Monday, April 30, 2012

How To Run a 5K Without Preparing

I woke up Sunday morning feeling fairly miserable with a cold. I committed to participating in a 1 mile fun walk/run, so I dragged myself out of bed, took some Dayquil and left for the event. Upon arrival, we picked up our packet and T-shirts and noticed a mix-up just before the walk started. Although I received just the normal racing number (I’m sure there’s some fancy facing term for this), my wife received a racing number with a special strip that times you when you start the race and cross the finish line. While we thought that we both signed up for the 1 mile fun walk/run, the event staff signed up my wife for the 5K portion of the event. No big deal as we completed the walk and figured that we were done for the day. However, some friends signed up for the 5K, and since we already had the special race number, I decided that I would borrow her number and run the 5K. This was a mistake.

When I ran a 5K about 18 months ago, I was in decent shape through all of my running as a soccer referee. Now, my only exercise consists of short-distance running. (This is a fancy way of writing that I get most of my exercise sprinting to catch the bus and Metro.) Despite being out-of-shape, not feeling well and not prepared to run a race (meaning wearing heavier clothes than one would normally wear for a race with no music or stopwatch), my competitive side took over. I wanted to see if I could beat the time from the previous 5K and who knew when I would have the opportunity to run a 5K again. The answer to if I could beat the time from the previous 5K was clearly no.

About a 1/2 mile into the race, my right ankle started bothering me. While I persevered through the race, the ankle discomfort, my stuffed up nose and my general out-of-shapeness caused me to finish in 31 minutes and 34 seconds. Not bad, but this was also 4 minutes more than the previous 5K. The good news is that I finished in 20th place for the 30-39 female division! Overall, I finished in spot #215 out of 351 runners. There were a lot of kids in the race, so it was a little discouraging seeing that several 8 and 9 year-old kids had better times than I did; however, a 9 year-old me probably would have ran a better time than the current me.

A personal highlight of the race was running near (as I would later learn by looking at the results) a 62 year-old man. We were close to each other over the last half of the race, and I desperately wanted to make sure I defeated him. (See competitive nature above.) There were a few times when my ankle pain caused me to walk for about 20-30 seconds, but I made sure to stay within range of him. Near the race’s conclusion, I made my move for the big finish and soared past him. It turns out that I defeated the old(er) guy by 20 seconds. I’m awesome!

The lowlight of the race was missing out on the post-race donuts. Although I had plenty of water along with an orange, some bread and a banana, I missed the table with donuts. Donuts seem to be the perfect reward for running a 5K. Yes, I want a donut now!

Despite being sore today, I’m glad that I ran the 5K since the proceeds went to a good cause. Plus, I have a brand new T-shirt and a time to beat for my next 5K when I try this again next year (but not sooner!).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jose Canseco Is 2 Legit 2 Quit

A recent trivia night question asked the name of the MC Hammer song with the video featuring Jose Canseco, Kirby Puckett, Deion Sanders and Roger Clemens. We got the answer correct, but I didn't recall ever seeing the video. I found the video on YouTube and felt the need to share it with you. One word describes this video: wow! Not necessarily a good wow; just a wow. In case you're wondering, Canseco and friends appear just past the 8:00 minute mark. That is not a typo; it's just a long video.

The best cameo has to be former Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Want My MTV

Although I don’t update the “What I’m Reading” section of my blog very often, I continue to read books regularly. I’m currently reading I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. While the history of creating and starting MTV is interesting (who knew that Michael Nesmith of the Monkees “fueled the origins of MTV?”), I truly enjoy reading the behind the scenes descriptions of making the videos. Here are a few portions of the book I feel like sharing (along with the videos):

Daryl Hall: People loved to spend my money. This is a good story: Somebody decided the “Maneater” video wouldn’t be complete unless we had an actual panther, a man-eating animal, in the video. It appeared for a second and a half in the video and probably cost $10,000. This South American black panther was wired to the floor so it wouldn’t attack everybody. Of course, it got loose in this gigantic studio in LA and went in the rafters, fifty feet up. Nobody could get it down. That’s when I left the building.

The panther got at least 10 seconds of air time!

Jazz Summers (Wham!'s manager): Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is a bit camp. Two young boys dancing around in shorts. I thought it was tacky, and said so. I tried to talk them out of it, but my management partner, Simon Napier-Bell, was more camp than a row of tents. He thought it was lovely. And MTV really got behind it.

Debbie Gibson: Being a gay-boy magnet even at fourteen, I was in love with George Michael. I'd come home from school and turn on MTV - and there was "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

I'm confused. Is Debbie attracted to gay boys or are gay boys attracted to her?

Nigel Dick (music-video and film director): Roland Orzabal told me what he envisioned for "Head Over Heels": "I see myself in a library, there's a beautiful girl, we'll grow old together, and there's all this random stuff like a rabbi and a chimp." And I'm rapidly scribbling on a piece of paper: "Chimp. Rabbi."

Is this the only video featuring a rabbi and a chimp?

Bryan Adams: The whole budget for the "Run to You" video went into building a tree. Lightning was supposed to hit the tree, and create a big, long lightning storm. Imagine the shock and horror on set when the [f'n] thing burns in about a minute. We stood there, looking at this tree up in flames. And Steve Barron's (the video's director) going, "Oh. S#!t." This is probably my worst video.

The real problem is that Adams doesn't run at all in the video. The Bangles walked like Egyptians (sort of) walked in their hit. If the song title is "Run to You," you run!

There are a lot more stories I could share particularly about Van Halen, Paula Abdul, and Billy Squire, but this could end up being my longest post!

Please note that this is not a sponsored post. I'm just really enjoying the book.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Free Kids Meals

It’s audience participation day here at Sean’s Ramblings! I’m looking to create a list of restaurants that offer free food for kids. Since I don’t have much experience with this topic, I’m looking for your help. For example, I know that California Tortilla offers free kids’ meals with an adult combo purchase on Sundays. I have also heard, but not confirmed, that IHOP, Denny’s, Chili’s, Bob Evans, Ponderosa and Max & Erma’s have various promotions.

Please leave the restaurant name and the deal in the comments section below.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trivia Tuesday: Wheaties Box Edition

Welcome to a brand new edition of Trivia Tuesday! We have a special picture round edition for you today. Your challenge is to name the athletes on the Wheaties boxes below. As they say, Wheaties is magically delicious! (I'm sure that someone somewhere says this!)

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below, and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Steve Miller's Map

In 1976, the Steve Miller Band released the song Rock ‘N’ Me. This #1 hit features the following lyrics:

I went from Phoenix, Arizona
All the way to Tacoma
Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A.

Northern California
Where the girls are warm
So I could be with my
Sweet baby, yeah

Assuming that Steve Miller’s final destination was San Francisco, California, this total trip is 7,662 miles according to Google Maps (see below).

View Larger Map

However, this doesn’t seem like the best way to get from Phoenix (the starting point) to San Francisco (the finish line) with stops in Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Los Angeles. I think the most efficient trip is Phoenix to LA to Atlanta to Philadelphia to Tacoma to San Francisco (6,959 miles).

View Larger Map

Amazingly, going from Phoenix to Atlanta to Philadelphia to Tacoma to LA to San Francisco is only 9 miles more (6,968 miles).

View Larger Map

So is there a better way for Steve Miller to get from Phoenix to Northern California with the multiple stops? Stay tuned for the next post so that we can discuss the warmth of Northern California girls and if their temperature is greater than 98.6 degrees.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Space Shuttle Comes To Washington

Earlier this week, I wrote a review of the Kool and the Gang/Van Halen concert in DC that occurred several weeks ago. Therefore, even though the Space Shuttle flew over Washington on Tuesday, mentioning this now only three days later is not too bad, particularly since I’m thinking about writing a blog post next week dealing with something that took place 35 years ago. (How’s that for suspense?)

Anyway, if you missed this story, the Space Shuttle Discovery arrived at its new Smithsonian home after flying from Florida and all around the DC area on Tuesday. Here is a picture from near my office:

The Space Shuttle flying by your office is a nice way to start a Tuesday morning! If you want to see more amazing pictures including the Space Shuttle near the Washington Monument and Capitol Building, check out the photo galleries on Yahoo, The Washington Post and DCist.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Survive & Advance (First Year of Fatherhood)

During the NCAA Tournament, broadcasters often use the cliché survive and advance. It doesn’t matter how teams win the game as long as they win and advance to the next round. Now that my son celebrated his first birthday, I feel like I survived the first year and advanced to year number two.

Let’s start this post with the measurements. At one year, my son is almost exactly at the 50th percentile in both height and weight. While my dream of him being tall is likely over (he was in the 72nd height percentile at 6 months), I think the odds of him being taller than me (5’ 7”) are pretty good.

Although he doesn’t walk or crawl yet, he moves all over the house by scooting on his butt. He somehow drags him right leg on the floor and it seems like crawling would be much easier, but he gets where he want to go quickly. I feel bad for Ziggy since my son constantly chases him around.

We just started giving him milk, and the transition from formula has gone smoothly. I feel like we’re going to save thousands of dollars by not purchasing formula anymore. Now we have to find a way to transition him from bottles to sippy cups.

Like his dad, my little guy loves books. There are times when he’ll sit on the floor with a book in his hands and flip through the pages. It is incredibly cute. He also turns the book pages when I read to him regardless of whether or not we finished that page.

I’m not sure why, but my son wants me to put him to bed. I feel like this is a huge honor. He likes me. Right now. He likes me! (Yes, that’s the actual quote.)

While I still struggle in putting on his pants (Why does he kick and move his legs so much? Just stay still!), I feel like I’ve earned a B+ in my diaper changing abilities. Prior to his birth, I was more nervous about changing diapers than just about everything else. After changing hundreds and hundreds of diapers, I’m now a seasoned veteran.

On weekend mornings, he will often fall asleep while finishing a bottle. While I should probably put him in the crib, I love holding him during these naps.

There are times when I still worry that I’m not a good father and that I don’t know what I’m doing. While I give him bottles without a problem, I haven’t transitioned well into real food. Sure, I can cut up fruit, give him pieces of cheese (he loves cheese; smart kid) and spoon food out of the canned jars, I have no idea how much food he needs or if he has enough food. Plus, I almost always have to ask what he should have to eat for meals. Regarding clothing, I generally put him in whatever is at the top of the drawers. Otherwise, I have no idea what he should wear. It is also a rarity that I would pack a bag for him when we go out, so when I do, I feel like I’m missing something important. This paragraph shows a lot of uncertainty when it comes to feeding and clothing my child. This has to be among my top two responsibilities as a father!

So now that year one is complete, I can write that it went fast. Why not finish this post the way it started, with a cliché?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trivia Tuesday: Movie Edition

Let’s get right to the trivia action. Given the first name of the actor, your challenge is to name the movie in which you would hear these quotations.

1. Renee – It is a truth universally acknowlged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectactulary to pieces.

2. Robert – I will be watching you and if I find that you are trying to corrupt my first born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown.

3. Will – I’m just going to throw this out there. If you don’t like it just send it right back. I wanna be on you.

4. Steve – …and that all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair. And I don’t need one other thing! Except my dog. (GROWL) I don’t need my dog.

5. Billy – There’s nothing like a good M-L-T; mutton, lettuce and tomato, with the mutton sliced very thin…mmmm…smack-smack

6. Rick – I see that your schwartz is as big as mine. Now—let’s see how well you can handle it.

7. Ron – Not now Lumberg, I’ve got a meeting with the Bobs.

8. Gene – Do you know what happened to the child that got everything he ever wanted? He lived happily ever after.

9. Matthew – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

10. Jason – You realize we’re all going to go to college as virgins. They probably have special dorms for people like us.

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below, and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kool and The Gang Concert Review

What is the most unlikely musical pairing you can think of for a concert? Miranda Lambert and Chris Brown? Marilyn Manson and Jars of Clay? Yo-Yo Ma and Odd Future? Van Halen and Kool and the Gang might rank fairly high on this list too, which is why these two groups currently touring together throughout the country seems like an odd pairing at best. I saw them at the Verizon Center in DC a few weeks ago and thought I would share a few thoughts about the show. Sure, I could write about how Van Halen still rocks and how David Lee Roth is slightly (or more) crazy (he showed home videos of him and his dogs on his ranch and yelled several times to turn off the f@#ing blowers), but I saw little coverage of Kool and the Gang’s performance, so I figured I would write something here.

First of all, how did the Van Halen-Kool and the Gang partnership come together? Here’s the answer from Kool (or perhaps one of the Gang):

We were excited when we heard about it. We were surprised too, because Van Halen being hard rock and we're funk pop. But then as I was speaking to David, he told me he saw us performing at the Glastonbury Festival. We had about 60,000 people, and we rocked them. I guess when he got together with Eddie and Alex, he said, "I want Kool and the Gang to be our support." They said, "Why Kool and the Gang?" He said, "Hey, man, I saw these guys get down in London." He said, "We were the rock party band of the '80s and you were the pop-funk band of the '80s. Hey, Kool, let's go out and have a party."

So there you go. As you probably expected, the Van Halen crowd was slow to warm to Kool and the Gang during the first few songs. To their credit, KATG (it’s easier to type this instead of Kool and the Gang over and over) knew the audience...and soon enough won us over. I guess that happens when you’ve been around for 40 years and have numerous hits. Seriously, it seemed like I said to the guys next to me during every song either “I know that song” or “I didn’t know that was Kool and the Gang.” It also helps that Jungle Boogie is an awesome song (the horns were amazing).

So a few random thoughts about KATG and their performance:

Who knew that Kool is the bass player?

What is the “It” in KATG’s song Get Down On It? Is it safe to get down on it?

Naturally, everyone was on their feet for Celebration, the finale of KATG’s performance. By the way, for my entire life, I thought that the sing-along part of the song was Woo-hoo or perhaps Yoo-hoo. Apparently, it’s Yahoo. I disagree with KATG here.

I hope I have as much energy as some of the members of KATG when I'm that age!

In case you wanted to read more about the VH concert, check out The Washington Post and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Link City

Here are some must-reads that I think you'll enjoy:

Kennywood is considering selling beer in the amusement park. They will make a ton of money particularly during school district picnic days. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Fascinating article about the matzo business [New York Times via a list of things thrown five minutes ago]

Awesome pictures of the 171st Air Refueling Wing out of Pittsburgh [That's Church]

Good read from an English teacher about the Tennessee standardized test including some sample questions. Note to self...don't go back to high school in Tennessee.[Mr. Brame's Blog]

NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with space shuttle Discovery mounted atop will fly above the DC area on Tuesday, April 17. Can I arrange for them to stop by my office? [NASA via The Washington Post's The Buzz]

Finally, although this post is over a month old, check out this cool story about a student journalist interviewing Aaron Smith as a student at Northern Colorado. [Behind the Steel Curtain]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Very Quick Penguins-Flyers Highlights

Sure you can read all about game one of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers series on countless websites or find highlights in numerous places. However, I’m happy to provide you with a short, short recap of the game.

Jeff Jimerson nailed the national anthem.

First Period

Sidney Crosby scores! 1-0 Pens

Tyler Kennedy scores! 2-0 Pens

Fleury stones Jagr.

Pascal Dupuis scores! 3-0 Pens

End of First Period

Mike Milbury doesn’t make any outlandish, offensive or inaccurate statements during intermission.

Second Period

Fleury makes an incredible save on Hartnell

Daniel Briere scores. Boo, especially since he was barely offsides. 3-1 Pens

Couple of unsuccessful power plays for the Penguins in there.

Craig Adams & Arron Asham on a 2-on-1. Probably the two forwards on the Pens you would least like to see on a 2-on-1.

End of second period

What are the chances David Beckham has visited a Burger King since this commercial? In the unlikely event that he eats at BK, there's no chance that he knows the restaurant manager's name, right? There's even less than a zero chance that Victoria Beckham eats or drinks at BK.

Third Period

Jagr interferes with Crosby. That’s not allowed.

Steve Sullivan has a point blank chance but Ilya Bryzgalov says no (or nyet).

Jordan Staal hits the crossbar.

Briere scores again. Boo. 3-2 Pens

Crap. Power play goal for Brayden Schenn on a nice pass from Scott Hartnell. Game tied 3-3.

End of third period.

Only five shots for the Pens in the entire 3rd period.


Jakub Voracek scores. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Flyers win 4-3. Jakub spells his name wrong. If the Pens had to lose in overtime, I'm happy that it happened quickly. There's no way I could have stayed up late watching a 3 or 4-overtime game.

A few notes:

The Pens finished 0-for-3 on the power play while the Flyers went 1-for-1. Pens need to do better on special teams if they want to win the series.

The Malkin, Neal and Kunitz line combined for zero points.

Did Max Talbot play for the Flyers? I dont think I ever noticed him.

Game two on Friday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trivia Tuesday: Picture Edition

How well do you know children's book characters? If you are a parent or perhaps a child, this quiz may be for you. Based on the ten pictures, your challenge is to name the children's book characters (not the books; the characters).

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below, and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Stupid Passover Videos

Here's the deal people. Just because you can film your own videos, doesn't mean that you need to post them online. Anyway, enjoy (I guess) the following three Passover related videos.

Is this person supposed to be Lady Gaga? What song is this anyway? Way too many questions. Besides, no one is in love with Passover except possibly Manischewitz.

Was it really necessary to take off the top shirt five seconds into the video? Couldn't she have done that before or after the song?

This one actually isn't terrible, but why a Kansas jersey? I feel like Danny Manning should have made a cameo appearance.

Have a Happy Passover!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Penguins-Flyers Schedule (With Commentary)

The NHL released the schedule for the first round of 2012 playoffs. Here are the specific dates, times and TV schedule for the Penguins-Flyers series:

Game 1: Wednesday, April 11

Looking forward to seeing the surprising move of using Betty White and her group of senior pranksters replacing NHL referees. NBC symmetry at its best!

Game 2: Friday, April 13

The last time the Penguins and Flyers met on a Friday the 13th, Mario Lemieux scored 9 goals.*

Game 3: Sunday, April 15

The Pirates face the San Francisco Giants at 4:05. Let’s hope for a long rain delay, so that we can watch both the Pens and Bucs during the last day MLB Extra Innings free trial.

Game 4: Wednesday, April 18

It’s a good thing that Whitney isn’t airing this week. Otherwise, hundreds of millions of people would need to decide what’s worse: watching Whitney or seeing Flyers’ Scott Hartnell.

Game 5: Friday, April 20 (if necessary)

Rebecca Black appreciation night in Pittsburgh!

Game 6: Sunday, April 22 (if necessary)

The network is listed as "to be determined" since NBC could have Kentucky Derby coverage two weeks before the race.

Game 7: Tuesday, April 24 (if necessary)

In a surprising move, Arron Asham announces that he is making himself eligible for the NFL draft. ESPN spends the next three days of draft coverage comparing Asham with Tim Tebow.

* This may not be true.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Kids "Playing" Soccer Video

Today is opening day for the Pittsburgh Pirates, so I'm writing a post about, um, kids soccer. I may have mentioned once or twice that I am a certified soccer referee. When I first started as a ref as a teenager, the games I worked were played by kids about the age of those in this video:

I can watch this all day. Both kids are unfazed, so I feel no guilt in laughing.

With a very young child, I don't ref as much as I used to, and these days I only work games played by teenagers or adults. If this happened in one of those games, someone would receive a red card and there would likely be retaliation meaning more red cards and possible chaos. Good times!

Personally, I think it would be fun to referee games of kids this age again. Instead, I'll probably be a soccer coach in a few years.

h/t Yahoo's Dirty Tackle

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Who Are the People In Your Neighborhood?

I’m on a neighborhood message board which is often useful but can sometimes be a little ridiculous. Take a look at the messages from last week with some of my commentary. Enjoy!

Friday, 11:38 AM
Subject: Police activity today around 11:15am

Anyone know what was going on this morning? Police scanner announced that they apprehended a person near Elm Street. (Sean’s note: Not the real street name.)

Helicopter, police cars, ambulance...

Any news?

1:18 PM
Omg body found in pond by golfer

Holy crap!

1:25 PM
A golfer found a body while attempting to retrieve a ball in the pond behind [Elm Street]. Apparently, a contractor was picking up day laborers and killing them when the job was done so he wouldn't have to pay them. He used that pond as the dumping ground.

The poster included the quoted text from a separate message board. All of a sudden, my neighborhood turned into an episode of Dexter, CSI and Law & Order!

1:28 PM
[Other website] is full of garbage hoax posts. This is not credible in the least.

1:29 PM
I didn't say it was 100% credible. I was just posting it and I referred to the link.

Let’s play the feud!

1:45 PM
what is the explanation for all the police n helicopter activity?

1:49 PM
Helicopters are for searching for someone on the run or for medical transport. It doesn't take a helicopter to find a dead body. Unless it's a zombie.

So my neighborhood might have a murder and/or a zombie. That’s going to make it tough to sell my home in the future.

2:03 PM
The dead body thing came from [other website], which is 100% non credible. Go to that site and look at any post in the forum. It's filled with dummies who spit vile and racist posts for any and everything. It's the equivalent of a truck stop bathroom wall.

It is possible there was a body, however re-read the post. It's racist and the people there always complain about anyone non white.

2:52 PM
If you're concerned, why not stop wasting everyone's time and simply call the police department?

A rational post? Maybe if there wasn't a zombie on the loose.

3:10 PM

I did n they are not discussing

This is the second time this person used "n" for and. This is almost as upsetting as the possible murder.

3:15 PM
I was not provided with any info either.

Now there could be a police conspiracy.

3:56 PM
I called the Police non-emergency number and the dispatcher advised that the activity was related to a shoplifter who had ran into the area.

All of this for a shoplifter? Did they at least find the person/people that stole my tire?

Trivia Tuesday will return next week.