Archive for May, 2007
The park across the street is crowded with semi-trucks stacked with games and rides — all of which should be unpacked and set up later today.
Yes, itâ€™s that time of year again when the carnies transform the park across the street into a carnival in celebration of the city’s founding (or something like that).
Last night Aidan stared out his bedroom window with big eyes at the trucks. He asked about them and to explain the different rides. I think once these things are set up, heâ€™s really going to want to ride them.
The last two years the carnival hasn’t been a big deal for the kids because they’ve been too young to really care about them. Not this year. We’re going to have one, at least, who is going to be very interested in the rides, noises, and flashing lights.
May 31st, 2007
If you canâ€™t tell from the photo above, I received the edited version of Room for Two from the publisher. It came Friday afternoon and I spent pretty much the entire weekend going over their changes and making final suggestions and corrections.
I quite happy with the editor and her changes. I think the story flows and reads much better. The suggestions and changes I submitted back were rather minor. According to the editor, thereâ€™s a chance my book may go to press in June â€“ a month earlier than planned â€“ so it will be ready for a big state book convention in August. Nothing final on the actual press date, though. Stay tuned for details.
May 29th, 2007
Marathon Girl is hurt. Not sure whatâ€™s wrong with her exactly but sheâ€™s been having some problems with her right calf which has slowed her running time down considerably this last week. Fortunately she has a great sports-medicine doctor and has an appointment to see him today.
The injury couldnâ€™t have come at a worse time for her. The Dam Marathon is two weeks away and itâ€™s hard for her to put all this time and effort into training only to get hurt. Running as much as she does takes a toll on the body. Hopefully the doctor will have some good news for her and a couple of days rest will be all it takes to get her running fast again.
May 25th, 2007
Note (05/29/08): If you’re looking for the Jeremy Bantham (also spelled Jeremy Bentham) refrence, scroll down to comment number six. My friend Jon called it a year ago!
I can’t think of any time a television show has left me speechless. However, after the season finale of LOST last night, I don’t know what to say.
Don’t misunderstand. I LOVED the episode. If anything the finale proved that LOST is the best damn show in the history of television and I’m anxiously awaiting season four.
*** Major Spoiler Warning ***
But seriously, a flash forward to where Jack is miserable, his ex-wife is pregnant with another man’s child, someone connected to the island (I think so, anyway) is dead, and Jack wants to return to the island.
Yeah, the clues that this was a flash-forward were all over the place, weren’t they. Jack was wearing contemporary sunglasses and using a modern cell phone, he was sprawled out in a room full of maps of the Pacific Ocean, and flying on Oceanic Airlines with a glimpse of the Los Angeles Times with a headline from April of this year. But most everyone didn’t catch that, did they. Instead we were trying to piece together when in Jack’s past this was taking place so we were ignoring the obvious clues.
I was listening to the official podcast a couple weeks ago where and Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were talking about knowing the show would end in 2010. One of the things they said was that now that they knew how many episodes were left, they could create a beautiful tapestry that would not only answer all the show’s mysteries but would show us who the charters would become in the future. I think that little clue was lost (no pun intended) on just about everyone. I think we can look for more flash-forwards in upcoming episodes next season.
So most of the Others are dead and a “escue boat” is on it’s way to the island. The good news is that at least Kate and Jack will be rescued at some point. The bad news is that for one of them, that may not have been the best thing.
May 24th, 2007
Even before Cassie warned me about reading any spoilers regarding the season finale of LOST, I was already practicing self-restraint and have refrained from visiting any LOST-related sites since last week should any part of the plot be spoiled for me.
Instead I’ve been discovering creative LOST merchandise that fans have created. So far the “I believe in Jacob” store in CafePress is my favorite.Â
May 23rd, 2007
If anyoneâ€™s ever participated in or has gone to cheer for someone running the St. George Marathon, then you know what a bother it is to find accommodations that weekend.
Hotel rooms are usually booked a year in advance and go for a premium. Even though the city and the surrounding community are one of the fastest growing areas in the United States, it still hasnâ€™t grown enough to accommodate everyone who runs it, let alone those who come to cheer their friends and family members on.
The last time Marathon Girl ran this marathon was the fall of 2002. We were dating then and I went down with her family to watch her run. It was a great trip and one that helped confirm that Marathon Girl was indeed the perfect woman for me.
The only downside of the trip was the hotel. Her family had two rooms that were nice and big by hotel standards but still didnâ€™t provide much in the way of privacy and considered the hotel was packed with other runners, it was rather noisy and busy.
After Marathon Girl found out would be running St. George, I started looking for two hotel rooms. The few I was able to find has just one queen sized bed. That might be fine if it were just Marathon Girl and I, but where we have three kids and three other family members who want to watch her run, two small rooms like this just donâ€™t cut it.
Besides traveling with three small kids can be tough. We need a place where the kids can have a separate room to run around or entertain themselves â€“ especially if Marathon Girl is sleeping before the big race or needs some downtime after running 26.2 miles.
Frustrated at the hotel search, I started doing some Google searches until I came upon a website where people rent out condos. I sent out a couple of queries and got a response from a lady who just had people cancel their reservation for the marathon weekend. After looking at pictures of the place weâ€™d be staying and reading the positive feedback from others on their experience with the owners, I took it.
And this is what we ended up with: a three bedroom, three bathroom condo (all bed rooms have king-sized beds), a full kitchen (which is great because taking three small kids to eat out every meal can be hard) and a living room. The condo complex also has six swimming pools (including a kiddie pool), a dozen tennis courts, four spas, half dozen basketball, sand volleyball courts, a weight room (maybe Iâ€™ll be benching my weight by then), playground for the kids, and is only a 10 minute drive to the marathon finish line. All this for (amazingly) about the same price we would have paid for two hotel rooms.
Iâ€™m really looking forward to this trip.
May 22nd, 2007
Aidan turned three today.
And three-year-old boys are so easy to please.
Aidanâ€™s been pining for a bike since the snow melted and heâ€™s observed kids riding around the park and through the neighborhood on them. He’s wanted one so bad that every time we went to a store that sells bikes, he heads straight to the bike section and start climbing on them.
So when he saw a new bike sitting in the living room this afternoon, he went nuts. HeÂ spent the next hour learning how to pedal it. He hasnâ€™t mastered the concept of pedaling completely but he made great progress today. Despite the fact he canâ€™t pedal that well, he stuck with it until he was exhausted.
When I tucked him in bed, he asked if Iâ€™d help him learn how to ride the bike tomorrow. I told him I would.
What a great kid. Heâ€™s been such a joy and a blessing in our life.Â Â
I just canâ€™t believe itâ€™s been three years since he was born. The next thing you know, he’ll be asking me to borrow the keys to my car.
Love you, kid!
May 20th, 2007
Iâ€™m actually going to miss Charlie when he dies next week.
Even though Iâ€™ve never liked his character much (heâ€™s always been kind of a whiner), it was nice for the writers to give him an endearing set of flashbacks that depicted the good moments in his life that showed that even if I donâ€™t miss him, there will be some people who do.
And since the showâ€™s producers have indicated five people will die in the season finale next week, hereâ€™s my list off possible causalities:
1.Â Charlie (duh)
2.Â Locke (I think weâ€™ll get confirmation that heâ€™s actually dead.)
3.Â Bernard (He hasnâ€™t been used much all season and I think his story line is just about over.)
4.Â Rose (see above)
5.Â Ben (why not)
And did anyone really think The Looking Glass Station was uninhabited? I didnâ€™t either.
May 17th, 2007
Now that Marathon Girl is training for marathons, our typical Saturday mornings now go something like this: we wake up and get the kids out of bed around 6:30. (Since our boys are early risers, they don’t seem to mind that much.) We put them and other supplies in our minivan and drive to some of Marathon Girl’s preferred running routes. She’s usually running before seven.
On runs under 12 miles, I drive the van to designated spots every three miles or so and wait for her with plenty of cold Gatorade and water. While waiting I give the kids plastic sandwich bags full of fruit loops, a doughnut or two, and sippy cups full of milk. We also bring a big stack of the kidsâ€™ favorite books so they can have stories read to them while we’re waiting.
On the longer runs (12 plus miles) we usually have Marathon Girl’s dad in the van with us. This means I can run with Marathon Girl every other leg. This is good because Marathon Girl inevitably runs better when she has someone to run with–even for a couple of miles.
Even though I’m not running as much as I have in the past, I’ve still been able to keep pace with Marathon Girl. That is until last week. She pulled ahead of me after about a mile of running with her. I thought it was a fluke. I thought that the wind, the freezing rain, and the extra layers of clothing had slowed me down. So Saturday I vowed I’d keep up with Marathon Girl no matter what.
She had a 20 miler scheduled. This time I couldn’t keep up with her for half a mile. Even at the end of her run, me being somewhat rested, she still pulled ahead. And it’s not because I’m a slowpoke. It’s because Marathon Girl’s getting faster. Much faster. And not doing all that bad considering she had a baby five months ago.
Saturday felt like the days before we were married: Marathon Girl busting ahead and me struggling to keep up with her. Good times.
I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
May 15th, 2007
I ripped my shirt yesterday.
It was a glorious thing to behold.
Let me explain.
Back in February I joined a gym with the intention of finally building up enough muscle mass to bench my weight â€“ something Iâ€™ve always wanted to do. Unlike most guys, strength and muscle mass isnâ€™t something my body is blessed with â€“ I have to work for it. If I donâ€™t exercise my muscles on a regular basis then they tend to disappear. So I joined a gym and decided to take advantage wonderful free weights and equipment they have.
The results have been very good. Iâ€™m the strongest Iâ€™ve ever been in my life. Iâ€™m currently benching 80 percent of my body weight and my arms and chest have muscled out rather nicely. (Marathon Girl is really happy with the results.) As a result of this weight lifting, some of my shirts are becoming tighter in the chest and arm area â€“ also a nice problem to worry about.
So yesterday I was doing a dumbbell chest press when I heard a ripping sound. Thankfully the sound wasnâ€™t followed by a searing pain. I stopped lifting not sure that I had heard a ripping sound. I put the dumbbells on the floor and started making sure I was okay. Turns out I ripped my t-shirt under along the seam under my arm.
I was a little stunned what I had done. Me having big enough muscles to rip shirts doesnâ€™t happen every day. But then the shock wore off and the euphoria set in. This was really cool!
And, no, I havenâ€™t stopped running. My weekly workout routine includes three days of strength training, three days of running, and one day off.Â My weekly mileage has dropped but Iâ€™m still able to run four miles in under 30 minutes and keep up with Marathon Girl during parts of her long Saturday runs. (More on that in an upcoming blog entry.)
In the meantime Iâ€™m getting ready to rip more shirts.
May 13th, 2007
*** Spoilers ***
I heard rumors Ben was going to have a flashback this episode of LOST. I thought that the writers would portray him in a more sympathetic light and weâ€™d see that he was just doing what he was doing because he was just trying to survive on the island.
I was partially right. The initial flashback of the young Benjamin Linus showed him as a kid whose father really didnâ€™t care for him and blamed him for his motherâ€™s death. So we really canâ€™t blame him when he sets out to join the islandâ€™s original inhabitants.Â But when he 1) kills his own father, 2) knowingly participates in the genocide of the Dharma Initiative, and 3) shoots Locke, all of my sympathy for him went right out the window. Ben is truly evil (but wonderful) character. Iâ€™m glad the writers took the path that they did and showed that plane crash survivors have a true enemy. Jack, Sayid, Sawyer, and company better be prepared for a true struggle when the original islandâ€™s inhabitants come for Sun (and Kate?).
Hereâ€™s my theory about the mysterious Jacob character that we saw briefly before Locke runs out of the house. My think he was the leader of the islandâ€™s original inhabitants before the Dharma Initiative genocide. Since Ben has proven himself time and time again to be a master manipulator and someone who loves power and control over others, my theory is that he learned more about the islandâ€™s secrets, managed to imprison Jacob in that house, and assumed the leadership of the islandâ€™s inhabitants. (The Others really donâ€™t seem fond of him as their leader.) Jacob asked Locke for help because he wants to get out of the prison he finds himself in and get rid of Ben. Thatâ€™s why Ben felt threatened when he realized Locke heard his voice and decided to shoot him. He doesnâ€™t want Jacob to leave his prison.
Finally, a noteÂ to all those who complained (and you know who you are) about the episode earlier in the season where Hurley found the Dharma vanÂ as beingÂ a waste of time: Does it make you view the episode in a different light now that we know how the van came to be in that spot and who the Roger guy was who was driving it? There are no wasted episodes in LOST. Every episode really does ties into the larger story thatâ€™s just beginning to come to light.
May 10th, 2007
“It’s silly. It’s a silly movie. There just isn’t much there. Once you take it all apart, there’s not much story, is there?” — George Lucas on Spiderman 3.
Having not seen Spiderman 3 yet (though I really, really want to see it. Have we found a babysitter, Marathon Girl?), I can’t say whether or not the third move is silly.Â But I can say that it’s pretty brazen remark coming from the same man who created Jar Jar Binks
May 9th, 2007
So much of telling a story is knowing when to end the tale. It looks like the writers of LOST now know how long they have to conclude the tale of the survivors of Oceanic flight 815.
ABC announced Monday that it would air 16 uninterrupted episodes of “Lost” from February to May in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The announcement came several months after executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, whose contracts were up this season, discussed publicly their wishes to negotiate a finite ending for their island mystery instead of letting the show stay on the air indefinitely and die unnoticed.
Overall I think this another groundbreaking move for the television show and a good one for the overall plot, story, and characters. The writers will now be able to carefully plan out the remainder of the story and not have it go on and on until it becomes a shell of it’s former self a la The X-Files and Alias.
This does make me wonder if they’re ever going to bring Walt back on the show. Say they bring him back in 2010 — four years since we’ve last seen him. He’ll probably be a foot taller and have a five o’clock shadow by them so it remains to be seen how the writers will deal with him (if he comes back) and all the other children on the island who age as well.
Should this prove to be a success, I wonder if we’ll see more shows that follow a more compact season (16 episodes run back to back with no reruns). “24″ has played around with the no rerun format with success though they run 24 episodes. If it works (read: television can come up with some quality programming) it means television networks could have a lineup that starts in August/September and a completely new one starting in January. Fox does this to some extent but with limited success. Not that it matters to me that much considering LOST is the only show I watch anyway. At least I get three more seasons of it.
The only downside I see to this new format is that after the season finale in three weeks, there will be a nine month hiatus until Season 4 begins.
I’m sure I’ll live.
I’m just not sure how.
For those who are interested, a preview of tonight’s episode “The Man Behind the Curtain” can be seen here.
May 9th, 2007
Wahooo! We just found out Marathon Girl made it through the St. George Marathon lottery and will be running it inÂ October. This is a very scenic and fun marathon to run. Marathon Girl is thrilled to have the chance to run it again.
Time to make hotel reservations.
May 8th, 2007
Michael Crichtonâ€™s one fault as a writer is that readers have a hard time caring about his characters. Rarely do the people in his novels have much depth beyond what it takes for them to move the plot along. This is unfortunate because Crichton is an imaginative storyteller who has some neat ideas for his books.
Though his characters may not be complex or enduring, Crichton excels at writing about science and technology in clear, crisp, and understandable way that most writers would struggle with. He also excels at bringing to the forefront moral and ethical issues that new technology confronts people with and wrapping an intriguing story around these concerns.
In his latest novel, Next, Crichton explores the brave new world of genetics. Scientists are racing to patent different genes within the human genome as well as cells from ordinary people. Thereâ€™s big dollars at stake in this game to come up with a breakthrough genetic discovery and people are willing to do just about anything to profit from it.
As scientists monkey around with splicing and dicing genes, trouble is bound to happen. A transgenic human-chimp named Dave is accidentally created along with a talking and math-loving parrot named Gerald — who is the funniest and the most in-depth character in the entire novel. Defense attorneys blame the sexual attraction to young girls of their client on a recently discovered thrill-seeking gene.
Probably the most frightening aspect of Crichtonâ€™s novel takes place in regards to oneâ€™s own body. Under current law â€“ and Crichton isnâ€™t making this up â€“ oneâ€™s blood samples and other cells that are given for testing purposes can legally be claimed discarded waste and sized via eminent domain by research universities. The university can then profit from their resulting products from tissue samples without ever compensating the person they were taken from. So much for the 13th Amendment. Crichton illustrates this well in a courtroom drama of a former leukemia patient whose cells contain a unique cancer fighting ability but loses the right to do with his cells as he pleases.
Though not one of his better books (Jurassic Park, State of Fear, and Prey are much better), Next is a fast-paced read and very thought provoking. Itâ€™s too bad we donâ€™t care about the people in the story as much as we do about the possible moral questions and dilemmas that Crichton raises. But if youâ€™re looking for an entertaining summer read, consider adding Next to your list.
May 6th, 2007