Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Don't Buy Green Bananas 

17 Apr 1970, New York, New York, USA — Boston's heroes, Bobby Orr (l), Derek Sanderson and Wayne Cashman (r) relax in dressing room at Madison Square Garden — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I play hockey most Monday nights. One night, I had to rent a car to get there so I thought I'd better have a good game. I did. Actually scored a goal (Peter Forsberg-esque walking out from behind the net) and set up a couple of nice ones. For some reason I was into it more. My eyes were open and I was skating well.

Afterward, I looked around the dressing room at the mixed bunch. Some were young and fit but most were aging, and struggling over their paunch to untie their skates. It really makes you think. Mostly I wonder, "Do I look like that?" I also wonder how long I'm willing to go on with this. I need new skates, but is it worth it? How many more games do I have left in me? I'm starting to wondering if it's even worth getting my skates sharpened. I'm like the old lady who, upon hearing a policy will take ten years to take effect, tells a political candidate, "Sonny, I don't buy green bananas."

Last year I had to miss a few games, but in the meantime I swam, biked, and ran. I felt great. I went back to hockey and immediately felt like crap. Lately, I've got over that "hangover" feeling, but I'm not sure if it's because I'm in better shape or I just play slower. I suspect the latter. Oddly, with biking I've found it demands some abdominal and leg strength that it actually doesn't build. In fact, it's recommended you do supplemental exercise to help your biking, things like sit-ups or, hold on to your hat, skating. I started biking to help my skating, now I'm skating to help my biking? It's this sort of exercise loop that will, sometime in the future, kill Chris Chelios (I can see the future headline: Former Hockey Pro Died Like He Played, Exerting Himself).

Am I exercising to stave off the demons of aging or am I only making the matter worse? It's hard to say, but I know when I'm going over 50 KM/hr on my bike, I feel fantastic, or after a 5 KM run I feel like I sweated out every poison or after a 1000 m swim I feel I could finally sleep soundly. It may sound like a bumper sticker, but exercise is my Ritalin. Everyone needs an outlet. I don't know if I knew that 20 years ago, but I know it now and I hope I can keep it up for another 20.

I guess I'm not the only 40-something trying to cling to youth through exercise.

A particularly funny thing from this article is the British term for this type of weekend warrior; MAMIL – Middle Aged Men In Lycra.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Between Peter and Paul 

St. Peter's Anglican Church

Last weekend I took the new bike out for a roll. I went on my regular route but I took a little side trip into the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus and discovered it's a bit of hidden gem, or maybe everything looks good in Autumn colours. Tucked away from the main thoroughfare is St. Peter's Anglican Church built in the 19th century. For some reason it seemed funny to happen across a church named St. Peter. It even seemed funny to me that for years, living in the Goulds, I would ride past our church, St. Paul's. I even learned to ride a bike in St. Paul's gravel parking lot. It seemed fitting then to take a little respite on the grounds of this St. Peter's.

Me, bike
Me, bike.

The week before I road as hard as I could to see what I could do on a better bike. I did 70km in 3 hours. Not a land speed record by any stretch, but not bad for me. I think my average speed was around 24.5km/hr which was about a 2km/hr improvement meaning I would probably finish my previous longest ride 12 minutes faster. So New Bike Peter is 12 minutes faster than Old Bike Peter. I guess the bike only gives you so much. The rest is up to your legs and lungs. Last weekend's ride was not intended to be a hard or fast ride, but I did notice something. My first 20km took about 55 minutes (my previous fastest was 49 minutes), but that first 20km is through traffic and traffic lights with plenty of starts and stops, but my next 20km is mostly up Mississauga Road with few stops and it took less than 30 minutes. It tells me that I should stop worrying about my times so much because the route itself affects those times and there's only so much a good piece of equipment can do for you. Which is pretty much why I've never spent $200 on a hockey stick.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Seen in September 

Jon Hamm walks to the set of Mad Men via The Rolling Stone

Mad Men season 4 cont'd
Oh Don Draper, when will you learn? Covering one lie with another does nothing but put you deeper in the hole. Maybe that's okay if the hole you've dug has plenty of pretty secretaries, a full liquor cabinet, nice suits and swell New York restaurants.

Weeds, Season 1
More Kevin Nealon please. This show of an upper middle class white lady resorting to selling pot to keep paying her bills (a lease on a Land Rover, an oversized Cali-McMansion and a house keeper) hasn't quite clicked for me yet. There's not enough urgency in her situation nor enough difficulty. Like Jesus, I can see the appeal but I'm not sure it's something I'd line up for (ok, I stole that line from "Community", a show which I miss).

The Headless Woman
A strange enigmatic film. A woman, Veronica, hits and kills a dog while driving on a deserted road. Yet she is convinced that she has killed a person. We see her behaving strangely and trying to carry on though in an almost disembodied state (a hint at the title perhaps). Her husband tries to calm her but is unsure himself. When the body of a boy is discovered in a canal near where the caninacide occurred, Veronica believes it's the person whom she killed, despite evidence to the contrary. Apparently the movie carries many subtexts concerning Argentina's political past and Argentinian's complicity in the violent events that took place and their willful ignorance of those crimes. How would you know any of this? The film gives you nothing to work with. I refer to the character as Veronica, yet I only know that from reading a review, a review that seemed party to a whole lot more information than the film actually contains. It's almost impossible to know who is a husband, a brother, an in-law (cousin?). The director has said the film was inspired by a recurring dream of feeling responsible for someone's death and it's easy to see as the film has an odd surreal feeling. Like a dream it floats along often with little exposition, unrelated scenes follow after a tense build-up with little consequence, complicated familial relationships remain unexplained, and the whole thing ends unsatisfactorily.

Death of a Cyclist
An upper class but poorly paid math professor and his wealthy married mistress hit and kill a cyclist while returning from a rendez-vous. To keep their affair secret they leave the accident without reporting it. Beautifully filmed, this story apparently tells of the societal discontent of 1950's Spain. Apparently a lot of Spanish films are about class separation and past politics (The Headless Woman, The Secret in Their Eyes).

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Incredibly theatrical production full of swashbuckling stunts that generally bored the Hell out of me with its hammy acting. Do British forests have long vines you could swing from? Oddly, the script from this film is the oldest written version of the Robin Hood myth.

Lord of War
Nicholas Cage is great in this story of a gun runner (loosely based on a real gun runner, Viktor Bout, currently incarcerated in Thailand) who becomes incredibly successful at this highly immoral business because he's "good at it". The movie does a pretty good job of mixing political rhetoric & reality in a fairly entertaining narrative. Of course, Africa comes out looking like the most horrible place on the planet though I think the idea was to show it as the most exploited place on the planet. At times the plot seems entirely unbelievable until you read anything about Viktor Bout.

Friends With Money
A film I've wanted to see since seeing Please Give, from the same director. Let's call it an experiment. I've been watching it via Netflix on my laptop and iPhone. I've watched from the couch, in bed and from the dining room table. Why? I don't know why it took so long to watch. Probably because it is sort of hard to watch. I really like how Holofcener can turn comedy into complexity on a dime, and make awkwardness touching or hurtful. It's funny how rare films are like this but still it doesn't feel like a chick-flick nor is it easily labeled. Really enjoyed it. Scott Caan played a perfect arsehole perfectly.

Labels: ,