Christmas Post

So it's Christmas. I'm sitting here in my PJs and my Yankees cap at 11:00 AM typing a blog post. It's supposed to be this way, right? Manuela and I opened our presents last night. Santa brought me a new, extendable car broom/scraper (much appreciated), a new shirt (I only have 32 dress shirts), and some other small stuff. Manuela got some tea and some perfume. The kitties got Greenies.

Oh wait, I also got a cool little weather station that has a remote sensor that you put outside.

Merry Christmas!



It's been a while

So, it's been a while (4 months, to be exact) since any of the Paci Brothers Three has posted a thing on the blog. To tell you the truth, I really don't know what I will be posting today.

For the moment, until I feel creative enough to write up some long and winding complaint about something you really don't care about, I will leave you with a new blog: The Daily Sentence of Dave. Have fun trying to figure this guy out...


Marathon Training and Fund Raising

Here we go again. The mileage is starting to stack-up. This past weekend I ran a 15.75 mile out and back course from Watertown, MA to the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge, MA. It was supposed to be a 17 mile course but it wasn't but who cares. I felt great after the run -- the weather was pretty awesome and there were actually water stops. Next Saturday will be an 18 mile course (yet to be determined) but it will probably be the course listed above with an extra leg around the Science Museum to the Boston side of the Charles near MGH.

I purchased a new pair a shoes (which will be my official Chicago Marathon Shoes) and started the painful process of breaking them in this morning on a 3 mile run. October 7th is approaching quickly.

Wish me luck, or at least click the title link and donate some money to my cause...


Free iPhones for Apple employees!

Too bad I'm not an Apple employee. Also, too bad I am locked in to Verizon Wireless until the end of days.

I've been talking about this for forever...

A single line feeding into multiple registers at a store is far more 'fair' than multiple lines at multiple registers. For people's comments on this see here and here. This also fixes the Jackass-at-the-back-of-the-line-rushing-to-the-next-opened-register problem that makes me want to scream.


The RIAA is stupid for different reasons

I don't like the RIAA's legal tactics anymore than the rest of you. It's almost like they took the old James Watt joke and used it as their legal strategy. Can't say it's working for them.
That said, follow this link to Ian Campbell's blog post about why the RIAA's tactics don't really make financial sense.



One thousand, six hundred eighty-three guitar players can't be wrong. Or if they are, I don't wanna be right.

Dvvvv, dvvvv, dvvvvvvvv / Dvvvv, dvvvv dvv-dvv......


Chicago Marathon Fundraising

I am writing to tell you of a personal challenge I have taken on. It's a challenge of physical endurance -- a challenge of making a difference in my community. I will be running for the Arthritis Foundation as a member of the Joints in Motion training team. Our team will be joining Arthritis Foundation teams from across the country to support arthritis research and community-based education programs for men, women and children affected by arthritis. We hope that you will help.

Please visit my web page to join my team or make a secure, online contribution to help me reach my fundraising goal. Arthritis doesn't discriminate -- it affects one in three people, including men, women, teens and even children. People turn to the Arthritis Foundation for information, support and resources -- you and I can help. The Arthritis Foundation has made it easy!

Your generosity ensures that the Arthritis Foundation continues leading the way toward prevention, control and cure of the number one cause of disability. Contributions through special events are vital to providing these services. Together, we can make a difference.

Thank you for your support!


The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

Well, not really. Mr. Gruber over at Daring Fireball is now 50% off my shit list. Why? I have received 1 of the 2 t-shirts I ordered back on January 8th. The quality of the t-shirt kind of sucks -- it's no Beefy-T.

I know, I know, I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Wait!!!! I paid for this horse. I can bitch all I want.



This is a tear jerker just like...

...the US men's hockey team beating the commies in the 1980 Lake Placid games.

Kids on Apple ]['s from early 1980's

Tell me that the second kid who speaks (the girl) isn't a freakin' hoot!

Carter is irrelevant

I've been saying this for years.


I just got carded buying beer!

I'm almost 35! I couldn't find my license I was so flabbergasted! I don't know for sure why I was made to flash my ID, but it probably had to do with a combination of the following - most likely all of them:

I have very short hair.

I was buying Natural Light.

I am dressed like a teenager - wife-beater, button-down-wrinkled-short-sleaved J.Crew shirt, shorts and flip-flops.

I am stunningly handsome and the girl at the counter just wanted my name and address.



Price stability and Coke

How long did the price of a Coke stay the same? Guess. You'll be surprised.

Twitter does have some saving graces

To tell you the truth, I am really not interested in about 95% of the stuff on Twitter. I don't really care what other people are doing...OK, real people. Last year I stumbled upon Darth Vader's blog and couldn't stop laughing. That blog, however, is no longer being updated and I needed a new nerd-humor outlet. I recently found the dark lord himself keeps the universe updated through Twitter.



Marathon, Part Deux: The Race

As much as I would like to spout off about training for the marathon, it's just not very interesting -- just a lot of me bitching about long, dark, cold runs in January and February. Not Pulitzer Prize winning subject matter to say the least.

Race Day. OK, night before, strike that, week before, race day. I am all nerves. (Cue Italian Grandmother saying, "STOP acting like a jackass, you know what you're doing to my nerves? Roll up the window, you'll get an ear-ache!") Manuela wants nothing to do with me -- I am pacing around, not doing anything around the house for fear of getting injured (I milked that one to the bone) and being a general pain in the ass.

Manuela suggests that it would be better if I went out to my buddy Craig's house in Hopkinton the night before the race -- alone. Fine. So I go out to Craig's house and hung out with him and his wife and ate pasta and kvetched about what I was going to wear for the marathon. The weather forecast was for 20mph head winds, pouring rain, and the temperature was to be in the low 40's. I could deal with the rain and the temp, but not the head wind.

Anyhow, God steps in, stops the wind and the rain and raises the temperature to a balmy 45 degrees. Awesome. I mosey out of Craig's house around 8AM to walk the mile or so to the muster point in the pouring rain. I know I said it stopped, but it really hadn't, yet. Besides, I had a 30 gallon Hefty bag over me, so I was dry -- except for my feet.

Get to the muster point and am directed to the Middle School Gym where it's warm and dry. Wait, you say, weren't most of the people out in a field freezing and getting soaked? Why yes they were! You see, it pays to know people. I got my bib number from a friend who works at one of the sponsors of the Marathon and as such I was technically a VIP runner. One of the benefits of being a VIP was having a dry, warm place to hang out before the race starts.

I'll skip the bagel eating and water drinking and excess urination part and skip to the race.

It's a little daunting being with 20,000 people about to run 26.2 miles. I felt a little boxed in while moving from the gym to the starting line. Everywhere you looked there were people - fat people, skinny people, hot girls, not-so-hot girls, athletes, and people who were like me - first time marathon runners whose friends still don't believe they could run a marathon.

The pack moves forward toward the starting line. I cross it at about 10:41 AM and am off. Off to what, I don't quite know. It's hard -- everyone is jockying for position and there's nowhere to go.

The hardest part about running for a long distance is keeping your mind occupied. An unoccupied mind will taunt you, try to get you to walk, or worse, quit. I wasn't going to let that happen.

Here's a mini-diary of what my mind was doing at various points in the race:

Mile 1: WTF am I doing?
Mile 2: No really, WTF am I doing?
Mile 3: 23 more freakin' miles of this?
Mile 8: Framingham is a dump.
Mile 10: Natick is not a bad town...16 more miles.
Mile 12: Wellesley College... (each and every girl hot or not had a sign saying "Kiss Me" so I did.)
Mile 16: ouch. 10 more miles.
Mile 17: hey, that's my brother up ahead... (caught up with him and ran the rest in thus killing my time as he was a shell by mile 20)
Mile 18: the hills begin.
Mile 21: the hills end...Boston College has some hot girls...
Mile 23: Dooger jumps in and runs along with my brother and me.
Mile 25: Let this shit end!
Mile 25.69: Zoltan yells out encouraging words...sort of.
Mile 26: Manuela jumps in and runs the last .2 miles with me, dooger, and my bro.
Mile 26.2: The End

All in all it was an incredible experience. So much so that the next day after the marathon, I registered to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007.

Am I nuts?


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...I still don't have my Daring Fireball T-Shirt. Mr Gruber is now officially on my shit list. (Unless, of course, he provides me with a non-cotton Daring Fireball T-Shirt to wear in the Chicago Marathon.)


I promised, now I deliver (part 1)

I promised that I would write more about my marathon experience. Basically the key to running a marathon and finishing it is practice. Without getting the miles on the feet there is no way in hell to finish 26.2 miles and still be alive. I decided back in September 2006 that I would run the Boston marathon in April 2007 -- that's 7 months. Mind you, I don't think I had run more than 2 miles in 10 years, seriously. After a little research, I found a web site with a number of training regimens for beginner runners -- all of which seemed a bit, no extremely, daunting. Where was I going to find time to run 4 days a week?

The program was 18 weeks long, so I counted back 18 weeks from marathon day and found that my real training was to start in late December -- oh joy cold weather. However, before I could even start the real training, I had to get into shape. The key here is to start slow, really slow. I started by running 2 miles on the treadmill 2 times a week. Walking is ok. Walking is expected. Walking is welcome. A few weeks later, I decided to try and do 5 miles -- out to the Nahant circle and back. I got out there doing a walk run combo and came back all walk. I just kept at it until I could run the full 5 miles.

Take it slow, build on it and the next thing you know, 5 miles is nothing. However, you still dread the coming long runs. First long run was 8 miles. Then it was 10 miles. Then 15 miles.

At this point it becomes a mental game. There's not a lot to do while running except run. And think. And ignore the pain and that voice on your shoulder asking you what the hell you're doing. My longest training run was 21 miles and that was in March.

That's all for now.

Part 2 will come along in a while...

I really can't believe it!

One week ago I was nervously walking around the middle-school gym in Hopkinton, MA waiting to be shuffled through the pouring rain to the start of the marathon. I promised back on 4/16 that I would write more about my experience and I will, just not now. I've got a sick kitty at home to take care of and my better half is leaving for France for a week and the Yankees got swept by the Sox.

I might as well provide a non-update on my Daring Fireball non t-shirt experience. The update is...there is no update.



It's over...

I finished my first marathon in 4:45:47. Not too bad. I would've done better if I didn't wait for my brother to catch up all the time. All in all it was a fun time. I know, who thinks running for almost 5 hours could be fun? More later.



Bib Number 21452

That's right - I have an official number for the 111th Running of the Boston Marathon this coming Monday, April 16th. The weather should be downright CRAPPY. I am not too worried - it would be a lot worse for me if it were 85F and sunny as I have trained for this race in the freakin' New England cold. Running when it's 15F out kind of sucks.

For those of you interested, I will NOT be wearing my Daring Fireball T-shirt as I DO NOT HAVE ONE YET (and it's cotton so it would suck to run in anyway.) Jeez, K-Tel didn't take this long to deliver my hits of the 80's LP.


It's a good thing...

...people are thinking about a code of ethics for bloggers (not really); it's even better we have a blog warning level scale now!

(shamelessly taken from a link on Daring Fireball. Oh yeah, John, WHERE THE HELL IS MY DARING FIREBALL T-SHIRT?)

paci.blog goes International

If you look in the lower right hand corner of this blog you will see a badge from Sitemeter which gives me some idea of who hits this blog and a little info an how they get here. If you search for "GDP Density Map" on Google (click here) you will see that a post George made on this blog is listed as #3 on Google! Anyhow, Sitemeter tells me that someone in the Islamic Republic of Iran was interested in GDP Density Maps, Googled it, and then followed link #3 to my, er our, blog! I am so honored to have such an international audience.

Who am I kidding? It was probably Nancy Pelosi looking for ammunition to undermine US foreign policy in the Middle East when she was making her unscheduled (imaginary) appearance in Tehran.



Twitter without friends is kind of boring

Twitter without friends (or with very few friends as is my case) is just about as interesting as life without friends (or with very few friends as is not my case.) I know I am ADD, but I don't know if either I'm not ADD enough or too ADD to comprehend how I am supposed to pay attention to Twitter and forsake all of my other responsibilities. Maybe Twitter doesn't have the ADD draw that I need.

Anyone have any suggestions for either 1) making friends on Twitter or 2) approaching Twitter in a different way as to make it actually interesting.

I don't know why I am asking you out there. Jen is already on Twitter and understands it about as well as I do, though she has friends; Stefan is on it and he is one of my two friends (Jen is the other); my brothers might be too ADD to understand Twitter or it's on a completely different plane of thinking and they therefore cannot comprehend. Breedo? Nah, he's too mad at me to understand Twitter. Does anyone else out there read this freakin' blog? Maybe if I mention Twitter again it will boost my Google ad revenue. No?



Will you be my friend?

Ok. So in my last post I lamented that I have no time nor interest in building a friend list on Twitter. That has changed. I want to see what I can make of blogging for the ADD set. I also want to prove to myself that I am not, in fact, too old for the Internet.

Also, I'd liked to welcome a new reader to this blog. His name is Stefan S., he's from Washington State, wants a pink Zune, and comments more than anyone else on this blog.

Maybe I should be more concerned with getting regular readers on this blog before I get people reading my near-worthless Twitter feed.



Twitter? I don't even...well, you get it.

I don't get it. I really don't. Am I getting too old for this Internet thing? I get Digg - I don't like Digg. It's like a snarky Slashdot if you can imagine that. I hate the fact that when I read it in the RSS feed and click the article link it takes me to the freakin' comments and not the actual article where I can see what the blurb was referring to. Am I being old? I'm only 34, damnit! Now there's Twitter which is basically blogs for people who are ADD. I first heard of Twitter on TWIT (This Week in Tech, Leo Leporte and John Dvorak and Kevin Rose and some hot sounding chick and some British Guy, etc.) and don't really know if there's a relationship between the two. It sounds like there should be, but I don't think there is. Did I mention I feel too old for the Internet? I don't want to be, it's just that I don't have enough time to be up on the latest and greatest all the freakin' time. I hate MySpace because it insults my sense of order. I don't think I am alone on that. That said, I signed up for an account on Twitter just to see what all of the fuss was about. I'll probably forget I have an account there in a few days. I don't feel like publicizing my Twitter page and then feeling responsible to my friends to keep it up to date. Who has time for this crap?

Oh well. Off I go...

(I'll probably make mention of this on Twitter...)



I know I am not supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth...

But what the hell am I supposed to do with this? I went to Microsoft's Vista launch event back a few months and dropped the 1 business card I had into one of those fish-bowl things. As I never win when that happens, I forgot all about it. So, this afternoon, Jerry from the mail-room drops by with a package for me. I have been eagerly awaiting my Daring Fireball T-shirt* and was thinking, "OMG! OMG! it's here!!!" only to be shocked to see a freakin' Zune in the envelope. I use a Mac at home. Zune doesn't work with the Mac.

Now before all 1 of my readers out there go, "Oooooo! GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!" the answer is "No."


*John Gruber if you're reading this because you Googled yourself, could you please respond to my inquiry of where the hell my Daring Fireball T-shirts are that I ordered back in January. I wanted one so I could wear it while running the Boston Marathon, but that will probably not be possible since 1) I don't have my t-shirts which I ordered back in January, 2) you've been sitting on my money since January, and 3) running in a cotton t-shirt kind of sucks.

UPDATE: Apparently I am not the only one who has yet to receive their t-shirt. Look here and here. I know the links are to the same blog but hey, it looks better with multiple links to validate my claim that "others" are having this issue.

UPDATE 2: I knew there was another blog out there that would make mention of the mystery of the missing Daring Fireball T-shirts! I wonder if Mr. Gruber is reading up on his customer service gaffe. Come on, all we wanted was a freaking response to our inquiries. Is that too much to ask?

UPDATE 3: I found another post on a blog about the great t-shirt debacle at Daring Fireball. We just want our freaking t-shirts. I bet Fake Steve Jobs got his ahead of the rest of us who've been waiting forever and a day...


Viking Kittens

Viking Kittens is classic. Breedo, I am sure you'll enjoy this...



It's been a while since I've posted anything to the blog, my bad. It's been just too hectic around here and blah blah blah. Anyway, click the title above and read away. Two things to note: the 1956 Jaguar is beautiful and the woman in the SUV is an idiot.


Remastering, or Remaking?

I noticed something strange while watching a Star Trek (the real, original one) rerun a few weeks ago: the special effects seemed much more modern.

Well, it turns out they're upgrading the special effects as they remaster and re-release the old episodes.

Aesthetics aside (the CGI stuff they're adding is much darker and grayer than the colorful, downright 1960s palette of the rest of the show), I just have a queasy feeling about the enterprise.... Wuggedy special effects are, for me, one of the charms of the original series (as with Doctor Who).


Children's Hospital

Maybe I'm going soft or something, but this facet of a new children's hospital made me go "Aaawww...".

It's part of a much larger piece, made up of famous or smart people answering the question, "What are you optimistic about in 2007?" On the same page, Brian Eno has a very funny entry; unfortunately, the humor is unintentional.


GDP Density Map

OK, it's a little nerdy, but I think this GDP density map is pretty cool. Even just eyeballing the US part led to surprises (and don't forget to check out Canada).

The following text talks about a somewhat-related natural experiment to see how much social institutions have to do with economic development.