27 May 2011

It's 9:30 a.m. I've Been Awake Since 8:30 a.m. I'm Going Running.

Who am I?

I feel like I don't even know myself.

While I do generally wake up early(ish), it's usually due to insomniac tendencies which leave me in a severe zombie-like state. Thus, running this early in the morning usually equates to, uhh...waterboarding for me. Okay, torture? That might be taking it a bit far, but it's just not really fun. I'd much rather run later on in the day when I have some energy (read: I've sucked down about 13.4 cups of highly caffeinated black tea) and can enjoy and appreciate my time out there, rather than spending the entire time cursing just about anything that I can think of while doing it in the morning. 

Alas, today I have my second final in the afternoon, and I pretty much plan on heading to the bar shortly thereafter. So a morning run it is! Because plans later? Um, undecided...I just know that they WILL involve alcohol, and that I WILL be forgetting that Public Policy Economics and Analysis was ever a part of my life. I. hate. econ. I decided this after taking my second econ class back at MSU, with the worst professor I've ever had in my life. Let's just ignore the fact that I then went on to take a third advanced international economics course, much like this one. It was a lapse in judgement. Though, looking back, my professor was an adorable and charming elderly British man, and I did do well -- maybe those are good signs for today.

Okay, now I'm just rambling to stall. Off to run a surely less than graceful, uncoordinated, in-a-trance run. Oh, the life of an injured and insomniac runner.

24 May 2011

Current Obsessions:

1. The Casey Anthony capital murder trial.


Opening statements were today, and OH SNAP, shit's already getting real. Up until today, Casey has never admitted publicly what "really" happened to her toddler daughter, Caylee, who she is accused of murdering. Caylee went missing three years ago. Casey failed to report her missing for 30+ days. In those 30 days, Casey partied it up with her friends and was having the time of her life. Caylee's body was found about 6 months later. Up until today, the main speculation has been that Casey killed Caylee and hid the body her trunk before disposing of it. Now, her defense claim admitted (according to Casey) in opening statements that Caylee died at the beginning of those 30+ days by accidentally drowning in the family's pool, and that her parents forced her to cover it up. They're also trying to paint a picture of a highly secretive family riddled with scandals of sex abuse. Defense is claiming that Casey's father and brother sexually abused her from the age of 8, and for this, she is a mentally disturbed girl that didn't know how to react when her daughter accidentally died.

It's already sticky. I'm already obsessed with watching the live feed. This will definitely be somewhat of a problem in coming weeks...

For those just tuning in, here is an article that goes over some of the "bombshells" that were dropped during opening statements. Also, the live feed I've been using has been the one from CNN Live.

2. Pineapple.

Strange, because I've never particularly cared for it before.

3. Lady Gaga's new album, 'Born This Way.'

Definitely good for the running playlist. The above song is an amazing throwback to late 80s/early 90s pop music (Fashion of His Love).

4. Not into the Mother Monster? Never fear...I'm currently also quite obsessed with Arcade Fire's album from 2004, 'Funeral.' That's right, circa junior year of high school. It's just...good. No more explanation needed.

(Song: Wake Up).

5. Season one of 'The Wire.'

Err, well...if you haven't heard of 'The Wire' then there clearly is something wrong with you. It's an incredibly well written show about crime investigation set in Baltimore. I've watched it all before, but sometimes it's nice to have a little throwback action, ya know? 

21 May 2011

A Nice Little Revision Distraction.

So. Necessary.

The past few days have been full of studying (or more so, cramming) for my Econ exam late next week, and my Research Methods exam a few days later. It was starting to get a little restless around here (you can feel the tension on and around campus) so a few of us decided to head out for some drinks at the Union last night. Kate and I decided to have a little mini homemade happy hour in my room. We probably had more fun than we should have...and I'm going to be honest, it was more fun than when we actually went out! :)

We drank vodka lemonades out of coffee mugs...

Because we're classy like that.

We taught ourselves how to 'Dougie' -- a really, really stupid dance move (see here, if you feel you really must), because it was in the news this past week that the Dougie originator was shot and killed. We felt we should do something in his honor, being the gangster rap princesses that we are.

What can I say? I think we're a little too suburban to pull it off. 

After a good two and a half hours of chatting, drinking, and Dougie'ing, we headed over to the Union to meet up with our other friends. We continued to laugh, a lot...and Dougie...oy.

It was 'IPAS Hoodie Night' at the Union, because we finally received our hoodies yesterday that we ordered a while back. I have a bright purple one. 

They're both just so hood, I can't even take it. 

It was a fun night, albeit short. The Union closed really early for a Friday night (11:00 or so?) -- I guess they're trying to force us into revision. Quite honestly, forceful tactics are probably necessary to get me to study. 

As much as I don't want to be a hermit tonight, I know it's for the best. Revision, movies, and 'It's Always Sunny' sound like the perfect night. Well...minus the revision.

18 May 2011

One Exam Down...

...and never mind the fact that we technically still have two exams to go, most likely more difficult than the first. My friends and I all still came to the conclusion that the two-hour exam we took yesterday warranted ohh, about five hours of post-stress boozing up at the Union. I've come to find that as stress levels increase, so does the probability of being unable to say no to £1 pints.

Speaking of £1 pints...I'm probably going to have to lay off them if I want to continue to fit in my dress that I bought for our end of the year ball! It arrived today, and the best news is that I won't have to quit eating for the next three weeks. (Food -- why do you have to be so good?) It fits perfectly, so that's good more looking around and worrying about that. Now I've moved on to the hunt for shoes. I'm such a sucker for any occasion where I get to wear a nice cocktail dress and some pumps. Throw in the fact that we're going to be drinking with our professors and dancing the night away to American and U.K. pop hits and it just really can't get much better than that!

That's really all I have to report, London-wise. In other news - who watched the amazing hot mess that was 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' last night??

Oh. My. Word.

If you haven't, I suggest you run, don't walk, to your nearest DVR and record the next airing to watch with your glass of wine or nightly pint of Ben & Jerry's (or both) tonight. You know, whichever is your poison. But seriously -- these bitches are CAR-AZAY. You will not regret this hour of your life. In fact, in may be the best hour of your week. Just sayin'.

16 May 2011

Somebody Sent This To Me...

and it's basically 98% true.
When you move to a city, you become meaner. 
You are harder. Less optimistic. Tough. Do not make eye contact with anybody in the subway. Read the book you’re kind of halfway through, listen to the terrible music you hope you’re not playing loud enough to hear. Pretend you’re the kind of person whose feet doesn’t move when the train makes a turn. Don’t look up, just push and shove and move. In the city, you are the most important person you know. Dislike and accept that. Walk that way, walk so fast and eye roll when somebody slow is walking up the stairs as you are trying to switch trains. People will ask you for money on trains, drunk people will piss on themselves, babies will cry and you just have to pretend they are not there. It’s a subway. You don’t know anybody.
Strut down the street briskly when you are only getting a bagel, a slice of pizza, or a gin drink that will take the edge off of being alone all the time.
Dress like an idiot. When you end up in the suburbs or you end up home you think ‘why the fuck am I wearing so much black and where did these accessories come from?’ Take a long shower, eat your first big meal without alcohol in years, and try not to brush anything and everything off your shoulder. Find yourself afraid of trees.
Still, in a city filled with so many people, you must not acknowledge them. This becomes somewhat difficult because there are so many interesting and attractive things, most of them wearing plaid or shorts. Grumble while eating a falafel or some kind of street cart food. When somebody talks to you at a bar, coyly laugh when they are a part of the city you just don’t venture to. Know a lot of people, just barely.
Be afraid of ‘nice guys’ because you are no longer nice. Be afraid of things that last longer than two months. Get nervous whenever you enter some part of the town that ‘that guy you hung out with’ lives. The city is big, but it is small. Never see anybody again, except some kid you went to high school with. They have a new haircut and you kind of brag about your life because you are nervous. Send e-mails to people telling you how excited you are to be in the city. Be terrified of your bank account as you furiously eat money with no utensils. Bury your head in your hands when nobody is looking. Think about how stupid you were in college, abandon those dreams and make new ones. Find fog really romantic. Find employment really romantic. Drink on Tuesday nights. Meet people on those Tuesday nights that you high-five but never get their number. Make friends and never keep them. Take personal days in the tiny kitchen that is filled with jarred spices, condiments, and a bag of chips. Learn about sushi. Have a small circle you already knew before you moved here, the kinds of people you always complain about your love life to. Hold onto and love those people fiercely. Find friends of friends you think are cute, get annoyed that you meet people this way like in high school. Have numbers in your phone that you don’t need. Preface those numbers with ‘that night at (bar).’ Find it impossible to meet anybody until you do.
Roll around with that person in a small room in your overpriced apartment. Feel like this is an accomplishment until you feel restless. Feel like being restless is a thing you should feel. Try to fix it by getting a pet. Dance in a stupid club and tell everybody the next day you can’t believe you danced. Have ‘spots’ you think are ‘the usual’ except the bartenders never remember you. Fall in love with a new kind of ethnic food and fall more in love with brunch than you thought possible. Make connections with dogs on the street. Spend too much time contemplating life on long concrete walks. See the sunrise more than you should. Barely see anybody you like during the day. Get annoyed at couples grocery shopping and miss making out in your basement. Forget to buy paper towels and use napkins to clean the table. Take cabs at 3am. Pretend to clean your apartment, pretend you are going to eventually do laundry.
Meet nice people somewhere you didn’t expect. Have a conversation with somebody you never thought you would meet. Talk to somebody out of the blue. Enjoy these moments of fate immensely. Have more faith in humanity than you did when you lived wherever you came from.
Come home late smelling like smoke. Wonder how that happened, but really you know exactly how that happened. Promise you won’t spend too much money, expect free drinks but really only get shitty weather. Send texts to everybody you miss who is not in town because you are nostalgic for everything. Be single, ‘kind of single’, and ‘sort of single’ for months. Find somebody you like enough to watch movies with. Send bills in late. Revel in the fact that this is what youth is. Barely eat fresh vegetables anymore. Loathe the summer because it is too hot and miss it when it is gone. Get to know yourself and be surprised by it. You’d never bite your nails, you think, until you bite your nails. Forget all the great reasons why you moved here, fall in love with the reasons you didn’t think- cool breezes, car honkings, and knowing how to get places. Revel in being alone, revel in learning a city. Hate every job you have. Hate every bar you go to. Love both of these. Love everything. Have really, really good days. Stare at the city like ‘I got this.’ Swear you will eventually leave.
Then you stare at the skyline. Hate it. Be satisfied. 
It's really not as depressing as it sounds.

In other news, the title of that blog made me think of this.

14 May 2011

Well, That Didn't Go As Planned...

Oh well. The Wings had a great season in which they faced a lot of adversity -- lots of injuries, and a tough road schedule as usual, and they kicked its ass. It does need to be said though: Pavel's shot was an absolute snipe show.

Damn. He's incredible. Watching the playoffs from afar this year has really got me excited to go to as many games as possible next season! Mother, that means that I need a season ticket in addition to the ones you have. K, thanks! And don't act like we wouldn't have a majorly awesome time with that (yes, I said majorly awesome). Greektown, casino, bakery...oh, and of course the hockey too!

Anyhow, I am completely and shamelessly avoiding studying at all costs. I have cleaned my room, gone grocery shopping, read magazines, uploaded photos, and I'm getting ready to go for a run...yet, I've spent about ten minutes looking through a few slides. I'm truthfully not too worried about my exams, but I really do need to put a little more time in to this whole revision deal. Meh, whatever.

Last night, my friends and I went to Opal, which is down on the embankment. It's where we're holding our end of the year School of Public Policy ball, so we went on a semi-secret mission to go check it out. It was great! As I've griped about before, I'm not too into the whole English house music bar/club scene here. My friends know -- I'm a slave to the dance floor. It's true. But, I just can't get into it with the house music. Luckily, on Friday nights Opal plays amazing American dance music...think: Britney, Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, etc. Hello, lover! We had a pretty great time.

The lady that we are in talks with for the event offered us free admission, a private table, and a bottle of wine. Who are we to say no? The booths had these horribly tacky yet simply amazing rhinestone details.

I was craving a Cosmopolitan...don't ask me why. So I decided to have one. Or four.

And Matt, now that you've told me you read this, this photo simply had to go up. He liked my drink. Isn't he so cute??

Oh, so you've also probably noticed that I chopped my hair off. Well, I didn't do it myself -- but I paid way too much money to have someone who actually knows what they're doing do it for me! I was feeling a little too attached to my long, damaged, un-styled hair, and I don't like feeling too attached to anything aside from, dogs. I thought I'd come out of the experience with a haircut that was okay; one that would be a lot better for the summer and easier to manage. But, to my surprise, I actually really like it. It's super corny, but it really is freeing to cut ten inches off of one's hair. Plus, my head feels very light now...though that may actually just be my hangover.

**thank you to my graphic designer friend A who has made my blog look a little more presentable...I'm useless with that stuff! :)

12 May 2011

Let the Game 7 Madness Ensue! And a Trip Down Memory Lane...

Oh man. There are no words that can do any justice in an attempt to describe how crazy-mad-excited I am right now! Tonight is what true hockey lovers call heaven: a GAME SEVEN in the NHL playoffs. Okay, so maybe you're not as excited when your team is in said Game 7. They're incredibly nerve-wracking and intense in the best of situations. Trust me, I know.

Detroit fans will certainly remember a certain Game 7 in recent history. No? Well, let me remind you: 2009. Detroit Red Wings vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins. Stanley Cup Finals. That's right folks -- not just some measly first or second round Game 7 (ha, trust me - there is no such thing). This was the real deal...the Cup was on the line. The last time a Game 7 had been played in the Finals was in 1964, which shows you just how truly rare these amazing games can be.

The Wings had won against the Pens the previous year, so it was the epitome of an epic rematch. We had home ice advantage, so imagine my shock when I found out, thanks to my wonderful mother, that I would be going to the game. Say what?? Back in those days, we didn't have season seats for this particular game were incredibly elusive. I can't begin to tell you how excited I was, or how confident I was that we would win. There truly was no doubt in my mind...I knew I'd be seeing Lidstrom & Co. lifting the Cup in Joe Louis Arena.

Well, without going into the depressing details...I didn't. Instead, I was running out of the arena with my friend Wendy so that I didn't have to see every self-respecting hockey lover's worst nightmare lift the Cup on my home ice. That would be Sidney Crosby, for you newbies following along. The image in my mind haunts me at night, it's true.

That was nearly two years ago. And no, this Game 7 won't result in either team skating laps with Lord Stanley, but it will no doubt be one for the books regardless. Detroit and San Jose have similar styles -- they are both incredibly skilled teams that like to puck handle, which makes for an awesome game. This time, we don't have home ice advantage. But ya know what? I'm not too worried. The Wings were great on the road in the regular season, and they're too experienced to get caught up in that. My only hopes for the game are that the officials call it fairly and consistently, that we bust our asses to score the first goal (and quick), to continue to beat down on SJ's confidence, and that someone white washes Joe Thornton before the game is over. Oh, and that we win, obviously. Not too much to ask, right?

Happy Game 7 Night, friends! And LET'S GO RED WINGS!

11 May 2011

'Atta Boys, Wings!

If you're reading my blog and you're either from Michigan or California, or just a hockey fan in general, then you'll already know the Red Wings won last night. AWESOME. We took an early 0-3 start to this series, though each game was close and could have easily been won by the Wings (ahem, shifty calls, bad bounces, etc.). The Wings finally started their comeback in Game 4 at the Joe, and then continued with a win in San Jose and last night's second win at the Joe.

Playoff watching has been pretty difficult here, for a couple of reasons. One, the games generally start LATE for me. Last night's game started at 1 a.m., and that was a Detroit game! Thankfully, the game tomorrow is at 6 p.m. (local time California), which means 9 p.m. Michigan time, and 2 a.m. London time. I say thankfully because, well...the game could have started at 8 p.m. local time, meaning 4 a.m. (!!!) my time. Craziness. Second, it's hard to find good streams of the games. I have radio access to Detroit's 97.1 no matter what, so that puts me at ease. It's nice to hear familiar voices like Ken Kal's announce the game. But obviously, you can beat seeing the action.

Regardless of these difficulties, you KNOW I'll be tuning in tomorrow. Red Wings hockey is my heart. Datsyuk is playing his mind out, as is Zetterberg. Hank is plus-5 in this series - that is incredible! Unfortunately, we will most likely be without Franzen again, who is a serious danger in any playoff series...but both Hudler and Modano looked solid last night so I think it will all be okay.

For the record, Joe Thornton is a major douchebag, and I'm happy his true colors are showing and people are finally seeing him for what he is. He's always taken little, subtle jabs in the past, or said less than friendly things in the press without being blatant about it. However, this series has really highlighted his loser status, and it has been pretty widely reported.

I definitely, definitely feel a win coming on in Game 7. Sure, we'll be in San Jose, but we were awesome on the road this year in the regular season. Plus, our team is so full of veterans that I don't think that stuff phases them too much. We're also going in with a lot of confidence and momentum from the past three games. Let's go boys!

Here are a couple of clips that I thought were pretty amazing.
1. 'Dont Stop Believing' as sung by 22,000+ at the Joe
2. Gordie Howe surprises Jimmy Howard after the game

In other news, I'm still revising like crazy, like a good little student. My run yesterday went well, but I definitely feel the effects today. I'm testing out the ibuprofen+muscle relaxer combo again today, and I'm planning on most likely going to the doctor's office tomorrow morning in hopes of getting a new prescription. Anyhow, that's all I have for to study some more, and definitely catch up on some sleep. I was up until about 5 a.m. after the excitement of winning the game last night!

10 May 2011

On Running.

I'm making a conscious effort to blog more regularly, rather than waiting for big events (uh, hello Mallorca and Royal Wedding) to update. I realize that this will make my life seem vastly more boring than it appears in those types of posts...but, it is what it is.

I can't recall if I've posted before about my running goals. Initially, I set up a training schedule a few months ago with hopes of running a half marathon and a full marathon by the time I left Europe. After about 6 weeks of spot-on training, my body was having none of that. I developed an issue in my left leg that I couldn't figure out, for the life of me, what was wrong. I had never experienced that type of pain.

I have rested it for differing lengths of time -- anywhere from a few days to a few weeks -- without running. The pain does go away eventually, with the absence of running. That in itself is pretty depressing. Running even just a few times a week is incredible for my stress levels, and it really helps me feel accomplished about something, when I otherwise might not.

So, the past few weeks have been dedicated to trying to find a way around this problem. I've been inching towards running a little more, which definitely has led to some pain. I think I have the potential causes for the pain narrowed down to two possibilities: an issue with my sciatic nerve, or an issue with the peroneus muscle. I won't get into the specifics for fear of boring you to death, dear reader...but the more likely candidate seems to be the sciatica due to my previous back injuries and resulting herniated discs.

SIGH. It's been a struggle, that's for sure. Right now I'm messing around with a couple of different medication cocktails to combat the problem. Today's choice: 400mg ibuprofen + 400mg acetaminophen. Yesterday I did ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer, which seemed to work like a charm (though I didn't run), but the muscle relaxers are technically here in case I have another emergency headache. For those who aren't historians on my life, I wound up in the hospital and neurologist's office about a week before moving to London with the worst headache imaginable. It was honestly the worst pain I've ever experienced -- black out pain, even. Over the course of going to my regular doctor, the emergency room doctor, and finally a neurologist, I was on fifteen different drugs before we found one that relieved the pain and set my head right again. IT WAS MADDENING. So yes, those relaxers are technically for that, so if they prove to be the elixir I need to combat this leg issue I will have to go plead my case to an NHS doctor in hopes of getting a new prescription, because I am so not okay with gambling those little babies away.

Let it suffice it to say that my European marathon dreams are over, or at least put on the long-term back-burner. That certainly will not happen in the next three and a half months. Perhaps some day down the road...maybe even next year! I did enter the lottery for the London Marathon for next year, so we shall see. I'm not even certain I want to run a marathon at this point, but that could be my injury talking. I think my ideal race length will be the half -- I've run the distance before, though not in a race setting, and it's long without being overly long. Plus, it's still a length that you get a nice sense of accomplishment with.

I'm off to give this leg a try. This is the riskiest I've been in a long time -- I ran the day before yesterday. Lately, the closest runs I've had together have been about three weeks apart! Wish me luck!

09 May 2011

My Life...For the Next 3.5 Months:

See, little blog? I'm not neglecting you for poor reasons. I swear, I'm (mostly) doing important stuff.

I'll have a nice, albeit short, break on Friday, when a few friends and I go check out the venue that we will likely be holding our year-end IPAS ball event at. The events director that Charlotte and Dylan are dealing with has invited us down to experience the place on Friday night, in its normal atmosphere. She's giving us free admission and a table, plus some complimentary drinks! How could I say no? I'm sure after this grueling week of revising, I'll more than welcome a short break. 

06 May 2011

The Royal Wedding

Yes, was a week ago. I know I'm late, but in case anyone forgot: I'm both very busy and very lazy. It's a bad combination.

However, I'm here now and I'm going to take you on a photographic journey. Well, not really...the photos truly only cover about five hours or so of my life. And there's not a ton of them. But, they're still somewhat interesting, right??

So last Thursday, I basically stayed up all night in anticipation because I had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5 bells to get ready and bike over to Hyde Park. read that correctly: we BIKED. The one thing I swore I would never do in London is ride those silly looking Barclay's bikes through this city that defines absolute chaos. Drivers are literally insane. Not to mention that everything is pretty much backwards to me, due to the whole 'we like to drive on the wrong side of the road' thing they've got going on here. Bottom line: while I love riding a bike, I really don't feel much urge to here in the land of crazies.

However, I was convinced that bikes would be the best way to go, since the tubes and the buses would be crazy around 6:15 a.m. with the city getting ready for the wedding. Fine.

So off we go. We had to go to four, yes FOUR, different docks to find bikes, since the first three were empty or only had duds left. By this time, my friend and I were already concocting a plan to catch a cab instead, but lo and behold, our other friend found a station. We hopped on, and took off...

And I will say, I LOVED IT! We rode on a backstreet on which there was virtually zero traffic, and only got stuck going the wrong way on a one way street twice! It was quite fun, and I'm glad we did it. Although, we ran into more docking issues once we arrived at the park. We had to cycle around in circles for a while trying to find another station to dismount at, which made us a little late to our 6:45 mimosas and breakfast date at Katelyn's, with all of our other friends.

We finally made it.

After a half hour of pigging out and morning drinking (I did not participate...probably a good thing) we headed over to Hyde Park, which is conveniently about a block from K's flat.

Once there, we found a suitable spot to plop our two giant bedsheets down, and settled in for the morning. We got there sufficiently early, so we got a good spot not too far from the giant screen.

Some of us took naps...

While others anxiously awaited the arrivals of the Beckhams and the Princes...

Some drank their weight in cheap champagne...

While others just focused on what food they brought along in their massive purses (ahem, it may have actually only been me)...

Annnd of course, we've got an assortment of random shots throughout the morning.

The crowd growing larger...

And then, badda-boom, badda-bing...they were man (or Future King) and wife (or Princess/Duchess)! Confetti was fired, cheers were yelled, 'God Save the Queen' was sung...

After all that madness, I decided to head book it home to watch the balcony kiss in the comfort of my tiny little room, without the other 200,000+ crazies in Hyde Park. Best. decision. ever. Hyde Park was fun, but five hours was enough for me!