Dec. 31, 2009

Another Year Rolls By

2009 comes to a close with a bit of a whimper this year. I've been under the weather for the last few weeks, with a bad head cold and then a pinched nerve in my neck. Miserable! Needless to say very little exercise has occurred, but there has been much consumption of sweet and fattening food. I dread getting on a scale.

Tonight that changes though, whether I like it or not. I'll be doing my live Shopping Channel thing all day on January 1st, starting at midnight. Seven fitness shows! I hope my stiff neck holds up, I've been taking muscle relaxant pills for a few days now. Yesterday I went for a steam room session at my gym and added a short 20 minute treadmill run to see how that felt. Not too bad. I'm not quite sure what I'll be demonstrating, it looks to be a variation on kettlebells.

So how have the holidays passed? My parents and sister met up in Florida for Christmas Day (my sister's family got caught up in the travel confusion produced by the "underwear bomber"). My brother's family stayed home in up-state New York, at least partially because of some family tensions. I visited my new girlfriend and her kids on Christmas Eve, while my son spent Christmas Day with his mother.

I drove down to my brother's in the week before Christmas as a sort of courier, delivering everyone's presents and returning with just as many. My son declined to come with me at the last minute, citing his disinterest in his family but requesting that I pick up some Pokémon items from the Nintendo store in NYC. I was pretty stunned by his attitude. I really hope it's some kind of teenage phase rather than a frankly sociopathic perspective!

Vanderbilt Estate entranceI had a nice visit with my brother's family, his twin girls are in kindergarden and lovable in an "intense" way. They're living in the center of the village of Rhinebeck now, very convenient for their lives and their businesses. Rhinebeck's pretty small but just big enough. Their old house was way out in the country side. Here most things, including my sister-in-law's "commute", are a two minute walk. I was still feeling under the weather from my cold, so I spent the visit pretty quietly. I did a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping (the village shopkeepers love to talk) and spent an afternoon checking out the Vanderbilt's summer home and FDR's home and library. I used Google to find a running route and did a 14K run on the 23rd. I felt pretty good, but the route turned out to be terrible because of traffic

I saw The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus on Christmas Day and Avatar a few days ago. I enjoyed Imaginarium; another crazy, imaginative Terry Gilliam film with great production values and intriguing performances. Avatar I'm a bit more mixed about. I enjoyed the visuals immensely, but the plot and depiction of the "alien" culture were pretty trite. Strip it down and you have a modern cowboys and indians procedural (cowboys = bad, indians = good). There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but if you're going to spend $300 million making it, why not siphon off $1 million to make the story a new one worth the effort? It brought to mind a seventy minute review of Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace I saw recently on YouTube that crystalized a lot of things for me. (Yes, a critique almost as long as the subject film. Trust me, watch it if you like critical analyses of pop culture.)

My son saw Sherlock Holmes with some friends at the same time in the same complex, he grudgingly accepted a ride to the theater but asked to be let out a block away and didn't acknowledge us as we passed them in the lines. That's more normal for teenagers.

2009 Santa Speedo RunOh yeah, I guess I should admit that I participated in this year's Toronto Santa Speedo Run on December 12th... Another 3K loop through Toronto's tony Yorkville shopping district, terrorizing passersby. It was a few brisk degrees below freezing. Still, much money was raised for the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. I wonder if that was the trigger for my nasty head cold?

Listening to: Thriller (YouTube link) by Imogen Heap from a live solo performance cover on piano. Wow...

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