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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Line Up

Hey all,

Sorry about the gap in posting so far this month, there has been a lot of little things that have not been condusive to writing. Work of course always rears it's ugly head and has seen me working some serious shifts in the previous week. Between numerous meetings and visiting supervisors I just haven't been home that much, some time working 11 or 12 hour days. My hope is that this current week we can get on some sort of regular schedule or at least get another manager that we were promised to help ease the load. Hey with my luck though I'll probably be back to where I started!

There have been some other stuff going on. Last night saw brand new episodes of one of my favorite television programs Ninja Warrior. Found on G4 its a Japanese import show that's everything American Gladiator wants to be. A highly difficult 4 stage obstacle course that pits 100 people against its rigors. Some of the challenges range from athletes to fishermen to dancers to models to the out and out ridiculous. The obstacles, which you have to see to believe are incredibly difficult, like running up a curved wall to grab the lip, to crossing a hanging curtain over a pit of water to jumping from monkey bar to monkey bar across an incredible span. It's amazing to see what these athletes are capable of. In the 10 plus years of the show only 2 men have ever completed all 4 stages. Last night saw the 7th all women of Ninja Warrior tournament.

All of the obstacles require speed, strength, endurance, stamina, and balance. The men's course focuses more on strength, the women's highlight balance. The last three tournaments for women have seen back to back to back victories for the only woman to have completed the the course, whose name is Ayoka. Of the 110 women who started stage 1, only 4 advanced. Passing obstacles like wobbly stepping stones, off set balance beams where you hit a button, run across one beam, jump to an off set next beam, then jump to a third platform to catch a punching bag that released when you hit the button to ride it across a pool of water. Then it's up the short cargo net to the balance tank, where you roll on a barrel on a ramp across a pool of water to a platform. Then you catapult from a trampoline to an elevated small round platform in an event called the Hot Rocket. Then you jump down to a padded platform, across a short balance beam into the Angled Run, where two sections of wall, one on the right, one on the left separated by a small gap are pitched at a 22 degree incline. You have to run across the angled wall to a rope ladder, climb it an hit a buzzer. Oh Yeah, and all this has to be done in 85 seconds. That's hard right!

Four women advanced to Stage 2, where the obstacles push your sense of balance and strength even harder, with spinning balance logs, elevated rounded stepping stones, monkey bars and free hanging balance beams. Even 3 time champion Ayoka failed to pass this course, though one challenger made it to stage 3. The third stage, the only 1 untimed, has a peg jump, where you jump from one narrow peg shaped platform to the next and a long foam domino hill that rise over 10 feet from the ground. Domino Hill beat the challenger who couldn't make it to the third task, an inclined rock wall. There was still a stage 4 whose challenge we did not get to see.

Ninja Warrior is full of everything you have to love about competitive television. Feats of strength and athleticism, sheer humor at some of the strange participants and a sense of awe watching people do things that look impossible. It will be about 2 months until the next new episode of Ninja Warrior, the men's competition. Sadly that's the only drawback of the show. Since the Tournament is only held in Japan 4 times a year, you only get new episodes about every quarter. Two men's, in the summer and the winter, and two women's, in the fall and spring. But G4 has plenty of backlog, over 10 years worth of episodes for you to watch and root for. You should definitely add G4 for this show alone, it's well worth adding to your cable package and ranks as one of my top 5 shows to watch.

Ninja Warrior.

End of Line.

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