Poster and Trailer

A Better Hong from Mike Hong on Vimeo.

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Yes, tweens, you may be horrified to learn that the beloved Justin Bieber-fish is, in fact, on suicide watch, as his reps confirmed Monday afternoon.

This morning was my last day back in New Jersey, before I had to head back down to DC to finish up my last month of work.  The Biebs’ house was a shit-sty, as usual, and I decided to clean it before taking off.  As I was cleaning his tank, the side of the glass snapped, and to my horror, there were 3 large cracks in the glass.

I only had 1 hour to get ready to catch my bus in Manhattan, and no time to buy a replacement tank, so I had to throw the Biebs into the small fishbowl my previous two fish (Sarah Palin and Strom Thurmond) had died in.

I’m pretty sure my mistake was that I only added one tiny drop of water treatment to that bowl for its prior tennants…but nevertheless, I am nervous like a whorish teenager taking a hike by herself, who just heard a twig snap in the woods.

Here are the possibilities of Justin Bieber’s fatality:

1. I think I’ve mentioned he’s spoiled rotten and highly demanding.  Well, he’s just moved

Justin Bieber's New Reality Show

from a McMansion tank down to, basically, a studio apartment in the village.  Whether he can rough it out for a month, at which point I will be back and able to buy him a replacement, is anyone’s guess.  In the meantime, I will also be shooting a spinoff reality series of the “Simple Life” starring Justin Bieberfish and Paris Hilton.

2. There’s something about the filtration system in the old tank that kept me at ease.  It may just be the babbling brook sounds coming from it, that could easily be replaced with those Nature CDs of a babbling brook…but I did not have time to stop by the nearest Wal-Mart and buy that CD either.

3. The ghosts of Sarah Palin and Strom Thurmond will come at the Lesbieber with a vengeance for surpassing their lifespans by even just one day.  Picture ‘The Grudge,” but with fish.

Oh, and I completed the half-marathon and went to a tropical island for my birthday and those posts will be up soon.  I just have to finish typing it up and coming up with excuses as to why I’ve disappeared off the face of the planet for the past few months.

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Oh Sh*t…

THIS makes me a feel a whole lot better about skydiving in New Zealand.

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Man vs. Knees vs. Wild: The Get Me The Hell Outta Here Edition

The vultures circle above my head like a black halo of death.

This is it, I think.

The stillness of the forest is unsettling.  It is the sound of silent laughter, mocking me.  As I look up, I can see his face in front of me.  I’m not sure if it’s actually him, but the bowling shirt is unmistakable.  He sneers at me.

He’s here to give me the strength to go on.

I stretch out my hand with what little energy I have left, and ask for it.  Ask for the tiger blood.  Charlie Sheen shakes his finger in front of my face, reminiscent of a scolding father when you want a sip of his beer.  And in an instant, he is gone.  Nothing but trees and stillness, as I lay face down in the mud.  A dead man.  Lost in the void of this wilderness.  Two hikers walk past me with their golden retriever.

What’s his deal? the portly one asks.

Don’t stare, darling, there are weirdos and homeless here all the time.  I just didn’t think they’d be up THIS early.

I decided to wake up early Wednesday morning to get a good long run in: at least 10 miles.  My reasoning was that I wanted to see if I could do it, and if I couldn’t then I would have ample time to at least try to build up to it by the weekend.  On the other hand, if I could run the distance, but then was not able to walk the next day because I overexerted myself, I would have ample recovery time.  And seeing as how I’ve only run on the treadmill up until now, running outside seemed the next logical step.  There’s a park called Rock Creek Park nearby the apartment I’m staying in here in Silver Spring.  Perfect.

7 am.

My alarm had gone off at 6:30, but I pulled the blankets tightly around my neck, and relished in the extra half an hour I could use to lie in my bed before having to force myself to get up.  There’s a lot of light pouring in through my blinds, painting my face like a tiger.  I pull the blankets up over my eyes, to shield myself from the reality of what I am about to do.  I shut my eyes.  30 more minutes, I softly whisper in my head.

7:34 am.

Shit, fuck.  I had originally planned to leave my apartment at 8 am, but I still want to eat a decent breakfast before leaving so I wasn’t running 10 miles on an empty stomach.  I also need a good half an hour to digest the food, so I’m not throwing it back up in the sweltering summer heat.

I stumble out of bed and sloppily pour cereal into a bowl.  About 1/3 of it manages to actually get inside the bowl.  After pouring the freckles of bran with milk, I sit and eat, as I go over the running route I had mapped out the previous night on my laptop.

Simple enough, I think to myself.  I run down 2nd St. to Colesville, and then run down Colesville and around the roundabout to N. Portal Dr.  From there I take E. Beach Dr. and can easily find Beach Dr. which will take me throughout the entire Park and is a good 10 miles to the end and back.

8:11 pm.

I leave my apartment, stick my headphone in my ears, crank up my ipod and am on my way.  I run the route that’s memorized in my head.  I run down Colesville.  The day is brisk, but not yet hot.  The sun is shining, and the skies are a bright blue.  This is such a great idea, why have I not done this before? Idiot.  As I cross the roundabout I can’t find any street signs, so I run straight, which is what I remember on the map.  Soon, I find myself on 16th St.  Where the hell is N. Portal Dr.?

I know there is an alternate entrance into the park on 16th, so I continue running down the street.  I don’t want to interrupt my pace by searching wildly for a street I don’t even know exists.

(From this moment on, time is a abstract blur of a painting)

16th seems to go on forever.  I begin to prematurely panic that the existence of a 2nd entrance to the park on 16th is about as obscure as the entrance to Narnia in a wardrobe, when I finally see a small trail off in the distance that disappears into a thicket of trees.  The canopy of trees block out the sun, and I’m running in shaded darkness.  I envision the opening sequence in Silence of the Lambs, which motivates me to run faster.

The run is beautiful, and I have no idea where I am, or where I’m going, but do not care at this point.  I run over bridges, and through shallow crossings of creek beds.  I am in a movie right now, where I am some badass hero who is running through the main credits before he gets a call on his cell to report back to the station because some heinous crime has been committed, and I’m the only one who can solve it.

By either some miracle or inevitable coincidence, I run into Beach Drive: the main road that goes through the park.  I know this will take me to the bottom of the park which is around 5 miles.

The five miles have begun to take a toll on my knees.  As I reach the bottom of the park, I soon discover I am at war with my knees, at which point I turn around and start heading backwards.  Retracing my steps, I find my way back to the small dirt trail where I had met Beach Drive earlier.  This is the crucial decision I have to make without stopping: do I continue up Beach Drive which I know will take me to the entrance I was originally supposed to enter the park from N. Portal, or should I just retrace my steps on the dirt path and go back exactly how I entered?  Within a split second, I find myself back on the dirt path, following the river, and crossing the beautiful bridges and creek beds.

I plan on doing this many more mornings after this, I muse.  Even after the half marathon is over.

As I look up at the scenery, I come to a fork that I don’t remember seeing before.  Did I come from the part of the fork that had rocks in the path, or the other one?  I don’t really remember these rocks, so I go the other way.

I see a few hikers, and feel reassured and smile and nod at them.  The universal code for friendliness and the pretentious acknowledgement that we’re both healthy people getting shit done even before the rest of the population is even awake.

The further I get, the more unrecognizable everything seems.  The sun has now poured in through the canopy and the trail does not look like the same badass movie set that I had been running through earlier.  This resembles more like a movie set where a dumb asian kid gets lost and dies of exploded knee caps and heat exhaustion, in no particular order.

I approach more forks, and make many more poor choices where I feel I am taking myself even further from where I want and need to be.  If this was a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, at this point I would have been devoured by a three-headed snake monster after contracting syphilis from getting gang-banged by alien hoodlums in an alley I mistakenly turned into.

The more I try to find a way out, the deeper into the park I seem to get.  It’s like a chinese finger trap.  At this point, I do not know how many miles I have run, but it seems like a million.  The sun is now out in full force, and I have taken off my tank top and wrapped it around my head.  This is a tactic I vaguely recall in “Man vs. Wild.”  Although, I believe he had soaked his cloth in his own urine to stay rehydrated.  Mine is soaked in a more appealing alternative: my own sweat and tears.  I cannot retrace my steps and go backwards at this point, because I can’t even remember the correct-wrong forks I had taken to get back to the correct fork I had wrongly entered in the first place.  I soon realize I am no longer in marathon training.  I am in survival training.

I look upward at the sky, and follow the trail towards where the trees appear to cover the sky less and less.  The trail finally takes me out to a suburban road that is completely unfamiliar to me.  But at least I’m back at civilization.  I want to hail a cab, but realize I’m not carrying any money.  Nor do I have a phone to call someone to come pick me up.  I begin running in a direction down the road I believe to be towards Silver Spring.  It could be a direction towards New Jersey, and I wouldn’t even know it.  I could actually be in New Jersey, right now, and not even know it.

After running for 15 minutes, I finally come across an apartment complex.  By the apartment sign, there is a hispanic man watering flowers.  At first I am drawn to him because I want to rip the hose from his hands and drink myself into a coma.  But then I realize he may know where the hell I am.  I ask him if I am headed in the right direction for Silver Spring.  The man looks at me as if I’m an idiot.  Sure, I’m wearing a tank top on top of my head like a woman who had just stepped out of the shower, and apparently Silver Spring was right down the block, but I am still offended by his smugness.

When I finally recognize where I am and reach my apartment, I go up to my apartment, grab cash, and go straight to the 7 Eleven on the first floor and buy a jug of Gatorade.  When I down the entire jug, the Gatorade washes away the entire past 2 and a half hours: the heat exhaustion, the fear of dying in a park full of happy hikers, the knees I once had before they abandoned me in the middle of a bright sunny technicolor version of the Blair Witch set.  But most of all, it washed away the apprehension I had about running a half marathon.  Bring it on, bitch.

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2nd Thoughts…

My brother-in-law brought up a good point. He told me after reading my last entry about Justin Bieberfish changing colors that the truth is my roommate killed my goldfish and then fed me that story about how fishes change color when they hit puberty.  And I bought it.  I’m worse than a naive 7-year-old child.

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Justin Bieber Hit Puberty!

So, apparently me buying Justin Bieberfish a lady companion was not such a good idea.  I haven’t seen him in a month, and as many of you know – I went back home to NYC for Memorial Day Weekend instead of running in the Alexandria Half Marathon, at the request of my friend Michelle, and drank and stuffed my face all weekend.  Well, when I returned home Justin Bieberfish was a totally different fish.  Not only did he lock himself in his clay pot for hours with a stash of Sears catalogs, act withdrawn and moody, tell me he hated me every second and to mind my own business, but he also took a chapter out of Michael Jackson’s book and decided to change his pigmentation.  Justin Bieberfish is no longer black: he is gold.

Justin Bieber Before and After Sexual Maturity

As a father I was bewildered, but also extremely proud: Justin Bieberfish had beaten the actual Justin Bieber to puberty.  Sure, JB is technically 16 years old, but that’s just a number.  Sure, he kisses Selena Gomez for the cameras, but let’s be honest: we haven’t seen a change as drastic as say, a COMPLETE CHANGE IN RACE.   I was nervous at first, because I thought he had frequented the Jersey Shore while I was gone and had contracted some sort of scale cancer.  But my friend, Lizzie, did some research and discovered it’s a form of fish puberty.

So congratulations Justin Bieberfish…to manhood…or fishhood…or manfishhood.  And consider my purchase of your 1st mermaid similar to a father buying his son his first Playboy.  And to the other Bieber: suck it.  Call us when your body doesn’t awkwardly resemble a kid flexing for a Flinstones vitamin commercial.

In other news, my 1/2 marathon is this Saturday and I’m already shopping online for wheelchairs.  I think I’ve found a quality hoveround to match my future needs.

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2 1/2 Marathons = A Full Marathon

So here’s the deal.  I allowed my friend, Michelle, to convince me to skip my marathon this upcoming May 29th to spend Memorial Weekend back in NYC.  It took

"You don't have to tell me twice!"

about as much arm twisting as asking Augustus Gloop to dive headfirst into a chocolate river, especially seeing as how I’ve been so on top of my training up until now.  But before I decided to miss that 1/2 Marathon I needed to find another one to run.  We found one the following weekend in Virginia on June 4th.  Michelle volunteered to drive me to that Marathon, in exchange for driving up to NYC with her from DC.

But then I looked up other half marathons and found one in NYC in Central Park in October.  This seemed even more ideal for me, because I would then train properly…theoretically.  For those of you reading that last sentence with a twinge of an eye roll…you know me too well.  So I was still undecided on which one to do.

I went to Pacers the other day because I had set up an appointment weeks ago to meet with one of the owners.  Pacers is a running centric store, one of which is located in Silver Spring that I always pass on my way to work.  The owner asked me to meet him at the shop in Arlington, VA because it was larger and offered a wider selection in equipment.

Wrong guy.

Chris Farley, the owner (not the deceased comedian of “Fat Guy in a little coat” fame), was a tremendous help, having run numerous marathons himself, and the experience was far beyond anything I expected.  To my horror, he had me get on the treadmill to evaluate my run.  I was transported back to a horrific time in grade school where you walk into the classroom and the teacher has a pop quiz waiting for you and then tells you that Harold the class gerbil has crawled into the radiator and died.  If that metaphor doesn’t make sense to you – in this scenario what crawled into the radiator and died was simply my pride.

Before I got on the treadmill, Chris measured my feet in one of those foot measuring contraptions you probably haven’t seen since childhood that sort of resembles a large metallic cookie cutter.  I learned today that my right foot is actually larger than my left.  Chris assured me that this is normal, but I’m pretty sure he was referring to the normality of a circus sideshow.  Not only am I half human/half hobbit, I also learned that my “pronation” is slightly off.  Which means that my feet hit the ground only slightly off at an angle…which actually was good news, because I have always been under the self-conscious impression that I run with my feet like a ballerina in first position.

Long story short, we found the perfect shoes for me, specifically.  Which is good, because my old running shoes would hurt and begin to pinch my feet by mile five.  I also experienced my very own 80s montage by trying on numerous running apparel combinations, many of which embarrassingly enough looked a lot like “skorts” and that I was getting ready to play women’s singles at Wimbledon.

We also discussed my dilemma, and Chris suggested that I run the half marathon June 4th, just to experience it and also to participate in the one in October so that I can go in the 2nd time with a goal in mind, and properly train and work towards that goal.  Unfortunately for me, this all made sense.  So I went into this project with an absolute “no full marathon” clause, but it appears I will be running a full marathon after all…sort of.

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