Sunday, March 6, 2011

Executing Order 66: Even Jedis Die Sometimes

Its also the kind of weather that nurtures the arch-enemy of any healthy pursuit. Chest congestion, aches and pains. All of the symptoms on the side of the bottle of Nyquil. It was bad for three straight weeks, and those were the weeks after the snow cleared.
Pure and simple, February was a loss. Its like the sudden and tragic death of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode 1... Bad on top of bad.

Lets discuss. For those of you who don't like in the Midwest, there is many times a thing call "Snow" during the "Ber" and "Ary" months. Chicago was hit with the most epic blizzard since the turn of the century on February 1; the wind was rushing so hard that we couldn't cross intersections without things trying to blow away; the snow slung in your face with a sting so fierce that you could have sworn it was sand or salt.

In the great play about the City of Broad Shoulders, this is what we call "Setting." It's the kind of weather that will depress and subvert any kind of goal and will turn good men into cold-hearted bastards and vengeful beasts.

This was the first "Bad" in the above equation about our dearly departed Master Jedi. It was a perfect storm of Too Much Effort and Too Little Healthiness. But, in the grand scheme of things, these defeats can really only account for the final twist of the Lightsaber to my month long endeavor to try and lose weight. PS, I still don't know why Qui-Gon didn't turn into a Force Ghost.

The greatest battle, however, was really the pod race in the pizza.

I counted. I really did. We got call in Pizza five times. Five. Really. I ate Chipotle another six times. Summing it all up, that's about 6000 calories over the month in burrito deliciousness. We called in Ribs and Chinese and Vietnamese. We were really, really horrible about eating right, about buying fresh food, and about planning out our meals so that we could try to have some semblance of healthy meals.

Needless to say, we lost the Battle. I was 3.5 lbs above my weight goal, which, tragically, is actually gaining weight compared to my lowest point in January.

So, starting on Tuesday, I started planning again. Because, just like Patton, you can't beat the enemy unless you read their book:
Old Blood n' Guts Dossier
  • Exercising a minimum of 4 times a week, every week. If I don't, I lose $10 Fat Cash
  • Menu planning for every day of the week, including when we're planning on going out to eat
  • Being mindful of my caloric intake, I have a goal of losing essentially 2 lbs a week,  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Born to Run my Mouth (or How Running isn't Interesting and Swimming with Sharks ins't Challenging)

"If you don't know me, then it's your own fault, cause I'll talk the ears off of a tree."
That was the byline of my High School Yearbook. The picture was this one of me with my head hanging out of a car window.
I've never been accused of being short on words. "Smartassed," however, that's a different story. I was villainized in my college classes for being the Teacher's Pet because I liked to answer questions. The truth is that I was just bored of the loud Sucking sound that came out of many people's mouthes, so I figured I would fill the void with something that might sound smarter, or at least marginally more interesting than that awkward pause teachers do that makes you prone to answer questions.
And in case you didn't know, they do that on purpose, just to make your day 35% more awkward.
So when I say I know how to talk, please believe Me. Take it from KMB, or someone else who has spent far too much time around me, but please take me at face value when I say it.

You could surmise, then, from this information, that would be really good at sucking wind to form all those words (a couple of my favorites being uvula and homonym, or obfuscate). The truth of the matter, though, is that I'm not.

I'm an asthmatic. I grew up in an era where people didn't know better than to hotbox children with chain smokers during their formulating years. And I'm okay with that.  The bigger issues became the gym teachers, jaded by decades of school kids who were disinterested in athletics, or because I wasn't basketball player material, who were convinced that it was distaste for running, not inhibitors, that made me quick to stop and slow to catch my breath. They were convinced I "could grow out of it," never imaging what it would feel like to have an angry gloved man grab your lungs while playing street hockey and squeeze with ever more subtle pressure until it felt like you were breathing through four or five bendy straws taken from 7-Eleven.

I'm not blaming the asthma on a life that was more on the slovenly side than on the team sporting side. I was never good at sports, mostly because of my disinterest in practice. The same reason why I wasn't very good at trumpet or wasn't any good at stoichiometry. Things like that simply were challenging or interesting.

Video games, on the other hand, was both, as was trying to make people laugh. That's the reason i've played Metal Gear Solid through four times, and had over 100 hrs of playtime Final Fantasy X my senior year of high school (when I should have been studying fork the SATs.

I've mentioned in my article Regarding Batman and Benchmarks what my goals are, but these are just part of the idea of a Challenge. Here are some thoughts I've outlined regarding reasonable challenges:

  • By March, I'll be running four times a week, and will improve on my index by 15 points when measuring speed and distance.
  • By March, I will have resumed/found anew 1 hobby.
  • By March, I want to have finished 8 books.
  • By April, I'll be waking up early and my workout will be a mix of weight training and running four times a week. I'll also be regularly going to our gym and doing classes three days a week. 
  • By August,  I will be ready to run in a half marathon.
  • By September, I will have reached my weight goal.
  • By September, I want to be pursuing three hobbies I currently am not.
  • By December, I will have done 3 things I've never done before (excluding activities on Honeymoon, unless I go into a shark cage)
  • By December, I want to have finished 32 books, including the Lord of the Rings, and the Bible
  • By year's end, I want to have my first great idea, and do something to support it's growth.
  • By year's end, I want to get promoted
  • By year's end, I want to save 3/4th of what my take home pay was last year, or have assets at that value.
The second, equally as important part, is keeping this interesting, since that's really where things like video games leave things like running in the dust in my world.

Here are my proposals to the fair reader:

  • Partner with me to own my challenges 
  • Wager your own personal goal with mine, and on the honor system, we'll keep each other on target and trustworthy.
  • In the balance can be a trinket (Star Wars toys), charitable donations, concepts (going on an adventure to Hot Dougs going head to head with going to a vegan or ethnic restaurant, or spending time at a museum or poetry reading or Indy rock gig in exchange for three hours of Van Halen, Harry Potter, and Blue margaritas), or any other bright ideas that that promotes personal growth
  • We'll put our wager on paper (or spit in palms), and document our progress mutually, either by blogging or social networking.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Benchmarking (Or How Batman Did Not Build Rome In A Day)

In Review:
• We've set out what the first set of Objectives are: Fitness and Weight Loss (there are more still to come)
• We've identified the Tactics were going to use: The Almighty Dollar (The same way you incentivize Nicaraguan terrorists)

Next, let's have a real discussion. Let's talk about Batman.

One of the greatest examples of a Super Hero because, let's face it, his life is anything but Super.

Let's review why it sucks to be Bruce Wayne:

  • Dead parents
  • PTSD and Depression from seeing murdered parents
  • Has a masochistic complex about fighting crime but not sadistic enough to kill any of his enemies. Not even the ones that deserve it.
  • Must hang out with assholes who do have real super powers (but who gives a shit if Aquaman can summon sharks if you're in Utah) to keep his job, otherwise he's considered a vigilante
  • Definitely has an awkward thing for women in vinyl, and is always being accused of having an awkward thing for Boys.

What Batman does have, however:

  • An understanding of what his resources are, and how to use them.
  • A positive attitude towards his goals in crime fighting.
  • Cash

What does this have to do with the Project: Super Dave?

It has to do with Batman's first karate lesson.

When Bruce Wayne, as a young man, decided that he was going to go into Crime Fighting, he understood that he would have to learn lethal force since he wouldn't use deadly weapons. He would need to learn to break an enemy's leg, or bust through a wall using only brute force.

Bruce knew that his goals could only be achieved through training, and by starting from nothing to achieve something extraordinary. If Batman was the goal, karate was his tool. Roundhouse kicks were the units which he measure his success with.

Batman's training started with a balled fist.
Mine starts with a treadmill.


Weight Loss
(Aka The Penguin)
Weight: 225 lbs.
Goal: 165 lbs.
% Change: -26%

(Aka Bane)
Total inches: 285"
Goal: 256.75"
% Change: -15%

(Aka Red Hood)
Jogging Range in 30 min: 3 miles
Goal: 5 miles
% Change: 40%

(Aka The Joker)
Jog Time: 35 min at 5.2 mph avg.
Goal: 2.25 hrs at 6 mph avg.
% Change: 300%

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Master Obi-Won Cannoli and his Donut Mind Tricks

Everything has what I would colloquially call "Brass Tacks."

The crux
The issue
The meat of it.
The raison d'ĂȘtre.

In my case, it really is... The Meat of It.

I've been the "he'll finish it" guy since before I can remember. It's always been that way. I think it comes from being from the kind of family where, at one point, a second helping was a welcome luxury... And then, over time, that family turning into one where leftovers never amounted to much more than excess and a lecture how I never liked to eat leftovers.It was my kind of chess game, except my opponent was new flavors, old favorites and... "I don't want anymore" of too many good things amongst too many of the people in my life.Ask most anyone what my favorite food is, and they'll probably ask back "Of What?" How about any kind of breakfast food? How about my favorite cut of steak? (Porterhouse. For one. A real man's challenge), how about deep dish pizza (Lou Malnati's is the best in Chicago, and I'm a local, and have been on the Pizza Walking Tour)?Or would you find out about my opinion on the King of Meats, the gift given to man from an ancient race smarter than us and with better taste, the animal consumable that can suckle a dying drifter back from the brink of death? The only Meat I would consider electing as our President purely on Tastiness. The Pork Lightening Bolt, with more flavor than Thor has power.

Ask me what my favorite food is, and I'll probably tell you Bacon.

And as far as Bacon is concerned, there's never too much of a good thing. Its an obsession. My personal Dark Passenger. The big difference is that my compulsion can be described with all those tasty Top Chef words for "saturated fat": pan-seared, deep fried, and cream filled

  • Monthly Weight Loss Goal: 7.5 lbs
  • Total Weight Loss Goal: 60 lbs
  • Daily Calorie Intake: 1,200
ON THE BLACK LIST (Once a month)
  • Domino's or Deep Dish
  • Chipotle or Taqueria
  • Fried Chicken
  • Take-out / Sit-down Chinese
  • Running
  • Boxing Gym
  • Weights
  • Nutritional Cleansing
Racing to the Gym? Or to Deep Dish? Shrouded, is the Truth, by the Dark Side.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Confessions of a Fallen Foodie - I'm an Addict

The Chicago dogs.
The fried chicken.
State Fair on a stick.
32. Yes, I counted. 32 pieces of All-You-Can-Eat Sushi.

My past year in eating. Because in any one day, I might ride the same bus with the same people, but no two burritos are the same. Because sometimes you're too busy to plan dinner or to tired after work to cook. Because you're celebrating an engagement or planning a wedding. And there are cake samples, or free champagne. Whether it was to be gastronomically adventurous, or to hang out with friends, or to keep it simple during the week.

And going into 2011, I've lost the Battle of 2010. And I've got some serious photos to be taken in approximately 9 months (for more information, please see
Second City Bride, my fiancées blog about this tomfoolery). So I'm kicking off a brand new plan to get my leg up in this war. A plan that will beat the enemy with the Fist of an Angry Norse God.

KMB and I have decided to use the one thing that piques my interest more than a smoked turkey leg: Clams.

Greenbacks. Moolah. Doubloons. Cash.

We're cutting our monthly shopping budget so that there're only one way I can buy the DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, or the book about the making of
The Empire Strikes Back, I have to earn it by shedding pounds and doing the right thing for my health.

• Each month, if I meet my weight goal, I earn myself $50 cash money, to use at my discretion.
• I earn $1 each time I go to the gym or have a protein shake
• I earn $5 each time I do a nutritional cleanse. $15 if I do two in a row.
• $6.5 for each pound I lose over my goal in any month
• I lose $20 if I decide to change the dinner plans
• Eating things that are bad for me is limited to 4 times a month, like Burritos. Sweet, sweet burritos.

Starting today, I'm already $1 closer to a fitter me and set of brand new, slimmer flannel shirts.