Thursday, January 28, 2010

Remembering Jane

Jane was here.

May her strength and courage live on in all of us.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Series of Observations

This morning's conversation with Oliver:

Oliver: "Daddy, monsters spin around all the time. And they never get dizzy. They get hungry!"

Me: "Oh, really. Why?"

O: "They get hungry because they don't have any tomatoes in their tomato soup. So they eat and eat and they get hungrier."

Me: "Oh."

O: "Daddy, did you know that monsters eat tomato soup all the time? It falls out of the sky!"

Me: "It falls out of the sky?"

O: "Yeah. That's why their houses don't have roofs. And did you know that they have tomato soup machines that catch the soup and put into cans?"

Me: "I didn't know that."

O: "They do. Good Monster Freddy's house is a tomato soup factory."


A few thoughts. Feel free to ignore this if you just want to enjoy the cuteness without explanation:

  • He's been talking about monsters all the time. More on that later. He has an imaginary friend called Good Monster Freddy who he talks about all the time.
  • The idea of soup falling out of the sky, obviously, comes from the story Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which I don't think we've read in a couple of months. He's read the story dozens of times, but we haven't seen the movie yet and I'm worried I'll hate the movie because I like the book so much.
  • We also just read The Phantom Toolbooth, which I think is where the idea comes that you keep eating soup and keep getting hungrier. Remember the Subtraction Soup?
  • He loves making up wild stories and presenting them to me with "did you know?" It's as if he has this whole secret history of the world, and he keeps quizzing me on it to see if I know as much about it as he does.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Neutral Milk Hotel

I'm listening to Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea for the first time. Ye gods, this is such a strange and remakable album. I've been hearing for years that this is one of the classic albums of the 1990's, and yet it's such an odd, eccentric thing. The horns are mad, the music goes all fuzzy and out-of-focus at times, there's a singing saw, and the lead singer has this braying, barely musical voice.  

It's fantastic.

It's an addictive album. It's such a guileless, unapologetic work. There's a very clear line of influence between this album and bands like Arcade Fire, Okkervil River, Beirut, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the Decemberists, maybe even Wilco.  That much is obvious.  This is a touchstone of so much of today's indie rock.    

What a great album. It's a shame it took me a decade to give it a try.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Milestone

I weighed in this morning at 199 pounds.  Woo hoo!!!

I broke out in a big grin when I saw that first digit "1" on the scale.  I'm under 200.  That's big. I don't really know the last time I've been under 200.  

I've lost, officially, 11 pounds since I purchased a scale.  Unofficially, I've probably lost at least 20 pounds since I started this whole endeavor.

My pants are much looser.  My shirts don't have that obnoxious bulge at the waistline anymore.  It's definitely noticeable - my wife's commented on it a couple of times.  

My secrets so far are pretty simple.  I log every single bit of food I stick in my mouth.  I work out on the elliptical at least 30 minutes, at least four times a week.  Every morning I remember, I do 10 pushups and 20 situps.  (I did 15 pushups this morning.  It doesn't seem like much, but it's a big step.)  I've also started doing some very mild weight lifting with our puny little 5 lb. barbells.  

The other big support is my beloved wife.  Mrs. B is also cutting back and she's lost ten pounds so far.  It's so much easier with us both doing it - we can compare notes on foods and check in on each other when we haven't been exercising.  Our conversations have gotten rather odd in restaurants, though.  We both tend to whip our iPod touches (she has one, too) and start comparing calories in all of the dinner entrees, trying to find the one that's the leanest and most appetizing.  

I made my spaghetti sauce the other day with turkey sausage.  We bought small baguettes and roasted garlic instead of buying the premade buttery garlic bread.  We've been eating more meatless meals, more lean meals.  It helps a lot, being able to share the burden and the successes.  

My original goal was to lose 30 pounds.  That's going to happen in the next couple of months.  

When that happens, I'll see how I feel and how much farther I want to go.  But for right now, I'm celebrating.