Hey, Yo, Go Over Here Now

I updated all my social media to reflect my last name change (which, by the way, should not be as complicated as Wells Fargo made it) and decided to revise the rest of my ‘online brand’ — that one was just for you Jessica.

This site is now just my professional site more or less. And, I launched a new tumblr blog, As Good as a TV Show, because it’s easier to update with my fancy new phone and will be a place for my brilliant insight and awesome personality.

So, go over there now: As Good as a TV Show.

Things I Learn from TV

The other day, I said that alternative medicine doctors can be charged with malpractice or gross negligence and put in jail if they use un-approved treatments and the patient dies. (This was in the context of an argument about how big pharma is probably shutting down known treatments to some diseases and illnesses out there.)

And, Steve thought about it and asked, “Is this something you saw on Law and Order.”

Yes. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. 

And, yeah, yeah, I’ll be back soon. Things have been busy.

Couldn’t Make This Up

My mousepad on my laptop started acting up and doing stuff on it’s own, moving around, opening and closing programs, etc. When I plugged in an external mouse I could still use my computer, even though it was sort of challenging and annoying because the mousepad continued to do stuff on its own.

So, I had my laptop sitting on my desk open and untouched, and the mouse — ON ITS OWN — deleted my entire work email inbox. That’s some crazy shit.

Yes, I can find the emails in my trash. But, there’s also thousands of other emails in my trash that I’ve deleted. There’s no way to tell which 40 or so were in my inbox and needed to be responded to or dealt with or referenced. At first, obviously, I freaked out. Then, when I realized there was nothing really to do about it, I figured new year, new start. Eh.

Happy Holidays.

Football

Yesterday, Steve and I went to a 49ers game. It’s not that I dislike football or that I don’t understand it, it’s just that I think it’s a little overwrought.

During the first half, our neighbors got my commentary, which included “Delay of game is a pretty rich call in football” and “That was a stupid kick” and “No, I don’t think the cheerleaders are upset because they aren’t wearing warmer clothes. I think they’re upset because they make less than minimum wage.”

During the second half, my commentary got a lot darker and I don’t think our section appreciated hearing about how football is exploitative of the players and the working class. All the money and industry and infrastructure takes advantage largely of people from lower economic classes. (Just like the lottery.) Sure, they choose to play and maybe they love to play, maybe not. But, in light of new research about concussions and the extreme likelihood that even a player who never has a “major” injury will end up with pretty severe brain damage, don’t you think the owners have the far better deal?

I was telling Steve about the economic problems in Spain (40% unemployment for people my age?!) and he said that if I keep talking about stuff like this to people, they’re going to think I don’t have enough to do.

But, without training seriously or coaching high school cross-country, I have a solid 40 or so more hours a week and what else is there to do but keep abreast of problems in Europe. (Not that work isn’t expanding to fill that time, like those fish.) And, there’s only so much facebook-stalking and plotting my media takeover one can do.

Fortunately, I took on a number of new volunteer projects, because actually sleeping was getting too boring.

You SUCK

People email me a lot (for work, not personally, though they do that too) and call me and comment on my stories. All positives, except that many times the people doing those things don’t have positive things to say.

According to the internet, I’m a terrible person, the worst journalist in the world, a juvenile with no understanding of the English language, trying to push my miserable 1% agenda. [People also email me about how great I am too, but those don’t go as innately against my image of myself.]

There are a lot of jobs where people voice their displeasure with you, but few seem to give people the right to do it so personally. ‘Hey, that hamburger you’re making sucks, your mother must hate you.’

Every now and then I’m pretty sure I’m getting better at dealing with it — it was easier to ignore when you wrote for a paper and harder when you’re down in the internet muck with them — but lots of times I still get pissed off and want to go knock on these peoples’ doors and explain why the point they’re saying I suck at was actually made in my third paragraph.

My all-time favorite insult was when someone told me it’s clear I hate the Constitution. I don’t think I got that upset about that one (actually, I got really upset about that particular whole string of ‘Kelly sucks, No, she doesn’t’ comments because they were really misinformed and came at the end of a long day), but there’s not much to say in response to be called “anti-Constitution.” Because, really, maybe I hate the Constitution (I don’t), but I don’t know how you would be able to tell that from a story about a town council meeting.

Why I Think I Might Sort of Be Done with Triathlon for a Little Bit

I was going to call this post “F*&% You All, Your Lives Are Not That Cool,” but I’ve been informed I’m “negative” and “intense” online, so instead we’ll go with this.

Last weekend my phone committed suicide on Friday afternoon after trying to upgrade its Enterprise server via the directions from work. I swear I followed the directions, but it wouldn’t even let me make a call without freezing. I got it back to phone-call-making capabilities by wiping it clean, but had no contacts and no internets. And, no possibility of a new phone until Monday. So, I ended up spending my weekend going to the high school cross-country regional/sectional/whatever championships, riding Tamarancho with some friends (terrifying mountain biking, by the way, just completely maybe-I’ll-throw-up-I’m-so-scared kind of terrifying), spending more time at the brewery than the ride took – even with me walking my bike a significant amount, and then racing the cross-country Pacific Association championships where I fell twice in the mud and slid and placed 94th or something — all WITHOUT INTERNET ON MY PHONE.

This was mind-boggling in its absurdity going into the weekend. A whole weekend, full of stuff, without email or twitter or facebook??

But, by the end of the weekend, when I sat down at my computer I felt better and more fun than I had in awhile. And not because of the negative influence of technology or all that shit people are always going on about. But, simply because I hadn’t been inundated with the forced positivity of the internet all weekend. I hadn’t felt compelled to see how everyone was doing at IM Arizona or how wonderful a time they were all having. And I didn’t care.

It may be just triathlon, but I don’t think it is. There is a need, particularly online, to always be soooo excited about riding my bike and sooo grateful for my friends and my life is just so amazing and so wonderful and so filled with positivity all the time — by inference it is so much better than yours.

Maybe other people don’t feel this way – obviously, they don’t. But, for me, this kind of relentless cheeriness eats away at my confidence day after day after day. If I’m not as completely totally all the time happy as everyone on my twitter feed or as amazed at the wonder that is the sun as all my facebook friends, something must be wrong with me, right?

No one online (or largely, in popular society) ever seems to have any problems that can’t be overcome by just looking at them with the right attitude. Or, at least they don’t admit it.

I’m well aware of the documented positive effects of being positive, but there’s a decent amount of writing on the negative impacts its having not just on society, but on us individually. Implying, or stating outright, that you just need to be relentlessly positive to overcome even the direst of problems is only two steps away from arguing that people who succumb to illness just aren’t fighters and those that remain impoverished do so because they just don’t want it enough.

And on a personal level, we are undermining our long-term mental strength and capability to solve problems by refusing to acknowledge them. It’s not that I’m negative or unhappy or down on my life; it’s just that sometimes I am. And, I’m betting you are sometimes too.

Which brings us to the draft title for this post and back to last weekend. For a whole weekend, I didn’t read about everyone’s super amazing days and how every chance is a dream and what a blessing this race was. And, I felt better than usual I think, because my weekend, which along with lots of fun also included a little bit of dry-heaving on my terrifying mountain bike and little bit of crying in the rainy cold at my XC race and plenty of doing nothing interesting at all, seemed just fine.

All of that isn’t the only reason why I don’t really think I want to do triathlon a ton next year, but it’s certainly related. It’s become the athletic embodiment of an attitude I just don’t know that I can deal with. (I’m also tired and really busy and sick of competing against girls who have so many more hours to train than I do and just not super excited about doing the circuit again. Mostly, I’m just not feeling it.)

I’m sure I’ll still do TriCal’s Alcatraz because I love that race and I’ve been thinking about other stuff, like ultras and Xterra – if I ever get up the courage to get back on my mountain bike. But, mostly I think I might just stick with running, of the non-Oprah variety, which has a whole different kind of attitude that includes kegs at the finish line, $20 entry fees, usually no med tent, and a lot of sarcasm.

What is going on?

I was listening to the radio yesterday (I don’t usually like listening to non-music in the car on the way to a race, but Steve left it on KQED) and they were talking about some square with tents pitched where the police were violently cracking down on democratic protesters in clashes across the country for the third day in a row.

And, I thought are they talking about UC Davis? Or Cal? Or Oakland? Or Wall Street?

Since I missed the start of the segment, it took me awhile to realize they were talking about Egypt.

They next went into a discussion about the Occupy protest that, even on KQED, didn’t use the same rhetoric. Instead, they discussed police having to “disperse” student protests for “health and safety concerns” by “nudging them with batons” and “cleaning out” encampments.

I’m pretty sure if you saw this video coming out of Egypt instead of  UC Davis, you would be righteously outraged at the police:

And, I’m pretty sure nudging with batons was once known as beating with clubs.

Like Colbert said, I don’t know how much more nudging those students can take.

And, I’m pretty sure the Davis students were causing far less of a health and safety issue than the police who were enlisted to clear the “disturbance” from campus. And, I’m pretty sure the student trouble-makers that were beaten by police at Cal last week weren’t just student trouble-makers and characterizing them as such is a disservice not just to the 70-year-old Poet Laureate  poet and his wife who were also hurt by police, but to the whole point.

I don’t particularly think that things are as bad as Egypt (duh) and I’m not a big fan of blaming “the media,” since we’re not a single unit that gets together for weekly meetings, but when an English professor is dragged across the grass by her hair at your school known for being tolerant and sitting students are blatantly pepper-sprayed — and the administrator defends the action — and a war vet’s skull fractured by a tear gas canister, you have to wonder if the coverage would be different if it was part of a democratic dominoes falling in an “Arab Spring.”

It’s not that I necessarily think all the protesters have the most pure of reasons (I’m sure some people in the 60s were just there because it was the cool thing to do too) and it’s not that I necessarily enjoy drum circles and it’s not that I necessarily totally know exactly what calls for action are being made.

But, we are the United States. We understand non-violent protest and conflict resolution and campus police (at least at Cal) don’t do much besides harass cyclists. At the very, very least, we’re a country that should be cynical and world-weary enough not to bat an eye if people want to link arms across a plaza or pitch tents in New York. The only people that don’t know that beating down protests just gives them a second life are people that hope to squash them so violently so as to stop them permanently. In other countries, they have another word for that. So, what is going on?

It doesn’t feel like our country.

Mountain Biking Sucks and It is Stupid

I fell yesterday. It wasn’t a big deal.

The trail got really steep downhill and I was slowing, slowing, slowing down, but it was too rocky and there was a ditch/crevass/rut and I was going too slow. I knew I wasn’t going fast enough to clear it. I knew. I even tried to speed back up and hit it at the right angle.

And, I did an ok job. But, I started wobbling after my back wheel clipped the rut and lost control. I knew that was coming too. I knew. I unclipped and started to roll and it seemed like I was just going to fall down on my side. No big deal.

But, it was so steep I bounced and slipped for ten feet or so.

I sat up and did the check over. No cuts. No broken bones. Didn’t hit my head. Felt fine. Everything was fine.

Then, I passed out.

If you know me, you know this happens. I’m prone to passing out. It hasn’t happened for a few years and it only happens after provoked by something: altitude sickness, falling, bloody nose — something that changes pressure or heart rate or rush of blood to the head. I have had other heart rate episodes during races and after races and during hard workouts. I’ve been through all the tests (and, clearly, we’re about to go through some more) and I always get the ‘a-ok, you’re totally healthy, except for the predisposition towards passing out.’

So, I came to and sat up and did another check over: nope, still ok. I checked over my helmet: no dents, no cracks. No bumps anywhere on my head. No symptoms of serious concussion: I could remember everything, carry on coherent conversation (ask the woman I ended up yelling at), no blurriness of vision or nausea. I had no symptoms of any internal injuries. I had no external injuries. I wasn’t even hurt, except for some bruises and one big bump on my arm where I hit a rock.

I know from experience there’s nothing an emergency room can do in this situation.

There’s nothing to do for a minor possible concussion and you passed out. All you can do is wait and watch out and rest, lots of rest. And was it really going to be that restful to get strapped down and carted off to an ER and jabbed with needles — all still in my bike clothes and freezing? No. And, in the end, they were going to say: oh, wow, you have no symptoms of a serious concussion and there’s nothing an ER can do to solve the passing out problem (that takes a lot of tests, tests, tests – trust me, I have another doctor appointment tomorrow), so you just have to wait and watch out and rest.

It would have been an expensive and incredibly stressful waste.

The last time I had a similar problem — a fall, sat up and felt ok, then passed out — I let them strap me down to a board and stick me in a room for awhile and ‘rest.’ It was the WORST hospital experience I’ve ever had. (Steve’s broken leg was definitely worse.)

So, mom, grandma, Steve’s mom, go ahead and re-read those last four paragraphs before you stress out about me not going to the ER for no reason.

That meant the only thing to do was walk the 400y or so to the bottom of the trail, call someone to come pick me up, and go home. I probably could have biked home, but not a great idea, so I was standing and calling people to find someone to come get me when this soccer mom came over to me.

Her: Are you ok?

Me: (I have this tendency to not just say yeah, sure, but answer half-truthfully) No, not really, but I’m fine, thanks.

Her: Do you need anything?

Me: Uh, a ride? But, it’s fine, someone’s coming. Thanks. I’m fine.

(I really did appreciate the offer, and was thinking about how to get home, but it’s like a 35-40 minute drive from where I was at that time of day with traffic.)

Her: Are you sure?

Me: Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks. It’s fine.

Her: Are you sure your phone works?

Me: Yeah, it’s fine. It just worked. I’m fine.

Her: Well, there’s a security guard up there, if you need anything.

Me: OK, thanks, thanks.

Her: Just walk up there if you need anything.

Me: OK, thanks.

Her: Are you hurt?

Me: No, I’m fine, thanks.

Her: Are you sure?

Me: Yeah, I’m fine, thanks.

Her: Did you fall?

Me: Yeah, but I’m fine. It’s ok. Thanks

Her: Are you just scared then?

Me: (I don’t know. I got annoyed at this point.) No, I’m not just scared. I passed out. But, I’m fine, it’s fine, ok, I’m fine.

Her: You passed out?! We need to call an ambulance then! You need to see a doctor.

Me: No, I’m fine. I just need to make a call.

Her: No, no, you need a doctor. We need to call 9-1-1.

(And, at that point, I just lost it and started yelling at her. I really was appreciative of her offer of help. It was perfectly nice. But, now, I needed to make some calls and deal with this. And not with her.)

Me: NO, I’m FINE. I’m perfectly ok! OK? I just NEED TO MAKE A PHONE CALL. Will you leave me alone now? I’m FINE!