Black Friday is Coming, Do You Know Where Your Pumpkin Pie Is?


The Dude on the Right

With Thanksgiving about a week away, what better way to start to think about the things to be thankful for than pondering what you are going to buy on the Friday after Thanksgiving, that is if you are early enough to be first in line at your favorite store.  Yup, the Black Friday 2009 ads are starting to leak, you can find the Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, and heck, even Office Depot ads online if you so desire (good luck finding Office Max, though, because it seems they are being diligent in requesting it be removed from sites trying to show them), but I’m starting to wonder why we even celebrate Thanksgiving Day anymore, other than the fact the turkey farmers would probably throw a fit, that and it is the day before Black Friday.  Really, does anyone care that much about it?  Sure, it’s a reason for families to get together, and sure, it’s non-denominational so you’re not going to piss off various religious groups by having the day off, but doesn’t it seem like the holiday is just getting pushed to the side?  The stories are hitting that at Best Buy you can get this TV for this much, at Wal-Mart a slightly different model is the same price, at Target they may not have a good computer, but who cares, join the crowds and just be careful not to get trampled.  Yup, we can expect that on Thanksgiving night there will be the proverbial news story showing the imbecile who is first-in-line to get that flat screen TV that will eventually be on sale for a better price if they could just hold out until right before the Super Bowl, and by the time the Friday morning news hits, the lead story will then be about the people who caused a stampede and killed someone to get the same TV.  Some people will skip some quality family arguments so that they can camp out in the cold and snow to get a laptop for under $500, while others will be doing recon on Wednesday to plot the most efficient route to get as many bargains before 5:30 AM on Friday.

Okay, I’m done being grumpy, because the more I think about it, I am actually looking forward to this Thanksgiving, even if most of the stories will be about anything but why we are celebrating Thanksgiving.  As long as the weather holds out I’ll get to see some family members I haven’t seen in a while, it will be the second Thanksgiving I’m spending with my BFF which means more to me than I can ever explain to her, and if all goes well I might end the day a few bucks ahead if the dice roll my way during a probable game of Left-Right-Center.  I will give thanks for what I have, I’ll say a quiet prayer for people no longer with me, and will even have a good wish in my heart for those who have hurt me.  I’ll eat too much, hope Milo lets me sleep a little later, but come to think of it, I was thinking of getting another Blu-ray player and Wal-Mart supposedly will have one for under $100. So, you know what, I’m starting to think that maybe I’ll skip Thanksgiving dinner, dig out my winter coat and some blankets, pull the feet warmers out of the drawer, and camp out with the rest of the nutballs.  Nah.  That would just be nuts, and I won’t get any pumpkin pie.  Mmm, pumpkin pie.

Ah, Thanksgiving!

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

FitBit, Count Chocula, or Maybe Both.


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!!!

Hi Mom and Dad! It’s 2009!


The Dude on the Right

Hi Mom and Dad!

New Year's Eve - Chicago 2008Just wanted to wish the both of you a Happy 2009, although I’m not really sure if you actually celebrate New Year’s Day anymore.  When I woke up this morning I couldn’t help but think a little bit about how my 2008 went, and like most people, I suppose I’m really looking forward to 2009.  There were some fireworks in Chicago last night, so with this letter are a couple of pictures showing the fireworks and Navy Pier.  I know the pictures didn’t come out that well, but my vantage point wasn’t that close, though it was cozy, and my iPhone still doesn’t have that great of a camera, but hey, it was festive and all!

It sure was a weird 2008, wasn’t it?  I’m not even talking about the gas prices that went high and then low, how the stock market took a crap, or the Presidential election (How about our Governor Blagojovich scandal and his appointing Roland Burris to Barack Obama’s Senate seat?  Gotta love Chicago/Illinois politics, don’t you!). I was looking back at my MySpace page for January 1st last year, and how I set a goal to lose just one pound a week on my 500 calories a day plan, but like many a weight-loss goal, it didn’t go as planned.  52 pounds would have been great, but I did lose about 18 pounds last year, and yea, I have to admit, that one of my first goals this year is to get back on the eating healthy and exercise bandwagon.

I was kinda wondering how things were up there in heaven for the two of you (At least I’m really hoping you’re in heaven.  First off, it would really be a bummer to find out you ended up in the other place, in which case there would have been a lot of things we never knew about the two of you, and also, it would be a little bit of a bummer to find out you picked the wrong religion to raise us under and that I should be looking forward to becoming a dog or kangaroo, or something like that in the next life when I’m reincarnated).  I’m assuming you found each other, and hopefully Dad, that you were waiting for Mom with some flowers and a kiss.  I’m also hoping that all dogs do go to heaven, and that the boys found you.

Dad, for you, I know you started 2008 pretty much deciding your time on earth was done, and I hope by now you have been able to explain to Mom why that was because for a lot of the year she was having trouble wrapping her head around that.  With your going away that early, well, you missed a lot of things for me this year, although I do sometimes wonder about the ability of you (and Mom, you also), to watch over us from up there.  I mean, is it sort of like when Harry Stamper told his daughter, Gracie, in the movie “Armageddon” that he’ll check in on her from time to time right before he gets blown to bits on the asteroid?  If so, I really hope you didn’t check in on me during some private time I was having, in which case, Dad, you might have said something like “Oh no, I cursed him with a little wiener.  Oh wait, thank God, he’s a grower! (at which time I’m guessing a booming voice says “Your welcome, Dad on the Right!”)  Please tell me there are times you respect my privacy (You too, Mom), or is it like some “all-knowing” thing like in the movie “Highlander?”  In any case, you should have seen by now that I have a BFF, and she’s great.  She thinks that somehow you and a relative of hers met up there early last year hatching a plan to help us reconnect after some 23 years.  If that’s the case, can I commend all of you on doing a great job!  That does make me want to apologize, though, because I probably don’t ask for enough help from you, although the we never did talk that much about personal things.  I guess in all of those years we never were able to connect that well, though I’m trying to do a better job sending you some thoughts of things that are going on here with me now.

New Year's Eve - Chicago 2008Mom, I hope Dad has helped you get used to things up there in the past couple of months.  Is there some kind of orientation that you have to go through, or are you just kind of thrown in to the mix?  The BFF and I are still dating, and things are going great.  The both of us have some challenges coming up in 2009 (and who doesn’t), but it’s great having someone to help me through them (and I hope I’m helping her through hers), although I always know I can bend your ear a bit if I need to.  And speaking of bending your ear, thanks for that little “talk” we had before Christmas, it really helped me enjoy the holiday a lot more, what with the advice that it’s okay to miss the both of you, but the time for being sad, and letting that ruin my day, needed to go away.  I know you know it was a weird holiday season, what with the family being spread out across the country (though it was nice spending the time with the BFF’s family), but maybe at the end of this year, once things calm down, maybe we can all get together for Christmas or Turkey Day.  I’m thinking here in the Chicago area.  Nothing like Sis on the Right and her family having to deal with the snow and cold, although it won’t be that much different for Bro on the Right, but having them meet the BFF’s family – That would really be interesting!

Well, I better get going.  The Rose Bowl will be starting soon (I think I’m rooting for USC, if only because I really don’t like Penn State and some of our staff members here are big Trojan fans, but come to think of it, I suppose I’m a Trojan fan as well), and it’s time to get going with 2009.  Mom, Dad, say “Hi” to the Grandmas and Grandpas for me.  I miss them, too, but I have to admit, not as much as I miss the two of you.

Oh yea, one more thing, I’m not sure how it works, or if you could pull some strings (or even if you have that kind of pull yet), and Mom, I know you were a big fan of it and frustrated you never came close to winning, but if you’ve been checking in on me, well, you know I occasionally play the Mega Millions game down here, usually with the same set of numbers.  I mean, is there some kind of lottery you have to win up there in order to influence the numbers that get drawn down here, is it based on merit and good deeds, or is it really just a total game of chance?  Even better, you also know that when the jackpot hits $100 million, well, I’m not going to give it away, but it would actually make winning the jackpot a little bit easier at that amount, what to not create some family squabbles and all.  Anyway, if there were some way for you guys to let me know it’s your turn to pick the numbers, well, that would help a lot.

I hope things are going well for you two up there.  I miss and love you both.

Your Son,
The Dude on the Right

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

Global Warming, Global Cooling, A Cuban, Electric Cars, Cheap Gas, and Happy Holidays


The Dude on the Right

Oh the weather outside is frightful, or, well, it’s at least warmer, but as we are definitely going to have a white Christmas here in Chicagoland, I had to laugh at a lot of the comments on the radio when we were having the sub-zero temperatures about “Where is this global warming?”  Some pundit-types were using the cold weather to say, “See, Al Gore is wrong.  We don’t need to worry about the environment.  Everything is cyclical.  This year we might be global warming, next year we’ll be global cooling.  See, Al Gore is a dufus!”  Then there are the environmental types spinning that the cold weather is an affect of global warming because the environment is all out of whack.  Me, I don’t really know who to believe, all I know is that on TV yesterday I saw a news story about a Chinese company that is supposed to have an electric car, similar to the Chevy Volt, that is supposed to come out a couple years earlier, cost a bunch less, only won’t be as luxurious.  Me, I’m not that worried about the carbon emissions, my carbon footprint, or if I fart too much, what I do think is cool would be a car that pretty much doesn’t need gasoline, and somehow the Chinese are ahead of us in developing that car.

And that leads me to the loan offered to the auto manufacturers and a great post from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, the won’t be owner of the Chicago Cubs because baseball owners are a bunch of dufi, but does write a nice blog where a few days ago he mentioned how Chrysler is toast because, well, what better way to waste money than to put a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal thanking America for, well, investing in Chrysler, “America’s Car Company” that used to be sort of a Mercedes Benz car company until the Benz people couldn’t even take it anymore.  My simple analysis is that the car companies are in this mess much the same way Motorola is in their cell-phone mess.  Motorola rested all of its laurels on the Razr line, not seeing that things are changing, and now no one gives a damn about the latest Razr phone.  The car companies have become just as complacent, resting on their laurels without seeing the innovation consumers want in order to buy a new car.  A little Chinese company might just show that even with the Chevy Volt coming out, a once mighty car company gets beaten to the punch by a company that sees car buying differently.

Than again, with gas prices around $1.50 a gallon again, who cares about electric cars anymore.

In any case, I’m just waiting for my BFF before we start our holiday celebrating, so I thought I would write about something, so why not mix global warming, the loans to the auto companies, and cheap gas all in one post.

Happy Holidays.

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

A Missing Picture, A Mean Letter, but Thank You, and Here’s to 2009!


The Dude on the Right

I have been getting a bit sentimental lately, coming on Christmas (did I ever
mention that I really love Robert Downey Jr’s version of
and him in

"Iron Man"
?), it’s been a season of happiness, sharing it with my new BFF as
well as old friends, and a season of sadness, being the first Christmas after
both my


died. In preparation for this blog post, well, I tried to do some quick
looking through old family photos for a picture of the Christmas tree we, or
mostly Mom, would put up, but sadly I couldn’t find one of the tree, a beautiful
tree – an artificial tree, white instead of green, some forty years old, with
some ornaments that were probably older than that, and Mom always put bubble
lights on the tree, and as kids we would each pick a bubble light, hoping ours
was the first to bubble. It also had normal-er sized bulbs, not those tiny bulbs
most trees have, some were blinky bulbs, and back in the day we would have the
train set up on the floor, on a sheet of plywood, that would drive the dog nuts!
In my searching I did, however, find some pictures of my first girlfriend, my
first car, Dad smoking a stogie, my fraternity brother Ken, one that my
brother’s girlfriend would get a kick out of, and some pictures of me I hope no
one ever see. I also found a copy of a letter I wrote to my sister that even I
have to admit was kind of mean, but sadly, no picture of that Christmas tree.
It’s not that they don’t exist, I know they do, and if I recall correctly, we
had a picture of it on the collage of photos at my Mom’s funeral, but I don’t
have the photos from that collage, and I don’t have days to search through the
boxes of family photos and negatives that I have, to find one.  Yet.

without getting uber-sentimental, in the few days before Christmas this year,
all I can give you right now is a picture of my Christmas tree (filled with
ornaments thanks to my Mom), and wish all of you, no matter what you celebrate,
a nice end to 2008, and a 2009 filled with more joyness than sadness, more
loveness than hateness, and more smileness than frown-ness.

2008 has been a year of weirdness, but thankfully to all of you who visit,
and my friends, and my BFF, it’s also been a year of happiness through it all!

Here’s to 2009, and if it goes as I hope, it will really be a year of change!

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

Reviews Are Coming Soon, For Now It’s About Pumpkins and Trees!


The Dude on the Right

It’s a weird thing to go through, the death of a parent, let alone two within a
year, but sometimes weird things lead to beautiful things, reflective things,
and things you might have never done before.  Beautiful were the trees and
stars (and my BFF – as always!), reflective were a batch of 6ish hour drives
between the old country of Lorain and the new country of Chicago, and something
I’ve never done before is carve a pumpkin.  I think.

So as I’m working my
way back to normalcy, being torn if I should really buy a new MacBook Pro and
contemplating getting back into reviewing mode this weekend with the release of
the movies "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and/or "Changeling" or seeing "High
School Musical 3," these last few days I’m just working on getting back to
posting things, catching up on my TiVo, and hopefully getting a podcast done

But to keep this blog simple, let’s get to "Beautiful" and
"Reflective" first.

thought about trying to quantify how many times I’ve driven between Chicago and
Lorain (Lorain is in the state of Ohio for those of you who might not know) over
the years, but in simplest terms it has been at least five times a years for the
last 22 years, with that number increasing in the past few years.  I’d say
it’s a long drive, but really it’s only about five or six hours, depending on
potty breaks, and many a time I have used those hours as personal therapy for a
variety of reasons.  People ask why I don’t fly home, but in reality, how
much time am I really saving by flying?  You’re supposed to get to the
airport at least an hour and half before your flight, it’s about 45 minutes of
flying time, and if you factor in airport delays, sitting on the tarmac, having
to either get picked up at the airport or rent a car, and then the half hour
drive to the old homestead, in the end, I’ve always found driving to be the
prudent mode of travel, with the only wrinkle being when the Lake Michigan snow
machine rears its ugly head, dumping snow into the Indiana snowbelt.  The
odd things is that in all of those travels I never made that trip to Lorain
during the height of the change of seasons in the fall, when the trees were at
their brilliant colors and travel was a little lighter because the trip wasn’t
during a holiday season.  But as things worked out, as my mom’s health was
fading, I found myself, for a change, on the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike
as the colors of the trees seemed to be peaking.  As stressful as the times
were, between the travel to Lorain knowing it would be for the passing of my
mom, to the quick trip back to Chicago after she died to button some things up
when the trees were brilliant (and I’m not advocating trying to take a picture
with your camera phone while you are driving, but hey, they were some colorful
trees), and then driving back to Ohio to bury my mom, during a cold Ohio night,
with the constellation Orion being utterly striking, rising over the eastern
horizon, so much so that I felt bad keeping it to myself and not waking my BFF
to see it, you know, sometimes beauty, wonder, and even pumping gas in the cold
air can ease a stressful mind, just when it needs it.

And then came pumpkins.

funeral had come and gone, but my nephew, niece, and family were still in town,
and everyone needed something to do.  I reverted back to normalcy for them
– seeing a movie, which sounds bizarre for some folks, but generally worked for
all of us at the various holiday times we would get together.  The crappy
part is that the movie choices during the weekend of my mom’s funeral were crap,
but thankfully my BFF was there to save the day.  Well, at first she laid
an egg, suggesting bowling, but who knew "bowlers" wouldn’t go bowling if they
didn’t have their own equipment, i.e. balls, bags, shoes, towels, etc., to bowl
with.  So when my BFF (and I) suggested going bowling instead of a movie,
that suggestions crashed quicker than the Hindenburg.  Then my BFF
suggested getting some pumpkins, carving them, and then maybe a dinner, and
wouldn’t you know it, as complicated as pumpkin picking can sometimes be
(especially when the original destination doesn’t have any more pumpkins in
their patch), somehow pumpkin carving is easier, thanks to those pumpkin carving
kits readily available at a Walgreens near you.

so, after a quick trip to a different, dying, pumpkin patch, various sizes of
pumpkins were secured, goop was scooped out of the innards, intricate carvings
were attempted as well as some not so intricate, and as my sister and I
reminisced about pumpkin carving, well, both of us realized that our family
never attempted it, and that there might have been a time, when we were maybe 8
to 12 years old, when we tried to carve pumpkins at our friend’s house down the
street, and if so, there is no way any of those carvings were as cool as those
done by our family, with stencils and appropriate cutting tools, done that
Saturday, the Saturday after my mom was buried, when our family didn’t go and
see a movie, but instead, carved pumpkins.

And it was cool.

Tomorrow should
be a podcast, this weekend should be a movie review or two, but for now it’s all
about getting back to some semblance of normalcy, even if normalcy is now
without being able to call your mom on a Saturday morning, at 9:15, when you
always do.  And then comes that day when you delete "Mom and Dad" from your
phone.  I guess that’s another story for another blog, but for now normalcy is the changing of the seasons and carving pumpkins, with family.


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

What’s New? Stu & The Dude’s Weekend Wrap-Up! The Democratic Convention, Dancing With the Stars, and Disney Disappoints a Gotz.

This podcast episode of "Stu & The Dude’s Weekend Wrap-Up!" isn’t
really about The Democratic Convention, nor The Olympics, but during this
podcast there’s a trip to the Old Country and peeing. Sure, other stuff is
associated with this podcast, but doesn’t that quadfecta explain it all?

Podcast wise, well, Stu ruins some "Dancing With the Stars" talk, and the
reputation of shows with Ted McGinley is subtlety talked about, but more talked
about is a Little Gotz having his birthday ruined thank to the folks at Disney
thinking "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" should be released in October rather on the
Little Gotz birthday.

Summer is almost over, women giving Labor is upon us, and pretty soon the leaves
on the trees will tell us that the end-of-the-year holidays will lead us to a
new year that will probably influence us in ways we can’t control, no matter if
Barack Obama or John McCain is our new President.

In the end, we can only control our boat.

What’s New? The Dude sees “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and Fireworks, Stu Wonders if He Can Get “Wii Fit.”

Dude on the Right saw

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
with someone who
doesn’t really like bugs, which, because The Dude is weird, actually made the
movie experience bring a bigger smile to his face, but in the end

it’s all about the review
, and The Dude does what he does.  Stu Gotz,
though, is back doing some typographical reviewing, maybe because his kids might
be a little too young to see the "Crystal Skull" movie, but that doesn’t mean
his family, or at least just him, can’t

get in shape thanks to the Nintendo "Wii Fit."
  Hopefully Mama
Gotz won’t let Stu shove the thing under the couch to collect dust bunnies. 
The Dude saw movies and fireworks, Stu is probably trying to figure out
how to dry a sweater on a "Wii Fit."  Such are different weekends.

“Wii Fit” Probably Won’t Help Me Lose Weight, but Thank God for those McDonald’s Trans-Fat-Free Fries!


I always knew the Wii had exercise potential…
Well over a year ago, when I woke up at 4:30am to be in line by 5am to try a
purchase one of a promised 12 available Wii units at my local Target, I never
thought the Wii could be anything more than the next generation, cool, video
game console. That notion quickly changed the day I brought the console home and
became out of breath after loosing 3 rounds of boxing to my 5 year old. I joked
to the wife that day that Wii Boxing was a great workout, and I should start a
regimen. Did I?  No, and I’m still a lard-butt over a year later, but all
that’s gonna change!!!

Reading the Sunday sale’s ads in bed on a Saturday
While checking out the weekend sales ads I stumbled across the newest, must
have, Wii accessory – Yup, there it was, the new Wii Fit, along with the
optional Wii Fit Yoga Mat, available exclusively at Target, and they were going
to be available on Wednesday. Perhaps now I could realize my fitness goals by
playing Wii games? Figuring that there would be a rush to get the new Wii Fit, I
planned my workweek to get me close to a retail outlet when the doors opened.

Would my Wii Fit dreams be dashed???
Wednesday came and I was running late. My Target store opened at 8am, and I
was pulling into the parking lot at 8:12am. That’s ok… In a worst case there was
a Best Buy across the parking lot, and they opened at 10am. I was feeling good
about my potential of getting a Wii Fit as I strolled past the automatically
opening doors of my Target, and I was faced by no less that 8 people checking
out with Wii Fits. As I walked the aisle to the game area I was passed by 3 more
people with Wii Fits tucked into their shopping carts. Then I saw the end cap…
There were only 4 left! I rushed to grab one and felt a sense of accomplishment
as I checked out with my new Wii Fit complete with Wii Fit Yoga Mat.

The Wii Fit family unpacking event…
After dinner I assembled the family together to unveil our new "game" to
them. At first the kids didn’t seem too excited about the whole thing until
their mom informed them that we could get a snow boarding game to play with the
Wii Fit, and suddenly they were onboard, so to speak. Setting up the Wii Fit is
simple, strait-forward, but does take a bit of time. One aspect of the set-up is
that the Wii Fit assigns you a "Wii Fit Age" based upon your height, weight,
age, and balance test. I faired better than the wife as I was assigned a "Wii
Fit Age" of 45 and she was assigned an age of 49. We’re both 40. The Wii also
took the customized Wii characters the wife and I had created, and in my case
porked "me" out while slimming up Mama Gotz.

What’s this thing gonna do???
The Wii Fit is set up to be a fitness partner in 4 training areas: Yoga,
Balance, Strength, and Aerobics. The family and I spent several hours
familiarizing ourselves with all the areas, and the first thing we have come to
find out is that we all lack balance, at least according to the Wii Fit. 
Mama Gotz was the first to advance in the Balance Games and open the first bonus
game, "Tightrope," although now she seems to be stuck there, because, like many
other Wii games, the Wii Fit is set up to train the user and reward them upon
mastery of a particular skill.

Bottom line, is this thing really gonna work???
Yes and no. The Wii Fit definitely has the potential to add an additional
element to an exercise regimen, but if you don’t have a regimen already then I
really don’t see this thing being a motivational source for someone to start
one. Actually, I take that back, you’ll start one, but see my final paragraph,
"The real bottom line…," below.  That being said, though, if the Wii Fit is
shared by people with a friendly sense of fun and competition, you might just
get motivated, but it just won’t be as much about reaching a fitness goal,
rather one of who can take 1st place in an area, or who can go on to
the next level, therefore opening a new game or exercise.

The real bottom line…
Go look in the mirror – Are you either fat or just in need of some muscle
toning? Now go look around the house – Do you have unused exercise equipment
(drying your sweater on the treadmill does not constitute use)? Now search your
mind – You can’t remember the last time you hit the gym or went for a jog,
correct? If you answered, "Yes" to 2 or more of the previous 3 questions, then I
have a feeling your new Wii Fit will be destined to collect dust bunnies under
your sofa. Prove me wrong!!!

I’m Stu Gotz!  ‘nuff said!

Eavesdropping in Millennium Park and Shirking My Duties!


The Dude on the Right

First off let me apologize for shirking my reviewer duties this weekend, but my
Saturday turned out much better than I read "Speed Racer" might be, and I really
didn’t care about seeing "What Stays in Vegas" today, especially since today was
a blustery, rainy day leaving some cleaning of The Dude-Pad actually a funner
option since all of the reviews I read about the Vegas movie were mixed as well. 
Stu Gotz, though, did see "Speed Racer" and promised to fill me in, and all of
rest of you, during our "Weekend Wrap-Up Podcast" tomorrow, and I guess I’ll
have to give Stu some insight into my happily blowing off the movies for a day
in the park and cleaning.

I suppose I should also fill Stu in with my latest

No, my obsession is not about my favorite sport’s team, it’s not
about soap operas, it’s not about searching for for information if Hillary has
any chance in hell of beating Barack, and it’s not even about internet porn. 
Nope, I am slowly becoming obsessed with eavesdropping on people in public
places.  It started the other day while I was hanging out in a Starbucks,
with like, so, this girl who was so, like in the business world who, like, just
liked to say "like" a lot, and "so" a lot, and I couldn’t help if maybe the
secret to advancement in the the corporate world, and maybe "The Hills" on MTV,
was simply commenting about things with "like" and "so."

then I spent some time in Millennium Park on Saturday, and I couldn’t help but
hear, while sitting on a bench, quips (with my initial thoughts)
like, so:

  • This is really a beautiful park area…
    Duh, it’s Millennium Park, finished after the millennium, but you really
    would be shocked to see what is actually under the park!
  • Maybe we should walk over to The Art Institute.  Which way is

    Doesn’t anyone actually use a map anymore?
  • Do you think those cigarettes are making us out of breath…
    Look, Mr. Skateboards, I know how you ripped your jeans, but do yourself
    a favor and Google "lung cancer."
  • We found "The Bean!"
    Hey, that’s "Cloud Gate" to you little skippy!
  • Are your parents in Morocco?  Have they come to visit?
    He had a huge accent, she seemed Midwest, I’m guessing he’ll never
    let his parents meet her.
  • A baby was screeching loudly
    Actually, there were quite a few babies in their strollers
    crying/screeching, which is what babies do, especially when they are being
    strolled through a park they will never remember and just want a bottle, or
    their diaper changed.
  • Now this I’ve never seen before…
    I wish I was actually looking at what this dude was seeing!
  • The last time I was down here it was cold and gray and generally
    What in the hell are you doing visiting Millennium Park in the
    summertime?  Oh, I’m guessing it might have actually been winter. 
  • The Sound of Breaking Twigs…
    A dude with a ratty backpack, maybe looking for some inspiration, sat
    at the other end of the bench I was on, breaking twigs.  Bruce
    Springsteen has a song called "Thundercrack" on his "Tracks" compilation,
    but I’m thinking "Twiggycrack" won’t have as much an impact.
  • This is a dead end.
    There’s a sort of fake sidewalk behind where I was sitting that
    people thought would lead them across Columbus Drive.  People, just
    take the "Snakey bridge"!
  • Something was said in Spanish…
    My Spanish isn’t what it used to be, actually it’s not even close to
    what it used to be other than "Hola," "Dos Cervezas," "Donde el banyo," and
    "No hablo espanol," or something like that but with all of the appropriate
    accent marks, but there were some tourists speaking foreign languages. 
    Welcome, Bonjour, Aloha, Hola, Kon-nichiwa, and any other way we can say
    "Hello" to our foreign visitors!
  • Daley Bicentennial Plaza
    She was tired, she just needed to sit down, and all she could read
    off of the sign was "Daley Bicentennial Plaza," which hopefully won’t
    someday read "The Children’s Museum that Should Have Just Stayed at Navy
  • Yes, we flew than we drove back with them…
    I wonder who are "them," and were they safe drivers?
  • You should see what is in his refrigerator now…
    What, human heads?  Maybe some Dijon mustard?  Is he all of
    the sudden a health nut stocking his refrigerator with fruits, vegetables,
    and vegetarian eggs, which I still wonder how eggs can ever be "vegetarian"
    no matter what they have been fed?

I know I shirked the fake, movie world this weekend, but sometimes
reality can become so much more interesting when you have to use your
imagination to finish some stories, especially when all you get is a
sentence or two.  For me this weekend with "one sentence" stories to
fill in, other stories about reality, and a few "No shit!" stories, was a
hell of a lot interesting than anything I could have seen on a big screen. 
It was a weekend where "life" was more exciting than "pretending about
life," and I liked it.

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