Hurts So Good (April 23, 2011)

This Easter weekend, an auspicious period of rebirth and renewal in the Christian culture, yours truly is feeling very much like a 92 year-old woman. My whole body hurts, from the roots of my hair to the recurring tendonitis in my right toes.

I have pushed myself to the physical limits this week, in a not-so-subconscious effort to try to outrun my psyche, to strong arm the emotional pain and confusion I feel about my new life. I strained my right bicep tendon doing repeated G.I. Jane-style pull-ups on Tuesday. My thighs and glutes are painfully sore from squats, lunges and miles and miles of bike riding. My shins are bruised and scraped from a late-Wednesday night tumble off that same bike. And my corpus as a whole feels the kind of chilly fatigue that is hard to shake after traversing the City by cycle for hours in the pouring rain, wearing the armor of soggy jeans, wet socks and cotton clothes clinging to my frame.

I did wonder as I made my way back to my apartment last night if I didn’t have some sort of warrior-style death wish. I have always been a tomboy, and functioning as the son my father never had, I learned a lot from him about silently sweating out the pain, the gym as therapy. I do see a psychologist, and a brilliant one at that, but I recognize that I can only talk about my feelings so much. The story, for the foreseeable future, won’t change, and I hate wallowing. So I try to expel the negative energy through brute force, and even if that doesn’t work, I think as I sweat. There’s not a long of time between grunts for extraneous thoughts. One can’t help but focus.

But I forget sometimes that though the human body is capable of amazing things, it is still a human body, fallible, often frail and requiring proper care to continue running at peak performance. I haven’t been eating well, and at least this week, neglecting to sleep as much as I should. Combine that with self-induced samurai training, and I am in a world of hurt today, even after hibernating for 11 hours and consuming more victuals than I believed my stomach could accommodate.

My body has officially revolted: basta, fini, enough. I have to respect that. But that means that for the next two days at least, I can no longer leave my thoughts in the wake.

This Minute in Pop Culture…. (June 29, 2010)

pop culture

I don’t know about you guys, but my brain hurts, not in the “I’ve been concentrating too hard and now I need an aspirin” way. It’s more like, “OUR SOCIAL FABRIC AND THE WORLD ECONOMY ARE DISINTEGRATING BEFORE MY EYES! AH! EVERYTHING SUCKS BUT THE WORLD CUP! WE’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO ‘WIN’ IN AFGHANISTAN! THE GULF IS TOAST! MAYDAY! HELP!”

Yeah it’s kind of like that. I know that awareness and consideration are part of my job as a responsible American citizen. If I attempt to bury my head beneath clouds of sunshine and rainbows, in the first place I will find no such place exists for my weary noggin’. But in the second, I understand that avoidance of circumstances never, ever leads to resolution. I am but one small person in this terribly troubled global community, but I am committed to doing whatever I can, whatever form that takes, even if my only available weapon is the pen, to move our human race forward and out of this persistent downward spiral.

That said, there’s nothing illegal about taking a break from absorbing the constant assault of bad news (Russian spy cells are active in American again!?) and indulging in a bit of escapism. My drug of choice for dulling my overstimulated senses is the popular gossip website run by mini-media mogul Perez Hilton, though one could easily substitute E! media, Entertainment Tonight, TMZ or a host of other pop culture news outlets.

After spending half my lunch hour furiously clicking the buttons of my Blackberry, trying to drink in as much nonsense in 30 minutes as my limited vision could stand, I spent the next few moments challenging myself (using the word “challenge” very loosely) to come up with stream of conscious impressions of my information gathering. Ah but that we could always live in the comparatively simple world of entertainment reports! My thoughts went something like this, and in EXACTLY this order. After all, I must remain faithful to the parameters of this exercise:

– So Mel Gibson’s left his wife of 28 years, the mother of seven of his children for a plastic-faced baby tramp, and now she’s stirring up ugly allegations of abuse and non-payment of child support? Perhaps conservative Catholic types ought to broaden their studies to include the Eastern philosophy of karma.

– WHY am I still reading about Heidi and Spencer? No seriously, someone tell me why. I have never watched an episode of The Hills in my life. And yet I am somehow dying to find out if their “divorce” is a sham or not. These two have the oddest, most predatory love story I’ve ever seen play out publicly. It’s like Star 80 for 2010. Except Heidi is no Dorothy Stratton.

– Poor misguided Jessica Simpson. Turning to Eastern medicine traditions will never bring Nick Lachey back. You know it ain’t Tony Romo your bed and career are regretting.

– Lindsay Lohan – Linda Lovelace, SCRAM bracelets, a new Lohan reality show and father Michael is engaged to a 25 year-old who also once dated Jon Gosselin. Not sure who the current poster family for white trash America is since the Hogans slunk off into ignominy, but I think we have a clear front runner.

– I hate the new season of So You Think You Can Dance. Eliminating Mary Murphy from the judges table was the dumbest decision ever, and I don’t accept a clearly-trying-to-be-less-of-a-bitch Mia Michaels as a substitute. I want back on the Hot Tamale Train!

– I still miss Lost as much as I did six weeks ago. When will I get through the withdrawal?

– Most welcome comeback of the last decade: multi-talented and super hot Neil Patrick Harris. Christmas with Harold and Kumar? Hell frickin’ yeah!

– I can’t believe Michael Jackson has been dead a year. I still can’t believe he died at all. People with that much talent always seem immortal.

– So stoked for the next season of Weeds. Zack Morris is going to get some good loving and herb from Ruth Jamison. My little 80s and 90s heart goes pitter patter at the prospect.

– I still don’t care about any of the following and vow that I never will:Harry Potter, Twilight and True Blood. Do we still need fantasies and monsters anymore? The world is frightening enough. Although I do find Emma Watson adorable. R-Patz? Over it! However Taylor Lautner is more than welcome to do other films where he doffs his shirt and I will consider attending. Meow.

– Tom Cruise is a fabulous actor, but I think consumers are telling him they’d like him to disappear for awhile. Think Jeff Bridges. He dropped off our pop culture radar for a time and came back with an Oscar. You don’t have a Golden Guy, do you Tom? Food for thought.

– Midway through the year and my favorite celebrity of 2010 remains Brett Michaels. I am as shocked by this as anyone. Dude is just so disarming.

See the answers are easy at this low brow level! I feel invigorated, don’t you? We now return to our regularly scheduled program of gloom, already in progress…