Thank you very much for your enthusiasm over my goal to run the New York marathon (not you Lisa, you just laughed, but that's ok). I can now run five miles in a row! FIVE MILES, dude! I am basically alternating running with fast-walking uphill every other day as my training, and at the end of each week I add another mile to what I did the week before. I got a marathon training book and am sort of following that. Also, I learned that if you run while wearing Sketchers shape ups, your ankle will hurt the next day. Who knew? Those shoes are just for groove-walking, man-- nothing else!
Anyhow, someone asked the other day why I don't do a triathlon instead of a marathon, and I started ranting about how much I dislike swimming and how bad I am at it, and then it occurred to me that I should stop talking and start writing, so here are my notes from that:
The marathon-- it's something I'm doing just to see if I can do it. If I wimp out halfway through, I can always take a break and walk for a mile or two. Not so with the swimming portion of the triathlon program.
I'm positive that, during the "swim" portion of the triathlon, there is the possibility of getting kicked in the head and sinking to the bottom of the ocean, and it is the possibility of becoming one of these grim statistics that would keep me from ever entering a race like that. I know, it sounds weird and kind of paranoid, but I totally can't get behind a sport that could end up in my actual demise. Sorry. Did I mention that I generally just don't like swimming? Don't like it. Know how to do it, could probably swim to safety if required to in some kind of freak flood situation, but I'm definitely not one of those "I love swimming" people. To me swimming is just hard, and while I respect the fact that other people get in the water and feel like all their troubles are melting away, I am not that person, and I do not feel like any amount of practice could make me into that person.
I was talking to my mother in law about the marathon training, and she mentioned that when she sees triathlons televised, all she can think of is "oh my god, the chafing," and then we also started extrapolating on the foot fungus, and the clothing changes, and they probably all need antibiotics when they're done with the race, and oh God, what about the jock itch that you would get if you ran and biked with your wet, post-swimming skin even if you changed your clothes, and what about the sand that you would get in your nether regions if you swam in the ocean, then ran on sand, then rode on a bike--ouchy ouch ouch!
Speaking of ouch, I have noticed that this marathon training is less about building up running stamina and more about finding creative ways to strap down my boobs. That picture up there? That is not a picture of me, but rather, a stock photo of a person for whom running is MUCH easier, boob-wise, than it is for me. Does anyone have any advice for me about this? I feel like I need to go all "Boys Don't Cry" and use an ace bandage when I run, and I actually might try that. Right now I'm up to a regular bra AND a sports bra, and I still had to keep slowing down to make adjustments, if you know what I mean. I don't think "running while physically holding your boobs down" is going to work for 26 miles, right?
If you're wondering, yes, this is the first time I have ever discussed boobs here on Funny Strange, and that is because I want you to like me for my mind, ok? Look up here at my face please. No, they are not fake, and yes, i try to hide and downplay them when possible, though i did go to a party dressed as Pamela Anderson once, but that was just because i was in grad school and was trying to make a statement about gender politics. Ordinarily the combination of the large-ish breasts and the blonde hair makes people assume that I'm stupid, and I like talking about technical stuff, so I suppose I'm in some sort of computer geek drag all the time, with my big shirts and glasses. I'll have to journal about that one and let you know what I come up with (note: I just used the word "journal" as a verb-- what did you think of it? Stephan and I say it sometime to skeeve each other out. "Why don't you go journal about that?")
Seriously-- any runners out there want to make a recommendation? The more miles I work up to, the more this is presenting itself as an actual issue. More about marathon training and my search for an adequately supportive jog bra in future posts.
Let me try to recap—it’s Thanksgiving, so I’m giving thanks, most especially for you guys! As a writer, it’s a big deal that ANYONE shows up to hear me rant about my absurd points of view, so I super, super appreciate you all taking the time to read the blog, buy my books, admire my “weird stuff” photo collection, hire me to do your projects, and the like. I feel special. Thanks!
Also, of course—I am thankful for my amazing husband, and my health, and my friends and family, and my dog, and my business, and the internet, without which we would not be here today. I have lots of nice people in my life, and I really try hard to be a good friend and to do something nice for someone every single day. For real!
And now, on to the Funny Strange portion of the program.
Lately I have been noticing a few things that appear to be going on, and I don't get them, and I would like someone to explain if possible. So, here goes.
What is going on with the following:
--Black Friday. Listen, I love saving money as much as anyone, probably more, but Target at 4am? Why is this a thing? Why do people do this? Can the savings really be good enough to give up sleep, which as far as I'm concerned is worth actual money? Sleep is a magical elixir from Jesus, people. I am not trading magical Jesus elixir for 4 am at Walmart, ok?
-- The "Real Housewives" shows. I mentioned that I have been watching the Beverly Hills one and that Camille Grammar is a horrible person, but I don't get why this concept is so popular. Rich ladies arguing about nothing? Why is this a thing? Seriously, if you like one of these shows, please tell me why.
--Apparently Oprah's design guy Nate Berkus has a show where he redoes a room in your house while you're sleeping. My question here is-- how are these people not waking up during the load-in of the new room? How are these things logistically arranged, and how are these contractors being so quiet? Have you ever had anything remodeled? Those guys are on the cell phone, they're hammering walls that don't even need to be hammered, they're Shop-Vac'ing at 7 am. I guess this also goes back to sleep, because if you can sleep through something like that, I would really like some of whatever sleep medication you are taking. Good Lord!
Also, what if you wake up and you totally don't like the room, and you're like "Get out of here!". I'm just saying that would be funny, right? For real, though, their stories are all touching and they're all super grateful, but I think the concept of doing it whole thing while they're sleeping is kind of contrived and silly.
Finally, I have finally put my finger on what is really wrong with those drug commercials where they list off all the conditions you should tell your doctor about before you start taking them. Here's an example: you go to the doctor to get a Spiriva Handihaler for your asthma, and the commercial says to let your doctor know if you have trouble urinating.
How can I say this without being crass?
You need your kidneys to live, so maybe get that urine problem under control BEFORE you work on that asthma, okey dokey? I'm sure the Spiriva Handihaler is awesome, but if you don't address that urination problem, you might be so busy with dialysis you don't even have time to pick up your Spiriva prescription. Just a thought. Priorities!!!
Is now a good time to point out that starting out with gratitude for things and people in my life and ending up with urine is the very epitome of this blog? Didn’t know if you caught that. Anyhoo, Happy Thanksgiving, and if you’re planning on doing the Black Friday thing, please be sure to take pictures for me, because I think we all know where I’ll be.
This is one of those posts that I'm writing simply for the accountability, and also because this will probably be entertaining to watch over the course of a year. Also, it's going to make Lisa and Julie (my friends from high school) laugh.
My friends, I have signed up for the 2011 New York Marathon.
Actually, I guess technically I signed up for the lottery for the New York marathon, but if I don't get in I'm going to run an alternate one during the year so there you go.
Here's why this is amusing. I'm not a runner, I'm not good at any sports, and I only started exercising regularly about 5 or 6 years ago, and that exercise (up to last week) was in the form of really long walks with the dog.
I was not a track and field person, and in fact, it has been said that I run like a Muppet. I am a thin person, but I do not believe I have ever been called "athletic.". Right now, people I went to high school and did P. E. with (like Lisa and Julie) are nodding their heads like "Yep, that is so true." I think maybe the lack of athletic prowess has something to do with my spindly, flailing limbs, but I could be wrong.
So, what's the deal? I don't know what came over me, except for the fact that when I get an idea in my head of something that sounds like it would be cool to do (like write a novel, for example) I try to just go ahead and do that thing, and I like to do these things despite (and perhaps because of) never having done that thing before. Pesky details be damned! I am running that marathon, people!
Where to begin? I got some new shoes and some sports bras (Holy shit! Running hurts your boobs), and I have been keeping notes. I will recap for you now:
Day One of training- I run one mile, very slowly. This feels fine-- perhaps I already have an advantage from all that speed-walking, but I can definitely run more than when I was in the tenth grade. I have to remind myself not to overdo it, because if you know anything about me, you know that once I get an idea in my head, I cannot let it go. This will actually be a good exercise for me in terms of pacing myself. One mile goes well, so I speed walk three more.
First week: I work out every day anyway, but since now I'm trying to learn how to run, I try to do a little of that every day now. Stephan (dudes, he runs a six minute mile, I am not joking, his workout is "I ran ten miles") tells me not to run every single day, and for once I take his advice. Wow-- maybe this whole marathon thing will transform my whole outlook on life, and make me listen to my husband more. Ha!
Day Seven (yesterday): I ran four miles, people! Yes, it was slow, but I have literally never run that far in my life, so I am pretty damn proud of myself.
Like I said, this post is mostly for me, so I will have accountability and so you, Funny Strange readers, will ask me for marathon training updates, and so you will stay tuned to see if, in fact, a Muppet can run a marathon.
Go ahead, I know you want to make funny comments.
I was honestly trying to ignore the sensation that was Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair," because frankly, she's twelve years old and I just don't think my hard-working, late thirties, multiple book and blog writing ego could stand a twelve year old child of millionaire superstars having her own hit single after I had to swallow Gwyneth Paltrow being so frigging awesome on Glee without having some kind of envy heart attack. Just....why? How much are mere mortals supposed to take?
Then I saw these videos. Thanks YouTube!
I think this first one is funny because that bird is getting totally funky. This was actually the only way I was able to get all the way through the song. Man, that bird is going to hurt himself, whipping his head back and forth. I wonder, though-- how many times did this poor parrot have to hear this song to make up this whole dance routine? Does he feel jealous and spiteful toward the Smith family now too?
Never mind that. There is more "Whip My Hair" funny to be had.
I could not stop watching this one the other day. Is it because Jimmy Fallon does such a good Neil Young impression, or because Bruce Springsteen is SO TOTAL COMMITMENT? If that was the first time you watched it, please go back and watch it again, and make sure you pay attention to Bruce at the end. He is so serious, even angry about it, I don't know why, it makes me burst out laughing every time I see him go "WHIP MAH HAAAAAIIIRR." I feel like Bruce is speaking for me in this case, about how stupid that song is and how no twelve year old should be that successful, and somehow, this makes me feel better.
Listen, I am the first one in line to make fun of Charlie Sheen for being 45 years old and not being able to control himself, but I read an article the other day comparing Lindsay Lohan to Charlie Sheen, and wah wah wah why is the court system being so unfair to her, and why does she have to go to rehab whereas he can trash a hotel room with no ramifications, and I would like to tell you exactly why this is the case.
Friends, Charlie Sheen is allowed to misbehave with little to no consequences for one reason and one reason only: he is on a hit show and, despite his terrible habits, can still manage to get himself to work in the morning.
Charlie Sheen—he is a mess, but he still gets the job done, and therefore he is a valuable commodity which will be protected by lawyers and high-priced publicists. And while no, it’s not great for his image that he has domestic abuse issues and love love LOVES cocaine and ends up nude in hotel rooms when he goes on a family vacation, he has Big Network money behind him because Two and a Half Men is # 1, and for some reason (at least for now), he manages to get himself to work, whereas Lindsay Lohan a) can’t get work, b) doesn’t show up for work when she does get it, and c) is well known for doing a bad job and holding up production when she does show up, thereby rendering her uninsurable. Charlie Sheen can probably not pass a drug test, but he DOES HIS JOB, and really, in cynical entertainment industry terms, this is all that matters.
And that, my friends, is why Charlie Sheen is not in jail (in my opinion). Should he stop getting married? Yes he should. Even Denise Richards said so. Here's a thought-- maybe hotels could put together what we'll call the "Charlie Sheen special," whereupon you would prepare the hotel room BEFORE Charlie Sheen arrives, perhaps by lining the room in some sort of durable plastic or visquene (Dexter style), putting pillows around sharp corners, and installing a person with a defibrillator somewhere close by, just in case he has the inevitable "allergic reaction to medication," occurs which, I'm sorry, could also be known as a "normal reaction to COCAINE," but I don't know that for sure so it's all just conjecture. I'm just saying, snakes bite, scorpions sting, and Charlie Sheen likes to get his load on and break shit and lock naked porn stars in closets. Why doesn't the Plaza Hotel have a whole file on this by now so that they can go on DEFCON 5 when he gets there? Just putting it out there. I also think the "Charlie Sheen Special" should involve a huge security deposit and some HAZMAT suits when all's said and done.
I’m not saying he SHOULD be doing the things he’s doing. What I’m saying is, when it starts to affect his ability to earn money for TV networks, this is when you will see him go to jail. Let’s hope he wises up before that.
I promise you, if Lindsay Lohan gets herself out of her current rehab/ jail situation and gets on a hit show, she will be able to do this same thing. The most important question is, how valuable is this person to the overall moneymaking scheme of Hollywood?
Speaking of my valuable insights, I have many thoughts on Kelsey Grammer's loathsome ex-wife (and current Desperate Housewife) Camille, and I am transcribing those from my notebook right now. Worst. Human. EVER! Also-- so much celebrity news this week. Tony Parker cheating on Eva Longoria-- what the WHAT? I promise you he is going to regret that one, even if it was only hundreds and hundreds of text messages to someone else's wife. Hiyooooooo!
The other day I mentioned that KIA commercial that I can’t stop watching, and this reminded me of some other cool stuff that I wanted to tell you about. I guess I assume that if I’m listening to/ watching/ reading/ doing something all the time, you must already know about it, but then—maybe you don’t!
My "Weird Photos" Collection. In case you don't already know this, I have a (somewhat odd) habit of taking photos of weird things with my iPhone, then posting them on the internet. You can see these in the Flickr box to the right (underneath the ad), on Facebook, and over at www.loriculwell.com if that interests you at all (scroll down past the intro, then the photos start). It's to the point now where people are actually taking photos and sending them to me, which, trust me, is always the highlight of my day, because not only are the photos themselves funny, but it's also funny in my mind when I consider people in stores seeing things like the "Snuggie for Dogs" and going "Stop, hold on-- I have to photograph this for Lori Culwell."
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast: Stephan gets all the credit for discovering this one. I can’t believe this guy was around this whole time and I didn’t know about him. Now I am trying to catch up on more than 100 episodes. I’d say this would be your cup of tea if you like comedy or funny people, but actually Marc Maron gets these people to talk about themselves so much, it’s almost like listening to therapy sessions. If you are a creative/ neurotic type person at all, please go immediately and start listening. One note: you probably can skip the live shows, as they end up being mostly performative. Overall, though, this is definitely on my “every day” list now. Go visit his website now, won't you?
Psych: Maybe I never got in to this show because I know someone who is on it (therefore making it difficult for me to suspend disbelief), but for some reason I saw an episode on TV, then decided to go back and watch it from the beginning. I have to say, Dule Hill (who you will remember from the West Wing, I’m sure) and James Roday (who I’ve never seen in anything else, but what should that matter? Good for him) are like an old-school vaudeville team, and their comedic exchanges make me laugh out loud at least once per episode. Who knew? How long has this show been on? OK, I know what you’re going to say-- Corbin Bernson’s father character is a little too mean and the plots of the shows are thin at times, but overall it’s funny just to watch Gus & Sean’s shenanigans. It helps that Netflix is now streaming shows right from their website (or maybe by “helps,” what I really mean is that it makes it possible for me to watch tv and work at the same time, a lifelong dream). Fun! Here is the Psych channel on Hulu so you can watch some episodes.
Squidoo. This is a total internet nerd thing, but if you have a hobby of any kind, I really think you should sign up for Squidoo and make a few lenses, because this is an example of how you can have very little experience with Search Engine Optimization or internet marketing in general, and still make a few bucks off of your hobbies, plus you can always learn something new there. Squidoo is a site that was founded by Seth Godin, and it literally is like a game where you can use knowledge you already have and make money in the process. The gets rid of the obstacle of why I refuse to play games like Farmville (because it takes time and does not yield any financial gain). Now every time I think of a random subject that I have knowledge about or see something cool in a magazine, I actually have a place to put it. Very cool and efficient. You can sign up here, and if you want to see my lens collection, here it is.
I was listening to an episode of my current obsession, the WTF with Marc Maron podcast the other day where he’s in Ireland, and he’s talking to this Australian comedian (Tom Gleeson) who has Irish ancestry, and Tom Gleeson mentioned how he loved Ireland and felt at home there and loved the weather and didn’t have hay fever all the time, and I have to say: this is EXACTLY how I feel about cold weather, and living on the east coast, and “fall back,” and I know everyone I know from California disagrees with me because they are all talking about how lucky they are that it’s winter and it’s still 75 degrees, but I have to say:
I . LOVE. WINTER. I love it when it gets dark earlier—in fact, the earlier the better. I love night time, I love cold weather, I love rain, I love sweaters, THESE THINGS MAKE ME HAPPY. I am positive that I have the opposite of that “Seasonal Affective Disorder” problem, because to me there is absolutely nothing more depressing than a hot summer day that lasts until 9 pm. This was one of my primary complaints about Southern California—like, it’s Thanksgiving, why is it 75 and sunny? That is just plain wrong. Go ahead and disagree with me all you want, but it’s unnatural and I don’t like it. My blog! My choice! My opinion! I love the night time! Go ahead, call me crazy.
Anyhow, it snowed in New York the other day, and while I understand that longtime East Coast residents are like “you’re going to be over this soon,” I loved it, and I was excited, and I have been in a happy mood about the weather ever since then. Go ahead, give me a hard time about the fact that I am the one person in the world who does not love the weather in California. I don't really care.
I know, I neglected the blog! I do have a good excuse though-- I had some posts written in my phone, which suddenly started trying to kill me last week. Once an integral part of my work system breaks down like that, it makes the other things suffer. Gah!
Perhaps you saw a reference on Facebook or Twitter-- last week I entered into yet another of the bureaucratic circles of Hell when my iPhone started sending a series of low-level shocks into my ears and (i'm pretty sure) straight into my brain. Wouldn't you think this would be something the Apple Store would find interesting? You'd think that they'd find the actual shocking of their customers to be a top priority. Also, once it started doing this I was kind of afraid to touch the phone.
First, though, I had to post about it on Facebook, which lead several people to say things like "this would only happen to you.". I have to agree, it does seem like a lot of weird things happen around me, or it could also be that a lot of weird or unusual things happen to people every day, but because I write about them, it seems like they happen to me more.
Anyhow, so my iPhone is shocking me, I can't talk on it, I need to do something asap, but as you know you first have to make an appointment with the Genius Bar gatekeepers, and they have to agree with you that something is wrong in order to greenlight the apple care, blah blah blah. The only way I can get a same day appointment is to drive to a mall in Connecticut, so I do that. More about malls and how I am scared of food courts later.
So, I get to the genius bar and it turns out that, in fact, being shocked by your phone is NOT a unique experience, to the point where AppleCare has a whole category called "Shock/ Short" to make the processing that much easier.
This is (to me, at least) the really weird part. They didn't actually have a replacement phone in stock, which meant they had to order it, which meant that I left there with a phone that could still shock me. I guess I thought they were going to offer me a replacement, or maybe that they were going to confiscate the phone, but all I got was a semi-emphatic "please try not to use this phone until the new one comes in, and especially just don't use the headphones," like this was something I was going to continue though they were shocking me in the head. Who does that? I didn't even want to leave the store with the phone, ok?
After they ordered my new phone and issued the warning about the old one, I was starving, which of course poses a real problem for me since mall food courts send me into a tailspin of food-related anxiety, as I walk around them and get more and more upset and end up having frozen yogurt for dinner because everything else looks like it's been sitting out, or the people who work there look dirty, or really the whole food court is florescent, which creeps me out when it comes to eating because it makes all the food look so bright and weird. To make things a little more surreal, I can't even distract myself by taking on the phone, since there is the real possibility that it could shock me in the head. So really, danger all around, which I guess is appropriate since that is what it's like to be inside the mind of an anxious person-- you really just need your mind to turn in a certain direction, and then regular things like a food court will start to scare you, and then you have to just stop doing whatever you're doing, or get out of there, or eat frozen yogurt for dinner.
Finally got the new phone, spent several days trying to set it up and get it back to it's former state (during which time I of course realized just how much I use that phone to free me from having to be chained to the computer all day). I also realized I don't know anyone's number anymore-- can that be good? I will try not to obsess about this.
Also, try as I might, I cannot stop watching this KIA commercial. I liked this song in the 90's, and now I like it even more. Dancing hamsters! Well done, Agency of Record for KIA!