Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fitness Thoughts. To Run or Not to Run?

Seems like a lot has fallen by the wayside lately. I made some good gains in January toward the weight goals and getting going on general fitness. But then February rolled around, and I lost it. Now March is almost over and I'm back where I started.

So what do I do now? Start over, of course.

The only bummer is that my goal from January of losing 30 pounds by my birthday has become a bit of a pipe dream. Okay, a storm drain of a pipe dream. It sucks, but it's my own damn fault. So I'm revising my goals. I'm shooting for 15 pounds by my 35th birthday and 20 by the 4th of July. I think that should do nicely. It's gonna be hard, but it needs to be done.

The question is, how to go about it?

I've got the boxing thing started, and thank you all for pinging me about it as much as you do. It makes me feel like I'm accountable, which helps. The first personal training session went well, and the second hits this Saturday. On top of that, I want to get up to two classes per week. Not terribly ambitious, I guess, but I've accepted that I need to start with a smaller goal.

We started seeing a new doctor recently and his response to my explanation of all the problems I have with my feet was to tell me to stop running. That it would do no good and wasn't worth the pain when there are so many other ways to get healthy. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, especially since he gave the same advice to Dana, which got her to go see a specialist about her back. She wants to run.

I know that I could go the same route. Get into rehab for my feet and go twice a week so I can get to running 10Ks without limping for days afterward. The problem for me has been that for the last few years that approach works well, as long as I keep up the PT. As soon as I stop, I revert. That has me wondering if it's worth it. Right now it isn't.

Not to say that I'll never run again, or that I'm taking my doctor's advice at face value, but I'm willing to give it time. I figure the boxing and long dog walks, hopefully some hiking now that the weather is getting nicer, will get me back into my wetsuit and bike shorts. Once that happens I can open up the arsenal and get my body closer to where I want it to be. Maybe then I'll try running.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hooked on Phonics Got Me Drunk

Dana and I went to Vegas last week, which is why I missed blogging after I said I try and get something up every week. Oops…

But, as it always does, Vegas provided some fun and some stories.

We were supposed to meet two of my college friends there, but they had to back out at the last minute. We considered bailing out as well, since we didn’t really NEED to go to Vegas, but hey, we did need a vacation, and so off we went.

I’ll leave out most of the stuff we did, since it was pretty tame, though if you get a chance to try Talisker Distiller’s Edition, I highly recommend it, and “O” at the Bellagio was a pretty damn cool thing to see.

But none of these are the things we’re still talking about, a week after the trip. No, the thing we are still talking about is the bar at the sports book in the Monte Carlo. Not the bar so much, which is just a standard casino bar with its row of old nasty stools bolted to the floor so drunks can’t fall out of them and its cloudy-screened video poker machines with the 70’s ashtrays on the side and the buttons with all the text worn off from years of drunken finger-sliding. No, it’s not the bar.

I think it was Thursday night, which is really the best time to be in Vegas. The frat boys and Jersey Shore castoffs haven’t descended en masse yet to pollute the city with crappy Target fedoras and fist bump you into an incredulous stupor. You can still see business travelers in the bars trying to work out how to expense the call girls. The clubs aren’t thumping obnoxious hip hop at all hours. The Vs aren’t as deep. Generally the douche-to-normal ratio is much lower. I mean sure, this is still the town where the Wynn can get you to buy a $12 can of PBR by putting tasting notes on the menu and a Subway $5 footlong costs $11.25, but there’s only so much you can do.

So anyway, it was a late-ish night, maybe 1 or 2 AM and we’re sitting at the sports book bar because it’s the only non-club open in the Monte Carlo and we want to be near the room in case either of us starts to pass out, which is a definite possibility.

We’ve fed a few bucks into the video poker machines, mostly on principle, since we’re only playing a hand or so before cashing out and eventually sticking our vouchers in new machines until we get bored with them too. We go for the booze and the people, not the games. What can I say?

So we’re aimlessly pushing buttons and nursing double Jameson and Sprites and chatting with the bartender when a drunken Englishman, or possibly a drunken something pretending to be an Englishman stumbles up to the stool next to us and starts ordering drinks. The bartender obligingly pours the gentleman’s obviously superfluous drinks and rattles off the total. At this point, He of the Drunken Accent inquires:

“What casino chips do you take?”

He begins tossing them on the bar.

“I got Ceasar’s, Bellagio, MGM…”

“I don’t take casino chips,” replies the bartender.

“Luxor, Planet Hollywood,” replies He of the Drunken Accent. At this point the bartender’s shoulders sag and he looks at us with an expression that falls somewhere between “see what I have to deal with” and “is this guy for real?” We laugh and sip our whiskeys. There is movement off to my right.

A small woman waves a $100 bill in the air and says “Excuse me” loud enough to know that she doesn’t give a damn whether she’s excused or not. The bartender turns away from the drunk man, who has been joined by a woman who has started throwing money on the counter to cover the casino chips, and says, “I’m just finishing up an order. I’ll be right there.”

The woman falls silent, leaning on the bar as though she doesn’t really want to touch it and clutching her hundred dollars in a way meant to show you that yes, I have a hundred dollar bill and no, you can’t have it. The bartender scoops up the money and leaves He of the Drunken Accent to his beverages and scattered chips. He crosses to the new woman who opens with “Do you have Appleton Rum?”

“No,” replies the bartender.

“Then what’s your BEST spiced rum?”

The bartender turns to study his liquor shelf. “Captain Morgan.”

The woman sighs, clearly disappointed, but she takes her moment, probably tries to figure out what Jesus would do, and confidently pipes up, “Give me one of those and Coke.”

Now, I’m a whiskey guy myself, so I don’t know that much about rum. I do know however that as soon as you add the phrase “and Coke” to any beverage title, it doesn’t matter what the hell is in the rest of the glass. It doesn’t even have to be in the same family of alcohol. In a casino pour, you can’t taste it. But I digress. Back to the story.

The bartender nods and pours the drink. “Anything else?”

The woman considers for a moment. She straightens up, takes a breath. Clearly, she does not want to fuck this up. “Do you have any Vivo Cleko?” (No, that’s not how it’s spelled, but I want you to have read this phonetically.)

The bartender arches an eyebrow, clearly a bit confused. Undaunted, she tries again.

“Vivo Cleko. Champagne.”


“Do you have champagne?”


“But not Vivo Cleko?”


“Then what do you have?”

“Our house brand. Monte Carlo.”

“But the guy over there,” she points vaguely behind herself, “said you could get Vivo Cleko.”

“That’s the high limit bar, ma’am. I don’t have everything they have.”

“He said you could get it. He specifically told me you could.”

“I can call him and see if I can get it from him. But I don’t have it.”

“That would be great. He told me you had it. Specifically.”

The bartender crosses to the phone and has a brief conversation.

“He’s already locked the cage. I can’t get it.”

“But he specifically said you could.”

“I can’t. That bar is closed. It’s probably why he told you to come here.”

“But he specifically said you could get Vivo Cleko.”

“I can’t…”

It went on like this for quite some time, with the bartender obviously being too polite to tell the uppity bitch that the reason the other bartender sent her to him was the had clearly committed some unforgivable sin against the other bartender and had to be punished. Oh, and by the way, it’s “Veuve Cliquot.”

I honestly don’t remember whether she got her champagne, but I do know that for the last week, I keep thinking that the only thing this place needs is a little Vivo Cleko.