Close to You - The Carpenters

A news article about one of the Carpenters songs took me to Carpenters Youtube hell.

Not that I was complaining.  It gave me a laugh about the past.  The Carpenters were one of the top bands that ruled the early to mid 70's.  I don't remember feeling one way or the other about them, they were just one of those things always playing on the radio.

The only song my baby self really loathed was "Sing".  I hated it with a passion all my baby self could muster in my under 3 feet tall self.  Whatever caused this hatred is unknown to me.  But I vaguely remember feeling very patronized by the song.

On a macabre note, in the video it looks as if Karen Carpenter was already beginning her torturous battle with Anorexia.  I have a suspicion the big hairdo was to cover up how pitifully thin her face was at the time.

But what was up with Karen's Heidi get up?  My present self is flabbergasted but my past baby self is saying..."Dang, I need to get me one of those outfits!"


This is an earlier TV recording of the song.  Karen Carpenter still looks about normal weight and the video showcases the fact that she was also the band's drummer.

I wonder how much of her self image problems being in the spotlight were due to her being forced into the sweetheart idol role and not the musician/vocalist she prided herself on being.  So sad, what a difference between both of these videos.


One week of T-Tapp

I finished my first week with T-Tapp last Friday.  My feelings contained surprise, disappointment and satisfaction.

Surprise  - As in I was amazed that only 15 minutes of targeted aerobic movement gave me a good workout.

Disappointment - In that I only lost an inch in a few places mainly my trunk (inch loss on pecs, chest, ribs, abdomen - waist and hips stayed the same).  Some people lose much more in their first week.  But I suppose this is due to everyone's body being different.

Satisfaction - Losing 1 inch on my tummy is nothing to be disappointed in for long.

The exercises really concentrate on putting the body into alignment with focus on isometric work while adding aerobic movement.  This program will not hurt your legs or back.  In fact the alignment work will relieve pressure on both areas.  But you do have to be extremely mindful on form.  This is one of those exercise programs in which if you don't pay attention or slack off it won't give you a work out.  Because form is so important, you will need to complete the instructional workout at least 3 or 4 times in order to understand the exercises and their proper form.  Only then should you move on to the 15 minute workout called Basic Plus.  The Basic Plus program is without instruction and close to regular tempo.  The basic plus video kit does include the tempo version of the workout, it is quite fast and would be confusing and too rigorous for a beginner.  So stick with instructional and the regular version for as long as you can.  If you are a regular follower of Lotte Berk and her method's various off shoots, you will take to this program like a duck to water.  Tapp has a lot of the same concepts in her workout.

Teresa Tapp encourages all new exercisers to her program to complete her bootcamp with no other exercise programs included.  Mainly she wants to prove that T-Tapp is a good workout and will give everyone inch loss.  The bootcamp can be either the 15 minute basic plus workout or her hour long Total workout completed every day for 4 to 14 days (depending on how much you need to lose).  Since I'm within the last 10 pound loss, I decided to choose the 2 clothing size loss bootcamp.  Therefore my initial bootcamp was the basic plus program every day for 7 days.  Now, for the next 2 weeks I will be completing the workout every other day.

So far I'm a happy customer which is good because the videos are not cheap.  Also the videos themselves are extremely low-fi about on par with the first Callanetics.  The people exercising along with Teresa Tapp are regular people at various stages in their inch loss plan.  Quite a few of them are in amazing shape (including Tapp who has a gorgeous figure).  The program has no music to annoy or distract you while you exercise.

One element that I appreciate and cannot applaud enough is Tapp's explanation of body anatomy.  She describes 3 body types: Long Torso, Short Torso and Combo.  This is extremely important because she will explain WHY you may not be able to look like her (she has a Long torso figure) at your healthiest and WHY you should not be disappointed by this fact.  Long torso bodies (measuring 4 inches or more between ribs and hip bones) will develop beautiful waists and lithe, graceful backs.  Short Torso bodies (3 inches or less between ribs and hip bones) will always be thick at the waist but develop long, lean beautiful legs.  Combos (Even measurements all around) will develop the most balanced looking figures.

Example link:

Basically Tapp stresses looking good for your body type and not whatever type your neighbor or friend is or whatever is fashionable at the moment.

According to my experience so far I would recommend T-Tapp.  I will be giving updates in the next few weeks as the program plays out.


20 Hours of Callanetics

So I completed 20 hours of Callanetics last week.  During my last 10 hours I alternated the original exercise program with Callanetics Evolution.

My results?  Just what I thought in my first post about 10 Callanetics hours.  To get real results you will need more than just 20 hours (or about 2 months) of Callanetics.  I'm not saying I didn't experience improvement.  I certainly did.  But the most dramatic changes occurred during the first 10 hours.  After the first 10 the changes were more in the refinement territory.  My body became progressively stronger, certain areas became smoother.  Clothing fit me better and I did go down one size without dieting.

Callanetics Evolution was a good counterpoint to the original program.  It was tougher in certain areas with some nice alternate improvements to the older exercises.  However some of the improvements did not seem to take into account problems with knees or backs.  The standing leg degage exercises were more intense than the original program's plies.  I could feel them straining my knees and back.  Something that never occurred in the original program.  They also never occurred in my Lydia Bach Lotte Berk videos that also used a degage variation.  Mainly because the Berk version requires you to hold the barre (or what you use for a barre) with two hands and while doing degages to the back, the Lydia Bach Lotte Berk program allows you to lean against the barre. The Evolution program is more in the style of the original Lotte Berk program (by Lotte herself).  However Berk didn't use degages but arabesques to the side with quick stretches for a set of 10.  The quickness of the original LB method made sure that the strain to the knees and back were minimal which isn't the case in Evolution where you are standing on one leg, degageing for 100 counts each to the front, side and back.  This is why I think the Evolution program is certainly not for beginners but for intermediate to advanced Callanetics students.  You need more strength to complete those degages that a beginner will not have.

I didn't get bored with either program and looked forward to both.  But I will admit that I wanted more dramatic changes.  So on the internet I looked for Callanetics fan blogs for advice on a nice counterpoint to Callanetics.  A lot of them mentioned alternating Callanetics with a program called T-Tapp.  I looked into it and was intrigued.  It claims to be a 15 minute aerobic program based on movements from physical therapy programs.  I am now in the process of completing T-Tapp's initial week long boot camp and I will write about my results later.


Emily Carroll's Margot's Room

I was wandering around the net when on the Io9 site, I came across an article about comic fantasy and horror artist Emily Carroll.  Intrigued I searched for her website and discovered a very creepy collection of short comics that packed a mean punch.

Read the ghoulish Margot's Room HERE.

On io9 they have an exclusive horror comic from Carroll's recent book, Through the Woods.

You can check out the exclusive story HERE.

Its amazing how much creepiness, horror and disturbing imagery that Carroll manages to pack into just a page or two or three in these very short stories.

Check them out for spooky Halloween fun.


Another social media site?

A while back I deleted a few of my social media sites (Twitter was one) simply because I did not have enough time or inclination to update them.  I swore that I wouldn't sign up for another one and this blog was quite enough.

However I saw 8tracks on another blog that I follow and it intrigued me.  And....I signed up.

So now I will hawk my playlist.

8tracks allows you to create "mixtapes" of 8 or more songs in a kind of personal radio setup.

Will I keep making mixes?  Who knows?


Beyond 10 evolution

The past year since I wrote a few posts about my exercise plans, things became a little crazy for me.

Since I'm getting older, and not younger, I noticed that I've had to make diet changes.  I've always had allergies since I was a child but lately they have been making a more aggressive appearance. This led to a massive reinvention in my eating habits.  I had to give up soda, juice, fast food, and prepared foods.  Basically I have had to eat as clean as possible.  However, I didn't turn this into a dieting plan. I didn't stop eating cake and cookies.  But when I did want cake and cookies, I made it myself.  I think I've spent a small fortune in flour, sugar and eggs.  My sweet tooth will not be denied!

Despite not being on a diet, I was amazed to watch 10 pounds melt off my frame without a problem and without hunger.  Maybe there is something to the stories about preservatives and additives causing people to gain or hold weight.  That being said, the change in diet wasn't easy.  It is hard watching people enjoy a little junk food knowing that I need to avoid it.  But I've become philosophical about it all.  In the grand scheme of things, not eating Doritos again is no big sacrifice. And as the months go by I miss them less and less.  The same could be said for Mcdonalds, Wendy's, Applebies and other fast food places. 

Since my first 10 in 10 Callanetics post, I've been working out sporadically.  Just enough to keep myself from becoming creaky again but not enough to make a world of difference shape wise.  But since my last round of weight loss, I noticed that things were just looking droopy.  It was depressing.  So I decided to do the Callanetics 10 in 10 again to see if it could make a quick difference.

Yes, it did make a difference even more than the last time.  My arms were affected the most, that soft part under the arms is almost completely gone.  I have nice definition now in my arms but without bulky muscle.  As before I saw the first changes in my legs, I'm not sure if others have the same experience, but the program shows the most initial changes in the legs.  In my last 10 in 10, I didn't see too much difference in my backside, hips and tummy.  At the time they looked more compact but there were no major changes.  This time, with less weight, the changes were amazing.  I lost one clothing size without losing more weight.  The love handles I have are disappearing.  My stomach is flatter and the hip bones are starting to appear.  I've noticed that I have less back pain as my stomach muscles are now stronger and lending more support to my frame.  All in all I'm extremely happy with the changes Callanetics has given me.  I'm never going to be a string bean, but being comfortable in my own body is something worth working toward.

After my 10 hours, I decided to take a look at a more modern version of Callanetics.  Callanetics Evolution was developed by Callan Pinckney with assistance of instructors trained in her original method.  The program is a mix of more intense exercises along with old favorites from the original program.  The first thing I noticed about the Evolution program was that it was tougher, a lot tougher than the original.  Although the program instructors state that they show variations for a beginner, the beginner in this program is still advanced in my opinion.  Hence I wouldn't recommend this video to people just starting out in Callanetics.  If you are a true beginner, get the old DVD led by Callan herself.  It is best to start this video after you've completed at least 10 hours of the original program.

One of the reasons why I think it is tougher is because it relies more on the Lotte Berk original inspiration exercises.  Pinckney was a student of Berk until she broke away and redesigned Berk's program for people with weak backs.  However the Lotte is back in Callanetics Evolution and without too many changes.  I've done Berk's unaltered program and her exercises are true muscle burners.  The standing leg exercises with leg pulses in this DVD are pure Lotte.  They burn.  You will feel a bit weak after them.  The stretching in this version of the program is not as absolute as in Callan's original program.  So there will be muscle soreness after completion.  But don't be discouraged by this news. Technically this program works faster than the original.  I noticed an immediate change in my backside and thighs.  So this program is worthy.  It is just not the same as the original.

I've decided to interchange between them for the next 10 classes.  By the end of October, once I complete my 20, I will give some more updates.


I'm in the mood and lets never stop!

The sick puppy who programs the music at my favorite morning breakfast spot is at it again.  This time not so boldly.  Obviously they received complaints about the 80's era love fest mix and Cupid's wings were clipped.

But now...now its much more on the down low...if you could call it that.

Whatever happened to that nice Bossa Nova album they used to play with one of the selections being the benign Girl from Ipanema?

Now the current track begins with I'm in the mood for love sung by some Spanish crooner.  This song is completely ruined as a love song for me.  Because it makes me immediately flash back to childhood, running home from school in order to catch The Little Rascals on the tube.  It was Alfalfa's calling card. Yep, those were the days.

After this selection, the mix immediately segues into Let's Never Stop Falling in Love.

And I begin to silently curse the demon who chose the music that starts the day in this cafeteria.

Luckily that is as far as the evil progresses because the love songs end.  Its the small favors that are the most cherished.

But please let whoever is programming the music to stop...please stop falling for the sake of my sanity.