Fitness vs. Fatness: Find my way around

I was up way too late last night playing video games. What can I say? When the clan is on, you’ve got to be on. It doesn’t matter if they are a time zone or two behind. They are an unforgiving bunch.

'What was that you were saying about not wanting to play tonight?'

Some time after 2 AM I finally hit the hay.

Since my old apartment didn’t have a window in my bedroom (it just had a glass panel into the living room), I’m still getting used to having a massive window over my bed. I mean that in the best way possible though. I actually wake up early for work some days now because I naturally wake up as the sun comes in. Today was no different and I woke up earlier than anticipated courtesy of a beautiful morning.

After messing around on the interwebz for a while and making some steel cut oats (2 cups boiling water, 1/2 cup oats, 3 tbsp brown sugar, splash of milk), I put on my increasingly smelly gym wear (What? I don’t have a washing machine…I have to make it last) and went around the corner to the gym.

In an episode of “It’s Always Sunny”, Dennis insists that Mac doesn’t have the core strength to scale the Phillie’s stadium, because he only works the glamor muscles. Now that I’m enrolled in a real gym and have become a “real adult”, I’ve decided it’s time for me to stop focusing solely on the glamor muscles as well. No more college-era workouts where I would solely do biceps and abs every day.

In order to maintain a more well-rounded regime, I’ve been rotating through my muscle groups each day and trying to switch up my cardio routines. In lieu of running all the time, I’m trying to row and bike on alternating days as well. Today happened to be a running day anyway, so I ran and did a series of biceps and triceps exercises. Then, I did a workout on the heavy bag and speed bag in the boxing room. I’ve never bothered with that stuff before, since I was a little embarrassed about having no idea what I was doing, but an empty room does wonders for confidence. I think I’ll do boxing stuff once or twice a week now; it is an excellent stress reliever.

See? Totally laid back.

After the gym, I came home, dropped one backpack, picked up a bigger one, and carried my bike out of the apartment. Since I moved to Baltimore, I’ve been putting off taking my bike out. No matter how many places I went to in DC, I was just unreasonably nervous about getting hit by a car and navigating the new city. With a plethora of time today, I decided it was time to break down that wall altogether. After all, I knew that if I did it once, I’d be comfortable with it forever.

I took the bike down to Harbor East, where there is a Whole Foods, to grab groceries for the week. Everything JUST fit in my backpack (granted, insisting on getting a watermelon wasn’t the best way to conserve space) and I headed back towards my apartment.

'Hey, it looks like my wallet has been working out too. It's getting thinner'

I learned two valuable lessons on that ride back.

1)Groceries are heavy. Heaviness on a bike is tiring. Legs that have been thoroughly worked out one day previously do not like tiring bike rides.

2)Whole Foods is very much downhill from where I live. Where I live is very much uphill from Whole Foods.

Despite mounting levels of exhaustion, it was nice to get in a little unexpected workout coming home. Getting the bike and bulging backpack back inside the narrow, heavy doors, however, was another doozy. It reminds me of a line from BTMI’s newest album.

Ride the seven blocks to Boerum, carry my bike up two floors, situate the crowded hallway, limp and waddle through my door, throw the package onto my bed and start investigating sores. The cuts are bigger than expected. I guess I shouldn’t have worn shorts. -BTMI

Now that I think of it, I want to listen to that song. As he often does, Jeff writes lyrics that I swear are taken directly out of a day in my life. Anyway, hooray for another adventure completed in Baltimore. Now I just need to decide what’s for lunch and what movie I would like to watch that I’ve been putting off. Tough life, I know.


Stuff That I Like: People who know how to use smartphones

From time to time, the “rigid” categorization format that I’ve tried to stick with for this blog fails. Case in point: Despite having a category specifically for things that I like, I have not left myself a venue for discussing things that I can’t stand. Meanwhile, I feel that it would be superfluous to add a “Stuff That I Don’t Like” category. Therefore, I will use a loophole in my imaginary system. I’ll just claim to like the polar opposite of whatever it is that I happen to be hating on. So, without further adieu…

Smartphones are spectacular inventions. I’ll be the first to admit that I was quite anti-smartphone for a very long time; however, a year’s worth of daily 3-hour commutes on public transit has brought me around to the idea. Last November, I finally bit the bullet and bought my beloved Droid X. The ability to check e-mail and, more importantly, browse the web has done as much as anything could to make up for the hours of my life that I lose each day to commuting.

Even for people without hellish commutes, I understand that smartphones can still be important. Most people are far more social than I am, so the ability to Tweet, check Facebook, and e-mail without a computer is, I imagine, infinitely helpful. I’m laying all of this out now to make it clear that I don’t hate all smartphone users. But let me tell you what I do hate.

The vast majority of the smartphone owning population seem to have forgotten humanity’s most basic courtesies and survival mechanisms at the hands of their phones. As much as I use my phone, there are two times when I most certainly do not use it: while walking on a crowded sidewalk and while crossing the street (especially when a massive “Don’t walk sign” is flashing).

"Yep, looks like a 'Continue walking and looking down' sign to me."

These habits are particularly irksome because I bike around the city a lot. It’s a sad truth that without the immediate danger of death that a speeding car presents, most people don’t bother to pay attention to what they’re doing.

Now, I’ll admit that a lot of bikers are extremely self-righteous. Believe me, I get just as pissed when a biker going 10 mph sits in the middle of a one lane road. Furthermore, it annoys me when bikers jump from street to sidewalk needlessly, acting like they deserve the right-of-way on both. Nonetheless, I’m driven nearly mad by the daily occurrence of 20 government staffers staring at their phones and stepping directly in front of me while I’m cruising at full speed. It’s not like I don’t obey stop signs and stop lights; people just seem to use their heightened other senses (since they are essentially blind aside from their tiny screen’s electronic glow) to detect the absence of cars, and proceed to jaywalk as they please.

As much as I resent having to swerve around people constantly for their own good, what really ruffles my feathers is people’s reactions. Despite, you know, clearly disobeying the law and foolishly walking around without looking where they are going, everyone still seems to have the audacity to glare at me like I’ve nearly killed them, thusly:

One time morning at 6:00 AM, I had to go onto the sidewalk to bypass a little section of road at the Senate Offices. There was literally only one woman on the sidewalk, who was at least 10 feet away, who suddenly looked up from her phone and promptly yelled “You fucking bastard, get off the sidewalk”. Pretty harsh words, considering that I wasn’t in a part of the city where sidewalk riding is prohibited. Sigh. It’s people like this who really make me want to intentionally crash into the clueless, enraged pedestrians who are too transfixed with their smartphones to watch where they’re going.

Anyway, I just had to vent. Please, please, please try not to be one of these people. I get it, Angry Birds is fun. Play it while you’re sitting on a bench, or the toilet, or anywhere else where you aren’t walking in public. At the very least, don’t mean mug people who almost bump into you while you carve a drunkenly weaving path across the asphalt.

Aside from all this hubbub, I’m pretty excited today. It was my last day of work until the 11th! Not only that, but on the 16th, my bossman is going abroad for 3-4 weeks. Life is good. Tomorrow morning, I’m leaving bright and early to visit my dad and grandparents at their summer house near Chesapeake City. We’ll come back sometime Sunday in order to get ready for a 6:00 AM flight on the 4th to Cali. I’m pretty stoked for K-food galore and some time away from real life. I just hope that I manage to get some good workouts it; I’ve been good for the past 3 weeks or so, getting in 2-3 solid 6-mile runs a week. Gotta prepare for the 4th of Julio holiday weight, you know? I’m not sure how much this will get updated in the interim, but have a splendid long weekend!