Friday, May 25, 2007

A Husky 26%

Not to be a Type-A Bride, but I very much want to be at my fighting weight on my wedding day. Something about the fact that fifteen hundred box cameras and any number of digital camcorders will be trained in my general direction makes me want to eliminate my multitude of bodily sins.

I've been working out at the gyms of the colleges where I taught, a four-time-a-week exercise in humility. The next time you want to truly embrace your flab, get on a treadmill between an eighteen-year-old and a scholarship athlete. Feel the burn.

I got a temporary membership at a local gym, which included a free! training session with Justin, who would very much like to become my personal trainer. Oh, how he cared. Justin weighed me and said "That's it, huh?" when I fell down after merely 59 seconds in a deep squat position and finally handed me a small machine, telling me to hold it at arm's length. Apropos. The machine announced that 26% of my body is fat.

Justin looked at the number, sighed sorrowfully, and announced that 26% body fat for a woman was average, but... didn't I want to be fit? Because he really, really wanted me to be fit. For eight hundred dollars, he could make me fit. He felt that I would be much happier if only 20% of my body were fat.

I stared back at him; wasn't 20% Calista Flockhart, neck bones bursting through the upper chest like a xylophone territory? Didn't women need some fat, to grow Padawans and fill racks and make Sir Mix-A-Lot happy?

No, 20% was fit. He sensed my resistance, signed heavily once more, and announced that he didn't care what his district manager thought, he would now make me fit for only seven hundred and fifty dollars. I told him where to shove his calipers, and hauled my great gobs of blubber to the general direction of the ellipticycles.

Well, of course I could be in better shape. Who couldn't? My very favorite Olympic athlete is one I saw profiled during the Winter Games; she was shown hosting a barbell in the air that outweighed me and my ellipticycle together, and as she braced herself against the bench, I caught a very definite flash of cellulite. But a reporter with The New York Times was once sent to test various body fat measuring systems, and she sniffed at her own 27% reading as "husky". And apparently I could never fit through the door of an airplane on my way to becoming a U.S. Marshal; according to those standards, I have a "poor" glob-to-muscle ratio, and the service would prefer me to be somewhere under 13.5%.

But given the Times' reputation as an unbiased beacon of fact-checking and reliability, I compared elsewhere. I went to the Army. You know what your body fat needs to be under if you're a thirty-year-old woman in the Army, after boot camp? Thirty percent. The Air Force demands 32%, and the Navy 33% (I'm guessing the Navy allows more so you can be your own personal flotation device, if need be.)

But what about the Marines, the original tough girl mo-fos? The by-God Marines place the limit at... twenty-six percent.

anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns, hon at:

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I bid you dry-heat greetings from the Secure Undisclosed Writing Residency, where The Cat That Hates Me and I have made peace. The other day I encountered it on my way to the parking lot, and there was no way I was leaving the building without passing it, and it was just this very socially awkward moment. So I stood several feet away and bent down to pat the cat on the head, saying, "I seem to have picked you up the wrong way. I didn't mean to. I apologize if I caused any pain to you, your family, or your species. Please do not pee on me."

The cat consulted with Jesse Jackson, Dr. Phil, and the women's Rutgers basketball team; then he briefly curled his tail around my legs before sitting down to lick himself in an extremely private area. I think this means that we're good now.

I am also pleased to report that I'm up one book proposal and down two pounds for the week, which is easy to do when you subsist on nothing but tequila and angst. I suppose I could lose more should I simply wander off into the desert like this guy, Survivorman, who I saw today on the Discovery Channel.

He plopped himself into the Sonoran Desert with a multitool, a camcorder, and terminal case of scruff. He then announced that if you, too, should suddenly find yourself in the desert without any food or water or an agent, you should eat grasshoppers, but only after thoroughly cooking them, because, quote, "they can carry tapeworms." I'll admit it-- I'm kinda picky, and I'd prefer it if the tapeworm weren't touching the grasshopper on my plate.

The last I saw of Survivorman, he was squatting over a fire, pronouncing the smoke an anti-BO functionary. Still looked more distinguished than I did last night after "Read What You've Been Working On And Also Drink Your Weight in White Wine" Night.

dignity, always dignity at:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Josh The Flight Instructor part 2

Here's a video shot by my student Joe during one of our recent flights. Yes, Joe is his real name. The noise you will hear right before touchdown is simply the airplane telling me we're going really slow, which is kinda the point when trying to land, especially in a light trainer like what I am flying in the video.

Here's a picture of the type of airplane (not the exact one) I fly with Joe.

51 days 'til I have a permanent co-pilot at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I did not miss, nor have I forgotten about, the whole Brady Quinn draft thing.

For one thing, I could have told him he wasn't going #3. The man was wearing a vest, and had at his side some woman who was under the delusion that God had intended her to be a blonde.

Normally I don't watch the NFL draft, because I can go in my classroom and call roll for sixteen hours and generate exactly the same level of excitement for myself. But this was finals week, and I was quite desperate for anything other than student sniffling-- large men in pinstripes receiving more cash in one series of downs than I will likely see in my entire career appealed to me.

ESPN Money Quote in the second round: "Brandy Quinn's gonna get some action here." Yeah, well, given what I know of Notre Dame's dating scene, Brady's not hurting for action, pretty much.

In addition to the fact that he is my brother in the Notre Dame family, I was wincing for Brady as he sat there and sat there and... sat there. That was me! That was totally me twenty years ago on the playground of St. Jude Elementry School! It's humiliating enough to happen every single day of recess, but sandwiching your worldwide humiliation between a Dodge Caravan commercial and a ticking clock hovering next to Chris Berman's head is a whole other league of hurt.

"Maybe the Bengals will take him," one of my students said as we checked on the draft during a one of the finals breaks. I said that the Bengals would not take him; the Bengals do not need a quarterback. The Bengals need a 24/7 on-field deploy of defense lawyers.

Yes, I'm angry at God, too, Brady. Cleveland. Sorry about having to hate you now.

I miss Boomer at:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Where I Live Now

The dominating piece of art in the kitchen here in the Secure Undisclosed Writing Residency is that of a sad clown. It was clearly rendered by a child, or is meant to suggest to the viewer that the artist was one. Or something. It is the creepiest thing on the face of the Earth. I would share a picture of it with you here, but I cannot locate my USB photo cable. I blame the clown.

Only thing worse than an actual clown is a kid-creepy picture of a sad one. I couldn't sleep at night. I took it down, hid it in the pantry, and replaced it with far less disturbing images of various genocides.

Also, can somebody please let me know what time it is? The time on my computer is different from my cell phone reset, which is an hour off from the digital clock on the microwave, which doesn't match the clock next to my bed. Apparently this is because Arizona wasn't on Daylight Savings Time, and then it was, and now it actually is Daylight Savings Time, with the result that I will remain jetlagged anyway.

This all resulted in the Ultimate 21st Century Moment: The other day I actually had to Google to find out what time it was. I still don't know. All I know is I also got online to find out when the Preakness coverage started, and discovered that the horses were by that time off the track and shipped to the breeding shed.

Stupid daylight.

out of excuses at:

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