Thursday, October 10, 2013

Keep Getting Your Feet Wet

I have been swimming for a year now, and I've gone through a few rites of passage: the destroyed bathing suit, the scratched goggles, and last night, the exploding swim cap. But I've found a swimsuit I like, the rip in my fins hasn't lengthened, and I know the best lane to have, most of the lifeguards, and how to circle swim if need be.

In this past year I've taught 15 strangers how to breathe properly, seen one rescue by a lifeguard, picked up 15,000 forgotten kick boards from the deck (the lifeguards are not maids), paid a million dollars in quarters for the lockers, did one on camera interview for the local community access channel, and have executed exactly zero flip-turns.

I've also gotten faster, need to breathe less, and use swim paddles (they go on your hands) on a regular basis. And yet, I still have trouble swimming more than 50 yards at once. I watch the veterans swim without stopping for hours on end and 1) it looks impossible and 2) it looks incredibly boring.

So, I've decided to change up my swim routine. Rather than adding yardage (I'm up to 1350 yards now) I am going to focus on speed. It is more fun for me, it gets me out of the pool faster, and it makes me feel better. Since I'm not trying to join any swim teams or win any swimming awards, there really is no reason not to.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Embrace Your Wild Side

Although my current allergies force me to love dogs and cats and such from afar, the internet has made it incredibly easy to still get a dose of their cuteness.

Here are three web-sites that let you enjoy animals in new and unusual ways:

1. Dog Shaming: Owners send in photos of their dogs (and sometimes cats) that have done bad deeds. The pets usually are wearing a note of shame around their necks. For example: "I ate Mom's new headphones and I'm not sorry." This web-site should be required reading for anyone considering a pet purchase. You will be amazed at the frequency of and creativity of their destructiveness. This site really should be called Owner Shaming, because most of the mess happens when the dogs are alone and bored.

2. Oregon Humane Society's Kitty Cam
You need to install Microsoft Silverlight to use this site, but once you do, you can play with the cats virtually by moving an actual toy in their enclosure. And it's free.

3. OK, so sharks aren't what anyone would describe as adorable, but they sure are fascinating. The Shark Tracker lets you see where the 40+ great white sharks that the OCEARCH crew has tagged are up to. With names like Oprah (yes, named after the Oprah), Princess Fi, and Maddox and photos from most of the captures, it is quite the entertaining (and educational) web-site.

So whether you want cute or cut-throat, you can enjoy it without even having to leave home!