October 22, 2013
The Arcade Fire

The soundtrack of my later young adult life has in large part been produced by the Arcade Fire. It came as an unexpected infatuation, as when I first heard them I thought them to be too ‘hipstery’ and sounding too much like Bruce Springsteen. But time went on, and in short order I fell head over heels for them. Our love affair climaxed when I went to go see them at what I would consider the best concert that I have ever attended. At about 31 seconds you can see me in a yellow cap, not far from the front. 

Their work (well… the last three albums) I think should be considered as a triptych. Neon Bible was clearly a reaction to nearly a decade under the Bush administration, and mirrored the feelings that many of us of this generation felt. It dealt with the guilt and burden associated with serving as a soldier in an unjust and ill defined war, the horror of hijacked religion, emotional and physical personal loss, the rise of a security state, and a general rejection of the balance due for the contemporary American lifestyle. The idea of challenging the state and church is conceptually ‘easy’, and it is well defined. Lyrically, Neon Bible is the darkest of the three albums (unless the remainder of Reflektor surprises me). It is also the heaviest in terms of composition and arrangement. It is a serious album, serious about being serious.

Suburbs dealt with the more nuanced and insidious notion that we are all our worst enemies. That it is our comfort, our lack of challenge or care that is what holds us back, not the external demons explored in Neon Bible. This album really deeply explored thinking about the challenges of being mediocre in a decaying modern society. It is still very much tied to the themes of Neon Bible, as they were the road which paved the way to the Suburbs, but that story is incomplete. Digging deeper it becomes clear that any answers rendered from Neon Bible are just stepping off points for getting a more complete explanation as to why an entire generation of young adults has been left emotionally wanting. The suburbs is quite a bit more whimsical with respect to lyrics. The metaphors and similes are spread heavily, but in a fun and digestible way. As I see it, the production quality is significantly better, with more complex and nuanced arrangements. It is just more fun to listen to.

Finally we come to Reflektor. As the title seems to suggest, this is an album about pure introspection. As the album has not yet come out, I really can’t speak with any authority about the complete production. What I can glean from the so far released tracks is that this album explores something deeper than what is found in Suburbs, and that is the love and complexities of a lifelong relationship with a partner. The tracks so far are much more Afro-Cuban (well… specifically Haitian) centric with respect to musical themes. The concepts explored through songs like Reflektor and Afterlife are really difficult to define without the tacit experience of living long enough to understand Neon Bible, to grow jaded enough to accept Suburbs, and eventually emotionally pragmatic enough to cut losses and make compromises to maintain the integrity of a relationship as explored in Reflektor.

These albums when put together remind me of what Nietzsche described as the three metamorphoses; where a man becomes the camel, then the lion, and eventually the child. The camel carries burdens across a desert. The lion is a conqueror, shaping his kingdom for himself. Finally, the child represents a kind of cremation of care. To understand love and loss deeply enough to write about it as frankly as may be seen in Reflektor requires an open and honest dialogue with oneself which can only really be achieved through ‘letting go’.

So with the release of the new album later this week, I say cheers. The odds of this album being yet another “album of the decade” seem fair. If nothing else, music lovers should be in for a treat.

October 22, 2013

October 14, 2013
Awesome run.

Tonight’s run was really excellent. As has become the norm, I ran six miles. For the first mile or so I kept a really quick clip. I would be willing to bet that it was in the mid seven minute pace. The rest of the run was probably between an eight and half and nine minute pace. I was aware of my effort throughout, and was able to really push myself within reason.

My heart rate and breathing are almost never an issue. At this point I am able to keep a pretty tight control over those (though I have really no idea about what the actual rates are). The biggest issue is that my legs begin to ache through the run, depending on what I am doing and how hard I am pressing. 

A kind of interesting observation about eggs, as that has become an area of expertise for me, and that is about the shells. Cheap eggs have thin shells that are incredibly brittle and flake off into the mix when broken. Slightly more expensive eggs (say, from Trader Joe’s) do not have the same issues. So yeah, there you go. 

October 13, 2013
On the diet.

I ended up with a mild flu/cold for three days earlier this week, but am feeling better for the most part. Between having a spouse who works in the public schools, and having a 2.5 year old, our family is constantly battling plague of one form or another. 

Last night I ran a half marathon through my neighborhood. My typical run involves a 6 mile distance at about a 9:30 pace. I simply ran my course twice, and was able to maintain my sub 10 min pace.

I never really get tired, but my legs are what begin to hurt. Our neighborhood has a number of hills, and those are what cause the most wear on my knees. Funny enough, it is running down them which causes the greatest pain, as you kind of have to constantly work against yourself to maintain balance. Running up hills is much easier. 

So here we are, six weeks in. I am down 30+ pounds, running half marathons without much of an issue, and feeling really well physically. I have adopted a intermittent fasting regime, where I consume my daily caloric intake between the hours of noon and 4pm. Added to that, I run a keto cycle about every week. Meaning, six or seven days of strict egg-keto, followed by a day or two of reasonable carb intake. 

I am still waiting to sign up for that marathon next month until I am absolutely certain it is something I can/want to do. The deadline for signup is November 4th. At this point, I feel pretty confident that I will do it.

October 9, 2013

Anonymous said: did you die from running on eggs?

I didn’t die, but my legs would end up really fatigued during my running. The end result was that I just didn’t want to work out, as it was so physically demanding.

I didn’t feel sick or anything while doing strictly eggs/keto, but it made long periods of cardio difficult. That said, I have started approaching carbs as “fuel for the fire”, and when I do consume them, it is with my workout schedule in mind. I will also amend my distance to accommodate my intake, and how my legs are feeling at that moment.

I know a lot of people use strict keto while maintaining rigorous workout schedule. For me, as essentially a beginner at running any sort of distance, that made the process more difficult than it needed to be. By adding just a little bit of carbs (probably fewer than 100g) on my carb days, I am able to keep the pace that I want with my legs feeling very little wear and tear.

October 8, 2013
Hey hey.

It has been a while. Not a whole lot to really update, but here we are.

I am now running a 10k every day, and it is really kind of enjoyable. I hate saying that, because I have never liked running, and the thought of running is still off putting to me, but there comes this point during my run (usually a mile or two in) where I just kind of float away, both physically and mentally. It’s weird. My legs feel great, and I am getting better at pushing harder through certain stretches to improve my times, etc. I still haven’t clocked my mile, but I feel pretty confident that I could get in the 7 or 8 minute range at this point.

The diet continues, but with some changes. I found that cycling with carbs is working really well for me, and keeps my metabolism on its toes. I will typically do the eggs thing for five days, give or take, and then do a day or two of carbs (with eggs). I don’t really go too crazy, but it is enough to keep the weight loss going. I know that this was supposed to be eggs only, but this works well for me.

I am now under 210! This represents greater than 25 pounds of loss. I am finally starting to get into a shape other than round. My face, arms, and legs definitely have more definition than they did just over a month ago, and my torso is thinning out as well. I continue to take pictures every couple of days, and I will be sure to upload those at the end of this. 

I know a lot of people use keto as a means to hasten weight loss while accommodating a largely sedentary lifestyle. I think that this is a good thing overall, but I hate being inactive. Keto is definitely effective, but I have also found that carbs can be incredibly helpful in keeping me moving through my exercises. I have gone from being a champion alcoholic sitting on a couch some 40 days or so ago, to running a 10k every night. I am really pleased with this progress, and I wouldn’t change that.

The Outer Banks Marathon is in 32 days, and I am strongly considering it. I will keep you posted. 

Also, here is my weight loss chart so far. 

September 29, 2013
Howdy, y’all.

Another day in egg paradise. We are very quickly approaching the 1/3 mark for this experiment, and I am mostly pleased with the results so far.

Last night I went for my 7th run this week, and in doing so completed 35 miles for the week. I have for a majority of my life disliked running… a lot. I was even on the cross country team in high school, and still hated it. That said, now it is kind of a peaceful thing for me that I do at the end of the day. Granted, the first five minutes or so are still not super pleasant, everything after that is on a sort of auto pilot. It is becoming something that I do habitually, and in a way gives me consistency in my days. I am getting faster and strong through the hills, and I think that I will run a 5k in the near future. I really think that if I keep this pace of running that I will have prepared myself for a full marathon come November. 

I am under 214 at the moment, and I still have that 210 goal in mind for the very near future. Using my official goal weight of 195, I will be greater than 60% of the way there in just 33% of the total time. Unofficially, I am shooting for 180. The last time I weighed 180 I was laying brick for a living, unmarried, didn’t imagine that I would ever have a kid, and 22 years old. Cool!

- 608 down, 1392 to go.

In 1392 a Franciscan friar by the name of James of Julich impersonated a bishop, ordained a bunch of priests and was found out by his superiors. At which point… he was boiled alive. D:

 

September 25, 2013
More running. More eggs. Not always in that order.

I am now running 5 miles a day. I might up it to 6.2 just so that I can say that I run 10k a day. It really isn’t that bad (though tonight it was raining). I had concerns about the wear and tear on my legs, but it’s pretty easy. I just keep a constant and easy gait, and that seems to do the trick. I am finding it much easier to go up hills, as well. I imagine that this weekend I will time my mile just for reference. 

Anyhow, eggs keep being eggs. At the end of this week I will officially be one third of the way complete with the experiment. It would be nice to get down to 210 by that point.

- 528 down, 1472 left.

At the ripe age of 20, Leonardo da Vinci is named a ‘master artist’ by the “Company of Artists” in Florence. 

September 24, 2013
Huzah!

Down twenty pounds as of this morning. This marks the 21st day strictly on the diet, and 23rd day overall. 

September 23, 2013
Annnnd we’re back!

I have been back on the eggs since yesterday, and all is going well. I have added another component to the diet which is the 8/16 intermittent fasting thing. I read about it the other day and figured that it really wasn’t that far off from what I had been doing anyway, so why not bake it into the diet structure officially.

Today I ran 5 miles at a 6mph pace and biked 8 at a 16mph pace. The bike ride was cake, and kind of a way to blow off steam. The run wasn’t bad either, but I really was resisting going out there and doing it. Usually, within 5-10 minutes of starting my run I will just kind of zone out and think about other stuff. If you can get into that autopilot mode, it’s kind of like riding in a really slow car that causes you to breathe hard. 

Business is business and business must grow. Currently trying to build a relationship with the EPA so that we can start cleaning up Superfund sites for money. Also, just sent off an application for a grant award to a small business innovation fund. So we will see how that all goes. 

- 480 eggs down, 1520 to go.

In 1520 Pope Leo X issued the Exsurge Domine, essential threatening Martin Luther with excommunication unless he renounced his positions. Luther declined and went on to do his own thing. If you want to see a copy of this decree from Rome, you can visit the Vatican where a copy still survives.

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