Friday, May 10, 2013

My Double Rainbow Moment

Something totally boss just happened.

As you read this, you're gonna probably think about that YouTube video that went viral a few years ago. You know the one: the stoned dude crying over a double rainbow in the sky. (No, I'm not gonna link to it. Google that shit if you want.)

This is not about that double rainbow moment. This is my double rainbow moment. It is both more inspiring and, if possible, more embarrassing than that one dude's.

1. So I was really sad because I maybe didn't ovulate this month. I track my temps like crazy but they are not showing me what they need to show me. This is my second cycle on Clomid. This is our seventh cycle trying to conceive. I'm not gonna go into major detail about it. All you need to know is it's looking like I didn't ovulate and it's got me majorly bummed.

2. So my husband came home from work and for a while I was handlin' shit and then I'd had enough of that and I cried. Hard. And got mascara aaaallll over my husband's shirt.

3. Why did I even wear mascara today? Of all days? I didn't go anywhere.

4. It was the kind of crying that's like... the bad crying. Okay? The bad crying where you know unless you keep a tight leash on that shit there are going to be buh-huh-huh sounds. So you do a lot of breathing in and swallowing to keep that from happening because we have limits. It was the kind of crying where you just say Jesus's name a lot because you can't even form words and requests but for real He'd better help you.

5. And then I finished, and I pulled it together because I'm hard. I'm Dwayne The Rock Johnson. And we laughed and talked and it was fine.

6. But a few minutes later he had to leave for something, and I gave him a hug bye and apparently getting back into crying position told my brain it was time to be sad again.

7. My husband told me everything was gonna be alright, like he does, and he left. As he left, he said, "Hey, the sun came out!" (It rained all day.)

8. And I told myself I was gonna go do something pointless on the Internet and not think about anything. I picked up my phone and sat on the couch in the dark living room with the patio door open looking at the golden-lit sky outside.

9. Just then, I got a text from my huband, not three minutes after he left. He was around the corner and snapped a picture of a double rainbow and sent it to me with a text that said: "It's a double rainbow!"

10. I texted him back, "Oh my goodness! It's a good omen!" And he replied, "Yes!" And I replied, "It means we're going to have gay twins!" And he replied, "Nooooo!" And we both replied, "LOL."

11. And I sat and thought about whether that was a good omen. A message.

12. Then for no reason whatsoever I got up and went outside in my naht-nahts (pajamas, for those of you who aren't white trash) and stood on the patio and looked around. The sky was gold and blue and piled with clouds in the west. Beautiful and bright and glowing. It was cool and the wind was blowing and the birdhouse hanging from the roof of the patio was twisting in the wind. I watched the wind blow the bushes around and took deep breaths.

13. I wanted the air to smell like honeysuckle, because it usually does lately, but it smelled first like wet dog shit, and then like Hamburger Helper. I was thinking how that would make a funny status update. And then I was like, well, it smells really funky out here so I'm gonna go in.

14. As I turned to go in I happened to glance up and to the left. And I saw it. The double rainbow. It was bigger than hell. You wouldn't believe how big it was. The little snapshot my husband sent from around the corner was nothing. It was like God threw the rainbows right above our apartments. I can't even capture with my iPhone camera how big it was.

15. This is the part where I have to tell you something really embarrassing. When I was 13 I decided I was going to embrace my Red Power heritage. I'm like 1/16th Cherokee. Or Choctaw. Or something. Whatever. Anyway I was having that 13-year-old surbuban white girl moment where I was gonna IDENTIFY with some oppression in my background. So stupid. I was 13, okay?

16. So I went up on the roof of our house, where I used to go sit for hours by myself and read and think and write and whatnot. And I sat up there and asked for a vision of what my Indian name should be. (I know. It gets gayer.) And I sat there for a long time and had some thoughts but didn't really decide on one, and when I turned around to climb down off the roof there was a double rainbow behind our house, big as anything.

17. So I was all, "Holy crap, it's a sign. My Indian name is Double Rainbow. It's rare and magnificent like me."

18. And then I forgot about the Red Power movement and double rainbows a couple days later and went on with my dumb life.

19. I've probably seen a double rainbow since then, but I can't remember a single instance.

20. And it probably doesn't mean anything, except maybe it does. Because it was right over my head, y'all. It was huge and bright and so close I could touch it.

21. So I'm going to believe this was a sign from God that everything is going to be okay.

22. And also maybe gay twins.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Power 90: A Fat Review For The Fat

I'm doing Power 90 because I would probably experience a cardiac event on the first day of P90X. That's what it boils down to.

Sure, sure, I've seen the "transformation" videos on YouTube of dudes the size of sofas who start P90X despite being physically unable to wipe their own asses. By the end of their first round, they're loveseats. Three or four rounds in, they're Vin Diesel.

I, too, want to be that badass. But, you see, we build to that. Because we are fat as fuck.

I'm supposed to share my Before photos on the Beachbody website. I can't claim to have done that without lying my fat ass off.

Beachbody is all about tracking your photos and measurements and whatnot and they claim to have all sorts of stats about how much more likely you are to be successful if you track your shit. And I'm doing it, ok? I took the damn photos. But I can barely look at them myself, let alone share them with strangers online. I don't want them to tell me, "Come on! You can do it!" I want them to fuck off.

For now. Once I'm in the After phase, I'll be TOTALLY cool with sharing my before photos. "Look how fat I was!" I'll say gleefully.

So let's talk about the workout.

The Workout

This is a lie. No one is ever ready for Power Yoga.

Power 90 is P90X's predecessor, basically; P90X stands for Power 90 Extreme. So this is kind of a gentle version. P90X just expanded and intensified Power 90.

Power 90 is broken down into four phases, technically. Except really it's two phases. There's a DVD for Phase I-II and a DVD for Phase III-IV. How it works is, you start with Phase I-II, and your transition from Phase I into II is more of your own decision. Like, "Okay, I feel like I'm in Phase II now."

For example, right now I'm in on Day 9, and still firmly in Phase I. There are still some movements I can't do all the reps of, or can't do at speed. There are even one or two movements I can't do at all. I will consider myself in Phase II when I can do almost all the reps, and when there aren't any movements I can't complete.

And when I'm doing all the reps and all the movements and just clipping right along and don't feel challenged, on that mythical day, I will transition to the Phase III-IV DVDs, and repeat the same process but with more sweating and gasping.

There are two workouts in each half of the Power 90 program: Sculpt, aka Circuit, and Sweat, aka Cardio/Abs. You start on Sculpt, do Sweat the next day, then Sculpt the next, and so on. You do this six days a week, generally taking a day off every sixth or seventh day. You do this until 90 days are over or you are dead, whichever comes first.

Sculpt is basically toning/conditioning/strength/resistance exercise, whatever you want to call it: things like squats, lunges, and pushups, as well as arm exercises using dumbbells or resistance bands (more on the bands later). It's broken into I think three sections, although I'm not going to turn it on and look because I'm not getting paid for this shit. There is stretching and breaks in between. It includes a warm-up and a cool-down.

From what I've read online, most people agree with me that Sculpt is easier than Sweat. The lunges and squats at the end of each section are what really get me. The pushups are hard, too, now that I can actually do more than two. There is a lot of arm work, which I like because I need it. My arms look like hams.

Sweat, or Cardio/Abs, is my frienemy. It's really horrible. It's basic aerobic stuff: knees up in different and exciting ways; jumping jacks which I cheat on; hopping back and forth; some "x" work (you'll get it when you do it); some MMA-style kicks and punching, etc. There is stretching at the beginning and end and even once or twice in the middle. Like Sculpt, it's broken up into sections with a timer on the screen that I try to ignore.

It's just, you know, cardio. You just keep moving. And it sucks. And you want to stop moving.

At the end, after you cool down and stretch, comes the AB RIPPER 100! It's ten abdominal exercises, and you ten reps each. Hence the 100. It's supposed to give you a glistening slab of rippling abdominal muscles that look like a litter of pit bull puppies trying to escape from your body cavity. Which, if Pinterest is any indication, is all the rage nowadays.

I understand wanting a flat stomach, but the washboard thing, I don't really get. I never have. Sorry. But I need to whittle about 238 pounds off my midsection, so I do the ab exercises with gusto.

I can't tell you anything about Phases III-IV of Power 90. I thought about watching them but was not in the mood for a horror movie. I'll come back and give you a review after I start the second half.

The Other Stuff You Might Want To Know About

Lisa, keeping her chin off her chest.
You're probably wondering about the silliness. On a scale of Zero to Richard Simmons, I'll give it a 4. There is going to be some silliness. It's a workout video, and there's something innately silly about a dude working out and encouraging you to work out across time and space from the safety of his little studio, where he cannot smell you or see your fat.

Tony Horton is a lean, muscular, vaguely reptilian-looking man in his 40s. He seems perfectly pleasant and like a totally nice guy. There's not a lot of Richard Simmons-esque love in the air, but he does do a bit of light encouragement.

Sometimes I feel bad for him, because I know he's trying to fill up the time with words. Like in the Cool Down. There's not much he can really say. We're just supposed to kind of lightly move around and drink water and dry off for two minutes before stretching. But it's his job to keep talking. Silence is too awkward. So he explains how we should dry ourselves off about three times, says "Here we go" a lot, and is just generally ridiculous.

At some point during every workout, I look at Tony Horton and his sweaty tanktop and eager face, and I'm like, "That guy is a brazilianaire because jerks like me pay $72 for DVDs that cost $12 to produce, featuring him and two assholes jumping around on a rug for 30 minutes."

It's the American dream.

Most of Tony's encouragement is visited upon you by proxy through "the kids," as he refers to them, a pair of co-workers-out in the background called Lisa and Sean, or in the Sweat video, Lisa and Paul.

Lisa has a disturbingly Stepford-like appearance. Her body is so completely perfect it appears to be carved out of latex. She has perfect facial features, in an odd, rubbery way, almost like one of Barker's Beauties on The Price is Right. She kind of disturbs me and I vacillate between completely envying her rockin' bod and wondering if she's a Cylon.

Sean is just some dude. I don't know. He sweats a lot. Paul is very similar: generic dude. It took me three days to realize they were two different guys.


"YOU are awfully fat."
There is no big secret to Power 90. It doesn't have any magic formula. It's a workout. There are no movements you haven't seen or done, probably. If Power 90 is more likely to work for you than any other workout, it's probably because, like most Beachbody programs, it's broken into chunks. Everything is in bite-size bits: the 90 days, the phases, the progress bar they show on the right side of the screen. Everything is managed, and every bite-size bit is both challenging and possible.

It's a nicely packaged system for people like me who like to have a set goal of, for example, 90 days, to move toward and focus on. It definitely gives you a good, solid, challenging workout that allows room for improvement. There is not a lot of clutter and bullshit on the screen to piss you off. My only complaint about the production itself is the music, which consists mostly of a canned voice shrieking "GET ON UP AND DANCE" about 600 times to a cheezy electronic beat, but you can turn it off.

I'd say Power 90 is a good place to start if you're in foul shape but want a challenging workout anyway. Or if you're in ok shape but want to get in really good shape without killing yourself right from the jump.

I chose Power 90 because I want to, over the course of the next year or so, get into the best shape of my life. Just once, I want to be in excellent physical condition. And I do mean excellent. I want to be able to kick asses and do pullups and punch my way out of a coffin like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Metaphorically speaking. I just want to look and feel and be utterly healthy and vital and awesome.

Power 90 will not be the end of the road for me. My plan is to do P90X next.

I'm happy with Power 90. For my $72 I got all the DVDs, a nutrition guide (which I'm ignoring), a calendar, and a handy booklet of instructions, encouragement, and other guidance, where you record all your Before stats and measurements. Oh, and the resistance bands which I'm not super fond of. They're just a bit awkward. If I were you I'd use dumbbells.

If you're motivated and committed, this is a good program. The Beachbody slogan of "Decide. Commit. Succeed." about sums it up. Or as Yoda says, "Do or do not. There is no fucking try." (I think I added the f word. It helps.)

I've decided. I've committed. I'm gonna succeed. If you want, join me, and we'll get less fat together.

If you want to buy Power 90, buy it by clicking the link below. That way Amazon will give me money and we all win.

You Can't Kidnap Me For Ten Years

Amen, sister.

This is going to piss a few people off. That's okay. I have to say it.

First: I feel nothing but sympathy for Amanda Berry and her daughter, who by the way is really cute, and Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. On the real, I am stoked beyond telling that they escaped from that bastard's house with their lives.

Ariel Castro is a sick, sick fuck who deserves to be raped for ten years and then drowned in a toilet. According to Michelle Knight, he got her pregnant five times, and beat her until she miscarried five times. Ariel Castro deserves the death penalty.

I'm already hearing his piece of shit brothers aren't being charged because there is insufficient evidence... but meanwhile they picked up one of the brothers at McDonald's BUYING FOOD FOR THE CAPTIVES. What the fuck, over? How can it even be determined what evidence they have or don't have within a few days of the rescue?

It's a bit fishy to me.

Anyway, like I was saying, I have sympathy for those women and that little girl. I'm so happy they're safe and they deserve lots of hugs and love and chocolate and bubble baths for the next ten years at least.

But you can't kidnap me for ten years.

You can say whatever you want about the psychology of captivity and abuse. You can quote me studies and textbooks and shit you read once all the live-long day. I'm just telling you:

You can't kidnap me for ten years.

Yes, I know he kept them chained up. I know he kept them locked in the basement. I know he would pretend to leave and beat them if they tried to escape. I know all that.

You still can't kidnap me for ten years.

For one thing, there were three of them and one of him, and we know that at least a few times they were all unchained at the same time. We know he stopped locking them in the basement and started letting them live upstairs. That's the kind of mistake someone like me would take advantage of.

Three women against one fat dude? I could organize two other chicks, you bet your ass. Even scared chicks. "You, slam the door on his hand. You, put the bag over his head. Don't worry, I'll do the stabbing."

"Oh come on, Kristen!" you're squealing at your monitor. "You don't know what it was like! You don't know how he kept them or what he did to them! You can't say you'd have done any better!"

All I have to say in reply is: TEN. YEARS.

Ariel Castro is not a genius. In ten years, Ariel Castro slipped up probably hundreds of times. I would have been ready.

There is a reason people like me don't get kidnapped. I would immediately strike a potential kidnapper as not worth the trouble. It would take about 30 seconds in my company to realize I'd be a real pain in the ass to put up with in a sex dungeon.

Because I'm not staying in your basement for ten years, bro. Ain't nobody got time for that. I'm either gonna murder the shit out of you or die trying. I will either stab you in the face or piss you off so bad that you stab me in the face, but either way, I do not have ten years to hang out with you. I got shit to do.

See, I'm difficult to rape. Because I made up my mind a long time ago that in order for you to rape me, I'm gonna need to be (a) dead, or (b) unconscious. Because as long as I'm conscious, I will not stop fighting you. Tie my hands behind my back, and I will head-butt you and bite your lips off. I don't care how big the gun is you're pointing at my head. When restrained or otherwise attacked, I become like a wild animal. I will bury my teeth in the flesh of your neck and not let go. I'm that bitch. I am a terrible, terrible candidate for your rape. I am not the droid you are looking for.

I don't doubt for a second that Amanda and Gina and Michelle were unwilling captives and sex slaves. All I'm saying is: there is the type of person who can be held captive for ten years, and then there are the Kristens of the world, who will gleefully pop your fucking eyeball out of your skull with my thumb if you let one of my hands free for a few seconds.

I'm not saying I definitely would have escaped. I'm saying I would have escaped or gotten myself killed. Either way, ten years later, my ass would have been long gone.

All of these women were small and appeared defenseless. That's why they were targeted, and that's why women need to be armed with appropriate weapons and trained to use them. All women need to practice situational awareness, not just in high-crime areas but all the time. And all women need to not do dumb shit like getting in cars with strangers.

I've done dumb shit. Once when I was 20 I hitchhiked on the interstate drunk. But that's another blog post. And I survived, by the grace of God. Or maybe because the guy who picked me up realized quickly that I'd be a real pain in the ass to get into the dungeon. I don't know.

But more women need to not be dumb shits, and teach their daughters not to be dumb shits, too. Two of these girls were dumb shits. They got rides from strangers. That doesn't mean they deserved to be raped and kidnapped, hell no, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying let's not be dumb shits.

I don't have a daughter yet, but if and when I do she's gonna be packing heat as soon as she's of age, and you best believe, knowing her daddy, she will be trained up like hell in the proper use of any firearm you can think of. I won't raise a victim. I will raise the kind of girl you spend 30 seconds with and know she'd be a real pain in the ass to have in your sex dungeon, if you could even get her there, which you can't because she will shoot you in the face if you try, and then sleep like a baby.

We are a nation of people who conquered the wilderness, or we were. We are all of us the descendants of the toughest. The weak didn't make it over here. Our ancestors battled extreme weather, malnutrition, pissed-off Indians, famine, disease, nature, drought, and the never-ending, ever-brutal life of the New World colonist. They didn't survive all that shit so their stupid descendents could be reduced to quivering gelatinous puddles of tears and fail when a stranger shakes a fist in their direction.

Why can't we get back that attitude? We're Americans. We're badasses. We invented hamburgers and muscle cars and the Second Amendment. You can't keep us in your bullshit basement, you asshole. Give us a chance and we'll stab you in the throat with that screwdriver you accidentally left unattended and feel great about it.

Take, for example, the photo above and at the top of this post. A religious group has been handing out knives to Indian women to help them avoid rape. They're having big time sexual assault problems over there. This is India, people! INDIA! They don't even stab their COWS!

Getting our big American balls back is necessary to the survival of our society. I'm dead serious. Because if we don't start fighting for a civil society, the criminals and thugs are gonna take it. I keep hearing from people who feel they are better Christians than me because they abhor violence and they'd rather die than stab someone in the neck with a screwdriver. Well then. Have fun with that. I know - I'm not guessing, I KNOW - that being a victim of predators is not required of Christians. I'm quite certain that the defense of oneself and others - and ones civilization - is both just and righteous. So get out of my face with that shit. I do not belong to the Lie Back and Take It school of Christianity. Once upon a time Christendom would whup your ass.

I am happy as hell that those women and that little girl made it out alive. God bless 'em all, and may God have mercy on Ariel Castro's soul because he's a soft little nugget and he's gonna have a hell of a time in prison.