Exercise combating anxiety

I recently read an article about Panic/Anxiety  issues that was posted on July 12, 2011 by the Stone Hearth News.  It was titled “Panic, related disorders may be lessened with physical activity:  new study”.  The quick and dirty of the article was basically that a person’s sensitivity to anxiety/panic attack triggers can be lessened with exercise.  Obviously, those with higher anxiety sensitivity have an elevated risk of experiencing an  anxiety or panic attack.  The article goes on to talk about carbon dioxide enriched air being introduced to exerciser and non-exercisers and how the exerciser were less likely to report increased levels of anxiety.  I didn’t really buy that part of the article, but that really isn’t my purpose here.

Being an exerciser and a sufferer of anxiety related issues (mostly behind me now), I agree whole heartedly that exercise will reduce anxiety issues.  My anxiety peaked in my early twenties and was debilitating to the extent that I truly thought that I was going to have a break down.  After going to the doctor and being prescribed Zoloft, Lorazapam, and Ambien, and taking the meds for a couple of weeks,  I decided that chemical medication was NOT the route I was going to take.  It was awful.  I slept about 2 hours a night if I didn’t take the Ambien.  If I did take the Ambien I was freaking zombie.  I would do all kinds of things in my sleep (including driving my car) and have no recollection of it in the morning.  Crazy, scary stuff.  The Lorazapam just gave me the Jeff Spicoli mashed potato head and rendered me useless.  So, with this new found motivation to work things out on my own, plus the understanding that I was not in fact going nuts,  I started exercising and paying attention to what triggered my anxiety and slowly but surely I have gotten a pretty good hold of things.

The number one thing I noticed was that exercising increased my self-confidence.  Fear of the uncertain played a large role in my attacks.  I was hesitant to step outside my comfort zone, meet new people, and try new things.  I didn’t want to appear awkward or uncomfortable so when I felt that way, the cycle would begin.  As my exercise routine began to progress and goals were accomplished and replaced with new ones, I started to notice that my interaction level with strangers began to increase.  All unfamiliar circumstances were less intimidating and I knew that I could handle any situation I was put in.  This positive cycle began to replace the old negative one.  As I handled more and more uncertain circumstances, the more confident I became and the more uncertainty I would take on.

I believe there are several other factors that come into play here as well, such as the decrease self-consciousness about my body and chemical reactions in the brain as endorphins (natures anti-depressant) are released but I don’t see the need to make this any longer than it has to be.  It was all kinda summed up for a couple years ago with a Mark Rippetoe quote, “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.”  I’m no Rip disciple, but he certainly knows his niche and this quote really rang true when I think back about why I was having problems back then and how far I’ve come.



Dogmatic Fitness

Lately it seems that I’ve noticed more and more dogmatic viewpoints.  And in all sorts of fields too so it got me thinking.  Is this good or bad or neither or both?  With an extremely divisive election coming soon, it’s no surprise that all the sides are putting their opinion out there to be heard.  Religion is probably even better known than politics for its dogmatic thinking but I’ll leave both of those subjects alone for the purposes of this post.  Music is fun place to study this phenomenon as well, but the one that has really caught my eye was the dogmatic thinking in the exercise industry.  This thought that there is only one way to train and if you don’t train according to the parameters set forth by a certain “guru” then you are spinning your wheels, doomed to never lose the weight and get stronger.  Doomed to be “skinny fat”.  Doomed to live a life without the abzz and never taste the sweet life that comes with them.

So, I ask, this way of thinking is terrible right?  The mind is like a parachute and will only work when it’s open right?  My answer?  My favorite answer to any question if I can get away with it?…Maybe.  Possibly.  Sometimes.

Off the cuff and without any investigation I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to agree that an open mind is the better option.  But after thinking a tick, and examining my own way of looking at things in terms of tendencies to be dogmatic and open minded, there are pros and cons to both approaches.

When people are overly open minded they can come off as an indecisive, wish-washy, flip-flopper.  They are easily misdirected, gullible, and susceptible to half-truths.  In relation to fitness, their inconsistency and lack of conviction keeps them from making any real gains because they never 100% commit to any program long enough to see the full potential of that program.  Much like the guy who takes up snowboarding, then fly-fishing, then kayaking, then rock-climbing. He’ll be able to speak from experience on all these subjects, but if the conversation gets past the beginner stages (much less a Mt. Hood black diamond slope or class 5 route up El Capitan), he’ll have to bow out.  An approach to exercise in this manner usually leads to a lack of results and soon thereafter quitting.

The flip side of the coin is the dogmatic view of exercise.  When people are overly dogmatic and mistake it as spreading their “passion”, it causes them to come off as unintelligent, obnoxious, intolerant, and it causes people to not take them seriously.  If, however, a person will identify their own goals and become passionate about view their own exercise only, they will to be more focused.  The type of workout they choose will be tailored to their goals and begin to define them as a person.  This “hobby” of exercise will soon become less of pastime and more a way of life.  People with this sort of attitude are known as someone with “follow through” and “dedication”.

The pros of an open mind are many and well known as most of us have been taught why we should have one by various people throughout our lives.  An open mind leads to empathy and learning.  The value of an open mind cannot be overstated but one has to learn how to filter and focus.

When dealing with exercise it is imperative to take stock of where you are now where you want be.  Set clearly defined and measureable goals that you’ve actually thought about and came up with yourself.  Read about different routines, strategies, and justification and see what appeals to you.   Don’t be afraid to make a decision that will possibly alienate someone who thinks differently or is afraid to leave their comfort zone.  Don’t be afraid to learn or think for yourself.  After you’ve completed a few professionally written routines, take what you like them and make create your own Frankenstein.  Don’t dismiss everything your teachers and trainers told you, but don’t think it’s authority beyond question either.  Take what you “know” right now and experiment with it, mold it, and make it your own.



Quick Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Title says it all.  After a LONG (seems longer than 4 days) weekend of too much food, too much beer, not enough sleep, and zero productivity, I’ve got to get back on the rails this morning.  I’m thinking a little recap might get me in a good frame of mind.

The LONG (did I mention it seemed longer than 4 days) weekend was fantastic.  I got to hang out with family and catch up with friends that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.  Bouncing around and couch surfing during the holidays is an awesome way to see everyone in their natural habitat.  Being the last un-attached guy in my group of friends, this makes me feel like Jane Goodall and always reminds me of why I am still single.  I’m glad all my friends are happy, but that is just not the life for me.  The wives, the kids, the in-laws, and all the recreational responsibilityes that come along with those things would be more than I could handle.  I DO love all my friends kids and they always have a big smile for me when they find me crashed among their toys on those random mornings.  The wives, on the other hand, will usually tolerate it.  I try to buy or cook breakfast in an attempt to earn my keep.

The weather was great and allowed for a couple of rounds of golf.  One comeback from 8 pts down to force a tie in a low ball / low total team match and the other was a lazy, no score keeping round with my dad and his buddy while listening to football on the radio.  More than likely the last days on the course of 2011.

I’m scared to even see how much money I spent b/c I know I have nothing to show it for but wallet full of receipts.  High test IPAs and other asset free spending add up in a hurry.

My workout this afternoon is going to be brutal and I’m sure and work will drag for another six hours until I can can even get that far. But, that is all for the negatives this morning.  I couldn’t ask for a better time and I look forward to doing again in a month.  Until then, I’ve got to “do work”.  Plenty of things to handle before then.


Reflections on the Turtle Man and other television outliers

I happened to catch my first episode of “Call of the Wildman” the other night and I’ve had a few conversations about it since.  Some people really liked the show and how Ernie Brown is portrayed.  It turned some people off and they felt sorry for Ernie and felt he was being exploited.  It upset others still and they felt sorry for themselves.  The show seemed to be more polarizing than it should have been at first glance and it got me thinking.  For anyone who hasn’t seen this show, here is a little taste.

So I did some digging around, read some background information and ultimately came across this blog entry by from Urocyon which I enjoyed quite a bit.  (Sorry for the long link.  Apparently I’m not smart enough to link it with a title).  http://urocyon.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/the-kentucky-turtle-man-and-internalized-racism/

After reading Urocyon’s post, I have to admit, that I too had some of the initial feelings of “making us” look bad.  In my case, I refer to “us” as Kentuckians.  I am a city-boy by KY standards growing up in a town of 60 thousand.  I’m also well-travelled enough to have heard the stereotypical comments from people on both coasts and many spots in between.  It’s all in good fun and I normally don’t take myself very seriously, so I never thought much of it.  In fact, I normally just return volley with a stereotype of mine own regarding their geographic origins or ethnicity or religion or whatever and we all have a good laugh…..But, I’m getting off task as that’s not entirely my point.

What I’m driving at is, why do you think television airs these types of programs?  There is “Swamp People” which I believe airs on the Discovery Channel and “Jesco the Dancin Outlaw” who has videos out and even tours the country playing different venues.  If you don’t know Jesco, here is some of his stuff.

Obviously they produce these kind of shows to make money.  That ain’t no kinda answer.  But I’d like to be a fly on the wall to see if they are they making them to inform?  Are they making them to laugh at or maybe withIs Ernie Brown being exploited or is he laughing all the way the bank?

What do you think?

NFL Week #10 Picks

The NFL money-grab, Thursday Night Football games are starting up this week throwing a wrench into everyone’s fantasy and gambling routines along with making players, coaches and scouts, work on short rest.  All of that could actually be forgiven if it wasn’t for the wretched production and talent on the NFL channel.  The pregame crew still hasn’t figured out which camera to look into or when to start/stop talking after what, 6 years?  What happened when you left the Mothership Eisen?  The in-game guys sound like they are broadcasting from the hotel bathroom while watching another feed and then some graphic comes on the screen and the sound blows your beer off the coffee table like and old Maxell commercial.  Remember that game when there was no announcing at all?  Just the faint sounds of the game coming from the field mics?  Wasn’t so bad now that I think back.  [rant/]

Now that that’s over, I’m just going to post Thursday’s game first and come back and pick the rest later.

Oakland vs San Diego

You may not know this, but this game is kind of big deal.  The Raiders and Chargers are tied along with Kansas City at the top of the AFC West so the winner will gain a 1/2 game on KC and full game on the loser.  The line is Chargers -7 right now.  Rivers hasn’t had the best year so far in 2011 but I still have to give him the edge over Palmer who is obviously still knocking off some rust.  Add to that, the fact that Philip Rivers has a history of playing well in games that aren’t played on Sunday or Monday and Oakland has completely forgotten about Heyward-Bay lately and you get the Chargers winning by more than the needed 7 points.

Week 10 continued 11/11/2011…

Well, I was right about the Heyward-Bay thing.  Here is the breakdown current through yesterday.  I’ll finish up with the rest of picks below the table.  Started off pretty hot in the first half of the season.  Too hot maybe.  Last week was my first losing effort and I hope that I can get it back this time around.

Date  Win Loss Push Percentage
Today 0 0 0 0%
Yesterday 0 1 0 0%
Last Week 8 9 0 47.1%
Last Month 32 27 2 54.2%
Last 90 Days 68 44 3 60.7%
Last Year 68 44 3 60.7%
Lifetime 68 44 3 60.7%
Best Streak 67 39 3 63.0%

Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati

The Steelers travel to Ohio installed as a 3 point favorite.  The Bengals have been a pleasant surprise this season but the best QB they have faced has been Buffalo’s Fitzpatrick and their schedule as a whole has been pretty weak.  The Steelers come in playing very well and Dalton hasn’t seen a defense like this one yet.  No matter how much he says the game is slowing down for him, I don’t see him beating this team.  I’m taking PIT and giving the points.


Denver vs Kansas City

The NFL version of the read-option offense was neat to watch last week, but it’s on film now, and the Chiefs have been studying up.  Kansas City is also coming off an embarrassing loss and should be looking to prove something.  A freshly shaven Coach Haley and his team should beat Tebow and cover the 3.5.


Jacksonville vs Indianapolis

Indianapolis is 0-9 this year & 2-7 against the spread.  Painter vs Gabbert means that this game will be won on the ground and the Jags have the advantage there.  Even when P. Manning was taking the snaps, Jacksonville gave the Colts some trouble so you can be sure that Painter will struggle.  Jacksonville is a 3 point favorite and I think they cover it with room to spare.


Buffalo vs Dallas

Dallas has been running the ball better over the last couple of weeks and Buffalo can be susceptible to the run.  Not as susceptible as the Cowboys secondary is to the pass though.  The scariest thing for a Cowboy fan has to be success because the team doesn’ t know how to handle it.  The letdown game is always lurking.  Their record proves it as they are 2-11 against the spread as a home favorite over the last 2 seasons.  Buffalo +5.5 seems like the way to go here.

Houston vs Tampa Bay

Tampa cannot stop the run and they are missing DT Gereld McCoy.  Houston’s running back tandem will stay fresh and run all over Tampa on Sunday.  The Texans are 5-3 against the spread this year while the Bucs are 3-5 and I’m sticking with that trend.  Houston covers the 3 points on the road.


Tennessee vs Carolina

CJ looked better last week and that obviously works in the Titans favor.  Carolina’s run defense is pretty weak and that also works in Tennessee’s favor.  Carolina is 4-1 against the spread at home this year and Cam Newton is tough to bet against but I’m going to.  Tennessee has a history of playing well in games that don’t mean much and this is a non-conference tilt.  I’m taking 3.5 points and Tennessee.


Washington vs Miami

The Redskins have no Santana Moss and no quarterback to get him the ball if they did.  Miami is riding high in spite of being a terrible home team.  Their not that good on the road either.  Lets face it, both of these teams are bad.  The spread is 4 in favor of the home team, and I’m going to take the Dolphins to cover it.


New Orleans vs Atlanta

I’m really looking forward to this game as it should be fun to watch.  Atlanta is tough to beat at home and I can see Michael Turner having a big game giving the Falcons an early lead.  The Saints feel very comfortable on the turf in a dome as well though. Drew Brees has too many weapons and he knows how to take advantage of every single one.  Jimmy Graham catches the game winning touchdown and the Saints cover the 1 point they are giving up.


St. Louis vs Cleveland

Nobody in this game is worth a damn against the spread with only 2 wins between them.  Cleveland’s defense has been the highlight this season but they’ve got to deal with S-Jax and he is a beast.  Cleveland has no running game to counter with and McCoy doesn’t really looked poised to do much.  Cleveland is favored by 3 but I’m picking St. Louis and taking the points.


Arizona vs Philadelphia

14 points is A LOT to give up in an NFL game and that’s what Philly is assigned to cover this week.  Teams live and die by the quarterback and Colb just cannot get the job done even with Larry Fitzgerald as his goto WR.  Beanie Wells has been running the ball pretty well but it’s tough to run when your down double digits very early in the game like the Cardinals will be.  I’ve got to think that Vick and McCoy have big games and win this game by at least 15.


Baltimore Seattle

You can always bet against teams that are leaders in penalties and turnovers and Seattle ranks among the leaders in both catagories…leaders in bad way that it.  The Seahawks are playing at home and that’s why the spread is only 6.5 oints.  Flacco should be feeling very good about himself and I don’t foresee Ray Rice having any trouble either.  Baltimore covers the 6.5.


Detroit vs Chicago

This is another game I’m looking forward to.  Detroit is coming off a BYE week and the Bears are working on a short week.  The Lion’s D-Line powned the Bears O-Line in their first meeting and I expect more of the same this time around.  Soldier Field isn’t exactly a fast surface and big plays are usually hard to come by, but Calvin Johnson is an exceptional player capable of anything.  Detroit wins this game outright even though they are a 3 point dog due to the Chicago home field advantage.


New York Giants vs San Francisco

The 49s are 7-0 against the spread this year. Ahmad Bradshaw is out for Sunday so Bradon Jacobs will be getting the full load of carries against a punishing run defense.  Frank Gore was held out practice of the week but is listed as probable and looking to extend his streak of games with 100 yds rushing.  When he hits that mark the Niners are 22-7.  The Giants give up 126 yds per game at a 4.6 per carry clip.  I’m taking the 49s to cover the 3.5 on the back of a Teddy Ginn return TD.


New England vs Jets 

A must-win game for the Jets, Rex knows how to beat the Golden Boy, and you know he wants to bad.  I can’t wait to see the blitz packages that he puts together for this game.  The Jets have gotten back to the run game so Sanchez hasn’t been much of a factor but I think even the he can throw against the Patriots secondary.  I look for the Jets to try to grind the game to a halt so I’m not looking for a shootout.  That would play into the Pats hands.  I’m taking the Jets +1.5.


Minnesota vs Green Bay

The Vikings go to Lambeau a 13 point dog.  The Pack’s defense needs some work and I think A.P. is just the man to scare them a bit.  The Vikings still lose Monday Night, and Green Bay gets one more game close to perfect ,but it’s closer than 13.






NFL Week #9 Picks

Let me just jump right in with what I plan to be a weekly post during the rest of the NFL season.  I’ve been picking at a pretty decent clip this year and the table below is current through yesterday’s loss where I picked Alabama but was pleasantly surprised when Coach Miles’ team pull out that dredge of a football game in overtime.  The table also includes some random baseball games that I picked during the 2011 season.

Date         Win Loss         Push         Percentage
Today 0 0 0 0%
Yesterday 0 1 0 0%
Last Week 7 7 0 50.0%
Last Month 34 22 2 60.7%
Last 90 Days 60 36 3 62.5%
Last Year 60 36 3 62.5%
Lifetime 60 36 3 62.5%
Best Streak 59 30 3 66.0%

Seattle vs Dallas

I’m taking the Seahawks and 11 points in this one.  Dallas has only covered the spread one time this year when playing at home and the Over/Under is 42-45.  Yeah that’s an obscure stat but it jumped out at me.  The fact is that the Boys cannot spell consistency and they are easily the most choke prone team in the NFL.  The majority of their games this year have been 1 or 2 plays from going either way so 11 points is WAY too many for Romo to cover.

San Fran vs Washington

The 49s have been bucking the trend of West Coast teams struggling when they travel East and I think they cover the 4 points.  The power rankings at www.sportsbook.com have them as a 9 point favorite and I think Frank Gore has a big game.  The Skins are extremely dysfunctional and Shanahan’s ego will get him out-coached this week and their QB play will ensure they lose by a touchdown.

New York Jets vs Buffalo

Buffalo has the superior offense by 80 total yards and the inferior defense by 62 total yards but I still think they cover the 2.5 points they are giving away.  Specifically, the Jets run D has actually slipped a few spots below the Bills run D and Fred Jackson will continue his good year.  The Bills fans will be out in full throat and the white uniforms will seal the deal this afternoon.

Cleveland vs Houston

Hillis is out again this week so I’m confidently picking Houston to cover the 10.5 points they are giving away.  That’s a lot of points in an NFL game but their running game should be able to handle it.  The Cleveland Defense hasn’t been giving up an avalanche of yards but I think the their number goes up with a significant performance by the Houston backs today.

Atalanta vs Indianapolis 

I was really surprised this line wasn’t bigger than 6.5 points.  I know it’s a home game but it’s still in dome where the Falcons excel.  The stats from past games can all be thrown out the window since Manning was in on those games.  The Colts defense has given up and I would have been willing to give as many as 13 points in this game.  Falcons cover these points with no problem.

Tampa vs New Orleans

The Saints are coming off an embarrassing loss to St. Louis so my first thought was to take them and give up however many I had to.  They are also playing at home which is another plus for them.  Tampa’s L. Blount is back this week and is said to have been working in 3rd down practice reps and will be playing a bigger role in the Bucs offense.  In the end, I decided the Saints just aren’t the same team as we’re used to seeing lately so I’m taking the Bucs, their BIG back and the points.

Miami vs Kansas City

Miami is terrible.  Both Defenses are bad, giving up 380 yards per game and 24 points.  T. Haley tried his hardest to mis-manage the clock and call stupid plays last week and M. Cassell was still able to pull out win against the Chargers (obviously with some help from Phillip Rivers).  I’m giving up the 4 points and picking KC to continue their streak.  Did I mention that Miami isn’t a good team?

Denver vs Oakland

The line is Oakland -7 and at first glance I would have thought they should be more of a favorite.  But, Carson Palmer will be making his first start and doing it without the help of Darren McFadden.  The Raiders once again lead the NFL in penalties and they will have to get this under control so they don’t put Palmer in bad spots.  Ultimately, it will come to Tebow and the fact that he cannot play quarterback in the NFL.  Add to that the fact that the Broncos coaches and front office aren’t setting him up to succeed with play calls and proper packages and I’ve got the Raiders covering the touchdown.

Cincinnati vs Tennessee

This one was mind-blowing.  Giving Cincy a field goal head start against the Titans is silly.  The Tennessee run defense is among the worst in league and Cedric Bensen is back this week for Cincy.  The Cincinnati run defense is among the best in the league and Chris Johnson is terrible.  I’m taking the Bengals to win the game outright.

Green Bay vs San Diego

Green Bay is 5.5 point favorite here and I’m taking them to cover it even though it does kind of look like a trap game.  Watching the Chargers and Norv Turner blow that game last week is just too hard to get out my mind.  The Chargers turnover differential is -.7 while the Packers is +1.1.  You cannot give Aaron Rogers the ball more than he deserves it and expect to win.  The Chargers are way to good at shooting themselves in the foot.

St. Louis vs Arizona

Even with S-Jax and the Rams coming off a huge win last week, the odds makers are making Arizona the favorite by 3.  I almost wanted to take to the Rams and the money line but decided that  a 3 point head start might behoove me.  The quarterback situation for  this game isn’t good and I’m giving the edge to St. Louis’s ground game.

Giants vs Patriots

I think I made this pick too early in the week.  I took the Pats to cover the 9 points but looking back I am not comfortable about it.  The Giants will harass him all game and the Golden doesn’t really play that well when he can’t sit back and go through his progressions.  This means that the Patriots will need to depend on the run.  On the other end, New England’s pass defense is horrid and Eli isn’t getting the respect he deserves as a passer this year.  If the Giants get up early and force the Patriots to pass 9 points is going to be A LOT to cover.

Baltimore vs Pittsburgh

This is always a fun game to watch.  Kind of flashback to what football is supposed to look like before all the wussification.  I’m taking the Steelers -3 for revenge from week 1.  Pittsburgh is different team than they were in week one and so is Balitmore.  Flacco has progressively gotten worse while Ben has been trending upward.  The Steelers are also at home.  If you were looking for a parlay this week I might consider taking the under in this game as well.  41.5 with these two shut down defenses looks like a decent bet.

Chicago vs Philadelphia

I am not a Cutler fan but the Bears have a couple of players returning that should help them on both sides of the ball Monday night.  Earl Bennett should make an impact on offense catching balls that have either been dropped or poorly thrown since week two and Matt Toeaina should help to keep McCoy from running all over the place like he has been doing lately.  The Eagles have won their last two games so they are due for a letdown game.  I wouldn’t take the Bears to win, but 8 points is enough of a cushion for me to lean their direction.



And we’re off

Commisioning my newest Fantasy Football League had me writing a weekly recap over the past couple months, and now, when it’s over, I have the feeling that I will miss the writing assignment.  Add to that, the need/want to practice writing and find my style for no real purpose at all, and you have “we talkin about practice”.  I don’t have much of a plan for the site at this point so it will obviously evolve as time goes on.  Pretty sure nobody is going to be reading anyway, atleast for awhile, so it is what it is and all that good stuff.

I’m a live music junkie, sports nut, avid reader of many genres, and quite opinionated so hopefully this will be fun project all around.  While I familiarize myself with this process there will be lots of changes and experimental things going on so if there are any readers you’ll just have bear with me until I can figure this all out.  Until then I’ll probably just steal lots of stuff from other sites on the net.  With that said,

Note Eater

Old school Widespread Panic on the ceiling of one of the better venues I've been to.