Thursday, May 05, 2005

I don't want to know about your workout..but read about mine

Okay, I've been a blogger for three days now. Which means I have to waste precious moments during the day reading other people's blogs so I can see what they're writing about and how mine stacks up. Some fitness nut wrote the last blog I read. How do I know he was a fitness nut? Well, the blow by blow description of his last jog in mountainous terrain - complete with split times taken from his stopwatch - was a clue. This thing was so detailed that I assume he must have been typing while running. I just know I never want to get cornered by this guy at a party.
So there I was running up the steepest slope in the Adirondacks and I saw that only 29.55 had elapsed. So I....hey, where is everybody going?

I joined a fairly upscale suburban health club a few years ago. Suburban health clubs are mostly populated with desperate housewives-types who schedule hour long workouts with personal trainers and actually work out about five minutes, spending the other 55 subliminally discussing their sexual fantasies.

TRAINER: Okay Margie, do one more set of sit ups.

MARGIE: Should I spread my legs like this? Or like this?

I don't feel workouts should be social events. Let's face it, you're sweating like a pig while attempting to contort your body into positions that only an infant can achieve. If that's social, people would come to parties dressed in Danskin leotards and muscle shirts and take turns doing curls with liquor bottles.

I'll admit I did hire a personal trainer recently. For some reason, I decided my "abs" needed work. Maybe it was seeing the glut of infomercials featuring well oiled, hairless men who, as far as I can determine, don't even own shirts. They just walk through life shirtless, even in January, so everyone can gawk at their rock hard, chiseled six packs.

My personal trainer was Dave, a guy who apparently left his neck at home that morning. I had asked Dave simply to show me some exercises that I could do in hotel rooms since I travel a great amount. Dave must have misunderstood because, within seconds, he was forcing me to do exercises that would leave me dead in a hotel room. All of them involved lying down (the easy part) and doing something (the hard part) Usually it meant lifting my upper body until my "abs" felt as if they would explode out of my "ass." Dave's job, for 50 bucks an hour, was to occasionally remind me to "keep breathing." Apparently somebody must have stopped breathing on his watch, hence the reminder. Or perhaps it was a reminder from the club's attorneys.

To make matters worse, Dave asked me to do these exercises while holding a medicine ball. This surely eliminated my chances of flirting with the desperate housewives. But, as Dave pointed out, a gallon jug of water could be substituted for the medicine ball so I could still do the exercises in hotel rooms. Of course, that means putting a milk jug in my carry on luggage but it seems a small price to pay for rock hard abs.

Okay, that's it. You can stop reading about my workout. Hopefully you did it in under 30:04:02.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

To Tivo or not to Tivo

Technology fascinates me, albeit not the technology that allows your turkey to cook in 45 minutes or makes your DVD spin faster inside your PC. No, I'm talking technology that produces instant gratification. And I'm not comparing technology to sex. Sex requires begging. No, I'm talking technology that, once you pick it up you can't put it down. I'm talking TIVO!

My brother-in-law was kind enough to give my wife and I TiVo for Christmas. Not just a TiVo box, mind you, but a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to TiVo. Personally, I'm not sure I want to own anything for life. It just makes the will more complicated. Now, when I die, relatives will fight over the TiVo box. Of course, I don't think TiVo will be around long anyway. In 10 years you should be able to reach into your television, tap Regis and Kelly on the shoulders, and pull them into your living room. But be careful with Regis because he'll be about 200 by then.

Okay, back to TiVo. When I received it, I had misgivings. "Why do we want TiVo?" I asked my wife. "We're not TV people. We hardly ever watch TV." Ah, but that's the beauty of TiVo. You see, TiVo FORCES you to watch TV, much like a bloody car accident forces you to look. And you WILL look. Even though you warn the kids, "don't look everybody, don't look," you strain your eyeball so far to the left that your cornea is temporarily dislodged, all so you can think, "GROSS! That guy is SCREWED. See what happens when you don't watch the road?"

Within minutes of activating TiVo - a three hour process that required my phone, television, cable company and electrical box to TALK TO EACH OTHER (insert laughter here) - the Schwems had joined the growing legion of families who now have one more thing to fight about. We quickly launched the "Season Pass" feature, allowing us to tape every episode of American Idol, (my daughter) The Apprentice, (me) Oprah, (my wife) and Caesar's 24x7 (also my wife) We also discovered that, because the average cable subscription comes with 342, 791 channels, these shows air almost continuously somewhere. The Apprentice isn't just on NBC. It's on MSNBC, CNBC, lo-carb NBC and uncut and unedited NBC. Okay, that last channel doesn't exist but it should. I'd pay a few extra bucks a month to see what Katie Couric looks like when she stumbles into the studio at 3:30 a.m.

Because our TiVo box holds ONLY 40 hours of programming, in a few days our box was beginning to bulge like a Kirstie Alley sitcom. TiVo politely informed me that there wasn't room to tape an upcoming airing of Goodfellas. I could rectify this problem only by deleting NEXT Monday's Oprah featuring a "frank discussion" on how to stay regular after 40. As my finger hovered over the button that would cancel the Oprah taping, I wondered about the ramifications and started to realize how Terri Schiavo's parents felt. Was it my LEGAL RIGHT to delete Oprah? Would I incur the wrath of the NAACP? WHO WAS I TO PLAY GOD?!

In the end my conscious got the best of me. Oprah remained and I drove to Blockbuster and rented Goodfellas for $4.29. I'll be watching it this morning at 4:20 a.m., the only time TiVo takes a break.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

My first blog entry

As I write this, I'm sitting in bed. I keep thinking "Blogging in Bed" would be a great band name. Then again, "Bed Blogger" sounds like a psuedonym for somebody who is being sought by police.

It's 10 p.m. in Chicago and I'm thinking about actually going to bed instead of blogging. For a comedian, a job that occurs primarily at night, I don't keep comedian's hours. One of these days I'm going to fall asleep on stage.

I have a show tomorrow night for the Insurance Rehabilitation Study Group. I've been researching this group on line for about a week and still can't figure out what exactly they do. So far I've managed to discover that they are a bunch of insurance agents who deal in insurance so, if I'm walking down the street and a piece of a building falls on my head, causing extensive brain damage, at least I'll have insurance while I lay at home, trying to figure out how to use a spoon again. And now I have less than 24 hours to figure out how to make them laugh. Ah, the trials of a stand-up comedian who has fled the comedy club circuit and chosen to make his living performing at sales meetings, "breakout" sessions, and company retreats. At least the pay is better.

Okay, getting back to the insurance thing. How much insurance do I need? Terri Schiavo taught me I should get long term care insurance. I recently saw an informercial touting...are you ready?...FUNERAL insurance. Hey, what a great idea! Now I can have insurance for after I'm dead. It's gonna be tough to pay the premiums from my ash cannister.

Okay, that's enough for now. I'm going to stop blogging and start Tivoing. More on that subject in the next entry.