30 December 2013


The last time I hosted a workout streak on Facebook, the turnout was pretty low but it does not cost any money, just some time promoting it so I'm doing it again!  Why not, right?

I am almost done with the Runner's World Holiday Challenge, which runs (pun intended) from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.  Some people missed a day or two and expressed interests in having another streak to participate in.  Here's a little poem I conjured during the subway ride home, for these streak-breakers:

So you broke the streak
It ain't no heartbreak
Just walk your cyber-legs here
It's virtual, you can do it anywhere

(I love eye-rhymes, which are rhyming to the eyes only and do not really rhyme when said out loud.)

29 December 2013


I love that sign on the border of Queens and Brooklyn on the Belt Parkway.  It says "Leaving Brooklyn, Fuhgeddaboutit".  There is another sign just like it on the Belt Parkway on the ramp to the Verrazano Bridge, but it is not accessible to pedestrian, or anyone for that matter.  You just drive by that one as you head for Staten Island, unless you want to drive onto the grass and attract unwanted attention from any nearby police cruiser.  The one near Queens, on the other hand, is easily reached if you don't mind the trip on bike or on foot.  I visited it some time ago on bike and took some selfies with a camera, not with a smartphone as I didn't have one back then.  The result was not too satisfactory.  This past summer I tried to run there but it got too hot I had to stop at Canarsie Pier to get drinks and then headed back.  I didn't even run all the way back, but rather get to Avenue U to get another cold drink then climbed onto a bus to get home. I don't like to spend money or gasoline while on runs, but that day I made the exception.

Recently I also made exception for really early morning runs with my running partner.  J needs to put in some long miles for his marathon in February and like me he has family duties to attend to so we agree to run really early, like 6 AM.  We normally meet in Marine Park or Sheepshead Bay and neither place is easily accessible by public transit.  And I don't want to run there since I want to save the energy for the long run.  So I drove.  

For today's run, our goal was to log 15 miles total.  I did mention running to the Fuhgeddaboutit sign at the Queens border, but it would overdo the goal.  So we agreed to go 7.5 miles out along the Belt Parkway, which for sure would put us short of the sign, then 7.5 miles back to our cars.  Still, when we got 7.5 miles done, the sign was not that far away.  J was a good sport and agreed to go there anyway, we would just walk part of the way back.  We lost a few minutes posing with the sign, J with a scowling face supposedly as a Brooklyn 'tude, while I had him take a few shots of me throwing my arms forward, for Google Awesome to auto-convert into an animated GIF.  It was supposed to be as if I was saying "Fuhgeddaboutit" but it looks more like I was imitating swimming.  I love it nonetheless and hope you do too!

28 December 2013


"HAPPY NEW..."  Well, it's that time of the year.  You know what word should come next, but it was not supposed to be this way.

I am a morning runner but this morning when I woke up at 5:15 I had a stuffy nose.  Maybe it was because I didn't sleep early enough last night.  It was possible that had I went ahead with the regular morning run, the stuffy nose would get worse and I would be sniffing the rest of the day and be miserable.  So I went back to sleep until 8:30ish.  No more stuffy nose, the whole day.

In the afternoon I had some "me" time for a run.  A longish run, somewhere far away from my immediate neighborhood.  But I also wanted to "draw" something for the Runner's World Holiday Streak.  It's been a while since I did any gwriting and the recent news articles about Simon Beck and his snow art got me itchy.  What better phrase to write around this time of the year than "Happy New Year"?

It turned out I could only write "Happy New". The first possible hurdle was that my Garmin was low on battery.  When I was done with "Happy" there was two bars of power left.  I pressed on anyway and when "New" was done there was another bar left.  Still, I started the run when the sun was out, when "w" was done it was dark and colder.  That's the thing with running pre-dawn.  As the run spans into hours, the sun comes up, it's warmer, you feel energized by the new day.  Not so with afternoon or evening run.  It gets dark and depressing just when you start to get tired.  Still, I could have pressed on and write "Year" but then I have a scheduled run with a friend tomorrow, some 15 miles covering part of Brooklyn and Queens.  Fuhgeddaboutit!  Even though I could finish "Happy New Year" today, I will be too exhausted Sunday morning for the 15-mile run.  Most likely I won't have a job in 2014, I'll spell the whole three-word phrase some time early in the year then.


19 December 2013


Ah, the wonder of technology.  WNYC radio station is having a photobomb contest involving the British actors Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart.  The radio station conveniently provided photos of the actors with the background removed.  You would save the photo, select the white background then invert the selection, and finally copy and paste the new selection, which is just the two actors, into any photo you wish.  Not too long ago I had some free time and took many photos at foot races.  For the contest, I used one from the PPTC Cherry Tree 10-Miler on President's Day weekend 2013.  Appropriate enough because the race took place in Prospect Park and Mr. Stewart himself supposedly lives somewhere in Park Slope.

Check out other cool photobombs at


18 December 2013


I am in another running streak challenge, hosted by Runner's World magazine on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/545028802257323/?source=1) and elsewhere.  Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, inclusively, participants are supposed to run at least one mile per day.  Or 1.6 km a day for those few, like me, who use the metric system.  People would run and then post their distance and time etc, sometimes a long-winded conversation would follow, or new friends made.  I'm doing pretty well at it, despite the difficulty of getting up at 4:45 AM to run between 5:20ish to 6ish.  To make things more interesting, instead of just posting my distance and time, on a few occasions I threw in a poem.  Or at least a few lines of text that rhyme or follow a certain structure.  Just for fun!

Pre-dawn, before work
Short run in asphalt jungle
No photos to share

(The past few run challenges I participated I had the luxury of running far away and take photos of the various places to share.  These days I only run short distance before going to work, before the sun comes out, nothing nice to take pictures of.  In haiku format, which in English is roughly 5 syllables first sentence, 7 syllables next, then back to 5 syllable.)

D-tags are red, DNF'ers are blue
I see you are streaking
Will you be my boo?

(For those who are looking more than a running partner.  The standard lines are "Roses are red, violets are blue".  While I quickly found something running-related that is red, I couldn't think of anything that's blue.  I used "blue" as in sad, with DNF'ers meaning people who "did not finish" a race, usually  because they no longer could take the punishment, but also apply to when a race was interrupted.  A D-tag, by the way, is the longish piece of paper embedded with a computer chip to register the runner's position as he crosses the finish mat or similar locations.  D-tags are widely used by the New York Road Runners.)

There is a streaker named Lex
Creative muscles he likes to flex
Fancy routes made with his Garmin
Got him to start wonderin'
Can the same be done with a Timex?

(I've been doing GPS art with my Garmin watch.  Recently, Timex Ironman became a sponsor for the smartphone app Charity Miles, which I use a lot, so I made the word "TIMEX" as a gesture of appreciation.  I would appreciate it even more if they send me a watch to try to do GPS art with LOL. The poetic structure here is a limerick, which I keep clean as limericks are usually lewd.)

I run each morning from 5 A.M. to six
Loud on my iPod is that song by Styx
Dressed in black, didn't see that truck comin'
Now all I hear is that song by Led Zeppelin

(I quickly ran out of poetry format to try to write.  There are many others of course, just none that interested me.  Luckily, I am a big fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway improv show on TV and one of the games they play on the show is a hoedown.  Unlike the genius comedians on the show, I didn't do this spontaneously and had to think long and hard to come up with the four lines.)

I am in this challenge
To run one mile a day
It's called streaking
But keep your clothes on to play

Start from Thanksgiving
Keep logging the miles
To January the first
And don't forget to smile

However you do it
Roadway or dreadmill
Keep plugging along
At the end stuff yourself to the gills.

(Another favorite game of mine on WLIIA is Irish drinking song, where the comedians sing one line of a song, made up on the spot of course, on some topic.  Again, it took me some time during my work commute to come up with the little poem about streaking itself.  Yup, many of us run just so we can eat what we want.)

05 December 2013


It's time for another Throwback Thursday photo!  I cannot recall what year this was but as a gauge, let it be known that my niece, the little girl working with me to turn the Archimedes' screw, is now married and has a four-year-old son.  Also, the shirt I was wearing is a Chemical Bank Corporate Challenge shirt, so this must be in the 1995s or thereabout.  No, my eyes are not sharp enough to see the details on the T-shirt, I gathered the info from another photo from the same roll of film.  Bonus question:  With the background building, can you tell where I was?

01 December 2013

GPS Art Gallery December 2013

Work has been demanding so lately I can only squeeze in a 5K run in the morning.  Only on the weekends that I get to run longer distance, sometimes with fancy GPS arts involved.  Unless I work on Saturday as well, that is.

"Melanie" was done in one run but the others took more time and was made on two runs.  I am not 100% sure why I made it but it's possible someone named Melanie made a first post in some run challenge I hosted on Facebook.  Bleah, senior moment.

Back when I first dabbled in GPS art, or gwriting, "Charity Miles", or "CHARITY MILES" rather, was among the first phrases I wrote.  I made it in uppercase and it took a long time to make.  Each letter typically stands two blocks tall and to balance things out was two blocks wide, or maybe more.  As I got better, thanks to iTrespass, I itched to re-visit "Charity Miles".  Note the lowercases.  It now looks a lot better than before.

"Runner's World" was freshly made this weekend.  "Runner" was made on Saturday then the rest was made Sunday.  I was going to make "Runner s", note the lack of the apostrophe, but then there would be fewer letters to make the next day.  The apostrophe was tricky to make since it's supposed to be a short dash between "r" and "s".  Originally I thought of making a third run, really short, just short enough to make the apostrophe.  I was going to combine two routes via Photoshop anyway, combining three makes little difference, no?  In the end, I decided to make an overhang with W and digitally erase enough of it to make the apostrophe.  Original routes included for comparison. 

I made "Runner's World" for the magazine's 2013 Holiday Running Streak, for fun and fame.  Join the challenge at https://www.facebook.com/events/545028802257323/?source=1

"Runner's World", actually made from four screenshots, some tweaking in Photoshop.

"s World", weird-looking but after some Photoshopping and combined with "Runner", it all makes sense.

"Charity Miles", lowercase and with iTrespass employed, much better.

Ye ole "CHARITY MILES" from some time back, not as great.

I'm thinking about the "Weird" Al song.