Friday, January 17, 2014

Flashback Friday: Final Flashback

If this post was the Alpha, then the one you're reading now is the Omega.

It's been seven years that I've been writing as your fearless leader of the Booze Hounds Inc. Running Team, and a lot has changed in that time. From hungover race reports to sprawling epics of virtual events, from blogger duels to terrible haikus, and from slaying my white whale to marriage-adjusted PRs — you've followed me through my drunken bachelor days, to marrying the love of my life and finally to becoming a dad.

There just isn't anything else to say, and so I'm following the path that others have blazed before me. I'm joining the ranks of Ian, Razz, Sun Runner, Xenia, Barefoot Josh and sometimes Nitmos in the great blogging hereafter before my posts succumb to further obnoxiousness.

Like all of my forebloggers, this site will not be taken down in its dormancy. I'll still read those bloggers I've been following for years, as I can't deny the draw of the online running community we've created. Perhaps, I'll post again when I have something interesting to say.

I believe this leaves Jess as the lone blogger whose site I followed from the beginning and who is still active. Her streak remains unparalleled.

There are several reasons why I made the decision to go on an indefinite hiatus. I'm no longer the booze hound I once was, nor am I the runner I once was. My priorities have changed such that the things in my life that I would normally share in this space are no longer commonplace enough to warrant the level of navel-gazing that a good blog requires. My posts have lacked the excitement and humor that make for an enjoyable writing experience, and by extension a good read for you. My focus just isn't here anymore.

This isn't goodbye so much as it's an announcement of my semi-retirement. Thank you all for reading about my adventures over the years, and for lending your support and derision in equal measure. Good luck in all that you do. Happy Hour is approaching. Remember, alcohol reduces pain and increases confidence. Run well and drink well. Cheers, forever more!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cold, Sickness Recalibration

The hardest workout during last week's freezing and coughing spell turned out to be pushing my car for about 15 feet. My goal of running twice went unfulfilled. No matter, I'll try to run twice this week.

This morning, I got up early enough to complete my body-weight exercise routine (pull-ups, push-ups, squats, walking lunges and planks). I felt a bit lightheaded in the middle of it. I think I was dehydrated. I took a break to drink some cold water and felt better.

This week, Mrs. Viper's work schedule may require me to run in the morning, my least favorite time. Hopefully, getting up earlier today will help me do so tomorrow or Wednesday for a run.

This is the new me, trying not to beat myself up over not running when I say I want to. Finding time to exercise remains the biggest challenge as a new parent.

This year, I hope to learn to better manage my time so I can take care of my responsibilities and still have time for the things I want to do, like running, playing music and reading.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Flashback Friday: Cold Deal

Amid historic cold weather, the Viper Lair has been beset by a cold virus. Baby's first cold has been a difficult ordeal. The last two nights, he has woken up several times during the night. Mrs. Viper has been a saint, sacrificing her own sleep to take care of him. It doesn't help that we've both been fighting off our own nagging symptoms for more than a week. Add some car trouble to the mix, and it has not been a fine time this week.

But today it's warming up. Hit the reset button. There are better days ahead.

My goal this week is still two runs. It's already Friday, and have so far completed zero runs. With a sick baby and a tired wife at home, it's going to be tough justifying a run today. Sometimes you have to be OK with failure. But who knows, maybe I'll surprise you.

Back Talk
Wherein the movie is not the book

Miss Zippy chimes in at our recent book club meeting: "Huge Coen Brothers fan…can't wait to see the movie. And haven't read the book, so that will help, b/c you're right--movies never live up to the books."

Answer: Just to be clear, Inside Llewyn Davis is not meant to be the movie adaptation of The Mayor of MacDougal Street. Part of the book was used as inspiration, but otherwise it is an original Coen Brother's film. They said in an interview that it was also based on Homer's The Odyssey (as was O Brother, Where Art Thou?). As far as I know, No Country for Old Men is the only book adaptation they've done.

Happy Hour is nearly upon us, teammates! Enjoy the weekend. Run well and drink well. Cheers!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Boozy Book Club No. 16

Just as expected, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, by Dave Van Ronk, was my 12th book of 2013, meeting my goal at the zero hour. Coincidentally, my local NPR station was giving away tickets to see a preview screening of Inside Llewyn Davis the week before Christmas, and I scored two seats for Mrs. Viper and I to have a rare date night.

The book was a fun read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in New York City during the 1960s or the folk revival period in general. However, it colored my viewing of the movie in a negative light. I came out of the theater feeling a bit disappointed, and I later realized it was because I was expecting it to be more like the book, which was a major mistake.

Although the Coen Brothers used certain anecdotes from Van Ronk's memoir, it was not a biopic nor an historical rendering. The movie was not about the era, but rather used it as a setting for a story about a downtrodden musician struggling to find meaning in his life after losing his partner. It's about coping with loss, letting go of the past, and trying to make a living as an artist.

After thinking more critically about it, I find myself more appreciative of the film. I only wish I could see it again in the theater, but it'll have to wait until it reaches the home video market.

The 2014 Reading List
Just as in the past few years, my goal for this year is once again to read one book per month. Right now, I'm reading a short story collection by the recent Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, called Friend of My Youth, which has been in my collection for who knows how long.

You may know that I'm a recovering chronic book buyer. From the time I was in college until I became acquainted with debt, I'd go trawling discount and used book stores and library sales and buy stacks of books at a time.

I can't tell you how many books I own from this period that I still haven't read. This Munro book is one of those. I think it was purchased from a library in Chicago, when a friend and I went to visit his brother and attend the Chicago Comic Con, but I may have gotten it elsewhere.

I've never read any of Munro's work, and I've never seen this particular collection mentioned among her best, but I thought I'd read it since she just won the Nobel. So far, it's pretty good. I'm only on the second story. The book sits atop a shelf in our upstairs bathroom, so that probably tells you A.) way too much and B.) how much effort I'm investing in reading right now. But it's winter, which is when my reading typically picks up steam.

From past experience *coughCivilWarReadingListcough* I know not to try to plan out a year's worth of reading. It's impossible to predict what kind of mood I might be in. I do know I want to read The Hard Way on Purpose, the new book by local author David Giffels (whose previous book I reviewed here), but beyond that I'll read whatever strikes my fancy this year. Any suggestions?

What are you reading this cold January? What do you have on your to-read list this year? Let me know in the comments!