Eleven Random Things…

February 28, 2012

…and a bunch of silly questions.

Remember those email chain letter forwards you used to get, where you were supposed to answer all sorts of questions and then forward them to all your friends?

Yeah, I never participated in them either. But unfortunately they still exist, and there’s one currently circulating amongst bloggers, and in the past 24 hours I’ve been tagged twice. Imagine my excitement!

My gut instinct is to ignore and walk away while whistling innocently, but I’m not going to, for two reasons: 1) Participating could be a good way for readers (like you!) to learn more about me (and if that doesn’t make you a hit at cocktail parties, I don’t know what will), and 2) The two guys that tagged me, Scott (who blogs at Your Inner Skinny) and Steve (who blogs at Running on Awesome) are both good Twitter friends and dudes I admire, and I don’t want to be a party pooper.

Here’s how it works. First, I share Eleven Random Things about Myself:

  1. I have all 50 state quarters.
  2. When I was a teenager, I met Dr. Jack Kervorkian, and learned that he had spent lots of time in my house. He was good friends with the people who lived there before us!
  3. I hate the word ‘yummy.’ I’ve never used it in this blog, and never will. When readers use it in a comment on one of my food-related posts, I appreciate their enthusiastic reaction, but cringe a little on the inside.
  4. My preferred method of M&M consumption is to empty a bag on a table and sort them by color before eating any of them.
  5. I’m not a fan of tucking my shirt into my pants, although that’s slowly changing.
  6. In college, I wrote a weekly email newsletter about my then-favorite show, “The Simpsons.” It grew to have over 5,000 subscribers, in every state and 50 countries.
  7. I used to have a pet ferret and a pet betta fish, until the ferret murdered the betta when I wasn’t in the room.
  8. I’m good at predicting the Oscars. On Sunday, I won $90 in an Oscar pool, and a few years ago I won $300.
  9. I love strawberries, and I love cake, but don’t care for strawberry shortcake.
  10. I think watching snakes eat is absolutely riveting. I’d love the ability to unhinge my jaw, although I have no idea how it could benefit me.
  11. My very first career aspiration, when I was a toddler, was to be a mommy, because mommies went grocery shopping, and I LOVED grocery shopping (and I still do!).

Am I fascinating, or what? Next up, Answering Questions from Scott:

  1. What’s the worst pick up line you’ve heard? “Pardon me, do you have any raisins? No? How about a date?” Thankfully, it wasn’t used on me.
  2. What’s the worst pick up line you’ve used? All mine are gems.
  3. Where do you see yourself in five years? I don’t have a 5-year plan right now, and it’s simultaneously terrifying and exciting.
  4. Do you pick your nose? Yep. So do you.
  5. How awesome am I? You’re pretty awesome, although your tagging me with this game is making me reconsider…
  6. Who is someone you admire greatly? This is a long list, but the first person to come to mind is my friend Katherine. She’s brave, intelligent, poised, hilarious, and I’m lucky to have her in my life.
  7. Do you think that Tony the Tiger is sexy? He’s sexier than Cap’n Crunch, but not as sexy as the Brawny paper towel dude.
  8. Favorite place to eat? Hugo’s in Studio City, CA; or a chipati at Pizza House in Ann Arbor, MI.
  9. David Hasselhoff or Tom Selleck? I met Tom Selleck, briefly, so he gets my vote.
  10. What is the furthest you have traveled from home? Sweden.
  11. Do you like me? Sure do!

And now, Questions from Steve:

  1. What is something that you have done, or would like to do, that most would consider to be out of character for you? Haven’t done it yet, but I’m considering rocking a mohawk of some kind.
  2. What is your favorite movie? I have a top 5, and I can’t narrow it down beyond that: “Edward Scissorhands,” “Fargo,” “Paper Moon,” “Babe,” and “Marvin’s Room.”
  3. What is a fitnessy/athletic/sporty type thing that you’d like to try, but haven’t yet? Dog Sledding. It’s not that popular in southern California for some reason.
  4. If you won a million dollars today, what is the first thing you would buy that costs less than $10,000? A new TV.
  5. If you won a million dollars today, what is the first thing you would buy that costs over $100,000? I’d pay off the rest of my mortgage.
  6. Do you prefer beer, wine, or liquor? I drink very rarely nowadays, but I prefer white wine and liquor.
  7. Favorite restaurant? See above.
  8. Favorite thing to order from said restaurant? See above.
  9. What is the first song in your iTunes (or whatever you use) “Top 25 Most Played” playlist? “Push That Knot Away” by KT Tunstall.
  10. What was your first cell phone? A big ol’ Samsung dealie that I got in 1998/1999.
  11. Favorite quote? RuPaul: “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Ok, I just spent waaaaaay too much time answering those questions. There are rules to this whole thing, and I’m supposed to tag eleven people and give them eleven questions to answer, but screw it. I’ve had enough. I’m going to open this up to everyone. If you’d like to share eleven random things about yourself (or just one or two), or answer Scott or Steve’s questions, than go for it! You can do it in the comments section, or you can do it on your own blog or Facebook page (or G+ page, if that’s your social network of choice), and post a link to it in the comments section here. Knock yourself out!

Time for me to do some laundry. I’ve been on a good exercise streak lately, and I’m completely out of clean workout clothes. That’s a good problem to have!

Keep it up, David!


Burpee Update, Chart Update

November 16, 2011

Two different updates today.

1) Burpees Update. Remember when I committed to the No Excuses 30-Day Burpees Challenge? It’s a workout challenge hatched by Scott over at Your Inner Skinny where you do burpees every single day for a month, adding one burpee each day. I was feeling a bit in a rut when the challenge began, and even though I hate burpees, I made the commitment as a way to push myself into doing something new.

Tomorrow would have been my 30th day, but I’ll cut to the chase: I abandoned the challenge a long time ago. I dropped it like a prom dress. In the end, my dislike of burpees won out, and after missing a couple days of burpees, I couldn’t rally to get back on the burpee train. The 10K didn’t help, either, as it was a workout goal that really excited me, so I had no problem focusing on that and letting the burpees slide.

I did complete 14 days of burpees before pulling the plug, and I had worked my way up to 28 burpees on that 14th day. Add in the 4 days of practice burpees before the challenge actually began, and I completed 361 burpees. I can be proud of that, and proud that I’m man enough to share my shortcomings, even if I’m not proud of my quitting.

I’m also a little worried that Scott, once he reads this, is gonna emerge from his northern Canadian igloo, strap on his snowshoes, and find his way down to Los Angeles to kick my ass. And he totally could – that guy is jacked. Better sleep with one eye open.

2) Chart Update. Stepped on the scale yesterday, and I liked what I saw. Here’s the update on my weight loss chart:

Down 1 pound! Not to sound like a snot, but I should hope so. I worked my ass off last week, pushing myself while training for my 10K, and then actually running that 10K. What I’m most happy about is that I’ve turned around my recent slow gain:

I’ve lost 1 of the 5 pounds I gained over the 6 weeks. Four more to go! A weight of 236 puts my total weight loss at 166 pounds. A couple more weight loss chart shots, because I know you love ’em (and so do I):

Keep it up, David!

TOMORROW: My recipe for a healthy, delicious fall salad!

My Old Roommate is BAAAAAACK!

October 25, 2011

I’ll start with a few quickie updates:

1) Guest Post. I wrote a guest post for my friend Kenlie at All The Weigh that she published today. Click here to see the post, which is my recipe for healthy crab and shrimp cakes. Then, stay and poke around Kenlie’s site – she’s a great writer and has lost a ton of weight, and I have a hunch you might find her inspiring.

2) Burpees. Last week, I committed myself to completing Your Inner Skinny’s No Excuses 30-Day Burpee Challenge. I started with 15 burpees the first day, and will add 1 additional burpee each day for a month. Burpees are terrible. They’re a hellish combination of push-ups and vertical jumps, and I hate them, which is why I’m doing the challenge – to push myself at something I normally wouldn’t do. Tuesday marks Day 9 of the Challenge – I’m almost one-third of the way done! – and later today I’ll be doing 23 burpees. That means I’ve already completed 8 days of burpees, which add up to a total of 148 burpees! Here’s what really freaks me out: by the time this challenge is all over, I’ll have completed an astounding 930 burpees. HOLY SHIT! (Pardon my french.)

OKAY – with the updates out of the way, let’s move on… I’m back on a brussel sprouts kick. It had been a long time since I had eaten brussel sprouts, but when I made the dijon brussel sprouts not too long ago, I remembered how much I love them. So, some sauteed brussel sprouts (with a balsamic dressing glaze) will be part of my lunch today, and I also have a new roommate.

I had a roommate around this time last fall – it was a delightful brussel sprouts stalk. It was the first time I’d ever seen a brussel sprouts stalk in person, and I fell in love instantly at the store, and brought one home to live with me. The stalk proved to be a valuable addition to my household (it sorted coupons and helped with the laundry), even though the living arrangement didn’t last long, as the brussel sprouts ultimately ended up in my stomach.

A few days ago, I saw brussel sprout stalks at the store, and fell in love all over again. Time to bring another one home! Look, my new roommate:

I don’t know why I think these are one of the coolest things in the world, but I do!

Turns out this brussel sprout stalk couldn’t be more different than its predecessor. Whereas my first brussel sprout stalk roommate was helpful and considerate, this one is a big pain in the ass. It borrows my shoes without asking…

…is always pestering me to go swimming….

…and beats me at Scrabble every single time!

My patience is already wearing thin for this brussel sprout stalk. Methinks it might meet its destiny (in my digestive tract) sooner rather than later!

Before I go, I just wanna give a heads up: Tomorrow, I’m going to weigh myself for the first time in three weeks. I moved my scale from the bathroom floor to the top shelf of my closet after my last weigh-in, as I was beginning to obsess over numbers, but now I’m really antsy to see what how I’ve been doing. At the last weigh-in, I was still up 1 pound from my all-time low, and during these three weeks, I’ve been eating well and exercising, so I’m hoping that pound will be gone, and possibly another pound on top of it. I’ll share the news in my next post.

Keep it up, David!

A Day of Firsts

October 17, 2011

Happy Monday!  It’s been a day of firsts for me.

First #1 – New Job.  I got a new job.  “Job” might be overselling it just a little bit – I was asked to help out on a project for the next couple weeks.  So, I’m gainfully employed for the time being.  It happened very quickly:  I got the call at the end of the day on Friday, and my first day was today.

Some associated firsts:

It was my first day in an office that was in a building I’ve never been in before.  The building is known around town for its biggest tenant, an entertainment company with a name that doesn’t mesh well with healthy eaters like me.  I’ll let the signage on the side of the building take it from here:

Yep, I work in the Cookie Jar building.  And guess what I saw in the Cookie Jar building?  COOKIES!

Take a close look – that’s four different types of Oreos on a shelf in the kitchen.  Three of those types I’ve never tried before.  One of those types has a name that I’ve only ever seen on toothpaste bottles before (Cool Mint, I’m talking about you).  I’m going to eat none of them.  One big reason is that I don’t want to.  Another big reason is because the people working on my project have been banned from the Oreo kitchen, as it’s only intended for staffers on another project, which happens to be a drama that airs on a major television network.  (We have our own kitchen, don’t you worry.  It’s Oreo-free, too.)

Today was also the first day that I brought my lunch with me to work:

That’s broccoli and cauliflower (raw) in the back, and that yogurt container is mostly empty, except for 6 or so ounces of yogurt, so I topped it off with strawberries and nectarine pieces.  I also brought a big container of leftovers from this weekend, but that’s purposefully left out of the picture because it’s a recipe that I intend to share on the blog, but I haven’t done it yet.  That’s right, I’m a tease.

First #2 – New Phone.  It’s my first full day with my new iPhone!  It’s my first iPhone – I used a Blackberry before this, until it died this weekend.  Dead.  Kaput.  I love my iPhone so far, and the camera is great – so much better than the Blackberry camera.  All the photos in this post are iPhone photos.  I can get used to not carrying around a camera and a phone – which is good, because in addition to my Blackberry, my camera also died.  I’m pretty sure it just needs a new battery.  I hope it just needs a new battery.

First #3 – The Insider.  It was my first time (in years) watching The Insider.  Like a mentioned a few days ago (and on Facebook and Twitter), there was a chance I might have been on TV, during a piece about Richard Simmons, but I was left on the editing room floor.  It’s no big whoop.  I suspected that might happen.  I’ve had my share of television appearances that I’m mighty proud about.

First #4 – Burpee Challenge.  You may recall Friday’s post about burpees – about how I hate them, and how Scott over at Your Inner Skinny was about to issue some sort of fitness challenge that would involve them.  Since I need to goose my workouts, I stepped up and started, on Thursday night, doing 15 burpees a day.  I did four days of this, and then, last night, Scott posted the actual challenge.  Turns out 15 burpees is only the schedule for the first day.  Every day after that, for 30 days straight, you’re supposed to add 1 burpee, meaning that by day 30, you’re doing 45 burpees!  FORTY-FIVE BURPEES!  The thought of that makes me want to lie down and never get up.  But I’m up for the challenge, sadistic as it is, so today marks the official first day of NO EXCUSES 30 DAY BURPEE CHALLENGE!

Want to join in?  A few of you have pledged to join in already – and I’m excited for that!  You don’t have to commit to starting with 15 burpees.  Check out this post on Scott’s blog – he offers variations on the challenge for people of all levels, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve worked out your whole life or are new to it, there’s a version for you.  Scott also made a great video – watch it here – where he demonstrates 5 different types of burpees, from beginner burpees to advanced burpees, so you can see exactly what a burpee is and how to do it correctly.  If you’re on Twitter, you can join in the Burpee conversation by using this hashtag: #noexcusesYIS

Day 1 of the Burpee Challenge is DONE.  That’s 15 burpees.  Tomorrow is 16 burpees.  I think I can manage that, too.

Keep it up, David!


October 14, 2011

Quick Breaking News: I might be on TV next week!  Earlier today, I was briefly interviewed by a crew from “The Insider” for a piece they’re doing on Richard Simmons.  If I don’t end up on the cutting room floor, look for me next Monday, October 17, 2011.  Set your TiVos and DVRs!

Do you know what a burpee is?  It’s an awful, terrible, torturous type of exercise, which means, naturally, that it’s a fantastic, effective, wondrous type of exercise.  There are two main elements to a burpee:  first, from a standing position, you leap as high as you can in the air.  As soon as your feet hit the ground, you push them out behind you and fall into a push-up position, for the second element: a singular push-up.  Once that push-up is complete, you pull your feet back under you and spring straight up from the ground into the first element, the leap.  Then you drop back down, do a push-up, and continue like this, alternating from standing leap to push-up again and again and again and again and again and again and again.

Doesn’t that just sound awful?  Believe me, they are.  But they also use your entire body and are completely exhausting, which is why they’re such a great thing to add to your workout.

I did my first set of burpees back in February of this year, at one of my first boot camp classes with Craig Ramsay.  I hated them from the beginning.  Throughout the year, I’ve done burpees a few more times, always in Craig’s classes, and never ever on my own.  Why inflect such cruelty on myself?

A month ago, due to some purse strings that needed tightening, I had to give up (for now) working with Craig.  I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve done a burpee.  At least a few months.  I can’t recall the last time I’ve even thought about burpees.

Then, yesterday, I read “No Excuses,” the most recent post on a blog called Your Inner Skinny.  A guy named Scott writes the blog, which I’ve been reading for a long time.  Scott has lost and kept off over 100 pounds – check out how awesome he looks:

Sorry, Scott, for stealing - er, I mean BORROWING this from your website!

Photo Source.

Like me, Scott blogs to motivate himself and keep himself accountable, and, like me, he prefers variety in his exercise (for him, it’s a lot of sports in addition to hitting the gym).  Plus, he lives in a town way up near the Arctic Circle in Canada, and I like having a connection to different parts of the world, even if it’s just a guy who inspires me and will occasionally respond to my dumb jokes on Twitter.

Scott wrote something in his post yesterday that struck a chord.  He wrote about falling off and on the wagon many times over the past 6 months, and then he wrote this:

“I know how to lose weight successfully and I just haven’t been doing it.  It’s time to burn down the wagon and stop making excuses and start feeling better about myself.”

Amen, brother!  Then he issued a challenge to himself, and invited his readers to join in.  He’s going to set a goal to complete something fitness-related every day for a month.  He hasn’t actually selected what his challenge will be, but he threw out some examples:

“It could be to do 15 burpees every day for a month.  Or run at least 3 km every day for a month.”

There’s that word: BURPEES.  I read that sentence and my heart stopped, just for a second.  Fifteen burpees every day for a month?  I can’t think of anything worse.

So, I’m doing it.  I’m ready for a new exercise goal, since I just reached my last one a few weekends ago.  We’ll see what Scott’s challenge ends up being, but for me, 15 burpees every day for a month will be challenging enough.  And every time I think about how difficult they are, I’ll think about how Scott, that athletic bastard, can do them with only one leg.  Seriously.  Check out this video Scott posted on YouTube last year (the one-legged burpees begin at the 1:30 mark):

I just completed my first day of burpees.  They were brutal.  I had a take a few super short breaks, because I couldn’t do fifteen in a row.  But that’s okay.  I did all fifteen.

Tomorrow, I’ll do fifteen more.

Keep it up, David!

Keep checking back to Scott’s blog for more info on his month-long challenge, and join in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag Scott created: #noexcusesYIS