Sunday, July 31, 2011

Out Spotlight

Today’s Out Spotlight is an author, motivational speaker, activist, radio and TV commentator, and a long-distance swimmer. Today’s Out Spotlight is swimmer Diana Nyad.

Diana Nyad was born August 22, 1949 in New York City to stockbroker William Sneed and his wife Lucy Curtis. Her father passed away when she was three and her mother soon remarried to Aristotle Nyad, a Greek land developer, who adopted Diana. The family moved from New York to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she grew up and began swimming seriously in junior high.

She attended the elite Pine Crest School, and swam under the tutelage of Olympian (and Hall of Fame) coach Jack Nelson. Before graduating she won three Florida state high school championships in the Backstroke (at 100 and 200 yards).

Her dreams of swimming in the 1968 Summer Olympics were dashed in 1966 she developed endocarditis, an infection of the heart, leaving her to spend three months in bed. Returning to swimming she had lost her speed.

After graduating Pine Crest she entered Emory University but was thrown out of school for jumping out a fourth-floor dormitory window wearing a parachute. She enrolled at Lake Forest College in Illinois, where she played varsity tennis and resumed swimming, concentrating on distance events. She soon came to the attention of Buck Dawson, director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida, who introduced her to marathon swimming. She began training at his Camp Ak-O-Mak in Ontario, Canada and set a woman's world record of 4 hours and 22 minutes in her first race, a 10-mile swim in Lake Ontario in July 1970 finishing 10th overall. After graduating Lake Forest College, with a double major in English and French, she returned to south Florida to continue training with Dawson.

At age 20, Nyad's marathon swimming career began in July 1970, when she set the women's world record for the 10-mile swim across Lake Ontario, in four hours and 22 minutes.

In June 1974 she flew to Italy and entered the 22-mile Bay of Naples race, setting another women's record of 8 hours, 11 minutes. At age 26, Nyad made national headlines by swimming 28 miles around the island of Manhattan in just under 8 hours (7 hours 57 minutes.)

But it was at age 28 she made the swim most remember her for, she first attempted to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West. Diving into the ocean at 2PM on Sunday August 13 from Ortegosa Beach (50 miles west of Havana), she swam inside a 20 X 40 foot steel shark cage for nearly 42 hours, before team doctors removed her during the 7 o'clock hour on the morning of Tuesday August 15 due to strong Westerly winds and 8-foot swells that were slamming her against the cage and pushing her off-course towards Texas. She had covered about 76 miles, but not in a straight line.

In what was to be her last "competitive" swim on her 30th birthday August 20-21 1979, she set a world record for distance swimming (both men and women) over open water , setting a distance record for non-stop swimming without a wetsuit by swimming 102 miles from North Bimini Island, Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Florida, that still stands. Thanks to favorable winds and a following sea she averaged 3.7 miles per hour and completed the swim in 27 and one-half hours.

Diana Nyad was inducted into the United States' National Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986, and in 2003 she was honored with her induction in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

In the 1980's, she began a career in television, radio, and print. She has served as the senior correspondent for Fox Sports News from 1996–2001 , hosted her own show on CNBC, and announced numerous premier sporting events for ABC Sports, serving as one of the anchors for ABC’s Wide World of Sports from 1980–1988. She was also a regular contributor to the CBS News television show Sunday Morning.

In 1999 she joined, former NFL player Walter Kopay, former MLB player Billy Beane, and Mariah Burton Nelson, pro basketball player at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in a discussion called ''Breaking the Silence: Gays and Lesbians in Professional Sports.'' That evening Nyad, described an attempted rape, by her coach when she was 14.

Nyad has always open with her friends and colleagues about her orientation. As a commentator she escaped some of the pressure from owners because she was a star in an individual sport. But not as a television personality. At ABC, she said, she was told not to bring her partner to company social events and to make sure her lesbianism stayed in the closet where it couldn't scare the Nielsen families.

Currently Nyad writes a weekly column for National Public Radio and has written several books, and often contributes pieces to the New York Times, Self Magazine, and other publications. She has been working on a series of children's books for inner-city libraries, about athletes who overcame tough childhoods.

Not only a world-class distance swimmer she was once ranked 30th in the nation amongst U.S. women squash players.

Early in January 2010 Nyad began working out for an attempt to swim from Cuba-to-Florida and be the first person to do so without a shark cage. Taking up residence in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, from January through June she began doing 8-, 10-, 12- and 14-hour swims every other week. Then she moved her training to Key west and, while waiting for favorable weather conditions to do a 24-hour training swim. On July 10, 2010, at the age of 60, she began open water training for a 60-hour, 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, a task she had failed to finish thirty years previously. After her 24 marathon swim, her trainer noted that her stroke rate was practically unchanged from beginning to end.

When asked her motivation, she replied, "Because I'd like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams." She was scheduled to make the Cuba-Florida swim in August/September 2010, but bad weather forced her to cancel.

This is year is Nyad’s second attempt to complete the swim and to swim it without a shark cage to protect her has gained the attention of thousands of supporters, including the official sponsorship by Secret Deodorant, which has created a Facebook page for fans to share encouraging messages and support for Diana. Training earlier this year in St. Maarten, she said "We're aiming to be ready for July 1; that means all the preparation done, and all the crew waiting in Key West," Diana states. "It's a large operation, like an expedition. We've got about 25 people, navigators, managers, boat crew, weather routers, medical people, shark experts, you name it. That's the time also when the water starts to get to its hottest. I need the hottest possible ocean. As soon as we hit the right forecast, we'll be off to Havana. We won't know the exact starting point probably until the night before. And we don't know exactly where landfall will be...I'd love to wind up in Key West, but it will depend on trajectory of the Gulf Stream." The estimated cost for this attempt is about $500,000.

Nyad moved her training from St. Maarten to Key West, Florida, in June 2011, and she was joined by key members of her support team to wait for ideal weather conditions that typically occur only during July and August. The "high" water temperatures will produce a twin challenge: in the first half of her swim the warm water will dehydrate her body, while in the second half her body temperature will drop and she will face potential hypothermia. She has bulked up her physique by 15 pounds from since her attempt last year to about 150 pounds to help counter the loss of body mass during her grueling swim. She will most likely hallucinate and endure the stings of countless jellyfish. And along the way, sea salt will swell her tongue to cartoonish proportions and rub her skin raw.

To help fend-off possible attacks by sharks, Nyad will be "escorted" by a paddler in a kayak equipped with an electronic shark-repellent Protective Oceanic Device. Developed by one of her sponsors, SharkShield, the device is designed to protect surfers and scuba divers: a battery-powered wire emits an electronic wave calculated to create pain in the sensory organ used by sharks to detect potential prey. Kayakers, working in shifts, will maintain a position a few yards away from her throughout her swim and, if sharks are spotted, divers will enter the water to provide added protection.

To keep her swimming in a straight line, her will have a specially designed, slow-moving catamaran support boat will deploy a 3-meter (18-20 feet) streamer: a long pole keeps the streamer several yards away from the boat, and the streamer is designed to remain about 5 feet underwater, so that she can swim above it, much like following a lane line in a swimming pool. At night, the white streamer will be replaced by a string of red LED lights. Writing in her blog in month, Nyad wrote that the development of the submerged guide streamer, may be the single greatest aid to her marathon swim: in all previous swims she had trouble keeping the support boat in sight and was prone to veer off-course.

The people responsible for selecting the date to begin the swim are husband-and-wife scientists Dane and Jenifer Clark . Dane is a meteorologist and Jenifer is a satellite oceanographer and they are acknowledged as experts on Gulf Stream conditions. The Clarks will analyze satellite weather and ocean data to select the best 3-day "window of opportunity" to find the right combination of favorable winds and the warmest water temperatures, she requires a minimum of 86F, with even warmer water inside the Gulf Stream current, to begin her swim.

At age 61, she has been described by her coach as a "swimming machine", able to swim hour after hour while maintaining a metronomic stroke rate of 54 strokes per minute, which results in a speed of 1.5 miles per hour. This is down, slightly, from her pace of about 60 strokes per minute when she in her 20s. At her current rate, the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida will take a minimum of 60 hours.

Diana and her best friend Bonnie Stoll (former #3 in the world on the Pro Racquetball Tour) have formed a company called BravaBody which is aimed at providing online exercise advice to women over 40, with the two world-class athletes giving direct inspiration and custom-made work-outs. She is also a motivational speaker talking to a variety of groups.

Several experts who attended the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference this past June expressed their strong belief that Nyad has both the physical ability and, more importantly, the positive mental stamina to be able to complete the Cuba-to-Florida swim.

“She is up against the most outlandish, outrageous, unbelievable physical endurance activity of, certainly, my lifetime,” said Steven Munatones, a champion open-water swimmer who runs the organization Open Water Source and will serve as an independent observer during Ms. Nyad’s swim. “I can’t imagine being in the ocean for 60 hours. I can’t imagine doing anything for 60 hours. It is inconceivable. It simply is.”

“Especially,” he added, “at her age.”

In her 1978 autobiography Nyad described marathon swimming as a battle for survival against a brutal foe - the sea - and the only victory possible is to "touch the other shore."

This July, the U.S. gay sports website reported on her plans for the 2011 Cuba swim, writing that "(the) amazing Diana Nyad is a living legend in the Swim World, and a role model for the GBLT community, being openly lesbian."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bronze Age

Austin shows off his new favorite bronzer in the make up trailer on set.@amazingcosmetic @AUS10NICHOLS his new favorite bronzer -@makeupbytym

Jake shows his off on PR tour.

Now fellas go easy on that stuff, just a little dab will do you.

It's a slippery slope before this happens :

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two steps ahead

Last year OMG suggested a line of Tweet-shirts from our favorite tweeter - Austin.

Tweet it -- Tee it

New from Wild Goose Inc. it's Tweet-tees

Taking the tweets to the streets. Organic cotton. Sweat-shop free. Made from 100% actual tweets.

It looks like we were ahead of our time, because recently Skreened did just that. They took Austin's tweet about Transformer's Optimus Prime and made into a t-shirt.While it's no Bed Head or the So Damn Sexy duo, it is pretty cool.Now Mr. Nichols next time OMG makes a crazy suggestion maybe you should take a chance on it.Or maybe this.Or maybe...

Happy Austin Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sound off

This is my rifle
This is my gun
This is for fighting
This is for fun

It's easy Michael just remember clip clip pepper wand,
radio cuff,
cuff, gun.

Oops that's a miss.

Jake showing his skill at dodging bullets or his Vegas dance moves.

Nothing to see people. Nothing to see. Move along.
A post today would not be a post without these.
Pictures: IHJ/Popsugar

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marshal Matters

Jake isn't the only one with behind the scenes and extras this week. Check out Austin (or is that Marshal?) in a special Extras and Outtakes video put together from his Grand Marshal PR duties from this summer.

Austin is having a total blast and this is a side of Austin most haven't seen. Nutty, zany, funny he is just having a great time and enjoy it all. From changing his name, (Head Honcho? Big Cheese? El Hefe? Marshal?) to celebrating his shadow and talking about cowboys in the saddle along with those long lean legs of his(and you might not shave them Austin, but with the smooth stems you sported before,you've either had some Nair time or Waxed On Waxed Off) to giving a CSI Miami moment, squirting in public and a Woo (or is that an O face)?
And give him what? Three? No Austin is not talking about Lynrd Skynrd (although you can't put it past him) the three Austin's talking about is the LA CC and the LA Mayor's office's bike safety program for cars to put three feet between them and bike riders when they pass bikes.One thing for sure someone is a lucky duck and it isn't the Wild Turkey.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two by Two

Today is #twowheeltuesday. Everybody get on my bike. I will take you anywhere you want to go.
-Aus10LinkSince you're offering and the song goes:
"Won't you take me to... Funkytown."

It's Funkytown. Besides, you got the threads for it.

And while it is TwoWheel Tuesday is also a Two-fer Tuesday for Jake.

Not only is Souce Code out today on DVD and Blu-Ray, but a Jake cult classic is out for a special anniversary.Source Code, along with the movie comes the extras including featurettes, interviews, scenes and commentary. You can activate, the Access: Source Code feature which "drops a small dial in the lower-left portion of the screen, which counts down to the bursts of content that arrive at odd-and-end points on the screen." What it includes is Cast/Crew interviews, audio recordings from theoretical physics expert Sergei Gukov, and trivia bits about other instances of time travel in art and literature. The commentary is with Duncan, Jake, and writer Ben Ripley. Duncan and Jake "trade revelations about their experiences working on the film, such as the inspiration Jones leaned on for the lighting in Colter's pod (and a sharp point about the window) and the symbolism behind its condition, to the way Jones shifted around the locations to freshen up the visual style." It's been a long time since Jake has done commentary for one of his films, and his comments for Source Code remind the audience what a thoughtful performer he is and how he weighs his acting choices.While Ben’s commentary shares how his story morphed into the film, and how at times it was at odds with Duncan’s take of the story.

And the other half to the Jake two-fer Tuesday?

It is the 10th Anniversary Edition of of Donnie Darko in HD. It will be ten years this fall that Darko premiered. (Can you believe it?)To celebrate the anniversary, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment put together ultimate collection, containing four discs, two DVDs and two Blu-rays, collectible artwork, a Digital Copy, and both theatrical and Director's Cut editions of the movie.
And you might not be going to Funkytown, but you can still get on your bike and get the funk out.

Picture credit:VDelia