The Wind & Avatar Blew Me Away

I woke up in Los Angeles this morning but could have sworn it was Chicago.

The wind swirled and gusted well before 8 this morning, and I knew it would be a chilly morning of training. Fortunately, the first 45 minutes were spent on my trainer indoors watching Sportscenter (how 'bout that Arizona hoops buzzer-beater!?) and The Dan Patrick Show. Then, since I'm on vacation, I was able to complete both workouts back-to-back. A rare mid-week brick.

My second workout was a time trial run to determine my tempo pace for the next four weeks. The mission: run two miles as close as possible to baseline zone 3 heart rate (152) and record the time. The challenge: a nasty head-wind that raised my bpm three-four beats each time I ran against the wind on the park track near where I live. The gusts made it a little tougher to accurately gauge the test. Still, I think I did pretty well, turning in a decent 17:44 for two miles, which would still put me under a four-hour marathon pace. Of course, the goal is to drop down closer to a 3:40 marathon, so I have lots of work to do.

All that said, the workouts were overshadowed by a far more impactful experience: Avatar. In IMAX 3D. To borrow one of my favorite geek phrases, "OMGWTFBBQPWN3D!"

Translation: "Wow, that movie sure was spectacular. I found it astoundingly enjoyable."

For me, Avatar will now occupy the rarest of spaces: it captured my imagination and sense of wonder on the same level as when I first saw the original Star Wars as a kid in the late

'70s. No other original universe movie (not taken from a book) that I can recall since Episode 4 immersed me into an alien world better or more convincingly. Yes, I attribute a lot of that to watching the movie in IMAX 3D, which is how director James Cameron told my co-worker and friend James Stevenson at Comic-Con that Avatar must be experienced. I'm glad I complied. I've never seen a movie quite as visually stunning. I also thought the use of 3D was smoothly integrated throughout and not incorporated as a cheap gimmick. Perhaps most surprising though, I truly found myself caring for the characters and the native culture on Pandora. Their plight felt real, and I found myself comparing Avatar to Dances with Wolves meets Braveheart... in space. (Jake Sully didn't have to paint himself blue like William Wallace since he already was that color.)

If you have yet to see Avatar, even if you're not a huge sci-fi fan, you must find time. And if you can, treat yourself to watching it in IMAX 3D. Overall, Avatar raised the bar for a movie-going experience, almost the same way Uncharted 2 did with videogames spectacle.

(When I started this blog, I didn't anticipate writing restaurant or movie reviews. But I'm kinda rollin' with it at the moment. Thanks for indulging me.)

337 days and counting.