I have to apologize to Ben Affleck

I watched the movie The Accountant the other day and I expected it to be formulaic drivel with painful overacting or at the very least painful overfflecting.  (I just made up a word!)

Overfflecting verb – the tendency for Ben Affleck to play one or two slight variations of himself in all his roles, usually with overacting a key feature.

Okay, now on to why I owe him an apology.  He was really, really good in this movie. The film itself wasn’t formulaic.  It was well-thought out.  It was original.  It was smart. It was enthralling.

And for the first time since somewhere around the time of Dazed and Confused, I didn’t watch him as Ben Affleck acting out a role.  I just watched the character.  It was so refreshing to just see the character Christian Wolff and be enthralled by his story.

Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff in The Accountant

Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff in The Accountant

Kudos to writer Bill Dubuque (who also wrote another film I like and reviewed, The Judge.) He is a good storyteller that doesn’t lead you by the nose down a tired Hollywood formula.

RATING 9 out of 10 social media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.com

by Chris Doelle

Set a new OMPR – Old Man Personal Record

I haven’t run in an organized race (or even an unorganized one) in probably 25 years.  I was probably around 18 or 19 the last time I did a run.  It was a 10K and if I remember correctly, I think I did okay – not great, just okay.  Running has never been my thing.

As I’ve gotten older and fatter, the idea of running for any reason other than tossing a football around, frisbee etc. has been the furthest thing from my mind.  That was until recently.

I was at my friend Mike’s house for the weekend and we went to his son’s (Bradley) baseball practice.  One of the moms was talking about a 5K they had just finished and before you know it, I was saying, “yeah, we should totally do a 5K!”  I have been wanting to get serious about running since reading the book Born to Run (a fascinating read that I recommend to anyone – runner or not.)

We planned to run on in Sugar Land at the home of the Skeeters minor league baseball team.  I had 34 days to train.

I decided to do “5K Every Day” from that day forward.  The focus wasn’t on time, but on just finishing 5K.  The first day was just walking.  Yes, I did the 3.1 miles simply walking – and recording my time. It was a time of 64 minutes and 4 seconds. (Yes, over an hour) I walked the entire first week to acclimate myself.

After that, I decided to run every third 10th of a mile.  Within a couple of weeks, I was running every other 10th of a mile.  Now, when I say run, I mean jog, shuffled, slide… nothing all that gazelle-like.

Two weeks before the event, I had turned in my fastest time of 42 minutes and 29 seconds. (I told you it wasn’t fast.)

When the day came, it was cold and raining – pretty miserable conditions.  It didn’t matter though, the day had come – I was excited.

When we took off, I was paying attention to my 10th of a mile splits and saying, “I’m taking off way to fast.  I am totally going to crash.”  I didn’t.

My the time I had finished, I had knocked 6 minutes off my OMPR – Old Man Personal Record. (Best time since starting running as an old man) I did it in 36 minutes and 53 seconds.

I think I can break 30…

We all had a great time.

Michael Wright, Bradley Wright, Chris Doelle

Holmes Always Has the Right Words

Many of you know that my all-time favorite quote is on by Sherlock Holmes (or rather Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking through his character Sherlock Holmes.)  It is:

“I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.” – Sherlock Holmes

I have for years misquoted it as a shortened version to read:

“I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. It is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.” – Sherlock Holmes

I have a new Holmes quote that I really like.  It is not nearly as optimistic and I doubt I will use it as much.  Also, it is not from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock, rather from the BBC’s “Sherlock” (with Benedict Cumberbatch.)

Fear is wisdom in the face of danger. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. - Sherlock

Fear is wisdom in the face of danger. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. – Sherlock

“Fear is wisdom in the face of danger. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.” – Sherlock

Mike Rowe for President!

Okay, I try not to get too political here but with what we have left for presidential options, I thought it was time to share a thought.  Yes, I would run in a second if I thought there was a snowball’s chance in Southtown of winning, but that is not an option.

What we are primed for however is a third party candidate with some name recognition.  I say it is time for Mike Rowe.  No, I have not talked with him and seen if there is any interest.  I am just throwing his name out there.  Perhaps we could create a groundswell of support that makes him take notice.

Mike Rowe for President by Chris Doelle

Why Mike Rowe?

  • He understands dirty jobs and has shown a willingness to dig in and get the job done
  • He has strong family values (this based on numerous interviews I have heard)
  • His podcast “The Way I Heard It” is my current favorite.  His fireside chats would be bothin inspiring and entertaining
  • His foundation (MikeRoweWORKS foundation) is an excellent organization helping real people get real jobs that pay real money – no government handouts

Please share the heck out of this and maybe we can get someone in office who stands for what we as Americans believe – not what politicians are selling.

And yes Mike, if you like, I would gladly be your running mate. 🙂

by Chris Doelle

How do you shop?

Amazon Has My Business

amazonI really haven’t gotten into the whole “order everything online” habit yet.  I have been an online shopper since before there were easy systems for taking payments, but initially it was for things like electronics – specialty things that just weren’t available locally.  The big box electronics stores still won for most those purchases because of the desire to see and feel the item before plunking down some greenbacks for an item.  The idea of ordering things like laundry soap, deodorant, trash bags etc. was just never in the picture for me… until recently.

I have found that more and more since starting my Amazon Prime membership (I did it for the television and movies… not the free shipping on purchases.)  The free shipping combined with next day delivery just slowly sunk in as a better option.  Well, I finally did it… I ordered a consumable via Amazon and it was dangerously smooth.

I ordered a 4-pack of the deodorant I use, some fish oil capsules and a belt that I saw on a Facebook ad.  All the items should be delivered tomorrow and the best thing was that there were no impulse purchases.  If I had run to HEB for the fish oil and deodorant, I would certainly have seen something else that caught my eye in the store and walked out with more than I intended.

Don’t get me wrong… on days that I have been cooped up at my desk with no humans around, I will still likely go browse HEB just to get some human interaction, but as a way to get things without wasting the gas, time or effort, this seems to be a great solution.

Yes, I know I am late to the party – I usually am when the subject is shopping.

by Chris Doelle

the new belt I will have tomorrow…

May 3, 2016 - Food, Health & Fitness    No Comments

Finally found a protein shake I can stomach

shakeologyAs you know from previous posts, Protein Tastes Bad.  I have been having a heck of a time find a meal replacement shake that doesn’t taste horrible.  After hearing the same recommendation from several people, I decided to give Shakeology a try.  They taste good and have a great nutritional breakdown.

I like the chocolate and drink them with a couple of variations. I either add a banana or a small orange to the mix and have myself a darn tasty meal.

If you’re out there trying to fight the battle of the bulge and improve your diet and exercise, go ahead and friend me at the following fitness/exercise/nutrition profiles:

Those are the main ones I use and I have them all synced together.  I log what I eat in MyFitnessPal and my exercise in MapMyFitness.  Team Beachbody I use to stream workout videos.

What apps/services do you use?  What supplements (if any) do you take?  How is your battle of the bulge going?

by Chris Doelle

Can Pandora Regain the Top Spot?

I have a written a ton about streaming music over the years because it is so important to me.

In that time there have been quite a few changes in my favorite method of streaming music.  You can read all those articles for details, but let me summarize:

  1. Last.FM started out on top (my nerdy need to track what I listen to was what hooked me)
  2. Pandora took over as my favorite when they added the ability to sync with Last.FM stats
  3. iTunes looked like a world beater but quickly dropped the ball – catalog was good, streaming was spotty and tracking non-existent so Pandora stayed in the lead
  4. Spotify always had a big edge when it came to listening to a specific song or album but couldn’t compete with the ability to create radio stations and didn’t track listens
  5. Spotify added the ability to sync with Last.FM and the expanded catalog just became too powerful.  It began to outweigh Pandora’s ability to create a radio station based on a style or artist.  I jumped ship to Spotify
  6. Pandora is coming back!

Pandora Music Internet RadioHere is how I consume music streaming now.  If I am in the mood for a type of music, I select Pandora and play a station like Yacht Rock Radio, Arctic Monkeys Radio etc.  If I hear something that I know I want to hear again, I pull out SoundHound to detect the song and artist and then click the Spotify button – it is then added to my Spotify account.  Once on Spotify, I can listen to any track or album I want whenever I want,  Spotify is the only service I pay for.

Now  it appears that Pandora is going to add the ability to create on-demand playlists…  that is the only thing keeping me loyal to Spotify. If Pandora pulls it off it will once again be the clear best deal. I am not canceling my Spotify account anytime soon but you can bet I will be watching the changes over at Pandora very closely.

Talk to me.  What streaming music do you use?  How?  Why?  Do you pay?

by Chris Doelle

Book Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

When Science Turns to Selling

Sapiens book reviewSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Haran is to me, another horrible example of pop science books masquerading as fact. Haran jumps to wild conclusions that fit his agenda at the expense of real facts or evidence. On the surface, the book reads as an intelligent treatise on anthropology but the conclusions are just too much of a stretch.

The book is written very well and is a lot of fun to read but it is clearly agenda-driven. Haran is apologetic about everything that he personally finds distasteful – religion, meat-eating, monogamy and even heterosexual pairings. His self-hate is aimed at us as “Sapiens” but excludes him personally.  He tends to identify more with the foragers of his book – who he heap praise upon at every turn.

The one interesting takeaway is how homo-sapiens succeeded through their ability to create fictions. We convince ourselves that a slip of green paper (money) has great value just because it has $100 printed on it. We also convince ourselves that our laws are real rather than just a fiction we have agreed upon. By doing so, we can work together in much greater numbers than our competitors. Because of this use of language and ability to “see” and “believe” in something unseen we can do more collectively.

From there he slams religion as another collective “fiction”- something he does just about every tenth sentence throughout the book, regardless of the subject. He is quick to deride previous scientific research as “at best, guesses” but makes his assertions as fact throughout.

The book reminds me of an old saying “most dogs have fleas, but not all fleas have dogs.” Haran sees a lot of dogs underneath his relatively non-scientific search for fleas. This is just the latest example of agenda-driven “science.”

by Chris Doelle

Apr 19, 2016 - Entertainment, Music, Spotify    No Comments

What Music Do You Work To?

“All music is beautiful.” – Billy Strayhorn

good music doesn't have an expiration dateI literally cannot imagine life without music.  We all have music that moves us, soothes us, fires us up… and get’s us in the mood for “other” things.  I chose the quote above because my tastes are extremely eclectic – I am as likely to be found listening to classic rock, pop, oldies, country, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, dance, trance, classical, hillbilly, bluegrass, indie rock, singer-songwriter, acoustic, acapella, blues and even some rap as anything else.  There are very few heavy metal or screamo in my playlists, but I really dig a lot of different styles.

The subject of this post is work music.  I find that I listen to different music depending on the type of work I am doing:

  • Writing: anything instrumental (lyrics really distract me)✝
  • Artistic design: something upbeat with a relatively quick beat (stuff like funk or some of the faster 50’s-60’s rock)
  • Physical work: positive and upbeat (hard rock, love songs with a strong beat – funk works well with that too)Repetitive work that isn’t strenuous or doesn’t take concentration (something chill – melancholy, jazz, soul, harmony)

Again, there are a ton of other music for other things, but I am focusing on work only.

Your turn.

What is the music you listen to while working?  What type of work do you do?  If you’re in an office setting, I understand you can’t CRANK IT UP… do you use headphones, play is quietly at your desk?

✝ Although I am writing this post listening to music, I am not listening to instrumental music.  The mention of funk has me listening to some of Stevie Wonder’s greatest funk tracks.

by Chris Doelle

PS. Let’s be friends on Spotify if we are not already. (click image below)

spotify logo

The Sugar-Free Me

Health is Determined by Thousands of Every-Day Choices

sugar addiction cycle

CLICK to enlarge

This time two years ago, I wrote a post on day 5 of a 10 day no-sugar challenge.  It turned out that going 10 days without sugar was pretty easy for me.  This time I am not planning to quit sugar for a specific number of days, but just quit sugar.

I am not naive.  I am not saying I will never eat sugar.  I think I just need to take a break, and in taking that break, reset my desire for sweets.

Also, I am not going to go crazy and remove anything and everything containing sugar… that is nearly impossible without drastically changing everything about what I eat.  I plan to stop consuming things that have little or no health value – cookies, soft drinks, ice cream, candy etc.   If I get a craving for sweet and the only thing available is an apple or banana, that is much better choice than 20 cookies.  Yes, fruit contains sugars but it is in a format that is much healthier and contains useful things like fiber as well.

The reason for the change is a plateau I have hit in weight loss.  I did some fasting in the Fall of 2014 and dropped about 25 pounds.  I managed to keep it off until around this time last year (when a pretty major life change happened.)  I gained weight through the end of 2015 – not up to my pre-fast weight, but ten pounds more than my recent low.

Since January of this year, I started dropping weight again but very slowly.  I have been doing it simply by eating better and making sure I do some activity every day.  I haven’t ever cut out the bad food, just made it a treat instead of a meal.

Long story short, I am cutting out the blatantly worthless sugary foods.

What is your experience with sugar? How much do you take in?  Is it easy for you to live without?

by Chris Doelle

PS.  There is some sugar I will still keep around…