Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ungrateful Nation?

Some of you may have seen this already but I thought I would post anyway.

Jay Leno wrote this; it's the Jay Leno we don't often see....
"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.
Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and Provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?
Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S, yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here. I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it...are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about "how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way"...Insane! Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.

"With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Week In Review...

Wow, its been over a week since my last post. Talk about a slacker! Last week went well in the workout department with 4 Elliptical sessions and 3 strength training sessions. I've dropped about 7 pounds for Jan.

I had off from classes this past Monday night but got back to it last night. Feels like its been a month since I had a class. Last Thursday my nutrition class was cancelled due to the snow and ice storm we had last week and Wednesday night we left early, so its been a week. I wish I could say I did get some studying in but I admit the books did not get opened much at all during this past week.

Last Thursday we got about 3 inches of snow and Gracie and I went out and made two fabulous snowmen or as Gracie said, snowboy and snowgirl! I posted some pics in the photo blog of the snowboy and snowgirl. We had a blast playing in the snow and just goofing around. This past weekend was just the three of us hanging out as a family and I enjoyed every minute of it. We had a great time. We did get Gracie enrolled in the K5 program at Southside Christian this past week. I think this will be Mon-Fri from 8am until 2:50pm. Ashli has been talking about getting back to work once Gracie starts K5 which I think she is kind of excited about. Her last 5 years have been dedicated to Gracie, just an amazing job she has done and we are both glad she was able to stay home with her. Gracie is doing fantastic in K4 and we are very proud of her and how far she has come.

I will not be able to run in the Greenville News Rundowntown this Saturday due to a prior commitment. Also, Saturday afternoon my parents will be strolling in to town for a few days which Gracie is excited about. I'm looking ahead to February and may run in the Green Valley road race 8k but will just have to see how things go. Gotta get out and start on the mileage before I can run any race and hopefully that will start this week, no it will start this week! I can't believe I let myself go this long without consistent running or even more so then that I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by, Phew! Time needs to slow down some!

One setback last week was my wife's car. We had three ignition coils and a leaky valve cover gasket, $500 LATER we are driving again! Ouch! Then early this week I noticed another ignition coil is down and maybe a bad sparkplug. Probably will be another $300 or so before the car gets back to normal. Not fun to have those kind of surprise bills popup. I will say we've had the car for about 4 years now and it really has been a good car so I can't really complain....on second thought, yes I can!:)

Last night I got on the treadmill after class and went 2 miles and was a minute faster per mile then the last little test I did. Glad to see the improvement so quickly. After the short run I did some negative resistance training or Eccentric muscle training (lengthening of the muscle). Doing negatives is about resistance through the entire movement, with a bench press its doing a two seconds up and three seconds down movement. This type of training can help push you past a strength plateau but may also leave you with some DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) and probably only should be done once or twice a week at the most. I've been stuck at a few different plateaus and hope this will help and yes I'm sore this morning.

I'm going to try and squeeze a workout in somewhere today even if its running late tonight. Have a great rest of the week! - Jason

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weekend Fun...

Had a great weekend...

Saturday morning I had a homeowners board meeting that went well. We've been using a management company over the last two years to pay our bills and keep up with the general finances. Last week we decided to dissolve our relationship with them and do our own thing. So, lots of things to setup and organize with that before March 15 when we are on our own.

After the meeting I headed over to the gym and got in 65 minutes on the elliptical and then another 30 minutes hitting the weights. My conditioning is coming back very quickly. I was very happy to see I really haven't lost that much strength over the last few months and was able to throw up some respectable sets. I still have a ways to go but not as far down as I thought I was. I will be doing at least three days a week strength training and 5 or 6 days of LISS (Low intensity steady state) cardio. Cardio will be a mix of running, cycling, and elliptical.

After the workout I headed home and met up with Ashli and Gracie, they just got back from shopping with her mother, and we all went out to eat, had a blast. Then after dinner we went over and got some ice cream for Gracie, of course she loved that! I really enjoyed the time with just Ashli and Gracie. Sunday was about football and just hanging out and relaxing. I also finished up my reading and homework for this weeks classes. I am much more organized this semester and the extra day is really making a big difference. I'm also doing a much better job of managing my time which is essential with everything I have going on. I'm ready for week number two.

I will be getting my cardio done at lunch today and my strength training tonight during and after class. Since my last class tonight is Effective Strength Training we do a lab (workout) after the lecture and then I hang out for a little longer afterwards to get some extra work in. So far so good on my classes and I'm shooting for "A's" in all three. It's all about managing my time correctly to get through this semester.

This week is Gracie's 5th birthday, wow, time has just flown on by. Saturday night I said to her, wow Gracie you are going to be 5 this week, what do you think? She gracefully replied, well...sigh...I guess its time to stop watching cartoons and start watching the news!:) She paused for a few seconds and said...na I don't have to watch the news until I'm 65!! :) What a kid. She is too funny. I'm trying to cherish every moment I have with her! She is the best daughter in the world, happy birthday bean, daddy loves you. She shares a birthday with another girl in her class and is going to take goodies into school on Wednesday to celebrate both birthdays. Also this week is my 1 year anniversary of this blog...wow a year already! See, time does fly by way too fast.

Hope everyone has a great Monday! - Jason

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Busy Day...

Today has been a busy day. Worked all day and then school at night.

I did get a decent cardio workout on the Elliptical tonight. Just trying to build back that conditioning. I left the house around 7:30 this morning and didn't get home until 10 tonight, makes for a long day. Work went ok just seemed to drag on forever today. School went really well most of what was covered I was already familiar with so a good start there. Tomorrow night I've got my Nutrition class, looking forward to it.

My nutrition is spot on and the pounds are coming off, down another two. Hopefully I can squeeze out at least 10 pounds or more for January, most of which being water weight. Two pounds a week would be great. I should be close to my lowest weight ever come the start of summer, will see.

Well, it's already after midnight and I'm still up! Still need to work on getting more sleep. I'm off to bed, have a fantastic Thursday morning! - Jason

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Semester Two Begins...

Friday night my advisor calls to get me registered for the spring semester. I explained to her that I only wanted to take one class this semester. She explained that in order for me to take advantage of the Education lottery dollars I needed at least 6 credit hours otherwise I was going to have to come out of pocket for the spring semester.

So, instead of doing just the one I'm stuck doing at least two and when I looked at the schedule I decided to just enroll for the three classes.

Fitness Assessment - Mon&Wed 6pm-7:20
Effective Weight Training - Mon&Wed 7:30pm - 9:50
BIO240 Nutrition - Thur. 6pm-8:50

Instead for 4 nights a week it's only three and most of the material covered in these classes I've already had exposure to. I've been working with weights for many years and have studied most approaches to building strength. I've been studying nutrition on my own since 2004 and after looking at the book it should be a good class and it's only one night a week. The fitness assessment class will work hand in hand with the weight training class. We will design training programs for all different kinds of folks and then implement those programs in the weight training class.

Last night I had my first two classes and thankfully we got out much earlier so I went over to the gym and jumped on the treadmill for a quick fitness test on myself. Wow, I did a mile and it wasn't too bad but I lost alot of conditioning that I worked so hard for last year. Tonight I will get out on the road and just run as long as I can at a nice slow easy pace. I also did a small strength test just to see where I'm at and I obviously lost some strength but not as far gone as the cardio. One day, one step, and one mile at a time I will be right back to it.

My nutrition is in check and I'm staying super strict, very clean. I've lost about 7 pounds already but most of that being water weight. I've been able to stay away from the junk food and will continue to do so. Again, staying away from the junk food isn't as much about losing weight as it is being healthy. I don't eat it because I think I will gain weight, because a small piece here and there won't make me gain weight, but it's not healthy. I can make much healthier choices.

So far so good on the new journey, I'm committed and I will succeed. Have a great Tuesday! - Jason

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Let The Games Begin...

Today my new journey begins. Today the clean healthy eating starts. Today the running starts for 2008. Not sure how far I will go, just going to get out there and see where I stand.

My clean eating isn't as much about losing weight as it is achieving better health. I will be counting calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, sugars, and protein. I've kinda been doing that all along just not very consistent as of the past 4 months. Well, it's back to very strict eating and calculating. It will be back to all natural mostly organic foods, lots of veggies, whole grains, and fruit. I still need to drop some weight so I will be restricting my calories for the next 6 months, need to get this holiday weight gain taken care of! I've also quit all caffeinated beverages as of today and the only liquid I will be consuming is water. Of course I still take my pharmaceutical grade multivitamins every morning as well.

First race for 2008 will be the Greenville News Rundowntown 5k on 1/26. I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it, very large race for this area at least it was last year. I will be running in as many races as I can between now and June. Once June hits my focus will be on only one race, the 26.2. I'm also starting back on a split strength training routine that I will post once I'm done setting it up.

I will not falter and I will not fail. One day at a time, one step at a time, one mile at a time! I'm going to stay disciplined and on track 100%. - Jason