Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Thirteen weeks ago today I started working at Crunch Fitness under the direction of Bryn Edwards, my massively-muscular physical trainer (whom both Cathy Hayslett and Patrick Sullivan later hired to help them) to teach me resistance training and nutrition.
This is my trainer Bryn Edwards working out. Some day I want to have biceps, triceps and deltoids like him. Wouldn't that be cool to be on Medicare and look like this?
Since then I have been working out on two muscle groups per day (one morning; one evening) putting in 35 minutes almost daily at level 10 on the elliptical machine, and following a high protein, low carbohydrate nutrition plan. Thirteen weeks ago today I weighed a weight that neither Cathy or I will reveal until this odyssey is over.
The five muscle groups I work on are 1) legs, 2) chest and abdominals, 3) back (mainly Lattisimus dorsi and trapezoids), 4) shoulders and 5) biceps and triceps. The cardio workout on the elliptical machine is also helping with my legs (and ass) on top of increasing my endurance.
When I stepped on the scale this morning I recorded both my body weight and my percent body fat. Those numbers revealed that in 13 weeks I have dropped 58.3 pounds of fat while gaining 10.7 pounds of lean muscle. That gives me a net loss of 47.6 pounds. This morning at the gym I picked up a 45 pound dumb bell and had difficulty lifting it. Imagine the stress my heart was under pumping blood through all of that excess weight!
The pants I wore on February 25, 2008, the day I retired, are now sliding off my ass. I can no longer wear any 2X or 3X tee shirts or fishing shirts because they fit me like a tent. All new shirts I'm purchasing are XL and soon I'm going to have to start purchasing new cargo shorts because those that I have (one pair hasn't fit since 2006) are also sliding off my ass. As Charlotte Bertha said the other night as I was eating a spinach salad at the Sarasota Wing House, I haven't reached size Medium "quite yet." However I am getting there.
I am now 9.0 pounds away from my "Cathy's birthday weight goal" on February 22 which is only 6.5 weeks away. I'm also only 24 pounds away from my May 5 goal (17 weeks from now) which should be a piece of cake. My ultimate goal (which I'll reveal when I get there and is what I weighed in 1977 when I started working for the US Fish and Wildlife Service) is within sight. Hopefully I'll make it by my one year anniversary of working on reducing my weight. I'm actually looking forward to my next semi-annual cardiologist appointment in March when I hope Dr. Anthony Skidmore says "WTF happened to you?" and he also takes me off blood pressure medicine.
One thing this has taught me is that working with free weights and weight machines, coupled with cardio exercises and a proper diet was the correct strategy for me. I tried Weight Watchers and actually gained weight. I tried walking 5 miles a day and nothing changed. However eating properly, cutting out beer, and doing resistance training were the key to my success. It might be different for you - and I hope whatever you try works for you. However in my case, with my body chemistry and metabolism, other techniques just did not work.
Wearing my Cheesehead hat on non-Packer game days, is the closest I let myself come to cheese. Its pure hell.
Through all of this the only food I really miss is cheese. Actually pepperoni pizza and cheese. Lots of pepperoni pizza and cheese. Its hell being a native born Wisconsin boy and having to pass up purchasing half-pound hunks of Colby cheese when I shop for groceries. The closest I can get is wearing my Cheesehead hat but Cathy tells me I look ridiculous in it. I also miss beer. Real beer. Not Miller Lite!
Friday, January 1, 2016
Finding a Northwest Territories and a Yukon Territory license plate in the same year is a cause for celebration - even in Canada!
Finding this state of Guanajuato, Mexico, license plate in the Hampton Inn parking lot this morning was even more exciting than the Alaska license plate parked next to it!
One of the 140 or so specialty or "vanity" plates in Florida is this one that supports sea turtle conservation and it just happens to reside on my car. Serious Parrotheads should be able to figure out the meaning of what's on my plate.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
Washington DC, 20510
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Anyone who owns a dog has witnessed the typically slow pace of any walk on which you take your pet. Invariably this is because he or she (or it) has to stop and sniff every blade of grass, fence post, light pole and tree trunk where every dog before it has stopped to sniff and urinate. It’s part of the genetic make-up of dogs to not only know who is in “their” territory but more importantly to mark the boundaries of “their” territory to tell other dogs they have been there too. Cathy’s dog Snowball T. Dog is remarkably adept at exhibiting this behavior. Any walk in which I can get in more than 10 human strides without her having to stop and sniff something and get a message from what she is smelling is an extremely rare walk.
Where she is able to sniff 10 or 12 other dogs in a short 10 minute walk at home, in a car she is passing by where hundreds of dogs, raccoons, opossums, armadillos and other critters have stopped before her and each of them left their mark on the landscape. The speed of the car is too great for her to get out and mark her territory on all those spots but my guess is she would do so if she could.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
For some reason the Charlotte fans enjoyed and encouraged our heckling. Normally they don't like it at all but when Cathy Hayslett and I were doing it for them, well, hell, we fit right in. One guy sitting behind us asked me if I could focus on hitters only because he wanted to specialize in umpires! Giving him my new heckling business card later he very proudly told us that he had been kicked out of every minor league stadium in Florida for heckling. I told him I've only been kicked out of five. Cathy could be heard saying "Oh, God, another goal."
Dave Hilsheimer would have been proud of Cathy because she not only marched Luke Voit back to the dugout after his 105th strike out of the year but she also marched the Palm Beach Cardinals manager back after he removed one of their hapless pitchers. You have trained her well Dave. My best heckle of the night was at the end of the third inning when I yelled "Call the paramedics; Palm Beach choked again." There were several glares from the dugout and one faintly audible "fuck you." We knew we were getting to them.
The Crabs victory last night pits them against the Daytona Tortugas for the Florida State League championship. The first game in the best of five series is tonight in Daytona. This series creates a real dilemma for me because I've already established myself as a post-season fan of the Crabs but more importantly the Daytona Tortugas originally were the Sarasota Reds, my first minor league team. I can't ethically heckle them either so I guess I'm hanging up my heckling cleats for the year. Good luck to both of them.
For some unexplained reason Palm Beach has blocked me on both Facebook and on Twitter so I can't send them the picture above as a suggested new logo for their 2016 uniforms. I guess I'll just have to write a letter and send it by snail mail. One way or the other I'll remind them again that they choked.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Since moving to Florida nearly 8 years ago I have been particularly revulsed by the phosphate mining industry and what their relentless destruction of Polk and nearby counties is and has been doing to the quality of the environment. Its a multi million dollar industry in Florida and environmental regulators, more interested in keeping their jobs than defending the earth, regularly look the other way when it comes to permitting new (endlessly new?) phosphate mines. Each is open pit and each is a horrific scar on the landscape. The phosphate industry tells us in their literature that "phosphate mining is only a temporary use of the land" which is true. They "use" the land only temporarily to extract the phosphate but then leave a permanent scar behind them.
There is not much that can be done to reign in the phosphate industry; likely nothing will be done until people start dying from the toxic runoff or when their drinking water is polluted from toxins infliltrating into the water table. However until that begins to happen its still possible to lampoon the phosphate industry and that is what I plan to do in my next novel which I'm working on right now.
Titled "The Phosphate Pupfish" this fictional tale follows J. Christopher Ramsey, Ph,D., a retired US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist who retires to Sarasota Florida mainly to heckle minor league baseball teams. He also establishes an environmental consulting firm "Parrothead Environmental Investigations" whose sole purpose is to slow down the development that is consuming the paradise that 18 million Floridians moved here to enjoy. He becomes embroiled in a controversy involving the protection of 169 pupfish living in a spring in Hardee County on the JR and Catherine Hayslett County Park and Nature Preserve. Relying on experience gained from 31 years of fighting the bad guys for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ramsey exposes the crooked dealings of some crooked county commissioners and the honchos in the phosphate industry who own and control them.
You'll have to wait to read the entire book to find out how it ends but until then here is the first chapter to give you a sampling. I plan to write it with both Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey as my guides for irreverance.
By the way, the book is being dedicated to Cathy's dad Randy "in honor of his 80th birthday and his family's fictional pond." Enjoy.
The Phosphate Pupfish
Saturday, August 15, 2015
We first saw the Norwegian Sun in Tampa harbour in late February 2015. She was leaving later that afternoon bound for Roatan in Honduras, then Belize, then the coast of the Yucatan before returning to Tampa a week later. We, too, were also bound for those ports, in reverse order, on another cruise line. We watched the Sun leave Tampa before our ship was underway and saw her again a few days later in Belize. Although we wanted to be on the Sun last February we knew that we would see her again in July when we boarded her in Seward Alaska bound for Vancouver, British Columbia
The well-equipped Internet Cafe charged $0.95 a minute to connect. I waited for WiFi in ports or simply until I returned home
The ultra-helpful people at Guest Services and the Shore Excurisions desk were always available to help.
In case you couldn't find enough places to shop onshore, there was an abundance of places eager to separate you from your money while you were onboard the ship
Deck 6 was also home to a large number of shops where, if you hadn’t already shopped until you dropped in a port, you could continue to buy stuff onboard. I think the Casino was on Deck 6 but I don’t really remember. Casinos usually reek of cigarette smoke so I avoid them except to take a picture for my blog posts.
We departed the Anchorage Airport aboard the Alaska Railroad cruise line service to Seward. Norwegian bills this as a pre-cruise excursion and it was an excellent way to begin the trip. We highly recommend this option for getting to Seward rather than a chartered bus. One of the many advantages is that you check in for the cruise in Anchorage Airport where you get your cruise card / room key and where you check your luggage. It is then hauled down to Seward separately from the train. If you choose the chartered bus the luggage accompanies you to Seward and then you wind up standing in incredibly long lines in Seward waiting to check in. For train riders, we simply walked from the train to the cruise terminal, made a perfunctory run through security, and then walked on this ship. Presto!
Tiny little Hoonah on Chichagof Island was one of the high points of the trip. Make sure you have a pint of Cannery Red Ale while you are there!
I hope one day to see the sun in Juneau.
It is one 1/10th the size of Hubbard and not nearly as spectacular. However to get there we had to cut our Juneau visit short, travel south away from our next port to spend a few minutes looking at Sawyer, then turn around and head back toward Juneau and beyond to our next port in Skagway. I would much rather spend 8 or 9 hours in Juneau and actually be able to do something there and forego a brief glimpse at Sawyer Glacier (after you have seen Hubbard Glacier there is absolutely no comparison when you get to Sawyer) than to waste precious natural resources chugging down to Sawyer. Of course I’m not the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line so all I can do is suggest. But if I was in charge the only way a Norwegian Cruise Line guest would know about Sawyer Glacier is if they saw it on a map.
If you dont stop by the Red Onion Saloon and Brothel Museum in Skagway then you really can't claim to have been in Skagway
Day 8 – We very sadly and reluctantly arrived in the super-efficient cruise terminal in Vancouver British Columbia a few minutes before 7:00 a.m. where we concluded the cruise.
Vancouver has to be the most beautiful city in Canada. I only wish the mountains hadn't been engulfed in cloud so Cathy could have seen them
We finished breakfast in the Garden Café at 7:15, vacated our room, and raced through Canadian Customs and Immigration. We walked a few hundred meters to the Waterfront metro station where we found the Canada Line bound for the Vancouver Airport. We paid $2.50 Canadian (about $2.00 US) each for a ride on the subway and we arrived at the airport at 8:35 p.m. less than an hour after walking off the ship. By far this was the most efficient and humane departure from a cruise ship we have ever experienced. Good job Norwegian Cruise Line!