Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We own a TV

Today Bri and I mailed off our final check for the LCD TV we bought on moving into our house. Best Buy gave us 0% interest for two years so we took them up on it. Of course the same TV can now be had for about 60% of our cost, but can you put a value on all the evenings we've spent curled up in front of our high definition flat screen TV eating pizza and downing high gravity beers? Of course you can't. These moments are like starlight. Here today, gone tomorrow. Yes, I'm comparing watching The Family Guy to infinite space.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday, Monday

We had a nice but short trip up to Boone to see my MIL. Boone is a neat little college town and we did a quick tour of App State. Cool place to go to school! I told Bri that when we're 60+ we can go back to school together somewhere like that.

The Housing bailout bill has passed the Senate. All us suckers with good credit who have been saving our pennies get to pay more pennies for people who don't save their pennies. Soon we may all be penniless. Pennies cost two cents to make, did you know?

Tassie says "Bull****!"

I am going to go for a run with Bri in Umstead.

Last night our buddy Paul Power from Long Island made me stay out late drinking beer. Bad Paul!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sleeping in and other fun things to do on Saturday

As you may surmise from the title of this post, we opted out of the 5:00 AM wakeup call to get to the Mission Man tri in time. Instead, Bri and I slept in and then went for a leisurely bike ride on a cool Saturday morning. Bri is intent on whipping me back into shape before I turn into a complete pile of sludge. She made me do intervals with her. And we went far! She is a tough coach but a good one. Anyhoo. Off to Boone/Sugar Mountain in a bit. Going to get some running in tomorrow.

That's not really us in the picture but these posts are more interesting with some sort of visual effect.

Friday, July 25, 2008

video blog

Tomorrow morning we're off to the Mission Man Triathlon in Burlington, where I'll continue to illustrate what a lack of serious training can do to an 'elite' athlete. The seven hour training weeks and 40 minute long runs just don't cut the mustard for a 54 V02max guy like me. I have a video that goes into extensive detail about this, but the camera is getting the best of me right now. Check back later.

After the race we're off to Sugar Mountain to hang out with Bri's Mom. I haven't been to the Boone area so it should be fun to check out. We might even do some riding.

Edit: We might skip the race since I am feeling lazy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you

I dunno about you, but I waffle between a really optimistic relaxed attitude about finances and retirement (everything will work out, man) and a total and complete sense of sheer panic (we're gonna be on the street, man!). Money doesn't grow on trees, unless you're the Fed, in which case you can print as much as you want, right?

If it was the 1950s we'd all be comfortable living on one income, own a decent home in a nice quiet tree-lined Beaver Cleaver community, have a high probability of a funded pension and social security retirement benefits, and probably have enough left over to raise two or three (or five) kids without major stress beyond not punching Mr Dithers in the nose at work.

But today we're a DINK (dual income, no kids) with no pensions, no guaranteed social security benefits, spiraling health care costs (I debate bagging them and taking on all the risk sometimes), massively higher energy costs, and massively higher college costs for any possible kids. Since I run my own business it's up to me to decide what projects or advertisements are worth funding with infusions of owner equity (read: money that would go into savings or retirement) in the hopes that the ROI be worthwhile. It might not occur to you reading my laissez-faire blog, but this year OSB will spend close to three grand on direct advertising. This includes the cost of printed materials, sponsoring a race series, email campaigns, website hosting, graphic design costs, etcetera. For each of these choices I have to use a combination of quantitative analysis and intuitive sense to decide if something is worth it or not. Every decision has an opportunity cost. Later this year and next year I get to decide how, when, and where to market the Powerstroke DVD. We've done everything up to this point with self-financing, but I've started debating a small business loan. Then you have to factor in the cost of financing into your rate of return. Yadda yadda.

It's also up to me to fund my retirement account. All the calculators I plug our numbers into say we'll be good enough in retirement but this is provided that the inflation rate stays around 3% and our investments grow at 8%+ for the next thirty years. I factor out social security because we can't count on it. Past results are no guarantee of future performance. In ten years it seems the entire financial system in the US could collapse. At that point we all need to head to the hills with our shotguns.

And then when I find myself dwelling on thirty years from now I have to look around and say, what about what's going on today, right now?

There are essentially three paths to becoming comfortably wealthy for those of us born without a silver spoon in our mouths: Work diligently for other people for 40+ years, save a good portion, and retire at 65; work diligently for 40-X years to achieve a high executive position and take a golden parachute or well-compensated professional position and save a good portion of your earnings; Start a successful business and get rich either running it, selling it, or selling part of it; Or win the lottery.

So what I'm getting at is today is one of my sheer panic days.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gramma didn't like us

It turns out the matriarch of the family wasn't comfortable with us strangers in the house. She hadn't been forewarned we were coming. Of course, what Gramma wants, Gramma gets.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You've been voted off the Island

So we had a fun weekend in the OBX. Saturday got kind of weird though. Bri and I were invited down to the beach by April and Lou, who we know from UCF running. Lou's extended family had rented a 4 bedroom house for the week. We got in on Friday night and had a great time, had dinner and drinks with everyone, were told we fit in well (no drama, drank alcohol, and ate red meat), and slept on a pullout couch. On Saturday we got up and did our thing - went for a run, went for lunch and to pick up the surfboard, and so on. Around 4pm we asked Lou and April if they'd like to go to the Outer Banks Brewing Station with us. So we all went and had a good time. But then...

apparently there was some sort of miscommunication between family members - we weren't invited to the Saturday dinner. We figured all right, no problem, we'll go eat a nice dinner somewhere. Bri and I found a place on the water and had a romantic dinner overlooking Currituck Sound. On our way out from dinner, April called. The miscommunication had continued to deteriorate. She was in tears. We'd been voted...out of the house!

April and Lou were kind enough to bring our stuff to us outside when we arrived back at the house. They booked us a hotel room down the road. I've got to say it's been a long time since I've been booted from somewhere. If you've ever had Bri and I over you know we tend to make decent house guests, refrain from pooping on the carpet, issuing profanities at old ladies and kids, and so on. So anyway, I guess the family didn't even want us back inside.

We're really not sure if we did something offensive or if there are some psycho members of the family. Whichever way, please be warned, if any of you out there invite us somewhere on a Friday night, we're assuming you mean the weekend, especially if the drive is 4+ hours away.

Anyway, Bri has never been booted from anywhere, since she is a nice person and a good person. In my youth I was asked to leave a few establishments, but that's because I was an asshole. Bri was really upset. I thought it was ridiculous but not something completely foreign to me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Duck NC surf report

Picked up my new surfboard today at the Corolla Surf Shop. This type of board from New Surf Project is made with epoxy rather than fiberglass, and a bit less expensive. It will last a schmo like me for a while.

I had some fun paddling around out in the Atlantic, but the waves were dumping onto a sandbar, making things pretty unrideable. Managed to fall down a few times, which is my SOP. I paddled for a few minutes as my swim workout for the day.

Now we're going to go check out the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Computer wait time

So I sit in front of the computer a lot, just like most of the rest of you. I've figured that I spend about 30 minutes a day sitting around waiting for my computer to finish a process or get off a hang up. I try not to scream and shake my fist but don't always succeed. Really annoying. The worst is McAfee / Norton Antivirus. That program eats up all my RAM. But it's a necessary evil.

Anyway, onto funner and sunnier things. We're off to Duck, NC in a little bit to check out the Outer Banks (OBX). I'm looking forward to a mini vaca, though I'll be working quite a bit as usual.

In other other news, we received our Macbook yesterday. Step 2 in the DVD creative process. Now all I need to do is teach myself how to use an advanced moviemaking & editing program. No sweat right? Rome wasn't built in a daze.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blue Ridge Mountain Triathlon camp

We're hosting a triathlon camp over in the Maggie Valley area of North Carolina from August 18 thru August 24. We're staying at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center.

Coach Jeff Cuddeback (IM Hawaii record holder in 35-39, 40-44, and 45-49) has confirmed that he's coming to get in some big miles in prep for Ironman Hawaii. So if you'd like to roll a few miles in the mountains with a legend while getting ready for a late season long distance race, you might want to check this camp out. Camp fees include lodging and three meals a day. ($900 for six days, or $600 for four days)

Blue Ridge Mountain Triathlon Training Camp

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

current events

The more I know about the state of our economic union and the reality of world politics, environment, and the like, the more I'm inclined to bury my head in the sand and make the most of what I can in my little corner of the world. There's not a whole lot meself can do about saber rattling in who knows where, right? I'm done. Cooked. Fed up. Turned on tuned in and dropped out. No more worries. Gonna keep putting our pennies in a jar, make some gizmos that people want to buy, do things we enjoy, and ignore everything else. Total tunnel vision. You can spend 30+ years working your way up to a corner office and a big retirement party, or you could do a lot of this:

Bri and I are headed down to the Outer Banks this weekend to visit with a couple of her old college friends. I'm going to pick up a NSP 7'6 surfboard and visit a couple of the ocean rescue departments to talk about next year.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Triangle tri results

Bri and I both raced in the Triangle Triathlon this morning. We rode our bikes over to the site since it is just a few miles from our house. I had a good swim, coming in first out of the elite wave. My bike and run were OK but there is a big difference between racing this course when you're fit and when you're not. My bike split was about five minutes slower and my run 3+ minutes slower than last year. If I was trying to be competitive this would upset me, but right now I'm just training to stay in reasonable shape. Have been ramping up the run distances in prep for a fall marathon. Just haven't had the urge to ride 200+ weeks this season!

Bri almost caught me on the run but I totally kicked her *ss.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

weekend update

Today I'm co-running an open water swim clinic with Dave Williams over at Crabtree County Park. The rest of the day will be spent working. Tomorrow we're racing in the Triangle Triathlon, which is just down the road from our house. After that we get to BBQ at one of our teammate's houses. Should be a fun weekend.

I set up a Feedburner account where you can now get these updates emailed to you if that's your thing. It's on the right.

Friday, July 11, 2008

swim workouts

If you swim on your own quite a bit and have trouble coming up with workouts, I'm taking my swim workout distribution list public. I've been sending this for three years to athletes who've had a swim session with me or trained with one of my swim groups. For the fee of $5 per month or $25 every 6 months you will receive:

- Weekly email/ezine with three detailed swim workouts and a tip of the week
- Access to password protected section of the website with videos, webinars, other cool stuff
- Discount on the upcoming Powerstroke DVD (in development, should be done by Xmas)

You can sign up here via Paypal. We have a developer working on a more streamlined process.

Current OSB athletes will get all of the above at no additional charge.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


So, our doggy is sweet and mostly well-behaved. But occasionally she'll do something that leaves you breathless, bloody, and shaken to the core. Like yesterday. Tassie and I went to the vet to get her nails done. Neither Bri nor I are willing to cut them since she'd wind up with bloody paws after nipping the cuticles. On our way back home, I thought, what a great idea, I'll have breakfast at the Food Factory and sit outside with Tassie.

So I go and order my food, then walk back outside and get Tassie from the car. We sit, and I tie her leash to my chair. Make a couple phone calls, the breakfast comes, I eat, talk, pet Tassie, give Tassie water, worship she who is Tassie, and finish breakfast.

So I get up to take my plate inside to leave it in the busbin (this is a semi-self service joint). As I walk outside I stop to talk to a man who is asking me about our new Honda Fit. How much mileage does it get, nice car, etcetera. Tassie sees me and starts to walk towards me. The chair moves. The chair makes a funny squeak noise. Tassie tries to get away from the squeaky noise. The noise follows her! She bolts!

"TASSIE!" I scream as she breaks into full panic mode, and begins to dash into the street. A car is coming but they/see hear us and stop. "TASSSIEE!!" I scream sprinting to catch her. She is going full blast. Across the street. Down the embankment. Through some scrub and some trees. Almost have her. "TASSSIEE!!!" She veers left. I veer left. I turn but there's gravel. I wipe out; she is running back into the street. "TASSSIIEE!" I spring up and chase her. Thank God, no cars are coming. She veers right, almost just in front of me. I leap out and grab her leash, roll to a stop. Her pupils are pinpricks. She's scared to death. I am the same. "Oh dear lord, Tassie," I sigh.

Untie her from the chair. It is broken. Her paws are bloody; wind sprints after a nail clipping is not a good idea. But she's OK.

I on the other hand, have lost another two years of life.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Weekend update!

Bri and I had a fun weekend of accomplishing nothing in particular. We did some training and hung out with friends. Got rained out of the 4th of July fireworks celebration which was unfortunate. Had a nice dinner at Mellow Mushroom in Durham. Went to see Wanted today, sort of a hit-man on steroids movie but entertaining. All in all life is good.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

You've been blogbanged!

I like that better than tagged. Courtesy of Bri.

10 years ago I was:
Penniless, single, and living on my sister's couch, having just enrolled in the UCF technical writing graduate program in Orlando. I had long hair, a goatee, and a couple of friends living in town.

5 years ago I was:
Engaged to Bri, morgtaging a condo, working full time at Lockheed Martin, taking night MBA classes at UCF, racing a lot, and plotting my escape from cubicle culture.

1 year ago I was:
About where I am right now, except skinnier, less bald, and better looking.

Yesterday I was:
Unconscious and face down in a plate of meatballs and spaghetti.

5 things on my two-do list today:
Go for a bike ride with the Inside-Out Group tonight
Write a couple schedules for my athletes
Cook dinner for my wife
Play with my dog Tassie
Spend the evening with my wife Bri

5 snacks I enjoy:
Beer x 4

If I were a billionaire I would:
Buy a beach house and work as a lifeguard in the summer. Run more training camps and keep coaching swimmers/triathletes. Buy a slightly bigger house in North Carolina and a mountain retreat somewhere. Talk Bri into having three or four kids. Sponsor a US bike team and a triathlon team. Keep an eye out for other interesting opportunities.

6 people I want to have lunch with tomorrow:
My paternal grandfather and maternal grandparents (they were all deceased before I was born)
Bill Gates

5 places I've lived:
Miami, FL
Ocean City, NJ
Tallahassee, FL
Cary, NC
Orlando, FL

5 jobs I've had:
warehouse operator/shipping coordinator
ocean lifeguard/ocean rescue
technical writer/logistic analyst

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

coffee and health

I am always psyched to read more research about the health benefits of coffee and caffeine.

Bri and I went to The Point at Glenwood last night for dinner and a beer and wine sampling. It's a nice restaurant and bar at Five Points in Raleigh. I also noticed that they have a free Texas Hold'em tournament on Tuesday nights. So Bri can sit next to me while I play poker. Won't that be fun, Bri?