Saturday, December 31, 2011

Olympic Hopeful: Desiree Davila

I've been a complete slacker with this Olympic Hopeful business.  Not too long ago, I promised to showcase a bunch of the Olympic Qualifiers for the upcoming Olympic Trial Marathon in Houston.  Since establishing this outlandish undertaking, I've produced exactly two (Paul Peterson and Ryan Hall.)  Two.  That's some pitiful performance and proof positive that I'm no Olympic Hopeful.

I think it's because I'm anti-commital lately.  I cannot commit to anything.  The tax season starts on Monday, which brings forth ocean-sized buckets of commitment.  Therefore, I've resolved to do what I want, when I want, and refuse to decide that whatever event today at 4:30 falls in that what-I-want-when-I-want category.  I'LL DECIDE IF I WANNA DO THAT WHEN 4:30 ROLLS AROUND, KAY?  Geez.  Get off my back, will ya.  Grin.

So what does this have to do with Desiree Davila?  Nothing!  Let's move on, shall we?


All-American ASU graduate Desiree Davila is best known for her spectacular performance in last year's Boston Marathon.  While the press and general populace were eying sweethearts Kara Goucher and Blake Russell, Desiree Davila swept in and stole the USA show.  Davila's plan was to hang with the elite pack for 20 miles, and, if it felt right, kick it into full gear for the final 6 (point two.)  And kick it in she did.  Davila finished second with a 2:22:38, just four seconds behind Kenya's Sharon Cherop.  FOUR SECONDS.  This is huge. An American hasn't won the Boston Marathon in years – please hold while I check exactly how many years.  The last female American woman to win the Boston was 1985 when Colorado resident Lisa Rainsberger finished in 2:34:6.

An American woman hasn't won the Boston in 26 years, and Desiree Davila was so close to winning, (I presume) that she could taste it.  That was a spectacular race.  If you watch one Marathon finish ever, last year's Boston would be the one to watch.

Desiree is a member of the Hansons-Brooks Project, which is a team of elites selected, coached, and groomed into Olympic readiness.  You can follow her blog by going here.

This Desiree Davila is something special, I can feel it, and it's not because her name is an alliteration (all folks with alliterations for names hold a dedicatory spot in my heart.)  Davila just might be the next Deana Kastor (who currently holds the American marathon record with a 2:20, who, incidentally, also holds a dedicatory spot in my heart... hell, all distance runners hold a dedicatory spot in my heart.)

Here's to running.  And the Olympic Trials.  And alliterations.  And Desiree Davila.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Paradigm Shift

Today's topic of discussion is as mundane as it gets:  Laundry.

Although laundry is, without a doubt, the most cumbersome and monotonous of household chores, it occupies a significant amount of time and therefore deserves its very own essay.  'Sides... it allows for several opportunities to use paradigm in a sentence.

During the olden days, and even today in some parts of the world, the laundry paradigm was a social event.  All of the lady-folk from all of the villages would gather at the river to drag fabric along rocks.  I presume they laughed, and complained, and solved a few problems, and criticized Sally when she wasn't there because of her helicopter-like parenting.  I suppose in the olden days, and in some circumstances today, laundry might have been something to look forward to: an event; a gathering; a civic cattle-call; even a relief.

Take Mikey's laundry paradigm for example.  Mikey's my dad and has made laundry a "thing" for the last 33 years.  That many years ago, Mikey found himself a new bachelor in a house without a washer and dryer.  He decided to visit the local laundry mat so as to accommodate his laundry needs.  I presume the laundry mat ritual was a temporary arrangement.  He discovered, however, that his weekly laundry mat be-in was something of a joy.

I've been to this laundry mat be-in with Mikey a few times.  Besides the need for quarters and the task of packing-it-up, the laundry mat is an extremely efficient use of time.*  Mikey would sort by color and throw each load into a washer.  While the wash was whirling – for somewhere around 40 minutes – he'd read a magazine, or watch some sports, or organize stuff.  He would relax.  When the 40 minutes were up, he'd move each of those loads into a dryer.  While drying, he'd go back to magazine-reading, sports-watching, and stuff-organizing.  He would relax some more.  When the dryers stopped, usually one at a time, he'd fold and hang.

The whole process was two hours, tops.

Compare 'n contrast Mikey's paradigm to my laundry process and you'll see a whole lot of wasted time.  It's not two hours, tops.  It can be a whole day.  A whole day without the relaxation of magazine-reading, or sport-watching, or acute-organizing.  And when that day is over, the laundry baskets are half full again.

A few weeks ago, just before shifting my laundry paradigm, I'd have what we women call Laundry Day.  One day each weak, from before sun-up to well after sun-down, and maybe into the next day, I'd wash.  The machines would run all day.  All day.  The reason for the all day thing is so we can "get it all done," and so that the rest of the week could be free of laundry.  The trouble, though, is there's no such thing as getting laundry "all done," and  the rest of the week was never free of laundry.

You're seeing why I needed that paradigm shift, right?  Right!  'Cept I didn't go all the way over to the laundry mat paradigm.  My new laundry paradigm is – get this – one, maybe two loads, every day, in the morning.  I throw in a batch before I run, I return from the run and throw it in the dryer.  Maybe rinse 'n repeat while doing breakfast and piano practice.  Laundry is over 'n done by 9:00am.

It's totally changed my world.  Hence the need for all those sentences with a paradigm in 'em.

Speaking of a world totally gone changed, you should see me play Apocalypse Please on my new piano.  It's horribly awesome!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have Yerselfs a Mairy Christmas


And if you been nice (er even the right kinda naughty), I'll fix you up with one of our gen-you-ine Redneck Binoculars.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Carol of the Bells - Tuesday Tune, vol 104

Today's Tuesday Tune is 1460 swear words in the making, in as many days.  It's also one of those tunes that many might refer to as a "banner moment" or "the light at the end of the tunnel" or even "the day that Rabid never thought would come."

Carol of the Bells is a Ukrainian Christmas carol based on local Ukrainian folklore.  As the story goes, a swallow would fly into a house and proclaim bounty and blessings to all.  I suppose the tune is meant to mimic that of swallows flitting and flying about.

This Carol of the Bells tune is an altogether fitting arrangement for Yahoo and my's first duet.  Mostly because I feel like that same pesky swallow.  Except for swooping in and proclaiming bounty and blessings, I swoop in a holler "GET IN THERE AND PRACTICE THE PIANO!"  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Untraditional Christmas - Tuesday Tune, vol 103

I've been around for a lotta Christmases, which means I've heard a lotta Christmas music.  Mostly, I've heard the same 18 (give or take) songs over and over and over.  And over.  And over.  And over.  And over.  And frankly, I'm rather tired of those 18 songs.

I've had enough Jingle Bells in a Winter Wonderland, Good King Weceslas resting on ye Merry Gentlemen, Rudolph's Red Nose Watching Mommy Kiss Santa, and Halls that are Decked.  Please, I say, Bring that Torch to Jeanette so she'll quit Isabella-ing, and Baby I KNOW that it's cold outside.  I have a thermometer.

Before you holler Hah-Bumhug at me or shout sacrilege, note that I do enjoy these over and well-done Christmas greats.  It's just, well, there's a lotta creative people in this world and I think that we need more originals.  That's why today's Tuesday Tunes are all about Christmas tunes that are not among the traditional 18 (give or take.)

So here you go.  I'd also like to provide a giant "shout out" to Vera's friend Mr. Reese, who, by 'n large has the greatest music collection in the United States (give or take.)  Many of these nontraditionals were brought to my attention by this Mr. Reese.

Merry Christmas you Suckers Roger Twiggy
Oi to the World No Doubt
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch The Hit Crew
Best Kind of Friend Christabel & the Jons
Soul Cake Sting
Clean Up For Christmas Aimee Mann
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! Sufjan Stevens
The Christmas Waltz She & Him
Christmas Smorgasbord Swedish Chef
Mary's Boy Child Trailer Trash
Everyone's A Kid at Christmas Time Stevie Wonder
Snowed in with You Over the Rhine
Christmas Song Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Boots The Killers
It Snowed Meaghan Smith
Your Holiday Song Indigo Girls
The Heart of Christmas Matthew West
Our December Thriving Ivory
When A Child Is Born The Moody Blues
Why Can't It Be Christmastime All Year Rosie Thomas
Christmas Lights Coldplay
Snowflakes Jeremy Fisher
Mistletoe and HollyFrank Sinatra
Mr. & Mrs. Santa Clause George Jones & Tammy Wynette
Christmastime Smashing Pumpkins
Fairytale in New York The Pogues
Merry Christmas Eve Better Than Ezra
Christmastime Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
Christmas Day Dido
Do They Know Its Christmas Band Aid (1984)
The Chipmunk Song The Chipmunks
'Zat You, Santa Claus? Louis Armstrong
Christmas Vacation Theme National Lampoons
Wish List Neon Trees
A Very Special Acoustic Christmas Alison Krauss
Papa Noel Brenda Lee
Star Of Wonder Tori Amos
Cinnamon & Chocolate Butterfly Boucher
Christmas The Who
Christmas is Going to the Dogs the eels
Old Toy Trains Joe Nichols
Happy ChristM.A.S.S. M.A.S.S.
Christmas for Two Sixpense None the Richer
Holidays Silver Swans
Mistletoe Colbie Callat
I won't Let You Lick My Candy Bar Susan Kay
The Christmas Queen Miss Piggy
Christmas In New Orleans Louis Armstrong
A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss) Glasvegas
The Dear Aquaintance (A Happy new Year) Regina Spektor
Holiday Road Lindsay Buckingham
River Sarah McLachlan
Very Merry Christmas Dave Barnes
Candy Cane Christmas Darius Rucker
Christmas This Year (feat. Leigh Nash) TobyMac & Leigh Nash
Christmas Wish She & Him
32 Feet And 8 Little Tails Gene Autry
Another Christmas Song Stephen Colbert
Don't Need A Reindeer The Moody Blues
Better Do It Right Smash Mouth
Darlin' (Christmas Is Coming) Over the Rhine

Do you have a favorite nontraditional?  Please, do share.  The more the merrier.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Amazon on the Internet

Amazon is my BFF.  Oh how Amazon is my BFF.  I'm going to contact the copyright people in charge of that Twelve Days of Christmas tune, and ask that "Partridge in a Peartree" be changed to "Amazon on the Internet."  That way, the beloved phrase "Amazon on the Internet" can be repeated twelve (or is it thirteen?) delicious times.

Partridge in a Peartree?  So not useful.  Amazon?  Useful.  And Amazon Prime?  Eee gads.

This was Christmas 2009.  Lookie how Amazon even does the wrapping.

Isn't that beautiful?  Brings tears of joy just looking at it.

Here's a closeup of their fabulous wrap jobs.  
Also note that I have blurred the addresses so you freaks cannot figure out where I live.

How on earth did we handle Christmas without Amazon?  Tune in next time when I tell you about how UPS is my other BFF (HELLO BROWN!  You can do LOTS for me!)  Without UPS, Amazon is just as useful as a Partridge in a Peartree.