Archive for March, 2009

Weight Loss Update

So, I just weighed in at 280.4. That’s a bit of a false weight since it’s 10am and I haven’t eaten since last night (but, to be fair, I ate very late last night). That’s down from 313 at the start of this whole thing. Hopefully 290 is in the rearview mirror for good.

I’ve kicked up my runs to 2.5 to 3 miles each run on days when I run twice, and 3 miles on days when I run once. So far, so good, but I have noticed that my feet cramp up a little on the treadmill sometimes.

So, at that weight, my total loss would be about 33 lbs, and that would raise $1,353.70 for Why Me. I’ve gotta keep on trucking.

Why Me Weight Loss Tim 24 Mar 2009 2 Comments

The Facebook

A new question has sprung up in my conversations lately: “Hey, are you on Facebook?”

My answer to that question is, yes, I am on the Facebook.

Side note: I say “the Facebook” because I learned from young people that it is funny to put the word “the” in front of things; for example, “the internets.” Incorrect plurals are funny, too, trust me. Well, at least they were a month ago…by now they could be boring. The fact that I just used them in a column probably put the nail in that coffin…so maybe you shouldn’t trust me after all.

Anyway, Facebook, for those back in the dark ages who write letters with pens, is a free internet community that people join. These same people create profiles on the Facebook web site and then either find or are found by old friends through the site and send each other friend requests (which, when accepted, allow viewing of the other person’s profile). These newly reconnected people then exchange messages:

“Hi, how have you been? I’m doing well. I’m married and living in Clinton, and I do tech support to pay the bills. When I’m not commuting, I go to grad school for English at Fitchburg State. Also, I write subpar columns for the local paper when time permits.”

After a couple of these messages go back and forth, these reconnected people then return to the dormant state of non-communication they were in before the reconnection. Unless one of them posts a picture or writes something witty, upon which they might surface briefly to post a comment – “Funny! Me too!” – before disappearing again into the past.

However, each of these people, who are now not talking any more than they were before, have gained a Facebook friend. The number of Facebook friends is proudly displayed on the profile, and people can be competitive about the number.

I know this because my wife is one of these competitive people. Every so often she will ask me how many Facebook friends I have, and when I reply, “305,” she will get mad (because she has 194). I find this funny, because anyone who knows both of us will tell you that they much prefer her company to mine. She does not think it is so funny.

Some people – not my wife – are so concerned with Facebook friends that they will send a friend request to people they don’t even know. I have at least 3 Facebook friends that I have never met or spoken to, and I have turned down a number of other friend requests from people I don’t know. One person asked to be my friend, claiming to be in my high school class…yet there was no one with her first name in my class (I checked) and her birth date was listed as 4 years later than mine. Odd.

Another group of people who send me friend requests are those that weren’t nice to me in high school. I have received a few of these, and it’s always a bit of a surprise. Generally, I do not act on these requests right away (my own form of a penalty box, making these people twist in the wind while I consider their requests…they don’t even notice but it makes me feel better), but usually I will figure that bygones are bygones and accept the requests. I think this qualifies me as overly forgiving, or perhaps soft in the head.

Another popular activity is searching for ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends. However, upon finding them, the searchers do not send a friend request; instead they just strain their eyes to examine the tiny profile picture (He or she got FAT! YES!).

Anyway, when Facebookers aren’t adding to their friend totals or stalking their exes, they are inviting their existing friends to join causes (click here if you hate the Yankees!), or to take quizzes, or to play online games or to accept virtual gifts (like plants, or oddly, sheep). Luckily, for things like this there is an option to “Ignore” the invitation. It’s my favorite passively aggressive tool for avoiding such things – less direct than an outright refusal, but not as annoying as indulging the request by accepting it.

Some young people have been concerned that Facebook is being ruined by the number of older people (over 25) who use it as a tool to keep in touch. Technology is for the young, they seem to say, and older people should stay home and watch “Matlock” reruns. Facebook has taken steps to limit the “old fogey” factor by radically changing the user interface every few months. These changes, which to my knowledge add no actual benefit, serve to confuse and alienate the older generation of Facebookers – many of whom had just figured out the old interface.

These older people try to fight back by sending invitations to join a cause that will “bring back the old Facebook.” Essentially, this is the online form of a petition, which will be ignored just like all pen and paper petitions are ignored. But, like traditional petitions, it allows people to feel like they are “getting involved” and “doing something.” It also tells Facebook that their plan to alienate the older generation is working to perfection. I avoid the whole process, and desperately cling to my youth, by refusing to commit to such causes.

So, yes, I am on the Facebook. Shoot me a friend request if we’ve ever shared a beer and we haven’t talked in a while, and you want to ignore me more formally. I’m the one dressed as Mr. Incredible in my profile photo. Do me a favor, though: Don’t send a request to my wife. I want to maintain my lead.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 19 Mar 2009 3 Comments

290, You Bitch

So, 290 is a troublesome weight for me.

Back in November/December, when I was working out and running, I could never get below 290. I think I bottomed out at 292 before I pitched the whole thing while on vacation and ate my way back up over 300.

Now, during the weight loss challenge, I was excited to approach 290, but I have been on the weight yo-yo around that weight for two weeks now. On the 8th, I weighed in at 288. Then, two days later I was back up to 291.9, then up to 292.4, then by this past Saturday I was down to 286.0. However, this morning I am back at 290.2.

I am resolved to put 290 in the rearview mirror for good, but it is clear that after two weeks I need to make some sort of change, either in my diet or in my exercise routine, to get past this plateau. My body seems to think that it *should* weigh 290, so I need to drive that notion out of my cells (or my love handles).

I recently cranked up the speed on the treadmill (2 miles at 5.5 mph instead of 5.2), and I’ve been trying to run outside in the nicer weather…and I’ve been doing pretty well on my diet (excepting the ton of kettle corn I ate last night…so very good, but a bad idea overall), so we’ll see. Tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous, so maybe I’ll go 3 miles outside.

Down with 290!

Why Me Weight Loss Tim 17 Mar 2009 1 Comment

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