Scuba Action Man
1/160th at f/3.5, ISO 1600 (50mm)
Sony was showing off their new Xperia Z1 phone and how you can use its camera underwater. They even had this guy in scuba gear to demonstrate. Reminds me of my Scuba Action Man I had as a kid. Bath-time was always much more fun with it.
Saving Mr Banks (Film Review)
'Saving Mr Banks' tells the story of P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson), author of the novel 'Mary Poppins'. Legendary filmmaker Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) pulls out all the stops to get Travers to sign over the rights to adapt the story for a feature film. With the royalties from sales of the book dwindling to point that she won't be able to keep her house, Travers reluctantly agrees to spend two weeks at Disney's studios in California discussing ideas and plans for the adaptation.
The character of P.L Travers at first glance is a difficult pill to take. Travers is a very demanding individual, asking for every meeting to be recorded on tape and at one point for the colour red to be completely removed from the film. Stubborn, distant and very little patience for tomfoolery, Disney has met his match especially considering the talks of making the adaptation started 20 years prior.
The story at key points goes right back into Travers’ childhood, showing how her past has formed her personality and the powerful bond to her literary creation. Slowly over time, you begin to understand why Travers acts the way she does and wonder what lengths Disney and his employees will go to get her on their side.
I quite liked the subtle references to all things Disney with the classic musical themes hidden in the score to the many sightings of well-loved animated characters throughout the film. The 1960s style made famous by recent shows such as Mad Men, is prominent here, showcased in it’s music and costuming, even showing off the Disneyland theme park just like how it was during that era.
Featuring a stellar cast including Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford and Paul Giamatti, this film is sure to inspire the fun-loving child in all of us.
Journey to the Finish Line (Part 2)
The loud, roaring sound of the starting horn went and I was off. The crowds of spectators were cheering all of us runners on as we made our way through the opening mile and on the long road ahead. The 13.1 mile course went through the city centre, Edgbaston, Bournville and back again with long stretches of flat terrain and slopes both upwards and downwards mixed in for good measure.
I saw a wide range of participants ranging from elite-level veterans to fundraisers dressed in amusing attire. Some were dressed as ballerinas, others as superheroes. A group was even dressed as the Jamaican winter Olympic team from Cool Runnings complete with a bobsled on wheels! It was good to see that many people were having fun and challenging themselves for a good cause.
I was definitely in my zone for most of the distance. Some places were familiar to me such as Edgbaston Cricket Ground and Cadbury World but others were brand new territory. This course went everywhere! I wasn’t too thrilled at the amount of inclines I had to contend with, especially towards the end. However, I pressed on, making sure that I was hydrated throughout and didn’t over-exert myself. The volunteers were very helpful in ensuring a safe and enjoyable day for both the runners and spectators.
Just a few miles to go and most of the day’s work was behind me. My body at this point felt rigid and stuck in position like on a rail. Luckily I didn’t occur any serious injuries so I kept going powering on. A handful of jelly babies gave me a quick burst of energy for the last mile. As I went down one more tunnel, I saw the sign that said ‘800m to go’. The end was finally here. At last, I made it to Broad Street and the final stretch. With the amazing feeling of going the distance, I didn’t want to slow down so kept my pace all the way until I crossed the finish line.
I made sure that my cool-down was long and extensive. I did as many stretches as I could think off the top of my head. There was a massage/physiotherapy tent for all the runners to use. I took full advantage of the facilities provided for a well-earned rest. As I made my way back home with my medal pack, I felt incredibly proud of myself and eagerly excited for the next run.
It was sometime in April and I wanted take my fitness to the next level. Having done 5K & 10K runs in the past, the logical progression was to run a half-marathon. The Bupa Great Birmingham Run was scheduled for October, so I signed up and thus begun my training.
I looked online for tips and advice for tackling this distance in the best way possible. What I’ve found was a training plan done by Asics. Their ‘My Asics’ training plan was simple to use and easy to log my runs with. The coolest feature I’ve discovered was that the plan changes your pace dynamically for you so you’re always making progress. Whatever your running distance, I highly recommend you check it out.
Armed with my GPS watch, running shoes and upbeat music, I hit the streets. I ran up and down hills, on and off-road. As the distance grew and pace got quicker, it became almost a like daily ritual. I ran four days a week with no days off. Even through heavy morning rain, I stepped out and battled the elements.
Fitness however, is only half the battle. The other is the diet. I admit, I love to eat. It would feel like torture to completely cut out sugary snacks. So I set aside specific times to satisfy my sweet tooth. That way, I stay healthy and not feel guilty about treating myself.
After six months of training, the big day came. As I woke up in the early morning, rain was hitting hard. I don’t mind rain but I wanted to get the best time possible. Luckily it stopped shortly before I arrived to the starting area. As I walked to my designated area, I saw all kinds of people with their numbers making their way to the start line.
With a group warm-up session done, nerves began to set in as my wave was next to start. I took a quick look around me and it finally set in, I was about to run a half-marathon for the very first time.
To be continued…