Tuesday, May 31, 2011

To Help Get You Through the Day: Girls with Big Booties Dancing

i have a confession: i like big butts and i cannot lie.

as the saying goes, we always want what we can't have. and "junk in my trunk" is just something that is not in the cards for me. luckily, i've been bestowed with other physical assets, but the absence of a gloriously round derriere will always and forever be a white girl's burden. (at least this white girl's burden!)

but instead of letting this get me down, i've chosen to appreciate those that have what i'm sadly lacking. the captivating curves. the beguiling bounce. the seducing shake. the hypnotizing jiggle. and the infatuation-inducing euphoria you feel when all of these moves are combined into one solitary dance move. lord have mercy! it's enough to make you start throwing 1's at your computer screen! (excuse me, Charisma, vodka with a spritzer!)

we all know that returning to work after a holiday weekend is such a bum out. so let me help you keep the party going with a few of my favorite videos with well-endowed women doing what they do best-- SHAKING IT! feel free to twerk along with the girls on the screen, but if you pull a muscle, don't come complaining to me!

Mr. Ghetto-- Walmart (this is pretty much my summer anthem!)

an oldie, but a goodie!

Lady-- Twerk (from the same person that brought us "My P*ssy Be Yankin'")

Major Lazer's Guide to daggering, featuring Skerrit Bwoy:

and this is what happens when white people try to dagger. DON'T BE THIS GIRL!

The NYRR Half Marathon Series

when this year started off, i had no intention of running five half marathons. i had three challenging, yet reachable, goals for 2011: run the NYC Half, run a race in the Bronx and, of course, complete the holy grail of street races, the NYC Marathon. in between these competitions, i was going to supplement my running schedule with some of the smaller races NYRR has to offer, setting myself up for guaranteed entry for the marathon in 2012.

this was going to be a nice and relaxing running year. simple, even! but as any runner knows, we just can't do things the easy way, now can we?

after my poor showing at the Brooklyn Half, i decided to register for the Queens Half and, you know, maybe actually train for it this time. i'm more than desperate to know if i have more than a 9:00/mile in me for these longer distances or if this is as good as it's gonna get for me. but by running Queens, that means i will have ran three out of the five NYC Half Marathon Series.

for anyone that's unfamiliar with the NYC Half Series, New York Road Runners hosts a half marathon in each borough of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. completing four of these will land you guaranteed entry to the NYC Half Marathon in Manhattan the following year and each of these is also a qualifying race for guaranteed entry to the (full) NYC Marathon the next year, as well.

and, well, since i was already planning on running a race in the Bronx anyway, might as well make it the Bronx Half, right? right. so i signed up for this morning. that makes four out of five.

so if i'm running four out of five of these half marathons anyway, might as well throw the Staten Island Half in there, too, and make it an even five, right? right. registration isn't yet open for the SI Half, but once it is, i've got my credit card ready to go. apparently these half marathons have become the Lay's of racing for me because i can't do just one!

i suppose i was being too easy on myself when setting my goals for 2011. if it doesn't take much effort, then it doesn't make of a goal anyway. the running gods have allowed me to see the error of my ways and i now have a true physical test ahead of me.... although running five half marathons in one year seems more like punishment than praise! but we all know that the harder the challenge, the greater the reward...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday Night Me Date: Gene Stovall, Cool Calm Pete, Cavalier and Junk Science

the commonalities are what binds you to your friends, but you don't necessarily always have everything in common with your friends. this has pretty much been the case for me my entire life regarding my musical tastes. how i have managed to surround myself with people that don't listen to rap music for the past 30 years is really beyond me, but i've somehow been able to make it happen.

what this really means is that i usually spend a lot of time listening to music by myself and going to shows solo dolo. last night was such a night. after wrapping up this semester, all i wanted to do was go out and listen to some music, have a few beers. i caught wind of a Junk Science show at Mercury Lounge, so i decided this would be my Friday night "me" date.

i had heard a few people mention Junk Science via various internet media, but i had never really taken the time to check them out myself, which was perfect because last night i wanted to give something new a shot and, for once, listen to music without any expectations. so not knowing a single song of theirs, i made my way into the city, MTA be damned!

by the time i got there, Gene Stovall was in the middle of his set. being that he's from Pittsburgh, if you've ever heard of him, you probably know him from working with fellow Pennsylvanian Wiz Khalifa.

this is all i knew of Gene up until now. just to make sure i wasn't completely out of the loop, i texted Teddy to see if he knew more about Gene and he said all he knew about was the Wiz song, too. *whew* i was really blown away by this guy's diversity and really just being able to command the stage and emit such energy, despite there being only like 20 people in the venue at that point. besides, who doesn't love a dude that can beatbox?!?

i was pissed at myself for missing the beginning of his set, but i'm glad i got to see what little i did. later in the night, Gene was walking through the crowd, hawking CDs to the girls. i rarely ever buy CDs this way because i'm usually broke and i hate having to carry shit around with me for the rest of the night, but if there's ever a time that i'd be willing to buy your shit, it's right after you've performed. Gene was extremely sweet, if not a little awkward, with bad posture. (guys, please stand up straight! it really makes all the difference!!!)

i thought i recognized the dude DJing for Gene and throughout the performance, i was trying to mentally place him. (i have bad eyes and a bad memory, don't judge me!) so when Gene got off stage and the DJ stayed and it was announced that Cool Calm Pete would be sticking around to play some more tunes during the intermission, in my head, i let out a rejoiceful "YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!"

i first saw Cool Calm Pete during a Def Jux showcase for CMJ at the Music Hall of Williamsburg a few years back. i knew some other folks performing that night who have pretty ambitious drinking habits and these sorts of habits tend to rub off on me, so i don't remember much from that night, but i specifically remember Cool Calm Pete being on stage and thinking to myself, "wow, this little Asian dude is rapping his ASS OFF!" his name really says it all and this dude NEVER disappoints!

it was still early in the night, so the crowd was still sparse. but i noticed that there were little groups of girls and then small huddles of boys. not really many boy-girl pairs, which was kind of odd. usually a girlfriend will get dragged to a show by her bf or some chick will bring a guy with her so she doesn't have to be THAT girl at a rap show. regardless, it makes me happy when the girls are out in full force. there was one chick in a tight off-white and navy blue striped mini dress that was completely shutting down the scene, but couldn't have cared less about it. (i think i fell in love with her a little bit last night.)

after Cool Calm Pete's mini DJ set, Cavalier took the stage. this dude looked like Omarion with two long French braids flowing down his back (or corn rows, if you wanna get hood about it) and some type of stunna shades. *snooze* his attitude was on point, but the beats to the first two songs he spit sounded exactly the same and i quickly lost interest after that. fortunately, he picked things up towards the end and i wish his entire performance could have been like the last two-three songs he did.

throughout all of this, a dude continuously kept popping up on stage to announce the next performer. i figured this was just the promoter of the show, especially since he had on some type of button down and jacket. i'm sure you can imagine my surprise when, at the end of the night, he grabs the mic and starts rapping. hi, Katie, please meet Junk Science! (i told you guys that i had NO idea who they were!)

Junk Science was good, but definitely not my thing. this was very much nerd rap and judging by the crowd's reaction last night, there are definitely a lot of nerds that are into it. and if anyone was fond of the video game sampling they did on their last album, then i'm sure you'll love their next one, which will feature TONS more of that!

PS: i'm kinda feeling the Gene Stovall CD i purchased!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What's Up with Compression Running Tights Anyway?

i'll be the first to admit it; i'm really cheap. not frugal, not thrifty, not budget-conscious. i'm, straight up cheap. there are many a fancy thing in this world that catch my eye, but when looking at a price tag makes me go cross-eyed, i simply keep it moving. there's nothing wrong with having expensive taste, i just personally have a different palate.

that's why the majority of my work-out gear consists of on-sale shorts from Target and a stack of white wife beaters in varying states of distress. because what does it matter, right? i'm just going to be wearing this outfit for a few hours at the gym, saturating them with sweat and then it'll be thrown into my dirty clothes bag where it will sit for the next however long until i'm feeling energetic enough to actually do laundry.

but last fall i made the decision that i was going to run through the winter, come hell or high water... or more in the case of NYC, a barrage of snowstorms and a city government that apparently has better things to do than plow said snow from the streets. i quickly learned that when you're running in sub-freezing temperatures that cheap clothes just don't cut it. if you've ever had windburned nipples, then you know what i'm talking about! (and that's all i'll say on that subject! ha!)

and so my obsession with running gear began... and, unfortunately for my bank account, it's still going strong! so what's my latest fashion fixation? COMPRESSION GEAR!

in March, i challenged myself to master the NYC Half Marathon. while i had actually been training for this race, as opposed to my failed preparation for the Brooklyn Half, it was going to be the furthest distance i had run to date, so i was anticipating some trouble on the course. and, just as i was suspecting, at Mile 10, my legs began warring with the rest of my body. my calves began to tighten and as i progressed through the remainder of the race, the stiffness slowly started to creep northward to my hamstrings and then around the front to my quads. my muscles felt like they were made of steel cables, unmoving and just begging for an excuse to snap. i was in bad shape, y'all.

i powered through it, thankfully, without any lasting problems, but this was definitely not a situation that i ever wanted to go through again. so my experience with the NYC Half, combined with already existing problems with my knees, are what lead me to catching compression fever!

if you don't know anything about compression gear, the material of this clothing is usually woven and stitched in a different way than traditional clothing. it usually heralds qualities such as promoting blood flow, supporting key parts of the body and maintaining body temperature, among other attributes.

my personal compression brand of choice is CW-X. there are several other lines available (2XU, Skins, etc.), but in terms of style, price point and overall feel, i'm a CW-X girl all the way! these tights work kind of like an exoskeleton and the placement of the support areas mimics how a doctor would tape your leg if you were to be injured. if you've ever had to pay a visit to the medical tent after a race or have had to do any sort of physical therapy, then you probably know what i'm talking about!

and i'm gonna be honest with you guys. compression tights are really intense. they're going to feel completely different than anything you've ever worn before. they're going to feel tight. hell, they'll probably even feel too tight, but that's just because it's something you're not used to. i might have even shrieked a little when i first tried my mine on... that is, after spending 10 minutes getting them on. they were breathtaking, in the most literal sense. but that's how the technology takes effect. it's not called compression for nothing!

compared to other work-out wear, compression clothing is really expensive. CW-X tights usually run around $100, so when i bought mine, it was really quite a commitment for me. i mean, think of what else $100 could buy! but, honestly, my guilty splurge turned into one of the best investments i've ever made.

i fully believe that there's no way i could have completed the Brooklyn Half without these tights on. to have not trained for this race whatsoever and to have had knee problems plaguing me the entire week leading up to the race (and for the first two miles of the course!) and still have been able to complete it without stopping, with keeping with my usual time and experiencing NO muscle fatigue, well, to me there's only one explanation for it and you can spell it with three little letters: C-W-X.

so if you're cheap like me, put your penny-pinching towards a good purchase. and those of you that are prone to injuries, are looking to prevent injuries or just like wearing really tight things, then there's no way you can wrong with compression gear. they've changed my life and i hope they'll change yours, too! (but i'm not giving up my wife beaters, though!)

PS: no whining about about how it's getting too hot to wear tights. they make capris, shorts and every other style with compression technology, too!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kreayshawn Can Kick Rocks

i love girls. i love girls that listen to rap. i especially love white girls that listen to rap.

where i'm from, we're a rare breed. i grew up in a small southern town and if you were white and listened to rap, you were a wigger. plain and simple, there was just no way around it. i mean, it probably didn't help that i was always decked out in the latest Polo and Tommy Hilfiger gear, two sizes too big, but i digress. i imagine that unless you actually grew up somewhere within the city lines of the five boroughs, this was most likely the case for you, too.

so, whenever i go to a show and there are actually other faces of the fair skinned fair sex or i hear some girl talking/tweeting/blogging/facebooking about hip-hop, it's like someone drew a smiley face over my heart with a glitter Sharpie because i know any white chick that's truly into rap probably endured her unfair share of teasing growing up while listening to it.

and every now and then, i actually ponder why there aren't more white girls on the forefront of rap... until one of us actually surfaces. the latest case in point: Kreayshawn.

kreayshawn set the bees loose on the internet last week and has kept the buzz going ever since with her video for Gucci Gucci, embedded at the beginning of this post. and, can we just be honest with ourselves here? this shit is pretty atrocious. yes, it's catchy. yes, it's colorful. yes, it's ironic. yes, it embodies all things funny, goofy and fuckyou-y. i actually appreciate all of those points about it. i just cannot, for the life me, take this as a serious attempt at music.

the sight of this chick rapping makes me cringe. it's like being in a hell where you're stuck having to wash your hair with a hangnail for all of eternity. or having to knowingly sleep in a bed-bug-infested bed while being played videos of your girlfriend/boyfriend fucking someone else. IE: it's the worst thing EVER! white girls who listen to rap music? HOT. white girls who rap? NOT.

you know, each minority group has a section of society, industry, media or what have you that they feel underrepresented in. whether it's the lack of Latinos on primetime tv or the absence of Asian executives in boardrooms, there's always a group that feels slighted. and while it feels extremely awkward, if not flat out daring, to refer to myself as a minority, i suppose that's what i am in the rap game. however, i'm actually cool with being underrepresented! i'd totally prefer to even just leave it that way!

now, you may be asking, "Katie, what makes you say that?" well, below are three videos that give plenty of reasons why, just take a look for yourself! they say more than i ever could. in the meantime, i'll just be hanging my head in shame...

To Help Get You Through the Day: Video Games to Play!

so it's Monday again and while the world did NOT end this weekend, i'm sure some of you are wishing that it had right about it. but, as always, i have something to help get you through it!

i'm sure, like me, most of you spent a great deal of your childhood in front of a television. this "problem," as i heard some parents refer to it at the time, was only exacerbated by the sweeping popularity of a little video game system that went by the name of Nintendo.

i was a little late on the gaming front, i'm not gonna lie. i'm not sure when i finally received my first Nintendo, but i don't think it was until we lived in Guam, where we moved to in 1988. now, living in Guam and owning a gaming system might not mean much to you mainlanders. but to us kids on the island, it meant that we got all of the games WAY before they were released in the states.

how is this you ask? well, korea, japan, thailand and every other major bootleg-hawking country were just a few short hours away and us military folks got to fly to all these places for hella cheap (see: about $10 a person). that's where we stocked up. every time someone's family was going on a trip, they'd be handed a list of video games all the other children in the neighborhood wanted. and since most of our parents felt kind of bad for dragging us away from our friends in the States, we always got what we wanted. if you do it right, guilt tripping can be such a beautiful thing!

i have no idea how many games i had accrued by the time we left Guam, all i know is that it was A LOT. i miss each and every one of those games dearly.

so to help pass your time on this mundane Monday, i present to you some of my most favorite Nintendo games ever for you to play! i hope you enjoy them as much as i did when i was eight!!! (click on the name of the game, you dumbies!)

Paper Boy

Bubble Bobble

Tiger Heli

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture Didn't Happen and I Ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon

they said that the rapture would be upon us today. i think i HAVE to be in another dimension because i have NO idea how i was able to complete the Brooklyn Half today.

it started just like any other race day. 4 am wake up time. blueberry pancakes, an orange and a banana. walk the dog. pin my number to my shirt. slip my tights on. D-tag my shoe. grab a Gatorade. rush out the door.

the MTA, being that it's apparently completely against humanity at all times, was once again a racer's nemesis. i think all runners let out a collective "WTF?!?!" when they realized that the F Train, the train that would have gone directly to the starting line, would be down today and that everyone would have to make other travel arrangements. i left my house an hour and a half before the 7 am start time. and, yet, i still got there late.

i crossed the start line at... some point. i have no idea when it was, really, because NYRR has inexplicably ceased to put clocks at the start (??). i didn't concern myself too much with this since i really wasn't planning on finishing this race anyway. i have been having problems with some sort of muscle or tendon behind my knee all week and as soon as my legs fell into running form, the pain immediately reared its ugly head yet again and i thought there was no way i could go on like this. jesus may not have appeared today, but i definitely felt like the world was coming to an end.

i told myself to just complete one loop of the park, which would at least put me back to where the Q train was. by some miracle, before i reached Mile 2, the pain was almost nonexistent. so i told myself to stop whining, let your muscle memory take over and just feed off the energy of the other runners.

luckily, my muscles remembered more than i gave them credit for and the spirit of the runners was overly electric and definitely infective. two loops around Prospect Park and a then six mile straightaway down Ocean Parkway. before i knew it, i was crossing the finish line at Coney Island.

i shuffled to baggage and collected my belongings. i, of course, immediately check my phone to see what everyone else is saying about the race. and, oddly, i have four missed calls from Shannon. i text her that i just finished my race, what's up? she replies that the surprise is ruined then and that she's been waiting for me at the end of the race. i can feel my chin start to quiver and the water building behind my eye lids.

guys, no one has come out to any of my races. ever. running is such a big part of my life and there's no one for me to share it with. and here Shannon was, 9 am on a Saturday morning all the way in Coney Island when the trains are down. with flowers. hands down, this is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me; i don't even have to think about it.

when i'm training, especially when i'm on my long runs, what really gets me through it is imagining my friends on the side of the street yelling for me. so, you know, i just want to say that we should all support our friends a little more. chances are, whatever it is that they're doing, they're probably doing for you. besides, you never know when the world's going to end, right?

me & Shan.

me & Nicole: Paragon running specialists gone rogue. she's a Mizuno girl and i'm all about Brooks!

North Brooklyn Runners beach blanket bingo.

cute trash cans!

the steeplechase!

btw, my time was six minutes down from my last half marathon, but i still cleared the two hour mark, which always my main goal. ;)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NYRR's Reasons to Love Running in NYC vs Mine

in the Spring 2011 issue of New York Runner, the always politically correct NYRR lists 26.2 reasons to love running in New York. cute, huh? i mean, they have to keep NYC & Company and all of the other local governmental organizations appeased somehow, right? and it's pretty apparent that's what they were trying to do with this list. but i know you gotta pay the bills and keep everyone happy somehow, so i'm not knocking it!

there are several reasons that got a nod that i'm totally on board with, but their choices overall just seem fairly general. below, i have bulleted out NYRR's creme de la creme of why running in New York rules and everywhere else drools. i also pondered why i love running in this city so much, and after the jump, you can read my 15 reason addendum.

NYRR gave explanations for each of these, but to read those, you'll actually need to grab a hard copy of the mag. ;)
  1. New York City is home to 29,000 acres of parkland
  2. It's simple to find a niche in our running community
  3. The biggest, best marathon in the world takes place in our backyard
  4. We have the greatest fans in the world
  5. We can root for plenty of hometown heroes, too
  6. NYC runners never go hungry
  7. Homegrown talent
  8. Spot stars on the run
  9. NYRR members transform lives through running
  10. Most of Manhattan is a track
  11. Find your perfect race
  12. The city where you love to run loves you back
  13. If you can make it here, they'll know you everywhere
  14. Travel a long way in a short distance
  15. Shop til you drop
  16. City runners care
  17. Be a fast fashionista
  18. Romance on the run
  19. Log miles without going anywhere
  20. A moment to yourself
  21. Look out to sea
  22. New Yorkers run tough
  23. Set records- indoors
  24. Train without running
  25. Rehydrate at Coogan's
  26. Take it to the street
  27. And because... let's face it, Frank Sinatra never sang a song about Hopkinton, MA

and now for my reasons...

  1. At least Manhattan sidewalks get shoveled during snowstorms.
  2. Locals are finally able to enjoy Times Square in peace one day out of the year-- the day of the NYC Half.
  3. We get to see New Yorkers on the podium after each and every race. Oh, wait...
  4. You can run to your destination faster than the MTA can get you there.
  5. They bagels we get after each race are fucking amazing. One time, i was given a french toast bagel. did you hear me, a FRENCH TOAST bagel!
  6. Dodging potholes, broken sidewalks and oblivious pedestrians with baby strollers makes for the best obstacle course in the world.
  7. Running gives you an excuse to yell at cyclists. (those bastards deserve it, too!)
  8. When you reach the top of the Williamsburg Bridge and you can finally feel the decline beneath your feet you feel like you've really accomplished something.
  9. We get Coney Island all to ourselves on a Saturday morning.
  10. It's the best way to discover hidden treasures around your neighborhood that you would have never known about otherwise and you feel like these places and things are your little secret.
  11. There's not a more bonding experience than passing another lone runner on a deserted street during a snowstorm, downpour or sub-zero temperatures. Crazy recognizes crazy!
  12. Van Cortlandt Track Club gives out carrot cake as prizes to the races they host.
  13. It's infinitely amusing to watch the same group of runners who were so nice and courteous at the starting line turn into a pack of bloodthirsty hyenas at the results wall.
  14. You have a better chance of winning the New York Lottery than you do winning the New York Marathon lottery.
  15. It's such an affordable sport in New York City!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Letter to Zombie Jesus Concerning the Brooklyn Half Marathon

dear zombie jesus,

i heard that you're going to be making a special appearance this Saturday. well, actually. i didn't HEAR it. more like i had an END OF THE WORLD picket sign shoved in my face as i tried to navigate my way through a rabid pack of craze-eyed zealots in Union Square. those guys are great, huh? you've assembled such a winning team for yourself!

if you do come, however you decide to spend your time here, please DO take these people with you when you decide to leave, ok? please, take them ALL. (i'm cool with just staying here though, thanks.)

and, also... i have a little request that i'd like to make. i know, i know, people are asking you for things ALL the time. but when do you ever really grant their requests anyway? see, the thing is, i'm running in this little race called the Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday and it would be totally cool if you could hold off on magically reappearing until, say, after 9 am? (that's about when i should be crossing the finish line.) i mean, when i call it a "little" race, that's not entirely true. it's actually quite a formidable race, 13.1 miles, if you're the kind of person who's into specifics.

and, well, me and a few thousand people have been training for this race pretty hard and we'd actually like to be able to complete it with minor distraction. we all know you like to spend your time in the spotlight, what with being the lead character in the best selling book of all time and all, but if you could maybe just tone the narcissism for a bit and let some other people have a little shine, that would be cool. it doesn't ALWAYS have to be about you, you know?

i wanted to run the Brooklyn Half last year, but unfortunately, it conflicted with me gallivanting across southern Africa, playing with monkeys and eating wild meats, so i couldn't make it. this year, the race reached capacity in a matter of two days and i just barely made it in on time. Brooklyn is the borough that i love the most and this is the race that i'm most proud to be a part of, up to this point. so just please don't eff this up for me, ok?

and, i'll be honest, i'd be more than down to invite you to join the race, but can zombies even run that fast? because from watching Walking Dead, i'm under the impression that they're not very speedy at all! do you, as jesus, get special zombie powers that most other zombies aren't privvy to? if so, that's SUCH a dick move, jesus. *smh* i thought you were all about equality?

so, yeah, if you could do me this solid, i (and my fellow runners) would really appreciate it. i'd maybe even be willing to tell a few people that you're not such a bad guy after all. MAYBE.

hoping to not see you until AFTER 9 am on Saturday,

I Do Not Want Tyler the Creator as My Son

what seems like four score and seven years ago (it was really just about one year ago), an ex-boyfriend of mine posted the above video to his Facebook page, with the accompanying comment: "the future of rap."

now, even though i still think this ex is a worthless piece of shit who deserves to spend all of eternity in the Second Circle of Hell, we've become friends again over the years and i actually do hold his opinion of music in high regard. so i pressed play. and was blown away. holy fuck, who was this little kid and how did he get so awesome already at this young age?

but being that i'm sure i was too busy stalking someone's Twitter, i didn't take the time to actually find out more about who exactly this was. how so, so foolish i would turn out to be.

fast forward to this past Christmas when i went back to Florida to spend the holidays. i'm riding around with my bff, Teddy, and he's giving me the low down on all the latest music that i should be up on... which he has been doing for the last 12 years. my little auditory almanac, i wouldn't be up on half the music i know about if it weren't for Teddy. so, he's giving me the digs on this group called Odd Future. "young kids... out of Cali... talk about raping nuns and eating pills... sent off to boot camp in Somoa by his mom because she thought he was possessed by the devil..." say no more, Teddy, say no more. where do i sign up for these new and amazing maestros???

i slowly begin to put together the pieces that this Odd Future group is related to that same video i saw a year ago. and the dude in that video was Tyler, The Creator. i listened to a few mixtapes from the OFWGKTA camp and really dug them. a fan i had become.

so when i found out that Tyler was finally releasing a full length album, i should have been stoked, right? WRONG. since then, Odd Future has become an internet phenomenon, to say the least. a list of top tier media has coveted their mugs for their covers. Twitter timelines across the world have been taken hostage by a continuous outpouring of OFWGKTA rantings. and, yes, the hater backlash has begun.

andm yes, i have to admit that i am one of the many who were completely over this craze before it even started. and the following is what really put the final nail in the "Fuck Odd Future" coffin for me. during SXSW, one of my all time fave new York radio personalities, Peter Rosenberg, interviewed the entire group...

and as you can see, they're all nothing but a bunch of brats. i can't even really call them assholes or dickheads or bad asses because i don't think there's any maliciousness behind their actions. they're just a bunch of little kids with no discipline who are now able to run wild with all the world watching. and, you know what, it's really fucking grating to see a bunch of teenagers be allowed to act like this.

and these feelings have made me realize this: women attach a familial bond to male musicians and their level of interest in these artists' music is based on what kind of relationship they imagine having with these men, be it subconscious at the very least. and that bond can take on many forms: boyfriend/lover/husband, father, big brother, little brother, etc. how many chicks do you know that have been pining over some dude with a mic for YEARS? and, really, who wouldn't want Justin Bieber has a little brother?

i've listened to Tyler's album, Goblin, a few times through now and still can't seem to make it stick with me. i get bored with it in a matter of minutes and start daydreaming about music that actually has a melody to it. and while i'm sure there's an infinite possibilities as to why that is, one being that all 17 songs repeat the same subject matter on a continuous loop, i think it actually goes beyond the music.

since Tyler is quite a few years my junior, there are really only two familial scenarios that i can imagine him in: one of a little brother and one of a son. and, to be honest, i want him as neither. like, i genuinely want to scold him for his bad behavior and punish him until he stops acting like a spoiled infant. (or maybe just give him a solid fist to the face, whatevs.) the thought of having children and them growing to be like Tyler just makes me wanna keep a stash of wire hangers handy. i cringe at the thought of my children having even an atom of his impudent personality. this is why i think i hate Tyler's music so much now. i am unable to form any sort of familial bond with him and, therefore, cannot relate to, nor have any interest in, his music anymore.

i do, however, still think this song knocks. i just have to pretend that it's not Tyler when i listen to it...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Ran the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K

you don't always get what you want and in running, this is no exception. whether you train daily, rock all of the latest tech gear or just have superior physical genes making you a god amongst runners, in some races, it just seems like the world is against you. (which it totally can be! hello, herculean headwind! i hate you!!!)

well, today was one of those days for me. not that i've been doing anything to improve my running skills lately, but i still thought i'd be able to pull it together for this one. the last 10K i ran, i PRed with a 8:26 mile average. regardless of my lethargy lately, i just KNEW i would be able to maintain this time. WRONG.

i woke up at 5:30 am this morning and slipped into my tights and Healthy Kidney T, not looking forward to the hour-long weekend trek into the city. but the cool thing about having to take public transit to an event like this is, at every stop, the train collects more and more runners, with their bright orange D-tags glaring, game face on and water bottles in hand. by the time we arrive at our destination, out exits a polyester-blend posse of physical superiority. it's one of my favorite things to witness, honestly. my heart swells with pride at being part of such amazing, accomplished group. but today, there was no running conglomerate assembled on the train, aside from a few stragglers. i guess everyone either got to the race super early or mega late. *shrugs*

so three trains later and i'm finally at Central Park. i see the start line and i see the sign pointing towards baggage, so i start walking that way. and i walk and i walk and i walk. i feel like baggage MUST have been at least quarter mile, if not a half, from the start. which means, a quarter mile there and a quarter mile back to the start. and then a quarter mile to my place in the corral. i've been to races that had starting points in this same area and the baggage check was always right there. i have no idea why it wasn't this time.

i was given a bib number in the 6000's for this race, so i assumed it was going to be a HUGE race. and it was. i'm so far back in the corral this time that we can't hear any starting announcements, the national anthem or even the gun go off. we just know it's time to go when everyone in front of us begins to move.

i like starting on the west side of Central Park and heading north. it means that you get all of the major hills out of the way before you even get to the halfway point. the crowd didn't start to thin out until Mile 3, but then there were huge, open gaps, which were an extremely welcomed surprise and allowed for a bit of breathing room, however brief. despite these near ideal circumstances, i was mentally fatigued and almost called it quits during Mile 4, but gave my internal dialogue an ass kicking and kept at it.

overall, 7,557 runners completed the Healthy Kidney. i was the 3,359th to cross the finish line with a time of 54:44 or an 8:49 mile. not my best time, but definitely not my worst either. but, according the clocks on the mile markers, i'm pretty sure i had negative splits the entire time, which i'm pretty stoked about!

and i'll be doing it all again next weekend, just double the time! see y'all at the Brooklyn Half!

pre-race: the sun still trying to make up its mind on what it's gonna do today.

the three winning men, all Kenyans. first place clocked in at 27:35 (WTF!) and received $20,000, the largest prize EVER given for a 10K!!!

everyone in awe of the winning times during the awards ceremony.

free henna tattoos courtesy of the UAE.

Muslim mannequins and free calligraphy drawings!

the eager pack inevitably begins to form as the result times are posted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Herb Ritts

since i went about Herb Ritts yesterday, i feel like it's only right that i share with you what he's really known for, his still photography.

below are some of my favorite images of his, including a few selections from Cindy Crawford's Playboy spreads from both 1988 and 1998, my favorite being the lead image to this post. i'm sure, i hope, some of these will be familiar to you.

i hope you're impressed. i hope you're inspired. i hope you enjoy.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Jennifer Lopez' New Video is a Herb Ritts Rip-Off

Herb Ritts is the greatest photographer ever known to man. well, at least in my mind.

i remember seeing Madonna's "Cherish" video in the late 80's and being hooked to his mastery of the craft ever since. throughout the 90's, he was the artistic authority on glamor, luxury and fame. his name was attached to least one ad campaign for every major brand of this time period. he went on to direct even more music videos after Madonna's, each one better than the last.

each video was clean, fresh, innocent and vulnerable. each video was everything that love should be, come to life. he was able to find lines on the human form that most don't even know exist. he was able to extract such genuine emotion from his subjects and then so concisely capture it in a way as to make us say, "yes, i believe you."

the images he created are a representation of how most of us would like to be seen, of how we'd like to be remembered. clean, fresh, innocent, vulnerable. love.

needless to say, he's been the man behind the most admired images of my adolescence. and even beyond. in 1998, he shot Cindy Crawford's spread for Playboy and i clearly remember sitting in Matt and Apu's living room swooning over the delicious exquisiteness of these portraits, wishing that when boys looked at me they saw me like this.

that's why it saddens me to see, not even a decade after his death, imitators attempting to steal his style and market it to the masses. the latest perpetrators on the chopping block: Jennifer Lopez and Melina Matsoukas, who directed J-Lo's latest video:

while Melina has quite an impressive resume, directing videos for pop powerhouses like Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, she's still more of an ingenue than a savant, with most of her videos being stylistically predictable for the genre. i'm not saying that her videos aren't entertaining. i'm saying that her videos aren't original. i'm saying that she's no Herb Ritts.

i'm heartbroken by this video. you can rip anyone else off, just don't do it to Herb. ok?

below, you can find a collection of my all time favorite Herb Ritts videos, the first two of which he won MTV VMAs for:

please get to know him. it'll be worth your time. HerbRitts.com

Exactly One Year Ago Today I Was Traipsing Through Africa

much as the title implies, one year ago today, i was in Africa. this trip officially marked me having been on every habitable continent before reaching the age of 30. i have a tough life, i know.

my uncle and aunt were stationed in Swaziland, so last summer, my cousin and i took the opportunity to exploit them and have them drive us all over the southern tip of Africa. we ventured from South Africa to Swaziland to Mozambique and back again.

it was the most amazing experience i've ever had to date, but to be honest, it's going to take A LOT for any other trip to beat this. but that being said, i was there for an entire week, so i won't bore you with a long, drawn-out explanation of every single thing we did. below is a list of some of my highlights of my trip, followed by an equally envy-inducing conglomerate of photos. (my favorite pics are probably the ones from the beach!)

  • Running barefoot along the Indian Ocean at Punto d'Ouro, Mozambique. (I think we clocked around 3-4 miles.)
  • Eating wild warthog for dinner that was killed at our request.
  • The stars look so big and close at this latitude that you think you can just pluck them out of the sky.
  • Watching wild monkeys climb over deserted bridges.
  • Having our car be charged by an elephant.
  • Chutney flavored chips.
  • The beach dogs at Mozambique that would just follow you around and then try to cuddle with you in the sand.
  • That my uncle and aunt's house comes complete with an eight foot high wall around it and personal security guard.
  • Hyenas don't actually look like they're deadly and are quite good at tricking you into thinking that you should hug them. (don't.)
  • Climbing Execution Rock.
  • Eating lots and lots of seafood curry.
  • That everyone there calls each other brother and sister. (unjani, sisi?)
  • There are ZERO street signs and no fences or even real shoulders on major highways, so cars, cattle and pedestrians all share the road. and it's scary!
  • Returning to the States having contracted neither malaria nor AIDS. (yay!)