Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Canton Marathon 2012

I haven’t decided yet if I’m running a marathon this year, but my brother Adam and I have already circled the inaugural Canton Marathon on the 2012 calendar.

The organizers published the routes (there’s a half-marathon and a 10-K, too) today. Here’s the full 26.2-miler:

Canton Marathon 2012

Image: (click to enlarge)

The Canton Repository drove the route and created this video.

I’ve manually mapped the course at my favorite run-planning site, Gmaps Pedometer, including the last bit not included in that video and reflecting the Repository‘s statement that the marathon finish will be at the 40-yard line of Pro Football Hall of Fame Field in Fawcett Stadium, which is awfully neat. (Doesn’t specify which 40-yard line – I guessed.)

In 2009, when I ran my first (and only) marathon, I deliberately avoided training on the course because I wanted it to remain unfamiliar territory. It helped that the Towpath is an hour’s drive from my house. And where that course was all wilderness and  long stretches, this one is a winding path over streets I’ve been traveling most of my life, which – even though I’ve done this once – seems to present a fair mental challenge, because I’m watching that video and going “Damn, that’s a long way.”

And yet I’m looking forward to it, so clearly, something’s wrong with me.

February 11, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs, Ohio, running, Sports, Weblogs | , , , , | 1 Comment

Goodbye, Lucky.

This has always been one of my favorite pictures of our cat Lucky, who passed away last night:

Lucky the cat stalks Italian dinner leftovers.

Even today, less than 24 hours after she left us, it’s impossible for me to look at this photo and not smile and imagine – as I always do – hearing her say in some sort of voice that’s half Brando and half LOLcat, “Some day – and that day may never come – I’ll call upon you to do a service for me…”

Just a few things about Lucky:

She was the first pet Jenn and I had as a couple. We got her in 1995, when she was about a year old, adopting her from one of Jenn’s co-workers who was moving to a pet-free home. Her name comes from having survived being hit by a car, as a result of which her right front leg sometimes seemed slightly out-of-whack when she stood a certain way.

For that first year, she woke us almost daily with a series of repeated meows, beginning around 5:30 a.m. She stayed a talkative kitty right up until the day she died. (We think she suffered a stroke yesterday, in the late morning or early afternoon – and, in fact, her sudden lack of “speech” was the strongest sign she gave us that she was ready to let go after several weeks of failing health.)

She was the Feline Jedi Master of the Ultimate Slow Stalk, creeping up on dinner plates and unattended water glasses with the almost undetectable slowness and subtlety of a tree’s shadow on the ground as the sun marks an afternoon. She could make traversing the length of the couch and sneaking between you and your book an act to rival the most patient ninja.

In her younger years, whether you were sleeping or faking sleep (which we often did just to encourage this ridiculously cute behavior), Lucky would sneak ever so slowly up to your face and stare at you, then tentatively lift a paw, w-a-i-i-i-i-t, and eventually reach forward to gently pat your nose or eyelid to encourage some petting.

She balanced a sense of grace and agility with her determination up to the last few weeks of her life, making the leap from the kitchen table to the countertop almost soundlessly. Try to block the way with appliances or water jugs, and she’d manage to light on the remaining three inches of open space.

Amazing post-meal kitchen sink plate-cleaner, especially if Italian food, chicken, or scrambled eggs had been on the menu.

Enjoyed working the team con: For most of her life, Lucky’s partner in crime was Charles Wallace. The last year and a half, she found a more than willing accomplice in Pepper, with whom she shared her tricks to getting into the double-spoon-barred cupboard holding the riches of the kitchen garbage.

Lucky was with us for 16 years – that’s two apartments, three houses, a Florida-to-Ohio move, somewhere near a dozen jobs, and our daughter’s journey from newborn to teenager.

And if you met her, she liked you. More than once, a first-time visitor to our house suddenly found this little gray lady staring up at them, and then, without ceremony, in their lap.

I’m going to go have lunch now, and afterward, I know I’m going to miss the gentle clinking from the kitchen that means Lucky has hopped up to the sink just to make sure my plate is properly cleaned.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Next Round of Blue Milk’s On Me.

Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek - The First 30 Years…because this is just too darn cool: Topless Robot has named Collect All 21! to its list of The 10 Greatest Non-Fiction Star Wars Books and said some amazingly nice things about it, which just blows me away because a) the Topless Robot gang really knows their Star Wars, and b) there’s a serious butt-ton of non-fiction SW works for the reading.

I’ll even admit that there’s the fanboy voice in the corner of my head looking at that list with its vigilant geek-debating eye and saying, “What? I can’t believe they didn’t include Impressive Work X and The Massive Star Wars Volume of Y and…” But you know what? He can shut up, because I don’t want to give up my spot, so big time thanks, Topless Robot!!

For what it’s worth, though I certainly wish I had more, I only own two of the others books on the list: No. 10 and No. 7. And you’ll just have to go read the post to find out which they are. (Hint: One of them “reassured” the children of the 1970s that “Real star wars are very unlikely. But it is not entirely impossible for unfriendly space creatures to invade Earth.”)

Thanks – yet again – to Collect All 21! cover artist Kirk Demarais for delivering the Topless Robot news, which comes on the heels of this kind post about the book at The Malaysian Reader. (And that brings the number of countries where I know people have read the book to an even dozen. Which is still mind-boggling.)

February 9, 2011 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, Family history, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Kenner Ruled the Earth

A couple of my OSWCC friends, Dan Flarida and John Wooten, have been posting some very cool stuff on their KennerCollector website lately – and I have the feeling the nostalgia is just beginning.

Their posts inspired me to dig up some photos from the 2005 OSWCC Summer Social, when original Star Wars Kenner toy designer Jim Swearingen came to visit with a sail-barge load of late ’70s and early ’80s Kenner photos and artwork:

(Want a slightly closer look at the Boba Fett art & R2-D2 blueprints? Here.)

Jim was really patient with all the questions he fielded that day, and it was awfully fun just to sit and listen to him talk matter-of-factly about things like going to California to meet with George Lucas and see the Boba Fett costume in person in order to design the action figure. In the picture below, there’s a reference photo of that costume with George standing next to it, top center. (Here’s a little closer view of the pile of stuff, including that Lucas photo.)

Click the photo for larger versions.

The third photo I have of Jim –

Click for larger versions.

– includes one of the neatest file photos I think he brought. It’s there at the far right, in a binder, and it was a photo of some kind of mock-up, I think, to display Kenner’s first 12 Star Wars figures. Cropped and lightened and flipped, here’s the best close-up I can manage:

Man, I just think things like that are So. Freaking. Neat.

I only have the three photos, but they’re here in my Old-school Star Wars Flickr set, along with their larger original versions and the close-ups.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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