Year In Review: 2013

Year In Review: 2013

2013 has come and, as of midnight, will have gone. It was a mixed year for most of us— lots of good, some bad, some indifferent. Things with me changed, some for the better, some for the worse, and some for the far, far worse… so c’mon, kids. Let’s keep the Year In Review tradition going: I’ve been doing it since the LiveJournal days, and there’s no point in stopping now.

It turns out that I did write more in 2013 than 2012. Mind you, I only posted three times in 2012, but still, progress is progress. I find myself growing further and further disillusioned by social media. A solid 80% of the crap that I see on Facebook I don’t care about, and none of my friends are particularly active on Twitter. Oh, and there’s Google Plus. I don’t really use it. Most of you don’t either. Still, I need somewhere to post what’s rattling around in my brain, so why not go back to the way I did things in the Good Old Days? I do, however, need to keep it a little bit more anonymous. I’ve discouraged Google’s spiders from doing their thang, but I’m going to run a few searches on my archive and try to alter certain key words— like the name of the company that I work for, which will hereafter be referred to as “Veridian Dynamics”. I may remove the photo sidebar, and I might go as far as changing references to both my name and the name of my long-suffering ladytype. Not sure.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I know that technically I’ve been in college before. But this was the first year that I really, truly, and honestly applied myself. That’s the biggest one. Other things: MARDI GRAS!!! I found out what those Food Exchange notations on food labels are. Played with the WiiU. Other things that are too personal for even this forum. Not a lot different. Tried knitting (not for me, not with these giant, sausagesque fingers). Tried origami (ditto).

2. Did you keep New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’ll admit that I did actually make some, even though I denied it before. And I… failed miserably at keeping them. This year I’m going to try very, very hard not to, but I’m sure that I’ll actually try to make changes to myself. That’s the nature of the New Year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

One of my friends produced a son. I’ve never met him, but he seems to be a happy lad.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Again, I dodged that bullet.

5. What countries did you visit?

I still haven’t left the US, and it’s getting goddamn depressing. I need to get my passport. I need to go SOMEWHERE, even Canada, that’s different.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Better health still wins this one, but it’s a matter of applying myself. That isn’t gonna be easy.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day that I received my final grades for Fall Term: December 17th. The first time that I’ve strung together two 4.0 terms of school since… like… elementary school. In fact, did I ever pull straight A’s in elementary school?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

The two 4.0 terms.

9. What was your biggest failure?

This one is copied verbatim from 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012…

 Not leaving this dead-end job. It may pay a lot of money, but I’m miserable here and the effects that it has on my emotions and physical health are showing more than they have before. I need a fresh start… and the balls to actually MAKE that fresh start. 

Step one in changing that is in progress. The hope of a better future is what keeps me going.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yeah. Finding out that you have a lifelong chronic disease that, if not completely preventable, at least could have been staved off is not fun in the least. Still, I wasn’t hospitalized (knock on wood) and that’s A-OK with me.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I know it sounds materialistic, by my laptop. I loves it.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I am legally obligated to mention m’lady here.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Our nation’s government. The people holding the strings that control said government. The NSA. Big Business.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills. All of the bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The laptop. Dragon*Con (again). Christmas. Vacations. School, and shortly after, time off from school.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Honestly, I can’t think of one particular song that will remind me of 2013. I didn’t listen to much new music.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or sadder?  Surprisingly enough, we have an UPSWING this year. I’m happier. You can’t put a price on that.
  • Thinner or fatter?  Probably fatter, but to be honest, I haven’t bothered weighing myself in a while.
  • Richer or poorer?  Poorer, but not TERRIBLY poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending time outside relaxing. Planning rather than reacting. Reading.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Arguing. Being angry at that which cannot be changed.

20. How (DID I) spend Christmas?

KLynne and I spent Christmas at home this year. I didn’t put on real pants all day. It was glorious.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

I remain in love.

22. How many one-night stands?

 

What’s this year’s replacement question… hmm… how about…

22.  What does the fox say? 

I guess I just realized what song’s gonna remind me of 2013. Heh. I still think it’s funny.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Bob’s Burgers! I hated the pilot the first time we watched it, gave it another try, and it… was freaking awesome. Enough so that I’m considering cosplaying as Teddy for next Dragon*Con.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. Severely dislike, but it ain’t quite hate yet.

25. What was the best book you read?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was FANTASTIC. If you ever get the chance to listen to the audiobook, I suggest doing so- it’s a Wil Wheaton production.

26. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?

I actually can’t think of ANY musical growth that I’ve made with bands old or new.

27. What did you want and get?

Good grades, a new computer, damn near everything that I wanted for Christmas, and a good start for the Avalanche.

28. What did you want and not get?

One Christmas item, the inevitable health, new job, and to get up off of my ass and do more stuff.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Hmm… probably The Heat. Melissa McCarthy is funny.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Turned 30(!).  Went mini-golfing. It was a pretty chill birthday, to tell the truth.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A trip to foreign lands… or Colorado to see the Broncos or Avalanche.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

More Hawaiian shirts! More Columbia (or similar) fishing shirts! More polos! Same jeans! Oh, and I have started wearing sweaters now that it’s chilly-like… and THE BEARD RETURNED.

33. What kept you sane?

Sane is such a strong word. Probably long, deep breaths.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I still have my List of Five. I still fancy ’em.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The NSA spying “shocker”. I figured that we were being spied on, but it’s still infuriating to have that paranoid fear confirmed.

36. Who did you miss?

My people out West.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

My friend Andre wins this one.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Hey, applying yourself actually works! I should do it more often!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your own song

—Rush, Something for Nothing
 

2004 ♦ 2007 ♦ 2008 ♦ 2009 ♦ 20112012

A Jolly Holiday

A Jolly Holiday

Merry Christmas! Happy (belated) Hanukkah! Joyus Festivus! Fantastic Athiest Non-Belief But Here Are A Bunch Of Presents Day! Blessed Yule! Have a whatever the hell the proper sentiment to wish for Kwanzaa and Eid are!

OK, I think I have everything out of the way.

Christmas, to me, was always an exciting time of the year. I know, y’all are probably SHOCKED to hear that. Still, I always counted down the days.

When I was a kid, we had a very set routine for Christmas:

My brother and I each got a present on Christmas Eve. We went to bed, euphoric at the Giftstravaganza about to happen downstairs.

We’d wait for Mom and Dad to get up. Christmas doesn’t start without the Parental Units, and they will get up at whatever time they damn well please (generally 9 or 10 on Christmas). Of course, being that I love my sleep, they’d often be the ones waking ME up.

We’d all file downstairs. Dad would throw in some Christmas Music (generally Mannheim Steamroller) and it would be PRESENT TIME. For many years, Mom and Dad didn’t wrap presents- “a waste of paper” is what Mom would always say. Instead, we’d take turns pulling stuff out from under the tree and show it off, inspect it, et cetera. Later, we did a more traditional wrapped gift… thing. Pictures would often be taken, and sometimes video. Somewhere in Las Vegas exists far too many VHS-C tapes and Super-8 film of a briefs-clad young fatty beaming with delight as he holds up the latest book, video game, or whatever else.

After gift giving was done, we’d eat breakfast, prepared by Dad. Usually pancakes, sometimes waffles or French toast. It wouldn’t be a huge breakfast, because we’d then have to put on whatever new clothes we got for Christmas, get ready, and then it was on to…

Grammy and Grampy’s place! My aunts and uncles on that side of the family (and the cousins) would generally all be there. We’d gather in the front room, get the traditional gift from Grammy and Grampy (A box or two of Brach’s Chocolate Raspberry or Chocolate Orange fingers and $20), and sit around listening to the grown-ups shoot the breeze with one another. A particular highlight was listening to my uncle Philip… that man is a master storyteller. Hearing his tales of work, or stuff that they did as kids, or whatever was always a treat. After a few hours there, we’d then hop in the car heading north to…

Salt Lake, and Mom’s family’s places! We’d often see her former stepmother (if you know my family, you’ll know that keeping track of Mom’s relations is not easy… not due to the number, but because my Grandpa got married seven times) and/or Mom’s stepsisters, which would make their kids… my step-cousins or something? I don’t know. They were just… them. This was generally kinda boring.

Next on our list was my Great Grandma Norman’s house. I loved Grandma and Grandpa Norman. Still do, and I still miss them. They were the kindest, nicest… I’m starting to tear up. We’d visit them. I really wish I knew what their address was so I could drive by their old house next time I visit Utah. I know that I don’t have a shot at going inside, and I’m sure that the interior has been changed time and time again, but the memories of that house hopefully won’t fade from my mind. Grandpa passed away when I was five or six, and Grandma when I was 11 or 12.

We’d leave from there to go to her Dad’s place. We’d often eat something at Grandpa’s, some years having a Christmas dinner, some not. My uncle (at least once he moved back to Utah) would show up with his kids, we’d get our gifts from Grandpa, relax, and do more talking. The final stop was not far away…

My Great Grandma Adams’ house. She didn’t live too far away from Grandpa. All of the relatives on that side of the family would meet up there, and… you guessed it, sit and talk. I’d often go to the back bedroom to sit on the old twin bed for some peace and quiet or play with the (original!) Lincoln Logs back there. There was always food there- Ruffles and clam dip in a red blown glass chip/dip tray (it sat in a metal holder, the dip was suspended in a smaller tray above the chips), cuts of a Christmas ham eaten on rolls with mustard, whatever soda was on hand (generally Coke or some variant therof, Grandma herself favored Tab), and occasional other things. We’d stay until my little brother and I started to get tired, then climb into the car and head home.

This was the pattern until the Fam moved to Vegas, and I tried to continue that pattern as best I could after I moved back. By the time I was living in Grampy’s basement, I was the one putting up his tree (throwing a few of my own ornaments on it for good measure), entertaining my uncle Jimmy’s kids (after all, I had video games in the basement!) and eating lunch with the adults. I’d then head to Salt Lake, visit Grandpa, and then Grandma Adams.

All of this changed once I moved to Georgia.

My first year here was, easily, the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. Including those where I was sick. Since I didn’t really have many friends (and those that I DID have were busy doing other things), I basically got up, opened the presents that Mom and Dad had mailed to me, and then… I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t feel like putting on Christmas music. I was already incredibly depressed (having no family and few friends at Christmas will do that to you). I basically threw on some clothes, went to the shitty Chinese buffet in Roswell, ate too much food that had been sitting out for too long, drove back home, threw up, screwed around on the Internet for a while, drank two glasses of Vodka straight-up, then fell asleep at four PM and didn’t wake up until the next day.

Luckily, I had KLynne in my life by the time the next Christmas rolled around. In that year, I managed to get a dog, meet a girl, have said girl become my girlfriend, tell that girlfriend I loved her after a few months of dating, ditch the apartment, and get a rental house with said girlfriend. Clearly, the next step was to spend Christmas visiting her Mom and he’s-technically-her-stepdad-but-it-feels-weird-to-call-him-that, Frank. We went to her old house, I stayed in her old room, and… I felt like I was accepted by the family. We opened presents, I gave KLynne a pearl necklace that I really need to get the chain replaced on now that I think of it, we ate, we laughed, and I felt… peaceful. it was one of the best Christmases I had in a long time.

We continued that tradition until last year, when her Mom moved to Minnesota. I was worried about Christmas, but my fears were unfounded. Friends of ours celebrated with us, and her Dad came up from Alabama to visit shortly before. We’re looking at a repeat of at least one of those two things this year, and I couldn’t be more excited.

50 Things for 2013: The Final Countdown

50 Things for 2013: The Final Countdown

So here it is, kids… the final update to the 50 Things list.  I’ll be completely honest with you, I sucked at doing this.

My goal for next year is to STOP SETTING STUPID GOALS.  STOP DOING LISTS.  I never finish them.

Anyway, here goes…

Yes, I only succeeded on TWO more goals… figure out what to do with the ivy choking the backyard (GOATS!) and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA (4.0 if you count only GGC classes, 3.62 overall).

Confessions of a Thirty-Year-Old Freshman: Fall 2013 Coda

Confessions of a Thirty-Year-Old Freshman: Fall 2013 Coda

Finals aren’t over yet (I’ve got one Saturday morning… yay?) but I figured this would be a good time to air out some thoughts about school.

  • Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t be that guy, I’ve already made a list of things that I need to work on for spring semester. The big stuff on the list? Procrastination, my old foe. Also, cracking open those $300 books once in a while might be a good idea, too.
  • I like my Chem teacher.  I really do.  He’s a great guy.  He seems genuinely glad that I’m in his class.  He’s just not a natural teacher- at least in English.  He falls into the classic traps of skipping too quickly through the class content and focusing more on having groups of kids work on problems.  I can’t say that I haven’t learned anything in that class (I most certainly have), but it has been a struggle.
  • In both of my classes, I have archnemeses.  In Chem, it’s the know-it-all girl at the front of the class who argues with the teacher and complains “that isn’t how we learned it in India”.  Well, y’know what?  It’s how we’re learning it here. rikerbearddwi
  • Conversely, in Algebra, my nemesis is a girl who is struggling with the class… but rather than asking for help, getting tutoring, et cetera, she spends the entire time complaining about how “this is stupid” and “this is too hard” and “this is bullshit”.  Annoying, yes (she sits right next to me), but the killer was when we were waiting in the hall for a test review, and she said that the professor was the problem- and that she “works just as hard as (I) do”.  I’m sorry.  I’m crap at math, and have had to study my nads off to get the grade that I’m getting.  I’ve had to bug my wife relentlessly for help.  To imply that you work as hard as I do when I see you sitting next to me, texting your friends, taking selfies with your stupid iPhone, and whining… you’re not working as hard as I am.
  • Group projects: they sucked in high school, they REALLY suck in college.  KLynne had not one but two projects that her members bailed on.  I had a science presentation where I did 95% of the work- from creating a lab write-up to making sense of the data we gathered (spectrophotometric analysis of common food dyes in various types of candy) to making the PowerPoint-  that was me.  You added to the lab report a little bit- a bit that I had to edit for clarity, grammar, et cetera.  That 100% is MY 100%.  The worst part— my lab partner wasn’t one of the young college kids that I talked about.  It was a dude in his 40s.
  • Finals are more stressful than I remember from Attempts 1&2 at school.  I only had two.  I’m a wreck.  I can’t even begin to fathom how it’s gonna be once I’m in the higher sciences.
  • I will admit that sometimes I hear about what the younger students are doing and get lost in daydreams— how would it have been to have lived in the dorms, dealing with roommates, getting my eat on in the Student Union Center?  What would life have been like if I would’ve gone with my original plan, enrolled at the U of U, lived in the dorms, and had a more traditional college experience?  Would it have gone better?  Would I have still flamed out?
  • The thought of being in Pre-Calculus terrifies me.  I never got that far in HS (I’m still amazed that I was able to graduate with the classes that I took, underachieving HOOOOOO!) and Algebra has been rough enough… but to have Precalc, Calc, and Statistics staring me in the face… kinda terrifying.
  • Despite all of this, I’m proud as hell of myself.  I haven’t given up.  I haven’t surrendered.  I have A grades in both of my classes (not counting the finals… here’s hoping they remain A’s)… and once my finals are over, I will have finally achieved the rank of… SOPHOMORE!

    EXCELSIOR!
  • Also… now I know why Spring Break is a thing. I’m putting in for PTO for next year, and I’m counting down the days until Christmas Break. I’ll be able to read recreationally again! I can sit on my butt and play video games once I’m home from work! GET THE HOUSE CLEAN AND DECORATED BEFORE OUR GUESTS SHOW UP!
  • And finally, because it bears repeating: I probably wouldn’t be doing this without KLynne, who lit a big enough fire under my ass to get me up and moving on this.  Thanks, dear.
Adventures In Higher Education, or Confessions of a Thirty-Year-Old Freshman

Adventures In Higher Education, or Confessions of a Thirty-Year-Old Freshman

Since having restarted school (again) this past Summer term, I have come to realize a few things:

  • Man, I’m old.
  • Laughing at references to 70’s and 80’s pop culture when no one else does makes you stick out like a sore thumb to your classmates, but it endears you to your professors, who are also probably feeling older and older with each successive class.
  • Damn near everything is turned electronically.
  • Damn near all notes are done in the form of a PowerPoint stack. No notes on the whiteboard (my school is too new to have any chalkboards, that’s what you get for going to the first new state college in the US established in the 21st Century).  No notes on transparencies.
  • Some professors will use technology (i.e. YouTube) as a crutch. You won’t learn a lot from those professors. Likewise, some professors barely teach and use the “oh, just look at the PowerPoint on your own time if you don’t get it” excuse.
  • JESUS. Lots of these kids are dumb as posts.
  • JESUS. I’m an idiot compared to some of these kids.
  • Keeping your damn mouth shut seems to be optional to some people.
  • College libraries haven’t stopped being awesome since my prior attempts at schooling.
  • Man, I’m old.

And fall term!  The school is packed, parking is a beeyotch, and I feel like Captain America in “The Avengers” when I hear other students talking about pop culture-y things.

 

I’m three weeks in and Algebra is already kicking my ass.  Chemistry is the toadie who is holding my arms behind my back while Algebra punches me in the nads.  Still, I have summer term’s grades to keep me motivated— and the promise that if I can keep a 3.0, I get the lovely HOPE Scholarship. Not having to pay for $3500 of tuition a year would be pretty frakkin’ sweet.

Another Update, Like Anyone Reads This Blog Anymore

Another Update, Like Anyone Reads This Blog Anymore

Halfway Through..  Let’s look at the board and see how I’m doing!

  1. Get back into school.  (DONE! And I made it through Summer Term with As!)
    PWNED!
  2. Complete an Algebra study course before I get into school.  (Done! And I made it through the COMPASS.  Booyah)
    PWNED!
  3. Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. (Doing good so far…)
  4. Go camping at least five times this year. (It hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t think it’s going to.  Sad face.  Still, I’m not marking it as a failure yet…)
  5. At least one of above camping trips will require me and whoever else is with me to hike in at least a mile.  
  6. Go fishing at least three times. (Two down, once in AL and once in Minnesota, which leads to…)
  7. On one of those trips, catch a fish big enough to eat. (Done! In MN, I caught a lovely 14″ long bass and an even bigger walleye.  And I ate them.  And they were tasty.)
    PWNED!
  8. Play Disc Golf at least once a month. (Did we get July? I think we went in early July.)
  9. Improve my Disc Golf short game. (Meh. I need more practice)
  10. Cook something that I have never cooked before at least twice a month.  


  11. Make dinner at least once a week.
    FAIL.
  12. Change KLynne’s oil next time she’s due.  (She’s due. I haven’t changed it yet.)
  13. Take my stupid medication every day.  (Nope.  Missed this one a week into the year.)

  14. Visit at least two more semi-major Southern cities for a weekend. (That hasn’t happened, school and life have gotten in the way.  Not looking good…) 
  15. Attend another NHL game, provided we have a season this year or next. (I still have hopes for this one.) 
  16. Go to another Braves game. (Yeah, I need to catch a game sooner rather than later.) 
  17. See another NFL game.  
  18. Read at least 50 books. (I’m doing passable… but not that great.)
  19. Re-read Ender’s Game (and the direct sequels). (Still need to do that, but with OSC’s ranting and raving, I’m not so sure if I’ll do it.) 
  20. Try Hemingway again.
  21. Of the 50, at least 30 have to be books I haven’t read before. (At least I’m on pace with this one…)
  22. Play through EVERY ONE of my board games at least once.  (We’ve slacked… and added more to the pile.)
  23. Drop enough weight to technically be able to skydive. (I’m within 20 pounds.) 
  24. Construct a good costume for Dragon*Con. (Due to circumstances beyond my control, also known as My Mother, that isn’t happening now.  Sad times.)
    FAIL
  25. Paint a painting.  On canvas.
  26. Do at least one drawing for KLynne.
  27. Get the gutters clean.
  28. Once clean, put leaf guards on them.  
  29. Get a quote on new windows for the lower level(s) of the house.  Replace them if we can afford it. (Wow, I forgot about those…)
  30. Remove the wallpaper from the master bathroom.  Repaint it.
  31. Figure out some way to tame the ivy in the back yard. (Does “Hire someone else to do it” count?)
  32. Keep the house cleaner. (Heh.) 
  33. Think up a better nickname for the house than “Stately Spinch Manor”.  (I’m leaning back to Stately Spinch Manor.) 
  34. Visit my friends in Utah. (That isn’t gonna happen until next year, unfortunately, so this one gets a big ol)
    FAIL
  35. Write letters to my non-local friends.  (Haven’t even tried.  I’m a terrible human being.) 
  36. Buy a Montgomery Biscuits jersey. (They changed their damn jersey so it doesn’t have the biscuit on it anymore! I still want one, but damn.  Sad times.)
  37. Find another antique razor. Clean it up and use it. (Done, if you count 1963 as antique.  I don’t think Mom and Dad would approve of that, though…)
    PWNED!
  38. Go to Mardi Gras. (Done!)
    PWNED!
  39. See if my ring can be re-finished.
  40. Beat at least 5 video games that I haven’t before and that are sitting on my shelves.
  41. Do more of the touristy shit around Atlanta that I haven’t yet. (That’s happening when my Mom and little brother get here for Dragon*Con the week after next…) 
  42. Visit the High Museum.  Pretend to know how to appreciate art.
  43. Figure out what it will take to turn the upstairs bathroom into a functional darkroom. (STILL A LOT of work)
  44. Take pictures using KLynne’s SLR.  Develop them myself.
  45. Hit 125 on my Taco Mac Brewniversity card.  Get my name on the wall. (I haven’t been to Taco Mac in a long-ass time.) 
  46. Get my passport. (I’ve got the paperwork filled out, I just need to get an appointment to submit the paperwork and take a photo.) 
  47. Get at least $2000 in my savings account. Maintain that level.
  48. This one is a private matter, so I’m not going to reprint it here.  Easily corruptible minds and all of that. (A private matter that I haven’t been able to succeed at.)

  49. So is this one.
  50. Learn to swim.

I’m doing a little better this time, but still not great.  Looks like I need to keep this list somewhere where I can see it… five yeses and six definite nos is not the kind of ratio that I was hoping to have in August.

On Being A Fat Guy 2: The Fat Life

On Being A Fat Guy 2: The Fat Life

It has been a while since my diagnosis. I’m doing OK some days, not so great other days. Sometimes I take my meds, often I forget my meds.  Sometimes I remember to test my blood glucose, other times, I just don’t wanna. The knowledge of what I have weighs on my heavily, and the fact that I can’t let my family know increases that weight exponentially. “But Spin, you should talk to your family!”, you might say.  And you are more than welcome to day that, but YOU DON’T KNOW MY FAMILY. My mother would shit kittens if she found out, would re-double her ‘you need to lose weight’ rants, and basically give me the same treatment I got throughout growing up about how my body was a horrible, horrible thing that must be altered.  This series wasn’t originally going to be about the shitty, shitty news that I found out but instead just about what it was like being a fat guy.  I’m going to try to stick to that, but I can’t guarantee anything.

The Clothing

Buying clothes as a fat guy is easier than doing the same as a lady who is, as Eric Cartman says, “festively plump”.  Most stores carry shirts (et cetera) in 2x and 3x sizes, and those sizes actually MEAN something… namely, that the shirt (et cetera) is probably gonna fit.  Same with pants… we can usually find stuff in the 40+” range, and sometimes higher.  As I have found, ladies do not have it so easy, with wild size variations, stores having a lower size limit on women’s clothing, and the clothing that IS in larger sizes is often completely different (read: ugly).

I have officially adopted what seems to be Fat Guy Uniform.  Jeans (occasionally slacks) at work, shorts when it’s warm. I wear polo shirts, Hawaiian shirts (the more obnoxious the better), the odd T-shirt when I’m not at work, and when I can get away with it,.hockey jerseys (or hockey sweaters, if you’re a purist).  If it’s good enough for Kevin Smith, it’s good enough for me, dammit.   Oh, and plaid.  Lots of plaid things.

The Food

Nearly every time I eat, I feel food guilt.  This is not unusual for me, as I feel guilty about some damn thing or another most of the day.  Still, it’s not fun.  My inner monologue saying “why’d you eat so much” or “you didn’t need those fries, fatass” or “yeah, the double- decker bacon mac ‘n cheese burger was a reeeeeal good choice (and yes, this is a real thing, available at Taco Mac…’Two quarter pound grilled patties, fried macaroni and cheese wedges, pickled jalapeños, two slices of real American cheese and ketchup’) is not a good thing to deal with.  The thing is, I get that guilt even when I eat healthy.  The monologue continues unabated.  “You shouldn’t have had that salad.”  “Even if that bread is whole-grain, there’s no reason you should have put the low-fat butter-esque spread all over it.”  “Why aren’t you drinking water?”

I am, generally, at one of two extremes when I am eating out with other people.  I either try to order something conservative to avoid commentary and judgement (not necessarily from the people I’m with, but from everyone else), or I go balls-out and order things like the burger mentioned above, the Destroying Angel at Porter’s Place in Lehi, or a burrito the size of a small child. There’s no middle ground.  I’ve been trying to keep balance in all things, but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The Doctors

I am hyper-aware of what my body is doing and why because of the scare with the Skin Thing of Doom. When you have a chronic disease, you have to see a lot of doctors.  When you’re on fancy-ass medication that works by nuking your own immune system, increases your risk of certain cancers, should not be used in areas where fungal infections are common, and may have other, exciting side effects, you see a LOT of doctors.  When something goes wrong with medication, you see many MORE doctors, who find out many MORE things that are wrong with you.  Right now, I have a dedicated team of medical professionals who are DEVOTED to making me get my money’s worth out of my insurance and finding new things that are hopelessly wrong with me. Each and every one of them has made pointed comments about the fact that I’m a fat guy, although some (like my as-of-last-week-ex-shrink) are worse than others. Even though I assure them that yes, I know I’m overweight, and yes, I know I need to exercise more, I get the talk fairly frequently. I know what I need to do.  I know that it’s gonna kill me someday if I don’t. Yeah, I could do better.  I know. Every fattie has to deal with this when they go to the doctor. It’s something that you either grit your teeth and bear, or it’s something you avoid entirely by avoiding trips to the doctor.

The Rest of the World

I realize that I’m subject to value judgments from other people. Again, I know that I have it a LOT better than fat girls.  Hell, I have it a lot better than most fat guys, too.  Most people who see me have no idea what my true weight is.  Still, I can feel white-hot stares of judgement when I’m at the store or at the park.  LOOK AT THE FAT GUY PLAYING DISC GOLF! If you try to work out, you will get stared at and judged.  Guaranteed.  Never mind the fact that many of the fat people at the gym are trying to lose weight.  The withering stares of people are, you guessed it… enough to keep people away from working out in front of other people.

Don’t even get me started on being the fat guy at the pool.  No one wants to be the fat guy at the pool.  I have too much pride to be the T-Shirt Cover-Up Guy (anymore).  Also, the fact that I can’t swim and haven’t been to the pool in a long time make this something that I don’t experience frequently. Oh, and amusement parks… no bueno.  One of the most humiliating moments of my life came at Universal Studios Florida.  I was attempting to board Dueling Dragons (which is now Harry Potter-themed, but this was before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened).  I’d even crammed myself into the “let’s see if you fit” test seat and was able to buckle the belt with no adverse effects.  I get up to the line, the rest of our group is sitting inside of their Dragon, and I try to get in.  I sit down, the asshole attendant barely tries to buckle me in, says “no, you can’t ride”, and I’m forced off of the ride in front of not one but TWO lines full of people… and get to stand there until the ride unloads while people stare and whisper.  Then they load me into the special Fattie Seat.  I don’t even remember the ride.  I’ve heard it was a good coaster, but I was too upset to enjoy it.  The rest of my day was ruined.  Judgement hurts.  Come to think of it, I think that might be the last amusement park that I visited. MAYBE I’ve been to Six Flags over Georgia once since then.  I don’t recall.  But yeah.  If you’re gonna be the fattie at the amusement park, you’re gonna have a bad time.

So, there you have it.  A few slices of what I get to deal with every day, along with millions of other fat people.

On Being A Fat Guy 1: Genesis

On Being A Fat Guy 1: Genesis

Disclaimer: I’m posting this here and not on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere because I’m only letting people who I figure are trustworthy read this. I figure that if I’ve given you the password to KIWF, you’re on the Trust List. And if you’ve just randomly navigated here and figured it out yourself, then good for you.

“And, as I’m sure you know, you do have diabetes.”

“Actually, doctor, I didn’t.”

“… oh.  I am so sorry.”

This is not the best way to begin a morning. Unfortunately, it’s how I began mine.  Good morning, how are you, here is, essentially, a death sentence— if not from the disease itself, from one of the myriad complications that tend to come along with it.  Be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with the nurse, and here is a stack of prescriptions for that, your high-as-hell cholesterol, and your elevated blood pressure.  Hope you don’t get winded on your way down the stairs, fatass.

I have not always been big.  I was born prematurely, in fact (although not by a ton) and was slightly underweight for… a few months.  That was my skinny phase.  I hope I enjoyed it.

The first time I remember anyone calling me fat was in Kindergarten.  I got upset (as Kindergartners tend to do) and then I got violent (as is my nature), giving the pint-sized critic a bloody nose for his trouble.  This did not endear me to him, or any other bullies.  Throughout grade school, I was picked on because I was the fat nerdy kid with curly hair and a girl’s name.  Throughout grade school, I retaliated in the most direct of ways possible, bloodying noses (and breaking two), punching jaws, and reacting with greater force than was used against me.  I threw a desk at a kid in third grade who wouldn’t quit punching me in the arm.  I was sent to the principal’s office time and time again.    I rarely got into that much trouble (as I was not the instigator) but still caught hell for it when my Mom found out.

School was not the only place that I was subject to criticism.  My mother, as much as I love her and as long as it took me to realize this, would continually be on me about my weight (and her own).  I did the Susan Powter diet when Mom was on it.  I was continually admonished to quit playing video games and go outside and ride my bike.  I got comment after comment about the size of clothing that I wore.  I know that she was trying to do it for my own good, that she only wanted to see me healthy, that she didn’t want me to go through the exact thing that I’m going through right now.  I’m sure she didn’t realize the psychological damage that I have incurred from it, and I’m sure that she also didn’t realize that she was projecting her thoughts about her own weight-loss struggles onto me.

I have massive body issues.  I am not particularly happy with how much I weigh.  I am not in the least happy with my flabby mantits, my big ol’ gut, or the fact that I have neck like bull.  I have, however, tried to embrace it.  I know that I will never be a lithe, sub-200 pound, 26.2-bumper-sticker applied, athlete.  I’m always going to be a big dude, because my DNA says that I am always going to be a big dude.  I am broad of shoulder and have a bone structure that a past doctor of mine said was amazingly dense.  I’m never gonna wear a shirt smaller than an XL, and that’s OK.. but I’m not happy with where I’m at.

The question that I still ask myself is:  Why am I fat?

I eat more than your average bear, but not to the point of being a Mr. Creosote.  I try to eat decent.  I don’t snack much.  I know that I need to do better, but I could sure as hell do worse.  I have always been this way, although overeating can come in phases.

I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should.  I have been admonished by doctors and peers that Exercise is the Light and the Way, but all my life I have found that if there is a Runner’s High, that I have some sort of immunity to it.  The only things that I feel when I exercise are that I am out of breath, wish I was doing something else, and that I hate myself.  You read that right.  There is no time when I feel less adequate and more like the world would be a better place with one less Spin in the world than when I am exercising.  I try to get through it, but it doesn’t change.  When I talked to my shrink about it, she told me that I need to exercise more.  Maybe that’s true.  Maybe it isn’t.  But it’s something that I need to do and I’d rather get kicked square in the taint than do it.  I don’t like exercising alone because it’s just me and my self-destructive thoughts.  I don’t like exercising with people because it forces me to show weakness while putting a happy face on it all.

I have two choices.  Either I eat like a rabbit, exercise, and wish I was dead, or I do nothing and continue to hate how I look while everything spirals down the drain.  I have generally been of the opinion that I would rather die fat and happier, than younger than have a long life of skinny and miserable. Honestly, I’m still thinking the same thing, but I owe it to KLynne and my family to try.

Calling Baton Rouge- Another Belated Post

Calling Baton Rouge- Another Belated Post

We had a good weekend a few weeks back… KLynne and I took a much-needed vacation.  (Yes, I know I went to Vegas in January.  Doesn’t mean I don’t need another vacation.)  Our friends Gladstone and his wife recently moved to Baton Rouge and invited us to visit them for Mardi Gras.

KLynne and I have been to New Orleans before (back in 2008) and found that Bourbon Street was pretty insane on a random June day, so I was a little bit nervous about being there during the Mardi Gras season.  Luckily, I’m still alive to tell the tale.  Here goes…

We left on Friday after work (and some hasty last-minute packing) for the long drive.  KLynne took the first driving shift which meant that I got to sleep for a while.  I woke up with about two hours (or so) left to drive and traded off.  We ended up in Baton Rouge around 7-something and promptly went to sleep.

Saturday we got up after a night of deep sleep, clambered into the car, looked all over for a decent parking spot, and parked ourselves near a neighborhood street to see the parade thrown by one of the mega-Krewes, Endymion.  Kelly Clarkson was the Grand Marshall this year.  We were near-ish to a stage where some local musicians were playing and then heard someone on the stage sing “Stronger” (I think it was that song, anyway) and heard some of the other paradegoers say “That’s Kelly Clarkson up there!”.  KLynne looked and immediately dismissed this, saying that the lady on stage was blonde and it couldn’t be her.  Probably a local singer doing the song since she was the celebrity du jour.

A bit later, the parade started.  The first float (of course) featured the Grand Marshall and we saw this…

(linked from the UK Daily Mail)

Well… shit.  I guess it turns out we were treated to a one-song concert by the Grand Marshall.  That’s kinda cool.

The rest of the parade, as expected, featured… lots of cool floats.  Lots of CREEPY floats (like the Butterfly King). Lots of high school bands (and a few college bands, too).  And above all… LOTS of beads.  Lots of other stuff thrown too.  We managed to get lucky and catch a few of them.

 

This is from ONE PARADE.

At one point I was bending down to grab a string that someone had missed.  One of the Krewe on a float thought that was a prime opportunity, saw me with my head turned, and… dude threw an entire bag stuffed full of beads at my noggin.  (The red strand in the picture above is one from that bag).  I caught a few strands with my face, too.  Jerks.

We went into the French Quarter after the parade was through.  I forget the name of the restaurant we went to- I think it was simply called “Oyster Bar”, but my memory fails me- and I dined on red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, and a few other Louisiana delicacies.  The food was pretty good, although KLynne wasn’t happy with hers.  You can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Sunday we opted to have brunch at a fantastic restaurant- The Chimes.  I had The Benediction- Eggs Benedict with crawfish tails.  It was phenomenal, and I definitely want to eat there again next time I’m in Baton Rouge.  Plus I got the most fantastic T-shirt ever, which I’ll have to post a picture of at some point.  We relaxed a bit afterwards and went out for lunch later at a place called Heads & Tails where I ate the “Sloppy Pierre”— a po’boy that was fried crawfish tail and Etouffe.  Delicious.  We brought back a pound of boiled crawfish, too, and Gladstone taught me the proper method for eating them.  That night ‘s sister came over and we broke out Cards Against Humanity.  KLynne nearly broke Gladstone’s wife with a fantastic play on the “Compose A Haiku” card…

Wiping her butt.

A lifetime of sadness.

Robert Downey, Jr.

She couldn’t stop laughing, which is always a sign of a good game of CAH.

Monday we were off to see two more parades… Rex and KOE.  More beads were caught. I think I liked the Endymion floats more, but the creativeness of some of the floats that the smaller groups made for KOE were fantastic- like the partially-eaten gingerbread men holding up “Eat Mor Kingcake” signs.

I forgot the chronological order of the rest of these events because I keep on writing this post sporadically, but here are other highlights:

  • We went to an English pub.  I had fish and chips.  They were delicious.  I also had a flight of beer.  They are generous with their pours.  I’ll have to try to remember the name.
  • Played Laser Tag at a place called Quarters.  I’m a big target and not nearly as good at it as I remember.  I’m better at defense than offense, apparently.
  • We went bowling.  I still suck at bowling, but had a great time sucking.  (Wait, that doesn’t sound right.)
  • We had a SHITLOAD of king cake.  Gladstone and Gladstone’s wife were on a sacred mission to try the king cake from all of the major bakeries that specialize in it in town.  Man, I love that stuff.
  • Oddly enough, I found Wasatch Brewery’s Devastator doppelbock at a grocery store there.  Tasty as hell.  I know it doesn’t make sense to buy Utahn beer when I could get more local stuff (ABITA!) but that didn’t stop me.  (Besides, I did have Abita).
  • Also tried a beer called “Flight of the Pimp” that has a dragon on it.  (Dragons are awesome.  It’s a fact.) It’s a double brown ale mixed with an Imperial stout.  It was… strong.  I finished it, but it was way too hoppy for my tastes.  I guarantee my Dad would love it, though.
  • We drove around LSU’s campus (Gladstone and Gladstone’s wife are alums) and it was a really nice-looking school.  We got to see Mike the Tiger’s enclosure near Tiger Stadium (which was friggin’ huge).  I bought what is, quite possibly, the loudest Hawaiian-type shirt ever made.  Here it is.
I’m the fat guy on the right.

I’m sure that I’ve left a crapload of details out of our trip, but above and beyond all… I had a great time, and I know that KLynne did too.  I want to thank Gladstone and Gladstone’s wife for being such fantastic hosts and I hope we get to visit again soon!

Update: 50 Things for 2013, or “I Suck At This Game”

Update: 50 Things for 2013, or “I Suck At This Game”

We’re two (and a half) months into 2013.  Let’s look at the board and see how I’m doing!

  1. Get back into school.  (Still working on it.  Transcripts requested, working on getting the new immunization sheet.) 
  2. Complete an Algebra study course before I get into school.  (In progress.  I’m doing a helluvalot better than I was before!)
  3. Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.
  4. Go camping at least five times this year. (This is a thing that is happening in April.)
  5. At least one of above camping trips will require me and whoever else is with me to hike in at least a mile.  
  6. Go fishing at least three times.
  7. On one of those trips, catch a fish big enough to eat.
  8. Play Disc Golf at least once a month. (Doing OK on this one so far, although February was a close call.)
  9. Improve my Disc Golf short game. (If anything, I’ve gotten worse.)
  10. Cook something that I have never cooked before at least twice a month.  (Oh, man, was I overambitious.  This one has already not happened.)


  11. Make dinner at least once a week. (Nope!  But I’m trying to do better.  Still…)
    FAIL.
  12. Change KLynne’s oil next time she’s due.  (She’s not due yet.)
  13. Take my stupid medication every day.  (Nope.  Missed this one a week into the year.)

  14. Visit at least two more semi-major Southern cities for a weekend.
  15. Attend another NHL game, provided we have a season this year or next. (
  16. Go to another Braves game.
  17. See another NFL game.  
  18. Read at least 50 books. (I need to step up my game.)
  19. Re-read Ender’s Game (and the direct sequels).
  20. Try Hemingway again.
  21. Of the 50, at least 30 have to be books I haven’t read before.
  22. Play through EVERY ONE of my board games at least once.  (We need to play more games.  If we play one game every night for the rest of this year, we’ll make this goal.  I’m not entirely sure we’ll do it.)
  23. Drop enough weight to technically be able to skydive. (Fat chance!  Heh.) 
  24. Construct a good costume for Dragon*Con.
  25. Paint a painting.  On canvas.
  26. Do at least one drawing for KLynne.
  27. Get the gutters clean.
  28. Once clean, put leaf guards on them.  
  29. Get a quote on new windows for the lower level(s) of the house.  Replace them if we can afford it.
  30. Remove the wallpaper from the master bathroom.  Repaint it.
  31. Figure out some way to tame the ivy in the back yard.
  32. Keep the house cleaner.
  33. Think up a better nickname for the house than “Stately Spinch Manor”.
  34. Visit my friends in Utah.
  35. Write letters to my non-local friends.  (I haven’t done this yet.  Y’all should e-mail me your addresses so I can.) 
  36. Buy a Montgomery Biscuits jersey.
  37. Find another antique razor. Clean it up and use it.
  38. Go to Mardi Gras. (Done!)
    PWNED!
  39. See if my ring can be re-finished.
  40. Beat at least 5 video games that I haven’t before and that are sitting on my shelves.
  41. Do more of the touristy shit around Atlanta that I haven’t yet.
  42. Visit the High Museum.  Pretend to know how to appreciate art.
  43. Figure out what it will take to turn the upstairs bathroom into a functional darkroom. (Answer:  A LOT OF WORK.)
  44. Take pictures using KLynne’s SLR.  Develop them myself.
  45. Hit 125 on my Taco Mac Brewniversity card.  Get my name on the wall.
  46. Get my passport.
  47. Get at least $2000 in my savings account. Maintain that level.
  48. This one is a private matter, so I’m not going to reprint it here.  Easily corruptible minds and all of that. (A private matter that I haven’t been able to succeed at.)

  49. So is this one.
  50. Learn to swim.

So:  In summary, we have… FOUR that I have already completely failed on, although that doesn’t mean that I won’t keep on working at the original goal.  ONE success that I can mark off of the list.

I need to get my shit together, apparently.

Cardgame Quickshots

Cardgame Quickshots

A few quick reviews of a few card games we played the other night:

Gloom

If you’ve watched Tabletop, you’ve seen this played.  If you haven’t, here goes.

I picked this one up years ago after experiencing it with the late, lamented Dentrix Lunchtime Boardgame Group and have introduced it to a few friends.

The game is simple. You have a family of five Edward Gorey-artwork-looking miscreants.  Your job is to play cards that give them negative self-worth and then kill them off in various grotesque ways.  The game ends when one player offs all five of his family members.  The person whose family has the lowest collective self-worth wins.

The unique thing about this one is that your cards are made of transparent plastic.  There are three spots on each card where self-worth modifiers can show up, and you can play cards that raise or lower self-worth on top of other cards.  Whatever shows up on top is what goes, so your -50 Self Worth character can have the “Was Wonderfully Well-Wed” card played on top of them and they’re suddenly worth +40.  Lots of chances to screw over your neighbor.

We played it again the other night and it still holds up.  It’ll run you about $20, and for those of you who are expansion freaks (I certainly am) there are a schload of expansions available.  Plays 2-4, but expansions add more families.

Famiglia

This is by one of my favorite designers, Freidmann Friese.  My goal is to collect all of his games, and (for the most part) they’re fantastic.

This is a two-player game where your goal is to collect gangsters from one of four gangs… the Mafia, the Russians, the Mercenaries (dressed like stereotypical street gang members), and… the Accountants (possibly the biggest criminals of them all).  There are five ranks of criminal (0-4).  To capture a criminal from the table, you need to play two criminals from the same gang that are one rank lower than the rank of the criminal you’re going for.  Three of the four gangs have special powers (the Mafia cards are worth more points than the other three gangs) that let you lower ranks, call played cards back into your hand, or act as wild cards.  Highest combined score of the mobsters you have in front of you wins.

I love the artwork of this one.  I want to like the game more, but it seems broken… if you don’t make exactly the right plays early on, you’ll get steamrolled by your opponent.  I’m not getting rid of it, though.  Gotta keep the collection intact. If you want to try it, there’s a great online implementation on Yucata.

Frog Juice

This is a Gamewright card game- most of their stuff is meant for families and kids, but they have some games that are good for adults, too.

This is not one of those games.

The point of this one is to play cards from your had to either a) cast spell cards or b) capture ingredients from the table to put in an ingredient pile.  There are a few special cards— witches will “sweep” up any cards from the common pile on the table into your area, all-purpose witch wash will cancel a witch and direct the swept cards into your pile, a Black Cat will steal a point card from an opponent, and Frog Juice counts as a point and an ingredient.  Most points wins (special cards + two points bonus to the person with the most ingredient cards in the pile).

The game is pretty boring, not a ton of variety in what you can do, and… well, it’s ultimately a game for kids.  Capturing cards is done by playing a higher-ranked card from your hand that equals the total combined point value of one or more cards from the table (as the manual reads “it’s a math lesson in disguise!”).  I’m sure kids will love it, but as far as I’m concerned it’s going in the “To Be Auctioned” pile.  I think it’s up to four players.

Fairy Tale

This is another one of the Lunchtime Boardgame Group’s greatest hits.  The game is originally Japanese, and it shows in the artwork of the original US version that I have.  A 2008 re-release by a different publisher uses a more western style.

Play goes through four rounds.  Players are dealt five cards and then draft their hands from the hands of other players (take one card, pass to the left, take another, pass, and so on).  From the hand of five that you end up with, you play one card at a time simultaneously with the other players.  Different cards are worth different point values for different reasons (some just have a point value, some are worth X where X is the number of cards of that type played, some are worth points only if you meet conditions specified on the card, etc.) but are worth nothing if flipped face-down (some of the cards direct you to flip or unflip cards already played).  After three cards are played, another draft happens.  Once everyone has 12 cards in front of them, the person with the most points wins.  

I still like the game a lot… but I question the number of players listed on the box and in the rules.  It says 2-5, but I really think that it should be a 3-5 player game.  2 doesn’t offer a ton of variety.  I have no idea if the 2008 rerelease is still in print, but I know for sure that my version (the Z-Man edition) isn’t.  I’m definitely keeping this in the collection.  If you want to play it, make sure you have at least three people, though.

Growing Up

Growing Up

I’ve been feeling old lately.  (And to those of you reading this who are older than I am… I know, I know.)

This is a fairly new thing for me.  I didn’t feel particularly older when I moved away from home for the first (or second) time.  I felt a bit older when I moved cross-country for my shitty, shitty (but well-paying) job.  A bit more when I married KLynne.  But not like this.

Lots of stressful things have converged.  The rug was pulled out from under me on school (which I think I mentioned in my last post, or on Facebook, or… something) but the plan remains for me to get some edu-ma-cation under my belt.  I’m scared, although I don’t have too much reason to be.  I mean, it’s only my future career and an 0-for-3 record when it comes to successful attempts at school staring at me.

There has also been Serious Discussion about… offspring.  LET ME MAKE IT VERY CLEAR:  THERE IS NOTHING NEW TO ANNOUNCE ON THE OFFSPRING FRONT.  Just talk about it.  The mere fact that we’re having Serious Discussion is terrifying in and of itself.

Finally, Chronos and Ananke keep on doing their thing, and despite my promises to myself not to worry about it… I’m turning 30 this year, and (if I’m going to look at it from a psychological standpoint) I’m in an internal deathmatch with one of Erikson’s infamous stages… generativity versus stagnation (Yes, I know that some say that stage is between 40-60, but I was taught that it starts in your late twenties.  Second argument?  I have an old soul, or something like that).  I worry that stagnation is winning, even though when I voice that worry I’m told that my fears are bullshit- I’ve got a house, a wife, a decent job, and health insurance, how many of my peers can say the same?

Enough with the neo-Freudian bullshit, though.  I’ve got just over six more months of 29 to get through.

Let’s hope that I can conquer my fears and get through ’em and beyond.

50 Things for 2013

50 Things for 2013

The Wife has declared that she is making a list of things that she wants to do in 2013.  She wants me to do the same.  Since shit like that is the bread and butter of blogs, I’m game.  I don’t know if I can think of 50, but I’ll try.

(And then I have easy post-fodder once a month for the rest of the year.  Score!)

  1. Get back into school.  (Technically, I’m enrolled but have received a massive dicking-over by them… I’m going to enroll at a different school, Georgia Gwinnett, for Summer session.)
  2. Complete an Algebra study course before I get into school.  (We hates the maths forever, Precious.)
  3. Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.
  4. Go camping at least five times this year. (I need to get outdoors more…)
  5. At least one of above camping trips will require me and whoever else is with me to hike in at least a mile.  (I hope I don’t regret this one.)
  6. Go fishing at least three times.
  7. On one of those trips, catch a fish big enough to eat.  (I know that this one kinda depends on the fish, but I’m hopeful.)
  8. Play Disc Golf at least once a month.
  9. Improve my Disc Golf short game. (This one isn’t really quantifiable, but I’ll know if I have.)
  10. Cook something that I have never cooked before at least twice a month.
  11. Make dinner at least once a week.
  12. Change KLynne’s oil next time she’s due.  (I’d do my own, but since my car has a filter that requires a special wrench and an act of God to change, it’s out.)
  13. Take my stupid medication every day.  (I tend to forget.)
  14. Visit at least two more semi-major Southern cities for a weekend.  (Charleston, that means you!)
  15. Attend another NHL game, provided we have a season this year or next. (Hopefully it’s going to be an Avs game in Colorado, but I’m also interested in taking the four-hour drive to Nashville to see a Preds game.)
  16. Go to another Braves game.
  17. See another NFL game.  (Maybe if we’re in Denver to see the Avs it can be a Saturday game… and then we can get tickets to see the Broncos the next day?)
  18. Read at least 50 books. (I’m not about to start Project 15K again.  Because, you know, I don’t feel like I need to beat KLynne a second time.)
  19. Re-read Ender’s Game (and the direct sequels).
  20. Try Hemingway again.
  21. Of the 50, at least 30 have to be books I haven’t read before.
  22. Play through EVERY ONE of my board games at least once.  (Expect that to become a regular blog feature, along with a running Win/Loss count.)
  23. Drop enough weight to technically be able to skydive.
  24. Construct a good costume for Dragon*Con.
  25. Paint a painting.  On canvas.
  26. Do at least one drawing for KLynne.
  27. Get the gutters clean.
  28. Once clean, put leaf guards on them.  (Alternative to both: get new gutters with guards pre-installed).
  29. Get a quote on new windows for the lower level(s) of the house.  Replace them if we can afford it.
  30. Remove the wallpaper from the master bathroom.  Repaint it.
  31. Figure out some way to tame the ivy in the back yard.
  32. Keep the house cleaner.
  33. Think up a better nickname for the house than “Stately Spinch Manor”.
  34. Visit my friends in Utah.
  35. Write letters to my non-local friends.  (They might be typed.  Writing hurts these arthritic hands.) 
  36. Buy a Montgomery Biscuits jersey.  (I haven’t seen them play, I’m not a fan of the Rays… but tell me that I wouldn’t look damn fine in this.

    Mmm, biscuits.
  37. Find another antique razor. Clean it up and use it.
  38. Go to Mardi Gras. (Plans are already in place for this one.)
  39. See if my ring can be re-finished.
  40. Beat at least 5 video games that I haven’t before and that are sitting on my shelves.
  41. Do more of the touristy shit around Atlanta that I haven’t yet.  (This means going to the Center for Puppetry Arts.)
  42. Visit the High Museum.  Pretend to know how to appreciate art.
  43. Figure out what it will take to turn the upstairs bathroom into a functional darkroom.
  44. Take pictures using KLynne’s SLR.  Develop them myself.
  45. Hit 125 on my Taco Mac Brewniversity card.  Get my name on the wall.
  46. Get my passport.
  47. Get at least $2000 in my savings account. Maintain that level.
  48. This one is a private matter, so I’m not going to reprint it here.  Easily corruptible minds and all of that.
  49. So is this one.
  50. Learn to swim.

Aaaand I just realized that I have, essentially, made a list of resolutions for the new year.  I never do that.  Balls.

Year in Review: 2012

Year in Review: 2012

To those brave few of you who are still reading this after my grandiose and utterly ridiculous proclamation that yes, I will be writing more: thank you.  I forgot how difficult it was to write a quality blog entry (cue the obligatory “You wrote quality blog entires?” comments).

I’ve started and discarded three things, each more terrible than the last.  I mean, who cares about the fact that I’m a completest when it comes to my media?  Who cares about my Geek Christmas Tree?  And really, who cares about my musings on being a fat guy?  (OK, I might still write the last one.)

Anyway, here goes.  I still can’t believe that I only wrote three damn entries this year.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Obvious answer:  Celebrated a first wedding anniversary.  Took a 25+ hour trip to rural Minnesota by car (and visited Minnesota itself).  Had White Castle at an actual White Castle location.  Went cold-weather camping on a trip that didn’t involve the Boy Scouts.  Made Beef Wellington (or at least the mushroomy duxelle bit).  Got banned permanently from a retail store (SUCK IT, APPLE).  Went to Dragon*Con.  Started playing Disc Golf. Used a vintage safety razor (and bought one, and continue to use it) and brush-on shave cream.

2. Did you keep New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any, and I didn’t stick to any I subconsciously meant to, I’m sure.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Shit, I’m gonna have to check Facebook on this one, but I don’t think so off of the top of my head.  2011, yes.  I know lots of KLynne’s friends did?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

Still haven’t left this one.  We talked about making a trip to Europe in 2013 for my birthday but it’s just too damn expensive.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Better health.  Clean gutters.  A visit back to the ancestral homelands of Deseret.  A 30th birthday that doesn’t make me feel depressed.  Good grades in my classes (did I mention that I’m planning on going back to school?)

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The weekend of Labor Day… Dragon*Con.  The Invader Zim and BSG panels, in particular.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not killing anyone on the Helldrive to or from Minnesota.  Came damn near to placing “in the money” one week at Trivia when I was the only person on my team.  Kind of sad, really.

9. What was your biggest failure?

This one is copied verbatim from 2008, 2009, and 2011…

 Not leaving this dead-end job. It may pay a lot of money, but I’m miserable here and the effects that it has on my emotions and physical health are showing more than they have before. I need a fresh start… and the balls to actually MAKE that fresh start.

 

The ray of light is that there is A Plan.  Step one is to get my ass back into school, which I’m working on fervently.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

All kinds of fun new skin issues have popped up on top of my psoriasis.  Hidradenitis suppurativa is one (don’t Google it if you don’t want to be grossed out) and the other is worse than that.  Also, my arthritis is getting worse, and I can’t even imagine how bad it’d be without my Humira.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Disc Golf Discs?  I have a hard time picking. Maybe the Art of Shaving stuff that was the first step toward my shaving hobby?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

As always, KLynne’s for putting up with my shit.  I am obligated to state that at every opportunity possible.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The NHL.  I want my hockey, you sonsabitches.  Also, management.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, stuff I don’t need but wanted anyway, food, and house stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Dragon*Con.  The Hobbit.  The Minnesota trip.  Visits from my family.  My razor.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Rikki Simons and Richard Horovitz’s “I Slaughtered A Pig” (another Dragon*Con thing.  You had to be there.)  Oh, and probably Call Me Maybe.  That song is a goddamn earworm.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or sadder?  About the same,  maybe a little sadder.
  • Thinner or fatter?  Fatter.
  • Richer or poorer?  Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Getting outdoors.  Keeping in touch with my friends, even if I feel completely awkward when talking with people on the phone.  Applying for new jobs.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinating.

20. How (DID I) spend Christmas?

With KLynne, at our home.  This was the first time that she and I have done that… it was pretty good! KLynne’s dad and his wife came down for the weekend before and we opened their stuff then, and our friends Gladstone and his wife came on Christmas Day.  We ate steak and watched that seminal Christmas classic, Lethal Weapon.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Still there. Plan on staying there.

22. How many one-night stands?

 

OK, this thing that I cribbed from LiveJournal back in the day is showing its age.  Let me change this question into a better one…

22.  Who run Bartertown? 

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Even though I’ve only seen one episode, by God I love Killer Karaoke.  I need to see if TruTV has episodes on their website.

Oh, and The League.  And How It’s Made.  And Venture Bros.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope.  But the hate I already have burns brighter and more furiously than ever.

25. What was the best book you read?

Did I read Old Man’s War this year?  I think I did.  That.  And if not, the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker books by Karen… someone.  Miller!  Karen Miller.

26. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?

Volbeat!  Danish metal kicks ass.

27. What did you want and get?

THE HORSE MASK.

2012-12-27 17.41.38

 

Also, to visit new states, and a new plan for the future.

28. What did you want and not get?

A new job.  A hockey season (I planned on visiting Denver to see an Avs game this year).

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Oooh, that’s a hard one.  I did really enjoy The Hobbit… and The Avengers… and Skyfall… and The Hunger Games… and, even though I am in the minority, John Carter (yes, I realize that stuff was changed, but it wasn’t marketed properly).  I can’t pick just one.

Edit:  And Ted!  Shit!  How did I forget that one?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Turned 29.  Went to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and took a ride to Nantahala Outdoor Center.  Lots of scenic views.  Very pretty country up there.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

The powers of a Red Lantern but the ability to retain my intelligence?  Failing that, as always, a new job or schooling.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

I embraced the fat guy look.  Hawaiian and fishing shirts, comfortable shoes.  I’m still not doing suspenders, though.

33. What kept you sane?

Vidyagames!  The Internets!  Reddit!  Books!  KLynne!

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I didn’t really fancy any celebrity or public figure, although I still think that Christina Hendricks is gorgeous.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election, and how much I disliked both candidates.  I wish Rocky Anderson would’ve been more popular.

36. Who did you miss?

Friends and family out West.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

New friends at work.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

The ability to sleep in a car is wildly underrated, and it is one that I’m glad that I have.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Now I’ve gained some understanding
Of the only world that we see
Things that I once dreamed of
Have become reality
These walls that still surround me
Still contain the same old me
Just one more who’s searching for
A world that ought to be

— Rush, Circumstances

 

2004 ♦ 2007 ♦ 2008 ♦ 2009 ♦ 2011