Back In Black (And White)

Misdirected Has Survived Switching Hosting

Welcome, one and all, to the new web hosting company for Misdirected!

Doesn’t look any different to you?

Good. It isn’t supposed to. The whole point of working feverishly the last 3 days was to get everything moved over and duplicated so the user experience stayed the same. The difference on my end will be the lower subscription fees and the improved tech support. The difference on your end should be improved load times and increased up-time.

And a big shout-out to Mr. D. Cromwell, who introduced me to Sectorlink in the first place. Nice to have a knowledgeable reader base!

Onwards and Upwards

So, with that little project out of the way, where is Misdirected heading next?

We have a few fitness-related projects in the pipeline currently. Next month is the Run For The Zoo 5K. Though we won’t be running the race, it will still be the first 5K I have ever been involved in, whether running, walking, or crawling. I am really excited. Someday being able to do a 5K has been on my “if I ever lose weight” list for a long time.

Stone Age Gym remains on our radar. In fact, the Founder and President of Stone Age read our article about his gym. He then reached out to me to invite us back sooner rather than later. We’ve been signed up for the Top Rope Belay class when we head back, courtesy of Stone Age. I’ll be sure to let everyone know how that goes just as soon as our feet touch the ground again.

Lastly, I am dead serious about hitting the La Luz Trail this summer. That is going to mean a lot of conditioning at the new gym. We’ll have to purchase some gear, which will be supported entirely by Patreon supporters. And, it will require quite a bit of practice.

Practice? Yeah, funny you should mention that…

The Hills Are Alive

So, how does one practice for heading straight up the side of a mountain?

By spending some time in the mountains not heading straight up, right?

During the intervals between tech support calls this weekend, I started doing some web research. Lo and behold, some enterprising soul has created a website outlining trails through the Sandias. Now a couple of these hikes look almost as challenging as the La Luz. But the majority of them look like great day hikes suitable for training.

Sandia Mountains foothills, here we come! Expect reports (and pictures!) as we tackle a few of these routes.

Training for the “I Am Climbing La Luz Because Bariatric Surgery Works” event kicks off this week.

The event title could probably use some work.

I Am A Writer – I Never Use One Word Where Five Will Fit,

Jeremy

 

We Haz Technical Issues

 

We are currently in the process of moving Misdirected from one web hosting company to another. I’ve been working on the process all weekend, and we are still not done. Accordingly, today’s post may be a bit…delayed.

Wish me luck!

-Jeremy

(Fiction Friday:) Inheritance Returns

We’ve now worked our way through all five initial episodes of the new Ash Falls stories. They are darker than I had expected and so much better than I could have hoped for. In comparison to my fellow writers, I find myself a little intimidated: I may have created Ash Falls, but I am by no means the most talented author here.

Episode 2 means it is time to bring my “A” game.

A Closer Look At Jessica

From Lor, to my Beta readers, to the couple hundred people who have visited Inheritance so far, one opinion is consistent. Everyone’s favorite character is Jessica.

I was taken aback by this, really. I’ve created a murderous supernatural ruling council. A fragmented protagonist. (I can’t bring myself to call Brian Drake a hero.) A crime lord, a consigliere, an eco-warrior Werewolf…and everyone’s favorite character is the crack addicted ex-wife.

I asked one of my editors (I have several) why Jessica was so compelling. Her response? “I feel like Jess is my annoying little sister or my neighbor in the RV park. She is easy to connect with.”

I looked at my first episode with fresh eyes after that. And Jessica is a compilation of several women I have known over the years. I have known individuals with all of the issues Jessica has. (Not all in the same person, thank goodness.) And, I have to agree with the comment several of my readers have made: Jessica feels real.

The Hero’s Dilemma

Episode 2, Cavalier, returns us to the relationship between Brian and Jess. And it brings us to the eternal question: how do you rescue someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

This is Ash Falls, remember. There will be no easy answers. There will probably be no fairy-tale endings. (Unless you are into the fairy tales where little kids throw an old lady in an oven.) But, if the setting is imaginary, the interactions between our characters is real. No stake through the heart hurts as much as watching someone you love willingly go down in flames.

Inheritance Episode 2 is now on sale at Fiction Vortex.

Jeremy

How Far Away: Arriving At Long-Term Goals

Creating Meaningful Long-Term Exercise Goals
Image Courtesy of girdwoodsummer.wordpress.com

Yesterday (just like every day) I was hitting the books for the ACE Personal Trainer certification. I have just reached the concept of building a plan for new clients. The #1 core around which you should build a new training plan? Long-term goals. Your client should have a reason they are coming to the gym every day, or they won’t adhere to the program.

This struck me, because the main reason I hit the gym every day is fear of re-inflating. I am not sure that counts as a long-term goal. All “stick” and no “carrot”, if you follow me.

Putting Down The Stick

Now, a few weeks back I did decide that I had to change my workout routine to get ready to head back to Stone Age climbing gym. So that counts as a long-term goal, I suppose. But what happens after the first visit to Stone Age?

I also added the C25K program to my workout in preparation for the upcoming Run For The Zoo. Full disclosure: I am never gonna make it to running all 5 kilometers before the event next month. We’ll be signing up for the “Fitness Walk” section of the event instead. I am very disappointed in myself, but the arthritic knee will just not hold up while running 3.1 miles straight. I suppose this leaves me with a long-term goal for next year.

But, at the end of the day, I am not an athlete. I am a writer – an artist, if I can say that without coming off like a twerp. Where do I find a goal that actually moves my artistic side, but is still somehow fitness-related?

The Trail To The Sky

In my backyard, as it turns out.

For years, Lor and I have looked up at the Sandia Mountains and speculated: Wouldn’t it be cool to hike the La Luz?

For those not in our area, the La Luz Trail starts in the foothills above Albuquerque. It then climbs over 3,000 feet straight up (well, a 12% grade) to the crest of the Sandia Mountains. The Trail is an 8-mile endurance test through 4 climactic zones, with some of the best views anywhere at the top (at 10,378 feet above sea level.)

It is no joke, either: every year people lose their lives climbing the Sandias. You need to come prepared, or just stay home.

Since I have been getting more and more comfortable with and interested in producing my own photography for Misdirected, this seems like a no-brainer. Climb the mountain, take some photos, take the Tram back down to the parking lot.

What, I am certainly not going to walk all the way back down, right?

Mission: Accepted

So, what does this mean for long-term goal planning?

First, we obviously need to be able to walk 8 miles. So we need to start working some endurance into our exercise routines.

Second, the trail is steep. So, I am going to need to get off the treadmill and onto an elliptical and stair-stepper at the gym, to start working up the calves and ankles.

Thirdly, the depressing reality of doing anything with epilepsy: planning for what happens if something goes wrong. Lor is pretty buff these days, but she still can’t carry me several miles downhill. We will need to create contingency planning and schedule regular check-ins with folks who are not currently on the Trail, who can get help up to us if we need it.

Lastly: gear. Do I have hikers capable of handling this trail? (Answer: No.) Am I prepared to carry several pounds worth of water, snacks and first-aid gear in a backpack 8 miles uphill? (Answer: Maybe.) Some time needs to be spent in the foothills working out these details before we learn the hard way on the Trail.

So, there it is: a meaningful long-term goal for my exercise training at the gym. Time to switch things up and start working out with my eyes set on the summit of the Sandias.

And sorry, Vixen, but I am afraid you won’t be invited on this one. After the first two miles, I would just have to carry you the rest of the way.

I Would Rather Carry 8 Pounds Of Food And Water,

Jeremy

 

 

 

The Big, Scary Gym

We’ve been at our gym for 6 months now. It has been an excellent place for us to take our first, faltering steps into fitness. It is a friendly environment and, most importantly, is within walking distance of our house.

However, the relaxed environment comes with a cost. It is very limited. Lor has been wanting to take some yoga classes. Not available at our facility. I have wanted to start incorporating a little more free weights into my workout routine. If it isn’t a dumbell weighing 50 pounds or less, it isn’t available at out gym. We have both wanted a pool to work out in.

Say it with me: not available.

(Silver) Sneaking In

The real problem for us, though, has been cost. Big gyms are expensive. Initiation fees, monthly costs, yearly contract renewals…it can work out to anywhere from 60 to several hundred dollars a month.

Right now we are paying 20 bucks a month. Tough to expect a whole lot of extras from your facility for that amount of scratch.

A call last week from my insurance company opened a potential door for us. Turns out that, being disabled, I am eligible for something called the Silver Sneakers program. Silver Sneakers is a program for, ahem, chronologically gifted folks. Turns out it also is available to those of us who are younger and disabled.

Silver Sneakers allows me to sign up with one of our flagship gym facilities here in the Q for free. Meaning we would just be on the hook for Lor’s dues and monthly fees. Suddenly, it looks just about doable, if we are willing to cut a couple other small items out of the budget and replace them with a gym membership.

Also, though not within easy walking distance, the new gym is only 15 minutes away by bike. Admittedly, our current bikes will leave us huffing and puffing like the Little Train That Could. But it is theoretically possible.

Stepping Across The Line

Armed with this knowledge, we took a drive up to the gym in question. We made sure to do this as soon as we left our current gym, so we would be appropriately attired and hopefully not stand out.

Why? Because last time I went into a big gym, I got totally dismissed and demeaned by the person working the front desk. I admit, years later I am still smarting from the embarrassment of that encounter. No matter how fit I ever become, in the back of my mind, I will always be the guy who was too fat to join that particular gym.

This memory may motivate me forever. I almost felt like a hypocrite interacting with the staff members like a normal human being. I wanted to grab someone by the shoulders and ask “Would you be treating me like this a year ago?”

Thank goodness for the other Silver Sneakers members.

This gym was overwhelmed by silver-haired ladies and gentlemen, all acting like (and being treated like) they belonged there. At least half of the members I saw there were over 60, not common for most gyms. Traditionally, older folks have been another marginalized population at gyms, made to feel unwelcome because they are not young and fit. Not where we were yesterday. The place was humming with the energy of older folks unwilling to stay home on the couch.

If this gym was taking care of these people with respect and great customer service, Lor and I would probably be OK as well.

Looking Before We Leap

I admit it: the new gym is awesome.

Lor found over 20 different yoga classes she could take. I spotted classes in pilates and extreme sports training. The pool was fabulous. If there were plenty of lycra-clad hardbodies, there were an equal number of octogenarians wearing sweats from K-Mart.

Today, when we return to our little gym around the corner, I am going to be asking myself some serious questions. Like, do we stay where I am comfortable, both financially and emotionally, and accept those limitations?

Or, do we push ourselves out beyond my financial and emotional comfort zone and become really small fish in a really big pond?

Lor is ready to make that leap. Me, I still have some reservations.

We’ll Keep You Posted,

Jeremy