Category Archives: The Race

The “Run”

After months of preparation, costume design, and annoying my friends on Facebook, the run is complete. Here’s how it went down.

My morning began at 3am. Because my wife was helping to run the event, we had to get there early. Super early. At 4am the park was dark and cool. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. After arriving, I helped place signs, set up tables, and move boxes of t-shirts.

It is amazing how much goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. There were hundreds of volunteers to direct, water stations to set up, and tents to arrange. Despite everything we had to do, it went smoothly and everything was ready by the time the first runners rolled in.

And roll in they did – over 2500 runners in all. Supermen, Batmen, Ninja Turtles, Marvel, DC, Nintendo and Nickelodeon. Simple costumes and elaborate costumes. I saw it all. Although I spotted several Groots, there were no other Star Lords in attendance.  So, luckily, I had a unique costume. Unfortunately, Star Lord doesn’t really stand out.  Very few people realized who I was. I think most people assumed I was some random futuristic biker. But all of the Groots knew who I was…so there’s that.

He is Groot.

He is Groot.

Before the run, I spent most of my time watching the costume contest. It was great seeing people show off costumes they put so much time into.  I have to say, my favorite was the “Mario Kart” family. Hilarious, and ingenious. Eventually, it was time to head to the starting line. I made my way there and ended up near the end of the pack.  That was fine with me.  I wasn’t looking to win any speed medals. In fact, I was so paranoid of dropping the Walkman that I ended up walking the majority of the route.  My brother, dressed as Duffman, walked with me.

I’m not going to lie, it was warm. Hot even.  The jacket and the pants are not ideal for running/walking. However, I’m proud to say that I survived.

Guardians of the Galaxy...and Robin with ice cream.

Guardians of the Galaxy…and Robin with ice cream.

Found some other Guardians at the run.

Found some other Guardians at the run.

Here is the full getup!

Here is the full getup!

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Abused Children: Inside Out

INSIDE OUT: The emotions. Joy holds a memory.  ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

INSIDE OUT: The emotions. Joy holds a memory.
©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I had two things to do tonight – attend a screening of Pixar’s Inside Out and write a blog post. Although I intended to write about a costume item, I can’t stop thinking about this movie and its implications. The movie explores the workings of a young girl’s mind and emotions. Riley, the main character, is 11 years old and spends the movie struggling with a major life change. We watch the story unfold, both inside and outside her mind.

I promise I won’t give any major plot points away.

The world Pixar creates inside Riley’s head is complex and insightful. Her entire personality and her resilience – her ability to deal with adversity – is based on certain “core memories.” These are Riley’s foundation. For Riley, these memories are filled with Joy. Created when she was very young, Riley’s core memories are consistently reinforced as she falls back on them again and again while she grows. Because her core memories are happy, Riley is essentially a happy person and uses this happiness to overcome challenges.

Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Anger (voice of Lewis Black) guide 11-year-old Riley from Headquarters, the control center inside her mind. Directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”), Disney•Pixar's

Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Anger (voice of Lewis Black) guide 11-year-old Riley from Headquarters, the control center inside her mind. Directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”), Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The implication is that we all have core memories and strong personality traits defined by them. But what happens when our core memories are not happy, but sad? Or angry? Or Fearful?

The implications are tragic. A child whose core memories are any of these would be defined by the corresponding emotion. When faced with adversity, a child without joyful core memories would fall back on something else. Like fear. Purely fearful core memories would result in a child cowering and running when challenged. Anger would cause a child to lash out when dealing with hardship. Sadness could lead to deep depression.

This is what life must be like for abused and neglected children.  In this Pixar world, the traumatic events abused children experience would be so strong and defining that sad and fearful events would make up the bulk of their core memories. This would affect the way they act, the way they confront challenges, and the way they view the world. Sadly, it is very hard to change core memories. They are the foundation.

I, like Riley, was fortunate enough to grow up with joyful core memories, memories I can fall back on when things get rough.  Others aren’t that lucky and find themselves confronting life with a shaky foundation, one that leaves them prone to distress and anger.

Maybe we can’t change the sad or fearful core memories, but we can add a little joy to the lives of these children. Create happy memories and nurture them. Give the emotions living in their heads the tools and the base they need to deal effectively with challenges and, well, life. Maybe, hopefully, we can add a splash of yellow to memories that are currently blue or purple or red.

That’s what this project is about. I’m just a normal guy, but at least I can dress like a Marvel character and raise a few dollars for those trying to help them.

(Inside out is a wonderful film, by the way)

Why make this page?

I am not a cos-player.

Me

I don’t dress up and go to comic conventions and the like. Usually. I did once, but it was on a whim and I threw the outfit together in a day. Not terribly elaborate. You don’t know elaborate costumes until you’ve been to one of these conventions. People make some amazing costumes. They spend years on some of them.  Full suits of armor, epic Groot costumes, outfits with electronics, and more. I’ve never done that.

Until now. My wife signed me up for a charity 5K in support of CASA of Travis County. CASA is a pretty cool organization.  They help children in need – abused and neglected children. I won’t elaborate too much right now, but check future posts or the Donate page (or check out their website http://www.casatravis.org/).

Anyway, in order to run I need a costume. I could have thrown on a cape, rented a cheap Spiderman jumpsuit, or put a belt around by head and called myself Quailman. Unfortunately, I am incapable of doing anything half way. Nothing against anyone who goes like this…they help children just as much as I am going to.  But for me, If I’m going to dress as a Superhero, I’m going all out. Why?  Well for one, I want to bring a smile to the faces of children I meet at the event.  I want them to feel like they are meeting the real Superhero, not an imitator. I want to BE the Superhero. Second, it’s just the way I am.  I go all out.

After racking my brain, I settled on Star-Lord as my superhero. For a number of reasons. I will elaborate in a blog post later.

As I began the arduous task of fundraising, a very smart individual (by the name of Steven Olender) gave me some advice.  “People love stories and pictures,” he wrote me. Rather than just ask for money, Steven advised that I give people something back by documenting the creation of my costume and preparation for the race.  That way, it’s a two way street.  People donate money to the organization, and I give them stories, pictures, and highlights from the day of the event in return.  They SEE some of the impact of their donation!

What a great idea.  For the first few days, I began throwing random updates on Facebook and Twitter. After thinking about it (and learning how easy WordPress is to use), I decided a blog would be a better format to keep people involved and updated. For a modest investment of $18.00, I created this site. Cool, huh?

One note: All donations made go straight to CASA. Everything I am spending on the costume and on the site is coming straight out of my pocket! If you donate…fear not! All the money will go towards CASA’s mission of helping abused children.

So, thanks for joining me on my journey to become Star-Lord!