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Chained to a bandwagon with no wheels

Saturday, December 22, 2012

That's how I used to describe my fandom of the Detroit Lions. I'm a fan because of an accident of birth and geography: I was born and grew up in southeastern Michigan, and as such, I like the Lions. But it's hard being a Lions fan, when they wasted the talents of the greatest running back ever, Barry Sanders, when they'd win a division one year and sink to last place the next, when they went 0-16 a few years ago. Just one indignity after another, and really, it was a bandwagon with a ton of space on it, regardless of the fact that NFL football is the single biggest force on the American sports scene. There were apocryphal stories parents nudging their kids away from being Lions fans because of the heartache involved, and some were probably even true.

Last year, it started to change a bit, as with a couple of high draft picks, a new coach, the Lions showed a bit of spark, and started winning the close games that they'd inevitably choked away in years past. Somehow, they kept wining. Somehow, they made the playoffs. That they lost in the wild card game didn't matter, things were looking up, the bandwagon suddenly had more people on it, who were willing to believe and lift it up from the gloomy muck the diehards had been wallowing in for so long.

And then, this year happened. A couple of unexpected early losses. A mini streak getting the team back to 4-4 at the halfway mark of the season, and then....THUNK! They haven't won a game since. You see it on the message boards, the rats jumping ship, calling for the head of the head coach. You hear it on sports radio, the vitriol spewing from the speakers. SAME OLD LIONS. Yeah, they fell back to their old tricks of losing games under a different heartbreaking scenario each week, upping the ante on failure every time out. But, really, people? You were so quick to latch on when they were winning, and now fuggedaboutit?

One of the curses of sports fandom, people like winners and barely tolerate losers. I didn't think that I was a fair weather fan, until the Detroit Pistons sunk towards the bottom of the NBA, and for the first time eve, I found myself not caring much about one of my teams because they'd become boring to watch. Granted, the way the NBA controls radio feeds, I didn't have a cheap way to keep up with the team while out in Wisconsin, so that played a role. Now that I'm back in Michigan, and have access to the radio and TV broadcasts, we'll see if that changes things, or whether I'll pay more attention to what is still a pathetic team.

I only intended to use the bandwagon analogy as a jumping off point, but got caught up in a rant. Ten minutes ago, I meant to point to the wagon as something we had to stay on, whether in terms of sticking to a diet plan, or an exercise regiment, where falling off means falling behind, getting further away from where we want to be. But then I used the phraseology of the title of this entry, and I started thinking of it in a different way, where WE ARE THE WAGON. If things aren't working, then, we're the ones who have failed to provide the wheels. Sometimes, when we're not taking care of ourselves, other people don't seem to care. Bit of a vicious logic there, in that if you let yourself slip, others might stop believing in you, just when you need their support the most to get back in the driver's seat of your own wagon, but there's a sad reality to it - before you get that support, you have to make the first effort, whether it's logging in to a site like this, joining a gym, whatever.

It's not a new realization, I figured this out 15 months ago, before I decided to poke my head into this place. But sometimes, you just start ranting, and an old insight hits you in a new way. I finally had to change things as far as diet and to a lesser degree exercise, and then you guys helped me push my wagon back on the road. And for that, thanks.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/26/2012 8:30PM

    LOL The lions and the bears play Sunday. I am an avid bears fan. we need this win to make the playoffs I really hope the Lions continue to play poorly.

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NIKKICOLE83 12/22/2012 9:03PM

    Fabulous bog. I, by the way, was a HUGE Detroit Pistons fan from 2002-2006. When they traded Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups, I couldn't get over it. But my ultimate favorite was crazy Rasheed Wallace whom I ultimately followed to Boston with the Celtics. I love my Celtics, even after Rasheed left with his back issue. My all-time favorite is Rajon Rondo. He is the most arrogantson0of-a-gun, but I love him. They have consistently gotten worse as a team the past two seasons but I still bought tickets to see them in February.

Now that i am off of my sports schpeel, I love the anology you have provided here. It is so accurate. It is amazing to me the amount of support I have received once I lost the first 30 lbs. When I was 272, I wasn't getting that. It is completely ironic but like you said, you have to be able to drive yourself because your supporters won't continue to withstand disappointing seasons.

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    I'll be there to root on your bandwagon emoticon

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DMEYER4 12/22/2012 4:12PM

  even if your team is not doing good you should still be there to encourage them to play their best and it is also true in every aspect of life. you should encourage your family and friends to go on but most of all encourage yourself. Only you can drive your own wagon.

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Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL!

Friday, December 21, 2012

it's 12/21/12, or 21/12/12 if you prefer, either way, there a 21 and a 12 juxtaposed, and an excuse, not that I ever need one, to listen to my favorite band, Rush. Of course, I spun the album 2112, then went on to other albums of their, eventually landing on Snakes & Arrows. As has been the case recently, I'm starting to find connections/parallels to the journey we're trying to take here, the one leading to better health, better habits, in songs that I previously hadn't seen in that light.

The lightbulb this time went on over the track "We Hold On", as heard here on Youtube:

Copying and pasting the entire lyrics on here because Neil Peart's words really do speak to what we're trying to do here. I mean, we've all come to at least one point where we've thought about just giving up, and managed to get through, managed to stick to that calorie goal, or exercise goal we were pursuing. Whether it's a favorite food you were able to successfully withstand, or a roadblock in life that didn't derail you from the path you're pursuing, this song speaks to it, and in doing so speaks volumes. That last stanza, especially, is money..."How many times do we wonder if it's even worth it? There's got to be some other way to get me through these day....BUT WE HOLD ON"

This song hasn't been part of my arsenal in trying to stay on the high diet and exercise road, but you can bet it'll be in my head the next time I get to one of those crossroads.

Lyrics to "We Hold On" by Rush, track 13 on their Snakes & Arrows album.

How many times
do we tire of all the little battles?
--threaten to call it quits;
tempted to cut and run?

How many time
do we weather out the stormy evenings?
--long to slam the door
drive away into the setting sun?

Keep going until dawn.
How many times must another line be drawn?
We could be down and gone,
but we hold on.

How many times
do we chafe against the repitition?
--straining against a fate
measured out in coffee breaks?

How many times
do we swallow our ambitions?
--long to give up the same old way ;
find another road to take?

Keep holding on so long
'cause there's a chance
that we might not be so wrong.
We could be down and gone,
but we hold on.

How many times
do we wonder if it's even worth it?
There's got to be some other way
to get me through these days.

--but we hold on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/26/2012 8:28PM

    It is very similar to our journey!

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3016DEBRA 12/21/2012 3:17PM

  Interesting blog...Have a Merry Christmas! emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 12/21/2012 8:37AM

    Good message! HOpe you're getting settled in. Happy holidays to you.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/21/2012 7:03AM

    we all have the moment when the light bulb goes on! go for it! emoticon

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BLUE42DOWN 12/21/2012 4:37AM

    Not my usual kind of music, but I liked it. And good message.

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WEARINGTHIN 12/21/2012 4:12AM

    There are lots of rewards for keeping on holding on.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh man, did I ever get sucked into a neon green trap last night. I tried to beat it off with a fanged steel weapon, but the more blows I struck, the thicker the enemy became, until I was forced, under duress, to trap it in the Cave of Ice. And even then, I wasn't safe, for as I listened to the sage wisdom of one Mr. Stephen Colbert, the siren song rang out from within the cave, drawing me back to battle with it once more. The second encounter did not go well, and by its conclusion, mere moments later, I found myself forced to ingest the vile potion...wait, what am I saying? I found myself eagerly sucking down the delicious pistachio pudding, and feeling virtuous for leaving half of it behind for another conquest tomorrow.

This entry's title was suggested by the Queen album, "The Game", which I was listening to earlier, and has as its second song a track called "Dragon Attack" ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnJqZkY67JI ). The disc starts off with the erstwhile title track, "Play the Game," which also seems applicable to the journey we're on, what with the CONSTANT VIGILENCE! (sorry, Mad Eye Moody moment) we sometimes feel like we need in order to keep the scale moving in the right direction. There's far too many people on Spark People that we've interacted with for a few months, and then seem to have disappeared off the face of the website, leaving us to sing the third track on the album, "Another One Bites the Dust," albeit hopefully without the bullets ripping to the sound of the beat. And since it'd just get weird if I continued on to the 4th song ("Need Your Loving Tonight"), I'll just leave off the analogies there.

I'd leave off entirely, except it must be noted that I've spent an exceedingly lazy day, much of it spent within arm's reach of resistance bands, and have failed to do anything with them, or any other form of anything remotely resembling exercise. Starting to think that the home exercise program envisioned previously in this space might just be a pipe dream, and that joining of a gym might be necessary. Then again, it's been only two days of sloth, so that declaration might be a tad premature, especially in light of the continued unpacking going on. Maybe if I keep yapping, I'll just talk myself into something.

But first, to sleep, perchance to dream of a crazy little thing called love (track 5 on The Game, dontcha know?)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1CRAZYDOG 12/20/2012 8:33AM

    Pistachio pudding . . . gets you in the end! ALWAYS wins! LOL

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GARDENCHRIS 12/20/2012 7:13AM

    just make sure you are not "another one who bites the dust"!! emoticon

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Temptation...why won't you leave me alone?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Drove 60 miles to see The Hobbit with friends, and as I returned towards the home base, I took a bit of a detour to see what remained and what had changed since last I lived in the area.

Among the things I noticed were a bunch of fast food-ish joints that I might want to check out. I noticed, again, that at the back end of my neighborhood, there's a 24 hour restaurant, which could possibly be bad news, even though I've never felt particularly compelled to visit on all the occasions I've been back to visit since that place opened. I drove by Dom Bakery, which has its drive through open 24 hours, and was a place I'd visit occasionally back in the day. Within walking distance are 4 pizza places and 8 Asian (mostly Chinese) food places. There's a Planet Fitness location within walking distance (not that I'm seeing very good things about that place on line), hiding behind a subway, one of those Chinese places, a Big Boy restaurant, and another food joint of unknown provenance.

Doesn't necessarily mean that I'll be visiting all these places, just that as I drove the hour back in a slightly hungry mood, I was hyperaware of the food stuffs that were out there, in a way that I haven't been in a while. Perhaps that was because, back in Madison, I was driving routes I knew well, with restaurants that were visually familiar, and therefore not as stimulating? Don't know if that theory holds water given the fact that I moved within Madison 4 months previous, to an area that I rarely drove through before living there. But it's a working theory that I haven't been able to shoot down entirely in the hour and change since the brain cooked it up.

I borrowed this entry's title from the Dream Theater song, "The Mirror." It's a track about addiction, probably alcohol, as the band's former drummer later penned a number of songs constituting a 12 step cycle, recounting his own recovery. Some of the lyrics could easily be applied to how a lot of us are about food, as seen in the opening verses below. I mean, just think about all those things floating around, especially at this holiday season...

Why won't you leave me alone ?
Lurking every corner-
Everywhere I go

Self Control,
Don't turn your back on me now
When I need you the most

Constant pressure tests my will
My will or my won't
My self control escapes from me still

The song on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU8q8Be2H38
Lyrics on songmeanings dot net www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/7659

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1CRAZYDOG 12/19/2012 5:33PM

    Definitely could apply to relationships with food. Thank you for sharing those lyrics. It applies.

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CLPURNELL 12/19/2012 4:14PM

    That's a lot of temptation!

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EMMAEKAY 12/19/2012 12:57PM

    Hey - you kept driving past them! That's a win, in my book. :)

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SIRENSONGS 12/19/2012 10:59AM

    Oh dear, that is an awful lot of temptation for sure! I'm sure once you get used to your new surroundings, they'll be easier to ignore.

You know, whether or not those Dream Theater lyrics apply to alcohol or not, they're still very fitting here. I can totally relate. I'll always have recovering addict's relationship with food, I just know it! Anyhow, let's stay strong together, 'k? :)

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GARDENCHRIS 12/19/2012 6:29AM

    drive with blinders on!

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Countdown to the end of the world!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Four days until nothing happens! Oh my goodness, I can wait!

Yesterday was Monday. Even though Monday as a concept somewhat loses its power to annoy when it doesn't equal a return to a workplace after a two day respite from the drudgery, there was something especially nondescript about this Monday. Unpacked a truck, boxes everywhere, nap. Day went by, and then it's Tuesday, and I'm wide awake at 3 AM because my brain still claims it's 2 AM and I'm a night owl so the brain goes PBBBBBT! at the clock.

I've eaten like crap the last couple of days, and it might continue over the next while, what with possibly catching up to folks I haven't seen in a long time. And I'm on the verge of not caring. I've figured out where a few exercise-y items were packed, and I thought about messing around with them, but felt no desire to do so. Granted, the moving thing has given me a few hours worth of exercise over the past couple of days, and my back and forearms kinda hurt...but after getting that ugly t-shirt, that drive that kept me going to the gym 3-4 times a weeks, far more than I've ever gone to the gym in a concentrated time frame, that drive seems to have evaporated.

Yeah, yeah, circumstances exist...but I feel weirdly ambivalent about the fact that it's been 4 days since I've done anything resembling 'traditional' exercise. As with my questions from last night's blog, is the key here that I don't care much, or that I do care enough to make note of that equivocation, or even that I'm having such thoughts after only FOUR days, where in the past, I've probably managed a stretch or two of four weeks without exercise and not batted an eyelash over it? Guess two out of three arguably positive ways of looking at it ain't bad.

Speaking of ugly t shirts, I had to give it a fist bump:

The bland award goes to its cheap cotton feel, and the utterly underwhelming front of the shirt:

Don't ask me where it is now, I couldn't answer beyond, "It's in one of these boxes around here." It has served its purpose well.

(PS: I'm highly amused these are oriented sideways, since that's the way they originally were, before I saved them in the upright position prior to uploading them. May now have to experiment with posting pictures in blog posts, just because.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/19/2012 3:39PM

    love the ugly T!

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KMM1123 12/18/2012 6:48PM

    Yeah, that's a pretty bad t-shirt. I thought at the minimum it would have some kind of script bragging about the effort it takes someone to earn it. Oh well, it's purpose was to get you in the gym more often than usual so I guess it worked.

Good luck getting back into a routine!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/18/2012 10:28AM

    Moving . . . not compatible with sparking much! Good luck settling in

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LOSER05 12/18/2012 9:29AM


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SEXBOBOMB 12/18/2012 6:26AM

    Ugly T-shirt? emoticon
The fact that it lives up to it's name? emoticon

Also, cue obvious End of the World theme song - gotta have a soundtrack, right?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0GF

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BRENDA_G50 12/18/2012 3:40AM


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