Friday, July 29, 2011


I am on the cusp of good news. I can feel it. It's coming. Too much is going right for me right now for this not to come through.

First of all, I've weighed in two days in a row now at 195 pounds. Progress, my friends! That's 32 pounds down with 15 to 20 more to go. God I feel so good. I just can't even begin to express it.

Do me a favor and go to my Facebook page. First, stalk a few of my photos. Specifically, look at the ones from Christmas where I'm wearing my kick-ass abominable snowman shirt. And look at my Halloween photo where I'm dressed in a Yankees uniform.

Now, look at my latest profile picture, which was taken after a softball game this past Tuesday night. That's the first new picture I've seen of myself in a couple months. What a difference!! Jesus. Look how small I look! Wow.

I'd say I don't mean to brag, but I absolutely do mean to brag. Seeing visual evidence of progress is like a shot of pure adrenaline. All I want to do is kick even MORE ass now. Still work to do. Like I just said, I've got at least 15 or 20 more pounds to lose, and I really can't wait to get there. I feel so good. Wow.

What else is going on?

Well, tonight is the end-of-season party for our softball league where they'll announce the tournament seeds and pairings. Plus, it's $25 all you can eat/drink. Sold! Man, I hate that our season is already over. It went by so fast.

We have our league-wide tournament next weekend, but then we just have to wait for the next season to start. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm going to play flag football for the N.C. State team, too, and so are quite a few of the softball folks. But man I love me some softball haha.

Flag football will be pretty great, though. I've heard the State team has been around for a while and is actually quite good. Like I mentioned last week, I think a lot of our softball team's problems came because we had no continuity from last year. There was no team last year. I think we'll be much better next year now that we have a really great group of people to work with.

But the flag football team has been around for quite a few years and apparently regularly competes for the league title. That'll be fun.

And then Sunday is going to be fantastic. First, I'll be heading to Nats Park at noon for some pre-game pre-gaming, and then a 1:35 game against the Mets. Katie from softball decided she wanted to have a "Sunday Funday for No Good Reason." Well, I can get behind that. So I'll be heading down there with Katie and, like, 17 of her friends haha.

We'll buy the cheap $5 tickets and then just hang out at the huge bar in the outfield. LET'S GO!

Man I love going to Nats games. Plus! I'll get to see Jordan Zimmermann pitch. He's a really great young pitcher who sometimes gets lost in the Strasburgmania going on here. Zimmermann is legit though. In the next few years, if Strasburg can come back successfully and Zimmermann stays healthy, a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation of Strasburg-Zimmermann will be pretty stout, man. Not bad at all.

The main event of the weekend, though, is 6:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club downtown. REEL BIG FISH!! They are so much fun to see live. So much energy, such a great stage presence. Fun songs you can dance to, and since I know all the lyrics to all the songs, I will undoubtedly be screaming along, like you do.

I just can't wait haha. It's going to be a really great weekend.

Now, the impending good news about which I am extremely hopeful is I've advanced to the next stage with the company from last week. If you'll recall, I had a job interview last Monday, and they contacted me yesterday to invite me back for some more interviews and a writing test. Man, let's go.

So there you go. Almost everything is going right for me at the moment. If I can get this one more thing to go right -- wow. Jubilation.

The energy has been uncomfortably bottled up for more than four months now -- since I narrowly missed out after being a finalist for another position. I have to say, there's a chance I just spontaneously combust if/when I get the good news for which I'm hoping.

Bottom line: I feel good, man. Really good. Life is good. Good news is coming. I can feel it.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reel Big Fish!

If you know me at all, you know my favorite band is Reel Big Fish. Even if you don't know me very well, there's a really great chance you at least know about my affinity for RBF.

It dates back to my sophomore year of high school. Their song "Sell Out" had just hit it relatively big, and cracked the charts around the country. I, like literally dozens of others, bought their CD "Turn the Radio Off" because of that song.

I believe it was spring break of my junior year, and my family was driving to New Jersey. Back in the time before iPods, you actually had to bring these things called "portable CD players" with you in the car. And you actually had to bring a wallet full of CDs! CRAZY, RIGHT?!

Well I did. Charlotte to NJ is a solid drive, so I actually listened to the full "Turn the Radio Off" CD for the first time on that trip. I was hooked. I've purchased every release; I've seen them in concert nine times in five different cities. I'm a fan, you could say.

Which brings me to the point of today's post: Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto are playing the 9:30 Club in DC on Sunday night!

I can't NOT go, right?

So! I actually run into this a lot, but a lot of people either have never heard of RBF, or they've forgotten they knew that song once upon a time.

With that in mind, here's a primer of some of my favorite songs by both bands for the half dozens of people who read this blog who may go to a show on this tour.

Now, this is the 20th-anniversary tour for RBF, so they've said they're breaking out a lot of songs they don't typically play on tour, which is good news for people like me, who celebrate the entire catalog. Still, there are a few songs that will almost certainly be played.

"Take on Me"

Yes, this is a cover of the 1980s A-ha classic. But it's fantastic! They've taken to closing their shows lately with this song, which suits me just fine. Huge fan, obviously haha. This is seriously one of my favorite songs. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this song was the reason I wanted to learn to play the guitar.

It's also one of my absolute favorites to play along to on the drums. It's a workout! Plus, I love the off-beat hi-hat hits that start the song. Winner.

And yes, I do know of that scene from Corky Romano, and yes, I do sing the falsetto parts of this song flawlessly. I am unashamed. Bring it.

"Sell Out"

This is their big hit. If you know Reel Big Fish, this is the song you've likely heard. They used to close their shows with this one, obviously, since it was their "hit." But they've actually opened the show with it the last couple of times I've seen them. It's still a great song, but I don't think it'd make my Top 5 or even Top 10 for RBF songs.

"She Has a Girlfriend Now"

There is a small chance you may have heard this song. It's a fun song, and among people who have only casually listened to RBF, it generally comes up as one they like. Based on a true story too! Aaron the Lead Singer had a girlfriend who left him for another girl -- pretty self-explanatory, actually. Catchy song, upbeat melodies, fun lyrics. Recipe for fun. I've seen them pull girls up from the crowd to help them sing if they don't have a female singer with them on the tour, too. Good times.


Among RBF fans, this generally comes up as the favorite song. Erik loved this song. A lot. Every time he rode in my car he would ask me to play this song haha. It's a winner, though, so I understand. Another really fun song to play along to on the drums. It's fast; it moves; fun drum fills.

"Why Do All Girls Think They're Fat"

This is a favorite of mine from a bit deeper in the RBF catalog. It's actually a pretty old song, with the first version appearing on an album in the mid-90s I believe. It was re-recorded for the album the band released in 2007.

As with most of their songs, it's just a lot of fun, and it's easy to get up and dance to it.

Now, Streetlight Manifesto is co-headlining this tour with RBF, so I'm not sure who's closing the show on Sunday night. Streetlight Manifesto features Tomas Kalnoky, who was the lead singer of another popular ska band, Catch 22. So if you hear songs by SM that sound a lot like Catch 22, it's because SM has a few former members of Catch 22.

And they also re-recorded one of Catch 22's more popular albums (their debut album, Keasbey Nights), which featured Kalnoky singing in that band, obviously.

I've seen SM twice before, and Catch 22 was actually playing on the same bill as RBF the very first time I saw them 11 years ago. I got to the show two hours early and was standing right up against the stage. I caught a drumstick from the Catch 22 drummer, and this weird guy next to me kept asking me for it.

Buddy, if you wanted it, you should have caught it like I did. So I put it down my pants. Like you do.

"Somewhere in the Between"

Man, I just really like this song. It doesn't matter how often I hear it. Just listen to it. You'll like it. Promise.


They sing the chorus so fast in this one! Ha. But really, they do sing it pretty fast, and I'm a fan. This was the first song of theirs I discovered. I generally look up the bands that play with RBF beforehand so I'm at least a little familiar with them. I happened to download this one first, and that's that.

"The Blonde Lead the Blind"

I really like the drummer in this band, and I like the way he plays the intro to this one. And, well, the rest of the song, too. So there you go. It's also a horn party. Good times.

So there you go. You're ready for the RBF/SM show this weekend. Now you just need to get your asses to DC and come with me!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Patience is Overrated

It's been a trying several months. There's no other way to slice that one.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mike said to me, "Wow it just hit me. For basically all of the past six months, you've been just waiting for things to happen."

And yes. That's entirely true.

Between job searching, relationships, potential moving decisions and a few other things -- the past six months has been a series of situations where I LITERALLY cannot control what happens after a certain point. I do what I can do, and then I can only wait for the companies to get back to me, for others to make their decisions, for my apartment to tell me they've found someone to rent my place (thus kicking me out), etc.

It's actually kind of funny because if I had to point out a weakness of mine in the past, I'd probably eventually settle on how I tend to just roll with things. Sometimes, that's awesome. But sometimes, you have to just get up and make shit happen, you know?

I'd always been able to succeed by just rolling with the punches and going about my business. Now I've been in situations where I've been effectively forced to roll with the punches, and it's driving me fucking crazy.

Like, you have no idea.

I've always been extremely patient when it comes to my relationships with other people. And I've had no choice but to be patient and wait for these things to happen now.

I go on my interviews. I send my thank you notes. I follow-up later and make sure they have everything they need. But at some point, you simply cannot just keep contacting them. You have to let them go through their process.

Enter: patience.

Fuck some patience, man. I am ready to blow the fucking roof off of something. Anything. I don't mean that in an angry or negative way. I just mean I am ready to get up and make some shit happen.

I think that's one of the reasons why I've really thrown myself into this weight-loss and working out thing. I can't control much of my job search beyond sending out resumes and cover letters. But I for damn sure can get my ass into the gym and run and lift weights.

It's been one of the few things I've had complete control over lately. So I'm killing it. I've been fluctuating between 195 and 197 pounds the past couple of days, so that puts me almost 15 pounds away from my goal weight.

I am just so ready to get out there and really kick some serious ass at my next job. I am dying to make things happen on my own and not wait for them to happen to me now. I've been waiting for things to happen to me for six months, and I've had no other choice. I'm done with it.

And the really great thing about being 30-32 pounds lighter and having clothes fit better and more comfortably is I've LITERALLY never felt better about myself. Self-confidence and self-esteem are at all-time highs, and I will have absolutely no problem taking something by the horns and running with it.

I seriously cannot wait for the opportunity. I'm just so beyond excited for the chance to make shit happen and be done with this waiting game.

Let's go, man. Let's GO.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Softball is Too Much Fun

Let me tell you about some softball!

I've briefly mentioned softball a few times since I resumed regular blogging back in early June, but I'd like to devote some more time to it today. Because it's incredible. I seriously cannot believe how much fun it is.

Listen, I'm a baseball guy. Baseball is my favorite. Always has been; always will be. Don't get me wrong; I love football, too. But I grew up with baseball. It's in my blood.

I played in rec leagues from the time I was 6 years old until I went to college. During the summers in elementary school and middle school, I'd go outside with my bat and ball as soon as I woke up and didn't bother heading home until I heard my mom whistle at dinner time and/or dark.

All that playing, I eventually got pretty good at it. I tried out for my high school team once as a sophomore. I didn't make it, but I was one of the last cuts. The team was also nationally ranked at the time, so I didn't feel too badly about it. I kept playing in the rec leagues, though, and that was plenty good enough for me.

That was most definitely the peak of my playing abilities. I could hit high 80s pitching. I had a pretty solid arm from left field. I wasn't the fastest guy in the world -- never have been, but I could get around the bases.

Well, here's the thing about getting older (and, also, not really working on those skills much after high school). That's all pretty much gone now haha. I went to the cages a few weeks ago, and I was just standing outside the 80-85 mph cage, and I could hardly see it, never mind hit it. I couldn't believe there was a time when I could hit it. I stuck to the 60-70 mph cages.

Softball has been a way to have all the fun of baseball in a more low-key environment. As I've mentioned before, this is an alumni network league, which means I play for N.C. State (which, by the way, makes it LITERALLY a million times more fun).

State didn't field a team last year, so we're really trying to get back on our feet this year and build some continuity going forward. In other words, we're not very good this year haha. As Evan put it last night, we're the best 1-10 team in the league.

We don't take ourselves overly seriously, and we always, always have a kick-ass time playing. And that's really the most important thing. We've played a couple of teams that took themselves too seriously, and they were major downers. Guys. This isn't the ACC. It's a beer league. Take it down a notch or two.

We've got a great group of guys and girls, and I think if we can keep the team together next season we'll be in much better shape -- not unlike the East Dillon Lions from season 4 to season 5 of Friday Night Lights. This season has been about finding a rhythm.

With such a new group of players (myself included, by the way), we spent the majority of the season just trying to figure out where everyone was best-suited to play in the field and in the batting order. Most of the teams we've played have been together for a couple years, so they had no adjustments to make, really. I really like our team though. We're really getting there.

Our problem all season as been slow starts. Typical N.C. State, am I right? We just lose our minds in the first two innings and dig ourselves a huge hole. If you look at about half of our losses, we ended up outscoring the other team for the last four or five innings in each game!

We're seriously not very far away from being a .500 team. It's a game of inches, and we're working our fannies off out there. We're getting there!

Naturally, being the huge baseball nerd I am, I've been keeping track of all my batting stats for the season. We still have three regular season games to go (a double-header tomorrow, and a game against Georgetown on Tuesday night), but here's my tally so far:

  • I've played in nine of our 11 games so far (I joined the team after it played its first two games already).
  • I've hit safely in seven of the nine, and I have at least two hits in five of those games. The only two games where I didn't get a hit came on the same day I hurt my arm, and it was agonizingly painful swinging a bat (and throwing a ball, for that matter).
  • In five of the seven games in which I recorded a hit, I hit safely in each at-bat, i.e. I never made an out.
  • I've got four doubles and two triples. The rest are singles. I'd really like to add a home run either this weekend or Tuesday night. I just missed one earlier this season (in a 4-for-4 performance in our 20-4 win over South Carolina).
  • I've scored five runs, knocked in another six runs, walked once and hit one sac fly.
  • My batting average is .625.
  • On-base percentage of .640.
  • Slugging percentage of .958.
  • And my OPS is 1.598.

And yes, I realize pretty much only Mike and maybe Nick will care at all about some of those (or even know what it all means).

What does it all mean? Not very much, really. It's just so much fun playing, and I like to know how I'm doing.

With our usual coach out of town for a few days, I've been helping to run things in his absence. It's been a lot of logistics in terms of making sure we have enough players, that we have enough female players (three girls for the first 10 players, and then one girl for every two guys after that) and enough alums playing (at least 75 percent of your roster in a game must be alumni).

Setting the line-up was fun though haha. It's all fun, really. I know. I'm a dork. This isn't the first time I've heard that.

Yesterday was rough though. If you don't get a permit for a field, you actually have to go and just sit on a spot on the National Mall to make sure you have a field. If you saw on my Facebook wall or Twitter yesterday, it was 98 degrees. But don't worry, it actually felt like 113. I was just sitting there with another teammate for, like, three hours waiting for the game to start. Sweltering doesn't even begin to describe it.

Tomorrow won't be much better. High of 101 (heat index of 112), and we've got a double-header against Cornell and Richmond from 1:30 until probably 4:30 or 5. I bought a huge case of water and a ton of Gatorade to bring.

I will tolerate no casualties on my watch!

Wish us luck tomorrow, and prepare the intravenous fluids!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Accountability and Affirmation, baby Part 3

Milestone alert!!

So I know I said on Monday I was not going to mark the 197 as official because it fluctuated all weekend, etc.

But this is the third day in a row, so I'm going to go ahead and stamp it.


Three days in a row, I've weighed in at 197. Wow. Just a reminder: three months ago, on April 17, I weighed 227 pounds. Man, let's GO.

I've gotten a comment/question or two along the lines of: "Wow, you lost all that weight because of a break-up?"

Well, no. Not even close really. And here's why I think this is an important distinction: I did this for me. Not for someone else. Not because of someone else. If I didn't do this for myself, I'm not sure it would be sustainable. Using internal motivation rather than external motivation will lend itself to more permanence in the long run, no?

My "official" start-date for this was April 17, which is several, several weeks before the break-up in question. The bottom line is I looked at myself and was profoundly unhappy. And I knew I needed to change a lot of things for and about myself if I was ever going to be happy with myself.

And I am increasingly proud to say I have changed them. You'll have to pardon me if I repeat myself a little during this post, but I'm going to ramble and brag a little bit. You've been warned haha.

I can barely contain my excitement over how much better my clothes fit. There's this great Louis C.K. stand-up bit about how when you get fat, all your pants just hurt. You get bigger, but you don't buy new pants. You just keep forcing your increasingly fatter ass into the same pants, and it gets painful.

As I look back, well, yes that's true. I have this one specific pair of shorts, and it used to hurt to wear them just three months ago. I can now pull them on and off without unbuttoning them. I am epic win.

My belt? Three months ago, I was on the second-to-last hole from needing a bigger belt. Now? I'm on the last hole in the other direction! Another few weeks and I may need to buy a smaller belt. Good problems to have, folks. I am approaching the "I need to buy new pants" point in this. Good times.

OK, but seriously. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Getting down to 197 is wonderful, and I am super proud of that. But it is still considered overweight haha. I'm only 5'9" -- maybe I could pass for 5'10". Still have a ways to go, but progress for the win.

What has worked for me? Many of these things are common knowledge, but it's different when you actually, you know, listen to them.

-- You can't really overestimate how awesome jut a plain old can of tuna is. Just crack open the can and grab a fork. It's only 100 calories, but it's 20 grams of protein! I've taken to eating a can of tuna after lifting days in the gym because it's hard to beat that protein/calorie ratio. Plus, cans of tuna are only, like, a buck and super tasty. No mayo necessary!

-- Be obsessive. Seriously, write down everything you eat. I like to go to Noodles and Company from time to time because I really like their mac and cheese. Sometimes, I'll get a Dr. Pepper because I love Dr. Pepper. Well, you better be careful, because if you fill that 22-oz. cup just twice, you're talking almost 600 calories. There are almost as many calories in two cups of Dr. Pepper as in the entire bowl of mac and cheese. But how many of you would be like, "oh it's just a cup of Dr. Pepper. It can't be that bad."

It's not that bad if you record it and take it into account for your day's intake. It just means you can't go as crazy on dinner and snacks. That may be worth it to you. Sometimes it is for me because I just like Dr. Pepper. But 600 calories is no joke, and it's one of the reasons why sodas are so dangerous.

-- Force yourself into a habit. I don't even think about going to the gym anymore. I wake up. I walk Allie. I go to the gym. If it's Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I know I have to run between 3.5 and four miles. If it's Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, I know it's a lifting day. There are some exceptions. I might not lift if I have a softball game because I don't want to overdo it and hurt myself. But otherwise. Get it done.

-- Buy a food scale!! Seriously, pay attention to what the serving size is on the back of the box. If you're just eyeballing some pasta, you are most definitely going to end up eating at least three servings. One serving of dry pasta is just noooot that much pasta. And again, there's nothing necessarily wrong with eating three servings of pasta as long as you take it into account for the day. But it's just another example of how extra calories can sneak into your diet if you're not careful.

Also, I love turkey sandwiches. It's easy to put too much turkey on a sandwich. Weigh it out!

-- Cheat meals can be extremely important to helping you stave off cheat days or even weeks. One of the things I know I must avoid is pizza. My inner fat kid cannot control himself around pizza. I'm like Ron Swanson when it comes to pizza. "Give me all the pizza you have. I worry what you just heard was give me a lot of pizza. What I said was give me all the pizza you have."

But man, I was excited about my job interview on Monday, and there's a pizza place downtown I happen to enjoy, so I got a couple slices. I didn't order a large pizza. I just ordered some slices. Self-control. I has it. Sometimes.

And it helped! I didn't gain any weight. I didn't have a setback. I just rewarded myself and moved on.

So there you go. Thirty pounds is a lot! I know I'm ready to dig in and go the remaining 17 pounds now to get to my goal weight.

Some of you may think it's weird that I write so much about weight-loss, but here's my thinking. A little public shame and accountability is a solid way to keep yourself from doing something stupid again. The more I talk about this, the more people know what a bad state I was in, the less I want to get back to that state. And if more people know, they're more likely to ask how it's going, and it's just a system of accountability to make sure I'm sticking to my plan. Make sense?

Plus, you guys have been so unbelievably supportive and encouraging, and man. That goes a long way, too. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has messaged me with supportive words. It means the world to me. It really does, and I'm blown away. Sincerely.

Looking ahead:

-- Softball tomorrow night against Penn State, and then a doubleheader on Saturday against Richmond and Cornell. Maaan can't WAIT.

-- And hopefully some news about Monday's interview in the next couple of days. We'll see how it goes!

I'm out!


Monday, July 18, 2011


There's this really funny blog I read called 2Birds1Blog. The main writer is a girl named Meg who actually lives in DC. I've seen her around once or twice, too. I highly recommend checking out the blog. She writes it with a guy named Chris, and they just signed a book deal largely due to their writing on the blog. So you know. I'm available.

The funny thing is I started reading that blog several months before I moved to DC. Then as things started turning and I ended up taking a job here, I emailed Meg for advice on where to live, and she was super helpful about it all.

Anyway, she does this thing from time to time called "Thoughts I Couldn't Flesh Out into a Full Entry." Pretty self-explanatory, I would think.

And this is sort of my version of that. I don't have one thing I want to talk about today, but there are a few that are worthy of a couple paragraphs. And we're off!

Weight-Loss FTW

I'm still trucking! I weighed in at one point this weekend at 197, which is a loss of 30 pounds (!!). But I'm not going to mark that as official because I fluctuated between 197 and 202 all weekend haha. Still at 199 this morning. Still super pumped about that.

My belt is going to be on it's way out soon though. I just noticed I am now using the last hole on this belt. Ha! Love it.

The most exciting thing about this whole "I'm getting in ridiculous shape" thing is putting on clothes I was too embarrassed to wear not that long ago. Except they fit perfectly now.

One of the things that really clued me into my weight gain was when I started going on job interviews back in the late winter and early spring. I started putting on my nice dress shirts and ties and noticed they were getting uncomfortably tight around my neck and my chest and arms too. Not good times.

Today? GREAT SUCCESS. Room to spare in the neck. No tugging and pulling in the chest area. That's what she said? I'll allow it.

And then of course I was three belt holes away from where I was back then. I said goddamn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Job Interview!

I had one today! It was a PR firm downtown, and it's a really exciting opportunity. The job listing is a solid mix of things I like to do, things I do well and things I really want to do in the future. I will not disclose details. I will gladly discuss them with you if you want to IM me on one of the several platforms I use!

I think it went well, and I'm optimistic, as ever. I will say that.


Obviously, I ride the Metro to get downtown. I don't care to mess with the DC traffic, which never, ever seems to let up. I was once stuck in DC traffic at midnight. Midnight!

So. Knowing my interview was at 11:30 this morning, I was up and ready to go by 7 a.m. I was obsessively checking Metro's website and Twitter feed for information on any possible delays. Seeing none, I relaxed a little. The scheduled time for the interview meant I wouldn't need to travel during prime rush hour.

When I'm not trying to get downtown during rush hour, I can make it door-to-door from my apartment to anywhere downtown in just under an hour usually. Maybe right at an hour if I have to walk a lot.

Seeing no delays anywhere in the Metro system, I left my apartment at 10, which put me at the station around 10:15. I should get downtown by 11 at the latest -- 30 minutes early for my interview. Plenty of time.

Well I get to the station. No trains. The first two trains that show up are out of service for God knows why. Finally get on a train. We don't move for 20 minutes. (!!!)

No announcements. No updates to the website or Twitter feed. Nothing.

We finally get moving, and it's a slow trip. We get to the first station in DC (Friendship Heights), and the train stops moving just before the platform.

Stalled. Nothing. Sounds I'd never heard in two years of riding the Metro. Nothing good, that's for sure. Then we pull up to the platform. "This train is out of service."

Are you serious.

Thank GOD I planned enough time to get there 30 minutes early or else I'd have been screwed. I got off the train, and I knew I couldn't afford to wait on another train, so I ran upstairs to the street and got some cash. Fortune smiled upon me as a cab was driving by right as I ran out of the bank with my hand up.

"Mr. Cabbie, I don't want you to get arrested on account of me, but Metro has screwed me over big time today, and I have a job interview very, very soon."

We made it from Friendship Heights to Dupont in less than 10 minutes. This man was incredible. I think I gave him a $10 tip. Worth. It.

Apartment News!

The apartment people finally agreed to work with me. As I outlined a week or two ago, I was about to move back to Charlotte temporarily at the end of this month. I'd come back when I found a job, etc.

When I gave them my notice back in June, I talked to a guy I didn't know and who didn't know me. I explained the situation, and I was like, can you work with me at all on this? He said he couldn't. They had to market my apartment equally with the others that were available.

Well I went into the office today to ask if they'd found a taker for my apartment for two weeks from now (gulp). I was decidedly dreading the answer. To my great delight, they have not found a taker. So I decided to bump my notice up two weeks to give me until August 15. Thankfully, the person I talked to is someone who knew me.

She was like, oh don't worry, I know you, I know your dog, I've seen you walking her and I've seen you in the gym. We'll work with you. We'll make sure to show other apartments before yours as long as you let us know as soon as you know something. AGREED.

So I'm here for another month, instead of two weeks. That gives me time to see this last job lead through to the end, and then make a decision. If I get it, great. I'll sign a lease and be done with this nonsense. If I don't, I'll probably take a break from applying and just devote my time to moving back to Charlotte and just do THAT right.

I'll get home and settle in, and then I'll start applying to jobs up here again. But that's just the last resort. Fingers crossed this one will come through. It seems like a really, really great job, and I'd love the chance.

Anyway, I'm out for now. Questions? Concerns? Comments? You know where to find me!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Looking Ahead

Quite a busy few days looming ahead here. And it's all over the place, too.

Allow me to take a stroll through the next several days and check out what's going on. And yes, this post is as much for my organization and sanity as it is for entertainment. Whatevs.

Friday (today!)

OK, not a whole lot going on today. I'm mostly taking it easy after last night. That's the funny thing with age. It doesn't necessarily prevent you from going out and having as much as you used to, but it definitely takes an extra minute or two to get back to life again...haha.

But yeah, last night was a softball game followed by the customary trip to our bar afterward. The game started off rough. We were down TWO players at the start of the game. Illinois had to let us borrow someone to play catcher, and we were missing an outfielder, so there were plenty of gaps out there.

They ended up scoring 13 runs in the first two innings. Ridiculous! We outscored them something like 5-2 once our full team showed up, but lost 15-8 I think.

Anyway, we kicked some serious ass at flip-cup afterward. Indiana's team challenged us, and we immediately won the first seven rounds we played. I think the final tally was 9-3 or 10-3? Domination, son!

In other Friday news, my future wife Hope Solo will be the guest on PTI today, so I'm pretty pumped about that. And the big news tonight is the 90-minute series finale for Friday Night Lights.

A lot of people I talk to are so skeptical of FNL. "Oh that high school football show?" Well, yes. It has some high school football, but it's mostly about this coach and his family and the kids on his teams and their relationships and the unbelievable roller coaster of emotions small-town football puts them through.

Seriously, it has some of the best writing and acting I've ever, ever seen on a television show (aside from a particularly ridiculous story line in season 2). The majority of the shows five seasons have been as good as television should be and can be. I am simultaneously excited and depressed about tonight's finale.

I believe the show is on Netflix Instant at the moment, and it is so worth your time to check it out. I promise. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. So good.


Saturday I will go running. Because I most definitely did not go running today...haha. I didn't wake up with a hangover, but I felt it would be unwise to push my luck on that front.

I've got a LOT of shit to do around my apartment because it's about time to start preparations for a temporary move to Charlotte. I really hope it doesn't come to that, but what can you do? I will do what I do: roll with it and make the best of it.

And kind of an ongoing thing for the next week or so is I'm going to be one of two acting coaches for the softball team while our main coach is out of town. For the win!

But what that means is all I'm going to do is think about the team for the next week (which includes three games). It reminds of the time in grad school when Clark went out of town for the summer, and I served as the sports editor for Technician for the summer.

The paper only published once a week in the summers, but I LITERALLY thought of nothing else all day every day. Every single day it was, "oh god what stories will I run this week." "What stories can I write this week." "Who is around to write stories this week." I'm getting anxious just thinking about how anxious I was running the section for the summer. Ha.

I seriously could not imagine being the full-time sports editor during the semester when we published Monday through Friday.

Anyway. Judging by the weather forecast this weekend, I will be spending most of it outside. Great success.


Big TV day on Sunday, I gotta say.

I'll probably hit up some church after walking Allie in the morning. But oh boy is there ever some shit to watch.

First we have the Women's World Cup final going on with the U.S. vs. Japan. I wrote about my feelings on the U.S. women's national team on Wednesday. I can't wait to watch this game. Let's go, ladies. Kick some ass.

And then Sunday night is the season 4 premiere of Breaking Bad, which is maybe the best show currently airing on television. Top notch, man.

It's also really easy to catch up on it if you haven't been watching. The first season is only seven episodes, and seasons two and three are only 13 episodes each. There's nothing I can say that will do the show justice. It is just amazingly done in every aspect, and I am so, so excited about its return.


So what's up on Monday? Oh yeah! Job interview downtown! Again, zero percent chance I name the company here, but you know. There it is. I feel good about how the phone interview went last week, and I like the company and the work they do.

When you combine that with how good I've been feeling over the past couple of weeks -- I mean, my confidence is at an all-time high because of my kick-ass weight loss, and I've had a much greater positive outlook lately than before.

Shit's just good, man. This could be it. But I need to get down there and talk to them and see how it goes before I really get excited. I'm just happy to have another opportunity. LET'S GO!

Well that's the next few days. Thursday, we're playing Penn State in softball, and then Saturday we have a doubleheader with Cornell and Richmond. CAN'T WAIT!

I will be working with Evan to set the line-ups and run the games, and I couldn't be more excited. It really is irrational how much I love playing in this damn softball league haha. Whatevs!

Questions? Comments? LET ME KNOOOOW!

And only like six people will understand why I wrote that phrase the way I wrote it. Ha. I'm going for mass appeal here, folks.

I'm out!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sports Patriotism

Sometimes, these things just write themselves.

I was listening to the Bill Simmons podcast, The B.S. Report, last night while I was walking Allie. One of the guests was a guy named Dave Jacoby, who writes for Simmons' new website and is known as the "Czar of Reality TV."

Anyway, they were talking about the women's World Cup and how it's so difficult for women's sports to get widespread attention. But when you throw the American flag on it, the game changes.

Jacoby said at one point, "I want to know where the U.S. Debate team is performing because I will show up with my face painted."

A little about me: the two most athletic people in my family while I was growing up were by far my mom and my aunt. My aunt played D-1 college basketball and was an all-star at pretty much every sport she ever tried when she was growing up. She later coached women's basketball at Seton Hall for 25 years.

My mom hurt both her knees pretty badly in high school, but I bet she could have played college ball, too, if not for that. To this day, though, she can hit a basket from any place on the floor. Nothing but net. Every time.

Not only that, but I grew up going to women's basketball games at Seton Hall. Many of my earliest memories are of sitting in Walsh Gym with my grandmother watching my aunt coach her teams.

Then in college, when I was first starting at the newspaper, my main beat (which I genuinely enjoyed covering) was women's soccer at N.C. State.

So all of that goes to saying I recognize I'm probably a little more predisposed to women's sports than a lot of guys might be otherwise.

But if you can't get excited about what the U.S. women's national team has been doing at this World Cup -- I mean. I don't know what there is to say to someone like you. Just look at the last two matches: Sunday's ultra-dramatic come-from-behind win over Brazil and today's semifinal win over France.

Sunday's quarterfinal match against Brazil was everything you look for in sports.

The U.S. team went up early, got screwed by some questionable officiating, lost a player to a red card and had to play the final hour of game time down a man. Brazil went up early in extra time on a fluky ridiculous goal by Marta, and things looked incredibly bleak.

Then the magic happened. In the final minute of injury time in the final period of extra time, Megan Rapinoe played an absolutely brilliant cross into the box to find Abby "The Beast" Wambach sprinting in for a perfect header to tie the game.

What can you say about that moment? It was an eruption of emotions. To be so close to elimination only to rip the game back into your favor. Just wow. The game was decided by penalty kicks, and all five U.S. players made their shots. My future wife, Hope Solo, came up with the one key save she needed, and that's the game, folks. Simply amazing.

It got a little misty up in this piece a couple of times.

And then today, the semifinals against France. Let's be honest. If the U.S. had lost today, some of the magic and mystique of Sunday's win would have been diminished.

The perfect analogy I heard across sports radio and TV was the Miracle on Ice. The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey victory over the U.S.S.R. was not the gold medal game. If Team USA hadn't gone on to win the gold medal after defeating the Soviets, would that first monumental upset still be referred to with the reverence it is today? I don't know.

And the thing about today's game is France seemed to dominate possession most of the game. Aside from the early first goal for the U.S., it was all France. Both teams had some near misses, but until the U.S. scored the two goals at the end to put the game out of reach, France controlled the flow of the game.

But those two goals, man. Games can turn on an instant. And the team that had previously been dominating the entire contest can be thrown back on its heels in the blink of an eye. Especially when Abby Wambach is on the other team.

Wambach put the team up with another header, of course -- this time off a corner kick. She's just a beast, man. And then my other future wife, Alex Morgan, put the game out of reach with the team's third goal with eight minutes to play.

When you consider that most people don't watch the WNBA, and most people probably don't even know there's a women's professional soccer league in the U.S., why do we get so wrapped up in this? It's obvious: sports patriotism.

Dave Jacoby had it right. If it gives us a chance to paint our faces, scream the national anthem and drape ourselves in American flags, we're all in. And why shouldn't we be? Everyone likes a little patriotism now and then.

The way I see it, there are only two real occasions where it's OK to refer to a team as "we." Your college and your country.

I am as die-hard a Yankee fan as you will find. I always like to say if the Yankees ever played N.C. State somehow, I'd probably still root for the Yankees because that's my blood. That's what I grew up doing. I cannot imagine it being any other way.

But I cannot refer to the Yankees as we. I'm not on the team. I don't work for the team (as much as I'd like to). I was, however, a student at N.C. State -- the best university in the entire country -- so I will always refer to N.C. State's sports teams as we. Also, I am a U.S. citizen, so I don't feel strange saying "we" when talking about the national teams.

So when we play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday, I will be watching. I will be a nervous wreck because I don't know how else to watch sports. And I will be cheering like crazy for my future wives Solo and Morgan, for Abby Wambach and for the rest of the team to kick some ass.

Let's GO.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend Update!

I know I missed a post on Friday. That's my bad. I was actually in the process of writing a post that I planned on putting up just before I left to go downtown for my softball game.

It stormed something serious Friday afternoon though. I was planning on leaving to go to the game around 4:30ish, so I was writing feverishly to get it posted before I left.

The problem with writing quickly is the autosave doesn't catch as much as if I take my time and add a little here and there. I'm usually pretty good about stopping to save pretty frequently while I'm writing, but I was just trying to finish so I could leave.

Then the power went out.

It came back a few minutes later, but when I logged back in to Blogger, most of my post had not saved. I got so disgusted that I just closed the window and left for the game. I'm sure you know what that's like. You write so much, and then something happens and you lose it. You just get frustrated and don't even want to finish.

Well that's what happened on Friday.

Anyway, since I wrote you a novel on Wednesday when I described how watching (500) Days of Summer, like, 15 times can help put some perspective on a break-up (which I went through not too long ago), I figured I would keep it short and sweet today.

So here's a brief, general life update.

The past week has been pretty busy with working out and job interviews. Excellent news there, that's for sure.

I'm now going through the process with three more places, which I will not name here for fear of Google's revenge. Two are PR firms downtown and the third is a place not too far from my apartment. I feel good about all three initial interviews, and they all are still interested, so we'll see how it goes.

On the health and fitness front, I still ran and lifted last week, but I backed off the intensity a little bit on account of a ridiculously sore muscle in my back. That seems to have paid off since I'm no longer feeling any discomfort. Today, I went right back to it. I upped my distance to 3.5 miles today in an effort to work up to running four miles a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting next week.

HOWEVAH. If you've been keeping up with my progress, you know I've lost 25 pounds over the past few months. And now, the really super excellent news is after running and walking Allie today, I stepped on the scale and saw 199.5!! Now, I know that was some water weight, but I haven't seen under 200 on the scale in two years. Feels good, man. Feels good.

Won't be too much longer before I'm back under 200 for good. Let's go.

In other news, the softball game I was so excited about on Friday ended up being rained out anyway. Fail. We haven't had a game in a month! And the cruel thing is the long lay-off came after our first win of the season, which has no doubt killed off the momentum we managed to collect in our 20-4 ass-beating of South Carolina.

In true N.C. State fashion, we can't even win right. *sigh.

Oh well. We still met up at our bar to hang out. After games, the bar has $10 pitchers, but for rainouts, they do $8 pitchers. So that was great. I easily killed about a pitcher and a half of beer. And then, I have to say. Evan, you sir are a dangerous man with your affinity for shots of Jameson.

That didn't stop me from having two of them, but my God. I swear I could still taste the Jameson on Sunday night. The metro ride home Friday night is by far the closest I've ever come to breaking my streak.

I was pretty convinced I was going to need to get off the train at one point. And then I had to cab home from the metro station at like 1:30 a.m., and then cab back the next day to get my car. Good lord.

Sunday was pretty great. I went to the Nats/Rockies game with a friend from the softball team. The Nats lost, which is the first time in six years that the team I was rooting for lost a baseball game I've attended. But the Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was absolutely dealing. He had a perfect game heading into the fifth inning!

I was actually kind of disappointed when the Nats broke it up in the bottom of the fifth because I would have loved to see history like that. Anyway, the Nats ended up losing 2-1, and we headed out to a bar for the rest of the night.

I was most decidedly taking it easy after Friday night because oh my God no thank you. But it was a good time. It's always good to get out of the apartment, you know?

Sunday was all about some rest. And the U.S. women's soccer team. Because holy shit. What a win, man. And also, Hope Solo. Yes, ma'am. Marry me immediately. She's pretty kick ass.

Anyway, brief update and all, so I'm out. Softball game on Thursday at 6 p.m. at 14th St. and Constitution! Come watch us hopefully kick some ass!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Break-ups, "(500) Days of Summer" and the Art of Moving On

As you probably know by now, the girl and I broke up a while ago. Relax, I'm not going to complain about anything; I'm not going to be all emo about it. The reasons and details have no business being on the blog, anyway. I only bring it up because the event itself is relevant to the rest of the post. It's all good. It really is.

I'm doing what you do. Going out and having fun. Dedicating myself to working out and looking and feeling better (I've lost 25 pounds HEY OH). I'm writing more, as shown in my active blogging for the past month and a half or so. I'm throwing myself into hobbies like the writing, my guitar and playing softball, etc.

So where am I going with this? Have you ever seen the movie (500) Days of Summer? As the tagline for the movie says, "This is not a love story. This is a story about love."

If you haven't seen it, you should. Immediately. It's a great, great movie about the 500 days of Tom's relationship with Summer. Tom is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Summer is played by the super hot Zooey Deschanel. It is most definitely not a love story, though it warns you about that right up front -- not unlike Summer.

Anyway, Tom and Summer have this relationship, and then, of course, they break up. And the movie is about everything and all of it. The excitement of being interested in someone new. The unabashed joy when the interest appears to be reciprocated. The blinding, stomach-churning pain of heartbreak. The hope and restoration of emerging from the other side mostly better off. And everything in between. It's just really great.

So I was at home in Charlotte for the week or so surrounding my birthday. My parents have HBO, and during the week I was at my parents' house, this movie was on HBO repeat. You know how that works. It plays every few hours for like five days. Of course it did. Naturally, I watched it every time.

And now, what I'd really like to do is to write a running diary of the movie. I'm going to watch the movie and comment on it throughout with timestamps (where appropriate) so you can follow along if you'd like to see what I'm talking about. It'll likely be a lot of stream of consciousness, too. Mostly, it'll be an exercise in honestly trying to deal with, you know, life.

Every time I watch this movie, I realize more and more how I am Tom. But I guess a lot of people will see themselves in either Tom or Summer. That's probably why the movie was as successful as it was.

Regardless, I think this will be fun, and it's my blog. So here we go!

00:00 -- I'm on the couch with my laptop ready for action. The dog is nervously pacing around the room because it's incredibly cloudy and dark outside from the thunderstorm that rolled through earlier (and perhaps will roll through again).

00:01 -- the narrator talks about how Tom believed he would never be happy until and unless he met "the one." I can sympathize with that because for the better part of college, I subscribed to the same theory. But as I get older, it's not as strong as it once was. I'm not entirely sure why I felt that way. I think it's because my parents got married when they were 20 and 22, so it was just reality to me. That's how you do things. You know?

Maybe that's why I thought it would be a good idea to get engaged at 22. It was not. Live and learn, my friends. Live and learn.

As soon as Tom sees Summer, he knows she's the one he's been looking for. Yeah I know how that goes. I'm pretty sure I've been there more than once.

00:04 -- And Tom is in the kitchen breaking plates against the counter. One of the great parts about this movie is the non-linear way the story is told. It jumps around throughout the 500 days. So that's why it'll talk about things from the break-up before the relationship, etc. Anyway, so Tom and Summer have obviously recently broken up. That feeling sucks, man. You feel helpless, and the only thing that makes sense is destruction.

00:07 -- "I don't want to get over her. I want to get her back." Not this relationship, but the last relationship that ended, I looked her right in the eye after she broke up with me and said, "I'm going to get you back." It took maybe two months, but I did. We got back together and dated for another terrible year and a half. It was unwise.

Sometimes it makes sense to get back together. Sometimes the reasons you break up are temporary and circumstantial. And sometimes it's because you are completely incompatible and forcing it for who the fuck knows why. That time was the latter. I should have left it be, but I was stubborn. Again, I'm not talking about this time. It was a few years ago.

It was complicated by several factors -- among them: we lived together and didn't have an immediate way to work around that. So that was fun haha. But really, it meant we didn't have a cooling-off period. We broke up, and then continued to see each other all the time. I never had the necessary period of reflection you often go through after a break-up. That's the point where you can finally realize, you know, maybe getting back together isn't such a great idea. Didn't happen. Anyway.

00:11 -- Haha I love Tom's reaction to Summer telling him she loves The Smiths after she hears them playing on his iPod. She just smiles and says she loves the band, and that Tom has great taste in music. The elevator doors open with Tom just smiling like a moron as Summer exits. He stands there a beat and says, "Holy shit," as the doors close on him. So great.

It's something you do in elementary school, right? You find out a girl likes something you like (hell even if you don't like it), and you make a point to immerse yourself in it at all times just for the odd time when she might walk past so you might be able to share that initial moment again.

Well, it doesn't stop in elementary school. I'm pretty sure I would do this now, and so would you. Don't lie.

00:13 -- I love how it takes Tom, like, three days to fall completely in love. You can just tell by the way he looks at her. And by the way he breaks out his paper to start sketching again after Summer comments on his architecture studies. Again, when did the writers spend time sitting in my brain?

"Oh boy. Just cuz some cute girl likes the same bizarro crap you do, that doesn't make her your soulmate, Tom."

The words of Tom's sister, Rachel. Wise words, indeed. But impossible to heed when you're like Tom (and me, for that matter). Because when you decide you're in love with someone, you look for the signs in everything that happens. You'll grasp onto the smallest little thing as long as you can spin it in your head as a "sign" that you're meant to be together.

00:20 -- Ah ha. A key point in the movie. Summer talks about how she has no interest in a relationship at all because "they're messy and people's feelings get hurt." She puts it right out there for Tom. He cannot help himself.

Haha Tom is so great at karaoke. I love karaoke. I love singing anyway. I've taken to putting on my iPod while I'm in the shower so I can play my "Songs to Sing" list. I totally jam, too. It's great fun. I do sometimes wonder if people outside can hear me. I'm not exactly quiet. Whatevs.

00:25 -- And then Summer kisses Tom in the copy room. As a guy, I have to say, I'm totally fine with making the first moves. It's the way of the world, and I'm cool with it. I can do it. But man is it awesome when the girl makes the first move like that. I have always loved that.

00:30 -- Summer reiterates to Tom how she's not looking for anything serious. I think this is on, like, day 32 or something. Tom, naturally, says he's OK with it. And, of course, he is not; though I'm not sure if he knows that right now. It's the way it works though.

And just a minute later, after Tom presumably sleeps with Summer for the first time, he walks outside and is all smiles as he breaks into a dance number down the street. The feeling that you could conquer the world, that nothing could ever be wrong again. Good times, man. It's an unbeatable feeling.

And strangely, this is how I feel now. I find myself dancing while I'm walking the dog, or walking through Target, or sitting on the Metro going downtown. I very often catch myself walking around with a goofy grin on my face at all times. And all this despite the knowledge that pretty much everything is uncertain for me right now.

As Leo said in The West Wing, "Act as if ye have faith and ye shall have faith. To put it another way, fake it 'til you make it." Not that I'm faking it. I honestly do feel this way. It's just a strange juxtaposition right now, and I don't know how else to explain it.

00:38 -- The moments when you connect with a person on a deeper level than just casual conversation are amazing. There's nothing better than opening up to another person for the first time and having the other person open up to you.

Look, some people just love being in love. They love the feeling of meeting someone, falling for him or her and then just being in love together and everything that goes along with it. Tom is one of those people. And so am I haha. At least I know it and I can admit it, right? I'm aware of it, and I take steps not to let it control my life. Or something. Whatevs haha.

00:44 -- The douchebag in the bar tries to hit on Summer while Tom is sitting right there with her, and makes the comment, "I can't believe this is your boyfriend." You can see she's a little out of it before then when they're just talking together, but especially after that. She looks distant and uninterested.

And you know what? I've seen that look. Fuck that look, man.

"Friends my balls." Well said, Tom. Well said, indeed. They fight and Tom leaves. Later on, Summer goes to Tom's place to apologize.

Tom wants "to know you're not going to wake up in the morning and feel differently." Summer says she can't give him that. "Nobody can."

And that, my friends, is the terrifying thing about relationships, isn't it? It's true. You can't help how you feel. And your feelings are subject to change. It's happened to me, very suddenly and very unexpectedly. And it's happened to girls I've dated. I know I want to know what Tom wants to know. That things are going to be OK, and we're going to wake up tomorrow and be happy. But I guess you never really know that, nor can you.

00:50 -- I cannot get down with this. Tom insists on asking Summer about her exes. I am way too insecure for this haha. I don't want to know anything about exes. I like to pretend they don't exist. I can't be alone in this, right? Other people feel this way, too, right? Please? Anyone? Bueller? *Sigh.

00:56 -- 167 days into the relationship and things are great for Tom and Summer. So great that it's beginning to seep into all facets of his life. His happiness with Summer is inspiring him. Life is just easy for him right now because of how awesome Summer makes him feel.

00:59 -- "On the one hand I want to forget her. On the other hand I know that she's the only person in the entire universe who will make me happy." Oh love. Such strange and disturbing contradictions.

On day 402, Tom is heading to the wedding for a co-worker. He's riding the train to the wedding, and it turns out Summer is on the same train. I think we can pinpoint the break-up around day 290 or so. So it's been a while. Summer wants to be friends with Tom and tries to talk to him, but Tom is in love with Summer. Then Tom spends the entire train ride (and subsequent wedding) talking with Summer and spending time with her, and, of course, falling in love with her all over again.

Again, this is a total me move. I have done this before. I'm sure, over the course of my entire life, I will do it again. Tom makes the mistake of thinking Summer is falling for him again, too, which is kind of exacerbated by Summer inviting him to a party at her place a couple of weeks later. Tom has no reason to think the invitation means anything, but he jumps to conclusions, as I most definitely would.

01:08 -- This leads to a great sequence where Tom attending the party is given a split-screen treatment: Expectations vs. Reality. In his expectations, Summer kisses him and is warm and loving toward him.

Reality, however, is not kind to Tom. It turns out Summer is engaged to someone else -- someone she was seeing during the wedding where he re-fell for her.

Tom goes into a tailspin, falling into a funk (which I have thankfully avoided) where he subsists on a diet of Twinkies and whiskey, which eventually leads to him quitting his job.

It's rock bottom, man. You have to hit rock bottom before you can move back up. Strangely, I hit my own rock bottom before we even broke up, and I started my own recovery with my commitment to eating better, working out, playing softball, writing more, playing music, etc.

01:15 -- After 10 or so days of Tom's funk, you see the first signs of his recovery. He's at his little sister's soccer practice with his sketchbook -- the first time he's sketched in a while, as his sister points out. And, continuing with her wisdom beyond her years (she's like 12), she provides the next piece of great advice for Tom:

"I know you think that she was the one, but I don't. I think you're just remembering the good stuff. Next time you look back, I really think you should look again."

Hot damn. It's what we do after break-ups. You idealize everything because of the hurt and because of the longing for a return to normalcy. You gloss over the negatives (and of course there were negatives. Every relationship has them.), and you focus on what was good. You only remember what was good.

01:19 -- I love this sequence. Tom wakes up. It starts with him laying in bed, casually bouncing a tennis ball on the ground. In the background, this song is playing with a driving drum beat. Slowly, Tom's casual, random bouncing becomes more forceful and purposeful -- eventually bouncing in time with the drum beat. It's Tom getting his shit together.

He gets up out of bed. He starts sketching. He starts reading architecture books. He starts looking for jobs.

Of course, as he's getting his shit together, Summer is getting married.

There wasn't ONE moment where I woke up and got my shit together. I don't live in a movie. It was a combination of things. It was playing softball and going out with my friends. It was kicking ass running and lifting weights and getting on the scale and seeing the pounds fall away. And after a while, you get to where I am now: down 25 pounds, in a sustainable work-out routine and just generally kicking ass.

01:23 -- "You're married." Summer finds Tom at his favorite place in the city. "You never wanted to be someone's girlfriend, and now you're someone's wife."

Oh, Summer: "I just woke up one day and I knew."
"Knew what?"
"What I was never sure of with you."

I have nothing against Summer here. I really don't. She was honest about her feelings and her expectations from the beginning. Tom just couldn't help himself. But man that's tough to hear. I've heard it. We all have. It sucks, man.

I'm telling you. I am Tom. I would absolutely meet a girl, have the girl tell me straight up, "I don't want a boyfriend," and I would fall in love with her anyway. C'est la vie.

01:27 -- Day 500 of Tom's 500 Days of Summer. Here's the narration.

"Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin and they end with no lasting memories made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life. May 23 was a Wednesday."

Tom is at a job interview, and he finds a girl waiting there with him. This girl is played by one of the hottest girls on the planet, Minka Kelly. They make small talk, and he learns her favorite place in the city is the same as his, and she has seen him there before.

The narration again as Tom is sitting, thinking about the girl, and as he is called back for his interview. Brilliant stuff, by the way:

"If Tom had learned anything, it was that you can't ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence -- that's all anything ever really is. Nothing more than coincidence. Tom had finally learned there are no miracles. There's no such thing as fate. Nothing is meant to be. He knew. He was sure of it now. Tom was [Tom is called back and begins walking down the hall, only to turn around and go back toward the girl.]...he was pretty sure."

And Tom goes to the girl and asks her out. They introduce themselves, and it turns out her name is Autumn. Of course it is.

Tom gives this look to the camera, and the look in his eyes sums up everything. It's hope. It's excitement. It's everything he felt about Summer at first. The joy of meeting someone new. Then, the title card pictures change to autumn colors, and then (500) changes to a (1). Roll credits. Unbelievable. Love this movie.

The look in Tom's eyes. That feeling. It's fantastic, and I know it so well. I've felt it myself numerous times, and it's completely awesome.

It's the realization that everything really will be fine again. It's the point where you can look back and see that things happened as they should -- as they always do. Usually, you can't see that at first. Break-ups are the worst. They blind you from logic and reason. Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a great quote about being drawn to playing the role of Tom:

"I've had my heart broken before. Truly, truly broken. But when I look back at me in my heartbroken phase, it's pretty hilarious, because it felt so much more extreme than it really was. One of the things I love about (500) Days of Summer is that it doesn't make light of what we go through in romances, but it is honest about it and shows it for what it is, which is often profoundly funny."

All of us have moments during break-ups in our lives where we are undeniably not proud of the way we have acted or the things we have said. How could we be? When a relationship ends, it can feel like the most profound sadness and despair imaginable. It takes something like when Tom meets Autumn to get past it and to realize it's just the way the emotions of that situation work.

That final scene where Tom looks up at the camera is my favorite of the whole movie, and even more so now because of what has happened. I won't say it's his defining moment. Tom waking up again and turning his life around is more important. But if he hadn't been able to do that, he wouldn't have met Autumn. And maybe Autumn doesn't work out. It doesn't matter. Autumn represents moving forward and getting on with your life.

It's kind of funny her name is Autumn since I pretty much connect that season with love anyway. I met my last three serious girlfriends in the fall. So while most people probably connect the first hints of Spring and blooming flowers with love, I will always think of love when the air first turns crisp, and when the leaves start to turn. But that's a post for another day.

In the end, break-ups are the worst, and that's just the way it goes. I see a lot of myself in Tom. Maybe you end up getting back together, or maybe you're like Tom and Summer, and you don't. Whatever is meant to be will be. The key is you have to realize your version of that final scene, that moment, is coming.

And you just have to be in the right mindset for it. You have to have your shit together and be ready.


Monday, July 4, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Brian

It's the little victories that make it fun to keep going. And, really, sometimes they aren't even that little. Today is the first real significant milestone, I think. Sometimes, I really do just want to order pizza or go to Taco Bell. But man. Days like today. Makes it worth it. It really does.

I weighed in today at 202 pounds. I started at 227 almost three months ago, and my goal to reach is 180 pounds. What does that mean? Well, it means I set out to lose 47 pounds, and I've lost more than half of that now.

That's right. I'm down 25 pounds, with 22 left to lose. I've crossed the half-way point of the race, and it's all downhill from here. From this point on, I will always have less to lose than I've already lost.

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Not only that, but this weekend I put on khakis and a button-down shirt that, just a few months ago, well, let's just say I was, unfortunately, straining the threads and buttons. This weekend, however, I could pull the khakis on and off without unbuttoning them, and the shirt was comfortable again, and -- dare I say -- I think it looked pretty good compared to how it used to look on me.

I mean. Let's GO. Let us go.

Also, and this is pretty shameful and embarrassing. But, you know, I write a blog that's mostly about myself, so how much shame can I really have? That's right; not that much. And besides, it's all about some accountability for the nonsense that got me into this in the first place, right?

In the winter, it got so bad I had trouble bending over to put my socks on. Seriously. I sit down on the couch, and I lean over my leg and pull my sock on. Seems easy enough.

Except I couldn't. I could not comfortably lean over and put on my socks. I mean, what the fuck, man?

Isn't it crazy how you can look back on yourself from a time not that long ago and just marvel at the mindset you had and the things you did? Christ, man. What in the shit was I doing to myself? I really wish I could go back in time and punch myself right in the face.

But! I say all that because it's in the past! That is obviously no longer a problem, but this weekend was the first time where I really thought about it.

I took a few progress pictures, and I can see some changes. Nothing I feel comfortable showing others just yet, but eventually, maybe I will. It's only been a couple of weeks since I moved into this new belt hole. It's starting to be a little loose though!

I'm maybe another couple of weeks from moving to another new belt hole. And believe me when I say I LITERALLY have no memory of ever having to use a belt hole that far back. Not since undergrad at least. So, like seven to 10 years ago. (Sidenote: Undergrad was that long ago? Punch me in the face. Jesus.)

I did decide to skip running today. I've been having a little soreness in a muscle on my upper back since Thursday, and it actually got really aggravated when I ran on Friday. It feels better today than it did on Friday, but I don't want to push it and risk making it worse. Especially since I still walk Allie four miles every day. It's not like I'm not getting any exercise if I don't run. All the same, I hope to get back to it on Wednesday.

Otherwise, running has been going great. I'm sticking to the treadmill still for health reasons. It's almost assuredly a mental issue at this point, but I'm just terrified of running outside and having my knee or hamstring hurt to the point that I can't run at all for a while. I can't have that. Not when I'm making so much progress and feeling so good.

So treadmill it is because I feel comfortable on it. Anyway, I've been running 5Ks on the treadmill three times a week, and I've gotten my time down to around 28 minutes. And yeah, that's not a fantastic 5K time, but consider this: I ran an actual 5K last September in around 32 minutes, and I could barely run two miles on the treadmill a couple months ago.

Like I said, it's the little victories.

And we have a softball game this Friday! And depending on the next couple of weeks, I could be heading to the beach with my family at the end of July, into the beginning of August. And then I might actually be able to hit up the Technician reunion at the beach on August 7. In the meantime, I'm sticking to the plan.

It just feels so good to work so hard at something and actually achieve some results. I remember when I first saw the 227 on the scale -- ugh, and just despairing at how difficult it was going to be to change it. Here I am now almost three months later and 25 pounds lighter.

Trust me when I tell you this: it is so, so worth it. It's worth cutting out the food you've grown accustomed to eating -- all the shitty food we all love so much: the pizza and burgers and cookies and doughnuts and enormous plates of pasta. It's worth waking up a little earlier and sweating it out in the gym. It's worth everything. And it makes me want to work that much harder to get the rest of the way.

That's really the key, too. It's hard work. There's no easy way. If you find an "easy" way to lose the weight, it's almost definitely unhealthy, and it almost definitely means the weight will eventually come back. It is far more rewarding to do it the right way. I haven't been less than 200 pounds in almost two years, and I'm probably two weeks away from it again. CAN'T WAIT.

Goddamn life is good, man. Life is good.



Friday, July 1, 2011

Uncertainty is Afoot

As many of you know, I have been without a job for a few months now. If you don't know, there it is. It's all good. I'm hanging in there, and things are pretty awesome, considering.

I can't even count the number of interviews I've had. Well that's not true. I can count them. I've been on 14 or 15 interviews.

And listen, I know I should be grateful about even getting the interviews. And I am! Don't get me wrong. You never know what an interview might lead to in the future even if it doesn't lead to a job immediately. Plus, a lot of people don't even get interviews.

I get all that. I am grateful. But at the end of the day, an interview without a job offer is still a lack of a paycheck. But like I said earlier, it's all good. Financially, I've been fine. I've tightened things up, of course, but I had a plan and I stuck to it. And I have a plan going forward as well.

I've been a finalist a couple of times. I've gotten pretty far a couple of other times. I'm honestly not worried about it. I'm working hard on finding a new gig, and it's going to happen.

Here's the tricky part, though. At the end of July, it becomes fiscally irresponsible for me to continue renting my apartment. My apartment complex requires a two-month move-out notice.

I gave my notice to evacuate my apartment a few weeks ago. I explained the situation, and they said if I find a job I can cancel the notice. But! They have to market the apartment as available. If they agree to rent my apartment out before I find a job, I am -- I believe the technical term is -- screwed.

For those following along at home, here's what that means (and, for that matter, if you're looking for evidence about how ass-backwards my 2011 has been, look no further): there now exists a scenario where I find a job and then become homeless (!).

You can't make this stuff up, folks!

My contingency in case I don't find something before the end of July is to move back to Charlotte temporarily. I will continue to look for jobs in D.C. and move back here when I find one. The fact is this is where I want to be now. I really love living here.

It took me two years, but I've finally put down roots here. Plus, hello; it's a pretty awesome place to live. Never mind the wow-factor of living in the nation's capital, which is significant. It's centrally located to almost everything I want to be near. I can be in Charlotte in six or seven hours. I can be in Raleigh in four or five. I can be in New Jersey in four hours.

Also, I've done the backwoods thing. I've lived in a small southern town. It was charming. Really, it was. But I don't think this is a secret: I'm a city guy. I just am. And D.C. is a great city for me because it's big enough to be a real city, but it's not so big it's overwhelming. It's a knowable city.

Don't get me wrong. New York is absolutely my favorite city in the U.S. It's not even really close. And who knows, maybe I'll even live there one day. But for now, this is for me.

And there are a ton of jobs here. So that can't be overlooked.

But I've got a couple of really promising leads going on right now, and I remain hopeful and optimistic one of them will come through before I have to go to Charlotte or vacate my apartment. It's all good!

Bottom line is this: don't worry about me! I am feeling so, so good. I remain, as ever, totally optimistic that things will work out, but prepared in case they don't. Uncertainty is afoot for me right now, but it will be fine. You know how I roll. I take it as it comes, and I am undeterred.

Besides, all the free time I've had has led to me getting in the best shape of my life; it's led to me writing more; it's led to me playing my guitar more; it's led to me eventually finding my softball team and making some truly awesome friends.

And I wouldn't have been able to go on my nine-day happy bender otherwise. It's the little things.

So yeah. That's all I've got for now.

I'm actually really excited about this blog. I mapped out post ideas that should take me through the rest of the summer. I'm excited to write again. This feels really, really good. Thank you so very much to everyone who reads, and please let me know if you want to know anything! I am, as always, an open book. Plus, Google Analytics tells me more people want to read this blog when I write about myself. So there you go. I can do that.

Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (unless otherwise noted) for new posts. And spread the word!