Dragged Kicking And Screaming Back To Reality

Austin pout 1I did not want to get out of bed this morning, Modern Philosophers.

I woke up before my alarm was set to go off because my internal anxiety clock jolted me from slumber.

It was my first day back to work.

The end of vacation.

The symbolic end of the Summer.

Pretty much, the end of all hope and happiness.

So why get out of bed?

I decided to hold a bed in.

That would teach them.

Teach the man.

Teach the authorities who say we need to work.

Let’s see them try to get me out of bed.

Come on.  I dare you.

Give it your best shot!

Austin pout 2You’re a smart bunch, Modern Philosophers.

I say that all the time to the interns.

If you don’t believe me, ask them!

Since you are so wise, I’m sure you’ve figured out that I eventually did get out of bed.  After all, I am a responsible adult who love the safety net of a weekly paycheck.

My Facebook news feed has been flooded recently with photos of my friends’ kiddos on their first day back to school.  Most of them looked pretty darn happy to be headed back to the daily grind.  Too damn happy if you ask me!

They must really dislike their parents and home life.

Who am I to judge, though?

After all, I wear a toga, not a judge’s robe.

Inspired by those back to school photos, I posted some photos of my own on Facebook this morning.  In fact, it was the four photos that grace this blog post.

I thought I would address the adult equivalent of the first day of school…

Austin pout 3Under these four photos, I posted the following Facebook status update:

Look who’s so excited for his first day back at work!  They grow up so fast, don’t they?  It seems like only yesterday this little guy was headed off to the first day of his internship!

I think it was the perfect way to give back to Facebook what it has given to me for the past week.  Plus, it made me smile and helped me get out the door to go to work.

It is my belief that more adults should post Facebook photos to parody the mass clogging of the news feed with the same annoying back to school photos.

It’s not like Mark Zuckerberg and his minions will toss you off the site for showing a little originality.  Go for it!

Austin pout 4The main reason it was so difficult to go back to work today was because I had gotten a delicious taste of what life would be like if I wrote full time.

I produced 52 pages of a new screenplay, and I wrote at least one blog post a day.  I also went running almost every day, did some reading, watched a lot of baseball, and simply relaxed.  Stress levels were at an all time low for 2015.

Then something happened last night to make it super duper extra difficult to return to my daily working stiff routine.

I got a call from Los Angeles.  There was talk of one of my screenplays moving closer to production.  There was also discussion of a writing job and an exciting secret project.

Needless to say, it got me very excited for a future in which I am a full time writer.

I will tell you more when I can, Modern Philosophers.  For now, though, I’ve got to keep it under wraps and just hope everything goes as planned.  If you want to think good thoughts, light a few candles, and cross all your digits for me, that would be cool.

Everything helps in this wonderful, wacky, unpredictable world of screenwriting!

Posted in Humor, musings, Philosophy, Summer, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thou Shalt Receive A High Caloric Reward!

the nunsI don’t know the Bible as well as a Catholic boy raised by Nuns should, so I can’t tell you the exact chapter and verse of one of my favorite passages…

Though shalt by rewarded for thy hard work.  Thy fruit of thy labor shall come in a reward of many calories.

I’m sure if you Google it, you’ll find its exact origins.  All I know is that it’s in there somewhere, and the voice of James Earl Jones has been reciting those words on an endless loop in my head every time I’ve gone for a run over the past eight weeks.

Yes, Modern Philosophers, James Earl Jones aka The Bible Narrator In My Head, has wanted me to have Chinese food almost as much as I’ve craved it.

Of course, sometimes, when I get a little delirious from running in the Summer heat, I forget that James Earl Jones is my Mental Bible Narrator, and I freak out thinking that Darth Vader is trying to communicate with me via The Force!

Austin grass 1As you might recall, Modern Philosophers, eight weeks ago, I set out upon a quest to get my lazy butt back into shape.  I knew that my annual physical was scheduled for today, and I had fifty-six days to do something about it.

So for eight weeks, I have run five days a week, made positive changes to my diet, tossed in some weight training for good measure, and avoided Chinese food at all cost.

I have left enough sweat on the streets of town to fill the Central Park Reservoir, which I had to jog around for gym class in high school, three times.  I have dropped enough weight for people to ask me if I’ve contracted a minor sickness.  I have written enough blog posts about my running to both infuriate and inspire my readers.

Inspiration through perspiration!

All so that when I went for my physical today, I could look my doctor in the eye and assure him that I was taking major steps to be healthy again.

Austin run 1That’s a photo of me this morning after run number 41 in the past 56 days.

Why am I smiling?  Because I knew that, as predicted over two thousand years ago in the Bible, I would be receiving a reward today for all my hard work.

Sure, some of you might say that my reward is a thinner, healthier body.  And to you, I’d say you aren’t the dreamers of the bunch.  Set your goals higher!

Clearly, my reward had to be Chinese food, which had once been a staple of my diet, but had been banished to parts unknown for the last eight weeks.

Today, this Modern Philosopher would be reunited with his old friend, General Tso.

Chinese 1I was dialing the Chinese place (its number is conveniently stored on my phone) as I walked to my car in the medical center’s parking lot.

They had just taken a couple of vials of blood, so I was lightheaded and my stomach was rumbling uncontrollably.

Did I mention that I had run 3 miles this morning, but hadn’t been able to refuel since I had to fast for my blood work?  I couldn’t even chug my chocolate milk, which is a fun little tradition after my run.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it to my appointment because I was a little out of it from my run, the heat, and the lack of food in my tummy.

That’s when James Earl Jones settled me down…

Join me and General Tso on the Dark Side, and we will rule the galaxy together.  But wait until after your appointment because you’re going to be pissed if you have to fast another day this week to have your labs done.

James is so wise.  I might’ve been more delirious than I realized…

Chinese 2I had this entire menu from which to choose my high caloric reward, but I didn’t need it.  I had searched my feelings and knew it was going to be General Tso’s Chicken.

I was told the wait would be twenty-five minutes, so I went to Walmart to buy some bath towels (you can never have too many) and new ear buds for my phone.

I chose the purple ear buds.  Not because James Earl Jones told me to, but because they looked like the bruise on my arm from where they had taken blood.

Chinese 3When I got to Rainbow (Yes, that’s the really name of the place and my food is the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. Duh!), the bag with the big yellow happy face was waiting for me on the counter.

I sped home, might have mentally cursed at a construction crew for delaying my journey, and rushed into The House on the Hill to enjoy my reward.

Look at it.  No, really look at it!

Doesn’t it look delicious?  I’d earned it and I was going to devour it.

Want to hear something cool?  I didn’t put soy sauce on it like I always do.  While I ate all the chicken, I barely touched the rice.

So even though I had a lunch that wasn’t the best thing for my diet, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.  That has to count for something, right?

Chinese 4That’s me, right before I sat down to lunch.  Is that a happy face or what?

I haven’t heard James Earl Jones’ voice in my head since I finished lunch.  I think that’s a good thing, but I do miss it.  Is that weird?

The medical center called about a half hour before I started to write this post.  All my labs came back normal.

I guess that hard work is paying off, Modern Philosophers!

Tomorrow is a day off from running, and my first day back to work after a wonderful vacation.  Running will resume on Wednesday.  Just warning you…

Posted in Fitness, Humor, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Monday Morning Coffee Club: 8/31/15

Giant mugI’m sorry this post is so late, Modern Philosophers, but it has been a very busy last day of my Summer vacation!

I went for my morning run as usual, but then I couldn’t reward myself afterwards with a big glass of chocolate milk, so that was a bit of a downer.

I also couldn’t refuel with a hearty breakfast because I needed to fast for my blood work.

That’s right, Modern Philosophers, today was the dreaded annual physical.  I hate going to the doctor, and I resent having to starve myself to have blood drawn.

So even though it was a vacation day, it pretty much felt like a typical Monday.

The last Monday of August, by the way.  Where in the world has the Summer gone?  Didn’t it just begin a couple of weeks ago?  How did I manage to miss it?

Even though I dislike going to the doctor, it was a mostly painless experience.  I got to brag to Dr. S about how I’ve been running like a madman and losing weight.  He was very impressed with that, and encouraged me to keep at it.

They took some blood, but I should be okay since I had some to spare.

When I left the medical center, the first thing I did was call my favorite Chinese restaurant to order lunch.

MondayAfter eight weeks of running and eating better, I was determined to finally reward myself with some Chinese food.  General Tso’s Chicken was exactly what the doctor ordered, even though Dr. S actually did not order it for me.  He probably would’ve frowned on it, but I didn’t care.

So now you understand why this post is so late.  I was too weak to write, and I only recovered my strength after eating my first Chinese food in two months.

I am happy to report that I did not put soy sauce on it like I usually do, and while I ate all the chicken, I left most of the rice.

So even when splurging, I do it in moderation.

I’ve got a quick errand to run, and then I want to work on my new screenplay.  I believe it’s at 46 pages now, which is pretty cool considering I didn’t even have an idea for a new script when I started vacation last week.

Finally, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my little sister Jennifer.

Hope you are all having a great Monday.  Enjoy this last day of August!  I’m doing my best to make the most of this last day of Summer vacation…

Posted in Humor, musings, Philosophy, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Running With The Devil

running hell“Want to hear something funny?” I asked innocently as I reached into the cooler to grab an ice cold Snapple.

“I have been waiting patiently for you to say something humorous for the past several months, my friend,” The Devil said dryly as he looked at me over his newspaper.

I glared across the couch, cursed him in my thoughts, and then took a sip of my drink.

“Do you want to hear this or not?” I impatiently asked my impeccably dressed guest, who had taken off his suit jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves to deal with the August heat.

How he ever survived every day in a three-piece suit in Hell was beyond me.

“Please, Austin, share your witty anecdote with me and fill my afternoon with laughter,” Lucifer replied mockingly as he put down the paper.

Okay.  Tough crowd.

“I got two emails from blog readers this week asking why, given my recent hard core running program, I’d yet to write a Sundays With Satan Short Story entitled ‘Running With The Devil’,” I submitted for his consideration.

van halenThe Prince of Darkness stared at me stone faced like a Gargoyle.  “Were those readers David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen?  I doubt it, of course, seeing as how I doubt either of them is literate, let alone an avid fan of blogs.”

I looked at him in confusion.  “Why the hatred for Van Halen, dude?”

“Let’s just say that I used to be pretty tight with those guys,” he grumbled.  “Close enough for them to write a song about our time together, and yet they have never given me any credit for their success.  Not even a shout out at an awards ceremony or a mention in an interview.  Screw them.  I’d say they could go to Hell, but they are not welcome there!”

Whoa.  That was most unexpected.  Satan got up in a huff, snatched his pitchfork out of the corner, and began to do frightening Darth Maul type maneuvers with it.

“Look, I didn’t mean to touch a nerve,” I said apologetically.

I even held out a Snapple as a peace offering, but he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.  He just kept rapidly twirling his pitchfork like he planned to wipe out the last of the Jedi Knights with it.

After another tense minute of this behavior, The Devil stood still.  The tapped his pitchfork once against the living room floor, and then returned it to the corner.

Next, he adjusted his silk tie and strode quietly back to the couch.

Devil“I’m sorry you had to see that,” Lucifer whispered.  “It’s not very often I lose my $%^&, but Van Halen is a trigger for me, and you have my deepest apologies.”

I still had the Snapple in my hand, so I held it out to him.  This time he accepted my offering.

“That was some pretty awesome pitchfork work,” I told him like a geeky fan boy.

“It’s a great workout,” the Prince of Darkness informed me with a Devilish grin.  “Because I exercise in that manner, this Devil never has to run.”

“I thought you were going to say you didn’t run because you can take any form you want, hence exercise wasn’t necessary,” I quipped.

“That’s part of it, too.  Plus, they really don’t make running outfits that agree with my sense of style,” Satan shot back with a wink.  “Now didn’t you say you wanted to tell me something funny?”

I growled.  Not many people can say they’ve growled at The Devil and lived to tell the tale.

I’d be willing to bet that none of the guys from Van Halen ever had…

Posted in Fitness, Humor, Music, Philosophy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fantabulous At 40!

Austin run 1Today was the 4oth run of my eight week running adventure, Modern Philosophers.  Tomorrow, I go for my annual physical, so I will know soon enough if all this exercise and healthy eating has done any good.

I haven’t lost as much weight as I thought I would (my scale lies!), but I certainly feel thinner.

Check out that photo on the left.  There is a noticeable difference in the way I look.  The most obvious being that my entire torso can now fit into the frame.

On top of that, my clothes fit much better.  Shirts that had been pushed to the back of the closet because they were too tight, now remain there, but only because they are ugly and should never be worn out in public.

I have muscles where fat used to be, and there is much less of the emergency fat I always keep around my belly and waist to be used as a flotation device.

Forty runs in fifty-five days.  Definitely exceeds my expectations.

Austin run 5I tried something different on my run today, and wanted to put it out there for those of you who run as well.

I read an article yesterday that stated it was good to walk during a run.  Now I’ve always thought that stopping to walk was a sign of failure, and the article addressed that right off in the first paragraph.

I don’t remember the exact argument, but the gist of it was that walking was good for your knees and other joints, and gives you a chance to “power up” again.

Since this was my 8th run in 9 days, and my legs were feeling heavy, I thought I’d test out this theory at the halfway point of my run.  My 4.25 milers (which I think are actually longer) always take a lot out of me, so today seemed like the perfect day to experiment.

So when I got to the halfway mark, I paused to take this photo…

Austin run 4And then I strolled for a little bit as I headed back to The House on the Hill.  It couldn’t have been more than 30 seconds, and then I was back at it.

When I had about 1.25 miles left, I could sense that I was dragging, so I stopped again for a little walking.  No photos this time, though.

Both times, when I got back to running, it was at a much faster pace than I’d been going before I stopped to walk.

So I would have to agree with the article and say that walking during a run can be very beneficial.  I’m definitely going to change my Philosophy on that, and make use of it on my longer runs.

I guess that even at 40 (runs), this old dog can still learn new tricks!

Austin run 3I also totally delivered (Get it? That’s a mailbox behind me!) on the run.  Even with the walking, I ended up back at The House on the Hill over two minutes faster than yesterday.

It was the best 4.25 mile time I’ve posted yet.

Kind of fantabulous for a 40th run, wouldn’t you agree?

I might sneak in another run tomorrow morning before my physical.  After that, I intend to keep up the five runs a week schedule for as long as my body and the weather permits.

Because of the healthier eating I’ve been doing, I cannot wait to devour my Chinese food lunch tomorrow.  All this hard work definitely deserves a reward.

Happy Sunday, Modern Philosophers!  I’ll be back later with another short story adventure featuring the Prince of Darkness…

Posted in Fitness, Humor, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Are You Dating Your Imaginary Friend?

bad dateIt’s Saturday night, Modern Philosophers, and since no one loves me or wants to go out with me, I will be spending another Date Night alone at The House on the Hill.

I’m not going to let my inability to find a date prevent me from offering you dating advice, though.

I am well aware that some of you are luckier in love than I, and I want to make sure that you have the best dating tips available to you before you head out for the night.

In tonight’s post, I’m going to address an issue that comes up in the dating world more often that you might realize: Are you dating your imaginary friend?

As always, since I am a man who (tries to) date women, the date in this post will be female.  However, this tips are meant to help both sexes.

Let’s figure out if you’re dating your imaginary friend…

bad date 6Is she exactly how you always pictured your perfect girlfriend to be?  No date is ever perfect, but your imaginary friend usually is.  Why would you conjure up a flawed best buddy?

Look at your date, Modern Philosophers.  Is she everything you always wanted?

If you see your dream girl smiling lovingly back at you, I hate to break it to you, but you’re most likely dating your imaginary friend.

Does she have an awesome sense of humor and laugh at all your jokes?  We both know you’re absolutely hilarious, but for some reason, the women you date don’t always seem to get your jokes, do they?

On top of that, your dates are usually a little too serious, don’t have a good handle on what’s funny, and usually follow up “The funniest thing happened to me” with some long, boring story that makes your brain ache.

If you’re dating someone who’s as funny as you definitely are, then I’m guessing she is your imaginary friend.

bad date 5She never asks awkward questions or brings up your exes, right?  If I could ever get through a first date without having to talk about my past relationships, I’d call the Vatican to tell Pope Francis that I’d just witnessed a miracle.

On that same note, I think I’ve earned a dating Gold Glove for all the ridiculously awkward questions I’ve had to field.

I told you about the first date who asked me how my Mom died, right?  I expect the weird and uncomfortable questions, but that one definitely caught me off guard.

If you don’t experience this on your dates, your are either insanely lucky, or you are dating your imaginary friend.

Does the waitress look at you like you have three heads when you order two drinks and two entrees?  That’s a definite giveaway, Modern Philosophers.  While your server certainly doesn’t mind your driving up the bill since it should increase her tip, the fact that she’s giving you the crazy eyes is because you’re sitting alone and ordering like there’s someone else at the table with you.

I hope you’re close to the door because you might need to make a quick getaway if she decides to call in a Code Red to the local mental hospital.

bad date 2Are your friends and family always asking you when you’re going to start seeing someone?  I agree with you, Modern Philosophers, they should just mind their own business.

However, if you were dating a real person, they wouldn’t be asking, now would they?

Does your therapist start paying more attention and take voluminous notes when you talk about your relationship?  How do I know you’re seeing a therapist?  I think you’re missing the point.

The fact is, if the therapist never stops writing and keeps muttering something about “finally getting published”, you are clearly saying something intriguing.

So unless you’re telling your therapist about your affair with a well known celebrity, the sudden interest is probably because you’re talking about your imaginary friend as if she is real and madly in love with you.  Again.

bad date 7Does everything she says make perfect sense, and not leave your brain feeling like its been pureed, seasoned with Tabasco sauce, and then poured back into your skull to gel?  Then you either need a hearing test, or you’re dating your imaginary friend.  Either way, seek help.

Do you leave the date still believing in love and romance?  Awww.  That’s sweet.  You’re clearly a character in a romantic comedy, seriously deluded, living in denial, or dating your imaginary friend.  I hope it’s the first one because I love romantic comedies.

bad date 4Does she let you drive her time machine and use her lightsaber after you leave the restaurant?  If she does, then can I have her number?

She sounds a hell of a lot cooler than any imaginary friend I’ve ever had.

I hope these tips come in handy, Modern Philosophers, and I’m sorry if I might have burst your dating bubble.

Be safe out there and remember that you deserve a love that’s real and true.

Posted in Dating, Humor, Love, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Close Encounters Of The Worst Kind

mothershipI was able to catch the last half hour of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” last night as I was sitting down to dinner, Modern Philosophers.

Those last thirty minutes of Spielberg’s meet the Aliens flick are quite awesome, and it had been years since I’d spent any time on Devils Tower with Richard Dreyfuss and our visitors from the great beyond.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the movie was a harbinger of a visit I was going to get much later in the evening.

As it often does, this story begins with Buffalo wings.

Actually, they weren’t even wings.  The package stated they were Spicy Buffalo Chicken Tenders.  They looked and smelled so good, that I really had no choice but to put them in my shopping cart at the grocery store.

I usually pick up something quick and easy for Friday dinner, and even though I’m on vacation, I saw no reason to break with this tradition.

I was totally clueless to the encounter that awaited me…

AliensRight after “Close Encounters” ended “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” began on the very same channel.  I thought that was fate given that I had just blogged about the book and the Vogons and the idea of demolishing Earth for an intergalactic highway.

I had to watch the beginning of the flick to at least see the Vogons.  Clearly, my Friday dinner was going to be all about Alien visitors checking out Earth.

I finished up my Buffalo chicken tenders and went to work on the new screenplay.  It was a delicious, albeit spicy dinner, and it definitely hit the spot.

A couple of hours later, though, that very same spot was aching.  Most likely from my spicy meal.  I did what any Modern Philosopher with no medical training would do…

I made myself a bowl of ice cream to soothe my tummy.

Austin sick 1This was the look on my face this morning after I completed my morning run.  Now let’s do a flashback sequence to learn how I got to that puffy cheeks, sad face point.

I’d just finished watching another movie, and I realized that my tummy was gurgling.  And it hurt.  And it felt like Aliens had invaded my gastrointestinal tract.

Of course, I had been watching Grown Ups 2, and Adam Sandler movies have a tendency to make people sick to their stomachs.  So, I wasn’t sure if this would pass once the credits had faded, or if I was experiencing a close encounter of the worst kind.

It ended up being the latter, Modern Philosophers.

I blame the Buffalo chicken tenders.

But Adam Sandler and his cronies aren’t going to get off scot-free.

There had better not be a Grown Ups 3!

Austin sick 2Like any crisis, last night’s eventually passed, but I felt like I was trapped alone on Devils Tower for a very uncomfortable length of time.

When I woke up this morning, my tummy was still in distress.  I thought about skipping my run, but then I remembered that I run with my legs, not my stomach.

It was a very trying 4.25 miles, but I got it done without any incident.  While I had an occasional flashback to my Alien invasion, I was able to block out the trauma and focus on the task at hand.

To be honest, I was damn proud of myself for not only doing my run, but also for sticking to the longer 4.25 mile route.  It would’ve been easy to either call it off altogether, or do an abbreviated run.  Maybe eight weeks ago I would’ve opted to be a wimp.

Not now, though, Modern Philosophers.  This was run #39 in the past 54 days, and I have a totally different mindset about what needs to be done to be happy and healthy.

Austin sick 4Note to self: No more Spicy Buffalo Chicken Tenders.  Life is too short to be wasting a Friday night repelling an Alien invasion.

Life is much better spent with my legs up on the porch railing, wiping the sweat off my face, and thinking about the new screenplay I’m writing.

It was a close one, Modern Philosophers, but I lived to tell the tale.

Happy Saturday!

Posted in Entertainment, Fitness, Humor, Movies, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments