Category Archives: Music

Mile 1620: Sometimes You’re Glenn Holland, and Sometimes You’re Walter White


“I know what you think in the morning
When the sun shines on the ground
And shows what you have done.
It shows where your mind has gone.”
–twenty-one pilots, “Guns for Hands”

Miles Last Week: 60
Total Miles: 1620

***Warning–contains a few spoilers for a nineteen-year-old movie and a show that ended eleven months ago.***

Sometimes I have minor epiphanies on the elliptical–like the one I had a couple of weeks ago while listening to Alicia Witt on the Nerdist podcast.

I’ll save you a trip to Google. Alicia Witt is a ginger actress/singer/songwriter you may recognize from her role in Mr. Holland’s Opus as Gertrude Lang, the young girl who couldn’t play the clarinet until she “played the sunset.”

Conversation naturally turned to the film, and as they joked about a sequel (Mr. Holland’s Second Movement), host Chris Hardwick pointed out that when he thinks about the movie, part of him still believes that Mr. Holland didn’t get to do what he wanted with his life.

For some reason, I had a strange thought. Mr. Holland and Walter White of Breaking Bad are more than a bit similar.

Think about it.

Both have big dreams–


Happy Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss)

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) Source

Walter White (Bryan Cranston)
(Fun fact: I Googled “walter white happy” and there were basically no happy images of Walter White, for presumably obvious reasons.)

–but take teaching jobs to pay the bills.

(Of course, Walt’s reasons for becoming a teacher are never specifically addressed in Breaking Bad. My theory is that Gray Matter hit a rough patch early on and Walt sold his stake in the company to take care of his family. Then the company took off–hence his major resentment.)

Both have a special-needs son–

Cole Holland Source

Cole Holland (Joseph Anderson)


Walter “Flynn” White, Jr. 

–a blonde wife–

Iris Holland Source

Iris Holland (Glenne Headly)

Skyler White (Anna Gunn) Source

Skyler White (Anna Gunn)

–and a loud, ever-so-slightly obnoxious sidekick with a good heart.

Bill Meister Source

Bill Meister (Jay Thomas)

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) Source

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul)

They chafe a bit against their situations.


Sad Mr. Holland

(Definitely one of the best moments of the entire show.) Source

(Still definitely one of the best moments of the entire show.)

And their stories end as the men stand atop all that they have built (so to speak).

American Symphony Source

American Symphony


Spoiler! I warned you.

Two men in generally similar circumstances but with extremely different results. Mr. Holland ends up inspiring a couple of generations of high schoolers with the joy of music, while Walt becomes a desperate criminal mastermind/kingpin, gets a bit big for his breeches, and murders a bunch of people that I liked. (Don’t get me wrong. I freaking love Breaking Bad, but there were more than a few times that I wanted to give Walt a swift kick to the meth-maker, if you know what I mean.)

Yes, we can argue about the finer points of each character (Walt had cancer for crying out loud), but I guess what I’m saying is that these middle-aged white men can teach us a thing or two about attitude.

We all end up in less-than-desirable circumstances. Sometimes it works out symphonically, and sometimes it results in knowledge of how to dissolve a body in acid. (Hint: Don’t do it in the bathtub.)

Whether you make music or blue meth is up to you.

Mile 661: Treat Yo’ Self


“It’s a low, low road you gotta roll down
Before you find your way, my friend.
And it’s a high, high hill you gotta climb up
Before you get to the top again.”
–Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, “Low Road”

Miles Last Week: 51
Total Miles: 661

In Parks & Recreation’s October 13, 2011, episode entitled “Pawnee Rangers,” Donna (Rhetta) and Tom (Aziz Ansari) celebrate their “Treat Yo’ Self” Day, during which they completely pamper themselves with massages, new clothes, etc. As a viewer, this sounded pretty genius and I’m still shocked that it hasn’t been instated as a national–nay, INTERNATIONAL–holiday.

We would probably really need two days so that people who work in spas and such could enjoy it, too. Still, I’m down.

How does this relate to fitness?

This week is the first week in my 1,500 Mile Project that I have put in miles every single day with no skipping. Actually, it’s been everyday since last Saturday, but who’s counting besides me?

Call me crazy, but I was pretty excited when I realized this. I’m on a streak!

I thought I deserved a little reward. I needed to treat myself.

Scratch that. I wanted to celebrate. I could be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure that Tom and Donna’s “Treat Yo’ Self” Day is meant to be a celebration of how awesome they are.

Smarter people than myself have expounded long and hard about reward systems. It’s pretty simple: getting a reward makes you want to keep doing the thing that you associate with getting that reward. I guess I’m arrogant enough to think that I already have enough incentive to keep going to the gym (not embarrassing myself on my blog, health, blah blah blah). I just wanted a small celebration for myself. But what kind?

In the past I’ve been advised against food “rewards.” A former boss of mine who was a major fitness/health guru once pointed out that that kind of system doesn’t help a dysfunctional relationship with food. You can’t celebrate a fitness accomplishment by having a milkshake, especially when you and milkshakes have a bit of an abusive history. You have to find other ways to treat yo’ self.

I immediately knew that I wanted a new CD. I’m not much of a spa girl, but lately I’ve been in desperate need of some new tunes, man. I used to frequently purchase new music whenever I felt the whim, though a recent personal crackdown on miscellaneous spending has trimmed that down quite a bit. The last album that I bought was The 2nd Law by Muse, which was a graduation present to myself in December.

So, yesterday I fired up my iTunes account and downloaded The Lion the Beast the Beat from Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. I’ve been pining over it for over a year and now I have it and I am super excited for my commute on Monday. Treat Yo’ Self.

The first time I recall hearing of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals was when I listened to “White Rabbit,” their song on the Alice in Wonderland-inspired album Almost Alice. Then I heard “Falling or Flying” on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. Then I heard “Paris (Ooh La La)” and rushed out to get their album. Then I was fortunate enough to see Grace Potter & the Nocturnals perform live and I’ve been mildly obsessed ever since. The band’s 70s pop-soul-rock flavor is defined by the amazing Grace Potter’s raspy voice and retro swagger. I have to say, the girl has plenty. When my sister and I went to the concert in 2011, we both left exclaiming about how amazing the show was and how Ms. Potter danced and shook her way around the stage for an hour and a half. Seriously. It was a little difficult to get a good picture of her because she NEVER. STOPPED. MOVING.

If you think about it, she could really be a fitness inspiration. Someday, when we’re BFFs I’ll be sure to tell her how her shaking in a little mini-dress (that I would never have the courage to wear even if I looked like her) really helped me through many miles on the treadmill. I assume a massive dance break will ensue shortly after.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, 2011 in OKC.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, 2011 in OKC.

In summation:

  1. Grace Potter is awesome.
  2. Treat. Yo. Self.