Tuesday, October 31, 2006


as dung beetles, i and all the other laborers here at MyCo should get a free pass to The Scoop on Poop exhibit at the Miami Zoo.

here's more info on the exhibit.

even when you're down, you can take joy in teh poo.

because, friends, everyone does it.

happy halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2006

someone take these dreams away

my parents' neighbor walt died last week. i'd say walt suffered from alzheimers for the last couple years but that's not really accurate: rather, his wife pat suffered from walt's worsening condition. he refused to give up the car, and a couple times a month pat would have find and escort him because he'd forget how to get home. the house became too big for them and though pat wanted to move she knew that was impossible because walt couldn't cope with the change. whomever bought their house would have to deal with the familiar scenario of walt trying to use his old key on the new door.

pat returned from work last wednesday to find walt peaceful in his chair. the night before he died, she said she woke to an empty bed. walt was pacing from window to window, peering out each one.

-- walt, what are you doing -- his wife asked gently.

he looked at her, stricken.

-- someone keeps calling me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

neither rock nor island


but the law of the spinning plates says
s/he who maintains divers loves
can let one fall
without destroying all.

you are more than This one thing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

wedgies in oz

you need to know this about aussie lifeguards and butt-ocks.
(adam you probably already do.)

might be NSFW if your boss is a stinker.

riding & running for the cure

hen’s running the Race for the Cure in princeton NJ this weekend. in one season, his physique’s morphed from a cyclist’s to a runner’s, and you could use his legs as an anatomy lesson for discrete muscle groups.

he and AJ finished up their duathlon (that's a run-bike-run race) seasons @ henlopen a couple weeks ago – without ME i might add, sulkily. hen’s a uniquely trained individual, in that he prepares for his races by getting shitfaced the night before and using the first miles of the race as detox. AJ made the mistake of following his lead when it came to jagermeister shots, and when race morning arrived, hen found him notably unenthusiastic about waking up.

-- i woke you up in the bedroom, and when i went back to check, you were gone. then i found you asleep in on the sofa. i woke you again, and somehow you ended up asleep in a corner of the kitchen. you kept running away and going back to sleep.

-- i don’t remember that.

he doesn’t remember hen driving them to the race, nor does he recall reaching up into the truck to hoist his bike out and in the process hurling the contents of his stomach onto the pavement.

hen shrugged.

-- it’s your truck. well do you remember this? when we were on the starting line in our gaylets (hen-speak for our tight racing singlets) and everyone’s all nervous and you can smell other people’s diarrhea farts, i said to you, “andy, is that a hickie on your neck?” and everyone craned to look.

-- i do remember that.

hen turned to me.

-- he’s kinda embarrassed but also a little proud and i lean closer to him but say loud enough so the people nearby can still hear: “andy, you’re a dirty little bitch.” the guy next to me’s jaw dropped and the starting gun went off. he looked great in that first run, but when i passed him in the transition zone and he was walking i knew he’d probably sobered up.

-- the first thing i remember about that race is wandering around in transition looking for my bike. i felt like a kid in the grocery store looking for his mom. you could have helped, asshole.

-- it was too funny. and i knew i had to make up time before the second run. even drunk, you’re faster than me.

hen ended up 7th overall, AJ 5th.

-- see what you missed tearing your shit up, finn?

that’s perfectly clear. resolved for next year: stay healthy. but don’t overnight @ hen’s beachhouse before a race.

so he’s racing for the cure this weekend, as i did last weekend in baltimore MD, where i saw race numbers in the 21,000s. my mom and i ran together, like we always do, finishing in around 34:40, NOT including the minute-forty it took us to reach the line after the start gun.

my mom did great: that’s one of the faster times we’ve run in recent years. and even when she’s running uphill, out of breath and suffering, she’ll still shout out "thank you officer!" to the police stopping traffic for us. i’m for some reason embarrassed to do the same thing when i’m with her, but i’ll do it during my own races, and thank the volunteers during a cooldown. i wish she knew i did this without having to tell her straight-up.

anyway, when we were running down Key Highway two chicks running in front of us were having an animated conversation. one looked to her friend to make a particularly emphatic point and ran straight into a traffic sign on the median. i can still hear the tuning-fork ring of that signpost after her body flattened on it. we thought she was out for sure, but she got right back up, giggled, and resumed her story.

i don’t even know the winner’s time.

-- a couple weeks ago i did support for a Ride for the Cure, which went from manhattan to trenton -- hen said -- and we had to mark the course with pink triangles.

-- triangles? not ribbons, or arrows?

-- triangles. which is stupid cos you can’t see which way they’re pointing on turns. turn all ways!! anyway, it was a crappy, cold rainy day, and where they started the pavement was buckled and potholed. and these women didn’t bitch AT ALL. they just got on their bikes and rode and talked and joked.

-- nice.

-- and i said to them, “you know i’ve done a lot of support for pro bike races and the racers make a stink about everything – even the weather. somebody can always find something wrong. but you ladies just take it in stride.” and one of them said to me, “are your racers cancer survivors?” “ummm, no.” “well, there you go.”

so you see life is good, mostly, if you choose to take it that way.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


BAD: Killers show postponed last night bec of illness in a band member's family.

GOOD: this photo. it just warms my cockles.

[props to blogorrah.]

Monday, October 23, 2006

enough with the Ribbons

the ribbons have gotten out of hand, people. one yellow "support our troops" ribbon affixed to your car's bumper makes an effective statement sure, but what's the point of adding another, and another? do you stutter?

and to those people who have a ribbon for every single disease state under the planet -- again, what's the point? are you truly advocating awareness of breast cancer, autism, ovarian cancer, diabetes, gay pride, child cancer, gang prevention, HIV/AIDS and polycystic ovarian syndrome? aren't you tired of being so aware? not to mention the fact that the more crap you stick on your car, the more you run the risk of being accused of discrimination. hey, you don't have a periwinkle ribbon. does that mean you're FOR eating disorders and pulmonary hypertension??

friday afternoon, when i was languishing in pre-weekend rush-hour traffic on the interstate, i saw this van:

i have to give some credit here, as this individual displays singular focus instead of whacking across the awareness board. from left to right, we've got:

  • 101st Airborne
  • Support Our Troops
  • Cancer Awareness
  • One Nation Under Bob
  • [something white w/patriotic ends]
  • Relay For Life
  • [something freedom-y]
  • Veteran
  • [something veteran-ly]
  • Support Our Troops
  • America the [something]
  • One Nation Under Bob
  • Support Our Troops
  • Another Nation Under Bob
  • In Bob We Trust
  • Der 10 Commandments (those tablet-y things)
  • POW*MIA (x2 and now wrapping around the side)
so we're probably a god-fearin' vet, maybe of 101st Airborn, and perhaps we lost a comrade or two in combat. someone in our fambly ran the Relay for Life after a relative was diagnosed with cancer because that was the will of Bob. we voted for bush, twice, and we have no regrets. we like people who look like us and we don't give a shit about ending a sentence in a preposition. in fact, what the fuck's a preposition?

horrible stereotyping to be sure, but it's such fun.

Eid mubarak.

Friday, October 20, 2006

the good

your grandmother said the funniest thing yesterday -- my mom told me on the phone last night -- i was buttoning up her shirt when suddenly she blinked and said, "life is good. mostly." i figure if she's that sentient she can't be too bad off.

so today, the good -- mostly.

  • small red things
  • hill repeats on a healed hamstring
  • dropping 6sec from your 200yd free
  • inspiration
  • fresh bluefish pulled from the ocean last weekend
  • dreams of an acura
  • knowing you're not alone
what's your Good this friday?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

book recommendations

i need your help, peeps. you're intelligent folk -- so i don't know why the hell you're here but i'll not gift a look horse in the mouth -- and you're readers, so here's the dilly. F's preparing for the MCATs and feels his verbal skillz need improving, so he's requested a list of ~30 books that will challenge him without putting him to sleep.

can you help? who makes you feel smarter when you're reading their prose? who makes demands of you, as a reader, but engages and then rewards you?

things to consider as you're coming up with your recommendations:

the verbal section of the MCATs tests the ability to
  • read critically and actively
  • comprehend written material
  • capture the essence of a passage by main idea
  • intuit a writer's tone, and draw inferences/conclusions.
  • is a dude (--> no austen or DH lawrence)
  • is a chemical engineer, not an english major (--> no danielewski)
  • is someone who'd rather read 5 short books than 1 long one
  • loves fitzgerald, salinger & orwell
  • got bogged down in the 1st chapter of Absalom, Absalom
  • got bogged down on the 1st paragraph of Ulysses
  • reads history books for fun
here's what i've gathered so far, in order of increasing demand on reader:

In the Lake of the Woods – Tim O’Brien
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
Demian – Hermann Hesse
The Master – Colm Toibin
Other Voices, Other Rooms – Truman Capote
The Third Policeman – Flann O’Brien
Portrait of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Oliver Twist – Dickens
The Turn of the Screw (long short story) – Henry James
The Beast in the Jungle (long short story) – Henry James
Dubliners (short stories; esp The Dead & Araby) – Joyce
Saturday – Ian McEwan
Shakespeare’s King Lear
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting – Milan Kundera
Labyrinths (short stories) – Borges
Invitation to a Beheading – Nabokov
Transparent Things - Nabokov
Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
Dante’s Inferno – Mark Musa's translation

what do you think? help please!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


i can't take cred, unfort. a couple more here.

for lemony snicket fans

(it's earwormy too...)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

distorting -- er, *creating* -- beauty

like tossing pearls before swine

Quasar just spent 45min trouble-shooting one of his newly-programmed modules after a client complained about bad formatting. now he's bitching because it's the client's fault: vidya (aka the "vidiot") kept changing his CSS classes. "men don't make passes at women who change classes," i observed. dead silence.


well, at least it's october. grab some lurch-worthy drinking buds and go on a Zombie Walk.

(sorry FMC and adam; this seems to be a yank fenom.)

Monday, October 16, 2006


yesterday morning, while i was sitting on a beach surf-fishing and resting my cranky OTHER hamstring, the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K took off in downtown wilmington.

a women's-only race and fun walk, this event brings out thousands of people. our gov usually shows up to give the pre-race pep talk and fire the starting cannon. a local women's sports store puts up the 5K awards: a $100 gift certificate for the winner, and a voucher for a free pair of new balance running shoes for each winner in the 5-year age group categories.

last year none of the really fast chicks showed, and i won, taking the lead after playing some headgames with blondie. winning a race is always cool, but this win's even cooler because, since there are no men miles out in front of you, YOU get to follow the lead motorcycle and bask in the hoopla that comes with being the first across the finish line. and if your mom happens to be a 12-year survivor of breast cancer, the win's that much sweeter.

anyway, i didn'tcouldn't go this year, mollifying myself with the thought that rudy's wife vicki would show and win with a sub-16min time as she's done in the past.

but no, the results are posted and the winning time this year was 19:02, 15sec slower than my time last year, and the winning time for my age group was 23:48. arrrgggggh!

god i miss racing.

lord forgive me for i know not what i do. i am petulant, cranky and horny and therefore must be forgiven for this early monday morning impulse buy.

it's RED. and i love the leibowitz campaign.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Owned by Title Nine

last weekend F and I went to the sallies invitational XC meet in the Creek where, if all goes well, we’ll be coughing up lungs at the end of nov. the invitational hosts high schools from DE, MD, NJ and PA on a tough, hilly 5K course – the top guys were running just over 17min; the girls around 20.

i never ran XC in high school – badminton (don’t laugh, fuckers) was my fall sport – but surveying the runners last saturday, i wished i had; and it once again reminded me how good sports are for kids. 10min before the race, guys were doing striders and plyometric drills in team syncopation; 5min before, the air rang with guttural cheers and team chants while girls joined arms and high-stepped over the tall grass and then broke up to cheer their teammates when the horn sounded. parents clambered atop stone walls to encourage or exhort their kids to move faster, smoother. old men were young again.

i wondered how long it’d take someone to recognize F from his running days @ glasgow. 5min later, kenny introduced himself; F barely recognised him. that’s kenny? he marveled as we walked away. he used to be so short and dorky.

kenny and many strong runners of delaware’s past & present now coach high school XC & track. st. marks is coached by the olympic steeplechaser and his wife lauren, who told me one of their junior runners was thinking about attending her alma mater, JMU, largely because of the strength of the running program and lauren's high opinion of the coach.

the week before, the boy went to visit JMU, and after meeting with the XC coach he called lauren to tell her the men’s XC program had been axed because of Title IX, which stipulates spending on sports programs must be commensurate by percentage with the percentage of student population by gender. JMU's student population is 60% female and 30% male, so men’s sports get 30% of the total budget for sports programs. Citing inadequate funding, JMU’s shutting down its men’s XC, track and swim teams – and its mens’ and womens’ fencing and archery teams.

fencing and archery i can see as intramural sports, but what college doesn’t field running and swimming? running has got to be one of the cheapest programs on the planet. you could fund it on the football team's gatorade budget, or the money you'd spend on legal defense for members of the team indicted for gang-banging a cheerleader.

i am all for parity for men and women in academics and sports, but let's be reasonable. there are certain staples in college athletics, and swimming & track are right up there with the F-word. (hockey, too. Go Big Red.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

brush with big brutha

yesterday we presented the initial strategy doc i and several others labored over all weekend. this account is our first significant one with a local pharma giant, and since we’d all love to fasten on that teat, this job = Huge Fucking Ado.

5 of us trekked to the client’s HQ and stood goggling in the 3-story lobby like schoolkids on a trip to the zoo.

-- this lobby is as big as our entire building, M breathed.
-- is there a Vending Machine, i wondered.
-- there’s a Brasserie, The Mayor replied, and cocked his head upward where visible were little pharma lemmings bussing their trays.
-- yeah, but josé used to work here and he said that all their salads have meat, M observed.

well, there is one advantage we have. our Vending Machine does offer vegetarian options. and you’re not a closed-caption TV star the whole time you’re on our premises.

-- when i used to work for GSK -- D offered -- one of our vendors arrived late for a meeting and didn’t have time to make it to a restroom, so he relieved himself next to his car. of course everything was caught on camera, and security apprehended him. he got in big trouble.

hmmm. kinda makes you think twice about a late-night roll on the conference room table.

we’re expected guests, so all our security clearances and credit checks have been processed beforehand; straightaway we’re badged and given some really convoluted directions. all 5 of us listen and nod, naturally assuming that someone else has been the one paying attention. so when we’re sent on our way, we’re like puppies tumbling out of a kids’ pool, inclined toward clumping, but still nosing in different directions.

i get held up by the pockets of scent dropping down from the brasserie and am thus the last one to make it to the revolving doors, one of the first entrances into the inner sanctum. in video games, this is usually where the first Boss comes out and kicks your ass. in real life it’s not much different. next to the door there’s a pad with a red LED light. i push the light and sail in with blithe confidence, but the door does not budge. hmmm. again push light, which does not seem very pushable; and again, nothing.

but look – here’s someone coming the opposite way. it is a good thing everything here is glass, so you can plan for oncoming traffic. the other woman enters, the doors revolve and i slip in. hooray! -then the doors grind to a stop. there is a Voice:

-- the doors will now reverse direction. please move accordingly. the doors will now reverse direction.

the doors reverse direction, and the other woman and i dutifully shuffle backwards, looking at each other quizzically. an asian dude joins the queue behind her. the system resets, the other woman enters as do i. the Voice:

-- the doors will now reverse direction. please move accordingly. the doors will now reverse direction.

the reverse, shuffle and reset. M’s in paroxysms of giggles, D looks absolutely horrified and The Mayor’s jiggling his blazer at me. the other woman is looking rather pained. thinking to catch me off-guard, she charges quickly, but with my super-caffeine powers i am right on her. again, that fucking Voice. M almost collapses on the floor.

asian dude missed half the fun, but he’s already had enough. he waves his ID at me. DO YOU HAVE A BADGE he hollers. oh, THAT thing. i never knew they DID anything. i’m always losing them; usually The Mayor finds them in the elevator. i have one. SEE? I brandish my badge at asian guy. USE IT!!! he implores. i guess he wants to get out of the building real bad. i hope he's not planning to take a whizz in the parking lot.

i pass my badge over the pad, the light glows green, the doors move smoothly and i sail through like the fucking queen of england joining her subjects.

-- god you’re a loser, J says to me.
-- yeah and you still live with your mom.
turning to The Mayor, i explain with a touch of defensiveness, look i never knew these things had a USE. he shakes his head and flaps the badge clipped to his lapel.
-- i tried to tell ya.

the next 15min is a wild goose chase as we try to find our conference room using directions that were confusing even before 5 different people misinterpreted them, so we finally arrive 10min late, when we appeared at the reception desk 15min early. by this time D is so frazzled and fidgety her lips are thin white lines. it is a good thing i’m the main presenter, not her. once you get caught in a revolving door, things can only get better.

after this day, it was lovely to get out on the track. my still-weak hamstring triggers errant, compensatory pains but so far they’re minor; and i finished up my set of 1000m intervals at 6min mile pace and felt absolutely giddy. endorphins, man. wish i could bottle ‘em.

Monday, October 09, 2006

thermopylae was the shit

if you're not working at the MIT Media lab, the next best job would be making movie trailers. it'd be just like you imagined.

[here's the high definition link if you've got good pipes. badd ASS.]

evolution of the whiteboard

my undergrad engineering courses would have been a lot easier with this:

Friday, October 06, 2006


partner-at-large corners me in the hallway, excitement writ on his face. christ. this will take hours. partner-at-large is notorious for his volubility and blue-sky abstractions.

-- hey, finn. let me run something by you.
-- i have to pee.
-- okay. what do you think of this for the space downstairs: we tear out all the architects' stuff except for the reception area and the east side becomes the production area.
he's already lost me. i'm not moving. i'm not giving up my window. it opens. air comes in. it's the greatest thing evar.
-- dude, my bladder.
-- okay. so there'll be transient work units [partner-at-large speak for "desks"] and whiteboards and print stations but we won't have enough money to do hardwood floors for the whole area so what do you think of -- he puffs his chest and breathes deep -- grass.
-- grass??
-- grass. not real grass, of course, kind of like astroturf but longer, with more texture. when you come into work, you could walk by the reception area and leave your shoes at the entrance to production what do you think?
he's looking at me the same way my dog does when he's waiting for me to throw the B-A-L-L. i expect his head to cock and one leg to lift. neither occurs, but he's still trembling with anticipation.
-- grass.
-- YES!!
-- um, what about the wheeled chairs?
there have to be wheeled chairs. my main stress relief in this place is packing loucypher in his chair and racing the width of the building.
-- we're thinking of those chairs that slide back and forth, you know, the suspended ones that...
and then he descends into some kind of herman miller jumbo but all i can think of is the slider-glider on my porch, which makes me think of summertime and mint juleps and boys with fans. ReveryTime.....

.........-- so, what do you think?
i think i have to piss.
-- well, i don't know. i mean, some people might be a little weird about their feet.
like jooliebooliemonkeystoolie. it's a safe bet that the chick who makes huge toilet paper nests in the bathroom so that her ass won't touch the same seat that other people's asses touch will NOT be thrilled about prancing barefoot with other barefeet.
-- and you know what a bunch of slobs we are. god, the Mayor can't make it from the kitchen to his desk without leaving a trail of coffee drips and donut sprinkles. who's gonna vacuum the grass every day?
partner-at-large looks visibly deflated. he really thought i'd be down with the grass.
-- but i'm only one opinion. ask joolie. can i pee now please?
without waiting for a response, i shoulder by and don't emerge from the bathroom until i'm reasonably sure he's gone.

fucking grass. WTF.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

yesterday lasted forever

litany of yesterday’s sufferings:

stopt sleeping @ 1am

out of bed @ 2
3400yds in the pool; main set ended w/
6 x 100yd on 4:00; not so bad except it was:
6 x 100yd ALL OUT
meang the 1st 50 is suffering and
the 2nd is hanging on for deer life.
arms limp; shoulders burning
tummy upset
bc breakfast = Ass Coffee + bag of candy corn
(split w/loucypher tho)
listng to loucypher whinge abt how much his tummy hurt
Fmorsel looking impossibly delectable
(smells nice too)
5 x 4min intervals @ tuesNiteTrack
Fmorsel running impossibly fast
(even w/fasting)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

fellows and bellows

this sunday, the local paper featured a story about a vascular surgeon coping with life as a quadriplegic following a cycling accident a year and a half ago. while riding his bike on memorial day, dr. fellows struck the side of an SUV when it made a last-minute turn in front of him.

fellows severed his C2 vertebra and stopped breathing 3 times on the way to the ER. now he’s a quad, paralyzed from the neck down. once an avid tennis player, cyclist and windsurfer, he now navigates his life in a wheelchair.

this is the man who gave me back my athletic career after i’d spent 4 frustrating years exploring multifarious branches of medicine trying to figure out why my right leg would lose all power under intense effort. some doctors were utterly mystified; some wondered what the big deal was. “you can still walk. what’s the problem?

fellows and i figured out the problem was vascular in nature, and it was he who carved out 5cm of my iliac artery, replacing it with gore-tex. it was fellows who adjured the residents checking my post-op status to MAKE SURE the pressures in both legs matched. and it was fellows who drove back that night through a driving snowstorm to perform emergency surgery when i clotted my new, strange vessel.

every race i do is a gift from dr. fellows, and i try to not squander it or take it for granted.

this doesn’t mean i’m not a total asshole.

since i’m one of fellows’ more unusual patients (i.e., not an elderly smoker with plaque-stiffened arteries), the article’s author interviewed me extensively and quoted me recollecting:

unlike most doctors, who treat you like you have half a brain and are supercilious and patronising, [fellows] listened to you and wasn’t in a hurry to get to the next patient. he treated you with respect.
i may be in some trouble here – first for harshing on the entire medical profession (okay, MOST, not the entire) and second for dragging out the 11th grade SAT vocabulary.

granted, supercilious depends on context. if you’re talking about dracula, it’s kinda sexy. OTOH, when you’re summing up MOST doctors, it could be construed as a wee bit critical.

-- most doctors are “supercilious and patronising”? D mocked me. only if you’re an elitist, over-educated ivy league brat. you could WALK.

in a town where everybody’s connected by at most two degrees of separation, one of which is usually a dupont scion or capano, i fear my torrid phraseology may have gotten me black-listed in the local medical community. my name isn’t common, so i can’t play the “oh, that must be a different jan brady” card.

i can’t wait for the next time i establish a new patient relationship. “and what’s your name? ah…. yes… um, well, the doctor’s seeing patients in 2009. shall i put you down for june, you judas iscariot??”

i’d quote a wise man and say we get what we deserve, but that doesn’t hold true for fellows at all. he's undaunted, however, and continues to practise medicine as an advisor and educator -- his most important lesson, arguably, that your life can flip in a split second.

carpe diem, friends.

Monday, October 02, 2006