frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Sunday, October 30, 2005

If You Could...

So E-rock and I were talking tonight, about time travel, and what we would do if we could go back in time. We covered a lot of ground, but not as much as we could have--I was stricken by a bad-case of not-creativeness, and could never think of who I would go to see, or what I would take, or who I would assassinate.

E-rock nearly had a fit when I said that I would take deodorant on my sojourn into history. "Deodorant!" he cried. "What about plans for an airplane?! Then you could be rich!" Oh. Hmmm, but what good is being rich if you stink? Meanwhile, for all these questions, E-rock had a wide variety of answers--often quite detailed answers. Apparently he has thought about them lots.

But finally we ended on this question, which I submit for your consideration:

If you could go back in time and dance a jig in front of anyone, who would it be?

Of course, I couldn't think of anyone, mostly because I can't imagine dancing a jig. I mean honestly, does anyone actually know what a jig looks like??? If you do, then come and dance one in front of me--so I can laugh at you, because I bet it is silly!

E-rock says he would go back in time and dance a jig in front of our mother, two months before she gives birth to him, and as he danced he would say, "You're going to have ME in a couple months!" Then POOF! he would disappear!

I have to say that I don't think this would be a terribly good plan, because he might wreck his chances of being born by causing our mother's untimely death, with a fright-induced heart attack. But hopefully we will never know!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Idiotic Ignorance

This month's copy of Discover magazine had the following letter to the editor in it, from a man whose name is not Joe:

"...I am sick of scientists tiptoeing around the topic of religion. Scientists need to make it clear that if you believe in God you are most likely an idiot or at best uneducated."

And the mouth of genius has apparently spoken! Thank you, Joe, for your edifying and enlightening remarks. I always thought that I was a pretty educated sort of person--I graduated in three and a half years from a highly competitive, private, secular liberal arts college, cum laude and with departmental honors. Yet somehow, I did, and still do, believe in God. Huh! How very strange. Well, now I know the answer--I just must be stupid! And to think I never knew!

Lots of thousands of dollars down the drain. Pity.

Why is it some people consider a belief in God as incompatible with either intelligence or learning? When science first began, it was not something separate from religion. It was not divorced from belief in the divine. If anything, those who studied it did so because they wanted to see the divine just a little bit closer--to open the window to heaven and catch, if they could, just a glimpse of the glory they saw only in shadows here on earth.

Last night I saw part of the Stephen Colbert Show, and Colbert was interviewing some scientist guy that I can't remember the name of now, who said that believing in intelligent design was "intellectually lazy." Leaving aside the question of the theory of ID as it is being presented to schools, etc., how could a scientist ever say that belief in a divine, creative mind at work in an amazingly complex, highly diversified universe is not in any way intellectually stimulating? Are you kidding me? Thinking about God makes my head hurt, lots!

But maybe that's because I'm an idiot.

Well, I digress. Getting back to Joe--the fact is, he founds his "argument" (gah, I hardly like to honor his ridiculous generalizations with the word) on nothing more than his own emotional reaction against "religious fundamentalists," whom he talks about next, saying,

"Do [scientists] think that polite silence will stop religious fundamentalists from burning copies of Harry Potter books or pushing science out of classrooms? To treat beliefs as if they mean anything merely elevates them to equal status with science."

It is difficult to follow the sophisticated logic of Joe's reasoning, mostly because there isn't any. From what I can see, the real issue is that he doesn't like the people who burn books in the name of God and want Genesis 1:1 to be the starting point for science classes. I am not quite sure how he then makes the leap to his assumption that anyone who has a belief in God must be lacking in intelligence and capability for rational thought, but I suspect that it wasn't by any sort of scientific method on Joe's part.

Look, you can peg me for insufferable arrogance if you like. That's probably true enough! But don't call me stupid, and don't tell me I am uneducated. That will only prove your own ignorance as you display your inability to carry on a meaningful, logical conversation about anything important.

And in my book, that makes you the idiot.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Contemplation

I was thinking today that there are some things you can't trust God for. You cannot trust that he will never allow anyone or anything to hurt you. You cannot trust that he will always protect your loved ones. You cannot trust that you, or anyone else you know and love, will be healed from every disease or physical ailment. You cannot trust that God will provide you with the husband or wife of your dreams or longing.

You cannot trust him not to lead you through desert places, or the valley of the shadow of death.

But you can trust him to walk with you when he does.

I cannot trust God for things, material or not. I can only trust him to be who he is--the one who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness in the earth (Jer 9:24), who causes sun to shine and rain to fall on both the evil and the good (Matt 5:45).

I can pray for things, I suppose. We can all present our requests to him, and ought to. No harm is done by asking! but he will not be manipulated, not even by tears--though he will treasure them. (Psalm 56:8)

I trust him to love me, even though sometimes I am afraid perhaps he doesn't. I trust him to forgive me, even though I know I don't deserve it. I trust him to listen to me, even though sometimes I doubt if he's there. I trust him to care about what I desire, even though he doesn't always give it to me.

At least, I try to.

There is a quotation from one of my favorite books that sums up how I think about God, often. In a few short sentences, it speaks for me better than I have been able to speak for myself. C.S. Lewis writes in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,

"Safe?...'course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you."

Ah, so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No Pain, No Gain!

Or, in my case, any pain is my gain. In other words--I survived my first-ever half-marathon!

Impossible, you say? I'm tempted to agree with you, except the fact is I seem to be sitting here and typing these words, which means I must be alive, which means that I didn't die during the incredibly taxing physical ordeal that I put myself through two days ago. I still can't quite believe that I a) drove up to San Francisco early Saturday morning, b) ran the half-marathon segment of theNike Women's Marathon early Sunday morning, and c) drove all the way back to Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Next time, I am so taking an airplane.

But yes, I said next time! The fact is, I had a blast! And--are you ready for this?--I actually ended up running pretty nearly the whole thing. Though I admit I use "running" in the loosest possible sense, meaning "jogging at about the same pace as a really fast walker." Today I am terribly sore, although massive amounts of ibuprofen and naproxen have done wonders to keep me from keeling over and/or sobbing from the physical trauma sustained by my still-in-shock body over the course of 13.1 miles (which I "ran" in just under three hours).

I have been walking like an old lady ever since. Actually no--I think an old lady would get around better than I can right now. An old lady with a walker would beat me in a footrace today.

Come to think of it, I want a walker. Ouch!

At least the route was beautiful. I adore San Francisco, and even though it was a bit foggy (I couldn't see the Golden Gate Bridge, though we passed right by it), I thoroughly enjoyed running along the Embarcadero, up past the Presidio, and then down to Baker Beach and the Great Highway before heading through Golden Gate Park...all of which brought back memories of my time living in the Bay Area a few years ago. In fact, the first part of the route exactly coincided with a route that I rollerbladed as part of a Friday Night Skate event in the city, and during which I was injured when some drunk guy in a car through a bottle out the window and it hit the railing along the path where we were skating, so that it broke, and I got caught in all the flying glass, and sustained a cut on my elbow that led to two whole stitches (after four hours in the emergency room) and a little scar that looks purple when it gets cold out. Ah, yes...good times in San Fran!

But I digress, as usual. Back to the half-marathon!

I did well for the first nine miles, but then I had to walk part of the way up an apparently never-ending hill...I picked up the pace again on the way down. There came a point, actually, where walking hurt more than running. I know that sounds like a big fat lie, but it isn't. However, that said, the last two miles were brutal and I had to walk a bit there too. However, I did succeed in running across the finish line, where I and the other finishers were met by about 20 guys in tuxedoes with gift boxes from Tiffany's on silver trays--our reward for making it to the end of the grueling race. The boxes, I mean, not the men!

(I am still not sure, actually, if I appreciated that final finishing (ha) touch or not. I mean, after all, let's face it--a girl does not exactly look her best after running 13 miles! At least, I sure as heck don't.)

Oh well. The point is, I--who never knowingly, or particularly willingly, ran more than a mile or two at a stretch in her entire life, and with no training whatsoever, actually ran a half-marathon, and I am still around to tell the tale (in probably a lot more words than were striclty necessary, of course!)! In other words--I did something crazy and I lived! Wow, maybe I should try bunjy jumping next!

Or maybe not. Unless they have studly guys in tuxedoes waiting at the bottom of the jump. Then I might.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Quick Note

Well, the day that I never thought would actually arrive is now upon me. I speak, of course, of Sunday, October 23rd--the day when I will attempt to walk, possibly even jog, a half-marathon in San Francisco. The unliklihood of such a thing is really beyond my best abilities to communicate, so I won't even try. I will just say three little heartfelt words, which will sum up the situation as I see it quite nicely:

Pray for me.

I leave tomorrow morning at 4am, driving to San Francisco with a friend who is doing this crazy thing with me. The race is 7am on Sunday morning. I'll be coming back Sunday night so that I can be at work on Monday morning. And yes, I know that I am insane.

Oh, and yes, I believe I owe you all an updated picture of myself, since everyone voted YES in the comments on my last post. I have not forgotten! I will keep my promise, after I get back from San Francisco.

Assuming I live through the weekend, that is.

Love and kisses to my adoring fans--here's hoping I live long enough for you to adore me for many more years to come!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hair I Am Again

You know the saying, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop"?

Well.

Tonight I decided I would change my hair back to its normal color, which is (I think) dark brown. It's been awhile, so I could be wrong, but that is the color of my roots, so I can't be too far off.

So I was just thinking that one of the funny things about hair dye is that when you mix together the developer and the coloring agent, sometimes it really doesn't look like anything when you drip it on stuff. You wonder if it actually will do anything to your hair, because it seems to be almost clear. And then you look down at, say, your leg for example, where perhaps (hypothetically) you spilled a big glop of it while you were applying the dye, only you were too hasty to clean it up quick, because you thought, "What's the big deal? It's clear!" And then ten minutes later you see this huge dark bruise-like spot that doesn't look anything like the stuff that dripped there (it was practically clear when it dripped, remember!), but does look very much like the color you are trying to change your hair to, which I guess is good because that means your hair will indeed turn that color, so no need to worry about that, but now you have to worry about how on earth you are going to get this big bruise off of your leg. Oh, and the dye has also perhaps hypothetically seeped a bit around your forehead, and gotten on your hands, so now you look like you enjoy playing in dirt and not taking showers. You start to feel just a little bit anxious about the fact that you have to go to work tomorrow and look, you know, sort of grownup and professional--not to mention clean.

You know, I really really shouldn't do the hair dyeing thing late at night. Or unsupervised, come to think of it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Procrastination in the Running

Ok, so remember how I said awhile back that I had signed up to do a half-marathon in San Francisco at the end of October? Perhaps you might also recall how I said I wouldn't wait til the last minute to train and get ready for it.

And if you know me well at all, perhaps you are already snickering because you know what I am about to say, which is: of COURSE I waited til the last minute! I have done absolutely no training whatsoever, unless you can call eating whatever I want and not exercising at all "training." I'm figuring you probably can't without lying, and I don't like to lie. It's unhealthy--kind of like my eating habits.

But I confess to feeling a little nervous about this whole event as the day (Oct 23!!) gets closer, so last night I went for a 2-mileish jog, and actually succeeded in jogging the whole time, instead of walking for 10 minutes, jogging for two, walking for 20, jogging for one, etc. I was pleased to note that I might be in better shape than I thought. But then again, two miles is a far cry from the length of a half-marathon, which is 13 miles. Yikes!

It's strange to think that in my early twenties, I was an avid exerciser. I was in the gym five days a week, 1-2 hours a day, lifting weights, stairclimbing, treadmilling, the works. It was such a short-lived era, and not one which I am particularly nostalgic for--though maybe I am just a little nostalgic for the body that went along with that era.

But apparently not nostalgic enough to say no to In-N-Out burgers, Dr. Pepper, chocolate, red wine, and all the other bad-idea-if-you're-training-for-a-half-marathon-or-if-you-just-want-to-live-til-you're-sixty type of foods.

Let's face it: this half-marathon was a terrible, terrible idea. I don't honestly know how I am going to survive. I don't know if I'm going to survive. I am feeling a little depressed now at the thought of my possibly imminent demise.

Well, but on the bright side, if nothing else, this whole experience should make for a very entertaining post when it's all over, assuming that I do in fact live through it and don't die. (See how willing I am to sacrifice myself for the amusement of my dear readers!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Holy Exclamation Points, Rex Morgan!

I've noticed that I've been using a lot of exclamation points in my titles lately. So of course I am reminded of dramatic comic strips such as "Rex Morgan, M.D.", "Mary Worth" and "Apt 3G", which make extensive--one might be tempted to say, gratuitous, if one were being uncharitable--use of the exclamation point.

Rex Morgan and his cronies must lead very exciting, deeply meaningful lives, because every single sentence that isn't a question ends in a decisive "!". (Hmm, come to think of it, I believe many questions actually feature the emotive symbol, right after the question mark.)

Every event in life is vitally important in a dramatic comic strip--even lunchtime. I remember one "Rex Morgan" episode that I actually cut out of the newspaper because it made me laugh out loud, even though I know it was supposed to be very serious and dramatic (which, I'm sorry, only adds to the hilarity). There were these two women, and one of them was exclaiming (of course) over the fact that she hated somebody who was mean to her. The other woman comforts her in exclamatory tones, saying that the mean woman "is always like that!" Then she urges her friend to join them for lunch because "we're having pot pies!"

Pot pies! Why, they make everything better!! I'd say that's worthy of two, maybe even three "!!!"! Wow!!!!!!!

Of course, "Rex Morgan" is hardly the only comic strip that is guilty of wildly unjustified excessive emotion. I mentioned a few others before, but the one that really comes to mind is "Batman," which features the jittery, excitable Robin and all of his quintessentially explosive "Holy this-or-that" commentary, such as, "Holy hummingbird feeders, Batman!" or perhaps "Holy bad people, Batman!" (oh wait, that last one didn't make much sense...well, most of his exclamations didn't).

Good old Robin!

Well, in the course of writing this, a co-worker stopped by my office who has just returned from doing a marathon in Chicago (which he ran in just a little over three hours! If that isn't exclamation-point-worthy, I don't know what is!). I told him about how I am supposed to do a half-marathon in San Francisco in less than two weeks, and how I haven't done any training for it, and he looked at me like he wanted to exclaim a few things of his own, like maybe "Are you crazy! You idiot! How could you not be training for it! You'll never make it!"

Oh wait, I think that is actually my conscience exclaiming those things at me! Well, it's right! I am crazy! And I also love exclamation points!!

Can't you tell?!?!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Come On, Dance!

I am not a very good dancer. But there are some songs that, when I hear them, I simply cannot stay still. One of them is apparently "Walk of Life" by Dire Straits; when it came on my iTunes at work, I was air-drumming, seat-dancing, the whole nine yards. It's a good thing no one walked by and saw me, because they probably would have thought I was in the throes of some sort of seizure. (Did I mention I am not a good dancer? Exactly.)

Well, come to think of it, they might have walked by and I wouldn't have noticed, because the music was turned up in my headphones. Hmmm. Best not to think about that.

Ha! That reminds me of a funny story, and since I have nothing else to do at the moment, even though I am at work (God, I love this job), I will tell it to you.

It was the year 2000 and I had just started my job at a magazine publisher's in the Bay Area. (Oh, I am already laughing, and I haven't even started the story yet! Ahem...ok.) So I was working with mostly older ladies, two of whom worked at desks very close to mine. They were very nice, gentle, pleasant people who did not seem like they would really enjoy music by, oh, Creed for example.

Well, I brought in some CDs one day, and popped in (you guessed it) Creed's first album. Since I didn't want to bother the ladies with my music, I put in headphones, and then I cranked it up.

About half an hour later, I got up to do something, took off the headphones...and realized I could still hear the music. I had put the headphones in the wrong jack!!! Everyone had been listening to the music all along! All these poor women subjected to Creed. Oh, the shame...

And as if that wasn't bad enough, because they saw I was wearing headphones they all thought I must have some sort of hearing problem, that I would turn up my music so loud in my headphones that they could hear it on the other side of the room!

Yes, it was one of my embarrassing moments...but by no means the first, the last, or even the worst. (So many of them to tell about, so little time.)

Back to our regularly scheduled topic, I'd just like to say that another good get-up-and-dance-around song is "Crash" by the Primitives.

"Superman" by Five For Fighting, on the other hand, is really not a dancing song at all.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Shoes!

Will someone PLEASE tell me where I can get an adult-sized pair of those shoes kids are wearing, where they can skate around on them, but they look like regular shoes!! I want some!

I mean, really, how fun would that be...you're walking along, and then you think, "Hey I'm going a little slow here," and you shift your foot back...and now you are skating along! Awesome!

Kids have all the cool stuff, I tell you.

Awake...Gah!

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

--Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Friday!

Well, my first week at my new job is over, and I can tell you I have learned quite a few things already.

For example:

1) Driving a car with manual transmission in Los Angeles traffic should be outlawed. Honestly, I probably ought to be fined for exacting cruel and unusual punishment on myself.

2) A vending machine where everything is .25 is pretty cool. Too cool. I am eating way more junk than I have in a long time. Today I bought Hostess Cupcakes from the machine, which seems strange. Is that something you normally see in a vending machine? I never really patronized vending machines much (except for sodas), so I don't know.

(What I do know is that the cupcakes didn't taste nearly as good as I remembered from when I was a kid. Sigh...)

3) Being a proofreader suits me a little too well; I like finding other people's mistakes and correcting them brightly in red pen. This seems unfortunate, pointing to either a deep-seated nerdiness or a strongly rooted sense of egotistical superiority. Maybe both. Yikes.

(Add them to the list of reasons why the frogg is still single...what are we up to now? #385?)

4) People in LA have elevated bad driving to an art form. They make me crazy. Worse, they make me look crazy, because I start talking at them, and since I am alone in my car, I look like I'm talking to myself, and not very nicely at that.

(Yesterday a man had the nerve to ask--in an incredibly whiny voice, I might add--what I was doing, not letting him make a left turn across a double-yellow line and three lanes of stopped traffic so he could get into his driveway! Gah!

5) The Hollywood sign was built in 1923, as part of a publicity stunt by a guy named Mark Sennet, who was seeking to draw people to the Hollywoodland subdivision in Beachwood Canyon.

I learned this because I was having a slow day yesterday and because I have an office that has a balcony. What this means is that I went out on the balcony to kill some time and watch the hustle and bustle of Wilshire Blvd, when I happened to look to the left and saw the Hollywood sign on the nearby mountains. So then I started wondering, who on earth came up with that idea in the first place? I mean the idea for the sign. Thank God for the Internet...my voracious curiosity was assuaged! (I also learned that Marilyn Munroe is one of several celebrities who haunts the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Bet you didn't know that!)

Oh, I guess I also learned some things about my job, but mostly it was all this other stuff.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

PS You will thank me for the Hollywood trivia someday, even if you are laughing at me about it now. Trust me--when a band of roving, blood-thirsty pirates captures you and demands to know when the Hollywood sign was built or else you will have to walk the plank, you will be very relieved that you read this blog.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Smile :)

"I try to be good! I do! My heart is as pure as the driven snow! It's just that, well, sometimes events beyond my control conspire against me!"

--Calvin, Calvin & Hobbes

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Remembering

On October 3, 2004, a girl with a broken heart boarded a plane in London, en route to Los Angeles after three weeks in the Middle East and nearly two years of unsettled traveling. She was on her way home, but "home" was a word that had long since ceased to mean anything except a deep, unfillable ache inside her chest, where she thought her heart must be, what was left of it. She tried not to cry, but when she saw news footage of Mt St Helens shaking and trembling and giving in to too much pressure after years of sleeping, she did.

But only a little, so no one would see.

The next day, the homeless girl with the broken heart started writing again, and this--the frogg files--is what she wrote.

Happy birthday, frogg files.

Monday, October 03, 2005

5 Reasons Why I Love LA

5) Impatient people who honk at you to turn left at intersections, even though someone is in front of you, and you are waiting for them to turn, because after all, you aren't driving a monster truck that would allow you to roll right over them and skoosh them so that the person behind you could then get to their destination those two milliseconds faster.

Ok, I'm a fast driver as a rule, but when someone pulls this little stunt on me, I suddenly turn into Gracie the Infant Snail, slowing to as much of a craaaawl as I can without coming to an absolute stop. Then I watch the person behind me proceed to do the Aggressive Car Seat Dance, featuring all sorts of hilarious, blood-pressure-raising gestures. It's a fun game! Try it sometime!

4) Wildfire season.

Because the air quality isn't bad enough.

3) The lack of a decent public transportation system.

I have friends from New Zealand who come to Los Angeles and take buses everywhere, and this completely mystifies me. I'm always like, "We have buses??"

Haha. I'm kidding, of course. Naturally I know we have buses, because I get stuck behind them when I want to make right turns anywhere. But I hardly ever see anyone on these buses. And if you asked me to plot out how to get anywhere on a bus, I would stare blankly, and then laugh at you. I don't think I would even know where to start to find out how to go anywhere on a bus.

The same applies to the ridiculous excuse for a "Metro" that we have here, only raised to the 22nd power times 10.

2) Um, I can't think of anything for this one, so we'll just move right along to the number one reason why I love LA...(drum roll please):

1) TRAFFIC!

One of the interesting things about driving in LA is that no one here measures distance in miles, but in time. This is because distance means absolutely nothing in a place where it can routinely take you more than an hour to go 15 miles. There is a formula that Angelenos can use to figure out how long it takes to get anywhere, and it goes like this:

Where x=distance, and y=time and c=destination, then--oh wait, maybe that should be "d" since destination starts with d! Gah. This is lame. Forget it.

The point is, a couple weeks ago my brother left our house two hours in advance of an appointment he had in LA, and he got there 45 minutes late. The location of the appointment was probably not more than 30 miles away. And no, I am not exaggerating.

Oh, and let me tell you how much more fun traffic is when you drive a car with manual transmission! The joy I feel in shifting and downshifting while navigating stop-and-go traffic at 0-5 miles an hour is really inexpressible, so you will have to imagine the verbal expressions that might be employed to express all that...rapture.

Here is a picture of the sort of gridlock that just makes my day, taken while I was attempting to get a friend to the airport in a timely (ha!) fashion:



Gotta love LA!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

News

I start a new job tomorrow. It's the first time I'll have a "typical" 9-5 (or more like 9-6ish) job since, oh, hmmm...2002? Wow. Hard to believe it's been that long!

Well, it's good news for me, but bad news for the frogg files, because I sincerely doubt I will be updating this blog as frequently as I have til now. However, I promise will do my best to check in at least once or twice a week! If I get too behind, drop me a line and tell me how much you miss me; that is always a good way to motivate me into writing.

In other news--the boys are all home this weekend! Yay! My youngest brother (who lives in Texas) surprised me when he showed up unexpectedly last night, when everyone except yours truly had gone to bed. I love surprises like that!

In yet more news--um, well, actually I don't have any other news. Sorry, false alarm.

Have a great Sunday, and a great week.