Saturday, August 30, 2008

"John McCain Is Out of Touch with Reality"

And Lilly Ledbetter is my hero.

Tonight my aunt told me that she, a Democrat and former Hillary supporter, would be voting for McCain. I begged her not to vote.

$105 and All I Got Was this Lousy Air Freshener

I'm in Virginia Beach to run the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon tomorrow morning. I'm not kidding, it really cost $105 to enter this stupid race, and t-shirt is COTTON. Cotton t-shirts are like CDs or tube TVs in the road racing world. And $105 is a premium race fee. Of course, I didn't actually pay that. I paid $36, but I can't tell you how or I'd have to kill you.

Anyway, it looks like sweet marathon weather tomorrow. At 4:30, when I wake up, it will be 72 degrees and 93% humidity. Brutal.

Normally I love running, especially distance. But right now the prospect of running 13.1 miles fast (I consider 8:15s to be fast!) is just not doing it for me.

I don't mean to be so negative. It might be fun! You can check out my results on the new and improved Pacers Racers site!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hey, I Have a Vagina, Too!

Ann at Feministing read my mind while I was working and then taking a 2-hour nap to express my outrage.

I think, at bottom, McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate is insulting, and I don't think women are going to fall for it. It's Harriet Miers all over again--at least I hope it is.

I'll admit that as a Hillary supporter who always liked Obama, I did narrow down my choice based on the fact that Hillary was a woman and that a woman in the White House was a precedent I wanted to set. But, really, my support was based on her strong stance on and interest in women's issues, not the fact that she herself was a woman. And, this is petty, but I'd like to see a woman WIN the presidency, not take the back door in when the old-ass president dies in office.

And, although I'm often accused of living in a big-city, intellectual bubble, I truly believe that my fellow women won't be fooled by McCain's pandering or the sub-par candidate he's put up to make history. I like to think I have faith in humanity, and even if P.U.M.A.s are out there, they're not completely stupid. And now they see what John McCain thinks of them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

That's Not Fair

My obsession with the marathon and my limited Olympics viewing last weekend caused me to miss the fact that the U.S. track team did finish with some highlights, most notably Sanya Richards' redeeming run. Runner's World has a great recap.

Wes and I were planning a summer 2012 London trip, but after that Handover--obviously their spelling and not mine--I'm not so sure.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Goddammit

Apparently, Wes did buy this tv for nothing (except its superior picture quality). I kind of wish I'd gone to Pacers to commiserate, but instead I'll just shower and go to bed and nurse my red, white, and blue wounds. Congrats though, Kenya, you certainly deserve it. Wanjiru, that was a hell of a performance.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Only Hope

Ok, America. I've displayed more patriotism in the last two weeks than I have in the last 26 years combined (not counting my trip to LA 7s). I have so many ethical and ideological problems with supporting the Olympics--especially these Olympics--and yet they've taken over my life. But I really can't take any more running disappointments, and I can't help but feel like you're not holding up your end of the bargain. Michael Phelps can't carry a whole country on his back. And water polo hardly counts.

Last night, I about fell off the couch when the women's 4x100 relay team dropped their baton. I had read that the men had done it, but I didn't know the women would make the same mistake. But it's been ugly all along. Where did Jamaica come from? And a bronze medal out of a 5th place finish hardly makes up for all the lowlights. (Ok, there have been some highlights.)

So tomorrow is the men's marathon. Now's your chance. Don't make me regret spending the last two weeks of my life--weeks I'll never have back!--glued to your prime time event coverage and your heart-warming fillers. (P.S. No male athletes have children?)

After the heartbreaking American performances in the women's marathon, I want to see Ryan Hall medal. Wes didn't buy this giant tv for nothing, dammit!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Making Sundays Bright

I kind of love the Washington Post Magazine. And last weekend might have been the Greatest Issue Ever. I still haven't read the cover story, but it does have the word marathon in it, so it must be great.

But I thought Gene was hilarious this week. I laughed out loud.

Plus, finally!, a successful Date Lab. Is that the first? I'm pretty sure it is--it is being advertised as the Date Lab we've all been waiting for.

And Tom gave 2 1/2 stars to a restaurant devoted to chocolate. It's like eating at my house except more expensive and with fewer m&ms. I wish I were there right now. The restaurant. I am at my house.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baby Steps

I've hinted at this before, but when I was younger, I was all sorts of crazy. I had enough anxiety and body image issues to make the poor, short, chubby girls at modeling camp seem calm and at ease.

I won't get into it too much, except to say that I used to have trouble sleeping on the first floor of any dwelling because I thought a murderer would come get me. I'd spend late nights tossing with the TV on at my aunt's house thinking about someone slipping through the woods and into my room to stab me while the 4 a.m. repeat of Oprah ran in the background. (I thought keeping the TV on might protect me.)

But these days, I'm a lot calmer and more well-adjusted. I even live on the first floor of my condo building--something I swore I'd never do. But love makes you do crazy things--Wes wanted to live on the first floor to make load in/out easier.

And, despite the fact that I've been riding it almost every day since January, it only recently occurred to me that it would be really easy for a car driving on the GW Parkway to jump the curb and smash right into me while biking or running on the Mt. Vernon trail. Seriously, people (myself included) drive like maniacs on that road, and in a lot of places, the trail runs right alongside it. I'd always thought about how my bike could slide out from under me and directly into traffic at this one part, but my preoccupation with cars coming to get me is completely new--eight months after I started traveling on it. I take that as a sign of progress.

I also now willingly publish details about my life on the internet, known province of stalkers, rapists and murderers. Tomorrow, look for directions to my house and a description of my daily routines and habits.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Itsy Bitsy Bikinis

So, yeah, beach volleyball players wear little outfits.


The women who play are uniformly gorgeous, so I guess they feel no need to cover all that hottness up with, well, uniforms. I'm watching May and Walsh play the semi-final match, and so are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. I doubt the outfits are lost on them.

Anyway, I'm intrigued by how good May and Walsh are. They are, by far, the dominant team. Last time I watched, their match count was something like 457-9. And right now they are trouncing the Brazilians 14-6. Make that 15-6.

I think it's a shame they don't play against men. I bet they could take on many of the best men's teams in the world and still come out on top. Sure, the net is higher in men's volleyball, and on average the men are probably taller, but Walsh is well over 6' herself. I'm not worried.

I read this book for a review I never wrote for the AAUW member magazine. It was about the idea that sex-segregated sports do a disservice to the best women, because they never have a chance to go up against the best competition--men. After reading the arguments of authors Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano, it's difficult to disagree with them.

As a former rugby player and now runner, I certainly see the arguments in favor of letting women win by separating them out of the men's competition. While Paula Radcliffe can beat her countrymen, she hasn't yet clocked a marathon time that would beat the male world record holder. And she probably never will. Winning is likely more rewarding than always coming in behind a handful of men, but Radcliffe still comes in ahead of the vast majority of men running marathons.

At the lower levels of sports, sex segregation might be a good idea, especially to introduce girls to their sport. Boys can be intimidating, and they therefore tend to dominate on the pitch. McDonagh and Pappano are in favor of voluntary segregation--they are protesting forced sex segregation. It's a fine distinction, but an important one. While the scrawniest, nerdiest, most athletically disinclined boy could try out for his school's football team if he wanted to, it's likely that the most athletic, talented girl at his school could not, simply because she's a girl. And when you look at it that way, it doesn't seem fair.

So May and Walsh might not have any interest in competing against the top men, but it might be good for their game. And it might also make for good tv. Provided the dudes wore correspondingly skimpy outfits.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh Jesus Christ

As I was writing about how f-ing great the Girls Rock! DC camp was, I found this on the Washington Post website.

Modeling camp? Because why teach your girls, ages 7-17, about creativity, talent and comfort in their own skin when you can teach them about unrealistic standards of beauty and how to pose like a sexpot?

As one of the campers told the Post:
"I'm going to be a high-fashion model," says Bailey Milde, a long-limbed 12-year-old from Stafford in short shorts and a tank top. "Not all agencies are going to like me, but I think enough will that I'll make enough money to live on. I have a good body type for it."
By which she means that, as a pre-pubescent child, she's really skinny and has no breasts.

I know lots of models are very young, but I also know that eating disorders, drug use and depression run rampant in the fashion industry. And I also know that reading about the urge of people to teach their 11-year-old daughters how to wear makeup and pose so men want to have sex with them makes for one of those exhausting feminist moments.

In fairness, drug use also runs rampant in the world of rock and roll. But Katie tells me her GR!DC girls got a talk on how fame isn't everything, and while I did stop a participant on the street to ask for her autograph, the purpose of rock camp wasn't to break these girls into show business or to create unrealistic expectations. It was to teach them that's it's good to be a girl.

At model camp, on the other hand:
Campers from 7 to 17 spend a week or more learning makeup tips, runway walking and how to compile a professional portfolio. They leave with a handful of fashion photos and, generally, an intensified desire to enter the competitive world of modeling. ...

After camp is over, each will meet with Cole and a parent to talk about her potential for professional modeling.
The camp's founder defends her camp as a self-esteem builder, but look at those pictures. And imagine that meeting: "I'm sorry, but one of Kayla's eyes is smaller than the other, and she's 5 pounds heavier than the average 8 year old. She'll have to go on a strict diet, and even then she'll be lucky to get a dog food commercial. Sorry, Fatty."

The campers also spend the day at a spa. I feel like I've spent too much time defending girls' rock camp. This modeling camp is disgusting, and its values are completely misplaced.

One or two of the most promising (and tallest -- adult models generally must be 5 feet 9 or taller) might be recruited to join Cole's scouting firm, Model Source, which represents models she's chosen who are trying to get jobs with New York agencies. Shorter girls will receive a list of other reputable agencies to pursue on their own. All will be offered the chance to participate in Cole's $2,000 modeling program during the school year.

"I'm known for being honest," Cole said. "If I don't think someone can work, I'll say that I don't know that this is the best investment for you."

The rest of you skinny girls, fork it over.

And finally:

Campers said they understand that the chances of hitting it big are slim. But even if they never get a modeling job, they said, they still learned valuable skills, such as how to address the paparazzi.

Because, obviously, handling the paparazzi is a skill all young women should cultivate. You know how we treat those who can't.

We Salute You

Earlier today I went to the 9:30 Club from about noon to 1. It was very strange--I've been to the 9:30 Club many many times, but never walked out into the sun before.

But I was there for the first Girls Rock! DC Showcase. GR!DC is a rock camp for girls by women. My sister, Kate, volunteered there, and she's pretty much been bouncing off the wall all week with excitement. I know this, and I've only talked to her like twice.

So sometimes it's exhausting to be a feminist, but sometimes, times like this morning, it's completely exhilarating. This camp is all about teaching girls to rock and all the attendant values and virtues that come along with "rocking"--of which there are many, I can assure you after seeing this morning's show.

I'm not too embarrassed to admit that I fought back tears a few times. Watching a little girl spin is such a non-sequiter, but that's the point. With some notable exceptions, female DJs are few, and, like lots of women in male-dominated fields, women musicians have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove themselves. My dad once told me he just doesn't like women singers. (That feeling you can't seem to place when you dislike a woman but just can't explain it? Yeah, that's sexism.) Though he also doesn't care about lyrics, so we don't have much to talk about when it comes to music.

So, in the last week, these girls formed bands, practiced or learned to play instruments, wrote a song, and cultivated their image. And without exception, their songs were fun, and their images were fierce. There was a lot of confidence on display--a trait that can be so rare and vulnerable in teen girls. One band, the Beat Queens ("like a drum, not like a vegetable") were all about 8 years old and had a whole routine worked out where they asked each other and the audience "Are you ready?" "Thank you, America," Queen Adia, the lead singer, shouted at the end of her set and again at the end of the GR!DC camp song. We ran into her after brunch, and she gave me her autograph.

Some girls are born with that kind of confidence, and I suspect Queen Adia is such a child. But some of us have had to constantly choke down self-doubt and fear and shyness to ever get anything done, and I saw a lot of those girls on stage today too. They're the ones who made me cry, because if they can realize at such a young age that it's awesome to be a girl and to have attitude and style and confidence and not worry about what anyone else thinks, then their lives are going to be that much better, starting today.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Is This True?



Wow, Home Depot. That's kind of neat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Leave 'Em if Ya Got 'Em

I'd like to thank everyone who's been reading. I'm averaging a whopping 6 page views a day, and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from lots of people--thanks largely to my shameless Facebook self promotion. Some day I'll get better at general shameless self promotion and make a more concerted effort to publicize my blog, land a book deal and take over the world.

In the meantime, and my whole point, please leave comments. Either don't tell me in person or don't just tell me in person what you think. Remember, you can be anonymous online.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

So, as I previously mentioned, last weekend I went to San Francisco. I was only there for three days, so we really had to jam it all in. I asked a lot of people for advice on where to go and everyone I asked said Golden Gate Park. But of course the only place I didn't go was Golden Gate Park. We ran out of time.

But I did go to lots of other places. On Thursday, Wes and I stumbled onto a great restaurant and had a big, indulgent dinner. (Tomatoes and watermelon are my new favorite thing. I had a great dish at Jaleo, made one myself and now the one at Conduit. Try it. Trust me.) Then on Friday we walked all over the damn place and ended up back in Mission (via Bart) to see Patton Oswalt
and to eat another delicious dinner.

We did all that walking because it's damn near impossible to get on a street car though my cheap ass didn't really want to pay $5 anyway (no exact change for the bus either). I'll never get over my broke college ways when it comes to transportation. There were some hills. Yes, we walked up that.

Saturday, we decided to kick it Bohinkas style. We rented some crappy bikes (crappy because of overuse and neglect, not because they were crappy to begin with). They were Marins, which was cool because we rode into Marin County.

Anyway, us, bikes, we rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, just like Full House (that's the second mention of that show on my blog--a worrisome statistic) and down into Sausalito a beautiful but super crowded little tourist trap. Next time I'll want to continue onto the Redwoods, but for Saturday we had to turn around and go back. But if you ever go, don't waste your time in Sausalito. There's nothing you'd want there, unless you like expensive but tacky "art" and overpriced restaurants with gorgeous views.
Luckily by the time we turned back, the fog had dissipated, so our ride back up the giant hill out of Sausalito was totally worth it. After that we rode through Crissy field and back to the wharf to return the bikes. I flew home at 12:30 that night.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Curse You, Olympics!

I usually never watch the Olympics. But this year, I caught Olympics fever back in April when I went to Boston to see the women's marathon trials. But since I wrote a (terrible) blog for AAUW about it, I thought I should watch some. But now I can't stop.

Seriously, every night I get sucked in to the stupid thing and the running hasn't even started yet! I'm watching women's gymnastics now, but I SHOULD be sleeping. Or writing another Olympics blog for AAUW (but 10 hours is enough work for today). Or, frankly, showering. I had a track workout tonight. Olympics!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Live Blog: I Know Josh Kraushaar

My close personal friend and Politico reporter extraordinaire, Josh Kraushaar, is about to appear on the Greta Van Sustern show to talk about, in his words, "L'affair Edwards". Because our friend Brendan will get a kick out of it and because I'm obsessed with liveblogging, I'm going to live blog his appearance.

10:40 Waiting...

10:41 Mangled his name
Wes: he looks good!

10:42 Yeah, that is a lot of money. He's probably lying. Edwards, not Josh. What's a depotee?

10:43 Honestly, it would make a lot more sense to me if someone cheated on me while I had cancer. I do think there's some defensibility, and I said that before Edwards got caught.

10:44 How does Josh know this stuff? He looks so grown up! Good job, buddy.

10:45 That was fast. Now they are on site at the hotel. So trashy. The background music is hilarious. I'm so disappointed that they followed up Josh's intelligent commentary with this crap. You're right, Greta, you're a quality journalist.

10:46 Liveblogging is hard. Sorry this was devoid of substance. I'll have to rethink my approach for future live blogs. I'll put a youtube link up if there is one.

"His baby"?? Oh no you didn't ;) There's a reason my aunts have always loved the National Enquirer...

10:48 Creepy NE guy on Edwards when they busted him at the hotel: "He looked like his life had ended." That's what you call a money shot.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brushes with Fame

So, apologies for sending everyone here then disappearing. I was in San Francisco for a few days. Tomorrow I'll write a real blog, but in the meantime: I saw Patton Oswalt! Who's Patton Oswalt? has been everyone's reaction, but he's definitely the biggest celebrity I've ever seen on the street, not counting any I may have chased four blocks after one of their concerts...

Anyway, I go back and forth between being cool and not cool around celebrities. While meeting Ben Folds was like the highlight of my life, it certainly wasn't the highlight of my witty repartee. I mostly shook and thanked him for a great show before breaking down into tears after he walked away. But I was totally cool when I met the guys from Guster. I told Ryan that the picture on his shirt was a heart attached to the female reproductive system. He'd had no idea. So I like to think I hold a special place in his heart. Of course I was only standing out there trying to meet Ben again, but whatevs.

Anyway anyway, I'm not sure how you're supposed to deal with meeting celebrities. Obviously, unless they run marathons or care about feminist theory, we don't have that much in common. It's hard enough for me to make small talk with my friends, let alone acquaintances, let alone strangers, let alone world famous (or B-list) strangers. (On the other hand, Josh Ritter, I'm coming for you.)

So when Patton and his crew walked into this little gallery in the Mission neighborhood, where Wes (formerly SP--who am I kidding. There's nothing anonymous about this) and I were the only customers, I looked right at him, then tried to get Wes's attention. In a desperate attempt to play it cool, I was trying to slyly ask Wes if that was Patton Oswalt, but all he heard was me asking him something about patents in my best ventriloquist impression. (The doy dought the dasketdall.)

Once outside, I told Wes what I'd been trying to say. He was just as excited as I was so we paced the storefront a bit debating whether or not to go ask him for a picture. I said I didn't think that you were supposed to bother celebrities, but Wes pointed out, probably correctly, that Oswalt likely doesn't get bothered that often.

But we left. There's no evidence. You'll just have to believe me. (Unless he's into googling himself and sees this blog and wants to leave a comment that yes, he was in San Francisco last weekend and yes, there was a lovely young couple who left him alone in that one store.)

Oh, and Patton Oswalt is a comedian and was the voice of Remy in Ratatouille and he was the bad guy in the Reno 911 movie. And he wrote this, which is pretty funny.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Southwestern Motifs Kinda Make Me Barf

The second in a series of things that make me throw up a little bit in my mouth: "artistic" interpretations of Southwestern U.S. culture! (Though I guess we could also add boring, tired female stereotypes to this list. My bad.)

Now this is a little bit of a confession for me, as SP is totally into the Western thing. One time we were out shopping, and he asked what I thought of a shirt, and I said it was fine, except for those weird western shoulder things (apparently western yokes?) . And he was like, "All my shirts have those." Oops. He's right too, I must have just overlooked it when I was looking deep into his soul and finding my future or something like that.

Anyway, Southwestern stuff is fugly. But my latest issue of Crochet Today arrived today, and there appears to be some sort of Southwestern theme going on with this issue. I guess that's a little bit of a confession as well. Not only do I love to crochet, I subscribe to a magazine about it. It's super relaxing and satisfying, and it helped me recover from a rugby hand injury when I picked it back up a few years ago. But I actually hate yarn and can't afford silk, so I spend most of my time crocheting stuff for other people--mostly hats for SP who apparently has a thing for kind of ugly/yet artistic things that I don't appreciate.

Once, when volunteering at a homeless shelter I got into a big argument with one of the residents about whether or not I was a feminist. She hates feminists, because they hate men, but thinks men and women should be equal, just that men should be in charge. When she caught me crocheting she gave me a little wink and said, "You're not a feminist." And that was the end of that.

So what's my point? I guess I don't have one. Except that I won't be making a prairie poncho anytime soon. But that I did make these sweet hats:

And I promise to update with a picture of the prairie poncho as soon as CT updates its site.

I like the Southwest itself too. It's just that style... this post'll be better once the patterns are up. Also, Luskey's western wear? I totally interviewed for a political job with the heir to that empire.

Update: Here it is. I told you it would make you barf.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Two Words: Fewer Buttons

Amelie Gillette wrote for the A.V. Club's Hater an article I wish I had. It's about new video games that are designed to appeal to women. Like Gillette, I'm not one for video games, with the notable exceptions of tetris and sex tetris. (I admit it; I don't get them. SP's 8-year-old nephew came to visit last week, and when I asked him to turn off his DS, he saw no irony in the fact that he couldn't because he was "having a conversation" on the Sims.)

But, as a 26-year-old woman with disposable income, I can assure you that, if someone is going to lure me into the (lonely, girlfriend-less) world of game, it won't be with a Clueless video game. (That's a game based on the movie Clueless, not a description of the misguided attempt to appeal to women's taste that such a video game represents.)

And I really liked the movie (back when it came out in what, 1991?) I probably still like it, but I wouldn't like spending my time--what the hell--fixing up video game characters?? I assumed the game would have us picking out Cher's outfits, but I just actually read the press release. You fix the characters up based on clothing styles and interests--you know those basic building blocks of any stable, satisfying relationship. I'm curious as to whether you can fix up same-sex couples...

Anyway, the idea of fixing real people up in real life is nauseating--why in the world would I spend my time sitting in front of my tv matching up (I'll go out on a limb here) stereotypical caricatures of nonexistent high school friends? Does this sound like fun to anyone? And wasn't the moral of Clueless to butt out?

Maybe it's just me (and Gillette at least). Carrie Underwood probably loves it. That's a little better, America Ferrera.