April 2016 Archives

The Skyway Golf Course In Jersey City

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skywaygolf.jpgMy friend Bonnie invited me to try Skyway Golf Course last weekend. If you didn't know, Skyway is a new municipal (public) golf course in Jersey City, about a 12 minute drive from Hoboken. The style is a links course, with no trees and lots of bumps and hills for challenging play. Also, it is only 9 holes - which I kinda liked because I just wanted to play for a few hours, and not have to commit for a 4-5 hour round. Perfect kind of situation if you got off work and just wanted to play 9 holes with some friends. 

Also, it's pretty cheap. On weekdays 9 holes is $19 and weekends its $23. Cart Fees are $10. Bonnie and I played on Sunday for $63, total. We had a few drinks we brought along with us and had a day of it. 

Getting there isn't too bad. We used a ZipCar to get over there. The one warning you need to know, if you are following navigation from Hoboken is do not miss this exit from Route 9 to Duncan via Stockton:

duncanstockton.jpgWe missed that exit (it was my fault), and trying to turn around was a 15 minute nightmare, its impossible to just make a simple U-turn along US-9. So learn from our mistakes!

Otherwise, I really liked the course. It isn't Liberty National. But as far as county courses go, its fine - it was in better shape than the public golf course I played in Barbados! The only thing it was missing was a driving range, which would have been nice. I often use the driving range in Edgewater, but the traffic along River Road can sometimes be tricky.

Seems like a good all-around deal for golfers looking to play 9, or if you wanted to play two rounds just play 9 and 9 again.

This year was different than other years, I injuried my shoulder over the summer and both my feet were in pain from plantar fascitis like symptoms. I couldn't lift. I couldn't run. I gained weight over the months, mostly around my midsection. 

I never had to deal with weight issues. I was a guy, at 32 years old who was doing the "Skinny Guy Diet" when I first started to weight lift because I could NOT gain weight. Even in my 20's, my go-to breakfast was English Breakfast tea with a large chocolate cupcake. I remember older coworkers at work watching me in shock wolf down my breakfast. I used to laugh about it. Now I realize how they felt, because I couldn't do that anymore.

My belt notches increased. I felt, in a word, "jiggily". My pants stretched and I would even get painful red marks around my belly from my pants pressing against my gut. I bought size 40 pants to get some relief. I avoided the scale, but one day I decided to look.

I was 248 pounds.

Two Hundred Fourty Eight. For reference I was 180 pounds in high school. Maybe 190 in college and I doubt more than 200 pounds when I was 25. I was worried, to say the least.

Last Thanksgiving I was at my brothers house in Bethesda, as my family has been every year since 2005 or so. It has become my favorite holiday of the year, mostly because my brother and sister-in-law go crazy trying to out do themselves each year, with new side dishes and drinks. It was so warm last year, that we went golfing. My sister snapped a picture of me. 

I hate pictures of myself. I never look good in them. I'm not photogenic. But I looked at the photo and didn't like what I saw. Nor, did I like how I felt. I was tired all the time. Every afternoon, after lunch, I had to take a nap. On weekends my routine would be wake up, get a Fiore's roast beef, chips and a soda (plus maybe a cupcake), I would eat that and get so sleepy from my bloodsugar spike that I would need to nap for another 2 hours - often just falling asleep in front of my TV.

With my injuries I kept making excuses why I couldn't lose weight. Every month I would push off exercising. It was an excuse each week from my shoulder hurting to my feet hurting. The picture became my motivation.

January 4th I started paleo again. Strict. No cheats (no alcohol, either). Goal was 60 days, which would be the longest I ever went. It worked. I started to lose weight. I felt better. I met an amazing massage therapist at Body Balance who told me in December, "Your whole body is inflammed that is why you are in pain." She was right. About 20 days after starting paleo, I went back to her and she said, "I can tell you aren't as inflammed anymore, whatever you were eating before was doing this."

I worked on my feet. I brought to work a mandala ball. I would roll out my feet every morning. It hurt at first, and eventually got better after a month. I was able to start Crossfit again in Feburary.

My birthday arrived in Feburary. I allowed a cheat meal and drinking for 1 night. Then went right back to strict paleo. I had a trip to Barbados in March. I ate and drank whatever I wanted, trying to be "good", but not strict. When I returned from Barbados, I went back to paleo.

I didn't let the vacations or birthdays derail me. I would plan out my meals. I used Kettlebell Kitchen for lunch. I stopped drinking coffee with sugar and milk, and would drink coffee black with 1 tsp of coconut oil. Otherwise, I only drank water or seltzer. I found that Canada Dry Triple Berry is fantastic. 

It is the end of April and i'm at 228 pounds as of this morning. 20 pounds lighter, with 80 days of paleo plus exercise, roughly equates to 6-7 pounds lost per month. I don't consider myself done, I would still like to see me get to 220. I eat about one or two cheat meals a week now, and allow for moderate drinking again (usually is two times a week, 90% of the time it is red wine or scotch, I really don't drink much beer anymore).

My belt was at its last notch on January 1. I'm about 1 notch away from needing a smaller belt. I recently bought size 36 jeans. I sleep better. I feel better. Naps aren't as frequent, and my blood sugar rushes only make me tired for 10 minutes. I can get by with a 20 minute power nap now.

Everyone has something that motivates them. For me, it was a picture. What's your motivation?

Before and after picture:


One day, back in 2015 I opened my cable bill. It cost me $175 a month for cable and internet from Cablevision. I watched quite a bit of TV, most of it from my DVR, with shows like, "The Walking Dead", "Game of Thrones", "Dr. Who", or "Homeland" - to name a few.

Even while I had cable, I also had Netflix ($10) and Amazon Prime Video ($12.50 monthly). Just watching movies or TV shows I was paying almost $200 a month, I started to question...was it worth it?

I had been thinking about this for a long time. There's only a few channels that I really watched, like HBO, Showtime, AMC, aside from regular basic stations. Many TV shows and movies are available on Netflix or Amazon a year later, and I was able to buy a season pass to The Walking Dead which costs $40 a year. I don't really watch much else on AMC besides TWD or Talking Dead. Showtime only has Homeland that I want to watch. BBC only really has Dr. Who. I found this was often with a lot of channels, there was only 1 or 2 shows from each channel that I liked, but as a whole wasn't THAT important.

If I cut my bill down to "basic cable" my costs would basically reduce by $100, or $1200 a year. Even if I bought season passes for all my favorite TV shows, I seriously questioned if I could spend more than $1200 a year on them. 

The biggest key issue with cord cutting is loss of sports. My favorite teams are in Philadelphia, so I have been used to the idea that I can't watch my favorite teams play aside from subscriptions to NHL.com, MLB.com or DirecTV NFL Sunday Pass. This is the biggest issue with cord cutting, and quite frankly that's how the cable companies and DirecTV know they got you. There's no "basic TV plus local sports" option. Cablevision only offers Broadcast Basic (FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC, WB, Public TV) for $13 - and the next jump up is value package for $65. It's a $52 jump. That's absurd. There really needs to be a better middle ground here, for $25 a month you should be able to get basic TV plus MSG/SNY/NBCSports/ESPN. Ideally, you should be able to pick a-la-carte what channels interest YOU, there are plenty of people who hate sports, and would rather spend $12 on a few channels that are important to them. Interestingly enough MLB.TV announced this year: "Follow Your Team feature will allow MLB.TV Premium subscribers to watch their favorite out-of-market club telecasts without blackouts for $10 more a month."

The day will come that this happens sooner or later. One reason is Amazon and Netflix are starting to produce their own TV shows and movies. Secondly, people are cutting the cord nationwide. Almost 200,000 Canadians cut the cord in 2015. Eventually the cable companies will have to react.

HBO ($15), Showtime ($9) and Starz ($9) now offer seperate streaming services for their channels. I could buy all 3 of those channels, get "Game of Thrones", "Silicon Valley", "Homeland", "Black Sails" and all their movies for $33 a month. Even with basic cable $13, plus $33...i'm still only paying $46 a month if I bought those streaming channels. Right now i'm holding off on getting Showtime & Starz, but will be getting HBO soon because I love Game of Thrones.

My second favorite show, The Walking Dead (TWD) - I was able to buy $3.99 per episode the day after it airs on Amazon (I cut the cord mid-season, so it didn't make sense to buy the whole season for $40). Total cost I spent was about $24.

Once I started to add it up...it looked like this:
HBO per month $15

Basic TV per month $13

TWD per month $3 ($40/3).

Showtime $9

Starz $9

NHL.tv (single team package - estimated $8 a month, I don't have the pricing handy for next year)

MLB.tv (single team package $85 a year, or $7 monthly - i'm skipping it this year since Phillies are in the dog house)

Total Cost $59 with Basic/HBO/Showtime/Starz/NHL/TWD. Not including Internet or including existing Netflix & Amazon. 

That still bascially leaves me $41 to spend a month on any other subscriptions or movies. 

It's really a no brainer. I haven't even come close to spending more than that on my favorite shows and movies. Again, my biggest issue is missing out on live sports and while annoying, especially when Villanova was on TBS for the national championship, it wasn't the end of the world to go to a bar to watch the game.

The sooner more people cut the cord the sooner cable and satellite companies will be forced to fix the problem. Do it!


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This page is an archive of entries from April 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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