Saturday, February 25, 2017

are you my workout?


"so, you're just not going?"
my mother has mastered the ability to say "i'm not mad, i'm just disappointed" during every single conversation we have, without actually saying the words.
"no, not after yesterday. i felt like an idiot out there," i whined, pulling the covers over my eyes as i remembered the horrific events of my first day of summer field hockey camp.

okay, so nothing particularly bad even happened. i was just miserable, sweaty, and had no clue what the hell i was doing. i'm not sure exactly what possessed me to sign up, considering I'd never played a day of field hockey in my life, but i think it was the name: cave girl. at 15 years old, i was still trying to find my post-middle school identity, and anything i could do to make myself seem more tough and intimidating to the abercrombie-wearing, lacrosse-playing mean girls that made eighth-grade gym class a living hell was extremely appealing to me.

however, my newfound field hockey-playing persona didn't stick. it joined my brief elementary school softball stint (which ended because i was too busy collecting rocks on the field to catch the ball), and those bruise-inducing few months as a flyer for the church cheerleading squad -- they kept dropping me! -- in the graveyard of abandoned sports.  some people are serial daters, some people are serial killers. i'm a serial exerciser. sorry, i guess the correct term would actually be serial exercise dabbler.
the only constant that remained over the years was dance. from age four, i pirouetted, tapped, leaped, twerked, or some combination of those things on a regular basis, taking as many classes as I could handle and spending most weeknights in high school practicing with the dance team or performing during halftime at basketball games.
yet, much like the career of a professional ballerina, the window of opportunity to shake your groove thang in a controlled environment begins closing rapidly after you turn, like, 20, so here i am again. i've searched and searched for something that comes close to the exhilaration i feel when i stick a new piece of choreography and sync up perfectly with my fellow classmates, to no avail.
the music at jazzercise was surprisingly hip, considering that i was the youngest person in the class by a good 25 years. unfortunately, the moves were more ho-hum than hip-hop, and i think i may have offended some of the sweet octogenarians with my aggressive grapevines and plies. i just can't help myself when an usher remix comes on, man. then, i threw myself into another craze, something called "turbokick." it was inexplicably held in a pole-dancing studio that proved extremely distracting, and incorporated far too many push-ups, burpees, and actual exercise for my taste.

a while back, a coworker dragged me to her "pure barre" class. i have to admit, i really had high hopes for this one based solely on the name. a workout that utilized the ballet barre had to be perfect for me, right? wrong. there were no elegant arabesques, dainty chĂȘne turns, or graceful across-the-floor work. there was, however, a cult leader of a teacher that kept using foreign words like "tucking" and "seatwork" as she reprimanded me for not doing them, or doing them, or doing them wrong. i still have absolutely no idea and don't really give a tuck. the struggle, as they say, could not have been more real. every day for the next week, i silently cursed everyone involved in the evening of october 21, 2015 as i hobbled to and from my cubicle and my car, indescribably sore and full of pure rage for pure barre.

to calm down and get some clarity or whatever, i turned to yoga. i desperately wanted to like it, but i think my chi's out of wack because i just could not get it under control long enough to stop whispering to the women on either side of me about how lame the new-age music was. i said namaste, and then waved adios, to downward dogs and children's poses for good.
needless to say, the quest for my perfect workout continues. for now, i burn most of my calories in the best way my 30-year-old self can: twisting and shouting, doing the electric slide, and kicking up my heels to "cotton eye joe" in a fancy cocktail dress, glass of wine in hand. at least i don't have long to wait before wedding season rolls around again.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

i refuse to title this post "netflix 'n chill"

at the risk of sounding like a total fuddy-duddy, i'm fairly new to the netflix world, having finally took the plunge for the gilmore girls reboot in november and sticking with it because i got hooked on stranger things. here's what i've been watching lately, for better or worse. more recommendations, please!

audrie & daisy: 8/10

be forewarned that if you decide on this documentary, your evening (or day) is about to take a pretty dark turn. audrie & daisy explores the world of teen sexual assault and cyber-bullying through two recent cases. it was fascinating and very well done, but i was utterly disgusted by the lack of remorse and self-awareness on the part of both the boys involved in the cases and the sheriff who led the investigation of daisy's case ... to the point where i was actually yelling expletives at the TV. still, very much worth watching.

tiny furniture: 7/10

i fiiiinally got around to watching this indie film, written by and starring lena dunham of girls fame before she created the show. between the plot (aimless post-grad millennial moves back in with her mom, complains a lot, and has cringe-worthy sex with a terrible dude in a large metal pipe) and the other stars (jemima kirke, who plays jessa on the show, and alex karpovsky, who plays ray), it's basically like an extended girls episode. if you're a fan of the show, this isn't a bad thing, and it was equal parts enjoyable and infuriating in the same way.

comet: 5/10

y'all know that i'm always down for a good out-of-order love story a la 500 days of summer, or my personal favorite, peter and vandy. comet drew me in by promising a similar plot ... and justin long. the only difference was that it was supposed to take place in "a parellel universe." maybe i'm dense, but i didn't even notice this element in the movie, nor did i understand why it was necessary. a couple more gripes: it was paaaainfully slow at parts, and the female protagonist, played by emmy rossum, was a total pretentious bitch. actually, the whole movie had an air of pretension that was just lame and didn't sit well with me. mehhh.

twinsters: 6/10

being an adoptee myself, i was intrigued by this documentary about a girl who randomly discovers the identical twin sister she never knew she had through youtube. i'll admit it was a bit plodding at points, but my personal connection to their story kept me watching. plus, it was really cool to witness these pretty amazing milestones: meeting each other for the first time, getting DNA testing, attempting to contact their birth mother. the girls' personalities shone through, and it was a heartwarming watch overall.

good kids: 6/10

i'm never above turning off a movie at any point if i get bored with it or start to dislike it, and i was fully expecting to reach a point of exasperation with this one. however, i found myself at the end, having enjoyed it much more than i thought i would. like a poor man's eurotrip -- minus the whole, um, europe thing -- meets american pie, good kids centers on a group of four sorta-nerdy recent high school grads that want to make up for lost time before they leave for college. yes, there are some extremely silly characters and plot lines, like a hippy-dippy martial arts teacher who calls himself "the lion" and the geeky ringleader prostituting himself to the cougars to whom he teaches tennis lessons, but it's all in good fun. if you don't take it too seriously, it's a perfectly fine summery romp.

the invitation: 8/10

what a delightfully freaky, slow-burning psychological thriller. the basic premise: a man and his girlfriend show up to a dinner party at the home of his ex-wife and her new husband in the hollywood hills, and things just get weirder from there. within the first half-hour, there's a coyote getting hit by a car, a wacky pants-less woman, and a group viewing of a cult video. i lost count of the times i uttered "what the fuck?"/"what is happening right now?" and "ohmygod i'm scared" aloud after that. the wary ex-husband, will, is perfectly portrayed by logan marshall-green, and his expressions were probably my favorite part of the movie. i'd post the trailer, but it would spoil the fun. if you're into creepy, suspenseful b movies, this one's a winner.