in flux

Category: Chatter

Shoulders down, heart open to the sky

Not gonna lie: I haven’t been to yoga in almost exactly a month.

That is, I haven’t made it to an actual class, but yoga’s been on my mind every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday since the first time I tried it. What to eat before, what t eat after, class sizees, warming up, water-or-no-water? Is it normal to get so sweaty? Lots to think about. In fact, up until a half hour before class tonight, I was still working on my hairdo. Then, I fretted about what to wear. I actually called my husband at work to ask if I had to wear a bra at yoga. Yes, I did that. Over-thinking everything will be the end of me.

(His answer was, basically, no. Just make sure nobody can scope out the goods, “when you’re in the downward doggy style pose, or whatever.” I also Googled it. No bra, tonight or any other night. Wee!)

I came home from work tired, my upper back aching with stress, and all I wanted to do was sit down and fall asleep. But I’ve been coming home, sitting down and going to sleep every day for almost a month now and I still feel like crap. Instead, I grabbed an orange and went to class.  Good move on my part.

This class was more intense, with a lot more fluid movements and far too many high lunges for my shaky, inexperienced thighs. I almost fell over twice, sweated my ass off, stubbed my toe and accidentally crammed my face into my discarded sandles while executing a rather impressive [the pose where you start in plank, lower down with your arms and push your chest up?] with my eyes closed – but I did every single pose, from start to stop, and only modified once! (Fuck you, side plank!!)

This evening, I learned to love the Tiger:

Good gravy, do I love the Tiger pose. Shoulders down, heart open to the sky.

After a wonderfully calm  savasana, I stood up and felt … high. I’m talking bong rip high. It was intense. Good, but different than last time. Then, I felt a rush of joy and energy, but today was more altering, and way outside my normal range of feeling. It was so intense that I felt no fear or shame in walking up to the instructor and asking for some clarification. Highly unusual for me, especially when I’m sweaty, frizzy and smelling of communal yoga mat.

We walked out together, chatting and laughing – it felt so wild and freeing to be there with her, giggling, body so wobbly I could barely navigate a straight line. I can’t explain it, but I want it again. I swear, I could feel my body sing.


(Hehe, “ween”.)

Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays, dating back thousands of years to the time of the ancient Celts. Contrary to popular belief, it is not based on any festivals for the dead, but rather a kind of new year and harvest celebration called Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, marking the end of summer and the beginning of typically dark and deadly winters.

Celts believed the boundary between this world and the next were blurred on Oct 31, allowing the souls of the dead to return to Earth for a brief period of time. These souls not only caused mischief on the crops and villagers, but also allowed the druids – Celtic preists – to make important predictions about the year to come. Huge bonfires were lit, where the people gathered in costume to make sacrifices to their deities and draw protection for the coming winter season.

Freaky stuff, right? And shockingly devoid of sexiness, considering how this once-sacred holiday is celebrated in the modern age.

Quick, what’s the least sexy thing you can think of? Off the top, let’s say a watermelon. Well, apparently not. (I admit the bite mark is cute)

Sexy fruit costumes, including pineapple and banana varieties, are in season this Halloween. Sexy sea turtle (well, of course) is also available, as is sexy name brand chocolate chew candy and pretty much anything else you can think of.

Look, I don’t have any issue with people stepping out looking like a sexy telegram, sexy bowl of Fiber One or whatever pings your kink. I do have a problem with anyone being charged $70 for a cheap yellow dress that has no outside purpose beyond vaugly resembling a banana. There is a better way.Sexy can be awesome, and it definitely does not have to be cliche. This Mileena  costume, for example, is pretty sweet and actually rather tame if you consider the inspiration. (I personally preferred Katana, in game and in life.)

Dr. Girlfriend can be done with only a few minor adjustments, or more crafty costumers can try their hand at Dr. Mrs. The MonarchSatyrs are technically supposed to be male, but get the room drunk enough and nobody will be in any position to criticize; a few well placed fur bits or plastic flowers and you’re ready to roam. Fans of Arrested Development need only a baby tee, glitter paint and a blonde wig to be Linday Funke in her infamous SLUT jailhouse outfit. Instead of the same old Marge Simpson, why not do a spoof of her Playboy pictorial (nsfw)?

Or say fuck it and go as a nudie mag. (nsfw) The way the industry is headed, why not?

Sparkle and fade

What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity. Now even that flickered out.

– Mother Night

Nothing has changed all over again

‘History is merely a list of surprises,’ I said. ‘It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again. Please write that down.’

Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick

The purpose of pruning: an updated theory

Anyone who has even taken a swim or gone through puberty knows that prolonged contact with water (such as in a pool or ocean, or in your sweaty shoes) will prune up  your digits for some length of time.

The popular theory goes thusly, as explained in 2001:

When hands are soaked in water, the keratin absorbs it and swells. The inside of the fingers, however, does not swell. As a result, there is relatively too much stratum corneum and it wrinkles, just like a gathered skirt. This bunching up occurs on fingers and toes because the epidermis is much thicker on the hands and feet than elsewhere on the body. (The hair and nails, which contain different types of keratin, also absorb some water. This is why the nails get softer after bathing or doing the dishes.)

Run that through the Straight Dope Laym-man’s Terms Generator and we get this, from 1987:

Since the underlying tissue doesn’t absorb water, the stratum corneum [very thin, topmost layer of skin] can’t spread out and it buckles like asphalt on the highway in the summer sun.

THE UPDATE! I recall reading several months ago about a new study on why fingers, toes, and sometimes entire soles wrinkle up when wet for long periods. At that time, I did not have a blog, so I probably prattled on about it to my husband as he put his smiles and nods on autopilot and read something political online. However, I was reminded again of this misunderstood phenomenon when I came across a NYT article that blows the absorbed-moisture theory out of the, well, water.

Basically, absorption doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. In fact, there’s absolutely no absorbing going on at all. It’s all about traction. Like a tire, your fingers can’t grip when wet, but add some water redirecting groves courtesy of the central nervous system and you’re practically Spider Man.

In the study, an evolutionary neurobiologist and his co-authors examined 28 fingers [ed: photos of fingers, actually] wrinkled by water. They found that they all had the same pattern of unconnected channels diverging away from one another as they got more distant from the fingertips.

I like my major scientific studies with a few more than 28 fingertips involved, but this new theory does make a lot of sense, especially when you consider this: nearly a century ago surgeons observed that no wrinkling occurs if a nerve to the finger has been cut.

Fun trick to scare your children:  pierce through just the stratum corneum of your fingertip with a (STERILIZED!!1) needle ** and then chase them around the house, moaning. It doesn’t hurt even a little bit, since the topmost layer is only dead skin. As a decorated honors student in junior high, I freaked out my friends on more than one occasion with needles jutting out of the pads of my fingers like a poor man’s Wolverine.

** DON’T DO THIS. It can be done, is all I’m saying.