Thursday, May 22, 2003

Buffy Who?
I've never seen an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - I had assumed a show with such a title must be trash. Yet so far I've seen two articles from two conservative magazines, here and here, that praise the show as one of the best ever. Who knew? I guess I'll have to catch the reruns.
So, where have I been, you ask?
Yes, I know, a ten-day posting gap isn't pretty. I make no excuses for much of my absence, but I really was unable to post anything during a four-day stretch in the middle of that void. I was at Gasshuku, which you could call karate camp and I called hell. I'm a novice, having just started going to karate class just over a year ago. I missed last year's Gasshuku because I was too new, so this was my first one.

Gasshuku is three and a half days of drilling, stretching, running, drilling, push-ups, drilling, yelling, sit ups, digging (yes, digging) and more drilling. I'll spare you the details, but I can honestly say I've never worked my body so hard. Not during football two-a-days. Not during track practice. Not ever. At the end of the first full day, I could hardly walk, it was a struggle to get up from a sitting position and it hurt to lift my arms much higher than chest level. I felt a little better each morning, but would quickly work my way back into intense soreness.

Before I left for camp, I received a list of things I should bring and one of the items read "28 bottles of Gatorade". I thought, "What? There's no way I could drink 28 bottles of Gatorade in three days!" Well, I did. And I consumed about half that number of bottles of water. And that doesn't count the water, iced tea and fruit juice I drank at meals. Yet, with all that liquid I drank I still didn't have to use the restroom more than twice per day. I never sweat so much.

It was hard, but I'll do it again next year and the year after that. Those three days made such a big difference: my pants fit better, my stomach is slightly smaller (ever so slightly, but my wife noticed), my thigh and shoulder muscles are harder than ever, and I was able to run up and down the basketball court yesterday better than before. I'm still a big fat guy and have a long way to go, but I am more motivated to lose weight and get into better shape than ever. I'll have a lot more fun and a lot less pain if I'm 20 or 30 pounds lighter.

Lessons learned: its amazing how quickly the human body adapts (I swear I was stronger and working harder at the end than I was at the beginning, and no, I hadn't been pacing myself). When yelling a lot, you can avoid losing your voice by yelling from your gut as opposed to yelling from your throat. It doesn't hurt to break a board, but not breaking it is painful. It is possible to chew through a big rock with a post hole digger if you persist at it long enough. Everyone is going through the same experience - whether or not you find it rewarding depends solely on your attitude.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

24 season finale
I always figured we'd get a bittersweet conclusion, but I thought Jack would be the one to die. With all the heart trouble he was having, I was confident my prediction that Jack would die in the last 15 minutes would come true. Instead, the show ends with President Palmer laying on his back on the sidewalk, staring at the sky and trying to catch his breath. We don't actually see him die, but I don't see how anyone could have watched that and not believed he'd be dead soon.

That ending ticked me off. It made the whole first season look silly. Then, we had an intricate assassination plot that involved kidnappings, black mail, a mole in CTU and all that and of course it was thwarted. This season, someone simply shakes Palmer's hand and the deed is done. How simple! Why didn't they just do that in the first place? What a disappointment.

As far as my predictions went, by my count I got precisely half of them right (that is, if you allow a little credit for being close). I say a few of them are still valid, they just haven't happened yet - Jack and Kate, Michelle punching Carrie. They'll happen next season.