February 2nd, 2009


Run to the Palace

Today I did my planned run to the Palace of Fine Arts and back. I really didn't feel like getting up this morning, having stayed up late processing photos and feeling melancholy despite having fun at a brunch and party yesterday (more on those later). I finally dragged myself out around 10:30.

I took a slightly different route than planned, but it ended up being more scenic, if a bit hillier and shorter. Had aches and cramps and complaints for much of the run, but didn't once think about quitting. Seeing the beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts lake and rotunda, with the swans gliding majestically and night herons perched in the trees, made it all worth it. Did the 9/1 run/walk intervals, except for the steepest part of Hyde Street coming back where I was forced to a slow walk for about 4-5 minutes. Got stuck at several traffic lights along the way as well.

Total time: 84 minutes for 5.83 miles, for a slow 14.4 minute/mile pace. The Galloway run/walk method I'm following recommends going two minutes per mile slower than race pace on long runs anyway, so I guess that's OK; hopefully by May I'll be able to do 12 minute miles at Bay to Breakers.

McDougall brunch and webcast

Yesterday morning boyziggy and I went to Pacifica to join some other fans and followers of the McDougall Program for a brunch, DVD viewing, and live webcast Q/A session with Dr. McDougall. The hosts' house was gorgeous, in an absolutely beautiful setting; I took some photos. All of the food was vegan and oil-free, and included French toast, quesadillas, steel-cut oatmeal, Spanish rice, picadillo pie, banana bread, corn muffins (made by Ziggy), fruit, salad, and tea, among other things. I sampled almost everything; it was delicious. It was great to meet other locals from the discussion forum, which I've been reading and posting to a lot since adopting the program anew in November.

After eating we watched the first part of the DVD The Truth About Protein, Soy, and Fish. A lot of the information I already knew, but it still made me angry that there's so much resistance to what I consider to be life-saving nutritional and medical information. I plan to talk with McDougall on the Costa Rica trip about how I might get more directly involved in furthering his cause, especially now that he has a study funded to fight multiple sclerosis; one of Ziggy's best friends suffers from this disease.

Finally we had a webcast Q/A session. I asked how to best explain the program when most people I talk to are so resistant to the idea that starchy foods by themselves aren't fattening. He replied that I should point out that all successful civilizations throughout history have their foundation in starches: rice for the Asians, corn for Native Americans, potatoes for the Incas, etc. I also thanked McDougall for pointing out in his books and lectures that human breast milk is only 5% protein by calories, and is consumed at a time when a person is growing faster than they ever will in their lives, so it's really not necessary to get more calories from protein than that as a child or adult.

I was energized by this experience. It's very rare nowadays that I spend time with groups of health-conscious vegetarians, much less vegans. As I shift into the next phase of my life and career, I need to consider seriously refocusing on my values and finding ways I can incorporate my concern for health, animal welfare, and the environment into my social and working life.
rock singing

Birthday '09

Yesterday I had a birthday party at The Mint Karaoke Lounge, where I've celebrated five of my last six birthdays. The bar was nearly empty owing to Super Bowl Sunday, which was great. I did throw in an obligatory "Go Steelers!" before one of my songs, since they're my home team and all, but few of my friends have any interest in pro sports.

I sang my usual warmup "Abacab", followed by "Border Song", "New York State of Mind", and "Overjoyed". I did surprisingly well on the last two, considering I haven't sung much lately; I concentrated on opening my mouth wide to produce better sound. It also didn't hurt that I didn't drink too much alcohol at the party.

I was tired and not terribly hungry; a couple pieces of sushi and one piece of cake were more than sufficient after the brunch we went to earlier. I couldn't even finish the various drinks boyziggy got me, though they were tasty. I guess it's a good sign that my taste buds are changing that the cherry coke I got as a treat didn't taste nearly as good as I thought it would.

I enjoyed spending time with my friends that came, and several sang, including inflectionpoint who chose Madonna's "Open Your Heart" for her first karaoke experience, Mike F who sang the beautiful Luther Vandross song "A House is Not a Home" especially for me, nisaa who got us all in a rousing chorus of "That's Amore", zyxwvut who in addition to singing solo and duet got a bunch of us on stage to back up the KJ singing "American Pie", and riseorbleed who did a scarily, wickedly good rendition of Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes". Ziggy and I took lots of photos.

My actual birthday is tomorrow. I'm feeling melancholy about it. Doesn't seem possible that I'm turning 39 already...