June 27, 2006
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I am very jealous at the moment of my friend Will out in Kansas City who got to meet two cinema legends today (well, at least to nerdy guys of my generation), Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson? Not ring a bell? How about Dante Hicks and Randal Graves? Or just Dante & Randal? The Quickstop? Still clueless? Just stop reading then.
If you’re still reading, you realize that who he met today were the stars of the classic Kevin Smith movie ‘Clerks‘. They stopped by KC to promote the upcoming sequel, ‘Clerks 2‘, which hits theatres on July 21st. Being a very smart (and pretty small) guy, he was able to work his way through the crowd and score some really good pictures.
This year I have only gone to the movie theater a couple of times, which is pretty astounding given the rate I used to go in years past. I like to think it is more a result of nothing being worth seeing (rather than just me getting old and not wanting to go out). But with the good buzz on this movie, and the fact that it is a sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time, you can bet that I will be in line that first night along with a bunch of other late 20’s, early 30’s guys. Anyone care to join me?
June 25, 2006
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Winding down a very fun weekend. On Saturday, I went with a friend down to the Grand Prix of Cleveland. My friend is a HUGE fan of the Champ Car World Series of racing, so this is his big sports weekend of the year. We walked around and I got a very thorough history of the racing series, and learned just about everything there is to know about the series, the cars, the drivers, and everything else. It was all really interesting and I had a lot of fun. And it helped that the weather was amazing. Also, since it is not Nascar racing, the “redneck factor” was relatively low.
Today, I got up earlier and headed out to Cleveland Heights to run in A Most Excellent Race, which benefits Camp Cheerful which is for children with disabilities. Last year I ran in this race, and it was the first race I ever ran in. This year, it became the first race that my girlfriend Kristy would run. I did the 10K, she did the 5K, and both of us were happy with our results and had a fun time. I managed to cut nearly 15 minutes off my time from last year, finishing the 6.2 mile run in 46:54. You can go here for more details if you wish.
June 20, 2006
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This week I am embarking on another personal challenge. While this one is following up the whole “run a marathon” challenge, it is still sort of hand-in-hand with that. Basically, I just want to start eating better.
I think my current eating practices would best be described as “somewhat unhealthy”. I never eat fast food, do not eat many fried foods or very much meat. But, I do have a soft spot for pizza, ice cream, and assorted overprocessed frozen foods. While I do not plan to totally cut myself off from the foods that I love, I need to mix in more healthy stuff and watch how much I am eating.
To help, I have visited the local library and picked up a number of books from nutritional books to cook books. I’m starting off by reading Runner’s World “Performance Nutrition for Runners” (which is what ties this back to the running thing, as I’m hoping the new diet will also end up benefiting my running). In short, it summarizes healthy eating into four basic principles:
1. Eat natural foods
2. Eat a balance and a variety of foods
3. Balance your energy intake with your energy needs
4. Customize your diet to your individual needs
It all sounds common sense, but there are much more details behind each of these principles. I’m not really following any of them yet, though I started today with a nice big salad at lunch and a “healthy foods” shopping trip this evening. I still have a fridge full of perfectly good “not-so-healthy” foods that I still need to work my way through, but I’m starting down the right path.
Unfortunately, there is no real definitive end result for this challenge. I’m not really out to lose weight, just to get in better shape. So this is sort of an ongoing challenge. How long it goes, I suppose, will be what determines if it is ultimately a success, or not.
June 19, 2006
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Last night, Kristy & I headed down to Ohio City for the inaugural Ohio City Run & Crawl 5K. I was expecting to see low attendance since it was a first year event, but I was pleasantly surprised to see just over 300 runners were participating. The weather was great, as the 7pm start let it cool down a bit from the day’s hot temperatures.
I am pleased to report that I ran my best 5K time to date (not hard seeing as how it is only the 3rd one I have run in) of 21:15, a 6:51/mi pace. That’s just a few seconds shy of beating the pace from my first 5K by a full minute. So I was pleased with my performance. They finally posted the results online this evening, and I was surprised to see that I placed 21st overall out of 306 runners, and I was 7th out of 30 runners in the men’s 20-29 division. And surprisingly, I even beat the women’s winner who came in 13 seconds behind me.
Afterwards, we headed around the corner to McNulty’s Bier Markt, the 5K’s main sponsor who were giving a free beer to all runners. Normally I’m not down for drinking after running, but I wasn’t feeling too bad, so I was happy to take it.
Next, we walked down the block a few more doors to The Old Angle Tavern for some food. We were seated by the owner who carried in a table from the basement to seat us since it was pretty crowded. I enjoyed a very tasty Falafel sandwich and really liked the place. Well, except for the service. Things got busy and we (and a number of other tables) seem to have been forgotten. So good food, nice atmosphere, but bad service. Seems like the same story for lots of the new places I try out lately.
June 15, 2006
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One of my top 5 favorite bands, Sonic Youth, released their new album ‘Rather Ripped’ today. The album is the band’s 20th studio album released in their 25 year history. I know it sounds very cliche, but this band has gotten better and better with age. Sure, they weren’t at the top of their game in the early 90s, but you’re allowed to put out a few duds here and there.
The new album is certainly not a dud. I have not gotten to listen to it much yet, but I really like what I hear. Their previous album, ‘Sonic Nurse’, was one of their best albums to date, and I think this new one might give it some competition. The album is the first in a few years with the original lineup now that famous producer-turned-musician Jim O’Rourke has left the band.
Fortunately for us here in Cleveland, Sonic Youth usually make it a point to stop by our city when on tour. I have been fortunate enough to seem them twice in the past few years, at both the now closed Odeon in the Flats, and at Tower City Amphitheater along with Wilco, which was a really, really good show. This time they are part of the big Kuyahoga Festival at Blossom on August 3rd. The festival is being put on by radio station 92.3 who is bringing together a bunch of bands that strangely receive little to no airplay on their station. But I’m not going to complain. Being able to see SY and the greatest live band ever, The Flaming Lips, at the same show should be an excellent time.
The new album, ‘Rather Ripped’, can be streamed in it’s entirety at the band’s website here.
June 13, 2006
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President Bush continues to amaze me. No, it’s not his 31% approval rating, a feat not accomplished since his father did it back in the early 90’s. Nor is it his continued insistence that he can break the law, in the case of the domestic wiretapping, because of “inherent constitutional powers”. Nor is it the amazing ability he has to take vacations yet still so effectively fulfill his role as the “leader of the free world”. If I was out of the office on vacation 40% percent of the time, I wouldn’t be able to get any work done and I don’t think my employer would be too thrilled with me. No, usually the most amazing things come from his mouth in the form of words.
Recently when asked what the best moment in his more than 5 years in the Oval Office has been, his answer was:
“I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5-pound perch in my lake”
Five years of being President and your greatest achievement is catching a fish? Wow. What more can you say other than just ‘wow’? His predecessors, Presidents Carter & Clinton, had answers such as historic peace agreements and major pieces of legislation. No mention of fish catching, or anything remotely related to something any private citizen could accomplish.
June 13, 2006
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Time for Americans to put away their party hats and stop feigning interest in the sport of soccer and get back to their daily lives. While the World Cup barely registers for many Americans, there is always a handful that grasp onto this event and decide for whatever reason (perhaps some sort of misguided patriotism) to throw their full fledged support behind it, even if they have little or no interest in the actual sport itself. While I myself fit in that latter category, I do not pretend to be interested in the World Cup, or soccer in general. I never liked the sport, never played it, and have never had any interest in watching it.
I’m not anti-scocer. It’s just not for me, along with golf, tennis, and car racing. While I do not care for the sport, I do get annoyed by the “fans” that pop up out of the wood work to jump on the bandwagon. I think it takes away from the real fans who have invested a lot of time and devotion to their team. The same thing happens in every sport. The baseball team here in town, the Cleveland Indians, sold out nearly 500 games over the course of six seasons when their new stadium opened and they were one of the best teams in baseball. However, when they started losing, the attendance dropped nearly in half as the fairweather fans disappeared and it was back to just being the “real” fans for the most part.
So soccer fans, go enjoy your World Cup. Hopefully you’re not a USA fan, because it doesn’t sound like they’re gonna do much this time around. But if you’re a fan of the sport, it doesn’t much matter who is playing, right?
June 12, 2006
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Well, at least I’m thinking about hopping aboard the sattelite radio trend. I’m not a huge Howard Stern fan (Sirius’ biggest attraction), but I usually enjoyed his show on the occasions when I used to tune in. The main problem is that local radio in Cleveland sucks…really bad. For a while I was on the NPR bandwagon, but I can take only so much news on Iraq & Iran before I want to scream. And my threshold for Middle East news has quickly dropped in proportion to how much coverage has gone up, which is a lot.
The only station I find listenable music-wise, the new 92.3 K-Rock, has “Rover’s Morning Glory” in the mornings, which has gotten progressively worse over time, especially after going “semi” national to replace Stern, and rumor has it will disappear soon. And on the drive home, 92.3 just brought back Opie & Anthony which makes me laugh at times, until they drop in the totally unneccessary racial slurs and various bigoted remarks.
As for my iPod, I listen to it a lot at work now, and haven’t found myself updating it as much so a lot of the music is getting a bit stale. With Sirius, I have found there to be a number of good stations playing “modern rock” and other stuff I would like, along with all the talk radio options (including a bunch of NPR stuff). You can check it out online by signing up for a 3 day trial to listen online to many of their stations. Given the amount of time I spend in my car each day (well over an hour), I don’t think 43 cents a day in that much.
June 8, 2006
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I ran across this story today about some disturbing new law that is about to be passed in Louisiana regarding video games. Here is an excerpt from Gamespot regarding the bill:
“HB1381 would make it illegal to sell, rent, or lease a game to a minor if it met three conditions. First, if the “average person” would think “appeals to the minor’s morbid interest in violence.” Second, if it “depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards.” Lastly, a game would only qualify if it “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.” Violators could be fined between $100 and $2,000 and sentenced to up to 12 months in a state prison.“
Say what? “Appeals to the minor’s morbid interest in violence”? What the heck does that mean? Since when did we start putting judgmental language like that in laws? And can it get any more vague? “Patently offensive to prevailing standards”? What does that mean? Whose standards? The religious right-wing zealots that wrote this crap?
I don’t know much about how they run things down in Louisiana, but last I remember they had this horrific natural disaster a few months back. I guess this means things are back to normal if they have time to come up with moronic stuff like this.
June 6, 2006
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It seems as though the warm weather is here to stay, which means it’s time for the summer racing season for runners. Since I started off with the goal of running a marathon, I have really yet to master the art of the “short race”. It’s hard to run your best in a 5K when you’re programmed to pace yourself for a marathon. But that doesn’t keep me from trying.
Here is a list of the upcoming races that I plan to run in. Please let me know if any of you are interested in joining me for any of these (NOTE: A 5K is 3.1 miles):
– Inaugural Ohio City 5K & Pub Crawl – June 17th – 7pm – A new race in this great little Cleveland neighborhood in the evening, with live music and a pub crawl afterwards.
– A Most Excellent Race – June 25th – 8:30am – I ran this 10K last year as my first official “race” and had a great time. The course goes through the streets of Cleveland Heights and past a number of nice old homes. It benefits Camp Cheerful, a camp for children with disabilities in Strongsville. There is also a 5K option.
– 3rd Annual Winking Lizard “A Shot in the Dark” – July 15th – 6:30pm – Another evening race which had over 1000 participants last year and I’ve heard it’s a great time. Either a 4 mile run, or a 2 person (2 mile each) relay, held at the downtown Lizard. In addition to a free t-shirt and necklace, all runners get a free sandwich afterwards along with drink specials in their huge beer garden.
I also plan to run some longer races later in the summer, including a few half marathons. Also, it is not definite yet, but I’m thinking about running my third marathon in October. I have my eye on the Detroit Free Press Marathon, though I have not made up my mind yet.
I know I told many of you that the last one might be my last, but I don’t think I’m ready to give it up just yet. The improvement I saw between my first two marathons has really encouraged me to try to push myself and see how much more I can improve. Also, there is the reality that if I stop running, I’d probably gain about 50 pounds and become a blob. So there’s that too. 🙂