Four weeks into Project 2020

So far, I have only missed one day of working out, and considering how sore I was that day it is good that I did. My workouts have been mostly weight training, building muscle in order to burn more calories later on. I have concentrated more on arms, chest, back, and legs. Abdominal muscles will come into play when I introduce cardio next month. Starting on the first I will alternate between cardio and weight training. The cardio workouts will include enough abdominal exercises to satisfy my need for an ab workout. Weigh in will be on the first of February and hopefully I will see some changes for the past month of work.
My last mortgage bill included the current balance of just over $47,000, which means I have paid almost $1000 on the principle in under a month. My auto insurance prevented me from making another payment, along with a need to buy some food for the next couple of weeks. My stash in the basement is running low and I had to start focusing on protein, vitamin, and mineral replacement. After two weeks of weight training I started to wake up sore, a good indication that I wasn’t eating enough of what my body needed to repair itself.
As of today, I have read 29 books this month. Some of the high lights include Quicksand by Henning Mankell, and Phone by Will Self. I branched off into a few other things along the way and pulled out more books that I had abandoned along the way in the past years. I only set my goal for 2020 in Goodreads to include 100 books and at this rate I might blow past that before the half way point of the year. I have an idea for next year, calling it my big book year. Books I read have to be over 600 pages and I have to start out with Ulysses by James Joyce only because it has been on my list for too many years along with a few other long reads that I have been reluctant to pick up. I have a feeling that many of the books I read this year will find new homes after I read them and that should free up some space after I am done.
As of today, project 2020 is ahead of schedule for most goals. I don’t know how this will end, if my mortgage will be at a more appropriate balance that makes sense to me or if I will have that six pack in five months that I’m planning on. I watched a video on YouTube today about a man who ate his weight in beans in a month and lost some weight doing it. Maybe it would be a fun, yet smelly, goal to set for this project. I haven’t come up with any new goals, food wise, for this project but I am actively looking for things to try.

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New year, who are you?

When I started project 2020 I didn’t think that the changes would be as quick as they have been. We are on day twenty of the new year and I already have 25 books clocked into my Goodreads account, the most involved, Phone by Will Self, I finished earlier today. The first full length Will Self shouldn’t have been the third installment of a trilogy but when you have no idea that there was such a trilogy it is hard to go back and start again.
My workouts have become a daily routine that I start the mornings with. To help pass the time I watch an episode of Ramy, a new show on Hulu, and I have already finished the first season leaving me to question what I will watch tomorrow while I do pushups and arm curls. My home gym is slowly growing with resistance bands and pushup bars joining the dumb bell set. My arms and shoulders are noticeably more defined and my legs have a new springiness to them. I don’t know if I have lost any weight, making sure to weigh myself once a month to document changes.
Another house payment went out with all other bills paid. I think at this point I don’t have a payment due until June. With spare cash I started to pick up Modern Library books. These are the hard cover pocket size classics that were printed between 1919 and 1970. These are fairly common and really cheap for what they are. I did some research and found that there is a community of people who collect these. All together there are 498 books in the series with a few titles that are harder to find because of low sales. I come across these all the time and since I am developing the habit of reading an hour or two before bed what better hobby could a man find?
There are ten days left and I still have to finish reading Sand by Hugh Howey, Nicotine by Will Self, Eat Memory, and The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley. I doubt I will have an issue with this and I haven’t decided if the last day of the month is a shut off day or if I continue reading things into the next month. A few dozen Louie L’amour novels are waiting for me and I don’t want to disappoint them.

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Twelve days, Twelve books

We are twelve days into the new year and so far, so good. I sent out another check to the mortgage company which means I’ve paid $1200 so far this year and I don’t have a payment due until May. I finally finished reading Quicksand by Henning Mankell and have to say that I really enjoyed it. I felt a bit of quilt having put it down earlier. This was the last book the man decided to write after finding out he had a form of cancer that was usually fatal. Sure enough, it was the last book he ever wrote. I own most of his other work but have yet to read any of it. I watched the Kurt Wallander BBC series and have to admit it was pretty good. Rarely am I ever disappointed by the BBC, they tend to think about quality over profitability. Besides the books I have yet to finish I also took the opportunity to go back and read any of the comic books that I have missed out on over the past twenty years. I have to say it all goes back to The Watchmen. Wolverine, Deadpool, and a few independent titles have been breezing through my hands. The quality of the art and stories haven’t changed much. In an industry that has been struggling for over a decade now I am not surprised at some of the leaps they have taken with different characters. They talk about jumping the shark for television, well, comics have been jumping sharks among a few other things over the years.
The stack of books has been thinning out and the Goodreads list is down to five last time I checked. I don’t know if I will get to every book in the stack although there are a few I could save for when their author’s month arrives. Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane, and Will Self all have their time coming and Will has been making things difficult with his last epic novel Phone. I’m finally have way through and with a run time of 21 hours in audio book and over 700 pages in print it is not an easy read. This doesn’t include the lack of paragraphs, jumping around from scene to scene, and the use of UK English to add to the confusion. It is a chore and yet there is something to be said about the depth of which Self dives into with his characters. The Butcher, for all of his gory antics, turns out to be just another person from a shitty upbringing that you find yourself rooting for in a way. Yes, he ahs done horrible things, but haven’t we all?
Today was the first day I can say I didn’t get a work out in. There has been some cardio and weight lifting, easing back into things because past experience has shown me how over doing it can go wrong. You can’t lose weight or get into shape if you can’t work out. For the moment P90x is sitting on the shelf, where it belongs. Not having the time or ability to properly do the program will just frustrate me and won’t help at all. I am still waiting until the end of the month to weigh in and my shirts fit better than they have. During the past two weeks I have used an app for intermediate fasting and already I can tell there is a difference in the size of my stomach and how much I can eat. This diet routine is not the cure all for what I’m seeking but it does help.
My study now has the addition of a reading chair for those nights I come home from work and need an hour or two to wind down. That has been the biggest change I have noticed so far this year, sitting down to read before bed is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Turn the radio on for the local jazz channel and enjoy a story here and there. I don’t know of too many people that look back on there lives and say “I wish I would have watched more movies” but I have met a few that mentioned they wished they would have read more books. So far this year I am at a book a day and while I know it won’t last it is a good start to the new year.

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Intermediate fasting

I am currently at the first hour of a 16 hour fast. I have an app for this that helps me keep track of when my body is burning sugar and when it is eating fat. I once had a job that took care of this for me, keeping me so busy that I would forget to eat for 8-12 hours at a time. These days I factor in my 6-8 hours of broken sleep and a late breakfast to cover the time. I haven’t had any problems yet and even squeezed in a 20 hour fast because, well, I was busy at work. Four days into the year and I already have my 2-3 workouts in for the week. Even with the holiday I have stuck to my 1-2 drinks per week. My calorie count is down at the moment with the fasting keeping me from snacking on the off hours.
Yesterday I was supposed to have my new dumbbells arrive only to have a message from Amazon that UPS “delayed” my package. I don’t know what exactly this means but I wasn’t too happen to see that it was delivered to my city this morning at 2:30am and wasn’t delivered today when it is already two days late. New years resolutions are already hard enough, it doesn’t help when somebody else sabotages what you are already going to sabotage yourself.
Two books I finished so far include: Braided Creek by Jim Harrison and In Search of Reagan’s Brain, a Doonesbury annual from 1980-81. Neither of them were a “deep” read, one being poetry and the other a collection of newspaper comic strips. I’m still reading anything I can get my hands on when I have the time, and so far, 2 books in four days isn’t bad. I have been books on order that I received a discount on from Ebay. These were the missing Will Self books that I don’t have in my library and while I should be upset that I spent the money instead of putting it towards my mortgage it should be pointed out that Will Self is not found on the shelves of book stores in the states. Eventually I will find some crude thing he said about this great country of ours. Perhaps he made fun of our “Freedom Fries” or wrote a short story about Trump’s small mushroom shaped penis, who knows. Either way I look forward to these books and march should be a self-indulgent time.
I received a letter in the mail from my mortgage company informing me that I was more than 90 paid up in advance. I didn’t know that paying your bills was a problem. Perhaps my extra money made them want to spend it on postage thanking me for being so punctual on my payments. Or maybe they noticed that I could end up paying off the principle early, eliminating what is owed in interest and therefore losing the company some money over the long haul. I’m thinking of framing this beautiful piece of office literature as a reminder that I annoyed someone enough by paying my bills ahead of time that they felt they had to send a message that I was tampering with their books. And here I thought they only wrote you when you were 90 days behind, not when you were ahead.

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