored to be going).

Saturday Laura and I (and maybe Spoon) are going to see I am Legend, and then hopefully I'm going to work on my Warhammer table. Last night I put the basecoat on my last three Glade Riders, so I need to start working on the highlights and flesh to get them done for the end of December.

Laura and I making cookies.

The cookie army.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I've gone on two fantastic runs in the past few days. On Monday I went out for my 5+ mile run. It had snowed over the weekend, and Monday had seen more snow and rain until the late afternoon, so the sidewalks were icy and slushy. Combined with the bitter cold I wasn't terribly excited to get out and spend time running. But I dressed warmly and set out at a slow pace so as not to slip on the ice and it turned into a fantastic run. My clothes kept me warm and my pace kept my breathing easy. It ended up being a 50 minute run (10 minute miles or a 4:22 marathon) and I felt like I could have run the whole thing over.

Yesterday was another cold day, although thankfully most of the ice and slush had been cleared away. I had a 4 mile run planned and I wanted to take it a bit faster than Monday. I reached the 2 mile mark at about 17 minutes (8:30 miles) and felt so good that I picked up the pace to try and get a negative split on the way home. Apparently I was dead on my original pace, because I came home in almost exactly 34 minutes, which translates into about a 3:45 marathon. If I could train to run 8:30 minute miles for the marathon I would be very happy with my time.

After the run, I was so inspired by my success and feeling really good, so I sat down and polished off two of the Glade Riders I had sitting on my desk. I tried a few new things on them, including a less start highlighting scheme on their cloaks and some different techniques for painting the skin. I'm not sure how I feel about the cloaks, but the skin looks a lot better than my first tries (except the faces, which still need work). Overall I am happy with the paint, and they look good on the horses, but the models themselves don't look fantastic. The kits were a bit hard to assemble and these two riders (and probably the other four as well) are looking down, not forward. Oh well.

Laura, Spoony, Steve, Beth, and some other people went to a show on Tuesday night hosted by the Boston's alternative radio station WFNX (I assume this is what they are, I never listen to the radio unless I'm in Spoony's car). The show was a strange collection of bands and took place in a theater, which meant that we were sitting down the whole time.

The first band (whose name escapes me) was pretty good. They were tight and played some solid, if not terribly interesting songs. Mute Math was next. Their sound was definitely something I hadn't heard before, but they had a stage presence that I'm not sure I bought into. After Mute Math was Against Me! who were the reason I was there. They sounded really good, but the performance itself was not what I had hoped; they aren't a band you should see sitting down in a theater with a bunch of people who don't know the words. The penultimate band was The Cold War Kids, and apparently everyone was there to see them. I found their music incredibly boring and unoriginal (they sounded like Radiohead, OK Go, and Maroon Five at various points). Laura, Steve, and I spend most of their set identifying recycled drum and guitar parts and trying to figure out why this band was popular at all. Last to go up was Spoon, who is a very solid band. Despite this, I was ready to leave after The Cold War Kids and didn't really enjoy their set.

I am thinking about going for another quick run after work today, and I'm really excited for a Die Hard Christmas on Monday.

The photo is a bit dark, but these are the first two completed Glade Riders.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My parents come to Boston this weekend to hang out and see my new place. Spoony's parents joined my parents for dinner on Saturday night. The house got a good cleaning, Laura and Christina made two different lasagnas, salad, and cheese cake, and Spoony and I ran around town picking up things. The dinner was delicious and I think everyone had a good time, so I guess we won the dinner party.

The weather has become hostile to biking. There is a ton of very wet snow that means my ride to and from work is a freezing cold, soaking wet affair. I planning on running when I get home, so I don't think I'll be warm or dry until around 7:30pm tonight.

I went climbing at Metro yesterday afternoon but didn't have a very good day. We spent about 15 minutes in the cold at the T station waiting for the shuttle to pick us up and I didn't warm up very well, so I never found my stride. I was working on some cool V4's in the new cave but my arms weren't really into it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I took my new jacket out for a test run (ha!) yesterday. It kept my torso phenomenally warm, but I forgot my gloves and my hands suffered. The ventilation zippers on the sides worked really well and I would fiddle with them to help regulate the temperature. I wasn't thrilled with how the Ipod pocket worked out; the Ipod bounced around and caused the left side of the jacket to rise and fall as I ran. It wasn't terrible but I was hoping for something a bit more stable. I might look into an arm holder for it, but I'm also not sold on the idea of running with an Ipod at all, so who knows.

I am not going to meet my 200 point target for this month. I've been distracted with video games and other things and couldn't get my Glade Riders and Noble painted. Not a huge deal, but I am a bit surprised that I couldn't get six models and six horses painted in a month when I managed to paint 18 models last month.

My two landspeeders arrived, and I have two Dreadnoughts in the mail which means that I legitimately have a 1500 point army in various stages of completion. I haven't played anything larger than 500 points with it (and nothing larger than 1000 points with any army) but I am excited to have the options. Once this gets itself assembled and painted I would like to expand it further with some terminators and an assault squad.

I think Spoony is going to drive me to the pet store tonight and hopefully they'll have a tank that I like.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving was a bunch of fun. I really enjoyed going home and relaxing (although I didn't sleep late on any of the days I was there) and it was nice to see some people I haven't seen in a while.

The morning of Thanksgiving I woke up early to run a 5k. Several weeks ago I had big plans for this race, but I have only been training twice a week so my expectations were lowered. I was pretty surprised to run an 18:43 (results posted here) and finish 31 out of over 1100 people. My calves were on fire for the rest of the weekend, but I was very happy with how I ran.

On Saturday night I hung out with some friends from high school and several people I would rather have never seen again. Across the street, my parents were attending a party of their own. When I discovered that my old cross country coach was there, my sister and I headed over. I had been drinking for several hours at this point and it was very weird to be surrounded by a bunch of semi-intoxicated adults in my semi-intoxicated state. Everything turned out fine and I had a lot of fun but it was a very odd experience.

While home I came across my old fish tank and I decided to get back into keeping fish. Currently I am planning to have a 10 gallon tank in my room and putting in a group of 6 Neon Tetras. I might add a single larger fish but the jury is still out on that one. I want to have a large rock or piece of wood in the center of the tank a put several plants in the corners and along the back.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night was Laura's long awaited 21st birthday. Her and I went out to a very expensive and pretty good dinner at Eastern Standard. I had meat loaf that tasted a bit too much like sausage and mashed potatoes that were phenomenal. Laura had scallops that looked pretty good, but I didn't try them because I'm not so much a seafood fan. We both ordered drinks but our waiter didn't card either one of us, which was weird.

The celebration proper started at 9pm at Crossroads. About 15 people trickled in and out through the course of the evening to contribute to the festivities. Laura got good and drunk, but not nearly enough to ruin the night. All in all it was a very successful day of celebrations.

I had some high hopes for the Turkey Trot on Thursday, but I don't think anything much is going to come out of it. Come race day I won't have run in over a week, and my training was typically less than 10 miles a week over two days of running. I'm going to see what happens but I've lowered my expectations considerably.

Many girls.

Mostly boys.

We stumble home.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pictures from the comp last weekend.

Team Barecca

The arena

Getting this problem on my second try (beta stolen from Mike)

Heel hooking my way to the top. I can't imagine what my next move was, although I remember it working out really well.
At some point recently I became a V4 climber. I'm not sure when or how it happened but it is pretty damn cool. There wasn't a single V4 at Metro yesterday that I couldn't figure out in a few tries.

Today is Laura's 21st birthday and there are a whole bunch of people going to Crossroads to celebrate. After work her and I are going to Eastern Standard for dinner. Their menu looks expensive but tasty, so we'll have a good solid dinner before the festivities.

Spoony and I finally played some 40k this weekend. It was a 550 point cleanse on our small coffee table. In the first round I took out his dreadnought and a plasma cannon gunner. Over the next few turns the squad that killed the dread trounced one of his squads in close combat (accounting for 6 marines and losing none) while his commander proceeded to chew through 15 of my marines (including my commander). It came down to my 8 man tactical squad against his commander and 3 marines. Fortunatley I had put two wounds on his commander in earlier combats, so when the final showdown happened my guys knocked off his final wound before he could decimate them with a power fist. A very fun game that came down to the wire and really highlighted the fact that we need a larget table to play on.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barry Bonds might actually be in trouble. Not for using steroids, but for perjury. I'm happy either way; him owning the home run record is an embarrassment to the sport of baseball.

This Space Marine army is phenomenal. The painting makes it look very unified and complete, and I love the concept behind it; the idea of tons of terminators appearing and being terrifying is an image that I have had since I started this hobby. I can imagine it being very difficult to play, but I applaud whoever fielded it for being adventurous and taking a fresh look at the list.

Last night a bunch of people went to the Public House to celebrate Beth taking the GRE's and Lisa running a marathon. There were lots of people there who I haven't seen in a while and the beer was fantastic. Lisa and I got each other pumped to run Boston in April, so now I need to get some warm clothes so I don't die in training.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tim successfully defended his thesis last week so a bunch of people went on a bar crawl through Cambridge to celebrate. Tim had a fantastic time (which was the point), but everyone else had one too. It felt good to let go and have a really exciting, really drunk evening with a lot of people that I don't see a lot anymore. I'm going to miss Tim, but this was a very solid send off effort.

In some bizarre news, I lost one of my earrings that night. I told Cassie that her earrings were pretty and that I wanted to wear them. I took one of mine out and tried to put it in my mouth (I do this a lot so it isn't as weird as it sounds) but I missed and it fell on the floor. Obviously I was unable to find it, so I've been wearing a straw in my ear since then. There is a set of dark blue, 6ga plugs in the mail right now.

After the fun of Friday night I woke up early and made my way to Metro (with a substantial amount of Team Barreca) to compete in the Mammut-EMS Bouldering Championships. I wasn't in the championship part, but there was an amateur comp as well. I had never competed before so I was excited to see what happened. The climbs were fantastic, but the atmosphere was very chaotic and poorly run, which detracted a bit from the fun. I sent three V4's and two V3's, which put me in fourth place in the beginner division (Mike took second). I know I could have done better, which is exciting considering I've only been climbing for two years. The results are posted here.

After the comp was over, they cleared out the gym to set routes for the pro comp. We all came back to the gym and they had set it up like a theater with spot lights on the climbs. The pros (both men and women) were phenomenal. The setters had designed the routes to be gimmicky so climbers were forced to do crowd friendly moves; there was a lot of cheering and amazing climbing going on.

Sunday was a day off. Laura and I lounged around all day before going to see the RX Bandits at night. The Bandits are my favorite band and I was very psyched to see them play, but overall I was disappointed. They only played one song off of my favorite album (Progress) and focused a lot on their new album (of which I am less of a fan). Since they lost Steve Borth it sounds like their horn section is lacking something, which makes sense because they are. I also felt like the sound quality was not very good and it made a lot of their songs sound like sludge. It was a good show, but not what I was hoping it would be.

I had the day off on Monday and used it to do a variety of things I had been meaning to do. I had a brisk but enjoyable run in the daylight, which was something I haven't done in several weeks. I also managed to get paint on five of my six Wood Elf horses. I'm not terribly excited about any of them, but I am learning a lot each time I do it; hopefully I'll be able to apply it to something later. After the horses I assembled my two new crisis suits. They look very dynamic and even unpainted put my old (and painted) suits to shame. Finally, I bought some wonderfully tight black jeans.

Photos from the Mammut-EMS Bouldering Championships
MetroRock - November 2007

Sydney McNair sending Women's #4

Vasya Vorotnikov on Men's #1 or #2
a month or so ago he sent Jaws 2, a 5.15b at Rumney (I was there that day)

Paul Robinson on Men's #4
he would go on to win the comp and the tour

Ryan Olson sending Men's #3
he was the first person to send this (of two)
Laura and I are visible in the crowd just behind the man in pink near the middle left

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Last night, on my way home from Laura's, I fell off of my bike and hurt my left knee. I was passing the Heath St. T stop and there was a bunch of construction on my side of the street that was pushing traffic into the middle of the street. The barriers were moving me closer and closer to the T tracks, but I would have been fine had there not been a police officer standing in the only usable bit of road left. He looked me right in the eye, but wouldn't move out of my way; I was forced to try and jump the T tracks immediately on my left. It didn't work, and my front wheel dropped into the tracks and I wiped out on the cop's feet.

Initially he was concerned about my safety, but when I told him he was in the way and asked him not to stand here, he started to get angry. He called me 'son' a lot, and went on about how he was just doing his job and making sure I didn't fall into the very well lit, very well marked hole the construction workers had dug. I told him to have a good night and rode home.

Now my knee hurts a lot and feels unstable. I didn't feel any pain when it happened, but I have become fixated on the possibility that I tore my ACL. In rational thinking world, there wasn't any twisting, no pain when I fell, and really no reason at all for me to think that. Obviously, with two of those monsters under my belt and no desire to repeat for a third time, I'm being a bit less than rational. Fucking dumbass cop.

Before that wonderfulness, I went for a run. For some reason I decided to really run it hard, and ended up doing 4 miles in 27 minutes (that turns into 6:45 miles). It felt like I was running a lot harder than that, although I may have been going slower at the beginning and much faster towards the end. I would like to be able to run a sub 18 minute 5k this Thanksgiving, which means I'm going to need to be able to run 3 miles faster than 6 minute pace.

Last time I talked about the Olympic marathon trials. It was an early race and when it was over I turned it off and made breakfast, so I didn't lean that one of the runners had died on the course. Apparently, Ryan Shay went into cardiac arrest around the 5.5 mile mark and collapsed on the course. What a tragic ending to what looked like a fantastic triumph for American runners.
New York Times article

The other night I spent some time playing with my Space Marines. I had recently bought a tactical squad off of Ebay and I assembled the models. They turned out very well since I spent a lot of time being careful and deliberate, instead of rushing through like I usually do. One of them I turned into a commander for the army, and his model is one of the cooler poses I have come up with. I also experimented with using cork on the bases and I think it turned out very well.

I am leaving work early today to watch Tim defend his doctoral thesis. I've never been to one of these but I thought it would be fun to watch and support Tim. After that I am going to the comic shop and then home to decide if I want to test out my knee on a run or not.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Last night my computer crashed. I don't know what happened, but I was forced to reformat and I lost everything. I am pretty annoyed that I lost my stuff, but I'm more annoyed that I have no idea what I lost. Since my external hard drive crashed last Christmas, I've been operating under the assumption that I would be replacing it at some point. With that in mind, I haven't been paying much attention to what I've been saving on it. That means that I don't know what pictures were on here, what music, what movies, what documents, etc, so I don't know what I need to replace. Damn.

I went climbing today with Laura at Metro. I warmed up on a bunch of V0's, and then went through several 3's and a 4-. After the bouldering we got on top rope and Laura climbed several 5.10's. I climbed an 11-, 11a, and two 11b's (one cleanly), which is clearly the best climbing I've ever done.

I based my Wood Elf archers so I now have a unit of Dryads and archers totally done. I also put sand down on the horses, so sometime soon I'll put the black spray on them and get painting. My ebay auction for two landspeeders was victorious, which means that soon I'll have almost 1500 points of marines. I started assembling the most recent tactical squad and I hope to be painting them in between bouts of elves.

The marathon trials were really a really good watch and I am glad I got up early to watch. Ryan Hall won looking like it was easy, and Brian Sell took third place in a really gutsy come from behind performance.

Currently my computer is not downloading any music, which is less than exciting.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Laura and I saw the Weakerthans last night at the Paradise and they were phenomenal. The crowd was really into the whole show and then band's vibe was very lighthearted; it was very apparent that they were having a fantastic time being on stage and singing their songs to the audience. I wish that I had know the songs off Reconstruction Site, but it almost didn't matter because of the crowd's energy. My only complaint was that they didn't play my favorite song, "This Is A Fire Door Never Leave Open," but it really didn't make a difference.

Halloween Halo didn't turn out to be as much fun as I had hoped it would be. The new game type became boring and repetitive quickly and I just wasn't as interested as I thought I would be. Spoon and I did end up in a party of 6ish people that we knew, so it was fun to finally use the mics and not feel like an idiot.

My climbing and running schedule went to hell this week. I was just exhausted from staying up so late every night that when it came time to work out I was too tired. I did manage to (mostly) get my two Wood Elves units painted though. They didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, due in large part to me being tired and impatient with painting the same thing over and over again. I think in the future I'm going to try to paint in smaller batches (two or three models) and spend more time on each one.

I bought tickets to see American Gangster tonight, and then Laura and I are going to hang out at my place for what I hope is a quiet and relaxing evening. Tomorrow morning I'm going to get up early and watch the U.S. men's Olympic marathon qualifier. I've never watched a whole marathon before, but I've been reading a lot about this race and some of the people involved; it has been a lot of motivation to get my ass out running and prepare for Boston. With a bit of luck I'll be up at 7:30am tomorrow to see how these guys do it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Red Sox won the World Series! Beth bought me a Dustin Pedroia shirt! Hooray! I'm very happy that the Sox won the series, but I'm also very happy that the whole thing is over with. There are lots of other things I want to be doing with my evenings that Red Sox games were preventing me from doing.

Yesterday I went for a phenomenal 5+ mile run. It was pretty cold and dark by the time I got out of the house (6:30pm, I hate the winter) and I was nervous initially that I would be too chilly to enjoy it, but I was wrong. For once in my life I dressed appropriately, so I kept warm the whole time. I ran pretty quickly and I did some experiments with my stride and pacing that helped keep me from getting bored.

Sunday night I made an attempt to cook a salmon steak for Laura and myself. I was nervous because I've never cooked fish before, but it turned out to be one of the most delicious meals I've ever made. The fish was flaky and moist and tasted delicious with the lemon I put on it.

Tonight I have a bunch of climbing on my schedule. I'd also like to try and finish my Wood Elf Archers, since my deadline of November 1st is rapidly approaching. I could finish them on Wednesday, but that is Halloween and there are rumors of Halloween themed fun on Halo that night, so I'd like to check that out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Last night Spoony and I played a bunch of Halo and drank a lot with Laura; Laura and I were quite hung over this morning. I had big plans to clean my room, paint my Wood Elves, and generally be productive today but most of it didn't happen. I did paint for a little while but mostly I just sat around and played Halo.

Olga and I finally got together tonight. We have been playing phone tag for two or so weeks since she came back to Boston. Since the Red Sox are playing we went downtown to Whiskeys to watch the game, but ended up leaving before the game ended because it was very hot and the people were obnoxious. It was good to catch up with her and I'm really happy she decided to stay in Boston.

Tomorrow night Dar and Lauren (and possibly others) are going to come and hopefully watch the Red Sox win the World Series. I've never had a place that I was excited to show to people, so I need to make sure that I pick up the mountains of clothes in my room and clean up the mess from last night in the living room.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Getting out of bed this morning was very difficult; I forgot all of my climbing gear and clothes, so I don't know how I'm going to help with the promo night at the wall; I am drinking coffee. Apparently today is just not my day.

Monday night saw Laura, Mark, and myself biking downtown to the Roxy to see the Hold Steady. I had never been there before and I was impressed with their large stage, bright, colorful, and useful lighting, loud and clear PA system, and massive main room with a glowing orange bar in the back.

When we got there a band called Art Brut (pronounced Art Brute) had just taken the stage. They sang some good solid rock songs, loved to point at everything, were very British, and seemed to be having a great time up on stage. We were all sold on them.

The Hold Steady came on next and proceeded to rock the house down. Their set was mostly stuff off of Boys and Girls in America, but they played a few other songs I knew from their older albums. The singer's vocal style translated very well to a live setting and I felt like he was telling stories to the audience instead of singing us songs. He was also highly animated and reminded me of a muppet. They played Southtown Girls (which made Laura very happy) and I think the only song I wish they had played but didn't was Chill Out Tent. I can forgive this because there weren't any girls available to sing the female part. Overall it was a fantastic show at a really cool venue.

The other day I ran 6+ miles, which I haven't done in several weeks. I hadn't planned to run that far but I felt really good when I got to my cut off point so I just kept on going. I'm hoping to get a shorter run in today before the Red Sox game.

Yesterday afternoon Tim and I traversed until we couldn't hold the wall anymore. Tim lasted almost an hour on the wall, while I made it for about 20 minutes. I was really surprised at how quickly my arms became fatigued, and it was interesting to note how sloppy my climbing became as my fatigue ramped up. I'm going to try and do this every Tuesday with Tim to get my endurance up.

Due to Halo 3 and the Red Sox being in the playoffs, I have done almost no painting on my Woodelves. I have one Glade Guard test model painted, and four other ones about 75% done. I'd like to have those four done by the end of the week, so I can finish the unit of 10 before my November 1st deadline. I have also been looking at Dreadnoughts and Land Speeders on ebay in an effort to get a solid 1500 points of Blood Ravens.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Despite earlier claims about the end of the climbing season, Tim, Matt Smith, Lissa, and I ventured back up to New Hampshire this weekend for a beautiful day of climbing. The weather was warm, the leaves were fantastic shades of red and yellow, and everyone had a good time. We all warmed up three climbs that were rated somewhere between 5.7 and 5.9, before each moving on to our larger projects.

Tim worked a huge 12c on a big overhang before getting lowered down into open space. Matt was on an 11c with a magic hold, and had some fantastic photographs taken by Lissa. I got on Jolt, a 10b, which is one half of a giant flake (the other half is a 9 called Dolt, which I did earlier in the season). I managed to do it with one rest on the rope; I had hoped to lead it cleanly but I am very happy with my one fall. I did the climb just a bit before sunset, which combined with the colorful leaves in the valley made it an awesome view.

I also did some good climbing with Laura at Metro on Friday night. We both did about two and a half hours of solid bouldering. The highlight of my evening was sending a 2+ (that felt more like a 4) after working it all night.

Also, the Red Sox won both games this weekend to beat the Indians 4-3 in the series. Next stop is the World Series on Wednesday.

Tim being lowered into space.

Matt winning the best photograph of the day award.

Me near the top of a very exposed flake.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Lawrence Arms were very good. I like American Steel (the band that came on before them) but Laura wasn't so much of a fan.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, were somewhat less than good. They're currently down 1-3 in the series, which is a tenuous situation in a best of four series. Hopefully they can pull it off tonight and bring to a more manageable spot, but they need to win three straight.

Tim and I went to Metro last night. We warmed up on three 8's, then I jumped on two 10's, and an 11 (which I sent cleanly) before my arms went to shit. I climbed another 10, a 9, and an 8 but they were all pretty poor showings. Still, nine climbs in less than three hours is a lot of climbing and hopefully I can maintain that pace and get stronger. Tim wants me to focus on my footwork and try to take rests during climbs so I develop good habits.

This man set the world dyno record, but it has been questioned since he took a second jump off the hand hold. I'm pretty sure that he should get more points, and not less, for his second jump, but apparently I am in the minority.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I am pretty sure that I am an athlete. I have been active my whole life (soccer as a youngster, soccer and track in high school, ultimate, casual running, rock climbing, and bicycling in college and beyond) and constantly try to be as fit as I can be. However, since I stopped participating in competitive sports I don't have the constant desire to be better that I had before. My athletic pursuits are more recreational and social at this point, which doesn't give me the same sense of achievement that I had come to expect.

To that end, I have some new athletic goals.

At the end of February, I would like to be confident top-roping 5.11 b/c indoors, and bouldering at least V4 indoors.

I would like to run a 5k under 18:00 minutes on Thanksgiving, and run 1000+ plus miles in 2008. I am also toying with the idea of running the Boston Marathon, but that would be more of a fringe benefit than an actual goal.

The Plan:
I am going to MetroRock on Wednesday with Tim. This is the best gym in New England, and Tim is the best climber that I know. I hope to use this quality resource in conjunction with this quality facility to start focusing my climbing and learning how to improve myself. I'd like to start climbing at Metro once a week, and supplement it with at least one other night climbing at the BU gym.

I plan to start running three days a week, starting today. The idea is to run no less than 4 miles per day and work myself up to 7 miles. This should give me an excellent base for running that 5k, and more than allow me to achieve my goal of 1000 miles. To put that in perspective, I'm going to need to run 2.74 miles per day, or 19.18 miles per week. Running 6 miles per day, three days a week gets me 18 miles per week, so adding another mile and change to one of those days would allow me to hit my mark. If I decide to run 4 days a week, I would only need to run about 5 miles per day.
Laura and I saw the play The 39 Steps on Friday night. It was based off of an Alfred Hitchcock movie and was very entertaining. Even though the tickets were free, I was pretty apprehensive about going, so I was very happy to have been wrong. The play was very well acted and witty, and we had a very good time.

Yesterday Laura, myself, and several of our friends took what will probably be the last trip to Rumney of the season. It was almost too cold to be out at all, so no one was particularly motivated to be climbing very hard. I lead a 5.8+ called Junco, which was the route I had climbed for my second outdoor. This time around it was a lot less terrifying. I also lead one of my favorite climbs, a 5.8 called Bolt Line. The holds are smaller than you want and not particularly obvious and the bolts are a bit run out, but the slabbiness of the climb makes it just right. Our group also took the opportunity to climb (or, perhaps, hike) Clip a Dee Doo Dah, a two pitch 5.3. The view from the top was fantastic and we spend a while sitting at the top enjoying the scenery.

Me actually running up Clip a Dee Doo Dah.

Laura, myself, Cassie, and Marynne at the top of Clip a Dee Doo Dah.

The view.

Some more of the view.

Me on Bolt Line.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Spoony turned 23 last week, and a few days later X turned 24. Spoony's party was on Thursday but I was unable to attend due to illness. Apparently Spoon won his party, despite early reports that Mark had won. X's party was Friday night and even thought I wasn't much healthier I went out anyway. We went to some bars downtown and ended up at some weird, loud, dance club thing. X had fun, I had fun, and I think everyone else had fun so it seems like a successful birthday weekend.

Saturday saw Spoon, X, Laura, and myself finally putting the apartment in order. We moved boxes and bags out of the kitchen and hallways and down to the basement. The place looks much better with all of the open space and it feels more like someone lives there with all of the boxes gone. We bought a bench for the foyer and then instituted a no shoes in the house rule to keep the floors clean.

Laura, Spoon, and I fired up the grill Saturday night. We made beer burgers (and beer veggie burgers for Laura), and grilled peaches and red peppers. The peaches were interesting, but the real winners were the peppers and beer burgers. Both of those experiments turned out to be delicious, and they were even better when combined. After a hurried dinner we rushed over to Kennmore to see the Kingdom, which was a very intense, very good movie.

On Sunday Laura and I went bouldering at Hammond Pond. We didn't do a whole lot of climbing (bouldering outside without a pad is pretty scary) but it was fun to be outside for the afternoon. Afterwards I went home and built a nightstand / cabinet thing and watched football with the roommates.

Also, Halo 3 is phenomenal.

Friday, September 21, 2007

How bizarre is this?

Apparently untrue .

Monday, September 17, 2007

These pictures are all from a trip I took to Maine with Laura and a bunch of other friends. These are going up more for archival purposes, but they are also very pretty pictures so I hope someone enjoys them.

Mike heads down on the first climb of the day.

Erin climbs a 5.4 while Pete helps from the bottom.

Me climbing one of the best climbs I've ever done.

Three of us taking in the view on a ledge.

Laura climbing in the chimney.

Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, ME - June 29th to July 1st, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Apparently I forgot about August. Opps.

Three weeks ago I was hired as the Executive Secretary / Assistant to the Director of Residence Life at BU. The job has been fantastic. All of my co-workers are friendly and helpful, and the job itself it enjoyable. I am responsible for general office upkeep, managing the work study students, and keeping the Director on track.

Also three weeks ago, Spoony, Christina, Beth, and I moved into our new place in Jamaica Plain. We have the first floor of a pretty large house. There are four large bedrooms, a big kitchen, and a living room with Spoony's giant television. So far living there has been a lot of fun but we are still not unpacked.

I haven't gone running in a few weeks due to some unexplained pain in my left foot. It hasn't gotten a whole lot better, but I'm planning on giving it a whirl on Monday and seeing what happens. I played in the first annual alumni game this past Monday night. I played horribly because I was afraid of hurting my knee, so I think my decision to retire was a sound one.

This weekend Laura and I are going to Rumney to climb on Saturday. I haven't been climbing in several weeks since I lost my FitRec membership, so this should be an adventure. I am also planning on playing little men with Spoon on Sunday, so I hope that it will be a quality weekend.

2007 Sam Adams Division Champs - Wildwood, NJ

Monday, July 23, 2007

On Friday I got hit by a car while on my bike. It was a very minor collision and I had enough time to jump off of the bike and land on my feet. The man's car was fine but my front wheel was wrecked. The drier was convinced that he was responsible and I wasn't going to argue with him; he ended up giving me a hundred dollars in cash and a handshake. I used the money to purchase a 30 dollar wheel, so I ended up with a new wheel and 70 bucks.

Since I have to be out of my current apartment in a week I have started packing my stuff. I hate packing. The room looks torn apart, I don't feel like anything has been accomplished, and I wonder where I acquired so much crap that I don't want or need.

Applying for jobs is stressful, and it doesn't help that the few hours of free time I have in a day are also occupied trying to go for runs and pack as well.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Whenever I try to explain why I have my tattoos and piercings to other people I am not usually able to come up with a reason that satisfies them. I know why I have them but I wish I could explain my reasons to other people as well.

I was out running Tuesday afternoon down by the Commons. It was pretty warm out so I had taken my shirt off and I noticed a lot of people looking at my tattoo as I ran by I love the way my tattoo looks, both as a piece of art and as a part of my arm, and I love showing it off. It occurred to me then that I had been spending a lot of time this summer without a shirt on; almost any time I go climbing or running I do it without my shirt. This is a total 180 from my usual behavior. Last summer, when everyone would climb shirtless or I would go running with Mike I would refuse to take off my shirt because I was self conscious about how skinny and pale I was. I am not currently and less skinny or pale but I can't seem to keep my shirt on this summer and I know that the reason is because of my new tattoo.

I don't think I could have asked for a more crystal clear example of why I have my tattoos and piercings; they make me more comfortable and proud of my body.

I ran seven miles today. I haven't run that much since high school.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On Sunday I went up to Rumney, New Hampshire and spent the day climbing with Tim, Alex, and Ryan. This is really only my second time climbing outside (I am not counting the afternoons at Hammond Pond and Quincy) and I was really excited to get out with some of the most skilled climbers I know. I can't really decide if I am dissapointed in the weekend or not.

I almost sent what Tim described as a difficult 5.9 on lead (I fell once), I top roped another 5.9 (not cleanly), got my ass kicked on the second half of a 5.10d on lead (and didn't make the top), and couldn't get through the crux on a final 5.9 on lead. All of those climbs were above my previous outdoor marks (I had previously lead two 5.8's), and I was amazed that I made it up through three clips cleanly on the 10d, but I was still frustrated that I didn't send a single climb all day. I was also frustrated that the hardest thing I tried to climb was a 10d while everyone in my group was attempting stiff 11's and things upwards of 12d.

I realize that I haven't been climbing even two years at this point (less if you factor in my ACL recovery time) and that everyone I was with has been climbing for at least six years. I also realize that I am coming back from an injury and I am not at the place physically where I want to be. Even telling myself all of that though, I still can't figure out if I am disapointed or wildly happy with my performance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I can't sleep anymore. When I try to go to bed I lay awake. It is too hot or too cold or I am not tired, but for whatever reason I don't fall asleep. When I do fall asleep I can't stay that way for more than six hours at a time. Saturday night I was out drinking and dancing until 3am; I woke up at 9am and could not fall back asleep. It happened again this morning, and now it's 2am and I've been in bed for an hour and I can't go to sleep.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I spent an hour and a half tonight on a 10.5 mile bike ride around Boston in the rain. I went to the Reflecting Pool (which had no water in it), Government Center, the park in Post Office Square, and I rode home on the MIT side of the river. The rain made it cool outside and all the water on the roads made it perfect for skidding. I was feeling really antsy in my room and when my residents started making a lot of noise I figured it was time to get out of the building.

Lately I've been feeling more alone than I have in a while. I don't feel like I have a very long list of people to call when I want to hang out, and it seems like the list of people who will call me is even smaller. It doesn't help that summer ultimate is starting and that many of my friends are moving away. Maybe I'm just not used to having this much free time on my hands after student teaching, and maybe it is just a weird time for everyone; I hope it gets better as the summer gets going.

Last week I sat through the second session of my tattoo. This one was a lot less painful at times and more painful at others. Chris does some pretty awesome work though and the whole thing looks a lot larger and more like a finished piece than it did before.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The outline of my koi is healing up nicely. The lines aren't raised anymore and most of the dead skin / scabs have come off in the shower or while I'm sleeping. I am starting to get used to seeing a giant fish on my shouler when I wake up in the morning or when I get out of the shower. The more I get used to it the more I love having it on my arm. I am really happy that I decided to go big on this tattoo, it looks so much more impressive and exciting than a smaller one would look. I still need to go back to schedule another appointment for the shading and coloring.

Tomorrow night Laura and I are going to attempt to make sushi unsupervised. Usually I call Heather and she comes over and directs the cooking, but we're bored and under a bit of a time cruch, so we decided to tackle it outselves. Hopefully it works out because I could potentially have sushi for lunch at school which would be delicious.

Speaking of school, I am done in less than two weeks. A week from Friday is my last day (I'm hoping to celebrate by getting more of my tattoo done) and I really couldn't be more excited. I turn in my last paper for my last class tomorrow and after that I have eight days of student teaching left before the summer. There is still that damn class I have to take over the summer but really I think I'm done in nine days.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I had the past week off of student teaching and Laura and I spent most of it being rather sick. Aside from that, it was a pretty nice vacation.

The first Sunday I went to MetroRock to see where my climbing is right now. I climbed several V2's and 5.10b's without much trouble, which was exciting because I'm very quickly getting back to the level I was at before I tore my ACL.

A few days ago I took the derailers off of Laura's bike and turned it into a single speed. I was pretty surprised I could do it, since I've never dealt with any of those parts of a bicycle. She likes it and we took a really relaxing and fun ride yesterday. We were damn cute it I do say so myself.

Today I finally went and got my koi tattoo. The artist's name is Chris and he works at Good Faith Tattoos in Brookline. I was a bit put off when I got to the shop because he had drawn it really big, but after he scaled it down a bit and put it up to my shoulder it looked awesome. Once the fish itself was on my shoulder he started to freehand the finger waves right onto my chest and back. Seeing how calm (and skilled) he was while doing that really put me at ease. The outline took an hour to do and in a few weeks he'll start the shading and color.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A few days ago I recieved and e-mail telling me that I had passed my MTELs (the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure). Today in the mail I recieved my official notices about my scores. Since I passed they didn't tell me my exact scores but they did break down each test (Math and Reading) into sections and give me information about each of those. The sections were scored by saying that I had given correct answers on "most or all items", "many of the items", "some of the items", or "few or no items". Four of the math sections (out of six) were "most or all", as were seven (out of ten) of the reading sections. The other five were "many", which I take to mean I did a damn good job.

This is interesting to me because today I realized that I'm skating on thin ice a lot of the time with my students. Especially with the Algebra II kids, but also sometimes with the Algebra I kids, I realize that I don't really know the math as well as I should. They will ask questions on the homework or while I'm lecturing that stump me and usually one of two things happen. I can either make up an answer that I realize is correct as I make it up, or I will realize that I really have no good answer and make something up that isn't incorrect, but doesn't really answer the question either. I think I've managed to do well so far but I find it odd that my test scores say I am quite qualified to teach math while my math skills seem to suggest otherwise.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I think I am done with being a student teacher. At this point, I've been there for 6 weeks (I think) and I feel as though I've taken everything I can from the experience. The kids don't really respect me and while sometimes they sit and listen and learn, often they don't and it is very frustrating spending so much of my own time and energy planning lessons and teaching when I'm getting so little out of it. I really do think that I want to be a teacher, but I am finished with the whole student teaching thing. I mentioned this to Jessica on Thursday and I think she took it the wrong way (as in, I wasn't enjoying anything and that it was somehow a reflection of her), which made me feel pretty bad. I tried to explain what I meant but I don't know that she fully understood what I meant.

I had Friday off from teaching so I took the opportunity to go out to some bars on Thursday night. Alex and I wandered around Allston and Brookline drinking until around 2:30 in the morning. I haven't had that much to drink in several monthes; it felt really good to just let go completely and not worry about the next morning. Friday night I saw Grindhouse with Laura, Steve, Spoony, and Drew. I thought the whole experience was a lot of fun. I always enjoy Tarantino's movies, and I certainly enjoyed this one, but it is probably my least favorite. After watching Robert Rodriguez's movie about the zombies, Tarantino's movie just seemed to drag on for me.

Last night I watched UFC 69 at Alex's apartment. Some of the fights were entertaining, some were boring, and others were so unexpected that I'm still not sure if I enjoyed them or not. The highlight of the evening though, was playing Guitar Hero. I had never played before and it was a damn lot of fun.

A week from tomorrow is Marathon Monday which is the best day of the year, in my opinion. I also have that entire week off from school (their spring break) so the whole week is going to be marvelous.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

This past Thursday was probably the best day teaching that I've had so far. Since it was MCAS week I had my A block kids for half an hour right away and then for two hours straight later in the day. They were very attentive for the short block and I got through an entire lesson quickly and efficiently. I was pretty nervous about the two hour long block, but they all did their work relatively quietly and when they were done, managed to amuse themselves in ways that weren't loud or obnoxious. This was also the first day I attempted a full lesson with my new honors class and it went phenomenally well. Teaching them is so easy; they ask intelligent questions that drive my lessons and even if they aren't motivated to learn math for math's sake, they're at least motivated to learn for their grade.

Laura and I went out to dinner at Addis Red Sea on Saturday night to celebrate our being together for 9 monthes. That's a damn long time. Her parents are coming up this coming weekend and I'm a little nervous. I've only spent a little bit of time with them and I don't feel as confident being around them as I'd like. I guess the only way to make that better is to spend more time with them, but it doesn't make me any less nervous about it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I went to Shaw's this morning and brought along the bucket of change I've been collecting for several years. It totaled out to 35 dollars, which I used to purchase my groceries. I think it is important to note that there were no quarters in the bucket (they get used for laundry), so that was 35 dollars in pennies, nickels, and dimes.

My St. Patty's Day weekend turned out to be pretty entertaining. Meg and Tom were supposed to come visit but the snow storm detered them from driving from Jersey to Boston. I ended up hanging out with Coco on Friday night and taking an awesome bike ride in the blizzard. Saturday afternoon saw me at Sunset drinking green beer with Steve and Drew and then watching 300 and cooking dinner with Coco. I had heard a lot of negative things about 300, specifically about the dialouge, but I loved every second of it (the dialouge was essentially spoken comic book speech bubbles, which tend to be overly dramatic, but I love comics so I can see why it didn't bother me). We then went to a bar with some people and finished the evening drinking whiskey sours.

Laura came back to Boston today (Sunday) which was very exciting. We spent most of the day together cooking and napping and catching up on the past week. I hadn't realized how much I missed her until I saw her this morning. I am really happy she's back.

I'm trying to stay positive and motivated about this whole student teaching thing. My lesson plans for tomorrow are pretty thin; I'm planning on showing up and winging it. Coco and I were talking about our classrooms this weekend and she made a comment that really put the whole thing into perspective for me. She said that usually her kids are willing to play along and pretend that she's really the teacher, even though everyone in the classroom knows she's a student teacher, but sometimes they don't feel like playing along and she really has no authority or clout to get them to do what she wants when that happens. I had never thought about it that way before, but I can absolutley see how it applies to my kids. Laura told me to just stick it out for another two monthes and then it would be over, and I guess that's what I'm going to have to do.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Today was a phenomenal day in school. I saw the C2 kids twice today and both times they were very well behaved. The took their quiz (and didn't to terribly) and managed to stay quiet for almost all of A block, and they seemed to enjoy my graphing calculator lesson during D block. That happened to be the block I was being observed, so I'm glad I picked a good lesson. My C1 class was actually way crazier today than I've ever seen them, but I think I handled it very well. I thought I was able to keep them relatively on task and I think most of them understood the lesson.

Despite that, I find myself somewhat unhappy with the whole situation. I am most upset by how restricted my schedule has become. I am a person who values my free time and to have it so suddenly and massively restricted it unsettling to say the least. A huge part of my day is taken up being at school. Another large chunk is devoted to lesson planning for the next day, something that is becoming more and more tedious for me to do well. My evenings are taken up with class and work, and I go to bed early because I have to wake up early. My time with Laura is significantly less than it was last semeseter, and the time I do get to spend with her is not nearly the amount she deserves. It seems like a huge sacrifice to make for a bunch of bratty, ungrateful kids when I'm not being paid.

I also feel generally unfulfilled with my classes right now. I don't do any of the readings and the papers I turn in are a joke. I skipped my first class ever in my now five years of college last night because I couldn't justify why I wasn't doing something useful with my time instead of listening to an old man ramble about irrelevant and useless things (this doesn't could the five or six classes I have skipped for concerts or climbing, which I consider valid reasons).

All in all, I feel like my life has taken a radical shift and I am not at all sure I like where it is going.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I've spent this past week waking up at 6:00am and heading on over to Waltham High School. I took over Jessica's mainstream Algebra 1 class and my experiences thus far have been mixed. The class is made up of almost 30 kids who are all best friends and come to my math class right after lunch. They are all good kids but in general the class is a loud and rowdy place.

On Monday I taught them the last section in Chapter 6, which was about graphing systems of linear inequalities. When I was up there speaking to them they were pretty quiet and attentive, but as soon as I left them to their own devices to do a problem or if I took too long collecting my own thoughts they quickly got out of control and I was unable to bring them back down. Twice Jessica had to raise her voice to gain control of the class and while I was grateful that she helped me out I was a bit let down by my inability to control them myself. Despite my misgivings, Jessica was very supportive and told me that it was a very difficult thing to control any group of 30 freshmen, and especially this group.

Tuesday I saw them twice and I felt much better about everything. My first lesson was a review of the second half of the chapter. They worked fairly quietly on the problems I gave them and while they weren't incredibly responsive to my questions, they weren't out of control either. The quiz went pretty well, with the average being something above 50% and below 75%.

Yesterday was the highlight of the week. After quickly going over the quiz (with excellent class participation) I gave everyone a graphing claculator and taught them how to solve systems with it. They really enjoyed working with the calculators and several of them have asked me to do more lessons with them. Hopefully the material they're going to learn will present me with the opportunity to do so.

Today's lesson was a bit ambitious on my part. It didn't exactly fail but it wasn't nearly as successful as I had hoped it would be. The major problems were a lack of clarity on my part as to what I wanted them doing and the lesson's inherent downtime (a dangerous thing in this class). I did learn some things about what I can and can't do in the class though, and I already feel lightyears more confident in front of the class than I did on Monday.