I’m The Gingerbread Man!

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherI am the Gingerbread Man, Modern Philosophers!

As in “You can’t catch me ’cause…”

I’m participating in a Wellness Competition on the Virgin Pulse app.  Today is Day 14 of 15, and thus far, I am in the lead with a perfect score.

The app allows you to max out at 30,000 steps a day, so I was at 390,000 steps last night, and have done just over 20,000 so far today.

As long as my legs don’t fall off before tomorrow night, I will win my second consecutive Individual Championship with a perfect score of 450,000 steps.

The others in the competition can’t catch me.

Because, as I established earlier, I am the Gingerbread Man!

I am very much looking forward to a day of rest on Tuesday.  Even though this is Day 14 of the competition, it is my 16th straight day of running.  I’m finding that I really miss my Monday and Friday rest days.

Can’t wait for those to come around again.

My legs are heavy, my knees are sore, and my feet hurt, but other than that, I am the picture of health and wellness.

Honestly, I love a good challenge, and this was exactly what I needed to reignite my passion for proving that I can be a kick ass runner.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherThis weekend, I’ve cranked out runs of 6.5 and 5.65 miles.  I went a little easier today because Sunday is a day of rest, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint the Nuns.  But the miles were no problem.

You’d think I’d be exhausted at this point, but after a year and a half of running five days a week, my body is used to being pushed.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve been pushing myself enough lately, so this challenge came at just the right time.

I’d gotten out of the habit of going for a walk at night after dinner, and now that’s back on my schedule.  Hopefully, I will keep that up even after I’ve raised the trophy, signed the autographs, and accepted the last of the gifts from my adoring fans.

Winter is coming, and I need to prepare for the horrible weather ahead.  It’s been cold and windy all weekend, so being able to run long distances in those conditions gives me confidence that maintaining my running schedule once Maine becomes a Winter Wonderland again is quite doable.

One of the awesome benefits of being the Gingerbread Man is that I can nibble on my arm if I get hungry during a long run.  It just grows right back, and gingerbread isn’t at all high in fat or calories.

So, yeah, I’m sore and exhausted, but I’m cool with it.  The sense of accomplishment I’m feeling far outweighs the pain.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherPlus, pushing myself like this reminds me that I can do anything once I set my mind to it.

That, Modern Philosophers, is a little message to my inner Writer Guy, who sometimes forgets that anything is possible.

I’m off to soak my body and then gather the last 10,000 steps I need for the day.

Hope you are all having a great Sunday…even if you are not totally kicking ass like the Gingerbread Man!

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A Day Like Any Other

divorce, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherI failed again, Modern Philosophers.

Once again, I could not make myself forget that yesterday used to be my wedding anniversary.

The irony of it is, I was so determined to never forget my anniversary.   I had grown up watching TV shows where the stereotypical married man always forgot his anniversary, and the poor wife tried to hide how upset that made her.

So I set my mind to remembering the date, and possibly might have even undergone a procedure to have it burned into my memory…although I can’t quite remember.

That, of course, would definitely explain why I can’t think of that day in October as any other day on the calendar.

The weird thing is, I don’t even miss J or being married to her.  What happens is that I am reminded how much I hate being single, and I end up missing Rachel.

Strange, right?  Rachel and I didn’t get married, but when I’m sad on the anniversary of The Little White (Dress) Lie, my thoughts drift to The Girl Who Moved Away.

Perhaps that makes Rachel The One Who Got Away?

It’s not like I got depressed or even had a hard day.  I just hate associating that date on the calendar with an event that was supposed to be celebrated every day until death, and not divorce, parted us.

I posted something about it on Facebook, and my friend Fitz commented that I should buy myself something nice and try to enjoy the day.

divorce, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’ve known Fitz since high school.  We went to college together.  The character Bird in The Retirement Party is based on him, and he is the basis for one of the characters in the TV series I’m writing about NYU.

Of course, Fitz’s most infamous claim to fame might be that he was the one J was dating before I stupidly stepped in and won her heart.

This is why you never steal your friend’s girl.  You end up writing moody blog posts about it decades later.

I did try to follow Fitz’s advice, though.  I stopped on the way home and got myself something special for dinner, and then spent the night relaxing front of the TV.  I know that doesn’t sound like a wild night, but after the busy week I’ve had (working, writing and taping The Nite Show, collecting 30,000 steps a day for a Wellness Challenge), it was exactly what I needed.

divorce, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherI keep telling myself that eventually I will fall in love again, and this time, it will last.  That relationship will lead to a new special day on the calendar I won’t want to forget, and knock this current one from my memory once and for all.

I’ve been divorced for 15 years, though.  Rachel moved away 5 years ago.

When am I finally going to get that new special day to remember?

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Know Your Limits, And Then Push Them

health, fitness, running, motivation, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m participating in another Wellness Challenge on the Virgin Pulse app, Modern Philosophers.

If you recall, I won the Individual Title of the last Wellness Challenge by doing 30,000 steps a day for fifteen consecutive days.

I swore to myself that I’d never do something so insane again, regardless of how beneficial the experts might say it was for my health, wellness, and fitness.

My plan was to assemble an all-star team and focus on winning the Team Title this go around.  Of course, that plan quickly fell apart when one of my teammates took a job with another company, and we were suddenly shorthanded for the first four days.

Plus, I just didn’t want to relinquish my title without a fight.  I decided to push myself past my limits and see if I could become a repeat champion.

Remember, 30,000 steps a day is fifteen miles.

That’s a lot of miles to cover every day for over two weeks.  Especially when you have a life to live, a job to work, writing to do, and sleep to catch up on every night.

Mondays and Fridays are usually my days off from running, but there are no rest days when one is trying to amass 30,000 steps a day.

health, fitness, running, motivation, humor, Modern PhilosopherSo that meant waking up early on Monday and going for a run.

That meant waking up early on Friday and running for the seventh consecutive day.

Which means that I am in desperate need of a new set of legs.  Does anyone have a pair I can borrow for a couple of days while mine get some much needed rest?

This is day seven of the contest, and I’m holding serve on a perfect score.  It looks like there are only two other people in the contest who are still perfect.

Hopefully, they will crack soon, and I can finally ease up on the gas a little.

But until they give up, I will continue to pound out 30,000 daily steps.

Of course, not all the steps are amassed via running.  I usually run about 4 – 4.5 miles on work days, and get the rest by walking and jumping rope.

This weekend, I ran 6 miles yesterday and 5.75 today.

Since it was such a gorgeous day today, I decided to go for a walk along the waterfront.  I needed a break from writing monologue jokes and a little fresh air sounded perfect.

It was nice to just sit down by the rive and enjoy the view.  The first photo in this post is the view I had of Bangor from my side of the Penobscot River.

I spent some time reflecting on how ridiculous it was to try to push myself to 450,000 steps in fifteen days.

health, fitness, running, motivation, humor, Modern PhilosopherThen I remembered how much I love a good challenge, and that I need to test my limits in order to keep running exciting.  It’s also a great way to burn a ton of calories to ensure that I don’t gain weight this winter.

At the moment, I’m winning the Individual Competition and my team is in third place.

I’m hoping that I can keep up this torrid pace for eight more days.  I’ve already got the alarm set to wake up early tomorrow morning to get in a run before work.

There are no rest days when I’m pushing my limits…

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A Reminder To Stay Positive

stay positive, inspiration, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherWe interrupt our regularly scheduled content for this Public Service Announcement, Modern Philosophers:

Stay positive!

To be honest, I needed to remind myself of that tonight, which has led to my writing this post.

Yes, the blog is here for your entertainment, but it is also a source of free therapy for me.

Welcome to tonight’s session.

Please remember that writer/reader privilege applies to anything we discuss in this post.

I am supposed to be on the phone with my producer right now discussing the TV series, the short film based on my blog posts, and a couple of my screenplays.

I’ve been looking forward to this call all day because I am so ready to move forward in a very positive direction with my writing career, and this conversation was going to propel me down the path towards my amazing future.

One minute before he was supposed to call, my producer texted to say his computer crashed and we needed to reschedule so he can work on restoring his files.

Yeah, I was disappointed, but I didn’t show it.  No one better understands how The Machines are trying to control our lives and destinies than I do, so I told my producer it was no big deal, and I looked forward to talking soon.

Of course, inside my head, there was a storm brewing…

stay positive, inspiration, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhy does this sort of thing always happen to me?

Of course something went wrong.  Why wouldn’t it?

Just another delay, like I’ve come to expect.

Clearly, I’m not supposed to have anything good happen in my life.

That’s just a quick sampling of the thoughts careening around in my brain.

Most of the other thoughts contained content that I would not feel comfortable sharing on a family friendly blog.

The thing is, I let the mental storm rage until it eventually died out on its own.  I went for a quick walk to give myself some time to compose myself.

Then I sat down to write this post.

Because one minor setback shouldn’t mean that the black clouds have rolled in, and it’s time to hunker down in the basement bunker until the storm passes.

Life has been very good lately, and I can handle a bump in the road.

After all, I have a producer in Hollywood who wants to talk to me about several of my writing projects.  Just because he has a crappy computer, doesn’t mean my future as a writer is in jeopardy.

I have a crappy computer, too.  I think it’s a requirement in this business.

stay positive, inspiration, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherJust the other night, I was hanging out on the set of the TV show I currently write.

To already have a TV writing gig under a belt, is a very positive thing.

To even have the option of expanding my empire and having a TV series of my own is pretty awesome.

And to possibly have a couple of screenplays go in to production as well?

Life is good, Writer Boy.

So don’t freak out because one phone call had to be rescheduled!

Yes, I’m growing impatient.  I’m not getting any younger, and my trophy shelf is still empty of Oscars and Emmy Awards, but things are moving in the right direction.

I just need to focus on the positive, get to work on Episode 4 of the TV series, and find a way to turn the negatives into something positive, like a witty blog post.

I’m really glad we had this chat, Modern Philosophers.  I feel so much better.  Thanks for listening…

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Chilly Days Are Chili Days

chili, cooking, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m a complicated guy, Modern Philosophers, but I have a very simply cooking philosophy:

When it’s chilly, make chili.

I’ve had a big pot of chili simmering on the stove all day.  The House on the Hill has never smelled better, and now it definitely feels like Fall has arrived.

I actually don’t make chili that often, but today was the perfect day for it.

It was 39 degrees when I get out of bed.

I’d had a very long week, and knew that I wanted to spend a relaxing day doing nothing more than sitting on the couch and catching up on my DVR shows.

So after my morning run, which was a delightful five and a half miles, and even included a little time to stop and enjoy Maine’s beautiful Fall foliage…

Fall foliage, Maine, life, humor, Modern Philosopher…I went for a haircut, put in the laundry, and then got to work on today’s batch of chili.

When I make chili, I’m big on improv.  I have the audience shout out ingredient suggestions, and then I figure out if I can make them work in the recipe.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.  My only audience was the cats, and try as I might to speak to them, they never reply with anything other than a meow or a hiss.

But the improv part is no lie.

I have a basic chili recipe, and then add whatever I think might make this batch a delicious treat that I’m going to enjoy all week.

Today’s additions were a stick of pepperoni, mushrooms, baked beans, and an onion.

As I said earlier, I just let that simmer all day and then went about my business, which turned out to be nothing more than figuring out which show to watch next.

Sometimes, you need a day like that.  I’ve really been working hard lately to rebrand myself, and that can be exhausting.

I’m tired of being the lonely, single guy, who doesn’t like his job.  Now I’m going for the prolific writer, who runs a lot, and has a positive outlook on life.

All the writing definitely makes for a more positive me.  I’m getting ready to start on Episode Four of the TV series, and just got a message from my producer that he wants to talk tomorrow about that project and the screenplays we have in the works.

Ed Asner, The Nite Show, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherGetting back to work on The Nite Show this week was a big shove in the right direction for a new and improved Austin.

The lengthy summer hiatus made me to forget how much I enjoy writing under pressure.  I was up late writing monologue jokes, and wanted to make sure I gave Danny a lot of options for the Season Premiere.

I’d forgotten how much fun it is to walk backstage and see the NESCOM Crew hard at work.  And what it’s like to hang out in the dressing room to chat up the band, and try to see what jokes Danny is putting on the cue cards.

What I hadn’t forgotten, though, is that rush I get from sitting in the audience and listening to the crowd laugh at a joke I wrote.  That instant feedback is awesome, and reminds me why I should never stop writing.

Added bonus to writing for The Nite Show: I got to meet Ed Asner!

The perfect ending to this chilly day will be eating a big bowel of chili and then enjoying a night of big time sports.

Tonight I will be pacing wildly around The House on the Hill as I flip manically between the Yankees and Red Sox playoff game, and the battle between #6 Notre Dame and #24  Virginia Tech.

Yankees, Notre Dame, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s probably a good thing I’ve got two games to watch because it will allow me to switch away from whichever game is stressing me out more!

As you can see, I’m properly dressed for tonight’s TV schedule.  I’m thinking I might have to break out my Notre Dame scarf if the Fighting Irish fall behind.

I can’t have them lose because I wasn’t dressed properly. I’d never be able to handle the guilt.

Well, all this writing about chili has made me hungry. Time to see if I aced this batch…

Is there any food you like to make when the calendar turns to Fall?

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That Time I Met Ed Asner

Ed Asner, The Nite Show, humor, Maine, Modern PhilosopherIf you follow this blog, you know I have met numerous characters since I’ve moved to Maine, Modern Philosophers.

There have been Witches, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Gargoyles, Greek Gods, Guardian Angels, The Devil, and that crazy lady who offered me beer while I was on a run.

Last night, though, I finally got to meet a legend and icon.

We don’t have many of those in Maine, and the one we do have has become something of a recluse, so the only time we really “see” him is on Twitter tormenting President Trump.

But last evening, at the first taping of Season Nine of The Nite Show with Danny Cashman, I finally got my icon fix.

No, Stephen King did not make his first ever appearance on the show.

Ed Asner did.

Ever since Danny told us that Mr. Asner was going to be on the Season Premiere, I have been hoping for a chance to meet him.

Even though Lou Grant and The Mary Tyler Moore Show were a little before my time, I still remember watching them in reruns.

More importantly, I realized that Ed Asner was a television legend.

Ed Asner, The Nite Show, humor, Maine, Modern PhilosopherI met Florence Henderson while I was interning at MTV, and I ran into Tina Louise a couple of times because her daughter lived in my dorm, but neither of them has won seven Primetime Emmy Awards.

Ed Asner had seven golden statues, though.

I was in the atrium of the theater when Mr. Asner arrived, so I got the chance to say hello to him then.

A short time later, I escorted his assistant to his dressing room, and had another quick exchange.  That was already quite a big deal for this TV fan boy.

However, neither opportunity seemed right to ask for a photo.

During the taping, I watched Mr. Asner’s interview from the theater.  He received two standing ovations from the audience, and was incredibly funny.

Oh, the mouth on him!  Danny is really going to have to do some bleeping when he edits this show to air on Saturday night.

I’m not going to give away any of his stories.  You’ll either have to tune in, or check out the clips when Danny posts them on Facebook and YouTube.

But I will say that they were a riot.

Ed Asner, The Nite Show, humor, Maine, Modern PhilosopherI was able to get some photos from the crowd, which I posted on Facebook and Twitter.  Apparently, everyone loves Ed Asner because those pics got a ton of likes and comments.

Here’s a fun fact about Ed Asner that even Ed Asner doesn’t know…

Back in the days when I was married, J had a boss who looked so much like Mr. Asner that we just took to calling him Ed.  I don’t remember the man’s actual name, but I got so used to refering to him as Ed Asner, that’s how he now exists in my memory.

I imagine Mr. Asner being an actor that my Dad loved.  I’m not sure why I think that, but that has been on my mind ever since I heard he was going to be on the show.

I’ve actually thought to myself how impressed my Dad would be if he were still alive to see a photo of me with Lou Grant.  You see, in my mind, I also think Dad would forget Mr. Asner’s name and just call him Lou Grant.

My mind is very complicated, Modern Philosophers!

Ed Asner, The Nite Show, humor, Maine, Modern PhilosopherFor those of you too young to remember the Lou Grant days, Mr. Asner was Carl in Up and Santa Claus in Elf.

When the taping ended, I gave up on my dream of getting a selfie with the man, and was content with just having met him.

However, Danny sent me a text to get backstage because Mr. Asner had agreed to meet a few folks and take pictures.

I shot out of the theater and was backstage in a flash.  All that running finally paid off!

I introduced myself as one of the writers, and Mr. Asner said we did a great job as it was a very funny show.

He then insisted on making fart noises with his mouth during our photos, saying that it would make the pics look funny.

I countered with the fact that I was making silent fart noises.  He chuckled and told me that those were the worst.

Ed Asner, The Nite Show, humor, Maine, Modern PhilosopherAnd those, Modern Philosophers, were the Deep Thoughts that I  shared with Film and TV legend and icon Ed Asner.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve met a lot of character since I’ve been in Maine.

Now Ed Asner can say the same thing about me…

One last silly side note: I sent my friend Fitz a message this morning that I’d found the perfect actor to play him in the TV series I’m writing about college.  Then I sent him the photo of me with Ed Asner.

Fitz wrote back that he was perfectly fine with that casting since Mr. Asner is not a ginger!

Have you ever met a big time celebrity?  If not, who would you like to meet?

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Has King Klutz Become A Handyman?

Tim Taylor, DIY, humor, Modern PhilosopherThere isn’t much chance that I will ever be confused with Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, Modern Philosophers.

Tool belts are not a part of my wardrobe, and the closest thing I have to a power tool is my electric toothbrush.

Of course, I do own a toolbox.

It’s wedged up against the door to the mudroom to keep it closed.

Sure, I could probably use the tools in the box to fix the door so it remains shut, but the toolbox is doing a great job.

Plus, I always know where it is should I ever actually need a tool.

In my book, “Do it yourself” means going next door and asking my neighbor Mark to help me with whatever project I have no idea how to handle on my own.

Mark has always been great about it, and he never teases me about being a writer, who only knows how to use tools as murder weapons in his crazy stories.

Lately, however, I have made an effort to be a little more self-reliant.

I won’t be hosting a revival of Tool Time at The House on the Hill anytime soon, but should Mark suddenly vanishes into Witness Protection or something, the house might not collapse around me.

life, DIY, humor, Modern PhilosopherLast month, I replaced the toilet seat cover in the downstairs bathroom.  Now that might sound like an incredibly simple project to you home improvement jocks, but you weren’t here the last time I had to come off the bench to replace that item.

The old seat cover had metal bolts , and probably had been protecting that toilet since The House on the Hill was built.

As a result, the bolts were rusted and cruddy and stubborn.  It took Mark and I over an hour to remove them, and I think we invented some new curse words along the way.

When it came time to complete the task again, I made sure to buy a seat cover with plastic bolts and instructions that said the task was designed for ages 5 and up.

Of course, I still have to remove the bolts on the old seat.  They were plastic, and not nearly as old as their predecessors, but that came with a whole new set of challenges.

Because of my brute strength, I quickly destroyed the threads on the first first bolt and could no longer make it turn with the screwdriver.

It was also in the nineties that day, and there’s no air conditioning in the bathroom, so I was sweating my bolts off.

I eventually pried off the top of the bolt with the pliers, and it just slid out of the hole.  The second bolt, having heard my angry cursing while working on the first bolt, surrendered and came out without a fuss.

life, DIY, humor, Modern PhilosopherToday, I tackled a much more dangerous project, Modern Philosophers.

As you know, I often refer to myself as King Klutz, and my kingdom is vast.

Essentially, I can be clumsy anyplace and at any time.  No one is ever safe from my reign of terror.

It’s been very chilly at night lately, and my bedroom has felt like an icebox because of the cold air getting in through the window.

Why is cold air getting into my room?  Because the air conditioner is still in place.

Being King Klutz, I have been afraid to try to remove the AC on my own.  It’s large, it’s heavy, and it’s hanging out a window just waiting to dance with gravity and see how quickly it can find its way to the ground below.

I kept waiting for Mark to have some time to help me take it out, but his work schedule and mine didn’t sync well all week.

After another frigid night under the covers, I made an executive decision that the magic metal box of cold air was coming out today no matter what.

After my five mile morning run, I grabbed the toolbox, which was exactly where I knew it would be, and headed up to the bedroom to “be handy”.

I figured I might as well put my runner’s high to good use.  After a run, I feel like I can do pretty much anything.  Plus, I’m a little too tired to really think things through, and I so desperately want to take a shower, that I’m not going to mess around.

I managed to get the air conditioner out without it falling to its death, or crushing anyone unfortunate enough to be hanging out under my bedroom window.

No, it wasn’t a flawless task.  It took this Evil Genius a couple of minutes to realize that no matter how hard I tried to shove it into the box, it wasn’t going to fit.  You know, because the side brackets weren’t on it when we took it out of the box.

life, DIY, humor, Modern PhilosopherI also spilled some of last night’s rain water on the bedroom floor.

Bottom line, though, is that the storm window is down and the air conditioner is safely tucked away in the storage room.

No one was injured.  No equipment was destroyed.

The toolbox is back where it belongs down next to the mudroom door.

And there is much joy in King Klutz’s Kingdom…

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