Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fur Therapy

Surprise, I still go to the shelter every week!

Ok, not a surprise.  Right now they have a set of fraternal twins, Larry and Bugs, who were moved from a cage to a pen.  Remembering that Honey Bunny loved to climb all over me when I laid on the ground, I climbed right in and they climbed right on.

At one point, Bugs (brown) was perched on my stomach like Washington crossing the Delaware.  I was the boat.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Harbinger Of Whole Foods

The Starbucks had been renovated.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Forced Integration

What do you think they talk about over lunch?  And in what language?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pole Dancing, Tacos, and Lipstick

Pole dancing, tacos, and lipstick: a pretty normal weekend in Manhattan, if my previous visits there are any indication.  There was the time in 2007 that I went to NYC to run a marathon and ended up at a wake (yeah, the funeral type) in Times Square at 2 am and woke up the next day after the entire marathon was over.  I've also done three theater tours there with a drag show written by college students.

This trip for a bridal shower (two weeks ago now) was pretty tame by comparison.

Early on in any trip to NYC I am reminded that it is WAY too much city for me.  I usually want to leave as soon as I arrive, and I never stay for very long.  This place stresses me out.

I took public transport from LaGuardia to our hotel in NoLita, a distance of 9 miles, which I could have walked faster than the bus/subway combo got me there.  BUT then I would have missed this gem.

And this even bigger gem.

My frustration at the price (read: time, money, inconvenience) that locals pay to live here, was quelled by tacos (read: tacos worthy of Texas that don't exist in Indiana).  They were made for me by Mexicans running a tiny storefront, and they were delicious.

Our hotel was awesome (a 17th-floor suite with no exterior walls, just windows, that slept 10 and had a view of the Empire State Building from the living room) and the bulk candy store across the street was pretty cool too.  It sold beer-flavored Jelly Bellys.  Neat, but gross.

Our first group activity was make-your-own lipstick.  Only in NYC (and maybe LA).  They take all these super-concentrated pigments,

mix them together to approximate your color preference,

and once you approve the final color, they manufacture it right there.  No whales were harmed during this bridal shower.  (Yes, I'm wearing a fork, actually two welded together, on my wrist.  My ring was a flattened screw.)

The rest of my pictures from the night (tapas and card games in our suite) are crap because of the lighting.  Even though it took me 2.5 hours to get from NoLita to JFK, I can't dislike too much a city that preserves beautiful stained glass in its subway stations.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Music Dump: The Underdogs, New Kids, Outlaws, Kubrick's Edition

Man, I haven't done a music dump post for a while.  I think because my playlists over the last 6 months have been pretty uninspiring, a mix of many old and few new.  But my most recent?  Not so, my friends, not so.  I like this collection of all new songs so much that I drive around listening to my iPod instead of the radio.  I listened to it twice through on the bus/subway trip from LaGuardia to my hotel last weekend - and didn't do anything drastic when the trip took 2.5 hours.

As usual, it's a random hodge podge, but all the songs seem to follow one of two themes: rhythmic rock (read: X Ambassadors and Florence and the Machine) or acoustic ballads (read: Sia, Amber Run, Ane Brun).  Well, plus David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Beyoncé, and an MJ cover by The Weeknd.

Dirty, Dirty, Dirty Diana, indeed.

Renegades, by X Ambassadors

All hail the underdogs
All hail the new kids
All hail the outlaws
Spielberg's and Kubrick's

The Whisperer, by David Guetta (feat. Sia)

Oh, liberation, comes in whatever form to save me
I am burdened, and then the whisper comes

The drop at 1:32 is as powerful as anything Skrillex ever wrote.

What Kind of Man, by Florence and the Machine
** from their forthcoming album.  SO excited.

To let me dangle at a cruel angle
Where my feet don't touch the floor
Sometimes you're half in and then you're half out
But you never close the door

Waiting Game, by Banks

What if I never even see you because we're both on a stage
Don't tell me listen to your song cuz it isn't the same
I don't want to say your love is a waiting game

When singers like Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift are asked why they listen to, they say Banks.

Also try Beggin for Thread, by Banks.

Silhouettes, by Of Monsters and Men

There's nothing that I'd take back
But it's hard to say there's nothing I regret

All My Tears, by Ane Brun

It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter anywhere I lay
All my tears be washed away

She sounds so much like Dolly Parton here - and she's Norwegian.

Also try Do You Remember, by Ane Brun.

I Found, by Amber Run

I'll use you as a warning sign
That if you talk enough sense then you'll lose your mind
I'll use you as a focus point
So I don't lose sight of what I want

Dirty Diana, covered by The Weeknd (original by Michael Jackson)

At that I ran to the phone
Saying Baby I'm alright
I said but unlock the door
Because I forgot the key
She said he's not coming back
Because he's sleeping with me

Crazy in Love (50 Shades Remix), by Beyoncé

The only good thing to come to out of 50 Shades of Abuse.

Watch here (slightly NSFW; typical Beyonce-like music video).

Bang My Head, by David Guetta (feat. Sia)

Bang your head against the wall
You may feel light headed, but you won't crawl, no, you won't fall
You will rise above it all
You'll find what you're searching for
And you may feel light headed 
You think you're gonna hit the floor
Instead you'll rise above it all

Overload, by Life of Dillon

Goodbye, by Who is Fancy

Once we were a fire burn in'
Now you're just a lesson I'm learnin'
Please believe me
This isn't easy
I just need to say goodbye

Who is Fancy is a true modern marvel: no one knows who wrote the song, sings the song, or performs the music.  Take that Daft Punk.

Rise, by David Guetta (feat. Skylar Grey)

You can take a swing at my ego
You can make a run for my crown
Even with an army of people
You ain't gonna take us down

 Best video is blocked for inset, so watch here (SFW).

Pray to God, by Calvin Harris (feat. HAIM)

When there's no getting through
I won't hold back
I will throw down anything in life, I know now
I've been lyin' on the floor
Sleeping on the ground
I will give up anything in life, I know how

HAIM is rock band of four mid-20s women, so no wonder the guitar line sounds like Lindsey Buckingham's insistently driving beat in Edge of Seventeen, by Stevie Nicks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Myself As Guinea Pig

#SpoilerAlert: I got the shot two Mondays ago.  I went into the exam room with no idea which option I was going to choose: shot now, shot later, or no shot.  I think in the end I chose the shot now because it was something to do, it was definitive action toward a solution.  With me, that usually wins out 98% of the time.  But as much as it was a decision irrevocably made and options irrevocably lost, it also opened me up to a lot more decisions that would need to be made.

As I've been navigating those, I am reminded, again as ever, of the need for athlete-as-human sport psychology.  Of course, physical pain impacts my athletic performance and plays on my athlete-and-athletic-based-fears, but I am a human too and physical ailments play on those fears as well.  Anyone who tries to extricate the two halves of the whole is attempting conversion therapy.  And we know how that goes over.

So salient is that I am swimming not out of fear, but in fear: of pain, of losing swimming and that identity, of losing my team, of losing my shoulder health forever, of dooming my future self to pain and limitations.  This expansive undercurrent of fear is something that stereotypical sport psychologists don't touch, at least beyond the impact on immediate physical and athletic performance.  It's perceived as an even bigger myopia in revenue-generating sports; athletic departments chew up and spit out their money-makers, the next 50-60 years of their lives be damned.  Yet these athletes are humans first (and longer), athletes second.  They deserve to be treated within the context of that hierarchy.

Anyway, I am just waiting and wondering "is this the workout that makes my shoulder hurt again?"  Wondering both what I should do and what I would counsel someone else to do and how to cope, how I would treat them as a human, with human fears, as I wear through a few more superspinatus tendon fibers each day, probably, ostensibly preparing for the day that I have to turn the therapist's chair to face myself.

Another facet of injury and career termination that sport psychologists often neglect is the simultaneous loss of interpersonal relationships.  You lose your identity, your notion of self, and your friends with it.  I am self-aware enough at this point to realize that the swimming alone is worth less, far less, to me in a vacuum.  Still, the kids may mean a lot to me, but not enough, and I am dreading the day that I have to irrevocably choose myself and the long-term health of my shoulder over them.

Testing on animals should definitely be illegal.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

U + Me = Global Catastrophe

I saw this article on Slate about how California is about to break off and splash into the Pacific, or thereabouts (shrinking snowpacks and megadrought).  Not to worry, Snake Plissken is on his way.  (For the full Snake Plissken effect, start here.  The blood special effects are…truly special.)

Anyway, my real first thought was AK, of Original Iron Woman fame, because she measures snowpacks.  I shot her a quick email.

“It looks like you got into snowpack measurement at just the right time.  How prescient of you!

Does it weird you out that the first thing I think of when I hear about global warming is you?

That should be a someecard or something.  ‘My relationship with you reminds me of global catastrophe.’”

PS - The two best someecards when I went looking for that link were: “Jesus regrets dying for you” and “I hope you have a better Good Friday that Jesus did.”  I better keep my day job.

Friday, April 3, 2015

True Dat

One answer to the open-ended questions on the teaching evaluations from my basketball class last semester.  Thanks for looking out, whoever you are, but I don't really think more money will improve my teaching of basketball.
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