Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lost in the Olympics black hole

Anybody else sucked into the Olympics?  It started with the Opening Ceremonies which I have to give props to Danny Boyle who had to follow the AMAZING opening in Beijing, where director Zhang Yimou said he could have only gotten a tighter performance out of the thousands of volunteers if they were in North Korea.  When I watched these Opening Ceremonies, I was thinking of that famous James Brown line, "I don't know karate but I do know crazy."  I'm glad Boyle didn't try to mimic the tight synchronization of the Beijing opening at all and just brought history, politics (National Healthcare System--which is currently readying for major cuts), puppets (that giant baby--so weird!), dancing, humor, and music into one big crazy party bus.

The tv has just been on all weekend.  I didn't even notice my internet was down for days (the girl reminded me of it yesterday morning when I tried getting online).  And I've watched sports that I don't watch unless it's the Olympics.  Anybody else get riveted by that table tennis match between the young 16 year old USA player and the leading world champion from China?  The commentators said if the the USA player had won, it would have been the equivalent of the USA ice hockey team defeating the Russians in 1980.  Well, I guess at least in the world of table tennis.  It was a close match and unfortunately, the young girl lost.

All weekend long and each night I'm glued to the tv for fear of missing some amazing moment.  Apparently I managed to miss the 16 year old Ye Shiwen's major world-record-breaking swim in the 400 IM where she bested Ryan Lochte's last 50m.  Coupled with a big 5 second jump of her own personal best, she is suspected of doping--she was cleared by current testing, but as they say (since they keep samples for a number of years), time will tell.  But I did manage to watch Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings maintain the unbeaten streak of winning sets through three Olympics despite the Czech team coming very close. 

It's amazing the level at which these Olympic athletes compete at.  I'm usually dumbfounded during a gymnastics routine or synchronized dive when I hear a commentator audibly wince or lament, "that's going to cost him/her."  And it's usually because of a leg not being straight or toe not being pointed enough.  And when Michael Phelps came in 4th in the 400 IM and said that the game plan didn't work, I'm surprised there's a strategy beyond, "haul a$$, son."  But I guess these are finer details that put these Olympians far, far ahead of those of us who are pleased we make it to the gym at all.

But on that note, my favorite commercial running through the games is Nike's Find Your Greatness:

Definitely a refreshing message to us mere mortals--that we may not compete on the Olympic level but to inspire us to strive for our own, well, greatness, even if it's just a local Mud Run.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's official this time

Yesterday I was driving and the girl was DJ with my iPhone and I was surprised to hear her pull up Queen's Flash's Theme.

She adds something like that she is in the mood to hear this song.  I said, "Wow, what made you pull up this song?  How do you even know it?  I'm pretty sure you've never seen the movie."

"Of course I have,"  she eyerolled indignantly,  "it was in Blades of Glory."

In other news, I am officially a THOUSAND years old.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The girl flies home

The girl was flying home last night so taking advantage of another 85 mile drive into the Queen City, I picked up a few things at Costco and about 15 pounds of organic tofu at the Trader Joe's.  AND I got to spend the evening with my lovely friend in "Uptown" Charlotte:

She made me a wonderful Blueberry Martini:

And wonderful dinner, including grilling my tofu--delish!  It was a wonderful way to wait for the girl's flight to come in, especially since it was delayed by 2 hours and she didn't land until 11:30:

Which of course, made for a tired drive back, especially after stopping at the truck stop Subway because the girl didn't eat anything on her 2-turned-5 hour flight. At least she shared some of her SoCal adventures and told me she sat next to and chatted with Abby Roulston, a young volleyball player who just finished training in Colorado and is expecting to compete in the 2016 Olympics for Team USA. Sounds like it capped off a great trip for her!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When the girl's away

Since I shared how the girl "needs" me when I'm away, I guess it's only fair that I share that I sometimes I need her when she's away. Namely, helping me when I can't get a Draw Something pic:

I don't normally need her help but even after using a bomb, I couldn't quite figure it out.  Though it seems obvious now:

Yes, I'm sure she was thinking, sheesh

Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to picking her up at the airport tomorrow!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What in Marketing Heck, Lifetime?

I was reading an article online when I noticed this banner ad:

Out of the corner of my eye, I would have guessed the ad was for Maxim magazine, except the words "SO EFFING HOT!!!" were missing.  Instead, I was surprised that it was an ad for Project Runway, one of the few reality shows I've enjoyed watching.  For those who don't know the show, it's basically about up-and-coming clothing designers competing for start-up funds for their own line, with challenging creative competitions for eliminations.  Even though I wouldn't say I'm a fashionista by any large stretch, I do appreciate the designers' sheer creativity and professional attention to detail and I love the well-crafted, interesting, and flattering clothes. 

Sure the gorgeous, hot model in bra, thong, and heels in this Maxim-style ad is gorgeous, hot model Heidi Klum, who is the host of the show.  But you know who the target demographic of Maxim is?  Young, straight males.  You know who actually watches Project Runway?  Pretty much everyone except young, straight males (with the exception of the hip and smart dudes who watch the show after being introduced to it by their wives/girlfriends).  I don't know if Lifetime is trying to bring a new demographic to this show, but this outfit is not de riguer for Ms. Klum, nor is the come hither attitude.  If the guys who decide to change over to Lifetime to watch, say, Jennifer Love Hewitt in her underwear for The Client List also choose to DVR Project Runway from this ad, they may be pretty disappointed.

C'mon, Lifetime, really?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Broke 150


It happened this morning, I got on the scale and looked down to see 149.5.  I really think it's been years since I was below 150. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't break it during my prep for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run (I constantly hovered between 152-157), when I was running regularly once a week as well as doing boot camp and kettlebell classes.  Ironically I haven't run at all since I came back to SoCar and I've definitely lightened up on the boot camp and kettlebell classes as well without an event to prepare for.  So it's vaguely concerning me that I've simply lost muscle in the last month since I've been back.  But for now, I'll bask in the fact that at over 10 pounds lighter than on New Year's Day, I can finally check off one of my resolutions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Girl Flies Solo

This morning, the girl and I got up around 2:30am and we headed to the Charlotte airport for her first solo round-trip flight to visit her good friend and family back in SoCal. She didn't want to do the Unaccompanied Minor (UM) process where she is accompanied by airline personnel from flight to flight and I was glad not to pay the $100 (EACH WAY!) fee for it.  So we agreed that she would fly alone.  We were limited to two airlines, United and American, that had the lowest age (12) to fly solo without mandating the UM process and their fares weren't much more than other airlines--definitely saved more not paying the UM fee.

Of course, I was concerned about things like her not losing her passport, money, phone, and boarding passes. And then I was concerned that she didn't miss the connecting flight (though she seemed to do fine on her return flight from Peoria that connected through Chicago-O'Hare). And then I was irrationally worried that all connecting flights to her final destination would get cancelled and she'd be stranded at an airport near no friends or family. Where did I get that fear? A waitress once shared that this happened to her when she was snowed in a freak storm in Atlanta when she was 16 and had to spend the night sleeping in the airport. Ugh--my nightmare especially since the girl is only 12. But hopefully, there'd be minimal chance of cancelled flights since it's the hot summer, right?

I walked with her in the security line and said goodbye when only folks with boarding passes continue on:

In hindsight, I think I should have schooled her more about being more efficient at the security screening as I saw her fishing out her chapstick and taking off her bracelet and necklace while at the screener conveyor belt (rather than doing this while in line) but she did it pretty quickly before the folks behind her got irritated.

Side note: I have a tutorial on writing/drawing on a pic using the free (currently) app Sketchbook MobileX on my craft blog.

And then for me, I didn't want to waste an 85 mile drive to the Queen City so I found a Starbucks that opened at 5:30am to work at until the Costco opened at 10.  Unfortunately, my aircard kept going in and out here so it wasn't as productive as I  hoped.  Though I have to say the few hours of sleep I had didn't make for the best thinking anyway.

Unfortunately, the girl texted me pretty much soon after I left the airport that her flight was delayed due to maintenance and they eventually took off 40 minutes late.  We were both worried about her making the connecting flight.  Fortunately she texted me from the Houston airport that she "literally--LITERALLY" just made her connecting flight.  I just imagined my girl running around between terminals and on the Houston TerminaLink with that wheeled carry-on flying.  Probably not the most ideal way to do her first solo flight.  Then she texted me over an hour later that they hadn't left the runway--maintenance issues.  I texted back "Welcome to the world of travel."  Finally after nearly 2 hours, her flight departed.

She eventually happily texted that she had landed (about two hours past schedule) and had already contacted her friend:

I'm glad she retained her humor through her long hours (12 hours door to door) of travel.

I've been writing on my iPhone pics

because sometimes a picture needs a little explaining:

I posted on the apps I currently use on my craft blog if you're interested!

Monday, July 9, 2012

When I'm away

it seems the girl would prefer to rely on me than, I don't know, put out a little effort.  Like the last time I was away she decided to bake something requiring baking powder:

Even though she's unfamiliar with baking powder, I have full confidence she can find it:

But alas, she still struggles.  Though I'm pretty sure she should be able to find it with a little digging:

So finally I ask her to just text me a picture of the cupboard:

I text her back:


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lake Murray Ahoy!

Thanks to my friend, Carol, who not only is a great mud run captain, but also captain of her pontoon boat, we made our first visit to Lake Murray here in South Carolina.  We'd heard great things about the lake including the fact that at the time of it's construction, it was the largest man-made reservoir in the world.  So we (including a friend of the girl) jumped at the opportunity when she invited us out for a cruise on a hot 98 degree day.

It was smooth sailing (or I guess motoring is the better word), and we definitely enjoyed the breezy ride.

After touring a bit around the Dreher Shoals dam and Goat Island (apparently there used to be goats on the little island to keep the foliage at bay), we dropped anchor and took a swim:

Though, for me, it was more of a dip in this cool hammock thing which made me look more like a big Franny taco than a reclining sunbather:

But perhaps I've said too much, according to the sign on the boat:

Needless to say, it was an AWESOME way to spend a hot South Carolina afternoon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Articulating Heartache

If you vaguely read entertainment gossip, then you may have heard about how R&B artist R Kelly decided to divorce his wife of 12 years after watching The Notebook as excerpted from his autobiography, "Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me":
"As the film credits started to roll, I couldn't move. I burst into tears. People walking past me patted me on the back, trying to console me. 'The Notebook' was beautiful, and I was crying because its hero and heroine had died together.

But I was also crying because I remembered a Valentine's Day -- when a helicopter dropped a rainfall of roses -- that had come and gone ... My marriage had died. And there was nothing I could do to bring it back."

Okay, not exactly the most moving words to me about heartbreak because I'm fairly lost about the rainfall of roses indicating a dying marriage (or was it the fact that Valentine's Day comes and goes?)  And well, not that touching when a grown-a$$ adult lets "The Notebook" be the deciding factor on ending a 12 year relationship. 

But the next day, I came across (via Twitter) these words of heartache from Frank Ocean (of the hip-hop group Odd Future) with his tumblr post of a screen capture entitled "thank you's".  Apparently they were going to be the liner notes on an upcoming album.  Here is a portion of it:
"...In the last year or 3 I've screamed at my creator.  Screamed at clouds in the sky.  For some explanation.  Mercy maybe.  For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow.  4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I'd see him, and his smile. I'd hear his conversation and his silence ... until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life. Back then, my mind would wander to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with. I reminisced about the sentimental songs I enjoyed as a teenager.. The ones I played when I experienced a girlfriend for the first time. I realized they were written in a language I did not speak yet. I realized too much, too quickly. Imagine being thrown from a plane. I wasn't in a plane though. I was in a Nissan Maxima, the same one I packed up with bags and drove to Los Angeles in. I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn't admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn't tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I'd only imagined reciprocity for years. Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn't on a cliff, I was still in my car telling myself it was gonna be fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn't imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn't always successful..."
Wow.  Did he not just totally capture that feeling of falling so hard for someone?  When time and the real world almost didn't matter?  "...time would glide."  And then coping with the heartache? "...still in my car telling myself it was gonna be fine and take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on."  It's sad that a source of his heartbreak is due in part to cultural stigma against same-gender relationships, but if you read the rest of it, he grew strong from this experience of first love/heartache which is also movingly and inspiringly worded as well.  "I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore ... I feel like a free man.”  Hopefully there is a future where heartache doesn't stem from that reason soon.

In the meantime, these words continue to slay me each time I re-read it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Laid back 4th of July

It was a really lazy 4th of July for us.  After a quick shout-out to all my friends in SoCal and the Northeast who were, I'm sure, celebrating much more intensely for Independence Day:

We headed down to the gym, set up some folding chairs on the loading dock:

Poured some lemonade:

And got ready for fireworks that were going to happen over the local baseball stadium.

The girl even brought some friends:

And in the meantime, someone had a mini fireworks show in the parking lot:

Which was kind of cool:

And then the big fireworks started:

And it was really nice to enjoy them with some lovely friends.

And I definitely didn't miss the crowds or traffic.

Hope everyone had a great and safe 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Me in Draw Something

Another way I'm having fun in Draw Something is it gets personal.

I loved this rendering by my friend--I wish my hair looked this cool in real life!

I shared my personalized Draw Something drawings on this post.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Heat Wave

Of course, after experiencing the perfectly temperate weather in SoCal, I came back and got a weekend heat wave, where temps not only hit the triple digits, but the heat index made 104 degrees "feel like" 116 degrees:

I happened to talk and convo a few people back in SoCal during this time and I confessed that I was holed up indoors, as if there were a crazy snow storm or hurricane outside.  But truth be told, I wasn't the only one.  The streets were empty.  No one was going to be outside if they didn't have to be.

The crazy part was that it started to hail in the afternoon. 

Yes HAIL, as in little ice balls:

Thankfully none of our windows cracked and no cars got dinged and best of all, it brought the temperature down:

So end of the heat wave for now...