30 January 2013


I thought of naming the title for this post "THE VOLUNTEERS WHO WENT OUT IN THE COLD".  The weather the past few days was relatively warmer, but on the morning of Saturday 26 January 2013 it was much colder.  As in "freezing cold."  Snow fell the evening before, right on the dot at 5 PM, the evening rush hour.  But for the NYCRUNS Brrrrooklyn Hot Chocolate 10K, the show had to go on.  The snow did not fall for that long, Prospect Park was plowed, the temperature dropped, but that shouldn't stop the runners from showing up, right?  Distance runners are a hard-core bunch.  Sure they already paid and there's no refund, so that may explain the 600+ people who came to run.  But the volunteers also showed up, perhaps to earn their volunteer credit toward a future race, but they didn't really have to, as there are other races coming up now that NYCRUNS are busier in 2013.  Like the Riverside Park Hot Chocolate this very Saturday 2 February.  But came the volunteers did, enough to support the water table, the food and hot chocolate "tent", to handle bag checks, to direct traffic etc, the usual volunteer duties.  Below are some photos of the volunteers, followed by a link to some photos of the runners and volunteers again.

Water, water, get your ice cold water!
Water first, Gatorade further down!
With the frigid cold, there was enough water left over for the Riverside Park Hot Chocolate the following Saturday.
We made use of the Oriental Pavilion, no need to setup the tent although the pas-de-quatre dance involved in folding the tent was missed.
Have all the hot chocolate you want, how can anyone refuse such an offer?
Finishers to the left, first-loopers go between the cones!


24 January 2013


2013 so far has been a good year for freecycling.  For those who don't know, "freecycling" is the process of finding a new home for stuff you don't want any more, or simply want to get rid of to make room, perhaps to simplify a move, or to make room for newer stuff.  Some people have no troubles simply toss things out with the garbage, but others go the extra distance so that they don't add to the already burgeoning waste stream.  "Freecycling" can be as simple and local as putting the stuff out in your front yard with a sign that reads "Take me, free!", or can be as modernized and wide-reaching like  Internet groups.  Well, Yahoo!Groups is a bit archaic, not as modernized as, say Facebook page, but it works.  I still use the Yahoo!Groups for Brooklyn and NYC in general, although I understand there are groups not based on Yahoo! and can use Facebook account to login, but I didn't investigate further.  The Brooklyn and NYC groups are enough for me, even though one of the items I received came from Queens.

It's been a while since I last used Freecycling, there seems to be some changes.  Posts must include the keywords OFFER, WANTED, RECEIVED, and TAKEN, plus you must specify your location or preferences as to where you'd like to pick-up the items.  I posted a few times, for the same offer, and they were never approved, before realizing these new rules.  I suppose the volunteers admins were overwhelmed.  You know the saying about 10% of the people do all the work in all volunteer situations, right?

Something else I found more useful is that you don't necessarily have to give to the first person to respond.  It's your stuff given away with no strings attached, you should choose the easiest, least hassle-free for you to give away.  Along the same line, a suggestion the admin's documents has is that to give lower preference to people who are too lazy to type full sentences.  Supposedly people who ask questions like "U still have?" with nothing else, no "Thank you", no phone number for quicker communications, are unreliable takers who may not follow-up or show-up.  Call it whatever you want, generation gaps or not, I too feel the same way.

How good was my freecycling activities so far this year?  Check out the spreadsheet below.  I know, spreadsheets are boring, but they are great for organizing data.  Always one to spread the joy of the sonobe, I give donors a sonobe as a token of appreciation.  Even for recipients, since we usually have to go through a few emails and phone calls to finalize the work, I also gave out sonobe, not to all, just depending on how I feel at the moment, and if there are any spare ones lying around.  Note that I've given out more than taking in.  The magazine was not even for myself, too, so I've managed to create a little extra space at home.

Qaptain Qwerty Freecycles!

19 January 2013


Today is Day 3 of the yellow school bus strike.  I suspect the typical parent who has the time and a car would drive their kid(s) to school.  I myself did that occasionally when the bus didn't show up, whether because of mechanical problem or something else.  I would give a few kids at the same bus stop a lift, too.  But for the strike, I decided it's time that my son actually rides the subway to and from school.  With the spate of bad news in the subway, about people being shoved onto the track etc, I played safe and accompanied my son to and from school.  At least for a few days.  The subway trip does conflict with my running schedule.  I used to just watch him off on the bus then started my running routine.  (Once I even "raced" the bus to school and beat it.  It was not a fair race since the bus, back then, made many more stops to pick up more students whereas I ran straight to school using the most direct route.) Not only that I now lose a little time in the day, I would also lose potentially $2.25 x 2 for the round trip.  Hmm, what would a runner do?  From past visits to the school, or just the school area, I know the distance is about 4 km.  I typically run 8 km a day.  I know, I'll just run home after dropping off son at school!  And save $2.25, too.

Running straight home would get me just 4 km, so I added a few side trips.  From the Holocaust Memorial in front of the school I headed for Kingsborough Community College's Shore Blvd. gate.  I would have loved to cross Sheepshead Bay via the footbridge, but it was still closed for repair post-Sandy.  After KBCC, I inadvertently went into the dead-end Pembroke Street.  I wouldn't mind running back out, but it turned out it was only dead-end to cars.  There was clearly a narrow public sidewalk connecting Pembroke to Oxford.  From the Oriental Blvd gate of KBCC, I headed for Manhattan Beach.  It has been a while since I last visited the area so I wanted to see what's news.  Instead of going into the park area, I went along some street and ended up in the parking lot of MJHS Adult Day Health Care.  There was a fence to separate the health clinic (?) from the public park but by the waterfront the two properties were only separated by low rails.  There was no use getting into Manhattan Beach Park though, as I could see that the area was under construction.  Most, if not all, the roads were blocked by sand fences.  A bulldozer and a dump truck were busy on the small beach, moving sands perhaps from elsewhere back to the beach.  Looping back to Oriental Blvd I saw a sign that declared Manhattan Beach officially closed.  Disobey the sign and you'll risk getting summoned by NYPD!  I hope this is only because of the repair/renovation work and not a seasonal thing for the area.  I can recall how painful it was to find free parking space in the area, during the summer, because all the streets were off-limit during weekends and holidays.  Perhaps someone is not happy to only keep the undesirables out of the area during the summer, maybe they should not get to enjoy the park in the dead of winter as well.  Just a wild idea I conjured up.

After running the length of Oriental Blvd, it was time to get back to the eastern end of the Riegelman Boardwalk, aka Coney Island Boardwalk.  For a second, I thought the boardwalk was off-limit to the public, as there were orange construction net seemingly blocking access.  I was wrong.  The boardwalk was still open on the eastern end, albeit it was a smaller opening.  I haven't run along Stillwell Avenue in a while, so instead of getting off the boardwalk at West 8th Street, I went for Stillwell.  Just a little over the creek, I ran past the picket line of bus drivers.  They were asking "When do we want job security?" and answered the question themselves with "Now!"  That brought me full circle to the whole situation, interesting.

Holocaust Memorial by Sheepshead Bay (the actual body of water)
One of the many memorial tablets.

Sean Penn sipping champagne by the sand fence in San Fran.  Sand fences everywhere.
In the background, yellow heavy equipments moving sand on the beach.
You have been warned!

15 January 2013


Running is a great sports and I count exploration during the runs as part of the fun.  I have about five or six different routes, mostly out-and-back types, and are quite happy with them.  However, for today's run, I figured in some purposes for the run, too.

I recently learned about an acquaintance's Google Map listing running tracks in the New York City area. I contributed a few items and would like to look for more.  I can see on the map that there's a track near Midwood High School and another near Grover Cleveland High School.  Are they open to the public? What's the condition of the track surface?  Is it lit at night?  I myself run at Kaiser Park and Fort Hamilton High's tracks occasionally, but other than those two, the others in my area are not open to the public.  Lafayette High, or whatever it's called these days after the break-up, is close by but too bad it's off-limit.  A little further away is Abraham Lincoln High, near Ocean Parkway, same deal.  Some day I can go visit Midwood High's track just to collect data.  Grove Cleveland is too far, unless it's a long run, although I might have run on its track way back when I lived in the area.  I clearly recall someone throwing a glass bottle behind me.  I quickly exited the track as graceful as I could.  It was back in the early 1990s.  I lived in the area for only a year.  My first car was stolen off the street and my apartment was burglarized, a TV and a VCR removed.

Today, just by chance I came across Sheepshead Bay High School and its track, on the same block with Yak Playground.  At first I thought the name "Yak" came from some local civic leader's name but a plaque next to the park sign explained that it's from the adjacent Avenue Y.  You know, A as in Apple, B as in Boy, Y as in Yak.  The handball and basketball courts of Yak Playground were open, but the gates connecting them to the track were not. I didn't see any open gates along the other sides of the track.  It is probably not open to the public.

Shortly past Sheepshead Bay High was the Gerritsen Peninsula and the Salt Marsh West Trail that was my destination.  The last time I hit the West Trail, I exited it at Whitney Avenue.  I planned to re-visit the trail some day with a running partner and do the whole trail, all the way to the beach area at the tip of the peninsula.  Before that future trip, my plan is to explore the trail in sections.  For today's trip, I thought of entering the trail at Allen Avenue and Burnett Street.  I should have stuck with that plan, instead I went a little further south, toward the handball court.  The street path seemed to end there, or at least too obstructed and impassable without a machete.  I headed for the trail anyway, as the shrubbery was low and sparse enough to walk over or around.  Before long I found the main trail and headed north toward Avenue U.  I recognized the junction that would lead me back to Whitney Avenue's "exit".  I took a little time out to go toward the waterfront but ended at the clearing and didn't go all the way to the waterfront.  One thing I noticed is that between the trail between Whitney and Allen had many dips and rises.  I took some photos but the change in elevation does not show that well.  Once past Whitney, the path was pretty much how I remembered it.  It rained a few days before so it was muddy and water-logged.  I didn't even get out via the official trail gate on Avenue U.  Instead, I went over the low railing on Burnett Street.

On the way back, my second purpose was to try to buy some powdered instant drink for my mother.  "Sunway rye & cereal mixed powder", to be exact.  It is available only at Chinese supermarkets and there were a few of those along Avenue U.  I visited two New York Mart stores and two other supermarkets but none of them carried the product.  Later at home I googled about the product and it seems it was already discontinued.  No wonder I couldn't find it.  At least during my stops at the supermarkets I collected data for a Google Map I'm compiling.  The map is called "I've Gotta Go!" and lists public restrooms in the NYC area.  I am sure there are other such maps out there, but this one will be mine, with info I personally collected, of places I personally visited.

Different sceneries, different purposes, I love my running routes!

Y is it called Yak?
This is Y.
Made it to the happy trail!
I think I came through all that shrubbery.  Low and sparse is good.
Just beyond the clearing was the waterfront, seen as a sliver of white in the photo, but I thought I better head back.  Maybe next time.
The trail dips and rises, in the distance.
Looking toward the beach.  Or Avenue U.  It looks the same to me.  No, I was not lost.
Some happy ducks gliding on the water in the background.
Waterlogged path near the waterfront.
If this is Florida, I would not dare to go this close to the water.  Never know if some alligator would jump out of the water to grab me.

14 January 2013


Last night I submitted the request to get refund for the cancelled NYRR NYC Marathon.  In four to six weeks, I'll get about $200 back as credit on my credit card.  I can really use the money.  Other people will go for the guaranteed entry for 2013 and future years.  And pay all over again, albeit at 2012 price. That comes out to at least $400 for one race.  That's one expensive race!  More power to them!

In other running news, check out photos I took of the runners etc at yesterday's NYCRUNS Central Park 10-Miler.  All the runners photos were from the 102nd Street Transverse and West Drive.


Some of the photos that I find more interesting than the rest, perhaps because of other park patrons or because the runners waved to me.

13 January 2013


I helped out at the NYCRUNS Central Park 10-Miler as a bike marshal.  Fur real!  I was actually riding in front of the runners at the start, for a short while anyway.  Some of these lead runners were just amazing!  I heard stories of bike marshals not able to keep up with the runners before, especially with ascending hills.  Today I actually experienced it!  Sure, I usually catch up with the runners on the downhill, but on the uphill in the beginning I would be a few meters ahead, then my bike would slow down (I kept the same gear to not take unfair advantage), then before long the runners would actually overtook me.  Incredible!  After one loop of Central Park, from the south end to the 102nd Street Transverse, I stopped at the Transverse to help with the clean-up of discarded water cups.  Below are the few photos I took of the volunteers.  I only got the water stations at the start and at the Transverse, plus my fellow bike marshals, but thank you all volunteers!

12 January 2013


I often tell people to read books with their ears instead of using their eyes.  Huh?  Audiobooks!  Instead of reading books the old way, get the books either in computer format or on CDs and have machines read the books to you.  Great idea, but do I practice what I preach?

I have this neat Mac app that can be used to make inventory of things.  Books, music CDs, movies, etc.  It's called Delicious Library.  You can enter things by hand, but what makes it great is that you can use the computer's webcam to read barcodes and then pull down from the cloud all kinds of info about the items.  Delicious also has a neat web publishing function, to MobileMe or FTP site, but it's late at night, I don't feel like setting it up, assuming my MobileMe account is still good for that.  FTP?  Fuhgeddaboutit!  A screenshot will have to do.  See below.

I just created a section called Audiobooks and added items I "read" in recent memory.  I am a bit disappointed that I only have 14 items, but at least that's 14 items I might otherwise not have read.  Maybe I forgot to record a bunch of audiobooks.

I am not a picky reader and usually pick up the books based on their genre, if I recognize the series, or if it sounds like something more famous (such as Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey, not to be confused with that other more titillating book), famous authors, or sometimes just to try to expand my interests.  Not shown, because I still haven't finished, is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull.  The Russian book I got from LibriVox as a bunch of MP3 files, which I can technically listened on my cell phone, but even the act of sending the files to the phone seems so painful I haven't gotten around to it.  I'm really spoiled by Apple and iTune's fine syncing function.  The Mull book I am up to Chapter 8, or disc 4, and will probably be done soon.  It's really a teenage book that my son likes so I am reading to sorta accompany him.  Note that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, listened on audiocassettes back in the 80s or early 90s, was what introduced me to audiobooks.  The sound effects made for the computer speech got me hooked.  It was a novelty back then, what can I say...

Have you "read" any audiobooks lately?

Audiobooks I finished "reading", according to my Delicious Library.

11 January 2013


Audiobooks, I love them.  Much as I love reading, the eyes get tired easily.  I already spend a lot of time staring at computer/smartphone/tablet screen, I should use the eyes less whenever possible.  Listening to audiobooks is the answer.  I can do it while driving (it makes the driving less annoying, I hate driving), while walking, or even while sweeping the floor.  But not while running.  I rely on audiobooks, in the form of CDs, from public libraries but use a portable DVD player to listen to them.  I suppose I can try carrying the DVD player in a backpack but I prefer to run with as few things as possible.  It's too bulky anyway, even for walking.  I finally decided that I should get a real CD player.  I am sure I can buy one cheap, but why not give freecycling another try.  Surely someone out there only listen to music and such on iPod etc and has a CD player sitting around collecting dust.  I revisited my last post about freecycling (http://www.qaptainqwerty.com/2006/11/going-in-circles-with-freecycle.html ) and it was back in 2006.  Wow, about 6 years ago!

While I recalled that I belonged to two freecycling groups, I thought there is some rule about people should go to the group for their borough only, so I went to the Brooklyn group.  It slowly came back to me, one of the reason I didn't like the freecycle groups.  It's a lot of info to sift through!  One wrong click and you are back to the beginning, slowly paging through the many pages.  It's all Yahoo's fault.  Or maybe the posters' fault.  Messages should be bunched together if they are related.  So that Offer, Promised, Taken etc go together.  The way things are, you need to eyeball the messages a lot.  Or maybe I'm missing something.  At least I have Message Delivery set to Web Only, so that I have to specifically go to the groups to see the messages.  Having every single message sent to a mailbox will inundate the mailbox in no time as there is just too much activities.  Access the Message Delivery setting by clicking Edit Membership while logged in groups.yahoo.com

I didn't see any offer for a CD player and since I haven't visited the site for a while, I decided to offer something before I post a request.  Nobody responded to my offer of some replacement brush for a Colgate electric toothbrush that I bought by mistake at a Pathmark store-closing sale.  I did come across an offer for some running magazines.  I know someone who can use a recent copy of Runners' World!  I made the contact and it all worked out.  I have the magazine and gave the donor a running-themed sonobe.  Actually, it's her husband who runs, but I wrote a thank-you note on the sonobe addressing both of them.

I wandered over to the NYC group for freecycle and saw that people all over the city use it, including Brooklynites.  Before long, I found an offer for a CD player, as well as an offer for a reader of memory cards.  I also found two requests for things that I can offer, namely for an audiocassette player and a wireless router.  Two takes and two gives, I think I'm balanced.  As long as I don't take more than I give, I should be fine, right?

09 January 2013


I love making sonobes, modular origami objects made up of six, twelve, or thirty units.  The 6-unit pieces are cubic in shape but the 12- and 30-unit are rounder and approach a sphere.  One question I am often asked is, "What do you do with them?"  Naturally, with their roundish shape, they make decent "balls" to toss around.  As a matter of fact, I had an ex-colleague who threw the pieces around so much he would have to bring them back to me to fix.  I didn't use glue or staples to hold the units together so after a few tosses they come apart.  Also, moisture from the hands weaken the paper.  They are made out of paper, after all.

Besides being treated as easily breakable balls, I actually have a few other uses for my sonobes.

I sometimes cannot remember where I leave my near-sight glasses.  One solution is always rest the glasses on a sonobe I have displayed in the cabinet in the kitchen.  As long as I don't randomly put the glasses, I know where to find them.
As space jam!  My heating system circulates heated water through pipes that snake throughout the house.  The pipes run along the foot of the walls.  Furnitures cannot go all the way to the wall and I hate to have things dropped into the space between the wall and the furnitures.  Pop in a few 12-unit sonobes made from 8.5" x 11" papers, about 6" in diameter and the problem is solved!
As support for climbing plants!  Sure you can just let the plant crawl along a desktop, but why not let it raise up and catch some more sunlight or whatever light there is to absorb?

I hope you like the decorations I made of the photos using the built-in tools in Google Photos (assuming that's the name for the Google app.)

08 January 2013


Pardon me for making an obvious observation, but Google surely has invaded the desktop.  Most people still think of Google as the search engine, some people even use Google Doc (or is it Google Drive now?), and Chrome the web browser is quite popular.  What convinced me to dig up the topic again is that Google's online photo-editing app is not bad.  I've been using Google Plus' sync function to get photos off my Android phone.  The photos are stored with my G+ account and are available to Blogger etc.  How convenient.  Since most of my friends are in Facebook and not in G+, any photos I want to share in Facebook I would still need to first download them to the host computer (in my case, my MacBook Pro).  In the past, in the case of a cartoon photo, I would use Comic Life to add text, speech bubbles, etc.  I know, I don't use Comic Life to its full potential, as my cartoons are usually one-panel, sometimes not even the frame is needed.  But I never got comfortable with Desktop Publishing apps, even one as simple as Swift Publisher.  I can also use Photoshop Element to add speech bubble and such, but that's an overkill, especially when Comic Life is better suited for the task.

The online photo-ed app at photos.google.com really did the job for my MulchFest/No-Pants cartoon.  My needs were simple - crop, add speech bubble (or thought bubble, to be exact), then some text.  I am sure some casual computer users will find the interface unwelcoming, merely because it is different from the typical desktop app's.  I have no trouble though.  It's just a matter of clicking on the various tools and see what they can do.  Under Decorate I found the speech bubble I wanted, almost.  Ideally, there should be something that denotes electronic text.  The thought bubble works for me, but I am sure some day I will need to show what a character sees on a computer monitor or a tablet screen.  Such bubble should be rectangular and its tail should be zigzag-like, somewhat like the lighting symbol in Gatorade logo or Pikachu's tail.  I was impressed with the various options available for adjusting texts.  Color, font size, orientation, even different typefaces, not bad at all.  I would love to see some dingbat fonts though, as I love them symbol fonts a bunch.  It is somewhat annoying though, that if you need to separate the lines with a hard return.  In other words, if you type your text without pressing Return or Enter, you'll have one long line of text.  I am sure future version of the software will improve.

05 January 2013


Marine Park eastern trail
Goes beyond circular path
Be sure to heed "Fore!"

Back in November 2012, during a routine run I discovered that the east trail of Marine Park was finally re-opened to the public.  The Corps of Engineer did some rehab work in the area and it was closed perhaps as far back as 2009.  I ran a loop, or was it two, of the newly re-opened trail and noticed that at the southeast corner there seemed to be a path leading toward the Belt Parkway.  I did not follow the path, both because I had to get back and also because I did not feel it was safe to venture into the woods.  On the nature trail, there was a male dog-walker and a Chinese couple, while it still appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, the reeds were shorter than before and the area is pretty much open.  If something afoul happens, there was a chance someone somewhere would see it.  In the woods, if someone robbed me, or worse, there was a good chance would see it.

Running is a solitary sports.  I think most people run alone, either because of time constrain or they choose to.  It is hard enough to find a few free hours to run, it must be even harder to find someone to run with during those precious hours.  When I joined the Daily Mile runners social network, I thought I might hook up with someone to run with.  I did not try that hard to friend people and the few that I am friend with either don't live in the same area, are too fast, or for some other reasons wouldn't make a good running partner.  I do envy those people who have roommates, or life-mates, who share the love for running, live near a park with great paths, and work decent hours to be able to run together.

Next I joined Prospect Park Track Club to get to know more runners in person and perhaps find a running partner.  Having a running partner is not a high priority, but it's something nice to have.  PPTC has great group runs, but appropriate enough most are in the area of the park itself.  I live too far from the park, and weekend mornings often find me spending time with the family.  There was a weekly summer run on Friday nights, along Ocean Parkway from Prospect Park to Coney Island, but my son's music class is on Friday evening.  Theoretically I can be home in time to run to Ocean Parkway to meet the group, but most of the time that's dinner time.  One of these days, I should be try really hard to get to a weekend morning run.

I made many new friends through PPTC, either via the Facebook group or at races, and one of them, J. C., lives not too far from Marine Park.  We entertained the idea of having a group run, "group of 2" that is, and finally able to pull it off today.  With strength in number, we went and explored that mystical path at the southeast corner of the Marine Park east trail.

One thing I noticed right away was that the trail actually consisted of two paths, separated in the middle by plants and such.  Most likely the two paths were made by someone driving a vehicle.  The paths were mostly clear, except for a portion where a tree had toppled onto it.  Maybe the tree fell a long time ago, maybe it was the work of Sandy, who knows.  Not too far after the fallen tree we came to a short, but steep, ascend in the road.  Right on top of the climb was some golf fence.  From Google Maps, I know we should hit some golf course at some point and expected to see some kind of fences to separate the golf course from the public park, but there was none.  There was a fenced area, but I think it was more to prevent the golf balls from going off the range.  Man-made dunes and lakes, golf holes, etc, were all within sight.  We stayed on the dirt road and ended up at circular dumping ground of sort.  Going any further would involve actually running on the golf green or through dense woods, so we headed back.  I had my glasses on and double-checked but there sure weren't any signs to indicate the border separating the golf course and the public park.  I suppose if golf course management really wants to defend their property, they would have someone on site with manly Bushmaster rifles to mow us down.

Can you spy a boat?  Or what's left of it?
The sun glare makes it impossible to see there's a path leading upward.  We didn't take the road on the right fork, but it seems to end at the beach, which may be too muddy to run on.
I love to see pictures of a road disappearing into the distance, which seems to whisper "Run on me, come on..."  The photo would be better without shadow of the photographer, but sometimes it couldn't be helped.
On this second visit to the east trail, I discovered that it is not just a circular trail.  There's a trail going through the circle, with a hill in the middle.

04 January 2013


Every now and then when I venture out from the rock that I live under I would see this red poster about keeping calm and do something else.  I believe the first instance I saw related to the TV show "The Walking Dead".  My favorite is the one that says "KEEP CALM AND RUN ON", either from Runner's World or one of those running-related Facebook pages.  Yes, running keep me calm, I shall keep calm and continue running.  But I have another hobby that I like very much and wanted to make my own poster, with my own message and logo.  The first meme generating web site I came across was a generic one that happened to have some templates for the Keep Calm theme.  It was not that good as far as Keep Calm goes.  The one that I actually used is


You can change pretty much everything, e.g. the four lines of text, the logo at the top, the background picture or color.  You can even change the typeface for the text.  Very cool!

(I had to play around a bit with the "logo" in Photoshop to remove the background from the photo I took with my cell phone.  I also had doctor up the picture to make the logo blends into the background better.)

01 January 2013


Happy New Year!  2013 is here, out with 2012.  In past years, on December 31 I would normally just watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV, if I remember to.  For 2012, after watching the Chinese sitcom "72 Tenants" ("七十二家房客"), I stumbled upon a showing of "The Fifth Element" movie on AMC, which led me to a marathon showing of "The Walking Dead".  I rarely watch TV but thought it would be something different to do on the last day of the year.  I hadn't watched any episodes of "The Walking Dead" until yesterday.  It was interesting and entertaining, except that during all that TV-watching time I had to squeeze in dinner and washing the dishes, then my cough/sore-throat seemed to turn into a fever/headache/nausea.  I think it's a good thing that TV shows have commercial breaks.  I don't get sick easily but perhaps running in the cold finally had its effect.  Or walking in the cold Saturday night in the hours before catching "Circus Oz" at the New Victory Theater in Times Square.  I constantly thought "How can people find the time to keep up with shows and movies on TV?"  While it sure is enjoyable, especially if you don't have a headache or fever, but it takes so much time.  I like the Roku commercial, the one that urges all good Americans to do their part and watch a lot of TV because other, wonderful U.S. citizens will be solving everyday problems with inventions and such.  I just hope that's true.

The Dead marathon went until 3 AM, but by 11 PM I had enough and went to sleep.  I was briefly awakened by fireworks, just the unofficial type my neighbors conducted.  Luckily by the next morning I was all good again.  The sore throat remained but that's all.  Time for PPTC Harry's Handicap!

In a typical race, everyone starts mostly together.  Surely the faster runners are placed in the front so that the slower runners don't get in their way.  In a handicap race, the slower runners get to start earlier, with delayed start for the relatively faster ones, based on the pace runners indicate when they register for the race.  Sure it is not fair to the faster runners but that's why it's called a handicap race.  I think of it as a fun run.  As a slow runner, I got to start earlier.  I even passed a runner or two then in turn got overtaken by others behind me.  One fellow was panting heavily behind me and eventually left me behind, still panting his way to the finish line.  I sprinted for the finish but couldn't overtake him.  I didn't look at my time on the official clock and my Garmin wasn't started right at the time when I started.  Without looking up the official time, I'll just go with my Garmin time of 32 minutes for a 5.3K distance.  It's a fun run, that's all, something to kickstart the new year.

Thanks go to my new, good friend Patty C for taking photos at the event.
I picked up a bunch of PPTC clothes after the event, at discounted prices, I will be all red at the next race.
Medals for all finishers, which technically means everyone, the course is only a little over 3 miles.