365

I started this blog seemingly, having just become unemployed and with loads of free time on my hands, out of sheer boredom. I didn’t have any one particular subject I felt strongly enough about nor had enough knowledge on to devote an entire blog to, so I opted to showcase all of the creative works I had come up with in the four hellish years I worked at my last job. (Side note: ACTORS + LAWYERS = BAD.  REALLY BAD.  PEPSI CLEAR BAD.)

But what started out as a simple copy n’ paste sort of hobby quickly became a quest to test my creative abilities, and it was not long after I started this blog that I set forth to create a tiny piece of art everyday.  There was not a single point when I told myself this; no particular moment in time when I decided that I was going to spend an entire year posting.  But after three months of continuous blogging, where else was there to take the idea of The Eternal Loop but to blog everyday for an entire year?

No where, really, since as of this post I have blogged 365 straight days in a row.

No. Stop. The applause is . . . it’s too much.

It’s been fun and awesome and goddamn exhausting.  My friends and family stopped talking to me because my blog would end up being the only topic of conversation (“Your uncle jumped out a window and is in the hospital?  That reminds me of a cartoon I created for my blog last week!”).  At least, I think that’s why they stopped talking to me . . . there may have been other factors.

But now that a year has gone by, it’s time for me to take a little vacation from blogging.  Go to the beach, travel, meet new people, try new things, and rejoin society.

. . .

Actually, I will probably do none of those things.  But I will catch up on reading everyone else’s blogs that I have been ignoring, as well as catch up on all the things in my Netflix cue.

Now don’t fear, dear readers (all three of you, whom I adore)!  This isn’t the end, and I won’t be gone forever; I just need to take a break for a spell.  And when I do come back (in about a month or so), I won’t go back to posting everyday.  It’s too much work, and it’d be nice to have a life away from my computer.  Instead, I want to change gears and put quality over quantity.  This entire year I’ve pretty much pulled every post straight outta my butt, and I’d like to dedicate myself to making longer, more engaging, and better works; specifically with regards to short stories, short films and readings.

Before I go I would like to hand out some bullshit (but not completely meaningless) awards:

INSPIRATION AWARD – Two of my closest friend started their own blogs, A Man Chasin’ His Hat and The Hypermodern.  Without them, I would never have been inspired to start my own.

FIRST COMMENTATOR/BLOG FRIEND AWARD – Hyperactive Inefficiency was the first person to leave a positive comment on one of my posts, and was the first “Blog Friend” I made.

“THANKS FOR AWARDING ME” AWARD – Funny or Tragic gave me one of those Versatile Blog Awards, and thus gets one in return.  And for being awesome.

BECAUSE SHE’S MY GIRLFRIEND AND HAS HAD TO PUT UP WITH ME TALKING ABOUT THIS BLOG THE MOST AWARD – Die Umlaut.  Award self-explanatory.

THE MOST LIKES AWARDThe Nerdybaker has liked more of my posts than anyone else, and as I also enjoy cooking and am a big nerd, I feel a kinship there.

All of these are wonderful, so check them out if you have a chance.

In general, I want to thank everyone who has ever read/liked/shared/commented on this blog.  I hope I have been able to entertain most of you; it’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do.

Toodles!

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ETA . . . Yesterday or Tomorrow?

Marty had been driving for close to three hours before he noticed anything had changed.  His attention had been so focused on the large rotunda at Los Angeles International Airport that led to all the terminals’ pick-up and drop-off zones, he hadn’t noticed what else had been going on around him.  His girlfriend’s plane had been delayed departing from South Carolina because of a large woman in a wheelchair had gotten stuck at the airplane door, delayed at a stop-over in Houston while they waited for a replacement pilot since the original one had gotten sick, then had to take a detour mid-flight because of some ‘weather anomaly’ heading towards Los Angeles, and then delayed again at the gate for reasons unbeknown to him.

After forty minutes of circling through the airport, Marty had been ready to tell his girlfriend to call him when she was finally outside, and then go to a bar at the Holiday Inn down the street.  But she wouldn’t like that.  For one, she would insist on driving home since Marty had been known to knock back one or two or five or six drinks without a breath in between; and two, she had explicitly said she didn’t like waiting in the pick-up zone (something about the desperate cigarette smoke of the tar-breaths).  So Marty had stayed, not wanting to deal with a pissed off girlfriend after so much driving.

After an hour and twenty minutes, however, Marty had enough.  Unfortunately, it was one of those days in Los Angeles.  Marty was convinced that Southern California really had only five weather patterns: Perfect Sunshine, Rain, Too Much Sunshine, The Final Earthquake to End California, and Traffic.  On this day, the airport has been struck with a mighty trafficstorm and Marty had not been able to maneuver his way to the LAX exit before being put on the return road back to the terminals.  Bumpers bumped, horns honked, busses strong-armed onto the road, and pain-in-the-ass pedestrians were crossing wherever they felt like it.

After an hour and forty five minutes, what seemed to be lightning flashed around they airport.  This surprised Marty because there was not a single cloud in the sky.  He looked out his window to see if some power line had busted, but then had to swerve slightly to miss an elderly couple who were the road 20 feet away from the crosswalk.  He stuck his head out the window to apologize and saw the couple looking back at him in disappointment and regret, as if they had wanted to be hit.

After just over two hours, Marty did not care about picking up his girlfriend, nor about trying to exit the airport altogether; now it was about principle.  This traffic was a war, a rampage, and it was each man for himself.  Many cars would enter this arena, but only one would leave.  He intended on being that lone hero, and damned any automobile that dared cross his ire.

So Marty had not noticed when the cars had begun to change.  It was nothing any normal person could pick out, because many cars from the early 2000’s all the way back to the 1980’s were still widely used in this day and age, and it was not so unusual to see them on the road.  The advertisements on the busses had begun to change as well, from The Dark Knight Rises, to the rerelease of Titanic, to Harry Potter, to Shrek, to the original release of Titanic, and so on.  But these advertisements could only be seen on the side of busses, and Marty had not been paying attention.

It wasn’t until Marty had stopped just short of running over a tall, black man in a red disco outfit, who had said, “Watch where you’re going, you fucking honky!” that he clued into his surroundings.

Something was definitely different about the place.  It looked older, somehow.  No, not older, because everything was clean and looked like it had just been made.  No, things looked . . . retro.  He started to pull over, but the traffic was still a nightmare, and so he just kept circling.

But after three and a half hours, Marty found that the more he kept going in circles the more dated everything became.  The planes flying over head began to get smaller.  The styles of clothing he saw at the terminals began to look like stuff out of some Norman Rockwell painting.  A newspaper, carried on a gust of wind, flew into his window and onto his face.  He pulled it off and glanced at a headline saying ‘EISENHOWER REFERS TO ASIA AS A COMMUNIST DOMINO” before chucking it back out the window.

Traffic had finally started to die down, but Marty was afraid to stop now.  While a Prius in his day and age was a normal sight to see, in the 1940’s it would look like some sort of spacecraft.  It did look like some sort of space craft, and many people were gawking and eyeing him as he drove through the airport.  He looked at himself in the rearview mirror and realized that he was almost as shocking as his car; a hipster-wannabe, with a styled beard, pierced nose, tattoos crawling up his neck, in a tank-top with “My Little Pony” stamped on the front.  No, getting out was no longer an option.

Could he turn around?  Maybe driving the other direction would send him back to his own time.  It was an option, but then he would be driving against traffic, and while he could dodge the few amount of cars on the road now, he was not so sure he could forgo a head on collision once he got closer to his time, and then he’s really be stuck.

He could just stop and start living in the current time.  Sure, he would look strange, but he had gotten paid this past Tuesday (or will get paid, once he’s born), and Marty had cashed it all and filled his wallet.  That money could go a long way in the current time, and he could just hop on a plane to Asia or some Caribbean Island, where his look might not be so foreign.  And with his knowledge of future events, he could probably make a fortune with very little effort.  Hell, he might even be able to set up a trust fund for himself, his future self, so that the would-be-he would never have to worry about money after college.

The idea was entertaining, but Marty doubted he could pull it off.  Sure he could make some money, but he was finding it hard to come to grips with never having the internet again.  WWII, Vietnam?  No problem.  A life without cute cat pictures and YouTube?

“Not on your life,” Marty said, and sped up.

After four hours, Marty was in the mid-1940’s, and both the car traffic and air traffic had died down.  Twenty minutes after that, the airport celebrated its opening.  Twenty minutes after that, and there was no airport.

Even though it was over bare dirt, Marty kept driving in circles.  He was grateful that he had filled his tank before coming to the airport and that his car was a hybrid.  He didn’t know how much longer he could go, and he didn’t want to get stuck, but he felt he had no other choice but to keep going.  He just hoped that time was actually cyclular instead of a straight line, and that he would eventually end up where he left off.  Sure, it was some shoddy sci-fi plot line from an episode of SG-1, but it’s all Marty had to go on.

He flipped through the case of CDs he kept in his car.  He found the soundtrack to Jurassic Park, stuck it in the player, hit the accelerator, and began waiting for the dinosaurs. 

Diet: Practice – Time Management

I fear that I’m beginning to sound like a business consultant; The plan is to have a plan; Setting honest goals will lead to honest results; Manage your time so that your time does not manage you. The only difference is that the subject is your body and not a business.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with the profession, but I feel like an asshole when I make a joke now.

“We must start thinking outside the box . . . the mallomars box, that is! Hahaha, NOW GIVE ME $900!”

But even though they be grossly general truisms, they still are true (in a kind of gross and general way).  Because we are working on creating habits, a feat sometimes akin to crossing the Gobi with only a bag of whistles and a single, dirty tube sock, we have to break down our weight-loss plan to the nth degree as we can’t trust ourselves to remember to do it.  So open up your copy of Microsoft Excel because its time to make SCHEDULES!  . . .  Okay, you can close Excel; we’re not actually making schedules, but you are going to have to start planning your entire day around your workout/diet if you are serious about losing weight.

I know that doesn’t sound like much fun, and it isn’t, but you have to consider how much free time you actually have in the day.  On average, I am awake for about 17 hours.  With work, transit, shower, and cooking/eating, I am left with about five hours of free time to work with, which is more than enough time to fit in a workout.  But this is only the bare bones of my day and doesn’t take into account that life doesn’t give a shit about your schedule.  What if there’s traffic?  What if you are supposed to go to a movie with friends?  What if you get entrapped by the soulless, gaping abyss that is the internet? Any of these things can and will happen at some point, and they all eat away at your remaining time.  And even if you are left with an hour or so for freedom, there is no guarantee that you’ll get that time in one solid chunk.  There’s a term for people who try to change their lives by flying from the seat of their pants: Bullshitters.  You have to have a plan if you are to ensure that you will get the workout done and follow your meal plan.  So STAND AND DELIVER!

A cookie to everyone who gets this reference.

FOOD TIME

Did I say cookie?  I meant celery stick.  Planning your meals isn’t complicated.  If you have a hard time remembering to eat, I don’t imagine you would have a weight problem (unless you’re on the ‘Too Skinny’ side of the scale, in which case go back and eat that cookie). Eat five to six meals spaced two to three hours apart, with portions that can fit inside the palms of your hands.  Simple?  Yes.  Easy?  Not always, and so you must plan your meals to make sure you don’t eat an unscheduled meal or make your portions too big.

To lose the most weight, you have to look ahead and foresee yourself straying from the diet, and plan accordingly.  I don’t want to say that you can’t trust yourself, but the temptation to eat is everywhere.  Every time a coworker of mine brings in a slice of pizza for lunch, I want to run to the street to the grocery store to get eight frozen pizzas that I will eat straight from the box right there in the store.  And don’t shake your head at me!  You will feel the same way when you start your diet.  But you can take away as many of the opportunities to slip up as you can by following a few of guidelines:

  • Set That Alarm – By setting an alarm to go off every two or three hours, you take away some of the responsibility of keeping track of the time, as well as some of the power to eat before you’re supposed to.  If the alarm hasn’t gone off, you’re not allowed to eat.  It can also help garner support from those around you, as people will catch on you’re on a diet when you make a mad dash for the refrigerator every time your cell phone goes off.
  • Bag That Shit Up – Preparing all the food you eat in the day before hand will keep you from rationalizing a poor lunch decision (e.g. – This lasagna has broccoli and tomatoes in it.  I’M PRACTICALLY EATING A GARDEN!), and limit your options. It will also save you a load of money, which you will be able to roll in whenever you are feeling hungry.  You’ll still feel hungry, but it’s fun to do.

“Having all of this money just makes me want MORE pie.”

  • Don’t Shop Hungry – “Oh my GAWD!  New chicken and beef taquitos!  And what is this?  Chips that taste like a BLT?!  Let’s give that a shot!  A years worth of Mac n’ Cheese?  WHAT A DEAL!”  Sound familiar?  Going to the grocery store on a full stomach will keep those impulse buys, not to mention the buyer’s remorse and all the calories that come with it, at bay.
  • No Need, No Buy – My fridge has been practically empty for years now.  I buy the food items that are in my meal plan, and not much else.  This keeps me from splurging in the middle of the night on whatever is in my fridge because, one, I know that if I pig out on what I have, I’ll only be taking away food for my meal tomorrow; and two, who wants to eat a fucking salad at 3 am?!

Another good idea is to keep a food journal.

Stop sticking that baby in my face.  Keeping track of every single thing you eat and drink during the day is not so much a planning endeavor as it is a method of changing your outlook.  By seeing the reality of what you have consumed over the day, you will begin to realize just how much food you have actually eaten. If you create a good meal plan, your body will have everything it needs to survive, and you can start to focus on why it is you really feel so hungry.  Keeping a food log can also help you pinpoint foods that may not be working.  You can download a Food Log Template here, and read about some healthy low-cal snacks to battle hunger pangs here.

EXERCISE TIME

Who are we kidding?  This whole post is mostly about trying to fit in time to exercise.  When you get down to it, there are really only four choices of when to work out, and I’ve done them all, so I’ll give you the ups and downs of each.

  1. Morning.  Get your work out done right when you wake up.  PROS –You don’t have to worry about fitting it in because you’ll get it done before anything else.  Also, nothing wakes you up like sweat.  CONS – Waking up an hour early just to exercise can seriously throw your game out of whack, and you will be tired for the entire day for the first month or so.  You also run the risk of hitting that SNOOZE button, and sleeping right on through.
  2. Mid-Day.  Instead of going somewhere to eat your lunch and read the paper, take a jog or climb some stairs (if you work in a high rise) on your lunch hour.  PROS – You’ll find you have much more energy in the middle of the day, which means you can exercise harder.  You can also get outside and breathe in some fresh air if you are forced to sit in front of a computer all day, and win the admiration of your coworkers.  CONS– You have to go back to work after, which means you also have to schedule in ample cool down time so you’re not sweating at your desk.  This also means bringing a change of clothes and maybe taking a “French Shower” in the bathroom.

    Trust me, you’re not as cute when you do it.

  3. After Work.  Hop straight from the office to the gym.  PROS – You can travel on the momentum from the ride home to go straight into the work out.  It can help you unwind, and also lift up your energy for evening activities.  CONS – This is also the time that almost everyone else goes to the gym, and you may find you don’t have the energy to exercise after a long day.
  4. Evening.  Get your blood pumping before jumping into bed.  PROS – You have enough time to rest a little and gear up for the activity.  You also get a chance to eat dinner for an extra energy boost before starting, and even though it’s a contradiction to an earlier statement, nothing can make you more tired than sweat.  CONS – If you workout too close to going to sleep, you can screw up your sleep cycle.  You are also at the mercy of life and all of its fucking-plans-up glory.

Also realize that you don’t have to commit a full hour to exercise at first.  Twenty minutes three times a week is enough to start with.  You also don’t have to work out at a gym or even hit the pavement.  Some of my best workouts have been done in my bedroom in a space about 4’ wide by 10’ long with no equipment.  What you do have to commit to is planning whatever days you do exercise around the workout.  If that means you give up the weekly poker game, or miss out on some television shows (although watching tv while exercising is a good way to pass the time) then so be it.  I never said weight-loss is without sacrifice.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying the exact opposite from the beginning.

Understand that time management is a skill.  It takes practice, and it’ll be a while before you find the time that works for you.  But once you do, you will discover that after awhile you will be scheduling your day around your weight-loss plan not because you need to, but because you want to.