Sunday, July 27, 2008

Race Day: A Reflection

So today was the Half-Marathon! It was a great experience. Though we did have an early morning thunderstorm while waiting in the runner corrals, I managed to stay dry and the heavens were kind enough to let the sun come out for the entirety of the actual race. The race was a challenge but really really fun. The highlight was running down 7th avenue from 57th to Times Square, which is an area i walk around a lot, but in this instance,, i got to run in the middle of the street and disregard all traffic signals, which is normally what i feel inclined to do to avoid the tourists. At long last, a dream fulfilled! :) My overall time was 2:05:50 and my pace was 9:36/mile. That was a bit better than my anticipated pace of a 10 minute mile. And while I was extremely tired at the end, my body held up well and I felt like I still had a couple more miles left in me. :)

Before I sign off about the half-marathon, several thank-you's are in order. I would like to thank everyone who donated to my charity run to support the Organization for Autism Research. I managed to exceed my $1.000 fundraising goal, and I'm thrilled and amazed that I could raise that in just a few weeks' time. I'd also like to thank everyone that sent me messages of support - it was a huge motivator to keep me headed toward my goal. I need to thank my Dad for coming to see me at the finish line and for finally bringing me that air condition he promised me long ago, so I won't be sleeping in a puddle of my own sweat during the next heat wave. I also have to give a special shout out to Lin-Manuel for letting me stay at his place in Manhattan last night so the N train wouldn't have the opportunity to screw me over with shoddy service as it has done on several other early morning race days. A special mention must go to this very nice runner who offered me a lift in her cab across the park when it started to rain around 5:45 this morning. And a thank you to the two trees in Central Park I stood under during the thunderstorms. You kept me dry and you were not struck by lightning, so good work.

I'm sure I'll be extremely sore in the morning, but right now I feel really good.

The Soundtrack For the Run

Here's what I was listening to as I ran my half-marathon through NYC. It was awesome. Good Tunes and Good Times.

You Can't Take No For An Answer, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
Lollipop, Mika
I predict a riot, Kaiser Chiefs
Buffy Theme, Nerf Herder
One Minute, Kelly Clarkson
Straight Lines, Silverchair
Who Knew, P!nk
Cheer Up, Boys (your make-up is running), Foo Fighters
That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed), Panic At the Disco
A Little Respect, ERASURE
Mr Brightside, The Killers
Pounding, Doves
Die Vampire, Die!, Title of Show
We Used To Be Friends, The Dandy Warhols
Stupid And Shallow, The Futureheads
Music Is The Victim, Scissor Sisters
Bigger Than My Body, John Mayer
The Potential Break Up Song, Aly & AJ
Carnaval Del Barrio, In The Heights
Happy Birthday Darling, Bright Lights, Big City
Barrel of a Gun. Guster
Closer to Mercury, Wheat
Bombs Away, Paris Texas
Goodnight Goodnight, Hot Hot Heat
Oh My, Mellowdrone
Bones, The Killers
U & Ur Hand, Pink
SD-6 Dance Party, Michael Giacchino, Alias
Looking At the World from the Bottom of a Well, Mike Doughty
Girlfriend, Avril Lavigne
How Far We've Come, Matchbox Twenty
Wake Up Call, Maroon 5
I've Just Seen A Face, Across The Universe Soundtrack
Destiny Calling, James
One Jump Ahead, Brad Kane
Don't Stop Me Now, Queen
The Simpsons Theme (From "The Simpsons Movie"), Green Day
Blackout, In The Heights
Eagle Fly Free, Helloween
What You Own, Rent
One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces, Ben Folds Five
The Goonies R Good Enough, Cyndi Lauper
Move, Dreamgirls
Common People, William Shatner

Monday, July 21, 2008

Strangeness and Sadness

This was a crazy day. Batman arrested! Estelle Getty dead! My blackberry left at work! Things are not right with the universe. At least Obama is doing okay on his trip to Iraq. That's some good news (knock on wood).

Let's start with Christian Bale. Things had seemingly been going so well. It'd been a long Batman-Themed weekend for the box-office and the entertainment news peeps. That's what happens when a movie breaks all sorts of records and makes over $150 dollars in three days. I'm a big fan of Batman. Always have been. Always will be! I'm a huge fan of Christian Bale too. He's a great actor and good looking in a non-pretty way. He's they kind of star you'd go gay for if you happened to find yourself with him and and he was interested. He's that awesome. And he and Chris Nolan have brought tons of respect to the floundering Batman franchise. So now two days after the weekend comes news that Christian Bale was being sought for questioning in an assault against his sister (!!) and his mother (!!!) at some hotel. It's bizarre. He presented himself to the authorities for questioning, but was ultimately not charged with anything. His mom and sister have said it's a family matter that the police are handling. Um... that would make it a police matter, ladies. Family matters are handled within the family without involving the authorities. Just so you know. It doesn't look like anyone was actually injured, but they are all adults so they should know better than to go all Springer on each other. Especially on a premiere night!

Secondly, it is sad that Estelle Getty has passed away, but she had been in poor physical and mental health for a long time now. She seemed like such a sweet and talented lady and I'm glad she is at peace now. She remains a total delight in reruns of the Golden Girls and created one of the most memorable and funny characters in modern television. In memory of her and her classic character, Sophia Petrillo, I am posting a link to one of my favorite scenes of her from the show, courtesy of the blur-o-vision of youtube.

Countdown!

Less than a week to my Half-Marathon race! Very exciting. Slightly intimidating. I know i can make it across the finish line. I am more concerned about what the weather will be like. Right now it's too effing hot to walk anywhere, let alone run there. But i also see thunderstorms on the horizon in the forecast and I don't want that either. I'd rather run in the sun and heat than the rain. I look forward to making my 2.5 hour playlist for race day this week. The race organizers might "strongly discourage" headhpone use, but they are crazy. How'm I supposed to run that far with no soundtrack?

I want to especially give a shout out to everyone who donated to my Summer of Run: Run for Autism Research website. I surpassed my fundraising goal with a wonderful total of $1175.00. I'm very pleased that my run can be connected with that organization and that money can be put toward helping children with autism. It's crazy how autism has suddenly been thrust into the headlines because of the moronic things Mike Savage said this week. He's on to the 99% of you autism-fakers! Ugh. It's total ignorance. I hope his ass gets fired for it. Or perhaps out OAR team can drag him behind us in chains for 13 miles. Awesome.

Here's a link to an article about people's responses to his comments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

[title of blog]

Sunday night I went to see [title of show]. I have heard buzzings about the show for a long time but i did not see it during it's run at The Vineyard (not Martha's). I'd seen some of the show's posts on youtube and their very amusing self-promotion at the Tonys and was very much looking forward to it.

I really enjoyed the show. Let me say that first. I think it's very funny and the cast is great. I must also say that when it first started, I was totally thrown. In recent week's I've gotten so used to the big broadway show with gigantic sets, lush orchestrations and huge ensembles of actors. This show does not have those things. It has four actors, with four chairs and a keyboardist. "This is Broadway??" screams the Vampire in my head. "This can't be done! Theey can't do THIS!" Oh, but it is Broadway. And I think it's good Broadway at that. The shows got talent and good laughs and bad language and heart.

The story in the musical is basically about these two nobody guys who are trying to write a musical to submit to a festival (perhaps the King's Festival) and dream of making it to broadway. They are joined by two actress friends who have varying degrees of professional success but are looking to create something new. The twists and turns of their dreams coming are highlighted as the play moves through it's 90 minute no intermission run time.

I'm really glad this show has come to Broadway. I really think it's important that different kinds of shows get this kind of exposure and recognition. There doesn't have to be one mold. This show is very funny and very heartwarming and the words really rang true to my ear. I enjoyed the songs, which again are not these epic pieces given the one keyboard, but you can tell they've been approached with intelligence and craft and some of the tunes I'm still humming to myself two days later and I've seem some flashier shows recently where I left not being able to remember a single melody. So no frills, ain't necessarily a bad thing. Plus the show makes at least 3 references to Into The Woods and has a project of the Carrie playbill on the wall at one point, so I didn't need much more than that to be won over. Yes, yes, I know that's pretty gay. But, hey, after all, it's Broadway!

I highly recommend this show and I hope it does really well. Congrats to Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, Michael Berresse, Larry Pressgrove and everyone else who's been moving this show along on it's journey to Bway. I wish you guys a lot of success. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

10K the Hard Way

Today was my 10K Race in Central Park. It did not go exactly as planned. I left with plenty of time to get to the race so I'd have time to spare to stretch and breathe and prepre myself. Then things went wonky on both the N train and the 6 train as I was making my way to the starting line on the East side of Central Park on 103rd st. I started worrying that I'd be late while still on the N train, because it stopped to wait for more than 5 minutes at 39th Av in Queens, due to one track being closed, but then after i transfered off the N to the 6, when I got to 68th street, dozens of racers got on my subway car. They must have been waiting there forever. We picked up more and more racers as we got to 103rd street. When we got off the train we all had a nice warm up jog, trying to get to the starting line on time. Still when we got into CP, the race had already started, only by about 2 minutes, but i had to get on the end of line and would have to make my way through all the slowpokes at the back of the pack (no offense, slowpokes!). I also had my backpack with me and needed to find the baggage area before i started. The thing i wasn't counting on was that they would have the baggage area in a different spot than last time, even though the starting places for both races were roughly the same. I couldn't find where the baggage area was, so i decided to just run the race wearing my backpack. It was not ideal, but what could i do? Luckily i didn't really have lots of stuff in my bag, So i ran the 6.2 miles with my backpack and I still had a 9 minute pace so I'm pleased with myself. I ran totally within myself too, i felt like i had a lot left in the tank when it was over which bodes well for my Half-Marathon in two weeks. Hooray!

Later on in the day I went to Astoria Park to try and get some sun, so that when I go to California in the beginning of August I'm not the palest of pale people, and also to start reading that Twilight Series of books. I'm not yet hooked on them, but i think the language and tone are such that I will eventually get hooked, i just haven't totally locked in yet. At the park it was dragonfly mating season, which was especially scandalous because of what's posted below. I may never be the same. Isabella, what have you done?? :)

http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenporno?go=watch

Thursday, July 10, 2008

So He Thinks He Can Dance

Shout out to Betsy for providing the link on facebook. I think it's awesome.




rather awesome, no? the outtakes are great too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

AMNH Food Court: Portions For Fatties

Miguel and I are frequent visitors to the American Museum of Natural History. We both love the place and it's just a subway stop from his school. It's nice and close to his karate school too, so when he has late afternoon karate class, we can stop in the museum quickly and walk through an exhibit. And get a snack at the food court. The food court at AMNH is pretty well stocked. It's over-priced, but that's par for the course with museum food. I can't get miggy anything sweet, because then he'll have no focus during karate, so we usually split an order of chicken nuggets and french fries and water. If he doesn't have karate following museum time, I'll usually get him something small but sweet. However, if he's misbehaving before we get our snack, I'll get myself a chocolate chip cookie and a pink lemonade along with our nuggets and fries but not let him have any as a punishment. Heeheehee! Now before you start calling me, "Cruel Taskmaster O!" you should know that he really has to be bad for me to eat something tasty in front of him, and that since he loves food more than pretty much anything else in this world, it's the only way to reinforce to him that his bad behavior has really cost him something he likes. Plus I don't taunt him as i eat the cookie. I'm not totally heartless.

Anyway, the normal size for chicken nuggets and french fries is plenty as a tasty snack. They usually give us 7 (all playfully shaped like dinosaurs! the most bang for your buck comes from the stegosaurus) so Miggy gets 4 and I get 3. The bucket o' fries is more than enough to sustain two people as a side dish.

So we go there today after summer camp gets out, and head to the food court for a snack. When we get there, Miggy and I note several things have changed, since we last visited a bout two weeks ago. There are a few more choices, different drink options and when we get to the chicken and fries station, the fries look weird. Something about the proportion is off. It looks roughly like the same amount of fries, but the container that holds them is larger than usual. We have to wait for a new order of nuggets and when they come out of the frier, the chef dumps them into the same kind of giant-sized carton holding the fries. We get no less than eleven nuggets! Miggy's hungry eyes widen as he takes in our haul. After we pay, we go to the ketchup dispensers and the plastic cups that hold the ketchup are now bigger too! Miggy was thrilled but it turns out our eyes were bigger than our stomachs as we struggled to eat all the food. We could not make it through all the fries after the chicken was devoured. In today's struggling economy, how can the AMNH afford to INCREASE their portion size? It's... thoughtful, I guess, if you're really hungry, or feeding a family of four on a budget. But seriously, if I was eating by myself would i really need 11 chicken nuggets (which because they are dinosaur-shaped, are really more like chicken fingers)? I love you, AMNH. And thanks... but no thanks. There was really no need to super-size me. I visit too frequently and can't have you turning me into a fatty. And just so you know I still love you, let me say your pink-lemonade is delicious, even if it does make the kid start bouncing off the walls.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nadaledon


Wow. Rafa did it. He won Wimbledon! It took all day. I literally was watching it from like 9:30am until almost 4:30pm. There were delays for rain mixed in, but still it was almost 5 hours of A-game tennis from the two best players in the world. It was an amazing match. Just look at the score 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (10-8), 7-9. Incredible. I was rooting for Rafa, and he had many chances, but somehow as the match went on, I believed less and less it would happen for him. I still hoped and wished and called out to Grandma in The Heavens, but I thought Roger would somehow pull away. I had seen this all before last year. Nadal was physically stronger, but Federer just couldn't be broken mentally. Going into the 5th set with Fed having the better serving order, I just didn't see how Nadal was going to succeed. But Nadal was just an inch more amazing than Federer. It was so intense. Really great stuff.

Poor Fed. My heart goes out to him. He's probably the best player ever and this has been a hard year for him. He's such a classy guy though and such an amazing athlete. Now that Rafa has won Wimbledon, I think I can finally root for Fed to win at Roland Garros, so he can get his much sought after Career Grand Slam.

I'm not expecting a ton from Rafa at the upcoming US Open in the end of August. Rafa is really more of a threat in the first half of the calendar year on clay and grass than he is on the American hardcourts. I will never count him out, but i also wouldn't mind if he rested those knees a bit during the grueling hardcourt season.

Congrats, Rafa. You earned it. Thank you for an amazing Wimbledon viewing experience. You're the champ!

Damn Good Yankees

As I wait on a rain delay in the Wimbledon Men's final, let me give a shout out to myself for connecting two routers to my aging desktop computer, so now I have a wireless internet signal in my apartment. I can now use my laptop without mooching off of the increasingly tempermental "Jenn's Home Office" signal. It took me almost 24 hours to figure it out and two calls to 24-hour tech-support (they're helpful instruction to "keep at it!" really inspired me), but now it works. Hooray!

So, last night I went to see Damn Yankees which is playing for three weeks as part of Encores' Summer Series. Damn Yankees is another one of those classic shows which i am familiar with, but have never seen as a full production. There are some showtunes in that then became standards, especially "Heart" "A Little Brains, A Little Talent" and "Whatever Lola Wants." but i didn't really know what to expect from the show overall. All weekend I've been knocked around by this horrible chest cold, but I was all medicated up and ready for a good time. Heading over to New York City Center for the show, I was dressed a little warmly for the humid day because when I saw Pirates of Penzance at City Center a few weeks ago, the theater was effing cold. It was a good call, as City Center was once again freezing. And that place is huge! I don't understand how they get the AC as cranked up in there as they do, but seriously, if you go see the show bring a jacket or a sweater.

Now as for the actual show: I thought it was great! I LOVED the score. It reminded me of In The Heights's score in the sense that it has a lot of variety to it. The lyrics are fun and clever and the melodies are beautiful and catchy. I was also surprised by how touching some of the ballads were. "A Man Doesn't Know" and "Near To You" were performed with a lot of longing and tenderness.

The basic plot of the show is that the Yankees keep winning the pennant year after year, so the Devil makes a deal with a middle-aged fan of the Washington Senators named Joe to turn Joe into an ace slugger so his team can beat the Yankees in excahnge for The Devil getting Joe's soul. As the Senators climb ut the rankings, The Devil and Joe engage in a battle of wits for control of Joe's soul. Joe tries to hold on to himself by staying anchored to his wife, and the Devil tries to tempt him away with help from the secudtive Lola. The Yankees loom large as a presence but are never seen.

The cast is particularly strong. PJ Benjamin and Randy Graff are particularly touching as Joe and Meg Boyd. Cheyenne Jackson is strong and centered and sounds beautiful as the younger Joe Hardy. It's nice to see him costumed in something other than cut-off shorts and a tank top. It's much easier to take his talent seriously in this production than Xanadu.

The two headliners are Sean Hayes and Jane Krakowski as Applegate (The Devil) and Lola. Hayes is very very good. The comic timing needed for Applegate suits him well. I thought he didn't fall into villainous mosutache twirling or too much scenery chewing. His Act 2 solo number "Those were the good old days" really delighted. Jane is a definite comedienne. She's beautiful, but much like on 30 Rock, she doesn't really lead with her sexiness. This is interesting, because Lola, while funny seems like an intrinsically sexy lady. I wonder how much of Jane's goofball nature is a departure from the traditionally interpretation of Lola, but it worked for her. She was very endearing. And while you don't want Joe to go for Lola instead of his wife, you do root for her, and her gorwing kinship with Joe as the play goes on is something sweet.

If there was anything I wasn't really thrilled with, it was the dancing. The choreography was fine, but there was just something missing in the execution. "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, Mo" felt like it went on for a really long time as did the end of Act 1 dance number which looked like it was supposed to be a showcase for dance, except it just kinda... was there. The dancing wasn't bad, it just didn't blow me away, either.

Overall, i thought the show was really quite good and i was glad i went to see it. Highly recommended. I also kept up my streak of having weird set problems happening at my performances. Something strange happened when they were lowering in one of the sets during a scene change. The front scrimm was down, but it looked like 2 flies were moving at the same time resulting in several shouts from back stage for caution and then a minute's pause with nothing happening on stage while they sorted things out. It seems like everyone made it through without injury. Just as we like it!

As I finish writing this it is now 2-2 in the 5th set of the Wimbledon final. I would possibly consider selling my soul at this point for a Rafael Nadal victory. But now it's raining there (again!! all day with this!) so it might not eve END today. Ugh. hold on Rafa!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sick Bodies and Sexy Dances

Here we have some clips from So You Think You Can Dance, the best dance competition show in town. No other show comes as close to illustrating that the act of dance is the most intimate connection two people can make without actually Doing It. But boy, do these dancers certainly come close to crossing that boundary! The show always has incredibly sexy and muscular dancers of both genders wearing little clothing and dancing amazing routines. This season we can marvel especially over Twitch and Will, two amazing dancers who have incredibly sick bodies, with partners who are also totally sexy and talented. Especially Kherington, whose face seems impossibly beautiful. But the muscle definition on the guys... urrrgh, i could be at the gym 4 hours a day and I still don't think i could ever look like that. It's not fair. You really have to live and work as a dancer in order to develop that kind of tone. When you watch them do these sexy dances, you can't help but wish you could look that good while dancing or Doing It, but you know in your heart of hearts you just never will. But hey, that's what voyeurism is for! SYTYCD allows us to get the mental images we can't get from an actual mirror. Posted below are two very sexy dances from last night's show, as well as an another great performance from Katee and Joshua. It's not as overtly sexy, but it's beautiful and they are an amazing couple. Admire the technique and lust after the sexiness! Will these evertually be the top 3 couples? Quite possibly.





Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Closer To Fine

Recently, a BFF pointed out to me that i say, "it's fine" a lot, but that i rarely say it twice the exact same way. I hadn't really thought about it before, but there is some truth to it. Saying "it's fine" has many different layers in it. There are pretty much 9 different sentiments behind those two words. I have articulated them as best I know how and listed them below.

1. It is actually fine!
2. I am accepting this. For now. Don't push it.
3. I am ending this topic of conversation. Do move on.
4. I will eventually be fine with this, so I'm saying it until it is true. Don't challenge me.
5. I want you to feel better about something you did that we both know was colossally stupid.
6. It's not fine, but it's not the right environnment to say otherwise.
7. Either way it goes, the situation at hand does not have a lot of personal weight for me.
8. If I had less self-control i would punch you so hard right now.
9. Yeah, I'm not really listening.

Now this is not a fixed order. Depending on the situation, they get shuffled around as to their levels of importance. That will affect the tone, volume and pitch in my delivery. Check it out next time we have a conversation and see if you can guess which is the dominant sentiment when I'm talking to you. I hope it's not 3 or 9! :)