No, this isn't a poster from some upcoming sci-fi blockbuster; it's just marketing material for a tennis racquet. Dazzling, isn't it? As near as I can tell, I can use this one to shoot laser beams. Bitchin'!
Now that I'm playing tennis again, I've started to feel an itch to shop for a new stick (as we call racquets on the tour). Nothing is wrong with my trusty Head Genesis 660, but since I've had it since 1989, I don't think it's overly rash of me to consider buying a newer model.
After a few hours researching racquets online, I'm feeling out-of-date and a bit overwhelmed. There are a LOT of racquets to choose from.
It's not as though my current racquet was ever a tree or anything quaint like that. It's graphite, born, Kevlar, kryptonite, that sort of thing. I'm just not used to having quite so many options in racquet styles and materials. Microgel, titanium, piezoelectric fibers, carbon nanotubes, Metallix, the list goes on and on.
One series of racquets even seems to be made of scrapped Terminators. It's all a little spooky for an old fogy like me. Do I really need to see little diagrams of the atomic structure of the weapons-grade super-composites in these racquets?
I mean come on people! "One of the direct results of the unique atomic structure of LiquidMetal alloys is very high yield strength, which approaches the theoretical limit and far exceeds the strength currently available in crystalline metals and alloys. For example, yield strength of over 250 ksi has been achieved in Zr-base and Ti-base Liquidmetal alloys (VIT-001 series). This is more than twice the strength of conventional titanium alloys."
That's great, but just tell me if I'll look sexy when I hit my forehand. And does that racquet come in blue, or just that icky orange?
The "Bait Socks" are quickly nearing completion. As previously mentioned, the intended recipient of these lovely socks will only be allowed to take possession of them if he picks them up in person. In Minnesota. At my house.
If he doesn't haul his cute tushie here, well, I'm pretty sure these socks will fit me too. I still have yet to make a pair for myself...
Here's were we stand today.
I'm quite pleased that I finally figured out the best place to pick up the extra, hole-preventing stitch at the corner of the gusset. If you recently heard a faint exclamation of "Eureka!" on the wind, that was probably me.
Another day or two, and I'll be finished with these. Then it's back to the lace scarf. Then more socks. (For me!)
I'm in Mel's debt for this Harry Potter Personality Quiz. It's the perfect Friday post for a lazy blogger! (Why am I such a sucker for personality quizzes? Is it because I usually agree with them? Even the menus at Chinese restaurants have me pegged right!)
The Sorting Hat says that I belong in Hufflepuff!
Said Hufflepuff, "I'll teach the lot, and treat them just the same."
Hufflepuff students are friendly, fair-minded, modest, and hard-working. A well-known member was Cedric Digory, who represented Hogwarts in the most recent Triwizard Tournament. [And like WG, Cedric was pretty damn sexy. But maybe in my case it should be HufflePOOF?]
(But I warn you, the assessment is long!)
New York Magazine recently ran a really interesting article, The Science of Gaydar, that address scientific efforts to discover the biological basis of homosexuality. You can read the original article here, or download a PDF of the article here.
Make of it what you will, but I found it a good read.
Much of the content in The Science of Gaydar was already familiar to me, but the article is an entertaining compilation of intriguing and sometimes troubling information about the science around homosexuality and the potential for the misuse of new findings.
For example, if homosexuality could one day be "diagnosed" in utero, would some parents abort their gay offspring? Now there's a dilemma for anti-choice homophobes! Help me, Dr. Dobson what should I do??
Much of the piece is focused on physical attributes (both external and internal to the body) that may indicate a greater likelihood that an individual is gay. So can you tell just be looking? (Or listening, for that matter?)
In no particular order, here are a few passages that struck me.
Richard Lippa, a psychologist at California State University, Fullerton, has found in his studies that the hair of gay men is more likely to grow with a counter-clockwise whorl than the hair of straight men. In his study, "About 23 percent [of gay subjects] had counterclockwise hair whorls. In the general population, that figure is 8 percent."
Typical, then, that I should find the back of the head of the guy on the right so much hotter than the noggin on the left. Story of my life, really. (And what does it mean if, in addition to going counter-clockwise, one's whorl spells out, as mine does, "Use better conditioner, you cheap beyotch!")
Digit Proportions: "The index fingers of most straight men are shorter than their ring fingers, and for most women they are the same length or longer. Gay men and lesbians tend to have reversed ratios."
This finding was all over the news a few years back, so you probably heard about it then. (For what it's worth, my index finger is longer than my ring finger. By seven inches!) One key point the article neglects to mention--if a man's fingers are adorned with numerous silver rings, there's a 97% chance you're dealing with an invert.
"The Gay Accent"
Another interesting study involved tape recordings of men speaking. In 75% of cases, listeners were able to identify the gay men simply by hearing them talk. Sibilant S's? Paul Lynde inflections? Whatever it was, people knew it when they heard it.
Where does the "accent" come from? Is there something physically different in the speech center of my brain that makes me start every sentence with the world "girlfriend"?
"An Ontario-based psychological researcher named Anthony Bogaert re-sorted Kinsey Institute data—in which 5,000 men answered detailed questions about their sex lives, practices, fantasies, and, it turns out, measurements of their erect organs—along sexual-orientation lines. Gay men’s penises were thicker (4.95 inches versus 4.80) and longer (6.32 inches versus 5.99). The measurements, it should be noted, were self-reported and perhaps involve reporting bias, but no one has done a study investigating whether gay men are more prone to exaggerating their assets, so, well, draw your own conclusions."
(Well, if the shoe fits...)
The subject of gaydar has always fascinated me. I've often had straight people ask me "How do you know when someone is gay." Well, honestly, I don't always know. I once dated a guy that I had no clue was gay until months after I first met him. (I was better off thinking he was straight, as it turned out.)
On other occasions, I've met a man and felt that certain something that tips me off, only to find out later that he's not gay--he's just European. (European straight men love that story.)
Generally my gaydar is calibrated for American men, it seems. When I lived in Austria I had to fine tune my settings a lot. I mean, it's hard to believe that 80% of men in Vienna are gay. I know it can't be more than 65%.
Here's where a coherent essay would offer a conclusion or at least a summation of the ideas presented.
I've enjoyed coffee since I was a little kid (no doubt I stunted my growth), but for some reason I haven't really developed a fondness for tea, apart from an occasional glass on ice (or the delectable Long Island variety, which has no real tea in it.). Oh yeah, and I love bubble tea, but that's more of a dessert than a drink.
~ Tea smells really good.
~ Tea is pleasing to the eye.
~ Making tea and drinking can be a soothing ritual, and I'm all for being soothed.
~ Tea is a great way to get a dose of mid-morning or afternoon caffeine with fewer jitters that one can get from coffee.
~ Tea offers a good excuse to enjoy a cookie or scone. (Not that I have ever needed much of an excuse.)
~ And finally, since my pinky finger is always prissily extended when I drink things anyway, I might as well be sipping tea like a regular lady.
When you get right down to it, I like just about everything about tea.
Now, if I can learn to enjoy how the damn stuff tastes, then we're all set.
That's really what it comes down to for me. I don't think tea tastes bad. I don't think it tastes very good, either. To me, tea seems like a cup of hot blah. Hello, flavor??
On the rare occasions when I do drink tea (usually to make Darren feel happy that I might finally be growing in my appreciation of the finer things), I'm always reminded of Anne Rice's novel The Mummy. The mummy, Ramses, upon awaking in nineteenth century London, happily acclimates himself to nearly all the traditions of the new era--except the custom of drinking tea.
"To him it tasted like half of something."
I'm with the mummy on this one. If I make it weak, the tea tastes like dishwater. If I let the tea steep a long time, I get a bitter brew that is also unpalatable. It's all rather frustrating.
For the short term, I've decided to stop worrying about how tea tastes. Darren buys high quality tea by mail and at a local tea shop, and he has picked up some really good stuff for me to drink at work.
For now, I'm concentrating on tea's health benefits, but over time, I hope that my taste buds will start to discern and appreciate subtleties that have escaped me until now. Who knows, I might even grow to really enjoy my daily cuppa, just as I love the satisfying flavor of an espresso.
There is precedent for the transition I'm trying to make. Until I was thirty-five, I detested the taste of beer. One or two swallows were all I could get down before my gag reflex asserted itself. (And I was a German major! So eine Schande!)
But for some reason I kept forcing myself to try different types of beer, and when I was vacationing in Austria in 2002, I finally began to enjoy it. Layers of flavor started to become clear to me, and at long last, my brain made the linkage between beer and bread. Yeasty, wheaty, carby, mmmmmm.
Did I need to start drinking beer? Certainly not. In fact, my waistline and I were both better off without it.
However, if I can teach myself to enjoy something that's not good for me, I figure that I should give healthy tea at least as much chance as I gave beer. Only seems fair.
Just one question, though. How many cups of oolong does it take to get tipsy? Because so far, I'm feeling nothin'.
On Sunday morning, in anticipation of a visit by Darren's mom, sister, niece and nephew, I kicked it into gear to finish Max's Green Bay Packer's cap. I had all but the pompom finished by the time they arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon.
Max seemed pleased with his new hat, and he even put on a little fashion show for us.
The crowning glory was attached to the cap that evening, and Max will got the finished product yesterday.
I hope the pompom stays put. I'm not the best seamstress.
Now, back to the socks...
Wait a minute, strike that, reverse it! (To quote Gene Wilder.)
Another wildly productive week draws to its long-awaited close. I'm sitting on the deck outside my house, looking out over the pond and sipping a nice cold beer on a warm, breezy afternoon. Life is good.
As the hops and barley (and you know, alcohol) work their familiar magic, let's recap the major and minor accomplishments of the week, shall we?
~ Despite the presence of millions of streptococcus bacteria pouring out of Darren, I have thus far avoided succumbing to the strep throat that hit him last Friday and has made his life hell for the past week. The score--WG Immune System: 1, Nasty infectious bug ZERO! [Darren's note: Incubation for strep can be up to one week. He's not out of the woods yet!]
~ Last night I played tennis for the second time in a week. I still kind of sucked, but I sucked much less than when I played last Sunday. That, my friends, is called Progress, and you are obliged to applaud me for it. Come on people, give me the clap!
~ I overcame my natural timidity and wrote to two people on Craig's List who were looking for tennis partners (South Metro). I did NOT respond to the fellow who suggested we might consider casual nudity in his "very private backyard" after the match. Hey, buddy, the only fuzzy balls I'm looking to handle are marked Wilson or Penn. At least until you send a picture.
~ I went to work five days in a row. I shot no one. I choked no one. I did not surreptitiously hide even ONE booger in a manager's cube. I did NOT scream all day long each and every day, despite a nearly overwhelming urge to do so.
~I met my former knitting classmate Renada for coffee and remembered what an amazingly cool woman (and very talented knitter) she is. Friendship rekindled, dinner plans with spouses in the works.
~ I acquired a four CD boxed set of extended 12-inch singles written by Prince for his various slutty "protégés", spanning tracks from the early 1980's to the mid 1990's. I once owned many of these songs on vinyl, and I had searched literally fifteen years for several of these funk gems. Groove thang fully engaged, funky face activated, hips gyrating. Oh lawd, yes.
~ I flossed three out of five days. (I did mention these are minor accomplishments, yes?)
~I made an appointment at the Mazda dealership to have a cracked interior side panel replaced along the right front passenger seat.
~ I did NOT send Jake Gyllenhaall another nude Polaroid of myself with my phone number written on the back and a lock of my chest hair enclosed in the envelope. (On second thought, this belongs in the Major Accomplishments category. Wow does that hot little muffin have some nasty lawyers! They're all "Cease and desist" this, and "incessant sexual harassment" that...)
~ When dining out at a local chain eatery of the very highest caliber (think TGI Friday's and then go UP a notch), I ordered the side salad instead of the much more enticing waffle fries.
And there you have it. Another stellar week for America's sweetheart.
All the best to you and yours,
No, not like this.
In a Wimbledon warm-up tournament this week, poor French tennis pro Marc Gicquel took a 130 mph serve right in the pills. Ouch.
This same thing happened to me once when my dad and I were teaching a tennis lesson to a group of middle-aged women. One of them was quite an athletic brute of six feet, and she ripped an overhead right into my nuts at point blank range.
"Oooh, nice shot!" my dad exclaimed. Evil.
As I writhed on the scortching hot court, the three women tittered nervously and repeatedly asked how I was doing.
"Oh, I'll be fine," I gasped, "Just give me a minute or two." And could someone help me find my left testicle please?
Ah, memories. (Did I mention that I have fathered no children?)
Anyway, nothing so dramatic happened last night at my park and rec tennis class. I had a really good time, and I was relieved (if a bit disappointed) to find that most of the other twenty or so people there were barely beyond the beginner stage. After warming up a few minutes (I hit with a chunkily cute Asian guy of eighteen or so), we did some volley and overhead drills and then we were free to "play a set or whatever."
No, the college girls running the class weren't exactly a crack team of educators, but they did have nice groundstrokes, and they were very friendly. After a few minutes, they told me "Oh, you're really good, so just do what you want."
Somehow, though, I got stuck in a foursome with three people who could barely get the ball over the net, so eventually I snuck off to a different court and just hit a basket of serves. The slice was working. The flat serve was working. I was hitting my targets. Things were looking surprisingly good.
There were four other men there who could actually hit the ball well. Next week I'll stick with them, and I'll have more fun. All in all, despite the low level of play, I still had a great time. I just love being on the court.
Since you've been such good kids this week, I'll have another post later today.
Lasagna was to be my lunch today. I was quite looking forward to it. Alas, due to a freakish tragedy, I am bereft of my lunch (and possibly my computer monitor).
You see, each morning, when I arrive at work, I set my frozen lunch (I'm quite partial to Amy's, Boca, and Blue Ginger frozen dinners--very tasty and usually around 300 calories) on top my my computer monitor where it thaws until lunch time.
I started this odd little routine several years ago as a time saving practice. You see, incredibly, there are only two microwaves in the company cafeteria, and heating a meal from its frozen state takes a good five minutes, during which an angry queue of hungry employees forms behind me. I couldn't endure their hostile stares and impatient sighs, so I found a way to cut my microwave time to about two minutes. My ingenious little system has worked well for me, up until this morning's unfortunate incident.
Allow me to set the scene.
A short time ago I returned from my coffee break (the term "break" being something of a misnomer, since I'm more or less always on break) to find an inexplicable pool of brownish liquid had appeared around the base of my enormous 21-inch monitor.
Had I spilled coffee or tea in my cube? Unlikely, since I had sipped neither beverage at my desk this morning.
Was someone playing a cruel prank on me? Possibly. (This company is FULL of jerks trying to keep a brother down. Damn haters.)
It was quite a little mystery. An icky mystery.
"Well, let's get this mess cleaned up," I thought.
I went to the little kitchen area and returned with a huge handful of paper towels to sop up the nasty juice that had now inched its way to my keyboard.
Blot, blot, blot. Wipe, wipe, wipe.
"Hmm," I thought to myself as I cleaned, "something smells kind of yummy. Like basil and oregano..."
And that's when the light bulb went on.
Atop my monitor, my Boca lasagna box had sprung a leak and was steadily releasing a trickle of tomato water down the back (and presumably into) my old, now somewhat crappy, yet no doubt at-one-time-very-expensive Hitachi SuperScan Pro 800.
Oops. I wonder if that's good for the monitor.
In retrospect, it may have been unwise to use my computer monitor as a warming drawer. However, I'm only willing to take partial blame for this messy mishap.
Why don't the damn Boca people make it clear which side of the box is the top and which is the bottom? Both sides bear the identical picture of mouthwatering, delicious, vegetarian lasagna. It's terribly confusing. (I need to orient myself somehow, people! Throw me a freakin' bone here!)
Next, it appears that the plastic "seal" over my lasagna was not, in fact, sealed at all. Rather it appears to have been--at most--resting rather loosely over my food, with just a few token points of adhesion along one edge. This paltry level of enclosure was insufficient to block the flow of rather powerfully scented lasagna water from the (completely inadvertently!) inverted package.
Adding insult to injury, the poorly wrapped food was also freezer burned and now rests forlornly in the garbage can.
I would like to think that both I and the good people at Boca have learned a powerful lesson today, but since it's unlikely that anyone at Boca is reading this post, I will have content myself with the knowledge that I personally have grown enormously from this painful experience, and I will NOT make the same mistake again.
Will I henceforth use my monitor to thaw my frozen dinners? You bet your ass. A man's gotta eat.
However, from now on, I will open my Boca box and confirm the orientation and containment integrity of the food product before resting the package on top of my toasty warm CRT.
To paraphrase Paula Deen: Best dishes, from my lasagna-scented computer to yours!
Yesterday, as I was miserably huffing and puffing my way through some dreadful interval training on the treadmill, I found myself wishing that I was comfortable just labeling myself a "bear" and embracing the forty pounds I so desperately want to shed.
I don't mean to suggest that all bears are overweight (though many do carry extra pounds on their manly frames) or that I should just give up exercise and steadily let my weight creep up until one day Richard Simmons appears in his candy-striped short-shorts to hold my enormous doughy hand as I weep about "somehow" finding myself at a weight of 750 pounds.
I just wish I could reach a better place in my head about what type of body I'm living in. I have never been (nor at age forty could I ever be) a twink or some totally ripped Chelsea Boy like this fine young chap on the left with his lickable six-pack abs, perfect pecs, and just a dusting of body hair on all the right places.
Nope, far from being a twink, I'm a stocky, five foot nine guy weighing in at over two bills with big thick muscles (wrapped in a generous portion of pudge) and an astounding ability to sprout hair over nearly every square inch of skin that isn't regularly shorn clear.
The great irony is that, despite my futile longing to look like the svelte boys at the gym, there's a lively, supportive community of men who look much like me (who look like men, when you get right down to it), who celebrate the furry, chunky bods they inhabit, and who crave similar men as their partners.
I admire and aspire to emulate the bears' rejection of the body-fascism that so dominates gay culture (at least the public, marketing face of gay culture), and I envy the comfortable ease with which bears seems to relate to their own bodies.
The fact is, I think bears are really sexy. (That fact might not come across terribly well given the men featured in my weekly "Better Than Coffee" posts, but I assure you it's true. And I plan to start mixing things up a bit there in coming weeks.) I like men who look like MEN, even if I myself might foolishly wish to be one of those lithe boys who jog with nearly silent footfalls on the treadmills at the gym and have no need of a concealing towel while they strut through the locker room.
Yet, despite the fact that I have a body ready-made for foraging in the woods with my furry brethren, I feel no particular urge to call myself a bear. I'm just not all that eager to add yet another label to myself. I'm already a gay, lapsed Catholic, graduate school drop-out, Prince fanatic, knitter, corporate drone, bread-baker, frustrated writer, kick-ass German speaker, and all around fun guy. Do I really need to add another role to my lengthy list of characters? (And if I so, do I have to shop for leather accessories? Because that part seems a little, um, silly to me.)
My friends who identify as bears have often told me that what they love about their community is that it's far less suffused with the insufferable, poisonous attitude of bored superiority one finds so prevalent in gay circles. Guys at bear bars are "just normal guys," I'm told.
I can definitely see the appeal in that. Even when I was a mere cub of twenty-five, I felt ill at ease in the watering holes where the pretty boys gathered to flaunt their wares. "YOU'RE NOT ONE OF US" their scathing glances told me. (When they deigned to notice me at all, that is.) Back then I used to think, "Why can't there be a place for regular guys like me to get together, without all the bitchy queen attitude?" It turns out there are such places.
So what if I did decide, "Hey, I'm a bear. GRRRRR!!!" Then what? What would happen if put on a snug t-shirt and a leather jacket and went to The Bolt for a drink?
I don't mean I want go on the prowl--I'm most definitely not on the market. I have a wonderful man already, thanks. He, like me, has an actual man-body, not some airbrushed Bel Ami confection of unattainable, sculpted late adolescent perfection.
Still, it's interesting to do a little thought experiment in which a bolder, unattached version of myself enters a bar and suddenly finds himself the stout, hirsute belle of the ball. (Or at the very least, isn't considered one of the ugly stepsisters.) Okay, I have a bit of a gut, and my chest hair is doing its best to merge with my sideburns. Big woop. Some guys like that sort of thing, right? It's a comforting thought in many ways.
But instead of going out to a bar tonight, I'll be home with my knitting, and tomorrow I'll be back on that damn treadmill, trying like hell to take another inch of my waist.
But one of these days, perhaps I'll venture into the woods.
Sunday I finally made it the tennis court for the first time in two years.
It wasn't pretty.
I'm beyond rusty at the moment. In the hour that Brent and I spent on the court, I would say that I hit four real backhands. I got plenty of balls over the net off that side, but oh how sad those shots were. Floaters, dribblers, shanks that soared over the fence, you name it.
I think I hit one solid topspin backkand and three decent slices. (And to think just two hours earlier I had been disgusted with the sublime Roger Federer for not hitting enough big shots off that side in his losing effort against Rafael Nadal. What a hypocritical jerk I am!)
My forehand was wildly unpredictable, but at least I had plenty of good solid hits on that side. Plenty of dorky stupid ones, too, but at least there were times when my body remembered what it was supposed to do. There was some encouragement to be found there.
Fortunately, we had the courts to ourselves for most of the time we were flailing about. Towards the end, two teenage boys started hitting on the court next to us. My initial thought was to warn them that we were rusty and they might want to move down one more court, but then I saw that that both guys were wearing flip-flops, so I didn't bother. Not exactly serious players.
Given the sorry state my groundstrokes, I never worked on my volley, and the thought of hitting a serve was beyond the pale. After an hour, I had blisters on both feet, and I was ready to go take my shame and go home.
We came back to my place, where Brent and I enjoyed a nice iced coffee out on the deck and mused about the days when our bodies were still pliant and mobile.
Oh well. Next time will be better.
Sore from head to toe,
The darn weather just didn't cooperate. We had 30-50 mph winds here yesterday, and I don't care where you're from, that just ain't tennis weather.
Honestly, I came home from work with the best of intentions. I got out my racket, put on some sunscreen, and poured myself into my best Serena Williams hoochie tennis outfit. The boot-ay was lookin' FIERCE, let me tell you. Workin' it!
You see, I still had some small hope that the wind might die down in time for my class.
But no, it kept blowing and blowing. Then it got worse! I swear I saw that horrid bitch Miss Gulch fly past my window on her bike. It was WINDY, people. Let me state that unequivocally.
So no tennis.
I'm going to make amends to the tennis gods this weekend. I'll be making my 2007 court debut with Brent, my cousin's husband, on Sunday. I've already apologized to him in advance for how rusty I will be.
Next Thursday night I'll go to my tennis class, skills honed to a razor fine edge. Those suburban dowagers won't know what it hit 'em, but it will be my kick-ass slice serve... BAM, right in the keister!
I did that to someone once, you know.
There are some of you out there who may remember the day. It was a hot summer afternoon in Austin, MN. The year was 1987. I was teaching doubles strategy to three teen girls. One, whose initials were J.P., was a total bee-yotch. Ooh, and was she ugly! (Back me up here, witnesses, was she not UGLY?)
As fate would have it, J.P. was my doubles partner that day. She was continually annoying me by looking back and facing me when I served. I had told her several times to face our opponents, not me.
"But I'm afraid you'll hit me with your serve," she whined. Her voice was like fingernails on a blackboard, played through wax paper wrapped over a comb.
"Look, that's not going to happen, but even if it did, would you rather get hit in the face or the back?" I asked her. "It's much better to face the other way--it's just common sense. You're safer, and you're prepared to hit a volley off the return of serve." (Of course, her volleys were dreadful, so she had zero chance of actually responding effectively to the return, but my point was still completely sound pedagogically.)
"Well, okay, but don't hit me!" (She really was SO whiny. Unbearable girl, really. And she looked like an evil elf. A very evil elf...)
"Just turn around and get ready to play!" I barked at her, "I'm not going to hit you!"
I then proceeded to slam a serve into her left butt cheek with all of my considerable might.
This was not a glancing blow. No sir, I smacked the the living HELL out of her. I mean POW! WHAMMO!
Honest to god, it was a complete accident. Or at the very worst, it was a subconscious tennis ball assault. I was never so unkind as to deliberately hit a student just to make a point. Not even an ugly, nasty, evil elf-girl. Truly. That's just not how WG rolls.
Rubbing her wounded tuches, J.P. turned and shot me a look of pure venom before tearfully storming off the court. The raucous laughter of the other students floated after her. (No one was terribly fond of J.P., you see.)
I knew I would never be able to convince J.P. that hitting her had been an accident, so I didn't even try.
One of the other girls called out after her "See, it could have been your face!"
Ah, how I loved teaching tennis...
Whenever Johnny Depp's domestic life is mentioned, I have horrible flashbacks to 1988 when I was living in Germany.
Throughout that whole year, the song Joe le Taxi by Vanessa Paradis, Johnny's fiancee and the mother of his child, was utterly inescapable. Looking back, I think the song may have been France's revenge on Germany for WWII, but I can't prove that conclusively.
I mean--WOW--that petite Francaise could belt it out, couldn't she? And don't you just love the perplexing, repetitive little shimmy she does? And the impish way she flips her hair? Ooh, the hotness. (Okay, her teeth a little funky, and even now, that's true...)
I mean--WOW--that petite Francaise could belt it out, couldn't she? And don't you just love the perplexing, repetitive little shimmy she does? And the impish way she flips her hair? Ooh, the hotness. (Okay, her teeth a little funky, and even now, that's true...)
Clearly at a loss for words today,
I'm making good progress on the Packer's cap for Max. I hope his six-year-old sensibilities can handle stripes of varied width.
I'm not really enjoying the project, frankly. First, it makes me think of football, and I really really don't like football.
Second, the yarn is acrylic to an extreme I rarely encounter, and because I'm knitting at such a tight gauge, my hands get tired after just an hour of work.
That said, I think the hat looks pretty sharp. You know, if you like that sort of thing.
My big fear is that Darren's brother-in-law will want a matching cap. (Jeff, if you do, it's gonna cost you...)
On the one hand, I'm really glad that I'll be hitting the court again. Playing tennis has been one of my favorite things to do since I was a kid. My first job, as I have mentioned, was teaching tennis. Some of the best moments of my life have been shared with friends and family on the shabby tennis courts at the community college in my home town (that have since been torn up).
In the last four years, I think I have played tennis just two times. It's kind of hard to fathom, really. I used to play nearly every decent summer day for twenty-five years of my life. But lately, summer after summer flies by--wasted, unused--and I don't even get my racket out of the closet.
What happened? Well, my tennis buddies moved away, or got jobs that eat up most of their time and energy, or worse yet (from a leisure time perspective), had kids. Suddenly no one was calling me to play, and I had no one I could just ring up and say "Hey, feel like some singles?" It got harder and harder to find someone to hit with, and eventually I just stopped trying.
I once looked into joining a gay tennis league here in the Twin Cities, but when I called to find out more about the organization, the bitchy queen I talked to was so incredibly rude to me that I figured, screw them, I'm not playing with jerks. (I have since heard from a couple different sources that the guy I talked to is the only jerk in the league, but the damage was done.)
Several tennis-free years have passed since then.
Finally about a month ago, when the local park and rec department sent out its summer activities catalog, I paged through it to see what tennis offerings I might find. There were two possible choices, a men's league and an adult, coed "tennis club." I decided the league was a little too serious sounding, plus I prefer a coed group. So, after much hemming and hawing (and prodding from Darren) I finally registered last week for the tennis club.
The sessions will consist of a half hour of instruction followed by an hour of match play. I figure my rusty strokes will benefit from the drills, even if it turns out that caliber of play isn't very high. Honestly, I don't know what to expect. That's one of the things that is making me nervous.
The main source of my anxiety, however, is just the idea of having to play tennis with strangers. I've always found that very difficult. If I'm not playing with friends or family, I get super self-conscious and have a hard time relaxing enough to play well.
Something I have always really hated to do, for example, is fill in for someone in a doubles match if I don't know the other three players. Not only do I fear looking bad to my opponents, I also don't want my partner to be annoyed if I make mistakes. It's a perfect, miserable crystallization of my social anxiety.
But once you play with them, they won't be strangers anymore!
Believe me, I have heard that many times. And I know it's true. Somehow, though, I can't get myself to feel it, and today I really dread the drive to the courts on Thursday night.
No matter. I'll force myself to go, and I'll try to ignore my queasy stomach that begs me to just stay home and play Wii tennis instead of real tennis. And I'll probably have fun, even though right now I really wish I weren't going.
Friday I'll write a little report on my return to the sporting world. I should be feeling a little less neurotic by then.
PS--At least I won't be playing on this court in Dubai, where Agassi and Federer did a photo shoot last year....
I think eHarmony commercials are really icky. Watching sappy couples chastely paw at each other while waxing syrupy about how their souls connected online just makes me want to puke.
I can't be the only one who feels this way.
I don't remember exactly when I first saw one of these oddly exhibitionist commercials, but I was instantly uncomfortable with the earnestly giddy, loving, glassy-eyed couples featured in the ads. "Oooh the first time we kissed--it was WOW, like fireworks going off!"
Um, how about shutting up now? Because we don't care about you or your love-life.
Things only get worse when eHarmony's cheesy animatronic founder appears in the ads to tout his company's use of "29 proven dimensions of compatibility." Why not 30 dimensions while you're at it? Or 73?
And what method was used to "prove" these dimensions? One wonders. Were any electrodes attached to men's weenies to measure arousal? I suspect not. Because we're not talking about sex here, we're talking about Hallmark card level expressions of LOVE.
I mean honestly. Just look at the vapid joy on the gleaming faces of these lovie-dovies. Yuck.
All that gushy yet boring emoting felt creepily Christian to me, quite honestly, so it was no surprise when I learned that Neil Clark Warren has strong ties to the execrable James Dobson and his legions of bigoted followers. That, of course, explains why gay singles aren't welcome at eHarmony. (Just "ex-gays", one assumes--or maybe even not them, because everyone knows how well de-gaying works...)
It's all so gaggingly wholesome. It makes me crave a commercial where two burly biker men stop tongue-kissing just long enough to tell us how they first met through a glory-hole in the bathroom of an interstate rest-stop. Ah, that would cleanse the sickly eHarmony sweetness off my palate...
Oh one more thing--there also seems to be some element of time travel involved in the eHarmony system. Take a look at the picture at the top of this post. Don't those dates suggest that this couple met each other six months after they married?
All things are possible in Christ, I guess.
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