Sunday, June 29, 2008
Ran with the club today. The weather while still very balmy, was at least a bit cooler. We modified our run by going through Forest Hills Gardens again. Sondra and I were a little over 5 miles as we were nearing the clubhouse, so to make it an even 6, we finished up with 3 laps at Victory Field.
The Forest Park Road Runners Club had a tremendous turnout for today's meet. We may have easily had 40 people in the park today. So much so, that our meeting had to be held outside, because there just was not enough room in the clubhouse to fit everyone.
I wish I had brought the camera for a team picture. I did at least get some pictures of us during the meeting on the cellphone camera. The kids were with us today too. Stephanie ran/walked 3,017 steps (pedometer).
This week, will be a taper for me. My sister's flying in from Naples on Wednesday, and then I have the Fabulous Fourth Boardwalk Race at Long Beach this Friday. It's a 4 kilometer race, which means burn, burn, burn* the whole way. I last ran this race in 2005, where I had posted a total time of 18:45. The 7:49 pace was able to place me 20 out of 51, and 95th overall from a field of 351 participants. That was very fast, but I feel fairly confident I can do even better, weather permitting of course. I am much wiser 3 years later, and realize the need to protect myself a little better from the elements such as sun and wind.
*burn skin, burn calories, burn rubber
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Time: 5:00 PM
Distance: 4.25 Miles
Location: Long Beach, NY
Temp: 74F Humidity: 68%
We took the kids this afternoon to see Wall*E. It was very well made. A little bit robbed from other movies, and Wall*E himself looked like a direct rip off from "Short Circuit" a movie back in the 80's.
Afterwards the kids were clamoring for me to take them to the beach. I also need to get more miles in, since I didn't fare so well earlier.
I'll cut to the chase. We all went to Long Beach before the storms came. I ran an entire loop of the boardwalk, end to end. The soft planks were forgiving on the knees, and unlike Coney Island, I didn't have to worry much about spikes sticking out of the wood to trip over on.
I did a negative progressive split the entire way. 8:46, 8:21, 7:48 and 7:23 for the last mile. Afterwards, I ran another .25 mile barefoot on the beach, and capped it all off with a very cold shower near the men's room. Ahhhh...Coool!
Traffic was horrible on the way back. It took us 2 hours to get home.
A close friend of mine pointed this article out to me, and I couldn't agree more. This IS something that I would do. In fact, I only pray for a rain out next year, so that I can have the excuse to do the same thing that he did.
And what did he do exactly?
Yesterday afternoon in New York was a baseball lover's day. Interleague play is going on in the Major Leagues this weekend, and as such the Yankees were in town to play the Mets at Shea this weekend. Last night's game was forgettable if you're a Mets fan like me, but the Yankees and the Mets played 2 games. The 7pm game was at Shea indeed, but there was another game at 2pm, which was played at Yankee Stadium. The reason of which was to make up for a rainout that took place the last time these two mediocre teams faced one another a few weeks back. And before I get to the gist of this tale let me say that Carlos Delgado had a flash of brilliance in that game. His 9 RBIs was a Mets single game record, beating Dave "King Kong" Kingman from a game in which he had 8 RBI's back in '76 (and I saw that game on TV!!!)
However, there was another flash of brilliance yesterday, which came from a local sportswriter who writes for the New York Newsday, by the name of James Baumbach. Deciding to be the first ever spectator desiring to curtail his expensive caloric intake at both Yankee & Shea stadiums, Jim decided to do something that even I didn't think of (but wished I had).
He ran from Yankee Stadium to Shea Stadium in between games.
With permission and utmost respect I present to you his article and link below:
If you're ever planning to run from Yankee Stadium to Shea Stadium, as I
did between games Friday, here's the first thing you need to know: You better
not be wary of heights.
On the very top of the Triborough Bridge, the only thing keeping you from going for a swim is a 3 1/2-foot fence. That's it.
When I saw that for the first time Friday on my jaunt between parks, I admit that for a millisecond I thought about throwing my arms in the air, yelling 'Game Over!' and hailing a cab.
Almost on cue, in the distance I heard the faint sound of sirens, and within seconds there was a row of police motorcycles and cars moving traffic away so three coach buses could breeze by.
Turns out the buses were carrying the Yankees on their way to Shea ... in air-conditioned luxury, I might add. And here I was on the side of the bridge, doing my 9.8-mile course between stadiums on foot. I had to laugh.
So why did I do this, you ask? Good question.
This is the third time the Mets and Yankees played a day-night, two-stadium doubleheader, and the first time they held it on a Friday. With the first game ending just in the middle of rush hour, driving and taking the subway sure didn't seem too appetizing. So why not run?
(Plus think of all the money I saved in gas! Not to mention tolls -- but I
carried $6 in my sock, just in case.)
Most people I mentioned this to thought I was nuts, but let the record show Mets general manager Omar Minaya was all for it. Standing outside Yankee Stadium before the first game began, he said he would have thought about doing the run, too, if only I gave him some advance notice.
"I would have thought about it," Minaya said, "but I don't think I would have made it."
Here's how it worked: I watched the final pitch of the first game live, and once Mets rightfielder Trot Nixon caught Alberto Gonzalez's flyout to end the Mets' 15-6 win, I was off.
Originally I just wanted to see how long it would take me, and I had no fear of making it in time for the first pitch of the second game. But when the first game took forever, ending just before 6 p.m., I had only two hours to get to Shea. The race was on.
As I left Yankee Stadium and headed toward Macombs Dam Bridge, I took note of the major traffic jam on the Deegan and chuckled. Yes, it was hot, humid and I was breathing in exhaust, but at least I wasn't sitting in one those idling cars ...I breezed through Harlem and reached the Triborough entrance on 125th Street in just over a half-hour. The first pedestrian gate to the bridge was closed, causing me angst, but the entrance across the street was open.
Randalls Island is bigger than you'd think, and the Triborough is longer
than you'd think. The construction taking place all over the bridge was an
issue; I must have followed 10 detour signs and never thought I'd be so happy to
see the words: "Pedestrian Ramp to Queens Entrance."
After the Triborough it was a straight shot down Astoria Boulevard, a road that never seemed to end.
I saw Shea for the first time at 7:38 and would have been there in 10 minutes if not for mistakenly running onto the Whitestone Expressway. I thought about crossing the highway, like a game of Frogger, but then thought better of it and turned around.
Finally, I arrived at the press gate at 7:57, a run of 1 hour and 55 minutes. I was tired, sweaty and thirsty, but I made it before the first pitch. And you know what? I'd do it again.
That was a great article. In fact, it has inspired me to create a MapMyRun out of it. I called it the Jimmy Baumbach Ballpark Run (say that 3 times fast!).
I ran this morning with the group this morning. It was a low turnout. Bonnie, Carol, Tom, Andy and myself ran, while Barbara and Stella walked. Then again with 80 degrees and 82% humidity, I don't blame anyone for not showing up. Bonnie had already run 5 miles through Forest Hills Gardens and the West Side Tennis Stadium. She's training for the Nike NYC Half. Well, she went on and did another 5 miles. You go girl. As for me, I sucked. I wanted to do 10 + today, but half way in Forest Hills, I pulled a Clark Kent into Sweatyman routine and removed my tank top. Yep, I graced everyone with my pale carcass. There goes the neighborhood.
What a disgusting day. The sweltering sufferous sulfacious salacious scathing run today was shit. In other words it sssssssucked. Those were my words exactly on my virtual running club (the best goddamm virtual running club on Earth, bar nada), http://www.runningahead.com/ .
Last week I had hit the milestone of being the first in my group to reach 1000 miles. Of course, there are many who didn't even sign up to that group, that have done close to 2000 miles (sick, right?). I have bidded farewell. But here's a little ego picture to stoke myself (disgusting shameless pride):
Kids are in tow this weekend. And right after this entry, I am showering (cause I am stinking the joint up), and taking the kids to see WALL-E. There will be a review.
May head to Long Beach a/o Jones Beach after 5 today (cheapskate-no tolls). If I do, perhaps I'll try and get another 3 miles in on the boardwalk at Long Beach. After all, I do have a boardwalk race next week on this country's birthday. Just imagine what my outfits going to be for that run. lol.
Lastly, I've had numerous complaints about my poll. It does not work. I've reached out to the Blogger folks and am waiting for a response. Either way, the picture's going to get changed soon. Headlines around here don't last for too long anyway.
I'm finally out of words (everybody can rest now)..... It's time to say hello to the soap.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Now I don't even have to paraphrase or quote any of his article. No need to. Been there many times to know that it's all unfortunately true. Bikers are aggravated by runners that don't stay in one spot, and wear earphones, while Runners are threatened by the prospect of having Cyclists bear down on them at 40 MPH. Roller bladers are yet another faction to contend with, and they weren't even mentioned in his article. As a runner, I can't tell you how infuriating it is to have one of these bladerunners come right up from behind me, whizz around and cut right across me at top speed. Since when did I become a plastic orange cone?
A few months back our team was leaving Cental Park from the Run As One run to head for breakfast. As we crossed the East Side Drive, there was this cyclist, who had to be going at least 30-40mph. He saw a walker several hundred yards ahead of him, and started to scream at him. "STAY OFF THE FUCKING ROAD!!!" the cyclist yelled at top decibel to him. How fucking rude right?.....lol.......What did the walker do, anyway? He was walking a straight line!
Not too long ago, when Jack and I had volunteered for the Women's only "Mini" Race, tensions flared up again. An entire boy's baseball league team was walking along Central Park drive. Since the race was already taking up half of Central Park Drive, the boys and their coaches were already tight. And that was before the cyclists came. All I can tell you is that there was a lot of cussin' and yelling between the baseball team and the five or six cyclists that had passed by.
But to me the biggest surprise of the article was about another "faction" known as the "dog owners". I've seen plenty of dogs out there, but I was shocked to hear that dogs needs not leashed before 8a or after 9p? That has got to be a cyclists' worst nightmare.
Actually, and in my past life, I used to make documentaries in my "off-time". No, seriously! I did one about my family, and decided to be a bit humorous. Once upon a time, a Long-Island-Suffolk-County-Time, that is, my father used to cycle between his house and his two brothers homes. Dad lived in Ridge, Alejandro in Coram, and Antonio in Shirley. Anyway, here's a little video I did about my father's wonderful cycling experience:
scene from "Generations 3: The Boy From Queens"I used Pinnacle Systems to edit and add the special effects (like the man's face on the dog. That was my dad's best friend, Alfonso Mulas, whom all joking aside, is a dear man, a great artist, and has a wonderful sense of humor). And as for my father's low voice? Well, that was actually me imitating him on the voice over tracks I did....."Hollywood....I'm waiting.....".. Anyway, his low voice and stern rigidity of his demeanor is why I make the all-too-often references about him as Lord Darth of Southern Florida. But I digress...
Perhaps the best example, though motivated for other reasons by the assailant, was my own experience in Forest Park last year, when I was cold-cocked by a punk on a bicycle as I was running (read it here ---> http://roadtonewyork.blogspot.com/2007/08/punched-but-never-down.html)
(Photo: Peter Funch) - This is an awesome photo!!!
Anyway, you owe it to yourselves, to jump outta here for a few, by clicking on the link at the bottom of this blogpost. The article he wrote is very well written. You'll not only get a sense of proprietorship amongst the various groups, but also how they think the others are just out-of-control maniacs. LOL! Even the comments posted to his article are incredible. It's as if they're still fighting over it, online now instead of in the park. Something has got to be done about this. I mean....
.....Can't We's Alls Jus Git Along?
Gabriel Sherman link ---> http://nymag.com/guides/summer/2008/47976/
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Off Topic: My co-worker today mentioned about a new technology being sold in DVD players that automatically can be programmed to filter out scenes and language not appropriate for children. While I think this is a great idea, I can only imagine the potential it would have.
For instance, Scarface would become a silent movie and probably have a new running time of 17 minutes, 32 seconds. An "X" rated movie would be something else still. You'll see the "Warning" sign, followed by the final credits.... Huh?
Last night, though warm, was a beautiful night for running, especially through Forest Hills Gardens. This morning it was a little humid, but my legs are feeling much better. A couple more ice treatments, and hopefully this old 'Edsel' should be ready to leave the garage.
I have absolutely nothing to talk about today. I'm speechless. Surprised? Well yes, I bet you are. Let's see. Oh yes, George Carlin died. What a shame. He was a great comedian, perhaps my favorite of all time. I saw him live at the Beacon Theatre back in '94, and have two books of his including Napalm & Silly Putty. The guy was a genius and will be sorely missed.
I've been taking a close note of the cost of gas versus the cost of taking the Long Island Rail Road. I devised a spreadsheet that works pretty nice. So far, it is still cheaper to drive but not by much. Based on my MPG, distance to work, and number of commute to work days, the cost of gasoline would have to rise above $5.75 per gallon in order for me to justify taking the train and riding a bike the last 3 miles. And of course, while the added aerobic opportunity is a plus, the inconvenience associated in saving a few pennies, is not. I'd only do it if I knew I could save at least $20 a week, so for the 14 days in July that I would be travelling round trip to work, the cost of gasoline would need to be $7.67 per gallon. And if that happens, I think we'd have a lot of other things to have to worry about. My spreadsheet is nothing overly fancy, but if anyone is interested in it, drop me a line and I'll be happy to email it to you.
My ex informed me that their my kids photos came in (school & baseball). Gee, let's take a look:
Tonight was my son's last baseball game for the season. The pizza took longer to arrive than the length of their game. Ugh.
Here he is scoring a run in the final game tonight:
I always like to read Runner's World as well as Running Times for advice and help on how to perform better.
There was an interesting article posted in the July 2008 edition of Runner's World about Finishing Strong. Always feeling grateful for finishing off with a good kick, I had to read it, and was very surprised by what they said.
First off, the article did not delve into outsprinting anyone in the last 100 meters. Instead, it talked about how to be strong in the last third of your race. The author, who is also a coach invented FiST points. It is a statistic that he uses to track his runners during their cross-country season. Using a video camera that records each team member's place at two-thirds of the way into a race, these FiST ("FInish STrong") points, are earned like this. 1 point for every runner you pass, -1 for every runner that passes you.
Runners with a few points at the end of a season may
have been going out too fast. On the flip side, runners with tons of
points leave too much for the last third and could improve their times by
pushing a little harder earlier. The ideal is to start out a fast
pace that you can sustain for the distance, with enough reserve to push past
slowing competitiors near the finish. - Ed Eyestone
I agree with all this, but I sometimes find it challenging to keep a correct head count at the end of a race, especially if I'm going all out. All I can think of counting are the number of bagels I am planning to gorge myself with as soon as that damn obedience timer is taken off my show.
Finally (and alas), my Dad and I got into a laborious debate on IM over, of all things, the direction that my sneakers are pointed and rotating on the top of my blog. The ending of which, was a killer:
DAGONAZ [10:22 P.M.]: I suggest you have the sneakers in your blog run forward.And there you have it folks. And some people wonder why I'M so dysfunctional....
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:22 P.M.]: ???
DAGONAZ [10:23 P.M.]: you din't notice?
DAGONAZ [10:23 P.M.]: didn't?
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:23 P.M.]: the sneaker wheel is going clockwise. you want me to make it counter clockwise?
DAGONAZ [10:24 P.M.]: the sneakers are going backwards!
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:24 P.M.]: the sneakers are landing on the bottom as the normal foot does
DAGONAZ [10:25 P.M.]: i don't think you understand me or i am not making
myself clear. When I see your blog the sneakers are running backwards!
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:25 P.M.]: no they are not.
DAGONAZ [10:25 P.M.]: yes they are!
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:25 P.M.]: when you run. your foot lands,
and after it lands, it lifts and goes back
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:25 P.M.]: if i make it go counter clockwise it's going to look horrible.
DAGONAZ [10:26 P.M.]: i dont know what you are saying. THE SNEAKERS ARE RUNNING BACKWARDS! That's the way i see it here. I swear!
DAGONAZ [10:27 P.M.]: they are circulating backwards!
DAGONAZ [10:29 P.M.]: your sneakers are still running in a circle backwards
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:29 P.M.]: bullshit!
DAGONAZ [10:30 P.M.]: i swear!
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:30 P.M.]: what is frontwards to you then?
DAGONAZ [10:30 P.M.]: please chek it out
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:30 P.M.]: u didnt answe my question
DAGONAZ [10:30 P.M.]: the front of the foot should move forward not backwards
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:30 P.M.]: in a wheel the foot motion would not look natural that way
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: i got it. stand up. look at your motion
DAGONAZ [10:31 P.M.]: whatever. ask any of your other readers.
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: actually i got one better. cover the top half of the wheel.
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: now look at it.
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: the motion is correct
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: feet land in front then go back
DAGONAZ [10:31 P.M.]: still running backwards! ASK SOMEONE ELSE!
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: you are not reading
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:31 P.M.]: and yes i am listening
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:32 P.M.]: cover the top half of the circle . look at what im getting at.
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:32 P.M.]: tell you what. let me placate you. i will change it now in photoshop. do you have a few minutes?
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:32 P.M.]: 5 minutes.
DAGONAZ [10:33 P.M.]: i did and the whole circular movement, which is clockwise, shows the sneakers backwards!
DAGONAZ [10:33 P.M.]: the movement is correct, clockwise, but the sneakers are placed backwards!
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:33 P.M.]: what do you mean by backwards placement?
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:34 P.M.]: should the sneaker at the bottom be upside down, and at the top be right side up, going clockwise?
DAGONAZ [10:34P.M.]: if the movement is clockwise, the sneakers should have the point looking clockwise, not backwards
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:34 P.M.]: read my last line and answer
DAGONAZ [10:35 P.M.]: all the sneakers should be pointing clockwise with their front part. that's my answer
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:35P.M.]: you mean pointing to the right.
DAGONAZ [10:35 P.M.]: yes
AlexGonzalez0709 [10:36 P.M.]: well then i could do that. however the circular motion will not be as fluid because every sneaker would be at a flat 0
DAGONAZ [10:36 P.M.]: take the sneakers and shove them up your ass!
DNA my friends.....D - N - A !!!
Let's take a straw poll. I've put a poll on the right hand side of the page. Please vote. This will help me know whether I've lost it or not (well, we know I probably have lost it), and whether the sneakers are going backwards or not.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
It started out with a longer-than-expected conference call to Germany this morning. I was all suited up and ready to go, but did not hit the streets until around 7:15 in the morning. I ran up to the Queens Center Mall, and returned, heading straight for the starting line. I already knew it would be impossible to meet the group on time, but figured I would run into someone along the course. And I did.
I met up with Scott on Forest Park Drive not far from Metropolitan Avenue. I turned around and ran with him back to the finish, and took a short break. Met Lori, Barbara, Tom & Tom there too. When Scott left, so did I. First I did 4 laps around Victory Track and then headed back into the park. Somewhere near the Pine Tree area of the Park, I had the pleasant surprise of meeting up with Andy, Carol and Bonnie. So, like I did with Scott, I hitched a run with them and actually ran back into the park. Bonnie mentioned that she was going to continue on the Forest Park run south of Woodhaven, so naturally, I tagged along too. She mentioned to me about swimming as a way to help my calf muscle because of the coolness of the water, the natural stretching, and zero impact. I've been meaning to go to the gym and swim anyway. Hopefully, I listen this time and actually do it.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Ileana appears serious about doing this High Heel-A-Thon Race. It's the first of its kind in New York, and it's being held on my birthday. She's already deciding between pumps for this event and has practiced with a few. She leaning towards her Nina's right now (as if I even had a clue). Race rules dictate that the heels must be at least 3 inches or higher, and the heel width cannot be more than 3 inches in circumference. I'll give her credit for wanting to do this, but she has not been to a gym for months now, and has only walked with the club a few times
The race is for a good cause too. Proceeds will benefit the March of Dimes and its programs to give every baby a healthy start. It will start off with several 50-yard dash heats and I think the top runners from each heat will line up for the main event that starts at 8:30am. The final run is a 150-yard dash, and it will be televised nationally on ABC on the Regis & Kelly Show.
Entrants will not only compete against hundreds of other participants, they'll also go up against shoe-loving co-host Kelly Ripa herself, who provided inspiration for the event. "Marathon, schmarathon! Completing 26.2 miles in running shoes is nothing -- try spending a full day running errands, taking the kids to school and shopping, all in 4-inch heels," Ripa declared. "THAT'S what I call a real marathon! So our 'High Heel-A-Thon' is a way of showcasing a unique unsung talent for which most women are never recognized."
Here's a promo for the race:
More from the Stevie Wonder concert: Apparently, people have been watching. Someone sent me an email asking if I had also videotaped the song "I Just Called To Say I Love You" because the girl that was on stage with Stevie Wonder was this person's sister. Apparently, she had won the right to sing with Wonder through a contest on Q104.3
I recently looked at my videos on You Tube. The video of Haile's victory speech that I filmed at the Nike NYC Half ceremonies last year is about to break the 10,000 hit milestone!
Here you go. Make it 10,001
(Scott, you should see this. He talks about Ethiopia. Had I known back then what I know now, I would have asked him about how much teff he is eating these days...)
Another milestone which I broke after yesterday's 14 miler is the 1,000 miles milestone (may I say that twice?) from my global online running club at http://www.runningahead.com/ website.
Through the same period (Jan 1-June 21), I had 651.1 miles logged in 2007, and 355.7 miles in 2006. My 1006 miles as of today is nearly a 54% improvement over last year, and about a 182% increase over 2006! My goal to reach 2,000 miles is so far on track however I've got to do more to avoid these nagging injuries like the one I've been not-so-nursing.
I was reading an article "Natural Cures" in the July 2008 issue of Runner's World. In it, Scott Jurek a ultramarathoner champion had sprained his ankle just 3 days before he was supposed to run the Hardrock Hundred-Mile Endurance Run in Silverton, Colorado. Instead of popping pain killers or anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID), Scott just focused on natural therapies consisting of consuming ginger and garlic and herbal supplements bromelain and arnica to reduce the pain. In addition, he used the athlete's traditional RICE treatment. Well not only did he well. He won the race, shattering the previous record by 27 minutes. I did some extra digging, and here is the finish to that race last year.
The article then shifted focus from Jurek, to different forms of treatment for injuries.
Acupuncture \\\ About 10 years ago the World Health Organization says this could be good for people with knee pain, plantar fascitis, lower-back pain, and osteoarthritis.
Sports Massage \\\ It's good for road warriors like me that do 35 miles or more. Massage can stop the damage from building up. Having oe within 24 hours after an intense workout can soothe muscles and enhance recovery.
Imagery \\\ Some studies had participants picture broken bones being glued together, torn muscle fibers reattaching, or cells regenrating. Visualization can help one deal with minor discomfort - like the final mile of a race. Imagine the pain leaving your body when you exhale or picture yourself smiling at the finish line. Or even better still, The New York Mets beating the Yankees in 4 straight to win the World Series.....at Yankee Stadium!
Herbal Remedies \\\ Herbs with anti-inflammatory powers can treat plantar fascitis, back and knee pain, sprains and muscle stiffness Spicing up your meals is the best and safest way to strt. And now for the same line the RW used to avoid lititgation...."Talk to your doctor before taking any over the-counter supplements."
Chiropractic Treatment \\\ Chronically injured runners may have the most to gain from chiropractuc treatment, says Dr. O'Connor, who credits his chiropractor with curing his calf-muscle pain. (WHAT DID HE SAY?) "Spinal misalignments and muscular imbalances can cause tightness and weakness," he says. "That can prevent you from fully recovering from an injury and make it easy to relapse".
Today was the 25th annual Mermaid Ball at Coney Island. I never heard of it before until Bonnie from our club, mentioned it. I really wanted to go, but I've had so much to do today, it was just impossible. It looks really interesting, so I might have to put this down on my calendar for things to do the next time these mermaids swim back into town.
Lastly, what happens when a switch-hitting batter faces an ambidextrous pitcher? The result is ridiculous:
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Second Annual New York Food & Film Festival is taking place at the Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City until today. It is a multi-sensory feast for the belly, the eyes and ears, featuring video vignettes from the very same people that are only too happy to let your try their cooking....and for....free?
Yes. Free. The only thing I had to show was my drivers ID to prove that I was over 21 years old, so that the little tiki bars could serve me alcohol. And no. Sadly, the high octane was not free. Beer was 6 dollars.
The Water Taxi Beach is a bizarre place. Backfilled a few feet deep in sand, this 40,000 square foot (Hey, that's about an acre!) lot is a temporary oasis from the hustle and bustle which completely surrounds its home. Right outside is Long Island City with it's Long Island Railroad, Citicorp Building and Jackson Avenue 7 train. Directly across, it the east river, and the city for which I call my home.
Despite the huge turnout, finding a seat was interestingly easy. Equally fascinating was that I was about the oldest person there. Average age could not have been more than 25, hence the reason for the "carding". Ileana mentioned that I looked old compared to everyone else too. Hey. Isn't that like the "pot calling the kettle black?" Again, another one of her "typical" remarks. Nice and sensitive and full of politically correct statements. I'm being sarcastic, of course.
One thing I regretted was not wearing sandals. I had comfortable slip on Born shoes so at least it wasn't too bad. The line for waiting for food was outrageous however, and at the time I was standing, the samples had all run out. Unaware of this at the time, I kept moving up the line until I passed the sample table and wound up by the cash register near the outdoor kitchen. They had food too, but it was not free. I ordered a cheeseburger with fries. They ran out of fries. "Good. I just saved 400 calories", I thought.
Near the main projection screeen were two colorful vinyl couches. They were for the VIPs only. The ones that either cooked the food or filmed it. Filmed in Technigrease!
Speaking of grease, that cheeseburger I ate was very undercooked, and extremely greasy. Also, while I was collecting my belly bomber, there were free samplings of goat cheese. Being a huge fan of goats and cheese, I brought my girlfriend a couple of samples. She tasted and liked.... and sent me back for more. Isn't there supposed to be a weight limit of goat cheese intake per person per day?
The music that was playing was trance music (electronica). And it was very good. And very loud. So loud, that I couldn't even hear what was playing on the filmscreen. What kind of film festival is this when the film being shown is being drowned by techno music behind it? LOL!
Anyway, the film festival didn't REALLY begin until about 8:30ish or so. The MC got on stage, and the techno music went bye-bye. He gave us a brief dissertation about the movies that we were about to see and the food that was going to continue coming out for us to sample. I had actually gotten back in line a second time, and finally got a nice taste of "Smokehouse Pork", a barbecue-sauce infused smoked, pulled pork, that just melted in my mouth. Mmmmm. Mmmm.
Here was the schedule:
Thursday, June 19th
8:30pm - Let Them Eat Cake
8:40pm - The Sloppiest Burger in Malaysia
8:45pm - Brooklyn Pizza (screening out of competition)
8:50pm - The Rise of Southern Cheese
9:10pm - Holy Smoke Over Birmingham
Funny Moment: The announcer had mentioned that everyone who wanted a sampling had to actually be in line. So Ileana, who had been securing the table whilst I waited in line for my Porky Pig sandwich, left to join me once I got close to the eats. On the way back, she got very upset.
"Somebody took the cheese!" She furiously yelled.
Apparently, she had left 2 samples of Goat Cheese, thinking they would not be taken. Are you kidding me? This is New York. She could have left two goats, and they would probably be next seen with their heads sticking out of an Escalade zooming down the BQE! Of course, I had to be an ass, because I told her she was needlessly stressing out over stolen free dairy products. I think my exact words were, "You need to stop stressing when somebody moved your cheese"
The films began. My favorite was "The Sloppiest Burger in Malaysia". It consisted of melting a stick of margarine on the grill, and breaking an egg yolk over it. Once it was nice and fried, the guy threw on a hamburger patty on top of that. Cow meets Egg. Then, he squirted a ring of brown sauce around the perimeter of the burger. He called it ketchup. Yah, right. I never seen brown ketchup before. A slice of cheese was thrown on top. After this was done, the chef took the overhang of the fried egg and folded it over the top of the patty, completely covering it. If that wasn't weird enough, he threw some spicy peppers, onions, pickles, and garlic on top of that. This was no longer a hamburger. This was a heart attack.
And speaking of cardiac arrest, it was now 9pm and my belly was bitching. The cheeseburger that was lodged inside my digestive system somewhere had converted (a la 'Transformers') itself into a monster and was reeking havoc around there. And in my subway system as well. Oh no. Yet, unfazed, I was back in line to try the chicken. That's me.
Well, I waited and waited. But the line did not move. I guess the chicken saw what was being played on the big screen and decided to high tail it out of Water Taxi Beach. Perhaps she jumped into the East River. Poultrynasia (suicide for chickens).
After about 15 minutes I see this big guy (who was the MC) furiously walk past me. He was pounding the sand as he walked. He got all the way to the front of the line, walked behind the kitchenette, and without warning starting point at one of the cooks there. I swear what happened next could have been straight out of an episode of Hell's Kitchen, when I tell you that he began to berate this cook. The gutteral growls coming from this dude could be heard from the top floor of the Citicorp building nearby. Wow. I don't think I've remembered seeing such a public flogging since Ms. Schifano when she yanked me out of an 8th grade desk by my tie, virtually dragging me across to the other class where Mr. Moks was, yelling that she did "not want me in her class anymore!" But that's a long story.
Anyway, I really felt for this bro. He took his apron off, but his backpack on, and sheepishly, with head down, walked past us. He looked baffled and like he was ready to cry. Between "Belly Disruptus" and "Hollerin' Chef Gordon", I knew it was time to pack it in. Besides how many different ways can you view the process by which goats made cheese anyway, right?
As we made our way to the exit, I snapped off this picture of the restrooms. Classy isn't it? LOL.
Actually, I am very jealous. Their port-o-sans are much larger than ours at the races.
Overall, I will say that I had a good time. If you are looking for formal service, older crowds, and a distinguished atmosphere, this is not the place. Other than that, it's zany and full of youngbloods and a great way to inject some bizarre fun.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
A few days ago I went to see Stevie Wonder at the Jones Beach Theatre. The show was very good. I always had heard the amount of energy Wonder puts into his shows, and how he gives back a lot to his audience, so I was intrigued to see him. That, and to close a chapter on something that began way back when I was 11 years old.
Growing up in Forest Hills, I will always remember the album "Songs In The Key of Life". I had just moved to Forest Hills in the Summer of '76. I remember the realtor near Portofino on Queens Blvd. taking us to show us an apartment on 72-11 110th Street, next to the Kennedy Building. My mother fell in love with the apartment, and while I had made some friends out in Medford, I too, was pretty stoked about coming back to Queens. The school, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, was directly across the street from me, and Austin Street behind it.
Although always nice, Austin Street was not the chaos that it is today. Oh sure, it had all its little shops back then like Gristede's, The Happy Cooker, King George's Diner, and the Lemon Tree Club (which residents protested against). Overall, Austin Street looked more like an extension of Forest Hills Gardens.
It was a busy week for me, I still can recall. We moved into our Forest Hills apartment on July 1, 1976. A few days later, and on July 4th, we went to my stepfather's (George Seims) parents home, in Freeport. I always loved their house. It was a hi-ranch, and the downstairs family room had sliding doors that led to their backyard. The backyard faced the canal, where they had a little boat tied to their own mooring. I remember a lot of wonderful moments with my stepfather on that boat too. Well, we actually went there that day to celebrate the Bicentennial, and I still remember watching the TV of the tall ships that were parading around NY harbor that day. The TV was in the family room, and between that, and the mamoth train set & tracks that George's brother, Robert had amassed, I definitely had a lot of fun.
I also remembered listening to a song for the first time on WPLJ 95.5. Back then, 95.5 was a rock station and Carol Miller was IMHO, their best DJ. The song that I heard was none other than "Sir Duke" by Steveland Wonder. I knew I had wanted that song the moment I heard it on the radio. Then they mentioned that the album would not be out for a few months. Ugh! Not that it mattered though. I had no record player or even a cassette or 8-track player! Imagine that!
I started th 6th grade at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. And not long after, found another quaint store on Austin street. It was a record store called the Record Joint. It was right around the corner from the Irish Cottage (still there and still one of the best pubs anywhere in New York), about a block away from my school. I think it was around the end of September, when the album was released. With 8 dollars in bills and change (from my allowance), I immediately marched there in search of Song In The Key of Life. Back then albums cost $6.99.
I got to the store, went inside, and was in love. Music everywhere! Nothing like being 11 years old and seeing a sea of music records everywhere! Then I saw the album in the top sellers rack. "There it is!" I remember excitedly whispering to myself. But then my heart sank. The cost of the album? $11.99.
'Why so much??'
Disillusioned, I reached up to take the album off the rack, and realized why. It was a double-album. Feeling dejected, I settled for another album that I had wanted. Jimi Hendrix Smash Hits. Wow. That was settling??
Even funnier than that was that I never bought the album! As children often do, I kept racing from one interest to another, burying if you will, Mr. Wonder's offering. This would happen later on in my life again with John Lennon's Double Fantasy album, for which my best friend Doug, could attest to. "Songs In The Key" became one of those obscure must-haves which never materialized. But then again, I didn't miss out much. Stevie was saturating the airwaves for the rest of 76 and for just about all of 77 too. I must have heard "Isn't She Lovely", "Sir Duke", "As", and "I Wish", at least 100 times each. All great songs from one helluva composer.
Concert night was June 18th. The threat of storms was imminent. All one had to do was look up. Prophetic, doomsday-looking clouds, were rolling in our way. Ily and I had the cheap seats at the top, and had no protection whatsoever from Mother Nature's wrath.
Before we went into the stadium, we had our customary bottle of wine, crackers. cheese and fruits. Last year we also had a bottle of champagne, but if I told you what happened, Ileana would kill me, so...let's just say that we substituted the champagne bubbly for salami sandwiches.
Well, as predicted, thunder and lighting and torrents of rain came open us quickly.
Following everyone else, we quickly ran into the stadiums walkway and weathered the storm. Roadies were quick to get the tarps on every musical instrument (and trust me there were many. Stevie had like a 10 piece band out there). The show, which was supposed to start at 8pm, didn't actually start until 9pm, but when it did, the wait was more than worthwhile.
Stevie belted out hit after hit. He covered some of his best from Talking Book ("Superstition"), Innerversion ("Living For The City") and of course, my favorite,
Songs In The Key of Life. At last, another musical "bucket list" item can be scratched out.
He was great, and had so much fun with the audience too. Stevie's self-deprecating humor about his vision, makes me see not only what a genius he is, but what a great sense of humor he has as well. His daughter, Aisha Morris, was introduced and she sang a song too. She didn't bring the house down, but she's young. And very, very pretty. Musically, I'm sure she'll make it too. There's too much DNA from him for her not too succeed, one would have to think.
A few clips from the show: (make sure to first pause my player on the right!)
It was pouring in the early going!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
While I had fully expected Randolph to have been let go after last season's, history-making collapse, I actually didn't that think it'd happen last night. At this point, what's that difference? True, he's made some bonehead moves, but haven't we all? And regarding his comments last month in which he raised the "racial" card against his employers, haven't we all quipped about our own management at one point or another? When things don't go your way, "Ya Gotta Vent", right? Unfortunately, the Mets brass did not feel that way. And instead of following their own, "Ya Gotta Believe" mantra, they flat out-fired Willie, in the middle of a road trip, and at 3:15am this morning (NY time). And all of this came on the heels of an improbable Mets victory in Anaheim last night.
To me, however, the timing of Wilpon & Co.'s decision to let Randolph go, was even more telling than the decision itself. It basically tells me that Mets front office have no clue what they're doing. And as for the leadership...yes.....perhaps they could've had a better manager. I don't think that it makes that much of a difference, though. The players make the difference, and a lot of them on this team are lazy and heartless. It was this lack of heart, I feel, that led to Willie's demise. These players are grown men, for Pete's sake! Don't they know how to fight for a win? What else did they need to get motivated? A baby-sitter? Electric-shock therapy? A latin salsa every Saturday Night at the PanAmerican Hotel on Queens Boulevard? Only of late, have these guys shown any desire to win. And they probably did it to save Willie, because Willie was probably easy on them.....Whatever......At least I won't have to have the same expectations of the Mets this year the way I did the last few years running.
This team is a mess right now, and their chance to catch the Phils are dwindling by the minute. As for Willie, I always thought (and still do) think he's a classy guy. I feel bad about his firing, and thank him for giving Mets fans a lot of great wins. After all, the Wilpons just fired the second-winningest manager in Mets history.....Nice going, front office......And Omar...You're lucky this time, because in my mind, it should've been you all along.....
The new Coldplay album is finally out....and in my Nano already. I think it's going to be a great album. And it's already a must listen. These guys just refuse to lose any creativity a/o hooks! And unlike the last few albums, where I had to listen to it a few times for it to grow on me, thes songs on this collection struck an immediate chord with my inner-chi. After only one listen, I already love "Lovers In Japan", "Viva La Vida", "Cemeteries of London", and "42" (which is coincidentally, my age). The best song, and by far is "Lost?" You will never get tired of it and you will be singing it very very loud, over and over and over and over again. Great job by Brian Eno (again). It seems that everything he engineers is a success. It even makes me regret all the more, that I lost out in the lottery for the June 26th concert at Madison Square Garden, as I really wanted to see them in concert.
UPDATE: Lost? is now the first song on this blog. Lyrics below. Also, (and this is for my Lil'Ms. Lisa out in Sunny Cali), I've got a remixed Pink song in there too. If you want to skip to it, just manage the little nano guy on the right.
Lyrics | Lost lyrics
Speaking of concerts, **duh**, Stevie Wonder is tomorrow night, not tonight! So it
looks like my group run for Wednesday's gonna be scrapped.
Less than 20 weeks to go for the New York City Marathon. Not quite yet pumped though. It feels more like a behemoth right now, lurking in the shadows in the distance......
Behemoth is me. I weigh 157 (disregard that artsy Blogrunner Waist Art on the side). Not entirely happy about this. Mas Salad....Mucho Mas Salad!
Monday, June 16, 2008
So, I decided to branch out a little today. Figured it was time to put on some baby shoes and take a world wide walk to see how to best promote this growth of cranial decay. If this doggerel nonsense isn't enough however, you might want to turn the speakers on too...I try to change the music as often as I can. Music requests are accepted and appreciated. For a few pennies, I might even sing and then upload it too....Errrr, scratch that idea.
There are almost as many bloggers who run as there are runners who blog. Now go and chew on that one for a while.....I tried. But had to spit it out. *Pi-too-eee! The disk drive above my eyes just produced a blue screen of death and has crashed.
*for those who require sound effect aids, or who are just plain immature like me.
Speaking of crashing, that storm that hit my neighborhood, Kew Gardens last Saturday was absolutely miserable.
Take a look:
My God! Was this because of the storm, or did my ex-wife Bronxilla,
pay Queens a visit and blow a fart?
Hang on.... Brain loose..... Must tighten screws.... Okay, better now. Where were we now?
Ahh yes. BLOGSTITUTION !
So, I finally started to give a rats ass about this running blog, and perhaps now more people can suffer about my New York City races, the Ben Gay Heat Therapy pads, and a plethora of pictures (some compromising, others just down right wrong) taken at races, social events, pizza parlors, etc.
Yes folks. I have posted my blog, did the RSS and Atom feed thingy, subscribed to the "Complete Running Network", where my blog has been around the block more than one of Ex-Governor Spitzer's honeys, and decided to sign up for Map-My-Run to further tell people exactly where I am running to and where. However, your personal information will be kept confidential.
I am Blogrunner. I am male Blogwhore.
Last week was a crazy week. I did nearly 70 miles. Way too much of an increase over the week before. And thus:
<- WHAT IS UP WITH THIS NAME FOR GODSAKES?!
I was actually going to say something intelligent for runners alike to read and learn, but what the fuck? All you runners out there, have thirty thousand links already about running, resting, consuming and screwing.
So, I signed up for MapMyRun. Yet another shameless promotion of a website that has gone way too freaking far. Just for the way it looks, it has to be the best out there for sure right now. I can even mark down the spots for toilets. Just toggle the markers below and see. What is that site, Map My Run or Map My Incontinence?!
Anyway, thumbs up to Map My Run.
Thumbs down unfortunately goes to the one in charge of putting the race stats online for the Quantum Feet Road Runners. I sent them an email denoting that they omitted one of our runners, Carol, from the results. I even sent them a picture of her crossing the finish line with the time clock above and sent them the email twice. Over a week later and nada, nothing, zilcho. Not even an acknowledgement. Boo! Hiss! UPDATE!!!--> It has been fixed. Thank you, Quantum!
Lastly (ahhh... relief...it's almost over, my fellow readers), if you had your speakers on the whole time, you probably heard Darth Vader in the beginning. I am pleased to report that he is doing very well and is living in Tamarac, Florida. Haven't seen him in awhile. And I do miss my dad quite often. Although, I did have to chance today to call wake him up (at 3pm!) so that he could see the final holes of the US Open Golf Tournament......Wake him up from SLEEPING to watch GOLF.....Why even bother? Isn't that like one and the same? Hey Dad, wake up! You need to take a sleeping pill! You get the point.
Tomorrow I will do about 100 miles..... Driving........ You really didn't think that I was going to run 100 miles, did you? Oh yee sickie runners yee! Ultrabloggers, please abstain from answering. Merci Beaucoup.
No, tomorrow it's the typical 60 miles round trip to work....added with another 40 round trip to the Jones Beach Theatre for one super-spectacular performance by Mr. Fingertips himself, Stevie Wonder.
Oh and yes, there will be a report!