Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shook it like a polaroid picture

Yesterday at work the biggest truck rolled by and shook the office hard. But geez, it was taking forever to pass the building. Maybe it's lots of trucks. Or maybe it's some construction they're doing. With about 30 jackhammers. On our building. Because I could feel the ground shifting and walls swaying.

And then I thought, hmm, maybe this is an earthquake. There was a meeting going on in the room next to me and frankly, I didn't hear them miss a beat. Non-native Californian that I am, I pretty much did all the incorrect things, from standing by my glass window peering out to entertaining the thought of just bolting out of building, every-man-for-himself-style.

Finally someone shouted, okay everyone! Under a doorframe! Which was met by inaction and a chorus of responses...well actually that's not what you're supposed...I heard you go under a desk...isn't there a new procedure?...golden triangle of life...did the lunch lady already swing by?

Bottom line, everyone was fine, though apparently it was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit So Cal in over a decade and rated 5.4 on the Richter scale. Hopefully we're good for another decade...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Week 9 - made it to 10 even

When I weighed myself on Friday I was 155.5. That's ten pounds down from my starting point of 165.5 nine weeks ago. Man, these 10 pounds have made a significant difference. Clothes are fitting better, I'm starting to see more of my waist, and the fanny-pack-shaped flesh hanging over my underwear is starting to diminish.

I'm a little nervous about weighing in this week due to a couple of social gatherings this weekend where I overdid it on the cheese, butter, and oreos. Plus there's a pizza party for tonight's last softball game. I'm already about dozen points over my allotted extra 35 points I'm allowed in a week. On the plus side, I've been motivated to keep up with the exercising with the pounds I've lost and the help of some friends who are helping me get to the gym after work. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it's going to save me from the extra consumption this week. Another plus--I learned how to make 2 point cupcakes--cake mix (without pudding in the mix) and a can diet soda (to replace the eggs, oil, water)!

I'm going to try to remain positive of reaching my goal of 140, my weight just a couple of years ago. We'll see how long it takes me...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

when the cat's away - Klee Irwin enters

When the cat's away, this mouse was planning to play. While my old man and my girl were still in Nebraska (I came back first on Monday--straight to work), I had plans. My list included organizing the place, getting some crafty projects down, cleaning so I could relax over the weekend, maybe even catching some arthouse/foreign film on my own.

Instead I came home and ate dinner in front of the tv while I caught up on some of my DVRed shows (wait, that was kind of on my list--check! Nice). I also managed to pass out on the couch while watching said shows only to wake up sweating to paid programming.

Do you know this man? Would you perceive him as an expert on bowel movements and overall health? Would you take it to heart when he is, in essence, claiming if you don't poop out watermelons or pinch loaves as big as Wonder Wheat 4-6 times a day, you need to be concerned? Would you suddenly realize that non-production of forearm-sized poop ore is the reason you suffer from bad sinuses, allergies, rashes, acne, weight gain, fatigue, stiff joints, depression, headaches, frequent colds, bad memory, lack of focus or "just don't feel perfect"? Hey, bummed that your pet died? Take a big dump, sad clown!

This man is Klee Irwin, creator of Dual Action Cleanse. I don't know if it's waking up with a sense of "where am I?! where am I?!" at 4am, but facing this infomercial in a half-conscious state has left me in semi-traumatized--sort of like accidentally seeing your friend's dad naked or when you help clean up someone else's vomit.

I don't like to judge a person's appearance on stuff they can't control, e.g., height, but I can't help but notice the styling options he, indeed, chose to take. Now I'm no professional art director, but perhaps I'd suggest he lighten up on the Magic Tan or return Peter Wentz's eye crayon after the first 2 coats. Plus, there's a 15-year-old who wants his facial hair back--he's gotta cruise the junior high parking lot for prom dates at 2:30. Also, less vaseline in that thin hair-would probably help him appear, uh...less oily, literally and figuratively. And finally, I would suggest a classic suit jacket to give his soft shoulders some authority, considering he's not a doctor or scientist.

Anyhoo, I probably don't need to mention that Klee Irwin is full of sh!t, figuratively, (because I'm sure he'd claim that he literally isn't) as products like these have been deemed unnecessary or worse, unhealthy. But I'm sure he's making pooptastic amounts of money and we'll be seeing more of Klee Irwin. Apparently he's previously created a product called "Steel Libido" and is set to roll out the new improved version, "Libido-Max". Ick, ick, ick.

Please don't let me wake up to that infomercial.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bridge to Terabithia

I happened to catch Bridge to Terabithia on cable recently. I had resisted seeing it in the theaters with my girl when it came out because I had read the book as a kid and the only thing I remembered was that the girl dies. Yes, the girl dies!

(9 year old me + summer reading list that included BtT) = (BtT=Death)

Sorry if I'm wrecking it for some of you but Paul had caught it on cable earlier--uh...why didn't you tell me the girl dies? I really was not in the mood for that. He had that dejected face of a kid who misheard and thought he was going to "Disney" but his mom said "dentist". So I think I'm doing some of you folks a favor, i.e., it's kind of a downer, people!

When I saw all the commercials, they made BtT look like new chapter in the Chronicles of Narnia. I totally didn't remember any of that. All that I remembered is that the girl dies in the end.

As I was watching it, more of the story came back to me and truth be told, it's a good story. And the movie is well done. I thought all the actors were great especially Josh Hutcherson as the protagonist, Jess Aarons. The fantasy stuff falls short partly because they're a bit cheesy, but mostly because the more interesting scenes of the movies are the parts grounded in reality--family life, school bullies. Watching BtT reminded me what a moving coming-of-age story it is. Even the unexpected gravity of the girl's death at the end is done well (and off-screen, BTW) and enriches the boy's journey.

On the whole I give it a B+. Even knowing about the girl, I was sucked into the story. I suggest watching BtT as a movie, as a coming-of-age story come to life, not as children's entertainment. I guess Disney deserves some kudos for having the stones to produce a movie with an unconventional, un-Disney ending.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week 8 - down 1.5

Hooray for me. At my week 8 weigh-in I was down 1.5 to 156.5. Which was my weight at week 5, only to go up to 158 for the week 6 & 7. Those weeks were disappointing but like I said, it was to be expected as I had gone way over my alloted points those weeks.

Week 9 isn't looking so promising as I went to Paul's family reunion in Nebraska over the weekend. When it comes to parties there, everything earns the title of "salad" by adding 2 cups of mayo to it, whether it's carrots, macaroni, or marshmallows. The rest of the food included fried chicken, roast beef, green bean casserole, baked beans, cole slaw, Texas toast, and mashed pototes. Believe me, it was one delicious looking buffet, just not so point-friendly. I'd like to think I ate the lightest by eating mostly mashed potatoes and beans. But then I ate a healthy serving of potato salad which turned out to be dip.

I'm trying to do a little damage control the second half of the week and at least exercise the remaining days and tightly manage what I eat. We'll see when I weigh in on Friday...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

don't know how long I can keep this up

So I came up with a great idea. The two positive things of following the Weight Watchers program is that it has made me drink water and eat lots of vegetables. I've always known drinking 6 glasses of water and eating 5 servings of vegetables/fruit are good things to do and I feel healthier after including them in my day. But these are two things that definitely don't come naturally to me. I treat these like a quota I have to meet. If I didn't have the WW food log to check off that I've consumed the water and greens, it sho 'nuff wouldn't be done.

Because I pretty much dread getting in the water and vegetables, I try to slam down at least 2-3 glasses of water first thing in the morning to help get it over with. I know, I know, I'm supposed to drink the water throughout the day, but that doesn't naturally happen, and this really helps me meet my quota.

So I came up with the great idea to slam down the vegetables first thing in the morning. So for the past three mornings I have steamed up a pot of broccoli and eaten it for breakfast. This wasn't so hard for me since I'm not one of those people who can only eat "breakfast food" for breakfast and "dinner food" for dinner. For me, I could eat spaghetti for breakfast and Lucky Charms for dinner.

The two positives are one--getting the vegetable quota over with first thing in the day and two--I feel ridiculously full and don't feel the desire to eat for hours. And that sort of rolls into the negatives--I feel almost uncomfortably full--the way that consuming a pot of broccoli would probably do for most people, if you catch my drift. My gut feels huge as it's processing all this greenery. And well, you kind of spend the morning keeping your fingers crossed that you'll have some desired "alone" time to manage the natural consequences caused by consuming such massive amounts of fiber at once.

The main problem I've run into is that after 3 straight days of this, I'm getting kind of sick of it. I couldn't even finish it yesterday morning. Plus my old man complains of the distinctive smell of cooking broccoli hitting him first thing in the morning.

sigh. Back to the drawing board to refine my great idea.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FreeCycle - inaugural loot

I joined my local FreeCycle group. Yes, it's one of those groups where folks offer up stuff for free with a goal of reusing and repurposing stuff rather than buying new and thus, keeping stuff out of landfills. Personally, I'd love to see some of stuff the girl has outgrown (and are still in good condition) go to good use. Like the 3 seasons of t-ball and softball stuff I shelled out new money for only to watch my girl squat on the infield and draw circles in the sand or pick dandelions in the outfield. I'm also looking to get the girl a bike--at this point I've figured out she needs activities where she's somewhat engaged a hundred percent of the time.

I haven't gotten the gumption to put up an Offer or Wanted post yet, but I've been checking out the other Offers. There's definitely stuff I expected to see like a tricycle, toddler swimming pools, bookshelves, entertainment centers, and couches. And the good stuff goes fast--so far I've gone for a gas grill, a foodsaver, and two bottles of Andy Warhol cologne, but I was too slow.

What surprised me was some of the specific stuff folks have Offered: a 5 oz. bottle of Worcestershire sauce, ironing board cover, hair dryer diffuser, an open can of baking powder, a Eurythmics CD, cookie tins, Hawaii Islands Entertainment coupon book, a used maternity bra, hangers, wool cap for a child, fax machine that "needs work", and a plastic Looney Tunes figurine display (no figurines, just the display). Some of this stuff (I'm looking at you, open can of baking powder) doesn't seem worth the gas driving to pick it up. And some of the stuff is so crazy specific like that Hawaii Islands Entertainment coupon book. But what do I know? Most of the above stuff was Taken.

Including that broken fax machine.

Anyhoo, I picked up my first freecycle loot--it took about 5 e-mails and 20 minutes of driving to pick them up:

Worth it? If you don't think so, throw a little mojo my way for a kid's bike or gas grill, would ya?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gas Out - I wish

I was surprised to get this in my Inbox today:

Subject: Don't pump gas on July 15th

In April 1997, there was a "gas out" conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon in one day. On July 15th 2008, all Internet users are to not go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $4.00 a gallon in most places. There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up. If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000.00 (that's almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on July 15th and lets try to put a dent in the oil industry for at least one day. If you agree resend this to all your contact list. With it saying, ''Don't pump gas on July 15th"

How is this e-mail even circulating? I tend to go to Snopes to verify the chain e-mail I get but this one really doesn't need it. I really wish they'd explain the logic of this one. If you don't buy gas on a single day but buy it the day before or after, how does it keep money from the oil companies' pockets? Gas isn't a product that is purchased daily, like, say, a newspaper. It's a consumable that's purchased weekly, roughly. And it's not a consumable that has a short shelf life, like milk, so it's not like gas stations throw out the gas because no one bought it for a day.

I'm just not getting how not buying gas on a certain day is keeping billions of dollars out of Big Oil's pockets. Even if sales were calculated daily, the 3 billion dollars they don't make on July 15 will be washed out by the 6 billion dollars they make the next day when everyone who held out on the 15th buys it on the 16th, along with everyone else who would have normally bought gas on that day anyway. I wouldn't normally go on about these things, but judging from the long list of forwards on this e-mail I received, it seems that a lot of folks are on this bandwagon.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good protest and/or boycott. I boycotted McDonald's until they stopped packing their big sandwiches in styrofoam boxes. They eventually switched to paper wrappers. Though I think the fact that these paper wrappers took up less space and were cheaper made more of an impact than me not eating there. The problem is, this "gas out" isn't anywhere near a boycott. A boycott would be like not buying gas indefinitely. And I don't see that happening on a mass scale any time soon.

If someone could explain the logic of the e-mail to me, please step up to the mic and enlighten me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

status quo

At week 7, I weighed in at 158, which is the same as last week. It's somewhat disappointing but again, I went over my points, by about 15. For 3 weeks in a row, I have not been able to stick to my weekly allotment of points and it's been frustrating lacking the self-control and not losing the weight. I don't know what I have to do to refocus my brain and regain some willpower. Well for now, it's a new week, and I'll try again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

that guy

Do remember that guy from years ago? When you went to a bar, he was singing along to "The Piano Man" in that tone-deaf, drunk, belligerent sort of way clutching his beer bottle. He probably had his baseball hat sideways in some "wiggity-wack" sort of fashion, which was his rebellious way of giving the finger to the Establishment. And his face, flushed boozy red, was contorting wildly while emoting the narrative of the song. And if some unfortunate guy bumped into that guy and made him spill his beer, that guy would loudly confront him.

that guy: Hey what's your problem?!
unfortunate guy:
tg: Yeah, I'm talking to you! What's your problem?!
ug: huh?
tg: You pushed me, @sshole. You gotta problem with me?
ug: oh, are you talking to me?
tg: You want to take this outside? Huh?! Do yuh?
ug: not really.
tg: Yeah...didn't think better watch yourself...Queer!

Guess what? I played softball with that guy last night.

On a side note, I play softball in a co-ed rec league with some folks at work. I use the term "play" loosely because I suck. Though I am working on it--yesterday I went to the batting cages on my lunch hour and made contact with over 50% of the slow pitches. Sad to say, that's progress. After four games, my current batting average is .100. It was .000. My chief contribution to the team so far has been my attendance to help meet the minimum female headcount of 4 women so we don't forfeit as a co-ed team.

Anyhoo, that guy looks pretty much the same except all those beers have now given him a softer build and a carby face. He keeps his baseball hat on straight, but by the power of Grey Skull, he sure still loves to yell. Hey that shortstop got in our runner's way. Oh, you're just going to ignore me? Great! I'm just talking to myself out here! And when he gets called out: I can't believe you're making these calls in rec league! You've been giving us f*cking bad calls the last four games! And on and on and on.

To say that a person could suck the fun out of a rec league game for a person of my playing caliber is pretty pathetic. Unfortunately it wasn't only him, a lot of his teammates were also on the B!tch and Moan Express last night. Man, I just wanted to serve them a nice warm glass of Shut the Hell Up, but that would have been like opening a fresh carafe of whine for them. And I was soooo sick of that.

I would like to say that we won but we lost pretty soundly, something like 17-3. Needless to say, the complaining was nonstop, even though they were winning. I can only imagine how tedious this game would have been if they lost.

Anyhoo, if you were wondering what happened to that guy from years ago, he's playing softball in the rec league. He's probably due to have an aneurysm soon, so better hurry if you want to see him.

UPDATED: So a friend informs me that this guy is ubiquitously known as Softball Guy. He's a common reference for the guy who treats a rec league softball game like the World Series. Yeesh. So there's more of them?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

not tired of them yet

Does anybody else find those freecreditreport commercials pretty catchy? I'm talking about the ones where the guy is singing about working in a seafood restaurant, lamenting about marrying a girl with bad credit, or buying a used sub-compact because he didn't stay on top of his credit. I haven't grown tired of them yet and moreover, I still kind of smile when I see them. It's the little things, like the way the old lady in the restaurant gives the stink eye, the drummer in the bathroom keeps opening the door, or cruising in the junky car. Is it just me?

sigh. perhaps it's just late.

Monday, July 7, 2008

2 more W's

Continuing on a W theme here. I saw two movies this week: "Wall-E" at the theaters and "We are Marshall" on cable.

"Wall-E" was wonderful. I hadn't read any reviews before I went to see it and I was mesmerized the whole way. I confess I kind of thought Wall-E was a physical rip-off of #5 from "Short Circuit" but he was a great character and I totally got sucked into his world. I cried twice. Well, I guess it was just once since my face was still wet from the first flow. The messages of the film, regarding consumerism, pollution, disconnection, were somewhat sledgehammered home but it's to be expected when you're aiming a movie at young children as well.

"We are Marshall" was...weak. I know this was based on the true story of a tragic plane crash where practically the entire Marshall football team and staff perished and how it regains its spirit by putting a new football team back on the field the next season, but, ugh, was Matthew McConaughey's character supposed to be so annoying? I feel like he showed up to play the Larry character for a "Three's Company" remake--he was certainly drenched in his signature 70s swingin' wardrobe. I'm assuming that McConaughey's vacant stares and goofy smirks when fielding questions about why he wants to coach this team are supposed to read as earnest optimism but I was left bewildered. Yes, I cried in this one, given the subject matter alone. I connected easily to Ian McShane's character as the father who lost his son in the crash and if I could have gotten inside more characters, I'm sure I would have been moved more. To that end, I rate this movie a C+. To this movie's credit, it was open about being a story of moving forward and opportunity. With the climactic winning game (oops--I guess I should have put Spoiler Alert), the narration shares that this is one win of nine over four YEARS. The lead characters do not go on to glorious NFL careers. Marshall doesn't even get a winning season until 10-15 years later. The triumph here is simply hope, which is a refreshing change from the slick and glossy endings we're usually fed from Hollywood.

WW Week 6 - slight setback

I weighed in at 158, which is UP 1.5 pounds from last week. Fortunately, I'm not feeling that disappointed because I totally ate an extra 57 points (one is allowed 35) this week. In other words, I ate an extra day's worth of points. So in some ways, I was expecting it. I guess that's one positive thing about recording everything I eat--no surprises.

I'm back in the saddle again. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


have been my personal deadly siren: calling me, only to lead me to my destruction. I know, I know! They're not even real potato chips! Am I eating them for the salty, dusty seasoning? sigh. I ate another two cans this week. I've gone over my alloted extra points again this week. I don't know if I'll be as lucky as last week and still lose weight.

Last night, I resorted again to telling the girl that if I ate one, I would pay her a dollar. Why don't I do this all the time? Because a part of me wants to be able to have a few--I'm trying to gain that self-control to enjoy a few. Is that so hard?

Apparently so.