22 February 2014

i'm in it for the red sweatshirt.

today is the first day of lifeguard training. long-time readers (haha, like i would have those) will remember i went through this three years ago. well, the certs only last three years, so it's time to train again.

because my certification has not actually expired yet, i could have done what they call a challenge, which is basically just skipping training and going straight to taking the test. problem is, the challenge day happens after all three two-week class sessions are over, so if i take the challenge and don't pass, i'm pretty much SOL because there's no more training until next year. that's why i decided to take the class.

pre-class discussion is mostly comprised of driving privilege status. "are you 15?" "yeah..." "got your permit?" "yeah. i love that thing." "yeah..." pretty sure all my classmates are 15. also pretty sure they have good mommies because they all brought snacks and sweatshirts. i pretty much starve and freeze from 10:30-2pm.


today we do the pre-test: swim 300 meters, tread water two minutes using only legs, and the brick test.

three years ago, i killed it in the 300 meter swim, finished ahead of most of my classmates. today... well, i don't finish last. i choose to believe my classmates are more fit this time (as opposed to: i am less so).

the treading water is no problem for me. tuck hands under arms and spin in circles, chat up my classmates, etc. it's funny to be a peer to kids because even the ones strong enough to tread water up, down, and backwards are treading quietly in place watching the instructor. c'mon, guys! spin around! they are having none any of it. pffth. stupid obedient children.

these first two parts go okay, but then, they are simple. the brick test is by far the hardest part. it goes like this:

-- instructor tosses vinyl-covered brick into 9ft deep water.
-- trainee swims approx 50 meters to brick and retrieves it from bottom.
-- trainee swims back on to start, on their back, holding brick with both hands at chest level.
-- all this has to be completed in a minute, forty seconds.

three years ago, either we could use goggles for this part, or i just got lucky when i dove for the brick. this time we definitely could not use goggles, and add to the innate pressure of the test the fact that i wear contacts, and i am basically just really uptight about the whole thing.

i volunteer as quickly as i can. second or third, i think.

instructor drops two bricks at the far end of side-by-side lanes. a 15-year old in a bikini (who wears a bikini to lifeguard training??) and i dive in and swim to the neighborhood of the bricks. i locate the brick (challenging, since the brick is black and the tiled lane lines are black), take a breath and go under.


i don't reach the bottom!! well, shit. great job, ace. now i am in a bit of a panic over wasted time and i've lost sight of the brick. take a breath and go down again and i can tell i have no idea where the damn brick is. to hell with it, i am opening my eyes! i don't care if my contacts float out, i have got to find this thing, i will not fail!

so i open my eyes and it's really blurry and i am like, great, contacts already out, but at the same time, i see the brick. it's really, really hard to get down there to it, but i retrieve it. thank god.

back on the surface, i kick, kick, kick. swimming back, thinking time is just ticking away... until finally, i am at the side. alls i have to do now is put the brick on the poolside and climb out. just... put... brick... on...


yes, that's me, yelling semi-profanities in a completely non-professional lifeguard trainee manner, as my brick sinks to the bottom of the pool. i am thinking that i'm going to have to start over. the instructor laughs. "just get it." i get it, put it on poolside, and climb out.

"did i pass?"

"yes, you passed."


and, as a bonus, my contacts stayed in my eyes!

monday, wednesday, and saturday for the next two weeks, i'll be at the natatorium going through lifeguard training. i am quite hopeful i will pass the class and am looking forward to once again being eligible to wear a gift descartes gave me three years ago. it's a stellar bright red hoodie emblazoned in white: LIFEGUARD.

this is what my sweatshirt looks like.
(this is not me.)

18 February 2014

strange fascinations fascinate me.

this article fascinates me. can you guess why?

if you can't see it, click on it to get a better view.

guess 1. it's about the olympics, and you like sports.
both phrases are true, but the relationship isn't causal. stee-rike one!

guess 2. you were drawn in by the human interest angle.
hahahaaaaa!!! no. stee-rike two!

guess 3. right there it says "every athlete’s biggest enemy: injury". you're fascinated by injury and injury prevention.
again you've hit a truth. being prone to injury myself, i am intrigued by the causes and preventions of injury. however, the cause of this injury was an olympian doing a stunt while skiing the halfpipe, so it's pretty clear how i can avoid that one - stay off the freaking halfpipe. stee-rike three!

noble tries all three, but alas, you struck out. i'll be over later to punch you in the arm.

here's the right answer:

what kind of professional news outfit can't sup a th?! c'mon, sports dot yahoo. you can do better.

i wanted to laugh what was clearly their sub, so i right-clicked to view the source. yeah, i know you'd have done the same thing. i mean, who wouldn't, amirite?

this is what i saw: (had to make it a pic because blogger doesn't like you to type in codes unless you MEAN THEM.)

what the hell? clearly, this is a sup. now i am more intrigued than ever. what combination of tags makes a sup behave like a sub? that's about the weirdest HTML i ever saw and believe you me, i have seen some weird HTML in my time.

the first thing that could make a sup act like a sub would be the CSS is overriding the natural sup behaviour. i searched the source for the CSS reference and found what is possibly guiness-record longest CSS path. copy&paste it into the browser and wah-lah, the CSS shows up. now THAT's fascinating. i thought for sure that path would blow up.

in the cluttered CSS, i found:

i thought the "baseline" was a clue, but when i took that line and tested it at www.w3schools.com... it sup'd where it should sup. dead end there, so i went back the source and found this:

see how there's a tag highlighted in red? there's also a red-highlighted "amp" a couple lines down and just out of the frame to the right, there's a red-highlighted close-span. this is from the source view in firefox, and my thinking is that these tags are red because they are in some way mangled, and the red is firefox's "your tag is mangled" indicator.

ah... mystery solved. their tags are mangled. not quite as funny as sub'ing a sup, but still fairly amusing. no, i am not sure the tags are mangled, but i am sure i am not going to track that shit down. i have enough mangled tags of my own, thank you very much.

in conclusion, tag fascinations fascinate me.

i am sure you feel the same about something.

strange is in the eye of the beholder.

15 February 2014

a dab of this, a dab of that

i'm up to level 210 in candy crush. addiction? well... that's such an ugly word. let's say "commitment". hey, c'mon. it's not like i play all day. you only get 5 lives at a time, unless you hit up your facebook friends for lives and i don't have fb. it's funny to find myself at 210. it's not like i worked on it, but apparently, that's a lot of time put in.

something i have been working on is tying my running shoes more loosely. my theory is that the tight-tied shoes were exacerbating ankle and foot tendinitis. it's not natural to me to tie loosely, but the looser shoes don't slip, per se. they do feel heavier and sort of wiggily. at least, that's how they feel at the beginning of the run. by the end, they seem to fit fine, and that's the point.

when i was a kid, we had a game called uncle wiggily. from what i remember, seems it was played similar to candyland. that is, you drew cards and moved according to the cards. no dice, as it were. uncle wiggily - a bunny - should not be confused with uncle remus - a fictional african-american storyteller. both wiggily and remus were standards in my home of origin, as were epaminondous and don't break the ice.

my home of origin is out of my control (in many, many ways), but my current home is well in my grasp and about to get the makeover it so mightily requires. i know, i know. i've talked about remodeling before, but this time is different. we have ordered new appliances and put down earnest money on new cabinets. next time you're here, you probably won't recognize the place.

another thing you probably won't do is win the lottery. you're more likely to get struck by lightning twice and live... i think? from college stats, alls i remember is feeling that i was consistently very, very close to grasping concepts that were consistently slipping through my mental fingers. 3 of the 7 people at tonight's supper table were born on a thursday. wonder what are the odds of that?

12 February 2014

of ice and eyes

didn't the olympics used to be a big deal?

i haven't watched a single event. i've heard about stuck snowflakes and busted bathrooms and wacky water, but nothing about skating or skiing or even curling. maybe it's just me, but nary a peep of actual athletic coverage have i heard.

didn't the olympics used to be a big deal?

i suppose it's all being broadcast because i've seen clips of bob costas soldiering through the worst case of pink eye ever seen on tv. good god. have you seen it? either he got a bad batch of botox needles or he rinsed his face in the urine that's coming out of sochi's faucets. he looks terrible, but he's still on because no other anchor is willing to get within 100 miles of the Land of Poison Water.

didn't the olympics used to be a big deal?

who are the stars of sochi? who are the underdogs? which are the must-see events? what are the venues like? how many medals do we have? what's the gossip?

i know there are a lot of other sports to watch and a lot of other shows to watch and a lot of other things simply happening in the world. i know there are a million channels and the olympics are on a mere wee few. i know all that, but even so, something fundamental is different.

didn't the olympics used to be a big deal?

i watch the local morning news and i watch national late-night shows. both of these used to be bastions of olympic promotion. (promotion of olympic proportions, if you will.) the morning news would daily report the medal count and run through a recap of yesterday's highlights and a listing of today's events. the late-night shows would reveal the personalities, the stars, through stories and jokes and even having the athletes on (before the games began). i've seen none of that, and very little of anything else other than bob costas bleerily downing vodka shots ON TV.

i am pretty sure the olympics used to be a big deal.

09 February 2014

the island life

when she died,
and i didn't cry,
you thought it was because i didn't love her,
but what you haven't realized
is that it was she who didn't love.

didn't love me.
didn't love you.
didn't love.

it's a fine lesson and one she taught me well:
if you don't love, you cannot be hurt.

i learned that lesson.
learned it.
lived it.

it's damned lonely on the island,
yet i haven't forgotten the lesson:
if you don't love, you cannot be hurt.
if i don't love, i cannot be hurt.

truth is, i'm about done being hurt.

05 February 2014


josephine, by jakob dylan, has been on repeat in my car. i believe this is what the kids these days would call "my jam". at any rate, i am going to break it down for you.

you can see the complete lyrics HERE and i believe THIS is a video of the song, although at 7+ mins, it's too long.

so. back to breaking down the jam.

I feel pretty good.
I feel all right.
And I've been thinkin' maybe
I could spend the night.

hmm. okay, jakob. feeling pretty good and whatnot, but right away you can see what he's doing. he's "been thinking" that "maybe" he could have a sleepover. obsessive, much? see, normally, one would not "be thinking" about a "maybe". he's trying to be all casual, throw this on the table, but he's been thinking about it, so that negates the casual. creepy.

I know you've been sad.
I know I've been bad.
But if you'd let me
Make you ribbons from a paper bag.

so, this girl has been sad and jakob's been bad, and the construction here implies it's jakob's fault. sad -> bad. he concludes here with another creepy statements about cutting a paper bag to ribbons in her honor. yikes.

You're so good to me,
And I know
It ain't easy.
You're so sweet,
You must taste just like sugar & tangerines.

this is the chorus, and he starts with a pleasant, somewhat country-song reminiscent, apologetic thanks for her being good to him even though it's difficult. aww, how sweet. and speaking of sweet, here's where he gets creepy again: she "must" taste like sugar and tangerines. you MUST, not you DO. so what? HE DOESN'T KNOW. he doesn't know her taste, he's just guessing based on her sweetness, which is of course his perception (!!). what the hell, why is he wanting to spend the night with someone of whom he doesn't know the flavour?? creeeepy.

I won't make a sound.
Sleep on the ground.
When you wake I will
Drive you into town.

see? he's really getting his creep on now. he wants to spend the night... ON THE FLOOR. and, he won't make a sound? so, he's trying to spend the night, be unobtrusive, quiet, on the ground... why? because he's not supposed to be there! that thing about driving her into town confuses me a bit... maybe he's kidnapped her? haven't quite gotten that one yet, but i think maybe he's holding her against her will.

I missed your smile.
Your schoolgirl style.
But I never had much fun,
Maybe the very first mile.

okay, now he's throwing in the schoolgirl thing. she's a schoolgirl? that's pushing the creepy envelope. he missed her smile, didn't have fun... i am thinking he went to jail for a while. i don't get the whole "first mile" reference, but yeah, definitely locked up. or maybe locked up in himself? intriguing. creepy, sure, but... intriguing.

You're so good to me,
And I know
It ain't easy.
You're so sweet,
You must taste just like sugar & tangerines.

chorus again. still creepy.

Don't you know,
I watched you walkin' home from school.
Your friends on the old playgrounds.
You never looked so down.

this verse is harder, louder. jakob pushes the rhythm and the volume. he's angry. doesn't she know he's been watching? doesn't she know that he saw what her friends did to her, how they bullied or left or mocked or hugged (??) her on the old playground? he saw how sad they made her. doesn't she know??

Won't you come and help me with these cuts of mine?
I've disconnected my heart
And cut myself on the wires.

he immediately calms down, asks her to help him. he's cut, probably bleeding, from what he claims is a self-heartectomy. creepy, again. now, i do admire the poetry here - the image of him disconnecting his wired-up, robot heart, and then cutting his human hands on the wires. so, he's human with a robot heart, and he disconnected this robot heart, this heart that is not a true part of him... but in doing so, he's hurt himself. he's confused because he knows he has to turn off these feelings he's had for josephine, but doing so is painful. he's distanced himself a bit... he sees the cuts, but doesn't claim any pain from them. sociopath, much?

I know I was wrong.
I knew all along.
But I got so far from my home.
I never thought I'd be so lonesome.

here's the final apology. he admits wrong, admits knowing he was wrong. "but," he says.... "i got so far from my home." i'm thinking home as in home-self, home-base, not home as in place-i-grew-up. he moved too far from his home-self, moved out into the crazyplatz, and got terribly lonesome out in the crazy. a lonesome so great, he never thought possible. he couldn't stand the lonely... then he spotted her, with her friends, saw them pushing her into the lonely, too. so, even though he knew it was wrong, he obsessed over her until the point that crossed over into action. he kidnapped her, and now here they are - jakob, josephine, a paper bag, and a pair of scissors.


You're so good to me,
And I know
It ain't easy.
You're so sweet,
You must taste just like sugar & tangerines.


01 February 2014


my first brood was sweet
but fragile,
and when the wind came,
it blew them all out of the nest,
and they all tumbled to the ground,
and their tiny skulls were all smashed.

even so.

my next brood was strong
but unwise,
and each flourished in its own nest,
until one succumbed to poison,
and one flew into a trap,
and one simply went missing,
and one was stabbed
in the back.

even so.

my next brood i raised to be
powerful and clever,
and i held them close,
protected them,
but they chafed in the closeness,
and they ate each other up
until only one was left,
and that one
threatened to consume me.
i killed it with my own hands.

even so.

i pine for what is lost,
and long for what could have been,
and wonder what would have been,
and know that they will never be.