Thursday, August 28, 2008

"I'm pretty sure they don't let you major in geography if you don't know where Iowa is."


for just two days,

between driving back and forth enough times to accumulate the distance it would have taken to drive to Binghamton or Albany (but not El Paso...yet), infected cysts, being that smiling yet stoic girl on the table as they lifted the needle, 9 pm panicked escapes to Riverhead, beer pong on armoirs, boo lovin', ghost stories, lack of Interwebs, strawberries and bananas, 5 am pained steps towards painkillers, Windows Updates, Olympic rings, bulletin board supplies, fervently missing Spanish and gymnastics while both aren't far away, being alternately bewildered/annoyed and amused/upbeat, text conversations, unsolicited compliments, the standard Beth Grinnell ridiculousness that I've come to expect, whispers on a very small campus that turn to shouts picked up by wind, and trying to figure out how the hell I'll walk that line of carefree and 22 and 22 and mature writer...

...looks like I got that life change I was seeking, all right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

hard enough to wake me

I have a lot to say.

For once I want to be the car crash
Not always just the traffic jam

Dreams again: Fell asleep while driving. Too many hours at the wheel cannot keep my eyes open. I deny it - I can't remember - but my mom says disapprovingly that they saw the marks on the side of the highway -

vaguely I recall car spinning -

Hit me hard enough to wake me.

I had been leaving your house, but you were no longer there.

And if the road gets rocky,
just steady as we go.

"Jeep rider's disease." Delightful. Antibiotics remind me of why I never cared much for medication - sudden thirst and sudden sleep.

Steph: "dear diana, cortland is not the same without you ... lets rewind k bye."

For no reason at all, friends have come out in full force these past few days and I realize how many people I love - how many love me.

I've got this adventure coming up. They want to hear. Wish me well. But want me back sooner rather than later.

I'm gaining pounds
on the precipice of too late.

Seems that I've recovered a couple of the pounds I'd lost the past few days. Probably for the best. After all...

Dear Diana:

Please learn to plan ahead better; i.e., when exercising and driving for an hour each and preparing to cater in decently warm weather, eat more than three slim slices of cinnamon bread and a glass of orange juice.

the black spots in your eyes and ringing in your ears

Reach out
and take it
'Cause I'm so tired of all this fear.

Jingling cell phone music shakes me awake each morning. Sometimes earlier than I'd intended - a random call or message. Sometimes precisely on time.

Call me silly. But each morning the ringer sings me from sleep - always startled, disoriented - I wonder if it's from you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'll read to you here, save your eyes

It's easier not to be great

It's easier to resist the suggestion and of course I never will. Something aches when I stand still, but the moment I begin to run, it nods, clenches, runs with me.

You'll always be able to count on me to throw a full at random times in random gyms. Just to remind myself that I can.

and measure these things by your eyes.

"Have you made a lot of friends?" Matt wants to know as I lounge next to Riverside's trampoline, holding my leg in the air as an afterthought. "If I saw you like that, I'd be like, 'Damn. I'm being her friend.'"

I alone love you

Clear night again, dark trees bright stars. My lower back expands and burns and I shift uncomfortably, idly wondering what'd Emeline say -

then a star falls.

No arch. No streaking farewell. A straight line. A simple tug of gravity wanting theirs back.

Fear is not the end of this!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

warmer falls

Of course, who knows what will happen, but I'm so glad I got the job!!!

I haven't really admitted them to myself yet but there are perks in this place. Many, in fact.

And imagine: a winter less than bitter with a sun that stands aloof but stands nonetheless?

Yes. That would be all right with me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I didn't realize you were serious about this RA thing. Diana, that means you actually have to yell at people.... can you do that? on a regular basis? ... the creative programs and late nights I know you can handle :)"

Oh, Emeline!

Friday, August 15, 2008

4 (oh, I am nervous!)

Drama already: Bela and Bob Costas concur that Shawn needs to upgrade her barani to a rudi. Gotta agree, she can definitely pull it off. Amber French sure can! :-)

Six tenths... can Shawn pull it off? I'm hoping for a finish like Carly's in 2004.

Now Tim's picking up on the drama.

Jiang: Aw, this routine is so cute. Let's see how it goes today. See, the Chinese can do more than one pose between their skills! Low landing on triple full. Low on full-in. Not good triple turn. Or was it a double? Tim calls it "easy," after all. She seems a bit less thrilled. Last pass...again, low landing. Crowd loves her, though. 14.775. Let's see how the US girls score...

Is this the elusive Anna Pavlova? My goodness, she materializes!: Very aggressive. Long lines like Nastia. Cool front layout step-out. She moves very confidently. Feel like the choreography could be more intense to reflect the music. Intriguing ending pose. Psh, Elf, NOBODY is like Lilia. Besides Brittany Wiesner, who is the exception to every rule. 15.05.

This lack of commercials is awesome. And I've certainly just jinxed myself.

Ksenia: Cutesy, bu she does smile. Height on the tumbling isn't great. Putting on the Ritz, eh? Lots of energy, which is nice. Good routine, but not sure if it changed my life. 15.075, I think they said.

Yang: Dramatic opening pose. This music sounds promising. Very clean tumbling so far. Not that third pass. Switch ring not as good as others. Long wait for last pass. Low landing. I bet they'll let her slide, though, judging by how scores have been. Very pretty overall, though, it must be said! 15.00. Really? Thought they'd give her more.

Nastiaaaaa's turn! Oh, USA....: COME ON, Nastia!!!!! I'm nervous! Wavering in my certainty!: I like Tim's advice to "land on your feet and stay in bounds." Good first pass! Nice double front! Beautiful leaps. Was that out of bounds? Even the commentators are silent. Last pass!!....NICE! And of course a lovely ending pose. Good for her!!! Aw, her dad looks so happy. Yang just hugged her, too. This is suspenseful! 15.525! SWEET! Finally, a decent score for her!

OHHH, Shawn!: Wow. 16.125. Do-able, but could be tough... Tim says nay. Wait, didn't she score around that at Trials? Nice and extremely high first pass. I really hate her dance or lack thereof, but she's so damn cute. Second pass....Good, stayed in bounds. This music is cool. Good ending, good for her! She shouldn't be ashamed of second, if that's where she ends up. She looks slightly tired - what, she's human? :-p

Score score score.....


Nastia for the win! Wow! Good for her! Aw, they hug.

Wow. Nastia really brought it. I can see the touching comeback stories starting now. But Shawn brought it, too. Good job, USA!

And now Steph and I don't have to cause a ruckus...tonight, at least.


"The American kids are doing good," says Bela. Gotta agree that the scoring seems a bit conservative with respect to the Americans.

"Look at Shawn. Look at Shawn!"

If Shawn hits and doesn't win, I will be pissed. So far, neither she or Nastia have nohing to be ashamed of -- they're doing solidly.

YES, beam! This should be a pleasure.

I want to see Nastia calmly and cooly punch an NBC cameraman.

Shawn is .750 behind? How is that possible?

Ooh, I hope the delay isn't making her too nervous....*sarcasm.*

Here we go: God, I love that series and how she lands it! She moves so damn fas into everything. Gotta agree - first time I've seen her wobble. Low back leg on switch leap. But she's got it oing on. Lets see this full turn: hot! Emeline is proud right now, I know. Cool cartwheel thing - Beth must learn it. Solid!

Replay of that series confirms that I want to be Shawn Johnson.

16.050 - an improvement despite the wobbles.

Yay, Jiang!: Pink clips are fun. Whatever, Tim, let's see you mount the beam. (Flashbacks to Gary Babjack randomly tossing front fulls on Tumble Track.) Hesitation before front tuck. I think Angela Calvano's sheep jump is superior. Not too impressive today. Pretty dismount. 15.425. Definitely high.

Steliana: Yeah, sticking that double layout! Ahhh, another floor routine with three poses betwen skills for choreography. Doesn't go with the music. She doesn't look too thrilled. But, hey, if she's got back problems, nice tumbling! Awkward lack of applause. 14.500. "That not good." - Al Trautwig.

"I don't know what's going on," Tim says.

Oh, the message boards will be full of it!

Haha at the photographer in Yang's face. Shawn looks sad. No sad!

Loooong unnecessary filler talk while gymnasts sit or stand.

OMG PIRATES MUSIC!!!! WHO IS THAT?! Is she swordfighting?!?! AHH! The end cut is the same as mine!

Steph calls because she hears the music! "China is cheating their way through the Olympics! I want to go there and sue their asses!"

Ksenia (I can barely concentrate): (and why aren't they showing Anna Pavlova?!): Cool front aerial to scale. Not the same! Text from Beth about the music. Looks like a pretty good beam set. 15.925.

Yang: Seriously don't know how she is winning over Shawn. Pretty mount! Mine definitely didn't look like that when I tried to learn it. Silence in the gym. Okay, maybe I can see - she's definitely got some flair. OOH, not good full turn. Awkward side aerial. My God, she is skinny. I like her perky poses. She does finish every routine looking thrilled, which I always appreciate. But "it's beatable," as Elfie notes. 15.750. Eh.

Nastia!: Yeah, press handstand! She looks so incredibly tall, all 5'3" of her. Nice switch leap-half. Stay calm. Get rid of that side somi -- it breaks her nice lines! She shouldn't try to look like a ninja. Slow to connect that wolf full. The Liukin is a hot skill. Love that switch ring! NICE!!!!! Stuck dismount!!!! She better effin' get in the mid 16's. Or Steph and I will be causing a ruckus overseas. 16.125? Are you kididng?? FOUR TENTHS HIGHER than Yang's routine and that's it? Wow.

HAHA, a "definitive walk" from Nellie Kim. Thanks, Al.

What is going on here?!

Good for Nastia taking the lead! Oh, I am worried for Shawn.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Nasta's score in contention? Fair enough. But then again, not the highest difficulty. I like her bright pink leo. Quite the bold statement.

Shawn Johnson "recovered"...yeah, I'd say she looks pretty under control from a simple step forward.

Steliana Nistor: nice Hindorff, legs apart on her bar transitions (Tim sees what's up), ugly dismount but she stuck it. Wow, 15.975? Generous.

Okay, now it's really rotation two:

Oh, geesh, enough of Bela Karolyi, please!

Nastia: beautiful Geinger. Low Tkatchev. Yay, good Pak salto! I wonder how much the form breaks on her giants cost her. Apparently not too much. Eeks, awkward landing but she made it through! And, of course, she's barely breathing afterwards. Between her and Michael Phelps, I'm feeling like a slacker.

Replay: Yikes, she's so close to that bar! But safe.


Shawn: Little close on the Geinger - I agree, Tim. YEAH, stick! Haha, she looks quite relieved. Good work. I'm not sure why everyone knocks her bar routine all the time. She's solid. 15.275. Hmm.

Jiang Yuyuan: Cool leo. Beautiful Pak! I feel like she's not quite as innovative as other Chinese gymnasts on bars. Pretty dismount.

Steliana: Nice connection out of the front aerial. Yes, Jil, straddling the beam is never an overly positive experience. I hate side somis. Terrible full turn. She's a little loose and keeps doing her front moves in the same part of the beam. Lacks polish. 15.550? Generous.

Ksenia Semenoa: Cool name. She looks so little! They should show more of Russia, even if they've struggled. I respect anyone who can swing bars without grips. Nice releases, as Elfie notes. She's on that high bar forever. Very cool dismount! Nice! 16.475.

Why are they talking about Anna Pavlova but not showing her? Putas, por favor.

This gym is quite tame compared to 1996, even during the team competition.

We could show her routine instead of focusing on Nastia's face.

"Nice music," my mom says.

Yang Yilin: She's got that style on bars. Looks like she's working pretty hard every time she kips up. I don't know, Tim, it didn't really blow me away. 16.725. That seems a bit high for some missed handstands, especially when they hit Shawn so hard.

Shawn and Nastia move to the balance beam - hell, yeah!


Yes, I am going to blog through every rotation. And yes, I will love it.

Yang Yilin - nice start.

Nastia's vault = amazing! And the reason why I started blogging at this moment.

15.025? Lame. I can't see four tenths in execution.

Solid from Shawn Johnson - of course. "This is very scary," says. Tim Dagget as the judges pick up the phone. Please stop talking. Was it really that iffy? Roll us the replay again, please. Can they legally zoom in that close to a judge's computer?

Jiang Yuyuan - I like this girl's spunk. Sloppy....fall to the back. Sucky way to begin. Did she really have a shot for the gold? Hopefully she gets it back together - I like her style.

Damn you, Water Cube!

Whilst eagerly awaiting the women's all-around final

Since, not surprisingly, I've perked up substantially (isn't that always my way?),

a few thought-provoking quotes for y'all from Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman:

"Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body. But you haven't learned how to read the wisdom of the body. So you can only read books and listen to experts and hope they are right."

"Softly, he said, 'It is better for you to take responsibility for your life as it is, instead of blaming others, or circumstances, for your predicament. As your eyes open, you'll see that your state of health, happiness, and every circumstance of your life has been, in large part, arranged by you - consciously or unconsciously.'"

"Anger is stronger than fear, stronger than sorrow. Your spirit is growing. You are ready for the sword."

"Stressful thoughts reflect a conflict with reality. Stress happens when the mind resists what it is."

"There are no ordinary moments."

-What time is it?
-Where are we?

"You do have a terminal illness: It's called birth. You don't have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason - or you never will be at all."

-"So what do I do now/ Whwere do I go from here?"
-"Who cares?" he yelled gleefully. "A fool is 'happy' when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That's what makes happiness the ultimate discipline - above all else I have taught you. Happiness is not just something you feel - it is who you are."

"Feelings change...Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness."


"...This is the final task I will ever give you, and it goes on forever. Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"I'm emotionally devastated right now."

The text message from Brittany Galla after Alicia Sacramone's fall on floor said it all:

"What the fuck? Seriously."

After the exhilaration of the US men catching beautiful release skills, sticking dismounts, and skirting through pommel horse with a triumphant finish by Alexander Artemev to win the bronze medal, hugging and shouting in joy, tonight was quite the opposite.

Tonight, the stony-faced US women sat silently after finishing the meet, watching the grinning Chinese women smile through stumbles on floor that proved to be meaningless.

Yes, the silver is indeed an accomplishment, and yes, the Chinese had the mathematically victory even with a theoretical 1.6 added to the US score.

But it's one thing to know for certain that you could have done no better and quite another to recall every hesitant landing, each missed handstand, and two unsalvagable falls.

But chins up, USA. You'll likely live to compete another day. For all the talk of "experience," not one member had competed in an Olympics before. You are all innocent.

And nothing could be as bad as the Sydney Olympics, anyway.

As an aside, I appreciate the sagacity of Holly Fitzgerald: "You should be out there, I KNOW you wouldn't dare step or land out of bounds during your floor routine and you would have kickass accompanying music as well." :-)

And at least Danielle, Beth, and I were able to practice our full turns and cheerleading routines during the commercials!

I'd love to see Jonathan Horton stick his landings all the way through the all-around final; why not add another bronze? The Shawn Johnson-Nastia Liukin one-two punch would be fantastic. I appreciate Nastia's artistry, but I'd love to see Shawn win just so that I can finally believe that it IS possible to hit just about all of the time. I'm also not particularly sold on Cheng Fei. I'd much rather see spunky Jiung Yuyuan win some hardware, regardless of how old she really is.

Ahh, yes, we are all innocent...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Preliminary thoughts

In the wise words of Jeremy Lavine...

"Please, a little less drama!"

Yes, we'd all like a lot more gymnastics and far fewer "in-depth back stories," inane commenary from Al Trautwig, and interviews with George Bush and Bela Karoyli.

Bela: "...And Chellsie."

Bob Costas: "Chellsie Memmel."

Bela: "Yes. Obviously."

But since that's all essentially a given in different permutations in any Olympics...

Enough with the lamentations over the loss of Paul and Morgan Hamm to the U.S. mens' team. Yes, both have big names and big scoring potential. And they're out and many experts consider the team "out," too - barely in medal contention.

But isn't that the fateful justice of gymnastics? That sometimes it all comes down to who maintains their balance and who wavers?

From what I've watched and read, the men have hardly called it a wash. And when you've got routines like this from Alexander Artemev - something to make the most casual observer pay attention to pommel horse (on the NBC replay, even competitors from other countries applauded) - and an extremely clean full-twisting layout Kovacs from Justin Spring (not to mention the triple back) - you can't help enjoying the US men and their "nothing to lose" attitude.

On the ladies' side, it's certainly questionable as to whether some of the Chinese athletes are even a day over 14, let alone 16. But when tiny He Kexin can pull out release moves like these, I almost don't think it matters.

My fellow aficionado Danielle and I were quite disappointed to hear that Sam Pezsek had sprained her ankle and to watch Alicia Sacramone bounce out of bounds. But I think the US will pull through - maybe not for the gold (China's become so balanced on every event that it may be near impossible despite the clean slate), but solidly for the silver. And in the all-around, as much as I sigh at the lack of choreography and overabundance of rigid arms in nearly every pose in her floor routine, I hope Shawn Johnson dominates.

Also, the US mens' swimming victory over France in the 4x100m freestyle relay was quite fly. Literally.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

law of conservation of words

The law of the conservation of energy states that energy may be neither created nor destroyed.

I put words together in enthusiastic spurts at the beginning of the summer and over the past few weeks. Here was one - maybe not that - oh, yes, this very one - plucked from blue-grey haze.

Selected or not, they were all ready to laugh after I'd finally righted myself from getting lost on a straight line on a beach. They smile each time I fail my "need to be obscure" and choose something honest and, yes, emotional. They have rushed to surround me - words of all colors and inflections - each time I returned in tears.

Sometimes they pace with me, keeping me company - telling the same stories to soothe me. Other times, they cringe - so much noise, so little sense. Sometimes they dance outside of my open-then-shut mouth, hoping for once I'll scream.

Now I pull none.

They wait, watching.

They look up as I enter the kitchen, sweating from a run. The same songs play through my ears. The table is set for dinner. "Are you going to the gym tonight?" my mom wants to know.

"Yeah," I answer automatically.

They sit back as I dance to the same beats again again again, nod their approval.

Now it is dark and I would turn away to sleep, but they nudge my chin so that I have to look up.

We look at each other for a long while.