Archive for December, 2008

do you multitask?

December 22, 2008

I think there are appropriate times to multitask and non appropriate.  I think if you’ve read my stuff, you know my position on texting while using the bathroom so I do not need to go there.  I’m sitting here now typing this while listening to Bill Simmons and Chris Collinsworth talk in my ear (it’s a recording, I don’t have them on a conference call or anything) and watching the Giants/Panthers football game.  How will this wow, that was quite a play, now the giants are going to have to punt, change my writing, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Chris made a good point just there about Terrell Owens.  You know, when we’re all working, the current meeting theme is conference calls.  Even when people are in the same building, you’ll find them on conference calls.  Snow on the field in East Rutherford.  Why do they stay in their offices?  Because then they can “multi-task.”  What does that mean?  It means they’ll be reading their email, IMing other people, checking slides for their next meeting and then greeting you with “I’m sorry, could you repeat the question?”  Halftime. 

Earlier today, I had the day games on, Neil Young and Phish trading spots in the CD player and the kids and I were making those paper ring chains to decorate their trees.  I did fine paying attention there.  I think Adrian Peterson is great too, Chris.  The verdict is still out on Matt Ryan.  You know what’s really bad?  Having a meeting with just one person and getting distracted.  You know it’s one thing when you’re on a call with a bunch of people.  Okay, this is a bit surreal, I forgot Chris Collinsworth was on the NBC halftime crew so I’m watching him talk to Bob Costas and still listening to him talk to B.S. (it’s a long podcast).  I’ve been on calls with one other person and found myself wandering as well as them.  I think we need webcams.  Not because I want to show what shirt I’m wearing every day, but I think that if we can see each other, we might pay a little more attention.  Do you think that argument will work when I bring this up to the people responsible for laptop upgrades?

Okay, let’s rap up.  I haven’t listened to the B.S. Report in a while, I used to be a regular.  I think it’s time to start listening again.  Did I miss Keith Oberman and Dan Patrick making up?  Didn’t they have a nasty breakup when Keith left ESPN where Dan got the house but Keith got the furniture?  Jerome Bettis is from Detroit?  I don’t think it is possible to multitask.  In fact, I believe I read an article that someone promoted on Twitter once that said it couldn’t be done, but don’t remember who wrote it or where I saw it.  Could be I was on a call at the time.  That tends to happen.  First Down!

Sorry I’m late, Harold and Kumar were kind of boring

December 11, 2008

I’m often late.  Whether it is a party, church, a wedding, or band practice (although to be fair, we do run those on band time which is usually 10 to 30 minutes behind normal time), I have been known to arrive late.  So it should not surprise you that I watched both Harold and Kumar movies this past weekend when at least one of them has been available for public consumption for some time.  I’m going to give a disclaimer here, I didn’t sit down and watch them start to finish, my weekend has too many interruptions for that.  I instead watched an hour on the computer, 20 minutes on the TV, etc. until I had finished both.  So there is probably an argument to be made for continuity.  I know I’m not really causing suspense here, you already get the idea I didn’t like the movies.

The lead rolls, who had been supporting members in such upstanding vehicles as American Pie and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, were each good not only individually, but also working together.  It’s always good to see a quick cameo Fred Willard.  In my opinion they could have expanded his role a bit, but I realize this was about a quest.  In fact each film was a quest, the first for burgers, the second for baking (so to speak).  The entrance of Neil Patrick Harris certainly became more of a highlight to the point that when he (spoiler alert?) dies in the second one (thanks to Beverly D’AngeloClark!”) it was most disappointing.  NPH (using his brand stamp, see I did watch the movie) has added himself to the list of actors who are comfortable playing self parodies.  Number one on that list is and always will be Alec Baldwin.  His work on SNL and 30 Rock alone have given him a permanent place in the self parody hall of fame.  William Shatner ranks second only because I’m not sure he believes he is a self parody rather a quite serious actor (see Rocket Man, or an even better version).  We have to use real actors here which leaves out Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin but not Neil Patrick Harris.  He appears in the films as himself, former Doogie Howser, and continues his persona in the currently airing until CBS starts cutting good programming like the rest of them How I met your mother.  Also, strange coincidence, he’s 2 days younger than me. 

Back to the film.  Are stoner comedies lazy?  Or is that a rhetorical question?  There were funny scenes, disgusting scenes that I’m sure drew a groan from the audience in theatres, some sappy scenes, and the obligatory “we’re having fun smoking stuff and running around, shopping, riding bikes, etc.” montage.  You know what?  I think it just hit me.  This type of movie is what you’d call a group movie.  You need to watch it in a group.  I think it’s the same reason Revenge of the Nerds, American Pie, Porky’s, etc. survive the test of time.  (I’m leaving Animal House out because that was a classic).  Even now, would you watch Top Gun alone?  Probably not.  But if you had a group of friends and you were in the mood to mock the volleyball scene, cringe at Goose’s piano playing, wonder how much older Kelly McGillis was than Tommy, you could see that happening.  I would hope that at least a beer would be consumed and no one was driving after.  So I’m thinking the next time I have the urge to sit through something in this vein, perhaps I’ll call a few people to enjoy the pain and absurdity of what passes as comedy.  By the way, did I miss the Seth Rogan cameos in both these movies or were they made before he signed that contract that said he had to be in every film that involved controlled substances?

so what is wrong with your bed

December 9, 2008

we have two kids.  I’m not going to post their pictures, but you can assume they are small and cute.  My son seems to have an issue with going to bed.  I realize I’m not alone with this problem, when I explain it to other parents, I get that slow nod of acknowledgement as I tell my story.  Every night it’s the same drill.  Pajamas on, brush teeth, good night to his older sister and we settle in for stories.  The stories can range from 2 to 4 in total, I’ve addresses my own challenges with stories in a previous post.  Pull up the blankets, kiss good night, turn off the light, and leave the room.  Anywhere between five and ten minutes, we’ll hear the click of his pacifiers and his little feet leaving the room.  For a while he would go into his sister’s room and set up his blankets on the floor.  She would proceed to sleep away like nothing was happening.  We could probably play a game of memory in there with all the lights on and she wouldn’t stir.  His latest is to either go into our bedroom, or come down the stairs to see what we’re watching on TV.  On a night like tonight (we’re on the fourth visit already) this isn’t a big deal.  I just get up, pick him up, find out what he needs–hug, milk, lost book, lost pacifier, say goodnight to the moon–and tuck him back in.  If we’re in the middle of watching a show or movie though, it’s up and down the stairs many, many, many times.  If you’re a reader you know I take care of my cardio elsewhere and don’t need the extra stair trips.  We have a little area in our room that is under a window where he likes to curl up.  When he’s sneaky and we don’t hear him (or the TV is too loud), he’ll bring a blanket and curl up there where we’ll find him sound asleep and then move him back to his bed. 

Since I’m a bit analytical, I ask him what’s wrong to see if it’s the bed, room, lighting, he of course can only tell me the basics which is usually “no” to every question.  Last week he climbed into our bed around 3 AM and after getting kicked by little feet for 30 minutes I decided to do a field test and moved myself to his bed leaving him in my spot on the big bed.  He has a twin bed since he is rather small and I found it rather comfortable.  I’m not really sure what his problem is with it.  Okay, it’s a bit short, my feet hang off the bed, and the wall on one side and the mesh thing that keeps kids from falling out of bed on the other (I don’t know what that’s called) can be a bit claustrophobic, but other than that it seems perfectly fine.  Sure, it’s between two windows that let the light in from our neighbor’s garage, but that doesn’t bother you if your eyes are closed.  There do seem to be some odd shadows in here that can move a little.  What’s the creaking sound?  Is that the closet opening?  Why does Elmo keep staring at me like that?  He just sits there staring, never blinking, mouth agape in that pseudo smile.  Maybe I should go crawl into the big bed too.  At least I’m familiar with all the spookiness in there.  Jerry smiling from his spot on the floor because I still have not hung the painting, the PC humming away as Vista installs yet another five updates before shutting down.  Yeah, sometimes I wonder if night drives me a little crazy.  Well, off to bed.

trotting with turkeys

December 4, 2008

A while ago I posted about a duathlon I ran in October.  That seemed to go over well so guess what was on my mind somewhere around mile 2 of the Webster Turkey Trot?  Oddly enough, it was my pants again, but I’ll get to that.

37 degrees.  Thanksgiving morning.  What would you rather be doing than gathering with 1200 slightly left of sane people and running?  We had one thing to be thankful for already, no precipitation.  Last year, we got to run into freezing rain and finished through large, unavoidable puddles.  Not this time though.  The morning was crisp, cloudy, and very little wind was blowing.  In other words, a perfect way to bank some “negative” calories.  Note:  I am not a doctor, and in fact, was not all that good at biology (ask my Cornell professor if she even remembers me); however I would like to think that if you burn calories in the morning, you are allowed to replace them in the afternoon.  Anyway, on to the mile by mile account.

Start:  Well here I am.  Chip on my right ankle, RoadIDtag on my left ankle, car remote starter/lock safely zipped in my jersey, hat and glasses on, packed in the crowd but probably in at least the first 100 people from the starting line (this race is brutal if you start in the back of the pack, think having to lap in NASCAR and I’m not even that fast), time to get mentally ready.  Of course, someone next to me is yakking with his pals about how they shouldn’t have gone out drinking last night.  You know what I’m thinking?  Perhaps you should move back a bit.  Of course, that was no big deal until he yelled at the race director to “shut up and let us start!”  His friends gave him a laugh, everyone else ignored him.  If you do enough of these races, you appreciate the race directors.  We all sign disclaimers when we enter the race, but it is still their responsibility to make sure everyone is safe and enjoys the race.  Yes, this sort of thing runs through my head when some of my friends are running a later race and the rest are further back in the pack.  Weird how I can feel together and lonely at the same time.  The two minute announcement causes a flurry of activity in the front as the real runners (some in as little as a tank top and running shorts) take off down the road for their final warm up run.  As they settle back into place, the horn is sounded and we’re off!

Well sort of anyway, it sometimes is like a train starting, all the cars have to click into place and get in rhythem.  A friend of mine was further back and said it took him 30 seconds just to get to the starting line after the horn sounded.  Since I was further up, I got into my run much faster and oddly enough many of the people around me ran at the same speed.  I like it when people self regulate, if they know they are slow they go to the back, fast to the front, the rest of us somewhere in the middle.  So there we are running down a hill then up a hill before turning a corner, that’s when it starts to thin out.  That’s when the fun begins with my brain.  See, as long as I’m trying to not run over people or get run over, my brain is occupied.  Once we settle out and you end up running with a group catching some, getting passed by others the mind tends to wander.

Mile 1 marker:  Okay, I have no idea how fast that first mile was, it seemed fairly fast.  I don’t wear a watch when I run, maybe I should ask for one of those water proof ones with the timer so I can obsess over something else while I’m working out.  This is cool that we really have the entire road.  Not a lot of costumes in this group.  I would guess the people with the turkey costumes are either running the shorter race or are farther back.  Wait, wait, there is a guy in a turkey hat passing me now.  Well, he’s skinny, he should run faster than me.  Sure am glad it’s not raining this year.  I don’t think they have water stops on this run, but those always make me choke, I can never get the water down while running.

Mile 2 marker:  Ugh, why is that second mile always so bad.  I feel like I somehow gained ten pounds and there weren’t really many hills, just gradual ones.  Does it take my body a mile to wake up and then once that happens, it just decides to start punishing me?  Really, I know these are called runners tights, but do they really have to be this tight?  It could be the long underwear pants under them but damn, I’m going to be hitting the high notes I’m thinking.  Of course, now I no longer need to go to the bathroom.  I wonder how that works.  It’s not like I did a marathon runner move here.  Okay, keep a good pace, your over halfway there now.  Think like a turkey.  No, think about eating turkey.  Wait, wake up!  Not after you eat the turkey…

Mile 3 marker:  Phew, only 1.4 to go sort of. I think they call it 4.4, but are not really sure it’s that.  Or, they tell us it’s 4.4 when it’s 4.2 or 4.6 who knows.  At this point in the race, I’m thinking the directors are very evil people.  Wow, some guy just ran out of the woods and back onto the road.  He must have been relieving himself behind a tree.  So, someone can run over 3 miles, stop, answer the call of nature, get back out on the road and run and I’m not catching him?  I think I need to refresh my training plans.  It is nice to have this going through a residential area.  The turns are a little much, but it’s not like we can’t go around corners.  People come out and cheer.  Hey, there’s a car playing music, they have a sign but I don’t feel like reading it, that would mean I wasn’t watching where I was going.  Turning onto Holt Road, I think this group meets up with the people running the shorter race.  That’s always interesting, like merging traffic.  Then we all make a mad dash at the end with whatever we have left. 

Mile 4 lack of marker:  No marker, but I think this is the end of mile 4 since we’re turning into the park.  If I remember we have a slight uphill, a few turns, then down through the woods on a trail and we end on grass while dodging puddles.  These two guys near me look like they might be my age and we’ve been running together most of the time, I’ll see if I can pass them before the end.  Jeez, how long is this last section?  This final uphill seems to be claiming a lot of souls here.  Ah, here comes the down hill.  Just. Don’t. Fall!  Okay made it, right turn, watch the puddles, where are those guys, less than a tenth to go, lets see what we can do.  Oh man, we’re passing people, don’t want to be rude and bump anyone, it’s not like any of us are going to win anything.  Okay, passed one, this next one is close but I don’t think I’m going to catch him.  Nope.  Ah well, one out of two isn’t bad.  My goal was 31 minutes, and the clock says 31:11.  Not horrible, I’ll do the math later (7:05).  Look at all these happy faces.  Too funny, we come out and abuse ourselves sort of and have a smile to show for it.  I’ll smile too then.

So not a bad showing.  No awards for this guy or age group accolades.  I have to pick the smaller races for those and make sure all the fast guys are running in others.  That makes nine races this year, one more than last year.  The best part was, I didn’t have to hire a babysitter.  Oh, that and I can now go home and eat some fantastic food and enjoy a fine beverage or two, or three, how many miles was that?  Make that 5 beverages.  We’ll round up.