Friday, September 26, 2008

Listen

   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

9 comments:

dpoem said...

When you say you've been working out, you have to flex and hiss and squint your eyes like a tough guy.

Aside from that, whatever works man.  Normally, I like to listen to the other people heaving, gasping and dying (Milwaukee isn't a very healthy town).  Unfortunately, it's not too long before I realize that I'm the one doing all that wheezing.  

Still, to pass the time, I try to wheeze in tempo with whatever music is playing.  Then, I get light headed, pass-out and voila!  Workout's over.

-Dan

grwighter said...

First entry in two and a half weeks is posted at 12:54 AM and Dan responds just 5 min. later! Do you guys not sleep?

simianfarmer said...

That's exactly what works for me, too.

Only it's not podcasts on my iPod, it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But whatever floats your boat, right?  We have a treadmill in the basement and a girlfriend of my wife's has the entire Buffy series on DVD.  I had never seen it.  And being a huge Joss Whedon fan after Firefly (of course), I leapt at the chance to watch Buffy from beginning to end.  So that's how I start my mornings, five days a week.  Watch Buffy for 44 minutes while I hike at maximum incline on the treadmill.

Um, it's a little late in the season to work on your *golfing* muscles, isn't it??


Simon

frankandmary said...

I go to a place that has little tvs on the treadmills. Uhm, I don't have a tv at home & I don't want to watch one in a gym either.  I prefer listening to the women talking about hateful ex-husbands, water bloat & their simmering apprehensions. Whatever works for ya. ~Mary

bpslider45 said...

Simon,
"Um, it's a little late in the season to work on your *golfing* muscles, isn't it??"

Ummm... Simon, you haven't seen Paul golf have you?
I like to golf with Paul. He makes me feel good about my game. As good as I can anyhow!

My concern now is that I'm going to be the fat boy on the team (curling).

Brent

princesssaurora said...

LOL at watching the soccer moms in dancercize... snuck that in there huh?  lol  Glad you are enjoying your workout more!

Hey... I did 2 entries in about 5 days... a recent record for me!  lol

be well,
Dawn

lurkynat said...

hey Paul come check on my high fives for your blog!
I love he podcast thingie:)
love,natalie

bgilmore725 said...

Hi Paul... ugh! I just returned to the journals (because I've been away for awhile) and discovered that while I wasn't aware, aol journals is becoming extinct in about a month... aaghh! I don't know where to begin, but for now, I'll respond to this entry.... I commend you for going to the gym and for discovering a way to keep the interest up in your use of podcasts. I started going to the gym, bought an MP3 player, not an Ipod... I'll look into podcasts... maybe I can download some radio talk shows as well. All of a sudden, I feel left out... and just because I haven't written an entry for two weeks. I dread backing it all up... if I had time to do that, I'd have had time to write entries every day for the past month... I need to look around and see what everyone else is doing... I'd hate to lose my journal friends. I liked this neighborhood, you know? Have a good week. bea

bgilmore725 said...

BTW, I would picture Colin Firth... even with the weight gain he seems to have acquired (in the movie Mama Mia,) he is still a hunk in my eyes.  bea