Saturday, August 30, 2003

I Do Believe in the Belief-0-Matic

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (97%)
3. Liberal Quakers (94%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (92%)
5. Secular Humanism (89%)
6. New Age (88%)
7. Theravada Buddhism (75%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (67%)
9. Taoism (64%)
10. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (60%)

I was just thinking that now that summer (and cycling season) is drawing to a close, I should start going back to church (University Unitarian Universalist, as a matter of fact). This confirms that I've found the right place (despite the fact that the quiz didn't even mention the importance of music; the amazing music program is one of the things I love about this church).


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

An Open Apology

To anyone on my block who may have been awakened by the sustained beeping of my car's horn at 6 am this morning. In my efforts to get myself, my gym bag, my water, work stuff, and glass of juice into the car without spilling, I accidentally pressed the panic button on my keys. I am very sorry.

(On the up side, I caught the attention of the paper delivery guy, who will hopefully start throwing the paper on the porch rather than on the walkway on the side of the house.)

Monday, August 25, 2003

Annoying, rude, and dangerous

It drives me crazy when at a 4-way stop, a car passes on the right of the one at the stop sign in order to turn right, turning a 4-way stop into a 5-way stop, and messing up the already complicated system that relies on personal integrity and attention to order. Did I mention that there are at least a dozen 4-way stops in a mile radius from my house?

Friday, August 22, 2003

Friday Five

1. When was the last time you laughed? Last night, while watching Waiting for Guffman on Bravo.

2. Who was the last person you had an argument with? I don't know, although I've been generally cranky at home lately.

3. Who was the last person you emailed? At work before leaving last night, I did a lot of work emailing. Non-work, I've been emailing a friend who is coming to town for Bumbershoot.

4. When was the last time you bathed? I showered about 90 minutes ago, but the last time I took a real bath was... a long time ago. A couple of years?

5. What was the last thing you ate? An eight-grain roll from Starbucks (had to go there to buy my Bumbershoot tix).

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The Stages of an Obsessive Competitor

Stage 1: You participate in a triathalon with friends. You're happy that you finished and that not too many people from the groups that started behind you passed you. Later that day, you check online to see if your times are posted. You note your times, how you did in comparison with your age / sex group, and how your times were in relation to your friends. This stage is also called the T Stage.

Stage 2: You participate in a triathalon with friends. You're disappointed that you came in second out of the 3 "friendly competitors." As soon as you get home (before showering) you check to see if your times are posted (they aren't, of course). When they finally are, you put them into an excel spreadsheet along with all of your past triathon times to compare your running, swimming, and biking paces, transition times, and placement w/n your age / sex group with previous races. This stage is sometimes called the J Stage.

Stage 3: You participate in aa triathalon with friends. You are constantly looking behind you in case your "friends" are right behind you. You made sure that no one passed you, and if someone did pass, you hurt yourself to catch up with that person if possible. You found the race splits that were posted at the finish line and compared your times with your friends, and noted how you placed in the overall race. When you found the times online, you discovered that one of your friends had the 5th fasted second transition time (which you must have spent a lot of time figuring out), and wondered how that was physically possible. This stage is the C Stage.
Don't Worry Bee Happy

I went to the movies for this first time since June (!) last weekend and caught Spellbound. I highly recommend this charming documentary about the National Spelling Bee and eight of the kids who competed in it in 1999. I don't see a lot of films that show teenagers and pre-teens who are really like the way that I was at that age, which was painful and funny and touching to watch (I didn't spell, but participated in those Math Counts competitions).

Thursday, August 14, 2003

We Did It for the Kids

Last weekend was my ride through the mountains. This is something I'd been planning for since last summer: my company is the new title sponsor of this event, and we only had one rider participate last year. Acknowledged by all as pretty lame, I resolved to ride in the Courage Classic this year. I bought clip-in shoes and pedals in December and started sloowwwwly learning how to use them. I started going on 30 mile rides in the spring, ramping up to 60 mile rides in the summer. Last spring I couldn't make it up my street on the bike from the North (north side to Queen Anne Hill, for those who know Seattle geography), but last month I did it twice in one weekend. I joined the Cascade Bicycle Club and started going on some group rides. I went on a cycling vacation, where we rode 6 out of 8 days of that vacation. I watched le Tour de France for the first time ever (a good year to start watching). I listened to cyclists talk about their bikes, their gear, and all of the great rides they had participated in. I realized that not everyone in a colorful jersey on a skinny bike looks as lean or rides as fast as those riders on the Tour. I realized that cycling is something that people do into their 70's. Somehow this summer, I joined their ranks and became a cyclist, too.

I don't like to ask people for money, so I didn't solicit sponsors for this ride in which the whole purpose was raising money. Working for a sponsor organization meant that I didn't have to raise the $400 that all the other riders had to raise to participate. When we sat and listened to the history of the ride and the thanks to all who are contributing to the ride, I felt bad that I didn't raise anything for this great cause. The money raised by the ride goes to a Tacoma hospital's child abuse treatment and prevention clinic. If they raise a couple million dollars, this clinic will be self-sufficient, and there will always be free treatment for these local victims of child abuse. Be prepared: I'm starting my fund raising campaign now for next year.

The ride itself was fantastic. We went through 3 mountain passes in 3 days, so each day we gradually climbed for about 20 miles, had a rest stop complete with sports drinks, fruit, cookies, etc, then completed the steep part of the climb to lunch at the summit of the pass (spaghetti one day, chili the next, stuffed potatoes the third). On our descent we'd have another stop with more food. The standing joke for the ride was that people would gain weight while riding 3 tough days in a row. Rotary clubs manned the rest stops, and cheered us on, with cow bells, music, thanks and congratulations.

The ride was hard. I'd been training on hills, so I felt well prepared, but it's still tough to climb 3 days in a row, fighting a headwind on the last 1 1/2 days. Every time I got to the summit, I felt victorious. It was a lot like the feeling of completing a marathon, but it happened 3 days in a row. It was also terrific to do this with so many people that I knew. We had 15 riders from my company this year, and it was fantastic to cheer each other on, and so much fun to hang out together in the evenings. The other riders were terrific, too, friendly and funny, and encouraging of us newbies.

In the evenings we camped at local schools. My lesson learned after the first night is that rather than sleep in a tent in the field, I could sleep in the gym. Much better for non-campers like me. At the camp sites there was more food, sports therapist massueses (sp?), hot showers, music during the afternoon, and buses to the local towns. Trucks transported our luggage, so it was there waiting us when we rode into camp.

All in all, a very special weekend, and one that I'll be repeating next summer. Any potential sponsors out there? Any potential riders?

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Summer Stress

For some reason I always think that summer is going to lighten up from a work and stress standpoint. This never seems to happen. Summer weekends and week nights are just busier, what between going on vacations, having friends on vacation visit, random events, concerts, and athletic event training (summer '00 Richmond Marathon, '02 Chicago Marathon, '03 Courage Classic). And work seems to pick up, too. Actually, work has been busier throughout 2003 than usual, but it's feeling particularly stressful right now. Add to all of this that I've gained 10 pounds in the last couple of months (yes, since last complaint the gain has continued), which has really weighed on me emotionally (in addition to physically). It's amazing how much worse the world looks when you don't feel good about your body. Oh, and the allergies and mosquito bites; itch itch itch, scratch scratch scratch.

I'm just one big whine-fest these days, thus haven't felt much like posting. I know what I need to do (relax, don't waste energy being angry about myself, go outside and get out of my head, etc), it's just hard doing those things most of the time.

Only a few more weeks of summer. Soon the rains and clouds will set in and I can cheer up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

For all you cycling fans out there...

Here's an article about the Ullrich-did-he-or-didn't-he-wait controvercy. (thanks, Chris)

Commentary about my own little tour will be coming soon.
I MUST go see this ASAP

If you're in Seattle between now and 8/24 and want to come along, please let me know.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Oh, we're off to ride the passes, the wonderful passes of Wa...

Guess if I'm not ready for the ride by now, I never will be. It's raining (really raining) right now, for what seems like the first time all summer. Hope the weather is different once we get into the Cascades!

Friday, August 08, 2003

It's finally Friday afternoon, and now I can take a lunchtime breather for the Friday Five

1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country? Outside of my home state (I guess the state in which my home is located?), my last trip was to Virginia for work with a little family visit worked in (VA's my other home state; the one in which I lived the longest). Other than the intra-country travels, I was last in Hungary on the REI trip.

2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling? Good question. The most interesting place that I visited was UAE in the Persian Gulf. It's much less Westernized than anywhere else I've visited. The first time I was there was during Ramadan, and one evening I was in a taxi with friends, and when the sun set the driver parked, us in the cab, and left us for about 30 minutes while he broke his fast. Another interesting adventure was "One Night in Bankok" in which 2 friends of mine and I explored the Bankok nightlife from dusk 'til dawn. Too many experiences in that night to recount (and the memory is fuzzy).

3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go? Where wouldn't I go! Up on the list are New Zealand and Peru. I've always wanted to explore more of Europe; I want to spend more time in Eastern Europe, and I've spent only a couple of days in Western Europe, so I want to explore Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Norway,....

4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car? It depends. If I'm traveling < 20 miles I prefer by bike. Since I grew up taking road trips, I do enjoy a long car ride as an independant way to travel long distances, seeing interesting things along the way. Since I don't have unlimited time, however, planes are the generally preferred travel means. While I like the train, I don't think of it as an option traveling from or within the U.S., as it's as expensive as flying and as time consuming as driving. Typical American thinking, I suppose.

5. What's the next place on your list to visit? I am planning another work trip to Virginia for next month, and will return a few more times before the end of the year. I would like to spend a weekend in either San Fransisco or Las Vegas some time this fall. I have friends who are getting married in Phoenix this fall; if invited I might go there. After the "big vacation" this summer, there might not be another trans-oceanic trip in the near future.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Is it still only Thursday?


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Queer Eyeful for the Straight Girl

Last night I turned on the TV expecting to catch last week's episode of everyone's new favorite show. Instead of seeing a straight man's apartment, wardrobe, and lifestyle changed from blah to fab, I caught last week's new gay reality show on Bravo. I'm not into most dating shows, and hadn't heard any positive reviews of this one, but since I had already committed to spending the evening crashed out on the couch, I decided to give it a try. I found myself liking the show and the "leading man" more and more as the show progressed, and continued to watch the second episode. Of course when the new QE came on, I had to stay up and watch that, too (not my favorite episode, but still good stuff).

At the end of 3 hours, I was a little overwhelmed. That's a lot of time viewing attrative men who play on "the other team." It's great to see real gay men on television, rather than the occasional stereotype.

I wanted to say something else wise, observant, and pity, but have run out of creativity and time. Please use the comment section to add any thoughts that you may have.

Update: I added the links to the shows. If you have not seen the ads on the Bravo site for QE, I highly recommend checking them out. They make me laugh every time.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

What's hotter than iceberg?

Lettuce trends. Who knew?

Monday, August 04, 2003

Trail Notes

This was my last weekend to prepare for next weekend's Courage Classic, so decided I needed to do back-to-back rides (not too tough; I'm tapering) to prepare.

Saturday we rode over to Mercer Island to meet up with my sister and friends for a pre- Blue Angels viewing brunch. The ride down to Lake Washington and across I-90 is a familiar one to me now; some day I may actually be able to navigate it on my own. The day was cool to begin with (riding downhill into the Center of the Universe, temps in the low '60's, I was very tempted to stop in at the new Peets for a warmer-upper), but the day warmed up a little and was sunny with just enough clouds to prevent being blinded while staring up at the jets. While it was cool to watch the show, I'm still a little bitter about naval aviators, having driven them around for 3 years, while they landed just meters above my bed while I tried to get precious moments of sleep. Time to get over it. By the time I got home, I'd probably riden about 30 miles, with some respectable hills.

Sunday we rode over to West Seattle and back. Instead of wisely staying along flat, SoCal-like Alki Beach, however, we rode up and across West Seattle, riding up one of the steepest hills I've even encountered on bike. All in all, the ride wasn't much longer than 30 miles (took us 2 1/2 hours), but it was hill after hill. Predictably, the sorest part of me was the sitting part. The muscles were tired, but still had a little left in them at the end.

I have one more ride this week (after work tomorrow; 40 flat and fast miles with the work-crew), and then rest before braving the passes!
Guess the 2 H's and 1 O just weren't enough

Since when did everyone start drinking this? Suddenly it's everywhere I look. I may have to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try.