March 5, 2011

Every Trip Has One

Today has been a complete failure. We got up early so we could drive out to see a very cool glacier lake, and right from the start things went wrong.

The dining room was extra full at breakfast, so we shared a table with some women from Massachusetts who had just arrived. They wanted to chat at length, so instead of a quick bite to eat before getting on the road, we were stuck there for some time. During which it started to snow. (Nice to know that weather forecasters may be relied upon to be wrong regardless of the language in which they are lying to you.)

Stacey is an experienced snow driver, so she wasn’t concerned. We figured we’d go a little ways and if it seemed to be accumulating we’d head back. But it turned out that the snow was the least of our worries—in fact it turned to rain pretty quickly. Our real problem was the wind. It was blowing so hard that Stacey had to work to keep the car in the correct lane. There was just no way we were going for a long drive in weather like that, so we turned back.

OK. Disappointing, yes, but we’d carry on!

So we decided to go to the National Museum…which was not yet open when we arrived. OK, fine.

We headed out for a cafe that was supposed to be nearby. It wasn’t. Right, sure, OK.

So we went to nearby Hallgrímskirkja, the tallest church in Iceland. It was open, and we only had to walk through a small, freezing tornado to get in the door.

The problem is that there isn’t much to see there. It’s big selling point is that you can pay to go to the top and enjoy the great view, which we knew we wouldn’t have in this weather. So that trip only used up about fifteen minutes.

Next we thought we could do some shopping. We explored several stores; Stacey bought some gifts; I bought a tiny painting in a gallery (where I think the sweet little old lady ripped me off on the exchange rate—I don’t know; I don’t want to know; I will likely spend the next 40 years obsessing about it); we tried to find somewhere good to have lunch; we were drizzled on and endured the wind. At some point my camera stopped working for about half an hour.

Eventually we thought the weather had improved enough to attempt a shorter trip outside the city. Long story short: it had not.

We drove back to the hotel. We looked in all of the guidebooks for something fun to do, something even moderately diverting even, but by now it was almost 4 pm and everything was closing at 5 pm. So now we are hanging out in the room, listening to the insanity-inducing wind blow past our window until we are hungry enough to look for dinner.

I think we must have inadvertently pissed off some of those “Hidden People,” though I can’t for the life of me think how. That or we just used up all of our good trip mojo yesterday. Who knows.

posted under Travel | 3 Comments »
August 15, 2008

Further Adventures in Fitness Trauma: In which Wii Fit makes me cry

Our shiny new copy of Wii Fit, Nintendo’s so-popular-you-can’t-find-it-to-buy-it exercise video game, arrived in the mail today. Within the first five minutes of using it I had burst into tears like a 5-year-old who’s just seen Santa Claus eat her puppy.

Before you can begin the actual getting fit part of Wii Fit, it has to tell you where you currently fall on the fitness scale. It does this by calculating your height and age and having you do some balance tests and by weighing you on its handy dandy Wii Fit balance board of DOOM. This way I guess it figures you can’t lie about your weight.

The representation of you on the screen during the game is called a Mii. It’s the same little cartoon avatar you worked up for yourself when you first got a Wii game system. Mine sort of looks like me if I had darker hair, a smaller nose, and was really angry all the time. So Wii Fit let me choose this existing Mii, which despite being imperfect I felt was at least a decent facsimile of me (in as much as the options let me design something that looks like me). It isn’t tall or thin or blessed with a large buoyant bosom–it’s average in height and on the roundish side.

So when Wii Fit tallied up my BMI to weight to height to age to favorite color to first movie star crush ratio and declared me to be not just overweight but obese, I was devastated. But not as devastated as I would be a second later when it helpfully inflated my Mii to more accurately represent my actual appearance, which apparently is roughly the same as a Mr. Potato Head doll. An angry Mr. Potato Head doll.

This was the bit where I burst into tears. I mean, it’s no great shock that I’m chubby or out of shape, that’s half of why we got Wii Fit, but according to every other system I’d ever consulted I always fell firmly in the overweight but not obese section. And the ballooning of my Mii was just cruel. Especially given that they put my Mii in white exercise pants. What chubby girl in her right mind wears white exercise pants? I may as well wear the Goodyear Blimp.

The program itself is good. It has aerobics, yoga, strength training, and balance exercises. And oddly, the male Wii Fit yoga instructor sort of looks like a buffer version of Larry. But I tell you what, I’d still like to give the people at Nintendo a good smack upside the head because the way I see it, the last thing you want to do to get someone started on the path to fitness success is make them feel like a big, fat loser.

posted under Rants | 3 Comments »
March 26, 2008

ATTENTION!: Your Attention Please, Everyone

Let it be known that on this day, the twenty-sixth of March in our year of the lord two thousand and eight, Stacey, Larry, and I officially became…

MASTERS OF THE PUB QUIZ!

Yes, bow down and shield your eyes from the glory that is us.

That is all.

July 26, 2005

The Girl’s Got Moxie: Two warriors enter the arena; only one will leave alive

On the final day of my 27th year on this planet I did one of the stupidest
things I have done in my entire life: I drank a Moxie soda. To be fair, Larry
was the one dumb enough to buy it, but then he had the good sense to
stop after the first swallow. But let me back up a moment.

We were up in Stowe, Vermont, for my birthday weekend. Stowe is one of those charming little artsy towns full of quirky shops. It was in just such a shop that Larry spotted the Moxie in the soda fridge. He’d never heard of Moxie, though I had a faint notion that it was some kind of cola, and the boy’s
a daredevil so he bought one. We stepped out of the store into the sweltering
heat as Larry took his first swig. It was like one of those cartoons where a
character accidentally drinks a bottle of Tabasco sauce. I’ve never seen
him react to anything in quite this way. There was swearing, and blustering,
and a look of absolute violation. It’s entirely possible that steam came
out of his ears. He declared it to be the foulest thing he’d ever tasted,
so, being the person I am, I demanded a taste.

There are no adequate words to describe the putrescence that is Moxie soda.
But I’ll try. First off, it tastes a bit like black licorice and gym socks
marinated in cough syrup. The minute it hits your taste buds you can feel the
bile rising in your throat and your whole nervous system gives a little shudder of revoltion. And just as you’re starting to recover, the aftertaste hits you. And if such a thing is possible, it’s actually worse. The
bottle proudly states the year 1884 and I couldn’t help but wonder if
this was a bottle of the original batch. But at least the name finally made
sense because you’d need a hell of a lot of moxie to make it
through one of these bottles.

But as I said, it was the day before my birthday. My 28th birthday. And so, in a fit of insanity, with a touch of near-suicidal birthday bravado, I declared that I would drink the entire Moxie. Even if it took me all day. One of us was coming out of this alive and it wasn’t gonna’ be the soda!

I hoped.

Larry, usually the thrill seeker, was looking at me like I was nuts. But I
stuck firm to my decision. And the day got hotter. And the Moxie got more and more revolting. Now flat and warm, hours later I was still at it, plugging away diligently, stopping for long periods to recover. Determined not to let this one thing beat me. There may be a lot of things bringing me down, I said to myself, but this soda isn’t gonna’ be one of them. No, sir! Nuh-uh. Noooooo way.

Eventually the weather got so unbearable we decided to scrap the cute shops
and see a movie. Sitting in the parking lot of the triplex waiting to buy tickets
for Wedding Crashers I realized it was now or never.

So I chugged the Moxie.

Then I cried.

Then I chugged some more Moxie.

And in the end I was declared victorious, though one has to wonder if anyone was really a winner in this contest. Maybe it was a metaphor for life a la The Seventh Seal. You can fight kicking and screaming and maybe you’ll
feel like you can win if you can just hold off Death, outsmart him somehow,
but in the end we all end up the same, drinking really crappy soda. No wait,
that doesn’t sound right. Oh well.

So I drank the Moxie. I should get a T-shirt, like when you run a marathon:
“I Drank a Moxie and Lived to Tell the Tale.” To be honest I did feel a certain degree of pride as I sat there gagging, my tongue lolling and my eyes watering with the empty bottle on my lap. I hate birthdays, but in my
soda-induced misery I was reminded that I was alive—like a near-death
experience. So what lessons have I learned? Well first, there’s a reason there
aren’t a lot of sodas still kicking around from the 1880s. And two, there’s
no obstacle you can’t overcome if you put your mind to it, but maybe there
are a few that are better left unchallenged.]

See the big finish slide show! 100 percent authentic action photos! (Currently only works on PCs)

posted under Rants | 4 Comments »