Monday, March 07, 2011

Run Potato Boy, Run!

There is something that happens when you turn 30 that I am sure can be explained by the medical community or evolutionary biologists but that I am unable to articulate with any sort of informed opinion. Basically what happens is you wake up one day and see yourself in the mirror and say "When did I become such a fat ass?"

This happened to me. I graduated from college a lean 170lbs and then I woke up one day, tried to put on a suit for work and realized there wasn't enough fabric in my apartment to bridge the continental divide between my trouser's button and button-hole. Instead of the flat plain of my abdomen, a large planetoid created from Gatorade, ramen noodles and Baja Fresh had crash landed into my mid-section. Much like the theoretical meteorite who's crash blocked out the sun and killed the dinosaurs, this alien mass successfully blocked out the fantastic southern view of my naughty bits.

That was 10 years ago.

In the last year I took it upon myself to try and change the situation. I actually peaked at 250 lbs, started dieting and running and dropped down to about 200lbs and then over the winter have gotten back up to 230 lbs. Apparently I have climbed aboard the proverbial yo-yo.

I am fully aware that the condition in which I find myself is entirely my own doing. I am a horrible eater. I don't eat a lot of sweets, but what I do eat I eat in bulk. Portion control would be a wonderful thing to learn. I am also a soda addict and I am not even sure Dr. Drew could get me to quit my sugary caffeinated smack addiction. Is there a cola version of methadone? I also eat out everyday. I am not sure when or how this habit started but the idea of making my lunch and bringing it to work is just overwhelming; like asking a 5 year old to read War and Peace.

Regardless of my own battles, I did discover something along the way. I love to run. I am no longer fast or graceful like I was in my high school days. I can't do wind sprints all day like I did on the lacrosse field for most of my athletic career. But putting one foot in front of the other and focusing on my breathing until my mind goes blank and my eyes are only faintly aware of color and light is supremely gratifying. Every time I set out I tend to go a little faster or a little farther and I always feel a little stronger. It isn't easy and sometimes it gets frustrating. I might be older but I am still irrationally competitive. I don't care that the junior Olympic cross country team is running through my neighborhood I am going to run down every last one of those young punks like cheetah taking down a gazelle. Granted this usually ends in me puking, going so light-headed that I lose vision...but when I recover with a shower there is always a smile on my face.

So why don't I run more?

Because it freaking hurts. A lot.

It seems no matter how great a runner you are sooner or later you will become injured. I know from my personal experience that my knees began to misbehave, my lower back would hurt, ankle issues, etc. The ironic thing is all this issues would pop up after running and they would disappear during my actual workout. Now maybe I am mental, but everything from shin splints to Plantar fasciitis all seem to appear after running, not during. Which I have no explanation for...but there has to be a better way?

To the Internet I go! As I am researching about running techniques and how to stay injury free I keep seeing a few things pop up over and over again. Terms like "Natural Running" or "Barefoot Running" keep popping up, as well as methods of running "Chi" "Pose" etc. One thing that keeps catching my eye is a book called Born to Run.

Now I considered myself a pretty well read and informed person, but I've never heard of this book but it apparently has received all sorts of acclaim. Already I am skeptical but it keeps popping up in all these running discussions. I even spoke to a few people at work (I work on an Army base and many of them are fitness crazy) and they have all heard of this book. Well as usual with me, things come and go from my mind and I put all this running stuff on the back burner.

Then one weekend about two weeks ago I went into my local Barnes and Noble. Anytime I go to a bookstore I make the same loop through the sections. Comics, History, Sports then Art. I get to the Sports part of my trip and something catches my eye; Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

It's that book! So I grab it and for the next two days I couldn't put it down. It wasn't just a book about running, it was a book about everything! It talks about philosophy, medicine, science, nutrition, politics, evolution and of course running. Not just any running either. Ultra distance marathon running, which usually involves people running at least 50 miles over the course of one race.

50 miles! That is slightly less than the distance I drive to work everyday and it takes me an hour and a half...and I am going 80!

The book is a very easy read and McDougall's voice is clear and entertaining. The characters he comes across in his running Odyssey are intriguing to say the least. But the revelations he comes across about the art and science of running are fascinating. You may never wear shoes again!

Of particularly fascinating interest to me is the Running Man theory of human evolution. While I am not completely sure of its truth, the facts used to support the theory are certainly compelling. But what you are sure to come away with from reading this book is a desire to experience the freedom and euphoria of running that McDougall so eloquently describes and eventually experiences first hand.

If you love to run or at least want to start running you should read this book. If you are looking for a great literary distraction, you should read this book. If you are looking for a story with a cast of characters that rival some of the greatest works of fiction but are actually real, you should read this book. Go run and then read this book or read this book and then go run.

Did I mention you should read this book?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Presidential Weekend

It has been kind of an interesting weekend here in the low country. I have discovered some new things in and around Savannah. Some I would recommend and others I think you should avoid.

This past weekend was the annual Irish Festival. Every year a few weeks before St. Patrick's day, the Savannah Civic Center is taken over by green wearing Fenian lunatics who make their children do traditional Irish dancing while they sit and drink Guinness. I had never been before and every year I kept telling myself I should go. So this year I threw down the 10 dollars for a ticket and walked into the arena.

What a joke! Aside from the main stage that features numerous Irish acts, there wasn't much to see. If you were older and enjoyed "traditional" Irish music, then the 10 bucks to get might be worth because you could sit there all day, eat and drink and listen to some tunes. I, on the other hand, had no patience to sit and listen to the same traditional Irish songs over and over again. So I wandered through the vendor stalls and it is filled the typical Irish nick knacks that many a souvenir shop around the Ring of Kerry carry minus actual Irish selling them. The only thing worthwhile about this event was possibly eating some good food. Well, I was fooled again. First off, you have to buy "food tokens" which if any of you have ever attended a church festival or the like, realize that this is the scam to end all scams. You inevitably walk away with left over tokens that aren't good for anything and can't be turned back in for cash, which means you just wasted more money.

After getting my overpriced fish and chips, I walked out of the convention center to meet some friends in Forsyth Park. My buddy, Tyler, send me a text saying that there was a tree climbing competition in the park. I was slightly intrigued by this and decided to check it out. What I didn't realize was how serious a competition this was. This competition was actually the Husqvarna North American Tree Climbing Championship and had tons of super-fit dudes in harnesses and helmets, working ropes and swing from branch to branch like Spider-man. It was awesome and FREE! Plus it was sponsored by Husqvarna and they had all sorts of chainsaws and power tools on display and I walked away with a product catalog. Not that I need a chainsaw, but come on, I have a Y chromosome. You can find more info about this competition here

I also started reading a book that I just can't put down. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall might be the coolest book about everything I have read in a long time. Basically it is manifesto about running barefoot, throwing out everything we think we know about running long distance and how to get back to running for days on end like our ancestors. Whether you believe it or not, it is a good read. Check it out here

Friday, January 21, 2011

New name, new post

It has been ages since I updated, but now that I am writing I figured I would bring a few things to the table. I added some new links, one to my twitter and one to my online portfolio. Both are works in progress and I am hoping to add some great visual candy in the coming weeks.

Signing off for now.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Portfolio Hell

It is getting close to the end of my time here in Savannah. Overall, I am pleased about that fact because I don't EVER want to live in this stink-hole. However, before my sentence is up and I am released from school, I have to go through the gauntlet known as Graphic Design Portfolio class. To put it in perspective, Marines go through the "Crucible", Navy SEALS have BUD/S, Graphic Design students at SCAD have Portfolio class. I know what you are asking, "What's the big hairy deal?"

Well as a Graphic Designer and really any artist looking for work, your portfolio is your life. It is what gets you jobs. Yet what portfolio class is, is taking all the work you have done over the last four years or so, and choosing which of it is worthy of going into your portfolio. Now a few of the students here who are legitimately AMAZING at everything they do, won't have a big problem with this. However, for the mere mortals, like myself, it means wading through projects that you had hoped to forget about and put them into a "book" that you design. So, not only do I have to design this book so that the presentation of my work is cool but also redo all of the work that I have done. This is not a pleasant experience.................................................Sorry, I got distracted. there is a really hot girl in the computer lab sitting a few feet away and she has just started talking to the not-so-attractive redneck lesbian. Right, back on topic.

Portfolio, sucks. Apparently I was supposed to be taking pictures of my finished work this whole time, so that I would have something to work with. NO CLUE, that I was supposed to be doing that. Plus, I am the world's worst photographer...seriously. So I dont' know what the hell I am going to do. Plus along with all this portfolio/redo stuff...I have to create a resume, cover letter, reference list and do research on design firms...OH AND write design narratives. It is a lot of work. Oh and for those of you who are like, "big deal! that doesn't sound so bad." Well guess what smartass I don't get to just open microsoft word and choose some template. No I have to figure out how to design a resume that represents me as a designer and a person. WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!?

I don't know...but I will continue to sit here until I figure it out.
PS. Don't vote for Sarah Palin. She bans books and doesn't believe in evolution. BOO! HISS!

Monday, June 30, 2008

My First Digital Painting

This was an interesting experiment. Painting in photoshop. This could lead to things.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chip Kidd

So yesterday was a big day at school. Chip Kidd was coming to give a lecture and needless to say I was pretty excited. I generally don't go to lectures or "talks" or gallery openings because I am not interested or just don't give a shit. This wasn't the case. Chip Kidd is my favorite designer EVER. His work was one of things that inspired me to go back to school for design.

So to make a long story short, he gave an amazing lecture that was really thoughtful and funny as hell. But at the end he was signing books. Now I knew prior to the lecture that several of my professors were going out to dinner with him, so I gave one of them a book to get signed. Well this become a huge point of stress because I was afraid he was going to forget the book and he told me he was going to have Chip right nasty things in the book, such as "To the world's biggest douche bag..."

So I harassed my professor as much as possible and when I saw him at the lecture, I was like "Where is my book?" He said he forgot and laughed. Totally not funny. Anyway, the lecture is winding down and Chip is signing books and the same professor, a one Mr. Ray Goto, says to me "Stand right here and don't move." So I stood for about 45 minutes. Ray finally comes over to me after pretty much everyone has left and goes "Ok, let's go to dinner." Excuse me? Say what? I am going to dinner? The lights go off in my head...I am going to dinner...with CHIP KIDD! Holy SHIT! So for the next several hours, I sat and talked and drank with one of my biggest design influences. It was hands down one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Chip is an amazing designer and a really cool guy. He is also really funny. Like off the walls, piss yourself laughing funny. I can't even express my thanks to Ray and Professor John Lowe for taking me along. I was the only student there! Furthermore I can't say enough what an honor it was to meet Chip and how thankful I am that he tolerated all my questions and total fanboy awe. I don't really have the words to express the experience but I am very thankful that I got to tell him what an inspiration and honor it was to meet him. I am sure he gets that a lot and I will no doubt be one more face in the sea of fans to him, but it really was an amazing time hanging out with him. I mean, I sat across from him and he even bought me a drink! How cool is that?!

Ok, enough with the hero worship. If you aren't familiar with Chip's work you should go to his website Chances are you are very familiar with his work, you just don't know it.

Ok that is all from me for tonight. I am still in shock.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recent Works

I know, it has been a while. I have been super busy. But I wanted to post this story I wrote for my screenwriting class. I am not happy that I have to take the class but I am trying to write things I enjoy. This story didn't really meet the assignment criteria but I thought it was funny, especially cause I haven't written in a while. So enjoy!

As the clock read 1 am, Josh’s heavy eyelids were telling him it was time to sign off from the world of online gaming. In the milliseconds between the TV being on and off, the realization hit him like the waters of Niagara that he really had to pee. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence for him to forget about the needs and natural processes of the body while signed on and waging war with his thumbs.
Josh’s thumbs while being warmed up and limber in no way helped him move his body’s entire mass to the bathroom. Yet as he stood from his chair and tried to take a step he learned that the journey of a few feet was going to be an uphill battle. Those first wobbly steps lead Josh face first into the floor, the shock of which nearly made him lose his liquid cargo onto the carpet. Spitting out carpet fibers and attempting to push himself up confirmed his worst fears; his legs were asleep.
Completely unable to walk and harassed by the worst case of pins and needles ever recorded in human history, Josh’s eyes widened in panic at the thought of not being able to make it to the bathroom and soiling himself. The potential ridicule of his sleeping roommate was weighing him down as his internal pressure was expanding exponentially.
With a face full of determination echoing back to the days of childhood heroes like Captain Kirk, Josh began to crawl. Arm length after agonizing arm length dragging half his body weight in sleeping muscles and carrying a urinary payload that seemed to be expanding at a rate faster than nuclear fission, Josh crawled.
Those few feet to the bathroom were the longest distance ever traveled by man. Moses' exodus into the desert paled in comparison to those few agonizing feet of carpet. But Josh was an online warrior, a killer of virtual men and a slayer of pixilated polygonal beasts surely a trial like this was below his status as a virtual Hercules? As his face felt the change from rough warm carpet to cool smooth bathroom tile, his heart leapt at the victory that was to come.
As he rolled onto his back he was smacked in the face with the realization that to empty his swollen bladder, he would need to stand. Looking up at the toilet from the floor was like looking at Everest and realizing the enormity of the climb to the summit. Josh grabbed the edge of the toilet bowl with both hands and learned the harsh reality of having a filthy bathroom. Ignoring the muck that was now entwined on his fingers he heaved himself upward. Then grabbing the tank of the toilet pulled himself upright. The pain was excruciating, as bolts of synaptic energy fired into his legs again and again. But it didn’t matter, Josh was vertical and soon the ecstasy of purging his urinary track would be his.
Steadying himself with one arm against the wall his free arm attempts to undue his pants and let forth the great flood but as if to add insult to injury the complexities of button fly jeans were a gigantic fuck you. By now Josh was growing weak; he could not hold back the tide much longer. The labyrinthine closure of the button fly required him to steady his dead legs by leaning his forehead against the wall thereby freeing both his hands and attempt to free himself from his denim Bastille. Just as Josh’s neck was about to give out, his bladder burst and his legs enter the third stage of atrophy, he freed himself and himself. With the little muscle control he had left he attempted to aim and what followed was the most divine and horrifying release of fluid since Noah and the Great Flood.