Digital media is what it’s all about these days. You can download anything. Music, movies, TV shows. They’re all accessible from your couch. And it’s ruining everything.
I asked a friend at work if he’d gone to see the Avengers movie yet, and he replied, “man I got that shit at home” like he was proud of himself!! Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but crowding into a theater with a bunch of strangers and paying 4x their value for nachos is an enjoyable experience that everyone should allow themselves. Movies are more enjoyable if you experience them with others. When I watch Superbad on DVD I’m like “damn this is dumb”. But in the theater, with 300 other people, it was fucking hilarious- hardest I’ve ever laughed at a movie. I imagine that this sort of thing is also why there are people who think Super Troopers is funny. Crap. I digress.
The biggest tragedy in all this is the marginalization of what is, in my opinion, the greatest art form there is: the album. A record of songs meant to be played together, packaged with artwork, liner notes, and lyric sheets. It seems like the best case scenario now is that you download the music but never see the booklet at all. It’s like looking at Starry Night for the stars. You miss so much, and it sucks.
Fortunately, hardware as a medium is not dead altogether yet. Every record produced still comes with the whole package (for now, I fear.) And I am rediscovering that art form now that I have a car with a CD player. For the first time since Soul Asylum put out The Silver Lining, I walked out of Best Buy the other day with a new record, and have been listening to it on repeat for over a week. Here it goes:
Dark Adrenaline by Lacuna Coil. It’s a heck of a record. I’ve listened to it probably fifteen times, and even tonight a song really caught my ear for the first time and I realized just how brilliant it was.
Now, let me tell you what would have happened if I would have bought it on itunes. I would have listened to it all the way through once. And after that, I would occasionally play the cover of Losing My Religion, and no other song from it ever again. It would sit on my ipod forever, a great record completely wasted. That is a travesty. I’m actually excited for the next record I buy. I don’t know what it’s going to be; I’ll probably choose it the same way I chose this one: walk around Best Buy until something catches my eye.
I do, however, know what it will be for the second half of July and probably all of August:
Can’t wait for that. Even if the cover is freaking stupid. At least there is a cover.
More on how I got fat (or, as I’ve been calling in, my weight-gain nutritional program).
For fifteen weeks, I’ve been a on a very healthy nutritional program geared towards an optimal rate of fat burning. I’ve been doing it pretty much by the book, with one exception: I check the scale seven times as much as most experts recommend. I check it every morning. It works for me- knowing I have that weigh-in coming makes all the difference when my macros are perfect and I really want a honey bun. It’s been working- in that 15 weeks I’ve lost 40 lbs. (2 lbs per week is a standard result on the extreme end of the spectrum of safe fat loss. Considering that I’ve been adding a small amount of muscle, things are going VERY well).
So on Wednesday, I weighed in at an amount that I’ve been waiting a long time to see. And when I hit a milestone like that, I enjoy it so much that I want to do it again. So I celebrate with a ton of the junk food that I’ve been neglecting for weeks (nine weeks since that last milestone). So for two straight days, I essentially went back to the weight gain nutritional program. Burgers. Fries. Milkshakes. Pizza. So much pizza. The way I ate every day for like three years.
In two days, I weighed in seven lbs over that milestone. Two. Days. I did this for 2-3 years, with WAY less exercise. I’m realizing that I must have a badass metabolism between this and my weight-loss stats, because I should have been like 500 lbs, not 350. Holy hell- until I started keeping track, I would never in a million years have guessed just how unhealthy my lifestyle was.
So, omg, disaster, right? Seven pounds! Freakout!!
…Nah, not really. That will be gone pretty quickly- most of it will never have the chance to be stored as fat, and is gonna get burned at the gym or on the floor of the warehouse. That floor turned everything around for me. Exercise really is the key. Which is really lucky for me, because I enjoy being active, AND I really enjoy pigging out. It will happen again, probably about 20 lbs from now. That’s the really great thing about a healthy lifestyle- part of it is pockets of unhealthiness for the sake of one’s sanity. (And to keep your body guessing- if you never eat junk food it starts burning fat more slowly. It’s science. True story.)
So yeah, seven lbs in two days. That was fun. Now, time to get off this toilet and hit the weights.
I’m going to tell you a little secret. I’m going to tell you how I became the 350 lb out-of-work waste of life that I was by the end of 2008.
Anyone reading this knows all about my little downward spiral in 2004, and how I came out of that with the help of cigarettes and a nice girl named Stephanie. We all remember how I quit smoking after that and found job satisfaction for the first time. And, we all remember how that job, like every job I’ve ever cared to keep, got pulled out from under me. And shortly after that, I took a look at my life, and realized that I was lightyears away from where I thought I would be at age 23. I had always been intent on finding success early enough in life that I would still be young to enjoy it. Unfortunately, I decided that the way to do that was take shortcuts. And, like most shortcuts, they led me to exactly where I didn’t want to be and had never really considered I could end up. I realized right then that even if I started down the right path immediately, I would be 30 (and probably bald) by the time I got to where I wanted to be. So, I did the only thing that made sense. I gave up.
That bout of self-pity lasted way longer than it should have. I wish I could just erase it from everyone’s memory. But, one morning, I woke up with a fast food hangover, coughed up some blood (this happened daily), looked in the mirror and said “well, this is a problem”. And I took the first step on the road back. There’s a lot to be said for just putting one foot in front of the other.
Now, four years later, I’m back where I was in 2007- out of shape but on my way to something better, with an unstable work situation that I would give a lot just to stabilize. Lightyears from where I thought I would be. But this time, giving up isn’t going to happen. Life is too short to make that mistake again. I’m not going to be young when I get there, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow. But I’m not going to let that stop me from continuing to advance towards that little speck that just recently became visible that I suspect just may be the light at the end of the (first) tunnel.
My biggest obstacle is that I’m someone who is motivated, more than anything else, by a clear purpose. And I am tortured by a complete lack of comprehension of the purpose for my existence. It drives me insane to think that in 100 years, if you say “Jason Landi”, there may not be a single person on the face of the earth who recognizes the name. It will be like I was never here. This weighs on me to the point of suffocation.
I fear that if I die without having ever realized that purpose, my life will have been wasted. So, in the absence of the knowledge of my own raison d’être, I will in the meantime live for all that I have found to be worthwhile: the people that I love, and who have helped me come as far as I have. My wife. My goddaughter. The people who raised me (Mom, Dad, Mike, et al). All I can do is strive to be someone that they can count on, and hopefully be proud of. It’s only in them that I see any meaning in my own life. I don’t know if that’s good or bad; like I said, I’m pretty well in the woods on this whole understanding life thing. I hope I figure it out at some point, at least in a way that I can find peace with. But if not, that’s a pretty good group of people to live for. And if I were a gambling man, I would bet that a life for them would be a life that matters, and is worth living. It would just be nice to know for sure.
I have figured out one thing, and that’s that you can’t stand still in life. You’re always either moving forwards or backwards. And the further forwards you go, the more clear the big picture is. I don’t know if it ever comes into focus, but I do know that it’s always worth it to keep moving in the right direction. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. So next time you don’t want to get out of bed, do it anyway. Next time you want to self-destruct, find the killswitch and hit that mother. Next time the right thing seems insurmountably difficult, do it anyway. The reason is simple: you’ll thank yourself later.
I know that my legion of readers is dying to read more. I apologize. My plate is very full. I’m pretty exhausted. In a seven day week I get in thirteen intense workouts, and I’m doing it on a pretty restrictive calorie cap. Getting in shape is such a slog. I’m going insane with how slow it’s going, and my results are actually pretty well above average. Also, I thought I would look a lot better when I got to where I’m at now. But I don’t. So I’ll keep going. Which means my blogging will be intermittent at best. Sorry.
The Capitals play a game 7 on Wednesday. I will be tuned in with some form of junk food that I will regret on Thursday morning (but will be within the aforementioned calorie limit). I’ve seen this movie before, and I don’t enjoy it, but I keep coming back to watch it again. It’s like everything Adam Sandler has done in the last decade.
Um, the cat has just informed me that it’s time to go to bed. She’s right. In the gym in seven hours. Gotta go.
01 Mixed Doubles
02 Ladies’ Championship
03 Crazy Pineapple
04 No Limit Hold Em w/ Rebuys
05 Pot Limit Omaha Championship
06 2-7 Triple Draw Championship
07 Mixed Games Championship
08 No Limit Hold Em Championship
A smattering of thoughts:
First, St. Patrick’s Day. My least favorite holiday. By a mile. Beer is poison, shepherd’s pie is disgusting, being Irish sucks and people pretending that they’re Irish is offensive. They’ll drink green beer tonight and then talk about how offensive gingers are tomorrow. I think debauchery is great… as long as it’s not carried out on the 17th of March.
The second item is kinda controversial, but it’s my opinion and I have to say how I feel, even if it costs me friends and the respect of my peers. Ready? Here it is:
After a decade of trying, Staind have come up with a record worthy of the hype that accompanied the start of their career. The self-titled album released in September is a brilliant work of powerful melodies, killer riffs, and mostly-acceptable lyricism from long-suffering frontman Aaron Lewis, who more than redeems his occasional lack of eloquence with the strongest vocal performance of his career. I actually had to check Wikipedia and make sure he was still the singer- it sounds more like Shaun Morgan, who we all know is one of the best vocalists in rock and roll today. This album is all I’ve been listening to. It’s damn good.
Finally, my march towards health is going well. I’m getting stronger, and trimming fat. On Monday I will start my eighth week at the gym. I can do things that I never imagined. I fit in clothes that I never thought I would again. I’m still so far away. But I’ve come much farther than I have to go, and now I know that my endgame is achievable. Byproduct: my digestive system is responding. My gallbladder et al are still problematic, but I can nearly function normally. It’s amazing. I like where I’m headed.
Quick update here, just my life sort of stuff.
I joined a gym. Been going 5 days a week for four weeks now. Feel great about it. Changed my eating habits a lot too. Still eating crap, but not as crappy, and with a lot of healthy stuff peppered in too. Using the optimum performance stack with my workouts. You can get it too!: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/opt/performancestack.html
Probably related, I got off of that plateau I was bitching about and hit my goal of losing 25 lbs. That brings me to 100 lbs lost total, and puts me 15 lbs away from my high school weight. I’m very excited to keep moving. I just finished paying off a credit card, which puts me in a new gear for getting right financially. I have a lot of momentum. More than I’ve ever had (in this direction).
My brain is back to firing after years of being shut down too. I’m writing (sorry guys) and playing poker as well as I ever have. I’ve been looking a little bit into session artists to help me make some rock and roll, purely for my own amusement. Again, apologies in advance. I’m starting to feel like I’m really back. I’m not too fat to function, and I don’t have to spend every waking hour at work for the time being. And knowing how fleeting that sort of stuff can be, I’m kind of looking to cram a lot of living into however long it lasts.
Work has gotten harder lately. Can’t say much more than that, but suffice it to say that the timing sucks what with the stepping it up in the gym. But if I couldn’t handle a challenge, I would have got out of the logistics industry a while ago. Nothing I can’t handle. Just a pain in the ass.
Trying to look forward to the VBC. Having trouble with that. Not sure how to schedule it so that Mike and I can both play. Part of me feels like last year would have been a pretty good swan song- the Main Event was amazing. We had a record-tying field. And most of the family got together at a poker tournament for the first time since 2006- and as far as I know, it was the first time after Jim’s funeral. I did a lot of healing that day, not the least of which was patching up what had at one time been a major rift with the most influential person in my life (with apologies to my parents). Between that and all the planning I’ve done for next year, this year just feels kinda meh. But it will happen. I just gotta put some thought into how to make it something that’s fun and people want and are able to participate in.
That’s about it. Plenty done, plenty more to do. I just ate a pizza. Getting below 250 lbs was so much fun that I thought I’d go back over and do it again ;-)