Weekly Updates: Burned Out on Running + American Blogger + Scar Boys

Weekly Updates: Burned Out on Running + American Blogger + Scar Boys


Franklin cat hiding out, which is exactly how I feel about running this  Half Marathon
Franklin cat hiding out, which is exactly how I feel about running this Half Marathon

Life: Running Burn Out

The Brooklyn Half is three weeks away! And I am so burned out on running and training and just thinking about this race.

A few weeks ago I started getting shin splints, slowed down my training, then took a full rest week. Getting back into a routine has been difficult. The nicer weather means less time at the gym, which has actually been a difficult adjustment for me. Going to the gym made for a good schedule. It’s much harder to get myself motivated to run outside when I have “all day long” to do it. At the gym, I would only go during certain times when I knew it wouldn’t be busy. I also enjoyed the predictability of the gym. I understand that is why a lot of people don’t like it. But it helps to reduce anxiety.

Needless to say, my training has become erratic, which is basically how I used to “train” for my past races. I still feel strong though. And the shin splints have gone away finally. I have a loose plan to do a long run this weekend, speed work next week, then some shorter runs in the two weeks leading up to the race.

One thing I’ve learned by formally training for this race, was that I started much too soon. Waiting to start 3-4 weeks later would have been better for me.

I’ve also decided to take pressure off myself on goal time. Last month I PR’d a 5K but wasn’t even excited about it because I didn’t hit my goal time. Why? Because I made a completely unrealistic goal time! That’s not the kind of attitude I want. I don’t want to ignore PR’s because of some unattainable goal I set for myself. So, I’ve decided to be realistic. Sure, PR-ing would be great, but I just want to have fun and run this the best I can. I have ran this race before and I know the course. There are people I know running it too and I will have friends cheering me on. It’s going to be fun. I just need to remind myself of that!

Life: MTG Grand Prix in Philly

The trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, is a casual hobby of mine. I’ve been playing for six years. Last year I learned a different format called EDH (or Commander), which I really enjoy. There are tournaments called Grand Prix’s every weekend all over the world put on by the game company, Wizards of the Coast. Philadelphia and New Jersey host the two events closest to NYC. So I thought it’d be fun to check out the one in Philly.

Last time in Philadelphia was to cheer on my friend Cipriana during the Philadelphia Marathon. This was a more low-key trip but still included cheesesteaks!

For what it’s worth, we ate at Pat’s for cheesesteaks. Geno’s felt too “times square” to me.

I had expected to play MTG all day Saturday then roam around Philly all day Sunday. But it turns out, I had a lot of fun playing MTG! I was at the convention center for almost 8 hours both days. On Saturday I took a “lunch” break to go get ice cream at the Reading Terminal Market.

I didn’t compete at all and only went to play EDH casually with new people. There were vendors there but everything was solely MTG oriented. It was pretty nice, actually. I am used to giant conventions like Comic Con that have a whole slew of different sub-genres and pop-culture related things represented. But at this it was only Magic. There weren’t other trading card game vendors, only magic.

Even as a casual player, I liked knowing that I could walk up to anyone and start a conversation about the game. It was neat being in a room with over two thousand people who all had at least one shared interest. Considering the tournament only costs money if you compete and the bus from Philly was $11, I’d definitely consider going again..

Games: Minecraft

Reminding myself in Minecraft about scary creepers
Reminding myself in Minecraft about scary creepers

The video game Minecraft has been taking up too much of my time lately. Now that I have a laptop that can run it, I made the poor decision of just “checking it out”. Four hours later…

If you’re not familiar with the game it’s sort of a combination of The Sims + RPG + Zombies.

People have made some incredible creations using Minecraft’s build mode. But you can also play it as a game where you build a house then craft items like an oven, bed, fences. You can farm wheat and bake bread & cakes. You can breed chickens to get eggs. You also mine underground for more resources. You can craft a sword then kill zombies with it. You can craft a bow & shoot arrows at skeletons.

It is weird that the pc version has no tutorial and you just get thrown into things. But that is probably what makes it so fun. Lots of open world play.

Books: The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

Reading “The Scar Boys” was extremely enjoyable. It took me one day of three train rides and a doctor’s waiting room to finish it. The story wasn’t predictable and I found myself truly interested in the plot development and characters.

This is a good ole fashioned coming of age tale told through the plot device of “high schoolers starting a band.” The beginning actually reminded me of Alex Woods Versus The Universe because both deal with a young boy who gets struck by something falling from the sky. Alex Woods gets hit by a meteorite. Harry, in The Scar Boys, gets struck by lightning.

While both coming of age stories begin the same way, they split from there. The Scar Boys has it’s predictable moments but they are supposed to be predictable. The atmosphere within a high school punk band is supposed to be volatile. Ego’s are supposed to explode. Testosterone is supposed to be overflowing. Those situations are described perfectly.

The 1980’s nyc punk scene makes for an interesting setting of The Scar Boys. It doesn’t get into it too much but enough to set a tone. It also helps the reader relate to the sound & energy of the band. I could picture the bunch of high schooler’s excited to scream & rock out on stage at CBGB’s.

The ending comes full circle, shows that everyone has grown, but leaves out a lot of the obvious sentimental emotions that these types of stories end with. It’s not the happiest of endings but it’s a perfect ending of the story.

I recommend this if you like coming of age stories about teenagers or stories that are fueld by punk/rock music (each chapter is a song title). Rating: 4/5

Movies: American Blogger

I watched the whole movie. It was very boring (I say this as a blogger myself). I had never heard of any of the women interviewed before (it was all women). Well, maybe I had but I don’t really know because none of them mentioned their blogs by name. In fact, no credentials were listed next to names unless the woman ran a business. And then it wasn’t clear if the woman was only a business owner, or a blogger, or both.

My real caveat with the film (other than the slow pace and choppy editing) is that I actually wanted to hear these women’s stories. I love personal stories! I watch the Olympics solely for the stories! But we didn’t get to hear any stories in this film.

I learned that some bloggers get things for free. I learned that you can shill products on your blog. I learned that you can promote your blog on Facebook. I learned that we are all connected. I learned how to take photos of yourself in a parking lot. I learned how to take photos of food outside. I learned how to swing your kids in a circle and jump on a trampoline in slow motion.

But all of the personal stories were either vague or out of context. None of the women introduced themselves or their stories. A simple “I lost my first child and writing about it was helpful” was never said. Instead, the editing cut to the middle of the conversation, “Blogging has really helped me, especially after that first loss, I was glad to talk about it.”

Knowing nothing about these women, I had to guess what their stories were. Which defeats the entire premise of the movie.

Internet: Links

Random links brought to you by Scarface cat
Random links brought to you by Scarface cat

Web Design
Inside The Black Box Of Web Design Pricing – Jeff Archibald

Big Banking
PNC Overdraft Class Action Settlement Refunds Go Out – Top Class Actions

Response to Fat Shaming
Should a former anorexic be allowed to criticize the obese? – Fashionista

Gaming Community
Cards Against Humanity and the art of hyper-local crowdsourcing – Polygon

Data Presentation
Data looks better naked – Dark Horse Analytics

Oven Baked Avocado “Fries” – Kara Cooks


7 Replies to “Weekly Updates: Burned Out on Running + American Blogger + Scar Boys”

  1. I bought the movie last night, and I wish I read your post before I bought it! It really was pretty boring. I knew one blogger in that documentary– that’s it. I didn’t like that all the bloggers pretty much were the same. They all blogged about their wonderful life or a specific topic: fashion, cooking, etc. Not all American Bloggers are like that. Diversity would have been great.

    1. The lack of diversity wouldn’t be such a gripe if the documentary was great otherwise. We would probably be saying, “Great film, everyone should watch it! Hopefully next time there will be more of a variety of bloggers.” But unfortunately the film isn’t all that good or interesting. Blogging, as an actual job, is boring. Who wants to watch people talk about their job?

    1. Oh that is neat! What type of collection does he have? I actually don’t like deck-building so much. Have you participated in a draft? I love the idea of it but am so bad at building a deck, I tend not to do it too much. I do really like the EDH format though and mostly because the singleton decks are easier for me to think about in my head (though more costly, unfortunately).

      I’m also glad to hear that you have this shared interest! I’ve wavered on whether or not to talk about mtg on here, since I assumed my audience wasn’t interested, but I’m glad I was proved wrong. In the end, I decided that it’s a hobby of mine I’d like to share with others, anyway.

      1. OK, you will know what this means – he has a booster pack from every set from In the Dark to the present (opened and put into albums), and a huge collection of intro packs, duel decks, deck builders’ toolkits and so on – also has a YouTube channel with lots of unboxings! I haven’t done any drafting except a mock drafting exercise at home with the two of us drafting from boosters. I probably know a lot more about MTG through talking about it, rather than playing, which is an odd perspective!

        1. This is so fascinating to me! I love the idea of MTG cards being worth something, like an investment. I have friends who will stock up on certain cheap cards because they think the value will increase at some point. Being that knowledgeable about something to be able to gauge an investment seems amazing. I’m sure you know more about more cards than I do! Since I pretty much play with the same decks over and over.

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