Monday, January 14, 2013
So, speaking in terms of actuality, nothing has changed since last Friday, around 7 PM. But when you enter the realm of reality…
I wrote a blog Friday with a couple of songs linked, both of which suggest that perception is reality. The next day, I mentioned how the mirrored glass in the gym reflected my fat-assed self. There’s something awfully, awfully meta going on here, in the fact that just after those events, I’ve been feeling fat all weekend, whereas until stepping on that treadmill Friday, I was fine with where I was on this journey. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will.
I mean, last week, I took before pics for the current BLC round, and noted the protruding belly, and…that was it. I’m not sharing those pics publicly, but that wasn’t out of any sort of morbid embarrassment, or anything of the sort, it’s just because I haven’t been sharing any half naked pics of myself on here, no matter how much you beg (ok, ok, no one is begging for any such thing). But I took those pics, and didn't really think anything of it at the time. And now, I'm looking at them again, and wondering, why not? Did I not see the protruding belly? Or was it that I didn't see it as Protruding (the capital P makes all the difference, don'tcha know?)
So, now I’m left to wonder if it’s a case of talking myself into it. Whether I didn't, by typing out those particular thoughts in that particular timeframe and juxtaposition, set myself up into having this reaction. I didn’t even make that connection until I typed out the entry title, intending to reference only the post-treadmill blog.
All that said, the “suddenly feeling fat” feeling isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s just that it usually occurs after a gain of 5-7 lbs, throughout which I stroll around feeling fine, until one day I wake up, look in the mirror and utter an expletive. This time, I've been in an essential plateau for a while. I haven't gained any lasting weight, certainly not the kind of previous trigger event Honestly, this particular strain of fatitude hasn’t really struck within the past 16 months, since I’ve been on this site. So, I'm a little surprised to see it rearing its ugly head…and more than a little amused that it’s doing so at the outset of my foray into the BLC challenge, something that seems rather well-suited to take on that very feeling. And, just to extend the web of interconnected among my recent scribblings, I happened to mention the BLC challenge in Sunday's entry.
Do you believe in coincidences?
Sunday, January 13, 2013
It's the name of a band, a progressive supermetal band (their tongue in cheek self hype job) consisting of a few guys I've known for many years, and a couple of guys that I met tonight for the first time. They've been playing together nearly 5 years, but I, living 450 miles away, hadn't made it to any of their shows. Until Saturday night. Glad to finally be able to see them live, and glad to see my old friends and make new ones, too, that's always nice.
Link is to the song "Here, it's over" from their first album, "Recurring Themes". www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4PqCWdUQA
I'm someone who loves going to see live music, pretty much of any variety. Though I don't claim to be one of those people who "listen to pretty much everything", if there's a cheap live show going on, and I've nothing better to do, I'm liable to go check out music far outside what I prefer to listen to. Maybe it's envy, either at the courage to get up on stage and perform, or at the ability to play an instrument, or for being able to write original material, I don't know.
When I was out in Wisconsin, I ended up being friends with a fair number of people who were in bands, and I'll probably throw together a blog post at some point with a sampler platter of songs by friends of mine. Not to name drop, since the odds are heavily against you having heard of niche/regional bands, but just to share the talents of my talented friends. And you never know, you might even find you like something among them.
The time nearing 4 AM, tonight won't be that night, though...sorry!
Instead, I'll just shift gears entirely, and mention that I'm in the corral of the Midnight Mustangs for the BLC 21. Excited to see what a structured challenge with built in support will mean for the attempt to break through this plateau I've wandered on for a while now. Also, oddly apprehensive about it, though the folks on the team are quite welcoming. Either way, an over 40 percent jump in the number of spark friends overnight. Almost feel like I should have prepared something profound for anyone looking in on my blatherings for the first time. But hey, it's more authentic this way, no? That's what I'll tell myself, anyway, as I drop off to sleep.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Friday night’s trip to the gym included a stop on the treadmill. Now, this doesn’t sound all that out of the ordinary, except me and the treadmill, we don’t get along. Me and running don’t get along, but there’s something about the treadmill, any activity on it, and my ankles and shins whine about it. So I’m not sure why I wandered over to the treadmill area after I hopped off the elliptical.
I suppose it might have been as a way of avoiding the stepper, which is a piece of equipment that was used in the PT clinic I went to after tearing up my knee back in 2000, and which I’ve never used since. I’ve thought about it on the occasions I’ve been to this gym, and likely would have given it a shot – after all, it’s right in front of the TVs permanently tuned to EPSN (I haven’t actually tested that theory yet) – but for the fact that Wednesday, I had a massive flashback to those rehab days, upon seeing a piece of equipment that, to the best of my recollection, I haven’t seen since that clinic. It was one of those machines for hip flexion/extension, where the bar extends over the standing platform, and you either push up with your quad, or you hitch a leg up over it, and use the hammies to pull the bar down. The flashback wasn’t disturbing, nor did using the machine hurt or really bring back bad memories, but it was enough to maybe put off the stepper until next week. Maybe.
So, in lieu of stepping out, I treaded…ummm…mill. A week or more ago, I had a thought that I might try jogging this year, maybe learn how to run a bit, so I set the treadmill speed at 4 miles per hour, a not very fast 15 minute mile pace, not much more than a walking pace. I mean, after all, there are kids who finish entire 5K races in that time. Sure, they’re freaks of nature, but if they could do three and change in 15 minutes, then surely I can do a mile in that time. Now, I wasn’t really thinking that I would indeed do this 15 minute mile, partly due to the treadmill issues detailed here, as well as fact that I severely doubt I can run a mile straight at this point. I used to play soccer as a kid, through high school, and to this day, unless I’m chasing something, I hate running. It can be a ball, or a Frisbee, but I need something to go after in order to make running worth it. I hear running types talk about a runner’s high, and I’m convinced they must be smoking something. But I plugged in 4 mph, and off I went nowhere.
For two minutes, I kept running, and I didn’t feel my ankle say a thing, and I wondered if I could make it to 5. Unfortunately, I hadn’t accounted for technology conspiring against me. Exactly 2 minutes in, the treadmill demanded that I give them a heart rate, because unbeknownst to me, I’d signed up for a program of constant heart rate on that machine. And, having just completed a spell on the elliptical, the two minutes of jogging already had my heart rate higher than their arbitrarily chosen 119 BPM. So the treadmill slowed down to allow my heart rate to relax to that standard. Since my heart was going up in the 130s, it slowed down another 3couple times, until it was convinced that I was within its preferred range. 3.4 MPH. Too slow for running. Very comfortable walking speed.
So I played its game, walking for the rest of the 20 minutes I’d chosen. But it wasn’t through mocking me, no sir. All the machines at this gym have a default 5 minute cool down period, with the elliptical, for example, choosing a low but constant resistance for that time. The treadmill scoffed at constancy, choosing instead to decrement its speed by 0.5 mph for each minute of the cool down. So, from 3.4 down to 2.9, down to 2.4 and so on. The last minute of that trek was spent at 0.9 MPH, or as the treadmill so condescendingly informed me, on a 66.5 minutes per mile pace.
Sure, I could have jumped off at any time, but I wasn’t about to let that sucker get the best of me. I was going to ride that ride the full 20 minutes plus the cool down, and by golly, that’s what I did.
So, yeah, the first running ‘adventure’ netted me about 2 minutes of running. When I got off the machine, I was a bit disconcerted to find myself wobbly, as if I’d just returned to land after being on a boat for a while. It’s been long enough that I’ve avoided treadmills that I can’t recall if that’s how I usually react.
On another note, the transparent yet mirrored glass of the cardio room didn’t much help matters, as it revealed a rather unwieldy guy lumping along on the treadmill. Despite the modest loss to date, my belly and my butt remain, well, sizable. I saw a fitness site describe my shape as “skinny fat”, where you wouldn’t say I was obese if you looked just at my arms (no problem circling my fingers around my wrist for example), but take a peek at the trunk, and you’ll see where the weight sits. I’ve always had the issue of having Medium arms, and an XL belly (XXL at the start of this trip). According to the reflection in the window, where me and my big butt were just trundling along, that hasn’t changed a bit. But hey, there’s another bit of motivation. Time to throw it on the pile, and see if it burns.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Turns out the quote is attributed to Liza Minelli. I know it from the Marillion song, “Rich”, which also posits, in the very next line, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
And then there’s the line from “Totem” by Rush, which declares, “I believe that what I’m feeling changes how the world appears”.
I believe both statements. How you or I feel about any given situation will usually color our judgment and action in relation to it. There are exceptions, of course, people who can truly act without regard to their personal feelings (lawyers defending criminals they know to be guilty comes to mind first). But most of the time, we act and react based on how we feel.
On a macro level, it certainly played a role in my checking out this site, finally feeling like the weight train had gone too far down the wrong track. On a smaller level, though, there are a lot of individual decisions, driven by how we’re feeling on any given day, that might help or hinder our getting to where we want to go. Things like going to the gym, or grabbing extra cookies, all affected by the mood of the moment, subject to the tone of the day, buffeted by longer terms winds.
Haven’t got the solutions; if I did, I wouldn’t have the problems, right? Just thinking out loud, brought about by one of my answers on the quizzes I posted yesterday, where I couldn’t decide which of my many self-perceived flaws I hated worst. Just made me think, not for the first time, about the impact that negative self-image might be having on a day to day basis. Writing that particular thought down in a publicly consumable manner for the first time, so that’s different.
And, as ever when I express these doubts on here, I feel compelled to state that I’m not doing this for any pity or sympathy, just to have it out there for myself to look back upon. Eventually, I’ll feel free to vent without such a disclaimer.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Saw REDDBETSY do one of these get to know me memes (The ABCs), and suggested she should have done a combo with this title. She told me to do my own, so, umm, I did!
Stealing the title back for myself, and doing both 50 questions and ABCs, since well, that’s where the title comes from, rather than any overimaginative love life.
If you make it to the end, you’ll know more about me than you ever wished you did.
A - Available or married: Available
B - Book: “Forrest Gump” and “The Godfather”, two instances where the movies do the books justice.
C - Cake or pie: Pie. Even better than death: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNjcu
D - Drink of choice: Faygo Rock n’ Rye
E - Essential item: Computer
F - Favorite color: Blue. Lifelong Michigan fan, might have something to do with it…Go Blue!
G - Game to play or watch: Ultimate Frisbee to play, hockey to watch
H - Hometown: Ypsilanti, Michigan
I - Indulgence: too many
J - Job: none at the moment. You hiring?
K - Kids and names: Not applicable
L - Life is incomplete without: Music
M - Music group or singer: Rush, Dream Theater. A guy named Fish for a solo artist.
N - Number of siblings: 1 brother, Soumya
O - Oranges or apples: Oranges. Though…can you make a pie out of ‘em?
P - Phobias/fears: Drowning
Q - Favorite quote: “If you can’t take it with you then what’s the use? I never saw a U-Haul being pulled behind a hearse.”― From the song, “Cynical” by the band Extreme www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtlhQ
R - Reason to smile: My nephew, Sohan. 20 months old.
S - Season: Summer. Gotta cherish the good weather living in the upper Midwest.
T - Tattoos: None.
U - Unknown fact about me: Entirely defeating the purpose of the question, but…I can claim shepherding experience.
V - Vegetable you love: love might be to strong an emotion, but I’m very fond of cauliflower.
W - Worst habit: Procrastination
X - X-rays: A few. Teeth. Knee. Ankle. Hand. Face.
Y - Your favorite food: Pizza
Z – Zodiac sign: Gemini. (Born on the border, so some hororscopes say Taurus. They are wrong.)
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Kind of, yes. A god. Seriously. “Partha Sarathi” (first and middle) refers to Hindu deity Krishna, in his role as charioteer (Sarathi) for Arjun (Partha) during the battle mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita portion of the Mahabharata (one of the two major ancient Indian epics). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gita
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Not sure. Movies can cause me to spill a tear or two easily enough (like when we beat the Russians in Miracle, which I watched a couple of weeks ago), but out and out crying hasn’t happened in a long time.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No, not distinctive enough. And rather messy, too.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Honey ham
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? No
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? It slips out on occasion
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Sure, why not?
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cinnamon Toast Crunch
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not if I can help it
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? No
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Mint Chocolate Chip
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Eyes, probably
15. RED OR PINK? Red – lived in Madison, home of the Badgers, for 9 years, closet has a few red items as a result
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Geez, where do I start?
17. DREAM VACATION: Egypt, perhaps? So much history.
18. WHAT IS THE SPARK FEATURE THAT HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST? The people
19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Barefoot at the moment.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Fake cheez-its (store brand, reduced fat, the type that makes you wonder, “why am I even bothering with this flavorless cardboard stuff?”)
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Music on random, right now spinning the Suicidal Tendencies song, “What Else Could I Do?” www.youtube.com/watch?v=D87R6
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Burnt Umber – closest shade for self-portraits when I was a little kid.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Apple Cinnamon
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My brother
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE? Beach House. Just not on a hurricane prone beach.
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Hockey
27. HAIR COLOR? Black. A very few grays.
28. EYE COLOR? Brown
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Pizza
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Scary movies
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? This Film is Not Yet Rated, documentary on the MPAA’s arbitrary rating system
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? White…wearing the ugly t-shirt! (a highly questionable prize for checking in on facebook 25 times from my former gym…it’s hideous and I wear it with pride. Just not out in public!)
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer
35. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs
36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Cookies
37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO? The latter.
38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION? Computer. Though the tv is necessary for being a sports junkie…hmm…
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
When March Went Mad (about the Magic/Bird 1979 NCAA championship game), A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? No mouse, so, uh, nothing!
41. ANY TATTOOS? No
42. FAVORITE SOUND? The loser trombone from the price is right. Cracks me up for some reason. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCE
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Rolling Stones
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? India. The Taj Mahal is one of those places that no matter what expectations you take with you, the reality is even better.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? no
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Ann Arbor, MI
47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW? Ypsilanti, MI
48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE? I live in a brown house
49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR? Silver
50. ANY PETS? Nope. My old roommates didn’t let me steal their dogs when I moved.
If you made it all the way through, that might qualify you for a masochist badge, which would fit nicely with the title of this entry. But my life, sadly, is far, far tamer than what I've heard about those books.
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