Nessa Is A Bitch

My friend Nessa is at Disneyland right now. I'm not. No. Instead, I woke up to this this morning.
That's 10 inches of fresh snow. But that's nothing. Tomorrow we're getting dumped on again. Another 5 to 10 inches, with slightly more to the east and to the west of the immediate area. I'll be thinking of you, Nessa, while I'm shoveling the driveway for the second time this week. And I don't think nice things will be coming out of my mouth. :)

The Closing Of The Year

So, I almost ended the year on an awful note. I installed a new program for dvd burning. The program that came with the computer never worked and Roxio's support staff stopped helping me two weeks ago. Bastards. Anyway, I installed the new program today, rebooted and got the blue screen of death. Luckily Ken was able to help get the system back online and I'm up and running again. Hopefully I'm good again.

Since it's New Year's Eve, I think it's a rule that I have to reflect on the year that's passed. I'm still trying to figure out if it was a good year or a shitty year. I really worked on improving my life in 2007. I dropped another 60 lbs between the first and last of the year. That's a great thing. But my body started betraying me. I found out I have neuromas in both my feet. My right shoulder/back area has been giving me lots of problems the last few months. My cholesterol is slightly elevated. I try to get healthy by dropping the weight, but my body finds other ways to fall apart. It's just not fair.

I've met a whole lot of great new people this year. It all spun out of the QCastCT podcast. Michael and Mr. Bee have certainly built up quite the community over there. It was right around this time last year that I started listening to their show and through that met all these fun people that include Holly, Nessa, Venus, Michael in Stuttgart, Nicole... Too many to single them all out.

I also got a chance to reacquaint myself with some old friends. I saw my friend Lisa for the first time in 10 years this summer and then saw her again just after. Christine is another one I haven't seen in years and we got back in touch again. Hell, just about everyone at Lisa's birthday party... I keep meaning to get back in touch with Maria, someone I went to high school with. I last saw her maybe 3 years ago and I keep meaning to go see her and it never happens. I'm going to do it in 2008. Now that I have it written down, I'm committed to it, right?

I try not to set unrealistic goals for myself for the New Year. Last year my goal was an easy, attainable goal. I wanted to lose 30 pounds. I did it by June and ended up doubling it. I really wanted to lose 50, but I thought if I set the goal that high, I might get frustrated if I didn't quite hit it. For 2008, I want to get down to 199. That's 11 more pounds. I'd love to get there by my birthday, which is in May. That's possible, but I also know that these last 11 pounds are going to be the hardest 11 pounds. I also want to try to be less of a douche bag at home. I can be a pretty big douche bag and Ken doesn't deserve it. My final goal is to finish uploading my music to this computer. I moved my iTunes folder from the old computer to this one and now I'm in the process of going through all my cds and uploading the missing songs. I'm done with A through E and I'm half-way through F right now. My song count is 20,691 as of this writing.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!


The Year In Music

Music is a very important thing to me. I can't imagine going a whole day without a stack of cds, an iPod or iTunes. I'm always plugged in at work, I've always got something playing on the computer.... That being said, here are some of my highlights for the year 2007:

Suzanne Vega - Beauty & Crime
It's her first album on a new label and, for the most part, has New York City as a central theme. It's been a long time since her last cd, but this one is so good, it was worth the wait.

Macy Gray - Big
hat a fantastic album. I know it got a bunch of crummy reviews, but I don't agree with them. Macy is in top form on this album and definitely reaffirmed my love for her. Best song is "Strange Behavior" which tells about Macy and her lover each trying to off each other for the insurance money.

Joan Osborne - Breakfast In Bed
Joan is back doing R&B after last year's foray into country. While I think I prefer the country sound for her, this album is great. It's about half classic R&B covers, half new material, but you'd think it's all covers on first listen. Her new stuff fits in seemlessly with the classics.

Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat
I'm a sucker for artists whose accents come through when they sing. Malcolm Middleton is from Scotland and used to be in the band Arab Strap. This is his second solo album, though the first that I discovered. And how can you not love an album with a song titles "Fuck It, I Love You?"

Patty Griffin - Children Running Through
I think this was the first 2007 release I picked up (and her new live album was the last release I picked up this year.. How 'bout that for going full circle?) What I like about this album is she recorded a Greatest Hits album of all new material. What I mean by that is each song sounds like it could have fit on each of her prior releases without sounding out of place. She's fantastic.
Paula Cole - Courage
She seemed to have disappeared after her last album, Amen, back in 1999. Though I didn't pick that album up, the universal opinion of it seemed to be that it sucked donkey dick. Diseased donkey dick. I don't know where she went, but she came back with this great new album, batteries completely recharged.

Tiny Dancers - Free School Milk
Another band I discovered for the first time this year. I like 'em. 'Nuff said.

Chaka Khan - Funk This
I didn't expect to like this. Really. What I expected was a washed up Chaka doing sub-standard songs in a desperate attempt to sound relevant again. What I got instead was a classy performer doing great material.

Newton Faulkner - Hand Built By Robots
He's all the rage in Britain right now. Kind of reminds me of Jack Johnson, if all of Jack Johnson's songs didn't sound exactly alike.

Trisha Yearwood - Heaven, Heartache And The Power of Love
I love Trisha. I love that she's back. I love that she even has a little bit of fun on this album. And it more than makes up for the lame Greatest Hits album her old label put out this year, which was basically a rehash of her previous one.

Alexander Schultz - If You Forgive Me, I'll Just Do It Again
Regular readers of this blog will know that I've talked about this album in the past. Another new discovery for me this year, and one of my absolute favorites of the year. And if that's not enough, Alexander himself got in touch with me. How fucking awesome is that? "Watching Without Words" is currently my most played song in iTunes. That must tell you something.

Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
Take the attitude of Amy Winehouse and place it in a folk music setting and you have Kate Walsh. "Dickhead" is a stand out track.

Deborah Harry - Necessary Evil
Debbie Harry is one year younger than my mother. But I cannot in a million years image my mother putting out music like this. Hell, I can't in a million years image my mother listening to music like this. For a 62 year old woman, Debbie can still out perform anyone.
Nellie McKay - Obligatory Villagers
Nellie McKay can do no wrong in my eyes. She's amazing. And she duets with Bob Dorough on this album. How fucking amazing is that? You know, the guy from Schoolhouse Rock.

Steve Bertrand - Pain Is A Megaphone
Solid album from the first note to the last. "Megaphone" is another of my top tracks of the year.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
On paper, this collaboration should not have worked. It's freakish. But the music is beautiful. Who knew throwing these two together would make sense? Maybe there's hope for a Dolly Parton/Slayer album next?

Rufus Wainwright - Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall
Rufus Wainwright - Release The Stars
Rufus put two albums out this year and I really loved them both. However, the live album is definitely my favorite of the two, for sheer camp value if nothing else. Rufus recreated Judy Garland's complete Carnegie Hall concert recording here, including talking to the audience where Judy did and flubbing lyrics like Judy did. Fabulous!

Scouting For Girls - Scouting For Girls
The single funnest album of the year. Even more than either Barenaked Ladies release this year. So there.

Alison Moyet - The Turn
How the hell she manages to get better with age, I'll never know. She doesn't have American distribution with this album yet, and that's really unfortunate because this album is so damn good. I haven't felt this way about her since "Hoodoo."

Lori McKenna - Unglamorous
Yeah, Tim McGraw produced this album, but it didn't seem to hurt. I love how raw she can be. If you don't know her, think a stripped down Patty Griffin. Just amazing.

Teddy Thompson - Upfront & Down Low
Teddy turns to classic country for this album and it's like he was born for this material.

This really was a great year for music for me. Probably the best in recent memory. I didn't have the job at the record store to distract me from the music I like. That certainly helped more than I could have thought it would. Other albums I enjoyed this year were:
James Blunt - All The Lost Souls
Barenaked Ladies - Are Men
Barenaked Ladies - Live In Michigan
Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Deanna Carter - The Chain
New Pornographers - Challengers
Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House
Miranda Lambert - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Shirley Bassey - Get The Party Started
Lyle Lovett & His Large Band - It's Not Big, It's Large
Roddy Frame - Live In Osaka
Mindy Smith - Long Island Shores
The Roches - Moonswept
Norah Jones - Not Too Late
Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night
A Fine Frenzy - One Cell In The Sea
James Taylor - One Man Band
Tracey Thorn - Out Of The Woods
Ben Mills - Picture of You
Feist - The Reminder
The Puppini Sisters - Rise And Fall of Ruby Woo
Marc Broussard - S.O.S.: Save Our Soul
Joni Mitchell - Shine
Southerly - Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist
Carlene Carter - Stronger
Seal - System
Amy MacDonald - This Is The Life
Melanie C - This Time
Kate Walsh - Tim's House
Crowded House - Time On Earth
Kelly Willis - Translated From Love
Christian Ingebrightsen - The Truth About Lies
Jann Arden - Uncover Me
Lucinda Williams - West
Will Stratton - What The Night Said
Cary Brothers - Who You Are
Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion

And even more, but that's enough for now. This post took way longer to put together than it looks, considering there's not a whole lot of content.

What did you listen to in 2007 that made you happy?


Christmas Round Up

I would have done this last night, but I was too freakin' tired. Still. Christmas really took the wind out of my sails this year. More than usual. More than when I was in retail. Crazy, huh?

Christmas Eve started out pretty early. I drove Ken in to work first thing in the morning. The plan was I would pick him up and we'd go directly to my parents' house from there. He figured he'd be out around 2 or 2:30. So I dropped him off and headed straight for the mall. Not because I needed to do last minute shopping, but because that's where I get my hair cut. I figured it was early enough that I could get in and out without incident. And I did, for the most part. I had to wait 15 minutes because there was only one person on that early and she had a client already.

After the haircut it was off to the supermarket. Needed asparagus for Christmas Day. Then home to wrap presents, clean the house, do whatever Christmas Day preparations I needed to do. I thought I had until 2 o'clock to do everything. Until Ken called to say he was letting everyone go at noon. That changed things a bit. If I would have known this was going to happen, he would have driven himself in and I could have slept in.

Anyway, I picked him up and brought him home for a bit. We left for Mom's around 2, taking a pitstop at McDonald's. My first Big Mac in as long as I can remember. It wasn't as delicious as I remember them being. What a disappointment.

Spent an hour or so with Mom and Dad until my sister was done with work. Ken and I went out to pick her up, listening to her bitch and moan all the way home. I really thought I was bad, but I'm nothing compared to my sister. Damn. Mom made the full turkey dinner. I overdid it a little at dinner, but I'm allowed.

Gift exchange followed dinner. I actually got some pretty good stuff. (Probably because I told them to buy it off my amazon.com wish list or don't buy it at all!) Got the first JLA/JSA trade paperback, the Supergirl Showcase, the Sgt. Rock Showcase, the Marvel Family Archives, the first two seasons of Dynasty on dvd, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane on dvd. Then, things not on my wish list: 3 pairs of Converse All-Stars. Totally unexpected and a great surprise. A new shirt (Rule #1 to my family --- don't EVER buy me clothes unless I tell you EXACTLY what to get me. I got a nice new shirt. Size XL. I didn't know if it would fit. Most of my shirts now are 3XLT. I've lost weight and I know i need new clothes. I tried it on and surprisingly, it fit. I was very happy. Until laundry day. It shrunk and don't fit right anymore. I still need a Tall. So note to family --- always obey rule #1.)

We spent a couple more hours there before heading home. I don't know what it was about being at my mom's house, but it sucked every bit of energy I had out of me. This is bad because I still had to entertain on Christmas Day.

Ken's Mom came over on Tuesday afternoon. I thing she wanted to take us out to eat, but nothing was open. I cooked a chicken, rice and asparagus for dinner. It all came out perfect. Vicki hasn't been over in quite a while, so we got all caught up. Spent a few hours visiting, playing Scrabble and eating. She always gets the perfect gifts for us, too. She does all her shopping at her local bank.

I crashed hard on Tuesday night. I climbed into bed at 8:30, was asleep by 9:30 and up with the alarm on Wednesday. It was one of those mornings where the alarm hurt exponentially more than usual. I dragged my ass all day Wednesday. It's Thursday now and I'm still feeling it. One more day of work and then I can crash again. I only have plans for Saturday night and that's all I'm committing to. I'm going to be unavailable the rest of the weekend.


Christmas Eve

This is so weird. It really doesn't feel anything like Christmas. Still. Yet it's here. I don't know what could be done to make it feel more like Christmas. I think the weather has a lot to do with it. It wasn't cold enough or something. I don't know.

It's been a long day. Started off with me bringing Ken in to work this morning. The plan was for me to drop him off and pick him up later. We'd go directly to my parents' house from there. Plans changed, though. He got out earlier than anticipated, so we came back home for a while before departure. I got a haircut this morning. I really needed one. I like how my hair looks again. Did some errands and some cleaning this morning, too.

And I ate too much. I had a Big Mac in the car on the way down to my mom's. I didn't need one, mind you, but I wanted one. It wasn't nearly as good as I remember it tasting. That's a good thing. A really good thing. Mom made the full turkey dinner and I overindulged in that, too. I'm allowed to do this every once in a while, but I really am feeling bad about doing it. And that, too, is a good thing. I don't ever want to fall back into my old eating habits, and the fact that I'm feeling some regret makes me happy.

Ken's mother is coming over tomorrow. I'm cooking a chicken for our meal. I plan on behaving myself.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a full Christmas recap.

Merry Christmas (or Merry Tuesday, depending) everyone!!


What Christmas Means To Me

You may have already seen this. There's an email circulating and I got it the other day. All pictures of children on Santa's lap. I was amused by it.

Hard Candy Christmas

No, not really. It's just that I've been listening to Dolly Parton this weekend. She's so incredible.

Today has been bizarre. I woke up at 6 this morning because I wanted to do my walk before the mall opened. (I'm such an old man.) I got out of the house and to the mall by 6:20 and walked for an hour. Some of the stores opened at 7 but there didn't seem to be a good reason. No one was out shopping yet.

I noticed on the drive home that I was having a reaction to my meds again. The niacin pill I take says to take at bedtime with a low-fat snack. I didn't have a snack last night and popped the pill when I got in bed. When I don't follow the directions, I break out from head to toe. I burn bright red... my arms, my legs, my chest, my face. It's not pretty. It lasts a couple hours and then goes away. So that was pleasant. But once I got home, I climbed right back in bed and slept until 11. By that time, the reaction was over.

My friend Carol called before I got up. She had managed to drive her car into the snow in her driveway and was trapped. You see, Carol only shovels just enough of her driveway to park. Her driveway could easily fit five cars in it. She had the brilliant idea to drive to the end of her driveway this morning to turn around. Well, when you drive into an area with probably 9 inches of snow while it's raining and above freezing, you're going to be in trouble. I think she was having a problem understanding this. Ken and I got her car out and that's all that counts. After that, Ken and Carol went Christmas shopping and I came home to veg out.

Today was weigh in day. I had really good results, but I really shouldn't have. I ate a little more shit than I should have this week. There was so much food floating around work. I planned on being a little bad, but I think I was just a little badder than I planned on. So what do I do to balance it out? I skipped a couple of meals this week. Not the most brilliant idea I've ever had and definitely nothing I'd recommend to anyone. That being said, I was 209 this morning. I'm now officially down 91 pounds. Nine more to go.

I want to get a new scale. Before my diet, we had a digital scale and I liked it. Except I found out the hard way I was too fat for it. I was weighing in at around 290 or so. When I went to the doctor that fateful day when I found out I was actually 300 pounds, I realized the scale wasn't working. I went out and bought a new digital scale, but I was too fat for it to work. So I went with an old fashioned analog scale. Now that I'm getting down in pounds, I think it's time to invest in another digital. Some weeks I have to kind of guess where the needle is on the scale. I always err to the heavier weight if I'm not sure what the actual reading is. This morning I wasn't quite sure if I was 208 or 209. I went with the 209. My fear is that when I get a new scale, it will show I'm not 209, but 215. I've fought long and hard to get to where I am.


The Saturday Before Christmas

What a mostly great day. Slept in, didn't have much in the way of chores (just a little laundry), ran a couple of errands.... If I could have napped today, all would have been perfect. The only rough patch experienced was dinner. We were going to go to the Macaroni Grill, but they were closed because a water pipe burst. Oy. Instead we went to Red Robin. I haven't been there in a thousand years. It's not the type of place to go if you want to lose weight. Anyway, we must have been invisible. It took ten minutes to get the waitress to come over. Another ten to get beverages. And another FORTY minutes to get our dinner because she never put the order in. I could understand better if the place was crazy, but it wasn't.

After dinner, we went to the mall. It was almost ten o'clock at this point. I needed new gloves, so Ken bought me a pair for Christmas. He wanted to get me some boots, too, but I wasn't in the mood for shoe shopping. We also poked around Barnes & Noble. I found something I didn't even know existed. Patty Griffin has a new live cd/dvd out and it's only at Barnes & Noble. I was very happy to buy it. She's faboo.

I should get up early to walk tomorrow, but I don't think that's going to happen. Keep your fingers crossed that I can maintain my current weight for another week.


Christmas Posting

I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Christmas is in a couple of days. You would think having a foot and a half of snow on the ground would help make it feel more Christmassy.

One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs is "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. Never thought to look to see if a video was ever made of it until tonight. And there is.

For no good reason, here's one of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock videos:

And why not? Isn't this what YouTube is all about?


Ego Boost

Saw an old co-worker in the lobby of the building this morning. He commented that I looked really good and we talked briefly about my weight loss on the elevator ride. Didn't think anything else of it until my phone rang around 10 o'clock. It was Mike calling to ask more about how I lost the weight. He says he really needs to and was wondering if I could give him any advice. Me. Giving advice. I told him the basics of what I did and told him that if I could do it, he'd have no problem. I'm still floating off the ground a little bit about that.

And of course I ate for shit today. Candy and pizza, though I avoided most of the other temptations that were laid out all over the office. Today was the biggest food day I've seen there in months. I still have some candy in my desk for "emergencies."

Damn, This Looks Good


Aches, Pains and Worries

I hurt. I'm sick of shoveling the driveway. Times like this make me miss having a landlord. This morning was the third time I shoveled the snow from this weekend's storm. The plows buried the front of the driveway and the only way to get out was for me to dig us out. Naturally Ken was still asleep while I was doing this and when it was done, he suggested that I should have woken him up. Yeah, whatever. All I know is I hurt and it'll be another day or so before I feel better.

Tomorrow and Wednesday are the last two days of the year that overtime is available at work. I need to get a little bit of time in while it's still available. I try to get a minimum of two and a half hours in a week. You see, I work a 37 1/2 hour week, so the first 2 1/2 hours of overtime each week if comp time. Anything over that is time and a half. So at the very least, I try to get my comp time in. I was able to take two weeks off for vacation this year and charged it all to my comp time and still had a week's worth left over. Anyway, I'm getting worried about how much overtime I'll be able to do in the new year. At work I'm one of the support staff. I'm a floater and I work with a bunch of different units. One unit in particular is where I get most of my overtime. They've been seriously understaffed for about a year. Just recently they've filled up all the open positions and with a full staff, the backlog of work is quickly getting done. That's what I've been working on to make some extra money. I've been assured that there's still plenty of other things that are so backlogged that I'll be able to pump out as much o.t. as I can stand. We'll see.

And just so I'm not all crabby, all the time, I want to thank Nessa for the box of love that was waiting for me when I got home tonight. Sure, you're going to make me fat, but it's worth it!


Sunday Blog Post

It snowed again last night. I'm guessing there's another six or seven inches of snow on top of the eight we got on Thursday. I spent about an hour shoveling this morning, so at least I got my exercise in for the day. If my shoulder wasn't bothering me, I don't think I'd mind the snow so much. I usually love winter, though my reasons are kind of messed up. I would pray for as much snow as possible every winter. It usually distracted people from shopping and that was a good thing considered I hated dealing with customers. But now that I don't have to worry about that, I guess it doesn't need to snow all that much. I do like snow on the ground during the winter. I think it's pretty. But we don't need back to back storms.

I made progress on the scale today. Last Sunday (and the few Sundays before that) I was at 214. Today I was 210! I'm thrilled beyond belief. I was probably in junior high the last time I weighed 210. I'm going to do some damage to that number today, I'm sure. The restaurant we love is having their first anniversary party today and I'm sure I'm going to over do it. But I've been so good, I'm allowed.


Lazy Saturday (Kinda)

I've really been enjoying my Saturday. I've done a whole lot, but it doesn't feel like it. In a good way, though. I got up really freakin' early today (6:15) because I needed to go walking. I usually go on Sunday, but we're getting a storm tonight and I won't be able to go in the morning. So I did it today. Got to the mall at 6:45, not realizing it opened at 7 a.m. today. But the number of shoppers was minimal and I got an hour in. It's .3 miles from one end of the mall to the other and I walked 10 lengths. Right after I hit the grocery store. I figured that since I was already out, I might as well just get it done. I was home and online before 9 this morning with most everything I needed to do done for the day.

After I showered, I climbed back into bed and caught up on almost all my tv viewing. I find that I'm losing interest in tv and I've been letting shows pile up. My dvd was 52% full. Now there's just one show left (Pushing Daisies) and I'll get to that this weekend.

I then decided to go out for a little bit. I went to see Sharon at the store and hung out for about an hour, talking to her in between her helping customers. I have to tell you, it made me realize how bad I had it when I worked retail. I'm so not used to how bad people smell and how needy they are, not to mention stupid. Leaving retail was the greatest thing I could have ever done.

It's only 3:30 and I've got most of Saturday with not a lot to do. How awesome is that?


Just Because

Snow Day

I got up this morning and turned on the tv as I got ready for work. They were showing all these school closings and I was very confused. Didn't quite know why everything was closed. Last I heard we were going to get some flurries today, nothing else. Somewhere, sometime, somehow, the forecast changed. We got our first storm of the season today. Snow started around 11 this morning (maybe earlier, I wasn't paying attention) and it's still going at 5:45. We're only supposed to get 4" to 6", but since it's the first real snowfall of the season, everyone is freaking out and losing their shit. When noon hit today, 2/3 of the office left. It was quieter than a Friday afternoon today. Amiee convinced me I should go to, so I left at 1. Took 50 minutes to get home. Waited at the bus stop for 20 minutes until one of the buses that could get me close to home arrived. Two of the buses drop me off within yards of my house, but a different one came first, so I took that. It's a ten minute walk from where that lets me off. I didn't care. I just wanted to get home and any movement was better than none.

I live in the Northeast and we have lots of firsts with snow every year. A couple of weeks ago we had our first snow. It was just enough to coat the ground but not enough to shovel. The type that lasts for a day or so before it's gone. Today we had our first snowstorm. Like I said before, it's only supposed to be 4" to 6" inches. This weekend coming, we may have our first Nor'easter. All the weathermen are too scared to say anything about the storm for fear of being really off. Depending on the track of the storm, we may get hit and hit hard. Or completely missed. We'll see.

I had to end a friendship today. That's never easy, but the person I'm shunning did something so completely and utterly evil that it made it easy to pull the plug. My friend Holly sent me the most decedent package of love. Chocolate truffles, peppermint bark and my favorite peanut butter balls. I nearly went into a diabetic coma sampling them all. How fucking evil is that? But so damn good. Thank God it's snowing out because I needed to shovel the driveway to try and undo some of the damage I'm planning on inflicting upon myself. LOL. Thank you so much, Holly!!!! And if all goes according to plan, I will be ending another friendship tomorrow. (Yes, Nessa, I'm talking about you!!!)

I'm having another computer issue. The dvd burning software that came with the computer isn't acting correctly. It won't recognize .avi files and won't burn them. I've tried researching a fix, but I'm struck out. Thought I found one, but it didn't work. I now have an email in to tech support. I'm not holding my breath. I found out last night it wasn't working properly when I tried to burn a couple episodes of Land of the Lost for a friend at work. We were talking about that and Brady Bunch and stuff like that, so I thought I'd bring her in a little giftie today. I found another program to burn the dvd, but I don't really like it too much. I guess all that counts is she got her Will and Holly Marshall as well as some Brady Bunch tunes.

I found this on another blog today and properly stole it to show here. Evidence that Jughead Jones is a big fat homo.

Spread The Word

Saw this on another blog and thought it was important enough to help spread the word...


Catching Up

This has been a very full couple of days. Between work and weekend guests, I haven't had time for anything, much less posting here. It's really cutting into my plan for one post a day minimum this month. Such is life.

Friday night we went out to dinner after work as usual. Ken started talking to Mary Jo, the owner of the restaurant, about doing a catering menu for her. She's got a really crappy one right now and Ken, being Ken, wasn't happy with it, so he wanted to give her a "real" one. So when we got home from dinner, we both did some housework and then he got right to work on it. His first draft looks amazing and Mary Jo loves it.

Saturday Gus & Steve arrived. Right around lunch time. It's been probably 9 months since we've seen each other. I think I was probably around 250 lbs when they were here last. They were quiet impressed with my new skinnier body. That made me feel pretty damn good. I tried to behave myself, food wise, with them here. When things aren't normal, it's easy to fall back into bad habits. I could have done better, but I'm pretty happy with myself. I'm just bummed that I didn't lose any weight last week. I didn't gain any either, so I should be really happy.

Anyway, it was great seeing them. We did a lot of hanging out, lots of eating, a little shopping and a lot of card playing. Steve & I teamed up against George and Ken and kicked their asses at spades.

As much fun as the weekend was, it was exhausting. The boys left this morning and it was back to work for me. I'm ready for a weekend now to unwind and veg out. That won't be this coming weekend because Ken's nephews are coming to visit. I'm actually thinking of working some overtime on Saturday because that will be more peaceful than being home. Sad, isn't it?

The only other thing worth mentioning is my back. The bad shoulder has really been killing me the last two days. And my arm is pretty sore, too. For no reason. I'm hoping it's just temporary because I don't really want to go to the doctor for this. I have an appointment at the beginning of February and I'd much prefer my back to behave until then. Two birds with one stone and all.

I need to get to bed early tonight. I'm still running on fumes and that's never any fun.

And finally, since this is my 252nd blog posting, I thought I'd post the first thing that jumps to my mind when I hear the number 252. It's Action Comics #252, the first appearance of Supergirl.


Happy Birthday

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. My little brother turns 40 today.

Damn, I'm only 41, but that just makes me feel really old.


I'm making progress. The new computer is almost exactly where it needs to be. Tonight I installed Quicken (and paid some bills. How novel.) and Microsoft Office. I set up mail filters and new sub-folders for the sorted mail. Got Norton installed and up and running. I went through all the bookmarks I have (from several computers) and organized them. I feel really accomplished. Now I just need to grab that last load of laundry from the dryer and I'll be done for the night. I can settle into bed and watch tonight's Project Runway.

I found out today that my friend Sharon's store is going to be closing mid-January. It's no surprise. She's been suspecting this was going to happen for a while. It's just so nice that the home office decides to tell her three weeks before Christmas. Most of her staff will have jobs in other stores, but not all. She's not sure where they'll be moving her yet. Hopefully this is going to be the push she needs to find a satisfying job.

In similar news, I heard from my friend Bill the other day that his coffee shop just went out of business. I feel so bad for him. He's talked about doing something like this for years and he finally went and did it. It just didn't work out for him. That sucks out loud.

I know I have about a million other things I wanted to jot down here, but my head is going about a hundred miles a second and nothing is going slow enough for me to catch. There's always tomorrow night after Survivor.


Christmas Is Coming

And for some reason, I was actually inspired to start and nearly finish my shopping tonight after work. I was going to stay and do some overtime tonight, but Ollie needed food and I needed to go mail a package, so I left to go do these errands. And I managed to get almost all my Christmas shopping done. All I have left is something else for my sister (her list was very short and now I need to find something else for her) and my uncle (who the fuck knows what I can get him!) I feel very accomplished. And to top things off, I bought myself a present, too. The new Rufus Wainwright came out today and I needed to have it. Double disc recreating the Judy Garland Live At Carnegie Hall show. I've uploaded both albums to my iPod and will listen to them back to back tomorrow.

Because of all the running around, I made zero progress getting the new computer further set up. And I didn't read any of my usual blogs. There's always tomorrow.


Deja Vu

So, with the Vista drama behind me now, it was time to get another new computer. Dell still sells some models with XP installed. The new one arrived today and I've been trying to get this sucka all set up. It's going to take a few nights of playing to get everything loaded and organized. I'm having a blast doing it so far. Right now I'm moving my iTunes library over. Still have 45 minutes of moving to go.

The new monitor is amazing. It's a 22" widescreen monitor. I feel like I'm at the movies, it's so big. It makes Ken's 19" widescreen look positively teeny.

With all this set up, I'm falling behind on my day-to-day websurfing. I'll hopefully be caught up by the weekend.


A Week

It's been a week since my last post. I've never gone that long between posts. I'll try not to let it happen again. I don't know where the time went, either. Or what I did with it. It seems my head has been so far up my ass lately that I don't even know the day or the time. I need to snap out of it and soon.

I don't really have anything to say tonight either. I mean, I do, but I really don't see the point. It's nothing interesting. But then again, this blog isn't an exercise in being interesting. It's an exercise to teach me how to articulate more.

Maybe tomorrow.


Finally, A Little Bit Of Sunshine

Today is weigh in day and there was no change from last week, which, by itself, is a huge accomplishment. I ate too much on Thursday and went out for pizza last night. I should have been up. But the real bit of sunshine came this afternoon. I went out to buy pants and I fit into a size 36 for the first time since I can't even remember. Last fall I was in a size 44 pant. I've hit one of my goals!! I almost cried in the fitting room. As long as they don't go and shrink on me in the wash, I will be fine!

I still can't believe I can shop in a normal store to get pants again. In *any* store.

Going Back

The new computer is going back. After dealing with nothing but problems this morning, a call was placed to Dell and they are sending call tags to have this computer taken away. It's been nothing but problem after problem. I've pretty much ruined my mp3 player and definitely threw away a five day weekend. Dell does offer new computers with XP, so we're going to look around to see what we can get in place of this one.

Microsoft can blow me.


More mp3 player Drama

So I thought all my issues with my Creative Zen Xtra were over. But I've spent the better part of today trying to reload all the music back onto my player. It was going pretty well until the player's hard drive gets half full. At that point, Vista doesn't want to have anything to do with it anymore. It's done and that's that. After a few hours of banging my head against a wall, I fired up the old XP computer. Same issue. Since installing the new firmware, the player acts very differently. So right now I'm creating a mirror folder with all the wma files I tried uploading. I'm going to pare that down to what I believe my player will hold. It's still about 6000 songs, but it seems crazy that I have to dump almost that many just to use my (until yesterday) perfectly good mp3 player. I think it's time to bite the bullet and get a new iPod. I've got a teeny little 2 gig right now. I think I'm going to splurge and get an 80 gig.

To anyone reading this who is running Vista, have you had any compatibility issues with Vista and your iPod? Please let me know. The only reason I ask is Ken just called Apple to ask that very question and the woman on the other end of the line said that Apple hasn't run any tests to see if iPods will work with Vista. What?

I'm irritated and should have been in bed two hours ago with my nice new stack of comics. I took Wednesday and Friday off from work to have a restful, relaxing, calm 5 day weekend and so far it's turned out to be a big pile of shit. Except tonight when I completely blew my diet by going to Pizza Slut. First time I've had pizza since July (you know I must be on a diet if I can remember the last time I ate pizza!!)


For Christmas this year, we decided to get a new computer. We did the same thing last year, but Ken has managed to shut me out from using it, him being addicted to World of Warcraft and all. So I got stuck with the auxiliary computer in the other room. It worked (as long as you didn't try to do two things at once), but it was slow, had no hard drive to speak of and was basically a step up from an abacus. The new machine arrived on Tuesday. It's a Dell something-or-other and it's pretty. The monitor is totally ridiculous. Twenty-two inch widescreen. It's BEAUTIFUL! It makes the 19" widescreen on Ken's computer look teeny. The only sucky thing about this new machine is it comes with Vista. Now, I'm not anti-Vista, per se, but I'm so used to XP that it was a little bit of a shock going with the new system. Things aren't exactly where I want or remember them to be. I'll get used to it, I know. But the major issue I'm having with Vista is my mp3 player is not compatible with it. I spent most of yesterday researching and reading about what I can do. Ultimately, I needed to update the firmware on the mp3 player, but I was really afraid to do it. I kept reading about all these problems people were having doing it. My mp3 player is my lifeline. It gets me through work, it gets me through exercise. Sure, I've got an iPod, but it's only 2 gig and how much can you really hold on that? My Creative player is my baby.

So we update the firmware and it takes. What a relief. But now I've got to reload every last song on it. They all erased. I'm in the process of doing that right now. I can fit just over 10,000 songs on the ping box. My backup file is about 13,000 songs, so I've got to upload, then edit, then upload some more. It'll take me all weekend to do, I'm sure. I'm up to the letter E right now.

Another bummer is all the software I used with the player does not work in Vista. At all. So I've got to use Windows Explorer to play with the contents of the player. Not a huge whoop, but I am very used to the Creative software.

Change is bad. (Except when I'm sick of the old layout of my blog, that is.)


Turkey Day Recap

It's 10pm and I really want to go to bed. I'm beat and it's been a long day.

Today, like most Thanksgivings, was spent at my Mom & Dad's house. I didn't have any intentions on going this year, but my brother was making a special trip down from where he lives in Canada. He's not down very often at all, if ever, so Ken convinced me it was a good idea to go. So we did. My brother, of course, canceled his trip a couple of days ago. It irritated me, but as I may have said before (I can't remember now), it was no surprise at all.

My parents live about an hour away from here. We got to their house around 11:30 this morning. I was instantly overcome by all the cigarette smoke. My folks smoke like chimneys and they have for my entire life. I've never had an interest and with the exception of one drunken night in a bar, I've never smoked. I always leave their house with a sore throat and itchy eyes and today was no exception.

But I'm not writing to bitch. I'm really not.

The family this year consisted of Mom, Dad, my uncle Tommy (Dad's brother), my sister, Ken and I. My mom made the full spread of food, like always, and it was damn tasty. I think I overdid it, too. Sure, I probably ate less than I did last year, but my stomach is smaller this year. We ate at 12:30 and I'm still stuffed. I'm afraid to see what the damage I did looks like on the scale this week.

The weather was surreal this year. It's been damn cold this week. Except today when we took the dogs out for a walk. It was 66 degrees. 66! Tomorrow is only going to be 37, which sucks. I need to get out there and walk today's meal off. But it's gonna be too cold. If there's no wind, I should be okay.

I commented at one point today that we had considered buying a treadmill, but thought twice about it. My sister said we could have hers. It was packed away all the way in the back of the basement. It had been down there for three years. It needs to be cleaned up, but I'm going to try it out. Worst case senario, it gets tossed on the next Trash Amnesty Day.

I'm not working tomorrow, which is good. No intention of hitting any of the sales. Partially because after looking through the Black Friday ads, I decided there was nothing but shit in them but mostly because all my years in retail have taught me that Black Friday shopping is a terrible idea. If I had the energy, I'd get up early and head out to Wal-Mart (a store I despise more than I can say) to watch the white trash punch each other in the face to get a bargain. My only plan for leaving the house is grocery shopping and hoping to get a clearance turkey since we don't have any leftovers.

The Story of Thanksgiving


Day 50

It just dawned on me that this is my 50th day in a row soda-free.  I did it for two weeks the last time I tried this.  Seven weeks is pretty amazing.


Justice Society of America

This cover was just released today. It's to an upcoming issue of Justice Society of America. I LOVE it. It's modeled after an old Justice League of America cover from the 80's. I think it's beautiful.


I was all ready to write something here earlier this afternoon when Ken got home and completely interrupted me. We ended up going out looking at computer desks (I need a new one), then to dinner (even though I was planning on cooking), then looking at more computer desks. There's a whole lotta shit out there. We didn't find one that i liked, so we gave up and came home. Then Ken went searching online and found a couple for me to check out. IKEA has a few that I like. It's too bad we live about three hours from the closest store. Shipping was twice as much as the desk, so we'll find a day for a road trip and go fetch one.

We're going to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. I don't really want to... I just want to lay around at home. My brother is coming down from Canada, so I felt obligated to say "yes." Until now. He's canceled. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I surprised? No. He says he can't get off of work. I don't know if I believe it or not. He's known for making plans to come down and then canceling. Maybe this will help me get out of there a little earlier now. I've got a new computer coming (hopefully Wednesday) and I want to play with that.

I haven't posted as many pictures lately as I would like. There are three recent pictures in this post. One is of my friend Melanie from Texas who was here a couple of weeks ago, with me, out at dinner. I love Mel. She's so much damn fun. I'm so glad she was in town. There's another picture of me with the cats. They decided they needed to sleep and I was the bed for them. This picture was from a couple of days before I was talking about them sleeping on me (the last post?). They're so fucking cute, I can't stand it. Ollie's facing the camera, Lucy is not. The third picture is of Ollie. It came out really well. He's a good boy.

Since it's Sunday, here's my obligatory mention of my weight. I was 215 this morning, which is a pound higher than last Sunday but still three pounds lighter than two Sundays ago. I'm a little bummed, but I really have no cause to be. I lost 4 pounds last week. That in itself is amazing this far into the diet. I should be losing a pound a week max. I'm still doing extremely well. I want to hit 213 by the end of the year, which is very possible. I'd like to be there now, but that's not going to happen. I just need to get through the holidays without losing focus. I did it last year, I just hope I can keep it up.

I've got four minutes until the Amazing Race starts. Good a time as any to end this.


Cat Hotel

Both cats have decided to use me as a bed tonight. Lucy jumped up on me about an hour ago and promptly fell asleep. Feeling left out, Ollie jumped up about a half hour ago and is now asleep. I'm typing with my one free hand right now. Not very efficient. They're so damn cute and I'm going to feel bad in a few minutes when I have to get up.



I meant to write on Monday, and it didn't happen. Then I meant to write on Tuesday, but I didn't have time. Then I meant to write tonight, but I'm losing interest, so if I don't do it now, I'm not doing it.

This week has been screwed up. There was a fake holiday on Monday, so that meant the day off. I used to hate these fake holidays when I worked retail because people would shop like it was the last day the stores were going to be open. I never understood three day weekends and shoppers. Saturdays and Sundays would be really busy and then just when you thought people couldn't buy any more, Monday would be ultra busy, too.

Anyway, I had Monday off and it was an awesome day. I did next to nothing, I read comics, I took a nap, I watched tv. It was glorious. About the only work I did was cleaning up my portable hard drive. The thing was getting full of stuff and I organized (or at least started to organize) it and burned a bunch of things to disc to clear up space. Rock on!

Tuesday was a heavy cd release day for me. I'm a little overwhelmed by all the new music. Haven't had too much of a chance to get into the news cds more than once or twice, but I like what I've heard so far. If I can get sufficiently caught up on my podcasts this week, I'll have more time for these records.