September 23, 2010 at 8:24 am
I am in upstate North Carolina this week, though I didn’t know North Carolina had an upstate until they kept mentioning it on the local news. (Upstate weather, next! What’s happening in the upstate? Upstate, upstate, UPSTATE!) My mom is visiting for the week, so we took a road trip to visit the Biltmore estate in Asheville. It’s America’s largest home, has 43 bathrooms, and no public restrooms. (Take your pee break before you enter!) We also just missed getting on local television when they were filming a story about a freakishly huge mushroom found on the grounds.
I thought you guys would be most interested in the recreation areas in the basement of the Biltmore. Here’s the swimming pool:
Don’t jump in! There is a noticeable lack of water. The 70,000-gallon pool was heated and had underwater lighting. There are also call buttons near the edge so guests could call for a servant.
And here’s an early 20th-century gym:
Those wooden pins hanging from the wall made me think George Vanderbilt was a closet juggler, but they’re evidently [...]
December 29, 2008 at 8:34 am
Going to the gym is ridiculous. I think this every time I am at the gym. I think this when I get in my car and drive two miles to go run two miles. There is something fundamentally flawed about that scenario. There is something deeply ridiculous about watching the men and women around me operating machines solely to exhaust themselves. They’re not sweating to manufacture shoes. They’re not hunched over setting type to print newspapers. They’re not even running the machine that punches holes in donuts. We’re just running and rowing and lifting heavy objects so we’ll be able to run and row and lift heavy objects. It’s weird.
I think it odd that our culture has developed to a point where we now have to set aside a block of time every day to do something our bodies were meant to do everyday anyway. It’s as though our bodies are not able to evolve as quickly as our society is changing. So we’re left behind, running in place. If you’re clever, you can make [...]
March 29, 2008 at 6:58 pm
I got up at seven o’clock this morning, ate my oatmeal, suited up in my running gear, grabbed my gloves and walked out the door to go to my half-marathon training group. I made it literally one step out the door when the frigid 30-degree air hit my face, feeling colder than I remembered 30-degree air being. That’s when I said, “Fuck this shit,” and walked back inside. It’s the end of March and there should not be frost on my car in the morning. There have been enough “PastaQueen battles the elements” entries. It’s about time for a “PastaQueen goes to the YMCA with her shiny new MP3 player” entry.
There is a surprisingly large amount of people at the YMCA on a Saturday morning. I spent most of my life asleep on Saturday mornings, so it’s odd to think there are thousands of people around the world who get up that early on purpose to take part in painful exercise, and that I am now one of them. Today the schedule called for [...]
March 20, 2008 at 9:24 am
They’ve got 911 on speed dial
The cardio machines at the downtown gym face four big windows looking onto the street, providing interesting distractions from the pain of working out. For three days in a row, I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance in the parking lot across the street. “Damn, I’m glad I don’t live in that apartment complex,” I thought as I jogged along. People must be getting stabbed in the lobby or falling down the stairwells on a regular basis. I was also grateful that the ambulance was not parked in front of the YMCA three days in a row. That might be enough for me to cancel my membership. Later, when all the machines on the side of the room near the door were full, I got on one in front of a different window. This is when I noticed the ambulance had not been parked in the parking lot of the apartment complex, but in the lot for a building with a large sign on the front that said “Fire [...]
February 13, 2008 at 7:07 am
I was circling the block around the downtown YMCA last Monday, looking for a parking space that did not exist, when it occurred to me that I was a total dumbass. I was going there to run. Why didn’t I just walk three blocks? It would be a good warm-up and save me the trouble of parallel parking. So I returned to the parking garage at work and lifted my gym bag out of the trunk when I had another realization. I was taking my gym bag to the gym. Woah! That’s probably why it was called a gym bag. I hadn’t had a revelation like this since the time I played tennis in my tennis shoes.
I’d avoided going to the downtown Y in the three weeks since I’d joined because it was c-o-o-o-o-o-ld. (So cold that I shiver even now saying the word c-o-o-o-o-o-ld.) I would only have left my workplace during the day if it was on fire, and at least then the flames could keep me warm. When temperatures finally rose, [...]