May 152019
 
Flying Pig 10K

FitBit map of the 10K

Two years ago I got this crazy notion to run a 5k for the first time. Following the success of that first 5K, I ran in the same Flying Pig 5K a year later. Since that day I am running 3.1+ miles every day so going for the hat trick didn’t make sense because it wouldn’t be a challenge. Therefore, the most logical decision is to up my game and go for the 10K. On May 4th (aka Star Wars Day) I completed my first ever 10K race which not only fulfilled a New Years Intention but also my Bad Idea Birthday Challenge obligation. The image on the left was taken from the FitBit app after I completed the race (click the image to enlarge it).

Training for the Race

I prepared for the 10K by still running 5 days a week, the change was how far I was running. Four days out of the week I increased the distance to 4+ miles and on the 5th day I would try running over 5 miles. I never actually ran 6 miles while training. This 10K is supposed to be a challenge for me and if I can run 6 miles before the day of the race, then it’s not really a challenge.

I also began doing additional exercises prior to running. These exercises mostly consisted of crunches or sit-ups, lifting free weights, perhaps even a warm up on the recumbent bike. I increased how much water I drunk and decreased my meal portions and soda consumption.

Flying Pig 2020

So now that I have a 10K under my belt, what is the next challenge? The next highest race at the Flying Pig is a Half Marathon, which is 13.1 miles; more than double a 10K. I really don’t think my knees are ready for that; and I’m not entirely confident they will be ready in a year. Now that I have 6.2 miles under my belt, I plan to try to work that into a weekly routine.

So, with that said, the plan right now is to run a 15K in 2020. Since the Half Marathon is the next highest race at the Flying Pig, that means I will sign up to run both the 10K and the 5K (they occur at different times), hence 15K. If I can accomplish 9.3 miles without feeling like I’m going to fall apart, then I will consider the Half Marathon in 2021.

May 072019
 

Why do I find it so difficult to talk about the passing of a man I never knew but who was also a huge part of my life? Last week we lost our favorite Wookie. Peter Mayhew portrayed our beloved Chewbacca through 40 years and 5 movies. Chewie was more than a character to Peter, he was apart of who he was (much like C-3PO is to Anthony Daniels, except maybe not quite as eccentric). It’s so easy to forget that the actors are not as immortal as the characters they have brought to life. While the characters will live on forever losing someone like Peter Mayhew (or Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker) still feels like you lost an awesome family member whom you never met. It feels trite but suffice it to say, thank you Peter Mayhew; thank you for making Chewie real for us.

My Favorite Chewbacca Moment

Chewbacca is probably the most beloved character in the Star Wars franchise and among the best characters in the history of film. It’s hard to choose a favorite moment because Chewie has so many of them. Peter portrayed Chewie in five of the Skywalker Saga films (Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens). If I have to pick a favorite moment and, given that my favorite movie of the saga is Empire Strikes Back, then it’s when Luke is preparing to leave and bids Han and Chewie farewell, Chewie suddenly hugs Luke. It always brings a smile to my face.

Remembering Peter Mayhew

Click to enlargeI have been to two Celebration events, 2002 and this year (2019); and at both events I saw Peter Mayhew, but just in passing. In 2002 he was walking around the convention floor, on his way to his autograph session. He would stop occasionally to take pictures with fans, always with the same goofy smirk you often see in all his convention photos. I regret never signing up for a picture or autograph. The picture on the left is one I took as I was passing by his autograph session. My daughter tells me he turned and smiled at her before we walked away.

As you can see the actors that knew him well had wonderful things to say about Peter. A “gentle giant” that loved his work, loved the franchise and loved his fans. It’s sucks saying good-bye but, as Luke said, “Nobody’s ever really gone”.

Thank you Peter Mayhew and May the Force Be With You.

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

Apr 282019
 

Avengers Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

My Rating:

Despite the looming “Superhero Burnout“, this movie is crushing it at the box office. It is already breaking the same records The Force Awakens broke four years ago. I fully expect this film to continue to break records set by Star Wars, including top grossing movie of all time in the domestic box office. Honestly, I’m glad it’s a Marvel movie too.

In the spirit of the #DontSpoilTheEndgame trend, this is a SPOILER FREE movie review, however if you have not seen Infinity War yet, then consider this your **spoiler alert**!! It is impossible to talk about this movie without talking about the events of the previous film.

Half of the living things in the universe, including half the Avengers, are gone; wiped out with a single snap. Thanos has vanished to bask in the balance he has created. Meanwhile the remaining Avengers are trying to piece the world back together and move on. However “moving on” will not be something they are willing to do, especially when Scott Lang shows up with an idea.

Biggs’ Review

This is a pretty amazing movie, though I do have one particular complaint, which I will get to shortly. This movie has quite a few epic moments, one of which I know many fans have been waiting for since Age of Ultron. I will not say what that is so as to remain spoiler free but I think you will know it when you see it, and deem it “worthy”. This movie is quite the finale for the Avengers Initiative. One of my favorite parts happens during and end credit montage. This is not a spoiler. The signatures of Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner are shown as if to signify the signing of their magnum opus. This is such a fitting tribute.

Is This The Best Movie I’ve Seen?

No, not by a long shot. In all fairness I almost gave this movie 4 stars. There is a particular plot mechanic that is rarely done well and Bruce Banner’s rationale is pretty insufficient, in my opinion. There is also a “passing of the torch” moment which does not particularly coincide with canon (at least from what I’ve read); however, it is still pretty cool. Be that as it may, the way in which they wrap up the story’s of a few of the character’s is brilliant and well done … and emotional. After the movie ended, my first instinct was not to see it again; at least not right away. The main reason being the 3 hour run time. Actually I feel more inclined to watch all the other movies again!

This movie is a magnum opus and truly a fitting end of the past 11 years and 21 movies. The feeling I had leaving this movie will probably be much the same feeling I will have leaving The Rise of Skywalker. A sense of emotional finality; these are characters that not just defined our lives, but a generation. Watching these events come to an end feels akin to a graduation or major life milestone. The events and the people of the years prior make up the journey we all had to take. Sometimes the end is hard because we endured so much to get here, but we grew along the way. We form bonds and relationships with people, real or fictional. It’s the journey that’s worth celebrating at the end but it’s also what makes it difficult. After all, part of the journey is the end.

#ThankYouAvengers

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Apr 252019
 

Star Wars Fan ToxicityI absolutely cannot abide toxic fans. One of the things that really gets my troll coals burning are people attacking other people because something didn’t play out the way they imagined it. I’ve been on these diatribes before that Star Wars fan toxicity is ruining Star Wars (and it’s definitely not Disney). Personally I feel that unless Disney explicitly snubbed your fan-fiction, your expressed opinions and/or your recommendation letters than you have zero creative control over the plot of the movies. They are not your story to tell. If you disagree, that’s fine. However resorting to toxic social media behavior doesn’t make it right. In fact, it makes you wrong and a disgusting tyrant. Actors and actresses are paid to play a role and a majority of them put a lot of work, and a bit of themselves, into their roles. Attacking a role they played is attacking the person and its asinine.

I Will Always Defend All The Movies

We need to fight against all this Star Wars fan toxicity. Nobody deserves to be lambasted for a role they are paid to play and it’s incredibly naive to think it doesn’t affect them. Daisey Ridley (Rey) and Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico) are no longer on social media. Apparently some so-called “fans” disagreed with the Rey and Rose characters so much they tormented both actresses on their respective Twitter or Instagram accounts. Now their accounts are gone; deleted because of the sexist and racist vitriol from alleged “fans”. If that isn’t egregious enough for you then let’s talk about Ahmed Best.

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Apr 222019
 

I have been looking forward to the Star Wars Celebration for two reasons. First, the last one I went to was 2002, when it was in Indianapolis for the release of Attack of the Clones. Second, its in Chicago this year, my favorite city. Ultimately the best part of the going to the event was bringing my five-year old daughter. This is my Chicago Star Wars Celebration experience.

I don’t think I need to go into the big news. Everyone who cares should already be aware of the release of the first trailer and the title. I did not get to sit in on the panels since I only had a day to absorb as much as I could while keeping a five-year-old entertained.

A Little Leia Changes the Experience

When I went back in 2002 I was just this nerd wandering around the convention center taking pictures and getting autographs. I seemed convinced my experience would be the same except now my daughter would have to endure it. I was completely and utterly wrong! She dressed up as Princess Leia, and apparently a five-year old Leia is as popular as a celebrity. (Sorry, pictures will only be available for friends and family).

This is all the free stuff she got

She was constantly receiving free stuff from vendors and random fans, including fans from other countries. She was getting requests to be photographed or to be in a picture with other people attending the convention. As shy as she comes off, I think she secretly enjoyed the adoration. I cannot express how humbling and amazing the Star Wars fans were at this convention and it really made my daughter feel special. If this experience doesn’t make her a Star Wars fan, then I’ve done all I can do.

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