Monday, May 31, 2010

Picture of the week - 5/30


Now Walk it by Yourself - This picture was taken last November (2009) by Santi at my 30th Birthday Mantillion Extravaganza.  Up until now, this is one of the best parties I've been to.  I wanted to go out big so I booked a hall (Lone Tree Manor) and threw a big party for 100 of my closest friends that included food, music, and entertainment.  This was the dancing portion of the night, and we were jamming to the "Cupid Shuffle".  It was a night to remember and I thank everyone who made that night so special!

Here's a LINK to all the pictures from that great night

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST: The End

Joe, Ellen, Mary and Ed came by to watch the series finale of LOST tonight.  We first started off with some honey wings from Jewel (a must have at your next gathering) and a monster pizza from Nino's in Buffalo Grove (another staple in any Buffalo Grove Jao gathering).  We ate beforehand so there would be no interruptions during the show.

So instead of going through bullet points about the show, I will just talk in free-form about the show and the series as a whole.

I watched this show juggling two different mindsets.  The first mindset was the pure entertainment factor.  After watching 6 seasons worth of this show, I realized that I simply loved the ride that it took me on.  Whether upset or not, it took me some time to as the show would say "let go" and just enjoy it for what it is, a show.  It isn't supposed to fill any void in my life or be the reason I wake up everyday.  It's supposed to be something that I enjoy.  So midway through this season I did exactly that.  I "let go" and finished the ride.  Now of course the other mindset is to GET ANSWERS.  My co-workers and I went as far as to list a set of questions before this last season started on a white board at work.  Questions like "who was shooting at them in the canoe?" and "who dropped the food on the island?" and "why was Libby in  the sanitarium?" All legitimate questions from the prior seasons.  I allowed the "entertainment" mindset take over this episode just as I did most of this season with the "answers now" mindset only sneaking in when something was revealed or answered.  So here are my two mindset (confusing at times) views on this finale.

The whole time, the alternate timeline was a purgatory for everyone.  According to Christian, it does not exist on any timeline.  People will die, either before you or long after you, but in "the end" you will be with the ones that you love or had meaning in your life.  It seemed very "What Dreams May Come".  Apparently Damon and Carlton denied that the island was a purgatory, apparently they were telling the truth.  It was only after the island exploded in the 1970's that the purgatory was even brought up.  I am going back and forth on whether or not I really like this explanation.  I enjoyed the execution of it and how it all played out, but it kind of felt too easy.  Very Un-LOST like.

I understand Desmond could withstand high levels of electromagnetic energy.  I don't understand why.  Maybe that's the reason people are special...just because they are.  When he went down into the glowing springs and removed that huge stone from the glowing pool, what supposedly happened? I get that it released this electromagnetic energy and I am guessing releasing evil into the world.  Well let's think of what it's called "The Heart of the island".  When the stone was removed, the island kept having earthquakes, it started breaking down.  Obviously this energy had to be kept within the island, and it was simply bleeding out and dying.  When Desmond removed the stone, Jack and Flocke were able to harm each other and ultimately kill each other.  Why is that again? I probably missed it in some previous episode.  Is it because at that point, the island is just an island (a dying island at that) and everyone can die (including Richard)?

I will admit, I did like how each person "realized" that they actually knew each other.  After each character discovered their "real" life, we all tried to figure out how the next character would realize theirs.  Let's be honest, this series has always been about Jack and his journey to redemption.  It was only fitting that he was the last one to realize what was really going.  And it took Locke, Kate, and finally his father's empty coffin to understand what was going on.  I knew when that scene came up, we would finally get answers on what the alternate timeline was.  So now I ask this.  It looks like the only way that one could move on or "let go" from this alternate timeline/purgatory was to realize and accept their own death.  Very "Sixth Sense" of you Damon and Carlton.  Once they let go, they can leave.  Very nice.

Choosing Hurley to protect the island sat much better with me than having Jack protect it.  That was a good moment when Jack told Hurley that he (Jack) believed in him (Hurley) especially since Hurley had just told Jack that several scenes prior.  Flocke said it best that Jack was the obvious choice, but in at least the time before Jack, Jacob did not really have a choice on being the protector.  Jack chose, and that just didn't seem right to me. Hugo didn't really have that choice either.  I gotta admit, I kinda felt bad for Ben, since he was overlooked AGAIN!  At least this time he had direct access to #1.  And come on writers, "You were a real good number two".  I know we're supposed to be adults, but weren't you ever in eighth grade?

I know I mentioned it earlier, but the last 10 minutes were great to me.  On the island, you see Jack who knows he is dying go back to where the whole show started, amongst the bamboo in the middle of the island.  In the alternate timeline, Jack finally realizing that he has died with some help from his father.  For a couple of minutes there, it seemed like he was going to die alone on the island in a very sad ending.  But then comes along Vincent who stays with him, he watches the plane pass over him containing the remaining survivors, and as he opened his eye to start this series, he closes to end it.  Nice...

Thank you LOST for opening the world's eyes to something new for the past six seasons.  I will admit, there are a lot of loose ends that apparently will never get tied up, but I guess that is what you do.  You keep us thinking, even after it's over.  But now it's time to close our eyes and enjoy what we have seen.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pictures of the week - 5/23


Happy Birthday Chloe - I can't believe it's been 7 years since Chloe was born.  This was one of the first shots I took of Chloe when she was born.  Jay and Chelle were still living in Schaumburg and my cousin Joe and his wife Josie were in town from California for a wedding so they got to see Chloe before many of our cousins. And if I remember correctly, Chelle wanted American Idol on the TV in her room at the hospital to see who would win: Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard.  I love this picture because it looks like she's trying to tell me something.  Damn, what was I doing with my hair?!?

..and here she is now...


Jaz says she looks like me.  What do you think?


Friday, May 21, 2010

American Heart Association kickoff meeting

On Thursday (5/20) was the kickoff meeting for the American Heart Association Start! Heart Walk team for the Chicago Marathon by Sears Tower - I won't call it by it's new name.  I was running late but I was able to dial in on my cell so I could listen while I drive through the hell that is 90/94.  I was tweeting back and forth with @cubicledad to tell him I was going to be late.  He said I should make a dramatic entrance.  I was hoping they would ask whoever was on the phone (me) would introduce themselves and then I could pop my head in the room as I was talking.  Didn't quite work out that way.

When I finally got there 15 minutes after it started I was just in time to catch Bernie Salazar talk.  He was the at home winner of the Biggest Loser Season 5.  He lost 130 pounds over the past couple of years, and pretty much cut his weight IN HALF! Can you imagine that? I'm not sure I want to weight half of my heaviest weight (310lbs/2 = 155lbs).  But even just hearing him talk about his struggles with weight loss and his story about his first marathon, it really gives me hope for this year.  I was able to talk to him after the meeting a little bit just to get some tips and a little more inspiration.

They also showed a video of a woman who is a stroke survivor and is still motivated to run.  I pretty much was near tears watching the video.  Unfortunately I forgot her name, (her first name is Phyllis) once I find out, I'll write up a post about her.  Just an amazing story!

Now onto the pictures, and don't forget to check out my donation page:


Me and Dan (@cubicledad)


Me and Bernie Salazar

Me and Bernie Salazar (Biggest Loser Season 5)



American Heart Association Team!


After the meeting was done I walked back to my car in the garage next to SEARS Tower, so I had to snap a quick picture of it...


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"You're my boy Blue"

I just found this picture of Marlon's old dog from several years back - "Blue".  Blue was taken too soon from us.  We miss you, Blue!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Filling the Running Void



I know it is absolutely necessary to do for my training.  It doesn't make it suck any less though.  Every weekend since the beginning of March I have been able to do a long run, each run a little longer than the last.  Of course with this Achilles injury, I had to rest it this weekend, and probably do the same next weekend.  I've already decided to sadly pull out of the Soldier Field 10 Mile race at the end of the month.  I may still go and cheer on the other runners, or Jaz and I may take a quick trip somewhere that weekend with the extended Memorial Day weekend.


So since I wasn't able to run today I decided to try and do SOMETHING towards my training and something that was overdue.  Jaz and I went to Massage Envy by our place.  I requested for Christine again since she was who I had last time (2 months ago) and she was also a runner, so she was able to give me some advice on my workout, stretches, and training.  She was also able to target some common problem areas that runners.  God bless that woman! I ended up becoming a member at Massage Envy since I plan on going back there at least once a month during my marathon training.


After lunch Jaz and I went to walk around Lake Arlington.  This is the lake I have run around numerous times for my long runs.  I remember when we first moved to Buffalo Grove and we stumbled upon this spot, I thought it was just a forever walk just to get one lap in!  But now I just love running laps around it because I remember how far I used to think it was.  This training has really shifted my idea on what I view as "far" now for a run or walk.  Anyways, getting back to today, we played the roll of the slow walkers.  Haha.  Hey, I'm a slow runner, so it's only natural that I am a slow walker as well! We got passed by an old couple probably in their 60s.  I told Jaz that in 30 years, we'll walk that fast, but in the meantime, I'll walk like I have nowhere to go.  It really is a nice little spot there, so I was able to enjoy it!


To fill my addiction void for running, I had to go to an oldie, sports cards.  I didn't want to go to crazy, so I went with something that I knew I wouldn't want more of after I opened a box, so i went with Bowman Baseball Box.  Bowman is loaded with baseball prospects that I have no idea who they are.  Let's be honest, I know nothing about players who are in the majors!  I figured if I pulled anything of the guy on the box (Stephen Strasburg) I should be happy.  I ended up pulling his rookie card, so I was satisfied. But then, I also end up pulling his Gold refractor version of his rookie card out of 50.  I'm pretty happy, having no idea what I just landed.  So after I uploaded the videos to YouTube, I jump on EBAY to find out the worth of these cards.  I'll let the screenshot do the talking...

Screen shot 2010-05-17 at 12.37.15 AM.JPG



Needless to say I will be selling this card.  I am thinking about getting it graded, but if I can $700 for it NOT graded, I might as well sell it! I need to switch to baseball.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pictures of the week

Since I have been so bad with keeping up with pictures on my blog, I've decided to do a pictures of the week post each week.  At very least, it will make me post at least once a week!


4/19/10 - Search for the Fountain. Jaz was dead set on finding Bethesda fountain in Central Park.  Bethesda Fountain was in movies like Enchanted and Home Alone 2.  We had gone to Central Park twice before that day.  Once for a quick walk with Jess and John and the second for me to run around it (6.2mi).  The last day we were there we finally decided to have one of those bike tour guides take us.  He took us to Bethesda fountain to find that apparently the people who run the park empty out the fountain each winter and they were doing construction on it.  Ah well, we tried! We'll check again next time we are in New York.


Lola Terry's Birthday

5/1/10 - Thank You, Lola Lola Terry celebrated her 80th birthday at Little Cuiapo in Chicago with friends and family.  Her grandchildren that she helped raise over the past 25 years said a small speech in her honor.  Here is a teary-eyed Aris sharing a moment with his grandmother.  It was a touching moment.

LOST NOTES: Across the Sea

I'm back! I figured there were only a couple of episodes, so why not finish the series with a couple of blog posts about them.

  • A woman named Claudia accidentally finds the island
  • Claudia finds another woman who has been on the island
  • Claudia gives birth to Jacob and to another unnamed boy
  • Then the woman beat down Claudia.  Bad bedside manner!
  • The boys were raised by this woman "mom"
  • Jacob doesn't know how to lie. Clearly the good one
  • Boy in Black is "special".
  • The "mom" made it that Jacob and the damned boy in black cannot hurt each other
  • They need to protect a cave with light that every man has, what the hell is that?
  • I'm gonna call the boy in black - Zack since he looks like Zack Effron
  • Zack can see dead people. He talked to his mother (Claudia). Any kind of connection to Hugo?
  • Zack is mad once he finds out his mom is not his mom and wants to leave
  • Jacob can beat some ass even when he was younger.
  • The "mom" wants Jacob to stay good but Jacob thinks she loves Zack more than him
  • 30 years pass and the "mom" looks the same.
  • Jacob and MIB still hang out and play that game.  What good brothers.
  • MIB has "found" a way off the island.  The others and he dig wherever they find electromagnetic pockets
  • Ah, so the MIB built the wheel system that channels the water and light. Um, still I don't get that whole light business
  • How is it that the "mom" can find this cave with the light, but the MIB searched for 30 years and couldn't find it? It's probably some "island" answer like "he wasn't supposed to find it"
  • Damn, "Mom" is kinda bad ass. Knocking out MIB and burning all of his others.  I see where Jacob learned his anger
  • The "mom" knows that her time is up on the island and hands it off to Jacob to protect.  She does some kind of spiritual prayer and gives Jacob a drink and says: "Now you and I are the same"
  • The "mom" comes back home to find her stuff out of place and the game she left for her boys to find so many years back
  • OH! Stabbed in the back by the MIB. Of course the one who has all of the answers dies.
  • Another ass beating handed by Jacob and he brings MIB back to the lit cave.  MIB floats into the cave the light dims, and the smoke monster appears
  • Jacob finds MIB far from the cave, maybe the smoke monster drops him off there like a layover?
  • Jacob takes his dead family to the cave where Jack and Kate eventually find "Adam and Eve".
  • "Goodbye Brother" - sad moment


  • What the hell happened with the whole smoke monster "birth"? Is that what happens when a person goes in  there? They become the smoke monster and can never leave the island? How did "mother" know that it would be worse than death to go into the glowing cave? Had she seen it happen before? Was she the smoke monster at some point.  The way that she tore through the Others makes it look like some black monster work.
  • Stabbed in the back.  Is there any tie in with "Killing them before they can say anything" - MIB telling Richard about Jacob and Dugan telling Sayid about MIB.
  • Wow. Kate has aged. She looks good now, but man she looked goood back then
  • I'm sick of saying Man in Black...I just keep thinking of that Will Smith song

Not too excited about this last episode.  Seems like there wasn't enough answered.  I probably would have enjoyed it if it were earlier in the season.

I did a bad thing and found out about next episode, but I won't spoil it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Down but not out!

I went to the doctor today to find out that I have some tendonitis in my ankle/achilles area. It really isn't that bad but the doctor suggested that I take it easy for two weeks. That means no high-impact activities, sadly that includes basketball and of course running! After the two weeks, I can ease back into my normal workout regimen. He did say I can participate in lower impact activities like walking, biking, and swimming. I am sooo going to be doing those things these next two weeks! One thing that COMPLETELY bums me out is that due to these new restrictions, I won't be able to participate in the Soldier Field 10 Mile race at the end of this month. I was so excited to go out and finish my first long distance run! This will be the second time I will have to bow out of a race because of health issues (Hot Chocolate 15K '09 - H1N1). I keep telling myself that this year is about the marathon. I am not training all hard to get up to a 10 mile race. I want the entire 26.2! And if I want it, then I have to know when to take a step back and let my body heal itself. Apparently, this is one of those times. I know it will be worth it in the end. And besides, I don't have to wait much longer for another shot at a long distance race. I am registered for the North Shore 1/2 Marathon in mid-June. First thing is first. Get healthy enough and back in running shape after these two weeks, then get ready for that run.

Thank you for all the support on Twitter and DailyMile about my injury. There really is strength in numbers :)

In better news,'s "Marathon Miss Fit" has allowed me to adverstise my fundraising efforts on her blog! Thank you so much Connie for getting my story out about my dad! Here is the link: Running Feet, Helping Hands

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Props to Potter

My co-worker/friend Potter has really made some great changes in his life regarding his health.  Over the past month and he has been a great inspiration to me! He has been monitoring his diet and started walking for exercise.  Also would throw in the occasional elliptical session, and he's dropped 28 POUNDS in 6 weeks! I wouldn't believe it myself but I have been seeing this change right in front of my eyes everyday at work! It is just great seeing people deciding to make the changes in their life because they want a healthier life.  It only pushes me to try to be an inspiration to others as well.  It's a wonderful cycle. So, Potter, Good job so far man! Keep it going and you will be as healthy as you want to be!

Who/What's your inspiration?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Patience Joey...Patience

Each week for the past 2 months I have been increasing my workouts, or the shots I take on the court, or the miles I log on the road.  In that time I've logged 138 miles of running that consists of interval runs, easy runs, long runs, and one race (Shamrock Shuffle).  This past Sunday, I hit my high mileage in one run for Mother's Day - 12 miles.  The most I had run up to Sunday was 10 miles (which I had run twice).  I felt like I was ready for the 12 miles.  I had my carbs the night before and slept a full 8 hours.  I wanted to approach it like it was a race.  I woke up on time, had a banana and bagel, and let it all digest for an hour.  And then off I went.


First mile was horrific as usual.  Second mile was a little better.  Then something odd happened.  I had this very sudden wave of confidence.  Like I could push it a little bit.  Mile 3 was fast (for me) at around 10:40.  I still felt good after that, then I logged another sub 11-minute mile.  I stopped and walked because I know I needed it even though I wasn't tired.  Mile after mile I was hitting 11 minute (or less) miles.  I was loving it! Then I finished mile 10, with two left going toward home.  Oh dear. The proverbial wall! The legs started to cramp slightly and I felt like stopping.  I was able to put my head down and push through this wall.  I realized I was tense so I kept telling myself to relax my muscles.  I was good to go.  11th mile done in 11 minutes, and the 12th done once again under 11 minutes.  My final time - 2:17...I was ecstatic!


I walked home pounding my chest knowing I had achieved something I had never done before.  I got home ready all ready to do my stretching.  Jaz made me eggs so I scarfed those down with some chocolate milk.  Started stretching and hurting in spots I didn't know existed.  But one spot hurt a tad more than the rest.  The tendon behind my right ankle up to my calf felt like it was spasming.  It wasn't super sharp pain, but very uncomfortable and unnerving.


I instantly went to the experts.  My running friends on Twitter! Probably the best explanation was from @MarathonBrian: " probably hurt your Achilles; a common injury for runners, especially when you increase your workload (pace, distance) in a short period of time before your body is used to it." DAMN! I knew I was going to fast! (I normally average a 12min/mi pace).  I continued on with Mother's Day walking VERY slowly everywhere I went.  My victory run was over-shadowed by this new injury.  Part of me was devastated because I felt like I was on such a roll, but part of me feels blessed.  Let's be honest, I could have gotten hurt much worse!  Hopefully something like this with proper rest will pass.


I should have displayed more patience on my last run.  Now that I know I CAN get under an 11 minute mile, I don't need to hit that again.  Not anytime soon.  So the next couple days, I will just rest and relax.  Let my body heal itself, drink lots of water, and just wait it out.  Now that I can't run, I just want to run.  My ankle and achilles don't feel right.  Maybe I need to see a doctor, but I will have to be patient with whatever I do.


Patience, Joey.  Just breathe and rest...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Where have I been?

Been trying to figure out the best way to show some good pictures from our NY trip. Haven't found a good way to do that yet. So check out my Shutterfly Album.

Running my legs off...

Trying to figure out how to create some Ebay apps for my other site...

More updates coming, I promise!