Friday, 30 January 2009

take THAT pifco

What is this, you may be asking yourself. Well, that is exactly what Ronan and I were thinking Wednesday night for the pub quiz. Luckily, it was this little bad boy that won us the quiz.

After an okay Science & Nature round (10/16 points), and a great music round (32/32 using our joker) we get to the picture round. Now we know everything else, but we can't for the life of us figure out what this film is. That definitely looks like a picture of a naked man at the bottom. And in B&W we couldn't figure out if it was the beach (looks like sand) or snow (they all seem dressed in big coats). A bit more squinting lead us to realise perhaps they were asian (hey, she looks like Lauren!). More thinking, more thinking. The only asian british stuff I could think of was Bend it Like Beckham (which this most certainly is not). Then Ronan said, well isn't there an asian film called Bhaji on the Beach? Ehhhhh, what? 'Is it by the chick who did Bend it Like Beckham?' 'I dunno'. 'Is it on a beach?' 'I dunno'. 'Should we just go for it?' 'I guess so...'

Lo and behold, we got it right. How on earth?

After a shaky sports round (10/16), we were up by 6 points, feeling pretty good. I wanted to win, but as long as we beat PIFco (they are the fugly team that drink lots of wine and laugh horrible obnoxious fingernails on a chalkboard laughs, with 6 people on their team compared to just little ole me and Ronan), I was happy. Felt pretty good at the end, looking forward to seeing our score.

Quiz master hands back our sheets, and I'm so bummed to see we only got 27/36, for a final score of 95 - and we're told PIFco got a perfect score. I HATE PIFCO! I HATE THEM WITH THE FURY OF A THOUSAND SUNS, YOU BASTARDS! So as he reads the scores in reverse order, I sit there sulking the biggest sulk possible, muttering madly about my hatred for PIFco. 'Tied for third, with 93 points...blah blah, and in second...' 'i hate you PIFco, i hope you get attacked by rabied monkeys' 'with 94 points....' 'whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?' 'PIFco! and the winner tonight....with 95 points....the Pea Funks!'

So, as you can see, we owe our win (and the pot of £25) to little ole Bhaji on the Beach, worth 2 beautiful points, that allowed us to finally kick PIFco's ass. Long live Gurinder Chadha.

I'll save my harrasment by the lisping frenchman later on that night for another day...

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Tuesday's swim

After work, I headed over to the gym (and their 18m pool - who makes a pool that's 18m???), and decided to do 10x10laps. It was great because the pool was almost totally empty, only 3 people, so we each had our own lane. After 5 sets, it got a bit busier, so I moved from the slow lane (which had been empty!) to the fast lane, and did 4 more sets. Just as I was finishing the 9th set, a big bloke waited until I was 2 feet from the wall to jump in the water ON MY BLOODY HEAD! What is wrong with people??? This is the second time this has happened at this pool (and I've only swum there 3 times!).

Even worse, the guy, because he's a guy, decides he's a 'fast' swimmer, even though he is quite obviously not. And rather than letting me go in front of him, he likes to wait until I'm just about to flipturn to jump out in front of me, swimming 0.03miles an hour. Dear lordy. I don't understand why boys feel so threatened by girls who are faster/better/quicker than them. Get over it! Although I did notice later, from the hot tub vantage point, that he did eventually move to the 'slow' lane (a bit too late for my liking!).

My stupid goggles broke on lap 99 so I took it as a sign from the gods above that my swimming set was over and hopped into the hot tub. Yum. So 17820m swim in about 20-25 minutes, felt pretty good, definitely going to try to work on speed sets (note - buy yourself a watch, kira!). Also had yummy fishcakes for dinner, and used up all our leftover greens (runner beans, green beans and asparagus), and made a delish lemon butter sauce with rosemary to top it off! *smacks lips at deliciousness*

On a side note, I've noticed quite a few of the men (and women) in the gym have tattoos. This was also the case at the King Alfred center. Like way more than I see in LA...but then maybe I just don't normally see people in LA in swimming gear? But then I was a swimmer for years and years! But then that was when I was like 16, and people don't have tattoos at 16 (well they shouldn't really, should they?). But then actually quite a lot of my friends have tattoos, too, so maybe I'm just making this all up in my head.

Anyway, I want another tattoo, but I should probably wait until a) I have money and b) I'm not training for a triathlon where I need to swim several times a week!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Monday's Gym Sesh

Had a really good gym session, just felt really strong. I did 45 minutes on the bike, including my 8x(5x1) minute sets, increasing the level for each 5 minutes, repeating 8 times. I was going to do some weights afterwards, but I wanted to see how I felt springing right onto the treadmill (an early attempt at 'brick work', stacking your training for swimming right into cycling, or cycling right into running), and was surprised at how good I felt. I thought I'd just do 5 minutes, which turned into 10, then 20, and I would have stayed for a full 5k, but there was a big queue for machines (gym memberships skyrocket in January - uh, hello Pea-Funk - but I can't wait for the massive dropouts to start. I'm banking on first week of February?), so I let some other people get on. But it was one of the few times I felt like I could 'just keep going'. I think it's because I don't normally get warmed up enough before I go for a run. The blood was pumping, and I didn't have any tenseness in my quads - just a bit in my calves, but I think they would have worked themselves out.

I made sure to stretch properly, and got in a few crunches. Then, I was treated to my favouritist dish ever, made by my lovely, amazing, chef-f Po, prawn tagliatelle. So so so yum, it totally made my day :)

I definitely need to update the pod - this playist is about 1.5 years old, and includes some major crap (ie, Ronan's music) since we did a combo mix for the drive down to London. But I got a few goodies in there, and they always remind me of special times.

The Killers - Somebody Told Me

Without fail, this song always reminds me of my first year in Scotland, particularly Eve, my fellow American in crime. There's even a little Eve dance that goes with, which unfortunately cannont me translated into html. In general, it just makes me think of studying in Edinburgh, going out and getting pissed (and possibly snogging Irish men). Good times. Good times indeed.

Sugarhill Gang - Apache
Sun God! My university, not particularly well known for it's social aspect, had one redeeming feature - Sun God Festival. Every year, on one special day in May, you get pissed, go to campus (note, campus, not class), and enjoy the concert at night. My favourite Sun God was the one I went to once I was no longer a student. Lauren and I headed down and gate crashed at my old flatties, Artie and Alicia. Gin n' tonics, taboo, fags and Apache (on repeat). What's not to love?

Now I just need to get together an awesome playlist so I can rock out to my bad self at LA Fitness!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Triathlon Training Part 1 (of many, hopefully)

Although it hasn't been 'officially' signed up for (I'm still waiting to hear from the Terrence Higgins Trust), I've decided to do the London Triathlon come August. I've wanted to do a triathlon for awhile now - I guess it comes from being a retired swimmer, looking for a new challenge. And I figure if I'm going to do it, I might as well go big, so I'm starting off with an Olympic length tri. That's a 1.5km swim (open water), a 40km bike and ending it all off with a 10km run (dear god). I know that I can finish it, and with proper training, I could even have a good time. That depends, of course, on my ability to stare my nemesis down, and conquer her once and for all. Yes, nemesis, your name is running. The bane of my existence.

See, I'm a water creature at heart. I remember my mom telling me, age 10, how it was amazing how graceful I looked in the water, since I could barely walk without tripping over my own feet. My high school basketball coach went as far as to call me 'waterlogged'. I suppose there are worse things to be called as a gangly, spotty 14 year old.

I tried getting into running a couple summers ago, and I was doing okay with it, but it just sort of fizzled out (which happens when you dont set goals). So this time, I have a goal. Several, actually, to help me reach the ultimate goal of doing an Olympic length triathlon. First one is to build up my fitness level to even begin contemplating doing actual training for this bloody thing. I have a nifty 20 weeks programme to help me (focusing on running, I'm such a masochist). To help keep me motivated, I'm going to keep track of my training. Any advice or insight anyone can provide will always be greatly appreciated!

I joined LA Fitness early this month (I get 1/2 membership with my job, woot woot), so have been doing some random cardio/weights/crunches for a couple weeks. Here's a recap of the week:

Saturday (17/1)
Ronan and I went for a 4 mile run up to Brighton Pier and back. I feel alright getting there, but always enjoy our little 'halfway walking break'. I should definitely try to start breaking myself of the habit, but I think if it helps me increase distance in the meantime, without tiring or demotivating myself, than it can't be too bad.

Sunday - Tuesday (18-20/1)
Not much happened - I was pretty achy from the run (I don't think I'm stretching properly after my runs, boo), and I had an inauguration to prepare for!

Wednesday (21/1)
Dear god, I had my 1-on-1 induction with LA Fitness. Not only was I measured, weighed, and BMI calculated (as per standard induction procedure), but I was fat percentaged (too high), muscle percentaged (too low) and 'metabolically rated' (how many calories I need a day - 1520 if you're curious). The results were disasterous. Actually, that's not true, because my running book tells me to think 'Okay this is the fattest mcfat face I will ever be because there's no where to go but down, baby!!!' (or somewhere along those lines). Anyway, we set up a basic treadmill/spinning cardio workout for me to improve fitness, as well as some strength training and swimming when I feel like it. All in all, a pretty helpful (if not terrifying) day.

Thursday (22/1)
My gym work is supposed to be M-W-F (2xbike, 1xrun), but I've decided to come in and do some cardio work, so I do 20 mins on the treadmill and 20 mins on the cross-trainer, with 200 crunches.

Friday (23/1)
I set out to try the cycle programme the trainer suggested (basically 5x1 minutes, increasing either level or cadence, 8 times) but I really struggled on it. I managed 20 minutes before I scurried to the easy comfort of the cross-trainer. I'm going to need to buckle down next week and just try to get the 40 minutes down, no matter how crap it is. I definitely need to get used to cycling as it has been years since I've done it. Boo. I thought running was supposed to be my nemesis? I can't hate 2/3 events of a triathlon!

Saturday (24/1)
Ronan and I have decided to do runs every Saturday mornings, trying to increase our distance every week, so I can work on distance on the weekends, and intensity and speed during the week. We went about 4.25 miles today, again, I felt pretty good on the way out, but struggled at about 2 miles. Coming back felt pretty good, but then I got a godawful blister (thanks new running shoes) so I'm currently packaged up in pirate bandaids on my feet.

I've also decided to do 'bikini shots' (I need before and after pics!!!) to help keep me motivated, so we'll be taking them every fortnight. I also took my measurements:
chest - 42"
waist - 35"
hips - 41" (that's what I call an hourglass!)
thigh - 27" (yikes, that's what I call a fatty!)
arm - 14"

All in all, I'm feeling pretty motivated. I'm working on portion control and keeping my meat intake to a minimum. I've definitely been sleeping better, and I realised how much I miss the feeling of being sore after a good workout. The world sure does look good from the moral high ground!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Big Bad Bows

As you saw by my previous post, I was obviously quite taken by Aretha's a-mah-zing hat. Luckily, I wasn't the only one, and etsy had a very cool post about Aretha's Inaugural Splendor and the big bow trend.

Here are a few of my favourite bow hats available on etsy!

giant gingham bow hair band
courtesy of LoulouLovesYou
This would have been perfect for my Alice costume!

classic birdcage veil with satin bow
courtesy of topsyturvydesign
I would have loved a beautiful birdcage veil like this for my wedding!

black velour bow cloche

dark gypsy rose

black plague

BoringSidney's hats are so stunning, I just had to post more than one!
You can find more of her Unusual Hats and Headdresses here .

And if you're looking to get Aretha's hat for yourself, well, here's a little info for you! (Thanks LA Times!)
Aretha Franklin -- who has rocked her fair share of amazing headgear over the years --
wrapped her head in a crystal studded bow. The $179 hat, customized with Swarovski crystals,
came from Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit where
Luke Song has been making ladies dress hats for 25 years.

Oh say can you see?

Yesterday was of course the inauguration of our 44th president. I rushed home from work to watch as much as I could, complete with a bottle of champagne in the freezer. So I donned my cowboy hat and 'I only sleep with Democrats' shirt (a little unfair for my husband, I know, but I'm sure if he was entitled to vote in the US, he would most certainly be a registered Donkey. Or so I keep telling myself...), and we were ready to go! Apparently, more than 2 million people were in Washington DC to watch this event. I have to admit, I much prefer watching these types of events in the comfort of my own home (particularly in sub-zero temperatures).

The Good

A few obviouses here, of course.

Joey Boy!

First and foremost, by favourite, Joe-Joe 'Champ' Biden. I don't know what it is I love about this guy, but I think he's pretty cool. I think it's the chiclets smile combined with the perma-tan facelift, but he pulls it off with such panache, he just comes across as cool. Here he is getting sworn in.


Obama's swearing in was a bit anti-climactic. They ran about 30 minutes late, so the swearing in really was just ceremonial as he officially became president at 12 noon anyway. Oh well. And then there was the stumbling of the lines, etc. Oh well. He's still sexy (check out that grill!). And Michelle looked fab (see her feminine suede green glove holding the bible that Lincoln himself was sworn into office on). Now the party can start!

The Bad

These are obviouses, too. In fact, the first two don't even warrant comments.


Double blurg (look at that horrendous smirk)

Hey? Don't I know you?

This one's a bit mean, because I actually kind of like Hillary (kind of). But that face! The one she pulls whenever she's campaigning. Or talking. Or breathing. Enough already!

The Awesome!

*burp* pardon me

This has is the most amazing hat I have ever seen. While some may be swamped under such magnificence (Cheryl Cole, anybody?), Aretha pulls it off with such aplomb, I may just have to get one for myself!

Hello to you, too!

I have to admit I don't know much about Reverend Joseph Lowery. But anybody who can end their inauguration speech with as much awesomeness as him is okay in my book (plus his amazing work on Civil Rights...).

'Mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor
...We walk together, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead.'

Finally, he calls for the day:

'when brown can stick around
when yellow will be mellow
when the red man can get ahead, man,
and when white would embrace what is right'

Poetry man. Poetry.

And with that, I say Ahola!

Monday, 19 January 2009

My Grandmother Ran Into a Mosque

You learn a lot of things when you go home for the holidays. My grandmother, bless her little heart, has never been the creme de la creme of drivers. I remember sitting in her car, age 8, long blond hair in braids with big glasses, and Tata patting my leg, and saying her eyes are a little fuzzy - would I be so kind as to tell her when the light turns green?

Fast forward 16 years, having dinner with my dad and uncles, minding my own business, when I hear snippets.

'...received a letter from the insurance company...'
'...investigating a case on 16th September...'
'...leaving the scene of the accident...'
'...caught on camera...'

Jebus, Tata was involved in a hit and run, and to this day insists nothing happened (despite being captured on film).

So at Christmas, I mention to my cousins...did you hear about Tata's hit and run!

'No, but it can't be any better than when she ran into the mosque' And they were right. Apparently, my grandmother had put the car in reverse, but out of nowhere the car lurched (her word, my emphasis) foward, crashing through the mosque wall. Now, a normal person may think she perhaps wasn't actually in reverse, maybe she was in drive, and, perhaps she took her foot off the break and onto the accelerator. Alas, this, Tata says, is not the case, and my uncle spends several hundred (thousand?) dollars to discover what could possibly make the car lurch forward, into her weekly place of worship. Surprise surprise, there was nothing wrong with the car.

Moral of the story? If a granny is asking an 8 year old girl in 1992 what colour the stoplight is, she really really shouldn't be behind the wheel 16 years later...