I Need...

 I used to have a couple of great music blogs to read, but they're long gone and I miss them.  Does anyone who reads this dreck know of any good music blogs?  I'm lost as to what new stuff is coming out, who the new buzz artists are and all that jazz.  Help!



I have a hard time getting rid of things.  I don't think that should come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.  I think I've got a collector's mentality about many things.  I've been buying, reading and collecting comics since I was ten years old, and comics are things that you buy and save.  So not discarding things just seems natural to me.  With all the preparations we've been doing to get the house in decent shape, I've started learning how to purge.  We have so much stuff in this house, it's unbelievable.  It's not Hoarders volume, but it's still too much stuff.  As we've been purging room after room, the whole process seems to be getting easier.  Having rooms without clutter feels great.

This morning I made another breakthrough.  I decided it was time to get rid of my fat clothes.  They've been packed up in totes in the basement for a couple of years now.  I was very hesitant to EVER get rid of them.  My reasoning made perfect sense to me.  The clothes are perfectly good.  Sure, they don't fit, but if I ever gain the weight back, I won't have to go out and buy new clothes.  If I never gain the weight back, well that's great, too.  They can stay in the basement.  Today I realized that if they never fit me again, I'm still going to have to move them and that's the last thing I want to lug around with me.  So I lugged them up to the living room and sorted them out, bagged them up and brought them to Goodwill.  This is how serious I was about doing it.  It only got up to 11 or 12 degrees today.  And I still made a point of going outside and loading up the car only to unload it when I got there.  Brrrrrrrr..

While we were sorting out the clothes, Ken handed me a pair of my old pants.  They were a pair he bought me when I started my new job back in December 2005.  I couldn't believe how roomy they are now.

Then I found one of my favorite old shirts.  Since I tried on the pants, I had to try on the shirt, too.  Doesn't it look good on me?

Finally, I just love this shot.  It blows my mind to see it.  I still don't believe I'm this thin.  My brain still refuses to acknowledge that I look like this.  I want to tattoo it on the inside of my eyelids or something because that is not the body I see when I think about myself or even when I look in the mirror.  But in pictures I can see it.


Pushing Myself

I push myself pretty hard.  As much as I like to goof off (and trust me, I find time to do that), I still push myself pretty hard to do things I don't necessarily want to do.  It's now Friday night and I'm feeling exhausted.  That's pretty typical for me because of how I push myself during the work week.  My normal work schedule is Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Because we're offered plenty of overtime, I try to take full advantage of it and I've been pretty successful at doing so for the past year plus.  I'm usually to work between 6:45 and 7 am every morning, depending on the bus.  With the exception of Fridays, it's rare that I leave work at 4:30.  My job is not a difficult one, but I still end the week ready to drop.  I keep pushing myself to do the overtime because it can disappear at any time.  I like having the extra money, though I've been doing it for so long now that I don't realize what's my regular salary and what's overtime anymore.  If you were to ask me how much my regular take home pay is, I couldn't answer you.  (To be honest, I'm not quite sure what my pay is with the overtime in it.  Since combining our finances, Ken deals with the bills and I'm kind of lost to where we are right now.  Bad Walt!)  I keep telling myself that I can let up on the overtime, but I don't seem to listen.  I was in a slight panic at the start of the current pay period.  Our periods run bi-weekly starting on a Thursday.  The new pay period started last week and I had to call out on the first day because of the furnace issues.  Not only that, but Ken called me at work on Tuesday and asked if I could leave work at 4:30 because he was going to be detained at the office and he needed me to do something for him.  That's two days where I wasn't going to spend way too much time at work.  I didn't know what to do.  I think that's a sign that I've been working WAY too much.  I really need to pull back, but I have some things that I'd love to do this year that I can't justify unless I put in the extra hours for the extra cash.  

I push myself to exercise.  I don't particularly enjoy it most days, but I know I need to do it to keep from becoming a blimp again.  For the most part, I don't mind walking.  It's an easy exercise and it's really the only activity I've done since starting my diet.  This time of the year it blows, though.  I only walk on Sundays.  I get up at the crack of dawn and head to the mall before the rest of the blue hairs get there.  Once the weather gets better, I can get back outside and walk.  I enjoy walking home from work.  I enjoy walking around the office campus near my house.  I don't really enjoy walking in the mall.  I also find I don't enjoy working out to the EA Sports Active for the Wii.  That's more because it drives home the point that I have no muscles at all.  I'm just over half way through the 30 Day Workout (Beginner Level) and it kicks my ass every single day.  I have long conversations with the game each workout.  And by "long conversations" I mean I swear at my virtual personal trainer, I call him names, I tell him (to fuck) off.  But I do the program and I'm starting to see and feel the results.  And that makes me very happy.

I guess I push myself to do things so I'll have stuff to whine about.  And that's something I'm really good at!


More Random Natterings

1) I'm sure it's all in my mind, but in the couple of weeks since I started doing the EA Sports Active workout, I  swear that I'm seeing slight changes in my body shape.  Like I said, it could all be in my head, but I don't care.  I like what I'm seeing.  I'm hating some of the stuff the workout is making me do, but if I continue to see results, I'll be a happy boy.

2) I mentioned a few months ago that I'm transitioning about half the comics I read from monthly issues to semi-annual trade paperbacks.  For those that don't know the difference, the monthly comic is just that.  A single comic that comes out (usually) once a month.  About 22 or 23 pages of story.  It seems most comics these days take exactly six issues to tell one story, which is long enough to make the perfect trade paperback, which is a single volume reprinting (usually) six issues of a comic.  Anyway, last week it was announced that two of the books I'm currently transitioning over are being cancelled this spring.  This means that I now need to go back and start picking up the single issues again.  No sense in starting to read them as trades if the books are being cancelled.  Bah!

3)  I spent a good portion of the weekend packing again.  My office is now about 90% packed up and the boxes are now stacked in the guest room.  Ken thinks we should get a storage unit and stash all the boxes there while getting the house ready to sell.  I was against the idea at first, but the more I think about it, the more I think we should do it.  Not only will we get all this clutter out of here, but it won't be anywhere when it comes time to stage the house for sale.  The less stuff we have in the house, the better.  Plus we can start emptying out the basement, which is full of crap.  Just the thought of moving all this stuff is making me a little queasy, though.  Thousands of comics, thousands of cds, hundreds of toys, tools, furniture.....  Moving is one of the most unpleasant things in the world to me.  Probably because we did it so often when I was growing up.  I never want to move again.  Our next house WILL be the house I die in, mark my words.

4)  Out of sheer boredom, or just because I never thought of doing it before, I've been faux-celebrity hunting on Facebook.  I started with trying to friend everyone who was ever a contestant on Survivor, but that's now changing into finding celebrities from my childhood.  So far, Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver), Betty White (Betty freakin' White!) and Geri Reischel (Fake Jan Brady) have accepted my request.  I'm having a lot of fun doing this.

5)  I think I have some mild OCD going on.  I tend to find little OCD fueled projects to do.  For the last few weeks, since Christmas actually, I've been working on a project.  Since getting this computer in December 2007, I've been obsessing over my iTunes library.  I finally had a computer big enough to hold all my music.  My first project upon uploading everything was to make sure everything got listened to at least once.  It's been a while since that project was finished.  I got it in my head that I now need to get everything up to at least two plays.  So I created a smart playlist.  I set it to hold 39 gig worth of music with a play count of 1.  It self-replenishes itself, so I don't have to worry about that.  And here's my daily routine.  First thing in the morning, I play my new podcasts of the day.  Then, if I have any new music that hasn't been played yet, I listen to that.  Once that's done, I go to the Played Once playlist.  I have the playlist sorted by the largest file in size to the smallest.  I start with the largest and play in order by size.  That way, when I sync the iPod at night, it will take off all the biggest files first and replace them.  That way I get rid of a bunch of bigger files and they get replaced with even more smaller ones.  At the beginning of January, that playlist had about 9,000 songs in it.  Right now it's up to almost 10,300.  What's nice is I'm getting a chance to listen to a lot of stuff I haven't heard in a while.  I've been averaging about 150 songs a day at work.  I have a total of about 28,900 songs left that have one play each on this computer.  iTunes figures it will take about 74.7 days of straight listening for me to get through them all.  Let's see how long before I can't take it anymore!


One Door

What's that old saying?  "One door opens as another one shuts."  That seems to be the recurring theme of 2010 for me, at least financially.  Today one door shut (the repair of the furnace) as another one opened (Ken had two flat tires on his car.)  It seems like we just can't catch a break with unexpected expenses right now.  Are we cursed?  One of the things that really annoys me about Ken's car is he's had an ongoing issue with one of his tires.  It just won't keep air.  He's had the tire replaced.  He's had the rim replaced.  Nothing seems to fix the issue.  When he went out to his car this morning and found the tires in the state they are, he totally lost it.  Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about the car today because he was heading out to the other side of the state for work,  Poor guy had a five hour drive with nothing to do but stew about his car.  Now he's got to deal with the lousy dealership again.  We have two dealerships in the area and both of them suck ass.  Fun.

But right now I don't care because I have heat in my house again.  This wasn't the ideal way I had hoped to spend a day off, but I don't have three layers on right now and it feels great.  The repairman didn't get here until just after 3 this afternoon.  I wish I knew it wasn't going to be until then.  I would have worked a half a day.  But he finally showed, it was a quick fix and he was gone.  I did notice as he went over the bill with me that the part I needed I was being charged $320 for.  When I spoke with the other repair guy on the phone when he went to order the part, I was quoted $250.  Then he called me back to say the company he was getting the part from was going to charge him shipping and he wanted to tell me that he, in turn, was going to pass that charge along to me.  I didn't care.  I needed that part.  So $30 for overnighting it added on brought the part up to $280.  Where they got the $320 from is anyone's guess.  Once the repairman was gone, I called the office and talked to the billing guy.  He was really agreeable and told me he would put through a credit for the difference and send me a receipt.  I at least expected him to say he'd look into it and get back to me.  But I like this way better.



Joy.  Two sentences in and my desktop crashed on me.  Good times!

Anyway, today was day two with no heat.  I called in to work to say I wouldn't be in because I had to wait for the repairman.  He said that he'd give me a call around 10 to let me know if he had the part at the shop or if he'd have to order it.  My luck being the way it is, he did not have the main part he needed in stock.  That had to be ordered.  One other part was in stock, though.  He was pretty sure he could have the part for tomorrow, so, knowing that I have to take tomorrow off, I went in to work.  He called early enough that I didn't lose too much of the day.  I was to work by quarter after 11.  I'll be off all day tomorrow, waiting for the part to arrive and then for him to get here.  I hope and pray that this part is what's wrong with the system.  The repairman seems pretty confident about it and I really can't not trust him at this point.

The temps in the house got down to about 55 degrees last night.  I'm really lucky this happened now instead of February, when it can be sub zero outside.  I ran a space heater for a short while, just to take some of the chill out of the air.  Extra blankets went on the bed last night and that felt nice.  I would have had the greatest night of sleep, but Lucy decided to join us in bed last night.  She doesn't usually and I like when she sleeps with us.  She chose my chest to sleep on and slowly worked her way down to in between my legs at my crotch.  Ollie chose to sleep in between my legs at my ankles.  I was pinned down in one position all night long.  Well, until 4am when Ollie decided it was time to attack Lucy.  And then around 4:30 when he felt he was ready for round two.  5am brought round three, then again around 5:30, 6am and 6:30.  Then, at 7, the first of Ken's two alarm clocks started going off.  He's got them so they alternate about every five minutes.  FOR AN HOUR.  I'm not used to that because I usually get up at 5:45 to get ready for work and am out of the house by 6:20.  To say I'm sleepy right now is an understatement.

I'm afraid I made a few poor food choices today.  I had every intention to stick to my regular routine, but that flew out the window when I got to work and realized there was still breakfast food.  Management decided to say "thank you" to us for all the work we put in during the recent crisis.  There was breakfast pizza.  I have a weakness for it.  Two slices of that was all I took, and I didn't touch my regular lunch so as not to be too pigish.  And then we went out to eat tonight to avoid getting home too quickly.  I had seafood stuffed sole and wild rice.  I could have eaten much, much worse.  And bread.  My other great weakness.  Right now I have a couple mugs of hot chocolate sitting in my stomach.  Not the best way to end the day, but certainly one of the tastiest.  I had a great weigh in today.  I hope the scale doesn't flip me off tomorrow.

Totally off the subject, I read some sad news today.  Jenn Lyon, a fourth place finisher on Survivor: Pulau, died yesterday.  She was just 37.

And this comes right on the heels of hearing that Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle also died.

Neither one of these women are particularly well known, but they've both entertained me in the past and I'm sad that they're gone.



You know how well I deal with stress, right?  As in, I don't deal with it at all unless you count "shutting down" as a way of dealing.  Well, not five minutes after getting home from work tonight did I get a heapin' helpin' of stress on my plate.  Ken got home maybe two minutes before I did.  He was feeding the cats when I walked in.  Once they were fed, he proceeded into the living room to turn the heat up a little, as he does every night.  Only the thermostat was blinking.  Blinking.  On and off.  On and off.  It's never done that before.  That's when we realized we don't have any heat.  So we had to call the plumber guy to come over.  On overtime.  He checked out our system and thinks he found the issue.  He thinks we have a faulty control board or some such nonsense.  He's not sure if he has a replacement one at the shop or if he'll have to special order it.  What really, really, really sucks is he told us that the unit we have has been discontinued.  They make similar ones, but not this one anymore.  What we have rather than the conventional hot water heater/furnace set up is a compact unit that hangs on the wall.  Our hot water is on demand and it's energy efficient. 

Ken's going to be out of town at the end of the week for business, so I volunteered taking the day off tomorrow to deal with this.  Ken is the take charge guy who knows all the right things to ask and do.  I'm not.  I'm sure there will be things I'm supposed to ask or do that I won't, but that's too bad.  I'm just freaked out by it all right now.  The thought of this unplanned expense has really got me flipping out.

Tomorrow will hopefully bring positive news.



Almost another week has gone by without a peep from me.  Unintentional, but I just didn't manage to find enough time.  It was there, but I'm sure I squandered it away again.  Story of my life.

So, here's what's on my mind. 

1)  I hate Freddy.  A lot. Why?  Well, as I've mentioned before, we recently bought a Wii.  With it, we picked up the Wii Fit, which we've both been enjoying a lot.  (That's "we" as in Ken and I, not Freddy and I, fyi.) We're still having a lot of fun with that and the Wii Sports that comes standard with the console and haven't thought about new games yet.  And then along comes Freddy.  For his birthday, so fucking douche nozzle got him an exercise game off his Amazon wishlist.  Having finished it, he sent it to me to try out. I just completed the first week of the 30 Day Challenge on it and I'm quite surprised to find out what shitty shape I'm in.  I already know my upper body strength is non-existent, but to find out how many unused muscles I have in my lower body was quite sobering.  But I finished the first week and it gave me a gold medal for it, so I must be doing something right.  I'd much rather be sitting laying in bed, watching Dynasty on dvd or reading comics, but that's not going to help me build muscles.  Bah.  I do like the two days on, one day off schedule the game gives me.  Tomorrow is my off day and I'm going to enjoy it.  But Tuesday, the hate is back on!

2)  We had the handy man here all weekend.  We're making great progress in getting the house ready.  The thought of how much it's costing us to do all this is making me a little queasy, but it feels so good being able to cross stuff off the list.  Dmitry got a lot of stuff done this weekend.  So much. Ken played the role of his helper and I didn't do much of anything.  I feel guilty as hell about it, too.  But what I did do was...

3)  Sleep.  This is something that has become pretty foreign to me.  I don't let myself sleep much at all.  I push myself pretty hard and it's finally catching up with me.  Saturday morning I slept in until 10:30.  I found time for a nap in the afternoon for a few hours and I was in bed relatively early and out like a light.  I did get up at the crack of dawn this morning to go walk.  I clocked 105 minutes, which is 9 full laps of the mall.  My previous record was 8 laps and my usual number is 5 laps.  Five laps is usually about an hour.  For some reason, I was able to push myself to do nearly double my usual.  This led to another nap this afternoon.  It feels so good to be well rested.  Tomorrow, though, I need to make up for my non-performance this weekend.  Ugh.

4)  Sunday is my official weigh in day for the week.  Today was my best showing since the first Sunday of August.  I really made a point of watching what I ate all week.  Doing some of the Wii exercises helped, too.  Tomorrow's weigh in is going to suck, though, because we went out to dinner tonight and I ate like the old, 300 lb Walt.  Salad, Bread, Seafood Filled Mushroom Caps, Bread, a sampler platter of Lasagna, Chicken Parm and Chicken Cannelloni, Bread.....  I expect a sharp increase in my number tomorrow, but I'll be back to behaving again.

5)  I know I had something else to say, but it's gone now.  It'll be something for my next post, I'm sure.



I'm trying to get myself to write here a little more often than I've been doing, but I don't always have anything to say, or when I do, it seems like I'm too beat to form words in my head.  Tonight I'm somewhere in the middle of these two scenarios. Hopefully something that makes sense will result from this attempt.

It's no surprise that I don't function too well in chaos.  I've mentioned before that I'm having a pretty tough go lately.  All the chaos surrounding the house repairs and remodels are driving me insane.  I'm handling it the best I can and have been trying to use it to push me to find something fun and worthwhile in it all.  This weekend was all about redoing the master bedroom.  I initiated the work because Ken just wasn't feeling it.  I got the ceiling painted and that motivated Ken to start the walls.  The room is now complete (except the part of the wall behind the radiator that Ken forgot) and it looks fantastic.  And I feel great about it.  The room is back the way it should be and I find huge amounts of solace in that.

Yesterday I was promised a "day of beauty."  It's a line from Muriel's Wedding (my favorite movie!) and what it means is I get a day off from life, from chores, from all that bullshit.  My days of beauty tend not to pan out completely, but that's okay.  As long as I get a little quiet time, I'm happy.  Yesterday, like most, was spent doing chores.  But I took huge comfort in that.  I spent hours in the kitchen cleaning and straightening and organizing.  Getting things back to normal is so good for my psyche.  I didn't mind cleaning in the slightest.  I concentrated on the downstairs because upstairs is the area we're working in right now.  Just doing things like dishes and laundry and cooking and grocery shopping was the normality I was craving.  I was hoping to read comics all day, but I never even got the chance.  The only break I took was to play a little bit of Wii.

This morning I was thrown back into the chaos.  Work has been extremely chaotic.  The post office lost a mass mailing of ours and it's been hell trying to deal with the people who are still missing their mail.  I wasn't directly involved in any of it today, but just about everyone else in my area was and just watching and listening to them deal with the mess was unsettling enough.  A couple more days and things should hopefully be resolved.

Yeah, I'm a pussy, but I know it.


Whatta Week

I don't know what was going on with the rest of the world, but I had one hell of a week this week. I've been ready for the weekend since sometime on Monday. That's never good, and it's the perfect thing to make sure the week doesn't fly by. I'm really not sure why the week has been this way. There wasn't one thing that made the week the week it was. Just a lot of little things, I guess.

Today was actually the worst day of the week. I was thrown pretty far outside of my comfort zone at work and it made me realize how small my comfort zone has gotten in the last couple of years. Without going into too much detail, we had a huge issue at work this week and everyone from all the surrounding departments were lassoed into helping with the situation. I was given a huge pile of names and numbers and had to cold call as many of our customers as possible. One of the best parts of my job is that I don't have to deal with telephones or the public. At all. Ever. It's so far removed from my previous job, which was working retail. I suffered through the public for fifteen years at my last job and I'd had enough. I learned today how much anxiety dealing with the public causes me, especially since it's been four years since I've had to deal with them. I think I'd forgotten how to handle the unwashed masses. I had an upset stomach most of the afternoon, which sounds foolish, but it's true. It took a little while before I started feeling comfortable again, but I finally did. But I still couldn't wait for this day to end.

The chaos at home is starting up again. And I feel myself shutting down some as the chaos grows. Right now we're in the midst of having our kitchen (back half of it, actually), mud room and downstairs bathroom tiled. It's time to say goodbye to the ugly linoleum and put down for real tile. Last night we ripped out the toilet and vanity and started pulling up the old floor. Besides the chaos, I wasn't thrilled with some of the things we found. It's going to be somewhat of an ordeal replacing the toilet and vanity. This I already know just from looking at the state of the plumbing. Joy. There was also an issue with one of the tile guys ripping a chunk of my front door off while we were at work today. And then denying it. We can't have anything go smoothly. The tile guy fucks the door up. The floor guy wrecks the ceiling. The ceiling guys trash the first floor. It's never ending. This house has officially become the bane of my existence. It's getting harder and harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel as we supposedly progress.

I've been trying to find time to do everything I want around the house, and I'm doing okay. Adding the Wii into my regular rotation of activities wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. I haven't had a chance to play it every night this week, but when I can, I've been playing. I'm really happy that Ken has been trying to make a point of using it, too, and doing pretty well at most of the things he's tried. I hope he doesn't lose interest in it since it was his "need" in the first place.

I've got a huge pile of comics screaming for me to come pay them attention. I think I need to obey.


Some Things I Love

I have to give thanks to Hot Erik for posting this on my Facebook wall in the first place.  I had no idea it this happened and I'm thrilled to death to have seen it.

What we have here is a video from the Graham Norton Show (Thing I Love).  Sharleen Spiteri (T.I.L.), lead singer of the band Texas (T.I.L.) is performing the Olivia Newton-John (T.I.L.) classic "Xanadu" (T.I.L.) from the movie (T.I.L.) of the same name.  She's awesome.



My sister yelled at me for not pushing my dad's ETSY page.  This was a couple of months ago.  But I finally remembered and I'm making good on it now.  My dad builds stuff.  Mostly toys, but he does furniture (he built our kitchen island and our nightstands, in fact) and other stuff, too.  He's only selling his handmade toys on his page.  Check it out here.

 And while I'm at it, my uncle set up a shop there, too, selling photographs.  You can see his stuff here.

Then there's my friend, Tasty Diane. She's makes all kinds of excellent jewelry and great accessories, too.  Pop by and check out her wares here.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of my favorite people here.  Laura Smith is fabulous.  Not only is she a blogger and a podcaster, but she's the lead singer of the award nominated band, The Sleep.  The band consists of Laura, her husband Neil and Dave Eberhardt.  The website has song samples, free downloads and other cool stuff.  It's definitely worth checking out.