I’ve Been In Three Fist Fights


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I’ve spent most of my life trying to keep fit and remain athletic, but that doesn’t mean I know how to fight. Maybe I’m a little wiser now and might be able to handle myself better. After all, I was 13 years old the last time I fought anyone, so who knows what kind of power I harness now?

I remember my first fight, which turned out not to be much of a fight at all. I was twelve years old and joined the rest of my 7th grade friends at the school gym, preparing to sign up for the upcoming football season. It was just a bunch of us boys waiting for the coach to make an appearance to tell us what we had to do to try out for the team. The anticipation was palpable and was evident by the noticeable excitement of all of the boys in attendance. One kid in particular, had begun tackling people randomly and knocking them to the floor. Those that were tackled simply got up and accepted it as a playful thing and didn’t do much in retaliation. I knew this kid, but I wasn’t friends with him. I didn’t think we got along well enough that he would want to goof off that way with me. He did anyway. Before I knew it, he blindsided me by rushing towards me and knocking me down to the gym floor. I was wearing my back-pack at the time, with both straps draped over my shoulders, so when I hit the floor, I fell back-pack first. The weight of the books in my back-pack momentarily kept me pinned to the gym floor like a turtle turned on it’s shell. I just teetered there for a few brief moments. Rather than let it go, I got up and rushed my assailant, who quickly went into a boxer’s stance. I hadn’t even reached him before he threw a jab at me and knocked me to the floor. I still had my stupid back-pack on so again, I teetered there like a cockroach who had fallen on its back after attempting an ill advised leap. I got up again and ditched the back-back and again rushed towards my aggressor. Again, he throws a jab and I hit the ground. I get up again and repeat my vain attempt at a counter attack, but it only brings back mental images of Rocky Balboa going up against Ivan Drago in Rocky IV where Rocky gets dropped over and over again and they’re only in Round 1! By the time I get up for the fourth time, the other kid loses interest in me and stops the assault. I gather my things, walk out of the gym and head home, never joining the 7th grade football team.

My two subsequent fights were not as eventful and don’t even bare recounting, but here we go anyway. I fought a kid by the name of Joel, (which, by the way, is the name of one of my sons now). He was a chubby kid who, for some reason or another, picked a fight with me by taking my back-pack (freakin’ back-pack), and throwing it up a tree. I faced him head on and took on a boxer’s stance, much like the one I saw that school gym kid take with me. I threw jabs at Joel, striking him several times on the shoulder. He didn’t fight back. He literally stood there and absorbed my punches. After about six or seven punches, I realized, “This kid’s not gonna fight back? I think he’s in shock?”. I stopped throwing punches and grabbed my cursed back-packed off the tree, and walked home.

My third and last fist fight of my life happened at the age of thirteen, on the school playground. My friends and I had begun teasing a much taller older kid about his slanted eyes, constantly referring to him as “chino”, which was quite a racist, derogatory term typically used to describe anyone of Asian origin. And the kid wasn’t even Asian! He just looked Asian! Anyway, having reached his boiling point, he attacked the closest of his instigators which just happened to be me. He threw a few punches, which I successfully dodged and countered with a punch of my own, one of which grazed his forehead. Feeling he was wasting his time, however, “chino”stopped throwing hay-makers and walked away, leaving the victor of the fight in question.

That’s it. Those are all of the fights I’ve ever been in. I’ve shied away from a couple of other fights, but those are left for another blog.

 

 

No One Else To Blame


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What’s wrong with our world today? Our kids don’t like to go outside and play. They stayed glued to the television as if it was the last day before the cable gets shut off. They are constantly looking down at their electronic devices, using them to type messages rather than communicate verbally with their friends. Everything is electronic now. You rarely see a kid on his bike any more. Most toddlers are riding battery operated toy cars. What’s happened to our youth? Are they to blame for taking advantage of the high tech age they live in?

I’m 40 years old now, and I look back on my youth and reminisce about all of the stuff I did growing up. Getting a bike for Christmas was always the highlight of my existence. I looked forward to riding it to my friends house all summer long. I rode my bike to baseball practice every afternoon. It made me mobile! Today, the word “mobile” is used to refer to an iPhone.

I watched one cartoon everyday after school. ONE! That was it. It was Tom & Jerry and it was only thirty minutes in duration. When it was done, outside I went! I had no preconceived idea about what I was going to do with my afternoon. I just went out and found SOMETHING to do. Our parents had to go out looking for us to get us to come back inside. They ALWAYS knew where to find us. And, they knew the phone numbers of each and every one of our friends.

As children, we hated getting up early every morning, but did so anyway. Our bodies just woke us up on time because we didn’t spend all night Facebooking or watching The Cartoon Network. Oh, but when Saturday rolled around, we were up at the crack of dawn! Everyone knew that all of the best cartoons were on at that time! We watched cartoons from 6am to 12pm. That’s right, we vegged for 4 hours and no one judged us for it. Mom and dad were usually home on Saturdays and breakfast and lunch were the best meals we’ve had all week! Homemade pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches… man, the list could go on and on!

We all had our ideas on what a perfect world would be for a kid. We all dreamed of a 24 hours cartoon channel. We all dreamed about one day having the ability to stay connected to our friends non stop. We envisioned a world when we would no longer have to pedal a bicycle to get from place to place. What a great world it would be if we could have music blaring directly in our ears, so that we could play it as loud as we possibly could without mom and dad telling us to turn our music down or shut our bedroom door. Oh man, wouldn’t it be great if every time we got grounded and sent to our room, we could STILL watch TV and listen to music and talk to our friends? We would never have to leave our room at all! Punish us all you want, mom and dad!

Our children didn’t create the world they live in. We did…

I’m Not The Man I Used To Be


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Approximately four years ago, I decided to do something about the weight I had gained. I was married for twelve years and in that time, my weight shot up from 170 lbs. to 230 lbs. I can’t tell you why it happened, it just did. It didn’t bother me much at the time, though. It was just part of my life. I worked, ate all day, came home and ate some more. I had a weight set and would go on about two week streaks of trying to get back in shape before it became another after thought.

With my divorce, I knew I had to get it together. No so much to appeal to the opposite sex, but because I was unhealthy. My blood pressure shot up to incredibly high levels and I could hear myself breathing! Heck, I developed such a snore that I would wake myself up at night! I couldn’t go on like that. I was very athletic in my youth, up until the age of about twenty-two. Now, I was 35 and wasn’t getting any younger, or thinner, for that matter. I got myself a used pair of weights from Craigslist and got to it!  I worked out every other day, but didn’t change many of my eating habits. My muscles started growing again, but the weight loss would often hit a plateau. At the time, I went from 215 lbs. to 200 lbs, but I could never crack the 200 mark. Eventually, I got comfy again and stopped working out. I eventually gained most of the weight back. I just got discouraged at not losing any more than I had.

Two years ago, I decided to take a different approach. I had been researching Low Carb diets and thought that may help me break the plateau I had previously reached. Armed with a new diet, I hit the weights again. In about four months, I had gone from 210 lbs. to 194 lbs before my weight loss began to stall again. The Low Carb and weight lifting was working, but I still could not break that new plateau! I, again set the weight loss aside and got back to life. Eventually, my weight went back up to 205 lbs. and my blood pressure went up right along with it.

Forward to July 2013, nearly three months ago. I now knew the advantages of Low Carbing a diet and exercise. It worked for me, but only up until a certain point. This time, I decided to cut calories instead of cutting out the Carbs. I downloaded an application on my phone called MyFitnessPal. This application calculated the amount of calories I could eat each day with the goal of losing one pound a week. I was also going to be exercising, so that would allow me to lose weight at a faster pace. The application allows you to add your exercise to it which then calculates the calories you burn and adds those same calories back on to your daily allowable intake. I chose not to log my exercise, however, and have decided to stick to the same calorie intake every day and let the exercise stand on its own. Today, October 21st, I now weigh 190.6 lbs. after starting at 205 lbs, two weeks in to the month of July. I am still weight lifting, so I am adding lean muscle to my weight. I have a goal of reaching at least, 175 lbs. So far, so good!

So, why blog about such a topic on a stand up comedy blog? Well, because I had no comedy related material to write about, that’s why. But maybe I can help someone else with weight loss? Who Knows? Here is a list of things to consider when deciding to change your health for the better:

  1. Don’t go out and buy a weight scale. Get yourself a measuring tape and measure yourself from the fattest part of your belly. Do this every two weeks to measure your progress. If you are weightlifting, you’ll add muscle to your frame which adds weight, however, you will also be burning fat, which you can gauge by measuring your belly.
  2. When you start out, weigh yourself at Wal-mart. They have a really cool, new machine there. Get your starting weight, then come back every two to three weeks or so, and get weighed again. Keeping a scale at home may cause you to weigh yourself too often, which may discourage you when you are not seeing the scale numbers decrease. Don’t let the scale deceive you.
  3. If you wish to go the Low Carb route, try to do this for about two weeks to a month, but no longer than that. You can Low Carb a diet til the cows come home, but if you’re still eating more calories than you should be, you will reach a plateau you will find extremely difficult to break.
  4. Count your calories per day. MyFitnessPal is a great app. that will do the calculations for you. First, it calculates the amount of calories you can take each day without gaining or losing a pound, then it will calculate the amount of calories you need to cut back on to lose your desired pounds per week. I would suggest losing a pound or two per week, but no more than that. It sucks when you don’t allow enough calories in your diet to eat comfortably throughout the day.
  5. Exercise! Does this really need to be said? There’s no need to P90X it or go as far as INSANITY! That stuff can work against you! Hit the weights, Zumba, Pilates, or anything else your feel comfortable with. Twenty to thirty minutes, every other day is all it takes! Try resting no more than two days straight though. Don’t let your body trick itself in thinking that you won’t stick with it.
  6. YouTube your exercise routines and health advice. There is so much great information out there and some of it is actually entertaining! You will find a few favorites in no time! I like getting advice from channels such as MuscleTwins, BuffDudes and SixPackShortCuts. It’s amazing how much information they offer for free!
  7. Stick with it. This works for me; I tell myself, “Eat right. You haven’t been working out as hard as you do to mess things up with eating junk. Don’t skip your workouts. You haven’t been eating right to mess things up by not working out.” The mental edge is soooo important! If you can’t tame your mind, your body will always lose control.

I appreciate you reading this far. If you have questions or comments, feel free to fire away! Good luck to you!

It’s Over…


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I am seriously considering leaving Facebook. I’m slowly starting to realize that, far from being a promotional tool to get the word out on my stand up comedy journey, Facebook is nothing more than a public stage open to anyone and everyone. How in the world is someone supposed to get noticed that way! I’m trying to do something that very few people can do, and that’s stand up on a stage, where 100% of the audience’s attention is on me and no one else. Their ears hanging on every word that proceeds out of my mouth. I’m alone up there and my voice is the only one that can be heard creating all the laughter in the room. No one there is laughing at anything else. When I’m up there, it’s all about me, me me!

Let’s face it, that is exactly what Facebook is. We login and read the Newsfeed, which is filled with countless of posts begging us to “Like”, “Share” and “Comment”. There is also a barrage of posts including funny quotes or lines that are often times not original. I think that’s what annoys me the most. Try this, next time you see a post with a funny joke or quote, which the person seems to be taking all the credit for, cut and paste the entire line to your Internet browser and watch how often it is duplicated as a search result will discover several sites containing the same line! What’s even more frustrating is that when other people comment on those posts, the person posting it continues to take all of the credit! Comments such as, “Oh Paul, you always make my day with your hilarious posts! How do you come up with them so often?” Then Paul will reply, “It’s not easy but you’re very welcome!” UGH!!!!!! Cutting and pasting IS VERY EASY!!! I hate to sound like an attention whore, but honestly, at least for me, if I am trying to stand out and represent myself and what I do as a stand up comic, then I need to think of original ways of doing so. I can’t rely on a social network where originality is thrown out of the window. Succumbing to the temptation of visiting my Facebook makes me no different than everybody else. I can’t keep doing that if I hope to one day create a following that admires me for what I do and how I do it. Yes, I’m looking for that admiration but even more so, I’m looking to STAND OUT in a day and age where everyone else already does….

Signed,

The Underdog Comic

(Insert Rocky Theme Music Here)


A few months ago, I blogged about losing weight to improve my health and, materialistically, my appearance on stage. 3 1/2 months later, I’m happy to report that I am almost 20 pounds lighter and have lost 5 inches from my belly! The transformation has not made me funnier, but it has given me the confidence to get up on stage and do what I do with that extra special bit of attitude! I have eaten a low carb diet and have implemented a 6 day work out week.

My workouts involve weight training and cardio and I alternate the 2 each day. Considering that I am weightlifting, I do not put much stock on the weight scale, as that can be extremely deceiving. As I lose the weight, I increase muscle mass, so losing inches around by belly has been more important to me than what any scale reads.

Okay, rather than make this a boring “How to lose weight” blog, I want to share how it is that I would mentally prepare myself for every meal and every work out. I think that makes all the difference if you are trying to accomplish what I have so far. You’ve heard it time and time again, “Eat healthy and exercise”. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that. That hard part is in convincing yourself to follow through. Here is my 4 Step Plan:

1.  Choose a 12 week exercise plan. Pick up a magazine like Men’s Health or Women’s Health, two of the best resources I can recommend.

2.  Start a Low Carb diet. You can pick up any good resource at a library or book store. The meals are great and once you understand why it works, you’ll be even more motivated!

Steps 3 and 4 are purely mental and here they are:

3.  After 1 day of implementing a good meal plan, and trying to motivate yourself to exercise, remind yourself of the following: “I DID NOT GO OUT OF MY WAY TO EAT HEALTHY TO END UP SKIPPING OUT ON MY WORKOUT!”

4.  If you struggle with eating healthy, then remind yourself of the following: “I AM NOT PUTTING IN ALL THAT TIME AND EFFORT EXERCISING TO ONLY RUIN IT BY EATING THE GARBAGE I’VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO!”

That’s it. That’s how I do it. If you have ever played a sport, you’ve heard coaches tell you over and over again, “This game is 90% mental” or something along those lines. The very same is true in your battle for weight loss and better health. Good luck!