Friday, November 28, 2008

One Step at a Time

I have a strange relationship with running. At school and, to a certain extent, university, I never ever saw the point of running if it wasn't after a ball, and so didn't bother. I also was doing so much sport that I really didn't have to worry about my weight, which I think is why I never really considered it as an exercise option.

Then I broke my leg. It took about 9 months to be able to walk unaided. I then decided, with my then flatmate JKS, to sign up for a breast cancer run. Britain has these 5k runs that you sign up for, and it had a full schedule to get you able to run the whole thing, even though you'd never run anything before in your life except for the obligatory 1500m once a year at school. I got the bug for it and started running a lot. I even signed up for the marathon. Then, the over-training combined with having not fully rehabilitated my knee and the surrounding muscles got to me, and my knee broke down. It's never been the same again. I've tried physio, and it has worked somewhat, but I am inconsistent with doing my exercises and I've reached a limit of about 30 minutes before it breaks down once more. When I play football or squash, it really doesn't hurt at all. I don't quite understand why or how, but I have decided that I would like to get it back. There is nothing like it for its ability to calm me down, help me think. So today is day one of starting over. I am phoning up to make a physiotherapist appointment next week, and I want to get my running back. I don't want to be marathoning, but I do want to do 10ks again. So here we go. Ulp.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When You Got So Much To Say: 2008 Edition

It's called Gratitude. Holy cow, I just looked at the 2007 entry on the same topic and, hot damn, I'm so predictable, I had the same title and the same first sentence of this entry. Oops. Yes, it's that time of year US Citizens everywhere give thanks. Obviously, it's a bit cheesy, but I think it is good to reflect about what you're thankful for. Other than the obvious of health, family, friends, love and Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert, here's what I'm appreciating:
  1. Passing the NY Bar. That feeling of relief really hasn't gone away yet - still basking in its glow.
  2. LCD Soundsystem. Again. Didn't I say that last year? Yes, I did, at #1. You're slipping, Murphy.
  3. Paul Rudd.
  4. The Wire. Just finished Season 3 - HMFS is all I can say. Addicted again!
  5. 30 Rock. Should I have something that is not tv?
  6. The Pro-Choice President, the Pro-Choice rejections of ballot measures in the US elections this year. Yay!
  7. Although my buttocks disagree with me, having mates who are into playing squash is brilliant, and has reinvigorated not just my exercise schedule, but the sense of bodily worth you only get from playing sport. It's also having a good effect on my sense of pride, given that everyone I play utterly thrashes me.
  8. My newfound love of SCUBA diving - having had the opportunity to try it and love it and see the world in a completely different way. Sigh.
  9. I didn't grow up in the family of the guy whose comment to "captivate" (the information/news service in the lifts of every office building in New York) was that his family fasted until the evening so they could enjoy reflection, rather than gluttony. I bet his kids are in therapy for the rest of their lives for that crap.
  10. My trip to Africa. Being able to see so many parts of the world is remarkable, and it was a humbling, fun and glorious experience. I cannot wait to get back.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Administering Justice: Homos

While trugging away through some research today, I found the only occasion on which a woman could serve as a member of a jury up until we were kindly given the rights by the State:
*2. Propter defectum; as if a juryman be an alien born, this is defect of birth; if he be a slave or bondman, this is defect of liberty, and he cannot be liber et legalis homo. Under the word homo, also, though a name common to both sexes, the female is however excluded, propter defectum sexus: except when a widow feigns herself with child, in order to exclude the next heir, and a suppositions birth is suspected to be intended; then upon the writ de ventre inspiciendo, a jury of women is to be impanelled to try the question, whether with child or not.
Lord Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England.

Utterly, utterly, utterly bizarre. I plan to find out more about such "exceptions" that allowed women to partake of the rights of men.

Even better: While looking for translations, I also found out that you can translate your google into Elmer Fudd. Brilliant.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Am I?

Thanks to this v funny Wonkette post, I couldn't resist working out what this blog reveals about me. According to Typealyzer's analysis of my blog, I am:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don't like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

It even shows you which parts of your brain are active during the construction of your blog. Apparently I is not so hot on the thinking / intellectual debate (well, doh, I could have told you that, although it smarts just a little that I'm not doing it in a thinly-veiled disguise of frivolity), but am all about the sensing and feeling. Really? As they can't spell "rhythm" I can, of course, dismiss any findings I dislike and agree with what I do like.

So, fellow bloggers, what are you? I'm going to resist doing it for you... just about... so long as you tell me what your bloggorhea says about you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I have been part of a couple for a rather long time - we are, indeed, just embarking on our second decade. So I always wonder how much of pre-TOH me remains. The essential imprint is there, obviously, but it occurs to me that after a reasonable length of time one's patterns of behaviour might change. A qualifier: I'm not talking about values, self-worth, independence of character, or anything like that (as in I don't know how I survived before my man, as I'm so dependent on him). Instead, this is about domestic behaviour - cleaning up, eating, drinking, tv-watching, slobbing about - how much of that do I do with or without him. This only really applies to the last five years of living together, rather than going out while living separately.

My sense of self and choices are always tested when TOH or I go out of town. Obviously, that depends on the length of the trip - if he's away for a couple of days it's not quite the same as being apart for a couple of weeks. However, even the couple of days are useful barometers for what I'm craving, or choose first to do, almost in an act of teenage rebellion (apt given that I was a teenager when we first got together). He went down to DC on Monday, and is back home late tonight. What did I do? I ate aubergines and string cheese (he dislikes them both rather intensely); I played Wii; I played squash and am going to the gym tonight. I didn't really have any pants tv to watch (ANTM being on tonight) and my Netflix timing was poor, with my new tv series arriving today; otherwise that's definitely what I would have done last night. I also got up and arrived at the office increasingly late in the morning, preferring to slob around in my dressing gown in the mornings and watch Pat Kiernan and ESPN.

What to learn from this? Not sure, really. It's all interconnected with that year in BCN when I was apart from TOH for weeks at a time, and really had to learn to live for and by myself because there was no one else to whom I was accountable. Echoes of that feeling of loneliness and self-reliance remain, so I treat myself to "indulgences" because I don't like it when he's gone. It's just interesting to me that those "indulgences" are not merely being a slob, which is how I tend to think of myself generally.

However, slobbishness is DEFINITELY coming to town next week with Thanksgiving - hurrah for more food than a stomach should see in four days!

Friday, November 14, 2008


There is nothing like the relief when a big fat heavy stormcloud that's been hanging over your head disappears. Of course, the raincloud may dump a bucket of water on you first, but that relief remains... and so it has come to pass that I have passed the NY Bar. It was a deeply painful and often humbling experience, not helped by the inadequacies of the website service today. I still know a lot of people, at 2.30pm, who do not yet know. Extremely frustrating for all concerned.

Nonetheless, I shall be dumping my bar/bri books, getting that $250 deposit and promptly spending it on shoes and booze. Thanks to everyone who was tolerant of my summer madness, and my completely self-absorbed rants about how I was destined to fail. Most thanks, as always, go to TOH for his support over the summer, constant reassurance and avid desire to look after me in the last few days despite his own (and far more important) stresses and strains.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Best Medicine

Despite the overwhelming joy felt in parts this week, it's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. The problems with Prop 8 and the general overwhelming tide of homophobia has got to me. The ongoing problems in Mexico are overwhelming friends. Work's been hard. I've been exhausted all week, not made it to the gym and eaten badly which always make me feel sluggish and grim.

So I've decided that finding something that makes you giggle uncontrollably and reliably every time is pretty special.

And now I have three ultra-reliable, guaranteed to make your sides hurt clips on YouTube that I can call up whenever I need a bit of a boost. I give you (from newest to oldest): Paul Rudd Dance, Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods and Cake or Death.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


It's really hard to explain the thoughts and emotions coursing through me in the last few days. I have to admit, I underestimated this country in many ways: that fear would take over, that the machines would mess up, that people would suppress the vote.

Last night was astonishing, in so many ways. But the sheer wondrousness of voting for Obama may mask the other stories that are almost as important. South Dakota, for the second time in two years, rejected an abortion ban, one which was designed to get Roe v. Wade overturned; for the third time, California rejected a parental notification requirement for teenage girls' abortions; and Colorado gave a big fat two fingers up to the Fetal Life Amendment. Yet, these are happy stories because they are rejections of encroachments of our rights, not progressive achievements or growth of civil liberties.

It's even harder to state how disappointing the level of homophobia in this country is. People can harp on all they want about the sanctity of marriage, and how it's nothing to do with the gay folk. But it is. It's homophobia. It's about whether you think gay people are equal. And, according to Arkansas, Michigan, Florida, California, they're not.

It's really odd to feel euphoric and yet utterly depressed. But that's what I feel right now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This One Thing

Today America votes. I don't, obviously. However, I've been thinking about the campaign as a whole, reading Margaret & Helen for its wonderful insights (the very simple post on Obama's grandmother made me sob a bit this morning), and just trying to come up with one reason that should persuade people to vote for Obama.

One reason, two words: Record Turnouts.

The Obama campaign has been all about mobilizing people to vote, inspiring them, often for the first time, to get their behinds down to the polling station and take an active part in democracy. The Republicans have been trying to scare people - scare Jews into thinking Obama will bring about a second Holocaust; scare taxpayers that he's a Marxist, terrorist thug who will still all their money and give it to black people, scare anti-choice nutters that Obama will bring about abortions for all because of women's "health"; and suing anything that moves to suppress the vote (with the Sixth Circuit ignoring Supreme Court precedent directly on point to allow them to sue).

The lines in Georgia (eight hours!) remind me of the lines in South Africa when black South Africans could vote for the first time; the Spanish elections in 2004, when vastly increased numbers turned out to stick it to Aznar for lying to them about ETA's involvement in the Madrid Atocha bombings for political gain. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck to think that people are really passionately involved and motivated to get out and vote.

McCain and the Republicans' tactics of voter suppression under the guise of voter fraud is the exact opposite of what should make you excited. That invokes black voter suppression of the Civil Rights Era (good old Chief Justice Rehnquist, eh?); when black voters were burned alive in a town hall for exercising their rights. Dramatic, yes, but it's on the same continuum of white voters wanting to ensure that black votes don't count. That's not the way any person should want to win the Presidency. And that's why I think you should vote for Obama.

Now, can we PLEASE get back to more important things, like whether or not Carlisle are going to get relegated to League Two this season.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Klear as Kristol

I really do have a problem with Bill Kristol. I can't help it. Today he has a stupid columnin the NY Times about how liberals are going to be fine if McCain wins... I presume it's supposed to be amusing - I cannot believe he'd be seroius - but it's just facetious and annoying. In response to his points:

1) McCain's the underdog. Really? I don't hear anyone saying they won't vote for an ex-Marine white guy, but you do hear an awful lot about people not voting for Obama because he's black. That just automatically underdogs you, when people cannot bear the thought of voting for you because of the colour of your skin. Because you have to discount them, and all the misconceptions and prejudices that others who are not as overt have about you, your wife, your children.

Further, the reason Kristol cites is that the Obama campaign was a multi-million juggernaut, and he conveniently forgets just why it raised so much money: lots of small contributions from record numbers of people. It's not just the amounts that are the stuff of record, but the sheer quantity of people who contributed. McCain's money came predominantly from the Republican establishment and the RNC, and the highest paid people on that staff were Palin's wardrobe and make-up consultants. Hmm, underdog indeed.

2) A defeat for the establishment. McCain only stayed in the Navy, according to some, because his Daddy ran the whole thing; he has been in the Senate umpteen years and is the embodiment of cozy establishment. Sarah Palin is also pretty cozy with the Washington establishment. Kristol claims the establishment nature of Obama is evident because Republican insiders are endorsing him; but surely, if they weren't, that would be evidence for how he's not ready to be President? You can't have it both ways - if he's criticised he's unsuitable, if he's endorsed he's an insider.

3) A victory for McCain is one for hope over fear, because it won't be just a retaliation for the Bush years. This one is just laughable. I suggest you just look at it in order to cry with laughter / bemusement at Kristol's depth of delusion. Again, if it's supposed to be funny, it is unfortunately coming across as facetious.

4) A victory for freedom. Hmm, because he caved over the torture Bush's administration may perform? He states that genocidal perpetrators will sleep less soundly during a McCain administration; Al-Qaeda endorsed McCain. What to do? Strange how "freedom" no longer means traditional constitutional civil liberties - freedom of speech, equal protection, right to be free of search and seizure - but means "freedom from terrorist attacks." National security does not equal freedom. Not that I'm a huge fan of Obama's voting for the wiretapping, either - I just don't think Kristol has a clue what he's talking about, because Republicans and the right have so far warped people's conceptions of personal freedoms that they honestly believe this is what it means. As a friend said to me last night, restricting American values of freedom in order to preserve American values of freedom doesn't really work.

5) Better for liberalism to have a mixed Congress etc. Maybe it worked before, but it's not good for us right now. Clinton caved to the conservatives in Congress by introducing and signing Don't Ask, Don't Tell as a way of dealing with the issues of gay people serving in the military. That's a good example of "compromise" legislation. Not that good stuff didn't happen with that mixture, but right now, liberals need to get their judges into the judiciary and need to get rid of the Global Gag rule and Abstinence-Only Funding and overhaul all the disastrous legislation Bush wrought (No Child Left Behind, anyone?). Bush has vetoed more legislation than anyone in history - does anyone really think Palin (Kristol's choice for President) would be any different if people did stuff she didn't like, particularly given her behaviour during Troopergate? I fear again for the DOJ and US Attorneys if she ever takes charge.

Right, that's out of my system.

Vote tomorrow. Please.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Resolved in October

  1. Done and done.
  2. 26.2%. I'm not sure I actually believe that, given that last month's fat percentage was 27.6, but it's what the scales said about half an hour ago. I've not been to the gym in a couple of weeks, but I have been trying to eat well - at least one salad a day, and I'm still playing football twice a week. I feel that I've made a bit of a breakthrough in terms of my eating more sensibly and enjoying it.
  3. Dance parties seem to be the only way, and we had a glorious one at the end of wine club last month, although it did break my iPod.
  4. We watched The Sting in honour of Mr. Newman, and are going to have The Hustler on tonight.
  5. Reading has been somewhat neglected - I've been so tired that not really reading as much as I'd like, and certainly very little classic stuff. I'm currently reading Away by Amy Bloom, which is my choice for book club (ok, not great) and I finally read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I was a little disappointed - everyone raved about it so much, and I loved the first half of it, but then it got a bit dull, weirdly. You'd think it would be right up my alley, what with it exploring what it means to feel like a boy, or a girl, but I don't think he actually did that much with it. It all boiled down to have sexual feelings for a girl, and that was explained away by the testes. Yet... the exploration of the pressures on a teenage girl, on needing to fit in and be like the others - that is more universal than this character, and it would have been a bit better, I think, if somehow that message had been conveyed.
  6. Bought some gorgeous chrysanthemums today, specifically for the purpose of fulfilling the resolution - so it works! Of course, Clem has already had a nibble, but they're safe so far. Having said that, now Winston is on the attack. TOH is trying to prevent a floral disaster.
  7. Not really done anything new, I don't think, but we did the lamb with sage & rosemary for my mum this week, and that's about it. We've been meaning to try something new, so that's a spur to try one this week.
  8. For culture, went to the Frick with my mum. It was brilliant - we didn't spend long there, just had a look at the Vermeers and the Holbeins, and the amazing Goya. There's a new Whistler, or at least one I don't remember seeing, which is gorgeous. The Frick is the perfect museum - just the right size. The house is beautiful as well, and as I've been there quite a few times, I had a good look at the fittings, the vases, the lamps - things that I've not really noticed before. There was a lot of beautiful Japanese lacquered wood, absolutely exquisite.
So that was October. Rock on November.