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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

everyone's a critic

You ever go to someone's house and they have some completely different stations on their cable/satellite than you have and thus you are sucked into a vortex of TV watching when you don't even ever watch most of the stations you have on your own TV ever? Just me again? Okay.

Well, I was at a friend's house the other day and he has Palladia, which is apparently a music channel, and on Palladia they were playing Later...with Jools Holland, which is apparently a very famous UK show that I'd never seen or ever heard of. (There's a lot of apparentlys in that sentence. I guess I'm weaseling instead of fact-checking today. Deal.) Jools Holland was (not "apparently"--this was internet-verified) a member of Squeeze, a band I like very much and which was part of the soundtrack of my college life. Like, if they ever make a movie featuring me in 1981, "Tempted" will be playing over the montage of me walking around Allston in too-tight high-waisted jeans and a Rolling Stones t-shirt.  Where was I? Oh, yeah. So, on Later the other night, Alabama Shakes were performing. Also Norah Jones, Jack White, The Chieftans, and some English chick I have never heard of who did some very interesting electronica. Why is this not on my Directv, again?

I was watching Alabama Shakes, the lead singer of which, Brittany Howard***, is a larger woman, and she was performing in a long tunic/short dress over capri leggings. I turned to my friend and said, "That woman should wear pants at all times. Worst cankles ever."  And was immediately ashamed of myself.  The woman has a tremendous voice and a hit record.  Her cankles are irrelevant.  But more importantly, why am I judging and picking apart another woman's body?  Who am I to criticize someone else's body parts?  Part of me says, "Well, honestly, she's not an unattractive woman and if she just made another wardrobe choice--boots, long pants, a maxi skirt, even leggings/tights that didn't cut off right above her ankles--she'd just look so much better on TV. It's a criticism of her fashion sense, not her body."  If I could sing (ha!) and Jools Holland invited me on his show, I could imagine viewers at home looking askance if I chose to perform in short shorts. "That woman should keep her cellulite covered, man."  But, really, that's bullshit. Maybe Ms Howard likes her lower legs. Maybe she doesn't see them as an unsightly "problem area" that needs to be camouflaged. Who the hell am I to place that judgment on her?  If I were to appear in public--on stage even--with my cellulite on display, is that anyone's business but my own?  And would I have ever had the same reaction to an outfit by a male lead singer? (Okay, I may or may not have suggested it's time for Iggy Pop to look into shirts. But that's with more fond amusement than real criticism. Also, while we're on the topic...kinda...I can stop complaining about Carnival Cruises using "Lust for Life" in their ads now that recent events have proved that going on a Carnival cruise really *is* like a scene out of Trainspotting. Feces on the walls? Check! Heh.)

So, mea culpa, Ms Howard. You rock whatever garments you choose and if anyone like me suggests otherwise, hit 'em in the head with your guitar.

You know I had to drop that in there.


***yes, I did actually look that up too. You're welcome.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

larcenous sobs disrespecting other people's property, etc

Not to get all cranky-pants on y'all, but do you see the above?  It's an Altus nylon dip belt that I ordered on Amazon last night for 22 bucks and change.  Why?  Well, lemme tell you.

Yesterday afternoon at the gym, the Y-owned nylon dip belt was missing. I searched the whole entire fitness floor--because people not returning things to wear they are supposed to be kept is a whole nother problem--and it was just gone.  I can only surmise that it was either stolen, broken, or put somewhere totally inexplicable like, I dunno, the locker room, the pool, or the basketball court.  This effed with my planned workout. I was not pleased. And it came to me like a message from on high*** that these things are probably fairly inexpensive and that I should just buy my own and never get irritated by its disappearance again.

You know what else is always disappearing at my Y?

The oly bar collars.  At one time--maybe a year ago?--we had 8 pair, most of which were brand new. We're down to two now. Two. And one pair is kinda wonky.  So six pair were stolen? Really?  Because what the hell do people do with them at home?  If you have an oly bar set-up and a rack in your house, why are you lifting at the Y? And if you have an oly bar set-up and a rack in your house, you've spent hundreds of dollars for them. You can afford to buy a $9 set of collars I'm sure. I've tried to envision some kind of deviant sexual purpose people would be stealing those mothers for but even my warped imagination is not up to it. So, seriously, people, wtf?  I am, again, almost tempted to buy myself my own set of collars to bring to the gym but someone would probably take them off my bar when I went to the bubbler for twenty seconds to refill my water.

Plus, there's a limit to how much crap a person can reasonably expected to haul to the gym. Especially on the bus. I already bring my workout journal and pen, LiquidGrip, iPod, water bottle, usually my Kindle Fire, sometimes my yoga mat, very occasionally a bathing suit and flipflops, gym clothes (if I'm not already wearing them of course), just enough grooming implements to ensure I'm not skeery when I'm leaving, one of my supplements I take immediately post lifting, and--after Friday if Amazon comes through--my dip belt.  I really do not want to swap out my gym bag for a suitcase, kwim?

Does this shit happen at your gyms, readers, or is my beloved ghetto Y just blessed with a particularly sticky-fingered or irresponsible crowd?  And do you haul an unconscionable amount of equipment with you to the gym?


***hey, you have your religious experiences and I'll have mine

Friday, March 8, 2013

i drink alone

This post is only very tangentially related to health and fitness, but it does touch on body image so I'ma drop it in here.  I'm just dying to share this experience with y'all.

Last night I braved the snow to go see George Thorogood, who was performing at the Lynn Auditorium.  Before I get to my point, lemme just express some amusement at this whole set up. They're trying to make Lynn Auditorium happen as a concert venue, which is just a little bit bizarre seeing as it's located in City Hall. I told the friend that I was attending the concert with that this meant there would be no beer. I was wrong. They had concessions set up and they were indeed selling beer. Inside City Hall. I don't even... Alright, I'm probably just cranky about that since I didn't have one. I'm on a diet and very much moderating my alcohol consumption. Sigh.  The other reason they are not gonna make this concert venue happen is that there's really no good parking. We found a space on street a few blocks away, but it took ten minutes of riding around. Plus, if they weren't selling beer inside City Hall, there's no good bars around there to pre-game. Um, without getting stabbed.

Anyway.  We found a space, walked over, got our tickets scanned and went in. (They weren't checking bags. I coulda brought my own beer, yo.)  My friend needed to use the restroom before we found our seats and I didn't, so I just waited in the hall, watching my fellow concert-goers.  It was stunning. Everyone--almost literally everyone--was between the ages of 45 and 60. Watching these clots of middle-aged people milling around the halls, I had this weird deja vu sensation, like someone had scooped us all up out of the halls of my high school in 1978 and deposited us 35 years later.  And the 35 years had not been kind.  My friend came out (bitching that the City Hall bathrooms were not really built to handle a crowd, heh) and I said, "Tell the truth. We look just as old as the rest of these middle-aged people, don't we? It's very humbling."

Readers, it's not as if I don't look in the mirror every day. And it's not as if I don't look at my same age friends and clearly see how we're all growing grayer/saggier/wrinklier/heavier/balder/etc. by the year. But it took a whole concert full of 50-somethings without any younger people to break up the visual to feel the full impact.  Humbling.  I was just saying to another friend the other day that, as I'm presently job hunting, I know I'm supposed to be worried about age discrimination and the fact that maybe a younger person is gonna get hired before me, but that it pissed me off, because in my head, I'm thirty.  A wiser, more experienced, less crazy thirty, but still. Thirty. I was joking about fudging my resume to make it harder to figure out how old I am, but the whole George Thorogood experience made me realize that no one but me is ever gonna think I'm thirty.  I guess that's demoralizing as well as humbling!  I can squat and deadlift and jog and go to yoga and all it's gonna do is turn me into a very fit old person.  Which is better than a non-fit old person, but I don't know what that says about my job prospects.

Here's a couple of my favorite Thorogood song for your troubles.

Yes, I DO know the second one is a cover. Shut up.


P.S. Another lesson from last night? Drunk and/or high 50-somethings behaving at a concert like it still was 1978 are not cute. I'm talking to *you* bleached blonde chick in the tight pants, falling off your stillettos while dancing in the aisle and having to be removed by security.  I'm also talking to *you* guy two seats over whose miasma of really really skunky weed almost gave me a contact high and who despite all that apparent THC was NOT mellow and had to keep climbing over me every ten minutes to go to the hallway for god knows what.

P.P.S. Final lesson: I should probably cut my hair. All the women my age with long hair looked like shit and I am sadly probably no exception.