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You know what’s hard to do? Write a book about boys and dating when you currently have no interest in boys or dating. I know, I know…I wrote an entire 40 episode web series on boys and dating. So…there’s that.

And I can’t really describe to you what’s changed. The fundamental paradigm shift that’s happened in my brain and body that led me from wanting love and marriage to wanting nothing to do with them. We’re definitely in uncharted territory over here.

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It’s a particularly difficult realization to come to. Finding out that a book consisting of all my funniest stories revolve around the men that I’m not with. The guys that I’ve kissed. The boys that I do not miss. Every time I sit down to write, I think to myself “Is my life all about boys? Is the sum of my life’s work, the roster of  dudes that I’ve been involved with one way or another?????” When I think about it, I make this face…

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And then this mentally happens….

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And before you know it I’m on a full-on shame spiral where I am left examining all past mistakes through a very judgmental microscope. It’s not pretty. No one wants to be around that level of Debbie Down. I don’t even want to be around me sometimes.

Here’s what I know…I left New York for a reason. It wasn’t where I needed to be anymore. And I’m the kind of person that has no problem changing my circumstance. When things go bad or are no longer healthy for me, I change them. I move or get a new job or join a gym or stop drinking soda. It’s often as simple as that. I moved because I wanted to be able to find someone and fall in love…that was the reason. That’s what I said in the last episode of my web series. Remember…

That was not the truth. I think I thought it was the truth at the time. Is truth a relative thing? It was true then, but it’s not true anymore. Does that make it a lie? Was I lying to myself when I said I just wanted to fall in love? Cause right now…I know that I don’t. It’s the last thing I want for my life. This messy existence I’m currently living, love would only make it messier, if that’s even possible. And I have plenty of tangible, understandable love from my family and my friends. But romantic love? No thanks.

No wonder I have writer’s block, since what I’ve given myself to write about are stories about something I no longer want. I still want to share my experiences with you, world. I want you to benefit from my experiences. To learn from my mistakes. To understand me better by understanding where I’ve been. But I’m having a hell of a time doing it. I’ll be lucky if I have any hair left for my picture in the book jacket…

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In the meantime, while I figure it all out, I’m going to attempt to return to the blog I love. The blog I have neglected lately. The blog I started long ago and often take for granted. This is my brain on blog so, read at your discretion. And if you choose to, thanks for coming along for the ride!!

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An Imminent Threat

There is an imminent threat facing our culture and indeed the very fabric of our lives. Is it global warming? Nope. Terrorism? Nuh-uh. Uncompromising Bipartisanism? Fuhgeddaboudit!

If Twitter is to be believed, and honestly…why wouldn’t it be, then the most imminent threat facing us today is the “spoiler.” Thousands abandoned social media in the days following the release of Star Wars VII in an effort to avoid being “spoiled.” I myself got vain threats of what would happen if I, who saw the movie on Thursday, were to spoil a single plot point or character arc. When new episodes of television air, people live tweet the show (myself included) causing others to run from all forms media till after watching. A single hashtag can blow up the delicate balance of a viewer’s enjoyment.

WARNING THERE ARE POP CULTURE SPOILERS AHEAD….TREAD CAREFULLY!! (see what I did there!!)

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I, myself, am a spoiler activist. I fight those who would attempt to spoil for another the crucial moments of a film as momentus as Star Wars!!! I actively delete comments in any thread I have control over that would attempt to do damage to another’s virgin ears. I am a champion of anyone who hasn’t seen a show or a movie yet but has interest in one day watching. I gingerly probe “Did you watch Game of Thrones last night” before blurting out “JON SNOW IS DEAD????” I blog with care, always making sure to warn of impending spoilers so no one is caught unawares. And yes, I do live tweet, but always using a hashtag so that it can easily be muted by anyone not watching the newest episode of Arrow in real time.

But not everyone cares so much about saving people from spoilers as I do. And I ask why? Why would you want to take the joy from another human being? Why would you want to watch the light go out of their eyes when you tell them that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time?? Do you also walk up to small children and tell them that Darth Vader is Luke’s father??

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world we live in, gentle reader. And I urge you to take a stand against the spoilers of the world. They will not prevail. If you’re interested in doing more to protect the unspoiled and thus bring balance to our very universe, here are some simple steps to take.

Step 1. Check Before You Wreck

Asking a few simple questions around the water cooler, the morning after a big show premier or episode, can help you gauge whether or not people were able to catch it. Try saying “Hey guys, did anyone watch that Sherlock Christmas Episode last night? Or try this “Yo, office friends, where my Whovians at?” (Ok don’t try that one. That one will get you beat up and possibly fired.) But you see where I’m going with this. Checking first will show your friends and colleagues that you care about them. That you don’t want them to be spoiled and further more, that you are indeed a friend to the unspoiled everywhere.

Step 2. Fire a Warning Shot 

Bloggers, tweeters, and the social media savvy have a responsibility to give fair warning before blurting out something like “SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE OUT OF PEOPLE.” or “THERE IS NO TYLER DURDEN!!” (Though if you haven’t seen Fight Club by now…shame upon your house.) A simple “Spoiler Alert” will give everyone the chance to abandon ship before reading something they aren’t ready to read. And isn’t that what life is all about in the end? Protecting the innocent. Saving hearts and minds everywhere from exciting and unforseen plot twists?

Step 3. Simply Keep It Shut

No one knows the excitement of discovering those twists and turns that surprising television shows and movies have to offer our minds, like I do. I watch so many shows I can hardly keep up. And I’ve now officially seen Star Wars The Force Awakens in theaters 6 times, so yeah…I like movies too. But when all else fails and people aren’t watching what you’re watching you have two options. You can just go ahead and burn the bridges or you can simply keep your mouth shut. It’s the hardest thing to do when all you want is chat to about your favorite characters, couples, etc. I mean…I came late to the Game of Thrones party so I knew that Ned was gonna lose his head. (rhyming doesn’t make it hurt any less.) But I knew there were even later comers than me. And did I run up and tell them what was to come? No. I let them find out and find their own ways to mourn. That is the right of every human being on this planet. Don’t take that away.!!

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So…what can you do if you want to talk about plot points and spoilers without ruining the lives of your fellow man. I have the answers for you!

1. Facebook Groups are Your Friends

Or rather, Facebook groups can be a place where you can talk openly with your friends. In the wake of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, all I wanted to do was talk about Rey’s suspected parentage, Luke’s appearance and of course, Han’s death. But I also didn’t want to spoil. So a few of my nerdy pals started a group where we have been chatting in private about all turn of events ever since. And it has been wonderful. A safe place. A haven. A place where we could continue to protect those who haven’t seen. Because we care!

2. Real Life Still Exists

I know we live in a virtual world these days. I’m only able to communicate with most of my dearest friends over the phone, chat and social media. But I assure you, the real life sit down still exists. Phone a friend and take them to lunch so you know that you are speaking to someone who won’t be offended by your spoilers. Though it might be courteous to make a general announcement in the restaurant so those sitting around you aren’t in any danger.

3. Journaling Helps

My blog has long been a source of comfort and relief in the wake of a devastating series finale or a movie release like Star Wars. And again, as long as you give fair warning, then all that is said becomes fair game. And others who are in the same boat as you are can feel free to connect. You may even make a new friend. Isn’t that what life is all about? Making new friends because of shared commonality!

We’re all nerds! Everyone on this planet. Don’t let anyone tell you different. So choose to protect your fellow nerd. Go forth and don’t spoil it!!!

#AvengerinTraining – Hulk Week

Hitting Stride

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

In Week 2 I really felt like I was in the zone. My morning runs were really strong. And coming out of Iron Man week I was ready for the next challenges. The foods I ate during Iron Man week really helped me reboot my eating habits and eat clean and healthier meals! Heading into week 2 it was time to up the ante. Check out the plan for Hulk Week below:

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Week 2: Hulk Week

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Artwork by Blule

The next Avenger to be introduced to the franchise was, The Hulk. After an accident in the lab and exposure to toxic amounts of Gamma radiation, mild-mannered scientist, Bruce Banner, was transformed into the green behemoth known as The Hulk. When angered Bruce goes green and starts smashing.

Originally played by Edward Norton, the role of the Hulk was recast for The Avengers. Mark Ruffalo took over the role. Obviously the muscle mass that The Hulk has onscreen is a creation of the magicians of the CGI department at Marvel. Ruffalo himself did do some training for the role, but maintained a scientists’ physique. He also reportedly gave up meat and dairy to prepare for the role of The Hulk. Read Mark’s interview with Paste Magazine here. And check out The Incredible Hulk fitness plan from MensFitness.com which is where I got some inspiration for this week’s plan.

Movies

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Again, Avengers and Age of Ultron are on the list for the obvious reasons. I also watched The Incredible Hulk for inspiration, which is the least successful movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I actually really like it. And I think Norton makes an excellent Hulk! (I tried to watch Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’… but that was a mistake. It’s a really terrible movie.) Besides the Avengers, there’s another group of super beings that might be able to relate to Hulk’s mutation…the X-Men. X-Men 1 and 2 are both great films and keep with the theme of being a little different than the average human. And then I added Fight Club to the list for good measure because 1: it has Edward Norton so…there’s that. and 2: it’s just a really phenomenal movie.

Music

This list is comprised of music from The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers as well as music that reminded me of the Hulk. Anything to get me in the mindset while pumping iron every morning. Hope you pump up the jam with this playlist!

Meals

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For Hulk week’s meal planning, I took a lot of suggestions from The Incredible Hulk fitness plan from MuscleandFitness.com and just tweaked it by removing dairy and meat from the list. A lot of greens (obviously) but mixed with some of the leftover items from Iron Man week, it made for a great week of eating!

Weekly Workout Challenge

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: Dumbbell Chest Presses and Flys (2 sets of 15)

Day 2: Dumbbell Chest Presses and Flys (2 sets of 25)

Day 3: Rest Day

Day 4: Standing Shoulder Presses and Arm Curls (2 sets of 15)

Day 5: Standing Shoulder Presses and Arm Curls (2 sets of 25)

Day 6: Chest Flys, Dumbbell Chest Presses, Standing Shoulder Presses, Arm Curls (15 reps)

Day 7: Chest Flys, Dumbbell Chest Presses, Standing Shoulder Presses, Arm Curls (25 reps)

Remember to add in Day 7 (2 sets of Full Front Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)) from Iron Man week before each day’s challenge in Hulk Week. We are building up to a full body workout by the time we hit the end of the 6 weeks.

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Extra Credit

Here are the extra classes I took for Hulk Week to keep thinking Hulk-y thoughts:

Cycling @ Monster Cycle

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Photo from Monster Cycle

This is a relatively new cycling studio in Manhattan. Right off the bat I was told that this was different than any cycling class I had previously took, but most specifically from Soul Cycle (which I told them I was used to doing.) Monster has great music, good energy and no tap backs. I have to be honest and tell you that Soul Cycle is my jam. But Monster was definitely my jelly!! I really enjoyed this class. And their first time rate is only $13, while their single class rate is $33. Definitely a class worth trying!

Yoga @ LuluLemon

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Photo from LuluLemon

I chose to do yoga for Hulk week because keeping the heart rate in check is one of the ways that Edward Norton’s Banner keeps from transforming into The Hulk. Every Sunday at stores around the country, Lululemon closes down it’s shop and makes room for the yoga mats. They offer free yoga in their stores and even provide mats if you need one. It’s a wonderful, free weekly workout and they feature different instructors from local yoga studios each week. So you can get a sneak preview of different studios in case you are looking for more than just once a week. The instructor I took from during Hulk week came from Jivamukti Yoga and it was a really amazing practice! I have never been able to do a full bridge, and the instructor really pulled me out of my comfort zone…literally!!

Stay tuned for the following Avengers: Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America. And check out Iron Man week if you missed it.

Make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc! And let me know if you join my Avenger in training revolution. It is really transforming me and I hope it can do the same for you!

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Photo by Cristina Fowler