Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh Bloody Hell

Let's not take this race too seriously, shall we.

The last few weeks I've been getting Flying Pig "email blasts," each one more annoying than the last.

"17 Days to the Pig!"
"16 Days to the Pig!"
"7 Days to the Pig!"
"6 Days to the Pig!"
"5 Days to the Pig!"

I'm quick to delete these pesky little bastards. Though not quick enough to prevent them from making me anxious.

The Flying Pig is one of my favorite things ever. I live for watching it every year. I get really into cheering for people I don't know, and even more into cheering for people I do know. I take photos , mobile blog, conduct post race interviews. I take spectating seriously.

But not this year. This year I'm running the relay.

I'm the charity case of my team.

One of my teammates just finished Boston with a PR. I'm like, totally honored to be on a relay team with her. Another teammate is training for her first Triathlon in addition to ohhh, just going out and running 8 miles on Saturday after being sick for two weeks. And my other teammate, Scooter Dean (he was a last minute addition after another coworker pulled a hammy - that's funny, saying that someone pulled a "hammy"), can easily go out and run six miles. This is a dude who I was surprised to learn owns running shoes.

Me, not so much. Running sucks. I suck at it. I've tried to make amends with running, come to an agreement that while I like the shoes and the feeling afterwards, I'm not much of a runner. I like to think I was much better before chemotherapy stripped off all my muscle mass, but that's probably just an excuse for always having been sucky at it.

I'm in two running groups. One during the week with work peeps, another one with friends on Saturdays. Of the 50 runs my training plan called for when I started, I skipped 21 of them, mostly during the weekdays. I figure if this whole running thing isn't followed up with a greasy dinner at O'Bryon's there's no point in me going.

The Saturday runs I attend because there's too much guilt involved in not going, but again, it's all about downing a latté and eating quiche afterwards.

"How was your run, Gina?"
"Who cares! Where's my vanilla soy latté?"

Last week one of the guys in my weekday running group said, "I can't really burn you about running Gina because I've never seen you run."

Ouch. I had to hose myself down with Solarcaine after that one. But it's kinda true. I go to running "group" during the week and never run with the group. I'm too slow. I walk too much. It's too humiliating. (Because in my mind I'm still the track star I was as a freshman.) And every time they pass me, I'm walking. Because I'm almost always walking.

Daaang, it's hot, I better walk. I need a tissue, I better start walking while I think about how to score one. Ooh, uphill - time to walk! This song is interesting, I need to walk so I can think about the lyrics.

Obviously I'm not very committed to actual running. But I'm very committed to the idea of running, so that counts for something, right?

Thankfully, my relay teammates could care less if I walked the whole thing. The Boston marathoner, the triathlete, the scooter-riding non-athlete - so long as I'm there to take the chip and put in my miles they seem to care less.

Whew. 'Cause that would be really awkward if they were hoping for a good finishing time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'm Going to Have to Operate

Click here for fun photos!

This little gem sprang up Thursday, the result of wilting heat and too thick socks. Then it sort of went away (bye, blister!) only to return bigger and meaner (hello again, blister) after my Saturday morning run.

If it doesn't go away on it's own by tomorrow I'm going to slice it open and drain it. (Don't worry, I'll post video for you guys.) I can't be carrying this thing around all week. I got new shoes to wear.

In other Flying Pig related news, there's been a run on Sport Beans, GU and gummi bears in the Hyde Park/Oakley/Norwood area.

Target is sold out of Sport Beans, the basket that once held them is empty and sad looking, while the candy aisle is suspiciously lacking in gummi bear quanties. Hmmm... The Tall Drink of Water said all the "good flavors" of GU (i.e. chocolate) are also gone.

I bought the last three bags of Lime Sport Beans at Bigg's yesterday. There were still two bags of orange ones though, if anyone is looking.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What I Did During My Beach Vacation

Cassius loves new shoes. Nine West heels are his fave.

Nothing. I did nothing.

I sat in a beach cabana and stared at the Gulf of Mexico for hours on end. And it was everything I dreamed it would be.

It was awesome, but not as awesome as the new shoes I got! The Tall Drink of Water was all, "How are you going to get them all into your suitcase?" And I was all, "Oh, they'll fit."

Then he was all, "Do you really need three pairs of red shoes? They all kinda look the same."

Then I broke up with him. Sad.

This is the first weekend we've been in town that my friend Lori hasn't visited. The first weekend she came down for girls night out at the Gypsy Hut. Hello, 80s night! And though we probably hadn't spent an entire weekend together since high school, we easily drifted back to those days - clowning, shopping, going out.

The next weekend she brought her kids and we went the Aquarium, which was waaaay more exhausting than dancing all night.

I'm not sure what to do with myself this weekend with her not here. She should come back to live. She did send me this hilarious text message while I was in Florida, though.

GIRRRL. I saw you up on BETs spring bling in your gold bathing suit from Old Navy. DON'T HATE.

(Said suit, which we saw while shopping and which I'd never, ever wear, unless I was at BETs Spring Bling.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Via IM Yesterday

dear gina:
going to florida?
suck it!!
Best Wishes,

That's right, y'all. Gina Blogs is off to stretch out in the sand, nap in sunbeams and do absolutely nothing. Happy vacay to me!

Monday, April 14, 2008

There Is A Defunct Hospital in Cincinnati Called Besthesda

"There is a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda. There gathered
crowds of sick people, blind, lame and paralyzed. John 5:2"

Written on a mural at Bethesda Oak Hospital.

Where I work is kind of freaky in a Stephen King, Sixth Sense, The Shining kind of way.

My office is located in the old Bethesda Oak Hospital, right off 71 at the Taft Road exit. But there is no actual hospital there anymore, not in the "healing" sense anyway. It's confusing because everything about it still looks like a hospital, right down to the white cross on the top of the tower announcing to travelers on 71 north that people can, or at least did, find comfort there.

Where admissions used to be there are now Tri-Health office workers, shuffling papers rather admitting patients or helping sick people.

Old surgery rooms are now simulation rooms for Children's Hospital surgeons. And it's completely bizarre walking past them because there are dummies lying on surgery beds hooked up to IVs, machines, etc. There is even fake blood during the simulations. (I felt my own blood drain out of my body the first time I walked past not knowing it was a "simulation" room, and saw a sheet covering up everything but a dummy's feet. The lights were off inside the room, and it flashed through my mind that a patient from god knows when had been abandoned there during a failed surgery.)

Tri-Health closed Bethesda Oak as a hospital around 2000, and slowly but surely Children's has been taking it over and using it as space for various departments. (Tri-Health's corporate offices are still there.)

My office is located in a former OB/GYN physicians office, and I can't help but wonder how many expectant moms passed through there, rubbing their bellies in anticipation. (How do we know it was a former OB/GYN office? Because my colleague Steve found the old schematic, complete with the locations of exam tables with stirrups.)

When my colleagues and I go to get water and ice we walk to what is now just a bunch of cubicles in little suites, but countless babies were born in those suites. It's the old labor and delivery wing of the hospital, now stuffed with computers and cubes and non-baby delivering Children's employees. (At least hopefully they're not delivering babies in there because there aren't any doctors around.) When I walk past I can't help but flash back to what that ward must have looked like 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago.

Sometimes on my way in to work I'll enter through the old emergency room, imagining what sorts of pained faces once sat there anxious for help. Broken bones. Bloody wounds. Wrenching pain.

My imagination runs wild in that place.

The strangest thing is imagining what it would be like if you didn't know it wasn't a hospital anymore. What if you were driving down the highway with an emergency and pulled in to the old ER, only to find an abandoned hospital, just filled with office cubicles and baffled employees, wondering what you're doing bleeding on their floor.

The whole idea of it has the makings of a great piece of surreal fiction. Then again, I find it all pretty surreal now.

I'm moving buildings next week and am super excited to be moving into Children's brand spankin' new research building, but I have to admit, I'll miss this weird place. (Fyi: Many of the photos have notes in them, so hover and you can read the details.)

Also, just to be clear, Bethesda Oak has never been Children's hospital. Children's is located about a mile away, just a block or so from University Hospital.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How Ya Like Me Now?

The tears of a mix-tape clown.

This pretty much captures the scene at lunch today. Me happy to blow minds with my hella-cool '80s mix, and Adam crying in the background.

His turned out to be a movie soundtrack '80s mix, while mine was more skating rink music. We were "judged" on ten items, including aesthetic beauty, first track strength, closing track and a "bonus" category, the "backwards skate ability" of the disk. Ummm... hello. My mix has Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam on it. All Cried Out anyone? Sing it with me! "Don't you know my tears will burn the pillowwwwww!"

We both swiped awful photos of each other from Facebook for album art, but my cover totally won for it's Photoshopped image of my mix being so awesome it does, in fact, blow his mind.

The "judges" however, if you can even call them that, didn't declare a winner. Instead they said they had to "listen" to the CDs in their cars or whatever. Which is complete crap because everybody at that table, and some random people at nearby tables, totally knew I won.

Looking back I'd have a made a few different song choices, but overall I think I dropped the bomb on him. Baby. (Man, I can't believe I didn't include that song. Damn.)

But you can judge for yourself.

Next time we've decided we'll set some genre perimeters and also have a skate off. Psssssshhht. He don't even know that I grew up at the Idyl Wyld. I can roll, y'all.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It's Already Been Broughten

I'm in the throes of a mix-off with a colleague.

The only guideline is that it's got to be '80s music, but today I got an email saying "I'll bring the boombox. You bring the cardboard."

He don't even want none of me if this is an old-school hip hop mix. Dana Dane, anyone?

The hardest part has been excluding some great stuff that doesn't fit into the decade. I'm ruling out anything pre-1980 (Rapper's Delight) and anything post-1989 (Iesha) for fear of a technical disqualification.

The smack talk is getting pretty intense, including this from my inbox last week:

"My 80's mix is very close to finished. I was listening to it on the way to work this morning and it was so awesome that it blew the mind of the lady in the car next to me on 471. You'll see it on the news tonight. She never knew what hit her. It was DeBarge."

The mix-off goes down at high noon on Friday. Apparently there will be judges.

It. Is. So. On.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Men Behind the Genius

My feelings about the Geniuses at the Genius Bar are mixed.

Sometimes they're awesome, able to correct your Mac's problems in a single huffy Genius jag. Other times they're completely clueless and just say "Is it backed up? We're gonna have to send it out."

Or worse, they show you the shiny new model and convince you that the latest iPod/iPhone/Super-duper brushed silver Mac is what will fix you're ailing Mac heart.

It's like life and death those moments. I'm not a damsel in distress, but I can play that role if I think it will swing things in my favor when it comes to getting a new battery, cord, logic board, what-have-you that I want fixed in-house rather than in Memphis.

I got the rare opportunity to meet a former Genius in the wild a few months ago. I was on a clinical tour of the hospital when this guy kept whipping out his iPhone and touch scrolling through his messages.

Show off, I thought.

"Oh, you got some important stuff you have to read right now on your fancy iPhone?" I asked him.

He laughed, as I knew he would (we are one Apple soul, you know), and then proceeded to rub salt in my iPhone-less wound by telling me he "actually got it for free."

"Don't even tell me you worked at the Apple store," I said.

Yes, he did work at the Apple store.

"Oh my god, did you used to work at the Genius Bar?" I wanted to know.

Indeed, he did.

As we toured the various departments in the hospital my new Genius friend would point out the Windows pieces of crap he'd repaired. We talked about how grateful we are that our departments (though different) allow us to work on Mac's since that's our preference. Then we shared agonizing tales of having to "remote in" to PCs.

Obviously we were bonding, even after I told him my mixed feelings about the Geniuses.

"There are a bunch of us here now," he said. "I'm the fourth Genius to come to Children's from the Apple store."

So last week I had to go to the lair where the geniuses are. (My computer wasn't broken of course, I just needed VPN access.) And there they all were, minus the black t-shirts.

We stood around chatting about the MacBook Air, iPhones and why they like working at Children's better than the Apple store. Now if something goes down with my MacBook Pro, I don't have to make a "reservation," I just call my Mac crew.

I totally love those nerds now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Scary Or Cool? Hmm...

Google street view is freakin' me out.

Somehow Cincinnati isn't on there, but I can I get panoramics of my little hometown of Marion, including this 360º shot of my parents' house, which looks like it was taken in their front yard!

What's freakier is that it just so happens that Google's spy van was driving by when I was there. Now what are the odds that I'd be at my parents' house when they were taking the photo? But there she is, the Blue Angel, lookin' all angelic.

Obviously Google wants to get closer to the Blue Angel. Well, get in line Google!

Here are some other randomly funny/odd things the Google street view camera has captured. Careful out there, you might end up in a 360º Google panoramic!