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There are times…
Tuesday January 29th 2008, 10:16 pm

…when my mind wanders back to college, when everything was new and exciting: Thai food and Pearl Jam and people from Michigan, dorm rivalries and making out to Toad the Wet Sprocket, talking about nothing all night long and pinball and…

…and then I’ll look over at Anne working at her desk across from mine and think, Man, fuck all that.

Filed under: Complete Wastes of Time





Come for the Complaints, Stay for the Recipes
Monday January 28th 2008, 1:58 pm

I was going to start with a post complaining about the stupidity of Ironman, and how stupid I was for signing up, and everything in general is a big bucket of stupidly stupid stupidity.

Then I had lunch and thought better of it. Especially after eating the greens. Good gravy, but these greens make me want to eat not only my vegetables, but yours, too.

Here’s the deal: Saturday morning, I got up earlier than is legal to do so on a Saturday. I had a fourteen mile run, though, with my leg still not cleared for full speed, it was going to be a fourteen mile walk, made of two seven-mile laps. IMNZ’s course is made of laps, and I’ve had to wrap my head around the idea that just because I’ve come back to my front door doesn’t mean I get to stop, prop up my feet and empty a few cold ones. This is mental training, too, people, and if it takes going in circles around the neighborhood to get my brains as ready as my legs, so be it.

Anyway. The weather cooperated, complete with cloudy, pristine skies and the Pacific churning away. I did loop one, came back to the house to pick up Anne, then did loop two. Anne only had to do forty-five minutes, so she sheared off for home while I kept going. Lucky for me, Anne was cool enough to go to the farmers’ market and score some goodness, including chickens from a farm whose name I’ve forgotten but will be sure to remember so you can try their poultry, too. I’m talking about chicken that tastes like chicken, not that nasty stuff that comes out of a bag looking a sickly green and smelling like feathered sadness.

I finish the walk, come home for a well-deserved croissant, then head to the pool. I then made a tactical error, one of the classics: I went grocery shopping after strenuous exercise. That’s the only explanation for the way I floated through the Co-op’s produce section, grabbing bunches of greens and tossing them in the cart like a vegetarian zombie. It wasn’t until I’d gotten home and fed that I looked at the take and thought, “Well, what now?”

Here’s what I did.

1) Chopped an onion and sauteed in olive oil.
2) Chopped five or six cloves of garlic and tossed ‘em in for good measure.
3) Carmelized this mix.
4) Cleaned and de-ribbed the greens (a bunch of spinach, a bunch of Swiss chard, a bunch of purple kale). Chopped into manageable chunks.
5) Put the greens into the skillet (the ten-inch cast iron beast that, really, every cook should have) in batches until they wilted.
6) Salted and peppered the whole lot.
7) Served with the chicken and pan gravy.

The sweetness of the onions, the mild bitterness of the greens, the good chicken taste, Lord! This was the kind of meal that could solve political struggles, bring about peace and harmony, deliver vital amounts of folic acid. I recommend it when you need a pickup.

Filed under: Complete Wastes of Time





Stay on Target…
Thursday January 24th 2008, 4:19 pm

Finished the first of my Clarion submission stories, “Looking Out,” today at lunch. The ending was driving me nuts, but, after a brief consultation with a plate of chicken kebabs, I got it. This doesn’t bode well for future writing, but I think proper application of exercise will balance out the kebab/verbiage equation.

Now I just need to knock out the edits for “Triathlon,” and I can fling these bits over the tubes to UCSD. And if there’s something sure to get their attention, it’s a triptych of doping cyborg cyclists, water-retching mermaids and escaped genetic experiments. Really. I read it on the internets.

Filed under: Complete Wastes of Time





Dear Fox Broadcasting…
Wednesday January 23rd 2008, 1:49 pm

Someone, some dastardly swine, has been decorating the executive suite with lead-based paint with a bit of mercury thrown in for extra texture. That’s the only explanation for this.

I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, because it’s a new year and my feelings of charity and goodwill don’t run out until sometime around mid-March. Please look into it.

Love and kisses,
-A.

Filed under: Complete Wastes of Time

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Weekend Assignment #198
Friday January 11th 2008, 3:19 pm

Weekend Assignment #198: What is your favorite thing about winter? Whether you love this time of year, hate it or merely endure it, you should be able to find something good to say about the season. What is it?

Extra credit: What do you hate most about winter?

One word: precipitation. Los Angeles, like any desert city, is absolutely gorgeous after a rain storm. The guck is gone from the air, the streets are cleaned, and, if things are really wet and cold, the local mountains gets snow. Yes, the traffic is a nightmare, and the ocean is a sewage buffet for a few days, but I think the few days of immaculate air are worth it.

On the flip side, the sun going down at 4 o’clock is bloody awful. It’s been extra tough with training, because I’ll have days where I get to work in the dark, crunch all day, then come home in the same dark. Argh.

Filed under: Other People's Brilliance





Weekend Assignment #196
Friday January 04th 2008, 1:44 pm

So, John Scalzi used to do this thing on his AOL blog called Weekend Assignments: he’d post a topic, people would write about it, and then everyone would share linky goodness. Karen Funk Blocher is picking up the torch, and I’m jumping in. Anything to get me writing, right?

Right.

Weekend Assignment #196: Now that the WGA strike has had lots of time to affect the prime time television schedules, how is it affecting you as a viewer? What show do you miss most, aside from reruns? Do you miss your weekly appointment with that ill-behaved doctor, or your visits to Wisteria Lane? Does it bother you not to laugh at fresh jokes on your favorite sitcom? Or are you just as happy watching reality shows, or new episodes of shows that have been held back until now? We want to know!

It’s embarrassing how much tv we watch, probably three hours a day, starting with BBC news in the morning and ending with something frothy at night. The only thing that’s kept me from turning into a total vegetable has been Ironman training. By the time I get home from either the gym or a run, I only have enough time to watch one show while I eat and ice down. Anne’s been very cool about coming to bed when I usually do, rather than stay up and watch the shows she likes more than I do (like CSI or Bionic Woman).

What’s funny is that we ran out of Tivoed backlog just as Life On Mars started up, and The Daily Show‘s coming back next week (albeit without their staff), so that means just enough tv to wind down from training as I come into the home stretch for Ironman.

Extra Credit: how are you spending the time instead?

Training. It’s probably a good thing that we’re home from yoga and pilates so late, because it minimizes our eat/rest/shower window. When Ironman’s done, I will write. Dammit, yes, I will.

Filed under: Other People's Brilliance

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Flash! Ah-ahhhhhh!
Wednesday January 02nd 2008, 2:06 pm


Flash! Ah-ahhhhhh!

So, back when Scott and I started Ironman training in earnest, we joked about how cool it would be to race in costume (and by “cool,” I mean “maximally dorktastic”). Jedi outfits were out because those guys are genetically pre-ordained, which is antithetical to the idea of us training for this race. Also, the Jedi are great big losers.

Historical costumes were a bad idea, too, because no other era than ours has been built around comfortable clothes. Powdered wigs on the bike? Helmets won’t fit. Greek robes in the water? Too draggy. Mongolian armor on the run? Clanky.

That left the superhero category, which is convenient since every superhero’s outfit is made of body-hugging material, with the exceptions of Swamp Thing and Flannel Shirt Man. Superman would be the obvious choice, since he’s the Man of Steel. John Dunbar already did that gig in 1979, however, and it would be inviting all sorts of unwise comparisons. So, we settled for our favorites: Spiderman and the Flash.

I didn’t think anything would come of this until Scott brought over a Voler fit kit and plans for how to make this spandex dream happen. He was going to make these damn things come hell or high waists, and who was I to poo-poo my teammate? I made with the fitting, Scott made with the iron-on decals, and this is the result.

(Scott’s jersey, which you’ll see on Flickr eventually, came from eBay. UPDATE: here’s Scott.)

We’re not going to wear these on race day, but we’re certainly going to ride around Taupo in them beforehand. God help us.

Filed under: Other People's Brilliance