Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dirty Little Parody

STAY AWAY IF YOU’RE EASILY OFFENDED. Remember this commercial parody? “HOOOOWWWWWDY!!!! Hi I’m Spike. Ya know, when I’m drivin’ down route 9W on a hot summer day, me and tha mrs. always stop at Dicken’s! Dicken’s Fruit Stand! They got everthang from fruit to veggies to homemade pies, but thur ain’t nuthin’ like their cider, ain’t that right, hun? (uh-huh) DICKEN’S CIDER!!! Yessirree! Why, even though we were late fer church last Sundey., she had to have a li’l Dicken’s Cider. She says thur ain’t nuthin’ like it! Even my minister says his wife likes a li’l Dicken’s Cider now and again. Why don’t you bring some home in the protective, plastic, ribbed bottle? Or… You can let it set, and have some Hard Dicken’s Cider! (uh-huh!) It’s good fer lunch, good fer dinner, and thur ain’t nuthin like wakin’ up with a Dicken’s Cider! And after a chilly winter night, who wouldn’t like to snuggle up in bed with a Hot Dicken’s Cider? Dicken’s Fruit Stand. Just off Route 9W and Country Road 69. Come only during open hours!”

A Brief Look @ 'Gym Rats'

We love the gym. It’s a place for us to forget about the daily crap. Exercise allows us to deal with stress without beating someone’s ass, or, for me at least,the higher probability, without getting our own asses beat. We put our headphones on, turn the volume up, and we're in our own worlds. There are, however, intruders into the “my own world” world. These intruders inadvertently pull us away from our worlds because of how ridiculous they are. People like the “weight belt guy”. C’mon you know him. You might even be him. He wears his belt no matter what he’s doing, even if he's only working out his forearms. There are three types of “weight belt guy”. Type-A wears the belt to let everyone know he’s a serious lifter. He doesn’t look all that big and strong, but wait… now you see the belt, and now you know that he’s not one to be reckoned with. Type-B wears the belt as a girdle. A girdle that doesn’t work. Then there’s Type-AB, a self-explanatory mix of the two. There’s the ever famous “health club/night club guy”. He’s the one that might as well have a cocktail. He’s by the bench press, scoping the scene. Oh… what’s this? A pretty, young thing over on the leg curl machine working her, oh-so-fine glutes. He struts over, says something along the lines of, “Working your glutes, huh? Maybe later you could show me how to work your glutes”, he gets denied, goes back over to the bench press and says, “She’s a snob, totally stuck on herself.” We have “random talker guy”. This guy means well, he’s just annoying as hell. You're working out, headphones blaring, sweat dripping. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye you see some stranger motioning for you to take off your headphones. You think, “maybe I’ve got a booger, and this guy’s considerate enough to let me know”, so you take off your headphones. “Everyone these days wears headphones, I mean, I feel like I’m working out in this gym by myself”, he says with a smile. WHAT!?! We’ve all seen the “gym owner guy”. He doesn’t technically own the gym, but he walks around like he does. My personal favorite is “advice-giver guy”. You might think you see “Type-AB Weight Belt Guy”, but then he approaches you to let you know what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it. That's "advice-giver guy". Of course you know he’s right. He is, after all, wearing a weight belt. Here’s a true story. Kennedy, Boyd, and I were all working out together a few years ago. Out of nowhere comes “advice-giver guy”. He wore a red tanktop tucked into his black spandex shorts. He had his trophy of a gut folded over his cinched weight belt. I don’t know how his bird-legs supported his disproportionate upper body, but somehow he managed. Keep in mind that Kennedy outweighs Boyd and me by at least 20 pounds of muscle. As Kennedy is doing his set, “advice-giver guy” says to Boyd and me in the most southern of Texas draws, “Watch an' learn boys. This guy knows how it’s done” as he motions to Kennedy. He follows up with, “That and eatin' the shit outta creatine. That’s how I done it.” I think we left after that. We seriously couldn’t exercise anymore, because we were too busy trying not to laugh at this joker. There are plenty of other types, and I haven’t even touched on the women yet (no pun intended). Maybe we’ll explore other types at a later date. I love you all. -M

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Cool as Ice (Vanilla Ice)

I still like to think of myself as cool, but then I find myself having the following conversation: “NICE LAWN!! What is that? Fescue?” “No, it’s St Augustine. Fescue is more of a blue-green.” You know what I’m talking about? No? You might not have graduated to the level that I have, but you’re on your way if you’ve ever said any of the following before 10pm: “Just one more beer, then I HAVE to go. I’ve got too much to do tomorrow” or “Got a meeting in the morning”, or “I gotta call my wife to let her know I might be a little late”, or anything remotely resembling any of these. We like to think that we’re still super cool, that we’re just re-evaluating what cool is. NEWS FLASH: Cool re-evaluates itself every 3-6 months, that’s why designers come out with their new lines. If you’re still wearing two seasons ago because you’re not going to “waste your money on the latest trend”, then you are not cool. A cool person wouldn’t “waste” his money either. He’d “invest” in his coolness. I actually go to Target for some things that I won’t buy at the grocery store and vise-versa. WHY? A cool person would consider that a waste of time. I consider it an attempt to save money for my kids’ future education (incidentally, my kids ARE cool). When I managed a gym back in the day, a 40-something white guy wearing headphones was on a stair-climber. I remember he was ½ stepping, ½ dancing, and kinda hum-singing ‘100% PURE LOVE’ by Crystal Waters. Since at the time I was cool, I asked him, in no uncertain terms, what he thought he was doing. He told me, “KISS FM, man! Crystal Waters! This station keeps me young! You know cool, hip. Gotta keep up with the trends!” I wanted to be like, “86 THE HEADBAND AND GET LONGER SHORTS!!! AFTER THAT, MAYBE, WE CAN DISCUSS YOU ‘KEEPING UP’!!!” That, however, would be “losing one’s cool”. Instead I was just like, “Whatever.” Back to my point… I guess what I’m saying is that I can’t pinpoint when I began losing some of my cool (oh I’ve still got plenty), but I’m cool with that. I just don’t want to be that guy trying to regain the cool that I’ve lost. That’s not the point either. I don’t want to be seen with that person. That’s my point. I’ll not tolerate my friends trying to recapture their lost cool (which, by the way, is scientifically not possible). So if you’ve lost cool, accept it and adjust. If you try to regain the cool, you will be warned only once per charge. If you do not adjust in a timely manner, there will be no second warning, you will be fired as a friend. I know it sounds harsh, but we have to look out for each other. We are only as cool as the dorkiest person we hang with (is it cool to say that? “dorkiest” / ”hang with”?) Stay cool! (or “Stay Krunk”, which as I understand it is the new,cool, all-purpose word for “cool”).

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Interesting stuff...

So I was reading one of my many non-novels today, and I came across some things I thought interesting. Maybe G. London - our bus chasing friend from Kyoto (see "Comments" in the "Novels..." entry)- can help us out. We'd appreciate it, mate. I read that Japanese, due to their great respect for the "corporate culture", have turned exchanging business cards into an actual procedure. When presenting your own business card, hand it over with both hands, the print (which should have been translated into Japanese beforehand) facing the recipient. Also, when receiving a business card, do not simply grab the card and place it in your wallet or back pocket. The correct procedure is as follows: take it, study it for a few moments, and , after sufficient consideration, place it in your shirt pocket. To top it off, NEVER write on the back of the business card. This is considered highly disrespectful. Something else I thought interesting... You are not to make eye contact with the Japanese. Apparently this can be perceived as 'staring them down' or as an intimidation tactic. Instead, fix your eyes between the tip of his/her nose and chin (mouth maybe?). With all of their respect for the "corporate culture", however, the Japanese are not a "touching culture". As such, they have adapted the handshake to accommodate others, but it is often limp, lacking any semblence of a firm grip. I'm not planning a trip to Japan nor do I have a business card that needs translating, but for my readers who possess more importance than I, can you please confirm/dispell these stumbled upon gems of potential misinformation?

Friday, June 25, 2004

Good Ol' Days?

Gen Xers… We’re from a better time, aren’t we? I remember the sweet smell of Marlboro as I walked past the teacher’s lounge of my elementary school. Smoking was a lot more socially acceptable in those, the better days. I remember having to actually get up to change the channel. Remember that? The big ass cable box with the “A/B” switch and the 30 buttons to net you 60 (YES, I said 60) channels. One of those was the original MTV, and it actually showed music videos. Speaking of which… Who remembers Adam Curry? “HeadBangers Ball” ringing any bells? THAT was cool hair! I remember the rise and fall of Andrew “Dice” Clay and ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’. I remember when Brenda and Brandon first got to Beverly Hills from Minnesota… Good times. I wanted to be the 6-Million Dollar Man when I grew up (I’m far from that goal. Last look in the account I had $410, half of which is technically Jenn’s, so I’m, like, the $205 Man with checks still pending). We’re from a time that there was “no need to argue, parents just didn’t understand”. Don’t get me started on Garbage Pail Kids. Back then the Nintendo controller only had 2 buttons and a direction controller (of course our only choices were ‘Super Mario Bros.’ and ‘Donkey Kong’), but it was still a helluva lot more complicated than my Atari controller w/ the single ‘fire’ button. We saw the advent of CareBears, RainBow Brite, Fraggle Rock, and StrawBerry ShortCake. Who can forget ThunderCats and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? The Culture Club had some hits, Frankie Goes to Hollywood… That was real music. Motley Crue, Scorpion, and AC/DC were labeled as “satanic” by our parents. I’d like to see the looks on their faces now, “Mom, I’d like you to meet Vince Neil, and this is his contemporary MARILYN MANSON!!!” The only computer language was “BASIC”, and I used it to write code to my COMMODORE 64. I could make this little dot diver “swim” across the TV screen (we didn’t actually have monitors). Hell yeah!!! And once I installed ‘PRINT SHOP’ from that hardcore floppy disk, I could do all sorts of stuff on my black-ink, dot matrix printer. In this, the day of “high-speed” instant gratification, I have one thing to say… Polaroid! Yep a better time… a better time, indeed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

3 of My Biggest Fitness Peeves...

This is both a preemptive response to anyone thinking of asking me about the following and responses to anyone who already has. I hope this clarifies my stance on some things.
1. “I just want to lose 10-15 lbs. Do you think I can do that in 4 weeks?” -- Yes you can. Will it be in a healthy and lasting fashion? No. First of all, a person can fluctuate 3-5 lbs. day to day in water weight alone. Secondly, let’s say, for example, a 140 pound woman asked me that question. She’s basically asked if I think she can lose 7%-11% of her total bodyweight in 4 weeks! Crazy I tells ya! Now my favorite “comeback” for someone who’s asked me the above weight loss question: “How long did it take you to add this 10-15 lbs.?” If you tell me you’ve slowly accumulated it over the past few years, then I have a follow-up question: “ Do you honestly believe you can undo 2-3 years of (for lack of a better term) neglect in 4 months, much less 4 weeks?”
2. “What do you think of the Atkins Diet?” -- To put it bluntly, I don’t think of the Atkins Diet or any other diet for that matter. I don’t like the word ‘diet’ period. People say ‘diet and exercise’ a lot. I prefer ‘exercise and nutrition’. The word ‘diet’ has what I call a “deprivation connotation”. Basically insinuating that you have to deprive yourself of certain things to achieve your goals. Nutrition, on the other hand, indicates nourishment, fuel for your exercise and for your daily activities. Back to the original question… Atkins Diet? Ask every active and lean individual I know if they’re on Atkins, and each one will tell you that carbohydrates are his/her primary source of energy. In a word “NO!” I do, however, know people who have lost weight on Atkins, but they’re not what I’d call lean. They are smaller, but their shape and composition look the same to me.
3. “I tried losing/gaining weight, but it’s just not in my genetics.” -- You’re right. If you are inherently lazy you wll never reach your fitness goals. Honestly. I am 5’7”, but I can grab a 10’ basketball rim. Am I genetically gifted? I must be. I have a friend who is 6’4” who can’t touch the rim, so it must not be in his genetic make up, right? Seriously, barring glandular problems and the like, the only genetic limitations are the shapes of your muscle bellies and where on your body fat is prone to end up. As long as you’re paying attention to exercise and nutrition, you don’t have to worry about where your fat is prone to end up.
Think logically about your goals, keep it simple, and have patience. Think of fitness like you would a retirement account. The sooner you start, the better off you are in the long run, plus you’ll have more leeway during the process.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Novels... what's so great?

My wife says it's sad that I've only read one novel in my life. It's not like I don't read anything. I read about personal finance, fitness and bodybuilding, sports (in particular: Dallas Mavericks/NBA and Miami Dolphins/NFL), business, etc... It's not like I don't have an imagination either. I've read a number of plays and screenplays. I love humor books and cookbooks. I read Mark Cuban's blog (www.blogmaverick.com) with every update. It's not like I haven't tried reading more novels, but nothing's been able to keep my interest for too long. Apparently that doesn't matter, however. I'm still "sad and weird" because I've only read one novel. To those who think reading a single novel once in a lifetime is sad, I have this to ask: How many times have you run 2 miles in under 12 minutes? None? To me that's sad and weird!