31 July 2010

That's so 90s: Swingers

"And it's like I'm supposed to be all happy 'cause she's wearing a backpack, you know?"

To me, one of the more iconic movies of the 90s, and of my college years, is Swingers. Out in 1996, it ushered in a new era of bowling shirts, swing music, and people being so money they don't even know it. And, of course, something that hasn't died, even 14 years later...Vegas, baby, Vegas!

The backpack line, well, that one got me because we all had our little backpacks in the mid-90s, and really got me thinking about this movie. Forget shoulder purses, it was all about the little pack. There was even a song, "Little Black Backpack," immortalizing the trend. But, yeah, when Swingers hit, the trend was relatively new and we were all starting to learn to love it.

It's funny watching this movie now. Mikey has to call into his answering MACHINE, using a calling card to save money...no automated voicemail (it existed, but was pricey), no cell phones (they also existed, but very few people had them outside of their car), definitely no PDAs. The Internet barely existed outside of AOL, so no one in this movie has a computer. If anything, this movie demonstrates how different it is to communicate in 2010...

Some things haven't changed so much...the 2 (or 3) day rule, which may have actually been popularized by this movie. The not getting over being dumped. The struggle for a 20-something to find their place, their success in the world. Everyone in LA being in cars (which begs a question for me...if they are driving all over the place, without carpooling...do they not drink that much? Is it common to not get too drunk in SoCal because someone has to drive?). Boys sitting around playing video games, getting into real world fights when one beats the other in the fake world (though...the graphics in the games have gotten MUCH better!).

It's funny watching this movie now, and thinking how much it changed things in my little college world. We had parties where the guys were all in the bowling shirts and we girls tried to learn to swing dance. The music changed. And the way we talked totally changed. It was definitely a fun time!

I'll just go back to being the little bunny in the corner, and let someone else be the big bad bear.

*BTW...warning...googling "Swingers" to find images for this movie brings up some very, very disturbing stuff.

29 July 2010

Right vs. Wrong

Recently, some website called WikiLeaks leaked some confidential information about the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

While I think it is important that we know what is going on there -- the truth of it, not what the media or government wants us to think -- I am really conflicted over leaks like this. I don't know if they are real or not, or if there is some editing going on to spin this even further, but it's more the idea...

I may not agree with the conflict, or the amount our government continues to spend there on a conflict without end...but I don't think our need for truth should compromise the safety of the men and women who have risked their lives to defend my right to disagree. And I can't help but think that this type of thing does indeed do that. If tactical information gets out there, the "enemies" in this conflict could be one step ahead, and be waiting for our troops, putting them even more in harm's way (as well as civilians). And that's not ok.

Like I said, I don't agree with this conflict. I don't see an end and I don't see there is any way we can achieve anything there other than further death and ruin. However, I support our troops and want them to come home safely. And things like this...well, they throw safety out of the window....

26 July 2010

Personal Record!

I never thought I would get excited about running.

I know I "talked" about this recently, but the whole running thing still baffles me. But as I get more used to it, I get more goal-oriented about it (goals? me? shocking.)...

This past weekend was Wharf to Wharf, the super fun 10K we ran in last year, and loved so much we decided to make it an annual tradition. Once again, a group of us -- this year, we ultimately had 11 -- rented a house, loaded up the cars and the dogs, and headed down to Santa Cruz for the weekend. This year our house was a little more central, just a few blocks from downtown, and a little sunnier...rooftop access too!

After a fun weekend of playing, eating, and a little drinking...Sunday rolled around and it was time to run the race. I had tweaked my knee the weekend before, and wasn't too sure how it would hold up over the 6+ miles. I wanted to come in at under 10 minutes/mile....was a little nervous about it!

The gun sounded and Alisa & I jumped in right away. This was probably a mistake...it was so crowded it was hard to move around much. Our first mile was rather slow, largely thanks to the walkers who decided to place themselves right in the middle of the flow (and, in the 6min/mile pace group).

And, as an aside...this is just poor race etiquette. If you're going to walk, fine, but go to the back of the race. Or to the sides. But don't just walk, from the start line, when it is not necessary. Don't stop in the middle of the street without any concern for the pile up you may cause. Be cognizant of the other runners around you, many of whom have trained and went to the faster pace group because we actually wanted to run!

Whew, ok...we rounded up the first hill with some great speed that lasted throughout the race. The bands entertained us, and seriously, they are the best part of the race. Every few hundred yards there's a new band, and there are locals around dancing to these bands and cheering us on. So fun. they definitely helped us move on up the hills...and at the last mile, we were pacing at about 8 minutes/mile.

No wonder I felt like vomiting!

I felt awesome throughout the race, and think we could have paced a little faster if we had started a little further back of the pack....but overall, we came in at a tiny bit under 10min/mile, a PR for both Alisa and I and a great time overall. I was pretty pumped...my knees held up, we kicked @ss, and at the end I got to meet up with the Q's (who I hadn't seen since Amsterdam!) and have a beer or two!

Cannot wait until next year...goal time: under 1 hour.

17 July 2010

Too Much Noise?

Social networking...the most popular phrase of late adopters everywhere. The thing that is dominating most marketers worlds (some for many years, some more recently). If you can ascertain one thing from this new world...it's that it creates a lot of noise.

Blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Yelp, FourSquare...just to name a few of the way people connect. Some people have their Facebook status connected with their LinkedIn status connected with their Twitter status. This seems so weird to me, yet, I think it is the new normal?

To disclaim, I guess I am a rather early adopter. I have had a website/blog since about 1998 as a way to connect with my friends overseas. We used to have group IM sessions...me late at night, them early in the morning. In the early email/early new-media age, this was the way we stayed connected. I worked for an company where I had to have accounts on all these platforms and had to understand them. When I left, I only stayed on what I really liked (mainly, Facebook...W00T).

I recently had to start on the Twitter, just to learn more about it for my job. It's the new sweetheart, a way to marry the professional aspect of LinkedIn with the information pushing of Facebook, but you can still be rather anonymous. I held out as long as I could...

It was just too much noise.

Does anyone really care what I have to say that much? I doubt it, but it is an interesting experiment. I am seeing all these companies follow me, in hopes that I will in turn follow them and hopefully succumb to their wiley marketing ways. And while I am learning, really, it is tough to remember to follow something else, to update something else.

So how much is too much? Will something new and improved come along and replace Facebook? What is the next Twitter? Will the kiddos start using these things, and then us old folks have to follow?

I love new media, I really do. I love my iPhone. People may overshare, but there's also a weird connection that comes with knowing what's going on in people's lives. But, still, a huge part of me longs for the days where the most sophisticated thing was getting on three-way calling with your friend, and calling the person you like, just to check if they're home, and hang up when they answer...no *69 or caller ID.

14 July 2010

Got My New Shoes On

My REI obsession continues.This time, it is a shiny new pair of hiking boots. I don't think I have owned hiking boots since I was a day camp counselor, choosing usually to hike in my tennis shoes (or my old trail runners, but those got left in Costa Rica).

They are kind of boyish, but they are so far super comfy (I am trying them out, hiking around my house...maybe I'll climb on and off the table to test how they handle different movements and terrain).

Now I'm ready to hike. Who's with me?

(and yes, every time I get new shoes, I sing and dance:

nerdy...I don't care)

12 July 2010

Holy Crazy Town

I really need to know where they find these crazy biotches of The Real Housewives. I think they are supposed to be 30/40 year old women, but they act like the mean girls in high school, screaming and ish and nothing!

Highlights include,
- "Hello police? There has been an alteration..."
- "I was attacked, my hair was pulled out of my head..."
- and the best...getting all bent because someone accused the other's home of being in foreclosure.

This was all in the space of a few minutes, and it makes me wonder if these women will ever look back and cringe at their own antics? Do they have that much sense?

I know...this is lame, but it's summer and not much is on later night TV.

07 July 2010

Lack of Appeal

There are things that I just don't get...Crocs, mesh tops, ironic mustaches...and the appeal of Kristen Stewart.

First, a disclaimer...I have never seen any of the Twilight movies beyond the trailers they show incessantly on TV. I have no desire to see these movies. I don't know that I ever will. So...know that. Right now, as I write this, I am watching Adventureland, a movie that I really like, and where she plays the love interest.

But I have seen La Stewart in several other movies over the years, and, well, they can change her hair, they can change the name of her character...but they can't change the fact that she plays every part the same way: with the expression she is wearing in the picture above, and a disaffected attitude. Pretty much how she is on every red carpet, as well.

"I'm weird and awkward and going to pull my shoulders to my ears even though you all love me and I am a huge star."

Get over it, really. I have yet to see her show any range, or show any reason why all these guys in the movies would be in love with her. She barely smiles, which is too bad, because when she does, she's quite lovely.

There's really no point to this post, other than she bugs me in this movie and in the Twilight crap I can't seem to escape. I'm pulling for her to surprise us...but won't be shocked when that doesn't happen.

05 July 2010

I Need it Now

This is hilarious...I could totally imagine this conversation happening!

I want the bigger Gee Bees.

01 July 2010

And I was Running

If you had asked me -- as a kid, teen, young adult -- how I felt about running, I likely would have scrunched my face and responded with an, "ugh. I can't stand running."

As any of my coaches...I was the last one to finish a run, the first one to find an excuse to sit out, and often the one who would get behind and decision to skip it that day at practice.

I started running begrudgingly about 7 years ago. I lived next to the park, and it was easy to throw on my shoes and go for an early or post-work jog. I found myself complaining quite a bit (to myself), my knees hurting, my hips, really, whatever I could find that may hurt would start to hurt. Then my grandma got sick and couldn't walk, and I thought...my body is healthy and still moving despite my whining. I need to be better than this. And, so, I decided to run a half marathon.

Still didn't love it, but did it anyway. And I did a few more, for no real reason, and I kept jogging, though it wasn't my favorite thing.

So imagine my surprise when, the other day, I realized...I am a runner. I run a few times a week. I enter races FOR FUN. I log my miles, keep track and try to correct what may be hurting, and set (slight) goals.

But more than that, I feel gross if I don't run. I now actually NEED to run.

This is so weird to me, and as silly as this sounds, I still have a hard time getting my mind around it. Me, a runner? Running to something other than a beer or my couch? This really, truly, baffles me.