Archive for November, 2012

Making December Suck Less

What? December already?

Indeed. Tomorrow begins the treacherous final month of the year. It’s when we somehow eat a dozen cookies at a time…after the third slice of red velvet cake.  It’s when we buy that second pair of furry boots because we’re on the internet and already have our credit card out. Those who must spend the holidays with their families get depressed. Those who have no families to spend the holidays with get depressed. The best strategy seems to be to retreat onto the couch, snuggle with the 1750 ml bottle of Captain Morgan, and wait for the new year to start.

Then I’ll get my sh*t together, you say.

Noooooo! Come baaaaaaaaaaaack!

It’s true that December is traditionally the crappiest month of the year. The combo of cold + darkness + mandatory holiday cheer is agreeable only to Santa’s elves and Swedes. The elves are happy for the overtime, and the Swedes are happy everyone else is finally as miserable as them. Regular people, on the other hand, tend to melt into sad little puddles of half frozen pond scum.

But, as financial advisors like to say, past performance is not an indicator of future results. This December need not be another year of succumbing to scum. It can be a really good, solid month. Really! While December may never be as awesome as Han Solo, it need not be forever Jar Jar Binks.

To help, here are QF’s five to-dos for busting through December like the champ you are:

Make December month zero of 2013. When our coach wasn’t watching, we used to see who could dive the furthest down the pool with a running start. Whoever could get up the most speed on the pool deck usually won. Sure, every once in a while someone would wipe out on the slippery concrete and destroy their ACL, but hey. It was fun to see how much further you could get with a running start compared to the usual static start from the starting blocks. December 2012 is a 31-day running head start into 2013. Read more…

Butt-slapping your way to a calmer, happier, sexier you

Logistics first, then a little bit about oxytocin…

Logistics-wise, we’re meeting today at 6:15 at the playground in Glenwood Park. The googlemaps street address is 41 Faith Street SE, Atlanta…it’s down the street from where we were last Tuesday.

As for oxytocin, a recent study out of the Netherlands has something new to say about this hot mama of hormones, this magic mike of molecules. The so-called cuddle chemical, released by the hypothalamus region of your brain when you have sex, give birth, and dance (hopefully not all at the same time), has been credited with everything from promoting trust and generosity to making martial arguments more civilized to relieving alcohol withdrawal to making pain less painful to treating clinical depression to helping highly anxious mice chill out and run mazes faster.   No doubt – oxytocin is the prom queen  and queen bee rolled up in one.

(Do not confuse oxytocin with OxyContin, the addictive pain medication that gets about 46,000 peoples not named Rush Limbaugh  arrested every year. The person named Rush Limbaugh paid $30,000 and got his charges dropped.)

Crankyman science blogger Ed Yong points out that our little chemical friend may also be a factor in not-so-nice things like xenophobia, envy, and – in some people – thinking badly of your mother.

But let’s leave these dark little details aside for the time being and focus on the lovelier parts of the love hormone.

The new study Oxytocin and the Biopsychology of Performance in Team Sports found that our favorite neuropeptide is “involved in the shaping of important team processes in sport such as trust, generosity, altruism, cohesion, cooperation, and social motivation.” (Also, gloating. But meh, what’s a little gloating in that ocean of positivity?) That in itself is not so interesting – it’s just applying what scientists already know about oxytocin to the environment of sports.

But what is interesting is a suggestion in the study that the environment of sports may enhance the production of oxytocin. They’ve not figured out a way to measure it with blood tests, but the clipboard toting scientists standing on the sidelines think that all the high-fives and butt slapping probably creates a flood of oxytocin. They call it emotional contagion.   Read more…

Black Friday

Are you waking up in fine fettle this morning? If so, says Henry Miller via Brain Pickings, write. Or, if you’re not a writer, do what it is that you are. If you’re a lover, love. If you’re a fighter, fight. If you’re a dog owner, walk your dog. If you’re a half-marathoner, ice your knees and eat a celebratory high stack of pancakes.

What I hope you’re not doing with your fine fettle of a morning is punching someone out to get to a 72” flat screen HDTV at Walmart.

The Walton family that sat down for Thanksgiving dinner last night has more money than the combined worth of the 48.8 million families making up the bottom 41% of this country. Wowza. And how’d they make that pile of cash? By paying their workers so little that up to 80% of the workers in their stores must rely on food stamps to keep food on the table. That means your tax dollars are fattening the Walton family’s turkey. Wowza.

So there’s  a few things to do this Black Friday:

1. Be in solidarity with the Making Change at Walmart campaign.

2. Support great work. I’ll be donating today to Dream Activist, the Crunk Feminist Collective, and Freedom University.

3. Make plans to join us tomorrow for a special queerfit session to jump walls. Don’t be afeared – you got this. No special equipment needed, though if you have the soft tender hands, do bring gloves.  We’ll meet at 10:0 at the new Bell Street Burritos in Inman Park/Old 4th Ward, across the street from Studioplex.  If you need to map it, use 660 Irwin Street.

4. Call a friend and bring them with you tomorrow. We’re heading into the darkest 6 weeks of the year, when we’re about to be bombarded with a thousand cues a day to eat lots of sugar and buy worthless sh*t.  You have a friend who needs queerfit to get them through this – call them and bring them! See y’all tomorrow…can’t wait.

801 Glenwood tonight @ 6:15

Change of place!  Now that we’re in the dark part of the year, we’re looking for a lighted track for our 6:15 Tuesday night workouts.  This evening we’ll be at Maynard Jackson Jr. High School (formerly Southside Comp), a few streets east of Grant Park.  The address is 801 Glenwood Ave.

And this Saturday, queerfit is stretching out for a special post-Thanksgiving workout away from our home location. We’ll meet at 10:00 at Bell Street Burritos in Inman Park/Old 4th Ward, across the street from Studioplex. The address is 660 Irwin Street.  Bring gloves if you have tender hands – we’ll be jumping up and over brick walls.

Election Day Workout

In lieu of our usual 6:15 Tuesday evening at Phoenix Park, here is your election day Queerfit workout:

Warmup. Jog around the parking lot before you go inside. Look for True the Vote “poll watchers” trained by the GOP who are trying to turn people away by asking if they have the right ID (they can’t do this) or generally just lurking around in Black precincts looking… self-righteous and white (they can do this).  If you spot one, have them read The New Yorker’s well-reported The Voter-Fraud Myth, tracing the whole made-up voter fraud crock of poo back to Hans von Spakovsky, a Republican lawyer from Georgia.

Show your ID. Here’s the Secretary of State’s list of acceptable forms of ID. If you’re transgender and the poll worker gives you shit, roll your neck and let them know the gender marker on your ID does not have to match your gender to vote. Tell the poll worker you are one of the 4,400 transgender people in Georgia the GOP-backed voter ID laws are designed to disenfranchise and you have no intention of going along with this Tea Party scheme and so they better (take off your earrings here, or loosen your tie & roll up your shirt sleeves) step aside and let you vote.  Do some squats or pushups while you’re waiting to talk to the supervisor. Everyone’s looking at you anyway, might as well give them something to look at.

Stand in line. For the duration, do three squats on the minute, every minute. The first squat is for those whose votes will be nullified because Georgia’s new voter ID laws. Despite the GOP’s bad intentions, this is not a huge number: 1,586 Georgians since 2008 have had their ballots rejected because of the ID laws.  The second squat is for Georgians who cannot vote because they are in prison or on felony probation or parole. This is a very large number:  260,000 Georgians cannot vote because of felony voting restrictions. It’s such a big number because Georgia hands out long probation sentences like Halloween candy – we have the largest probation population in the country.
Read more…

Zombie Apocalypse Disaster Preparedness

Frankenstorm has reminded us that we should all have a disaster preparedness kit at the ready.  Do you have yours? Didn’t think so. The disaster preparedness kits of today are what lesbian safe sex kits were in the 90’s: highly encouraged, rarely seen, never used.

After ten years of people ignoring  FEMA’s instructions to “Build a Kit”, Atlanta-based, buttoned-down CDC recently stepped in to help. Enter Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. The CDC’s director Dr. Ali Khan: “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.”

Atlanta is as likely to encounter zombies as it is to get hit by a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack. We had a freak tornado in 2008, and in 1916 there was an earthquake about 30 miles southeast of the city. There’s a big ice storm every twenty years that shuts the city down, which is fun for two days and then it’s not.  That’s about it when it comes to natural disasters.

Most other places, though, are in fact vulnerable to natural disasters. Yet, finding someone with a disaster preparedness kit is as unlikely as finding someone who paid to see Green Lantern. What FEMA doesn’t want to admit is that people are ignoring their instructions to build preparedness kits because the kits are so obviously, pitifully insufficient in the event of an actual disaster.

Come a zombie apocalypse, it will take a good bit more than the recommended water, flashlight, dust mask, and “moist towelettes” to survive. FEMA reminds you to include a “can opener if kit contains canned food.”  The agency apparently believes the zombies have already won, and eaten your brain.  Read more…