Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What "The Walking Dead" has taught me

In my last post, I talked about my plan to get in shape like never before to prove that I can "overcome" turning 40 years old. That is moving along just swimmingly and I will have more deets for you in a soon to be published post.

So in keeping with that "masculine" challenge, I have an update on what I've been watching on the good ol telly.

Forgive me for being late to the party, but I just starting watching "The Walking Dead" about two weeks ago.

Yes, I know about all of the hype with this show when it started two years ago, it just took me some time to finally commit to it. I have never been much of a "zombie" guy, but from what I could gather, this was more of a show about survival in impossible circumstances. That appealed to me.

Well in two weeks, I watched seasons 1 and 2 and caught up to season 3. To say I am obsessed with it is an understatement. The show is consistently unsettling, disgusting, terrifying and beautifully shot; all at the same time. My wife is grossed out by it and my kids vow to never set foot out of the house if they see even one clip of a zombie. Me, I can't get enough carnage.

So after consuming this show like no other show before it, I realize how much it has already impacted me in a number of ways.

They are:

1). I need to be more of a man - It is time to buy a crossbow and maybe a few guns. I've never used a firearm or a bow in my life but maybe I should start training. You never know when the apocalypse will hit and I need to be prepared. Not to mention, I would look damn cool brandishing a crossbow:

Let me also add, I need to start cutting the sleeves off of all of my shirts. Ah ... swoon. My new "man crush".

But seriously, it is time for me to man up. Kick ass and take names. I will say yes to the first person who wants to go hunting, or four wheeling or even wants to play paintball. F yeah!  

To prove I'm serious about this manhood thing, I have been growing a beard since I started watching the show (the beard will be photographed and shared with you all real soon).

I now look pretty bad ass and I can tell people fear me just a bit. Nice.

Mr. Intimidation is here to stay.  

2). I need to remind the kids just how good they have it - My kids eat cheeseburgers and pizza without a care in the world, but they could easily be dining on raw possum or berries like the kids on The Walking Dead.

They play their video games and watch TV without once considering all poor Carl has to go through day in and day out. Could they shoot a zombie? Or watch their friends get devoured by zombies? Or shoot their mother on the floor of a prison just after she gave birth? I think not.

Starting this week, I am making them hunt for their own food and will make them build their own shelter in the woods in the backyard. They will have to live there two days a week, regardless of the outside temps.

Better yet, maybe I'll create our own Hunger Games where they'll need to hunt down each other. My money is on my daughter.

And they will thank me when they get older.

3). Critics really do impact the way I watch TV shows.movies - Before I started my run of watching "The Walking Dead", I assumed that critics across the board loved the show. And after finishing seasons 1 and 2, I would have agreed with them.

But before starting season 3, I read reviews of the show for the first time and most buried season 2 as being slow and boring. I didn't even realize that the original producer of the show, Frank Darabont, had been fired at the midway point of the season. The new producer brought on was charged with speeding things up and upping the zombie body count.

I never sensed that the show slowed down and thought season 2 was fantastic, but after reading all of the criticism, I started to look back on it differently. And that really bothered me.

Am I that easily influenced by critics? Am I too simple and missed the show heading in the wrong direction? Do I simply just like watching zombies getting slaughtered?

I like to think I am a somewhat intelligent TV viewer and can see the deeper meaning of a show, but maybe I allow others to put those thoughts in my head. I always assumed that delving deeper into a show by reading input from writers/critics made it a more enjoyable experience, but maybe I was dead wrong. Maybe "critic free" is the way to go.

Or maybe, it is all about HOW you watch a show. Which leads to my next point.

4)Watching a serialized TV show rapid fire, one episode to the next is the way to go - I have never watched a show as rapidly as I did with "The Walking Dead". Typically, I would DVR a show and then watch it on a weekly basis. "Lost" and "The Sopranos" were both perfect example of this.

The build-up to each show was HUGE and almost always lead to overblown and unfair expectations.

Now these two shows almost always delivered each and every week (yes, even The Sopranos finale) but I wish I could go back and watch these shows differently. There is much better pacing when you watch one episode after another where you aren't constantly seeking the "A ha" moment for that week. It definitely plays out more like a movie and for me, that is a much more enjoyable experience.

And now that I am watching "The Walking Dead" on a weekly basis, I have to admit, the shine is off of the package a bit. I shouldn't have caught up so quickly.

Last and "most bizarrely not least", I present a potentially ingenious idea and my last inspiration from the show ...

5). The perfect TV mash-up: "The Walking Dead" meets "Honey Boo Boo" - Stay with me here. And if you actually get this, I friggin love you.

I have been fascinated by TV shows that cross over and mash up with each other ever since The Flintstones met The Jetsons (logic be damned).

When two of my favorite TV worlds collide, it is magic. So here we go:

"The Walking Dead" takes place in Georgia and "Honey Boo Boo" takes place in ...? That's right, Georgia. We've already got the geography equation solved.

So let's say Rick Grimes and group get booted out of the prison they are currently taking residence in and stumble upon an abandoned train. Miraculously, they start her up only to have it crash in let's say McIntyre, GA (home of the Boo Boo's). Conveniently, the train stops right on their front lawn because, for those of you who watch The Boo Boo's, you know the train LITERALLY bumps up against their front door. It is the absolute funniest part of the show and a can't miss.

So "The Walking Dead" gang slowly approach the front door and are about to shoot what they think is a zombie:

Only to realize it is "Mama", so they hold their fire.

The newly formed group unite to create a new "family" and well, I'll need to work further on the script.

Am I on to something here? Did I lose you completely?

I've got two more shows lined up for the winter - "Breaking Bad" and "Sons of Anarchy". I plan on watching them rapid fire style as well, so watch out. I may be soon dealing meth off of the back of my bike while doing preacher curls.

Now that is f'n manly!                  


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Age will not take me down

"Research suggests that between 40 and 50 years old, a person loses 8 percent or more of their muscle mass."

Uh oh ... it's all over.

I read the quote above on the Men's Health website recently and it really knocked me on my "tookus". Is this the beginning of the end now that I am 40 years old? I can almost feel my muscles slowly deflating as I type this. 

It feels so cliche to be deeply affected by turning 40, but I must admit, it has taken a bit of a toll on me. I have no complaints about my family, my job or my health, but I do feel like a window is slowly closing on me. And I can't really define why that closing window has had such an impact. 

Maybe taking that chance on some entrepreneurial venture is no longer a possibility.

Maybe it is the reality that some of the players on my favorite sports teams could actually be my children.

Or maybe it is the fact that my body has now started the inevitable decline. 

That last one seems to be the one that really hits home. I realize we are talking about minimal decline here, but it is the idea that age 40 is identified as the beginning of the end. It doesn't feel that way but I'll have to side with science here. 

I can't seem to shake this concept of muscle mass loss and I think I'm ready to defy it in a big way. I am a regular weight lifter and runner but not hardcore by any means. I do enough to stay in decent shape and to effectively "check it off the list". It is difficult to find the time to work out with a job, family and kids activities but I make do.

The final inspiration to take 40 and beat the hell out of it came from an unexpected source. He is an actor who is 50 years old and is on my TV each and every night. Can you guess who it is? Actually don't bother, unless you have children between the ages of 6 and 12. He is this guy (on the left):
Eric Allan Kramer on "Good Luck Charlie" (my kids favorite show). Seriously, check out the guns on this guy. This is how he has looked on the latest season of the show and it is damn impressive, considering this is how he looked not too long ago:

Not a lot of muscle loss there, eh?

I made the comment to my son that "Bob Duncan looks phenomenal". He then proceeded to look him up on Wikipedia and said to me (without any indication of busting on me) "He is FIFTY years old". 

That was it. Game f'n on. If he can do it, I can do it (of course I don't have access to the personal trainers and nutritionists that he does, but that is besides the point). 

I started to formulate my plan and tried to come up with an impressive end goal. But I couldn't figure out what that would be. Is it running a marathon? Is it competing in a bodybuilding contest (I kid)? Is it drastically improving my BMI (Body Mass Index for those of you so embarrassingly uninformed)? 

Nope. It is clearly none of those. In fact, I realized it is not about a goal at all. It is all about the process. I want to work hard, eat clean because I still can. I am young enough to still make an impact on this one body I've been granted and that is what I will focus on. 

I'm going to run.

I'm going to do sprints.

I'm going to do circuit training.

I'm going to do yoga.

I'm going to eat more protein.

I'm going to eat less sugar.

I'm going to drink more green tea.

I'm going to mix shit up like never before.

And it isn't about letting it take over my life. I will train smarter, not longer. I will make smart choices along the way and hopefully that will provide great results. But more than anything, I am going to thank my lucky stars that I can still do it all. 

So keep coming back for updates on my successes and failures and how I feel along the way. 

AND ...... I would never leave out my partner in crime, Matt, from this POA. In fact, he will be posting his take on the topic right after me. His take is a bit different and he has some fascinating history to share with you all. But when all is said and done, we are both striving for the same thing ... to defy age and knock it on its ass.

Hope you will all tag along for the ride.

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