Friday, February 29, 2008

When is that Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Day?


Disney is still tight-lipped about releasing Song of the South. This came up at a shareholder's meeting a while back when Disney spoke of their upcoming film The Princess and the Frog. They were proud to announce that this movie would introduce their first African American princess. But when questioned about Song of the South, CEO Bob Iger would simply say that they were evaluating the situation. Since the announcement of the new movie, there has been loads of controversy. A name change from The Frog Princess to the current title of The Princess and the Frog. Also, they changed the new princess's name from Maddy to Tiana, and she will no longer begin her journey as a chambermaid. This was all due to increasing accusations of a racial slant.

This is here and now, but what about Song of the South? This 1946 film contains themes and speech that are viewed as very stereotypical. It has never had a home release in the United States, although it has gone on sale in other places around the world. My father has a VHS tape that is the complete movie in English, but there are Japanese subtitles during all of the songs.

I think Disney needs to take a page from their own book. The Walt Disney Treasures Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume Two DVD set has a "from the vault" section which includes shorts that are deemed to be stereotypical of African Americans and other ethnicities. When you go to this section of the DVD, there is an introduction by Leonard Maltin -- an introduction that you cannot skip nor fast forward through. The points he makes about these shorts are very applicable to the Song of the South situation...

"Cartoons made in the 1930s and '40s contained gags and characterizations that reflect attitudes and prejudices of their time. Some of those ideas would be absolutely unacceptable today. Whether they involve racial or ethnic stereotypes or crude behavior that came under the heading of barnyard humor.
...
Some people would sweep films like this under the rug; pretend they never existed. We certainly wouldn't want children to get the wrong idea by seeing some of those stereotypes. But, Disney fans and enthusiasts should be able to enjoy them in tact. And concerned parents might use this opportunity to talk about the way things were many years ago and just how far we've come since then."

Using their own logic, Disney should have no qualms about releasing their classic feature. They could put a similar message on the Song of the South disc. I'm sure they know that the title would sell; this is not a money issue. They fear the public backlash that might arise by bringing this movie back into the public spotlight.

I say to Disney, Give us Song of the South. It is a classic piece of work that Disney and film enthusiasts would love to own. As Mr. Maltin stated, it could be used as an opportunity to educate people (not just kids) about where we've been and the progress we have made in the past 60 years. Similar stereotypes existed in other classic movies that have been widely available, such as Gone with the Wind. Disney did no more than other studios at the time. You can't undo the past, but you can use your past ventures as a way to educate people moving forward.

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Since our last post, Kristin put in another two mile run and I put in another 5k run at 6.5 mph (no walk breaks). Our friends Kyle and Carly have opted out of the full marathon and have signed up for the half, so we will have more company on race day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A visitor from the real Snowy Tundra

Looks like we've now got a companion in our run to Disney. Jeff from the Snowy Tundra of Iowa has decided he will also be running to Disney. It is a 1374 mile journey for him, and he is doing it all by himself. So while Kristin and I are looking to average at least 10 miles per week through the year, Jeff will be averaging over 26 miles per week. Best of luck, Jeff. We look forward to crossing the finish line with you. You can read about Jeff's adventures at http://snowytundratraining.blogspot.com/

Kristin and I ran on Monday night. Two miles for her. A rough 3.2 miles for me. I was varying speeds between 6.0 and 6.6 mph. I had to take two walk breaks. The first was because about a mile in I realized that the treadmill I was on had a balance problem and was wobbling under my feet. I couldn't feel it while at speed, but after a while I could see the unit rocking back and forth in my peripheral vision. It was enough to annoy me off of the machine.

Kristin tried to go again yesterday, but the University was closed for the day because of the Tuesday snow storm that hit us. I heard on the radio yesterday that eight of the last nine snow storms in Northeast Ohio have been on Tuesdays. Seems like a weird statistic. I guess Mother Nature enjoys playing little games like this.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I've got a case of the Monday's


Not too much to report here today. I was feeling a little cheesy this morning, so some feasting rats seemed appropriate. Kristin and I hit the gym separately this weekend. She ran two miles and did some weights. I ran 3.1 miles at 6.5 mph and did some weights. This run was my hardest 5k on a treadmill so far. I've been trying to slowly increase my speed at the 5k distance. This was the first time that the speed increase really affected me. Back to the gym tonight. I'm going to try 6.5 mph again today and see if it goes any better.

Friday, February 22, 2008

With a Name Like...


Smucker's has a decent presence in the Yankee Trader shop in Magic Kingdom. The company used to be right on Main Street with the Market House beginning in 1972. Today, Smucker's can also be found at many of the hotel food courts in the form of Uncrustable sandwiches, plus jams and jellies are available at many dining establishments. I think I need to request a transfer to marketing so that I can get some business trip time at Disney World.

Running went well last night. I put in 3.65 miles at 6.3 mph, with no walk breaks. Kristin put in a 2.75 miles of running. We both did some weights for about a half hour after the run.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weekend Update

So it's been a while since I've posted. Things have been very busy lately, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I've felt that by the time I get through work, piano practice/lessons, and the gym there is no time left. I had been reading regularly, but I haven't been able to find time for that lately. I don't feel stressed, just pressed for time. Hopefully it goes away soon.

We had a rather productive weekend at the gym. We went Friday, Sunday, and Monday. During those three outings, Kristin posted a total of 5.1 miles, and I put in 8.25 miles, which includes a four mile run on Sunday. We also got another pledge for two cents per mile!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The not-so-Tropical Serenade


No, this gentleman is not trying to steal my wife on Valentine's day. He is singing a song welcoming us to his fan club. Within our first five minutes in a park in 2007, we were greeted by this Streetmosphere character who is an aspiring actor. We signed up to be in his fan club, and he rewarded us with a beautiful (ok...it wasn't really beautiful) serenade on Hollywood Boulevard. Kristin is obviously enjoying the show.

I missed Kristin's Tuesday morning run on my last post. She put in 2.25 miles. My 5k run on Monday was at 6.0 mph. I upped it to 6.2 mph last night and managed 3.2 miles without taking a walk break. I had to push a lot harder than on Monday's run, but when it was over I felt like I had a great accomplishment for the day.

Kristin is working on getting up to the 3 mile mark. She has been a bit slower than I on adding distance, but she is making progress. I have no doubt she will be ready by the time our first race rolls around at the end of March. My goal at this point is to start increasing speed while maintaining distance. The 5k I ran last year was at just over a 7 mph pace. My goal for our first 5k this year is to beat my time from the last one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The New Snowy Tundra

The weather is turning bad here in northeast Ohio. The snow is falling and it doesn't look like it will be letting up any time soon. We haven't had a lot of snow this winter, but it looks like we'll be making up for tonight. We bought a snow blower at the start of winter, but we have only used it once so far. That will change today.

After being out and about in the cold weather the past few days, I don't think I am going to run the race on Saturday. It will probably be about 22 degrees at race time. I don't think I can handle that amount of cold. There is the obligatory standing around waiting for the race to start, then the 30 minutes or so of the race itself, then the walk back to the parking deck. When I first heard about the race, the forecast was showing about 35 degrees. Going down 10 degrees from 35 is a huge change. I had planned to run with Dave, but now he will probably be calling me a big wimp for the next week or so.

But on a better note, I ran a full 5k on the treadmill last night without taking a walk break. I made sure not to watch the display on the machine. I think watching it makes the distance feel a lot further because you just keep looking down waiting for every hundredth of a mile to tick off. I kept my eyes on the TVs. I watched about half an episode of Seinfeld and then a couple events on American Gladiators before I checked my progress. At that point, I was past 2.5 miles. And I only felt mentally as if I had run about a mile and a half. The last half mile was rough mentally, but it went fine physically.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

S'more Please


Gotta love the desserts at Le Cellier. The campfire s'mores are always a good choice. Mmmm...s'mores! We are eleven months away from our trip and I am already starting to think about where we are going to eat. I am an eater by nature. I love food. Maybe I should be thinking about the grilled chicken sandwich rather than the s'mores. It's probably a bit healthier. Oh, well. I can always dream.


Today the gym was HOT and HUMID. I started sweating while I was stretching. It was really hard to keep going with the weather. It felt like July in Ohio in that place. Kristin ran two miles and I put in two and a half. We hit some weights after that.

Friday, February 8, 2008

5k

It looks like our plans for our first 5k are changing. One of my coworkers told me about the West End Chili Bowl Classic 5k in Cleveland on February 16. I think we will be running that race. As of now, the forecast is 34 degrees with mostly sunny skies. So apparently when they say chili, they also mean chilly. The chili part is actually at the end of the race, where you get a bowl of West End Tavern chili.

Today was gym day, and I did my first 5k run on the treadmill. OK...it wasn't non-stop 5k. It was a 3.1 mile run, with a couple .25 mi walk breaks added in. But I did maintain a 6.5 mph during all of the running, which is a notch above my normal pace. It took a total of 38 minutes to go those 3.6 miles. I definitely won't be breaking any records at the race. I just hope I can run most of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

All In

We got our ChampionChips in the mail this week. They are just a little physical reminder of the challenge that we have posed to ourselves this year. And it looks like we'll be able to use them at the Canal Park Home Run Trot on March 29. It's weird sometimes how little things can be so exciting.

A quick update on pledges... Currently we have flat donations of $96 and per-mile pledges totaling $0.255. The per-mile may increase, though, based on the results of Dave's Challenge. That puts us so far at a projected total of about $350 contribution for the Dream Team. Thanks to everyone who has pledged money so far.


Running went fairly well for me last night, but Kristin was having trouble breathing after she got going. She put in one mile. I ran 2.75 mi, with a short walk break at the two mile mark.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Weekend

This was a great weekend with lots of friends, but sadly lots of food, too. A friend of ours is moving to North Carolina this week, so we had a going away party Saturday. And of course Sunday was the Super Bowl. Pizza Saturday. Fried chicken and french fries Sunday. I haven't eaten that kind of junk in a while. It tasted so good. But now I've got the guilt going on. Back to diet today. Cereal for breakfast. Small portion of spaghetti and a yogurt for lunch. And I believe Kristin will be making chicken tortilla soup for dinner. I need to make sure not to pick back up on excess snacking. That is the hardest eating habit to kick.

Running went well for me last night. Two and a half miles non-stop; 6.0 mph constant. My best run yet. Then I did some arm and leg workout on the machines. Kristin ran 1.5 miles and also did some weights.

She made a comment this weekend about wanting to try to run the Akron half marathon. She thinks we can be ready by then. The race is in September, so we've got plenty of time to plan and see if we are ready. We would probably need to commit ourselves in July at the latest to make sure we are able to build distance in time for the race.

But in my mind, the first milestone is March 29. There is a 5k in downtown Akron that we will be running. I'm hoping to beat my previous 5k time of 26:16. I don't think it will be a problem. By the time that race rolls around we will have been running for about two and a half months...longer than we had been running before running the Susan G Koman Race for the Cure last September.

Today I received an e-mail from a coworker, Linda, who is a runner. Apparently we have another coworker in Canada that is a running coach on the side. Linda forwarded me some documents from the coach that include a half marathon training guide and a 213 page document with everything you would ever want to know about running -- training programs, shoes, clothing, weather, stretching, running form, nutrition, strength training, race day, mental preparation, the list goes on. I will definitely be reading through this.

We will hit the gym again tonight. I don't know if I have a specific goal in mind for today. This will be the first time that I have run two days in a row. I'm not sure how my body will handle it. I will try for at least two miles of run, but I'm not sure if I will be able to do it without a walk break. Hopefully in the next week or so I will be up to a 5k distance. Then I can start working on building speed over that distance.

Friday, February 1, 2008

January is Done

It's been several days since I've posted. I haven't been to the gym since Saturday. I planned to go Wednesday, but my car was down and Kristin had the other one at work. Then I didn't go yesterday out of sheer laziness. I was pooped. I went to bed around 9:00 last night.

I hit the treadmill today. I typically run between 6 and 7 mph, but today I wanted to try to run a fast mile. I ran at 6 mph to warm up, then cranked it up to 8 mph. I only made it about half a mile before exhaustion started to set in. I slowed down, and ended up with 2.1 run miles. But with two walk breaks...at the 1 and 1.5 mile marks...for a total of just over 3.1 miles. I also did some weights today. I plan work them in regularly moving forward.

Our Shed the Pounds competition ended yesterday. I was the overall winner with a 6.5% weight loss. That is 12.5 lbs since November 1. Not bad. I will admit I have been bad on the diet since the weigh-in yesterday, but I will get back on track. I built a lot of will power concerning food in the last several weeks and I don't plan to lose it now.