Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chip integrity

My latest order with Amazon Fresh included a bag of Doritos.  (Not for me!)  This morning, on my doorstep, was a large plastic footlocker-sized bin.  Inside the bin was a normal-sized brown paper grocery bag.  Inside that bag was a bag of Doritos and a whole lot of air.

There had better not be a broken chip in that bag.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Since my last fill-up, I have gotten about 26.5 miles per gallon in my new Honda Civic, about 14¢ per mile.  (It's rated for 36 highway, 25 city, or 29 combined.)  That's mostly city driving, with some parking-lot freeway driving and some late-night-open-road freeway driving mixed in.  I guess that's not so bad—2.5 below the combined estimate, which doesn't take into account that often when I'm heading to Seattle I'm doing so at well under 5 miles per hour for extended periods of time.  I've been paying down the principal much faster than required thanks to my saved-up car money and my review bonus, so I should have it paid off sometime early next year or so, and perhaps by then I'll be used to paying to fill up the tank, like a normal person.

Shady dealings

Today I started my adventures with the free weights, so my body hurts in new and exciting places that never hurt before.  My trainer has cheerfully informed me that "whenever I'm working out I'm just sitting there thinking of crazy shit I'm gonna make you do"—I haven't seen the worst of that, but I did some moderately crazy hamstring curls today that certainly qualified as weird.  The diet portion of things isn't too exciting yet—last week I should have gotten yogurt, and this week I was planned to have gotten yogurt added to my meal plan, but since my dietitian missed last week and I'm allergic to milk, this week I "get" both, so I won't fall behind the diet plan after all.  She feels pity on how very, very much I miss eating bread, so she's going to move things around a bit and if this week goes well, bread will be reintroduced next week (in a very limited form, of course).  My weight loss has been on the low end for the past couple of weeks, but I've been working out very hard and sticking to the diet plan, so there's not much more for me to do about it right now.  It's possible that part of the reason my weight loss has slowed a bit is that I'm starting to build more muscle.  The optimistic part of me wants to believe that, at least.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I'm pretty proud of myself.  So far as I can recall, I've only consumed two junk food items over the past five weeks: three bites of tiramisu, and half a small chocolate chip cookie.  Overall, a negligible impact on my diet.  I haven't even touched the big pile of delicious Halloween candy in my kitchen.  I mean, I really, really, really want to—the peanut butter cups call to me—but I've been a good boy.  I didn't think I could actually manage this.  But I've survived so far.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Week five, coming to a close

Week 5 (of 24) of my fitness program is drawing to a close.  I'm still right around at 20 pounds down from my pre-program starting weight—for the past few weeks I've only noticed actual weight loss on the weekends.  My official numbers taken today put me at 18 pounds under my starting weight, which doesn't take into account the four or five I lost before the actual beginning of week 1.

Today was my five-week assessment to see how I've improved, and I've made some really good progress, if I do say so myself.  In addition to the weight loss, my waist is apparently down five and a half inches!  Like any normal guy, I don't actually wear my pants at my waist, so I never really noticed, but that's certainly a significant amount.  My other measurements are shaping up nicely, though I don't have numbers.  The amount of weight that I can handle has increased pretty dramatically as well.  On average, I've doubled the weight I can do on each machine; some more, some less.  On the leg press I did a ridiculous 820 pounds (!) today, though the trainer cautioned me that when we start on free weights next week, I won't get anywhere near that.  Sometime during my senior year in college was probably the time in my life where I felt like I was in the "best shape" (whatever that nebulous idea is supposed to be), and I could do 495 with about as much effort as I spent pushing 820 today.  I don't know for sure if the machines were similar enough for those numbers to be comparable, but it's a nice little feeling regardless.

Nineteen weeks to go.  Some length of time less than that until I get to eat bread occasionally again.  That's sort of my interim goal now.  The cravings for "bad" foods are so incredibly strong now.  They've been saying all along that they'll go down, and within a week or two the cravings would go away, but they're totally wrong on that.  I want bread and sugar more than I have ever wanted them in my life right now.  I actually think about sugar and bread while I'm eating now and how much I want them.  I don't know if I've ever done that before.  I hope this doesn't get more severe.

Somewhat coincidentally, Jason and I have been dating for a month now. Yay! That's less of an accomplishment, though. Exercise and dieting sucks and I hate it. Jason is really easy to like.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Returning gifts

One of the neighborhood animals was kind enough to leave me a gift of a dead squirrel at the foot of my front porch on Tuesday.  I noticed this as Jason and I were entering—classy.  (Jason is my boyfriend, and it is less clunky to say that than the phrase "my boyfriend.")  The gift was appreciated, but I'm afraid that I already have as many dead squirrels as I could possibly want, and have no real use for yet another one.  I have rubber gloves on hand (pun intended) for exactly this sort of situation, but I postponed dealing with it until the next morning.  The next morning I was running late for my appointment with my personal trainer, so I resolved to deal with it as soon as possible after exercise.  But then voilĂ ; my problem resolved itself—the landscaping crew comes on Wednesdays, and they returned my gift for me.  I was not looking forward to picking that thing up and bagging it, or chucking it into the wetlands.

Imaginary exercise

My personal trainer is getting creative or bored or something.  The workouts are getting more complicated and bizarre each day.  Today he had me do sit-ups with a rubber ball pressed into my lower back, a stretchy rubber jumprope in my arms, and the middle of the rope stuck to the floor with his foot.  What?  That's not even a real exercise.  You're makin' that up, man.

Seedy underbelly of the world of Fable

I played Fable 2 for a little bit tonight.  I found it particularly odd that one of the first items available to be purchased is a condom.  (I would have expected, say, a healing potion or a sword.)  More amusing and less odd is that if you use the "pick-up line" emote on someone in town while not wearing any armor, they will call the guards on you, who will fine you 10 gold for your sexual harassment.  Probably a good thing: the "pick-up line" command is missing when you highlight a child in the game.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Achievement unlocked

Today was an important milestone: I'm down 20 pounds from my starting weight, about 14 of which is since starting the 20/20 Lifestyles program proper a mere month ago.  That seems like quite a lot to me.  I can feel the difference a little bit more each day, though I certainly don't feel 20 pounds lighter.  I can see a change in my face.

It's certainly been a lot of work (and money), but it seems to have been worth it so far.  It's still twenty weeks until I'm done with everything, so I've got a lot of time to get used to this and think about how I'm going to adjust my life to stay in shape once everything is over.  I'll freely admit that that thought scares me a little.  I don't know how different I'll be in five more months.  But I'm interested in finding out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lotion, stat

My hands look absolutely terrible right now.  My skin is extremely dry, likely due to a combination of the onset of fall weather and my incessant need to constantly wash my hands.  Frankly, they're kinda gross.  I need to break out the lotion, stat.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week four

Week four of my mystical weight loss journey has begun, and the big change this week is the reintroduction of fruits into my diet (other than the berries I was already allowed to have).  This is a very welcome addition; I've been longing for sugar, and even though I still can't have a lot of it, being able to have fruit with meals or snacks will help satisfy those carbohydrate cravings.  Last week I went down another couple pounds by the end, which isn't a fast decline, but worse things could happen.  I'm down 16 pounds since starting all of this, which is nice, though I wonder where exactly all that is coming from.  I feel unquantifiably lighter.  I think that my face looks a little different, but in general I can't really tell.  I've definitely increased my strength and overall fitness across these past weeks—I'm able to lift a bit more than when I started, and I'm learning to be better about "powering through" the pain and stressing my body.

At first I was really skeptical of having three life changes all at once—a boyfriend, strenuous exercise, and a bizarre diet—but I seem to be handling things okay.  My guy's perfectly cool with it all, and it's all been pretty positive this far.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


There are some gigantic mushrooms growing by my place.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Morning non-sequitur

This morning at the gym, I saw at the bike racks a stationary exercise bike that was parked there on a hand truck.  I found this very amusing.


I thought of a clever word on the way to work this moment: Godcast, a sermon or other spiritual or inspirational spoken word recording in MP3 format.  Unfortunately, 43,300 people thought of it before me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fabulous in the Seattle Metro Area

I made an exciting new blog template mockup upon the request of a friend, so I thought I might as well share.  Click to enlarge.

(No, I'm not changing my actual blog template to that.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Locker room advice, sir

I call people "sir" a lot.  Today I began wondering if I did this subconsciously because of my frequent failure to remember the names of people I'm talking to.  Calling them "sir" effortlessly sidesteps this problem.  I started wondering this while sitting in the hot tub, talking with the locker room attendant.

Ian:  How was your workout today, Travis?
Me:  Just great.  (exaggerated sigh of relief)
Ian:  Excellent, that is good to hear.  I'll see you around, Travis.  Have a wonderful day.
Me:  Have a good one, sir.
Ian:  Do you remember my name?  I don't mind if you call me "sir," but do you remember my name?
Me:  Ian!  I'm always impressed that you know everyone's names.
Ian:  Don't be impressed.  Just do it.  It's the most important thing you can do at a job.  Show people that you respect them, that you care for them, and that you like being around them.  That's more important than anything else, right?

Seems like pretty good advice to me.

Gender pronouns

Over the past few days, I've gotten a few people calling me on the fact that my blog posts don't tend to use gender pronouns.  I really didn't even notice—it's just the way I find myself writing.  It can be challenging for me, a shy person, to publicize any of the important details of my life on the internet, especially under my real name.  So, I guess I tend to use language that obscures details without even having to try.  I think that in the back of my mind, it makes me feel a little safer.  But, it's admittedly awkward, and seems vaguely deceptive, and I really am trying to open up from time to time (what else would the point of all this be?), so I'll try to be on watch for future incidents.  Just so all of my cards are on the table, I'll clarify my previous relationship-related posts from saying that I'm dating a really great someone to saying that I'm dating a really great guy. I've got a boyfriend, for those of you who I don't interact with daily and aren't Facebook friends with me and were thus probably unaware.  (I mostly gave up on obscuring that particular detail quite a while ago, but I don't tend to just volunteer random personal facts about myself, so don't feel too out of the loop if you didn't know.)

I will try to be more specific in the future. Until I forget.

Currently listening (really): Katy Perry—I Kissed a Girl

Saturday, October 4, 2008


The multivitamins I'm taking look like those feed pellets you buy at the zoo to feed to goats, and smell like petting zoo pellets too. I'm not sure which of those two things is worse.

But, they're the only multivitamins I've ever taken that haven't made me really sick to my stomach, so that's nice. Based on what I've heard from my doctor and dietitian, it's possible that the prior kinds have all contained iron (a stomach irritant), and these don't. (Men don't need to take iron daily because our vaginas do not bleed monthly.)

Weekend two

As far as the weight loss is going, this has been a slow week.  Getting to eat vegetables has been fantastic for preventing the hunger I was experiencing last week, and I've been exploring other options to replace the horrid protein shakes—soy nuts, premixed shakes (unfortunately with whey), protein bars, and the like.  This has made things a bit easier.  Unfortunately, this week I'm only down a pound so far, despite my calorie intake being relatively constant and the workouts being more intense.  It's unrealistic to expect me to lose another 8 after switching from liquid meals to solid food, but the downside of having such a big drop last week is that it doesn't give me much wiggle room this week for making visible progress.  I'm guessing that by Monday's dietitian appointment I'll be down a total of 2.  3 would be lucky.

On the upside, I've begun to feel a little bit of change in my health level and weight.  I do feel a little generically "healthier," even though I'm still tired and sore and occasionally hungry.  I have to wear a belt pretty much all the time now; I could get by without one on certain pairs of pants before, but now everything's noticeably looser.  That's encouraging, even if the numbers don't agree.

Windy city

Today was a very windy day.  The house was creaking, trees were bent out of shape, and this afternoon as I crossed the 520 bridge across Lake Washington, the bridge sections were rocking back and forth and there were waves crashing into the cars in the oncoming eastbound lane.  It was all I could do to keep the car headed in a roughly straight line with all of the wind and water.  Waves!  I'm not prepared for this stuff.  We didn't have "water" back in Nebraska.  Sure, sometimes the streets would be fully iced over and people would slide uncontrollably through red lights and bounce off of curbs, but at least the road wasn't moving under you.

Suze Spomer's finance tip # 228

Tip: To save money, don't show up at a pay parking lot that doesn't give change with only twenties and a couple ones.  Especially not when you're already 15 minutes late and it's the only parking spot you could find.

That was an expensive parking spot.  Stupid Seattle.  :(

Currently listening: Enigma—Seven Lives (seizure warning; Good Lord...)

Friday, October 3, 2008


I can't see very well today.  I don't know what the deal is; my vision is just blurry and I've had trouble focusing my eyes.  It is quite disconcerting, and makes it difficult to do any work.  Yesterday, I was fine.

Currently listening: to people playing Rock Band while I'm attempting and failing to work

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Downright acceptable

That worked out better than I was expecting.  I was getting a little bored with my usual dinners, so I decided to mix things up and combine a few sort-of-random diet-safe ingredients I had around.  It ended up being pretty tasty, actually.

  • 1.25 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 jar organic no-sugar pasta sauce
  • 1 onion (I'd probably make this 1/2 next time)
  • liberally apply garlic powder

I browned the turkey breast, then tossed the rest of the stuff in and let it simmer for a little bit.

Eight days

I went eight days without Diet Coke (or any pop of any kind).  This is the longest I've done so in literally decades—I must have been just starting elementary school the last time that happened.  It may have even been longer ago.  In the last decade, besides those eight days in a row, there probably weren't even eight more noncontiguous days where I didn't drink pop of any kind.  It was a big thing for me.

On Tuesday I had one, and today I had another one.  My dietitian seems to think it will be fine if I have an occasional Diet Coke, as long as I limit it to no more than one a day, and preferably have one with food and without caffeine.  It's pretty inconvenient and unpleasant to have water with lunch, so that's probably when I'll have it.  It's nice to have my addiction back, at least a little bit.