Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Q and A about Fast Food Nation

For those of you not on my mailing list, here's my link to my Fast Food Nation mailbag:

Fast Food Nation: Your Questions and Comments

Here's an excerpt:

I just read the article and interview of the upcoming movie Fast Food
Nation, but one thing is not clear to me. Is there a purpose? What are we
suppose to do with this information? Protest fast food stores, protest
meat packing plants, protest illegal immigrants? Or is it just to say what
a shame and continue as we always have. I will probably not see the movie
because I don't like seeing something like that and walk away feeling
powerless which is what I felt just reading the article.

Renita Howard


It’s a shame that you feel this way but I totally understand how you do. Our system can make one very insignificant. All I can tell you is that you’re not. You can matter. You can make a difference. Actually, just the act of writing in this question matters. It may not feel like much but if everyone does it—and it’s not impossible for this type of thing to occur—than “the machine” or whatever you want to call that which makes you feel helpless, will react. It has to, no matter what system of government is set up for the populace to live by. In our system, it’s even easier. If you amass enough voices the powers-the-be will listen because, if they don’t, they can and will be replaced.

We tend to think that one person can’t make a difference but, when you look at history, it’s always one person that makes a difference. Not alone, of course, but one person always starts the proverbial ball rolling, if you will. When you look at people like Gandhi, or Rosa Parks, or Karen Silkwood, you don’t have people who were trying to change the world. They were simply standing up for themselves, their rights, and/or their close circle of friends which just happened to steamroll into something bigger than they imagined.

Stand up and make yourself heard. You matter.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Birthday Challenge Itinerary

"This is gonna hurt"

I'm not ready for this in any way, shape, or form, but it's time for a challenge so,

This Friday, beginning at 5am, I'll have 24 hours to complete the following:

- 460 point bouldering day*
- Ride 46 miles with 4,600' of elevation gain (Figueroa Mtn)
- Run for 46 minutes uphill with 460 X 4 of elevation gain, and run back down, totally 9.2 kilometers of running (summit of Refugio Rd)
- 46 46-second sets of Zissou-approved "these are great" warm-ups
- Drink 40 ounces of wine "Pour the wine over here. He doesn't know anything about wine."
- Drink 6 Camparis, "on the rocks," poured by an intern
- Smoke 4 pipe loads of Borkum Riff "I don't usually try grass"
- Eat 46 sardines and bananas

Anyone who cares to join me, is more than welcome,


Follow the entire challenge at:

Birthday Challenge Blog

* Point scale for boulder problems. All done at Red Rocks.

V0- = 1
V0 = 2
V0+ = 3
V1 = 4
V2 = 5
V3 = 6
V4 = 7
V5 = 8


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fast Food Nation Reviews

I really like Richard Linklater, the director of Fast Food Nation, because no matter what pop culture, market research, or his distributors tell him he continues to make movies where people talk. I don't mean talk as in "Hasta la vista, baby," or some other cliche-ridden "isn't that clever" marketing jargon, but TALK, as in conversations; the kind that were common place before TV, the Internet, and X-Boxes.

In Fast Food Nation, the film's message is mainly delivered through words. Sure, there's sex, and violence, and even a special effect, but for Linklater's film to be truly affecting it requires the audience to listen. And if they do, they will be rewarded. It's a gamble that I hope will pay off because it's a story that we need to hear. And within his story is an underlying hope--or perhaps just blind faith--that an audience will watch a film about real people dealing with real issues.

There are no true good guys or bad guys in the film. In an interview with my friend, Denis (link below) he says,

"It's like, hey, everyone's doing their best in this world, you know?"

His characters, like all of us, are all flawed. The good aren't all good, nor the bad all bad, which is something mainstream movie goers, particularly in the USA, seem to have a problem with. Maybe it's because we don't watch movies to watch people in conflict because we get enough of that in our own life.

But to me, at least, this is a great statement of optimism and belief in our society; that we will, when given the choice, choose to listen, think, and make our own decisions. Even in a film that shows life to be pretty bleak, it's a very optimistic view of the world.

Here is Denis' interview with Richard Linklater and writer Eric Schlosser.

Here is his review.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Anyone Can Now Comment On...


It was brought to my attention that you needed to have your own blog to comment. Oops. Sorry - I don't know a lot about blogging. I didn't mean to not be accessible, though most people reading this probably know how to contact me anyway. Well, I've fixed it. The public forum is now public, and you can tell me if there's something you've got issues with.

Now, I'm out for an easy 10,

Monday, November 13, 2006

Birthday Challenge Blog Is Up

My 2006 Birthday Challenge blog is up. It's both instrutions for other challengers on doing their blogs but also some history, which I'll past below as well.

I Thought It Up In A Dream, Actually

Birthday Challenges have been going on for a long time. The first I heard of them were through Jack LaLanne. I started doing my own in the mid 80s, which you can read about here (add link by clicking on the hyperlink icon above and adding your link.)

Since I set this site up they've become a lot more creative. Here are some good examples:

Reed 2000

Todd 2001

Hans 2004

Josh 2005

They've also gotten a lot harder.

Todd 2006

And how could they not, with training programs like this:

Bob's training schedule, 2000

But the point, really, is to challenge yourself. "Hard" is relative and truly only means hard for you. Running a marathon may be a warm up for Catra, but is an epic undertaking for most people. A birthday challenge is worthy as long as it's hard for you. It really doesn't matter what it's like for anyone else.

But by hard I mean HARD for you. If you know you can do it, it isn't a challenge. Like the Big Daddy likes to say, "if you can afford to lose it, it ain't gambling." Ditto for a challenge. They key to this is the unknown. You should go in with no idea about whether you can make it or not. Truly, some of the best challneges fail. But success, or failure, isn't point point, which is to get out there and chase the hairy edge as defined by you. Ultimately, what you're after is the feeling of why haven't I done a birthday challenge before?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hamburger Facts To Chew On

Next week our Beachbody newsletter will have a review of Fast Food Nationas well as an interview with Richard Linkletter and Eric Schlosser. While you're waiting, here
are some facts to chew on.

Bon Appetit!

Fast Food Facts
Courtesy of Fast Food Nation

Americans eat about 13 billion hamburgers a year. If you put all those burgers
in a straight line, they would circle the earth more than 32 times.

Americans currently spend about $134 billion dollars per year on fast food –
more than they spend on college education, computers, software or new cars.

The typical American child sees 20,000 junk food ads a year

One out of every five American toddlers eats French fries every day.

Four major meatpacking firms slaughter nearly 85% of the nation’s cattle, and
the majority of the nation’s beef comes from thirteen large slaughterhouses.

Meatpacking is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. In 2001, the
rate of serious injury was three times higher than that in a typical American

Every year, about 76 million Americans are sickened by something they ate.

At a modern processing plant, a single cow or steer infected with E:coli:O157:H7
can contaminate 32,000 pounds of meat.

A typical fast food hamburger can contain pieces of hundreds, if not thousands
of cattle.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You Want Lies With That?

There's some great teaser footage on My Space. Check it out:

Fast Food Nation clips

See Fast Food Nation For Free

If you're reading this, you probably care about your health. If this is the case, you've got to get out and see Fast Food Nation. Hey, you should read it, too, but it's easier to squeeze a couple of hours into a busy schedule. And if you head to their site:

Fast Food Nation

They'll give you some free tickets. Now you can't even use money as an excuse. Seeing this movie could, literally, save your life.

Check out our Beachbody newsletter too. Denis just interviewed filmmaker Richard Linkletter and writer Eric Schlosser so we'll have an exclusive next week. You can sign up, for free, on the bottom right of

Dealing with Injury

In the scheme of things, my back is only a minor annoyance. However, I'm not that good a typist on my back, plus, not exercising makes me irritable. Anyway, I'm probably mainly still injured because I'm stupid as each day that I've felt okay I've done more than I should have and wound up on my back.

I am getting great treatment: a combination of acupunture, chiroprtactic, and massage. This, along with yoga, ice, stretching has me, as usual, thinking that I should make these practices a more regular part of my life. In fact, the last time I did yoga regularly was recovering from a back injury. This is probably why I usually come back from injury stronger than I was before. Will I learn this time and be more proactive about my recovery? Probably not, but maybe writing this will help you to do it.

Anyway, as part of my recovery I went bouldering the other day at a place I hadn't been in years. It was sublime. I haven't been pysched to boulder in a long time but was having such a great time I was talking to Tuco about the great session we were having to the point that had anyone else been there they'd truly have thought me insane. Me, bouldering and him, chasing rocks at his favorite place on earth. Here's a pic of the Rat, twelve years later, still looking pretty damn fit.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Best Bouldering Day of the Year

I'm back in Ca, getting my back worked on in hopes of actually being able to support my girlfriend in her upcoming 100 mile race. Since race support of this kind means more than just the usual (I'm supposed to run 40 miles), I'm in need of some quick healing.

All was well going very well so the other did I hit up Red Rock, one of my old bouldering haunts. It was a bit sad at first, since the area has been getting virtually no traffic and the routes were dirty