Monday, October 28, 2013

The Double Glitch

I've mentioned the weird thing that happens to me and my friend Amy that we call our "6th sense." It's this weird glitch in the universe that causes things to occur in pairs around us. We'll read a word, then someone walking past us will randomly say it, or we'll say a word then the person on T.V. will say it too, etc. I'm going to name it The Double Glitch. And maybe you won't find it as strange as we do, but it happens ALL THE TIME and I think it's freaky. Like when I:

-read the word "Oceanic" in a magazine, then immediately heard someone on my television say that same word. The same thing occurred another time with the words "Dulce de leche"  -not normal words.

-was looking at my navy-colored pants in a meeting and absent-mindedly thought of the word “navy,” right when my client referred to The Navy, as in, the military branch.

-read an email where my friend made fun of his boss for using the word “sweetness,” then I immediately got a request on Facebook for some game called “"Sweetness Battle."

-was looking at a friend post photos from her trip to Romania, which included visiting the town where Dracula (or “Count Vladimir”) is supposed to be from, and then I walked down the street past a family of tourists and heard the little kid talking about Counts and his mother say “like Count Vladimir?”

-Got emails in my inbox on the same day from two unrelated people that both started with the word "Huzzah!"...

Come on, this stuff is weird, right? It’s as weird as my internal homing device, except it happens way more often.

Now, it's happening nearly daily on my Facebook newsfeed, where related things are posted - often directly on top of each other - from completely unrelated people, often in completely different geographical locations. Below are just some examples:

1. Snow and August:

2. A guy from my Iraq trip was tagged in his engagement photo and I randomly focused in on the fact that his fiancee's shoes were green, to match his shirt. That same day, another friend randomly changed her Cover Photo to her engagement photo, which was just her and her now-husband's feet. Yep - green shoes.

3. An ad for something called "The Clymb" appears directly above my friend randomly posting he'd rather be climbing than working that day (ok, maybe this one is Facebook's weird intelligent ad algorhythm, but considering they are not referring to the same thing, I'm not so sure.)

4. Completely unrelated friends, gettin' their golf on -

5.... completely unrelated friends in different states, getting their Mexican dinners on:

6. And then sometimes they are completely the opposite, but still funny.

Good Day/Terrible Day

7....again, always completely unrelated friends, sometimes in different parts of the world...

Love Eli Manning/Hate Eli Manning

Love Senator Ted Cruz/Hate Senator Ted Cruz

9. And then finally, things have started mixing between my virtual world and my brick and mortar world, like when I read my college friend's post about her team in Florida, then I look up and see the guy in the lunch line in front of me, wearing a lanyard of that team. We are in D.C...:

I don't know why this happens so often, but I wish I could channel this "power" for something more useful than confused laughter. Like, when I get my pay check, why can't I immediately get a second pay check? Or when I think of the words "hot Marine" why can't I immediately get asked out by a hot Marine? I'm going to be working on this....

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Army Ten Miler

Yesterday, I ran my 7th Army 10 Miler. I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn, the race included some randomness.

First off, my friend who was going to start the race with me, had to cancel the day before. So then I tried to meet up with another friend, Laura, who was also running. 

I headed out to meet her, trying to find parking in the mall parking lot I always park in for this race. I've never had a problem finding a spot before.

Today was going to be different.

After realizing the first couple levels were full, I drove all the way to the top level, only to realize (after driving around in a panic), that this, too, was totally full.

I spot employee parking for "Nordstrom Employees Only" and feel desperate. Yes, the sign said violators will be towed, but I'm late and need parking! 

I park there.

Then I pray. A lot. 

I get out, and stretch a tiny garbage bag around my upper torso - because it's freezing outside and that's a trick runners use to stay warm until the race starts. Except they normally use bigger bags, but I didn't have any. So I just look like an idiot. But I'm a warm idiot, so I don't care - and I  try to push out of my mind the thought that I may run 10 miles, and come back to no car, due to towing. I rush down the several floors to get out of the garage and on my way to the start line -what's this I see? The garage just opened another floor? Yes, that is definitely rows and rows of beautiful, empty, non-risky spots...


I begin to run back to the top floor to rescue my car from certain towing. I'm literally running, panicking, and still wearing the trash bag, which has my arms trapped. I look like those people who play soccer inside zorb balls:


Or like this:

But I finally make it back and re-park my car on the newly opened lower level. Crisis averted. But now I really feel late.

So I start to walk very quickly through the tunnel that leads into the Pentagon parking lot, wearing my tiny trash bag - which is also Febreeze-scented, to add to the ridiculousness that is me right now  - and I feel a tap on my shoulder.

It's my friend Ryan! And immediately, he explains "yeah, I saw this person rush past and I was thinking "that trash bag is too small..." and it was you!" 

Typical. There are 30,000 people walking into this thing, and I'm recognized while wearing a scented straight-jacket. 

We start walking together and head into the starting area. There, we separate, because he is in a faster corral, and I need to find Laura. 

In 30,000 people. 

I call her and our call goes something like this:

Me, staring into a sea of humanity: "Hey I'm here!"

Her: "I'm right behind the purple arch of balloons!...wait...the arch is now moving..."

Me, staring into a human sea while chasing an arch of moving purple balloons: "K....Um...Which side are you on? I'm now chasing the balloons."

Her:"Um...I'm kind in the middle..."

M: "Well I'm over by the table with water. I'm Jersey Shore fist-pumping so you can see me."

*pumps fist like an idiot*

Her: "Oh! I know where that table is. Keep pumping! keeping pumping!"

Now I feel like I'm being punked but I keep pumping my fist anyway.

We finally find each other...And then she leaves me two miles in. Sigh. (It's fine, I told her to. I'm slow, I know, save yourselves...)

But before we separated, we got to experience: The Pee Bridge
That's the area next to a bridge that has now become famous for being the spot where males realize they need to pee -- and since the whole world is a men's room, they fix that problem right here.

I trot along alone for a couple more miles and I start seeing the things that always inspire me in this race. Amputees running on prosthetics, people running with shirts in memory of old friends, and this:

Ooops, sorry, sweaty camera.
Here we are:

Yeah, that guy's doing this race in boots, carrying a giant heavy ruck sack. 

And he's ahead of me. *Sigh*

Somewhere around mile 4 - I see my old friend Jose! This is now the second time I've ran into a friend in this chaos:

(At least I was no longer wearing the trash bag.) I went on to also spot a guy from my church, and a former band mate as well. My internal homing device is still strong...

Jose and I kept each other going (OK, he had to physically drag me by my arm...multiple times...) until the end. He headed out and I linked back up with Laura:
Laura is like half my height. I TRIED to fit us both in a selfie....
Then, I get a text from Ryan, the first random run-in I had, that says some people are grabbing brunch. So Laura heads off to find her beau, and I head to brunch. 

And that's when I realize the race people are only letting people exit the Pentagon one way -- the long way -- and our trek back to our cars (and brunch) starts uphill.

This is a sick joke on people who just ran 10 miles

A guy behind me makes a comment about how cruel it is, and we start walking together. He's wearing an Army Ranger shirt and tells me he served in Mogadishu and that he's old.

He. Is. Hilarious.

We are trudging along with the masses like cattle, forever, and every few steps he announces something new:

"Everything south of my nipples hurts..."

"....In case anyone's wondering, there is no one that needs to pee more than I do right now!..."

"...I'm just gunna say I did a half marathon now, since we're walking this far..."

"...They should have another water stop out here..."

"...If the Pentagon was a square, we would've turned by now...stupid place...."

And when we came up behind some other military guys, he announced "I would start ragging on the other branches, but I'm too tired to defend myself....I'd just let them beat me up for half an hour while saying I'm sorry..."

I was sad to leave him.

But brunch was calling, so I had to go. I met Ryan's other friend Beth who was also at brunch-- and it turned out she works with the Other Goldfish Poodle. So that's now random encounter # 5, for those of you counting at home...

We had a great time together, and then Beth found out that her friend, who was also supposed to join us, was no longer coming because:

Her car got towed.

*Facepalm* Now I've come full circle to my nervousness from that morning. We end brunch, and I rush to make sure my car's ok, and then head home to shower and sit on my couch. And maybe look proudly at 
this a little more:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Insight Into a Typical Text Conversation With My Friends

(Recent conversation below, slightly altered/paraphrased to protect the innocent)

Me: So, I jogged 7 miles last night and have felt like I dislodged my ovaries ever since. Lol. Is that even a possibility?? 

Also, I want *Name of mutual friend* to cut bangs again. I feel very strongly that she's hotter that way but not sure how to tell her. I'd want to know.

Friend: Does she not have bangs now?
I can't remember

Me: She does not. She should.

Friend: Oh! I thought you meant she should not. I'm tired. Words are hard.
Don't tell her. Bangs are a trend. She will probably want them by spring.

Me: She's had them long for years and says she'll never go back. I really feel that I should tell her. Her hotness is at stake.

Friend: There's a chance I don't pay enough attention to my friends' appearances...Years you say ?!

....Well just think about how you'd feel if someone actually said that to you. Appearances are a sensitive subject.

Me: I'd want someone to tell me though. TELL ME HOW TO IMPROVE. Haha

Friend: Um, you're kinda more like a dude than a chick though....so consider that as well

...With feelings and all
...Not appearance
...You're all woman with boobs and stuff

Me: Omg that made me laugh which hurts my dislocated ovaries....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Because I'd Like To Do It Again

Hi Internet, 
I just returned from a long weekend and haven't had a chance to formulate full sentences yet for a new post, so I'm leaving you temporarily with an old post. 

Since this week holds my birthday, I thought it was a good time to reflect on old adventures I might want to do again (like Zorbing- see below) as well as plan new random things I should try during my next trip around the sun. (Suggestions welcome, although someone has already asked me to join a 2000 mile relay race, so that one is taken....) 

(Original post: June 13, 2011)

Because I hadn't done it before

I had a dream last night involving a group of friends I like to go on adventures with and it reminded me of real-life experiences with them. One planned a trip to Iceland with me at a moment's notice, I spent a week in Nicaragua with three of them, and all of them spent a weekend with me a few years ago in exotic...Pigeon Forge, TN.

That may not sound like much of an adventure, but we went there specifically to do this:

That is a Zorb. And there are places you can pay to get in one and roll down a hill. And since my favorite justification for most of my weird ideas is - "Because I haven't done it before. Obviously.", I proceeded to recruit friends for ZORBAPALOOZA 2008.

I'm actually from Tennessee and am very familiar with Pigeon Forge and all it's cheesy, southern, touristy glory. So just taking a group of my urban DC friends there was adventure enough. They giggled at the accents and said things in awe like "I never knew a place like this EXISTED!" But the main reason we went was to try Zorbing.

There are about 8 of us that go, and as our car (the Girl Car) rounds the bend, we look over to the right and see a hillside full of what look like Human-size Gerbil Balls. Then we look in front of us (at The Boy Car) and see four arms simulateously shoot out of windows in a collective "YES!" fist pump of excitement. We have arrived.

And apparently, all you need to create a Zorbing place is:
1. A hill
2. A few Zorb "Wranglers" - aka, kids to push you down the hill
3. Zorbs. Which cost about $10,000 a piece.

And you can go down "wet" or "dry". Dry, you get harnassed in and flip over and over with the Zorb. Wet, you get thrown in with some water, and up to two other friends, and slip around in the zorb all the way down the hill.

I did a dry run first. I kept my eyes open, thinking I'd see the whole hillside on my roll. But instead, it quickly became a never-ending series of - Grass!...Sky!...Grass!...Sky! As the Zorb BOUNCES, taking you along for the ride against your will. It feels violent and I start giggling uncontrollably. But to my friends, taking video, it just looks like a smooth roll with something inside that sounds like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh every 2 seconds. That video shall not be viewed here.

My giggling DID finally cease, however, when my Grass! Sky! series became Brown Wood! Sky! which I figured meant I was about to stop, since this is where the ride should end:

...But then I see Grass! again. So I immediately fear I've somehow JUMPED the ending, and am careening towards my friends instead. So my Tigger-like "hoo hoos!" give way to panic. But then I stop here instead and everything is fine afterall:

Everything is fine, that is, until our last Wet Run. Here's where having a friend who is 6'7, his sister who is probably 5'9, and myself in a giant ball with water is not such a great idea. We all have giraffe limbs and I'm surprised one of us didn't end up with a black eye.

But you know what we did end up with?

A popped Zorb.

Like, the $10,000 Zorb.

At a place where no one has popped a Zorb before. We are that good.

In fairness, it wasn't our fault. After we squeezed ourselves into the Zorb and are waiting like excited Poodles to start our decent, we feel the Zorb Wrangler give a shove....then we don't move. He shoves a couple more times, then backs up a few feet and takes a running lunge, shouldering us out of the cattle gate we need to push through to get started.

So I'm happily hoo hoo'ing again, dodging elbows, heads, knees, etc. and we get to the end where they typically take a photo of you in the Zorb before you exit (which looks creepily similar to how babies come into the world so there will be no video of THAT here either). And instead of a photo, the Wranglers anxiously motion for us to Get Out. And of course, I'm all "but what about our phot..." "Get Out!! No Photo"

Turns out, on that last shove through the gate, the Zorb had snagged and was steadily losing air all the way down. While I was dejected at the loss of a photo op, the Wranglers were fearing our suffocation.

Death-risk and all, I'd absolutly do it again. But before I do, there's several other weird things on my list (Volcano Surfing, Riding Elephants through Thailand, running Tough Mudder* where you get hit by electric shocks...) because: I haven't done those things before.

*Note: I've now completed Tough Mudder since this post so we'll see what new crazy idea I can replace that with....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oh, The People You Will Meet... (AKA the post written entirely around the fact that I've chatted with Heather Armstrong)

I was recently in an elevator with an older gentleman who started talking to me and I realized his voice reminded me of Tom Brokaw (Who I think is hot. Still.).

And it made me remember the time when I first met Mr. Brokaw: After he'd just crawled through a window into the room I was standing in.

No, Tom Brokaw did not break into my apartment (although that would've been awesome.) He had been out on a balcony of the Old Executive Office Building (the giant gray gothic building next door to the actual White House that actually holds 98% of the White House staff. And also my former office building.) The only way to get out on that particular balcony is to basically go through a window from an office where my coworker (who later married a White House Press Secretary -- seriously, people meet their spouses ALL AROUND ME yet somehow I'm still dating guys like this...) had her desk.

So after Tom Brokaw is awkwardly stepping back into the building, I make my way over and shake his hand, and that becomes one of my favorite strange encounters with public figures. I’ve had others though.

In D.C. you run into a lot of political and media figures (or members of “The Club,” as Mark Leibovich explains in This Town) at various events, but because life typically hands me things in unconventional ways, it makes sense that a lot of my encounters are in random situations.  Here's a list of just a few:

-I passed Wolf Blitzer getting his shoes shined outside a Wizards game

-I nearly literally ran into James Carville on a jog through Georgetown (and also heard, first-hand, his wife aptly call him "Serpent Head.")

-I met Bill Clinton in the back hallway of a local hotel...Ok that sounded way more scandalous than it actually was….

- I was barked at by Bill Gates (though we never technically introduced ourselves to each other. He was just upset and I was in his line of sight at the time.)

-Dick Gephart once stole my plane seat

-Senator Lugar passed me in a 5K race (the man was 147 years old if he was a day. Once again, pride will never be my downfall when it comes to athletics....)

-I ran into Jesse Jackson in Louisiana during the response to Hurricane Katrina [his handler asked if I wanted to meet him...I said no. (I didn't see him doing anything but causing more issues at the time.) I ran into him again later and succumbed to a photo after all. It's blurry, but hilarious nonetheless - see: my trying-not-to-giggle expression:]

-I slightly tripped and nearly curled my ankle while walking out of the West Wing, while General Myers, the then Joint Chief of Staff for the Pentagon, was walking in. He ignored me politely. 

-Kerri Strug started working in the White House Correspondence office while I was still working there so I had my friend casually bring me by so I could squeal and say how much I admired her meet her.

Confession: I have an obsession with Olympians and try to touch them whenever possible. Exhibit A and B here:

Apolo Anton Ohno. I kind of want to have his babies.

-Ryan Cabrera sang at the Republican National Convention once and my friend was chosen as his “handler.” She kept in touch with his team after that so whenever he came back to do concerts, we’d get escorted backstage, parading smugly in front of jealous twelve year-olds. 

We were in our mid-twenties...

Look how happy and not like a trapped animal he looks here!

-And finally, HeatherArmstrong, AKA Dooce.

I started following Dooce years and years ago, before most of my friends had heard of her blog. Then, she blew up and started doing things like going on national T.V. and being invited to blogger roundtables at the White House (she lives in Utah). I remember reading that she was going to be at the White House at some point one week, but it barely made a dent in my brain, since I was about to leave for a vacation in Turkey and Greece with the other GoldfishPoodle and several other friends.

Anyway, before I leave for vacation, I was taking a Flat Stanley around DC for an elementary school kid that my friend, who is a teacher, sent me. I decided Stanley needed to see the White House, so I marched him down on my lunch break. And I glance down Pennsylvania avenue and see this tall, skinny women, with purple tights and cropped blond hair, and I instantly know: It’s Heather Armstrong.

It’s Dooce herself. Right! There!

I immediately approach her as if we’re friends. 

“Oh my gosh! I heard you were in town to do a White House thing!”

(because that’s not creepy at all that I’ve never seen this woman in real life, yet I know her schedule)

She laughs (also as if we are already friends- winning.) and says she’s actually on her way into that event right now. And I proceed to babble on about how I’m doing a photo shoot with Stanley, and she said something like “oh yeah, Leta’s class has done that” (her daughter. She doesn’t have to explain that, because we both know that we both know that. Because we are best friends who have never met each other,obviously.)

And she mentions that she’s nervous about going to the White House and something comes over me and I ask “would it help if you took a photo with Flat Stanley?” And we both giggle uncontrollably. 

And she did:

And that's still one of my favorite random run-ins in This Town.  

The End.