What trips us up

Here are the main things that trip us up in our weight loss efforts that we should focus on this week. 

1. We quit when things get hard. We have lots of motivation every time a weekend gets over, or we see pictures of ourselves, or we put on clothes… we know this. And we usually have a great start, but when we get hungry, or someone suggests McDonald’s, or we get a soda craving, we usually say something like “I just need this today. Tomorrow we’ll be really good.”

So what do we need to do? We need to realize that things will definitely be hard, and we need to practice what we preach at those times.  

2. We free-fall after the slightest cheat. We both know this one is true. Usually after a certain time of doing well and feeling good and looking better, we crack, but then we jump off a cliff, throw ourselves down the stairs, go on a binge, etc… We do this until the weekend, and then we keep doing it, which keeps us from enjoying our “special” food.

What do we need to do? We need to stop thinking of our lives in weeks. There are two modes that we are in. The first is the mode where we are the people we really want to be; productive, healthy, and fulfilled. The second mode is exception mode, in which we allow ourselves to be human. Wo don’t go insane and make ourselves feel sick. We just enjoy things appropriately, and according to our own schedule and intentions. 

3. We are too lazy to sweat. There’s really not too much to elaborate here. We don’t want to mess up our hair or get sweaty, but exercise often ends in perspiration.

What do we need to do? Much like in number one, we need to realize that this will be a part of our lives.We are going to sweat, and the more we embrace that, the less time we’ll waste being annoyed with that reality and the faster we can stop being choked our by our pants. 

Remember that we can make big changes. They can really happen. There is nothing special about the people who have done it before. The difference is that they did it.

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Arrested Development: The Golden Cow

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Who woulda thunk it after all these years…

In four days, Mitch Hurwitz is taking a huge risk. As the creator of Arrested Development, Hurwitz has a badge of martyrdom that he wears cleanly now. He had the best show television has ever seen, and it got killed because Fox wanted to promote something more appealing to stupid people. The show amassed a huge cult following, consistent critical acclaim, and sold millions of DVDs.

In four days, the fourth season will go live on Netflix, seven years after initially being canceled. This is the risk.

Sometimes a show just has it, and Arrested Development was guilty of that. My fear is that this fourth season might be closer to the fourth season of NBC’s Community. That season lacked the original writers as well as the real spirit of the show, and seemed to be winking at the camera, saying, “Inside jokes! Troy and Abed! Community… get it?” It not only disappointed audiences who had fallen in love with a smart and unique show, but it tainted the brand and cheapened Community more than if it had been canceled after only three seasons.

Which is how we get back to Arrested Development. My very sincere hope is that the show stays true to its roots, stays smart, stays funny and is a hit. I dread the thought that the writer’s will have the crew re-hashing the exact same jokes from seven years ago, (“Look guys, a chicken dance!” or “LOL, George Michael likes his cousin.”) I’m certainly not saying that I don’t want the old themes included, but I don’t want the jokes to be a nod to fans who have watched prior episodes so they can acknowledge that they are in on the jokes instead of actually being funny.

In short, I am nervous. Mitch Hurwitz is risking television’s golden cow, but I also believe he’s doing it out of love for the show, and not just for money or fame. Good luck.

On the next Arrested Development blog…

Jack wishes he would have just had faith, as the show made him laugh so hard he peed his pants.

Running Conversation

I was at the gym alone. It was January of 2010, and I had just started a new job. A man I had seen at work, but had never spoken to spotted me there. He made eye contact, gave a nod ‘hello’ and came over to me. I’m a recluse, so I felt a little uncomfortable talking to someone I didn’t know at the gym. We both removed earbuds, he flashed a huge grin and asked if I was new at work.

I said that I was. He shook my hand and welcomed me to the company. He said it was a good place to work and that most of the people were pretty chill. He told me his name was David.

As I got to know David better, I once pranked him by hiding his car keys in a cup right next to his desk. He didn’t look in the cup, and instead ended up searching for his keys for several hours after his shift. He was upset, but somehow good natured when he realized it had been a friendly gag.

I invited David over to see the Dark Knight when I heard he had never seen it. He said he really enjoyed the movie, and that it was weird being in my apartment again. He had worked as a satellite TV installer and a nightmare with a bunch of issues in that same apartment on Ellen circle when the previous tenants were still there. He also thought that our little dump of an apartment was cute because my wife had it decorated like a home instead of a bachelor pad, and he told me he was jealous of my life.

This started a running dialog back and forth. I would tell David how jealous I was of his beard or chiseled jaw. He would tell me he was jealous of Dayna’s cooking or my hair, but the real beauty of this slightly homo-erotic man flirting is that we were both genuine in what he coveted from the other person’s life. He rooted me along in my healthy endeavors, and I vocally expressed my desire to aspire to his level of fitness. I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up.

David is a father. He’s studying to learn practically everything he can about computers, and has put in a ton of time and work. David is scared of how much he loves Joy, and sometimes it’s freaked him out.

David and I talk about relationships. We vent frustrations, seek advice from different experiences and use each other as sounding boards.

He and Joy just gave me some advice this past Friday about going on a trip to Cancun. My wife and I have never been, and we just said today that we aren’t sure of everything we need to do before we go.

I truly hope to get to talk to David again one day; we still have a lot left to talk about.

The Dark Knight Rises Review

WARNING DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY WATCHED THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.

I bought my tickets on June 11th. I couldn’t sleep after watching The Dark Knight in 2008, but I was realistic with my expectations for the third installment. I knew that it couldn’t exceed the second film. That movie redefined comic book movies, and stands alone as arguably the best PG-13 action movie ever made.

Let’s just jump right in, though: The Dark Knight Rises was terrible.

Here’s your first spoiler: this third installment was the product of Christopher Nolan being kidnapped and the movie being directed by the godfather of all disappointment: George Lucas.

Villains. It’s really not fair for Tom Hardy. He walked into a shadow that no one could hope to match– Heath Ledger’s immense Joker performance. First, the voice-over was clear, but sounded more like a whiny mad scientist from Berlin, but also defines “trying too hard.” His dialogue was all cliche, but the problem with Bane as a villain centers around how flat a character he is; literally, he was recycled-paper thin.

When Batman has his showdown with Bane that we knew would happen from trailers that have spammed all media forms for over a year, it was soul crushing to watch. Batman stopped using the precise martial arts that were so effective for the first two movies, and instead tried punching Bane’s armored chest plate, swinging double handed, over the head chops, and leaping body lunges like a drunk man.

Bane offers predictable taunts, all while catching Batman’s punches in his palm, head butting batman, and casually beating Batman to a pulp with his superior training. That he got from the exact. Same. Person.

The worse villain is Talia Al Ghul. We knew it was her all along. Again, trailers revealed the final, climactic scene, and photos released from that scene showed her in a silly league of assassin’s robe. Her terrible dialogue included “Shoot them. Shoot them all.” Barf.

Robin. Yes, even though it’s been written that Christian Bale only agreed to sign on as Batman under the condition that Robin would never be in the films, they for some reason did it anyway. Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes a loud, runny, corn filled dump all over the film. He always overreacts– always. He gets made a detective after making one suggestion in front of the doped up commissioner, and with his first day of active duty as a detective lets Bruce Wayne know that he knows his true identity and immediately leaves. Stupid.

He continuously handles each situation like a bull in a china shop, including the pointless scene at the end of the movie in which he yells at the other police who stop him from crossing the bridge. Despite him only having been a rookie as the film starts, and a detective for maybe two months, he throws his badge off the bridge in disgust after Batman fakes his death.

Beyond that, even though he and Batman interacted 2-3 times in their entire lives, Batman gives him the keys to the kingdom, thus replacing the LOA trained, genius, billionaire action hero, with an untrained, short, rookie cop with no money, brains or talents. Sweet ending.

Michael Caine was bad. Gary Oldman was bad. Matthew Modine was very bad. Really the only actors who held their own were Hathaway and Bale.

Sigh, this is long. Okay, rapid fire!

Batman loses his strength when he fights Bane. His haymakers to the face do nothing. Except later once he’s had his spine broken, then his punches are effective.

Catwoman was missing in the middle of the film for long enough that she felt like a last minute addition to the film.

Love scene with Miranda/Talia made no sense. My wife and I looked at each other with a WTF look when they kissed– they had had one completely un-sexy 30 second conversation together, then with the sexy news that Bruce is broke they start making out in his powerless mansion. Classic.

The prison where Bane came from– you know the one where he was “raised in darkness” and the psychological torture device is always being able to see the sun— teaches Batman to feel fear. Because if part of your brain is occupied being afraid of something, than more of it is free to think clearly– at least according to the abysmal writing behind that logic-bile. While he’s afraid, he does pushups and pullups to improve his jumping muscles.

Bane feeds the cops who are under the city. The city that he’s going to blow up and the 12 million people are going to die, those are casualties of war, but he’s no cop killer. Except when kills cops.

The stock exchange robbery in full daylight? JK, it’s the black of night once the motorcycle chase starts. Because Batman.

After escaping the prison that Bane didn’t think Batman could escape from– although the last person able to do it was literally a little girl– Batman teleports (I guess) his penniless-butt back to Gotham, penetrates its military protected boundaries, flirts with Catwoman, and flame-paints his logo on a building 300 feet across to let all of his enemies know that he’s back and ruin any shot for a surprise. Instead of immediately trying to defuse the nuclear weapon contained in the city.

Batman also stored his “Bat” under a tarp with the keys in it while he’s in prison. No one takes it.

Why does a clean energy generator have an LCD display on it to count down to detonation?

The Joker carved up people’s faces, shoved pencils in their eyes, blew up a hospital, killed the imitation Batman, and burned his own money. The guy was insane. Bane? This guy reads Commissioner Gordon’s private letter! What nerve!

I could go on, but I’m depressed. 4/10.

 

Diablo 3

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Here’s my disjointed review that assumes you know what Diablo is about.

Stop it. Yes, the servers are shaky, but that doesn’t mean that the game is a total flop, and the children who are making accounts at MetaCritic to create 0 scores for a game they haven’t played are a great example of a real world issue: people who know very little, yet rapidly form passionate opinions.

The game looks and feels great. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the less than real world style during the lead up to the game, but upon using it the full experience is quite rewarding. The sound and music combined with excellent lighting, shadow and ability effects really work well together. The acting is not great, and I don’t care at all. I’m not playing this game for Meryl Streep, I’m playing it to awesomely destroy baddies.

My real concern stems from the skill ability. The following is from IGN’s review in progress of Diablo 3:

“Every time my character levels he gets something that feels significant. Sometimes it’s an awesome new ability, but even when it’s just a rune that augments a power I already had it opens up new options and tactics. Even better, though, is how it only takes a few clicks to rapidly switch between my powers and runes, ensuring I never feel tied to a decision. Instead of gameplay like Diablo II, where I often regretted how I allotted my ability points, Diablo III encourages experimentation and finding out exactly what works for your playstyle. It’s a vastly superior way to handle character abilities.”

False. Often times I will level up and all that happens is a rune is unlocked that boosts an ability that I don’t use. I might try it out, but usually I wasn’t using it for a reason. The comment about it only taking a few clicks to change between skills is utter non-sense, because– as all Diablo 2 devotees will remember– it took zero clicks to switch between skills previously. F1-F8 Were your friends, and you could customize that with a few clicks.

They call it vastly superior, but to me I would have to call it dumbed down. Maybe you could allow people to re-spec their skill points when in town settings, but to give far fewer options, fewer bonuses and really no choice at all when they level up, the only thing setting my wizard apart from yours is gear. That is literally it.

As for not allowing single player, it’s a dick move by Blizzard. Most people would have been bummed out if they couldn’t play with their buddies during release, but not even being able to play at all is dramatically worse. And the pirates have it! They can play offline already, so the DRM is completely useless. The only people that are burdened by this requirement are the people who legitimately paid for the game and are locked out due to 25 million accounts all trying to login in at the same time. Clearly those fanboys really do hate the game, and their zero percent scores weren’t just menstrational tantrums. /s

The NBA Lockout and the Debt Limit Crisis

All in the same boat: negotiating for big money.

It’s all selfish greed.

I love the NBA. Anyone who knows me already knows this about me. I can tell you my favorite players, teams, games, playoff series, coaches, owners, and the opposite for all of those things that I hate.

What I hate right now is the NBA lockout. It’s a standoff between super talented and rich athletes in their twenties and thirties, arguing about money with super wealthy owners who or so uber rich that they pay two dozen of these millionaires salaries every year. Here is a quick rundown of some pertinent statistics on the subject: The average NBA player’s salary last season was 5 million dollars for 82 games. That number is down 5% from 2006, when player salaries peaked.

NBA jersey sales were the highest they have ever been this season. Despite LeBron James being considered almost league wide to be a villain, his was the most sold. Ticket sales across the board were the best ever. The ratings for the playoffs were a 15 year high, and the ratings for the finals were the highest since 1998, when some bald guy from Chicago played in Salt Lake City.

Despite all of that revenue, the NBA’s owners claim to have lost 300 million dollars this past season. In a year when everything goes their way, league parity is very close, and the talent level is possibly as full as it’s ever been, they claimed to have lost over a quarter of a billion dollars.

Obviously there is plenty of doubt in regard to that claim, but with the NBA collective bargaining agreement up (note: why is it cool for millionaires to have collective bargaining rights, but for teachers it’s socialism?) the league office has instituted a lockout on the 2011-12 season. They want players to take a 40% pay cut. The players are willing to take a cut, but nothing close to 40%.

They should tell the owners to stick it. They are the product. No one goes to a game to see Mark Cuban, nor should they. The players should tell the owners and general managers to stop giving 7 year contracts for $80 million to players who get winded at drive through windows.

Regardless it is tough to root for one side or the other. I find myself leaning toward the players case. If you’re rich enough that those guys don’t seem rich to you, then you probably have things going pretty well for you and should complain less about your life.

In the end, this is all about getting my season back. The product isn’t really the players, it’s the game they play and the spectacular level at which they play it. And it’s the greed of those who already have so much that deprive the fans of what is best for them.

Do I need to explain the analogy?

Democrats and Republicans are bickering back and forth and both trying to win; not for the sake of the people, for the sake of party. Several Republicans have called for the party to let the nation default on its debt, so as to help the chances of ousting Barack Obama in 2012. The same Republican party that comically touted the theme “Country First” in the 2008 election. At least it would be comical if it weren’t so sad.

Here is where the analogy takes flight. The Democrats are a lot like the players–not talented, mind you– but rich, greedy, and the lesser of the two rich greedy evils. They should tell Republicans to stick it. Tell them that instead of living in a country where a teacher makes less money than someone would working at a call center that doesn’t even require a GED. Tell them that the United States is pulling out of the two endless wars that cost $12 billion a month. Did you know we spend $20 billion annually air conditioning Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty billion dollars. And we have to defund medicine, education and NASA.

The mere premise of trying to lower taxes right now is either tragically ignorant or wickedly greedy. I voted for Barack Obama so we could fund the country. Invest in American interests instead of foreign wars without end. But to pull American programs to give further tax breaks– when tax rates are already lower than under any Republican in history– to people making over $250,000 a year honestly sounds like intentionally harming America; aka treason. Think about how much money $250,000 is my poverty laden readers. Imagine getting paycheck every 2 weeks for $9,615. Think about the money that these people have, and the real need that America has. George W. Bush passed those tax cuts in 2004, and they are still in place. If the jobs were going to trickle down, they certainly would have done so by now, so it’s time we stopped accepting that nonsense as a valid economic plan.

Now the Democrats are hardly worth fighting for. They will make more concessions than the NBA players by far. The most recent proposal had no new taxes, which is also known as funding, but had hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to American social programs. No cuts to military spending. No return to the tax rates of the 1990’s– America’s most wealthy decade. Instead, we defund America so that the teams of slime balls and douche-bags in Washington can score political points.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had people in charge who just wanted to do what was best for the fans?

 

Royal Failure

The old King.

The Dallas Mavericks have won the NBA Finals.

They should thank LeBron James.

This should in no way take away from what Dirk and co have accomplished. They are the world champs because they outplayed every team in the world. They shot, defended and rebounded their way to a completely legitimate title. Still, whether you love him or loathe him, the outcome of this season was yet another decision from LeBron.

I predicted that the Heat would win the title as soon as they got James. I was far from alone, but I also watch more basketball than anyone you know. I saw what Wade did to Dallas in 2006. I saw what James did to Detroit in 2007. Combining these forces very easily should have led to rings all around on South Beach. If you are someone who also routinely watches basketball, you know what James is capable of day in and day out. And you know that he was either too injured to play– which his 46 minutes a game for the playoffs soundly disproves– or he flat out quit on the Miami Heat.

I can’t explain it. Why would he do it? I couldn’t tell you. This is the same force of nature who weeks earlier had single handedly dropped Danny Ainge’s jaw while he wiped the Celtics out of the playoffs via heroic play that has become routine for him. Next, he slammed the door on the Bulls; a team many thought he was incapable of overcoming due to Tom Thibodeau’s smothering defense that had overwhelmed James in seasons past. Not only did he prevail in those two series, but he stopped them from scoring and still provided gaudy numbers in two series that peaked at 90 point games. He held the league MVP, Derek Rose, to six percent shooting while guarding him. Six.

In doing this LeBron exorcised all of the demons that had haunted him in Cleveland while playing with starters the likes of Sasha Pavlovich, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall and Anthony Parker. He beat  Thibodeau’s defense, demoralized the MVP, and proved that he and Wade could co-exist on the same court.

Now the Heat was the overwhelming favorite to win the Finals among NBA experts. They had Haslem, who does as well as anyone in the NBA at defending Dirk Nowitzki. They had Wade, who had eaten Dallas alive in 2006. And they also had their new weapon: a two time MVP and two time scoring champion who plays team ball and lock down defense.

Unfortunately for Miami, he did not play in this series. Imagine someone asking you for a million dollar wager before the finals. They say that James will take only 20 free throws in six games, and you immediately take the bet. LeBron twice led the NBA in free throw attempts per game, so that’s an easy win for you. Then this stranger bets you that LeBron will take only 15 field goal attempts a game, and that Jason Terry shoots just fine against LeBron’s defense. You would laugh! In would be hard not to go out and buy the new car now, because LeBron James could break Jason Terry in half and eat him for brunch (the daintiest meal of the day) without even whetting his appetite. But LeBron did not play in this series.

I doubt we’ll ever know why, but he didn’t come to play. He didn’t block shots. He didn’t jump on plays; not even on his own shots. He deferred to Mario Chalmers and Juwan Howard (why Howard was ever in the game in the first place is another discussion.) He repeatedly came down with the ball before passing and was unable to stay in front of his man on defense.

To me this was somewhat of a nightmare scenario. Not because Dallas won; I’m happy for a lot of those vets who finally got their ring. No, it was a nightmare because LeBron doesn’t get to be himself in Miami. It’s my own issue as a selfish fan who honestly misses the 82 game highlight reel that was LeBron James in Cleveland the last five seasons. I understand why he left, of course. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert turned out to be a world class douche bag, and the “talent” around James turned out to not only be bad, but historically terrible.

James would have been best suited if he had just gone to New York. He would have been teamed up with Amare Stoudemire; the NBA’s best pick and roll big man who also runs the floor. The Knicks would still have all of the talent that they sent to Denver to acquire Carmelo Anthony (Mozgov, Wilson Chandler, Gallinari, Felton and a handful of draft picks) as well as cap room for the future. They would have the experience of Mike D’Antoni, instead of the defensively able but offensively bed-wetting mind of Eric Spoelstra. It would have been a show every night, instead of LeBron passing to Mario Chalmers for a bad shot in game six of the finals.

Still, if you’re Miami you probably shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Only Dallas went farther this season, and Miami was significantly better than everyone in the Eastern Conference. If Mike Miller had thumbs, maybe he could shoot (he shot 48% from three for the season last year when he was healthy.) And if Pat Riley steps in and institutes and actual offense they probably would have won this season and LeBron’s no show might have been an afterthought to him winning his first title.

But the fact remains that he did not try to win, and without any answers, all we’re left with is what could have been. And a parade in Dallas.

Questions? Disagree? Send any different thoughts to your mom, because your wrong.