Slightly Burnt Out

I’m not sure how I can be burnt out from doing too much while not really accomplishing anything, but I’ve come to the grim conclusion that it seems to be my life these days. It has been nice to check some items off of the list, though, and move closer to getting other things completed. (Although even things that take up time can still be sad to see go away.)

I did have the last of my “lap swimming class” through Arlington last night, which I’d signed up for primarily because the rec center near my office was overrun with kids camp all summer long. It was strange (to me), though, in that we started with nine people and by the end would have anywhere from two to four people show up. Last night was just me and one other guy. I admit it, I missed two classes (one due to work, one due to sickness) but it was more than just that in terms of absences. The instructor had even said early on that adult swim classes had a steep attrition rate but this was a little out of control. On the bright side, we each had an entire lane to ourselves, how nice is that? The final two weeks we were told to “just go and swim as much as you can without stopping” and I was pleased with the end results: 34 laps in 35 minutes last week, and 39 laps in 40 minutes this week. Nice steady pace with no burning desire to stop. It’ll be nice to have Monday nights back, but I will miss having my own lap lane ready and waiting for me.

Over for SPX, the Ignatz Ballot is out in the wild, and the jury this year did a fantastic job. I’ve been very slowly lining up presenters, so hopefully I can get that done in the next week or two with lots of time to spare. It’s hard to believe the show is just a month away (yikes) but I’m whittling away at my remaining parts, which feels good.

On the downside, though, my home has lately been looking like a disaster area in various stages of disrepair. I’d hoped to really roll up my sleeves and get rid of stuff a couple of weekends ago but it just didn’t happen. I think I’m going to have to just draw up a schedule for myself even if it’s as simple as, “Tackle these two shelves this weekend” so it doesn’t look quite so daunting. (Once I get rid of some things, I will then have room for the other things scattered around my home.) Doubly so for if/when Charlie and I get a place together, this is a process that needs to be taken care of.

Alternately, gods of the lottery system, the Virginia Lottery is at something hugely ridiculous right now like $252 million. I know that supposedly more money brings more problems, but I am willing to give that a shot and see what happens. Then I can spend my days doing research on important things. Like if squirrels can really talk out of their butts or not.

I thought Mark Trail was all about animal facts?

While I’m at it, I need to figure out something else to do with the never-ending supply of peaches from my CSA. I love peaches but I am starting to burn out on them. I cannot eat them fast enough. (Well, I suppose I could but it would be fairly disastrous.) Maybe I should make some sort of smallish peach cobbler? I suppose there are worse fates in life.

Oh, and if the heat could drop about 10 degrees I’d be appreciative. I’d like the option to run after work instead of having to get up super-early to avoid melting.

Why Infomercials are the Anti-Christ

I’m watching a show I taped on Food Network, and my hands are full so I can’t hit the fast-forward button when the commercials kick in. A particularly cheesy ad comes on for an exercise machine (I’m not linking to them, sorry) that just seems ludicrous. Utter waste of money. But at the very end they say, “Try it risk-free for just 30 days! Yours for just $14.95 plus shipping and handling!”

And suddenly the thought pops into my head. Just how bad do they gouge you on shipping and handling?

So out of curiousity, I go to their website and go to the ordering page… and it’s an even bigger rip-off than I imagined. As it turns out, there are two ordering options available:

Send me:

The [big rip-off] for one easy and convenient payment of $199.75 plus $34.50 S&H. Save the $14.95 trial fee!

The [big rip-off] to try for 30 days in the comfort of my own home for only $14.95 plus $34.50 S&H. If I decide to keep it after the 30 day trial, then it is only 5 easy payments of $39.95.

Holy cow. Funny how they don’t mention the $14.95 is just a trial fee. $200 plus another $35 shipping. I wonder how many people they sucker into their trap who just blindly call the phone number? Yeesh. This is why I don’t really miss commercials at all.

My Crossword-fu is Weak

I just got a new Nintendo DS lite; I already had one of the original Nintendo DS handheld game machines, but the DS lite is not only slightly smaller, but also has a much better display and is sleeker to look at, too. I picked it up because the sale price was so good that I thought it would be good for trips; you only need one cartridge to play multiplayer on two or more DSes, so that means that I could put Mario Kart DS into my machine and then Charlie and I could play against each other. That sort of thing. At that price, it was a steal and a half.

Crossword-fu is Weak [365portraits: 226]

Anyway, it also reminded me that I have games that I haven’t touched in a while, so yesterday and today I played some more of my New York Times Crosswords game for the DS. And, um… ouch. Apparently not playing in a long time (or doing any other crosswords) has dulled my abilities. I had to give up on my Wednesday puzzle and go back to Monday (easiest) puzzles. I finally tackled a Tuesday puzzle and… um… yeah, the expression says it all.

I eventually finished it, but it took a whopping 40 minutes to do so. Back to Mondays for a bit more until I regain my crossword legs, I guess. Going from hitting the NYT crossword every Mon/Tues/Wed to nothing at all has really taken its toll.

Nothing Panned Out As I Planned

Huh. Today, so far, all my carefully laid plans have suffered a partial collapse. Fortunately, nothing has turned out badly.

First up, I went out to run (depending on how you look at it) either a brick or a duathlon. The plan was that I’d run two miles to the gym, get there right as spinning class would begin and do that for 45 minutes, then run two more miles back home. Except when I got to the gym… the spinning instructor didn’t show up. Now, to be fair, this is also the spinning instructor who’s been teaching classes while 8 1/2 months pregnant. (After next week the gym is closed until Labor Day so she’s been trying to make it all the way there.) So her not showing up and with no call or e-mail makes us think that, well, perhaps something more important was going on.

We made the best we could of the situation, though, and pedaled away while someone called out suggestions on what to do. Unfortunately there was no music (and I thought it’d be rude to pull on my iPod) so the gym found a CD and put that on, which consisted of 20 minues of the worst rap music I’ve ever heard. When it ran out, no one suggested it go back on. And afterwards, I got back out there and ran the rest of the route home.

Next, I was heading to work and made the mistake of thinking how nice it was to leave a little early so I can use the Memorial Circle shortcut (since the cross-traffic is blocked until just before 9am), and how great it was that Congress was out of session because traffic was so light. And of course, I zipped around the far side of the circle, about to pull onto the GW Parkway… and it was completely backed up. So badly I actually couldn’t even make it onto the Parkway. But, that meant I was able to easily head back to Route 50 and go into work the long way. And hey, only 10 minutes were wasted in the end.

Finally, the plan for lunch today (part of why I’d done the extra exercise) was to go to Elevation Burger and get a delicious cheeseburger and fries. Mmmmm. Except the main planner suddenly couldn’t go, and it didn’t seem right to go without her. Soooo, lunch was found elsewhere and it was good too.

I think it’s just one of those days, where nothing panned out as I planned. At least the alternatives haven’t been too bad. But I would at least like something to go right and like I’d initially wanted. It does make me almost afraid to try and head over after work to the Crate & Barrel outlet (to exchange two chipped pieces that I received as a gift, and are now only available there), though. I would like to not only be able to exchange them, but get some more of the plates and bowls while they’re still available. Fate, go pick on someone else for a while.

Mawwiage

This past weekend was a whirlwind trip up to New York, to see our friends Michael and Joseph tie the knot. I met Michael and Joseph through Charlie and they’re both such sweethearts. So even though I had to be back at work on Monday morning and the wedding was on Sunday night, well, there was no way that we were going to skip it.

With This Ring

So! Excited!As an adult I’ve found myself forever analyzing every wedding I go to, trying to recognize things I would like to have at my own. Fortunately I’ve been to a lot of fantastic weddings over the years, so there’s a lot of inspiration out there. (I’m almost afraid to admit that I do have a favorite wedding because I don’t wany anyone else to get offended that I didn’t pick theirs! But I do have to say that despite the huge range of options out there, my cousin Karin’s wedding was quite possibly the absolute perfect event. I’ll have to try and describe it in detail one of these days.)

Anyway, Michael and Joseph had a great ceremony. The wedding itself was supposed to be on the roof of their building, but the rain pounding down for several hours put an end to that. So, we went over around 2pm and brought all the chairs and the glasses (fortunately keeping dry under tarps!) into their living room and helped them and the wedding coordinator re-arrange everything so that we could fit 75 or so people there. A tall feat, but it worked out well.

After promising to prend that we’d never seen the set-up before, we¬†headed back to the hotel, changed, and voila! The rain had stopped. But it was too late to shift everything back upstairs, but honestly? It didn’t matter, it worked out really well.

The moment that I knew it was going to be a good time? About 30 seconds before the wedding was due to begin, I turned to look at Michael and he was almost quivering with excitement, shaking his fist with glee. The mood was infectious too, I’ve never seen so many people be so clearly overwhelmed with joy.

The ceremony itself was simple and sweet; two readings (Song of Solomon and Walt Whitman), the lighting of a candle, some brief words from the Unitarian Universalist minister, and then the vows. After the ceremony, people milled about for a while and then it was off to Jazz Standard, which is the jazz club in the basement of Blue Smoke.

I’d been to Blue Smoke two years ago and it has really delicious southern barbecue, and that’s exactly the kind of food that we had for dinner. Ribs, salmon, hush puppies, cheese fries, corn bread, macaroni and cheese… it was heaven on a plate.

Afterwards, we had several great speeches, including one from Michael about Joseph that just touched my heart. And then? Paula West and her band performed a jazz set, and it was a beautiful way to round out the evening. Never mind that we were a tiny bit tired at this point, or that we had a 7am flight back the next morning so that we could both be at work on time. It was great to just sit and listen to her sing for a while.

Getting up to New York and back (yay for bomb scares delaying everything at LaGuardia on Saturday, hmph) may have been hectic, it was a nice weekend. It was great to see not only the grooms but also meet their families, as well as seeing Kyle and Pepper again. Plus, so many of Michael and Joseph’s friends were great to meet and talk to as well. It was a really good time.

Jazz Standard