Saturday, August 19, 2006

Diet is Just Die with the Letter "t" at the End

Stacy and I started a diet this week. Stacy wants to get rid of the few ounces left from being pregnant. She’s almost back down to the same weight she was when we got married. This is mostly due to hours of hard work as she’s gone to the gym 6 out of 7 days a week for the past few months. Me, I’ve spent hours of hard work building my gut to massive proportions over the years. It’s about time I take care of that. I want to be around for a long time and bordering on morbid obesity may put a crimp in that plan. I could easily stand to loose 150 pounds and still be healthy. Stacy’s sister-in-law lost quite a bit of weight on this diet, so we’re giving it a go.

This is after an aborted attempt at another diet from a leading heart clinic that they use to get patients’ weight down before surgery. That diet consisted of eating nothing but a particular vegetable soup and assorted fruit on the first day, nothing but the soup and vegetables on the second day, a mix of soup, fruit, and vegetables on the third day, the addition of meat on the fourth day, and the addition of legumes, nuts, corn, etc. throughout the last three days of the diet. We were supposed to loose 10 to 17 pounds by the end of the week, not to mention have extra energy and feel great by day three. We made it to day two before we realized how prohibitively expensive the diet was going to be. Stacy spent $80+ on groceries for the first day, we spent about $50 for the second day and decided that we’d break the bank by the time day seven rolled around.

That brought us to the current diet. In this one we have to eat something every two hours. The theory is that waiting longer between meals and snacks causes your body to shift into starvation mode. Anything you eat after two hours is stored for fat instead of energy. We’re trying to keep it relatively healthy, but I still have something sugary once or twice in a day. There is a bit more to the diet, but that is the main thrust. The first day I weighed in at 240. I’ll check again in a couple of weeks to see if I’ve lost anything. If not, I’ll have to get more strict on myself.

I’ll be joining Stacy at the gym soon, too. I will probably just stick to Nautilus and Ellipse machines for the beginning. I’m too body-conscious to work out in a group like Stacy does every time.

On a different note, I get into all sorts of interesting conversations in some of my online classes at University of Phoenix. Since I’m required to post substantive comments four out of seven days, I try to stay up on all of the conversation threads. I had a classmate in my last class that worked in the airport industry. I do not remember how we got on the topic, but one conversation was about the levels of service as affected by security measures in airports. He was very vocal about his feeling that flying was a privilege and not a right. If we (meaning those upset by the lack of good service) didn’t like the way things were, we shouldn’t fly. He went on to state that we should be grateful for all of the things that TSA is doing to make us more secure and that if TSA didn’t continue to take similar steps, we’d all get into trouble. My point is that we as consumers should expect a certain level of service that we do not get at airports. Jon sent me a link this week that expounds upon that subject by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. He writes much more eloquently than I can cuz he talk gooder than me. Here’s a preview, check the link for more.

It's not enough that the Transportation Security Administration wastes
hours upon endless hours of time. It's not enough that they confiscate our
Chapstick and toothpaste and claim that it is for our own protection. It's not
enough that we must fork over our ID at five different checkpoints before
boarding a plane, and have strangers paid with our tax dollars rifle and snoop
through our bags again and again.

No, that's not enough to keep us secure on our airline flights. Now we
must be careful not to wrinkle our noses, press our lips together, raise our
upper eyelids, or – Heaven forbid – thrust forward our jaws.

Here is a graphic from the New York Times that illustrates what the TSA
will now regard as suspicious behavior:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sunday, Bloody Sunday and the Hazzards of Jessica Simpson

Now that I have traded Thursday with Sunday for days off, I find myself with one fewer relaxation day. As most of readers of this blog know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the LDS church, or a “Mormon” depending on whom you ask. As such, my Sundays are as busy as a workday. Actually, considering how slow my weekend workday is now, Sundays are even busier.

Not hanging out here anytime soon

Let me lay out standard Sunday meetings for those of you not familiar with the way my quirky religion does things. The church is split into geographical areas depending on population. The individual areas are called wards. Multiple wards make up a stake, multiple stakes make up a district, and multiple districts make up an area. I’m a little fuzzy on the larger units, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s split (heh heh, I said unit.) Every ward meets for three hours each Sunday in a yearly revolving schedule depending on how many wards use the same building. Ours starts at 9:00 AM this year, ugh. The three-hour block is split into Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, and Priesthood or Relief Society, depending on gender.

Gotta keep 'em seperated

Vicki goes to Primary School for the second and third hours, Zoe goes to nursery, and Scarlett goes to my arms. Stacy teaches Vicki’s primary class each week, so the Screaming One can’t burden her. Instead, it is my job to convince Scarlett that the thing she wants most in the world is to sleep. This kid doesn’t even want that in the middle of the night. Convincing her of that in the middle of the day takes everything short of a miracle. That “everything” involves me pacing the halls for the hour after Sacrament Meeting. By the time the third hour has rolled around, Scarlett is usually asleep and my back is killing me. I’ll usually sneak into Stacy’s class to help her with the five-year-old hellions while trying to keep Scarlett asleep on my shoulder.

Don't let the yawn fool you. This kid'll be up for hours yet

By the time we limp home, we’re pretty beat. It’d be great to slink off for some Sunday afternoon naptime, but the fun isnt’ over yet. For one thing, the kids would never tolerate such laziness, at least not for both Stacy and I. Instead, one of us has to amuse the locals while the other one grabs some illicit rest. For the other thing, I have been busy home teaching every week for the past three weeks.

Still not going here.

Another quirky thing my religion does is home and visiting teaching. Every growed up man in the church is partnered with another, or his son if he’s old enough (yeah, not going to happen in this family!) and they are given a few families to visit. The home teachers see their families monthly (or semi-annually for most home teachers,) share a spiritual message, and make sure the family doesn’t need anything. This way, we take care of our own.

We're here to take real good care of youse. Reeeeaaaal good.

It also means that I have been out and about with my home teaching partner, a man I barely know, every week. I am a shy person. I try to overcome that problem by making conversation, but I am really no good at it. If I don’t have something in common with a person, the chances are we’re going to end up talking about the weather or Virginia traffic at length, at nauseating length. Guess what my home teaching companion and I have been discussing every week as we drive from family to family? Traffic, nothing but traffic. He reminisces about how well traffic flows in his small central California home town and I just nod, agree, and interject about Virginia traffic madness once in a while. It’s fascinating, scintillating conversation, let me tell you. It’s almost as interesting as this post. Why are you still reading, anyway? I probably would have given up reading after the first or second paragraph myself. **YAWN** Ah well, it’s your ocular cancer.

Bout as entertaining as talking to this guy would be

To make an already unnecessarily long story a little shorter, Sundays have been no day off. I enjoy spending the time at church with my family, but as weekend days go, I think I miss Thursday just a little bit.

On a completely unrelated and decidedly more secular note, Stacy and I watched The Dukes of Hazzard last night. I know it’s been out for a while, but we just got around to renting it. I don’t know why it didn’t do too well in the theaters. Sure, it’s no masterpiece, but it’s definitely entertaining. They captured the spirit of the old TV show rather well. It had its shortcomings, of course. Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott as Luke Duke and Bo Duke respectively came off a little more American Pie than Appalachian American, but they still did a respectable job. Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse spouted more one-liners than down-country wisdom, which had me scratching my head a little. (Here's another one; drunk walks out of a bar and runs into a guy carrying an antique grandfather clock. The guy drops the clock, breaking into a million pieces. He looks at the drunk and says, "Why don't you watch where you're going?" The drunk looks at him and says, "Why don't you carry a wristwatch like everybody else?") Burt Reynolds added a little more menace than comedy in his menacingly comedic role of Boss Hogg. Enos, Rosco, and Cooter were along for the ride, but I wouldn’t give them credit for much more. Lynda Carter was looking a fine 55 as Pauline. Wonder Woman has aged well! Not one of them holds the barest flicker of candle light to the stars of the show, though, Jessica Simpson’s twins. Catherine Bach had to be crying as she watched her Daisy Dukes stride across the screen above Simpson’s stunning gams. Holy smokes! This movie is worth the rental just for Simpson’s scenes. I’ll warn you, though. She’s not that great of an actress. Don’t expect to be amazed by her skills as a thespian. As a matter of fact, you’d appreciate the scenes just as much with the mute on as off. Her video in the bonus materials section is worth the cost of the rental alone. Go relive the spirit of NASCAR’s beginnings and treat yourself to the guilty pleasure of The Dukes of Hazzard and you’ll see what I mean.