What’s Up (10/3/16)

Planned Parenthood
After a bit of an absence it feels really nice to have Planned Parenthood people back in my life. There was some fundraiser back in May, or so, but since August things have been a little more regular, and last week there were two events back to back; a debate watch on (9/26) and then a little s’mores and cider Autumn-themed party. Can’t say I’ve had that much to drink on a Monday/Tuesday  back to back before, but it was all for a good cause, and it’s been really great just to have like-minded people surrounding me again

Speaking of things that are coming back into my life… my guilty TV-pleasure, Lucifer, is back again too. With season one ending on (4/25) and season two starting on (9/19) fans of show, both real and slightly ironic like myself, really didn’t have to wait long to get more Lucifer. Is the writing any worse? Heck, it’s kind of hard to tell with this show, but I’m still ‘enjoying’ it? Glad to have it back, especially as we enter Autumn, and I need crappy TV to keep me occupied while I ride the stationary bike.

And speaking of Autumn; that of course, is back and I’m liking it so far. Can’t say I come out of Summer with any regrets really. If there’s any year when I used every day of nice weather to my advantage, it was this year. I ran a lot. I’m almost coming on the 1-year anniversary of dedicating myself to a better, more exercise-filled life, but more on that (10/10). I kind of wish Autumn would **** or get off the bucket though, I hate these days that are 50 degrees in the morning and 70 in the afternoon: how are you supposed to dress for that?

Formula 1 
Finally, if there’s one more thing that’s really defining what’s on my mind on a week-to-week basis, it’s Formula 1. With only 5 races left this year, Nico Rosberg is in the lead with 23 points after an amazing Singapore and Malaysia Grand Prix. As a fan of Nico, I can’t really relax because a lot can happen in 5 races. Heck, actually, it’s possible for him to lose that lead in just ONE race. Still, I’m rooting for him and looking forward to a good fight.

What’s Up? (9/12/16)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I thought I’d try something different today.

How are things going? But, in pictures. Because here’s how things are going. After a mega weekend featuring old friends, another Pitt Football win, my brother, and Bruce Springsteen, I faced a Monday at the office with five hours of sleep… and thing went really well. Really, really well actually. The work I got done was good, and there was quite a bit of work.

But it all started with a Mocha, in Espresso A Mano, on a very comfortable 55 Degree day. The type of cool summer morning that says, summer is on it’s way out. And, for once, maybe I’m ready for summer to end. Ready for the transition from air conditioners to open windows, and into my long-sleeves and infinity scarves section of my wardrobe.

And then I left work and found two things that put a smile on my face. One, being the cat-lady public art someone put up in Lawrenceville; absolutely one of the best characters in all of The Simpsons. The other was the leaning Circle K sign, which, for the second time this year has been struck by a car and nearly completely destroyed. I feel bad for the Circle K but heck, it’s kinda funny.

And then; and then, and then, and then — after my 2 mile run and the beautiful weather and the future funk and the snapchatting — I came home to find my neighbor handing out bread for Eid Mubarak. Having almost fasted the whole day, by accident (nothing but a 2AM biscuit, and 3 cups of coffee) this home made bread hit the spot, with savory oils that are just asking for some hummus.


What’s Up? (8/30/16)

Next Level 
I feel like I’ve recently taken my running routine to the next level. I used to run and walk to the park, then run all the way down the Panther Hollow lower trail, and finally I’d walk home. All in all, it accounted for basically 1 mile of running, 2 miles of walking.

Now, I can run all the way to the park, and run more of the Panther Hollow lower trail – where I used to stop at a stone bridge, I now run over it to another landmark. All told, that’s only another 30 seconds of running but crossing that threshold made me realize how much more I could run. Though, running the Pittsburgh Grand Prix circuit also made me realize how much running I was capable of.

So the good news is that, most days, I can just pop on some Future Funk and Vaporwave and just run. I can run from my front door to the edge of Oakland, and then I need a break. After that though, I can even run back uphill to my house again. I’m shy of running 3 miles, but I am definitely clocking in 2 miles of running some days.

The other big thing in August I feel I have to talk about is… Tenchi Muyo? I should be watching Stranger Things, but some nostalgia found its way into my life in the form of Tenchi Muyo — an anime that I half-watched growing up on Toonami. It’s really hard to recommend Tenchi Muyo; if you like harem anime… well first I guess it depends why you like harem anime right? But it’s not like this show is good for shippers, there’s like no romantic tension, and this show’s not great for people who are looking for sexual tension either and what are you doing looking for that? Oh, who am I to judge? 

Okay, then why did I watch a whole bunch of Tenchi Muyo this month? Well, to satisfy a nostalgic craving, for one thing. Tenchi was a show I watched when it came on, or when a friend would put it on when I went to his house, but I never put together the story. I remembered that it was a story about a boy who lived with, like, 6 female aliens – that’s all. As a kid, it turns out I was watching Tenchi Universe, a remake of Tenchi Muyo. Over a decade later, I’m watching the original and, the reason I’m seeing it through is the story and the characters.

I think that’s what I kind of like about harems; Negima, Tenchi, Ouran, all have cringe-worthy parts in them, but they all have characters you can grow to love, and stories that develop around them. In Tenchi Muyo’s case, it’s this huge space opera more or less, even if it all takes place on Earth. Does that make sense? We have aliens and demigods who live for millennia settling scores and looking for “ultimate power,” people from “The Galactic Academy” and the “Galaxy Police,”  and they all converge on this tiny cast of characters who spend a lot of time sweeping the yard in front of a Japanese shrine.

Gosh this show is so hard to recommend. So I’m actively not recommending it. Tenchi Muyo is boring as hell, the actions of characters are largely predictable, and yet — at the end of each OVA when bad guys are introduced and things start happening, it’s all worth it. All the time spent watching this characters sweep floors, do chores, and fight over Tenchi, comes to a head when everything you learned about them in the last 4 episodes suddenly matters in the fight against the next big bad. I look forward to watching Tenchi Universe, and most everything Tenchi-related I can get my hands on so I can get this out of my system and get back to watching Sailor Moon.

What’s Up? (8/21/16)

What About The Olympics?
Tune-in television is practically over. Nowadays, you really shouldn’t have to be in front of the TV during primetime to catch the best shows – everything is available on demand on the internet. This is what hurts me about the Olympic coverage in the United States. It’s this big event that only happens once every four years, but the only available viewing method is awful. Every time I turned on NBC, a four-five hour chunk of television listed a bunch of sports happening… slowly, with commercial interruption. Garbage.

Here’s what I want, and what I’m going to get (it’s only a matter of time).

  • A 10 GB file that has all of the medal-determining moments of the Olympics. No qualifying rounds or heats… just the moments that determined Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Then, with all of the Olympics’ best moments available on-demand, I’ll watch the Olympics on my own terms, as it should be. Does this all sound entitled? Does it sound like I should just learn to read a schedule and watch the damn Olympics like everyone else? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Look, the ease of access given to us by the internet is a good thing, not a bad thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Drawing out all of the Olympics sports over hours and hours with commercial interruption is not to your benefit. Being spoon-fed the inspirational stories of United States competitors is not to your benefit. What you want to watch, when you want to watch it. That’s the only way I could possibly enjoy the Olympics, quite frankly.


What’s Up? (8/13/16)

For the last three weeks I’ve been on Soylent. What the hell does that mean? All it means is that at least one meal a day is this perfectly balanced 400-calorie drink. Maybe it’s breakfast, maybe it’s lunch – it will never be dinner because dinner is too good – but the important thing is that it’s doing the trick. It’s substituting hard foods like sandwiches where I’m not getting everything I need in a meal, and eating more than 400 calories. Yeah, it smells like popcorn and tastes like pancake batter and cheerio milk, but the important thing is that it’s working. This is me signing up for the food substitution future, this is me doing the thing that’s right for my body, this is me on Soylent.

De La Soul
Today, after the daily jog, I was listening to “De La Soul Is Dead,” and was transported to 2015. I remember what is was like to discover that album, how I listened to it during my first months in Squirrel Hill. Looking back I can see how far I’ve come. I’ve got this routine I couldn’t imagine a year ago – me running on an almost daily basis? What are you talking about? Me going to Lawrenceville to write social media posts for a living? That sounds fake. “De La Soul Is Dead” is the begging of a great thing, moving to Squirrel Hill, evolving as a person.

De La Soul’s “Three Feet High And Rising” while chronologically first in their discography, is the second step here – as I listened to it on the way to Philadelphia on a Greyhound Bus, I think I could see the change clearly. The change is real, and it is wild. I owe it to myself to review these albums one day.


The Ring Is Broken

Yesterday I dropped my Lapis Lazuli band on the floor, and it shattered into six pieces. I had that Lapis Lazuli band since October. I wore it every day since October. Losing it sucked. Losing it destroyed me in the moment, and the hours to come. Here was this thing that was a part of me for almost an entire year, and now it was in pieces. I wanted to cry, but I was at work; and when I was left alone the time had passed and I could not find the tears.

I went to a jeweler to see what he could do. Could the ring be welded back together? Could silver piece together the broken Lapis Lazuli? No, not without spending hundreds of dollars. But the jeweler did offer something to me, unintentionally – his words.

“Oh no,” he said as I have him the shards of Lapis, “how’d this happen?”

Before I could explain how I dropped the ring, he answered for me.

“Life happened, huh? It broke because you were just living.”

Yes. There was comfort there. Ultimately, I was being very sentimental about this ring that, quite frankly, I was very lucky to have for so many months without breaking – and that it broke was no freak accident, but just, life. If I have nice things like rings of Lapis Lazuli, then by living life, I’m going to break or lose nice things.

So mote it be.