Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beats getting towed

Saw this sign in front of a Baptist church on Washington St. in Old Town Alexandria:

Friday, April 11, 2008

No joke

Anyone who doesn't think working out is fun should have been at our house for laughter yoga last week. Sure, it weirded out Mike and Kevin when they came up the walk and saw, through the window, a group of girls inside walking in a circle high-fiving each other and laughing hysterically ... but it really was physically and emotionally therapeutic!

Like regular yoga, there are names for certain moves. Check it out (from the AU Laughter Club handout -- which also explains the laughter yoga philosophy):
  • Hi-5 Laughter: Raising both the hands up, go around giving each other high fives while laughing heartily.

  • Appreciation Laughter: Join your pointing finger with the thumb to make a small circle while making gestures as if you are appreciating your group members and laughing simultaneously.

  • Milk Shake Laughter (a variation): Hold and mix two imaginary glasses of milk or coffee and at the instruction of the leader pour the milk from one glass into the other by chanting Aeee...., and then pour it back into the first glass by chanting Aeee..., after that everyone laughs making a gesture as if they are drinking milk. (Repeat 4 times).

  • Silent Laughter (without sound): Open your mouth wide and laugh without making any sound and look into each others' eyes and make some funny gestures.

  • The Bald Eagle Swinging Laughter: Stand in a circle, spread your hands wide and move towards the center by chanting Aee....Ooo....Eee...Uuu...

  • Lion Laughter: Extend the tongue fully with eyes wide open and hands stretched out like the claws of a lion and laugh from the tummy

  • Cell Phone Laughter: Hold an imaginary mobile phone and try to laugh, making different gestures and moving around in the group to meet different people.

  • Gradient Laughter: Gradient laughter starts with bringing a smile on the face, slowly gentle giggles are added and the intensity of laughter is increased further. Then the members gradually burst into hearty laughter and slowly and gradually bring the laughter down and stop.

  • Heart to Heart Laughter (Intimacy Laughter): Come closer and hold each others hands and laugh. One can shake hands or hug each other, whatever feels comfortable.

I mean, seriously -- I'm laughing just writing this post. And because I just found this video of a laughter club in California:

Go ahead, laugh at me or with me -- either way, it beats 30 minutes on a treadmill any day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I am a n3rd

I can't help it -- I love this (from John Tierney's column at NYT):

Q: Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the other doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, 'Do you want to pick door No. 2?' Is it to your advantage to take the switch?

A: Yes! I know, I know, I couldn't get my mind around this. But check it out -- play the game here and then read the explanation at the end. If you do it enough times you see the pattern -- 33% success rate if you don't change, 66% if you do!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Up through the atmosphere

So, it turns out that springtime in DC is just like in the coloring books. March wind, April rain, the whole bit. Seriously. Popcorn popping, too. I never fully understood it before moving here.

One of the best parts of this is the yearly kite festival on the mall. They just plan it for March, and it's always windy. Amazing. There are hundreds of people flying hundreds of kites -- butterflies, pirate ships, racecars, you name it -- and this year I saw the kite fighting contest, which was exciting a) because it's a fight, and b) because it reminded me of one of my favorite books/movies, The Kite Runner. (Seriously, it's probably the best adaptation of a book into a movie I've ever seen. Ever. Watch it. See the trailer here.)

This is the launch of the first heat (sorry about the quality, my camera battery died and I took this with my phone):

And here's a kite getting cut down (umm, don't mind my finger -- yes, I was struggling with the videography skills on Saturday):

And a close call:

Here are a few more pictures of the kite festival and the cherry blossoms (most of these are Layla's due to my dead camera battery):