Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brent vs The April

1) Pick 12 things of social importance that I've had limited exposure to, but decided I didn't like and immerse myself in each of them for 1 month.

I have to admit I really blew it with this one this month.  I haven't really taken into account all the cumulative effects of giving new things a chance again.  I'm still finding jazz artist I like here and there.  I'm still watching cowboy movies.  I'm still reading that Harry Potter series.  Eventually it all takes up some major time, and it's hard to just drop all of it when you're still making your mind up about things, too. 

As far as April, though.  I had a hard time coming up with something to do that would actually be worth the effort.  Somebody suggested I give the NBA another shot (which I haven't really enjoyed since the 90s), but after sitting through about 3 games, and feeling like I was wasting my time.  I kind of abandoned the idea.  I just didn't want to spend all month watching it.  I just think the sport has lost its edge.  The players and the overall play is way too civil.  There's also no consistency in play.  You can beat a good team by 5 or 10 one night and lose to an awful team by 20 a few nights later (I'm looking at you Pistons).  Things like that shouldn't happen unless the effort isn't there.  I have no desire to watch the playoffs, so I won't.  I don't even know where they can be found, and, for some reason, I very rarely stumble upon this league by accident.  What stations are they even on these days?

Bring back the Sonics, and we'll talk...
So, with that out of the way, I racked my brain for a replacement and never really came up with much that would be worth anything.  I started watching "Community" because quite a few people I know are in love with it.  I guess I get it to some degree, but it's often a mix of that "Futurama" (I get this reference, therefore it is funny) and It's "Always Sunny..." crude humor that turns me off of it.  It's nice I've had a few people to point out all the things that you'd miss in the episodes the first time around, but man, are you guys really devoted to a show enough to watch every episode 3+ times?  Also, I think the characters are just a bit too large for my liking, and it's hard for me to stay immersed when I know it would be impossible for this group or any of these characters to exist in real life.  Like everything else, though, I'll probably keep on with it...
I really need a suggestion for May, though, before it is too late.

2) Learn 12 new recipes (1/month).

I really didn't go after any recipe on purpose.  There was just one night where we had nearly bare cupboards and I made some alfredo sauce for some fettuccine we had laying around out of some milk, butter, random spices, and parmesan cheese .  It counts, because I've never actually got this to work in my life for some reason, and this time it turned out delicious.  Hooray grown-up mac and cheese!

P.S. - I forgot to mention I actually made some cornbread with creamed corn for the first time.  I bought a can of creamed corn by mistake and my wife opened it in horror.  Not knowing what to do with it, since we don't have any pet pigs, which I only assume is who this product is marketed to, I poured it in with some jiffy mix and kind of guessed at the milk/egg proportions after that.  It turned out to be my best batch of cornbread ever, and that's even after I overshot the cooking time by nearly 10 minutes.  I will have to try it again and take it out on time.  Then maybe I will tackle the challenge of going away from the mix.
3) Do 12 home improvements (1/month).

April, and whether I made up for March is all in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.  I replaced some hardware on the side screen door so it would actually stay shut every time, and I was also very happy with myself for fixing the front door's hardware, which is fairly old and fitting for the house.  It's nice to be able to go out the front door when it's unlocked, shut it, and be able to get back in by pressing the latch.  Also, replacing it with anything comparable would have been about $200 if we wanted to keep the style and the weathered look.  I also found the key to the lock hiding way in the back of one of the house drawers in the kitchen, so we could even lock it from the outside if there was any reason to have to (which I can't see).

So does this count as 1 or 2?  They're both door things, and we're still planning on painting them and replacing the knocker out front.  So is it even 1, or is this an uncompleted single job as well and I'm at zero for April? 

If so Jessi also did a lot of work beautifying the front of the house with plants, and I chopped the bottoms of our bushes off so they would grow under there.  Does this count as one as well?

Depending on your judgement, we're at 0 to 3 improvements for April, and I really can't figure how I want to score it.  I'm giving my punch card to you guys to make the call.

4) Try 12 new restaurants (1/month).

Between the semi lame recipe and this category, I really slacked on the food-related goals this month.  I didn't go to a single new place in April, and sadly went to one place 3 different times.  I'm still in the black, though, because I had 3 last month, but it's hard to believe I forgot about this one and just hit all standard places for the month.

April Running Extras

Running Highlight - This is a pretty easy call.  Running the Martian Half again and knocking off a good chunk of time while not trying hard enough and having very little fatigue has me pretty optimistic about the rest of this year and the upcoming marathon.  We'll see how this changes when I actually start pushing into that distance, though.

Running Low - Getting chewed up and spit out by 5? miles at the Weed Whacker.  Dude, you ran a trail half last year.  That's pretty weak.  Definitely need more trail practice, and I need to make better use of my state park pass, even if it was just $10 for a little "P" on my license plate registration sticker. 

Mileage - Tied my monthly high (since I started tracking them) with 99 miles in April to match last August.  Just 1 more mile to break the 100 mark and have a new recorded high, but, nope, I just can't stay up for the Wildebeest 5K/10K, or run a short run last Sunday before my wife's family showed up for her Dad's birthday party.  I also couldn't be bothered with having a long run the week of the 16th.  Why would I want to do anything over 5 miles?  One...freaking....mile.   UGH! 

The Legs - During the month I had concurrent problems with my left knee and my right hamstring.  The knee felt like it was loose and knocking around a bit, and the hamstring just felt like it wanted to pull at any given time.  They both seemed to act up for about 4 runs in a row until this weekend when I accidentally took 3 days off.  Yesterday, they both seemed better over the 9 1/2 miler.  I can deal with that.

What else?  Oh, I still need to get my documentation for going to Canada for Detroit 26.2.  I plan on getting that rolling this month in case I run into weird problems or something.  I wish I had it this weekend for the wedding in Port Huron so I could pop across for a spell, but I'm sure we'll have plenty to keep us busy.  If possible I'll have to get in a lazy, picture taking run up there this weekend.

Until next month...(at least as far as the recaps)


  1. I think calling the monthly recap Brent vs *insert month here* is awesome. Also awesome, that you are also not a basketball fan.

    1. Yeah, but I kinda stole the whole vs. thing from "Chuck," so I can't take full credit...

  2. I don't know if anyone watches the NBA. I think people assume they're still on strike?

    I like your goals for the year - various new things each month. And a home project each month - I should do that! Then I might get some of these "punch list" items done for once... (I've been "renovating" my home for almost 6 years now ha). The Alfredo is funny - but anything cheese is bound to be good, right?

    1. There are a ton of people that love the NBA here. I used to get it, but not so much anymore. I just don't find it as engaging as it used to be, and it may just be because I'm getting older. I'm not sure.

  3. About the alfredo . . . you're either a Mitch Hedberg fan or your own type of genius. Also I'd count the door thing as two. Repair and improvement are two different things (IMHO).

    I've had a lingering hamstring/achilles issue for MONTHS! And I think I finally kicked it with all the weighted squats I've been doing lately. I think making all the other muscles sore equally made my hamstring stop working so hard.

    1. Definitely a Hedberg fan, which I did say back in February ( Pretty hard not to be. He was like a Steven Wright without any control over maintaining composure and not laughing at his own jokes. Still hoping they release "Los Enchiladas!" because I'd actually like to see it one day.

      My wife and I constantly trade Mitchisms, and it's hard for a day to go by without one of us quoting him.


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