Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Tale of Three Trainers
A couple of weeks before I went on my Awesome End Of August Vacation, my trainer PD was transferred to another gym. That was tough - we'd been together since February. But I marched on. PD handed me to Squatmeister TM, so named (by me) because he believed that in the Squat lay the secrets of the universe and the saving of the world. "He believes everybody should squat," said PD. "Women, teenagers, babies...everybody."

Squatmeister also believed in worshiping a holy trinity of workout moves: the afore-mentioned squat, the deadlift, and the bench-press. "What about bicep curls?" I asked. "Well," he began...

I was with him for about two weeks before I went on The Awesome Vacation. When I returned I found this email:

Hey Mike,
Hope your vacation is going well. I am writing to let you know that I moved this weekend out to R-- I have been asked to transfer to that gym. As such I will not be able to continue training at M-- for a bit. I have been pairing up clients with people I think work well together and I believe that you would work best with [D-Man]. I gave him your contact info so he will contact you about scheduling when you get back from your trip.
So, now I'm with D-Man, and he's producing the required effect of soreness that makes me believe I'm achieving something. The funniest part of all of this is the whole issue of diet. In July, PD suggested I bump my protein intake up to 200 g's per day. And, he counseled me to "go all out" on my cheat day, midnight to midnight. "Eat as much of whatever it is you want!" he challenged me. Well, after a McDonald's Big Breakfast, it's hard to eat anything the rest of the day. Now, D-Man is saying "PD told you that? No no no, man, you only get 1 cheat meal per week."

Anybody need a frozen cheesecake?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This Passion Thing is Way Overrated
Kickass Zombie Movie script has been lying dormant for months now, sleeping in its third draft, awaiting the dexterity of the handsome prince to awaken it to its fourth incarnation. Also known as EM:ZD, the screenplay was very popular last fall among the scribes at the Writer's Center screenplay seminar. "You got zombies!" they said, eyes aglow with interest, minds afire with "why didn't I think of that?" I've even figured out a kickass opening scene, which I was told it needed. So, why don't I get to it?

It's not like I haven't had success in these sorts of endeavors.

My shrink thinks it's because I'm not getting my emotional needs met. At this point, I'm inclined to agree with him.

But a bigger question haunts me. Do I want to continue chasing this dream all the way to the Best Screenplay Oscar? Or have I finally accepted that I've been doing all this largely to:
a. make myself more interesting
b. find a hunky boyfriend
c. make lots of mo-nay.

When I look at the movies that are out nowadays, and all of them starring Ben Stiller, I don't get excited. At all. Kickass Zombie Movie will most likely never get made, and that's just something that has to be said and accepted. The whole "why don't you produce art just for art's sake?" no longer works for me, especially since I don't know anyone named Art, much less anyone named Art with lots and lots of money.

And while I find the whole screenwriting thing fascinating, I ask myself: Do I really want to live in LA?

But there's another question, which might just cancel out everything: What if I finished the fourth draft, and the picture got made?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Does Anybody Really Like CVS?
CVS is what I would call one of my "forced brands." As in "I'm forced to go there for toothpaste, shampoo, tylenol, ibuprofin, chapstick, etc." When I think of CVS, I think of dingy aisles, far too much merchandise, demonic fluorescent lighting, and bored, surly staff. CVS is the store that you enter and can't wait to exit. No wonder the staff is surly. They're stuck there. And what about the uniforms they're made to wear? Bad colors, bad polyester, bad bad bad. The checkout counters are cluttered with... stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. None of which I need. I read somewhere that CVS's HQ requires each store to stock an overabundance of... stuff. CVS doesn't give a damn what kind of experience I have when I'm there. Oh, the commercials may say they do. But they don't. They really don't. If they did, maybe they'd do something about their stores. Like have Project Runway redesign those uniforms.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Building Brand You
I've been thinking and reading alot lately about Brands (in my role as communications director for a nonprofit organization), and I decided to make a list of all the brands I come into contact with... those I'm devoted to, those I can take or leave, those I'm forced to accept, and those I really hate but I must face anyway. And they are, in no particular order:

Crate & Barrel
Pump Daddy
DC's Metro system
Rehoboth Beach
Pottery Barn
Clif Bars
Sligo Computer Services
Gold's Gym
Abercrombie and Fitch
American Eagle
Whole Foods
Dupont Circle
Turner Classic Movies
Fort Lauderdale
Kaiser Permanente
Washington, DC
Elephant Theatreworks
Mt. Washington
Fast Company

Now I'm looking at each one and asking myself, who likes it? who hates it? what's wrong with it? what's right with it? what can they do to make my experience better? what are they doing that makes my experience great? And maybe, if I ask myself enough questions and come up with enough stuff, I'll have something to add to this blog about them...
From the top - Five Six Seven Eight...
I thought up a bunch of reasons why I wasn't contributing to this blog. I even wrote them down, they were so intelligent. Then I misplaced that piece of paper. But it doesn't matter, because there's one primary and simple reason I left this blog idle for the summer: contributing to it felt too much like work.

I was spending too much time perfecting the wording of each post before I published it... then any changes I made to the text would therefore create additional links, and then the text had to be aligned with the picture illustrating the topic and then a whole hour would go by.

And so, I wrote down another list of intelligent changes I would make... and then I misplaced that piece of paper. Which forced me to come up with three easy to remember ways of combating that work feeling and making this more fun for myself (and therefore, perhaps, the reader):

1. Shorter posts
2. Less photos and graphics
3. Less links in texts.