Workout Journal, Day 2

November 1, 2011 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

Today was a perfect day at the gym. Mostly because it was a low-intensity day of interval training on a treadmill. Basically, I started at speed 3 and after one minute went to speed 5 then a minute later back to speed 3 then, the next minute, up to 5.5 and so-on until I was running my guts out at speed 8. Then back down .5 at a time.

What was nice about it was, even at the roughest moments (speeds 7 through 8) I knew I only had to get through one minute and then it’d go back to speed 3 and I could shake it off. This is actually the model for how I get through my writing in any given day: a little pain (picture editing, link embedding, proofreading), a little pleasure (checking e-mail, checking Twitter, checking Facebook). And so it was that 41 minutes later (I did 10 minutes of warming up at speed 2) I was covered in sweat but not at all beaten down like I was yesterday on the elliptical.

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Workout Journal, Day 1

October 31, 2011 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

Are you more or less likely to quit the gym if you blog about going?

This is the question I’m putting forth as I return from the first day of the rest of my life (the 3rd time in 3 years I’ve had the first day of the rest of my life by joining a gym).

Here’s what I have going for me this time: a trainer. I paid for 5 half hour sessions that I’m spreading out over 5 weeks. Therefore, I’ll have at least 5 weeks of accountability. And after that, I’ll probably continue to pay to see the trainer once a month because, once again, accountability is key for me. Having someone to report to, to check in with and who can monitor what I’m doing will be a big help.

Plus, this trainer guy, Danny, is pretty cool. The last time I tried a trainer the guy was an ex-boxer who led me up a flight of stairs and told me to hit a punching bag for 20 minutes. Danny, on the other hand, really related to my situation as a food writer who eats fatty foods for my job and has to compensate somehow to burn more calories than I’m taking in. He’s a foodie too and talked to me all about his favorite L.A. restaurants.

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I Think It’s Going To Rain Today

August 27, 2011 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

One of my favorite songs has always been Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.” With Hurricane Irene rapidly approaching, I figured I’d spend some time on YouTube collecting all of the different version that have been recorded over the years. Despite how good many of them are, I still think Randy Newman’s original version (heard above) is my favorite.

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My Life Philosophy

May 31, 2011 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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After law school, and before becoming a full time food writer, I spent two years getting my M.F.A. in playwriting at N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of Dramatic Writing.
This is sort of a funny fact because in the five years since I graduated that program (wow, has it really been five years?), I’ve barely done any dramatic writing. Which raises the question: what was the point, then, of going to dramatic writing school? Wasn’t that a huge waste of money? Well, yes, except for one small thing. It sort of changed my life.

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The Books That I Read in 2010

December 30, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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This year I made a point to keep a list of all the books that I read. I’m a big reader and by that I don’t mean that I plow through 1,000 books a year. No, I’m a slow reader–a deliberate reader–but I’m always reading something, usually a novel or a memoir, and like the tortoise in “The Tortoise and the Hare,” at my slow and steady pace, I make my way through a decent number of books each year. My book total in 2010, if I include the last Harry Potter book (which I finished last January), is, appropriately enough, 10. Here are some capsule reviews of those books.

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The A.G.’s Holiday Playlist

December 14, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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Maybe I’m weird, but I actually like holiday music; if it’s holiday music done right.
Every year I look forward to playing Sufjan Stevens’s “Songs for Christmas” and, most recently, a mix I made of songs that include some Sufjan Stevens songs and a bunch of others. I just posted the mix to iTunes so you can listen to 90 second samples of the songs (that’s a new feature! it used to be 30 second samples) and, if you like it, buy it. (I don’t get anything if you do, so don’t think I’m trying to sell you a bill of goods.) Here’s the link to my iTunes Playlist.

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My Imaginary iTunes Celebrity Playlist

November 12, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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I know we’re talking ancient history here, but I very much remember the birth of iTunes (before that I used something called Winamp!) and, eventually, the launch of the iTunes Music Store (now in the press because of the big Beatles announcement). One of my favorite features of the iTunes Music Store (and it’s been a favorite from the beginning) is the Celebrity Playlist. Not so much because of the movie stars who participate (I don’t really care to hear favorite songs from the cast of The Vampire Diaries, though Sarah Silverman’s is pretty awesome) but because of the singer/songwriters who share their influences and favorite tracks. From the likes of Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, and Ben Folds I’ve discovered so much great music that, at this point, it’d be difficult to know how much of my musical taste has been shaped by iTunes Celebrity Playlists.
I also happen to harbor a fantasy (a rather delusional one, admittedly) that one day I might be asked to create an iTunes Celebrity Playlist. (Hey, Ted Allen has one!) Until that day comes, though (and I’m not counting any chickens) I figured it might be fun to use my “Not Food” blog to post a rough sketch of what my iTunes Celebrity Playlist might look like. So here it is with the songs embedded from various sources online, so you can hear them right away. (And I’m pretty confident that if you like them, you can find them on iTunes yourself.)

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Women of SNL Real Housewives Parody

November 3, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

How in the world did I miss this? No, I saw most of the actual Women of SNL show (which I loved, loved, loved (or, to quote one of my favorite women of SNL: “I loved it I loved it I loved it!”)) but how did I miss this Real Housewives reunion parody at the end? I’ve already watched it twice; highlights include Maya Rudolph’s walkin off and Tina Fey’s lip-synching.
If you missed the TV special, one of the best old sketches came at the end. It was one that Maya Rudolph listed as her favorite; it involved Jan Hooks, Nora Dunn & Alec Baldwin at a diner and was almost like a play. I wish I could find it online so I could embed it on regular A.G., it’s that good.

A Beginner’s Guide To Stephen Sondheim

October 27, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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Stephen Sondheim turned 80 this year and there were numerous concerts, tributes, a Broadway show (“Sondheim on Sondheim”), and a recently published, self-annotated book of lyrics (reviewed here by Paul Simon) celebrating the man New York Magazine once called “God.” But for many, and I used to include myself in this category, the work of Stephen Sondheim is difficult to access; unless you go to the theater very often or you grew up watching primetime PBS, you probably haven’t had the chance to savor or experience the work of the man many consider to be musical theater’s greatest living artist. So here’s my attempt to make it easy for you, to provide you with a little roadmap so that one day you can become a bonafide Sondheim-worshipper, as I’ve become today.

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Charlotte Rae in “The Worst Witch”

October 26, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

Do you have pop culture artifacts that live somewhere in your brain, covered in dust, and then one day someone shines a light on them and you’re like: “Oh ya! I remember that.”
Such was the case when two friends–this one, and this one–embedded the above video on their blogs this week. It brought back a memory of sitting on the couch, after school, and watching this weird witch musical on HBO with Charlotte Rae & Tim Curry. Does anyone else remember it? The song, you’ve got to admit, is pretty catchy.