TIME health

The Weirdest Stuff We All Do at the Gym

strongman-lifting.
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This post originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

A few years ago the media was obsessed with talking about the weird habits of people who live alone. The uninhibited freedom of not cohabitating gives you a free pass to walk around naked, sing to yourself, and leave the bathroom door open 24/7. And, while I currently live with a roommate, I don’t curb any of my quirkiness — except maybe the bathroom-door thing.

But, since the gym is my second home, it’s only natural that I have a second set of weird quirks specific to the sweat-friendly atmosphere. They may be a bit unconventional, but they’re never annoying or disrespectful — no loud conversations or equipment hogging. I proudly display my eccentric gym habits as any true local would — like a badge of honor. From treadmill racing to yawning while exercising to giving my muscles a mental “pat on the back,” here are some oddities I’m definitely guilty of doing.

(MORE: How to Actually Enjoy Your Workout)

1. I maximize viewings of my gym clothes by saving my favorite apparel for Monday workouts — as that is when the gym is always the most crowded. I realize occupying a treadmill in the front row of Equinox isn’t the same as sitting front row during Fashion Week, I just happen to love my spandex and want to show it off. And, when you’re in the front, there’s no room for slacking, so it helps me push harder, even if no one is actually paying any attention.

2. There is such a thing as a “better” treadmill, StairMaster, or [insert equipment of choice]. Perhaps it’s the one positioned directly under the AC or away from the mirror so I don’t have to stare at myself for the duration of my three-mile run. Whatever the reason, once I find my favorite, I’ll forever try exercise on that same piece of equipment anytime I’m at that gym.

3. During lunges, I rest my hands on my butt (as discreetly as possible). It’s a reminder to push through my heels, so that I engage my glute muscles, instead of relying on my quads, to return to standing. Plus, when you feel your muscles working, it’s definitely a “go me” moment.

4. I won’t seek you out, but if you choose the treadmill next to me (when there are a few open), I will assume you want to race. And, we will — game on.

(MORE: 5 Reasons to Skip Your Workout)

5. Even when I’m totally pumped up and not remotely tired, sometimes I’ll yawn at the gym. There are a lot of different theories why this happens (one is that yawning helps cool the brain), and I used to be embarrassed, thinking that everyone around me would assume I wasn’t working hard enough. But, then I stopped caring what other people thought and used my yawns to see if anyone was staring — because we all know that yawning is contagious.

6. I pee no less than three times before my CrossFit workout. Whenever I know that I have a tough training session ahead, my bladder goes into overdrive. It’s annoying, but I’ve learned to deal with it and plan for multiple bathroom breaks.

7. I don’t put makeup on, specifically for the purpose of going to the gym, but, if I train after work, I don’t necessarily put any effort into taking it off. I do plan my lip color around my workout schedule though as I have one red lip stain that I love. But, I have to avoid wearing it on days that I plan to train since it’s impossible to remove.

8. When I forget to toss my armband in my gym bag, I’ll attempt to store my phone in weird places (including in my sports bra, tucked under the strap of my tank top, and in a legging pocket that wasn’t meant to hold anything larger than a key), so I can listen to my jams uninterrupted while exercising. It almost never works, but I keep trying.

(MORE: How I Balance Drinking and Exercise)

TIME Canada

Rob Ford Withdraws From Toronto Mayor’s Race

Toronto Mayor Ford participates in a mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress in Scarborough in this file photo
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford participates in a mayoral debate in Scarborough, Ontario, on July 15, 2014 Fred Thornhill—Reuters

His brother Doug Ford is taking his place on the ballot

Embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford has ended his bid for re-election after doctors found a tumor in his abdomen.

“I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your Mayor,” Ford said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “With the advice of my doctors I know I need to focus on getting better.”

“People know me as a guy who faces things head on and never gives up, and as your Mayor I have done just that. I derailed the gravy train, cut unnecessary spending and made government more accountable. I did this by facing these challenges head on,” Ford added. “Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime.”

Ford family representatives rushed to file papers ahead of the 2 p.m. deadline Friday to allow Rob’s brother, City Councillor Doug Ford, replace him on the ballot, the Toronto Star reports. Doug Ford will now run for mayor of the city in Rob Ford’s stead. Rob Ford will, in turn, run for Doug Ford’s Ward 2 City Council seat, a seat Rob held until Doug’s election in 2010. The Fords’ nephew Michael, who had been in contention to fill the Ward 2 seat being vacated by Doug, is expected to pull his name from consideration.

Ford was admitted to a hospital Wednesday after complaining of stomach pains. Doctors found a “fair size” tumor in his abdomen but can’t know for sure if it is cancerous for at least a week.

The news marks a dramatic watershed in Ford’s tumultuous and scandal-plagued term in office during which he was censured by the City Council after revelations of drug use followed by repeated instances in which he made graphic and off color remarks in public.

TIME Bizarre

5-Year-Old Girl Was Locked in Washing Machine on High Speed

Texas girl was hospitalized after spending several minutes inside machine

A Texas girl was hospitalized Tuesday after she was locked in a washing machine on high speed for several minutes.

Police in Pasadena, Tex. told local news outlet KHOU that a woman had tried to use the machine but told the manager it wasn’t working properly, then moved to a different machine. The girl was in the machine for several minutes before anyone noticed and opened the machine.

“She was tumbling pretty fast in there,” Vance Mitchell with Pasadena Police. “One person walked by and said they saw something flopping around in there. They thought it was just a dress or something because it was moving pretty fast.”

Police did not say where the girl’s parents or caregivers were, but some police on the scene told KHOU that the child was unsupervised. Paramedics expect her to survive.

[KHOU]

 

TIME

These Are Some of the Weirdest FOIA Requests Fielded This Year in the UK

What's your dragon attack plan?

Freedom of Information Acts are a powerful transparency tool between governments and constituents. But they can also yield to some pretty freaky inquiries–as we found out Saturday when an organization of local governments representing more than 350 councils in England and Wales released a list of the most unusual requests they had received so far this year

Of that list, we present here–David Letterman style–the Top 10 Weirdest Petitions English Councils Have Had to Field in 2014, along with some snarky answer suggestions for the council-members:

1. “What plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack?” (Wigan Council)

Our answer: We haven’t gotten that far in A Song of Fire and Ice yet, sorry.

2. “Please list all the types of animals you have frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal.” (Cambridge City Council)

Our answer: We can only account for the types of animals we have subjected to repeated screenings of Disney’s “Frozen.” The results may be disturbing.

3. “How many times has the council paid for the services of an exorcist, psychic or religious healer? Were the services performed on an adult, child, pet or building?” (Rossendale Council)

Our answer: Well, we’ve never *paid* for it.

4. “Please can you let me know how many roundabouts are located within your council boundaries.” (Leicestershire County Council)

Our answer: That’s what she said.

5. “What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in the case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite landing in Worthing or solar activity disrupting electromagnetic fields?” (Worthing Borough Council)

Our answer: Just a sec. Gotta watch “Deep Impact” again.

6. “How many holes in privacy walls between cubicles have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years?” (Rossendale Council)

Our answer: Not knowing where the peepholes are is part of the fun!

7. “How many bodies are there in mortuaries that have been unclaimed for 10 years? How long have these bodies been in the mortuary? How old were they when they died? Is it possible to have the names of these people?” (Richmond Council)

Our answer: This is the last time we’re gonna ask you to stop writing to us, Dr. Lecter.

8. “How many people in the town have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet?” (Scarborough Council)

Our answer: John “Cougar” Mellencamp.

9. “How many requests were made to council-run historic public-access buildings (e.g. museums) requesting to bring a team of ‘ghost investigators’ into the building?” (Birmingham Council)

Our answer: Are you the key master?

10. “How many children in the care of the council have been micro-chipped?” (Southend Council)

Our answer: 0011000111100010100

TIME animals

Aspen Art Museum Facing Backlash for Exhibit Featuring Tortoises Wearing iPads

A Seychelles giant tortoise walks through its enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, on March 31, 2014.
A Seychelles giant tortoise walks through its enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, on March 31, 2014. Roland Weihrauch—AFP/Getty Images

“Since when is animal abuse art?” reads an online petition to stop the exhibit

The Aspen Art Museum in Colorado plans to celebrate the grand opening of its newest building on Saturday with an exhibit featuring tortoises with iPads strapped to their backs, but an online petition hopes to stop the installation in its tracks.

At the time of this post’s publication 1,181 people had signed the petition calling New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Moving Ghost Town” exhibit “animal abuse.”

“Since when is animal abuse art?” the Change.org petition reads. “We must all rise and stop this now!! There is no excuse for this!”

In the exhibit, three African Tortoises (who go by the names Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer), wear iPads strapped to their shells, which flash images of Colorado “ghost towns.” The Denver Post, which reported this story earlier on Wednesday, says the animals are set to roam throughout a part of the museum during a 24-hour event on Saturday. The petition’s authors say the tortoises’ shells are sensitive to impact and they should not be forced to carry the weight of two iPads for entertainment’s sake.

The petitioners also worry the conditions of the turtles’ habitat aren’t comfortable for the animals.

“Please stop this unnecessary exploitation of animals now and do the right thing by getting these iPad of the Tortoises’ backs,” the authors write.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page, the museum argued that the exhibit was constructed with the help of a local veterinarian and the Turtle Conservancy. The use of the iPads was also cleared with the Conservancy, the museum said.

“I have worked with the staff from the Aspen Art Museum since the initial planning phase of the Cai Guo-Qiang project. Without question, the welfare of the tortoises has taken the highest priority in every stage of this exhibition,” veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Kremzier said in a statement. “In my professional opinion, the tortoises have adapted well to their new habitat, and the iPads have not interfered in any way with their natural behavior.”

The museum’s Facebook fans, however, aren’t buying it. “We don’t like this artwork… and to support keeping it is really bad taste,” reads one comment.

TIME weird

Person Who Left Dolls on Little Girls’ Porches Not a Huge Creep After All

Handout of a combination photo showing two of the porcelain dolls found on doorsteps of numerous residences in the Talega community of San Clemente
A combination photo showing two of the porcelain dolls found on doorsteps of numerous residences in the Talega community of San Clemente, Calif., July 24, 2014. Oragne County Sheriff's Department/Reuters

Each doll resembled a little girl who lived in the house

There are few things spookier than opening your front door and finding a porcelain doll that looks like your young daughter, but that’s exactly what happened to eight families in a Southern California town.

Many residents were freaked out by the dolls, and thought there could be some kind of stalker on the loose. “I’m actually thinking the worst, like someone creepy watching our children and I’m actually pretty scared about it,” Mary Robin Baziak told NBC Southern California. “(Someone) found a China doll on her stop that looked like her daughter.”

The dolls, which started appearing on doorsteps in San Clemente on June 16, had initially stumped police. But the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday that they’ve identified the person responsible as a woman who went to church with some of the families and didn’t mean any harm. “Investigators have concluded that her motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.

 

TIME Internet

This Twitter Bot Will Create Your Very Accurate Portrait Out of Emojis

An excuse for deep self-reflection

A new Twitter bot called @emojidoll will create personalized portraits of those who tweet “me” at it. The randomized generator was programmed by former Flickr and bitly head of product Matthew Rothenberg and creates 15.6 million possible combinations of faces, shoes, hats, torsos, hands made out of handguns, balloons, and bananas. There is a distinct underutilization of the eggplant, though. For better or worse.

At best, you’re tipsy, sensei Santa with a butcher knife:

Twitter

At worst, you have poop for a face:

Twitter

(h/t: Daily Dot)

TIME U.S.

Man Disguised as Batman Tries (and Fails) to Rob Elderly Woman

Batman And Robin
American actors Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin in the TV series Batman, circa 1966 Silver Screen Collection—Getty Images

Very unheroic behavior

A man in a Batman mask attempted an act that is literally the opposite of what the Caped Crusader stands for: he tried to rob an elderly woman.

This is problematic for many obvious reasons. The first: Batman’s bread and butter is stopping hooligans from stealing little old ladies’ purses. Secondly: if Batman really wanted to take the little old lady’s purse, he’d have done it.

Of course the actual story isn’t as simple as a Batman turned bad. According to Michigan’s Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, the woman went outside to feed her birds Friday morning when a man in a Batman mask took her by the shoulders and asked if her husband was asleep while “gently” leading her to the back door. Unintimidated, the elderly woman told him that her husband was in the bedroom with a loaded shotgun. Batman quickly ran away, hopped the fence, and apologetically told the woman that he was just trying to get money to buy his children food.

Police have not found the suspect.

TIME movies

PHOTOS: Bonkers Victorian Taxidermy, Now Getting the Documentary Treatment

Proof that meme-worthy animals pre-date the Internet: a classroom full of taxidermic bunnies

The human drive to anthropomorphize animals is alive and well in today’s Doge and Grumpy Cat memes — but at least one earlier expression of that urge was a lot more extreme.

Walter Potter was a taxidermist working in Victorian England who took a unique (to say the least) approach to the art. His pieces positioned animals in human scenes, with results that are half-cute, half-macabre. As a result, though few would argue that his works were the highest quality specimens, he was able to gain fame during his lifetime with a small museum that held his work. When his museum closed, his collection was dispersed; that diaspora made it hard for the collection to be studied, but perhaps easier for it to become popular all over the world. His fame has persisted, with fans including David Sedaris and Damien Hirst.

Now, he’s getting the documentary treatment: the short doc by filmmaker Ronni Thomas, Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, will premiere at New York’s Morbid Anatomy Museum on June 6. (And yes, as you can see in the photo here, he did make a taxidermy tableau of a kitten wedding.) The movie looks at the Victorian context that gave rise to the oddness of his work, and at the collectors who desire his pieces today. Thomas first started the project as a book trailer for the book Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy, by Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein; Ebenstein ended up producing the film — and taking the photos in the gallery below — when it turned out there was more than a trailer’s worth of material. As Thomas says in his director’s statement, “a mythical figure began to emerge from a simple man with questionable talents.”

Take a look at the photos and it will be easy to see why he felt that way.

TIME Pop Culture

Customer Bites Security Guards Near Lisa Vanderpump’s New Restaurant

Lisa Vanderpump
Lisa Vanderpump attends the grand opening of Pump Lounge hosted by Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd at Pump on May 13, 2014 in West Hollywood, Calif. David Livingston / Getty Images

Police were called — and then everyone ate their desserts

Correction appended 1:00 p.m., May 16

Just as a public service, sometimes a press release has to be shared, and this is one of those times.

At the May 15 public opening of PUMP Lounge, a new venture from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump, something strange happened: according to a press release issued by PUMP’s communications firm, “a deranged customer” had to be chased out of a nearby club onto the street outside the restaurant when he bit three security guards.

The press release continues (emphasis ours):

The guards finally tackled him in front of PUMP, but not before he bit another innocent bystander.

Owners Lisa Vanderpump and husband Ken Todd immediately called the West Hollywood sheriffs department who arrived as the crowd from Pump was gathered outside watching the scene unfold.

Sheriffs restrained the assailant in the street at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Robertson, then hauled him away as patrons went back to enjoy the delicious desserts at a packed tasting night inside WeHo’s newest eatery and hot spot.

That is all.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the original location from which the deranged customer was chased. He was chased from a club, onto the street outside PUMP Lounge.

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