My dog Skip just wants to be loved, and as such he will submit to getting decorated with pretty much anything my family (usually my dad) decides to put on him.
This is from back in October, when Skip had a procedure that left stitches on his chest. My dad sent it to me in an email with this subject line: "Skip celebrates gay pride week".
Now it is the holiday season, and over the weekend Skip wound up with a big Christmas tree ornament hanging off his collar. He freaked out and ran around with it bumping off his chest for a while, and then he sat down and started chewing on it. So it was replaced with this:
My brother sent me a link to the video below, and after watching it, I am pretty sure I want to be an astronomer. I am probably no more dedicated to this idea than when I was 8 and wondered whether space ever ended and where, but I think you'll be with me when you check it out.
From the NYT: "Woods’s marital indiscretions have been the No. 1 topic of discussion on every outlet from internet postings to tabloid magazines at grocery checkouts to reports in the mainstream news media."
REALLY? I thought we were all still chuckling about the fact that Tiger Woods and his wife had enough spice left in their relationship that she would chase him around with a golf club when they had a tiff. And oopsy, car crash, but no big deal.
What the hell is going on? This is what happens when you only get your new from the NYT and NPR.
I got highlights! For the first time in my life! I love them so much and I can't believe I waited 26 years. I should have started getting highlights as a toddler. Oh wait, I was blond then. And my brains were still developing. But now they are as developed as they are going to get, so I can start killing them.
You probably can't see them in the photo below but I don't care because I LOVE THEM.
I just went to the physical therapist at work for the nagging hip/butt pain that has made running progressively more painful for the past few months. He had me do all kinds of exercises, he stretched my legs, he watched me walk. And this is what he said: "Your biomechanics are such that your trunk and posterior have more lateral movement then they should."
Do you know what that means? I move my ass too much when I walk.
The prescription: no running for a while, and daily hip exercises. Yeehaw.
Yesterday I went to the Bay Area Wellesley alum group's holiday tea. It was at a huge house in Berkeley that was stuffed to the brim with crazy art and books. I am no art expert, but many of the pieces looked ugly and expensive. It seemed like there were easily 75+ alums in attendance, eating cookies and drinking tea. I was, as far as I could tell, the only 05er there - but I went with a bunch of 04s, so I didn't actually have to talk to many people I didn't know. Wait, that's the point of it? Oh. Oh, well.
My four day Thanksgiving weekend was kind of odd, to be honest. Good, but odd. Turkey Day was wonderful and fry-tastic, and is documented in a previous post. Friday I saw Mike off to band practice at noon and then managed to fall deeply asleep while reading (damn you, Infinite Jest - I will finish you one day!) until he finished several hours later. I really hate wasting vacation days, but I have halfway convinced myself that I really needed those snoozes. After my epic nap I met Mike at Green Apple Books, which gave me massive amounts of inspiration for Christmas presents. Edward Gorey tarot cards, anyone?
Saturday, recovered from my overwhelming sleepiness, I hopped on my bike for a few hours. Mike and I did the Marin Headlands, which I have been avoiding because they are big mother-f'ing hills. But you know what? They weren't that bad! And the view, of course, was amazing.
And THEN, a few hours later, we went for a hike. Not a super tough hike, granted, and one that included a stop for beer in the middle, but still. We took the Dipsea Trail up from Mill Valley, and it just so happened that we hiked right into the middle of the Quadruple Dipsea, in which crazy Northern Californians run the Dipsea Trail four times, for a nice light day of 28 miles of hill running. Why not? In our case, we only did a fraction of that - we hit the Tourist Club after a few miles, which was lovely and full of German beer. Then we retraced our steps down the approx 8,000,000 stairs that make up the Dipsea Trail and headed back into the city.
We wrapped up Saturday by going to a jazz club with some friends, where we ate delicious Ethiopian food and watched some drunk ladies who looked like they had materialized straight out of an early 90's sitcom dance awkwardly to what was a very good jazz quartet. One lady was wearing boots, tights, a skirt, a blouse, and a wolfy crystal barette - and they were all red. She whipped her butt-length hair around with a fervor that was completely divorced from the actual mood of the music. The saxophonist from the band would pump his non-instrument hand in the air and grin every time anyone in the room clapped for him or his band, and the keyboardist looked like Rick James, so really, all was right with the world.
On Sunday my cousin and I pretended to shop but we gave up quickly and went to a bar for some midafternoon drinks. These were followed by more drinks at Fly Bar, which is how I came to imbibe more alcohol on Sunday than on the three evenings prior, which makes no sense given the practicalities of sleeping in vs not sleeping in.
I am so dying to have access to Community access right now - some Dartmouth dude who is studying at Wellesley for the semester posted a hyper-misogynistic ant-Wellesley rant and it blew up in his face. Then again, now that I am an employed adult, it is probably best that I can't waste my time reading a flame war on Community.
One thing I noticed while scrolling through the comments on Jezebel: someone whose handle is Cimorene wrote "Oh man. I used to spend hours--hours!--posting on Community. Especially during finals. I also used to send messages to Community late at night when I got drunk. I cannot even imagine the shit storm this caused...Ohhh I miss my little Wellesley Womb right now."
Who who who? Who is that?
Also, I still think the Womb would have made the best mascot ever.
Thanksgiving was so very very good. We ate, we drank, we cuddled. We fried things! Since the turkey was going to deep fry, we did some experimenting before it went in. Mike made tempura onions and broccoli and carrots and squash - all were delicious. Then we played a game called Will It Fry. Into the fryer went biscuits, cookie dough, and even a Dorito. All were delicious, though the Dorito just tasted like a hot Dorito.
After dinner we played a game of kickball against Beth and Goof's neighbors, and won quite handily. Then we watched football and ate pie and held our bellies and moaned.
I read this headline as "Meat Sweats in San Francisco", which I guess is the clamminess generated by eating too much meat in one sitting. And it is now possible to get the meat sweats by consuming caramels, thanks to the nutso Humphrey Slocombe dude. I am pretty sure that if I ate pork fat candy my boyfriend would make me rinse my mouth in Clorox before ever agreeing to smooch me again, but if anyone winds up trying one of these, let me know how it goes.
Google Books is ^&#%$@ up. And by "^&#%$@ up" I mean a vulgar expression that means "messed up."
Jon Simon, a researcher for the Oxford English Dictionary whom I wrote about last month, noticed the problem. He was trying to find examples of "$#@& happens," the phrase made famous in "Forrest Gump." When he first searched the expression last week he got about 50 hits. When he searched a few days later, he got more than 50,000. The problem? Google Books wasn't searching on "$#@& happens," it was just searching on "happens." He searched for "bull$#@&" and Google Books returned books with "bull" in their pages but none with "$#@&." Ditto lots of other words he could think of (and, as a trained word dick, Jon could think of a lot).
Censorship? Apparently not. "It's a bug," Google's Gabriel Stricker told me. You can still find plenty of vulgarities in books if you go to the main Google search site, enter a bad word then click on "Show options" then "Books" when the results come up. The glitch is confined to the Google Books search site.
With the contents of millions of titles searchable online, Google Books has made the jobs of lexicographers--people who study the origin and spread of words and phrases--a lot easier. Take Jesse Sheidlower, for example. A Manhattan-based editor at large for the OED, Jesse is the author of "The F Word"--"for which Google Books was very helpful," he said.
"Words are words," said Jesse, explaining why dictionaries include even those arrangements of letters that you would never utter in front of your mother or Sunday school teacher. "It doesn't matter if people regard them as ungrammatical or vulgar or racist. The important thing is looking at the evidence and reporting on it. We don't keep things out because they're offensive in any way. If these words are out there they go into the dictionary."
To which I say, ^&#% yeah.
"Google Books will be restored to profanity-enabled normalcy in the days ahead," Gabriel Stricker wrote in an e-mail to me. "Cheers to your love of words -- the bad ones included!"
Last night's hash was just nasty - we started at Potrero del Sol park and then ran through the industrial wastelands of Bayview. Aside from the usual suspect odors - urine and garbage, mostly - we also encountered the scent of cat food (there must have been a factory), rotting marshland, and something that smelled burny and cheesy and made me wheeze. That said, it got me into a part of the city I've never been to, and since I accidentally took the Eagle trail (as opposed to the Turkey trail, which is more appropriate for my fitness level) I got a nice long run in.
And! It turns out there is a big ass slide - bigger even than the Secret Slides - at a certain Youngblood-Coleman playground in Bayview. It is now on my List o' Future Fun.
The highlight of the night, though, was the Zombie Killer. At the end of the hash, when everyone sings dirty songs and people have to chug beers in front of the group for various crimes committed on the trail (stopping to pee, tripping, getting scared by roving packs of homeless men with shopping carts), a dude asked me if I was the girl who had asked about the Zombie Killer. I know how hashers work - this was obviously a setup - so I said no, absolutely not, and moved away quickly. But it was too late - I got called into the circle for a date with the Zombie Killer.
The ZK is a hard plastic tube that you are jeered into putting your arm into. You kneel, with your arm sticking straight out, hand dangling at the end of the tube, and a cup of beer is placed into your confused fingers. You must then, straight-armed, lift the beer up over your head and try to pour it into your mouth. The hashers were kind enough to warn me ahead of time to take off my jacket before the attempt, so only my running pants and tank top got soaked through with beer. Most of it went up my nose, actually, and almost none went into my mouth.
So that was the Zombie Killer. It was pretty fun, though I had to ask a friend to drive my car home because I didn't think there was a cop in the world who would believe me if I tried to explain that yes, I was covered in beer, but I hadn't actually swallowed any of it.
Gail Collins on the mammogram debate: "I had breast cancer back in 2000, and I am trying to come up with a way that I can use that experience to shed some light on these new findings. I have never believed that everything happens for a reason. But I do feel very strongly that everything happens so that it can be turned into a column."
Last night I went to the National Book Awards, and it was awesome. I got my hair blown out all sexy like, and I got my nails done, and I put on a classy dress and high-heeled it up. And then I got to partake in fancy food and drink and conversation with fancy publishing people.
Highlights of the evening: Joanne Woodward introducing Gore Vidal for his lifetime achievement award; being completely awkward with our extremely handsome chief legal counsel; meeting and chatting with Dave Eggers, about whom I was completely wrong when I pegged him as twee and incapable of properly executing on his admittedly brilliant ideas and projects. He was actually perma-nervous and charming/disarming.
I know it was a few weeks ago now, and that I have dropped the ball, but here is me and Mike on Halloween:
We were, in case you couldn't tell, Little Bo Peep and a sheep. I shed about 200 cotton balls over the course of the evening, and lost my sheep hat somewhere along the way, but it was still a successful costume. In this photo I am fluffing my tail, not picking a wedgie or anything. Sheep don't get wedgies.
Day 1: land early, head to work. View from the cafe.
Check into hotel, meet Liz Abbey for drinks and dinner.
Day 2: work, run in the Sydney hash, then dinner and lots of beer with the hashers.
Day 3: Mike arrives in the a.m.! Wander the harbor, stopping for adult beverages and food on a regular basis.
For dinner, the Night Noodle Market in Hyde Park. Delicious AND scenic.
Day 4: Bondi Beach for breakfast at Iceberg's (a swimming club/restaurant) and hanging out on the beach.
Climate change event on the steps of the Opera House. Mikey heaven.
Drinks and dinner with Liz and my Irish cousin Mairead who, coincidentally, is a nanny for the costume designer that won an Oscar for "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and wore a credit card dress to the ceremony.
Day 5: lazy day. Breakfast on Darling Harbor, exploration of the many malls of the Central Business District, then drinks at a hotel bar with an amazing view.
Day 6: rainy rainy. Tour of the Blue Mountains - thanks to an overbooked bus, we got upgraded to a semi-private tour with a biologist.
No poisonous-animal sightings = a win in my book. But we did see kangaroos!!!
Day 7: last day in Australia, boo. We only had the morning, so we took the ferry around the harbor and back.
There are many excitements going on. I'm still basking in the glow of our trip to Australia, because Sydney rocked. Did I talk about that? Not really? I'll post some photos.
There are upcoming excitements now, too. Yesterday began several days of houseguests - my friend from home and her husband, and a Wellesley friend and her boyfriend. One couple is staying for two days, then the other stays for two days, then they all stay Sunday night. It's going to be a slumber party! Or just weird and uncomfortable for them.
Mike is going to Copenhagen for the month of December! He'll finish up and meet me in New York right before Christmas. He'll be taking care of Greenpeace's web communications for the UN Climate Change Conference. Bad ASS.
Next week we head to Houston for four days for Mike's brother's wedding. I enjoy spending time with Mike's family, but even more than that, I enjoy open bars.
After Houston, I'm home for a day, then I go to New York for the National Book Awards. This is like the Oscars for books, and I am very excited. It is black tie! And (as recorded in a previous post) I am nostalgic for fall, and four days in New York in mid-November should cure that right up.
Then it is Thanksgiving, which means a weekend of camping. And/or mooching off the hospitality of Katie and Larry and their baby. Either way, it is going to mean spending much time outside.
I head home for Christmas on December 16! I'm pumped to spend time in New York, and at my parent's new house. All the wiring isn't done yet, but they've already planned out the toboggan route. So that is going to be sweet.
Also, our microwave acts like it's arcing about one in three times we use it. Each time, I'm sure it's going to explode or irradiate me. But then I forget, until the next time it does it. I think that the potentially for bodily harm qualifies this as exciting.
As someone who has spent many a sleepless backcountry night sure that every rustle outside my tent is a bear coming to eat me, it is a little comforting to know that bears look ridiculous underneath their fluffy yet terrifying fur. But mostly it is sad - the poor ladies! They look very chilly, and like they need some moisturizer. And maybe a backrub, though I am not going to volunteer to do it.
This website lets you type in any words you want, and it then puts together song snippets of your words to create a song for you. It is pretty damn cool. And you can email the song to friends, so be on the lookout for weird song-emails from me.
I am having what can only be classified as a fine night. I got a long massage after work, and the lady did an amazing job on my right butt muscle, which has been almost-pulled for two months now. The issue was a tight gluteous medius, apparently - or something that sounded like that. As you might imagine, I was a little out of it - it's hard to listen closely to someone while they are vigorously rubbing your bum.
Now I am sitting on the couch in my apartment, and everything smells like the garlic bread that I just took out of the oven. I am drinking red wine, reading Infinite Jest (as I have been for a good number of months now), and listening to the Decemberists. Even though it was 80 degrees in San Francisco today, my body thinks it's fall and feels cuddly and nest-y, and the wine and the music and the book are feeding the autumn feeling because they make me think of Boston.
I don't know how others who lived in and then moved away from Boston feel, or even those who still live there, but there are just enough excellent things about it that sometimes moving back seems appealing. I'm thinking mostly of the Central Square old man bars that I spent too much time in, and the fact that there was always someone I could finagle into a beer at the Field or the Cantab or the Middle East or even the Enormous Room. I also really, really loved the walk back to my Washington Street apartment from the T (Red Line, I heart you) - there was a tree directly under the streetlamp on my corner that flowered in the spring and hung out icicles in the winter, and if that's not a recipe for mental photo album pie I don't know what is.
Mmmm, pie. Have some in the freezer, just waiting to get het up. Score!
I just got my flu shot, and the nurse said I could expect to have a temperature as high as 101 over the next few days. I asked if I should take it easy on Halloween, and she told me to drink all the beer I want - it won't affect the vaccine, "And that's what Halloween is for!"
She then told me that her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend are dressing up in the following for Halloween: all black, pig ears, and t shirts with "H1" and "N1" written on them. Swine flu!
I'm back in the US, and back on the internets. Will post a full Sydney-athon later, but first, here's a video that came to me via JStar - it's some (one's) home videos of San Francisco in the 1950's. Super duper neat.
I got into Sydney around 7:30 on Wednesday morning, having completely lost Tuesday en route. I slept ok on the plane (14 hours, I slept at least 8), but I was still fuzzy all day. The Google office is awesome - here's the view from the cafe, complete with the famous harbor bridge.
Despite what the photo makes it seem like, it's actually been gorgeous and sunny. Oh hey, but also, the crows here make a crazy noise. It sounds like babies crying, or cats fighting. Or cats fighting with crying babies. I am pretending they are kookaburras, even though Liz told me they are just crows. But kookaburras have their own super-Australian song! Did anyone else have to learn that in elementary school? Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, mighty mighty king of the bush is he...
Anyway, the aforementioned Liz is a Wellesleyite, and last night I met her at Darling Harbor for drinks at a bar right on the water. Then we walked through the CBD (Central Business District) to the Rocks, which is one of the oldest areas of the city. It used to be one of the worst areas of the city - pestilence etc - but is now full of bars. Classic. There was a fantastic view of the opera house, and we took awkward self-portraits. And Liz took me to the oldest bar in Sydney! Two odd characteristics of Aussie pubs: they are sometimes called "hotels" even though they are not, and they are quite brightly lit. It's like being in an Irish bar at closing time, which is disorienting.
I was proud that I was able to stay up until 10. Not bad for jetlag, right?
From today's Publisher's Lunch: "OR Books is issuing GOING ROUGE: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare on November 17, the same day when HarperCollins publishes GOING ROGUE: An American Life by Sarah Palin."
Why it's legal: "Titles of books cannot be protected as trademarks (a clear rule); trademark protection does not accrue until the mark is used (no sales yet); both books would be "in use" on the first day (Palin cannot claim first use); "Trade dress" does not exist unless the graphics are inherently distinctive (doubtful) or well recognized (too soon); and the "Nightmare" title may even be a valid parody (a good defense). Each of these theories has a countervailing argument, but on each, the legal arguments might be a nightmare for Palin."
I am in Sydney, and I will definitely write an update later. But for now, I wanted to share two photos from back home. My dad and brother spend their days doing manual labor on The Hill - my parents' property in PA. Apparently they were recently chopping wood and came upon a stump that looked like a pair of shorts.
Because why not? I particularly like how they captured two different moods - Ian looks jaunty, and my dad looks like he just dropped a load in his drawers.
I just booked a hotel for my first four nights in Sydney next week. It was only a little more than a double room with a shared bathroom in a hostel, and it looks freaking sweet. I'm there alone the first two nights, then Mike joins me next Friday. Yeehaw! But the most exciting part of the trip: we got a friends and family discount at a super fancy hotel on the harbor for the last two nights, so we're going to live it up on the cheap.
Itinerary: walk around, drink, eat, hike a little bit, bike, sit on the beach. And maybe...surf? My sharkophobia might be too much for that. Oh, and I'm going to run with the Sydney hash next Thursday. And work from the Sydney office for the two days that Mike isn't alone. I don't know if that counts as a true 100% vacation, but I'm pumped.
I realize I am opening myself up to ridicule, but I am home and relaxing for what feels like the first time in forever, and I have already had some wine, so I think I get some leeway. I am 24 minutes and 25 seconds into "Smart People" and Thomas Haden Church just appeared in a Wellesley sweatshirt. Which is, I think, supposed to be Dennis Quaid's dead wife's garment.
I Am Neurotic is a real live book! It's particularly exciting because so many of my friends are in the photos. It's like a yearbook, but published by a major press and with tens of thousands of copies in print.
There are a number of reasons that I did not go to boot camp today.
I woke up at 3 a.m. after dreams of running suicides and doing pushups to exhaustion, and didn't really get back to sleep until I reset my alarm from 5:30 to 7:30.
I ran many, many hills at the hash last night.
I drank beer until 11 p.m. last night.
IT IS TYPHOONING IN SAN FRANCISCO.
I like the idea of working out in the rain (boot camp class is never cancelled, no matter the elements), but the 4 block walk from my house to my shuttle stop just soaked my jeans to the knee. And, in case you were wondering, no, my cowboy boots are not waterproof, it seems.
The hash trail last night started by the Marina Safeway and wound along the coast to Ghirardelli Square. We then pumped up several aspects of Russian Hill, and, on one of the descents, came upon at least a hundred sheep grazing in an empty lot, hidden among apartment buildings. Ok then. We ran through the Cannery (In n Out was calling to me), along Fisherman's Wharf, and then back up Russian Hill. The best part: at the top of Vallejo (the very top - we ran up several flights of very steep stairs) there is a little neighborhood with lawns. LAWNS! And is perched on top of the hill, surrounded by apartment towers. It is so very very precious.
And then we drank beer and sang dirty songs. One dude poured a beer down the back of his pants - I don't know why. Here is a blurry photo that appropriately communicates our relief that we are no longer running, and are in fact drinking cold beer from a keg. The end.
This is a really cool article on food banks and fresh produce - the Bay Area is doing an increasingly good job of working with farms and suppliers to give out food that isn't canned or processed. I support the SF Food Bank, though I don't donate as much as I should.
Also, there is a great photo of a skinny little dude carrying a big stack of boxes. I am pretending they are all full of potatoes.
I did not realize until just now that it is National Coming Out Day, which makes me a bad ally. But I am going to jump on the caboose of the day here and say (in Wellesley NCOD tradition) that love is love is love is love is love.
I also wanted to share this video of Obama at an HRC event, because I have been disappointed with his leadership on gay rights, but I do think that he is an ally. I know the HRC isn't everyone's favorite group, but they were the first non-profit that I ever donated to on my own, and I'm not sure that teenage me really knew enough about the gay rights movement to distinguish between different modes and approaches. In any case, I've got a soft spot for them.
This video is on the long side for intertubes embedding, but it's worth a looksy. It doesn't take much to make me tear up on NCOD, but this talk got me going a few times.
I am sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, feeling way worse for myself than anyone who has just had room service has a right to. But despite the wine and beer I have in my belly, I am a sad sack. Why? Because I am in Salt Lake City on a Friday night.
And I am here for work. I give a talk at a conference tomorrow, and since I am presenting for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, I will be attending the whole thing. Aside from the fact that I am only just realizing what giving up a Saturday does to my psyche, I am also realizing that I need to review the entire presentation I am giving, because I am anal.
So that is what I'm going to go do now. Also, I forgot to bring pajama-type-clothes, so I am not wearing pants.
Who wants to do hiking yoga with me? 90 minute classes are $15, and "integrate the power of yoga with the cardio of hiking." What that means to me: you get to poke around the city while doing downward facing dog. If that's even possible.
Between this, hashing, and my boot camp, I think I just like hybrid activities. I like my doing-stuff like I like my food: all smushed together. Really.
If I were going to be here this Saturday, I would go to this:
But instead I will be in Utah until 9 p.m. BUT! Sunday is the West Point Inn's monthly pancake breakfast, which I have been meaning to go to forever. Nothing like a wee bit of a hike before inhaling carbs, right? And also located on Mt. Tam is the Tourist Club, which serves beer. It's meant to be.
That I have great houseguests. They leave me wine and orchid plants and roses, they leave me peanut butter jars with notes on the lid. They leave me body scrub that smells like grapefruit, they leave me drawings of dinosaurs, and they leave me thongs.
The last one was not so much a present as an accident, but it made me laugh hard enough that I consider it a gift.
I did not really read the Globe when I lived in Boston (The Dig got all my print media loving), but they are doing a great job of making me proud of my job this week.
First up: an article on Google Books, with quotes from some of my favorite Boston publishers. These are my guys, guys! Including my former employer, of course. Those who knew me during my Godine days has to be a little shocked (and awed?) that they are now getting quoted on topics technological and cutting edge. Woohoo!
Then the Globe went and did it again, with an article on (grudgingly) falling in love with Google. Reasons #4, 5, and 6 are about Google Books.
Given the abuse the program takes, it's nice to see a positive article once in a while. For two, I swoon.
My dad and I spent a lot of time riding bikes this weekend, commuting back and forth to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. My dad is in love with San Francisco's bike lanes - he thinks it's the most bike-friendly city he's seen. I keep meaning to bike commute to Mountain View more often, but I'm intimidated by the super fast people who ride it regularly - they average 20 mph+ in a pack.
Last night I watched "Trauma "on Hulu, because it was better than cleaning in preparation for my father's imminent arrival. It was a pretty entertaining show, for two reasons.
1. In the first 20 minutes, there was an epic helicopter-on-helicopter crash set over the FiDi, and a huge pileup on the Bay Bridge on-ramp, complete with a gas truck explosion.
2. It is totally obsessed with being set in San Francisco. I get that it's about EMTs, and ambulance drivers probably do shout out street names a lot. But with these guys, it's gratuitous. "Don't take Market!"
"Don't worry, I'm taking Polk."
"There was a big crash by the Fillmore."
New Yorkers might be used to this, but SF usually gets the pop cultural shaft. My second trauma of the last 24 hours is a result of my basic training boot camp thing. I estimate that I held the plank position for a combined total of 5 minutes this morning. My shoulders feel like those of a gracelessly aging MLB pitcher, and I'm walking like I'm fresh out of a helicopter-gas-truck pileup. Other than that, I feel fantastic. Really.
For those of you who did not attend the Tour de Fat last weekend, you should have. It was 80+ degrees and sunny in the park, the beer was good, and there were tons of crazy bikes. And costumes! Why do I never remember that San Franciscans need only the slightest excuse to wear a costume? It was actually pretty steampunkesque, with a bit of marching band thrown in.
The above was taken during the funeral procession for the automobile. There were four large horse puppets (the Four Horsemen of the Carpocalypse) and a model of an El Dorado was "burned" in effigy. Then they raffled off a cruiser. It was pretty delightful.
On my ride home through the Panhandle, I saw a man facing directly into a tree trunk and playing the saxophone. This was also delightful. I know that saxophonists gather in the tunnel by the Conservatory of Flowers for the acoustics, and I was tickled by the dude using a huge eucalyptus for the same purpose. He looked a little nutty, honking soulfully into a tree.
Last night I finally went for a run with the San Francisco Hash House Harriers! It's been two years since my last hash, in Boston. I used to go every week, and I've missed it.
For those unfamiliar with hashing, here are the basics:
It's not the drug, it's a running club that does a lot of drinking.
There are over 250 weekly (or biweekly) hashes around the world.
Two or three people serve as the hares each week - they lay a trail with chalk and flour.
The pack tries to follow the trail, running up and down streets, in parks, through buildings and construction sites - wherever the trail goes.
At the end of the trail (or during, if it's a long trail), everyone drinks beer and sings dirty songs.
There's a lot more to it than that (lots of lingo and tradition), but you can probably guess why I think it's fun - you get to run around chasing someone like a little kid, there's beer, and you get to wallow in crude humor.
It also allows you to get to know a city like you wouldn't otherwise. The trail last night went through West Portal, which I've been to twice at the most. We ran through a hilly neighborhood with beautiful houses, and then up a huge sand hill that gave us this view of the sunset:
It sure was something. I got home around 10:30, sweaty and happy and full of beer, and I got up again at 5:30 this morning for my first day of fake boot camp.
Fake boot camp was actually fun, once I was up and had some food in my belleh. We ran around the Exploratorium in the dark, and over to the Presidio, where we commenced doing variations on pushups and crunches for an hour. It was tough, but I've done worse, and it felt awesome to be outside while the sun was rising. Two classes a week will probably be my max, but given how amazing I feel right now (if it ain't sore you ain't working hard enough), I'm tempted to consider going for the four-a-week full-on schedule.
Ok, not really. But it was great, especially coming on the heels of a yoga class on Sunday night that made me feel totally nuts, in a good way. Right now I am like Gumby, if Gumby also had very tight hamstrings. Maybe Gumby and Pokey together? That seems about right.