Saturday, April 29, 2006

Web Brawlers

Having a broken foot means I spend more time on the Internet. Recently, I've discovered fight sites. These websites feature videos of people fighting. Some contests are staged but most show fistfights in parks, alleys and streets.

As you might guess, combatants are usually young males. There are one-punch knockouts, sucker punches, painful beatdowns, group battles and a few really good fights where both parties go at it hard with some know-how. An archive of blog CityRag featured a fight linkfest.

Lots of headlocks along with the perennial favorite of climbing atop your opponent and punching him in the face until he quits.
A surprising number of girl fights. Girls go for the hair, gripping it like C-clamps. They will sometimes pause in the middle of a punch-up to taunt or insult one another.

There was a muscular black guy named Kimbo who came across as a semi-pro, bareknuckle fighter. I saw him in a few videos. He traveled with a crew, changed shoes before a fight, and wore a mouthguard. Kimbo kept his arms up and his feet moving. He hit hard, klonking one opponent with an uppercut that laid the guy out in a parking lot. But Kimbo was nothing if not a good sport, wishing his foe well and checking to see he was Okay.

My fighting years are long past. Nowadays, when trouble threatens, I drop a twenty-dollar bill and run.

Or hobble briskly.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

18 Miles and a BBQ

This weekend the team will hoof 18 miles on trails around the Rose Bow. The run is proceeded by a raffle and bookended by a finish line barbeque. I will miss said events as I'm up to my crutches in paying work — thankfully. However, the TNT energy continues into the afternoon with the opportunity to:

BUY NICE THINGS!
Ready to lose the Queen poster and stop drinking out of Flintstone jelly jars? TNT member Wendy opens her home to representatives from Private Quarter and Southern Living at Home. See their spring collection and upgrade your space with fine items ranging from glassware to accents. Drinks, lite snacks and a few bonus drawings (including a little something from The Simpsons) round out a fun evening starting at 6:30 PM on Saturday, April 29. Click here for Wendy's Glendale locale. Check out an "Early Bird" showing from 4:30 to 5:30 PM.

Meanwhile, I count the hours until my orthopedic appointment Monday. A walking cast may be in my future. Non-crutch locomotion would feel fine about now.

Hit Me

Hit number 2,000 today.

Thanks to all who frequent this blog.

That includes web crawlers and the "Anonymous" people trying to sell me something.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Everyone Shows Up At Nick's

Tonight is the night of NICK'S VERY OWN FILM FESTIVAL!
He films as fast as he runs and that's pretty quick. Having just wrote and directed an entry for the Howard Stern Film Festival, Nick's turning on the town to his cinematic efforts by screening Booey Parts: From Bobby to Booey. Wear your hippest black to Pasadena's Bodega Wine Bar starting at 9:00 PM. Pay ten dollars at the door and let 'em know you are there for the TNT fundraiser/screening. Find Bodega here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Kramer vs Kramer

Back from Walnut Creek, a charming little suburb in San Francisco's East Bay. We took I-5 north through the Imperial Valley, passing miles of orange groves and vineyards. Huge steel power pylons stretched into the distance like Martian war machines.

My wife's cousin was successfully wed and I had the opportunity to encounter the strange hospitality of Embassy Suites.

We arrived at the hotel on Friday night. Because of my broken foot, I passed on the rehearsal dinner. My wife left to meet relatives at a local restaurant while I settled in to order room service.

But I couldn't find the Black Binder.

These are the room directories listing hotel services along with phone numbers and room service menus. No problem. I called the front desk and asked to have one sent up. A harried clerk said, "You mean the Black Binder? I'll get to it."

Fine. I'll watch Seinfield reruns.

My phone rings ten minutes later. A different clerk asks whether I've gotten my Black Binder yet. I reply 'no' and he cheerfully assures me one is enroute.

On Seinfeld, Elaine has played a practical joke on Jerry. She's left a hot, steamy message on his answering machine, but no name or phone number. Unaware it's Elaine, the message's unfulfilled promises drive Jerry crazy.

Knock on the door. A short, balding man asks if I need assistence.
"You bet. I need a Black Binder."
"Oh, the room directory."
"Yes, the book with the room service menus. If you have one, that would be great."
He leaves to get one.

I hobble back to the couch. Jerry plays the answering machine tape for George. George is instantly aroused, hearing sexual innuendo in every woman's most casual utterance.

Knock on the door. A man from Room Service wants to be of service.
"Do you happen to have a room directory with you?"
"Oh, the Black Binder. Sure."
He leaves to get me one.

Back at Jerry's place, George is on the phone to China trying to contact a clinic that promises to give him a "head of hair like Stalin." Jerry is explaining the answering machine tape to Elaine when Kramer bursts in with a video camera. Kramer starts filming everyone as if he were doing a documentary on porn stars.

Knock-knock.
I hobble to the door. The short balding man has returned. He hands me a thick phone book — Yellow Pages for the East Bay. I thank him, saying that now my room has two phone books.
"This isn't what you wanted?"
"No. I wanted a Black Binder, a room directory."
He sighs. "That's what I thought you wanted. But they told me to bring you this."
He goes to get me a room directory.

Elaine confess to George that she is the answering machine voice, but swears him to secrecy. George tells Jerry, who vows silence. Elaine admits to Jerry that she is the voice. Jerry says he already knows. George told him.

Knock.
Up again on my crutches. There is a new employee at my door. We've never met. He hands me a plastic room service menu. By now, I fear to ask for a Black Binder or a room directory. They will bring me up deck chairs or artwork from the lobby.

My wife always overpacks in the food department. I find apples, a bagel, almonds and a black cherry soda. I dine and watch the first Austin Powers.

The next morning my wife calls the front desk and asks for a room directory. Within five minutes, someone has delivered her a Black Binder.
She smiles, "A woman's touch."

Perhaps. I felt the whole incident was life imitating art.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bay Area Trip

Heading up to the SF Bay area today. My wife's cousin is getting wed. He and his bride are a nice athletic couple. Hopefully, their shared love of soccer and cycling will carry them through any rocky times ahead.

Last evening's Night of Fine Drinking was a festive success. Coach Katie's my neighbor and graciously drove me. Items were raffled, drinks consumed; loud music blared making most conversation pointless. It was like trying to chat on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Afterwards, Katie went to get the minivan while I waited outside the bar on my crutches. This is in the middle of fashionable Old Town Pasadena. Busy foot traffic. After a few moments, I realized no one was making even cursory eye contact with me.

I looked around. At the end of the street, a guy on crutches was hitting people up for money. They must've thought I was part of a double-header.

All the best to my teammates, who will be running a faux 10K at the Rose Bowl this Saturday.

I'll be performing a 1/8K reception-line hobble.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On Your Fete

In LA, spring is awash in a whirl of fashionable Team in Training fund-raisers guaranteed to please any palate. (Note the overuse of alliteration, a hangover from my magazine editor days.) As fund-raising deadlines draw near, teammates turn up the creativity and unleash a spate of special events:

1. Lisa and Dave present: A NIGHT OF FINE DRINKING!
What better way to battle leukemia and lymphoma than with flaming cocktails? Hoist hot or cold beverages with the Team this Thursday, April 20 at the 35er bar in Pasadena. Ten dollars gets you in the door and puts a raffle ticket in your palm. Buy more raffle tickets for a chance to win items such as season Dodger tickets, jewelry, and $200. The party starts at 7:00 PM. Click here for the location.

2. Nick presents: NICK'S VERY OWN FILM FESTIVAL!
He films as fast as he runs and that's pretty quick. Having just wrote and directed an entry for the Howard Stern Film Festival, Nick's turning on the town to his cinematic efforts by screening Booey Parts: From Bobby to Booey. Wear your hippest black to Pasadena's Bodega Wine Bar on Tuesday April 25, starting at 9:00 PM. Pay ten dollars at the door and let 'em know you are there for the TNT fundraiser/screening. Find Bodega here.

3. Wendy presents: BUY NICE THINGS!
Ready to lose the Queen poster and stop drinking out of Flintstone jelly jars? Wendy's home will host representatives from Private Quarter and Southern Living at Home. See their spring collection and upgrade your space with fine items ranging from glassware to accents. Drinks, lite snacks and a few bonus drawings (including a little something from The Simpsons) round out a fun evening starting at 6:30 PM on Saturday, April 29. Click here for Wendy's Glendale locale. Check out an "Early Bird" showing from 4:30 to 5:30 PM.

All you Angelenos head out and support these events.

There's an old saying that those who can't run, write promotional copy. In any case, broken foot or not, I'm glad to plug my teammates' effort in raising money to fight blood cancers.

Live long and perspire!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boston Marathon Update

Our San Gabriel Valley coaches ran the 110th Boston Marathon today.

Jimmy: 3:17:34 (7:32 pace)

Kate: 3:30:54 (8:03 pace)

Katie: 3:26:50 (7:54 pace)
The United States made its best showing in years. And while 1st and 2nd place fell to Kenyans, U.S. Men grabbed 3,4 & 5, claiming five of the top ten finishes.

A new course record of 2:07:14 was set today.

In the Women's Division, no daughters of Uncle Sam finished in the top ten. A Kenyan won here as well. Eastern European and Japanese women perch atop female marathoning, but Kenyan women dominate Boston, sweeping three in a row and six of the last seven. Today's race was a nailbiter with the Kenyan surging for the win, holding off a late charge from a Latvian who finished 10 seconds behind.

I'm not sure who won the wheelchair division.

Or the couch-bed division.

But someone did.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Injured Runner Blues

My arms felt so tired this morning I wanted to stay in bed. This cast/crutches stuff is real, whether I like it or not. And today, I don't like it. I'm sore, sluggish, every movement a chore. My ankle bone hurts from rubbing against the inside of the cast.

This morning TNT was out doing 16 miles. Our coaches, the Kates, and my winter team coach, Jimmy, are all in Boston, running the big marathon on Monday.

Last night, our fundraising captain, Dave, emailed me that I'd won a TNT sweatshirt for suggesting blogs as a supplement to our individual TNT websites. Blogs are indeed a dandy way to update folks on your training progress — or, in my case, temporary lack thereof. In any event, winning said sweatshirt was a spot of color in an otherwise drab day.

I have a script due early next week. It's for a joint BBC /Australian TV production that will probably air on PBS. The client ordered episodes before the creative team figured out all the characters and situations. It's a bit like launching an unfinished boat and attempting to build the hull at sea.

You might make it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Broken Bone Notes

A friend who suffered broken legs playing tennis and baseball said my "crutch form" needed work. I shouldn't be resting heavily on the top part. I should lean — as in running — and use gravity to propel me forward.

If you are not wide awake when you go to the bathroom at night, you will be by the time you return to bed.

The doctor who set my cast was peevish and bitter. He pretty much said he'd seen one broken foot bone too many. I wanted to tell him to quit that day and go chase his dream: design fighter aircraft or cathedrals; paint bridges; be a mime, whatever.

But I'm glad I didn't speak.

He was enjoying his misery too much.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Broke At Santa Anita

After three days, my underarms are tender. I've put pillows over the top of the crutches for cushioning. I wear a satchel around my neck so I can cart books, etc. from one room to the next. Stairs are a pain, but I'm learning.

My 5th metatarsal, the long bone on the outside of the foot, sustained a fracture on Saturday. A cast for at least three weeks, then, perhaps, a walking cast. No running for two months. So long San Diego Marathon.

This sucks large. But there's nothing to be done but get better and try again.

To those readers who planned to donate, please do so. I understand I can slide your donations forward to another TNT event. (I'm thinking Long Beach in the fall or Arizona in January 2007.) The money still goes to fight blood cancers, but it will be credited to an event I'll actually be running in. (God willing.)

In any case, having a broken foot has improved my writing. I'm no longer in a position to wander away from the computer when I should be cranking out an assignment.

I'll keep posting on the fortunes of the San Gabriel Summer 2006 TNTers.

And I'll head down to San Diego in June to cheer them on.

I should be walking just fine by then.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Injured In A New Exciting Way

Approaching Mile One at yesterday's Santa Anita 5K. I'm running as planned, eight-minute pace. The course turns off Baldwin Avenue into the LA Arboretum. As I follow the other runners, my right foot hits a hole and twists inward. Ouch!

I go from running to run-limp-to limping. I limp through the Arboretum into the hay district of Santa Anita race track. Bales and bales of hay lay stacked up in large open "barns." I follow the course as it flows through a tunnel that emerges up in the infield. From there I turn onto the race track: loose sand chewed up by previous runners. I run-limp across the finish line.

Doctor's tomorrow for x-rays.

After fighting back from a knee/tendon injury in February at Pacific Shoreline I figured I'd used up my damage quota for this marathon. But there are no guarantees in running or life.

I guess I'm lucky not to be a horse.

Team in Training would have to shoot me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Running Shoe Annoyances

As we enter intense training, I realize I need another pair of runnning shoes. Two pair, actually. One to break-in for the marathon and one to rotate with my current shoes. I'm partial to Brooks. They're a comfortable fit. Naturally, Brooks has stopped making my brand.

This really frosts me. I'm not interested in shoe shopping all over again.

Now I must.

What swine these shoe people are!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Wet Fourteen Miles

TNT mileage increases. Yesterday we covered 14 muddy miles in and around the Rose Bowl. As I drove to practice, I saw other groups coping with the morning's downpour. The Korean-American Running Club — most noted for their lime, day-glo jerseys that can be seen from outer space — today wore fifty-five gallon trash bags. A most disposable rain coat. They looked like giant, jogging plums.

Trails were a mess, churned up by other runners and hikers. One of our mile markers is a support post under the 210 Freeway. Someone graffittied, "TNT. Go Team! 2006." A childish frame-up. Obviously, no real TNTer spray-painted that. If so, there would've been a URL or address where you could send money.

The deluge stopped, leaving a cool pleasant day — perfect distance-running weather. The various pace groups ran, walked, slipped and splashed our way up past JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories: they send things into space to photograph Mars and the Korean-American Running Club), into the Angeles National Forest, up to the Elmer Fudd Bridge (it's Elmer Smith but "Fudd" resonates), then back down the trail to the Finish Line in Parking Lot K of the Rose Bowl.

Next week is another 3.1 mile race ala Emerald Nuts. Saturday we'll be at the Santa Anita Derby Days 5K. In keeping with the race track theme, several of our faster runners will wear weights and at least two must carry small men on their backs.

More as details unfold.