Archive for November, 2012

The Man of Steel

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

One thing I didn’t anticipate writing about here was superhero movies.  I am undeniably a comic book nerd and more importantly I am a Superman nerd.  My love affair with this story dates back to my youth, when I first saw Christopher Reeve’s take on Superman.  Without going into the finer points about Reeve’s man of steel being an extremely important father figure to me, I will simply say that to this day I believe he is A) solely responsible for the modern superhero movie B) solely responsible for making us believe that a man could fly and C) the single best actor to ever play a superhero.  It’s important to note that I said ‘hero’ as I do believe that Heath Ledger completely annihilated any benchmark previously set by anyone in any of these movies.  No matter how fond I am of Norton’s Hulk and Downy Jr’s Ironman, I still stand firm in my belief, which I share with Richard Donner, director of the first Superman, that, a superhero MUST be portrayed by an unknown if the character will obtain COMPLETE believability.  This is also why i staunchly advocated for Brandon Routh as the torch-bearer after Reeve’s death.  And the fact that he looked identical to Reeve and aced the mannerisms probably better than anyone ever would be able to.  As Reeve and Routh both knew, playing superman is small potatoes.  Playing Clark Kent is where the role comes to life.  Superman become believable not through the cape and external underwear, but through his portrayal of our frailest personality traits.  Extremes and polar opposites make this character great.  Not the relatively generic storylines and completely overwhelming array of powers.   Now, where was I going with all of this?

Wait.  First lets pay appropriate homage.

Okay.  Forward now.  The things that I find to be critical to the value of the Superman movies are as follows;

  • Not dumbing down the costume to make it more realistic
  • Lex Luthor (Hackman was flawless, Spacey was flawless at playing Hackman playing Luthor
  • John Williams score.  Do I really even need to explain this?
  • Reeve and Routh being completely unknown actors
  • Appropriate use and reuse of Marlon Brando as Jor El
  • Delicate and respectful use of the origin story
  • Lois Lane

Now things get weird.  I figured that at some point this franchise would be handed over to someone who has proven skilled in the ways of cramming DC heroes into the real world.  I braced for it and I have become okay with the notion.  I AM NOT OKAY YET with the idea of Routh being replaced.  But hearing that they are already rebooting Batman, I suppose I should just let go of all of my desires regarding this whole comic book movie thing and let everything fall into place by the hands of producers and directors and such.  (This doesn’t change the fact that within the next ten years, my brother and my best friend and I will drop the script for The Death of Superman in the hands of Christopher Nolan and say “here. we’ve done it.”)

I’ve watched the trailer for this about twenty times now.  I am very fond of the song.  If my ear serves me correctly, it is the bit of music that plays after Gandalf falls in Fellowship of the Ring.  It is a passionate sample, fit for stirring emotions and an early attachment to the character.  This is nothing new for the franchise.  The first teaser trailer for Superman Returns was one of the most brilliant ever, using Brando’s voice to weave Routh right into the story as it ends after Superman 2.  And i’ll post a trailer for the earlier Superman also, as it seems relevent to this article.  Here are the three trailers, using a trailer for Superman 2 instead of the first, because quite frankly, previews sucked in 1978 and they were pretty much shot as one film anyways.

I’ve let go of my elitism as I’ve grown older perhaps.  I find myself being less worried about having my childhood heroes obliterated at the hands of people that just don’t get it.  Either way, there are several things that I look forward to and some that I am concerned about in regards to this film.  I think that Crowe and Costner will do a fine job as Jor El and John Kent.  I also think that the overall atmosphere of the film,the mood and the textures will all be beautifully crafted.  Cavill is a relatively unknown actor.  This is tradition in this franchise and I think a good move, though Routh still would’ve been better.  I have no doubts about Cavill’s ability to play Superman.  Here is where my concerns begin though.  Can Cavill play a complete nerd?  Can he access and portray the weakest elements of man as perceived by an alien bent on saving us?  I don’t know.  Further concerns include;

  • Diane Lane as Martha Kent (mostly because I still think she’s really hot.  This feels unwholsome on so many levels)
  • Laurence Fishburne playing Perry White (Gary Cooper pioneered this and made it an extremely important role that I have difficulty imagining Fishburne in)
  • General Zod (Terrence Stamp is the ONLY Zod that I feel comfortable kneeling before)

In fact, if I had to assemble a personal top five of comic cinema villains it would look like this; Ledger’s Joker, Hackman’s Luthor, Hardy’s Bane, Stamp’s Zod and Neeson’s Al Ghul.  Regardless of all of this, I look forward to this installment in the franchise and will continue to hold my breath in hopes that Snyder and Nolan do as well with this movie as they have done in the past.

Biking to Keuka. And back.

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

My best dude friend and my best dudette friend loaned me sweet bikes.  Perhaps they understand my situation as a poverty-stricken endurance athlete in need of cross training from time to time.  Or they’re just too good of people to tell me to pony up the cash and buy a huffy.

jennas bombproof commuter bike is on the left. it spent the weekend carrying me great distances.

That being said, on Friday I decided to ride the artillery tank out to Keuka Lake.  60.5 miles with about 3500 ft up and 33oo ft down.  Some of these hills are utterly absurd.  Especially on a bike heavy enough to withstand a trip through the minefield.  But it was because of this security that I deemed it the finer steed for what would end up being a pitch black, frostbitten journey across the land.  I’ll talk about this ride briefly, and the plethora of catastrophes contained within it.

I left the house at 1:30.  I assumed that because the temps in Rochester were comfortable (from a runner’s standpoint) that I could make the journey simply wearing my NB MT 100’s and a pair of Balega socks.  Unfortunately, running and biking are different.  Like being smart and being a dumbass.  Anyone familiar with the MT100 knows that they are essentially built to drain moisture.  This means they are a thin sheet of porous nothingness.  Balega’s are no different.  This amounts to me setting off barefooted into what would ultimately turn into a frigid tundra.  As a runner it was not instinctual to fear the wind breaking over my feet as i sliced through the cold air.  By the time I got to the end of my street I was complaining to myself about how cold my feet were.  By thirty miles I was curled up in a ball at the corner of CR 1 and East Lake Rd texting people to tell them that I had frostbite on my feet and was possibly going to die.  The next thirty miles were the most painful of my life.

Sleep.  The second catastrophic, gaping hole in my Friday evening ride, was being awake for 30 hours straight, coming out of a 4 hour night of sleep on Wednesday and an 11 hour overnight shift Thursday.  Sleep can absolutely not be underestimated in these situations.  One cannot successfully pedal a bike while his body falls into a sleep state.

Catastrophe, the third.  I decided to use this as a 60 mile opportunity to work on my systems fat burning capabilities.  Essentially during these workouts I consume ONLY enough carbohydrates and fuel to activate and sustain my body’s fat burning metabolism.  There are complex ratios and percentages and shit, but I don’t want to get into that right now.  So we’ll leave it at that.  I bonk intentionally and torture myself so that my body knows how to live off the 90000 calories of fat at its disposal.  If you’ve ever truly hit the wall in an endurance workout, you understand the emotional and physical plight that I’m not capable of describing.  I’m very familiar with this sort of thing in my running.  I embrace it.  For whatever reason, hitting the wall on a bike feels far more emotionally traumatic.  Oddly enough, the minute I ingest even a small amount of simple carbs, my mood skyrockets right back to normal.  My first experience with this complete and utter failure of my system on a bicycle was on my hundred mile ride with my friend Charlie.  We both became severely dehydrated and depleted of all fuel in a dangerously remote 50 mile stretch of road.  My second experience was here.  Laying in the grass at the corner of CR 1 and East Lake Rd in Canandaigua, 30 miles into a 60 mile ride with frostbitten toes, no heart left, no spirit, no life, no sunlight, no warmth, no backup plan, no retreat, no heroes, no nothin.  Just the idea of success flickering in my ever dimming mind.

So I got up and walked the bike up the hill.  Then I got on the bike.  Then I pushed the pedals slowly.  One after the other.  The same as at the ass end of an ultramarathon.  Just get to the next street and we’ll figure it out from there.  My first 30 miles clocked just under 2 hours.  To adequately demonstrate the ferocity of this bonk, my second thirty miles, containing FAR more downhills, took 3 hours and 5 minutes.  Whatever though.  ‘Just do it.  Do the work. Get over it.  Do it again on the way home and do it better.  Not because you’re a cyclist, because you’re clearly not.  But because the only thing that scares you is failing to be better than you were yesterday.’

I got drunk Friday and Saturday night.  As always, when drunk, I consumed quantities of food that would land most people in a psyche ward.  For whatever reason, I remained relatively unfazed through the next mornings ride home.  I felt well enough to nail dead even 20 mile splits of 1:16. I completed the trek in a mere 3:48 minutes and felt tremendous after.  My entire fuel source was the bevy of crap sitting in my digestive system from the previous two nights, a pack of skittles that I found and a bottle of Gatorade.  Factors contributing to the improvement in this workout are numerous.  Tailwind for much of the way.  The hills were worse this time, but the worst of them were over the first thirty miles, so by the time I’d cleared those and burnt all my energy away, I didn’t have much to worry about.  Day time helps a lot too.  As does being able to feel my feet.  Unseasonable warmth was my friend for this ride.  But these are just small pieces of the pie.  What really matters the most, and always makes me feel better to have faith in, is the immediate power of simple carbs.

After biking 140 miles over the weekend, I’m eager to get this ankle injury properly diagnosed and treated so that I can begin running again.  That’s all for now.

Stupid Fucking Vegan

Posted: November 3, 2012 in Veganism

… is one of my favorite songs ever, by one of my favorite bands ever, the Queers. Over a decade later, I find myself at odds with this, as a staunch advocate of a vegan diet.  Whatever though.  Things shouldn’t fit nicely in boxes.

i do not own the rights to this image. ive borrowed it to make a point.

 

I feel the need to document my entry into this plant-based lifestyle. If you’re gonna get butthurt over my refusal to inconvenience animals for food then don’t bother reading this.  Also, I’m not going to argue with anyone on here. If you think your current diet makes you feel good, then I am happy for you.

My family comes from many farms.  Literally every single extended family member I have.  Many of these are farms with cows.  Farms with fridges full of stuff from these cows. Farms in towns where the word ‘vegan’ likely isn’t uttered a single time throughout the course of any given decade.  On the census report, under population statistics, vegans would be right there with non-white residents at 0.0%

again, not my picture. I do not possess any rights to this. But it sure is fuckin cute.

Because of this family history, the idea of eating something that DIDN’T come from animals while growing up never even occurred to any of us.  Literally.  Everything had butter or milk on it.  If it didn’t, then it was flesh of some sort.  I recall nights of sitting down at the table and eating an entire loaf of white bread smeared with butter.  This always went nicely with my pork chops and mushroom gravy.  I never asked questions about what I was eating, and I have to believe that most people my age don’t.  Why?  The shit tastes good.  Perhaps life has changed in the average household, but back then I had no reason to ever question what was put in front of me.  Even when I’d become so chronically sick in my body and my mind that I spent years at a time either believing that I was on the brink of death or wishing that I was dead, I never once asked about the shit that I put in my body.  Why would I?  My parents are amongst the finest people in the world.  The all-seeing, all-knowing providers of my life.  They would never steer me in the wrong direction.

Not intentionally, anyhow.

My parents didn’t know any better.  None of us did.  It simply didn’t matter that the entire family was suffering from some sort of considerable illness and chronically using numerous prescription drugs. This is America, after all.  Land of the fat.  Land of the happily blind.  Land of the people who have become so detached from reality that they actually think that they DON’T feel like shit all the time. People are miserable and dying and don’t even notice.  Charles Baudelaire said it best, “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he did not exist.”  The genocide has been happening for the better part of a century. What was to be expected from the union of food and politics?  I don’t have time to explain that relationship in the blog, but I assure you, Adolf Hitler doesn’t have shit on the Standard American Diet.  Industry and Food should not have ever begun holding hands.  Do your own research.  Allow your mind to open up so that it can be blown to pieces.  Oh wait, back to veganism…

I believe veganism to be the finest particular dietary lifestyle that has ever appeared in the first world. To take it one step further, Low Fat Raw Veganism trumps even that in terms of unleashing the human potential for well-being.  Raw is not a lifestyle for me though, as it has been in the past.  Raw veganism is a Jacuzzi that i sit in sometimes to get back on track.  The fact that I lack the discipline to engage this lifestyle full-time certainly won’t prevent me from talking about it.

Additionally, regarding the plant-based lifestyle, there is no amount of arguing that is going to change my mind about this.  No amount of industry funded studies will convince me that I need to even keep the word protein in my vocabulary.  Naturally, as a vegan, I deal with a fair amount of “where do you get your protein?”

I DON’T

I’m also not in the mood to blog about amino acids and the reality of what your body does with them once they’re ingested.  What I will say, is that since abandoning the idea that I need a certain amount of protein in my diet I have seen only improvements in my overall physical health.  Additionally, my digestive system thanks me every day.  Sometimes two or three times a day.  Don’t listen to me and decide if I’m right.  Don’t listen to your nursing school friend that swears up and down that you will turn yellow and die if you stop killing animals for food.  Don’t listen to anyone.  Listen to your body.  Its my humble and untrained yet vastly experienced opinion, that it would be best for you (if you suffer from diet related health issues), to just for one month, assume that you have been lied to by the forces of industry since the day you picked up a spoon.  Eat an abundance of plant food for a month (without calorie deficiency!!!!!) and see if it makes you feel better.  Your body will possibly take time to adjust to this.  You may even feel like shit.  Deal with it.  You’ve felt like shit for a long time, you probably just forgot what it’s like to feel good.  Or don’t.  I don’t really care too much.  There are certainly ways to obtain a great degree of health without living off plant foods.  I’ve simply never found one.  And I’ve subjected myself to some fairly extreme things over the last 28 years.

The thing that has been most alarming to me over the last couple of years, is the extent to which so many non-vegan folks are offended by my lifestyle.  I attribute much of this to guilt, or perhaps to jealousy, but much of it also to ignorance.  I generally don’t insult the dietary lifestyles of others.  Sometimes I am shocked into questioning the train of thought of a person so fat they cant stand up without puking, yet would climb Mount Doom for a piece of pizza, but generally, if you’re eating what I believe to be shit, I keep to myself about it.  But if i had a nickel for every time someone insulted me for eating ‘rabbit food’ or telling me that veganism is for pussies, then I’d surely have enough money to get that fucking tree off my roof.

Just as shocking, is the amount of times I’ve sat down at a dinner table where people are eating steroid injected meat containing some MASSIVE percentage of a flavoring solution (because your meat is colorless and flavorless without these things), and had someone look at my tofu or tempeh or seitan and say something to the effect of, “eww, it looks so gross.  The texture is so gross.”  THINK ABOUT HOW FUCKING STUPID THIS SOUNDS.  You’re telling me that my plant-based patty is gross while stuffing your face with a stew of connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, fat and meat scraped off of a bone of an animal that probably lived knee deep in the feces of its peers.  Tofu is SOOO gross!!!

Lastly, my initial foray into this whole thing was not health related. I kept watching my dogs and cats sleep in piles of each other and learn behaviors from each other, and defend one another.  It seems reasonable to think that if such feeble-minded creatures can learn to exist without inconveniencing each other (by using available resources) then humans should be no different.

i do own this one. these are my favorite feet warmers. in the event of a catastrophe i would not eat them for food. I would feed myself to them.