April 30, 2004

Surreal Pub Experience

Jogging home from work I had one of my attacks. If you don't already know, these are of an incontinent nature. It took all my mental energy just to make it to the pub at the end of the road.

7pm on a Friday evening. The pubs I passed 10 minutes ago in the West End were packed with pint-downing patrons with even more clusters of weekend revelers spilling onto the pavement outside. But as I approached the Prince Edward at the bottom of College Way, I had diffuculty assessing whether this place was even open. The blue door gave way as I pushed on it gingerly. Stepping inside, I inhaled air so stale and thick with smoke I thought for a milisecond the building was on fire. My eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and a quick scan of the room registered five occupants; a pretty young girl behind the bar chatting to her two, pretty young friends seated on the opposite side, someone at a table in my right peripheral view and another someone with outstretched legs to my left, just behind the door, each one of them with a fag in hand. How could so few people make so much smoke?

As I walked up to the bar to ask permission to use the loo, I heard the left someone grunt, "fit". It wasn't so much a flirtation as it was a Tourettes syndrome-like outburst.

Coming out of the stall and feeling oh so much better, I found an elderly-looking woman teetering on a chair just in front of the sink, a lit cigarette in one hand and an eye liner pencil in the other. Making eye contact with me in the mirror, she chortled in a gravely voice, "Just trying to get my make-up on". I thought of offering to balance the teetering chair for her, but better judgement told me to make like a shepherd. And I did.

April 25, 2004
Yesterday I went for a jog around Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park. Passed Buckingham Palace which brought back a very happy
memory of nearing the marathon finish line the week before; throngs of people crowded along the sidelines cheering us on to the finish line.

This morning Claudia and I did 4 laps around Regents Park on our bicycles. We went early and there was very little traffic on the roads. London is peaceful on Sunday mornings, and the parks are green and lush this time of year.

My legs have recovered from last weekend's run. My arms, however, are still very sore from doing a 'body pump' class on Wednesday. Hadn't done a weight workout in months. My triceps have really atrophied. Back of the arms don't get a workout from running. So now it's time to rebalance my workouts with some cardio, some strength training and some flexibility. My health club offers classes for all these
areas. I love that fact.

April 18, 2004

London Marathon

It was windy. It was rainy. But that didn't really matter once we lined up at the start. In fact, the rain kept me nice and cool along the 26.2 mile course from Greenwich to the Horseguards Parade.

I prepared for the run by following a sub-4 hour training schedule. I ran more frequently leading up to this marathon than I had for previous marathons. But I hadn't been cross training. Nor had I done the all-important 3 hour training run. Endurance was my biggest concern. I knew I could finish, but at what point would I hit the wall and feel miserable?

During my first two marathons, I took sports drink along the way. I think this is what made me ill after crossing the line. For my next two marathons, I just drank water and ate a few pieces of candy. I didn't get sick after finishing, but I know from experience my muscles start to run out of glycogen and do much better with a boost after an hour and a half of exercise. So I packed along 4 shots of vanilla Power Gel.

The first mile was predictably slow with all of us runners trying to stay off each other's heels. After that, I averaged 8 min 30 sec miles for the first 10 miles. Then 9 min miles for 11 through 20. When my pace crept up to a 10 minute mile I was pretty certain I wouldn't finish in under 4 hours, but I was feeling really good, enjoying the comraderie of the event and absorbing all the cheers from the supporters on the sidelines. I spotted Brian at the 14 and the 21 mile mark, smiling and waving, probably wishing he could be running it himself.

The last few miles of the course, while physically quite difficult, were the best because they're through central London. I crossed the line in 3 hrs 56 mins.

April 15, 2004

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

New York punk-influenced rock infused the Forum in Kentish Town tonight. Their sound was a welcome relief after the infestation my ears were subjected to from The Locust, who started the show. Admittedly, one of the guitarists did seem to have a lot of technical talent based on the way his fingers were flying between the frets. And they seemed tight because they did all stop at the same milisecond, but the noise that issued from their instruments and the screaming...Did you ever see that Energizer commercial with a punker going "We're screaming at the top of our lungs"? The stage needed a good dose of insecticide.

On to the good stuff. Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Three words, three people, big sound. Karen O is fun to watch on stage. Shiny tutu-like outfit, war paint make-up, lots of hair flipping and prancing. I see reviews comparing her to Siouxsie Sioux, but I wonder why not Wendy O Williams? The screaming and the whole O thing is a closer match. Maybe because Wendy O was a blonde. I saw a few copies of Karen's hairstyle on girls in the crowd.

Guitarist Nick Zinner was my favorite of the trio. How he makes such a giant sound with his one guitar amazes me. I would guess he is the main songwriting talent.

April 14, 2004

Apocalypse Now Redux

I watched Apocalypse Now for the first time. In the past 12 months, along with Full Metal Jacket and Platoon, I've watched that Vietnam trilogy which I so adamandly refused to spend my time on during the previous quarter century. They are all superb films. The cinematography in Apocalypse Now is the best of the three. Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket is the best overall. Lolita, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey...I love Kubrick's stuff. So what am I missing with Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut? They're quirky, unpredictable, visually stimulating...should be right up my alley, but I didn't like them.

April 10, 2004

Fancy a cuppa?

Hampstead Heath Funfair; Photo by Stacy Munn

I have 4 days off work. Yesterday was sunny so I grabbed my camera and hit the streets. I found a fun fair up on Hampstead Heath. Also watched a brave girl rescue a soccer ball for her two older brothers. Last night Brian and I we went out to Ethiopian food, then watched Best in Show. Still my favorite.

Today is rainy so I'm indoors putting off doing my taxes. I'll go for an easy 60 minute jog today, last long one before the marathon.

April 06, 2004

Great Gollum

Gollum on my computer
I just love everything they did with these movies.

April 05, 2004

The Wash

The bad news
The washing machine has been on the fritz for 3 weeks.
The good news
I got to come home from work early today to let the repairman in. Repairman gone and beer cracked by 4:15.

April 02, 2004

Favorite Brit terms

bog standard
back of a fag pack calculation
zebra crossing
candy floss
cling film
dual carriageway
jumble sale