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Archive for July, 2009

I came across this headline while browsing through the online version of the New York Times, and I thought to myself “Oh LORD I do not know.”

New Jersey and I have quite the love/hate relationship. On the one hand, I love love love my stepdaughter, tomatoes, and not having to pump my own gas, three things from New Jersey that would seem to recommend the state overall; on the other, I hate hate hate Atlantic City (and related environs [unless, of course, I’m at the Gypsy Bar at the Borgata listening to Screaming Broccoli; in that case AC and I are cool]), the turnpike, and really big hair. (For New Jersey’s part, I’m sure it could do without my repeated sigh of “Ugh, I’m in New Jersey”)

Of course, the article wasn’t even remotely about my issues (which I admit I exaggerate out of melodrama. Hello my in laws! You’re fabulous!), but rather the fact that 44 people – including three mayors, two state assemblymen and other public officials- were arrested last week on corruption charges. Dude.

The more I learn about the governance of this state, the more intrigued I am. Check it out:

There are “566 municipalities in New Jersey (California has only 480), 603 school districts (more than the states of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia combined), 187 fire districts, 486 local authorities, 92 special taxing districts, and 21 county governments”

Holy COW that’s a lot of government. Can you imagine trying to get anything done, let alone provide oversight? That almost makes the District of Columbia look well run. No wonder the state is broke. (The consultant in me wants to rush over offer them a total business transformation model. You could Lean Six the hell out of this whole system. Ahem.)

Aside from that, the article in the Times posed an interesting hypothesis: the slow spiral of death that printed media is on is partially to blame.

Perhaps, today’s proliferation of local blogs and Web sites may get more New Jerseyans to turn their attention to the place where they live. On the other hand, as New Jersey and New York’s newspapers reduce their staffs and cutback or eliminate coverage of the Garden State, many New Jerseyans will probably become even less aware of what their local officials are up to

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I disagree. Mike over at Loo.Me writes semi frequently about New Media and the changing business rules that are affecting newspapers. One theory posed is that local papers will focus less on international issues, national sports, movie reviews, etc etc (why duplicate the efforts of major media centers?), which makes more sense to me. Additionally, I’d always viewed those stories through the filter of how that will affect people’s jobs and the overall printing industry; I’d never consider how it would affect the political or habits of society as a whole. It makes sense to me that as newspapers reduce their staff and cutback coverage, they’ll cut back the coverage that can be easily found elsewhere; most international and national news can now be found online by major news sources; no need duplicate that effort. Perhaps the cut backs on newspapers will lead to better coverage and oversight of hometown news.

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CrossFitted

In second grade, I got busted for skipping class. Now, I agree, any seven year old skipping out on classes (my preferred method of truancy: ask to go to the bathroom, and then never return) is cause for alarm – that behavior is clearly not going anywhere good. What makes me laugh, however, is that the class that I was skipping was GYM.

OMG I hated being forced to play. HATED. I skipped recess, too. I much preferred to curl up with a book and read throughout rather than OMG INTERACT WITH KIDS MY AGE PLEASE MAKE THE FUN STOP. (Side note: You know how on Gilmore Girls, Rory is first approached by CuteDean because he noticed her reading a book and was all a-swoon with how hot she was, sitting there being all intellectual? THAT NEVER HAPPENS. EVER. The CW is LYING to you, Book Smart Girls of High School Age. LYING.) (Side note to my side note: Keep reading anyway. High school boys are dumb and the mostly all end up living in their parents basement wondering where their glory years went. But you? You will live a full life of awesomeness that will only be enriched by your bad book lovin’ self.)

ANYWAY. My point: I hated gym, and did basically EVERYTHING in my power to avoid any gym type activities.

Life is a bit different for me now. Something clicked as I got older and I began to really embrace physical fitness in non-group sport form. Individual sports were totally the key for me, and being an “adult onset athlete” has shaped my life (and ass) in more ways than I ever imagined possible. That being said, I still stand by my hatred of gym class and group sport activities. So it makes me TOTALLY giggle that I’ve been going three days a week to a crappy run down gym complete with pull up bars, free weights, and other intimidating gym class type torture devices, and PAYING SOMEONE MONEY to recreate gym class.

That’s right folks: I’ve embraced the CrossFit fad completely.

There’s a lot of writing on CrossFit and its philosophy and methodology, but for me it basically boils down to a shorter, more intense workout that kicks my butt and makes me want to cry. Now, I’ve cried at the end of three hour runs before, but it’s nice to be able to get to that point more quickly, y’know? (…erm. No. You might not know.) Anyway, after so many years of pure long distance endurance, this shorter, intenser, power/strength based workouts are totally intriguing me. You do CF on your own (the website has the Workout of the Day posted um, daily), but it’s great to have a dedicated coach watching to make sure I don’t do anything stupid to hurt myself (in addition to going over – and over – the correct form for everything from rowing to deadlifts to pullups) and a group of people to suffer with.

Take this past Monday. I showed up at 6am to find the group doing the following workout:

Run 400m
30 pullups
30 kettlebell swings
Repeat 5x

Which was slight different than Friday’s workout:

Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

Now, I cannot do 30 pullups (and I certainly cannot do them 5x in a row), but I can do modified pull-ups, and hopefully sooner than later I WILL be able to do a full one unassisted… and then another one. And while I still like going on long bike rides and runs, it’s fun for me to have a workout that can resoundly kick my ass in 30 minutes or less. And more so than that, these workouts are making me stronger overall, which is only going to help me get better and better at the longer distance stuff I love so much.

While I know CrossFit is a hugely hyped fad right now, I’m loving it, and I’m seeing the results. And it has the added benefit of reminding me how far I’ve come from that second grade bookworm who was petrified of gym.

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So, remember how I’m deathly afraid of ants?

Yeah, you can imagine how excited I was to learn of the Ant Mega Colony Taking Over The World

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