Archive for the ‘preakness’ Category

So, it’s nine days following the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. Supportive Partner Woman and I were in attendance, along with 14 of our closest friends and family members, to see if California Chrome could add the second leg of the Triple Crown to his resume.

It would be so easy to jump to race #12 (the main event) and not talk about the entire weekend. Luckily for you, I don’t take the easy route. We make an entire weekend of it.

So, Friday, SPW and I loaded up Mario the Super Honda and headed to South Jersey for the annual pre-Preakness feasting at my sister-in-law’s home. The SIL made a perfectly delicious beef tenderloin roast and there was much mirth and merriment. Various folks stopped by to join in the festivities, but eventually we all hit the rack for some much-needed shuteye. See, it’s a looooong day.

We shoved off about 7:30 AM, headed for Pimlico. For those of you not familiar with Baltimore, Pimlico is not located in what you would call an attractive section of the city. Poverty abounds and the storefronts that are not vacant are occupied by check cashing joints, chicken & trout stands, and the occasional bail bonds establishments.  Preakness is the one time of year it’s pretty safe to go there, as it seems that the entirety of the Baltimore Police Department is deployed in and around the track. It’s also probably the best time to commit a crime on the other end of town (not that I am advocating illegality). Just sayin’.

That being said, it’s an amazing sight to see that decrepit old track filled to the rafters.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was that SPW came home with a pair of high end tickets that belonged to her boss who was not going to the race. These seats were choice… pretty much overlooking the finish line and away from the cigar smokers behind our regular seats  (I don’t have an issue with cigar smoking, but there were quite possibly the nastiest smelling cigars I’ve encountered. No lie… they smelled like burning dogshit). We still opted to spend most of the day on the rail, but we went upstairs for the main event.

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin' down the stretch

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin’ down the stretch

Not the best video, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I did manage to capture a pretty good still frame of the leaders down the stretch.

All in all, it was a fun day. Very tiring.

The feasting aspect went better this year, though, as my gut isn’t nearly as sensitive as it was last year. I also didn’t overdo it, so there was no issues of malabsorption. The arts and crafts were successful as well. It’s kind of funny when you have a group of 40-60 year olds smuggling booze into a venue like a bunch of teenagers at a Hoobastank concert. Speaking of concerts, though, the infield entertainment for 2014 included Nas and Lorde. In my humble opinion, the quality of infield concerts has generally declined since the first year they were done (ZZ Top), although this year’s crop was better than Pitbull. At the current rate, I expect next year’s acts to include Nickelback.

In other news, my foot is healing at a somewhat steady pace. It’s certainly looking better than it was, but it’s still not fast enough for me. I think I need to talk to the doc and see if there’s something they can do to splint the toe so it doesn’t continue to put pressure on the wound. I’m thinking duct tape or a big hose clamp. I somehow doubt that will meet medical approval.

At any rate, that’s all I have for right now. We have the dreaded yard sale coming up on Saturday, so hopefully I’ll have good stories to tell.

See you on the other side.

Happy Wednesday to all the fine reader (sic) out there!

It’s a typical day here. Managed to get some exercise… I edged the lawn, trimmed the Lilac Bush from Hell, sprayed the lawn and even managed to cook up some dinner. That’s something I’ve been lacking on. It’s not that I mind cooking… I actually rather enjoy it. I’ve just been lazy. Maybe lazy isn’t the correct word. Probably better to say unmotivated. That’s always a problem when my weight increases. I get less motivated to do things that I normally enjoy, then I get more despondent about the stuff that’s not getting done, making me go running for the food… It’s like the character Fat Bastard says in Austin Powers, “… I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat.” There’s a lot of truth found in jest.

Last night I managed to cull the freezers. It’s amazing what you can find in the dark frozen recesses of the freezer. We are guilty of forgetting what we have in there, buying more of whatever it is, then using that first and so on until you find a chicken breast that was dated sometime in 2004, which means it was three years old WHEN WE MOVED IT! That’s a little extreme, but when I found it, it was so freezer burned that it looked like a mummy. I wound up ditching a lot of stuff that was three+ years old ranging from soup to chicken to fish portions. There was fresh pasta that was freezer burned, frozen juice with more ice in it than a margarita.

Now you’re probably asking yourselves why. Why doesn’t he cook? Why doesn’t he keep better track of what’s in the freezer? That’s a pretty good question. As you know, it’s The Management and myself in Chez Brian. Both of us are decent cooks, we just tend to eat out. Anyone can tell you how bad that is for your health and weight. We reason it away… for The Management she likes to go out with some of her friends to catch up on the latest. For me, I guess I’m embarrassed that there are only two seats in our break area that I can fit into.

Getting to the title of today’s post, upon leaving Pimlico on Saturday, Baltimore police were routing traffic into a not-so-nice area of Baltimore

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(which many of you who have been there know is pretty much anywhere between the Beltway and the Inner Harbor). This, compounded with GPS confusion, took us past a staggering array of establishments advertising fried chicken and lake trout. In one notable instance, the chicken and trout place was also selling beauty supplies. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of that sign, but I do have a great picture of another sign.

So, back to the original point. I’m going to do my best to bring my meals from home. If I go through with the surgery, I’m going to have to revamp my eating habits, so might as well get ahead of it now.

I’ll leave you with something else from Fat Bastard.

Of course I’m not happy! Look at me, I’m a big fat slob.

Not for long, self… not for long.

So I went to the Preakness this last Saturday, and no, I was not in the “beer”-soaked infield. I use the quotation marks because, let’s face it, most of what is sold as beer by Anheuser-Busch is nothing but horse piss. Yes, let’s pay a crazy sum of money for an aluminum bottle of stuff that anyone with a halfway refined palate will tell you tastes remarkably like turpentine. More on this in another post.

See, The Management’s family has been going to Preakness since the legendary battle between Affirmed and Alydar. They started in the infield, then moved to the apron and have had seats on the rail for around 30 years. They are some great seats… right at the starting gate for some of the races, and a spot that allows you to see the Preakness field pass by twice. We’re usually close enough to see whoever NBC trots out to cover things these days, and we’re pretty much right across the track from where they saddle the field.

I’ve been going along on the grand adventure since 2003. We missed a year due to a wedding, but that’s usually where you can find us on the third Saturday in May. I call it a grand adventure because it has really become a tradition for us. We usually take Friday off and head to my sister-in-law’s place in South Jersey for preface feasting. This usually entails most of the folks going racing hanging out, eating a lovely meal, and figuring out new and creative ways to smuggle booze in through the “watchful” eyes of Pimlico security. It’s funny, actually, a bunch of 40+ year olds acting like high school kids trying to smuggle some hooch on a class trip. Not that I ever did anything like that.

The setup is legendary. After 9/11, Pimlico banned coolers in the stands. Everything must be in clear bags or containers. My sister-in-law found two portable drawer units that have clear drawers and can be disassembled for easy transport. This is the basis for The Preakness Buffet. She loads it with vast quantities of yummy stuff and it provides sustenance for the entire day. And beyond.

I’m happy to report that it was a good day for me food-wise. I didn’t overdo it on snacks, had a sandwich, a pickle spear, some cheese and grapes and two red Twizzlers. Add a couple of sips of a Black-Eyed Susan (the official drink of the Preakness) and it was good.

The racing is pretty good. This year there were 13 official races and one bonus race sponsored by Emirates Airlines featuring only Arabian horses. We’ve seen some bad racing and some tragic racing (we were there for Barbaro) but this year the main event really lived up to its billing. Bodemeister looked great as they hit the stretch, but I’ll Have Another wasn’t going to be denied. I have a short video clip that I put together to share with you, my loyal readers.

This brings me to one of the highlights of the day. People watching. This is a great place to see sartorial disasters, abject stupidity, and everything in between. First of all, though… the rant. When did people get to be so rude? I was in the grandstand taking an air conditioning break and as I walked through the building, I stopped to allow someone to cross in front of me. Behind me, some douche canoe says, “Get your fat ass out of my way.” It was kind of ironic, seeing as the person saying this wasn’t exactly what you would call svelte. Sigh.

Some of the fashion disasters I came across included a guy wearing madras pants and saddle shoes (no kidding… saddle shoes). There were overage bimbos wearing dresses so tight that if said dress was not occupied by said bimbo, said aforementioned dress would contract to the approximate size of a postage stamp. Here’s one of my favorites:

Sartorial splendor

Rest assured that the good outweighs the bad. I will be back with you in a couple of days, probably a bit more on topic.

Have a great week!