Saturday, December 31, 2005

2006 Resolution & Goals

My New Years resolution os the same as last year, don't smoke. But I am going to add to it this year, run a 10 km.

My goals are:
Bike 2000 km (this year I did 1800)
Run 700 km (this year I will finsh at 380)

Those are really just arbitrary numbers. If I don't meet them, I won't really care. If I blow them away, no biggy either.

What I really want to accomplish is:
Run a 10 km the first week of January. Completed January 5, 2006.
Run 5 km in under 20 minutes. Ran 20:19 August 17, 2006.
Run 10 km in under 45 minutes. Completed March 30, 2006 (43:46 - 4:23/km).
Complete the Windsor Triathlon in 1 hour 30 minutes (10 minutes faster). Completed August 13, 2006, in 1hr40min.
Complete an Olympic length triathlon (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run). Not completing due to new job training.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

What were you doing...

31 years ago today?

I was busy, you know, being born. Not that I remember, but they tell me that it happened. Ryan Seacrest was also born 31 years ago today. That's pretty distinguished company.

Now would be a good time to celebrate my birth. Tomorrow we can all think about Jesus.

Titcombe out!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Busting My Chops

The Christmas rush for me is over. If it's not done now, it's too late. It was a pretty typical mad rush of going to the mall at the same time as everyone else in Windsor, trying not to kill anyone, dealing with supposed Canadians not knowing how to drive in the snow, trying not to kill anyone. This week at work has been pretty insane. We are closed all next week (sweet!), so we're trying to get everything finished up. This meant that I had to go to Toronto yesterday to pick up an ultra-rush job, so that it could in our customers hands by the end of the day yesterday. I left at 6 am, made my pick up at 9:30 and was back at the shop by 1 pm. A nice little 760 kms round trip. I was exhausted about an hour later. Add to all that being out serenading with the band 7-8 extra times during the last two weeks. But I enjoy that, it doesn't make me want to kill anyone. Which is a good thing.

Since I can remember, going out serenading with the Salvation Army Band at the Kettles is just simply part of Christmas. It wouldn't be the same if I didn't do that. The year I moved to Windsor is the only year I can remember not doing any serenading. Our band has taken it's lumps over the past few years. We've had more than a dozen people move away or leave the band for various reasons (some as crazy as having a baby!), which has whittled our group down to eight members and left me in charge. I'm a little reluctant to be "bandmaster", I prefer the term "acting bandmaster", because that puts my BFA (Theatre) to good use. All you need for a solid serenading group is four parts, right now our weakest link is the first part, cornet. We've got a couple of young guys who do an excellent job on Sundays, but going out and playing for over an hour straight is too much to ask of them.

Short aside, for anyone not familiar with brass instruments. Two basic things to understand how a brass instrument works: 1. The smaller the instrument, the smaller the mouthpiece. 2. The smaller the instrument, the more back pressure you feel on your embouchure. I'm used to playing a relatively small mouthpiece, the tenor horn, which has some back pressure, but nearly as much as a cornet. Switching from a larger instrument to a smaller one is hard. Although switching from small to large is also hard, because you have to increase your lung capacity. Now I'm getting too technical...

So that left me, not a natural cornet player, to pick up the slack and carry the tunes for the extra gigs. Last week we played 5 of 6 days, this week we had two more. Most of the serenading we do is for an hour and by the end of it my lips were pretty dead.

So that's it. All that's left is the travelling. I'm done.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Brush with His Greatness

We've all had the experience. Being at the right place, at the right time, bumping into a celebrity, a real honest to goodness superstar. My favorite experience is the fact that I was in a movie with Christopher Reeve,Street Smart. Okay, so were 400 of my classmates (our school was used in the background), but during several takes, I walked right beside Superman. I had a few other brushes with celebrities, but that's my favorite one. It was pretty sweet.

My personal all-time favorite celebrity is Wayne Gretzky. He is THE Great One. As you've probably heard, his mother past away on Monday, in his hometown of Brantford, On. This is where Sue's sister, Lynn, and her family live. Steve (my brother-in-law) once bumped into Walter Gretzky, almost literally, in the local grocery store. Walter did stop to sing a song with my niece and did shake Steve's hand. I'm sure you've already guessed the ending of this story, but I'll tell all the same.

Steve and Lynn were at the Keg for Steve's company Christmas party. They were getting ready to leave the restaurant and one of Steve's coworkers said to him, "Wayne Gretzky is here right now." Steve was like, "Oh sure, we know he's in town, but what are the odds that he's here right now." Just as they were about to head out the door, here comes The Great One. Walking right toward Steve, close enough to be within arms reach. Lynn saw him too. Of course, Steve being a man of great politeness and thoughtfulness, he didn't say anything. However, the minute they got home he called to tell me.

Although I would have wanted to say something to him, I'm sure I would have been paralyzed in awe. And hopefully, I would have had the tact to respect his mourning.

Who have you met?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Darth Vader, Sissy Lord

As long as I can remember, I have always been a big Star Wars fan. Like, we're talking, toys still in the boxes big. In fact, going to see Star Wars in the theatre in 1977, is the first memory that I have that I can place in time. We went with good friends who lived down the street, the McIntyres, and I can still remember the trash compactor scene like it was yesterday. Yes, it's true, only a few years ago I did receive "Ultimate Hair Amidala" and it is also true that she is still in the box. Although, while Sue was pregnant I decided that if we were to have a girl, when she was old enough, she could have Amidala. Three more years Darcy, and she's all yours!

But the latest trilogy really soured my taste for the "galaxy far, far away..." Then, as previously posted, George Lucas went out and ruined Return of the Jedi with a re-edit. Episode III "Revenge of the Sith", was supposed to be the unveiling of how Anakin became so evil and turned into the ultimate villain, Darth Vader, a Sith Lord. It would have been better titled "Revenge of the Sissy" as Anakin turns out to be nothing more intimidating than a cry-baby with some wicked sword skills and the ability to make things float. A nice party trick, but not evil enough to rule the universe, if you ask me.

Turns out that art was only imitating life. The "actor", and that is being used VERY loosely, that played Anakin recently chased a heckler off a movie set for yelling out that he had ruined Star Wars.

Yes, he was terrible, but (and I can't believe I'm writing this) you can't blame Hayden for everything. After all, Lucas is the one who cast him, wrote the juvenile script and put the whole package together.

Booooo, George Lucas, boooooo. You've ruined Star Wars.

ps: I was not saying "Booo-urns."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Naughty and Nice

Sue found a cute little game to see if you are on which side of Santa's list you are on this year. She thinks it's faulty, because I ended up on the nice side.

This picture is indisputable visual proof that neither Sue, nor Darcy, were good enough this year. I'm shocked that they are the only two listed as naughty on the girls side.

Being born so close to Christmas and being named after St. Nicholas, gives me the inside track on this kind of stuff.

Monopoly = One person rules or recipe for divorce?

My favorite sister, Stef, sent me my birthday present. Since I'll be spending a good portion of my birthday, the 24th, in airports, I opened it early. It's "Canada-opoly", a Canadianized version of Monopoly. Which looks cool, all the properties are Canadian, you can own the CN Tower, instead of getting sent to jail, you get snowed in, a bunch of hockey references, all very Canadian. What made me laugh the hardest was that in the middle of the board, in tiny type, it says "Manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio." I'm glad to know that we, as Canadians, couldn't even produce the thing ourselves. Beeeauuuttti, eh? Sue comment was, "I hope we can play this without getting a divorce."

Why is this a recipe for divorce? When I moved to Windsor, before we were married, Sue had a terrible, low paying job and I was a student working part time. We didn't have any money. While we're now married and our jobs have changed, we still don't have any money...

Since we were never able to go out, we decided to buy a board game and entertain ourselves that way. We got Monopoly and played it all the time. There were some really terrific battles, once I even took a picture of the board because pretty much everything had been built up and there was no way either of us could lose. But, you might be saying, that is hardly the point of Monopoly. And this is where the battle left the game board and came into real life.

My understanding of the game Monopoly is that everyone is trying to monopolize the property to put the others players out of business. Hence, MONOpoly. It's a game, there is one winner and everyone else loses. During the game in question, I had the upper hand and was looking to MONOpolize the property and put Sue on skid row. She was trying to stay alive, but I wouldn't accept the deals she was offering. She took that personally and we got into a huge domestic about how, "if you're going to treat me like this in a game, then you're going to treat me like this in life." We never finished that game. I left that night and the game stayed set up on the only table Sue had in her apartment. We didn't speak about it until T H R E E days later, when we decided that it would be good to take a break from Monopoly for a while. A few years later, Sue's brother Brian was in town, so we figured that it would safe to try it with a third person. But once again things did not exactly go well. For the record, I have yet to put Sue out of business in real life.

We'll give this version a shot at some point (I also have the Star Wars version, with cool little pewter figurines as the players), but let the records show that if things get ugly, it's all Stef's fault.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

An English Language Update

According to Darcy, all fruit, round Christmas Tree ornaments and anything shape likewise will be henceforth be known as, "Appull."

Go back to your day now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Amazing Race

This is our one weakness when it comes to reality shows. It concluded the other night, with the final three groups working their way through, my home town, Montreal. One conclusion that I came to is that my sister, Stef, is not exagerating when she says that the taxi drivers there are morons. All the groups has to go to the underground city to find one clue, then to McGill Arena (at the MacDonald Campus) or the Morgan Arboretum (incidentally, I used to run there) to do one of two skill testing events, then to the American pavillion of Expo '67 for another clue, before doing some trapeze and then searching all of the seats at the Big Owe for their departure time.

The Weavers got the absolute most unknowledgable driver ever. He got them downtown and then went to the wrong arena (a somewhat understandable mistake). But it seemed like he didn't even know that McGill had two campuses. He had to call for directions to the Expo '67 site and wasn't even sure if he was dropping them off at the right spot. Somehow, this team made it first to the "Sttaaadey Oolympickay", but got all huffy and almost gave up when they couldn't find the departure time.

So is there a test these drivers have to take? If so, shouldn't they have to pass it?

As a note, it's worth mentioning that I picked the winning team, the Linz Family, on the very first show. It was four siblings, one girls and three guys. They were young, fast, strong and had a lot of fun. They had no really weak member. We Titcombes would fit that mold very nicely. Throw in our experience travelling and Stef's insane ability at languages and I'm sure we would have been right there in the end.

The coolest thing is what these four did with the million dollars they won. They are four of seven siblings. So they gave their parents half the money and split the other half evenly between all seven. That's doing it for the family.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

One Ring to Get Resized

This year I've lost weight, like at least 15 lbs. Over the last three years I'm down a total of 29 lbs. From my heaviest, a chunky 188, to my current 159. It's not like I've been trying experimental weight loss pills, I stuck to the classic methods of eating well and exercising. The latter having the most emphasis, almost to the point of obsessive, but not yet. This year I biked 1813.7 kms, according to my bike computer, I swam over 6 kms this summer and so far this year I've run 340 kms. I'll end up just being right around 400 kms when the year is done. If I'm one or two kilometres short, I may have to go out on New Year's Eve.

I've noticed the weights loss all the normal areas. My pants are loose, my belts are tighter, my face is trimmer. But one of the biggest differences is in my hands. So much so that my wedding ring doesn't fit, it's so loose that it falls off all the time. So I took my ring in to get resized last night. They are shrinking it by full size, I don't really know how much that is, but it sounds like a lot. I keep feeling my finger and thinking that I've lost it. Why couldn't I just have one of those cool rings like Frodo? It always seemed to adjust in size for whomever was carrying it. Plus, then I could do that freaky vanishing thing!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Word of the week.

This is starting to feel like Sesame Street. But there's a reason for that.

This weekend's choice word was, "No." She answered that to every imginable question, including, "Darcy, do you want to eat chocolate?" "Noo."

She also came out with a few "Yeah!" at the right times. "Darcy do you want to go see your friend?" "Yeah!", and she clapped her hands.

But the winner of the word of the week award, for the second consecutive week, was "ELMO!"

I've seen more Elmo then I really care to, but there is nothing on earth that captures her attention like that little red monster.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sue's Super Duper Race Report!

Feel free to read this. She did great. It was awesome to see her come down that finishing stretch, totally pushing it the whole way. I was almost as excited as her.

I am very proud of her.

Race Day!

Well today was the Santa Shuffle, in London. So it was an early morning, 6 am rise, eat, get half dressed for the race (base layer only), get D up and ready, leave at 6:55, pick up Lorne at 7:05 and hit the road.

The weather was calling for a lot of snow overnight in London, but the drive from Windsor had nothing on the 401. Until we past the sign for London, then there was about a foot and it looked like one single snow cloud was in the sky, right over downtown, where we were headed.

Once we were in London, Sue drove and I finished getting dressed to run. It was cold. Easily -15C, way colder than it's been in Windsor yet, but there wasn't any real significant wind. So we figured it wouldn't be too bad. Once we got there, Chris and Jake found us pretty easily and we started to realize that there was a lot of snow on the ground. They had over 20 cm overnight and were trying to get the sidewalks cleared.

Somehow, during the week, I remembered that last year for Christmas, Uncle Bob had given all the boys this sort safety ice grippers (remember the overwhelming stench of rubber?). So I needed to find them. Thursday night I spent going through boxes in the shed with a flashlight and in the very last box that I opened, there they were! Now, if there were bad running conditions, I may have an advantage.

Since the race is more of a 'fun run' then an Olympic event, it was pretty informal. There were about 300 people participating. Both runners and walkers, which made for a crowed course on very poorly plowed sidewalks. Jake and I started near the front, but still had some really slow traffic to get around in the first 1/2 km. The spikes, which the guys were claiming as illegal (I said that it's not illegal to be prepared), were of no real advantage. As the race progressed most of the bad spots turned to slush, but all four corners were tough to navigate (more about that in a minute) spikes or not. We exchanged the lead a couple of times in the first lap, then I led two laps, then he led the forth and at the beginning of the fifth lap. But for the entire race we were within arms length of each other. We lapped Lorne and Sue starting our third lap, their second. Then we corralled Chris towards the end of either our third or forth lap. We weren't setting any speed records with the course being as it was, we were at about 20 minutes through four laps.

Into the fifth lap and things started to heat up, not literally, it was still really cold. With so much traffic out there we kept yelling "LEFT LEFT LEFT!" Which to runners means, "I'm about to pass you on your left." I did hear one lady say, "Oh our left, not theirs." For the record, my left is on the same side as her left. With Jake leading, he did most of the calling out. We caught Lorne again half way through our last lap and coming into the final corner we caught Sue again. Jake got by her right before the corner and this is where I made a big blunder. I thought, for a split second, about cutting inside to get by her, but I knew I had to stay on her left. Of course, with the split second delay, I pretty much bumped right into her and slowed right down. Thankfully, I didn't knock her over, or I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be here now to write this! I don't think that this had any effect on the outcome, but Jake was now about twenty feet ahead and we both started to really pick up the pace. I got back within arms length about 50 feet from the end, but that was as close as I could make it. Jake won, he gets the Nano, I was a step behind him. He said later that if the line had been ten feet further, I would have beat him. He could hear my spikes coming hard and was really worried. It was an excellent race. I'm disappointed to lose, but not too much because I know we were so close.

Our time was about 24:30, which seemed really slow to us, almost a 5 minute kilometre. But with the bad conditions, wasn't a huge shock. Anyway, I checked the distance on Gmap pedometre and came to realization that we had actually run further! Check out the course that I mapped out, we went almost 5.6 km! Which puts out pace at 4:24, which is closer to what it felt like.

I think part of the reason I didn't beat Jake is that I spent a lot of time thinking about what he was doing and not thinking about what I should be doing to take control. I kept saying to myself, "Stay a couple of steps behind him." Unfortunately for me, that is exactly how the race ended. I should have been focusing on how I felt and how I could have taken the lead in the final lap and done the work to stay ahead. Being behind, I never got to see what kind of pain he was in, and he told me that he was hurting, that I really pushed him in the end. Next time I'll take more control.