Sunday, January 31, 2010


I told the Captain I wanted one of these for Valentine's Day. He knows better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Which I Use The Reader As My Therapist

To get the full ridiculousness of this post, don't skip the comments. There's a surprise ending!

I'd like to start by stating that my Body Mass Index is in the normal range.

That said, I am on that diet that I have been obsessing about all month to get my BMI to a number that is not quite so close to the Big Mac Enthusiast side.

That said, I am 47 years old.

That said, this just happened.

I have this shirt on. This shirt is a mash-up of internet memes that I bought as a joke at an after-Christmas sale. For background, see the 1,673 comments for this popular Amazon item here and the most popular piano-playing cat of all time here. At the time of this event, I did not have the sweatshirt on.

Dean liked it, so he snapped a picture with his iPhone (sans sweatshirt) and sent it to a friend (I'm not sure who). The friend texted back, "That is the shit. Where's it from?" or something to that effect. I told Dean the t-shirt company that sells it (Threadless), which he texted back.

I minute later, another text. I leaned over because I'm naturally curious. It wasn't meant for my eyes, and Dean tried to hide it from me. But it was too late. It said something like, "and where did those flabby arms come from?"

Ouch. Sucker punch. Awkward laughter. Change of subject.

Lasting bruise.

I'll be under the covers for the rest of the day if you need me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fat Credit

Do you know why it is so hard to lose weight? Because we have credit cards.

Losing weight is like saving money. The first month that you start your new savings account, it's a pretty sorry looking balance. It's almost not worth the paperwork. And the next month when you put a little more in, it's not any more impressive, and yet it's been a whole two months! And you want new shoes! But once you get used to the habit of putting money into the account every month and going about your business, it starts to grow into something substantial.

On a diet, you feel at first that you are sacrificing so much food and food-based fun that you really expect to see big results right away. When you don't it's hard not to give up, take the metaphorical money out of the bank and buy a pizza with it.

When you want something you don't have the money for, you now have a credit card. You buy the big-screen TV, and pay back the bank in monthly installments - kind of like saving the money, but backwards. While watching a big-screen TV.

What if you could get a fat credit card? Lose all the weight tomorrow, and then pay it back, little by little, by dieting after the fact? Would we pay the diet-debt? Or would we just rack up more debt, until we are forced to starve?

That would be some ultimate foreclosure. Foreclosure of the Mouth. Maybe let's stick with the savings account plan.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Living Your Best Life - Anvil Style

Last class, we discussed the movie Big Fan, in which a little round parking attendant lived a life of, not quiet desperation at all, but one of happy football fanhood.

Today, we will be discussing the Little Canadian Band that Couldn't Quite, chronicled in the documentary, Anvil! The Story of Anvil. The heart of Anvil is the duo of Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner, two nice Jewish boys from Canada who once got a taste of glory in Japan while playing to a packed crowd along with bands like Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer.

That was in the 80s. Since then, they have gone, kicking and screaming, into obscurity, now working menial jobs to support their families. The documentary follows them as they mount their umpteenth comeback attempt.

Reviewers luuuurrved this doc, calling it "touching, uplifting and inspirational." I respectfully disagree. I found it touching, sure, but in a sad way. These guys are now in their 50s, and they look every hard-living year. They do not exactly have heads for business. We hear the music they are recording for their big comeback, and it is unlistenable. Where is the hope in this scenario? It was more like watching the first few episodes of a season of American Idol, where the audience revels in watching hopefuls who have invested all their ego in a career that all logic tells them they have no business pursuing. I found it more voyeuristic than inspirational.

How would you rather live your life? As a parking attendant who lives with his mom and feels lucky that he gets to watch football and call in to a sports talk radio station? Or a school lunchroom worker who feels like Providence made a big mistake in denying him a life of rock stardom?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Living Your Best Life - Big Fan Style

I'm just going to be nattering on about Netflix movies. If you want action, read this first entry on Dean's latest adventure.

Last night we watched Big Fan with Patton Oswalt, directed by Robert Siegel. I put this on my Netflix queue solely because Patton Oswalt is my second favorite comedian (behind only Paul F. Tompkins, see last post). A really smart, intuitive little cherub of a man. Maybe not solely. His interview with Siegel on Fresh Air with Terry Gross probably played a role too (and worth a listen if you missed it).

Big Fan is about a guy who's sister-in-law has GIGANTIC BOOBS. I'm a conventionally married female and I could NOT look away. If you want to make a point that they were not gratuitous, you could say that her "look" said something about Oswalt's character's family. His brother was a Staten Island personal injury lawyer who married his secretary, which left me with the question: were the gigantic boobs a marriage selling point, or a wedding present? Questions left unanswered, my friends.

Actually Big Fan is about a little, round guy whose only love and only interest in life is the New York Giants. The rest of his life is only filler for the moments when he is either watching a game or calling in to sports talk shows and talking about a game. He could get a better job than his current gig as a parking attendant. He could move out of his mom's house. But that would detract from his only passion: making sweet love to the New York Giants.

This comfortable life is threatened when his favorite Giants player beats him up. Will he tell the police what really happened, or will he pretend he doesn't remember in the hopes that the charges will be dropped so that the player may be reinstated to the team in time to save their playoff hopes?

No, it's not a comedy, like Netflix seems to think. No, it's not a dark think-piece on the human condition. It's more of a light think-piece on this human's condition. And his condition is fine, as far as he is concerned. Should he want more for himself? Depends. Would that make him feel better?

Next in our Compare and Contrast Netflix Special: Anvil: The Story of Anvil - a portrait of another couple of fellows who are living their Best Life, which may not necessarily by your idea of a best life.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paul F. Tompkins: Great or Unbelievably Great?

That this man does not already have his own TV show, dedicated paparazzi, and Sudanese orphans is an American Tragedy.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Eating My Own Flesh

It's January. That means diet time. My 2008 and 2009 diets were failures, so I've got two years of overindulgence to pay for. (No, I will NOT say "for which to pay." I am not THAT grammatically pompous.)

And it's been two GREAT years. As still-new empty nesters, we have been celebrating pretty much non-stop since the 2007 wedding. Too much restaurant eating. Too much wine drinking. Too many cookies and not enough cookie eaters. When Dean moved out, we lost the best leftover eater in the business, and we still haven't adjusted our cooking habits.

I'm trying to face this diet as medicine. I try to think of my extra weight as a condition (lipomania?), which I must overcome with this prescription of salad, vegetables and chicken, and this proscription of bread, rice, potatoes, crackers and cookies.

I'm okay with that prescription for a while. The period of time following "a while" is going to be tough. I'm having a hard time psyching myself up for another salad tonight and it's only been about a week and a half.

Luckily, the scale shows that I'm off to a pretty good start. Every day I can feel my body grumbling a little as it grudgingly turns to that extra fat for fuel.

Still. A big heap of tortilla chips sure sounds good right now.

Computer Monster

Jim Henson was so funny and brilliant. Check out this little nugget, starring a proto-cookie monster from, I'm guessing the 70s? I love the names of the components of this majorly awesome supercomputing machine.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What Would Jesus Eat

If this blog only serves to make you feel better about yourself, well, that's something.

Last Sunday in church, as I took my little square of what looked like maybe semi-whole-wheat sourdough bread which served as our communion loaf, I seriously considered pinching off a teeny-tiny piece to eat and pocketing the rest, as my New Year diet bans all bread for the first two weeks, no matter how whole wheat, fairly traded or organic.

This small bit of bread was not meant to be used as part of any diet, trademarked or otherwise. This bread is a symbol of a symbol (although in this particular church, it is not meant to have any magical powers - just a way of remembering why Jesus, you know, died and stuff), one that is reiterated every time it is offered, so that you won't forget between the time that the ritual starts and the time, mere moments later, that you look at it as South Beach Poison. Yet, I managed to lose the point within those moments.


These days, Communion seems a little silly to me. I've begun to look at it as a typical human religious overreaction to Jesus' idea of a forget-me-not. To me the Last Supper story reads like this: one night when things were looking most bleak for our hero, Jesus had dinner with his friends and asked them that maybe, after he was gone, that when they had dinner they might look at the bread and wine on the table and remember him. That's all. No impressive-looking men in fancy robes lifting ornate goblets up to heaven. No special ritualistic words intoned in a godly voice. Just a thought: Have some bread. Remember Jesus. Drink some wine. Remember Jesus.

Does this mean that I live by my new heretical religious thoughts? No. I don't even say grace. I don't even know if I really believe what I'm left with to believe at this point in the life-long deconstruction and reconstruction that is my religious education.

So maybe it's best that I go ahead and try to think holy thoughts during this duded-up ritual that is Christian Communion. And that I try to take it seriously. If nothing else, it's a chance for silence. Quiet the flow from the brain. Shut off the pipe from the snark lobe. Well, maybe turn it down to a trickle.

See you in church.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Photographic Memories

I pulled maybe forty photographs out of five or six photo albums, scanned them for a family project, and then realized I did not note out of which album I had pulled them.

If I had proper, chronologically ordered photo albums this would not have been a problem. I could have popped them back in in their proper chronological order. However, my photo albums have grown wild and weedy over the years, with some starting before I was born and then skipping to the early Dean years, and some focusing mainly on bad pictures I took as a teenager and college student. Others have been limited to pictures that can fit certain sizes, which mean they are a bit of a grab bag.

The old "magnetic" (where "magnetic" meant "sticky") photo albums had an advantage in that you could put any size photos in them side-by-side. Now that the photos we placed so artfully in those either fell out into a pile when the "magnetism" failed, or have been eaten by toxic glue, we now have the "sleeve" style photo albums, which are either made for 4 x 6 sizes or 3 x 5. But not both if you happen to have both types of photos in the same general time period.

Whoops, that got sleep-inducing.

So I had a pile of photos. I filled all the obviously empty spots and still had a dozen or so photos. And in the process, two "magnetic" photo albums had fallen apart in my hands, and I had to "rescue" the photos and toss the old albums. I ended up slipping all of them into either a 4 x 6 sleeve album or a 3 x 5 sleeve album (that means more old photos in the back of the newest ones in our collection).

So I guess what I'm saying is, if you look through my photo albums, it will be a bit of a 52-card pick-up, which I'm just going to say makes it a more exciting experience. Because there is no way I'm spending a week of my life re-ordering and re-album-ing them. My posterity isn't worth it. And my posterior would object.