Friday, October 31, 2008

In honor of Halloween: Some scary facts about me

1.  . My freshman year of high school, I wore Wrangler jeans EVERY SINGLE DAY. I remember feeling so proud of myself for that. Never once did I let down my guard and wear something practical, like shorts, on days when it was 100 degrees. I grew up in a VERY small, redneck town. My wrangler-wearing fad didn’t even seem odd around there. That, in itself, is frightening.

2.    . In college, I dated the captain of the bowling team. This wasn’t like, intramural bowling. This was an honest-to-god official school team. He took it very seriously.

3. . Freshman year of college: I went to the bike shop, and with a straight face, asked them to install aero bars on my mt. bike. This was a few years before I joined the cycling team, and subsequently, knew anything about cycling. The mt. bike was my “get around town and excersise! bike.” The man at the shop, God bless him, compiled with my wishes and even gave me a discount and installed them for me.

4.   One of my great aspirations when I was somewhere between the age of 7 and 10, was to somehow plaster my bangs so high with hairspray that people sitting behind me wouldn’t be able to see.

5    At one point in my late teens, I thought it would be really awesome to have at least three kids by the time I was in my late 20s. I even had their names picked out. 

6.    . I really wanted to marry Garth Brooks when I was 14. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Album Review: Rachel Yamagata Elephant…Teeth Sinking into Heart

Thank God this album was not around when I was going through my breakup last winter—I just might have attempted self-euthanasia. So, assuming you’re on fairly stable ground, and not on any antidepressants, anxiety medications, or Haldol, I highly suggest buying it. If you are taking any of the above medications, you might find yourself reaching for a plastic spork to rip out your own heart.

All sarcasm aside, Rachel’s album is hauntingly beautiful, wonderful, and dark. It will bring you back to those lovesick moments in your past when it was a struggle to emerge from the sheets each morning, and you frequently found yourself staring into space and disconnected from life. Listening to it evokes the closest sensation you will feel of heartbreak, without actually having the pleasure of feeling your insides cut in half.

My favorite track, simply titled “Duet” is a duet she did with Ray LaMontagne—who, incidentally, also came out with a new album recently. In typical Ray fashion, it makes you reach for bottle(s) of wine while listening.

The two of them together—stunning.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Official Letter to Fall

Dear Fall,

This letter is to inform you that you are in blatant violation of our signed agreement. I'll be generous here and briefly assume you lost my address. For your records, it is 1700 N. Elm St., Greensboro. If you did indeed lose it, then kindly disregard the rest of this letter.

Our agreement stated, in no uncertain terms, that you would make your appearance in mid-October and stay until January. Winter, with his powerful lawyers, weaseled in a month stay--from January until February. However, we stipulated that his stay is contingent on an agreement with the trees, promising they would not drop their leaves this year. All parties agreed.

So imagine my surprise when Winter showed up--months early, and you, friend, have been MIA. I do not need to waste time by going over the monetary damages this breach of contract will cost you--I hope you've got a nice hedge fund somewhere. (I'd suggest shorting stocks--John Paulson style. Avoid emerging markets right now--they're taking a beating.)

I am assuming Winter and his crafty lawyers have been slipping you some large bills, because otherwise, I can't imagine why you would have violated our contract. My lawyers will definitely be in contact. If you'd like to avoid going to court, we can setttle this quickly: Take your money out of the treasury bills you're trying to shield it in, and pay up.

Freezing My Ass Off

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mae is highly confused

Mae, SuperMutt, is a bit conflicted at the moment. She’s not sure who she should be trying to kill bark at. When we lived in my house, it was obvious: She was the Almighty Defender of the house. Anyone walking by, or who looked in the wrong direction toward our property, got the Bark Treatment. But now, we live in this condo complex, and it’s totally thrown her off. Is she defending me? Is she defending the whole complex, or just our place? And what about all of those people walking around below, who appear to also live there? Do they need to be killed? Or are they okay?
She sits, stressed out, perched on the window sill, with her legs half on the couch. Peering out, she’s lapsed into an eery silence. I can see her little dog brain wheels in motion. BARK. no. they’re okay. OKAY, NOW BARK! no, they appear to reside here, too. THEY’RE DEFINITELY GOING TO BREAK IN AND STEAL MY STUFFED SQUIRREL! BARK. no, wait, that appears to be one of those small human beings running along.
damn it.
Sometimes, she’ll give me this look, as if to say…okay. woman. I’m trying to defend you against the evil forces in the world, but you’ve given me a territory, that, quite honestly, is too big to defend. And I’m like, dude, I know. But I’m happy for the silence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So, another perk about my new kick-ass job (KAJ, for short), is that we get to choose our own titles. So my job description is Account Executive, but that's not my title. Get it? I get to PICK my title.
Prince Charles doesn't even get to do that. "Prince" was chosen eons ago.

Take that, Royalty.

Here are some titles other office mates have:

Speaker of the House
Creative Creature
Fearless Leader
Brand Charmer
Master of Domains
Cerebral Cortex

Here are some titles I'm considering:

Squadron Commander
Czar of Bluezoomssia
Directeur Sportif

I'm currently favoring the last one. For those of you minions who don't have Velo News as your homepage, a Directeur Sportif is a cycling team director/coach. Johan Bruyneel is an example. He coache(s)(ed) Lance. Sidenote: Contador should bail and find another team.

Help me brainstorm, people. Send me ideas and/or vote on the three I have chosen. This is very important! This title will go on my business card! I use them all the time for free sandwich drawings.

How cool will that be when I win a free sandwich?

Quiznos: Hello, can I speak to Joanna, Directeur Sportif?

Me: Speaking.

Quiznos: You've won a free sandwich!

Me: Awesome.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Trail Marathon, deux

Yesterday I ran my second trail marathon. It was, in a word, fabulous. I can honestly say I have never enjoyed a race quite that much--the whole race I felt solid, calm, and confident. I didn't hyperventilate or cry at the end. I didn't even get side cramps.
That alone is an accomplishment. Because lately, all of my anxiety and stress seem to conveniently come out and crush me, in the form of not being able to breathe, at the end of a race. So to finish a race still breathing normally was a fantastic feeling.
I took off 23 minutes from last year's time. That still astounds me--I'm not trying to brag here--because honestly, I went into the race trying not to think about time at all--it crossed my mind that it would be nice to finish a few minutes faster than the previous year, but I wasn't focused on it during the race. I kept my pace steady by monitoring splits, but I didn't let myself get caught up in the math. I didn't follow a structured training plan this year, either. Last year my runs were organized on a spreadsheet, and I diligently followed the plan (mostly). This year, I trained by feel and ran long when I needed to be in the woods for a while, and I ran fast when I felt like going fast. I logged a lot of miles because running distance makes me happy, and it's a social outlet for me. My friend Kelly has been training for a 50 miler, so we trained together a lot, and my runs were a chance to spend time with her.

So I guess all of that is to say I went into the race feeling a bit unsure because I hadn't planned it carefully. And I am used to controlling things. Or think that I am.

So when I finished 2nd, I was truly shocked--and overjoyed. I was a minute behind the girl who won, but because there were also relay teams on the course, I couldn't tell who I was racing against.

I can barely walk today, my legs are so sore. I'm doing that whole post-marathon thing of walking down stairs sideways because my knees are screaming sailor-like profanities at me. I'm contemplating taking an ice bath, but that sounds quite, well, cold. I'm looking forward to taking some time away from the trails and putting some miles on my bike.

If you're reading this and you're a runner (of the non-trail running variety), do yourself a huge, huge favor and run some singletrack. It will change your life. I moved towns recently because there's better singletrack here. I realize that may sound a bit extreme, but running singletrack is so incomparably wonderful when compared to knocking out miles on pavement--there just are no words to describe.

That's my piece of opinionated advice for the day.