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Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, 2011, I attended a concert in Milwaukee, and immediately thereafter, I started driving to Michigan. The band was Fair to Midland, and although they've never played a show in Midland, Michigan, they have a home away from their Texas home in Flint, Michigan, just down the road from Midland. The road, in this case being Interstate Highway 75. This was the place Fair to Midland, a band that is my favorite discovery of the millennium to date, had chosen to film a live DVD, and I was doing the rock and roll road trip, following them from Milwaukee to Flint, so I could be part of the festivities. And I certainly was. It's the only concert video that I'm aware of being a part of, and I'm happy to report that I don't look like a complete idiot on it.

I only mention it because on December 16, 2012, I will once again be driving from Wisconsin to Michigan, and this time, I don't know when I'll be back. I am re-joining the ranks of the "8 Eastern" ( I spent my first 28 years in the mitten), leaving my "7 Central" neighbors behind, and fully anticipating that I'll miss a few TV shows for expecting them to start an hour this way or that.

I mention all that on the off chance that you're a new visitor to this space, and have not seen my prior (and by now extensive) chatter about moving, a thought that occurred to me the other day when clicking on the New Blogs by Other Members button, and randomly visiting thoughts by sparkies (sparkers? sparklers?) I've otherwise never interacted with. I realized that I was looking at a very specific snapshot of their journeys, shorn of the context offered by repeated visits to a spark friend's page and blogs. I'm curious as to how many may stumble on any of my verbal wandering by the device of just having clicked that button within a certain period of time after I posted it?

I spent my last day in Madison doing, well, nothing. Petted my roommates' dogs a lot. Watched some of the Michigan basketball game, looking forward to making it to Crisler Center to see that squad in person. And beyond that? Nothing much at all. If the weather had been nice, I woulda coulda shoulda done this that or the other, but it was a gray somber morning, that gave way to a day spitting rain, and I just packed things (and stuff, too!) for the move back to the other side (of Lake Michigan).

Tomorrow will be a long day, but by its end, the move will be referred to in the past tense. Time to get it over with.

For the record, I did get the ugly tee shirt, and it is ugly, though not as hideous as I originally thought. Will post a pic eventually!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/19/2012 3:47PM

    Glad you got the T!

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GARDENCHRIS 12/16/2012 9:58AM

    well glad you got that t-shirt! Now put it up to remind you of all those nice memories... and start making new ones.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/16/2012 9:17AM

    PHEW! I was gonna ask if you got your t-shirt. Wahoo! Travel safely. Be happy in your new home.

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Deaf by chocolate

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I think, in a pinch, Hershey Kisses could pull duty as earplugs.

Went to my own farewell shindig Friday night, and I can only conclude that I know many awesome people who I will miss dearly. Drank the Great Dane's Scotch Ale in copious amount early on, and their water the rest of the night, turning down a shot of Patron late in the evening in favor of not sticking around the bar for another couple of hours.

Learned that a couple of friends were now engaged, which wasn't the case the last time I saw them, just a couple of weeks ago. As the news was less than 24 hours fresh, and not even Facebook official, I felt special that they shared that. I probably wouldn't have noticed the sapphire sparkling on her finger otherwise. Have to give the guy credit, giving a ring that's a cool change of pace from the usual engagement standard, and features her birthstone to boot.

'Twas a cool night. Afterwards, took a walk around the Capitol (the Downtown location of the Great Dane is a block away from the state Capitol building) and was sad that my phone battery was dead, and I was in no position to take a picture. Might have to remedy that tomorrow. Halfway around, reaching state street, I took a slight detour for a slice of pizza at Ian's, one of those joints offering all sorts of different slices (Mac and cheese pizza, or steak and fries pizza, anyone)? Wasn't nearly as late as I thought it was, which I realized by the lack of drunken college students - at bar time they clog the place, turning it into a fantastic people watching opportunity. Or maybe since it's finals week coming up, they were studying?? Nahhhh.

And so the rest of the around the capitol and back to my car, where a few pieces of chocolate were left over from a stop at the James J. Chocolate Shop. The place I lived in the first 6 hears in Madison had an earlier location of this shop an block away, a quick stroll I made often with the then girlfriend. That location burned down, and they moved a couple of times thereafter, occupying their current space nearly two years. I'd seen it, eaten at the Mexican place next door, but never tried stopping in when it wasn't closed. Driving past it today in the mid afternoon, on the way to the gym, I had to stop in. Opened the door, took a sniff, and it was an instant transportation back to that place a block away from my first apartment. The place just has a distinctive smell, and a very good one at that. The 6 bucks of good chocolate didn't last long, but it did engender the musing that led to this missive"s opening absurdity. I'll call that a win. Come to think of it, that describes the evening quite well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/19/2012 4:06PM

    Sounds like an awesome night!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/15/2012 8:37PM

    Great blog and sounds like you had a great time.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/15/2012 8:25AM

    feeling melancholy??? that's ok... you'll be home with family soon and a whole bunch of new memories.

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SATCHMO99 12/15/2012 4:57AM

    Great title, and a great blog.

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Up the Irons!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Packing stuff away for moving, and I came across my sadly unused dumbbells. Now, they're not large weights, a 20 pounder and a couple of 15s, but they exist in a state of dustiness, for lying unloved and untouched beneath the bed. I guess the same can be said for my resistance bands, which hang on a hook physically near but psychologically far away from where I lie at the moment.

At this moment, I am wondering whether to try and do things on my own rather than paying for a membership at a gym after I move, while simultaneously remembering that I have all this STUFF, exercisey stuff, acquired piecemeal over years, which I rarely use. Somewhere, I suspect in the trunk of my car, there are the 5 lb ankle weights which in my younger, more flexible days, I'd occasionally use for leg lifts. Over in the corner of the room, there's an as seen on TV gizmo which is used basically as a stool these days rather than the ab workout contraption it purports to be. Put them all together, and plenty of pieces exist for exercising at home. And I'm sure I could raid my brother's basement for a basic weight set and more crap. But the bottom line is, as it always is, whether I'd actually be able to generate the will to exercise at home.

I've made a big deal out of the t shirt I'm chasing at the gym I'm about to leave behind as I move, and KMM1123 somewhat accurately portrayed it as a big shiny thing that I covet...but there's a little more to this talisman. It has to do with the short time frame I had in which to chase it, it had a bit to do with trying to prove to myself that I could hit the gym regularly. And yes, it is a free shiny thingy that I'm going to score soon enough.

Might have made it happen Thursday, but I got seduced by bacon gravy. The Free House posted on Facebook about a special they were running, with meatloaf, cheddar jalapeņo cornbread and a bacon gravy. Apparently, I wasn't the only person who saw this advert. And I wasn't the only person intrigued. So, off we went. The majority of the reason for my going was because of who it was that ended up going...after all, I'm leaving these people to move 400 miles away in two days, and it's sinking in. But, I'll admit, BACON GRAVY did play a role.

The plan tomorrow, then, is to hit the gym and work off some of the bacon gravy, and also get the metabolism boosted for what might be a decently long night of drinking, as the evening will be spent at a brew pub, saying bye to friends. Bit ambivalent about that, but people insisted, so...yeah.

You'll have to excuse the full on ramble mode I've entered, feeling a touch of emotion here, odd memories bubbling up from the years...like, how I was a night owl when I arrived in Madison , and would send my grad school classmates e mails at 3 AM, which mirrors my recent spate of 3 am blogs on this space, or the ski lift ticket from February 13, 2004 (the first and last time I ever went skiing) where I listed my weight as 165, which is the basis of my goal weight. A few other kernels are popping off in my head at the moment, thoughts both happy and sad, and running the gamut in between. I suspect I'll be awake a bit longer this early morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/14/2012 7:25PM

    It is very hard to work out at home. I have equipment but find it very difficult to do. I don't know maybe I like the gym atmosphere or something better. i think we all have had the unused equipment lying around. Moving can be very emotional. Hope everything goes well with the move!

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AHTRAP 12/14/2012 12:18PM

    I certainly intend to take the stuff along...just a matter of discovering the wherewithal to use it! I suspect it might be a case of creating my own carrot (rabbit?) to chase, as suggested by Sexbobomb on a previous entry.

Appreciate the thought, folks.

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THOMS1 12/14/2012 10:59AM

    Time to dust off those weights so to speak. I go to fitness 5 days a week and do upper body one day and lower body strength the next day along with cardio. I guess we just have to make up our minds to do it. I wish you success. emoticon

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RABBLERRABBIT 12/14/2012 10:31AM

    About the weights vs. gym: can't we do both?
I work out with a trainer once a week and she gives me "homework" for when I can't make the time to get to the gym -- and sadly, the gym is only three miles away. However, going to the gym involves showering, "gym makeup" and brushing one's hair and teeth... while home workouts, well, don't.
I hope you get your tee shirt soon - I made a goal to complete 3 5Ks sponsored by my local Y so I could earn a sweatshirt in addition to the usual race tees. Having finished the Thanksgiving Gobble Wobble I will be receiving the shirt soon.
Good luck with your move.
I enjoyed your blog, thanks!
PS. Let's not discuss the bacon gravy. Oh. My. God. Thank god you're young. On my side of the map, it's sausage gravy with pepper over homemade biscuits. With a side of Lipitor.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/14/2012 9:14AM

    good luck on the packing, and don't abandon the weights! Take 'em with you. Go for that t-shirt!!!

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PEACOCKQUEEN 12/14/2012 9:08AM

    I thought this post was going to be about Iron Maiden lol. I agree with the previous post, take the stuff with you, and go online for some exercise ideas that will keep you motivated.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/14/2012 7:19AM

    so take it with you ... hang up your funky gym t shirt in the new place in a corner and make that your exercise area.

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In which I feel like a Harlem Globetrotter

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, I made the penultimate Trek to the gym in the quest for the ugly t shirt. The alternative was a holiday party at my favorite bar in town, The Library, as mentioned Saturday, and a free beer promised by Tim, the owner of that place and the Free House. I wasn't feeling particularly merry, so I skipped that event. I'll have to stop there some time in the next three days, maybe for lunch on Saturday if packing has proceeded well.

This gym visit took place a little earlier than my usual jaunts there, as I am more likely to head there after 8 pm, than earlier parts of the day. That's not a function of being leery of the atmosphere, as really, I don't give a crap. Maybe because I'm male, maybe from not wandering into the weight room much, this gym didn't seem to have much in the way of the show offs that can give a place a bad rep/vibe. Anyway, due to the timing, there was an active basketball game going on when I arrived, and after an elliptical spin, I wandered over to the court to await the next game.

As luck would have it, that contest was one of those that wouldn't end, both teams having and blowing multiple opportunities to finish. It didn't help that the worst player on the court kept getting the ball, insisted on shooting, and predictably, failed miserably each time.

As a result, once the game ended, the exhausted players mostly left, leaving only 4 people around. We decided to play 2 on 2 eventually, the tall guy and the little guy against the two mid sized guys. Now, when I say little guy, I'm not talking about myself, although at 5'6", I'm never going to be the tall guy. Instead, I literally meant little guy, as that player was a 12 year old who hasn't hit his growth spurt yet. I'm not denigrating him, because the kid could dribble, and was part of the previous contest, and it takes moxie for a dude his size to mix it up with the adults. In fact, the reason the worst player kept getting the ball was because he was being guarded by the kid, and the little man did his part to keep the opponent off the scoreboard.

That said, while I can never claim to be a decent basketball player by any stretch of a fevered imagination, I should hope I could do well against an opponent 2/3rds my size and 1/3rd my age. Finding myself guarding the kid, I had to walk a fine line between just playing, and avoiding being a total dick. I decided to let him shoot outside shots uncontested, while also refusing to let him dribble past me. In the first game we played, I blocked a couple of his shots as he tried to drive, and I felt bad about it. I blocked another shot in the second game, but I swear it was inadvertent! I really did think he was trying to pass to his teammate, and just couldn't pull my hand back fast enough to avoid affecting the shot.

I'll admit to running past him on offense a couple of times, but I made up for it by hitting reverse layups for the scores. Now, that might seem showboat-ish, but for me, a guy who has enough trouble with standard uncontested layups, going under the basket and tossing the ball over my shoulder , off the backboard and into the hoop was enough to let me not feel bad about abusing a pre-teen's defense. Well, it was until I just typed that line, anyway.

So, one more visit remains for that ugly t shirt. I asked if they had them in stock, since collecting from 400 miles away would be a bit of a trick. The guy at the desk assured me they did, and that I'd get mine the next time I visited. I'll be sure to provide the visual evidence when I have that item in hand!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/13/2012 8:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KMM1123 12/13/2012 8:50PM

    I'm looking forward to seeing this shirt that keeps getting mentioned. I can't blame you for all the effort you're putting in for it though. I think there's something ingrained in us as Americans to desire the dangling prize that's just out of reach (no matter how tacky it is). The fact that you can't simply buy it, you have to earn it - makes it so much more coveted.

I used to work on a cruise ship and you'd be amazed what people would do just for a simple key chain prize. Oh the fun we had with guests... :)

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EMMAEKAY 12/13/2012 4:10PM

    Nice - bball is good exercise. :D

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1CRAZYDOG 12/13/2012 2:11PM

    I would definitely qualify in the short category being 4 ft. 10-1/2 in. but being a "dude-ette" it's not so bad.

Go for that shirt!

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A thin mint by any other name

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fun fact, you can eat an entire package of Grasshopper cookies (Keebler's version of the Thin Mint) in a day and likely stay below your calorie goal. Granted, you'd be foodbored by the end of the day, as the package would cost around 1400 calories, leaving little room for anything other than the glasses of milk that by rights must accompany such a cookie binge. But perhaps you'd be floating on a cloud of chocolate mint bliss and simply fail to notice?

Of course, it wouldn't exactly constitute a balanced diet, and the balance that so many of obsess over (the evil number demon aka the scale) might not report happily after that sort of lapse, but if the bottom line for weight loss is simply caloric deficit, you could rationalize a single day giving in to those darn elves.

(Mind you, I'm not rationalizing any such thing, as I had 4 cookies and a glass of milk before heading to bed. As tonight seems to be a night where sleep will come hours after reaching said bed, I'll have to defend against an encore performance, but I suspect that won't be difficult tonight.)

Problem is, with every bit of information you assimilate, the grays often become more pronounced. In this case, the confusion has root in the idea that muscle is good for burning more calories, and the articles I glanced through yesterday which suggested that in order to build muscle, an overabundance of calories, in addition to actual strength training, was required. Obviously, I need to do more reading, and open myself up to risk of further confusion. But I am now curious as to what the best strategy for long term success is, and whether a given weight should not be considered the final destination.

In practical terms, I am wondering how much muscle I might have lost in the weight loss over the past year, and whether to push on to my current goal of 165 (and beyond?), or if it would be better to refocus efforts towards strength training? In impractical terms, I'm wishing it were possible to produce green flames by throwing mint cookies into a fire.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JET150 12/12/2012 11:06PM

    5000 blogs behind here... When are you leaving Madison?

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CLPURNELL 12/12/2012 7:27PM

    I am at the same cross roads. I have gone down the muscle building path rather than stay focused on the numbers on the scale. I am trying to bring my body fat% down by building more muscle.


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SEXBOBOMB 12/12/2012 4:33PM

    Betcha can't say the same about a box of Girl Scout Samoa cookies.

(Homer) ...mmmm, Samoa cookies.... (/Homer)

Eat a box of those and you go directly to the ER...

Comment edited on: 12/12/2012 4:33:28 PM

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3016DEBRA 12/12/2012 4:24PM

  I couldn't eat that much sweet stuff! Interesting thinking, anyway. emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 12/12/2012 2:32PM

    Oh my . . . thin mint cookies are one of the only type cookies that I cannot be in the same building with! "Thin Mints in the building" . . . uh oh . . . I need to exit state left.

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KMG3366 12/12/2012 11:04AM

    Randomly_honest is right from the research I've done. When you are trying to do heavy lifting also don't be afraid of healthy fats. It makes your body much more pleasant after putting it through so much strain.

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RANDOMLY_HONEST 12/12/2012 7:23AM

    The way I understand it (and this may not be particularly scientific, or even right), is that for weight loss, you want to use up the energy stored in your fat cells. That requires a calorie deficit - if you were eating more calories than you expend, then the excess would have to be stored somewhere.

While strength training, you actual tear the muscle fibers and they have to rebuild themselves. To do that, they need energy and proteins. If you are already at a healthy weight and balanced calorie input/output, then you would need to increase your calorie (and specifically protein) intake to help your muscles repair. If you still have a lot of plump fat cells then you don't need to reduce your calories as much (or possibly at all), but you still need to take in more protein.

Practical advice: forget the absolute number and focus on what feels good to you. If you want more muscle definition, add a heavy lifting routine and increase your protein. If you're feeling tired or sluggish, increase your total calories slowly to find a good balance. You may find that your weight loss stalls, but your muscle/fat ratio is still improving.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/12/2012 7:16AM

    BACK away from the cookies! LOL

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