This is an update to the post Swamp Pits.
Picture it. Friday night in the most hipstery part of Nashville. I’m talking to some friends in the corner of a humid, crowded, smoky outdoor bar.
It stinks, it’s been raining off and on, and I hate the smell of cigarettes. Who the fuck still smokes? It’s not the ’50s anymore people! But I digress.
What do you suppose we’re talking about? An intellectual analysis of the Benghazi hearing. A riveting debate on recent changes in climate and how it’s going to affect the future of our planet. New improvements in 3D printing technology and how it can become a problem for regulating firearms.
Of course not. We’re not talking about any of that.
We’re talking about my armpits and how I’ve gone 24 hours without a drop of sweat since I started wearing Certain Dri. We’re talking about how I’m nervously wearing one of my favorite blue shirts, which I haven’t worn in years because the fabric isn’t very breathable and it makes me sweat buckets. But on this night, I’m wearing it proudly and I can lift my arms without fear that there’s a giant circle of sweat trapped underneath.
It starts out as a whisper when I tell one friend about it. He has the same problem of sweating like a menopausal woman, so I know he’ll be interested. Then another friend perks up and joins the conversation.
“You have sweaty what?” he asks.
“Armpits,” I respond, “Now shhh, keep your voice down.”
“What are you guys talking about?” a drunken third friend asks as he carries over two beers, both of which are his.
“We’re talking about armpits,” the second friend says.
“Oh, armpits,” the drunk third friend says. “Hey, Nathan, isn’t that guy over the asshole you were talking about. Didn’t you say you hate him and he has an inflated ego?”
“Shut up,” I hiss. “Try to focus. We’re talking about my armpits here.”
“So does it really work?” the first friend asks, trying to get us back on topic.
“Yes, it’s amazing. You guys really have to try it.”
Just as the label claims, Certain Dri warded off sweat for a full 72 hours. In fact, it lasted 96 hours for me, but somewhere after the 72 hour mark I did detect just a tad bit of sweat when I was mowing the lawn. Nothing extreme.
I could be imagining it, but I did feel like I had a little bit more sweat on my back. Afterall the sweat has to come out somewhere. Still, it was manageable and I have to say Certain Dri really works. I recommend it to everyone.
Why isn’t this the standard? I don’t understand how there is a whole industry full of sub-par anti-perspirants when you could buy something that truly does its just for 3 full days?
Go for it! You’ll love it! And then let me know what you think in the comments.
This is one of those posts that’s only relevant if you can relate to the problem. For anyone else, it’s too much information and you should probably avert your eyes.
Something changed when I entered my 30s. I became really hot-natured and sweat under my arms all the time. Crazy, right? It’s like some twisted male version of menopause that happened 20 years early.
I open my sunroof when it’s 50 outside. That’s a warm day to me. It’s gross. I don’t like it, obviously.
I’ve tried all kinds of “extra strength” and “clinical” formulas. My armpits just laughed and said, “You are no match for me, weakling!” (Apparently my armpits speak too.)
I found out about something called Certain Dri Anti-Perspirant. The average rating is 4.5 stars out of 5 and most people seem to love it. How had I never heard of this stuff?
You roll it on before bed, let it dry for 5-10 minutes, and it won’t wash off in the shower the next day. It’s supposed to work for up to 72 hours.
Of course I was skeptical but I read dozens of a sites and independent reviews, and the overwhelming consensus was that it worked. There were certainly a few people who had bad reviews too, but that’s common with any product. Some people had an allergic reaction that caused them to break-out, others said it just didn’t work for them. No product is going to work for 100% of people.
But most people, a surprising majority, have been very happy with it.
I put it on last night and followed the instructions. It did dry pretty quickly, and it’s clear and odorless. There was a mild burning sensation at first, but nothing unbearable. A lot of people report this. It went away and I was fine.
Today I woke up and I’m completely dry under my arms. It’s almost eerie.
So that’s my story. I will continue to use it and see how it goes. But if you suffer from excessive sweating, I highly recommend Certain Dri. I can’t tell you how excited I am to stop worrying about dark circles under my arms when I wear light colored shirts!
*Note: Get the roll-on! A lot of people don’t like the stick version. It has a different formula and only mixed reviews. It’s milder, to avoid burning, but it doesn’t seem to be as effective.
A few days ago, I posted this on the Nathan Exposed Facebook page:
I want to elaborate on that by saying LinkedIn is the devil. I can’t think of any other service that uses such aggressive tactics to contact its users by email and make it so difficult to unsubscribe.
It turns out there are no fewer than 15 different services they e-mail their users about. Almost all of them seem to have separate notification settings. That means even if you unsubscribe from one service, say “Friend Suggestions,” you’re still going to receive the other 14 services in your email.
Over the weekend, my mom asked me to help her unsubscribe from it. We counted five different screens with over a dozen different boxes we had to un-check to stop receiving various e-mails. We finally just closed her account because we weren’t confident we’d found all the boxes to un-check.
As someone who works in web design, I understand that it’s important to keep visitors engaged. But once someone hits the unsubscribe button, you need to give them the option to remove themselves completely. Don’t hide the options and force them to receive junk they don’t want.
Why are you so needy, LinkedIn?
Picture it. Sunday night. Daniel and I are enjoying our end-of-weekend ritual of watching The Amazing Race while eating dinner. A commercial comes on for Kohler.
There’s a mother in the tub. She’s probably masturbating. I think all women pet their kitty in the tub.
Two little boys run in and starting taking a piss in the toilet. As I look down at my yellow macaroni and cheese, I can’t believe we’re watching two little boys take a piss in a commercial. I do not want to see this.
Nobody wants to watch little boys pee. Nobody.
Well this guy probably does. But no one else.
And then they both go wash their hands. Ha! Like that happens. Daniel and I have three nephews and can honestly say little boys never wash their hands.
Meanwhile the mother just smiles. She’s secretly seething inside because her little boys interrupted her cherry flicking session. Should have locked the door, bitch.
Then her husband peeks his head in the door. He smiles at her and she smiles back.
She’s probably thinking about what a disappointment he is in bed and how he never bothers to get her off. Maybe if he spent a little time downtown she wouldn’t have to be pleasuring herself in the tub alone.
The Bold Look of Kohler. Fade to black.
I think Kohler knows this is a weird commercial because they turned off comments.
Many of you have probably heard of the P90X workout program. It’s a beast of a workout that requires 90 continuous days of activity to build muscle and lose weight.
Daniel and I started in January and completed the program. We’ve continued to do select exercises several times a week in April. It’s an excellent program and I have many good things to say about it.
P90X uses “muscle confusion” to boast fast results. By doing different exercises every day, your body doesn’t get a chance to adapt. This prevents plateauing, which is a common problem for people when they work out. It’s common to get set in a routine and eventually you body stops responding to the workouts. There is no plateau with P90X.
I can vouch for the effectiveness of muscle confusion. The workouts never really get easier. We were sore for at least the first 30 days. This is an especially rough period where a lot of people give up. There were days we could hardly move and the last thing we wanted to do was lift more weights or do more crunches. But you have to push through it. Surprisingly exercises did relieve some of the pain. Once we got warmed up and stretched, we felt a little better.
It continues to be challenging right up until the end, but you find ways to cope and it becomes manageable. Even now, there are exercises I can’t do very well, and some I can’t do at all. This confirms that there is plenty of room to grow with the program and even after 90 days, it will continue to challenge you to work harder.
A reality check on the results
The P90X website and commercials are packed full of shocking transformation photos. I have to admit that we don’t look like those photos.
Do we have more muscle definition? Yes, absolutely. Do we feel stronger and more energized? Oh, hell yes! We feel great! But we don’t look like those photos… Yet!
I do believe it’s possible and I do feel we’ll get there. We are healthier and in better shape than we were in January. I have no complaints about that.
A fair disclaimer about getting more out of it
Although we didn’t transform as dramatically as the people in the photos, I do have to say you get back what you put into it. We didn’t do doubles, which would entail doing two sets of exercises per day. We didn’t buy the expensive supplements and stick to the very strict diet guide they recommended. If we did all that, we would have even greater results and maybe we would look like the photos. So I’m willing to take the blame for that.
BUT… I know myself pretty well. If we did the doubles, if we stuck with these wildly strict diet guides, I wouldn’t be happy. I’d be overwhelmed, I would burn out, and I would probably quit the program. That’s just the truth.
Part of this challenge is accepting yourself and taking an honest look at what’s going to keep you motivated. I think that people who try too hard may do well in the short run, but in the long run they’ll get sick of it and won’t work out at all.
The schedule we adapted to was the standard P90X plan and it’s been manageable for us. We continue to do it now so I think it’s more effective because it’s stuck with us.
About Tony Horton, your fitness guide
Good ol’ Tony. There are so many crazy things he says that could be misinterpreted. I’m sure there’s a Tumblr page out there that’s created memes about it. He’s very colorful, but that’s what makes him fun and interesting.
He flirts with the guys in the gym a lot and he is particularly harsh with the women, especially the young pretty ones.
Before the end of the 90 days, you may not like Tony. You may have to mute the entire video and that’s okay. I think it’s normal to get angry with your trainer, no matter who they are. Here is a person who keeps pushing you and pushing you. It’s natural to want to take it out on someone.
In Tony’s defense, I think he is one of the most likeable and effective trainers I’ve seen. If I ever met him, I’d want to tell him how much I appreciate the work he does and how it changes lives.
Prepare to buy a new wardrobe
I have always been a skinny guy with a small body frame. But I have always dreamed of being strong and muscular. Over the years, I’ve tried different routines, but never saw results, other than being mildly toned.
When I look in the mirror now, I do see the beginning of some solid muscle definition, particularly in my chest. It becomes more evident when I put t-shirts on. They hug my body and most of them are too small now. Actually that helps because I feel like a giant and it boosts my confidence. But really, I look kind of silly now. I’m going to have to buy larger shirts, which I haven’t had to do since junior high!
Jeans are a separate problem. I love my jeans. I’ve spent the last few years building a very solid collection of nice jeans. God, there’s nothing like a great fitting pair of jeans, right? It can boost your mood and instantly make you feel better about yourself.
WELL… I didn’t realize all those damn squats they make you do would bulk up my thighs so much! Hardly any of my jeans fit now and I’m going to have to start over with a larger size. In retrospect, I probably would have skipped the lower body exercises. I know they’re important to keep you balanced. After all, you don’t want to be walking around with chicken legs, right?
But I’m fairly proportional and I would have been fine without them. Oh well.
I’ve focused on mostly the emotional and psychological changes after P90X. There are already hundreds of blog posts out there which focus on the specific exercises and how they impact you physically. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. I’m happy to answer.
P90X is a great program and I highly recommend it! You’ll be healthier and happier and the sense of accomplishment is wonderful.
It’s been nearly a year since Daniel and I began the journey toward adopting a son. It has not been an easy year, and we do not have a son yet, but we are continuing to be optimistic and move forward.
I would like to share some tough lessons we’ve learned so far. If you’re thinking about adopting in the U.S., you may not like the things I’m going to say. My intention is to give the honest, unfiltered truth and not sugar coat it. But don’t be disheartened, please. I believe the best rewards in life are the ones you have to work for.
The child’s race: It really is a black and white issue
I would estimate that 80% of the children available for adoption in the U.S. are black. I would also estimate that 80% of the couples looking to adopt are white. If you are a white couple hoping to adopt a white child, I’m here to tell you that your options will be limited. When you do find a white child that you are interested in, be aware that a dozen or more other white couples are also pursuing him or her.
Be upfront about what race you feel comfortable adopting. Don’t beat around the bush and say you might be open to a black child if you really won’t be. I can’t stress this enough. Be honest. Case workers are overworked and underpaid. You are wasting everyone’s time if you aren’t honest, so if you want a white child, just tell them you want a white child.
The softie in you is going to contradict this. A part of you is going to say, “Well maybe I could adopt a child of another race.” If you feel this way, I strongly encourage it. There’s obviously much more to a child than the color of his or her skin. But again, if you don’t feel you can honestly see yourself with a child of another race, don’t do it. Adoption is not the time to solve all the world’s problems. Focus on what kind of child you really see yourself with.
There are quite a few children of Hispanic descent, particularly in Texas, so if you can at least broaden your horizons to include them, you will have more options.
The age range will change
There are two groups of children for you: 0-12 and 13-17. In the beginning, you will think it’s 0-2. Everyone can spot a couple who’s new to this when they say they want a cuddly new baby, fresh from the womb. Forget about it.
If you want a “younger” child, your options are 0-12. To be more specific, it’s really 8-10. That’s what it’s going to boil down to.
You see, it’s all part of a cycle. These children weren’t just born into adoption. They were part of a process. From 0-4, their crackhead mother was trying to take care of them and possibly flying under the radar of child protective services. But once the child is old enough to start pre-school, they are in the public more. Teachers observe that they are neglected, abused, underfed, and that’s when they report the parents.
During the ages of 5-7, the mother will go through a little song and dance where the child is taken away temporarily and the mother is told to get her act together. She will get sober for a few months, get the child back, and then the cycle repeats a few months later. Finally, by age 8, it becomes clear the mother isn’t fit to be a parent and she isn’t going to change. Parental rights will be terminated and the child will be available for adoption. That’s where you come in and that’s why the child will probably be between 8-10.
Foster care is a slow moving machine, so the children may be stuck in the system for months, even years. It’s very sad. I don’t have an optimistic spin to put on it. The best I can say is that the foster family is doing its best to give the child love and attention while they wait to be adopted.
If you’re looking for an older child, a teenager, you’ve hit the jackpot. There are many, many options for you! Actually that’s sad too because it shows just how many kids have fallen through the cracks of the system. Sorry. But there are some really wonderful children out there who just need someone to give them a chance.
By that stage, they’ve put up some walls and it won’t be easy to get close to them. But it can be done, and once you establish trust with them, and show them that you aren’t going to give up on them, you can receive their endless love and devotion. You may even have a tighter bond with that child than some biological parents have with their teenagers. This is a child who knows how bad things can be, and how good they have it now, so it really opens up an opportunity for a special relationship with your adopted child.
The bottom line is to not get hung up on age. You may find an older child who you really connect with. Our case worker once pointed out that older kids and young teens have an identity and you really get a sneak preview of what kind of person they are becoming. A baby is a wildcard.
Out of state adoptions are sometimes a joke
When we first started out, we were very excited to have access to numerous databases of children in all 50 states. But we eventually discovered that this is mostly just for show.
Have you ever worked at a company where you knew someone was going to get promoted internally, but the job position was still posted online for the public? Same concept. You know those people sending in their resumes don’t stand a chance.
Most of the out-of-state cases we’ve been involved with ended up choosing a family in that child’s region. It’s not impossible to get chosen, but it’s significantly more difficult. You’ll really need to be a great match for the child to get case workers to consider you.
Homophobia is alive and well
Most states allow ONE single person to adopt a child or TWO married people (legally recognized marriage, that is). If you’re gay and live in Tennessee like we do, only one of us gets to adopt the child. The other person gets listed as an occupant of the house, which gives no legal protection at all. Classy.
Later on down the road, we will have the option to go to court and file a second parent adoption. It’s possible, but the whole thing is complicated, maddening, and unfair.
Also, even though some states can’t technically discriminate because we’re gay, we do get passed up often. Kentucky is one of the worst. They can’t even be bothered to acknowledge us when we inquire about a child.
Utah will flat out write you back and tell you “NO” because their state ONLY adopts to couples who are legally married. That means even a man and woman can’t adopt unless they are legally married.
If at all possible, consider the foster route
Foster care seems to be the most consistently reliable way to get matched with a child for adoption. The problem is that it’s horribly unpredictable.
9 times out of 10, the child is just going to be placed with you temporarily. You’ll bond, get attached, only to have to that child taken away and returned to their drug addict parent. If that parents falls off the wagon again, the child may once again be brought to your home 6 months later. If you’ve had the child once, you are more likely to get picked again since you know their history.
Of course there are some perks to fostering. You get to take care of a child who is going through a difficult time and be their safe haven. So it’s not all bad. However, if you’re looking for something permanent, it can certainly be a bumpy ride.
We are seriously considering it ourselves in order to expedite the adoption process. We’re not certain. We’re still talking about it.
I’ve shared the ugly, painful truth that we’ve learned about adoption after one year. Some people would throw in the towel and give up, but raising a family isn’t about quitting when times get tough. We’re committed to adopting a child and we know our patience will be rewarded. When it is, we will have so much love to give.
Next time you meet someone who has adopted a child, or provided foster care, you may think he or she is just a regular person. But look closer. That person is someone with a huge heart, an incredible spirit and strong backbone. That is a person who has been through hell and back, all because they wanted to be a parent. You should give them a big hug and thank them.
There are so many children out there who come from broken homes. They need safety and security, and kudos to any person who’s willing to give that to them. The greatest heroes in the world are the ones you don’t hear about.
When I was in my 20s, I believed I could be anything, do anything, and life would always work out in my favor. I was full of piss and vinegar and I never backed down from a fight.
And usually I won.
On the few rare occasions when I failed, it didn’t seem to matter too much. I picked myself off the ground, dusted myself off, and kept moving forward, knowing I’d tried my hardest.
That magical mix of optimism, ambition, and naivety faded away as I transcended into my 30s. The weight of the world and the problems I faced began to take their toll on me. Problems seemed bigger, more serious, and they couldn’t be solved in one night the way they used to be. I wasn’t just disputing a late fee for a movie I’d returned to Blockbuster. I was dealing with complex, heavy problems, just as many people do when they evolve into adults.
But see, that’s exactly where I went wrong. Sure, the problems might be bigger and more daunting. But I still have to face them with unshakeable confidence and faith that I will come out the winner. That’s what I have to do!
Today I’m declaring my empowerment once again. I can be anything, do anything, and life will always work out in my favor. That’s what I believe and that’s the mindset I’m reverting back to.
Let’s get this done!
I’m in a California mood today. I’d like to go get Daniel from work and take the next flight there. We went to San Francisco last summer and had such a good time.
I’d recommend we start with lunch at The Buena Vista Cafe, where I’d have a big club sandwich and Irish coffee to drink. Daniel would order a crab salad sandwich, which would probably be covered with onions. I’d cringe just a little, but then smile because I’d know he’s happy and he never gets to eat stuff like that here in Nashville.
Next we’d go to Ghirardelli for dessert and walk around Fisherman’s Wharf. And after that, I’d want to sit on the staircase used for the set of Barbary Lane in Tales of the City. I’d pretend Mrs. Madrigal was waiting on the other side of the hill. Even though she’s a fictional character, it still makes me happy to imagine her there.
I’d have to take at least one ride on a cable car and enjoy the steep hills of the city. It’s really a lot of fun, and I don’t care if it makes me look like a tourist. I also enjoy the clanging sound.
Next would be an afternoon stroll at the Palace of Fine Arts. The massive Roman architecture is amazing to see up close and I love seeing the sunset there.
All of this would build up to a drive along the winding roads to Sausalito for a breathtaking view of The Golden Gate Bridge.
By then, I’m sure our friends Dan and Rich would be home from work and want to meet at their favorite neighborhood bar. That would wrap up an excellent day in one of my favorite cities.
Okay, maybe not really…
But over 1,300 people have shared my recipe for Mexican cheesecake on Pinterest. That’s a big number for me!
If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for? It’s so easy to make and it’s a huge hit at every party. Daniel made it last night for a Super Bowl party and everyone went back for a second piece!
Here’s the recipe. Pin it, Like it, Tweet it, Share it, and let me know what you think when you try it.
By now, some of you may have heard about Vine, which was recently acquired by Twitter and launched a few days ago.
It’s mostly a time waster at this point, but it’s fun to get a glimpse into someone’s life through a brief clip. And it’s oddly entertaining to see what people come up with.
I’ve played around and posted two videos: One of me discovering a phone book on the front porch today. (They still make those?) http://vine.co/v/bJv0LQjnhwP
And one of the book I’m currently reading, More Tales of the City. It’s one of my favorite books and it’s been awhile since I read it. It still has the magic and nobody can tell a story like Armistead can. Here’s that video: http://vine.co/v/bJvlYghP3bL
Since there isn’t a direct way to link to my Vine feed yet, you can follow me through Twitter and I’ll post new videos there. https://twitter.com/nathanexposed. Please let me know if you join Vine too.
The Vine app is available here: https://itunes.apple.com/app/vine-make-a-scene/id592447445
You can also go to http://vinepeek.com/ and get a continuous feed of random Vine posts as they show up. No software or Twitter ID required.