Sunday, August 18, 2013

Go Ninja! GO! GO! - The Grand Opening of UE Baltimore

Goddamn, folks, I apologize for the obligatory title of this post, but I literally had no choice.

(Just kidding I had lots of choices.)

Anyway, so Saturday morning I woke up at an ungodly hour. Ordinarily of course I prefer to sleep in on the weekends, but the fact was that it was big day, so I crawled out of bed, pulled on my clothes in bleary-eyed exhaustion, and readied myself for what would no doubt be a momentous occasion. I checked my phone as we climbed into the car and prepared for our long journey: 11:38 am. I should have been dead asleep for at least another two hours, but alas, when duty calls there are those of us courageous enough to answer, no matter how early the hour.

On March of 2012 I attended the opening of Urban Evolution's Manassas location, and it was, I do not exaggerate, a life changing experience. I knew that yesterday, at the opening Urban Evolution's Baltimore gym, I would get to see more lives changed and imaginations unlocked as the local population got to check out parkour for the first time. I was not disappointed. The facility was huge and impressively full (although it really supported the large numbers well) as dozens upon dozens of people learned to roll, vault, and hang for the first time.

Not Pictured: THE OTHER 3/4's OF THE GYM!
Despite the large numbers and organized chaos, I got do a lot of work while hanging out with my BF and a couple of other UE friends we don't get to see very often. As soon as we got settled in, my boyfriend was ushered over to the challenge of his fitness career: a 750 pound tire. Guys, if you've never flipped a tire before, please, please go out there, find a tire, and flip it. It's an incredible experience. If it's a 750 pound tire, however, you might want to just leave it be. Sebastian tried, and could not get it off the ground. Then he tried with me helping, and we got it about an inch into the air and couldn't make it any further. It was tragedy on an unfathomable level. That son of bitch was heavy. 
But then first one duo got it, and then another. I couldn't stand it. So I demanded that we give it another try. With Sebastian beside me, I sank my butt down all the way to the floor, got my hands underneath it, and used everything my quads had in them to lift while my back and shoulders braced the weight. Every inch was agony, but slowly we got it into the air. But lifting is only half the battle in a tire flip. Once you have it up, you have to shift your position and get fully beneath the thing and push it over. Sebastian got underneath the rubber without too much trouble, but it was agony for me, so he had to brace it while I made the shift. Once I had my position right I used everything my shoulders had and shoved the son of bitch over. It slammed with a resonance that silenced the population of the gym. And in that silence, I let out a cry known only to those who have faced the impossible odds of battle and seen triumph when they expected only death. My only regret is that I do not have videographic evidence of this event.

I do, however, have some videos of my bar work! Recently I discovered, to my utter surprise, that I can actually do a chin-up. So I got Sebastian to get a video of me working on my still extremely weak but getting better lifts. 



A friend named Charles also helped me with my circle-ups. It's important to me that I learn to do a circle-up and do it well in order to perform better at trapeze, but it requires much more control than I currently have, so Charles showed me how to do reverse circle-up in order to teach my muscles that particular control.  So now guess what I get to work on three days a week...


Yes, it says, "Trespassers will be eaten by Zombies."

But of course the best part of the UE Baltimore Grand Opening wasn't me; it was everyone else. I got so caught up people-watching I didn't even get pictures or videos of all the incredible things happening around me. I saw hand-stands and laches, amazing vault work, bar free flow, dance, martial arts, gymnastics and amazing parkour as total strangers exchanged the best of their abilities and taught each other new ways of moving. At one point I did get a video of my friend Charles doing a handstand. If you listen, you can me scream when I realized just what was actually planned...


Trust is a very important part of parkour.

I came home exhausted and sore, and today my shoulders and upper back are still complaining from all the work they did. But I had a great time, and I'm so glad I went. 

Congratulations, Baltimore, you just got yourself one hell of a gym. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Level-ups, Serenity, Separated Ribs, and the Beautiful Game

I had a Moment on Saturday morning.

We had just arrived at the field to warm up for our first game of the two day soccer tournament, and I was tired, distracted, and above all, anxious and shivering with pre-game jitters. I put on my cleats, exchanged hugs and greetings with people I hadn't seen in a year, and then I began my very first run across the warm-up field: a slow, clean, even jog. As I reached the end line, I turned to run back the way I'd come and saw my own foot prints, two dotted lines incising a perfect dew-covered field.
And I realized that every year it starts this way: a clean unbroken slate of a weekend in which anything can happen, and those first footsteps, that first run across the grass, is the beginning of the dictation of wins, losses, triumphs, and amazing plays that make the tournament what it is. At that moment, I could see the entire weekend in front of me, and I was ready to play.

Brothers (and Other Family Members) In Arms
This soccer tournament we go to has several divisions of competitive men's and women's teams (including an over 50 men's division, and let me tell you, those guys are goddamn terrifying). We, however, play in the co-ed open recreational division which is, by far, the lowest of the low. Our team includes my Mom and Dad, both over 60, my aunt, two of my cousins, and my brother, and an assortment of old friends and friends of friends and friends who have become more like family and almost everyone is over 30 and some are over 40. If we can't destroy our opponents with goals, goddamn it we can definitely destroy them in terms of average player age and percentage of players related by blood, marriage, or long term friendship.

And that's why it's ok for someone to throw a ball at us while we're posing for a picture.
But age means nothing to these people, and family means everything. We came out onto the field with set jaws and steely eyes, and we played with everything we had in us, running harder than we thought we could, making impossible passes, and even just barely saving a ball as it slid over the goal-line. (That last one was my aunt, if you're wondering. She made an impossible save and then cackled like the pirate she truly is. She is in the photo above holding the yellow jersey. Just in case you need a visual reference for a straight badass.)

War Wounds
Anyway, so for me personally it was kind of a tough tournament. Still one of my favorite weekends of the year. But tough. This is mostly on account of a hit I took in the first half of our first game. A guy on the other team and I were both running head-on for the same ball. He outweighed me by, I dunno, let's say 50lbs. That's a low estimate, but we'll go with it. Now, this is very important: I got to the ball first. Nothing else in this story really matters as much as that. I ran hard, and I totally beat him to the ball, and I kicked it out of bounds, and I saved my team from certain doom, and I was a total fucking hero. BUT THEN there was still the fact that we were running directly at each other. And I had stopped. And he had not. One of my teammates, who was standing nearby, told me he heard me gasp as I realized I was about to get hit. People on the sidelines on the other side of the field told me they heard me AFTER I got hit, and I got ALL the  wind knocked out of my lungs. I flew backwards in the air after the impact and somehow landed on my right side with my elbow beneath me. And there I stayed. Around me I could hear people saying, "Is she ok? Is she all right? Kate?" And also "YELLOW CARD! GIVE HIM A YELLOW!" I meanwhile lay on the ground wondering, "Why can't I get up? Why am I making these sounds?" Because I was, in fact, groaning loudly in pain. For a moment I thought I had broken all my ribs, but when I rolled over (or someone rolled me over) I realized I had just had the wind knocked out of me.
It took a few minutes for me to get up, but I did, and several medical professionals confirmed that I did not, in fact, have a punctured lung. Hooray! I was in some pain, but not too much, and I could run. The one problem was that I could not take in a full breath of air, so every time I tried to fill my lungs my chest hurt as if there was a rock crushing it down. It turns out that one rib is separated, which isn't too serious, but it made running more difficult for the rest of the day. That didn't stop me from playing in our second game though. And playing most of the game the next day.

You've Earned a New Skill!
If you're anything like me, when you play Skyrim (and I assume you play Skyrim) you will, on occasion, hit the back button in the middle of battle (possibly with a sliver of health left and an enemy sword swinging right for your soft, squishy head) and suddenly level up your character, gaining a new skill right there, right then, right when all hope seems to be lost and you have nothing else to give.
I did that. In the game on Sunday. I mean, there weren't any swords or anything (sadly), but someone on the other team had the ball and was running as fast as he could towards the goal, and he was much faster than me, and it was my fault that he had beat me, and if he scored I would never forgive myself. Desperate to reach him, I opened my chest and tightened my core muscles and suddenly put on a burst of speed I literally had no idea I had within me. Never, in my life, had I ever run this way before. It was a new skill, a new way of moving that allowed me to go faster and see more of the field and use less oxygen so that I could recover more quickly. I fucking leveled up and gained a new skill on my soccer tree in the middle of a goddamned game. And I caught that dude. And he didn't score. And for the rest of the game, every time he came down the line, I used the same skill and I ran him down like a dog.

When I started this blog, I decided to call it Skill Seeker for two reasons: 1. Level-up Live was already taken. (THANKS DOUCHE BAG!) 2. I really believe that you can measure skills and development and acquisition of skills in real life the same way you do in a video game. When you practice something over and over and over again you will get better. Usually you're just a little better over time, but every so often you get this "Aha moment," this realization that if you just change things a little bit you can do something you were never able to do before. And you level up.

The tournament was, as always, an amazing event. I got a cool injury, I got to see people I never get see, I got to play soccer with my family, I got to clear my head, and I learned to do something I've never been able to do before. It will be a year before I go back, sadly, I can't wait to do it all again.


(maybe without the broken rib)

THE END!!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kate Gets a Little Belligerent at a Soccer Game, Isn't Drunk

Let's face it, Internet. This world can throw a lot of bullshit at us. It's tough to keep up with all the divorce and war and sexual harassment cases you just don't feel like bringing before a court, and at times, things can get a little overwhelming. You cope however you can. Sometimes you grab drinks with your friends and bitch about the day, sometimes you turn off the news and call your family to see how they're doing, sometimes you lock the door to the bathroom and settle into the tub with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and sometimes you tell a total stranger something along the lines of, "Fuck you, and the horse you rode on, you goddamn cocksucker."

If you're me, it's not really "along those lines" as much as very specifically those lines, and the total stranger is someone you just played soccer with. And the thing you're coping with is the fact that life just sent you one fucking asshole too many and the last one in line truly ought to be grateful that you can't throw a punch because if you could, swear to Christ, bitch, you'da just thrown down on his ass and taught him exactly how fucking funny he is. But again that's if you're me. Because that, folks, was my Sunday evening.

Things started out well. I'm playing in a soccer tournament in a few weeks, and I've been trying to improve my game in this rec league I play in with my brother. This is important fact No. 1. A "rec league" generally means a co-ed league of players who are legitimately just out to get some exercise and maybe make friends or network with coworkers or justify that trip to Coldstone. There are some really great players in rec league, but mostly it's those of us who played back in high school or college and want to continue playing without enduring the pressure and strenuous demands of a competitive league. A lot of players show up for a game with their team and then stick around to play for somebody else, because team rankings don't mean shit, and almost everybody is out to have fun.
So yesterday I tra-la-la'ed onto the field, a little worse than usual because my left quad was sore. Not really a big deal. Unfortunately, as I ran I was favoring my left leg which quickly earned me a pulled glut on my right side. I was now no longer precisely having fun, but my team needed to have a certain number of girls on the field at all times, and we were already short, so I stayed in. But during the second half I switched to goal because, hey man, if you can't run, just stand in the box and wave your arms. That's when the humiliation began. 
Now mind you, I don't like getting scored on, because who does? (Answer: no one) But it's not the end of the world when a ball goes in. Usually a score is done with class and dignity and respect. But the team we were playing did not embrace these things. To begin with, they were "sandbagging" aka joining a league way below their level of play so that they could beat up on rec teams with half their ability and feel really great about themselves. And they were hyper-aggressive and competitive. In the first half, not only did they routinely race down the field with more speed than our fastest player, but one of them also almost started a fight with my brother when he kicked the ball away as my brother was setting up a free kick. (translation: the ball was not in play at the time. My brother was just putting into the right position and someone decided, "fuck it, time to be a complete cock.")
In the second half I got stuck in one of those situations goalies absolutely hate. A guy broke away from all the defenders and barreled straight at me with the ball. I came out and slid to try to stop him, but the ball slipped through my hands and he jumped over me. Well, good for him. That's a success story for any offensive player, and one of those things goalies just have to deal with. But then, as I struggled back to my feet, I turned to see that he had not scored. Instead, he was slowly dragging the ball onto the goal line. He then got down on his hands and knees and pushed the ball into the goal with his nose, while I watched, jaw hanging open, so shocked that I had no idea what to do. 

I will take to my grave my regret that I did not kick that smarmy mother fucker right in his goddamn fucking waste of an air passage. He thought it was funny. I was so humiliated I almost couldn't finish the game. Oh, and then I got scored on some more.
So after we finished what was almost certainly the worst game of my life, I exchanged some "good games," and "nice work" with other team, and walked past the asshole on my way to get my stuff. (He had subsequently earned himself a yellow card for being fuckhead.) As he stared up at me, I had the distinct and unequivocal pleasure of uttering a phrase that so many people deserve to hear but never do, "Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on, you goddamn cocksucker." Honestly, I regret the "cocksucker" comment. Sexual practices don't really make good insults unless you're saying something like "date rapist" or "pedophile" or, I don't know, "Way older dude that only hits on 16-19 year olds." (Personally I think "date rapist" really needs some more mileage, and I'm going to try to use it more often.) 

Anyway, the moral of the story, kids, is that sometimes you don't realize that the joke that makes you feel good might actually be totally soul-crushing to somebody else. And if you do it to the wrong person, god knows they might be going through a rough divorce or a med adjustment and decide it's time to test drive a what its like to have a restraining order a la kicking you in your goddamn face. 
And on the other hand, guys, I know we all try every day to be good, decent human beings who forgive and move on in the face of injustice. We should keep that up. But personally I will understand if once in a while you just have to cuss some bitch out. It doesn't make the world a better place, but, you know, we're none of us perfect.

Oh, and if you're curious as to what happened next, he said, "you can't be like that!" And I said "Oh, I can!" And then he jumped up and tried to run over to me but his team mate pulled him away. What would have happened if he wasn't dissuaded from further confrontation? I'd like to believe it would have been one of the most epic football brawls in the history of all football brawls. But probably I would have just called him a "cocksucker" again, and then I'd feel bad about myself. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why Hawkgirl is the Coolest: a Terrifying Glimpse into Kate's Mind

Good afternoon and Happy Friday, Internet!

It's been a long while since I updated this blog. I would explain that it's because I've been terribly busy, but that would be a straight up lie. I would also say that I'm sorry, but that would also be a lie. Like, not as bad of a lie: I'm a little sorry. But I'm not that sorry. Because if I was really sorry I would have blogged earlier. And I haven't. Sooooo take that as you will.

Anyway, I've been feeling kind of separated from my nerdom lately, and it's been painful. I haven't been able to LARP in months and in fact, this weekend, will be missing a LARP once again. On top of that I've stopped playing video games because I realized that as hilarious as it is coming up with new swear words that marginally transgress outside the English language (I believe I screamed, "fuck a faigg gog cock" the other night), that extra dose of homicidal rage is not something I need in my life right now. I also haven't been interested in costuming lately, and worst of all, today I cancelled my reservation for Dragon*Con because I officially can't afford it. Essentially, life is getting in the way of my adult childhood and it fucking sucks.

BUT THAT HASN'T STOPPED ME FROM WATCHING THE SHIT OUT OF SOME JUSTICE LEAGUE RECENTLY!

I never really liked Justice League. I'm a Marvel girl. I read Marvel, I watch Marvel, and I've been in love with the X-Men since I was like 6 years old.  Wait let me do the math on that...it first came out in 1992, and I was....Yup, since I was 6 years old.
Anyway, the Justice League just never appealed to me. I didn't know any the characters, they all seemed like a bunch of goody two-shoes, and Superman just seemed like an arrogant self-righteous prick (still does, sort of). But recently my BF insisted that I check out an episode of the Justice League Unlimited on Netflix. It was about The Question, one of his all time favorite comic book characters. So I watched it. And then I watched the next episode, and the next. And I quickly discovered that Warner Brothers had done something brilliant with this early aughts T.V. show (and its predecessor Justice League). They had brought together iconic heroes and given them a new, eye-catching animated style. They choreographed good fight scenes, wrote compelling stories, and included some cute self-deprecating jokes. And every fucking episode includes at least one hilarious sex joke that goes straight over the heads of the intended audience. It's AWESOME.

But the most important thing about JLU is that it introduced me to Hawkgirl. Now, Hawkgirl is not my favorite comic book character ever. That spot is and always has been reserved for Rogue, who sits upon a throne of my childhood and adult emotions about strength, gender, friendship, and badassitude and looks down upon my ever action, letting me know that life is what it is and everything will be all right not because it will get better, but because I have the power to make it better. This post could easily be about her, but some mother fucker named Brett White has beaten me to the punch with basically the best article ever written about Why Rogue is Awesome and I just can't top him.

Anyway, so let's talk about Hawkgirl for a minute and how I want to be her.
Girl, look at dat body. Source 
Exhibit 1. Powers.
Hawkgirl has two powers: wings and a motherfucking mace. THOSE ARE THE TWO COOLEST FUCKING POWERS EVER. Like, Jesus Christ, are you seriously gonna sit here and tell me, "Well actually I'd rather have laser eyes." Fuck you, you goddamn Superman/Cyclops fan, you have no imagination and you probably like the smell of a dirty crotch. Wings and a mace are hands down the best powers ever. Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to have wings. Not just to fly, but specifically to have wings and fly. It's just cooler that way. And as far as combat goes, what better way to fight is there than to straight smash your enemies in the fucking face with a spiked metal ball? Hawkgirl might also have a power of healing or toughness or something because she gets thrown into buildings and cars and shit on the reg, but that's never been made clear to me, so I'm going to guess she survives all that because she's a badass and eats rocks for breakfast. Whatever the reason, I'm ok with getting thrown into a building in exchange for superpowers, so it's cool.

Exhibit 2. Appearance
Source
Hawkgirl has green eyes and red hair. I have green eyes. I sometimes have red hair. Clearly I'm already halfway there.

Exhibit 3. Attitude
Most episodes, Hawkgirl has two abilities: beating fuckers with a mace and insulting the hell out of anyone she doesn't like (often times unintentionally). Sometimes she has two abilities: beating fuckers with a mace and getting the absolute shit kicked out her when she gets thrown into a building. Sometimes she has two abilities: beating fuckers with a mace and absolutely beating the fuck out of anything, metal or flesh, that makes the sad mistake of getting in her fucking way. With a mace. Point is, at not time is she not a straight metal badass, and that's what I aspire to be, every goddamn day of my life that I'm not going to my 9-5 job and worrying about calories and checking my bank account and stuff.

Exhibit 4. Tragic History
Every superhero has a tragedy. It's an entrance-level requirement. Hawkgirl's tragedy is that her people decided to destroy Humanity and at first she took their side, but then she was like, "oh wait, no," and took humanity's side and basically caused her people to lose this gigantic galactic war and most of them died and they won't talk to her anymore and also most of the Justice League are like, "Fuck you, Hawkgirl, even if you do have wings." So she's very lonely and confused and she's not sure what to do, and all she really can do is beat fuckers with her mace which she does, and does well, but still. It's tough.
While most people do not hate me, and I do not hit things with a mace, on a regular basis I will attempt to do the right thing and then realize it's making people upset and then try to do something else to make things better only to make other people upset and basically end up in a conundrum where I just want to hide or, in the alternative, beat fuckers with a mace. Hawkgirl is actually an alien, but her tragedy is very Human and relateble, and I totally get it.

In Conclusion
Hawkgirl is like my comic book character animal spirit guide. If I were a superhero I would be just like her. If I can't be a superhero, I still really wish I could meet and we could be best friends and have a bromance where we drink lots of beers together and then get into a bar fight on Christmas Eve. 

If I were to meet Hawkgirl, here is how I think the conversation would go.
Kate: Hawkgirl, you're so awesome! Will you please, please hang out with me?
Hawkgirl: ...Who the fuck are you?

Hopefully she would not hit me with her mace.

THE END!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Cold Hard Truth* about Depression and Fitness

So true story: in the late summer of 2010 when I started going to the YMCA, I was not trying to lose weight: I had in fact, given up on the concept of "losing weight" or "looking good" or "getting into shape." Mostly I decided to hit the gym because I was suffering from strangling anxiety that kept me awake at night and irritated in the day; I was frustrated, restless, depressed, and generally...well anxious. Moving on the elliptical a few times a week gave me a chance to work out that anxiety. It didn't solve all the problems in my life that were causing me to feel so anxious (see also: nightmare job where there wasn't much I could do about my boss touching me), but something about the light cardio and weight lifting gave me a way to channel my restlessness. For that half hour or so that I spent at the gym all my problems were physical and could be overcome with sweat, grit, and determination. I think going to the gym helped me to get my life back on track. That respite, however brief, from the  ceaseless churnings and writhings of my unsettled mind allowed me to refocus, to value my health and my happiness, and eventually, to make decisions about what to do with my life.

Now let's fast forward almost 3 years to the present day. Today I feel awful. Fore the past few months I've been on a powerful combination of Lexapro and Trileptal. Lexapro, as you probably know, is a common antidepressant. Trileptal is an anti-seizure medication which is functioning for me as a mood stabilizer. It was added on top of my Lexapro dosage because the antidepressant alone was not allowing me to cope with my suicidal ideations, anxiety, and self-loathing. The drugs have helped, and I've finally reached the point where I feel happy and optimistic almost every day and actually might be a little over-exuberant about life. So recently I decided, with assistance from both my psychiatrist and therapist, to go off my Lexapro and possibly the Trileptal as well. Right now I'm beginning week 3 of taking a lowered Lexapro dosage (Trileptal dosage is the same). Next week I'll go off it all together.

Today, the withdrawal is seriously. fucking. destroying me. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. There is nothing I would rather do right now than curl up in bed with my kitty cat and hide from the world.

Covert Operations Agent Marnie specializes in combating Chores and Everything I Did Wrong Yesterday.
But instead I'm at the office, Dealing With It while I write a blog instead of doing my work.

When people list symptoms of Depression or Anxiety, often times doctors, friends, and the Internet all line up to gang bang our problems into submission with some helpful advice about eating right and exercising. These good-natured souls are completely right and also totally fucking wrong. I am absolutely 100% behind the sentiment that fitness and nutrition will help with Depression, but really, most of these people have no idea what in the living fuck they're talking about because it takes a hell of lot more than salads and an elliptical to keep the sewies (my pet term for "suicidal tendencies." I made it up just now) at bay.

Why Fitness Helps
I generally refer to the period of my life before I discovered going to the gym as "back when I was fat." At 155 pounds and 5 foot even, size 14, I wasn't precisely "fat" (though I've been called fat). My body was, for the most part, an average American body, and some people probably even found me attractive. But my mindset was fat. In my head I was a short ugly fat person who could never be beautiful or popular or respected. If I had a boyfriend it would be someone who would love me despite my fatness. I could be the funny girl or the tough girl, but never the pretty girl who stars in the movie and wins and gets the guy. I spent the vast majority of my time sitting in front of my TV playing video games and eating junk food.

Adding some gym-time to my routine was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It certainly increased my health. Along with my weight, my blood pressure has dramatically improved, and I've had way less headaches, colds, and other common ailments. Both cardio and weight training also serve as a great way to reduce stress and work out my anger and frustration in a positive, useful manner. This is difficult to articulate, but the achievements I've made, particularly in silks but also in weight lifting and endurance and other things, have helped me to value myself more. I feel good about myself and proud of my accomplishments. When I look back, I feel more like myself now that I work out than I did in my entire life before.

Why Fitness Doesn't Always Help
None of this stopped me from developing hard, solid plans to kill myself when I decided I was bad person for making mistakes and disappointing my family and it wasn't worthwhile to live anymore. I was in the Emergency Room three times over the course of the last year and admitted into a Psych ward for several days. All this when I was regularly eating salads, hanging upside down in the air, jumping over vaults, and sweating on an elliptical.
The worst part is that not only did my healthy living fail to prevent my negativity, it actually started fueling it. I was at the gym almost every single day because if I didn't go I berated myself for being a bad person. I refused to eat food I enjoyed, and when I did eat unhealthy food, instead of saying, "Well, you've earned it for working so hard," I would think, "You fucking fat stupid fuck, you'll never amount to fucking anything because you can't even stay away from a goddamn fucking cheeseburger. Go fuck yourself." My fitness achievements meant nothing and my failures were hard evidence that I would never be good enough. I thought I was fat.

I still kind of think I'm fat.

Punchline: There is No Quick-Fix
When I got out of the hospital I had to work on something that's always been hard for me: forgiving myself. It's something that I dare say is harder in fitness than it is with most things in life. In fitness, you are constantly facing challenges, and the vast majority of these challenges will not be overcome the first time you attempt them. They may not be overcome the first fifty times you attempt them. It becomes very easy to focus on all the things you still can't do rather than all things you can do now that you couldn't do when you began. that you would never be able to do if you hadn't decided to get off the couch and try this. It's agonizing. It's fucking Depressing.

Fitness. Health. Nutrition. Taking care of your body is essential not just for those of us with Depression/Anxiety, but for everyone. Whether it's just a daily walk with the dog or soccer 3 times a week, working out is an important part of maintaining your happiness.
But Jesus Christ don't ever make the mistake of believing that it's everything. There is no quick-fix to curing your Depression or finding your happiness or loving your life, so if someone tells you all you need to do is eat right and exercise tell them as politely as possible to seriously go fucking fuck themselves in a burning building. It's a day-by-day battle, and it takes everything you've got. It takes friends giving you stupid advice; it takes at least a couple of vegetables every once in a goddamn while; it takes sunlight; it takes laughing; it takes moving your body in some way that challenges you. Sometimes, I think it takes ice cream and a good hard cry.

I'm blessed with an incredibly good life. I have a wonderful boyfriend, a loving family, an apartment and a job, an adorable little kitty cat who makes hilarious mew-noises and flops on her back so I will pet her tummy, and I have a strong, healthy body that I work hard to maintain.
But I still gotta work at this Depression thing. It's tough and it's frustrating and it's not going away simply because I can hang by one knee from a trapeze. But today, despite the Lexapro withdrawal, I have a feeling everything's gonna be ok.



Coming up Next Week! Kate Goes to the Beach and Brags About It! 
Stay Tuned!!

*This Truth is not actually based on any facts and is simply my opinion.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zombie Survival and a Video

So first and most certainly foremost, I heard my first ad for World War Z on the radio on Tuesday, and I was like,
Source
I don't want to see a single preview for it because I just want to show up at the theater with no idea what to expect and hope to have my mind blown. So here's a fun fact about me and zombies. I'm obsessed with zombies. I HATE zombies. Zombies, in my opinion, are the straight up worst case scenario because they are horrible and disgusting and sometimes their intestines are hanging out and they don't kill you, they EAT you. EAT YOU While you're still fucking alive. Now Dr. Alan Grant has taught us that we will meet a similar fate at the jagged maw of a raptor. BUT DO YOU BECOME A RAPTOR WHILE IT'S EATING YOU?! DO YOUR FRIENDS BECOME RAPTORS? If you cut off a Raptor's arm does it keep coming at you while black viscous fluid oozes from the hole in its festering body?!

The answer, my friends and Dr. Grant, is Fuck No. Raptors are seriously badass and if they were here today I hope someone would train them to be ridden, but Zombies are a thing of sheer horror and nightmare on an unfathomable level and they are the reason I lost weight. Kid you not.

There's a longer story behind all this that I really ought to write, but basically I started going to the local YMCA in the late summer of 2010. At first I tried to read Sookie Stackhouse novels while working on the elliptical, but I just didn't have the eneger to last for than about 10 or 15 minutes. But one day I realized Sookie Stackhouse is a goddamn vapid idiotic bitch, so I dropped the book and picked up World War Z instead. My world changed. Suddenly I couldn't get off the elliptical trainer because I needed to keep reading. I lifted weights and did crunches and tried to work on my boxing moves (mostly me punching a bag until my knuckles bled/I injured my wrists) because I knew that there was going to be a Zombie apocalypse and I needed to be fit and ready. I wish I was joking when I say that I started making plans for how to board up the farm and preserve supplies for an outbreak, all the while hitting the gym and eating salads so that when the inevitable happened, I wouldn't be one of the first to be eaten. 

Almost three years later I haven't completed my survival plans yet (though I have ventured into prepper territory a few times), but I've managed to keep my weight off pretty well. Thank you Max Brooks. You dedication to Zombie Awareness has made me a stronger person.

In other news, my good friend Kristin showed me this really awesome trapeze manual over the weekend. I decided to use it to practice moves I have no business working on without a spotter. True Story: I attempted a Backward Roll from Sitting and slipped, which resulted in a trapeze bar to my throat. I will not be attempting that any time soon without a professional watching me. But I also worked on moves I'm more comfortable with and capable of performing. They all need a lot of work, so I took videos of myself to see what needs improvement and also to keep track of where I am now, so that as I improve I can look back on how far I've come. My knees, ankles, and hands did not appreciate this trapeze-focused workout and have begged me never to do it again. Too bad! I'm probably gonna work on it again on Monday. 
Anyway, here's a video I made of my work! (the parts where I looked cool, anyway). I start with the trapeze stuff then review some moves on silks (again you're only see the parts where I looked nice, not all the times my knees wobbled and I looked stupid) and finally a little bit of the conditioning I worked on at the end. Hope you enjoy!!!






Thursday, May 16, 2013

Red Room Training: In Defense of Pole Fitness


So let me start off by saying that, while I could not retrieve any photographic evidence, I'm quite certain that Natalia Romanova has at some point performed a pole dance while operating under cover. And she probably did a damn good job. 

Insert a picture from your imagination here.

Every Thursday I leave work and go to Diva Fit Studios in Herndon. I change into a tank top and a pair of booty shorts that barely cover my goods and enter a room with twelve poles lined up in two rows in front of a wall-to-wall mirror. I choose mine. The music starts, and to the instructor's cues we start moving. Like many (I might argue all) good fitness classes, we begin with a warm-up before moving on to stretches then finally getting into the meat of our workout. We learn some new moves, go over the dance routine for this level, and finish with some extremely cruel conditioning exercises and some stretching. Here's what makes it so damn interesting (I mean besides the fact that I'm dancing on a pole):

Source
Chest Up, Booty Up: Don't be afraid to look like a girl
Since high school gym class, one of my biggest enemies has always been the squat. In face, for years I thought I couldn't do them, and when I realized I could, I refused to. The problem is that I have a great big badonk, and it quite literally follows me wherever I go, and I quite literally am extremely self-conscious about it when I work out. Squats are awful. When I do them correctly it's basically an announcement to anyone within sight that my BUTT is in the room and it's DOING STUFF.  Don't even get me started on dead lifts and how my friends The Boobs On My Chest like to get involved. 
At pole, rather than feeling like I should hide my curves and maintain gender ambiguity, I'm encouraged to flaunt everything I've got. It took some getting used to, but I can look in the mirror and be proud of what I see, rather than panicking and trying to hide it all.

Dance, Magic Dance
After a warm-up and stretches I put on my shoes (oh do I love pole shoes (also right now I can't wear them because of my ankle injury QQ)) and get to work. Listening to songs like Crazy Bitch by BuckCherry while my instructor calls out moves, I march around the pole, dip, spin, flip upside down, and basically do everything you see on TV (because of course you've never been to a strip club). We even do a song each class with no instruction where we just creatively come up with our own moves. For me, dancing is actually a lot like LARPing. At a LARP, I get to fully immerse myself, body and mind, into a different character. At pole, I get to pretend to be this beautiful diva dancing up on a stage. I also like to pretend that, like Black Widow, I'm undercover and trying to identify the target and information on the environment while occasionally relaying information back to the rest of the Avengers. Ironman and Hawkeye are going to break through the door at any moment and it's going to be aaaaawesome. The point is, it's a lot of fun. It's also...

A Damn Good Workout
Yes, she's wearing underwear. Source
The difference between Black Widow and myself... Ok. ONE of the MANY differences between Black Widow and myself: she probably wouldn't get that winded while performing her undercover pole routine, but damn do I. "Body waves" of which we do like 100 per class, are not just for show. They require a cruel combination of tight, flexing core muscles, quads, glutes, pectorals and biceps. In a single sway of my body I'm engaging everything I need for a squat and then some. Oh sure, it's fun. But by the end I fucking want to cry and my quads are threatening to secede from the goddamn union. Inverts, climbs, spins, even lying on the floor kicking my legs in the air, it's all exhausting work on my muscles. I'm burning calories and building muscle and teaching my hamstrings that, "no, no, no, you really can stretch farther, I promise." That's why the class is built the way it is: warm-up, stretch, work out, learn a new move, work that move into a routine, work out more, agonize through conditioning, stretch and cool down. Most martial arts and dance classes are built much the same way because most are making similar demands on the body. 

I'm certainly not the most graceful girl in my class, and I never will be, but I'm more graceful than I was before I started. Pole has provided me with a way to work out and display my strength in a feminine way. It's a fun, challenging sport, and there are a lot of awards. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to do what that chick's doing. I'll probably wear a different outfit.

P.S. I tried to write this post so that it would be safe for my dad to read. Not sure if I succeeded or not...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sprains, Hoops, and Big Explosions: This Past Week Has Been Interesting

**NOTE: This should have gone up on Tuesday. Sorry.***

So to go in completely the wrong order, let me start this recap of how things are going by telling you, Internet, about what happened last night. I was just settling down to play League of Legends for the first time when there was gunshot in my kitchen. Naturally I screamed, and then looked for the gunman, which turned out to be my stove. The BF had (very responsibly) set it to self clean, but we left a can olive oil spray on top. In a pretty goddamn big explosion, the can managed to completely destroy our microwave (buy cannonballing the top into it) and spray oil literally all over the kitchen, including the counters, all food on the counters, the fridge, the entire surface of the floor, and walls. Oh, and the stove, which was still self-cleaning so that the heat caused the oil to smoke up our entire apartment, setting off every alarm we have. After about half an hour of coughing, choking, and clutching our ears, the situation finally began to subside. Two things were learned from this misadventure.

Lesson 1: Don't leave cans of non-stick oil on the stove.

Lesson 2: Don't trust your neighbors for shit. I mean, what the fuck dude?! The entire fucking building must have heard a gunshot, a woman screaming, and then alarms going off as smoke escaped from the windows and yet no one did anything. Thanks guys. Thanks for everything. I now know who not to rely on in a home invasion. Assholes.

Anyway, so on to the rest of my life. So when last you heard from me, I was talking all high and noble about not giving up no matter what. Well Life GM decided it would be really fun to test my resolve. On Monday night, short hours after writing my blog, I decided to work on my sweet parkour moves, and I was doing pretty well, if I do say so myself. Until I landed poorly on my ankle and completely tore one of the ligaments.  (FOR THE WIN!)
After a great deal of sorrow and discouragement I went to silks on Wednesday and only worked on moves that didn't involve using my feet. It went all right. I was disappointed that I couldn't work on any new moves or even practice most of my old moves, but this forces me to build my strength in other areas. For the next few weeks I won't be able to do my traditional climbs or holds, so I guess I'm going to get very good at doing things like the hawk climb, hip key, windmill, and all the miserable strength and invert exercises I need to do well. Hope to have videos up soon.
I also went to pole on my non-functioning ankle, which went well. My instructor was extremely encouraging and told me I shouldn't feel bad simply because I can't wear heels for a while. Apparently the professionals (not those professionals, she means competitive dancers) usually work barefoot, so my next four to eight weeks without any shoes should be good for me. Personally I hate dancing without heels because I feel short, fat, and ungraceful, but I did a nice job on Thursday, and I felt good about myself, so that won't be a huge loss after all. I've got a complete physical scheduled for May 22nd, and when I go, I'm going to ask for a referral to see an orthopedist (or whoever) and see if there's some way I can keep this goddamn ankle from giving out on me again. In the meantime, I plan to keep on working.

In other news, this weekend I went to a bachelorette party where I learned to hula hoop! I also learned that I'm terrible at hula hooping!! It was great. We had lots of delicious food, and there was music, and I didn't kill any of my friends, despite repeated hurling a hula hoop at them and yelling, "JESUSCHRISTSORRY!" just in time for them to duck out of the way. (True story, kids. If your friend invites you out hula hooping, there's a small but significant chance they actually want you dead. Proceed with caution.)

video

video
That's Lauren, our Instructor. She also teaches me silks. She's stupid good, I know.

I'm sorry there are no pictures of me from the hula hooping party. I was too busy taking pictures. And sucking so badly that no one wanted to capture me on film. Oh wait, yes they did. Please listen closely to the commentary.

video
Sigh...I should have deleted them all.

And finally, I OFFICIALLY BOOKED A HOTEL FOR DRAGON*CON!!!  Why yes I have started on my costumes already. Oh yes, I have thought about what events I want to go to. Of course I do plan to buy tickets to the aquarium and then go to the aquarium wearing a pirate outfit and freak the fuck out because I goddamn love aquariums and take 5,000 pictures and videos of me in front of a fish tank making stupid faces and pointing at the fish and skipping drunkenly down the the hallway and demanding to see the sting rays again just let me fucking see the sting rays you're being a jackass you can't tell me what to do i'm going to see the sting rays again shut up.
Sorry that broke down a little at the end...Anyway, I'm working on costume already for 90's Rogue from the X-Men. I'm also probably going to do X-23 and possibly a female Stormcloak Soldier from Skyrim. My cousin is also sewing me a corset, so I might don a steampunk look one night. I'm going to all kinds of writing workshops and games and I'm planning to party as hard as my little heart can stand and buy all kinds of LARP gear. Maybe a signed book or two. Who knows. I'm just a little excited.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Quitting the Game

My weekend, which a pessimist might easily compare to a set of testicles, began on Friday with an extremely rough time volunteering at the Therapeutic Riding Center. I could go into all the things I know or I think I know about horses and their behavior, but it comes down to this: one of the horses freaked out (because some stupid high schooler was messing with her girth) at the same moment I was walking behind her. I reached out and touched her butt to let her know I was behind her so that she didn't kick me. And the trainer who runs the Center screamed at me. Mercilessly. In front of a large group of people. It was humiliating. When we moved out to the ring there were a few moments when no one could see my face as I stood beside my horse, and tears started rolling down my cheeks as I decided that after the session (there are 2 sessions per evening) I was going to get into my car, drive away, and never ever go to therapeutic riding ever again.

I didn't. By some grace I didn't know I have, I pulled the tattered shreds of my dignity together and tied them into a serviceable ball, riding a horse for the second session (usually I walk beside a rider, but some of the horses  need training just as much as the riders do, so sometimes volunteers are asked to ride). I left dirty, dusty, tired, and emotionally raw, and I'll be back on Tuesday for more.

The thing about quitting is how goddamn easy it is. The number of games I've beaten: less than ten. The number of games I've quit because I grew frustrated, bored, or reached an obstacle I couldn't overcome: countless. (DISCLAIMER: I quit playing Mass Effect 2 because I started believing that I was Commander Sheppard and began behaving accordingly in my everyday life. This proved somewhat unhealthy, and for the sake of my mental stability I forced myself to put it away). That's not to say that I need to finish every game I play. Some games suck (Golden Ax). Some games are good, but they're just not for me (Red Dead Redemption). But a lot of games would probably have made me happy if I would have just stuck with them instead of throwing down the controller and yelling, "Oh well, fuck it!" Sports and hobbies are much the same. There are a lot that just aren't right for me, but too often we find we've stopped making progress as quickly as we wanted, or we can't get over an obstacle, or we just don't feel like taking time out of our schedules anymore, and suddenly it's "fuck it I quit," and we're on to something else (or back to watching T.V.)

On Saturday I went to the gym, and worked and worked at my cross-back straddles, and made no. fucking. progress. whatsoever. It was as insanely frustrating as any boss fight you can't manage to beat, but today I'm going to go back and try again. And I have to keep trying because I know that after this challenge, there's the rest of this really cool game that I'm going to love. I just have to beat this part. It's the same with jobs, relationships, and all the other shit life throws at us. Some of it is just really, really boring. Some of it is horrifically challenging (see also: Living with My Boyfriend). It's easy to quit. But in the end, when you've reached 100 Smithing or destroyed that disgusting flesh monster or managed to collect your dignity and return to the Therapeutic Riding Center, there will be rewards. They won't always be sitting in a chest waiting for you, but you will find them, and it's so much better than quitting.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Skin/Equipment

So this has been a big week. On Monday I got my hair cut dramatically short and dyed. It was very exciting, getting a completely different style from a professional, fancy hair stylist at an expensive salon. I drove home and decided it would take a little while to get used to the new cut. The next day I completely hated it.

This is me on Monday night, trying to get a decent selfie with The Hair. (This was attempt #5)

For a variety of reasons, chief among them The Hair, Tuesday was a bad day. Nothing horrible happened, but everything seemed just to go wrong. I felt harried and stressed, as if I couldn't escape my life and my responsibilities. My solution? I cut my fucking hair. With scissors. In the bathroom. The best way I can describe this is essentially:

Kate: I'm going to cut my hair.
Life GM: Uh, are you sure? Do you have any skill in that?
Kate: No.
Life GM: Are you sure you don't want to just go and get someone else to do it?
Kate: No. I'm going to do it myself. What do I roll?
Life GM:  Two dice, two successes, difficulty 9.
Kate: I'm burning all my luck for the day...[rolls dice] 9 and 10.
Life GM: Let me see that...Jesus I don't believe it.

And so I sliced in some sweep-back bangs and hacked away the back until it was as thin as I wanted. And by some miracle (or ridiculously lucky dice roll), it fucking worked. My hair frames my face perfectly, and it's super easy to manage. After my little roleplaying session as Edward Scissorhands, I washed and polished down the bathroom til it sparkled and felt goddamn good about myself, and proceeded to play Skyrim feeling like I had scrubbed my soul with a pumice stone. Here I am on Wednesday night after silks, feeling pretty smug about my 'do.

This also shows off my awesome new super comfy unitard (which I did not know existed until I got one)

Moral of the story: From now on I'm going to the Hair Cuttery, and if I hate the result I totally have scissors at home.

And my big, big, big, big, BIG news is that I finally got a camcorder. An awesome, awesome, (ok it's not really that great) camcorder WITH a miniature tripod. Which allowed me to take the following 5 minute video of a routine I would one day like to do. Now, some warnings: 1) This video is boring. I spend a lot of time sitting there being tired. 2) I do not look pretty. I do not point my toes or lock my knees the way I should. 3) I move out of the view of the camera for a while, which is good, because that was when my shorts slipped down. 4) Just in case you can't view the video here, it's also on youtube.


This video is really important to me because it shows me all the ways (and there are so many ways) that I can improve. Clearly I need to engage my legs more, locking my knees, pointing my toes, and generally ensuring that my legs are a part of my performance, rather than stumps hanging off my torso. I need to work on my cross back straddle invert (3:25-3:40). I think Saturday I'm going to hit the gym and just work on my cross back over and over and over again until my arms ache and I'm crying and it looks slightly better. Naturally I also need to speed up this routine so that I can fit more into it. I think that's going to take greater endurance as well as just better familiarity with the moves involved. I need to get more used to linking moves together without dropping back to the floor for a rest between them.

Coming soon! More videos of me sucking at this stuff (and maybe cartwheels). Take care, Internet!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Things Foods Do We Love

So like most of the internet, I feel a need to mock others mercilessly. But aside from that, I also like to celebrate eating, because it's one of my favorite things to do. So to combine these things, today I bring you my farcical rendition of Things Boys Do We Love entitled Things Foods Do We Love.

When food is delicious


When food is there after we play soccer


When food makes me full, but not too full



When food tastes good with beer


When food is deep-fried
ANY food


When food is sushi




So as you may or may not know, we are currently in wedding season. This means that over the next month and a half, I have two weddings to attend, two bridal showers, a bachelorette party, and a graduation. While they're all going to be a lot of fun they also involve dresses. On me. With pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. So my usual attitude of "Hey a little extra fat is perfectly healthy" (studies support this) has turned into "JESUS CHRIST I LOOK LIKE AN OX IN THIS DRESS UUUUGGGGHHHH." While I'm still patiently waiting for burqas to catch on in the states, in the mean time I realize I'm going to have to clean up my diet a bit. "Cleaning up my diet" sounds very simple, but as you, Internet, probably know,it's not. I realized this when I had to leave my dance class to go back to work and lock myself in front of my desk until midnight pounding out a Management Plan. My response, fueled by a combination of post-workout hunger, stress, and depression, was to reach for that one beacon of light that always gets me through tough times. That special someone who's always there for me, even if I don't often visit. The guy that everyone says I'm too good for, but I know in my heart that he's the one: my best friend, my closest ally, my McDonald's.

I ordered an absurdly large meal which consisted of my strategic removal of all redeeming health benefits and replacement with extra calories, as if the calories themselves were some sort of healing balm for my wounded soul. (HINT: they were not). I realized, however, as I stuffed fries into my face while speeding down 28, that this is a mistake a lot of us make: when we're upset, we tend to seek out comfort foods that are heavy in starch, fat, and calories. I'm an emotional eater. And until this project is done, I'm going to be having a lot of emotions, which will entail a lot of eating.

Instead of saying, "No more comfort foods," as I bit into my McDouble, I decided that I was going to change the type of comfort foods I eat. If spoiling myself with something yummy I don't get to eat a lot makes me feel better, then I need to embrace that. I just can't let it cling so hard to my hips that my ass bounces behind me like a fucking beach ball when I'm wearing a bridesmaid's dress. So I decided to start swinging for healthy comfort food. My new thing: smoothies from Robeks. I'm also going for things like fruit with whipped cream, *good* salads (with strawberries and walnuts and feta, that sort of thing) frozen yogurt, sushi, Subway, and basically any healthy food I can use to replace the crap food I usually eat.

Things Foods Do I Love?
When food makes me happy without totally ruining my ability to wear a dress.

P.S. So I was going to include a picture of me eating a smoothie at lunch today, but I didn't get a smoothie. I got ice cream. For details on this atrocity, please visit my friend Audrey Turner at http://audreykosher.blogspot.com/.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

...Aaaaand We're Back!

Sorry. As I stated in January, ain't much goin' on in the winter, which means I haven't bothered to blog. But for a while I've been itching to put up another post, and I've just stalled because I wanted to post some pictures and videos of how far I've come. Buuuuut I don't have any today. It's ok because you guys will read my post anyway, right? Right? ...Guys?

Well for the one or two readers that are still with me (thanks Mom and Dad?) here's what's been up.

I've started working at a Therapeutic Riding Center every Tuesday, and I love it. It's tough. Some of the horses are as special as the kids who ride them, and of course working with children with disabilities is always a challenge. I really like them though. I work a lot with a boy who is very high on the Autism spectrum and gives me no end of trouble throughout his lesson but always cracks me up. I think he's a lot smarter than he lets on, and he plays games and fools around a lot, but he always has this little smirk on his face that totally warms my heart. I'm hoping that with time he's going to feel more comfortable cooperating and interacting with people. Last night I also worked with another boy who is very high functioning but also struggles with Autism and severe anger management issues. We had a great night. He stayed calm and collected almost the entire time, and he did a great job responding to commands. I feel like he's the type that will get the most out of Therapeutic Riding, and I really hope he learns a lot about emotional interaction from working with the horses.

Now that it's warming up outside, I'm also going to start working with the horses on my mom and dad's farm. I'm hoping to come down once or twice a month throughout the summer and fall to train them. Counting the adorable little baby that was born this past weekend, they now have seventeen horses all together. All but two are not "broken" (trained to be ridden), and very few people want a horse they can't ride, so I've got my work cut out for me. I'm going to be working with the newborn filly, a 6-month old colt (man is he nippy), A two-year old colt, a five-year-old gelding, two mares, and a stallion. The stallion I don't have much hope of breaking, but I have to at least get him the point of interacting properly with people and other horses we're going to have any luck of selling him.

In other news, I'm still doing pole fitness and aerial silks. I might actually put up a video of me doing some pole stuff soon since we are starting to learn some really cool inverts and tricks. Aerials continues to be a constant challenge on my body and soul, but I can now actually do a meat hook!! I'm still mastering the art of getting in and out of it, but I'm really proud of it because it takes massive amounts of strength, which apparently I actually have developed. Hopefully there will be some pictures and videos to come. I'm planning to get a camcorder to observe and critique my movements, so of course I'll post some of what I capture. Til next time! (Hopefully next week, and not a year from now).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Green Room: My First Story Telling Mission

Also Known As part of the reason I haven't been blogging for a while. Also it's winter. There ain't much going on.

So first of all I would like to share that last night I watched The Crow and seriously it is arguably the best film in cinematic history. A goth dude. come back from the dead. murders bad people. with a crow. and he plays guitar. Like, what the fuck else do you want from a movie? I think we're finished here.

Anyway. so first thing's first: I went LARPing again the weekend before last, and really enjoyed it. I really enjoy this game I go to ("Shards of Massagon," or "Shard" for short) because there is some great story-telling (I got pulled into a really exciting plot while I was there), and the Staff do a truly phenomenal job of keeping things in character while allowing players to enjoy themselves and have fun. Also the players are really starting to kick it up with costuming which I absolutely love because I love me some good LARP Fashion. Oh, speaking of which...

Thanks to Jen Fiscus for the shot 

This is me being a total badass with face tattoos basically stolen straight outta Skyrim. And yes, by badass I mean LARPer, the complete opposite of a badass. Anyway, I made the hoodie and the armor was my Christmas gift from my lovely significant other, and all-in-all I'm pretty proud of the look.

So that was fun. I then spent almost every fucking waking hour including many that I was supposed to be working on proposals setting up for my own LARP, the Green Room. The Green Room was a 1899-era Cthulhu Live! Larp run this past weekend at my apartment complex clubhouse. My friends absolutely rocked my world with some spectacular costuming and role play (hopefully I'll be able to update this post with pics of players), and they claim to have had a great time. I cooked several dishes including calamari, which was very exciting, and served four different kinds of absinthe, champagne, and white and red wine, while a friend also brought a bar-ful of liquor to serve manhattans and martinis. Also because it was Cthulhu, I drove all the characters insane. Hooray!

Now that things are closer to normal, I'm hoping to change around my work-out schedule with Monday/Saturday cardio, Wednesday/Friday/Sunday silks and trapeze, and Thursday pole. If it gets to be too much I might drop the Friday silks, but we'll see. Sometimes I'm so tired I just want to go home on Friday nights, but other nights I really want to just kick off my weekend with a nice workout before I get blitzed out of my skull. On that note, here's a demonstration of my improved knee grip strength. Ohwaitmyfuckingphonecan'tuploaditwhenwillIlearntotakeshortervideossorry. :( Anyway, til next time.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

XP Farming and Plotting Skill Points for 2013

WARNING: This post will involve walls of text without pictures.

Ok, so aside from the parts of 2012 that really, really sucked, it wasn't that bad of a year. (I mean honestly, I think you could say that about just about any year, including the one your family burned down in a fire, you lost all your money, and had your leg eaten off by an alligator.) BUT. It was the year that I started doing silks and really hitting the gym again. It was the year my boyfriend and I stuck it out through some tough times. It was the year that I tried pole dancing and gymnastics and really increased my strength, flexibility, and self-worth. Also the year I finally fucking beat DragonAge, seriously it's been hanging over my head so long...

Anyway, so I haven't been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions in the past because I believe resolutions should be made throughout the year. I kind of feel like waiting until the new year and then suddenly engaging  dramatic habit changes is setting yourself up for failure. But on the other hand, setting up goals for yourself is a good thing, especially when you have plans for achieving them. So here it is: Kate's 2013 Resolutions.

1) Pay off my credit card and start saving for something big (like a house with horses and space for LARPing and maybe a tree for a trapeze and silks and I'm digressing, sorry)
2) Do more writing, both blogging and creative.
3) Improve my rail work. Specifically, I would like to be able to do 10 pull-ups and 10 chin-ups as well as 5 leg-lifts (feet touching bar). I think I might have to seek some professional assistance on this one, but I'll keep you updated as to my progress.
4) Tumble in gymnastics. I'm getting closer to performing a front flip. By December, I'm hoping to be able to do a front flip and back flip, a clean round-off, and possibly a hand-spring.
5) Keep my weight lower but increasing my cardio and fruit and vegetable intake. I actually started this before New Year's but my resolution is continue it going forward.
6) I'm officially starting pole fitness again January 10th. That's not really a resolution, but I guess it's related?
7) Take occasional videos of myself doing aerials and gymnastics in order to identify my weakness and track my progress.

On that last note, here is a video my BF took on Friday, December 28th of me on the trapeze. Naturally, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of my execution as well as my strength and flexibility. I could really take this apart second by second and point out all the things I need to work on, but it's a start! Maybe next December I'll post another video that will blow this one away.

video

P.S. This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but it took me a little while to realize that 1+ minute video can't be uploaded over Verizon. Also I may have already overshot my usage for the month. Also I might get a camcorder sometime soon.