Monthly Archives: December 2016

I’m Lucky I Don’t Have Fashion Sense

While on Facebook recently, I unwisely clicked through to a clickbaity article, albeit from a reputable source, about the “11 items that no fit guy should be without“—i.e., the clothes you absolutely positively must be wearing at the gym so you don’t look like a noubche. (That’s a combination of a knob, a noob, and a douche. It’s the worst thing a human can be without voting for Trump.)

"Stylish" T-shirt

But what makes it stylish? Is it the horizontal lines? Or the vertical lines? Maybe the black band around the inside of the neck that nobody will see? Or the retro TV test-pattern pattern?

It’s a valuable list. And not just because it tells you that you need a T-shirt, and one that’s apparently stylish. No, it’s valuable in a more literal way. $900.88—that’s the cost of these 11 items.

Of course, the editors of Esquire showed restraint. They didn’t include a technical warm-up jacket in their list of 11 items, because as they humbly declared, “Call us old fashioned, but you don’t necessarily need a technical warm-up jacket to go to the gym.” So instead they replaced it with the “great” looks of a gray hoodie. ($44.99).

Fortunately this restraint didn’t carry through to the lower body, because one of the essentials is tailored sweatpants. After all, “Tailored track pants are as important on men’s runways as they are in the weight room.” So you’d better have them!

Also, what’s the difference between tailored pants and just normal pants, and is tailoring something that normally happens to sweatpants?

Anyhow, if you have $900 to burn—well, you’re out of luck, because all this stuff costs $900 and 88 cents, so if you don’t also have the 88 cents, you’re doomed to a life of noubchebaggery. On the other hand, being a noubchebag means that you can just go to the gym and workout without having to worry too much about whether you’re wearing the right T-shirt, so maybe it’s not so bad.

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Filed under OCR Gear, Uncategorized

Fruit Ninja #3: The Bosc Pear

Welcome to the third in a series of posts in which I stand in judgment over miscellaneous fruits. Today, I’m judging the Bosc Pear.

What is it?

It’s a pear! It may weird you out, because where do you start?

What does it look like? It looks a lot like a child of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Not the one they loved, the one they dropped a lot. Either that or the sweet old grandmother who works in the lunchroom in a kid’s TV show.

What does it taste like? It wants to taste like an apple, but it can’t quite manage it. If a plain cake donut could taste like a fruit, it would taste like a pear.

What is its texture? It wants to feel like an apple but it can’t quite manage it. It doesn’t quite have the crunch, or the firmness. It’s more like really old mashed potatoes. And then you run into the gritty bits that feel like when a bit of beaky gristle doesn’t get ground up finely enough and makes its way into the Chicken McNugget as a chunk, which doesn’t help matters.

How does eating one make you feel? Like this:

Yes, complete with the really weird lighting.

How would an Elizabethan orphan react? “I am very fill’d with pangs of hunger. There’s few or none will entertain it, but I wanteth to consume.”

What would its motto be? Inferius signus! (Lower your standards.)

What do the experts say? “Bosc pears stand out in a crowd for many reasons. Their long, curved stem and elegant elongated neck that widens gradually to a full rounded base creates a silhouette that is unique among pears. … Many artists feature the russeted Bosc pear in their paintings, drawings, and photography because of the natural beauty it imparts.” (via USA Pears.)

“The Most Elegant Pear Around” (via Stemilt World Famous Fruit.)

How would you describe this fruit in interpretive dance? 

(See what I did there? Every move is in twos, because it’s a pear.)

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A Winter Workout Pitfall

We’re into December. Being in the Northern Hemisphere, that means winter, and more precisely, cold.

Unfortunately for me, that means snot. Basically, I’m going to have a low-level runny nose from now until about May. I won’t really be ill; it’s just a consequence of winter that I need a huge pile of tissues nearby at all times. (Well, winter and the ready availability of the internet.)

The runny nose lasts even when I go inside, which poses an unusual challenge for fitness. Workouts involve sweat, the excess of which can easily be remedied through the use of a workout towel. When combined with a runny nose, however, there is at least a horrifying ambiguity: Is what you’re wiping away truly just liquid, and therefore safe to wipe using a towel, or is it pure golden manna that must be cleaned by a more disposable option?

That does raise another question, however. What should we call the combination of nose sweat and snot that forms when, well, they come together? I feel like there should be a name for that.

And so I’ve come up with one.

Given the rather horrible political happenings of the past few weeks, I felt it would be right to take my cue for the name of this material from the example of santorum.

So, which evil politician should a mix of sweat and mucus be named after? I actually struggled with this, because the sweat-mucus blend is sort of a trivial problem. So it needs to be named after someone equally trivial. Naming it “Trump,” for example, would inappropriately diminish the evil that that individual has threatened and likely has the power to unleash.

So who is awful enough, but ultimately unimportant enough, to warrant being named after this?

gov_christie_press_med

New Jersey Governor and presidential fart-rag Chris Christie—the guy who recognized Donny’s danger, then endorsed him, then for his trouble was given important tasks like picking up his burgers from McDonald’s, then seemingly got back in the president-elect’s good graces, only to be then dumped again—will hereafter give his name to the curious blend of sweat and snot that results from winter workouts.

Let’s hope Christie—both the person and the snot-sweat mixture—remain trivial this winter and for the rest of time.

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Good Things in Bad Times

It’s been a rough few months for me. There’s been a lot of asshattery that I’ve had to deal with, none of which it would be wise for me to detail here. I haven’t exactly dealt with it well, or at least they’ve had some impact on the rest of my life, and particularly, my mental and physical health. Things like diet are under my control, but that control is way harder when there’s constant stress, anxiety, isolation, and artificially boosted hopes followed by crushing disappointment.

This post isn’t to whine (much) about that, though. Instead, it’s to brag about a couple good things that have happened in that time.

First, the handstand kick-up that I’ve been working for, on-and-off, for several years has happened. Here’s proof:

 


Why, yes, those are my Extremely Blue Pants, thanks for noticing.

That video is actually a couple months old. Since then the handstand has improved: My ratio of kicking-up-but-not-getting-all-the-way to kicking-up-and-getting-all-the-way has improved a lot, and I’m able to do it while looking at my hands rather than staring out, and I’m even starting to get some control at the top which suggests that a freestanding handstand won’t be impossible.

Second, I have now submitted my second-ever book query to a publisher. Yes, Dad’s Little Book of Rage, the piece of fiction thingy that gave the world this image:

bondage-carnival

It’s the underage bondage carnival!

is now out in the wild.

Researching the submission process took longer than I expected, and it sucked. There’s a lot of information out there, but most of it takes the form of “Here are the 18 million things you ABSOLUTELY MUST DO WITHOUT THE TINIEST ERROR OR YOU WILL BE REJECTED FOREVER, and also, even if you do them all perfectly you still won’t get published because YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”

Of course, knowing how stupid that is doesn’t exactly help me, because as proud as I am of DLBOR (as I call it), it’s got some challenges to get published. Its form is atypical: It’s illustrated but not a graphic novel, and it’s not even exactly a novel at all—more a collection of loosely connected stories. Subject-wise? Well, it’s about child abuse, but it’s a comedy. (On the surface, at least. Taken as a whole, I think it’s appropriately dark for the subject matter. And the abuse part is never treated as something funny or amusing.)

The net impact is, not every editor is going to love it, and even if they do, not every publisher is going to want to publish it, so I needed to find ones in the right niche.

Nevertheless, I’m eager to move that project into another phase so I can get going in earnest on some other ones, even if it means reading books by noted sack of crap Laura Schlessinger. See, one of the projects is, to put it modestly, the Hot Fuzz of parenting books: A parody that takes all of the absurdities in the genre’s tropes and rolls them into one incredible thing. But that requires reading a bunch of crappy parenting books, even if they have creepy smiles on the front.

The other project, if it comes off, is about turtles.

 

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Filed under Dad's Little Book of Rage, Goals, Training, writing

The Lowest-Earning OCR Athletes

So, yesterday ORM published an article about the top-earning athletes in OCR. Cool and all, if you’re into that. But what if you’re more into the everyday racers—the mid-packers, the ones who stay anonymous, the ones whose struggles won’t be elevated to the status of “inspirational story” easily packaged, shared and liked on Facebook?

You’re in luck! In this post, I can offer you a highly exclusive list of the lowest-earning OCR athletes. Read and be inspired. Or not. I’m not your boss.

Female speaker (Actually Dr. Brene Brown)

5. Jordan Alexandrescu: This hard-working mother of two from Cleveland learned that if you put your mind to it, you can overcome any obstacle, and became a motivational speaker to profit off of this realization. Earnings: $600. Unfortunately, she failed to put her mind to the obstacle of learning directions to her first gig, and the route was not marked to her satisfaction, so she arrived 45 minutes late. She managed to get them to pay half of the original price, but word got around, and she never got another motivational speaking gig again.

4. Urd Bruhn: This professional teenybopper from Tulsa sold a finisher medal and shirt on Ebay. Earnings: $79.99, less shipping.

3. Johnathan Albion: This quinoa farmer from Pensacola was offered a gig as a celebrity impersonator thanks to a couple of typos and a mediocre app that finds anyone’s celebrity twin. See, Mosi Murdock was having a party, and being a huge Matlock fan, he wanted an Andy Griffith impersonator. When the app decided that Jonathon Albon is Andy Griffith’s celebrity twin, Mosi tried to Google his number, made a few typos, and didn’t realize his mistake until too late. Earnings: Mosi still gave Johnathan $50 plus a slice of birthday cake for his time. (Not one with the icing rose, of course.)

2. Adella Bryan: She “won” the OCR set up in the backyard by her mom, beating out nobody, because she has no friends. Earnings: One shiny quarter.

1. Ryder Bass: This home economics teacher from Eugene, Oregon, picked up a discarded aluminum can on the course and returned it to a store for the deposit. Earnings: 5 cents (although it would have been 10 in Michigan.) Also, he was able to post about all the garbage on OCR courses and how terrible it is that nobody cares about litter to twelve different OCR Facebook groups, which earned him a total of 374 likes and 51 comments of agreement, forestalling the time when he had to gaze into the empty blackness of his own soul for a full 31 hours.

(Credits: Most names generated randomly at Behind The Name. Photo is actually Dr. Brené Brown; Photo by Dell Inc., licensed under CC BY 2.0 via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dr._Brene_Brown_at_Texas_Conference_for_Women_(cropped).jpg)

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Why don’t women wear shorts?

One of my gym buddies recently raised my awareness of one of the great issues of our time: Capri pants.

Capri pants

There is, or at least was, a Groupon.

I was vaguely aware of Capri pants, owing to a surprisingly traumatic edict passed down by HR in one of my first jobs. Their declaration that Capri pants did not meet the company dress code was fodder for the Q&A section of the employee newsletter for months, as one month an employee insist that there were many Capri pants available that looked perfectly professional and demand to know why such an arbitrary restriction of sartorial freedom was being made, while the next month another “employee” would ask how it was possible that anyone would want to look like a lady of the night and why nobody cared about how thoroughly their delicate sensibilities were being literally urinated upon.

(The company is no longer in business.)

So, when my gym buddy complimented a fellow workouter’s pants, it somehow prompted me to look around the class and notice something I hadn’t in six years of going to my gym: while every man in the room was wearing shorts, every woman was wearing Capri-style workout pants, probably from Lululemon.

[involuntary shudder]

Now, fashion of any kind is not my strong suit, and women’s clothing in particular falls under the category of “girly things that I don’t understand.” (As a wise woman [maybe dog? Or monkey? It’s complicated] once said, “That covers a lot of ground“) When I observed that it was kind of strange that shorts technology hadn’t crossed the XX/XY chromosomal divide, she looked at me like I was insane. Chastened, I didn’t push for an explanation of why women don’t wear shorts, even though it’s something that I’m still curious about.

I could ask again, but I figure it will be more fun (and potentially offensive!) to come up with my own theories.

1) Maybe women don’t actually have leg bones, so the Capri pants act as an exoskeleton to allow them to stand upright and do box jumps way better than me.

2) Maybe women are concerned that exposing the knee is something that only witches do, so if they wear shorts they’ll be burned at the stake. (This would explain the singed stake that has been erected next to the gym’s monkey bars.)

3) Maybe women keep secret nuclear codes next to their thighs so they can veto it if the president decides to nuke France because someone Tweeted something mean at him in the middle of the night. Not that that would ever be necess… oh, crap.

4) Maybe women are much shorter and more numerous than we think, and what men perceive as a woman is actually several women stacked on top of each other, and the pants are there to preserve the illusion.

5) Maybe Scientology a perfectly legitimate religion demands it.

6) Maybe women all own stock in Capri pant companies, and they’re secretly becoming rich, while stupid men keep buying shorts that they have no financial stake in.

7) Maybe they protect against bear attacks, and men are stupid not to wear them.

8) I dunno, something to do with Hamilton?

9) Maybe they actually are shorts and I don’t actually know the difference between shorts and Capri pants.

10) Groupon!

I’m not sure which of these is right, but I’m pretty sure I stumbled onto the truth somewhere in there. So read and be enwisened.

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