Friday, July 30, 2010

Why yes, English Majors ARE easily amused

Go ahead... Use" i.e." when you really mean "e.g."

Funny du jour: Found an old funny that still made me smile: Millions of commas found in AP's basement.

Millions of displaced, possibly illegally hoarded commas were found on Tuesday during a routine inspection of the Associated Press building in New York, Off on a Tangent has learned. The commas were stored dangerously in cardboard boxes in a locked, underground room. This surprise find exposes the AP to increased scrutiny in the midst of a worldwide comma shortage.

What the hell. English Majors are easily amused.

Exercise du jour: 3 miles jogging
Done! Slow and sweaty wins the race. It's after 10 pm and still too hot to do a decent pace. But what the hell. It's done. Plus 3 miles walking.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Too heavy to run?

Quote du jour: Start so slowly that people make fun of you.
- Covert Bailey, Fit or Fat

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I like to listen to Diet Girl and MizFit's podcast Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone. They're usually talking about a subject I find interesting, and even when it's not one of my fav topics I enjoy the banter betwixt the two. Plus, they bring on guest speakers who always have something good to share.

I enjoyed their last post, and the guest speaker, Julia Jones, had a lot of good things to say. Except... one thing she said gave me pause. And gave me depression. And made me wonder if I'm doing this running stuff all wrong.

A woman called in a question about recurrent shin splints, and she asked if being 5'3 and 210 was too heavy to run. Julia said "Yes. Wait until you're about 160 before you seriously consider running."

What? Huh? But... damn it, running is the thing that's causing me to shed the pounds in the first place. Cycling isn't doing it (though it's great for the cardio) and dieting merely makes me slow down energy-wise. The only thing that's causing a shift in the scale is running, and I'm supposed to stop it?

I googled sites like Runner's World to see what other people thought on this subject. Filtering out comments from big beefy men whose weight was mostly the result of being heavily muscled, the comments seemed evenly divided into two camps:
  1. Yes, it's okay if you take it easy.
  2. No! Don't do it! You're doomed! You'll be going along just fine, feeling great, and suddenly your knee will collapse and you'll be in pain for the rest of your life you fool!


I think perhaps we're talking about two different things.

"Running" can mean anything from moving at any speed that's faster than a walk, or it can mean taking less than 10 minutes to cover a mile.

To me, what I'm doing is slogging: jogging at the speed of slug. A walker moving at a brisk pace could easily keep up with me -- or even pass me, quite frankly. And the slightest twinge to an ankle or knee causes me to slow even further. I don't think I'm going to do anything seriously hurtful to my body. Plus, one nice thing about being out of shape is that even moving at a slug pace gets the breathing up, the sweat flowing, the pounds shifting. (Ha! You thin-and-fit people have to work a lot harder than I do to get a workout!)

I'm worrying about this subject just now because I am starting to move beyond the speed-of-slug running. Without thinking about it, I've been naturally moving to a faster pace. And it doesn't hurt; instead, it feels good.

(Yes, there are even times when I feel good about running. Not every time, but sometimes. Stop laughing, Marie!)

This is dangerous because feeling good about running leads to the desire to push myself further, faster, which I think I'm still too overweight to do safely. I'm not sure the knees and the joints are ready for that even if the rest of the body (and mind) think it's a cool idea.

I've decided that I'm going to keep up with my slightly-faster-than-slug pace, but I am not going to try anything like serious running yet. And if I do end up screwing something up, I'll slow down. Go back to Ellie the Elliptical or Rhoda the Rowing Machine. (Yes, I name my exercise equipment. I'm weird, but I enjoy it.)

I went back and listened to the podcast again. Actually what she said was that the 211 pound woman needed to be at least under 200 pounds, and to "seriously consider" running she needed to be under 160. I'm going to assume that my kind of running is the more frivolous type.

Exercise du jour: 2 miles running jogging at a slightly faster pace than previously.
Done! A day late, and I probably owe somebody a dollar, but done.

Monday, July 26, 2010

High School and the Passive-Aggressive Subconscious

Sometimes my subconscious mind still thinks it's in high school. It gets passive-aggressively annoying.

You know the kind of thing. Usually encountered when dealing with teenagers of the female persuasion, but not invariably. They mope, they sigh, they look mournful. But if you ask what's wrong? The invariable answer: "Oh, nothing."

[deep sigh]

They expect you to guess what the problem is.

For heaven's sake. Things have come to a pretty pass when my subconscious expects me to read its mind. It's depressed about something, but I'm supposed to guess why. I'm going to assume it's work-related.

Times like this, my subconscious wants to drink red wine and read Neruda, Borges, or Rilke, poets who convince her that there's more to life than a 9-7 job every day. (When I was in high school, I used to skip algebra to go downtown and drink espresso and read C.S. Lewis, Jack Kerouac, and Gregory Corso, and try to convince myself that there was Life After High School. Turns out it's called High School 2: The Saga Continues. Just as well I didn't know that then.)

I mean, take last Thursday. The flesh was willing, but the spirit decided it was depressed and didn't want to work out. It just wanted to drink red wine and read poetry.

The logical side of the brain pointed out that Exercise Would Make You Feel Better Already, but to no avail. I was trying to lift a lead zeppelin with a weakling motivation.

I tried to be practical and try to figure out the problem. What the hell was worth the prima donna act? Sure, I'm less than thrilled with work. Suck it up, subconscious. You'd be more depressed if I were out of work and you had to deal with me sitting around the house all day, wearing scruffy clothing and slouching around.

Didn't work. Ended up doing Thursday's exercise on Friday night, just before midnight.

I hate it when the inner demons win out over the health & fitness part of my conscious mind. If my sub-c pulled this trick this up on a regular basis, I'd send it down to the local therapist's office for conversation and medication. Since it only acts like this once every semester, usually around mid-terms blue moon, I suppose I should let it have the occasional day off. Show mercy in the hopes that it will see sense. I mean, as frustrating as life gets sometimes, at least I'm not in high school.

Exercise du jour: Still trying for that 12 miles of cycling

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back on track?

I'm starting to feel like I'm climbing out of the hole I'd gotten thrown into as a result of the work craziness. (First I got hit with a landslide of work, then when that eased up I found myself too exhausted to jump back into the routine. Now, it's starting to come back.)

Surprisingly, my three-month hiatus hasn't left me completely unfit. It's been a lot easier than I would've thought to get back up to the level I was at in February. I feel bad that I missed three months where I could've/should've/would've been doing 5ks, maybe even a 10k, but it's good to know that my fitness level didn't go completely downhill either.

Exercise du jour: 4 miles jogging. That's only a half-mile increase from last week, so it's not too much too soon. At the same time, it's farther than I've gone since February, so it feels like I'm breaking through some kind of barrier, getting back into my old self.

Oh, Frappacino! It's not like I don't know better. Posting even a semi-positive semi-brag is like painting "kick me" on my back. This "run" kicked my back, and my front, and every side I've got. It stunk. It was too hot when I started, and got hotter as I went along. First I took the occasional walk break, then the frequent walk break, then I began to indulge in the occasional jog when I could find some shade. Or a downhill. By the end, I was only jogging (sllllowly) when I found a spot that was both in the shade and downhill. Oi Vey. The only good thing about this workout was that I probably lost a friggin' pound or two, just through sweating.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tanji takes a stand

Trust me. I can read a lot from my dog's body language. This is a pretty close approximation of what she was thinking.

Well all right, human, I'll go and stand in that wading pool and endure that cruel ritual known as "Having A Bath." It's so humiliating, allowing you to pour warm water over me -- and the less said about that coconut-scented shampoo the better.

I really do not approve of your behavior in this matter, but I know how I'm supposed to act: German Shepherds are dignified, noble, and Do What Their Human Commands. Because that's what they do.

So I'll stand there in that stupid wading pool and get drenched, and shampooed, and rinsed off, but I'm going to make it a point of honor that I keep one leg outside the wading pool at all times. Just to let you know that I Do Not Approve of this.

I hear about people whose dogs have to be tied up and almost anesthetized before they'll get into a bathtub. I should feel lucky that I've only got a dog who will give me The Look before letting herself get covered in suds.

She really did need the bath. The vet told me to bathe her frequently, as it will help with the itchy skin problems caused by her allergies. And I really don't see it was such a terrible hardship, for all she thought otherwise.

So ... if I'm being such a good owner, why do I feel guilty? The air temperature was over 90 degrees out there, and the water in the shallow wading pool was definitely on the warm side (I'd say 70 degrees). It felt pleasant when I stepped in it. Plus she got a couple treats out of the deal.

Still, I feel like a mean human.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Now that's what I call a contest

Missed Chance du jour: What's this? I had a chance to pay money to get hot and sweaty with Hugh Jackman? Why did no one tell me of this before? I think it was Very Selfish of you all to keep this information to yourself. Hmph.

Exercise du jour: 2.5 miles jogging. I will redeem myself from my failure yesterday. Need to get in shape in case Hugh holds another contest.

Update du 11:14 pm
Finally! Made it before midnight. Barely.

Photo courtesy of Cool Guyz

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Still looking

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Quote du jour: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.
As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.“
~ Steve Jobs

Site du jour: The always readable Get Rich Slowly has a post today titled Is It Time to Quit Your Day Job? Is that "a sign"? Sadly, no. I need the salary. (It's either that or marry the vet, and he might not like that alternative.) But still a good post.

Exercise du jour: 2.5 miles jogging
Jogging fail. Walked 3 miles

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A letter from food

Site du jour: The Onion features a letter from food:

You know what hurts the most? You only turn to me when things are falling apart in your life. When you're happy, when you're feeling content and loved, I'm pretty much the last thing on your mind. But as soon as that latest credit card late fee comes in the mail, or you realize that you're nearly 30 and you haven't done anything with your life, all of a sudden, it's all about food, food, food, food, food.

God, I've been in some fucked-up relationships before, but this one truly takes the cake.

Exercise du jour: 12 miles cycling
Semi-done, but I'm going to give myself the star. Only did 10 miles -- there simply is not enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to get done! I'm overscheduling, and exercise is getting the short end of the To Do list. This needs to change.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zombie muzak

I do love XKCD.

For some reason my scheduled posts are coming up on the wrong days. I blame the computer. Couldn't have anything to do with me.

Site du jour: The Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good blog had a post about marrying yourself -- odd concept, but probably a good idea. After all, you're already living with yourself until death do you part, if not longer.

Exercise du jour: 2 miles jogging. Hell, maybe two miles running instead. Shorter distances mean faster pace, right?
Done! And done at the faster pace. Much more like running than jogging. Happy feet.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Monday morning. Time to pay for your two days of debauchery, you hungover drones"

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Quote du jour
: The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. - Carlos Castaneda
    Some interesting facts:
  • It's a bad sign when co-workers start quitting even when they don't have new jobs lined up.
  • Swallow rage long enough and you start to get a physical sore throat.
  • When people use the term 'collaborate' they mean 'do it my way or else.'
  • Exercise is a far, far better way to deal with frustration than keeping it pent up inside or otherwise taking life waaaay too seriously.
Site du jour: The Beyond the Stars has a post that reminds me there are other ways to live besides spending 40 hours a week gritting your teeth: 12 Lessons Learned from Year One of Jobless Freedom.

Exercise du jour: 10 miles cycling
Semi-fail. Or I suppose I could call it semi-done. I simply ran out of time. Got busy (walking the poor, tottering dog, reading an mss. someone sent me, doing chores) and left it too late. Still, got some cycling done. Plus walked 3 miles at lunch.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Ascetic Used Car Salesman?

Okay, now this is just weird.

I was looking for inspiring quotes about work, on the off-chance that I might believe one of them. And I came across the following quote. At first it seemed just another businessman stating the facts-as-he-sees-them, usually from the perspective of someone who clawed his way to the top but wants to make it look like he strolled up instead.

Then I looked at who the quote was attributed to. (Yes, yes, to whom the quote was attributed.)

And I thought... huh? Wait a minute.

Questionable quote du jour: A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Y'know... I suspect 'The Internet' is pulling my leg here.

Exercise du jour: 3.5 miles jogging.

Friday, July 16, 2010

“Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.”

Hugh found his love life had gotten much simpler
since he invented his own puppet woman.

Quote du jour: A man works all his life in a glass factory, one day he feels like picking up a hammer. - Harold Diddlebock (Harold Lloyd)

Some weeks, making it to Friday feels like I've achieved a tremendous victory.
This is one of those weeks.

Exercise du jour: Back to cycling. 8 miles minimum. They've stopped doing work on the ducts, so the allergies should be okay. I hope.
Done! Plus, five miles walking.

Photo courtesy of Gandalf.
The guy on Flickr, not the wizard. I think.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

3 jogging days = good week

The allergies have improved greatly. Breathing is no longer something I have to think about. Life is good. Well, life is better, anyway.

No more guilt about slacking off. Back to exercise.

Exercise du jour: Jogged 2.5 miles. Plus, 3 miles walking

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thank dog

A friend at work had to put her dog to sleep yesterday.

I gave her a hug, but that doesn't really reach the place that's hurting.
So I'm going to take this opportunity to express my gratitude that -- for today -- my dog is in good health.

The Atopica has stopped her non-stop itching-and-scratching, and her fur is growing back. What's strange is how it's growing back. She used to be a traditional black-and-tan German Shepherd Dog. Now the tan (more like blond-laced-with-silver, these days) fur is growing back, but the black overcoat is not. Very strange. On the down side, this means she still has to wear a coat on mildly chilly days, even on mildly chilly days in July. On the plus side, at least she's once again a recognizable breed.

Used to be people would stop and stare: "What is that?" I was tempted to tell people that I had that very rare breed, "the Giant Chinese Crested Dog. Very expensive [well, that part's true enough] and rare in this country." One sign that Tanji was getting better was the last time we left the vet's office. A man coming in stopped to let us pass, and he said the magic words: "That's a German Shepherd, right?"

Clearly a highly intelligent man. I should've checked to see if he was wearing a wedding ring. Probably was; the good ones usually are. [And some of the not-so good ones, but I digress.]

Oh yeah. This is supposed to be a blog about exercising.

Exercise du jour: Cycling a minimum of 8 miles. 16 miles would be better.
Semi-fail. Did a few miles in the morning, but when I got into work I found that they'd opened up panels in the ceiling to work on the ducts. Within 3 hours, I'd developed allergic reactions so bad that I had to go home. Exercise was not an option. Breathing was the priority.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to succeed in business without really crying

Sometimes, it pays to put yourself first.

I don’t care, I told myself. Even if it will make me late for work this morning, I’m going to do the 3-mile jog before I do anything else.

Past experience has shown that if I put a workout off in the morning, the likelihood of achieving the exercise in the evening is greatly reduced. This morning, I decided: I’m going to make exercise my top priority.

So I did 3 miles this morning, then took a quickie shower and came into work. By the time I got to the office, I was in a good mood. Hell, better than that, I was in a great mood. It had been a good run, the kind where you feel like you could go a lot faster and a whole lot longer without getting tired. I felt good about the run, about my body, about myself.

Yesterday had ended on a sour note; lots of mis-communication and intra-species frustration. Today, when I got in, it was a whole different saga.

I greeted co-worker sunnily. I smiled. I was cheerful. Damn it, I even beamed. And it wasn’t a forced “I’m being cheerful damn it” grimace. The self-acceptance brought on by endorphins, or whatever, worked. Even on the first day of the cycle, when I’m not usually at my sunniest.

It was funny to watch how co-worker started out stiff and defensive, but ended the conversation by warning me -- apologetically -- that he'd gone in and left a lot of comments in my latest draft that "I might find a bit too-- a bit too -- well, I might not agree with them very much. On reflection," he said, he "might not agree with his comments 100% either."

Damn, but the man backpedals well.

And I shouldn't make fun -- he's not an evil cow-orker by any means. Still, I strongly suspect that my cheerful, bursting-with-running-endorphins attitude made a big dent in his defensive attitude.

So there's another reason to try running, if you're curious.

Exercise du jour: 3 miles jogging, with feeling.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Methinks he needs some other kind of meds...

I think it must have been the new ("Hypoallergenic") makeup, or maybe the "really safe, but strong" sunscreen. Over the weekend, on two occasions my left eye has started to itch so badly that I end up tearing up and need to rub the eye, which of course then becomes extremely bloodshot. You’d think I was stoned, or had been crying, except that it’s only the one eye that has the problem and as it happens, I have two.
So I’m out in my front yard, trying to get some watering done whilst rubbing the eye, and this door-to-door salesman guy walks up to me.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes, it’s just allergies.”
“Oh, I have those. I’m from Utah, where we don’t have a problem with allergies, but out here… what meds are you taking?”
“I tried Benadryl,” I said, “but it made me sleepy.”
“Oh, you don’t want to try that stuff,” he said. “Benadryl made me crazy where I found myself holding a knife to my roommate’s throat… and I couldn’t remember a thing about it afterward. You don’t want to take Benadryl.”

Um… y’know… after that, I didn’t feel up to asking him what the ‘safe’ allergy medicine was. I just took the pamphlet and told him I’d think about the stuff he was selling.

Exercise du jour: 8 miles cycling

Done! Damn I'm good. Done my exercising 2 whole days in a row -- I feel smug.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A choice between earplugs or violence... hmmmn....

My neighbor across the street thought it would be cute to give his kids a couple of vuvuzelas.
They are loud.
I am currently re-evaluating my position on non-violence.

Too hot, only jogged 2 miles. Checked my watch ("are we there yet?") after a mere 4 minutes, breaking my previous time-checking record of 6 minutes. I'm choosing to consider that a personal record and therefore something to be celebrated.

Even though I broke my watch-checking PR and even though I got overheated, there were some positives. I found myself getting into a rhythm (once I stopped checking my watch) and even almost possibly kind of enjoying myself a little little bit of the time.

Maybe my slacktitude hasn't completely left me out of shape. And the knees didn't have any problems at all. I'm still trying to figure out why they flared up in pain so severely for those few days, but at least running jogging very slowly doesn't hurt.

Exercise du jour: jogged 2 miles

Friday, July 09, 2010

It's too hot to think up a title... just pretend I put up something clever, okay?

Failed at yesterday's exercise. Times like this I think I should give in and find an air-conditioned gym to exercise in.

The trouble with a heat wave is that it requires you to be more organized. You can't put off morning exercise because it gets too hot later on. And if people unexpectedly drop by in the evening, then you're out of luck and have to post on your blog that you're a failure and a bum and a horrible person and... well, okay, enough self-flagellation for the moment.

Maybe if I throw in a picture of a hot guy in a cool ocean, it'll distract people from thinking what a sad loser of a non-exercising fool I am...

Trying again.

Exercise du jour: Jog 2 miles.
There. That's a low enough goal.
Done! DANG but it's hot out. The thermometer only says 80s, but my internal temperature gauge swears it's a lot hotter than that. But it's done.

Photo courtesy Barbara Doduk

Thursday, July 08, 2010

To Exercise Or Not to Exercise?

This morning's self-talk:

Me: Hey, the schedule says "Get up early and cycle briskly to work."
Inner Slug: Yeah? Well that's fine if the schedule wants to do that, but this body needs another hour or two of sleep.
Me: Hello? Are we awake yet? There's still time to get up and cycle part-way to work.
Inner Slug: In this heat?
Me: It's only 70 degrees. You won't faint.
Inner Slug: It'll be over 100 by this afternoon. I'm fragile.
Me: Pleeeeeeeease?
Inner Slug: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........

Yes, my inner conversations really are that boring. There are probably people out there who have fascinating inner soliloquies, the kind Hamlet was always indulging in. If Hamlet had been debating with his inner slug about exercising, rather than wrestling with his inner doubts about his father's death, what a dull play it would have been.

However, unlike Hamlet, I am putting my dithering to good use by posting it up here on the blog so that all the world (or a minute fraction thereof) can see my sloth and thus shame me into getting the damn exercise done. If I can't motivate myself from the inside out, I'll reverse the process.

Exercise du jour: 10 miles cycling. Or at least 8 (depending on the heat). But at least 8 miles.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sun-burned cheeks

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Question 1: A bicyclist approaches a four-way stop. On her left, a motorist reaches the stop after the cyclist has already stopped. Who has the right of way?
a) The cyclist.
b) The car.

Answer: According to the motorist, the answer is b. Why? "Because I'm driving a car."

Question 2: A lone bicyclist wants to cross a busy street. She came out of a side street and had a stop sign, while the traffic on the busy street had no stop sign. The cyclist waits for the cars to pass, then confidently rides out in front of oncoming cyclists as they came down the road (down a steep hill and at a good rate of speed). Who has the right of way?

a) The cyclist who had the stop sign.
b) The cyclists who did NOT have any stop sign.

Answer: According to the lone bicyclist, the other cyclists should have stopped to let her pass in front of them. Why? "Because I'm also riding a bicycle."

Moral: the rules of the road depends on your perspective, and the Driver's Handbook only applies to the other guy.


Exercise du jour: 10 miles cycling.
Done! My sunscreen must be past its expiration date; I am nicely red-cheeked now. Thankfully, not in the sense of the cheeky guy in the photo. On the plus side, my knees aren't bothering me at all! So far, at least...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

In other news, gratitude and belly rubs

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Gratitude moment du jour: Thank God I have a dog who was raised by a police dog trainer. Loud bangs do not faze her. A few years ago, I took her down with me to the local park to watch the fireworks display. She was only interested in the belly rubs.

Exercise du jour: 45 minutes on the exercise cycle. The good part about that is that I can exercise outdoors, keeping the puppy company while working out.

Sigh. Time was when I had to walk the pup 4 miles a day merely to take the edge off her energy level. Now, she considers a wobble down the block and back more than sufficient.

Semi-star. I would've and could've, but the pup (okay, the 13-year-old pup) kept wanting me to go out front with her and see what all the noises were about. She doesn't freak out at loud bangs, but she does feel it is her duty to investigate and make sure that whatever's going on is not a threat that she needs to protect me from. (I think that she thinks that I am her personal sheep that she's been assigned to shepherd.) Eventually, she agreed to go sleep inside and not monitor the situation down the street any longer, but by that time I was done with exercise. So -- half-credit. (To me, that is. 100% credit to Tanji.)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Never hire the Godot plumbing company...

Funny celebrity photos - Nathan Fillion in Dr. Horribles Sing-Along Blog
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Oh well. The long wait for the plumber gave me a chance to really clean the house, which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise. Plus, now I have a working shower.

Exercise du jour: 5 miles brisk walking.
Done! The knees were unhappy for awhile, but they've forgiven me. For now.