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27 February 2007 @ 03:53 pm
Tuesday suckage  
So I've come to hate Tuesdays... Tuesdays mean BSG is available for download, but K's at work kicking her desk and impatiently biting her nails until 'hometime' and trying not to read spoilery reactions on my friends list. It also means I'm waiting for the first yoga class for the week and in need of stretching. *g* And that also means I don't get to watch BSG until late Tuesday night, and then I'm up all night with the thinky. Plus, it's hard to be zenlike when you're wondering what punches-to-the-gut the ep waiting on the computer for you contains. ;-)

And then about this time on a Tuesday afternoon (it's 4pm here), the Heroes reaction posts start appearing... at which point K *headdesks* and curses her timezone for the n-th time.

So, I'm killing time by posting some I'm currently taking a six-week Intro 2 course in ashtanga yoga. Don't let the 'intro' part fool you--it's damn hard. I'm four weeks in and very proud of myself for having made all 8 hour-and-a-half sessions so far. I've learnt a lot about myself even in this short spell--my teacher is amazing. And I've been meaning to record my progress in some way so that I can (hopefully) track my improvement throughout the rest of the year. For I certainly plan to continue with ashtanga, although I'm not sure 'where to' after the Intro course: I may have to repeat it, as I'm not sure I'm ready for the 'regular' classes yet.

Physical improvements:
- strenthened arm and shoulder muscles: this is a huge thing for me, as my upper body's always been weak
- lost 1kg in weight
- bending at hips a lot easier
- finding it easier to consciously push my shoulderblades down my back to correct my posture
- can do three Surynamaskar A and three Surynamaskar B relatively comfortably (again, a big improvement for me given upper body issue)
- more conscious of engaging abdominal muscles
- steadier in my balance
- can do reversed triangle poses fairly respectably now.

Unexpected insights:
- (the good first) I have oddly flexible hips. We're working on forward bends at the moment, most of which I have no problem with, while the rest of the class struggles. Half lotus on my right side is quite comfortable for me.
- (the bad, now) I am ridiculously weak in the arms. So much so, that I can't even do stage 1 of headstand preparation, let alone headstand itself, *lol*. Basically it hurts for me to put my arms in the basic position even when I'm on all fours.
- Backbends are a real bitch for me. Thankfully my teacher is extremely bossy about overstretching, so he's taught me to modify positions accordingly. Apart from the public humiliation factor, this is fab, as I am now working constructively to slowly improve my back flexibility, rather than straining myself.
So there you have it. Flop forward, and K is all bendy and happy. Flop backwards or demand something from arms and you can forgettaaboutit! This does make a strange sort of sense to me. I was born with dislocated hips, so perhaps they always have been inclined to stretchiness. And on top of that, I spent six years training my legs in tae kwon-do, while my upper body was (somewhat) neglected. Anyway, yay hips, boo arms!

I can't wait to know what I'll be like with a month or two more of practice! It really is rather exciting.

And while I'm at it, some brief Friday Night Lights

I'm all caught up on episodes again, and could easily fill a post on each, but I'm lacking in time. The main thing I want to squee about is just how much heart there is in this show. The issues (overt or implicit) in the recent episodes are very weighty--race, sexism, teen sex. And while I cringed at some characters' actions or reactions at moments, I never lost my love for any of them. The conflict is so well crafted on this show, because they continually show us different sides of the same issue. At times this is a little clumsy or obvious (suddenly we learn that the racist coach is 'crucial' to the team's success and that he's a product of his upbringing and is self-aware of that), but it almost always wins me over (we see the coach actually do something constructive for the team in protecting Smash).

Another thing that fascinates me and sucks me in is the way that the conservative politics are so present, so there, and yet I just can't hate the characters because or the show--they're so beautifully, realisticly drawn. For example, I hated the coach and wanted him sacked, but I found I loved the plot overall because of what it did for Smash--he learnt how to balance his team loyalty with his personal (and political) dignity. And I also loved Mrs Coach for her absolute condemnation for his words.

Yet, on another matter I found myself out of sympathy with Mrs Coach. While I think her panic about Julie's impending sex with Matt was very well drawn and acted, her initial approach had me worried. Coach and Mrs Coach often seem like perfect parents and her close relationship with Julie is admirable. However, as the only child of a single mother, I can easily remember how hard it was as a teenager to forge an independent approach to relationships. There are some things you just do not want to share with your parents--and I don't think that's unhealthy. In fact, the opposite--suffocating intimacy--can be emotionally damaging. So for a little while in this episode, I had alarmbells ringing. However, Mrs Coach won be back with her 'we raised a strong, smart daughter and we need to trust her' speech. That is good parenting.

And I loved that Julie was smart enough and strong enough to ultimately make her own decision about the sex. And I had a lot of sympathy for Julie's desire to have 'control' of that first experience, and to get over that social hurdle. I don't actually think it would have been dreadful for her if she had had sex with Matt. But I would have felt for him, since I think that would have turned the relationship into something different. As it is, Julie's been courageous enough to take it to a deeper emotional level first--and that can be scarier than sex, imo. And since I know Matt adores her, I'm really happy for him. He could not be a bigger sweetheart. That shed scene made me love him more than ever!

I can't talk about FNL and not mention the feminist issues, of course. *g* As you might expect, the powerpuff (sp?) episode set my teeth on edge. Is that serious? Does that actually happen? That 'feminised' American football as novelty-event? Yuck! Having said that, it may just possibly be my favourite episode of FNL so far! Contrary, I am. *g* Because nothing could have been more fabulous than Tyra taking on Tim's team almost single-handedly! I do love that girl SO MUCH. I also heart Matty for picking Tyra first, even if it did hurt Julie. I'd pick Tyra too, dammit! She's about twice as tall and twice as strong as any of those other girls! And those training scenes were hysterical. Tyra all gung-ho and Matt all flail-y. I loved the rivalries in that match too--Tyra versus Lyla (yes, Lyla, you are a stuck-up snob) and Tyra versus the Garritys, and Tyra versus Tim. Oh, Tyra!

I also loved Julie getting to play quarterback. There was that subtle sense of Julie and Matt being shown as two-of-a-kind at the same time as Tyra and Tim were shown to be. (You could see Tyra wishing she was on Tim's team--his training style was far more in line with her personality.)

Oh, and disaster-zone Tim continues to charm me, mainly because he brings out Tyra's protective instincts. I love, love, love that she's still keeping an eye on him and that she puts out fires all over the place--running from sacked-and-dumped-mum to drunk-and-bashed-Timmy. I found Tim's self-destruction painful to watch in its transparency, but at that age self-destruction is such a common response to the world. I love it being shown in all its ugliness. And that corridor scene between Smash and Tim was absolutely wonderful--Tim acknowledging his lack of leadership skills compared to Smash. Oh, and there's nothing like a common foe to bring two enemies together! ;-)

Sometimes watching FNL feels like giving one's heart a warm bath--it's my chicken soup show.
Current Location: work (sadly)
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on February 27th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
Oh, I loved last week's. The screamfest was very funny, yes. It did feel very real. And last week's ep really built on that. Coach sitting around being useless definitely amuses me. He's so male about his daughter.

Yeah, I thought it was cool that the girls took it so seriously. It's good to know that's true to life. But I didn't really understand. So a 'Flag' game means those ribbons they were pulling off each other? Do boys ever play the game like that? (It's hard to imagine the boys playing with ribbons!) And I guess it just made it all the more obvious to me that the girls are excluded from this sport normally. Are there no female teams? Do girls ever get to play it 'normally'?

Oh, and I'm not by any means saying this sport is alone in its sexism. For example, Australian Rules was completely dominated by boys in my school. My primary school had an absolute uproar when a girl wanted to play. And my senior all-girls school did one class of it and that was about it. (I remember because I got hit in the face.) I wonder whether it's changed at all, but I suspect it hasn't.

I agree--there is hardly a character I dislike. The racist coach maybe. And Lyla, although I'm softening on her, and it's more the actress that I don't like, not the character. It's so rare to love everyone this much. I guess that's why the show makes me feel so good.
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: bsg kara eeek!bop_radar on February 27th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC)
*blush* Oops. I totally thought they were 'ribbons'. If they're not, that does make it slightly less fetishised.

Though, to put my case clearly, I think it is very telling that a sport that has so much money poured into it and such a huge following is almost exclusively male. It's the same here--Australian Rules (or Rugby in the northern states) attracts a huge following, has a macho culture and is a multi-million dollar industry. There is no female league and no rival or equivalent female sport (like softball vs baseball). It's not a question of the girls not being able to do it--women train for full-contact martial arts sports in the Olympics that require full-body padding, so if the equipment was available of course they could do it. Beyond that, I start to wonder how much of the lack of desire by girls to perform that sport is social conditioning. Because it is so hard to fight the established culture, I'm sure most sporty girls choose other sports. I just think it's unfortunate that those sports are not as glorified or idealised, and that they don't attract the salaries or opportunities offered young male footballers.

In terms of powderpuff in particular, I suppose you could argue that it gives girls, briefly, the chance to play like the boys. But then, if they want that, why is it a special event and not an established sport? And I guess in FNL it did seem like it was 'fetishising' the girls--dressing them in boys' gear and making it a spectacle. The 'novelty' factor just affirms that this is not the norm--it's fun because it's unusual. The gender reversal of having the boys as cheerleaders, is the same. It's fun because it's not normal. Why not? I'd love to see guys as a cheersquad in an all-female sport. ;-)

I'm not arguing with you, btw--I just realised that my post didn't clearly articulate why I had feminist issues with powderpuff, and your comments made me realise that it may not be obvious what they were.
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Dead Like Mebop_radar on February 27th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know you're not arguing either, and I'm grateful for you providing insight into the current 'real-world' culture of h.s. For me, the culture portrayed in FNL is quite foreign, and I don't know how true to reality it is.

*nods* about the gender issues--I don't think it's black and white either.

That's really interesting about boys on the cheer squad--that's cool! When I was little I was in a demonstration skipping squad, which was traditionally all-girl, but we had a guy in our team of six. It wasn't a big deal to me at the time (I was 10), but now I look back and think good on him and his parents.

And yes, that does sound like HUGE progress to have a Gay/Lesbian student club. When I went through high school that was pretty unheard of, though I got the impression things were changing/changed in the following few years. And of course it was different at different schools. In my generation it was still most common for people to 'come out' in uni, not school. Though a couple of people I knew did come out in high school--but they were exceptions. It's good to know that's changing.
Fleegull: SleepyGirlfleegull on February 27th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC)
Does that actually happen? That 'feminised' American football as novelty-event?

It didn't happen at my school but I have heard about it happening often at colleges and usually for charity.

Tyra versus Lyla (yes, Lyla, you are a stuck-up snob) and Tyra versus the Garritys, and Tyra versus Tim. Oh, Tyra!

I do love Tyra and I'm disappointed that Adrienne probably won't get an Emmy nod for her performance, actually I doubt that anyone on this show will get nominated and that's a damn shame.

I don't get the feeling that Lyla is a snob, more like she stays with the same group of friends she's had since she was a little girl. I do get the feeling that something bigger than just Tim Riggins went down between Tyra and Lyla.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: DW Madame Pompadourbop_radar on February 27th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Cuuute icon!

Yes, it really is a shame that no-one from that show will get nominated. It's a fantastic ensemble cast--the deserve acknowledgment.

With Lyla, do you mean something else apart from the thing with Tyra's mum and Lyla's dad. Because I felt that was the predominant issue between Tyra and Lyla in the powderpuff episode--I agree that it's not Tim.

I think it's true that Lyla doesn't think of herself as a snob, and probably would be shocked to know she comes across that way to others. But she does. I agree that she's a sheltered girl, who has probably always moved in one social circle. She's kindhearted--I didn't mean that she's a cruel snob. But her values are those of a certain class, and she's only just starting to recognise her own prejudices.
Fleegull: Good Girlfleegull on February 27th, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC)
With Lyla, do you mean something else apart from the thing with Tyra's mum and Lyla's dad. Because I felt that was the predominant issue between Tyra and Lyla in the powderpuff episode--I agree that it's not Tim.

Well that is going to have to come into play but I keep thinking that there may be something else that goes back to when they were younger. Tyra clearly had a lot of disdain for Lyla even before Lyla and Tim got together, it could be that Tim had always had a thing for Lyla that Tyra noticed early on but I get a feeling that there's more. I think it's a testament to Adrienne's acting that I'm reading all of this into the show.

I think it's true that Lyla doesn't think of herself as a snob, and probably would be shocked to know she comes across that way to others. But she does.

I totally get how that can come off as snobbery but I don't think that she actually is and I see her coming out of that bubble of hers in a big way. The fact that she is trying to make things work with Jason is so impressive to me, cuz I know that in her shoes, I don't think I could be that strong.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: House Cameronbop_radar on February 27th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
Ok, thanks for clarifying that--I wondered if that's what you were reading--something earier in their history being hinted at in Adrienne's acting. It's possible, because I agree that Tyra clearly was disdainful of Lyla before Tim happened. However, I think that could just be class resentment. I was pretty resentful of girls like Lyla in high school too--and you'll notice that I still struggle to have as much sympathy with her as with Tyra. I think Tyra looks down on Lyla for a number of reasons--firstly, Lyla buys into the whole football culture by being a cheerleader, whereas Tyra's defined herself as despising that. Secondly, Lyla's got a (superficially) stable middle-class two-parent family, whereas Tyra's practically acting as parent to her own mother. And Lyla knows about the hypocrisy inherent in that middle class life of Lyla's--Lyla's father visits her sister's club. And there goes Lyla Garrity, sailing through life blissfully ignorant of such things. So, Tyra's guilty of reverse snobbery there--that's how I read the resonance between them.

I'm not sure I see Lyla as very strong yet, but I've been proud of her for being honest with Jason recently, and she's certainly holding my sympathy a lot more now that that bubble is bursting. However, I read her initial response to Jason's injury as incredibly naive. Supportive, yes, but to the point of being suffocating, and actually missing the real issue(s). I'm glad they've got past that initial phase, and I'm also glad she stuck by him. I struggle with her because I often feel the actress doesn't quite pull off the role with the subtelty it requires, but I do find the character interesting.

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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on February 27th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Does this remind you of another show at all?
Yup! I was totally thinking that... I think it's a hard character to sell, and I'm probably about the hardest person to sell it to. (To confess my own prejudices, I was the stereotypical scholarship kid in an elite all-girls school. Imagine every cliche of upper-class snobbery and girls' school repression, and you've pretty much got my h.s. life. Hypocrisy defined most of the families and students, sadly.)

Hmm... I don't know about the snobbery thing. Naive is a good word to describe her, definitely. But I also still think there's some unconscious snobbery on her part. If you're unconsciously racist (like the coach), you're still racist, and I tend to feel snobbery is the same. Put Lyla in a pressure situation and I think that would come out, though I'd love her to prove me wrong. I'm not meaning to condemn her by calling her a 'snob'. I'm a snob at times too!

I agree that Julie's not a great actress, but for me she hasn't had to carry moments as dramatically weighty as Lyla. Lyla's inability to cry naturally kept throwing me out of her in the whole triangle with Jason and Tim arc. I really loved that plot and really wanted to like Lyla and have sympathy for her. I enjoyed her at an intellectual level, but struggled to respond naturally to her because the acting was awkward. Tim isn't great either... but thankfully looking hot and brooding isn't too hard! ;-)
Vacuum state of peace: vm_namastebzoppa on February 27th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
I got here from queenofthorns who linked to a BSG essay. I haven't read it yet because I'm so behind on the show, but thought I'd add you, keep an eye on yoru posts, and pipe up when I could contribute.

And then you mentioned yoga and I decided to say something earlier. I haven't really practiced in a year (my unlimited ran out, I didn't have any money, and figured I could build the upper arm strength practicing at home—of course, that requires actual practicing...) and since my major spiritual experience last week, I'm more determined than ever to go back.

And, seeing as you're someone who takes their TV very seriously and practices (and posts!) about yoga, I figure running across you now in LJ world is quite fitting.

I'd like to be added to your books filter if you decide to friend me back.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on February 27th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi.
Oh, hiya! *waves* It is lovely to meet you. Thanks for piping up! It's exciting to meet someone else interested in yoga too. And WOW, that post was brilliant! What an amazing thing to have happen. I'd definitely take that as a sign.

I'll friend you back, and then you can read this post from last year when I first found yoga seriously. Since then, I had a hiccup in practice that actually turned out to be positive (funny how that happens!). The gym I was practising at closed down suddenly, but my teacher referred me to the yoga school where he had been taught. It's a gorgeous, dedicated yoga studio near my house and is definitely better longterm for me.

I suck at home practice, though I've managed to do one or two sessions a week at home while doing this course--but it's turning up to classes that really motivates me. I just got home from yoga and feel wonderful. It really does feel like I've found the right thing for me right now.

And yes, if you catch up on BSG, I chatter on about it a great deal. *g* I'll go add you to the books filter now...

So lovely to meet you! (Great icon!)
blue: Luckdragon Textabluegirl on February 27th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
Regarding the Yoga, i wonder if the odd degree of flexibility and the weakness of the arms are related? They are for me. I'm oddly flexible and bendy, and my arms are weak *because* of this. The elbows bend backwards, and i find that this always made bearing weight on them difficult, because they hyperextend to an unstable position.

Just a thought. Good luck with the Yoga. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Buffy glowybop_radar on February 27th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
Ohh, yes, our teacher is often talking about (avoiding) hyperextension and the need for flexible people to work on stability and strength. However, I don't think it's that in my case... my flexibility is limited to my hips, sadly. I think it's probably got more to do with my teenie wrists struggling with the weight of my wide shoulders/large chest, but I shouldn't use that as an excuse. Thanks for the thoughts!
blowjobs for jesus: bsg starbuck is smokin'!kristiinthedark on February 27th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
Oddly flexible hips? That can be used for the good, I'm sure! It could be like your superpower. *nods* Seriously, I'm just really happy for you that you're finding so much in yoga, and more than a little in awe. GO YOU!

I remember Powderpuff games from high school, and I found them just as sexist and insulting then as I do now. There was this undercurrent of, "oh, look. aren't they so cute trying to be boys?" running through the whole thing, and I did my best to avoid the games (and the guys dressing up like cheerleader, which, okay. Very gay. But mostly, Grrrr....)

I'm watching BSG in just a couple hours!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara owns manfleshbop_radar on February 27th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oddly flexible hips are exxxxcellent for tae kwon-do. Side kicks, mmmm!

There was this undercurrent of, "oh, look. aren't they so cute trying to be boys?" running through the whole thing, and I did my best to avoid the games (and the guys dressing up like cheerleader, which, okay. Very gay. But mostly, Grrrr....)
*nods* You confirm my feelings on the matter. Grrr!

BSG = YAY! (though I rather gather that next week's ep is going to be more yay than this week's--not that I know any spoilers, I'm just seeing a lot of cut-tags mentioning the promo that I haven't seen...)
wildrosesingswildrosesings on February 28th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Yoga! We have exactly opposite problems; I have a superflexible back and strong arms, but my hips and legs just won't do a lot of poses. Especially if there is wrapping involved. We should swap some of our attributes or something. *grin*

I've never done Ashtanga...is that the one where you jump from pose to pose? (I'm sure there is more to it than that! But that's all I've heard about it.)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Hiro \o/bop_radar on February 28th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
Ohh, yes, let's swap! *g* That sounds wonderful! (If only it were that easy...)

Yes, we jump between poses in Ashtanga. Ashtanga has set 'series' of poses--so you learn poses in a certain order and there are a set number of breaths per position, etc. It's very structured. Between poses you do 'vinyasa' which is a mini sun salute, so you keep moving a lot. What style do you do?
Pun: side kick punchpun on February 28th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
I am so jealous of your bendy hips. You are a lucky duck! I have the stiffest hips in creation.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Allison bouncybop_radar on February 28th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Ohhh, really? That must be frustrating in tkd. Whereas I spend my time envying those with upper body strength.

My mother would be pleased to know that the hell she went through changing the nappies of a baby in splints paid off! It really does seem rather miraculous that my hips are ok, given that if I'd been born 10-20 years earlier, I'd have walked with a limp all my life (they only developed effective therapy for dislocated hips at birth in the 70s).
Romany: other: candle bookromanyg on March 12th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
*is in catch-up mode*

I'm rather inflexible when it comes to leaning forward, but I can still lean back into a backbend. And, for me, headstands are mostly about core strength (I still do them once in a while to impress my kids--ta-da! *is such a goof*, but I can no longer do a handstand, alas). Which part of your arm hurts in the prep?

My hips have never been ultraflexible so I'm impressed with yours.

I guess I should say that I don't do yoga at all. I've wanted to, but could never find a class that suited my schedule. But I like hearing you talk about it!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: BSG Apollo towelbop_radar on March 12th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, how interesting! My forearms hurt A LOT in the preparation and I can feel my biceps and triceps straining. I find it extremely hard to press the entire forearm into the floor as instructed. When I do so, it hurts a great deal, and as I say that's as far as I get. :-( I'm sure that core strength is a great deal to do with it. Once I actually get to any sort of balancing stage!

That's a very good trick to show the kids! My forward bendiness is my only trick. Oh, and my side kicks of tae kwon do, I guess.

If only we could trade strengths!
Romany: other: coffee blue table caferomanyg on March 14th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
I blinked for a bit when you said that you had to press your entire forearm into the floor and then I realized that must be the preparation position, so that you can brace. I tripod too but only with my palms on the floor. See how much I know about yoga positions? *g*

Tae Kwon Do side kicks are very impressive! So is the fact that you can do tae kwon do. *g*

My trainer used to bemoan my haphazard strengths. *trades with you*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex purple evilbop_radar on March 15th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
Palms on floor? That sounds great! Maybe I could do it that way. No, we have to have our hands loosely clasped apparently. I should try it your way for interest's sake....
surynamaskar on February 7th, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
Suryanamaskar Is beneficial for students.