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…


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

Goals Update and Quince Update

November 8, 2010

Hello!  To anyone that wandered over from my Facebook page lookin’ for the dog food picture, just scroll down to the next post or click here!

I have a quince update, and I also wanna update my current list of goals, which I’ve never accumulated in one blog post before.  Which first?  Hmmm… let’s do goals:

  1. Weight Loss Goal: My current goal is to lose 152 pounds.  That would put my weight at an even 250 pounds.  I’ll set another goal beyond that, but I haven’t decided what it will be – one weight loss goal at a time is enough for me, thank you very much.  Current Status: I’ve lost 147 pounds – so I’m only 5 pounds away!  Reward: I’ve only mentioned it once on the blog before, but my reward for hitting 250 is going to the shooting range and firing a gun!  I want one of those paper targets with a person’s outline on it that’s I’ve riddled with holes.
  2. Running Goal: My current goal is to run past all six strip clubs within walking distance of my house without stopping.  The route that takes me past all six totals 6.4 miles.  My efforts towards completing this goal have been well documented in this blog, most recently hereCurrent Status: My most successful run so far was 5.1 miles – so I have a ways to go, but it’s doable.  Reward: I haven’t really thought about it, but isn’t running past six strip clubs really the reward?
  3. Gym Goal: I first mentioned this goal in the comments section of this post, but now I’m making it official.  My current goal is to climb 73 stories on the StairMaster without stopping.  That’s the number of floors in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, which is the tallest building in the state of Michigan.  It’s also the number of floors in the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles, which is the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.  Current Status: I’ve made it to 51 floors on the StairMaster without stopping.  This goal has a ticking clock – I’d like to reach it by December, because my Reward for this goal is to go to the Renaissance Center when I’m in Michigan for Christmas.  There’s a restaurant (Coach Insignia) on the top floor that has amazing views, and I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Now onto the quince.  To bring anyone that needs it up to speed, I like trying new fruits and vegetables that I often pick up at the farmers’ market.  I haven’t been to the farmers’ market in a few weeks, but while at the store a few days ago, I bought something I’ve never bought before: a quince.

I had to do some research, because I had no idea what to do with it, how to eat it, or when it was ripe.  Basically, what I learned is this:  A raw quince is inedible.  Well, I suppose that technically it’s edible, as it’s not toxic or anything, but everything that I read said that it’s extremely tart, so it’s best to cook it first.  Good times –  of course I pick the inedible fruit.  I also learned that some scholars and experts think that it was actually a quince that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, as the apple is never mentioned by name in the Bible, and quinces are native to the region.  I’m no Bible expert, but c’mon!  How tempting can a quince be if you can’t eat it raw?  I don’t remember reading in Sunday School about Eve plucking the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and then poaching it for an hour just so she could take a bite.  Let’s stick with apple, shall we?

The next thing I had to do was find a quince recipe.  My parameters were that it be simple and have few ingredients.  I wanted something that would show off the quince’s flavor so I could decide whether or not I liked it.  This means I had to rule out Martha Stewart’s recipe for Lamb and Quince Tagine – it sounds delicious, but would require me to buy 5 pounds of lamb and calls for 28 additional ingredients.  Sorry, Martha, but instead I settled on this simple-sounding Poached Quince recipe from Cooking Light.  It only has 6 ingredients, and I already had all of them (sort of – keep reading) in my cupboards.

First step was peeling, coring, and dicing the quince.  I took pictures like a good blogger does.  Here it is peeled:

Peeling it was a pain in the ass, both because the skin is tough, and I have a crappy peeler and need a new one (cough a-good-idea-for-a-stocking-stuffer-mom cough).  The core has a few big seeds in it:

And here’s the finished product, after dicing:

Next I prepared the poaching liquid.  Since I was only poaching 1 quince, and not 4 (as the recipe suggests), I only put in about a cup of water (instead of 4 cups) and 1/4 cup of sugar (instead of a whole cup).  I also added the peppercorns, and because I didn’t have a cinnamon stick, I tossed in a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon, and I also zested the lemon instead of using a piece of the rind.  Here’s everything in the pot:

And here it is after I stirred it, BTB, RTS (an acronym Anne Burrell on the Food Network uses – it stands for Brought To Boil, Reduced To Simmer), and added the quince:

And then I played the waiting game, because this whole shooting match (to quote Anne Burrell again) needed 45 minutes on the stove.  I had read multiple times on the interweb that quinces change color when they’re cooking – going from pale yellow-green to rosy pink.  Sure enough, after 45 minutes, they were a slightly different color:

I let them come to room temperature and fished out the quince with a slotted spoon.  The recipe suggests that you serve the dish with a tablespoon of the poaching liquid, but I skipped that part, because it’s just syrup, and I didn’t want the extra sugar, and the whole point is to taste the quince.  After well over an hour of dicing, poaching, and cooling, I had a bowl of edible quince!

How did it taste, you ask with baited breath?  Like a baked apple.  The quince had a texture and bite of the apples in an apple pie, and the cinnamon only further reminded me of the apple-ness of it all.  I think I added way too much cinnamon, so I will take the blame for what I think was a disappointing end result.  But cinnamon aside, I didn’t find the quince very flavorful or interesting.  Why should I buy another quince when I can buy apples that are cheaper, and that also have the added bonus of being edible right off the tree?  I’d like to think that at some point I’ll give a quince another chance, but with a prep time of an hour+, it’s not gonna be anytime soon.  Sorry, quince, you lose.  But in the game of me trying new things, this still counts as a win.  And for that, I say…

…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!

Practice Jog #2 – The Jog That CHANGED EVERYTHING!

September 27, 2010

Previously on Keep It Up, David: David started jogging about a month ago, and set his first jogging goal – to jog past all four of the strip clubs within walking distance of his condo.  He’s established his route (which totals 3.8 miles) and began practicing.  Now you’re all caught up.

I have a couple pieces of good news, and some bad news.  Well, not bad, per se, but definitely a game-changer.  A shocker.  For me, at least.  It might even be good news for some people!

First, the good news:  I stepped on the scale this morning – down 1 pound!  I think my Froot Loops catastrophe the other day prevented me from losing more, but hey – I’ll take that pound, and add it to the collection – I’m down 137 pounds total!  Time to update the chart:

The other good news is that I went for a jog this morning, and set new personal bests for distance and time.  Previous records were 41 minutes, which was slightly over 3 miles.  Today, 45 minutes and 3.3 miles!

Note to self: You should really start checking the weather before you go out for a jog, because it was freakin’ hot today.  I just checked a couple different weather services, and the high for my zip code today is supposed to be, depending on the source, between 106 and 109 degrees.  I started my jog at 10:04am, so it wasn’t quite that hot yet, but the lesson here is to wake your ass up earlier when you want to jog in the morning.  I slathered on sunscreen, and naturally, after sweating a little, it was stinging my eyes.  So happy my place has central A/C right now.

OK.  Now here’s the part where everything got screwy.  I decided before starting on the jog that I would head north and east – it’s the direction I’ve explored the least on foot, and by ‘the least’ I mean ‘not at all.’  I’ve driven in that direction many of times – there’s a Starbucks and a Staples and a Kmart and a 99 Cent Store (surprise, surprise) up there, but a lot of streets I hadn’t turned down before.

Just GUESS what I jogged past today.  ANOTHER STRIP CLUB!

And this particular establishment has a leg up, so to speak, on its local competition:

It’s like, all of a sudden, I was transported back to downtown Ypsilanti, Michigan, mere minutes from where I went to college, where there’s another Deja Vu location.  I’ve never been in it  – I’ve never been in any strip clubs anywhere ever – but it was right down the street from the place where I got my tattoo.  And my friend Erin worked there for a little while.

So that’s FIVE strip clubs within walking distance.  No, wait, it gets BETTER.

After my jog was over, I jumped in the car so I could measure my distance on my odometer, and after completing that, I turned around and headed back to the Vu to snap the above photos.  I took a slightly different route back home, and just LOOK at what I found!

Are you keeping track?  That’s STRIP CLUB NUMBER SIX.  I was rendered speechless  (I was alone in my car, so it didn’t really matter much, but still).  Speechless for two reasons:  1) I had no idea 10 months ago that I was moving into such a, um, horny part of town, and 2) How was this going to affect my jog-past-every-strip-clip goal?

Before I address #2, I just want to amend #1 a little bit by assuring everyone that there are plenty of other respectable businesses in my neighborhood.  Yes, there are 6 strip clubs, but also within walking distance there are plenty of auto parts stores, a restaurant that sells both Chinese food and donuts (nope, haven’t been there yet), a place that sells pinatas, liquor stores and bodegas, and also a Sears, a Macy’s, chain restaurants, 7-11s, and a Williams-Sonoma.  Just kidding, no Williams-Sonoma.

So now, let’s address #2 – my route.  Back in the day (a few hours ago), when I thought there were only 4 strip clubs, I had plotted this route, which would take my past all 4 in one big loop:

When you factor in strip clubs 5 and 6, the route now looks like this:

The new total distance?  6.4 miles.  That’s a lot of miles.  I’ve only been able to jog about half of that!

My goal distance may have just gotten a helluva lot farther from my grasp, but I’m not gonna give up.  I said I’m gonna jog past all the strip clubs in my neighborhood, and DAMN IT, I’M GOING TO.  And, when the day comes that I can do it, I’m gonna take pictures of myself in front of ALL of them.  Then I’ll arrange them in a collage, and voila!  I have my holiday card.  Season’s Greetings!

Keep it up, David!

I Have My Route!

September 17, 2010

A quick catch-me-up for the hordes of new readers:  A couple days ago I devised my first jogging goal – to jog past all 4 of the strip clubs that are within walking distance of my home, without stopping.  Since then, I’ve played around with Google Maps and figure out my route.  So, without further ado, here it is!

A few notes.   The circle starts and stops at Dot F (which is also Dot A, but the F covers up the A).  It’s not my house – it’s an intersection by a park a few blocks from where I live.  There’s two reasons for this:  1) By starting a few blocks away, I have a build-in warm-up and cool-down walk build into the workout, and 2) I need to show a little caution, in case any of my non-existent readers should suddenly turn into very existent stalkers.

From the starting point, I’m going to head south, alongside the park, before turning east on Victory and hitting destination 1:  V.I.P Showgirls (Dot B).  I’ll continue on Victory to Lankershim, hanging left at the El Pollo Loco, and then I’m en route to hitting the two strip clubs that are closest to each other: Venus Faire (Dot C) and Star Garden (Dot D).  Fun Fact:  Venus Faire is a few doors down from the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, which is important enough to get a label on Google Maps!  Leg up!  Fun Fact #2: For months, I drove along Lankershim noticing either Star Garden or Venus Faire and not really paying close attention, to the point where I thought they were actually both the same club.  Not until I went walking one night (the precursor to my jogging expeditions) and walked by both did I realize that they were actually two separate establishments.  But that’s neither here nor there.  Back to my route:  I’ll turn east on Vanowen, take it to Farmdale, hit the final strip club, Blue Zebra (Dot E), and then head down Hart all the way back to the park.  Ta-da!

The total distance is 3.8 miles.  The most I’ve ever jogged is 3 miles, and I’ve only done that once, so this is definitely an achievable first goal.  My plan, just because I’m still pretty new to jogging, is to go for a few more jogs and build up my endurance before tackling THE jog.  Stay tuned!

Keep it up, David!

Good Friends and a New Workout Goal!

September 15, 2010

What a fantastic evening this has been!  I met up with my friend Vikki for dinner at Hugo’s, one of my favorite restaurants.  That was excitement enough for one evening, as I hadn’t seen Vikki in about a year, but she upped the ante by surprising me by inviting two other friends, David and Glory!  We laughed a lot, and swapped stories, since all of us have been losing weight or lost weight over the past year.  I added it up, and between the four of us, we’ve lost about 240 pounds!  BTW, Glory and David are both connoisseurs of hot wings, and have a blog of their own where they’re going to a different hot wings restaurant every day for a month and writing reviews.  They call it WingTember – and you can read their blog here.

Despite a great dinner of Kelp Noodle Salad (damn it – should have taken a picture), I was still feeling a little peckish when I got home.  So I had a banana, changed clothes, and headed out for a jog.  Tonight I jogged for 35 minutes nonstop, and walked for a little bit after to cool down.  But during the jog I had a genius brainstorm nugget of an idea.  And now that I’m blogging, I’m gonna share it with all of you!  So here goes:

My jogging route tonight took me past V.I.P Showgirls, a local strip club.  It’s nestled in there on Victory Boulevard, right between an Anna’s Linens and Sears – so everyone with a shopping list that includes tools, towels, and a lap dance, do I know where to send you!   If you think I’m lucky to have such a property-value-raising establishment so close to my home, get a load of this:  It’s one of FOUR strip clubs within walking distance of my front door.  That’s right, four strip clubs, a Sears, AND an Anna’s Linens.  Bet you wish you live in North Hollywood right about now!

The four strip clubs are in different directions from my place, however, and therein lies my brainstorm:  I decided this evening that my first jogging goal would be to jog past all four strip clubs in one workout.  I think it’s achievable, and I’m gonna do it!  First step is gonna be to figure out the route and total distance for that jog, so I know what I’m getting into.  I’ll do that in the next couple days with the help of Google Maps, and will surely keep you posted!

Keep it up, David!