The Fitbit Diaries: Day 16 Sunday, Jun 8 2014 

I’ve hit a fitness plateau, where healthy eating and my typical levels of belligerent self-motivation don’t seem to be cutting it any longer. Maybe it’s turning the corner out of my twenties. Who knows? All I can say is that for some reason, the bright glowing numbers on an elliptical machine display at the gym motivate me like no other, so I got something to turn my daily activity into numbers.

Day 16

At the end of my previous post I mentioned two friends had bought fitbits of their own, inspired by my shining example. Initially both the fitbit and the company of friends seemed like it would be a simple way to keep me honest regarding my activity level, but it turns out it’s offering so much more.

If you dress us up, we STILL look like incomparable assholes!

If you dress us up, we STILL look like incomparable assholes!

These two, whether they like to face the facts or not, are kinda best friends. They’ve been living together for years now, go on food safaris together, have adorable nicknames, and fight like an old married couple. If I’m being completely honest, it’s that last one that’s given me so much joy over the last five days.

Because one of these guys is used to being the fit one and one is used to being the fat one, and that’s not what the activity numbers are showing.

photo 2 (2)

Evidence for the world to enjoy

Cameron is losing his shit.

I get to hang out like a platonic spectator in the world’s lamest Spy vs. Spy, while the pair of them engage in athletic one-up-manship, and it’s amazing. My fitbit has paid for itself in entertainment value alone, like a $100 price of admission to the world’s best ego-flattening.  Inspired by numbers that only account for time spent waking (or running, who does that), we have become manipulative, sabotaging, unsupportive assholes.

The other night I forced Cameron to eat a plate of onion rings covered in sour cream and cheese.

Shawn walked to the grocery store and back today just to get his steps over Cameron’s.

Cameron is positive Shawn is cheating, but can’t figure out how.

Shawn is gleefully taunting Cameron by not in fact cheating, but just being more active than Cameron anticipated–our dogs are the real winners here, because what better excuse to walk?

I send Cameron screengrabs of the leaderboard every time Shawn is in front of him.

I also told Shawn about a new cheesecake bakery walking distance from his house, staffed by a very cute girl and brought him samples (I’m an equal-opportunity saboteur).

One of these men might be on the verge of a psychotic break

One of these men might be on the verge of a psychotic break

I also sent both of them taunting photos of me enjoying beer and bacon at Prism for Philly Beer Week.

I also sent both of them taunting photos of me enjoying beer and bacon at Prism for Philly Beer Week.

Because these are clearly the attitudes of mature, healthy individuals in mature, healthy, and supportive friendships.

You're right, Fitbit. My god, you're so right.

You’re right, Fitbit. My god, you’re so right.

The Fitbit Diaries: Day 11 Tuesday, Jun 3 2014 

I’ve hit a fitness plateau, where healthy eating and my typical levels of belligerent self-motivation don’t seem to be cutting it any longer. Maybe it’s turning the corner out of my twenties. Who knows? All I can say is that for some reason, the bright glowing numbers on an elliptical machine display at the gym motivate me like no other, so I got something to turn my daily activity into numbers.

Day 11

I got almost exactly a week from my first battery charge. It’s more than advertised (I think they say four days), and I’ve worn my wristband every moment I wasn’t in the bathtub. After tinkering around on the website, which has vastly more information than the clean and simple iphone app, I changed my sleep tracker to “sensitive,” then immediately changed it back when my sleeping habits went from looking reasonable to insane.

Regular sensitivity:

Above: sober sleep Below: drunk sleep

Above: sober sleep
Below: drunk sleep

Sensitive:

HOW DO I NOT REMEMBER THIS

HOW DO I NOT REMEMBER THIS

Maybe it’s so sensitive it’s tracking my restlessness and Brian’s! (Note to self: test theory by adding third person to bed)

 

I’ve also received my first weekly summary email, and to be honest it was a mixed bag:

Thanks, JUDGY

Thanks, JUDGY

First, I’d like to confess that my most active day was because we walked to (and then from) dinner (then to and from the bar). Does exercise really count if it’s instantly negated by a goddamned shake shack hamburger?

SHUT UP THAT’S WHY

Still, this sets a pretty nice benchmark for "active" day when your lifestyle is "sedentary"

Sets a pretty nice benchmark for an “active” day when your lifestyle is “sedentary”

I’ll be over here, pretending the remainder of my week (not nearly as active) was to give myself a control group, a baseline of activity for those days I just sloth around the house in the world’s rattiest pair of sweatpants and watch AMC. Apparently in addition to numbers, I’m motivated by grilled meats and expensive beers. I regret nothing (except my waistline), and I deserve a goddamned reward for the little “Nailed it!” icon above, because that means I didn’t reward myself with a coffee malt milkshake.

On the subject of rewards, the people at fitbit ought to give me a prize or a job or some swag, because two friends have already gone out and purchased fitbits as well. I am such a trendsetter.

Gotta go practice my taunting. I think it goes something like this: I have lost 1.7 pounds so far.

This Post is About All Men Thursday, May 29 2014 

I’ve been reading, trying to digest everything that’s being said in the wake of this Elliot Rodgers mess. I had to explain it to my dad, that a man killed some women for not having sex with him, and that other men on the internet thought he had the right idea. I had to see his face as he connected the dots about the world his daughter is living in. Then I had to explain the “not all men,” the ones who refuse to see what’s really happening because they’re too busy trying to exonerate themselves.

The “not all men” defense is a man’s plea for you to tell him that he’s “one of the good ones,” absolving him of his own questionable behavior, asserting that his nice guy-ness gets a pass, and reassuring him he still deserves the entitlement fantasy. It’s the “Some of my best friends are black” card in the misogyny debate–the guilty conscience sleight-of-hand meant to draw attention away from whatever very real and harmful actions one is committing.

I picked two movies at random to watch on Netflix last night. One was Paranoia with Liam Hemsworth, the other The Frozen Ground with John Cusack and Nick Cage. This pair of 2013 releases accurately portrays both ends of the male entitlement spectrum–Paranoia features an ambitious young man willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, including breaking the law and betraying family and friends. By engaging in bold (and illegal!) acts of corporate espionage and deceiving the woman he comes to love, he wins a successful career, a happy family life and gets the girl, in spite of the fact that he spends the majority of the movie lying to her face. In The Frozen Ground, John Cusack plays a middle-aged white male with a family and successful business. He is well-liked in his community, but feels emasculated and threatened by women, so he kidnaps, rapes, and kills approximately 17 women and girls in a twisted display of his own power. The kicker one of these is based on a true story.

So go ahead and tell me that “not all men” are misogynists, and “not all men” are serial killers; I’ve met men and lived to tell about it, so I already know that.

Don't worry, strawman, you'll always be one of the good ones.

Don’t worry, strawman, you’ll always be one of the good ones.

Why is it not helpful to say “not all men are like that”? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. They don’t need you to tell them. Second, it’s defensive. When people are defensive, they aren’t listening to the other person; they’re busy thinking of ways to defend themselves. –Phil Plait

I shouldn’t have to justify my credibility in this debate with anecdotes about the time a guy followed me to my car in an empty parking lot at 3am (even though I parked under the only light-post like I was taught), or about the guy who licked my tattoo because it looks like it has some visible vagina action, or about every time I get called a bitch or slut for ignoring catcalls in the street (they’re compliments, slut! How else can you interpret, “I’d like to shove my dick in that juicy ass”?), or about how I can’t simply say I’m not interested when a guy is too forward at a bar–he won’t back off until he hears I’m married, someone else’s property (“It’s a shame you have a husband.” It is?). Or how about the time a guy offered to let me taste his beer three different times, all while not drinking from it himself (probably not roofies!)? Or times I had to call my husband because I felt unsafe and wanted to be on the phone with him as I walked to wherever I was going? And these are just a sampling of my own encounters, and I’m just one of billions of women dealing with these issues.

Obviously not all men are serial rapists and murderers. Obviously not all men dehumanize women and treat them like objects or commodities. But the fact that some do irreparably tarnishes male interactions with me, and with the majority of other women. This is in your control, “not all men.” If you don’t want to be lumped in with misogynists and crazies, take a stand against them. Start by acknowledging that they exist and are very real threat to the women that you know and love, or want to know and love. Your voice matters. Using it to say that not all men are dangerous is a waste. Use it to make certain, otherwise your voice is just one more in a string of defenses that don’t make women feel any safer walking to our cars at night.

“Not all men” isn’t just hostility against women, either–it’s hostility against men too. By trying to flaunt “Alpha male” superiority and being unable to acknowledge the value of other men, these OKCupid-level nice guys are demonstrating explosive vulnerability. It’s not the kind that leads to intimacy, but rather the kind that leads to hostility, like a cornered animal lashing out.

In less tangible but still damaging instances, this can take the form of rants about the “Friendzone,” suggesting that once a man finds out a lady isn’t going to sleep with him, it retroactively makes all the time spent being friends a waste of his time. The implication  is his time holds more value than hers, because she has time to make friends just for the sake of friendship. It also clearly defines that what’s of value in women isn’t their personality or companionship (things we’re supposed to salivate over in “nice guys”), but rather their ability to provide sex on demand. Because he’s been her shoulder to cry on every time “some asshole” hurt her, the self-anointed “nice guy” has proven his worth, and when it turns out basic human decency isn’t the coin of the vaginal realm, he grows angry at the dumb sluts who reject him, and the stupid assholes she’s fucking instead.

In rarer but more severe cases, we end up with Elliot Rodgers, taking it a step further by deciding these men and women deserve to die at his hand for failing to recognize and fulfill his entitlement.

The fact that it’s necessary to include the risk of hostility against other men in order to get men to care about the situation is a big part of the problem. I’ve been confused for years about whether your garden-variety men have wives or daughters or sisters or mothers–any woman in their life that they have ever cared about on a nonsexual level. How can so many not see this affects us all.

It’s oversimplifying to say that men lashing out must have a bad family life, or no good male or female role models in their homes; with school and larger social environments, the opportunity for culture to shape behavior is prevalent. We need to ask what that culture is telling young men and young women. The movies I referenced earlier reinforce the same problematic messages: men, it’s okay to lie to a woman and pretend to be someone you’re not in order to be successful, because she’ll forgive you in the end. Be persistent, and you’ll get the girl. When she says she’s not interested, she’s just playing hard to get. If she doesn’t honor your entitlement, move to a small town in Alaska, where the cops will defend you as a standup guy while you rape and kill to your heart’s content (because it’s not like you can rape prostitutes anyway!).

Overhauling media tropes is a long-term project, so in the interim change falls to us. Women need to keep having uncomfortable conversations with the men on our lives. Men need to hold each other accountable for their behavior, because sexism isn’t cute or funny or manly. #yesallwomen deserve to be safe; we are independent people deserving of respect and dignity and the right to live in safety.

Some further reading, by other people saying it better than I am:

The Fitbit Diaries: Day 4 Tuesday, May 27 2014 

I’ve hit a fitness plateau, where healthy eating and my typical levels of belligerent self-motivation don’t seem to be cutting it any longer. Maybe it’s turning the corner out of my twenties. Who knows? All I can say is that for some reason, the bright glowing numbers on an elliptical machine display at the gym motivate me like no other, so I got something to turn my daily activity into numbers.

Day Four

Fitbit syncs with my reigning favorite diet aid, MyFitnessPal, which is really convenient because I don’t like answering to multiple apps about the same thing because they’re not my supervisor. If you have an active day, it adjusts how much you’re “allowed” to eat in MFP, and if you don’t… well…

Changing my family crest to a skull and crossed utensils. What's Latin for "Always Dieting"?

Changing my family crest to a skull and crossed utensils. What’s Latin for “Always Dieting”?

Maybe it’s not that my day was inactive, and more that it involved a Greek food festival (and yes, I spent all nineteen of those active minutes walking to this promised land of food and beer).

Forever eating gyros from places where people pronounce it properly.

Forever eating gyros from places where people pronounce it properly.

 

The big question I need to figure out is why it’s so goddamned exhausting to do nothing at all some days.

maybe this is a factor?

maybe this is a factor?

 

So I’ve been counting calories for most of my life, but a sleep tracker is a new kind of witchcraft! Could this be the answer to why I sometimes wake up tired?

The Fitbit Diaries: Day 3 Monday, May 26 2014 

I’ve hit a fitness plateau, where healthy eating and my typical levels of belligerent self-motivation don’t seem to be cutting it any longer. Maybe it’s turning the corner out of my twenties. Who knows? All I can say is that for some reason, the bright glowing numbers on an elliptical machine display at the gym motivate me like no other, so I got something to turn my daily activity into numbers.

Day Three

Another marathon of barbecuing and day drinking. In a fit of unintentional American-ness, I accidentally just typed a slew of food emoji instead of letters because “let me tell you about my diet” comes out like BANANA BANANA ICE CREAM PIZZA SOUP when your fingers are covered in barbecue sauce apparently (I kid, we used a dry rub– We’re not savages). It feels like I exercised because I was on my feet cooking all day, but that could also be the cumulative effects of my hangover.
I REGRET NOTHING.
Fitbit, I don’t think you appreciate how difficult it is to perfectly brown comically oversized marshmallows without touching the coals. Also, Brian named my fitbit today. I think it was Howard. Should I be concerned that he has assigned it a masculine persona? Does this mean I’m only getting in shape because a man (Howard, obv) nagged me?
Also, I’ve acquired my first fitbit friend!
It's going well.

It’s going well.

As you can see, I am exercising both discretion and maturity to foster healthy interpersonal relationships while achieving my fitness goals.  It really is more fun with friends!

The Fitbit Diaries: Day 2 Sunday, May 25 2014 

I’ve hit a fitness plateau, where healthy eating and my typical levels of belligerent self-motivation don’t seem to be cutting it any longer. Maybe it’s turning the corner out of my twenties. Who knows? All I can say is that for some reason, the bright glowing numbers on an elliptical machine display at the gym motivate me like no other, so I got something to turn my daily activity into numbers.

Day Two
I am simultaneously alarmed and fascinated by this wealth of numbers. I’m checking them obsessively. Volunteered to retrieve breakfast this morning just so I could go for the walk. Motivationally speaking, it’s already working. Have also realized walking to the bakery for pastries is counterproductive.
Oh please, like this would have been better.

Oh please, like this would have been better.

No amount of raisins in the batter can convince me the sticky buns the size of my head from the nice little bakery at the corner are health food (logic that seems to work on Brian, not that he’d ever eat a raisin). Let’s just call this first week my “control,” and I will snack and booze it up so subsequent weeks seem so much healthier by comparison.
Pictured: an actual diet.

Pictured: an actual diet.

Lights and buzzing. What does it all mean? A browse through the FAQ was unhelpful, but DID reveal that taunting friends is an option (also not helpful but I’m gonna do it). By “managing friends” do you mean being an asshole until you don’t have any? Because I’m intrigued.
MORE fun?

MORE fun? I’m already having so much I’ve almost drained my battery!

Also realized fitbit’s magical scale is called the Aria, and if the ‘fat lady’ joke there was an accident somebody deserves a punch in the mouth (if intentional, somebody deserves a raise).
Never mind, I did find the answer to my light question. Turns out the FAQ is actually quite informative. What I was experiencing was in fact a goal celebration, something I’d feel way more excited about had I not eaten my way through two separate barbecues today.

The Fitbit Diaries: Day 1 Saturday, May 24 2014 

I’ve hit a fitness plateau, where healthy eating and my typical levels of belligerent self-motivation don’t seem to be cutting it any longer. Maybe it’s turning the corner out of my twenties. Who knows? All I can say is that for some reason, the bright glowing numbers on an elliptical machine display at the gym motivate me like no other, so I got something to turn my daily activity into numbers.

Day One

Have determined my resting metabolic rate of calorie burn is roughly 72 calories an hour. Have also realized Brian doesn’t think calories are real.
It's working already!

It’s working already!

Then again, this screen grab from my phone seems to suggest he’s right; just by turning the fitbit on I burned 831 calories! TIME FOR A CHEESECAKE CELEBRATION! Technology, you are my savior.

American Horror Story: Coven, S3:E2, “Boy Parts” Wednesday, Oct 16 2013 

Hey friends! This is a placeholder because I am 48 hours out from my wedding and have too much to do to watch the same tv show for three hours!

I’ll catch up! In the meantime go see what our good buddy Fister Roboto has to say at Left hand horror!

Walking Dead, S4:E1, “30 Days Without an Accident” Sunday, Oct 13 2013 

“You came back. Your boy came back. You get to come back. You do.”

It's not all killing now

It’s not all killing now

We return perhaps half a year following the end of Season 3 to the prison group as a thriving community. Time has passed and, with the influx of new people from Woodbury and elsewhere, the prison has been fortified and altered to suit its new occupants.

(more…)

American Horror Story: Coven S3:E1, “Bitchcraft” Thursday, Oct 10 2013 

“We are under siege ladies our lives our very existence is always at risk.”

Bitch I'm fabulous.

Bitch I’m fabulous.

(more…)

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