Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Raleigh Beach 5k – 2018

Raleigh Beach 5k – Runologie

This was at Dorothea Dix, same park as last race, but a different course through the park. Middle of the pack for dudes of my age group but I don't feel too bad. The times of the top finishers were under 23 minutes -- faster, I think, than the other races I've run. This Runologie series looks like it's a cut above the races I've done up 'til now, competiveness-wise.

I felt like I ran well for me, considering the weather (hot) and course (bit on the hilly side). Still, I had a goal of getting at least one kilometer under 5 minutes, and my best was 5:12. I made an effort to watch my heart rate during this one to see if staying around 165-170 bpm made a difference. (Going to want to start monitoring earlier next time and try to get to 170 faster. Based on average bpm for the race, I must have kept a lower rate for the first few klicks.) 

Posting just the participation medal, the post-race selfie was a horrorshow.

Next race is a 4-miler, first of that distance, at same park Fourth of July weekend.

Race 1 - "Decem-burrrrr Dash" - 12/3/16 - 29:10
Race 2 - "SPCA Hot Chocolate Run" - 1/15/17 - 28:25
Race 3 - "I Heart 5K" - 2/11/17 - 26:58
Race 4 - "Running Over Cancer 5K" [official results] - 3/12/2017 - 25:32
Race 5 - "Racing for Rescues" - 5/7/2017 - 25:03 [official results]
Race 6 - "Run the Quay" - 6/3/2017 - 25:11 [official results]
Race 7 - "Decem-burrrr Dash" - 12/2/17 - 24:43 [official results]
Race 8 - "SPCA Mutts & Marshmallows Hot Chocolate Run" - 1/13/18 - 26:27 [official results]
Race 9 - "Cary Greenways 10K" - 4/24/18 - 55:48 [official results]
Race 10 - "Racing for Rescues" - 5/6/2018 - 26:19 [official results]
Race 11 - "Raleigh Beach 5k" - 5/27/2018 - 26:49 [official results]


Friday, May 11, 2018

What's The Craic? The Blindboy Podcast

The Blindboy Podcast on acast


Podcasts are all the rage but, though I've tried a few, I've not been able to make time to follow any on the regular ... save one: Blindboy's podcast.

Blindboy, as you may know, is one half of the the Rubberbandits. He's a self-described gas cunt with a bag on his head who may, or may not, get one out of every three facts wrong; however, he's the only podcaster who's engaged me. For all the faults with the medium ... why these fuckers can't just write it down is beyond me ... Blindboy's got it down, pretty much out of the gate with episode one, which I've linked above. The thing's evolved a bit, for the better, but I think you'll get the gist of it and some benefit from starting at the beginning.

For me, part of the pleasure is listening to the Limerick accent, it's the icing that gives the cake that extra bit of appeal. An accent isn't content in and of itself; content carries the weight, but there's something about listening to his Limerick vocalization over soft jazz tinkling that's very relaxing. Most podcasts, I'm five minutes in wishing the fuckers had just typed up their thoughts, or transcribed and edited their session, on account of their vocal tics irritate me or it's just taking too long to get to an interesting point and I could've scanned in a matter of seconds instead of sinking minutes into determining if anyone's going to say anything interesting or not. Now, there are folks on twitter as brilliant as they come, and I appreciate their insights, but I'm just not able to make it through hour long podcasts of even my online favorites discussing something fascinating. They're fantastic bloggers and twitterati, but podcasting is, sorry to say, not their strength.

Blindboy does interviews, reads short stories, engages in a bit of foolery, and shotguns hot takes pretty consistently. The main thing though is he's a compassionate, vulnerable lad with an inquisitive mind, an interest in language and history, a passion for art, and a gift for the gab.

Stream "Horse Outside," see if your local library or bookstore has a copy of The Gospel According to Blindboy to check out, and give Blindboy a chance by telling your smart speaker to play the Blindboy podcast, or whatever you have to do to queue one up. Let me know if you do, and if you like it, or not. I'm also open to suggestions if there are other podcasters who are out there getting it right.




Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Racing for Rescues 5K 2018

Sigh. Slower than last year. I'd be less aggravated if the finish line photos looked OK, but instead of an athletic runner crossing the line of a race in triumph, I look more like a knock-kneed smuggler trying to sneak a sack of potatoes under his shirt through a border crossing.


Don't think I can blame the new course for this year's race, if anything I thought the hills at Dorothea Dix park were a little less daunting than the ones at the Cary Soccer complex. I think I slow up a bit in the last kilometer to gather steam for a final push, but I wait too long to actually go all out to the finish. Next race I'm to try to do a brief bit of steadying at the end of the 4th klick and start the 5th with more pace and basically go all out the last 200 meters or so to ensure the tank is empty when I cross the line. Resting up to push hard the last 100 meters isn't working.

Race 1 - "Decem-burrrrr Dash" - 12/3/16 - 29:10
Race 2 - "SPCA Hot Chocolate Run" - 1/15/17 - 28:25
Race 3 - "I Heart 5K" - 2/11/17 - 26:58
Race 4 - "Running Over Cancer 5K" [official results] - 3/12/2017 - 25:32
Race 5 - "Racing for Rescues" - 5/7/2017 - 25:03 [official results]
Race 6 - "Run the Quay" - 6/3/2017 - 25:11 [official results]
Race 7 - "Decem-burrrr Dash" - 12/2/17 - 24:43 [official results]
Race 8 - "SPCA Mutts & Marshmallows Hot Chocolate Run" - 1/13/18 - 26:27 [official results]
Race 9 - "Cary Greenways 10K" - 4/24/18 - 55:48 [official results]
Race 10 - "Racing for Rescues" - 5/6/2018 - 26:19 [official results]


Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Casablanca Critique I Did Not See Coming

Amazon.com: Nazi Dreams: Films About Fascism eBook: Noah Berlatsky: Kindle Store

Excerpt from Nazi Dreams: Films About Fascism by Noah Berlatsky

I went to an anniversary screening of Casablanca a couple years back and was stirred, moreso for being in crowd that was also keen for it, by the "La Marseillaise" scene. Utterly, I confess, blind to its hypocrisy. It was anti-Nazi, so the subtext Berlatsky highlights remained below my threshold of recognition. Likewise, Rick's contempt for Ugarte and his paternalistic attitude towards Sam seemed like relatively tame bits of period racism. The obvious fact Laszlo was the proper hero, and the Rick-Ilsa romance is a slap in the face to not only the character, but what the character (ought to have) stood for, was obscured by Henreid's dutifully dull characterization of Laszlo and Bergman's luminescent screen presence. Yes, Laszlo gets the girl in the end and so is rewarded for his heroics, but the film does not recognize Laszlo is a better man than Rick. Rick's sacrifice is the real act of heroism in the cinematic world where the problems of three (but especially two) white people clearly amount to more than a hill of ethnic types.

Berlatsky's critique is much-needed eyewash. Compare the excerpt I screencapped above with this passage from Ebert's five star review:
What is intriguing is that none of the major characters is bad. Some are cynical, some lie, some kill, but all are redeemed. If you think it was easy for Rick to renounce his love for Ilsa--to place a higher value on Laszlo's fight against Nazism--remember Forster's famous comment, “If I were forced to choose between my country and my friend, I hope I would be brave enough to choose my friend.
His analysis is literate, thoughtful, and insightful in its way but Ebert is blind to the film's moral failings.

I'll never look at Casablanca the same way again, and there's a feeling of loss that comes with that, because I, like most (I suspect), love to be stirred by anti-Nazi resistance; I get the appeal of sympathizing with the noble sacrifice of the martyr for love. But even at this late date, I recognize that I need to keep growing up and not holding on to my old favorites simply because they are my old favorites. We'll all be better off if we appreciate Casablanca for what it is, not for what the kid who first watched it wanted it to say about him.

"Why are you promoting a trashing of Casablanca? Why read so much into a love story set amidst the battle against Nazism? The Nazis are bad guys, the French Resistance are good guys: this is enough to know or care about ... nobody watches a romantic drama for insights into the North African colonial experience," is a reaction I sort of expect I'd get if anyone were to actually read this post. It's a reaction I sympathize with to an extent. But, if that's your gut reaction, my simple ask is that you interrogate it just a little. Why are you invested in defending Casablanca against leftist criticisms? Why not imagine what kind of movie it might have been had it treated Sam like a complex, authentically human character? If you knew a Capt. Renault in real life, would you befriend him, or would you think his corruption and exploitation of vulnerable women was just a rakish fun? If you wouldn't, what does that say about Rick? If you would, um, what does it say about you? Maybe also consider how French patriotism in light of its opposition to Nazism is a backdoor  whitewashing of French colonialism -- erasing the history, and humanity, of the people who lived in Casablanca before the imperialists rolled in and set up shop. It's great that the film's sentiments anti-Nazi, I'm not suggesting we lose sight of that, only that we deal honestly with what the French ideal of freedom actually looked like? You might not know much, or care much, about French imperialism, but what you think about it in this movie might inform how you watch later movies like The Quiet American, or maybe even the whole genre of Vietnam War movies.

I'm not saying it's time to hate Casablanca, only that it's well past time to temper the reverence we have for it with a consideration for what anti-racist, feminist, and other leftist perspectives bring to bear. Like it or not, praising Casablanca is a political act, in addition to being commentary on the art of filmmaking. How we praise it, what we identify as its virtues and its flaws, matters because we don't appreciate it in a vacuum.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

First 10K

So, not only did I gear up for maximum dorkiness, I stumbled from getting my chip into the starting box and took off without warming up, got off to a miserably slow start, and got stuck at a crosswalk for what seemed like an eternity in the first half of the race.

Despite all those impediments, I managed to come in 2nd in my age group and 27th overall. For my first 10K, I guess I'll take it.


How dorky, you ask? So. Effin. Dork.



Race 1 - "Decem-burrrrr Dash" - 12/3/16 - 29:10
Race 2 - "SPCA Hot Chocolate Run" - 1/15/17 - 28:25
Race 3 - "I Heart 5K" - 2/11/17 - 26:58
Race 4 - "Running Over Cancer 5K" [official results] - 3/12/2017 - 25:32
Race 5 - "Racing for Rescues" - 5/7/2017 - 25:03 [official results]
Race 6 - "Run the Quay" - 6/3/2017 - 25:11 [official results]
Race 7 - "Decem-burrrr Dash" - 12/2/17 - 24:43 [official results]
Race 8 - "SPCA Mutts & Marshmallows Hot Chocolate Run" - 1/13/18 - 26:27 [official results]
Race 9 - "Cary Greenways 10K" - 4/24/18 - 55:48 [official results]

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