Newest Additions to My iPod

July 29, 2012

Last week, I mentioned one of my favorite new songs – “The Rifle’s Spiral” by The Shins (watch the awesome video at the end of this post), and after doing so, I realized that I’m overdue for a post about the music that gets me moving when I’m working out.

I shared my entire workout playlist in April (check it out here), and since then, it’s evolved significantly. I removed a bunch of songs that I was tired of hearing, and added a bunch of new songs to the mix. I thought I’d share some of them with you. And I’d love for you to comment with the newest songs on your playlist!

Read the rest of this entry »


I Am The Waffle Doodler

August 25, 2011

I’ve spent a lot of time with my friend Kristy over the last 24 hours.  You know Kristy, right?  She’s popped up on this blog before – she’s a very talented singer-songwriter and she’s even written a song inspired by this blog.

Here’s Kristy and me, in a photo taken just a few hours ago:

On Tuesday night, I worked out with Kristy, as she and her hubby Mike attend the same boot camp class that I do.  Read about Tuesday’s class at the end of this post.  Actually, Kristy and Mike were the ones to introduce me to Craig, who leads our boot camp class and is also my personal trainer.  He trains Kristy and Mike, too.  We’re all one big happy sweaty sore family!

On Wednesday afternoon, I had a session with Craig, which included a new exercise called treadmill hops.  We fired up the treadmill to 9.0 incline and 3.8 speed, and I turned to one side and did sidestep/jump movements.  After 30 seconds on one side, I pivoted, did 30 seconds on the other, and then 30 seconds of regular walking.  That cycle got repeated waaaaay too many times.  Treadmill hops kicked my ass, which means, naturally, that they’re probably really good for me.  But I still think they’re terrible, and I told Craig that.  “I hate these.  I feel like a horse,” I said, because the rhythm is similar to a gallop.  “You sound like one too,” Craig responded.  Then Craig said, “Be sure to tell Kristy you did these, because they’re her favorite form of cardio.”  I could tell by his smile and tone that that statement was probably false.

I was able to ask Kristy in person on Wednesday night, at a little show that she was a part of.  She laughed when I told her what Craig said, and said, “There’s nothing more awkward than doing treadmill hops in a crowded gym.  I hate facing the side on a treadmill when there’s someone else right there on the treadmill next to you!”

Kristy’s show was at a cute restaurant in South Pasadena called Firefly Bistro, which has a weekly singer/songwriter show called Wine & Song.

I was looking over the menu when I saw an entree that sounded so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night:

CHICKEN FRIED DUCK & WAFFLES?  My mouth watered instantly.  Every element sounded amazing:  Chicken-fried confit duck leg?  Yes, please.  Cheddar-scallion waffle?  Can I have two?  Stewed peaches?  Pile them on.  Maui onions?  Mmm-mmm!  House made Tabasco?  You must be kidding me.  Lime syrup?  No, seriously, you’re kidding me.

Two things prevented me from ordering it, though:

1) I had already eaten dinner before I came.

2) $24.50 is a lot of money, especially for a guy who is unemployed between jobs.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that goddamn dish all night, and how much I wanted to eat it.  Since I had a pen on me, and since the menus were printed on regular sheets of paper, I turned one over and started doodling.  I doodle often.  I am a regular doodler.  Last night, I was a waffle doodler.  My first doodle:

My friend Ashley saw the doodle and asked to finish the equation:

Me: “Why is the eye crying?  Because the duck and waffle dish is so delicious?  Or because it’s sad because it’s not eating any?”

Ashley:  “It’s open to interpretation.”  What an artist-like thing to say! 

My friend Dan also saw my doodle (we were all sitting around one big table) and said that my waffle doodle looked appetizing, so I started a new doodle just for him.  Here’s what I came up with:

That’s syrup getting poured on a waffle garnished with mint and fresh assorted berries.

My final doodle was also waffle-inspired:

That is one sexy lady waffle!

On the drive home, the thought crossed my mind that I could stop at the store and pick up some waffles.  I’m currently out, but I usually have a box of frozen waffles in my freezer.  I eat 1 or 2 a week, with a drizzle of honey, a little jam, or some fresh fruit (I don’t use syrup).  But I didn’t stop, because I knew that indulging this craving could result in me going a little crazy and eating the entire box of waffles in a matter of minutes, and I didn’t want to open the door to that possibility, especially on a day where I had such a good workout, especially one day after an exciting weigh-in, and especially not at 10pm at night, which is a horrible time to load up on carbs.

So.  No waffles for me.  Waffle doodles, yes.  Actual waffles, no.  I have a hunch that my waffle craving will be gone in the morning.

Keep it up, David!

Return of the Carrots AND My Song

April 29, 2011

Had a particularly colorful and delicious snack yesterday…

…Rainbow Carrots!

It’s not the first time I’ve blogged about them (this blog has that honor) – and it probably won’t be the last time I blog about them, because they are tasty and different and I love them.  I look for them every time I’m at Whole Foods.

Like oddly-colored vegetables?  Check out this post, this post, and this post.

Yesterday I went around my office, and offered the carrots to about 20 different people.  I thought it’d be nice to share.  I got a variety of reactions and responses, and here are some of them:

  • “Oh wow, this is good!  Tastes just like a carrot!”
  • Co-worker: “Why is this carrot purple?”  Me: “Who says all carrots have to be orange?”  Co-worker:  “I do.  It’s a carrot, and carrots are orange.  That’s why they’re carrots.”
  • “Hey thanks, I love them!  Have you ever had purple potatoes?”  Yep!
  • “Why are you giving this to me?  Is this some sort of set-up?”
  • “I like it!  It might be a touch more bitter than a regular carrot but if I had my eyes closed I wouldn’t know I’m not eating an orange carrot.”
  • “Those are the most beautiful carrots I’ve ever seen.”
  • What’s going on?  What are these?  Am I going to hallucinate or something after eating one?”

I’d say they were a hit.  And no one hallucinated.  As far as I know.

Moving on…

Remember, in March, when I shared that beautiful new song that was inspired by this very blog?  Click here to refresh your memory!  Last night, my friend Kristy Hanson (along with Mike Chiaburu and Tim Young) performed again in Hollywood, and once again, she performed my song.  Even though I have the song on my iPod, I haven’t listened to it in a couple weeks, and I didn’t know they were going to include it on their set list (they have a lot of songs), so it was a wonderful surprise to hear it live again.

Long story short:  Kristy and Mike did a side project called East Paris where they wrote songs inspired by writers, and they asked me if they could write something based on this blog.  Uh, yes, please!  So I sent them this post, and they came up with a song called “Today’s The Day”, which is about taking control and knowing that things are gonna change, and knowing that they’re gonna change because you’re going to change them.

The fact that the concert last night feel during a week where I’ve been struggling to stay on track and retain control didn’t go unnoticed in my own head.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “TODAY’S THE DAY.”  While you’re on that page, check out that “Free Download” button!  They set it up special for all my readers – so take advantage, download it, and add it to your iPods and playlists!

Kristy played another song last night that really struck a chord with me.  It’s called “Crawl,” and even though I’ve heard it tons of times before, last night it resonated in a way it hasn’t before.  Kristy introduced it by saying (and I’m paraphrasing): “this next song is about how sometimes things don’t move along at the pace you’d like, but you just gotta keep going” and I thought, that’s the boat I’m in right now with this plateau!  Some of the lyrics:

It’s not what you hoped for

But who can trust hope

You plan and you daydream

Then you just cope

You flail and you flounder

Till you’re thrown a rope

And you crawl, and you crawl

and you crawl onto the shore

You can listen to “Crawl” on Kristy Hanson’s website (it’s track number 7 on her album Into the Quiet).

I’ll end with two questions that Kristy poses in “Crawl”:

Is it the dream you’re holding that keeps your pace from slowing?

Is it the hope for something, or the hope itself that keeps you going?

What do you think?

Keep it up, David!

Listen To My New Song! (Plus, Welcome!)

March 16, 2011

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my amazingly talented musician friends Kristy and Mike, who wrote a song (!) based on me and this blog?  They recorded it, and it’s beautiful, and now you can hear it!  More on that in a couple paragraphs…

…I wanted to start with a greeting to everyone visiting Keep It Up, David for the first time:

Super clever, I know… It’s the best I could do at 11pm!   Seriously, though, I’m so glad you’re here.  Please take a look around!  The menu along the top of the page is a nice introduction to me and this blog. The Story So Far chronicles my history with obesity, with more on how Richard Simmons has helped me.  There’s great Before and Current photos in the Photo Gallery, and My Favorite Posts is, well… that’s pretty self-explanatory!

I try to post something every day, so there’s always something new for you to check out (my most recent posts are collected in the “Need To Catch Up” box along the right side of the page).  I love connecting with my readers, so follow me on Facebook and Twitter (both are also great ways to learn about new posts), leave me a comment after any of my posts, or shoot me an email – you’ll find my email address if you click on Contact at the top of the page.  You can also subscribe to receive new posts via email – check out the “In a Nutshell” box along the right side of the page!

Now that you’re all settled in, let’s get back to my song!

To catch everyone up, my friends Kristy Hanson and Mike Chiaburu just formed a band called East Paris, and wrote a bunch of songs based on the writings of some of their friends.  They wanted to write a song based on my blog, and I suggested using my post “One Year Ago Today” as a jumping off point.  They got to work, and a few weeks later, they premiered my song, which they titled “Today’s The Day”, at a show in Hollywood, and it practically had me in tears.  They finished recording it this week, and I’m proud and excited to share it with all of you!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “TODAY’S THE DAY.” They’ve also provided Keep it up, David readers the ability to download the song for free, so take advantage of the “Free Download” button on that page!

I suspect you may fall in love with Kristy Hanson’s voice, like I did when I first her sing over 10 years ago.  So check out her website, and sample her other music at her iTunes page – her newest album, Into the Quiet, is simply stunning.  You should definitely buy it!

Every time I listen to Kristy sing, whether it’s live in concert or on one of her albums, I’m reminded of how special and extraordinary she is.  I’m lucky to have Kristy and Mike in my life – they’re tremendous friends and unwavering supporters, and this song is one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given, and I’ll never forget that.

I can’t sign off without including my Food Log for the day, since I’ve committed to including, on this blog, every single thing I eat this week.  Here’s my…

Food Log for Tuesday, March 15, 2011:

–Breakfast:  2 packets instant oatmeal; 1 banana; 1 box raisins
–Lunch:  Big Salad Bar: mixed greens, carrots, peas, tofu, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, white beans, roasted beets, balsamic vinegar (no oil); 6 saltine crackers
–Dinner:  Leftover Black Bean and Corn Salad; Leftover Sweet Potato and Squash Soup (from my freezer, I forgot I had this!); 1 veggie burger patty w/ 1/2 cup sauerkraut
–Snack:  100 calorie pack Lorna Doones; bunch of grapes
–Beverages:  2 water bottles (64 ounces each), 2 liters water, 1 glass hot tea, 1 liter sparkling water

Keep it up, David!

Song Inspiration and Weight Update

February 25, 2011

Last night was simply exhausting, physically and emotionally.  It started off at Slimmons, where I took Richard Simmons’ class, and what a great class it was.  It wasn’t too crowded, and he played some great songs.  I went in with the mindset that I was really going to push myself during class, and apparently Richard had the same thought, because before the class was over, we had done hundreds and hundreds of leg lifts, and some new toning and ab exercises that really challenged me.  I was sore.  I was pooped.

But the evening wasn’t over yet – I still had a concert to go to, and I was performing during it (!).  My friends Kristy and Mike were premiering a bunch of new songs they had written.  Kristy sings and plays guitar, and Mike plays bass, and oh yeah, they’re married, and I’ve known them both since college.  Kristy has put out a handful of albums, which Mike has collaborated on, and at the beginning of the month, they decided to take on this insane project called the RPM Challenge, where they write and record an entire album in one month’s time.  Yikes!

Their approach was novel.  They ended up creating a little side band, called East Paris, and roped in a bunch of their writer friends as collaborators.  One of them was me.  We each provided them with some of our writing – I gave them two blog posts (this one, and this one), which they used as inspiration for a new song.  They had six new songs in total, and last night, they performed them for the first time.  As an added bonus, they invited the writers to come, and read aloud the work that had served as inspiration.  I happily agreed to do a reading when Kristy asked me last week, but as the day progressed yesterday, I found myself getting more and more nervous.

Here’s the thing: The blog post I read, called One Year Ago Today, wasn’t a brand new piece of writing.  I put it out there, into the world, a month ago.  But with blogging, I don’t ever really get to be present when my writing is consumed.  I put it out there, and move along with my day, and all you read it at your own convenience.  Except for the comments you leave, I’m not privy to your reactions.  Last night, though, I had to verbally share a post that is pretty personal, and I’m not used to that, and it kinda terrified me.  I felt really vulnerable.  But I got up, took a deep breath, read my piece, and did fine.  Then I sat down, and listened as Kristy and Mike played an absolutely beautiful song based on my blog and my journey.  It’s called “Today’s the Day,” and I think I would have cried had I not sweated all the liquid out of my body a few hours prior.  You’ll have a chance to hear it, at some point, after they record it – I’ll be sure to link to it here once I get my hot little hands on it.  I’ll probably play it on a loop on my iPod until the end of time!

In the meantime, check out Kristy’s other albums – I think you’ll really enjoy her music, I know I do.  This is her iTunes page, and here’s her website.  You can follow both Kristy and Mike on Twitter, and follow the East Paris blog they started to document their RPM Challenge process.

I also wanted to quickly give another quick update. It’s been a while since I’ve had a weigh-in or posted a picture of my weight loss chart, and I wanted to explain why.  As you regular blog readers know, I’ve held steady at 241 pounds for a few weeks now – since my February 4 weigh-in, in fact.  Since my last weigh-in, I’ve found myself starting to obsess a little about ending this little plateau, and I don’t like that at all, so I decided to remove the scale from the equation, and skip my weigh-in this week.  I tell myself over and over again to stop focusing on the number, but that’s where my mind seems to naturally head, so fuck it.  If there’s no number to focus on, than I’ll just have to continue focusing on my eating and exercise, like I should be.  With my weigh-in this week canceled, I’m now due to step on the scale on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  We’ll see what happens!

In the meantime, I’ve off to the gym!

Keep it up, David!

Practice Jog #4 – A Major Milestone!

October 13, 2010

Previously on Keep It Up, David: I’m jogging now, and despite never setting foot in a strip club in my life, I set my first jogging goal: to jog past all four of the strip clubs within walking distance of my place – a route that totals 3.8 miles.  Until I discovered two more strip clubs during a recent practice jog, for a total of six strip clubs (you WISH you lived in my neighborhood, don’t you?), and a new route that stretches a whopping 6.4 miles.

A jogging milestone tonight!  I set a new personal best for distance, and reached my now-updated old first goal.  I jogged a total of 3.8 miles – past the original four strip clubs that I knew about in my neighborhood!  I can’t say that I reached my strip club goal, as the goal evolved with the discovery of the two additional neighborhood strip clubs, but I’m extremely proud anyway.  Had I not discovered those two other strip clubs, then man oh man I’d really be celebrating!  As a reminder, here’s the 4-strip-club route:

Dot F is a park near my place that’s the starting and stopping point, and Dots B, C, D, and E are all strip clubs.

The best part about tonight was that I had a jogging buddy – one of my closest friends, Kristy Hanson.  Kristy is a crazy talented singer-songwriter who just released a new album, Into the Quiet (learn more about her by clicking here to get to her website, or click here to sample and buy her album on iTunes), but more importantly to me, she’s been a great friend for the 11 years I’ve known her.  And not just because she loved my jog-past-strip-clubs idea as soon as she heard it, and has wanted to come along for a jog pretty much ever since.  I’m so glad she drove all the way up from Culver City (waaaay on the other side of town from North Hollywood, for you non-LA types) to exercise tonight.

Of all the jogs I’ve completed in the short couple of months I’ve been jogging, about half have been with someone else, and half solo.  Having a jogging partner makes a huge difference!  I find that it’s super helpful to have someone else there to maintain pace and time flew by quicker because we were about to chit chat.

The plan is to take photos of me in front of all 6 strip clubs when I finally reach my goal of jogging past all of them.  Since we jogged past the original 4 tonight,  I decided that as a reward (and, more importantly, a treat for all my readers – you’re welcome!), I should take one photo, in front of one of the strip clubs, as a motivational tool.  And here it is:  Ladies and Gentleman, a very sweaty David and Kristy in front of V.I.P Showgirls in North Hollywood, California:

Both Kristy and I failed to note what time we started the jog, so I can’t calculate my MPH or update the chart I created after my last jog, but that’s no biggie.  This jog felt great, was exhausting, and was the longest jog I’ve ever accomplished (3.8 miles versus 3.3 miles).  I feel wonderful, and eager to keep jogging.  The 6.4 miles, 6-strip-club goal is still pretty far away, but I’ll get there.  I know I will.

Keep it up, David!