Thursday, December 27, 2012

On things like The Proposal and money

I'm sitting here on the couch in my Father's house watching "The Proposal" (one of my sister's favorite slightly silly movies). My brother is playing on the  computer, and my sis is making lasagna. And I, I am drinking coffee and thinking about if I will run before dinner or after. And I am struck by how desperately full of love I am for my siblings and family. Ooch, I love you so hard it hurts.  I am thankful indeed to have been blessed with such stupendous siblings.

A haiku I wrote about my sisters yesterday;
Economist and
chemist, discuss strategy.
iPad games. Sisters.

And a little piece on writing I love, because it applies to anything you do for joy.

Money….not very much, but better than it’s ever been before. Probably it will all be taken away from me, or will be worth nothing, just when I have written my last word and feel the time has come to sit back and watch the flowers unfolding. However, that is a morbid thought. The only fact that matters is that there is money in the bank. It has accumulated there, mysteriously, because every day I lock myself up in a room and guide my pen over sheets of paper, and then sell those sheets of paper. That, you will agree, is an exceedingly peculiar way of earning one’s living. Making odd scrawls on a sheet of paper…rather ugly, hurried scrawls, blocked over, scratched out, very painfully erased and amended…and then exchanging those scrawls for beautiful, tangible things, like tulip bulbs, and shelled walnuts, and bottles of mysterious, dusty, and exquisitely fragrant Chablis! Very odd indeed.
But then, the minute any man except the farm labourer begins to ponder the sources of his income, he will feel inclined to hang his head in shame, unless he is a charlatan or a stockbroker.
Beverley NicholsVillage in a Valley

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

I made it home to Michigan after a grueling ten hundred hour trip (17 hours...). The trip was longer because I decided to do that "Home to Michigan Burpee Challenge!" where I'd do a burpee for every mile I traveled home. So, every 100 miles or so, I' d stop and do burpees. Which was initially pretty fun, but got to be quite a bit of a drag later on, as well as having the unfortunate side effect of adding over an hour to my total travel time. Blarg.

But, I did it. And, in retrospect, I don't regret it, so it must not have been too bad.

Christmas itself was lovely. I got the sweatpants I wanted (Michigan!) some additional, unexpected and undeserved gifts, and got to enjoy seeing my Dad open a new iPad all us kids pooled in to get him. It was super fun. :)

Then, I ate some delicious cheesecake my sister made and plated up (Paleo be damned)!

Seriously. Amazing.

(Sidenote: I'm blogging from my iPad, so the formatting is a little off. Sorry.)

Then, today, I went out and not only ate sushi, but got a new tattoo from the awesome Gareth Hawkins.  The photo below is of the outline, partially finished, from my angle. Golly, it ached, but nothing compared to the brutality that was the reworking of the sternum tattoo. Ooch. I'll never forget that.

All in all, a lovely few days. I'm hoping to get to Crossfit 616 in the next day or two, but we'll see how the ol' ribs stand up! I went for a sweet run this morning with a new Zombies, Run! app on my phone, which made it more exciting than it would have otherwise been.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mary Roach's Ted Talk

Oh, and really quickly, because I had this as a draft, but didn't publish it... here is an interesting (and super funny) TED talk by Mary Roach, author of "Bonk" (and "Stiff" and a number of other lovely books). I've read almost all of Mary's books and love them. Reading her, she seems amazingly personable and funny, and I think this also comes through in a really delightful way in this talk too. 
NSFW without headphones, but should be otherwise.

Mitten bound

So excited, non-existent bloggy friends!I'm headed back to the Great (not so very) White North in a few hours!

This time, to keep it interesting, I've opted to try and do a burpee for each mile traveled. So hyped. Depending on the route, that means by tomorrow sometime I'll have completed between 840 and 890 burpees. I'm going to try and make a little compilation video, but we'll see how the ol' iPhone works with me.

Like Robert Frost, I've "...miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Happy and safe travels to all who are traveling this weekend, especially if you're headed into snow.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Because it's there..." and "because it's addictive."

Ben Saunder's lovely TED talk about getting out and living life. I can't claim I found this on my own; the lovely Crossfit616 in Grand Rapids has a blog (which I follow) and they mentioned it (and cited where they found it).

Ben is right -- it can be addictive. But the mindset has to be there to want to push the envelope and not settle. So, push, people. Push. 

Side note: if you're in Grand Rapids, Michigan and are XFit inclined, check out Crossfit 616. Seriously awesome people who are amazingly welcoming and cheerful about wanting to get in a good hard workout. I did "Murph" for the first time with them over Thanksgiving break. About killed me. I loved it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A lovely list of advice...

As usual, this is from my favorite list-making site, Thought Catalog.
25 ways to make your life better immediately. 
I like the majority of them, but #25 is especially true: Love Hard. Go out and try to love as hard as you can.

But to this, I also want to add -- allow yourself to be loved hard. I feel like loving hard can be a little freaky to the people around you, especially when you aren't used to it. I know that it is much easier for me to actively love hard than to accept being loved hard.  It's scary. And it's hard to overcome the "I don't deserve this/to be happy" slump that is easy to fall into.

I think it can be very difficult to be loved hard without thinking that there are a slew of other social obligations that are associated with it. This is definitely true for me because it is hard for me to separate friends from lovers. This may be because I didn't attend public school early on and didn't interact much with a non-related, same-age cohort until sophomore year of highschool, where the waters were already heavily muddied with hormones. So I tend to rely a lot on the internet (totally unmuddled, right?) to try and help me figure out social context... which can be confusing, because some stuff out there doesn't even make intuitive sense.

Plus, I think there is a complicated social dance around friendship and love and the idea that somehow something that doesn't turn into a romantic love isn't as "worthy." This idea that  romantic love trumps platonic love in terms of intensity is simply myopic.  

But do it! Let yourself be loved hard by everyone in your life. And love the people in your life so, so hard.

Here are some hyena pictures to portray this. Side note: I friggin' love spotted hyenas. Their social order is incredibly complex, which makes their evolutionary history really alluring. Plus, they are total badasses and uniquely gorgeous. If anything can say "hard love/love hard" it's hyenas.

 Hanging with a lion -- still cool. (source)

Ben Folds for Wednesday

Updated to add this, because that seems a little too melancholic for Wednesday... and I hope I will feel this excited about going to the mall to finish up my Christmas shopping today or tomorrow:
(<3 you, HIMYM!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

traumatic insemination

A cool PLOS ONE article about the scents associated with bedbug sex. Gotta love it, because bedbugs have this traumatic insemination technique which is sort of alarming, sort of kink-ish, and pretty cool when you take a moment to wonder about the evolution of such a behavior.

Monday, December 17, 2012

old music monday.

It's Monday, friends. I am both "guh" and "huzzah."  It's winter break, so I don't have to do too much besides the tedium of mite sorting (which isn't that bad), some additional manuscript work (toxicity ms, I'm coming for you, you bastard), workout, and start getting hyped about heading to the Mitten this Saturday night.
This is so true. I'm tough! (source)

Side note: check this out. WTF? Nice try, Wisconsin. GTFO of this mitten party. No one needs three mittens.

Here are some songs I listen to when driving back to Michigan:

Chicago traffic, I'm looking at you. With hate, and sort of love.

This gem is a song by Hot Hot Heat, a band I listened to in highschool and early college obsessively. I recently found a pile of burned CDs and am enjoying listening to them in the car. 

And, finally, here's a poem, by Jack Gilbert. Which I like, in a sort of melancholic way.   I'm trying to walk around a lot more -- to the farm to catch the bus to campus, around my neighborhood after dinner -- and this is the sort of sweetly sad things I like to muse on while out and about. It hit my inbox a few days ago and I need somewhere to put it down to remember it. If you like what you read, this, this, and this are also worth perusing if you have a second to spare.

Meaning Well

Marrying is like somebody
throwing the baby up.
It happy and them throwing it
higher. To the ceiling.
Which jars the loose bulb
and it goes out
as the baby starts down.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reindeer Games, Little Rock, AR

Saturday I went to a crossfit competition with some people from the box. Six of us from CFFay went to the Reindeer Games, hosted by West Little Rock Crossfit. Overall, we did really well, I think. HB took first in her division (intermediate), J took third in his (intermediate), and I took first in mine (novice). The rest of the crew did very well, with the majority of finishes being top 5. I was inordinately thrilled because I haven't won anything in a real sort of competition that I can remember. The metcon definitely catered to me by starting off with a row, which was nice. Overall, the experience helped cement in me a real desire to become better at the skill and body-weight movements holding me back (double unders, pullups, etc.), because once I get those, I'm strong enough to compete in intermediate divisions and maybe do okay. And get stronger, of course. Always stronger.

That said, this was an inaugural event... that may not be around next year. Fairly sure I wouldn't go back, unless I don't go to Shredfest next year and just want a fun competition. It wasn't very well organized from the outset, but the Thruster ladder went down without any major problems for all divisions, despite starting almost an hour late and with some frustrating judging (this lack of consistency in judging seems to be par for the course for many competitions, so I wasn't too concerned about it. I knew I was doing the full ROM for my stuff and not cheating the system, which is really what mattered to me). It was during the metcon WOD that things really fell apart. I went in the very first heat (novice women), which was good, because, while there were a few little quirks (my rower counted down 3,2,1 GO -- and I went -- but the clock wasn't synced up, so I sort of false started... but it ended up working out. Still, frustrating).

Problems started getting a little more severe with multiple starts that were not being recorded in the 2nd novice women's heat (my heart was going out to them -- what a demoralizing event to have to keep resetting after starting your rower! Ugh. But those ladies rocked that shit out, regardless). You could tell that the the gear hadn't really been checked beforehand, which was frustrating. After that, things really started going down hill with increasingly less and less organization. It was very frustrating. The intermediate men's heats took a long long time, with the athletes sitting waiting on the rowers for upwards of 15 minutes while the MC appeared to be doing nothing but drinking. I like that people have a good time at CFit competitions, but when the guys that are in charge of the event appear to be drinking and/or drunk before the competition is over and WHILE the entire event is sort of falling apart... it is no good. J from our box ended up helping them figure out the scoring system... and I could continue on with the unorganized, unprofessional clusterfuck that it ended up turning into.

That said, there were a few ladies there that were intensely hardworking. Not sure who they were affiliated with, but.. kudos, ladies! Without you, it would have disintegrated further, faster, and likely not recovered. So, I had fun, but the fuckery and the fact that we were in Little Rock from 8:30am-ish to 5:30ish for a 2 WOD competition with just under 100 competitors (across the 3 divisions) is a little too much for me to want to go back for. So, thanks for the win and the cool prizes (thanks to the sponsors: Avia shoes and Progenex)! But it'll take some coaxing for me to go back again, Little Rock Crossfit affiliates.

Weekend dry ice!

It's an atypically balmy December day today -- both for December, but also for Arkansas (I think) -- and I can't help but love it (though... there should be snow!). I'm working on editing the last 2 graphics for my accepted manuscript, then I'll be converting them to PDFs and sending it off. After that, I hope to get out and climb some trees. Yes, I am quite old enough to not be doing such things, but I don't really care.

This weekend has been just chalk full of awesomeness for me. Either I won some sort of cosmic lottery or something really terrible is going to happen to me very soon. I'm hoping for the former, but am trying to take the time to really love all the cool stuff that's happening to me, just in case the latter is true.

Reindeer Games in Little Rock with CFFay
Came home, showered, went out to celebrate and had an unexpectedly excellent time.

This day is so delicious I could seriously eat it up. I cooked a turkey! I took a lovely nap. I finally ordered the frothy delicious drink that I was given by accident by someone at Starbucks a week ago (a cappuccino!) I cleaned my kitchen and did laundry. I was invited to a Tuesday breakfast date by a friend. I'm going to climb some trees today. I am enjoying sitting in the library and people watching. 

It's so foamy I could DIE! (source)
 ... and speaking of Foamy... and other awesome videos.

Also, here is a sweet video on dry ice + a swimming pool. The video is a bit long and choppy, but watching just a bit of it gets the point across. I want to swim through a carbon dioxide fog!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Haiku and meteors

I love haiku. It's like the strict version of all of William Carlos Williams' little poems that I love so much. I don't believe I've posted it here before, so here is one of my favorite WCW poems:

This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

So beautiful. And, it never fails to make me laugh a little. Regardless of all the various literary interpretations of the poem (including rape?), I just love it for the words it consists of.  There is an awesome This American Life broadcast called "Mistakes were Made" that includes some excellent spoofs of this lovely poem. I don't care if it's cliche that I like it so much; I do. And that's that.

Anyway, this post wasn't initially intended to be a praise of WCW's poem, but a platform for two little haiku poems I wrote... which also make me laugh.  Making up my own little 5,7,5 syllable ditties is usually a ton of fun, though can get frustrating when you want to fit something in that just... won't... fit. Here they are:

Mumford and Sons croon
"Hold onto what you believe."
Next up? Knife Party.

Drinking decaf now.
Mental fatigue hits hard. I
fucking hate haiku.

Heh! Do good work, friends! Enjoy the weather, and don't forget about the meteor shower tonight!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ozark Shredfest + Finals

As promised... I'm going to try and explain a little more about what's been happening. But, alas, I'm largely lazy, so it'll be a bit ramble-y.

Ozark Mountain Shredfest! My first individual, official XFit competition. I was nervous. I was in the intermediate category, which is a little above my paygrade at the moment, but it looked like fun and the ever-encouraging HB was encouraging me to go for it. So, I did. (Note: HB also competed in the intermediate category and hit a super solid third place finish! Yeah!)

I feel horrible saying it, but it was my goal to not finish last... and I didn't. So, that made it a win for me. I knew the DU would screw me (I just got them as a single, single, DU, single, etc., and I can't get too many), and the pullups would also be limiting (just got kipping... and poorly).  That said, I went in with a good attitude and just wanted to check out what it felt like.

Saturday's Schedule:
Shred-Fest Intermediate WODS 1 & 2
WOD1: 12 min continuous running clock:
6 min to establish 1 rep max Clean; athlete must load their own bar. (Can rest with remaining time) at 6 min athlete must have their own weights set up and go right into WOD 2 for time.
WOD2: 4 rounds (6min time cap)(Scored separately)
4 Power Clean 155/95
8 Box Jumps 24/20(Games Standard)
12 Pullups
(Plates athletes will be given: 4 x 45, 2 x 35, 2 x 25, 2 x 1

Shred Fest Intermediate WOD 3
for time (18 min time cap)
Buy-in: 1,000 meter row
3 rounds:
14 Hand release pushups feet on ball
14 KB Swings 55/35
14 DU
Buy out: 1,000 meter row

I wanted to lift heavy as possible for the Clean, but we don't really do just Cleans in my box much (more C+J action), and my oly lifts are lacking in explosive power because I also don't fully open my hips, and I'm trying to work on that more... so I tend to be slow off the line to try and consciously remember to open the hips up. This isn't really working for me well, and my clean was off. I was also nervous as hell and in the first lane... right by the bleachers. And we were using a 35# bar... which shouldn't have made a difference, but was just another little thing. Anyway. I'd texted a coach at my box and he said "160!" which was exciting sounding, but not likely. I tried, but ended biffing 125 TWICE on the floor (right into the chest)... which is a weight I'd lifted twice in warm up without feeling bad. Ugh. I ended up with 130, after failing 135. Definitely nerves, because I just wasn't shooting my arms under the bar. It was gross. But, oh well.

Right into the 2nd WOD, which was easy until the pullups... and I got 4. So, that sucked and emphasized my need to work on pullups, which I knew. But, my judges were both really cool. and I felt like I went out and tried hard, which is all I could have hoped for. I wish that I'd gotten through to start a second round, though! Those PC were eaaaaaasy. Love powering stuff!

I had high hopes for the 3rd WOD, because I love to row. Well, I don't love love it, but I'm pretty decent at it. The Pushups looked brutal, and the DU's were going to take me a long-ass time, so I figured, what the hell, and went hard on the buy in. I was the first off the rower by a decent number of seconds (not a surprise), and got through all 3 rounds (HOLLA DU's!! I earned each of those little suckers!) and ran out of time in my buyout. I did get through 235 m in 51 seconds though, which was pretty cool, considering how dead I felt.

WOD4: 3 attempts (6 min time cap)
1 Snatch
1 Hang Snatch
*if athlete completes, drops bar or fails during the two reps that will = 1 attempt.(athletes will be given: 4 x 45, 2 x 35, 2 x 25, 2 x 15, 2 x 10, 2 x 5, 2 x 2.5)
3 min weight setup and change
WOD5 (8 minute time cap)
12-10-8-6-4-2 Men/ 10-8-6-4-2 Women
HSPU with abmat
Toes 2 Bar
3 deadlifts at end of each round of HSPU & toes to bar 250/155

WOD6: 6 min AMRAP
3 Power Snatch 105/65
6 OH Squat 105/65
9 Bar Facing Burpees

Again, the WODs were set up to have 4&5 back to back (with a 3 minute reset between), then 6 later. It was cool because the heats were re-set and HB was in a later heat than I was, so she could coach me a bit from the sidelines, which was cheering.

I did okay on the Snatch. It's my worst lift because I hate the feeling of dropping under the bar into a full squat, but it went okay. My initial was 85 (my former 1RM), then 95 (easyish)... and then I loaded 105 on. I should have just gone with 100, but HB said 105, which I likely could have lifted, but I was feeling nervous again because the announcer announced me! GUH!  Why couldn't he have announced me the day before when I was blowing through the rower?! heh. Plus, everyone in my heat blew through their 3 attempts (I'd do one, take a minute and a half rest and set my bar, then lift again), so when I set up my 105 attempt... there was no one else lifting. So I kinda got a "okay, let's hurry along" mindset and just lifted to get it over with, which is a recipe for biffing... which I did. Oh well.

WOD 5 sucked. DNF, no reps for me. When it was posted the night before I railed and kicked and ranted and shed a few tears. I was furious. I felt defeated before even walking into the gym on Sunday. HSPU were not on the required movements needed for the intermediate division and they hadn't teased anything early about it (which they had for DUs)... and I couldn't even kick up against the wall. Seriously. I tried for 30 minutes Saturday night around our hotel and failed. I was seriously considering scratching. But, HB and the long-suffering Ross talked me out of it, which was good. And I showed up to the WOD feeling like... whatever I did would be a PR. So, I'd rock that shit.  And I did kickups for 8 minutes and, I hear, nearly was able to kip up into a HSPU. But, no cigar.

WOD 6... it was good. I had fun. I wish I'd have game played a little more aggressively, but it was still fun. I made it through 4 rounds (my goal) and 4 reps. Next time, I'll jump n' spin over that bar, because my burpees were slower than they should have been, but I was happy because the last WOD I could !!!doallthemovements!!! Yay!

Next year, I hope to be back, have a good handle on all the movements, and have fun kicking a bit more WOD ass. I did have a good time, though, so thanks Crossfit 417!

I studied between the WODs on Sunday, and a bit on Sat. But it was pretty rough. After WOD 5 I was just struck by a fatigue train. So. tired. After 6, it was worse. I couldn't decide if I was hungry or tired or thirsty. So, I ate a bit too much, under hydrated, and didn't sleep. I studied. We got back lateish on Sunday night (7ish?) and I studied/dicked around until 11pm, went to bed, got up at 3:30am and studied my ass off for my 10am final (dominated!!). Then, ate lunch, and studied my ass off for a Tuesday final. Went to the box, worked out gently, then studied until 11, got up at 3:30am... and studied and took a 1pm final... which I also dominated.

SO, HOLLA! Skipped an awesome XFit workout (PRs were trying to be aimed for... but I knew it wasn't gonna happen for my sleep deprived self) so I took myself to an early showing of The Rise of the Guardians. It was a cute movie, and I had fun sitting in the very middle of a completely empty theater. Then, I ordered some sushi from Sumo and dominated it at home. Spicy Tuna Roll for the win. Delicious. ... then I ate a whole bunch of stuff I wasn't hungry for but was tired for... which wasn't the most auspicious ending to a cool day, but wasn't horrible either.

Today!  I had a ton more sleep. And feel way better and prepared to both go grocery shopping and also to dominate the long Metcon WOD this afternoon at the box. :)

And, because I'm still a bit tired and easily amused.. this is so true. I love you nature.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finished finals! My feelings, in gifs.

How I feel right now!

How I hope I do not feel when the grades are posted:

Finally, what I'm gonna be going out and doing on Thursday or Saturday night! -- partying and trying to mingle with the normal people... ! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tomorrow or Wednesday, there will be a better post.

But today, Today is the day after I finished my first individual crossfit competition ( more news on that too, hopefully!), after my first long final, and 24 hours before my next one... and I'm a tad understudied because I was at the aforementioned competition all weekend... and a tad overtired because I went to bed at 11pm after a 6 WOD, 2 day weekend and got up at 3:20am to study. Repeat (minus the weekend) tonight. Yeah, peeps! Caffeine is my chum for the next day, then we're breaking up again until I leave for Michigan in a week and a half or so.

I'm channeling the fisherman! (source)
Tomorrow night? Definitely getting sushi after crossfit. And eating the piss out of it. Then I'm going to consider seeing a movie really hard for like30seconds then faceplant into bed and sleep really hard.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fridays are for parasites.

So, not sure if you've heard, but the new, special issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology is out. The issue is titled "Neural parasitology - how parasites manipulate host behaviour" and can be read for FREE. Here is the lovely opening editorial about how interesting (and awesome!) parasite-host behavior biology is. Ugh! So cool!
Please go and check it out!

Today, I'm working on finishing up my own manuscript edits (eep! only a few images to alter!) and then heading to my very first Crossfit comp. I'm nervous. I'm hyped. I'm ready to get all bowed up (I guess that bowed up can also mean to be super busy. Who knew?!)

But I'm ready. I'm like a friggin' wolverine... the honey badger of the North.


Yep. Wolverines be crazy. I'm gonna channel it. Totem animal for this weekend fur sure. 

Edited to add: Also, this.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


A beautiful poem I can't help but offer up. Poignant, because who hasn't had the same urge? Though my life feels particularly, overwhelmingly complex at the moment, I wouldn't change any of my choices either.

by Raymond Carver

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Finals... ugh.

First of all.... read this awesome article. It's about life and writing and ... everything. Then, read this one. Read them both, in any order you please.
Secondly, read this monologue brought to you by the White Peppermint Mocha
(Yes, I am procrastinating using thought catalog.)

Third, this is how I feel about finals:

But I think this is how finals feel about me:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

... fine, I'm admitting it...

 Usually I see things like this and scoff. (source)

Though it pains me a little bit, as a Yank, to admit this... there is something incredibly attractive about how these Southern guys sound when they sing, really low and quietly, along with a country song that's playing in the grad room. So cute.  Something about it definitely twinges.

That said, regardless of the birthplace of a fellow, I will likely forever find this more attractive:
Ah, Bobak Ferdowsi <3 So cute! (source)

I guess I'll have to continue my search for an alternative, burly (not tweaker!) fella with a few tattoos who is willing to growl a few bars of a country song to thrill my yankee heart into bed.

Edited to add: ... what is it about just a bit of dude sweat that is a little dank and more than a little delicious? I don't even know! I'm going to blame lack of sleep for being overzealous... in all things. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Manic Monday!

The final Monday before finals is here, friends! Which means that I'm in full procrastination mode. I had an excellent Saturday which ended a bit too late and resulted in much of Sunday spent napping and wishing that Saturday could be rewound and replayed. Haha.
So, here are some videos!

Another Macklemore video. It's horrible, but hilarious. It is also how the majority of the Yankee's see their Southern bretherin. I love it.

Second video is from a British Gameshow, quite a bit longer, but also hilarious. I love Noel Fielding. Seriously. We would date, or at least make-out in a serious, prolonged fashion.

Sorry this is a bit of a cop-out post, but I am trying to get my study on. Going off caffeine and as much sugar as possible for Shredfest means an uncomfortable line-up with the start of finals week. Ah well. I am strong. Challenges were made to be dominated.
Enjoy your Monday, friends.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sprinters gonna sprint.

Amazing slow-motion video of cheetah's running. I can't get over those semi-retractable claws -- they look so canine.
Truly, incredible animals.

Friday, November 30, 2012


This is too thought-provoking to not post.

city lights

I've felt like I've had this sign hanging 
over my head this past week (source)

Side tidbit about me: It continues to flabbergast (and frustrate) me how much I like people in general, but how little I feel likeable. I'm positive it's a total headgame, but recent events have made it more clear to me how important, oddly, it is for me to have some sort of communion with others... and to feel loved in that. Ugh. I'm just turning into some sort of odd static-cling sort of person, which I usually find very alarming and aim to avoid. It frustrates me, I guess, that I'm not as independent as I would like myself to be.

But, in times such as these, I tell myself to take a big breath, be quiet for a moment, and remind myself that I am not irreparably broken. I am not perfect, and I never will be, but I am enough. I am enough. And I am friggin' awesome. Just sayin'.
So, enough of that, people!

Science-wise, I've hung onto this post for a while. It's about grasshoppers in urban areas changing their mating call to overcome the anthropogenic noise of their "new" setting. It's pretty cool and Breanna Draxler does a really nice job giving the highlights of the full paper (which is also a good read).

In other science news, I've been giving intermittent fasting a try in my personal life. It's a little odd, and I'm not sure I'm 100% on board because of the odd timing of calories consumed, but we'll see how it goes. I'm a little wobbly overall on it (IF one day, not IF the next, IF for 2 days, etc.) We shall see. After this CFit competition next week, though, I'm getting on board with "gotta lose 10 lb, now." It's getting irritating, honestly, and I know I'm better than this. That shit happens in the kitchen, right? I guess I just need to eat less. The horrors! Heh!

Anyhow. Hope all is well. Everyone hang tight and enjoy each other.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday; a bit of a holiday roundup!

Sorry, I was MIA for the past 5 days or so -- driving a lot'll do that to ya. I listened to Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis' Heist CD more times than is logical for one person to do on a cumulative 25 hour drive. It was awesome. I also ate a ton of delicious turkey, hit up CrossFit 616 on Friday and Saturday (did "Murph" for the first time [banded pullups] in 48:08!) and drank far too much Nos on my drive home.

Today I'm starting my no-caffeine protocol, as well as getting off sugar pretty strictly, barring a few pre-planned things (Christmas party this Friday, for example). So, this week is going to sort of suck for me, but I'm going to try and remain cheerful throughout.

Here is a little poem by William Stafford.

Any Morning

Just lying on the couch and being happy.
Only humming a little, the quiet sound in the head.
Trouble is busy elsewhere at the moment, it has
so much to do in the world.

People who might judge are mostly asleep; they can't
monitor you all the time, and sometimes they forget.
When dawn flows over the hedge you can
get up and act busy.

Little corners like this, pieces of Heaven
left lying around, can be picked up and saved.
People won't even see that you have them,
they are so light and easy to hide.

Later in the day you can act like the others.
You can shake your head. You can frown.

And here's a fun animation/song. The song is sung by a friend of a friend, Kim, which somehow that means you should like it even more than you otherwise might.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mackelmore for Monday

Here it is! I've been rocking to this song all weekend.

Sometimes you have a weekend where things don't go exactly as you think they should, but it's still awesome... which was my experience. Life can't get me down. People are beautiful in the most unexpected moments, and I am working on not being startled into silence when I realize this. People are dope.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Release of unpublished data for public perusal

One of the many, many reasons I love Rob Dunn is that he's such a social scientist - outreach and Rob appear to go hand in hand, and he seems like a really fun, genial type of guy.

He (and his collaborators) are releasing the data they have on the microbes of the human belly-button... for analysis by YOU! (and you and you and you!). He explains it better, of course, but read it, do it (or not), but love Dunn regardless.

I, personally, am hyped that Thanksgiving break is right around the corner, because part of my sleepy Friday will be spent playing a bit with the dataset.

Friday, November 16, 2012


So, because I posted a little bit about science earlier in the week, I'm going a little bit of a different route for today's Science-y Friday post.

I've been reading a book called Generosity: an Enhancement by Richard Powers. I picked it up at the public library because I wanted to join a book club and, erroneously, believed that the books stacked on a display with "Book Club Reads" emblazoned across it would be books that were going to be read. I was, sadly, incorrect, but it turned out okay.

That morning I'd walked from the farmer's market down to the library with a paper bag of roasted chestnuts in my hand. The only sort of chestnuts I'd ever eaten previously were water chestnuts (which, I guess are actually invasive in the U.S. and not a nut at all, but a marsh tuber), which are okay, for a crunchy flavorless sort of thing.  But these little things smelled like autumn and could be cupped cozily in my two hands. So, I purchased some. And they were so warm and perfectly sweet. I ate my first one, peeling off the leathery outer layer, and the sweet nuttiness on my tongue reminded me of all the sweet melancholic things I love about autumn. And I felt so content and alone, but also full to overflowing at how precious my friendships are to me.

The moment was very emo and Portlandish. Don't judge, yet, 'cause it's gonna get worse.

It actually reminded me of one of my favorite poems by William Carlos Williams,

"This is just to say"
I have eaten
the plums
that were
in the icebox

and which
you were
probably saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I was so overjoyed that I, too, jotted off a few phrases while I sat, eating chestnuts, thinking of William Carlos Williams, and reading Generosity. I haven't gotten too far in the novel yet, just about a quarter of the way through, but so far, I like it. The premise relates to Science finding a genetic basis for happiness and the (I assume) exploitation that goes along with it, and the genetic anomaly found in one of the protagonist's writing students. I'm bummed that I missed a book club discussion on it, but am hopeful that I'll be able to get in on the book club when it starts up again in January.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

how I, too, live my life

I believe in everything by Ethan Ryan on Thoughtcatalog. I love it! And I believe too, Ethan.
Except in metametafiction. That can get too complicated and self-righteous to be any real good to anyone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Think Harder

Definitely interesting. Thinking about fitness results in fitness gains.

Today, this poem

I wrote a bumbling little poem this morning about the radiator. I have to turn it a bit more, I think, but it isn't too terrible.

Each morning, in from the chill,
putting my mitten-clad hands directly on the radiator.
the metal curves, chipping upteen coats of reapplied beige,
are hot under my palms. Cold fingertips push
against it, stiff and warm. I enjoy it like a lover.
and it sighs me into pleasure
before I must climb the stairs, continuing upwards with Life. 

And then this poem arrived in my inbox via The Writer's Almanac, and I thought how perfect. I try to live my life in a way where I can turn moments just slightly to the left and see new things, and feel desperately in love, which I think is encompassed perfectly in the following Hirshfield poem.

 Meeting the Light Completely
by Jane Hirshfield

Even the long-beloved
was once
an unrecognized stranger.

Just so,
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
blown field
of a yellow curtain,
might also,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.

A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.

Each time,
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.

And then
what is said by all lovers:
"What fools we were, not to have seen."


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


“I promise to make you more alive than you’ve ever been. For the first time you’ll see your pores opening like the gills of fish and you’ll hear the noise of blood in galleries and feel light gliding on your corneas like the dragging of a dress across the floor.

For the first time, you’ll note gravity’s prick like a thorn in your heel, and our shoulder blades will hurt with the imperative of wings.

I promise to make you so alive that the fall of dust on furniture will deafen you, and you’ll feel your eyebrows like two wounds forming and your memories will seem to begin with the creation of the world.”

-Nina Cassian

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sail, Little Dragon.

Little Dragon is a band I really really want to like... which sounds incredibly odd, even to me. But it's a band I revisit every 2 weeks or so and listen to a few of their songs. Perhaps my revisits mean I like them? There's just something missing to in all of their songs. Like the meat is all there, but the flavors are off. Here's a favorite of mine, regardless.

As a bonus, here is a video (and a song) that I like quite a bit:
It's a cover video, but the girls in it are beautiful and, somehow, a bit majestic... and then it all disintegrates into tomfoolery and a muddle that delights me. And I laugh. Every. Time. I just hear it and laugh. I suppose that probably means I should purchase it and listen to it more often, because everyone needs a bit more pleasure.

My weekend was relaxing; I actually did lay in the grass for ~4 hours on Saturday, I cooked a lot, hung out with some chums, and, because it was raining on Sunday, drank a lot of Chai tea frothed with almond milk. It could have been better in very few ways. 
Enjoy the day, friends.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Password protected nests and space travel

I'm so hyped it's nearly the weekend. Tomorrow I am going to go to the gym, get my work-on, and then lay in the grass and do nothing for a good hour. Maybe even two.

I have decided to not go to ESA this next week, which is both disappointing and also a huge weight off my shoulders. I actually didn't realize how stressed out I'd been in regards to ESA until I canceled all my plans and felt a thousand pounds lighter and slept like a baby that night. So, I'm bummed I won't be hanging with my cohort and kicking it in Knoxville, but I'm so glad I will be in Fville and be able to work on things without distractions and get a ton of shit done and can hit up long-delayed manuscript edits and... just chill.

On that note, of being chillaxed, here's a cool story about some evolutionary adaptations by a little wren to prevent cuckoos from successfully parasitizing their nests. Check it out here: Fairy wrens teach chicks a password.

Also, while I'm laying in the grass tomorrow, if I'm thinking about anything, it will be this:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How I feel today.

                                           sometimes, like today, this is me. source

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


A personal-type of rambling post today, so skip this indulgence if you're not in the mood.

It's November... and I've entered that dull, apathetic state where school is overwhelming, I'm missing my family, I'm not as productive as I think I should be, and I'm eating too much and sleeping too little. I've been making these pumpkin smoothies in the morning the past two days and this morning, as I was drinking it and walking to my car I said to myself "why the fuck am I even drinking this?!" Ingredients: pumpkin, coffee, almond milk, ice, 1/3 a frozen banana, pumpkin pie spice... hypothetically, this would be a protein shake if I wasn't on the Paleo challenge now, but as of the moment it's just a bit of a carbohydrate bomb that does nothing for me. Hopefully I can shake myself out of autopilot mode for the next little bit, because it makes me feel gross, to be stumbling through the world in a fog. I need to re-dedicate myself to eating to try and feel healthy and strong these last two weeks of the Paleo challenge... and maybe lose a couple of pounds? That said, if my body composition has changed at all, I'll be game. If it's remained the same, I'll be frustrated.

 The ESA (Entomological Society of America) meeting is coming up -- we leave this Saturday -- and all I can think of is how little I really want to go; how much a waste of time it's going to be. Blah blah blah, whine.

I need to struggle through some papers on hybridization.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A bit of music for Monday

Busy weekend - supporting CFit Fayetteville at the Heart of America 4 competition (bully to all of you awesome people for a great showing). I had fun, though it was truly exhausting... and makes me a bit nervous for my own endeavors at Ozark Shredfest in December. But, these things will be happening, regardless of my own personal feelings... so I might as well do my best to prepare well.

Here's a bit of music, suitably mellow, for my lack-of-sleep-hungover state.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday! Fun science!

So hyped today is Friday! I'm super excited to head to Springfield tomorrow, early, to support Crossfit Fayetteville in the Heart of America.

So, in the spirit of life being AWESOME, and science being fun, here's a link to Isabella Rossellini's series Green Porno - the honey bee version.  I tried to embed the video, but it wouldn't work, alas.

Also, Science failed me a bit this week re: awesomeness to blog about. Still good stuff, (especially if you want to read a bit about the bird/dinosaur flight theory [which I do. I always do]).

Stay safe and live well this weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Derrick Brown @ UArk!

I know this is the second day that there's a post about poetry, but Derrick Brown is coming! I'm exited. Technically, I suppose, he's a slam poet, but, because I don't really know exactly what that means, I think he's a poet who writes fun, excellent stuff, and his stage presence seems to be awesome. I am hyped as hell to see him. It's Wednesday 11.7.12 @ 7pm in the Union.

A fun reading:

One of my favorites of his:

Grocery List
Be more forgiving.
Substitute, “goodbye” for “I like your face.”
Spend two nights a week not drinking to forget.
Listen to your body.
Listen to someone else’s body.
Get limber, Don’t dog yourself to feel humble.
It never works.
Lift others up onto your back until you are sore.
Write for yourself a movie that doesn’t end.
Eat a churro slowly.
Kiss your mother on the cheek and don’t miss.
Remember that now is barely now.
It will soon be back then.
Don’t text anyone while talking with anyone.
Finish everything.
Get milk.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"In Heaven It Is Always Autumn" John Donne

Oh, October, I like you so much. I'm sad to see you go. I'm happy, for the moment, to be in AR, which is a bit of a change from the usual begrudging tolerance we feel for each other. You are beautiful, Arkansas, and I am loving your weather.

So, in my cheer, and because it very much feels like a Friday to me (thanks exams!), I'm going to post some things that make me love today.

From "First Poems" by Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I'll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks
I'll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.


The first stanza of the lyrics:

This is the story of your red right ankle
And how it came to meet your leg
And how the muscle bone and sinews tangled
And how the skin was softly shed
And how it whispered,
"Oh, adhere to me for we are bound by symmetry
And whatever differences our lives have been
We together make a limb"
This is the story of your red right ankle 

And, lastly, a bit of a meloncholic piece I did that I'm working sort of casually on, in the way that people do.


walking, I spy sassafras.
 leaves clutched, torn; inhale.
scents remind me of home.
bittersweet, my heart cramps.
I am alone.

Autumn turns maple leaves here too,
but I long for native trees,
wondering if selfishness keeps me
I remind myself that Friday is coming,
even here, to my island.