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SwimTech [userpic]

SPOOK-y thoughts, etc.

September 3rd, 2007 (06:08 pm)

current mood: contemplative
current song: None, obviously.

There's something deeply meta about swimming along, listening to an audiobook on one's waterproofed ipod, when one of the book's major themes concerns superimposing the virtual on the real, and there's a subplot about transferring datafiles via ipod.

Incidentally, has anyone else noticed (someone MUST have) how many of William Gibson's books involve a rootless, disaffected person in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties who's given unlimited resources by a mysterious person or company to go on an apparently quixotic quest to find a mysterious, almost mythical object? Does Gibson really want to write fantasy instead?

And hey, reviewing audiobooks means that I've fulfilled one of my important goals--to shift work to the pool. Sort of an insane goal, really. Now I can get paid to swim laps. I've been paid to read, paid to watch TV. These are all good. Still trying to get paid to eat. I'm sure I would be a fabu restaurant reviewer. Maybe someone needs a full-time ice cream reviewer.

SwimTech [userpic]

(no subject)

February 21st, 2007 (02:14 pm)

current location: the pool, virtually
current mood: mellow
current song: "Rufford Park Poachers" performed by Broadside Electric

You know, I posted this in my head a few days ago...why didn't it take? Too bad I'm not like that new chick on Heroes. Probably it's better that I'm not; if I could mentally access the Internet, I might completely lose touch with reality.

Anyway, I actually did manage to go swimming on Saturday; I hadn't all last week because I was temping and couldn't get the wherewithal together to swim either before (6 AM dark and cold) or after (7:30 PM, ditto).

It was lovely, but I think I slightly miscalculated when putting together my new swim mix, which consists mainly of folk tunes and anime soundtrack stuff. As my small audience knows, I love the Studio Ghibli film "Whisper of the Heart," and the scene where Shizuku sings "Country Road" in the antique store always makes me cry. (At least it actually is tear-worthy. It makes me mad that the uber-schmaltzy, cheap sentimentality of the end scene of "Mr. Holland's Opus" as well as the photo montage of hugging people during the credits of "Love, Actually" ALSO make me cry.) So why, why, WHY did I put that version of "Country Road" in my mix? Trying to swim laps and fight off tears at the same time is, at best, inefficient.

SwimTech [userpic]


February 12th, 2007 (03:04 pm)
current location: A Wall St. office
current song: None, alas

Did you know that it was possible to make biodegradable plastic cups from corn? I didn't. But I'm sipping water from a corn plastic cup right now. Wacky.

In other starch news, I followed another recipe from the Macaroni & Cheese cookbook; this recipe called for tri-color fusilli and Stilton. It was one of the most amazing dishes ever. It puts the whole mac, cheese, green salsa to shame, and I had real difficulty stopping myself from finishing the whole bowl, even though I was full.

SwimTech [userpic]

I might be a sap, but I know good TV when I see it

February 12th, 2007 (09:53 am)
current location: a Wall Street office
current song: None, alas

Warm-body duty again, this time in another office, down on Wall Street. As cubes go, this is pretty nice, because I've got a window that looks out onto a slice of the river. No one expects me to do much except for answer the occasional phone. Which is fine. I'm really glad I've got freelance work I can do simultaneously.

This weekend was the second weekend in a row where someone canceled on plans to go sing karaoke. I am suffering from karaoke withdrawal, especially since I found out that the place we were going got a whole bunch of Erasure songs.

To be fair, it wasn't my friend's fault--she had a terrible headache. We ended up hanging out anyway, fulfilling the second part of our plans, which was to watch Tomorrow People DVDs. We loved the opening credits, especially the part where this hand (meant to represent the human mind) kept doing these wacky motions with its fingers. But it all went downhill from there.

You know, I think Nickelodeon mostly showed the later seasons of the show, although I do remember getting to watch the very first episode at one point. I remember the later episodes as being more broadly humorous (Peter Davidson as a space hillbilly, giant Rover-like bubbles that turned themselves into jumpsuits, and so on), but what I don't remember is the pacing being so SLOW. We watched the first three story arcs (SLAVES OF JEDEKIAH, THE MEDUSA STRAIN, THE VANISHING EARTH) and everything just took forever to happen. Plus, the Tomorrow People's reaction times just sucked. There were a whole bunch of times where they could have jaunted out of trouble; instead, they did this deer-in-the-headlights thing and got shot. The actress who played Carol was humorously awful, and it was difficult to understand Kenny--it was his accent, a speech impediment, or both. Steven wasn't a bad actor, and neither was John. I totally don't remember John being so cute. Either the show had really low casting standards or it was the career kiss-of-death for these actors, because imdb showed that none of the Tomorrow People ever got any roles afterward.

Interestingly, the actors who were in the 1990's remake of the show (did anyone other than me watch that?) all went on to have fabulous careers, with roles in the new BSG and the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here.

SwimTech [userpic]

The SQ Example

February 9th, 2007 (01:35 pm)

current location: anonymous office
current mood: contemplative

Obviously, I am treating this blog like a new toy--playing with it a lot. And then there's all the spare time I've got, too. Eventually, surely, this will wear off.

But in these early days, I am toying with the concept of discretion. I guess (or at least, I hope) everyone with a grain of common sense does the same when they first start to blog. It's an ancient issue by Internet standards, but somehow it keeps coming to the fore, I think. I'm not using my full name here, because I don't want this blog to be findable on the web that way. On the other hand, I'm not really trying hard for anonymity, and it's already been demonstrated this week that anyone who knows me can figure out my identity in about a second.

I'm trying to be careful, being appropriately vague when necessary, locking off certain posts to Friends-only, and so on, because I've heard (as have we all) too many stories about blogs really messing with people's personal and professional lives. In some cases, this works out fine, because it leads to a book deal. Can't say that I expect that outcome for me. I started this blog so that I would write more. Mostly, I planned to talk about swimming (because no one I know actually does it and I think I'm boring them all with my constant obsessing on it--of course, many of these people are the same ones linking to my blog, so go figure), but I don't seem able to help myself from veering away from the topic.

While I type, I feel it important to keep the lesson of SQ fresh in my mind. About 10 years ago, before blogs became popular, a new employee at my office decided to change her name. She picked a bizarre, extremely crunchy name with the initials SQ, and was so stoked by her choice that she decided to e-mail everyone in the large corporation in which we worked to tell us all about it. Let me also point out that her job primarily consisted of dealing with the public, and specifically, in the appropriate dissemination of information.

In short order, she was quickly fired (with no ensuing book deal, obviously). And, what was more, we were all forbidden to discuss it with people outside the company.

I imagine incidents like this happen all the time that we never hear about. I do know that in my previous job, one of the other potential candidates bitched on his blog about not getting it, and he did it in such a way that he could be easily identified. Not really a good idea if he ever wanted to try again to be employed by that company. Or indeed, in any other company in a related field.

I hope I will always know where to draw the appropriate line.

SwimTech [userpic]

Connecting with the universe

February 9th, 2007 (10:26 am)

current location: virtual pool
current mood: aggravated
current song: "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney

So, apparently, the Powers That Be are kicking around a law that would ban people from playing their iPods while they're in a crosswalk. I wish there was a clearer way to ban people from exhibiting general obliviousness to their environment. There are plenty of people not plugged into anything who just don't seem aware that they're not the center of the universe, about whom everyone must revolve.

As you know, my small group of possibly faithful readers, I SWIM with my iPod; but trust me, I remain aware of who else is in my lane and where they are. I submit that I am far more able at doing this than someone who thinks it's a good idea to do the backstroke in a lane in which there are four other people swimming.

SwimTech [userpic]

Warm-Body Day

February 9th, 2007 (10:02 am)

current location: an office, somewhere else
current mood: mellow
current song: None. Yet.

I'm here for a one-day assignment at the same office where I was posted last week, albeit at a different desk. The phone's rang once in the past hour, and I was asked to forward the caller to voice mail. I haven't met the people I'm supposed to be covering, and no one's asked me to do anything.

Today, I feel less like the Toilet Paper Fairy and more like a crocheted toilet paper caddy--useless and of dubious ornamental value. But hey, I'm getting paid good money to do this (considerably more than the last time I was temping regularly), and I can work on my freelance stuff at the same time. Not a bad deal, all in all.

SwimTech [userpic]

Go with the flow

February 8th, 2007 (03:47 pm)

current mood: contemplative
current song: You Won't See Me Coming ('Til I Strike) by Jean-Jacques Burnel (closing credits to Gankutsuou)

Just back from the pool. Music a little tricky today--had to keep adjusting the headphones jack. One of the guys in my lane had one of those waterproof MP3 players that's just a set of earphones. Would love one, but buying the setup I have was cheaper, since I already owned the Mini. Plus, the iPod can hold more songs.

The two guys swimming in my lane were a bit faster than me, but that was no problem; I just cut a lot of my laps short--i.e., I turned around and switched direction. It reminds me of short-rowing in knitting. It's a fairly unobtrusive way of creating space for myself and getting out of the way of faster or slower swimmers. I don't like passing swimmers or being passed myself. It's a personal space issue, and passing tends to be a lengthy in-your-face way of commenting on the other person's speed. Like tailgating.

It's really important to me to be aware of where the other swimmers are in my lane, and to adjust my speed and placement accordingly. Unfortunately, other people seem to be really oblivious; they think they're alone in the pool. Just before I was about to leave a pool, another man joined us in the lane. He swam slower than the other two guys, in a manner which suggested that he wasn't so much swimming as fighting with the water. He didn't really seem to know what to do when the other guys were passing him, and they didn't really have an efficient way of getting out of his way, either. So he ended up spending a lot of time at the end of the lane, waiting for the right moment to start swimming. Maybe he wanted to rest a lot, but I don't think so. It looked like he wasted a lot of time that he could have spent swimming.

I was vaguely irritated to discover they'd changed the shower caddies in the locker room. The old ones had hooks which hung over the neighboring stall, and I could hang my bath sheet and my wet bathing suit on those hooks while I showered. These caddies don't have the hooks. Oh, well. Maybe it's a life lesson not to get too rigid about personal rituals. Or not.

SwimTech [userpic]

A hymn to built-in obsolescence

February 6th, 2007 (11:37 pm)

current mood: okay
current song: Duvet by BoA

It was really hard to talk myself into getting to the pool; the thought of going out into the cold was just too daunting. Somehow, I managed, finally, to talk myself into it this afternoon. It was a good music day; unless I position the iPod on my armband just right, the headphones cord gets loose from the Otterbox jack, which severely messes with the sound. I mean, I'm not asking for Bose quality here, but I'd like to be able to hear all the channels of the song. Otherwise, I spend far too much of my lap time fiddling with the jack. And as it is, this is the second pair of these things I've bought since July--the left earphone broke three months after I got them. But it's not like I've got a choice, since there aren't a huge amount of waterproof earphone manufacturers, and H2O has the nicest design, because it's got this coiled cord which stays out of my way. I'm wondering how long this set will last.

(How weird is it of me to swim while listening to a song that says, "I am falling/I am failing/I am drowning/Help me to breathe?" I mean, why aren't I listening to Erin McKeown's "Float" or something? I'm just perverse, I guess.)

It was also a good goggles day. It's really important for my goggles to have a nice tight seal on them, because I swim with my contact lenses in, and I've lost more than one lens in the pool. Yes, there are prescription goggles, but that would turn the world dangerously blurry the minute I took them off. Some swimming sessions I end up spending a lot of time readjusting the damned goggles to keep the water out.

Goggles don't last much longer than 4 months, if I'm swimming regularly. Never knew that I'd have to replace them so often. I expect chlorine to eat through my bathing suits in about 8 months, even if I soak the suits in clear water afterward and avoid the mangler, I mean the suit spinner. The bathing cap usually gets all stretched out within 6 months or so, but they're the cheapest thing to replace, so who cares, really.

Goggles also get all steamed up while I swim. The anti-fog coating on them wears off in about 2 days. Isn't it con-vee-nient that the goggles manufacturer sells anti-fog solution? Surprisingly, the stuff actually works, but it still feels like a scam to me, because I think the anti-fog coating on the goggles should actually last longer than it takes to read the specs on the packaging.

Being a high-maintenance swimming person certainly requires a lot of...maintenance.

SwimTech [userpic]

...and back to swimming

February 4th, 2007 (08:24 pm)

current location: the pool
current mood: accomplished
current song: "The Boxer" by Carbon Leaf

Yay, me, I actually managed to drag my carcass to the pool. Couldn't quite get it together enough to do it this morning, but I did get there by 12:40 pm. And thankfully, the pool was not offensively crowded, even though 2 lanes were reserved for kids.

Going swimming is a big undertaking for me, particularly when it's cold (more layers involved). Yes, my pool's only 7 blocks away, but since I'm one of those people who's not happy unless she's carrying around her entire universe of stuff with her, the whole process is Involved. I'm hiding it behind a cut so you can choose whether or not you actually care about said process. :-)

The ProcessCollapse )

And that's just to leave the house! It's no wonder that some people prefer to exercise at home.

Now you know what a high-maintenance loon I am. Or maybe you already knew that, but were unaware of the specifics. I'm sure this has all proved to be highly valuable information. Personally, I don't know what's crazier--actually hauling all this stuff around or writing about it for the presumed edification or possible entertainment of others.

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