Week 6: Heart of Darkness, Pump It Up Ultimate Dance Workout and Valentine’s Pork Chops

And we’ve officially entered the fatigued portion of this quest.

I finished pretty much everything on my list for last week five days ago, Monday but I’m just now getting around to writing up this blog.  I’m also only 20% of the way through Poisonwood Bible for this week, which ends tomorrow.  Which is also Oscar Day.  Perhaps its the snow, but I really just feel like laying on my couch with a pizza.  In fact, I think I did that one night this week.


Heart of Darkness didn’t help much.  I fought this book.  I fought it a lot, really.  It was short, a novella written in three segments from an old-timey magazine named Blackwoods:

 The “story” was written at the turn of the 20th century, arguably one of the most stuffier times in recorded history, Renaissance notwithstanding.  If you asked me what happens in the story, I really couldn’t tell you with any sane level of clarity.  There’s a sailing guy named Marlow who tells a very long story to his fellow shipmates about a time when he encountered darkness.  He starts off by saying something to the effect of “I won’t waste your time with my personal feelings on the matter” and then proceeds to spend the rest of the book discussing a trip to the Congo.  It took me halfway through the piece to even realize the river they were traversing was the Congo.  The whole book is written in such flowery language, it’s easy to get distracted.  For example:

Marlow starts his story by saying “And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth.”  Then, for two lengthy paragraphs that amount to a full page, the author discusses the wanderlust of the seaman, saying things like: “…for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny.”  Then he starts up the next paragraph, a page later, with “His remark did not seem at all surprising” and I thought, “Whose remark?  Who’s been speaking?  What did they say?”

In truth, this book only really made my list because I’d read somewhere that it was the inspiration for Apocalypse Now.  It’s been years since I saw the film, but, as I recall, I didn’t much understand it when I saw it either.  So, apparently the movie was true to its source material.  Wikipedia indicates that the book is “complex exploration of the beliefs people hold on what constitutes a barbarian versus a civilized society.” But, because half the time I couldn’t make out who was doing what, I’m unclear who the protagonist or antagonist is.  Everyone just seemed miserable.

Such is life.


Remember the first week when I alluded to the idea that Disco Sweat was an intense workout.  Well, as it turns out, that was hogwash.  Richard Simmons, meet Deanne Berry.

I don’t know much about this gal except she has an Australian accent and apparently likes to show off her cha-cha a lot.  On the real: I can’t remember the last time I saw so much cameltoe in one place.

Logistically, what year would you expect this video to have been made?  1989?  93?  Even 97?   You’d be wrong.  This bitch was released on December 27, 2004!  Legwarmers and hi-cut body suits?  Is this an homage? Or has Australia just not discovered yoga pants yet?

Overall, with this workout I felt dangerously inadequate.  The pace on many of the routines was just too fast; my knees will not allow me break into a perfect side lunge in the amount of time they allotted me to do so.  Add to that the idea that they all look like porn-stars trying to make a little side cash, I became disenfranchised.  I stopped the 60+ minute video about half way through, telling myself I’d do the second half the next day.  I never did.


Thank God for the porkchops I made as part of a special Valentine’s Dinner for Jason, or I’d feel like a complete failure this week.  I made them along with some roasted sweet potatoes, toasted crostini and a salad and I felt like I had truly graduated to a new grade.  I had to have Jason come in and assure me that, yes, 3-4 minutes on each side was enough to prevent us from contracting salmonella.  But once I started making the delicious sauce that goes with it, the “That smells so good” and “When’s it ready?”s just started flying in.  I forgot the butter at the end of the sauce, so it was a bit runny, but the sweet potatoes soaked it up nicely.

I also made these pears which took forever to cook, but we were so full and we never ate them.  In fact, they’re still sitting in my fridge.  And they didn’t come out nearly as red as the pears in the picture.

So…not a total loss.  But not my best week.

Coming up:

BOOK: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

FITNESS: Cher Fitness Hot Dance

RECIPE: Pizza puffs


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