Today … I feel like a superhero.  Yeah, SuperRubberMan.  My arms are like Jello, but they’re exposed to Kryptonite, so they’re totally useless.  We’ve totally changed the regimen at the gym – except for the damned pushups.  Instead of three sets of 12, now it’s three sets of 15.  I did 38 full body, but the last seven I am sad to say, were executed only from the knees up.  You know I see old farts like Clint Eastwood doing one handed pushups in the movies & I now have a whole new respect for that cranky old bugger!  No wonder he can get ’em young.  Have a good day – I’m going to be fitted for prosthetic arms now.


Remember? Yes. Understand?

As Remembrance Day is upon us I watch the news & see some wonderful tributes by young people who actually try to understand what Remembrance Day is really about.   These wonderful people bandy about terms such as “fallen heroes” and “ultimate sacrifice”.   I have to wonder, do they, or any of us, really understand what Remembrance Day is really about?  Those who died did not die the Hollywood death of John Wayne & other heroes of the big screen.  Most of those who died were young people, in their late teens, twenties & the odd few in their thirties.  By my 58 year standards, that is young.  Did they remain stoic until the end?  Not likely.  They were likely terrified, fearing and fighting the Death that was overtaking them.  Flashing thoughts of their wives, husbands, children, parents, siblings – the myriad of people that they are going to miss, while Death stalked them with a finality as certain as any finality can ever be.  Terrified because they’ve seen their buddies maimed, or are missing parts themselves.  There is no turning back from Death and unless you have tremendous faith, it is no doubt terrifying.  Death in war is rarely heroic, and even more rarely, dignified.

But can the ones who died can be the lucky ones?  The ones left at home are every bit the heroes as those who died.  They have seen their loved ones, their children, their mothers, their fathers, go off to put themselves in harm’s way to defend our way of life.  They don’t have the benefit of the sudden quiet at the end of that journey into Death.  They are left behind to feel their hearts torn asunder, shredded by grief, by the loss of one who is dear to them.  Ones who they missed as soon as they walked out the door, but miss even more so knowing that now they will never return to them.  They have to endure the daily struggle of knowing they will never again hear that voice, feel that touch, share that laugh or that tear.  If that doesn’t make them heroes, then there are no heroes.

And then there are our soldiers who did not die.  They may have come home, but many of them have left a part of their souls behind them.  Parts of them died with their deeds and are buried on a plain, or under rocks on a barren mountain somewhere most of us will never see.  The things they have witnessed other humans doing to other humans?  The things they have been called upon to do to other humans?  Anyone who has ever lined up the rear sight with the fore sight then ultimately with a living, breathing, target that they know has a mate, children, knows that with one squeeze of the trigger all of that ends for that ‘target’ and for all that the ‘target’ is, was or ever will be.  When the bullet leaves that chamber, it takes with you a large part of your humanity because you will never be the same.  If you’ve never had that experience or any of the other experiences that our soldiers see, hear and feel, then you are blessed.  But in the same breath you can never really understand what that returning soldier is going through.  You have not earned the right to sit in judgement on that soldier.  But these soldiers, these guardians of our lives and our life, have earned the right of your support, your honour, and above all, your respect.

So on this Remembrance Day 2012, wear your Poppy, honour our fallen and crippled heroes – all of them both in and out of uniform.  And when you’ve done all that and the day is behind you, not only should you continue to Remember, but now you should take up the fight for them.  Help them all to get them the benefits and pay that is commensurate with their sacrifice, which I have to say, is a damned sight higher sacrifice than anything, absolutely anything, any of our over paid, over benefitted politicians and their petty bureaucrats have earned.

Six Week Review (aka – what in hell am I doin’?)

Well, this morning’s regular workout was replaced by a review of my progress.  I hate progress reports!  Really, I bust my derriere so I can feel better, and I do.  Then I get the news that I’ve put on just about 5 more pounds!  Keriminee.  But the good news is 3 of those were muscle (according to the BMI thingy).  So all is not too bad.  Plus I was eating restaurant food for ten solid days, which will screw up any good workout regimen.  I can do double the pushups that I could in the beginning, about 12% more situps & about 7% more in squats PLUS I can walk for bloody ever (provided there are no nubile wenches wandering about to distract & kill me).  Naw, overall I am just very pleased to be feeling better.  Next will come the weight along with wind.  Me & my lungs are not friends – never have been.  I’m one of those people that go to beat hell for a hundred meters, you’d be hard pressed to keep up with me.  But after that my oxygen levels can’t keep up with the usage & I go down like a hooker at Grey Cup.  Ah well, onward & upward.

Ellipse & Push Ups! Ungghhh!

Well Monday & Tuesday were interesting back at the gym.  Monday I was introduced to a 1980’s torture machine called the “Elliptical Trainer”.  What a nice, well rounded name.  Our good friends over at Wikipedia define “ellipse” as “In mathematics, an ellipse (from Greek ἔλλειψις elleipsis, a “falling short”) is a plane curve that results from the intersection of a cone by a plane in a way that produces a closed curve.”  Quite frankly they lost me at “mathematics”, but that’s another story.  I like the Greek – “falling short”, because as an exercise machine it is my personal view that “falling short” is the polite way of saying “what a horrible freakin’ machine.”  You stand on these two foot pads, grab hold of these two ‘poles’ & ostensibly, you are supposed to run, allegedly simulating cross country skiing, while thrashing all four limbs about willy nilly!.  I have skied cross country my friends & I am afraid somebody sold somebody Mr. Whalen a bill of goods on that machine.  While your feet, knees, hips and arms are going great guns, the rest of you remains absolutely stationary, but in about 15 seconds your calves & thighs are screaming at you to get the hell off of this machine!  But the mistake is trying to get off while the damned this is still moving.  I slipped & got my foot jammed in between one of those horrible foot pads & the ski pole thingy.  Fortunately that was a far as it went & with some gentle pulling of the levers I was able to dislodge my foot.  And there wasn’t even a curvaceous creature around to blame for my daintiness.

On the upside, Tuesday was upper body day & I actually finally managed to do three full repetitions of 12 full body push-ups.  A total of 36 push-ups – and no bra!  I went home & congratulated myself with a glass of wine at 08:30 – didn’t go well with the porridge, but what the hell eh?

Friday is my six week evaluation day!  I’m expecting some recriminations but hey, baby steps.  I’m happy with the push-ups & feeling so very much better!

Belles, bells & other stuff!

Well today I was back at it after a two week hiatus.  Ughhh!!!  Again.  Push ups.  Bra.  What more can I say?  But my pre-pushups was interesting?  We have some very good looking ladies at the gym – probably some good looking guys too but I’ll leave that up to you ladies to notice, thank you.  Anyway, being a typical male I have had my head turned suddenly by these lovelies on occasion, leaving me with some spastic revolutions in my neck that I could do without.  Anyway, this morning I am warming up with twenty minutes (YES, 20 minutes without passing out!!!) on the treadmill.  Got my iPod buds in & I’m rockin’ out to Allanah Myles’ “Kick Start My Heart”.  Around the corner comes a regular, but today she is sportin’ a brand new outfit.  And what an outfit it was.  She has curves in all the right places, but now she has really nice curves in all the right places, accentuated by a colourful workout wardrobe.  As she waltzes on by of course my eyes follow her and of course I turn somewhat on the speeding treadmill, which causes my foot to hook on the side rail, throwing everything into a total uproar and in an unholy heap I am flung from the treadmill and into the nearby steel pillar.  I am unsure if the pillar is actually still ringing or if it is my head, but I can still hear bells pealing.  Fortunately the lovely lady I was oogling didn’t see me, but the lovely lady on the treadmill next to me was laughing uproariously, causing me some embarrassment.  That was quickly alleviated however when she said to me that she had barely missed doing exactly the same thing because really, the woman was quite stunning.  With my ego somewhat assuaged I went on to do my pushups and other forms of physical torture for the morning.  I hope I don’t get a bill for the pillar.  The place is under construction anyway eh?

Holy Crap!!!

Well we’re at a full month of ‘gettin’ in shape’ now.  You’d think that it would be gettin’ easier, but nooooo siree Mr. Whalen.  It’s no easier and I still have the shape of pear.  A bit more muscular pear.  A sometimes smilin’ pear, but still a pear.  Gotta work on the diet part of this.   Well today was leg day … again.  Now I went into this thinkin’ my legs are good and strong – they won’t be able to torture those too much.  WRONGO!  First we do lunges.  I thought lunges were for horses?  My gawd – you lunge forward & drop into a front knee bend.  With your fingertips against the side of your great fat cranium you twist, first one way & then the other.  You lunge … all the way across the room.  Then for good measure, you lunge back again.  Then it’s squats – but just so your thighs are parallel to the floor.  Then up.  But wait – that’s just too easy.  Here, hold a 2000 lbs weight to your chest while you do that.  Well it starts out as a 10 pounder but by the time you’re half way through that sumbeetch weighs in at a solid long ton.  Oh, but wait, we’re not done yet, nosireee Mr. Whalen.  We do three sets of each of the above two mentioned exercises.  I’m starting to remember why I hated my gym teacher (besides the fact that he made me do a million pushups when I drilled his can through his pelvis with a lacrosse ball may have had some bearing on that sentiment, but …!).  Once you’ve completed the three sets, which takes about 90 minutes (which isn’t bad considering the Personal Training time is only 30 minutes), then it’s on to step ups on to a weight bench, followed by some side slides while your feet are restrained by the same bungee cords used to allow elephants to bungee jump.  At this stage of the regimen it’s kind of like that extra drink that you know you shouldn’t have because now you’re going to spend the rest of the night cuddling the toilet bowl instead of the cute chick with the short skirt & fuzzy sweater with nice bumps in it.   Once my 30 or 60 or 1,000 minutes was up, and I was able to waddle out the door, today I had to walk all the way home.  Why?  Because my truck is in getting the tires changed out to the winter ones (thank you good folks at Integra Tire) – this is so depressing!!!   Back to the trip home.  It was fresh out this morning & I felt that might helpt to revive me on my walk home.  Here we go, one foot dragged in front of the other, thighs screaming like Ned Beatty in the notorious scene from Deliverance.  Suddenly I look …, no, I discover – much to my dismay (read ‘disdain’, ‘chagrin’ … hell anything negative here), that the City has closed the only sidewalk.  They’ve closed the entire freakin’ sidewalk between the gym & my house, simply so they can have one piece of equipment sitting, not running, on the sidewalk, beside the dozen or so workers, one of whom is working in a box in a hole in the ground twenty feet off of the sidewalk while the others lean on their shovels & giggle about having closed the entire sidwalk I am sure.  And the equipment – something like truck mounted Electrolux, while running, isn’t doing a damned thing.  So I do the drunk chicken shuffle across the road and there, by golly, is a bicycle lane – no sidewalk, but a for real bicycle lane (& please don’t get me started on those damnable things).  So I walk in it (well I guess is was really more of a ‘slough foot shuffle’).  While I’m rolling merrily along, with dirges about slaves and chain gangs rollicking through my cranium, a Sherriff’s vehicle pulls up beside me.  I’m thinkin’ “Great! One of my friends from the police has spotted me & are going to offer me a ride home”.  WRONG!  Wrong, wrong, wrongl, wrong so wrong Mr. Whalen.  “Sir, this is a bicycle lane.  You’ll have to use the sidewalk!”  I raised my dull, fatique hooded eyes, looked at him & said “Why don’t you turn around, have a look Mr. Observant, and tell me just where else I’m supposed to walk?”  I think it was one of those rare occasions when common sense took over from training & he realized that sometimes you just have to overlook the rule book.  Without another word he got back in his cruiser and left.  I resumed my ‘old drunk guy shuffle’.  Sometime in the early afternoon I topped the 300 M hill that goes up to our house and stumbled into our humble abode.  Even the lady from the alarm company didn’t argue with me when I explained to her over their “TWO WAY VOICE ALARM” (use the deep voice from Alarm Force in your head for that one) that I couldn’t reach the damn key pad because my legs had fallen off & I was muscling my way around the house on the cheeks of my arse.  I think I detected a snicker in her voice, but she let it go.  Tomorrow, it’s the “core” again.  I think my PT is going to get the core of a rock upside his head!.  G’night all.

Thanksgiving & cause for Thanx.

I was laying in bed at 6:00 this morning, after spending the weekend climbing arena rails at the FCA Finals, avoiding kickin’, snortin’ & snottin’ broncs and bulls, thinking that I really don’t want to drag my sorry pained ass out of bed this holiday Monday to go to the gym for 08:30.  My alarm is set for 07:00.  At 06:48 my cell phone rings.  Since all friends & family know that if you call me at that ridiculous hour it had better be an emergency, I was awakened & alarmed.  So in my usual “this had better be damned important” voice, I answered my phone.  It was Tyler (my replacement trainer)“Oh crap” thinks I “I’ve slept in.”  I look at my alarm clock.  “Nope.  I’m good there.”  Tyler has called to tell me that he arrived at the gym this a.m. with pinkeye.  “Pinkeye”  thinks I, “isn’t that something that little wee girls get when they break into their moms makeup?”  But he wants to re-schedule – bless his heart.  I do.  He does.  It is truly a cause to be thankful!  And I am.  Now, about tomorrow morning … hmmm!