Thursday, July 31, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
There's something with me getting caught up in sports history when I'm at the gym. Not making it - but watching it. A few weeks ago it was the incredible men's Wimbledon final where Rafael Nadal historically unseated world reigning champ Roger Federer. The match lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes, during which I was on the treadmill until my legs literally fell off.* THEN recently I was gymming again when I started absent-mindedly watching the high school track and field California state championships. I know, how could you not! But in an effort to distract myself from the physical exertion I actually started getting into the story that was playing out. And I ended up watching one of the most inspiring races of my life!
German Fernandez, a senior from Riverbank High, had just won the state title for the mile run - in less than 4:01 - when he lined up to run the 3200 (a 2 mile run). He had just run a grueling mile, and the conditions that day were less than ideal: hot, with a strong cross-wind. But immediately he pulled ahead of the pack and by the 4th lap, he was literally 100 meters ahead of the other runners. For him to set the record, he would have to pace himself, completely alone, for more than a mile. Which he did! He ran perfectly, and all the announcers kept saying was that this was one of the most impressive performances by an athlete at this level in any sport, in history! I was completely spellbound. The last two laps, he was lapping people (get out of his f-ing way!) and still ran negative splits - meaning he was running faster by the end than he had at the beginning.
I'm a sucker for all hero/sports stories. But this was a good one. He broke the record with a time of 8:34:23, beating the 1979 record of 8:36. This is fast, people. And by the end, the crowd of 10,000 were all on their feet. I was trying not to fall off the treadmill. He finished the race in perfect form, and honestly didn't look that tired afterward.
German later went on to break the record for the 2-mile at the Nike Nationals with a time of 8:34:40. He may be slow, but at least he's consistent! I look forward to seeing this kid at the Olympics in 4 years. I'm already looking forward to it.
*Another misuse of the word "literally."
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
What a lovely, lovely cake!! I was surprised by this cake at our staff meeting today, after I joked all week about my coworkers getting me one, assuming they wouldn't, because I didn't get one for my birthday this year. Unforgiveable. But I didn't actually expect one and this one far exceeded my wildest cake dreams!
It's from Lark Silverlake Cake Shop, evidently the most delightful bakery imaginable. The exterior of the cake is lovely, clearly, but the inside is such a delicious red velvet cake (my favorite!) and cream cheese frosting (my favorite!) There is about 1/4 left and I am taking it home to eat out of the box on my couch this weekend.
Oh! You're probably wondering what the occasion for the cake was. It's my last day at my current job (producing wildly funny tv series The Soup) - which is really sad! Except that next week I'll start as a writer on a spin-off show for the Style network called "The Dish" - which is really exciting. Many more updates on that situation to come, I'm sure.
Either way, I couldn't have asked for a better send-off cake! I mean, considering they forgot my birthday.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Ever wondered what would happen if Heavy Metal got lighter? I'll wonder no longer, thanks to the latest Time Life infomercial.
In the late 80s, a jazz musician and a heavy metal frontman joined together in the U.K. to form "Hard Breeze," the first ever Light Metal band. Today, you can order their Best Of collection from Time Life Records!
Watch this video to experience the magic and mystery, the bumping and humping of "Hard Breeze." Includes 4 (four) original songs and music videos!! Unrivaled in the world of Youtube!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Materials: plastic, found objects. Price: $50,000.00
This is a modern art piece(s) my coworker Dan created. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but I think the commentary they make is staggering and wholly terrifying. If you are what you eat, what happens when you consume rubber band spaghetti? Is this what industrialization and rampant consumerism have wrought? A life relegated to work, spending lunch breaks at desks eating rubber off of plastic utensils? What sorry calamity is the American diet, and is this the legacy we want to leave for our children? And - wait for it - if everything man eats is man-made, is he, in fact, eating himself?
Art is life is art. C'est l'arte. C'est la vie.*
*(Took a guess on how to say/spell that)
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The latest is ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" - an hour-long dramedy starring quick-tongued high school teens navigating their way through real-life adolescent situations. While this one, unlike Juno, doesn't trivialize the issue of teen pregnancy, I realized that it does have its own agenda. The show is so overt with its values judgments that I first thought it must be tongue-in-cheek. Ooh, is this a TV version of the movie "Saved?" I thought. Nope. I wish it was a parody. But I'm afraid it's another abstinence-only policy disguised as a realistic teen experience.
In the first episode, I encountered a hot Christian girl who convinces her jock boyfriend they have to save "what's meant for marriage for marriage," the same girl explaining the virtues of a Promise Ring with her perfect blonde parents, and intentionally misreported sexual activity statistics (the show cites that 20% of teens have had sex - while the CDC reports 47.8% of teens were sexually active in 2007). And possibly the worst of all, when the pregnant girl shares the bad news with her friends, one of them suggests seeing a doctor about "options" but is shut down at even the hint that the tragic heroine might consider an abortion. I'm not saying this is the right choice for her, but can we at least explore that scenario, considering it is a realistic choice for many teens?
Now, you might be thinking, geez Jessie, you just want TV to reflect your liberal blogger agenda. People can make do TV about different opinions n' stuff! Well, you're right. But if a program is purposely informing children's experiences with a very rigid and specifically religious dogma, with dangerous health consequences, doesn't this become a bipartisan public concern?
I think we can all agree that the goal is to not let teens get pregnant in the first place. If they don't get pregnant, we don't even have to talk about abortions. But it's how we do this that's important.
Abstinence-only education has been the primary sex education strategy pursued in the U.S. since 2001. Since then, rates of sexual activity have gone up, condom use has gone down, and teen pregnancy rates are up (check out the stats). So, you tell me if this approach is working.
I know I've discoursed on the ills of abstinence-only education before. But it really does scare me when it's veiled this way in entertainment, because the most dangerous forms of propaganda are the ones we don't consider propaganda. These are offering the most significant imprints onto our consciousness.
We need more programming that educates girls without judgment so they have all the tools they need to make important decisions, and then empowers them to feel confident about their decision-making abilities. And though I too admit I have enjoyed teen pregnancy as a plot device (cough - Gilmore Girls), and though I'm sure many unplanned pregnancies do yield happy families, we of the media have a responsibility to equip girls with the tools they need if they don't want to get pregnant. And if they do think they want a baby, as with the girls of the pregnancy pact (many of whom said they just wanted someone to love them unconditionally), maybe we need to be focusing on the difficulties of raising a child as a young mother contrasted with the "excitement" of the idea of being pregnant.
If you want a real teen experience, check out this awesome blog entry about a pregnancy scare. This girl is going to be a great blogger someday - she already writes with such an interesting adult voice.
On a happier note, Molly Ringwald is in this new show - and she's by far the best thing about it. Welcome back, girlfriend!
I don't care who you are. You will cry when you watch this video.
Read the whole story, but it's basically about a lion cub that was raised by 2 men, then released in Africa - where they later went to find him. Impeccably edited to the Grammy award-winning "I will always love you" by Whitney Houston. This is like chicken soup for the Youtube soul. I can't think of anything greater.