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Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

06-16-2014 , 01:47 PM
Mini Weekend Recap
I took off work Friday to do some stuff around the house, get our camping stuff together for Saturday, and relax a little bit.

Saturday we went camping with our "go-to couple" and their 2 kids. I decided to shoot for a new step goal so I started the day with an early morning 3 mile walk. We got to the campsite around 1:00 and setup our tents, with the 2 kids (3 years and 1.5 years old) they obviously had considerably more stuff than we did. We had a quick lunch and then went on the 1 mile hike to an awesome overlook.

My buddy had his 3 year old on his back and I took the younger one, it was actually pretty steep, so even though she weighs maybe 20 pounds it added a little more of a challenge. The highlight of the hike was a long narrow area right before the top. With about 10 feet to go my buddy realized the backpack he was wearing (with his 3 year old in it) couldn't fit. Forcing him to do a limbo-lean straight backward, have my wife pull the kid out of the backpack and then somehow get the pack off, which provided some nice elbow scraps, all while the rednecks behind us kept shouting about the hold up. I might not be describing it well, but it was quite comical, although I held my laughter inside as my buddy didn't find it too amusing.

There was also a pretty cool little wooden bouncy bridge:

After the hike we played with the kids around the campground, engaged in several closely contested cornhole battles and then feasted on hamburgers, veggies, and fruit. We had a nice campfire all night and roasted marshmallows which were of course used for smores. The night was the perfect campfire temperature as we actually appreciated the warmth it provided, and we sat around the fire until 1:00 AM talking while my wife sipped wine and they mixed up rum and cokes, not the traditionally camping alcoholic beverages, but to each his/her own.

My total steps at the end of the day:

As seems to be the norm at campgrounds we were all up and packing by 7:00 AM. My wife and I took the kids on a walk to give them a chance to get their things together in peace and they were on the road by 8:00. We didn't need to hurry home so we took a nice flat hike, and although there weren't any spectacular views, these trees were pretty cool looking:

After a pleasant drive home I spent some time prepping for my interview before we both passed out for a solid 2 hour nap. The rest of the day consisting of laundry and relaxing with the dogs, before punctuating the weekend with a delicious dinner from a local Mexican restaurant, during which I successfully made up for all the calories burned on Saturday.

I interview with 2 managers tomorrow morning and another on Friday, pretty nervous now, but after a little more prep tonight I think I'll be calm and ready come game-time.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 06-16-2014 at 01:53 PM.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-17-2014 , 03:39 AM
Please to be explaining 'cornhole battles'
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-17-2014 , 11:35 AM
Originally Posted by NhlNut
Please to be explaining 'cornhole battles'
Lol, maybe a poor choice of word combination there. Cornhole is a game where you toss bean bags onto a board and try to make it into a hole.

It's very popular in the Southeast, and maybe the entire US, specifically when tailgating (hanging out in the parking lot before sporting events) and backyard cookouts.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-17-2014 , 02:23 PM
I didn't want to google that one.
I think we called that bean bag.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-18-2014 , 02:11 PM
I wanted to post a light-hearted story today, but couldn't get motivated to write anything new during my lunch break, so I dug through my email archives and found a couple recaps of company softball games I wrote several years ago. I'm not sure how entertaining this will be considering you all don't know any of the parties involved, but if you've ever played on a terrible company softball team I think you'll apreciate it. Also, in case the sarcasm isn't obvious, both recaps are dripping with it.

I know you’re all expecting to hear about us pulling out a win last night since 1st game jitters were obviously 100% responsible for last week’s outcome, but unfortunately we went down in nail biting fashion once again. The game did start much better as we were only behind 6 – 1 after the 1st inning, however we weren’t able to string together a big enough inning to mount a comeback and after 5 innings the final score read 14 – 4 bad guys.

We did have a few high points, most notably we managed to make it through the entire game without a single player taking a spill while running the bases, and really that’s a victory in itself. Although, we did have our 1st injury of the season when Shawn strained a quad, or as he describes it, “that muscle you use when leaning over to tie your kid’s shoe.” At the plate, Adam and Jamon both came through with key base hits, but the performance of the night belonged to Ryan who went 2 for 2, showing off his wheels in his 2nd at bat when he legged out a triple that provided us with the most exciting 40 seconds of our season to date. In the field, Song had several stops at short including a line drive that might have decapitated him had he not gotten his glove up in time and Sam made a nice running catch on a short fly ball, that definitely couldn’t be described as graceful, but got the job done nonetheless.

We also set a new attendance record with 12 enthusiastic fans cheering us on. A special thanks goes out to Will and Casey who have managed to make it out to both games, we surely appreciate their support and the effort they have shown in trying to give us a mental edge through their constant heckling, unfortunately I think they’re a little confused because 99% of the heckling was directed towards our team.

By now you have all probably heard about our game as the buzz throughout the city has been deafening, I didn’t watch the local news this morning but I imagine we were the featured sports story.

I’m not sure if it was Wes suiting up for the 1st time, or the threats to have the company logo taken off our shirts if we didn’t shape up, or maybe something in the cafeteria food yesterday, but we showed up with a completely different attitude last night. We took the field 1st and should have known we were in for something special after we had an out before they plated a single run. Before we knew it we were coming up to bat in the bottom of the 1st with the scoreboard reading 0 – 0, yes, you read that right, we made it through the entire inning without giving up a single run. It was at this moment that the transformation occurred, once our leadoff hitter stepped to the plate we were a completely different team. Each batter went from trying to get a hit, to knowing he was getting on base. By the time they finally stopped the bleeding we had hit through our entire lineup and were on top 9 –0. There was no looking back from that point forward as we continued to play solid defense and put up runs at every turn. The umpires once again called the game after the 5th inning only this time they were taking pity on our opponent as we chalked up our first victory with a score of 18– 8.

We had several highlight reel worthy moments both at the plate and in the field. Wes blasted a homerun in the 1st, Ryan had a double in the 1st and another big hit later in the game, Sam came through with 2 line shots for base hits, and Scott roped a couple of singles. On defense Shawn had quite a few put-outs at short, Bryan had a great catch on a laser line drive in the outfield, and James snagged several fly balls. But the defensive moment of the night came in the 4th. Our opponent had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and was threatening to put up a big inning. The batter smoked one to right center only to be robbed by Ryan who streaked in and made the grab, he then fired it in to Shawn who alertly spun and gunned it to Wes at 3rd doubling him off just before the runner made it back, and most importantly allowing us to escape the inning unscathed.

We also had a couple of our more traditional highlights. When Ryan doubled in the 1st he was so excited he hit the ball to the fence that after rounding 1st he did a belly flop straight into the dirt, he came up smiling though and still managed to make it to 2nd. However, Chris stole the show in the 2nd while playing outfield. One of their better hitters stroked a line drive his way, it took one hop and came right towards his face, only Chris forgot about his glove and instead tried to catch the ball with his nose, unfortunately that didn’t work out too well as the umpire had to remove him from the game due to the blood dripping down his chin. He did make a full recovery and later came back in the game, which allowed us to openly chuckle about the mishap.

Overall, it was another unforgettable night at the ballpark, fortunately for a different reason this time.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 06-18-2014 at 02:16 PM.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-18-2014 , 09:05 PM
Wes is a boss.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-19-2014 , 12:40 PM
I found another email from my archives that most people on this forum can probably relate to. I sent this after my buddy’s bachelor party. Quick rundown of the weekend - We went to a strip club Friday night and stayed at a local casino, played golf Saturday, then hung-out at one of the guy’s places where he surprised us with private strippers, followed by a bar/night club, and then another bar at 3:00 AM that had actually closed at 2:30. I sent this via work email, so anytime you’re confused by a word if probably means stripper or strip club. I’ve added a few necessary explanations in italics.

July 13, 2009
I didn’t think it was possible to still be hungover 1 days later, but I was sorely mistaken. And since I’m incapable of focusing on work today, I’ve decided to give the entire crew new nicknames to commemorate the weekend.

(The Bachelor) The Human Punching Bag – Between Justin and Kraft’s face slaps, Drew dumping an entire bag of coffee grounds on his head, and the phone smash heard around the world, it’s amazing, and some might say unfortunate, that he survived the entire weekend without any serious injuries.

Russell Crowe – The precision on that phone launch was incredible (upon stumbling into his room at 5:00 AM, “Russell Crowe” had a sudden urge to chuck a hotel phone at The Bachelor’s head).

Daniel Negraneau – For being the only one in the group to make it back home with a fatter wallet.

VIP – Between the private shuttle to the “club” Friday night, getting the cover charge waived at the bar, and the after-hours secret handshake bar scene, I felt like we were part of a celebrity’s entourage.

Richard Simmons – For being the 1st person I’ve ever seen go through a thorough stretching routine before a trip to the local clothing optional establishment.

The Human Chimney – Definitely set a record for cigarettes burned through in one weekend by someone that “only smokes when he drinks.”

Possum – Drew has a cell-phone video that captured this perfectly - When the “entertainer” approached Matt he laid completely motionless on the floor, which I’m assuming was in an effort to play dead and hope she’d pass him by. This might be an effective strategy when faced with a bear attack, but it didn't slow her down her one bit, although he definitely seemed to enjoy the ensuing “mauling.”

Houdini – For disappearing every time Paul brought around shots and when it was my turn to be molested by the “entertainment” (this was during my “no hard liquor” phase, although I’m sure I made up for it by double-fisting beers).

Robin Hood – If you were on the dance floor Saturday night and were wearing anything on your head (hat, visor, bachelorette party crown), chances are Drew stole it and passed it on to an innocent bystander.

Mother Hen – For doing Nancy (The Bachelor’s mom) proud by leading a stumbling Tyler back to the hotel when the rest of us would have just assumed he keep taking shots and end up covered in his own vomit, lying in a crumpled heap in the middle of the dance floor.

Paparazzi – For disobeying the Bachelor Party No Cameras Allowed Rule and taking a video of Tyler’s amazing dance moves that could easily turn him into an overnight You Tube sensation.

Joe DiMaggio – For keeping his streak of getting kicked out of the Friday night “establishment” going strong (I hadn’t met the guy before this weekend but was told he’d been booted from this particular strip club during his last 3 visits).

The Vulture – I know he earned this long ago, but it was an unforgettable treat to see him spread his wings in person (his strategy of approaching girls on the dance floor is to dance around them in a circle until the weakest of the flock makes eye contact at which point he swoops in for the kill).

Next week I'm planning to write and post a few stories from the adventures of my early drinking days. I'll actually put some thought into them so you're not just reading recycled stories from my email archives.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-20-2014 , 11:05 AM
Fri - usual, Dinner - Subway 6" turkey double meat w/ kettle chips, 4 mile walk, cleaned house, 1 mile dog walk (2660 calories)
Sat – Breakfast - belvita & banana, Lunch - turkey sandwich, veggies & dip, mixed fruit, Snack - grape nuts cranberry vanilla dry cereal, Dinner - 2 hamburgers, veggies & dip, Dessert - 3 smores, 3 mile walk, 3 mile hike, 1 mile walk (3740)
Sun – Breakfast - grape nuts cranberry vanilla dry cereal, usual lunch & snack, Dinner - chicken enchilads, rice & beans, quesadillas, Dessert - Graeter's chocolate chips cookie dough & a piece of chocolate cake, 1 mile hike, 3 mile walk (6260)
Mon – no breakfast or lunch, usual snacks, Dinner - chicken salad & veggie chips, 3 mile walk (1800)
Tue – usual, Dinner - baked Paiche & veggies, 3 mile "treadmill hike," 15 min core workout, 2 mile dog walk (2210)
Wed – usual, Dinner - smart ones pizza & kettle chips, mowed & yard work (2570)
Thur – usual, Dinner - Chick Fil A 2 spicy chicken deluxe sandwiches, 2 large fries, 8 piece nugget, 3.5 mile "treadmill hike" (3970)

Friday weigh-in – 207 (same, -3)

Crushed my step record for one week (saved me from gaining):

My 3 interviews this week went really well, my former supervisor that works there told me the 2 interviewees from Tuesday spoke very highly of me and one said "we need to make sure he doesn't go to another company," nice to have an insider to feed me that information, I felt confident, but not to that extent. Now it's just a waiting game. We're going on vacation in mid-July, after that I'm going to reach out to a recruiter to see what other options are out there as I have no idea of the time table for a position to open at the place I interviewed and don't want to leave all my eggs in that one basket.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-23-2014 , 01:49 PM
Meth-head Mobsters

Does anyone else ever take a random situation then play out a scenario in your mind as to how it might unfold, only you just keep going with it, and by the end you can hardly remember how you got started, but you’re worried that a hitman is out to get you? Not sure what I mean? Ok, here’s an example from this weekend:

I was on my usual Saturday morning walk when I spotted a man and women about 300 yards in front of me. My curiosity was immediately piqued because he was in a dark suit and she was wearing a long dress. If they were close to their house I could understand the fancy attire, but this particular stretch of road is uninhabited, so it’s not like they could’ve been walking down the street to get the mail or to a visit a neighbor. It became my mission to determine why they were out walking on a Saturday morning dressed to the hilt. I thought maybe they had been to church, there’s one fairly close by and perhaps they like to walk. I know church is usually on Sundays but maybe there’s also a Saturday morning service. However, this couple was white and 99% of this church’s attendees are black. So that theory was squashed. What about a funeral? That would make a little sense, but it was 8:30 AM and I don’t think funerals, or even visitations, take place that early.

With those logical explanations debunked I realized there must be something perverse going on. Then it hit me. Of course, they’re in the mob. Mobsters always wear suits. But why are a mob boss and his wife walking down this desolate stretch of road on a Saturday morning?

He must be behind on his monthly quota and his Capo (pretty sure that’s a fancy name for a mob boss) told him he’d be swimming with the fishes if he didn’t come up with the cash quick. So he devised a scheme to rob unsuspecting walkers on this long stretch of road where nobody can hear them scream, and he’s brought his wife along to look less intimidating. After all, who’s afraid of a well-dressed couple?

I notice I’m gaining on them quick, I’m walking fast, but not that fast. There’s definitely a sinister plot in motion here. Any second they’re going to turn around and pretend to tie their shoes or point out something in the patch of woods next to the road. Shxt, that area is probably wooded enough to hide a body. I’m going to come over the hill, walk past them and he’s going to pull a gun. “Gimme everything you got!” He’ll yell with a thick New Jersey accent. (All mobsters are from New Jersey right?)

“I’m out for a walk, I don’t have a single dollar on me.”

“I’ll take your phone then, now!” He’s clearly agitated and I notice his accent seems to have faded.

“You’re going to shoot me over a cell phone? Even homeless people have cell phones these days, you all don’t look that desperate.”

“Oh yeah, well how bout now!” He screams while ripping off his tear-away Velcro suit revealing an under-nourished torso covered by a ragged t-shirt and ripped jeans.

Frack, meth-heads. Of course they’re not in the mafia, that didn’t make any sense, how could I be so foolish. Damnit, I haven’t synched to “the cloud” in months, getting a new phone would be exhausting, and I’ve seen their faces, meth-heads probably follow the same “leave no witnesses” motto as the mob. OK, think fast, his gun hand is trembling, he’s clearly not experienced in armed robbery, I doubt he’s a great shot, time to make a run for it.

I point and shout “What the hell is that!?” They both instinctively pivot, (ha, stupid meth-heads, that’s the oldest trick in the book) and I take off sprinting. I run in a zigzag pattern as bullets zip through the air around me. My adrenaline kicks in and suddenly I’m Usain Bolt 2.0. Once I’m out of range I slow down and call 911. I tell them what happened as I round the corner and take cover behind the closest house. The operator assures me the police will be there shortly and to get as far away as possibly. This sounds like a wonderful idea, but I realize the meth-heads might be out of sight by the time the cops arrive. If they get away they won’t relent until they track me down and put a bullet in my head. They’ll probably stop at every house in the neighborhood and murder each person they come across until they make it to my front door, at which point they’ll torture my wife and I, and steal both our iphones.

I can’t let that happen, so I sneak around to the back of the house and spot them jogging up the street. I’ll just keep them in sight until the cops arrive. I covertly track them for several minutes before sirens blare and I take a deep breath knowing my nightmare will soon be over. I’ll be a hero, they’ll interview me on the local news and ask how I could risk my life to make sure the meth-heads were brought to justice. I’ll calmly respond “I just did what anyone would do in that situation,” then I’ll close with something hilarious and the interview will go viral. The next day I’ll get calls from every national talk show, but Jimmy Kimmel will be my first stop. We’ll run through what happened and then we’ll BS about current events and I’ll keep up with him joke for joke. He’ll be so impressed that he’ll invite me out with his staff.

Before dinner I’ll secretly hire an out-of-work pregnant actress to loudly confront Cousin Sal during the meal by announcing the baby’s his. I’ll alert the crew so they can videotape the whole scene while he looks like a deer in headlights and fumbles around trying to explain himself. Then I’ll stand up and yell “Mr. Prankster just got punked!” And everyone will applaud me, including Cousin Sal, because he appreciates an amazing prank even if he’s on the receiving end.

They’ll play the video during the following night’s episode and the ratings will be so high they’ll have to offer me a full-time job with a two year, $2 Million contract. We’ll move to LA and quickly become part of the close-knit Kimmel Show family and I’ll get invited to join the Fantasy Football League I’ve been reading about for years that features Jimmy Kimmel, Cousin Sal, Bill Simmons, and Jon Hamm.

I snap back to reality and notice I’m already through the remote stretch of my walk and turning onto the street filled with houses. The couple is nowhere to be seen, they must’ve just been weirdoes that like to dress-up for their morning walks. Son of a bxtch, is an attempted mugging from a meth-head disguised as a mobster really too much to ask? How am I going to become a millionaire now? A few minutes ago my wife and I were living in a mansion and hanging out with celebrities, now it’s back to our 1300 square foot house.

Then I realize if the meth-head mobsters had really tried to rob me I’d probably pee myself, turn my head and hold the phone out for them to take while sobbing and repeating “please don’t kill me, I have a wife and three young children that depend on me.” (No we don’t really have kids, but give me a break, I’m trying to survive.)

Fortunately I make it home in one piece. After telling my wife about the near-death experience she simply responds “I think you’ve been watching too many movies,” and goes back to getting ready for the day ahead.

Maybe she has a point, but I’m not the only one that does this right?

Last edited by scottp4braves; 06-23-2014 at 02:15 PM.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-25-2014 , 03:46 AM
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-25-2014 , 01:01 PM
Originally Posted by wombat4hire
Wes is a boss.
Yes, yes he is. I think we were the only 2 guys on the team that year to have ever played organized softball.

This summer is the first since my baseball career ended that I haven't been on a softball team, kinda miss it.

Originally Posted by ZenRabbit
Had to google this one. After finishing that post and re-reading it Walter Mitty did pop into my mind, I haven't seen the movie or read the book, but I remember the previews from last year. Is it worth a Netflix add?
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
06-27-2014 , 08:31 AM
Fri - usual, Dinner - Smart One's pizza & kettle chips, 1 mile walk, 1 mile dog walk (2430 calories)
Sat - usual, Dinner - Cheddar's - split spinach dip 4 ways, small salad w/ ranch, 2 chicken breast w/ honey mustard sauce, mushrooms, rice, fries, Dessert - 1.5 Hershey bars, 3 mile walk, 2 mile hike, 1 mile walk (3270)
Sun - Breakfast - honey nut cheerios w/ almond milk, Lunch - Belvita & mixed fruit, Dinner - footlong Subway turkey & kettle chips, Dessert - Graeter's cookie dough ice cream & Hershey bar, 3 mile walk (4360)
Mon - no Breakfast, usual, Dinner - baked salmon & veggies, 3 mile walk (1960)
Tue - usual, Dinner - nachos & quesadilla (4370)
Wed - usual, Dinner - Smart One's pizza & kettle chips (2390)
Thur - usual, Dinner - baked sea bass & veggies, 3 mile walk, 15 min core workout, 1 mile dog walk (2020)

Friday weigh-in – 206 (-1,-4)

Steps for the week - 85,586

Forget to snap a pic of my underwhelming step total for the week. On Tuesday I realized I hadn't taken a complete day off in a long time so I ended up taking Tuesday and Wednesday off. Planning on a 10-11 mile hike Saturday morning, I think the longest one I've ever done was maybe 5 miles, so that should be interesting.

Interviewing with a higher-up manager at the same place Monday morning, hopefully it goes well and then maybe the ball will get rolling soon on an actual position.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-01-2014 , 08:38 AM
June Movie Report, all 1st time viewings, grades based on how much I liked them not the quality of the movie.

Rear Window (1954)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
The Big Sleep (1946)

High Sierra (1941)
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Dark Passage (1947)
Drive (2011)
Enter the Dragon (1973)

Enemy (2013)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
The Grey (2012)
The 39 Steps (1935)

We’re no Angels (1955)
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
Great Guy (1936)
The Normal Heart (2014)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

The Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
Get the Gringo (2012)
Outrage (2010)
Justice League: Doom (2012)
The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch (2008)
Idiocracy (2006)

Albino Alligator (1996)

Tresspass (1992)

Non-Stop (2014)
The Expendables 2 (2012)

Land of the Dead (2005)

After the Dark (2013)
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-04-2014 , 09:05 AM
Fri - usual, Dinner – Smart One's pizza & kettle chips, 1 mile dog walk (2830 calories)
Sat - several Belvetta bars & bananas, Dinner - nachos & mozzarella sticks, Dessert - Graeter's ice cream & 4 reese cups, 12 mile hike (6590)
Sun - no breakfast, usual, Dinner - Smart One's pizza & kettle chips, 3 mile walk (2030)
Mon - usual, Jet's pizza & breadsticks, 3 mile walk (3910)
Tue - usual, Smart One's pizza & kettle chips (2520)
Wed - usual, Subway 6" double turkey sandwich & veggie chips (2110)
Thur - usual, Jimmy John's turkey sandwich & kettle chips (2310)

Friday weigh-in - 204 (-2, -6)

Hectic week, on the go from 6:00 AM til 10:00 PM every day, ate way more processed food than I should, surprised to lose 2 lbs, but I'll take it.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 07-04-2014 at 09:12 AM.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-04-2014 , 09:17 AM
Forgot total steps for the week - 80,951
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-07-2014 , 04:27 PM
It's probably clear to anyone keeping up with this thread that I can be an extremist, it goes hand-in-hand with addictive behavior IMO. So when we went camping a few weeks back I was delighted to discover a 12 mile hike that was only 1 hour from my house. A light-bulb immediately went off in my head and I made a mental note to attempt said 12 miles in the near future.

Saturday, June 26th - Solo Hike
Not wanting to kill an entire Saturday I hopped out of bed at 6:00 AM and was on the trail at 7:30. My itinerary included a 3.5 mile hike to the "natural bridge," an exploration of the bridge and a few lookout spots, and an 8.5 mile hike back down.

I should mention that while I like to pretend I'm Bear Grylls, the reality is I'm probably whatever ranks lower than a Cub Scout.

Shortly after starting the ascent I realized the trail must not get a lot of use, because surely my face isn't that good at finding spider-webs, but I grew accustomed to it and other than a few too many bugs buzzing around my head I really enjoyed the solitary walk.

There were a few steep areas, but it was mostly relatively smooth terrain, and while the scenery wasn’t breath-taking, there were several cool wooden bridges, some interesting rock formations, and a stream ran alongside a good portion of the trail.

I reached the "natural bridge" quicker than I expected and took some time to digest the splendid views.

I devoured a couple bananas and belvita bars and then began the 8.5 mile descent. About a mile in I realized the bugs zipping around my head had been steadily increasing and I was now continuously swatting them away from my face with both hands and making contact far too often. I was covered in bug spray, but these darn mutant flying insects must be immune to the poison. I must’ve looked like a complete crazy person, but since nobody else dared to challenge this stupid trail that obviously belonged to these insects, my constant flailing of arms and never-ending string of obscenities remained unseen or heard.

1.5 miles in I was strongly considering turning around and taking the other trail back down. While weighing walking a few miles less vs. potentially getting eaten alive by insects I decided the bugs couldn't keep up with me if I start running. And so I did, unfortunately, those fxckers could fly just as fast as I could jog. Ultimately my disdain for quitting and desire to add a 12 mile hike to my resume won and I continued my battle with the elements.

Not a great picture, but if you look closely there's 6 of them on my hat in this random shot:

They might not look menacing (and as much as I hate to admit they might just be flys), but the volume of the constant buzzing had my imagining giant blook-suckers, which was enough to make me maintain a torrid pace, only slowing down when the terrain forced it.

4 miles in and I completely understood why people in those survival shows cover themselves in mud. Every time I saw a wet area I momentarily contemplated caking myself in it, despite having no idea if it would work.

Fortunately around the 5 mile mark something gave them pause and they backed off, instead of a constant swirling around my head there was just some period buzzing and swatting. It worked out really well, because the rest of the trail proved much more difficult to navigate and probably would've caused me to roll an ankle when I was slapping a bug instead of paying attention to where I was stepping.

Thankfully I reached the trailhead in one piece, quite proud that I had completed the 12 miles in 4.5 hours.

And at the end of the day I had a new milestone:

I was an odd experience, as I felt great about the accomplishment and really enjoyed parts of the trail, but the bugs ruined a good chunk of the adventure. Overall I'm glad I did it and I'll most likely attempt some longer hikes in the future, albeit not before researching how to cope with mutant flying insects.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 07-07-2014 at 04:41 PM.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-09-2014 , 02:13 PM
4th of July Weekend
We decided to go to my in-laws this year for the 4th. They put on a fireworks show and have a massive family cookout (50+ attendees). My wife wanted to make a special patriotic dessert for the event, and although I had a strong desire to try and talk her out of it, I held my tongue, she doesn't get excited about cooking very often and I didn't want to rain on her parade. So Thursday night we set out to make this:

Looks amazing right?

3 hours, 6 bags of white chocolate chips (it called for 2.5), an extra grocery store trip, and an entire sink full of dirty dishes later and we had this masterpiece:

Fortunately they tasted better than they looked, but more importantly I earned a 2-3 year reprieve from over-ambitious kitchen adventures.

I helped my father-in-law grill a bazillion hamburgers and hot dogs Friday, the weather was perfect, and everyone had a great time and ate way too much delicious food. Then it was time for the fireworks show.

It's been a couple years since we've been to this particular family celebration so we hadn't realized that the fireworks show had turned into such a lavish display. My father-in-law's brothers both came in town this year and apparently all tried to one-up eachother with their purchases, so the end result was 1.5 hours of high-end fireworks. It really was quite impressive, and to be sitting right next to the action in a lawn chair without having to worry about traffic or parking was a nice bonus.

I'm not sure if this pic does it justice, but here's the aftermath:

Job Update
I accepted a position with the company I've previously posted about. It's a fantastic company and I'm getting a nice salary bump and my first supervising opportunity. I'll be finished with my current job next week, followed by a randomly perfectly scheduled vacation to California, and then my new adventure begins. It's going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-10-2014 , 04:17 PM
Why are the lollilops? Green?

Mrs. Drinkplease usually goes the red jello, blue jello and cool whip route. Boring but the kiddies seem to like it.

Nice update. Congrats on the new job!
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-11-2014 , 09:07 AM
Originally Posted by idlikeadrinkplease
Why are the lollilops? Green?

Mrs. Drinkplease usually goes the red jello, blue jello and cool whip route. Boring but the kiddies seem to like it.

Nice update. Congrats on the new job!
Maybe we'll try that next year, sounds more in our wheelhouse. Thanks!

Fri - no breakfast, bananas & belvita bars, Dinner - hamburger, hot dog, potato salad, hashbrown casserole, Dessert - cookies & oreo balls, 3 mile walk (3710 calories)
Sat - bananas & belvita bars, Dinner - chips & queso & salsa, steak nachos, Dessert - Graeter's & 3 sugar cookies, 3 mile walk (5850)
Sun - no breakfast, honey nut cheerios w/ almond milk, Dinner - Texas Roadhouse chicken fingers, fries, jalepeno poppers, rolls, 3 mile walk & mowed (3400)
Mon - no breakfast, lunch, or snack, Dinner - Chicken salad w/ light italian & veggie chips, 3 mile walk (680)
Tue - usual, Dinner - baked sea bass & veggies, 3 mile walk, 15 min core workout (2090)
Wed - usual, Dinner - Scholtsky's turkey sandwich & kettle chips, extra dessert (2600)
Thur - usual, Dinner - Smart One's pizza & kettle chips, Dessert - butterfinger cheesecake, 3 mile walk (2850)

Friday Weigh-in - 204 (same, -6)

Weekly Steps:

Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-18-2014 , 05:50 AM
Weighed in at 204 again, 100k steps for the week, flying to California for vacation in a couple hours, plan to post a trip report when I get back.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-25-2014 , 02:47 PM
206 (+2,-4)

96k steps

Ecstatic to gain only 2 pounds after a full week of vacation eating, we walked quite a bit and tried to eat relatively clean for all non-dinner meals. We had an amazing time and now enjoying a relaxing weekend at home before starting the new job. Will try to post a trip report with pics sometime soon.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
07-28-2014 , 01:29 PM
California 7/18/14 - 7/24/14

After an easy flight we arrived in San Francisco at noon Pacific time. My wife's Aunt picked us up and our 1st stop was obviously the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked the length of it and enjoyed some beautiful views of the city as we were introduced to the mighty San Francisco wind.

After the bridge we drove up a nearby mountain to a few lookout points and were greeted with some wonderful vantage points of both the bridge and downtown.

We drove through a couple cute little towns and then hit Fisherman's Wharf for a nice dinner at Fog Harbor.

After dinner we did the night tour of Alcatraz which was quite interesting and by the time we got back to her condo in Mt View it was 11:00 PM (2:00 to our brains), and we were asleep in minutes.

Our 1st stop Saturday was Muir Woods and the Redwoods were spectacular, we did the full 2 mile loop and were blown away by the enormity of the trees.

We spent the rest of the day and night in San Francisco and checked out the curviest street in the world, Coit Tower, China Town, Union Square, and took a trolley car ride.

We had a solid late night dinner at Pier Market on the Wharf (we're not foodies, we enjoy touristy restaurants just as much as authentic local-type places).

Sunday was wine country day, we checked out the towns in both Napa and Sonoma and did tours and tastings (I skipped the tastings) at St. Jean and Beringer. The area was beautiful and I enjoyed it more than expected.

We were up with the chickens Monday morning as my wife's Aunt had an early flight, she dropped us off to get our rental car and we immediately hit the 17 mile drive. It was quite a sight, and a really pleasant break from the huge crowds we'd spent the previous 3 days fighting.

We then headed down Highway 1 all the way to Anaheim. It was a haul, but worth every minute and the drive along the coast was magnificent, we could've stopped every 2 minutes to take in the scenery and snap pictures, but we choose to primarily view it from the road as we had a long journey ahead.

Somehow we made it through LA without a single whiff of a traffic delay, which I hear is extremely rare.

Tuesday was spent at Disneyland, and I had my doubts going in, an adult couple without kids spending a full day at Disney? But we both loved it, and the fast passes made the lines bearable as we didn't have a single wait over an hour.

Wednesday was our touristy LA stuff day. We checked out Venice Beach and really enjoyed it's quirkiness, highlighted by these street performers (the "rich white guys" were volunteers).

And we had to see Hollywood Boulevard despite countless warnings of how gross it was supposed to be. We got there around 7:00 which just happened to be the exact time The Rock's new movie Hercules was doing a premier at The Chinese Theatre. There was a massive crowd there to see him so we snapped a photo as well.

Overall, I thought the area wasn't nearly as bad as people had made it out to be. Maybe we just caught it on a good night, but we were both glad we got to see it.

It was a really enjoyable trip, we were on the go non-stop and loved almost every minute of it. Having a "tour guide" in San Francisco made a huge difference and we're so thankful she was willing to hang-out with us for 3 days and drive us around to all the best spots.

I must say we were pretty happy to get back to our own house in our cozy mid-sized city though, I can't imagine dealing with traffic and crowds like that on a normal basis.

Today's my last day of freedom before starting my new job tomorrow, planning to spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch watching movies.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
08-01-2014 , 07:43 AM
205 (-1,-5)

93k steps
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
08-01-2014 , 08:31 AM
July Movie Report, all 1st time viewings except Blade Runner, grades based on how much I liked them not the quality of the movie.

Casablanca (1942)
Blade Runner (1982)
Oldboy (2003)
Zulu (1964)

In Bruges (2008)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The Petrified Forest (1936)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

House of Flying Daggers (2004)
28 Weeks Later (2007)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
The Raid 2 (2014)

Gambit (1966)
Odd Thomas (2013)
28 Days Later (2002)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Wreck it Ralph (2012)

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
The Edge (1997)
The Birdcage (1996)

Diary of the Dead (2007)
Escape (2012)

Brake (2012)
Crossworlds (1996)

Robocop (2014)
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote
08-08-2014 , 12:41 PM
205 (same,-5)

73K Steps

Decent eating week, some exercise, but not as much as I'd like, as evidenced by the low step total, I worked 8:00-8:00 Fri, Mon, Tue, so that's my excuse.

The new job is going well, after 7 years in a very old-school company it's nice to be a part of a modern workplace. I'm still in the "everything sounds like a foreign language" phase, but hopefully I'll be past that soon.
Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Quote