May 29, 2012

Accident Prone

Accident prone. It's unfortunate that this term describes me so very well.

Sometimes it's my own fault (like the time I caught on fire at a dinner event).

Sometimes it's not.

But nothing quite compares to my experience in Chemistry class.

I'd like to be clear that I had no business taking Chemistry. Despite having an excellent professor, I didn't understand a single thing that was going on all semester (except for redox reactions, which I somehow understood with stunning clarity). In lab, I was the person with whom everyone was afraid to be paired.

In one experiment, we were supposed to perform all kinds of tests on a substance to figure out what it was. Not only were we charged with coming up with the right answer, but it was also made clear that we were not to lose a single nanogram of the stuff in the process. For each unit we lost, the professor subtracted points from our lab grade. Not only did I fail to figure out what the substance was...

...I somehow ended up defying the law of conservation of mass.

The professor didn't quite know what to do with my grade since this was a first.

Later in the semester, I performed my biggest blunder in the lab. I was paired with one of my best friends, Peter. Our instructions were to take each of 5 test tubes containing different chemicals, hold them in the flame of the Bunsen burner one at a time, observe the reactions that occurred, and waft the smoke to smell it. These instructions seemed fairly simple, but there was one really important detail. We were NOT supposed to put the last substance into the flames. We were supposed to put it near the flames, but then immediately remove it from the vicinity of the burner once it began to react.

We forgot all about this last detail.

 I let the sucker burn until it boiled. Thick white smoke billowed out from the small tube. Impressed, I wafted and breathed it in.

 I was also impressed with the burning sensation in my lungs.

I removed the tube from the flames but the white stingy smoke continued to erupt from it. About a minute later, it still hadn't shown any signs of slowing. The room started looking pretty hazy from this toxic fog, and people were starting to cough a little. Meanwhile, I continued to clutch the smoking test tube like a total idiot.

I staggered toward the professor.

She went into go mode. She threw open the windows and yelled for everyone to get up and get out immediately. She also said something about hazardous hydrogen sulfuric acid gas, I don't know.

On the lawn, I watched as chemistry students filed out of the building, coughing and grumbling about interrupted experiments.

That's when I made a big life decision.

Right then and there, I became a psychology major. It was actually a pretty productive semester when you think about it.

May 24, 2012

Someone Was Stupid Enough to Let Me Do a Guest Post on their Blog

 Yeah right.

Anyway, check it out here!

May 21, 2012

The Warrior Dash

Last year, I was listening to Pandora and getting pretty dang frustrated that my "The Strokes" and "MGMT" inspired station kept insisting on sneaking a Jonas Brothers song into the mix...

...when I started to take notice of an ad that had been playing in the background.

It promised mud. It promised grime. It promised fire. It promised extremeness. It was for something called the Warrior Dash.

Basically, it was a 5K filled with obstacles like fire, mud, barbed wire, tall nets and something called the "Texas Tornado."

Something inside me changed and my whole purpose in life became completing this race.

I'm pretty sure the term "Texas Tornado" had something to do with it.

I quickly fired off an impassioned email to everyone I knew asking if they would join me in my knight's quest. Despite most people not bothering to respond, I managed to assemble a rag tag team who lacked athleticism but who meant well.

Kinda like the Miami Dolphins.

Once I paid my $9,000 registration fee...

 ...I alerted my friends and family back home how tough and extreme I was in a well crafted email.

 I also began training. I ran around several city blocks that I had calculated to total 5K.

About two months of training later, I had my time shaved down enough to own this race. And then, two nights before the big event...

...I realized I had miscalculated the distance and had been running much less than a 5K the whole time.

Another real problem was that I had somehow managed to develop a nasty pain in my left leg every time I put weight on it. 

On the day of the event, my friends wanted to visit a brewery out near the race site before we ran. Apparently, I had taken this thing a little more seriously than everyone else had. At the brewery, everyone enjoyed some beer while I pulled out a lunch box filled with healthy snacks that would provide excellent sources of fuel for the race.

When we arrived at the race, we got pretty nervous. When I get nervous, I make a lot of really good jokes. When Anna Marie gets nervous, she needs permission to perform any and all basic functions.

She also did something I've never seen any athlete do. She didn't want her hair to get in her face, so she pulled out a giant can of hairspray and sprayed her head in the parking lot.

 We were off to a rocky start.

Finally it was time for the race. Take a look at our team! I'm going to provide a real picture here because I can't draw this:

When the gun went off, I took off like the warrior I had become. As I flew through the race, I realized what a fool I was for taking it seriously. Pretty much everyone around me was drunk and stumbling through the course.

Nonetheless, I ran. I slogged through the mud. I climbed over logs submerged in waist deep water. I climbed tall nets (and at one point nearly fell off one). I crawled through mud under barbed wire (unlike some of my teammates who just stepped over the wire because they didn't want to get dirty). There was even a giant fan that blew dirt in my face as I stumbled past it (turns out, that's the "Texas Tornado"). And then, finally, I jumped over flames. 

Thanks to all that practice running and all the drunk competitors, I finished in the top 10%!

(For that day)

My team and I decided to celebrate with a bonfire at a cabin in the woods nearby. The guy who built the fire set it up way too close to the house and we were all a nervous wreck the whole time.

When I got home, I emailed all my friends to share the news. One of my favorite replies came from my friend Camille, who wrote, "Now in that game where you have to say two truths and a lie, you can say that one of your truths is that you've leaped over a wall of flames."

What a good result I had never thought about!

My other favorite response came from my sister:

 That's the Warrior Dash for you.

(To read another take on this event, click here!)

May 15, 2012

When I was an older baby, people found me a bit unnerving. This was because I began to talk at an early age and never spoke baby-talk. I just opened my mouth one day and complete sentences came out. When new people came around, they were always a bit startled.

In order to remedy not liking my name, I came up with a new one for myself.

I have no idea where anything but the Jordie part came from.

My ability to speak clearly so young created a tricky situation for my mom in terms of her cooking. Whereas most babies at that age can't exactly verbalize cooking critiques to their parents, I was an exception. One of my favorite childhood home videos has a scene that plays out as follows:

Perhaps because she thought it would be cute, or perhaps as a subconscious way to get back at me for those types of comments, my mom decided to give me a bowl haircut as soon as I had enough hair. My hair came in blindingly blond, and the bowl was pretty big, so I hardly resembled anything human for several years.

What she hadn't counted on was that I would use this bowl of hair as a napkin when it came to mealtime. I first discovered this option when my parents brought my sister and me to my grandmother's apartment for some spaghetti. To my mother's horror, I forewent the fork and spoon and began shoveling the noodles and tomato sauce into my mouth. At one point, I became displeased with the notion that there was red sauce all over my hands, so I reached up and wiped it all in my hair.

From that moment on, I wiped everything on my hair. There was no mess that could not be cleaned up using my hair. After meals, my mom and dad would have to put me in the sink and run the faucet over my head.

When I got to be a little older, my food critiques got a little more colorful and nuanced.

When it came to food, I may have been able to dish it out, but I also had to take it. Once, I slipped while climbing into my chair to eat a bowl of chili.

When I lifted my face from the scalding hot chili, there were bits of meat and beans stuck to it.

I also had the propensity to throw up everything I'd eaten in my mom's vehicle on long car trips.

I have to be extra nice to my mom on mothers day.