Monday, January 17, 2011

Weigh-In Days And Mondays Always Get Me Down

I decided to stop weighing in every morning like I did for most of last year, and just weigh myself on Mondays. Maybe Monday isn't the right day, since they're depressing enough already without the added fuel.

Anyway, I weighed myself this morning, and despite jogging at least four days a week for the past two weeks, I'm still gaining weight. It's frustrating enought to cause me to really want to quit. Jogging isn't easy for a fatass like me. My legs and back are always screaming in pain. I find myself having to constantly stretch out my calves because they ache so damned much. And to be dealing with all of that, and still gaining weight, it's really, f***ing depressing.

What's weird about the backward momentum is that up until I stepped on that scale, I was feeling pretty good about myself and the progress I had managed to make. I'm getting to the point where I don't feel good if I don't run. I think the running helps relieve the stress and fights my constant tendency towards mopiness. Because of all that, I think I'll keep at it.

I guess I just have to stop eating so damned much. Apparently, I can't outrun myself, but I sure can out eat myself. But my stomach is grumbling right now as I type this. Ugh.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We Can Drive It Home...With One Headlight.

Yesterday evening, I met Rish at the theater, and we saw that Harrison Ford movie Morning Glory. Rish never misses a Harrison Ford film, and this one had the added benefit of having the dreamy Rachel McAdams in it.

It was a pretty good film. Plenty entertaining, and even the fact that I work in the news business didn't ruin it. Usually, knowing the business that is being portrayed in a film too well can do nothing but pull you out of the story, because there is always tons of inaccuracy. In this case, it wasn't a problem for me. I did scoff a few times at the beginning. This morning show that McAdams worked on had a veritable battalion of people producing it, all the way down to the worst offense, when they showed someone applying make-up on the anchors. There may have been a day when those sorts of things went on in local news, but those days are so long gone that my dad can barely remember them. TV is done as cheaply as possible folks, and the first thing they do to get the profit margin up is get rid of people. That's always been my biggest beef with shows set in a news background--the dozens and dozens of extras they have running around in the background. It makes for a more interesting shot, but a less accurate one.

Anyway...I wasn't going to talk much about this, so I'll quit now. The rest of the show was fine for me. I think probably because it was on a national morning show. I've never been within sniffing distance of something like that, so I don't know what they're really like. So, it just couldn't put me off.

So, afterward, Rish and I went and hung out for a while at the only fast food joint that stays open late in this town. Unfortunately, it is a Del Taco. On the drive over to it, Rish started freaking out, because he thought I was driving with my headlights off. Turns out that they were, in fact, on, but one of them had gone out, and the other was just pretty dim. This might seem irrelevant, but it turned out to be the most important thing of the night.

After a while, Rish and I went our separate ways. On my drive home to my own particular backwoods town, I had to take the freeway for ten or fifteen miles or so. Shortly after getting on, the thickest fog I have possibly ever experienced descended on me. Here's a picture I snapped.*

Here I was, on a freeway where cars normally go around 70mph. I, however, was doing something like 20mph, because I couldn't see ANYTHING. I only had one headlight, a dim one at that. My highbeams worked great, but in fog they only make things worse. I kept tapping on my breaks just to make sure that whoever coming up behind me would know I was there. My heart was beating at something around 200 beats per minute. I only knew I was going the right direction because I could see the dashed lines between lanes. What's worse was, even the light overload of a car dealership was barely visible through the fog. I couldn't see anything, especially not where my exit was. I was certain that I would be trapped on this freeway for hours, and wind up in some city far away from my own, because I couldn't find a way off the freeway.

Luckily, I noticed the sign for my exit with just enough time to swerve crazily toward it. Then I found myself on an even sketchier bit of road. The fog was slightly, ever so slightly thinner here. But now I had to cross intersections in which there were no dashed lines to guide me through. I was sure I would suddenly find myself high centered on an island, because I had drifted slightly as I crossed the intersection. In the end I made it. When I finally reached my own town (which seemed to have taken forever, and it probably did considering I was driving 20mph the whole way) the fog was totally non-existent, and the last mile or two of my drive was peaceful and calm enough for my heart to come back down normal once again.

There have been times in my life that I've been nervous, but I can't think of a time that I have been more certain that my life was coming to an end soon than on that drive home last night. You would have heard of it on the news no matter what city you live in. A thirty car, fog-related pile-up with dozens of deaths would be big news. But I'm alive to type another day. I guess you can't kill me that easy.

Oh, this morning, the first thing I did was go and get my headlight fixed.

* Okay, I admit it. That's not a real picture. I would never have managed to snap a picture of the conditions. My white knuckle grip on the wheel was unbreakable at the time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Douche, part 2

I know it is really an invaluable thing, and something I'd never want to do without, but sometimes I hate the internet.

Why would I say such a thing? Well, the other day, I was conversing with a friend of mine via Instant Messenger. I made a joke in poor taste, something that I do a lot really, but this time around offense was taken. Upon further review, the joke was a very douche-y thing to say, so I should have expected the reaction that I got. I tried to apologize, and insist that I didn't mean it, that it was just a joke and all that, and eventually we moved on.

But here's the thing that makes me hate the internet sometimes. This whole altercation left me upset and depressed for the rest of the day. Despite what my character on our show does and says, I'm not really like that guy. I'm not confident, good with the ladies, and able to take whatever is thrown at me.

Rish has always been the guy on the show that can't handle the criticism and stuff. But he's not the only one. That stuff really messes me up. After that, I was depressed enough that I didn't feel like doing my writing on my lunch. Luckily I'd already run in the morning, or I surely would have skipped that too. On top of that, I had to go buy myself a candy bar, and that didn't make me feel better either, but I did wish later that I didn't insist on sabotaging my weight loss goals.

How is that the internet's fault? Well, it's not really. But the things like this that mess me up wouldn't be available to me if there were no internet. If I had been in the presence of my friend, instead of just chatting over the computer, I probably could have used tone of voice and so forth to make the intent of my joke plain. Not possible without a voice.

This kind of thing has happened to me before. With internet message boards, where misunderstandings were propelled out of control, and I wind up upset and depressed for the whole day. When selling things on Ebay, and suddenly some buyer wants to attack me for something I either did or didn't do, and I'm upset and depressed for days. Or on our show's comment section, where people decided to come after us, and no amount of explaining our intent could make things better. I wound up depressed and upset from some of those for weeks.

I guess with every good thing, there's always something bad you can do with it as well. I suppose my friend and I will get back on solid ground eventually. I just wish there was some way to avoid doing those things to begin with. I guess that's all part of being human. Nobody's perfect. Especially not me. I'm getting less and less perfect with every passing day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How Goes It?

It's halfway through January already. Time flies, it's amazing. So, I thought I'd talk a little bit about how my New Years goals are coming so far. I never really mentioned them here on the blog, but I'll bore you with it all the same. I won't force you to read it though. You're free to click away at any time.

We mentioned on the show that Rish and I joined the 52 Weeks 25 Stories challenge, which is a group created by Lizanne Herd over on Facebook. I don't participate too much in the chatter of postings over there, mostly just because Facebook isn't my thing. I joined the group more because I like the challenge that it presents me with. If I want to take writing to the next level this year, then I should be able to write 25 stories.

What will it require? Well, it'll require me to write. I'll have to write a lot, write some every day. But as I learned while reading the posts on Dean Wesley Smith's Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing, that's what it takes to learn the craft of writing to a level that your stuff will be publishable.

How am I doing? Well, I set the goal to write during my lunch breaks at work every week day. So far, aside from the one day when they called me into work at 3:00 a.m. because someone had called in sick, I've managed to do some writing every day that I've been at work. It may have been precious little writing, sometimes in the neighborhood of two or three hundred words, but I've worked on my story every lunch break since New Years.

What I've been doing, sadly, isn't even writing on the story yet, though. I pinpointed a weakness in my writing last year, and I'm working to overcome it. I've found that I don't plan out my stories well enough before I start writing. So, what invariably happens is I get to some point in the middle of the story, realize I have no idea where I'm going, or that the stuff I've written so far is terrible, or something like that, and then I quit. I never finish what I write, like Heinlein says I should.

So what I'm making myself do, before I actually start writing the story itself, is prepare a bunch of stuff. They are steps that I learned about back in college when I was taking screenwriting classes. First, I have to boil my story down to a one sentence premise. Then, I expand that premise to a one paragraph synopsis that has a beginning, middle, and end. Then I write a treatment, which is several paragraphs (at least four), that gives the beginning, middle, and end in more detail. Then, I write what is called a step outline. This is basically a scene by scene outline of what is going to take place in the story. Lastly, I write a character bio for the main characters of the story. This thing will be long, and will delve into every little aspect of the character. I went through, before the new year hit, and wrote down tons of questions that had to be answered about each important character, and that is done when I write the bio.

This may seem like a huge amount of overkill for a short story, and I have to agree. It really is, but I'm going to do it anyway, because it's an exercise for me. We're nearly two weeks into the year, and I'm still on the step outline and character bios, but I'm getting there. Doing all this has given me time to think on the story a lot more than I would have otherwise. And the story has changed each time I move to the next step. The synopsis is for a slightly different story than the treatment describes. And since I wrote the treatment, I've changed the setting of the story all the way back from present day to 1983, so that will change things a lot too.

So that's how things are going with that.

I'm also continuing my work in the area of fitness that I began last year. I spoke on here about my using HCG to drop around fifty pounds last year. That was cool, but I think I've gone as far as I can with that kind of crap. I've made it to the whole yo-yo thing now. The first time on HCG I lost from 295 lbs. to 265 lbs. Then the next time, I lost from 265 lbs. to 245 lbs. Then the third time, I lost from 265 lbs. down to 245 lbs. And now, guess what I weigh? 265 lbs. Yeah, that's what they call the yo-yo diet effect.

So, I've given up on any stupid diet like that. From what I've heard, anytime you lose more than two pounds a week, you are also losing a considerable amount of muscle along with the fat. Muscle is what uses the calories you eat. So, once you're done losing the weight, the muscle that you had that burned the calories that you ate, is now significantly reduced, and it's twice as easy to gain the weight back.

So, my new deal for this year is to exercise enough that I build up a bunch of muscle, which can then burn off the fat that I've accumulated over the past fifteen years. I'm really out of shape, but I've run almost every day of the new year. I had a bit of a skid for a few days, again coinciding with the time they called me into work at 3:00 a.m., but this morning I got back on track and ran for a half an hour again. I'll be back at it tomorrow. Now I just need to get going on the weight lifting as well.

I have more goals to work on this year as well, and I am having a varying degree of success with each of them. It seems like I am in more need of improvement now than I have ever been in my life. I feel like the Ghost of Christmas Present is standing behind me telling me that if these shadows remain unchanged, there will be an empty seat next year. I'm not one who likes to work on things. I much prefer to sit back on the couch and let the river of life take me where it will. But that can often land you somewhere awfully crappy. So, this year I'm going to do my best to change some things. If it doesn't work out, well, at least I'll have a whole lot of guilt.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


We got some new stemware (yes, I said stemware) for Christmas this year. For a day, all our other cups were dirty, so my wife just used a wine glass instead to get a drink of water with. Since she'd already used it, she spent the rest of the day, refilling it, and carrying it around. It was funny to see my wife walking around the house with a wine glass in her hand like some classic Hollywood film noir lush. Especially since the glass was never filled with anything stronger than ice water the whole time.

But now, I find myself doing the same thing. It's so much easier to remember which glass is yours that way.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's Resolution Time

The new year is here and I've got something like a hundred things that I'm vowing to improve upon this year. First and foremost is to continue the improvement I made last year in my overall tubbiness. Secondly is to not continue the suckiness that I annually exhibit in writing little to nothing each year. Hopefully joining Lizanne Herd's 25/52 challenge group will help some with that. It's noon almost, and I feel really guilty that I haven't written any fiction yet today. There's several other things that I'd like to improve as well, and I've goals for them too.

All this makes me wonder, will there ever be a day when I look at myself on New Year's Day and just say, "You're good man! No big goals necessary. You've actually achieved all those dreams you set out to realize." Like Fonzie stepping in front of the mirror with a comb and realizing that his hair's already perfect, and just throwing up his hands and saying, "Eh!"

Wait...was Fonzie Canadian? I thought he was from Milwaukee.