Sunday, December 1, 2019

Chin Music at Chin Music, Crowd Consternation, Pixel Puttering

I was honored to be invited to read my work at a poetry reading at Chin Music Press this weekend in celebration of the new Rose Alley Press anthology, “Footbridge over the Falls.” I haven’t been out and about much in the poetry world over the last few years, and it was nice to reconnect with some folks I hadn’t seen in a while and hear some great poetry. This is where I could ponder some truths about why I have self-isolated from that sphere over the last several years, but instead I am going to complain about the massive overcrowding at the Pike Place Market and the near-panic attack it caused me. I avoid downtown Seattle as much as possible these days, and I had forgotten how profoundly and I would say even dangerously overcrowded the Market has become. On my way to the venue, I was trying to center myself and focus on my reading, but instead I found myself getting wildly disoriented and panicked by literally having to shove myself through the teeming crowds and deal with the cacophonous racket of thousands of people crammed into too small of a space. Aren’t there fire regulations? It just seems really dangerous to me. That whole structure is extremely old and made out of wood, and I didn’t see any sprinklers or fire extinguishers. One errant spark would be very bad news. 

By the time I got to the venue, I was a trembling wreck, but I managed to pull myself together and not completely decompensate in front of my fellow poets. That was a rough ride though. I’ve never been much suited to normal existence in a city, and I’m becoming less so as I get older. I totally understand why the late Mary Oliver lived out her days in an isolated cabin deep in a Florida outpost. I am not in any way comparing myself to Mary Oliver, I’m just saying that it’s looking more and more like an isolated cabin is in my future. Ah, yes...I can hear the quiet now.

Now, the news that you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for: I got through the crocodile challenge referenced in last week’s post, (and as predicted, Not-At-All-Shady Ed bailed on his promise the second he got what he wanted,) but ultimately, I gave up on that game. It was far too much work. Not only did it require me to micro-manage my own character with Excel-level analytics, it turns out I had to do that for all four other of my “party members” too. I know some people really enjoy that kind of detailed, mathematical stuff, but the last thing I want from a video game is a mental challenge. I have enough mental challenges. I am in fact one big walking mental challenge. I want a video game that will allow me to shut my mind off and escape into an alternate world for a while. Right now, I’m escaping into “Conan: Exiles” which is sort of like the Minecraft of ancient Mesopotamia. It’s essentially a putter-er. You gather and make things and occasionally get whacked by an invading barbarian. I’m on easy mode, so it’s hitting the mark as far as the mindless requirement goes.

I’ve finally whittled my Youtube fitness video subscriptions down to a few trusty and knowledgeable folks, so instead of multiple subscriptions to the sketchy and over-testosteroned, I now subscribe only to power lifter Meg Gallagher (“Meg Squats”), and this guy named Jeff Cavalier who goes by the moniker of Athlean X. I know, it’s eye-rolly, but Jeff is a physical therapist, so there’s no bro science in his videos—he actually knows what he’s talking about and backs it up with evidence and facts. Don’t get me wrong—he’s clinically insane, like all hard-core fitness people are—but he does give decent advice on form and such. Sometimes I go and look up his videos between sessions with my trainer if I forgot how to do something correctly. But his last few have been laughably over-the-top. No normal person needs to be able to do ab crunches with a fifty-pound barbell plate on their stomach or do the same workout as an NFL linebacker. Most of us are content to work out just enough to avoid completely falling apart as we age. Chill out, Jeff. Tight lower abs really don’t matter that much. But I’m not in a music mood this weekend, so for your edification, here is video by Jeff on how to do exercises if you don’t feel like dragging yourself to a gym and listening to the grunters on the weight bench. Enjoy!

--Kristen McHenry

2 comments: said...

Your posts are so much fun to read, Kristen!

Dale said...

Yay for reading! I wish I could have been there.

Jeff Cavalier is my video guy, too. I've learned tons from him. My wife is deeply amused by the fact that I follow him: I'm not sure why, and it's probably best not to ask too many questions.