All My Friends Move to Europe…

October 19, 2011

…and I’m sick of it!

First, two years ago, my friend Katherine up and moved to Sweden.  Now my friend Jen is moving to Germany – later this week!  What’s going on?  They both have positively revolting reasons for moving to the other side of the world:  Jen’s going to get her Master’s degree (gag), and Katherine moved because of love (barf).

One by one, my friends are abandoning me.  Just so they can be happier and lead more fulfilling lives.  Well, fuck ‘em.  I hope they choke on a meatball (in Katherine’s case) or a bratwurst (in Jen’s case) and then have horrible hospital experiences because Sweden and Germany have terrible, appalling universal health care systems, according to conservatives.

OK, two things:  1) I’m totally kidding.  2) Did I just get political?

Anyhoo, tonight I hung out with Jen for the last time in a long while (which bummed me out).  Some of you long-time readers have heard me talk about Jen before:  She appeared in my very first post (about going to Magic Mountain), and has appeared many times since, during sad times and happier ones.  I’ve known Jen since college, and she’s been a great friend that whole time, and I will miss having her so close.

I picked Jen up tonight (since she sold her car yesterday), and she came bearing gifts!  Jumper cables, a roll of bubble wrap, and a pomegranate from the tree in her courtyard:

Although I’ve had pomegranate juice and pomegranate-flavored foods, I’ve never had an actual pomegranate in my house before, mainly because I’m not a fan of pomegranate seeds.  I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with this sucker, but it might be destined for my juicer.

Jen and I headed out for dinner, and we ended up at Phil’s Diner, a little restaurant in our neighborhood that’s both new and very old.  The restaurant, which is inside a dining car, dates back to 1926, and served North Hollywood for decades and decades, in a few different locations.  Then, 12 years ago, it closed, until an enterprising couple bought it, restored it, and opened it up again in a new location about six months ago.

Here’s the exterior (my camera didn’t capture their neon sign):

And the interior, which was beautifully restored:

That’s Jen and I way in the back (our server, Malissa, who’s one of the owners, took the photo), and another patron sitting at the counter (we got there late, after the dinner crowd, which is why it’s so empty).  The first thing I noticed when we walked in is that place would have been really uncomfortable for me when I was at my heaviest.  I probably wouldn’t have fit at the counter (those chairs are bolted to the floor), and while the little tables on the right had stools, there just wasn’t a lot of room.  But none of that is an issue now!

Phil’s Diner gets MAJOR bonus points for having Etch-A-Sketches lying around for patrons to play with:

I talked with Malissa about healthy menu options, and took her suggestion and ordered the Tuna Salad:

Malissa described the tuna as not being “wet” – meaning it’s not loaded with mayo, and I had them hold the oil and vinegar that normally comes on the greens:

It was delicious.  The tuna was very flavorful – I really liked the pumpkin seeds in it, and the lemon-lime dijon dressing was great.  A 7-screen movie theater is under construction right next door, and I look forward, in the future, and enjoying dinner and a movie all on the same block!

Here’s the Etch-A-Sketch doodle I made in honor of Jen’s impending departure to Germany:

It was pretty late by the time I dropped Jen off, but not too late to exercise.  I’ve done three great weightlifting-based workouts in a row, so it was time for some cardio.  Due to the late hour, I thought a run would be best.  I threw on some workout clothes before dropping Jen off, and went for a run in her neighborhood, for a change of pace.  She lives close to Toluca Lake, a very affluent and fancy part of town that’s been home, at some point or another, to all sorts of famous people:  Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and Amelia Earhart all called it home, as have Miley Cyrus (and her family), the Jonas Brothers, Jason Priestley, Steve Carell and Eric McCormack.  It’s a beautiful part of town to run in, because of the lovely (and large) houses.  Here’s my route:

I ran for 45 minutes, and went 4.2 miles, which means I averaged a speed of 5.6 mph.  Not my fastest run, but still pretty good, especially considering it was at the end of a long day and it was kinda chilly outside.  Check out my Running Chart to see how this run compares to my other runs.

When I got home after the run, my workout wasn’t over.  I still had my burpees to do.  It’s Day 2, which means 16 burpees, and the lesson I learned today is that burpees after 45 minutes of running is exhausting!  I’m doing them first next time.  Definitely.

Keep it up, David!


Exciting Changes at Keep It Up, David!

October 13, 2011

I’ve been workin’ hard on the blog today, and am excited to share some new changes!  Perhaps you’ve already seen them, because they’re already up and running.  I added three new permanent pages to the menu bars at the top of the page, all based on popular (to me, at least) Keep It Up, David features:

  • Weight Loss Chart.  I’ll update this page every time I have a weigh-in.  I get lots of questions about my weight loss chart, so this page will always have a link to the latest weight loss chart pictures.
  • Skyscraper Collection.  Whenever I update my skyscraper chart, I need to scour the archives to find it.  Not anymore.  This page will permanently house my skyscraper collection (click on it to learn what my skyscraper collection is!), and will be updated every time I complete a StairMaster workout.
  • Running Chart.  Since I try to add all my runs to my running chart, I thought it’d be smart to give my running chart a permanent page of its own, too.  I actually updated my running chart tonight (more on that later)!

I invite you to click around and see all the new pages.  I’ve enabled comments on all of them, so if you have any thoughts, be sure to let me know!

This is only Phase 1.  There are some more changes I’d like to make – mainly, the My Favorite Posts page has grown to include around 75 links, so I’d like to reorganize and sub-divide them between 3 or 4 pages for easier navigation.  I’ll get around to that one of these days.

I also made a change a few weeks ago that nobody noticed! (Based on the zero comments that I got.)  When working with Lisa on the design of my business card, we decided that the Keep It Up, David logo shouldn’t have a comma or be underlined:

So, a few days later, I changed the banner at the top of the page so it’d be consistent.  Old banner:

Current banner:

I snuck that past everyone!

A few other quickies:

Facebook.  In yesterday’s post, I urged everyone to like me on Facebook, because I was soooo close to reaching 5,000 fans.  Well, you guys came through, and I thank you for it!  I reached the big milestone…

…and now, as I type this, I have 5,010 Facebook fans!  For the record, according to Facebook, my 5,000th fan is a Facebook user named Elizabeth Maracle, so if you’re reading this, Elizabeth, congratulations!  I wish I had been a better blogger and made a contest out of this, so I could give you something, but alas, I didn’t.  I will next time.  In fact, I’ll announce it now:  My 10,000th Facebook fan will win an awesome, fantastic prize*!

*prize to be determined at my sole discretion.

Scale.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’m kinda enjoying not weighing myself and letting numbers affect my mood and attitude, and I didn’t weigh myself yesterday, either.  It’s official: This week’s weigh-in is cancelled.  I’ll weigh myself next Tuesday!

Fox News.  In a post last week, I talked about appearing on Fox News.  Well, I found a clip of it on the internet!  CLICK HERE to see the video greeting that Richard Simmons and a bunch of Slimmons students (including me) made for Fox News host Neal Cavuto.  The relevant part starts at 1:24.

Run.  Lastly, I went running this evening for the first time since my glorious, triumphant strip club run a few weekends ago.  I didn’t give much thought to the route, except that I didn’t feel the need to go by any strip clubs.  I failed!  I ran by two before I even realized it!  Oh, the perils of living in such a strip-club-filled neighborhood!  My route:

Including a few blocks of walking before and after the run as warm-up and cool-down, I was pounding the pavement for 51 minutes.  The running portion of the evening was 45 minutes, exactly.  No, seriously, EXACTLY.  My iPod has a stopwatch on it, and when I hit stop, I looked down and this is what I saw:

SWEET! 

The route was 4.3 miles, and since it took me 45 minutes, that means I was clipping along at 5.73 MPH – my fourth fastest pace ever!  I just updated my running chart, so you can see how it compared to previous runs there.

Keep it up, David!


SIX STRIP CLUBS! In One Hour!

October 3, 2011

This post is a long one, and it’s one solid year in the making.  Oh, and the title of this post is true.  I hit six strip clubs in one hour.  Well, it’s almost true, because it actually took 1 hour and 6 minutes.  Little tiny fib aside, I’m so fucking proud of myself I could scream.  Yesterday, I actually did!

What are you thinking right now?  Is it that I’ve gone off my rocker?  Is it that I must be a sex-crazed pervert?  Do you remember reading about my first strip club visit and think I must’ve developed a taste for them?  Or perhaps you’re a long-time reader of this blog, and the mention of six strip clubs sounds awfully familiar for some reason…

All you long-time readers are on to something.  For all you Johnny-come-latelies, I’ll do a quick little recap.  (And if you think I’m a pervert, well, that’s true too.  No, I’m kidding.  Or am I?  I am.  But not really.  Why don’t you let me slip something into your drink so you can find out for yourself?  No, I would never do that.  Or would I?)

Back in September 2010, when this blog was just a wee little blogling, I made my first ever fitness goal.  I had recently taken up running, and while exploring my neighborhood on foot, I discovered an abundance of strip clubs.  Yep, my neighborhood is super classy!  I decided to create a running route that would take me past all four, and my first goal (articulated in this post from 9/15/10) was to complete that route without stopping.  Then, just a few weeks later, I discovered two more strips clubs, so my goal grew to include them.  In this 9/27/10 post, I shared my revised goal: to run 6.4 miles, without stopping, past all six strip clubs.

And then… nothing.  I kept running, and slowly got better.  Every few months, I would think, Man, I’m getting good!  Maybe it’s time to tackle that strip club goal!  But I never did.  Occasionally, I considered turning the completion of my strip club goal into an event:  Pick a day, invite friends to run with me, have someone take pictures and video, maybe even invite my blog readers to join in.  That never happened either.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever forgotten about my strip club goal, but it’s definitely been on the back burner lately.  Until last night.  Last night, I really needed to rally.  I had spent two days doing practically nothing.  On the first day, I couldn’t even rally to get to the gym.  On the second day, I caught myself thinking things like:  eh – there’s no time to work out.  I’m gonna watch Saturday Night Live, and it starts in only 6 hours!

Finally, at 9pm, I shook myself free from the shackles of procrastination and laziness, and decided I had to work out.  I was pretty sure my gym closed at 10, so I decided to just hit the little gym in my building’s lobby.  As I made my way downstairs, I started thinking about two friends, Collin and Stu, both of whom are running marathons next weekend (Collin’s running the Portland marathon, and Stu’s running the Chicago marathon).  The thought of running 26.2 miles makes me want to curl up in a fetal position, but I’ve talked to both of them (a little bit) about their training, and a little light bulb went off in my head:

Both Collin and Stu are pushing themselves to run a marathon.  I should push myself RIGHT NOW to do something amazing.  Maybe, just maybe, I can run past all those strip clubs!

And that’s how, at 9:15pm on a Saturday night, I found myself walking a few blocks to a park near my house, gearing up for the longest run I’ve ever done in my life.

One of the things I promised to do when I set this goal was to photograph myself in front of every strip club.  Since I ended up running so late at night, I held off until Sunday to go back and take the photos.

Here’s my run past all six strip clubs.  For kicks, I’ve thrown in select quotes from actual Yelp reviews to add a little flavor about what it’s like inside each establishment.

First, the route:

Starting Point: Dot H.  It’s a park near my house.

Strip Club #1: Godfather (Dot B).  Exactly 1 mile into the run.  As I pass Godfather, I can’t help but notice that no lights are on, and there’s dumpsters full of construction materials in the parking lot.  Turns out that since I established my strip club goal, Godfather’s has closedOut of business.  What a crappy way to start my strip club run!  Here’s my frowny face:

It’s probably a good thing, for my property values and all, but I wonder if someone bought it, stripper poles and all, and is renovating it with plans to reopen in?  I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Strip Club #2: Deja Vu (Dot C).  1.4 miles into the run.  As I approached Deja Vu, I realized that running at night was a good idea, because all the strip clubs would serve as lighthouses, guiding me towards them with all their neon lights, in every color (especially pink), shining through the darkness.  Deja Vu has big colorful signage advertising their perks (“Totally Nude Entertainment!” “Bachelor Parties!” “Free Valet!”), but there’s not much to look at during the day:

Here’s what a helpful Yelper had to say about Deja Vu:

“Now, I have been to many many strip clubs in my day. Some would even say I am a strip club aficionado. But my visit to Deja Vu yesterday was pretty disappointing… As far as the girls go, they were about as enthusiastic as an altar boy at a catholic church. NOT ENTHUSIASTIC AT ALL. They looked completely bored on stage.”

Strip Club #3: VIP Showgirls (Dot D).  3.5 miles into the run.  It was 2.1 miles from Deja Vu to VIP Showgirls, the longest leg of the run, and it was on this leg that I started questioning if I’d be able to finish it.  But when I saw the red and purple neon on the horizon, I got a second wind.  Here’s the pic (and VIP Showgirls gets bonus patriotism points, don’t you think?):

Click here to see a pic of VIP Showgirls all lit up at night.  Curious how a patron would rate the dancers on a scale from 1 to 10?

“I give the dancers a solid 7/10. I like chocolate but I still like what I saw. Some dancers were really lazy and some tried too hard, I mean the older ones that shouldnt even be there anymore.  I wouldnt consider myself a regular but a few of them know my name.”

Strip Club #4.  Venus Faire (Dot E).  Only .7 miles beyond VIP Showgirls, so 4.2 miles into the run.  The second wind is still carrying me.

Venus Faire didn’t have any reviews on Yelp.  Odd.  I looked around for reviews on other sites, but didn’t really find any.  I did learn that Venus Faire is a peepshow, instead of a regular strip club, but I have no idea what that means.  Enlighten me in the comments section if you can help!

Strip Club #5.  Star Garden (Dot F).  Venus Faire and Star Garden are the two strip clubs on my route that are closest together, with only .2 miles separating them.  Barely had the neon glow from Venus Faire left my periphery when the neon glow from Star Garden appeared up ahead!

Star Garden gets bonus points for having my favorite signage.  I’m bummed the picture isn’t in focus, because underneath Star Garden, it says “Class Entertainment.”  I’m so intrigued!  There’s also a banner that says “Cold Air!  Cold Beer!  Hot Chicks!”  Seriously, folks, those are three of my very favorite things!

Star Garden is also the best-reviewed strip club in my neighborhood by far.  Glowing reviews!  So if you’re reading this post to figure out which strip club to go to, stop reading right now, grab your singles and just go to Star Garden.  This guy says it’s worth it:

“As we arrived in the Los Angeles area, slightly buzzed from bourbon and coke, we decided that the only logical thing to do was drink more and look at some titties. Star Garden certainly did not disappoint. We had $3 happy hour drafts, shot some pool for a buck a game, and saw about 9 girls shake their groove thangs — all at 2:30 in the afternoon.”

Strip Club #6.  Blue Zebra (Dot G).  5.2 miles into the run.  The final strip club of the evening!  On the way there, I passed a prostitute (I presume) who gave me a little wink.  I interpreted that wink to mean Keep it up, David!  So I did.  Blue Zebra is on an industrial street with no street lights whatsoever.  It was deserted.  So I tried to run a little faster.

My favorite review of all:

“The ladies are super friendly and touchy feely and get on your lap and such from the stage. They also do some really amazing pole tricks which is always a bonus. they also pull girls from audience on stage and molest them which is fine for me- but i know some girls out there don’t like it. so its a toss up- check it out if your not a drinker and wanna see some nice ass [ and everything else ] but be warned the smelly crotch roaming around the club.”

After passing Blue Zebra, I only had 1.2 miles until I reached the park where I started.  I cranked up the volume on my iPod, and I ran.  I was exhausted and my legs were sore, but I ran.  I wanted to finish strong.

And I did!  When I reached the lamppost where I started, I screamed out a loud and triumphant WOO-HOO!  A nearby dog answered with a few barks, which I interpreted to mean Keep it up, David!  I walked around the park to lower my heart rate, stretched, and walked back home.

That’s that.  Done.  My running goal is…

And I am proud.  PROUD.  Proud that I finally reached my goal, and proud that I did it on a whim, to break myself out a two-day exercise rut.  I’ll have to come up with a new workout goal soon (and, no, Collin, I’m not ready for a marathon), but until then…

…KEEP IT UP, DAVID!

So… who wants to go look at some titties with me?


Large Hot With Ranch

September 29, 2010

Last night I joined two friends, David and Glory, on one of the final nights of their current project:  To dine at a different hot wings restaurant in Los Angeles every day for the month of September, and blog about it.  They call it Wingtember, and you can read their blog here.

The restaurant on the Wingtember calendar for last night was just down the road from my place, which made the decision to join them an easy one.  The restaurant, Nick’s Hot Wings & Grill House, is right next to a KFC and across the street from Sears, and I had never been there before.  The Yelp reviews were not encouraging (including one review, that I can only hope is untrue, that accuses the owner of hating Jews), but after reading blogs about 27 other hot wings restaurants, I knew I had to be a part of Wingtember before exciting Wingtember turned into regular, boring October.

I won’t try to one-up David and Glory’s review of Nick’s Hot Wings & Grill House, which you can read here, but I will, in the tradition of their blog, share my before and after pictures of my meal.  My order of wings:

And the bone tower that remained, post-consumption:

I also have two  – no, wait, three – additional comments to share:

  • I almost died at Nick’s Hot Wings & Grill House.  I arrived just after Glory and David, and they were already at the counter, engrossed in the menu and the ordering process.  Since they were consumed, I thought I could startle them, so I took two quiet steps closer, and then then took one big jump, to within inches of them.  What I didn’t account for was the fact that I was jumping from tile onto an area rug, which clearly wasn’t taped down or secured to the floor.  At all.  Of course, the rug slid out from under me and I almost fell backward and almost bashed my head into this strange curio cabinet that had nothing in it at all except a small wooden owl, and that almost led to my death.  I did startle Glory and David though, although I’m not sure if it was because they didn’t see me coming, or because they almost witnessed an unfortunate death that surely would be featured on the Spike TV Show “1000 Ways To Die.”  (Sidebar: An area-rug-related injury also occurred on last week’s episode of “The Apprentice,” and if these two unrelated events aren’t a sign that area-rug-related injuries are on the rise and becoming a bedbug-like-epidemic, I don’t know what is.)
  • I had never had hot wings before last night!  I had had chicken wings before, as part of a bucket-of-fried-chicken-type-situation, but never an actual hot wing that was served with actual hot wing sauce and served with veggies and ranch on the side.  And they were pretty good!  David and Glory had plenty of thoughts on the matter, being the hot wing experts that they are, but as an introduction to the hot wing world, I thought Nick’s were pretty enjoyable.  At one point I asked David and Glory if they knew what the fat and calorie breakdown was for an order of hot wings, and they didn’t really have an answer, and weren’t really looking for one.  And I like that answer.  I don’t plan on making hot wings a regular part of my diet, and while they are deep-fried, these weren’t battered, and there’s, like 2 tablespoons of meat per wing anyway, so I’m just gonna let it slide.  I ate well leading up to the hot wings, and I’m eating well today.  It’ll all come out in the wash.
  • I got to see another friend, Huck, very briefly last night, and in case anyone is wondering, Yes, he still wears his lucky shorts when he plays softball, and Yes, they still fit.  Lookin’ good, Huck!

As I mentioned above, I’ve been eating well today to compensate for the hot wings yesterday.  What that means:  Breakfast was an apple and 2 plouts.  Lunch was a big ol’ salad with greens, cucumbers, mini bell peppers (from the 99 Cent Store! They were a little on the bitter side, but I wouldn’t say they were bad), capers, soy bacon bits, 1/2 cup of great northern beans, and some nonfat Italian dressing.  Dinner was a veggie burger (no bun), raw broccoli florets, a tupperware full of grapes, and 5 dried figs.

Keep it up, David!


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