Sunday, August 26, 2007

19.3 Mile Run, Going Broke, and King Kong

19.3 was Saturday's long run. (An odd number of miles, but satisfying nonetheless.) It included three laps around the Rose Bowl (9.3 miles) and a run up to the Elmer Smith Bridge (10 miles round-trip). Ernesto ran the Elmer circuit, then met me at various scenic spots with an ice cooler. As the temperature was in the balmy 70s, I finished on pace and feeling good.

Speaking of running, I'm running out of money. While my darling wife has gotten more work, the medium-sized dollars that sustain us are drying up. Two more checks coming in, but nothing lined up after that. A tense time, but opportunities have a way of appearing. I need to avoid getting so negative and filled with self pity that I fail to see them.

Tomorrow I learn the fate of my hard drive.

Finished the second draft outline for Dummy Fever. I'll polish it up this week and send it in to my agent.

I tried watching Peter Jackson's King Kong Friday night. Beautiful CG backgrounds, nice score but the story was so overwritten, filled with bloated, easily-cut moments, that I lost all interest and turned on Modern Marvels. Of the two major remakes— Jackson's and the 1976 laugher — there was a tendency to remove "the beast" from this Beauty and the Beast tale. The original Kong had sympathetic moments, but also killed people in horrible, unprovoked ways. You never forgot he was a big animal. Plus the 1933 film moved like lighting. Once Fay Wray was kidnapped, the story hit the gas and never slowed 'til "twas beauty killed the beast."

Thus endth my thoughts on giant monkey movies.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Computer Woes and Track Practice

Tapping away, transcribing Dummy Fever into a back-up computer, rewriting as I go. My powerbook lanquishes in tech hosptial with no word due until Monday. Mostly, I'm concerned with losing financial data. As it is, I'm reconciling bank statements the old-fashioned way — by hand and math. It's like having to suddenly use a typewriter or an analog phone. (The kind with a dial like you see in movies.)

Ran 800 meter repeats last night at the La Crescenta high school track. Football practice occupied the field for most of my workout and I had to slow at times to avoid getting thumped with a field goal try. (Ah, it all brought back fond memories of hot August days with a hoarse coach hollering at me to stay low on tackles.)

Each track seems to have its own evening rhythm. In La Cresecenta, it's the Grand Promenade. As the sun dipped behind the Verdugo Hills and the football team headed off to shower, couples and kids and families and groups arrived to walk around the track.

Strollers clearly outnumbered runners. I had to dodge and weave quite a bit. For some reason, I was reminded of the scene from Midnight Express where Brad Davis winds up in a Turkish madhouse. Inmates are made to walk in a circle all day. At one point, he turns and walks against the grain, upsetting his fellow mad, who grab and clutch at him. For a fleeting moment, I thought that might happen to me.

Still, the run was good training for a crowded race like Chicago.



Or a Turkish madhouse.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sixteen & Change

A ragged run in the hot sun. My alliteration hasn't suffered, just my pacing. Very uneven. Afterwards, my car battery died, but Ernesto gave me a jump.

Computer remains in a state of crash. All my email addresses are stuck inside. I backed up most of my writing, but several newer projects weren't archived.

Unexpected expenses over the last two months: garage door, car, plumbing, computer, car. Oh, and I just discovered a leak in the shower.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

AM Run, Writing Notes, Computer Mort

Early morning is a far better time to run in a 95 degree heat-wave. Worked in some tempo miles at 6:30 AM and had the best run in several months. Crossed paths with Katie McCollum, yet another former TNT coach. Apparently all the fashionable people finish their runs before 8 AM. :-)

Good feedback at writer's group today. Bernadette, my instructor, had a few solid ideas for my protagonist. In general, I'm working better with characters. Actually got some good ideas from reading a Harry Potter book. Rowling does a deft job describing teenagers embarrassing themselves — an activity I needed for "Dummy Fever."

Dutton passed on my other young adult novel, "The Whompago." (I've changed the title to the slightly less cryptic, "The Shifting.") I should withdraw the outline from consideration with Simon and Shuster and deepen the characters. What the heck?

I'm writing this at the Apple computer repair store, surrounded by really cool expensive stuff. But yesterday my hard drive crashed like a holiday drunk and I really need to retrieve a bunch of stuff. Hopefully, that will happen as I finish this post.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dummy Down!

Just completed draft one of a book outline for Dummy Fever, a young adult novel about a loner kid who learns to appreciate others. This makes the third novel I've outlined since last June. (Horror novel, Apple Dan, and young adult novel, The Shifting). Plus I'm beginning the outline on a sci-fi detective story called The Toy Man.

I'm getting really good at outlining. Could be, maybe, time to write one.

Fourteen Hot Miles


Yesterday was my longest run since the Phoenix Marathon. Ernesto and I met at 7:30 AM with the sun faint behind a marine layer. That didn't last long as the temperature rose like coals on a Webber Grill. As Ernesto only ran six, he met me at various points along my route with a cooler. I was able to replenish my water and dump ice onto the back of my head.

Felt sluggish and slow; really had to push myself to keep going. Time goals were way off. But I'm running Chicago anyway.

A defiant 'ha!'

Monday, August 06, 2007

Long Runs and a Salute to Kate Martini

14, 16, 18. Those are my long runs for the next three weeks. I see soreness in my future.

Congratulations to Kate Martini, one of my TNT coaches from last season. She completed the Vineman full triathalon last Saturday. That's a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon that Kate nailed in 13 hours, 49 minutes and 39 seconds. A rich full Saturday by anyone's account.

An impressive accomplishment when you consider Kate works full-time, has a part-time job, and continues run coaching for the San Gabriel Valley Team in Training. Kate committed to this triathalon last January, hired a trainer, and locked in on her goal. I think she also bought a time-stretcher over the Internet, but I don't have any more details.

And now . . . Kate Martini is an Ironman.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ed, Edd, Eddy and Hezekiah


WARNING! SPOILERS! In animation news, those goofball brothers are rumored to have their own feature in the works. Insiders say the Eds will team up with a Judean king to outwit the Assyrian Empire. The story is said to include a scene where the brothers trade bossy Sarah to Assyrian potentate Sennacherib for some jawbreakers. But Sarah never warms to life in the capital of Assur and throws one tantrum too many. A weary Sennacherib orders her sealed in a lead drum and rolled into the Tigris. Meanwhile, the brothers bumble their way through plagues, massacres, and the rout of a mighty host. We'll have to see how this plays out with audiences.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

SpongeBob Spared by Frustrated Jihadis!

A recent AP story reported SpongeBob SquarePants was captured by radical Islamists. They attempted to behead him, but couldn't find his neck. A quick search of the Quran revealed zip about the ritual slaying of a talking sponge. After much bitter grumbling, SpongeBob was released.

However Patrick has been reported missing.