Music City Muscle

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Here I am on Saturday and made the trip down to downtown Nashville and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center attending the Music City Muscle fitness and bodybuilding competition.

it gives me some great inspiration for my continued training and an opportunity to see what it’s like before I put myself on stage (hopefully early next year or a bit later).

My trainer is competing in this one, and the are a couple of celebrity posers tonight too, namely Dexter Jackson and Brandon Curry. Very exciting stuff to those who know of them. ^^.

I’d post some pictures of the actual comp but the lighting is so bright that it comes out way too bright in the photos.

But I’ll try some more! If I get any good ones, I’ll post them later.

Expansion and Contraction

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A car engine is an intimidating sight for me…

And today was quite the experience for me.  It started out the same as most any other day, but ended up having an event that sort of made me feel a bit helpless.  And through this experience I gave myself at least 4 lessons I’ve learned to take forward into the future.

You see, this morning I woke up bright and shiny at 5am and drove to work at 6am.

After finishing, I drove back home to have my usual cup of coffee that I must have at some point in the day before heading to the gym.

An hour later, I jump into the car and drive out to the gym where I had an easy (but still effective) shoulder workout.

I finish up the extra pieces to my workout and stroll out to the car like usual.  Open the door, get in, turn the key and ….nothing.

The car feels deader than a doornail and my heart sinks to the floor.  I thought having a car that cranks but can’t turn over was a hard sound to listen to, hearing nothing coming from the engine is even scarier.  And remember that I had just gotten my car last week.  So I immediately wanted to go into panic mode, but I didn’t.

First thing I did was try to figure out what it was i did that could have made the battery run down.  I didn’t remember having the lights on driving to the gym, and I knew specifically that I had checked to make sure my lights were off before I exited the car earlier.

I’ve had to become more thoughtful about the lights because I could keep the lights on in the Subaru I was driving previously and when I’d take the key out it would always shut down the lights, and then turn them back on when I’d turn it back on. Not so with this guy, you leave with the lights on, they stay on.    I used to keep them on in the Subaru just for better safety on the road, but I’ve had to alter since switching.  So I know it wasn’t the lights.

There’s this holder for my Iphone I have situated in the center of my front window, and as I was getting out for the gym this morning I accidentally hit the hazard light button and they began blinking.  I promptly hit the button again, and they went off.  But since that was the only non-routine thing that happened in the course of the day, I thought I may have done that wrong in some fashion.  It’s a hazard light button, it’s on or off, no gray area.  So that must not have been it.  I was puzzled and a bit deflated.

So I go inside the gym and i was able to round up someone to jump-off my car.

Lesson #1 I Learned
– I must get a pair of jumper cables.  I have a spare tire, lug wrench, jack, tools, various engine legs, and NO jumper cables.  This experience has shown me a simple thing I was missing in my everyday car needs list.  Definitely a must have item, but had always put it off “till later.”

Thankfully the gentleman who helped me had a pair and he got me jumped off.  So I sat in my car for 10 or so minutes, letting it run a bit to get a charge started because that’s what you do when your battery dies on you, right?

As I’m doing that I’m googling “reasons for a car battery to die.”  And I’m seeing weak battery, electrical issue, parasitic energy use, leaving your lights on, or the alternator isn’t recharging the battery.  Uggh, I was thinking, what could be wrong.

I turn on the lights to start heading out and drive a bit to allow the battery to charge some, and it just dies again.  I try starting it again, and no sound, dead as a doornail.

I decided I wasn’t going to go back in and get another jump for the moment.  I gave a call to the beau and talked with him about what it may be, and we both thought the same options.  He wasn’t able to come and help though because he was out in Texas for work at the moment, and since I’m not really close with anyone out here just yet, I really didn’t have anyone I could call that I could depend on.  So I felt stuck.

Then I remembered Lesson #2 – I had the Roadside Assistance option on my phone service for a long time, just never have had to use it.  Mainly because I’ve always had someone else I could call.  But right now, I was SO glad I kept that option for my phone service.  I called for the help, and they showed up promptly in a couple of minutes to jump me off again, and since they were working under the heading of “battery service”, I promptly told him i didn’t think it was a battery issue necessarily by the way the engine shut off when I turned the lights on.  There was no “slow cranking the rest of the juice out”, it just stopped.  I wanted his thoughts on what it could be.

He checked the battery (which looked to have been changed in Feb 2012), and found everything fine with it and the alternator and he was just as puzzled as me and the beau.

We tried turning the lights on again to experiment, and again the engine shut off.  Started me up again, and then all dramatically the accessories were working fine.  I could turn on the radio, a/c, blinkers, AND the lights and it was running just fine.  And the battery had a nice strong charge.  He was baffled, and just suggested to bring it by a dealership to diagnose a problem and then have someone else more in my price range look at it.

I then thank him promptly, and begin my drive back home.  I was going to vote early today but with the way the car was acting, I just wanted to get home.  I didn’t want to risk shutting off the car again and it not wanting to start and having to go through this all over again somewhere other than home.

Lesson #3 Have a mechanic you can trust. – I called the beau again, and through talking with him I decided to go ahead and drop by our mechanic and have him look at it.  I pull in, explain the situation and he looks into it.  He sees what it’s doing, checks the battery and although it’s registering okay, thought I was probably going to need a new battery.

My heart sank, I had just spent most of my money last week on a down payment and a battery was gonna take a bite out of what I had left until payday next week.  He then had an epiphany and told me to hold on as he grabbed a screwdriver and another worker.  In the end he had found that the cable connection to the battery was just loose and wasn’t getting the power effectively.  With a couple of washers and a wrench to tighten the cord down nice and tight, the car started beautifully.

He could have charged me $120 for a battery, but instead found the real fix which turned out to be simple, and didn’t even charge me for the service.  It’s so good of a connection now that the engine actually jumps when it starts.

What I’ve concluded about it all has led me to Lesson #4 – adding “make sure your connection is tight” to the list of reasons your car may not start.  There was something that happened today that was comparatively odd, and that was the drastic change in the temperature outside.  We’ve been 80 degrees all this last week, yesterday in fact, and then today we hit a drastic change of 52, it was actually colder this afternoon than it was this morning.  Which is probably why the connection was fine this morning, then as it got colder, changed.   Heat expands, cold constricts.   It was already loose, and then the cold took it further.

I am so thankful it wasn’t something more drastic.  I’m also very thankful for the patience I had, and the people that helped me problem solve the way through it.  Looking back at it, it seems so commonplace and routine, but i managed to learn a few things by experience and have added it to what I know and can use in the future.

 

Thinking More Simply

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So yeah, I’m one of those blog writers who feels like they have to map everything out beforehand.  I have to have a new, interesting topic to write about and be able to make the time to write a well thought out and decent sized post.

I really need to get over that because I really like to write, and placing these big essay-size expectations on myself isn’t helping me to reach my goals any quicker.

So I promise to you all that I’m going to stop over-thinking things…and just post. It’ll work out alot better for both of us!

So here’s a catchup as to what’s going on with me.

*  At this moment I’m watching game 2 of the World Series.  Pulling for Detroit to win but we’re down a game already to the Giants.  My main team, the Oakland Athletics, did super surprisingly well this season, making it all the way to the Postseason and winning the American League West division (stealing it from the Rangers by one game).  Never been prouder to be an A’s fan!

*  My ’99 Subaru Legacy finally forced me into the decision to get another vehicle.  Apparently, it had came from the north and had quite a bit of a rust issue underneath.  Already had a catalytic convertor issue that I was going to have to look into at some point and was going to cost me a decent amount to fix.  Then my brake fluid line decided to break. And while it’s an easy fix, the amount of rust around it would make it a very delicate and possibly tricky situation.  Altogether the fixes were going to cost me more than the car is worth.  Loved it, and it’s still a good little car. Just it’ll suit someone now that can do the fixes and has the time.

Ended up moving to a ’02 Mazda Protege 5 and am really in love with this car as well.  Totally fits my personality and feels alot like my Legacy.  All pluses in my opinion. ^^

*  My training is going super well.  If you haven’t kept up with my progress, check out my Bodyspace link to the right.  Or better yet, click here to check it out if you’d like.  Possibly looking to compete early next year or maybe the end of next year.  so still got a lot to do but I’m well on my way.

- So at this point it’s the bottom of the 8th and the Giants are up 1-0 with bases loaded and one out.  We needs a double play… *sigh*

Have a good night all ^^

….and we’re 2-0 now… /cry

 

What I’m Watching

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The new fall season of television is officially underway and a few of the shows definitely peaked my interested and I figured I’d let you know what I’m watching and whether I’m gonna continue to watch.

The low – Revolution-

This was the show I was most excited about according to the previews.  I love the premise behind the show.  What would happen if we lost power, electricity, phones, vehicles, internet…?  I’ve always been a fan of fantasy type storylines and taking the modern day US and having nature take it back over and having people revert back to crude weaponry and living off the land seemed like a awesome thing to play around with.  Along with all the imagery of a rundown civilization we all used to know.

Then I watched the first couple of episodes and it let me down. The beautiful settings and scenery are all but dwarfed by poor storyline, writing and dialogue.  The episodes are kinda hard for me to watch because I know what’s going to happen in the scene because it’s that predictable.  The dialogue seems forced and predictable as well.  I don’t “believe” any of what’s being said because it seems unnaturally delivered and stiff.  It only exists to give us information and not to develop characters.

On that note, I’m a few episodes in and I don’t care about any of the characters.  The stiff writing has left these characters without any “real” personality to reach out and make me care.

I’m still gonna watch the next couple of episodes hoping that it will get better but I’m not betting on it.  If not for me, for Elizabeth Mitchell.  She deserves it.

The High – 666 Park Avenue-

On the reverse end, 666 Park Avenue is a great surprise to me.  The first episode was phenomenal.  The acting is great and believable.  Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams are interesting, amiable, believable, and creepy all at the same time.  The supporting cast is also really good.

The show offers suspense, storyline, a playful sexiness, and it’s share of catch-you-unaware moments.  This is my definite fave show so far this season.  I haven’t anticipated new episodes of a show since Lost, and I’m excited to have this feeling again. ^^

The premise behind the show reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Stephen King books (also a movie, but of course the book is way better), Needful Things.  Where the devil opens a shop in Castle Rock and sells the townspeople’s prized possessions/wants/temptations in exchange for deeds he asks of them.  It kinda has that feel to it, except the devil owns a ritzy apartment building and makes deals with his tenants.  A+

The In-between- Animal Practice

This is my new favorite comedy this season.  From the previews I thought it was going to be a light-hearted hour-long drama, but it turned out to be a 30-min sitcom and it still makes me happy.  The episodes have been funny, the characters all differ and are all charming and memorable in their own ways, and although Justin Kirk’s Dr. George Coleman seems to come off kinda House-ish, he shows a bit of vulnerability at times.  I’ve also kinda had a crush on Justin Kirk ever since I saw him in the movie “Love, Valour, Compassion” years ago as the blind boyfriend of another of the lead characters.  Will def keep watching this show.

The Unsure – The New Normal and Partners

The two new gay-centered shows.  I want to like them, and part of me feels like I should like them but they just haven’t won me over just yet.

The writing for “The New Normal” is darn good.  I love witty, smart dialogue and this gives us plenty of that, but my issue is I’m not sure what it is.  Is it drama, or comedy?  I think it’s playing at comedy, but there’s not the obvious haha moments like most shows.  It seems to be taking a note from Glee, and doing the hard-hitting issues road, but in a 30-minute fashion.  Being more serious than fun.  If that’s the case through the season I may end up dropping it like I did Glee.  Love the cast of characters, but that’s not what I want out of these kind of shows.

“Partners” is fun and playful thanks to Michael Urie, but there’s something kinda stale about it.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t provide me with a nudge to keep watching.  And even though it’s great to see more gay characters on television, between “Modern Family,” “The New Normal,” and this, it’s an over-abundance of stereotypical gay for me and this may be the one that falls off my radar.  I would love to see more subtle but fun gay characters on tv.  Makes me miss “Will and Grace” (not referencing Jack of course, but Will’s character).

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I’ve also been watching my old standy-bys, “Survivor” (which is shaping up to be an awesome season so far in my opinion), and “The Amazing Race” (which is more of the same, but fun to watch the travels).

Catalyst For Change Begins!

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Hey all!

So lately I’ve been struggling within myself about what I want to do with my life.  For nine years I’ve been in retail and for roughly the three last years I have worked under the precedence that I knew I didn’t want to go back into retail management (as I stepped down from my position when I made the move to Nashville to be with the beau), but I was comfortable and didn’t want to make a big change that could affect my finances. So I stuck with the job as it paid the bills, has quality insurance, and was flexible with my schedule.  But only for those reasons, as I wasn’t happy within myself.  I wanted more from my work, and to feel like what i was doing was making a difference…and truth be told, it wasn’t.

At the end of the day, that was saying I was scared to make a move.

In the past week, I am glad to say that I have crossed that hurdle that has scared me.  I haven’t quit my job mind you, as I still need that job to pay for my future.  But I have ultimately decided on what it is I want to pursue and now have a rough plan on how I want to get there.

The first big obstacle was getting over my insecurity and worry concerning upheaving my finances, and thanks to my beau, quite a bit of reading, and some self-motivation, I am finally secure in pursuing a new path.

I’m a big believer in not jinxing an idea before it gets off the ground, so I’m not going to document the changes until it happens.  But I know without a doubt that I want to work within the fitness industry.  I’m currently researching some schooling, and working on practical things I can do for myself to help cement and motivate me along the way.

So wish me luck as I start this new grand adventure.  I’m truly excited about this new chapter, and hope you all with come along for the ride with me!

Ste