Tuesday, October 30, 2007

174??

According to the scale at the YMCA, I weigh 174 lbs now. Last time I weighed myself - which was about a month ago and on a different scale - I weighed about 158. I suppose it's possible to put on 16lbs in a month, but that seems really unlikely seeing as how I've hovered around 150-155 lbs since I was a freshman in high school and I haven't been eating that much. I do eat a lot more protein now than before, and thanks to Men's Health I actually work out regularly to use that protein. But still, 16lbs in 4 weeks?

I need to find another scale to double check this.

Keep in mind I'm not worried about this. I'm not freaking out that I'm fat or anything of the sort. Quite the opposite; I wear pants comfortably now that a year ago I couldn't and pants that I wore a year ago I now need a belt to keep up (or in some cases have actually sewn up a bit to hold). It just doesn't feel like I've gained any weight, let alone 16 lbs worth.

[I've found I'm fond of small, simple blog entries over the 4 or 5 page ones. I prefer those for the metaphysical or philosophical thoughts, leaving the "updates on life" entries short and to the point. I find there more interesting to write because I need to be concise, and I like to think they're easier to read because they take less time and still let you know what's going on in my life, or at least what's going on in my head; not unlike a newspaper for my thoughts.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

5:46

My new fastest mile time. I have to admit this was achieved on a treadmill, so I don't know how accurate it is compared to running on a track. But I'm still happy about it.

This may sound like I'm bragging, and I guess I am in a way, but I'm really proud of myself for this.

Prior to this, my fastest mile time was 6:01 from my freshman year of high school. I've been trying to beat 6 minutes since then and today I finally did it...on a treadmill. I'm pretty sure I could have done better, but for some reason the treadmill couldn't get to the 11mph I set it to and kept shifting between 9.8 and 10.5 mph. Not really sure what was up with that, but it kept saying "max speed cannot be reached." I don't know if it was my fault or the machines, but either way I made the mile in under 6 minutes, which is all I care about.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A man named George

Today at work, I met a man named George. He was about my age, maybe a little older, and was looking for the book Gangsters of Harlem, which is what the movie American Gangster is based on. We were unable to find the book, but we did find another book he was looking for.

While searching for books, we got talking. I found out he was from Harlem, was just passing through town for the day and tomorrow was going to Dubai. He said he wanted
Gangsters of Harlem because he grew up a block away from where the story takes place and knows the family that the story is about.

I like to think I'm fairly progressive when it comes to racial issues. I believe I treat Blacks, Whites, Arabs, Asians, whomever with the same levels of respect and don't stereotype. Still, I have to say, I was surprised when George said he was from Harlem. Harlem is portrayed in films and is known in society as a rough neighborhood; the kind of place a white guy from the Midwest wouldn't want to go. I felt bad being taken back by this, because George was one of the nicest customers I've ever had; the opposite of what I would have thought someone from Harlem would be like. He was friendly (he introduced himself by name and shook my hand), was extremely understanding when I said we didn't have the book in stock and all around a great guy.

Like I said, I like to think I'm progressive when it comes to race and stereotypes. Today I realized that maybe I'm not as unbiased as I thought, or at least, not when it comes to regional stereotypes...either way, I'm really glad I met George.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It blends again

My petite blender that had started to smoke works again. I ran it through the dishwasher, then took a look at it and noticed the blade wasn't secure, so I pushed it back into place, and it worked just like it should.

Now I feel kinda bad for buying the new blender. Sorry, Dad.

EDIT (from the next day): But it leaks. I feel better about buying the new blender now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not the best buy

I went to Best Buy today with one of my friends for the first time in almost two months. I hadn't been in since my discussion with the car audio kid about how to install my system and I was happy about that. That store is a sinkhole for my wallet. It turns out that after two months it still is.

Transformers came out on DVD today. It's an alright movie. Not as good as it could have been (it is a Michael Bay film), but it is Transformers, and that alone means I needed to own it. Similar to how Aliens vs. Predator sucked hard, but because it's Aliens and Predator, I had to have it in my collection. As a pleasant tangent, the trailer for Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is up and looks very, very good; just as violent and bloody as an AvP movie should be (the trailer itself is rated R). I picked up Transformers, just the single disc edition because I didn't feel like paying $7 extra for a disc I'll never watch. Sadly, I've realized that even though I'm a sucker for anything labeled "Collector's/Special Edition," I never watch the bonus features in most cases and so they're usually not worth the extra cash. Not now at least seeing as how my finances are nil.

After grabbing my copy of the movie, I started browsing around and found they have quite a few movies on sale for $10 this week. I spent a good amount of time carrying around a copy of Mission Impossible I & II and would have bought it had I found a widescreen version of M:I:III, but wasn't able to and so didn't go with the first two, either. I figured if I could get the trilogy for $20 I would, but otherwise no. During this hunt for M:I:III, I did find two movies for $10 that I decided were worth getting: Leon The Professional and Blood Diamond. My brother has raved about Blood Diamond more than once, so I figured for $10 it's probably a good deal, and I've heard very good things about Leon The Professional (the "long/Director's Cut" version), so again, for $10, a good deal. Haven't had a chance to watch either yet, but plan to do so tomorrow after work.

I should stay out of that store. I really can't afford to get back into this. Living costs enough as it is without a DVD habit to support.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It didn't blend

I've gotten in the habit of going to the gym. I like working out and exercising; it makes me feel like I'm not lazy. After working out, I go home and make myself a smoothie. Usually this smoothie consists of a banana, maybe some strawberries if I have them, about a cup of yogurt, a cup of milk, two scoops of various protein/amino acid supplements a friend gave me, and an egg. Yep, a raw egg. No, I'm not worried about salmonella, and if you watch Good Eats you shouldn't be, either. The egg blends in and makes it frothy and helps give everything a really nice texture.

Today it didn't blend.

I pushed the button on my petite blender and nothing moved. It made a noise, but it didn't move. I know I didn't overload it, because I've had this blender for almost 3 years and this is nothing new for it. So, I tinker with it a bit, hold down the button a bit more, and it starts to turn...then it starts to turn a little more...then it starts to smoke. I picked up the blender from it's stand and it started leaking all over the floor. I don't know what happened, and for once, I don't really care. I wanted my smoothie and I wasn't about to let this sissy blender stop me from getting one (I picked it up at Walmart for like $10).

I searched my apartment for a "20% select item" coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond, hopped in my car and went in search of a new blender. They have a modest selection of blenders, and after about 15 minutes of analyzing and comparing, I settled on a big, chrome, Cuisinart blender. The blender itself is $70 which is slightly more than I wanted to spend, but at the same time, it's a blender, and it's to make healthy smoothies (a blender is your best friend if you're trying to get in shape!), so I figured my father wouldn't mind helping me out with this purchase. I get home, read the instructions, set it up, and dump what was left of my smoothie from the old, broken blender into the new, shiny one and hit the puree button. It blends beautifully.

I'm happy with my new blender.

[More stuff about what I learned during my Ramadan fast and other events later, right now, I need a post-workout shower and all that]

Friday, October 5, 2007

The end of the experiment

Today, I abandoned my cultural experiment.

I was hoping that yesterday would be a singular event, that after I ate (post-fasting eating yesterday consisted of four potatoes, three carrots, a grilled chicken breast, two protein shakes, a 32oz Powerade, five boneless buffalo wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, two glasses of Blueberry Pomegranate juice, and a couple glasses of water) I'd feel better. At the time, I was right.

This morning, I was wrong.

I felt weak this morning, but that's not too unfamiliar. It's not common, but not unheard of. I woke up early, turned in my homework to my professor, then went to work. At work, it got worse. I started to notice that I was not only sore from working out yesterday, I was weak. I was able to deal with it for the first couple hours, but when I went to pick up a box of books, I had another white flash - the same kind I had yesterday - and felt light headed afterwards to the point where I had to sit down.

This wasn't a normal post-workout feeling, this was something else.

I decided around 2ish that if I was going to continue working out like I was, I couldn't keep fasting. My body wasn't getting the calories or the protein it needed to recuperate after working out, and it was draining me of all my energy to the point of debilitation.

I feel bad about doing this, but I've experienced the fasting of Ramadan for 3 weeks now and I've almost passed out twice. At the same time, exercise is important to me and I've wanted to get into a workout regime for awhile. Now, I finally have that chance, and I want to take it. As I said, I feel bad about abandoning this fast, but if I'm having problems functioning day-to-day, even on the days I don't workout, then I think I have some justification in my choice.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Flashes of White

I've started an exercise routine with a good friend of mine. We had our second trip to the gym today. The first day, Tuesday, consisted of shoulders and arms workouts. Today was legs and the, ahem, surrounding regions. The workouts are from a Mens Health book I picked up and are setup so that you only do one set of six reps per exercise, but you do it with enough weights that you can only lift them six times before you have to stop. Then you do that same weight the next time you workout until you can do 10 reps, then you increase the weight.

I decided to push myself today, because on Tuesday all the weights I lifted weren't enough and I could easily do 10 of each. I did side lunges, leg curls, leg extensions, and felt ok, but tired and a little weak (used too high of weight for the leg curls). Then I did some simple toe raises and a couple other small exercises for my legs and all was good. When I got to the stationary squats, I grabbed two 55lbs weights and started the reps. When I got to the 5th rep on my right leg, I stumbled to stand up straight again. Presuming it was just me being tired, I did my 5th rep for the left leg, then finished up the right leg, and when I went to finish the 6th rep on my left leg, I saw a flash of light, my legs turned to butter, and I almost fell over.

I took the weights back, one at a time, because I couldn't lift both at once and walk anymore. I literally stumbled from the weights to a nearby chair; I felt like I had just been hit in the head with a hammer - I couldn't think, I was nauseous, and every few seconds everything would go white and I couldn't see...

When I started the Ramadan fast, I read up on symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition, so that, should I ever show any of these traits, I'd know what it is and know what to do. This was a very clear sign of dehydration. I literally stumbled to the drinking fountain, got a mouthful of water - struggled to swallow it - and then went into the bathroom where I proceeded to dry heave, saw everything go white again, and almost collapsed on the floor.

I ended up washing my face in the sink, took a few big drinks of water (had to force the first few down), and went back out to sit in the chairs again. After a few minutes, I was able to stand again. A few minutes later, and a few more drinks of water, I was able to walk and finish the workout with hack squats (at rather low weight, of course).What this all amounts to is that, circa 6:30 on October 4th, I broke my Ramadan fast, intentionally and knowingly. The Sun set at 7:02 that day, but that didn't matter.

I suppose I'll have to tack a day on at the end in order to make up for this. I'm really not looking forward to doing that.

Neglect

As with all the journals I've had throughout my life, this one has fallen under neglect. I'd like to correct this, and plan to do so shortly, but I just don't have the motivation to write at the moment. I wouldn't say I'm depressed, but definitely not motivated to do much right now.

I put my homework off till tonight at about 8pm and will definitely reap the consequences of that tomorrow when I turn it in barely half done. I have to be at work in
just under 6 hours, yet here I am, writing away because I'm not even motivated to go to bed yet. I've been finding excuses to do everything except what I need to do. I need to do my homework (failing this class is not an option), I just don't have the motivation. I tell myself all week long that I'm going to do it as soon as I get the assignment; that I'm going to work on it and ask questions and make sure each question is answered in full. Then, when I actually get the assignment, I find a reason to put it off. I finally decide to fix the screen door in my apartment that's been busted for over 3 months. I decide to head to the store to pick up a 3V battery for the remote control on my laptop DVD player. Upon getting back, I realize that I need shampoo, so I head back to the store again. I plan my finances for the next week, do some stretches, make a sandwich, clean my room...then I realize I should get to bed because I have to be at work at 7 the next morning and I want a good 8 hours of rest, so I go to bed at 9:30pm, homework still untouched.

The next day the cycle repeats, often repeating the same activities (cleaning my room, folding clothes, making food that I can't eat until sundown) and then go to bed early so I can get up and start the next day well-rested.

When the night before the assignment is due arrives, I finally accept that I can't put it off and start doing it, then realize I have no idea what I'm doing and so it gets turned in undone, because I don't have time the next morning to ask questions before I have to turn it in. Had I looked at it even a day sooner, I could have asked questions, thought about things longer, and really put some effort into solving it. What's worse, is that some of the problems I know how to get the answer, but I don't have time because it takes an hour's worth of equations to get there and due to my procrastination, I don't have that time.

It's my own fault, but it's something that, despite my best efforts, I can't fix. At least, I haven't been able to yet.
Next week will be different. I have a test in this class on Tuesday, and if I can prove I know what I'm doing on the test, hopefully he'll take that into consideration and realize that I'm just lazy on my homework. Hopefully.

I really should get to bed; I'll only get 4 and a half hours of sleep before I have to get up, and this is the second day in a row I've done that. It's really not healthy, but I've brought it on myself, so I'm not complaining.


Not verbally, at least.