Thursday, January 31, 2008

I am the unemployable

With my enthusiasm for graduate study rapidly dwindling, and my enthusiasm for the poverty associated with graduate study non-existent, I have been very actively searching for a part-time job to supplement my income and expose me to life outside of the Ivory Tower (of doom and gloom).

Results of search: I am, apparently, not a viable job candidate. This is troubling.

I have applied for jobs as a research assistant to an author working on a historical novel based in pre-revolutionary France, several jobs working at the various front desks of yoga studios in Manhattan, and retail positions, among other things.

Number of responses: 0. It is worth noting that this could easily describe any or all of my job searches to date, with the exception of things for which I have been directly recommended by friends (who also happen to be current employees of the place to which I am applying).

My new plan is to pack up my yogurt maker, yoga mat, and running shoes and find some isolated homestead somewhere (a northern mid-western state comes to mind) and think bitter, vindictive thoughts in the direction of all the employers who threw out my resume.

Number of responses: 1; I have a phone interview sometime in my very near future! Plans to find isolated homestead put on hold until further notice.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Okay, now, if you've ever looked at the island of Manhattan on a map, you may have noticed that it vaguely resembles a penis. This resemblance is sort of determined in part by the way in which the map you are looking at is laid out. For instance, when Manhattan is nestled comfortably among the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, it is somewhat less noticeable that is has a phallic quality to it. However, when its shape stands alone, gracing the front of the Continental Airlines Grand Prix Manhattan Half-Marathon (or some combination of all of those words) race shirt, you really have to wonder who decided to use this design. I mean, really.

I don't think I will be wearing this one outside of the comfort of my own home. The design is also off-centered. The whole thing strikes me as ill-advised; what is your take? Am I imagining things?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And the results are in, part 2


This means that my top two matches (according to that oh-so-accurate quiz whose word I trust and am surely lost without) are now no longer presidential candidates. If I am to follow the quiz, this means I vote for Obama by default.

Personally, I would rather vote for Clinton. And can we please start calling her Clinton and not Hilary? It really gets under my skin when women are addressed differently from their male counterparts. We either call them all by their first names, or none of them by their first names. No mixing and matching. Why? Because I said so, obviously.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In the name of God?


And I'm sure you think God wants you to picket this poor, dead man's funeral because there is no better way of expressing your own ignorance and intolerance than by disrupting an event that honors someone's life. Moreover, the act leaves an extremely bad taste (to say the least) in the mouths of everyone who is there to mourn, remember, and say goodbye to that person so the likelihood of anyone appreciating your action is even less than slim to none. Therefore, the point is...what, exactly? To show everyone how hateful you are?

I think your point has already been made. So maybe just let the guy rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What ever happened to just being healthy?

This morning I read this article in the New York Times, which addresses a somewhat ongoing conflict between thin and fat. American culture seems to have myriad obsessions, but I think that when you get to the bottom of them, they are all based on the fact that we live in a culture of extremes. This focus on thin and fat is just an extension of this. Supposedly, we work hard to play hard, we have extreme wealth and extreme poverty in the same cities (sometimes within block of each other), we need huge cars, lots of gasoline, lots of luxury, lots of food...everything has to be taken to the extreme.

That is what bothers me about this NYT article. I support the idea of fat-acceptance blogging. I think it is important that no one feel ashamed of, disgusted, or embarrassed by their body. At the same time, I sort of bristle at the idea of fat-acceptance blogging, because I don't really see the point in playing into the binary system. This, to me, doesn't seem like an effective way to combat the rail-thin images of both women and men that we see on a daily basis, whether it is on billboards or other advertisements on the street, in magazines, or on television and in movies.

I think it is important to stress one thing. Thin is not equivalent to healthy, and neither is fat. These are both descriptions of body types that have come to be associated with different meanings. To the average American, thin is, among other things, successful, in control, rich, beautiful, intelligent, a compliment. No one ever gets upset at being told they are thin. Some people even appreciate hearing that they are "too thin". This must, inevitably, mean that they are doing something right. In contrast, fat is out of control, slow, ignorant, slovenly, lazy, and insult. No one wants to be told they are fat. Neither one of these words is an objective description, it is always a loaded term, no matter who it is coming from and what their intention is. More importantly, neither one is an accurate descriptor or indicator of health.

One of the bloggers featured in the NYT article that I mentioned about has an "I-love-my-body" pledge that you can download on her website (it is a .pdf file so that you can take the pledge, print out the paper, and post it somewhere conspicuous so that it will remind you of your determination to accept yourself the way you are). This is great, but I don't think it should be advertised as being only for those who are fat or fat-accepting, which is the way it is presented in the article. I think everyone, fat, thin, or in between, should be encouraged to take a pledge like this one. I also think that in addition to working toward accepting and loving our bodies, no matter what they look or feel like, we should all be pledging to take active steps toward being healthy. Instead of concentrating on labels like fat and thin, we should be thinking about how we feel, and how we make our bodies feel. The goal should be health, and not a size two by any means possible.

After all, if we love our bodies, the next step should be to give something back--a nice walk, a healthy lunch, a yoga session, something that makes your body feel good and that makes you feel, more than anything else, healthy.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On Thursday, I had a major epiphany: I finally realized what I most want to do with my life, and, unsurprisingly, it had very little (if anything...I mean, nothing, really) to do with French literature. What I want to do is get certified to teach yoga, and eventually get to the point where I can open up my own studio. Ultimately, I would like to get the highest level of certification available, which you obtain after 500 hours of training. At whatever point I can, I want to start teaching and just go forward from there.

I tend to have a pattern when it comes to things like this:
  1. Long period of wanting to do something (this desire usually just hangs out in the back of my mind), but not really letting myself admit that I want to do it because of a fear of failure, risk, cost, or the effort that it will take and the feeling that I will not be able to put forth that effort. I guess that technically qualifies as a more specific form of fear of failure. At any rate, you get my point. This phase consists of complete denial of what would actually make me happy and intense rationalization in the form of negative self-talk (go go psychobabble!)
  2. A moment when I realize that I can, in fact, do this thing that I have really, always wanted to do. In this moment, I realize that I can be that person who knows what they want and will go after it no matter what it takes because the reward will be so satisfying that everything that they endure to get to the end-point is worth it. This is like being on top of the world.
  3. A sudden fall, usually due to the voices in the back of my head that start quiet but usually get louder and louder, and remind me of the risks and inevitable failure that I will face. How could I possibly succeed at something like this, and why would I ever think I was even capable? What would lead me to even entertain the thought?
  4. A sort of quiet resignation: this is who you are, and who you always will be. You won't be that person who goes after their dreams and accomplishes their goals. This feeling of defeat is what I am currently fighting.
After running a marathon, I (rightly) felt that I was capable of accomplishing goals that I set in front of me. All it really takes is a belief in the fact that you can do it, dogged perseverance even when you just want to give up, and a series of mini-goals that lead to the accomplishment of the major goal. However, now that I have my next big goal set out in front of me, I just feel like running and hiding. The same negativity that took me years to shake in order to run 26.2 miles is now making it difficult for me to believe that I can get certified to teach yoga and go after my dream of opening up my own studio.

Suffice it to say that this struggle is not made any easier by the fact that I have to go back to being a full-time graduate student on Tuesday. Every time I have a break from it, I realize that the only reason I make it through a semester is by putting my head down and soldiering on. This doesn't make me happy, it makes me miserable. I just want to get away, but I feel so stuck. That feeling of being trapped contributes to my lack of belief in myself--I end up feeling like this is it, that I am just sort of stuck in this sort of Sisyphus-like existence that I cannot get away from and that I just have to tolerate.

I'm not really sure what to do. I don't want to be Sisyphus, but I don't feel brave enough to be Emilie.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How much is a picture really worth?

One of the fun things about racing is that you never know when someone is going to snap a picture of you, and then try to get you to pay lots of money in order to own it. It is very paparazzi-esque. Case in point:
  1. Photos from the Fred Lebow Classic, 1/12/08.
  2. Photos from the Philadelphia Marathon, 11/18/07.
Now, I know that these companies want to make money (who doesn't?), but it seems a little bit unfair to me that they should make money off of me. Or any runners in the race, for that matter. I mean, there is just something a little bit strange about these people taking your picture, and then asking you to pay in order to have ownership of the picture.

Does this seem odd to anyone else?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gotta go back in time

This is a lot of fun. Makes you wonder what people will be saying about magazines and pictures from 2008 twenty-five years from now!

Make sure to go through all 14 slides. They are priceless and I love Runner's World for putting this online!

Is this going to be on the test?

Yesterday's Team in Training group run was a test. Yes, a test! They are not just for school anymore (in fact, here in my fancy institution we call them exams). It was a time trial of sorts, designed to give you a sense of where you are at this point in your training. At the end of the training period, the test is repeated. The hope is that you have improved! As someone who loves numbers (but mostly only when it comes to running) I found the test to be a lot of fun and very rewarding. We did 3 lower loops of Central Park (cutting across at 72nd street and running around the southern loop of the park), each of which is about 1.7 miles long. 1 mile of this distance was to be run at an all-out effort, and the remaining .7 mile was for recovery. After finishing the loop, you start all over again! The trick is to try to keep your mile splits relatively close to each other while still running at a challenging pace. According to the TNT New York head coach, Ramon, you want to keep all three mile times within :15 of each other. This earns you an A+ on the test :)

Here are the results of my test:
  1. Mile One- 7:50
  2. Mile Two- 7:54
  3. Mile Three- 8:03
I will, of course, post my results from the second test, which will be in several weeks.

This is a great way to keep tabs on the progress you are making, whether you are training for a marathon or not. You can easily adjust the distance (run three 1/2 miles, for instance) to suit your own goals. I would really encourage everyone who is trying to work toward a goal, or maybe feeling like they aren't seeing concrete improvement in their performance to try this for themselves. The results and benefits of comparing your performance on the first test to your performance on the second test can be really revealing and extremely helpful when it comes to tweaking what you're doing when you are working out!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Soup's On

I'm not a big believer in New Year's resolutions because I think that if there is something about your life that you really want to change, you should just go ahead and do it at any time. At the same time, I always find myself making "decisions" around this time of year about how I am going to live my life differently. One of those "decisions" was to spend a bit more time cooking real food, not just warming something up in the toaster oven. So with the help of some Christmas money from a generous friend, I bought an attractive and fairly reasonably priced soup pot from the Mario Batali line of cookware. My feeling is that soup is easy to make and can be easily divided into single servings and then stored in the freezer where I don't have to worry about it going bad if I get tired of eating it every night of the week and want to switch things up a little bit.

I just finished my first batch of soup and I cannot wait to get back from my yoga class this evening and chow down. I tasted it to see if I needed any more seasoning and it is delicious. I thought I would share the recipe, which is from a great cookbook called The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas.

Curried Red Lentil and Spinach Soup (makes 6 servings)
  • ingredients: 1 T light olive oil; 1 large onion; finely chopped; 1.5 cups red lentils, rinsed (I used brown lentils); 1-2 t good quality curry powder; 1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed.
  • Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden.
  • Add the lentils and 6 c. water (I used 4 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water) and bring to a simmer. Stir in 1 t. curry powder, cover, and simmer very gently for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • When the lentils are mushy, stir in the spinach and check the consistency. If the soup is too thick, add about 1/2 cup water. Season with salt and additional curry powder, if desired.
  • Simmer for another 5 minutes. If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or so to develop flavor. Heat through as needed before serving.
  • Nutritional info: 100 calories; 2g total fat; 5g protein; 14g carbohydrate; 0mg cholesterol; 43mg sodium. This information does not include the added vegetable broth.
Bon appétit!

And the results are in!

I took this handy-dandy quiz this morning, mostly just for fun but also out of curiosity. The results of said quiz revealed that there is no hope for me in the upcoming presidential election.

Update: I was just informed that my link to my quiz results showed that my ideal candidate was Romney. I removed the link and wanted to state for the record that my top three candidates were the following:
  1. Kucinich (love him)
  2. Richardson (who has, I believe, dropped out of the race)
  3. Obama

Friday, January 11, 2008

Alternative Energy update

I think I finished this drink about two hours ago, and although I didn't chug it all at once (maybe that's where the alternative energy is supposed to come from) I would think that all of its fancy ingredients and fancy physician developed formula would ensure that I would not be ready to take a nap a mere two hours after consumption. Maybe if I hadn't had the drink, I would be fast asleep! That must be it--it is not that the drink doesn't really have any effect whatsoever, rather that I am expecting to be energized when I should be happy just to be awake!

Thank you, function. Thank you.

Back to blogging

Wow, I have been so far out of my routine for the past two weeks or so. Even this week was a bit difficult, in spite of being back in my apartment in New York. I guess this is what happens when you have a break from classes. At any rate, I have now resolved to return to a somewhat normal daily routine: running, yoga when appropriate, eating well, reading, etc. And blogging, of course! Since we all know how much important information I have to share with the world (or all five of you who read this blog).

Important thing #1: Yesterday while walking down Broadway I picked up a free sample of a new drink called Function, which seems to be trying to follow in the footsteps of VitaminWater (except without the awesomeness of 50 cent. So far, anyway). Apparently, Function beverages are all-natural and developed by physicians, which I guess is meant to make me feel like drinking a 2-serving 60 calorie per serving drink with 14g grams of sugar (out of 15 total grams of carbohydrates) is good for me. My friend chose to try out their version of "make you smart/improve your memory drink", which was a dark pink hue. I chose their alternative to energy drinks energy drink, called, appropriately enough, "Alternative Energy". With exotic ingredients such as catuaba, muira pauma, epimedium, yurba, and a bunch of other things I'd never heard of (and whose actual effects have not been verified by the FDA), "Alternative Energy" gives you long-lasting energy, which supposedly lasts 6 to 8 hours without giving you heart palpitations, dizziness, or crashes. The drink is the color of urine and doesn't taste all that good. I made it through the whole bottle in the space of several hours but to be honest I don't feel all that energized. And I don't think I would ever bother spending money on this product. I'd much rather drink VitaminWater if I am looking for a sugary, supposedly healthy alternative to H2O. Or better yet, I'll just drink water! My final verdict: save your monies. Just because it's made by doctors doesn't mean you should buy it.

In other news, I received my fancy nike+ chip shoe pouch which means I can now use the nike+ system when running, which is super exciting! I have been a total loser lately when it comes to running and I looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of things. Sadly, I don't think the Paris marathon is a possibility at this point, and I will probably be switching to the NJ marathon, which makes me sad but only because I adore my mentor and I don't want to no longer have her as a mentor.

Finally, I hate money and I think that the United States should have free universal healthcare that includes both dental and vision care. That way I could get my chronic headaches and freakish loose baby tooth taken care of without having to worry that I may have to take out a loan to cover the costs of the medical attention that I need.