Saturday, May 31, 2008


Today Bri, Shana and I went for an easy morning ride. Bri added on a bit after while I got to work on coaching stuff. In the afternoon we went up to the Chapel Hill Country Club to volunteer for the Swim for Smiles youth triathlon, going on tomorrow morning. We registered a bunch of people. The youths are supposed to have USAT cards just like us adults and a number of folks showed up sans card. A handful got real pissy about it when we refused to give them their number without proof of USAT insurance. We were able to look up a couple online through the USAT website, but a Blackberry isn't designed for extensive online applications.

Two ladies were really giving us the "I have soooo many better things to do than deal with a loser like you" attitude. This is Chapel Hill, don't forget, old Southern Money, pampered society and all that jazz. Over many years I've gotten good about straight facing the snooty sorts when I'd prefer to tell them to shove it up their keister, but that sort of language doesn't go over well in polite society. Sort of a Rodney Dangerfield guy in a Country Club world. Anyway I scapegoated the race director, who gets the final dirty scowl.

Afterwards we had a nice cookout or barbeque here at Casa de Gaal with our extended Harrington clan. Good times. Tomorrow I am going to suffer badly at the Kerr Lake tri, but sometimes that's good for character building. I like to tell myself that anyway.

Friday, May 30, 2008

interesting news

That's not an angry monkey in your closet

Beer or wine?

There's a 5k swim in North Carolina next weekend

I'm racing in the Kerr Lake Triathlon this Sunday

Get a smaller car soon

Another Who should I vote for website

If you don't read the Kirk Report, you should

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fit deposit

I emailed the other Honda dealership in our area and got the low-down on their inventory. We put a deposit down on a Blackberry Pearl (dark blue = who thinks up these names?) Fit Sport model, which should come in sometime in the next two weeks. The sport model is slightly higher in price than the base model offer ($600 more than our no haggle offer from Autopark Honda), but it has some decent add-on features, like cruise control, and drink holders.

Here is a picture of what it should look like, unless it gets sold to someone else.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

car salesmen

Not all car salesmen are created equal.

I requested a quote from Honda for their Honda Fit a few days ago, and the local Honda dealership got in touch with me promptly with a fixed number. Great. No hassle. No haggle. No stress.

Set up an appointment time a couple days ago. Got a confirmation call today - "we'll see you at 6:30." Bri and I arrive promptly. But wait, our salesperson has gotten caught up with someone else! And we didn't call her back to confirm (despite the message saying 'call if you need to reschedule').

So here's Brian, he's a nice guy. "Geez, sorry guys, we actually don't have any automatic Fits on the lot. Why don't you come inside and we'll go over some things?"

Why don't Bri and I leave and not come back. Thanks for wasting our time, Autopark Honda of Cary.

Back to Online Poker.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Bri

Happy Birthday, sugarplum.


shots and other nonsense

Despite my predilection for beer and ale, I am not disposed to imbibing the spirits. I usually turn down shot offers because the day-after consequences are well-known and painful. I can handle an unusual amount of beer, but a shot or two knocks my teeth out. Yes, yes, the alcohol content is the same, but for some reason I deal better with or somehow metabolize the brewsky more efficiently.

Regardless, Mike Beaman forced me to drink two shots of tequila and a shot of Jaeger yesterday. This morning I managed to ride with Bri and the gang but the world was moving in slow motion. I don't like shots. Here is a picture of a bottle of tequila.

It makes me want to vomit.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

First final table

PokerStars Tournament #89459046, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $0.10
360 players
Total Prize Pool: $36.00
Tournament started - 2008/05/23 - 19:47:02 (ET)

Dear tassie12,

You finished the tournament in 7th place.
A $1.30 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

You earned 39.02 tournament leader points in this tournament.
For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at

Thank you for participating.


Geek test

This is a geek test. I'm sending from my crackberry. Had a good race, think I was third. Good bike and swim. OK run. Geek out!
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

Friday, May 23, 2008

Woodlake Triathlon

Tomorrow morning I really am going to wake up and drive to the Wood Lake Triathlon in Vass, NC. My new crackberry has an alarm on it so how could I miss. After that we're going to head up to Lake Gaston on the Virginia border for a BBQ at Mike Beaman's place. A lot of you probably know Mike as bike fitter extraordinaire from Inside-Out Sports.

I don't have any expectations at tomorrow's race, other than it will be a bit painful.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blogger comments

I occasionally visit my new blog to see if there are any comments. There usually aren't. Bri gets lots of comments from people all over the world. So I have a theory. Mostly girls read Bri's blog, and mostly guys read my blog. Women are supportive and want each other to do well, unless there is a man between them. So Bri gets lots of supportive friendly comments. Guys want other guys to do embarrassing things, get arrested, and in general fall on their face, because it's funny when people fall on their face, especially when it's not you.

That is the difference between men and women.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


It was time for Bri and I to renew our contracts with Sprint. They've been pushing to retain customers since the new CEO came in and discovered that Sprint had the highest attrition rate in the industry. We haven't had any issues with the service so went ahead and resigned up. Now we've both got Crackberries. It took me two hours today to figure out how to set a ring tone especially for Bri. You'll know it if you hear it. I got the 8330 which we can use to hook up to my computer when traveling and use it as a modem. So we dropped the separate modem card.

In other news we dropped HBO from our cable. In other, other news in order to save money we're debating buying a new car. The logic of that is convoluted and defies imagination. Our PT Cruiser is at 110,000 miles and I'm not keen on pushing it to the brink since Bri drives it to work every day. The Xterra is also approaching 110 but as our secondary car it is holding up just fine.

We're looking at the Honda Fit. Because it's good on gas, low on price, and has been getting good reviews. I'd put a picture up here but the blogger thing is giving me issues. It's a small boxy car with wheels.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Skipping a race

What can I say? Woke up this morning at 4AM and decided I didn't feel like driving 2.5 hours to the beach for the Surf and Turf Sprint triathlon. Bri wasn't going to be able to race due to her foot issues. So instead we slept until 7, when Tassie decided we'd had enough sleep and started making lots of noise. We'll get an easy ride in later and this afternoon I'm gonna head over to Umstead for a run. I would have raced if it was closer but five hours in the car is not always high on my priority list.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

High yield investments

I use gmail as a backup account and one of the ads on the sidebar caught my attention. It almost sounded too good to be true! EIMTrust - "True Diligence". They can turn your $1,000 dollar initial investment into $8,000 in only 72 hours! If you invest more, the percentage increase is even higher! Wow. From the website:


etcetera. Amazing. I tried to figure out how they do it, but there are lots of big fancy business words sort of strung together in an unintelligible fashion. For example: "Our team of Managing and Strategic Directors, supported by our Venture Partners and Investment Professional, provides entrepreneurs with a rich base of strategice, operational, technical, and financial experience, and an extensive local, national, and international network...." and so on. So I couldn't figure it out.

By the way, they are so busy that they're not taking phone calls right now. And they only accept gold bullion.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So in today's world of 7%+ real inflation and a questionable economy we're all faced with some serious decisions. Do you reduce spending, increase your income, or move to New Zealand? How do you do it? Reducing spending is much harder than it sounds. What do you cut? Gas expense through public or leg-powered transport? Food expense through eating out less or not at all? Food expense through substitution - mac and cheese over steak and eggs? Less travel? No travel? Movies? Cable? Internet? Chocolate and massages? What are your real luxuries in life and can you go without - them?

I usually find it easier to figure out a way to earn more money. In college I served lunch and dinners at a sorority house to get free meals + $50 bucks a week. That paid my rent and is totally like the inflation adjusted of $200 a week now. During the summers I picked up night jobs to supplement my days on the beach. Fried chicken wings, sold t-shirts, sodded lawns, whatever. After college I worked a variety of odd jobs but was always willing to work more in order to make things happen. Bri and I aren't really big spenders so cutting back on the little expenses is not going to make an appreciable difference. She's not a mocha latte with whip cream type of girl and I like my coffee strong with sugar and made from a can at home. It's the big ticket items. We've already planned a trip to Costa Rica in June this year so that's a go. But other trips are gonna wait methinks.

So if you're hourly you're faced with:
- working more at the same rate
- getting a second job at any rate
- Finding a new job at a higher rate

If you're salaried you have to:
- Stump and whine for a raise or merit based bonus
- Find a new job at a higher salary
- Work overtime and hope they pay it out
- Get a second job

If you own your own business you:
- Bill at a higher rate
- Work for more clients at the same rate
- Invent something awesome and sell a bunch of it (indented question: loans or personal financing)
- Get a second job

These are the realities and vagaries of everyday life.

In other news, tomorrow is Bri's and me's four year anniversary. Time does fly and she is a whole lot of good woman. I'm a lucky guy. Without her at this point I think I'd be barking at cars somewhere on I-10 between Tallahassee and Nevada.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Online poker

Check it out:

PokerStars Tournament #87724772, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $0.50
2163 players
Total Prize Pool: $1081.50
Tournament started - 2008/05/12 - 20:00:00 (ET)

Dear tassie12,

You finished the tournament in 222nd place.
A $1.08 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

It only took two and a half hours. The ROE was great but the opportunity cost needs analyzing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Newsletter signup

I've finally gotten around to using a more professional newsletter service for the Next Level Newsletter. You can now automatically sign up using the form to the right. We only send one per month and the newsletter usually includes a training article or two, a nutrition article, and information on our upcoming events.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Constitutional discussion

A couple worthy Don Harrold videos below. Don Harrold is a day trader newsletter guy who also comments on politics of the day.

Ron Paul
Federal Reserve


Obama vs McCain

Here's a summary of their positions for those of you unsure of who should get the vote in November:

Privatization of social security:
Obama against
McCain for

Free trade:
McCain mostly for
Obama more against

Private school vouchers
Obama against, would undermine public schools
McCain for

Nuclear power:
Obama for
McCain for

Drilling in ANWAR:
Obama against
McCain against

Universal health care:
Obama for
McCain against - would give families portable tax credit, support state Guaranteed Access Plan

Bear Stearns bailout:
McCain for
Obama no opinion

Net neutrality:
Obama for
McCain for

Estate tax cuts:
Obama against raising the exemption to 5 million
McCain for - up to 10 million exempt

Guest worker program:
Obama for
McCain for (he's 'liberal' here)

Iraq war timetable for withdrawal:
Obama for - 16 months
McCain against - stay until the Iraqis can handle themselves

Obama supports sending more troops
McCain supports a larger Army and Marine Corps

Obama keeps all options open
McCain keeps all options open

Obama pro-choice, supports Roe v Wade
McCain pro-life, supports abortion in cases of rape. Would repeal Roe v Wade.

McCain against AMT, would get rid of it, general low tax or cut tax strategy, keep capital gains tax cut, etc.
Obama - raise taxes on the wealthy, cut taxes on middle class, voted No on repealing AMT:

Balanced budget:
both candidates economic policies have been predicted to continue budget deficit spending for some or all of their term.
McCain v Obama

Gun control:
Obama: "I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation." Supports all gun control issues/bans.
McCain against gun control, supports 2nd amendment as it is worded.

Death penalty:
Obama mostly for with more controls
McCain for

Stem cell research:
Obama for
McCain against "federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes."

Obama would decriminalize for small amounts
McCain strict on drugs, more war on drugs

So there's your position summary. We can safely assume that Hilary will fight until there's 0% chance of her winning the nonimation since she cares more about Hilary then about the Democratic party. It will be interesting to see who gets the VP nominations for both parties.

By the way I decided to write this then drive 2 hours for a triathlon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

New Bern Triathlon

I'm debating running down to New Bern on the central NC coast tomorrow morning to race in the New Bern Triathlon, another one in the Trysports Triathlon series. It starts at 8AM and is about 2 hours away. I'm not registered at the moment, which means I'd go last in a time trial swim start. So I wouldn't actually start until closer to 8:30. Which means if I pack the car tonight and set the coffee maker, I could sleep until 5:15. This is part of the series that One Step Beyond is sponsoring this year.

I reserve the right to sleep till 9 then read the paper.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

summer days

The summer season is just around the corner, and that's usually around the time I start daydreaming about chucking my office job (ha ha) and heading to the beach to work the beach patrol. Of course, Bri and Tassie would have to go as well. There are plenty of possibilities. We could always retrace my steps and head back to the Ocean City Beach Patrol in New Jersey. But that's a haul, summer rentals are astronomical, and life travels forward, not back. So here are a few local possibilities:
Carolina Beach, NC
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Corolla, NC
Nags Head, NC
Duck, NC
Lack's Beach guards, Myrtle Beach, SC.

Of course, Bri will remind me that we have a mortgage, she has a full-time job, and the economic realities of such a decision are stacked against us, but those are just details. Don't you think it would be fun to head to the beach for a summer?

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

broken beer fridge

Can you imagine the horror when I went to get a beer last night and discovered that our one-month old beer and wine fridge is no longer fridgerating? The compressor burned out. We'll see what sort of customer service we get.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 3 weekend

We had a nice weekend here in NC. I shot down to White Lake on Saturday morning to catch a few of my athletes & friends racing in the White Lake Half. It was windy and hot but people held together well. Then drove the two hours back to Cary, worked a bit, and got ready for the wedding of Aaon Kiefer and Casey Moore. These two are what we in polite society refer to as a "power couple." They are both smart, good-looking, charming, and motivated. They're also very nice folks, which makes the rest of us hate them all the more. :)

We hung out with a variety of folks at the wedding and had a very nice time. I didn't do or say anything embarrassing, which must be some kind of record. I bought a suit for my niece's baptism last month, so wore that again. The pants are already kind of tight, which means my lack of training updates is directly correlated to my lack of training. I am starting to feel a bit re-motivated and am looking to get back into a reasonable routine.

Tentatively planning to run the 50th annual Atlantic City Boardwalk Marathon on October 19 and give a Boston qualifying time a shot. As a 35-39 yr old guy I need to run 3:15.59. I like getting back to the Jersey Shore every once in a while and athletic events are a good excuse.

We'll be hosting a Powerstroke clinic here in Cary on June 28 if anyone is interested in working on their swim form. We're going to record a lot of the session to use as footage in the DVD we're planning to produce. That will be my main 'business' focus for the summer. I'm still planning on racing SOS in September.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Email blogging

So as if being able to write your blog isn't enough, blogger has it set up so that you can fire off an email to your blog and have that posted. That's in case you happen to be at a movie or concert with your friends, and want to be able to tell the fourteen readers who check out your blog, "I'm at a movie with my friends!" Then your readers, three of whom happen to be at the movies with you, can receive that blog update via an RSS feed through their next generation iPhone or 3G Blackberry. Then everyone can talk about how neat technology is and drool on their 2" screens.

Tomorrow I'm off to watch the White Lake Half (Iron-distance) triathlon. I have a few athletes racing and weather should be cooperative. In the PM Bri and I will witness our friends Aaron and Casey tie the knot.

We have primary elections coming up here in NC on May 6. Ron Paul ( is still in the race despite receiving zero press in the mainstream media. You've got to wonder why they would fail to mention that he's still on the ballot. I'm not really sure if he still has a chance, or is just selling books and trying to make a point. The real battle here is between Obama and Clinton. North Carolina doesn't have a libertarian party so I'm registered as an independent. I'm not allowed to vote in both primaries so will have to pick one. I do wish Paul had a shot. You've gotta admit that if you think too much about national debt, fuel issues, biodiesel fallout, war, famine, global warming, ocean ice melting, inflation, conflation, stagflation, and general things-not-so-good, it makes ya want to go back to the playground when life and happiness were defined by the length of our recess, not the breadth of our excess. Ooh, that's deep.