Sunday, August 31, 2008

End of August Update (A Series of Interconnected Words)

Yeah, sure, BillyBlog has been trudging along. Just like BillyBlog killed my journal (which exists in its papery world like a wispy wraith), so, too, BillyBlog seems like the lost child of my thought process, Tattoosday having nearly eclipsed it in significance.

But there are still many of you loyal readers who check back every so often to see if I've scribbled anything new.

If you've visited during the summer, you may have followed my ambitious 41-day consecutive bike trek in honor of my 41st birthday, from July 3 to August 12, 2008.

Well, a funny thing happened. I kept riding. Melanie gets some credit here, she convinced me not to stop. So, as of today, I have extended my consecutive day streak of riding the Raleigh to 60 days. And today on the sixtieth day, I passed 505 miles. In other words, I have ridden enough since my birthday to pedal past Cleveland.

What else is new?

Shayna's new favorite show is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She had her first Fall soccer practice on Friday and her first game in the new Bantam division of the 68th Precinct Youth Council soccer league will be next Saturday. Hopefully, we'll have some new GSD (Gratuitous Soccer Dad) posts in the months to come.

Jolee is about to start Seventh grade. 'Nuff said.

And we are approaching the three-year anniversary of BillyBlog (disregard those back-dated posts).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Produce Stories

Hi all.

Check out this blog called "Produce Stories" (or click the title).

I met the author in the course of doing a post for Tattoosday. She has fascinating tattoos. Check them out here.

Produce Stories is subtitled "If fresh vegetables and fruits weren't so healthy, my escalating obsession with them might not be. This is a record of all the produce I buy from various greenmarkets, what I make with it (and how), and what everything tastes like."

Now that may not sound like it's everyone's cup of tea, but I find it very interesting and know there are some of you out there among the loyal BillyBlog followers that might also enjoy the tales. Plus, you might pick up a good recipe or two.

Anna, who writes "Produce Stories," is formerly from Central California (SLO) and a graduate of Reed College in Oregon. I think I related well to her similar liberal arts education and her classics-inspired tattoos.

Go check her out and maybe you'll find yet another hidden gem in the blogosphere!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thirty-four Years Ago Today (or Tomorrow, but Probably Today)

It has long been a tale of family lore: Billy's first major league baseball game.

Earlier this month, I attended a wild one at Yankee Stadium (Yankees 14, Angels 9 - read about it here.)

The historical nature of the game (most likely my last one at the "old" Yankee stadium) got me a thinking, especially with my daughters in tow. So I hopped on the web and did a little research.

But before I continue, a generous cousin took Shayna and me to another wild one this past Sunday (Yankees 15, Royals 6) and we had completely awesome seats, so this past Sunday was my last game at the old Yankee Stadium (recap here).

Now, scroll back to another time: I was 7 years old and visiting my dear young dad (who would some day become The Ancient One, Blessed Be He). We had taken a break from summer in Springfield, Illinois, and were visiting my Grandma Martha Cohen in Southern California. We went to an Angels-Tigers game at "The Big A," the original stadium for the team then known as the California Angels.

Here's what I remember: it was a pitcher's duel, the stuff that excites grown-ups but bores little seven-year old boys. The game ended 1-0. The collective memory of me and my pops had the Tigers losing 1-0. Or maybe winning 1-0. I also remember a line drive foul ball coming right toward me at a million miles an hour, but somehow being miraculously diverted into the loge section above us Or we may have been in loge and it could have been an upper deck. Mickey Lolich pitched for the Tigers. Frank Tanana for the Angels. Or so we thought.

Fresh from the euphoria of the Angels loss at the hands of the Bronx Bombers, I went a digging in the cyber-archives.

Amazing what you find on line! There it is: Monday, August 19, 1974. Angels 1, Tigers 0. Winning pitcher: Frank Tanana. Losing pitcher: Fred Holdsworth? What?

And then you look at the play-by-play: a pitcher's gem indeed. The game ended in the bottom of the ninth after a lead-off single, a sacrifice, an intentional walk, a passed ball (moving both runners into scoring position, and then another intentional walk to load the bases, and then pinch runner Mickey Rivers scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Winston Llenas.

Game summary here.

But I am more impressed by who else I saw play that night...

For the Tigers, Al Kaline, Ron LeFlore, and the original third baseman named A-Rod, Aurelio Rodriguez (name the baseball player with all five vowels in his first name). Sad news, I just learned he died in 2000.

For the Angels, Denny Doyle, Bruce Bochte, Bobby Valentine and Frank Robinson.

But I had swore we saw Lolich pitch for Detroit. But I was more certain Tanana was there.

The next night, however, was more memorable. Maybe I saw that game instead?

It was Lolich. Against Nolan Ryan. Detroit won 1-0. Both pitchers went all 11 innings. And Ryan struck out 19 batters. And lost. Can you imagine?

No, it had to be the Tanana game. I would have remembered Ryan and 19 K's. Check out this box.

I called my father. He believes we saw Lolich-Ryan, but that it wasn't extra innings. I remember Tanana. But I was 7 and he was 37. Whose memory is more reliable? I can't imagine dear old dad having such a great month that both Nixon resigned and the Tigers won a game, despite fanning
nineteen times.

Of course, once he reads this, he'll remember who else was there and start making some phone calls. Or maybe he won't.

To you, Dad, I issue this challenge....tell us once and for all which game it was.....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gold Medal Performance

In honor of Nastia Liukin's gold medal in the women's all-around competition in gymnastics today, I give you a performance from Pearl Jam at Madison Square garden on June 25. I'm waiting for some Liukin/Pearl Jam fan to create their own clip video of their song "Lukin". The problem is, the song is shorter than most of her routines....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Please Join Me in Feeling Old

Forget my age. Remember my daughter Jolee?

She is twelve years old today.

You can join me in wishing her a happy birthday over at her blog, I think
this week it's called The Wonderful Life of Jo-Jo the Cooliest, at

Happy Birthday Jolee!

UPDATE: So, I was bemoaning my daughter's advanced age to my friend Brian, who gave me his Canadian perspective. "Look on the bright side," he wrote, "Turning 12, she will shortly see you as being approximately 100 years old. But then after a few years, you will appear to be more reasonable, etc., so that in effect you will soon shift from being perceived as 100 yrs old to merely being your actual age."

Brian brilliantly brought it all home: "In other words, perceptions of you in years to come will be that you are getting significantly younger."

This makes me happy, although I am reminded that I am perceived as 100 years old!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's More Tiring - Riding a Bike for 41 Consecutive Days, or Blogging About It?

The answer of course is "yes".

I'm sure many of you are curious to know whether I biked this morning.

Despite exhaustion at staying up to watch all of the men's and gymnastics team events on NBC, I did manage to get my sleeo-deprived okole up and rode the bike to work, another 11.7 miles to work. The streak continues!

As for BillyBlog, give us a little space while we recover and let me plug Tattoosday, which is going strong (over 28 thousand hits since June 1). The summer has certainly improved the selection of ink from which to choose, and I have been busy writing about cool ink over
there. Go check it out here.

Thank you.

UPDATE: What can I say? I rode home too. 12.16 miles for a total of 23.86 miles on the day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

41 Days

Today I celebrated being 41 years and 41 days old by completing my 41st consecutive day of riding my bike.

Thank you for accompanying my journey on BillyBlog.

I rode 6.7 miles today, bringing my 41-day total to......

341.38 miles.

I averaged 8.33 miles per day over this time, thanks to some big rides offsetting all the 6 and 7-mile days.

And between this morning and tomorrow, I will decide whether I will continue just to see how many consecutive days I will ride.

But for the purposes of BillyBlog, the journey ends today. I will leave you this morning with one more sunrise from the pier:

and instead of a photo from 4.1 miles, I will leave you with some video from a spot on the Shore Promenade that became all too familiar to me:

Thanks again for following along!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Forty Days and, Well, Uh, Forty Days

The penultimate day of my 41-day challenge brought me a cool, crisp 65-degree morning and cloudless skies.

It certainly is darker at 5:30 in the morning than it was forty days ago.

At 4.1 miles:
Finished with 7.17 for the morning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

BillyBlog Plays 52-Card Pickup (3 for the price of 1)

Back on August 8, prior to my bike wipeout, I stumbled upon a plethora of playing cards on the 68th Street Pier in Brooklyn. At least two decks had been dispersed, and I grabbed a sample of each deck for my game:

That's the Six of Hearts and the Eight of Clubs.

And then, this morning, just before the pier, another deck had been scattered under the Belt Parkway. Although they were from the common red and white diamond patterned deck, these cards were not present yesterday, so I know it's a new deck. I grabbed the Queen of Hearts:

The following cards have been found previously:

The Six of Clubs (July 21, 2008)

The Seven of Hearts and The King of Diamonds (April 24, 2008)

The Three of Clubs (March 29, 2008)

The King of Hearts
and the Three of Spades.

(February 28 and March 25, 2008)

The Ace of Diamonds
(July 7, 2008)

The Jack of Hearts and Five of Hearts
(July 19, 2008)

View the whole set here.

The Thirty-Ninth Step

Wow. I'm almost done. I was exhausted today, but I rode anyway, first thing in the morning, because we are going to a Brooklyn Cyclones game in the afternoon.

The 4.1 mile photo was yawn-inducing:

But I snapped this cool shot later on:

7.59 miles today.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


A beautiful day to ride. Warm and sunny, but with low humidity. Check out the view looking south toward the Verrazano from the pier:
Here's the 4.1 photo:

A healthy 10.23 miles today.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eight Eight Oh Eight: Good Fortune for Some, Bad Fortune for Others

My ride was cut a little short this morning due to a bonehead move on the bike path. I had just taken my boring 4.1 mile picture and had regained my cruising speed of approximately 12-14 MPH. I reached down with my right hand and grabbed my water bottle from its holster. I was about to take a drink when I saw, on the left side of the bike lane, something that distracted me. I hit the brakes. The problem is (as many of you may have already guessed), braking with two hands, good. Braking with one hand, bad.


Despite a knee contusion, the brunt of the damage was minor, a huge scrape now graces my right arm below the elbow.

I have lots of fun pictures, of course. But those will have to wait. I will leave you with one thought. See the big blotch on the signpost photo at the top of the page? My blood.

5.25 miles today.

Oh, and the thing that distracted me that caused a spectacular wipeout that no one got to see? Here it is:

So there you have it friends. Today, the price of stupidity is 6 bucks. Go Team USA!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Brett Favre Traded to Jets, I Ride with Mixed Emotions

That's my signpost photographed on a cracked mirrored coffee table, in case you were wondering.

The camera was acting weird this morning, probably because it's a Packers fan. But it lives in New York, so it will get to see its favorite quarterback play on TV every week.

The 4.1 photo is a bit yawn-inducing. But you should see some of the alternates:
Then again, the sunrise was spectacular, and a lot more crisp than this picture would indicate:

Just 5.41 miles this morning.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Playing Hooky

Well, it's really an approved day off.

Here's the 4.1 mile picture:

9.07 miles.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rode to Work

11.65 miles this morning.

Check back this evening or tomorrow morning for an update and photos.Weather permitting, I will be riding home, as well.


I commuted to work, both ways, via the bike. 24.03 miles round trip. Plus I saved 4 bucks on train fare.

Here's my 4.1 mile photo:

Nothing too interesting. However, I was rewarded again with an amazing sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge. That's the Manhattan Bridge in the distance.

Monday, August 04, 2008

33 1/3

Day 33.

7.2 miles.

At 4.1, a familiar spot to me now, since I am a creature of habit. I opt for a self-portrait. I use the self-timer for the first time. The effect is a ghostly, washed-out look that's pretty cool:

And the beat goes on....

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Beautiful Day, Short Ride

I had to carve out a short ride, thanks to a tardy grocery delivery on a day with a full schedule to begin with.

5.27 miles.

At 4.1 miles:

Why such a short ride today? Many reasons, one of which is in evidence here:

More on that later....

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday Sluggishness

Rode a lazy, slow-paced 11.09 miles this morning.

Here are two 4.1 mile photos:

Friday, August 01, 2008

Thirty Days

On my thirtieth consecutive day of riding, I cycled 7.21 miles.

Here's a little sea life that was deposited on the bike path at my 4.1 mile mark: