Saturday, May 24, 2008

4 legged projectile

You're (possibly) thinking, "Oh look, a cute orange tabby."

Or maybe you're thinking, "Oh great, a pet story. When is this blog going to have a point?"

But I'm thinking, "Oh look, a projectile in the night."

At an unknown hour early this morning, that "cute orange tabby," frequently known as shithead, started his nightly rounding of the heads, the point of which is to get me to feed him. If I make a quick move that rustles the sheets, he will vault off the bed towards the hallway. He usually returns about 30 seconds later to continue manically circling my head, pausing with each lap of the bed to knead on my pillow. A few minutes into this game, I made a move towards him, raising my head at the exact moment that he pushed off. It would have been fine except the trajectory of his leap was directly in line with my forehead. 11 pounds of cat pile driving into your face is not what I would call restful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

paint slinging epiphany

You know that total mind sweep that happens when someone asks you to list your top 5 favorite books/movies/brands of toilet paper/methods of mass destruction? Maybe it doesn't happen to you. Maybe you've taken the time to prepare and memorize a battery of 10 possible top 5 lists. I have not done so and am therefore faced with an intense eye squinting attack of blankness when asked "favorites" questions. The same sort of recall void has flared up every time I've attempted to write something this week. I know I had ideas at some point, possibly on the plane ride back from California or right after that belligerent guy wiped out on a scooter outside our apartment, but as soon as I started really thinking about what to say, my internal scribe refused to cooperate. So I've fired the impish dullard, and I'm on the lookout for a new publishing slave. Perhaps one that doesn't send subliminal messages of failure and mockery while I'm trying to compose a sentence. For now I'll have to rely on my own caffeine shriveled brain cells.

Let's start with something simple, like career path.

I graduated from a liberal arts school with a B.S. in psychology. I wasn't interested in teaching or research, so I tried to get excited about clinical psychology because I figured head shrinking was the only alternative. I even went so far as to take the GRE subject test and print out forests worth of program information and applications. Eventually I decided I wasn't invested enough to make the financial and, well, psychological commitment that graduate school required.

A few years later, as coincidence would have it, my dad got remarried to none other than a clinical psychologist. So for a second time, I tossed around the idea of becoming a head shrinker. I met with my dad's wife to get some insider information about the day to day workload, but this phase was even shorter lived than the first one. A few months after meeting with my dad's wife, I opted for massage therapy school and decided to wait on the Ph.D. decision.

Fast forward 2 years and massage therapy is a distant (and painful) memory. I've had the academic itch for a while now. It turns into a full body rash when I'm surrounded by design students foaming at the mouth after their latest rabble-rousing lecture. The problem is I haven't found anything that particularly makes my hippocampus jump around like it's been dosed with hot sauce. But I decided I would study for the general and psychology GREs anyway and hope that by the time I made it to the essay writing, I'd have some passion to inject into the me-fest that is the personal statement. So a few weeks ago I broke down and used the remainder of my Barnes & Noble gift card to buy GRE books.

(don't worry, it's almost over. here's a cat in a sink to distract you for a minute)

During my laughable math studying sessions, I've been trying to imagine myself as a clinical psychologist. I've mentioned the idea to a few people, and every time I say it I feel like a big fraud. Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly respectable career, but something about the idea just doesn't fit with the image I have of the answer to that most annoying interview question "where do you see yourself in 10 years?" It's possible that all the creative speak from charrow's classmates has leeched into my blood stream and poisoned my rational decision making apparatus, but the conceptions I have about being a psychologist are just plain boring.

And then it hit me. There may be a compromise here. What about Art Therapy? It's a masters program. It incorporates psychology AND paint slinging fun. Here's how I know it might be The Way: I'm getting excited just writing about it and I want to call all the friends I haven't spoken to in weeks/months to tell them that I finally have something to talk about!

Now I just have to figure out where to get the studio art credits. Anybody know of an affordable place to take art classes in NYC?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

intermission m&m's

I'm still experiencing a conversational hangover, so until I can muster, here's a taste of last weekend's birthday m&m's and the charrow pod getting ready to run them off.

for an up close look at more california jews in action, check out my flickr

Friday, May 9, 2008

into the hills

We're headed to Los Angeles today for charrow's 90 year old grandmother's birthday party.

Today's picture is from a side street off of Hollywood Blvd the last time I was in LA. Unless I've been sorely mislead, there will be no nudie bars or boutiques sporting glam shot posters of chihuahuas this time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the new average

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I broke down and gave Emory $335 for a family membership to their Olympic sized pool. The membership is good for the entire swim season, which runs through November 1st, essentially making it $29 a month per person. If we go at least 7 times a month, it will be cheaper than paying $5 a visit as a non-member guest. I'm tempted to record each visit on my Google calendar so that when November rolls around, I can calculate our actual price per visit, but that would be kind of neurotic, wouldn't it? Who would do that? And why would they do it in Google calendar when they can set up an Excel spreadsheet?

We've gone three times since I paid the membership fee, and it already feels like we have free access to the pool. How quickly we forget shelling out large amounts of "hard" earned money. Maybe I should pay myself $5 for every visit. Assuming the minimum number of visits per month (7), with a period of 6 months (May through November), I could repay myself $210 by the end of the swim season.

Okay, enough with the calculations. I really brought up the pool because I heard something incredibly disturbing yesterday. I went with charrow and another friend, both of whom are stronger swimmers than me, so I always end up sitting around reading until they're shriveled and exhausted. I was trying to ignore the frat boy kickboard game** and concentrate on my New Yorker article about Li Ying and his Crazy English(!!) propaganda when two girls ambled past me in white t-shirts and teeny tiny shorts. They were talking about a friend (or possible frenemy) that is "not fat" but not really skinny either. Just before they were out of earshot, I heard Teeny Shorts say to Tiny Shorts, "I mean, she's about average, but average is overweight!"

Anyone else feel their average thighs chafing together?

**the kickboard game consisted of 6 Joe College guys, 1 kickboard, and 2 tennis balls in the recreational end of the pool. There were 4 fielders (i.e. lungers that made a lot of splash but not a lot of catches), 1 pitcher, and 1 kickboard batter. When we first arrived at the pool, it was crowded with sun bathers, so we got stuck with chairs in front of what I consider the kiddie area. When I finished my laps, the game was already in full swing, but it was still too crowded to relocate. So I was trying to read while keeping a squinty eye on the pitches lofting through the air, about one third of which were going over the batter's kickboard and bouncing past either my chair or the chair of a very tan bikini clad girl about 6 feet away. Personal nightmare anyone? We finally moved to the opposite end of the pool where I could still hear the game (complete with the shrieking of a few new players), but at least I didn't feel obligated to scamper after their stupid tennis ball with my average towel covered body.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

politically challenged

I am shamefully uninformed when it comes to politics. Whenever anything related to our nation's governing enterprise comes up in conversation or in print, I immediately switch into preservation mode. Visions of rotting sugar plums infiltrate the learning centers of my brain preventing all political information from entering the cognition zone. Part of my budding non-avoidance campaign is to read all election related articles in the New Yorker. It's hard not to skim, but at the very least I can latch onto the often biting commentary that peppers the New Yorker's election coverage.

I'm currently skimming reading the April 28 issue, and I think I've finally found a medium that will woo my frontal lobe into submission. There's a short piece about the Philadelphia debate that features an illustration by Steve Brodner. Brodner's color palette and illustration style are engaging, and there's no mistaking the message in any of his pieces. I need this sort of stalwart transparency to grasp political concepts. Save your fancy words for the cerebral teens of Juno. Give me George Bush on a trusty steed that bears the face of the 41st president, and I can begin to understand.

(let it be known that I am aware of the narrowness of my political reading, but it's a step in the right direction)

Friday, May 2, 2008

sesamoiditis of the lymbic system

One thing I failed to mention about the Passover trip to Asheville was the hobbling. I’ve had a nagging pain in the ball of my foot for several weeks now (since before the ING race), and the Friday before Passover, I aggravated the injury while biking to Octane. I was headed through downtown (near the CNN center) when the mini van in front of me made an unexpected stop to get directions from a passerby. Just as I was about to squeeze past the guy while trying to stay out of the adjacent lane, he started driving again, so I was forced to make another quick stop and then push-off to get back into the flow of traffic. Something in the push-off made my foot explode, turning the rest of the ride into a wincing fest. The soonest orthopedic appointment I could get was for the following Wednesday, so I spent the weekend in Asheville “walking” on the outside of my foot.

The verdict from the orthopod is “most likely a stress fracture” in the sesamoid bone underneath the big toe (i.e. medial sesamoid), which bears most of the weight in the ball of your foot. Vague diagnoses drive me crazy, but I applaud the guy for not wasting my time (and money) with additional imaging services to confirm what didn’t show up on the traditional x-ray. I’m sentenced to a fancy walking boot until my follow-up appointment on May 14th, at which point there will be an MRI (or possibly a bone scan) if the pain persists. The boot resembles a ski boot, and it’s apparently invisible to the naked eye because on several occasions people have been in the same room with me for more than 10 minutes before they realize I’m wearing it.

I’ve had stress fractures before. Two, to be exact – one in each shin (at the same time), so I know it’s not the end of the world, but the psychological damage is still permeating the logic barrier in my brain. Running has been one of the ways I’ve stayed sane in this ill-fitting city, and now I’m resigned to alternate means of stress relief. Swimming is an option, especially since I broke down and bought a swim season membership to the Emory pool. Walking will be okay in a couple of weeks, and I suppose biking will too, but for now I’m in the whining stage, so none of these options are appealing compared to drenching prospects of a 6 mile run.

To add fuel to the self-pity fire, my hand me down computer is on the fritz, so I have potentially lost a great deal of pictures from the last 2 months. I’m waiting to hear back from the tech guy at Charrow’s school. If I hear the word “reformatted,” I may actually throw the damn thing off the back stairwell. Maybe it will hit the truck that takes up at least 2 spots on any given night because the owner is spatially challenged. The plus side of having to share a computer with a full time student is that I’ve been forced to start on the overwhelming stack of New Yorker magazines that I’ve been avoiding. How do people keep up with it??