Friday, March 30, 2007


Here are a couple of shots of the new bike, a Cannondale Six13 Team 3. I love it!

Tonight...WE RIDE!!!

I am going to pick up my bicycle today! I am soooo excited. I went over to World Cup Ski and Cycle (terrible website, excellent service!!!) on Tuesday and test road pretty much every bike in the shop. I narrowed it down to an Orbea Onix, which I decided was too stiff, despite the all carbon frame. The tighter weave made the feedback from the road a little harsh on my 40 year-old bones.

I also rode a beautiful Look 555, but it felt dead, the polar opposite of the Orbea. I was getting no feedback from the road at all. It felt sluggish in the turns and didn't transfer the power from the pedal to the bike very well. This really surprised me, as going in to the test rides, this was the frame I was looking forward to riding the most.

The Scott CR-1 also scored high. It was plush but responsive and had a smooth, easy feel about it. The styling on it is really sharp. I was sure this was the bike for me. There was a bike I rode early in the trials that i really liked, and I decided it would be good for a biko-a-biko test ride tournament. I took the Scott out one more time and liked it a lot...until I sat on the other bike.

I knew just noodling out of the parking lot this was going to be the winner. I hit the road. It was giving me feedback like my old steel bike, but not harshly like the Orbea. It was plush, but it wasn't "dead" like the Look. And the responsiveness through turns and up hills was just too much to ignore. I had found my winner; I had found my less than one hour, I am going to pick it up.

I will introduce you to my bike this weekend...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Video Triathlon????

My video-montage Ode to Triathlon...




Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Running Man

I'm coming back to running more and more. I've been out twice this week already, in the early morning before dawn (especially now with the EDT shift), before the traffic and hustle-bustle of the world begins. I'm still not used to waking up at 5.30 like I did earlier this week. I'm less than used to rolling out of bed and getting ready to go for a run. But here's something I discovered. Once I get rolling, I forget why I wanted to stay in bed in the first place. Sure it's warm and cozy, but moving forward seems so much better than laying there, fretting about the coming day.

I've started reading Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. I haven't delved into it deeply, yet, but one of the things he advocates is "Body Sensing" or being more aware of your body, how it is moving and how you can alter your body, form etc. to improve your running and results. There is a constant flow of information to your brain about your body (more than it just screaming, "Why am I awake and why are trying to KILL ME???"). Your brain also has the ability to consciously and unconsciously send information back tot he body to improve what I am doing. I made a point of trying to be more in tune with my body and my surroundings this week and it really felt better.

On Tuesday, I felt I was going to loosen up well and run smoothly and I did. I was very fluid and felt strong going up hills. I noticed things more. My neighborhood has a smell to it of dryer sheets and fabric softener in the early morning. I thought it was my brain making fun of me, but it was definitely there. I noticed it again on Thursday's run. Speaking of Thursday's run, I woke up at about 6.15 and got going. I felt stiff and knew I was not going to set any speed I didn't try. The other thing Dreyer talks about is "listening to your body" and letting the feedback you are receiving drive your running, as oposed to letting your ego drive. The ego in control, he says, leads to pain and injury. I'm inclined to agree with him.

I really like the Chi Running philosophy so far. I like being more in touch with my body. Before I started reading the book, the closest I came to "body sensing" was when nature called in the last quarter mile of a run. Fortunately, I am still running relatively short distances (5 miles and less) and didn't get caught out; I made it home without incident, but only barely. I mention this because I came across THIS STORY from Dave Milner, passed on by a friend, which has to be one of the more hysterical things I have read recently. It's not for the squeamish, but I split my sides reading it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Lorica (Morning Prayer)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

This video... just plain awesome! I love Christopher Walken, and Fat Boy Slim's Weapon of Choice is the Jam. Together, they're an unstoppable combination.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I've seen Jon Blais's story before, but I thought this was beautifully done. Enjoy...

Thoughts From the Road: Deadlifting

I've noted before, that as a salesperson on the road, I have moments where my mind wanders to some rather unusual places. This week I was coming back from visiting a client and I was sitting at a red light. The light turned green, but the cars from my left side kept coming through, with one car blocking the intersection in Secret Service style.

What struck me as the funeral procession rolled through the intersection and the shiny cars (people always clean their cars to go to a funeral) moved grimly past,was the enormity of the occupants of these cars. As a former larger guy (I used to roll at 220+ on a six-foot frame), I'm used to seeing larger people, and sometimes thinking, "It doesn't have to be like this. There's good help and good information out there."

My mind followed this thread. There are really large, out of shape people in this funeral, quite possibly going to bury their really large, possibly out of shape family member/friend. At some point, they had to get the body into the hearse, and from the hearse they will have to get it to the grave. How are they going to do it? If the corpse is extremely large, wouldn't they need to be MORE in shape just to lift said corpse. Or, they could use MORE PEOPLE, but that's a problem because they're so rotund they can't get more people around the coffin. I could not get my head around the conundrum. How does it work?

When I got home that night, I asked Mrs. Fish...she just shook her head, with the look of incredulity that asks the dual questions "How do you come up with this stuff?" and "Why are you asking ME this question?" at the same time. Guys. You know the look. Women. You know the feeling.

On my ride in the next day, I began thinking about this again. This was not a single, isolated incident. Surely these were not the only people to be faced with such a problem. As America gets fatter and ostensibly weaker, this is going to become more and more of a problem, not less and less of one. Already they are making oversized coffins (check out Goliath Coffins). But that only solves the problem of what to bury them in, not how to get them in the ground.

Then, I came upon a solution. Why not get the fitness community involved? Funeral directors could go to local gyms and create a Rent-A-Pallbearer system. The training would be simple and the work could be part of the lifter's's win-win. Furthermore, the bereaved could be doubly assured: First, their beloved would be treated with dignity and respect. He or she would be carried and laid to rest without the awkwardness of the grunt/scream when the lift begins (again, the training program for the lifters would emphasize a no grunting practice) or worse, the dropping of the casket and it's inhabitant before it reaches it's final resting place. Second, the Rent-A-Pallbearer system minimizes the even worse scenario of a person dying while lifting the corpse.

So there you have it. I told you my mind went to some pretty strange places while I am on the road.


I went to see Mary at the hospital on Friday. She was doing really well, and is recovering from her heart attacks (2!). She is complaining of shortness of breath, but has been told that is normal at this stage. She expects to be released on Sunday, and is looking forward to getting away from the hospital.

I can't say I blame her. I hate hospitals for all the same reasons Mary does. Doctors always popping in to poke and prod you, pseudo-sterile environments where the only thing that really thrives are the germs, and food that is virtually guaranteed to keep you sick...or make you sicker.

Still, she's a tough bird and will come through this with shining colors. Also like me, she takes doctors seriously and follows rehabilitation instructions to the letter. In recovery, I believe this and one's outlook (Mary is a VERY positive person) makes all the difference between getting better quickly versus slowly or not at all.

A huge thanks to all of you who have kept Mary in your thoughts, and in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Little Fish

I was talking to my daughter as we were driving down the road the other day. It was one of those late winter days, where you could almost feel the very edges of the beginning of spring...just...almost...there.

I said to her, "Spring is just around the corner."
Without missing a beat she yelled, "TURN! TURN!"

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Update on Me

I got the official notice from the doctors: yours truly is cancer free. I passed the first six-month blood work, cancer markers and CT scan with flying colors. Nine years and six months to go (or 4 years and 6 months, depending on which source you adhere to). Either way, I'm on my way.

Update on Mary

Mary is going to be fine, but had TWO heart attacks on Sunday. They had to put two stents in because the first one didn't do enough for her. She was taken off the ventilator yesterday late morning, and is breathing normally. They'll evaluate her condition today and hopefully move her into a lower level of care unit today or tomorrow. She will then be able to have visitors. Apparently, it was touch and go for a while on Sunday, but fortunately all is well.

Thank you for your thoguhts and prayers for my friend. It means a great deal.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Everyone has (or should have) one person at work the helps them hold it all together, makes sure their back is covered, that they're in the loop when they need to be, helps them keep their head when a crisis comes up and reminds them to take a personal day before it disappears.

In my 7+ years at my current job, that person has been Mary. Last night, Mary had a heart attack. We don't know much yet, but she is in the local ICU and has 3(?) stints in, designed to open the flow of blood to and from the heart. Her husband, John, called in this morning to let us know she is resting in the ICU. He is on his way back to see her.

I would appreciate it greatly if you would take just a moment or two and ask God to give Mary, John, and her family the strength and courage they will need to get through this ordeal. Your thoughts and prayers for my friend are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

One More Barium, and Then I'll Stop

It's funny, because the more I share about it (it really is funny, NOW) the more amusing things I learn. They actually flavor it with lemonade or berry flavor. I didn't get either of these, so I was feeling pretty bad, until I found someone who didn't get hers chilled. I CANNOT IMAGINE HOW UNFAIR THAT IS! I am thinking her doctor just didn't like her very much--what other expalnation is there?

Apparently, I am very fortunate to have been drinking mine. Lower GI stuff is not half as pleasant...or so I'm told. I'm taking people's word on this one.

The funniest quip I got was this one:
My dog ate my barium once. Later, I saw him licking his rear--probably trying to get the taste of the barium out of his mouth....

Top 10 Rejected Barium Slogans

10. New and improved paste flavor!

9. Barium: it's like spackling for your innards.

8. Something that looks this bad must taste good.

7. Barium: Miles from ordinary.

6. Fear of a white planet (Bonus points if you know the reference...without Google).

5. You might want to drink some water when you're done. No, really. Like, a lot of water.

4. Barium: The other white meat.

3. Atkins-friendly!

2. Approved by Balco Laboratories.

1. Sure, it looks like crap, but it tastes like crap too!

Barium...It's What's for Breakfast

This week I went for my FIRST SIX-MONTH checkup, post-cancer. I had to go for the CT Scan, which means I also had to drink two 20 ounce canisters of Barium. For those of you who don't know, Barium is kind of chalky, chunky, milky (think: wallpaper both consistency and taste). One canister at 9.00...not too bad, but bad enough. I got that uncontrollable shake you might get when you remember "The Drink That Did You Wrong" when you were younger. For me, it's rum and coke, for reasons I won't go into here. Every time I think of it, my head shakes, like someone half-sneezing, trying to get the thought and the taste out of my mouth. Barium is like that.

At 10.00, I take my second "fifth" of Barium. Not pleasant at all, and for a second or two, I wonder if I am going to keep it down. I had a window in the morning when I could eat breakfast, but I missed it in the general hectic activity that is my morning routine with my wife and daughter. By the time I realized, it was too late. Now, I am thankful.

I got to the office at about 11.00, right on time for the procedure. It was cool walking in, because these were people I had seen pretty much every day for more than a month when I went through radiation. They were happy to see me, it was funny (now) to think about all that has happened since the August 14th. I went into the CT Scan room and laid down on the "teleportation table" and was then inserted into the CT Scan tube/chamber.

"Here we go," I thought. And then my mind began to wander. "What if they find something?" "They won't." "Yeah, but what if they do?" It went on like that for a while. It was not a bad conversation, or a frightful one, just a detached observational musing about what it would mean if cancer came back. I arrived through the maze of my own thoughts at this: "If it comes back, I'll kick its ass back to the hell from which it came...AGAIN." That was enough. I wrapped up, got in my car and went back to the office. As I was arriving, Dr. Kottapally called and said everything looked good to him, but he was forwarding it on to a second specialist just to make sure. That was quick!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Fun Video

One of the cooler things I get to do in my job is meet with and serve awesome clients from a very, very diverse universe. I have worked with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for about five or six years now.

They just came up with a video to promote expanded fishing opportunities for this year's trout season in Pennsylvania. For those of you who don't know, the first day of Trout Season is like a combination of Mardi Gras and the SuperBowl, with a sprinkling of College Football tailgating, all rolled into one. It's attended with all the tradition and religious zeal by the most battle-hardened fisher-persons you can imagine, ages 4 to 104.

If you have never done opening day in our state, you owe it to yourself to do it, just once. Anyway, here's the video...enjoy

Extra cool: The first embedded video in my blog. I'm not sure the twenty-first century is ready for me, but I'm ready for it.