On the 18th I was ridiculously late to work, to the extent that when calling me failed to wake me up they actually sent co-workers to my house to find me. Thus, some would say that the fact it's taken me this long to have irrational paranoia about being late is somewhat overdue.

I checked my phone and alarm clock four times last night. Worry kept me awake. When I finally slept I had a series of nightmares about being late. A friend of a friend was driving me somewhere that I was late for, through the pre-dawn darkness. It was in a convertible and I did not have my seatbelt on, which was important cuz he was taking turns on two wheels through the woods. We crossed about eight train tracks, all with their lights blinking, one with the gate actually down. At most of them I could look left or right and see the train barreling at us. We finally got on a freeway briefly, however the exit took us into a man's basement. We had to drive up the stairs and out his side door to drive down his driveway and back into the dark woods. We finally stopped to sleep at a house of someone he claimed to know; I was too tired to care. I crashed in a bed in the basement, I don't know where he slept but it was upstairs. I woke up to the outrage of the house owner asking who the hell my companion was. They hadn't found me yet, I could just hear the friend of my friend trying to convince the homeowner that the was, in fact, the man's cousin, John Basedow. About the time he started explaining that his manager was sleeping downstairs I scrambled for my clothes, intent on getting out of there. Mercifully, I was woken up at this point to the sound of a man's voice screaming on the street outside my apartment. Convinced that I had overslept again and that my co-worker had been sent once more to my apartment, I grabbed for my phone in a panic, wondering how it had gone silent again. Fortunately, I saw that it was 4am, an hour before I actually did plan to wake up. The screaming man was not for me. Relieved I fell back asleep. My alarm set off another heart attack at 5, when it was supposed to, and I stumbled into work. Here I sit now, blogging.

Nothing speaks French that isn't mystical.

Weird dream. It involved bunny-hopping from my parent's house to my grandparents' house. Made good time, too. And there was a new season of Avatar.

Best part. This girl was given a skull. It had information, and was trying to trade it to her but she was utterly unimpressed with a talking skull, so it was a hard bargain. Once it offered to translate something for her to appear useful.

"German? The best a mystic skull can offer is to translate German?"
"Hey, it's not like it's French. Nothing speaks French that isn't mystical."

The tone of "duh" in it's voice was really what sold the line.

Then there were these... zombie roller skaters who were apparently called Soulpackers. So as I ran past them I screamed, GO PACKERS!

The Best Things in Life are NOT Fat-Free

I'm frighteningly easy to piss off. The most recent culprit? Scams involving the phrase 'fat-free'.

Wandering the aisles of the supermarket, looking for my next impulse buy I'll later regret, and I see New England Clam Chowder's on sale. Not gonna be as good as I can get in actual New England but I'll survive, so I start stocking up on cans. And that's when I see it's evil twin next to the display. Fat-free New England Clam Chowder.

For those of you not from New England, it's supposed to be made with creamy milk and lots of butter. Making such a dish fat-free is an utter contradiction in terms. It's going to taste awful and I'm sure it's still awful for you. If you want to eat actually healthy, get chicken broth or something. If you go for one of these half-assed attempts, you're getting the worst of both worlds. It tastes terrible, and it's still not good for you.

There are a few things that the diet version of makes some sense. None spring to mind, but I'm sure some of them exist. Oreos? No. Do not dunk your low-fat oreos into your skim milk. If you want a healthy snack, grapes. Nuts. There's tons out there you can eat that's actually healthy. It's not chocolate, but it actually tastes good. Why are people constantly fooled by this?

Diet soda has long been my bane. People convince themselves that it tastes the same. I'm willing to admit that there are a few genetic freaks out there with odd tastebuds that actually prefer the taste of diet soda. Otherwise, it's full of carcinogens and just because it doesn't have as many calories as actual soda doesn't make it healthy. Drink water. If you don't like the lack of taste of water, there are any number of cheap flavored waters out there. Fruit2O is my personal favorite.

Tune in next week for another exciting episode of, what's pissing me off this time?

Here's how lazy I am in my dreams.

I was sitting on my couch, watching TV. I hear a sound from outside so I look out the window. Bombs are falling all over the city, blowing buildings up. I look back at the TV. The weather channel is still playing uninterupted. I figure, if I were supposed to evacuate, there'd be a message or something, right? Someone would have called me? I'm sure I'm fine. So I sit back on my couch and go back to watching.

A few minutes later I glance out the window again, and now I notice a giant robot destroying the city. Sigh. Now I have to do something. Because, did I mention, I'm a power ranger. Neon Green. So me and the other five rangers form into Megazord. I'm the left arm, which makes me in charge of the shield, so I spend the entire fight getting hit by the other robot's sword. We finally win and Megazord turns back into our motorcycles. By this point, since I'm up anyway, I decide I might as well keep the world safe so I go patrolling the streets, on my neon green crotch-rocket, wearing my neon green leather jacket.

Then the dream shifted and the PS memory card I've been waiting for finally arrived in the mail. I was very excited and wanted to go try it immediately so I woke up so I could. I sat up in bed and literally stared at my hands, wondering where it had gone.

Dream dream.

Dreamt that I was on the show 'last comic standing'. I oddly remember the start of my routine really specifically. Here's what I remember. I actually started with a semi-serious anecdote, basically just saying I'd just returned from seeing my newborn cousin for the first time. Did not connect with the audience the way I'd hoped.

"I love babies. They're the coolest toys ever. They keep learning new tricks and you don't even need to update them on the internet. If you break them, they fix themselves. If you really break them, you can just make a new one.

I'm great with kids. This terrifies a lot of my friends. From what I've already said, you can probably figure out why yourselves. (that's the bit that got my first real laugh) I'm good at thinking like a small child. Something about how I'm self-centered, scream a lot, and am easily distracted by small objects."

I think I went on for another paragraph or so and then my time was up. I didn't bring the house down, but after I relaxed and just went with the flow, I started doing better and at least I didn't totally bomb. What's weird, I woke up and went right back to sleep, which usually wipes dreams from my memory, but this one really stayed with me in strange detail.

(no subject)

Most people know the expression, "Everyone has their price."

How many people out there have felt the very disconcerting sensation the day you realize that this actually applies specifically to you?

I always knew words have power. It only just occured to me, so does silence.

Melodramatic dream last night.

I was some kind of superhero. A volcano was going to destroy a village and I needed to stop it. My girl made me promise that if it got to the point of no return, I would run away before I wouldn't have the chance to run. I couldn't promise because I knew I could stop the volcano, and I'd survive in the end, but if I didn't stay at it until the very last moment there wasn't even a chance for the village. So she went away crying and I stood there, holding off the lava, confident that I was strong enough to do this and save everyone.

And my phone rang and woke me up before I saw how it ended.

Odd note, my cousin just texted me the exact same minute I texted him. Almost to the second. We'd both hit 'send', and then a few seconds later got the other's message. It was odd cuz I thought it was a really odd and immediate reply to what I had said.

Drunken jerks

Did not play kickball tonight, I had to work. I did manage to make it to the bar after. Honestly, it was a good night for me.

Did four shots, and I'm a lightweight so that knocked me for a loop. 3 wise men, Jaeger, Tequila, Burboun. (Shucks, one of my goals was to get drunk enough that I lost count).

It was an eventful night. Met a lovely girl named Jules, we commiserated about our shared fate as New York assholes and spoke together in japanese. Had a nice conversation with a guy I thought didn't like me much, buried the hatchet with a friend I'd fallen out with.

And then there's this. Some random guy from another team, I met him and he seemed nice. Then he was trying to do chin-ups on one of the crossbars of the awning. He had to climb the scaffolding to get up there. So after he lets go, I leap from the ground and grab the crossbar, do a few chin-ups myself, and backflip off. Totally show him up.

Later, since I thought we were cool, I sat with his team and chatted. However when I flirted with his girlfriend it seemed to piss him off, because he and his friend got up and cornered me. I'm not gonna flat out say that I'm sure I could have taken either alone, but with the two of them ganging up on me, my chances went from slim to none. The first guy grabbed me from behind and put his forearm across my windpipe, cutting off my air. I was more than a little drunk and all of my attention was on making sure I could inhale and exhale at least a little. A few of my friends noticed and started over, but by that point his girlfriend called him a dick and made him let me go.

Later I sold him on some fake apology, cuz I was a little worried about being jumped as I left the bar. However the outpouring of support from my teammates, and friends on other teams, warmed my heart. Also I made it home safe. Yay.

President's Fitness Challenge

Collosal Waste of Time. And I'm not just saying that cuz it put me in the 15th percentile for my age/gender. I mean that's one reason I'm saying it but not the only one.

That was pathetic. I wake up early after working late the night before to go to my gym for a fitness test thing. I think maybe it will be cool. If nothing else I felt like if I skipped it I'd be lazy. I should really, really just have stayed in bed.

The gym did not care at all about the normal people who showed up to take the test. This being DC, it started with twenty minutes of all the people in charge of this event talking about how great they were and how lucky we were to be in their presence. They gave each other awards and accolades and big rounds of applause. I was glad I hadn't warmed up before hand, because if I had I would have tightened up.

But I'm actually getting ahead of myself. We were supposed to show up at 8am. There was nothing in the flyer saying where to go, in fact I had to assume it was even the gym itself. I sent an email asking which room specifically we should go to and in the reply I got a list of the various places in the gym that things would take place. I just figured I'd show up at the right time and someone would tell me.

Nope. The few gym staff I asked didn't seem to know. The people from the Challenge weren't sure either. Didn't really seem to matter, individually there was more press, more gym staff, and more Challege people than actual participants anyway. At one point someone made the big announcement that we were supposed to "come in". Seeing as we were already inside the court where everyone was gathered, I'm not sure where else I was supposed to go into. I, like everyone else, just stayed where I was in a state of mild confusion and this seemed satisfactory. At this point, while complaining with a very lovely, equally snarky woman named Ana, I voiced my hope there would be a sarcasm event.

So finally we put up with the self-lionizing speeches, and a woman I'd have nothing against if she wasn't so peppy has us jazzercise to warm up. It was a decent warm-up, but when she was done I did a few of my own stretches afterwards cuz it felt kind of incomplete. Anyway, we were told there would be trainers at each station telling us how to take each test. This did not turn out to be the case.

Oh but before I forget. Someone from The Biggest Loser showed up to talk. Lots of pictures were taken of him. We were informed that he had managed to lose 130 pounds, and then he came up to the microphone. He... was about four feet tall. Where the hell had this guy managed to put 130 extra pounds? He wasn't very scrawny this morning as it was, and he couldn't have been much more than 130 then. When this guy was double that he must have looked like Violet Beauregarde after chewing the gum. Thinking this during his speech which I'm sure was quite inspirational, I had to keep chanting in my head, "Don't tease the fat kid. Don't tease the fat kid." At one point he looked straight at me for about two full sentences. I'm sure my face was in the weirdest contorsion ever as I tried so hard not to laugh. Finally he looked away before I broke.

So yeah. No one was helping me. Or any of the normal participants, for that matter. All anyone cared about was the Loser and this guy with a prosthetic leg. Which hey, I'm down with overcoming adversity and all that good stuff, and I'm glad no one was taking pictures of me doing pushups, but c'mon. The man does not need all eight trainers surrounding him. Someone c'mere and tell me when I can stop doing sit-ups.

Anyway I ran first. I liked the trainer in that room because she didn't treat me like an idiot like a lot of people did. I swear, the guy who gave me directions. I guess he thought I was dumb cuz I didn't know where to do my aerobic test. NO ONE TOLD ME. So he tells me the running room. And I see a giant sign at the end of the hall that says "RUNNING ROOM". I think I can handle this. He doesn't have such confidence in me. "It's the green room down at the end of the hall, see?" "...Yes, I do see. The one that says running room." "Look Chloe is entering now. CHLOE! This guy needs help finding the running room!" "...Die in a fire." "What?" "Nothing."

So yeah I do the running test. And I would have done better but I don't run on treadmills as well as I run on ground. I don't like having to divert attention to reading a computer screen and pushing buttons every time I feel like sprinting briefly. So yeah I finish the 1.5 mile run and the lady (who really was nice the whole time, don't judge her just by this) is like OKAY NOW GET YOUR PULSE. So I'm all rushing to do that, I find my vein, I find the beat, I look around until I see a clock, wait for it.... start counting, wait until the red line sweeps past two numbers, multiply by six in my head... there! Got my heart rate! I go to put it down on my sheet... oh. They don't need heartrate. They need the time it took me to run. By this point the treadmill has stopped showing me the time it took me to run. DAMMIT. So I guessed. I know it was between 10 and 12 minutes. Again, don't judge me. I'd've been faster on asphalt.

Go to the push-up/sit-up station. The trainer I finally badger into helping me, instead of standing around watching the one-legged guy, is annoying and keeps talking to me, he probably thinks he's encouraging me. He really just made me want to hit him. And the way they had of making sure you did crunches right was weird. I've studied crunches, and I'm pretty sure that I was doing them wrong. It wasn't fun, or easy. I gave up on the push-ups just to get this guy to finally be quiet.

So then flexibility. Again, I suck. Which is annoying cuz i'm really flexible on so many axes, but the one spot on my body I collect fat is my giant gut which gets in the way of sitting down and touching my toes, which is the only measurement they care about. Also, I have long legs, so I was starting back further than most people do. UNFAIR SAYS I. Anyway. This trainer was a lot nicer. He talked too much too but at least it was about something moderately interesting.

Actually it was pretty cool. He does mixed martial arts and he was telling me an interesting lesson in self control. Apparently he's known for an odd trait. He has the softest arm-bars of anyone he knows. Because, he says, you don't need to wrench the guy's arm out of its socket to prove you won. If the guy is mature, he'll realize he can't get out and he'll just tap out. So don't be a jerk and break the guy's arm. Give him the chance to bow out without either of you actually getting hurt.

The flip side, of course, is the guy who loses. Don't let your pride get in the way, and make you force the other dude to actually hurt you. He doesn't want to. Be mature and admit that you've simply lost. Tap out, and try again. Don't be a baby and see it through to the painful finish. Maybe you feel like you're a bigger man because you didn't give up until it hurt too much to keep going. But the guy fighting you doesn't actually want to hurt you. Don't make him.

So I learned two lessons today. The first was in self-control. And the second was never to show up for a President's Fitness Challenge again.