My Quest For 200,000 Steps

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherSometimes, you’ve got to spice things up to keep them interesting, Modern Philosophers.

That has been the case recently with my fitness program.  It’s been 13 months since I dragged my lazy ass up off the couch and started running again, and I worry that it’s going to become boring, or seem like a chore.

So, I’m constantly looking for ways to motivate and challenge myself.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I participate in the Wellness Program at work, and we use the Virgin Pulse app as part of that.  I like perpetually being in the top spot on the leader board for steps, but even that isn’t enough to push me at times.

This week, I’ve given myself a new goal that has really got me motivated:

200,000 steps in one week.

When I started with Virgin Pulse last April, the goal was to get 7,000 steps a day.  For a guy who hadn’t gone for a run in ages, that was challenge enough.

7,000 steps a day meant I set a goal to get 50,000 steps for the week.

Pretty soon, 50,000 steps was too easy.  My new FitBit demanded I strive for 10,000 steps a day, so I set a new weekly goal of 75,000 steps.

And so I progressed in my goals as I got into better shape.  Keep in mind that every 2,000 steps is equivalent to about a mile of walking.

So when I started setting goals of 100,000 and 125,000 steps a week, I was cranking up the miles and pushing myself well beyond what even the FitBit wanted from me.

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherOnce I hit 150,000 steps for the week, which is about 22,000 steps and 11 miles a day, I was pretty sure I was at my limit.  Maybe one or two other coworkers were cracking 100,000 steps a week, so topping that by another 50% made me feel like I was really at the top of my game.

But I found that even this number was not enough for me.

I set my sights on 175,000 steps a week, which is 25,000 steps a day.

That’s also more than three times what the Virgin Pulse app was asking us to do, and two and a half times more than what made the fireworks go off on my FitBit’s display.

At this point, my coworkers started ribbing me.  How in the world could I get so many steps in a day?  How come my legs weren’t falling off?  Why didn’t I get a life so I had something else to do with my time?

Yeah, some of the comments were a little harsh, but I just used them for motivation.  Any time someone else made a run at the top spot on the leader board, I’d just up my total.

Pretty soon, I was at 185,00 steps for the week.

And so it became obvious that it was time to try for 200,000.  I wanted the new challenge and I was also hoping it would jump start another round of weight loss, since I’d been holding steady at the same weight for a while.

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherAs an added incentive, I told my friend Dani that she had to take me to dinner once I hit 200,000 steps.  Dani has yet to agree to these terms, but don’t worry.  I will keep pestering her about it, and I’m sure she’ll cave eventually.

I thought 200,000 was a lofty, unrealistic goal.  After all, that’s a little less than 29,000 steps a day, or 14.5 miles.

I figured I’d have to wait until my summer vacation to have the time to accomplish it.

How I do sell myself short at times, Modern Philosophers!

When I went to bed last night, my weekly total was at 197,700.  Some quick calculations led me to realize that if I collected 30,000 steps today, I’d crack the magic number.

As luck would have it, I have the day off, and I’m feeling active.

I went for a 5 mile run this morning, so I’m already at 15,000 steps and it isn’t even noon.

How have I managed this incredible surge in steps?  By going for longer runs in the morning.  I’m now making sure to go at least 4 miles on work days, instead of my usual 3 – 3.5 miles.

When I get home from work, I immediately go for a long walk of at least 3,000 steps.  I call this my post-work, anti-stress walk.  I leave all the stress from my work day outside along my walking route and don’t allow it into The House on the Hill.

That makes for a much more relaxing evening.

Then I go for another walk after dinner.  The weather has been so beautiful that I want to be outside doing something healthy.

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherSo today could be the big day.  If all goes as planned, I will crack the 200,000 step barrier before bed.

I hope Dani has put aside some money for a nice dinner.  Collecting all these steps has made me very hungry!  Ravenous in fact.

It’s crazy what I have been able to push myself to do.   A year ago, I couldn’t even run three miles without having to stop multiples times to catch my breath.

What are you doing to motivate yourself and  achieve your fitness goals?

Posted in Fitness, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bronx Bombs Away

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, baseball, poetry, Modern PhilosopherThe Bronx

Has come under

Heavy fire,

But the only ones


Are the

Opposing teams

And their fans.

The Bronx Bombers

Are back,

Terrorizing pitchers,

By sending baseballs

Soaring deep into

The sleepless

Spring night.

My beloved Yankees

Might be younger,

But these

Baby Bombers

Definitely know

How to mash.





A murderer’s row

For the

Twenty-first century.

Yankee Stadium

Will always be

The House

That Ruth built,

But now,

It’s also

The house

That can’t contain

The young guns,

Who seem intent

On putting

A baseball

Into orbit.

Bombs away

In the Bronx.

The Yankees

Are back,

And a

World Series title

Is on the way!

All Rise

And hail

The younger

And stronger

Bronx Bombers!

Posted in Humor, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Forever Single

short story, flash fiction, relationships, humor, Modern Philosopher“Do you know that store Forever 21?” I asked The Devil as I fished a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler.

As always, my Sunday guest was dressed in an impeccably tailored suit.  He did not even glance up from the Sunday paper to answer my question.

“Sure, I’ve heard of it,” Lucifer replied as he turned the page.  “It’s not my style, but I am aware of the chain.  Before you ask, you are definitely too old to shop there.”

I could see his devilish grin behind the newspaper, but I chose to ignore it.

“I was thinking about opening a chain of stores called Forever Single,” I shared before taking a long sip of my Snapple.

The Prince of Darkness laughed loudly and put down the paper so that he could applaud what he thought was a joke.

“I love it.  You can sell sweatpants, oversized hoodies, pajama bottoms, and ratty tee shirts,” he volunteered with a smile.

“And why limit it to clothing?” he continued.  “You could also sell food.  Row after row of freezers stocking every flavor of ice cream imaginable in convenient pint size containers.  Of course, you’d also need all the other comfort foods so there’s always something on hand for those lonely nights crying in front of the TV as you watch whatever sappy movie is on the Hallmark Channel.”

I stared at him in disgust, but he was too busy laughing at his own jokes to even notice.

“You’d probably also want a section devoted to cat supplies,” Satan managed to get out between the laughter.  “No offense, Cali, but your Daddy is going to end up a crazy cat man if he doesn’t go on a date soon.”

short story, flash fiction, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherI slammed down my empty bottle of Snapple on the table in anger, which led to a sudden end of all negative jokes about the single life.

“Why did you immediately jump to a place of mocking?” I demanded.  “Do you really think my single status to be that pathetic?”

“My apologizes,” The Devil offered as he wiped the smile off his handsome face.  “You’re usually so negative and, yes, a little pathetic when you talk about dating and relationships, so I thought this was just another rant about how much you hate being single.  I was simply trying to lighten the mood with some witty humor.”

“For you information,” I began as I could sense my face redden with both rage and embarrassment, “my vision for Forever Single is not at all pathetic.  In fact, it is quite empowering for those who do not have a significant other.”

I stood up because I was totally in the mood to talk down to the smug, stuck up prick currently occupying the other end of my couch.

“Forever Single would offer clothing to make someone feel great whenever he went out, even if it was alone,” I explained.  “Plus, there would be an awesome gift department and helpful salespeople who would assist a single person when he needed to find that perfect something to bring to a party.  And healthy food and cookbooks to prepare delicious meals for one.  To top it all off, there would be an amazing book section because no one is truly alone when lost in a good book.”

Lucifer neatly folded the section of the newspaper he had been reading.

short story, flash fiction, relationships, humor, Modern Philosopher“That sounds lovely,” he assured me.  “I’m sorry I made fun of your idea.”

“That’s okay,” I forgave him begrudgingly as I grabbed another Snapple out of the cooler.

“Now would your store have helpful salespeople on hand to assist a discerning customer in the purchase of the perfect brand of catnip for his twenty-seven cats?” The Prince of Darkness asked with a straight face.

I couldn’t help it.  I had to laugh.

“Who am I kidding?” I finally asked.  “Your ideas are so much better.  Do you think you can help me set up meetings with investors?”

And by becoming the multi-millionaire CEO of a national store chain, Modern Philosophers, I was finally able to come to terms with being forever single…

Posted in Dating, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

My Divorce Tax Is Paid In Full!

relationships, divorce, money, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’ve honestly lost track, Modern Philosophers, of how long it’s been since I got divorced.  I want to say fourteen years, but don’t hold me to that.

Even though I have long moved on from my marriage, there are still things that remind me of that time in my life.

For example, I live at The House on the Hill, the home J & I bought with a plan to raise a family.

J still gets the occasional piece of mail delivered here.

Of course, as I have often documented on this blog, I am still haunted by the horrible nightmares of J standing by the bed, watching me sleep, and plotting to kill me.

I don’t plan to sell the house, I can’t stop the junk mail the gets put in my box, and if I could control my dreams, I’d be a very rich man.

There is one reminder of my divorce, however, that I have just made disappear forever.

My Divorce Tax.

Okay, it’s not really a Divorce Tax, but that’s what I call it because that’s what it seems like to me.

As part of the divorce, I had to pay J her share of the equity in The House on the Hill.  I never quite understood this.  She cheated on me and chose to end our marriage.  She decided she did not want the house.  So why the hell did I have to give her money so that she could have the divorce she wanted?

My lawyer told me I had to pay J $8100, which was $8100 more than I had at the time to give to her.

So I had to take out a home equity loan/second mortgage to write a check that, to this day, I still believe should never have been written.

relationships, divorce, money, humor, Modern PhilosopherClearly, this debt has weighed heavy on me.  It was money I did not have, at a time when I was trying to put my shattered life and broken heart back together.

It was a debt that hung around my neck for years.  When I tried to refinance my mortgage at one point, the unwanted second mortgage prevented me from getting a really favorable rate with my bank.

That monthly payment was money I didn’t have to spend on other things I needed.  Like a new car.  Repairs to the house.  Furniture to replace the stuff I lost in the divorce.

When Zombie Car finally died over the summer, and I had no choice but to get a new vehicle, that loan payment made my financial situation extremely tight.  And stressful.

I’ve been forced to work a ton of overtime since August in order to stay ahead of my payments.  I am very tired, bitter, and stressed out as a result.

Last Sunday, however, I wrote a check to make the last payment on my Divorce Tax.

Ding dong, the Divorce Tax is dead!

relationships, divorce, money, humor, Modern PhilosopherI can’t even describe what a relief it was to put that check in the mail.  I made sure to write “Last Payment” on the memo line, and even managed to be a good guy and not curse J one last time for putting me through that financial hell.

I think of myself as a Hopeless Romantic, but I know that my divorce is a major reason why I’ve had so much trouble with subsequent relationships.

My divorce scarred me, and not just emotionally.  The financial scars run deep.  Fourteen years of treading water because I was suddenly on my own to pay the mortgage and pay off this Divorce Tax, after having been on such strong financial footing during my marriage.

Maybe now that the Divorce Tax is paid, those scars can heal and I can move forward.

I so badly want to be in love again, to have a special someone, and to have that second income to pay the bills.

Okay, maybe that last one is just an example of my crazy sense of humor.

Or perhaps there is some truth to it.

relationships, divorce, money, humor, Modern PhilosopherAll I know is that the Divorce Tax is no longer an expensive albatross around my neck, and there is a chance I can finally have a brighter future…both romantically and financially.

I think I could open my heart to marriage again.  Rachel and I never discussed getting married, but it was something I thought about and could see myself doing.  Melissa and I planned on getting married, but maybe things fell apart because of these issues I have been sorting out for a decade and a half.

Divorce hurts the bank statement as well as the heart.

Here’s hoping this particular scar finally heals.  I just wish that paying off this debt also meant I’d stop having that nightmare of J trying to kill me in my sleep.

Oh well.  It’s not a perfect world…

Posted in Dating, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Unwind and Be Free

poetry, humor, Friday, Modern PhilosopherWe mustn’t

Allow our minds

To submit

To the

Stressful thoughts

That hold them

Hostage all week

As we



The work day.


In the Rat Race

Might be

A requirement

In order

To keep

Food on

The table,

And a roof


Our heads,

But a mind

Is a terrible


To feed to

The Stress Monster.

So unwind

And be free.

The weekend

Has arrived!

Leave behind,

Locked away

In a desk drawer,

The thoughts

That stain

Your brain,


Your will,

And crush

Your soul.

Once the


Has offered



To Freedom,

Do not

Look back,

Flush your mind

Of anything


To your job.

If you’re not

Getting paid,

Don’t waste

A brain cell

On work.


And be free!

The weekend

Is here.

Don’t you dare

Even think

About Monday!

Posted in Humor, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Don’t Make Me Go Back!

short story, flash fiction, back to work, humor, Modern Philosopher“Don’t make me go back!  You can’t make me go back!” I wailed at the top of my lungs as I tugged on the lapel of The Devil’s impeccably tailored suit.

My Sunday guest looked up at me in concern.

“You’re wrinkling my suit,” Lucifer pointed out calmly.  “Plus, this is an extreme violation of my personal space.  I know it’s your house, but still.”

He was right.  Somehow, in my panicked state, I’d managed to climb up on the lap of The Prince of Darkness and grab hold of his fancy suit jacket.

I’d like to say I had to idea what had come over me, but I knew exactly why I was having a meltdown in the living room of The House on the Hill.

I had to go back to work tomorrow after a three day weekend, and I really was not looking forward to having to do so.

“I’m so sorry,” I offered apologetically as I let go of his lapels and eased over onto my own cushion on the couch.

“All is forgiven,” Satan granted with a slightly troubled smile as he smoothed out the wrinkles in his jacket.

I fished a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler, and gulped down three-quarters of its contents before coming up for air.

“I just really don’t want to go back,” I admitted as I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand.  “Work is so stressful, and I’ve spent the last three days peacefully in full Writer Guy mode.  Between the screenplay, The Nite Show, and the blog, I was always working on something.  I don’t want to go back to being a desk jockey.”

I looked over at the Ruler of the Eternal Underworld with pleading eyes.

short story, flash fiction, back to work, humor, Modern Philosopher“I realize that work can be Hell, but you need to do it in order to keep the roof of The House on the Hill over your head until you can support yourself as a writer,” The Devil used logic that was as pointed as his pitchfork.  “Based on how things are going lately, though, you might not need to keep up this double life much longer.”

I shrugged and let out a long sigh.

“I get that.  Completely,” I conceded.  “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.  Being chained to a desk and a slave to the time clock goes against the basic fiber of my being.”

“That’s why you keep writing,” Lucifer reminded me.  “You shepherd those crazy stories out of your head and onto the page, and eventually, there won’t be a need to go to your other job.  Don’t ever give up on that dream, or I’ll make your life a living Hell.  And that’s a promise you know I can keep!”

He flashed me a charming, yet devilish smile.

“Thank you for believing in me and threatening me,” I said with a tip of my Snapple bottle.  “Both things drive me to keep at it, but the latter lights a hotter fire under me.”

We both laughed.  I still didn’t want to go to work tomorrow, but at least I wasn’t completely freaking out about the prospect.  At the moment.

short story, flash fiction, back to work, humor, Modern Philosopher“I read that new teaser you posted for the screenplay, and it’s pretty damn creative,” The Prince of Darkness praised.  “If my old boss is truly as fair as everyone likes to say he is, a talent like yours will not be wasted.  And if he doesn’t come through for you, just say the word and I will make it happen, son!”

If I’m going to conquer Hollywood, who better to have my back than Satan, right?  Something about that idea made me feel a little more confident.

If you haven’t read the second teaser for my screenplay, you can click here to find it: Running Home


Posted in Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Study Links Stress To The Existence Of Other People

science, stress, satire, humor, Modern PhilosopherDon’t let those Fake News types tell you that the United States isn’t at the top of the global heap when it comes to scientific breakthroughs, Modern Philosophers.

Today, a team of government scientists from The Department Utilizing Statistics & Tables (DUST) announced its findings regarding the cause of stress.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

“We have determined with inexplicable scientific proof that stress is directly linked to the existence of other people,” announced Dr. Abby Vuss.

Dr. Vuss, the head of the DUST team that conducted the study, then produced a mind numbing number of charts and graphs to back up her findings.

Is that a Nobel Prize I smell, or did someone forget they left on a Bunsen burner?

When pressed for more details, Dr. Vuss surprised reporters, who had clearly drawn the short straw in the assignment pool, by exploding at them.

“The mere fact that you deem it necessary to pepper me with questions about our findings proves that they are correct!” she yelled before throwing her bottled water into the crowd, flipping off the press corps, and then storming off the stage.

The good doctor’s unexpected fleeing of the scene left reporters working on a deadline with very little to report other than the sordid details of her meltdown.

This Modern Philosopher, however, used his contacts at DUST to get another few hundred words for this blog post from an anonymous source.

science, stress, satire, humor, Modern Philosopher“Ironically, we’re all under an extreme amount of stress right now,” my source put it delicately.  “No one in the current administration really believes in science, so we are fighting to prove our relevance so we do not lose our funding and our jobs.”

“The only assignments we’ve gotten recently have been from Vice President Pence,” he continued after taking a long sip of the drink I’d bought him to get him to talk.

And what did the Vice President want DUST to do?

“Just last week, he wanted us to prove that God loves Republicans more than Democrats.  Another time, he wanted us to prove that sex outside of marriage kills people.”

It quickly became obvious why the study on stress was conducted, and that the findings might have been directed at The White House.

Maybe Dr. Vuss and her team really did deserve a Nobel Prize.

At the very least, they deserved my respect.

I asked the team of scientists that I keep on retainer to answer the blog’s science questions, if they agreed with the conclusion reached by DUST.

science, stress, satire, humor, Modern PhilosopherThose lab coat wearing nerds in my basement just laughed at my query.

When I threatened to cut off their funding, WiFi access, and Dungeons and Dragons privileges if they didn’t answer my question, the Brain Trust quickly got serious.

“The human brain is a very complex organ,” the head nerd on duty explained.  “So many things can trigger stress, but when you break it down to the basics, pretty much all stress is caused by the existence of others.  Were the world suddenly devoid of humans, it is my hypothesis that all stress would become extinct.”

And that’s why those brainiacs earn the big bucks.

Now I’ve got to find some aspirin.  This assignment has given me a major headache…

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments