31 December 2010

Last Post of the Year 2010

It is now 12 minutes or so into the new day of December 31, 2010.  If there is anything you wish you could do, or do more often, in the year 2010, now is the time.  Losing weight takes time so that won't count.  So is quitting smoking or changing job.  It has to be that can be done within the hour, I suppose.  For me, that would have to be making a blog post.  How circular, eh?  A blog post for the end of the year, just for the purpose of having something up.

Normally I post at night, at the end of the day.  As my exercise regiment requires, lately I do not stay up past midnight.  Need to have a good night's sleep to wake up early the next day for an 8-km run.  Or some form of exercise.  Today is an exception.  For the past many years, I always welcome the new year at home.  Some years I remember its arrival and watch the festivity in Times Square on TV, some minutes before the ball drop.  More often than not, I totally forgot about it and would realize it only when people on the street tooted some horns.  This year, it will be different.

I have signed up for the Midnight Run, organized by the New York Road Runners and sponsored by Emerald Nuts.  The runners theoretically will run from the old year into the new one.  Just something different to do.  It will be a short, 4-mile run with no official time.  I don't care too much about the pre-race party and don't look forward to the subway ride home, but much as I hate changes, I'll take a chance on this one.  Maybe I'll have some photos to share 24 hours from now when I arrive home safely...

30 December 2010

Blizzard of December 2010

Click on the collage to see the bigger picture.  Sorry for the delay, but I want to play around a bit with some software I have laying around.  Posterino 1.6 was used to make the 3x5 grid of photos then Comic Life Deluxe was used to add the snowflakes.  Using the Spray feature of Comic Life Deluxe, I was able to overlay the snowflakes of various sizes.  Alas, unlike real life, these flakes are not all unique.

24 December 2010

Merry Wordscraper Christmas


Check out the game at http://apps.facebook.com/wordscraper .
If you find waiting for your turn unbearable, play some "word games"in the forum.
My favorite forum games are "Sleepless in Seattle etc" and 
"Quite Witty Even Reasonable Typewriter Yack"

The Running Jokester

Some short time after the Queens Half-Marathon, I decided to run in the New York City Marathon.  It is one thing to want to run the Marathon and something else altogether to be accepted for it.  Some speedy people may get in automatically but for regular slowpokes like me the lottery is one of the few options available.  About 15 years ago when I ran the NYC Marathon, I don't recall of a 9+1 system, i.e. run 9 qualifier races and volunteer for one event and you are guaranteed a spot in the race.  I really dislike the lottery system, especially now that it cost $11 just to be in the lottery.  I am going for the 9+1 option, although I decided to run too late into the year and won't have enough time for the 2011 race.

The recent uproar over the NYRR's selection of runners for the NYC Half-Marathon didn't paint too nice a picture of it.  It appeared money-hungry, ready to grab as much as it can, without a second thought of serving the local runners community.  Still, to me, it's the volunteers that I come across the most during the races.  It seems a lonely and possibly unappreciated job, as people rush about aiming for their best times.  I try to greet them and thank them as I pass them during the runs.  I like to be funny and even quip jokes with them.  I hope they didn't mind but here are some of my "running jokes":

  1. Where are the Four Loko?  (Asked at a water station.  Four Loko is a caffeinated alcohol recently banned in NYC.  Supposedly it worked too much like a drug.  I got a few loud chuckles with this one, or at least I heard people behind me laugh, not sure if it was a coincidence...)
  2. Where's the shortcut?  (All the races I ran so far weaved through the streets or the park.  Surely there must be a shortcut, although you would be cheating yourself only if you take one.)
  3. What are they serving at the finish line anyway?  (It's a good way to encourage oneself to keep going, but I knew for sure it would be cold bagel, banana, or apple.  No toasted bagel with cream cheese, orange juice, or coffee.  I guess that's what the stores are for.)
  4. Should I keep going?  (Best asked a mile or half a mile from the finish line.  The answer, of course, should be "Yes!")
  5. Can I borrow that?  (Shouted to a bicyclist passing by.  I got some laugh along the Grand Concourse during the Bronx Half-Marathon.)

19 December 2010

Ted Corbitt 15K

This morning I ran in the New York Road Runners' Ted Corbitt 15K Race. It was a cold morning, somewhat like the morning I ran from my home to Manhattan's Chinatown, about 16K away. I did the 16K without stopping for water, not that I had any with me and most stores were not open yet at 5:30 in the morning on a Saturday anyway. I only paused here and there to not get in the way of the typical NYC drivers, who turn whenever they want and more often than not don't yield to pedestrians.  The experience prompted me to try a new strategy to improve my time in today's race.  I stopped for water only once, which was also the time when I slowed to a walk.  It would not help to get choked by water going down the wrong pipe because I run and drink.  I still had to sprint near the end, at the 9-mile marker.  (I know, it was a 15K race but all the markers are in miles.  I suppose the NYRR hasn't upgraded their signage to go with the metric system.)  My best time, up to today, was at the Bronx Half Marathon in August of this year - 11:54 minute/mile.  Today's time is 10:57, almost a whopping minute, which is a lot in racing circles.  Of course, the Bronx Half's distance was 13.1 miles while today's race was 9.3, so who knows, another 3 miles more and I may not have a better pace.  On the other hand, maybe because it was my first race in Central Park, there appeared to be too many hills on the course, so it may not be as long as a half-marathon but definitely more challenging.

Running without taking in fluid along the way is probably not the best way to run, but we all have different capabilities so find your limit and try to exceed it.

Oh, no photos this time either.  What would be the point of trying to shave a minute off your pace only to spend some time pausing and taking photos?  I will just have to wait for Bright Room to make their offerings.

What's the word for...

So "refudiate" and "vuvuzela" are the popular words of 2010, but there are words that I wish to know to describe certain popular scenarios or activities.

In these days of multitasking on the computer, with instant messaging a popular form of communication, a typical computer screen can have multiple chat windows up at any given time. Eventually, you end up typing a response intended for someone but sent to another. Hopefully it will not be something like "I really do not like Mr. So-and-So" and sent to Mr. So-and-So! The chance of having such a mistake increases greatly if you use Microsot's Office Communicator. A new chat someone initiates with you simply jumps to the front and commandeer whatever chat you may have going at that time. So, what do you call such a mistake, which involves sending an intant message to the wrong person? Instant mistake? Lame AIM? Mis-chat?

Another typical office faux pas involves conference calls. Leo Laporte wants everyone, or at least everyone who listens to his many podcasts, to use GoToMyPC or GoToMeeting, but I don't know anyone who does. I do spend a good percentage of my time on conference calls, the old-style one with everyone on a phone, voice-only conference, that is. Unless you use some old phones from the late 90s, your phone probably has a mute button. Maybe you have a sudden urge to eat potato chips during the conference call, or need to chat away on some obtrusive OCS window, that is, typing noisily. So you have the mute button pressed. Then suddenly your name is mentioned in vain on the conference call and you need to defend yourself, verbally, of course. You rant on and on about how much money you saved the company by whipping up some kick-ass KiXtart script blah blah blah for twenty-five minutes. Then you realized you were still on mute! What do you call that? Malk (short for mute-talk)? Tomute (talk-on-mute)? Mutestake?

As Foreigner once sang back in the 1980s, I want to know what that word is, I want you to show me.