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As part of the preparation for the upcoming 50K One Day Hike (April 29th), I’ve been doing a few mini-training sessions in the evening. There just aren’t enough weekends anymore.

The plan: Walk 5 miles most brisk-like. My briskness indicator varies due to the route I take, stupid traffic, and lights and all that, and a few nagging injuries to my left leg. But I try to walk fast. Even so, the pace is slower than what I did in last year’s ODH (14:48 minutes per mile) but for that I did run a little over the course of the full 31.1 miles.

With barely any time left, I do need to get in some longer hikes! 50K won’t walk itself. This is why we train.

I’ve found these walks are an excellent time to ruminant on the cosmic mysteries of the universe and whatnot. And listen to music. So I’ve been pumping up the jams as I trot about the city, hopefully not startling anyone that might mistake me for a wild-eyed, crazy speedwalker.

Distance: 5 miles

Walk #1
Time: 1:23:09
Route: Capitol Hill/Navy Yard
Albums listened to:
Broods – Conscious
Catfish & the Bottlemen – The Ride

Walk #2
Time: 1:24:37
Route: Capitol Hill/The Mall
Albums listened to:
Kaiser Chiefs – Stay Together
Empire of the Sun – Two Vines

Walk #3
Time: 1:19:26
Route: Capitol Hill
Outfit: Stylish white Tee, gray shorts
Albums listened to:
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Phantogram – Three

Walk #4
Time: 1:25:47
Route: Shaw/Parkview
Albums listened to:
Weezer – (The White Album)
The xx – I See You

Walk #5
Time: 1:19:00
Route: NE/NW
Attitude: Sunburned
Albums listened to:
Sleigh Bells – Jessica Rabbit
Bastille – Wild World

Walk #6
Time: 1:23:40
Route: Capitol Hill/Navy Yard
Albums listened to:
Pearl Jam – Ten
Pearl Jam – Vs.

Walk #7
Time: 1:18:36
Route: NE
Epiphany: This is world record!! right?
Albums listened to:
Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
Pearl Jam – No Code

Walk #8 is in the future, therefore difficult to describe.

 

Meridan Hill Park

A place to walk.

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I relentlessly present with you my 8th annual Oscar predictions!

As always, I suck at this so if you copy me in any way, shape or form, you will do no better than the average monkey. Average monkeys are smart on occasion, especially in how they acquire and fling feces, so don’t fret too much.

For evidence of my suckage, see my results over the last 3 years:

  • 2016: 4 (correct)/11
  • 2015: 8/11
  • 2014: 10/11

I only predict 11 categories (of the 24 total), or what I consider the major categories.

So coming on February 26th, we have the 89th Annual Academy Awards!

You’ll be pleased to learn, I’ve seen all 88 of the previous Best Picture winners…so might as well make my way through this year’s nominees.

So far, I’ve seen 5 of 9.

_______________________________________________________

Best Picture – Up for 14 nominations (tied for most all-time with Titanic and All About Eve), it’s not a stretch to say La La Land is the favorite. Plus it’s filthy with music and dancing and hope and heartbreak.

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Capital Bikeshare has given me a ready-made goal in the form or their Winter Warriors campaign.

No work from my side, except to take a bike ride (or many).

Their challenge goes thus for January and February:

  • Gold Medal: 150+ rides
  • Silver Medal: 75+ rides
  • Bronze Medal: 35+ rides

One’s prize for success is to acquire a ‘digital medal’ and entry into their prize drawings.

I probably rode about 20 times in January, so only 130 more rides to go!!

 

February Goal: Take 130 bike rides and win a Gold Medal!

 

Ride it!

 

On a healthy nine-hour layover in Panama City, I arranged a tour bus to see the Panama Canal ($30 which included: a long stop at a mall (blah), photo and souvenir shopping stops and finally to the Canal).

I was able to watch a cruise ship (Seven Seas Mariner) go through the full process. It was interesting to see how everything operates so smoothly. I’ve seen ships pass between the Puget Sound and the freshwater Lake Union at the Ballard Locks (Hiram M. Chittenden Locks) in Seattle, but on a much, much smaller scale. Those locks also have a very cool salmon ladder.

The Miraflores Locks also had a museum, which I only had about 15 minutes to rush through.

Here is a look at the ship passing through!

Cruise ship

Miraflores locks

The way outThe other side

Crowd awaits

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Fact: Less than 20% of the American people actually cast a vote for Trump.

Alternative fact: Trump represents the American people. #altFact

 

Truth: People are standing up to oppose him at unprecedented levels.

Alternative truth: Get over it. He was elected, so give him a chance. #altTruth

 

Reality: The people of this country are divided around many issues, and always have been, which is good generally when healthy debate can be had, and people can find common ground to work together on issues that are important to all.

Alternative reality: Memes, internet trolls and name calling will make it all better. #altMeme

 

Reality: We all live in our own bubble. It’s called life. We have all lived a different one. Our perspective is shaped by experience and interactions and the pursuit of knowledge, among many other things. Give the person next to you a chance first, before making sweeping generalizations.

Alternative reality: I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m smart, you’re dumb. #altReality

 

Disclosure: I did not vote for Trump. I did not agree with his policies before the election, and more so now. I will stand up against things that I believe are fundamentally wrong and things that I believe will hurt me, my fellow Americans, and those that immigrated to America, which is all of us – just at different times (yes, even Native Americans immigrated here – a long, long time ago). It does not mean I am automatically at odds with people that voted for Trump. I know many that are good people.

Alternative disclosure: I like kittens more than puppies. #altPets

2017 is here! New Year’s Resolutions sound so passé, so I do Bold Predictions. This is that.

But don’t get too worked up, predictions and resolutions amount to the same thing, right? No idea.

I like counting, so I liberally litter these predictions with numbers. Often ones I can’t even count to.

2016 was a year that lasted 366 days, and is now over. You can skip to the bottom to see how I did on my 2016 Bold Predictions…not too bad actually if you have low standards.

Last year I also tried to do more, more, more. This year I’ll just do. Let’s go.

 

In 2017, I predict I will…

…finish my Major League Baseball stadium quest that is years in the making! You heard me! Only two stadiums left! San Diego and Kansas City.

…hike over 304 total miles.

…read six books I own that I haven’t read. I have so many…

…hit up another Seattle Seahawks road game. Nashville? New York? San Francisco?

…do an adventure trip. Whitewater rafting? Island hopping? Trekking? Who’s in?

…start one new venture.

…organize, clean and get rid of stuff. On an epic scale.

…complete three home improvements.

…tear down walls.

…steal your dog to play with. Forget to give it back.

 

________________

Let’s look at how I fared from my 2016 list:

Success rate: 7.5/10

…visit two new baseball stadiums. Only four left! Result: Complete! I went to Denver for the Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) and Phoenix for the Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field).

…read 33 books (one more than last year); watch 101 movies (one more than last year). Result: Got there just under the wire! Read 33 books and watched 111 movies.

…visit two new countries (one more than last year). Result: Success! I went to both Honduras and India for the first time.

…run in at least four races (one more than last year). Result: Fail! I only ran one race, the Semper Fi 5K. I tried to run the Army Ten-Miler but had to travel for work. I did the One Day Hike (50K) for the fifth time, but that’s not running.

…find a reason to do something even crazier than the last time. Result: Last crazy time was whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, so for this crazy time…let’s see…how about 4 nights/5 days backpacking in Colorado? A total of 43 miles with a 39-pound backpack while being stalked by a bear!

…hike over 250 total miles. (Last year I hiked 185) Result: I crushed it and hiked 358 miles! Easy.

…take no prisoners and give no shits. Result: Hard to quantify this, but I tend to give a shit, so 1/2 right only!

…pick a few musicians and go deep into their music catalog. Result: Nope! Did not do this.

…binge watch three new TV shows. Result: Indeed. In fact, I quadrupled my output and binged 12 new TV shows. See which ones here.

…play with two puppies. Result: This is a given. One of them was my niece’s new wiener dog, Jedi. He wants to come back to DC with me, I know it.

Something, something movies.

With 2016 I got back into the swing of watching movies. I saw over 100 movies, the most since 2009. Get it.

Best

11. Brooklyn – A women finds love and a new life in America, but will Ireland draw her back?

10. Eye in the Sky – This moves more like a legal, ethics class, but I found myself fascinated by the drama and lengths they went to decide of ‘should they’ or ‘should they not’ launch a missile strike. And no real feel good results.

9. Creed – Maybe all the boxing movie tropes have been done and re-done by now, but watching Rocky become the mentor/trainer for his dead friend’s son, it still feels okay to watch them.

8. Captain America: Civil War – Punch, Pow, Pop! Superheroes mildly fight each other over a difference of opinion. It’s a total geek out, and you will be entertained.

7. The Shallows – So the premise is Jaws vs. Blake Lively. But what you thought might be a throw-away horror movie is nothing to throw away and is highly suspenseful.

6. Hell or Highwater – Chris Pine is basically in everything these days. With Jeff Bridges as a Texas Ranger chasing them, two brothers join together to rob banks to save their farm.

5. The Jungle Book – I didn’t expect all that much from a Disney re-make, but this is actually a damn fine movie. Bill Murray as Baloo? Idris Elba as Shere Khan? Scarlett Johansson as Kaa? Christopher Walken as King Louie? Heck ya.

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Good, I’m tempted to buy all the toys like I had as a kid for the first three movies. Darth Vader’s castle is cool. Now I need to see it again in IMAX 3D.

3. The Martian – Matt Damon on Mars! I need to watch this again, I just decided.

2. Spotlight – Wow, the Best Picture winner is the true story of the exposé of the Catholic Church in Boston. Haunting and sad and it makes you angry.

1. Sicario – Gritty, with a dark, underlying tone, this movie looks at US-Mexican border policies and how the US fights the drug cartels, but all is not as it seems. All is not rosy.

Worst

5. Scary Movie 5 – Let this franchise die. It’s not funny. Maybe if they made an actual funny parody movie (not that the first one was brilliant but it had its moments), we can keep it alive. But now please let it be offed in the most horror movie cliché possible.

4. Gymkata – Hahaha! I watched this during a ‘bad movie’ night. It was fun to pick it apart and laugh at all the WTF moments. Watch it with a group of snarky people, and you will find fun where there should be none.

3. Zoolander 2 – Don’t do it. Okay, you will if you saw the first Zoolander. But you will still regret it. And I will have told you so.

2. The Lobster – I hate this movie. I’ve often been annoyed with Colin Farrell as an actor and the films he’s been in (yet there are good ones like In Bruges), but this takes the cake. Weird, oddball, strange are words you could use to describe this movie. I choose the word ‘terrible’.

1. Joysticks – I listen to a podcast called Stack of Dimes. They started a new series of episodes to review bad movies that somehow made it to Blu-ray. They featured this one, which is supposed to be a Porky’s knock-off from 1982. Not so bad it’s good. Just so bad.

 

Stats on Movies Watched

  • 111 movies watched in 2016
  • 26 on a plane (whoa, I must have lived on a plane…)
  • 27 repeat viewing (and therefore not eligible for the best/worst list)
  • 3 Bill Murray movies
  • 6 Liam Neeson movies (I went through a phase…)
  • 11 movies in the theater (Haven’t been going to the theater that much…)

Extra Special Bonus Time (All 111 movies)

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