Thursday, November 30, 2006

Got a very interesting link to a very entertaining show off Samizdata.

It essentially blows up the recycling meme that has been kinda infused into modern culture. Good stuff.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Marathon Training

Been training hard for the local marathon, which would take place on the 3rd of December. Even with my schedule shot through with constant injuries sustained on Sundays playing soccer, I'm still almost there... Did 12 kilometers two days ago, and I'm planning to do a final trial run of 16 kilometers within the next 7 days. Once I can do that, 20 kilometers, the half-marathon which I signed up for, should be okay. I'm counting on inspiration and sheer grit to carry me the last 4 kilometers.

Yesterday, I also read The Perfect Mile, a very gripping account of the race to run the mile in less than four minutes, which was eventually acomplished by Roger Bannister, a medical student at Oxford who had to devote time to his studies while pursuing his passion for running. The story of his duel with his arch-rival John Landy at the Empire Games(forerunner of the modern Commonwealth Games), both men having run the mile in less than 4 minutes and finally facing each other in a one-on-one battle for supremacy at the finals. Landy seized the lead from the start, and it seemed that Bannister was just hanging on by the edge of his nails for much of the race. Int he end, Roger won, the critical moment being the final bend when Landy glanced back at the exact same instant that Bannister unleashed his finishing 'kick', the final sprint that took him past Landy and providing the psychological blow that Landy never recovered from.

I found it amazing that Bannister could juggle his studies as a medical student with his commitments in running. In fact, after he retired from competitive racing, he went onto a distinguished career in neurology.

The next time some student claims their CCA training is taking too much of their study time, I'm going to use Roger Bannister as an example.

Heck, sport is filled with stories of people who beat the odds. I would add the 2004 Boston Red Sox for fighting back to win their series against their arch-rivals the New York Yankees in the semi-finals(or what the Americans would call their American League Championship) after being down 3-0! Just to cite one episode of that epic battle: Curt Schilling was their starting pitcher in Game 6, and he did it with a ruptured, bleeding, ankle held together by bailing wire and a prayer. It would be demeaning to combat soldiers to call it courageous, but it was one of the gutsiest performances ever in sport.

Liverpool in 2005 in Instanbul, European Champions League final, vs AC Milan. Down by three goals at half-time, their towering captain Steven Gerrard rallied his troops through personal example, hitting back with three goals in an amazing 6 minutes to tie the game and force extra time. They won in the penalty shootout.

Manchester United's treble triumph, particularly the final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona, is not on my list because while it belonged to the Sports Guy's highest levels of losing(he had 13 levels), it was entirely unexpected and all too shocking and sudden. Like Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of MUFC, quipped, it was the football gods at work in those last, frantic, few minutes.

But one thing was common to these triumphs. Never giving up, dignity in defeat, giving it your all and knowing that even if you lose, it was not for lack of want.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thus ever to tyrants...

And good riddance too.
Kinda busy recently, dealing with the local chemistry olympiad and my desperate 'A' level students.

Miracle of miracles, Guan Yew(formerly known as starboi, snort!) and Damien turned up for Vengeance Gambit Part Deux. I called a halt at the end of turn five, but the battle is still very much in the balance. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the Avenging Angel VTOLs enter the battle.

The Wobbly Guy