Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quick Thoughts.

1. Spotted while entering the Muni Underground Transit Station: Homeless person panhandling for spare change. Not a very novel sight here in San Francisco where there are homeless every few feet you walk. However the homeless person was sporting Apple's signature white iPod earphones.

Perhaps she only had a first or second generation iPod? I'm guessing that would make her poor by San Francisco standards indeed.

2. My friend Annie asked me why I was going to the gym so much. Other than the obvious, losing weight, getting fit, becoming more healthy etc. etc. I told her I was in training.

"Training for what?" she queried.

"For Gay Pride." I stated

Puzzled, she replied back "You say that as if it's a race or competition..."

How little does she understand gay culture.

3. As entertaining as it is to watch the man on the treadmill in the short shorts running full speed ahead while lipsyncing and dancing with his arm out at my gym, infinitely more entertaining is it when the man is a middle-aged graying-haired slightly gone to seed Latino man with bad 90's wired-rimmed glasses.

Wearing business casual wear.

In the L Taravel Muni Train.

Slightly past rush hour, the man was standing there, shaking his junk to his iPod.

And yes, he did wave his hands in the air - like he just didn't care.

I tried to take a picture with my phone camera, but alas, it was out of juice. You'll just have to imagine it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I'll have a Gym Martini - Shaken not Stirred.

Today's gym-tastic experience included me running, not one, but TWO 10 minute miles (with a short 3 minute break in between).

This is a milestone in many ways, mostly because I've never done it before, and mostly because I have actually NEVER been able to run a mile. "Running the mile" in gym class in grade school, junior high, and high school was always the bane of my existence. Each year, once a year, we were taken out to the track and told to run around it four times, and we would be timed. And each year, I would have to stop halfway around the first lap and walk the rest of the way.

I was always the last person across the finish line, along with the class fat girl, Patty (I'd like to say her nickname was Patty the Fatty but Patty wasn't her real name). Patty, by the way, also always ended my square dancing partner whenever we got to that section of the gym class. Patty and I could "allemande left" like no one else.

Looking back, I think Patty had the makings of a fag hag. But that goes without saying doesn't it?

Regardless, the personal triumph of actually being able to run a mile (granted the mile was on a treadmill and not outside, but still, I'll take what I can get) non-stop was doubled today by my two mile run. And that felt very empowering.

I also realized, while running said two miles, that Waterworld was playing on Bravo, and that the little girl in the movie was the same actress that plays Mac (the ersatz Willow) on Veronica Mars - Tina Majorino. I was ever so pleased to see that at least ONE person from that film was able to have a substainable career - even if it on an excellent but rarely watched show.

The gym, of course, was filled with the usual miscreants. The man with the onesy- wrestling suit was there, just starting his work out as I left. The cute but boring guy who AJ and I both agree on as being cute (but boring) was there as well. He once tried to invite us to join gay paintball. We declined. You'd think someone who does gay paintball and who looks cute wouldn't be boring. You'd be wrong. There were no aging porn stars today at the gym, but I did see the creepy white guy that lingers in the shower for long periods of time enter the locker room as I was leaving as well.Which is a good thing. He really creeps me out.

As I finished my workout though, I walked into the locker room to shower and change and as I entered I saw liquid on the ground, and heard someone mopping it up. As I rounded the corner, nearly bumping into the cleaning crew member, I heard the unmistakable sound of broken glass under my shoe.

So my question is this. What sort of IDIOT brings a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka to the gym and then drops it on the ground? And I'm not talking a little mini bottle like you would find on an airplane, or even a beer bottle size bottle - like it was Smirnoff Ice. I'm talking a CostCo size, 1.75 liter bottle of vodka. Shattered on the ground - in a locker room full of people walking around in various states of undress.

Who does this? The bottle obviously was not being carried in a paper/platsic bag (there was no bag on the ground) because then I might have understood, someone went to the store and picked up some Friday night supplies, and decided to go to the gym first. But no, there was no bag. In fact from the looks of the liquid on the ground, the bottle probably wasn't even complete full (1.75 liters is a lot of liquid). So apparently someone brought a half drunk CostCo size bottle of vodka to the gym and then proceeded to get hammered after their work out and then dropped it on the locker room floor where it shattered into a million pieces, so that everyone that is showering or changing can shred the feet.

Idiots. People are idiots.

At least the vodka was cheap Smirnoff. Had it been a better vodka it would have been even more of a waste.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Go me!

I'm riding the 38L Geary Limited to work. My therapist has moved from a rather convenient office in Hayes Valley (where I could walk to, and then later walk to work from, as I have my sessions in the morning before work) to a more inconvenient location that doesn't even have a proper neighborhood name (Divisadero and California - is it Upper Western Addition? Inner Inner Sunset? Lower Pacific Heights?). Taking the 38 Geary during rush hour puts me pretty much on at my office's doorsteps, but standing on a crowded jittering bus full of people heading to a full day of work in the financial district is not something you want to do after you've just processed your angst and fears a mere 10 minutes ago.

Nevertheless I managed to find a seat near the exit, next to a middle aged man, with white hair, and sunglasses. The man is wearing a royal blue jacket and I noticed that the sunglasses he is wearing has a matching blue sports strap on the back of the glasses - to keep his glasses from falling off his head.


I take out my Spanish pile of papers to study. I've been taking an intro to Spanish class with friends and for whatever reason, ever other person in the class seems to be picking up the foreign language faster than me.* Unfortunately the language continues to be baffling - resisting all attempts at comprehension and has remained - alas - foreign to my brain.

Perhaps it does not help that I have never really properly studied an actual usable foreign language before - other than elementary Chinese (which would have been useful, had I actually learned anything) and my high school Latin (which in theory should help me with Spanish, but hasn't).

Perhaps it does not help that I go to the once-a-week class, and then actually don't study all week, until the next week, the day of the class, where I thereby try to cram all the information into my head in the short time that it gets a crowded bus full of cranky people from point A (Outer Japantown?) to point B (Downtown - Financial District).

Perhaps it does not help that I can not roll my "r's" and my ñ's sound exactly like n's.

As I take out my pile of papers (another impediment to my learning - I take horrible notes) to review them and I notice that the man next to me also has a folder. It's blue - like his jacket and his sunglass strap. He must like blue.

Then I notice as he opens up his folder that it's full of numbers - specifically fractions written out on blue-lined notebook paper in pencil.

That's when I thought to myself, "Go him!"

Here's an older man - someone who probably had a hard life, and he's back in school learning elementary math.

Perhaps he's worked menial tasks all his life, or has had a blue collar job out in the Richmond neighborhood, and he's decided to give himself the gift of education. After all it's never too late to educate yourself. Perhaps he dropped out of school because his father passed away early and he had to become the basic breadwinner for his family at a young age. Or perhaps he, being of a different generation, had a learning disability (like dyslexia) that prevented him from furthering his education, and it was never properly diagnosed until recently.

But now he's taking classes at City College - Continuing Education, just like myself. In fact, here we are, to people from different walks of life, sitting on a bus next to each other. Both of us trying to learn something new. Him - fractions, ratios and cross multiplications, and me - Spanish, a language that is actually useful and practical (especially in California). Ah, the beauty of public transit. Though I rarely interact with the people on the bus/train, I do appreciate that it's a cross section of San Francisco society.

And I felt like I understood him. Here I am struggling with my Spanish, trying hard to understand the difference between "ser" and "estar" the two "to be" verbs in Spanish, while he is struggling with addition and subtraction of fractions.

I felt empowered. For him. For myself. Go us!

And then I looked closer at this man's paper. I looked at those numbers, those fractions. And I realize they were actually part of a diagram of a room. And the numbers and fractions were actually measurements of a door. The man was building something, and this was just a construction project for him. The numbers had nothing to do with a math class. He was just building a door, or a room, or desk or something that require exact measurements.

And then he got off the bus.

I'm taking Spanish just for the hell of it. And I'm going to learn it. Go me.

*At one point I was not the worst student in the class. That title belong to a specific woman who sat in the front of class, someone that all the other students mocked because it was obvious that she really didn't get anything the teacher was trying to explain. The reality though, was that I liked having her in the class, as it kept me from being the dumb one. Alas she dropped out two classes ago. We haven't seen her since, and that meant I inherited the title of dumb one. *sigh*

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Back to the Gym.

I'm back at the gym.

I took a short break from working out. A four month break. But I'm back now, and that all that matters.

Any day now I expect my "muscle memory" to kick in. I am hoping that this myth of "muscle memory" is an actual fact and not an urban legend that people seem to badger about in the weightlifting community.

Like I know anyone in the weighlifting community.

But I have to say that after day three (first day was a week ago, where I did cardio only, second day was Monday where I actually lifted weights, and then today where I did more weights and more cardio) I feel good. A bit sore but good.

But let me tell you something about going to the gym that I forgot about. The gym is a constant source of amusement for me. I had completely forgotten about the man who wears wrestling suit as he works out - though thankfully the man with the Kenny G hair who wears the lycra pants and the tank top three sizes too small wasn't there (the pants are SOOOO tight - the entire gym knows whether he is circumcised).

My favorite singing dancing man wasn't at the gym today either. The man who invariably is able to get on the treadmill on the right hand side, so that he's first person you see when you exit the locker room. Somehow the man is able to score this prime position each and every time I see him at the gym, even though there is always a HUGE line for the treadmill. And everytime he gets on, he's sprinting hard and fast, with his hands in the air raising the roof and singing along to his favorite disco hits. I keep on watching him, like a trainwreck waiting to happen, to see if he will trip up and fall, but he never does.

But there was the bevy of effeminate asians at the gym. The one that is my friend Annie's favorite wasn't there, but his friends seems to be. Because, strangely all the effeminate asians are friends with each other.

And no, I am not friends with them.

Annie's favorite is the uber-effeminate one. The one that head and hair flip above all other effeminate asians. He works out in his artfully customized tank top (let's create a v-neck, by taking scissors to it, and while we're at it, let's give the tank top some fringe as well by cutting vertical parallel strips at the bottom). I'm all for customizing your own clothing, and the whole DIY, readymade look, but some people take it to an extreme.

Annie's favorite part is when he uses the weight machines. He puts the bar on the very lightest setting (or perhaps takes the bar out competely) and then pulls, pushes, or moves the equipment in the gentlest of fashion. Some people actually grunt or yell when they work out. He sighs.

And though I am not one to mock the gym boys and girls and all those that fall in between (lord knows I've fallen off a treadmill or two, or actually dropped a weight on my chest once or twice - an incident that had me going to the doctor because I was fearful that I had cracked a rib) I do find the myriad of people at the gym fascinating as a cross section of San Francisco.

But let me ask you all (and I say you all, as if there are multiple people who are reading this blog) something. From all the things that I say (and I haven't even bothered to get into the numerous sexual acts I have witnessed there - though more often at other gyms, and not the one that I frequent). Why is it that today of all days, I had to see something that totally grossed me out?

Today I saw a man shower with his socks on.

Perhaps he was scared of the shower floor. Which is understandable (when I said that I more often than not see sex acts at other gyms, the operative word is "more often than not" as some things do occur). But the floor is cleaned with rather powerful cleaning fluid daily. I've seen it. Or perhaps he was worried he would get some horrible fungus, or worse, had some horrible fungus that he didn't want to pass on. Or perhaps he was just trying to be hygenic.

Regardless it freaked me out. The socks were gray and dingy tube socks, with a dull navy blue strip around them. And they were socking wet. Was he going to actually wear them home or did he have an extra pair that he could switch to. Were these socks the ones that he wore all day, or the ones that he worked out in? If they were the ones that he worked out in, that meant he showered in his already damp wet sweaty socks.

Or what if he always wore socks when he showered even at home? What if that was his "thing"? What if his feet never got washed, never got properly cleaned? What foul disgusting things would be hidden under that grubby cotton?

The gym never fails to entertain me. But sometimes I get a sitcom, sometimes an HBO dramedy, and every now and then I get a psychological thriller/horror show.

Thank goodness I always pack a set of flip flops for the shower.