Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bring on the broccoli gas!

So I joined weight watchers.  No I didn't balloon up to 200lbs or develop a sudden eating disorder, it was a health choice (I think).  Being a competitive athlete, I have NEVER dieted before (yes you are free to hate my guts).  Pizza...yes!  Beer...yes!  Candy...yes!  Now that I am slowing down due to bum knees and old age (or an old age attitude), I maybe should start learning how to eat healthy instead of downing 4000 calories of potato chips after a triathlon brick workout.  Plus the diet forces me to eat lots of fruits and vegetables which equals fiber which equals regular bowel movements! Yay!
So I am in day three of the point system diet.  I clearly am still learning the ropes because I have barely ventured beyond hard boiled eggs, carrots & celery, and a shit load of apples.  I did have my first banana ever today.  Yeah I know that is weird but the texture always threw me off before.  Frankly I only picked it up because I am sick and tired of fucking berries & apples (you know the mainstream fruits).
I made my first mistake yesterday (okay I likely made many mistakes...but this was the only obvious one).  I played beach volleyball in the 100deg heat index weather and rode my bike to and from the courts (about 10miles round trip).  I made an error in calculating one meal and mistakenly over estimated it (meaning I actually could have eaten more).  Well as a result, I had my first food dream.  I laid awake just thinking about how hungry I was.  You would be proud that I didn't cave even though I spent half the night drooling over just a slice of bread.  Turns out, catching my math error sooner would have let me have that bread slice...damn!
Okay I'm not going to dog the other people in my weight watchers meeting because they clearly need respect and support...but I cannot resist the birthday cake story.  One of my favorite bloggers (an extremely snarky snappy obese woman) wrote a book about loosing weight (or attempting because the book was a NY Times best seller and she still was fat...an ironic fact she loves to point out).  She openly admitted to writing this book not because of interest but because 1) she didn't have enough material for her upcoming 4th memoir, 2) wanted to appeal to the masses, and 3) needed to pay some credit card bills.  She wrote that without fail, someone would bring up the struggle of evil birthday cake at the office, at every WW meeting.  Seriously EVERY MEETING (even when she switched up locations and days).  I quietly sat in the back of my first meeting just to observe since I clearly was a noob.  Well sure enough, when the leader had the group open up about their demons, the first hand that shot up was birthday cake at the office.  I almost burst out laughing, but I doubt they would be amused by the humor (unless they are Jennslyvania fans).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Where my girl at

My great friend and traveling buddy Dana has moved to Chicago.  Her presence has kick started a rediscovery of the town and what it has to offer.  On Wednesday her, Rob, JewedLaw and I scored cheap tickets to a Muppet Improv show.  Yes it is exactly what you think...muppet puppets doing improv.  It was spearheaded by Jim Henson's son and a group of performers from LA.  At the first suggestion for an activity, an audience member yelled out sex.  It was billed at an R rated show, but the host thankfully brushed off that suggestion indicating we needed more imagination.  Taxidermy it was!
One blonde woman performer was hilarious!  Her hilarious lines would often end the scene (no way the other performers could top that).  During the Taxidermy Sex bit wrapped with:
Guy - "....I read it in the old testament"
Girl - "...yeah God hates me because of my anal bead collection"
Guy - "really, what does God have against anal beads"
Girl -  "well it is so many deadly sins...like lust, and greed because I have so many, and of course sloth since afterwards I can't walk for days"
[end scene]
A few days later her and I ran the Glo-Run 6K.  Yeah I would say she is a good influence on me...but you didn't see our NYC days together.  Anyway, the race was at night and all the people were given glo-stick necklaces, bracelets, glasses, etc.  Our race shirts were also neon fluorescent yellow.  Along the race course they set up DJ's, a strobe light tunnel, and a black light tunnel with bubbles!  With the pulsing music, vibrant t-shirts and glo-sticks, it felt more like a rave instead of a running event.  I did end up busting a couple of moves along the way (hey I can't help the impromptu dance party).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Looking for Uranus

I recently witnessed a galactic event (ok maybe not that big...but still cool), the Transit of Venus.   This event occurred back in 2004 and again a week ago; however it will not be seen again for another 105 or so years.  Weird huh.  In short, the planet Venus passed in front the sun.  Since it is A LOT further away than the Moon, it looks like a tiny speck against the sun instead of the cool ring of fire caused by the Moon in a solar eclipse.
A good friend works at the Chicago Planetarium so I wasn't going to pass up that hook up.  I guess everyone had the same idea because the museum campus was packed with amateur telescopes and crowds of school children. 
Clearly the 14 year old boy in me came as well because there were plenty of immature jokes, "can you see Venus yet...nope but I can try to see Uranus...ah ha ha ha"
The transit started in Chicago around 5pm.  Honestly I thought it would be something spectacular, but it reality it takes about 3 hours to pass across.  After ten minute of staring up with our solar approved paper glasses, it was like "okay what now".  The real enthusiasts would be a bit disappointed because Chicago would miss the last hour or so of the transit since the sun passed below the horizon around 7pm.
Thankfully the Planetarium had a live broadcast stream of the NASA telescope in Hawaii.  Our connection got us in to watch.  The NASA telescope would switch from normal to ultra violet to IR light (hence the blue sun).
The funny thing is my friend Dameon, currently living in Nagano Japan, just blogged about this same event over there
Below are pictures from the NASA broadcast.  That tiny black circle is Venus.  Whooooooooh!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

South America Adventures - Part 6 (Inca Trail)

I woke up on day 3 sore and damp.  No it wasn't crying out the pain...it was a massive rainstorm that happened overnight.  This day was the longest trek of the trip where we logged just over 10 miles.  I won't complain because it was the most beautiful day of hiking.  Seriously gorgeous!  The majority if it was thru the lush and green cloud forest full of humming birds and orchids.  We came across 4 different inca ruins that were for the most part intact.  With all of the gorgeous scenery, you were in constant danger of stepping off the narrow path and down a cliff.  Seriously, many of the paths were mountain on one side and sheer drop off on the other side.  I have a few scary videos of non-existent safety standards for the Incas and the guide was always warning people to walk single file since the path wasn't wide enough for two.  To add another level of danger, the mist from the cloud forest made the smooth stones super slippery.
Naturally the porters were running down the downhills...and our group was taking it slow (I mean SUPER slow) literally one step at a time.  It became the running gag with the group because every corner we turned was more stairs.

Up to this point, I realized I majorly lacked skill hiking up mountains.  Sure I beat the old ladies but for a fit active adult I was sure sucking ass.  Anyway turns out I LOVE going downhill.  Yes my brand new hiking boots with super traction sure helped, but I was flying down those stones like a porter.  I think the phrase "Lindsay is part mountain goat" was used a couple of times.  We came to this one particularly treacherous looking steep stair set that Dana called "the downward hill of hell".  Here is a shot of it.

It took the group about 5 minutes to get to the bottom.  I handed off my camera to get video of my attempt at either descending at record speed...or breaking my neck.  Here is the link to the video, you be the judge.

Of course we took our lunch at this spectacular mountain top view of the area.  Our guide addressed the crowd while standing about a step away from a 500ft cliff face drop off.  Apparently they are not all that afraid of heights.  I personally was shitting in fear.  A couple from Canada dropped their lens cap over the edge by accident.  It was caught in some bushes about 10ft below the ledge.  Our guide tried to retrieve it with a pole before offering to go over the side for it (so long as someone held his feet).  Did I mention it was a sheer drop off for hundreds of feet below those bushes...crazy man crazy.

Speaking of shitting...Dana got the sudden urge while on the trail to relieve herself.  Thankfully it was just a number 1 from all the coca tea she drank.  Lesson one, if you find a good place to tinkle...some one likely has already found (and used) it.  We stationed ourselves on the trail as look outs while she climbed over a rock into a dense bush.  She then called out "um guys I thinks some one has already been here...yep and they definitely had some bowel problems."  When she climbed back down I noticed her right boot was ankle deep covered in mud.  As I was pointing it out to her, we both made the realization that it wasn't mud.  Girl shrieks of eeewwww and gagging followed.

Since our group of able bodied adults was making good time, the guide let us take a detour on the way to the camp.  He had to stay with the main group since some Germans with walking sticks were taking FOREVER, so we were on our own.  There were no other people on this trail off shoot so we took advantage of the lack of supervision to explore more.  We went off trail a little bit to this small hidden ruin that was still mostly covered with jungle.  It was cool to get up close to something few people actually see, but that scene in the movie The Ruins kept playing in the back of my mind.  If you haven't seen the movie... in a nutshell, people go explore a jungle covered ruin and then the plants eat them...end scene.

Our side trip was rewarded with unparalleled access to one of the biggest farming ruins around Machu Picchu.  Our time there was cut short because lightning started and we wanted to get back to camp before any downpour.

The camp was located next to some pay-per-use showers that were a welcome site.  Yes they were the most downtrodden jungle showers you have ever seen but man was it heaven.  Granted we have been hiking and sweating for three days straight all the while stepping in donkey (and human in Dana's case) poop.  Our wet wipe showers work in a pinch but it is a far cry from any form of sanitary feeling.  It was well worth the $5 for 5 minutes of lukewarm water even though soap and shampoo was not included.

We think this means don't touch.

More gorgeous pictures