A Little LEGO Present… For Myself

January 23, 2015

Despite the mixed feelings I’ve been having about my 5-year weight loss anniversary, I did splurge on a little special something as a present to myself. A little special something… made of little LEGO bricks!
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May 25, 2012

I had to buy a new iPod. I last wrote about my iPod in March, when I dropped it on cement and cracked the glass. My iPod rebounded from that trauma, and the cracked screen proved not to be a fatal wound, just an unsightly cosmetic one. What did my iPod in was some sort of faulty, damaged battery. I didn’t get the specifics, nor did I care – what was important was that I got a new iPod, and, once again, all is well in my mobile music world.

The iPod wasn’t the only thing that came home with me from the mall. That’s because the Apple store I frequent, at the Glendale Galleria, is right next door to one of my favorite stores in the entire world: a store that whisks me immediately back to my childhood and fires up every creative and design-related synapse in my brain…

…The Lego Store!

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My Stair Climb is Officially Postponed.

April 19, 2012

The easiest way to say it is to just say it:

I have to postpone this Saturday’s stair climb. I won’t be climbing the equivalent of the Burj Khalifa (pictured at left) this weekend, but it will be done.

The postponement is because of my foot injury. It’s gotten better over the past two days, but not enough to feel comfortable working out on it, let alone use it to climb 163 stories on a StairMaster. I’m still trying to keep it elevated and iced, and I’m limiting my walking and not putting any undue stress on it.

Here’s the thing: I want to do this stair climb when I’m at the top of my game. Climbing 163 stories without stopping won’t be easy, and I want to be able to keep my focus on the task in front of me, and not worry about whether my foot will hold up through the whole thing. I want to be strong and prepared, and not nervous about aggravating an injury that may have just healed.

I won’t be any of those things by Saturday.

So I’m giving myself two additional weeks to heal, train, and prepare. My 163-story stair climb challenge is now scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 2012. It’ll be the best Cinco de Mayo EVER!

I feel a little crappy about postponing, even though I know it’s the right thing to do. So I want to take a moment to reassure everyone – especially the 39 donors (!) that have contributed over $1,450 bucks (!!) to the Whaley Children’s Center in Flint, Michigan – that this postponement will definitely just a postponement. I have no intention of canceling. I will climb 163 stories on the StairMaster. I’ve worked too hard to just give up. This challenge means an awful lot to me, and while I don’t want to let my donors down, the person I most don’t want to let down is myself.

Thank you for understanding. If you’d like to learn more about my stair climb challenge, click here. If you’d like to make a donation (I’m still $175 short of my goal!) than click here.

Even though I’m trying as much as possible to stay off my foot, I’m still hitting the gym. Last night I hit up the gym for the second night in a row of doing seated upper-body weight lifting exercises. Lots of chest and shoulder presses, rows and lateral pull-downs, and my new favorite machine at the gym, the Marpo VMX Rope Trainer, where you continually pull on a looped rope, working most of your upper body all at one time. Last night I pulled that rope for 17 minutes, burning 200 calories – and all without ever putting my weight on my foot.

Keep it up, David!

A Game-Changing Workout

April 10, 2012

Yesterday, I blathered on and on about how much I love my new new gym. It’s completely awesome. Remember how I mentioned that it’s above a Barnes & Noble and a movie theater and across the street from Ikea? I forgot to mention another business that’s on the same block. I don’t quite know what to say about this particular establishment, except that it combines my two favorite things: mediocre chain restaurant food and girls with big fake tits:

I can’t wait to sweat my ass off and then head over for an order of “Lots-a-Tots.” (A pile of tater tots covered in bacon, cheese, sour cream, and chives. Yep, an actual menu item.)

Today, the general theme of “I love my new new gym” continues, because I used the StairMaster there for the first time, and it was a game-changing experience. It was my first time climbing stairs since my downtown skyscraper climb two weekends ago (see pictures from the roof of the 63-story Aon Center here). I’ve enjoyed my week-long break from stairs, but it was time to start climbing again – I gotta prepare for my next stair challenge, and it’s only 12 days away! I’ll be climbing, on the StairMaster, the equivalent of the world’s tallest building. It’s a fundraiser, so check out my donation page (CLICK HERE!) and throw a few dollars towards an amazing children’s charity in Michigan.A friendly reminder that there’s a bunch of you (I won’t name names) that have told me, either in person or in writing, that you’ll donate, but you haven’t yet! What are you waiting for?

I digress. My new new gym has brand-new, top-of-the-line StairMasters, and within seconds of getting on one, I knew I was on the perfect piece of exercise equipment for me. I was so excited I went and got my camera from my locker to take pictures! Here’s the welcome screen you see when you first step on… can you figure out why I got so excited?

Check out the middle option – Landmarks! I’ve spent the past year and a half conquering landmarks on the StairMaster, and now I’m on a machine that is programmed to help me conquer more! Awesome.

When you click on Landmarks, you get this screen:

Landmarks from around the world: Statue of Liberty, Great Pyramid of Giza, Eiffel Tower, and so on. Guess what the building is on the far right?It’s the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world!This is the building I’ll be hypothetically climbing in 12 days!

But, to quote Hamlet, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” The StairMaster’s floor counts are all wrong. It says the Burj Khalifa is 255 stories, instead of 153; it says the Petronas Towers are 138 stories, instead of 88; it says the Empire State Building is 117 stories, instead of 102.

I pulled out my calculator, put on my Nancy Drew hat, and got to the bottom of this mystery. Turns out the StairMaster is listing the hypothetical number of floors needed to reach the very tips of the spires of these buildings. I figured out the StairMaster’s formula: It takes the total height of each building (2717 feet/828 meters in the case of Burj Khalifa) and divides it by what it considers to be the height of one floor (10.66 feet/3.25 meters). For the Burj Khalifa, the means the point of the spire is 255 “floors” up, even though the building only has 163 habitable floors (that’s a tall spire!). I tested my math across five of the featured building on the Landmarks page, and it’s true for all of them. And I finally learned what constitutes a floor on a StairMaster!

Of course, when I saw that the Burj Khalifa had 255 stories, according to the StairMaster, my mind started racing. I’ve been planning to climb 163 stories for my upcoming stair challenge… does this mean I need to raise my goal to 255? I decided I would think about it during the course of my workout. In the meantime, I selected Taipei 101 from the Landmarks screen – as it was a building I had yet to add to my Skyscraper Collection, and I started climbing.

I love the display during the climb. There’s a little silhouette of Taipei 101, and as you climb, it shows, on the silhouette, what floor you’re on. It’s easy to track time, speed, and calories. Plus, you can plug in your iPod and control it through the display (and the iPod charges during the process, which my iPod desperately needed yesterday).

OH! A little while ago, I was lamenting that some StairMasters used a steps-per-minute (SPM) calculation to determine speed, and others assigned arbitrary levels. This duality frustrated me, because I didn’t know how the two systems related to each other. Well, this kick-ass StairMaster has both systems! I’ve finally learned what I’ve been dying to know: that, for example, Level 7 is 68 SPM, Level 8 is 75 SPM, and Level 9 is 82 SPM. Finally!

My StairMaster workout was solid. I kinda made it to the top of Taipei 101, and I kinda didn’t. I climbed 114 stories in 25 minutes (burning 405 calories) – and that 114 stories is more than the actual building has in real life (it tops off at 101 stories), but less than the StairMaster’s top-of-the-spire count of 157.

I decided then and there that I won’t be adjusting my upcoming Burj Khalifa challenge to reflect this StairMaster’s math. My reasons are two-fold:

  • 163 stories to 255 stories is a big leap. Climbing 163 stories is going to be hard enough as it is – I simply won’t have time to properly train if I add 92 stories to my goal. It’s like switching from running a 10k to a half-marathon, even though you’ve been prepping this whole time for the 10k. Maybe 255 stories will be a goal for another time.
  • No machine is going to tell me what to do. Screw you, machine – I’ll do what I want! You’re not the boss of me!

Because of that second bullet point, I’m adding Taipei 101 to my Skyscraper Collection. It’s 101 stories in real life, and I climbed 114 on the StairMaster, so I consider it conquered. Here is it, towering over its much shorter neighbors:

Taipei 101 is in Taipei, Taiwan, and it held the record of the world’s tallest building from its opening in 2004 until the Burj Khalifa took the title in 2010. There’s a 720-ton pendulum (!) that hangs in the center of the building from the 87th-92nd floor that sways to offset any movements that strong winds may cause. There are two observatories near the top of the building – one indoors and one outdoors. It’s rumored that the 101st floor is home to a top-secret VIP club called Summit 101, but no information about the club has ever been leaked to the press.

Yep… I climbed that! And after I was finished, I lifted weights for 40 minutes.

Keep it up, David!

Great Big Birthday Announcement!

March 5, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It was 33 years ago today that I was born at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. Yep – 33 years down, and a helluva lot more to come!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I can do for myself in honor of my birthday. I’m sure I could find something to purchase, but nothing special is coming to mind, and it’s probably not a wise choice anyway, since money is a little tight.

What I’d much rather do is honor myself by making a new commitment to continued good health. I want to challenge myself to kick off my 33rd year with a bang. I want a big, grand, sweeping adventure that embodies the idea that I’m not done keeping it up. And I know exactly what I’m going to do. I’m announcing my new workout goal!

No, David, think BIGGER. This is your BIRTHDAY! You can do better than that!

Okay, okay, you’re right. Time to step up my game. I’m announcing TWO new workout goals! And they both involve lots and lots of stairs.

Before I get to the details, I have a little catch-up to do. You all know about my Skyscraper Collection, right? Every time I complete a StairMaster workout, I find a skyscraper somewhere in the world with an equivalent number of floors to what I just climbed. Click here to see my Skyscraper Collection – so far, there’s 23 buildings in it, and right now I’m adding buildings 24 and 25!

I’ve used the StairMaster twice in the past week at the gym, and they were tough workouts. I didn’t set any new records (like I did a few weeks ago when I climbed the equivalent of the Empire State Building), but I’m really happy with the results. On Monday, 2/27/12, I spent 21 minutes on the StairMaster, and climbed 94 floors while burning 350 calories. Yesterday, on Sunday, 3/4/12, I spent 18 minutes climbing 83 floors, burning 300 calories. Not too shabby!

The buildings I’m adding to my collection are both in Dubai (for a specific reason I’ll get to in a bit). Say hello to 23 Marina (on the left) and The Index (on the right!):

  • 23 Marina is 90 stories, the second tallest all-residential building in the world, and the third-tallest building in Dubai. It’s terribly exclusive – there are only 288 units in the entire building, including 57 two-story units that each have a private elevator and a private pool on a balcony. No joke! Start saving your pennies now! The photo was taken in October, when the top was still under construction. I can’t tell if the building is officially finished or not, but according to the interwebs, lower-level apartments have been turned over to their new owners.
  • The Index is 80 stories – the 6th tallest building in Dubai. It was completed in 2010, and is a mix of residential and office. It’s cleverly designed so the concrete cores at both ends shade a majority of the building from the rising and setting sun, drastically slashing energy needs and air conditioning costs.

Yep, I climbed both! They’ve both been added to my Skyscraper Collection, which means…


I love my Skyscraper Collection. It’s changed the way I think about StairMasters. I used to hate them, but now I look forward to using them, because I find doing the research and adding the towers to be so much fun.

But I want more than just pretending to climb skyscrapers. I want to climb a real skyscraper. So… drum roll please… I just registered for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb 2012!

ANNOUNCEMENT #1: On Saturday, March 31st, I’m climbing the 63-story Aon Center building in downtown Los Angeles! It’s the second tallest building in Los Angeles, and was the tallest building west of the Mississippi from its completion in 1973 until 1982. Take a look at it (the center building) – it’s tall!

Here’s the best part – you can support my quest to climb to the Aon Center’s roof! The Fight For Air Climb is a fundraiser, and I need to raise $100 in order to climb the stairs. It’s not that much money, really – if 10 of you donate $10 each, I’ll be set. Or, 20 of you could donate $5 each. It doesn’t matter to me! Why don’t you talk amongst yourselves, figure it out, and when you’re ready, visit my donation page to make a contribution. All the money benefits the American Lung Association, is tax-deductible, and you can search their database to see if your company has a gift-matching program, which doubles the value of your donation!

I’m so excited to climb a real-life skyscraper, and I’m looking forward to standing on that roof, 858 feet off the ground, sweaty and exhausted, looking out over the city around me – hopefully it’s a clear day!

I’ll need to do a lot more training on the StairMaster to prepare – and it’s only 25 days away! Because I’ll be spending a lot of time on the StairMaster, I’ve also decided to up the ante, which brings me to…

ANNOUNCEMENT #2: I’m setting a new StairMaster goal to add the tallest building in the world to my Skyscraper Collection. Pop quiz: What’s the tallest building in the world? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

It’s the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai (this goal was why I picked those two other Dubai buildings above). It is an astonishing 163 stories tall. Whoa! It’s nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building, and almost three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower. It’s just a monster of a building.

Does it look familiar? That might be because it was prominently featured in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – Tom Cruise clung to the side of it, thousands of feet above the ground, wearing only suction-cup type gloves.

Reaching this goal will not be easy, and that’s exactly why I’m setting this challenge. My current StairMaster record is 104 stories (a good 59 stories shy of the Burj Khalifa), and after those 104 stories, I felt ready to collapse. So I have work to do in order to push through.

I think it might be too much to try to reach my Burj Khalifa goal before I do the Fight For Air Climb. Perhaps I’ll shoot for sometime in April. I’m not sure yet, we’ll see how my training goes. Whatever I decide, I will keep you posted!

I’m geeked about my two new workout goals – I think it’s a stellar way to kick off the new year. Happy Birthday, and…