Saturday, April 26, 2008

Costa Rica Was Very Hot.

They kill you by dragging you into the water and rolling until you drown.

Costa Rica: The Ultimate Patty Melt.

These monkeys are mean. They eat other monkeys.

When I was very young, my mother had a parrot a lot like these.

Coolest Jeep Ever!

Napoleon, poolside, at the hotel.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Not That I'm Going to Fight You For Him ...

Too much auto signage is a problem in and of itself, but when you throw in some proprietary message about how Jesus belongs to YOU and you alone, well, that's just plain rude. I mean, I don't even believe in all that stuff, and I'm still -

Huh? What's that?



Apparently, this is not an issue of ownership, but one of syntax.

Okay, then. I still say the images seen here constitute a disturbing aesthetic trend (at the very least!), but as far as my initial rant, well ...


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sky Skiing From Vegas.

Every once in a while I see a cloud that looks so cool I have to take a picture (even if it's just through the windshield). This Sleepy Hollow-inspired athlete appeared as Tea and I were driving home from Vegas last week.

We'd left L.A. at 6 in the morning, and four hours later we were standing in Sin City. Well ... sort of. The strip felt less like Sin City than a busy construction site - moving only my eyes, I counted 16 cranes in one view. We wound up leaving town after a few hours in Circus, Circus (we first watched the trapeze artists, then sat a few Blackjack hands, and finally won slightly creepy stuffed animals on the midway ... does throwing darts at balloons or zapping a clown in the face with a stream of water ever become boring? I don't think so). It's a shame that Circus, Circus counts as an Old School casino now that every last beautiful building in Vegas has been been ripped down (go here for visual heartache) to make way for offensively bland (or just plain offensive) luxury crap like this. Spending time in Vegas is like spending time with someone who was interesting and quirky in college but turned into a heartless prick on his way up the corporate ladder. You long for time travel and it's almost instantaneously depressing.

By 4 p.m. we were on the road to State Line, a Western-style, three-casino compound on the Nevada/Californa border. I was justifiably nervous about this adventure (what could I expect for $24 a night at a place called Buffalo Bill's?), but I have to say, it was great. The room was clean and quiet, the casino was over-the-top Old West in the very best way, and the Blackjack table we parked at seemed to attract interesting, likable people all night long.

Oh yeah - and there's a huge roller coaster ... and a futuristic-looking tram that glides between the three casinos. Stateline rules!

As far as the diet, writing and exercise thing goes, the week could have been better, but it also could have been worse. I went on three good walks, began writing the new book (only a few pages in, but better than nothing), and at least I didn't gain any weight.

More soon.

P.S. Please reassure me that John McCain won't be the next president? I mean, it's fair to be worried. As some talking head recently said, "No one grabs defeat from the jaws of victory better than the Democrats ..."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tim Gunn Would Not Approve.

Eight months ago, I had nine pairs of jeans to choose from. Today I have just one.

That's right - I've packed on so much weight that I only have one pathetic, ripped-up, busted-at-the-seams pair of jeans left that fit (and no, I wouldn't call them a very good fit).

This is no way to be fashion-forward.

Adding to this serving of Misery Stew are the results from yesterday's visit to the doctor: I have gained back 28 of the 40 pounds I lost.

So. I guess it's time to turn this shit around: Back to Weight Watchers, back to exercising, back to writing, back to some semblance of discipline.

As far as the rest of my life goes, I would say things are good with the potential for great ... assuming I can manage to get myself back on track.

Along those "back on track" lines, here's an entry I wrote on February 18th but never published:

I fear I will ultimately lose her because, while I understand why she would want to be with me, I don't truly get why she would be attracted to me.

That's right, the same old insecurity-abandonment-self-esteem crap I can never seem to ditch . Then comes the internalized domino effect: confusion leads to fear, fear to suspicion, suspicion to paranoia, paranoia to mistrust, mistrust back to a whole new level of fear, and finally ( this is my favorite part because it's so constructive!), New Fear feeds directly into my self-sabotage tendencies.

And yet, because it's so deceptively easy to push all that aside, I'm happy most of the time.

If this is why I've frittered away most of the progress I made last year as a writer and a healthier person, well, that's a pretty sorry statement, indeed.

Not to mention the part about being a paranoid idiot in the face of evidence and actions that consistently point to the contrary.

I don't want to blow this relationship, especially not from the inside out ...

And I'm not just talking about my relationship with Tea.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 682: Wikifaith.

Pretty cool, huh? Despite my now-erased attempts to connect by way of a "sleight-of-hand" theme, this art has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I simply stole it from some random blog. If you want to find out about the artist/s and all that, go here.

Just for the record ...

I find myself going to Wikipedia more often than I ever thought I would. I actually
like the fact that anyone can fuck with what's up there.

It restores my faith in the idea
that people are collectively capable of making sure that the truth prevails.

Or maybe it's just that I'm having the 8th-graders I tutor read Lord of the Flies.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 681: What's Wrong With This Picture?

Photo: AP via NY Times

At first, I thought it was weirdly funny that soldiers would need shields when surrounding peacefully assembled Buddhist monks. I mean, monks are pretty much the paragon of pacifism, right?

Then I read the accompanying story and it all made perfect sense.

Not only does one need a shield when tear-gassing said Buddhist monks, one needs a shield when clubbing them to death (you know, to protect the uniform from splatter).

In related news, this might be the first time I've ever liked Laura Bush. Her symbolic gestures aren't actually helping or anything, but at least she seems sincere.

Mrs. Bush, known for her campaigns on literacy, education and health, has turned the fate of Burma and its jailed opposition leader, Mrs. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, into a cause of her own.

She has met repeatedly with the UN envoy to the so-called "Myanmar" government, and last year, she moderated a discussion at the United Nations to draw attention to the country’s repressive policies. In May, she joined the 16 women in the Senate to appeal publicly for Kyi’s release. In June, she met in the White House with refugees and exiles from Burma.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Day 645: Serious Negotiations.

The man ... the myth ... the legend, as he was back in January of 2006.

I couldn't do the official weigh-in this morning (I had to be at work at nine), but the unofficial scale here at home, which is always two ounces above the Weight Watchers scale, tells me a mere pound has been lost this week.

I find this somewhat surprising since the dogs and I hoofed it up the trail not once, not twice, but three times this week (take that, "woof-woof").

Then again, it's not all that surprising ... I may have eaten just a tiny bit more than one would ideally want to in a diet week (damn you, Phillipes!!).

Anyway, I'm grateful for the pound, especially since the challenges are only going to get tougher from here on out.

First, the Big Event drops on Friday when Napoleon makes his way across the country for a visit. We'll spend a few days tearing up the city before we fly back East together to join the rest of the Marshall clan for a restful week at the Lake.

Good times? You bet.

Diet times?

I don't think I need to answer that one.

Fortunately, my Inner Negotiator is already on the scene, buttering up my brain for control of my mouth.

"Lighten up," my I.N. coos. "It's just an end-of-summer blowout. You'll get serious again as soon as Fall begins. You'll be lower than your lowest weight by Christmas."

I'm not sure how to respond to that. It all sounds so ... real. Finally, I manage a few random thoughts.

But ... my favorite clothes don't fit. I have to keep wearing the same crap over and over again because I'm 10 pounds past a manageable weight and I refuse to buy fat clothes.

"I know, I know" I.N. sighs. "But what are you supposed to do? Worry about every little thing you eat while Napoleon is here? That doesn't sound like much fun. And then what? Are you going to drag the poor kid to your weigh-in next week?"

I.N. can definitely sense my weakness.

"Just have a good time for the next two weeks and then deal with it when you get back. Besides, you'll be on the move a lot when you're with the Marshalls. It'll all balance out. Go have fun!"

Damn - that bastard's good.

Then again, the idea of Napoleon sitting in on the weekly Weight Watcher's meeting really is kinda priceless ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Day 638: Of Deep Throat, Eggz, and Rooftops.

I'm not 14, I don't wear a bikini, I don't weigh 100 pounds and this is not my house. Who cares - you get the idea!

Unfortunately, just ditching the weed again has not been enough to make the pounds magically melt away.

Apparently, there needs to be dieting as well.

Even worse, I have learned (from a high-ranking government source I refuse to name, so don't even try) that there's been all kinds of research into this newfangled weight loss theory known as "egg-zer-size" (my source will only speak to me through a handkerchief over the phone, so I have no choice but to use phonetic spelling). I'm told this "eggzersizing" is required if one ever plans to: a) eat like a halfway normal person, and b) permanently keep weight off.

Don't you just hate the way government wastes our tax dollars? I mean, seriously, I could have told them this before they spent billions on research. You see, I've gained back half of the weight I lost by eating like a fool and sitting on my ass. There's your research, Uncle Sam!

On a more terrifying (and only slightly less obnoxious) note, I am returning to Weight Watchers this morning at 9:30 to face what will be unbearably bad music. I won't post the results because it will be far too demoralizing, but will definitely post next Monday morning's results. That way, if I can manage even a slight loss, I might not be tempted to throw myself off the roof.

Okay, so I live in a one-story house and there's plenty of uncut grass to break my fall. What's your point?

I'll hurl myself to the ground, I tell you!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 624: Pulling the Weed (Again).

MotoCat (2007)

Well, I quit smoking pot again this weekend, so I guess that's a step in the right direction ...

I am amazed at how quickly I fell back into a familiar routine after 500+ days of not touching the stuff.

I am somewhat less amazed at how quickly I then gained weight, stopped focusing on my writing, and became more anti-social.

Now I suppose I have to face the music by going back to Weight Watchers and assessing the damage.

This one's gonna leave a mark.


p.s. Picture is totally unrelated except for the fact that I took it on the same day I stopped smoking again.