Thursday, October 29, 2009


Ok, I am ready to go. I have three train rides ahead of me. New York Penn Station to Trenton, Trenton to Philly, Philly to Rose Valley. Whew.

I’ll you what, these Russkies can power through. Its 12:00. She aint taking a breath for lunch. The other instructor had to shut her up yesterday, otherwise we would have gone straight through. Take it easy comrade. Your boy has to get his grub on.

She’s loosing me…

This Ruskie is loosing me

Take a look at the closet I stayed in while I was here in the Big Apple. This picture was taken with me standing at the doorway, almost in the hallway.



I’ll keep this brief because I am sitting in a training class in NYC and I should be paying attention but the instructor is Russian and she has a bad accent. I posted to my Facebook that I feel like I am back at Drexel. I have an instructor that I cannot understand, she’s monotone, the room is hot, and there’s one chick out of 30 guys. All we need to make the whole thing complete is an overhead projector with a professor scribbling gobidly-gook that makes no sense to anyone but him.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back in the Hood

I had to take my car in for inspection last week. I am fearful of the dreaded car inspection. My little POS mitsu has alot of rattles and pops and all sorts of fun sounds. While I firmly believe the car is safe, it’s condition would probably warrant a fair amount of repair which I cannot afford right now. And so were clear, “safe” is probably a relative word. Safe to me means that there is no imminent danger of the wheels spontaneously falling off or the engine blowing up. “Safe” to most people means the seat belts work they way they should.

So, I got this guy in Northern Liberties (that’s the trendy Philadelphia nickname for the former shithole known as Fishtown) whose recommended to me by Karen at the office. I am told that he is one of those type of mechanics that will just put a sticker on the car. *Wink Wink*

Anyway, so I drive the car over to the drive after work. Surprisingly, the mechanic tells me that I can wait for the car if I want. I was kind of shocked – I’d figure I would have to leave overnight. With time to time kill, I decided to take a nice stroll through the neighborhood. Oh, and for the record, the mechanic told me that I should check out the corner bar – the bartender has big tits.

Now, what man doesnt love Fishtown Bartenders with big tits, I ask you? So I make my way down to this fine watering hole, but I detour to the small coffee shop right across the street from the bar. I figured there might possibly be a barista with big tits as well. I kid.

I grabbed an ice coffee and sat down on a couch. What I saw for the next two hours amazed me.

Northern Liberties aka Fishtown aka Port Richmond is, and has been, an upcoming neighborhood for the past couple of years. Philadelphia has these boom ‘hoods. Many years ago it was Manyunk. Then the Art Museum area. Then it was Bella Vista (another fancy way of saying South Philly). Northern Liberties, or “No Libs” as the locals call it, is the rising star right now. As with any up and coming area, there’s been an influx of folks moving in. Many of these folks are what are commonly referred to as “hipsters.” If you dont know who the hell I am talking about, we’ll get to that later.

Anyway, so I am sitting there, I am seeing a steady stream of folks in and out of the place. Everyone seems to know everyone. Some of the customers would leave, then come back again some time later.

I got a real sense of neighborhood out of this, and when I mean neighborhood, I am referring to type of environment that I grew up in. I grew up in a row-home neighborhood. A row-home is kind of like a townhouse, only the shitty version. Anyway, in my hood, when I was kid, and I guess to a certain extent now, everyone knew everyone. In the summer, kids played out at night until god knows when. The neighbors sat out of front every night and shot the shit. It was a great place to grow up, and it wasnt the Main Line, and I think that’s what made it unique. Listen, when you live in Gladwyne, where the houses sit a quarter of a block from each other, there is no “neighborhood.” The township throws the word “community” around, but that’s just as much of farce. Perhaps the parents know each other from the kid’s schools or sports leagues, but that’s about it. There’s no neighborhood there.

As I was sitting in this coffee shop, I got the sense that this place was the hub. The corner bar, right across the street, is alive and well. This coffee shop, however, is the corner bar for the hipsters. To be fair, I saw a wide of assortment of customers coming in and out of that place, so I dont want to pigeon hole the joint has a meeting spot for a bunch of trendy dirty hippies. I think it would be neat to live in a place like this, just to have the element of being part of a real neighborhood again. Oh, and I got my car inspected without any problems. *Wink Wink*

Work has been a blitz. Again. My hours have been more in-line with a forty hour work week, but I’ll tell you whats killing me: these goddamned Phillies. I have been staying up late way too much, and that just throws my entire schedule out of whack. I cant get up early to go the gym, and I tend to work an hour or two late, so by the time I leave the office, I want no parts of going to the gym. Last week, I did some traveling, and that threw me further out of sorts. This week is more of the same. I’ll be in NYC for a couple of days,and the week after that is no better, with my impending trip to Cali.

All of this wouldnt be a problem if I could control what I eat, which I cant, so who the hell knows how much weight I am putting on now. I am scared to get on a scale.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Happened?

I feel very disconnected from a lot of things in my past that I really used to enjoy. Poker night is a good example. A bunch of used to get together semi-regularly to play poker. There was never a set schedule – it was always more of an ad-hoc thing. I miss it. I dont get to see any of the guys that much with the exception of mountain bike rides. I think I will have to try and throw one together.

We also havent had a camping trip in a while. We were doing the bi-annual camping trip with some regularity over the past couple of years, but this year, it fell apart. I dont want to set these kind of patterns. I am too close to any of these guys to have things dissolve and go away.

With the way I dress for work, I sometimes wonder how many people get on the train and think I am a student on my way to school in Philly. Granted, if I am mistaken for a student, most people probably think I am the really old guy – you might have had one in your classes as well. The guy in my class was well into his thirties, and he was full time, which is very rare. One would think that a guy like that, who is immersed in a culture that is predominantly populated with kids in their late teens/early 20’s, would have the propensity of regressing back into maturity level to attempt to fit in. But the guy in my class played it cool and kept mostly to himself.

See, I would regress. Quite frankly, it wouldnt be a big effort for me to regress- I dont think I have fully embraced the maturity level that is commiserate with my age.

I flew out to Dallas to give a presentation at a conference for retail facility managers. I got off the plane and it was 80 degrees. When I left Philly, it was 44 and raining. The presentation went ok. I used a presentation that was created by the president of my company. I had reviewed many times over, but as I was giving the presentation, I felt very disjointed because I didnt create it. I didnt know the seg-ways between slides. Lesson learned: next time I will make my own presentation. It also didnt help that I was hung-over and working on three hours of sleep. The night prior, I had met some folks from a large retailer and had some (many) drinks with them, to the extent that the security at the hotel kicked us out of the bar at 3:00 am, well after the bar had closed. Good times.

Of course, as luck would have it, my plane leaving Dallas was three hours delayed back into Philly because of the shitty weather. I cant fault Philly for this one, as much as I would like to. The weather truly was awful. My luck just got better as I got on the plane. I had managed to snag an aisle seat, but the guy sitting next to me was on the large side. To complicate matters, five minutes after sitting his ass in the seat, he passes out and starts snoring like a howitzer. Without the sounds of the engines to drown him out, it was unbearable. People in front of me and behind started looking around, thinking perhaps one of the engines broke. It was that bad. Once airborne, the engines drowned him out and I had some relative peace and quiet.

I am a bit out of sorts with respect to my running schedule. I havent run since Wednesday. I wasnt feeling great this weekend. I cant put my finger on it – I never felt motivated to get off my ass and run. I dont know – maybe it was the weather. It just wasnt there.

Saturday, I timed a race at Ridley Creek State Park for the ACDC Animal Shelter. Only 20 people ran. I really felt bad for the race organizers, but this weather we had was brutal, and there were two other races taking place that morning that runners had to choose from. I have races lined up for the next two weekends, and then things calm down a bit. I just got word from Tim that the weekend of December 12th, we have three huge races back to back and each race will have 1,000+ runners. Wow.

…. And then the Pickle Runs start….

Monday, October 12, 2009

I got alot of my frustrations out this morning at the gym. I was on fire. I ran 3.1 miles in a little over 23 minutes. On the surface, that's not blazing fast, but it's the fastest I have run in weeks. Additionally, I ran the first mile relatively easy. I started the thing out at 6.5 mph, and kept cranking it up to 7.0. When I hit the 2nd mile, I jacked it up to 7.5, and then kept increasing it until I got 9.0. So, I probably ran the 2nd mile in about 7:15 and the third mile in 6:50 or something. The fact of the matter is I was hauling ass. After I finished up on the treadmill, I moved over to the spin bike do a quick 15 minute hill workout. From there, I did some light arm work withe weights, then stretched.

All that time off that I took after the PDR actually helped my knee heal up a bit. It's still "tweaky" but no where near as uncomfortable as it was last month. Granted, I am not logging a lot of miles, so that's helping as well.

I was blowing smoke up your ass yesterday. Eastern Philosophy my ass. When I was really heavy into karate, I studied a modified form of Tang Soo Do, which is the blood relative of Tae Kwon Do. Both forms are a Korean kicking art. Anyway, my instructor was never into the Eastern Philosophy stuff. We never spoke anything in Korean, which alot of traditional Korean karate schools integrate into their programs. We never had a picture of some old Asian Grandmaster from the Ming Dynasty or some shit hanging on the wall. My instructor used to take us to other schools, and I remember walking in and all the kids would be bowing and talking in Korean. We'd just sit there and wonder when we was going to get to the good ole fashioned punchin' and kickin'.

With all that being said, I still want to try Yoga. I think it would be good for me. Then again, sparring for an hour and half and getting my head kicked in was very therapeutic for me. It's like going from one extreme to the other.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The old lady has been complain that my blogs are to vanilla now that I have toned things down. I agree with her. I need to step it up a bit. So with that being said, I would like to share with you my thoughts on mexicans…

Just kidding.

Seriously,  I am rather mellow these days. My wife would argue, but she gets to see me when I am driving, and that’s when I am at my angriest. Sure, I’ll admit that there will always be things that will rile me up, but overall, through a good course of mood stabilizing medications, extensive therapy, and my studies in the Eastern Philosophies, I have become a kinder, gentler Frank. Think of me as Frank 2.0.

Pickle Runs are Back

Plug is over. Commence blogging.

So, yes it’s been a while since I have blogged. I got a few comments as to where I have been. My personal favorite was from Mike: “I saw your blog on the back of a milk carton.” Cute.

My lack of dedication can be blamed on a number of factors. Work has been a bit nuts. My schedule has been wacky. I come home at night and I am too tired to really do anything. I havent been bringing my laptop on the train, which has been my primary time slot for blogging, and, quite frankly, I’ve been lazy.

Photo.ashx Poll: Who is the hottest person in the pic?

What’s new you ask? Not a goddamn thing. Been running here and there. No mountain biking though – my bike is undergoing some brake work from my old mechanic. Kinda sucks – this time of year is the best for mountain biking.

The race timing schedule is really picking up. This month alone I am timing four races. This weekend past, I timed the smallest race I have ever worked – 19 people! It wasnt even worth using the digital clocks. It was kinda of nice timing such a small race – there was a very “homey” atmosphere, not that dissimilar to the Wife’s Away 5k crowd. We’re also getting ready for the Winter Pickles, so from this point forward, I’ll try to show up at as many races as I can that Tim is timing  in the Pickle Suit. We go these really awesome post cards made up. I went to the Women’s Distance Festival yesterday, and pulled bib tags with the suit on. Today, I went to the Hero’s Run in Springfield and did the same thing. After each was over, I worked the crowd in the suite and handed out postcards. People love this goddamn race. Heather ran today’s race while I walked around like an asshole in a big suit. Nice


I was supposed to race today in the French Creek Adventure Race with Lou and some of the other guys. Lou got sick not that long ago, so he bailed. I dont have a bike, so I was stuck, Mike was traveling or studying or something – I never got the full story. And G is back in Guatemala for another visit.

They got me traveling alot. This week, I am heading to Dallas for a day. I am giving a presentation on Energy Efficiency Best Practices. Two weeks after that, I’ll be in NYC for two days taking a class on energy modeling software. And then immediately following that, I fly out to California for four days to a trade show. I cant complain – they are sending me some place warm. Nice.

I’ve been trying to get back into my early morning gym routine. I am getting back on the path. This week, I took the plunge and weighed myself. I nearly fell off the scale – 172.5 lbs! I was expecting at least 180. Nice.