Sweating in the New Year!


So I’ve been doing this “Wii Active” exercise program for a couple of days now. I got the Wii for me and my wife for Christmas, using the cunning excuse that it would help us get into shape. She totally fell for it. Unfortunately it turns out that the machine is actually pretty good at making you sweat like a bastard. Apparently I will let an animated figure bully me into doing stuff that I am way too lazy to do on my own.

Me before I put on all the weight over the holidays.

Most of the exercises are fairly simple, like running in place, or squatting, or doing arm curls with the aid of a resistance band (a piece of rubber with handles on it). You strap the Wii “nunchuck” to your upper thigh and hold the Wii controller in your right hand, then do whatever the ever-smiling trainer in the corner of the screen tells you to. Your actions are mirrored by a graphic representation of yourself on the screen. Unfortunately none of the body types provided were large enough to accurately represent my corpus, so I look a lot thinner on screen, which takes a lot of the impetus out of exercising. “If I look that good already, what the hell am I busting my ass for?”

The program guesses what you’re doing by the motions recorded by the controller and the nunchuck, and if you’re not holding them properly (say, you forget to point the controller up at the end of a move), it accuses you of slacking. That’s usually when the screaming starts.

“I AM lunging, you useless son of a bitch! I’m totally lunging! See? I did it again! What the hell is wrong with you?!”

The little Wii instructor responds calmly. “You need to extend yourself fully if you want to get the benefit of this exercise. Watch the instructional video again if you need help. C’mon! I know you can do it!”

“I swear to God I’m gonna reach into that screen and rip your lying throat out! I AM doing it right! I’ll kill you!”

Eventually you realize that the nunchuck strapped to your thigh is pointing in the wrong direction, despite the extremely clear instructions you were given at the start of the exercise. Now feeling a total idiot, you sheepishly straighten things out and the remainder of that routine passes peacefully, with the instructor cheering you on by uttering one of maybe 50 canned comments, like, “Wow! You really nailed that one!” Or, “Feel the burn!” You proceed robotlike, keeping yourself moving by plotting a hideous revenge against the instructor and his heirs.

By the end of the 20 minute workout you’re dripping with sweat and totally exhausted. Periodically the program rewards you with a wonderful trophy for some random metric, “500 Calories Burned!” or “Extra Squatty Squat Thrusts!” You can go to a screen and look at all your trophies any time you like if you’re a moron and they actually mean anything to you.

I can’t promise that I’ll keep this up, but I’m going to try. Eventually I’m hoping to unlock the special cheat codes that let me export the instructor’s image into Doom so I can blow it apart with a rocket-propelled grenade. “Flex this!,” I’ll scream, pulling the trigger while downing a whole tub of ice cream.

And that will be the best Christmas present of all.

Healthy Body, Weak Mind

I have been goaded by a wacko conservative friend into reading “Liberal Fascism, The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change.”  It purports to explain how the modern liberal movement is descended from fascism, and that it’s “no fairsies” when liberals accuse conservatives of being fascists. It’s well written and sports a jaunty happy face with Hitler mustache on the cover. I’m about two chapters in and it appears to be roughly 50% fact and 50% utter nonsense. I’m enjoying it quite a bit. More to follow.

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