Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trot and Deals that Rock

Happy Turkey Day. Being a Brit, Thanksgiving is a holiday I never had growing up and really don't know much about. I always thought it was a festival where the pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians before John Wayne shot them all. Nowadays it's a test of endurance that involves eating as much as possible before braving the shopping craziness of Black Friday. I will definitely do the former and studiously avoid the latter.

This morning I attempted to offset my gluttonous plans by running the annual Turkey Trot 5 mile race. Downtown was packed out with tailgaters for the UT vs Texas A&M football game this evening, and the air was permeated with the wonderful aroma of smoked brisket, BBQ and mesquite wood. I had arranged to meet a bunch of folks from work and we met up and goofed around before heading down to the start line at Trinity. There were a lot more people running than last year (around 12,000 I believe) and we should have gotten there earlier because we had no chance of getting anywhere near the front. We ended up way back in the field. Coming off the back of a 6:10 mile at the track earlier this week I had planned to try and run under 35 minutes and bag a sub-7 minute mile race, but I quickly realized this wasn't going to happen. Once the gun went off it took us a good 5 minutes to get to the start line, and I spent the first few miles zigzagging around walkers, strollers and dogs on really long leashes. They altered the course this year because of the football, and I soon found that it was a lot hillier than last year. It was also a lot warmer and humid, and I crossed the finish line happy with my time of 36:27 (7:17 pace).

I lurked around the finisher's chute waiting for my friends and when Alan came through he ran to the car and brought back a thermos of Irish coffee. I swiftly realized that the emphasis was very firmly on the Irish!!! We had a few refills and very quickly we were feeling no pain. We stayed around and had a great time shooting the breeze until the last of our runners and walkers came through. It was a fun morning.

Once I got home I got my own BBQ going. Instead of turkey we're having pulled pork this year, which is smoking away on the old Weber as I write. I also found out that one of my favorite websites - - were having a great Thanksgiving sale on DVD boxsets. Two deals in particular stood out.

Jeeves and Wooster - the Complete Collection. This is a great British comedy series I used to love in the early 90s and the 8 disc boxset is a steal at $24. For those of you who are fans of House this is a very different Hugh Laurie, but one I am much more familiar with. In a hilarious adaptation of the P.G. Wodehouse stories he plays upper class twit Bertie Wooster. Stephen Fry is Jeeves, his "Gentleman's Gentleman" who continually has to bail Bertie out of various scrapes brought on by his own ineptitude. This is going to find its way into my Christmas stocking.

A History of Britain - the Complete Collection. I can't believe they're selling this gem for $12 - when I bought it several years ago it cost me at least three times that. Simon Schama is a natural born storyteller who brings history to life. Beautifully filmed and visually stunning with a haunting soundtrack from John Harle, this BBC series explores the History of the British Isles from 3500BC up to the 20th century. Schama's stories and ironic turn of phrase fit perfectly into the atmospheric settings and create a rich and compelling documentary. The boxset contains 5 discs and includes all 15 episodes from the series.

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