Christmas: The best gift I received this Christmas was a re-gifted bottle of Grey Goose vodka from my brother and sister-in-law. Since I can’t stand my brother and he can’t stand me, this was a painfully obvious retread offering, but I’m not complaining. I’m all about results these days, so I’m not about to quibble with a process that will culminate in inebriated pleasantness for me. In fact, I think it was quite a step for a slapdick like my brother – even with some readily apparent prodding from his irritating wife – to give me anything at all for Christmas. I certainly wasn’t expecting anything more than a perfunctory handshake and clipped “How ya doin’?” at our yearly farce of a family Christmas, so the idea that he gave me something I can actually get some use out of came as a rather pleasant surprise.
Christmas Dinner: Shockingly enough, it wasn’t half bad. The only moment of familial tension came when I yelled at my mother for “damming up the works” when she inconveniently jammed up the entire seating arrangement in the dining room by inexplicably standing in one place for way too long. This, however, was done in my inimitable half-joking manner, so it accomplished what I wanted it to accomplish – namely, making people laugh at my mother’s expense while simultaneously getting her the hell out of the way so I, and everyone else, could sit down and eat. If you understood the family dynamic at work here, you would find this as moderately funny as everyone else did.
Recent Troubles: If you’ve read the posts on this site for the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve been having a relatively difficult time lately. Without getting into specifics, this was due to an unfortunate confluence of factors that conspired to “nail” me within close temporal proximity to one another. Things, I’m happy to say, have improved over the past week or so – along with my ability and willingness to manage the various issues that elicited the negativity in the first place. The key to this, I’ve found, is maintaining some sense of perspective. In other words, I’m happy I’m not in Baghdad. There are people all over the world who would kill to have my set of “problems.” With this in mind, I’ve simply stopped complaining. Problem solved.
New Year’s: For the first time in several years, I won’t be bouncing on New Year’s Eve – for the same reason I didn’t work on Thanksgiving Eve. I’m not working because it’s simply not worth the hassle. Lord knows I could use the money right about now, but it’s something I really don’t want to do, so I’m not doing it. I’ll make up the cash some other way. A heavy bouncing rotation isn’t something I need to be part of my reality right now – or ever again, for that matter.
Reading: I’m currently deep into Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. For want of a better description, this is a seriously fucked up book. I’m digging it, though. It was recommended to me several times in the past when I’ve solicited reading recommendations on this site, and I finally got around to starting it last week. I’m glad I did. Mieville can really write, and the plot of this thing is as imaginative and downright off-the-fucking-wall as anything I’ve read in quite some time. Highly recommended.
Fitness: I’m happier with my workout and diet regimen right now than I have been in years. I haven’t gone into this much lately, but I’m in the midst of something of a “transformation” that’s seen me lose nearly 50 pounds of unnecessary powerlifting bulk – read: fat – while retaining muscle and getting stronger. My goal now is to get myself down to around 7-8% body fat – “bodybuilding” levels – while continuing to build strength and athleticism. The formula for doing this is exponentially simpler than you think it is.
The secret? It’s not your training. It’s your diet. I haven’t changed a damned thing about the way I train, other than the minor modifications I typically make for the sake of variety. I still train heavy and hard. My diet, however, has changed radically. If you already have some rudimentary training knowledge, and you train hard without realizing the aesthetic results you’re looking for, your diet is approximately 98.74% of your problem. I’ll tell you this much – it’s nice to see my abs again after all this time.
Football: There are a few teams I wouldn’t want to play at this point in the season. I’m not going to pick who I think will win the Super Bowl right now because I’m a Giants fan and I’m obviously biased, but there are a handful of teams that scare me at present. These are, in no particular order, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego, Baltimore and Atlanta. Additionally, the rest of the league is lucky the Patriots didn’t make the playoffs. They’re the best team in football right now, hands down.
I think my two big ones here are the Colts and the Eagles. The Giants are bound to run into the Eagles in a few weeks, and that game scares the shit out of me. I’m a big proponent of going into the playoffs with a hot hand, and the Giants aren’t hot right now. Philly is. In the AFC, so are the Colts. If you’re looking to pick playoff winners, don’t look at a team’s record. Look at how they finished the season. The Giants are still the best team in the NFL for my money, but they just lost three of their last four games – pulling the starters in the second half against the Vikings notwithstanding – and that’s something you can’t overlook. The playoffs aren’t exactly the optimal time to relearn how to win.