Keep It Positive!

…as you slap her to the floor!

Keep it positive! …as you pull her hair, and call her ‘whore’!

Okay, not entirely relevant. But Legally Blonde: the Musical, FTW! ;P

It’s the Sunday after the first week of classes of the spring semester, and let me tell ya, it’s been the longest week of my life. Things have calmed down a bit now, though, but it’s still beyond me why, after all the freaking writing I’ve done this week, I would want to write more. But that’s what writers do, isn’t it? We write. Go figure!

At the end of last semester, I can’t even tell you how stressed I was. I had two semester-long projects (the Gary Hall situation being one of them) coming to a hectic close at the same time. One of them was a group project, and I got more help from my mom than I did from my three group members combined. Bottom line, it SUCKED. I think I called home every day for about a week because I was on the verge of having nervous breakdowns every day. I felt so out of control of everything going on in my life.

The stress I experienced this week was a very, very different experience. I had a new schedule to start getting used to, plus two stories to write/interview people for on any given day. For example…

Class at 9:30
Class at 11:00
Interview at 1:15 for story #1
Class at 2:00
Class at 5

Interview at 8:45 for story #2
Class at 9:30
Class at 11:00
Class at 2:00
Interview at 5 for story #3

Class at 8:00
Work from 10:30-3:30
Interview at 3:45 for story #3
Interview at 5 for story #3 (that ended up not happening, but hey.)


Before I was even back on campus, I had two deadlines looming within the week. I was interviewing someone on Monday, before classes even started. And looking at my schedule for the week, needless to say I was a wee bit stressed out that day (and there wasn’t even a new episode of Castle that night! Boo!). I was dreading it and complaining about it for most of the day, until I realized something.

I could do it.

I mean, what good would being negative do? It was all going to be happening, whether I wanted it to or not. So I decided to have a different attitude.


I’d done interviews before. I’d had days of three classes and two and a half hours of work before. While long and tiring, they’re nothing new. So I went into my first, crazy-ass day of the semester with a positive outlook, and guess what? It wasn’t that bad. For serious! My classes all seemed decent, my interview went really well, and my 2-hour-40-minute class that night let out 2 hours and 15 minutes early. I even had time to write the story I did the interview for, which was due the next day, that I had originally planned to write after my 8 am class. Instead, I got to take a two and a half hour nap!

While still stressful and leaving me wishing for bedtime at 11:30 in the morning, this is the kind of stress I can deal with without having to call my mom and break down in tears. It’s not the choking, terrifying, ‘I don’t know if I can do this’ kind of stress. It’s more along the lines of ‘this is just an overload of stuff I know I can handle.’

In the last seven days, I’ve completed five interviews; written three stories (over 2,000 words on three separate topics and for two different publications) and two sports briefs; had deadlines on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday (and met them all); worked 11 hours at the wellness center; attended my first two editorial meetings for the paper; successfully navigated my first week of classes; AND finished all my reading for the next week. Well, actually, I still need to read for my finance class tomorrow. And my Friday deadline was pushed back to Sunday. But still. Successful? I think so!

And to think… it’ll only get easier from here!

But if anyone dares to tell me that students in the com school have it easy, I WILL BREAK YOUR FACE.



It was a pretty good week! All of my interviews were great! I think it was David that asked me what makes a good interview. I had to think about it for a second, because for me, it’s kind of just a feeling I get. If I walk away happier than I was when I started, it was a good interview. A good interviewee likes to talk, and doesn’t give you one-word answers. They don’t make you feel like you’re being inconvenient, or getting in the way of their busy life. A good interview usually gives you lots of notes, probably really messy and haphazard, with arrows all over the page. A good interviewee thanks you at the end, because they realize you’re writing this story for their benefit, and tells you to let them know if you need anything else. All of my interviews this week fit the bill.

I’m proud of what I’ve written, too! My articles for the Hurricane have been halfway decent, nothing particularly fantastic. But I think my story for Distraction is really good! :) My word limit was 1500, and I’d never written an article that long before. The assignment was really open ended, too – I was basically told to write a 1500-word story about the student trainers at the wellness center, and was given less than two weeks to do it in.


Luckily for me, I work at the wellness center, and therefore know a handful of trainers. Many, MANY thanks to Sune and Tim for saving my butt on this one! They were both fantastic interviewees, and gave me awesome quotes for my article. I managed to write the vast majority of it in a single sitting and only two or three hours (with Jon as my cheering section! Haha). The editor just got back to me about it, and the only changes I had to make were really minor! So GO ME! (Why yes, yes I am tooting my own horn!)

It was kind of funny to live through the progression of that story, though. I didn’t interview Sune until Thursday, and therefore didn’t really know what angle I was going to take for most of the week. I think it was Wednesday night that I was unbelievably grumpy because I didn’t know what I was doing… but then I figured out my direction, and life was good!

So, for future reference to myself…

Keep it positive! …yeah! Let out your inner freak!

Keep it positive! …miss prissy pants won’t last a week!

…Yep, still not really relevant. :P

Just Call Him Mr. 25/8

Question: which winter Olympic sport is your favorite to watch?

I don’t think I could possibly answer this question. I love figure skating, and have since I can remember. Hockey is always exciting, as is curling, in an entirely different way. Snowboarding is always a nail-biter, and let’s not even talk about skeleton, bobsledding, and luge! Even cross-country skiing and the biathlon have their own appeal.

Then there’s short track.

Honestly, I think it’s in a category all its own. It has the speed and grace of long track speed skating, plus the added element of something along the lines of roller derby. I mean, think about it: around five skaters, on a track that’s only the size of a hockey rink, sprinting at speeds up to 35 mph, with razor sharp, 18-inch blades strapped to their feet. Every time I watch a race, I’m convinced that one of them is going to die. They never do, of course, but crashes are a fairly normal occurrence. And during every crash, I’m convinced that one skater’s blade is going to end up in another skater’s thigh. But it’s “just a part of the sport.” It makes you wonder how any one person can stay on top for any amount of time. But some of these guys can, and do. Just ask Apolo Ohno!


Okay, I’ll be honest; Apolo is a huge part of the reason I started having any interest in short track. The man is gorgeous, and super adorable to boot. Ask Vh1 and they’ll tell you he’s “undateable,” since he rocks both a bandana AND a soul patch. But this is the network that airs such shows as Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, Daisy of Love, etc. And seriously… just look at him.


And he tweeted me once! Best day ever!

Let me tell you – this was the hardest I’ve ever fangirled in my life. (He wished me goodnight! APOLO OHNO! Wished ME goodnight! :D)

But having a vested interest in an athlete in such a crazy intense sport is not for the faint of heart. Apolo’s strategy is to spend most of the race in the middle of the pack, and then take the lead at the end. It makes total sense, what with less wind resistance and everything. But as a fan? “Okay, he’s in third, but it’s okay, it’s a long race! Third, third, third, CRAP! FOURTH?! WHAT THE HELL, THAT SHOULD BE CALLED A FOUL! ARE YOU BLIND, REF?! Back to third, second, second, second, OH MY GOD THERE’S TWO LAPS LEFT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, APOLO?! Second, second, first! YAY! WIN! Now take me to the emergency room for my heart palpitations, please.”

Rinse and repeat, for every single heat he competes in for every single race. Let me tell you, it’s high stress. But it’s so worth it! Eight medals? Check!

So anyway, when I heard he wrote a book, I knew I had to have it. It was my final Chanukah present this year, and I started reading it a few days ago. Why’d I wait so long? No idea.

It started off kind of slow. I mean, it was really interesting to read about how one of my favorite athletes grew up. Wait, you were friends with high schoolers when you were HOW young? They stole WHAT? They had WHAT in that bag? …It’s pretty amazing to see what kind of transformation he made in just a few years. But I still just read about a chapter a day. I wasn’t really hooked until he got to the Olympics.

That’s when things got really good! Not only did he talk about how he trained, both physically and mentally (which, by the way, holy crap!), but he described his thoughts during each second of a lot of his races. Races that I remember watching, on the edge of my seat, heart in my throat, screaming at the TV. It’s a really weird sensation, experiencing one of your memories from inside someone else’s head. Weird in a really, REALLY cool way! At moments when I’d be thinking “oh my god, he’s gonna lose, he’s not in control at all!” he was thinking about how his strategy was working perfectly, what kind of pass he’d be making next, and how easy that win was. Oh, to be an elite athlete.

Beyond that, he talks about his training. Like I said before, HOLY CRAP. For months before Vancouver, all he would do was skate, work out, and review skating tapes. All he would eat was hard boiled eggs, salmon, some vegetables, and an oatmeal mix. Oh, and a bowl of pasta on his “high-calorie” day. It’s insanity. The man deserves a gold medal just for that, let alone his racing!

I was surprised by how affected I was by this book. I’m not really sure why; listen to Apolo speak once and you know he has some great stuff to say. But this is the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to dog-ear pages of a book. The following are all passages I felt the need to bookmark.


“For seemingly everybody, at least for this one night [during the opening ceremony], no matter who we are or where we’re from, whether in the stadium or watching on television in the farthest reaches of the globe, we all allow ourselves to share in the hope that our world can be a more peaceful, gentler place.”

--This. Exactly this. This is why I love the Olympics so much. You see the French team waving double-sided flags, one side French, one side American, at the 2002 Olympics in honor of 9/11, you see a stadium-wide moment of silence for the Georgian luger that was killed in Vancouver, and you can’t help but truly believe that there is good in the world.


“[Steve Bradbury’s] strategy here in Salt Lake had been – in a word – unique. He would deliberately lag behind, way behind, the main pack. If you were being generous, you might call it a safe distance. You might also call it 20 to 30 meters. Then he would wait for everyone else to fall down. It seemed almost laughable.

In the quarterfinals, two guys ahead of him fell. Steve advanced.

In the semifinals, two guys ahead of him fell and another was disqualified. Steve advanced.

As we rounded the final corner, Jiajun tried to pass on the outside. He was trying to go over the top. He grabbed at my shoulder.

At that exact instant, Hyun-Soo tried to move up on the inside. He was small—but not that small.

There simply wasn’t any room there.

Around the curve, after grabbing at me, Jiajun lost his balance and went spinning out, into the pads.

Even as Jiajun was flying out of the race, Hyun-Soo lost his balance. Because there was no room, he had nowhere to go but down, and down he went, out of control, taking out both Mathieu and me.

The force threw me onto my back and sent me into a full 360-degree spin. It slammed me into the boards. My head bounced off the padding. I could feel the wind at my fingers, and the next thing I knew, I was in the boards.

Everybody in the race but Steve was down.

Be ready for anything. Never, ever take a race for granted until you’re over the line. Finish. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a daze. It doesn’t matter how quick everything is happening all around you, no matter how crazed. What happens to you is up to you. Finish.

I got up, onto my right skate. I turned toward the line as Steve, his arms at his sides, sauntered by. He coasted across the line, the winner. Your gold medalist.

…the phrase ‘do a Bradbury’ has become part of the Aussie vocabulary. It means to achieve something against all reasonable odds.

I threw a bag of ice onto my leg and dropped into a wheelchair. After all, I had to get to a ceremony. I had a silver medal to collect, and I was thrilled about that.

It was, after all, the best race of my life.

I didn’t lose gold.

I won silver.

--In short track, as in life, sometimes things can turn into a crazy mess at the drop of a dime. And THAT is the attitude I desperately wish I had. So, my new New Year’s resolution: I didn’t lose gold, I won silver.


“The entire Olympic experience, the Olympic dream, the fact of being an Olympian—all of that was now in my blood, in my eyes, in everything about me. I felt the power of the Olympic spirit. And I wanted to train as if I had nothing, as if I’d had no success. It’s why I put my medals in my sock drawer instead of on display. I wanted to act as if I had done nothing, won nothing, yet.

For me, it was now four years to the next Winter Games, in Torino, Italy, in 2006. Four years to train for—as an example—40 seconds in the 500.

If it were just about a medal, that was bad math. It was very good math, though, if the equation, were framed differently. For those 40 seconds, I might have the chance to be all I could be.


“A coach would say, “Great race!”

And I would come back with something like this: “No, I need to do more.”

I have to accept that I am forever striving for perfect. It’s part of me to my core. But I also accept now that nothing is perfect. And it doesn’t need to be perfect. That doesn’t need to detract in any way, shape, or form from whatever it is I’m pursuing.

My personal best is good enough, as long as I give it everything I’ve got.

It’s too intense and too unforgiving a life if you live trying to be a perfectionist. Perfect is, in a very real sense, unattainable. It’s a little like being on a perpetual StairMaster—the thing never shuts off, the stairs piling down and down, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but never, ever off.

Sometimes you’ve got to get off the machine, hold the rails, look around, and appreciate all the stairs you’ve already climbed.


“There’s a sense of purity that we don’t see as often anymore, a glimpse into a life that is dedicated, with a central purpose—and that is to love a particular sport and to compete within it.

The Olympic Games were my spark—to come to the Games prepared, to represent my country the best I could. And every single time I have been treated so well by the Olympic Games. They have given me so much insight and I have been blessed and lucky enough to be my best. To go out there and give my all, that’s all I ask for. Whether I’m disqualified, or I come first, second or third, it’s not really up to me. I carry my struggle further.

At an Olympics, we come together on one stage. We come together to compete in fair play and with goodwill.

You see people from countries all over the world in one place, together—a unity of ethnicities and languages. It’s what we look for. It’s what we all really want. It’s what we want to see.

And it really is cool.

And I Did This For Free?

A week later and the snow is FINALLY melting. But I think it’s saying something that it was 50 degrees on Sunday and we still have a decent amount.

But in my eyes, the LIRR’s reputation has been damaged beyond repair. And I don’t even live on a block that wasn’t plowed until several days after the storm!

Though, uh, this is what the view from my front door was 24 hours after the storm was over. And yes, there is a street out there.

I did make it into the city to do my volunteering on Wednesday, the last of the three street team days. I had to wake up extra early to make sure the trains were running (cue bitter grumbling), because the night before, the website said service would be “near normal,” but the schedule still wasn’t up. Seriously, someone should get fired over this. >.<

After driving to the train station and parking in the snow (narrower streets and four-wheel drive being necessary to get into a parking spot FTW!), I took a 10:40-ish train. I sat across from a couple that probably would’ve been absolutely adorable… if I didn’t have to sit facing them for the entire ride. I had to constantly stare off into the dusty corners of the car to avoid feeling like a creep. But, of course, this could just stem from me being single and maybe a teeny bit jealous of their hand-holding, cookie-buying, ice-skating happiness. (They really were cute, though.)

I got to Penn Station at 11:30-ish and grabbed a quick bagel and orange juice at Au Bon Pain. And by “quick,” I mean “stuffed half in my face and ran.” My team was meeting outside of the Borders in Penn Plaza between 11:45 and noon. I wasn’t really sure what (or who) I was looking for, until I spotted about five people wearing Pinstripe Bowl knit hats. So I headed in that direction, checked in, and got my bag full of fliers. And when I say full, I mean FULL. Seriously, there had to have been five pounds of fliers in that thing.

It was kind of weird at first, since most of us didn’t know anyone, and those that did knew the one other person they came with. I’m always really nervous before I go somewhere/do something where I don’t know anyone. But I have to say, those experiences are some of the most memorable in my life; sleepaway camp, Endurance, college, and Castle Con, to name a few. Absolutely terrifying at first, but they all worked out quite fantastically. It’s fascinating to see what happens when a bunch of strangers are thrown together. It really shouldn’t be terrifying, because everyone else wants to make friends too! So keeping that in mind makes it much easier to open up and be friendly. In the case of Castle Con and volunteering, it’s really interesting to make friends with people of all ages. I don’t really consider myself as having many adult “friends” – there are adults I like and get along with, sure, but during these kinds of things, I’ve made adult friends. It’s cool to see that people of all ages are still basically the same. And I like it when people don’t judge me for being so much younger than they are! :)

So anyway, I started talking to a 20-something guy named Sherman and a 40-or-50-something woman named Debra. They were both really nice, and we ended up splitting off together when we all decided it was time to head out. We thought it would be a good idea to hand out fliers in front of sports bars, so we found a couple just down the block. Debra went inside several and ended up getting rid of ALL her fliers by leaving them with the bartenders for people to take. Smart lady! She left Sherman and I after about an hour and went to do her own thing, and we were stuck for the next three hours trying to get rid of the rest of ours.

Long story short: it was cold. It was long. It was New York City, where people don’t like being solicited on the street. And did I mention it was cold? I wore three pairs of socks, my snow boots, leggings, sweatpants, two long-sleeved shirts, my winter coat, a scarf, gloves, and the Pinstripe Bowl hat they gave us… and I was FROZEN. Froooooooozen. It was a nice day, too! But after four hours standing outside? Not so much. We went into Old Navy and Duane Reade to thaw a few times, but my fingers were still cold to the point of being numb.

I don’t even know how many fliers I handed out. I could probably count them on one hand :P. Seriously, this job is HARD. I’m just not obnoxious enough to be successful at this kind of thing. I didn’t get in anyone’s face and force them to take a flier, so the people that took were actually interested in what I was yelling (which was “Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, tomorrow afternoon! Syracuse and Kansas State!” …over, and over, and over, and over…

But seriously. Never again will I walk past a person handing out fliers on the street without looking at them. It sucks. And I'll try and take fliers when they're shoved at me, because standing in the cold for hours and feeling like you're not getting anything accomplished is brutal.

Eventually, Sherman and I went into some bars and left a stack of fliers each. But, when 3:30 rolled around, we still had gazillions left in our bags. We headed back to Borders to meet up with our team captain again. You can’t even imagine my relief when everyone else pulled handfuls of fliers out of their bags and pockets! At least I wasn’t the only one with a problem doing this job! :)

After that, we were free to go. Well, we were basically free to do whatever we wanted from the get-go, but hey. So I hightailed it into Penn Station and promptly got a peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks… to warm my hands, of course! And maybe because it’s delicious. But just a little bit.

I caught a 4-something train and listened to my boys Street Corner Symphony on the way home. I was completely EXHAUSTED! It didn’t quite hit me until I was actually at home, but I was about to pass out before I even peeled all my layers off. And the bottoms of my pants were soaked from the snow, but I was ready to sleep sitting on the bottom stair in my house with them rolled up around my knees – I was THAT tired.

…Though I think I stayed up until at least midnight anyway. I’m just an idiot when it comes to my sleep schedule sometimes.

I didn’t go to Good Morning America the next morning. There was no way I was catching a 4:09 am train into the city to stand outside for another four hours, this time without the ability to duck into a store to get feeling back into my fingers. Nooooo way. And I didn’t go to the game either, even though all volunteers got a free ticket. If I had more of a vested interest in either of the teams I would’ve, and if I had two tickets so I could take a friend I would’ve… but I didn’t, so I didn’t. I watched from home though, and it was a hell of an evenly matched game!

Overall, I think this was a good experience. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again next year, and I’m so, SO glad I only had to do it once, but the people I met were nice, and it should be a nice line on my resume. And I got a free hat!

...But it's huge and awkward looking on top, so I don't even know if I'll ever wear it again. A free t-shirt would've been sweet, but I guess beggars (and people who work for free) can't be choosers. Oh, and I'd like you to meet my baby and the bane of my existence, Nicky. :) I much prefer him on my shoulder to wreaking havoc on the floor.

Speaking of my resume, how did I forget about more than half the sports teams in the greater NY area when I was thinking about internships? o_O So the Islanders, Rangers, Knicks, Jets, and Giants have been added to the list, as has Madison Square Garden and the WWE. So if anybody knows anybody, let me know! Please and thank you!

And now it’s one in the morning, my post new epic episode of Castle high is basically gone, and I'm out of things to say. Time to quit while I'm ahead, methinks!

Oh, and happy 2011!