Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Five(5): confessional

Here we are, another Friday, another Five(5). Last week I listed five books I love. This week I'm baring my secrets. Here are five supposedly "must see/read/etc" items I have never read/seen/etc. even thought I am supposed to have as a cool, with it guy (now you know why I haven't read/seen. I'm not cool or with it...):

1. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I've never read a word of Salinger. I've glanced at jacket notes, know Mark David Chapman was all up in it when he killed John Lennon, but it never appealed to me. I may read it in the future, but probably not, to be honest. I think it's over-hyped. Sorry Coach Crump; I know I've let you down here.

2. Schindler's List. I know, I know. It's moving, so powerful, Oscar-winning, blah, blah. I intended to see it probably 50 times, but could just never make myself go through with it. I've studied the holocaust in school, know it's a terrible point in history and all that. But really I just don't like downer movies. I generally watch fun comedies or bad action/sci fi flicks. I avoid most dramas in general and prefer documentaries for my serious movie watching. Or if i watch drama, they are of light subject matter. Bottom line, It's just too sad of a movie for me to watch and I hate crying at movies.

3. The Godfather (movie). I've seen parts of it, but never sat down and watched the entire movie. It has been built up so much at this point it could never live up to expectations anyway. I've tried to watch it on cable, but the editing and commercials killed it for me and I was done.

4. A Clockwork Orange (film AND book). Whatever.

5. The Grapes of Wrath. I was on "vacation" from University the semester Grapes of Wrath was performed (I was a theatre major...) or I probably would have read it then to prepare me for the stage adaptation. I liked The Great Gatsby, I think Steinbeck is an amazing writer and of Mice and Men is one of my favorites of ALL TIME; I just never read this particular one. Sorry.

There you have it. My secret shame as a cultural pariah. Sound off in the comments to absolve yourself of your cultural sins. What have you avoided in cultural cornerstones?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I've been to busy to blog

It's summer and I've been a bit busy to blog. I'm back in class (lots o' work), I have kids (lots o' fun) and my wife is off in the summer because she's a teacher (lots o' date nights). I haven't been running for almost two weeks (last night was my first run in 12 days) due to some aches and pains, so I've been doing other stuff. Here's some pics to explain why I'm not boring you with every detail of my running (or reasons why I haven't been running):

1. Stinky went a campin'. Stinky (the elder) loves camping almost as much as I do and would live in a tent all summer if we could get away with it. This year we only had one shot for a summer camp-out and it was cut short by un-forecasted and therefore unplanned-for rain. It was still fun, though.

 home sweet campsite
 snuggled in for fire-side read aloud
 who says camp food has to be bad food? this man can cook.
Stinky doesn't like smores(!?) so we made campfire popcorn. As awesome as it sounds
2. After the camping trip we took the sort-of-annual family beach trip with Mrs. M's sisters and their families to the Oregon Coast (my favorite coast):
GoGo coloring with her cousin

this is how I had to level the ping pong field with Ian. Yes, he's using a boogie board
 The "big girls" at the beach
 Poor Molly hurt her leg right before we left
 The whole crew (minus Ian) at the Coast Aquarium
 Neither of my girls have cared for the sand...
 GoGo was coming around a bit, finally
The fam on the beach
3. GoGo turned two. We had a party.
 GoGo got her own slide!
who says you need hands for a cupcake? At least they took turns.

So there. I finally did run again last night, as my ankle finally stopped hurting. This means you'll have to endure more running posts in the near future. Aren't you psyched?!

Laters, and make sure you're enjoying your summer!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Five(5): books

I'm a nerd. I read a lot, often multiple books at a time, plus magazines, blogs, websites, get the idea. So this week's Friday Five(5) is my five favorite adventure books. I have to keep my favorites in categories or I just get frozen with the idea of choosing. I started out with a "five favorite books of all time" list, but uh, no way. I can't do it. So in light of Stinky (the elder) and my camping adventure this week (report to follow once I finish my math homework) here are my five favorite adventure books, in no particular order:

1. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. I first read this book in 2001 or so. It is a truly heartbreaking story in the final analysis, but the utter optimism and sense of adventure of Chris McCandless touched me deeply. He and I were only a few years apart in age and his journey reflected what I wanted to do at the same time he was on his path. The faith and trust he placed in his fellow man and the unbridled enthusiasm he took with him made for an exhilarating story, matched only by the heartbreak of its ending. Read it if you haven't. It is great. As a footnote, the film almost does justice to the book, in my opinion, and really captures the many emotions the book created for me.
2. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. I read this book in fifth grade and it has stuck with me ever since (the book is a prequel of sorts to "the Blue Sword, which I also loved). It has a female protagonist who becomes a dragonslayer (I know!) among many other sweeping adventures. I haven't read this book in 20+ years and it still stays with me. I'm actually re-ordering it today to share with Stinky.

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. I rediscovered this book last year when Stinky wanted to do it for our read aloud. It was over her head a bit (she was only 7...), but grabbed me all over again. The story is actually a five book series (I only read the first three; we'll be fixing that soon enough). It follows Meg Murry and her brothers as they search for their missing Scientist parents. It is gripping, emotional, and exciting throughout. A definite classic.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. I know, I know. But I loved the book. In truth, this and Goblet of Fire are my two favorites. Luckily I get to re-live the whole series as Mrs. M and I have decided that Stinky is old enough to start the series as a read aloud. I joined the Potter books late, starting with Goblet. That said, they are phenomenal books and deal with real world issues in a very clever way. I'm glad I found the series (and I do really like the movies, too), and can't wait to share it with the kiddo.
5. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I just found this book this year, thanks to Stinky (It was a read aloud) The heart-rending path this toy rabbit takes is enthralling. The story follows Edward from owner to owner as he learns about love and companionship. I had difficulty reading it to her at times because I was getting choked up. It isn't an adventure on the order of a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, but it is an emotional adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat. 
There you go; my five favorite adventures. If you were paying close attention you'd have noticed that 4 of 5 were children's literature. Another book I'm reading, The Happiness Project , helped me to re-embrace my love for children's lit and preference for it over "adult" books. I don't read a lot of fiction targeted to grown ups, and Gretchen Rubin's admission of the same helped me realize why (I'll get into that in a future post). 

Anyway, I love a good book and now have a huge list to re-discover. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

stir crazy

True confession time: I haven't run since Friday (it's Tuesday).
I've said it before; transitioning to barefoot running is sometimes slow, and you have to listen to your body to ensure you don't injure yourself for reals. I didn't and I kinda did. It started last Tuesday when I didn't feel up for my run. It was a "run" day, though and I got stubborn. It wasn't a great run and I pushed through when I should have listened to my legs and gone home. My ankles were really stiff & sore (more than usual) so I iced them and went about my business.

Thursday came around and I didn't let myself take an extra day; my ankle was killing me after my run. I noticed my form was janky while I was running, but didn't head home to rest it. I was set on hitting the 1.5 mile mark for each run this week (Yes, I realize I was focused on he wrong goal. Progress makes you greedy for more progress) instead of building my body's strength and resistance. I should have also been working on listening to my feet, legs, etc in order to avoid unnecessary pain/down time.

I've been nursing pretty bad ankle/top of foot pain since Friday (normal pains in bfr newbies) that wouldn't be nearly as bad if I'd paid attention to the signs and run less/stretched more at the first sign of issue. On the bright side, it's better by a lot today, so maybe tomorrow will be a chance to do a short test run.

I sure hope so. I'm getting antsy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five(5): Rock edition

Holy crap, it's another Friday Five (5)! This week will be five bands that Rock/Rawk/Tear my face off. These aren't necessarily my Top Five Favorite Bands; they are my Top Five Loud/Fast/Etc bands. You know, the ones I listen to when I'm mad, want to go fast, or simply want it LOUD. Without further ado, the Friday Five(5):

1. Fugazi. Yes, I was a skater punk kid in the late 80's/early 90's. Funny, though, I didn't really listen to Fugazi then. I heard Steady Diet of Nothing my Junior or Senior year and it stuck with me. In about 1994, I picked up a copy of Repeater+3 and fell in love with this band for good. They are one of two bands that NEVER get dropped off my iPod playlist. I don't listen to music when I run, but i often have a Fugazi song in my head as I go.

2. Rage Against The Machine. For real. I heard Freedom in 1992 and went right after school and bought it. As a suburban white kid, these guys really spoke to me....but I really didn't know why. I've always associated music with meaning and have ignored some bands outright for their espoused ideas/beliefs. Rage touched on subjects that I knew were important, even if I didn't fully grasp why they were important. The fact that they did so by beating the crap out of me with their music only made me love them more. Evil Empire was probably the most awaited (by me) album of the '90's and I did blow off class to buy the CD the second the CD store (told you guys I'm old) opened. I admit to liking the first album best and listening to it the most. I like to listen to Rage before/on the way to the trailhead for mountain biking. It soothes me.

3. The Ramones. No explanation necessary. Ramones>Sex Pistols. That is all.

4. The Clash. I love the Clash, but own no complete albums. Admittedly I am so lazy about acquiring music these days (mp3 clicking doesn't thrill me like running to Tower Records or Turtle's to grab the newest release), and I have a long list of long-lost music to reacquire. They are another band that is politically charged and wrote music with meaning. I crank it every time I hear the Clash.

5. Metallica (1991 and older only). These guys were my secret music love in my high school days. I grew up in the Bible Belt in a Baptist (read strict) household. Metallica was not on the approved music list (of course, none of the rest of the bands I liked were either...I was a good hider). It probably enhanced their appeal greatly, but these guys just killed me when I heard them and they opened me up tp many more guitar driven speed bands. After 1991's Black Album they progressively became less interesting to me. I loved the Master of Puppets and ...And Justice For All albums (along with the rest). I've been a punk/metal guy forever and these guys definitely influenced it.

There you have it, my Five rocking bands. There are so many honorable mentions that I could do a top 15 easily, but I don't have that kind of attention span. It must have been all that loud, fast music in my youth.