Sunday, October 31, 2010

Season of the Witch

My “Playlist” for my “Seven-Squared Birthday Celebration Weekend”

DFH Punkin Ale
Rouge Dead Guy Ale
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
Mission Blonde Ale
[super spooky label, mas conquistadore-icity]
Victory Prima Pils
Flying Dog Raging Bitch

When I shared this with my buddy, Dan the Man, he replied: “Dude, I love how you embrace seasonality!!! I tend drink the same things all year round, trying different things when I’m out, but keeping the same ‘stable’ of ‘go-to beers’ at home”

Maybe I’m weird, but I choose my brew by checking the Weather Channel. Example: Hefeweizens are only served when it’s 80° outside or warmer [preferably after cutting the grass]; stouts & porters are for 30-40° and overcast/rainy days.

Let us NOT forget the Gold Standard of Beer Reviews:

Paulaner Oktoberfest: I have to say it but this IS Oktoberfest. Hints of orange, hazelnut and nutmeg caress the palate and it's deep red amber color seduces the eye. If you close your eyes you can almost see Mad Ludwig's castle. After just a couple, you'll want to go kill a wild boar, do a polka, bang a fat chick or some Bavarian shit like that!!!

That being said, I did NOT dive full head-long into a binge … I have priorities.

You’ve no doubt heard about golfers who “Shoot Their Age” … Generally an older guy who’s good enough at 67 to SHOOT a 67; or a dude of 89 who not only can still play golf at 89 [like my GrandPop did] but can break 90, as well.

Well, I can’t exactly run 49 miles nor 49K, even. Taking my BIKE out for 49K [roughly, 30 miles] might have been doable, but a TREMENDOUS stretch, as our 45 miles for MS150 was my longest ride of the year. With D’Wife working a half-day on Halloween, a FOURpointNINE mile run was the acceptable celebration.

That the Weather Channel said it was 49° at 6:49AM was just gravy [yeah, I let myself sleep in] I was fortunate enough to finish in less than 49 minutes [yeah, I actually tried to slow down to an overall 10:00 pace, but – God Bless – I was just too fast, LOL. Not like the time I got lost in the fog and busted into 8:30-ville]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pine(y) Power

Piney is a derogatory term that refers to native inhabitants of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Pine Barrens have sandy, acidic soil considered unsuitable for traditional farming by early settlers, who called the land "barren". The area is forested mainly with pitch pine and scrub oak. Many areas are swampy with cedar forests that grow along brownish-red, fresh water called "cedar water". The red color is actually created by the high level of iron-ore in the soil.

Living conditions in the "Barrens" were considered inhospitable, and those that lived there were considered to be the dregs of society,
fugitives, poachers, moonshiners, runaway slaves or deserting soldiers. Often poor, Pineys were forced to make a living in any way possible. They collected and sold sphagnum moss or pine cones, hunted, fished, and lived off of the land. Some of the pineys included notorious bandits known as the Pine Robbers.

Pineys often fostered stories of how terrible the Pine Barrens are or how violent they were in order to discourage outsiders and law enforcement from entering the Barrens. The
Jersey Devil stories often had this effect.

Today, pineys tend to wear the label as a badge of honor, much like the term "
redneck" has become in the Appalachian Mountains and the Southern United States.


Ran watchless, and didn't notice EXACTLY what time I left the house, nor when I came back in; so I'm TOTALLY guessing on my time [5 miles in about 45 minutes]. It "felt" about my usual casual 9-minute per mile pace.

A gorgeous warm October afternoon ... Do you know, fallen and dried pine needles have a VERY different aroma when they've been warmed up by the splintered sunlight of the woods than they do under the cold Pre-Dawn stars, clouds and fog.

In the daytime they have a cozy scent, like freshly baked bread; very comforting and protective. At night-time they have a more cleansing aspect; not necessarily medicinal [like witch-hazel, for example, which is kinda close] but a sort of purifying way ... like the pine goes into your nose and your lungs to clear the troubles out of your soul.

Oh, yeah ... I got beaned in the noggin again - not by an acorn, but a pinecone this time ... couldja tell???

Friday, October 08, 2010

First Flight In

Airline Flight City of Origin Time Gate Status
US Airways 1466 SAN FRANCISCO 6:05 AM B9 ON TIME

US Airways 258 PHOENIX 6:07 AM C27 622 AM

US Airways 1446 LOS ANGELES 6:11 AM A10 609 AM

US Airways 154 SAN DIEGO 6:12 AM C23 611 AM

US Airways 70 SEATTLE 6:12 AM B7 609 AM

US Airways 3345 PITTSBURGH 6:35 AM B10 ON TIME

My morning runs are generally done in relative silence.

What sounds there are, carry for quite a distance and with amazing clarity. There is a NJ Transit commuter train that comes by at 5:15AM which serves as my secondary wake-up call [the first being the subtle beeping of the Timex IronMan watch on my wrist at 5:00] as I can hear it from my bedroom, one mile away.

Once up, stretched, and out, it’s a pretty void landscape, soundwise. No one is up and moving outside in the development yet [come Winter, though, I’m sure many cars will be rumbling quietly as the idle at curbside in their warm-up mode]. For the most part, the only sounds I detect starting out are my own breathing and crunchy footsteps as I trot across the roadside gravel ... very, VERY Zen.

About fifty yards from The Pike, I can sometimes hear the clicking of the timing mechanism of the stoplight. Do I ever adjust my pace [read: sprint] to beat the light? Nah, NOT on the way out since it is pretty likely that I’ll be able to cross against the light due to a lack of traffic or at least jump the gap between cars; well, trucks actually, because most of the drivers I come across at that time are contractors on their way to their work-sites* or delivery people [lots of bakery trucks!!!]

If I take the route past D’Kid’s School, I’ll take a moment about the One Mile mark to say a “Hail Mary” at the Blessed Mother, and chat if need be. “Talk to Mom” is how I refer to it with my other Zen Catholic friends

More often than not, when I run on THIS side of Waterford Twp. [the “Fun” Side; where I race trains and get chased by peacocks] on especially cloudy mornings, when the wind is just right, I am aware of a low whooshing sound high above as I make my way on that last mile home. I will look up and see, in the high mist, a bright spot … sometimes The Moon, stationary and smiling at me behind her cloudy veil; but more often something moving along at a quick clip.

A glow becomes a beam; the beam pulls forward its source; the source morphs from a semi-geometric shape of lights to a fully realized object with highlights and shadows … An airplane … most likely “First Flight In’

I always feel badly for these folk; just ARRIVING in PHL long before dawn [I reckon there’s only about ten minutes of flying time left once you’re over my head, and it’s pretty dark “right now”] ... I’m doing the math backwards: When did they depart? Three hours ago, maybe??? So they had to be at the airport when? Five hours ago??? So they left home when? Seven hours ago??? I had just gone to bed, when they left the house to come to Philly.

That must suck

And yet, someone might be look out of their window as they make their approach turn to Philly and see a couple of blinking lights [my
Team Tania blinkies], moving slowly past a NJ Transit train track in the dark, maybe in the rain, and think – or even say quietly to themselves ...

That must suck”

*I’ve got a funny story about that someplace

Friday, October 01, 2010

2010 LawnMower Beer Championship - DNS

There are some events which hinge on very specific circumstances for them to take place. You have to have the perfect combination of weather, timing and competitors for it to go off. These include, but are not limited to, the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, most popularly known as “The Eddie” in memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea; or the newly christened “The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational at Mavericks in memory of Jay Moriarity. The stipulations for the match to held are simple: within a certain window of time, if and when the conditions get HUGE ENOUGH, the pre-selected competitors have 48 hours to get their butts in the water and compete.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

So it was with the 2010 LawnMower Beer Championship. With the heat and drought we had over this Summer, the grass never really got high enough to pull a massive all-morning “Sweatin’ Like Nixon” horticultural/agricultural/landscapational event. Now that we're into Fall ... I'm calling it a DNS = Did Not Start.

For it’s worth, the line-up probably would have been:

Victory Whirlwind Wit [
Defending Champion]
Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen
Southern Tier Hop Sun

I've been enjoying this all Summer, but never took the opportunity to put them side-by-side-by-side

My apologies, but stay tuned for 2011