Sunday, October 31, 2010

TV Recap for October 31st

I know I usually do these on Saturday, but I forgot to schedule it ahead of time, and I spent all day yesterday at Disneyland.  Better late than never, right?

The Amazing Race - Another week, another team I like gone. Although as my family and I agree, there are teams that annoy us, but there are no teams we hate. And that's a great change. I feel sorry for the ladies because they just never had a chance. They hardly ever saw the team in front of them, much less have a chance to catch up.

Chuck - Oh my goodness, those last few minutes are going to come back to bite everyone next week. I like the whole mystery of Chuck's mom. Whose side is she on? But Sarah kidnapping her like that at the end is really going to cause some friction in their relationship. And after a couple of weeks with smooth sailing on that front. I was glad they brought back Awesome's mom, too. All in all, another great episode.

Dancing with the Stars - Things are shaking this week with all that rock and roll. Some of the front runners are near the bottom while others who have been doing poorly shot up a ways. I'm shocked to see Jennifer so far down. But I think Warren will be the one going home this week. Then again, I'm not a prophet, because it was Audrina who went home. I'm beyond shocked that it happened that way. She was in second after Monday night and was really improving. The next few weeks are going to get very interesting.

Castle - That was much more serious than the normal Castle episode. Yes, it still had some laughs, but the end was very suspenseful. Still not sure I bought the villain running off and not killing Castle, but it does mean this is a villain out there to come back later if they so desire.

Hawaii Five-0 - The surfing aspect was fun, although I called the shot while surfing early. I mean, we had reached the opening credits yet. Seemed like the perfect time to shot someone to me. The twists at the end to solve the case sure came out of no where. They spent so much time developing the one suspect, they didn't have time to play out the mystery, however.

No Ordinary Family - So, that was pretty much a perfect episode for me. It advanced several storylines but gave us a super powered villain to fight. And it showed us how JJ can use his powers to help out in important situations. I hope we get more episodes like that as the series progresses.

Survivor - Well, Marty survived giving away his idol. Bummed! I really want to see him voted out, although since he switched tribes his arrogance has been lessening. Likewise, Naonka hasn't been quite as crazy recently. Looks like both things will be changing next week. We'll see how it all goes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Between Disney Trips

So today I've been working between trips to the Disneyland Resort.  Tomorrow, I'm spending all day at Disneyland itself.  But yesterday, I went down to California Adventure.  And the best part?  It was free.  (Or was it the fact that I got an afternoon off work?  I forget which.)

I took off work at noon, went home, and picked up my roommate Daniel.  It was his first trip to California Adventure, so it was fun getting to show him the park.

We actually got there around 2PM and couldn't get into the park until 4PM, so we hung around Downtown Disney for a while.

We were officially there for the elecTRONica show.  The Disney Parks Blog was hosting a meet up, and those of us were RSVP'd quickly enough got free tickets to get into the park at 4.  Then we got to stay to experience the elecTRONica stuff after the park had closed to the other guests.

So we had four hours to explore the park.  We really needed about another hour since I would have liked to do both the 3D shows.  But we did get in all the big, important rides plus the Farris wheel and the newly theme swings.

At 8, the park closed down and we got to experience the show.  It started with a dance show that was a bit cheesy.  They had 200 spots to get autographs from the authors of the new Tron sequel, and since Daniel and I got there early enough we got to do that.  We watched LasarMan, who does a pretty impressive show with a Lazar beam.  We got to see a few costumes from the movie.  They had a 3D preview of the new movie, including a scene from near the beginning.  I've got to tell you, this looks like a very fun movie.  Plus there was an arcade of video games from the 80's.  If there weren't people around all the games, I probably would have spent way too much money there.

They had put out a call earlier for Frisbee players for the show, and naturally that was announced to local area ultimate Frisbee players.  I thought they were part of a show, but instead the frisbee players are hosting an area where people try to throw a disc into a disc golf hole.  Two of the people working there last night are friends of mine from ultimate Frisbee.  That was a blast seeing them and talking to them at the park.

We left around 10:30 but didn't get home until midnight thanks to traffic.  They really should never shut down all but one lane of a freeway.  Traffic wasn't that heavy, I thought, until we had to go down to one lane.  Suddenly, we were hardly moving at 11:30 at night.  But we made it home.

All in all it was a fun day.  I didn't buy any pins, so all I spent money on was food and parking.  Can't complain too much about that.  (Of course, I did start making a list of the pins to buy tomorrow.  Must resist buying too much.)

They are starting to work on the new Cars themed land in California Adventure and have some huge walls up.  They've even taken down their big pin trading store, at least for now.  I'm really going to miss it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Word Association for October 27th

Time for another week's worth of word association.

  1. Sarcasm :: Normal mode of communication
  2. Coke :: Yuke!
  3. Frank :: and Joe Hardy
  4. Party :: Time
  5. Witches :: Spells
  6. Intentional :: Incident
  7. Crisp :: Morning Air
  8. Lockers :: Gym
  9. Walking :: Running
  10. Fundraiser :: Money

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Books, Books, Books

It's Tuesday, and that means it is time for two book features.

First up, I'm going to do this week's reading question from Callapidder Days.  She asks:
When you read a book, do you read EVERYTHING? In other words, do you read the dedication, the acknowledgements, the foreword, the afterword, the prologue, the epilogue, the appendices, etc.? Or do you just read the “meat” of the book? Or is your approach somewhere in between?

I read everything.  Okay, I might skim over acknowledgements if they are just a long list of names.  But I actually have fun finding names I recognize in the acknowledgements of Southern California authors.  Plus, since I pretty much read fiction, the prologue and epilogue are an important part of the story.  I do still tend to read everything if I am reading non-fiction.  I figure if it was important enough to include, I need to read it.

And, since it is the fourth Tuesday of the month, that means it is time for 5 Minutes for Books' What's on Your Nightstand.

Late last week, I finsihed NERDS: M is for Mama's Boy, the second book in a fun series by Michael Buckley.  Michael is probably best known for his Sister's Grimm books, but these are very different.  NERDS is a group of 5th grade super spies who have some upgrades that give them quasi-superpowers.  They go on missions around the world and still make it home for dinner.  This book finds them facing off against someone who is inventing a ray that makes all machines obey him and someone who is using squirrels to rob banks.

No, there is nothing serious about the books.  They take themselves seriously enough that we care about the outcome, but the plots are over the top and that much more fun for it.  And there are tons of jokes to keep you laughing the entire way through.  Frankly, I think parents will get more of the jokes than their kids will.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekly TV Recap for October 23rd

I watched last week's Mentalist (today actually), and have decided to take it off my list of shows as well.  If I had plenty of time, I would still be enjoying it.  But I've got to cut shows somewhere, and I really think that's a good choice.  Meanwhile, I know have two week's of Undercovers on the DVR to watch.  I'm thinking that may go as well.

Meanwhile, here is what I did get watched this week.

The Amazing Race - I found out early who got eliminated thanks to TV Guide spoiling it on Twitter, so watching it Tuesday night was painful. I wanted those a cappella singers to win. It killed me to see them go, although they had such a great attitude the entire time. If only there is some way they could come back next week it would make me thrilled.

Dancing with the Stars - What a fun night! As a TV addict, I loved it, especially the routines to the shows I know. Kurt's dance to the Bewitched theme was my favorite, although Kyle's dance to Charlie's Angles was also lots of fun. I'm shocked with the outcome, however. I sure did expect Bristol to go home. However, Florence wouldn't have lasted more than another week or two, so it's not a big loss.

Chuck - It was actually nice to have an episode free of Chuck and Sara drama. They were so cute together, too. However, the big laughs came from Casey and Morgan with Morgan trying to tell Casey about dating his daughter. The way they played that out was absolutely perfect. And to top it off, the show got picked up for another 11 episodes this season, bringing the total to 24. I so happy to be able to enjoy more.

Castle - Talk about a huge red herring. We've got a prison break that has nothing to do with the murder. As much as I liked the romance of the prison break, the couple got off a little too easily. The sub-plot with Alex was a bit weak again. However, we finally got to see Gina again, the woman Castle is supposed to be dating. Especially with the ending where Beckett says she would break Castle out of jail. Was she flirting with him?

Hawaii Five-0 - So, Hiro has a new job as the coroner on this show. I think he's a bit too quirky, at least at this point. Hopefully they tone him down in the episodes to come. Of course, I'm still thinking about dropping this show. I don't get to it until Wednesday and it's pretty much a police procedural with a great background. And I love the Hawaii setting. For at least another week, it's going to stay in the rotation.

No Ordinary Family - As much as the family is interesting, and I enjoyed the episode, I do wish they'd include a little more super and a little more of the continuing storylines. They are building to something, but rather slowly. Still, I like the characters and really do enjoy the show. And the focus on JJ made for some interesting developments. I can't wait to see how things go down when the parents learn the truth about him.

Melissa and Joey - I was actually kind of surprised they were thinking of wrapping up the father on the run story so soon. I wasn't at all surprised by how it ended. In fact, I couldn't quite believe that the characters fell for the fake cop routine. However, the best part of the whole thing was the exchange between Melissa and Joey over costume ideas. "Teenage witch. That's what you should have been." "Been there, done that." I love it when actors/writers are willing to mock the past from a star. It's like an inside joke that I get.

Survivor - How in the world did Dan survive again? I mean, the guy has bad knees and isn't up to the challenges. Why haven't they booted him ages ago? And Kelly B? Really? You totally had Marty. He couldn't use his idol after the tie, so he was as good as gone. Now they still have to deal with it next week. Gee, can you tell with two guys I want to see go? Not that I have big opinions on anything happening on the show.

Nikita - Wow, that was intense. Between thinking that Alex was going to give herself away plus the interrogation/torture, I couldn't have stopped watching that episode is I had wanted to. In the Nikita front, I totally saw that her prisoner was the man who killed her fiancee. I did think he was going to kill himself, however, not escape. And now that he has the black box, I wonder what will happen with that. I hear they are going to tinker with the show to add some romance for Nikita. I hope it doesn't ruin the show because they've got a great thing going with what they have right now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Word Association for October 20th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Freak :: Geek
  2. Homework :: School
  3. Favor :: Help
  4. Encounter :: Strange
  5. Shake it :: Drink Mix
  6. Felony :: Crime
  7. Loops :: Fruit
  8. Groove :: Ornament
  9. Funding :: Loans
  10. Plot :: Mystery

So Groove.  One of the Hallmark ornaments this year is called In the Groove, and it features Snoopy and Woodstock doing a dance to the "Linus and Lucy" song we all know from the Peanuts specials.  I love it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some Fall Into Reading Questions

So, Callapidder Days, our host for the Fall Into Reading challenge I'm doing right now, has decided to ask us questions about our reading habbits every Tuesday.  When I found out, I thought, "That sounds like a fun thing to post on my blog on Tuesdays."  So here I am, four Tuesdays behind, ready to start.

Um, yeah.

I will get all four of these done today, however.  Trust me.

1. What do you think is the biggest obstacle to your reading? What prevents you from reading as much as you’d like?

I just try to do too much.  I would love to read more.  But I also like to watch TV, and as I have been saying for the last month, need to make some choices on TV shows to cut out.  I also like to spend time with friends, which as you can see from yesterday, really cuts into reading time.  And all the running I am doing means I can't spend that time reading (although that I usually do during time I would have been sleeping.  Then again, that means I have to go to sleep earlier).  Basically, as much as I'd love to read more, it would mean cutting down on something else I also love to do.

2. What do you think about e-books? Do you engage in e-reading or do you prefer to stick to good ol’ physical books?

I have a few e-reader apps on my iPod Touch.  I've downloaded a few free books, but I haven't spent much time reading them yet.  The main reason is because I have so many physical books around that I see and are calling my name that I forget about the ebooks.

I don't know how excited I would be to buy an ebook, however.  I like having the physical copy, especially if I want to get it signed.  I'm just not sure I'd want to spend the money to have an electronic copy I could lose.

Of course, with all the books I own and the fact that I long ago ran out of space for them in my condo, I should probably get over my feelings and start getting some ebooks.

3. Do you eat/drink while reading? If so, do you have some favorite reading snacks?

I don't eat at all.  I've tried, but I just can't seem to eat.  I get too lost in the book.  I drink plenty of water, and I will sometimes drink while reading, but usually I even forget to do that.  And I wouldn't want to snack because I'd get stuff on the pages of the book.

4. Do you ever dog-ear the corners of book pages to mark your spot? Or are you a faithful bookmark user, refusing to damage the pages of your books? OR do you have another way to keep track of where you are in a book?

Dog-ear pages?  Never!  Many people comment on how a book looks brand new after I've finished reading it.  I like to keep my books as nice looking as possible.

I use a bookmark.  In fact, I've used the same bookmark for probably 20 years now.  It's one of those laminated ones with my name and my name's meaning on it that were popular in the 80's.  The plastic edges are uneven and about half off now.  The tassle came off years ago.  But I can't get rid of it.  In fact, a few years back I lost it for a week or so, and reading just didn't feel right without my old friendly bookmark to hold my spot for me.

Makes you kind of wonder if I will ever really adapt to ebooks, doesn't it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Now, To Spend the Week Recovering

I can't believe I'm back at work on a Monday already.  This weekend just flew by.  I was way too busy.  And I wouldn't change a thing about it.

It all started Friday night.  The college where I work is putting on The Mousetrap right now.  So I went to see it with one of my roommates and a mutual friend.  They guessed the killer at intermission.  Someday, I want to see it with someone who doesn't guess the killer early.  I feel like such an idiot since I missed it the first time around.  Anyway, we all really enjoyed it.

Saturday morning, I tried to sleep in some, but it didn't work.  I got up and headed down to our ultimate Frisbee game.  We got trounced 3-10.  It has really cooled down, so it was a bit on the chilly side, but we warmed up quickly when we started running.

I actually had a couple of hours at home before a wedding.  A friend I've had for years got married Saturday afternoon.  Of course, I was there.  It was a nice wedding, too.

I raced home from that and introduced my roommate Luke to The Stockmarket Game.  He would have beaten Daniel and I except he had to leave.  That just meant that Daniel could beat me.

Then Daniel and I went to hang out with a group of my friends.  I haven't hung out with these guys for months, so it was really great to see them and find out what's happening with them.  We hit the hot tub and then played a card game.

That's just Saturday!

Sunday started with church.  I was moving slowly in the morning, but was perfectly on time for a 8:30 church service.  The problem?  Church starts at 8.  But I made it for the sermon.

After church, I headed down to my new friend Dave's place.  We had been planning earlier in the week to hit the beach, but Sunday turned out to be a very overcast day with lots of mist.  We talked about going to a movie, but ultimately made our way to the beach.  We threw a frisbee around for about an hour or so, and ultimately jumped in the water for a couple of minutes before we left.  When we got back, he hit his spa.  It felt wonderful!

Finally, I ended my weekend with guy's night at Joe and Erica's.  We watched Tron this week, which I enjoyed more than I remembered liking it.  Hung out talking forever afterwards.  It was a great ending to a great weekend.

Of course, now, I'm tired.  I was planning to get up and run two miles before work this morning.  Didn't quite happen.  And since my ultimate Frisbee game got canceled on account of "rain," I'm going to need to go home and run those miles tonight before I talk to my family.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - October 16th

You'll notice fewer shows on the list this week. Some of that is because I am starting to cut out shows. And some of that is because I still have some shows sitting on my DVR. Honestly, they are probably shows I will be cutting in the next week to two as well. I just can't keep up my pace of TV watching and have a life at the same time. And since I want to have a life….

But here's what I did get watched this week.

The Amazing Race - While I'm not expecting the Father/Son team to last two much longer, I am thrilled this was a non-elimination leg. And I've very curious to see how much of a head start the singers have. It sure seemed like they breezed through stuff and finished well ahead of everyone else. Of course, they'll lose that lead when everyone winds up on the only flight out of the country, but that's just part of the race.

Chuck - So Ellie now knows at least part of the truth, Chuck is looking for their mother. The story with the takeover in the foreign country was a great way to tie into Chuck and Sara's relationship. Their struggles each week are a bit predictable, but I like it. And it's not like their relationship in previous seasons wasn't nearly as predictable.

Castle - "That can only mean one thing - time traveling killer." Best line ever! I thought the relationship stuff could have been better, however. What's with throwing Beckett's new relationship at us at the very end of the episode? And the stuff with Alex's boyfriend wasn't nearly as funny as it should have been and was resolved much too easily.  Let that story develop over a couple of episodes.

Dancing with the Stars - I really don't have too much to say about this one. I was only half watching the dances this week. Not too sorry to see The Situation go. And it proves again that throwing in tricks doesn't help you until you have mastered the actual dancing.

Hawaii Five-0 - This one is probably going to drop off my list in a week or two. It's beginning to fall into police procedural plots and doesn't seem to have the spark with the characters the first couple of episodes had. For example, this week the sub-plot with the sister was just silly.

No Ordinary Family - Definitely keeping this one on the list since I recap it over at The Disney Blog. And it's plenty fun still. This week was about developing the characters more than advancing any story, although the stories did get some advancement as well. I think they are building to something big by season's end, and I think I will continue to enjoy the ride along the way.

Survivor - This is a show where my natural indecisiveness would serve me well. Those who are leaders who want things done a certain way get voted out early. That alone would get me to the merge. Plus the fact that I'm not a physical threat would save my bacon. Of course, by my standards, I'd be the first to go, but no one seems to play that way. It's all an individual game from day one these days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Word Association for October 13th

Time again for some word association.

  1. Intruder :: Alert!
  2. Repelled :: Rocks
  3. Trench coat :: Detective
  4. Lipstick :: Red
  5. Humongous :: Giant
  6. Oven mitts :: Hot
  7. Case :: Mystery
  8. Daughter :: Son
  9. Attorney :: Trial
  10. Shaken :: Not Stirred

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weekend Away

After the craziness of last weekend, I needed a nice, quiet weekend away.  And that's exactly what I got.  Mom and Dad were down in Palm Springs, so I headed down to visit them.  Even better, Saturday was Mom's birthday.

Frankly, we didn't do a whole lot.  We swam twice a day.  The pool is cooled with the water coming from a hot springs.  They generally keep it around 90-95 degrees.

Actually, it could have been a little cooler.  See, it was in the 100's outside.  It was just a bit too warm when it was that hot outside.  We'd be cool when we got out of the pool since the wind was blowing, but I'd be hot by the time we got back to the trailer again.

Other then that, we played some games.  Lots of Rummikub, Mom's favorite.  And we got in a round of Yahtzee.  We play miniature golf one day.  I managed to beat Dad, but we were so focused on each other that Mom actually won.  I should have quite after the first hole, where I got a hole in one.

And we changed a flat tire.  All day Saturday, we watched as one of my tires kept going flat.  When we went into town on Sunday, we took my spare and put air in it.  Monday we changed it before I headed home.

I made it home Monday in time for what should have been my ultimate Frisbee game.  The other team didn't have enough, so we won by forfeit again.  But we played some pick up, which was fun.  Then a friend and I jumped in the pool.  Talk about different.  The pool at the college obviously isn't heated.  We cooled off very quickly.

Today, reality hit me hard back at work.  I just took two days off, but I was swamped with a bunch of stuff I needed to get done right away.  I think it will keep me very busy the rest of the week, too.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Weekly TV Recap

I somehow managed to get through everything again.  Several shows that were about to be dropped managed to convince me to keep them around for another week.  Only one has definitely been dropped.  And yes, I do reveal all below.

The Amazing Race - I was really sorry to see the Adopted Mother/Daughter team go. They were so neat connecting like they were. I wanted them to make it farther. Although I must admit I'm not sure who I want to leave at this point. Most of the teams actually seem nice this go around, which is a good thing. It just makes the eliminations hard no matter who goes.

Chuck - After last week's episode, I almost predicted that Big Mike would be the assistant manager. I wonder if they'll play that up in future weeks. Either way, it was another great episode, and I loved how they brought back a couple of villains. I didn't necessarily remember them when they announced the guest stars, but once I started watching, I did remember which episodes they were from. I wish they hadn't given away the cliffhanger in the previews of the week, however.

Dancing with the Stars - The dancers are beginning to separate themselves from the non-dancers. Even though she's in second, I still say this is Jennifer Gray's to lose. Margaret is certainly the weak link, and I wouldn't mind if she left. However, with Bristol only one point ahead of her, she might be the one to leave. In fact, if I hadn't to choose, I'd bet she is the one to go. When they got down to the final two on the elimination show, I was sure I was right that Bristol was going. Turns out that Margaret was indeed the one that left which works for me. Bristol will probably go in another week or two, however.

Castle - That was just great fun. I was a little disappointed that Alex didn't get her scooter. That was a bit too predictable. But the rest of the episode was still very fun. The treasure provided a nice twist to the murder investigation. In fact, I got so caught up in that I almost missed it when the killer confessed. Beckett's dealings with her old partner were heartbreaking, and the actress played it so well.

Hawaii 5-0 - I feel like this should have been the second episode as I find out where 5-0 comes from and it sounds like this could be come their official nickname (which they were being called last week with no explanation). Having said that, I thought the character development all around was wonderful. I think I'm getting hooked.

No Ordinary Family - The story slowed down quite a bit this week, but that was good because I couldn't take in quite so much a second time around. There was still plenty of story, and I think they are building up to something big. We probably won't know just how big until next near the end of the season. Hopefully it will continue to be an enjoyable ride.

Melissa and Joey - The twist on the legal domestic help issue was actually quite funny. And I've got to admit I laughed harder than I should have at the fake lesbian story as well.

Survivor - Jimmy T, you blew it with your mouth. I was tired of hearing from you, and I only had to listen to you for 45 minutes a week. I can't imagine listening to you whine the entire time day and night for days on end. Phew, I'm glad he's gone. And I'm a little less upset with Marty this week. He's playing hard, but he's not so arrogant. Meanwhile, on the other tribe, Naonka? She can get off my TV now! Pretty please with sugar on top.

Undercovers - Another fun episode. The sub-plots and interactions at home are a bit predictable, but they are still fun. The tech guy is trying to be Marshall from Alias. The difference? Marshall was never involved for more than a scene or two. This guy is just annoying with all his screen time. And speaking of him, what happened to him when the wife was captured there at the end? Did he just wander around unhindered the entire time? That was a bit of a plot hole there.

Better with You - Every week, I think I could take or leave this show. And every week I wind up really liking it. Please come up with a bad episode soon. I need to cut shows somewhere.

Community - The sub-plot involving the one student and the teacher who had a restraining order against him was amusing. However, that was about it. I didn't laugh at the rest of the episode. So I think I've found one show I can delete from my list of shows I watch every week.

Nikita - I think we have a new main character. Or at least a two or three episode guest star. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the mix. Meanwhile, Alex is in some serious trouble. She is going to get caught soon. Almost looks like the next episode. I wonder what they'll be doing with her then, or how they will get her back inside.

The Mentalist - That was an interesting ending, with Kristina thinking she is dead. I really wonder what they will do with her, if anything next. And how long are they going to play out the Red John angle. I definitely liked how they mixed the two stories together this week, too. All told, a great episode.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Other Books Read in September

I talked about a couple of the books I read in September, but here are the rest.

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

Michael Westen takes on the case of former bank robber Bruce Grossman who needs to return some items stolen from a vicious biker gang. The plot was wonderful and the characters were spot on to their TV selves. Great read, but a must read for fans of the series.

DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD by Alan Orloff - 4
Josh Handleman has returned home to bury his father. But he's barely arrived when he starts hearing rumors that his father was murdered and that he owned a bunch of diamonds. The diamonds are now missing. Were they why he died? This is a very atmospheric story with wonderful writing. The story was a bit slow to get going, but once it did, I was completely hooked.

GINGERBREAD COOKIE MURDER by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier - 5
Three new Christmas novellas starring the author's series detectives. Lots of holiday fun, especially if you already love one or more of the series.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Word Association for October 5th

I'm going to do this week's word assocation today.

  1. Panels :: Secret
  2. Repetitive :: Repetition
  3. Pancakes :: Maple Syrup
  4. Quarterly :: Statement
  5. Impulsive :: Shopper
  6. Episode :: TV Show
  7. I am :: Tired
  8. Horrendous :: Accident
  9. Inhumane :: Treatment
  10. District :: Voting

Monday, October 04, 2010

The 2010 Bakersfield Volkslauf

Saturday was my fourth mud run of the year, the Bakersfield Volkslauf.  While normally an annual event, they didn't have one last year because they lost the land they'd been using.  The one this year was in a new location, as a result.  And it has some major kinks to work out.

My roommate Daniel and I both went up for it.  Daniel was running the 5K version with some friends, and I was doing the 10K as a mixed team with a friend from the college and a couple of her friends.

We were aiming to get there at 7:45 for a 9AM start time.  And we got in line to turn into the one mile long dirt road leading to the parking lot at 7:50.  It took us an hour and ten minutes to travel the last half mile of pavement and mile of dirt road to get parked.  Fortunately, they had already announced that the race would start late, partially because the runners have to cross the road twice.  Now some people are complaining that the start of the race was delayed because of those who showed up late.  I'm sorry, but if I am waiting in line over an hour to park, that's not my fault, and if they hadn't delayed the start of the race, I would have been more furious than I was.

Nowhere had they told us that we would be running in various waves, although that made sense to me.  Nope, we found that out after arriving.  Daniel was in the first wave.  I was in the last.  Between the start delay and the length of time between the waves, it was close to 11 before we finally got started.  In fact, I was able to cheer Daniel on through the final obstacle before we left the starting gate.

The record heat we've been having held just one day too long, and it was very hot out there.  Since we were last, they were starting to run out of water by the time we got on the course.  Keep in mind that I was already very thirsty, but didn't want to go back to my car to get water since we'd parked quite a ways away.  And they were out of water at the finish line by the time we got there.

I had wanted to do the 10K because I wanted to do all the obstacles.  Tunrs out, all the obstacles were in the last mile.  So for the extra three miles, all we got to do was weave back and forth in switchbacks on a flat, dirt field.  If I'd known (and they refused to put up a course map to "surprise" us), I would have just done the 5K as well.

Now, if all this sounds like I hated the entire thing, that's not the case.  The obstacles were great.  There was a quarter mile mud trench we had to plow through.  I went to jump in, misjudged it, and wound up going completely under.  Yep, I got the muddiest I've ever gotten on this mud run.  There were several 8 to 10 foot walls we had to climb over.  I wouldn't have made it over many of those without my team mate Marc, who was getting us up and over just about everything.  Tunnels connected two mud pits, and it was awesome crawling between them.  There were dirty hills we had to crawl up after jumping in mud trenches.

So, would I do the race again?  Yes.  I'd give them the benefit of the doubt that they'd fixed some of the things in their control (weather wasn't, amount of water was) like parking.  I wouldn't sign up until they posted a course map on the website, however.  Then I could decide whether to do the 5K or 10K.  I'd definitely do it with someone committed to help me over the obstacles.  I couldn't do it on my own, and that's a fact.

Ultimately, I had fun and I'm glad I did it.  But boy the shortcomings due to poor planning were obvious.  On their Facebook page, one of the organizers is acting pretty defensive whenever anyone complains about something.  I realize that a small group worked hard to put all this together, and I appreciate their work.  But that doesn't mean that there weren't serious issues that need to be worked out.  Shooting the messenger isn't going to help anyone.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - October 2nd

The list just gets longer and longer, doesn't it?

The Amazing Race - I must admit, I was only half watching most of the time since I was doing other stuff on my computer. I don't have all the teams down yet. But their trip to England looked like lots of fun. I would have loved scaling the castle walls and the boat. The watermelon thing was looking like fun until the one woman got hit in the head. I'm impressed by willingness to continue even when she wasn't feeling well. And her partner supporting her no matter what made me love them. I'm also looking for the two singers to go far. I want them to keep surprising people, and I love them.

Dancing with the Stars - What was this, pick on Michael Bolton week? Okay, so I didn't like the bit with the doghouse at the beginnings, but the rest of the dance wasn't that bad. Looks like he's going home this week. So sorry to see that. I was impressed with how some of the others actually tried and improved. Yes, there are still the clear leaders. I mean, can we give the trophy to Jennifer Grey already? But I do think everyone is trying hard right now. I fast forward through so much of this show that I missed the boo controversy. The tape they showed on Tuesday makes it look like they were booing the judges, which often happens. I hope that's really the case. Unsurprisingly, Michael Bolton left this week. Watching the clip of his performance again, it was weaker than I remembered. He was so stiff. Maybe it's not as big a loss as I thought it would be.

Chuck - Now there was the Chuck I know and love. Last week may have felt slightly off, but this week was a hoot. I loved every second of it, from the relationship stuff to the mission to the baby on the way to the Buy More. Actually, the Buy More was my favorite part, and I haven't felt that way in a while. The scene with the agents cleaning up after Morgan was absolutely hysterical. If Morgan is manager, what will that mean for Big Mike when they work him back into the show? And is the General going back to Washington? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

No Ordinary Family - So, Tuesday all day, I'm think I need to cut back on television. I just have too many shows I'm watching. But I still wanted to give this one a try. And the problem? I liked it. It's grounded in reality, and it doesn't look like all the family's problems will be easy to fix. I could easily see myself loving this series, too. So, now, what to cut out? Actually, I do have a couple of candidates.

Castle - The mystery was fine this week, but I really liked the sub-plot with Castle's mom. That really showed some depth of character on her part and with Castle, too. I have said it before, but his family really makes him into the character we love.

Hawaii 5-0 - It looks like this is probably going to be another standard police procedural. So it will all come down to the characters. If I really like them, I'll definitely keep watching. But if the interactions grow predictable, I'll probably drop it. I did love the discussion of "Book him, Danno" at the end. Absolutely had me laughing.

Survivor - Well, Marty got his way. Coach is gone. I get that he'd be a huge threat after a merge and at a final tribal counsel. But really, don't you want to get rid of the very weakest when you got to play together as a tribe? They should have voted out Dan and saved Coach for the next tribal. Meanwhile, Naonca is an idiot who needs to get off my TV now.

Better with You - I was ready to give up on this show if it didn't improve this week, and I've got to say I actually kind of liked it. I still can't stand the parents, but I found it funny and a little less offensive. Well, except the one scene between the guys. I may have to give it a third try next week.

Undercovers - I'll admit, I didn't like this episode quite as much as last week's. And it's rare I like a pilot that much. The tech guy needs to tone it down. His hero worship is getting on my nerves. But I was dying laughing at some of the lines once they brought in Jay, the ex-partner/ex-boyfriend. He added a lot of fun.

Melissa and Joey - Considering both of them have been on dancing with the stars, I found this episode fun. Mark Ballas did a decent job acting, although it's obviously not his strong suit. And the ending was rather funny. But, please, get rid of Stephanie. She is just annoying!

Community - The chloroform scene was hilarious. There were some amusing parts, but I still didn't find it as hilarious as promised. Is it that I still need to get to know the characters?

Nikita - A bit of a slower episode action wise, but I really felt like it helped us get to know several of the characters. And the fact that Amanda is on to Alex, or at least the fact that Alex is hiding something, worries me. I'm wondering if Michael will turn at some point, and how long that might be.

The Mentalist - Just when I thought I could give it up, they deliver a great episode. Jane wasn't nearly as smug as he often is. And we really got to see a human side to him with that look to his past as a carnie. Frankly, the episode was great from start to finish. Plus, with next week focusing on Red John, I'm going to have to watch that, too.

Friday, October 01, 2010

What Interesting Weather

We have been having some strange weather this week here in Southern CA.  Monday apparently set the record high for LA for all time.  Not just that date, but ever recorded.  Yep, it was on September 27th.

Meanwhile, it's been humid, at least for California.  No, not humid like I experienced on my trip this summer.  And we've been having local lightning storms.  I saw some off in the distance when I was running Wednesday night.  Apparently there was some last night as well.  And my roommate had a friend stay with us last night, and he said he hit a very small rain storm in Bakersfield on his way down.

All this makes me wonder what I will wind up facing tomorrow weather wise.  When I signed up for the mud run tomorrow, I figured it could be warm, but it would probably be a high of 80 or so.  Looks like it will be around that when we start racing at 9AM.  Really, is it too much to ask for weather that isn't too hot or too cold for a mud run?

Oh, and for those who think a record high temp is proof of global warming, what about how cold our winter was this last year?  Or maybe what about the fact that our summer highs were in the low 90's instead of the low 100's like normal.

But I'm definitely willing to say that something weird is going on.