Friday, February 29, 2008

Fat Fuck vs. Food - Week 4 "One Month"


WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an unexpectedly early news conference this morning U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spokesman Richard LeBlanc announced that as a result of the continuing decline in the Chubby James population the decision has been made to add the Chubby James to the list of endangered species.

Endemic to Texas, and in particular the Houston area, the Chubby James' range once stretched to College Station however in recent years the sightings of Chubby James have primarily been restricted to the Houston metropolitan area. "We began monitoring the situation last fall with the sharp decline in the Chubby James' natural habitat," LeBlanc said. "The situation has become critical early this month when Chubby James sightings dropped sharply in what little habitat still remained in the Houston area. As recently as the beginning of this month the average weight of the Chubby James was known to be about 320 pounds however the most recent sampling of the population indicates that the average Chubby James is now down to 295.8 pounds which, while still chubby, is an alarming decline of 24.2 pounds in the past month."

Renowned Chubby James expert Gebbie Roberts has another take on the event. "Perhaps what we are seeing is not a decline in the population per se, but rather a transformative event. It is not unlike the transformation one sees in mosquitoes in which the larvae enter a pupael stage before becoming the familiar pest we all know."

When asked for a comment, Greenpeace spokesperson Michael Hunt said, "I am honestly glad to hear about his. Our local volunteers are tired of throwing out their backs when we have to drag a beached Chubby James back into the ocean. While our chiropractors might bemoan the loss, this will leave us more time to concentrate on important things like annoying the Japanese."

So I guess you could say things are continuing at a good pace. Here is what I ate this week:

Friday - 2-22-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Chicken Teriyaki
Boiled cabbage w/bacon bits
2 Egg rolls
1 Tazo Giant Peach Tea
Leek and Potato Soup
Maple Syrup & Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin
Potatoes au Gratin
Mushroom Risotto
Bailey's Ice Cream w/ Caramel
Walked 4+ miles. Last half with 16 lbs. pack

Saturday - 2-23-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Turkey sandwich w/swiss on cibatta
Iced Tea (no sugar)
1 serving of Bertolli Rosemary Chicken, Linguini & Cherry Tomatoes
1 Pizza Bagel Bite
1 Tagalong (Girl Scout Cookie)
Played hockey for 2+ hours

Sunday - 2-24-08
2 servings of Kashi Go Lean Cereal
Skim Milk
1 Apple
Medium salad w/ 1/2 hard-boiled egg, ham, turkey & Ranch
11.5 oz. V8
Medium salad w/ chicken chunks & Ranch
11.5 oz. V8

Monday - 2-25-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad w/ hard-boiled egg, turkey, hamm & Ranch
12 oz. V8
1/3 box Philly Cheesesteak Hamburger Helper (made with lean turkey)
Asparagus (steamed)
30 minutes on the elliptical

Tuesday - 2-26-08
2 servings of Kashi Go Lean cereal
Skim Milk
Medium salad w/ 1/2 hard-boiled egg, turkey, ham & Ranch
12 oz. V8
Beef and Vegetable soup

Wednesday - 2-27-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad w/ chicken chunks & Ranch
12 oz. V8
Spicy Beef & Kimchi stew
1/2 cup rice
30 minutes on the elliptical

Thursday - 2-28-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad w/ chicken chunks & Ranch
12 oz. V8
Beef and Vegetable Soup

Well as you can see I went WAY off the rails on eating on Friday evening. I blame Scott for this and not my lack of self-control because as you will note on Saturday I did relatively well. Particularly if one considers I limited myself to two snacks while hanging out at Robin's place where normally I would have consumed far more. To be honest it was not that hard to do, even when standing right by the snacks. I found that while I wanted them I did not CRAVE them and thus it was easy to just have one of each and roll on.

I am particularly proud of myself for continuing to hit the gym in the mornings. I have reached the point where my body is getting used to waking up at 6 in the morning, as evidenced by the fact that every day where my alarm was not set for 6:00AM, I woke up at about 6:30 with the "Holy monkey, my alarm did not go off" panic. I also have found that I am enjoying myself while I work out. Loading the iPod with podcasts has been a HUGE help in this department. As much as I LOVE music, I find working out while listening to something that intellectually engages me is a little easier as I am distracted from what my wimpy body is telling me.

In addition to the three days in the gym I actually went out and played some hockey this weekend. Man was I ragged out after playing however in a couple of interesting developments the small of my back did not hurt like it has the last few times I have been on skates however my glutes hurt until about Wednesday. As achey and breaky as I was on Sunday I still got out of bed relatively early and was able to get a ton of stuff done and, more importantly, I felt great all day. I do wish I had access to a hot tub for post hockey rest and recovery.

With this week's result I have pushed past the first benchmark I set for myself in dropping 10 pounds and keeping it off for two weeks. We all know what this means: RETAIL THERAPY!!! I already know I am going to go ahead and buy myself a Region 2 copy of Sukiyaki Western Django. I am actually in the midst of comparison shopping for this between and and find that cdjapan has better prices and faster shipping times. Guess I know where I am going to get my fix. (Plus they had the new Cro-Magnons CD "Cave Party" which I totally need.)*

Now I have a question for you cats. Several people have mentioned the various diets where one purges their digestive system before really digging in. Does anyone out there have any experience with this? Is there any science to back up whether this is actually worth doing or not? Along with this does anyone know if there is any value to getting your bowels cleansed? There are rumors floating around about the various benefits of this. If there is either science or decent anecdotal evidence that this helps in the process I would seriously consider these options at some point.

Finally does anyone out there know what nicotine does to ones metabolism?

One last thing. I have been thinking about having pizza all week and planned on having it for dinner tonight as a reward for myself. Then I realized I am going to a play with a couple of friends tonight and pizza is going to do Bad Things to the back 40, if you catch my meaning, so eating it tonight is out. With my plans for playing hockey tomorrow I am thinking that lunch may be out of the question and I already have a salad for dinner. This leaves Sunday. We shall see but I am now thinking I will hold off a week and enjoy me some pizza next Friday.

Also I have decided to set a goal for the month of March. I would like to be down to 280 by April 1st, which means I have to loose about 3.5 pounds per week. This is below my average for the last month, even if we discount the first week's loss however I am expecting things to get more difficult as I continue to loose weight. Getting down to 280 would be a loss of 40 pounds since I started this thing as well as put me over half-way to my goal weight of 250. Having said all that I will be pleased if I am down to 285 by April 1st as that will be halfway there.

* If anyone out there can read Japanese I would be forever in your debt if I could get you to help me with a few things. I have several CDs which I want to rip to mp3 so I can load them to the iPod but I have NO idea what the song titles are. I do not want a translation of the titles but rather a transliteration of the kanji.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How's that for a debut?

Initially I was going to write my review of Makoto Shinkai's latest effort 5 Centimeters Per Second tonight however after watching Brad Richards performance in his debut with the Dallas Stars tonight I changed my mind. After all how many times do you get to see a guy get five assists in his first night with a new team? The answer is not very often.

Brad Richards, who won the both the Lady Bing Memorial* and Conn Smythe** Trophies in 2004, came to the Stars via a five player trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning just hours before the trade deadline (which was 3:00pm EST on Feb. 26th). The Lightning sent Brad Richards and goalie Johan Holmqvist to Dallas in exchange for goalie Mike Smith, center Jeff Halpern, winger Jussi Jokinen and a 4th round draft pick in 2009. As sad as I am to see all three of those players leave the Big D behind, Richards made a believer out of me tonight. Five assists in one game is quite an amazing feat even when you are with a team where you have player for years, but to do it on your first night on the job is inspiring. These five assists also marked a career-high night in scoring for Richards and ALMOST doubles his point production from his final five games with the Lightning.

As I said I am sad to see all three of the Dallas players go, however after tonight all I can say is "Welcome to Texas Brad!" Here's hoping he gets to eat from Lord Stanley's Cup again in the near future.

* The Lady Bing Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who demonstrates the best sportsmanship in the NHL.
** The Conn Smythe trophy is awarded to the playoff MVP.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nebula Kerfuffle

This past Friday (Feb. 22nd) the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (abbreviated SFWA) released the final ballot for their annual Nebula awards. The most recent Star Trek: New Voyages* episode "World Enough and Time" made the final ballot in the Script category, which is to say the script Marc Scott Zicree** and Michael Reeves wrote for "World Enough and Time" made the final cut rather than the episode itself. This has caused quite the stir in some areas which I thought was worthy of comment.

Before going any further you should go and read this post from author Keith R.A. DeCandido. His professional credits include several Star Trek novels*** as well as a host of other media tie-in work. I mention this so that we all understand that DeCandido is not one of those authors who loathes media tie-ins in general or Star Trek in particular, a point which I believe he makes quite clear in his rant however I wanted to drive it home.

I would also like to make it clear right now that I am a fan of Star Trek: New Voyages in general and "World Enough and Time" in particular, so I am biased for them. Also I am not a member of the SFWA. I just wanted all that out in the open before we delve in to things.

Here are the issues I have with what is going on:

First - What is professional? (Or as I like to think of it the "What is the meaning of 'is'" Argument)
While the words fanfic and fan fiction get thrown around quite a bit this distracts from the core rules argument which is about the definition of professionally produced. The Nebula award rules define the script as, "a professionally produced audio, radio, television, motion picture, multimedia, or theatrical script." Does this strictly mean work for which one was paid or does it expand to include work which was done by professionals?

I took a look at the membership requirements for the SFWA hoping to get some help. While the rules are quite explicit in what sort of sales qualify for prose fiction, even delving into what are considered proper markets and venues, the qualifying event for a screenwriter is, "One professionally produced full length dramatic script, with credits acceptable to the Membership Committee." Well this did not help one bit in refining the definition of "professionally produced."

This lack of information does not help us resolve the argument one way or the other and returns us to the question: What does "professionally produced" mean in this context?

Personally I believe it means produced by professionals, regardless of whether anyone got paid for it or not. If you scan the list of people involved with WEaT you will see the overwhelming number of them are professionals in their field and therefore I would say WEaT qualifys.

Second - Barracks Lawyers
I am getting sick of the discussions around fandom about the legality of fan fiction and fan films. Well, that is not strictly true, I am tired of people playing at being lawyers and making sweeping statements about whether something is legal or not or more to the point throwing around the word illegal. Ultimately copyright and trademark law are VERY complex and nuanced fields and very smart people can make convincing arguments on both sides of the issue. I prefer to take the stance that until a court tells someone they are doing something illegal then they are not doing something illegal. In the case of New Voyages this complex question becomes even more complex as there is some sort of agreement in place with CBS that allows New Voyages to continue producing episodes as long as no money is made from the episodes. Therefore while the New Voyages episodes are not licensed by CBS they are acknowledged and approved after a fashion.****

Third - If You Can't Keep It In Your Pants
At least keep it in the family. In posting this rant on his blog rather than addressing this issue internally I think DeCandido and others did both the SFWA and fandom a major disservice. The SFWA is a professional organization and as such certainly has internal mechanisms for handling complaints of this nature. This issue should never have come out of the private SFWA forums. Everyone who went running to the blogosphere with their complaints about WEaT being on the ballot, and this is ignoring whether I feel the complaints were valid or not, were behaving in a manner which I find unprofessional and reprehensible. Sweet monkey Jesus people, science fiction fandom already has enough splits and cliques in it to make South Africa circa 1980 look unified we do not need to go adding to the fire. Particularly if the award in question is, as DeCandido says, "...quite possibly the most useless award in the history of award-giving."

The manner in which many of these writers talk about the SFWA could damage the institution in the eyes of younger writers, something that is already an issue in the wake of the DCMA debacle and webscabs comments of the last year. While I do not believe in censorship and thus certainly acknowledge the right to post these things and bring them into the public eye, I think it is wrong and unprofessional behavior. Having said that I do love me a good blow up on the internet and would be eating popcorn right now if I could.

Fourth - Fighting the Good Fight
I saved this one for last because I did not want what may devolve into an ad hominem attack on DeCandido to distract from my other points. I want to say that I think the core question in DeCandido's argument is a good question and certainly needs to be debated, particularly in the SFWA which seems to have a generational gap issue amongst the membership, and is a question which has come up in other venues (such as are bloggers journalists?). I find his construction of his argument objectionable. To begin with he spends too much time making the argument that WEaT is fan fiction which is a point I would think any rational adult would be willing to concede. If not at first then on the technical grounds that it is not licensed by CBS/Paramount. The repeated invocation of "but it is fan fiction" argument distracted me at first and, in my more uncharitable moments, made me wonder whether this had more to do with what was right or whether DeCandido was pissed that none of his fan fiction, and lets face it that is what tie-in novels are regardless of their status as authorized or not, had made it that far. (Here is the list I was working from when I said that. If I was wrong let me know in the comments and I will eat the appropriate amount of crow for trusting Wikiality.) Or I might be completely off base here and DeCandido might be making the argument that fan fiction does not deserve to be on the ballot and hiding it beneath the veneer of rules lawyering. Finally at one point DeCandido says, "I swear, if anybody trots out the, 'Well, yeah, it's a fan film, but it's soooooo well-written and -produced that it may as well be professionally produced argument...I will personally go to their house and show them what I can do with my brown belt." Seriously? Are you really going to undermine what could have been a decent discussion about the rules and some rather ambiguous statements within the rules that may need to be corrected by whipping out your karate-cock? As the kids say, WTF man? If you are THAT pissed about all this then you are welcome to swing by my house and take a shot at me. I think we can all agree as long as there are no pay phones handy and I am not in my hockey gear you should be pretty safe as you assert your manliness and thus the righteousness of your cause on me.

Guess what? None of this matters as WEaT will stay on the Nebula ballot. (Of course in the big picture none of this really matters anyways but being fans it is more fun to be fighting mad about this than the suffering in Darfur, for example.)

* On the subject of Star Trek New Voyages I have a couple of pieces of information. First the decision has been made to rebrand Star Trek: New Voyages as Star Trek: Phase II. You can read more about it here in the news release from the Star Trek: Phase II website. According to an email I received from one of the P2 people I am still in the running for the production assistant job for the shoot in June however there are still a couple of hurdles to clear. Keep on sending those positive vibes.

** Marc Scott Zicree and David Simkins recently began the Zicree/Simkins Podcast which you should check out. Each week they talk with a person or persons in the entertainment industry. Usually their guests are writers or writer/producers with one or two exceptions so far. The discussions are fascinating and wide-ranging and should be required listening for anyone seriously considering writing in Hollywood. Go check them out.

*** This includes the recent Next Generation novel Q & A which has created some buzz in the Trek world as being one of the best Star Trek novels published last year.

**** I am not privy to the details of this arrangement however James Cawley, the brains behind New Voyages, has repeatedly stated that he would like to get a more formal licensing agreement in place with CBS at some point.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Star Trek + White Rabbit

Blame Brian. I find doing that is usually safe.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fat Fuck vs. Food - Week 3

What's the time? It's time to get ill!

That's right boys and girls it is time for you weekly fat-spam from yours truly who managed to loose another 5.2 pounds this week. For those of you actually keeping score this drops me down to 299.6 pounds and puts my total loss at 20.4 pounds in the past three weeks. This is despite going way off my eating plan this week, something which I need to rectify next week. This loss pushes me past a few benchmarks which I had set for myself. First I have dropped below 302.5 pounds which is one-quarter of the way to my current goal of 250 pounds. Second I dropped, albeit just barely, below 300 pounds which has been where my weight hovered for years.

While the exercise component of my plan is going well with me hitting the gym three mornings this past week and I got my walk in on Saturday, I went off my initial eating plan and tried a couple of things this week which I do not think worked out real well. The first thing I did was to add snacks into my eating. I found the things which had been suggested to me tasted pretty much like butt (Atkins Advantage Morning Bars are from the Devil). I also would find myself craving a specific snack where as before I had just been hungry. Yesterday I removed the snacks from my desk to see if just knowing they were there was part of the equation. I plan on increasing the amount of vegetables I am eating with dinner to make up the volume.

The other thing I tried this week is starting the morning with a drink suggested by my boss. It is 1.5 cups water, .5 cups unsweetened cranberry juice, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and the juice from half a lemon. The idea is that this helps cleanse your kidneys and keep them operating at peak efficiency which is important when trying to loose weight because the liver is what processes fat in to energy. You might find yourself wondering what kidney efficiency has to do with the liver processing fat and you would not be the only one. When the kidneys are not keeping up their work then the liver can step in and take some of the load but when the liver does this it pulls resources from other duties, like burning fat. While the idea here is good the drink is perhaps the nastiest thing I have ever had to drink (and I have tried gin more than once) primarily due to the smell of vinegar. I have tried mixing it a couple of different ways to no avail so I am going to drop it from the repertoire and see what other options are out there. I may just go to drinking a glass of cranberry juice in the mornings or, as Cyn suggested, look into some cranberry pills which are supposed to have all the cleansing fun of cranberry juice but in convenient pill form.

Here is what I consumed:

Friday - 2-15-08
1 Banana
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Hooters Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
1/2 side of Baked Beans
Kellogg's Blueberry Nutri-Grain Bar
2 slices of Salami
3 Chicken Enchiladas
Refried Beans
20 minutes on the elliptical

Saturday - 2-16-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Med. salad with 1/2 hard-boiled egg, ham, turkey, and Ranch dressing
Lg. glass of Apple Juice
Soba noodles with shiitake, sprouts and snow peas
Iced Tea (no sugar)
Walked 4+ miles, last half with 15 lbs. pack

Sunday - 2-17-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
1/4 box Four Cheese Lasagna Hamburger Helper
1/4 can Green Beans
Clif bar
Med. salad with 1/2 hard-boiled egg, ham, turkey, and Ranch dressing

Monday - 2-18-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
1 Banana
The Drink*
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
12 oz. V8
1 piece Green Tea Candy
1 Atkins Advantage Chocolate Peanut Butter bar
1 serving Bertolli Rosemary Chicken, Linguini, and Cherry Tomatoes
30 minutes on the elliptical

Tuesday - 2-19-08
The Drink*
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich with lettuce and onions
Hard-boiled Egg
12 oz. V8
Atkins Advantage Morning Peanut Butter Crisp Bar
Medium Salad with 1/2 hard-boiled egg, ham, turkey, and Ranch dressing

Wednesday - 2-20-08
The Drink*
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium Salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
12 oz. V8
Clif bar
Tofu pasta with sauce
Steamed Asparagus
Lotus Tea
30 minutes on the elliptical

Thursday - 2-21-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad with 1/2 hard-boiled egg, ham, turkey, and Ranch dressing
12 oz. V8
1/4 box Four Cheese Lasagna Hamburger Helper
1/4 can Green Beans

As you can see I was pretty much off-book on Friday. Wednesday evening I ate too much and had a bit of a belly ache because of it. I think I just did the same thing with lunch. Oh well, plenty of time to make up for it.

I spent some time recently thinking about benchmarks for progress in this process and here there are:

310 lbs. - 10 pounds lost
302.5 lbs. - 1/4 way to goal weight
300 lbs. - 20 pounds lost
290 lbs. - 30 pounds lost
285 lbs. - 1/2 way to goal weight
280 lbs. - 40 pounds lost
270 lbs. - 50 pounds lost
267.5 lbs. - 3/4 way to goal weight
260 lbs. - 60 pounds lost
250 lbs. - GOAL WEIGHT and 70 pounds lost

So far I have achieved the first three by the hair of my chinny chin chin.

* The Drink is the foul concoction of cranberry juice, vinegar, and water which I discuss above.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Linkblogging

I know I promised to write about Obamania at some point, and I still plan on doing it, however it will probably have to wait until Sunday. There is some research I have to do because I hate it when I am wrong in a place where people can prove that I was wrong. Plus there is the debate tonight which, while not change my stance on Obama, may change my stance on Clinton. Until then look at all teh purty internets I found for you. I love you guys.*

* And not in the creepy uncle kind of way anymore.
** In fact this line is so awesome that I stole it for my new blog header.
*** Filthy sex on the other hand...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Art of Being a Man: Bow Ties

Alright my little nose-pickers I went to the Obama rally in Houston tonight and I need to do some research before I can really drop some Obamology on your bitch-asses I thought I would offer up this instead. Below is a page I saved from one of the Details magazines I chucked last week. In it you will learn the secret of how to tie a bow tie, something far too few of us know how to do. As much as I love getting dressed up, I still have no idea how to do this and thus, when the evening is winding down I either have to do a discreet switch from the pre-tied falsey bow tie to the never been tied in its life tie in order to achieve the "I am so cool I untie my bow tie and let it drape around my collar" level of cool. Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone. Well now I pass along the secret so you can be spared my pain.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Funkywood Jamz "Big in Japan" Video Bang Edition

One of the things I meant to do this past weekend, which of course I did not accomplish, was to put together a play list for the iPod so I will be all motivated during my trips to the gym. Of course since there are shiny things involved in iTunes I got distracted. At some point I decided that what I REALLY needed was to have the "Big in Japan" mix I detailed here as a play list on my iPod. So I did that instead. Oh well.

Now here it is President's Day and I am having a slow day at the office. In order to make the day go faster I am listening to the play list and I wondered if I could find the music videos, or PV's (Promotional Videos) as they are called 'cross the sea, for the songs. Here are the results:

#1. Beat Crusaders - "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"

#2. Koda Kumi - "Cutey Honey"

I was not able to find a version of this video on YouTube or Naver however you can view a live version here.

#3. Takkyu Ishino - "Stereo Nights"

#4. Polysics - "Black Out Fall Out"

#5. Supercar - "Sunday People"

#6. Denki Groove - "Shanri-la"

#7. Lab Life - "World Wide Love Song"

I could not find ANYTHING for this video.

#8. the brilliant green - "Goodbye and Good Luck"

#9. Lynn Minmei (Iijima Mari) - "Love, Do You Remember?"

#10. Alphaville - "Big in Japan"

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

Today I met up with a couple of friends and hit the MFAH (Museum of Fine Arts Houston) to check out the exhibition of Suh Se-ok's ink paintings.

In the past I would have said I generally dislike abstract art, and for the most part that holds true, however as I grow older I find myself able to appreciate it more and more. I find it particularly enjoyable when it is abstract work being done with very traditional materials or using traditional techniques. Otherwise it is just those damn kids with their damned internal plumbing and fancy computer imaging.

I really enjoyed the exhibition and I am looking forward to the exhibition of Korean art at the museum. I wish they would have put together a catalog for the exhibition, even if the exhibition was only 29 works.

I am REALLY looking forward to the upcoming Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption exhibition which begins next month.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fat Fuck vs. Food - Week 2

Today was the big day. Or rather given the results the not quite as big as last Friday day. I weighed in at 304.8 pounds which is a drop in 6 pounds from last week and a total drop of 15.2 pounds in the past two weeks. This is despite completely going off the rails at brunch on Sunday. This week I began the exercise component of the changes I am making. I went for a walk on Saturday and then hit the gym before work on both Monday and Wednesday. I also reduced the amount of food I am having for dinner, going from a third of a box of Hamburger Helper to a quarter. After I did this I had some hunger issues the next day so I may go back to a third after the next week. We shall see. This week I also had a dream about drinking a Cherry Coke. The thing is in the dream I knew I was cheating on my diet and so was trying to hide it from people. Weird.

One of the big things this week was that I noticed I am wearing my belt a notch tighter. That is SUCH a good feeling. Of course the eventual outcome is that I will have to go shopping for not quite as fat clothes and then eventually skinny clothes. Even worse, I will have to go back to Scotland to get my kilt reworked. Damn.

My plans for the next week include adding a snack bar in to the eating rotation in the afternoons. I think this will help me fight off the hunger issues I had this week. As long as I choose wisely it should not undo any of the progress I have made and may actually help my metabolism keep cranking. I also want to replace the canned veggies in my diet with either fresh or frozen vegetables. In addition to these things I am going to try a morning drink my boss is doing with his glycemic load diet. The idea is that it cleans out the kidneys and helps kick start things in the morning. We shall see how that goes.

My goal for the week is to drop down to 300 pounds. This will put me over a quarter of the way to my goal weight AND allow me to engage in a little retail therapy by ordering Sukiyaki Western as I discussed a few weeks ago. Also if I manage to get down to 300 and stay there for two weeks I am going to allow myself to order Glenn E. Smith's The Call of Duty from my Amazon wishlist.

Here's what I did food-wise this week:

Friday - 2-8-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Philly Cheesesteak with fries
Iced Tea (no sugar)
Medium salad with ham, turkey, 1/2 hard-boiled egg and Ranch dressing
1 serving of tortilla chips

Saturday - 2-9-08
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
Large glass of Apple Juice
1/3 box of Potatoes Stroganoff Hamburger Helper
1/3 can of green beans
Spoon of peanut butter
Walked 4+ miles. Second half with 14 lbs. pack.

Sunday - 2-10-08
2 scrambled eggs
4 slices of bacon
English muffin
Serving of Potatoes O'Brien
Chips and salsa
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing

Monday - 2-11-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Small bottle of Apple Juice
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
12 oz. V8
1/3 box of Cheeseburger Mac Hamburger Helper
1/3 can of corn, okra and tomatoes
30 minutes on the eliptical and then some light lifting.

Tuesday - 2-12-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad with a hard-boiled egg, turkey, ham and Ranch dressing
12 oz. V8
1/4 box of Four Cheese Lasagna Hamburger Helper
1/4 can green beans

Wednesday - 2-13-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad with 1/2 hard-boiled egg, turkey, ham and Ranch dressing
1 bottle Lipton Green Tea w/Citrus
Slice of ham
1/3 box of Cheeseburger Mac Hamburger Helper
1/3 can of corn, okra and tomatoes
30 minutes on the eliptical.

Thursday - 2-14-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
12 oz. V8
1/4 box of Four Cheese Lasagna Hamburger Helper
1/4 can green beans

Earlier today it occurred to me that the real losers here are the ladies as there is just going to be less and less of James to go around. I feel sorry for them. Also V-8? Not as vile as I remember.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Shinobi: Heart Under Blade
Ten Shimoyama, director

107 minutes

Once there was a people of darkness, against whose arts none could stand. Living only for battle, these 'warriors of shadow' were called 'shinobi'. The year is 1614. Peace comes to the land after centuries of war. A man of one shinobi tribe meets a woman of another. Thus our story begins.

With this opening text I think one can be forgiven for thinking, "Oh god, not ANOTHER take on Romeo and Juliet," or at least I certainly hope I can. While I love Shakespeare and I love Japanese cinema AND Kurosawa deftly demonstrated that they are, in fact, two great tastes that go great together, however I am a little tired of the Romeo and Juliet story right now. I have no idea why but there it is. I was pleasantly surprised when Shinobi turned out to be something more.

Shinobi is the story of Oboro of the Iga shinobi clan, played by Nakama Yukie and Gennosuke of the rival Koga shinobi clan, played by the impressively coifed Odagiri Joe. As the daughter and son of their respective chieftains they are expected to inherit the leadership of their clans which, while mortal enemies, have been prevented from fighting one another by a pledge extracted by the first Hattori Hanzo. Oboro and Gennosuke meet by a waterfall and fall in love, eventually marrying in secret, hoping for a day when they can set aside the differences between their clans. In the new era of peace promised by the Tokugawa victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, which brought an end to the sengoku-jidai*, or Warring States period, and Tokugawa Ieyasu's ascension to Shogun, they hope they can forge a new future for themselves. Fate has other plans for the star-crossed lovers. Tokugawa Ieyasu lifts the ban and sets the two clans against one another. The chieftains of the clans are to select their five best warriors and set them against each other for the honor of the clans. Inevitably Oboro is chosen to lead the Iga warriors and Gennosuke the Koga. Seeking to avoid conflict Gennosuke sets out for Sumpu Castle with his companions, all of whom urge him to fight the Iga, to confront the Shogun and learn why the Iga and Koga must fight. The Iga warriors follow and soon there is blood between another generation of Iga and Koga. Eventually Oboro and Gennosuke must face one another and, well, I think at this point you should just go watch the movie.

The cinematography was the first thing that really struck me about the film. The film is full of sweeping vistas and is at times a visual feast. There are times where the visuals have been pushed to give us both a photorealistic image along with a background that comes right out of Hokusai's "36 Views of Mount Fuji" which gives the film a dream-like atmosphere. For example here are a collection of four screen grabs from the film:

I especially like the flock of birds in the first one.

As beautiful as the movie is to look at, lets face it we really came for the martial arts action. While not as accomplished as some movies in this aspect, Shinobi does not disappoint. The high-flying antics that we have become accustom to in the post-Crounching Tiger world are skillfully done and combined with some ninja magic that makes things more interesting. My favorite scene in the movie is when Gennosuke faces a large group of ninja and dispatches the last of them while silhouetted by the full Moon.

Shinobi manages to be far more than just another chop-socky flick. Based on the novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls by Yamada Futaro, the movie explores the very Japanese idea of duty and obligation versus our heart's one true desire. The movie also touches on the question of whether a weapon has a place in an era of peace. As the author was the right age to have served during World War II I cannot help but wonder whether this was a question with which he struggled.

In the end I really enjoyed watching this movie and can heartily recommend it to you if you enjoy the genre. While the version I watched was the Chinese release from, FUNimation released a subtitled version of the movie here in the States last year and it can be had from Amazon and a translation of the novel is also available from Amazon. I intend to add this version to the DVD collection at some point.

Here is the trailer for your viewing pleasure:

* Does the word jidai look or sound familiar? Go ahead and say it aloud, no one is looking and we will still be here when you get back. Done? Does it bring to mind a certin young Skywalker, perhaps? The story is that this word was the inspiration for the name for the Jedi Knights.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Guess I Made an Impression

(Found here.)

If you know what I mean. And I think you do, people!

Nothing to Say

I really don't have anything to say tonight. I saw this picture over on Pete's "A Perfectly Cromulent Blog" and thought it worth sharing:

In case you are wondering, I plan on voting for Obama in the primary March 4th and hopefully in November. More than anything I think Obama can inspire the nation to be better than we currently are much in the way that Kennedy inspired my parents generation. Of course in retrospect Kennedy was not that effective of a President, however without Kennedy inspiring the nation I do not think Johnson would have been able to accomplish the things he did. My hope is that Obama is able to inspire us AND accomplish something worthwhile during his time in office. This is the first time I have actually been excited about a candidate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

BOOK REVIEW - The Babylon 5 Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski Vols. 1 & 13

The Babylon 5 Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski Vol. 1
J. Michael Straczynski
Synthetic Worlds Publishing, 2005
454 pages

The Babylon 5 Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski Vol. 13
J. Michael Straczynski
Synthetic Worlds Publishing, 2008

I am not certain when I became aware of this collection, I know it was a couple of years ago or at least enough time for me to decide I had plenty of time to buy in and start getting these books. Now it is 2008 and according to the website they are only going to be available until May 31st of this year. I guess it is time to put up or shut up so I went ahead and ordered the first book in the series and the most recent book in the series to see how they are. While the scripts are interesting and as an aspiring screenwriter I make it a point to read as many screenplays as I can get my grubby little paws on, what makes this series of books so interesting to me is the extra materials included with each volume.

Of particular interest are the introductory essays from JMS where he discusses different facets of the production of Babylon 5 and then discusses each of the scripts contained in the volume. It is interesting to see where he was mentally when writing the scripts and the various things which influenced him during the writing of the scripts.

While I think the books could be slightly higher quality for the $40 per volume price (the plastic film which protects the covers has started to peel on both volumes and I have had them for less than a month) the materials contained between the covers are certainly worth the price of admission. Now all I have to decide is whether I want to go ahead and drop the cash for the entire series. These books are an excellent resource for screenwriters and provide fans of Babylon 5 with some interesting insights into the production of the series.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dispatches from the Abyss - Sunday, Feb. 10th

Both Saturday and Sunday were good days and beautiful days. On Saturday I decided it was time to man up and see if I could actually make it the two miles to the comic store and back on foot. I left the house about 1:15 Saturday afternoon and was back home by about 3:30. Along the way I stopped in at Daniel Boone Cycles and took a look at a couple of commuter bike options. They have a Bianchi in there that I really like but it runs a little over $600. I think one night this week I may try walking over to Kroger to see how that works out for me. It should be easier than Nan's as it is a little closer, however my concern about walking to the grocery store is carrying everything home. Perhaps I need to look into a backpack that I can carry on my belt until it is needed. Oh yeah, the trip home from Nan's I was carrying a 14 pound pack as I had picked up a couple packages of boards so I could begin bagging and boarding the comics from last year. (I need to remember to ask Charlie if he can pick up some Drawer Boxes before he heads to Houston this weekend.)

I had forgotten how pleasant a nice walk could be. There is a very nice neighborhood between where I live and the comic store and once you get off of Bissonnet and back in to the neighborhood you could almost forget you were in one of the largest cities in the country. North Blvd. and South Blvd. are a joy to walk, particularly on a pretty afternoon. On the way there I had my iPod in as I wandered down the street. The trees have been there long enough to where they arc over the street and median so you are walking beneath a canopy of branches and down a hall of trees. On the way home I forgot to put my iPod back on and instead just listened to the sounds of the neighborhood. Despite being less than a mile from one of the major freeways the only sounds I heard, beyond the occasional passing car, were the sort of nature sounds one would expect in suburbia. Birds hidden in the trees chirping away, though there were some Robins searching for whatever it is Robins search for in a yard. Towards the end of the street the random bird noises coalesced into the cooing of doves. All too soon I reached the end of North Blvd. and headed back into the world. It was a nice escape and one that is available to me at any time. Hopefully I will not forget the simple pleasure of a walk again.

Sunday morning I met several friends over at Brian O'Neill's for brunch. While I managed to stay on course with the whole nothing but tea, water, milk, and fruit juice thing, I think I might have gone over the wall on the dieting thing with breakfast. Oh well, not a big deal as I only had some chips and salsa and a salad to balance out the day AND I am going to hit the gym tomorrow morning before work. (We'll see how that goes.) I had a lot of fun! I also think we were the loud and obnoxious table because we, well, we lack any sense of decorum whatsoever. I think that is one of the reason's I love us.

Oh shit! I keep meaning to write about this but I am not certain what to say but my Metro Q card was activated on Feb. 1st which means I no longer have to pay for commuting to and from work on the train. The company will put up to $75 a month on my Q card and as I only use between $40 and $50 a month, I am golden. Plus I will be saving about that much a month. I have really grown to like riding the train in to the office in the morning and I really wish we had a better train system here in Houston. I think an elevated system would be the way to go as there is minimal footprint for an el and a subway is just not an option here.

Finally in a "I HEART Hockey" segment check out the action from 2:22 through 2:37 in this highlight clip from the Stars-Wild game on Thursday. Damn, just damn.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"Go monkey! Choose monkey!"

So you ever notice how when you're having problems with the fairer sex that everything on TV and the radio seems to speak to the problems you are having? Yeah, me too, so imagine my surprise when in a fit of slacking I decided it was time to finish watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Uberdork edition I purchased some time ago and the episode I choose to watch has relationship drama in it! ARGH! As I was watching I was really struck by this exchange between Buffy and Xander:

Dependable? What is he, State Farm?

You know what I mean.

Yeah, I think you mean convenient. I
think you took it for granted that
he was gonna show up when you wanted
him to and take off when you didn't.

Look who's talking! You've got Anya
following you around like a love sick
puppy -

Oh boy is this not about me -

Is she more than a convenience?
'Cause that'd be kind of a surprise.

He stares at her a moment, dead serious...Maybe she's
got his number, or maybe he's just got hers.

If you don't want to hear that I have
to say, I'll shut up right now.

Good. 'Cause -

I lied. See, what I think? You
got burned with Angel. Then Riley
shows up -

I know the story, Xander.

But you missed the point. You shut
down, Buffy. And you've been treating
Riley like the rebound guy, when he's
the one who comes along once in a
lifetime. He's never held back with
you - he's risked it all - and you're
about to let him fly because you
don't like ultimatums?

This hits Buffy hard. Xander sees it, comes on strong -

XANDER (cont'd)
If he's not the guy - if what he
needs from you just isn't there -
for God's sake, let him go. Break
his heart, and make it a clean break.
But if you can really love this guy -
I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-
barred need - if you're ready for
that...Then think about what you're
about to loose.

Man oh man is that how I feel a lot of times. By no means am I perfect and there is a lot of work that I need to do on me before I will be right for anyone, but as I thought about things I really feel like this exchange describes a lot of my relationships with women. Ah well, here is hoping that some of the changes I am trying to make in my life will change that as well.

I was also struck by this bit of dialogue:

I gotta say something, 'cause I don't
think I've made it clear. I don't even
know if you know about it. I'm in love
with you. Powerfully, painfully in
love. The things you do, the way you
think, the way you move...I get
excited every time I'm about to see
you. You make me feel like I've never
felt before in my life. Like a man.
Boy howdy do I know how THAT feels. I just wish I would have had the guts to say it.

Bonus Dialogue
We have to see the chimp playing
hockey! That's hilarious! Ice is
so slippery! And monkeys are all
irrational...we have to see this!

Monkeys indeed. They are the salve that heals all wounds.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fat Fuck vs. Food - Week 1

(With apologies to Kevin Smith for stealing his titles but "Battle of the Bulge" is so fucking played out.)

Even thought I did not start this whole "dieting"* thing until this past Monday, I weighed myself a week ago and therefore after my morning ablutions it was time to weigh myself once again. The result? I tipped the scales at 310.8 pounds which is a decline of 9.2 pounds from last weeks record setting score of 320 pounds. Check out the spiffy graphics below:

More important than the weight loss is the fact that I was able to stick to my eating plan all week. Of course this being the first week it is easy to stay motivated and focused. In this case the second week will be pretty easy as well since I saw such stellar results from this week. For me the issue is going to come during the week after the week where I inexplicably gain weight. It has happened to me every time I have gone on a diet and, at times, has been the diet's death knell.

One of the things I have been doing to help with the diet is write down everything I am eating every day. Being a good Catholic, a liberal, and my mother's son I am wracked with guilt, which is something I need to change at some point, and I thought that if I had to write everything down I might behave myself a bit more. On top of that I am going to share each week's worth of entries here so those of you that are supporting me on this can push me. Here are the result from this week:

Monday - 2-4-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
1 bottle Lipton Green Tea w/Citrus
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
1/3 box of Potatoes Stroganoff Hamburger Helper
1/3 can of green beans

Tuesday - 2-5-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
1 bottle Lipton Green Tea w/Citrus
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
The last of the pasta and goo

Wednesday - 2-6-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
1 bottle Lipton Green Tea w/Citrus
Medium salad with a hard-boiled egg, turkey, ham and Ranch dressing
1/3 box of Potatoes Stroganoff Hamburger Helper
1/3 can of green beans

Thursday - 2-7-08
1 Yoplait Yogurt
1 bottle Diet Lipton Green Tea w/Citrus
Medium salad with chicken chunks and Ranch dressing
1/3 box of Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper
1/3 can of corn, tomatoes, and okra

Besides this the only thing I consumed this week was water at the rate of 3 to 4 liters a day, except for Thursday where I only had about 2.

In addition to using this space to keep my fat ass motivated and you guys up to date on where I am at, I am going to try and save my food and eating related musing to the Friday post. With any luck discipline this will leave the rest of the week free for the usual jackassery I engage in while blogging. I think it should go without saying that I have been thinking about food quite a bit this week. Well food and the eating of said food, but you get the idea. One of the things I have forced myself to think about this week is how I actually eat, not so much what I am eating as the actual physical act of eating. As I have mentioned before my single biggest challenge in this process is going to be getting the portion size under control. It is not unusual for me to cook a pot of red beans and rice which is meant to feed three or four people and consume the entire pot over the course of an evening. I have come to the conclusion that this is not because I am hungry but rather I derive a great deal of pleasure from eating. This is both on a physical and psychological level. This is going to be the biggest thing I have to fight during this process. I am not certain where I picked up the, "It's not love, just food" bon mot however in my case I think this is really what I have to fight.

* I need to find a better word for this. To a certain degree this is playing semantic and psychological games however I do not like the word diet and ultimately what I am seeking here is a transformative experience which will result in better eating habits and a generally healthier life.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday Linkblogging

Since I have nothing of any real import to say today* let us wander the internet together and see what we dig up:
  • A guest editorial by Jim Lloyd over at answers the question "Why Obama?" in a far more eloquent manner than I can. Go and read, it will do you good.
  • While I am on the subject of Obama, here is his speech on Super Tuesday (again thanks to As I was listening to this speech I was struck by two things. First, Obama sounds more like a preacher than a politician when he speaks. I do not know how much of this might be his message and how much of it might be intentional. What I do know is, I like listening to his speeches.
  • This news bothers me. I was hoping the Republicans would have a serious fight over their nomination but it appears the major players are falling in to line behind McCain. Of course the flip side of this is by suspending his campaign, like Edwards, he can throw his hat back in to the ring at any time.
  • For excellent analysis of Romney's speech go read Barry Eisler's thoughts on the matter. Keep in mind that Barry describes himself as a conservative.
  • The interview video in this bit from makes me want to kill. The guy just bugs the crap out of me as he comes off as that geek that we all know and love who compensates for being a geek by being HYPER-AGRESSIVE about his geekiness. Then there is the girl who, while being totally nerd-hot, feels the need to engage her active listening skills during the interview with Wil. STFU and let the man talk. Seriously. (And call me.)
  • Thanks to ACW we have now seen the greatest ransom note in the history of man. (Click through his site to read the article. It is classic.)
  • This movie looks pretty cool. Between this and the Nightwatch/Daywatch series I am beginning to think Russian cinema might be the next big cinema geek fetish.
  • Hey! This movie looks pretty damn cool, too.
  • You know what, now that we are on the subject of movies, perhaps it is time for you to go visit the YIFFF website. Despite the presence of a cute animal with some crazy hair, Kabuki make-up, and bat wings this is totally not what you think it is. I do not know if that makes me sad or not. (Click here for the four of you out there that do not understand why this is giggle-worthy however remember there are things you can not unlearn.)
  • Click here to read an interesting bit about the need for dice in RPGs by Siskoid. Interesting stuff and something I have not ever really thought about as I tend to play dice-intensive games like Shadowrun.
  • Thanks to the kids over at I found this, a Serenity/Firefly fanfic novel written by Steven Brust. While I have not read anything by Brust, despite having owned his To Reign in Hell for several years, a friend whose opinion on these things I respect said Burst is one of his favorite authors.
  • Finally this might be NSFW but it is certainly nice to look at.
  • Whoops! Forgot to add this initially. Click here for free AHL tickets. I will let you guys know if this works.

* Of course this assumes on other days I do have important things to say. We all know how that works out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dispatches from the Abyss - Wednesday, Feb. 6th

Today was a good day. After all the emotional upheaval I have been through over the last few weeks it is so nice to be able to say that and be telling the truth. I have spent quite a bit of time in "fake it till you make it" mode. This morning while I was riding the train in to the office it was nice to find a smile on my face and realize the smile was genuine. I think I have turned a corner. There are going to be some more bumps in the road ahead however today I was able to smile a real smile. Damn it feels good.

Also I would be remiss if I did not thank Marc Acito for helping me figure out how to get this blog cross-published as a MySpace blog. His solution was so easy I have to cop to being a bit ashamed I did not think of it before. Thanks Marc!

While we are on the subject of Marc you should consider it a moral obligation to go buy his first book, How I Paid for College, which I reviewed here. Once you have done that you must read it so you can be ready to buy his second novel, Attack of the Theater People, when it is released in April. This and Barry Eisler's forthcoming book are the #1 and #2 must-reads on my list for this year.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sukiyaki Western

This movie was released on DVD in Japan today:

I never found a screening in Houston, Austin, or Dallas therefore despite my enthusiasm for the movie when it came out last year, I have yet to actually see it. On Monday I was thinking I would just go ahead and purchase the Region 2 DVD through, particularly since the dialog in the movie is in English. As I thought about my desire to see this movie in the larger context of what I am going through right now it occurred to me that having rewards for meeting specific goals in my diet plan might help me along the path. Therefore I am holding off on buying this DVD until I have dropped 10 pounds and kept it off for two weeks. Until then I have a pile of DVDs I need to watch, including several from that I need to watch and return.

Once I get this movie I will have to track down a region-free DVD player or something. I would like to have a soba western night where we go out for Japanese food (God I wish there was a good soba shop in town) and then watch this movie. Until then here are a couple of other promos for you to enjoy:

And while looking for those on YouTube I stumbled across this trailer:

A remake of Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress? At first my fanboy rage was up but as I thought about it, this really makes sense. Kurosawa was the master of the remake himself, adapting Shakespeare and John Ford movies, and since it is the original studio redoing the film I am interested to see what comes of it. The official movie site is here.

Monday, February 04, 2008


(Please read the title of this in either your best Joey Lawrence voice OR best Keanu Reeves voice. I'm not too picky.)

On the heels of my emotional breakdown at the beginning of last week I have been in deep navel-gazing mode. One of the things that has become obvious, and something that I have known for a while but been unwilling to face, is that all of my relationships fail because of my lack of self-confidence. This time was really no different. Part of me really wants to go into the whys and wherefores of this instance here, and I actually planned on doing it, however as I am typing this I find I do not have the desire to delve back into it. Suffice to say I was unsure of so many things that when we went out I was not able to be comfortable in my own skin and this stands in STARK contrast to how comfortable and emotionally intimate we are when chatting online and via email. (For the record I did not meet her online, she has been a friend for some time, however our friendship, and my love, blossomed while she was out of town and we spent time talking online.)

Between bouts of depression and attempts to not be alone I spent a lot of time thinking about what I need to do to get on more stable ground with myself, particularly if I am ever going to attempt to date this particular woman again as I really feel like I am not punching my weight* when we go out, thus I start behind the eight-ball. I know part of my insecurity comes from not being able to get over my own geekiness, which is something that I will address at some other point. Right now what I am most concerned about is my weight. I know I need to loose some but I did not know how bad it actually was until I stepped on the scale Friday morning. It read something rather, well, weighty. Being none to pleased with the result I stepped off the scale and went to take a dump. Then I stepped back on the scale. No significant change. Damn. Fuck. 320 pounds. Really? Shit. (Never mind, that one didn't help at all.) *SIGH* Looks like my chubby ass is tipping the scales at 320 pounds. Looks like it is time to get to work.

As I said I was already thinking that I needed to do something, partially as a result of discussions I had with Brian on Monday, and partially just because I need something to concentrate on right now, so before ever stepping on the scale I was already plotting what I needed to do. The first thing I decided I needed to do was to cut out drinking soda. I generally have two or more cans of Coke a day. These are calories that I do not need and they should be easy to cut out of my diet. So far I am doing pretty okay. I think I might have had one or two Cokes over the weekend but here it is Monday and I have made it so far. The second thing I am going to do is give up drinking anything but milk, water, tea, and fruit juice for Lent. While I know I do not have a drinking problem, the beer and other drinks are, like the Cokes, calories that I can easily give up. On top of that alcohol actually slows your metabolism and right now I want to be doing things to increase my metabolism and help my body burn the food I am eating plus some of the extra James I have lying around. I also think this would be good discipline for me and seeing as I have already done it once, I know this is an achievable goal. Finally I have a friend who has problems with the drink. I am going to challenge her to match me on this one since it is a finite time line. The third thing I am going to do is begin eating breakfast. Nothing too big, just something to kick my metabolism in the ass in the morning. I went to the grocery store on Sunday and picked up enough yogurt to have that as breakfast every day for the next several weeks. The fourth thing I am doing is giving the Metabolife tablets another try. While I do not like how I feel initially on these tablets, I am not 18 anymore despite how I behave, and my metabolism needs the help. While I was out this weekend I picked up a bottle of 90 tablets, which should be enough for 15 days of meals. We will see how this goes and while trying them out I am going to be researching the various pills out there to see if there is a better alternative. The fifth thing I am doing, and this is going to be my biggest struggle, is that I am trying to be more conscious of the portions I eat. This is probably going to be my single biggest struggle with the food but we shall see how it goes.

The reason I am posting this, in addition to just sharing with you where I am right now in life, is that I need help getting this done. I need my friends to step in and help me be accountable because I do not think this is something I can do on my own. I derive a great amount of pleasure from the act of eating, it doesn't even have to be good food as long as there is enough of it for me to get my munch on. I think I will save any more self-analysis on this front for a future post.

At some point in the not too distant future (next Sunday, A.D.)** Brian and I intend to start getting into the office early and hitting the gym a couple of times a week. We discussed this last Monday as part of the larger emo-boy whine fest put on by your humble, and apparently portly, author and in one of those too difficult to ignore coincidences the fitness center here at the office has taken it upon themselves to launch a membership drive today. Seemed like a good chance to get something done so I went ahead and joined up, as did Brian. Now all we have to do is go through some crazy ass orientation and we will be able to start working out in the mornings.

It just occurred to me that I have written this entire post about being fat and my plans to get that under control without stating what my goals are. Right now I would like to get down to 250 pounds, not an unreasonable weight for a guy my size, although more important than my actual final weight is whether I am healthy and have formed some more healthy eating habits. I am going to start posting my weight on Fridays as well as thinking about where I have been over the past week in an attempt to share my victories and places where I messed up. Plus I will play with some graphs and charts so we can have some visual aids.

Thanks for listening.

* This is to say I am WAY outclassed by this girl. She is smart, funny, sexy, and beautiful. It is like me dating, I dunno, Natalie Portman. It just doesn't happen. This is not to say that I am not a realist and know that she has flaws, we are all too human, but just, damn.

** This is the second time today I get to make this joke and that makes me happy in places we just don't talk about.


Here are some interesting thoughts from Frank Luntz. I particularly like the bit about the nation being a post-partisan nation.