Sunday, May 27, 2007


Walked around the Rose Bowl yesterday morning. A new TNT squad was running their first 3-mile assesment. They'll be training for events such as the October Long Beach Marathon.

No pain in my calf so I ran a bit on the last mile. (Very sore later on.) Encountered Coach Katie, Jimmy, and lots of Team in Training alums from my various seasons.

Also spotted actor Bruce Dern zipping along. He'd been featured recently in "Runner's World": a marathoner back before it was cool. He moved at a pretty good pace for a guy in his 70s.

Finished notes on a script and now begin work on ideas for a new animated series looking for story editors.

A pleasant Memorial Day to all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Value Added

As I'm still not running and very busy with animation writing, as well as not having any more real murders to report, here's a brief passage from my friend's crime novel, "The Value of Nothing." (Abridged)

Boston 1979
(Loser Davey has just witnessed a bloody shoot-out between Boston PD and four radical bank robbers. [Final talley: 4- 2 in favor of the PD] A sexy, amoral bank teller who survived the carnage decides she needs to forget the day. As all the police have left and the coroners are ugly, Davey appears the most attractive nearby male.)

“Excuse me,” she said.
Davey was tongue-tied. Watching a ferocious gun fight and talking to a dream girl on the same day were overloading his circuitry.
" I don’t think I should be alone,” she hinted broadly, then added, "I've had an emotionally devastating morning."
“Are you a student?” he blurted.
“Sometimes. I work at Filenes’s. But I’m off tonight and my roommate’s away, would you mind taking me home?”
Nothing in Davey’s life had prepared him for this. He'd never, ever, expected to hear those words uttered in that sequence from a hot-looking girl. Of course he’d heard each word individually, and in various combinations, but in that order, and spoken to him, never. They went through his head like melodious gibberish. When her silence advised him it was his turn to speak, all he could do was point at the envelope in her hand.
“What's in there?”
“Nothing. Just some money from the bank. They won’t miss it. The insurance auditors will assume the robbers took it.”
You just can’t beat a practical New England girl when it comes to turning personal catastrophe into a financial windfall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Spin Class

In a normal spin workout, you ride exercise bikes. On the bikes are knobs that control resistance. An instructor will have you vary the resistance. They pedal along with the class, wearing mikes in order to be heard over the thumping of uptempo songs that mimic your jacked-up heart rate. (Instructors make their own CDs.) In general, spin classes are fast-paced, hour-long sweatfests.

Except at my gym on Monday mornings.

This was my first time at this particular class. A fit-looking, hot instructor —let's call her "Gwen"— showed up late. Not only was Gwen time-challenged, but she was out-of-shape. It seems strange to even write that. But this chick was gassed.

Ten minutes into the workout, Gwen stopped calling resistance and started wheezing into the microphone like an asthama patient being chased by a bear. Her pedaling slowed to ceremonial and she didn't speak for the next 20 minutes. In the meantime, Gwen's playlist also slowed as if crafted with naps in mind. (Artists included workout gut-busters Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.)

At the end of class, Gwen explained it was all part of a master exercise plan. The easier workouts were to be "balanced" by later harder workouts.

Spin, indeed.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"The Value of Nothing"

does not refer to story notes from animation executives. It's the title of a hard-boiled crime novel written by my friend, the Dutchman. He's rewriting like mad and just sent me some pages. I've copied his email below:


Attached find one chapter of "The Value of Nothing."
Below are pre-publication reviews:

"Like Huck Finn except without the river, Jim or that annoying kid..."
— NY Review of Books

"Like all great literature, nearly incomprehensible..."
— Joyce James, White Pages

"I read it. I shot myself."
— E. Hemingway

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cross Training

Almost two weeks since my last crazed animation deadline. I'm using the time to swim and gym while my calf heals. Also doing prose "cross training" on a short story. I've been dragging this one along for months. I would've dropped it completely but for my Thursday writer's group. I blast out three double-spaced pages every two weeks. Now I'm in the home stretch.

My story deals with a nihilistic LA dude who discovers a fantastic drug allowing him to transform into an animal. He learns not all truths are unfounded and that you surrender humanity at great peril.

Which begs the question: What seperates Man from beast? Honor and reputaion, obligation, a soul, internet porn? I think I'll finish this draft.

Then I can start clearing shelf space for my Nobel Prize.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Up From Down

Since my previous post I 've been depressed. I stuffed myself and gained seven pounds. But enough mopery. If I can't run, I can at least lose weight, thus easing trauma on joints when I do return to the the roads and trails.

My friend K sent fine, health-inducing mangos. They serve to remind me that food need not be fried, salted, or popped to be good. I'm 219 today. Dipping under 200 by October is not out of the question.

As long as I burn more than I take in.

And given my history with money, that shouldn't be difficult.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Beached Again

My Strange Bruise turns out to be a symptom: blood flowing to my ankle from a torn calf muscle. At least 4 more weeks without running. Very depressing. No Santa Barbara Wine Country Half-Marathon and a reduced chance to break 4 hours in Chicago. On the upside, I can walk, drive, and exercise either in the pool or on sundry machines. In other words, perhaps a month down, then another month getting back up to speed.

And if I don't break 4, I can at least set a new pr.
I know I'll come back stronger.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

New Interesting Running Injury

No running all week. My calf and ankle swelled something fierce post-10K. Bruises blossomed around my left foot, but the only soreness was under the calf. (The muscle has a long name - gastrocniemus or some such title.)

Each day brings steady improvement. But the half-marathon looms next Sunday. As it stands, even should my foot heal, I'll have run only twice in three weeks. My goals diminish.

I've been mostly aqua running. Today I did 80 stupifying minutes. (The physical equivalent of reading the tax code.) Whether pool work will sustain me is less an issue than whether I heal enough to reach the start line.

Since I began training in March, there's been much progress in my speed. And next Sunday's race was only a mile post on the road to Chicago. Still, not attaining a sought-after goal would leave me a bit down.

But life rolls on. My wife and I bought a 2002 P.T. Cruiser. The Mrs. shall drive this in lieu of her 13-year-old Saturn. (A real workhorse of a car.) I must say, Cruiser and Mrs. seem a good match. Each exhibits personality to spare.

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