Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Born to Run"

I flew to Chicago 10/8/09 to attend a dear cousin's wedding.  I saw my "Better-than-Sister" cousin Cecilia (the one I wrote about in an earlier post) and met her daughter's three-year-old daughter, Aislinn, for the first time!  I had a wonderful time and felt very satisfied to attend cousin Christopher's wedding.  He married a delightful woman, Julie, who shares his love of community theater.  Christopher's a wonderful young man and I love and admire him deeply even though we haven't spent that much time together.  

During the flight to Chicago and before falling asleep each night  while I was there, I read a newly published book, "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  

I'd seen Christopher McDougall interviewed on "The Daily Show" talking about how he came to write the book and I was surprised to learn it's not about Bruce Springsteen.  As an ex-marathoner, I was not that enthused about reading the book, whose sub-title is "A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen."  Anyone who can no longer complete marathons due to health issues will understand this.  I don't want to read a book about training for marathons.  Marathons were a love-hate relationship for me but it's a heartbreak not to be able to participate in those hellish events any more.  Anyway -- it was clear Jon Stewart had read the book and he was very enthusiastic about it saying something like, "This is a book for everyone..." or something like that.  I was intrigued enough -- and I trust Jon Stewart's taste in books --  that I looked up the book on and added it to my wish list for a future trip to the library.  

A few weeks later, out of the blue, my friend, "E",  sent the book to me!  I thanked  "E" and told her I'd read it after I was done with Ted Kennedy's thoroughly riveting biography, "True Compass" but she insisted I read "Born to Run" right away.  So, a day later, begrudgingly (because I've come to recognize that "E" is always right so I just follow orders), I started zip-reading through the first two chapters. I wasn't impressed.  It wasn't until half-way through Chapter 3 that I finally began to understand why my friend insisted I read it right away.  A few days later, when I got on the plane for Chicago, I was about a quarter of the way through the book and feeling very resentful towards anything that kept me from reading the book. 

This book's title makes sense (especially at the end of the book) but does not do the story justice. "Born to Run" appeals to athletes, runners, marathoners and ultra-marathoners -- and Bruce Springsteen fans --  but this IS a book for everyone -- men, women, teens, teachers, bankers, politicians and anyone dealing with health issues -- not just runners or marathoners. It's a mystery, a quest, an adventure, history, crime, health and diet, anthropology, disease, joy, love and bliss. I plan to send this book to friends and family just because it's a GREAT read and I want everyone to be as mesmerized and amazed as I was reading this story. It's unforgettable. Towards the end of the book I began to slow my reading down because I didn't want it to end. I'm sure I'll read "Born to Run" many times.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hamsters Power the Internets?

Just before I get ready to update my blog with all kinds of serious thoughts, I make the mistake of catching up with "Cute Overload" and "LOL Cats".  Inevitably I find something so utterly charming and adorable, that I opt to share the irresistibleness of pets over the never ending outrage in my head.  Next blog will be about bad opera -- I promise.  For now, enjoy a delightful selection from (I love hamsters -- I can't help it).

If I feed you parsley, will you unclog the Innernets? Please? [Grabbing cilantro just in case.]
Thanks, Mathijs and Lucy 4.0 over at HamsterTracker, where Lucy helps power the Internets on her wheel, one meter at a time. At press time, Lucy’s at 146,119.47 meters in 48 days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cat Sass

Who ever said YouTube is a useless waste of time clearly didn't know what's what:

Thank you, YouTube!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sonic Ka-BOOM!

Last month the Shuttle Discovery returned from its mission to re-supply the International Space station.  Due to uncooperative weather, instead of returning to its home in Florida it was diverted to the ever-sunny Edwards Air Force Base in California.   I've always wanted to watch the Shuttle -- any NASA Shuttle -- land there.  I knew NASA might re-route "Discovery" to Edwards so I planned to drive there to watch the Shuttle land.  It landed there alright, but I only found out about 3 hours before the landing and it's a 5 hr. drive from Santa Monica.  Drat!  However, I did HEAR Discovery because its flight path was somewhere over Los Angeles on the way to Edwards.  It startled me and reminded me of the first time I heard a sonic boom.  

My mom, U.S. Air Force dad and I lived in Columbus, OH, -- I was about 12 or 13 at the time.  I was at home alone, in the kitchen fixing a snack when a tremendous booming blast hit the neighborhood.  It was not only loud, it felt like the house was slightly lifted from its foundation and gently shaken like a Godzilla-sized martini.  It scared me and I was completely disoriented by the combination of unexpected and very loud sound and vibration.  I stood there, frozen, trying to figure out what the hell had just happened and I finally "decided" that the attached garage must have collapsed -- and I was sure my mother would blame me somehow so I was frantically calculating how to point the finger of blame at our young German Shepherd and three cats.  

Once I was relatively confident there wouldn't be another bang/shake event, I opened the front door tentatively, gingerly stepped out onto the front yard, looked around the neighborhood in case it was a neighbor's house that had collapsed then warily looked toward our garage. I was both surprised and relieved to see the garage completely safe and sound just as all the other structures along the street.  Anyway, I was pretty sure I could never convince my mother the family pets were somehow responsible had the garage actually collapsed!  I spent the next few hours trying to figure out what in the world that ear shattering, earth rattling could have been.  When Mom and Dad returned home later that day I was a bubbling caldron of words trying to explain the fearsome bang, and the shaking and then I heard Dad say, in his ever-so-casual-all-knowing way, "Oh, you probably heard the sonic boom..."  I knew what a sonic boom was, I simply couldn't believe breaking the sound barrier could be so violent and insisted it had to be something else.  A nuclear bomb test maybe -- something with a dark, rising cloud at the very least.  Dad assured me, yes indeed,  he knew about the flight but had forgotten to mention it and after all, we lived under one of the final approaches to what was then Lockbourne AFB, so the aircraft was actually not that far away.  Dad started to explain the event with math and my eyes glazed over.  I don't remember much after that.  Even then I tended to blackout whenever someone tried to dazzle me with numbers and formulas.  The end result was, I never forgot that sound and vibration and math still turns me comatose.