Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hello From My Death Bed, aka Stay Away From Dirty Water

Sorry for the post-post disappearance.  I did go to the wedding that I mentioned, but by the time I got there, I was so sick the entire experience was one long fever dream.  What I remember clearly had great views of downtown Boston.  I left with two pictures, only one of which I personally took, and no voice.

When United delivered me back to Indianapolis on Sunday night, after an extra hour stuck on a tarmac and a sprint through O'Hare, I was verging on delirious.  I drove the hour back to Bloomington like this to keep myself awake:

I basically collapsed and have been working to recover ever since.  Now I'm on antibiotics, and the fact that I can't remember the last time I was on antibiotics is a testament to how sick I was.  2010 I think, for a skin thing I got from bike shorts and dirty water?  And before that 2003 probably, for a skin thing I got in India from dirty water.  Ironically, this instance was probably also due to dirty water: I shared a lane with a kid that I learned two days later had had a sore throat, by which time I had a sore throat.  So began the death spiral.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Since I'm Dressed For The Occasion...

The associated wedding is this weekend in Boston.  I'm very excited for pretty much all of it: seeing old friends, nice parties, crashing Friday classes at the ol' alma mater, Darwin's in Cambridge and Mike's in the North End, running along the Charles (which is how I trained for my first two marathons), and dressing up and actually doing my hair (as below).

I'm usually not one for selfies, but seriously, this might be the best I've looked since I arrived on campus last June.  I had to capture the moment for posterity and for sobbing quietly to myself in a few years.

To those who secretly want me to grow my hair out: Sorry, there is definitely not more of it.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Earning The Monies

When I was a kid, every night at dinner my dad would ask "did you make them earn their money today?"

Well, today my class that I TA (not basketball) made me earn my money.

There are 220 undergraduates in this class.  The professor and I hand out 220 blank scantrons.  We hand out 220 test packets...uh oh, we only have 160 test packets.  The entire rear quarter of the lecture hall doesn't have a test.

While the professor and I are trying to project the test up front so that people could at least start working while more tests are printed, a student in the middle of the rear quarter starts having a full-on epileptic seizure.  People scatter, climbing over seats in front of and around them to clear the area, while others behind him are holding his head and shoulders.  Someone's calling 911 and about 20 people are trying to figure out the street address of this campus building smack in the middle of campus off the main roads.  The front part of the lecture hall works on the their tests.

I run back across campus to get 60 more copies of the test, leaving the professor to deal with the ambulance and cops.  Twenty minutes later I run back, sweating all over the copies.  The rear quarter of the lecture hall is sitting orderly like there wasn't just someone seizing in their midst.  So surreal.

When I told my dad, he said "a great day in education."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

To The Victor: Pride (And Probably A Few Scabs)

Last weekend was The World's Greatest College Weekend, a probably untrue, but aspirational title if there ever was one.  Most notably the Weekend involves the Little 500 races, which are the only reasons that locals and grad students are willing to come on campus over the Weekend.  The two races are legitimately novel in the world, and not just because the only thing that's on the line is pride.  The men's race features in Breaking Away.

Because obviously our uteri might fall out, the women's race is half a long (100 laps instead of 200 laps), but yeah, a bit more of a disaster.  It's high-speed (pack) racing of single-speed bikes on a track made of cinders.  The racers made it three laps before the first crash.

A guy in my program coaches a team and his rider went down in the crash, but got back on.  15 laps later she crashed again, by herself.  We later learned that she broke one collarbone in the first crash, and the other one in the second crash.  If there was ever a reason to be glad that I am a grad student and thus not eligible to race...

The men's race is truer to form.  The teams in contention are comprised of people built like bike riders, and are moving, and have a strategy.  What they also need to have is luck and the willingness to be scrubbing cinders out of their skin for months.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Gippy Tummy Practices

It wasn't until I started swimming in earnest that I discovered that some workouts are so intense that they unsettle my stomach even after they are over.  It really feels like my stomach after a night of way-too-serious drinking (Who's drunk?  I'm not drunk. You're drunk.), when only greasy food will settle it.

At Harvard, the Sunday Brunch menu has a permanent item that the students affectionately call "Hangover Chicken."  It's totally machine-made, delicious and magical in its stomach-soothing abilities.

My normal after-practice snack is like grossly healthy: any combination of V8, yogurt, fruit, carrots.  After these gippy tummy practices, I can put these items in my mouth and basically gum them into mush - but I can't get myself to swallow them.  Only grease will do.  Only grease can soak up the grossness.  Only grease can tame the beast.

Chocolate milk, hash browns, and a sausage egg biscuit

Desperate times call for desperate measures: Wee Willie's in Ellettsville.  Yup, I drove to another community to get the best grease to settle my stomach.

Today was better than the last time I had to do this though.  I didn't fall asleep in their parking lot after eating.  I waited until I was in the laundromat a few hours later.
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