Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Party

A few weeks ago Diana called up and said she had this great idea - a Halloween party. However, the condo she and Travis had wouldn't fit many people, while my house was bigger... thus, I was talked into hosting the event. Diana didn't abandon me though - she offered to decorate and eventually drafted a few others into assisting. My task was to clean up beforehand, and buy some food and drinks. And get a costume.

For whatever reason, I've always thought Halloween was a strange/goofy/bizarre event, mostly because of macabre themes and costumes that are otherwise avoided the rest of the year. As a result I never really did much of anything on Halloween, other than buy candy in case a few trick-or-treaters stopped by.



It wound up kinda fun, and not too much work - but again Diana and some other did a lot of the work. After searching for a while, I decided to get a Guy Fawkes costume - basically the guy from V for Vendetta, except I didn't wear the mask around all the time.



Diana said the key was having a lot of drinks available, so I bought beer, wine, rum, etc. It was fun and I'm glad I let Diana twist my arm into having it. Although I'm not sure about next year. ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wedding Reception

The Apisukh's invited me to a wedding reception at their restaurant, Thai Delight, for their daughter Lanna's recent marriage. Of course I attended - it would be fun to meet the happy couple, and then there was the food which I couldn't miss under any circumstances.

Lanna spent years as a gymnast, and the restaurant has pictures and newspaper articles up covering her career. For the reception, Vic played some videos of her at practices and competitions, and it was interesting to watch. I talked to her a little bit and she said she can remember all that, and has the muscle memory for it, but she added there is no way she could do any of those moves anymore without injury! I can believe it, since I know gymnasts have to work out like 4+ hours a day. What was funny was when she said she had a "bad back", and gave the example of "a few weeks ago I couldn't walk very far on my hands". Oh yeah, well I'd topple right over and crash in 2 seconds!

Lanna went off to the University of Washington (hm... sounds familiar... I think I've been there) and competed as a Husky. Out of curiosity I looked her up and they have an athlete profile still up: Lanna Apisukh.

Anyway, the reception was great and I got to meet a bunch of the other regular customers. Lots of pics are here. My favorite of me is one where I'm busy filling my plate with food. I joked with Chitlada I did my club bike ride that morning, 57 miles, and didn't eat anything just so I'd be all ready for her food. :)

I thought for a while about what gift to get them, before deciding on a gift certificate from Williams-Sonoma. I know that chain is in Seattle, where the happy couple resides, so I zipped into their Winter Park store to pick it up.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Swim Relay

This morning I did the swim leg of the Florida Challenge, a local half ironman. A few weeks ago, some people my friend Jennifer knows formed two relay teams and needed to fill in some spots. She asked if I were interested and I agreed - after making it clear that I wasn't a fast swimmer. I can do the distance, just slowly! Earlier this week I met Chantal, the cyclist on my relay team, for coffee, just to say hi and not meet for the first time in the transition zone. We chatted a while and figure out that the core of the teams were a swimmer and two runners (a married couple and their friend), and that the other swimmer (me) and other cyclists (Chantal and Jennifer originally, but she had to back out) were friends of friends. So that's kinda cool, three people wanted to do two relay events and went to find more to make two teams.

Anyway, I picked up Chantal since she lives near me on the way to the event, and carpooling would make parking a lot easier. The morning of the event it rained... heavy. The rain was appreciated since it lowered the lake temperature to 77 degrees and into the wetsuit legal area! Naturally, I took advantage and brought my sleeveless wetsuit along. It was drizzling at the start, but I was mostly warm standing on the beach in my wetsuit. Chantal waited with me and eventually I left to stage for my wave.

It was a tough swim, since the winds and light drizzle made for choppy water and a tough swim out. I finished up about 52 mins, and handed off the timing chip to Chantal and saw her off. And then... I started to relax. I've often thought that it would be fun to just do one leg of a tri, and here I was, all finished at 9 am. I packed up my stuff and dropped it off at my car, grabbed my folding chair and came back to nap and wait.

By this time the rain stopped and it was partly cloudy - excellent conditions rather than the heat and blazing sun. Chantal rode back into transition about 1 pm, for a 3:50 or so bike leg, and we gathered her stuff up. After packing up my car more, we thought it would be nice to wait for Bob, our runner, to finish up. So we waited, but he hadn't finished by 3:30 pm (about 2:30 into his run), and Chantal had to get home, so we left. Later I checked the results and saw the Bob finished up about an hour after we left, with a ~3:25 run.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bionic Woman

I'm a sucker for a certain genre of show, the sci-fi secret agency vs. the bad guys show. Such as Dark Angel, or Alias, or even La Femme Nikita. Naturally it doesn't hurt if the female lead is attractive. ;) Those shows are gone, and new for this season is Bionic Woman, a modern version of the 70's show that I barely remember.

So far we've had the usual startup episodes, to provide background info and hint about the future. It is pretty generic - Jamie Summers works for some secret agency that... doesn't do a whole lot actually (so far). But there are bad guys out there trying to steal bionic technology, some backstory with her fiance, who also worked for this agency as a surgeon until his untimely death, and had kept secret files on her for years before they even met, a rogue previous bionic woman (Sara Corvus, played by Katee Sackhoff), and some god-awful awkward and annoying relationship with her younger sister.

The show is OK so far, but something isn't quite there for me. I thought the setting was better in Dark Angel, and the pace of revealing information about Max's past and the genetic experiments was better. Plus there was more action. In Alias, the backstory (at least through 2 seasons) was pretty good - Sidney Bristow was a double agent and trying to deceive her employer while informing on them, plus battling a mysterious other agency.

Bionic Woman is all over the map with a bunch of partially developed plot threads. I think if they cut back on the relationship with her sister it would be better. The other thing that bugs me is the obligatory "but this isn't what I chose" moments as Jamie fusses about working for them - only wanting to do it "on her terms" and so forth. I have a feeling since they spend so much time on how she's juggling her secret job with taking care of her sibling, her sister is doomed to be kidnapped or held hostage. Which would lead to even more annoying time spent later in a rescue attempt, plus the ensuing fake righteous indignation from her sister concerning secret keeping and honesty and blah blah. As you can tell I think this is the show's weakness.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dawg Dashers

One luxury of events in the Seattle area is the late starting time: the Dawg Dash starts at 9:30 am! By then, back in Florida, it would be too hot most of the year.

This annual tradition has grown to include Waffle Fest, hosted by Francesca, featuring a waffle brunch and lots of toppings. And hanging out with friends afterwards. This year's festivities also included a "predicted run" competition, where everyone guesses their finish time. I guessed 52:00 and finished 51:02, good enough for 2nd place. Of the various door prizes, I chose a Huskies bracelet. :)

I was a little slower this year compared to last year, even though the courses were very similar. I chalk that up to running less compared to this time last year, and the fact the fall is the start of the running season in FL.

Dawg Dashers
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
Rod, me, Krisanne, Jen, Francesca, Eric

There was apparently enough UV to tint my transition lenses - proof that it is sunny in Seattle. Or at least the city is bathed in radiation. The funny thing is that with the transition lenses, I don't notice any color change when they tint, as opposed to the drastic difference when switching to a real pair of sunglasses.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Red Mill Burgers Ride

One difference between Florida and Washington is how early you leave to exercise. This morning, Francesca, Rod, Sandy, and I were able to wait until 10 a.m. before going on bike ride! Part of the reason was waiting for the day to warm up... into the low 50's (!) and let some of the fog burn off.

Sandy decided to torture me with a hilly urban ride through the University District, Capitol Hill, Freemont, Phinney Ridge, and Ravenna. I'd like to point out the highest point in the entire state of Florida is Britton Hill in the panhandle, towering 345 feet above sea level, so keep that in mind if you examine the elevation chart. The ride was very enjoyable and midway through the fog burned off revealing a sunny 60 degree day.

At the top of Greenwood, we stopped at Red Mill Burgers, serving up great cycling food: delicious burgers, french fries, and shakes.

Red Mill Burgers Ride
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
Sandy, Francesca, and me (Rod took the picture).

Thursday, October 11, 2007


For my birthday, two friends from work took me to dinner at a fancy restaurant in our area: Bonefish. Yesterday, Paul (friend and coworker) took me to lunch so I got a few meals out of aging up. ;)

Anyway, I could tell that Stephanie and Jason were frequent eaters at Bonefish. The hostess, several of the wait staff, and the manager all greeted them. When we gave our orders, the question to them was "the usual or something else?" Too funny! My friends apparently typically have the steak, despite being at a restaurant that favors seafood. I ordered blackened grouper with vegetable, and it was great.

However, the signature item was the "sorbet sampler":

Sorbet Sampler
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
A very tasty desert.

I forget the exact details, but even before it arrived, Stephanie predicted the five types of sorbet and also the fact that "coconut is out of season so you'll get an extra lemon sorbet as a substitute". I think she's had the sorbet a few times!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I haven't ridden in a complete downpour since I moved from Seattle (hey, it rains everywhere, not poking fun at northwest weather!) but that changed this afternoon. The forecast called for light rain and after waiting until it looked clear, I dusted off the Trek 1000/PowerCrank bike and decided to go on an easy ride through Mandarin Club Estates, a neighborhood with a few minor hills.

I noticed the sky darkening as I rode out, and when I reached my turnaround point, a light drizzle fell. The rain increased until it became an absolute downpour, and I was drenched from head to toe. The neighborhood is low traffic, and the rest of my route was all on a bike trail so I just slowed down and enjoyed it. It was warm and the rain felt pretty good!