Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Harajuku Moment

The title of this blog is only for those of you who have read, or are reading, "The Four Hour Body." I'm about 50 pages into it, and I felt a need to record this.

I need to lose weight. I've known that for the better part of a decade, and it's been true for that entire decade. There's a lot of reasons, many of which are more valid then the one I'm going to describe, but I'm at a breaking point. It's not a dramatic "I can't take this any more" like it would be in a proper dramatic narrative. It's something simple where the workings of reality are forcing my hand.

I'm running out of clothes.

My regular rotation of clothing, not counting underwear or socks, consists of the same 7-10 things, and has for essentially the last year. I like those things, but they're starting to break down. The average person would simply go out and acquire new clothes when their old ones break down, but there's something else to consider.

My jeans are 60x32. My shirts are 5XT. Just in case you don't dabble in the big and tall shop world, 5XT is short for "Extra, extra, extra, extra, extra large tall." These items, the ones I'm wearing, are on the end of the spectrum for what big and tall shops sell. If I get any heavier there won't be any one selling the clothes I would need.

I'm running out of clothes, because I'm outgrowing the clothing industry.

It's ridiculous, I know, and I'm pointing it out in part so we can all have a good laugh at how ridiculous it is. In truth though, I'm writing this for me more then I'm writing it for you. I don't really want this information out on the web, it's embarrassing, but more importantly it's humiliating, in the old sense of the word. It forces me into a state of humility. I can't brush this off any more. I can't let this go any more. This has to be the moment where things change. And my first goal is really simple. I still have a lot of my old clothes. Looking over them I'm pretty sure I rapidly gained weight somewhere around 20 months ago, because I have some size 58 jeans that are in good shape, and a few that look almost unworn. I think that when I was unemployed and essentially killing time during the winter of 2009/2010 my extremely sedentary mildly depressed lifestyle pushed me up to where I am now. So my first goal is to acquire clothing I can wear, that isn't falling apart, and will actively protect me from the predicted cold the pacific northwest is about to face.

So, in short, I have from now until whenever that cold hits to drop enough weight to wear those old size 58 jeans. I'm semi-arbitrarily declaring Cold Season as starting November 1st. So I guess I'll get back to you then.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pre-Empative Strike

This is an example of a type of story you tend to hear a lot if you run in the circles I run in. It's the story of a smart person, doing a dumb thing, and then trying to be smart enough to undo it before it hurts them.

So, on Saturday we had an all day gaming session, as we often do, and we bought various food items. Today I remembered that we still have the remnants of those items in the back of my car. Most of them are guaranteed to be fine. The soda isn't really food so it won't rot. The bananas are fine because they weren't quite ripe when we bought them, and they're sealed in. The salad though...

The salad is a boxed salad from Trader Joes. It looked fine, and it smelled fine, and that seemed like enough to try it and see. The first bite tasted... okay. It wasn't fresh any more, but I don't like to waste things. The second bite was another story. With the second bite I had a keen awareness from my body that this was poison. I let that bite fall from my mouth back into the box, and threw the whole thing out.

So now we have the setup. Smart person, dumb behavior.

So at this point the part of me that has intellectual strength wakes up and realizes what we just did. So from my semi-educated perspective the objective understanding of the problem is this. There is a substance in my body which is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. The body has a defense system in which it violently expels everything in order to counteract that, but I really want to avoid that process. Luckily the digestive system is also pretty aggressive. The substance will be exposed to very very harsh conditions, so there's a reasonable chance that it will be killed off naturally. I want to be a bit more proactive then that, so it seems to me that what we need is a substance I can introduce that will kill off bacteria, and won't kill me.


I want to pause and note that this may not actually be a story of smart people doing stupid things. Hindsight tends to support the idea that this is a story about a series of dumb things I did today.

So, Alcohol. I know it won't hurt me, not that much anyway, and it will discourage bacteria. It's times like this that I wish I had more in the house. What we did have left was a bit of Juniper berry mead, so I drank that.

Now I think I've established that what I did was logical, if not reasonable, but the real story will be told in the next 18 hours. If I wind up blogging tonight because I'm up vomiting then this will be a story about learning an important lesson. If I'm not then this will be a story either of luck, or of unusual but clever solutions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Casserole Paradigm

My latest venture into the field of self taught cooking is Casseroles. I looked at 20-30 recipes on, and began to understand the core formula behind them.

I have in my head what I understand as the "Meal Principle." A meal is generally described as a protein, vegetables, and a carb base. Other ingredients are added to create certain flavors or textures, but those three things are the core requirements. This formula describes everything from Burritos to hamburgers, to teriyaki. The Casserole model is an expression of the meal principle in which the ingredients are mixed together and baked.

The first casserole I derived from my research was part of my "Squash is the new carb" phase, so instead of a normal carb base I used Spaghetti squash. It was essentially four different kinds of squash, and chicken, all of which is then covered in cheese and baked until the cheese melts and the rest settles. I eventually yielded and began using actual noodles because as it turns out Squash still isn't a carb. I recently started toying around with a mashed potato base, so it was the potatoes, chicken, squash, and cheese all stacked up, then baked. Last time I was out of chicken, so I substituted in ground beef, and had too much mashed potatoes so I added a potato crust to the top. It worked pretty well, but the cheese and the beef don't quite get along, and the squash goes much better with chicken. I was thinking of changing the vegetables to onions, peas, and carrots when I realized what I had done.

I was demonstrating the meal principle, and the casserole model and arriving at an elemental proof of Shepard's pie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember

I remember that morning ten years ago. The thing I remember most was driving to school, and thinking that today was 911, like the emergency number, and that something bad was going to happen that day. I laughed at the idea because it seemed like arbitrary assumptions, not awkward prophecy. I first heard of the attacks during morning classes, and wasn't worried. I was vocal about the idea that this was going to be like the last attack on the WTC in which someone car bombed the parking garage to essentially no effect. It ended up being a lot more then that.