Ten Years, 10K

WordPress says my blog turns 10 this month. Must be the domain marcuscanblog.com itself but actually I’m not so sure. Why? Two things do not add up. Firstly, my archive dates back 2006 while Marcus arrived November 2008. Either way I accept the nice achievement badge.

My WordPress laurel.

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Run711.com now shows the respective routes of next week’s race. Personally, race is a strong word though in a sense may be correct if by racing it means beating nobody’s record but my own. We’ll see. Here’s the road to my first official 10K.

Image from run711.com

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (No run weather.)

Run the Talk

The time to run the talk is closing in. Last night I got my race kit and I’m excited seeing myself crossing the finish line. Last time I joined an official event was the NatGeo Earth Day run about four seven years ago and that was for a 5K distance. This year I’m in for my first 10K race.

Some bit of a challenge though as it looks like I have to cut more weight as singlet is a bit tight. The past days I was in the midst of free pizza and pasta served during a two-day planning session but I was able to resist the urge to eat. I took some bites just so I don’t appear as a snob.

Surprisingly I lost about two more pounds during this period. The absence of taking Swiss Miss and bananas must have helped plus me sneaking out to answer the call of my Garmin to move.

My singlet and bib.

Race is on February 4 and start time is at 4 AM. Fingers and blackened toenails crossed.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Marcus’ first therapy this year. Last one was before Christmas.)

Daylight Runs

I seem to start liking the idea of running when and while the sun is up. For almost a year I have preferred doing my runs very early morning while it’s still dark and cold outside and when there are still few curious onlookers along the way. The lesser people, the better was among my motivations.

Things have changed lately however. I began to realize that I couldn’t take vitamin D supplements forever to compensate the lack of exposure to sunlight. My wife seems to have also accepted that we can’t wake Marcus up early to attend Sunday mass (and expect neither me nor him not to be grumpy in the church) thus leaving her doing it on our behalf. She goes to church, I stay in bed and look after Marcus until he wakes up. So there goes my dark weekend runs.

Besides dealing with more people, pros of running in daylight does outweigh its cons. Visibility for one is a big plus. I now have lesser chances of stepping into animal poop, tripping over invisible potholes and uneven road segments, getting side swiped by sleepy/drunk drivers, and being chased and bitten by rabid stray dogs just to name a few.

More running options have also become available. Like this morning my wish to try going uphill close to the foot of Mt. Makiling materialized. I soon discovered that it was tougher than I first thought. Few months ago I was with Marcus pushing him in his wheelchair but it was more of a leisurely walk. This time I was running, albeit stopping every now and then, and I had my nose flaring, my throat drying up halfway of my run.

How high did I get? Well, my Garmin says that in about 15 minutes I achieved the equivalent of 26 floors. On average, I do 10 floors a day spread over 8 hours.

First time I got this high.

Going downhill also posed another challenge. If I were on a bike would have been all fun but running was different. I stayed focused and controlled my strides so that I don’t become the old version of Jack ‘n Jill. It was tempting to go fast but it would have been a stupid idea. Nursing a fresh black toenail didn’t help either as the negative slope means that I need to land on the ball of my feet thus putting more pressure on my toes.

This new route was short yet not easy. But would I do it again? Definitely. As the the mantra goes “Know the whys so that you could endure the hows.” Next time again Makiling once the sun is up.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Ready for work?!)

Black Toenails

Ugly. That’s for sure the answer if you ask most people how they find black toenails. I had the same impression myself, of course, until I populated my social media feed this year with more stuffs about running (and fitness).

I read from several articles that black toenails would normally occur, at some point, to those who run. Either due to bad sneakers, bad fall, bad form, fungus included (ok, this is gross) or due to longer runs. It just could happen.

Last December I registered for my first run in 2018 but no thanks to a bad bug that made its way past our door (despite our extra consciousness not to expose Marcus to the common flu) I had to lay off practice runs while I and Marcus spent our last week of the year blowing our noses. This month, my patience paid off and a week ago I saw myself in running form once more. I made 10K on my first run against strong cold winds especially originating from Mt. Makiling.

This weekend was warm and run started as a struggle. All of a sudden I would rather have either strong headwind or tailwind regardless of drag. But I picked up the pace and soon I was looking at my Garmin showing another 10K finished in an hour and some minutes. Not bad except for one thing. Toes hurt.

Removing my running shoes confirmed my suspicion. A black toenail–runner’s woe . I wasn’t alarmed though. In fact, its sight got me excited–I’m becoming weirder, am I? I might, however, need to minimize wearing flip flops in public in the next few days unless I want to wear it proud like a trophy as I’ve read other runners would do. Cheers to black toenails, yes?

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A year ago was when I started running outdoors with a Garmin Vivoactive HR. I racked up 5K on my first day even if I was about 160 lbs fresh from vacation. I credit my endurance to the regular treadmill sessions which usually happened after we raid my sister’s pantry. I’m now 135, FYI.

Only gym I’ve used that needs a room heater.

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How do you become better at running? You run more. Writing? You write more.

Now let’s see if the time I set aside my regular Netflix session so I could write would see itself posted on WordPress.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (My turn to watch after Marcus in his room. Air-conditioning is extra perk.)

Interesting Thirteen

If there’s one number that’s so common to us this month, it’s the number 13 and whether that’s a good sign or not, I find it interesting nevertheless.

13th wedding anniversary. This year we are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary and to make it unique than the previous ones, I wrote the longest letter ever to my wife. If I’m not mistaken this too beats, in length and probably even in substance, the letters that I’ve given to her during our courtship days. Let’s just say that this is my way of making sure that we survive the 7-year itch — our 2nd set. By the way, we got married on a date that is equal to 2 multiplied by 13.

The warm trio and the cold Ortigas skyline.

 

13th floor, anyone? Wifey made a reservation for an overnight stay in Holiday Inn Galleria for our special day. On our way up to our room, I was trying to prod our son to read and count the numbers on the elevator’s level indicator when I noticed the red LED-lit display jumped from the number 12 to 14 – it skipped a number. I’ve been riding elevators for years and it is just now that I noticed that there’s no 13th floor. So the practice of excluding it is really true. Wow, freaky. (According to Yahoo!3, some buildings, like

the famous Empire State, have designated a13th floor.)


3http://ask.yahoo.com/20070207.html

Proof that Holiday Inn has poltergeists.

June 13. This is just some coincidence, nothing extraordinary. It is only the day when Marcus finally started going to school; Marcus, who became our son on November the 13th. Ti abi.

Marcus on his way to school for the very first time. He did better than expected that day.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Stuffed from last night’s food spree at the office.)

Goodyear Duraplus offers quieter ride


It’s no Goodyear but I know Marcus would love to see Guido live in action.

Concrete, asphalt, potholed, slippery, and a combination of these road conditions had me nothing but praises for my car’s new tires. Other than the confidence of having deep-treaded tires during this rainy season, I am starting to get the impression that Goodyear Duraplus tire offers quieter ride compared to my old Bridgestone tires.

I got our car out of the dealer’s shop with Bridgestone 185/80R13 as its stock tires and just days after that I began accepting that what I’ve heard and read about the Honda City 2008 model are true – that road noise penetrating the interior is one of its design flaws. I never knew though that friends and people in the forums could be wrong. Now it seems clear that it is not the car’s design that is the culprit but rather the factory installed tires. And why do I think so?

You will know that my car remains almost stock until now, no modification whatsoever except for the DIYed front speakers upgrade. Budget has stopped me from soundproofing by using sound deadeners
that most car enthusiasts would recommend for a quieter ride. Of course I have read about replacing (or experimenting with) tires as a solution to road noise but I’ve been skeptic about it because I have this notion that any tire would emit the same level of road noise anyway. Well, I was wrong. I recently learned that one of the cheapest Goodyear 175/70R13 size in the market is capable of lessening road noise to a noticeable level even if a quieter ride isn’t among those benefits explicitly stated on Goodyear’s website.

So now that I am free of that rumbling sound that I’ve gotten used to in the past four years, I can now put to good use my sense of hearing while driving. I can now focus more on incoming traffic, identify the sound of motorcycles approaching my blind spots, and hear pedestrians rushing to cross the road. Similarly, I will now be less distracted when I have people inside the car talking such as one little boy blabbering about almost every- thing that comes to mind while he is in the backseat. And yes, when all alone, I may now fully enjoy any music from the car stereo and sing along with it in the process. Well, there are annoying sounds that are even a good car tire just can’t handle. Ti abi.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Hot Saturday morning!)


Uniden Cordless Phone Battery

Image from owner’s manual.

Last month, I received a used cordless phone from my sister in the US and other than being a 110-volt phone, I had problems making the Uniden DECT2085 handsets work which I soon realized that its battery is already drained. I searched the internet for replacements but I got either local online stores — e.g., sulit.com.ph — that show phones instead of battery packs or sites abroad that do not ship Uniden battery pack to the Philippines (I assume that this is due to shipping restrictions of such product).

I have likewise searched mall hardware stores — Handyman, Ace, and True Value — but all said that the Uniden DECT 2085 battery pack is out of stock. Good thing that I was referred by someone in True Value Alabang Town Center to check Battery Plus Corp which thankfully caters to different kinds of batteries including Uniden battery pack replacement Philippines. So if you are also looking for one, Battery Plus Corp is located on the third floor of ATC right outside the elevators. I highly recommend that you being the old battery pack for comparison with the replacement part. Warranty for its Uniden DECT2085 battery pack is up to one month only.

Battery Plus Corp is also on Facebook. Check them out to see other outlets in the Philippines.

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Marcus has learned how to call the ‘Wilsons’ because of our digital phone and any time in the future will likely be able to call the stored fastfood delivery numbers. Ti abi.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Just called my mother using the wireless phone. She sounds fine despite her recent car mishap.)


Are we doing the right green thing?

Got another chance to have our parenting day off yesterday and so other than keeping our son entertained inside the car, wifey and I got the chance to discuss topics that does not include the repetition of the words “behave”,”good manners”, “Marcus stop!”, or “Marcus please!!!” This time we got to dis- cuss mature things. Green things.

Driving from Festival Mall, wifey commented that it has indeed become the policy of this mall in Alabang not to use plastic as packaging for any (or most) product from any of its stores. And that’s actually a good thing, right? Well, sort of. While it seems cool to get away with the use of the material that most people consider bad for the environment, we however, can’t help but wonder the impact of the continuous use of paper bags.

Whenever this topic comes I can’t help but recall the perfect line, “Choke the fish or kill the trees.” Yes, we all know for a fact that paper is already being recycled but I am quite sure that this is still not 100% and so the question how much trees are being cut down to fill in the demand for this so-called green packaging always lingers.

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On this same day, I saw one of my Facebook friends post this striking image on her wall:

(Image from Facebook) Still in for a sushi?

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I got an email from another friend and it talks about amusing facts that we used to do back in the days. Incidentally, these are also about the now popular “Green” word.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Time for a pandesal! Enjoy your Sunday everyone!)


To SOPA OR not to SOPA

These four intriguing letters seem to be the recent buzz in social media and the internet as a whole but to be honest, other than knowing that SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, I haven’t had that much knowledge why it’s getting the attention of more and more people. From my half-baked understanding SOPA is meant to put some sort of control over online content and exchanges and the proliferation of materials that some authorities think violate the intellectual property rights of people who claim ownership on things such as music, software, and books just to name a few. And based on this alone, as expected of me, I may be leaning on the side of those who support SOPA. So far, I’m yet to see someone on my Twitter timeline who has the same opinion as mine – other than the very people who want this implemented.

Today, Wikipedia.org joins the growing number of people who are against SOPA (and the complementary PIPA or Protect Intellectual Property Act bill) – in a couple of hours it will black out its whole website to protest SOPA. Recently, there have been strong calls for subscribers to pull out of GoDaddy.com (which incidentally is my domain host) after it declared its support to the controversial bills.

So where do I stand in this issue? Anyone who has been lurking/reading my blog posts probably knows the answer. I am anti-piracy. I try hard to be one even if it has costs me to miss on learning new software, catching up on new movies, and possessing a copy of the latest hit music. And yes, my advocacy and commitment to this has made people, especially my friends, scratch their heads in disbelief.

But perhaps people who are against SOPA and PIPA have a valid reason behind their outcry and so I think I will have to step back a bit and learn what these are before I declare a hundred percent support to whatever I believe in (or will believe in next). In the next few weeks I’ll try to absorb as much knowledge as possible and see if there’s a rational explanation why one will have the right to use (AND SHARE) something that is not his (or hers) or something that he did not pay for. Let’s see.

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Mood: 4/10 Honks! (I think I’m having fever. Good reason for grammatical errors.)


Practicality = Piracy?

Piracy

On my way to work yesterday, the discussion over the radio got me so immersed into it that I had to maintain the minimum focus required to drive safely. And how can I not, the condition was perfect: nice summer sun, tuned in to Magic 89.9 FM’s morning show with Mo, Mojo and Grace Lee, and they’re talking about my favorite topic—piracy.

I have a love-hate relationship with this radio show. But more often than not, I tune in to this station as I find this lively trio a great companion especially when driving alone and sleepy. Some people call or classify such show as talk radio because most the time there’s incessant blabbing about almost everything under the sun. And when I say everything, it really does mean almost everything. Thus, making the show as one of, if not the only, the most controversial morning shows.

The most dominant character among them is Mo who’s not only a fast talker but is likewise full of ideas that some of it are out of this world, downright offending and some are just not even fit to be discussed during a morning show wherein every mom, dad, uncle, aunt and other mature individuals may be listening and may be with kids at the same time. I’ve heard him discuss about premarital sex, religion, politics, lesbianism and other taboo stuffs, and of course, piracy.

So yesterday was no exemption. The moment I heard him mention the word piracy, I slowed down and listened – the group’s discussion and their exchanges with the callers were interesting albeit I find some of it just irritating. As usual.

Mo was once again defending and reiterating his stand that although he doesn’t directly promote piracy on his radio show, he sees a lot of advantage and benefit out of it other than the obvious difference in price between the licensed and the bootleg. One of the things he pointed out is about the movie industry. According to him, because of piracy which started several years ago, the original films have become available in the Philippines almost at the same time when it is released from its country of origin.

According to him, years ago it would take one film to reach the Philippines almost a couple of months after Hollywood, for example, releases it to cinemas in the US. And this is where piracy comes in handy. Most probably while the film is rolling somewhere in the US, some unscrupulous cinema insider or viewer is recording a copy of the film and immediately distributes it to their contacts inside or outside of the country. Now these contacts sell the film’s copy to people who are so eager to watch it. So when the time comes for the original film to be shown in theaters, the revenue flops. Of course, who wants to pay and watch a re-run?  Simple reasoning, yet rude and yet practical. And this, according to Mo, is when producers eventually learn and realize that they need to compete or lose their market share to illegal distributors. At this point of the argument, I caught myself nodding in conformity.

Another case that Mo presented or re-presented (as I heard about it a couple of times already) is about computer software piracy. He believes that it is the only way for poor nations, like ours, and its people to compete and put them at par with the rest of the world when it comes to computer literacy. Although, I agree with the need to compete, I don’t however agree with how it is achieved by piracy.

As much as I hated it, Mo’s point got me thinking. Quite frankly, I’ve been pondering lately if I’m cursed for knowing that piracy is stealing. Often times some people, like most of my friends, see it as plain practicality and the need to learn about one software is one good justification to get hold of its bootleg counterpart. I’m not saying that these people are bad. I might say though that they are misinformed or have chosen to keep a blind eye about it.

As I end my driving until I got out of Intel’s parking lot, my mind was occupied with so many questions just from the 20 minutes I spent listening to the radio.

So am I not being practical then?

Am I stupid to believe that I shouldn’t be buying any of these bootleg stuffs? Or am I now alone in this belief or advocacy?

Will my next employer reject me because I did not learn as much software as I can because I don’t have the guts to buy a pirated copy?

Am I going to be left behind then in the end? Do I have to steal to learn?

Is it a good thing that while I teach my boy about good manners and right conduct, he’s watching a pirated educational DVD?

Do I need to seek professional advice to get over with my firm stand against it?

Maybe I’ll think all about it. Although I’m still hoping that in the end my answers will still be a big NO unless they change the law against it. And hopefully whatever the reasons are why most people continue to patronize pirated products, I still hope (or is wish?) that soon enough the fight against piracy will win because I really believe that behind those cheap illegal goods that some of us enjoy others are suffering just because of it.

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Photo credit: vikrameb

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!