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September 29, 2009

FitBit, Count Chocula, or Maybe Both.

By: The Dude on the Right
I'm not going to lie, and if you are a regular reader of the website you will know this is true, but I can afford to lose a few pounds. Now I'm not supremely, morbidly obese or anything, but simply put, if I could work out for about two or three weeks like the people on The Biggest Loser, I would probably be pretty close to my goal weight, or be reduced to a blubbering ball of tears as Jillian Michaels constantly yelled at me. But since I don't have three weeks to burn about 7000 calories a day by exercising and eat only 1800ish by eating, lately, mostly, I've just been trying to be a little more active with some walking and trying to eat a little more healthily with food choices. Thanks to Brad Feld, a blogger I stalk, I mean follow, I found an iPhone app that has helped a bit, this thing called DailyBurn, with some pretty, little graphs that, as long as I enter what food I eat properly, tells me if I can have a bowl of ice cream at the end of the day, and with some manual entry of the caloric burning that my Nike+ iPhone app tells me into the DailyBurn app, in the past 6 weeks I've lost about 5 1/2 pounds. However, being the tech dork that I am, and looking for something better, easier, stronger, and faster, and having seen it on CBS Sunday Morning a few weeks ago, I am now intrigued by this thing called the FitBit, and thanks to Stu Gotz during yesterday's podcast, I might also be changing my morning cereal.

Let's start with the FitBit...

It's seems too good to be true, but FitBit supposedly, and I take this directly from the website, "... accurately tracks your calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled and sleep quality. ... The Fitbit tracks your motion in three dimensions and converts this into useful information about your daily activities. You can wear the Fitbit on your waist, in your pocket or on undergarments. At night, you can wear the Fitbit clipped to the included wristband in order to track your sleep."  Now, I'm not the greatest of sleepers, so quantifying it sort of scares me, but having something that instantly tracks my daily calories burned, especially since I don't do anything cool like lift weights (it also doesn't do too well if you're a cyclist or swim I guess), but if it does an easier job than my iPhone Nike+ thing of calorie burning, I might be all for it. The website has options to manually enter some exercises and what you eat, but I'm curious how well the food database will be because the one on DailyBurn has really opened my eyes to some of the things I eat, and without the cool iPhone app that I can quickly look at as my day comes to a close, I know I will be flustered if I have to go all the way to my computer to find out if I can have that bowl of ice cream.  The website says they are filling FitBit orders as fast as they can, so how this impacts my daily workout still waits to be seen, if at all, but as I said earlier, I might have one food option that I can change immediately.

So on to my morning cereal...

As I have now found my soul mate, and she drifted me away from my standard, morning breakfast of two eggs and a piece of toast to a bowl of healthy cereal, I switched back to your basic, plain-jane, Cheerios, something I enjoyed as a young lad, only as a young lad I enhanced my Cheerios experience with a couple of teaspoons of sugar, thus negating the "low in sugar" benefits of the basic Cheerio. As an older lad I have grown accustomed to supplementing my plain Cheerios with a smaller portion of Honey Nut Cheerios to add a little sweetness (I'm close to just going all Honey Nut, though not yet), but as cereal has become part of my morning repertoire, I would sometimes dream of the days when a bowl of Count Chocula would fill my bowl, with its chocolaty goodness and weird, "spooky-fun" marshmallows, and even though I threatened my fiance with "I'm gonna buy some!", I could lately couldn't find a box at my local grocery store.  But then, low and behold, Stu Gotz tells me that he found the trifecta of Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry, at his local Target no less, and I got to thinking, and researching, and other than wondering what the difference is between "whole grain corn" and "whole grain oats," and I suppose some "beet juice concentrate color" in the Chocula, I'm failing to see any giant difference between the Count Chocula and the Honey-Nut Cheerios.  Hell, they both contain "mixed tocopherols," whatever those are, but for my basic nutritional facts, and because my serving would be the same of about 3/4 cup of cereal, both with skim milk, I'm ignoring the milk side. For cereal only, this is what I get:

Serving Size 3/4 cup, Cereal Only
Nutrition Fact
Count Chocula
Honey Nut Cheerios
. Calories from fat
Total Fat
. Saturated Fat
. Trans Fat
. Polyunsaturated Fat
. Monounsaturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
. Dietary Fiber
. Sugars
. Other Carbohydrate

Sure, the basic Cheerios does better, and allows you a serving of 1 cup, but damn, if I'm going to make that switch to Honey Nut Cheerios, I might as well just go nuts, or rather not go honey nuts, and get the Count Chocula because really, how bad can "beet juice concentrate color" be for you? In the end it looks like the difference is between a little more sugar in the Count Chocula with some extra salt in the Honey Nut Cheerios, so really, the choice is about high blood pressure or diabetes, isn't it?

So I'm not sure if I'm going to be trying the FitBit right now, though, knowing me, it will be on my "to be purchased" list, especially if they come out with an iPhone app so I know if I can eat my ice cream, but I might have to pull out the $10 Target gift card that I have, buy some Chocula, and relive that chocolaty goodness, with spooky-fun marshmallows, and BHT added to preserve freshness.

That's it for this one!  I'm The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

Posted by Rightdude at 9:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2009

The Chicago Olympics, Monday TV Viewing, Surrogates, Jim Cantore Calls Stu, and More!

The Dude on the Right and Stu Gotz have a busy weekend, but thankfully a lot of it during this "Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast isn't about politics, although there is talk about President Obama going to Denmark to cheer on the Chicago Olympic folks, although we doubt he'll be giving Chia Obama's as parting gifts. The Dude is bummed he missed the F-Bomb dropping during Saturday Night Live, Stu wants The Dude to watch Pawn Shop, and who knew Stu Gotz would spawn some talented kids, but he did!

They talk about flu shots at strip clubs, how they both didn't like the movie "Surrogates," options to record/watch all of their TV shows, and happily Stu's personal phone call from Jim Cantore wasn't necessary for his family's safety this time, but he was glad he got one. Somehow, even with all of this, they even get some time to talk about The Chicago Bears, and Stu makes the discovery of a lifetime, namely he found where you can buy Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and Count Chocula. All is well with the world.

Posted by Rightdude at 7:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2009


The Dude on the Right went to see "Surrogates," and during this movie review we find that The Dude had problems with the story, the plot, the future of mankind, but not Bruce Willis' hair. The movie is about human-like robots who do all of the work for humans who are "plugged" into the robots while lounging at homes in their robes. It seems there is a weapon that can kill the robot but also kills the human controlling the robot, and this could cause problems for the people who make the robots. That seems to be be the simple explanation for the movie, but The Dude is more worried about the future of mankind because it doesn't appear people are having sex anymore, except in the virtual world.

Posted by Rightdude at 7:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2009

To Eat Shrimp, or Not to Eat Shrimp? That is the question.

I don't really remember exactly how long ago it was, but I do remember my first, real, allergic reaction. I had a prepared shrimp salad, as I recall it was very yummy, and all seemed well, but then about an hour later I felt a little out of sorts. I remember seeing a red splotch on my arm, eventually I ended up in the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and my face was starting to become all contorted. Immediately the movie "Hitch" came to mind - the scene where Will Smith had an allergic reaction and his face looked like a cross between The Elephant Man and, well, Will Smith. I went to the drug store, got some Benadryl, and started to become paranoid as some quick internet searches said that in a few minutes I wouldn't be able to breath and my head might explode, but a few other searches at a few more reputable sites said that if I started to sense breathing problems that I best be dialing 911.

Happily the Benadryl did its job, but sadly I didn't do the important thing at the time and that was to contact the people who made the shrimp salad and find out every ingredient, down to the last dash of salt, that was a part of it. Me, I just assumed I developed an allergy to shellfish, and even though I loved shrimp, the thought of my face looking like a kaiser roll again didn't thrill me, so ever since then I have done my best to avoid shrimp.

Enter an allergy test.

Finally, after too many years, I visited a doctor and my starting tests were interesting. My overall cholesterol was good, my bad cholesterol was good, my good cholesterol could be better, I need to exercise more, and my allergy test came back clean. Yup, all of these years have gone by, and I might have been able to be eating shrimp, but then again I might not because, as she put it, the tests aren't perfect. It appears that I don't have a general shellfish allergy, which I figured was the case because the last time I had some lobster my head didn't explode, there's a chance there might have been some special spice in the original shrimp salad that was the culprit, or maybe it was just where that specific shrimp was from. So without a slew of allergy tests, it's almost like searching for a needle in a haystack because I didn't do the smart thing at the time and investigate the tastiness of my salad.

The thing is that over the years I actually wanted to try to eat some shrimp again, just to see what would happen, and I have a relative and a friend that both have allergies, so much so that they are supposed to carry this EpiPen thingy. There I was, ready to chow down, only to have both of them tell me that their EpiPens had expired, to which they both looked at me like "Yea, I know, I should probably have that thing current, shouldn't I?", but that wouldn't help me if my own medical experiment proved shrimp was the cause. But now, with my clean allergy test, I have a dilemma: To eat shrimp, or not to eat shrimp? Maybe I'll have to take a trip to Hooters and ask the waitress "Can I have ten shrimp, hot, with a side order of Benadryl?" or maybe I'll just have the burger. They do have a tasty burger.

That's it for this one! I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Posted by Rightdude at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)

September 22, 2009

Where is the Pumpkin?

We feed our dog pumpkin. Yes, that's right, I said it - my BFF and I feed our dog pumpkin. It seems that our Coton de Something-or-other has a sensitive stomach and likes to regurgitate on occasion, which, at the start, had the both of us worried. One vet prescribed a low-residue diet with this canned, dog food that even I thought was gross. Milo wouldn't eat it, and after he started to lose more weight we went to a witch-doctor vet, I mean, a more holistic vet, who gave us a blow-chunks-by-blow-chunks explanation of the difference between a dog vomiting and a dog regurgitating (pretty much the difference is if your dog wants to eat it back up it's regurgitation, if not it's vomit), why they sometimes do it, and that rather than invade his little body with scopes and surgery at the present time, we should put him on a diet of cooked, ground turkey mixed with pumpkin, in addition to some dietary supplements. Me, I was skeptical, but after our cooking turkey for the umpteenth time, having Milo actually look forward to our shoving a pill down his throat, and constantly having the grocery store clerk look at us in a weird way as we came through the check-out line with three pounds of ground turkey and three cans of Libby's pumpkin, it occurred to us that the regurgitations episodes had drastically slowed, Milo's weight was back to normal, and instead of dreading meal-time, the little dude was back to his normal, spinning self. Happily we weened him off of the ground turkey we had to cook and found a "dog store" variety that is precooked, and mixed with the pumpkin all seems to be well, except, well, when I went into the cabinets this morning to get a fresh can of pumpkin. To my dismay we were out of pumpkin, so this morning I gave Milo the plain turkey, and he looked at me like "Hey, you're missing something here!" I apologized to him and promised that dinner would bring the orange-ey goodness that he has grown to love.

At first I wasn't that worried even though, the night before, at the local Jewel grocery store, I went to buy some extra cans of pumpkin, but wouldn't you know it, they were out. The thing is they have been out of pumpkin for over a week now, but I had some errands to run this morning so I figured I would stop by another Jewel. I get to the cooking isle, and there, on the bottom shelf, where pumpkin normally would be, again is an empty shelf. "What is going on here?" "Is this some kind of pumpkin shortage?" "Milo's going to kick my ass when I get home." "What about anyone who might want to make a pumpkin pie?" So many thoughts were going through my head, but predominantly was the simple one of "How does not one, but two Jewel grocery stores be out of Libby's canned pumpkin, especially with today being the autumnal equinox and all?"

So now, on my way home, I am on a quest. I suppose I'll hit the Dominick's first, although their prices are higher on the Libby's pumpkin, but hope they at least have a couple of cans to tide us through the Jewel pumpkin shortage. If not Dominick's, I suppose I'll hit Wal-Mart after that, but I really hate to shop at Wal-Mart for my inherent fear of getting run over by an old person in a motor scooter, but if even the local Wal-Mart is out of pumpkin I'll really be worried, and not just for Milo, but for pumpkin-pie makers everywhere. Here's to good luck on my quest!

Posted by Rightdude at 3:33 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2009

Goodbye Summer, Lots of TV Talk, Melting Cars, and A-Holes.

Stu Gotz and The Dude on the Right get together for their last "Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast of summer, and right off the bat Stu needs The Dude's help as to what he can call a Chicago Cubs' player without getting sued. The Dude isn't a lawyer, so he uses Penn & Teller logic, but the podcast quickly shifts to movie watching as Stu gives his feedback if "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" is good for the kids. The boys do a lot of talking about TV, what with the Emmy Awards being the night before, The Dude liking "Community" and "Survivor: Samoa," and they both have TiVo setting to do with the next couple of weeks kicking things into high gear. The Dude watched "Smart People" with his BFF, Stu went to a Demolition Derby again and saw a car melt, and they both wonder if the side effects of Latisse, a drug that gives you longer, fuller, and darker eyelashes is worth it. Luckily for them, neither of them need it.

Posted by Rightdude at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2009

Maybe Reading Isn't for Losers

There was a time when I was of the philosophy that reading is for losers. Now I didn't come up with that phrase, I stole it from Steve Dahl, a radio dude in Chicago, but as far as books went, I was generally anti-reading, which is kind of weird because I can read stuff on the internet all day, and if I don't read my daily newspaper, the actual version on paper, my day doesn't seem complete. It's not that I don't like a good story in a book, or sometimes don't get good information from some self-help/exercise tome, but generally most good books are made into movies, and since I like movies more than reading, I generally felt the movie version was a better use of my time. For whatever reason, though, I've started reading, with the first book that I've finished in years being "Start Where You Are" from Christopher Gardner, yup, the same dude who wrote "The Pursuit of Happyness," of which a movie was made that, I have to admit, made me weepy. I have to say that I enjoyed "Start Where You Are," and suppose I should write him to thank him for a lovely memory I have with my BFF thanks to his book.

The thing is it isn't the printed book that got me back to reading, it is actually my iPhone, where as soon as there was a free Kindle app, I decided to see how reading a book was on my iPhone, and probably because it's technology, I convinced myself in my head that reading was now cool.

In any case, I bring up the reading thing because today Oprah made the latest selection for Oprah's Book Club, something called "Say You're One of Them," from someone named Uwem Akpan. It's a book of short stories, which will probably appeal to me more than a full-blown novel, but there is an anti-Oprah part of me that won't let me pull the trigger, hit the Kindle store, and pop it on my iPhone yet, because, well, I don't want Oprah telling me what to do. Well, there is that part, but also because as much as I am liking reading now, I usually find myself doing it at the end of the day, in bed, to help me calm my mind from a day's worth of input, so it takes me a while to actually read an entire book. Since I'm already backlogged and looking forward to getting to "The Last Lecture" from Randy Pausch, I don't know if Oprah's Book Club selection will make it anytime soon. Guess we'll have to wait and see, but for now re-remembering how to get rid of my back pain and maybe invest my money in my old age are taking priority, so I guess I'm just hoping Oprah might start her own movie production company to turn her book club choices into movies. Even though reading isn't for losers anymore, it still takes a lot of time.

Posted by Rightdude at 1:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2009

I Like My Fruits and Vegetables, but When Should I Take My Drugs?

By: The Dude on the Right
I never knew that taking medication could be so complicated, yet after my latest visit to the doctor where she prescribed me some drugs, being the inquisitive person that I am, I read the full list of possible side effects (my BFF is now on the look-out if I turn gray, yellow, blue, green, or any other color than what my skin and teeth are right now) as well as the recommendations for when to take the little capsule. Herein lies my problem because until I'm done with this stuff, I'm supposed to take it twice a day, on an empty stomach, at least one hour before eating or two hours following eating. This might seem simple, but as my current diet plan had been working, and I like my breakfast right away in the morning and sharing some ice cream with my BFF while we watch The Biggest Loser at night, somehow this pill-taking time schedule doesn't seem to work. Let's do the math...

If I wake up at my normal time to get to my morning consulting gig, I have breakfast streaming down to my belly within 30 minutes of getting out of bed. So much for taking the pill right when I get up. Sure, I should probably get up and exercise first, but for now my walks during the day are doing the job. Now, to keep me from getting overly hungry during the morning hours and stop any desire for a 1/4 pounder, I've been in the habit of having a nice piece of healthy fruit or some vegetables when I get to the office, but that little piece of health just ruins the window of pill-taking opportunity because if I take the pill two hours after breakfast, I'll be starving before lunch comes up because I won't be able to have my piece of fruit, that and the fact that I really don't want to bring my drugs to work.

So with morning shot for taking my pill, I've still got the same issue come afternoon where a tasty yogurt in the middle of the afternoon is a great way to curb that hunger for a couple of donuts on the drive home before dinner. No window of pill-popping opportunity there. And don't get me started on the evening hours because, like I wrote earlier, ice cream, my BFF, and The Biggest Loser make for a great equation, but that means I won't be able to go to sleep until at least two hours after the last drop of Moose Tracks have hit my gullet.

So when am I going to take these two pills? I don't know. I suppose I could set my alarm to wake up at around midnight to take one pill, and then if I set another alarm at 3AM I can take the second pill, thus taking both pills on the prescribed empty stomach although I doubt I should take them that close together; I could skip the piece of fruit and the yogurt, but both of those little things have helped me greatly from going into craziness for lunch and getting a couple of donuts for my ride home; or, maybe I have to quit being so neurotic and just take the damn pills, twice a day, on a sort-of empty stomach. Sometimes I just make life complicated.

Posted by Rightdude at 7:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2009

Jay Leno, U2, Football, Extract, Mini Porterhouse Steaks, and Pee.

Who knew there were tiny porterhouse steaks, but during this podcast episode of Stu & The Dude's "Weekend Wrap-Up!," The Dude on the Right tells Stu Gotz all about it. They both deconstruct the new Jay Leno show, Stu saw "Extract," The Dude isn't off to a good start this football season with losses by the Bears and Buckeyes, Stu has grill issues, The Dude is cheering on The Fab Five on America's Got Talent (though he thinks The Texas Tenors will win), and the fall TV season has both of them scrambling for TiVo options. Their life's are so simple, yet so complex.

Posted by Rightdude at 9:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2009

No Blago, Some Big O, Being Sicko, and Obamo.

Stu Gotz starts things off by trying to figure out why I'm not going to read "The Governor" by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagejovich. Meanwhile, as I'm ruining the podcast with coughing fits as I get over a cold, Stu isn't suffering from his allergies, at least while we are recording. ... the big news in Chicago was Oprah shutting down Michigan Avenue for her kick-off special with the Black Eyed Peas, among others, and nationally President Obama was going to talk to kids...And finally, Stu caught "Whatever, Martha!" with Jennifer Koppelman Hutt and Alexis Stewart, for whatever reason.

Posted by Rightdude at 8:32 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2009

The Wal-Mart Game, No Nudity in Playboy, Red Wine, and the Meaning of Labor Day.

During this podcast episode of "Stu & The Dude's Weekend Wrap-Up!," the boys get things done a day late, but still have lots to talk about. The Dude on the Right comes up with a game for Stu Gotz to play the next time he is at Wal-Mart, Stu gives his take on the movie "The Promotion," and we find out that Mama Gotz forgot some drinking lessons she learned years ago. The Dude made a visit to a quadfecta of hardware stores, Stu is starting to realize why The Dude might stop his subscription to Playboy thanks to Heidi Montag, and love is in the air for some friends of Stu. Aren't weekends grand?

Posted by Rightdude at 9:18 PM | Comments (0)


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