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The reason I think I was so confused, or unaware, or inaccurate about the status of my weight upon arriving in Seattle last month has to be the fact that I FEEL better than I have in a long time, regardless about how I look. Granted, in December, the running was sporadic at best - the ol' Once Around The Park routine - on every Saturday for about a month or so. But, I defy you to name me a non-professional or college athlete who weighs upwards of 230 pounds and can run 6 miles without walking!

Regardless, the madness ends. I'm on a bold mission here to return to my 3 Miles A Day habit if it's the last thing I do. I ran 3 on Friday, 6 on Saturday, rested on Sunday, and got back on the horse for 3 more today. The key is repetition. Every day is ideal, though unrealistic at this point, since my legs aren't quite up to where my respiratory system is. But, I don't see anything wrong with 6 out of 7 days, with 5 of them only being 3 miles each. It's only a half hour's worth of running in the morning, I think I can handle that.

Pete once told me that if you want to be a good long-distance runner, you have to build up your leg muscles. Lacking a proper weight room, I'm kinda fucked on that end. The only thing I got going for me at the moment is that I'm carrying around about 40 pounds of unnecessary fat; as long as it doesn't hamper my joints, it should provide at least a little bit in the ways of strength-building in my calves and thighs. But, I'll tell you, those 6 miles I ran on Saturday were a struggle nearly from beginning to end.

The thing about the Central Park run is the fact that the back half - about 3 miles - is a series of almost constant prolonged uphill runs. But, since this was the first time I'd run on back-to-back days since I lived in West Seattle, my legs were a wee bit tender on the front half of the Central Park run. I didn't think I was going to make it all the way to the end - and these doubts were creeping in around mile 2 or so. Somewhere in the middle, I hit my stride and things went well for a mile or so. But, that back half was a Fuh-King Killer. I was convinced I was either going to collapse from exhaustion/dehydration and fall flat on my face, or I was going to have a heart attack and drop dead in front of the excess of day walkers out enjoying the abnormal 70 degree heat. But, one thing remained prominent the entire time, my lungs are no worse for the wear of all the smoking I did in that two week Seattle/Tacoma vacation.

To be fair, I probably only went through a smidge over two packs the entire time. The thing was, those two packs were consumed in the first six days. Once I had to pull over the car in Bellevue and throw up on my way to Indian Food in Redmond - after a night consisting solely of beer and cigarettes - I knew the contributing factor to my nausea. Normally, I enjoy a few smokes while drinking; it's generally the only time I feel the desire. But, with my stomach so completely rattled - probably because when I DO smoke while drinking, I run through about 15 cigarettes in a 4 hour period - it's just not going to be an option anymore. I don't mind the occasional hangover when I've got a headache and a bad case of dehydration. But, when I'm blowing chunks after a 12-pack of beer, that's a problem. I can take down 12 beers in my sleep, I don't want to give that up!

I was only able to go running twice while I was in Tacoma. The first time, I left it as a casual stroll through the city, checking out the Christmas lights. This was on my second or third night in the city, when I was still on my Running Saturdays schedule. The second time I ran, there was only a few days left in my stay, and this was AFTER all the smoking had taken my wind. I could barely hang with a mile and a half before my lungs gave out. It was pathetic. I did a few 100 yard sprints, got even MORE winded, and called it a day.

So, the fact that I'm able to run over 70 minutes without my insides exploding is a real relief. Because I gotta think, as long as I'm able to keep the Everyday Running routine up, these Central Park runs will start getting easier on the ol' legs.
 
 
Current Mood: You are a runner
 
 
08 January 2007 @ 10:29 am
Boy, were the New York teams SLAUGHTERED yesterday. What a beating! For the Jets, it was all about what a blessing this season has been, considering they were predicting 4-6 wins going into the season. For the Giants, another disappointing ending to a VERY disappointing season. This team made the playoffs last year, they've got a Manning at quarterback, they've got a stud running back, and they're pretty talented at receiver. Yet, with all they've got, they still couldn't muster a winning season when it all ended.

Then, you take a look at a team like the Seahawks, whose talent pool has been spending as much time in the hospital as it has on the field, and you can't help but wonder what life would be like if we had as much health as the Giants. Or Cowboys for that matter. I still contend that this season started with the Seahawks playing on Autopilot, believing that no matter how hard they played, they'd win games because of WHO they are and what they did last season. After getting slapped in the face by the first three NFC North opponents they faced (going 1-2 against Chicago, Minnesota, and a surprise Week 1 game against Detroit we barely pulled off), not to mention losing to the likes of the 49ers, Cardinals, and 49ers again, the Seahawks had to deal with the fact that they aren't as good as they thought, and they surely aren't as good as they were last year.

Starting with the loss at home against San Diego and continuing with the stunning victory over Dallas, you're looking at a team that's FINALLY found its heart. Its passion for playing football and its desire for winning games. Sure, it only took 15 lackluster weeks (not counting preseason), but we're finally starting to play like we believe these games mean something. Mentally, we're playing like we did in the playoffs last year. If only we were as healthy as we were last year.

I go into this game at Chicago with as many, if not more reservations than I had about Dallas. First and most importantly, we're on the road. The Seahawks have proven time and time again they're not the same when they're away from Qwest Field. But, we've pulled out a few wins here and there to give me cause for diminished skepticism. The game at St. Louis was a back-and-forth battle with us pulling one out in the final seconds on a field goal. The game at Kansas City - while we lost and our defense got run over - saw us within a touchdown with the ball with 2 minutes to go in a game we had NO business being in. The game at Denver, where they threw the rookie in who made a few mistakes that obviously cost his team the win, saw us playing up to our potential on defense. Of course, no one's forgetting the embarassing nationally-televised game in Chicago where we lost 37-6. The Bears steamrolled us; we had no answers for their defensive pressure, and offensively they could do no wrong.

I'd like to think that game isn't lingering in our minds, but that's foolish. What worries me most about this game is the same thing that worried me about Dallas: if we don't get off to a fast start, our offense will wilt and our defense will eventually cave. What happened against Dallas? We got in deep twice in the first half and came away with two field goals - another inexplicable Mack Strong run on 3rd and long near the goalline. Dallas started off badly as well, but hung around and took a lead into halftime, to receive the ball on the kickoff at the start of the second half. Giving a team like Dallas - especially their much maligned defense that had taken the brunt of the criticism in the week leading up to the game - confidence by throwing interceptions and generally getting stopped on offense will only help in fuelling their team to victory. Somehow we kept them at bay in the second half, preventing their offense from scoring any more touchdowns, but if we play the same against Chicago - starting sluggishly - we'll get run out of the stadium like we did in Week 4.

Rex Grossman is about as streaky a guy as you can get in this league. He doesn't respond well to pressure. That's all fine and dandy, except - like with Dallas - we can't get much pressure on the quarterback when we're dropping linebackers to help in coverage. Did you see all the 5 Wide Receiver sets Dallas threw into their offense against us? That's what happens when you've got a loan officer playing nickel corner. You know who else has 5 competent receivers? The Bears. Like Dallas, they've got solid numbers 1 and 2 in Muhammad and Berrian, they've got a stud bigtime tight end in Desmond Clark, and they've got pass-catching young running backs in Jones and Benson. What's UNlike Dallas is the fact that Grossman isn't in his first year starting, and he's got more of a chip on his shoulder thanks to the bevy of poor throwing performances he's endured in the last seven or so weeks.

Thankfully, this time around, we're not the only team suffering from injuries. The Bears are missing their HUGE defensive tackle. This guy, in the previous game against us, single-handedly terrorized our offense in every imaginable way: he commanded constant double-teams, he stuffed our inept running game, AND he got two sacks! He's out. Done for the year; there's no chance for a miracle there. Also, their big-play safety is most likely out as well. Those are a couple of holes in their defense we'll HAVE to exploit if we're to win this game. Unlike in Week 4, we'll have a full-strength Shaun Alexander on the field, running as hard as he has in his career (that injury at the end of the Dallas game turned out to be nothing, he was back on the field after a play). Likewise, we'll have Jerramy Stevens back in our line up; he was out with an injury the first go around. I never thought I'd say this, but for us to win, Stevens HAS to play like he did against Dallas. No drops, and plenty of big catches over the middle.

Stevens is even more important because it seems like we can't go one game without losing more bodies. I had a pretty good hunch that D-Jack would play. He's a gamer, plain and simple. But, those fucking turf toes are wide receiver killers, plain and simple. If you can't put pressure on the front half of your foot, you can't accelerate and you can't cut. That's a double-whammy for a receiver who needs precision because he lacks the breakaway speed of a Marvin Harrison. Also likely out is D.J. Hackett, who did something in the game; probably reaggrivated the injury he sustained in Tampa. And we won't see Trufant available until next week at the earliest, if ever again this season.

The reason why we are where we are right now is because Dallas took us by the hand and walked us across the street to the victory. Forget the field goal at the end of the game. Take a look at all the drops. T.O. looked like he wasn't even paying attention on one throw that hit him in the bicep (to be fair, according to the announcers, apparently Romo had been overlooking a wide-open T.O. on previous plays, so maybe he just wasn't expecting the ball based on precedent); the running backs helped us out a couple times with drops, Witten had a crucial fumble, and of course Glenn had the biggest fumble of them all. Then, take into account Romo's own inaccuracies. He was bouncing passes left and right, overthrowing guys, and not even noticing wide open receivers altogether. We wouldn't be looking forward to a Sunday morning game at Soldier Field without the generocity of the Dallas Cowboys.

But, as a Seahawks fan, you can't count on the Bears repeating that performance. And yet, this is the only conceivable match-up I would have the slightest confidence in (which probably spells doom, because my intuition on these things tends to be ass-backwards). Because I'm seeing NO ONE going into New Orleans - their first home playoff game in HOW many years? Not to mention all the good mojo they've sustained all season. Not to mention their stud receivers and wildcard running backs. Not to mention Brees is playing out of his mind - NO ONE is going into New Orleans and beating them this week. Next week? Well, if I started talking about that, I'd be a damn fool. As far as I'm concerned, there's no Next Week.

There's only The Bears. There's only pain.
 
 
08 January 2007 @ 02:38 pm
Looks like it's one of those days at the office. Last Friday, I subjected Kon to a 70-minutes-in-the-preparing e-mail to pass those lowly afternoon hours when there was nothing to read and I was logy from inconsistent sleep and a somewhat-full stomach (man, I had no IDEA that's how you spelled "logy." Looks like it should be pronounced log-ee, but it's actually low-gi - the gi being like a karate gi ... sorry, end of spelling & vocabulary session). Today, I subject my boredom to the Internet community at large.

Since I got back here, I've contracted two story ideas inadvertently. I'm not actively pursuing any writing projects at the moment, though. With September through the first half of December consisting of Novel, short story, multiple aborted plays, novel, short story, I went ahead and took my vacation as a vacation from creative writing as well. In dividing 2007 in half, I have a first-half goal of getting something (or multiple somethings) ready for publication or contest submittal. I was gonna go ahead and try to devote the second half of the year to pounding out another novel or two, but nothing's really set in stone. At this point, I'm just letting ideas come to me instead of sitting down and trying to force them onto the page. So far - without trying to sound too optimistic - I'm pleased with what I'm jotting down.

So, I'm down to two credit cards that I'm paying off. The Nordstrom card is a pain in my ass something severe, but there's only $1300 left on there. I went ahead and threw another $500 on there today, knocking it down to $800; I'm hoping that'll decrease the interest I'm paying on it a little bit. I could've put more on there, but I want to leave a little extra money in my checking account Just In Case. Besides, I have three days' worth of work I haven't yet been paid for from the week before I left for Seattle. I faxed the two time sheets I had left over on Christmas day, but I was only credited with one. Including last Friday, I SHOULD be in store for $400 come Friday. If all goes well, I'll pay off that fucking Nordstrom card before the next statement rolls around. And, as for my BIG card, I have $6200 on there; but get this, with that lower APR I signed on for, I was charged less than $20 interest last month. Yeah, I think I can swing that for a bit. They're making me pay $82 a month for a minimum payment, but at the rate I'm able to save, that card won't know what hit it.

After this summer, I'll be down to just the three Must-Watch television shows. The final season of The Sopranos (or, rather, the continuation of the elongated Season 6) begins in April or May and will shoot its wad for the nine weeks thereafter. Of course, there's one show in particular that'll be ending its run after four short seasons, but that HAS to be saved for its own post later this week. Leaving, of course, 24 which I don't see dying or growing stale until Jack Bauer is forced into retirement at the ripe old age of 93 years old (which of course brings memories of an aging Charles Bronson from "Death Wish 9" lying in a hospital bed muttering to himself, "I wish I was dead"). 24 starts up this Sunday at 8pm with two action-packed hours followed the following day with another two hours at the same time. I, of course, don't have a TV, which means I'll most likely be a day late on both fronts. As for the other two Must-Watch shows, we're talking about none other than Entourage and South Park. Entourage usually accompanies The Sopranos, so hopefully I'll be downloading new episodes this spring. South Park runs seven weeks of episodes in the spring followed by another seven weeks in the fall. Other than that, I really have no use for television anymore (for reasons non-sports-related anyway). I hear I'm supposed to be watching a show called The Wire - also from HBO - but it's almost already run its course, so I can just download those too. Look, when Nowhere Man got the ax after one heart-racing season, a piece of my TV-watching soul got the ax right along with it. It's of little relief, however, with the knowledge that the guy who PLAYED Nowhere Man is going to be in a new HBO show created by the guy who made one of my other favorite HBO shows "Deadwood." There might be hope for this medium yet.

Should I just go ahead and make this my longest-ever running Journal Post? After two decently-sized ones this morning, I'm sure you've gotten to this sentence and clicked right out of this page anyway. I've got a little more than two hours to go at work and nothing left to read. Let's see if I can think of anything else to talk about.

A Night At The Museum, I'm shocked to discover, is number 1 at the box office for the third straight week now. It seems like every year there's some dumb little movie that just so happens to make WAY more money than it's worth on a comedic level. Look, I didn't HATE this movie - though I never would've seen it had I not been offered the opportunity to see it with friends in Seattle - but just knowing that it's made over $134 million already kinda sours me on the whole thing. Like I said before, there were funny PARTS, but this just speaks to the fact that there's nothing out there right now worth seeing. You've got the Will Smith movie, you've got that cliche-filled "Freedom Writers" about the female white teacher in the L.A. ghetto school, that fucking Cedric The Entertainer movie debuted at Number 11 because people realize that he's NOT FUNNY, I'm not gonna go on. You get the idea. "Children of Men" is one I'd like to see, but probably won't go out of my way to pay for; "Notes on a Scandal" didn't look too great when I saw the preview, but I'm hearing excellent things about the actresses; every fiber of my being came away from the preview I saw weeks ago for the movie "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" told me that thing is going to suck ten ways from Sunday, but I'm intrigued by the fact that it's in French and that Dustin Hoffman is in it. But, I've got nothing coming in this week. "Alpha Dog" that Justin Timberlake movie will probably blow ass; never trust ANYTHING when you see Sharon Stone's name among the cast ... unless Arnold Schwarzenegger is casting a prominent shadow over things.

I've never been a "Comic Book Guy." I don't know if that's necessarily helped or hindered my development into the well-rounded male I've become. I suppose, looking back, I was nerdy, brainy, and socially awkward enough growing up; adding a comic book fixation into the mix probably would've ground me into social dust. But, for whatever reason, this phenomenon passed me right on by. For an outcast, I had some strange interests growing up. Never one for comic books, lest the occasional issue of Heathcliff. I liked comic STRIPS though. I can remember when both Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side originals were still printed in newspapers; over time I purchased every C&H anthology as well as a number of Far Side and Garfield collections. I was never much into Science Fiction like some of my nerdier friends; never a Star Trek guy; didn't even really get into Star Wars until my younger brother fell in love with the movies. But, I read almost everything Stephen King has ever written - which includes TONS of Sci-Fi/Horror elements. I could, for the most part, care less about Martial Arts (movies or the real thing), but Bloodsport was my all-time favorite movie. That being said, I wasn't a Bruce Lee guy (my brother and dad are), I didn't get into Steven Segal until my later teenage years, and Jackie Chan made me want to barf. Hip Hop and I have always had an on-again/off-again relationship, ditto Pop music. I started getting into classic rock from the 60s and 70s when I was 12 years old. As a younger kid, though, I was one of few watching MTV in elementary school when they still played music videos; and I was the only kid I knew of who was allowed (and actually WANTED) to stay up and watch Saturday Night Live. You know, in the late 80s when Dennis Miller hosted the news and Jon Lovitz was still on the cast? Yeah, I got to see those live. Oh, and while everyone I knew and know now were little kids getting excited for dumb shit like Professional Wrestling, I'm happy to say I never watched a single match. Didn't appeal to me. Neither did cars/auto racing, G.I. Joes (or anything involving the war theme), The A-Team, or lots of other shit aimed at guys. But, I got into the Seahawks when I was 6 or 7, I enjoyed watching He Man, and I wouldn't miss a single episode of Transformers. My dad bought us a Nintendo in 1988 - right after we moved into the house on Westgate Boulevard - and while I spent many an hour playing all the Mario games, as well as Zelda, Metroid, and Rad Racer, by the time I hit my mid-to-late teenage years, my time spent in front of a TV playing video games reduced drastically. You could essentially boil my childhood/pre-teen interests down to Music, Seattle Sports, TV Sitcoms, Stephen King books, Mad Magazine, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

But, thinking back now, Comic Books never really took off for me. That's too bad, because from what I understand - if I would've looked in the right places - I could've found some really amazing series and stories. One such series is the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles legacy. Back when they all had the same colored eyebands, back when it was dark and menacing, rather than the campy, cartoony TV series and later two movies. Well, they're coming back this summer, and from advanced word it's going to be as good, if not better, than the first Turtles movie. I. Loved. That. Movie. Raph was a badass, Kasey Jones was a stud, and it even had a cool Lost Boys/Peter Pan vibe going. The thing is, while I. Loved. That. Movie., I wasn't reared on the comic books (which is what this new movie's supposed to emulate a little bit more); I got most of my Turtles action FROM the Campy Cartoon Series. Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, The Rat King, the Turtle Van, the Turtle Copter ... and how could they eat all that pizza and stay in such amazing ass-kicking shape? You'd think pizza would be difficult for the turtle body to digest. Anyway, THAT'S what I REALLY want. Man, they just need to re-release the first season of the cartoon series on DVD.

Something I was thinking about while flying back to New York: "Everyone on every flight, every time, thinks the same thing: I'm going to die today. Once this grim news is unconsciously shared among the participants of the flight through nervous stares and uncomfortable body language, they can finally move on to the business at hand: getting home." I like to consider myself a fatalist: everything that happens is inevitable and subject to fate. You have absolutely no control over how long you have to live, all you can control is how happy you are while you're here. Ergo, there's no sense sitting on the plane in a frigid, clenched-fist panic, worrying about every little bump and drop you experience while flying. The bottom line is, planes don't crash all that often; that's why they're so widely covered on the news, so get over yourself. Odds are your plane WON'T be boarded by terrorists and you WON'T be the next hero of a United 93-type picture.

Something else I was thinking about, this time while sitting on the floor at the New Years party in this Odds N' Sods Journal Post: "There used to be a time in my life when I was a huge fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. What the fuck happened? I mean, it's not like they regressed as musicians/artists. But, somewhere between John Frusciante's quitting in 1992 and his illustrious return to the band in 1999, they morphed from a jam/funk SoCal band to a Wet/Sandy Vagina band." Let me elaborate. First and foremost, let me say now that Flea always was and always will be a badass, no matter what. Now, throughout the 80s, Anthony Keidis was little more than a Punk-Rapper, and their music reflected this accordingly by being simple, rough, and funky. People, I don't think, realize that they've been around since the early 80s, releasing four studio albums before they hit it big with "Under The Bridge" from what has turned out to be their greatest album "Blood Sugar Sex Magik." However, through each of those first four albums, they steadily improved, broadening the scope of their sounds and talents. "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" was their breakout album - produced by Rick Rubin - maximizing their funk mastery and mixing it with their melodious finest. During the tour for that album, though, Frusciante left the band, let his heroin addiction nearly kill him, and left the band reeling creatively. They released one album in the next seven years - with Jane's Addiction lead guitarist Dave Navarro filling in rather poorly - that had a few singles based on the previous album's success, but was no where near the quality. When Frusciante got clean and returned, they released "Californication." A nice, breezy, well-crafted album that doesn't stand up to repeated listenings, sadly. From then on, they've adopted this ultra-poppy, wimpy style of hippie music that just makes me want to stab my brain with a Q-Tip. Three albums now, I can't stand it! First of all, none of the songs distinguish themselves as particularly interesting to listen to; they all end up as one big pile of lovey-dovey mush. Like I said, they sound Nice, but that's about as far as it goes. "By The Way" was God-awful, and the new double album isn't much better. Apparently, someone was able to distinguish singles from the other songs that don't sound particularly better or worse. Same hooks, same soft-vocals, same whimsical guitar solos. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have morphed from a funny, funky, fresh-sounding group of wide-eyed characters to a boring, adult-contemporary-meets-Generation-X group of erectile-dysfunction-inducing saps.

OK, Christ, that's about as much as I can handle right now. I'm physically exhausted and I'll probably need the rest of my workday to proofread this sumbitch.