Heath

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Homepage: http://www.heathallyn.com/


Posts by Heath

Ode To My Fitbit One

One day at work, an email was sent out about having found someone’s “Fitbit.” I think there was another email or two about people who really liked theirs and would hate to lose them or something. This got me looking into this “Fitbit” thing. At first, I wasn’t really interested. Basically just a pedometer that counts your steps. It just didn’t seem like something I would care about or use. Yet it stayed on my mind. I kept researching. Started considering the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Flex and others. After a whole lotta internet reading, I decided the Fitbit One was the one I was most interested in for various reasons too long to go into here. Suffice to say, do your own research and see which one sounds best for you. One day I finally just decided to get one from Best Buy and try it out and judge for myself.

I’ve been shocked at what a difference it’s made. I definitely think it will work better for certain types of people, but it’s definitely worked to motivate me. Having that goal of 10,000 steps a day is constantly planted in my brain. I park further away or take a longer route somewhere to get those extra steps. I get home, and while previously I would have just parked my ass on the couch and watched TV all night, if I see that I still have a few thousand steps to go, I’ll go walk a couple of miles to hit that goal. If it’s raining, I’ll run in place while I watch TV. When playing gigs with my band, they have been known to look on in confusion as I do laps around a courtyard, parking lot or whatever is in the area to get my steps for the day, and it also makes me more active on stage, putting on a more energetic show. That simple little number drives me to try to reach it however I can, always encouraging those little extra bits of activity. On the one day I forgot it at home, I went home at lunch to get it because I didn’t want to lose those steps!

At work I set a timer and ever 25 minutes, I walk around the building. This actually serves multiple purposes* and usually nets me my 10,000 before the work day is done (or at least very close to it). Of course, I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can do that.

All in all, I think it’s definitely had a positive impact and at least doubled the amount of physical activity I get in a day, or more. It does have other function such as estimating how many calories you burn, showing elevation change (equivalent to how many flights of stairs you’ve walked up/down), tracks your sleep patterns if you want (though I am dubious of this accuracy), and more. And as silly and trivial as it is, I like the little positive message it gives me when I pick it up like “HUG ME,” or “YOU ROCK, HEATH.”

As I said before, it probably works better with certain types of people. Maybe more obsessive or compulsive people. If you’re like me, you’ll feel the need to hit that number. Other people might just ignore it and think “I’m at 4357. Eh, whatever.” If you’re competitive (I am not at all), then you can also add friends and see your comparative step totals as well. It’s also pretty small and versatile as to the places you can wear, keep or hide it. That’s one great reason I prefer it to any wrist worn devices. I highly recommend this little device. I give it 10,000 steps up.

*Aside form my step count this also falls in line with the “Pomodoro” technique or other similar techniques that claim you are more productive when you take breaks every 25 minutes. It also helps with the “20/20/20” idea to reduce eyestrain for people who work in front of computers, the idea being that every 20 minutes you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. In addition, it also is supposedly healthier to get up and move around every 20 minutes or so and not sit down all day. Many of my colleagues have gone to standing desks but I’ve also read that standing all day has it’s own adverse side effects and after much research, it seemed to me the getting up every 20 minutes was the best of both worlds and healthiest compromise between sitting or standing all day.

Dream Theatre #10

In last night’s episode:
I arrived on the set of a commercial I was working on to see my friend Suzanne Shaw Lyons for the first time in over 20 years. I think she was doing something on the crew side of things and I can’t remember if I was cast or crew. Later we met up with my uncle, Brown Cooper, who is a Director of Photography and who was shooting this commercial. We all chatted and he mentioned something about another big commercial he had lined up. We asked if he needed any cast and he said that actually they were casting for the main married couple in the commercial. Susie and I immediately grabbed each other’s hands and launched into an improvised “audition” as a joke, acting like a married couple and saying that he should cast us. I remember holding up her hand with her real wedding ring on it and saying (in character) something about how I’d got her this beautiful ring and thinking how fortuitous it was that she was married so we had that handy prop!

That’s about all I remember. Even in my dreams I’m working (doing what I love). No word on if Brown cast us or not.

Dream 10

Friends and relatives
Dreaming of my chosen craft
Working while asleep

Dream Theatre #9

In last night’s episode, my friend, Mark, had this awesome house (not his awesome real world house, a fictional dream house) with mostly glass walls to the outside and huge, sprawling multi-level swimming pool. It wasn’t so much one giant pool, but more like several levels and lanes that added up to one contiguous pool. Mark had given me a spare key and basically told me I could use the place whenever I wanted. I was over there early one morning and had just taken a shower when I heard stirring. It was only then that I realized that Mark was still there and was getting up to get ready for work. I had thought everyone was gone and so suddenly I got really nervous about getting “caught” in the house even though he’d given me a key and permission to use it. I somehow still felt like I was abusing the privilege or something.

When he came out I tried to play it all cool. Since I was wet and in a towel, Mark asked if I used the pool often. I couldn’t tell if he was just asking out of curiosity or if it was more a sort of annoyed interrogative tone. Not wanting to reveal that I’d just showered there as well, I made up some story about how I had just showered at my own place and then remembered some reason I had to come over and had just been so absent-minded and still half asleep that I didn’t realize I was still wet and just in a towel. Someone else had come over by this point (maybe our friend, Jesse, but I can’t remember for sure) and we talked about how cool the pool was.

Then we went horseback riding. I have only ridden a horse a few times in my life but I was really enjoying it. At one point Mark got off his horse to do something and his horse ran off. I volunteered to go search for it on the horse I was riding and I think I remember using my phone or some device as a GPS or something.

Later, in a separate mini-dream:
I was at a bar with Brian, Akasha and some other friends where this twin brother comedy duo was playing. They were very strange looking, I remember. Larger guys with very close set eyes and round faces. Brian was actually working behind the bar. As soon as the duo came on and started playing and making strange faces, Akasha kept trying to get Brian’s attention in that way when you don’t want someone to miss something you know they’d enjoy. Like the duo would make some face and Brian would not be looking because he was busy behind the bar and so Akasha would yell his name because she didn’t want him to miss that funny face they were making.

Dream 9

Houses and horses
Swimming pools and borrowed keys
Comedy duos

The Dark Corners of Our Minds

I don’t know exactly what propels me to write this. I suspect it’s at least partly because of Eddie. Eddie committed suicide a few years back (addressed in its own post here) and I’ve found it surprising how much I still think about him and feel his absence in this world despite the fact that it has no practical effect on my day to day life as I hadn’t spoken to him in many, many years or really had any active friendship for a long time. His website is still up (a little internet sleuthing showed me that it’s paid for through 2015, I believe). And I’m still sad that he got to some place where he felt like that was his only solution.

Now let me get intensely personal. I consider myself a generally positive, well-adjusted guy. Yet I have had many or my own dark periods. Periods when I kind of just didn’t want to live any more. Now, I do think that this is still quite different than wanting to kill myself. I never wanted to actively take action to end my own life. It was more like “You know, if I just don’t wake up tomorrow, if the universe wants to take me in the night, I’m good with that.” I’ve had random trains of thought about how I could just “disappear” or if one were to end their own life, how it could be done so that you just disappeared and no one ever knew what happened to you. We’ve all had dark times. We all have dark corners of our minds, but for many, they don’t want to admit that, even to themselves probably, much less to the world. It’s scary and people don’t want to feel freakish or worse yet, have others judge them as somehow deficient.

Now this is probably the most important part of this post. Why do I write this? It’s not a cry for help, or attention or for everyone to tell me how much I’m loved and would be missed or anything like that. I’m good, really, and I know all that thanks to all my wonderful, loving friends and family. I write this because if anyone reads it and has ever had anything even remotely resembling feelings like this…

You are not alone. You are not broken, or deficient, or crazy or a freak. You are human. People are scared to talk about darkness, especially inside themselves so you may feel alone or like no one could possibly know or understand. I am not a mental health care professional. I don’t really know what to say other than that. But much like Eddie, we all probably have a much farther reaching and profound effect in this world than we will ever know.

Darkness

Do not fear the dark
We all have it within us
Shine bright your own light

Dream Theatre #8

I’m finding documenting my dreams to be an interesting procedure. So many times I feel it’s kind of like trying to translate something from another language that doesn’t really have a direct translation. So much about dreams is hard to explain in real world terms. The internal dream logic that makes no sense out here, or the feelings or atmosphere.

In last night’s dream I encountered a person named Katie. This was no one real, but a fictitious dream persona who, in the dream, was someone I had met in England when I was still married and we were back there visiting my ex-wife, Jess’s family and friends. Katie was the roommate of one of Jess’s friends who we were visiting. I think Jess knew her in passing as well. When we had visited, she had hung out with us all as well and we had all got to know each other over the course of the evening.

Now cut to the present. I can’t remember if I was in England or if she was over here to begin with, but we had reunited to hang out and over the course of our evening, she had revealed that she had always found me really attractive and was very taken with me. The feeling now was mutual so there was smooching and holding her in my arms and general nice cuddliness. At one point she actually told me she loved me which surprised me, being that we really barely knew each other and I, in fact, told her that while I was definitely drawn to her, I didn’t really know her well enough to know or say that I loved her but it was all good and warm and fuzzy and happy (I’m pretty sure that part comes from the fact that I’m doing a scene from Manhattan for a UT class where there is a similar, though not identical exchange).

Then the dream cut to the next day. I was now at work (fictitious dream work, nothing from the real world) and someone had died suddenly. There was a funeral to take place that day and we were all preparing for it. There was a line of people in the hallway because for some reason, everyone going to the funeral had to meet here at the place I worked to fill out some paperwork or something. I knew Katie would be going to the funeral as well and now I was all nervous about seeing her. I didn’t know how to play it. I really wanted to see her but for some reason wasn’t sure how cool to play it. Like maybe she would be all cool and act like nothing had happened, or would be disinterested now. At one point I saw her in the line but pretended like I hadn’t seen her as I didn’t want to put her in a weird place or make her feel pressured so I figured I would give her the opportunity to approach me if she wanted.

I was wearing this really flashy, sparkly shirt that I have and thought that it probably wasn’t really appropriate for the funeral. Luckily I had another shirt that I changed into right there in the lobby. Then I noticed that the sleeve of my sparkly shirt had come all undone and the bottom half just sort of fell off leaving stringy strands dangling (much like the stage effect in the production of Spamalot I saw last night when the Black Knight’s arm got cut off and there were red strings hanging down, thus leading me to believe that’s the source for this particular dream ingredient). I was really bummed in dream, as I really loved this shirt.

I think it was around this point that I kind of half woke up and felt some sense of sadness that Katie wasn’t real. It took me a while to really wake up enough to discern what was real and what was dream and that I was feeling this sadness and why. I then went back to sleep and did some major catching up, sleeping almost 12 hours. I feel like there’s a tiny kernel of sadness that I will carry for the rest of the day from my whirlwind dream romance.

Dream 8

Mystery woman
Love and death within the dream
Wake to loneliness

Dream Theatre #7

In last night’s episode, I was hanging out with Kevin Smith (the writer/director) at his house. It wasn’t his real house but my own dream version of his house which was kind of in the woods and elevated. He was telling me about this time when, just being goofy, he started climbing this tree. Then after climbing a bit he suddenly looked down and saw how high he’d climbed and became paralyzed with fear and didn’t think he’d be able to get back down. Luckily he did.

Then we talked about how the studio that produces Jeopardy had just moved into their new huge facilities built out in a desert as two adjoined complexes. We then talked about Alex Trebek getting to work in a transport pod that traveled on rails directly between his house and the studio. I can’t remember if we were wondering if that’s how he got there, or if we thought that’s how he should get there. We then theorized that he probably just had a limo that picked him up every morning.