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Friday, November 6, 2009

On the Plains of Marathon

Week Nine
Goal: 25 miles with a 10 mile jog

Actual Miles Run: 25!

Endnotes: It's only taken me nine weeks but I've finally managed to actually achieve my weekly running goal! Clap on the back for me! Twice Fortuna tried to derail my efforts but ultimately I was able to get around the roadblocks she placed in my way. The first was a doctor's appointment Wednesday that lasted about 2 hours too long and the second was some impromptu mechanical tapdancing by my automobile, yet in both cases I strapped my shoes to my feet and pounded the pavement anyway. That's the sort of sticktoitiveness it takes to run marathons, and I'm awfully proud of my achievement. So for any of you haters out there I make it like Kandi* and fly above y'all.

As a second endnote I figured I should maybe elaborate as to why I feel blogging about running is somehow relevant to writing. My primary reason for this is that running long distances is very similar to writing a novel. Both take long-term, concerted and passionate, solitary effort that, in the end, produces a positive result only for the runner/writer. Sure in both cases one could be enormously successful and win races and get novels on bestseller lists, but for the vast amount of us regular folks we strive to run those races or write those books because we have some internal thing that we are struggling to get out of us, not for an external positive result.

I write not because it is fun, or will win me adulation, or because it's sexy, although writing is all of those things. No, I write because I have to, because there are stories inside of me that I simply can't hold in any longer, because if I try to keep them tucked safely away in the dark corners of my mind and heart they will fester like some rotten thing and threaten to strangle me. I write because I yearn to be creative and I have been given this gift and it is my expression of my little strand of humanity. I write because it's what I do, and if I didn't do it, I don't know what I'd do.

And in this way writing is a lot like running, because after you run long enough you start to feel wrong if you don't. It starts to become a part of you that you may not even recognize is there until you try to not go for a run, and then suddenly you start to feel antsy and uncomfortable until eventually it's like there is this little monster inside of you that has to get exercise everyday or it will threaten to go berserk inside your head.

So, for those of you who are runners or writers, if someone ever has the audacity to ask you why you do what you do simply look them straight in the eyes and say, "I do this because I have to, because if I don't the little monster will eat me up".

I'm setting my goals really low this coming week because I don't expect to be getting any good long distances in. Therefore, a few three and four mile runs will be just fine with me to maintain until week eleven when I attempt a 12-miler.

Week Ten
Goal: 14 miles

Noble Three wins songwriting prize

In August my on again/off again musical project*, Noble Three, had the good fortune** of winning the Indie Rock category on for our song, "Shipwrecked", a song which was penned by Yours Truly. For our winnings we received a $100 gift card for Amazon and a good, healthy clap on the back. This makes my total earnings in the Music Industry somewhere around $400 over 10 years, or $40/year. Not quite enough to raise a family on, but still a heck of a lot better than nothing, right?

It's curious to me that Noble Three, which was really only ever a small (if inspired) side-project for my Greenland compatriot, Patrick, and me, has somehow yielded far more promising results than any other group I've ever been a part of. As of this date Noble Three has been featured on NPR twice, in an as-yet-unreleased-but-soon-to-be-Indie-smash movie, Sneakers and Soul, and has won this award as well as the interest of several companies who place songs in ads and TV shows.

Strange the way these things go.

*A lot more off again since I moved to Atlanta and Patrick stayed in Nashville. But since we are/were primarily a studio group it wouldn't take very much to start releasing some new music.
**By fortune, I mean an uncanny amount of luck for a group that hasn't played a show or released any new music in almost a year. The internet is a strange and wonderful thing the way ideas and images and music can profligate to the most amazingly unintended places.

Word of the Day!

lambent [lam-buhnt]
1. Playing lightly on or over a surface; flickering; as, "a lambent flame; lambent shadows."
2. Softly bright or radiant; luminous; as, "a lambent light."
3. Light and brilliant; as, "a lambent style; lambent wit."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Picks of the Week

Week Ten

Alright, if it hadn’t have been for my Bulldogs and Wolverines I would have gone 100% this weekend, but as it was I went 6 for 8 to bring my total up to 40 for 65, or 62%. Last weekend decided a few things: Oregon pretty much has the Pac 10 sewn up and made a heck of a statement with a solid thumping of USC, Florida proved that they can actually play offense when it matters, and Texas proved they are the team to beat in the Big 12, and will likely be heading to the National Championship game barring a major stumble in the coming weeks.

While this weekend is not quite as dramatic, there are several key match-ups to watch, specifically the grudge matches in Tuscaloosa and Happy Valley. Whomever emerges from these two games with the W will have a good shot at their conference championships.

Northwestern at No. 4 Iowa
I don’t know if this is a trap game or not, but Iowa had to work awfully hard in the 4th quarter to bump off a decent Indiana team, and it doesn’t look like the Hawkeyes will have much of a week off with the Wildcats coming to town. After nine wins Iowa has a pretty solid body of work to suggest that this one will be close, but ultimately Iowa will emerge on top. What Iowa needs is a win here and a Penn State victory over Ohio State to more or less clinch the Big 10 championship. Look for a lot of Blue and White fans in Iowa City this weekend.
Iowa 28 Northwestern 14

Purdue at Michigan
Why, oh why do you torture me so, Big Blue? All Michigan needed was a victory over a majorly struggling Illinois team on Saturday but what the Wolverines came with was more of the same: turnover central, and a lackluster defensive effort. With only three games left on the schedule, and two of them being hard conference matches against Wisconsin and Ohio State, this game looks like the Wolverines’ last chance to reach the all-important sixth win to earn a bowl berth. Purdue is no Penn St. so look for Michigan to be feeling the Forcier in the Big House and come up with a Big Win. Plus there's a good chance I wil actually be in the stadium to watch this game, so I'm sure word will spread to all the Wolverine players that the venerable Tres Crow is there and they will obligingly play at their greatest potential, lest they let me down. Or at elast that's what I'm hoping for.
Michigan 35 Purdue 28

No. 9 LSU at No. 3 Alabama
This is it. Florida has clinched the SEC East and this game essentially solidifies the West. ‘Bama clearly has the advantage with the game being played in Tuscaloosa, but LSU has had a way of shocking teams all season. After LSU’s slug match with Georgia a few weeks back and Alabama’s grind fest with Tennessee I imagine this will not be an offensive showcase, but a classic one-yard-at-a-time nail-biter. I think Alabama has a more complete team and as long as they can find a way to pass effectively, eventually LSU will make a mistake. I think ‘Bama and Florida have a date with destiny in Atlanta.
Alabama 17 LSU 14

No. 8 Oregon at Stanford
On paper Oregon should seriously thump Stanford, but coming off a big win against USC it’s possible the Ducks will be a little hung-over and get caught looking to the post-season with Stanford…or they will kick the Cardinals all over the field and keep their steamroll a’rollin’. I think it’ll probably be the latter.
Oregon 45 Stanford 17

Wake Forest at No. 10 Georgia Tech
The Demon Deacons of Wake Forest managed to bump off a reeling Virginia Tech last weekend but I don’t think they will find the same welcome mat in Atlanta. Georgia Tech is hands down the favorite to win the ACC and they are playing on all cylinders. They can see the finish line and I doubt they are gonna let a few sacrilegious pastors get in their way.
Georgia Tech 45 Wake Forest 21

No. 16 Ohio State at No. 11 Penn State
While both of these teams need Iowa to lose twice in order to win the Big 10, this is still a major pride game for both the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. There are also some BCS implications for Penn State if they win; it is possible they could get themselves in a BCS game if they win out, since their only loss would have come at the hands of a dominant Iowa team. I think Penn State are finally firing at all cylinders and will get a boost from the white out of Happy Valley.
Penn State 28 Ohio State 14

Connecticut at No. 5 Cincinnati
I’m very sorry for UConn’s loss but I don’t think Cincinnati is going to let up just because their collective heart is bleeding. The Bearcats are stomping everyone that gets in their way and with BCS title hopes glinting in their eyes I think the Huskies will just be more fodder for their touchdown machinery.
Cincinnati 33 Connecticut 17

No. 12 USC at Arizona State
Arizona State is better than their record suggests and USC has nothing really to play for since losing to Oregon. So, will this be a big upset for the Sun Devils? No. USC will go to Tempe and take their lunch money and give them a wedgie just because they are pissed about losing to Oregon.
USC 35 Arizona State 14

No. 24 Oklahoma at Nebraska
Although this game practically means nothing at this point, I think this should still be a good game as the Cornhuskers try to pull out of their nosedive and Oklahoma simply tries to keep their heads above water and get into a good bowl game. Even without Bradford Nebraska can’t keep up with the Sooners on Offense so their only hope is stopping Oklahoma on Defense. Otherwise this one could get out of hand.
Oklahoma 35 Nebraska 17

National Novel Writing Month

While I personally have no intention of participating in this, I still find it amazingly awesome that there is such a thing as National Novel Writing Month. I currently have waaaay too much on my plate writing-wise to think about starting and completing a novel in one month, but anything that calls attention to the difficulties inherent in committing 70K+ words to the page is supercool in my book. Having written one novel already* I am well aware of the monumental achievement writing one is, even if it's bad. My hat's off to anyone who participates and finishes a novel this month.

Here I am sending you Sparkle-Novel-Writing-Fingers ~~~~~~~>

*I wrote the first in a series of three novels over the last three years (about 100K words), then revised (i.e. rewrote) it, then scrapped it, deciding that I am simply not experienced enough, life-wise, to write the book properly (I may post a few chapters for y'all to peruse at some future date). Currently I have about 5 short stories in various stages of unfinishedness, a commissioned project for the venerable Prattle On, Rick, as well as two novellas and a new novel that is just beginning to gestate in the chambers of my mind.

Word of the Day!

sang-froid [sang-frwah]
Freedom from agitation or excitement of mind; coolness in trying circumstances; calmness.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sketch #1

My house is like
my house in 6H
warden doors
scratching fingers

Word of the Day!

protean [pro-tee-un; pro-tee-un]
1. Displaying considerable variety or diversity.
2. Readily assuming different shapes or forms.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Little Crow's Links: *sad face*

In honor of Beardo's impending trip to the Big D this weekend I thought I would post some Detroit-inspired links...

...and it gets worse and worse and worse.

This lovely 4 bedroom, 2 and a half bath home, set on a wooded lot and a beautiful tree-lined street with plenty of privacy, could be yours for the unbelievable price of $6! Act now before someone else snatches it up!

Word of the Day!

gregarious [grih-gair-ee-us]
1. Tending to form a group with others of the same kind.
2. Seeking and enjoying the company of others.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Mastodon Beard

This is a post I did for as my part of Vince Neilstein and my site-swap last week. It's a review* of Mastodon's latest album Crack the Skye which takes a few artistic licenses as it progresses. There are parts of the review that are true, parts that are maybe a little bit on the not so true side. Let's see if you can figure out which ones are which.

So, without further ado, I give you "The Mastodon Beard".

*I call it a review because there is really nothing else to call it. The original title for the piece was "How Mastodon Makes Me, Like, Feel, Ya Know?", which I sort of think is a more apt title than the one I chose. It really is more a description of all of the images my mind conjured when I listened to the album.

Weekly Top Five

I won't be doing the WT5 this week so I can focus on the multiple writing projects that have suddenly popped up over the weekend. Stay tuned for some news on those projects.

Word of the Day!

hector [hek-tur]
A bully.
-transitive verb
To intimidate or harass in a blustering way; to bully.
-intransitive verb
To play the bully; to bluster.