Terror at the Gymnasium

I had a terrifying experience at the gym tonight.

After completing my workout and swim with my wife Deborah, I returned to the locker room to shower and change.

The gym is overrun with new year's resolutionaries at this time of year, many of whom apparently don't know the tacit unspoken rules of gym etiquette. They are as follows:

1. No political speech of any kind, anywhere, ever at the gym. EVER!

2. No speech of any kind with strangers in the locker room, especially if one or more party's wangs are hanging out.

I had just toweled off after my shower and was pulling on my underwear when an old man entered the locker room and proceeded to violate both these taboos.

"Did you hear about that bogus missile threat in Hawaii?" the guy asked.

My scrotum shrank to one tenth its normal size and scurried up to hide inside my body cavity when I realized he was talking to me.

"I might have heard something about that," I politely replied, with minimal engagement, then began to dress at a frenetic pace.

"Apparently, the guy who sent it out was shutting down his computer and accidentally sent the warning," the guy continued as I hurriedly tried to finish dressing so I could flee this extraordinary violation of my human rights. "It even asked if he was sure he wanted to do that and he clicked YES."

"Wow," I said. And that's all.

"Sounds like someone needs to get a pink slip," the guy said.

"True of many things in this world," I said. He chuckled. I was close to being almost fully dressed. "Well, I hope your weekend is better than that guy's," I said, by way of exiting the locker room as quickly as possible.

"Have a good weekend," he called after me.

It took me several hours to get past the trauma of that conversational incident. I wish more people understood how much mental pain they can inflict with their words. The man was oblivious to the cultural norms that guide locker room behavior and totally insensitive to my alternative lifestyle that precludes consumption of corporate mainstream news media and its distillates, as filtered through the generally ignorant minds of the common man.

I suspect most of the newbie members of my health club will either learn proper behavioral norms or stop coming to the gym around mid-February, per the implicit guidelines of new year's resolutions that limit follow through to 20% or less of the resolute populace.


Newbie Resolutionaries

It's that time of year when the health club that my wife and I belong to becomes overrun with what I call "newbie resolutionaries." These are people who made New Year's Resolutions to get fit in 2018 and joined a health club, in this case ours. I speculate that about 80% of these individuals did the same thing last year and then lost their resolve around mid-February 2017, not to be seen again until after New Year's Eve. I don't hold any resentment toward these people. Sure, they crowd the locker room and the workout floor at the gym for a couple of months. However, they also infuse our health club with capital in the form of new memberships, which translates into infrastructure improvements (as evidenced by the several new exercise bikes that have appeared, replacing older models). If the 80/20 Rule holds, about 20% of the newbie resolutionaries will succeed at making regular exercise an integral part of their healthy lifestyles going forward.

Deborah and I are doing a fortnight fitness challenge starting today. We are going to quantitatively and qualitatively measure the effects of a plant-based, whole food diet on our health and wellness. For details, GO HERE.


2018 Resolutions

I am generally in the camp that believes good habits are not arbitrarily started on the first of the year, but should be integral to an ongoing healthy lifestyle. That being said, New Years Resolutions do serve a purpose to help us reflect on our goals, determine if any adjustments are needed, and keep us moving in the direction of awesomeness as we envision it.

Most of my resolutions are continuations or modifications of ongoing lifestyle enhancements. This would be things like regular gym attendance and healthy nutrition. Some are new specific projects that fall under general objective umbrellas. For example, under my general umbrella of becoming a better musician, I have added two specific projects. One is learning a set list of challenging songs I have selected and plan to perform around Halloween 2018. Another is the formation of an instrumental surf rock/Hawaiian band, inspired by a recent vacation to Hawaii, that will perform November - February during Wisconsin's icy cold winters (complete with hula dancers, lei's, fruity drinks, inflatable palm trees, etc.). If anyone is interested in collaborating on the latter project, shoot me an email or comment below.


Pacifica - The Final Days

It's hard to believe that just two days ago, I was about 4,000 miles from home, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, wearing shorts and letting the crystal clear sea water wash over my feet.

It was a pretty fun trip. We had almost a full day in Waikiki Beach before we had to fly out on Tuesday night (1/2/18). We mostly spent that day on the beach and by the pool, absorbing as much tropical weather as we could to bring back to icy cold Wisconsin with us. Unfortunately, most of it was confiscated by TSA at the Honolulu Airport, and we only had enough left for our own personal use when we got back. Sory Wisco!

My sister took my niece and nephew for a surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach in the afternoon on Tuesday. Deborah and I had just finished a late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory franchise near our hotel and we decided to take the bus down the street to where the kids would be getting their lesson at 3 PM. They were naturals on the "bunny waves," and I captured some video documentation.

On Monday, New Year's Day 2018, we took an all day driving tour of Oahu's North Shore with a tour guide. We snorkeled at Sharks Cove, one of my vacation bucket list items, for about an hour before having lunch at the infamous North Shore shrimp trucks and viewing the famous surfing beaches. Upon returning to Honolulu, we hit the infamous Leonard's Bakery for some "original" malasadas, which are sort of like donuts without the hole, frosted with sugar.

On New Year's Eve, we all went out to Pearl Harbor and did the usual touristy things people do there. After Deborah and I came back on the shuttle bus, we went to an early dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen franchise near our hotel, beating the rush of revelers. That was a wise choice...it was a busy night in Waikiki. My sister, niece, and nephew had stayed at Pearl Harbor longer than us so my nephew could go to the Aviation Museum there and do the military flight simulators. A little before midnight, we all headed down to Waikiki Beach for the NYE fireworks, fired from a barge out in the ocean. They were OK, but a little bit far away.

On Saturday morning, 12/30/17, I tagged along with my sister, niece, and nephew for their early morning hike up the Diamond Head volcano to watch the sun rise. On the way there, our cabby pointed out a farmer's market, which we hit after coming down off the volcano. It was nice to get some exercise.

Friday, 12/29/17, was a low key day. In the afternoon, we took a cab out to the Hanauma Bay snorkeling area and spent a couple hours there. It was a larger snorkeling area than Sharks Bay, but completely overrun with undesirable people (aka, people), which made it less fun and more expensive. Everything at Hanauma Bay was for sale, and it cost us a pretty penny to snorkel there. At Sharks Cove, I only spent about $20 for a snorkel and mask, whereas the gear needed at Hanauma Bay cost us upwards of $40/person. I would definitely recommend Sharks Cove over Hanauma Bay, if asked. It's a bit of a drive to get to Sharks Cove, but worth it. We came back from Hanauma Bay on the 22 bus, seeing some good scenery along the way. The rain held off until after we were done snorkeling.

Prior days of the trip are documented on this blog in other posts. Thanks for reading.

The Banyan

The banyan tree is a type of fig (genus Ficus). The one below is growing in Honolulu Hawaii, on Waikiki Beach.

Resembling artwork by Salvador Dali, the banyan grows in an interesting way. It starts life as an epiphyte, a plant that grows on the branches of other trees. It drops roots toward the ground and over time, it completely envelops the host tree (giving the banyan its nickname, the strangler fig). The host tree in the middle eventually dies and decomposes, leaving a cavity inside the banyan tree where animals can live and hide.

They are cool looking trees.


Pacifica Day Unknown

At a certain point on an amazing tropical vacation in the Pacific, you lose track of what day it is. I think it might be Day 8.

Yesterday we took a driving tour of Oahu's North Shore. We snorkeled the infamous (but sharkless) Sharks Cove and ate lunch at one of the infamous shrimp trucks, rounding out the day with original malasadas from the infamous (and aptly named) Leonard's Bakery.

Sadly, we depart Hawaii tonight on a redeye flight back to the miserable and wintry continental USA, barring a much desired global existential crisis that strands us here (if there is a divine being...hear me now!).

Deborah and I are off now for a last sunbathe on Waikiki Beach to boost our vitamin D levels to the max before firming up our constitutions for the two month slog through Wisco's bitter cold brutality.

My New Year's Resolutions are secured. I wish we could collectively resolve to stop being stupid as a society and species, but I am only responsible for my patch of reality, which I defend without mercy from dickheads, dummies, drama kings, and douchebags.

So do what you want...it's your life.


2018 Day One

Every New Years Day morning for the past two years, I perform a ritual.

I delete social media apps from my devices and I vow to abstain from these toxic media for the year.

I usually fail about mid-February, because of February Album Writing Month and my narcissistic need to have my artistic creations heard by others, even though they (bluntly) mostly suck.

It is what it is.

It is 2018 Almost Everywhere But Here

I am in Honolulu Hawaii, one of the last places on planet Earth to usher in 2018, with the exception of, like, American Samoa (the last place) and Tahiti (simultaneous with Hawaii). So while all the rest of you are well into the new year, we still have about an hour and 15 minutes left of 2017 here in Honolulu and Bob's your uncle.