Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Music Review: Keith Munslow's Exclamation Point!




I've known Keith Munslow for just about 30 years  I first met him in 1991 when he was performing for the Big Nazo Puppets, and I spent a short stint with them performing as a masked actor/puppeteer.  We probably did 8-10 gigs together as part of Big Nazo.  (Hmmmm... thinking back on it, I mostly did holiday themed shows with Keith.  We did a Halloween show, a Thanksgiving show, a Christmas show, and oh, yeah, a fair housing show at a Catholic School.  Is fair housing a holiday?  It definitely should be!)

Keith is a brilliant musician and performer, and over the years I've watched him grow as an artist.  I'm a big fan of his work.  I've seen musicals he's written, watched improvs he's directed, rocked out to his blues bands, and listened with delight to his children's music.  I've also eaten at diners with him at 3 am.  When I was directing the now defunct Bright Night Providence, the New Year's Festival, I hired Keith as often as I could, both for his kid's programming and then at night, if he was available, for an adult swing/blues program.  


What makes Keith a great performer are two things:  his virtuosity as a musician and his sense of humor.   Both of these are on display on his latest family music album Exclamation Point! 

Keith manages to meld a number of different musical styles, and makes them original and entertaining and fun to listen to.  On this album, he's got jazz numbers, show tunes, a tango, straight hard rock, and probably a few other styles I don't know.  All of them are original, and feature a combination of Keith's clever word play, bouncing rhythms, and sense of play.  


I'm especially fond of Drummin' Is Free, which is a rap/drum corp song (Keith is known as a piano player, but he is an excellent drummer.  One of the funniest improvs I ever saw him do was him playing Marching band cadences as the folk song of his people.  I was in high school band too, and they are folk songs!)  

 I also really like Waiting For The Pizza, a song that is a rollicking western number about anticipation and the meta song These Are Not The Words, which is about a guy who doesn't know the words to the song. I know that feeling really well!

There are 11 songs on the album, and all of them are worth listening to and will get your toes tapping and the muscles of your mouth curling upward into a smile.  And that's Keith's real virtuosity-- his ability to entertain.

You can purchase Exclamation Point! on Apple Itunes or directly from Keith on his website.  (and while you are there, check out his other albums, and songs including the newly released Poultry-geist sensation Ghost Chicken, and Benny's The Musical, a theatrical love album to one of Rhode Island's most beloved stores (that sadly has gone belly up)

Keith Munslow & Empire Revue: Bennys The MusicalKeith Munslow:  Ghost Chicken 




Friday, September 11, 2020

One Year of Working Out (And Counting!)




 
Well, I managed to surpass a couple of significant personal achievements this week, and something that is probably worth writing about and mentioning (although I feel like I might mention it entirely too much.)  But I have talked about it before, and I made my major goal, so I do feel like I have the right to talk about it here.  (And if not here, on my own blog, then where?)

I've had a couple of minor achievements in the last few days, including a 37 mile bike ride to the Museum of Science and Industry and back.  See this Facebook Live video if you want to know more (I shot it halfway through the ride!)

I also made 1250 move goals on my watch a couple of days ago.  I estimate I've had my watch for 1798 days, which means my completion of move goals is approximately 69.5%.  Considering that some of those days I didn't wear my watch at all, I think that's pretty good.


But all of those pale in comparison to my big achievement of the year.


THIS IS MY BIG ACHIEVEMENT

I have spent ONE FULL YEAR working out 30 minutes every day and writing down pretty much everything that I eat!  I've lost approx. 70 lbs during that time frame, and I look and feel a lot better.  I still have more to go, but my new plan is to work out everyday for the rest of my dang life.  Who knows, maybe I'll become the new Jack LaLanne! 

When I started back on 9/11/2019, I don't think I foresaw that I could do it, that I could have the stick-to-it-ivity to do that kind of hard work, day after day after day.  I knew it was possible for someone to do it, but wasn't sure that I could do it.  At least not anymore.  

I had spent previous, less well-documented amounts of time sticking to an eating plan (I ate low carb for about 2.5 years from 2002-2005)  And I had spent about 6 months prior to that (25 years ago, from 1995-1997) going to the gym 4 times a week, and eating a low fat diet.  

One year ago, I came out of the doctor's office convinced that if I didn't lose weight this time, I was going to have gastric bypass surgery (which is still a very real possibility, if I start gaining weight again. I am not going back to being over 300 lbs again.  I refuse.) 

There are 3 main components to my weight loss "plan"   Here I explain what my commitment is, I grade myself on how I'm doing it, and talk about what I want to do better or improve in the next year.


1) WORKING OUT EVERYDAY

THE COMMITMENT:  I spend at least 30 minutes every day intentionally moving my body.  


For me, the important thing is not how much I sweat or how many calories I burn, but the fact that I am doing it with the right purpose of getting better and stronger.  It could be as simple as taking a long walk with that intention, or doing a series of stretching exercises.  What I don't count is walking or doing something for some other purpose.  So when we went to Disneyworld, and we walked 10 miles a day at the Parks, I didn't count that.  I still felt that I needed to get 30 minutes of exercise in to be true to my commitment.  Sometimes I go longer, sometimes shorter, but it has to be at leat 30 minutes.

HOW I DID THIS PAST YEAR:  A.

I did it everyday, even when I didn't want to, I had several times when it seemed like things were conspiring against me to work out (I showed up to the pool to Swim and the pool was closed.  And I didn't have gym clothes with me) I could have just gone home, but instead I got in my swim suit and worked out at the gym in my swim suit.  And then when I finished, the pool was open, and I got my swim on then.  When I went to visit my sister-in-law for a week, I figured out how to make exercises every day work.

WHAT I COULD IMPROVE IN THE UPCOMING YEAR:  

I could push myself more.  Towards the end of the year, I started jumping rope, but I'm moving at it relatively slowly.   I have a desire to start running, but I'm afraid of getting hurt, so I've been avoiding it.  I need to push at my limits a little more.  I'd also like to get stronger, so I am thinking about adding some kind of kettlebell or dumb bell workout to my mix.


2) WATCHING WHAT I EAT

THE COMMITMENT:  I watch what I eat and write everything down in LoseIt.

I have often said that tracking is more important than what I eat because it forces me to pay attention. Vigilance is the best defense.  I use the app LoseIt, and at this point, I have a lot of custom recipes and typical meals that I eat.  I'm not on a low carb diet per se, but trying to eat a balanced diet, and more importantly write everything down.

HOW I DID THIS PAST YEAR:  B  

If this were pre-COVID, I'd probably give myself an A.  I did write down my food everyday, and I was mostly careful about what I've eaten.  Since COVID happened, I've definitely been a little bit more lax about what I've been eating.  I'm still writing it down, but I have eaten snacks and sweets that weren't worth it, but somehow I managed to convince myself that they would be.   Out of 365 days, I've eaten less than my allotment of calories about 335 days, and some days by quite a lot.  But my weight loss is currently at a plateau, and I'm pretty sure this is why.  (Other factors, like it being harder to lose weight the lower you go, and my body's metabolism getting more efficient may also play in)

WHAT I COULD IMPROVE IN THE UPCOMING YEAR:  


Focus on making better choices, specifically in the snacking department.  I am often snacking on an ounce of pretzels or nuts or sometimes even chips (all of which are between 140-160 calories per oz)  I need to eat fresh fruit or have some meat when I'm peckish.  A 10 oz apple has 145 calories and is much more filling.  I could eat a cup of 2% greek yogurt for 160 calories and get 22g of protein!  I think I could also work on portion control.  My lunch is typically a giant soup, and while it's filling, maybe I could less and still be full.

3) INTERMITTENT FASTING

THE COMMITMENT: I don't eat after 9 PM, and I don't eat the next day until after 9 AM

One of the things that is hardest for me to control is night time eating.  I am a night owl, and I like to stay up late and read and watch shows, and it's very satisfying to be eating while doing this.  I made this commitment when I started, and it was hard to keep at first, and then it got easier, and lately, it's been hard again.  About 4 months after I started this process, I started reading about the idea of intermittent fasting, which is what I was already doing.  Some people intermittent fast for a day or more, or fast 23 hours, eat for 1 hour.  That seems too extreme for me, but perhaps it's in my future...

HOW I DID THIS PAST YEAR:  A-

I did almost always intermittently fast.  I had a few times in the past year where I did transgress, but when that happened I mostly made up for it by not eating until at least 12 hours after my last meal.  Sometimes I went 14 or even 15 hours.  The big problem for me is that I sometimes end up eating more than I expect to or want to because I wasn't eating before.

WHAT I COULD IMPROVE IN THE UPCOMING YEAR:  

I could extend it out so I'm doing 14-16 hours of intermittent fasting a day.  And I could make that 9 pm deadline even stronger and more ironclad.  I could also go to bed earlier.  (I am much less likely to get up out of bed to go eat something, even if I am awake.)

So that's my story.  I'm doing pretty well.  And I'm on a good path, healthwise.  I still have a long way to go.  (It's a little humbling to think about the fact that despite the fact that I've lost 70 lbs,  my BMI (Body Mass Index) still puts me in the obese category.)  My plan is by next year that will no longer be true!

One year comparison
What a difference a year makes--(and an angle) Photo on left is a selfie taken at Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Photo on right is taken in my bathroom in the mirror after a workout.  The before picture is not a great angle, but you can see the difference regardless.



Monday, August 24, 2020

Book Preview: Superhero Science by Cris Johnson




Cris Johnson is an accomplished elementary school assembly presenter.  In pre-pandemic times, Cris typically performed approximately 400 curriculum based school assembly programs across the states and in Canada, using a fast-paced combination of magic, music, audience participation, humor and fun to reinforce his messages and present education in an accessible manner.

When Covid-19 hit, Chris got busy, performing virtual shows and extending one of his shows into a book.  He recently sent me the first three chapters of that book SuperHero Science, and it really succeeds in creating a fun and funny intro to science in a way that kids are bound to enjoy.
Cris at work in one of his shows.




The basic premise is that he presents experiments that attempt to replicate, imitate, or simulate super powers.  Along the way he explains the scientific method, explains the idea of experimentation, and lays out each experiment in a casual yet professional manner.  Each experiment is laid out with the materials required (usually stuff that is around the house), the hypothesis (which, he explains, is a fancy word for educated guess) and any dangers or pitfalls that might require adult supervision (most of them do not, although don't check out parents-- you will be entertained and amazed as well!)  

And when he asks you whether or not the President of the United States may or may not have stolen your bike-- well, look out evil-doers!

Some of the experiments include forays into x-ray vision,  telekinesis, shrinking, invulnerability, and a lot more.  He explains it all in a folksy and slightly goofy way, asking people if they were aliens, how they would know if a hot dog wouldn't fly.

Cris is an experienced and entertaining performer, and that experience shows in his book.  The book is funny, relatable, and accessible to everyone.  Adults and kids alike will enjoy this adventure into science, experimentation, and imagination.  

Who knows, maybe you will even get bitten by a radioactive spider!  (My understanding from Cris is that radioactive spiders are not included with the book purchase.)

Superhero Science will be available in September 2020.  To find out more, visit Cris's website: https://elementaryschoolassemblies.com/


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Star Guard Academy: Digital LARP camp for kids starts August 17!

 A friend of mine sent this over, and it looks awesome!  

It's a LARP Camp that is played online (digitally) and has counselors acting as NPC's and moderators.

In case you don't know what a larp is, 
it stands for live action role-playing game.  The players (or campers!) physically portray their characters and pursue goals within a fictional setting represented while interacting with each other in character. It's kind of like a moderated form of make-believe with rules, or Dungeons and Dragons without rolling dice. 

The Players unlock plot, interact with camp counselors who act as different characters in the narrative, and work together to defend the galaxy.

We just enrolled my son in this camp.  Tickets are on sale through tomorrow if you are interested in enrolling your child.

Along the way I found out about the Other Worlds Theatre company, and I have to say, I have no idea why I didn't know about them before.  They seem 100% up my alley, and fairly close to my house.  


Otherworld Theatre Company was founded in June 2012 with the mission to bring a theatrical experience to the science fiction and fantasy genre. Their work celebrates the depth of human imagination by engaging our spectators with high quality storytelling. 

They have a number of shows and events that seem fantastic, in addition to the summer camp.  They have LARPs for adults (which are usually played in person, and with COVID, it's possible that those will be played online as well)- as well as (during non-COVID times) plays, events, colloquys, and all other sorts of mashups of theatre and science fiction.  It sounds like great fun, and I definitely want to keep these guys on my radar!

Their first full length production (which is available on Youtube for free until August 14) is a show called Of Dice and Men.  It's a play about gamers and Dungeons and Dragons, and during the show the game comes to life.  

Here's the synopsis (please note that it is suggested 14+ because of strong language throughout. Viewer discretion is advised.)



SYNOPSIS:
Few dungeon masters can make the game come to life better than John Francis. Dwarves, Mages and Barbarians jump right off of their character sheets whenever he sits down at the gaming table of frisky suburbanite parents, Linda and Brandon. John Francis’ best friends, sailor-mouthed John Alex and thoughtful jock Jason, bring roguish swagger and knightly nobility to the game. And the object of John Francis’ affection, the feisty Tara, provides all the Half Elven Double Princess backstory they could ever need. 

But when Jason enlists to go to Iraq and with the relationship with Tara going nowhere, it may be time for John Francis to hang up his twenty sided dice and take a job on the other side of the country. However, John Francis is about to discover that leaving will prove tougher than the Tomb of Horrors. A blisteringly funny and heartwarming comedy about gamers, for a general theatre audience.

Here's the video (which may or may not disappear after August 14)


You can find out more about Other World Theatre Company on their website https://www.otherworldtheatre.org/ and on their Youtube Channel:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsmsppAgXfNCZm8ZjRaz0uQ

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Switch: Take what you are doing in the real world and bring it online.


I'm going to brag a bit on my wife, Stephanie Schwab, right now, who has a great course that she is teaching coming up in a couple of weeks.
 The course is called Switch, and it's a 3-week jumpstart into changing your business from an offline business to an online business.

If you don't know my wife, she's a great person (hey, I married her) but even if she weren't my wife, I'd be recommending her.

Here's Why She's So Great To Teach This Class!

She's an ace digital marketer. She's worked in all phases of marketing, got into digital marketing almost right at the beginning, and this is totally her niche. For the past few years, she's been teaching digital marketing at a number of universities, including Loyola University Chicago, the New School in NY (where she was one of the first all-digital instructors) and at Harbour.space, a high tech digital university in Barcelona and Bangkok, where she is the Director of their Digital Marketing program. She also is the CEO of her own digital marketing agency, Crackerjack Marketing

The thing about her (and this is less of a brag and more straight up facts) is that she's really good at seeing and explaining the next steps that you should be taking for your business. She's quick-witted, sees your possibilities, and knows her stuff when it comes to marketing. She's also really good at creating a collaborative classroom, where all of the students form a cohort and help each other out, and that’s exactly what she’s done with Switch!

SWITCH! : THE COURSE



 In 3 weeks, you will take what you are currently doing off-line, and figure out (with her help) how to transform it into an online offering: a digital course, a paid webinar, an online workshop, or some other kind of online offering, and it will be strong enough that you will be able to charge money for it.

The course is three weeks long, and each week follows a similar format.

On Monday, the class goes over the plan of what you need to be working on that week, reviews the principles of the work to be done that week, and sets a plan for how to do the work.

On Wednesday, there's a Q and A with the class where you can ask any questions you have about what to do next, and talk about any problems you might be encountering.

On Saturday, there's a work review meeting, where you share with the class what you've been doing, get feedback, from the group, and make adjustments.

There's work to do in between those times to get to the next level. Stephanie estimates 3-5 hours a week additional, more if you need more. Of course, it depends on where you are in your business, how digital-ready your materials are, how comfortable you are with technology, etc.

If you miss a class, the videos are available for review, and everybody in the class gets one free 30 minute consulting call with Stephanie.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

We interrupt this period of radio silence with...

An old photo of Reagan eating ice cream, courtesy of
the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
It's National Ice Cream Day!


It was Ronald Reagan, in the hot summer days of 1984, that first declared July to be National Ice Cream Month and that the third Sunday in July would be National Ice Cream Day.

 (At the same time, Ollie North was protecting Nicaraugan drug smugglers to prop up Noriega and the Contras, and lie to the American people and congress about it with Reagan's full consent. But I digress.) 

 Let's move on to something more relevant! Ice Cream!

Ice Cream Day Deals and Contests

Here are some places to get deals on ice cream today. Offers can vary and most times are offered while supplies last. Also, please note that some of these deals require you to download an app or be signed up for emails. Because of COVID, please check your local supplier before venturing out, as local franchisees could have modified this information. This list first appeared in USA Today.

7-Eleven: Free Slurpee Day aka 7-Eleven Day 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19, but members of the 7Rewards loyalty program can still get a free medium Slurpee through July 31 at participating locations. Learn more about the offer, which has a limit of one per account, at www.7-eleven.com/7rewards.

Baskin-Robbins: Get a free regular scoop on DoorDash orders $15 or more with promo code BASKINSCOOP. Also pay no delivery fees of orders $15 or more through July 31, no promo code needed.

Blue Bunny: The ice cream brand has launched a Ticket Exchange and says it is "delivering some sweet perks and frozen treats to fans who faced canceled or postponed events, trips and other experiences this summer." Through Sept. 2, enter for a chance to win hundreds of prizes at www.funlightenment.com and all participants will get a coupon for a discounted Blue Bunny Load’d treat.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: Get double Sweet Rewards points through Sunday. Register for the Sweet Rewards loyalty program at www.brusterssweetrewards.com.

Burger King: Find several offers on the BK app including two Oreo cookie shakes for $5. Learn more at www.bk.com/offers.

Carvel: Get $1 off any size soft serve cup or cone of Vanilla Bourbon Toffee Sunday. This deal is available "in-shoppe only" and no coupon is needed, the company announced on Twitter.

Casper's Ice Cream: The ice cream company who owns FatBoy, vegan friendly Jolly Llama and Churn Baby says the brands will have their biggest social giveaways through the brand's Instagram accounts. To enter, you'll need to submit a video on Instagram either on your feed or story and tag at least one of the accounts (Churn Baby, Jolly Llama or FatBoy) with a video of them screaming for ice cream. They will also need to use the hashtag #iscream4icecreamCB/FB/JL (the end portion of the hashtag depends on the account). The contest ends July 27 and one winner will be selected per brand and will win a year's worth of free ice cream.

Checkers: Get free fries for joining the chain's text messaging program. Text SNACK to 88001 to sign up or sign up online at www.checkers.com/flavorhood.

Coconut Bliss: The brand is launching its special Insider’s Program in July and will be offering their fans the chance to win a year’s worth of free ice cream in honor of National Ice Cream Day. The company says it will share more information on its Instagram page.

Cold Stone Creamery: Through July 23, get a buy-one-get-one free Creation when you purchase a Creation online with a promo code. To get this deal, place an order online, log into your My Cold Stone Club Rewards account at check out and enter the code ICECREAM. Sign up to be a member at www.coldstonecreamery.com/mycsc.

Coolhaus: Get free Coolhaus ice cream at Publix with a digital coupon, while supplies last. Find Publix digital coupons at www.publix.com/savings/digital-coupons and select the offer. Must have a Club Publix account to activate the coupon, which has a maximum value of $5.99. Only one coupon per Club Publix card account. Coupon expires on August 1.

Cumberland Farms: Text the word SCOOPS to 64827 to receive $1 off any pint of Ultimate Scoops Sunday through Tuesday, July 21. Existing members of the text database will automatically receive the coupon Sunday.

Dairy Queen: Get a $1 off Dipped Cones Sunday through the chain's mobile app Sunday. The deal excludes kids cones.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit: Get a free ice cream cone with purchase of any entrée Sunday.

George Bush getting an ice cream cone and giving an
unfortunately Hitlerian salute.
DoorDash: The on-demand delivery company has several deals at convenience retailers through Sunday with code ICECREAM5OFF. Participating retailers include: CVS, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Wawa, Casey's, Hasty Market, Circle K, Everyday Essentials Corner Store, GetGo, Speedway, Market On Demand, Royal Farms, Holiday Stationstore, Fast Mart, ExtraMile, Fresh Thyme and Smart & Final.

Fresh Market: The grocery store chain has select varieties of Graeter’s Ice Cream on sale for $4.99 and pints of Coolhaus are on sale for two for $8.

Friendly's: In celebration of its 85th birthday and National Ice Cream Day, Friendly's is offering 85 cent cones Saturday and Sunday to members of its BFF club. Sign up for the club at www.friendlysrestaurants.com.

Godiva: All soft serve and sundaes will be buy-one-get-one half off Sunday, the company posted on Twitter.

Good Humor: In honor of Good Humor’s 100th anniversary this year, the brand says it released limited edition anniversary packaging for its Strawberry Shortcake Frozen Dessert Bars. Each package features a coupon valued at $2 that can be redeemed on any one Good Humor six-count or four-count product, the company told USA TODAY.

goPuff: Get two select pints of ice cream for $6 Sunday.

Häagen-Dazs: The ice cream company is launching the “Fantasy Flavor Scoop Off,” an imaginative flavor idea contest. One winner will get 24 coupons for a year's worth of free ice cream. To enter, follow Häagen-Dazs on Instagram and look for its contest announcement post Sunday.

Insomnia Cookies: Get a buy-one-get-one free deal on the chain's new Monster’wiches Sunday. The company said in a tweet that its Cookie'wich is buy-one-get-one free Saturday and Sunday.

McDonald's: Find deals on McDonald's app. Also, each Friday through Sept. 27, get a free medium fries each Friday on mobile orders with a minimum $1 purchase when using an app offer.

My/Mo: To celebrate National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, My/Mo is giving away 100,000 mochi balls with its "first ever Chompionship Games – a virtual competition for ice cream lovers everywhere to play for their own free box of My/Mo." Learn more at www.mymomochi.com/chompionship-games.

Pressed Juicery: Get 50% off Freeze and Frozen mini cups Sunday.

Sensodyne: The sensitive toothpaste brand has a giveaway on Twitter noon ET Sunday in select parts of the country. To participate, tweet #SensodyneSundae, plus #giveaway and include the ice cream emoji, for a chance to win one free pint of ice cream, Sensodyne Rapid Relief toothpaste and more, while supplies last. The contest's participating cities include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. See the rules here.

Snickers: Through Monday, July 20, enter for a chance to win a box of Snickers Peanut Brownie from the first batch. Reply to social posts about what you're willing to do for the new candy. Learn more and see the contest rules here.

So Delicious: On Sunday, the company is giving 50 fans the chance to win free customized pints of the dairy-free frozen dessert. The brand will share recipes on its Instagram account and 50 fans who comment on their favorite recipe that day and mention a friend they’d like to share it with will be randomly selected to receive two free personalized pints. Find the contest rules at https://bit.ly/EverydayIsSundae.

Sonic Drive-In: Download the Sonic app for deals at www.sonicdrivein.com/app.

The Ice Cream Shop: Get free delivery through Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash and Grubhub Sunday. Promo code ICECREAMNOW is needed on Postmates orders.

Wendy's: The fast food chain has various deals on its app and website. Download the app at www.wendys.com.

White Castle: Find coupons, including a free drink with no required purchase, at www.whitecastle.com/value-offers.

Whole Foods Market: Amazon Prime members get 35% off all ice cream and frozen treats through Tuesday at Whole Foods. Also look for rebates on the Ibotta app from Bubbies for its mochi ice cream and other brands.

Yogurtland: Real Rewards members get double the points Sunday for every takeout order. Sign up at www.yogurt-land.com/realrewards.

More deals: Locally owned businesses and regional chains also may have specials for National Ice Cream Day. One of the easiest ways to find out is to check restaurants' social media channels.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Losing Weight In Quarantine.

Today is exactly 8 months since I decided to start exercising every day.  I started on Sept 11, 2019 and I haven't let up since, so that makes 243 days in a row!  Which is pretty, pretty good, if I do say so myself.  You can read more about my motivations and my first 180 days here.

I'm not exactly sure what has kept me on track and motivated, when in previous times I've gone 3 days or so before finding an excuse to quit.  At this point, I feel like I've incorporated this exercise into my life, I know it's what I need to do, and I feel compelled to keep on going on, even when I don't want to.  oh my gosh, I have a habit!

Of course, diet is part of that (or really probably most of the weight loss).  I'm doing Intermittent Fasting (approximately 12 hours or more everyday from 9 pm to 9 am, I don't eat.)  When I do eat, I write everything down, and stay under the suggestion that LoseIt (the App) gives me.  And it's been working!

I didn't really take process photos along the way, but I managed to cobble together these three photographs in the same shirt  and pants (and now will continue to take these pictures once a month or so)


As you can see, I've lost approximately 73 lbs since I started 8 months ago in September.   That's 9 lbs per month! A little over 2 lbs a week.  Which means I'm right on track!

More importantly,  I've lost almost 20 lbs since March, (we locked down on March 13, so it's been 8 weeks in quarantine!)

Obviously, before quarantine, when I was swimming a mile twice a week, going to the gym to use their machines, and in general switching it up, I had much more variety in my exercise diet.  Now, I'm primarily doing a 30 minute + workout on my recumbent bike.  But because I want to get stronger and more flexible, about 35 days ago I started doing television yoga.

Yoga With Adriene is on Amazon Prime
I did yoga 30 years ago as part of my acting training, and have been doing it on and off (mostly off) for the last 20 years.  After trying a number of different practitioners, I settled on Yoga With Adriene's Amazon Prime Series True.  It's a 30 day series of approximately 25 minutes each day.  Sometimes longer, sometimes less. 

I like her style, which is a little quirky and a little goofy, but also heartfelt.  She went a little fast for me, which I think is better than too slow.

I stuck with it, and everything up until the 30th day was great.  On the last day, Adriene said something which was both great and terrible.  She was-- now that you have practiced for 30 days, you have, whether you like it or not,a yoga practice. Today, I'm going to let go of the mic and we will practice together.

Which sounds great as an idea, and certainly honors the people that know what they are doing, but that ain't me!  I had no idea what was next or what we should be doing.  I'm still at the point where I need somebody to tell me "Push into the knife point of your foot."  "Don't forget to breathe"  "Let go of your tension."  Not having a teacher was pretty difficult.

I'm not ready to be responsible for my own yoga practice!  I am now doing a 14 day spinal reset, and after that I think I will do Adriene's first 29 days.  Whether or not I do the 30th day remains to be seen.

And hopefully I'll be 8.3 lbs less next month!


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Edgewater Chamber hosts Virtual Business Conference

I've posted about this before, but I'm a board member of our local Chamber of Commerce. 

With all that is going on with COVID-19, I'm happy to say that the Chamber is hosting an educational forum for local businesses on how to meet the challenges brought to the forefront by the pandemic.

RESCHEDULED!:  Due to a technical glitch in the presenting software, this has been rescheduled to Thursday May 28.  

Same bat time, Same bat place.  Different bat day! 

(A reference to the original Batman, starring Adam West?  Okay, Boomer!)





It's going to happen on Thursday May 28 from 9 am-3 pm.  And my wife Stephanie Schwab (who as many of you might know, is a super-dynamite marketer and thought leader in digital marketing) is going to be speaking at one of the forums. 

(She's also going to be teaching separately a class on how to switch your business from offline to online and go from stuck to productive in 3 short weeks)  
SWITCH: Go from stuck and overwhelmed to bringing in online revenue - in just three short weeks!)


But enough spousal promotion (for now)


At the Edgewater Essentials Virtual Forum, there will be 5 education sessions with more than 15 presenters, and topics ranging from managing your online presence to how to protect your business and its employees, to how to establish healthy routines.   I've included the schedule below.

There will also be chat and networking rooms, so that registrants can expand their professional circles, collaborate with others, and provide (and receive) personal support.

And at 12 pm, you can attend our annual business meeting, and find out about what's going on with the Chamber, about our recent merger with the Edgewater Development Corporation, and how our new 3-year plan can help our community.

Attendees will be able to diversify their skills through these presentations, facilitated discussions, workshops, networking opportunities, and other virtual activities, all from the privacy of their own home.

This event is meant to be a springboard for the community to share experiences and interact with like-minded business owners and professionals. Everyone is welcome to participate, even people who are not yet members of the Chamber.   Attendees can join for one session or stay on for the full schedule of events featured in the day-long program free of charge.

Registration is free, and all of the conferences will be recorded, so all registrants will be able to view all of the sessions, even if they can't attend all of them.

Register online for free tickets to the Edgewater Essentials Virtual Forum.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:  EDGEWATER ESSENTIALS VIRTUAL FORUM

9:00 AM Managing Your Online Presence  

10:00 AM Establishing A Healthy Routine

11:00 AM Spinning Straw Into Gold: Email Marketing
11:30 AM Moving Forward Together: Breakout /Networking Sessions
12:30 PM Edgewater Chamber Business Meeting

1:00 PM Putting Your Best Face Forward

2:00 PM Pivoting Your Business

2:30 PM Incubate Your Brand




Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Jet's Pizza has a Buy One, Give One Offer that shows they get it.


This is the logo from the Jet's Website.
I was introduced to Jet's pizza when we got to Chicago. There wasn't one near me at the time, but we went to three birthday parties in a row where Jet's was featured. What I like about it is that it is square, like the Pizza of my Providence, RI based youth. It's not the same (no offense, Jets, but what can compare to Caserta's?) but it's close. And in deep-dish obsessed Chicago, it's a welcome relief from not even close to NY Style and the Sausage and Cheese Bombs that are deep dish.

There's now a couple of Jet's Pizzas closer to us, and although I'm not eating much pizza lately (Hello, trying to keep the weight off), it's comforting to know that they are there.

I also really like how they've stepped up during the Corona Crisis. Last month they donated over 1000 pizzas to charitable organizations. This month, they are allowing their customers to help in the fight.
Photo from the Jet's Pizza Facebook page.



For every large, regularly priced pizza purchased from select Jet’s Pizza’s Chicago locations on Mondays and Tuesdays through the end of May, using code FRONTLINE, the local stores will donate a pizza to a Chicago organization helping to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Benefiting organizations include Rush University Medical Center, University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, Illinois Masonic Hospital, Roseland Hospital, Ingalls Hospital, Common Pantry, Metropolitan Family Services, One Patient – Global Health Initiative, Catholic Charities and more.
Photo from the Jet's Pizza website.

Participating Jet’s Pizza Chicago locations include stores in Irving Park, Lakeview, Logan Square, River North, South Loop, West Loop and Wicker Park/Buck Town. To participate, guests may place their order for contactless delivery or curbside pickup online or over the phone.

So remember:  Mondays and Tuesdays, use code FRONTLINE.  And get those essential workers some essential dinner.

For more information, visit www.jetspizza.com and follow Jet’s Pizza® on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Poorly Worded Math Question

This homeschooling/remote learning thing is kind of getting to me.

My son is now in remote learning mode, which means I have to go over all of his work to make sure he's done it.  He's in fifth grade, but his class is doing sixth grade math.  They are using Big Ideas Math.

He recently had this question on his homework.




This is the last problem on the page.  The previous problems are all straight calculations   (of which he got 3 wrong)

He came up with 96, by figuring the surface area of each triangular side.

(6*5)/2 =15 

There are 4 sides so he multiplied by 4 to get 60.

He then added the bottom rectangle. 

 6*6=36   

For a total of 96.

Except....


I thought clearly this was a trap question because it says the TOP of the lantern.  Therefore the answer should be 60, because the bottom is not part of the top of the lantern.  I was captain of the math team in high school and varsity all three years, state champions all three years, and this is just the kind of gotcha moment that math teachers and tests love.

I wanted him to redo the question- and the other three problems he got wrong.  (And to top it off, despite my admonitions, he didn't show his work)

He insisted that he was right, and bet me that if it was, he wouldn't have to redo it or the other three problems.

I took the bet, confident that I was correct.

I looked up the answer online and it lists the answer as 96.

WTF?

Am I crazy?  (Don't answer that!)  

This can't possibly be right.  The bottom is not part of the top.

   

 I don't want to be a math teacher unless I get to write the problems.

Come on COVID-19.  Go away!


So l lost this bet.  But am I wrong? Based on the question, shouldn't the answer be 60?