Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eat, Pray, Read Something Else

Good riddance to Eat, Pray, Love, one of the more wretched, grating and boring books I've read lately.

I made it about halfway through before I finally resigned myself to the fact it was not going to get any better. (I always hope books will get better, and they never do.)

The first third (the Eat chapter) is abysmally long and repetitive. She spends 100+ pages saying she had a crappy marriage, a difficult divorce and that she loves, loves, loves the Italian language and Italian food. Now press repeat and you've got the first chapter. She reveals nothing so personal about her marriage, divorce or love of all things Italian as to warrant 100 pages on all this, so let's move on, Liz.

When I told my friend Ann in desperation I couldn't handle it anymore, she told me to press on, that the next chapter "Pray," which finds her finally out of Italy and in an ashram in India, is better.

I'd agree. It is better. But that ain't saying much. She spends the Pray chapter whining about how she's no good at meditating and quoting a caricature of a Texan who's only interest seems to be giving her pithy advice. Somehow I doubt how conveniently this person always says the perfect, trivial thing.

I feel like the Texan, and everyone else she meets, deserves better than her egocentric descriptions of them. I feel readers of this book deserve better.

The final straw for me was finding her - for the billionth time - on a bathroom floor crying about an ex-boyfriend. For Christ's sake Elizabeth Gilbert, pull it together! I know... you're depressed... you've mentioned it about 900 times already!... but good god, you should be crying about the fact that you're clearly missing an editor, not a boyfriend.

Many people loved this book. Loooooved it. I've read endless glowing reviews. But trust me when I say that it's like reading a self-help book written by a stunningly self-absorbed 14-year-old. There's no way I could finish traveling with her through India, let alone visit Indonesia with her. She's annoying, egotistical and self-agrandizing (monks tell me I'm lucky, and they're right!) and her writing is wholly unremarkable.

She is the woman I would run screaming to get away from at a party. The attraction to this book reminds me of people's bewildering attraction to the Grey's Anatomy character Meredith Grey. There is absolutely nothing likable about the Grey's character - she's constantly whining, unable to make decisions and looks for answers from everyone else - and yet people love it. It's just like Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert is Meredith Grey in real life. Completely and utterly uninteresting and exasperating.

I did skim to the end of Eat, Pray, Love and it ended just as predictably as you'd expect from a chapter titled "Love." No surprises here. The only interesting part is that she nearly gets fleeced by a Balinese woman.

But mostly it's more of the same, Gilbert attempting to make a non-story a story. Everything fits so perfectly into the thesis - In this book I will eat, pray and love - that nothing else happens. There is nothing to propel the story forward because there is no story. How anyone ever read the whole thing is beyond me.

After the last two lackluster books I've read, I'm on to read Lolita, which Jen counts as one her favorites.

Here we go, Nabokov, here we go! (Clap, clap.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Firemonster babies and leathery tails.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Woo Wee

It's been a rough day. Remind me to not follow up a too-strong margarita with bowling pin shaped beers.

That said, I did bowl two strikes last night, which is possibly the first time I've ever bowled two strikes in one game. Unfortunately, it was all down hill from there.

The Tall Drink of Water got his first tattoo on Saturday. He'd been working on the design for some time, and it turned out fabulously. He posted some photos on his blog too.

UPDATE: I forgot about my stellar Ms. Pac Man performance also on Saturday night. It was a deft ballet at the joystick, and those dots and ghosts hardly stood a chance.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Daugherty Report

After hearing so much about the Mitchell Report, I decided to just go ahead and read the thing. All 311+ pages.

I feel like a more apt title would be "The New York Times/Sports Illustrated/Albany Times Union/ Books/ Affidavit Report."

Because 85 percent of it is taken from already published accounts of steroid use in newspapers, magazines and books. Mitchell writes he interviewed over 700 people for this report. I can count evidence of 7, but there are really only 3 big players here. The rest is essentially a literature review.

There were some definite highlights, though, which I copied and pasted into a document. A Mitchell Report Cliff's Notes, if you will. I'm happy to email it to anyone who'd like to say they've read the report without having to actually read it.

If the Mitchell Report is the HGH of reports, then the Daugherty Report is "the clear." (Which, as the chemist who created it explains, is "sickly bitter." FYI.)

In other reading, Esquire has a great piece by David Simon on the decline of the Baltimore Sun, and ultimately, the sadness that's descended over many newspapers.

Monday, February 18, 2008

How I Spent My 3-Day Weekend

With all due respect to my other shoes, these are the most fabulous shoes I currently own, though this photo doesn't do them justice.

• I refuse to do anything Friday nights because of running group on Saturdays. Went to bed around 11:30. Crazy!

• Got to meet Rob and Corrie's little bundle of adorable.
• Saw Juno - I'd give it a B, or B-. Pretty good, but not as as good as Waitress.

• Dance class, got my ass handed to me before the warm up was over.
• TDW brought home cherries from Jungle Jim's. Whew, shady cherry deals averted! (Thanks Jon and TDW.)
• Had belated Valentine's Day dinner at The Precinct, where my new shoes had their coming out par-tay. (See photo.)

• Went to The Bodies Exhibit. There were bodies there. It was pretty good, but not as good as Waitress.

And They're Mine, All Mine!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Come Back

For the last couple of months I've eaten a few pounds of cherries each week.

I pack them into sandwich bags and carry them into work, shooting the seeds into my trash can as a kind of target practice. Let's see how far I can spit this one!

They've become my favorite fruit. But tragedy has struck - I can't find anymore cherries.

Sure they're out of season and I should probably not be eating cherries that have been shipped and trucked in from Chile, but I want them. I don't care if it's February, I'm sure they're in season somewhere.

Last night I wandered around the produce section lost and confused. But they were here last week...

So I asked the fruit guys if they knew the cherry schedule and if there were anymore coming in. They acted like they'd never heard of cherries before.

"You just asked the teenagers on the night shift if they know when they're getting cherries in," the Tall Drink of Water said. "I used to work in the produce section as a teenager. They have no clue if there are going to be anymore cherries."

He said this consolingly, like, What do they know?

Today I went to the one place that I was certain would have cherries - Fresh Market. I was willing to pay top dollar. (Otherwise I wouldn't have been at Fresh Market.) No cherries.

I feel like an addict, like I'm a day or two away from back alleys and shady cherry deals.


This morning I was sitting at a stoplight when I saw my running group jog through the intersection.

They've already left, I thought. I could turn around, go home, go back to bed.

But I didn't. Because I knew when it was over I'd get to eat a slice of spinach and artichoke quiche, and I had my heart set on that quiche.

It was delicious. I ate every bite.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

She Is Her Own Husband

Today I ordered for my friend Ann the Hamilton Beach Automatic drip coffee maker from her Target Wishlist.

Ann and I met in journalism school. After graduation I went to work for a newspaper in Virginia and she moved to Chicago to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer. Five years later she moved to New York to continue her dancing career and landed in some awesomely unusual Off-Off Broadway productions.

As one of my most spirited, independent friends, I wasn't surprised last week when she told me she was marrying herself. She had just gotten back from traveling through Europe - by herself! - and after a hilarious description of Ireland, she added she was glad she'd gone ahead and traveled alone because she wasn't sure if she'd ever find a man.

"So I'm marrying myself," she said, adding that it's high-time people start shelling out for her like she's shelled out for their weddings, and showers and babies.

Excellent idea, I told her. "Send me your registry."

She's also moving into her first New York apartment sans roommates soon, so she needs some basics. I think the coffee pot goes both ways in terms of a good gift - it's fun but also practical.

So happy wedding/new apartment to Ann. I think she'll make an excellent husband for herself. Plus she has great taste in tea towels.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Loathe Cincinnati

Saturday's lung exploding course.

Specifically, I loathe it Tuesdays and Thursday starting at about 5:30 p.m. and every Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Would it be too much to ask the glacier that flattened northern Ohio to come back and also flatten Cincinnati? Is it too late for that? What if the glacier got a cool name, hmm? Hmm, glacier?

Of course I love these same drops and climbs when I'm not on foot. But man, I really hate the ascents when I am. Saturday morning my friend Byron called them "lung explosions." Fitting.

I think these lung exploders also ripped off my soleus muscle.

Thanks, Cincinnati. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Awww. Sad.

A still from the video I did before the tournament.

Cornhole champ Chu Farfsing died on Sunday.

I met Chu when I covered the National Cornhole Tournament for sports two years ago, and he and I became fast-friends. He'd been knocked out the tournament (his buddies said because he was hung-over, though Chu denied this vehemently saying, 'Sometimes you throw good bags, sometimes you don't. Drinkin' ain't got nothing to do with it' so he and I sat and traded commentary on the other players.

He make it interesting by chiding the guys still in the tournament for demanding everyone be quiet while they played cornhole. "It isn't quiet in bars when we play! This ain't tennis!" he said.

I thought he might actually get us ejected from the tournament, which I was kind of hoping for. (Getting removed from the tournament with a cornhole rebel rouser would have made an excellent addition to my story.) The stories I wrote about the tournament are no longer available online unfortunately, but Chu was so wonderfully quotable and such a great character that I quoted him in both the preview and the post tournament story.

It's funny the things you remember about people.

He and I went to dinner last summer and traded stories over margaritas and chips and salsa. He told me the story of how he started going by Chu instead of Chuck in elementary school and how every Sunday after church he visited his mother's grave. I hope they're able to bury him near her.

Anyway, I hate to hear he's died. Chu was funny, real laid-back and a very sweet, kind person. Not only that, he threw good bags.

I'm sorry I never got a "next time" to make good on my offer to buy his dinner.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I'd love to have this on my iPod. No sign of an MP3 yet, though.

Thanks Dave for the heads up.

UPDATE: My supergenius colleague Mark was able to make an MP3 of it. I ran 73 percent faster (rough estimate) tonight having it as my "powersong."

Until it's available on iTunes I'll send out the MP3 if y'all want it. Just email me.

36 Hours In Indiana

You're home. Good. Feed me.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Coming soon - awesomely stretchy calves.

Why pay $85 for a slant board when your dad can make one for free.

A block away from my sophomore year apartment.


Coworker sighting! Though I barely recognized him he was so blurry.