Saturday, August 30, 2008

More of Less

The following is a list of things that I would really like less (or fewer) of:

Hooter Hiders

Lady, I don't care if you think it is natural; I don't want to be in a restaurant with you while your kid is slurping on your nipple. Don't glare at me, either, because if you like it or not, you are a distraction. I'm not trying to "cop a look" at your food bank...but no matter what floral design you have on your tit tent, it is something that draws attention. If you don't want people to stare...how about doing that shit at home...

...or sharing.

Mylie Cyrus

This chick is the next Eva Longoria in my book. I'm sick of hearing about her struggles separating from her alter ego Hannah Montana, her daddy taking sexual pics of her....but most of all, I'm sick of seeing her ugly mug on every backpack sold in America. Remember the last chick that got this much attention who started out on The Disney Channel? How well is Britney Spears doing these days?

Use of the words Event and Catastrophe

I am tired of every TV show every week being labeled as an event. An event is something special...but if every TV show is an event, that in fact turns them into the opposite, an everyday occurrence. Regardless, I'm not sure the two-hour season premier of Grey's Anatomy truly is an event anyway you look at it. What would be an event is if that show actually had a point.

Next, the media really needs to stop calling everything a catastrophe. Again, if EVERYTHING is a catastrophe...in fact, the word loses meaning...and so does the catastrophic air. And are you like me...do you think the media is loving every second of a hurricane heading towards New Orleans. They have been waiting for this moment for what, four years? Every news station is creaming itself right now at what they hope is the destruction of people's homes and lives.

Washcloth-big (or small) Skirts

I admit it...it's distracting. I don't like it when my students are wearing clothes so small, that turning on the AC means there is a chance I might see the Va-J-J. I understand it's the style right now, and I understand we don't have a dress code at my school...but come on. These guys have a hard enough time learning without upper thigh in their face.

How about some manasseworld pulse checking...what do YOU want more of less of?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Garage: Sixth and Market, Floor: 2L, Spot: 151

This last Saturday was the Third Annual Del Mar Track Day. A day known for betting on horses, cooking some good steaks for ourselves at the Turf Supper Club, and heading to an Indian Casino to finish off the night.

(Well, the past two years, people have stupidly flaked out on the casino gambling and decided to stay in downtown SD to go to a bar to go find girls or something. Nothing like walking into a bar with a group of nine guys who have been drinking and smoking cigars all day to get a girl's juices flowing. Next year, I am going to the casino by myself if I have to.)

Why am I so bitter about the third part of the day falling apart again this year? I'll tell you why: Sixth and Market.

After dinner, "we" decided to go downtown and meet up near sixth and market to do some bar hopping. I had to borrow Tauni's car for the day because mine was having some issues. We parked Tauni's car in a garage, and had the foresight to write down the streets, the floor, and the spot of where we parked in a book of matches: Garage: Sixth and Market, Floor: 2L, Spot: 151

God, the three of us in the car who wrote this info down felt so freakin' smart. We were the same three who, earlier in the day at the track, strategically parked by the exit at Del Mar so we could easily leave. We spoke glowing about ourselves multiple times throughout the day and night about our parking prowess...Seriously, were were the Three (Parking) Amigos.

We leave the garage, meet up with our six other friends, and end up going to a couple of bars downtown...one of which took us literally 20 minutes to find. Everyone was pissed by the time we got there...we stayed for one beer and it was time to go home at about 1:00 AM.

Well, almost time to go home.

We pull out the matches, our treasure map, to go find where we had left the car. We beeline it over to the garage and get up to the second floor, which is now oddly marked as "Floor 2" not "2L."

Shit, we are in the wrong garage.

We walk around the block, trying to retrace our steps from earlier in the evening, go into another parking garage (so we think) and go to the second floor: "Floor 2"

Shit, we had gone in a circle and found the same incorrect garage AGAIN.

Now I start to get a little worried. First of all, I haven't lost MY car...it's my girlfriend's. To top that off, she has a 1/2 marathon to run in about five hours...and I need to get to this by the finish. I am already imagining the following conversation in the morning:

"Sorry I couldn't make it to your race."

"That's ok, what happened?"

"I don't know where your car is."

"So, you didn't come to my 1/2 marathon AND you don't know where my car is?"

"Kind of....I thought maybe you would want to run home after your race????"

No way I sliced it was this going to turn out well for me. I needed to find that damn car. But not to fear, we were the Three (Parking) Amigos, after all!

(Flash forward 30 Minutes)

The Three (Parking) Amigos now hate each other. Walking around downtown San Diego at night wearing flip flops, smelling of stale beer, and having newly chafed thighs has a way of breaking down even the most amigo-est of relationships. What started out as:

"Did you try this street?"

"No, not yet, bestest bud. I bet we find that car real soon."

"Me, too."

"Me, three."

*group laugh*

Had turned into:

"Did you fucking check that street, bitch?"

"Why don't you go fuck yourself, asshole."

"Hey, YOU'RE the one who wrote down the WRONG location, dickhead."

"Yeah, and you wanted to go to that STUPID bar."

"Why don't you two shut the fuck up?"

*no group laugh*

We eventually do manage to retrace our steps, and discovered that while writing down the correct floor and spot of a car is nice...getting the streets wrong by four blocks has a way making the car slightly hard to find.

Crisis over. I make it home and have enough time to sleep for a few hours...wake up...and manage to see Tauni finish her race...and I even remembered where I parked.

Another Del Mar day labeled a success, and another valuable lesson learned: You mess with the parking karma gods, and your upper thighs are bound to get burned.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Got Curves

I don't drink nearly as much as I used to...what used to be a four-day-a-week hobby, has slowly become a once-every-few-months special occasion.

Last weekend, inspired by my newly-healed back...and return to full triathlon training, I had some steam to blow off. I went out with a friend of mine to get ONE beer.

We ended up getting a pitcher.

We had nothing to do...so, eh...why not, one more.

Then Tauni called and she wanted to come join us...what's one more pitcher?

Phone call...Tauni's friend wanted to come get a drink...so we needed, you guessed it, one more!

Between this fourth and eventual fifth pitcher, I noticed that I was getting a little drunk. Weird how that creeps up on you after a beer or ten.

It was at this point of revelation that Tauni's friend mentioned that she didn't like beer. We asked her (politely) to try just a sip of the lovely and tasty Newcastle in which we were all partaking.

She took one little sip and pursed her lips like perhaps a few dozen lemons doused in lighter fluid and scrambled with horseshit had crossed her lips. And she said the words every guy who loves beer DOESN'T want to hear:

Eww...that's too bitter...I'll just have a PEAR CIDER.

Pear cider, in case you didn't know, is for pussies or for people who like to say the following: Pear cider has more alcohol than beer, anyway.

I swear, I have never, Ever, EVER been around someone who drinks pear cider that has not said these EXACT words. Anyway, Tauni's friend isn't a pussy...so I will let you guess what she said/did.

So I of course did what any logical person would do when listening to such blasphemy while in a slightly intoxicated state: I challenged her pansy-ass to a dare.

I requested that the waitress bring me a straw, and upon receipt of said straw, stuck it in the half-finished fourth pitcher of beer and after much debate decided the following...Lily-Livered-Cider-Lover had 15 minutes to finish said pitcher with a straw. If she succeeded, I would go to Curves (the gym created just for women) in my tri shorts and demand a membership.

This was really a win-win for me. And worth every second of humiliation coming my way. So I make a fool of myself...again. Gives me something to blog about...and I got to torture a beer hater on the way.

Bittersweet, some might say.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Brilliant Idiocracy

You know that forwarded email that comes around once-a-year or so about "those funny things that kids will say" like:

Falling in love is harder than my fourth grade class -- Jack age 10

or

Kissing makes me pee my pants -- Darron age 10...20...and 30

or whatever it is that is so cute and adorable that we just have to laugh at how simultaneously pathetic yet endearing the notion is.

Oh...they just don't know. They are kids. So innocent.

Would we still think it was funny if a college student was still saying:

"When falling in love, I think you're supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn't supposed to be so painful." -- Tammy, age 22???

When does it stop being funny, and when does innocence turn into not having logical assertions?

***

At the end of every semester, I am now in charge of running a grading session for a pre-college writing class. The final piece to this particular class is that the students have to write a five-paragraph essay in seventy-five minutes. They don't know the exact prompt before hand, but they get two readings that SHOULD tell them what the topic will be since one reading is always clearly pro while the other is clearly con the topic in question. They get these readings one-to-two weeks before the essay is written.

This past session, the topic was Mandatory National Service...and students had to write a paper whether they were for or against this topic.

***

Here are the quotes from this session that struck me. I have cleaned up the wording, spelling, and grammar...but have kept the ideas intact:

The Poet: The word "mandatory" and "volunteering" go together like mayo on apple pie.

Mr. Paranoia: National Service will lead into Communist systems like the Neighborhood Watch program. For example, my cousin got arrested by San Diego SWAT for accidentally selling half-a-joint to an undercover cop.

The Nutritionist: The United States has too many overweight people to have mandatory national service. If we make these people serve in the military, most likely we are in trouble.

The Surfer: Community service rocks, so make it mandatory, dude!

The Philosopher: I became a volunteer at a nursing home because I wanted to learn how to become old.

The Politician: Mandatory national service should be an optional obligation.

***

The day of the grading session, about three hours deep, the levity of these comments made me laugh.

Five days removed..I just don't think they are so cute anymore...only 64% of the students passed this exam this summer. That's up 12% from the spring....

A 52% passing rate.

That is not endearing. That is not innocence. That's just scary.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Triathlon: Fear, Pain, and a Little Philosophy

It's the "English Geek" in me that sits around and thinks about how to describe what exactly "fear" and "pain" are. I'm not going to get all Derrida-y on you and deconstruct the language and get into why we call a chair "a chair" and what the literary and philosophical ramifications are of those signifiers too much...but "fear" and "pain" really are words trying to "get at" sensations that can only be described in metaphorical terms. For example:

For three weeks, my back hurt like a mother fucker.

You see, right there, I am trying to give you a point of reference to understand exactly how my back feels. I could also give you a number on a scale to try to make it clearer, too:

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning I can bend in such a way as to fellate myself and 10 meaning that I feel like a chimney sweep was left to simmer over an open flame for an hour until the blue of the fire married itself with the red-glowing blackness of the fleur-de-lis-shaped handle into a new cosmic color we shall deem as "ass poking aqua" and said handle now resides permanently in my anal region so that when I walk I look like Fred Sanford after a brutal rape reminiscent of the one Tim Robbins most likely took from the Sisters in Shawshank Redemption...I have probably been at a 7 for about three weeks.

But I took a month off from training...and the last week was the week that really got to me.

I understand injury. Like Derrida would argue, I can't have athletics without an implied lack of athletics (in this case, injury)...so really, being athletic also means that at some point I will become injured, whether I like it or not.

But does that mean I have to fear it? Do I have to fear re-injury to the point that for one week, I do not exercise, not for the actual pain, but for the desire that it not return?

So I thought about this again and again today as I returned to training: a ten-mile bike ride followed by a three-mile run while over analyzing every twinge and every move. Was that my back? Are my hips tightening up? Is my back going to spasm again and leave me stranded in the middle of Mission Bay so that an 85-year-old retiree beats me around the lake?

I can't describe the fear in terms that are tangible to you...nor can I really describe the pain and how it has felt not to be able to sleep, stand, teach, and shower let alone swim, bike, or run without feeling a constant dull and throbbing tingling warning me that if I am not careful my back will seize up at any moment.

I can't describe that fear...that perhaps is more paralyzing than the pain itself.

But I would have made Derrida happy today because I can't talk to you about fear without implying something about courage. And today I was also pretty disappointed by my lack of mental and physical acuity after just one month off, which I guess means I was proud of myself, too.