Monday, March 5, 2012

End of the Season

Once again, I have failed to put up a blog post in any timely manner. Oh well, that's the life of a hockey parent, as anyone who has been there can attest to, if there is anything planned between August and March, it has to be planned around the hockey schedule.

That being said, my son's hockey season ended yesterday. The season was definitely a learning and growing experience for him and for me. As a first time "travel" parent, you definitely learn along the way, and rely on the knowledge of others that have "been there" before.

As I reflect on the entire season, sure, there are things I would have liked to have seen play out differently. I would have liked to see all of the kids playing more of a "team" game and have less of the "bumblebee" mentality around the puck. I would have liked to see more "discipline" on the bench for not listening to the coaches. I also would have liked to have seen more team work and less individual play. However, I do have to step back and realize that I was not a coach, I am not a coach, and I have no desire to be a coach. So, whatever happened and however the kids played, I'm sure they were doing what the coaches told them to do, and as long as they listen, then it's all good.

Regarding some of the off-ice growth, I guess I would have liked to have seen more team activities planned away from the rink. Maybe another team dinner or two when we were out of town for a tournament, or an end of the season dinner or lunch this past weekend. I would have liked to have all the parents get along and not have a yelling and shoving match like we did this past weekend. Before you ask, I will not expand on this, it did not directly involve me, I was not near the incident, and I will not take sides. I will however state in my opinion that both parties involved were wrong, and quite honestly I feel having it get to that level is an embarrassment to them, to the team, and to the organization as a whole.

In the end, everyone needs to keep in mind that all roads lead to the adult league. If my son continues to enjoy playing this sport, and gets the physical activity involved in playing it, I'm happy. If by chance he continues to enjoy it and plays on a rec or club league while he's going to college, that's a bonus, and if he ends up playing on the A or B level league when he's an adult that's an even bigger bonus.

Taking this one year at a time though, a couple of things happened yesterday that made the entire season worth it. First, he didn't get a penalty in the game yesterday, or at least I don't think he did, if he did, then scratch the first thing. Second, when his team was down 3-0 in the third period, he was in the defensive zone around the left face-off circle. He deflected a pass off the boards and one of his teammates got the pass and made a shot. He didn't score, as the game ended in a 3-0 loss. However, just the fact that he saw what was going on and made that pass was incredible. Whether that is what he meant to do or not is debatable, but, it looked great at the time. Third, and most importantly, when we were leaving the rink yesterday, the first thing he asked me was "Daddy, can I be a Blackhawk again next year?" That right there puts everything into perspective and shows what it's all about. So, as long as he keeps enjoying it, and as long as the team will have him back, yes, he will be a Blackhawk again next year.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's 4:20 somewhere

I know, it's been an extremely long time since I've posted anything. Now, even though I have many more things going on that I could post about, I decided to tackle the National Debt, and the ensuing U.S. default that will occur in August.

I constantly hear (even before this crisis) how one side wants to cut programs and give tax cuts. While the other side does not want to do away with social programs. Obviously, if you are reading this, you know where I stand in the political spectrum, and since it's my blog, I don't have to be politically correct. So, the Republicans want to cut everything and continue to give tax cuts to their rich buddies and corporations (look at their track record, they don't give a shit about the "little guy"). The Democrats seem for the most part to want to help everyone succeed. For instance when Clinton was in office, everyone fared better, rich and poor alike. Bush came into office, gave tax cuts to the wealthy, went on two off the books wars, which took away the surpluses from the Clinton years and put the country into debt. Then after he racked up all this debt, he left office, and now it's obviously Obama's fault that we're in the situation we are. I don't think that's the case, but that is the way the debate has been framed. Obviously, one way to get out of part of the debt is to go back to the tax rates of the Clinton years, but Republicans want to have nothing to do with that. Because it would be silly to bring in additional revenue.

Digression: I find it amusing that Republicans want to run the country like a business, but fail at the most basic point that in order to run a successful business, your revenues have to outweigh your expenses. Additionally, one can only cut a certain amount of expenses before it starts to become a burden. E.O.D.

So, without the option of additional income tax revenue, because the ultra rich and corporations need to keep their tax breaks, while the rest of the country struggles, the Republicans only option is to cut every social program in the U.S., including Medicare, Public Education, and public safety (firefighters, police, etc.)

Therefore, my proposal is simple, and I wish politicians wouldn't be so fucking scared to do this. We should legalize marijuana. I will say, I do not smoke it, so it won't affect me in any way. I have smoked before, but that was years ago, I never liked the feeling of being stoned, so I just don't do it.

According to some estimates, the marijuana industry is anywhere between a $10 billion to $120 billion a year industry. If the government legalized it, first and foremost, it would mean additional tax revenues coming in (great for Democrats) and it would mean that the lower and middle income earners would probably be burdened with most of the taxes (great for the Republicans). This would also cut down on the need for some police officers, or at least help by not having to prosecute for petty drug possession offenses (there, we just cut some public safety expense). Additionally, the tax rate could be high, like that of cigarettes or alcohol. Moreover, if marijuana was legalized, the government could also make it illegal to grow your own (much like making your own alcohol now).

I just don't see how this isn't a win all around, and why all politicians are so afraid to just look at the obvious and just get it done. We're not talking about cocaine, or heroin, or any of the "harder" drugs. This is something that could be easily regulated, has not shown to cause as many problems as alcohol (accidents, fights, etc.), and could also be a boon for other industries, like the snack industry.

I just need to figure out which one politician would be for something like this and get a petition going. Maybe Dennis Kucinich. Who's with me?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

End of Velocity diet

Although I started this diet the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I did have some solid food the day before Thanksgiving, then had Thanksgiving dinner, so I decided that I technically started it the day after Thanksgiving, which would put 28 days at Christmas Eve. After 28 days, and a ton of will power, I ended up losing close to 20 pounds. I didn't post my progress the final two weeks because at my second "weigh in" (I was only weighing once a week) I had only lost 2 pounds between the first and second week, after losing 6 in the first week. I spoke to my trainer who said "don't weigh yourself until the end." So, that's what I did. I wasn't exactly sure what I would get at the end, but, I trusted him. Anyway, after starting at 214.8, I ended this part of the diet at 197.6.

During this process, I got so used to the shakes and everything, that I had a tough time going back to "regular" food yesterday. I had a shake in the morning, then scrambled egg whites at tomatoes after playing hockey with my son. I then had another shake, a scoop of peanut butter, dinner (much smaller portion of prime rib, broccoli, salad, and a very little bit of homemade macaroni and cheese), then another shake before bed. We went to the movies, and although my wife and kids had popcorn, I had no interest in it, I also had no interest in the dinner rolls, or cookies we made for Santa.

I really feel like this first 20 pounds is a starting point, and as long as I continue to eat healthy, and keep my portions small, I should be able to get more of what I want off in the coming months. Who knows, I may try this again in a few months to jump start if I don't seem to be taking off as much as I would like. Then again, now that I have lost almost 20 in a month, cutting down to the possibility of a pound a week will seem like it's going really slow, so I have to keep that in perspective as well. I can say that it feels great to be under 200 again, which was my main goal, now I just need to make sure to stay there and get lower while still keeping up my workouts and not losing muscle.

Now, since people have been asking, I'll let you know exactly what I did. First, although this web site had their program, all of their products together would have cost me $500+, which I didn't have to spend at the time. I instead read about the products, and bought what I needed at Vitamin World, and The Vitamin Shoppe. For my protein shakes, I used Isopure Zero Carb in various flavors throughout the month. When I went to New York, I brought packets of Lean Body but after texting my trainer, realized it had too many carbs and fat for what I was doing, so I had to go to GNC to get something for the remaining day and a half that I was there.

Now, for my program, I had one fish oil tablet with every meal, for my first shake, I typically just had it with water before my morning workout. My next shake, I put fiber, flax seed, ice, water, and protein mix in the blender and had more of a "smoothie." My third shake was just a regular shake with water, I also had my multi-vitamin with this meal. My fourth and fifth shakes were typically with just water, or ice and water in the blender. My final shake of the day was with flax seed, water, ice, and a scoop of peanut butter, you have to make sure to have the correct peanut butter, meaning there are only one or two ingredients, this one had peanuts and salt. I tried to have fiber with each shake, either stirred in, or pills that I got at the grocery store. I also had one cup of coffee every morning, and tried to drink a gallon of water every day.

My solid meals were not "cheat" meals. The meals were: week 1, anniversary dinner with my wife, salad, steak, broccoli; week 2, shrimp key west (at T.G.I. Fridays [blech, but it's what the kids wanted]) and broccoli; week 3, Tuscan Pesto chicken at Tony Roma's (2 breasts with artichoke, tomatoes, and onions [but I only ate one]) and broccoli. I'll admit, it was tough when we went out to places like Mellow Mushroom, or having dinners and stuff at Disney World, where I only ordered a water, and had my shake prior to dinner, but I knew what my goal was, and already had the mindset to accomplish it.

In the end, yes, I would have liked the 35 pounds that other people have stated they got, but I'm happy where I am. I may have gotten a couple of more pounds if I added a fat burner into my supplements, but wasn't sure of the right one, wasn't sure about the amount of money for the bottle, and didn't want to feel "jittery."

I'll try to keep you updated in any progress over the next couple of months, although I'm really bad about doing blog entries. We'll just see where it goes from here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Food, Glorious Food. . .

While I'm doing this diet, I have found it pretty interesting how focused our society is around food. I suppose one doesn't really understand that until food is given up for 28 days. Of course, as I explained this diet in my previous post, and people tell me how crazy it is, how the weight will be gained back, and how it can't be done, I just think all of those negative comments show a lack of will power on people's parts. I mean, regarding nutrition, I am still getting 1200-1500 calories per day, more than enough to satisfy daily needs. I'm also receiving the essential fatty acids in the Omega 3 tablets, probably more fiber daily than I have ever had before (meaning 100% of daily recommendation), and multivitamins. Additionally, I'm still exercising as much as I ever have (5 days a week of weights, plus hockey) and not losing any strength or muscle mass, and so far, every time I get on the scale, the number is smaller. I may not hit the 35 pounds off as some others have, but I do expect to drop probably 25-30 by the end of this.

Back to my point about society being focused on food. Everywhere you look, there is an advertisement for food, or someone is having a conversation about their next meal, or discussing something focused around food. I'll admit, I may be a bit more sensitive due to my current diet, but still, you have to admit, there is quite a bit of focus put on food.

Another thing I find interesting is the fact of people saying how there is no way they would do something like this. Especially when I say after about 8 days I'm down 7 lbs, they still say they would have given up. I have shown time and time again that I have the will power in many aspects of my life. When I decide to do something, I go through with it. For instance, waking up every morning at 5:20 to go and exercise, or giving up 3 years of weekends (plus multiple evenings) to get my M.B.A., or deciding to learn to play hockey in my late 30's, whatever it is, I know I can do it, and this is just one of those things. Sure, traveling to New York while on this was difficult, but I made it through just fine. Sure, having one solid meal since Thanksgiving has been difficult, but I'm making it through just fine. Like I said, every time I get on the scale during this, the weight is going down. I expect a more significant drop this week since I am doing my normal exercise regimen, and drinking the correct shakes, as opposed to the "Lean Body" shakes I had for a day and a half in NYC.

I said in my previous post that I started the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. However, I was thinking about it more, and considering I did have more than a typical "solid" meal on Thanksgiving (although not much more), I'm looking at my real start date as the day after Thanksgiving. I had my next (or first) solid meal on Saturday, since Brenda and I went out to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I had a salad, steak, and broccoli. When I weighed myself this morning, I was at 208.0, which means since November 26th, with traveling, I am down almost 7 pounds. At that rate, I am right on track to be down 25-30 pounds, and finish this on Christmas eve. I'll keep you updated as to the progress.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Diary of a fat man

I’m currently in flight and since the wireless decided to go down, it’s as good a time as any (considering it’s probably been months) to go ahead and enter a new blog post.
After months of trying to explain to my insurance whore of a doctor that I work out 5 times a week, and play hockey, he continues to insist that I lose weight. Of course I always try to watch what I eat, but, I guess even with watching it, sometimes everything doesn’t fall into place the way it should. So, I finally decided to just go ahead and listen to him. My trainer suggested using the “velocity” diet.
Now, let me first explain, this diet is not sustainable, not a long term plan, and definitely not for everyone. The typical weight loss on the diet is 20-30 pounds. It is essentially a fat loss diet, and helps re-teach your body to eat the right things once you’re off of it. The good thing about this diet is that you are only on it for 28 days. Of course you are probably saying that it is stupid, and there is no way (1) that someone can lose that amount of weight in that short amount of time and (2) you are just going to put it back on when you’re done. Well, like I said, you are basically losing fat weight, without affecting the muscle weight, and at least for now (10 days into it) I can tell you that you probably won’t put the weight back on, because the idea of doing this again is ridiculous.
The diet, in a nutshell, is 6 protein (100% whey) shakes per day, fish oil caplets with each shake, fiber (tablets or blended in) once per day, a multi-vitamin once a day, flax seed (tablet or mixed into shake) once or twice a day, a zinc tablet before bed, and a scoop of peanut butter (natural) with the last shake of the day. You get one healthy solid meal per week. You should continue to work out as you normally do, since you are not losing muscle mass, just fat. That’s it. I can tell you, it takes a shit load of will power to do this diet, especially during the holidays.
On top of all this, I also traveled to New York for a business conference, and with all of the great restaurants in the heart of Manhattan, I still only drank my protein shakes. I’m going to see where this goes. Unfortunately, the only “before” picture I have is with clothes on at Brenda’s cousins’ wedding. I can tell you my starting weight was a staggering 214.8. I started on Tuesday, November 23rd, and had a solid meal for Thanksgiving. My next solid meal will be on Saturday, December 4th when Brenda and I go out for our anniversary. Of course there are times when I think about this and how crazy it is, then I realize that it’s only 28 days, and since I’m already 9+ days in, I might as well keep going. There are times that I’m hungry, but I just hold out until it’s time for the next shake. I’ll do my best to keep you updated, or at least put how I ended up when I’m done. At least I’ll be done with this by Christmas, and I won’t have to do it as some stupid New Year’s resolution. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Roaring Through the Rockies, Day 10

This post is going to be brief. We got up this morning in Colorado Springs, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, and got on the road. We made it back to the Harley dealership at around 10:15 and got the bike returned. After 637 miles, the bike was back home, and we were on our way.

Sure, if we really tried, we may have been able to catch a Southwest flight home, but we decided to enjoy the day around Denver. We checked into the hotel, relaxed for a bit and made sure everything was ready for the flight tomorrow.

We then went to the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. The pedestrian mall is a nice concept, but it seems to be getting overrun by the homeless and/or street performers. We grabbed lunch and then went to see "The Sorcerers Apprentice." We all enjoyed the movie. It's definitely not going to win any awards, but it's a nice 2 hour diversion. Brenda and I both liked the nod to the original with the dancing brooms, etc.

After the movie, we finished our walk, then got in the car and drove by The Pepsi Center. We got back to the hotel, grabbed some dinner, now it's time to wind down and get ready for the flight tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get home and get our bags in time to make it to Delray before 6:00 to get the dogs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Roaring Through the Rockies, Day 9

We started off with a late start this morning. It was nice to be able to sleep in a bit. We got out of the room around 9:30 and headed to breakfast. One of the guys at the hotel suggested The Western Omelette. After looking at the reviews on Trip Advisor, I wasn't sure about this, because the other place that they recommended was just above this, and that place was not that great. We got there and ordered. Brenda got a "Harley" which was 2 eggs, 3 strips of bacon (extremely big, thick, bacon), and a plate size pancake. When they said plate size, they weren't joking. That thing was huge. I got an omelet with sausage and mushrooms. I also got their chili on the side. Now, remember this is not beef chili like one would think, this is sort of like a green chili gravy. I got the mild, which was actually hot, but very good. The waitress gave me a bit of the hot on the side, I was too wimpy to try it. She said it was made with habaneros, which was too hot for me. Regardless, I asked if we could ship some of this back home, which unfortunately we could not.

After breakfast we went to the Garden of the Gods. We drove around for about an hour or so, stopping to take some pictures and everything. We then went to the gift shop, then headed to Santa's Workshop.

The kids loved Santa's Workshop. The park included rides that one would typically find in a fair, basically a lot of rides that go around in circles sometimes very fast. We spent about 3 hours there until we did everything they had to offer.

After the workshop, we went to the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company for an early dinner. The beer was good, I had a bison burger, and Brenda had the regular burger. Both were very good, and the price was very reasonable compared to some other meals we have had on this trip.

Tomorrow, we are heading back to Denver in the morning to return the bike, then maybe go into downtown Denver, walk around the pedestrian mall, show my son where the Avalanche play, and possibly go see a movie. The vacation is definitely winding down.