Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Foregone Conclusions

I eat therefore I spill.

I dream therefore I write.

I lose therefore I gain.

I gain therefore I lose.

I care therefore I stress.

I love therefore I cry.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pas Mon Jardin

les fleurs dans le jardin de ma mère
Factual Statements:
  • This is not my garden.
  • This is my mother and stepdad's garden.
  • I lack the patience to learn any real photography skills.
  • I lack the patience to learn any real photo editing skills.
  • Sometimes nature is so pretty, it demands you take its picture even if you don't have photography skills to do its beauty justice.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Introducing the Pen of the Month Club

[EDIT: The Pen of the Month Club is no longer seeking members under this structure.] 

The Idea

You like pens. Maybe one day you'll even find the perfect pen. But there are still so many left to try! You like having a lot of pens to choose from, but you wish you didn't have to buy a 5-pack just to try one out. You wish you were a member of a pen of the month club or something so you could try new pens and discuss their merits with other pen enthusiasts.

You do? That's perfect! I'm starting a Pen of the Month Club and I'm looking for friends to join! I want to send you pens, for fun, to gather your opinions, and to bond over a mutual interest. Doesn't that sound like so much fun???

Wait, you're telling me that you aren't really into pens that much? As long as it writes, you're happy? And you don't care what color it writes as long as it isn't orange? First of all, that's probably because you use a computer too much. Stop reading this blog right now and go pick up an honest-to-goodness book. Second of all, come back and let us make a pen lover out of you! You probably just haven't found the right pen yet. The Pen Of The Month Club is exactly what you need!

You're ready to sign up? Great! Get on the email list, and then get super excited for your first pen. I can't wait to get started!!

The Plan

I have no idea if or how this is all going to work, so if it does, I'll refine the process as we go. But, here's what I do know:

The first pen will be the Sharpie pen, of course! Towards the end of the month (September, in this case), I'll send out a web survey to PotMC members to gather some stats so I can report back the findings. And then we'll do it all again the next month with a new pen. Yay!

While I gauge interest and figure things out, the club is my gift to you. I want to share what makes me excited! If you already have a sampling of Sharpie pens and don't want another, sign up to let me know that you're going to participate in the club/survey, but write in the comments of the form that you don't need me to send you another one.

The PofMC email list will deliver updates and reminders, and possibly animated discussions about the ink flow of a Pilot G2 versus a Uni-ball Signo. Sign up for the email list now to find out!

[EDIT: The Pen of the Month Club is no longer seeking members under this structure.]

Friday, August 17, 2012

Afterwork Paintball

I ran through the field with my hands up, surrendered. I just made it to the sidelines before I realized I was exhausted, I couldn't see through my steamed up visor, and my ankle hurt like the dickens. I dropped my gun, and then myself, to the ground. As the adrenalin's magic wore off, I assessed the ankle with several tentative rolls of my foot. Pain. Definite pain. “Just shake it off,” I told myself. “That's what you're supposed to do. Stretch it, tape it, and be ready to get back out there for the next round.” Wait, what? I must have been thinking I was an athlete in the Olympics. But I'm just a normal person and I'm probably really injured! Oh crap.

Fortunately, when I stopped irritating my ankle by trying to stretch it out, it worked fine. I came home and iced it with my trusty Spiderman ice pack and now it's mostly better, provided I don't twist it up and in, or do any sudden pivoting. The real, lingering pain is not the ankle, or the paintball collision sites, but my quads! Holy out-of-shape-muscles, do those hurt!
Spidey to the rescue.
At the time, I was blissfully unaware of all the crouching and ducking I was doing, or how my actions were targeting only one sadly unprepared muscle-group. But hobbling around the office these past two days, I quickly discovered I'm not alone in grunting down the stairs or sighing loudly every time I stand up. I may not have really enjoyed the experience while I was out there, or in the middle of the night while I rehashed what I wished I could have done differently, but I have honestly enjoyed the shared experience of pain that followed. My friend asserted that the real “team building” part of the adventure did not come from merely going out after work and playing paintball together, but the experience of discussing it and trading war stories afterward. When he said it yesterday, I was too caught up in how tired and miserable I was to realize the sagacity of such a statement, but after today's continued unified commiseration, I think he's absolutely right.

Already crouching. Little did we suspect the outcome of our actions.

Monday, August 13, 2012

London 2012 Olympics: Victory and Defeat

The Thrill

Oh Olympics, you were so much fun! It's amazing that nothing makes me more of a couch potato than two weeks of intense competition by the world's best athletes. You'd think for spending two weeks doing nothing but couching it I'd be restless to get out there and do something, but the truth of the matter is, I'm exhausted! I'll miss the abs, seeing the adorable Duchess of Cambridge in cute normal clothes, and the emotional highs of victory with none of the work, but I need a break. I won't really miss the disparaging commentators, the insensitive interviewers, or the social media updates by Ryan Seacrest that I always fast-fowarded through, but I'll be glad to take a break from seeing Olympic rings tattoos, hearing Michael Phelps's name, or rolling my eyes at Bob Costas's snarky transitions.
This was real grass. And they rolled it up and carted it off mid-ceremony.

Great Britain proved itself to be as quirky and adorable as I expected. Their opening and closing ceremonies were whacked out and strange, but there are so many British celebrities to call upon and salute that it was easy to overlook some of the crazier artistic decisions because moments later the delightful David Beckham would show up on screen.

I'd say the real winners of these Olympics were the makers of that Physio or Kinesio tape or whatever, amiright? That stuff was everywhere, and sometimes so awkwardly positioned poking out above and below the shorts. I remember Keri Walsh Jennings sporting it in Beijing (time out: Keri, seriously, no hyphen? If you gotta be like Misty May-Treanor and take two names, couldn't you guys at least agree to the same convention?), but this time it was everywhere.

The Agony

But let's discuss a few monumental failures of the Olympics experience for a moment, shall we? Not of the games themselves, but of the shockingly dissatisfying experience of watching them on NBC. I get the delay, okay? I'm not gonna rant about the delay, because I do work during the day and am fortunate to be in the group of people to which "prime time" television caters. (Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the NBC Delayed twitter feed, though.) I'm cool with avoiding spoilers on the internets during the day so that I can come home and experience how the events unfolded in all their suspenseful drama. But that means NBC had at least 5 hours to edit together a coherent and interesting story of how the events unfolded in all their suspenseful drama!

The worst offenders of this choppy and incoherent story-telling were the gymnastics broadcasts. Gymnastics, like Track and Field, is one of those sports where multiple things are happening at once. This can pose a challenge, but on many occasions while watching I was uncertain if I was watching something that happened while I'd been watching something else, or something that happened the day before. And I didn't know if I was being shown it because it was interesting due to the eventual outcome, or what. I really needed a "Meanwhile, on the parallel bars..." or else just pretend it's happening in one linear timeline and leave out the past tense language! I wouldn't know, and I wouldn't have to try and figure out if you are trying to give me dramatic irony with your commentating or if I can just tune you out like usual. Because seriously, it's best just to tune you out. Or mute it and provide my own commentary of "That was a HUGE mistake" whenever anyone takes a step of any size.

It also wasn't cool with me how in the men's gymnastics team final you got me all invested in the American dudes, but after showing a few bad routines on pommel horse, you ditched them completely to show me some other countries' teams, who I hadn't seen compete at all, sitting around for 15 minutes waiting for the results of an enquiry (And yes, I looked it up, it was an Enquiry with an E). You couldn't even montage together a few of the other 9 routines the US team did even though we all knew they were out of the medals?

And while we're talking about things you didn't show, what about the still rings? Did you forget about that apparatus until you couldn't avoid it any longer in the individual event finals? There may not be as much flying through the air as the high bar or the vault or floor, but the still rings are some seriously cool strength work.

And while we're talking about talking about things NBC didn't show, did you know that the London 2012 Olympics had an official song? It did! And did you know it was performed at the closing ceremony by a popular British rocker in a seriously sparkly suit with a fierce backup choir? No? Oh, that's because you live in the US. No worries, me and Perez Hilton got you covered.

I could go on and on, but as previously stated, I'm tired, and I need a break from all this. Can I pass the torch to you now, and will you add your beefs with the Olympic television coverage to the comments? NBC needs to know (and I'm sure Bob Costas reads my blog)!