Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympics! But only for REAL Americans.

Brought to you by A Certain News Conglomerate Scrooge

I'm not going to say their name out loud. But I have recently been thwarted by a certain news company and what follows is a rant about the recent restrictions about access to information for those of us living in a foreign country.

It sucked when I couldn't watch House.
It was terrible when they took down videos of ANTM.
It completely blew when I couldn't get Medium.

But generally speaking, I could watch the news. I could stay in touch, just a little. I could find out what was happening in MY country. In my home. And with the Olympics happening, I was really excited. The time difference makes it almost impossible for me to watch anything real time. How would you like to wake up at 3 am on a work night so you could watch your favorite event? Yeah right. So I did what any person of my generation would do: I went on the web.

I wanted to check out the moguls. Those have always been a personal favorite. I found an add for a certain news conglomerate and followed the link. I located a very nice schedule of all the events, and lo! There was a link to complete event coverage, even if the event had ended.

Thinking myself incredibly luck, I clicked it, only to have a message appear. In essence, it said "You cannot access this video because you live in a foreign country. Click here for the videos we will let you watch. Niiner Niiner HaHa."

And I became so incensed that I went to their feedback page (which I always think about but never do) and wrote them a message that it's terrible that they will deny Americans in a foreign country from watching their own country's Olympians from competing. On their page it tells us to look for 'our own country's' website and Olympic coverage. I don't know about you, but America is my country, dammit. I am American! I'm not in America, but I'm AMERICAN.

So I told them in my message I'd start looking for this country's Olympic coverage just as soon as I learned how to read the damn thing. I also said that they edit their Olympic footage here too - Guess who they cut out? Yeah that's right; they favor their own athletes here too, and I don't have any idea where to see footage of Americans. They won't show all the events I want to see either. I'm sorry, but in Japan, their best sports are not the same as America's best sports. So who do you think they cut? One guess. No take-backs.

Adding to the insult, after I'd sent the message, a screen popped up and told me that due to the mass amounts of feedback I might not get a reply message but that I should feel secure that someone had read my message. All I have to say to that is: Riight. I've sent detailed questions to sights before about a problem I was having with their page, and I've received reply messages which were obviously sent by someone who did not read my email. They sent me links to information I had not requested or told them I had tried and it had not worked. And this is when I get a reply. And yet this site is now telling me I should feel certain that my feedback has impacted things somehow. Sure.

Thus to all the News Companies out there; and I say Companies, because lets face it, people don't make the news anymore. I'd like to say Screw You. Who do you think is going to steal your crappy video over here? They don't care about your footage. They don't even like the same events we do. Do you think they can understand your crappy commentary?

I can understand why you won't show sitcoms and dramas to foreign countries. I don't like it, I don't agree with it, but I can understand why in your little mind you need to do this. But the news? The Olympic coverage? That's just low. That's pond scum low. Thanks Scrooge. When the ghost of Christmas past comes to get you I hope he takes everything from you and leaves you in a small town, in the middle of no where, in the opposite time zone and no way to contact anyone. See how long you last.

All these companies (and one in particular) care about is just saying 'It's mine! It's mine! Don't touch it! You can't have it! I only let my friends see it from time to time!' Is that really what the web is about? That's all our society is about anymore. I have it and I'm so afraid that I'll lose it that I have to protect it with stupid rules and tricks. I'll be as petty as I want because I have it and you don't.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Beginning

The Beginning

Before these challenges even began, I started working out. It was fairly slow going at first, but I was able to start weights within a couple weeks. I was in a nice routine when disaster struck - I got a nasty cold. I was out, sleeping 18 hours a day and being exhausted when I was awake. I managed to do my classes at school and then go home. It was like that for three full days, and then on the fourth it started to get better. I was completely bummed. It seemed like every time I had a good rythm with my workouts something came in to sabotage me. But I wouldn’t give up this time. I told myself, it’s not just about the work outs. Its about being healthy. It’s about the whole package. I could deny I was sick, and I’d just go on with everything and slowly get sicker and sicker and sicker until I wouldn’t be able to work or do anything. And if I did that, I wouldn’t be well enough to work out for weeks. So I didn’t wait - I stopped everything and took care of myself for a week. Then I was well enough to do some low intensity workouts.
I still have my ups and downs, but it’s about continuing. It is about losing weight, but it’s more about being healthy in all ways - physically, spiritually, and emotionally. If one is out of wack it throws the rest off too.

The weeks of Chocolate

Now, I’m not going to mess with you. This was two weeks of no chocolate - not two weeks of dieting or watching my calories. It was simply a test to see life without choclate for two weeks. I didn’t do this as a way to lose weight. I didn’t do it as a way to break an ‘addiction’. I just wanted to try and see how it was. I was shocked to realize how often I eat chocolate and how when I’m hungry or just bored I reach for choclate and I don’t want another kind of snack.
As the days passed I found myself more and more turning to peanut butter as a poor subsitute. It didn’t satisfy though. And so I was stuck sticking it out. I did find at the end of the challenge that my body felt a lot better. It didn’t like all that chocolate. It liked the tomatoes I’d started eating after school. And this led to my second challenge.

The week of 1500 Calories

In retrospect, this week was probably a mistake. 1500 calories is not much at all. And at the time, I was working out on a regular basis. It wasn’t too intense yet, but it was more than my body was used to. I made it the first three days - barely. And then the weekend came. Along with my gaming friends.
We set up shop in my tatami room, and started the fun. I did an admirable job of limiting the snacks I ate, but then we ordered pizza. Uh-oh. I even did okay with that. But what I found is 1500 calories is tough to stretch much past pizza and snacks, even if you’re careful. After the pizza, I wanted to give up and just eat. But I didn’t. I’d eaten what I’d eaten, but I wouldn’t just say, ‘Okay, I didn’t really expect you to manage it anyway, so go ahead and gorge yourself.’ Instead I continued with my plan, even though the little voice in my head was screaming I wouldn’t meet my goal the next day either.
I just refused to give up. I refused to blame myself for what I’d eaten, and simply go on. The challenge wasn’t over. And it wasn’t about ‘winning’ the challenge or ‘losing’. It was about continuing and completing. Even once I found out that the calories per day was a bit low, I wanted to complete it.
In the end, those first three days were the only ones that I was successful. But I started looking at calories. I started watching what I eat. I started looking for veggies and fruit and my food pyramid stopped being top heavy. I also realized I could eat chocolate in small amounts and work it into my eating schedule.

The week of the Work Out

And that brings us to the week of the workout. I have had the most fun this week. It hasn’t been easy. Two weeks ago, I was feeling really low. I was feeling really sad. And I’d spent all day Saturday hanging out, barely moving. I talked to Dad on skype.
He said, ‘Why do you have to feel good in order to work out? Just do it anyway.’ For those of you with landmark experience, I’d fallen into the do-have-be routine. If I work out, I’ll have the good feeling and then eventually I’ll be healthy.
Since that was two weeks ago, I’d pretty much gotten out of that rut. Originally, when I started the week, I made the challenge 30 minutes of cardio a day. I also wanted some of the cardio to be in the morning and some in the evenings. My right knee never completely came back after the surgery two years ago. Stretching was always fine, but I never kept up with the strengthing trainning, and it was still weak after 30 minutes on the bike. So doing one workout in the morning and one in the evening made sense.
As the week came, my knee started to adjust to the new schedule. I started to do more. Now my dail goal is to have 600 calories of cardio each day. That’s about 20 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening. But even that is being leveled up to 30 - 30. I’m also going to add in weights starting today.

And so that brings us to present day. It’s Feb 10th and I’ve been working out steadily since Jan 3rd. I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve learned you just can’t focus on one thing. To make this work, I’ve made time for my personal life, my spiritual life, and myself. I’ve made a time and a space for everything.
The best part has really been playing around with my life and my time. I always used to get upset, or mad at myself and others if I didn’t have time to do the things I want to do. During the last few months, I’ve realized that I want to do almost EVERYTHING! At any given time, I want to do so many things. I’m so happy about this! Before, everything was wrapped up in guilt and ‘I should’s and frustration that I couldn’t do all that I wanted. Now I’m excited that I want to everything. I know that no matter what I do I’ll be happy; I’ll be doing something I want to. Since I’ve also been focusing on balance, I make time for things. There’s no ‘I can’t do that I have to work out’. It’s just a choice, and sometimes I don’t do the work out. When I had my gaming friends over I got up on Sunday and went in to church before they were awake.

Next is the week of Sleeping. My challenge is to get eight hours of sleep every night.

Monday, February 1, 2010


We're about to have another morning meeting. It's Monday. And I didn't get to bed early enough last night. I had some complaint about not getting enough free time to myself. I spent several hours playing a game, but it wasn't enough. Despite that I made it hear earlier than I have all year; I have no idea how I managed that. I with I could rewind and compare to other days, because I got hear at 8 am on the dot. And I wasn't even rushing. Yeah, time-warp mystery.

It's a rainy day today. And unseasonably warm. I drove the loaner car from my mechanic's today. Can we say Happy Car? I just about died when I say this car. It's brand new, it's compact, cute, and it's orange. It matches the radio transmitter I have for my ipod for crying out loud. It's also low to the ground so it can take the curves on the roads really fast. Only bad thing is - two speakers. That's why my car is in the shop now - the rear speakers never worked and then the front driver's side started going in and out. I can't live with one speaker so I took it in to the shop.

I told them I don't know what the issue is - electrical wiring, the TAPE player being old, or the speakers themselves. I didn't consider a fourth option. Shortly after they took my car to the shop, still on Friday just before I left work, I got a call on my cell phone. They asked if I could come down on my way home. No problem.

I stop by, and they tell me that they think I just need a new CD player. I asked, "Really, but what about the rear speakers? Are you sure it isn't the wiring?" The husband talked to his wife for a minute and she came up to me and let me down as gently as she could. There were no rear speakers. The car has spaces reserved for rear speakers, but they aren't included in the basic model. They didn't know if the wiring was done for the speakers. I busted out laughing and couldn't stop for five minutes. It had never occurred to me that rear speakers were an option people would upgrade to! When I think of all the times I swore at the rear speakers wishing they worked.

Now they're looking for some speakers to fit the spaces and checking on the wiring. I should know today about how much it'll all cost. I didn't want to invest the money before, but there is no way I'm living with just one speaker in my car. I'll just go as economically as I can and do it. For my birthday this year I'm giving myself a trip to an onsen and rear speakers in my car.

Happy Monday!