Musings: Too much gaming, Harry Potter, and Thanksgiving

Oh blog, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve paid you a visit. I
know that it hasn’t been fair and that we were supposed to spend extra
time together now that I live in Baltimore; however, I’ve been busy.
Really, really busy. You see, Battlefield 3 came out on October 25th.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out on November 11th. I JUST CAN’T
JUGGLE ALL OF THESE THINGS AT ONCE.

Neither could Ned.

Without elaborating too much at this time, the Battlefield series is
my favorite set of multiplayer games ever. The Elder Scrolls series is
my favorite set of single-player games ever. By some cruel coincidence
of fate, their newest entries that I have waited 5 years to play
released mere weeks apart and it has ravaged my productivity.

CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT I AM BUSY?!

Each of the games includes a leveling system, which promotes putting
time into them. For Skyrim, more time means more skills, greater
abilities, etc. In BF3, more times means higher ranks and more
unlocks. More than anything, it’s a competition thing, and we all know
how am I about competition. I’m embarrassed to say how many hours I’ve
played of the two games so far, but I honestly think it’s been longer
than I’ve spent sleeping.

My character, on the other hand, looks remarkably well-rested.

Aside from gaming, I’ve just been going to the gym a lot and eating
like a hobo, trying to plug away some extra savings.  This past
weekend, the three best friends got together to have a
mini-Thanksgiving/Harry Potter feast and watch as many HP’s as we
could. Despite getting a late start, we successfully plowed through
about 4 movies and had a nice meal of turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed
potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pasties. It was really quite nice (if
not a reminder that I need to work out a lot over the next week).

Yup.

Even more exciting is the fact that Thanksgiving is this week! I plan
on taking a short day tomorrow, leaving after lunch, and getting a
nice head start on a 5-day weekend. There are lots of meals, bike
rides, runs, and games in my next few days. I CANNOT WAIT. I hope
everyone has an enjoyable holiday! Don’t get trampled at Walmart.

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Musings: Hurricane Waves

 

Well, apparently a storm is a-brewin’. It’s a good thing that the maintenance staff at my apartment LOVES to promise to come fix serious problems and then mysteriously don’t show up. Over 5 times. I could almost understand when it was just a fan problem and they used excuses like “Oh, an apartment had a serious leak that we had to go fix”. Do you know what I don’t understand? WHY I CALLED 4 TIMES ABOUT THE SERIOUS LEAK IN MY APARTMENT BEFORE A HURRICANE AND THEY DIDN’T MAKE IT A PRIORITY.

Anyway, I decided that I have no faith in them anymore, so I armed myself with some caulk and duct tape and (hopefully) fixed the problem myself. We’ll see when the serious rain hits later today. If nothing leaks and a tree doesn’t fall on my car, the whole thing could just be kind of fun. It immediately reminded me of one of my current favorite songs that just came out on BTMI’s new album called “Hurricane Waves”.

Last week, I finally made it out into Baltimore for a run. I’ve been putting it off for so long and I knew it would only take a single, solid run to break the funk. Sure enough, I did end up finding a nice 6-mile path through the city. I ran from Penn Station, down and around the inner harbor, over to Harbor East, and then back up. Allow me to say, if you like to run and want to get into amazing shape, live at the top of a hill. If you ever want to get home, you’ll have to go up it.

Besides that run on Wednesday, I made it to the gym Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Since the Yankees game was cancelled today, I’ll probably go again this morning. It finally came time for me to spring for a full membership, and commitment and money are painful things for me to invest in something, I know that if I should be spending on anything, it’s fitness. Being an adult sucks.

'BACK FOR MORE I SEE, ADULT LIFE!'

After work yesterday, I walked downtown to grab some emergency groceries. Some soup, some PB&J, some water, etc. I sincerely hope that you all have gas stoves, because then you’ll at least have a marginal chance of being able to cook when the power ends up going out. Also, have more foresight then me and grab a flashlight. I can’t find mine, so I’m just going to get a full charge on my cell phone and download a flashlight app. Candles are good too. Be safe and enjoy the show!

 

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.

 

Fitness vs. Fatness: A Baltimore State of Mind

It is no big secret that I’ve been a bit negligent in regards to my health over the last one…two…maybe three months. I’ve got a nasty tendency to pile stress on top of myself, until I’m convinced that I can’t possibly spare the time or energy to go work out.

With the exception of the handful of nostalgia runs I took before leaving DC, I haven’t been serious about working out in quite a long time. The last time I sort of cared was mid-Spring. The last time I really cared was when I found out about having high blood pressure in the fall.

The time has finally come when I can:

1)No longer make excuses

2)No longer want to make excuses

Now that I’m living in isolation in Baltimore with a whole lot more time on my hands, there’s really no reason for me to not work out anymore. I can’t blame it on getting home at 6 or being too busy with preparing for the move (you’ve got to admit, it takes skill to convince yourself that moving preparation takes 4 months).

With all of this said, I decided to find myself a gym in Baltimore. Like all decisions, this stressed me out a whole lot. Two of them had pools, but were farther from my place. Would I still go if it was far away? Would the smaller, closer one make up for it it spirit and style? After a ton of research and thought, I decided to check out the small gym that’s around the corner.

After all, I'm deadset on proving this study wrong.

If my freshman year of college is any indication, having a gym in close proximity seriously reduces the activation energy needed to spark a workout session. Additionally, my meager attempt at joining the club swimming team that year proves that although I really like swimming, I’m not that good at getting myself to the pool without a coach to threaten my life.

Since Jenny is out of town for the weekend anyway and I put away a LOT of cake last week, this seemed like a perfect week to give it a go. I’m two for two so far, making it in yesterday for a run and some chest work, and today for some rowing and leg stuff. Although the place is pretty darn small and rather expensive, there aren’t that many people when I’m there. Furthermore, the place has the coolest architecture I’ve ever seen. It’s in a historic mansion, and despite it’s size, has some tucked away rooms that have a very cool aesthetic. I pretty much feel like Batman when I’m stretching alone in one of the rooms.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to delete everything on my iPod besides the Batman theme.

The great thing about being motivated to workout is that it also greatly improves my eating habits. Although this means it’s a particularly strong killer when I’m not motivated, I’ll take it while I can. The next major step is to just find some good 6-9 mile running routes around the city. I’ll never be able to run that long on a treadmill. The downside, of course, is that I’m not sure I can run that far in Baltimore without hitting a neighborhood where I may be shot. Then again, I guess I would run faster.