Viento

4

Juliet:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

Romeo:

[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

Juliet:

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Put cheap wine in an expensive bottle and vice versa, and peoples’ perceptions; even tastes change.

The smell might be the same, but the perception of the smell, not so much.

Personally, I love roses. When it comes to smells, though: nothing quite like jasmine under the moonlight. There’s also this very unique smell from my childhood of a beautiful iris called Weird.

No smell on these guys!

No smell on these guys!

For some reason I was thinking about my childhood a lot this week. I was going through a naming process, and through this was looking at names for inspiration. Milk Street, where Ben Franklin was born. Wachusett, because it sounds cool. Abenaki, which has a lovely meaning but also sounds far too much like Meraki for comfort. This led me to the Wikipedia article on Hobey Baker, which made me tremendously sad, because I didn’t realise when I was younger and idolised him that he’d likely committed suicide.

This led me to the Wikipedia page for my own high school, which was a hoot to read let me tell you! It’s not until you step away from the madness of, say, a CrossFit gym, that you realise just exactly how silly the whole thing is. Like a Dorian Gray in reverse; things can age you.

This place gave me a few white hairs; not gonna lie!

This place gave me a few white hairs; not gonna lie!

So I train all year for the CrossFit competition season, and the way NOT to do it is to be in great shape then get whacked by life upside the head such that you so much don’t want to do the first workout because you’ve lost half your conditioning in 10 days, it’s not in your wheelhouse, and you’re seriously reconsidering your priorities. Yeah, no. No no no.

But I sucked it up, and went in there and put in a score, even if it was a terrible one, then didn’t even shower but rushed to the airport and made my plane by only 7 minutes. No dinner but I didn’t disqualify myself before I even got going, because I know I would have hated myself after. I had a bit of a bad night afterwards because finishing in 130th place is not exactly where I’m used to finding myself, but in a sign of my own either mental growth or headspace, I figured look, I’ll do what I do and either I qualify for Regionals or I don’t. My shoulders are barely healthy (but WOW are they improved the last two weeks!!), and I shouldn’t be going and throwing 15 muscle ups at them in just a few months. Really. But I absolutely will, if I make it through.

Either way, it’s fine. And it’s amazing to feel fine about something that would have been devastating to me a few months back.

Seems like a common story; come to think of it. The unthinkable happens and you figure out how to adapt, and move on.

My parents’ cat died this past week. And by died, I mean had to be put down due to severe kidney failure. This was very sad, for my mother, and for me (and surely my brother, too, who is a huge cat person). My heavens; the anguish and fear of this poor creature. Her name was Hupti, and she was not ready to go. I had never, in all my life, experienced such intensity of emotion in a 30-second window as I did when I sat down to say goodbye to this girl. Not a moment I will soon forget.

Nor the meeting that preceded this photo

Nor the meeting that preceded this photo

I was speaking at a conference, this time on Big Data Reform, on the subject of privacy and digital rights, and best practices. Apparently it was so well received that the organiser came up to me after to tell me that rarely have speakers gotten that high of marks. Now sure I had some plants in the audience but in fairness, it’s a topic I am extremely passionate about, and one that I love speaking on.

Then at the same conference, I had a guy come up to me who recognised me from a CrossFit competition (true story), and under an hour later was sitting at lunch pretending I wasn’t associated with the weird thing called CrossFit, until I interrupted to say that it was, indeed, a cult. But it’s a good cult. And while it’s true on the one hand that you cannot have a close relationship with me if you do not understand the dedicated athlete in me, who will wake up at 5am to train and who will happily spend a weekend day or holiday training twice and doing mobility or reading up on technique in between, it is equally true that you must also understand the CEO in me. 70kg cleans are fine and dandy, and yeah it was one of the happiest moments of my week to walk into CF Kyalami and start snatching, but I can’t be judged for my decisions and my choices, and as I knew a year and a half ago, at the end of the day there can be only one top priority.

... and this is it!

… and this is it!

What was embarrassing on that particular gym visit? I hadn’t trained in nearly two weeks, save for the first Open qualifier debacle, so I go in, do my warmup, then go to do some chest-to-bar pullup efficiency drills. Did one rep & dropped off: fine. Two & dropped: My right quad hurt a bit. Three & dropped: Huh. I think I pulled my quad. Let me check: Yep. OK … let me just saunter over to the foam roller now like nothing happened and see if I can salvage this workout. Because who pulls their quad doing chest-to-bar pullups? This girl, that’s who! Ha. Not my proudest moment, certainly!

Even the metcon was sad; gasping for air. I miss being in good shape. It was only like 3 weeks ago! It is amazing how fast it can go, and how fast it can come.

It was raining in the unofficial capital of sub-Saharan Africa.  A soft rain; but persistent. Hard enough to flood the streets, green the grass, and make the weeds flourish. Hard enough to cause power outages because the premium coal in the country had been sold, and the cheaper stuff wasn’t able to be lit with all that moisture. So while traffic lights being out is a normal thing in Joburg, I had my first experience with the phenomenon known in South Africa as “load shedding.” A bit less euphemistic than the American “rolling blackouts.”

LLueve

Llueve

It was also the second week of the Oscar Pistorius trial. This reminds me immensely of the O.J. Simpson trial in the U.S.: same thing – celebrity athlete, accused of murder of a woman, and all of the associated drama. I haven’t been paying much attention to it, but good heavens, the spectacle.

Speaking of spectacle, this was also the week of the disappearance of a Malaysian Airlines airplane. Imagine that: an entire airplane just vanishes! Strange.

I had my own airplane issues in the week when I boarded the flight from Cape Town to Joburg on Monday night; a little harried from having just barely made the flight, and I sat down in my seat completely exhausted, just thinking to myself “I WISH there would be a week when I didn’t have to see the inside of an airplane every week.” Then, to add insult to injury, damned if I wasn’t jarred out of my snooze by the plane having the roughest landing I’ve ever experienced.

But you take the bad with the good. Very, very interesting things afoot. They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I’ll tell you one thing, when it rains it pours. And when it pours in Johannesburg, all the roads flood! And then you get stuck in traffic, which I do not like one iota.

Except when there's RAINBOWS!!

Except when there’s RAINBOWS!!

It’s like you know a relationship is right when it just FEELS right, and you put aside all your fears and doubts and go for it. Same with a workout where you can honestly say you gave it 100% (2K row at altitude – someday I’ll have the guts!!). There’s probably some parallel between those two things; come to think of it. Or a name that everyone reacts well to. You don’t rush into these things, they are not small decisions.

On the flip side, being suddenly single can bring a whole bunch of unexpected attention. Very unexpected.

My life is strange. But it’s my life, and it’s awesome. In who else’s life can you have a 24-hour period that involves snatching 90% of your max about 30 times with ease (yes, after pulling the quad!), getting saved by the cops (yes literally!), a feeling of cracking a nut you’d not even necessarily tried to crack (the best kind), a heartfelt thank you from a friend, a phone call mentioning a space cadet, and one of the quietest people I know uttering one of the most heartfelt curses of another human being I’ve ever heard?

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

But as a couple of friends have very politely reminded me, it’s time to get back on the wagon.

  • “I don’t know that I should drive before bacon.” – Katharine
  • “It’s like a back of the envelope….Oh wait this is an envelope.” – Ellie
  • “And they say that girls are highly emotional and obsessed with shoes? In my experience, no. Boys! Highly emotional. And obsessed with shoes. Except for Selina Lo. She’s obsessed with shoes.” – Ellie (sometimes …. My monologues go a bit off!)
  • “We had a good run.” – Rudolph
  • “This thing here will be the death of us all!” – Rudolph (Woolies dessert)
  • “It said single channel. I stopped reading after that.” – Ellie (hilarious that they needed a 10 page document that could have been said in two words if you only knew what those two words meant!!)
  • “I can’t print.” “Seriously, Rudolph? SERIOUSLY? OK fine, you owe me one!” – Rudolph & Ellie (another great relationship strained by Linux)
  • “Sometimes, you don’t realise how good something was until it’s gone.” – Adam
  • “If we were having an affair, wouldn’t this be a great place to meet?” – more importantly, free parking in Rosebank, and the ‘sub rosa’ conversation that then occurred in said car park!
  • “I can see where this is going.” – Ellie
  • “I’m a believer.” “In what?” “Karma.” – Benjy & Ellie
  • “Yeah let’s make a plan about this tonight. Then I can stop getting these f*cking emails. ” “Yeah. And then I can get my f*cking data.” – Trevor & Ellie (he was bright red! Funny when the boys forget I’m a girl!)
  • “Even behavioural data doesn’t accurately describe behaviour.” – Paul
  • “That’s brave.” “Not if you know what you’re doing.” “It’s still brave.” – John & Ellie
  • “He can call me whenever is convenient.” “He’ll call you after midnight.” “Yeah, that’s ok.” – Ellie & Blake
  • “It’s not a sale until you’ve sold something.” – Erich
  • “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” – Erich
  • “The universe is looking out for you, Ellie.” – Sam
  • “Yeah, since you don’t train any more….” – Dave (really, when your friend’s brother’s friend’s father knows you’re not training, it’s gotten bad…. #cult)
  • “Sarcasm flummoxes most sentiment analysis systems.” – Tristan
  • “No. I think you should go see a lawyer now.” – Ina
  • “You don’t allow corporate antibodies to get involved in the business of tomorrow.” – Paul
  • “It’s not about selling more crap to idiots.” – Ilana
  • “Big data is not for small minds.” – Ilana
  • “I may be stupid. But I’m not foolish.” – Ellie
  • “It’s a game changer this year.” – Ian
  • “I’m not sure who’s more excited; you or me!” “I’m excited!” – Ellie & Doug
  • “I think you’re one of the few people to have that plan.” – Claus
  • “Nobody’s thought it through to the extent that they can believe it’s possible.” – Claus
  • “There’s certain Joburg accents that are very obnoxious.” “Yeah. Like all of them.” – Ellie & Matt
  • “Mental stress can wreak havoc on the body and affect performance and recovery. We cannot ‘will’ it away or train harder to avoid it. It takes mental training, meditation or removal of the stressors.” – Craig
  • “People were complaining that the bacon’s too fat. That’s the f*cking point!” – Roland
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