• Category Archives Tuesday Time-Waster
  • Tuesday Time-Waster: Living in the air

    What do you do if you’re a 20-something travel/internet nerd who wants to escape from a breakup? Well, if you happen to have zillions of airplane miles and credit cards with free perks, you could just move out of your apartment and into … airplanes. Yes, that’s exactly what this guy named Ben has done.

    I think any of us who enjoy travel have fantasized about traveling for free. I had a college classmate who could fly for free because his dad was a pilot. So he flew somewhere almost every weekend, not even staying in a hotel in order to save money. He would just go to the airport, get on a plane, wander around his destination for a few hours, then fly home.

    As someone who’s been flying since infancy and is on four planes this week, I would love to have free flights and perks (first class, please? someday?). But for now, I’ll just read about people like Ben and continue my day job.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: Small town living

    I grew up in a very small town I know you’re thinking THAT kind of small, but that’s still too big. Try this: My graduating high school class had 51 students. See, that is what I mean by “small.”

    Well, this link to “17 Things People Who’ve Ever Lived In A Small Town Understand” recently made the Facebook rounds among my high school’s alumni. (You see, in a small town, you know everyone in the high school, not just in your own class. You know everyone from all four years, and all of their parents.)

    If I tried to comment only on the items in that list that were correct, this blog post of mine would go on for another 17 paragraphs. But here is my take on that link: We did not have Costco, and weren’t close enough to one to even consider getting a membership. Our “downtown” named Main Street, and that was it. High school dating wasn’t just awkward because you were friends with their ex — you were also friends with their siblings and parents. Visiting family in another city was so different that I never even realized that’s how many people live. Going for a drive was definitely an activity, and it got more exciting when a certain friend would lean over and press down on my leg that was on the gas pedal (platonic friend, and yes, I knew/know his sisters and parents and cousins and aunts and uncles).

    Also, you’re big rivals with another small neighboring high school. BIG RIVALS. Like, you go paint “graffiti bridge” in their town before a football game, even though you know they’ll have it covered up immediately. However, if someone from their team is named Jason Sehorn and goes to play in the NFL and proposes to a gorgeous actress actress on Jay Leno’s show, you definitely claim him as your own. After all, he played at a community college where some of your classmates went. And if the little Black Bear Diner from that nearby town becomes a big chain, yep, you claim that as your own, too.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: 1,000 musicians for the Foo Fighters

    Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are kind of known for being good guys. He recently fell off a stage while performing, broke his leg, but finished the show. And then he fought to cancel as few shows as possible despite having major surgery.

    Well, a guy in Italy is a Foo Fighters fan and was sad that the band hadn’t been to Italy since 1997. He came up with an idea: He recruited 1,000 musicians (guitarists, bassists, drummers and singers) from across the country and got them to perform the Foo Fighters’ song “Learn to Fly.” They videotaped it and asked the Foo Fighters to come perform in their town of Cesena, Italy.

    The project took a year of fundraising, planning and recruiting — and I’m not at all surprised, because can you imagine trying to get 1,000 people to all play in harmony?! I mean, it was bad enough when three or four of us briefly tried to start a band in high school. (It didn’t help that our lead singer was also the drummer and it was hard for him to do both at once, and that I was the pianist but didn’t play by ear.)

    The musicians were not paid, and they also had pay their own way to the field where the final performance happened. I assume the field was far away from neighbors who would complain about the noise, and I also assume that meant electricity was another challenge. But it all worked! On July 26, they did their grand one-song performance. Here’s the video, and it’s fantastic!


    So, the performance was on July 26. Four days later, they had edited into that amazing video and posted it publicly. And within HOURS Dave Grohl, being the cool guy that he is, learned enough Italian to record a video in that language, saying yes, the Foo Fighters would come perform for the 1,000 Italian musicians.

    I sat here and watched the whole video of the musicians’ performance. And then it played in the background while I typed this post. It’s just so impressive! In two days, the video received 13 million hits on YouTube, and I’m happy to be one of them.

    If you want more, here’s the website of Rockin 1000, which organized the whole thing. Their diary section tells the story of how it all came together, and there are some videos on that site. Here’s a story about the Foo Fighters also agreeing to playing in Richmond, VA, after fans there sold tickets to a concert in hopes of the band coming. And if you don’t know who this Dave Grohl guy is, well, look no further than Wikipedia. Also, regarding that broken leg earlier this year, here’s what went down that night, and here’s what he did so that the Foo Fighters’ packed show schedule could keep rolling.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: Ruth Anne Bortz

    Today’s link is most definitely not a time-waster. Instead, it’s an incredibly poignant, elegant article written by a man who just lost his beloved wife. The writing is poetic, the feelings are so very genuine, and it makes me want to read more of his work (which I will be doing very soon).

    Ruth Anne Bortz died last week after battling Alheimer’s Disease for more than three years. I regret that I hadn’t known of her, because she sounds like an incredible, inspirational woman who took up running later in life and achieved some remarkable times. Winning your age group at the Boston Marathon is no small feat, and neither is a time of 24:34 at the Western States 100-miler (at ANY age). It’s nice to know that she was there last month for a 70-year-old woman’s remarkable run, and that the race is recognizing her.

    Every single person in this world has a story. Ruth Anne was no exception.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: You’re never too old

    I’ve been saying for years, “Life is short; live it.” I tell college kids: “If you want to do foreign exchange, DO IT now so you don’t regret it later.” I tell everyone: “If you think you want to run a marathon, DO IT.”

    I say this mostly because I’ve seen people reach the point where it really is too late. I’ve seen people die. I know some with permanent injuries/disabilities. And I know that when I’ve taken plunges in life, I have not regretted them.

    The thing is, you can take that plunge at any time. Did you know that Intel was founded by a 39-year-old? And that Henry Ford was 40 when he started his automobile company? Costco was started by a 47-year-old, and Starbucks by a 51-year-old. Take a look at this site; you’re never too old to start something new.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: 70-year-old runner beats the clock

    A 70-year-old woman became a legend this weekend when she barely beat the 30-hour cutoff time at the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. Yes, she’s 70. In fact, she’s almost 71. Yes, that’s 100 miles. In fact, it’s also 18,000 feet of climbing and 22,000 feet of descending. Gunhild Swanson’s endeavor was so remarkable that, when word reached the finish line of an elderly woman trying to finish, winner Rob Krar made his way to the last aid station and ran/walked the last 1.2 miles with her — while wearing flip-flops.

    Here is a photo gallery, including Rob Krar (in the cowboy hat), taken by someone accompanying Swanson:

    And here’s an interview with her after the race, where she explains a few remarkable things. First, she took a wrong turn and added three miles to her run. Second, she ran seven-minute pace around the high school track to the finish line in order to beat the clock — and that’s after 103 miles! Third — oh, just watch the video; it’s worth nine minutes of your Tuesday morning.

    Special congratulations to Desiree, who has dreamed of and fought for this finish line. It’s kind of cool to be able to say “I ran the New York City Marathon with a Western States finisher!”

    And congratulations to Billy Yang, who does a lot for the running community but this time got to be on the receiving end a bit.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: Stuffed penguin exhibit

    In a little gallery around the corner from one of my sisters, 450 stuffed penguins are on display in an interactive exhibit.

    Yes, interactive stuffed penguins. Yes, 450 of them. I did not typo. You apparently walk into this room and make movements, and all of these penguins swivel as you move. They’re essentially doing The Wave, only without beach balls and not at a baseball game where people are trying to watch the game. Here, click this picture to see what I’m talking about:

    Click to see the penguins move!

    Is that not the MOST AMAZING THING EVER?! OK, so I might be a bit biased because I am a big fan of penguins. But, really, isn’t that cool???

    What’s killing me is that this exhibit is, quite literally, around the corner from my sister’s apartment but it’s only running through July 1. I currently have plans to be there this fall, a mere four months too late. Sad panda! Or penguin.

    If you’re interested, here’s the museum, here’s info about the penguin exhibit, and here is the blog post where I heard about the penguin exhibit.

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: Skydiving into an ultramarathon

    As someone who’s a fan of both running and skydiving, the SkyDive Ultra has been on my radar since the idea was first born three years ago. It’s exactly what it sounds like: You jump out of an airplane 2.5 miles above the earth, land, and then you run a whole bunch of miles — ranging from 6.2 to 100 miles, including “normal” distances like a marathon.

    I doubt I’ll ever actually travel to southern Florida to do this event, but it’s a fun idea. I’ve only skydived once because it’s expensive, but I absolutely loved it and was on this awesome, electrified cloud nine for hours. (Side note: I didn’t tell my mom that I was doing it so she wouldn’t worry, and I highly recommend the shock factor of calling your loved ones and saying, “Guess what! I just jumped out of an airplane!”) I’ve also only run one ultra, but I’ve run 15 other marathons, so I guess you could say I’m not opposed to them. I really wonder what it would be like to skydive and then start running with that incredible high. Something tells me I’d start out running two minutes per mile faster than my marathon pace due to the skydiving exuberance, I’d hold that pace for five minutes, and then I’d spend the rest of the race suffering from it.

    Anyway, it’s a small, new race that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s been successful enough for the past two years that registration is open for next January’s third-annual race. The race director himself wrote a recap of it: As I suspected, most participants were local, but some were not and some had some really cool stories of what brought them to the race. I also found this race report; Mr. “Cheaply Seeking Fitness” did have a higher than average heart rate during the race due to the skydiving, which doesn’t surprise me.

    If you’re not into running or skydiving, I suppose this wasn’t much of a Tuesday Time-Waster. But maybe those links will make you feel more normal in comparison?

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: cute food

    Did you ever play with your food when you were a kid? Oh, admit it; you did. I used to play with my toast. I vaguely remember making it into chairs and tables, rather than monsters, but maybe you did this:

    But what I mostly remember is the first day I didn’t play with my toast. I must have been about 4  or 5 years old, and I have this distinct memory of realizing my toast had just vanished SO quickly because I’d simply eaten it, rather than playing with it. I was so sad that my toast was gone. Ah, the pangs of growing up.

    At any rate, today’s fun time-waster is Instagram user Little Nummies’ feed. The above and below photos are from that site, but the whole stream of photos is just too cute.

    How cute is this?!

  • Tuesday Time-Waster: Trapper Keepers

    Raise your hand if you had a Trapper Keeper. Raise your hand if you remember the design on it. And shake your hands in the air like you just don’t care (preferably while wearing acid-washed jeans and your bangs in a 3-inch-high poof) if you can find a picture of that Trapper Keeper via Google’s image search. Oh yes, my friends, I found my old Trapper Keeper.

    Yep, my Trapper Keeper looked exactly like the one above (and it looks like vintage ones are still floating around on Etsy)). I used it in school for quite a while. At some point I stopped using it, I think maybe when we needed bigger binders. But the Trapper Keeper stuck around my house for years, because it was a nice-sized binder to hold sheet music on the piano without being too bulky.

    I think my classmates and I switched to big canvas-covered binders, which were cool because we could write and draw all over them with multi-colored ballpoint pens. I don’t remember what was written on mine, but I do remember a pink binder and a turquoise one, both of them completely covered with writing and doodles by the end of the school year.

    Anyway, here’s some interesting history on the Trapper Keeper.

    And, after all these years, the Trapper Keeper is still going strong.