Day 2

Weight: 218 lbs
Waist: 36″
Breakfast: None
Lunch: Vegan chili
Snacks: Half a dozen triscuits and sliced cheddar cheese
Dinner: Vegan chili, half an avocado
Workout: 2 miles runnin, 4 miles biking
In bed by: 9:00
Asleep by: 10:30

The Good: Oh hey the chili was even better the 2nd day. Doubled the distance running. Made it through the day without coffee.

The Meh: Didn’t make it out of bed until 7 this morning because…

The Bad: …I slept like a bucket of ass last night. Woke up at 3:00 am when the city decided to plow our roads and couldn’t fall back asleep. I read today that if you can’t fall back asleep within 20 minutes then you should get up and do something. I may try that next time.

Also bad: Pistons basketball. It’s so fucking stupid.

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I’m changing who I am. Follow along here, won’t you?

It’s easy to rationalize any kind of behavior, even shitty behavior, particularly when you’re not answering to someone and you’re not really* hurting yourself or anyone else:

Sleep in late on the weekends? Gotta catch up on all that sleep I missed during the week.
Stay late at the bar? Yea, but I’m meeting people. Friends and socializing are good.
Stay up until 1:00 am on a weeknight watching sports? This is why I wanted to be single again. I couldn’t do this in a relationship.
Eat that frozen pizza instead of something healthy? It’s cheap, easy and I’ll just eat less tomorrow & go to the gym.
Have that third or fourth drink? It was a long day and it’s not like I’m driving anywhere.
Frivolous spending on stuff you don’t need? I’ve got a good job and zero debt. I’ll buy whatever the hell I want.

*still really kinda hurting yourself

In my last relationship I was a relatively solid representation of an adult. I was light years from ideal, but I’d get to sleep a little earlier than normal, skipped the junk food, tried to limit myself to a beer and a glass of wine a night and exercised when I could (albeit not enough).

Breaking up brought back what I missed about being single (never ending amounts of sports! late nights on Twitter! walking down to the bar for craft beer and pool! weekends free to hang out playing cards! bourbon? sure! absolutely zero obligations, ever!) but it also brought back self-destructive behavior, too. Within weeks I was tired in the mornings and lethargic in the evenings. Professionally my life was never better, but personally I was a mess, heading to the bars and texting old hookups out of loneliness. I have a history of depression and I could feel it setting in.

The things you learn in maturity aren’t simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior. You leant not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions, if you have any, which you do. You learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent, but pays off on character.

You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you, they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing.

That’s a quote from John Gardner. My dad had it framed in his office and now its framed in mine. I walk past it a dozen times every day. And I know that I’m not living up to a lot of what makes someone mature.

I’ve had enough it. I don’t want to suffer from a lack of sleep or a shitty diet. I don’t want to rely on a pot of coffee to get me through the day. I’d rather go to sleep each night with a clear head and feel like I’ve accomplished something. Next spring I’d like to put on those clothes I boxed away this fall and feel them fitting loosely on me. Fuck, I want all new shit in my closet next May.

Fuck this depression.

I want to be my best version, the one I imagine I can be but never put in the effort to achieve. It’s going to happen and I’m gonna chronicle it here, even if it won’t be all that special. After all, everyone knows the secret to better health: diet and exercise.  But if sharing my progress publicly is what it takes to make fundamental shifts in my behaviors, I’m fine with that. Hell I look forward to it.

Here are the goals I’m setting:

1 – Develop better sleep habits. This is the big one, and where all my success probably hinges. Staying up to late leads to bad decisions and a lack of energy the next day. If I can get to sleep before midnight, and actually get good, restful sleep, it means I’ll have enough energy to work out in the morning, power through the day and work out again in the evening after work.

2 – Become a (better) morning person. You know who I’ve always been jealous of? My dad. The man has woken up long before the sun rises for as long as I could remember. 5:00 am was normal. He’d wake-up, clean the kitchen from the night before, make coffee and watch the news, have a quick workout, sit in the sauna for 30 minutes reading before anyone else was out of bed. That’s the guy I want to be and emulate.

Personally, I don’t have any problem once I’m physically out of bed, it’s getting to that point. If I’m up late at night or I’m not getting good sleep, the alarm gets reset and the snooze is getting hit until I absolutely have to get up. So doing better the night before is important.

3 – Ditch the coffee and soda. I’m going cold-turkey & started this morning. I slept like shit last night it’s made today a bit brutal, but I’m substituting coffee with green tea from now on. Again, I need to sleep at night and I don’t want to rely on my prescription of Trazodone to do it.

4 – Eat better, because duh. I love to cook and I have all the time in the world. There is absolutely no reason I should have to settle for shitty, unhealthy meals.

chili

I picked up a vegan cookbook recently, it’s time to put it to good use. Seriously, you guys, the chili. It’s actually good.

5 – Workout. Every day. No exceptions. And preferably twice, before and after work. My wind sucks right now and the distances are going to be embarrassing for a few weeks, but no matter what I’ll still go hard for at least 30 minutes at a time. If I can put in a full hour of strenuous running and biking a day I’ll be happy.

Ideally I’ll do that until I feel like my fitness level is where I want it, though I don’t know what that means yet. Once I’m trimmed up, it’ll be time to rebuild my body with weights.

I’m 6’2″, 219 lbs. I know that a normal, healthy me is probably around 200 lbs. 195 is probably the immediate goal. The thing is, I’m one of those tall, skinny-framed motherfuckers. I think once I hit 195 lbs I’m gonna wanna continue to shed weight until I can reasonably pack on some lean muscle.

Here’s a post workout shot from tonight for, you know, thinspiration or some shit. I’ll take another at 195 lbs.

me

6 – Find something better to do at night than hang out on the couch. I love sports, I love dicking around online and I love binging on Netflix shows on lazy weekends. I just want to do all that in moderation. Part of the reason I’m even doing this is because how often I’d find myself coming home from work, changing into sweats and watching five hours of sports from the couch.

I love the Bucks, Brewers and Badgers at night. But I’ve got to find a way to be more productive too. Writing, reading, bringing work home on occasion, learning new things, trying new recipes, taking classes…something. Anything but the couch, or the bar. I don’t even like going to bars anymore.

Speaking of…

7 – Go easy on the booze. I come from a family of high functioning alcoholics and drinking is just something that we do, every night. For generations the nightly routine has been come home, have a few martinis or whiskey cokes or vodka tonics or glasses of wine or old fashioneds (just no beer) with dinner and TV. We drink more often than anyone you probably know, but the next morning no one gets hangovers anymore and the process repeats itself that night.

I used to be a lot worse. My drinking in college was out of control and it followed me to my first real post-college job. “Dude,” my then boss said on my last day of work (I took a new position in another city), “you gotta do something about your drinking.” That was seven years ago, and I have. It’s almost a rite of passage in my family. The drinking still goes on as we get older, but instead passing out to get to sleep, it’s a few cocktails over the course of night. I can read a book or write a blog entry or watch sports and nurse a glass of wine for an hour. Making bad decisions doesn’t happen anymore.

But part of all this means going to sleep at a decent hour, and with a clear head. I can’t say I won’t have a drink or two every night. I’m sure I will. But it’ll be better than what’s been going on in the past.

Look, the name of the site is Reasonably Sober.

¯\_()_/¯

8 – Look better. I’d be lying if I said this was all about how I felt in the morning or at the end of the day. I’m gonna take measurements and record everything. I’m looking forward to buying a whole lot of new shit in the spring.

But beyond that, I want brighter eyes. I haven’t averaged more than five hours of sleep for more than a decade. It’s probably closer to four. I simply want to look like someone rested and healthy.

9 – Write every night, publish every morning. This process isn’t for you and your entertainment. I’m not going to bother making it funny or anything more than bare-bones. I’m not even going to spam my Twitter after every update. I can’t fathom that anyone will pop in on a daily basis to see if I’m still working this out. If they do, that’s great. I’m going to track my weight, size, what I eat and drink and how much I exercise. I’ll write an entry  at the end of the day, weigh-in the next morning and hit publish. That’s essentially it.

I’m doing this to motivate me into getting my shit together. I want to look back six months or a year from now and realize that waking early, being productive before work, working out and eating better aren’t tasks to complete, but are simply part of who I am as a person. I want these things to become habits. If you’re working out some of your own shit, or maybe want to stave off the winter rut, let me know and we can change together.

Let’s go and get this done.

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Breakups are easy as hell, until they aren’t.

Breakups are painless.

Dating back to college in my early 20s, I’ve never had a breakup crush me. Breakups I had to initiate, ones that were dropped on me like bombs, it didn’t matter. They were like band-aids you needed to rip off: get it done fast, let the pain sting for a few moments, then move on. Also, delete the band-aid’s phone number and dump its old pictures. And for fuck’s sake don’t listen to music that reminds you of the band-aid. But the basic idea is this: that person that was once in your life simply ceases to exist. No communication, no access to communication. In the age of social media they got unfriended and blocked. Email and text history was nuked. Voicemails (LOL remember those) are gone. Even if you wanted to you couldn’t find a remnant of that relationship that had just ended. All that’s left is a memory, one rapidly fading.

Like everyone else, I’ve had friends come to me when a relationship went south. I’ve listened as they tried to stay friends with the people that broke their hearts. I know about their on and off again attempts to get them back. I’ve heard their stories of heart-ache turn to ones of anger. The common theme in all their versions is the same: instead of dropping all communication they stay in touch. They Facebook, Twitter and Instagram stalk like morons. They keep the numbers and the mix-cds and old clothes. They’re not moving on because in some way, shape or form that ex is still in their lives. And I nod and I offer support and all I’m thinking is YOU GODDAMN FOOL WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING DON’T YOU KNOW HOW EASY THIS ACTUALLY IS?

Because it is easy. Hell, it might even be too easy. Maybe breakups are supposed to hurt, supposed to leave that scar you earned. I remember once talking to my best friend over a breakup that didn’t affect me in the least, and I was legitimately starting to wonder if I was capable of caring. In the past there’d at least be some regret and sadness. Instead there was nothing but a small hint of relief. I didn’t feel anything else over this long term relationship that had abruptly ended. I wondered if this was just who I was now: this 30 something guy, completely dead inside. Or at least incapable of caring to the level you’d hope from someone who said the phrase, “I love you” and thought he meant it.

But then something happens. You meet someone who almost instantly occupies all corners of your mind and heart. You can’t shut up about them and your friends are excited because they’ve never seen you this happy. You’re excited because when you finally say those three words you know you really mean it this time. Maybe this is the last person you’re meant to say them to.

So when that breakup happens and you delete the number and throw out the reminders and nuke the conversations and attempt to do that thing where you forget they exist, IM conversations about her with your friend can go something like this:

pulse

All of the sudden, that band-aid isn’t a memory. It’s a co-worker. Its car is parked in a space you have to drive by every morning. It’s walking past you while you give it a nod of the head and a polite hello in acknowledgement because it’s too damn awkward to do anything else.

This situation sucks.

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Day One.

**This post will make sense eventually. An explanation is coming**

Weight: 219 lbs
Waist: 36″
Breakfast: None
Lunch: Cheeseburger, side salad
Snacks: None
Dinner: Vegetarian chili, shredded cheddar cheese
Workout: 1 mile running, 7 miles biking
In bed by: 9:30
Asleep by: 11:30

The Good: Decided to get this blog off the ground. A bigger explanation is coming in the next day or two, but this is going to record my progress on achieving some goals. Diet today was alright. Turns out vegetarian chili isn’t terrible. Worked out tonight and the results were garbage, but I’m in a hole I have to dig myself out of. Wrote in the blog for two hours instead of watching TV. Stayed off Twitter after 9:00 PM.

The Meh: Had a cheeseburger for lunch, but this was before I planned on kick-starting this blog and the goals that are going to come along with it. Also, the weather was shit and I didn’t want to leave the building over lunch. I’ve also had two drinks tonight (vodka and water).

The Bad: It’s 11:15 PM. Was hoping to be sleeping by now. A reason may be the entire 12 cup pot of coffee I drank today.

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Feminism, football and a woman in an auto shop

Tonight I spent time in a Markquart Motors oil change shop getting a tire repaired. That turned into an oil change, new air filter, fuel filter, front running light, serpentine belt, 4×4 differential service and like that my bill goes from $10 to almost $400. That was a great way to start the weekend.

But I had a relatively interesting chat with a woman in the waiting area. I was on my laptop when she came in for service and she asked me if I minded if she turned the channel on the overhead TV. I said no, I didn’t mind. She wanted to watch Entertainment Tonight (or some similar show) but first we caught the tail end of Jeopardy.

The Final Jeopardy question was what NFL team’s logo was also a plant, and for the life of me I couldn’t come up with the answer. I noticed she was watching too and I asked her if she knew the answer and she said no. Neither did two male contestants. The answer seems obvious in retrospect, but it’s the fleur de lis, and the team is the New Orleans Saints. The lone female contestant knew the answer and won Jeopardy.

I bring this up because immediately after the show, this woman I was sitting with shared with me some thoughts on women in football.

“Now, I’m all for equal rights and all that, but I hate women sideline reporters.”

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan either, and she kept on talking:

“Football is a man’s sport. These women don’t belong around the game.”

I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t really ready for where she took me there. But I had my thoughts, too.

“I guess I’m not really a fan of sideline reporters, either” I said. “You have these women being forced to stick a mic in some coach’s face and ask, ‘So what are your thoughts on the first half coach?’. It’s a waste of their talents. I’d rather have a woman in the booth or on a pre-game show* to thoughtfully discuss the game.”

She just shook her head, looked down at her iPad game and repeated, “Football is a man’s game…” and that was the last we spoke.

I didn’t think much of interaction. I’m not overly surprised that a person in their 50s would have that kind of opinion. Hell, as someone on Twitter at all hours of the day it wouldn’t surprise me if anyone had some anti-feminist shit to say. It was out of my mind by the time I sat down to watch the Bucks tonight.

Then one of my good friends had this to say:

(in case you need a refresher, the Oxford definition of feminism is, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”)

I don’t understand how someone could be anti-feminism in 2014. Whether it’s an ignorant view on women in sports or some mouth-breather complaining about women intruding in their video-game world, I simply can’t wrap my brain around the idea that women are somehow inferior, incapable or undeserving when compared to men.

photoBut this is why I’m writing tonight. Those are the last three text messages I’ve gotten from my mom. They are in reference to:

• the tragedy of St. Louis Cardinal Oscar Tavares dying young
• Aaron Rodgers injuring his hamstring against the Saints
• Jameis Winston shaving points in college football (my mom not knowing how to spell his name is a bit cringe-worthy but, in her defense, he is a dumbass)

She’s the reason that I’m the sports-fan that I am. My dad was the athlete. He was the guy who taught me how to pitch and swing a golf-club and throw a football. But my mom was the sports-fan in the family who took me to Packer games and threw the parties that revolved around when the Badgers or Brewers played. She’s the one who religiously watches pre-game shows despite, I’m convinced, knowing more football than idiots like Berman. She’s the reason why I’m utterly convinced that there are women who belong in the booth, analyzing broken coverages and blown calls.

donny_anderson_1970_11_22

One of my favorite stories is one of the earliest I can remember being told. It was about how my mom, as a little girl, was taking a hotel elevator to her room the night before she was to see the Packers play in Green Bay. The elevator door opens and my mom loses her shit because her favorite athlete, Donny Anderson, walks in. She meets her idol and gets an autographed football out of it. To this day, if my mom has to use a number for something, it’s going to be 44.

But football is a man’s game? Bullshit.

*still wouldn’t ever watch a second of an NFL pre-game show

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Aaron Rodgers and the 4th Quarter Failings

Today, ESPN Insider writer Scott Kacsmar takes aim at the Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers in particular) over what he believes to be Rodgers’ failures in the 4th quarter over his career.

He writes:

Trailing 34-30 with 3:47 remaining on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers had a chance to lead a game-winning touchdown drive to help the Green Bay Packers escape with a victory in Cincinnati. With the stage set for a classic finish after a wild game, this should have been a legacy-growing moment for the player many believe is the best quarterback in the NFL, right?

Not so fast. The Packers are just 5-24 (.172) in games when Rodgers had the ball in the fourth quarter, trailing by 1-8 points. Five comebacks in 29 tries? Tony Romo, considered by some to be a choker, led five comeback wins in the 2012 season alone. Among active starters, only Cam Newton (2-16) has a worse record than Rodgers.

He has numerous passing records, both a regular-season and Super Bowl MVP, but this is the one area on the résumé that continues to be a sore spot for Rodgers. Sunday was one of his worst finishes yet.

This time, while the drive was long in plays (13), it ended at the Cincinnati 20 after Rodgers’ pass was tipped on fourth-and-5. That was the third tipped ball of the drive, as the Packers’ offense ended the game with two interceptions, a fumble returned for the go-ahead score, and this turnover on downs.

These close-game failures have been the hush-hush hallmark of coach Mike McCarthy’s otherwise successful tenure as Packers head coach. While the blame should be distributed everywhere, why are we not looking at the quarterback more?

I’m going to trust that Kacsmar has his numbers correct. I know many have attributed two of the Packers close losses to Rodgers when it was Flynn that played all or the majority of the games against the Lions and Patriots in 2010, but I’ll give Kacsmar the benefit of the doubt here.

I take issue with anyone directly attributing a win to a quarterback in football, just like I scoff at the idea of pitcher wins and losses in baseball. These are team sports and teams win and lose ballgames. The pitcher and quarterback may influence the outcomes of these games more than other positions, but the whole idea of attributing these players wins and losses simplifies what is usually very complex.

Kacsmar seems to understand this is a team sport, and he address this later in the piece:

Of course, some of the 26 losses speak well for him. He has put Green Bay ahead seven times in the fourth quarter when trailing, only for the team to go on to lose the game. The defense is certainly deserving of blame for this.

Green Bay has allowed 20 game-winning drives since 2008, which is third-most in the league over that span. Last season, there was the Hail Mary to Seattle’s Golden Tate on that game’s final play. In Week 1 this year, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a 28-24 lead, only to watch Colin Kaepernick and the Niners score the game’s last 10 points for a San Francisco win.

While it’s been a team problem, all quarterbacks have close losses in which the defense failed them. The difference — in comparison to Rodgers — is that they always seem to have more wins, too.

I’ve watched every one of Rodgers games. I don’t think he’s perfect, but I do think he’s been as good or better than anyone else since he became a starter. In that timespan, I’ve never gotten the impression that Rodgers wasn’t clutch, but I was curious as to the circumstances in these close games that the Packers were losing.

Here is what I found out:

21 total losses in games decided by seven points or less


Game Team Score at the start of the 4th Did the Packers tie or take the lead (Y/N/# of times) Final Score Final Offensive Possession (4th/OT)
1 Atlanta 10-17 Yes 24-27 TD
2 @Tennessee 10-16 Yes 16-19 OT Punt
3 @Minnesota 24-21 No 27-28 Missed FG
4 Carolina 21-21 Yes (Twice) 31-35 Int.
5 Houston 7-13 Yes (Twice) 21-24 Punt
6 @Jacksonville 13-7 Yes 16-20 Int
7 @Chicago 17-10 No 17-20 Missed FG

2009:

Game Team Score at the start of the 4th Did the Packers tie or take the lead (Y/N/# of times) Final Score Final Offensive Possession (4th/OT)
8 Cincinnati 21-28 No 24-31 False start
9 @Minnesota 14-28 No 23-30 FG
10 Pittsburgh 14-21 Yes (twice) 36-37 TD
11 @Arizona 24-38 Yes (twice) 45-51 OT TD/Fumble

2010

Game Team Score at the start of the 4th Did the Packers tie or take the lead (Y/N/# of times) Final Score Final Offensive Possession (4th/OT)
12 @Chicago 10-7 Yes 17-20 Fumble
13 @Washington 13-3 No 13-16 OT Missed FG / INT
14 Miami 10-13 Yes (twice) 20-23 OT TD / Punt
15 @Atlanta 10-10 Yes 17-20 TD

2011

Game

Team Score at the start of the 4th Did the Packers tie or take the lead (Y/N/# of times) Final Score Final Offensive Possession (4th/OT)
16 @Kansas City 7-9 No 14-19 TD

2012

Game Team Score at the start of the 4th Did the Packers tie or take the lead in the 4th (Y/N/# of times) Final Score Final Offensive Possession (4th/OT)
17 @Seattle 6-7 Yes 14-12 Punt
18 @Indianapolis 21-19 Yes 27-30 Missed FG
19 @Minnesota 24-27 Yes (twice) 34-37 TD

2013

Game Team Score at the start of the 4th Did the Packers tie or take the lead (Y/N/# of times) Final Score Final Offensive Possession (4th/OT)
20 @San Francisco 21-21 Y 28-34 Inc.
21 @Cincinnati 30-21 N 30-24 Inc

Here are two things that immediately jumped out at me:

1 – 66% of the losses included Packer scoring drives that resulted in a tie game or a Green Bay advantage.

and

2 – 57% of the Packers final possessions in the 4th quarter were scores or missed FGs.

Note: there were two instances in which the Packers final drive occurred with under five seconds on the clock. I instead used their previous possession)

On Sunday at Cincinnati, Rodgers had one of his worst games as a professional. It wasn’t a good look for him, throwing a costly interception late and finishing the game with two balls batted down.

But I don’t believe that the narrative should be that he’s un-clutch or worse, he’s costing his teams games when the score gets tight late. The evidence will actually show that more often than not he’s put his team in position to win the game.

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One quick note regarding the absurdity of stats

This will be brief.

Joe Posnanski recently wrote about the absurdity of some stats, and it’s worth your time.

In it he makes a particularly good case for killing the error and I’m definitely with him to a certain degree.

But I’m not here to talk about that. My ire today is for another prominent statistic for another prominent fuck-up in another prominent sport: the interception. I love football, but there isn’t anything more dumb to me about the sport than punishing a quarterback when a receiver fucks up.

I watch a majority of the games on Saturday and Sunday with my younger brother, a former quarterback and current coach. Over the years we’ve grown to loathe the idea of an interception more and more, because often times the situation isn’t cut and dry. Maybe the WR ran the wrong wrote and the ball sailed into the arms of a defender that wouldn’t have made a play on the ball otherwise. Maybe a RB or OT blows a cut block and a pass is batted into the air, landing right in a lineman’s lap.

Or maybe a WR simply doesn’t catch a perfect pass and the ball ends up in the hands of a defender.

NOPE

That was a pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jermichael Finley. As you can see, it was placed about as perfectly as a ball can be: out in front of the receiver, eye level and on-time.

Finley bobbled the ball, it ended up into the arms of defensive back Eric Reid of the 49ers and the stat sheet will say that it was Rodgers that fucked up.

This happens all the time, and it drives me nuts.

How are we, in 2013, still penalizing quarterbacks for the fuck-ups of others. How do we not have a stat for this? Why aren’t drops that lead to picks a “thing”? Hell, why aren’t drops listed in (typical) stat-books at all?

Not all interceptions are created equal, but they’re going to shape the narrative all the same. It has to stop.

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