Monday, November 22, 2010

Losing Weight is Hard

Thanks to the fact that I’m a blogger, I can look back on just about any time in my life and see it in print. I just read about moving to Darktide in AC. I read about my new template. I read a letter to my sister I wrote seven years ago. All in search for my entries about losing weight.

I work out pretty hard these days. At least, I like to think so. But looking back on my journal I see that I am fooling myself.

Losing weight is hard. It is hard work.

No matter what country I am in, I smile at the people who have no idea how to lose weight. They hop on a bike with a book, pedal nonchalantly for thirty minutes and proudly proclaim “I did thirty minutes on the bike.”

Really? Why aren’t you sweating then?

I run three times a week and I think I’m doing good. Which I am. But if I want to lose the weight that I really want to lose, I need to do more than double that. Twelve years of marriage and ten years of Magic and video games bloated me up to 213 lbs. My brother came home for thanksgiving, took one look at me, laughed, and said “Man, you got FAT!”

Marilyn lit into him about his bald spot. Don’t mess with her man.

But he was right. I was fat.

When Marilyn passed away I needed to get back into shape, cause, well, I like women. My journal from those days is insane.

8:00 a.m. Ran 1.5 miles.
6:00 p.m. Rode stationary bike for forty minutes.
7:00 p.m. Three sets of curls, three sets of shoulder press, three sets of pushups.
9:30 p.m. Rode bike for thirty minutes.

I showered twice a day. Once before work and once before I climbed into bed.

I changed my diet from McDonalds to fresh fish. I ate six inch sandwiches at Subway. I switched from white bread to wheat.

I lost 40 lbs.

That’s what it takes to lose weight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Writer's Block

There is no such thing.

However, I have not been in the mood to write and my "Teresa from Tijuana" entry came out much less funny than I had hoped and I didn't have an ending so that will have to come next week.

Sorry about the lack of updates.

Ferrett, you are my God. (Well, you and Piers Anthony.)

Because they both espouse the saying: If you want to be a writer - WRITE! Which has long been my belief as well.

Epic fail by me this week.

Going to a PTQ on Sunday at Evolution, wish me luck.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hollywood Myths

I was going to say “they’re funny”, but they’re not.

1. Putting Duck tape over someone’s mouth stops them from talking. It doesn’t. Try it. You can use your tongue to push it off your lips quite easily. You can also just open your mouth and the tape will let go. Try that too. The only way Duck tape would act as a silencing agent would be if you wrapped it around someone’s head multiple times. Maybe not even then.

2. Stuffing a cloth in someone’s mouth acts as a gag. Again, not even a little. A tongue can easily push the cloth out and allow you to shout. Now, Duck tape plus cloth plus wrapping around someone’s head multiple times would probably do the trick.

3. You don’t fall to the ground and die instantly when shot in the heart. The heart provides life giving oxygenated blood to your organs, to your muscles and to your brain. The brain lives for six minutes after it has been deprived of oxygen. It will remain conscious for two or even three of those minutes. If you’re shot in the heart, yeah, you’re probably going to die, but you have about two to three minutes of life and movement left in your body to either spasm, attack your attacker, write something, or run to someone who might be able to help. Now, being shot in the head, well, you’re done that instant.

4. Myth not related to Hollywood.
I am not wrong in calling it Duck Tape.

http://www.octanecreative.com/ducttape/duckvsduct.html

"The first name for Duct Tape was DUCK. During World War II the U.S. Military needed a waterproof tape to keep the moisture out of ammunition cases. So, they enlisted the Johnson and Johnson Permacel Division to manufacture the tape. Because it was waterproof, everyone referred to it as “duck” tape (like water off a duck’s back). Military personnel discovered that the tape was good for lots more than keeping out water. They used it for Jeep repair, fixing stuff on their guns, strapping equipment to their clothing... the list is endless.

After the War, the housing industry was booming and someone discovered that the tape was great for joining the heating and air conditioning duct work. So, the color was changed from army green to the silvery color we are familiar with today and people started to refer to it as “duct tape*.” Therefore, either name is appropriate.

Today, Duck® brand Tape is manufactured by Henkel Consumer Adhesives. After thoroughly familiarizing ourselves with the hundreds of duct tapes on the market, we have found Duck® brand Tape to be the most consistent in quality.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dognappers!

The whole “Let me show you how much responsibility a baby is” plan is totally back-firing.

Our dachshund Thor came back into our lives in June. I struggled to find a home for this wonderful dog for two months and then gave up. He is, and always has been, bonded to me for his twelve years of existence. In the two months he was with Wendy and I, he burrowed and snuggled his way into our hearts. Giving him up to someone else would have been like removing a limb.

Every now and then, Wendy and I talk about if we want a baby and how that will change our life.

“Ha ha!” I thought. “We will bring the little dog of thunder to Spain and you will see how much of an impact such a responsibility can carry. He will change our lives. No longer will be free to do whatever we want when we want.”

Monday morning I woke up in Seville petting a lump in the blanket dreaming it was Thor.

Seville was great, except, we both missed the little dog who was staying at Lena and Stefan’s for the weekend. They fed him steak and rice and walked him an hour a day and they dropped scraps from their table as they sat outside at a restaurant.
But… That’s our job and privilege…

“I miss the little dog,” Wendy said.

Repeatedly.

So did I.

On Sunday Lena and Stefan informed us they were keeping him.

We told them we were returning on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

There was no little dog to be found when we got home.

“Dognappers!” I screamed.

“They’re on their way to Portugal right now!” Wendy shouted.

“Dog! Nappers!” I screamed again.

“Call the Guardia Civil!”

They showed up at eight with the little dog of thunder in tow. We were ecstatic.

This isn’t working out the way I planned…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fiction

I am not friends with Chris. I know of him, and he of me, but we do not congregate in the same circles. We pass each other in the halls and occasionally say hello, having been in the same grade for all of our lives. We are juniors now and everything has changed. I wonder if he will notice the difference in my eyes?

With a deep breath and a sigh, I approach him at his locker between classes.

Chris is taller than me. Everyone my age is taller than me. He has brown hair, eyes like deep pools of dark water and is on the soccer team, a sport I despise. He is in theatre and hangs with a completely different crowd than I do.

“Chris?”

“Yeah? Oh… Hi Jay, what’s up.”

“Well, I’m about to become ‘that strange guy everyone talks about’ and I’m not looking forward to it.”

“…okay…”

“I want you to think of all that you know of me since we were in kindergarten. I don’t have the rep of a liar, a cheat, a bully, anything. I’m just a guy. Some would call me a good friend that they trust. I’ve never betrayed anyone, never cheated on a girlfriend, never bullied someone smaller than me.”

He thinks for a minute, slams his locker and faces me. “Yeah. I’ll agree with that. Why?”

“Because I want you to think deeply on what I’m going to tell you next." I take a deep breath and look deep into his eyes. "If you drink alcohol in the next year, you are going to die. I am not kidding; I am not lying; and even though we don’t know each other very well, I hope you will trust me.”

He smiles. “Well, your premonition is right.”

“So, you won’t drink?”

“No, I meant the one about how you’re about to become the strange guy everyone talks about.”

Chuckling, he turns his back on me and walks away.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The World's Largest Dachsund


This should give you a better idea of how big the Dog of Thunder (Thor) is. He is is sitting with our friend Lena at their Oktoberfest party. He's not fat, just big boned. Honest.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Health Care and the Military

I try not to be too political on this blog but I feel this needs to be said.

My sister has returned from the hospital after a week long battle with pyelonephritis which is a fancy word for a kidney infection. From her Facebook posts it seems she had similar experiences in the emergency room that Marilyn and I have had. They did their level best to ignore her until her fever spiked to 106.

I can only say that Wendy and I have never had such experiences in Spain and when comparing notes with our friends in France, they haven’t had them there either. Anyone who tells you national health care will automatically make things worse is flat out lying to you. It COULD make things worse, I’m not denying that, as some countries do have long waiting lines or shortages or other problems. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are countries that have national health care and it works a lot better than the system we have in the US.

Wendy and I have never waited in the emergency room in Spain for longer than thirty minutes.

When we call a doctor to have something checked out, they ask if the next morning is good for us or do we need today? In the US people are routinely told “We can see you in three weeks, does that work for you?”

Doctors here still make housecalls, especially if you have a hundred and six degree fever.

Wendy had to go into the hospital for a few days a couple years ago and the service she received there was better than what Marilyn received when she had cancer and her multiple visits to the hospital.

But how will we pay for it you ask? Well, that’s something else I wanted to touch on that is related.

Do you know what we spend on our military? To put it in perspective for you, there is an ordered list on Wikipedia on what countries spent on their military in 2009.

The US is first of course.

If you combined the expenditures of the next SIXTEEN countries on the list, it would finally add up to what we spent.

The cold war is over. We are the only super power left in the world.

Why do we still have military bases in over a hundred and fifty countries? Each one of those bases requires food, personnel (who obviously draw a salary), weapons, water, electricity, equipment, etc.

Each one.

Why do we have bases in over a hundred and fifty countries around the world? And that’s not just one base in each country. Many countries have multiple bases. Why?

How about we close bases in, say, a hundred and twenty-five countries and use those savings to fund health care, better our educational system, fix up massive amounts of decaying infrastructure and maybe plant some flowers? Or cut taxes for the rich again. One or the other.

How about that?