During the government shutdown

The U.S. government will probably shut down tomorrow due to a budget … controversy, let’s call it, in Congress.

I am a federal employee. However, I am what’s called exempted. I must report to work whether or not I am getting paid.

But that’s neither here nor there. What I want to call your attention to is a hashtag on Twitter, #duringthegovernmentshutdown2piginthecity. This is being used by writer Glen Weldon in a lengthy series of tweets discussing the post-apocalyptic state of Washington, D.C., during the government shutdown.

Being as I am a fan of all those 80s movies involving biker gangs and leather and burned-out urban centers and quests for the missing nuclear codes, I am finding Mr. Weldon’s running narrative hilarious. I recommend you go to Twitter and check it out.

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Swimming, the update

Yesterday I swan front crawl the length of the pool once without stopping. (I also swam it multiple times with stops to tread water.)

Tomorrow is swim class, again.

I think I am not signing up for another class. I dislike it, strongly. But after this session is over, I will certainly be able to swim.

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Agents of SHIELD

1. I am so glad they are spelling it SHIELD and not S.H.I.E.L.D.

2. After seeing the pilot, my son asked if he and I could have screen fidelity for the show. If we could commit, in other words, to only watching it together. How could I resist? So, Wednesdays, after his circus class and before I drive back to circus to pick up his sister, M and I will be sitting on the couch eating dinner and watching Agents of SHIELD.

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Things, in a list

1. I liked this post on Nerd Fitness about how to look like a celebrity in a big action movie. I don’t know about you, but I need these sorts of reminders from time to time.

2. I will be at Geek Girl Con in Seattle, October 19-20! I hope to see many of you there!

3. I also liked this ranting post from Stumptuous about things a person might want to consider by age 40. Yes. A person might want to consider those things.

4. I like this Melody Pond fanvid:

I Tremble | Melody Pond, by catminolte. Music “Help I’m Alive (Dubstep Remix)” by Metric.

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I do appreciate it, Sleepy Hollow

So we’ve seen two episodes of the new tv series Sleepy Hollow. I can’t speak as to the quality of the show yet. It’s promising, certainly. She’s a skeptic with some emotional baggage who mediates the guy’s way through the world. He’s the charismatic believer who delivers awkward exposition with complete sincerity.

If that sounds X-Files, well, there are reasons for that.

But that’s neither here nor there. What I wanted to praise the show for is it’s casting.

See, in the “historical” segments, there are a lot of white folks. Mostly supposed to look English, Irish, Welsh, French, and German. (We haven’t gotten around to depictions of Native Americans yet, but I am CERTAIN IN MY BONES that we will.) In the present-day sections of the show, however, we meet character after character played by a person of color.

This is fantastic. I am depressed that it’s so unusual that I NOTICED, but it’s fantastic. It’s as if the casting director looked at each role and asked, “does this character NEED to be white? Because we have a crapton of NEED-to-be-white-folks already. So does this one NEED to be white? No? Great. Latino actor, you have the part.”

As for male or female roles, the show is doing its level best on that, too. In the historical fiction scenes we have the (male) town leaders, American rebel (male) military, (male) British spies, etc. But we also have not one but TWO covens of witches, all female. In the present-day one of the leads is an African-American woman. And the opening credits lists four actors — two men, two women, two white, two black.

As I said, I can’t tell you whether the show is going to be any good or not. But it’s promising, so far.

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The well-designed fitness program

A few weeks back I started doing the 100 Push-Ups program, doing incline push-ups. Yesterday I went to do them and experienced sharp, stabbing pain in my right wrist.

Hm.

A year ago I was working my through the StrongLifts 5×5 barbell lifting program. After about six weeks I had tendonitis in both elbows so badly I couldn’t hold my tea mug. I couldn’t hold my tea mug, people. This clearly constituted a crisis.

This past spring and summer I worked diligently on improving my running, with the goal of running a 5K this fall. I did two short runs a week, and a longer run every two weeks. I worked on form and endurance. About two weeks after I ran 5K in my neighborhood I had to admit that I had so inflamed my IT band and left psoas that I could barely walk.

I read a lot of books on fitness and physical culture. A lot. And they all say the same thing — that a person needs a well-designed fitness program in order to see “real” gains. (Real gains is never truly defined.) That, essentially, messing about with a little running, a little swimming, some weights, some kettlebells, and some bodyweight exercises just won’t improve anything.

Yet that’s exactly what I do. And it’s exactly what I apparently have to do, or else I hurt myself. Doing too much of anything for too long leads to connective-tissue damage for me.

It’s … it’s difficult to avoid feeling like a failure when I get two weeks into some new program and have to stop. It’s difficult to not be angry at my body for not performing as I request it to. But, there you have it. This is the only body that has been issued to me and there are no replacements. I am not the person for whom the well-designed fitness program works. I am one who messes about, doing whatever feels good and not-painful from week to week. “Well-designed” for me means changing what I am doing constantly so that no set of tendons or ligaments gets overtaxed.

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Today is actually the day

Happy birthday, M.

Ten years ago today we’d been at the hospital overnight already. I think I went home at some point and let the dogs out and got a bit of sleep, maybe? I don’t recall that point. The photos of everyone at the hospital show a bunch of ill-lit zombie-looking people, at any rate.

Your birth family were crowded around you. We took up SPACE, my son. Birth family on both sides and adoptive family and clan. A lot of people were super-happy to see you come into the world.

You were very blotchy. No offense, but you just were. Blotchy and so, so very much a red-head. Just like your birth mom and, amusingly enough, like my mother. I remember she laughed to get a red-headed, blue-eyed grandchild.

The next day when it was time for us to take you home, it was Two Stooges Dress the Baby. We laughed while trying to fit your limbs into a Winnie-the-Pooh onesie. We figured that eventually we would get better at it, and finally we did.

Happy birthday, my fine ten-year-old boy. I love you.

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