Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Germany: Why Not?

I believe, I realized recently, that there are two kinds of trips you take: the kind you plan for months in advance, and the kind that just appear in front of you. Both are good, or at least no worse for how they come into being, and I think the variety is, in general, a positive. Which is why, when Cameron got accepted to present at a convention in Germany next month, I decided that I would tag along. I've never been to Germany.

The convention itself is being held in Stuttgart, an industrial city in the southwest about which my guidebook* says, in essence, "Don't Bother." Apparently, it used to have many fine historic buildings, nearly all of which were bombed into a fine, historic dust in World War II. But there seem to be a number of attractive towns nearby, plus a Porsche factory that offers free tours, so I suspect I will find ways to amuse myself.

For the weekend after the conference-- the only time Cameron will have to do much sightseeing on this, his first trip off the continent-- we settled on Strasbourg, based on factors such as it's on the Rhine, it isn't very far away, and I saw one episode of The Amazing Race where they went there and it looked nice. Since it turns out Strasbourg is in France at the moment**, it isn't included in my guidebook, so I guess we'll just have to wing it. I'll let you know how that goes.

*Of course I bought a guidebook.
** Conditions subject to change.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And One Disturbing Side Note

When I was assembling the previous post, I typed the word "people" into the YouTube search box (as the first word of "People Ain't No Good") and came up with the following list of most common searches on that word:

People singing
People getting scared
People getting owned
People dying
People are strange
People farting

Yep, more people are trolling YouTube looking for snuff films than good, wholesome videos of farting. What is this world coming to?*

*Trick question-- the ancient Romans would totally have watched Christians being eaten by lions on Roman YouTube if they hadn't been so busy building aqueducts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ain't That A Kick in the Head

I was perusing my iTunes library the other day, as I often do when I am supposed to be writing. And one thing I noticed, because I was getting deep into my writing avoidance, was that of the top six songs in play count, three had "Ain't" in the title.

We have:

Trick Pony, "Ain't Wastin' Good Whiskey On You"

Bill Withers, "Ain't No Sunshine"

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "People Ain't No Good"

Based on this evidence, I feel like maybe I should look into "Ain't Nobody," "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and/or "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race"

p.s. I'm also a big fan of Dwight Yoakam's "Ain't That Lonely Yet"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Department of "Huh"

Did you know that the chimpanzee who played Cheeta in the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies is still alive, seventy-six years old and living in Palm Springs? I found that surprising, all things considered. Not only that a chimp could live that long, or that his retirement would so closely resemble a human's (apparently that's encoded somewhere in the 98% DNA homology). But what I really want to know is, how did they avoid settling in Tarzana?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Okay, This is Just Not Fair

It's bad enough not being able to shop, missing out on nice sweaters, cute skirts and sharp jackets. But now Sigerson Morrison has a collection for Target? That is simply cruel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Because you can only turn twenty-nine so many times before it starts getting sad.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm So Sorry

Honestly, I had no idea. When I decided to take a break from shopping, it never even occurred to me what kind of wide-ranging consequences it might have. But now here we are, on the brink of world-wide economic meltdown, and I have to say, I feel just terrible.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Free-Association Monday

This morning, I got in to work to find that, of the fourteen plates I had transformed on Friday and left to grow over the weekend, nine had worked and five didn't. (Not terrible, but I could have hoped for better.) And as a result, this song has been playing in my head all day:

I'd be annoyed, but really, who doesn't need more Dolly in their day?

(Sorry about the odd video-- the only performance I could find on YouTube involved costumed Disney characters and inaccurate subtitles.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Half-Marathon Girl

On Sunday I ran my first half marathon. Ran-walked, actually, there being no way I was actually going to make it running all thirteen-point-one miles. And for the last quarter mile or so I'm not really sure you would call that running.

The race was the San Jose Half Marathon held, in a shocking twist, in San Jose. (Actually, the full name was "The San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon," because there were bands scattered along the course, playing in a variety of musical styles, with a heavy representation from the "boomer rock cover band" genre.) Cameron was running with me, graciously sacrificing his chance at putting up a halfway-decent time in order to help keep me going (more on that later).

The route wound us all around downtown San Jose, though various residential and commercial areas and then back to the suddenly-poignant financial district. Some of the neighborhoods were surprisingly nice, not that I had too much time to examine them. I was too busy breathing.

A surprising number of people were gathered along the length of the course, shouting encouragement to the runners as we went past. Some of them were clearly out in support of friends or family, but a lot seemed to just be general spectators, spending part of their Sunday shouting, "Woo!" and "Keep going!" at random staggering, sweaty people. I enjoyed them, partly for the encouragement, but mostly because there's just something great about people taking the time to go and stand out along the street and cheer on total strangers engaged in a pointless task.

The plan was always to run-walk the race; I was never going to be able to run the whole thing. And since I did not have a watch appropriate to the task, Cameron was serving as timekeeper, letting me know when we had done our seven minutes of running and it was time for our one minute of walking. At least, that was the plan as I understood it. I did notice that seven minutes seemed to be getting longer as the race went on (I chalked that one up to fatigue) and if I hadn't been so tired I certainly would have picked up on the fact that we weren't stopping more than once a mile, as we should have been doing, at least occasionally. But it simply never occurred to me that what was actually happening was that my dear boyfriend had been steadily lengthening the intervals, up to about eleven minutes, without telling me, until I complained that I couldn't take the pace (this would be around mile eight) and he knocked them back down to around nine minutes. I'd be angrier, but I did finish in a relatively respectable time. Plus, my knees hurt too much to try and kick him.

At the end of the race there was a whole gauntlet of volunteers waiting to give you stuff: water, a souvenir medal, an ice-water soaked towel, yogurt, fruit cups, energy bars, bananas and more water. It was very nice, but some of the participants did get a little carried away, descending on the tables like looters and hauling off as much as they could carry. For my part, I was too tired to be greedy, so I just took what I could eat then and there. Except for one of the fruit cups, which turned out to be gross, in kind of a gooey way.

So, that was it, all over but the stretching. And the complaining, for the next day or so, about how much the various parts of my body hurt. And the celebratory dinner involving fruity cocktails. And the ibuprofen (not in the cocktails) (might have been a good idea, though). I didn't run at all for the next week, but that's going to change soon; it looks like we're training for the Austin Half in the spring.

I'm getting my own watch.


Well, that last post was kind of a downer. How about something a little more upbeat?

There. That's better.

Of course, it would have been even better if they had included these guys.

(Original version here)