Saturday, December 29, 2012

Starting Weight....Ouch

I purchased my scale, set it up, and got on it.

And promptly wanted to run 10 miles.

205.9 pounds. I paid $50 for the scale, so chances are it was a pretty accurate reading.Now my resolution is losing around 30 pounds, instead of the 20 or 25 I thought it would be. On the plus side (no pun intended), I usually don't have any problem getting down to 190.

This morning, I weighed myself again, and I'm down to 205.7. And as dumb as it sounds, I was kind of glad to see that it went down, even just a bit. I'm giving myself a year to do this, it hasn't even technically started yet, but the key thing that I learned from quitting smoking is that every little victory counts. Every trigger I beat, even now, means I'm becoming stronger.

I'm trying to think of something to kick off the first week of weight loss, some kind of lifestyle change that would be a habit I would be keen to stick to. After giving it a few minutes of thought, I've decided to avoid eating any food I haven't prepared myself. I know this isn't sustainable over the long term, but I do think it will force me to get up a little earlier and cook my breakfast and prepare a lunch. And eat a goddamn salad with my dinners. There's basically no reason for me not to be taking care of my first two meals of the day, and I'm a good enough cook that dinner shouldn't be an issue either.

They key thing is that I want to lose a pound a week. More would be great, and there plenty of excess weight that I wouldn't be overly concerned about if I dropped more in the first few weeks (I kind of expect to be under 195 by February). So as long as I got that going, I'll try to continue these weekly tweaks. 

Digitize, Declutter, AND DESTROY! RAWRRR

I have a metric fuckton of books and CDs. I've always been an avid reader, and filled about two six foot tall bookshelves over the course of my life. And I've pretty much never re-read any of the books I own. But when I moved about six months ago, lugging giant boxes of books got me thinking that perhaps it's time to go through those and sell or donate the 90% of them that I have no intentions of ever looking at again, or even lending out.

As for CDs, I'm going to have a hard time letting them go. I have between 170-200 CDs, and even though I've mostly converted them to MP3s (lately, before I've even listened to the CD), I still can't seem to just let them go. I think in this instance, I might group some of them up as collages to hang on the wall, but otherwise sell them, which isn't likely to net me much money as the price of music is cheap as hell.

DVDs and BluRays? Yeah I have a really good amount of those too, but nowhere near the amount of CDs, and the availability of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have me thinking that its time to be selective about what I want to keep around,.

When it comes to this goal, I think the main thing I need to keep in mind is to avoid buying new books, CDs, and movies in physical forms, and stick to subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime (and spotify!), and when I want to buy something, use my Kindle and Google Play. And in the meantime, go through the slow process of figuring out what to do with my "relics".

I've decided that I'll keep one of those six foot bookshelves, my 100 CD tower, and my four foot tall movie shelf. Anything outside that limit is going to be sold or donated. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Losin Myself...or at least 25 pounds of it

I have a confession to make. I've been getting a little chubby. It started around the time of my eye surgery, when my runs became less frequent, and with the onset of football season, the holidays, the NaNoWriMo challenge, and an overabundance of excuses, I've gained about 10 or 15 pounds. Also the quitting smoking probably didn't help, but its lame to blame such a thing on that. And I'm no fan of the lame blame game.

So, figuring that I'm at around 200 pounds, my goal is to get down to 175 pounds. I'm about six feet tall, so that goal is right around where I should be, as far as the BMI goes (184 is the upper end of normal weight, 175 is a little closer to the middle end of that range)

What's the plan? Good question. The first step would seem to have a decent way to plot my progress. To that end, I will soon be purchasing (by the end of THIS year) a scale that connects to smart phone, which will allow me to play with the data more easily. Establishing that baseline will make it far easier for me to configure everything else, leading me to my next step.

Using a calorie counter. I think the app is actually called Calorie Counter or Fitness Counter or CaliFitness Funtime Awesomeo. Basically it's going to give me a rough estimate of how many calories I'm taking in and how many I'm burning each day. The idea here is not to get obsessive about least not for the long term, but to get myself where I need to be, and know what kind of diet and routine work best to maintain it without depriving myself needlessly.

With a goal of about 25 pounds lost by the end of the year, I only need to lose half a pound a week, meaning I got time to see what works at what level. So what I'd like to do is start by cutting out and/or modifying as needed to keep the losses coming. And each week I'll give something new a try, especially once I get closer to my goal and losing the extra bits starts to get difficult.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Final Review Before the End of the World

Well, I know I have a month left, but I think I've done about as much as I can this year with Christmas just around the corner.

So, one last time for old time's sake....

#1 - Quit Smoking = BAM. Quitted. Pwned. Bitchslapped into insignificance. I am now 111 days smoke free, and adding in 50 days from earlier this year, the grand stretch total is about 161, meaning that on New Year's Eve I'll be going into 2013 having half a year of not smoking under my belt (and more importantly, in my lungs). I feel great, and going forward I just don't see it being an issue. One of my largest triggers is of course going to be going home for the holidays, a stressful time of the year but nothing new. And I've lately gotten through Thanksgiving without smoking, and one of my friends came down for the weekend and despite her smoking, I never caved in and bummed one. And now that I'm home (woo!) for Christmas, I'm slowly but surely checking off a whole shit ton of triggers that I don't deal with on a regular basis, something that I've learned is more dangerous than the usual ones I deal with all the time, such as: drinking with my best friend, driving around doing nothing for hours, sleeping on a twin size bed, being in a ski area with no slopes that are open, and just the usual holiday madness such as finishing shopping that used to call for a long, long drag of a cigarette. (Also, since the beginning of this post, I've reached 126 days.

#2 - Positive networth = SOUND EFFECT. I paid the shit out of student loanage this year, and with the stock market finally starting to expand and stabilize, I'm pretty stoked to say that I now have zero credit card debt, a small emergency fund, and my assets are worth more than my liabilities. I also bought a house at a time when loans and home prices were rock bottom, so the odds of that investment losing any value are slim to none, and the mortgage payment is so low its barely even worth mentioning. I'm on track to have my student loans and car loan paid off by my target date of September 2014, and that is a very good thing.

#3 - Travel more = I traveled! This was always going to be a hard one to quantify, but I've gone to a few different local cities, hiked more than I have any other year, and have just generally been more apt to say "fuck it, I'm going on a road trip" than years past. Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, the Whitewater Center near Charlotte, different restaurants in between, train rides, I have definitely been out and about a lot more than I ever have, and I believe this is going to go on as long  as its fiscally feasible.

#4 - Write More = RIGHT! I came, I typed, I conquered. So what do I have? Mostly just a few papers, this blog, and oh yeah, half a fucking novel I wrote in a month. Which admittedly sounds a lot less impressive than an entire novel, but seeing as how I went in with absolutely no plan or outline, hammering out 23,000 words in a month (okay, I was lazy for chunks of that month, but regardless) was actually not as difficult a feat as I thought it would be, mostly since I haven't written any sort of fiction for at least a decade. One thing I found really awesome was that it encouraged me to turn to other creative outlets I had been neglecting for a while, such as playing the guitar.

#5 - Run a marathon - SHIT! I can come up with a dozen excuses for not getting this done, but seeing as how I started off the year by running a half marathon in February, I have absolutely no GOOD excuses for not having accomplished this. A lot of people I've talked to have kind of scoffed at the idea of me seeing not completing a marathon as a bad thing, but this is something I had figured on doing in the beginning of the year, and instead of building off the half marathon, I slacked, and I slacked, until a month before my corrective eye surgery, and then got even more off track after two weeks of taking pain killers and drinking scotch. And watching Breaking Bad in its (near) entirety, but I digress. I think this puppy is gonna get recycled for next year, like most of the Eagles' coaching staff.

So, what have I learned?

Mostly, that the difference between wanting to do something and getting it done means actually doing something, not a foreign idea to me at all but one that the constant drive to complete these things (or in the case of the novel, make a pretty good dent in). And I do think that writing down goals and working to achieve them caused me to focus on them WAY more than I would have otherwise.

All that being said, these are now things that are a part of my life. Not using my credit card sounds like an easy thing to do, but when I went to get off that train entirely, it means that I need to have my own savings, and more importantly, NOT use that savings to get those sweet Sonos speakers I've always wanted. It means not charging any Christmas or presents, or car repairs, or even home improvements/updates. In fact, the only time I used my credit card in the past four months has been when I accidentally used it to buy aspirin and to avoid having a $100 held off my debit card at a hotel in Savannah. And what that means is that I don't owe people more money, and that the money I take in can go to old debts, not trying to keep myself from being dug in deeper. And I wouldn't have been at that hotel in Savannah if I had a shit ton of debt and hadn't saved for it. And I probably wouldn't have had that extra money if I hadn't quit smoking for 3 months prior to that. And I'm pretty sure that if I had managed to run that marathon, I would have been crediting quitting smoking for that. Really, the only thing on this list that I can't chalk up as some of intertwined bit is the write/create more one, but hell, maybe this actually did help.

Anyway, to everyone that actually read this, thank you. I'm still thinking of one more resolution to add for next year, but before the clock strikes midnight, I'll detail how I plan to achieve each of the ones I have already written for next year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three more resolutions

Just had some random ones I figured I should get down while they're fresh.

#2 - Take the GRE, apply to grad school.

I'm looking to start grad school in fall 2014 or spring of 2015, so 2013 seems like a good time to start the process. Just checked the price...$150! So I guess I should write "Study, Take the GRE, Apply".

#3 - Limit TV Viewing to less than 5 hours a week.

Yes, even during football season. And Netflix. It took me binging on Sons of Anarchy to realize that this is not the healthiest way to spend my time, and less TV is not a bad thing. Especially since NBC seems hell bent on destroying my Thursday night sitcoms. I actually don't think this will be too hard of a thing to accomplish, and it will need to be tracked weekly, especially at first.

#4 - Declutter my life

One of the greatest continuous joys I have in life is buying CDs. I love music. But lately I've been buying CDs and ripping them to my computer before I even listen to the thing! And then the CD goes straight into a CD rack that I never even use. Books? Read once and insist on keeping them around for "future research". It's not gonna happen. I mean it always COULD happen, but those days are long gone and likely aren't coming back. Basically, from here on out, I'm going digital and/or using the library. I have a Kindle for books and numerous devices to stream music (legally).

Still trying to think of one more good one...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement unlocked: Hundred - No smoking for 100 days

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Boo ya!

#QuitNow! Achievement unlocked: A whole week - You saved 7 days of your life

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Hunt for the Red October Review's where I'm at.

Networth = Positive!
Marathon = Delayed
Travel more = Working on it, trip to Savannah this month
Write more = participating in the NanoWrimo challenge this month to write a novel by the end of November.  I'm currently way the hell behind in my word count, but I figure anything is better than nothing. We're talking about my first fiction story in a decade, so this is definitely something fresh.

Quit smoking = 80 days and counting.

Really, the only thing I'm disappointed in is that I won't end up having run a marathon by the end of the year. I think I can pin that on two things: 1) Not quitting smoking early enough in the year, which would have enabled me to 2) run more.

However, I'm starting to think of some of the goals I'd like for next year. Luckily, running will be one of them because....

#1 - Cut down to 175 pounds. This isn't too lofty of a goal, somewhere between a 20-25 pound loss by the end of next year (I'm 6 feet tall, so this isn't going to be freakishly skinny). I think after quitting smoking, running a half marathon, and just being more aware, I should be able to accomplish this goal. I know that you're not supposed to tie success to numbers, but it's not like I'm shooting for under 170 where success may be harder to define.

More to come as I think of it! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

September Review

Completely forgot to do my September update, but there hasn't been a whole to mention either. First up, the updates

Quit Smoking - 10 weeks strong! I've been trying to figure out the last time I went this long without smoking, and as far as I can tell, it's been either 6 years or never. It's even getting to the point that I can smell the smoke on my clothes after going out, which isn't a great thing for my clothes, but a testament to the new nostril power! Also my willpower, as I haven't even really been tempted. Actually, the one downside has been that I don't even really like going to smoking bars now, which unfortunately is just about every bar. Unfortunately, a good chunk of my friends still smoke, meaning I'm stuck with the smoke smell for now. I'm on track to having half the year smoke-free by the time New Years runs around. And THAT is a great feeling. I'll start posting my QuitNow achievements on here again since I'm past the point I was at last time.

Networth - Doing better and better. Credit card is now paid off, two more of my student loans were knocked off, and now that I have a mortgage instead of rent and a slight bump in salary, paying a bit more every month while still living my life is now possible. Having some breathing room is definitely making this aspect of my life easier to deal with, seeing as how I can actually do things instead of sitting around the house.

Run a marathon - This one is going to be going on the backburner until early next year. I was gradually increasing my runs by 5 miles each week until I got my eye surgery, and with just a week off, I kind of fell off.

Travel more - Got a trip booked to Savannah next month! Outside of that, I got to see my beloved Foo Fighters in Atlanta halfway through last month, something I'm glad I did after they announced they're going on hiatus not even a week later.

Write more - Well, clearly I haven't been. I think of all my resolutions, this is one I've struggled with the most. Not sure if I'll end up picking this one up more by the year's end, but at the very least, I have nearly 50 posts on here!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wallpaper = Sheet Rock Holocaust

In addition to my ongoing New Year's resolutions, I have a few other ones listed that are more of a to-do list, and after an embarrassing 3 months, I took my watch in to get its battery replaced. The sad part is, I thought it would have to be shipped off and cost me $80, but after 10 bucks and five minutes, the wrist was blingin' again. Woo!

Now onto the wallpaper...the previous owners had god-awful wallpaper borders, and after investigating a variety of options ranging from an expensive steamer to cursing it off, I settled on a wallpaper removal concentrate, which didn't work any better than just hot water, a sponge, and a scraper. I'm sure the steamer might have been the best option, but $100 is nuts compared to the $5 I paid for the scraper and maybe another $5 I paid for the scorer. The real test is going to be when I tackle the completely wall-papered foyer (which admittedly, doesn't look terrible) and the painted over wallpaper in the kitchen.

My PRK surgery seems to have healed at a pace which can only be described as incredi-fast. My eyesight is at least near 20/20, and for the first time since the surgery I set the screen back to 100% instead of 150%.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Man, it's been a while

I just noticed that I haven't posted since June....and wow, what a change. I guess the first thing is to give the progress on my goals

1) Quit smoking - Back on the wagon, 16 days smoke free. And i feel like everything in my life is stable enough now that I won't be going back anytime soon.

2) Run a marathon - I started running bigtime a few weeks ago, gradually increasing the mileage. Last week I ran 20.5 miles throughout the week, but since I just got eye surgery, breaking a huge sweat isn't going to be in the cards for a week or two, unfortunately.

3) Networth - This one kind of went haywire, especially since I just bought a freakin house! Obviously I didn't buy it in cash, so I'll be basing the networth portion as compared to the estimated value from my bank's estimator tool. But to also be fair and kind of keep me on my toes, if it's worth more than I owe, I'm not going to count it with my other finances. This isn't a personal finance blog, so I'm making up my own rules, and I don't think it's dishonest if it makes it harder for me to say I have a positive networth.

But with all that said, my head is still above water financially, and I'm slowly but surely adding value to my house while paying down the rest of my debt. I'm planning on being completely out of debt by September of 2014, and hopefully I'll be able to reach that date without needing to sell off any investments.

4) Write more - I haven't been, obviously. It's either been work or working out, but I think there's a novel challenege in november that I may partake in. I guess we'll see.

5) Travel more - I was supposed to go on a trip, but that didn't happen, so at some point before the end of the year I'm going to find a way to go on a different trip or SOMETHING that won't also have a negative effect on my financial outlook.

So, now that the final four months of the year have begun, I'm hoping to finish as strongly as I started this whole process. I also had lasers zap my eyes to what will hopefully be 20/20 or better, so here's hoping for a speedy recovery. I'm on day 3, and my sight seems to fluctuate between good and, well, shitty. I think a lot of it is due to the bandage contacts they put in to protect the cornea as it heals, but I can pop those out on Monday. From what I've (blurrily) read, my sight will actually decrease again following that before healing steadily, hopefully in time for the Eagles' season opener.

I wish I had more to write about, but it's mostly been a lot of small scale house work lately. I bought the Nest wifi programmable thermostat and it has been a really, really cool gadget. Anyway, hopefully I'll have some better things to write about soon. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

May update

With no further ado...boom

#1 - Quit Smoking - Fell off the wagon, getting back on, and it's clear as day the reason why. Bad habits become a snowball, and sooner or later, they end up interfering with other parts of life. For me, smoking leads to being amotivational at best, lazy at worst. Especially in the area of fitness, where I've been making great strides with P90X, but I think Mr. Horton would be pretty pissed if he knew I could be bringing it even harder.

#2 - Run a marathon - Still in progress, but I've started coming up with my training plan.

#3 - Networth - Stock market has been a bit rocky lately, so I'm in the red this month, but as I continue to make headway against monthly payments, this will eventually even out (or the Dow will be worth $5).

#4 - Write more - Again, been slacking, but I do have a good reason

#5 - Travel more - Actually had to look this one up! As I said in an earlier post, I did a pretty sweet 40 mile hike without aggravating a weak knee (thanks Plyo!) and went to the whitewater center again, but outside of that, I haven't been doing too much travel lately, but money has been a tad tight paying off debt and whatnot.

Oh, speaking of money, I'm in the process of buying a house. This may seem kind of crazy, seeing as how I want to be debt free, but buying will actually save me money on rent, and with the market being at rock bottom, it should only be going up. It's kind of a risky investment, I agree, but the price is right and I have a gut feeling that it will pay off in a few years. So here's to hope.

Looking seems like this month has been a bit of a setback in nearly every area. Which is probably why I avoided doing this until now. I guess I'll just have to try harder in the coming days. Maybe I'll set out a plan in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back on the quitting train...staaarting...nowish

As I said in my post yesterday, I unfortunately caved on the quitting and I'm glad to announce I'll be getting back on the train after the one I'm smoking right now. Honestly, I'm not even enjoying this, and I hate like hell writing about it, but here's what I taste.

1) Gross
2) More gross

The main reason I started back up again was after a considerably bad day at work where everything seemed to conspire against me, but the truth is, everything turned out alright by the end of the week, and I had nothing to worry about it. As for the why I turned to cigarettes as a response...I have no idea. Years of a habit tend to have that kind of effect, and it was an almost knee-jerk reflex.

Anyways, once I'm done with this, I'll once again begin the laborious process of destinking everything, and enjoying those wonderful cravings.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Still bringin it...

Alright! Almost at day 45 of P90X, and so far I'm loving the results. I just feel all around much stronger and slimmer, and have had a few people notice as much, which always feels good. One thing for sure, it is REALLY hard to fit in every workout, every day, but I'm hell bent on making sure I get through at least one round of this thing. And I get the feeling that once I'm over the hump, it will be way easier to finish it out.

Speaking of getting lighter, I just installed an ultra lite Linux OS on my desktop computer, and holy potato pancakes is it great. Don't get me wrong, Windows will always have a special place in my heart, but the reality is that I don't use my computer for much else other than music and the internet. So, sick of all the wait times, I just got this very simple OS, burned it to a cd, reboot my computer, and now I have little to no lag for everything I do online. It's a dream!

On a sadder note, I fell back into the nicotine habit briefly. And while it hasn't been a total relapse, it's been enough to justify posting. Basically, a few weeks ago I had a rough week, and it felt justifiable to start back up. Completely dumb, but I'll be getting back on the quitting train starting tomorrow morning.

However, on the plus side, I was able to save nearly $300 by not smoking that whole time! And speaking of money, I also need to get back into my regular budgeting...something that summer doesn't seem to appreciate all that much. This is basically going to mean more brown bagging it, which will in turn keep me healthier.

Also got some blood work done recently, and my cholesterol and blood sugar are right where they should be! Not that there was any worry, but it's always nice to know. No HIV either, always a plus :)

Other than that, got some more hiking in, doing about 40 miles in a 24 hour period, which felt insanely badass. Yesterday I took in a bluegrass festival with a bbq cookoff (tasty AND festive). Tomorrow, whitewater rafting to wrap up my Memorial Day weekend! Then back to work.

Anyway, next weekend I'll post my monthly progress towards goals, shouldn't be too much new, but alas, it must be done! Or not...but yes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bringin it!

I gotta say...I'm pretty excited by my progress thus far. I'm really setting 2012 up to my best year ever, and to add to it, I'm finally starting to get to more of my tertiary goals out of the way. And one that has been on my board since I started this crazy adventure was getting through a full round of P90X. It's cliche as all hell, but let's face it, when something works, and then becomes popular, cliche seems like kind of a dick label to attach to it.

I don't know for sure that P90X works, I know a few people who have at least started it (I myself did P30X, which is when you do the first phase and then eat pizza and skip working out). But here's what I do know, from my limited knowledge of working out.

1) When you work out, you get more fit (fitter?)

2) When you work out six times a week for an hour+ at a time, you're going to get really fucking fit.

3) Ab Ripper X makes me cry.

There's really no rhyme or reason for my choosing of P90X, it's a matter of already having the system and never completing it before. And besides, after cancelling cable, Netflix, and Hulu+, I have a surplus of time on my hands, one that's only going to increase as my favorite shows end their seasons.

So what do I expect? 

Simply put, I just want to FEEL better. All around, not just in my upper body or my legs. And while I love running, the truth is that it's not a great all around workout, and in fact depends on the extra core work to make it doable. And while I expect to get stronger, I don't necessarily feel the need to look stronger, even though that'd be an awesome side benefit. Also, taking this on has led to another first, but this one unfortunately kind of adds to the cliche....I totally took cell phones in the mirror with my shirt off. That part is just out of sheer curiosity than anything else, but I'll be excited to see if there's a noticeable difference between now and then. I'm about to hit the third week, and I'll be following the diet a lot more strictly to see if I can get the maximum benefit from this program.

Finally, I've pretty much shit-canned the 100 pushup challenge. It's just too boring. I like P90X because at least it mixes things up, which is important when you're dumping all that time, money, and energy into a program. So here's to bringin it!

(on a side note, that freakin Someone That I Used to Know is stuck in my head like crazy)

And why the hell does Maroon 5 have a song called payphone in the year 2012?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Awesome April Actuality Awareness!

Well, I was going to hold this off for the actual end of the month...but I figured, what the hell, I'm edgy, I'll post my monthly update a day early. Occupy that.

First up, my progress on my resolutions.

#1 - Quit Smoking - DONE- 40+ days under my belt and going strong. I feel great, I smell great (...alright, better), and I have the energy of someone who isn't hacking up a lung. Basically my energy level has from Neo in the Matrix when he's all shot up and dead, to the jumping in that Agent dude and watching him explode into a bunch of itty bitty pieces. Ha, find that on your stupid TV quit ads, which are WAY more annoying when you're trying to quit. Imagine you're Catholic, and all you see and hear about on Friday are ads about steak. Yeah, thanks public ad campaign.

#2 - Positive Networth  DONE - In the black and growing! I've also made my first....83 cents off ad revenue from this thing. I'm not in this money, and like I said, I would donate whatever I made during Lent and triple it or something. I'm just gonna go with $5 (I should probably clarify that this isn't my only charitable donation of the year). Luckily the market continues to do well, and my budget has finally gotten to a settling point, which means I have more room available for fun!

#3 - Run a marathon - IN TRAINING - I've done the research, and I've decided that I'm going to run the Atlanta marathon on October 28th. I should have ample time to train up for it, and I'll be kicking off that effort in the next few weeks.

#4  - Travel more! - Doing! - This past month or so I've visited the Atlanta and Charleston areas and have had a blast at both. In addition, I bought a season pass at the US Whitewater Center near Charlotte, and quitting smoking has now covered that! There are a few more cities and places within driving distance I plan on visiting, so hopefully I'll be able to get to those places soon!

#5 - Write/create more! - Needs improvement  - Now, I've been writing a fair amount on here, so on one hand, I feel like I'm getting somewhere. However, it has gotten my kind of antsy and wanting to do even more.

One of the big ones is that I really want to enter, and eventually get selected, for one of the photoplasty articles. Yeah, it's dumb, but I'm making it a goal to enter at least 3 of those a month.

In my next post, I'm going to cover my next whiteboard item...tackling P90X!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: First thirty - No smoking for 30 days

Done, done, on to the next

It has been a crazy month since my last update, but I'm happy to say that I've continued on my trend of quitting smoking, and am now a month into my quit. It's been rough, but I'm finally past all of the withdrawal symptoms, and most of the psychological symptoms have finally subsided as well. Unfortunately, this has also meant that I've had to come face-to-face with my other addiction, sweet sweet caffeine.

Let me put this into perspective. In college, my academic adviser drank coffee until about 4:30 in the afternoon, and this is a guy I spent a lot of time with my senior year. To say I picked up the habit is an understatement. My last semester as a history major had me writing somewhere around 90-100 pages between all my classes, and I was drinking coffee from 7am to 7pm and switching to Wild Turkey at 7:01pm, while smoking a pack a day.

Even nowadays, my morning usually started with three cups of coffee that I finish before 8am, and then I drink at least 3 more. And then on my way home from work, I'll grab a Monster from the gas station. On weekends, I'll easily drink 6 cups from the start. You can get a pretty good idea of how this can mess with my sleep cycle, and thus create a vicious cycle of dependency.

This is all well and good when you're smoking, because nicotine messes with how alcohol and caffeine effect the body, mostly in that they reduce the effects. Take away that nicotine, and you have a super-powered drunk/hyperman running around. So in honor of my one month of smoking cessation, I've decided to confront my caffeine addiction. I started out trying not to drink anything containing caffeine, but that turned out to be what scientists define as fucking retarded. After about an hour of feeling like my brain was being pried open, I caved and had a small coffee, and for the rest of the day I felt okay. And that night, I slept like a baby. No waking up in the middle of the night, it took me all of about 10 minutes to go to sleep, and I didn't wake up two hours before my alarm went off. The next day, I decided on drinking my 3 cups of coffee in the morning to get me going, and under no circumstances would I drink a Monster after work.

Now on day four, I've also had the bonus effect of not ingesting between 200-250 calories of God knows what, nor any of the gas station snacks I'd buy and eat as well. Baby steps to a healthier me, woo.

In any case, this post has focused mainly on my resolution of quitting smoking, which I feel confident enough to say I can cross off my list of resolutions. So now, between having a positive net worth and this, I've finished 2 of the 5 things I've set out to do this year. I'll do the full first third of the year update next week, but so far, I'm pretty pumped! And I'll keep posting my QuitNow achievements as I get them, because life deserves to be played like a video game.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Half a thousand cigarettes - 500 cigarettes non-smoked

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Two days saved - You saved two days of your life

Friday, March 30, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: First day saved - You saved 24 hours of your life

Monday, March 26, 2012

Free as a bird now!

I don't want to get too cocky, but as of 9am this morning, I am EIGHT DAYS smoke free! Without even so much as desire for a smoke in the past two or three days! Though I have a much better reason for why I didn't smoke yesterday, and that's the fact that I probably would have struggled to breathe.

Yesterday, I took a trip up to the National Whitewater Center in North Carolina, a huge man-made rapidtopia which the US Olympic team uses to train. And in addition to that, there are several ropes courses, rock climbing walls, zip lines, bike trails, name it, they probably have it. Basically, this place is about as crazy as it can get on land without venturing into the magical land of Clusterfuckia. Which is probably located in Atlantis, or at least Atlantic City.

This experience has taught me two things....the first, that I really need to work on my upper body strength if I ever want to survive in this zombie apocalypse training ground for more than 8-10 hours, and two, season passes are awesome. And the even better part? Three more weeks of not smoking and that pass is paid off. Not too shabby!

Speaking of not too shabby, between an awesome trip to Atlanta where I finally got to see the Bodies Exhibition, the whitewater trip, and an upcoming trip to Charleston this weekend, that's three out of town trips during the month of March alone! I'm international! If by international, I mean driving to two other states...which I do mean. April, ball's in your court!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One week!

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Following the road - No smoking for one week

Friday, March 23, 2012


#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: A lot - 100 cigarettes non-smoked

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Moving on; 60+ hours into my quit

As anyone who's ever heard of any quit smoking method, the first 72 hours are the absolute worst.

I beg to differ, if only because experience has taught me well.

I can do 72 hours standing on my head, and have done it, plenty of times. Most of the time, I don't even feel strong cravings, but then again, most of the time, I'm not planning on quitting forever. The scary part is after those 72 hours. Because then there's almost no logical reason to ever smoke again. Sure, you can still get cravings, and there are plenty of psychological impulses that still exist, but the strength and intensity of nicotine's grip are dead and buried by that point.

It's basically like moving on when you've gotten used to anything, except this is chemical based and smells like shit. Imagine your ex actually DID make you high, and that her scent was in every bar and could be smelled from a car away. Pretty damn maddening when you cut right down to it. and Ciggy. The walks, long drives, the nights of mad writing, coffee together, drinking together.... MAN! Seriously, the association, the growing pains, constant excuses and coverups; it really makes me wonder if addiction isn't just an abusive form of dating for one.

Also, my brain is on fire right now, so if that seemed rambly, my apologies. 

Savin dat $$$

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Saver - You saved 10$

Monday, March 19, 2012

24 hours down!

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: First step - No smoking for 1 day

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Woo quit achievments!

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Saving minutes - You saved 60 minutes of your life


#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: 10 Down! - 10 cigarettes non-smoked

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Breaking the habit...again

I had actually intended to write about cleaning out my closet (literally) and trying to make a quick buck on the internet by selling stuff, but it turns out a Wayne Gretzky 1981-1982 Topps card in pristine condition is only worth about $7. So, that can wait until some other time (I'm going to end up making a separate whiteboard for posts I want to do...shit that's a good idea). But in addition to that and a completely worthless Jaromir Jagr card (when he was a Penguin!), I found a sort of quitting smoking kit I had written over six months ago. So, instead, I'm going to write about smoking, and how many babies I'd suckerpunch right now to not feel a crave. If you've never tried or never had to quit smoking, that last sentence probably sounded really harsh, and possibly a sign of mental instability. If you have quit in the past, or quitting now, you realize I'm holding back.

I've made a lot of serious attempts recently to quit, but whether it was outright for someone, for someone else under the guise of being for myself, or for someone else to somehow spite them, one simple fact is clear; quitting for someone else doesn't work. And if you end up not having someone to quit for, well, that's when you have to man (or woman) up, look in the mirror, and give yourself the finger, and fight your own demons, ulterior motive-free.

Without further ado, here is my quit smoking kit.

Reasons to Quit - Nothing fancy, just a simple list of well thought out reasons to stop smoking. I made sure to emphasize ones that focus on me, and ones that are in line with my values. The last one is on shaky ground, but still in line with my values.

-It's killing you
-It's cannibalizing your exercise
-It's draining your wallet
-It makes everyone you own smell like shit
-It makes you smell like shit
-Did I mention it's killing you?
-It can prevent you from getting certain jobs or positions
-Boredom's not a good excuse
-I don't even really like it
-I made a promise (a while ago, but still, a promise is a promise)

Trigger List! - Next, I wrote out a list of my triggers. Once I started writing them down, the list gets really long, and really dumb, once I thought of all the dumb reasons I would like up. This definitely falls into a "know thy enemy" sort of philosophy, because once it's in your face, it's hard to ignore.

-Coffee (which I'm drinking right now....)
-Whiskey (throw scotch in there as well)
-Waking up
-Going to bed
-After meals (especially a huge meal!)
-Annoying people that I can't drown out with noise cancelling headphones
-Work not being varied/satisfying enough (this has changed since I wrote this)
-Any relationship issue
-Congratulatory cigarettes
-Seeing friends and coworkers smoke
-Family issues
-After working out
-Before/after flying
-self pity
-self loathing
-technical difficulties
-death (irony!)

The sad part is, I could probably write another 20, and only 8 of them would be due to the Eagles last year. .500....what the hell Andy Reid.

How to Beat Triggers: So that you know your enemy...time to come up with a strategy. All I did was write out my triggers, and either why it was dumb, or what to do instead.

Boredom - dumb reason, get a hobby, cook something tedious, workout, clean something, if at work, further career

Coffee - only an issue at home, don't have cigarettes lying around
Drinking - Buy an eCig in advance if early in the quit stages. I don't care if they're not proven 100% safe. Smoking is 100% not safe. Unless eCigs end up killing you faster, save the "jury is still out" bullshit for someone who cares.

Waking up - Don't have em around
Going to sleep - samesies
After meals - chew gum instead, floss, go for a walk
Annoying people - just go for a quick walk
Work - work on things to improve work or switch jobs, even within the same workplace. I eventually did, and big shock, I'm happier and smoke way less.

Relationships - Smoking isn't going to fix shit, and more importantly, it's not a form of retaliation.
Victory cigs - stop blowing yourself
Smoking peers - Don't indulge, don't stand near coworkers while they're smoking.
Stress - you're wasting five minutes while smoking that could be used to destress the stressor. It's not helping anything.

After working out - Can supposedly give you a heart attack. (but tastes so damn good in clean lungs)
Self pity and loathing - (I quote from July of last year) "suck it up, you emo little bitch"

In conclusion
Clearly, this plan wasn't bulletproof, but it was one of my more successful attempts at quitting smoking, and did in fact offer me the best chance of stopping for good. Unfortunately, I did end eventually pick up the habit again, but now that I've discovered this again, I'll be using this. I'll also update the blog with whatever status update thing my QuitNow app (available on Android Market and whatever the iPhone one is called) gives me.

If you have a support system that works, that's great for you, but sometimes, you need your own kick in the ass and need to fight for yourself. That's what I tried to do, and that's what I'll be doing now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

And the wheels go...wait where'd it go?

So a wheel was stolen off my car this morning. One. Single. Wheel. I can't even describe the facial expression I must have had, it was somewhere between pure shock, total disgust, a tinge of amusement, and a whole lot "you've gotta be kidding me". And not even the common courtesy of a cinder block, though they were at least kind enough to leave my lug nuts. I guess there is some honor amongst thieves.

So here's what a brief breakdown of dealing with this looks like.

Step 1: Evaluate the situation Well, the wheel's gone, a lug nut from another tire is missing, and my front end is resting on a curb like a sleeping, three-limbed baby. Great.

Step 2: Call the po-lice. And answer a bunch of questions before you get to explain your situation. It's not like I pressed "3" for theft. Thankfully my state has the "castle" law, so I'll know whether to reach for my phone or gun should my apartment ever get broken into. Also, don't expect them to do anything. I didn't, but it's important for the next step...

Step 3: Call your insurance company. I was hesitant to do so, but I love my car, and the thought of the wheel assembly violently falling to the ground or the front end being damaged and effecting it in the long haul made me make the call. And luckily, a claim won't be filed if the damage is more than the deductible. Thankfully, I have enough in my emergency fund to cover that.

Step 4: Do the following things to prevent this from occurring to begin with. 

Now, I realize that the victim of a crime can't blame themselves, but sometimes, a little bit of thinking can go a long way. Especially before disaster strikes.

Prepare #1: Lug locks, lug locks, lug locks. Sadly, I never thought of this, because if I had, I would have looked them up and realized the twenty or thirty bucks would have been worth it. I guess part of why I didn't do that is because I don't have chrome wheels or anything that notable. These are first things I'm putting on once I get my car back, and it will be money worth spent. Let's be honest, at some point most of us have spent that much on a plate of food at a nice restaurant. I probably ate more than $30 worth of McRibs when they came back.

Prepare #2:Spare for the spare. Sure, I saved myself three or four hundred dollars when buying my car (used), but my deductible is $500 and I also could have slowly saved up for a replacement. (I won't) Make no mistake (again), it's worth it to spare (there it is again!) the pain and aggravation. And that's not even getting into the sheer obviousness of emergency blowouts. This tip won't apply to most people, but if it does, fix it. Because I should have.

Prepare #3: When Han Solo had a bad feeling about something, he had a good reason.  There were more cars in my parking lot than normal last night, and I should have just parked in a different lot. Something didn't feel right, and I ignored my gut and parked it there anyway. A thirty second walk could have saved me $500.

Well, that's about it for this. Look forward to a forthcoming post called "My Weekend Without My Car". I think it might actually be a good learning experience.

And who steals just one wheel! gah!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Neverending Whiteboard and the 100 Push Up Challenge

Push ups have always kind of been a huge pain in the ass. I have a bit of a large frame, about 6 feet tall and 185 pounds, but there's a lot more muscle in my legs (and fat in my gut) than in my arms, so after about 40-50 in a row, I'm usually done. And honestly, knowing my upper limit kind of bums me out when it's time to do them, because I feel like getting to that number is my goal, and then I can cop out.

Well, not anymore. I'm setting my sights on triple digits, and my plan is going to be pretty straight forward.

1) The 100 pushup challenge website. This website has been up for years, and they outline an 8 week regimen of doing sets of pushups three times a week. It seems like a pretty sound plan, and since it still has that kind of staying power after not really updating much (other than several other physical challenges), I'm fairly confident that it will at least get me to 80+. The site can be found at

2) Make myself lighter. USING MAGIC! It's a fairly simple philosophy, to do more pushups, weigh less. Now I doubt I'll be dropping 10 pounds in this course of time, since my diet is already fairly steady and mostly healthy, but avoiding putting anything extra on will be a huge boost in this department. Much like how I used a budget to start paying off credit cards and now my loans, I'll just limit the energy drinks (I recently discovered Monster's Rehab tea is pretty damn tasty) and try to find any other areas where I can literally trim the fat.

3) Hold myself accountable on here. While I haven't been updating every day like I wanted to, three a week has seemed to be the norm, so adding in my progress should only take a second.

4) Eventually post a video of me doing 100 pushups in a row while wearing green paint, and then Hulk out of my shirt. It's gonna be corny as shit, but if I ever achieve that accomplishment, it's gonna be fucking sweet. 

Also, I think in about two weeks I'll be heading out to take care of another section of some sweet hiking. Like I said in my previous post, I'll make sure to avoid the pitfalls of the last trip and just enjoy myself instead of just viewing it as a box to check off.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Misadventures of the soul, lessons from my first trip of 2012

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into one." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Not sure if I mentioned this in my run up to the half marathon, but back in January, things took a MAJOR setback thanks to my hiking trip the first week of January. I had decided to go, alone, for four days and attempt to hike 80 miles of the Appalachian. I ended up making the first twenty miles, but at the expense of my left knee getting seriously hurt. Despite the pain, it was totally worth it, and all it ended up really costing me was a month off from my training, and the bruised knee and ego of having to call it quits early. Anyway, I thought I'd offer up some advice on a few solo hike ideas.

1) Know your terrain. The guidebook I brought with me labeled the hikes I wanted to do as "strenuous, very strenuous, strenuous, and strenuous." More than one of those hikes had altitude changes of 1000 feet within a mile. Sure, 20 miles a day doesn't seem terrible, but doing that while you're practically walking down the side of a cliff is a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad idea.

2) Know your weather. I went during one of the coldest few days of the month, so I over prepared by bringing lots of warm clothing, a tent, a heavy sleeping bad, tons of food, and a tomahawk I won by having the greatest mustache in a restaurant. It also added a fair amount of weight to my bag, which helped add extra pressure to my knee, and combine that with the terrain, and I was pretty much asking for trouble. Especially with cold weather. I spent a good portion of that night shivering and wondering if sleeping in freezing temperatures might end up being my last mistake, but luckily, it wasn't. Still, pretty freakin' dumb.

3) Know your limits. I'm a victim of this one, most of the time by over and underestimating my limits. I often feel the need to test these limits, and so far I have a 100% success rate of coming out alive and better informed, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes you need to list everything out and seriously contemplate whether or not it's a good idea. Freezing temperatures, a seriously long distance, being over prepared, a known knee problem, and steep declines all lead to what is a very poor plan. But, I was at least smart in one case, and that is having the number of a cab company and enough money to bail out if need be.

All of that aside, I wouldn't trade it for a moment. I captured some great pictures, which I'll probably upload soon, and I still can't think of a better way to have welcomed the new year. Now that the half marathon has been crossed off and I'm not planning on finishing the marathon goal until the end of the year, I hope to finish the rest of the trail in my state by the end of the year as well. And next time, I'll be more mindful, and have an even greater appreciation for the beauty of nature in solitude.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Alright, February Update Time

Just thought I'd do a quick post on the state of my resolutions

#1 - Quit smoking - STATUS = Much better than last month, definitely making strides towards quitting for good, and even though I have the occasional slip up, things are going way better in this arena. 

#2 - Marathon - STATUS = Halfway there! Ran my first half marathon on Sunday! And lo, it was good!

#3 - Networth - STATUS = Close to breaking even. My credit card IS PAID OFF. I'm right on the brink of being neutral on this, so that's a hell of a good feeling. 

#4 - Travel more! - STATUS = Better so far. Februrary just felt insanely bust for whatever reason, but I did get out more and tried a few new things, such as the beer tasting, which definitely sparked some change into my life. 

$5 - Write more - STATUS = DOING IT! Wrote a bunch of papers for school, and have been updating this a lot more often than during the month of January. 

I just wanted to get this quick update out of the way, but I'm sure I'll have some more rambling coming up in the next few days...until then, dream on!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Living in the limelight; My Praise and Pissing on of Zen Habits

I want to take a second here to state one of my underlying life philosophies, that being one of always keeping a promise, and never turning my back on my word. This may come off with the same authority of a punk band claiming to never "sell out", seeing as how I can count my readership on one hand, but I want it put in writing, for all to see. So, first my pledges, and then, explaining the title of this post.

1) I will NEVER try to sell a premium section. And the simple reason of that is that if I make money off of this blog at some point, that would be awesome, and I'd try to further my life's ambitions even further though them. If I were to sell a book after becoming famous through this, I'd do that. But that would be a separate project, and I wouldn't compromise my values to do so. Especially since now that this post is here. The simple fact is that I don't have, never claimed to have, and never will have, any more knowledge than what a two or three page deep google search will tell you. My philosophy isn't deep. Find what you need or want to do with your life, break it down, write it down, and fucking do it. I'm trying to get the basic ad stuff on this site, if things get big, I'll even get my own fancy .com, and fill it with ads, but I won't create a VIP section. If I ever need that much money, something's gone wrong with my life or I've gotten lazy. In either case, do me a favor, hunt me down, and put a bullet in me.

2) Comments are forever.  I'd be pretty hard-pressed to turn my back on freedom of speech, so unless you're plotting to do something illegal in the comments section here, aside from putting a bullet in me for creating "Neverending PLATINUMMOTHAFUCKAboard", I'm not going to edit the comments, or take them away. I'll even try to keep up with the comments, if any are ever posted. There's going to be a limit on that, but I can at least take a sample and address them.

3) Does Rush's Limelight EVER get old? No.

4) I wouldn't count on a forum section. If there's a vast outcry, I'll consider it, but honestly...there's a life out there, people. And it's for the living.

Now on to the main event...all the world's a stage and we are merely playing in the limelight the universal green for those who wish to see those who wish to be must put aside the alienation get on with the fascination the real relation the underlying theme

My beef with Zen Habits. Well, here it is. The guy spends a year writing about all of these really great ideas, and a lot of his more recent posts were what made me start reading his archive FROM THE START...only to find it to be more of biography of a man corrupted by success and seemingly a lack of original ideas. And honestly, that wouldn't be so bad a thing, I mean, sooner or later we all run out of ideas. So, I'm going to give him the benefit of a good man gone wrong, and list them in their latest appearance.

1) The creation of the Premium section. Honestly, this isn't egregious until you read through his entire archive, only to find a pledge dated way back in the tail end of his first year when he was asking for donations to fund his ability to focus all of his life energy into the blog, and that he wouldn't start a premium section. The name of the blog is an easy target, but if Gavin Rossdale had to consider whether everything was zen with that, he'd say "I don't think so"

2) Neglecting to update his "free" section. Okay, so you've sold off a part of your focus to a paid section. Fine. (sidenote, I just checked the site...and he changed the premium section to the...dear god...Zen Habits Sea Change program) Seven updates throughout February. That's one update, every four days, for a guy who doesn't work a second job, thanks to the content of his blog. Great if you're trying to make a buck off people, not so great if you're trying to sell an honest lifestyle and philosophy. The guy at Getrichslowly SOLD his blog three years ago and still writes more than that. AND he's going through a divorce. Damn.

3) Preaching a shortened work week for the masses. No. I'm sorry, I know some people can get away with this, I know my best friend can on certain occasions, but this is not in the realm of possibility for people that go to jobs that force them to put on pants. Even strippers need to have clothes on to take off. I like going to my job, even if it seems boring at times, I like knowing that at any point, I can be needed, and that fuels me. If you buy into that 4 hour workweek tele/compu commuting stuff, then by all means, go for it, but most people that I know that are actually fulfilled by their job and see it as a life's calling not only have no problem going to work their 40 hours, they also have no problem going in for extra hours, unpaid, unrecognized officially, or any other sort of recognition. Again, I'll say it, if this blog somehow becomes the main job in my life, my life has seriously gone off course, and I'll want people to reference this post and set me straight.

4) Either regretting decisions, or doing what works for him. I'm at the point now, going through the archives, where he just published his first book...and then months later states that he'd like to have it available for free. I seriously just slapped my head so hard I should go into the ER. So let me get this straight.

1) You have a hugely successful blog.
2) You publish and sell an ebook that does tremendously well. 
3) You get so popular you can actually publish a book.
4) You have already released copyright on everything on your site. 
5) You publish the book anyway
6) You then LAMENT it??!?!??!??!?!?!

I mean, at least Radiohead decided to release In Rainbows for practically free...they didn't charge money, make money, and then say "oh shit, we should've released it for free". 

5) You can only have so many words of relevance. Look, the guy has had some great ideas over the years, and it got me out of serious rut. For that, I'm eternally grateful. But reading through it, from start to more than halfway finished, it has become redundant. Maybe he's in a rut of accomplishment, which is totally fine, but some kind of admittance of such would be a sigh of relief. I have no doubt that, if left alone, his blog would be as popular as it is today. But sooner or later, Brett Favre gives up the game, and lets a protege take his place. We know how to supposedly work our inboxes, there are more relevant sites or coworkers for figuring out how to make the most of our work week, and we just plain shouldn't have to be told to tell our loved ones that we love them (if you need to be told to tell your soulmate and children that you love them, stop reading my blog and never return. I'm dead fucking serious.) 

Seriously, thanks Leo, for all the weeks of time you've put into your blog, the world thanks you for it, but you've become a broken record and a hypocrite over the years...I just hope I don't meet the same fate. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(Ad)ed to Adsense, and Bring out yo Lent!

Okay, so I'm approved for AdSense, and even though this site gets less hits than something witty, I'll throw this out there; between now and Easter, I'll donate every penny earned through AdSense, and I'll even double it. The first charity that comes to mind is the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that seeks to guessed it, wounded warriors. Seriously a great cause, so click some ads and tell your friends! 

I don't have anything too crazy going on to write about, but seeing as how tomorrow's focus will be on my end of the month recap, I thought I'd take the time to go over the past week in my Lent "sacrifices". I had given up facebook, cursing, and red meat. And here we go!

1) My Swear Jar. Due to a lack of coinage (I use my debit card most of the time), I opted for a "swear stickynotejar" instead. And the results of the first three days were quite hellish, with me cursing about 30 times in three days. Even though I feel tech support should be liable for about 5 bucks of that, I'm the one keeping $15 is now gone. This week has gone easier, with me catching myself only about 10 times in the past two days. I've decided to make that money go towards my usual Friday snack for my coworkers, but haven't told them; not that they'd goad me into cursing, though I'm sure some of them would LOVE some lobster for a snack. Then again...I would too.

2) Quitting Facebook. My account info was downloaded, I clicked delete, and then I got my notification that deletion would take place in about two weeks. I still get the urge to check it, I mean, as anyone in their mid-twenties knows, Facebook is such a powerful social tool that there are actual websites dedicated to people facing "Facebook addiction". Psychology Today even featured a blog about the "addiction". I'm not sure if that speaks more about how successful a service it is, or how lonely and disconnected we've become as a people. Perhaps a mixture of both?

In any case, addict or not, I seem to be doing okay. Google+ is a nice enough replacement so I get all the feeling of Facebook, but with none of the crippling desire to stay on it for hours, essentially doing nothing but talking about sitcoms and how I want new Arrested Development episodes (NOW!). What I'm trying to say is...Google+ is the methadone clinic for my Facebook addiction. I swear I'm not lonely or disconnected. :)

3) No meat-rouge. Again, this is so little of a problem for me at this point that it's laughable I even remember to do it. I did face some temptation when buying a frozen pizza since for some reason the grocery store stopped carrying my beloved buffalo chicken pizza, so I went for four cheese instead...I don't know if it's because of Home Alone, but cheese pizza just seems wrong to me. Luckily the other three cheeses pulled their weight. And mine.

As you can see, I'm also trying to adjust to whole format of blogging, so while my voice may be the same, I'm working more on the style and presentation to suit things a little bit better. I also spotted a local deal on horseback riding lessons, something I've been wanting to try for a while, so now that my finances are looking better, it's gonna be time to get out a little more.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Going the distance! - A bastardized tale of my first half marathon

I've finally done it! I finished my first half marathon yesterday at a respectable pace, and more importantly, I finally get to cross that off my whiteboard. Of course, once something gets crossed off, another thing is added...and so it has been replaced with running a full marathon by the end of the year.

So, on to the details! I finished the 13.1 mile race in 2 hours and 6 minutes, which averages out to about 9:35 minutes/mile. I had been shooting for finishing around 2:10, based on just about every previous long distance run in which I'd averaged 10 minutes a mile. I even would have accepted 2:30, just for it being my first time out there, but luckily I managed to pull it all together. Now I'm just wishing I had been six minutes faster!

I've been running on and off for several years, but until August of last year the farthest I had ran in one shot was about 3 miles. At that time, life had forced me to rethink plans, and I resolved to a life of constant self-improvement, and the neverending whiteboard was born. I thought having one of my all-time goals, running a marathon, should be on there, so I began researching the topic. Not surprisingly, it turned out running 26 miles out of the blue is a really bad idea, and the common sense approach is to build up to it. So I hustled my browser over to, and looked up the next 5K. I ran that in just shy of 30 minutes in a muggy August sun, and claimed my first t-shirt.

The next month had me switching over to night shift, which for anyone who hasn't had the experience, leads to a life of darkness and many the TV rerun. Instead, I eventually grew frustrated (after watching every episode of Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother) and found a 10K to run with one of my friends. Six miles is a fair distance for the uninitiated, so I began to run between 3 and 6 miles about four days a week, in addition to laying off the cigarettes. This was also around the time that I went for what ended up being a 10 mile run. And yet on race day, I only managed to finish it in about an hour. However, due to the low participation of 25-29 year old men, I took 3rd place in my age bracket!

Between that 10K in October and late January of this year, I let running fall by the wayside, though I quickly got back on track after plunking down the $45 registration fee for the half marathon. I began using the tried and true method of two or three short runs a week of about 4-6 miles a week, and gradually increased my weekly long run over the course of three weeks. The first week my long was 6 miles, the next week was 8, and my final long run was 10. I was only averaging about 10 minute paces, as I said before, but I felt confident that I'd at least be able to finish the damn thing.

By the way, up until this point I had never tried carbo-loading...and up until this point I had never needed it. I'm pretty sure eating a pizza isn't the proper way, but I certainly enjoyed it. All I know is that on race day, I needed every calorie I had in me, and probably a fair amount more. Previously, I had employed a run/walk mix into my long runs, but sure enough, I had so much energy I managed to avoid walking until around mile 11. Long story short, I finished the race, bought another pizza, and then went home with my medal and wiped that goal off the whiteboard. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What doesn't kill you

Aaaaaand I'm back. Well the bar crawl was about as painful as it gets, but I somehow managed to power myself through a dozen bars in less than four hours. Which is usually a cry for help, unless you have a piece of paper around your neck with a bunch of stamps on it. Sure, it wasn't the financial decision of the year, or even the best choice I've ever made in regards to my health, but it was also kind of a nice wake up call. A few years ago, I probably could have around to all those bars twice and been dragging people around for a third go at it. The five hours I spent in bed Sunday after waking up was almost a relief in retrospect. Unfortunately, that meant the rest of Sunday was spent between writing my paper for class and trying not to vomit. Such is life.

Monday led me to my last big training run for my half marathon...made it 10 miles while rocking a pace slightly above 10 minutes a mile. The weather was awesome for running and I'll be lucky if it's anywhere near that nice this Sunday. Most of it was walk/run, and I'm fine with that, as long as I focus more on the run and less on the walk, while keeping that kind of pace. Needless to say, I won't be breaking any land speed records...this time around.

And lent. Lent lent lent. As a lapsed Catholic, I still try to incorporate some parts of it that I don't entirely hate. I didn't get ashed today, but I did pick a few things to mix up my life a bit, and hopefully make me a better man in the process.

1) I started a swear jar at work. This is gonna hurt...because I love to curse. I'm going total Quaker on this motha, and not even allowing dammit. I'll try to figure out something good to do with the money.

2) I'm quitting Facebook. I'm doing this one for a number of reasons, mainly to inspire myself to actually do something other than chat with people I talk to every day in real life. As ironic as it sounds for someone who loves writing, and has this pathetic excuse for a blog, the whole point of Facebook has pretty much disappeared for me. My college friends are either in my life regardless through phone calls, or they're completely out of my life. Sadly, same with family. And as for the people currently in my life, where I'm at...well, they know my number and where I live. So it just seems ridiculous. Equally ridiculous is the fact that I'm using my Google+ account more. I enjoy having my little corner of the web for photos, and a go-to profile type thing for people to get the basic run down on me. Facebook, over the years, has it made it darn near impossible to separate the past from the present, or even split up who can see what. So, I downloaded my account info, told everyone where they could find me, and that's that. Now I have 14 days before my account deletion is scheduled to take's hoping my will lasts that long.

3) And as usual, I'm going to try not eating red meat for the entire period of lent. I've done this one for the past three or four years, and honestly it's not even a challenge anymore, and in fact as made me healthier for it. Here's hoping the previous two lead me down the same road.

PS - tried out my shiny new food processor today when I made some hummus. It's a lot easier to clean than the blender, but I'm still not completely sold on it yet...even though it was a gift. 

Friday, February 17, 2012


So I haven't updated lately, but then again, it's not like I have a anyways. February has been a pretty awesome time for trying out new things. Last Friday I attended a beer tasting, and ended up walking away with some very tasty Smoked Black Lager. Then later that night I did the unexpected and went to a country bar...not my first pick, but it was something new, and it was a new group of people so I wanted to give it a try.

The new job has been going well, and even better, after this year's tax return, I'll finally have my credit card paid off. And after that, my student loans will be getting knocked off one at a time, hopefully down to the point where I'll really be able to get the ball rolling once my car payments start back up in May. To reach my goal of being completely out of debt by September 2014, I'll need to pay about 1125 a month until then. Ideally, I'd like this amount to be under $1000, so I'll be searching for ways to scrimp and save even more than that. I might even be at that point, but between Christmas, my birthday, and the tax refund, it's going to be hard to gauge that, especially since we're talking around $5000 in that time period. Still, every little bit helps.

And on the cooking front, I am to able to say I can now cook General Tso's chicken and enchiladas.

Tomorrow is my first bar crawl...and it's looking to be a good one!

Friday, January 27, 2012

No catchy songs...just updates on my resolutions

Okay I haven't exactly held myself to what I set out to do on here, but I want to try to do a course correction. So to start, here's an update on my resolutions.

#1 - Quit smoking - STATUS = Shaky. I started out good, and then somewhere along the line I slipped up and started the habit again. However, I will give myself a bit of credit, since I at least made myself pay by breaking the cigs up that I had left over at the end of the day. Financially stupid, but mentally it made me feel like I had a chance the next day. I'd say that in total, I had about about 10 days of these slipups. Stupid. But I'm making a sincere effort once again.

#2 - Marathon - STATUS = In training. I gave my knee a bit of a problem by taking a hiking trip and biting off more than I could chew, but I'm fighting through the pain and still training for my half marathon next month. With that completed, I should be able to knock out a marathon easily by the end of the year.

#3 - Networth - STATUS = In progress. I'm closing in on that goal, and thanks to the recovery of the market and some budgeting and lifestyle changes, I'm looking to be in the positive by May.

#4 - Travel more! - STATUS = Doing it! I went hiking in the Appalachians earlier in the month, and loved it, and I can't wait to go back, as well as visiting other spots in the area.

$5 - Write more - STATUS = Sort of! This update certainly helps things, but in addition to that I also have my grad work, which keeps my more professional writing voice in check. So far, so good.