Friday, January 1, 2016

Crocodile Dundee

New Yorker's are commonly characterized as uncaring, rude and self involved. Yet time and again we see movies and television shows depicting a scene of cynical big apple inhabitants coming together to help total strangers, usually in a large, public setting. Thus emphasizing, that while New York City may be full of derisive individuals, when it comes down to it, they are really are the greatest human beings on Earth.

Maybe it's because I live in Chicago, the city with such a huge inferiority complex that we happily call ourselves the 'second city' and the 'third coast', but this whole New York is the greatest city, just gets on my nerves. In the end, it's a city just like any other city. It's a great city - it has a lot of wonderful stuff - but it has a lot of bad stuff too, just like any other city. And the people that live in the city, they are just like other people - sure maybe they are more worldly than people who live in 'fly over states', but they're not better people. 

Case in point, what woman goes out into the Australian outback wearing nothing but a thong unitard that's cut so low on the side and back it's impossible for her to wear a bra, and a pair of breezy, but in keeping with the wild theme, tropically printed pants? And if this woman assures her editor she'll be OK because she's a 'New Yorker', why would she take off the pants (thus revealing the thong) and drink from a pond in the middle of the outback which she knows is crawling with creatures including crocodiles?

The next movie on my 80s flashback festival, if you hadn't realized already, is Crocodile Dundee. Your basic Australian boy meets New York girl, loses New York girl, gets New York girl back story.

As part of a writing assignment, Ms. NYC goes to the outback in search of the story of how Mr. Dundee managed to escape a crocodile attack (apparently this makes for good news in NY). Of course, being a New Yorker, she's unprepared for life in the middle of no where, and when we left her, she was leaning over the idyllic, lily pad covered pond filling up her canteen when a huge crocodile snatches the canteen, which is unfortunately hung around her neck, and starts to pull her in. Luckily our hero had been spying on her, happy to get a glimpse of her backside, and saves her from said crocodile. Frankly, I think she deserved to be eaten.

What's even more interesting is there is at first an effort to show her as a strong NY woman. She tells her editor that she is going to stay in Australia until she covers this story despite his demands that she returns home. She goes out of her way to point out Mr. Dundee's sexism when he assumes she can not take care of herself. But of course, it's this show of strength that gets her into trouble. To drive the point home that she may be a New Yorker, but she's still a woman, it's imperative we get several shots of her scantily clad body so we can appreciate how sexy she is. To top it off, even though we at first assume she’s a good writer because her paper is happy to send her all over the world to write stories about men in Australia who survive crocodile attacks, we find out that actually, she’s dating the editor and the owner of the paper is her father.

I hate to be ‘one of those women’ that have to point out the sexism in everything, but really? And sure, men benefit from nepotism all the time, so on one hand, maybe she should be congratulated for playing the game the way any man would. Of course, most men don't need to sleep with the editor when their dad owns the paper. Besides, the chances of the editor being a woman are slim anyway.

Now that we've seen how a New Yorker fares in the outback, it's time to take Mr. Dundee out of his environment and drop him in New York city. He's clearly a yokel as he looks down in confusion at the moving stairs and he says g’day to everyone he meets because obviously New York is a friendly town, why else would so many people live in such a small space. Having never seen a transgender person before, he thinks the only acceptable way to suss out the situation is to grab the persons crotch to see what's up. It's a joke the movie relies on not once but twice, just in case we didn't get how funny it was the first time. At least the 80s were pretty out in the open with their sexism and homophobia. 

After we've had a good laugh at his expense, we are obliged to see that New Yorkers aren't really so cold. As the couple stand at opposite ends of a crowded train platform, good Samaritans relay their messages of love back and forth and clap when they realized they've done their good deed for the year. I hope that doesn't ruin the ending for you. You didn't think she'd end up with her editor did you?

Another movie off my 80s list. I'm beginning to think there are reasons I didn't see some of these so called iconic movies the first time around.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Troop Beverly Hills

Several weeks ago - months ago now - one of my running buddies loaned me Troop Beverly Hills because at some point during marathon training I mentioned my whole Iconic 80s Movie list and that this was one of the movies on the list I had never seen. Gasps arose from the under 40 crowd as how could I never had seen this movie.

Well I'll tell you. Troop Beverly Hills came out in 1989 - when I was a senior in high school. That same year movies like Sex, Lies and Videotape, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Dead Poets Society, Ghostbusters II, When Harry Met Sally, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure came out and I went to see them (and probably a whole host of others as I actually worked at a movie theater). Much as I loved Shelley Long in Cheers - and longed to have a place where everyone knew my name - I wasn't really about seeing her or a bunch of kids in Troop Beverly Hills.

So yesterday, as I sat and continued to work on the pair of socks that I'm knitting my husband for Christmas (yes, I know it's late, it's almost done) I finally popped this movie in and got to watching.

The first thing I notice is woah - did people really wear huge shoulder pads in the 80s? Was that really a thing? OK, I know it was, but if this movie (and Ruthless People and probably a whole host of other movies) was any indication, the women living in Southern California could double as line backers for the Bears on the weekends - which may be an upgrade to the Bears' current line up amiright? In addition to the crazy outfits sported by Ms. Long, the other stand out thing was how many of the girls in her troop looked vaguely familiar.

After a quick search on IMBD, I find out that yes, that is that kid from Punky Brewster (not Soleil, but Ami). Yep, that's Carla of Watchman fame.  Kellie from Life Goes On (when was the last time you thought about that show, huh?) and another blast from the past, Emily from Small Wonder both have parts. And yes, that's Jenny Lewis who was most recently in A Very Murray Christmas which is why I spent the entire time watching that wondering where I knew her from. It also features a scene with Tori Spelling, who despite her small part, got top billing. Wonder why that was?

So after figuring out why all these kids looked familiar and reading how the majority of them didn't go on to tv and film fame but are now leading basic lives like the rest of us (and maybe because of this everyone seemed to still be alive, not in jail and not a recovering drug or alcohol addict), I settled in to a tale of a shallow woman getting a divorce, has a 'what am I going to do with my life' moment, leads a bunch of girls on a soul searching mission where they figure out that, while they may not be like 'normal' kids, they still are little girls who have feelings and want to better themselves. In the process the parents become a little more involved, bullies (both adult and child) get their comeuppance and everyone lives happily ever after (except for the bullies one presumes).

Not an entirely bad way to spend a vacation day while knitting (and a crazy storm ravaged outside - this is what happens when we have a mild winter - winter comes back and slaps us on the face with little pellets of pain).

So one more off my list. At this rate, I'll only be 50 before I've checked them all off.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

1,000 Miles

I set myself a goal of running 1,000 miles this year - thanks a lot Aliza. Last year my aforementioned enemy friend mentioned she had a goal of running 1,000 miles and then so I was all like "i can do that" and now I'm at the last two months of the year and I have a little under 300 (281 to be exact) miles to go so that means about 35 miles per week. However I'm not so sure I can do that. During peak marathon training I ran 36 miles in a week and that was with a 20 mile run. I can't be doing 20 mile runs every weekend. I mean I could, and I could end up in really great shape. But I also could end up injured. So I'm trying to figure out if there is a doable schedule for me to get those miles in.

Any ideas? If your answer is, get up every morning seven days a week and run five miles, thanks. I'll take it under advisement.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Detroit Marathon

Right before the finish, focusing on being able to stop.
In what is a really long and probably boring story that I'll spare you from, I ran the Detroit Marathon instead of the Chicago Marathon this year. (Short version of the story is my sister ran Chicago for the first time and I was along the sidelines to cheer her on instead of running behind her as she's faster than I am ... or so we thought ... ominous foreshadowing music).

As the Detroit Marathon is the week following Chicago, I had a 19-week training schedule, so three weeks of taper, which seriously freaked me and my body out. There were days at work that I would get up and walk around the office aimlessly to work off nervous energy (this is different than my usual aimless walking around at work because that's me just getting away from my desk for a few minutes). Add to that the fact that I had to travel to Detroit to run a course I don't know anything about and I had to go over a big bridge into Canada and worry if the border patrol was going to decide I looked like a terrorist, well let's just say, I pretty much went into this race full of nerves.

We drove in to Detroit on Friday afternoon and hit up the exp. It was your usual expo other than the fact that I had to show my passport to pick up my bib and then be told that if I had any x-rays recently they would need to scan me to make sure I wouldn't set off some sensor at the border. I asked if my recent mammogram counted, and they didn't know. So I had to go to another area to let other officials know that I indeed have had my boobs squashed recently to learn that no, mammograms are not a cause for concern, but thanks for asking.

Friday night we had a crappy dinner at a local place by the hotel out by the airport where we were staying and went to bed as early as possible as Mr. H. and Baby H. had races in the morning. Saturday morning we procured a late checkout and proceeded back into downtown Detroit for the 5k and kid's run. Mr. H., ran his first real 'race' since his hip injury during the Wisconsin Marathon. He ran a 21:01, finishing 18th overall and 3rd in his age group. It wasn't a PR, but I think he felt pretty good about the results. Baby H. ran the .83 mile kid's race. Mr. H. ran with him, and while I'm not sure of his exact placing, he proudly told me and anyone else who would listen that he ran the whole time and didn't stop even though he was getting tired. After the races, we went back to the expo for more punishment - I mean a shirt that I wanted to buy on Friday but didn't. We then high tailed it back to our hotel to check out, and then came back to the city to eat and wait for my sister to get into town so we could check into the awesome suite that she and her Hilton Honors Double Diamond holding boyfriend were able to secure for us that was RIGHT NEXT TO THE START LINE!

A little side note, I really wish I had been able to do more sight seeing of Detroit than the little bit we did. We did go to a really cool bookstore, John King Used & Race Books, that was a block away from the hotel. And we walked a bit around the expo center and to dinner on Saturday night. Detroit feels very similar to Cleveland and it's a shame the troubles that the city is having. But it does look like there are a lot of efforts to build up the city again, and it really was a pleasure to run their marathon.

I was tempted to wear capris,
but glad I stuck with my
original outfit.
Marathon morning I woke up not too early since I had to literally go across the street to get to the start line. I applied my 4:30 pace tattoo, my 'A' plan. I met up with Sue from my CARA training group in the hotel lobby and we waited with the 100+ other runners that had taken over the lobby. It was pretty cold outside, low 30s, but I stuck with my pre-arranged clothing. I knew I wouldn't be too cold once I started, and I didn't want to have a long-sleeve shirt on in case it warmed up later. Of course I had a throw away hoodie as well as a heat sheet to keep me warm. With about 5 minutes before the first corral went off, Sue and I made it over to corral I to see if we could find the 4:30 pacer.

Ok, so waiting that long to find the pacer was probably a bad idea, but honestly, it wasn't an issue. Sue and I got into the corral and as each corral was let off in waves every minute, we didn't have to wait too long, and passed the start line about 7:17 a.m.

Miles 1-3

The first three miles were spent headed west toward the Ambassador Bridge that takes you into Canada. Sue and I had a quick first mile (9:51) and an on target second mile (10:20), but we slowed down leading up to the bridge (11:12) as the road narrowed. I'm still pretty nervous this whole time. I try deep breaths to get the butterflies to go away, but they seem to want to hang around.

Miles 4-8: Canada

Just after mile 3 we started heading up the bridge. As we went through the immigration checkpoints, there are officers making sure we all have bibs on. If you have something covering up your bib, they point a light at you and if you don't have a bib you'll get arrested. I am assuming that's what happened to the guy we saw being taken away in handcuffs. I'm not sure if he thought he'd be able to just jump into the race and make it into Canada or if something else was going on. Other than that, it was smooth sailing through immigration and we make our way up the bridge. Mile 4 was still slower than desired pace (10:53), but once we crested the bridge and go down, we made up some time: 10:14, 9:55 and 10:06. We ran along the road that hugs the river to the tunnel that took us back to Detroit. It warmed up considerably in the tunnel, but since it's so cold outside, it's no where near as bad as I had been prepared for (apparently it can be quite humid).

Miles 9 - 13

Now that we had done the bridge and Canadian portion of the race I started to calm down. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to keep the first Gu I took around mile 5 down, but the second one around 9.5 was easier on the stomach. One of the things I'd been preparing for was making sure I ate enough during the race so I didn't bonk at the end. I wasn't going to let nerves derail my plan. After the tunnel we headed west of downtown for a bit and then circle back in. The course came dangerously close to the finish at mile 13 for those running the half marathon. I had steeled myself for this because I've always said I didn't want to run a marathon with a half as I wasn't sure I could motivate myself to keep going. I shouldn't have worried, I was actually a little glad to have so many people leave the course and have some room at the half way point. My family was supposed to be at the half to cheer me on, but they missed me by mere seconds, so they say. Miles 9 and 10 were a little slow about about 10:50, but then we hit two fast miles with a 9:59 and a 10:09, before having a slow 13 mile at 10:57. However, that last mile was a little long, because I didn't lap my watch in time. For some reason I had a hard time picking out the huge blue mile marker banners even though each mile really was clearly marked.

Miles 14-19

After downtown, we headed out to the east side of the city. While several of the miles (14-16) are straight down one road, we went through some cute neighborhoods with nice crowd support. Sue and I admire the cute older houses that would cost a pretty penny in Chicago. All but one of these miles were at or below our goal pace, two being sub 10s; I check my pace tattoo and we were pretty on the money for a 4:30. At mile 18, someone had put up a wall that you could run through, which Sue did. However, that's also right around where I pulled out a bit in front of her. She caught up to me at a water stop around mile 19 and asked where the hell the island was, but that was the last I saw of her until the end.

Miles 19-26.2: Belle Isle and the Finish

Sue and me at the finish!
As Sue noted, once we had run around Belle Isle we were pretty much done. There was a bit of an incline over the bridge, but it was nothing like Ambassador Bridge. I heard someone running the other direction make a comment about the head wind, so I knew I had that to look forward too. We did a loop around part of the island and then went back over the bridge, where there was indeed a headwind. I kept a fairly even pace until the running into the head wind part. Mile 23 was slow, almost 12 minutes, and I took a longer walk through the water stop than normal. I took my final Gu and steeled myself for the final 3.2 miles. I didn't so much want to stop as I wanted it to be over. I made one final check of my pace tattoo, and honestly I thought I'd be about 5 minutes behind. I actually was a little upset I was right on pace only because that meant I had to keep pushing because making a 4:30 was going to be possible. Running on the river path was nice, if not a little windey, and I kept passing people so that was making me feel good. There was a little bit of a hill at mile 24ish that made me think of Mount Roosevelt, so at least I had that experience (ironic smiley winky face). The "last turn" really wasn't the last turn, but then I did get to the last turn at 26, could see the finish line. I looked at my watch, and even though I knew I wouldn't make my 4:30 goal as I had only 30 seconds left, I sprinted as much as I could and finished with a 4:31:09. The best part was hearing my name being called and the cheers of my family as I crossed the finish line. Oh and the gloating I get to do now that I have run a marathon faster than my sister (her time was 4:36) - though I'm pretty sure that won't stand too long since she's already talking about signing up for another marathon later this year.

Of course, hindsight being 20/20 and all that, if I hadn't walked during mile 23, maybe I would have made that 4:30 goal. But then again, maybe I needed that rest to stay on pace for the last three miles. Who knows. Sue was about 3 minutes behind me, which is a PR for her and under her goal time of 4:40. I'm so lucky to have had someone with me most of the race. And I'm so lucky to have had family there to cheer me on and support me throughout what it takes to train for a marathon. Leading up to and through yesterday I had been thinking that would be my last one. Of course, now that a whole 24 plus hours has gone by since I've finished, and the pain in my legs is starting to diminish, so is the memory of the anxiety and pain. So who knows. Do I have what it takes to run a 4:30? Do I want to find out?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Super Bears Shuffle 5K

I signed up for this 5k not because I'm all gung-ho about the Bears 2015-16 season. No it's because it was another chance to get to see our favorite festival band, Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press (I'm sure you've heard of them).

However, I'm in the middle, or the tail end anyway, of marathon training, and after a not-so-stellar 20 mile run on Saturday, and a pretty good 9-mile run on Wednesday, I'm tired. My plan wasn't to race - just run. On top of it, Mr. H. has a cold, so he wasn't feeling up to racing either, and stayed with me the whole way.

As we'd made no effort to pick up our packets pre-race, once we arrived at Solider Field, we made our way to packet pickup. They had run out of my size t-shirt, which is what I get for waiting to get my packet, otherwise quick and easy. Most people were wearing the t-shirt so Mr. H. and I decided to change into ours. I also donned one of the orange sweatbands they were handing out. We made our way to the corrals, squeezing ourselves through the bars so we could line up between the 9:30-10 minute pace signs. There were three start waves, us being in the second. Before each wave they played a video from a Bear's player thanking us for coming out to kick off football season, a few fireworks went off and then we started, running through the big inflatable bears tunnel.

The race started on the south side of the stadium and we headed south down a street that as I look at a map is called Museum Campus Drive which then turned into Fort Dearborn Drive. That led us through the West Tunnel of McCormick Place in which we hit our first mile - 9:12 I believe Mr. H. said - oh, did I mention I left my watch at home? I ran entirely on how I felt. Upon hearing our time, I slowed down because I didn't want to be running that fast, nor did I think I could keep it up. While it certainly wasn't as hot and humid as it has been the past two weeks, it was still hot, and since I couldn't stand the sweatband being around my head, sweat was now dripping down my face.

The turn around took us from Fort Dearborn Dr. on to the lake front path headed back north. As promised there were a few football style obstacles off to the side of the path, there was even a spot to stop and take a selfie with big posters of some of the players. I passed up my chance to get a shot with Forte and soldiered on. Somewhere around this mile I walked for a bit. I should have taken the chance to get water and just walk through the water stop, but I didn't and then I regretted it. Mile two closer to 10 minutes.

Once I started running again I determined to just get the damned thing over. As we neared the stadium, we passed the "whoop whoop" lady course marshal. She had been whoop whooping as we went past her on the way out and Mr. H. and I both wondered how long she could keep it up. Well apparently for at least 20+ minutes, because she was still at it as we passed her on our way in. Mr. H. told me we had half a mile left and to let loose. I told him to check in with me in a quarter mile. When we reached a little less than a quarter mile I started to speed up, passing most of the people who passed me while I walked. I held on to the finish line hearing the announcer called out both our names! Finish time: 29:06.

Me, Rod and Dick.
After grabbing some water and chips we headed out of the chute to receive our Bears medal. I think medals for a 5k are kinda silly - it's just three miles. But for some people "just" three miles is a lot and besides, it is a pretty cool medal. We said hello to some friends, collected our bag from gear check (again, quick, easy, great volunteers). Even though there was lots to do and eat after the run, we didn't stick around. Since Mr. H. has a cold, and even though we signed up for this race with the sole intent of seeing RT&TBP, we decided to call it a night. I did however go over to the stage and snag a quick pic.

All-in-all it was a fun race. I probably would have liked it better if it hadn't been the week after a 20 mile long run. As always, even when I'm not in the mood to "race" even if it is just against myself, I always end up pushing myself some. It hard not to. And for that, I had a pretty good finish. I was 26/216 in my age group, well above my top half goal.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

80s Movies - Teen Witch

After watching Back to School, I had a couple more hours to kill, so I used it watching Teen Witch. So here's the thing, this movie sucks. Seriously so many of the movies on this list don't seem to be worth watching once much less multiple enough times to be called "iconic." But I would imagine this is one of those movies that was shown over and over on TV so everyone saw it (except me apparently).

  • I do not in anyway understand the purple leotard, cheerleader, locker room dance/singing sequence. A big haired blond girl says something like "here's our next cheer" and then proceeds to sing "I Like Boys" and all the girls perform a clearly choreographed number while the main character, Louise, looks on in frustration because she obviously isn't a cheerleader and didn't get to learn the dance number. But since the lyrics to the song are so easy (I like boys over and over again), you'd think she'd be able to at least sing along.
  • Zelda Rubinstein, of Poltergeist fame, is in the movie. She doesn't squeak when she walks, but she does play a medium who helps Louise discover her magical talents.
  • Robyn Lively, Blake Lively's much older sister, plays Louise. Her birthday is February 7, 1972, so that makes her 10 days older than me. If only I'd been born 10 days earlier I could have been a dumpy teenager with latent magical blood. 
  • When she first finds out she's a witch, she takes the book Madame Serena gives her to an old carousel to learn about her powers. It's unclear where this movie takes place, but an old carousel definitely lends credibility to the supernatural events that will undoubtedly follow. 
  • The basic plot of this movie is recently 16-year old unpopular girl with bizarre younger brother likes super popular guy; whines about life to equally unpopular friend; goes to school dance just to be near popular boy and has to deal with ultra geeky boy; magic ensues; life lessons are learned; popular boy and unpopular girl end up together. With the exception of the magic part - this is the same plot of 16 Candles, a far superior movie.
  • In real life, the unpopular friend (Lisa Fuller) ends up with the popular boy (Dan Gauthier). They've been married since 1990. Just proving that, in the end, boys don't want the girls who dance around in purple leotards in the locker room. They just want to watch the girls in purple leotards dance around.

Friday, August 7, 2015

80s Movie Marathon - Back to School

I have wasted a 2-week vacation not watching my 80s movies. To be honest, I almost completely forgot about my little quest to watch these movies. But for some reason, people like to check out my blog and see what 80s movies are considered iconic by Buzz Feed. So I'm about to watch Back to School. I'll keep you updated on my progress over the next 97 minutes.  - 9:35 a.m.

Update 2 (9:50 a.m.): So according to my meager research (Google and Wikipedia) Rodney did not attend college. I did find out that he has a daughter named Melanie, so clearly you don't need a college education to give your daughter a wonderful name. 

Update 3 (10 a.m.): Since it's a 80s comedy, it only takes about 15 minutes into the movies before Rodney opens a shower curtain on a woman and we get a flash of boobs. If you're fast forwarding to just the gratuitous breast shots, it's at 15:27.

Update 4 (10:20 a.m.): It's registration time and people are standing in line to sign up for classes. I'm sure kids watching this movie today would have no idea what they are doing. I remember doing this my first couple of years of school. Then we moved on to the oh so advanced method of signing up via phone. Some days I wonder how we lived before the internet.

Update 5 (10:38): Is "Twist and Shout" a requirement 80s movie music scene? What's nice about this movie is the obligatory music scene is followed by the obligatory fight between the bullies and the misfits scene. So you get both of those out of the way in one quick only slightly painful swoop.

Update 6 (10:59): You learn something new everyday: Danny Elfman was in Oingo Boingo and they make an appearance in this movie in a second (but shorter) music scene. 

Update 7 (11:20):  Final thoughts on Back to School: Rodney Dangerfield looks a lot younger and in better shape when he's diving. I looked up Kieth Gordon (also in Christine) to see what he's up to these days. It seems he's given up acting for directing and producing. Of course, the break out star of this movie is Robert Downey Jr. This movie was made in 1986, so I'm pretty sure he just brought his wardrobe from Weird Science . I'm so glad the 80s fully committed to their look or we might still be stuck with big hair and shoulder pads.

So another movie off the list. Up next, Teen Witch