31 January, 2012

Warp Speed Ahead!

Why do I always do this to myself? I overbook myself, overcommit, run myself into the ground with no solitude for weeks, get sick of people, really annoyed, and in the sense of relief when my commitments are finished, I learn to say NO to requests for my time and energy.

That lasts a few weeks.

Then I find myself bored, or at least seeking something engaging to occupy my time, and I do it all over again. Instead of picking one thing and saying, “Yes, I’ll participate in this endeavor” and then saying no to the rest of it, I say “yes, I’ll participate in this…and this, and this…and oh you needed someone to help you with that? Sure! I’m game!”

Probably more information than anyone needs to know about me, but currently I am:
  1. Working two jobs (ostensibly, but not many hours at the 2nd because of…)
  2. In a play, running through Feb. 19
  3. Assistant-Directing a play which will open on March 23
  4. Working on my Masters’ Thesis
  5. Preparing for a community music concert that will be on Feb. 18
  6. Somehow roped into chaperoning a youth lock-in at my church,  that I did NOT think would be happening this year, but is suddenly on the books for March 9-10.

Okay, so I chose both plays. I was blessed with a minor role in the one I’m acting in, which lessened my rehearsal time. That is vital because as A.D. of the other, I should really be there for all the rehearsals after this current show closes.
Okay, so due to the overlapping play schedules, I know that my thesis is on a shelf for the time being, which is frustrating but acceptable.
And okay, I understand it is pure coincidence that the three churches decided to combine and offer a concert RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of my theatre insanity, so fine, whatever.

BUT…
I’m really annoyed about being roped into this lock-in. Don’t get me wrong, I love the youth at my church, but after this same event ended last year the idea slid away and nobody mentioned it until recently. We have a new youth leader, who of course was recommended to ask me about it, and naturally I am ASSUMED to be co-chaperone! I DON’T WANT TO DO IT! Not because it wasn’t very cool and interesting last year, but because I’ve been drafted. How perverse is that? The kids love me (after all, I’m nothing but an overgrown 15yo), and I flatter myself that I’m good with them. When they brought it up again, the new kids were checking to see if I was doing it with them, if they sign up for it. But the sheer audacity of people (adults) who were unsupportive last year and who didn’t lift a finger to help me put it together, to now take it for granted that I’d be there! Never mind that for the earlier retreats this year I wasn’t even consulted or asked to chaperone. They want me when they want me, and they want me now.
...

Sorry for the vent…I didn’t know I had it in me!

What would you do? Participate, knowing that it’s a good thing, and the problem is really just the way it all came about? Would you explain the annoyance and bail? Would you make an excuse and bail? Truthfully, with all my other events chaos, I don’t know that losing a night’s sleep is a good idea…hmm…

30 January, 2012

I Think I'm Part Bear

...And not because of the fact that I’m a diehard fan of the Chicago Bears, or that this is my 9th consecutive year participating in the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics.(still raising funds for this year's plunge) This is a more visceral “bear-ness”: My body seems to want to hibernate.
Of course, biologically we all want to follow the sun’s path, blah blah blah. …and I have noticed that in spades in my own life. I wake up with the sun regardless of when it rises. Can’t help it. (Daylight Savings is a crock. Just don’t get me started on that.)

But this goes beyond. I took a personal day on Thursday, to take care of some things I was not accomplishing with my normal hectic schedule. When I woke at 10 a.m. (SO LATE) Thursday morning, I had a blistering headache, so rolled over. Woke again at 3 p.m. and still had a headache but made myself get up and take something for it. Well, I called work and said Thursday was going to have to be a sick day, and I’d take Friday for the personal day, since I couldn’t do the things I needed to do with my eyes closed!

Friday dawned…again around 11a.m.! I got up, but boy, I could have stayed in bed. And mind you, these are days that I’m sleeping most of the day, AND all night, too. So my body wants the sleep. Saturday was a repeat. Sunday I forced myself up for church, with the grand ambition to get to the gym afterward, but came home and napped instead.

I think I’m part bear. If I could sleep away the winter, I surely would.

Usually when I sleep this much I figure my body is fighting a cold or other bug, but I have none of those symptoms, so it must be an ursine metamorphosis – what other explanation can there be!?

25 January, 2012

Self-censorship, and a Comparative Analysis of the Battle of Yavin vs. the Podrace

So here’s something weird: I seem to have started to censor myself! Here, I mean! Remember when I explained about my title that I said I want a place to fly my freak flag…my nerdy freak flag? Well the other day I started composing about SW:The Phantom Menace, then never posted it because it seemed too dull. Well, maybe not necessarily “dull” but definitely very detailed specifically about Star Wars and somewhat analytical, and I guess my internal censor automatically clicked on because if I said all this crap to my friends and coworkers I’d get eye-rolls and snickers. (friendly, loving, snickers, of course)

Well screw that! Grab your light saber or blaster and rally ‘round! Here’s my stunning revelation:

This weekend I was hard at work on my self-proclaimed new job of watching SW:The Phantom Menace (aka SW#1) until I know it inside-out, with the goal of visualizing where the good bits will be on the 3D version coming out. (job title sucks. Note to self: compose new job title.)

I must revise an earlier statement I made that the podrace is SW#1’s Battle of Yavin (from SW#4 – aka The Original). It’s not, really. The podrace has too many close-ups and profile shots to be the rollercoaster that was Yavin. Of course, I haven’t had time since I made this revelation to re-watch The Original and confirm this hypothesis. I’m guessing that, since SW#1 was made with this fantastic amazing computer technology that was unavailable earlier, there were more options for angles…and with the CG characters’ unique faces, a desire for more shots of them.

As an avid rollercoaster rider – that’s another blog for another day – I have a lot of experience of this sensation. If I had to hone it down, I’d say the thrill is in the view... or lack of one if you are facing only sky! [quickly dons lab coat and professor-glasses] The quick changes of visual perspective mess with one’s internal sense of balance, and it all goes so quickly that we are left with that head-spinning sensation. …again, I haven’t been on a rollercoaster since October, and really don’t pay close attention when I’m in the moment, so this is part guess-work.

The Battle of Yavin I picture as looking through the cockpit-view. Of course there are some close-ups of the faces, and some wider shots showing the tie-fighters chasing them, but it seems to me that the zippy, front-angle may be what gives it the rollercoaster-y feel. Hmm…methinks I must watch A New Hope tonight.

What the podrace sequence does have, however, are explosions. Several explosions. Seems like a good opportunity for ILM to send shrapnel out into the audience in the 3D version. Good fun, no? I’m not a huge 3D fan, but that’s a cool part of action movies in 3D – ducking to get out of the way. Haha!


Here endeth the lecture. I will censor myself no more!

24 January, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Alrighty! Year of the Dragon!
Good things! Excitement!

(…in an attempt to perk myself up... Yeeha!)

My research (haha) cautions that “due to the mythical nature of the dragon” gains during dragon years may be hard to hold onto. It will be exciting, but hard to tell reality from myth: Easy to make the gains during years of the dragon, but harder to hold onto. So have fun, but watch out in the future!

I lived in East Asia years ago, so – although it’s not like this is something everyone talks about – I became interested in how their signs based on a year differ from the western astrological signs based on a month. I have a great book that goes into detail about the Chinese sign, and then tells you what your western zodiac + Chinese zodiac combination supposedly tell about you.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t buy into astrology. It just interests me as something to know about. (I pride myself on being a wealth of trivia.) Here’s why I don’t believe it:

Man determined the constellations in the first place! So what if the Jupiter IS rising in Aries, we’re the ones who decided that particular collection of stars goes together, and if we hadn’t, or had made the boundaries different, Jupiter would be rising in some other constellation. Hahahaha.

There’s a great subplot in So Long and Thanks For All the Fish (book four of the HHGG trilogy) where the journalist is going to interview some famous astrologer about how a newly discovered planet effects the zodiac. I love it. It was the first thing that crossed my mind when some random scientist – or group thereof – decided to demote Pluto.

Then, with the Chinese Zodiac – now, I’m not going to knock anyone’s religious beliefs - The story of Buddha inviting the animals to a banquet sounds as unlikely to me as the story of crossing the Red Sea probably sounds to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible, so for argument’s sake let’s assume the Buddha story is true. Even still, how does the order of the animals’ arrival translate into power over a particular year?

But I’m latching onto the mythical positivity that is theoretically attached to this year. Go Dragon!

Maybe I should feng shui my house while I’m at it…

Broke-ness

Broke-ness sucks.My latest money-pit expense went through yesterday, which knocks back my savings a chunk. Not so much savings as "big expense" account. (also, the "enter" key appears not to be working for me. ...living paycheck to paycheck sucks with major suckage. ...Too annoyed to write anything interesting. ....Brokeness sucks.

20 January, 2012

Dela- Where?



Big things happening today.
Big things.
Expensive things.
Formerly controversial things that had to be done anyway, so got done.

We’ve got a new bridge.
…wait, let me try that again:
We’ve got A NEW BRIDGE!!!

One glance down at my “About Me” blurb shows I am in Delaware. (Second smallest state in the union, oh yeah!) I won’t go on about Delaware in this post, but here’s what people know, but don’t know they know: You’ve seen us! That is to say, most folks my age or thereabouts have seen that funny, campy, SNL-based movie “Wayne’s World” (Party on! Excellent!). Remember it? Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey? Lots of rock-n-roll? (Don’t even try to tell me you didn’t head-bang to Bohemian Rhapsody along with them!) I depart work, often, with a “Party on Wayne” to my coworker, who responds “Party on Garth”.

…which I guess makes me the uber-dweebazoid here. Wait. Hmm…

ANYWAY…That scene when Wayne and Garth are on the new set and are trying out the green-screen? They dance around like cowboys in front of a picture of the Alamo, do the hula in front of the beach, a couple other things, and then a background of [a postcard of] Delaware comes up and they can’t figure anything to do. Haha. (Chickens and Credit companies, that’s what we do in Delaware. Chickens and Credit.)

ANYWAY…That background was a common postcard when I got here. (I honestly haven’t perused postcard racks in a very long time, so I would HOPE it’s gone by now, for reasons which shall become clear.) The shot is of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. The inlet itself connects Delaware’s inland bays to the Atlantic, and is a vital traffic conduit between the various beach resort towns. But...
We have a new bridge.



Voila! ...wait! My upload totally didn't work! It put my picture of the new bridge at the top! How lame. to continue:


See? Totally different. Well, of course the cranes are still up in this picture, which is distracting. They are coming down today.

I could give you all kinds of history about why the new bridge was necessary (and not just a fancy upgrade, as some contended) or link you to a (to me) fascinating stop-frame video of the construction, but that link would slow down this site, I’m sure. It took seemingly forever to build so with one photo per day, it’s a long video.

Oh yeah. It’s a big deal. They’re making a big thing of the governor being the first person to drive over it.
So I guess, happy Delaware! Now let the destruction of the old bridge begin.

p.s. I’ve been obsessed/fascinated by bridges since a young age. Sorry if this seems kind of lame, but it’s been intriguing following this process.

p.p.s. other awesome bridges include the Bay Bridge and especially the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Maybe living on a peninsula has fed my obsession.

19 January, 2012

final thought for the day...

So, back in the mists of time, when I was in college, I had this friend. We’ve lost touch. Since those heady days of all-nighters, booze-experiments, lecture-naps, and strenuous bouts of procrastination, I have come to realize that he was my best friend in college. Not in the modern teeny-bopper “you’re my bff” way, and not in the “joined at the hip” way, but simply because hind-sight has shown me that of all the people I spent time with, or dated, or partied with, or went downtown to do the bright-lights-big-city-thing with, he is the one who most readily “got” me.

Let me be clear: This was not a romantic thing. At all. (Indeed, after he started dating his future wife, I attended their co-hosted parties, became friends with her, and was present at their wedding...and she is perhaps the only woman who has been okay with my friendship with her S.O.) Anyway, he and I are/were such total opposites that I think the idea never would have crossed either of our minds. Yin and Yang. Spazoid (me) vs. laid-back (him). Glass half-full (me) vs. Glass half-empty (or being quickly drained). As he used to say, “we see things exactly the same, but mirror opposite” and nobody understood that but me!

We happened to have the same college major, and our student job was at the same place, so we saw each other a lot. And started hanging out regularly. I will never forget when I came down to his primary work domain, furious about something that my supervisor piled on my plate at the end of the day (I had some >ahem< temper issues >ahem< back then) and after my brief vent he said, “I think as soon as you’re done with that we need to go get a beer.” Indeed. See what I mean? He just got me.

We’d also go out to what was then called “BW3” but is now called “Buffalo Wild Wings” on a semi-regular basis with another couple-few people, usually guys (I’ve always been one of the guys), and play their electronic trivia game and challenge each other with who could take the hottest buffalo sauce. It was good fun.

I’ve lost touch with most of my friends from college. You know, life moves on, people change, it’s the circle of life and not to be cried over. But I miss Jim. A few friends have connected with me on facebook, but we don’t really communicate there. I guess there is one person I’m in pseudo-regular contact with from that era, and she was a good friend too. I’ve searched for Jim on facebook a few times, to no avail. Now this is a very tech-savvy guy, who was onto HDTV when it was still an inside-secret, so if he’s not on facebook, or is using a pseudonym on facebook, it is intentional.

I wonder how he’s doing, and what he’s up to…and if I’ve guessed correctly about his pseudonym. (haha) So I’m just throwing this verbal stroll down memory lane out into cyberspace to see what it catches. Thanks for indulging me!

Douglas Adams, god of the written word

Well here’s a new one. I’ve been sick…not violently, just wimpily – and that’s not what’s new, this is: when I tried to get in to post a new blog yesterday, I could no longer access it because apparently lying in bed for 2 days straight has addled my brain to the point where I can’t remember my password! What a kick. I create very good, tight, secure passwords because I just think that’s smart. I have a place where they are written down…in code, thankyouverymuch. (just enough to remind me)
So when I couldn’t remember the password, I suddenly realized that I had the wrong little notepad with me. Oops.

I’m feeling much better now, just a little light-headed. So here’s what I had intended to post yesterday:

I’m re-reading “The Increasingly Inaccurately Titled Hitchhikers’ Guide Trilogy” by Douglas Adams. I’ve been reading and rereading this book since 8th grade, and have portions committed to memory. I love it, and simply have to gush, because when I’m lost in the world of Douglas Adams, it is all-consuming.

I will never be as good a writer as Douglas Adams. He is my writing hero – a god of the written word. The way that man could turn a phrase – not just turn it on its head, but get it to do a somersault into a back-flip, as it were – nearly always provides a unique paradigm shift for me. Take this short dialog from the original, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:
Ford: It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.
Arthur: What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?
Ford: You ask a glass of water sometime.

HA! Paradigm shift!

Or his description of the Vogon constructor fleet as “hanging in the air in much the same way that bricks don’t”. Classic.

Currently I’m in Life, The Universe and Everything. It’s probably my least favorite of the 5 books, storyline-wise, but there are some GREAT literary and creative devices at work here. My favorite, that I always want to quote to people when we go out to eat, but nobody else raises the HHGG freak-flag high enough for me to know that I’m in company that might get it, is the description of “Bistromathics”.

The idea of Bistromathics is that numbers dance on a waiter’s check-pad in a way that defies the laws of mathematics that rule elsewhere. It’s an awesome concept! And haven’t we all seen that in action? (There are variables like the number of people who say they will be there vs. the number who show up and the number of uninvited people who randomly join the party, the time that everyone is to be there vs. the time they arrive, how much alcohol is consumed, whether the waiter gets the order right, and so on.) So this space-ship flies via a Bistromathic drive, and the control center is set up like an Italian bistro. HA! Can you see why I love this guy!
Oh, and the ship is protected from detection by a “Somebody Else’s Problem” field, which is a field that makes the ship appear so odd that the observer can’t cope with it, and therefore determines it to be “somebody else’s problem” and simply looks around or through it. Brilliant! How many of us wouldn’t want an SEP every now and then?

Oh, and another favorite, when one character determines that “one thing has suddenly ceased to lead to another, in contradiction of which he had another drink and slid gracelessly off his chair.”

But I think my favorite scene/chapter is when Arthur is running down the hill – so many good things happen here. First, he noticed the land begin to slide and the word “landslide” became real to him in a new way as he “realized that sliding is a sickening thing for land to do”. Teehee. Love it. Then, all the rocks and boulders are bounding past him down the hill “like puppies only much bigger, much, much heavier, and almost infinitely more likely to kill you if they landed on you.”

The man is a god.

13 January, 2012

GAH! it's wind v. power, and wind is winning...

Unpredictable power today. The joy of coastal living: the winds are beyond anything. My computer for some reason won’t let me go into “comments”.

I had a “real” post ready to go, but it requires some formatting which is a problem because a) I’m not familiar with the formatting options here and b) the power's been in and out so far today. (I keep re-writing even this short thing!)

So for today, let me simply recommend Gods Playing Poker, if you’ve not yet found this brilliant online comic.

For my part, I’m going to hit save more frequently today, and then go get blown away by the 40mph winds, thankyouverymuch!

12 January, 2012

Save the Twinkies!!

“Tell ‘im about the Twinkie”…
Remember that scene from Ghostbusters? “If this Twinkie represents the usual amount of paranormal activity in the New York area, then based on today’s readings it would be a Twinkie 35-feet long weighing 600 pounds!”
It’s an awesome analogy! (That’s a big Twinkie)


…And did you see the Family Guy Y2K episode? The Griffins survived the nuclear holocaust by settling around the Twinkie factory in Nadick!

…Yesterday NPR ran a story about experiments on the supposed indestructibility of Twinkies. (The Twinkie was not dissolving in Mt. Dew.)

…Do you remember when they made Twinkies with strawberry filling?

Apparently Safeway is running a special on Twinkies. I intend to do my part on my grocery trip tomorrow, and buy my 2 boxes of Twinkies! (I’ll take them in to work though, because Hell – I’m not eating that stuff!) We have to save the Twinkies! Without Twinkies, the next generation will lose out on some slang terminology and we’d have to start saying the cockroaches will be the only thing to survive a nuclear holocaust! Oh, so sad. Are you willing to give the cockroach that kind of supreme standing in the hierarchy of animalia?

What am I forgetting here...?


11 January, 2012

My Surreal Daily Grapplings with Death

I lost my balance and nearly slipped in the shower this morning, which led me down a train of thought something like this:
If I fell in this tiny shower, I would fall out of the shower and knock my head on something. If I was knocked unconscious, or lay bleeding to death on my bathroom floor, how long would it take anyone to notice?
See, being single and living alone, I consider these things often. I’m totally comfortable thinking/talking about death – some might even say “cavalier” – not in a morbid or gory sense but in a death-is-a-fact-of-life sense. If you are not comfortable with the subject of death, maybe this post is not for you. …See you tomorrow!

Anyway, I played out my train of thought this morning:


They weren’t expecting me on time at work today because I was taking my money pit of a car to the garage first thing, and had left the message that I’d just call today when I knew how long I’d be. So... what, would they try calling me at noon, or when? We’re pretty relaxed at work about a person’s time away from the office at this time of year. Maybe I’d get a text late in the day instead, or maybe everyone would just think that someone else had checked in with me! Depends how busy the day is. So it’s not inconceivable that I could be lying on my bathroom floor bleeding to death until tomorrow morning, and even then, late enough in the morning for people to wonder why I hadn’t called!

Then I remembered I have dinner plans tonight, with the same person who is my emergency contact, as it happens. So if I was non-responsive to her texts during the day about time, pizza toppings, etc., she would probably actually come by the house and peer in some windows, or even – because she’s that kind of go-getter – talk to my neighbor about getting into the house. That would be much better, because if the two of them discovered me, at least it would be two women who know me reasonably well who would discover my naked, battered body…and the shower still on, running water everywhere! (Important, because they could turn off the water and discreetly cover me up until paramedics/coroner arrived.)

I run these scenarios a lot. Anytime I go on a trip – road-trip question: Who would know if I was in a fatal car accident lying literally dead in a ditch somewhere? Air-trip question: Who would the airlines notify if my plane went down? Or just at home – I wake up coughing and take a coughdrop, then what if I choke to death in my sleep – who would know? I am forever breaking glasses (I bought two sets of wine glasses just to have extras) – what if I couldn’t stem the bleeding, or passed out from it before calling 911, and bled to death on the kitchen floor?

…and somehow it seems odd to me when others think I’m being morbid. I once told my mom about the train of thought when I flew out to visit them, and she gave her nervous laugh and said something mother-y about my dark mind. I told my sister I want her to read Psalm 19 at my funeral – because I do! – and she still hasn’t responded. It’s a compliment, because she has a great voice for reading aloud, but maybe it’s just too weird for her to think of her little sister’s death…and I guess being asked to read at someone’s funeral isn’t the same kind of compliment as being asked to be a bridesmaid at their wedding!

I really don’t know where I’m going with this. I'm not sorry to have to think like this; I'm not wishing for a change in my single-status so that someone else could think of these things - I'm happy being single, and that's the truth! I guess it's just one of those things that make me wonder... and if no one else thinks like this, maybe it's one of those things that raise my freak flag, too. Hmm...

So I’ll just close with a very good quote from a very wise man: “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.”


10 January, 2012

Something's Gotta Change

More like "Everything's Gotta Change"

I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere. Obviously I like it, or I wouldn’t have stayed. Usually I move every few years. I’m getting itchy feet. Does that happen to you? And I’m ready for a major move, not within the same region. I did move about 4 years ago, but just locally, a little closer to work and my social life (such as it is). I have two friends out west who I would love to be closer to, both in locations I've never inhabited. (Moving back to a previous home is like re-uniting after a break-up. We broke up. It's done. Move on.) One of these friends is actively trying to get me there, the other simply hinted when I visited that she was showing me how much fun we would have if I lived there. I’m so ready.

The last time I made a big move, the economy was better, and I was young and carefree. I just packed up my car and called from the road to say, “I’ll call ya when I stop”. And I started life anew in a new place. ...looking back, it was surprising how many people thought I was moving because of them, instead of because of something within myself... It all worked out then, but nowadays I’m a little cautious about the whole moving-without-a-job-lined-up thing. …and I have more stuff, so the move won’t be as simple.

But I’m SO dissatisfied right now. Reconnecting with old friends has at least given my social life a little uplift, but I’m dissatisfied with my current domicile, my job, and my church. The homefront may improve as I get into my “organization resolution”, but the house itself is part of the problem. I’ve known for some time that I need to seek a new place of worship, too. That will be hard, because I love the people and have some good friendships there. Not to mention I’m “involved” there. I’m just not being fed spiritually. And my job. Well, it would be great to do something I love, but in the meantime I’m in a dead-end job that I – okay, I like what I do, but I can’t live on the meager salary forever!

So. Change.
We’re heading into the Year of the Dragon, folks! A year for celebrations and big events – lots to do, lots to love, and lots of hard work to maintain any gains made in the year. I’m all for it! Yeeha! Bring it on! …but oh, I could use some help with the little details.

Okay. That’s it.
I hereby harness the energy of the coming dragon (on the 23rd ya’ll). Wait. Two weeks until he arrives? I guess I will just make my plans and watch to see which direction the energy emanates from.

Okay. In this brief interim I will have to keep looking ahead just to keep my head above water, because frankly, I’m floundering.

09 January, 2012

Star Wars Anticipation

So we all know that George Lucas is re-releasing all of Star Wars - in 3D this time - starting this year, with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. (btw, what do you think of that? Leave 'em as-is? Looking forward to it? Too much?)

Generally, I'm not a big fan of 3D, but there are certain sequences I'm DYING to see!
The original- Star Wars: A New Hope - was the first live-action movie I ever saw on the big screen. All I remember is that the Battle of Yavin (the fight on the Death Star as I knew it then) made me dizzy. I left the cinema feeling like I'd been on a roller-coaster! You better believe my adult self is looking forward to that in 3D!

But that's a long way off, since he's going chronologically. >sigh< For now, I'm watching Phantom Menace like it's my job. I want to know exactly what I'm looking forward to. Whether you like the podrace or not, it's the prequel verson of the Battle of Yavin (rollercoaster-wise), and should come out well.

I'm even going into the extras, because you never know what deleted scenes our Mr. Lucas may decide need reinstating! An unpredictable genius is George, and he can do what he wants because it is, after all, his story!

...really, I'm not obsessive-compulsive. Compulsive maybe, or maybe occasionally obsessive, but really, not both together!

06 January, 2012

Nothing "Nerdy" About Fitness

Gather ‘round, New Years Resolutioners! I’m going to help you keep your resolutions this year!

At the gym this morning, I heard a 50-something, heavy-set guy complaining to his trainer about not losing weight. There were so many things I wanted to say, but it wasn’t my conversation. I know there are a lot – a LOT – of people who are going to give the whole weight-loss, fitness thing a go at this beginning of the year…Indeed I adjust my workout schedule in January to avoid the sudden crowds, which will inevitably thin out within a month. So this poor man’s dilemma inspired me – or maybe the trainer’s lack of insight inspired me – to share my experience.

No, don’t worry. I’m not self-indulgent enough to give a “my story” blow-by-blow. Just some hopefully helpful thoughts that you might not be thinking of as you embark on your industrious endeavors.

1. Your poundage WILL plateau. Don’t get discouraged! The dude at the gym was complaining that, although he was working out a lot, and had lost weight, his poundage was not dropping anymore. I mentioned a few days ago that I lost weight through a new program that will be available in the spring. This program used a special scale for weigh-ins that tracked things like fat % and pounds, and muscle % and pounds, and other things like metabolic age and BMI (but I’ve actually had a trainer tell me that once you are fit, don’t pay attention to the BMI, because as you build muscle your BMI will rise). Early on, after 3 or 4 weeks of weight-loss, my pounds didn’t budge for 3 solid weeks. It was annoying. HOWEVER, that lovely scale told me that my muscle mass was increasing and the fat was decreasing. YEEHA!

My suggestion? Take measurements. I still do 2 ab-measurements – one at belly-button, and one about 2 inches below. And shop for clothes when you notice your things start fitting loosely.
Break away from the scale!
My weight hit a plateau again later, before settling into its new range. But I’m still in smaller sizes than I used to wear!

2. Change up your workout. I don’t mean just weights one day, cardio the next, and so on in a continuouse cycle. If your usual cardio workout is a half-hour on the elliptical, take a week on a cycle instead, then go back to what you like and step it up a level. Trying new things works different muscles and shakes up your whole system. I have a coworker who runs several miles 3 or 4 times a week, but doesn’t lose a pound. He hasn’t altered his workout in years, and his body is just used to it. When I need a kick-start, I go to spin classes at my gym. I might only be regular at them for a couple weeks, but it helps.

All this is very non-technical. I have no expertise in training or physical fitness, just my own experience. And that brings me to observation number three:

3. No amount of exercise will off-set a bad diet. By all means, eat that cake at your nephew’s birthday party; just don’t eat the whole thing. It’s true that a high-protein, high-fiber diet will be more filling and less fattening than a high-sugar, high-carb, high-fat diet. Try it: for one week have protein for breakfast instead of that bowl of cereal. Amazing. And really, I don’t deprive myself. I like my food and my drink. It’s tough, but keep your goal in mind. Which brings me to a final thought:

4. If you’ve made a resolution to lose weight/get fit you did so for a reason. Try to remember that reason. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip-up on the diet, or backslide on the exercise. As far as exercise, something is better than nothing. If you’re not “in the mood”, just go for a walk – it gets you moving at least.

So go to it! Let 2012 be the year you achieve your resolution!

05 January, 2012

Time's a-wasting!

Well, my work computer won't allow me to access my home drive, so I can't do any real work until I hear back from our IT guys. Apparently everyone with Vista is screwed up, so it may be a while.

However...I have internet access, so might as well do some blogging!

I'm seriously considering taking personal time this afternoon. "J Edgar" has been reduced to one showing, at 1:00. I've heard good things about it, and remember being interested based on the previews.

...I have to say, I do like that I can take personal time for random crap. Not always, but if there's not a lot happening at work, and I've got the time, nobody fusses over my motives for using it. Do you save "vacation time" for "vacations"? Or, like me, do you sometimes use the time for more capricious pursuits?

Well, for now I'm off to play voyeur in the blogosphere. We'll see how my computer acts around noon.

04 January, 2012

tech-toys

I got a new phone yesterday. My first Smartphone…I know a nerd without a smartphone, weird, right? Well, I have one.

Now I have techno-anxiety about learning all about it before it becomes obsolete! And what Apps should I get or avoid? I want a GPS, and probably Pandora, and maybe Angry Birds – based on referral by my sister and her 10yo son…

Any ideas? Good/useful apps to have? Stupid ones to avoid?

And I still have to get my pictures off my old phone. I have a great Star Wars photo – with me in it – that was my wallpaper and I really want to keep that. If I don’t get those pics transferred within a day or two, I know I never will. I always have to strike while the iron is hot.

So my new toy. I feel it’s too good for me. I’ll have to smack it around a little and show it who’s boss!

03 January, 2012

Throes of Nerd-Rage

…that was a phrase used in a text to me from a friend agonizing over the lack of help he got from tech-support when his computer crashed. I love that: “throes of nerd-rage” or even just “nerd-rage”. I think we should add that to the modern lexicon.

And tech-non-support. You've been there, right? There’s a program I have to use at work, and the folks who run that system re-organized last year, and suddenly their previously decent tech-support team was clueless. I think it was out-sourced. Anyway, here’s an example of a typical call: (the actual subjects have been altered so this doesn’t get all boring and technical.)

Me: I’m looking at these snowballs and the system won’t let me turn them into ice-cream.

TS: There’s a button at the top of the screen you can click that says “ice-cream”. Have you tried that?

Me: That button is greyed out. I need some other way to turn these snowballs into ice-cream.

Tech-Support: What’s the reference number?

Me: 2-12345

TS: Okay I’m looking at those snowballs. Yep you’re right. The button is greyed out.

Me: So what can we do to turn them into ice-cream?

TS: You’re going to have to call customer service. I can’t do anything with the button greyed out.

Me: But I’m not a customer. I’m an operator. That’s why I’m calling you.

TS: Customer service can help you with this.

Me: …

TS: Do you have their number?

Me: yes. [click]

Seriously, what is the point of tech-support who can’t do anything different from what I can already do? Nerd-rage indeed.