Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm all over the place this week...bear with me

I'll start with some asides: I think Diana Ross's Supremes could've done a better job than the US Supreme Court did last week in its campaign finance decision. My, my... the day democracy died. By the Court's convoluted logic, it seems a corporation could actually be appointed to a seat on the court itself. What a pack of _______ (you can fill in the blank yourself).

The Prop 8 trial in Cali has come to a close. It is my hope that the H8ers will see their terrible initiative (if you can call something that denies others a basic right an initiative) overturned.

Finally, Oh! Bama... come on, man. Let's get some real change. Keep up the fight for health coverage for all, let's create jobs by encouraging green industries, high-speed rail, sustainable agriculture, bio-sciences (a nod to my friend Brad Kemp), and hold the line on global warming.

Now for my passion.... what, you can't remember? I'm shocked.

I had a few good runs outside this week. The weather held to the 30s and 40s. I used to never run if the temp was under 50, but rolfing (which helped my breathing), and the crappiness of this winter (which forced running in extreme conditions), made me rethink my temperature-to-run ratio restrictions.

The new Mizunos work great. I've been very happy with their support, lightness, and durability. I also, for once with a running shoe, like the way they look. I wanted to get a vegan shoe, and there is a great selection of those from most companies.

This weekend, Chris Ford (my track star running buddy) and I are going to run a 10k race in KCs Subtropolis. I've always wanted to do the run, but have either been too out of shape, or too out of town to do the run. For those of you who don't know, the Subtropolis is a huge underground storage area underneath swaths of the KC metro area. Hollywood films and large amounts of postage stamps and other things are stored there by the government and companies the world over. It grows larger every year. It is large enough, obviously, to have a 10k run in it. The temp remains constant. So, on Jan 31, we'll be assured of covering the distance in shorts and t-shirts. I'll have a report on it next week. To learn more about the subtropolis, go here: .

I'm also considering doing the Kansas Marathon in April. I'll at least do the half if I'm around. I have a friend named Joe who is doing the full-on marathon who has an interesting way of training for it. He has a three day a week regimen that seems to be working really well for him. I'll try to have more on that in a future post. He described it for me yesterday, but I need to read a bit more in order to pass along accurate information. If you want to read a story about him, follow this link: . In my opinion, Joe also happens to roast and brew the finest coffee available in Lawrence. If you like coffee, check out his shop, J&S Coffee.

Finally for a true non-sequiter: Why couldn't the woman who fell into the Picasso this week have been standing next to a Botero or a De Kooning?

And finally finally: Check out the new book by Patti Smith. I read an excerpt from it a couple of days ago, and was touched by her viewpoint, honesty and humility. Whether or not you like her music or poetry, the book encapsulates an important time period in the development of post-beat art and music in NYC.

Have a great week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hombre Solo

Yesterday I drove into KC with a couple of friends to have lunch and see the new movie, A Single Man. I had read the Christopher Isherwood novel, on which the movie is based, a couple of times over the past 20 years. Rarely (and by that I mean I can count the instances on 1 finger) do I think a movie based on a book is better. In this case, however, the movie just may be finer than that upon which it is based. The DP should be given accolades for the scenes shot in b&w and then different levels of color. The set and costume designers should also win awards. And, while I'm not a particular fan of Tom Ford's work in other endeavors, he has directed (and co-written) an absolute masterpiece. I feel much the same way about Ford as I do about Julian Schnabel. I never liked his art much, but I really like his movies.

When the film was over, one of my two companions asked the other two of us how we would rate the movie on a scale of 1-5. I said '5.' My friend Marisa also said '5.' Terra, who had posed the question gave it 4 and a half. And later when I discussed the movie with a friend who has not seen it, I made the comment that while I have been talking about the movie as one of the best in the past year, I actually seem to be describing it in terms of movies that are my all-time favorites. And I would probably have to put it into the top 20 films I've ever seen. Both Marisa and I plan to get copies when it is released on DVD. And I'd gladly see it again in a theater. So go see it if you have a chance. There are very few films like it out there.

I spent the rest of the weekend running in the incredible fog that has settled into the region. I believe the term is 'pea soup' (if pea soup were white). Between the mountains of snow and ice still clinging to many surfaces, the fog makes it even more of a challenge to run outside. With temps in the 30s and 40s, however, I can't resist heading out on my normal routes. Each day I arrived back at mi casa covered in mud and soaked through. But being back outside after weeks on the dreadmills makes the challenges created by the elements worth facing. I plan to be back out in it later today and tomorrow. I really have a new appreciation for the relatively few days of the year that have perfect running conditions. I plan to savor them in the future.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Went Back to Ohio...

Yesterday afternoon I got back from a quick trip to Ohio. I last wrote that I wanted to get out of here because it is so stinking cold. But when considering where to go (Florida and California), Ohio hadn't been on my radar. The trip was biz not pleasure - though it was pleasurable.

On the trip I got some hotel treadmill running in. Upon arriving back in Kansas, however, I see that the temps are moving into the 40s (finally). So, as long as I can avoid the icy patches, I'll get in some outdoor runs this week and next.

This may be the shortest blog entry I've done. So I'll end with a sports plug. Be sure to catch as much of the Australian Open as you can. It is such a unique tournament - a Grand Slam that is month away from the other three. Of the biggies, this is the one where every now and then, someone advances who has done a bit more training in the too-short off-season than the others. It is a great event, and can transport you on those cold Winter nights to sunny Melbourne, Australia.

Stay warm. Donate to Haitian relief efforts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

ABBA Cadabra

Mama Mia. The ABBA song keeps running through my head every time I step outside in the cold. Honestly, it's some sort of OCD thing with me, because as soon as the arctic air hits my face/hands/lung, I think or say 'Mama Mia. Here I go again. My, my Jesus Christ it's freakin' co-old.' No let up in sight. I checked flights yesterday, thinking that I'd get outta Dodge next weekend. LA and Lauderdale were the 2 top contenders. But did you see the temp predictions for Friday? Holy caca, Batman. If the predictions are true, it would scare me to even drive to the airport in sub-zero temps. They'll be using molten lava to de-ice the wings of the planes.

So, I'm stuck here with everyone else... Every time I hear a plane flying overhead I think, 'keep going, 'cause you really DO NOT want to land here.' This is the time of year where the Flyover States earn their rep.

My foot has healed just in time for a lot of indoor treadmill running. I actually ran 6.2 mi on a treadmill on Friday. It's coincidental (and a bit ironic) that while I was exercising physically, I was also experiencing a new exercise in boredom. Wow do I dislike running on treadmills.

After waxing poetic on the great rec centers my little city has, I went out and joined a health club for 3 months. I joined because of the hours (the club opens at 4:30 a.m.), and so I didn't have to wait in line to use a treadmill - as the deadly combo of cold weather and soon-to-be-broken New Year's resolutions cause a population increase at indoor workout facilities.

Like many clubs, the one I joined hit me with options and a contract. The experience was akin to buying a car. Ridiculously complex. I tried to explain (10 times if I said it once) that I really just wanted to use the treadmills, and was not interested in personal trainers or classes. Finally, we agreed on a price that included personal trainers (which I'll never use) and classes (which I'll never attend). But the total price was right. So, with three crap months ahead, I now can run on some seriously excellent machines any time I could ever imagine wanting to use them. Since I'm an early guy, I hit the club between 5 and 6 a.m. At that hour, most of the people there are runners or aerobic types. I see a couple of people I normally see running on the streets, so there is an odd camaraderie to the workout.

Enough about that.

2 movies you should see: 1) Me and Orson Wells - a period piece about a kid being cast in a Broadway play directed by and starring Orson Wells. The guy who plays Orson is fabulous. 2) Up in the Air - not as good as Lost in Translation which had a bit of the same vibe. Up in the Air is a solid and nicely-paced movie starring some big names. The nice thing about it is that is doesn't have a Hollywood ending. It seems quite a bit more real.