Duck-avoiding season. (Mild-mini-rant: annoying commercial.)

I’m usually not one to complain about commercials. I don’t see too many, for one thing. I only see commercials online, as I don’t watch actual television. For another thing, most commercials are annoying; that’s par for the course. Insurance company AFLAC, though, has come up with several commercials that deserve mention.

They’ve got this duck.

YouTube’s commercial rotation at the moment includes AFLAC’s. If you’re not familiar with these commercials, I envy you.

In case you didn’t know, AFLAC’s commercials currently feature a duck whose gimmick is to appear suddenly near a person who’s minding their own business. To announce his entrance, the duck quacks… but he doesn’t say “quack” like ducks are supposed to say (according to the old guy on the farm). He says: “AFLAC!”

His squawk comes out nasally because the first “A” is pronounced like the “a” in “cat.” The second “A” does, too. The company’s name rhymes with “quack,” which probably inspired the ad campaign that spawned the duck. I’m assuming that the AFLAC! squawk is meant to be a mating call to attract insurance buyers.

I’m not sure what the company’s name means, by the way. I haven’t looked it up. It may be an acronym. Actually, it reminds me of text/internet-speak, like ROTFL. “AFLAC” should stand for Abstain From Loud Annoying Commercials. AFLAC!!!!

I would insert one of the commercials here for your reference, but I’m not that mean.

It’s a hazard, this commercial. I cringe at the idea of this duck every time I click on a YouTube video. My guard is usually down, so I end up scrambling to mute the commercial before it gets to the part with the duck. Each commercial features two duck appearances. In the space of 20 or so seconds, avoiding the duck’s nasally call is my whole mission in life.

Of course, I worsened the situation for myself by sharing my grievance with Callaghan. I should’ve known better. His new favorite way to amuse himself is to squawk AFLAC! in my face. When I asked him (as I was writing this post) how many times the duck says AFLAC! in each commercial, he said, “I don’t know. You have to find one and watch the whole thing… with the sound on.”

 

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Plague season is afoot. (ZOMBIE ALERT.)

There’s a zombie plague going around. A friend of mine texted me yesterday. She wasn’t feeling well.

Lest you think I’d seize anyone’s plight with the pull of my easily entertained mind, I do believe that she’s talking about zombies. I worry that she may be infected, so I feel it’s my moral obligation to let you know.

I’m assuming it’s zombies we’re dealing with here. She said there was a plague. She said, “I can feel something trying to get me.” She also said she was in a meatlocker, that she and her co-workers were discussing inhaling ocean water and roasting goats, and that shower curtains are better than tarps for body disposal. ALSO, she said that “the name of the day is Rudecinda.”

What would you assume? ZOMBIES. Obviously, my friend had a run-in with a zombie called “Rudecinda.”

(Also, the zombie outbreak was triggered by the rain because it was raining yesterday and she said that she couldn’t go out in it.)

This is serious. This is the girl who stands in front of me in Saturday morning Body Pump, and we’re always next to each other in Body Combat. We’re in close proximity at least once a week, on average… and we’re sweating. (Sweating BUCKETS in the case of Combat. Last night I left class looking like I’d showered fully dressed.)

I thought it was especially considerate of her to stay home and keep her “plague” to herself, though I do worry for her, as I’d said.

I used to be well-prepared for the zombie apocalypse. That particular disaster fell off my priority list as other heinous threats crept upward. But when I had lunch with a different friend a few weeks ago, we talked briefly about our zombie apocalypse-preparedness statuses when she asked me about the survival bag I was carrying. I realized that I was indeed carrying the latest iteration of my zombie apocalypse bag. On some level, I must have sensed that we were on the threshold of another outbreak. Yes, I told her… this bag does have in case of Z.A. cred.

Not long after that lunch date, Callaghan suggested we watch a certain movie on Netflix. His film selection was totally random. We didn’t know what it was about. All we knew was that it was horror, and it involved people trying to escape a plague. The plague turned out to be… zombies.

Then the third thing happened: my friend’s text yesterday.

Coincidence? I think not.

As always, when the question is the plague, the answer is zombies. I know what you’re thinking. All I have to say about that is that the only thing worse than a zombie is a zombie infected with ebola.

Honestly? A zombie in good health is hilarious to me, not scary. I just wouldn’t want to be near one or to be one.

ANYWAY, in explaining my friend’s absence, I let our Body Combat instructor know about the plague. I didn’t tell her that the plague was of a zomboid nature, though. I would only tell Les Mills instructors that it’s zombies if I thought that they (the instructors) were imperiled. I wouldn’t want the instructors to stop coming to class.

On my part, I definitely need to keep up with my cardio in these dangerous times. So do you. Let’s not forget that Rule Number One of Zombieland is “Cardio.”

 

 

And you know there’s no better cardio for zombie preparedness than cardio kickboxing.

~~~~~

Unrelated sidenote: how is it that “adorbs” now appears in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, but “meatlocker” does not? Merriam-Webster, we need to have a word. Pun not intended.

Side-sidenote: I hated to confirm that MW added “adorbs” to their dictionary. I didn’t want to go there, but in the end, I couldn’t resist. The vocabulary trainwreck is real, guys. ADORBS.

 

 

NO SUMO CAT. (Also, garage gym. And Body Pump.)

We’ve been watching the September Grand Sumo Tournament Highlights, and once again, Nenette spends the first few bouts glaring at us before leaving the room. With this behavior repeated day after day, tournament after tournament, she has formed a clear pattern and sends an undeniable message. Nenette hates sumo.

Does she really hate it, though? Maybe she’s bristling at the volume and frequency of our shouting while watching it. Or maybe she dislikes the Japanese language… we do a lot of our shouting in Japanese, because we shout the  wrestlers’ names, all of which are Japanese – including the wrestlers who aren’t Japanese. We also say the names of the winning moves. And the wrestlers’ ranks. Anyway, it’s hard to say which part of the equation she hates. Maybe she’s bothered by all of the above.

 

No sumo.

 

Speaking of combat sports, the seasons are changing, and the garage gym will soon be usable again. Measures have to be taken first: fall cleaning. The mess in there! Thick layers of dust coat the floor mats and the equipment, and somehow, there are piles of mesquite pods festooning the whole place, even the far inside corners. Monsoon season did a number on the garage this year… with the garage door closed. The mysteries of life, I’m telling you.

Now my thoughts segue into my gym workouts. Of course!

Let’s talk about Body Pump 107. I did this latest workout release for the second time on Saturday, and I have an idea of what not to do. I should not spend the entire back track fixated on the lone dumbbell sitting in the corner in front of the person in front of me. No matter how confused I am that my weights seem to be too light, I should not obsess over the dumbbell in the corner.

Here were the thoughts racing through my mind during the back track:

  • I think I’m doing this right, but how can I be when the dumbbell feels so light?
  • I’m doing something wrong. I’m not working my back at all.
  • Now I’m really not working my back, because I wasn’t focusing on the weird new moves in this weird new routine. Pay attention.
  • Is that dumbbell in the corner Jessica’s? Would she mind if I were to run up and grab it?
  • What is that dumbbell, anyway… is it a 12.5? A 15? It must be one or the other, because the 10 lb one is green.
  • Is it blue, or is it purple?
  • Whatever it is, I should go grab it.
  • No, I should not.
  • Clean and presses. Why is my bar-weight also too easy? I’m back to my original bar-weight, which is an increase from what I’d been using.
  • Maybe it feels light because I missed both Wednesday and Thursday’s workouts.
  • Should I try to increase my back weights next Saturday?
  • Did my back weights feel too light last Saturday?
  • Will I regret increasing my back weights on Saturday if I make it to all of my workouts next week and my muscles aren’t as rested?
  • Ten clean and presses in a row, though. I might regret increasing my weight.
  • But it’s not challenging at all!
  • Maybe it’s not challenging today, but it will be next week at the same weight.
  • I’m thinking in circles.
  • I’m thinking too much.
  • Is anyone else obsessing over their back weights in this release?
  • The back track is over, and I didn’t work my back. The weights felt too light. I kept messing up due to distraction. My mind wasn’t integrated with my muscles.
  • Maybe my weights felt too light because I did everything wrong.
  • I cheated myself out of a decent back workout.

Welcome to my brain.

 

ACV: my odd addiction.

In today’s episode of personal trivia extraordinaire, I’m sharing my odd addiction. If you already know about this, you’re reading an update: I’m still hooked.

The thing itself isn’t odd. What’s odd is that I’m hooked on something I don’t even really like. That’s how you know it’s an addiction, I guess, sometimes. Right? Low-key, I mean. Obviously I’m not going to land in rehab if I quit drinking…

apple cider vinegar.

 

Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Today, after polishing off yet another bottle of ACV, I cracked open a new one (see pic) and found myself wondering again how I managed to get hooked on something that tastes… weird. To me. It tastes weird, and it is weird: I don’t like this stuff, but I love it.

I first tried ACV in October 2016, and I’ve had it every day since. It’s now been two years.

It’s refreshing, though! methinks. It somehow makes cold water seem colder. I feel like it helps me to digest, like it’s cleansing in my stomach somehow (upper-G.I., not lower).

There are claims that ACV is a health miracle in a bottle. There are claims that ACV is terrible for you. I’m just sitting here in the middle of the debate going how is it that I’m running low again? Must get more.

Two large spoonfuls a day. Two years. Countless bottles. I actually wouldn’t mind owning stock in Bragg. (I once tried a garden-variety ACV, and it wasn’t the same. I couldn’t do it.)

Panacea in a bottle, I don’t know. Message in a bottle, maybe. If I’m going to have an addiction to a beverage, then this is a good one. At least I can still drive after drinking it.

 

 

“Limitlessness not one to bode well.” (Life trivia post!)

The quoted title is a line from the poem I’m currently writing. It’s one of the more positive of the lines that can stand apart from the narrative. In other words, I’m writing a narrative poem, and not of the frolicking bunnies variety.

That aside… well! Today I’ve got a post of randomness, more like life trivia than life updates. For those of you interested in the banal details that may festoon one’s experience at any given time, keep reading. Assorted little life “things” ahoy.

Thing one (the frivolous): We’ve officially joined the widening band of Ozark orphans screaming waiting for Season 3. Netflix has us by the throats.

Thing two (the anticipated): American Horror Story: Apocalypse starts this Wednesday! I’ve been watching the trailer on repeat (thank you, dear friend who sent it to me). Looks like Season 8’s a trip, and I’m already on it.

 

 

I. Am. Dying. For. This.

Thing three (the WTF): It’s planner-hunting season. At Target on Sunday I looked for the 2019 edition of my favorite planner, and I was left with questions: I found a shelf holding 2016 editions. Maybe there were some leftovers in the back and an employee didn’t look to see that they said 2016 rather than 2019 – ?

 

2016 planner found at Target in September 2018

 

I didn’t ask or notify anyone at Target about this, but on second thought, I think I will.

Thing four (the happy): Still, the sight of Geronimo provides a powerful dose of happiness. It just never fails. If I’m in an other-than-great mood – whatever it may be – it’s eradicated at first glimpse of that adorable, tortoisey face. Our little guy is definitely the greatest therapy the desert has to offer! (I’ll post a proper Geronimo update after his pre-hibernation exam that’s scheduled for 9/31!)

 

Greeting dew-dampened Geronimo at dawn

 

Thing five (the triumph): We had an interesting Body Pump sub experience on Saturday. I surprised myself, too: she chose one of the more challenging back tracks I’ve done, and I recklessly racked up my before-tennis-elbow weight and got through it, thus vanquishing the pesky mental block that somehow came between me and my former bar-weight. I figure if I can do that back track (#101, I believe) at my former bar-weight, then I can do any back track at that weight.

Thing six (the amusing): Fall semester has started. The house next door no longer belongs to the fraternity, but the current batch of ASU students in there throws much louder parties. They make the bros look tame. We still don’t mind the parties, but the idea of it amuses us.

That’s all for today! I hope your week is going swimmingly. (I mean it, but I also just wanted to use that word.)

 

So we waited. (August Favorites!)

Hello, my friends. I don’t know about you, but this week has wrung me out in pretty much every way. I’m glad to be here talking to you for the second time this week – that means it’s Thursday, aka Friday Eve, aka within sight of the decompression zone. As a writer, I work at home on and off 24/7, but the weekend is still the weekend in that I usually have nothing obligatory going on.

Are we ready for some monthly favorites now that we’ve arrived at the second week of September? This time around, I present a movie, three T.V. series (one American, two French), a breakfast bar, a pasta, and three Pacifica products (all vegan and cruelty-free).

Also, I’m including my favorite person-discovery of the month, as I did last month with Karl the Fog on Twitter. I’m thinking I want to make this a mainstay of my “favorites” lists. If I stumble upon a personality that captures my interest, why not share, right?

Okay, then… let’s get into these delightful “little things” that came to my attention in August. Some of them I may have known in the past, but if they’re just now on the list, that means I’ve really gotten into them.

Ahem…

 

1). BlackKklansman (film)

 

 

Our date nights are few and far between these days – to the point where a “movie in a movie theater at night” is a big event. (We go to the movies infrequently as it is, and we almost always prefer to go in the mornings or afternoons to catch a matinee.) Thus, it’s a huge plus if we really, actually like the movie we choose on these rare evening occasions!

We had such a date night in August, I’m happy to say. We went down to Alamo Drafthouse to watch the dramedy BlackKklansman, and we were not disappointed.

(Also, when Denzel’s son opens his mouth, he sounds almost exactly like Denzel, in my opinion. He inherited his father’s talent, too.)

You might also enjoy this film telling the true story of a black cop who, with the help of a Jewish cop, manages to join the KKK. Dramedy, as I said.

 

2). Better Call Saul (TV-14 AMC)

 

 

Better Call Saul is back for season 4, and we’re all in!

 

3). Les Témoins (Netflix)

 

 

We continue to find and plow through French T.V. series on our streaming services. Netflix International is a beautiful thing.

 

4). Engrenages (Netflix)

 

 

We’d just started watching this French series when Netflix dropped Ozark season 2. We’ll see you on the flip side, Engrenages! (You can just assume that you’ll see Ozark on my September Favorites list.) In all seriousness, though, Engrenages looks to be unfolding in promising ways.

 

5). KIND Peanut Butter Breakfast Bar.

 

KIND Peanut Butter Breakfast Bar

 

My fellow Americans: this breakfast bar tastes like Nutter Butter Peanut Butter cookies, and I felt that it was my duty to bring it to your attention. The bars contain more sugar than I like to eat, but I don’t eat them every day, and their macronutrient panel looks good. It’s only vegan-friendly if you’re a honey-eating vegan, though. (I’m a mostly non-honey-eating vegan. There are exceptions. Like these bars.)

 

6). Delverde Wholewheat Organic pasta.

 

 

Pasta is my favorite food. Since I discovered Delverde’s whole wheat pastas, I’ve been eating it nearly every day… that’s no exaggeration. Also, I eat more than the serving size (kind of a lot more). I will never willingly go back to any other brand of pasta if I can get my hands on this one. I’m not sure how Delverde manages to make their pastas so exceptional, especially since they contain only the same two ingredients as many pastas: 100% organic whole durum (wheat) semolina and water. However they do it, this is the pasta.

 

7). Pacifica Coconut Milk & Essential Oils Underarm Deodorant Wipes.

 

Pacifica Coconut Milk & Essential Oils Underarm Deodorant Wipes

 

You know those mornings you go to the gym and you didn’t break that much of a sweat and life happens and you don’t make it into the shower but you can wash your face and freshen up a little? Pacifica has changed the “freshen up a little” game with these underarm deodorant wipes. They’re inexplicably effective. They cleanse and refresh, and they can actually take the place of deodorant. I can’t explain it. Just try it.

 

8). Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Mask.

 

Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Mask

 

Acure DISCONTINUED my holy grail overnight mask, so in August – after I used up the last of my Wonderfluff stockpile – I went on the hunt for another one. I ended up a fan of Pacifica’s Wake Up Beautiful Mask. I say “end up” because I didn’t like it at first. I tried it, didn’t like its scent, decided it was awful, and exiled it to my box of Women’s Shelter donations. After failing to find a cruelty-free overnight mask that worked for me, I gave Pacifica’s another try. For some reason, it didn’t bother me at all the second time. I love it.

 

9). Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream.

 

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream

 

For make-up, I’ve been wearing this wonderful preparation on my face instead of foundation. I used to only use BB creams; I don’t know what happened to that. I got away from it somehow. Now I’m back, because this one from Pacifica is amazing.

 

10). Ask a Mortician (YouTube channel).

 

Meet my favorite internet-person find of the month: mortician Caitlin Doughty, whose YouTube channel “Ask a Mortician” has become somewhat of an obsession of mine.

Be careful when you click on her videos, though… remember that what has been heard cannot be unheard. I watched her “Ask a Mortician – Worst Way to Die?” video, and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover.

Caitlin has authored several books, and she also runs The Order of the Good Death, whose website also has serious rabbit-hole potential. If you’re as fascinated with death, the macabre, and the funeral industry as I am, you’re going to love this woman. If you’re not, you may still love Caitlin and her videos. She’s awesome. You’ll learn a lot. You’ll realize that there is, in fact, a need for death-acceptance (and the re-thinking of death, in general) in western society. Did you know that there are Death Doulas? I didn’t. I’m glad that I know it now!

 

All I can say to wrap up this post is “The End.” I’m out of time over here! Have a great weekend, All.

 

 

Fitness goal progress… small, but still progress. (+ shorter hair!)

The thing about this Tuesday/Thursday blog schedule is that I go to the gym those mornings, so when I get home and sit down at my desk, I’m still thinking about the workout.

It’s 7pm now and I just got home after being out for a few hours, but this is what I wrote after the gym this morning, for anyone interested:

(Since I wrote about Body Pump last week, I figured, why not?)

The leg track we did in class this morning was a fabulous confidence-booster! It involved just a pulse/single squats combo.* (Everything in the leg track is squats.) Pulses are always easier… unless they’re in sets of 16, that is… but today, I managed to do them deeper than before, proving to myself that I can stay down there at the bottom of the squat for every rep. This felt like a great step toward my goal of conquering the slower bottom-half squats so I can increase my leg-weight. Go me.

Goals, right?!

Thank you to all of you virtual and in-person gym buddies and instructors who inspire and motivate me!

*I’m talking about the leg track from #100, and I’m sorry if this makes no sense because you’re not familiar with Les Mills Body Pump. CliffsNotes version: I was more mindful than usual during my workout this morning, and it was awesome.

In other news, I got my hair cut short:

 

The hair, it had to go. (4 Sept. 2018)

 

On a final note, I’m sorry that this is all I’ve got for today. August Favorites coming Thursday!