Sunday, April 25, 2010

April Movie Mash-Up

Because I'm behind and feeling lazy today, I'm doing a combo review of three movies I've seen recently.  None of which really merit their own review anyway.

Kick Ass wasn't what I was hoping for.  I hope it was a comedic slant on the superhero theme, but it ended up being perhaps a kid's version of The Watchmen.  It was much more violent than I thought it was going to be, the majority of the violence coming from the little girl.  The story of the average guy and the one with Big Daddy/Hit Girl didn't really meld too well.  Not great.  Oh, and don't take your kids to see this one.

The Backup Plan was probably one of the worst chick flicks I've seen in a really long time.  Okay, maybe not worst, but least likely to actually happen.  I believed Jennifer Lopez's character and her back story, but I came out of the theater almost pissed off at how unrealistic the dude was.  He pursues her more ardently than any guy I've ever met, almost to the point of being a stalker.  When he finds out she's pregnant, he doesn't bail like a normal guy would, which perhaps is modern day heroism, but it's also highly unlikely. 

The Losers was probably the best of the bunch.  It was kind of a relief to see new faces in a movie, aside from Zoe Saldana (StarTrek, Avatar).    I liked that they brought back the comic book graphics element to the titles and in little pieces throughout the film.  I also liked Chris Evans and Oscar Jaenada. They had a Jay and Silent Bob feel to their characters. For a guy movie, it was okay.

 I'm ready for the good summer movies to come out now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LASIK or Bust

This post will be my story as I recover from LASIK surgery. I’ll update it as I go through the next month since my vision is supposed to improve over that time. I hope anyone who has gone through the surgery can relate and my experience can help anyone wanting to have it!

Day 1 – Surgery Day. The excitement is tempered with nervousness. I have a hard time imagining what it will be like. Will it be like HD versus Digital? Instead of seeing trees will I be able to see leaves on trees?

My sister picks me up and we chat about classes on the way to the doctor’s office. Ava plays with the magazines that have been set out in the lobby. Soon I am taken to the exam room and the prep work starts. I am getting quiet, but Ava breaks the silence as she gets into a mood that cannot be soothed by Baby Einstein. I am finally taken into the operating room. One wall is glass so that those in the waiting room can see. A flat screen TV shows images of the actual surgery to those waiting.

I lay down and the nurses get me in position. The doctor comes in and they start by cutting the flap on each eye. It is the most painful part of the procedure, but it is more uncomfortable than painful. The put what my sister described as a torture device on my eye and pushed on it until all I could see was black. Then in thirty eight seconds the laser has made its cut. I twist my long sleeves in my hand while it works, and then again as they do the same to the other eye.

Then comes the actual vision correction with a different laser. They tell me to look at the blinking red dot, which really looks like a red pulsing blob. Or a Lite Brite starburst made from only red pins. Or a kaleidoscope. Then comes forty three seconds of clicking like a ratchet. There is a burning smell, like smoldering ashes. I try not to relate that smell to burning human flesh. I am afraid that I am looking the wrong way and may mess up the procedure, making the four grand I spent on five minutes ineffectual.

Faster than expected it is all over and the doctor clears me to go. The first things I see in my greased-over vision are the shadows of my sister and niece and I know all is right with the world. I close my eyes on the way home like the doctor says. I go to bed wearing my oh-so-sexy safety glasses that will be my bedmate for the next week. It burns and I cry as Ambien takes me into dreamland.

Day 2. I am almost afraid to turn on the light. Already some of the greasiness and fogginess has abated. On the way to the follow up appointment, I notice that the headlights and street lights are haloed, like they said they would be. It looks and feels like I have had my contacts in to long. They say I have 20/20 vision already and that it will get better from here. I have drops to take really frequently as my eyes heal. I am still having trouble wrapping my head around it. And my life is now changed.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fiesta 10K Race Report

Distance: 10K
Goal Time: 1:15-1:20
Actual Time: 1:15:35 (12:10 min/mi) Personal Record!

Fiesta kicked off this week in San Antonio.  I think it's related to the Battle of the Flowers, but nowadays, it is a city-wide ten days of partying.  I have never done the more popular events like Oyster Bake or Night in Old San Antonio.  Last year I did the Fiesta Fandango, a 2.6 mile fun run that preceded the Fandango parade downtown.  This year I decided to forgo the ridiculous heat of that and went to the 10K instead. 

There were patchy thunderstorms on my way to the race which held out long enough for me to finish and then pour during the post-race party.  The run was at Mission County Park, the usual location for races put together by the San Antonio Road Runners.  The park follows the river that flows between the stops on the Mission Trail.  If you go far enough, the trail runs right next to Mission Espada, my favorite.  It's been raining the last half of this week, so the river is pretty full and the grass is really green.   Usually the water is pretty low, and the area isn't really well cared for, so the river smells like rancid broccoli.  We lucked out and only the area near the turnaround smelled like overcooked spinach. The trail itself is an easy stretch of gently rolling hills.  Much easier technically than the Cap10K course, but tt was a lot more humid than last weekend. 

I'm coming up on my LASIK surgery and I'm in the period of time before the surgery where I can't wear contacts.  So this was my first and last race with my glasses.  They didn't do me much good.  They fogged up in the first half mile.  I hooked them in the collar of my shirt and raced the rest with blurry vision.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to not have to have glasses or contacts to see.  I won't have to imagine for long.  

Adding to the difficulty of the humidity, I forgot my headphones at home.  Normally I hardly pay attention to the music that is playing, but it's helpful for times when I need to push myself.  A lot of my inner monologue during the race was coaching myself to keep up the pace.  I put a lot of stress on myself to PR again this weekend.  Between that and the weather conditions, I did not have nearly as much fun as I did in Austin.  But I did PR again!  Another minute off my PR time, shedding 7 minutes over last year's PR of 1:22.  Most likely that will be my fastest 10K time as we get into the summer races where it's really too hot for me to keep a pace like that. 

I hope to take a few weeks off of racing to finish out the semester at school, have my vacation in Orlando, and regroup my training plan.    It was a good race, and I did well, but I need a time out from race weekends.

Official Results
Race Photos 
Scotty's Report

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Date Night

The Fosters are a normal American married couple.  Their kids wreak havoc every morning as the family gets ready to go to school and unsatisfying jobs.  Phil and Claire try to keep the romance alive by a ritual date night, but it just adds to the monotonous day-in-day-out routines they follow.  Then, one date night Phil makes an attempt to change a routine by taking Claire to a new restaurant.  They take the reservation of a no-show and end up in a whirlwind set of events that makes a date night they will never forget.

Date Night is honestly one of the best adult movies I have seen in a really long time.  I don't even know what to compare it to because it is so unlike any movie I've seen.  I really hope that it earns some Best Comedy of the Year awards, but it has earned them.

Tina Fey and Steve Carell are at their best.  They have great chemistry together and fantastic delivery.  If you go see the movie, make sure to stay all the way through the credits to watch some hilarious outtakes.  They use adult humor, mainly lots of sexual references, but in an adult manner.  Not the kind of adult humor portrayed in a childish way like some of Will Ferrell's movies (Old School comes to mind). William Fitchtner, Ray Liotta, James Franco and Mila Kunis round out the rest of the cast.  And of course, Mark Wahlberg's muscles had several cameos. 

Forgive me a brief rant.  I'm getting really tired of "stupid" humor movies. Just like the "rugged" look encourages average guys to sport the "mountain man" look, "stupid" humor encourages the twenty- and thirty-something men to have absolutely idiotic jokes.  You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled blog.

I loved that this movie addressed an issue that is common for couples in long term relationships.  Getting into a routine is an inevitable step for adult couples.  But then the routine becomes the defining part of daily life.  Breaking out of it becomes very difficult, especially as the routine starts to span years.  The movie shows a unique adventure that most couples probably won't ever experience, but the point is the same.  Sometimes all it takes to change a routine is getting a little more dressed up than usual, trying a different restaurant.  Just taking a chance.

It's a great movie, an excellent date movie, and one that will be going on my shelf as soon as it's available.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clash of the Titans

I grew up with the original Clash of the Titans.  This, along with the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, were the awesomely bad clay-mation fantasy flicks that we watched over and over during my formative years.   From the first time I saw the trailer for the remake, I knew what it was before they even showed the title.  I wanted to see it even then.  Throw in the hunky Sam Worthington, and I am definitely down.  (On a side note, I first saw Sam in a great film called Bootmen. Anyone else seen that?)

Overall, the story follows the general gist of what I remember from the original.  But where they definitely veered from the original was making is a man versus gods battle and I think the story is poorer for it.  In the Greek stories, rebelling against the gods was just not done.  In what I know of the mythology, there is no question that the gods exist, that they play a role in human lives, and that some lucky few are favored.  Disbelief in deity or refusal of deity is something that is prevalent in today's society.  I understand why they changed that part of the story to make it easier for current audiences to relate to the story, but I don't agree with it.

Other details that bothered me: that Cassiopeia says Andromeda is more beautiful than the gods, but Io is more beautiful than Andromeda by far; Cassiopeia was supposed to offer up Andromeda for sacrifice without issue, because Cassiopeia is vain beyond belief; Perseus' patronage by Zeus and Io, when I thought he was supposed to be sponsored by Athena. 

It was awesome that they gave a nod to the original by pulling out a little clockwork owl out of a trunk of weapons.  I kept hoping to see it somewhere in the rest of the film, but it didn't make a reprise.  Pegasus was an amazing animal, even without the CG wings.  He was perfect.  Ralph Fiennes did an awesome job as Hades.  He is such a good bad guy for such a good looking man.

I also want to personally thank Lindy Hemming for her costume design. I absolutely love that period Greek costumes mean short skirts for men.  It provided such great eye candy throughout the movie.  Gemma Arterton as Io was also exquisitely dressed.

This was a well done epic movie, though not quite on par with Troy or Avatar.  I still plan to add it to my collection, on the shelf right next to the original.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend and Race Report

This weekend included the most driving I've done in a long time.  But I successfully both went to the Poteet Strawberry Festival and the Ausin-American Statesman Capitol 10K.

Poteet is actually a lot closer than I had thought it was.  I decided to hit up the festival before heading out to the Cap10K expo.  I got there right when it opened up, and was able to walk around the whole thing really quickly.  I got some strawberries in a "walkabout cup" as I walked by some of the vendors.  They were the best I've ever had - juicy and not super sweet.  I also picked up the recommended strawberry shortcake and a slice of strawberry bread.  The whipping cream and cake kind of destroyed the taste of the strawberries.  The strawberry bread was offerred by the local band boosters.  It tasted a lot like zucchini bread, with some pinkish swirls throughout.  The cake and bread were okay, but not nearly as good as the strawberries in their raw form.  I only wish I was headed back home so I could buy up a case.   I wish I could have stayed longer to see more of the rodeo and food events.

I met up with my high school friend Chris for dinner at Iron Cactus.  Chris and I caught up on a couple years of events and hopes.  He has mastered the talent of understated sarcasm that makes his storytelling so great to listen to. We split the Tuna Ceviche for an appetizer and I had Lobster Tacos for dinner.  Since they're known for their tequila selection, we also had a couple of margaritas each. The tequila of choice was Republic Repasado.  It was so worth it.  I highly recommend it to anyone in its vicinity.  (They have other stuff on the menu other than seafood, if you're not into it.)  They have a sister restaurant on the Riverwalk, so I will definitely be attempting to get down there as soon as I can. 
Distance: 10K
Goal Time: 1:24 to 1:30
Personal Record: 1:21:42
Actual Time: 1:16:46 (12:22 min/mi)  NEW PR!

The Cap10K is promoted as the largest 10K in Texas.  They weren't lying.  I got up ridiculously early to make sure I got a parking spot near the finish.  I'm glad I did.  I got to the start line around 7am, after procuring coffee and food.  he start line looked like this when I got there.   I killed time by warming up, stretching, and reading Wicked Lovely on my B&N eReader on my iPhone.  It's so convenient to have a GPS, phone, mp3 player, camera, internet, and book all wrapped up into a little sleek package.  

It looked like this at 8am.  The weather forecast said cloudy with 10% chance of precipitation.  It began drizzling around 8:15 and didn't stop until I was driving home.  The drizzling made it a little cooler and is an acceptable consolation prize for high humidity.  The race started late, like they always do, but at least not by much.  My start was about three minutes after gun time. 

My Polar heart rate monitor wasn't picking up either my heart rate or my footpod (for pace), so I had no idea how fast I was going or how close I was to my max HR.  I was going by just how I felt.  I recorded my mile splits and was surprised every time.  I wasn't going too hard. I walked through hills and water stations.  I just kind of kept going.  In the first half I thought that somewhere down the course I would have some issue that would slow me down, but it seemed like everything was aligning just right.  I was working hard, but feeling great doing it. 

I was super excited when closing in on the finish I knew that I was going to get a PR.  At that point, I could tell I was beginning to overheat, so I just kind of cruised to the end.  It was around mile 5.5 or so that I came up on this guy - the Music Man - who was providing running commentary.  Literally.  He had a record player and a microphone and was talking to the crowd around him.  He was hilarious.  I hung out for a little bit near him and he helped me keep smiling like an idiot all the way to the finish line.

The finish line was a mess.  With getting a PR, I wish I had someone waiting for me that I could celebrate with.  I have decided that this is a requirement for all prospective significant others - willingness either to run events with me or wait at the finish.  But it worked out well for me today since I don't think I could have found someone in that cluster or human madness.  I managed to procure a banana and a bottle of water.  I passed at least one person that had three bottles of Vitamin Water, two bananas, and two or three bags of chips.  People like that are the reason why I bring my own food to eat after most races.  As a slowpoke, I usually don't get refreshments by the time I get to the finish.  I waited in a ridiculous line for a free massage.  I think I deserved it, don't you?

It was a great weekend all around.  On the way home I got the same feeling I get after I finish my cooking classes.  A vibrancy, a high, that I can only relate to feeling like I want to make out with someone, or go jump in puddles.  Something, anything, just to get more living into a few more seconds. 

And now I'm back and will all too soon return to the regularly scheduled grind.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Battlestar Galactica

The Twelve Colonies have been destroyed by Cylons- man made machines.  The only humans who survived were the ones in transit between the colonies and not on one of the planets.  Yet Cylons have a trick up their sleeve - they now look human instead of like machined robots.  Now the fifty thousand survivors have to find a way to escape extinction in the middle of deep space.

Apologies to anyone reading this that is planning to watch it - there will be spoilers.

I don't watch a whole lot of TV.  I only saw Battlestar Galactica after each season was available on DVD.  I finally finished watching the last season.  The fourth season definitely wasn't the best.  I think my favorite was the first one.  I had looked forward to seeing the last season for so long, I think that may have increased my disappointment a bit.

I loved all the allusions to the zodiac and Greek myths.  It would have been cool to have more of the Greek stories intertwined with some of the back story or world building.  But what they did have did allow me to geek out a bit.

I didn't like Gaius Baltar.  I didn't like his character at all, but I think that was the intention of the writers. I really didn't believe him as a religious leader.  I only barely believed him as a political leader, but it was less of a stretch.  Gaius' storyline just went off the deep end in seasons three and four. 

My favorite character of the bunch is Kara Thrace.  It's disappointing that Katee Sackhoff hasn't been in much else.  I really like her. I loved the turmoil she struggles through.  She handles some things well and others poorly.  Some days she loves her job, other days she just gets by.  I also love her physique - both beautiful and powerful.  She's kind of my inspiration for the physique I want.

The last few episodes were very odd.  I finally felt the complaints that many people had about Lord of the Rings Return of the King. that there were too  many endings.  I didn't feel that way about LOTR, but all the unnecessary flashbacks were grueling.  And then it kept going.  The way all the lines were settled felt sloppy and rushed.  I feel for the writers since they probably had to tie everything up faster than they were expecting to.  It was like the writing/producing/directing team knew did a poor job of bridging the gap between where they were and where the ending was. 

So the ending was just plain weird.  I got really wrapped up in the first couple of seasons.  I absolutely recommend those,  but I think the show is better without the fourth season.  More complete, even.  I admit it's a really nerdy show, but the way it combined military, mythology, and science fiction was really well done.  

At this point, I have no plans to watch Caprica, the prequel spinoff on the SciFi channel.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run is a nonfiction story about a few elite ultrarunners and a tribe of Mexican natives called Talahumara.  The narrator takes you on a journey of discovery of the engineering of the human body, the evolution of the running industry, and ultrarunning.

The Tarahumara, named the "Running People" in their own language, live in the intense environment of the most remote regions of the Sierra Madres.  They are an isolated culture, one where the economy runs exclusively on the trading of acts of kindness and corn beer.  They are the most peaceful people on earth, even when duelling drug cartels prey on travelers in the area.  The Running People are also the worlds fastest ultrarunners, but you'll never see them.

Ultrarunning refers to distances longer than a marthon, usually found in distances of 50 kilometers, 50 miles, 100 kilometers, or 100 miles.  Not only is the distance itself grueling, but the events are usually held in the most difficult of climates, like the extreme heat of Death Valley, or at high altitude, extremely mountainous regions, or on an all-terrain trail.   Hallucination, severe dehydration, and severe injury are not uncommon.

After reading this book, I wish I was hardcore enough to do that.  It's hard enough for me to wrap my head around a ten mile run, much less a marathon or more. 

It was interesting to see the narrative images of some of the modern ultrarunners like Scott Jurek and  Barefoot Ted.   The group of elites that went on this trip to race with the Tarahumara in their homeland call themselves "Mas Locos" after the event.  You would have to be crazy in order to run 50 miles in that environment.  But they are all very unique individuals and the author shows their personality quirks delightfully.

There is a great deal of science in this book that is very interesting to prove two points: that the modern running show actually causes more problems than it prevents, and why the human is better suited to endurance running than any other animal.  Anthropologists and biological locomotion experts looked at animals like rabbits, deer, and cheetahs who can only breathe once per stride.  Humans are not limited in their breathing patterns to their running cadence, but most stick to a 2 steps to 1 breath cycle.  They also spent some time on how standing upright is actually a benefit over being a quadruped.  Humans can cool down quicker through the evaporation of sweat on our hairless skin rather than being dependent on losing heat through our mouths like dogs.   It was quite an interesting look at human evolution. 

The book goes on to claim that the modern running shoe is to blame for modern running injuries.  More people are suffering running injuries, but we have the most advanced running shoes ever.  Or at least the most expensive.  They are designed to insulate the feet from rough terrain, reduce natural motion, and decrease impact to your legs.  The theory is that by doing all that, they prevent the brain from receiving information from the feet.  This results in poor running form, which is the cause of all the common running problems: runner's knee, planar fascilitis, pulled tendons, etc.  I use motion control shoes, but it's because the theory is that the greater amount of sole will lessen the impact caused by my weight.  It's a standard rule for overweight runners.  The only issue I complain of is from intermittent lower back pain which usually works itself out with stretching. 

The sources listed in this book are only part of a larger set of information that is fueling a barefoot running movement among the running community. I normally walk around in rather supportless flats most of the time. I actually went to try on a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, one of the go-to names of the movement.  I originally thought that I wouldn't be able to wear them because I have webbed toes.  The first knuckle of my second and third toes are joined.  (I never knew anyone else other than my family who had this, but I discovered today that two of my coworkers have the same thing! Weird coincidence!)  My first impression is that I had the intense desire to wiggle my toes all the time.  And go dancing. It's interesting that you don't break in the shoes to your feet, you break in your feet to the shoes.  My toes feel a little sore from being spread apart for so many hours, but I'm looking forward to trying to get used to them in time to be able to wear them for a day during my Orlando trip.

This book did a great job of making a narrative out of ultrarunning events, anthropology, and sociology.  It makes me want to run twenty miles barefoot when I've never done anything like it.  The Mas Locos have some great photos from their run in the Sierra Madres.  Be sure to check them out! (This one of Jenn Shelton is my favorite of the bunch. She was the wild child.  Can you tell?)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

March's Lion and Lamb

March for me came in like a lamb and out like a lion, with life getting crazier the last half of the month. It includes some big changes for me, and the intense desire for more. I think I'm more myself and closer to being on the right track, but who knows at this point.

  • Read 4 books - Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and Angel Time by Anne Rice.  This puts me at 11 books so far for the year and 25% non-fiction.  I don't think I'm going to make it to 50, but I'm okay with that. 
  • Paid down more debt.  I'm now focusing on my second mortgage, and the interest rate on it pisses me off every day.  According to, my net worth is now more than my retirement savings.  This makes me happy because it means that right now I have a positive net worth.  Sure, it's only a thousand bucks or so, and it's only projected worth of my assets, but still, it makes me happy. 
  • Wrote 13045 words in March, the largest monthly tally yet.  I blew past the goal of 12000 words, but wrote a whole bunch on the blog rather than on finishing the NaNo novel.  I'm okay with that because I did a whole bunch of stuff in the latter half of the month that I wanted to share in this space. 
  • Made a healthy-ish blueberry coffee cake during my week to bring noms to work.  The guys really liked it, which always helps.  I even overheard a teammate bragging about it to someone visiting in the area later.  
  • Ran my fastest year-to-date 5K in 37:44.  Convinced a posse of friends and family to walk a 5K.  Passed 1000 miles on Nike Plus.  I want to be more consistent in my miles per week and in my nutrition habits.  For April I want to close the gap on my target year to date total miles. 
  • Saw some new places in San Antonio, which I'm counting for my artsy endeavors for this month.  The brunch at Alamo Drafthouse was pretty cool too.  
  • Had some great time with the family when Beth came down.  Above was a great family photo with my sisters and my niece and nephew.  They're so stinking cute. 
I made some big decisions in March.  Growing up is definitely difficult.  This is the first time I've had to make a hard decision because it's the right thing to do.  It was hard.  Even now when I struggle to go back to the easy way, I know it was the right thing and stick to my decision. 

I have had an intense desire the last half of the month to have a drastic change.  Ideas entertained include a tattoo, chopping off my hair, moving to a condo in Alamo Heights, and getting LASIK surgery.  The tattoo is something I definitely want, but need to go to the local tattoo convention in June to see first hand what I really want.  My long hair is too convenient to put back when I cook or run, and I want to keep it that way.  A condo is the next step for  me if things go according to plan, but there's still too much still to do on the house before it's ready to rent out. 

So that leaves LASIK.  I've known I've wanted to do it for a while, but planned on saving it as a treat for when I payed off all my debt.  I've gotten consultations and have discussed it with some people, and I think it's going to be a go for sometime in April.  I'm really looking forward to it.  It feels like a quick decision, but I think it's the change I need for this part of my life. If anyone has feedback on LASIK they or a friend have had, leave it in the comments below!

Friday, April 02, 2010

San Antonio Really Is Cool

Often enough I tend to think that San Antonio is deficient in culture and activities that other large Texas cities have in spades.  But as I venture outside of the little sphere of my daily commute, I find that the city really is interesting.  Last weekend was a great example.

The Pearl Brewery was an icon of the city until its operations closed in 2001.  Since then, it has been bought out and is now in the process of turning into a place of interest for both locals and tourists.  The most well known institution to set up shop in the complex is the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio.  I didn't get a chance to see it, but it definitely has created a hub-bub of conversations.  The Riverwalk and river tours have expanded so reach all the way from the River Walk to the Pearl Brewery.  The newly landscaped river on the back side of the brewery is very pretty.  Right now there is even more construction going on as lofts are being built out in and around the original brewery.  Run Wild Sports has sponsored several of the local races I've done. For those with small kids, the Twig bookstore has a wonderful storyteller.  I think my twin sister enjoyed the storyteller more than my niece or nephew.

Now, every Saturday the complex sports a farmers market that is gaining popularity.  There were a couple dozen vendors when we were there, and maybe a hundred or so people milling about.  Local produce is common, but there were at least two bakeries, one lavender farm, a lamb vendor, and a bison vendor.  I was incredibly intrigued by the latter two, which I will have to come up with an excuse as to why I should get some of their wares.  There are different cooking demonstrations by local chefs each week as well live music.  Many people brought their dogs on the morning we went.  I spent quite a bit of time making sure my nephew didn't get too close to the unfriendly ones.   I didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked, but fully intend to go back on my own soon.

Another cool event I first heard of by noticing one of those over-the-street banners: the San Antonio Highland Games.  Later on, I heard them talking about it on a morning local talk radio spot.  It was held in the Helotes Festival Grounds, which is home to one of the most popular Fiesta events.  The main reason for this is to provide competitive event for professional "heavy athletics."  I didn't understand the rules of the single event that we saw, but it would have been cool to see some of the other events.  I found it interesting that a kilt and stockings are required attire for competitors.  (For Chris W. - I saw quite a few Utili-kilts!) We missed the dog events, but saw a troop of Irish dancers and several groups playing Celtic music.  I don't do Guinness, but I did have a couple pints of Belhaven which isn't as dark as Guinness, but is a very deep brown and has a woody taste.  I really want to see more of the athletic events, so I will probably try to go to this event next year.  Coolest thing - it took Mom three or so hours to remember the surname of our Scottish ancestors, but we have a crest!