Cheri and I had some extra energy, so we hopped off the couch and went for a drive. We ended up at Fountainhead Regional Park and Occoquan Regional Park. I took the opportunity to shoot away.
We were surprised by the ham that floated up to us while we were on the pier. I think he was used to people feeding the geese at the park. I was very close to him taking this shot. I probably could have reached out to touch him.
The rest of the photos from this group can be found on my flickr.
Cheri and I stimulated the economy a couple weeks ago and bought an elliptical machine from Dick’s Sporting Goods. We’ve been wanting something that would help us get into better shape. We considered buying a treadmill, but with Cheri’s ankle pain, we figured the elliptical would be a better choice.
Cheri conducted all the research into which model to get (with the help of ask.metafilter.com). As I stuffed my face with Cheez Doodles, she informed me the most recommended model for our price range was a Horizon E901. Its not too big and not too small and was a good price at Dick’s. It has plenty of workout modes, a heartrate monitor, and an iPod dock with speakers.
So instead of choking down a gallon of ice cream each night, we both have been making a better effort to get more exercise. So far the machine has been used almost every day by both of us, and we’re already noticing changes in our energy and the fitting of our clothes.
Once we are in much better conditions, we plan on trying to start jogging outdoors again. Do I smell another 5k in the fall? Perhaps, or it might just be the cookies our neighbor is baking.
These plans work similarly to the Couch-to-5k running program. They start you off slowly, and gradually (over the course of 6 weeks) work you up to the point of being able to do 100 push ups and 200 sit ups. Both programs have three workouts per week. Each workout is composed of a number of different sets of push ups / sit ups with scheduled rest time in between each set.
Before you begin the plans, you have to determine your ability level. To do this, you do as many consecutive push ups and as many consecutive sit ups as possible. These numbers determine where you start in the programs. I managed to squeeze out 14 push ups and 19 sit ups. As pathetic as that seems, maybe it’ll be for the best. If I successfully finish this program, then I’ll feel more accomplished. If I fail, then it won’t feel like such a loss.
I figured these programs would work pretty well since I had moderate success with the Couch-to-5k program. We’ll see in approximately 6 weeks if I still have functioning arms and stomach muscles.
NPR has saved my morning commute.
Ever since I started at my current job, I’ve had to endure an hour long commute. Luckily, its against traffic, but still — an hour is an hour. I’ve more or less been content with listening to my iPod during these drives, but after a while I feel like I’ve listened to all my favorite songs way too many times. I don’t have the income to constantly buy new music to freshen up my drive.
This past week I started listening to NPR on my way to work. Specifically, I’ve been listening to 88.5 WAMU, American University’s NPR broadcast. During my morning trek I get to listen to Morning Edition and The Writer’s Almanac (hosted by A Prarie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor). In the afternoon, I catch All Things Considered.
NPR’s news stories feel more in depth than any of the news bites I hear on television or elsewhere on the radio. I almost feel like I know absolutely nothing when I hear NPR go deep into the Middle East conflicts or critically analyze the current economic plight of our country. But NPR has a way to educate while it reports, which makes me feel more in tune with what’s going on in the world.
Now I want to get a radio to keep in the house to listen their other great shows like Car Talk, This American Life, and A Prarie Home Companion on the weekends (I could just download the podcasts, but I rarely sync my iPod anymore). I feel like I’m stepping backwards into a time when people listened and digested the news rather than just tasted news bites.
Consumer advocacy blog, The Consumerist, used my photo of a half empty (or is it half full?) peanut butter jar in a post of theirs regarding the peanut butter salmonella scare. You can see the post here.
The Consumerist has a flickr group wherein readers can submit photos of their own for possible use in posts on The Consumerist. This is the second time one of my photos has been used. It makes me feel tingly and special.
Last night, Cheri and I ventured out to see Clint Eastwood’s new film Gran Torino.
At the center of this movie is Walt Kowalski (played by 78 year-old Eastwood). He is a racist, retired Detroit autoworker who’s just become a widower. He is alienated by his family because he’s just seen as a brutish curmudgeon and he finds himself to be the only American left in his neighborhood filled with Hmong immigrants. After his sheepish teenage neighbor Tao attempts to steal his mint condition 1972 Ford Gran Torino in a forced gang initiation, he slowly begins to befriend the boy and his sister along with the rest of the Hmong community.
Walt is a man that’s always taken care of hostile matters himself. He’s a Korean War veteran who is haunted everyday by decisions he made there. As he begins to confront the hoodlums that are bothering his neighbors, he becomes a community hero. His actions may cause some problems, but he knows to fix them and does so in a very heroic way.
Eastwood’s performance and direction are top notch. I’ve never seen any of the Dirty Harry movies, but I have a feeling that he was channeling some of that performance here. Not only was his dramatic performance outstanding, but his comedic timing was perfect as well — allowing for a number of hilarious comedic relief moments to ease the tensions building in the film.
5 / 5
Amidst the rainy afternoon that was today, Cheri and I streamed Persepolis off Netfix.
Persepolis is an animated tale based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. The movie recounts her experiences growing up during the Iranian Revolution in Tehran, Iran. Through Marjane’s rebellious young eyes, we witness how Iran transformed from a relatively free country to the radical and suppressing country many Westerners view it today.
By using animation that was in the same art style as the novel, the film presents the story flawlessly. The black and white with the ocassional hint of color allowed Marjane’s interpretation of Iran to come to life in a great way. This method reminds me of the sorrowful tones portrayed in other works like Schindler’s List or Maus.
Satrapi’s story made me realize that I had almost no knowledge of Iran’s history. The dichotomy of the fondness she holds for her childhood home versus the spite she feels for the government’s suppresive regime makes me want to explore more about Iran and the Middle East’s rich history.
3.5 / 5