Oct 132012

I’ve had many discussions about self-motivation vs pressure and I’ve had to come to the sad realization/admission that when it comes to self-motivation and my weight, it just ain’t there.

But people seem to be less and less eager to get into weight bets with me.  Or at least, they make them more and more complicated that we just can’t agree on terms.

The Tailgate sampler platter at BW3s doesn’t help either.

So the only thing left to do is crowdsource pressure.  Here’s my New Year’s Resolution/Bet:

In 2013, if we are ever out for a meal or a drink and you casually ask me if I’m under 213, if I can’t say “Yes” honestly, I’ll pick up your tab.  As easy as that.  Benefit from hanging out with the fat man.

I’ll weigh myself at least once a week. And will fess up about my weight if things ain’t right.

Now, Catherine might not let me go out for meals if I’m over, but that’s a different problem.

Maybe that’ll encourage more people to invite us out?

Aug 042012

What if someone said that if you did something special for 20 minutes a day, your memory would improve.  Your intelligence too!

Would you do it?

Turns out, our family doesn’t.  There’s this Dual N-back app that Catherine downloaded.  It’s challenging and I could see how practicing is good exercise for one’s mental capabilities.

It’s just so boring.

Instead, I’ve convinced myself that learning new games and the strategies within them, is the way I’d rather work out my brian.  Ben pointed out that I don’t like running, but would play basketball.  Same thing.  Analogies are the mark of intelligence.

Anyway, I’m still hooked on Carcassonne.  But now, there’s some Outwitters going on.  It’s of a class of games that I haven’t played much, but I thought that the characters would interest Sal.  And it’d be another good way to get his mind shaped around strategy development.  He’s taking to it very well, though we still see the game a bit differently.

He was asking me what my favorite character was. And in my answer, I qualified it for the different types of boards, the style of game I was going to play, the style I felt my opponent played, and the color of my mood ring.  It took me that long to realize he was just asking which character I thought looked the coolest.

You need to play 5 games to get a ranking in the game.  Sal finished his five games over a few days (depending on your opponent, things could take a while). But he came to me sad.  “Dad, I’m so bad at Outwitters, they won’t even put me in the Fluffy league.”  This was just a few days after he had a victory against some stranger online.  He was bummed and I felt bad for him.  But I also felt like everyone gets ranked.

He had two games against me, which were unranked.  He thought those counted.  So he’s happy now he’s still in the hunt for the Fluffy league.  Click on that game screenshot to see a video of his win. Which was completely unassisted by a parent.  I got a text from Catherine while I was at work that he beat a stranger (she’s staying away from the game because the Fog of War makes her nervous…the Fog of Poor Memory makes me more nervous) and I was anxious to get home to watch the replay.  I was pleased with how aggressive he was.  Over the wide variety of games that we play, he’s picking up some decent strategic ability.

Myself, well, more than half the time I make a move, there’s some aspect of it I immediately regret.  But the percentage of time that’s happening is shrinking.  Slowly.  Shrinking because I’m making fewer mistakes.  Slowly because I’m still learning more about the strategy of the game myself.  I’m increasing the number of things I’m paying attention to – meaning I’m learning new ways that I’m making mistakes.  But I figure collecting those facts/strategies is in the same spirit as the N-back test.

Or at least, it is good enough for me.

Aug 142009

I had been wondering what my exit strategy would be for the kettlebell class.  I mean, are we just going to be his students forever, or is there a natural point where we just part ways?  Harinder’s talking about a New Years Eve marathon workout (with some people actually running a marathon) and that seems interesting…and very tiring.

Anyway, those thoughts are gone as he started talking about doing some mace training.  When he said we needed to buy ropes and were going to be doing a lot of climbing up trees, I was thinking that sounded like a natural point to say good bye, but when he said mace training, the flame was rekindled.

Partially cause I thought a morning star was a mace.  But still, the mace is kind of interesting.

This week, our homework was to make our own.  Seemed like a reasonable way to save $150.

But I’ve said that too many times and been wrong.  Turns out there are lots of times when $150 is well spent.

Last night, we went to OSH to get a shovel handle and cement and some nails.  I figured Sal had a mini basketball that I could use.  It reminded me of when my grandfather cut my football in half so he could use it to hold cement while he did patch work around the yard.  Except that I had the ball owner’s permission this time.  When we got home, we couldn’t find the basketball – we might have donated it.  I found one today at Sports Basement for $6.  The cement was $10 and the handle was $10 and the nails were a couple of dollars.  $30 bucks and a little elbow grease beats spending $170 + shipping and handling right?

Sure, I wasn’t sure how long a handle to buy.  Or what girth.  But I bought what felt comfortable.

And I didn’t notice how much cement I was buying.  For this project could they package too little cement?  Though when we did the math, the ball was supposed to come out to 15 pounds and when I looked at my bucket of cement it was 10 pounds.  1 more trip to OSH.  Catherine pointed out, as we were mixing the cement that the bucket looked bigger than the ball.

She was on a roll.  That was probably the 3rd or 4th mistake I had made that she was pointing out.  Pacing herself.

Turns out, making cement is a lot like making cookies.  In Jason’s Bishop class a few years back, I mixed all the ingredients in together and mixed them and didn’t get a good dough.  Gotta add things in order and mix in order.  So one should really add cement to water, not water to cement mix.  Says that on the box, but I was more focused on the 5-1 ratio with water.   I need to balance my focus.

So we made some crazy cement with that first batch. Good thing we had two buckets.  Though the water ratio was way off.  Soupy.  Started up the 2nd 10 pounds of cement, adding the cement to water, instead of the other way around.  The idea was that we wouldn’t put in that much water, then add cement, then add our soupy cement to balance out the ratio.  Which was working out well, until the soupy cement started to set and wasn’t that easy to scoop out of its bucket.  Wasn’t exactly “quick” but it wasn’t still soupy.  That’s when the panic set in.

Started to pile the cement into the ball with some gardening tools. It was getting chunky.  It was like diffusing a bomb, but not really. The time pressure was there, but instead of an explosion, we were only faced with 20 bucks/pounds of wasted cement.  Still, it shouldn’t be this hard.  In the end, it stands on its own, but is slightly cockeyed and probably stands on its own cause of a flat spot, not because of a well designed center of gravity.

And it’s a pain to swing around one’s head.  The off center center of gravity should just make exercising with it that much more challenging, right?

So, to recap, what I would do differently next time (cause there will be a next time unless I get smarter soon):

  • buy the enough cement the first time.
  • add cement to water – not water to cement.
  • cut a larger whole in the ball to make it easier to fill and keep the handle aligned while filling.  Mis-aligned handle isn’t really correctable once the ball is packed with cement and its mostly set.
  • maybe use a size 4 soccer ball.
  • Ha.  I forgot to mention that screws are better than nails if you don’t have holes in your shovel handle already.  With the nails, I managed to scratch my leg with the claw while removing a nail.  Then Sal started crying and I thought I hurt him somehow, but it turned out he didn’t like me bleeding.  Though I could hardly feel it, he needed me in a bandage.  How does tetanus work?

Now I have a heavy ball with a handle and a heavy ball with a stick and six weeks to make a difference…

Jun 012009

The guest host for The Razor and Mr. T closed his show with that line tonight. Instead of the Razor’s “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.” Looking it up now, it seems it’s a John Wooden line.

Seemed like the right title for my thoughts at the time. We had just been slaughtered in softball.  I had a sore ankle from “not letting the ball get by me” and a horrible night with accuracy of my throws and an 0-fer outing in the batter’s box.

I was thinking then, of a conversation with Chuck from a while back.  He said he’d rather get good personal stats and lose, than to win and have bad personal stats.  I think I’d rather have the win and do poorly than do well myself and win.

Except, tonight, driving home, I was in the situation of bad personal stats and losing.  Losing badly. Playing badly. Feeling pretty bad.  But I was wondering, would good personal stats and still losing make me feel any better?  I wasn’t sure.  I don’t think I’m a big enough person to have great personal stats and then not look at all my chump teammates who were dragging me down and despise them.  After all, I’m a salmon/soy milk snob now.  Dan agreed – he felt he had a great game and blamed me for the loss (and though I cannot argue with the fact that he had a fantastic game on the field, I am reminded of my discrete logic classes and the definition of a vacuous truth).  My errors were probably worth 8 runs – so I carry significant blame.  Also, due to the butterfly effect, if I hadn’t created the errors when I did, who knows, we might have gotten 3 outs in those innings instead of hitting the max of 7 runs allowed per inning rule and the game could have been that much closer.

So thinking about it on the drive home, I realized I wouldn’t feel better with a good personal game and getting slaughtered.  Stinking it up like I did, I know that I have plenty of room to improve on (I’m trying to learn how to throw the ball properly – kind of interesting to realize that at this age, I’ve never really thrown a ball for speed and accuracy) and that my improvements, no matter how minor, can help the team.  If I did well and we lost the way we did – I’m not sure I could stand this team!  I could get frustrated, thinking I can’t carry the team anymore than I already am…and next thing you know, I’m skipping out on the post game handshakes and congrats because “I’m a competitor“…

So, my softball honeymoon is over.  Oh yeah, I struck out.  That was a first.  Bad sign.  Struck out looking!

So, yeah, my honeymoon is over and I might have to start working at playing this game…

…or just let the game come to me and start drinking before the game a bit.

May 302009

I think I just bought salmon from a grocery store for the first time. And I know it was the first time I bought soy milk. Fuji apples, I’ve bought before.

Those were the items on the belt for me.

Lady in front of me had a bottle of white wine, some jalapeno poppers and a tub of ice cream. While in line, she added 2 Snickers bars.

I wish I could have seen how superior I looked with my bike helmet in hand, glaring at her and her food choices.

Jan 232009

The fact that no one likes losing is pretty obvious.  And some people take losing as a reason to practice and compete more and other people take it as a reason to quit.  Some even use the chance of losing as a reason to not get out.

But I’m too bored for all that.  I lose a lot.  And try again.  And lose.  I just like the competition.

What’s probably experienced less, is being told one is going to lose.  That sucks too.  Not only will I lose, but I have the peanut gallery saying I’m going to lose.

So I end up telling them – I’ll bet you too!  Most of my issues are resolved by betting someone something.

So Ben’s taking EJ’s side in this body fat percentage percentage bet.  That’s fine.  I can use a little motivation like that.  Except he kept talking about how EJ’s a lock.  And EJ might be. But I can’t admit that right now.

So I’ve got a side bet going on.  Thought about the stakes for a while last night…and just confirmed them.  During days when we play basketball, the winner will be able to demand a turnover from the loser up to 2 times a day…for 2 months.  I like it cause it effects teams of people and not just the individuals.  And it’s not money. Pride is cheap.

As we were talking it over, Travis wanted some action too.  So I’ll be either +4 steals a day or +4 turnovers a day…

But that’s the easy part of mind gaming.  The more difficult part I discovered yesterday, when Ben commented on me grabbing a pack of M&Ms from the bowl.

“EJ wouldn’t do that.”

And I’m thinking “That’s right – he wouldn’t, but it’s still not going to help him!”  And I rip open the M&Ms defiantly and eat them. All.

And that’s not the right response. But I’m so bent on disagreeing and being full of myself that that’s the natural response for me.  I spent lunch thinking about how to fix that.

Walking back from lunch, I confessed all my inner tendencies to disagree and the deep seeded desire to show people that they are wrong and then even make them pay for not backing me.  I’m hoping, that if it’s clear now that I feel that way, that next time Ben comments about how EJ’s willpower is amazing and mine is in shambles, I’ll be able to put down the pack of M&Ms and thank my coach.

I did bring a pack of M&Ms back for Sal.  And I did only have 1 donut for breakfast.

After having a Tommy’s chili burrito. And hash brown. And chili sausage egg & cheese breakfast sandwich.

Anyway, it’s something that’s effected me for a while now – not just with Ben and his lack of respect, but even with Catherine.  Kari I think felt Catherine’s pain one day when we were talking about this.  No matter what she said, “Maybe you shouldn’t eat that?” or “You said you were only going to eat 2 cookies” or “How many bags of marshmellows are you going to eat during this commercial break?” I never took it as the support she was offering but as criticism of my willpower and decision making process. And my gut response was to eat it, possibly more, just to show her that my decision was better and I would survive the consequences.

Now I’ll just say “Thanks coach” and be able to move on.   At least, that’s what I hope. Let’s see if we can reprogram myself at this old age…

Update: Catherine and I were talking about dinner options.  She says “Fast food dinner?”  I reply “Angry whopper!”  So maybe she’s learned a trick or two herself!