A Gray Denim Milestone

Related to last week’s post…

When I went in to get my tramp stamp, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would have to be situated in the chair for Rob to make it happen. When he reassembled and moved around the chair for my session it was clear that I was to sit backwards in the chair like the cool kids used to do in the 90s, only I’d have to earn the “tramp” title and stick my ass out and arch my back, leaning forward on the head of the chair. If it’s hard to visualize, it looked like this, actually:



Sitting like this wasn’t awful…at first. Unfortunately my jeans were so tight that having to stretch across the chair like that put a lot of pressure on my hips and it made my left leg ache for most of the time. I had to take a break every half our or so to re-situate myself and relieve the ache if only for a moment or two. Erin aggravated me that I wouldn’t be having this problem if I weren’t wearing “David Bowie jeans.”

Oh, please...

Oh, please…

Truth is, all of my jeans are slim-fit and have been for the last year or two – ever since I was able to wear them. Anyone who’s followed my blog for any amount of time will know that my fitness and physique have been a big part of my life for the last few years and being able to wear slim-fit ANYTHING was a big deal to me – something I’m quite proud of.

Something else I’m quite proud of is that when I started this journey, I was fitting snugly in a waist size 38 in Old Navy’s Boot Cut jeans. Slowly over time they got looser and looser and my belt started getting a little tighter. I eventually got back into size 36 in the Boot Cut and continued to shrink. I graduated to the 36 slim fit and fell in love with my progress. At the time, I had lost 4 belt notches and was quite happy with where I was. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I could physically go down anymore. I wear my jeans pretty low and my hips are rather boney, even when I was wearing the 38s, and I have no backside to speak of. Still, after some time, those 36 slims were getting very loose on me and I couldn’t tighten my belt up any more without making the jeans bunch up, so it was about time to come down to 34s.

Yet I held on to the 36s for a while longer because when I made the revelation that I could potentially go down to size 34, I had literally just bought four new pair of jeans in size 36. I kind of like my jeans to be a little loose in the waist and am quite comfortable with them riding down just a bit, so everything was gravy.

Until my favorite pair started forming a hole in the crotch. I knew this day would come because this was actually not my first pair of the faded gray jeans from Old Navy I’ve busted in the crotch. It wasn’t my second or third pair either. This was, indeed, my fourth pair of Old Navy’s faded gray jeans that I’d busted over the last several years. No other jean I’ve had has suffered in this way because I just won’t wear any other jean as often – these have been my favorite for years and continue to be. So it was finally time to make the leap.

Yesterday we ended up in Maryville trying to hunt down a rusty marquee letter H from Michael’s to finish spelling out “FREAKSHOW” for our Halloween home haunt this year. Our local Michael’s was missing the H and we’d look pretty dumb without it (though now that I think about it, FREAKSOW would be pretty interesting – like a traveling show depicting deformed performing pigs..)


We struck out on the H but won big at the next door Old Navy where I found my gray jeans in size 34 slim ON CLEARANCE. Bad news considering this probably means they’re going to be taken away for the season (or longer) but great news for me in that I got my favorite jeans back for $8. I didn’t want to be cocky and just buy them without trying them on first, so I headed to the fitting rooms for the ultimate moment of truth.

And it was there in the fitting room of the Old Navy in Maryville, Tennessee, that I poured myself into my newest pair of “David Bowie pants” – the first pair of size 34 jeans I’ve worn since – no shit – probably middle school.


The one caveat at this point is that no matter how much more I shape up, trim down, or otherwise get fit, this is likely the smallest my waist size will ever get. Not because I don’t think it’s possible for my waist to get any smaller, but because…I run…And never skip leg day. I don’t have giant quads (or bread loaf quads like my spin instructor GymKatie has), but they’re definitely large enough now to say “enough” in this slim jeans.


Of course, one could easily say “You don’t have to wear slim jeans…” And to that person I say…


I’ll leave you all with a picture of my dinner last night. We stopped by Dead End BBQ in Maryville and split the sampler with George’s Competition Chicken (multi-award winning single-bone chicken thighs served over Texas toast), smoked sausage, brisket, buffalo fried okra, beans and sausage, macaroni and pimento cheese, and jalapeño cornbread. Dead End BBQ ain’t playing no games and neither am I – I had this for dinner AND got my first pair of size 34 jeans on the same day. Dreams do come true, weirdos!


Let’s All Go To the Lobby…

I feel like lately I’ve been talking a lot about my Roku. I’ve been preaching the gospel of the Roku to friends in person and online lately, describing how while it’s mostly our Netflix box, we utilize so many more features, and how on-demand viewing is way better than DVR. Netflix, obviously, is our most-used app, but we are frequent users of the YouTube app, Amazon Prime, the Roku Media Player to access video files from an external hard drive, the Tune-In app that streams radio stations from all over the world, the Animal Planet Live app, ESPN Live app for Monday Night Football and the NBC app for hockey. And this is just a few of the many apps we use regularly.

My personal favorite app, however, is Bizarre TV Underground. BTVU is an unlisted channel that streams horror, sci-fi, and just all together weird content. The beauty of the channel is that it isn’t like other on-demand channel apps. Instead, when you tune in, it’s just like you’ve turned on the freak channel and you watch whatever is on. We’ve seen nearly everything from independently produced shorts, to cult classics like the original Night of the Living Dead, House of 1000 Corpses, and even John Waters’ classic film Female Trouble.

One of my favorite characteristics of BTVU is the bumpers that air between shorts or films such as the informational cartoons shown before and after drive-in movies that teach you how to use the speaker and how to properly return it. There are great “feature presentation” bumps and “This film is restricted” graphics, but most importantly, they prominently feature the animated snipe from the 50s, Let’s All Go to the Lobby. If you’re unfamiliar with this, the cartoon is a sing-along that features concession stand snacks chewing gum, soda, popcorn, and candy dancing through the aisle of a movie theater encouraging attendees to visit the concession stand for a treat. They look like this:


I’ve loved these guys since the first time I saw them and while I’ve seen them hundreds of times, I’ve never put a lot of thought into them. About a year ago, however, while watching BTVU, we were watching the snacks prance across the screen when it hit me: Those guys would make a great tattoo…And because of how they’re arranged, it would a perfect tramp stamp! I brought the idea up to Erin and she loved it. I brought the idea up to my friends and they loved it. I brought the idea up to Rob, my tattoo artist, and he loved it.

The only person that didn’t like the idea was my mom. “You know what that means!?” she exclaimed when I told her I was getting a tramp stamp. Yes, mom, I know “what it means” but the real question should have been “do I care?” and the answer is a resounding “No, ma’am.” And so we set out to make it happen.

One thing I wanted to change about the classic design was what was in the sign the popcorn is carrying. “Refreshments” makes sense but it’s tiny and would be a pain in Rob’s ass to try to recreate in tattoo form, so I figured I’d kill 2 birds with one stone and have him replace “Refreshments” with three big exclamation points, a punctuation tattoo I’ve been wanting for quite a while. The tattoo only took about 2 hours and while I say “only took”, I don’t mean to downplay it. I have 21 tattoos and this one has thus far been the absolute most painful tattoo I’ve ever gotten. I’ve seen cute girls with tramp stamps my whole life and have always thought it couldn’t be that bad if they all had them but I have to say that I now have a whole world of respect for all the women I’ve ever seen with lower back tattoos. Those things suck and I’m more than glad that I got mine over with.

I’m a few weeks late as I’m already healed up and am about 2-1/2 weeks away from getting another, completely different tattoo, but I figure posting this late is better than never. Erin was also with me and the appointment was mostly intended for her. She’s been looking to get an octopus tattoo for quite some time now and Rob did a great job designing something for her that she wanted. She sat with him for 3 hours that afternoon and they finished the line work, the shading, and colored in the water. When we return in a couple of weeks, the tattoo will be finished. I’ll be sure to post updated photos, then!

Meanwhile, here are some photos I snapped at the shop and some of our new ink.

You guys know the deal. Rob Jarrett is my go-to tattoo guy and he’s the owner of 2 Ton Gallery in Kingsport, TN. Show him some love by giving them a like or follow!

@2TonGallery on Instagram

@RobJarrett on Twitter

2 Ton on Facebook

#stillInIt is OVER + What I’m Doing Now + Photos

The last time I posted I berated myself for skipping a week. That’s awesome because this is my first post in a month. While I was enjoying my #stillInIt challenge and was happy with the results it was providing, I was getting tired of posting about it. It was getting bland and very boring. Only so many times you can post about the same workouts every week and I reached the point where I couldn’t do it anymore.

So fast forward a few weeks. I made it through week 6 of #stillInIt when I decided to switch it up. May be questionable since I only lacked two weeks until the program was complete but I hit 219lbs (goal was 215) and my body fat got down to my goal of 15% so I justified the early drop-out easily.

But there was also Boot Camp. It was supposed to be Leg Day on the Saturday of Boot Camp but decided to substitute workouts because Boot Camp was going to be all weight-lifting. And it was a killer. Aaron nearly put me in my grave with cobra push-ups, skull crushers, Arnold Press, TRX band Push-ups, rows and flies. It would be Thursday of the week after before my body was finished being sore from that one workout. Boot Camp, and Aaron, have a tendency to show me that I’m not in as good of shape as I thought I was.

So with a sore body, I decided to make Sunday an off day, and I’d resume my routine on Monday, but with the time off I was thinking more and more about this Sprint Triathlon coming up next year and when I realized I hadn’t ran in two months, I wanted to start focusing more on that. So #stillInIt was truncated officially.

My routine now looks like this:

  • M: 5:45am Boxing Class followed by:
    • a) If I’m teaching class at noon, 1 mile run and stretching.
    • b) If I’m NOT teaching class at noon, 3 rounds of 3-minute sessions of jumping rope, heavy bag work, and speed bag work.
    • If Applicable: Noon Boxing Class
  • T: 6:45am Upper/Lower Weight Lifting Splits, Lower Body
  • W: 5:45am Boxing Class followed by:
    • a) If I’m teaching class at noon, 1 mile run and stretching.
    • b) If I’m NOT teaching class at noon, 3 rounds of 3-minute sessions of jumping rope, heavy bag work, and speed bag work.
    • If Applicable: Noon Boxing Class
  • Tr: 6:45am Upper/Lower Weight Lifting Splits, Upper Body
  • F: 5:45am Boxing Class followed by:

    • a) If I’m teaching class at noon, 1 mile run and stretching.
    • b) If I’m NOT teaching class at noon, 3 rounds of 3-minute sessions of jumping rope, heavy bag work, and speed bag work.
    • If Applicable: Noon Kickboxing Class
  • Sa: Biking with Erin or other active recovery
  • Su: Rest Day

So running has been added back to the routine, although it’s not much. My knee is still angry about it. It isn’t in great pain, but there’s something in there that’s pissed about going through that motion again. I’m hoping that as I put in a few more miles, it will strengthen and go away. I have a physical scheduled next month and I plan to bring it up to my doctor, but I have a feeling she’s only going to tell me a bunch of stuff I don’t want to hear. On a positive: my mile is still sub 11:00 which surprised me, considering I took two months off from the sport. That’s a serious testament to the cardiovascular workout you get at Title Boxing Club.

And yes, above I mention biking with Erin. We finally got some new bikes and have gotten them out in the last week or two for Saturday morning rides. We haven’t ridden bikes in years but we picked it back up like it had only been a few days. One thing that certainly hasn’t changed: I don’t feel any less dorky wearing a helmet. Safety first, I guess, but I feel more distracted at how un-cool I look than anything else.


The only thing I have to add this week is that Erin and I got tattoos yesterday and I have photos from inside the shop but I’m going to wait until we can get decent healed photos of our tattoos before I post them.

On Saturday we attended Makerpalooza at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains campus. I went to be the muscle and just to have something to do on a Saturday but I ended up having a great time. Vendors from all walks of life were set up, not selling anything, but to just show off the stuff they work on. I was introduced to a group of guys collectively known as Knox Makers that described themselves as “a gym membership for nerds” and displayed LED light grids, homemade VR, and a Rube Goldberg-esque machine that were all made by the collective. Making my rounds I spoke with some guys that developed their own video games (and homemade controllers, apparently), another gentleman that scanned animal skulls and then used a 3D printer to make full-scale models of them, I played (and lost to) a robot in a game of Connect 4, watched a couple of high school students that had built a robot called 5508 (BOSS) that could pick up dodgeball-style rubber balls and would shoot them 15 feet in the air through a tiny “goal”, and took a business card from a retired gentleman that spends his days repairing old, unplayable guitars.

It was a pretty sweet event over all and I snapped a few photos with my 50mm lens. I’m a little bummed I didn’t format more of them for the blog but, as always, you can see more on my Flickr stream.