Wednesday, September 30, 2009

playlist: oldies and newbies

we live with a sense of ingrained nostalgia, reaching instinctively for things gone past, reacting by reflex for the idyllic memories of the way things were anytime we are confronted by the shock of something new.

we do not like the new. we do not like its imposition of change. we do not like its demands to break with calcified tradition and fossilized custom and hardened formula. we hold to the habits of the old. cling to the comforts of conformity. reach for the slumber of habits and memories. and turn away from awakening in the disdain of another day.

we want one but not the other. we want nothing with the either. we want to see never of both.

auld lang syne

die toten hosen:

but it doesn't have to be this way.

there does not need to be a shock with the new.

there does not need to be the slumber of habits and memories.

there does not need to be never of both.

love will tear us apart again

joy division:

nerina pallot:

sometimes, the new is not a demand to break.

sometimes, the new is a memory. an attempt to remember. and reach out from a place unknown to a place familiar. and realize that change came from and change is going to the same place: somewhere.

and somewhere can be someplace very special.

just can't get enough
depeche mode:

the saturdays:

there she goes
the las:

sixpence none the richer:

rocket man
elton john:

me first and the gimme gimmes:

let your love flow
bellamy brothers:

petra haden and the sell-outs:

and so the new can be every bit the same as the old. with the same feelings. with the same emotions. with the same stories with the same messages told the same way for the same reasons to the same people with the same hopes and dreams and aspirations and ideals and imaginations and visions of what once was and what now is and what will be.

regardless of time. regardless of space. regardless of who or when or what or why or how.

it's all the same.

it's a hard knock life


tears of a clown
smokey robinson:

the english beat:

i fought the law
bobby fuller:

the clash:

stray cats:

green day:

because we are one and the other. we are all things with the either. we are always of both. old and new. in the connection most profound and eternal:

the race, the journey, the path that is the singing of the song called life.

and that is what we make of it.

stand by me
ben e king:

playing for change:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

videos: strength training (part 3)

note: this is the 3rd in an ongoing, non-regular, non-periodic series on strength training in terms of endurance sports. you can see parts 1 and 2 here:
i found some more Youtube videos regarding strength training. you can add these to the library of videos. these are a little different, but i consider that useful in the sense that it provides some new ideas to help mix up workouts and keep things from becoming monotonous.

there's 2 series of videos from Canada, courtesy of the Ottawa Triathlon Club (i love the way the guy pronounces "about" as "aboooooooooot"!), with 1 for basic and another for advanced strength training. the basic weight training series has 4 parts:
the advanced weight training has 3 parts (although, the video info says it's part of a 4-part series--i couldn't find the 4th, so i'm guessing it was just mislabeling?):
i also noticed that Triathlete magazine is now making Youtube videos, and they have a good one for strength training (and they should make more):
in addition, i came across this one, which i found to contain some of the same exercises that i use:
i should point out that all of the videos here involve exercises that seem to have come from Pilates (or Pilates-type workouts), which focuses more on the core and joints with the development of supporting and stabilizing muscles. as a result, i'll venture to argue that these exercises are NOT meant to develop overall muscle mass (i.e., bulk) or even raw strength, but instead more to help balance the overall musculature and thereby prevent injury. so take them for what it's worth.

but as i mentioned at the start, they still provide some alternative exercises to help mix up the routine. especially as we head into the winter months and the looooooooooong interminable (some say agonizing) season (some say purgatory) of indoor (some say claustrophobic) workouts.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

international talk like a pirate day 2009 (channeling captain jack sparrow)

ok. it's time for a day off. i'm not doing or talking or thinking about anything related to sports today. i'm sore. i'm tired. i'm hungry. and i'm really interested in nothing other than going back to sleep. and the only reason i don't is this:

today, Saturday, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

i've written about this before:
i'd forgotten about it, but then i saw the CNN news report on it (see below), and was reminded about it once again. ahhhhhhhhhh. yes.

one of the dreams in my life has always been race in pirate gear, dressed up like my hero, Captain Jack Sparrow. i haven't had such blessing to do so, but this day lets me ponder the possibilities. and it will come. yes, it will come. by the doors of Davy Jones' locker and the beatin' heart of a dead man's chest, i'll represent the pirate's code and make for a race day yet!




ahoy! avast ye scurvy dogs!!! prepare to be boarded and thrown to the mast!


and just what be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, you ask? ye can learn more here:
celebrate this day with me, my hearties. and know we be not alone, for their be proof that thar be others like ourselves makin' merry on here day:
and no, we be not bad. why even yon magazine New Yorker espied our trade, and offered up compliments:
and just so you know me hero, Captain Jack Sparrow, i'll leave you with this tale:
so celebrate! tell all the mateys. and tell 'em i sent ya! and remember: this is the day you will always remember as the day you met...Captain...Jack...Sparrow!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

vancouver 2010: green olympic village


the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada are supposed to continue the trend towards more eco-friendly sports events, with the Olympic-related construction in Whistler and Vancouver aimed at fulfilling the goals of sustainable development. as part of this, the Olympic village in Vancouver is intended to be a model of sustainability, and has been touted as an example of what will eventually become mixed-use mixed-residence green urban living, accommodating businesses and residences spanning low-to-high-income populations.

you can see Vancouver's plan on their website, as well as on the BBC's video report:
there's also 2 excellent websites with computer renderings of the completed project:
the project features the usual assortment of sustainable practices: use of solar energy, energy-efficient construction, catchment of rain water, recycling of human waste, etc. all of it takes advantage of Vancouver's natural environment. it's also serving to replace some of the more decayed parts of the city's waterfront with more attractive cityscape matching the existing urban environment. quite impressive, seeing how Vancouver is already--if you've ever been there, you'll know that it is one of the most beautiful urban areas of the world, with immaculate shorelines, well-laid street grids, abundance of green space, and all of it within minutes of some of the most beautiful sea and mountain terrain you will ever see (at least, it is during the summer...the winter is a bit of a different story).

it's quite commendable. and something i'd like to see more sports venues, especially the mega-events, try to aim for.

however, i'd be remiss if i didn't point out that this kind of construction isn't without some issues. i came across this piece:
it doesn't reveal anything tawdry, like corruption or sleaze or anything of that sort. but it's interesting in that it shows that the Vancouver Winter Olympics are experiencing the same issues as all other Olympic construction: cost over-runs, decreasing profitability, over-optimistic plans, scale-backs in aspirations, etc. which essentially demonstrates that green, eco-friendly sports tied to sustainable development are not immune to the issues typical to other mega-sports events. in other words: it may be a good cause, but it still has the same problems.

i wanted to make this point because a lot of the time we tend to associate good causes with ideal scenarios, with the assumption that because we aim for something noble (e.g., green Olympics) that we will be magically transported to a land where everything is easy.

but life doesn't work that way. and it's dangerous to think so. because things invariably do run into challenges, and any assumptions of easy lead inevitably to disillusionment--and worse--cynicism. and that leads to the most tragic outcome of all: abandonment of a worthy cause.

i think it's important to remember the lessons of our sport...or any sport. things aren't easy. especially if they're good. if anything, one of the reasons some aspirations are good is because they're hard. because this shows what a challenge they pose, and what achievements they are, and just what they can teach you in accomplishing them.

good things are good because you have to be good to deserve them. you have to earn them. you have to change. you have to be better than what you are now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

european runners

for those of you into cross-cultural exchange, ASICS recently published the results of their multi-national study on running habits in Europe. you can access it here:
don't be fooled by the spare nature of the entry page. click on any one of the countries or the more general "Europe" and you'll find a lot of content regarding the nature of runners and running across the continent. it appears to have been a pretty big project, with the sample size being 3,500 runners from 7 countries ranging in age from 15-65.

i find this fascinating. whether you're European or not, what's clear is that there are very clear differences with respect to running that are identifiable based on culture on a national level. the results of the study show that different nations have different levels of running, with different motivations and different patterns. it makes you wonder what aspects of the culture in each country led to its respective relationship with running.

of course, the differences may be trite, considering that the study points to a single simple result: Europeans run. nothing earth-shattering there. and what you would expect given that ASICS sponsored this study.

but i think there is some insight provided by the study in terms of why Europeans run. and i do think it's important, because it shows that even though many people share a common passion for a common activity, they find very different reasons and very different ways to do so. which suggests that the activity--and by extension any activity (swimming, biking, running, sewing, playing cards, throwing rocks)--can be universal, particularly in the sense of being something that can unite people and societies who are so different. and better yet, it can then thereby indicate how we can seek to do so.

something we can probably use in this world.