Monday, July 30, 2007

Finding joy in the pain

Softball is killing me. It wants me to die.

This past weekend I was in Birmingham for a 2-day softball tournament, terrifically fun. I played third base for the tourney, not my normal position, but played my usual aggressive game. My first slide into second saw me called safe and a bit of a burn on my left leg. The second slide (called out) got more of the skin so that I've got some really nice scabby bits now.

Fielding did me no better. When going for a particularly well-hit grounder, it thwacked my so hard on the leg that it not only left me with a bump and a bruise, but also imprinted the pattern of my sock onto my shin. Another grounder bounced up and knocked me on my bicep, leaving another bruise.

I did everything to keep my old body together in order to be able to play two days of softball. I took some paracetamol (acetaminophen) to lessen the stiffness and pain, and went to the treatment tent to get some massage on my troublesome left hamstring and both Achilles tendons. I drank an alternating programme of water and sports drink, like Serena Williams did at Wimbledon, to keep hydrated -- drank so much that I peed about nine times on Saturday. I ate cashews between the second and third games and at the end of the games on Saturday after reading that the Olympic 400m gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes ate them between training sessions to help her recover more quickly. I chewed mint gum cos I also read that it made people not think of the pain as much. And as everyone took up the bevvie after dinner, me and Roomie took to our beds early. And I needed all of it and more.

The pain didn't stop at the weekend, though. Today at training, my knee ached as I crouched, as the catcher behind home plate, where I was hit to the throat by a ball. I don't think that there's any part of my body that hasn't been bruised, battered, crunched or left creaking by softball.

I haven't played since leaving high school and when I stopped, I mourned the loss of playing team sports. For it meant that I would never again be able to experience the best of what it means to play with a group of people: the camaraderie. In the past, I believe I stated that volleyball is my favourite ever sport. But I might need to take that back, and substitute it for softball, the first sport I ever played. This past season of softball -- nay, this past weekend of softball -- has reminded me of the highs, the lows and, ultimately, the joys of playing as a team. A joy which I don't think, truthfully, I've fully experienced while in my volleyball renaissance.

I had never played with the vast majority of the women on my team, but they welcomed me like an old friend. Game by game we began to gel, and with it, our confidence as a team grew, which became a bud of respect, blossoming into a flower of true fondness. Without Zizzy, Roomie (aka Shifty, aka Canuck, aka Wheat Free, aka WiFi), the Captain, Lil Evil and the rest of the ragtag group, I would have easily succumb to the tiredness and pain I felt. Yes, softball was killing me this weekend, but because of them, I (aka the Fortress), was loving it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Stupid Bebo or, Am I always indignant?

I really am getting tired of this "networking" sites. Okay, there was a time when I was ab-solutely obsessed with MySpace and was on it every other second. But as it is no longer novel to speak to some kid that I was in 2nd grade with (you can only ask, "So, what are you up to?", so many times before it becomes boring), I'm done. Strangely, I then joined Bebo. Well, most of my Scottish peeps have shunned MySpace for Bebo, compelling me to join. The initial irritating thing was my usual username, the one I use for everything, everywhere, my middle name that my mother created, was taken. By some 16-year-old besom. So it's pretty hard to find me.

I try to keep some presence on both sites, as I am "networking" and I want to show my "friends" that I "care". I decided to post a video on Bebo. Actually, it is the fourth video from my last blog entry. On the site, I named the video My niece having fun with my very mixed up bitch -- which, if you've seen the video, pretty much explains it all.

The next day, I got this email, saying Bebo had taken the video down!
    A video with the name 'My niece having fun with my very mixed-up bitch' has been deleted from your Bebo account.

    IMPORTANT: Your Bebo membership is at risk of being cancelled, please read on:

    Bebo staff now review ALL videos uploaded to Bebo to ensure they comply with our terms of service, if further videos are found that are deemed inappropriate then your membership may be cancelled automatically.

    We will be going back over all videos you have uploaded in the past and review these too. Bebo needs to be a safe place for all to use.

How's that for an explanation? No telling why it was taken down and it obviously didn't violate the "no porn" mandate. So then, my response to those idiots:
    My video "My niece having fun with my very mixed up bitch" has recently been deleted from my account, reason unknown to me. I can only assume it is because you have deemed it "inappropriate", as you later mention in my warning email that "if further videos are found that are deemed inappropriate then your membership may be cancelled automatically", but never actually said that the video was inappropriate.

    Well, if you actually watched the video, which you claimed you did in the email, then you would have known how wide an assumption you made. You would have seen a 5-year-old girl dragging a blanket around a room, with my dog Samantha jumping on it and humping the blanket. Hardly sexually titilating, and very, very innocent stuff.

    So this leads me to assume that your staff have not watched the video. You either have a computer monitoring the sites or a person who looks for "buzz" words and eliminating content on that basis, thereby deleting my video for its title. Like my video, the use of word "bitch"; was not inappropriate. It was even purposeful. The dog featured in the video is a female, correct term of identification being bitch -- I used the word to explain her surprising behaviour in the video.

    I will not reload the video on my site while we are in discussion about this. However, I do not see anything unsightly about the clip and ultimately will look to reinstate it once we have clarified the matter.

Their response?
    Thank you!

    We hope you enjoy using Bebo as much as we do :D

    Kindest Regards,
    Tomek Sudol

So then me, 5 minutes ago:

    I hope I am going to get a better response that 1-minute, computer generated fluff that you so cheekily sent me.

    Kindest Regards.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Videos to enjoy

Just a few videos that I might not have shown before. This first silent one is from our last year's summer holiday in Corsica. It was just so beautiful there and kinda reminded me of Okinawa.

This next video is of my nephews (sons of BIL2). Nothing major going on, rather normal family interaction. But doesn't the youngest have the biggest head you've ever seen?

The following video starring my ever obedient pup, Samantha, is silent one, but you'll get the point quick enough.

And this last one is the most recent, again featuring Samantha, this time with my niece A, having a bit of fun. Samantha shows that she's a bit mixed up in how she behaves.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's my own fault anyway

So I've gotten back in touch with Yukiko, a friend from high school, via Twitter. It was crazy, cos I like never talked to this bird but then when I sent out my Twitter invite, she joined immediately. It's actually been really nice in a way. I don't know 'bout you, but when I get back in touch with people from the past, I feel the need to catch them back up on the mindless minutiae of my life, year by year. The thing with Yuki is that since we were only communicating via Twitter -- with their 140 character limit -- there was no way to recount our missed past in great detail. You just have to move on, talk about what's going on.

I'm not sure how it came about -- whether it was my idea or her's -- but Yuki decided to create a blog. I only remember advising her that she should have a good angle with her blog -- a reason that others would want to read. So she up and did, which I was very pleased for her. The blog, Yumi's Medical Adventures, chronicles her experiences with her daughter's illness.

But then I realised she was getting a huge amount of comments from friends of her's and her daughters. Am I awful for feeling a bit green? But then, she's written everyday of the nearly three weeks she's had the blog. And I've written... bugger all. Anyway, please, do read it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Day at the beach, twittered

Yesterday we were able to have one whole, (mostly) sun-filled day at the beach, our fourth day on the holiday. Ah. life at the British seaside. We chose to holiday in Britain this year cos last year was such a nice summer and we thought this year would be just as good -- how wrong were we. We also fancied the idea bringing the dogs on holiday with us. Boy was convinced the girl we got to pet-sit last year wasn't attentive enough and I couldn't be bothered to try and find another person who would just be as aggravating to him. Just a clue if you're dog-sitting for people: evidence of care goes over big, like stories and pictures, like my friend Shish did when we were in Amsterdam.

If I had taken my mobile phone to the beach, I would have twittered all day. But a sand-filled, stolen mobile phone wasn't for me. So here are, what would have been my tweets.

    I am the only person wearing a one-piece swimsuit. Oh, wait -- me and this 8-year-old girl.


    My dogs are like little prima donnas. They have a parasol to keep them cool and a bowl of water. Pretty funny.


    Boogie-boarding was brilliant but only when the tide came in. Nearly drowned when the surf dropped 4-ft abruptly into the sand.


    Even when the sun is out, it's not that warm.


    The water is so breathtakingly cold that I feel like I'm a surrendering a little bit of my life each time I enter it.


    Wish I had brought a better book with me. Success with Struggling Readers isn't exactly a page turner.


    Why are games of toss, otherwise boring in 'real-life', suddenly so charged with interest and glee at the beach?


    White chocolate ice cream pop is a good way to end the day at the beach.