Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dear the Internet,

I appreciate what you are trying to do. In a way, it's kind of nice that you try to send me personalized messages when I'm browsing Facebook or reading articles on Cracked. It is very thoughtful of you to show me advertisements for Modcloth or Etsy, two things I'm obviously interested in, rather than the blanket ads for old lady vitamins and chainsaws that I assume you show to strangers. Sometimes, it feels like you really get me. 

But sometimes, you go too far. 

Where I used to see half priced shoes and websites that sold discount Disney movies, I now see leagues of advertisements for online dating sites (because yes, advertisements are measured in nautical distance now). I used to think that was just a glitch, as these ads were placed directly next to ones for engagement rings (why would anyone need both?), but I'm starting to wonder if this was not more deliberate. Are you trying to show me pictures of engagement rings so that I can start to feel lonely and isolated before basically shoving me into an online dating program? Well, it's not going to work! First off, you are an inanimate object and I am not actually located inside a computer, so shoving is already out of the question. Second, you seem to really underestimate (or maybe overestimate... I haven't decided) how much I care!

"Microwave Cooking for One? That's perfect, because you hate to cook and are single!"

But sure, maybe you wanted to start small. You wanted to see how much abuse and humiliation I could take at your hands before really laying it on. 

Well, good job. You've finally succeeded. I didn't mind when I saw nothing but ads for online dating, but now, I can't read an article without half the page being covered in ads for plus-sized clothing. I've never browsed for, looked at, or bought plus-sized clothing, and yet, here it is all over every webpage I bring up. What? Did you look at the pictures from this blog and/or my facebook, run them through some sort of scanner, and decide that I'm not thin enough for regular clothing stores? Even worse, why do all of your models look so depressed? Is it so I'll relate to them after I get sad that apparently the internet as a whole thinks I'm overweight enough to merit exclusively plus-sized clothing? 

Granted, there is nothing wrong with wearing plus-sized clothing, much like there is nothing wrong with being pregnant. But in both cases, it is insulting to just assume that about someone. 

You used to be cool, Internet. What happened?


Jenny "7 Free Pizzas Isn't Enough" C.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

By day, a mild-mannered Assistant Project Manager...

... by night, a former mild-mannered kickboxing student.

Last spring was rough. I was usually stressed out and on edge. Even when laughing and joking around, the slightest disturbance could send me off the rails. Most unsettling of all, I was always uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable with my coworkers, with my friends, and sitting alone at home. Eventually, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and at some points with my own name. It was a weird time. After a while, I realized that this wasn't just going to go away on its own. I needed to do something. 

That's when I joined a kickboxing gym. Obvious solution, right?

Rather than talk to anyone or try to work through my issues the usual, healthier, way, I pretty much just decided that kickboxing would fix me up. I thought it would be a good opportunity to relieve my pent up frustration and anger in a safe environment. Granted, it wasn't nearly as cathartic as that scene from Zombieland where they smash up the abandoned gift shop, but since there was no zombie apocalypse in progress at the time, that option just seemed way too cost prohibitive. 

And as weird as it sounds, it totally worked. After the first few classes, I saw a significant improvement in my stress levels and overall happiness. I guess I just needed a suitable outlet. 

A very suitable outlet
I started in the Kickboxing 101 class learning proper stance, basic kicks, and a few easy punches. After a couple weeks, I moved up to the Kickboxing Intensity class where we would run, shadow box, stretch, punch, knee, kick, lift weights, and do some ab work, usually in that order (sometimes with burpees thrown in there for "fun"). 

Kicking was easily my favorite part (even though kicking was my least favorite part of drill team). My legs have always been stronger than my arms (you know, like most people), so it always made me feel so powerful to round-house kick something in the face. Actually, that's not true. It always made me feel so powerful to round-house kick something in the torso-area. Every time I tried kicking the dummy (that we called Bob) in the face, my heel would catch on its shoulder and I'd fall backwards squeeling. My instructor called me a mouse because my voice would get so high.  

With the exception of burpees (ugh, seriously, those are so terrible), shadow-boxing was my least favorite part. While burpees were difficult, shadow-boxing was just awkward and boring. I felt like we were just throwing our fists in random directions (granted, I was probably doing it wrong), and I didn't get anything out of it. Shadow-boxing would have been way more fun if it had been the kid version, where you'd make your shadow fight another person's shadow. Be careful, though, because if you are only looking at your shadow, you might accidentally actually use your non-shadow fist to punch another person's non-shadow face (sorry, Eric). 

High knees are also pretty fun, and proof that my years of dance can actually apply to less girly activities. When the coach showed me the move, he seemed impressed with how quickly I caught on. What I didn't tell him was that it was basically the exact same movement as the running man. Or maybe I did tell him... and maybe he didn't appreciate it. Whatever. 

These are the exact poses made when trying to teach Kirsten how to do the running man years ago.

The best part is that I never felt pressured to spar with my classmates (or even asked, for that matter). I was strictly a no-contact kickboxing enthusiast, and I wanted to keep it that way. Kickboxing was a pretty fun time. 

However, all good things must come to an end, right? You may have noticed my use of the past-tense. Well, since I started drafting this post months ago (yeah, I know I haven't been here in a while... work and my life outside of work have both gotten crazy busy), my kickboxing gym closed its doors for good. 

Don't worry, though, before it closed, Lisa and I decided to get a couple Groupons so that we could continue working out together (I met her at kickboxing, and we made such great workout buddies that we couldn't let that end). Not only did we find a great deal at another kickboxing gym (that I haven't actually checked out yet because I'm terrible about procrastinating), but we also got a voucher for 20 Jazzercise classes (which I may have mentioned before!

Here she is dutifully posing for pictures while trying to not laugh. She's the best.

But seriously, who knew that Jazzercise was still a thing? I went to my first class thinking it would be fun dancing, kind of like Zumba, but then it totally kicked my butt. I'm loving it! I was kind of worried that after kickboxing ended, I'd return to my old funk, but I'm still feeling pretty good. Either I'm in a healthier, happier place than before, or maybe Jazzercise was just the ticket I needed!

And it's got to be safer than kickboxing!

Have you ever found an awesome gym only to have it close down? Did you ever actually make friends in a fitness class? Do you want to guess how many hot pink leotards I bought for my new Jazzercise classes?

Spoiler: it's zero.