Sunday, January 18, 2015

The St. George Half Marathon – Matthew Jacobson


This is the third time I've run The St. George Half Marathon, and the second time I've finished it. (Last year some medical issues got in the way, but hey – I did make it to mile 5 before I had to call it quits!) For those of you thinking about running it in 2016, here's what you should expect.

The Course

The course is relatively standard. It runs on the city streets for half the race, and on city trails the other half. After 2.5 mark, it starts going uphill. The Bloomington Hills area of St. George is very hilly, so there is a lot of up and down throughout that area. There's little-to-no level roads from 2.5 until the summit of the course at the halfway mark, where the course begins its downward slope. At about 7.5 miles, the course turns to city trails, which are more-or-less even. The race finishes where it starts.

The View

St. George is a very scenic city, surrounded by beautiful red rocks and desert. The forced landscape is beautiful, too. However, there's one time of the year when the city is ugly and barren, and that's in the middle of January.

This is what makes The St. George Half Marathon unappealing. It's cold and it's ugly. Everything is brown. In a way, it's disheartening. Instead of being able to enjoy the surroundings, you're just wishing the race would be over already so you can get away from this dead, disgusting place.

The Medal

The medal is an integral part to running these races. We runners like to display them proudly, so it's nice when there's a rad medal with an awesome design. I have to give props to St. George for changing up the design of the half marathon medal from years past (the St. George Marathon medal stays the same year after year...), but I don't particularly like the vomit green used for the ribbon.

I'm still hoping one of these races will feature an awesome black and white medal.

Overall Rating

The challenging first half makes this a race you feel good about completing. But the scenery leaves much to be desired.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

'Anything After' App - Matty Jacobson


More and more filmmakers are utilizing the movie's credits to add additional scenes. These can be throwaway scenes meant just for laughs, they can be plot clarifications or, as we see in most Marvel-related superhero flicks, the scene during and/or after the credits usually sets up some sort of sequel.

I affectionately call these extra scenes "Credit Cookies." But they're also known as stingers or just plain old "that scene after the credits."

Whatever terminology you prefer, the fact is sometimes there's extra footage that you don't want to miss. But sometimes there's no footage at all.

And sometimes, what's even worse, is sometimes there's footage -- but it's just not worth sitting through two or three minutes worth of credits.

There are actually a few different apps that provide this information, so you can go into the movie knowing whether or not you want to sit through the end credits. But the one I've come to rely on most is Anything After.

Anything After does cost 99 cents, but because of that, you're not bogged down by stupid ads popping up whenever you want to quickly plug in the title of a film before the trailers start playing. The films are relatively easy to find because they're listed by what's in theaters.

If you're looking for an older title, then click the button and type it in.

The best part is you get peer responses on whether a credit cookie is worth the wait. In my case, however, even if it's been downvoted, I tend to hang around just to see what it was people didn't necessarily like about the after-credit scene.

I do that mostly because I want to be able to add my reason as to why the scene ain't that great, which is an option with the Anything After app.

This app has also saved my skin a couple of times as I've been heading out of the movie theater. I decided to double check to see if "Anchorman 2" had something to wait for, and indeed, it did. Of course the scene wasn't actually that great, so I noted it as such in the app. But at least I wouldn't be left wondering what I missed.

The Anything After app is available on iOS and Android devices.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Grump Who Stole Marriage (A Poem) - Matty Jacobson

The Grump Who Stole Marriage

Every YOU down in Utah liked marriage a lot, but the Grump, who lived on Capitol Hill, did not.

The Grump hated marriage (for those who weren't straight), he'd poo-poo and hah-rumph and refuse to debate.

He knew he couldn't get away with beheadings, but he had to find some way to keep gays from their weddings!

For the weekend before Christmas --and this is no joke-- a judge said marriage should be for ALL folk!

Judge Shelby declared in a statement so proud: It shouldn't be reserved for just some of the crowd!

This burned the Grump's panties, this made him go crazy. He barked and he drooled and his vision got hazy.

To see all the happiness from St. George to Salt Lake, it made the Grump boil and it made the Grump bake.

What's worse was the ruling came right before Christmas! The gays and the lesbos would be getting married en masse!

This just wouldn't stand, no he wouldn't let it be so. So he planned up a plan in the Wasatch Front snow.

"I know how to proceed" The Grump burped on Friday. "I'll call for the court to issue an emergency stay!"

"They'll stop all the licenses, they'll stop all the bliss! I'm the smartest man ever!" He proclaimed with a hiss.

So he called up the judge and he said, "Listen buddy! Put a stay on your ruling! Before things get cruddy!"

The judge, to be clear, would not grant the stay. He didn't want to discriminate against lesbians and gays.

So The Grump in his Grumpiness turned on his heels. "FINE!" he screamed, running to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

While The Grump's childish behavior made him look like a jerk, he also issued a letter to each county clerk.

He assured them in writing that seemed far less than formal, that pretty soon things would be back to normal.

"I know you're confused, and this is chaotic! I'm not being irrational, nor am I neurotic!"

His Grumpiness got airtime from Fox News to Rachel Maddow, and then came a response from the court in Colorado.

"No thanks" said the court when it came to the stay, "You didn't do things correct. You didn't them the right way."

The Grump saw the calendar was getting closer to Christmas. "NO!" He grumped loudly. "I want them to miss this!"

"They can't have their weddings! They can't have their cakes! Heck no on their families and those pesky tax breaks!"

He Grumped and he Grumped till his grumper was sore. Then he thought of something he hadn't before.

What if marriage, he thought, isn't cause for a war? What if marriage, perhaps, means a little bit more?

And what happened then, well in Utah they say, The Grump suddenly realized it's OK to be gay!

He called off his minions and he issued a statement: "My Grump!" he declared "Just had an abatement!"

"I see that these weddings do not harm my own, and this war on the gays is perhaps overblown!"

"The wonderful thing about America is, my beliefs are my own, they're not hers; they're not his."

"We can disagree and we don't have to see eye to eye, but that doesn't mean I have to Grump away the joys for the gay, lesbian and bi!"

"Ho hum to the ban! Merry Christmas I say! Let's rejoice! Let's unite! Please get married today!"

And although nobody quite knew why he changed his dark heart, there was marriage equality, and that was a start.