An Epic Epidemic

There is an epidemic that is sweeping the nation, possibly the world. It’s an affliction that is spreading like wildfire throughout the populous affecting us at every age, from the very young to the moderately middle aged.

It came on quietly. At first no one really knew about it, and then slowly but surely it became more and more prevalent.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your humble blogger has been affected by this affliction. I thought I was safe. I thought I’d be immune, but alas, it has proven not to be so. Yes, there’s been a twinge in the back here, a stab in the knees there, while visiting with others who’ve been afflicted, but till now I have not fallen fully prey. This is no longer the case.

Yes folks, it is true. I am officially one of the masses who have become afflicted with the dreaded Wii Arm! But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no. I am also suffering from Wii Shoulder and Wii Wrist. And Wii neck. And Wii back. And Wii thighs. In fact most of my Wii body has been affected by the Wii affliction.

But on a happier note, since setting up my new Wii this weekend, I beat those smug Mii sons-of-bitches Matt and Miyu a couple times at Wii Tennis, and my Wii Bowling game is getting pretty good, though I was pretty worn out at the end and my score began to trail off. I’m a pretty terrible Wii Boxer and I hit mostly foul balls at Wii Baseball… When I hit the ball, at all… As for Wii Golf, well, I’d say, considering my only previous experience with Golf was at my local Putt Putt, I’m doing quite well.

I’m surprised and impressed by how much playing Wii Sports gets your system going and works up a sweat, so I’d say it was a good investment. Now if I can just get the cat to recognize that if he doesn’t stay out of the way while I’m Wii Bowling, he just might be taking a Wii trip down the Wii lanes along with my virtual Wii Bowling Ball.

An Important Note to Self

A few weeks ago, I walked into my local, preferred grocery store and bought a handful of groceries to make salads for lunch.

The next day as I was eating the salad I had made I looked at the bottle of dressing I was using and lo and behold the expiration date on the bottle was a month earlier. Thanks Lucky’s!

I returned the bottle that saturday when I did my grocery shopping for the week and as I was halfway through the store, it occurred to me that I should probably check the dates on my packages to be sure that everything was fresh.  Things were looking good until I got to the package of pre-cooked chicken I had put in the cart and saw that it was dated for Feruary 14, 2009.  It was mid March.

This past Wednesday I went to the same store for a few items and included in that puchase was a package of sliced almonds.  I got home, made the salad they were going to go on and tasted a handful of them only to find that they don’t taste terribly fresh.  I looked at the package and noticed that the expiration date on it was “09 FEB 11”.  ‘Dammit’ I thought, ‘what is up with this store!!!’

I took the almonds back to the store for a refund.  I wasn’t hateful to the clerk but I was clearly annoyed.  I told her, “This is the third time in a month I’ve found something here that was expired. When I went through to do my shopping and I looked at the dates on the almonds, only to find that they all were labled with an expiration date of “09 FEB 11”.

Note to self:  Next time you’re ready to yell at the grocery store clerk, remember that “09 FEB 11” actually means the nuts expire on February 9, 2011 and not February 11, 2009 as originally thought….Douche!

Disappointment and Revenge

disappointmentIn slightly less than two months I will be “celebrating” my seventh anniversary working for The Company that Created the HMO.  Very shortly after starting this job, I discovered a local deli that has the best sandwiches this side of the Big Apple.

Not long after starting this job, Green M&M and I decided to join Weight Watchers.  We’re both overweight and we both wanted to do something about it.  At the time that we joined Weight Watchers they were pushing their points program where you’re allotted a certain number of points depending on your current weight and can “earn” additional points for physical activity.

I had become very fond of this chicken sandwich that my little deli makes with broiled chicken breast and melted cheese.  I always got mine on a Sourdough Roll which must be about ten inches long, with Dijon Mustard, Jack Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Onions and Alfalfa Sprouts.  Let me tell you, this sandwich is awesome!  When Green and I were on Weight Watchers I did an estimation of how many points this thing must be and I estimated it at 11 points.  If you’re familiar with this program you know, that’s a lot of points and if you’re not familiar with the program it may not sound like a lot but when you consider I was only allotted about 34 points and I was an “active drinker” then (as opposed to a passive(?) drinker now) I needed to save the points for the all important vodka tonics (diet tonic thank you very much!) and wine that I’d be having in the evening.    Needless to say, the diet failed and I gave up a long time ago which is neither here nor there for the story I’m trying to tell.

This deli is three blocks away from my office building, on the same street and less than a block from our sister building where evil lives, and they are always very busy with a long line (The deli, not the sister building where evil lives.)  The sandwiches are awesome, but sometimes it’s really not worth the trip and the hassle.

Sometime around mid October brown paper went up in the windows of the previously vacant store front diagonally across the street from my building and not long after that, a logo went up in the window indicating that this location was going to be either a new, or an additional location, of the deli with the 11 point sandwich I enjoy so much.

One day in October, I asked the owner, Emil, “When is the new location going to open?”

“Soon,” he replied, “Hopefully next week.”

“Great!  I can’t wait.  Is it a second location or a new location?”

“It’s a second location,” he told me.

A few weeks passed and the new location hadn’t opened yet.  “Emil!  When is the other shop going to open?”  It was the second week of November.  I enjoy my 11 point sandwich but I don’t want to make the trip and be near the axis of evil if I don’t have to.

“End of the month,” he told me matter-of-factly.

“Great!  I can’t wait,” I tell him enthusiastically.

A few more weeks passed.  Thanksgiving came and went.  It was the middle of December.  “Hey, Emil!  Seriously!  When is the new shop gonna open?” I asked, ribbing the good-natured restaurateur.

Emil shakes his head now, “Oh, I don’t know Kevin.  I hope soon.”  He seems a little distraught about the subject, but I opt not to engage.

“OK.  Good.  I can’t wait!”  If I can get my 11 point chicken sandwich and not have to walk the three blocks and be anywhere near the evil fortress, I’m happy.

Mid January I walk into the existing location for the deli.  I want my sandwich and I’m just not going to hassle Emil this time.  Emil, is no where in sight.

This past Friday, The Unsvelt Girl who Runs and I went to lunch.  She had to go to one of the other buildings where The Company that Created the HMO has leased space which we are currently responsible for.  We walked to the building six blocks away and then went to a hoagie place across the street.  While we’re eating, The Unsvelt Girl says, “Oh, the new Aroma’s opened today.  There was a line of people out the door this morning when I went out for coffee.”

“Now you tell me?  Why didn’t we go there?”  As long as I’ve been waiting you’d think I’d be there the first day.

“Because there was a line of people out the door!” She replied, and I must say, there’s a certain logic in that argument.

“Fair enough,” I reply.  “It’s going to be after lunch when we walk back by there.  Can we just stick our head’s in and see what’s new?”

“Sure,” she says.  And so as we walked by the new location on the way back to the office we stuck our heads in the door to see what’s new.  The new restaurant is beautiful, all new modern fixtures, nice marble slab counters.  Nice and modern.  Still no real seating, but that’s fine I guess, it is supposed to be a deli after all.  But I zoned in on the menu board and saw the magic word that at once thrills and terrifies me.  The new Aroma’s, or Aroma’s East, as I call it, because it’s a straight shot, three blocks east, down the street from the original restaurant, has a nice selection of Gelato in addition to a plethora of bakery type confections all of which call to me relentlessly, desiring me to come in and submit to them with reckless abandon.

We left the restaurant and returned to the office quaking in our little space boots in sheer terror of the evil with which we’d just come face to face.

Today, being low on funds, and not wanting to take a lunch break, thus prolonging the length of time I’d have to spend in the office, I ate a bowl of Kraft Easy-Mac for lunch.  Not at all surprising, this did not satisfy me for very long.  I have a bowl of microwave chili, which I wanted to save for another day, in my drawer so I was trying to decide on a solution to the hunger that crept upon me a couple ours later.  I could go to the little convenience store in the lobby and look for something but I’d almost certainly end up with something much more fattening and calorie laden then what I really wanted.  And then it hit me, “Wait!  Aroma’s East is open!  I’ll run over there and get a sandwich.  Just nothing so substantial as my usual 11 point chicken sandwich.

So away I went, off to the awesome new location of my favorite little deli from which I’m sure to order many an 11 point chicken sandwich.  I walked into the deli and looked up at the menu board… But wait, there was no 11 point chicken sandwich.  No matter, right?  I mean, it’s the same restaurant, they must have the same things, right?

Emil greeted me, “Hello, Kevin!  What can I get you?”

“Well… I don’t know?  You guys aren’t making regular sandwiches here?”

“Yeah,” he enthused, “we have panini’s.  We’ve got chicken… roast beef… I’ve got an Aroma panini still.  That’s vegetarian.”

“Yuck,” I reply without thinking.  “Yeah, I see the panini’s but you’re not going to have, you know, regular sandwiches.  Like you have at the other place?”

Emil looks at me with a blank stare for a minute.

“If I want a regular sandwich like I always get, I can’t get it here?” I ask.

“Oh.  No.”

“I have to walk up to the other place?”  I ask.  I’m still in disbelief.

“Yeah,” he answers taking on a slightly impish grin, as if somehow this will get him out of the very deep trouble he’s in with me and which matters not one iota to anyone else.  This is most disappointing.  After all the anticipation, this new location does not do me any good and might do me harm!

“But I wanted a BLT.”  Surely, if I keep pushing it he’ll bend.

“I don’t have that,” is his simple reply.  This is not going the way I wanted.  “Don’t you like chicken?  I have chicken panini’s”

Don’t I like chicken!?!” I think to myself astonished.  “Don’t I like chicken!?! I’ve been getting the same damn 11 point chicken sandwich with nary a variation for seven years! menu_cheesecake_godivachocolate1Don’t I like chicken?  Of course I like chicken.  But today, I don’t want chicken.  I want a damn BLT!”

“I already ate once today.   I mean I already ate lunch once today, I don’t want all that!” I answered…

So I ordered a piece of chocolate cheesecake instead.

I guess I showed him!

Results Not Typical

I was checking my Hotmail earlier today and I looked at the top of the screen at the ad that was there.  This is what I saw:

results“Results not typical” it says.

Well, isn’t it convenient that Marie’s results just happened to come out the way they hoped they would.  Because I’m certain that they put her through the same paces that Betty Lou Boyd in Boise goes through as she attempts to do this program all on her own.  I’m certain that Marie Osmond didn’t have any special guidance or assistance of any kind while she was on the program.  And I’m sure the photo used for this ad wasn’t doctored in any way shape or form.

Obviously, certain people are born to be stars, and if you can’t identify them any other way, just get ’em fat and then put ’em on a commercial weight loss program and see how they do.  If their results are “not typical” then sure enough they were born to be a star.

I know I’m cynical, but come on!  Marie didn’t lose 40 p0unds all by her lonesome, simply by following the NutriSystem program without any guidance or extra hand holding.  She probably had (or has) a personal trainer to put her through the paces on the exercise side of things.  And by it’s very nature, she didn’t learn anything from NutriSystem while in the process.  Sure she got her food preordained, possibly even blessed by Joseph Smith himself.  And yes, she probably took note of the fact that the portion sizes were smaller than what she was accustomed too.  She might even have noticed that exercises (if she didn’t get it already) helped speed things along.  But did anyone actually teach her how to keep the momentum going after she got off the preordained, prepackaged, presumably preservative laden meals?  Was there any emphasis on why these items were better and how she could stick to it after she was finished?

The reason why the vast majority of weight loss programs ultimately fail (Kirsty Alley) is because people deprive themselves of their favorite items, their comfort foods, having been told “Starch bad – protein good.”  But nobody taught them what that means or how they can incorporate both into their lives and live a healthy life style.  So they follow the “simple” plan that the weight loss guru du jour laid out for them and one of two things happen.  Either they burn out early and give up before reaching their goal (that’s me) or they reach their goal maintain it for a little while and then slowly start creeping back up to their original weight (anyone seen Oprah lately, God love her?)

Just once, I’d like to see an ad like the one above where the person is still puffy, but not as big as the used to be and the ad says, “I’ve lost 20 pounds of the 60 I’m shooting for and it’s only taken me 4 months to do it!  This program is slow as hell and it drives me crazy but I’m learning and it’s getting easier….  Results completely typical”

Is that really so much to ask?

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry, You Better Not Pout, I’m Telling You Why

Four years ago, Green M&M and I went to Los Angeles to spend New Years.  The trip was a lot of fun…  Well up until the end when we were in a serious car accident on the way home from the airport after the trip, but that’s another story.

As I said, most of the trip was actually pretty good.  We took in a lot of sites and had a lot of good meals.  On one of those occasions we went to The Beverly Center to have a meal and do a little shopping, or so we thought.  There is a restaurant of sorts in the center court of the shopping center where Green M&M and I went for lunch.  It was the only time in my life that I felt, without any one saying or doing anything to me, like I was not supposed to be there.  Every one, and I do mean EVERYONE in Beverly Hills is rich, beautiful, and thin.  Green and I both felt fatter than usual (we’re both over-weight) and tragically unhip.  I was surprised and disappointed that The Beverly Center and all the people in it truly lived up to the hype of Beverly Hills.

So you can imagine how not surprised I was to see this yesterday:

Hunky Santa at the mall is sooooo L.A.

Instead of a bowl full of jelly, shoppers drink in St. Nick’s six-pack abs
By Laura T. Coffey

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus has abs of steel.

Or at least this one does.

hunky-santa

Image: Hunky Santa Hunky Santa — played by Eli Wilhide, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound 31-year-old who has appeared on “CSI: Miami” — is wowing crowds at a Los Angeles mall this year.

Leave it to Los Angeles to concoct a wild plot twist involving the role of the traditional mall Santa. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the holiday season, Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Girls dance and delight throngs of shoppers at the Beverly Center mall. (The standard jolly and rotund Kris Kringle appears at the mall during the week and midday on weekends.)

A big bonus for the big kids who flock to see Hunky Santa: Hopping onto Hunky’s lap and telling him what they want for Christmas.

The advice doesn’t stop there, though. Hunky Santa — played by Eli Wilhide, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound 31-year-old who has appeared on “CSI: Miami” — takes the time to dispense tips on nutrition and exercise, share gift ideas for guys who don’t know what to get their girlfriends or wives, and give all-around guidance about how to stay upbeat and healthy over the hectic holiday season.

“If I can make somebody feel better about what they put in their body and help them live longer and have more energy, that’s great,” Hunky told the Los Angeles Times.

Those biceps are no accident
Hunky also told the Times that he religiously exercises every morning — “I like a fresh, healthy glow before work” — and he shed some light on the kind of diet it takes to maintain a physique like that:

“Right after I work out, I try to have something right away, usually a protein shake with whey protein, and a piece of fruit. I try to eat every two to three hours, and my staple meal is chicken and broccoli. When I know I have to go somewhere, I’ll put some oatmeal with protein powder and berries in a container with an ice pack and snack on that. Basically, I try to eat a lean meat source and vegetables and brown rice — six small meals a day.”

So where did the mall find this guy? The process wasn’t easy. The Beverly Center has been featuring a Hunky Santa for several years now, but this year mall officials conducted what they described as “an exhaustive two-month search” for the perfect specimen. After analyzing the credentials and muscle mass of more than 350 applicants, they knew they had found their man in Wilhide.

‘Illegally gorgeous’
A kinesiology and nutrition major at the University of Maryland, Wilhide worked as a motivational speaker alongside inspirational life coach Tony Robbins for more than three years. These days he’s pursuing a career in acting. In addition to “CSI: Miami,” Wilhide has appeared on Disney’s “The Suite Life on Deck.” He told the Times that he recently read a script for “Days of Our Lives.”

While he waits to hit it big in the acting world, Wilhide is getting lots of love from lots of fans in his role as Hunky Santa. He wears red velvet pants, black shiny boots, a red velvet hat and a fur-trimmed coat that’s open and sleeveless. What better way to flaunt those muscles?

He’s “gorgeous,” said one woman who recently posed for a photo on his lap. “Illegally gorgeous.”

So on this fateful trip to Los Angeles, we stayed at the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown LA.  This hotel has appeared in numerous movies, most notable in my mind being Nick of Time.  Now you’d think that a hotel that is so commonly shown in movies would be a pretty great place to stay.  Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.  First of all the hotel charges guests for parking, and they charge a lot, which since it’s located in downtown LA is a racket.  You have to rent a car if you intend to get around at all.  Secondly the hotel doesn’t look like it’s been renovated in twenty years.  All the fixtures and appointments in the main lobby look like they were original to the construction of the building.

One of the trade marks of a Bonaventure hotel is the glass elevators that run on the outside of the building.  I’m sure this makes a lot of people happy and they enjoy the views of the surrounding area (though in downtown Los Angeles there’s not much to look at besides the buildings next to it) I on the other hand do not love the glass elevators.  Nor do I like the looks I get from the people when the elevator stops on a floor and they’re trying to get through the amply sized doors, while I’m standing next to the doors.  I don’t know what I thought it was going to benefit me to be right next to the doors if the elevator plummeted off the side of the building, but I felt safer there and in my mind anyway, the floor felt a little thicker and more stable under my feet there by the door, as opposed to be the windows.  I didn’t really care about the looks I was getting, I was NOT going to move!

We checked into the hotel on December 29th and got a room only a few floors down from the top.  As we went to our elevator bank we noticed that one of the elevators was out of service.  There are three per tower.  We got up to our floor and found our room.  Boy was that a surprise.  The rooms you see in the movies are, of course, usually suites, but you think you get an idea of the hotels based on what you see.  In this case I was grossly mistaken.  The room was smaller than small.  The beds were tiny, they were “full” beds but they were shorter than usual to fit in the room.  I’m 6’1″ and when I laid out flat on the bed my legs were halfway to my knees sticking off the foot of the bed.

On New Year’s Eve when we were heading out to dinner, we had to wait for what seemed an eternity in the elevator lobby waiting for the elevator to come and get us.  When it finally did, it was crammed full.  I did NOT want to get in this fully loaded glass elevator but we’d been waiting for a very long time so I figured I’d take my chances.  If it was my time to die, it was my time to die.  As the elevator was going down, more and more people got on board.  Finally, it stopped on the 10th floor and as the doors were closing after more people packed on, the elevator dropped a few feet without warning.  Fortunately, that was the last time it stopped until we reached the ground floor and I could not get off that elevator fast enough, let alone find a bar fast enough.  After I got up from the floor where I was kissing the ground, I noticed that the other two elevators had out of order signs on them.  And, you know, what better time to have two elevators out of service than on New Year’s Eve?

This year we’re going to Las Vegas and we plan to have a excellent time!

Ahhh, Push Up

Blast my gullibility!

I was recently challenged to a push up challenge by the Unsvelt Girl Who Runs.  She totally tricked me.  But I’m going with it.  This morning when I was planning my day and trying to decided when I was going to do my “Initial Test” to see how many push ups I could do, I decided that the logic behind the program was sound and I decided to take the same science and do “one hundred crunches” in six weeks too.

One of these days, I hope to become a man and be able to do men’s push ups but for now, I’m just going to have to settle for doing modified push-ups (I couldn’t even do one real push-up) and with that in mind here’s where things stand:

Initial test results:

Modified Push-ups:  3

Crunches:  30 (thank God it’s double digits)

The plan for tomorrow:

Set 1:  Modified Push-ups 2, Crunches 10

Set 2:  Modified Push-ups 3, Crunches 12

Set 3:  Modified Push-ups 2, Crunches 7

Set 4:  Modified Push-ups 2, Crunches 7

Set 5:  Modified Push-ups, as many as I can “max” (at least 3), Crunches, Max (at least 9)

As things stand today, I’m 6’1″ and, I’m very sorry to confess, nearly 300 pounds.  I’m very “lucky” in that I “carry my weight very well”.  I have to put that in quotes because I learned a few years ago that “carry my weight well” really just means that most of my fat is inside of my abdominal wall (on my organs) instead of outside my abdominal wall, which is far less healthy.  Anyway, wouldn’t it be fabulous if six weeks from now, I had a far more trim, far more healthy torso, with some amount of muscular definition to show for my efforts?  I’m just really sick of the image I see looking back at me in the mirror and I’d really like to see it change.

My thinking is that by the end of the six weeks I should be able to do men’s push-ups and I will start the challenge over with doing real push-ups.  Maybe I’ll trade the crunces in for full-on sit ups too.