Monthly Archives: September 2011

Flame away, okay?

Yeah, I read the damn Hunger Games.  And I liked it.  I won’t judge you for judging me.

But hear me out first.

I’m a sucker for a good story about freedom. And although the concept is simplified – dumbed down, really – in Suzanne-Collins land, at least it’s there.

Awkward fact: In high school, I was totally that kid who wandered around with a battered paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged tucked under my arm, smugly certain of – and obnoxiously vocal about – my position on every issue under the sun, no matter how trivial.

(Unfortunately, because someone decided it was a good idea to let me be Editor-in-Chief of our school newspaper, many of these positions are now recorded in print, for posterity.  Thank Galt this was before things went digital.)

Anyway, of course, I’ve evolved.  Beyond secondhand flannel shirts and thrifted Chuck Taylors.  And also beyond taking the ideological road on every single issue.  But deep down, I admit: I’m still rather smitten by rebellion and defiance, and by people taking a stand against governments that are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing.

And although it’s a teen-oriented book, peppered with nauseating Twilight-esuqe romantic dialogue and populated by one-dimensional characters that push the limits of credibility, there’s a little bit of Ayn Rand in The Hunger Games.  A little bit of George Orwell.  A little bit of Aldous Huxley.  A little bit of all of the books that really fired me up about reading and learning and having opinions on things, back when I was a gawky adolescent.

In other words, there’s a skeleton of something meaningful and thought-provoking in The Hunger Games books.  They may not go down as classic pieces of literature, but at least they do more than paint a generic “goodies versus baddies!” picture.  They touch on an element of classic dystopian writing that many teenagers would probably never otherwise have exposure to.

So for that, Ms. Collins, I’m willing to overlook those awkwardly-written kisses and underdeveloped characters.

I haven’t read the last book in the series yet.  It’s in transit on an order from Borders. [SO HEY, no spoilers!]  I kind of hope it arrives tomorrow.  I have the weekend off, and I wouldn’t mind spending my Saturday curling up with a little Mockingjay.

So if you must, judge away.  Really, go ahead.  I’ll be sitting in the corner pretending to be as stoic as Dagny Taggart.

PS: Have you checked your wallet, purse, underwear drawer, etc for unused Borders GCs?  They’re about to go out of business, and I managed to rustle up almost $40 worth of books by combining a bunch of unused and partially-used cards that I had laying around!

PPS: Have you read any of the Hunger Games books?  No?  Do you want to?  I’ll happily send my lightly-used copy of the first book to someone.  Just tell me you’re interested in the comments and I’ll pick a random winner at beer o’clock on Sunday!

Beer! Shoes! Meaningless data! OMG!

So, there’s this closet right by the front door of my apartment.  In the closet is one of those Target fabric bins.  In the bin go running shoes.  In theory.

In reality…

They go on the floor.  It’s the one thing that I’m truly messy about, and since my husband is truly messy about pretty much everything else, he makes a point of gleefully letting me know when my shoe mess approaches fire-hazard levels.

“What, did the closet finally vomit up all of your running shoes?” he asked the other day. “That’s what happens when you overfeed it.”

I muttered something about taking some of them in to the donation bin at work. A false promise, probably.

“You can’t possibly need all of those,” he always says.

Of course I don’t.  But I do wear most of them!  And while I don’t have a system, exactly, each pair does have a purpose…

1) The Workhorse

Brooks Ghost 4.  These are my everyday running shoes: base runs, long runs, whatever.  The Ghost 4 was just released this summer, and although this has been my go-to-shoe since the very first edition a few years ago, I have to say I’m not wild about the update.  It’s…wider than the Ghost 3.  And while I enjoy a roomy toebox, I kinda feel like I’m swimming around in this shoe.  Like throwing a hot dog down a hallway.  Or some other inappropriate analogy.

I don’t totally hate them,  but I’m keeping my eyes open for something I might like better.

Dear Brooks: please put the Ghost on a diet when you do your next update.  I liked it better when it was a little skinnier.

2) The Slasher

Mizuno Wave Precision 12.  You might remember that these shoes sliced me up like a ripe tomato when I first wore them!  Well, we’ve since reconciled, and I now use them as my number-two shoe, perfect for short to medium runs or cross-training workouts.

3) The Mudshoe

Brooks Adrenaline 11.  Last year I experimented with a more supportive shoe to see if it would help with my perpetually tight calves.  It didn’t, but I did really like running in these Adrenalines.  This pair still has some miles left in ’em, so I bust ’em out when it’s pouring down rain or whatever and I don’t want to soak my Ghosts.

4) The Pseudo Flat

Brooks Green Silence. Oh my god, I love these shoes so hard.  I wish I had the balls to take them out on a longer run.  The most I’ve done in them is around seven miles.  I mostly use them for tempo runs or other short, fast workouts. They don’t have much cushion, but I love the fit, and as someone who doesn’t mind feeling the ground a little when I run, I think they’re pretty fantastic.

Related: I can’t wait to try Brooks’s new PureProject line, to be released next month – supposedly they’ll be kinda similar to the Green Silence.

(And no, I’m not on the Brooks payroll…I just really like their shoes!)

5) The Bedroom Slippers

New Balance 890.

Everyone needs a good recovery shoe.

Okay, that’s just untrue.  In fact, I realize that this whole post is sort of absurd because, really, if you’re a runner you only need one pair or running shoes, actually.

But is sure is nice to have a squishy, cushy pair of shoes waiting for me on recovery days, nice and fresh from waiting patiently in the closet (ahem, on the floor) all week.  These 890s are perfect for that.

[Side note: do you wear a women’s 9.5 running shoe?  Do you want an extra pair of brand-new, never-worn NB 890s that I happen to have?  They’re a size 9, but this shoe apparently runs a half size big (hence the fact that they are too big for me).  They’re neutral-cushioned lightweight trainers.  Email me if you want ’em….eatdrinkrun-at-gmail-dot-com!]

[Edited: they’re claimed!  But you can email me anyway if you want to.  I’m always up for frivolous email chatter about running shoes or cats or chardonnay or whatever.]

Okay…I realize that was a whole lot of talk about running shoes.  Are you still with me?  If so, here’s a beer.

This Sierra Nevada Summerfest was on sale for $3.49 per six-pack at the local beer shop tonight.  Whoa.

And it was perfect, because I was heading home from a long work day with a bag of Chinese takeout tucked under my arm and what goes better with Chinese takeout than cold light beer?

It’s not a particularly memorable beer and certainly not my favorite Sierra Nevada offering, but for the situation and price, it was absolutely perfect.

Bottom Line: Well if you see it being sold for pennies a bottle, then yes ma’am. Overall, though, it’s nothing worth seeking out.  (Purchased at Peace Street Market, $3.49/six)

And finally, running stats from last week:

My legs are feeling that mileage increase a little this week, but overall, I’m pretty happy about hitting 50+ miles without any issues!  Gotta keep it up so I can hit my utterly meaningless running goals!

This hodgepodge of a post has been brought to you by procrastination, an extra-busy week at work, the Hunger Games trilogy and the letter F.

Um, here, have another beer….

Because it’s there

As of the end of August, I’d run 1,221 miles this year.

By some standards that is a lot; by others, it’s paltry.  By my own standards, I guess I would say it’s middle of the road.  Honestly, I don’t really know, as this is the first year, ever, in my 17+ years of running that I’ve ever actually tracked my mileage continuously.

Recently, I mentioned to a friend that I thought it would be nice if I could hit 2,000 miles for the year.

His response: “Why?”

Uh…good question.

In order to run 2,000 miles by December 31, I’d need to run 776 more.  That’s 194 miles each month.  45.6 a week.  That’s not much more than I’ve been running for the last few weeks, so I don’t think it’s an unrealistic goal, but the question does remain: why?

Well…why not?

Really, when it comes down to it, all running goals are rather useless and arbitrary.  For most of us, anyway.  I mean…I’d love to run a sub-20 5K, too, but the Olympic Committee is not going to come knocking on my door if that happens.  It’s just a number that’s out there to chase. A reason to lace up my shoes when my lazy body resists.  A sense of accomplishment when logging a workout.  A daydream to occupy my thoughts while pounding out miles.

And since I’m not sure about my ability to run fast at the moment, perhaps I have a better shot at arbitrary glory if I run more.

“Because,” I replied to my friend, “then I can say that 2011 was the year I ran 2,000 miles.”

“Why not try for 2,011?  It would sound better,” he said.

Consider it done.

Chicken

Well, how appropriate.  After spending yesterday writing all about how much I love the food down here in the South…today, I get an impromptu lunch date.

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey just opened a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a new casual restaurant from the chef-owner of Poole’s, which is my favorite restaurant in Raleigh.

Like Poole’s, Beasley’s lacks menus.  It’s all written up there on that board:

Yesterday, Beasley’s had three entrees: a quarter chicken with honey, a chicken biscuit, or chicken and waffles.  (Well, actually two, as the waffles are only available late nights and brunch.)

Some people might balk at the lack of selection, but personally, I love it when restaurants choose to do one thing and do it exceptionally well.  (And, well…if you don’t like chicken, don’t go to a chicken restaurant!)

The hubs and I split a quarter chicken.  Adios, unfried summer!

Along with a side of some sort of mac-and-pimento-cheese-spicy-custard-thing:

And a butter lettuce salad with smoky tomato ranch dressing:

Chicken: perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and juicy inside, delicious.  It comes drizzled with just enough honey to make your fingers delightfully sticky.

Mac thingy: OMG.  I don’t know what they put in there or why it’s a “custard” but it was a damn fine slice of homestyle mac and cheese.

Salad: OMG AGAIN.  I lobbied hard for the inclusion of this because I love tender butter lettuce, but it was the smoky ranch that made the dish.  Wonderful.

Bottom line: Yes, I will absolutely return.  The food is excellent, of course, but it’s the value that makes Beasley’s a home run.  Entrees are $6-10, hearty sides are $3.50, and although we didn’t imbibe, I did notice there were many bottles of wine in the $25 range.  Perfect for a budget date night!

Okay, so that was lunch.  But I’m not done talking about chicken.

Because I am one.

In the hours leading up to my Big Important Hair Appointment this afternoon, I hemmed and hawed and finally made up my mind: chop it like it’s hot.

Then, I got in the chair and lost my nerve.  I went to say the word “chop” and the word “trim” came out instead.  However, I did decide to mix things up a bit…

Goodbye, mousy brown.  Hello, red! I haven’t colored my hair in years.  But the persistence of a single gray hair along my part-line has been irking me lately, and since I wasn’t gonna change the length, I decided to go for it.

And I. Love. It.

You know what?  That’s another great thing about living in a place like Raleigh as opposed to New York or Boston.  Things are cheaper here.  A cut + color here costs less than a plain old cut at my old salon in NYC!

Anyway.  Thanks so much for all of your input on my post the other day! Ultimately, I think it came down to the fact that long hair really is easier for me to deal with.  I have a shit-ton of hair and it HAS to be styled when it’s short.  Maybe someday I’ll grow some balls and chop it again, but for now, I’m pretty happy.

Well, that’s more than enough vain posturing and posing from me for a day. Make that a month.

Off to try to do something productive with what’s left of the evening.  (Ahem, filthy apartment.)