Monthly Archives: October 2010

Five Things for a Weird Tuesday, Oct 26th

I haven’t done a “5 Things” post in a while (small bits of stuff that don’t warrant a full blog post, but allow me to write something), but since I’ve been sporadic and feeling guilty about it, I decided to do one today.

1.  A very strange day.  Out of the blue, I got a Facebook message from an aunt on my father’s side.  I don’t recall ever speaking to her or meeting her, although it’s possible I did when I was very very young.  When my Dad died when I was 7, we pretty much lost all contact with his side of the family (and the majority of my mother’s side as well, long story).  One of his brothers, Phil, kept in occasional touch, mostly because he was executor of my grandparent’s estate, and when they died I received a small sum of money, along with all his other grandchildren.  In the space of a few hours, my aunt and I exchanged a few emails.  She’s a hospice nurse with lots of children and grandchildren.  It was nice to finally “meet” my father’s sister.

Read the rest of this entry

Writerly Advice

Every writer, the world over, struggles often.  Finding the right word, or most elegant way to phrase a thought, or breathing life into a character whose only existence is among the carefully arranged symbols of an alphabet.  It can be maddening, liberating, and soul-crushingly depressing all in the span of seconds.  The blank white space of the paper or screen can mock and goad.  The specter of the dreaded writer’s block hovering over every pause and momentary mental blank-out.

One thing no writer is ever short of, though, is advice. Read the rest of this entry

Alton Brown, My Spiritual Father

Before Lady Aravan and I decided to get healthy, I was an Alton Brown fan.  For a long time, though, I wasn’t.  I didn’t get his show at all.  I was used to recipe-style cooking shows like the Rachel Ray show (more on her later) or travelogue-style shows like No Reservations.  Good Eats was very different, with its long explanations and quirky humor.  Finally, though, the show clicked for me and I started to get it.  Alton doesn’t try to teach you a recipe (which would feed you for a meal), but rather he tries to teach you how to cook (which will feed you for a lifetime).  Some friends bought me the first Good Eats compendium, and that took it all even further. Read the rest of this entry

“So, Are You Going To Stop Dieting, Now?”

I hit my goal weight this weekend – actually, I dropped three pounds below it.  I’m now 172, a weight I haven’t been in probably 14 years.  My pants are 32s and loose, and I might be able to get back into 30s, which I haven’t been able to do since I got married.  I’m stronger, healthier, and fitter than I have ever been in my entire life.  I feel great.  Now, I’m being asked a seemingly innocuous pair of questions fairly often: What Now, and When Do You Get Off Your Diet? Read the rest of this entry

Politics As Usual

As the title indicates, this post is about politics.  I am going to be mouthy and opinionated.  I will probably use a few curse words (UPDATE: yeah, I sure did.  A lot).  I just wanted to get that warning out there.  If bad language and one ignorant man’s opinions offend you, you don’t want to read this. Read the rest of this entry

Current Events

Since it’s been a little while since I’ve done a blog, I figured I’d go ahead and fill you in on the EXCITING and TUMULTUOUS EVENTS (or lack thereof) that have taken place.

Football: The Redskins won yet another ridiculously close game.  Out of 5 games, 4 of them have come down to the final play.  Only when they got hammered by the Rams, who lost 44-6 or something this week to the previously 0-4 Lions, was the outcome of the game not in doubt on the final snap.  Heart attack central, this team.  But since they are 3-1 in those nail-biters, I’ll take it for now. Read the rest of this entry

Embracing the Dark Side

Pushing your body through a difficult exercise session is as much mental as it is physical.  When your head isn’t in the game, it’s hard to get the extra edge necessary to give the effort that ends up making the most difference.  When your body is tired and ready to give up, the only chance you have to eke out more work is if your mind can rally those fatigued muscles and sore joints into giving it absolutely everything they have, which is where many trainers will tell you that real body change happens.  A lot of the time, positive energy can push you through the wall: thinking of all the work you’ve already done, how many calories you’ve already burned, the jeans you want to fit into, the outfit you want to wear for The Big Party.  You can encourage yourself through positive thinking, and can even help a flagging partner through it, telling yourself and them that “You can do it!” or “You got this!”  Positive energy is great and awesome.

But sometimes, it isn’t enough. Read the rest of this entry

OK, So I Enjoyed That Game A Little Bit

After posting my Vick thoughts, spurred by the clamoring calls for Vick to be awarded the MVP trophy after 2 weeks of decent football amid a wash of adoring talk about how he’s overcome adversity – adversity caused by his enjoyment of torturing and killing dogs, but mostly just for betting on them – I really wanted the Redskins to beat the Eagles.  I mean, I hungered for it, craved it, but it took some time for me to believe they could do it. Read the rest of this entry

Why I Can Never Root For Michael Vick: A Hopefully Rational Viewpoint

Recently, I’ve read three articles written by prominent sports media figures describing why they are rooting for Michael Vick to succeed and become a inspirational story as he plays for the Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports, Bill Simmons of, and  Barry Petchesky of Deadspin.  The gist for all three is the same: Vick has paid his dues to society for dogfighting, and deserves to become a role model for future generations for battling through his own demons and adversity.  To some degree or another, they all indicate that they understand why some may disagree. Read the rest of this entry

Exercise DVD Review: P90X Back & Biceps (and AbRipper9000XKG or Something Ridiculous)

I see a lot of people talking about P90X.  A friend does it every now and again.  Others have watched them.  A lot of people on Sparkpeople talk about working out to them.  I never did.  A couple of weeks ago, Lady Aravan and I saw that they were selling it on QVC, so we flipped it on.  The infomercial was short on actual clips, but had people working out along with some lunatic talking about it.  We assumed he was a QVC huckster, but it gradually dawned on us that this guy was going to be on each of the videos.  Oy. Read the rest of this entry