Sunday, August 31, 2008

Today is the last day of the month, and as good a time as any to reflect on my recent running experiences. I usually wait until January, to declare the year a failure and set some goal for the new year, that I will declare a failure twelve months out. But instead, this time, I think I will say now that most of this year was a failure, fitness-wise, but that last month was pretty good. A few more successful months, and I might even get the pleasure of taking back my declaration of failure.

In August, I ran 33.9 miles. Considering my milage for the year is around 92 miles (I was remiss in keeping my log current in January/February, but doubt I ran more than 15 miles or so the two months combined), that's well over a third of my annual running-to-date condensed into one month. A bit over a mile a day, which isn't bad for someone trying to get back into the swing of things. I still have a ways to go to get where I want to be, but I'm at the point now where I can start building up mileage. But just getting that base in place is the most important thing. Getting into the habit of running four days a week, regardless of how far. Not that I don't want to gain speed and endurance and increase my mileage, but the greatest gains come from doing nothing to doing something, so while 8/9 miles a week isn't all that impressive compared to my training at my peak, that's still a major improvement to my lifestyle. I intend to improve from where I am now, but further benefits will be incremental. The important thing is to keep up the consistency, make running a habit again. And I seem to be on track there.

So while things are going good, I should ask myself, why do things always go wrong? I tend to say injuries, but there was really only the one bout with plantar fasciitis, and otherwise I've been injury-free (nothing that didn't go away after taking it easy a day or two, anyway). The plantar fasciitis still stands out, since I was pretty much at the top of my game at that point, and never really got back to the point where running was a habit after that hiatus. But looking over my notes, I see the factor that's consistently to blame for my bad years is illness. I get the flu in September or October, and never quite shake it completely until January or so. So this year, I'm doing what I should have been doing for years, and getting a flu shot. I work in customer service at a family-friendly tourist attraction and volunteer in a library, so I'm exposed to lots of people, including lots of snotty kids, so it's no surprise I get sick a lot. And endurance exercise has a tendency to lower one's immune system a bit. So while I've always been slightly skeptical of flu shots, next month I'll be lining up to get my injection. And hopefully that will help assure that I'm able to line up at the starting line of the next 5K I decide to enter.

Agricultural department can ban meat processors from testing for Mad Cow Disease. Because if one butcher tests, it may force others to test, too. And that, apparently, is a bad thing.
Pima and Maricopa Indians reach record settlement on water rights, hope to return to healthy lifestyle of past. The tribes hope a return to a more traditional diet will lead to a reduction in obesity and diabetes; the Pima have the highest rate of diabetes of any population on earth. And at over 650,000 acre-feet a year, the water should provide economic prosperity, too.

This especially caught my notice because Ira Hayes, of "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," belonged to the Pima tribe. So had he not drowned in a ditch, he probably would have lost his feet to diabetes by now. In any event, it seems like some small solace that the water has been returned to his land.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Librarian assistant fired for writing book about patrons. I'm of two minds on this one; as the fired author notes, libraries are supposed to be realms of free speech, but they're also supposed to be realms of privacy. It's hard to argue that patron records should be shielded from FBI intrusion when you're writing snarky books about said patrons. And its not hard to see how reading a lightly-fictionalized version of yourself in a librarian's memoirs might be upsetting, sort of like hearing yourself as the subject of ridicule in the teacher's lounge. "I've got no friends, so I confide in Willie!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How the West Was Won will be screened in Cinerama September 7th. I just bought my tickets, and got the day off work to head up to L.A. I've long wanted to see a movie in the dome in authentic Cinerama, and now I have my chance. They're also showing 2001: A Space Odyssey from a 70mm print the same weekend. It's assigned seating, so if you're planning on attending, don't dilly-dally. (Thanks to DVD Savant for alerting his readers)

I went to see The Dark Knight recently, and drove up to Mira Mesa to see it in the IMAX theater. While the screen was smaller than I anticipated, it was still well-worth the drive and additional cost. It was the first Hollywood film to actually use an IMAX camera to film several scenes, and those scenes just look amazing. As for the movie itself, I liked it. Not as much as I loved Batman Begins, so it was disappointing in that sense. But it was still a first-rate action movie. See it in the theaters if you can, and if your community has IMAX, go for it.

Today I came upon yet another article about ultra-cheap music downloads for sale at This one caught my attention because it mentioned Hayes Carll's new album being on sale for $1.99. From what I've heard, he seems to try a little too hard to hit all the right alt-country notes for my taste, but it's worth a listen. Which is why I had my name on the wait-list for the CD at my local library. But instead I paid $1.99 for the digital album. Meaning the label got a cut of the $1.99 off of my interest, instead of nothing (actually, probably more than $1.99, as the consensus seems to be that Amazon is taking a loss on these promotional prices). So it seems to me that pricing music to encourage impulse buys seems a smart move.

In addition to the Hayes Carll album, this week's special $5 albums are also some great choices. In particular, I'd be remiss in not noting that Pink Martini's Hang On Little Tomato is $5 this week. So if you don't already have that album, don't spend too much time feeling ashamed, just rectify the situation by laying down $5 at Amazon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Getting caught up on some RSS feeds, I came across this mention of Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music which premiered last week on PBS, as part of the P.O.V. series. Seemed about my luck, but checking the listings, I found my local affiliate is rerunning it tonight. So woo-hoo to me.

Oh, and yeah, I'm alive and everything, just lazy, I'll get some pictures and thoughts about Comic-Con up soon.