Monday, September 24, 2007

UAW Strikes

Today GM plants were haulted by the striking of their UAW workers. I have been waiting for this situation to come to a head for awhile. I hope the UAW falls apart. I don't see the reasoning behind the demands they are making for their members. Currently UAW workers make more money, get more vacation, have better benefits and live in areas of lower living costs that the people I know that design the parts they are systematically fitting together.

Unions are what turn me off from becoming an LA County Lifegaurd (that and the fact I need to find the funds and time to have laser eye surgery). I don't greatly desire to be a part of an organization that funds politicians I don't agree with.

Family Guy Makes Me Laugh

As I have been considering the LA real estate market a lot lately I found this banter from last night's Family Guy premier to be especially hilarious

EDIT: The banter I refer to occurs with about 1:30 left in the clip.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fun With Press Releases

Webb Brothers & Merritt Johnson Take 2nd at LA Triathlon

September 9, 2007 (Los Angeles, CA) – Merritt Johnson and brothers Craig and Scott Webb combined efforts to take 2nd overall and 2nd in the coed relay divisions of the Los Angeles Triathlon held recently from the surf of Venice Beach to the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA. With a finishing time of 2:13:46 the team finished only 5 minutes behind the winning coed Team Gladstones, 3 minutes ahead of the 3rd overall (and top male) Santa Monica Fire Department team, and over 12 minutes ahead of the next coed team. 74 relay teams in all (34 in the coed division) tackled the Olympic Distance course, consisting of a 1500 meter swim, 40 kilometer bike and 10 kilometer run.

Merritt Johnson kicked off the race shortly after 7:00 am with another stunning ocean swim performance. Braving the Pacific surf and reaching the transition zone in 24 minutes flat, Johnson’s time not only put the team in first place in the coed division by nearly a minute, but her outstanding effort would have placed her 9th among Professional female triathletes and 1st in the Elite female category. This in only her second triathlon!

The 40 kilometer bike course traversed many of Los Angeles’ most famous boulevards and passed by several Hollywood landmarks before finishing downtown at the Staples Center. Despite recovering from injury and trying the sport of triathlon for the first time, Craig Webb, who normally rides for SC Velo (, mashed the pedals of his TT bike to finish with a time of 1:02:59; good enough for 2nd overall among the relay team competitors and 2nd in the coed division. This time also would have put Webb 18th in the Professional male category and 6th among those competing in the male Elite division.

Next on the agenda was a two-loop 10 kilometer run featuring two trips up the steep hill to the Disney Concert Hall before finishing in front of West Hall at the convention center. Scott Webb completed the course in 43:47, a top-20 elite male division time, and maintained the team’s 2nd place overall and coed division positions as he crossed the finish line. Complete LA Triathlon relay results can be found online at:
A finish line video can be viewed at:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

RIP Marissa

This posts relates to a previous post I made: Marissa is my hero

Marissa is the girl at the forefront of the bottom picture.

Obituary: Marissa Lee Boyan / Inspirational teacher at Bethel Park
Oct. 28, 1980 - Sept. 11, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
By Linda Wilson Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When Marissa Lee Boyan learned, on her 20th birthday, that she had a life-threatening brain tumor, she returned to college to attend classes and live her life as normally as possible in the two weeks leading up to surgery.

Family and friends say she never complained during the long recovery from surgery and radiation, though the debilitating effects of treatment were difficult for a young woman who had always excelled in competitive swimming, track and cross country. Ms. Boyan worked to regain her health, graduating from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, in 2004, earning a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and getting hired as a Bethel Park teacher and cross-country coach in September 2005.

The tumor returned last fall, and Ms. Boyan had to stop teaching in December. Her fight for life inspired a lifelong friend to attempt to swim the English Channel last July to raise awareness of her battle and to raise funds for a scholarship established in her honor.

Ms. Boyan died on Tuesday in Washington Hospital. She was 26.

"She told us she was not afraid," said her father, William E. Boyan. "We know now that she is fully restored" in keeping with the religious beliefs that the Boyan family cherishes.

Ms. Boyan grew up in Cecil, Washington County, and began competing in swimming and running events when she was about 10, when she met Brent McAuliffe of Canonsburg. Both swam with the Washington YMCA teams and would remain friends, though he would swim for the University of Georgia. It was Mr. McAuliffe who attempted the English Channel swim on her behalf.

At Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Ms. Boyan was an "A" student and a stand-out on the swimming, track and cross-country teams. Her swimming record in the 100-yard freestyle has not been broken, her father said. She also taught swimming lessons and coached younger children.

After graduating from high school in 1999, Ms. Boyan went to Kenyon, where she was a member of the college's NCAA Division III powerhouse swim team.

In the summers of her college years, she worked in the office of the Venice Presbyterian Church, the church she grew up in, said the Rev. Craig Kephart, pastor of the church, located in Cecil, Washington County.

When Ms. Boyan applied for a teaching job, she stood out from a large pack of qualified candidates "because of her spirit. I have never known anyone who was so passionate about being given an opportunity to teach," said Nancy Aloi Rose, assistant superintendent in the Bethel Park School District.

Mrs. Rose hired Ms. Boyan as a seventh-grade language arts teacher at the Independence Middle School. She also coached the high school girls cross-country team.

As a teacher and coach "she impressed all of us. She touched the lives of so many children," Mrs. Rose said.

David Muench, her principal, said, "She always carried herself with a lot of dignity. She was an inspiration to all of us. When her symptoms returned last fall, her overriding concern was how her illness would affect the students. She had a lot of spunk, strength and determination. She tried so hard to stay in the classroom, but in December she had to stop teaching."

In all areas of her life Ms. Boyan exhibited drive and determination "but it was a subdued drive and a quiet determination," said the Rev. Kephart. "When Brent McAuliffe came to our vacation Bible camp last summer to talk about the English Channel swim and the scholarship fund, Marissa came to camp that day, though it was not easy for her."

On July 22 Mr. McAuliffe attempted the 21-mile Channel crossing, though officials in England warned that five-foot waves, thunder, lightning and heavy rains made the swim a life-threatening experience. Mr. McAuliffe, an assistant swim coach at the University of Pittsburgh, had to abandon the effort after seven miles, but he was able to raise thousands of dollars for the Marissa Boyan Scholarship Fund.

Survivors, in addition to Ms. Boyan's father, include her mother, Janet Hanna Boyan of Canonsburg; her brother, Gregory Boyan of Buffalo Township; her grandparents, Jim and Lee Hanna of Canonsburg and William and Ruth Boyan of Cecil; and her fiance, Jay Fletcher of Hannibal, Ohio.

Arrangements were handled by Eugene C. Coleman Funeral Home, Cecil.

Marissa's Obituary from the Post-Gazette

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's My Birthday!

Today is my 26th birthday. Some of my coworkers decorated my cubicle. I knew it was coming... I've got confetti all over my desk now. It has been a good birthday this year thus far though. I've gotten a lot of good happy birthday wishes from people all over. Everyone at work has been great. I got a good birthday lunch and a nice gift certificate to the movies. It feels good to have such a day. I feel loved. Thanks everyone!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I am Not Male

Yesterday I competed in the Los Angeles Triathlon. I was part of a three person relay. I was the swimmer of course. I am also female, my other two teammates were male. However, when the results were posted at the end of the event we were listed as winning the all male team category. We were definitely signed up as a mixed team with my gender being female. However it seems that I frequently have people some how overriding those things and making me male.
LA Tri 2007 Team Results
I also would have had a faster swim if they hadn't started calling my wave 5 minutes too early... I didn't get the warm up I needed and I started from back in the chute thus running over EVERYONE... sorry about that...

The first time my sex was altered from female to male was back in March at the CalTech Pentathlon. Halfway through the event, when they started posting results, I didn't see my name in the women's results. That is when I realized they had me down as a male. I had to go tell the event organizers that I was not male, but in fact female.

The second time I had the same thing happen was at the Santa Clarita LCM meet in June. I didn't notice anything amiss while I was at the meet, however when I looked at the results online I noticed I was once again not in the female results. Despite my masters registration showing I am female and my own listing of female on the meet registration I still got switched to male. I sent off a quick email to the event organizers and I got this changed.

I am getting rather tired of being labeled as male... American Express sends me mail addressed to Mr. Merritt Johnson... It can't be good for my self esteem.

EDIT: It looks like they have now adjusted the LA Tri results to show that I am female! Hooray I got my gender back! RESULTS

However, being curious about the people with slightly faster swim times than me, I checked the top swimmer in the all female relay results. I did distinctly remember someone saying, "Hey first girl!" when I came out of the water so I was rather surprised to see someone listed as female that supposedly had a faster swim time than me! They were definitely not an all female team because their swimmer was a guy who swims at UCSB! I think being a guy listed as female is worse than a girl listed as male.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I Gotta Wee... I Mean Wii

My 26th birthday is on Tuesday. I got my first present. I got a Wii from the boyfriend. Wii Sports is fun. I am going to try and pick up another WiiMote today so I can make Sean play too.

Friday, September 7, 2007

No BS Friday

Today is Friday which means at that it is no bull shit Friday at work. It has been rather crazy lately. I have to frequently remind myself that I love working in the aftermarket industry! It is so much better than OEM or Aerospace... I love it, I love it... I love it... I... love... it... *sigh*

On that note today uber short gymnast Shawn Johnson won the women's all around at the World Gymnastics Championships:
A lot of people criticize her lack of extension in her splits. I can look past that and still find her gymnastics to be exciting. I like the sureness of her landings and gosh be darn she's incredibly consistent.

American Nastia Liukin also competed in the all around. She's been getting over an ankle injury and subsequent ankle surgery and just got back to competing on all 4 events a few weeks ago. She faltered a bit on her usual top notch beam routine. I bet she will come back with a vengeance by Beijing.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

When Swimming Gets Deadly

The 3 people have died recently from a water born ameoba:

At least when I swim in places other than pools it is the nice salty ocean. Lakes and such tend to freak me out. You never know what is hiding in a lake... They're too calm and still.

Anyway speaking of ameobas... My parents had this big blue and white blanket that was one of my favorite things when I was a little tike. It was loosely woven so you could see out with it over your head. I used to crawl around the house completely evelopped in the blanket. My dad told me I looked like a giant blue ameoba. Thinking that the word ameoba sounded pretty cool and threatening I would crawl around and plan my ameoba attacks. I would suck up any object in my way into my ameoba blanket thus increasing my ameoba size. I especially liked trapping the dog. Eventually I did learn what an ameoba was. I made a pretty good ameoba if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

World Champions

Today the USA Women won the World Gymnastics Team Championship. The only other time the US women have won a world title was back in 2003 when the meet was held in Anaheim, CA. They finally got it together on foreign soil. Alicia Sacramone was key to the team. From what I know about her, elite gymnast who decided to attend an Ivy League University (Brown) and maintain competing elite along with NCAA, she seems like a badass. You have got to have a lot of respect for her. I hope she gets to rock in Beijing.

ESPN Article about the World Championships (Its a bit dramatic, but what do you expect from writers that don't know much about the sport):

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Non Labor Labor Day Weekend

Since I spent my Saturday with cars I didn't want to make Sunday another hot day without a dip in the pool. I checked out which local pool had the most lap swim lanes during the early afternoon and I planned my workout. I ended up at the Santa Monica Swim Center. I like the depth of the pool and the gutters. I can fly in that pool compared to the usual 6 lane 25 yard gutter-less narrow laned wave... I mean practice pool I train in. My workout pre-planning consisted of telling myself I was going to do a ladder of 1,000, 900, 800, etc on down to 100 for a totally of 5,500 yards. When I plan workouts like that I usually split each chunk of distance into a set. After I got down to my 300 yard set I decided it had been long enough so I warmed down and got out. I figured it was time to give up my lane space. Although by then the crowd had thinned out... Anyway for my own memory's sake this is what I did:
1000 (warmup): 2 x 500 on whatever...
900: 3 x 300 (100 free, 100 back, 100 free / 100 free, 100 breast, 100 free / 100 free, 100 back, 100 free) on 3:30 I think...
800: 400 kick with fins 100 fly, 100 back / 4x100 kick with fins 100 fly, 100 back on 1:30 keeping 100s below 1:10
700: 6x100 kick breast 100 with board, 100 without board on 1:50 / 100 swim stretch out
600: 400 pull free / 200 pull free on 2:40
500: 2x200 pull free on 2:40 / 100 swim stretch out
400: 4x100 50 back, 50 free / 50 breast, 50 free on 1:40 relax and stretch out
200 (warmdown): 4x50 easy

They key thing before I hopped into the pool was that I checked out the lap lanes to see the best place for me to swim. All the "fast" lanes were full of people splitting the lanes. I also didn't see anyone who could possibly circle swim in a lane with me. I waited around for someone to get out so I could at least get half a lane. It was about 10 minutes and I got a spot. Sometime later, when I was in between sets, a guy approached my lane and asked if we could circle swim. I looked around at the other lanes to see if all the others were circling, nope people were still splitting. The guy I was sharing a lane with I was also lapping every 50. I blatantly told the guy asking to circle that no I did not want to circle and that I would run him over if we did. He didn't hear me that well because he asked, "What you said you won't run me over?" I corrected him and told him that no I WOULD in fact run him over. He walked away before I could explain my response to his question. Apparently he found another lane to swim in.

I can never understand why some people go to the fastest lane, with the clearly fast swimmers, and hop in and proceed to swim heads up freestyle/breaststroke creating a traffic jam behind them. You will not magically learn and become Mark Spitz by swimming in the fast lane when you can't hold the pace! I would think people would be intimidated of swimming with fast swimmers for the most part. Most of the masters swimmers I train with won't even share a lane with me. There will be 3 to 4 people in the lane next to me but I will get a lane to myself. I'm not mean, I don't bite or kick people in the ribs. I just don't slow down... I don't like to dilly dally between sets. In fact at Santa Monica the people who got in to split the lane with me while I was there, kept moving out and going to different lanes.

Enough of that...
This weekend a friend from Japan was in town. This friend is probably the biggest fan of the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R in the world. He was a good person to pick for knowledge while running the R34 GT-R in the SCCA Speed World Challenge last year. I need to go visit Japan sometime soon and see his toys. His R34 is pretty incredible from what I hear!

Aside from that I hit the ocean at Manhattan Beach Monday morning for a spotting drill swim. I lead the group around the Manhattan Beach Pier, towards Hermosa, down to the second buoy (about 1 mile) and then back around Manhattan Pier. The water was cool by the beach, but outside of the pier it was hot! I almost missed the water temp I had been swimming at in Zuma... almost...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Purple Dinosaur

Today since I woke up to an ache when I straightened out my left leg. I decided to skip a trip down to the ocean. I will leave that for Monday. Instead I made a trip to the shop with my boyfriend to work on my racecar. I think the last time I worked on my racecar was about a year ago. It was just before the last time I had surgery...

I got to the shop to find my car filthy. I like to call my car the purple dinosaur. That is because underneath all that dirt the car is the color of a certain beloved children's tv show character.

I picked up where I left off on things. I finished taking down the yellow bolt in roll cage. It was hindering my progress in stripping the interior and dash. In the roasting sun of City of Industry, CA that was about all I felt like doing to the car today so I moved on to assisting in cleaning up the area in front of the shop. I help clean things up a bit whenever I'm around because I feel like I should contribute something for them allowing my purple thing to take up space.

The shop has a lot of cars taking up space. In the picture I took there are all of 7 GT-Rs, not to mention some other things mixed in there.