Saturday, March 31, 2007


So I finally bit the bullet, and took Joe up on his challenge to box. I was felling pretty good today after a hard 3 mile run with Boscoe, and I had a little extra energy. He has been wanting to do it for awhile, and I just thought I should stop putting it off.

See, Joe knows a lot of wannabe boxers, and we met in the boxing section of my store. I told him I had an interest in the sport, and we have been hanging out ever since. We did some workouts together, but I kept dodging the match. I am old, he is young, I am fat and slow, he is cut and fast. The science just pointed to him kicking my ass.

So I bought him a pink mouthguard, just to level the playing field. We went three rounds, and he won two, for sure.

The first round I felt good. It was slower than I remembered, even though he was much faster than I was. He wasn't throwing any combos, so I took advantage. I timed a good one to his body that really ought to have hurt him more than it did, and followed it up with a stinger. I got him a nice one to the nose. I really felt I was ahead. He got me on the chin, but it was really just a searching punch.

Then the second round came. It was really his fight. I would honestly score that round 10-8. Seriously. Chin music all day long. I was not moving my head, and he was hitting his marks. One punch made me feel like I was going to get starry eyed. I kept him off with combos, and he had to cover a lot, or he probably would have put me to the deck.

The third round was really more of us staying back, but he put one to my chops that, if he would have followed it with ANYTHING (a stiff breeze) would have been a knockout punch. I was lucky it didn't go four. It probably wouldn't have gone to term, anyway.

And it was fun. I didn't have breathing problems, I felt like I had good movement in my legs, and I was hitting my combos. He was just fast enough to make those miss enough to take some sting off them, and I wasn't fast enough to turn his. I learned that I need to work on my head movement a lot, and probably fight more upright against a shorter opponent. And I actually thought I did better than I would have, considering I am so damned out of shape. With time, and a key injury to Joe's knees while he sleeps, I could at least make it a fair fight.

We worked out afterwards, but the adrenaline let us down after a few short sets. No one broke anything, and we are still friends, so it was all in fun.

Next time, if I am that stupid, I am wearing lead gloves, and headgear.

And he has to fight blindfolded.

With pink gloves.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Reign Over Me

My wife and I just decided since we have not been to the movies in some time, we would go on this rainy Sunday. Since I do not like "scary movies" and we didn't think TMNT looked all that appealing, we chose Reign Over Me, with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.

The plot line is quite loaded: a man loses his whole family in a 9/11 planecrash, and his old college roommate tries to help him pick up the pieces. While doing so, he learns to assert himself, and so picks up his own life. Beyond the 9/11 twist, it is basically a male bonding story much like any other.

That, alone, is not enough to condemn it though. Both Sandler and Cheadle do a great job with what they are given. The dialogue, while unnecessarily heavy at times, is delivered by both in an easy and believable way.

And that night just be where the trouble starts. If the acting was subpar maybe we would care less that the story is so disjointed and the characters so lightly drawn. But the acting draws us in and leaves us wanting to connect with the characters. This wish goes largely unfulfilled.

It seems the movie spends too much time bouncing between the two characters, and as a result we never get much from either. The big reveals all seem written in as an afterthought, and too obvious, as if, on our own, we would not get it.

And the introduction of a love interest just minutes before conclusion does little to let us know things will be ok, and more to let us know that the run time was getting long, and things needed to be wrapped up. OK, both characters will be fine, but how in the world did we get there?

And it is that question that incapsulates the movie as a whole: we are left wondering how much more we xould have known, if only the film would have taken us there.


Saturday, March 10, 2007


Look out Nick Cage, Joshua Page is in town!

This morning I went out to my car, quite early, to go to work. My key would not turn the ignition. I tried again. I tried harder. I tried HARD. Nothing. The thing would not turn. I went to take the key out, and the whole damned ignition tumbler came with it.

Now, either I am the strongest man alive (which is what Joe thinks) or something was wrong with the ignition to start with. Flash back to a few weeks ago, when my car was broken into, and you can probably guess what I am thinking.

Be that as it may, I still had the problem of getting my car started. I had to get to work, because my boss was out of town, and I knew he would call at precisely 9 am to see if I was there. Yes, he does that. No, I don't like it. So what is a guy to do?

Well, I tried the key a few more times, in futility, with the tumbler sort of attached. That, you may already know, does not work. I tried forcing it to turn with a screwdriver. That didn't work, either. But it did remind me of something I had heard of from my hoodlum days. It is called the "Chicago Punch." And it works like this: You take a screwdriver, stick it into the ignition, then bang on it with a hammer until it strips everything out and you can turn the thing.

Yeah, that wasn't happening. I banged that like Anna Nicole Smith banged rich old guys (what, too soon?). It didn't budge. And I knew what I would have to do.

I called my wife to come pick me up for work.

Ok, Ok, that's not what I had to do to fix the car, but I really needed to get to work. And work was long, and all I could think about was the stupid car and we had to get into it, because the other car was going to the shop for body work and we didn't want to hassle with a rental and that's the whole reason we got two cars in the first place and and and. . .

And finally it was time to go home and fix it. I needed a star hex to get into the ignition housing, so I went to Wal-Mart (yup) and picked up a set. And then I had to pop two tabs out of the ignition, with a screwdriver and a hammer (thanks, Chicago!), and that was that. It is really easy to steal a car, folks. And now it is easier to steal mine.

All told, it took me about 45 minutes. With practice, and a little luck, I could get that down to a good two minutes. If I carried a spare ignition I could even do it in one. And with no visible damage.

Now, I just need to pick up a cool leather jacket and a copy of "Lowrider"


Monday, March 05, 2007


...has been delayed. I received it today, from an Ebay auction, to find it had an unclear ESN. I was told this doesn't necessarily mean it was stolen, but it does make it unusable.

Luckily, the people I bought it from are wholesalers, and they have plenty more. They have already shipped out a new one, and I should get it Wednesday. (Which, around here, means Thursday).

And from what I can tell, the phone is very nice. The screen is huge and bright, and the programs I loaded while waiting for it to charge all ran fast and smooth. I am looking forward to actually having one of these phones.

But here's the rest of the story:

I called the Sprint people to activate the phone, and was passed around to different techies, all of whom could not tell me why my phone would not work. They got it to accept my number, and they got it to show up on the system, but I could not send or receive calls.

Finally, they put me on with the super duper top of the line, last stop for things that are broken tech, Gary.

Gary had me download an updated driver, and we thought it was going to work. I could clear the ESN and put my number in, but I still could not receive or send calls. CLOSE! But the drivers and updates took about 20 minutes to load. That meant I was on the phone, with a techie, for 20 minutes without anything to talk about.

Turns out Gary went to the boyscout camp where my In-Laws live. Small world. I said so, and he agreed. And he has actually been to Bemidji. Wow.

That conversation took about two minutes, which means we had more time to kill. I excused myself to go use the bathroom, two more minutes gone. Then there was some dead air. Then some more. And Finally Gary asked me this:

"What do you call someone who is half Pakistani, half Minnesotan"..."Yassir Youbetcha"

I know. I know. And he was here all week, folks. But he had another one.

"What is the difference between the French Flag and the French War Flag?"

"The French War Flag does not have red or blue." ZING.

He had a lot of them. But at least it passed the time. I guess.

I think when the new phone arrives, I am going to ask for Gary again.