Sunday, January 08, 2006

the worlds of hobbies

Part of the fun of starting up a new hobby is that it exposes you to the details—sometimes bizarre, sometimes exhilarating—of a new little world you might never have noticed before.

Take running. Prior to running the Philly marathon this fall the extent of my involvement in the sport included a 45 minute jog outside or on the treadmill and one 8-miler that some friends and I decided to do on a whim sophomore year in college. (I remember afterwards saying to my roommate: “I feel like an oven—my body can burn anything right now” and proceeded to attend a study break where I consumed a quantity of mozzarella sticks that surely replenished all the calories I had expended.) And I flirted with the idea of training for 26 miles senior year but decided it would be too much of a time commitment.

“Gear” consisted of sneakers, of course, and on cold days—meaning probably nothing below 40 degrees—a pair of sweat pants and either a black or yellow fleece I had bought for a very good price at Old Navy. (I just uncovered a maroon fleece vest I bought the same year, also for a very good price, that I fully intend to reintegrate into my wardrobe.)

But of course, once I started to running, I found myself immersed in a Runner’s World—learning a whole new vocabulary and spending a whole lot of cash. My knee started to bother me, which meant I had worn out the soles of my old sneakers and needed a new pair. Once it got cold I needed both short sleeve tops and long sleeve ones in that whick away material—because of course it wouldn’t due to retain my perspiration if I were running for over an hour. And of course I couldn’t look dowdy, so I needed the hot pink New Balance top with the nifty holes at the end of the sleeves where you can stick your thumbs and not have to wear gloves. And then there was GU. I know you’re asking: What the heck is GU? And there’s a reason you’ve never heard of it. It’s because there’s absolutely no reason to ever come across it, let alone consume it, unless you’re planning on exercising, non stop (except for walk breaks of course) for over two hours. I don’t think that’s what it says on the package, but it sounds good to me. It’s a substance that has the consistency of ointment, is made out of pure sugar and comes in various flavors ranging from Vanilla Bean to Orange Cream. And they all contain caffeine. And the more I run the more I can spot the real “runners” from the sporadic joggers. Like the person who wears the sweatpants and the Old Navy fleece at 40 degrees. Forty degrees is balmy.

The latest world I’ve entered into is the world of blogging. Since I started blogging I’ve been looking at other blogs and only just learned the extent of it. As in, I saw a comment somewhere about how more people read the top blogs than watch the top news programs or read the top newspapers or magazines. I’ve also found, through links on blogs linked to other blogs, some of my own favorite blogs. In particular, I recommend one my a man named Michael Berube. I would type in his name so you could click on it and go straight to his site, but it’s too late for me to figure out how to do that. He’s a professor of literature and cultural studies at Penn State, and writes about everything from academics to sports to family and movies. But I always find the topic is irrelevant if someone is a good writer. And he is just superb. It’s the kind of writing where you smile because you’ve just read a brilliant turn of phrase. I’ve also come across conversations about the potential problems involved in blogging. In my case, I’m a bit concerned that doing this somehow compromises my professionalism. Happy to hear any thoughts on that…


Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

To build a link, so your readers can go straight to MB, just type < a href = "ww" > without the spaces that I've left so this should come through in the comments. (And the ww bit is the URL - the address of the site that appears in your browser.) When you want to finish the link type < /a >. Again no spaces.

1:44 PM  

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