July 31, 2008

My Local Hero

There is a corner store that I go to during work to get snacks or drinks. We don't have any vending machines on the premises so my friend and I will take a breath of air to get our trans fat for the day. I casually (okay, emphatically) told the owner that I was a fan of the best! candy bar in the world- the Milkyway Midnight- and that he needed to stock it. I didn't think he would take me seriously until I went there one day and he bought them! He remembered that I liked them and pointed me in their direction. Unfortunately my friend and I are the only ones who buy them so I feel obligated to purchase only that candy bar. Today I wanted a Twix but I had to buy a Milkyway Midnight because otherwise I would be a jerk. So if you're in the vicinity of Finnigan's Corner Store on Quail and Central, buy a Milkyway Midnight. They are super yummy!

Anyway, the store owner isn't my local hero. The guy at minute marker :57 is:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1137806146/bclid1143371293/bctid1690990155

July 28, 2008

This Time it Will Be the Eye of the Wolverine

I set up my own training schedule for this next triathlon. It's not a bad schedule, it will just take a lot more of my time. I have to gear up for an 18 mile bike after all! I figured I averaged a 14.4 mph bike ride the last time so if I can maintain that average with this next race then I will be a-okay. My biggest worry is that the bike route is almost completely uphill. Anytime I go down a hill I will only come back to climb the hill- the route is an out and back. I'm sure I'll be fine but sheesh!

I'm looking forward to the half-mile swim. Since it'll be longer I hope to get a real head-start on the non-swimmers. This time I know to start on the side so I don't have to maneuver around people. I will be a wet blur of speed.

The run should be my best run because it'll be the shortest race distance yet. I'll feel more than prepared because Mike and I are running in a 3.5 mile trail run in one of my favorite Albany parks, Thatcher Park, on Sunday. It should be a really great time- it comes with a BBQ. (Please don't rain!!! I've been looking forward to this.) I've never run in the woods before. I'll have to see if they make malaria tent running suits. I hate mosquitoes but they loooove me. It's my sweet ass. For sure.

July 25, 2008

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

I saw the Dark Knight opening day (night?) last week and it was pretty super. I'm not being blah about it. It was just so good that I don't know what else to say without sounding full of crap and hyperbole. But I can say that I felt like part of a special (and "special" [hell, who am I to judge? I have Mattel's Harley and Poison Ivy Barbie dolls on prominent display in my living room]) club of Batman fans going at midnight. The movie was super because it wasn't only a superbly acted film but it was a wonderful story about humanity. Go see it but you might want to stretch first because I got a cramp I was so tense.

We left the theatre already talking about Heath Ledger's amazing performance and whether or not his portrayal of The Joker is Oscar winning. I don't know. The Oscars have no real credibility for me. I know, I know, they're my Superbowl. Whatever. The awards are just a marketing ploy to get people to see all of the movies and serve as an excuse for LA to shut down and have their version of a "snow day." Otherwise, it's horribly boring navel gazing for people who already get fame and glory. It's almost like watching the collective Hollywood circle jerk but with designer gowns.

I do immensely enjoy guessing who's going to win and why. It's just as political as politics. Movies that are considered better don't always win. For example, Munich was a powerful and very well made film but it was largely snubbed due to its controversial Zionist stance. If Steven Spielberg didn't make it, it would've been swept under the rug. Besides, who's to quantify what is "better" in something as subjective as the arts? Film is an art form and after all, art is in the eye of the beholder.

Heath Ledger is undoubtedly considered one of the most talented actors of our generation. I would never have guessed the incredibly good-looking dude from Ten Things I Hate About You would be so critically lauded, but he is. His role in Brokeback Mountain is subtle and nuanced and heart-wrenching but I was stunned by The Dark Knight. His Joker was more than a crazy guy in make-up- he was dark and twisted and ... beautiful. Every time he was on screen my ovaries jumped to my throat. If Heath Ledger was still chained to the mortal coil he would very likely be nominated and just as likely win. I mean, if a Keith Richards impression garners a nomination, TWICE IN A ROW, this should fucking win. But I don't want him to win. I really don't. If he wins it will cheapen his achievement. He will win not because of his talent, he will win because he's dead. And he deserves more than that.

July 22, 2008

Mad Indeed

I bought a bike for my triathlon because the bike we owned was a piece of crap and the bike I borrowed required more money to fix than I was willing to put into a bike that wasn't mine. So, I went to the bike shop recommended to me by my therapist. (What a handy profession that is.) She told me about a fellow who spruced up old bikes and put them back out on the road. He called his little outfit Mad Dog Bikes and he operated out of his garage. Since she last went to him in the 1990s I googled him to see if he'd moved or something and I found his very informative website- maddogbicycles.com. Let me tell you, that fellow was super helpful and made me feel like he really valued me as a new bike enthusiast and customer. I could ask him any question and he didn't make me feel stupid. He let me ride the bikes around the neighborhood and built one for me when he realized the model that suited me best was still disassembled in a box. He also threw in a free kickstand, water bottle holder AND water bottle! So, go to this store if you can. It's worth the 10 minute ride south of Albany. And he absolutely deserves the business.

July 21, 2008

Look Into My Cristobal

I love the Weather Channel. I'm glad it was bought by General Electric NBC because chances are it will maintain its current incarnation since it looked like something NBC owned already. I just hope NBC doesn't fire all the people and hire new ones. Marshall Seese is near retirement! I mean look at the guy! Leave him alone! And don't hire all dudes- I love that you have tons of women on your channel of various sizes and child rearing age. Some of them might even have gone through the Change. I love everything about the Weather Channel. Keep it the SAME! Or make it better- but only if I approve.

Anyway, I watch Channel de Weather constantly- morning, noon, and night. I was watching it last week when I learned the name of the newest tropical storm Cristobal. I know the Weather Channel doesn't name the tropical storms, the Meteorlogical Society does, but seriously- Cristobal? Cristobal sounds like a flamboyant Hispanic from Miami who wants to throw a disco in my living room after giving me highlights and teaching me to salsa. He sounds like a real party. He'll even bring the booze.

Katrina, now there's someone who sounded like a bitch from the get go.

July 15, 2008

I Learned the Truth at 27

It was my 12th birthday and Laura Rush gave me a book as a gift. Thoughtful, sure. Strange, very. It was a book about the perils of puberty. It had a teen boy draped over a yield sign on the cover. I think her mom picked it out for her. Whatever.

One day I was flipping through it and stumbled on the lyrics to Janis Ian's At Seventeen in a chapter about self-esteem. I had never heard the song before but the lyrics made me stop. It was like she wrote the song about me. For me. In 1975. She was a prescient woman.

At my first dance I asked every boy I knew to dance with me. And they all said no. The same happened the next year. I figured it out and stopped asking. Boys never asked me out, men never hit on me. I wasn't asked to the prom and I made the moves on Mike.

Wahwahwah. This brings me to a point. When the attractive office supply delivery guy (who I once caught shamelessly checking out my ass when I was bent over, then made eye contact with me and asked me how I'm doing, all without being creepy) says hello to me today and asks me how my yoga is going because the last time he was here he remembered me mentioning how I'm going to get buff, I'm having a GREAT day. Every time this fellow comes in he makes eye contact with me, flashes a brilliant smile and asks me how I'm doing. I smile back at him and engage him in conversation. Yes, I'm flirting with the delivery guy. Mike knows it and he doesn't mind. I come home with a kick in my step and some fresh self-confidence. Besides, I'm not going to do anything about it.

Before you give me shit, Mike does an excellent job making me feel attractive. HOWEVER, if you're going to tell me that if someone you find attractive reciprocates and you don't enjoy it even a little, you're lying. It means you've still got it. And in my case, it means I've finally gotten something.

I Was in the Eye of the Tiger

I had my triathlon two days ago! I'm still so excited that I did it. I freestyled the whole way, biked the whole way, and ran the whole way. I don't know what my time is but I think it's around 1:40. I am so happy with that! I wish it broke down the times by event. I think I swam it in 5 minutes, biked in 55 or so and ran in 35 or 40. I wore one of those timing chips around my ankle and by the end of the race that stupid thing cut holes into my flesh. Those never give accurate times anyway- I want my flesh back.

I think I'm going to do another race the 23rd of August. Now that I know what to expect and that I can do it, I'm eager to repeat that excitement. I was filled with trepidation all the way up to this one because I just didn't know what to expect. Mike and I tried to find the route so I could get familiar with it but a lot of it was on roads we couldn't drive. I had nightmares about being lost- whenever I run 5ks I'm always alone. People just speed right by me and I was positive that would happen in this race. My most memorable nightmare went like this: I was so slow that I got picked up by a van for the too slow or injured. There was this guy looking at me and I asked him what the van was for. He glared at me, "If you'd done more triathlons you would know this van is for drop-offs." Okay... The van dropped everyone off but me and that guy and finally that guy got dropped off in a creepy, snowy village. The next thing I knew vampires were jumping out of the cottages and I had to battle them. All because I didn't know the route and I'm slow.

Needless to say that didn't happen. I swam over people! I biked past people older than 10! And I ran the whole way- even uphill! Everyone there was really nice, Mike was there for every transition, my boss and her husband were along the bike path, and some of my closest friends and Mike's parents came to see me finish. It was a perfect first triathlon experience. I can't wait to do it all again. But in the meantime, I'm going to relax and say my final goodbye to Schlomey.

July 9, 2008

They Call Me Schlomo

I went to the doctor's today expecting a third middle ear infection. Instead she tells me I have swimmers ear and I have to take ear-drops. She also mentioned I can't swim for a week after my triathlon to let my ears dry out. I think I can live with that. I'll start swimming again in no time.

Yesterday I was prepared to name my ear infection Chauncey. I like the name Chauncey- there is something comically pretentious about it, like, no one can really be named Chauncey. And I wanted to name the infection to develop a relationship with it since it wasn't going anywhere soon.

Me: I'm going to give it a name because it keeps coming back. I'm naming it Chauncey.
T: I know a guy named Chauncey.
M: No you don't.
T: Yes I do.
M: What did he go by?
T: Chauncey. That was his nickname.
M: That was his nickname? What the hell was his real name?
T: Schlomo.
M: That kid got a raw deal.
T: He likes Chauncey.
M: Forget Chauncey! I'm naming it Schlomo.
T: Schlomey?
M: Schlomey.

July 8, 2008

I Can Fly Twice as High

Out of all the books I've read I couldn't tell you very much about them individually. I can tell you I've read a lot of murder mysteries or the occasional classic- but I can be specific about very few. But there is one book I do remember in detail- Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. It's about a 12 year-old girl who worries about getting her period last among her friends and at the same time is trying to find an organized religion that makes sense to her. Meanwhile, she has very personal conversations with God about what she's going through, hence the title. All hyperbole aside (I do love that hyperbole) this is truly my most favorite book.

Are You There God?... is one of the most banned books in America. It's not all that surprising once you know the subject matter and realize we live in a country run by religious zealots but it is surprising when you find out who the author is- Judy Blume. This is the same Judy Blume responsible for the well-known and beloved Fudge series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Freckle Juice and Blubber. Are You There God?... is actually not her only book to be censored. She's been banned innumerably because her work has been deemed sexually explicit, morally inept and blah blah blah. I didn't know she was banned until I reached college and it shocked me. She is one of the most beloved children's authors of modern time! This country is insane.

It never occurred to me that Judy Blume was "morally inept" because my elementary school librarian recommended Are You There God? to me and many other 5th grade girls, in front of our mothers, during our "sex education." (We really just sat in a circle in the gym talking about menstruation. No real sex education there. That would explain the presence of my librarian.) No one batted an eye. I had already read it so it wasn't news to me. But years later, I realize how brave my librarian was to do that. We lived in a small blue collar town in Upper Michigan. Maybe no one knew how controversial that book was down south. Maybe the mothers were grateful someone else would talk to their daughters about menarche. Maybe no one saw a problem with it. No matter, my librarian knew. And she didn't care that someone could cause a ruckus because of her suggestion. I don't know if anyone ever did, at least my mother didn't. But thanks to my courageous librarian, at least one more young girl has been reached through that book.

Are You There God? is a huge part of who I am today. It spoke to me in a voice I'd never read before about a character I could relate to. I didn't belong to a babysitters club, I didn't have a sister named Beezy, I didn't spy on my friends and write it all down in a journal; but I did struggle with my relationship with God and I was terrified of my first period. When I was 10 I felt alone. Truly alone. Until I read that wonderful book.

I hope people continue the fight against censorship. I am one of the lucky ones. No one ever told me a book was forbidden- not even my very Catholic mother. And thanks to that freedom, I knew a world that was shades of grey, full of mystery and joy and most importantly, a world that let me find myself.

July 3, 2008

The One That Got Away

I read a lot as a kid. A LOT. I didn't really have a lot of friends for lots of reasons- my family lived on a lake, my neighborhood had few children my age, and we experienced debilitating winters. (My lack of friends had nothing to do with my social awkwardness- that came later in middle school.) I read so much that my parents bought me any and every book I ever wanted. I read a lot of Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, American Girls, and Babysitter Clubs. I inhaled those books.

A book that really stuck with me is Socks by Beverly Cleary. Socks was about a cat who felt neglected after her human family had a baby. The only reason I know that is because I looked it up recently. You see, I never finished Socks. And it haunts me to this very day.

Due to the ghost of Socks I haven't been able to bring myself to start a new book until I finish the previous one. My personal albatross has left me with very little literary headway. I'm currently 300 pages into Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell- a 700 some page book. I put it down 180 pages in not enjoying it very much. I was making myself finish that son of a bitch. Mike thinks I should've given it up and moved on to the countless other books I keep in waiting. But NO! Jonathan Strange will not be the second coming of Socks! So. I have allowed myself to slowly move through Jonathan Strange while reading other books in the meantime.

I am breaking my own rule to follow another and it is not as liberating as one would think. Rules are not meant to be broken! I should let it slide since I'm starting to enjoy Jonathan Strange and I'm reading some great books in the meantime. This is turning into a win-win situation.

But I have to confess, I still haven't finished Socks. I don't know why I haven't. It's still in print. I go to bookstores all the time- I can just go buy it for myself. I can even go to the library! How novel. (Pun not intended.) Maybe I'm scared. Maybe I put it down for a reason. Maybe it didn't speak to me- I'm not a cat... but I was replaced by my brother.... Anyway, what if I've built up one of the greatest authors of young literature and I don't want her pedestal to crumble down around me?

Whichever reason it is, I wonder if my obsession with Socks is manifesting itself in other ways. I am obsessed with socks. I ask for them every gift giving occasion. I LOVE socks. I am also obsessed with my cat. I LOVE my cat. Now that I think about it, my favorite pair of socks has cats on them... Huh...

July 2, 2008

It's Not a Tumor

So I took a series of antibiotics for my middle ear infection and that seems to be clearing up just fine. HOWEVER, I seem to be experiencing the same searing pain in my other ear. I have an appointment for this afternoon to see my doctor where I will demand an MRI to find the tumors that are blocking my Eustachian tubes.

UPDATE: It is just an ear infection. She told me to make sure my ear plugs are in all the way when I'm swimming and to dry my ears out. She said no to the MRI.