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Blogging Northeast Ohio since 2004

Half a year?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 by Brad

Wow, it's been almost half a year since my last blog post. Between Facebook and my Twitter account, I have not felt the need to post anything here, which it seems is happening with a lot of blogs these days.

So what has been going on for me during that time? Lots of crazy hours at work to get our massive project ready for production. As of a few weeks ago, I am finally off the project which I have been on my entire time at my current company, which is almost 4 years. While I will miss the comfort of being an expert at what I was working on, I am looking forward to new challenges and getting back up-to-date with current technologies (besides a little C#, my last project mostly involved internally developed frameworks and tools).

I am also still continuing with the running. I finally managed to eek out a personal best in a race last month (at the Cleveland Half-Marathon) breaking a string of not-so-great race results. I have another half-marathon coming up in a couple weeks that is part of my trip out west to Seattle and Portland. Following that, I am planning on running the Akron Marathon in the fall. I am also going to do my one annual 5K race again in a few weeks, the Ohio City 5K.

Besides that stuff, I have just being doing stuff around the house. Despite finally getting my big HDTV, I have not been permanently fixated in front of it but have managed to finish some small projects around the house and have jumped into the world of grilling. I think I have mastered the basics at this point, and now need to try doing something more advanced.


coming to an end

Monday, December 29, 2008 by Brad

This year is winding down, and I've been pretty bad at updating my blog. I recently started a Twitter account which, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is sort of like a mini-blog. So that has been fulfilling my need to tell the world the less-than-exciting details of my life. I also added a link along the right side of this blog ('my twitter') which you can expand to view my 5 most recent twitter posts.

I spent most of last week in St.Louis visiting my family. Nothing too exciting besides quality time with the fam. I did try 2 new beers which I thoroughly enjoyed. A big bottle of the Boulevard Long Strange Tripel which was excellent, along with STL's own Schlafly Christmas Ale, which I daresay I enjoyed more than the Great Lakes Christmas Ale (not to say that I'm not still a huge fan of GL and their lovely Xmas ale).

After returning home, I've been trying to offset the holiday binging with some quality workouts. I did 4 miles on Saturday in our lovely 65 degree weather (despite the puddles along the towpath), 6+ miles yesterday on the indoor track at the Twinsburg Rec Center, and 5.25 miles today on the treadmill at my work fitness center, in addition to some quality elliptical time. But of course we brought home a ton of cookies from Mom which I have been unable to avoid, so some of my workouts have been canceled out fairly soon afterwards. But the running will help me get ready to start my training program next month for May's Cleveland Half-Marathon which I've already registered for. Hopefully that will keep my butt moving throughout the winter, and not get as big as it might otherwise.


saved by old times

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by Brad

First off, I just noticed this is post #300 for me. The posts have been kind of sparse as of late, but it is nice to reach a little bit of a milestone like that.

Kristy and I just returned for the North End and their Holiday Beer Dinner. It was a five course meal, with each course paired with a holiday beer. The menu was as follows:

1. Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale w/ Homemade Pretzel with Dipping Sauces (a warm blue cheese sauce and a grainy mustard)

2. Anchor Christmas Ale 2008 w/ Shrimp Bisque

3. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale w/ Venison, Beef, Duck Carpaccio

4. Troegs Mad Elf w/ Pork Medallions with Stuffing and Waldorf Salad

5. Bell's Winter White Ale w/ Pumpkin Creme Brulee

The food was all excellent with the highlights being the delicious Shrimp Bisque, which was served in a clear mug, and the Pumpkin Creme Brulee was amazing. It was like a soft, creamy pumpkin pie. As far as the beers, I enjoyed them all. I think my top was the Mad Elf, a very high ABV offering that is like a belgian strong dark ale, which I had sampled once before and am now definitely a fan (and I found out Troegs, although from nearby PA, is just now started to be distributed in NE Ohio). I also really enjoyed the Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, an amber spiced winter ale from CA.

Overall it was a really fun event, sitting around with a bunch of beer snobs in a communal sort of environment (we shared a table with some strangers which actually worked out nicely), with good service and a great, knowledgeable host. I believe that I heard they plan to hold another event like this in January, which I will definitely be attending.

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real american hero

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 by Brad

This morning I cashed in my extra hour from the time change on Sunday and woke up an hour earlier than usual (5am) in order to get out the door and go vote before work. Kristy & I made it up to the local polling place in Twinsburg by 6:15, at which point there was already a sizeable line even though things did not open until 6:30. It went fairly smoothly, though it always seems like more people than not are unsure as to which precinct they are in which leads to a lot of confusion. By the time I left, the line was probably over an hour wait for the bigger precincts, so I'm glad I rolled out of bed early.

It seems based on all of the polls that there will not be too much drama this year, but you never know. I'm hoping it does not end up being very close so that Ohio and other "battleground states" do not get thrown into the spotlight again for questionable practices and end up with tons of litigation. I am expecting there to be court orders to keep polls open late like there were in the previous election. As long as everything is sorted out and there is someone other than Bush in office during Janauary, I will be happy.


just because

Sunday, November 02, 2008 by Brad

Another weekend is slowly winding down. Things started off with handing out Halloween candy at our house for the first time. Fortunately Kristy did some last minute stocking up, because our initial purchases would not have been enough to cover the large numbers of kids that came by. Strangely things suddenly ended around 7:20, and we had no one until 7:55, some teenagers of course, coming by in hopes of getting everything we had left (sorry kids, I get to keep some for myself). Afterwards, we headed down the street for a little get together one of our neighbors had stopped by to invite us to. We had only met them once before, during a summer "block party", and had gotten along but never followed it up with anything. But we were there for a few hours, had some food & beer and had a really good time. So this time we actually exchanged numbers and emails, so hopefully we will hang out again sometime in the not so distant future.

Saturday I kind of bummed around the house for most of the day, besides a trip to the fitness center to get in a four mile run. I only managed to run 67 miles in the month of October, so I'm hoping to beat that this month and lead into a strong finish to 2008 and a good start into 2009 with my running. My 1,000 mile goal is going to fall way short for the 2nd year in a row. Hopefully my third try will be the charm in '09. In the evening, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden (thanks to my coupon clipping and needing to use a gift card from last Xmas) followed by some furniture shopping in which we found what might be our future dining room table at Macy's. We then headed to Bricco in downtown Akron for a birthday gathering for one of Kristy's friends. It was a pretty cool place, though we had to stand around for over a half hour waiting for them to seat us despite our reservations. Since we had already eaten earlier, we just ordered some appetizers (scallops, and a tasty goat cheese/marinara dip with fried pita). I tried 2 new beers, the Bells Third Coast Old Ale and the Southern Tier Porter, both of which I really enjoyed, particularly the Bells. We also had front row seats to the line of people waiting to get into some "ultra lounge" night club next door for a day-late Halloween party. It seemed that sexy cop & schoolgirl were the choice outfits for the evening.

Today I did next to nothing besides going to the grocery store. Kristy is very under the weather, so I've been hanging out with her a good part of the day. I watched a bit of the Browns game unfortunately, and saw the last rays of hope fade on their season. Hoping this week brings some good news, such as a new President-elect much unlike the guy in office now, and hopefully some more stock market recovery like we saw last week.

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no more birthdays

Monday, October 27, 2008 by Brad

It's been a while since my last post. In the meantime, I turned 30. It was a pretty good birthday, besides the shock of no longer being in my 20s. Kristy & I hit up Melt in Lakewood for some brews, grilled cheese, and deep fried twinkies. My birthday continued into the past week, as she scored tickets to see David Byrne, former singer of one of my all time favorite bands, Talking Heads. It was an awesome show (see review here) with many classics, a lot of energy, and a good crowd. David Byrne put on such a great performance, and it was a real show with dancers and a large band and such. Best show I've been to in a long time. And to round out my birthday, the past Friday we hit up the Fall Beer Fest as the Heinen's in Brecksville. 36+ craft & import beers, gourmet appetizers, cheese & sushi, and a crowd of beer snobs. It was a great event and I got to try many beers which I had never heard of, and found quite a few excellent brews that I hope to enjoy again sometime in the future. It is a great event for only $25, that I highly recommend to all Cleveland-area beer lovers, as I think they have one every 3 months or so.

Other than that, not too much going on. I was initially excited about this year's baseball playoffs, but never ended up watching any. I am very much looking forward to the election being over next week, as I am beyond sick of all things political. I've been hot and cold with my running lately. One week I'll be totally inspired and get in a few great runs, and the next week I'll struggle with getting in just one run for the week. Still trying to break out of this year-long running slump I'm mired in. But hey, I'm married now....I can just let myself go and get fat and out of shape, right?

empty seats

Saturday, October 04, 2008 by Brad

Sorry for the lack of posts. For the past couple of weeks, I've been semi-sick with a cold, which has been extremely annoying. I'm to the point where I almost hope I get full blown sick in hopes that it can finally go away then. These 30-degree temps at night haven't been helping me feel any better. I'm not ready for winter to begin the first week into October.

Kristy did awesome in her half-marathon last Saturday in Akron. She finished in 2:22, which is quite a bit under the 2:30 pace that she targeted with her training program. She is fairly happy with the result, and is already looking forward to her next one, which is still to-be-determined.

I've been trying to catch some of the baseball playoffs, though everything is a disappointment so far except for Tampa Bay. As much as I wanted CC & the Brewers to do well, I oddly ended up feeling slightly happy when I heard that he choked again. It would be a hard pill to swallow if he carried the Brewers on his back to the World Series after not showing up for the Indians last postseason.

Most of this weekend is going to be spent painting in the basement. Our basement is currently an eye-hurting shade of fluorescent green as it was apparently a children's play area for the previous owners. And with the first brush of paint, the conversion of the basement to man cave will begin. I already have what Kristy has termed the "man room", a large 4th bedroom which I've taken over as my office/tv room, but it's time I add a cave to my collection. She can have the rest of the house.

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exact to me

Friday, September 26, 2008 by Brad

Well, I tried. Watching the presidential debate that is. I made it through about a half hour before I could no longer stand it. Both candidates were giving the same canned responses and arguments against the other that we've seen in news clips & commercials a hundred times already. Politics really make me sick, a feeling which has intensified greatly during this election, and all the crap that has been going down over the past week. I'm still going to vote, but it's sad that I can never really find someone to vote for that I like, I just vote more out of greater dislike for the other guy.

It is about my bedtime. Yes, 10pm on a Friday night, how lame. Normally I would stay up later (well, honestly just a little bit), but tomorrow morning my wife (a term I think I just wrote for the first time) is running her first half-marathon @ 7am tomorrow morning in Akron. So for the first time I will be a spectator at a running event, trying to find ways to amuse myself during the 2+ hours I have to stand around. But I am excited for Kristy and this event that she has trained for hard for over the past few months. I'm totally expecting to feel very weird being there tomorrow, not participating. Hopefully it will provide a spark of motivation to get me out of the current running funk in which I have found myself, and maybe I will be out there again competing next year, trying to break my personal best which I set on that same course a year ago.

Pardon me now as I have to go locate my cheerleader outfit to wear tomorrow. Go Kristy!

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end of summer

Monday, September 22, 2008 by Brad

First pitch
First pitch,
originally uploaded by thespacerace.
Yesterday, Kristy and I headed downtown for the final Indians home game of the season. It was bittersweet since we love going to games, and saw the Tribe win their 6th straight decision and move above .500 for the first time since May. But on the flipside, it was the final home game of a season of disappointment, a season that was so promising when we went to see them back on March 31st hammer the Sox, a season in which a number of experts picked them to win it all, and at the very least win the division, instead of finishing 3rd. Hopefully they can recover next year, especially since they have really turned things around the last few months and will most likely have lower expectations to meet.

Before the game, we hit up the Winking Lizard (since sadly GLBC is closed on Sundays), where I enjoyed a couple pints of Paulaner Oktoberfest, the draft special of the month. The weather for the game was awesome. Too bad it probably won't be anything like this next April when I hopefully make it to the opener again.

Saturday went by very fast. Kristy and I headed out to the park to run. Kristy did 11 miles for her last run before this Saturday's Akron half-marathon, which will be her longest run ever. I was dumb and went out and did my own half in rather sad fashion. My right hamstring started cramping in mile 9, but I struggled to the finish in a very bad time. So I am looking forward to being a spectator instead of a participant this Saturday. Hopefully I'll get back in shape someday and make my return to racing.

when i live my dream

Sunday, September 14, 2008 by Brad

We returned late Friday from our honeymoon in Jamaica. It was a lot of fun, and 10 days was long enough to where you really felt away from everything and could let loose and enjoy yourself. It is the longest vacation I've ever taken, and I could get used to doing that more often.

So to use a very cliché saying, tomorrow feels like it is going to be the beginning of the rest of our lives. This weekend flew by, trying to get caught up, unpacked and ready to go back to work. So tomorrow it begins, the routine, going back to work, doing what we do like before, except married. I don't really feel different (besides this ring on my finger which I cannot stop fidgeting with), but tomorrow is really the start of our life together now that things are getting back to normal.

I will try to post soon about how much fun Jamaica was, along with more pictures from the honeymoon. We ended up being without internet access the last few days of the trip, which was actually sort of a good thing, because I didn't need to spend time doing the same thing I can do at home. I have posted a few more wedding pictures today, though I still need to get up ones from the reception. Also, in the mail we received a DVD from our photographer, Rob, with a slideshow of our wedding pictures, which I have posted as a video below:

Kristy & Brad wedding from Brad L on Vimeo.

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Brad, 30, programmer, runner, Cleveland-area suburbanite born & bred.

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