Saturday, July 14, 2012

Real Me vs. Imaginary Me (Project 190, Day Five)

Today, I stationary biked, and as I biked and tried to ignore the guy next to me huffing and puffing away (he was a really really loud breather and I could hear him even over the sound of Plants vs. Zombies, which I was playing on my Kindle as I biked) I noticed a few things, number one of which was that if I was not careful with how I held my Kindle, I would be able to see my reflection as I biked, which is horrible.

I hate my reflection, because it doesn't look like me, and I especially hate my reflection as I look down at my Kindle because instead of me staring back what I see is this bloaty, sweaty, downward-looking double-chinned tired-seeming guy, and I don't want to look like that.

I carry this image of me around in my head, an image that is always about 50 pounds lighter and five (at least) years earlier in time than the actual me that is carrying the image around, and as a result of that, I am continuously shocked and surprised when I see me, the real me, staring back out at me from a picture or a mirror or my reflection in the Kindle Fire, because Real Me,  the guy that exists in this world, doesn't in any way look like me, the guy I imagine you all are seeing.

Real Me has sort of googly eyes with bags under them, puffy eyes that are sort of tired-looking and, I have to be honest, kind of weird looking.  That's not how I picture my eyes; when I think of my eyes, I imagine they are sort of glinting eyes, like the kind of eyes that James Bond would have if James Bond were playing Plants vs. Zombies while riding a stationary bike, but with a bit of a smile to them -- so the kind of eyes James Bond would have if he were riding an Exercycle and playing a video game and someone had just told him that joke about the potato and the egg.*

Then there is the matter of hair:  In my mind, I have at least a reasonable head of hair with a normal-seeming haircut.  But in real life, my hair does not know that and so when I look into a mirror, as I did last night, I am as apt to see what appears to be a frazzled rooster's crow made out of thinning hair as I am to see what I remembered wanting to look like. 

And let us not forget the chin, which is the bane of my existence and is the reason I honestly considered getting liposuction and also why I did chin exercises for a while.  My God I Hate My Chin, which is getting flabbier by the day and drooping lower and lower from my jaw, practically erasing my neck and starting to work on the shoulders.

I noticed how flabby my chin was getting about a year ago, and I have not stopped fretting about it, sincc.  I cannot even wear certain shirts because of my chin, in that when I put on some shirts -- regular old t-shirts that are indistinguishable from other shirts -- I swear I can feel my chin touching the collar and so I hate them and hate myself and have to change shirts.

Forget turtlenecks.  I shudder just to think about them, which is a shame because in my skinner days I would wear what I thought of as my "Poet Outfit," a black turtleneck and some dark pants and I looked pretty dashing, I imagine.

This is all to say that I was going to bike for just 20 minutes today and then call it a day, but periodically as I biked and played Zombies, etc. and watched Louis I would catch a glimpse of Real Me reflected in the shiny surface of the Kindle Fire or the mirrors at the club,  and so I kept on going, biking for a solid hour.  At the end of that hour, I still looked like Real Me but there is hope that with continued biking, Real Me will someday match Imaginary Me, except for the hair, which I suppose that no amount of exercise could bring back.

When he was done biking, which was about 20 minutes before I finished, Mr Hufflepuff next to me sat on his bike, just sitting there.  He didn't keep pedaling lightly.  He didn't get up and wipe down the bike.  He just sat there, on the bike, motionless but huffing still (and kind of smelling like wet sweat, which is a different smell than just sweat -- wet sweat smells like how it would feel if a stranger dripped sweat on you, and the smell is disgusting) and generally being annoying, because why?  Why just go on sitting there?  There's no reason for it.   He was done working out.  Was he going to watch the movie (that Dick and Jane movie starring Jim Carrey)?  If so, was he going to watch it until the end, just sitting there on his exercycle, not moving, annoying me, being all covered in wet sweat?  Because that's weird: you don't just sit around on a stationary bike watching a movie.  And if he wasn't going to finish watching the movie, why was he still there?  Just to annoy me?

I tried to ignore Mr Hufflepuff but I have to say, it was hard to do.  Between that and seeing my reflection, I really feel like I put in a hard day, here, and hence I have earned this afternoon's trip to Chuck E. Cheese, with Mr F and Mr Bunches and Sweetie.

Today's workout:  Stationary bike, level 1, 1 hour.
Latest Weight:  254.

Today's Song To Help Keep You From Focusing On How Gross Other People's Sweat Is:

It's Time, by Imagine Dragons


*The joke is the funniest joke I know and it goes like this:

A potato and an egg are dropped into a pot of boiling water.

The potato says "It sure is hot in here!"

And the egg screams "Ahhh, that potato can talk!"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Richard Nixon is not a suitable workout role model. (Project 190, Day Four)

View this photo and other like it on Briane Pagel:PWNST
As I come along the gravel path through the woods, near the end of my route there is a large open meadow that sprawls before the large hill that marks the end of my run and the beginning of my cool-down.

The woods end, and there is an arch in the trees where the path heads into the meadow.

As I came through that today, the sun was just coming up over the horizon.  The grass was dark green in the shadows and golden-tipped in the sun.  The trees across the meadow formed a fence of leafy sentinels in silhouette above which the sun was just climbing.  And a solitary crane stood, slender and motionless just off the path I had to run.

Sweetie says I'm in a better mood since I started exercising every day.  Who wouldn't be?

Today's workout: Running, outside -- 24 minutes, start to finish.
Latest Weight:  254.
Today's song to pump your fist in the air to when you hear it:  Crunchy Granola Suite, by Neil Diamond.


Here's an actual running tip:  When you run, look up, not down.  When you look up you increase your blood flow in such a way as to elevate your mood.  Whenever I walk or run, I look up.

Also: when I finish a run, I raise my arms in the victory V, like Rocky, or Richard Nixon.  Probably I should do it more like Rocky.

A tinier stegosaurus... OHMYGODLOOKOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My mind is like... (Project 190, Day Three)

I can't think of an exercise I dislike more than swimming, and the reason is because I can't listen to music or read comics or watch the news while I swim.

There is almost no time in my life when I am without background noise being pumped into my skull.  There are sometimes 2 or 3 different sources of such noise at once.  As I type this right now, I am listening to Pandora and there are some people outside my office chatting, and I find that to be a little too quiet.  If I could get some construction going on nearby, I'd feel better about it.

I listened to a Radiolab recently that talked about how at the basic cellular level in our bodies, all activity is essentially random: if you could listen to your cells working they would not be doing anything in a rhythmic, careful way.  Instead, all the cells in your body are just firing away randomly {I realize this is not scientifically accurate but neither was the so-called Higgs Boson discovered recently so science is apparently whatever you want it be now} and somehow that random activity translates into a heartbeat and nerve impulses and a desire to eat corn dogs but nobody's sure how the static-y, white-noise of your cells becomes a regular biological rhythm.

My brain I think is like that: It's full of random operations all running around at the same time.  If you were to want to depict my brain in real life, you would get a roomful of 2-year-olds playing tag, only none of the kids would really know what the rules of tag are and none of them would be playing the same version of tag anyway, and at least three of them would want to be somewhere else.

The background noise, music, podcasts, reruns of Monster Bug Wars, serves I think as a kind of filter that, while not organizing the two-year-olds, at least manages to make some sense out of things so that from that chaos a pattern emerges, that pattern being "A coherent legal argument" or "an interesting idea for a story" or "the lyrics to that one song by Dinosaur, Jr."

Swimming doesn't present enough background noise, and so I'm left alone with my thoughts bouncing off my heads like so many made-up Higgs Bosons that don't exist and at the same time I'm left with nothing to focus on but stuff like "My god, how is it possible I've only been swimming for 6 minutes??" which is what I thought after I checked the clock when I had swum 10 laps and was exhausted.

I at least was momentarily distracted from the rambunctious uncontrollablenness of my mind, and the increasing ache in my arms, by the other guy in the pool, who, after seeing me swim two laps, stopped swimming his own laps, and got out to pull the chair of his stuff closer to the pool, apparently so he could guard it.

Seriously: There was a guy in the pool, swimming laps when I went in, and he had his stuff, a shirt and towel and sandals, on a chair in the far corner.  I went to the opposite corner and put my own shirt and Crocs and phone on that table -- I'd forgotten to bring a towel, except that in that sentence "forgotten" actually means "Remembered but was too lazy to go back upstairs and get one," -- and started swimming laps, and on lap two, the other guy got out and pulled his chair of stuff right to the edge of the pool where he was and left it there while he continued his laps, so he was obviously wise to my plan to act as though I was simply an innocent lap swimmer when really what I wanted was to get myself some free used sandals.  ("A real swimmer probably would have had a towel," I bet the guy thought, seemingly wise to my plan but unaware that when I'd wanted to go back and get a towel at least 7 of the two-year-olds that make up my mind had vetoed the idea while the rest of them had started chanting the recipe for Big Macs.)

In the end, I swam 20 laps in about 13 minutes and then got too tired to go on.  But I've always believed you have to work out for at least 20 minutes, so instead of just quitting at 13 minutes, I stopped swimming and walked laps around the pool for the last seven minutes, which I hated because I can't stand people who walk in a pool.  The only real exercise to do in a pool is swim, and everything else just looks and feels stupid.  The only reason I didn't get out and walk the track instead was that as dumb as I felt being one of those people who walks in a pool, I'd have felt dumber being a soaking-wet guy walking around the track, and by then Mr. Overprotective Of His Sandals had left so I had the pool to myself.

(If you are missing my usual posts on this blog, then YAY for you because you are a fan, and also I'll start posting about other stuff as I get more time, but these Project 190 posts are going to be every day, so I hope you like them.)

Today's workout:  Swimming for 13 minutes and then walking around like a sap in the pool.
Latest weight: 254 pounds.
Today's inspirational song I listened to while working out:  Nothing.  Didn't you read the post? Here's that Dinosaur, Jr. song:

I used to rollerblade to that song when I went to UW-Milwaukee and was all skinny, so it's got some good memories.  I'm pretty sure the song is not supposed to make me feel good, though.

The New & Improved Thursday Scramble

... now with 100% more AMPERSANDS!

Thursday Scramble is {now} where I give you snippets of things I post on all my blogs, in hopes of luring you away from the Scylla of the current blog and into the Charybdis of another of my posts.

Aw, rats: I probably shouldn't have compared my posts to fatal traps from Greek mythology.  Oh, well, too late.

Here's this week's smattering of original (?) thought (?):

... also wishing that you could, instead of being at work, be walking along a path through a little forest, holding your two-year-old's hand in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other, and taking the time to point out interesting things:

"That's a tree," you want to be saying. "And that's a stream. I wonder if there's fish in there." And you'd know that your two-year-old probably wasn't getting the whole gist of what you would be saying, but it wouldn't matter because that's not the important part, anyway; the important part is the part about just being walking through the woods, with ice cream, etc.... click here to read more of this.

* * * * * 

What will be the ramifications of a ruling made ostensibly for one purpose but potentially for another?  What will be the outcome of not confronting the question before the Court head-on, so to speak, and instead allowing the Court to slightly twist the law and give itself a little more power?  ... click here to read more of this.

Did anyone actually wonder about that? Is there anyone that watched all those Star Trek episodes and movies and thought "I wonder how Kirk and Spock ever met up?" Because I've never wondered that. I just assumed they happened to be assigned to the same military unit, as happens over and over and over again in the military.... click here to read more of this.

* * * * *

This was, I knew, never the plan.  While there were lots of Rachel clones, they weren't all created equal, so to speak, and I was one of the better ones and was in sort of the higher echelon of the clones, the ones that were privy to most of the secret plans.  I say most because I don't suspect that anyone anywhere knows all the plans everyone had for Rachel and her army of Lesbian Zombies, an army that was almost mine.... click here to read more of this.

* * * * *
I think the Colts got rid of everyone else, too, except maybe Curtis Painter, who lingers around Indianapolis the way that fat kid with the rat, Neville, lingered around Hogwarts.  I was never quite sure how Neville was going to fit in, whether he would be comic relief or a serious character, and having read all the books and watched one of the movies, I'm still not sure what the deal was with Neville.... click here to read more of this.

* * * * *
... And her eyes popped open.  There was a bing sounding in the background, the one she knew meant everything was acceptable, biologically.
There were a few techs around her.  They looked at her questioningly and she waited for the knowledge, the news, to fill her mind.
It came into her consciousness slowly.
Her face grew pale.

"Is everything all right?" asked one of the techs.
She didn't know what to tell him -- either about the hole in the ocean, or about her.
.... click here to read more of this.

NOT MUCH ON READING?  Well, if you're the "I like pictures" type of person, then have you considered liking pictures with titles that make no sense?
Odds are, you'll love 'em -- so check out Briane Pagel: PWNST.  Here's a sample of what you'll get:

The title to this picture is

What if you took all the shark DNA and combined them into some sort of superhyperdimensional shark, a Shark-cubed, as it were? That would be like the bacon of sharks.
Briane Pagel on Staree

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Somehow I end up talking about Mr Bunches, here. (Project 190, Day Two)

This is how I looked in 1994; I'm the one in the white shirt. That's not an earring; it's a spot of light.
If you are a person, then you should know that at any given moment, I dislike you.

And the level of dislike I feel is in direct proportion to your proximity to me, or to where I want to be.

I for some reason thought that the health club, at 6 a.m., would be relatively empty; I had envisioned more or less having the place to myself the way Sweetie I and used to when we'd go work out on Friday evenings before grocery shopping.  (We are party animals, Sweetie and I -- we used to come home from work on Fridays, go work out, go grocery shopping, and then spend the evening reading magazines, watching "Reba" on TV, and sitting quietly.)

But it wasn't empty; it was full of people who were in my way and/or doing annoying things like "being near me" or "existing."

In some cases, the fact that they were annoying was patently obvious, even if they weren't directly, but only indirectly, annoying me, like the lady at the front desk who was talking to the worker as I walked in.

"Blather blather blah blah the meeting and other stuff you don't care about," she was saying, essentially, and the guy at the desk was nodding and looking at his computer and he said and I quote:

"Mmm hmmm" at which point she went into another tale of inanity as I scanned my card and headed past the seething throngs of people up to where the recumbent bikes are.

I ride the recumbent bikes because real bikes are bad for you; sitting on a real bike seat for any length of time, if you are a guy, can result in numbness in your guy-ereal regions, which is not something anyone wants, especially people who are guys.  Our health club has only four recumbent bikes, and they are located off in a corner of the second floor, surrounded by "real" stationary bikes and by those things that look kind of like stair climbers only they're not and people on them appear to be engaged in a mixture of cross-country skiing, rhythmic gymnastics, and imitations of Ripley fighting the alien mother.

These things, as demonstrated by Mr F and Mr Bunches

When I got to the recumbent bikes, there were about 9 people crowded around them, people on regular bikes and people on the Ripleys and people just being annoying by existing too close to me, and I had to work my way through them and get to the bike I wanted.

I was able to do so, though, and so I have worked out for two consecutive days for the first time in years.  Plus, since it was a recumbent bike, I was able to read the morning comics and news while I worked out, and that's win-win.

Today's workout:  Recumbent bike, 25 minutes, level 1.
Latest weight: 254 pounds.
Today's inspirational song I listened to while working out: C Moon, by Paul McCartney.
What is that song about? It mostly consists of Paul just saying C Moon over and over and over and I have no idea what a C Moon is.  
But Mr Bunches might.
True story:  Mr Bunches has a bunch of Alphabet Sets -- collections of alphabet letters, in foam and magnetic plastic and wood and other media, because Mr Bunches is way into the alphabet, and he likes to spell out words he knows with them.  The words Mr Bunches knows and likes to spell are not so much in the "cat" or "frog" variety, although he can spell those.  Instead, Mr Bunches likes to spell out words he learns watching movies in his room, so at any given moment, you might walk into Mr Bunches' room and find, on his chalkboard or just laid across the floor, words like:

or the latest, 
Back to the Future
which is a set of words he learned from previews on another show, and then he made us go buy the movie Back to the Future, but he gets scared when he watches the part where Marty McFly ends up in the barn and the simple folk of the 50s try to shoot Marty with a shotgun, so he won't watch that part.
Anyway, another word Mr Bunches likes to spell is:
Dreamworks SKG
which is seen at the beginning of Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 (a movie Mr Bunches has conquered his fears of) and which is always pictured with a little crescent moon above it:

Mr Bunches faithfully recreates that, using as the crescent moon a backwards letter "C", by which I conclude that Paul McCartney's song C Moon was foretelling a future in which a young boy would solve the problem of how to make his own major film studio logos on his bedroom floor.

If I were a cop for a day…

There are things and people that I would like to be for a day.  For instance my mother, just to know what it’s like to not only be a mother but be a mother of two autistic young boys.  A cat, to see just how lazy they really are.  And most of all I would love to me a cop. 

The reason I would like to be a cop is to know what a person has to do in order to get pulled over.  I mean I understand pulling someone over for speeding and reckless driving and all that but what about those really dumb drivers that cause accidents for stupid mistakes? 

Instead of pulling someone over or going a few over the speed limit I would pull the people over that cause these people to speed.  The ones that are going way under the speed limit for NO APPARENT reason.

I drive a lot and it has caused so much road rage from stupid people on the road.  For example; when you want to change lanes at the last minute because you weren’t paying attention to the EXIT ONLY sign and you cut me off and make me slam on my brakes I will yell and scream and curse and say things that the devil himself will shake his head at. 

Or let’s say that you are on the highway and you are driving in the fast lane (yes there is such a thing at the fast lane it is the farthest left lane that one can drive in) but instead of going fast you are driving slow.  Not just slow but also to the point that you are parallel to the other cars on the road so it is impossible for me to pass you I am going to throw a fit in my car.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING???

Or if you are driving in the fast lane with your hazards on.  Or if you are driving around with your right blinker on because you will eventually take a right.

This also will include the awesome people who think that they are the best parkers on the world.  If your car takes up two parking spots and you notice this when you get out of your car to go wherever you’re going then MOVE YOUR CAR!  I don’t care if you are only going to be a minute, if I am there wanting to park I will not wait for you.  The world does not revolve around you!

Speaking of the world not revolving around you, if you’re not handicap then you should not be parking in the designated handicap parking spot.  I shouldn’t even have to explain why that one is so wrong. 

So when that day comes I will be pulling all of you offenders of the above mentioned offenses that really frustrates me.  Drive how you should people!!!!!!! 

"No." (Project 190, Day One)

I had to shower twice today, but not on purpose.

That is, both showers I took this morning were on purpose in that they were not accidental showers, but I didn't set out to take two showers, it just worked out that way because I made an important decision in the first shower, and that important decision resulted in my having to take a second shower.

Here was my important decision that I made in that first shower:  I am going to BY GOD get in shape only for real this time and I mean it.

That was followed by my decision to start right now.

All important things worth doing are worth doing right now.  Not later, not tomorrow, not sometime in the future: right now.  That's why I never make New Year's Resolutions -- because if something is important enough to want to do it, why would you wait until January 1 to start doing it?  When people say "I'm going to do ____ for my New Year's Resolution" what they mean is "I'm not going to do that at all."

I once before in my life lost over 100 pounds, and went from a guy who couldn't jog more than a quarter-mile, period, to a guy who could run 17+ miles without being much bothered by it... and did that in six months.

You wouldn't know that to look at me, now; I did that back in 1992 or so, and from then on it was a long slow slide to where I am now, and where I am now is a guy who wants to wear the snazzy vest he got with his 3-piece suit but he can't because the snazzy vest doesn't fit.

It's too tight in the stomach, see.

Over the past few years, I've realized that I was getting bigger and bigger, despite what I thought were my best efforts but which clearly were not my best efforts because I know what my best efforts can do: my best efforts can get me to lose 100 pounds in six months and become this phenomenally athletic guy with a 32 - inch waist.

I miss that guy.

(He had more hair, too.)

Over time, I've put on weight. And then some more weight.  And then some more weight.  And my pants got larger and larger and larger to the point where now I'm sort of afraid to get pants as a gift because they might not fit... or worse yet, they might fit.

And two things happened recently that caused me to start thinking harder and harder about this.

The first was that I bought a shirt at the Superman museum on my vacation a few weeks ago, and I was flipping through the sizes and saw XL, but I had to move on past the XL to the XXL, because I'm not an XL anymore -- even though I'm not even the biggest guy in my office, I'm of the size that clothing manufacturers feel cannot be encompassed on the regular (S, M, and L) scale of sizes, but instead must be on the X-scale -- XL on to XXXL, which was the largest size they  had at the Superman Museum.

I was standing there, holding up the XXL and looking at the XXXL and trying to decide if I could get the XXL or needed to go to the XXXL, and something in the back of my mind said:


Just a little quiet voice that said


It didn't elaborate, but I knew what it meant.  I'd heard that voice before -- 20 years ago, probably almost to the day.

Twenty years ago, probably almost to the day, I woke up in my efficiency apartment in Milwaukee.  I sat up, and I showered, and I was going to begin my day, which at that point was mostly reading while waiting to go to work at my job at the Subway sandwich shop, and then, for some reason that I never really figured out, I didn't just sit around and read while waiting to go to work but instead I got up and I put on a pair of gym shorts and a tank top and my shoes and socks and I stretched and I went outside and I began jogging.

I jogged only about 2-3 blocks, that day, and then walked a bit and went back to my apartment.  I didn't have any real plans at that point about anything, other than that I felt like maybe I would go jogging again sometime.

And that night, at the sub shop, instead of my usual meatball sub-chips-and-large coke meal, I had a salad and a diet coke.

Not long after that, I was still jogging every day, and I went to see a doctor to get some advice and he told me how many calories I'd burn doing various exercises (it works out, almost every time, to 100-calories-per-mile if going on your own power, and 20-per-mile if on a bike), and by then I was working out every day and getting better at it.

That workout-- that abrupt decision to just starting exercising and getting into shape, had begun with that same quiet but insistent voice in the back of my mind:


Back then, I'd been bigger than ever, just over 270 pounds, and while I'd always been a big guy, this was too big, and one thing that had happened to me, back then, was that recently I'd gone to get a new pair of pants, and the store hadn't had my size on the shelf, so I'd had to ask the girl -- the pretty girl -- if she had a pair of pants in the back room somewhere in my size, a whopping 46-inch waist, and the girl had looked doubtful, as though no person could ever have a 46-inch waist, and I'd left without the new pants and feeling bad about myself because my size wasn't recognized by regular stores.

So I worked out.  In that first six months of working out, I missed only two days, total, one of those days being Christmas Eve, when I went over to my Uncle Joe's house for the family party.  I went in with my sister, who went in first, and my Uncle Joe said hi to her and then turned to me and said:

"And who's this?"

I said "It's me, Briane, Uncle Joe."

And he said "Holy shit, I didn't even recognize you."

When I was standing in that Superman Museum looking at all the Xs that now preface the size I am, I remembered my Uncle saying that, and I thought back to the playground with Mr Bunches a week or so before that.

Mr Bunches was on the jungle gym, trying to swing from bar to bar, but he couldn't get it.  I had in the past held him up by the waist while he did this, so that he wasn't really supporting his weight, but he didn't want to do that this day.  He wanted to swing on his own, and he'd get onto the first bar and reach out a hand but he couldn't quite get the mechanics of it and so he kept falling.

"Here, let me show you," I said, and I climbed around and put my hands on the bar and lowered myself and hung there, ready to swing my left hand to the next bar, but I couldn't and I just hung there.  I tried to lift myself up, to reach a hand out, to monkey bar it to the next rung, but I couldn't and I finally just dropped and said "I guess I can't show you."


Those who follow this blog or know me in real life know that I've made efforts to get in shape over the years, to try to stop the long, slow, seemingly-inevitable slide into being one of those guys with a belly who everybody assumes is just going to take that last muffin on the platter at the meeting, and sometimes those efforts were met with my deciding that I wasn't really into it because I had Mr F and Mr Bunches and wanted to spend time with them, and sometimes those efforts were met with bee-stings and heart attacks that set back my attempts to be in better shape than I was.

So today, in the shower, I was thinking about that, too, and how over the past few years I've tried to get into shape and even got to the point where I jogged eight miles on a track at a 8-9 minute mile clip only to land back in the hospital two months later, and I wondered whether, if I was to listen to that little voice in my head:


Whether my body would go along with it.  I've been joking with people, half-joking, that I'm going to think myself healthy the way that guy in A Beautiful Mind thought himself sane, and so a month ago I decided that I would get in shape and would do so by running three times per week, only the first time I went running I then got strep throat and couldn't run the rest of the week and then went on vacation, which meant I hadn't really started getting in shape at all, and while I was thinking in the shower this morning, I thought about how the week before all those bee stings and heart attacks I'd gone for a jog and how everytime I decided to get in shape it seemed like something came along and kept me from doing that.

And I imagined this conversation:

Me:  "So everytime I get into shape, it seems like my body rebels and doesn't want to and I get sick or have a heart attack or get all stung by bees or otherwise end up feeling miserable and can't keep working out, and why is that?"

To which I imagined the doctor responding:

Doctor: "Because you're fat."

EVEN IN MY IMAGINATION, I can no longer give myself a pass -- probably because that whole thinking myself healthy thing is actually working -- because even imaginary doctors are just telling me flat-out that I'm fat.

And so I decided, in the shower, that I was going to revive "Project 190."

"Project 190" was what I called my workout program back in about 2002 when I decided to get in shape.  At the time, I weighed 210 pounds; I'd been putting on weight since my first year of law school, when, one day, I had decided to not go jogging.

Back then, in 1995, I was still working out 5 or 6 days a week for about an hour a time; I weighed 175 when I started law school.  And one day, I'd gotten a call from a friend. 

"We're all going to the Terrace to drink beer," he said, because we no longer pretended that anyone went to the Terrace at the Memorial Union for any reason but to drink beer.  It was noon on a Saturday, a beautiful September afternoon, about 70 degrees, sunny with a blue sky, and that last lingering summer warmth.

"I'll meet you there," I said.  "I just have to go for a jog."

And then I hung up and put on my shoes and was stretching and listening to my Walkman, and I thought to myself:

What am I in training for?

And the answer being nothing, I changed clothes and went and drank beer.
So about 7 years later, I was now a hefty 210 pounds or so and not real happy about it, and I decided that I would get myself into shape, and I set as a goal that I would get myself down to 190 pounds -- hence the name, Project 190, a project for which I made a mixtape to go jogging to and everything.  (In the olden pre-iPod days, commitment, whether to a person or to a plan, was shown by making a mixtape. In these new playlist-sharing mp3 days, I'm not surprised bonds are falling apart left and right.)

And then I hurt my back -- slipped a disk at a waterpark and spent two years recovering and eventually having surgery and not working out like I wanted to or felt like I should -- and then the Babies!, Mr F and Mr Bunches were born and suddenly here I was, standing in a shower 10 years later, weighing 256 pounds

MY GOD 256 pounds!

And all my shirts are XXs and I can't do the monkey bars and Imaginary Doctors are calling me fat and I was only 14 pounds away from the weight I had been at that day I started jogging out of the blue 20 years ago and I thought to myself, again:


  And with that I decided to make getting into shape a priority, a real priority, not a fake one, a priority that I would do every day, even if it meant not blogging or writing or not sleeping in or not doing whatever I did, that I would first thing every day work out and get myself into shape, every single day and then the part of my mind that's been in charge since 1995 or so said 

"Well, yeah, tomorrow, right?"

And as I dried off and started getting dressed, I told that part of my mind:


And I put on workout clothes and told Sweetie I was going for a jog and that from now on I was going to work out every day until I weighed 190 pounds again, and I went downstairs to put my shoes on.

"Going to work! Bye!" said Mr Bunches.

"No, actually I'm going to go for a jog and then to work," I said back to him. And I did: I went for a jog and came back home and took my second shower of the morning because if something is important, if you're really going to do it, you do it right now, not tomorrow.

So, Project 190 is back on, and I'm going to use my daily posting about Project 190 as a commitment device -- I am going to make sure that I do this, every day, that I work out every day and do this for real this time, not just thinking myself healthy but living myself healthy, even if it means taking two showers every day.

I'm prepared for that sacrifice.

Today's workout:  Running on the outdoor path, distance unknown.
Latest weight:  I didn't weigh myself today.  I'll start that tomorrow.
Today's inspirational song I listened to while working out:  The Monitor, Bishop Allen:

 I got to that song about 12 minutes into the workout, and pumped my fist to it, punching the air as I ran to spur me on. 

That's all for today.  See you tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

250=1, Story 11

250=1 is a set of stories, each exactly 250 words in length, including the title. Click here for more of them.

Junior The Third.

Junior the Third isn’t as large as he was supposed to be. 

He’s missing a toe, for one thing. 

The toe was bitten off in a fight in 10th grade, by a dog that got excited when Junior The Third and Daniel were fighting because Daniel had said “Junior The Third ain’t a Christian name” which implied that Junior would be going to Hell and that might mean that Amy wouldn’t go to Homecoming with him.

His name had kept him off the high school football team, too, as the Coach wasn’t sure what name to put on the jersey, and so Junior joined the drama club and painted trees and had a few lines in The Wizard of Oz.

“Your name’s Junior, and you’re the third one,” is how Mom explained his name. Dad wouldn’t talk about it and Junior got the idea that Dad worked on the oil rig because of his son’s name, which was wrong but Junior thought it anyway.

Now, Junior sort of hunches over and tries to avoid attention on the subway and doesn’t work out as much as he could and he avoids drinking milk because he doesn’t want to be seeable.  A lifetime of attention over something he couldn’t control has given Junior an aversion to people noticing him.

But Amy went to Homecoming with him, and she’d even married him, and they’d had a son, who sometimes went to Junior’s office with him. 

The son’s name was Arthur.