Holiday Event

We had the second opportunity to attend the ASU, W. P. Carey, Annual, Holiday, Charity Event. I probably forgot some adjectives, but it was a fine semi formal event.

The charity benefits from a faux casino. You get chips with your admission. You gamble away said chips. If you are Karen you actually double your chips and have enough to buy raffle tickets with the accumulated chips. Then there is a much announced drawing for prizes donated to the charity event.

Karen won 4 Diamondbacks tickets for the 2007 season. We went to a few games already it will be fun.


We had a "just us" Turkey Day this year. I think this officially make Sharon Drive home. Karen's family is addicted to food events and has the need to share photographs of the big meals. This is not any weirder than my need to show off Wet Dry Vacs, but it just as weird.

Photo Album: Thanksgiving

Body Nazi: Sign 7

So, apparently working out is not enough. There is all the "extra cardio" that is required to lose weight. Working out causes mostly weight gain as the muscle mass increases. There is plenty of walking and running involved in extra cardio. Yes, it is a little disturbing to the sedentary folks like me. It is not shake in aisle as the spirit moves you, disturbing, but it is the same vector.

So, extra cardio is weird. More amazing is the warmup. I always heard about warming up before a work out. I can understand stretching to avoid pulling a muscle and doing damage. Apparently warming up also get you in a cardio range. So there is a treadmill and several minutes of "walking" on the habittrail. I am reaching the limits of understanding why you work out before you work out. Then she said, "yesterday, during my warm up walk. I burst into a run for the last 3 minutes. It felt great! I think I am going to do it again."

No, the trainer did not "encourage her."

No, a thief brandishing a weapons did not enter the studio and threaten them.

She just did it because it might feel good.

I am beyond my ability to comprehend.

Sixth Sign

Wow, that is a religious experience, but,

”Oh, the calories!" "I can only eat half!"

The woman I married would never consider wasting any food. It is just not possible for her to only eat half of an absolute delicacy! I have discovered comfort foods from around the valley and I get " That's great, but the calories! I can only eat half!"

I believe I could give her $3 in coins and stand her before a vending machine and she would stare for a moment before saying, "There is nothing GOOD in here!"

I brought a salad (with dressing and bacon on it) to her. She ate some of it and pushed it away! "Mmm, that was good, but... the Calories!" It is a salad! It isn't food! It is what food eats!

Fifth Sign

Sign #5

There is nothing a little exercise can't cure!

She really did utter that phrase. I am now living with a crazy woman! She was apparently feeling a little blue a few evenings ago and decided WE needed to go for a walk.

WE walked for half an hour. About 8 minutes in she announces, "Wow, I am feeling better." "I had a really rotten day and was just not happy." "Now I am up and moving and it feels great!"

"You know, there is nothing a little exercise can't cure!"

Without thinking a muttered something like, "Cancer!" "I bet exercise doesn't do a damn thing to cure cancer!" Then I thought, "Paralysis, hell I bet you can't even exercise, how could it cure it?"

Wow, I am a pessimist.

Fourth Sign

Sign #4

My health food is too fattening.

My trainer recommends < insert brand here > , it has less sugar and fat than the healthy, crunchy nearly indigestible stuff I have asked you to join me in eating. It is very similar, but not as sweet.

If I am chewing and grinding up cereal that resembles the stuff I formerly considered to be the shell, not the nut then DO NOT take away the sweet reward!

Birthday Party

I threw myself a birthday party last night. I invited some friends over, mostly from Countrywide and we had a good time. The scale was small, about 15 people made it out to Club Melcher. The arcade got some action. The billiards table caught a few games. Karen and I got in the pool for a time. Mariyah joined us.

Tequila and I are apparently friends again. I started with a Tres Generaciones shot and keep it up at a pretty good pace. I was not wretchedly hung over this morning as I usually am after tequila.

Did some grilling and had the tartlets for late sweets. Thanks to my guests, we also had an excellent shrimp tray, good rums and side salads for the main meat. I whipped up pretty good guacamole for the first round of drinks, too.

Karen managed to stay sober. Her personal trainer told her to quit drinking. She had a good time, just went alcohol free. In fact she got up at 6:00 a. m. to go on a 7 mile hike. Understand we went to bed at 2:30 a. m. She is just nutty about this stuff!

Third Sign, Technology Hook

My wife informs me,

”the heart rate monitor is an essential tool in maintaining an aerobic workout.”

Which I kind of understand. Aerobic workouts are entirely defined by maintaining your heart rate in a target zone for a period of time. This is stuff we have know since Jane Fonda sold VHS tapes.

I am expecting a wristwatch that takes your pulse. Maximum logic might include 2 beeps if your heart rate is too high, 1 for too low, not working hard enough. I seriously underestimated.

This is the most insidious sign so far. Cue the "Imperial March" for this one.

The Sensor

It comes with a sensor. A wireless data transmitting device. Say it with me, Sensor.

See, now I have the attention of all my technolusting, Gizmodo and Engadget reading IT brethren. Sensor? How does that work? Well, it gets strapped to your chest so it can sense heart beats and transmit an RF signal. It runs off a watch battery both to transmit and apparently to sense the heart. The Velcro® connector must be wetted for proper function, so they must be sending some current across the length of the strap.

The signal is picked up by the wrist watch receiver. Apparently, taking the pulse at the wrist doesn't work very well. Maybe there is something more to this, though. The signal is also picked up by the treadmill at the studio. So the sensor feeds a vast array of fitness related equipment.

The Receiver

The receivers can be programmed to emit the aforementioned beeps I suspected according to your personal workout profile. Using software on your PC (yes, PC only, us Mac guys get screwed again) you enter your height, weight, sex and desired fitness level. Then you get emails from 1000's of horny guys from around the globe. Oh, wait that is another kind of website.

The target heart rate and length of your workout get calculated and sent to the watch (or treadmill or whatever). Yes, calculated. It knows about warming up and cooling off periods. This little watch thingy packs more power than my old Zaurus. You can also send little block pixel "backgrounds" to your watch in case you miss your old Tamagotchi.

The data is not send with a cable. It does not employ Blue Tooth® or utilize any 802.x communication. No, not IR. It uses a Sonic Modem. A what?

The Sonic Modem

Here is a low tech, low speed, completely hackersmack way to transmit data. The watch has a microphone and a piezo electric speaker. The PC must have a speaker and a microphone. You guessed it, they screech at each other just like good old analog dial up. When computers were fun. When you were sure that if you listened well and trained your ears you could understand the computer's audible language.

After your work out the data recorded by the watch (treadmill) can be uploaded to the Polar website. Why I would ever want to post my poor performance to everyone on the planet I am not sure.

The Invitation

So the insidious part comes via invitation. Her personal trainer invited me to come in and see the equipment. I can check out all the sensors transmitting, fitness equipment recording, internet uploading and get a free Personal Fitness Report.

A what? Well, they have a machine that will measure my lean mass as a percentage of my overall mass combined with a short run on the treadmill with the sensor we can determine the exact amount of pure flab. Wow. I was still doing the "pinch test!" Boy, am I out of the loop. Of course with all this applied technology they can upload to the internet and all of you can know just how fat I have become. Given the new fame of my fatness I will probably be motivated to work it off at the studio. "Feel the power of the Dark Side!"

Second Sign

When you buy protein shakes.

You couldn't pay me to drink these things. They make a mess out of all the glasses and shakers and anything else she can find to mix in while scrambling out the door to make her work out appointment.

And forget the jokes about "I got yer protein shake right here!" That just gets you slugged. AND with all the working out, getting slugged hurts now.

10 Signs You Are A Body Nazi

My wife is losing weight. She is very serious about this process and is making the commitments of time, money and energy to accomplish her goals.

We have always been on the slothful end of the spectrum. Well, I have always been on the slothful end, anyway. I am therefore keenly aware of the small changes in her attitude and outlook that accompany changes in diet and exercise. I am unsure if it is inherent in the process or just an attitude you acquire by working out with other fitness freaks, diet dealers and iron pumpers.

Sign #1

”My personal trainer said..."

First thing is having a personal trainer. I would not even know where to find one. I am very sure I don't know where they work.

I am a life long geek. I used to get beat up at recess by guys who become personal trainers. My only defense mechanism is to consider them to be less intelligent than me. Therefore following the advice of someone I consider less intelligent just doesn't make sense. I (the sloth) would never utter the words, "My personal trainer said..."


I was ready to hate this concert. I really only heard "Photograph" before last night. Many years ago we decided we were "too old" to go to rock concerts. Karen heard that Nickelback was coming to Glendale Arena and bought the tickets. She has the last album on the iPod.

I was prepared for a night of "chick music" but I did not get it! Apparently they started as a cover band and moved to the hard end of pop rock similar to Creed. It was a loud rock show complete with Pantera style pyrotechnics! The lead singer (Chad Kroeger) is a real showman. He would address the audience between each song and talk about the influences or inspiration of each tune. He threw in references to this week's hockey victory, a few local bars and the 135 days without rain.

The showmanship continues with a break to shoot free shirts into the audience with a pneumatic cannon. He must have thanked the audience 50 times for coming out, knowing the lyrics and making the show fun.

I am not sure were the showman ends and the truth begins, but the band seemed genuinely happy to be playing the concert. It was not some album deal obligation to them. They seemed pleased the audience knew the word to the songs, even older songs from the "Curb" and "The State" albums. I am not sure if this was also showmanship or if they were as shocked as I was that anyone was listening "back then."

It was a great night out. We may even start going to concerts again. Karen did not feel we were "too old" to fit in the crowd.


The stage was basic, an area for the lead singer, guitarist and bassist with the drummer on a platform behind them. A row of speakers on the stage provide the primary sound. They added a "catwalk" that stretched 30 feet into the audience so they could get up close and personal with the fans.

A flat panel style jumbotron was hung lengthwise above the drummer center stage. The cameras featured Chad's "talks" between songs on this screen and the 4 way screen on the scoreboard (normally this arena is for hockey games). Even the cheap seats got a good close up. During "Photograph" they showed video of photographs falling to a floor and featured some shots of the band having fun.

They added light arrays on either side of the jumbo screen. They were roughly twice the size of the jumbo. The array featured full color and resembled a very low resolution monitor. Each displayed a computer visualizer type screen as though iTunes were running on them. The overall visual was quite nice.


The speaker banks on stage were topped with the propane fire blasters like you feel at most new thrill rides. They would shoot 20 foot flames that definitely warmed us on the floor and greatly contributed to the drummer's sweat! They had several sparkle shooters both up (fountain style) and down. Combined with at least 20 bang caps the fireworks alone were worth the ticket price.

Maybe I Am Too Old

My ears are still not recovered. I still have a heavy ringing in both ears 22 hours after the concert started. We got very dehydrated and had to make an emergency McDonald's run after the show!

Much of the crowd was 30 ish. Some of the floor dwellers were teen girls but they had a Mom in tow. Surprisingly large portions of the floor crew was 40+ (actually ++). I don't know if that was the band's crowd (remembering they knew the words to the old stuff, too) or if the thrill of the floor is lost on the newer crop of concert goers.

I Have 6 Minutes

As mentioned earlier I have some time in the morning before work because I get up well before I need to be there. It is nice not having to rush. It is better feeling awake when the alarm goes off! Karen is trying to get in earlier, but has not succeeded today. She is almost ready and said she would be ready in 6 minutes. SO here I am typing drivel.

204 (Oops, how did that happen?)


Karen is in Mexico. I dropped her off on Wednesday and get to pick her up tomorrow. The Cell is supposed to work there, but I can't get through. She called me to say she was still fighting the cold that gave me pneumonia. She did get upgraded, but she has a room mate this trip. Can't wait to hear about that facet of the trip!



Karen is pursuing her MBA and one of the courses took them to Mexico.