Category Archives: olympics

In Your Head Syndrome

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I have a problem. A delusion, if you will. I call it In My Head Syndrome. You see, in my head, I can do things. Things I can’t do in reality. It’s kind of like when you decide to paint a room (or finish a craft project or organize a closet), and as you are planning it (in your head), you think, “This will be a breeze. I’ll be done by lunchtime and then I’ll have the whole day to lay on the couch watching old 90210 reruns and eating bon-bons get other things done.” And then you start painting and you think, “Hmmm…this is taking a little longer than I expected.” And then hours and hours go by and you are not even close to being done and you’re getting pissed off because your couch and Kelly’s drug problem and a box of bon-bons your other chores are waiting and you can’t believe you ever thought you could get it done by lunchtime.

If this (or something similar) has ever happened to you, you are afflicted with In My Head Syndrome.

In My Head Syndrome tends to affect us older folks more than the younger set. It’s not that younger folks are more in touch with reality, it’s just that they may have fewer responsibilities getting in the way of getting things done. Or they have more free time to work with. Or – and this is the big one – their bodies haven’t betrayed them like ours have.

Now, I mentioned bodies betraying us and you might be wondering what that has to do with painting or crafting or organizing. But you see – the biggest and most dangerous symptoms of In My Head Syndrome are physical. In the most severe cases, the results can be physically painful. Both severe and mild cases are emotionally painful.

In case I have any young people reading who don’t think In My Head Syndrome affects them, let me offer you some proof that it does. Remember when you went to your second cousin’s wedding and your parents started dancing. The way parents dance? In My Head Syndrome. And remember when your uncle went sled-riding with you and crashed into a creek and just laid there for a while? In My Head Syndrome. And I KNOW you remember your ninth birthday party when your mom and aunt decided to show off their ballroom moves and fell into the TV in front of all your friends? You guessed it – In My Head Syndrome. See – these examples were emotionally painful, although not so much for the afflicted person, but those around them – so like it or not, YOU are affected by In My Head Syndrome.

The severe cases can be very painful. I know this from experience. I was much more athletic growing up (which admittedly isn’t saying much. A cactus is more athletic than I am now). I took gymnastics from the time I was four through high school. I was a diver all through high school and two years of college. And even though it’s been years and many pounds, I am apparently still under the impression that I can do a back handspring or a full-twisting 1 ½ back dive. Now I’m sure this won’t be as much of a surprise to you as it was to me, but: I cannot.

Certain things can cause In My Head Syndrome to flare up – taking the kids to gymnastics/baton/etc, looking at old photos & videos , class reunions, alcohol, and many more. Right now, there is a serious In My Head Syndrome epidemic due to the Winter Olympics. If you are anything like, you will watch the ski-jumping and luge and half-pipe and think to yourself, “That looks easy. I could so do that!”

And like me, you would most likely be wrong. Because In My Head Syndrome means that you are way faster, stronger, smarter, more graceful, more motivated, cooler and more awesome IN YOUR HEAD than you are in reality.

Sadly, there is no cure.

16 Days

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Hello? Tap tap. Is this thing on?

Yeah – I’ve pretty much been MIA for way too long around here. Work has been so insane lately that after spending 15 or 26 hours attached to this computer, the last thing I want to do is be attached to it for even a minute more. And then the snowmageddon came and I was trapped in this house with my entire delightful and not at all annoying family and even if I wanted to update, I am surrounded by several not at all nosy people who are not at all looking over my shoulder.

OK, that is a total lie – first off – I don’t care how delightful these people actually are – being cooped up with them for 24 hours a day for an entire week can turn even the most delightful family into a bunch of rabid wolverines. Wolverines who won’t let you do a damned thing without asking you 11,000 questions, or climbing on you, or fighting with each other (I know – I said “each other” implying that I am not involved with the fighting, but I have two words for that: Friendly Fire), or – my personal favorite – looking over my shoulder to see what I am doing. In fact, there is one particular member of my delightful family who will go as far as to pretend to want tohug his mother in order to stick his nosy nose into her computer screen and see what she is reading and/or writing. But that particular member shall remain unnamed.

And now, as if I haven’t been sucking at blogging anyway, I am faced with the biggest obstacle of all to getting anydamnthing done – The Olympics. The Olympics make it impossible for me to do anything, except scour the television, internet, & newspapers for any Olympic-related thing I can find.

There is something about the Olympics that is absolutely irresistible to me – despite the fact that you would never see me watching any of this stuff any other time of year (or years, in this case). I’ve always been fascinated by the Olympics. As a kid, I imagined being there as an athlete. Now, I have the very different experience of seeing it though a parent’s eyes – I get choked up for every single athlete – I see their parent there and cry as if they were my own. I get excited and cheer for sports I have never even seen before – it doesn’t matter, I’m rooting for someone – anyone – everyone.

There’s something so basic about the Olympics – even in the very commercialized version we’re seeing these days. Once you look past the labels on the helmets and the seemingly ten-thousand Olympic-themed commercials, at the heart of the Olympics lies spirit and youth and hopes and dreams and despite being a competition between countries, you see friendship and camaraderie. Athletes supporting each other. Fans from all nations cheering for athletes from other – because they’re the “home” team; because they’re the underdog; because they’re just so damned amazing that they deserve nothing less.

So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next couple of weeks, watching sports I’d otherwise never watch. Not only watching, but cheering. And not only cheering, but giving a shit. And then it will be over and I’ll go back to hating ice skating and not knowing short track from long track and not really caring. Until the next Olympics rolls around and I’m hypnotized all over again.

Though I’ll admit, the magic hasn’t quite spread to ice dancing. You can keep that shit.

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Tell ‘Em Bela!

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OK, so let’s get this out of the way first – I want to punch Olympic Gymnastics in the face. The whole damned thing is pissing me of this year. I don’t presume to know everything about gymnastics or gymnastics judging, but 12 years in the sport has taught me enough to know that there is some serious bullshit going on. First off, we have the too young gymnast from China. I mean – a couple of them look a bit young to me, but He Kexin is a joke. I don’t give a fuck what documents china produced for her. And the IOC or FIG, or whomever, is full of shit if they think we’re buying that they’re buying it. The girl competed in a meet last year that required her to be younger. So she was either illegal there or illegal here. The laws of physics pretty much make it clear. So even if she was cheating there and is legal here – she’s a cheater, and China’s a cheater, and the fucking IOC is a cheater for looking the other way.

Next up – the judging. What the Fuck??? I don’t want to go so far as to say the judges are biased, but COME ON! The scoring has been so lopsidedly in favor of the Chinese over the US that it’s hard not to be a bit suspicious. I’m sorry, but when a girls who are falling and making mistakes worthy of major (.5, etc) deductions are beating girls who were near perfect or only had minor deductions, something is not right.

And the new scoring system. Not only does it alienate fans by being completely confusing and taking away the old “gold star” of the perfect 10, but the gymnasts and coaches themselves don’t even seem to really understand it. And the confusion, along with the nature of the system itself open the doors for a great deal of fuckery. Subjective sports walk a line to begin with, but this is worse. Fuckery, I say.

And what the holy hell is with the “no ties” rule? If there is a tie, there is a tie. The tiebreaker procedure is a joke. They may as well just flip a fucking silver yuan and call it a day.

And this isn’t just sour grapes – I’d feel the same way regardless of the country getting screwed – it’s not a vendetta against China – their divers are so far above the US, it’s not even funny. And those Chinese gymnast are great. But there is some fuckery going on.

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Anyway. If I’m sounding crabby, it’s because I am. Mr. b has been sitting in front of his computer dicking around on napster for hours. And it’s not that it bothers me that he’s doing it, it’s the fucking music that I hate. And the fact that he feels the need to play it at full volume. He’s a music snob. He can’t seem to accept that there are certain types of music that I don’t like. He thinks it’s not a matter of taste, but a matter of choice. He likes Jazz. I hate it. I mean HAAAAAAAAATE. And he feels that it is music for the smart or classy or educated or some other such nonsense. I, on the other hand, think that I would rather listen to a hardcore rap about putting a cap in a bitch than listen to 5 seconds of cool jazz or fusion or anything of the sort. But he thinks if he keeps trying to push it on me, I’ll somehow like it – like I’ll wake up and say, Ahhhh…I get it. But it’s not that I don’t get it. It’s that I don’t like it. Instead, all his pushing does is make me think about hitting him in the head with the white hot poker that I want to shove into my ears to get away from the fucking NOISE!

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So we went to Kennywood on Thursday and – as predicted – the weather sucked balls. Just as we were about to pack it in, though (after hanging out in the pouring rain for quite a while), it cleared up and got sunny. So, a lot of the crowds had taken off and it turned out to be a decent night. Minus a couple incidents.

We were letting the boys go on some rides alone. They would get on the ride and call us as son as they were getting off so they could meet us again. And once, they took off without the phone. So when they got off the ride, they panicked. They did the right thing and found an officer, who in turn called me. Of course I felt like the world’s worst mother. Then a couple hours later, they ran into a group of three friend while getting on a ride (as an aside – WTF is with three? Why would you take three kids to an amusement park? That’s a recipe for disaster). Anyway, they ran into these three friends – one boy and two girls – and the boy asked my boy’s friend to ride with him. So he did, and the girls rode together and guess who got left out? If it had just been the one ride, no big deal. But the two kids got on an earlier train and didn’t wait for the boy. So he was alone and his friend had the cell phone. So we spent the next hour trying to find him, with me panicking. I found out that he was with the two girls, so I realized that he wasn’t totally alone, which made me feel better, but I was pissed that he got ditched. I don’t think his friend meant to do it maliciously, but the fact is –you dance with the one who brung ya. If their asses had been in the same seat, it wouldn’t have happened. After that stress, there was no more going off alone for them, needless to say. And once I knew he was safe, all I could think was thank god I didn’t get another call from the Kennywood Police.

I woke up Friday exhausted and sore. I’m not sure when riding roller coasters became exercise, but apparently it is, because my body hurt. Part of it was from riding the Thunderbolt with a stranger and her being on the “squish side”, so I was holding on and bracing myself to keep from smashing her flat.

The girl loved it this year. She has been pretty intimidated in years past, but this year, she wanted to ride almost everything. Which bodes well for Disney this year (45 days – woo!). She was waiting for one kiddie ride that I didn’t want to ride on and I was glad she wanted to go by herself. But I started to feel bad because all the other mothers were going on. So I got in line with her. When we got on and strapped in, she noticed another (older) kid riding alone and kicked my ass off the ride. And I was happy. Because look at what the other mothers looked like on Tiny Barfarama (Jen – I know you know what I am talking about):

I only got to ride the Pitfall once, but otherwise, it was a good day.

Oh – also – I broke my toe on Saturday. It was not a good day.

More photos:

The Turtle:

Kiddie Swings:

The boy and his hat, which makes me want to kill myself:

Handsome:

Getting her face painted:

My poor toe:

And now, to wash that ugliness out of your mind – something seriously beautiful:

16 Days of Glory Exhaustion

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I am an Olympic addict. Other than football & hockey, I don’t do a lot of sports watching on TV -even the sports I like. And most of the Olympic sports wouldn’t hold my interest at all during the other 1,445 days. But during these 16? I’m like a crackhead. Every night, I end up staying up too late because I can’t stop watching. And the next morning, I am scouring the TV and internet for more, before dragging my tired ass to work. It’s out of control, this exhausting myself over shit I don’t even care about.

There are very few sports I don’t get excited about during the Olympics. These are usually the (what I consider to be) non-sports And sometimes basketball, because I’m sorry – I just can’t feel the Olympic spirit for a bunch of millionaires. I know it’s hard to distinguish between professional and amateur athletes nowadays – especially given how different countries treat and support their athletes – but with basketball, it really bugs me. I have a tendency to root for the underdog when USA is playing. I guess I should have more USA spirit, but meh. They can go home and cry in their great big piles of money.

I’m a little disappointed that there are no pornstaches on the Romanian men’s gymnastic team this year like there were in Athens, because that shit was funny.

Also disappointing? Lack of good diver package shots. But since I care about you all and I know you would appreciate one, I will dig an old one out to share:

And on to the non-sports. Don’t let me say right off the bat that I am not talking about the actual athletes here – they ARE athletes and most of them could probably kick my ass. But the “sports”? Not so much.

Rhythmic gymnastics – I’m looking at you. Sorry, but I just don’t get it. I used to be a gymnast and I have a hard time comparing a full twisting double back flip with dancing with a ribbon. Besides, I can’t help but to picture Will Ferrell in Old School. I’ll admit, the way they balance that ball with their body is cool but it’s more Cirque de Soliel that Olympic Sport.

Synchronized swimming is another. I don’t care for it, and I picture Martin Short in a life jacket and nose plugs (“Hey! I know you! I know you!”). Seriously – if you have not seen the SNL skit with him, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer, you are seriously missing out. Go watch. Seriously, Go

I have warmed up to synchronized diving, so I’m taking it off my non-sport list, but it better watch it’s step or it’s going rght back on. Because it’s cool – I mean – it’s hard enough to dive alone, much less in tune with a partner. But it’s still a little Bob Fosse.

Trampoline. Fun. Not a sport. It’s a tool that is used by people training in other sports. Divers and gymnasts use trampolines. I’ll admit – the tricks they do are pretty cool and are definitely hard, but still.

Badminton? Well, it’s a backyard game to me, but I get to say shuttlecock a lot. Also – rowing IS on my list of sports, but I had to mention it because, “coxswain”!

Ping pong. Seriously? You can call it table tennis all you want but it’s still ping pong. It’s in my basement. And if it’s in my basement, it can’t be an Olympic sport.

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Moving on…

I was at my sister-in-law’s house last week and as I was driving out of the neighborhood, I saw a hawk flapping around near some bushes. I thought it was hunting something so I turned around to get some photos. It turned out that the poor thing was injured – he appeared to have a broken wing. In lieu of the girl’s suggestion that we call the Wonder Pets, I got one of the neighbors to get the number for the fish and game commission, so we could call for a raptor rescue. But I took a few shots while we waited:

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In other news, I ate pizza (with mushrooms and hot peppers. . .mmm) for breakfast. Florine Marks is probably rolling over in her grave. You know, if she were dead. She’s not dead is she? I don’t think she is. I’m going to have to go look it up. And I tell you, if I find out that all this time I have been watching and counting and drinking eleventy gallons of water a day and she died all huge and floppy and needed one of those giant caskets, all bets are off, dead, fat Florine!