October 29, 2009

Just Can't Get Enough

This fall has been so crazy, and kind of damp, so taking pictures of the foliage has proven difficult. But I've been carrying my camera around to make sure I can take photos at every chance. My favorite fall color is the red, which is the last to turn. But the oranges and yellows are so rich! I just can't express how much I love autumn! Especially here in Albany! I hope you have a taste of fall no matter where you are. It's just the best.

This is Halloween!

Last year I was torn over what my Halloween costume should be. Sarah Palin, Tina Turner, Campaign Lady- what did I chose?! Well, I ended up as Tina and I did a KILLER Tina Turner impression of "Proud Mary." So it worked out. This year wasn't as tough but it didn't come without a road bump.

My friends and I were going to do a theme party. The theme being The Venture Brothers, an Adult Swim cartoon that we all very much enjoy. Er, LOVE. You should check it out. Anyway, my costume was going to be the goth girl love interest, Triana Orpheus, but people kept dropping out of the theme. Mikey was supposed to be the love interest-ed, but he's going as something unrelated to the show. Total bummer. So I was going to go as June Carter Cash and reuse my Tina wig (I went with the long sixties hair Tina.) Then I changed my costume back to Triana when I promised a friend who was sticking with the theme that I would stick with it as well so she wouldn't be the only one.

Then I ran out of money. June Carter Cash was looking pretty good- it was entirely free whereas I would have to purchase the entire Triana costume. I had to pull out but I didn't have the heart to tell her over the phone. Really at all. When I was talking to my friend's husband he instilled the fear of Something Scary in me by saying that between being out of town for New Moon's opening and this that she'd never forgive me. And I started to freak out that I let my friend down. One look at Mikey and he said he'd take care of my costume. What a sweetheart!

So now I'm back to the costume I was originally going to be and my preliminary research has proven that the costume shouldn't be that much money. "Shouldn't" being the operative word. So on Saturday, between apple picking and cupcake baking we will be at the mall piecing together the exciting costume of TRIANA! Wish us luck!

October 27, 2009

A Little Ghost

There are very few songs that throw me back to another time in my life. There are songs that have vivid memories attached to them like "We Didn't Start the Fire," my brother banging on pots and pans like a lunatic; "In My Wildest Dreams" from Mannequin, my brother dancing around like an idiot on videotape; and "Island in the Sun," my brother bopping his head in perfect syncopation with me and my sister. Totally fun moments in my life set to music. Then there's "Man on the Moon" by REM. That's different.

No matter what's going on when I hear it I'm sucked back to the same moment- I'm twelve years old again, being driven home from a babysitting gig in Upper Michigan. It's a dark winter evening and I'm silently watching the street lights go by one by one, serenaded by Michael Stipe's unmistakable tenor. Back then I watched music television like it was my job, absorbing everything I could about music. A few videos had really haunting imagery that struck a chord with me (U2's "So Far Away So Close" was one) but "Man on the Moon" was more resonant. Other than that the song held no real importance. It's not like I had my first kiss with it in the background. I just really, really dug the song and music video.

When I heard it on the air a few days ago in the car I was thrown into a little ennui, thinking about where I was when the song left its unlikely stamp on me. It happens every time I hear the it and this time I wondered what about this song does that. That moment in time was the beginning of a massive shift in my life. Michigan was quiet, isolated, and kind of lonely; my family spent a lot of time together, well, as much time as a bunch of introverts can; and I started to develop a social circle. Within a few months of that song's release we moved to the California valley; my mother started telling me about her familial unhappiness; I experienced terrible social shock; and those quiet, snowy moments that I took for granted were gone forever. And somehow REM unwittingly became the soundtrack of that transition.

I like going back to that moment. I feel centered when the song ends- like I was meditating. It's the last time I remember my life being quiet and truly comfortable- uninterrupted with the kind of hubbub one experiences in modern life. I relish hearing that song. It lets me return to the young me. Before the shit hit the fan. It's an unlikely source of comfort. But one that I welcome.

October 23, 2009

Zombie Apocalypse To-Do List

  1. Get laser eye surgery. I have terrible, terrible vision. I can't focus on anything more than a foot from my face. Though my glasses make a fantastic fashion and identity statement, I'm sure I will lose them in the panic of an escape. They could get broken on my face, they could get knocked off my face and lost, they could get knocked off my face and broken, or someone could just steal them because one of the above happened to her. It takes one asshole pushing me to the side to get ahead and I'm zombie food. Contacts wouldn't be much better because unless my breasts produce saline solution, in a matter of days I could find myself with an eye infection. The only solution is laser surgery. As soon as the first reports of zombie infection hit the airwaves, to the surgeon I will go. It doesn't matter that I can't afford it. I'll slap it on my soon-to-be-obsolete credit card.
  2. Learn to shoot all kinds of guns. I've never held a gun before. I've never been around them and quite frankly they scare me. I know that once I learn how to shoot and operate a gun I will be less afraid of them so I need to get acquainted with the ways of the weapon. I won't buy one until I have to. Just like I won't get laser eye surgery until I have to. I'll just train with them. No one will believe that there really are zombies so it's not like there will be a big line at the Walmart gun counter. So I'm not too concerned.
  3. Lift weights. Speed is not an issue with traditional zombies. But hitting them really hard over the head certainly is. There will surely be guns (see #2,) but times will arise when I will be out of ammo, too close to shoot, or near flammables- those moments are when hitting them hard on the brain will be the only way to stop them. The post-apocalyptic world will also need strength to build, help injured, protect, and just not be a useless sack of goo.
  4. Gain stamina. I'm not talking just physical stamina but mental, emotional, and dietary stamina. I will need to get over certain meat issues and train my body to go longer without food. No, I am not developing an eating disorder. Calories will become a luxury when the plague hits. It's just that I get migraines when I don't eat that often and I can't be leaving a trail of migraine induced vomit for the zombies to follow. The mental and emotional stamina are necessary tools for overall survival. When the world around you begins to crumble and you lose the people you love, you need to survive more than not getting eaten. You need to survive the trappings of your own mind.
  5. Take a wilderness survival course. Everyone knows that urban centers are not the place to be during Z-Day. Get the hell out of densely populated zones. Rate of infection is directly correlated with rates of high population. Get to the mountains. The mountains give you a fresh(er) water supply, an invaluable vantage point, and countless resources. I'm not uncomfortable in the forest on a weekend hiking trip but if it comes down to living off the land I can't do it. So a class is in order.
  6. Learn a craft. In order to be useful to the rebuilding efforts, I need to learn how to build shit. Heck, I need to learn how to build shit period- zombies or not. This way I won't be sent to the fronts, I will be back rebuilding and helping the survivors. Of course, there are any number of skills I should acquire like sewing, killing animals, and having patience for assholes.
  7. Learn to run without my iPod. I mean really, how can I carry that with me if I don't think I can charge it? There is no knowing what will happen to power plants when the zombies get caught in the wiring. Oh who am I kidding? I'm totally bringing my iPod with me. I'll keep it as a way to cling to the life I will never have again. Besides, how will I listen to my killer Z-day soundtrack?

October 22, 2009

A Dream Came True on Tuesday

I had a visit from the Ticket Fairy last Tuesday and was able to see Steve Martin in concert. ... What's that you say? Steve Martin? Yes. Steve Martin. Steve. Martinnnnnnnn. Stevemartin! Mike, my friend Emily and I were right there in the same room with him. And my brain didn't explode. Nor did I pee myself. Wowiewow! I got to see a life-long idol and I kept my faculties. Well, I giggled uncontrollably when he came out. I'm not much of a screamer so I just grinned and laughed so much my face hurt.

You know how some famous people get pet projects but take their shift from what they're known for really, much too seriously? Yeah, he didn't do that. He understood that people were there probably more to see him than they were to hear his music. I was legitimately there for both. I've heard some of the music from the album he is touring for and I've mentioned before on this blog that I enjoy good bluegrass. So I was genuinely looking forward to and enjoying that. But he still cracked jokes and made us laugh throughout the whole set. He understood that the people essentially came to see his music, but also expected the Steve Martin they all knew. In fact, in his second encore he played "King Tut" with the intro, "when you think of good bluegrass, you think of this song."

Seeing him perform was great for a few reasons, 1) that man can certainly play the banjo, 2) he's Steve Martin, 3) he had a great band with him who also had some wonderful songs of their own, 4) he's funny, 5) I was in the room with Steve Martin and 6) his songwriting is amazing. I had a truly wonderful experience being there with people who were thoroughly enjoying themselves, watching a fantastically talented man. What a great, unforgettable treat.

Dear Pool at the Y

I thought we had a talk about this.

October 19, 2009

Let Me Reintroduce Myself

I went to a wedding this past weekend where I unexpectedly ran into an acquaintance from college. I recognized him right away but he didn't recognize me until I reintroduced myself. The last time he saw me I didn't wear glasses, had long hair and was 50 pounds heavier. The vast majority of everyone I know now met me after I lost the weight and can't imagine me the way I was. I am just so grateful that I was able to experience that moment of "oh my gosh it's you!" That was worth my old weight in gold.

October 14, 2009

Never Would've Guessed

So I did the half marathon last Sunday and I'm just now getting my normal gait back. Oh did I hurt on Monday! Though moving was tough, I can honestly say it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the experience and the challenge so much that I'm looking for other distance runs in the area in which I can participate.

I didn't run with headphones since the race rules said I couldn't but there were more people with headphones than without. I was irritated less at the fact that I didn't just bring my iPod to run with than I was at the fact that so many people didn't care that it's kind of a safety issue. Not all of the race was closed to cars and not all of the parts that were open were monitored. It was a very safe course but it's easy to lose what's going on around you when you have headphones on. I appreciated knowing when people were coming up behind me (the whole race) and their relation to me. One guy pushed me out of his way and another guy almost pushed me off the pavement. I wouldn't have anticipated them coming with headphones on. Also, there were plenty of distractions so it's not like I got bored.

Among all the people who passed me in the beginning was a girl about my size and running at a pace I thought I could keep so I decided to never let her get too far away from me. She set my pace and thanks to her I shaved a minute off of each mile. I anticipated running a 13 minute mile but she kept me around 12. If I had headphones on I would've been in my own world, not noticed her and would've ended up with a 13 minute mile. We were close to each other until the last mile or so until she took off. Of course, she did a lot of run/walking starting around mile 9 whereas I didn't. I did pass her two times. That was cool.

I didn't cry too much at the end. I got emotional but there probably wasn't much moisture left in me. I did start to cry at mile 11 because I was overwhelmed with the fact that I WAS RUNNING IN A HALF-MARATHON. I couldn't believe that I had come that far- literally and figuratively. I keep pushing myself to my limits and am always surprised when I surpass them. I love this new side of me. I'm happier and healthier than ever before now that I've found it. This is so freaking cool.

October 8, 2009

A Nice Change

The Marine Corp Half-Marathon is this Sunday and I'm feeling very prepared for it. I haven't been writing much about it because the training is incredibly uneventful. I ran up to 11.75 miles last weekend and it wasn't that bad. Every time I added a new mile to my regiment the only part that proved tough was the newest mile. I've been training with music this whole time and no headphones are allowed on the course so that will be a change but I'm pretty confident I will have enough going on around me that I won't need the distraction.

I'm really enjoying the longer runs. It's shocking to me how easy it's all been. I don't know if triathlon training has just made this seem easier in comparison or what. Maybe I feel more prepared for this event than I expected to feel. I never really feel prepared with triathlon because so much more can go wrong. With a half-marathon all I have to worry about is running. I don't have to change gears, literally and figuratively. Hell, I don't have to use gear at all. Don't get me wrong. I don't think I'll be trading triathlon for running. Maybe I'm inadvertently teaching myself a lesson- I need to train more for next year's triathlon season. I spend the least amount of time on the part I need to improve on the most (the bike.) With the half-marathon training I'm spending all my time on one thing and one thing I'm not too bad at. Slow, but not bad. It's kind of a nice break.

Of course, the difference could simply be that I've been training for this with friends. Three other friends and I have been trading notes and sharing accomplishments this whole time. Training for this isn't so lonely. Sometimes Karen and I would go on the mid-distance runs together. Karen, Mike and Pepper will be waiting for me at the finish line not just as supportive friends, but as athletic colleagues. And that feels pretty awesome.

October 6, 2009

The Least I Could Do

When I go running with my set of keys I take comfort in the fact that should someone find my dead body they could use my YMCA card key chain as identification. Of course, that would take some leg work but I think going down to the YMCA is a simple enough task to perform. Lately, however, I've been running with the extra set of keys tied to my shoelaces and that means no YMCA card and no means to identify me. I should probably get a "road id," a bracelet that has all my information on it- name, address, phone numbers. It's a handy thing to have. It's the least I could do for the poor schmuck who finds me.

My wallet makes things much easier. It has a handy info card for any emergency medical professionals who would be called to care for me should I have a stroke, heart attack or suffer a debilitating seizure and can't identify myself (and haven't been robbed.) It's a business card from my old place of work that has the following listed:
  1. My emergency contacts
  2. That I don't wear contacts, but do wear glasses
  3. My allergy to penicillin
  4. All the supplements I currently take
  5. The prescription on which I am currently
  6. The name and number of my general practitioner's office
The medical professionals would also learn that I love books (library card and reward card from local bookstore), have teacher and musician friends (business cards), exercise with conviction (YMCA card), like to eat sandwiches and drink tea or coffee (more reward cards), fly frequently (Southwest member card), that I am a registered Democrat (yes I carry my voter registration card- you never know when you'll need it for those spur of the moment primaries), and never have any cash on me. My wallet would make it appear I'm a bleeding heart. And it's not much of a stretch. Whatever. The emergency medical professionals would probably work even harder to save me since I made it so easy for them to figure out who the hell I am and learn about all of my hobbies. Their appreciation would be so great, they'd medi-vac me for free.

I should really get a Road ID anyway. Mike, too. I also want to pick up a reflective vest for the night runs we're going to end up doing. Now that I've discovered the distance runner in me safety needs to be more of a priority. I need to think less about what to do once my corpse is found and more about how to prevent becoming one. But in the meantime, I am super prepared.

October 4, 2009

After Writing This I Think My Knickers Require a Changing

There was this episode of "Friends" in which Ross makes a list of celebrity "freebies" and he can't figure out who should go on it. That means if he ever meets these celebrities and convinces them to sleep with him, Rachel -his girlfriend- can't hold it against him. This concept has been visited often in pop culture and garners lots of debate with me and Mike. Well, not so much a debate as I state someone I want to put on my five and Mike thinks I'm crazy and doubts his attractiveness. I don't think my five is really all that strange. I think it's just perfect.

1. Common. This African-American, 37 year-old rapper from Chicago is amazing. He writes socially conscious rap with addictive beats. His speaking voice is like velvet and he sure is purty. Mike's problem with this is the old adage, "once you go black, you never go back." I'm pretty confident I would come back. Afterall, Mikey is my Sweetcheeks. Anyway, Common is always a pleasure to listen to and watch. And he does it for me.

2. Adam Goldberg. Here we have a 38 year-old, Jewish actor whose neurotic ramblings I find very sexy. I think my thing for him started when I saw his chesty man chest in The Hebrew Hammer, a movie about a Jewish super(?)hero who is charged with saving Hanukkah. Then I saw him in Three Days in Paris where his neurotic ramblings and insecurities really did it for me. Mike finds this attraction the strangest. I don't know why exactly. Adam Goldberg is funny, smart and sports a great beard. Just like someone else I know.

3. Steve Martin. I've mentioned my love of Steve Martin on this blog before. Still love him. Love him love him love him. He's coming to the area to perform songs from his new bluegrass endeavor. I don't know if I can afford to go for two reasons, one- he's quite expensive and two- I can't afford the medical bills after my brain explodes from being in the same room as he. Mike sort of understands this one but his point is Steve Martin is 64 years old- almost ten years my dad's senior. I don't care. His writing has touched me in a special place, why can't he touch me on my special place?

4. Caleb Followill. The soulful lead singer of Kings of Leon is only nine months my junior, that would make him 27. He is the ultimate son of a preacher man. His father was a Pentecostal minister and Caleb Followill spent his childhood among the fire and brimstone. Now he writes incredible, raw music that really gets me jazzed. You can hear his intense and dangerous sexuality in his song "Sex is on Fire." That song is why he's on this list. I don't think Mike really has an opinion on this fellow. I know my naughty bits have very strong opinions.

5. Simon Pegg. Last but certainly not least we have Simon Pegg. One of my most favorite British actors, this 39 year-old is well known with my people, the geeky Anglophiles. He's incredibly funny, personable, and a redhead. At least he often has read hair- good enough for me- and usually sports a goatee. I would love to just sit in the pub with him, play some trivia and then drunkenly make out until he makes some pop culture joke that promptly gets me to take off my pants then and there. Ooohhh I love a good accent. Mike approves of this. In fact, I think Simon Pegg might even be in his five.

See? My list isn't that off the wall. I don't think anyone would find any of these choices out of character for me. There aren't many similarities between these men. Not all have facial hair but most do. Not all are musicians but some are. There is one similarity- I will never meet any of them. Therefore, there will be no tapping of this. They all remain a fantasy. But then again, that's the point isn't it?