Loyal Blog Readers: Please Help Me Get Less Fat.

Happy New Year!!  Like the start of every other new year dating back to 2001, 2014 began with me making irrational commitments that I am unlikely to keep.  This year, I resolved to blog every week, to eat healthy, to be a more positive person, to get back into shape and to once and for all stop asking for things from other people.

What’s that you say?  “But, Rob.  You’ve never asked for anything from us before, and I love your blog so much that I would be willing to do anything to get you to write more or get back into shape.  And I do mean anything.”

Wow, you’re kind of a dirtbag, random internet reader, aren’t you?  It appears that we are on the same page, and because I’ve never asked you for anything before (other than your unfailing loyalty, an occasional facebook share or retweet, parenting advice, and money) now seems like a perfect time to hit you up for even more money!

http://www.crowdrise.com/freshairfundnychalf2014/fundraiser/robpollak (Pretty much click any link on my blog for more info.)

Before I get to the nitty-gritty details of just what I need from you, here’s a quick update on the end of 2013 (none of which should be to surprising if you a) have the internet, b) have a phone, c) know me personally, d) are the NSA, or d) stalk me and my family in some other way :  Anne and I welcomed our son Owen into the world on August 14th:

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Much like Owen, who has been growing steadily since August, my waist line (not pictured above) has been climbing its way up the growth chart.   That’s why I need your help!

Weight v Time

In an effort to reclaim what I once had – a perfect greek statuesque physique – I have committed to the NYC Half Marathon in the name of charity.  (Click here to donate!!)

Now, you may recall that I have made bold commitments like this in the past.  Three times I registered for the NYC marathon, and three times I failed to run further than 3 miles while training.  In each of those failed attempts, something was missing:  Outside forces to make me feel shame and guilt if I fail in my challenge.

If you hadn’t let me down so badly in those past efforts, here’s what I might have looked like crossing the finish line of the famed NYC Marathon:

Inline image 4Instead, I made it through about 1/30th of my training schedule, and most of those efforts looked very very sad.  Like this:

Runwalk

So in the name of charity, I am inviting you to be the physical embodiment of my shame.  Your heckling and jeering during training should push me to the finish line.  Because I know it will be nothing compared to the heckling you will spew upon me should I fail.

Picture it:  Every morning when I wake up at 6 am to brave the elements and log my miles, I will be thinking of you.  I will be counting my blessings that you were generous enough to give a little bit (a lot) of your hard-earned cash to me.

I mean, what could I possibly doing at 6 am other than going out for a run on a 9 degree day?  Not sleeping, of course.  It’s impossible to sleep with an infant at 6 am.

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So thanks so much!  (you dick…)

As always, each donation will earn you a valuable gift that I may or may not follow through on.  (Probably not if we’re being honest with each other).  In the spirit of the Olympics, you can achieve three levels:

Bronze Donor

– All donors who contribute any amount above $0 will receive a Rob Complains autographed drawing.  It will look something like this (autographed not pictured to maintain claims of authenticity):

Rob FAF

(That’s a door not a penis on the building, you sicko)

Silver Donor ($50 or more)

You will receive the entire bronze package PLUS:

– A phone call (or email if you’re scared to give me your digits) from me directly thanking you for your efforts.  I will not be offended if you send me straight to voicemail, but I won’t try to call back.  So, if you don’t answer, that’s really a win-win for everyone.

Platinum Donor (Contribute $100 or more)

You will receive the entire silver and bronze package PLUS:

– You may select the topic for one blog post that will appear on robcomplains.com within 4 weeks of your donation.

Holy S**t Donor Level (Contribute $500 or more)

– Wow.  Just tell me what you want from me.  It’s yours.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got to say.  I guess I should mention that I’m running on behalf of the Fresh Air Fund, an organization that does good things for people.

And in case you missed the 17,000 links posted about, here’s one more link to where you can donate:

http://www.crowdrise.com/freshairfundnychalf2014/fundraiser/robpollak

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An Interview with me about running


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My friends at Hot Bird Running asked me to be the featured runner in their weekly “Interview with a runner” series.   Apparently every other runner in the world was too busy, so I agreed to do the interview.  If you found me through the Hot Birds, then check out my facebook page while you’re here.

Please note – this is not a humble brag.  It’s a 100% blatant brag tinged with self-deprecating humor.

If you enjoy the things that I do here (like hysterical commentary, hilarious stick figure drawings, and hackneyed charts and graphs), then you will like this interview.

Here’s a sneak preview:

A pie chart showing the reasons why I run by Rob Pollak.  Reasons Include:  So I won't be fat, too lazy to learn other exercises, to not die, to feel superior to fat people, jared from subway said i should, to gawk at fit pretty people, to eat more, ran once but have OCD so couldn't stop

I promise that if you click the link you won’t be disappointed.  Or you’ll be mildly disappointed.  Or completely disappointed.  How should I know what kind of shitty mood you’re in today.

Please note that I linked to the interview about 50 times.  But if you’re a moron and missed those embedded links, here’s a more obvious version, idiot:

http://www.hotbirdrunning.com/blog/2013/3/21/interview-with-a-runner.html

Rob Pollak: American Hero

Although I’m not usually one to draw attention to my own accomplishments, last night I had a moment so life-defining and heroic, that I had no choice.  I had to tell you about how I single-handedly saved New York with the help of three others.

It was 9:00 pm and almost a foot of snow had piled up on the roads.  For many people, the conditions were treacherous, but I learned how to drive a storm when I lived in the tundra of Central New York.  In Central, NY, it’s not appropriate to even wipe the snow off the front windshield until it has piled up to at least 14 inches.

But in New York City, which Central New Yorkers refer to as “the South,” things are different.  The mayor holds a full press conference at the sight of a little kid with a sno cone.  And if we get three inches (god forbid), schools shut down for a week and Whole Foods sells out of bread and water.  But not English muffins or fizzy water.  Who can afford such lavishness in the face of our own demise?

Last night the roads were bad.  Not “we need to plow” bad, but bad enough that a number of inexperienced snow drivers spun out like crazy and freaked out when they had to go up a hill.  I had a good laugh at these people.

By Rob Pollak By Rob Pollak

At least until I hit the spot where the Bronx River Parkway merges onto the Cross County Parkway.  Things had been moving steadily at 15 miles below the posted speed limit up to that point.  But as I approached the merge, traffic halted.  A slight incline in the road caused a few drivers to freak the fuck out, stop, and then rev their tires as fast as they could while not moving.  This created a doubly bad result:  They didn’t move and they turned the drivable snow into a slush-ice combination.

At first, cars sputtered and then figured it out.  But one dickwad in a van started spinning like crazy.  And then he spun some more and some more until he was basically stopped.

All the while, I was sitting in my toasty car listening to a book on tape. My current selection is Willful Blindness:  Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, a book about, well, exactly what the title says it’s about.  Anyway, right before the insane snow drive, I listened to a chapter discussing the ways people conform to expectations when in a group setting and don’t help others out if a lot of people are around.

With that in mind, I’m sitting there watching these cars literally spinning their wheels (I bet that’s where the term comes from!!), and everyone else is sitting in the car thinking “man, I hope a plow comes.”  But, I was not going to sit around and be willfully blind to accepting that my night was ruined.  I flung open the door and started sprinting past all the cars in front of me.  Five cars to be exact.

Note – it’s hard to sprint in a foot of snow while wearing sneakers.  I almost fell and busted my face/ass.  That’s probably why most people sit in the car.

Anyway, I finally get to the van and start pushing.  Less than a minute later, three other good citizens were by my side pushing the car with me.  If I hadn’t run out there and started pushing, science says that no one would have.  Because we conform to the pressures of society that say it’s embarrassing to get out of the car and go out in the snow.  We may even make the problem worse.  Then everyone will be mad at us.

By rob pollak

Then we pushed three or four more cars up the hill.  Per usual, I was very sweaty.  But I got back in my car and climbed up that hill with no problems of my own.  Thank you Hamilton College for actually teaching me one thing:  how to drive in the snow.

And that’s how I saved America.

Epilogue:  Three of the four cars that I pushed up the hill were in accidents or stuck again on the other side of the hill.  But at that point, I was moving.  So fuck ’em.

 

Ireland Live Blog (From America (and not live))

Back when my live blog was still live, Anne and I had just survived a terrifying clockwise journey around the Ring of Kerry and sang classic Irish ballads (James Taylor, Oasis, etc.) in the Dingle Pub.  Although we’ve been home for ages now, I feel compelled to complete the live blog so future readers don’t get concerned that we perished from an apple pucker incident.  

Before I get to the additional details of our travel, it’s important to note a major shift that occurred somewhere around Dingle.  A small discovery led to a huge change in how we saw the country and what became important.  I discovered the “miniaturize” feature on our camera and from that point forward, my sole purpose in life became finding things that would look awesome as miniatures.  I no longer cared about beautiful scenery, sleepy pubs, or romantic hideaways.  Unless they would look good smaller, and then I cared a lot.

In case you’re not familiar with the epicness that is miniaturization (and you’re probably not), here is a picture of a group of golfers on the 18th hole of the Old Head golf course:

And here is the same picture but with the golfers “miniaturized”:

Looking at these pictures now, on a big computer screen, I realize that the difference isn’t all that substantial.  I’m not even completely certain that I correctly labeled the miniature picture.  But on that little screen on the back of the camera, I would laugh and laugh and laugh every time I found something to make miniature.  I’m putting words into her mouth here, but it’s fair to say that Anne hated me by this point of the trip.

I should also mention that those photos were taken after Anne arrived at the golf course.  It looked beautiful and pleasant when she showed up.

When I was playing golf, it looked like this:

But back to the trip.

After leaving Dingle (!), Anne and I headed to Galway via the Conor Pass. The Conor Pass is Ireland’s highest mountain pass.  In Irish, “highest” actually means “treacherous, narrow, curvy, unpassable, and with sheep-towing trucks speeding towards you.”:

Thankfully, I remained quite calm throughout:

In case you were wondering, that slick ride we were driving was a VW Golf:

Yeah, that’s right.  I miniaturized it.

We barely survived Conor Pass and arrived at the most scenic overlook in Ireland.  Everyone we talked to said that the view would be our the reward for surviving the treacherous driving conditions.

Here’s how it looked when we got there:

From there, it was on to Cliffs of Moher, one of the new seven wonders of the world (currently ranked 24 of 28 for the title).  The cliffs are one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions.  Most likely achieving this status by having a website labeling themselves as one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions.

Words cannot describe a world wonder, but if forced to try, I would say that they looked like large cliffs with tourists taking photos.  If describing them to my mom, I would probably call them “breathtaking” or exhale loudly in a show of exuberance.  That would make her happy.

If you have the Internet, you don’t really need to go to the Cliffs because they look exactly like they do in the pictures.

For comparison’s sake, here’s my photo:

Right after taking this picture, my focus shifted from miniaturizing things to making the same joke (admittedly a terrible terrible joke) ovher and ovher for the rest of the day.  Mostly, I joked about how bohering the cliffs of Moher were and how we should pick up some souvenirs at one of the stohers.  If you lowher your standards for a moment, I think you’ll appreciate the humor in it.  Anne particularly disliked the jokes with the punch line, “I hardly even moher.”  As in:

Anne:  Do you want to go to the Cliffs of Moher today?
Rob:  Mo Her?  I hardly even Moher.

Well, that one doesn’t work exactly.  But you get the gist.

A little known fact about the Cliffs – if you pay 3 Euro moher than the regular entry fee, you can head up to the O’Brien viewing center, which the guidebook said provided the best view of the Cliffs.  We knew it would be a good view because only Americans were savvy enough to pay to see it.

Once again, we were rewarded for our reliance on the guidebook:

There are some additional details about our trip that I’d like to share.  But you’ll just have to wait because I JUST discovered a new feature on the camera.