Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Dear sweet ATL, thank you so much. You're one of so few people who don't make me feel like an ATLien, and that's just about the highest compliment I can give to anyone right now.

I wish I had the time or energy to blog, write in my journal, write narrative hip hop operas, or any of the other things I used to do to keep my brain thinking about itself and polished like a smoove white pearl inside this carbuncled oyster I call my head, but things just aren't as they used to be. I'm going to trial with two teammates for my clinic in March, and that means my life is just about dedicated at all times to a little room in Furman Hall that somehow manages to feel like family.

Which is to say, there is so much I wish I had time to write about, especially about my amazing Thanksgiving vacation and the people who make me at home, but I don't have much time to spare. I will say that Stephanie and I drove a total of 34.5 hours - 18 on the way there with an overnight in a $66 motel in First Royal, Virginia, with us trying to hush Boo so he wouldn't bark and wake up the proprietor, and 16.5 on the way back with us taking turns sitting in Interstate 81 traffic - in a silver PT Cruiser, which we used to port us from our home base in her lesbian aunt's home in Suwanee, Georgia to various suburban Atlanta locales where Chino-Taiwanese-Americans congregated. I met about ten of her family members, a sort of nerve-wracking experience since we had to stay closeted for the sake of the grandparents, and worked for two half days in their frantic and cramped shao bing you tiao stall at the neighborhood food court, burning my elbow on the shao bing oven but learning to make a mean sticky rice roll. Piano was played, Harvard was spoken of approvingly, Thanksgiving dinner was a pesco-vegetarian hot pot, and .03 gel pens were bought at the Korean cute stationary mart. Boo frolicked in the backyard but not before getting two puncture wounds and an inch-long tear in his tail from a mean akita bitch. I was warned to expect the South, but what I got - barring those anxious moments in a North Carolina gas station when I nervously watched Stephanie queue up for the bathroom and prayed to Chinese Jesus that we would not be gender-policed and called little Chinese boys - instead was a tour of a vibrant Chinese community in the 'burbs. It was enough to take my mind off law school, mercy mercy, and make me wake up on Monday morning with the delicious aftertaste of glorious endogamy and a slight reluctance to drag myself out of bed.

But the next post will be all about how, within a day, law school made me renew my hatred for the world. What? NYU allows NYPD to use the law school buildings as surveillance posts for undercover cops spying on drug deals in the park? I smell an organizing campaign, ladies and gentlemen, and I think I've found the sad sucker who's gonna spend her next few weeks dealing with this one. Oops.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


TRINKET, for 90pts.

Sorry for the blogging hiatus, everybody. Nothing is happening except the busyness, the grind, the uneventful lapsing of time. And ATL and I are going to ATL in three days - a 17 hour drive? Through D.C., Richmond, Winston-Salem, Durham? A flight by Dodge Neon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

marathon souvenirs

the bad news: two of the toenails on my left foot are black.

the good news: new pair of toenail-earrings for me!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Here's a quick recap of my NYC marathon 2006 experience, and I hope by the end of it you'll all see why every New Yorker should try to run it if he or she is capable.

I left sweet dear Stephanie's house at 5:10 a.m. to shiver on the platform for the J train, which carried me partway to Battery Park City - I had to hitch a ride with some lost Westchesterers down to the bus pick-up location with a nice Columbia med student and a pushy Brooklyn woman who kept saying her goal was to break four hours.
It was about 40 degrees out and I was wearing cast-off clothes I found in the school donation bin because I knew I'd have to be waiting around for a while before the race started - and I was right! The buses ran continuously from Battery Park to our starting point just on the other side of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in Staten Island, and I arrived at around 6:40, with three and a half hours before the starting gun. I killed time by fighting 40,000 for the murky coffee, had a donut (hooray for corporate sponsorships bringing totally inappropriate things to marathons -- donuts, Coors Light, etc.), but finally ran out of things to fight for and so I poked head- and arm-holes into two plastic bags, layered them under my sweater, and lay on the grass with an official marathon guidebook as my pillow and shivered into not-sleep for an hour. After a bit of that - dozing off only to be awoken by the loud conversation about Dean Karnazes next to me - I pulled myself to the bathroom line, waited 45 minutes to use a port-o-potty, and then hauled my baggage to the UPS trucks lined up in the Fort Wadsworth parking lots.

Of course, I was too miserly to even throw away the free sweater I'd worn expressly for the purpose of throwing away, so I checked that and just piled on a couple more plastic bags to keep out the cold. (This later engendered a lot of Incredible Hulk-esque garment ripping, which made me feel very strong!) But other people were less shy about casting off their imagine 40,000 people, each with two articles at least of clothing to shed, throwing sweaters, sweatpants, gloves, hats, fleeces, blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, parkas (!) to the sidewalk where we were lined up! This had the effect of creating a small mountain of clothing that you'd have to climb over just to get into the corral area where runners milled about before advancing to the start. There were grinning volunteers stuffing clothes into plastic bags, so I assume that some of the stuff is salvaged and not just trampled and ruined and completely discarded -- but I still felt the same sense of shame that I felt when I watched the world's tallest sugar skyscraper competition on the Food Network, the chagrin that accompanies profligacy.

Blah blah. So I was pushed up to the head of the Verrazano, where we lined up to start. We weren't exactly lined up. I think the more appropriate image is that of stunned heifers in a cattle farm, lowing with confusion and pointing all in the wrong direction. The professional men started just before the open field, so we got to watch the strong and the skinny launch off from our vantage on the upper deck of the Verrazano. This is when I first started crying -- as soon as the gun went off, the speakers started blasting "New York, New York" and everyone started singing along, waving their hands in the air. The volunteers were cheering us and there were some MTA guys sitting on a big truck in the median of the bridge shouting at us to run our hearts out, and I had a big stupid grin on my face that stayed there until mile 10 or so.

What the marathon planners don't tell you about the Verrazano is that it is structurally unsound and will one day collapse from the weight and motion of 80,000 feet pounding on it. It felt like running on a mattress. Every 100 feet or so the bridge would take a big dip, and the whole crowd would go, "Whoaaaaaaaa!!!!" and keep running. I was dodging plastic bags, sweaters, sweatpants -- all of that, people were still casting off on the bridge. I spotted a very expensive pair of Sugoi gloves that I was tempted to pick up and deliver to my sweetly awaiting girlfriend at mile 7 but by the time I thought to take it, a hundred feet had trampled it and I was beyond turning around anyway. Not that I could have -- I'd have been swept away by the pushy-shovey dense crowd.

At mile .75, still on the bridge, there were a bunch of men lined up pissing off the edge of the bridge. Why the fuck would you need to pee 6 minutes into a race?

So we got off the bridge, rounded a corner, and immediately were greeted by cheering fans on 90-something street. At first they were sort of sparse, but as soon as we got on 4th Avenue it was a big party. I ran along the left side giving high-fives to the kids and smiling like an clown, then around 40th Street switched over to the right side to start looking for my friends. Sonia saw me somewhere in Sunset Park and hit an amazingly high note and rattled her tambourine feverishly, and then a couple blocks later I saw AiLun and friend. So the prospect of recognizing people made me stare out into the crowd between miles 2 and 6, and I swear I looked at the ground not a single time - the miles just flew by because I was so distracted by all of the cheering fans. I caught Steph at our first arranged meeting place, St. Marks and 4th Ave, and she handed me a gel packet while I stripped off my sweats and a couple of well-meaning lesbians shouted incomprehensible things at me and Steph - "Take a picture! Do you need balance? Do you need balance? Take a picture!"

I devoured the gel cause my breakfast (donut, bagel, tea, powerbar, gel at mile 2) didn't cut it. It was the second of six gels I ate over the course of the marathon, each one with about 40mg of caffeine. Yesssss, drugs. I think I only made it because of the steady supply of calories and caffeine, and realize now that part of the reason I tanked at mile 16 in the Philly marathon was because I had eaten nothing the day of the race or the day before. Lucky for me, there were delicious, calorie-rich sports drinks at almost every mile, and sweet street booty Steph had planned to plant herself at miles 7, 14, and 20 for gel handouts. (I never bothered to buy one of those fancy gel holders, which are basically elastic belts with loops for you to stuff gel packets into...probably something to buy for the next marathon.) The mile 7 handout went off without a hitch, and then Steph took off for the G train to meet me in Long Island City.

I assumed that the cheering sections would taper off quickly, but it was maniacal after we hit BAM at mile 8 and turned into Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. We ran down Lafayette, I think, and the street was so narrow and both sides were packed with spectators that it felt like the marathoners were suddenly running through this enormous, mile-long, friendly gauntlet. The pace slowed and some runners grumbled but I was just happy to be waving and smiling as if they all loved me, they really, really loved me. The crowds tapered off as we got to south Williamsburg, then picked up again around N. 7th and Bedford, and then there wasn't much (except dear Spear!) until after the Queensboro Bridge.

All this focus on the crowds is to say, of course, that I wasn't thinking at all about running, at least not until mile 14 or so. I would stare into the crowds for miles at a time, and then realize with a start that I was going on much slower than I was capable of going, and would start moving my feet faster, and then would lapse into distracted, open-mouthed staring at the crowds again. I got stuck behind the world's hairiest person somewhere in Queens - we ended up finishing the race at almost the same time, but his hairy back kept bobbing in and out of my vision - really, this person's back hair was as thick as the hair on many people's heads. AMAZING. He was sort of a carrot. I'd get a glimpse of the back hair and then feel compelled to reach it, to touch it, to be fanned by the breeze that first passed through it, and I'd pick up the pace and approach him.

Of course, it was much harder to see him on the Queensboro, miles 15-17. There were no spectators, and around this point people started walking. The incline wasn't so steep but present enough to remind you that this was a marathon, goddamit. I took it slow and focused on my right third toe, which was bumping up uncomfortably against the end of my too-new shoes. Also at this point the shooting pains started in my shins, but that gave way to shooting pains in my toes by mile 18-19. Which accompanied the throbbing pains in my ankles (miles 11-14) which I recognized were a result of running on one side of the sloped street versus another, which catalyzed some zig-zagging across the street on my part to stretch out the opposite sides of my ankles.

The pain was not unbearable, clearly, but it did kind of suck. I was distracted from it on First Avenue because the crowds were so thick and the street so wide that I felt compelled to perform - it was like a slow, agonized gay pride parade and you just have go right down the middle of the street smiling and doing your thing even though your thigh-high platform boots are killing you and yesterday night's santorum is still drying on your hemerrhoids because everyone is watching you and expecting you to be here, queer, and sweaty. But on Fifth Ave between miles 21 and 26, holy fucking shit. I wanted to walk but I don't think I could have, because I felt that if I stopped for even a second, I wouldn't be able to motivate my legs to keep moving. The problem with not training for a marathon and running it anyway - well, there are lots of problems associated with that - but the major problem was that while my heart and lungs felt just fine with the exertion, my muscles just felt like 99 deflated luftballons, pulled pork, cappellini, baleens, bricks. And then there was mile 24, in the park, when all of sudden my left hamstring and my right calf were seized with tetanus and I just felt the entirety of my being was just a head and brain and my onerous mission was to haul around the remaining 125 pounds of my leaden body by telekinesis. My brain directed my hands to slap my thighs in a frantic attempt to get them to work, and then I had to repeat inspirational mantras to myself in order to continue. Most of them were along the lines of "Relax! Just relax!" or "Huff huff huff DO IT huff huff huff!" but other were more like "Brains! Brains! Brains! (on every step)" and the chorus to Erasure songs.

Finally there was the turn at Columbus Circle back into the park, throngs of people, bleacher seats, and mile markers that read "400 more yards!" and "300 more yards!" At 200 yards I broke out into a hobbling sprint and crossed the finish line, nearly crying, at 3:59.04. I raised my arms weakly, noticed that no one noticed or cared, and then lowered them back to my sides and listed over to the myriad post-race stations that the marathon planners had so deviously concocted - foil blanket receipt, medal receipt, photo station, chip return, water, bagel, baggage pick up. I finished at 2:10pm but then didn't actually exit the park until 2:50, nearly hypothermic, gnawing on a plain bagel like a hound on a leather shoe. It took 45 more minutes for poor Steph to make her way across the park to find me, and then we booked it home on the L train for a feast of ramen, brussel sprouts, and fatty fat fat. Another little known secret: the best part of a marathon is the post-race gorging, which I feel entitled to continue at least through mid-December.

And then there are the fun post-race facts that no one tells you about, like being unable to bend your knees for days, and not being about to round corners. If I had a nickel for every time I've run into a wall because I overestimated my ability to turn, I'd have at least $2.85!

Monday, November 06, 2006


is how long it took me to run the NYC marathon yesterday. Almost no training! I'm happy about the time. I'll write a blow-by-blow later, but suffice it to say, for now, that my thighs are so sore that I can neither ascend nor descend stairs and my kneecaps feel like they are shattered icebergs. Yow!