I've decided to be spontaneous. I have a friend who plays at Michael Murphy's in Oklahoma City, and next month I'm going to go see him play. Okay... maybe knowing that it's a month out isn't exactly spontaneous, but the decision to go was - and I'm proud of me. Let me have my moment.

I used to play the clarinet in high school, and I was good enough that I made it into the symphonic band. Every year we took a trip, kind of the way I take my vacations now... one year it was a local trip, the following year it would be someplace far away. Each year we had to hoof it around our neighborhoods, knock on people's doors and ask them to buy crap so that we could fund our trip. Luckily I always managed to pay for my trip without getting abducted by a pedophile.

Anyway, I loved band trips, they were fun. I miss the experience of going out of town in a group and getting crazy (though the definition of 'crazy' has greatly changed in the last several years). I hadn't done it in a long, long time until one of my friends got married in St. Louis a couple of years ago. It reminded me how much fun it can be to hang out with the same people in a different environment. This group will be a little bit of a stretch for me because I don't know everyone, but I'm trying to open myself up to new experiences.

I'd never thought about Oklahoma very much... not to visit... just to pass through. It's one of those states that doesn't seem to come up in conversation... not like New York or California. Well baby, they've been keeping secrets, because I was looking at the tourism website and it looks awesome! Besides Michael Murphy's, they have a dadgum river walk, just like San Antonio, but they call theirs Brick Town! And while I'm there, I am going to try to make it out to see the Survivor Tree. So I'm very much looking forward to this because I know it's going to be a blast!

Last night's hour on the treadmill seemed longer than the night before, but I did it - and I burned 100 more calories to boot. And I'm going to do it again tonight. So far, so good on the soda, too. It feels good to commit to something and not talk myself out of it. I'm pretty weak willed most of the time, but I'm also ornery. I'm an exercise in frustration is what I am!

Oh, and since I added the Survivor Tree to my bucket list, I forgot that watching a shuttle launch was also supposed to be on there. I want to do that next year.
I love the taste of lobster, but I find myself conflicted over the fact that they're boiled, or sometimes steamed, while they're still alive. I absolutely won't cook them for myself. You can't convince me that a lobster can't feel pain.

I once saw a show that I thought I was really going to like. It was this snarky old English lady who went to people's homes and taught them how to cook -- but if they didn't catch on quickly enough, she bonked them over the head with a cookbook. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

It was.

Until she broke out the langoustines.

She proceeded to talk about how to cook them, while a voiceover tells me that, "the langoustines have been chilled to make them sleepy." My spidey senses begin to tingle. She picks up a langoustine... and violently rips it in half... head in one hand, tail in the other. It was still alive. She tells the women they can't feel it, but there on the counter is another langoustine, and he knows his number is up, because he's bucking like a little bronco... before she reaches out and rips him in half, too. I felt a tear slide down my cheek and I quickly flipped the channel.

I'm not gonna judge, I just don't know how other people do it. I'm too sympathetic. I always say that if I had to kill the cow myself, I'd be a vegetarian, but as long as it comes in the little packages at the grocery store, I will buy it. So I already know I'm a hypocrite, but at least I feel a little guilty about it. Saturday I felt a little ironic as I sat there, thinking how violent the movie was, as a hook ripped through the flesh of this guy's leg... and I sat there on the sofa, shredding up a rotisserie chicken...

I was watching A Lyon in the Kitchen as I ate dinner, that's where all the lobster talk came from. I like watching him cook, he's so easy going, and the food is so simple, but it looks delicious because it's incredibly fresh (in that way that only television food prepared by a professional chef seems to be). That would be nice, but I don't have the time, the money or the resources to get produce that fresh. I do visit a local market from time to time, but it's rare enough that it feels like a special treat. Mostly I rely on the grocery store down the street, and it's hit or miss. I didn't realize how much I missed really fresh produce until I cut into some fresh green beans a few months ago. The smell reminded me of my grandparents... both sets had their own gardens, and we used to sit around snapping the ends off of the green beans and peeling off the string that runs down the middle (we called them string beans).

So I'm upping the ante this week. One soda a day, and a full hour on the treadmill. This weight is coming off dammit! I did see a little more weight loss with the approach I took last week, but my time is growing short if I want to look good in the pics from Scotland. Only 63 more days... close enough that I can call it two months!  Woo-hoo!
There was a time when you would never see an ass on television. It was about the same time that the word 'ass' would never have been uttered on the radio, except in reference to a donkey - not even when it was bleeped out, because let's be honest, everyone knows the guy is saying ass anyway. Whoever came up with bleeping or blanking out of words should be hit over the head with my giant cartoon hammer... but I admit, it was a brilliant ploy and it has been widely accepted, "hey, let's bleep it out, then we're technically not saying it... but we're still saying it... muahaha..."

These days it seems like the airwaves are blanketed with shows that push the envelope so much that it's tacky. I like the Alfred Hitchcock school of sex and violence. Give people the general idea, and let them take it from there. I guess what I'm saying is that shows shouldn't have to be nasty in order to be marketable. I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show are still two of my favorites, and they didn't rely on shock value to be entertaining. I realize every day how old fashioned I am... I don't want to be June Cleaver or anything, but I would like to feel a little less worldly.

Enough of that soapbox... yesterday when I hit the treadmill I actually ran... a minute here, a minute there, but I ran... and it didn't kill me. I can tell that my stamina is improving, and maybe at some point I'll spend the whole thirty minutes running. It really depends on the incline... I tend to try to stay at 5% or better because the calories burn off more quickly.

For dinner I made a yummy, yummy tomato salad. What makes it so great is that you salt the tomatoes, collect the juice, mix it with garlic and balsamic vinegar and reduce it, so that the flavors are concentrated. Then you cool it down a little, mix it with olive oil to make a vinaigrette and pour it back over the tomatoes and add mozzarella and basil. Mmmm... it makes even substandard grocery store tomatoes taste good; it's really just a slightly more complicated twist on insalata caprese. The reduction would probably be awesome as a salad dressing or even as a glaze for chicken or fish. In any case, another winner from America's Test Kitchen.