Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Figure Hating

"I studied theatre in college and took enough of the required classes -- things like "Stage Makeup", "Advanced Stage Makeup" and "We Get It, You Can Paint Your Face to Look Like a Bluebird" -- to wrap up my major halfway through my senior year. For my final semester, I loaded my schedule with a number of brain-busters that involved eyeliner and emoting but was still one credit short of the minimum requirement. I flipped to the Physical Education section of the course catalog, which was like a cruise ship's activity guide, offering everything from Bowling to Tennis to -- yes! -- Figure Skating.

Figure Skating sounded like the perfect introduction to the starched white-collar life I hoped would be waiting for me on the other side of graduation, one that involved cloth napkins and roasted pheasant and other things I probably should've considered before majoring in Theater. So I signed up for the class, a twice-a-week commitment to tiered skirts and twisted ankles.

We were supposed to meet the instructors at our local ice rink and I should've known it was a bad sign when I couldn't even make it inside before sprawling face-down on the partially-frozen sidewalk. I was already limping when I took my first tentative steps onto the ice, but still knew I was going to be a natural. I had grace. I had balance. And I had ice chips lodged in my personal areas before I'd even made it halfway around the rink."

Last week on NBC Sports-Out of Bounds, I had the chance to recap another of my failures, my sad, short-lived attempt at learning how to figure skate.

You can read the whole story here. How many of you can say that your senior year involved feverishly clutching an elderly woman's arm and trying not to cry? You know what, don't answer that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Wow, I had no idea that everyone apparently majored in Dog Feeding, which sounds infinitely more valuable than my own Theatre degree. Thank you guys for all of the tips and suggestions after yesterday's post. Several people told me that I should take the Boxerbeast's food and mix it with pureed pumpkin, which is one of the few canned goods I actually keep on hand.1 No, really.

Unfortunately it didn't work, although he seemed to enjoy spitting the orange-hued mixture onto the floor, tongue bathing the wood as he tried to lick up every harvest-flavored splotch. Since he continued to scatter--and ignore--the LifeSource® bits, I'll be trying one of the other approaches tomorrow, right after my wracking sobs stop. Also I may be giving up a dog for Lent.2

1 I make a protein shake with pumpkin, because I like to refuel my muscles after a workout and also I enjoy stomach cramps. For those of you who might be interested, get your blender (or register for one if you're getting married soon and your sister might be looking for a present in the $15-$20 range) and add one cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin, 1/2 cup Butter Pecan ice cream, and one scoop of Vanilla protein powder.3 Toss in a few frozen cubes, mash the button and pretend it tastes delicious, right before dumping most of it into the sink and eating the rest of the Butter Pecan ice cream.

2 As opposed to my usual Lenten sacrifice when I claim I'm going to give up celibacy. You'd think that would work as a pickup line but it never does. This Ash Wednesday, though, I'm going to try to make it out of the church before I point this out to any eligible-looking, possibly madras-wearing gentleman. I just assumed that people would be more chatty in the communion line since it's not like there's anything else to do as we endure our interminably slow two-step toward the priest.

3 I dig Designer Whey protein. Every brand tastes like ground up cow bones, but this has a hint of real vanilla flavor layered within the Nastiness.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crunch & Munch


It's not even noon and I've already vacuumed four times, not counting the Dirt Devil's victory lap around the bar stools after it sucked up the final nugget of dog food. Pigpen the Boxerbeast is on a new diet, one suggested by his veterinarian that costs more per bowl than any of the freezer-burn flavored fish I'll extract from a battered cardboard box and deposit into my own digestive system.

The good news is that he loves each expensive scoop of food that comes out of the forty pound bag that currently slumps in the corner of the kitchen. Well, he likes most of it. It's Blue Buffalo kibble, their bison-shaped logo constantly reminding me that it probably would've been more cost-efficient to raise, slaughter and serve up an actual buffalo, and it definitely wouldn't be any harder to store. Anyway, Blue Buffalo garnishes their food with dark brown pellets they call LifeSource® bits, an unsettingly named addition that makes me think that my dog is actually consuming the souls of other dogs.

Or he would if he didn't spit them all out.

When Pigpen eats, he buries his face in the dish, scooping up an oversized mouthful before turning to deposit it all on the rug to his right. Then he sifts through it, scarfing the pieces not made of DogSouls® LifeSource® before doing it again until the floor has been covered with a trail of pellets that make it look like I'm setting a trap for PacMan.

My options are to either leave my kitchen boobytrapped like Kevin McAllister's MicroMachine covered bedroom--and inevitably end up splayed on the floor watching as shards of my femur go skittering across the room--or to vacuum. Again.

So my question is whether any of you have ever faced (and hopefully fixed) a problem like this. Can you change the way a dog eats or is that embedded in his genetic code like his floppy ears or willingness to impregnate the throw pillows? I can't spend my entire day emptying LifeSource® bits into the trash can, not when there are other, less productive ways to procrastinate.

Unfortunately since I have enough LifeSource® to feed the Forsyth County school system, switching to a new brand isn't an option. I can't afford it and I don't know what I'd do with this oversized bag of Blue Buffalo, other than burrow inside it for warmth after I use all of my spare cash to purchase another vacuum cleaner. So one of us is gonna have to eat that shit--OUT OF THEIR BOWL--and I'm not sure it goes with fish sticks.

Your move, Pigpen.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Flat Chest & A Fake ID

As for the Super Bowl, let's ignore the teams and look at the cities they're representing in Miami. I've never had the pleasure of visiting Indianapolis, but I've heard that it's the prettiest shade of grey. I have introduced myself to New Orleans on a couple of occasions and regardless of how bright eyed and well-rested I am when I get there, I always leave looking like a less hepatitis-y Amy Winehouse.

When I was in college, some friends and I made an obligatory Mardi Gras trip, where we learned about the rich traditions of the Lenten season, the jazz-infused history of the French Quarter and also that Winn-Dixie shopping carts will comfortably seat two semi-conscious sophomores. Predictably, we spent our time subsisting on pastel-colored chunks of King Cake and drinking souvenir-sized Hurricanes, the only alcoholic beverage that can give you both a hangover and adult-onset diabetes.

This week for NBC Sports - Out of Bounds, I was supposed to pick a team for the Super Bowl. Instead, I covered my first trip to New Orleans, which included a failed attempt at wearing barrettes, zero Mardi Gras beads and a fake ID that probably would've been more effective if I hadn't tried to pass myself off as Asian.

I've only been to Louisiana one other time and that trip ended poorly as well. I should bang out that story over the weekend. I should also eat an entire King Cake, carefully trying to chomp around the plastic Christ child baked inside, because I'm pretty sure eating one of baby Jesus' arms will give you seven years of bad luck.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Word From Our Sponsors

1) I'm not sure how or why I ended up wedged between the sofa cushions like an errant Cheez-It long enough to watch CBS's Best Super Bowl Commercials of the Decade. For an excruciatingly long hour, host Jim Nantz tried his best to look lifelike as he introduced several CareerBuilder.com and Pedigree mealtime ads I'd forgotten about forgetting about. Halfway through the program, I started to feel sorry for the regular commercials that were stacked in the breaks between the hand-picked Best spots; every cheese-drenched Hardee's Thickburger or oddly-belted TJMaxx monstrosity just looked more terrible by comparison. This is probably what it feels like to be the kitchen staff at Hooters.

2) I did see an ad for McDonald's new Big Mac Wrap, which looks like what would happen if one of their burgers had sex with a Snuggie. Before their multicultural cast had finished biting and smiling, I was well conflicted, finding the idea of tortilla-swaddled beef chunks both repulsive and attractive, like the Sarah Jessica Parker of menu items.

BUT...I give it less than fourteen hours before I've emptied the silver coins from my cupholders into the outstretched hands of whatever unfortunate person punched in for the afternoon shift, leaning impatiently on the counter while I wait for a grease-soaked paper sack.

Bite. Smile. Weep. Repeat.

3) Have we all been so busy for the past several years that we somehow failed to notice that Luke Wilson killed and consumed the other two Wilson brothers?

Confidential to Luke Wilson: How are the Big Mac Wraps? Are there any left? Because I'm not going to change into my good sweatpants just for a sixer of McNuggets.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Bob Seger Song Title Goes Here

I'm a month into training for my own twenty-six (point two) mile crampfest -- Nashville's Country Music Marathon -- and I'm increasingly apprehensive as I cross each day off the calendar. Distance running isn't exactly a good time, since it often leads to blisters the size of Schnauzers or the kind of chafing that feels like you've gotten to second base with a belt sander.

It will be my fourth marathon and I'm still not sure why I'm putting myself through another Costco-sized serving of agony. Maybe I enjoy the sense of accomplishment that lingers long after the post-race ice bath. Or maybe I just enjoy exceeding the recommended dosage of ibuprofen.
Last week for NBC Sports- Out of Bounds, I chronicled--what else?--the chafe-tastic unpleasantness of marathon training. My editor suggested that I type a first-person account of something sports-related, so until eating off-brand fish sticks and consistently exceeding my credit limit become competitive events, I'm limited to writing about running.

Confidential to Chase Visa: Instead of the minimum payment this month, I'll be sending you half a bag of Skittles and a drawing of my saddest face.