So this came as an interestingly pleasant surprise – last night I discovered that the way to get better at yoga is to not do yoga for four months. Seriously, it was one of my best classes ever. In Eagle Pose I twisted no-problem. In Standing Head to Knee, I straightened my non-standing leg! My balance was awesome in Standing Bow, and I had the best Triangle Pose ever. Moral of the story? Tri-annual Bikram Yoga might just be the way to go…
In other workout news, for once I had a week completely devoid of post-work plans, which means I exercised a lot. I ran every morning (just a little bit), and then biked, rock climbed, and went to yoga. It was excellent!
My most popular post this week was “Hip Flexor and Piriformis Stretching and Strengthening.” Perhaps the fact that I’ve been doing these exercises contributed to my yoga improvements? Anywho, probably worth the read for any runners out there.
And now for some fun Friday links!
Per usual, I’m late to the trendy pop-culture party…but what the WHAT? I have no words, only emotions.
Watch the music video.
But if you want some words, here’s an accompanying article: “Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea's Music Video Sensation.”
- Park Jaesang is an unlikely poster boy for South Korea's youth-obsessed, highly lucrative, and famously vacuous pop music. Park, who performs as Psy (short for psycho), is a relatively ancient 34, has been busted for marijuana and for avoiding the country's mandatory military service, and is not particularly good-looking.
- What does this mean? An otherkin is a being born into the wrong body. Not just with the wrong parts, but as the wrong species: people who identify as otherkin believe that they are a wolves, or elves, or really any kind of being, born into a human body.
- Being otherkin, to this group, isn't just about resisting technology or being in touch with nature (though these, and other fantasy and new age elements, still form a large part of otherkin culture) — it's about being marginalized, ignored, laughed at, and oppressed. It's like being transgender. And as this otherkin group has transformed its language and its focus, so too has its scope widened. Otherkin identities can encompass fictional characters. Or nonliving, inanimate objects. Or even multiple identities — some fictional, some animal, all of them occupying a single body. Out of this widening comes new words: cisspecies. Transethnicity. Transablism. Transfat.
- “Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity’s greatest British and American writers — including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates — “to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time– novels, story collections, plays, or poems.”
I really really want my soon-to-be-born nephew to come out looking like this:
OK, full disclosure: I JUST learned that “compliment” and “complement” are two different words. For those of you who already knew that, go ahead and feel superior. For those of you (like me) who are SHOCKED right now, you’re welcome.
- Compliment -- A polite expression of praise or admiration.
- Complement -- A thing that completes or brings to perfection.
Sign. So true: “Top ten things that would-be foreign policy wonks should study”
- History, Statistics, Foreign Language, Economics, International Law, Geography, Culture, Communication, Science.
Best read of the week: This could almost be written by me (if I were funnier): “The Long Run: Notes on a Taper.”
- The six months since I signed up for the race had been a case study in chaos. I landed a new job. I hurdled time zones in a series of unplanned trips. And I consistently fell prey to an entrenched lack of self-discipline, most problematically around heeding the note I taped above my alarm clock, which in reference to my goal marathon time sternly read, “2:59, get up now!”
- With steadfast determination, I focused on the taper’s holy trinity: eat more, run a lot less, and sleep. I was bringing my A-game to all three.
- I headed back and did what I do in any high-stress, low-preparation situation: I made a list.
My own WTF Friday: "UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon met face-to-face with Sudanese president and international war criminal Omar Al Bashir."
- It is not clear whether the meeting marks “the UN’s moral rehabilitation of the Khartoum regime“. But if nothing else, the meeting between Ban Ki-Moon and Omar al-Bashir illustrates just how little interest there remains within the international community to arrest or truly isolate Bashir. Darfur seems to be on the international community’s back-burner. And that’s a significant victory for one person in particular: Omar al-Bashir himself.
- If I had to pick other news sources this cycle, I might say the New Yorker’s Political Scene podcast, and of course the Daily Show. Plus my Twitter feed.
- White tigers are not Siberian tigers, but instead are an extremely rare form of Indian tiger.
- The white tiger has a recessive gene mutation that causes it to be born semi-albino. The defect happens to one in ten thousand tiger births. As the defect is only a semi-albino gene, the eyes retain some blue color rather than turning completely red. Aside from the eyes, the nose, mouth, eyelids and pads are all a reddish pink.
- This week, I decided to challenge myself to see how fast I could caramelize onions without the "cheaty" additions of sugar and baking soda, relying only on heat and a bit of water to prevent burning. I managed to do it in 15 minutes and 22 seconds. Not bad, considering it can take over an hour to do the traditional way.
- The new Parks and Rec Ron Swanson barbecue sauce was intriguing. But the idea that it's meant to be served on a 24-ounce porterhouse steak plus a 16-ounce T-bone steak, with whiskey and a cigar, was absolutely compelling.