Who You Gonna Call? Go See Ghostbusters

maxresdefaultoriginalghostbustersWe have seen, heard and read quite a bit the past couple of years about movement on the development of not one but two Ghostbusters films. We never did get Ghostbusters 3. Who knows why we didn’t. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson may have exhausted the premise or material, or they just wanted to move on with their lives/careers. Unfortunately, Ramis passed away not that long ago.

I watch Ghostbusters whenever it comes on TV (Ghostbusters 2 for that matter). For some reason, I enjoy this movie. I like the second one as well. I was 14 when the original premiered. So, childhood sentimentality doesn’t have all that much to do with it. It was well-written and well-acted, even by the bit players – Rick Moranis and Annie Potts were great in their roles, along with David Margulies and the mayor and William Atherton as the guy from the Environmental Protection Agency. Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett was the perfect counter to Murray’s Peter Venkman. The music was a nice touch, with Ray Parker, Jr.’s Academy Award-nominated theme becoming an icon of the 1980s. I even enjoyed the animated series.

We remember things we like more fondly rather than take them at face value. I always try to watch older movies with historical context in mind. My favorite movie of all time, the 1933 King Kong, is looked upon by many as cheesy. The dialog is stilted, almost comical, by the standards of the better film noir and high quality pictures that came later. The original Ghostbusters was a screwball comedy featuring a bit of an all-star cast, and a $30 million budget. I would take umbrage with the special effects, but it was nominated for an Oscar for best visual effects. The film has grossed over $220 million worldwide throughout its 32-year lifespan. AMC just ran the original films back-to-back marathon style in anticipation of the opening of the new film in theaters.

Ghostbusters_logo.svgThe new one features an all-female crew of Ghostbusters played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. McKinnon steals every scene she is in. I am not going to give any spoilers away since the whole idea of this piece is to encourage you to go see the movie. There are plenty of cameos and homages to the first two films. Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame is refreshing in a comedic role.

What I don’t get is all the shade that has been thrown at this production, mainly due to the primarily female cast. It’s unnecessary and unwarranted. The four comic actresses who play the Ghostbusters do the original quartet of Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson justice.I don’t understand where the hate is coming from. In this day and age when our education system is having trouble getting young people interested in science and technology, and there is a grassroots efforts to get girls into computer programming, you’d think female characters who are into particle physics and nuclear technology would be welcomed.

Yes, it is done in with comedy. Yes, it is done in away that suggests being on the fringe. No, these four women are not Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson. They have their own personalities and timing. No, this film doesn’t have the charm of the first one in 1984. Maybe someday it’ll be remembered as fondly as I remember the 1984 movie.

It’s a funny, fun ride of a movie. It’s not going to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s not Ghostbusters 3, which is probably a good thing. What it’s not is something to be despised just because of who is starring in it. Because we remember the 1984 movie the way we do, we put unrealistic expectations on the re-boot. Take it for what it is – a funny, screwball comedy about a quartet of women chasing ghosts around New York City.

After getting him into Indiana Jones and Star Wars, I think it’s neat that I can share a movie franchise like Ghostbusters with my nine-year-old that now features an up-to-date reboot. He gave it an A+ and said it’s the best movie he’s seen all year. That’s should tell you something. Quit thinking you’re going to see Citizen Kane, and go watch the damn movie. And for the haters – keep your shade to yourself, you’re missing out on a fun flick.

Because, when there’s something strange in the neighborhood…

Who you gonna call?

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Don’t Ever Grow Up or Get Older

Aging sucks donkey balls.

I just turned 47, rather celebrated the 17th anniversary of my 30th birthday. I don’t know what 47 is supposed to feel like. I didn’t know what 30 was supposed to feel like either but I do know I was 30 pounds lighter back then.

The first thing you notice when you get older is how much longer it takes to heal. Cuts, scratches, bruises, sprains – things that used to take days to heal now take weeks and months. It takes longer to get back on track after recovering from an injury too. I’ve had the thought to just wrap myself in bubble wrap and never leave the house again.

You would think that after three years of diet and exercise after making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle that I would have somewhat undone 16 years of relative inactivity and 18 years of smoking. But, unfortunately, every time I hurt myself and have to take a week or two off from running, it takes quite awhile to get my groove back. My cardiovascular can’t maintain my previously attained per mile pace when I am able to pick it back up again. Just when I think I’m driving that pace back down I hurt myself again and have to take a week off.

Graphic showing my running activity June - July
Gaps in my running activity due to stupid foot injuries don’t make me happy.

And these are not catastrophic injuries. These are stupid, living life injuries. I kicked a boulder jumping into my pool and bruised the living hell out of my foot. Boom – no running for nine days. I moved the coffee table so I could vacuum and destroyed the toenail on my left big toe, blood everywhere. Boom – no running for seven days.

Back in May I strained my disaster of a back, again, and was down for two weeks.

The good news about these other stupid little mishaps is that I don’t miss any time exercising. I just don’t run. With the exception of the back strain, I still have been able to lift weights several days a week. About the only thing I couldn’t do was walking lunges because I couldn’t flex the bruised foot.

Considering I couldn’t run at all last July after back surgery, I guess I should be lucky I am running at all. Before I herniated the disc at L4L5 and needed surgery to repair it, I was down to a pace of about 9:30 minutes per mile, some days faster, some days a twitch slower. Now, I’m lucky I can turn in a three-mile run with a pace under 10:30. I don’t know if it’s my back, my stride, my cardiovascular, my age or a combination of all these things.

My weight lifting doesn’t seem to be suffering. I blame my set up and my equipment, along with my schedule and commute, for lack of significant gains. But then again, I really don’t know what my goals are anymore.

I find trying to hit my macro nutrients every day to be an onerous activity. Trying to get 180g of protein, drink 56 ounces of water, commute, work, exercise and do everything else there is to do in my life is a full-time job. Once again, I am finding so much conflicting information. To whey protein or not to whey protein. To creatine or not creatine. I’m not a “bodybuilder” so do I need to do all of this? I just feel bloated when I protein and creatine myself silly.

What’s my point? The older I get it seems like it is less about living life and more about managing it. I take cholesterol medication and fish oil every day, I try to eat right and exercise. I just don’t know what I want to be physically anymore. I don’t like hurting myself but I can only imagine what I would be like if I had not lost all this weight and become an active person.

I should be happy that I can play basketball in the street or chuck the football around without getting winded after five minutes. But there is no guarantee I won’t dislocate a hip.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

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After another emotional blog, this one a Father’s Day tribute to my dear departed dad, it’s time to get back to my regular topics of discussion. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I am now on Twitter (@GetTheKnaak) and I also joined Instagram (@jerryknaak – it’s private so you’ll have to request a follow). After much consideration, thought, consternation, hesitation and various neuroses, I have decided to start a podcast. I’m sure I’ll have to wait for Apple’s approval to get it posted on iTunes, so you can listen to it here.

 

I didn’t mention it in a blog because I didn’t want to make a big deal oout of it, but I strained my back about six weeks ago. I managed all of seven miles walking/running in the month of May. My neurosurgeon had a month wait to see him so I sent to see my primary care physician. She wrote me three wonderful prescriptions and I was feeling better in roughly two weeks. This latest strain came roughly a year after back surgery. I thought these spasms were behind me but I was careless while lifting a 50-pound barbell. I hadn’t been awake long, I didn’t bend my knees, and lo and behold, a strain.

The month of June was a decent month for exercise for me. I ran 26 miles over the course of seven runs. I would have had a better month running if I didn’t have to take eight days off thanks to a badly bruised foot. I swear, if I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any at all. I was jumping into my pool the Saturday before Father’s Day and I kicked a rock. I have lived in this house for almost eight years, I have jumped into the pool from that spot countless times and I have never kicked that boulder before.

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Taken last weekend, belly definitely flattening out.

My foot swelled up and eventually turned four shades of purple. After picking up running again the one exercise I had trouble with was lunges. I couldn’t flex my foot on the downward motion. It’s still sore but today is the first time I have been able to do lunges since.

 

I enjoy working out on my few and far between days off. I can sleep in, I’m not rushed, and I can lift when I feel like it. During the workweek I am beholden to a strict schedule and regimen because of my hours and my commute. It’s nice to just crush without having to worry about it.

I am not sure what has been happening the last two months or so. As you can see from the photos my stomach is flatter than it has been in a long time. It looks and feels like I am leaning out. I see it in some places and feel it in others. The crazy thing is I haven’t lost any weight and I’m not eating any more or less. I suppose I’ve been eating a bit more “real” food lately.

Several articles I read recently said that it takes calories to burn calories. Other articles say that you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time. Something is working although it is time to switch things up workout-wise. The chest – legs – arms six days a week with runs sprinkled in seems to be working for me.

In the latest issue of Men’s Fitness, there is an article about a seven percent body fat regimen. I am looking forward to reading this and seeing if there is anything I can adopt and incorporate. As avid readers of this blog would now, I am not one for shortcuts. I believe in diet, exercise and hard work. However, I won’t say no to any advantages eating differently or trying a different exercise program.

Hopefully the month of July will be a good one for me as I continue to create the body I want. Hopefully I won’t strain my back, sprain a knee or kick any more rocks as I try to get three to four runs in and six days of weight lifting per week in.

I hope you enjoy the podcast. If I can get it approved by Apple I’ll let you know how to subscribe and Get the Knaak on the go. For now, Soundcloud is the place to be.