Monday, May 31, 2010

My 3rd B.B. 5k

Today was the 10th annual Bob Bridgman Memorial Day 5k. It's generally the only official race that I run, so every year I try to beat my time from before. It has a reputation as a really hard course (half of it is straight up hill) and I have been told that whatever time you get on it, you could probably expect to do at least two minutes better on flat ground or a track.

This year I was finally able to convince my Mom and sister to run in it too. That was nice, because besides them Ben, was the only other person I knew this year.

The first year that I ran the race I did it in 24:28. Last year I was able to take more than a minute off at 23:22. This year, I went really fast (for me) on the first mile (6:15) and I was mad at myself because I was afraid I would die on the up hill half. I did slow down a little, but still did the up hill at about 8 minutes per mile. So I finished in 22:15, taking another minute off my personal record. So I may not be signing any contracts soon, but at least I'm improving. This was also the first year that I placed and got a prize, coming in 3rd in my age group. That actually had more to do with turning 20 than it did with getting faster, but hey, I'll take it. Below is my Eric Liddel style sprint on the last 100 meters ;)

Here are my Mom and I after the race.

So that's always a fun thing to do on Memorial Day.

In other news, I ordered a mandolin on It isn't here yet because of Memorial Day, but when it does I will probably post about it. I kind of learned to play last Wednesday night at a campfire with some friends. I was always kind of interested in it, even before I took up guitar. I started thinking about it again this past fall when the Craggs, an Australian folk music band came to Mansfield and I talked to their mandolin player. So when I learned some chords the other night, I started thinking how versitile it is, and how I can take it just about anywhere because it's so small. So I bought an Ibanez A-style one.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Prince of Williamsport

I've been in Williamsport an unusual amount this past week. On Monday I drove through twice with my Dad on our way to a medical appointment for him. On Thursday my Uncle Tom and Dad and I went down with one of our European commercial biomass units to show the biomass expert from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation.

Today I went down to meet Jonathan while he was up visiting family. It was the last chance I'd have to see him in the States before he leaves for Italy again in a week.

We had planned on meeting around 2:00, but then Jonathan called and wondered if we might go see Prince of Persia while we were there. I googled where it was playing and found one showing at 1:00. We decided to try for it, and although I had to leave right then and drive about 80 the whole way there, we made it only missing the previews.

The movie was better than I expected (and better than the reviews I'd read). For a summer action flick, I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. The fight scenes were cool, and the plot had at least a bit more depth than I expected. I really like the setting too, even if it was more fantasy than historical reality.

So anyhow, I that's how I ended up in Williamsport three times this week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turning Into a Hippie

When no real opportunities to do anything cool came along this summer, I was afraid it was going to be really boring and depressing. So far however, that has not been the case.

For the first time ever, I have kind of a couple groups of people to do things with, and have actually been quite busy (busy for me at least) doing stuff with them.

An old friend Chris moved back to Corning recently, and I've hung out with him some. I've also been spending a lot more time than usual with the Wellsboro/Mansfield crowed (partly due to the fact that many of them are staying for the summer instead of going home).

At any rate, I've been having a good, relaxing time so far. In fact, I'm almost starting to feel like a hippie or something. No, really, it's just that I've been spending a lot of time sitting around fires, playing acoustic instruments, sleeping on the ground, and other activities that I shan't mention here that are classically associated with hippies.

I have been working some, which I suppose detracts some hippie points.... My Dad's business is starting to feel alive again, and there are some big possibilities on the horizon. We are getting a new website, and I'm going to be in charge of setting up a bunch of social media stuff once that happens. We had a meeting today at a coffee shop in Mansfield with Walt, David, my Uncle Tom, my Dad and myself to talk about some of the stuff, and it looks like there will be a lot of things happening.

I drove my Dad to Geisinger the other day for a a series of MRI and some other tests to check up on his condition. He seems to be doing well, although I don't know what these latest tests showed. We drove the old Mercedes-Benz down, which was fun.

I guess that's all for now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The End of an Era

The few of you who read this blog probably know that I don't frequently post about film or music, and almost never post about TV shows (probably owing to the fact that I have only really watched 2 in my entire life).

Tonight however, I make an exception. The final episode of 24, the show said to have, along with Lost (which I didn't watch) to have defined TV during the 00's.

It is finally over, and TV will once again be a nearly empty world for me.

As for my thoughts on this last episode [mild spoiler alert] I appreciated the fact that Jack ended up making the decision not to kill some people. His ramboesque antics throughout the past few weeks were fun, but I was starting to feel a little morally bleak about the whole thing.

I also thought it was cool how they had Chloe play such a big part. She was always a great part of the show.

I'm glad President Taylor came clean in the end... even if it seemed a bit unrealistic, it was good twist. I also liked the little IR realist school-of-thought jab at the UN and "peace".

And... finally, Jack. At first I was disappointed that they didn't provide some more closure (it being the last episode ever and all), but I soon decided that it was the only really appropriate way to end it. Jack being in trouble and on the run after all is basically one of the fundamental constants of the universe, not unlike the laws of chemistry or orbit of the planets.

All in all, this last episode was very good, and left me feeling quite positive, which is unusual for 24.

So hears to 24, Jack Bauer, and all of the other awesomeness!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Leave For 4 Months and....

A lot of craziness has gone on in the last few months I was gone. First the gas drilling started and now about every three miles (including the field in front of my house) there are massive drilling pads awaiting the rigs to come. There are also pipelines running everywhere. So that's all a bit strange.

The good part of it is that everyone has already made a lot of money from the leases. But that doesn't even compare to the amount we could get if the actually find natural gas here (which they had better after all the testing they did last summer).

Much bigger than the gas wells though is the fact that the Inn (our 2nd home/rental property up the road) burned to the ground while I was gone. It was kind of sad to look at it yesterday while I was mowing the lawn. On the other hand though, it was really old, and would probably have had to be torn down, or else massively renovated in the next few years.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Frack! I Just Spent $20!

Last night I went to see Iron Man 2 with some friends from Corning. It was enjoyable, but not worth the $20 that I spent at the theater. Yes, twenty dollars! The mall theater is now charging $9.50 for tickets, and $5.50 for drinks. I bought my ticket, and then one of my friends wanted a drink, so I got one for him and myself (I didn't actually realize they were that expensive until we got to the front of the line, and then I almost felt like throwing up, but it had been a long line, so I went through with it). As soon as I handed them my card I thought "Ahhhh [expletive excluded] I just spent $20!". After that I decided that I will no longer be able to go to the movies as a strictly social event. From now on it will have to be a movie that I am really excited about (which is rare). For $20 though, I could buy two albums on iTunes, four DVD's at Walmart, register two .com domain names on GoDaddy, or play WOW for a month and a half! It's ridiculous that I spent that much money to watch an average movie in an average theater and sip on a Coke!

It ended up being a fun evening though, because afterwords Joe took Chris and I to Denny's and we had a good time. I also got to catch up with some people that I hadn't seen since before I left for Tennessee.

The weather the last couple days has been very winter-like, replete with high winds and snow. On the way back last night, which was sometime after midnight, I was heading through the village of Catan and for some reason felt the urge to take a different route than the one I normally travel. It would have worked fine, except that a road crew was blocking the road right where I was supposed to be getting back to my normal route. They waved me off onto this dirt road, which was blocked in another place and turned into a no-winter-maintenance farm road strewn with debris and giant potholes. I had the vague instinct that it I just kept going in that direction I would hit John Hill Road, which would take me to where I needed to be. I was right, kind of. I did hit John Hill after awhile, but from the opposite direction I thought. It was so dark that I couldn't tell the difference and ended up going all the way back to Catan before I realized my mistake. So after all that, I was right back where I started from. On the bright side, I did travel some back roads that I otherwise might never have seen.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Good Change

Tonight is my last night in Tennessee for a while. The semester is ending, and I will apparently be heading home for the summer.

Looking back on the last three months, I'm really glad that I came to Bryan. It was rough for the first half of the semester, but now that I've reached the place I have, I'm extremely thankful that I'm here. I feel like I fit in with the general culture and attitudes a lot better. Not completely but better. I'm not in a minority just for completing assignments, and most of the people I'm around seem pretty motivated.

While I haven't made a ton of really deep friendships, I'm around a lot of really great people, and look forward to getting to know them better.

I'm still a bit unsure/insecure about the future, I feel a lot more sure of myself than I did three months ago, and have more ideas that I feel like I could really pursue than before.

This evening I walked around Dayton with Jonathan (we had intended to go out for a cup of coffee, but we forgot that everything in Dayton shuts down at 6:00pm). We while cutting back across the town to get back to my car, we happened upon some swing dancers. As it turned out, they were Bryan students celebrating somebodies birthday. Jonathan has, even when we were overseas, never been able to resist a dance, so we ended up there for about half and hour.

Later this evening I went to Bryan's apartment to hang out with him one last time. Unlike Jonathan, I can't say for sure when I will see him again. He's graduating this Saturday, and while he's staying in Dayton over the summer, he is looking at a number of possibilities for next fall that involve moving to Europe.

So it was a good last full day in Dayton. I had one final, and will have one more tomorrow (two really, but one is more just touching base about how my trip to CPAC10 went). Then I'm heading to Virginia to meet my Dad who is delivering a stove. God willing, my car will spend the rest of the trip on my Dad's trailer, where the fact that it has a broken radiator fan will be of no matter.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Disease, Floods & Finals

Been feeling pretty miserable the last couple days. Thursday night I was up late finishing a paper for International relations. By early afternoon I was starting to have a soar throat and irritated sinuses. Some guys from my hall invited me out to eat at buffalo wild wings, and by the time I got back I was feeling really tired + worse of the above problems. I didn't sleep much that night because of my sinuses and stuff and felt horrible the next day.

I was going to just relax last night, but Ariel invited me to watch Braveheart with some people in Woodlee, and after that we went to Mercer and played some games (which included turning off all the lights that would go off, playing ghost in the graveyard, and consequently driving out all of the couples who normally inhabit the building that time of night). So I was up kind of late again (not that I was able to sleep very well once I got back to my room).

All last night I was really congested and I woke up the same this morning, which is disgusting. I've been coughing a lot now too... which is probably good because it means that its going through its typical cycle. In a week and a half I will be just fine... the only problem with that is I have finals tomorrow, starting at 8, and continuing through Wednesday, when I drive home to Pennsylvania with my Dad.... so its going to be a rough next few days here.

Anyhow, other than the cold and the finals, I'm doing okay. It's been raining here on and off, but over in Nashville it's been declared a national disaster because of flooding. One of the guys on my hall said his Mom was being evacuated from her house in a boat!