Sunday, June 17, 2012

Where have all the jobs gone?

I've been reading about factory (desk jobs with large corporations are essentially the same thing) workers with six-figure salaries writing to their legislature bitching about how their lives are curtailed because they can no longer afford their lifestyle.

Factory workers. People who have either been replaced by robots, unskilled, low-paid workers or had their positions deemed unnecessary because they were.

It's not just immigration that's "stealing" jobs, it's modernization, the end of the industrial age and people's (especially baby boomers) unwillingness to learn new skills.

I've never had a job longer than 18 months straight, went without health insurance most of my 20s and still don't have a normal, corporate job, but I pay my bills, didn't buy a house I couldn't afford and have minimal credit card debt.

I'm sorry the American Dream didn't work out for everyone, but the idea of a big house, 2-3 kids, an SUV, boat and blanket health insurance in exchange for pushing buttons 40-50 hours a week was no more than temporary.

The most successful cities now are ones that have open borders, trade and accept all kinds of lifestyles, from the KKK to gay couples.
The world changed while you had your heads down on the assembly line, people. Had you looked up once in a while, you may have noticed you were fueling the machine that ultimately led to your demise. While I don't fault you, as I know most of you were providing for people like me, there's just no way we can blame outsiders for this mess we're in.

People like me are willing to teach others, that's why I'm part of places like Gangplank. But we have to be met halfway.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Help Me Help Writers Get Published

Melissa Giovagnoli-Wilson, a colleague of mine during The Domino Project, is applying for a Grant for $250,000 being offered by Chase and Living Social. 

She will use the grant to provide affordable ongoing, high quality social media training and book publishing support to all--especially entrepreneurs, small businesses, senior citizen and students. 

Over the past 25 years she has donated thousands of dollars and thousands of hours to help professionals, entrepreneurs and young people from 12 to 29 get affordable social media and networking training. She has donated time and money to help groups like: the YMCA, YWCA, United Way, Scholarship Chicago, University of Dreams and dozens of young professionals. 

To be chosen as a finalist for it she must have 250 votes by June 30th 11:59pm EST. Will you please help? You need a Facebook account and then:

1. Go to: 
2. Go to the bottom on the right side and click on Sign in with Facebook if you have a Facebook account and if you don’t, click on LOGIN and SUPPORT 
3. In the window that appears where it says business name type in: Networlding Publishing. Please be sure to capitalize "N" in Networlding and the "P" in Publishing. 
4. The city is Chicago and the state is IL

Thanks in advance. Pass it on, please!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cities versus Suburbs Panel TONIGHT!

I'll be on a panel tonight discussing benefits of cities and suburbs and I'll be on the suburbs side (surprised? Me too).

Want to hear from talented architects, LEED-savvy designers, socialities and some loudmouth with a blog? See you at 1007 NW Grand Ave, Phoenix AZ 85007 at Edge Industries office.

We start at 6pm, and we'll go until we're all talked out.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Body Composition Challenge with Vin Vallejo of Pro Fitness AZ, Day 16

Day 16 of 60. Crap.

I'm currently on Day 3 of a four-day trip to Portland and I can't honestly say I have any real idea what my daily caloric count has been. While I have been using LoseIt every time I eat, the restaurants that I've eaten at don't have nutrition information, for I've done a lot of guessing. I also haven't been keeping track of my walking (estimated about 15-17 miles so far) because I've walked everywhere. Well, that is when I wasn't waiting at a bus stop shivering (that's exercise, right?).

But I'm not TOO worried. A long look in the mirror this morning made me feel a ton better, as when I stand up, I don't look nearly as overweight as I feel. My gut doesn't hang, my pecs don't sag (much) and my legs are muscly. All good things, yes?
Totally, until I remembered something about two kinds of fat, the kind that we see on potbellies that's outside our organs and the (sub-cutaneous?) stuff that's far more dangerous.

I have lots of that second kind, so while I may LOOK in shape when I stand up, a quick turn or bend over produces far more chub than I'd like. Right now I'm leaning back in my chair because I don't like my gut pressing against my belt buckle (though I don't have a cool LEGO belt buckle like Jason Newlin) and THAT'S what I want to lose.

God damn this apple pie is good. But I digress.

First weigh in is on Friday. I've ran two miles once and played tennis three times in the past two weeks, so I don't expect any muscle gain, but I bet I've lost a few pounds.

And I feel better. My pants fit better. My belt doesn't pinch as much. THAT'S the most important part.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tebow as Madden '13 cover boy?

As much as video game, movie and TV producers would like to believe they are a driving force behind pop culture, they are nothing of the sort. Each of the most popular ones, the ones that evens fan outside the genre respect (i.e.,I don't have to read all the Harry Potter novels to appreciate the impact and quality of the series), stand for something more.

Friends was about Gen X growing up in the perspective of how we all think they did.

Iron Man was a movie about how private war contractors know better than the public government.

Sports are about the endless struggle between the rich and the poor, only on the field/court/arena, the poor have somewhat of a chance.

Video games are a reflection of our inner-most desires and a portal into which we control our lives, in every relevant detail contextual to the game being played.

The best ones are art. The Wire is art. Tron is (visual) art. Madden is art.

Madden is like clockwork. Every year they release a slightly improved game incorporating the latest trends in both football and videos games. Its covers serves as awards to deserving players, those who are recognized by more than their number or position: it rewards the personalities.

You can't tell me that watching Tim Tebow isn't fun. You can't tell me that even non-football fans love a close game. You can't tell me that as annoying as tebowing is, it's the one thing I'll remember about this season. Hell, it's the one thing I'll remember about the NFL for the past few years.

What better honor could we bestow than featuring a tebowing Tim Tebow on the Madden '13 cover?
I'd buy it. Maybe play the game, too.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Body Composition Challenge with Vin Vallejo at Pro Fitness AZ, Day 10

I think I'm on Day 10. Either way, it's the middle of the second week and I still haven't exercised yet, unless you count the two, 30-ish minutes walks I took with the dog this week (I don't count those as real exercise for me).

Regardless, calorie counting as per Chubster's recommendation is going pretty well. Cool to realize how much I really put away per day, as well as finally understand how bad tortilla chips are for you. The cool thing about calorie counting is that I can eat ANYTHING, as long as I'm willing to count and accept it. I even had two cookies last night!

Oh, and marinated chicken is FANTASTIC. Katie has declared me to be the chicken preparer forever after I nailed the last two meals.

I realized yesterday that my snacking is more of a habit than a hunger thing (obvious, I know), which makes it easier to stop when I want to. Lots of water, lots of veggies and no microwave popcorn, except for the Tender White handfuls I shared with Katie and the Lewises last night.

Progress, yo.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Body Composition Challenge with Pro Fitness AZ, Day Whenever

Whatever I'm doing isn't working.
When people smoke too many cigarettes and want to stop, they can without long-term side effects.

When people find that alcohol is ruining their life, they can also stop without any long-term side effects.

I know, for me, that moderation for these kind of substances doesn't work. When I had one smoke, I wanted another. When I was kinda drunk, I wanted nothing more than to be drunker.

Now that I've given up both of those, my next task would seem easy. But try as I have thus far, losing weight if tough, but not for the reasons I thought.

You see, I eat pretty well. Turkey ham, spinach, egg whites and cottage cheese for breakfast, nuts for snacks, sugar-free jello for sweets, chicken breast with veggies for lunch, some air-popped popcorn for snacks. Limited soda (less than one per day) and zero bread, pasta or much of anything resembling heavy carbs.

My problem isn't WHAT I eat. It's how much. And I eat far, far too much.

Thanks to Martin Cizmar's Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool, I've finally figured out how many calories I burn just being alive and doing normal things like walking around. (just over 2500).
And with the Harris Benedict Equation, I've ascertained that most days, thanks to my physical activity, I burn between 2907 (1-3 days of weight lifting and running per week) and 3277 calories (3-5 days of exercise) per day.

In fact, for most of the past five months, I've burned right around 3100 calories per day while I trained for the Tough Mudder.

In that time, I've not gone down a pant size, noticed no difference in the size of my gut, still notice how large shirts are accentuate both my shoulders and belly and pray every morning before I look in the mirror that my pecs won't be saggy.

While I'm reasonably certain I HAVE gained some muscle (remember, it weighs more than fat), there's just no way someone with my level of physical activity should not steadily lose weight unless they were eating at least 3000 calories per day.

As much as I loathe to admit this, and those who know me will know why, Martin Cizmar is right. Calorie counting is absolutely the way to go here. Regardless of what I eat, I simply can't lose any fat unless I burn more than I take in.

Time to use the Lose It app for more than a day, even if it takes forever to log meals. I have to find out (I know microwave popcorn late at night and third helpings of quinoa, veggies and chicken are involved) where in the hell all these calories come from.

Also, I have a 17" neck. WTF, man.