Friday, April 30, 2010

Jake's Top Ten Good Guys...

There have been many memorable characters created over the years. We all have our favorites. Today I would like to share with you my Top Ten favorite "Good Guys" that have been created for our viewing pleasures. Feel free to chime in with your favs, and note that the list starts with #10 (the lowest position in my list) and ends with #1 (my favoritest good guy as it stands now). Enjoy!

#10-- The Punisher. Right off the bat, some of you may argue that this guy really isn't "good". He's not. He's more of a tweener, meaning he is kind of neutral in the whole good bad guy scheme. But the original premise of the character is a vigilante going postal on crime dudes. I'm a huge van of vigilante justice, therefore he needs to be on my list.

#9-- Dirty Harry. I grew up with Clint Eastwood movies. My Dad has all of his movies. Not only does he carry a really big gun ("Seeing as though this is the .44 magnum, the most powerful gun in the world, and would blow your head clean off your shoulders, you've got to ask yourself one question... 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya punk?), but again he's sort of a vigilante as well, and anti-establishment. We're already seeing a trend here aren't we? He always gets the job done, and lots of bad guys get shot along the way with that hand cannon of his. Perfect!

#8-- Ironhide. I am a lifelong fan of Transformers. I've had many different toys over the years with these guys, and now that they are on the big screen I'm in love again. Ironhide is Prime's right hand man. He's cranky, doesn't care about a whole lot, and carrys two really big guns. He's a bad ass, and easily makes my list.

#7-- Bond. What's a list without the gadget king. Plus he's just a cool guy.

#6-- Voltron. I had the original Voltron Toy growing up. A metal piece of beauty that would swoop in and kick everyone's ass. The cartoon was nothing great, but the toy rocks and the principal behind the character is sound as well. Not quite cool enough to break into the top 5, but still awesome enough to make my list.

#5-- Qui Gon Jinn. Huge fan of Star Wars I am. Qui Gon is a Obi Won on steroids. He has awesome knowledge, good conscience, and is wicked with a lightsaber. Unfortunately like most of my favorite characters in movies, he ends up dying. But while he was around, he was the man.

#4-- Jason Bourne. Matt Damon actually nailed this role on the big screen. Bourne is just cool. All kinds of wicked skills to pretty much get out of any predicament, and along the way he tears shit up. Perfect guy role. Also, he's pretty arrogant, but when you're as good as he is, you can be.

#3-- Batman. I've always said, you put another super hero against Batman, the other guy will lose. Don't give me any Superman bullshit. Batman has something either in that utility belt of his or back at the bat cave that would hand that underwear on the outside wearing clown his ass any day. Batman is also a vigilante type character, and like stated before, I likes me them law in their own hands guys. Plus his outfit in the new movies is just bad ass. Batman is the man.

#2-- Optimus Prime. He's powerful, yet also doesn't overly use it. He has a conscience and does hate to fight. But when it comes to exchanging blows, you want him on your side. He's the perfect "Good Guy" in that he always wants to do what's best for everyone, yet will back up what he believes in. He is wise yet powerful.

The #1 Good Guy according to Jake: Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, or simply "Master Chief" from the Halo gaming series. Awesome body armor look, all kinds of combat skills, cowboy attitude when it comes to fighting, and has access to all kinds of big guns. Yes please. The Chief is a fun character to play. If you really get into it, since he doesn't talk much you can almost assume the role yourself. But again, he actually does have a sound moral compass, and he's not afraid to walk alone. He'll jump right into the mix without hesitation, and all the bad guys end up dead. And like a few other characters on this list, he blows alot of stuff up along the way. In short, he's awesome, and easily trumps all other Good Guys in my world.

Honorable mention (in no particular order): The Brothers from The Boondock Saints, Blade, Hellboy, William Munny, and Hannibal King from Blade 3.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The joys of racing...

For anyone who does any sort of racing, I ask this question:

When do you ever feel good?

Think about it. For me, I do endurance races (side note: even though the events I sign up for are deemed as "recreational" and not "a race", whenever you get 2 or more cyclists together you just made a declaration of racing) and as such they involve a hell of a lot of training. So with training, the idea is to start from a good base, build off of it, and when race day comes you are in awesome shape for that event. But break it down. When you train, the idea is to push and push your body up that fitness mountain to get to the top where you are ready to go. Along the way, if you're doing it right, you occassionally overload the body and break it down. Anyone who has ever done an interval workout knowns this concept well. Unless you push your body, you're not gonna get better. So with training comes pain.

And then the big day comes, and now you go into race mode. The fast mode. The give it all you got mode. You launch from the gate and away you go, and how you go. The body is pushed and pushed and screaming the whole way.

So what about after the event. Don't you get to feel good then? Ha. If you are asking that question, you've never gotten to experience what it's like to be recovering from your body eating itself all day.

When do you feel good? Never. It's all about seeing how much pain you can put your body through. And yet those of us who do it choose to continue doing it. We are asked why, but there is no good answer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A final thought on the MCAT

After almost 3 months worth of time, 2 of those spent in the classroom, it is over. My MCAT is currently in the process of being graded. What was it like? Quite frankly, it wasn't quite what I expected. During class, we were told that if we did enough practice tests, when it came time to do the real thing, it would feel just like any of the other practices. However that wasn't the case. I found that during those practice exams, my mind would wonder. No doubt this was due to me taking them on my home computer thus being distracted by things around me even though Elli was kind enough to leave me to my own devices during practice time. Also, in the back of my mind while doing the practice tests, I couldn't shake the thought that this was just practice, and when I came to a passage I didn't quite get right away, I didn't try too hard because it was just practice.

But the real deal was different. I found myself incredibly focused the whole way through. No doubt this was due to the fact that I knew it was go time. This being the real thing, I shut everything else off in the brain and focused squarely on this task. And when it comes right down to it and I look back now, the test itself went by quickly. It sure didn't feel like I was taking a test for a shad over 4 hours, and not once did I feel clastophobic in the room or did I get bored and want the test to be over. It was weird, I've never been in that mind set before.

Maybe it was because I did really well. Or maybe it was because I completely bombed. Who knows. One thing for certain is that I don't think I will take it again though. I've said from day one that what the Med Schools see the first time I turn in an application, that's what they get. I'm not retaking classes, I'm not doing any extra volunteering or anything like that. Take it or leave it is what my mantra is.

Thanks to everyone who supported me with thoughts or kind words during the classes and before the actual test and even some during the test. I appreciated it all! And I'll have an answer for all of you as to how I did sometime before May 11th.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Lesson of Sara Tucholsky

Softball season is just around the corner. And although it was, shall we say, suggested by my Doctor and PT that it may be a good idea to wait a few months before playing, I choose to ignore both of them and start the season on time. Besides, I just bought a new bat and my wife would be pissed if I didn't use it.

Now, back in the day I was sort of a hot head when it came to sports. When I started pitching, since I could throw a little harder than the other kids, I got cocky. And when someone got a decent hit off of me, the next time I wouldn't rule out a pitch up by their chin. And if one of our batters got plunked, well it was guaranteed that the next hitter I faced was gonna get an inside pitch. My Dad finally cured me of this, saying that that wasn't the way to get respect anymore. "Strike them out, and it's all the statement you need." So I learned to throw a changeup, and heeded his Obi-Wan like advice.

Though even though I was a hot head, one thing I always had was a very good sense of sportsmanship. Not once did I refuse to shake hands at the end of the game. If someone hits a homerun for the other team in softball, I congratulate them on the "nice shot". If someone on the other team makes a good play, I let them know about it. Even when I was throwing at people back in the day, I still would tip my hat to them at the end of the game if they finished ahead of us.

I feel today that sportsmanship is getting less and less emphasis. Kids are getting better at sports at a younger age thanks to multiple off season sport camps, weight training being taught younger, and the "fun" aspect of the sports are getting lost at a younger age. The emphasis is all about winning, and you learn early on that you do what it takes to get to that. And with that attitude, sportsmanship is getting put on the back burner.

Or is it?

2 years ago there was a Division II fastpitch softball double header going on. It was the second game, and the teams were locked at 0-0. It should also be mentioned that these teams were 1 and 2 on the depth chart of the league, so it had postseason implications as well. Then a player by the name of Sara Tucholsky came to bat. She was a petite thing, standing a shade over 5'2". It was her senior year, and she was a part time starter due to the teams depth at outfield. Anyhow, the story goes that she had never hit a homerun in her entire career, so wouldn't you know that with 2 runners on, she goes and jacks a pitch straight over the center field fence. Her first homerun of her career was a big one, putting her team up 3 runs over their division rival. However, in her excitement she overran first on her homerun trot and went back to touch it again. In the process, she steps wrong and tears her ACL and crumples in a heap short of first. By league rules, her teammates cannot touch her otherwise she will be declared out. While her teammates are arguing with the umpires about this dumbass rule and everyone is trying to figure out what to do (Sara was adamant no one touch her so that the books would show that she hit a homerun), the opposing teams pitcher and shortstop walk over with the pitcher asking, "Would it be OK if we carry her to each base?" The umpires agree that this is acceptable, so sacrificing another run, the opposing players help their opponent complete her homerun trot. Video of all of this can be found on YouTube.

Our generation is seemingly starting to relearn the fun aspect of sports. No longer is the emphasis all about winning; it's about having fun and realizing you're playing a game. With Daven watching, I too have toned down my highly competitive streak. Yes I still take pride in the game and want to do my best all the time, but when the game is over, regardless of the outcome, I shake the opponents hand and "leave it on the field". It's the way my Dad taught me to play, and I hope to take that lesson and the lesson learned from Sara's story and teach Daven that way as well.
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