Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Education of Sam

So Andy posted this on Facebook today
"List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard. They don't have to be 'right' or 'great' books, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10+ friends, including me, so I'll see your list."

And even though he didn't tag me (ahem), it made me pause.
As an avid reader from a young age, it interested me to look back and realize what books influenced and flavored my life.

Not in any particular order, and not even promising these are books I would recommend to others. Just ones that stayed with me and influenced my style and taste.

1. Charlotte Bronte, JANE EYRE
     "I am no bird, and no net ensnares me".  Need I say more?

2. Dennis Lehane, A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR
    So bleak and beautiful and I was so upset and affected by it that my ex told me I wasn't allowed to      read anymore of his writing. I ignored him but at my own emotional peril. “I stared down the slim barrel of a gun, looked into eyes rabid with fear and hatred, and saw my reflection. Pulled the trigger to make it go away. I heard the echoes of my gunshots, smelled the cordite, and in the smoke, I still saw my reflection and knew I always would.”

3. Taylor Caldwell, CAPTAIN AND THE KINGS
     The main character's description of his first time at the symphany destroyed me. And inspired me to start my own love affair with classical music.

4. Arturo Perez-Reverte, THE NAUTICAL CHART
    Although I've had a hard and fast love for film noir, this was my first noir novel. Him: gullible, tough and rugged. A man without a ship, without prospects, without luck. Romantic in a scotch, straight way. Punch first, ask questions later. Do anything for a hard, remote, sensual blonde. Even when you know it's wrong, even when you know it can only end in disaster, even when you know someone's got to die, even when you know it might be you. My preference for bombay sapphire gin stems from this.
 Dark romanticism, a fever dream that pulls you under and drowns you and when you wake up from it you find yourself dizzy and unstable.
6. Stephen King, THE GUNSLINGER
    "First comes smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire". Over the span of eight books, King wrote the perfect epic story, mixing spaghetti westerns with a touch of apocalyptic fever and old world magic.

7. Neil Gaiman, NEVERWHERE
    A grown up fairy tale in the style of the Brothers Grimm. *swoon*
8. George Bernard Shaw, MAN VS SUPERMAN
     The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Logic! Wit! Word play! 14 year old Sam didn't stand a chance.
9. Daphne du Maurier, REBECCA
    More dark romanticism. This segwayed into Shelley and Bronte and Byron. Whenever my love of noir leaves me in a puddle of depression about the world, the beauty in their writing brings me back to life. 
10. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, DON QUIXOTE
     For a girl who grew up reading classics and had a very skewed idea what the world should be like, this book brought me up short and reminds me that I don't want to spend my life fighting windmills. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Workout Fails

Well hello December. I'm not quite ready for you. Not even a little bit.
And I didn't get better about writing.
But I thought more about writing.
So that's something.

I didn't take more pictures.
But I ate better.
And started crossfit.

There is a crossfit gym a block from my house and I see the crossfiters (crossfitees? crossfitpeoples?) all the time. They are running and sweating and smiling and in such good shape. So naturally I hate them. I'd love to join them. But turns out a crossfit gym is crazy expensive. So  that's out of the question. But I figured I could do some crossfit at home. While researching crossfit I found this Spartan 30 day WOD challenge . And I decided, what the hell.

I told myself this would be difficult. But I wasn't going to try to do it in 30 days. That would be crazy. Crossfit crazy. But I'm not there yet, so I would just follow the work outs in order and take a rest day every 3 days or so or as needed. I started with the first workout.
I nearly died.

The first workout started with 400 lunges. Do you know what 400 lunges feels like? It feels like dying. The first 100 lunges is all about bargaining. "If I just do 25 lunges I'll be ok" "ok I've done 50 lunges, I can do 10 more then quit" "10 more and that'll be 100, I'll stop there, that's good right?". The next 200 lunges you go through anger "this is stupid, no one actually does the 400 lunges, i hate everyone", denial "I can't do it, and really I can get a great ass without doing lunges right?" depression "I'm going to be doing lunges the rest of my life at this right. I might as well eat ice cream and sit on the couch".  The last 100 lunges is acceptance. And fear. Because now you know you can finish the 400 lunges, but you're kind of afraid of what will happen once you stop. You're not even sure you can stop. You're pretty sure once you reach 400 lunges you will just fall over and have to do somersaults to get anywhere. Which is handy cause I can rock a somersault.

But I digress. I survived the first workout. I survived eight of them actually.
Then Fix broke the bad news.

If you actually clicked on the above link you would see that a lot (most) of the WODs (work out of the day ) involve running. Running a mile, running 400 meters...lots of running. Well we have this handy little elliptical in our closet by the sea, so I've incorporated that. And was amazed at how well I've been doing. Knocking out the mile runs, even running 800 meters when it only calls for 400 meters. I was just feeling that good. So good that I was bragging to Fix that running wasn't so bad, look how much I run now!
Fix took a look at the screen on the elliptical and very gently pointed out that the digital track I was running was only 400 meters... not the mile length I thought it was. That all the running I've been doing as part of the WODs was only a fourth of what I was supposed to be doing. To add more shame, instead of being super fast and in great shape, turns out I was running a very very slow one fourth of mile.

If this was a slapstick comedy I'm fairly certain I would have fainted. Instead, I went to his mother's house last weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, ate my weight in stuffing and considered giving up.

I'm not giving up. Because I'm stubborn. Really, I don't have a better reason than that. I'm pissed off I wasn't doing the work outs right and now I'm determined to go back and do it right. Even if that means I have to do 400 lunges again.

So December,
prepare for more writing.
And more lunges
And more running.