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Ice Castles: The Worst $55 Mistake I’ve Ever Made as a Parent

If I could build a time machine, the first thing I would do after killing Baby Hitler would be to go to Ice Castles New Hampshire in mid-January 2016 instead of yesterday. This way I could have warned the world to stay far, far away from this ridiculously overhyped, money-sucking tourist trap.

Today is the last day Ice Castles is open this winter. If you already bought tickets, here’s some advice: Find your nearest Target or Wal-Mart and stare at the mounds of snow that the plows piled up in the parking lot. They are far more impressive.

Here’s what I thought I was bringing my family of four to see based on the Ice Castles website:

Bait-and-Switch: The glorious advertised image of the New Hampshire Ice Castles (source: Icecastles.com/lincoln/)

Bait-and-Switch: The glorious advertised image of the New Hampshire Ice Castles (source: Icecastles.com/lincoln/)

And here’s what greeted us when we got there, a really wide but not-so-tall snow fort:

ice castles-2

Backing up, here is the view from the parking lot:

ice-castles-1

This place was the ultimate letdown. Based on the admission fees ($15.95 online, $20 at the door), I was expecting a Disney-quality attraction – not something the guys at my local DPW could slap together with a bulldozer and a ski resort snow machine. Continue reading

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2 Billy Joel Songs You Should NOT Dance To

Allentown

Question for Billy Joel fans who were at Fenway Park last night. WHY do people dance to “Allentown,” a song about the collapse of the American economy and vanishing middle class? And for God’s sake, why do people dance to “Goodnight Saigon” about Vietnam?

ALLENTOWN

“Well we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line”

GOODNIGHT SAIGON

“Remember Charlie, remember Baker
They left their childhood on every acre
And who was wrong? And who was right?
It didn’t matter in the thick of the fight”

Verdict: Not danceable.

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My Mortgage Company Wished Me a Happy Birthday!

mortgage birthday wishes

My mortgage company just wished me a Happy Birthday in my “important messages” box.

The most heartwarming part? The Print This Page option so I can display their card on my refrigerator.

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Dear Waze: Please don’t show me movie trailers while I am driving

waze

Dear Waze:

Driving in Boston is pretty stressful when you don’t know where you are going.

And so just telling us where to go instead of showing pop-up promo ads for sitcoms will reduce our odds of getting into an accident.

I fully realize you need to monetize your GPS app, but there’s gotta be a safer way.

Love,

Darren

XOXOXOXOXO

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RORSCHACH TEST — What do you see in last night’s running pattern?

rorschack test

America’s Slowest Runner is upping his fundraising game for One Run For Boston, which honors and helps victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. The relay ends Sunday.

http://www.onerunforboston.org/u/DarrenGarnick/

SO…. from now until Sunday, all $1000 donors will get their name spelled out in the font of their choice in a future training run AND have the RunKeeper satellite image preserved as a limited edition lithograph, which will be signed and framed for future generations.

Our $100 donors can get a Monogrammed Initial as a limited edition, signed lithograph.

(Hey, of course your $10 donations are still fully appreciated by the One Fund, too! Thanks everyone for your support so far.)

P.S. Does anyone actually know what makes a print a “lithograph?”

P.P.S. Out of principle, I will not run-write in the Papyrus font.

Please SHARE this to spread the word!

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Will Big Bird Be Banned on Heartbreak Hill?

Marathon Spirit: Tax law professor Richard Ainsworth (in feathers) and his wife, Christine Murasaki Millett, who is running to raise money for cancer research.

Marathon Spirit: Tax law professor Richard Ainsworth (in feathers) and his wife, Christine Murasaki Millett, who is running to raise money for cancer research.  (Photo courtesy of Christine Murasaki Millett.)

In my debut story for Runner’s World, I explore why a Boston University Law School professor has become a popular photo-op at area 5K and 10K races. And it’s not because he’s charming strangers with war stories about the IRS.

Prof. Richard Ainsworth dresses as Big Bird to amuse and support his wife Christine Murasaki Millett, who is training for her second Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Last year, she was stopped at the St. Ignatius Church, at the mile 21 mark. When the Boylston Street bomb sites were reopened to public a week later, she returned to the church and ran the final 5 miles alone, greeting Big Bird at the Finish Line.

On weekends, Big Bird now waits for his wife on Heartbreak Hill with water and snacks. Wherever he goes, he unwittingly serves as a giant feathered GPS. Runners text each other to “Meet me at Big Bird” after their race.

Prof. Big Bird lectures Boston University Law School students, thanking them for making a donation to cancer research.

Prof. Big Bird lectures Boston University Law School students, thanking them for making a donation to cancer research.

For obvious security reasons this year, authorities are discouraging “costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body” for both runners and spectators.  But they aren’t banning them.

Will Big Bird be allowed to chirp from the sidelines in Newton on April 21 — or will he be dragged away in wingcuffs?  Find out now!

(P.S. You can donate to Christine and Richard’s fundraiser for cancer research on their Boston Marathon page.)

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Running for the People Who Can’t Run Anymore

One Run Map

Last year, I helped with the publicity for One Run For Boston, a phenomenal 24/7 cross-country relay to honor and help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

This year, I’m getting off my ass and running.

It’s “just” the last four-mile leg from Harvard University to the Boston Esplanade and I’ll be joined by my two nephews and a few friends who are world-class athletes (compared to me).

I’m running because I’m pissed off.

People shouldn’t wake up in the morning excited to go to a fun event and go home with a fake leg or pressure cooker shrapnel stuck in their head. My friend Jennifer Levitz wrote a gripping story for the Wall Street Journal about the lifelong challenges of the Boston Marathon amputees that will last far beyond the headlines.

Prosthetics-World-artificial-legs

I’m grateful that I have legs. Continue reading

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