I’m headed to the big state of Tennessee next weekend to see my little brother. It just so happens to be Halloween weekend as well. I didn’t really want to go on said weekend, but it was actually the cheaper weekend to fly. Who knew?
Anyway, I’ve only been to TN and that was a few years ago. Actually, almost 3 years ago to the month. I went for some extended work training related to a software project I had been assigned to at the time. I did get to see him then briefly. I’m looking forward to seeing my little brother, my nephews and nieces, and meeting some of his new extended family. They seem to treat him well and he has really taken to them so I am happy for them. My little brother felt a bit alienated after both our parents passed away. He, being the youngest and still living at home, obviously struggled with it. Having found a new extended family has been very good for him.
Of course, I’m also a tad leery. My little bro and I had a huge falling out a few months back. It ended up being a big misunderstanding and we patched it all up; however, we know each other. I do not know his extended family yet. I will do my best to keep politics off the radar. My little brother doesn’t vote and has never even registered to vote so his opinions on politics are often tolerable. That said, I’ve already admonished my little bro to have them keep politics off the table as well. If you read me with any regularity, you know I ain’t shy and I sure as hell won’t be silent. But, I expect it to go ok. He knows me and knows we see things a bit different. He also doesn’t want us to fight. It’s a short trip.
I’m going for the obvious reason, I’d like to see my brother. I’m also going because he’s been having surgeries for degenerative bone disease in his back and neck. Poor thing, he neglected some previous health problems that have led to this. Anyway, he just finished surgery #2 and will probably have to have at least 1 more at some point. They are fusing some discs together to help him regain some mobility and movement. He will never be able to go back to being a volunteer fire-fighter or any job that requires a lot of physical activity. He will (hopefully) be able to go back to some form of work but it’s all still up in the air for now. He is really depressed over it and I know a visit, even a quick one, will cheer him up immensely. He’s already so excited and texting me all the places he wants to show me.
Unfortunately, it’s only for a weekend. It sucks a big chunk of time is wasted commuting. The three hour time difference really eats up the time off. But some is better than none and as I said, I know it will cheer him up. I’d things go well with his new extended family, I’ll try to plan a longer trip in the next year.
I might also get to meet a famous blogger I’ve been dying to meet for years! Lol It’s a short trip so timing will factor in heavily, but I’m hoping to finally meet my friend and long-time fellow blogger Large Tony!
Someone asked me the other day if I thought I was too old to workout? Uh, no. Is that a thing? Is there an imaginary age where [gay] guys just give up working out?
I guess if you’re doing it for the attention or admiration I can see a shelf life. And I’m not judging here. Many of us develop an obsession with working out as a coping mechanism to combat deeper issues.Who am I to cast stones? It’s kind of a natural progression honestly. We used to be thought of as weak so working out breaks that stereotype. That said, I never stuck with working out when I did it to impress others. It wasn’t until my mid to late 20s when I decided I really wanted to be better than I was that I finally stuck with it. I took a real interest and got over my anxiety. Lawd, I was a scrawny turd back then.hehee
Fast forward, to my mid 40s and I still enjoy working out. I’m in excellent shape without being ripped or massive.The latter were never my goals anyway. I feel better after a good workout. Of course, the narcissist in me likes that I get more attention, but that is a side benefit. It would be silly to pretend I don’t enjoy attention. I think anyone who works out would tell you the same if they are honest. However, I don’t personally think there is a shelf life for working out. I’m not Miss Cleo so I can’t see the future, but I hope I continue working out well into old age. Working out has proven to help keep you healthy and fight off aging. I might end up an old doddering fool but I’ll be a strong doddering old fool!
So no, I don’t think I have reached an age where I’ll be giving it up. And it’s never too late to start.
You know what I hear when people say, “…make America great again”?
- I hear white people who want things to go back to the way they were when they could blithely ignore the racial injustices in the world because of white privilege. They want the ability to keep pretending racism doesn’t exist because they never see it (Or want to see it).
- I hear white men who want women to go back to being home bound and barefoot. They don’t like the idea of a strong women or that women deserve equality in the workforce.
- I hear white people who want gays to go back to pretending they don’t exist. They don’t want to be faced with the soul-chilling idea that a religion they were institutionalized into since birth might be flawed. They pretend gay-bashing or deaths of the LGBT community are their own fault for being so ‘different.’ They don’t want to be faced with the idea that Trans people are real and just want to feel safe in society.
- I hear white people who suddenly notice the world, society, and media no longer features them as the primary representation of America. Deep down I think they are afraid they might end up going thru what minorities or gays have gone thru for decades.
I hate to break it to ya white people but America wasn’t always great for everyone. Many of us faced untold hardships, harm, and even death at the hands of your indifference. Even a poor white person has a leg up on many minorities and gays. And guess what? We aren’t going to go back to hiding or pretending we don’t exist. Minorities are not going back to separate but equal.
America is great. It is also horribly flawed. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t even a role model in many areas anymore. Our greed and indifference mixed with rising anti-intellectualism is slowly leading to our undoing. It’s not the ‘blacks, gays, muslims, women, etc’ that have ruined this country, it is your willful selfishness and blind indifference to the injustices faced by others not like yourself.
And if being faced with the idea that you bear indirect (and direct) shame for said actions is too much to bear, try walking in a black man’s shoes for awhile. Try to have a normal life as a minority, a gay/lesbian/Trans person. Tyr being a Muslim women in an oppressive fundamentalist country. You have no idea what makes America great because you aren’t part of that equation. If you think America needs to be great again, here’s a news flash for ya, YOU are the problem.
Scared? Welcome to our world.
After my last post, I was asked what type of routine I do and do I recommend heavy weights vs long workouts.
Actually, I am currently doing a combo of both. Since I work out solo most days, an all-heavy approach isn’t practical or safe. The golden rule is wear the muscle out, which causes micro tears. The micro tears lead to new muscle when the body repairs itself. Right now I’m doing 6 sets of 8. Depending on the day, I do one or two muscle groups. I try to hit at least 4 machines or benches per muscle. For two muscle days, I hit at least 3 for each muscle. And for larger muscles, I tend to focus on just one muscle with slightly longer breaks between different sets. If you are just starting out this isn’t for you. Six sets of 8 reps is a lot. If you insist, start slow. (Maybe do two exercises per muscle and build your way up.)
Basically, the goal is to do enough weight I can complete all the sets/reps. Once I can complete a full set more than once, I up the weight. Different muscles grow at different speeds so sometimes it’s just 5 or 10 lbs. I take 30 seconds between each set of reps and a full minute between different sets. Don’t be tempted to cheat by resting more. The longer you rest the lower your heart rate and the more time your muscles have to recover. You don’t want them to recover. They should be burning by the time you finish a full set. If I can’t complete a full rep-set, I go down on the next one. Don’t get so focused on the weight that you don’t get a good burn. The last two rep-sets of a given bench/machine should be harder than the first 4. You should really struggle to finish while trying to keep good form.
Another good workout is doing doubles. Doubles is basically doing two full sets of two exercises either mixed together or back to back with no break. When I can, I like to mix them i.e. one set of first exercise then one set of second exercise. You still rest between reps but you do both exercises before you take the longer break. This is also not for beginners. You need to be familiar with body mechanics. The exercises either need to be physically close to each other (for machines) or be able to quickly alternate (barbells/dumbbells) between them. Again, if you’re in a busy gym you should be mindful of not hogging benches or machines.
So that is what I’m currently doing. I’ve found this approach is very effective for me. As long as you overload the muscles, you’re good to go! Hope it helps. If you use the Jefit app, I share my routines so you should be able to see them.
Now that I’ve been back in the gym pretty consistently for months now, my dedication is slowly paying off. I’ve put on some more muscle. Nothing extraordinary as I’m doing it the natural route, but every little bit counts, right? I’m currently 215lbs, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been (I think. I’m having a total brain fart right now Lol) Unfortunately, at least 15lbs of that is fat I wanna get rid of, but I’d still be at 200 so I’m happy. I’ve mentioned before my ultimate goal is to hit 230 with around 210 being muscle.
I originally focused on trying to trim back down after my hiatus and shoulder/back injuries. I had the grand idea of developing some baby abs. Needless to say, I quickly discarded that notion for bulk. I can see little changes but since I see myself every day, it is harder to notice the difference. At least others are noticing, which is a good sign. Vain much? Lol And while my abs are still covered under a layer of fat, I’m happy with where I am. I’ve got a couple more months to this routine and then I’m hitting a trim-down plan.
Cutting back on the extra sugar in my diet always seems to help a lot. I found out a few months ago I’m one of those people genetically predisposed to diabetes. Not the best news, but since I work out and take care of myself it isn’t a problem yet. However, it does mean I don’t have the luxury of poor eating habits, especially as I age. It is quite frustrating as I don’t eat awful at all. And, I’m also approaching the age where such things become more important. My blood pressure is only slightly higher than normal for a person my age. Unfortunately, it means I have to work harder on my diet. My weakness isn’t eating fast food as much as just eating out. And my schedule is always the enemy. Hehe If I don’t get meal preps done during the weekend, I end up screwed for the whole week. There just isn’t enough time after a 10-hour work day and then the gym to do meal prep.
Anyway, I’m slowly working myself into better eating habits. It is of course a never ending struggle but hope springs eternal…
I’m big into graphic t-shirts. I’ve always loved t-shirts and am fortunate enough to work in a job where I can still pretty much wear them daily.
Way back when my ex and I were together, he got into making t-shirts. It was super convenient having fresh made t-shirts on hand. If I wanted a shirt he’d just screen one up for me. Bam. However, fast forward almost 5 years and those shirts are all worn out. I realized I was starting to look like a hobo so I’ve been slowly replacing my shirts 1 or 2 at a time. I’ve pretty much replaced them all at this point.
However, I’ve run into a new problem now. I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard and am growing out of large size t-shirts! To make it worse, I’m between sizes. Depending on the brand, a size large fits just right (after being washed) or it’s tight across the shoulders, arms, and chest, and a tiny bit too short. So basically, I look like I’m going out clubbing. lol While I can still get away with wearing t-shirts at work, being in a slightly more professional environment with my new assignment means I now can’t really wear half of all my new shirts.
Now I’m stuck either buying duplicates of the same shirts I already have or just buying new ones. It’s annoying as shit considering I tend to like tri-blend (super soft) shirts that aren’t cheap. I’ve also forgotten where I got some of them and I can’t seem to find them again online. I’ve even outgrown several of my tank tops for the gym.
For someone who couldn’t even fill out a small size shirt in my 20’s, I guess it’s a good thing but damn it’s expensive. First world problems I guess but I’m still frustrated over it. I don’t mind spending money on things I like or wear but I hate wasting money and I feel like I’ve wasted a shit-ton of it now. *grumble, grumble*
If you know vendors that sell good quality tri-blend shirts let me know. Right now, my go to list is Crawlspace Studios, Skull & Bones NY, Lamp Apparel, and We Are All Smith.
I’ve gotten a few requests for my thoughts on this whole faux scandal. I say faux because I love how people go out of their way to “out American” others. It is just another in a series of sad stories showing our growing ignorance as a nation. Anyway, since I work for a law-enforcement related agency, people often assume I’m always gonna side with the police. Wrong. While I certainly have insights that others might not have at times, I always strive to be on the side of fairness and truth.
First, Kapernick has the right to not stand. He has that right because of the men/women who have fought for it. Being a free American means you can criticize your country’s failings, perceived or otherwise. Actually calling out your leader’s failings is as American as one can get if you read our constitution. As to Kaepernick, he certainly isn’t immune to fallout from said behavior, but stop trying to shame him for it.
As to the man himself, I find his behavior a bit hypocritical. For someone who often uses racial slurs, it seems a bit disingenuous to suddenly find a moral compass now. And considering his influence and place in society as a famous football playing millionaire, I’m struggling to find the sincerity in his actions. Rumor has it his new girlfriend is big in the BLM movement and I can’t help but wonder if that has influenced his ideas, not that her influence is necessarily a bad thing. Being enlightened by others is perfectly fine; however, what else is he doing? Is he meeting w/local police agencies? Is he donating money to community groups? Is he doing anything besides his now infamous ‘sitting’ exercise? I don’t need to disparage the man to show the contrast of his actions.
At the end of the day, there is a very real problem between minority communities and police agencies. But it isn’t always about racism. There are many social, cultural, & economic variables affecting the divide. Trying to conflate it all into one giant polarizing idea of black & white is simplistic and often the tool of the biased. As I’ve said before, acknowledging failures by law enforcement doesn’t make me support law enforcement any less. Nor does calling out the bad players within the BLM movement make me any less supportive of fair and equal treatment for minorities. And speaking of the bad players, am I only the only seeing the irony here? We proclaim loudly that BLM and others can protest peacefully w/o resorting to violence and the moment someone does, we attack him as anti-American. So what we really want is to completely avoid the inherent problems still festering in our society.
The sensationalized style of our media and news consumption only lends itself to dividing all sides even further apart. The focus isn’t on truth or even honest reporting. It’s solely on generating outrage which turns into ad-clicks.
So I accept his right to sit and protest. Just as I accept he probably isn’t doing it for the right reasons. Either way, those are my feelings on the subject.
What is it with guys who try to squeeze into the locker right next to you? Is it just my gym where they do that? I’ll be getting dressed or undressed and have someone try to either cram his way into the locker below me w/o so much as an excuse me or act all exasperated at having to wait. Where the hell are said folks going in such a hurry? Is there a fire somewhere and you just can’t wait a few seconds?
If you’re gonna be rude, I’m gonna clown you for it. Last week, I’m all but dressed and sitting on the row bench putting my shoes on. A guy comes along and w/o a word tried to get into the locker directly behind my back. Our conversation goes something like this:
Me: *loud* If you wait just 2 damn more seconds I’ll be out of your way.
Him: I just need to get into my locker.
Me: Ok, say “excuse me” like a normal person or just wait a few seconds. You can clearly see I’m all packed up and figuratively out the door in a moment.
Him: *indignantly* Well, why can’t you just move?
Me: Because you were too busy trying to shove me out of the way. Had you stopped and actually said excuse me, I would have moved. Now you can wait your turn.
Him: *glaring look*
Me: *glaring look back* as I finish tying me shoe very slowly
And after he storms away in a huff, the guy next to me very loudly says, “He is always a dick like that. He is so rude to everyone anytime he is here.” I’m quite sure the guy storming off could still hear him. *giggle*
I get that manners are all but dead, but damn slow down for two seconds. I know you might *gasp* have to actually interact with someone in a social environment. I’m polite and do my best to share common spaces. My mamma taught me to share and I’ll happy move over. I’ll even ask if I see someone standing close by to make sure I’m not holding them up while I lolly-gag around. But no, I won’t let you barge thru me or try to “shove” me over by opening your locker door into my back. And frankly, such childish antics will only end up causing you to be delayed longer.
In completely random events, I discovered a new recipe for cooking fried okra. With rare exceptions, I try to avoid fried foods on a regular basis. I go thru my phases where I crave fried chicken, but not on a regular basis. This leads me into my ingredient shortage and discovery.
I picked up some okra at the farmer’s market. I had originally planned on boiling it but I got the craving for fried okra. I grew up in the south and the only way to make fried okra is with cornmeal. Guess who didn’t have any cornmeal? You guessed it, me. It’s Sunday night and I’m at the end of my meal prep. It’s only 2 hours to bedtime and I know if I don’t cook this okra it will go to waste. I’m debating on whether to run down to Mollie Stone’s to pick up the cornmeal. It whining to myself about not going and hits me. What if I try the pretzel flavor shake & bake mix that’s been sitting in the cabinet? I bought it on a whim and had almost forgotten about it. The moment I think of it I’m sold on trying it. Worst case scenario, it’s awful and I throw it out.
It turned out to be an unholy concoction of deliciousness. OMG, it was so damn good. Just the right mix of salty flavor to go with the okra. I popped it out of the oven and I’d eaten almost half of it before it had time to cool off! I think I have a new way of making fried okra. I think next time I’ll throw in a few extra seasonings to give it more kick, but it was really good.
Ok, you’re just dying to know how I did it now, right? If you are familiar with okra, you know it gets slimy the moment you cut it. Cut it up and wash it off good. Don’t let it dry completely but definitely let it dry. The pretzel mix is thicker than the regular version and it will clump up if you get too much moisture into the bag. You also need to use both servings of the mix that come in the box. Trust me, you’ll need it. Mix the chopped okra into the bag with the mix and of course, shake it up. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and put it on an ungreased (or covered in foil) cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Slightly longer if you like it extra crispy. The only draw bike is the mixture will pop off and separate from the okra if you bounce it around too much. I might try a light egg batter next time, but I’m worried it might over do it. Either way, if you like okra you have to try it!
Oh and the okra never made it into my meal prep. I ate it all.
I tend to sweat in the oddest places. I rarely sweat under my arms. Up until just a few years ago, I never wore deodorant because I never had underarm odor. It just never smelled there. And I have no idea why it changed a few years ago. Even now, it’s still very sporadic. I’ve taken to keeping deodorant at work just for those odd days. However, I sweat profusely from my head and arms. Yes, my arms sweat. I will be drenched on my head and arms, but my chest, abdominal region, and underarms will be bone dry. I don’t have an answer as to why.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when I was big into watches I went thru a lot of them due to sweat. If the band was anything but plastic, it would get ruined. My watches would get so sweaty and develop their own smells. The watch would then need to be cleaned or discarded. When smartphones came along I embraced them as my time-keeper so I could get rid of my watches. I don’t think I’ve actually worn one since.
Why am I rambling about sweat you ask? Well, I apparently ruined my fitbit from sweating on it too much. I got an upgraded version, the Charge HR, on my birthday this year from Shawn. It didn’t even last a year before the band started bubbling and eventually peeled loose from the embedded electronics. Unlike the Flex, you cannot swap out the band on the HR. It is permanently embedded with what I assume is glue now that my first one has come apart.
I called up the company fully expecting them to tell me to take a hike. The online forums looked pretty disappointing as well. Imagine my surprise when Fitbit (the company) agreed to replace my fitbit (the device). I went thru the Q&A with the woman and at the end she announced, “I’m happy to advise you your fitbit qualifies for a free replacement.” I bet my face looked like a cracked egg. They don’t even want the old one back! They asked me to recycle it vs throwing it away. (They got bonus points for that.)
It was a gift, which means I didn’t have the receipt. It’s been easily 7 months, and it was “water damage.” I fully expected them to say no. In an age where companies find every excuse in the book NOT to deal w/faulty product, it was refreshing to actually have one do the right thing. Had they not, I’d already decided to get something different. Now, not only did they keep a customer but they earned some loyalty as well.