Tuesday, December 25, 2012
If anyone's stalking closely enough, they'll notice that I just dipped my toe into the 'community journal' forum and started a topic with that same name. As I typed there, that seems to be the quick thought, talking to myself version of what I end up rambling on about in a blog post, so maybe that will prove a decent outlet for thoughts I leave out of these blog posts (which, given the way I ramble and have no shame in doing so, might be rare), or maybe that will serve as a jumping point for things I expound upon later in this space. I really don't know how, or frankly, whether I'll use that outlet, but it's there, and it's now live, and...ummm...there seems to be a link to it on my sparkpage, which is fortuitous because otherwise it might be difficult for me to get to, if I didn't use it a couple of days and it got buried and I got annoyed that it was difficult for me to get to, so I didn't go to it, and it disappeared into the ether for an extended time...
Come to think of it, that was somewhat how this blog space was for me before I made a deliberate effort to use it over these last few weeks.
Title song link, it's by the band Porcupine Tree. "Arriving somewhere, but not here" is a great phrase for being in the midst of a journey that you haven't reached the end of yet. Might not exactly be what the song is about (I've always thought of it in terms of a drunk driving incident, but maybe because I was living in Wisconsin?), but the title can definitely be expanded to refer to anything you need it to be.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Well, it's snowing, anyway. The entry title is from the hallmark cards ad that just came across the TV as I clicked on the button to open this blog post. Fortunate that it did, because I didn't have any idea what I was going to scribble on about today, but Hallmark is definitely a entity that can bring on a rant, even if the ad makes me laugh every time. Just too many 'holidays' out there based on commerce rather than tradition. Sure, there are people who deserve the recognition cooked up by some ad man for Secretary's Day (I don't even know if that's a real thing, although I suspect it is, and a quick trip to the google machine tell me I'm right, but that I owe an apology to all the Administrative Professionals of the working world since the word secretary might be demeaning whether we're celebrating them on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 or taking them for granted every other day of the year).
That said, Christmas is certainly a 'real' holiday, however you slice it. I've had a complicated relationship with it all along, what with not being christian and not having any religious basis for celebration, but being a kid in the United States, with a mom who really liked the idea of the holiday in a family that wasn't well off so presents were more practical than anything. The feelings have evolved over the years to a point where I'm highly amused at the religious types who deny the pagan origins of the celebrations, and agree with them heartily about the overcommercialization of the holiday. For me, the main thing about this time of year is the friends and family aspect, which is horribly cliche, and oh so true. The distance I had from family, living in Wisconsin the last 9 years, that certainly played a role. I'm a little curious, now that I've moved back to Michigan, if I'll feel differently next year, assuming I remain here throughout 2013. Guess we'll see...
Seeing friends is also a great perk of Christmas, since the holiday often brings them back to the home base (hello captain Obvious!), the only time some of us run into each other each year, or longer. On the other hand, one of those reunions leads to some fantastic overeating, fueled by the Ultimate Cheesebread from a joint called Mr. Pizza. Oh, and T-Hots, which are tater hots stuffed with spicy nacho cheese. And breaded fried mushrooms. And a couple of random items off their menu. But not pizza, because that just wouldn't be right. I mean, who gets pizza from a place called Mr. Pizza? What do they know about that particular food? It's one of those traditions born from college days, although there hasn't been any pro wrestling involved the last few years. Good times, but oh so stupid from a dietary point of view. Not that I'm complaining or apologizing. Just planning on definitely join a gym soon, since the idea of working out at home is a non starter. But so it goes.
Random aside, I have no hope of doing a squat correctly without a weight as a counterbalance right now. I can't squat down without bending at the waist, not without having the feet too wide apart. Back to the google machine to see where the deficiency is, and to see what I might be able to do about it!
Back to where I started this ramble, if you celebrate Christmas, here's hoping you have a merry, happy one! And if not, here's to a great 25th of December!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
snack attack tonight, hweet thins (ask stewie about this) and cookies and milks. no, singular on that last one. apparently, capitalization is optional tonight, and I'm opting against. first week in michigan ends with about a three pound gain, attributable almost entirely to the fast food moving day(s) binge. which is good and bad in a way, the bad being the obvious, but the good being that beyond that initial increase, and despite a lack of any traditional exercise the whole week (still logged 180 minutes, from lifting boxes and another source mentioned in a minute), i didn't put on any more lbs. The (ooh, sneaky capital t snuck in there, and I'm amused that spell check is redlining the word snuck, as any 8 year old can tell you it's a perfectly good word) 25 gym trips in 7 weeks only resulted in about 4.5 lbs lost so i feared that not going to a gym and getting in that cardio would result in rapid scale inflation, and so far that doesn't seem to be the case. but i think i'm still getting a gym membership in the new year. trying to figure out whether to go with a cheaper option that still appears to contain most of my necessities, or pay a bit more to have a better chance of running into people playing basketball (university rec center membership). leaning towards cheaper for now, wondering if there will be decent motivation there, in terms of a decent number of people.
curious, if you go to a gym, do you notice the other people? don't mean just in terms of cute members of your preferred sex, but more in terms of whether someone booking it on the machine next to you makes you run/bike/ellipticize a little harder? or for those into strength training, do the meatheads actually motivate you to push a bit more rather than intimidate/disgust you? me, the people around me didn't necessarily matter to my workout, with an occasional exception. i recall trying to keep up with someone on the next rowing machine and quickly giving up that chase, she would have beaten me by 50 meters in a 100 meter race.
wondering this because i dropped into the cheaper option, a county rec center, around 2 pm the other day, and the crowd skewed decidedly older. may have been a function of the time of day, i don't really know. the campus option would be more crowded, and with people likely working at a more active rate. i claim that the people around didn't impact my exercise, but i wonder if that's entirely true. guess i'll find out.
anyway, mentioned the other bit of exercise i got this week above, the last hour of my claimed 180 minutes, and that came in the form of bouncing off of people at a concert. it wasn't a metal show, it was more of a punk/prog/noise show, 4 bands of differing aesthetics, but similarly enticing the crowd to bump along. i haven't really experienced, or at least participated in a mosh pit set to this sort of music, so it was familiar in a way, what with all the physics of bouncing off of people, but also with a different vibe, with some guys just meandering their way through the crowd in a way that doesn't happen in a metal pit. whatever, it was fun, first time seeing a show after i moved, first time going to that particular venue in ten years or more, and totally having flashbacks to hanging out there in undergrad, and a few concerts i saw there back in the day. definitely got my cardio in in that pit, actually got tired a lot sooner than expected. definitely planning to do the same go out and see random bands thing i used to do in madison, curious to find out what the scene's like these days in ann arbor, as the city's half the size of madison, but also one that i wasn't really plugged into back in the day. whole new bunch of bands out there to discover, hope to find a few cool ones around.
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.
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.
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