Hi. I’m Monday, here to remind you that we should be friends. If you’re 40, you’ll see me at work about 1,250 more times. If you’re 25, it will be around 2,000 more times. This life, the one that has you grumbling about going to work on Monday? It’s not a dress rehearsal. You know how this all ends, right? Love, Monday

Another Stolen Walk

I stole a walk from the afternoon, one born from a casual glance out my window. The trees behind the house bent and blew with surprising force. Though I sat with heavy legs and with no thought of an excursion, I found myself outside and walking within minutes. The wind howled in my headphones. As I walked along Friendship, I was reminded of how many school buses ran through this corridor in the afternoon. East Springdale, despite its limited number of arteries, has more schools than you would imagine. By the time I reached the long stretch that touches 412, I had realized I would have to consider going back. I looked across at the massive cemetery and the thousands of truncated stories buried there. Once past, I reluctantly turned and walked back. Looking up at the deep blue sky, I took a picture to capture the tenuous magic. Switching to music, I marched my way back, shrugging off the acres of reminders that afternoons like this are fleeting.

The Sum

Because I had a delayed counseling session due to the excessive rain and flooding last week, I took a walk in South Fayetteville today. I listened to TED en Español. And because I didn’t know the area as well as I thought I did, I went a street too far. As a result, I walked an hour and a half instead of thirty minutes. The breeze and the unfamiliarity of the area made it glorious. I went past Baum Stadium, past the not-yet-completed “Marhsall Place,” as well as another complex whose name escaped me, both uncompleted. I witnessed several exciting events, including a lift operator lowering himself with a surprising weight of siding (even as an excited co-worker shouted at him in Spanish from below), a car speeding through a huge parking lot at 100 mph, passing within ten feet of me, and a man sitting in the abandoned Cobb complex (which I didn’t know existed) smoking pot. And another contractor who broke a 3rd or 4th-floor window with his hammer, presumably accidentally. He looked down at me as I waved. He laughed and waved back, shrugging his shoulders. I gave a man $20, and his smile and surprise were so tangible that I almost failed to keep my composure; his reaction was so genuine that I wondered if I had imagined it. A woman who probably didn’t know someone was approaching exited her car and put her pants on. I’m not sure what proceeded that. She nodded as I looked in her direction. I ate at Mr. Taco Loco, consuming a portion of pico de gallo so immense that I felt guilty for eroding their profit margin. And the counselor? She was so surprised I ordered and read the entire book she recommended. I set my next session earlier for next week, even as I wondered what I might miss by removing the ‘extra’ time between work and my session. While none of these events were momentous, they reminded me of the millions of encounters that comprise the sum of our days.

Stay Simple, Stay Healthy

I don’t use shampoo or conditioner.

On my hair, I mean.

I’ve kept my hair very short for almost all of my adult life. That helps. I don’t have bad hair days as a result. “Bad face” days, perhaps.

I don’t use body wash, either, before you ask.

I despise lotion on my skin, though I will relent and use it a bit in exceptional circumstances. Not “Silence of The Lambs” scenarios, though. I’m eccentric but not crazy. Okay, I’m crazy but not a lunatic. Yet.

I even shave with regular bar soap and use no additional aftershaves, colognes, or other similar things.

I use cheap disposable razors. And not because they are cheap, but because now that I’m accustomed to them, the alleged ‘nicer’ ones cut me like Sarah Silverman at a roast. I keep some sort of beard mostly because I’m lazy. I shave my neck between 1-2 times a week.

Some of the above serve as a reminder that I’m a minimalist at heart.

I use antiperspirant and deodorant, of course, because I’d like to delay excessive body odor as much as possible. If I become more antisocial, I can always stop. That last part is supposed to be funny.

Having said that, I’ve discovered that a particular brand of fiber gummies gives me an INCREDIBLE amount of gas. I consumed a bottle of it a few months ago and attributed it to my healthier diet. This second round confirms my old suspicions: it’s definitely the fiber pills. My physical job helps disguise the aromatic and sonic symptoms. Mostly. My apologies to anyone paying the price of my gastrointestinal choices. Also, yes, I am aware that there are differences between types of fiber, as well as soluble and insoluble. It’s just this particular brand packs a wallop! I’m not mentioning it by name because I don’t want the trolls to pounce on me more than usual.

Sidenote: I’m amazed at how many people don’t eat enough fiber. It seems like something that only old people are concerned about, but probably should be on everyone’s radar. The joke is that it is largely to prevent constipation, but dietary fiber does so many other healthy things for your body.

For people interested in such things, you should search for “glucomannan” on the internet. I don’t have an opinion about it. I’m not supposed to say that, but I don’t. Several people have written to me to insist that I try it. I haven’t simply because I didn’t need anything other than healthy fiber – and I wanted to avoid supplements that I couldn’t sustain for the rest of my life.

It’s fun watching and reading people’s commentary and arguments for or against supplements, trends, diets, and health.

A few days ago, a TikToker commented on a health and fitness video, calling him an idiot. “Blah, blah, blah. Diets don’t work,” the commenter said, among other things. The poster replied, “Diets don’t work – and judging by your appearance, you don’t either.” Oof, that was harsh. Another commenter replied, “Diets don’t work. But neither doesn’t being unhappy or unhealthy. At least it is an effort, even if only 1 in 20 succeed.” I generally avoid perusing the comments. I’d rather have people post their own opinions and put themselves up for criticism and scrutiny. (Most won’t of course, in the same way that people won’t write anything themselves but will hold other’s feet to the fire when they choose to.)

Stay simple and stay healthy out there, whatever that means to each of you.

That includes your mental health, too, even if the circumstances you find yourself in are your fault.

It Is NOT Complicated

A few people hit me over the head about the ‘no exercise’ component of my weight loss over the last few months.

Naturally, I never advocated a ‘no exercise’ mantra for myself – or others. What I said was, “No additional exercise,” as in no gym, no weights, no byzantine series of micro-exercises that I wasn’t already doing. Part of my system was to avoid doing anything that I might not be able to do for the rest of my life. Having a long history of yo-yo weight loss behind me, I knew this would be a critical component to still be under 175 in a year. Not that I planned on it, but I also developed an alternate plan to take into consideration additional weight if I were to surprise myself and start weight training. Muscle weighs a lot more on your body, but it also burns more calories. It’s folly to compare all body types and exercise components as equal where weight is involved.

In my case, my job is very physical: lifting, walking a lot, and a wide variety of motions.

It’s true that I walk for pleasure. Given that the majority of my weight loss happened when I was not walking for fun, it’s a moot point. When I set out on my weight loss journey, I was experiencing a new foot pain that sidelined me. I could still work, but it wasn’t comfortable. The same is true for the intermittent shoulder pain and back pain that has accumulated. Weight loss has largely reduced all those pains. I try to be grateful that I woke up before my back or knees worsened. It’s a certainty I was headed for something terrible had I not.

Given the warmer weather, I have been walking more. It’s been fun this year, especially since I’ve done a lot of urban walking and seeing the places around me with new eyes. I walked a lot last year, it’s true, but I walked around with 65 extra pounds saddling me. It’s a substantially different experience and at times I feel like I’m walking on clouds. The difference is that striking.

The science is clear: walking is ALMOST as good long-term as running. You can also walk in bursts throughout the day. Science also tells us that doing bursts of exercise cumulatively yields the same health benefits as walking in a single, longer bout. This is also true for other forms of exercise. It’s a shame that most of us are hoodwinked into believing that exercise must be a long session in an artificial setting.

You don’t have to set aside an artificial amount of time for exercise, much less travel to a gym to do so. If you’re creative and committed, you’ll get results, even if you do a series of exercise bouts during your day. If “gyming” works for you, do it. I’m just reminding people that there is another way, one that won’t rob you of your time.

Another thing that always gets stretched when I mention it is that people try to say that I believe that exercise isn’t important. I don’t. It is. What I said over and over is that exercise isn’t viable as the primary component of weight loss and weight maintenance. Exercise has a lot of benefits, socially, physically, and psychologically.

IF you can do so, you can maintain your weight solely by consuming fewer calories than you burn. It’s simple math.

I don’t recommend it. I recommend that you be active. Were my job not intensely physical, I’d have to incorporate other ways to stay active. If I had an office job, I would walk in increments throughout the day. I’d do pushups or resistance exercises. Working from home, I’d do step exercises, walk on a treadmill, or get an exercise bike if that helped my knees and back.

Speaking out of privilege, I know that many people can’t simply eat well and exercise. Economics and social issues affect a lot of people, as do medical issues that make being healthy or weigh less a lot more difficult. One of the knee-jerk reactions I get on the internet is that people insist that I’m talking to everyone, or that my generalizations are for everyone. They’re not.

For those who aren’t restricted by those issues, all that is missing is for you to open your mind a little and recognize that your attitude is a lot of the problem. You don’t ‘need’ a gym, a lot of equipment, or even an hour a few times a week. You need a commitment and a change upstairs. You can walk a few times a day, or ride an exercise bike, one suited for your conditioning. You can eat less, or at least learn new eating habits. You can confide in a friend or family member, in hopes that you can work with someone needing to make a change like you.

You can choose supplements, energy drinks, or any of the thousands of systems out there to help you lose weight. You don’t need any of them, though, not if a commitment gongs in your head. I’m living proof. If a system helps you, use it. While you’re figuring it out, follow the literature and simplify your efforts. You’ll probably see that you’re going to have to choose a path that you can sustain without spending a fortune or spending a lot of hours that you could otherwise live differently.

You can achieve a lot through incremental effort. A word a day. One snack less. Choosing things you love that are also better choices. All of them hinge on something changing in your head. Once that happens, excuses stop being nooses.

Good luck!

Love, X

Something’s In The Air

I don’t know how it is in y’alls neighborhoods this afternoon. The streets, driveways, and yards are filled with visitor’s vehicles; crab boils, BBQs, quinceañeras, birthdays, and cumpleaños. Within a block of me, there must be at least ten parties and festive celebrations. The streets are scattered with kids absently ignoring everyone and everything, seemingly to fill all available spaces. Mexican, Marshallese, Salvadoreans, and yes, even boring white people with questionable sock and shirt choices animatedly chatter away the minutes. The combined cloud of music could only be played on a schizophrenic radio station. I don’t know who flipped the switch, but it’s refreshing. Collectively, mysteriously, this neighborhood got the memo that something’s changed.

A Day(ISH)

The mural project on the (house) on Holcomb street is coming along well. I’m envious! It’s going to be spectacular.



As I walked back through Turnbow park in Downtown Springdale, a young man wearing a nondescript uniform stood by an access panel on the perimeter of the walkway and flowers. He fiddled with the controls. When he turned, he said, “Tell’em to move.” He repeated it, but only I could hear it as I walked past. About thirty feet ahead, two more workers stood near the grassy section opposite the bike and coffee shop. I couldn’t tell what the box was on the ground near the closest worker, but I deduced that they were supposed to be working in concert with the man I was passing. There were people on benches and at the tables, scattered around, eating and drinking. On beautiful days like today, it’s an ideal spot, especially before summer comes to cook heads exposed to the sun. Two older ladies were approaching the other two workers. I wish I had my phone up, as the camera app was open. As the man behind me said, “Tell-em to move!” a little more loudly, the sprinkler system they’d been adjusting whooshed to life, giving the two older ladies a quick startle. I turned, shrugged, and laughed as I nodded to the man adjusting the control panel. “Good job,” I told him.



The mural across from the Chamber of Commerce is coming along well, too. Downtown has a lot of activities tomorrow, including square-to-square bike rides.



I took a picture where Water street abuts George Park. I was facing what used to be the Layman’s block. It’s fascinating to stand in open urban spaces, especially where such space hasn’t existed for decades. The sun was phenomenally bright. It might not have been good to have opted to walk wearing all black.



I walked around a few buildings that I haven’t in a long time; in part, this was because I try to avoid looking like a prowler when I criss-cross the urban landscape in the dark. As usual, I saw people, places, and things that were interesting.




To my surprise, I got BEHIND the fence, somehow. As I’ve learned, though, if you look like you belong, well, you belong wherever you are.



I took many other pictures. Because the sun was so bright and because I’m a terrible photographer, most resulted in dark (or overly whitish) blobs. One of the pictures I hoped would be great was of a woman who was staring at me in a strange way as I stood by one of the buildings. So, I snapped a picture of her and she sped off. I laughed.



Watching him play the guitar made me REALLY want to learn to play. Not for my own sake, but so that I could teach him how to do it correctly.



It’s not my idea, but I agree that the bomb squad should run away from every properly defused bomb. It’ll make great footage and give spectators something to laugh and talk about afterward.



I am 100% certain that TikTokers are using my old lists of jokes and ideas for videos.I just watched another one using the idea of wearing a ski mask to bed at night to confuse would-be robbers.



The problem with having a collection of sidewalk chalk is that everything easily becomes a canvas. Whether intended or not.



I have a co-worker who is 60+. He’s in great shape. A few weeks ago, someone asked him to run the Hogeye Marathon with him. My co-worker ran EIGHTEEN miles on his first day of training. I asked him, “You do know that the race is ONLY 26+ miles, right?”



The Hogeye Marathon passes through my neighborhood. On the other hand, it is no accident that even visitors are smart enough to RUN through East Springdale.



Dexter+ Vindicated

Since Dexter ended, I’ve told at least five hundred people, “The show will be back. I have no doubt about it.” Many fans were upset by how the show ended. Not me. I get it. The showrunners wanted Dexter to survive the original series.

Three times since Dexter ended, I wrote short pieces regarding my certainty of its return. As Hall opted for other series, I knew that someone would look at the metrics and dollar signs.

It’s a win-win. If you don’t want to ‘spoil’ the original Dexter, don’t watch the new Season 9. For the rest of us, it all hinges on how much creativity the writers bring to the revival.

A little over two years ago, I wrote another piece about the fact that I just KNEW Dexter would return. Turns out, I was right. We’re getting it later this year. My opinion is that its return is perfectly timed. We’ll be in a different frame of mind after the pandemic.

Here’s the blog post from early 2019:

After all, I told you so!