Monthly Archives: March 2016

O Fortuna.

Another day, another crush at the gym – although today, more of a crush than usual. It’s time to step things up. I’m on my longest Apple Watch move streak, and my longest consecutive-days at the gym (if the weather holds off, tomorrow will make a perfect month – I’m looking at you, Mother Nature). But I just don’t think I’m pushing myself hard enough. So, today, 65 minutes on the treadmill, 30 minutes on the elliptical, and a lot of iron. I’m maxed out on many of the machines – 300 pounds on the butterfly machine & crunch machine, 200 lbs on the press and leg press, 160 lbs on the vertical press, 180 lbs on whatever the pseudo-rowing machine is called. It’s gratifying to see the bros and gymrats half my age give me these incredulous looks when they see just how much iron I’m pushing. Nonetheless, I’ve got to dig deeper. Of course, being able to hoist 200 pound logs from the trees I’m cutting down is helping as well. Dig. Dig deep.

So, to keep my motivation up during the workout, I tried something new this morning. Instead of John Oliver or some film, I went with a concert – specifically, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. One of my favorite artists; I’ve seen them at least 8 or 9 times. Of course, my snooty friends call blasphemy: “How can someone do this to Mozart or Bach?” My headbanger friends are the same: “How can someone do this to Eddie Van Halen?” But I dig it – classical music, modernized, which probably exposes the Masters to a whole new audience. And really, who can’t enjoy choral music sung in Latin? Fun fact: if Carmina Burana or Ride of the Valkyries doesn’t get you going, you might as well start looking for a retirement home. I’ve only met exactly one person who appreciated Beethoven as much as White Zombie, and, well, we all know how that turned out. Regardless, TSO is a perfect reflection of the dichotomy that is my life. Sure, I may be an astrophysics-loving intellectual badass, but I’m not against roaring down the road on my motorbike. I can do a double-feature of “From Here to Eternity” with “The Avengers”, and enjoy each equally. And, of course, my mad computer skills are only equaled by my uncanny ability to build or fix anything. It’s that whole Clark Kent/Superman lifestyle I lead – and, sadly, it seems to put off practically everyone I know. I’ve always thought it was a plus to be able to hold my own at a black-tie event or backstage with the band, but what do I know?

A Quarter of a Hundred Million.

25milSo, at the gym this morning, this happened. 25 million steps since June of 2013. Lots of steps, lots of worn out shoes, several injuries, and many, many pounds shed. At this rate, I should hit around 27 million by my 3-year anniversary in June. That is, without a doubt, a lot of steps, and I’m quite pleased with myself. When I first started FitBit’ing, I don’t think I imagined I’d put up the crazy numbers that I have; even one million steps seemed astronomical. But here we are. Well done, me, well done.

The Decline of Western Civilization, Part 1

So, as I mentioned, I found a bunch of old audio clips from my various band days. What follows below (the first batch), is from the mid-80s, hence the stylish duds and groovy tunes. As I recall, this was my first time in an actual recording studio, but sadly, the quality has deteriorated over the years, having been originally recorded on a 16-track, then dumped to cassette, copied to other cassettes, converted to WAV, and ultimately cleaned up and converted to MP3 in GoldWave. Not the greatest thing ever, and way too much compression (especially on the drums), but still…good times. Scrappy’s @ UTC, Carson’s (and my triumphant bass solo in the middle of Brainerd Road), Yesterday’s and a bunch of other gigs. Good times, indeed.

Me on bass, backing vocals, and I think a little guitar and a little synth.

Fourteen.

Fourteen miles walking, and that after 6 miles at the gym. Plus a stop at Aretha’s, and a side trip to Rock Creek to pick out my new boat. I’m spent.

14

IMG_9002…and sometimes, you just have to say “Screw the diet!” and treat yo’ self. No better way of doing that than with Elephants Gerald – it’s been a very long time since I splurged like this (and yes, I took my carb-blocker first; I sure hope it works). Stunningly, I don’t even feel guilty. OK, maybe a little bit. Just a little bit.

Gypsy Road.

So, I found a treasure trove of old audio files from various iterations of The Band Days. I’m going to try to write a playlist of some sort, just for posterity (when I have time), but in the meantime, I’m just testing. Click the “Play” button below to listen (me on bass and backing vocal, I might have played a little guitar as well – TL;DR [too long; don’t remember]). So-so audio quality; I don’t remember when or where this was recorded – I think around 2001 or so, probably to DAT, then converted to MP3 with GoldWave. I guess I’ll need to clean up some of the really old ones, as well as some of the pretty cool live clips I found. Ah, the heady days of life in the world of rock-n-roll.

Click it! You know you want to.

Pretty sure it was these clowns (you can probably figure out which one is me).
band

Hey now.

“I’m dating a woman now who, evidently, is unaware of it.” – Garry Shandling, 1949 – 2016

Life is too friggin’ short. And The Larry Sanders Show is one of the funniest things out there. Hank would, most certainly, confirm this.

Seventeen Thousand.

17000Well, I rolled over 17000 miles yesterday. That’s since June 15, 2013, which averages out to 16.9 miles per day, but of course, in the early days (probably the first year), I didn’t do nearly as many miles as I do now. And if you’re keeping score at home – and why wouldn’t you be – my step average in the same time period is 24558 per day. I’m quickly closing in on 25 million steps; I should hit that by the end of the month.

As far as the weight goes, I think I hit my rock bottom with my current regimen – but it’s an awesome number; and quite a bit lower than I ever expected. Because I’ve started doing much more lifting and much less cardio, I’m adding weight in the form of muscle faster than I’m losing what little bit of fat I have left – and that’s fine with me. More importantly, I can really see the muscle definition, so I think I’m doing what I need to be doing. No complaints at all.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t mind hitting 175, but I’m just not sure I see that happening. It is, after all, just a number, and regardless, I’ve discovered that I’m about to the point where I can’t find clothes that will fit. I went to the mall the other night to pick up some new pairs of my favorite hiking shorts (“Put on your Sunday best, kids, we’re going to Sears!”), and they don’t make them in a size 28; size 30 is as low as they go. The Nike workout shirts that I love are loose on me now – they are a size large, but I can’t wear a medium, because they would be too short, and no one wants to see my ass that badly (not to mention they’re about 30 bucks a pop, and I have at least 20 of them). The odds of finding jeans in a 28W/33L are, pardon the pun, slim, as well. So, I think I’ll just be happy with the number, keep lifting, and see where that takes me. Until – or if – my leg heals, I can’t really do extreme bouts of cardio, anyway.

I am, however, hoping to get the boys out tomorrow for a good hike. Mother Nature is threatening, but I guess as long as it’s not buckets, we won’t melt. I had actually planned on going and buying my new kayak tonight, but if I can’t paddle this weekend, there’s not much point. Maybe next weekend – although I hear winter may make a last gasp this week. I’ll get my new boat soon enough, I’m sure. I guess in time for a birthday present. As it is, I’m going to have to modify my storage rack to hold two boats, so I guess I can do that in the meantime.

Oh, and I’m killing it on the Apple Watch – it is seriously awesome, and worth every penny (ditto for the Lunatik Epik aluminum case, spelling notwithstanding). I’ve hit my goal 110 straight days – the only times I didn’t hit my goal was early days, when I was still figuring out how it works. But I aced all of December, January and February, and March is looking good. I know that realistically, sooner or later, I won’t hit the daily goal – but for now, I’m gonna keep pushing. And avoiding the donuts. Donuts aside, I sure do miss brunch at Brewhaus, though – that was one of my very favorite things, a long time ago. Who knows, maybe I’ll pop in there with the boys on Sunday, anyway. And I’d like to check out the new, recently moved Stone Cup, as well. I’m just getting kinda tired of doing these things by myself. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about making some changes – I’m not getting any younger, after all, with a birthday looming less than a month away.

Born to be Mild.

Honda Shadow PhantomYay, spring! I got out on the motorbike – briefly – this afternoon. Just enough to make sure everything works. Later in the week, I’ll give her a full going-over, but I don’t know about riding any appreciable distance anytime soon. Luckily, it’s my right leg that all screwed up, and the only right-leg control is the rear brake; if it was my left leg – which on the ‘bike is the shifter – there’s no way I could ride, because my foot won’t move up (if you don’t know bikes, you push the shifter down, or put your toe under the shifter and lift it up to change gears). What was unexpected, though, is how flippin’ heavy the thing is. I’ve gotten used to riding on my nimble mountain bike (which is still heavy for a bike), and I’m not used to controlling a 600 pound motorcycle. Still, it was nice to get on it – even briefly – and get a little wind in my hair. With any luck, I’ll heal at some point in the not-too-distant future, and I’ll be able to actually take a road trip. Sure, it won’t compare to riding over Mount Tantalus overlooking Honolulu, or heading out to Waimea and catching some waves, but still, being on a bike is pretty friggin’ awesome.

Disaster Averted.

So, despite the clocks changing in the middle of the night, and yucky weather (which eliminated my ability to get the boat in the water today), I still made it to the gym in the Wee Small Hours. Today was more of a semi-rest day, though – I’ve been hitting the weights hard, so today it was just 90 minutes of light cardio, spent catching up with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (which is awesome, by the way). You’re really not supposed to lift every day, anyway, but I rotate muscle groups daily, so there is some built-in rest. Still, today, I just needed all-over body rest. But I still gotta get my steps.

(And as you can see in the picture, I’m wearing both a knee brace and an ankle brace plus a compression sock to try to hold my leg together. Ugh. The good news: vascularity. No fat on those stems.)

Anyway, as the gym time was winding down, I thought maybe I’d splurge and stop at Bojangles and pick up a tasty steak biscuit (2, actually), which I haven’t had in forever – and they are seriously awesome; I’d eat a Bojangles steak biscuit out of the ass of dead rhinoceros. Damn them for opening one up right on the way home from the gym. Luckily, they have this thing called the Internet now, so I was able to look up the nutritional information before I ended up making a Very Bad Decision – which it turns out, it would have been. One steak biscuit (before adding the required cheese): 550 calories, 44 carbs. So, after the processed cheese food, that would’ve been in the neighborhood of 1200 calories and 90 carbs for 2. Before 6 AM. Needless to say, I didn’t stop, after all – but it was a close call. And this got me thinking – in the pre-Internet era, people didn’t have easy access to this kind of nutritional information, so at least you could somewhat understand the poor diet choices that people made, especially when it came to fast food that didn’t publish such information anywhere. But now? It took me maybe 10 seconds to look up the bad news, and alter my decision based on this. Therefore, no one has an excuse now – but the next time you’re out, look around you. Obviously, not everyone has gotten the memo.

Suck It, DST.

tunnelThankfully, Daylight Saving Time ends tonight. Stupid farmers. That means I can start walking in the evenings again, the weather is going to warm up, and all’s right with the world.

And I’ve already started the weekend running. Two-and-a-half hours at the gym, followed immediately by a 15-mile bike ride. Certainly not the longest (by far) for me, but it was a tough ride. A few miles puttering around downtown, then up Stringer’s Ridge, over the top of the Cherokee Tunnel (which is super-awesome), then out to Moccasin Bend to explore some new trails. A really great ride, and a great start to the weekend. Tomorrow, I’m thinking seriously about putting the kayak in the water, depending on what kind of mood Mother Nature is in. If not that, hopefully something. I guess it’ll be dark later in the morning, so I’ll have to sort out the what and when.

stringersridge-sm

After the ride, a stop at Sun Tan City. Yeah, yeah – I know. But I haven’t been in over a year, and as I was riding, it occurred to me with the change in weather, I’ll be out Every Single Weekend for the next 6 months or more. Hiking, cycling, kayaking, taking the pups out, an occasional spin on the motorbike – so, I decided I better get at least a base, otherwise, the first time I’m on the water, I’m going to get bar-be-qued. It’s not a vanity thing (although I have plenty of that); I don’t mind being pasty and tasty. I just don’t want to get burned. I remember my first weekend in Honolulu, I got roasted, bad, and I don’t ever want to go through that again. Therefore, welcome back, George Hamilton tan.