Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Dream of Travel Promises Being Possible

I'm just looking for a little truth.

I'm not trying to uncover the next Bernie Maddoff. I'm not even sure I care about what Buzz Aldren had to say to Obama.
Even as the economy appears to be turning around, like Obama is telling us today, my search continues.
I'm just looking for a little adventure. Truthfully.

What I really want is a travel site that makes good on it's promises. Have you ever gotten one of those messages from Southwest or Travelzoo or know the promises, the hype, the excitement of traveling for cheap to destinations of glory?

"Only $45 per person for flight plus 3 nights to Vegas..." yada yada yada.

Only for you to find that not a single date works within the restrictions. Instead, one search after another shows prices in the range of $779 to $1,900 per person. (This is based on fact...just did the searching again today.)

Honestly, how hard would it be for a travel site to post a VERY specific offer? As in, your ticket from Chicago to Vegas and stay at Bally's for the dates of Thursday, Nov. 12 through Sunday, Novemeber 15 and it'll cost $XX. Click here and you are only two clicks from purchase. But act fast...this offer will expire in 24 hours. (A lot like the deal of the day sites provided earlier. In fact, exactly like those sites. As in, here are the deals. That's the deal. Thank you and good night.)

I would do that. But left to my own devices I will slowly grow angry when I can't locate a reasonable flight or vacation package and in the end will eventually choose to not vacation at all and instead spend $345 at the Coach outlet store for yet another lime green travel bag that I obviously don't need. (Oh, I need it, don't get me wrong. But not for travel. Who the hell can afford to travel at times like these?)

Unless, of course, I could find a decent deal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Deal of the Day

Still searching for decent travel deals, here are a few deals too hard to pass up with today's gasoline prices... - haven't yet used this site but am interested in gaining the lowdown. Basically, you can search the database of deals by zipcode and then buy gift certificates for a local restaurant. My problem is that it seems they have a limited amount of gift certificates available and I can never find one in my area. If I could, it would be a good deal if I were to make sure and read the fine print. Example of a gift certificate is $10 for a $25 voucher (with a $50 food purchase minimum not to be used on Fri, Sat night after 4.) Not bad if you are trying something new or crazy. - have used this site for more than a couple deals and each time was more surprisingly pleasing than the next. You can search through the content for your location but you only have 24 hours to take advantage of a deal (if it gets activated by enough interested parties) and I would recommend just registering because they are a friendly bunch whose sarcastic & witty writing is rather entertaining. Today's deal in Chicago is ten bucks worth of food for $5 at a cute little pocket cafe. Yum. I have successfully - and happily - purchased a $150 spa day for $50 and a trendy haircut for $35 (value $75). - running gear and wear is 20% off. This stuff is a little pricier than the average yoga-running-athletic sexy sportwear for the busy woman, but the sales are worth a gander.
Another place that is similar to Lucy in the oh-I-probably-don't-absolutely-need-this-purchase-but-I can't-seem-to-not-stop-thinking-about-how-wonderful-my-life-would-be-if-I-were-to-own-it kind of purchase, is a place that offers cool and oh-so-trendy, not yet embraced by the general population trends and fashions, but the real deal is their outlet section. Really good bargains for gifts, holidays, organic wear and more. I may be addicted to this site. Gulp.

Gold is coming back this season...for only $129 at Sundance.

Shop it to me Running - If you have even more time on your hands and can wait through the registration process...AND if you don't mind the burning feeling that all your information is being added to a master list and sold to the highest bidder...this may be the site for you. It takes down your size and other fashion needs and wants and delivers an email with personalized sales as often as you like. -  I have purchased bulk power bars and energizing jelly beans from this site. Works best when you spend some time making a larger purchase. But, really, who can ever have enough beans?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

State Your Case Woman. Or in the very least, buy a barrel.

Innovation may be the key to survival but wine is surely a girls best friend.

Just kidding.

It's more about fine wine and great friends. Or maybe decent wine and good friends. Or decent wine and fine friends. Or maybe it's that a case of wine can be your best friend. Or simply a mini barrel.

Whatever it is, enjoy it.

Also, please enjoy Time Magazine's special report on the "State of the American Woman." Sure, we've come a long way from needing to get our husband's permission for a mastectomy (can you freaking imagine?!?!?) and traveled from the days of leaving it to Beaver to leaving nothing at all and going for the Brazillian, but for the love of pete, how far have we really traveled? Not quite far enough, news sources reveal as Yahoo! says sorry for it's latest hullabaloo involving the innovative company's real thoughts on where a woman fits in the creative process.

Speaking of traveling, I'm looking for a good travel site. A really good one, that is. More on that soon...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

People Can Only Handle One Level Above Crap...That's Why We Run Marathons

Yesterday I attended a professional speaking engagement that featured social media guru Peter Shankman.

But don't call him a rock star. He hates that. He thinks it insults Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi. After hearing that, I think we all owe these guys a huge apology. But what do I know?

I know that Peter old boy dropped the f bomb within five minutes of taking the stage. That's my kind of man.
He captivated the audience by his colorful anecdotes and astounding depth of factoids, factual references and statements of well, fact. But he did more than that. He told (sold) stories.

"When Carrie Googled her boyfriends, that's when we jumped the shark," said Shankman describing how ubiquitous social media has become. Who can't relate to that simple statement? Everyone knows who Carrie is. And if they don't, they certainly know Fonzie. Either way, this man was spot on in delivering a message everyone could pick up. He threw it down. We picked it up.

Quoting The Simpsons, Better Off Dead and more than his own fair share of best-selling authors, this man was able to scratch everyone's itch. (Seriously, is there a more memorable line in celluloid history than, "I want my two dollars!")

How can this ordinary little man appear so worldly and energetic on so many levels that appeal to so many people? His answer is simple. Mediocracy is king. We live in a time where we have 100% accepted pure mediocracy...embraced it as a way of life. But the problem is that once you do that, you lose the right to bitch that no one cares. So the flip side of that is when someone does something nice. Say, give you a free soda or offer you a coupon to save money while you stand in line at the grocery store. When that happens, it's like "HOLY SHIT! LIFE IS WONDERFUL!" (If you really wanna experience a wonderful life, hit up Morton's The Steakhouse...I'm not much of a meat eater, but the Champagne and Chocolates is something to brag about. I say this because I think the Shankman presentation was somehow hosted by Morton's...nice pr tactic!)

So this little ordinary fellow slips in a story or two about his passion for running. He does this as a way of illustrating that mediocracy has a place in our lives, or at least in our society.We have to have winners and losers and all the finishers in between to make the race worthwhile. His attempt at spitting in the face of mediocracy failed when he admitted that while he ran, he was not nearly as fast as others. He was not nearly as "good" at running as say, his friend who runs circles around him in Central Park. But he is okay with mediocracy in this avenue. He wasn't complaining. He was sharing. And while this techno-savvy, non-rock star, self-proclaimed geek can hold his own in this world of ever-evolving telecommunications, he illustrated the power of personal stories and personal connection by learning a few names, talking about himself - both his flaws and his talents - and giving reasons to make sure folks remember that at the end of the day, we put our heads on our pillows and think about the people that made us smile, not the technology that delivered the message. It's not the mobile phone that lulls us to sleep. Or the Facebook page or the blog sitemeter counter or even the email service that allows us to fondly reflect back on what makes life worth living. It's those human connections that thrill and offer a shiny glimpse of a promise that we could be thrilled again soon.

And if it's not the positive images and instances that gently sway us into sweet, sweet slumber land, you know what it is, right? It's the f'ing jackall who ruined our day and mishandled our emotions and crapped in our cornflakes that we remember when we begrudgingly hit the hay and endure a night of indigestion and fitful sleep. And you can bet your sweet ass that all your friends will hear about it later when you tweet your little heart out. Or you could do up a t-shirt and don it like celebrities do. Shankman knows a thing or two about the t-shirt business....or so he says...

But really, what was Shankman trying to tell us?  We exist in a world of 370 million micro-journalists. All competing for a chunk or a sliver of our attention. Of our day. Of our wallets. Of our lives. There is a valient battle going on out there. And there are rules of engagement for that war.

Rules For Using Social Media. (At home, in the office, on the train or while jumping out of moving vehicles.)
1. Transparency. Tell the truth. Chicks dig it. Men can do it (if they try REALLY hard.) Everyone likes it.
2. Relevance. Be what you are to those who need it. Always ask yourself, "Why would I care?"
3. Brevity. The average person can stay tuned for 2.7 seconds, or 140 characters.
4. Top of mind. How do you get someone's attention? How do you become an important component in the daily lives of those people you are trying to reach? Stay at the top of their list. Make that your priority.
5. Concept of one network. It's more about aligning your assets with others who are seeking your assets (or assets similar to the ones you offer.) It's also about interconnectivity. Think in terms of how your cell phone, your Linkedin profile, your Google groups, your MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, email and more...can aggregate content and contacts and someday - if not today - gain intellectual momentum via interconnectivity.

All in all, Mr. Shankman, thank you. Thank you for getting so excited about the second Diet Coke. I enjoyed that. But also, thank you for ignoring the cute little anchor-reporter who wanted to take over the conference and get everyone to sign a petition saying she deserved not only to take over the world, but also needed a pay raise, more vacation time and a guarantee that she would retire comfortably. Someone should have brought that poor kitty a Diet Coke. Or in the very least a trip to Disney, like the Times reporter who just got back from delivering a speech about social media to Mickey Mouse. I bet he thinks life is wonderful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Listen, Then Sell. Stupid.

Listen first. Then sell. Say the experts. The very same experts who use social media as a communication tool to navigate through the choppy waters of the changing landscape of whatever it is that we are becoming. Or want to become. Or, in the very least, want people to believe.

Here is a video on the very subject of social media as a solution to the shift in communication we see at the office, at home and everywhere between.

But the problem is that the corporate world does not want to listen. Not to employees, not to suppliers and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, not to customers. (Disclaimer: This is my personal experience working for a large Fortune 500 global company). And by not listening, no one gets a voice.

In fact, a sizeable portion of businesses admit that they don't allow their employees to listen to influences outside the confines of the world of cubes. Robert Half Technology interviewed 1400 CIO's and found that a majority of them (54%) ban the use of social media in all forms.

In an article titled, "Whistle, Don't Tweet, While You Work," the results of the study spell out more than ignorance and bliss. It details a control and conformity issue that is sure to squelch innovation and deter creativity. Not just in the human spirit, but also on an engineering standpoint. What happened to water cooler chatter? Employee engagement? Collecting customer feedback and insight? If people use social media (twitter, facebook, linkedin, flickr, orkit, yada, yada, yada) because they are annoyed with standing in line, waiting on the phone or filling out paper customer service cards, how stupid are businesses for not engaging in social media? Pretty stupid, I think.

But who am I to throw water in the face of blue chip iconic companies bent on not fixing something broken. Unless they are forced to.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finding Light Among All the Dark

Desiree Jennings was training for a half marathon. She was a former Washington Redskin cheerleader. She is gorgeous. Then she got a flu shot. Ten days later she was diagnosed to a rare horrific disease and never will her life be the same. Check out the video here.

From the news of a man getting arrested for making coffee in the nude (in his own kitchen in his own home while a wife of a police officer was spying on him through his window) to news that the precious little girl in Florida now sleeps among the angels, there is hardly a better time to ignore it all and head out into the rainy cold outside for a trek through the forest preserve. Or rather, an indoor workout at the local 24-hour health club. The world is full of fraught and potential to mistep, it seems.

I have provided some details into what to do to make outdoor training safe in previous posts. But let's be a little more realistic today and admit how difficult it is to actually make yourself go outside when the world is so grim and the sky is so gloomy. And I'm not just talking about the weather. I'm also talking about the blues.

An old article on Runner's World website details the same old, same old, that we probably could stand to read season in, season out. Fighting fatigue, the winter blues and the workout doldrums; we need to keep things fresh, fight the urge to curl up on the couch (our bodies tend to want to hibernate in these seasons, all the experts seem to say...some even suggest we can do it in Louboutins...seriously), invest in light therapy or simply pack up the family and move to Hawaii.

# # #

Just to be sure, there is some good news out today.

The former cheerleader who now faces a life-altering disability is bringing attention to the potential side effects of vaccinations with the help of Jenny McCarthy and her foundation.

The man who made coffee in the nude is finally getting some attention when his clothes are on. And coffee is delicious. Especially coffee from Hawaii.

Prayers are being sent to the mother of little Somer. And her family. When they certainly need it most. And the rest of us are all hugging our kids just a little tighter. We feel lucky to feel so exhausted.

And finally, my gym has it's bright florescent bulbs a-blazing 24 hours a day, helping me to stay positive even when it's dark outside. Oh, I don't stay there long when my body is telling me no and my brain is totally shut down. But every time I go, I feel better when I leave.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

All Things Pink

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are a few reminders of why it ain't easy being cheesy. Just kidding. It's easy. But facing breast cancer? Wow. I'm left speechless after witnessing more than one angel earn her wings for making it all the way to the siren song of the boxing bell. We certainly all have our personal stories, but for today, let's just say that PINK is a glorious thing...

Here are five reasons why PINK is where it's at:

1. Panera's Breast Cancer Awareness Month Pink Ribbon bagels. I've blogged about them before. Cuz I love them. They are just a tad difficult to get my grimy little paws on....

2. There's a story of a lovely, can a 16-year-old be called a lady? Maybe not. There's a story about this kick-ass grrrl who wants to take the world by the winds and sail, sail away...all in a little old pink sailing more here.

3. Pink is the color of a "for girls only" taxi service you will find in Puebla, Mexico. If you are a woman you can enjoy the ride. If not, keep walking.

4. BeeWell Miles donates money for breast cancer causes for each mile you log at their wellness site. This site is particularly interactive and offers race training info, links to find local races and more.

5. Susan G. Koman for the Cure lets you explore local and national assets for aiding in the fight against breast cancer. Lots of pink, lots of races and walks, plus lots of inspiration!

For more information on how you can get and stay involved in fighting a good fight against a terrible disease, check out the American Cancer Society website.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Art of Blogging About Art While Jogging Without Shoes While Running in Heels Will Leave You EXHAUSTED

Headline news is overrated. Between McCain's daughters naughty photo to the boy in the bubble to the rise and fall of the Dow to the irrational health care proposals (click here for a digg article titled, Healthcare; What Would Jesus Do. Seriously.) , it's time for a commercial break!

From infomercials to online pop-ups to marketing shows that pose as medical advice, here are my top five outrageous promises:
1. An amaxing new diet. Drink more water to fill up your belly and you will eat less and lose more weight! Water makes you skinny!
2. Put these shoes on your feet, go running and you will lose weight! Shoes make you skinny!
3. Put your money in the bank. That way you won't have money in your pocket. Banks save you money!
4. Take this cool new birth control pill. These tiny pills will prevent kids from becoming part of your life thus leaving you with more time for yourself, a more shapely figure, more money and overall more enjoyment. Birth control pills make you happy!
5. Use this anti-depressant drug. With this other anti-depressant drug. When you use these drugs and go to therapy and eat right and get plenty of sleep and make a lot of money and attend church regularly and let go of all the angry bad thoughts you have and keep good friends and family near you at all will be less likely to want to commit suicide. Drugs save your life! (Or at least help you run for shelter...)

Rant over. My apologies to anyone who drinks, likes shoes, collects money, enjoys life or feels emotion. Wait...that's me.

God I love marketing.

Keeping with this whole theme of truth in advertising, this post really does contain a blog about art...blogging about the art of blogging about art. (It's actually less satirical than the title may lead you to believe, but still a site worthy of a look-see.) It's among one of my favorite ways to stay connected to the ever-changing world of art.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Think About It

From one blimp story making the front page to another, apparently it's just another day in paradise around here.

Today's news includes a little boy and his balloon. 99 Luft balloons was a catchy tune. It took hours to catch this little guy's vessel all amidst a possibility that the boy was being carried up, up and away. Now, I can joke about this because we all know how it ends. It was a hoax.  Timmy O'Toole style, the boy cried wolf and the cameras came looking. Jokes on us as the little turd did it all for show. He may or may not have been pressured by his parents (he was, we all know that much is true) but the simple fact is that people will do anything for money and fame. And it appears as if social media is the vehicle upon which village idiots travel. Doh!

In other news, two things are changing in my household. First, I'm getting ready for winter running. Ouch. Nothing is more irritating than trying to cut through that cold intake air only to find a mile or two later that a thin layer of sweat is between you and your warmed clothing. Well, the only thing worse than that while you are running happens exactly the moment after you stop running. Those cold wet clothes reintroduce themselves to your inner thigh and the small of your back. So, check out these cold weather tips by Coach Jenny Hadfield:

The other thing changing is that I am starting to run with my dog Stella outdoors. Stella is a five month old weimeramer. She is pictured here with her good friend Apollo. She makes running a good solid run more difficult than I care to admit, but she is a good dog that will eventually get better over time. Like many things in life. Like unemployment. Or Social media, McCain hopes. Or wine. Yeah, let's just concentrate on wine....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yummy Things And More News For Today

This woman is fat.

Don't ya think?

Ralph Lauren thought she was so fat that they fired her size 4 ass but not before they took a photo of her, photoshopped it to appear as it does to the left and then published it.

That's right. They fired her because she could no longer fit into the size 2 sample clothes and at the same time they altered one of her latest photos so that she appears so emaciated that it's cartoon-like.The whole situation begets two questions:

1. Why not photoshop all photos?
2. Why not let anyone model then?

If the practice is already that the images are entirely manipulated, who cares what the model looks like anyway? Who cares what they ate for breakfast and how their thighs look? Who cares about nutrition and healthy lifestyle when a flick of the photoshop wrist promises to make us all look the same. Who cares what our daughters look like, act like, behave, say, do, WHO CARES?

Aha. We should care. I care. Kudos to this model for standing by what she is. Initially, she reported that she was not going to tell anyone that she was fired for being a size 4. It was her badge of courage to bear and that was something she would have to learn to sleep with at night.

Then she saw the batched photo of her starving. And that hit a nerve. Or at least that is how it's being played out. So now she is speaking out. It seems this may be an interesting story about how they tried to take away her career and in the process they gave her voice. Not a bad trade-off.

In other news:

1. Dow tops 10,000 which could mean that soon we will all be able to afford groceries again!
2. Dr. Oz introduced the five immunity booster foods as follows: sardines, papaya-carrot juice, miso soup, elderberry (drink the juice,don't eat the berries) and garlic. What is not to love about Dr. Oz?
3. Free stuff for starving artists, er, poor writers can be found here:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Second Worth One Hundred Thousand Dollars

If the winner of the Chicago marathon beat the world record for finishing the race, that would mean an extra $100,000 added to the winner's purse of $75,000.

Now, if a winner was strategically thinking, they might try to beat the record bit by bit so to win the extra prize money year after year. But really, that would be pretty tricky to accomplish. It would mean slowly breaking one record after another. Like shaving off one minute at a time.

This year's winner, Sammy Wanjiru, did just that.

I know there is a rumor out there that United Healthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley makes more than $57,000 an hour, but this little ole Kenyan just made $100,000 for one second!

Ahhh, to dream...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

See Ya Latte at the Finish Line Old Man

Fifteen hours from right now folks will take off from the starting line in Chicago to embark on a 26.2 miles adventure through the ups and downs of the glorious downtown metropolis!!!

I won't be joining them, but if you are...good luck! And if you know someone who is, make sure you registered for the runner tracking available on the site. That way, you can sit within the safe confines of your warm and toasty home and follow your runner in spirit.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this...the idea of living vicariously through others who have what it takes to accomplish what I want to take on. Not that I haven't finished a marathon. I have. Barely. But I have. A few years back I completed the Chicago Marathon. I had a blast. It was easy running. I finished with a gentleman who was celebrating his 80th birthday. (Talk about agelessness! WOW!) We walked over to the beer table and toasted each other. Later that night, I wore heels. So my body told me I could have pushed it farther and faster than the 5 hours it took me to finish. But the fact is, I had a blast. I didn't puke. I didn't cry. I didn't feel like I wanted to die. (Truth be told, what I did do was stop at a Starbucks. Seriously. I've told people this before but the fact is that the long line of porta-potties scared me. Then, as I approached the stall, the interior of the joint scared me even more. I looked around and consulted with my pal Rachel and we decided to take the plunge and try running into the Starbucks on the corner. Not to endorse the great coffee whore too much at this point, but on that day, at that moment, Starbucks was my saving grace.)

The fact remains to this day that I am a marathon finisher. And it wasn't so much of the journey as it was the result that people focus on when they find out I have indeed finished a marathon. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I feel like a phony bologney because I know that if I tried a little harder, trained a little more tougher and really committed to the idea of running hard I could have finished in a more respectable time. Instead, I'm simply satisfied to have finished. And to me, it was the journey. The spectators were amazing. They felt like fans. I felt like a superstar. I fed off their encouragement and energy and delivered to them one more person in a sea of more than 30,000 that would promise to hold this experience close to my heart for the rest of my days. I ran 26.2 miles on my own two feet with the support of a personal cheering section that seemed to follow me for the entire journey. If more things were like that in life, just imagine how wonderful it would be.

I do hope someday to accomplish another 26.2 miles. And I don't even care if it takes more than 5 hours. I just want to have fun.

To all the Chicago Marathoners who are taking it easy today because you will be running your heart out tomorrow, good luck! To all the other folks - quite possibly the majority of the runners - have fun and have a beer or two for me at the finish line!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Becoming Aware. Of Delicious Things Like Dell, Fine Wine & Chili Cheese Fries at the Bowling Alley.

Less customization. More personalization.

That's what the world is coming to, after all. And as tricky as a concept to grasp in real terms, my biggest fear is that less customization and more personalization is actually going to turn us into a nation of droids marching to one set of drums. A highly technical set of drums operated by an engineer or rocket scientist instead of an artist or musician. Therein lies the problem. By embracing personalization, we are letting go of free will.

It's no longer a matter of being stupid, but of being consciously ignorant. (I think history proves a solid case against this plight...I'm just saying...)

Take a look around and become aware.

There are myriad shopping sites that log your buying preferences, browsing histories, sizes, styles and more. Then they populate their sites with content they think you will like. They "personalize" it for you. (A conundrum of sorts, if I do say so myself.)

The new search mechanism from Microsoft - called bing - uses sophisticated technology to provide "smarter" content based on intuition and learning paths of information. Another way of saying it will provide you with links that IT feels you should find interesting. Again, an example of taking away your option to see something you may not know exists.

A recent visit to a Tiger Direct store in Chicago found me face to face with a sales bozo who basically whistled through his teeth in boredom as I chatted about my technical & practical requirements of a netbook. Then he responded to my question of comparing a Dell Netbook to a HP Netbook with a smarmy answer of, "No comparison. Dell doesn't exist within the confines of these walls. Who is Dell? What is Dell? I don't know what you are talking about." Not only was I totally pissed that he thought me an idiot, but I immediately vowed to purchase a Dell. Just like the one I am typing on now. But, I digress. The real hurtful thing here is that I know Dell exists. And I like their products for the most part. But I was making an attempt to understand more about something that I was not an expert. And when I went to a self-proclaimed expert, he basically told me off. Essentially he took away my choice to find more information. More personalization should not mean less autonomy.

Shopping at the grocery store, my receipt prints out a few coupons for items I just purchased. Not only does this scratch the itch of mildly irritating behavior (to hold a coupon that I KNOW I will lose by the next time I need to purchase 24 rolls of toilet paper and boxed wine in the same grocery trip. Ugh) but also makes me slightly nervous that somewhere someone is laughing about my tendency for cheap wine and lots of buttwipe. Geesh. I want the choice to buy my crap (literally and fuguratively) but I also want the option of making a choice in the first place.

It all comes down to this: the Nintendo Wii mentality. Not that I am blaming our monotonous society for this fun game. I like the game....I'm just didn't grow up on it. Here are two examples that show both sides of the spectrum of what happens when we get lazy;

1. I recently played bowling on Wii with a 13-year-old boy who had never been to a real brick and mortar bowling alley. What a shame.

2. I was chatting with a casual acquaintance about her recent purchase of a Wii for the workout program. Trying to lose a substantial amount of weight as a goal, she asked me if I had played. I said I had and she quickly said she thought so. I asked her why she assumed I had played and she said she could tell because I was in pretty good shape. Mind you...we were not playing, nor near a playset at this time. Instead, she confessed to me that the only reason she had yet to start her workout regiment on Wii was the fact that when she first hooked it up and jumped on, her little personalized character wharbled up to a obese little whale and pudged up to 350 pounds. (Because she weighs 350 lbs., but still...I thought it a little harsh.) So she wants to lose a few pounds so her little character doesn't look like "such a fat little pig." I wanted to scream, "ARE YOU STUPID?" But instead I swallowed the grape juice my nose seemed to want to squirt at her face and quietly hung my head in wonderment. She is an engineer. A brilliant lady with amazingly beautiful blue sparkling eyes. And ignorant to the core about things that have been far too personalized. What a shame.

3. So what do you do? Get mad as hell, I suppose. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The art of being pieceful

Hey folks...this is what peace looks like. May be a good tattoo or spun up from sterling silver, could serve as an excellent charm. (I'm taking a metalsmithing class right now...go figure.)
And this? 
Oh, it showcases a piece as well. Actually, it showcases two two-pieces. And a splash of water in the background. How easy it is to overlook the peaceful water in this picturesque scene?

But we do it all the time. We leave out a critical component or overlook something so obvious. From a nutrition perspective, it's easy to see that we regularly miss out on a diverse diet.  Instead, it's a piece of this and a piece of that, but never a whole meal. Or even a meal replacement bar. (Or even a whole cherry chip bagel.) And I know it affects my runs, among all other things. We all do it; whether we are training for something or trying to slim down for another reason. We skip meals, scrimp on counting calories and what's worse is when we don't read labels and we forgo an entire category of food. For me, it's easy to not get enough protein and iron. For others, it's getting too much meat and not enough fruits and juices. And then there is soda, coffee, caffeine...ugh.
But the most ridiculous thing of all to forgo is water. Good ole H20. It's so easy to blame lathargy on something else. We juggle too much and accomplish too little. The fact is that as humans, I don't think we can drink enough water. My doctor reminds me of that at every visit, sometimes even before I pawn off an orangey-colored container of urine. Recently my run group has been concentrating on the amount of water that we drink during the day when we know we have a longer run at night. Talk about being preventive and proactive. I feel like I need to drink an energy drink on the way to the run group after a long day. But in reality, I should be preparing for that run ALL DAY LONG.
Who would have thought that water was a missing component to my diet?
Maybe I should move to England, where real people value a real human body.  An emaciated one, that is. And perhaps water is the only thing on some menus. Called fashionable, being excruciatingly thin is in. Obesity is out, so it seems. Thank goodness a few people have been left with sense and sensibility. A trend in advertising is using "real" people - nearly as sustainable as using recycled paper. Nearly two years ago Spain called for a minimum body mass index for all models walking the catwalk. Isn't that funny? The catwalk can not take too much weight...but we need to be sure that y'all are still alive...
And now French politicians are examining legislation that would require admissions of airbrushing to be places on adverts where real bodies have been morphed into superhumans. A lot like the cigarette warnings...can you imagine? "Please be aware that the model depicted here actually weighs an astonishing 102 lbs., whereby most of her flesh has been airbrushed to make her look like a delicious corpse."
Anyway, Khloe and the other K-lettered Kardashian undoubtedly look booty-liscious after thinking too much about this. I think I need to find some water...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bagel Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Click here for info from the American Cancer Society. For ACS Relay for Life info, click here.

Click here for info from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer organization's invitation to join the global movement.

Both of these organizations offer fun and inspirational ways to support a great cause. Of course, the most popular is the 5K race and the overnight 24 hour relay run/walk. But there are other ways you can have fun and donate a little of your money or time or both to services that help fight the good fight.

Here is Panera's attempt at celebrating the month of October and Breast Cancer Awareness: the Pink Ribbon bagel. If you are interested in tasting the tasty bagel treats that promise to donate a portion of sales to breast cancer charities (see the fine print for more info), make sure you print the pre-order form and fax it in two days before you want to pick up the order. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have walked into a Panera store four times already this month and each time have been turned away from purchasing the Pink Ribbon bagel. Two times I was told before 9 a.m. that they had sold out hours ago. Both times the cashier lady responded without hesitation (indicating to me that she was growing weary of telling off potential pink ribbon bagel customers) and also made facial signals that suggested she thought me stupid for not realizing that these gems were so popular that if I wanted them I should be willing to wait in line before the store opened. So I didn't feel at all smug when I pondered aloud and with just a slight bit of noticable contempt, "Then why don't you make more?"

As my latest edition of Runner's World documents carb-friendly running snacks, it's easy to find that the bagel makes both lists of foods that are good to eat before a long run and foods that are good to eat after a workout. Needing to get anywhere from 50 - 65% of your calories from carbs, a white-flour bagel and some gummy bears before the race is recommended while a whole wheat bagel and a banana are to be consumed after the run. The difference is how the body absorbs the sugars and the slow-burning carbs. Any way I look at it, the Pink Ribbon bagel is a good choice if it were in fact, a choice.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Write or Wrong, It's All in the Eye of the Holder of the Snuggie

This is an exclusive, retained search. Email resume, cover letter and salary requirements to Shira Harrington, Director, Professional Search, Positions Inc. at If possible, please utilize email rather than voicemail when applying. NIB is an equal opportunity employer. Those who are blind are strongly encouraged to apply.

# # # is straight-laced Thursday. I'm cutting to the chase, in honor of the Chicago Marathon next weekend. (The very same chase, er, race, that I am not currently registered to participate. But would be willing if a registration packet fell in my lap...)

Here are the facts; I'm looking for a job. There is no reason to hide it. So I read my fair share of job postings. Like the one for the brand manager at AllStar Marketing in New York. Ya know...the company that promotes the Topsy Turvey upside down tomato grower thingy, the Bumpits hair lifter and the Snuggie.  It sounds like a fun and exciting job until you imagine yourself at an office party where someone jokingly gives their boss a Snuggie as part of the holiday office party gift exchange. And you laugh out loud. Loud. Cuz it's a freaking Snuggie. Then you get fired.

OR how about revisiting the text I copied above. Check it out. Blah blah blah it starts. Please only send email, it says. Oh, and apply if you are blind. That's strongly encouraged. But try not to use the phone cuz it bothers us to have to dial a number and call someone back. And remember that this is an exclusive, retained search. Not your regular inclusive, run of the mill job posting for just anyone. Geesh...imagine how inconvenient it would be to not have a job. Or access to email. Or sight. Oh Shira, you go girl.

Put on those running shoes and chase your dreams, sister.