Tuesday, May 27, 2008

10K on the Shore

The weekend before Memorial Day, Sarah Ball Cornell flew up to Philadelphia to see us (probably more Rachel than me, but I like to think she came to see me, too) and run a 10 K in Cape May, NJ. Cape May is on the southern most tip of the Jersey Shore and is actually a pretty cool place.

We arrived Friday evening after making a 3 hour drive that should have taken an hour and a half without Philly traffic. Since it was the weekend before Memorial Day, which marks the beginning of the peak season, Rachel was able to land us a hotel room at a pretty good deal. Cape May, like most of the rest of the Jersey Shore (Atlantic City, excluded) is a quaint little town with old motels rather than modern skyscraper hotels.

After the race Saturday morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and went shopping. Our first stop was Morrow's nut house above where we couldn't resist taking a picture.

After shopping, we drove to the winery on the outskirts of Cape May. Yes, I did say winery in New Jersey. It is the Garden State after all. I suppose a vineyard could be loosely interpreted as a type of garden. Although it is not quite Napa Valley or Sonoma, Cape May Vineyard is 13 acres of vineyard that actually produces some decent wine.

While at the vineyard, we learned of a new way to taste a port. It is called a "Tim Tam Slam". For those who are not familiar, Tim Tams are ironically an Australian chocolate bar, which Rachel and I came to love on our trip (if you remember, it is listed as one of my favorite things about Australia in a previous blog). You bite the opposite corners off of the Tim Tam and then suck the port through one of the holes, as Sarah is demonstrating here.

Following our tasting, we stopped at the free zoo on the way out of town. It was actually pretty cool. They had a tiger, a lion, a couple of bears, red panda, lots of birds, including 2 enormous bald eagles, some lemurs, alpacas, llamas and an ostrich (probably some other stuff I am forgetting).

I must admit that I am quite amazed at everything I found in Cape May. It was quite a trip.

Reflections - 10K's Are a Lot of Work

Running a 10K is a lot of work. 'How much work?' one might ask. Well, for a guy like me, A WHOLE LOTTA Work - approximately 9 million foot-lbs or slightly north of 12.2 million joules for my French readers. This amount of work was calculated using Newton's age old equation of Work = Force x distance.

I must alert my readers that this amount of work is only a linear approximation. As everyone knows, force is a vector measurement and is not, by definition, linear. This approximation also does not take into account elevation changes during the run, wind conditions, the coefficient of friction on my tennis shoes or any van der Waals forces or hydrogen bonding that may have occurred between the pavement and my shoes.

Most importantly, I am relying on the fact that only lawyers and Whirlpool sales guys read this blog and are thus not able to back my weight out of the calculation.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Laddy's and Amy's Visit to Philadelphia

By popular request, here is a "somewhat" up-to-date subject. Congratulations to Laddy, Amy and Mark Clark for being the firt non-family members to come visit us in Philadelphia!!! They made it up to see us in mid-April.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. After some killer Boston-style pizza and Guitar Hero III on Friday night, we headed into the city on Saturday. Traffic was bad, as I forgot that Barack Obama was having a rally on Independence Mall. We managed to find parking and go to Reading Terminal for lunch. The boys got Philadelphia Cheese-steaks from Rick's, while the girls got the 7-Cheese Macaroni at Delilah's Downhome Cooking (featured in a Bobby Flay Throw-Down on Food Network).

After lunch, I dropped everyone off at the Rocky Statue for pictures. We have great video footage of Amy running the stairs as Laddy hummed the Rocky theme in the background, butI was threatened if I posted it. We then headed to the Franklin Institute for the Star Wars Meets Technology Exhibit.

After a drive by Boat House Row, we ate dinner at The Lucky Dog, which is mine and Rachel's favorite pub. It is where the Rohm and Haas Boyz and I play trivia every Tuesday. Not the typical pub, they actually have an excellent food menu. Rachel and I love their penne pasta with sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

Reflections - PREDICTIONS

Now that I have been publically criticized by the comments of several blog readers (OK, 2 of them that probably had to have their wives read the blog to them), I thought I should confirm that Rachel and I are, in fact, back from Australia. You will have to endure a few more Australia blogs, as we are using the blog to document the trip.

In light of their attempt at humor, I am providing some predictions of things to come:

1) Put your money in Enron. It is a hot energy stock in Texas. This one can't miss.
2) 2006 is going to be the year Tennessee Football wins its next football National Championship. Coming off a strong freshman year, Eric Ainge can't miss. The guy is a fierce competitor who just won't quit.
3) Watch "Newlyweds - Nick and Jessica". It is a truly thought-provoking show, and it is obvious that they are truly in love and will be together forever.
4) Short petroleum futures. There's no money to be made there. With the rich oil reserves of our friends the Saudis and Kuwaitis, I doubt we will ever see oil much over $50 per barrel.
5) As I have said many times, Rohm and Haas has been good to me, but they will never get Rachel and I to move to Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


So, this is the blog about Queenstown. We spent 4 nights here, while we jetboated, saw wild animals and flew to Millford Sound. It is an awesome little town. This picture is of the condo that Tim arranged for us. He got a very good introductory deal on it (ladies and gentelmen, this condo is why we always have Tim arrange our reservations).

This is the view from our condo. Queenstown is situated on a lake. It is a ski town in the winter but does a good tourist business all year long due to all of the surrounding attractions. Up until 4 or 5 years ago, you could still buy property in Queenstown for a reasonable price. It would be somewhat inaccessible form the states, but once the U.S. dollar rights itself, you may want to think about buying a place in Queenstown (I may try to get this on Reed's list of investments for 2009).

The town itself is built around the tourist industry. There are many shops and restaurants along the water.

This is Rachel and I with a statue of a Kiwi. Unfortunately, we did not see any while in NZ, as they are now fairly rare. Most of the land birds in New Zealand have been killed off by foreign animals introduced for game purposes in the 1800's.

This is a shot of Liz and I along the water one morning. As is always the case when Tim and I travel together, we have Starbucks almost every morning. As you can see, I have my Starbucks in hand.

This is a beautiful shot of Tim and Liz along the water at sunset.


Those who know me, know that I am a fairly conservative and risk-averse person. This is likely due to my upbringing and the fact that I work for a chemical company (trust me, you want people with low risk tolerance running chemical plants).

While in New Zealand, I took a bit of a "You only live once attitude". Though you have read about most of them already, here are the Top 3 things that Steve Did In NZ that his mom would not approve of:

1) Jet Boating with Brendon - Norma would have worried about me jet-boating, even if I were riding with a sensible driver. However, riding in Brendon's boat takes things to a whole new level. The warning to "Keep your arms inside the boat" is quite literal. If anyone would have allowed any appendages to venture out of the boat, they would have lost them. Brendon liked to show off his talent of bringing our boat, traveling at ~60 mph, within 6 inches of immovable obstacles. It was a blast!!!

2)Taking a 9-passenger plane over a mountain range and landing on a short strip surrounded by cliffs. To be honest, I question what I was thinking. As we cascaded over the final mountain range to land, we hit some turbulence, and I white-knuckled the seat in front of me to the point that I almost ripped the fabric. Luckily, the flight back was smoother, and the beautiful scenery made it all worth it.

1) Bungy jumping - I initially thought about doing it (AJ Hackett outside of Queenstown is the birthplace of bungy), but then was ready to let it rest because they couldn't fit me into their schedule the afternoon we went out to watch. However, my loving wife spouted off that if we ever made it back to New Zealand, I would be "too old" to do it. So, I booked immediately for the following morning before our flight back to Sydney. The video below is the documented proof. An Asian tour bus pulled up just before I jumped. You can hear several of them gasp when I jump.