Friday, July 6, 2012

Brent vs The June

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.

Listening to other runners talk about "Born to Run" so much and for so long really kind of made me avoid the book for a long time.  I figured I wasn't really built with crazy in my running genes, and if I was, I wouldn't want to let it out, even if a book could do so.  Let's face it, out of all the things that I do on this world, probably the last thing I'll be known or remembered for by others, or even just my family and friends is going to be my running.  It's something I do, but it's not really something anyone would ever use to define me. 

So needless to say, I wrote off the book and figured the fanaticism about it was all just some sort of mass hysteria to the same degree as strawberries with sugar virus.  I decided it wasn't for me before even reading the jacket of it.  Just the cover with a dude standing on a mountain is outside of my comfort zone, honestly.

Well I finally actually read it, and it's a great read.  Not picking up on the sense of inspiration some people are getting though.  I remember hearing someone I know say it inspired them to run their first marathon, but after reading it, I find that puzzling, because the folks followed in that book are not really pro marathon people and I think would find the current state of most marathons to be kind of for running "fudgies."  So next time I see them, I will talk running, and bait them into saying it again so I can take them to task.   

I could get how it could inspire people to be crazy, barefoot, loner trail running maniacs, but that's probably not going to have any chance of happening to me because being out in the wilderness and having people not know where I am is not my thing.  I'm already paranoid enough of something happening to me running by myself in populated area.  I like trails, but I want to be near phones and people in case something happens.  I find that I run less and less by myself and just wait for days when J is available to run with me.  I like my running, but I don't feel the need to risk myself for it.  I found myself, while reading "Born to Run," kind of thinking some of their risks were bordering on stupidity.  That's why I'll probably never have any books to write about my experiences, and I'm fine with that.  That's why there are different types of people in the world, because it needs a little crazy to shake things up.  Me, I'm good with being average Joe runner.

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

1 word...gnocchi.  I know it's cheesy just to add my already awesome pasta sauce to gnocchis, but it's a nice break from the rest of the dishes I make, and my wife and I have a very soft spot for gnocchi.  We also cheated a few times and used some Prego instead just to whip it up fast.  We haven't had a lot of spare time together for dinner lately.

3) Do 12 home improvements (1/month).

I know it barely counts, but my wife and I have wanted this chair for the corner of our room for nearly 3 years now.  When we moved in our home, with all the new home expenses that come with it, we just were not able to (responsibly) afford getting our oversized "cuddler" recliner.  So we didn't buy it, and we haven't seen anything of its likeness since.  During a trip to the same store where we initially saw it, while searching for a badminton set for our nephew, there it was.  We bought it on the spot, and picked it up the next day, and the "little chair" is now upstairs in front of the video game entertainment center.

We've also nearly finished modifying and beautifying the front door.  I know it sounds like we're taking our sweet lazy time, but we keep changing the scope of this one, and with the heat, finding a good day to paint was nearly impossible.  I've found some more door hardware to go on it that was hiding in the basement.  I'm sure it's the original material, at least me and my multiple hours of brasso scrubbing believe it is.  The knocker we bought over a year ago is finally on as well, which actually seems to fall right into place with the rest of it.  It is going to look awesome when it's finally done.  Even my mother, who hated the fact we were changing the color of our blue door, will probably come around as soon as she sees it. 

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

Here, as you saw after The Dalmatian, we tried the "Freakin' Unbelievable Burger" place, and it was okay.

In Pittsburgh we tried a place called The Porch, near the natural history museum.  All I can say was it had awesome quiche and I had morning beer (Full Pint Brewing's White Lightning and a Hopnobber).  It's always funny to ask underage servers fancy questions about beer.  She tried really hard to relay information about the brews from the guys in the back though, and she was nice and brought me jalapenos for my quiche just because I said it was the only thing that would make it better.  So maybe top 5 desination servers ever. 

We also tried the famous Primanti Bros., and well...meh

Tried some Iron City beer, took a trip to The Church brewery (sweet place, go if you're in the area), and brought a 24 pack on Yuengling home with us, which is disappearing much faster than is ideal, but oh well.  Next time we'll load up the trunk. 

Yuengling go home!...with me
June Extras
Running High - Dalmatian 5K PR

Running Low - Once again being the 2nd fiddle in the running group. J's been kicking my butt. I need to ramp up again and improve so I can make him ramp up and improve. I can't just let him keep winning the majority of the time, otherwise I'll be dropping my end of the bargain (being that the lower person pushes back up ahead to force the other to do likewise).

Mileage - 113 Miles. Same as May, but somehow it felt like I did more this month.  Maybe because we did more practice runs, and the official runs were all shorties.

The Legs - The definitely feel a lot better than May.  I think it's because I've stopped experimenting and have stuck with only shoes that seem to love me back (See previous post where I hug a shoe with my face)


Lights Out! - You'll notice there's not any photos of anything I could take photos of (now changed), on this post, and that's because we currently have no power (day 2).  I'm actually posting from work, because there is power here (dammit!).  I can't consider it a time theft though, after I spent several hours a couple nights ago finishing work at home.  Now we're even, job (okay, you're still ahead 3 1/2 hours).  It's very hot at home with no A/C, but other than the catastrophic loss of our ceremonial 4th of July Bomb Pops, we're just fine.  It's inconvenient, but a little candlelight, still having running water, and a nice LED book light can do wonders.

 It would be better if we weren't having a heat wave, but I realize there are so many people getting hit with much worse when it comes to the summer weather.  So, I really don't have anything to complain about.  You actually don't realize what quiet is until those constantly running appliances aren't going anymore.  Also, it's nice to actually see children forced to play outside.  The neighborhood seems much more vibrant now that we're all disconnected.  It makes you wonder if, in fact, this is where "community" disappeared to...

Beer Man - The Oktoberfest is done.  I have to say, for a first batch, I'm awfully happy with myself.  I've had good reviews so far, and they seem to taste even better as they sit longer (I'm sure we taste tested a bit prematurely).  I even received one review of very high praise, where it was stated that mine was the 2nd best Oktoberfest ever.  I'll take it!  I'm glad everything worked, especially since I made mods to the kit's instructions to cater to my specific tastes (which also seem to have had the desired results).  Modifying's probably not the best move for a first-timer, but I had my vision for what I wanted and I went for it.  In the end, I'm just happy it's drinkable and resembles a beer.  The residue in the bottles was very well minimized for not filtering, the carbonation's good, the taste from bottle to bottle is very uniform, and the clarity and color are unbelievably perfect.  I'm also happy to share the experience with friends, especially with a friend who recently moved to Texas and was in town for his sister's wedding last weekend.  I was trying to figure out how to ship him a few so he wouldn't be left out, but not I don't have to.

I'm considering labeling and naming it (it has a's name is Robert Paulso-ktoberfest?...nah...), but I was thinking maybe that's a little too vain (I bet I think this beer is about me...).  If so I better hurry before they're all empties again.  Although I'm not entirely sure I want to spend hours at a sink getting labels off 45-50 bottles again.  It might be easier to just sanitize and reuse these for batch #2.  I don't know,  what do you think?


  1. "In death we have a name. His name was Robert Paulson"

    LOVE that movie! Gotta read the book. And I personally did get a bit fanatical about Born To Run. I'm even wearing my Bikilas right now. Though I have skipped the chia seeds . . .

    I've always wanted to make Drew Carey's Buzz Beer. One of these days I'll brew it! Coffee and Beer! Two of my favorite things!

  2. I love your review of born to run, haha. I started the book awhile ago but at this point need to restart if I'm gonna read it at all. I'm kind of a hippy, I think at least, but like you I like the comforts of modern-day life and te safety of having cell phone service.

  3. I enjoyed Born to run and can understand the desire for barefootedness ( but lets be real, there have been many years of evolution and paved roads we are no longer built to run barefoot!) Great job on the mileage. Sadly, my June mileage was a whopping zero! maybe next month I'll be back out there!


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