Category Archives: chewed shoes . . .

idle ramblings . . .

The plan for a loss

If you read the previous post, you were promised information on how I plan to lose the weight I no longer wish to lug around. To recap, I’m not really very heavy. about 204 at the start of this adventure, and since I’m over 6’2″, that’s not awful, but I have a bit more around the middle than I like, and ideally I’d prefer to lose about 10% of my weight, so about 20 pounds. This would make me as light as I was entering graduate school (as I recall) back in 1978. The process I am employing is pretty simple. I’m not eating sweets at home, only eating at meals, with the exception of a piece of fruit or two, and a couple of handfuls (handsful?) of nuts each day.

To give dear reader a bit of background, I am a vegetarian, so I eat pretty good food in the first place, but am very easily lured by sweets, bread, your general carbohydrates, and don’t mind a pint now and then, although it’s rare for me to drink more than 1 beer on any given day.

During the first couple of weeks I’m not going to the gym, just to partial out the compounding effects of increasing the rate at which my aging body burns calories, but also demands them in return for letting me engage in extended cardiovascular exertion. In other words, when I exercise a lot, I burn more calories, but I also get hungrier. I’m going to try to let my system get a bit used to the slightly reduced caloric intake before reintroducing extra exertion. So, we’ll see how much I lose in a couple of week of just slight eating variation, and then re-introduce my cardio workouts (which have been pretty sporadic for the past 3 months) and see if I can continue with the lower intake, while increasing the output, thereby increasing the rate of loss. The trick, of course, will be not increasing the uptake of calories by more than the loss achieved by the exercise. If they simply balance, then theoretically, there should be an actual loss due to improved metabolic burn during passive periods (which are many). We shall see. I’ll get back to you.

February – just a bit off around the middle

February is, of course, the shortest month, although this year it does get an extra 24 hours. This February Beth and I celebrate our 25th anniversary, our daughter turns 23 (yep, we went old school – marriage, then child), and during February of 1086 William I (William the Conqueror) who had been touchy about his weight was on what may have been the first fad diet.

Although described as strapping and healthy in his earlier years, William apparently blimped out later in life. William had become so corpulent that he was unable to get on a horse, a major drawback at a time when that was a key means of transportation and regal honor. It is said that King Philip of France likened William to a pregnant woman about to give birth. According to some accounts, the corpulent conqueror became so dismayed with his size that he devised his own diet, consuming only wine and spirits for a certain period of time. For the better part of a year, the king attempted to subsist on nothing but alcohol. Amazingly, this worked better than you might expect and, eventually, he was even able to get back in the saddle. Unfortunately, this also led to his undoing. Not long after losing the weight, the king was riding his horse when it reared, driving the saddle horn into his gut and causing internal injuries that killed him shortly thereafter.

To add insult to fatal injury, when it came time to load William into his casket, it turned out his diet hadn’t worked all that well, Courtiers still had to squeeze him into the box. As priests tried to stuff William into a stone coffin that proved too small for his bulk, they pushed on his abdomen, causing it to burst. At his funeral, William’s body apparently exploded. Mourners supposedly ran for the door to escape the putrid stench.

Yes. Diets can stink.

I am not as large as The Conqueror. I’m 1.89 meters and on the last day of January weighed in at 92.5 kilo, which is also 14.57 stone. For those of us struggling to convert, that’s 6’2 1/2″ and 204 lbs. Not too small for a corner back, much too small for a linebacker, pretty large for a soccer star, gigantic for a gymnast. Bigger than the combined weights of all those living under our roof (1 wife, 3 dogs, 1 cat).

My goal is to get and stay below 190 pounds. In recent years I’ve weighed as much as 220 (about 4 years ago), and have been as low as 190. If I had my druthers I’d like 176, just seems like a nice number, though I haven’t seen it since the beginning of graduate school back in 1978 or so.

In our next exciting episode I’ll let you know the battle plan. It’s not too complicated. It’s just something that I’m pretty sure will work for me, will make me complain and is not likely to cause anyone else to get hurt too badly. Isn’t that what we all want?

It’s the movie mania time of year

One of my bride’s many charming features is her, shall we say, focus. This time of year that single-mindedness is put to good use in the form of movie madness. For the past 4 years my reason for being has seen every movie nominated in every category for an Oscar. NOT just best picture, but best documentary, best screenplay, best costume, best anything.[This is not technically true – last year one movie was gone and not available ANYWHERE, and so poorly thought of you couldn’t even steal it on the internet]. As a result, during December – February we see an insane number of movies. Two movie weekends are expected. Three movie weekends, common. Four movie weekends, yep, that happens, and sometimes it gets worse. When the nominations actually come out, other responsibilities must be weighted against movie times, the releases of DVDs and, if truth be told, if all else fails, the rare use of a bit torrent download if there is no other way to get a movie before the actual awards night.

Living in a suburb of D.C. makes this craziness doable. We have a great array of theaters that cotton to those like us who frequent the art house films, actual organized showings of all the foreign films, the animated films, and the documentaries (more about this anon). One thing I do not understand is why the makers of documentaries and short subjects do not just release their films on iTunes. All of them express concern over not having the efforts of their labors seen by the public. Their movies are released at a handful of theaters around the country seen by a few hundred people. Seems to me that making one’s movie available for $2 downloads by potentially millions would yield a better outcome for the moviemakers.

Anyway, this year she who must be obeyed is grading the films she sees and posting her scores on her Facebook page. So, if you want a pretty good take on the best flicks, friend her and follow along. If you don’t know her, that’s a real loss for you.

If I ever make a movie, I promise to release it on iTunes. I’ll let you know.

Please don’t wait up, however, I’ll give you plenty of notice.

2012 – A year of months without







      Glasses holder


      Days without working out








      Credit cards






      Ice Cream

These are all things I really enjoy. NOT all the things, just some things I enjoy a lot. This is my initial list of things I will try to do without for a month at time during the coming year, but in no particular order. I’ll try to write a bit about why the absence of each is worthy of noting and see how I do without. Of course, it is still 2011, so I have time to change my mind.

i miss bethesda’s cinema and draft house

Last night Beth and I went to see Marc Maron [the guy who does the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” – don’t know him? – stop reading, i guess] anyway, it was at the cinema and draft house in Arlington, VA. ARLINGTON – V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A. – sigh – we had a duplicate of that theater within a 10 minute walk of our house in Bethesda until a genius developer incorporated it into his massive condo complex probably 10 years ago. Turned it into a “theatre” where one could see performing arts. Yes, the people of Bethesda, where every other house is filled with NIH scientists, lawyers from fancy schools, Ph.D.s of all sorts, and others who write their children’s applications to Ivy league day care centers on soiled hundred-dollar bills, are going to flock to a dinner theatre to see a version of The Fantasticks that wouldn’t make it in the local high school, instead of going an extra two miles into D.C. where there are nationally recognized theatre companies, or literally three blocks down the same street, where the regional powerhouse the Round House Theatre has an actual, beautiful theatre. No, it failed in multiple iterations, and currently has a marquee that says “Happy 60th birthday Saul” that has been there long enough that Saul is at least 62 now. But Marc Maron was very funny. I just wish we could have walked to his show instead of having to drive for half an hour. I know, I’m just whining.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Today I learned that one of my early mentors, and a man who was good friend to me when I was in college died in mid-December. John Holcombe was a professor at Sam Houston and died while walking across the campus he loved. It was how he would have wanted it. He was the chairman of my first master’s thesis, a legend in the government department, beloved by many students, and was a kind and gentle soul. His bellowing laugh and relentless faith in the good of people was contagious. I was fortunate in that we chatted for quite a while a few months ago, after having lost touch for nearly 20 years. When we talked John was jovial and funny and we shared just the right amount of recollections and ambitions. I told him, as my old friend John Henry Faulk told me, “if’n you and I’d talked as often as I’d thought about you, we wouldn’t have so much catchin up to do”.  The picture above was taken February 13, 1982, the morning after a fire destroyed the “Old Main” building at SHSU. The government department had been housed in Old Main when I first met John. They were both iconic fixtures on the campus. While I shall continue to miss them both, I am so much the better for having been there to know them.