11.30.2009

Time for an adventure!

An adventure into an operating system I've avoided for 10 years, but am now trying because Mac = expensive (you might not have known that; it is kind of a secret).

Also: Pink!

11.25.2009

What a Midwestern potluck looks like

You really can never have too many Crock-Pots.

11.20.2009

Nerrrrrrrrd!

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Pure Nerd

78 % Nerd, 48% Geek, 26% Dork

For The Record:



A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.



You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.



The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.



Congratulations!





Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:



Buffy the Vampire Slayer




Professional Wrestling






Love & Sexuality




America/Politics




Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test at OkCupid

11.14.2009

Unboxing: Random movie stuff

Last night I took my friend Sue to a fundraising gala for my employer's charitable foundation. I've never been to a gala before, so that was fun! There was a pasta bar! Free drinks!

And of course, there were several ways for those in attendance to give more money to the foundation. Like the silent auction, which had packages ranging from "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Beanie Babies" to "diamond necklace." I bid on (of course I bid on) a package called "Harry Potter and the Film Memorabilia," a Gryffindor scarf and Hogwarts messenger bag filled with unseen random stuff from other movies. (It was donated by a co-worker who used to work for film promotion company The Owens Group.)



I'm kind of surprised I won with my paltry bid, because the bag on its own is pretty nice.



And hey, now I have a scarf to go with the Gryffindor hat Jeff bought me!



But what crazy movie tie-in promotional items are hiding inside? Let's find out!

(I love this kind of thing.)




We've got hats! Hats from LOTR, Spider-Man 2, and ... what's The Express?




A DVD of Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, free DVDs are great! On the other hand, zombies are very scary.




A travel coffee mug from The Proposal. (There was coffee in that movie for all of about 5 minutes, but I guess when you're looking for a tie-in promotional product for your movie, a speedboat or a horrible wedding dress doesn't work so well.) I will totally use this - if the lid doesn't leak. (The lid's going to leak; I can tell. The lid always leaks.)




A flashlight for 30 Days of Night. Clever girl.




A tiny speaker set for your iPod, for August Rush. I hear that movie is terrible! But the speakers are kind of neat.




Fred Claus mug. Wait, what?





Wow, that's terrifying.




Hahahaha - the novelization of the movie Beowulf! This is a thing that exists! (It's written in the present tense, which is something you don't see that often in novels. Also: HAHAHAHAHA!)




And finally, two T-shirts - one from We Are Marshall, and one from ...



AWESOME! The Incredibles! My favorite Pixar movie is now my favorite casual T-shirt!

Well, that was a fun little grab bag! I'm very happy I was able to get it by donating a a bit of money to charity. Maybe (if you're lucky) I'll do some sort of blog contest to give away a few of the items. (Hmm, what sort of contest has a Fred Claus mug as its prize?)

11.06.2009

11.02.2009

Vote the K-Hud ticket

So, we've got an election coming up. To celebrate the first-ever Election Day in which I've not been professionally discouraged from expressing political viewpoints, I had been planning on doing an official "Kelly to the Max!" endorsement list.

And then it occurred to me that I know basically nothing about the candidates. I'll look them up after I post this, and they'll all say they're in favor of ducklings and against tsunamis, and I'll vote for whichever identical-platitude-spouting candidate is a member of the political party with which I identify.

(Unless! Keep this in mind, future political candidates, because I know that my vote is very important to you. I will NOT vote for you if you do not have a website. If you've made no effort whatsoever in this arena, I assume that you'll make no effort whatsoever to govern effectively. We are living in the future, people; being able to buy a domain name and have it rerouted to your Wordpress blog ought to be an entry-level requirement for civic authority of any kind.)

Also, I will vote for the one candidate I've met socially. (I make important decisions this way. America!) And I will not be voting for the candidate who high-sticked C. Trent Rosencrans in between the legs during a broomball game.

So without further ado, I present: The Kelly to the Max! Issue-Only Endorsement List!

Ohio Issue 1: Yes.

"It's time for someone to have the courage to stand up and say: 'I'm against those things that everybody hates!' "
One of those things is not taking care of veterans when they come home from fighting.

Ohio Issue 2: No.

This is a weird amendment - the Ohio Farm Association is for it, but the adorable dairy down the road is against it? (You can pick up their milk at Whole Foods, by the way.) The governor is for it, but the Humane Society is against it? So I was leaning toward no anyway (I like the governor all right, but I also like the Humane Society), but what convinced me is actually someone on Twitter asking, "Why exactly do we need a constitutional amendment for this thing?" Good point. I'm suspicious of any state constitutional amendment that feels like something that could be hammered out in the Legislature. (Unless it gives money to veterans, apparently.)

Ohio Issue 3: No.

Ugh, this puts me in such odd company - it seems like the most vocal opponents of Issue 3 are the sort of fun-hating weirdos that banned dancing in Footloose. (I saw a "No on 3" commercial last night; it looked like a Jack Chick tract.)

I don't think that casinos will increase the baseline level of sin in the state or whatever, but I do think that casinos are overestimated as an economic magic bullet, that the jobs created by new casinos are mainly low-wage and low-prospect, and that casinos tend to drain more money out of the local economy than they pump into it.

I also think about my grandpa, a regular visitor to the Grand Victoria casino in Rising Sun, Indiana, and I wonder ... would this downtown casino have free parking? Because my grandpa sure isn't going to drive downtown and wander around looking for a parking space when the Grand Victoria has a huge parking lot and a shuttle that'll take him right to the door.

Issues 4-7: Yes.

Yes to MR/DD services. Yes to one of the top museums in the country. Yes to the public library!

Issue 8: No.

Issue 8 should be renamed "Issue 9, but with water."

Issue 9: No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

And I'm gonna quote this one at great length, because it sums up my thoughts nicely:

Whatever you think of a streetcar system in Cincinnati, Issue #9 is a mind-boggingly bad piece of public policy. The small, craft brewers we all want to start brewing here (not to mention the ones we already have) need a strong social and economic base from which to draw customers. What major corporation really wants to be in a city that has to throw it out for a vote if the local zoo wants to extend its train to the new parking lot? Heck, what small business wants to put up with that?

Remember the phrase “That’s no way to run a railroad?” Issue #9 is definitely no way to run anything. Ballot measures are an awful way to make long-term public policy, unless you happen to think California (land of the 10,000 ballot initiatives) is a place you want to emulate. Elections are expensive. They take a long time to organize. Once underway, facts have little to do with the outcome.

Amen to that! I know I hate elections! Wait, why am I even writing this?

And that's all she wrote, folks! When you go to the polls tomorrow, vote the same way I do on everything, or else we won't be friends anymore!

11.01.2009

10.22.2009

The message and the messenger


I've been thinking about those "I Love Cincinnati" bumper stickers lately. You've probably seen them around, and you might have seen blog posts about them as well.

The stickers started popping up out of nowhere earlier this year, and of course I wanted one, because I also love Cincinnati! I really do! And whenever I saw a sticker on someone's car, I felt like that person and I were in a secret club, a sort of fraternity of Cincinnati lovers. "Yeah," I would think, "that guy and I know what's up!"

But a few months ago, I learned that the stickers come from Crossroads Community Church, and suddenly that was all I could see about them.

It's not just that the messenger became strongly associated with the message; it's that the messenger traded places with the message. So when I see an "I Love Cincinnati" bumper sticker, I no longer think, "That's nice - that person really loves this community! So do I! Hugs for everyone!" Instead, I think, "Ah, that's from Crossroads."

And so it turns out that the secret club I thought I was in is something else entirely.

And I have absolutely nothing against Crossroads (did you know they offer nice coffee and free yoga classes to everyone, including non-members? That is pretty great of them!), but I no longer want a sticker, because I feel like the sticker would broadcast an affiliation between myself and Crossroads that doesn't actually exist. Like, maybe I would be in the grocery store parking lot, loading up my weekly purchase of 800 cans of diced tomatoes, and some stranger would walk by and say, "Hey, Crossroads!" And then I would have to explain myself.

It's a little bit like when someone compliments me on the T-shirt I got at a Sufjan Stevens show, which says, "Come On Feel the Illinoise!" Whenever that happens, I have to figure out whether they're responding to the message (silly puns on state names) or the messenger (ethereal indie-folksters).

Is there anything else like that out there?

10.11.2009

My coming out story (kind of)

Years ago, back when I was just knee-high to a Bachelor of Arts degree, I came home from college for the weekend. On that Sunday morning, I went to church, and after the service a boy I knew from youth group came up to me. He asked me if I remembered a debate we'd had on a retreat in high school - something about whether gay people can have faith.

I didn't remember that conversation, but I knew what I must have said: something along the lines of, "OF COURSE you can be gay and still have your faith, because you're still a person, and it's just a part of who you are - not a sin, not a turning away from God." Apparently, this boy had taken the opposite view.

So I don't remember the original conversation, but I remember that day in the church, when this boy, who had always been sullen and awkward and now looked happy and confident, like he finally belonged in the world, smiled at me and said, "Well, you were right." And he came out to me, there in the church aisle.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and not being gay doesn't mean you can't "come out" as an ally. You might not find out until later how much it means to someone.

10.07.2009

Lies my Greek mythology book told me

I have this idea that at some point I'll start blogging some of the excellent sci-fi novels I've been reading for my summer (OK, now well into fall) self-assignment, but first, I want to talk about a book I recently took time out to reread. It's a book I adored as a child.

(Have you ever done that? It's kind of amazing, isn't it - how much books can change between your decades-old remembrance and your adult rereading. I can't wait until one of these tiny late-Gen Y-ers goes back and reads the Harry Potter series a decade later.)

Anyway, the book I just finished reading is D'Aualaires' Book of Greek Myths, and it basically forms the foundation for everything I know about Greek mythology. It contains a huge variety of myths, all gorgeously illustrated.


(I remember trying to sketch the illustrations from the book myself and producing a fair imitation of Artemis. The book, incidentally, was passed to me and my sister by our mother; we later came across an old sketch pad of hers that included an excellent rendition of Helen of Troy.)

It is hard to overstate how much this lovely book shaped my young mind. Years ago, the original book was flung across a room by my sister, which tore it apart; recently, hearing how much I had loved it, she bought me another copy - so I got to read it again.

And since it's a book intended for children, there are parts that are really, really funny now. The story of the Minotaur is probably my favorite example:

But Queen Pasiphaƫ was so taken by the beauty of the bull that she persuaded the king to let it live. She admired the bull so much that she ordered Daedalus to construct a hollow wooden cow, so she could hide inside it and enjoy the beauty of the bull at close range.

And the illustration is of Pasiphaƫ sitting inside the wooden cow, peeking over the top of it and just looking at the nice bull. Hello, nice bull! How are you? And then, it's so weird how Poseidon is all mad and makes her miraculously pregnant with the half-man-half-bull monster somehow!

Also, this hand-waving of Zeus and his many affairs is pretty funny:

Zeus loved Hera dearly, but he was also fond of rocky Greece. He often sneaked down to earth in disguise to marry mortal girls. The more wives he had, the more children he would have, and all the better for Greece! All his children would inherit some of his greatness and become great heroes and rulers.

AWESOME. Fellas, definitely try this line (do not try this line) the next time your lady catches you stepping out on her. "I love you, sweetie, I do - but if we ever want this nation to prosper, it simply must be populated with my offspring!"

But the book is still a fantastic read. Here are a few more observations from this time around:

- My favorite story is still that of Melampus, the hero who could talk to animals. He gets his power in repayment for a good deed, and unlike so many Greek heroes, he never experiences that whole hubris/fall from grace thing. (He totally overcharges a king for saving his daughters from madness, though. Wikipedia suggests the women were dangerous, but the D'Aualaires describe them as more embarrassing than anything else; all they do in the book is run around mooing and shouting, "We are cows! We are cows!" So I guess we could chalk that up to Melampus taking advantage of the king's pride.)

- My other favorite story as a kid, the tale of Selene and Endymion, is just creepy now. If it happened today, Endymion would write a tell-all book, Roofied by the Moon.

- People remember Heracles' immense strength, but I had forgotten how clever he is. Over the course of his 12 labors, he had to figure out how to kill any number of strange beasts that revived in unusual ways, he figured out how to use water power to do one of his tasks for him, he understood the implications of capturing one of Artemis' sacred hinds and never loses patience while pursuing the creature, and he tricks a Titan. He basically never screws up - all the trouble in his life comes from jealous interlopers.

- The story of Jason and the Argonauts is like the Real World/Road Rules All-Star Reunion Challenge of Greek myths. Everyone is there. Sure, Heracles is there! Two winged children of the wind, why not? Oh, and Orpheus is there too! ... I know I said he was torn apart by Menaeds, but that was later on!


Anyway, if you would like a beautifully illustrated, squeaky-clean retelling of a ton of Greek myths, this is your book. I'm so happy I have a copy again - thank you, Katie!

(All images come from this site.)

10.04.2009

The new gig

Well, that wasn't so bad.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably know that after two months of unemployment, I got a new job! I've been there for three weeks now. My title is either Creative Writer or Copywriter - but the gist is, I'm the new Girl Who Writes Things What Needs Writin'.

My new employer is a local company called Pure Romance. If you're not from Cincinnati, you might not know much about Pure Romance - they're in the business of home parties, like Pampered Chef or Sil-whatsit, but they sell a line of products that some people would describe as "relationship aids." (Actually, some people would prefer not to talk about them at all, thank you very much.) Massage oils, lubricants, bedroom accessories - "those" parties, as a consultant might tell you. (It's a popular phrase among consultants, and it's easy to see why: It allows discussion of the subject without any potentially disquieting words, and it feels conspiratorial. You want to be invited to one of "those" parties.)

The response to my new employer has pretty much fallen into two categories: "Oh? ... Oh. Whoa." or "That is awesome!" As you can imagine, I fall into the second camp. I can't wait to use it as a small-talk point at a party.

So far, it's interesting work. Each Pure Romance consultant basically runs her own franchise - everyone buys the standard product line from corporate, but they can choose to offer additional discounts or incentives for hosting a party. There are also optional marketing materials, like postcards and brochures, that can be purchased. So that means that I might write a postcard intended to be sent to Pure Romance customers, and then I could turn around and write a business article about how the postcard could be beneficial to a consultant's business.

(So the work is interesting, but probably not as interesting as some people imagine.)

The new office building:


The new desk:

"Usually reserved and task-oriented ..."


Kelly Hudson
View my personality report

Hey, it's another one of those personality tests! This one is the DISC Assessment, and it seems like it gave me an accurate result: C/I, Cautious/Inspiring.

As a C/I, I like facts, details, and interacting with others. I also enjoy "witty humor," and my value to a team is as a "deep thinker and able communicator."

Anyone else ever taken this test?

9.19.2009

Brought to you by the letter "Arrr"


Avast, mateys! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! And in honor of this auspicious occasion, I'll be dredgin' up some o' me favorite pirate jokes from Davy Jones' locker! Read on, ye scurvy dogs!





Mateys, had ye heard about the new pirate corn?

Aye, I hear ye can buy it for a buck an ear.


Why couldn't the wee pirate go see the movie?

Because it were rated Arrr.


And why were it rated Arrr?

Because of all the booty.


What be a pirate's favorite socks?

His arrr-gyles.


And what be his favorite subjects in school?

Arrr-chitecture and arrr-t.


If a pirate be wishin' to impress the lasses with his finery, what be his designer o' choice?

Arrr-mani.


And finally, what be a pirate's favorite fast-food restaurant?

Arrr-by's?

Uh, no, dude, Long John Silver's. Jeez, that one was a gimme!


What be your favorite pirate joke, mateys? Post it in the comments or face walkin' the plank!

8.29.2009

I can be anything

I was going to title this post "Heaven Just Got a Little More Reading Rainbow," because I read too much Videogum, but then I decided people might think LeVar Burton had died or something. (And then I went to Videogum and discovered they posted this story under the title "Heaven Just Got a Little More Reading Rainbow," and a few commenters were like, "Whew, I thought LeVar Burton died!" So, I win? I guess?)

Of course, what actually happened was that yesterday marked the last new episode of Reading Rainbow. It's been on the air for 26 years, which means that my sister, who is just two years younger than me, has never lived in a world without Reading Rainbow. (It also means that Burton hosted the show all throughout his Star Trek: The Next Generation days - do you think he ever showed up at the RR studio all out of breath, still wearing his visor and his Starfleet uniform? Because that would be awesome.)

Anyway, even though I don't think I ever actually read any of the books recommended on the show, I have fond memories of it because it was all about great it is to read. Reading really is the best, you guys! Don't tell me you never wanted to turn into a cartoon astronaut like the girl in the opening credits:



(My guess is that while almost nobody remembers a specific episode of the show, everybody remembers the opening credits. Maybe they could just play that clip for half an hour a day.)

I was probably not Reading Rainbow's target audience, because I always knew that reading was amazing. So maybe I'm overstating things when I say that yesterday, we lost a powerful tool in the quest to teach children to use their imaginations. (I hope I'm overstating things, anyway.)

But still, it's nice to keep this in mind: We can go anywhere. We can be anything.

8.09.2009

Cincinnati: More exciting than NYC

The city skyline sparkles below the top deck at the Mount Adams Pavilion, where the Milford High School class of 1999 is having its 10-year reunion. The lovely sight causes a sudden wave of emotion to wash over me. (Maybe the $2 Miller Lites had something to do with it, too.)

I turn to my old classmate Janet, who moved away for college and never came back. "You know - it's exciting living here."

"Yeah?" she says. Janet lives in New Jersey, probably no more than a half-hour train ride from one of the most incredible cities in the world. I'm not sure I can really convey to her the type of excitement Cincinnati offers. Especially not with those Miller Lites stunting my vocabulary. But I try.

"It's like ... it's like we're constantly on the verge of something really great. It's amazing seeing it happen." Janet smiles, and I decide that's enough boosterism for one night.

But seriously, guys. Think of how much this city has grown and changed in the past five or six years. When I started working downtown on an evening shift in 2003, the streets and Fountain Square were empty. I often got dinner from the vending machine just to avoid the ghost-town feel outside. The Main Street bar district was still the primary reason to visit Over-the-Rhine.

(And the other interns and I met every Tuesday at Inn The Wood for 50-cent draft night. And then Inn The Wood was razed. So there is that.)

And I know that a certain local issue is leading to a lot of talk right now (and not just in Cincinnati) about how resistant to change we still are - and those people have a point. But from my (admittedly very limited) perspective, we've come a long way in a shockingly short time.

What will this city look like when MHS '99 has its 20th reunion? I don't know, but finding out is going to be really exciting.

7.16.2009

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" as reviewed by otters

"OMG it's starting it's starting HARRY POTTER EEEEEEEEE!!!"



"Wait, Tom Felton can act now?"



"Oh, Harry and Ginny - so romantic!"
"Really? I've always preferred Harry with that weird blonde. You know, Draco."



"Look, Mom! I'm an Inferius!"



"DUMBLEDORE! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!"



*yawn* "Man, it's late. I'm getting too old for this."

7.12.2009

Tiny ice cream!

How adorable is this?

7.10.2009

Laid off!


Hey, all. If you follow my updates on Twitter or Facebook, you already know the news. Yesterday was my last day at CiN Weekly.

(It was actually everybody's last day at CiN Weekly. It was even CiN Weekly's last day at CiN Weekly. The publication will continue under the name Metromix, a change we knew about for at least a month. We just thought we'd be around to work on it.)

This was my first job out of college, and I spent six great years working with some wonderful people. I'm going to miss seeing them every day. (Amber and I joked that we'd have to get webcams and videoconference every day so we could still talk to each other.)

It's funny. I have never in my life truly had to look for a real, adult job. I got the CiN Weekly gig at the end of an internship at the Enquirer, which I got by just bringing a bunch of clips in to the news editor. (I got the impression people who actually wanted to be copy editors were few and far between.) I'm lucky to have a huge support network of family and friends who know how this dance goes. My inbox has had a steady stream of good thoughts and even a few job postings.

So buck up, guys! I'm gonna be just fine! Especially if people keep buying me drinks, like they did last night.

On second thought, nobody buy me any more drinks. I was hurting this morning.

More later, including (possibly) how social media turned our pity party at Arthur's into what was really an incredible night.

(Photo by Gina.)

6.24.2009

2009: The Summer of Sci-Fi

John Hodgman, look what you started.

Hodgman gave a very nice speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner ...



... and it made me want to increase my nerd cred. Which I am sorely lacking.

The thing is, I identify with nerds, but I have trouble with the major shibboleths. I don't know much about computers. I like science but didn't go into a scientific field, and while I did OK in math, it was still my worst subject. I never read comic books as a kid, and now I fear I will never catch up on the mythology. While I claim to be a Star Trek fan, I've seen precisely one TOS episode. (In my family, we watched the movies and TNG - was TOS even in syndication in the '90s? OK, it almost certainly was.)

And I've never read many of the classics of science fiction. When some nerd references Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke, I have no choice but to respond with a blank stare.

God, I'm such a poser. (Am I actually a geek instead of a nerd? I hear varying accounts of what the terms mean ...)

But no more! Because Hodgman's speech reminded me I need to read Dune, and because I'm in the middle of Neuromancer, I decided to declare 2009 the Summer of Sci-Fi! Over the next 10 weeks, I will catch up on the books I should have read in ninth grade when all the other kids were befriending seniors so they'd use their fake IDs to buy them Zima (note to my parents: this is not what all the other kids were doing).

(What was I reading back then? I want to say ... Stephen King? Cynthia Heimel? Jane Austen, maybe, but I think that was more of a college thing for me.)

Anyway, I started with this list I found of top sci-fi novels, thinking I could round out the top 10, and then I asked Mr. W (a consummate nerd) for suggestions and substitutions based on what we could find in his prodigous bookshelves. (Dude needs a card catalog and a little ladder on wheels like now.)

Here's the list:

  • Neuromancer by William Gibson (in progress)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlen
  • Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling
  • The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
  • Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Codgerspace by Alan Dean Foster (this is not a book or author I've ever heard of, so I don't know whether it's a classic, but Mr. W said it's good, and it has a robot/dinosaur/toaster on the cover, so I'm game)

Dear me, when am I going to find the time to read all those books by September? Perhaps someone would like to pay me? Like, enough so that blogging about reading novels can be my full-time job? Thanks - I appreciate it!

6.12.2009

Conan is such a copycat

We all know that bacon alcohol is a bad idea, because we all saw my post about it. And yet, here's Conan O'Brien, making Andy Richter try bacon vodka like he didn't read about it here first:



My guess is that the vodka didn't need bacon flavoring to taste terrible, by the way; I imagine the company is using a gimmicky flavor to mask a subpar liquor, because that is TOTALLY how I would do it if I were a manufacturer of trendy vodka.

I dunno - should I buy a bottle of a guaranteed-sippable vodka and try the bacon experiment again, just to show Andy Richter how it's done? (The answer to this question, of course, is no. As much fun as it is to show up Andy Richter, it's not worth the very real risk of turning a palatable vodka into an unpalatable vodka.)

5.08.2009

Clearing old pics off my phone: Water Horse edition

Because that's what interactive movie standees are there for.

5.05.2009

Good news, everyone!

I completed my second half marathon, which I figure is basically the same as running a full marathon! (So I took a little break in the middle.)

Also, I beat my time from last year by two whole minutes! Hooray!

Afterward, my knees were so, so sore - I went to a movie that evening and could barely walk up the stairs. (Josh and Chele, who had also run the half that morning, didn't seem to have any trouble, but it's possible that neither of them is as big a baby as me.) My non-running friends were worried and provided me with Advil (thanks, Corrie!), but I woke up the next morning with nothing more than the mild soreness you get when you step up your workout program.

Recap and photos coming, eventually.

4.26.2009

Buy More ... Subway


So there's this show I like. I like it so much that I make a point of watching it on Hulu after I have already seen the broadcast episode, just so I can feel like I'm casting my vote for the show in some way. I like it so much that for the first time in my life, I sat down and wrote a letter to a network bigwig asking for another season. (If I had been watching Arrested Development when it was in trouble, I think I would have done it then - but alas, by the time I discovered it, it was too late.)

It's very confusing to me that this show isn't wildly successful, because I feel like everywhere I turn, I meet a new fan. I'm pretty sure I know more fans of Chuck than of Lost, for example. But there you have it - the show's "on the bubble," as they say, and so letters are being sent, petitions are circulating, all the usual stuff.

If you want to know more about all the usual stuff, you can read about it here. But if you would like to participate in a "save the show" campaign that doesn't require you to dig through your stationery drawer for a stamp, there is something very simple you can do:

Tomorrow (Monday, April 27) is the season finale of Chuck. Sometime during the day, head to your local Subway (a major advertiser) and purchase a $5 footlong. If your local Subway provides comment cards, leave a comment saying you bought your sandwich as a thank-you to Subway for its sponsorship of Chuck.

The idea, of course, is that TV shows need advertisers to survive, and if advertisers can actually see sales based on their sponsorship, the show will have more reason to continue. I'm still not sure if the logic is sound (Subway's franchise model means the comments might not ever come to the attention of corporate, for one thing), but hey, it's only $5.

I'm going to bug you about this on Twitter for the next two days, by the way. Because I am an enormous dork.

4.23.2009

COPOMP: Pun-tastic edition

In Red Bank, New Jersey

COPOMP: Cheddar edition

The deli in my office building sells cheese in chocolate-bar-sized chunks. Neat!

Clearing old pics off my phone: Awesome license plate edition

Fun fact: T9Word types "slave" before "plate."

4.22.2009

Training, Weeks 8-10: Springtime!


I love spring. I especially love running in spring! Here are a few of the things I get to see on my runs around the neighborhood:

  • Squirrels! Usually running around on telephone wires.
  • Flowers! Oh, man, this category keeps growing and growing. First there were hints of crocus, and then the daffodils sprouted, and the grass kept getting greener, and then one day I was jogging through an actual mini shower of cherry blossom petals as though I were an anime character or something. This week it's been mostly pansies, tulips, hydrangeas, and flowering bushes - I make sure to breathe deeply when I pass a lilac or viburnum. Tulips are still my favorite, though.
  • Birds! Mostly robins, but plenty of other birds as well, from sparrows to wrens to (last week, in Mount Lookout Square) a yellow chickadee. (EDIT. Mr. W informs me that this last one was more likely a goldfinch.)
  • Lots of nice dogs! Often they are being walked by their owners, who make sure they heel as I puff past. (Despite the stereotype of dogs chasing joggers, I've encountered just one dog who's tried to follow me. In Milford. On two separate occasions. And he wasn't a particularly scary dog.) The dogs pent up in fenced-in yards tend to yap at passersby, but they're probably just excited by any change to the scenery. I tell them hello - and also "woof," if no other humans are about.
  • Other runners! Especially on Observatory and Madison, which seem to be popular running streets. I say hello to them all and try to smile, although I worry that in the later miles of my routes it comes off as a grimace.

4.14.2009

Training, Week Seven Again: Missing the Mini

Week Seven began with my newfound "don't stop" goal; it was supposed to end with the Heart Mini-Marathon. But two days before the race, my friend Chele texted me: "Just so you know, I'm not running the Mini on Sunday if it's raining."

(Explanation for posterity: After a week or two of 60-degree weather, Sunday's forecast called for temps in the 40s with drizzle, sleet and maybe even snow.)

Chele had already registered for the Mini, but the idea of facing that freezing rain on a surprisingly hilly 9.3-mile course was too much for her. I had not registered, but the rain wasn't about to stop me. Yet suddenly, the prospect of running the scary hills in the terrible weather without a friend to meet me at the finish was looming, and that was too much to bear.

So, not wanting to wait until two hours before the race to know if I was running it, I made my decision: I skipped the Mini.

And guess what? Chele wound up running - even though it rained. The other friend who planned to run it with her convinced her to do it. (Guess I should have tried that. I could have gotten 9.3 miles and a sweet T-shirt instead of the "stay in bed until 1" award.)

4.09.2009

Training, Week Seven: Don't Stop (with special guest star Katie!)

(This is the proper music to listen to when reading this post, by the by. Maybe don't watch the video, though; I'd like for you to like Brazilian Girls when you're done.)

Week Six was ending, and I headed out to Milford to do my six-mile "long run" (actual marathoners are laughing right now) with my dad and my sister, who was in town for the weekend.

Katie (my sister, not the Katie from the bacon bourbon experiment) is also training for the half Pig, but she runs faster and is using a more rigorous training program. (It actually asks her to run 14 miles two weeks before the 13.1-mile race, which seems anticlimactic to me.) She eats six-mile runs for breakfast. (Or brunch, seeing as how it was Sunday.) So she was saying that we should try to run it straight through and make a 10-minute pace and all this other stuff, and my dad and I were all, whoa girl - we run slow, and we stop and walk when we feel like it, which is usually once a mile or so.

Still, off we went. I was trying to keep pace with Katie, who I think was slowing down a bit for our benefit, so we still hadn't stopped to walk after a mile and a half. At that point, my dad - whose knee has been giving him a lot of trouble lately - tapped out and walked back home, and Katie and I kept going.

And going.

And going.

(And then we stopped because I had to use the Porta-Potty conveniently located at the three-mile mark, but then we got going again.)

And going.

And an hour or so later, I had run the whole six miles with only that bathroom break. (I was such a jerk to Katie when she said I shouldn't lie down after.)

Thanks to my lovely sister's inspiration that day, I've realized that I haven't really been pushing myself. So my new goal on any given run is to go as long as I can without stopping to walk. So far, it's going pretty well.

GO WOMEN

Man, Nike just knows how to make a video that makes you want to drop everything and go run RIGHT NOW:



Nikeplus.com seems to be down right now, so I can't tell if there's a way to enter this challenge if, like me, you don't have a Nike+ system. But if there is, I'm doing it! Good job, video!

4.08.2009

Training, Weeks 4-6: Pick Up the Pace


Wow, it has been forever since I've posted about my marathon training! Here's the beginning of my catch-up posts:

Saturday of Week 4 was the always-lovely Strides of March Carrot Run. It's a small run compared to the Pig or the Heart Mini, but it appears to be growing. Usually I can find a spot in the main parking lot; this year, both the main and overflow lots were full. I had to park across the street in some overflow-overflow lot, and I think I was among the last people able to squeeze in there. Next year, I'll know to come earlier.


I'd be lying if I said the Strides wasn't disappointing for me this year. For one thing, since I parked so far away, I had to abandon my swag bag! (There was no way I was going to be able to stash it and make it back to the line by the starting gun. I tied my T-shirt around my waist and bid the rest of the bag farewell.)

And for another, it was a pretty bad run for me. I was too hot, and I felt kinda sick (due to the heat or the Clif bar I wolfed half an hour before race time, who knows?), and I came thisclose to just stopping and walking, which should not happen to me on a flat course after FOUR YEARS of running. I should be able to run a 5K without dying, and I should be able to run it in under 35 minutes.

I ran the whole way, but I missed the 35-minute goal.

But at least I finally remembered to take pictures during the race!


My dad at the turn-around.


Maybe I should have stopped to get a better photo of the silly fruits and veggies (plus the Flying Pig, just to remind you of what you'll be doing in two months) that cheer you on. My on-the-run photo seems somehow perfectly framed to make people in felt produce costumes and saggity pig outfits seem off-kilter. But they are very nice and encouraging!

After the race, we went to IHOP, which was nice.


So for two weeks after the Strides, my goal was to increase, um, my stride. My steps when running are kinda tiny and shuffly (especially when I get tired), and I figured an easy way to improve my pace was to just make each step longer.

And then, at the end of Week 6, everything changed.

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