Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking an Honest Look at Myself

Gawd, I really hate doing this. It's a ritual done at the beginnings of challenges....the taking of the "before" photos.

But, here's why it's important.

I look in the mirror every morning when I shave. Most times I unconsciously keep my eyes from wandering down past my neck and gazing upon the flab below. Ignorance is bliss and, hey, if I don't see it, it ain't there. The human mind has the amazing ability to filter out what we don't like to notice about ourselves.

Cameras don't have that ability. There is no squinting, no turning, no escape from seeing in full color what is really there. It can be quite depressing. On the other hand, it can be very motivating as well. An honest look at yourself can focus like nothing else on why you are seeking a transformation in the first place.

I'm doing it for the person in the photo.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Long Day

Grandpa looks about the same.
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Happy Turkey Day

It's obviously an American tradition. Not since ancient Rome has there been such a focus by a society to spend so much time and energy into cramming as much food into one's body as possible and calling it a holiday. Tables across the county will be groaning under the weight of every imaginable delicacy with the crowning centerpiece occupied by a huge bird that bears a striking resemblance to a buzzard.

Oh...but I guess I'm slipping into curmudgeoness.

I actually like Thanksgiving. It usually gives me time to pause and think about all the things of which I am grateful. I'm even fond of the food (big surprise there) and will do my part in putting away enough to feed a small nation today....saving just enough room for pie. Since I will have kids and grandkids over today, the plan that my wife enthusiastically supports is to go out to a restaurant and let them deal with the cooking and cleaning up afterwards. That way, my wife and I will be all rested up for tomorrow...which is another uniquely American mass consumption holiday: Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Dealing with a minor life upset right now. Well...maybe not so minor, but certainly not a major life changer like a terminal illness, death, fire, earthquake, meteor impact, or whatever. My wife was laid off from her job and it's always crappy when you lose a job, especially when it wasn't due to anything you had done or didn't do. The really upsetting part was that the lay off was completely out of the blue. She had just gone into work one fine morning and was told her position was eliminated, told to leave immediately, and escorted out under guard without even the chance to say goodbye to all the people she had worked with for years.

A somewhat chickenshit way for a business to treat people. Then again, it just goes to prove the point matter what kind of BS a business entity loads on employees about how they care for their the end, any business will toss you like a turd if it suites the immediate needs of CEO's to get a bit of extra money in their pockets.

Yet, in the larger scheme of things, it's no biggie. My wife is a talented person and she will get another job. We don't have any huge debts that are looming over our heads. I also still have a job (at least today) that pays fairly decently. All in all, I live a charmed life. A friend of mine at work had a daughter who died. Another was in a car accident and messed up very badly. Still another has health issues that have pretty much ended her career. I'm sure any of them would trade the changes they are going through for my changes in a heartbeat.

There are two types of changes in life, those that we make ourselves and those that we can't do anything about. Fitness is one change I can make for myself. My life may hand me something tomorrow that makes my fitness goals unattainable. The future is full of wild cards.

But for today....all I can do is deal with what I got.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Talking Trash

I think it's a guy thing. Get some guys competing against each other and the trash talking starts to fly. Though, now that I think of it, I've known some women that could hold their own in these verbal pissing contests.

One such bout is starting up with the challenge that I mentioned in the previous post. My wife was looking over my shoulder as I was trading jabs with Brad (feel free to go over and visit him on YouTube to make fun of him) on Facebook and was convinced that we were angry at each other for some reason.

Heavens No!

I like Brad. More so...I admire him as well. I've been watching him for quite awhile now and know that he's come a looooong way. Lotsa people talk about change (like me) but he has actually done it, and continues on.

But...this is a challenge. Dares have been made. Money has been put into mouths. All's fair in love and war and make no mistake, when boys play, it is war. Talking trash is how we show affection and support each other. It may seem screwed up but, as I said, it's a guy thing.

If you do zip over to laugh at Brad, go ahead and stop by to visit this girlie man He does a great rendition of "I'm a Little Tea-Pot".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Challenge Challenge?

Terry mentioned in a comment a while back that perhaps I ought to forget doing challenges and just...well...just do it. That was some pretty good advice and I've been really mulling it over the past couple of weeks.

There is an inherent flaw in fitness challenges. It's very easy to quit because...who the hell would know? There is no investment in money or reputation. There is not much urging on by others in the challenge because the ones that are still in it want to win too. It's a lonely pursuit and, as anybody knows that has tried to do something difficult, the reasons to quit a goal can quickly multiply and seem fairly reasonable.

But that last reason...the isolation of attaining personal fitness also a good aspect of challenges. If you can find a group of people that are supportive, that want you to succeed and need your support as well, that will hold you accountable because they want the same; well, then you have something positive going on. You have a circle of people that become more than competitors; you have friends that share your goals, your failures, and your successes.

One such challenge is being started up by a couple of fellows, Brad and Jason. I've embedded Brad's video clip describing the details. Yes, there is money involved. $25 to put in a pool...but really...that's not a lot of money and it does ensure that YOU are serious about being a part of this group. There are prizes but that's nowhere near the reason to enter. Do it for yourself.

You will meet some great people. Make solid friends. And, at the very least, you will look and feel better in three months.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'm noticing a spat of commercials recently touting the harmless nature of high fructose sweeteners in foods. Take, for example, the commercial above. A children's party and one of the moms is filling a glass with some type of bright red slop to give to the little darlings. The other mom expresses concern but can't seem to come up with a reason other than she had heard that high fructose syrup isn't all that wholesome. The other mother counters that the high fructose is just like sugar, it's all natural because it comes from corn, it's perfectly okay in moderation, and surely the benevolent corn industry wouldn't sell something that would be bad for the kiddies. The needlessly worrying mom realizes she was mistaken about her preconceptions of corn syrup and, I suppose, gives a brimming glass of goodness to her own overweight kid that comes waddling over

What utter bullshit!

First of all, high fructose corn syrup isn't the Karo syrup that grandma used to bake pecan pies. This stuff is the result of a lot of manufacturing and is about as "natural" as a styrofoam cup. Your body doesn't treat it like sugar, which is metabolized by the cells in your body, high fructose sweetener is metabolized by the liver...which can cause all kinds of nasty things. This stuff came out in the late 70's and we saw the beginnings of skyrocketing levels of obesity and diabetes at the same time. Just a whacky coincidence, I know.

As for use in moderation...well...that's pretty much impossible these days if you buy your food at a grocery. See, high fructose corn syrup is CHEAP and it is in everything...and I mean every processed food you buy. That cup of punch the lady is pouring has about 7 teaspoons of the stuff. A slice of bread is loaded with the crap. Think you're staying on your diet by eating low fat foods? Guess again. They are crammed with more sweetener that you can find at any desert bar. We literally eat pounds of this sweetener every day. Saying that this stuff isn't any more harmful than sugar is like saying that Winston is no more harmful than Salem. Sugar is not good for you in great amounts. High fructose corn syrup is not good for you in great amounts. The food manufacturing business guarantees that you will will receive insanely high amounts of high fructose with nearly everything you eat.

The corn industry....and it is an industry, not farmer Brown growing a few acres of corn and taters for the local selling us a bill of goods. They don't give a rat's ass about your health, or your kids, or the fact that you're getting fat as a hog and might die thirty years before you should. It's about money.

Do I have an answer?

Hell no. Short of growing my own food, I don't know how to get around not eating stuff with high fructose sweeteners. Maybe if more people demanded less in the foods there would be a market for foods without the sweeteners.

I kinda think that's why the corn industry has started spending millions on these convince you that you have nothing to worry about.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh Har-de Har Har

It's really starting to piss me off. Some people that I work with making cracks about my gut. Kidding me that I must be enjoying married life and eating well. Poking me in the belly and asking me "when is it due?".

Jokes? Humor? Good natured ribbing?


Oh, I laugh. I smile. I go along with the joking. But...ya know what? It hurts and it's embarrassing.

You know what the real kicker is though? The same ones that are getting their cheap yucks at my expense are the same people who were unsupportive while I was trying desperately to do something about my weight. They were the ones who seemed to take delight in every chance to sabotage my efforts. It was like...trying to get healthy was a direct challenge to them and they spared no effort to help me fail.

The reason I bring this up is because it occurred to me; some people will support you in your goals, some people will want you to fail because it will make them seem successful. Spending any time with the later is a waste because the only way you will please them is to continue to fail.

Do what you do for yourself. Those that care about you will rejoice. Those that don't...screw em.

I ain't laughing along anymore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dance Like Nobody is Watching

If this doesn't make you feel at least a little have my sympathies. This is for Terry, someone I am gently badgering to make a dancing video showing his stuff.


There's a store in my town that sells used CD's. I pop in there once in a while because the CD's are always in great condition and I can usually pick up some hard to find things for a fraction of the cost. I was really pleased to find Muddy Waters Hard Again album.

Well...I get home and proceed to pop it into my player and instead of Muddy Waters, I find myself listening to John Lee Hooker. Evidently, they put the wrong CD in the jewel case at the store when they checked me out.

Not too disappointed. Hooker is pretty cool too.