Sunday, September 28, 2014


It was everything that Chris Farley would've wanted.  There was even a river...well, some of the time there was.

Last weekend one of my best friends had her bachelorette party.  Wait, no - that term leads one to believe that I dressed pretty, partied, got massages and got free drinks.  The correct description of this event was that my friend decided that she was going to kidnap all her friends, throw us in large white molester vans and not allow us to shower for half a weekend.

She came up with this plan long before she was engaged.  We all thought it would pass, that it would be a phase and when the time came she'd do something a little more, well, traditional.  Instead, despite the best efforts of all the bridesmaids to convince her otherwise, she firmly stuck to her original plan and forced us to run 205 miles in sweaty Goodwill dresses while sleeping in parking lots like a bunch of dirty hobos.

The name of the race was RAGNAR, which I believe is an acronym for some sort of neurological disorder suffered by all who voluntarily enter.  And I did say I was forced - not at gunpoint, not threatened with a messy friend break-up, but because you don't tell the bride no.  You just don't.  There are only two things you can reasonably refuse to do for a bride - first degree murder and (contrary to the Hangover's depiction of bachelor parties) face tattoos.  So when the bride tells you that you're going to run three legs ranging from 2 to 12 miles each through unknown terrain in the dark or the scorching sun and then get in a big van and repeat, you just fucking do it.

I'm pretty sure I've made it clear in previous blog posts just exactly how much I hate running.  This fire of hatred burns deep into my soul, as well as my small asthmatic lungs.  I also hate heat, which to me is anything above 80 degrees, and this summer was pretty much like I had moved not to Sherman Oaks but in fact to the surface of the sun.  Combine that with my complete and utter lack of funds that would otherwise be used for such things as a gym membership and you have the perfect training plan for someone who hates running.  Then the only good thing that happened in months, me getting a job, further pushed away any hopes of preparation because I can't be bothered to stay awake for more than 12 hours a day and would immediately fall into bed upon my return home after a grueling day not paying attention to documents for some whiney litigant.

The only people who managed to get out of running either had major surgery or were actively cultivating a child in their womb, neither of which I was willing to do.  So I prepared for the potential that I would need one or both of my legs amputated and just went.

After a 6-ish hour drive up to San Francisco and approximately four hours of sleep in someone's nicely furnished garage, I awoke to put on my running clothes in the dark and start this race of insanity.  I took a moment of silence for my ankles and likely the last time they would ever function properly before jumping into a large white 12-passenger van with a bridal veil attached to the roof.  There was nothing ridiculous about this scenario at all.

The starting line was in Golden Gate Park, one of the prettiest places in one of the greatest cities ever.  I wasn't as nervous as I should have been simply because my view was nice.  I have since learned my lesson.  We got a safety briefing as a team, I put on my pink empire-waist prom dress that made me look and feel pregnant and I cued up Toto's "Africa" on my iPhone.  I went to the starting line, completely unaware of what I was in for.  It was too early for my brain to properly function and realize the gravity of my situation.

As the race started, I followed the other racers through the park, by ponds and flowers and giant trees.  It only took a few minutes before I started having chest pains and realizing exactly how terrible of an idea this was.  I was terrified that my team would drive by in the van looking for me to cheer me on, so I ran when I was out in the open and walked when I was behind large bushes or on a woody trail.  Did I mention this first leg was only 2.8 miles?  Yes, I was already walking.

I started running again when the trees opened up to the ocean, the beautiful beach that I'd spent many a cold day searching for sand dollars on vacation when I was younger.  Oh yay!  I bet the end of my leg is right here!  So pretty.  This wasn't that bad after all!  Funny though, they hadn't been marking the miles.  Every other race I'd been in would always tell me when I hit mile 1, mile 2, etc.  No signs, except to turn left or right.  I didn't care for this, and as you will see in part II that I have the worst estimation of distance of any human alive.

As I run along the sidewalk by the beach, I notice a sign.  "1 mile to go!"  Are you kidding me?  I've only gone 1.8 miles?  It felt like I'd been running for an hour and that I had at least gone three if not five miles.  My lungs hurt, my hips hurt, my feet hurt...and then I saw the hill.

My brain remembers it as approximately 45 degrees, but either way this hill was the ENTIRE rest of the leg.  I was supposed to run a MILE UPHILL.  NOPE.  I couldn't even do that when I was running regularly, let alone now when I was basically a blob of atrophying muscles.  No.  It wasn't going to happen.  Fuck this.  I stopped and started walking up the hill.  It was about this time that I noticed I was getting lightheaded and not walking in a very straight line. 

My mind was jumping around everywhere.  "Ohh Musee Mechanique!  I love that place!  I should go check it out.  Wait, I have to finish this damn run first.  And it's 8am, it probably won't be open.  Look at that fucking hill.  What a bunch of dickbags, who makes the last mile of ANY run a giant mountain?  Fuck this shit.  Fuck this race.  Oh, hey, that's the last person in my wave that just passed me.  Sweet, I'm last.  Am I surprised?  Nope.  Whatever.  Jesus this is the biggest hill in the entirety of earth, why does it exist?  Fuck plate tectonics, man.  Stop making things all not flat.  Who the hell is that guy?  What a creepster!  He's taking pictures!  I bet he's some sort of weird sociopath who has a wall of sweaty girls running- oh wait, he's the race photographer.  Whoops.  I guess I should pretend I'm running.  OH THERE'S THE VAN!  I'M ALMOST DONE!  IT'S RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! ...wait, where's the exchange?  The vans are here- WHAT WHY IS IT ALL THE WAY OVER THERE?!  WHY IS THIS STILL UPHILL?  CAN'T I JUST GET IN THE VAN HERE, THAT'S MY GODDAMN VAN!"

By the time I reached the exchange and handed off to the next runner, I had approximately three working brain cells and they weren't getting enough oxygen.  I sat on the bench and apparently I looked so bad that a strange girl gave me her gigantic water and told me to keep it.   I don't really remember how I got to the van, but I do remember my friends telling me that "red is good, white and clammy is bad" and that I definitely fell into the latter category.

While stopping at Starbucks and picking up some scones at some ridiculously awesome Irish bakery, I asked "So what time do you think I'll be running my 5.25 miler?"

"5.25?  Dude, it's 6.6."

WHAT?!!! be continued.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


A couple of years ago I had the completely insane idea to "go off birth control" to "see how my body felt" without artificial hormones.  It was a raging disaster as chronicled in this post and I quickly went back on my pills within 2 weeks of my "experiment."

Well, sometimes we don't pay attention to how many refills we have left, especially when the only males I speak to are either related to me or legally bound to my friends, and sometimes I run the fuck out.  I had a nice solution last time - since I had graduated and couldn't use the health center but still   had insurance, I asked my shrink to call in a refill since he's a doctor and can technically prescribe anything.  When I tried to refill it this time, I pulled up to the pharmacy drive through only to be told that they needed some sort of "authorization" for MediCal (yes I'm on poor person insurance, screw you) as to why I need birth control.

Whoa whoa whoa.  A week ago I showed up, gave you my brand new poor person insurance card, and you turned right around and handed me all my crazy meds FOR FREE.  Now you're wanting a reason I need birth control?  How about I don't want to have babies?  Or more importantly, I need the hormones or I turn into some batshit crazy sobbing little schoolgirl who can't watch people hug without having a breakdown of some form.  They literally handed me a bottle of benzos FOR FREE after asking no questions nor requiring ID of any kind (if you don't know what benzos are, google "Xanax" or watch any number of episodes of "Intervention") just a week prior.

Fine, I thought.  I'll just go to Planned Parenthood when I have some time.  Which sadly now that I'm employed is never.  I sucked it up and prepared for the worst - who knew how long I was going to be sans supplemental hormones.  Last time I broke at 2 weeks - could I go longer this time?

For those of you wondering, me not having hormonal birth control is ironically a form of birth control in itself since I can't do anything without crying or acting completely insane, but really I'd prefer to just feel normal and have my damn pills.

This time it was a little different.  I went through the first week just fine, and as I reached the beginning of the second week, I felt no different.  This worried me, because what if it came all at once and didn't build up from a little crazy but instead exploded as UBER crazy without warning?  I was trying to be cautious, so when a Robin Williams tribute special aired Tuesday I debated about whether or not to watch it while I was "unmedicated."  I took a risk and surprisingly I only cried minimally, and in a way that I could stop when it was over - not the normal "cry for hours because I got sad and can't stop the sad."

While I still planned on getting an appointment for pills, I was less worried.  That is until Thursday.  I was scrolling through Facebook at work and passed a photo of a kitten from one of the rescue organizations I follow, and it was asking for someone to adopt him.  Suddenly I started feeling weird.  It was building up, slowly, quietly - so that I didn't know what it was at first.  Oh god oh god oh god no no nononononoNONONONOOOOOOOOO!  I thought of the kitten, he needed a home, I could take him, wait no I couldn't, my cats would try to kill him... then I thought of my own cats, oh how sad I'd be if they died, oh I miss them so much, they're my furry children, I rescued them when they were babies, look what a good life they had, WHAT IF I HADN'T TAKEN THEM?!  WHERE WOULD THEY BE? 

As the crazy was building, I tried to distract myself.  Think about baseball!  Look at baby pictures - ewww, that should do it.  I tried to get as far away from sad homeless kittens as I could and luckily I could feel the impending disaster subside but I'd had quite a scare.  I wasn't immune as I thought - I needed those hormones NOW. 

The next day a similar kitten post got me on the same track, and it almost overtook me, but I calmed down again.  But I can't keep this up forever.  Someday I'm going to have to trade $32 for an appointment to get my damn pills back - which is hard as I'm trying to get as many hours as I can at work since I'm taking half of Thurs and all of Friday off.  Planned Parenthood needs to be open at midnight on Saturday.  I guarantee I wouldn't be the only one there.

It's a little scary that I need my birth control more for crazy control than my other meds - but other than brain zaps and feeling shaky (that happens to everyone, right?) I don't have problems when I miss my crazy pills.  Also I apparently can't blog an actual narrative, since I don't think this post has a real end to it.  Seriously me, wtf.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I'm sure it's surprising to no one that I was a very odd child.  This isn't to say I didn't have a lovely childhood - I did - but inside my shy, blonde little head were some very bizarre thoughts that I only later found out weren't completely normal.

My imagination was apparently very active, since I have no other way to explain some of the things I thought.  One of the best examples started with a simple family vacation to Epcot Center in Florida, sometime around 1985.

Our family vacations were very Disney-centric when we were young, which was good since as advanced as I was I likely wouldn't have appreciated Monet or a more "cultural" experience.  We went to both Disneyand and Disney World, but my favorite of all was Epcot Center in Florida.  It was gaudily 80s-futuristic which you may not know brings me immense joy and thrills (when they changed Tomorrowland from 50s Tomorrowland to ACTUAL FUTURE Tomorrowland I was horrified and quickly voiced my displeasure - why would I want to see actual innovation when I could see the glorious world of what people thought life would be like right now in 1955??).  In addition to glorious 80s future, there's the "World Showcase" which is basically an area that has about 10 countries, complete with replicas of actual monuments and buildings as well as restaurants and glorious shops full of foreign trinkets. This was where my obsession with Asia began.

On this particular trip, between two countries was a large construction wall painted with caricatures of children in various ethnic garb from around the world, along with the words "Coming Soon: Norway."  Most people, especially children, would look at it, think "oh, a new country is coming, cool" and stop there.  Not me, my mind was already creating a fictional Norway that was entirely too elaborate for an adolescent, let alone a toddler.

Based ENTIRELY on the wall with the pictures of children and notification that that location would soon be home to a Norway-themed area, I deduced that Norway was a country of entirely children.  Children ran the government, children worked in restaurants and factories, children were police officers, children wore adult clothing and acted like adults.  Where did Norway get all of these parentless children?  Why they were orphans, of course!  All the orphans in the world were sent to Norway to create a child society that worked as well if not better than the adult ones, because DUH.  I was very interested in visiting Norway after that to see what my young counterparts were doing while I played with my Legos and fingerpainted.

But did these children grow up?  Of course, silly - when they were adults they left Norway to enter the adult world in some other country.  Their choice, of course.  They were constantly being replaced by an influx of world orphans, so there was no worries of the country "dying out" as it were.

For the next couple of years, Norway didn't come up much, being five and all, so I forgot about this new land my brain had created.  Then we went back to Epcot.  When we walked through the World Showcase, Norway was open. I was thrilled!  And it had a ride!

Off we go to ride "Maelstrom," arguably the best ride at Epcot pre-2000, and I was in for a HUGE shock.  We walk through the doors and on one side is a store with Norwegian clothing and lots of things to use in snowy climates, and on the other was the line for Maelstrom.  As we walk through the turnstile to get in line, I notice the mural on the wall - various ships and trees and artifacts were depicted, but also people.  Grown men.  WITH BEARDS.  This was a completely inaccurate mural of what Norway was actually like. 

"Mommy!  Why are there men on the wall?  There's only supposed to be children!!"  My mom was rightfully shocked and likely concerned for my mental health as I told her the long, drawn-out history of Norway, as imagined by 5-year-old me.

I didn't get a straight answer out of her, probably because she was so completely baffled at my question, that we got on the ride before I could say anything else.  In our awesome Viking boat we floated down a river, passing MORE GROWN MEN WITH BEARDS (animatronic, but still) doing various things that should have been done by the children!  I didn't understand what was going on.  I was honestly convinced that Disney had made a huge mistake and just didn't do their research when creating the Norway exhibit.  Once we got off the ride, I brought it up again.

I don't really remember how it was finally laid out to me, but needless to say that was one of the first (if not the actual first) times that my parents probably started worrying about the sanity of their oldest child.  I was finally convinced that Norway was just another normal country, with the same ratio of kids and adults, doing normal things like being cold and dressing like Vikings.  The sad realization that there was no "child utopia" that I could visit as though it were my homeland was harsh, but I survived.

That was only the first of many weird ideas about the world that were eventually shot down by reality.  I'm still conjuring up new ones.