Atkins Progress

Just happened to notice, hidden in amongst My Documents, the Weight.xls chart I created once upon a time when I was more obsessive over my weight-loss regimen than I am now. So, I opened it up and added the latest plot point of date vs. weight, and made a discovery.

Even though it seems like my weight loss is slowing, it isn’t. I’ve been losing at the same rate, a little over half a pound a week, ever since October or November. If I keep up at this pace, I’ll be at my ultimate goal (for now, anyway) by late Winter of 2005. While that might seem like a long time… I don’t mind. And, when you think about it, it took me a few years to put it on; it seems fitting that it should take at least a year and a half to take it off.

(Just stay away from the candy machine… Hershey’s with Almonds bad…)

This Evening

This evening, at the behest of Sheryl, I went for a walk around the ‘hood. Not a particularly brisk walk—probably 2? mph or so—but I made sure to flex my toes and get my marching muscles going. Stayed out walking for half an hour, and upon my return home, didn’t want to go back inside yet (as usual). So, I weeded and watered my front flowerbed. Then I watered the back (with my watering can, as we only have one hose, and it’s currently attached to the spigot out front).

Upon noting the sorry state of my outdoor plants, I have decided that I need to take walks more often, for the sake of my poor plants.

And now for something completely different: I have coughed my throat raw today. Ow.

And finally: wonder why I think popular music today sucks? Turn up the speakers and widen the stereo spread for a little experiment.

(bad) photo of yours truly

Check out this horribly underexposed digital pic of me in my oversized XXL Bluecoats T-shirt (purchased Saturday night) and my favorite shorts (which are now two sizes too big). The original point of this pic was to show how stupidly big my clothes are on me; hence, the goofy “WTF” shrugging gesture.

Also: just went to shut the front door, and caught a glimpse of a pretty cool sunset. Even though our front yard / street isn’t much for a photogenic sunset view, I ran downstairs, slapped on the new wide-angle lens, screwed on the tripod mount, ran upstairs with camera and tripod, loaded up film from the fridge, and was outside shooting sunset photos in about three minutes flat. Used about 14 exposures of a 24-roll in not even ten minutes.

This is the trying tug-of-war between film and digital. The badly backlit photo of me might have been more easily salvaged if I had actual film to scan and work with; the sunset photos I just took might all suck, and I should have changed one little thing to make them rock, and I won’t know it until I get the prints back.

Toledo Drum Corps

I’m crashing early tonight, so I’m going to keep it brief.

I don’t think I mentioned it here yet, but I got a new job within Sky Bank. As of today, I’m working in Loan Corrections, and driving 15 or 20 minutes to work across town instead of 30-35 minutes down to BG. So far, I have no complaints… except having to be at work at 7am this morning to unpack my desk and get everything situated. That, plus the fact that there’s very little beginner work coming in for me to work on. I think it’ll be cool once I learn everything I need to know, though. It’ll be a while, I’m sure, since there are so many different functions that Loan Corrections does.

On Saturday night, I headed out to UT’s Glass Bowl to watch the first drumcorps show of the season. Arrived early—was planning to meet Garza and his group at 6:45 by the ticket booth, and arrived at 6:20 instead—and got to schmooze with several people I hadn’t expected to see. A couple techs (instructors) from Northern Aurora, the first corps I marched; a couple alumni; a couple members of the LakeShoremen; and my high school band director. I shit you not. We must have talked for a good ten or 15 minutes or so. Very cool.

Oh, and the nice lady at the Bluecoats souvenir booth recognized me! Sure, she might have gotten help from the “Diana” embroidered on my jacket and the 1997 Bluecoats member shirt I was wearing, but hey. Even if she did cheat with context clues (which I don’t think she did), she gave me the best compliment ever: she told me that she recognized me because I hadn’t changed  much.

Bless you, Souvie Booth Volunteer Lady, bless your pea-pickin’ heart. Little did you know that I gained 50 pounds after I left corps, and only just recently lost it again.

I Need More Toys…

So, after making pretty much an impulse buy on eBay (I didn’t mull it over for two days before bidding, which makes it an impulse buy for me), I’m contemplating buying myself a bigger, more premeditated camera toy: a new case. My current case just doesn’t have enough room for…

+ Minolta X370s (manual focus)
+ 28mm wide angle lens
+ 50mm lens
+ 80-200mm zoom lens
+ 2x teleconverter just purchased on eBay
+ macro filters (lets me get in reeeeal close)
+ polarizer (makes the sky bluer and water less reflective)
+ hotshoe flash
+ fresh and used film
+ various manuals, lens and body caps, notepads, and other accessories

The dilemma has been whether to just keep my current camera bag and pick and choose what I bring on any given shoot (a “shoot” for me being a trip to the Ren Fest, Fort Meigs, the zoo, the Apple Butter Festival, a drumcorps show, or other interesting local flavor) or get a new bag that can hold all my gear but that has the potential to be a touch cumbersome. The jury’s still out for me, I think.

Beth, Erk, other photo-types—any help?

Thunderstorms Lower IQ’s Exponentially. News at 11.

It should NOT take me an hour to get home to Toledo from BG. It should not.

Now, I’ll admit, I gladly drove 50 mph when I could barely see the SUV in front of me even with the wipers on high. But there were several places between the Lucas County line and home where traffic was slowed or stopped for no goddamned good reason.

As I was approaching the corner of Hill and Holland-Sylvania, just about 20 minutes after I would normally be home, I saw Aaron driving the opposite direction. I caught his eye—he was about to turn left onto the road I was on, and I was about to turn right onto the road he was on. We waved to each other, and as he turned left and drove past me, he warned, “Be careful—there’s deep water down Hill,” which was the road he’d just come from. I barely had time to yell “thanks” before he was gone.

And he was right. The most potentially treacherous part of my journey home was the least congested, and I felt perfectly fine going 15 mph or so through the almost-wheel-deep water.

But everyplace else—I-475, Airport and Holland-Sylvania, and my entire trip down Holland-Sylvania—WTF?! Get your heads out of your asses, people. It’s just a thunderstorm.

I’m gonna be old and broke…

I’ve always joked around that I’ll get my student loans paid off just about the time I retire. Sadly, it looks like that’s not far from the truth. When you consider that my education cost just about half of what our house cost, and we’ll have that paid off in another 30 years… If I keep paying $160 toward interest and $15 toward principal, that’s about when I’ll have my student loan paid off, too.

The good news, though, is that I have a pretty good start on my 401(k) plan. Just gotta stay with Sky for another three years to become fully vested and reap the rewards of the sweet, sweet profit sharing.

Not to be a financial evangelist, but considering that Social Security could well be defunct by the time we young’uns retire, I would highly recommend that you—yes, you—enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan, if they have one. It’s worth it to save early—I only put back $50 a month, and I’ve already got a pretty decent chunk of change in my plan. Might even keep Aaron and me sated for an entire month or two of retirement! 🙂

Points to ponder…

So much to say…

…so little motivation to say it.

As I’m generally disinterested in posting today, I’ll keep it (relatively) brief.

Aaron took Friday night off of work, just because. I like having my honey-muffin around.

Saturday night was Mark’s gathering of friends and brohams, at which Aaron and I joined Mark’s friends and UPS co-workers in games of Crokinole and Hearts. Hot dogs were grilled and eaten and low-carb beer was imbibed (though not by me). Overall, a very fun time. It made me realize how much I miss playing cards.

Sunday was the Bavarian Festival in Frankenmuth, where the LakeShoremen performed in the annual parade. I left the house at 8am to meet Russ and Barb at their place in Clawson (north of Detroit) at 9:15am. Took another hour and a half to get to Frankenmuth, had lunch, warmups started around 11:30-ish, parade step-off was at 1pm. Overcast all day except when we were marching in the parade. (Go fig.) Impromptu group photo after the parade, post-parade party after that, got to eat bratwurst and meatballs and sausage and all sorts of low-carb yummies. Finally got back home to Toledo at 7:30pm. Fell asleep on the couch by 10:30pm, and was whisked to bed by my honey.

Today, when I got home from work, I tried a new photo transfer technique I read in this month’s Popular Photography & Imaging magazine. After a few paper jams and a few test prints, this was the result:

wax paper inkjet photo transfer: porch swing, 1999

It reminded me of the Polaroid transfer technique Beth was telling me about some time ago. When I have a photo-quality color printer (or even just a color cartridge for our current printer), I’ll have to try this again.