I've been working out.
Picture Will Farrell saying that. No, wait...Picture Colin Farrell saying that. Maybe Colin Firth? Never mind.
I've been going to the gym. Prime motivations: strengthening the core muscles for golf, and strengthening the muscles that support the knees for curling. Also, the whole not having a heart attack any time soon factors in there.
Here's the thing, though. Exercise is boring. Seriously! Doing a half an hour on the treadmill (while maintaining an average heart rate of 142-152) isn't that much of a struggle...physically. But by the time I'm going on ten minutes, I'm so excruciatingly bored I'm begging for it to end.
I noticed that many people at the gym wear iPods (or other mp3 players). "Hey," I thought, "I have an iPod." I decided to try it out. I went out and bought a pair of headphones, and took my iPod with me the next time I worked out. Didn't do anything for me. I mean, there's already music playing at the club. Sure, my iPod has my music on it, but it's still just music. It fades into the background, and my mind wanders. And the place it most commonly wanders to is the thought of how mind numbingly boring exercise is.
Then, I had one of those oh-so-infrequent brilliant ideas. Podcasts!
For those of you not in the know, podcasts are simply Internet "radio shows" that you can download to your iPod (or other mp3 players) and listen to at your convenience. There are hundreds of podcasts on dozens of different topics available for free download on iTunes.
Me being me, I downloaded several with a skeptical theme, like Skeptoid with Brian Dunning, Skepticality, and The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. Some of them are short and sweet. Brian Dunning's podcasts rarely go for longer than about eleven or twelve minutes. Others are longer, with Skepticality and The Skeptic's Guide both usually ringing in at just over an hour long - which, as it turns out, is almost the perfect length to listen to during a workout.
You know what? It works. The subject matter is intellectually engaging enough to pass the time, while being light enough to allow partial attention to be paid to other things. Like the soccer moms doing their Dancercise class.
Yeah, this whole iPod thing is really working out for me.
And 'cause we're talkin' 'bout iPods, here's your Friday random ten:
1) Cheap Day Return - Jethro Tull
2) Carefree Highway - Gordon Lightfoot
3) G Minor Medley - Leahy
4) Mailman - Soundgarden
5) Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby - Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch
6) Rocky Mountain Way - Triumph
7) Atom Tan - The Clash
8) Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
9) The Cool, Cool River - Paul Simon
10) All Canadian Surf Club - The Tragically Hip