Archive of August, 2004
August 31, 2004:
This could be a problem: I keep finding new restaurants. My goal of going back on Atkins this winter and losing 25 pounds may wind up being going on Atkins this winter and losing 35 pounds if I'm not careful.
Anyway, after helping a friend of a friend move we all went to Aladdin's for a late dinner. Good Middle Eastern food (I loaded up on hummus and wound up having to take some rice with pine nuts home) though I think I still prefer Kassab's or that place downtown whose name I can't remember any more (I haven't been there since I worked at Brady, and only a couple times while I was there). In my defense, at least this stuff is healthier than some of the stuff I usually eat when I go out.
August 30, 2004:
Mom and Jim came into Pittsburgh over the weekend to go to a baseball game. The weekend went well; we also checked out Station Square (my sister worked there while she was getting her associate's degree) and went out to eat. The Pirates lost, as they always do when Mom and Jim visit, but the game was mostly fun.
I noticed something though. It seems like my brain has compartmentalized people a bit: It was odd having Mom and Jim in my apartment, instead of seeing them at their house. Almost like part of my brain's saying, "wait, they don't belong here." I suppose I'd have the same problem seeing my Pittsburgh friends tooling around Akron.
I wonder why, though, and how general or specific it is. After all, I don't think anything is too odd when Dad and Becky come in for a game, but they've never been in my of my apartment -- we watch the game, have chili dogs in Cranberry, and they leave. Hm. Maybe it's just odd seeing authority figures in my domain? Or maybe I'm just fucked in the head. That's always a possibility.
August 27, 2004:
One of the other groups is getting moved to another building soon. Some of the cubicles have already been taken down and their occupants shipped across town. By the first of the month, I will be rid of the dumbasses who can't understand why changing our thermostat doesn't make their area any cooler. I'll be wid of the woman in dee udder cubicle who can't pwonounce cewtain lettews. And I'll be rid of the woman who listens to whatever the soft-rock station here is called that plays the same 20 songs over and over every single day.
I can hardly wait.
August 26, 2004:
My forehead (and bald spot) got sunburned last weekend. It's been peeling for the last couple days now, but it looks like a lizrd getting ready to shed its skin. You'd think by now that I'd've learned that I can't spend three hours in the sun without sunscreen. Apparently you would be wrong.
August 24, 2004:
And on the opposite side of the coin from yesterday's entry about good food, we have Carb Countdown's yogurt smoothies. Carb Countdown makes the somewhat-milklike drink I had with my breakfasts when I was in the earlier stages of Atkins. If you've gone a month without milk and can ignore the fact that the stuff's as thick as creamer, you can almost fool yourself into thinking it's milk. At the very least the stuff doesn't taste bad.
Skip ahead to last weekend. I decide to try some yogurt smoothie drinks for weekday breakfasts (where my usual is a heapin' helping of nothing) and find Frusions in the dairy case. I check the side of the bottle, and these things are full of sugar. Since I still try to avoid lots of sugar when I can I decide to grab the Carb Countdown stuff instead (yeah, I know, I shouldn't be surprised that yogurt, fruit and milk would have sugar; it was just more than I expected).
Big mistake. This stuff is nasty. I bought myself one of each just in case one was better, but the two I've had both suck. What taste they have when I'm drinking them is bad, and the aftertatste I get whenever I burp is worse. I'll drink the things because I bought them and I'm a stubborn fool, but I won't be buying any more. I'm told the Frusions themselves are good; maybe this is one of those times when low-carb stuff just isn't an acceptable substitute.
Edit, 26 Aug: There were three "flavors" (a term I use loosely) available: Strwaberry-Banana, Wild Berry and Peach. I originally bought three Wild Berry and two S/B because I don't like peaches. Then I decided, what the hell, I'll try a peach. Peach is the best one. I chose poorly indeed.
August 23, 2004:
For all the craptastic things about this city, one of the things I like about it is that there's always something that I've never seen before even though I've driven past it who-knows-how-many times in the last 10 years. Sunday I got to see another of those things. In Hazelwood there's a Hungarian restaurant that you have to call in ahead of time to get into, because it only seats about 16 people. As far as I can tell the food's authentic and not modified for the American crowd -- the guy who runs it immigrated from Hungary, and Hazelwood has a large Hungarian population -- and it was good. Goulash, hluska, paprikash, and a bunch of stuff I can't remember the names for (a lot of it involved pork). I wish I'd've found this place years ago.
August 20, 2004:
On one of my recent trips to the pool the what's-my-time bug bit me again. So I started watching the clock at the end of the pool. Nice, big digital numbers that even I could read. I was going pretty well, too: 3 minutes for 100m, 7 for 200, 10 for 300, etc. up till 30 minutes for 900m. I was feeling pretty good about that; I was still going pretty strong and I wasn't taking particularly long breaks (I'd guess them at about 5-10 seconds), and was only taking them at 100-meter intervals.
Then my foot cramped up. I know what you're thinking, because I thought it too -- I didn't think there was anything in my foot that was capable of cramping up. But there is, and it did. I performed the World's Ugliest Breaststroke to return to the edge of the pool without kicking and tried to rub that cramp out of my foot. A couple minutes later three of my toes are still trying to make a fist and my arch still hurts, so I decide to bag it for the day and limp back to the locker room.
The walking helped a bit; it forced the toes to bend away from the direction they were cramping, and by the time I got back to my car I was OK. But I've decided that about the worst place to cramp up is in the middle of a pool that's deeper than you are tall. I'm just glad it was only a foot; I'd have been really boned if something would've prvented me from getting to the side. I'm embarrassed enough walking around with my beer gut flapping in the breeze to worry about getting rescued in an indoor pool.
And of course I went back for the next one. Lightning never stikes twice, and all that.
August 19, 2004:
We've been having some freakishly cool weather here lately. It's been in the low 70s and getting down below 60 someetimes at night. Every morning my car is covered in dew. This is August in Pittsburgh, for crying out loud -- I should be suffering through 90-degree heat with near-100% humidity.
Well, gee, if I put it that way, why am I bitching? Because I have a feeling that a mild summer isn't going to lead us into a mild winter. I have a gut feeling that this is going to be a cold one, and I'd like my last winter here to be pleasant instead of looking like an arctic wasteland.
August 17, 2004:
It's about time someone took some of Jack Chick's drivel and turned it into something useful. As far as the facts they present, I know the one about "alcohol-related accidents" is true, but I'm not sure about the others.
August 16, 2004:
Went to Radio Shack and bought the buzzer I need to avoid more jump-starts in the future. It only took three minutes to install (one of which was spent trying to grab the fuses with my sausage-like fingers) and now emits a suitably ear-piercing beeeeeeeeeeeep when I turn the engine off but leave the lights on.
Of course, I've been testing it every chance I get, so I'll probably blow the thing out before I ever need it.
August 13, 2004:
It rained on the way home today. Not a lot, mind you. Just enough that I needed my wipers on and to turn on my headlights. Pretty mundane, really.
Skip ahead to this evening. I needed some bread for my lunch sandwiches tomorrow (today, by the time you can see this). I went out to my car, and the remote unlock wasn't working. Annoying, but it happens from time to time. Then I tried to start my car.
Nothing. Starter motor wouldn't even crank.
Y'see, the idiot alarm for my headlights either doesn't work or doesn't exist. So, given that I rarely drive at night, I'm not used to making sure my lights are on. When I'm parked somewhere that I can see their glare I'm fine. But there isn't anything for the light to bounce off of in my parking lot.
I'll take "What Did Jason Fuck Up" for $100, Alex.
A friend of mine drove over and attempted to jump my car. I hooked up my cables to the right places (I can tell a "+" from a "-", thankyouverymuch) and in the right order, but I couldn't get a good connection and after several minutes of trying I couldn't get enough charge to trigger the alarm, let alone start the car. I'm guessing my cables are corroded; the clips looked pretty bad.
I figured, what the hell; I'll call AAA. I get their 800 number and give a call. They only service their existing customers. So I'd have to sign up for AAA then pay $25 for same-day service. In other words, almost $80 for a fucking jump-start.
Said friend is currently checking whether or not AAA gives a damn what car you call in, so long as you're a member. I'm guessing no, since they'll cover you if you're in a rental. OK, she put in the online request and they should be here in an hour. I think I should at least pay half of her membership for this year, possibly all of it. After all, I don't think she's needed to use it yet.
Oh, and lest you think something about my car is broken, it turns out they didn't even install warning buzzers until 1996. There's a nice fix linked in the thread, so I think I'll be correcting Honda's little oversight there. Now to wait for the jump.
Hey, the AAA guy got here early, and got it jumped no problem. Maybe my jumper cables really are bad. I should probably buy myself a new battery anyway, as corroded as the negative terminal is. Well, I drove around for a half-hour or so to make sure the alternator had done its thing, then pulled into the Pep Boys lot and shut the car off (hey, if I did need a new battery I wasn't going to fart around with carrying it to some random Giant Eagle). It started back up just fine.
Then I went and got my bread, a mere two hours after I decided I wanted it. And that thing goddamn well better start in the morning.
August 12, 2004:
I just looked it up, and a person my size burns about 900 Calories in an hour of swimming. So that Blizzard I like to treat myself to from time to time is gone by the time I get done swimming. That's good to know, I suppose.
I looked up some other sports, and found a few surprises. Dancing (that's a sport?) surprised me with how little energy it expends -- trying to dance for ten minutes leaves me more tired than an hour of swimming. Golf lists rates that include walking with your bag instead of hopping in the cart (you know, the way they did it before they invented civilization). Water skiing seems odd -- it must be harder to hold onto the ropes and stay balanced than I think it is -- but the one that got me was bowling. Bowling. The "sport" where you spend at least half your time sitting on your ass and drinking beer. How on earth is bowling going to burn 200+ Calories/hour in someone my size?
August 10, 2004:
One of the blogs that I read on a regular basis just illustrated that I need to check the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) more often. To quote the other blog's author: "I've mentioned the Astronomy Picture of the Day before, but let me tell you, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you go there every day."
August 09, 2004:
Let's see... a little less than $80 to bring my computer up to the system requirements, and another $55 for the game itself. So, do I really want to spend about $130 just on a video game I probably won't even play all that much?
On the one hand, it is Id Software, the people who put out Wolfenstein, the first two Dooms and the Quake series. On the other hand, it is $130 essentially for one game. Maybe I'll wait until after Thanksgiving and see if it goes on sale...
August 06, 2004:
The hems at the bottoms of my pant legs are starting to fray (they tend to get walked on when I get home and take my shoes off, since my inseam is apparently 28.5"). Since I'd lost weight on Atkins anyway I decided that now's the time to restock. I realized at the checkout that I've never bought clothing before that was smaller than the stuff it was replacing. As odd as it sounds, that's when I felt like I'd accomplished something with the diet, not when I jump on the scale and see how much I weigh.
August 05, 2004:
(Crap, it's Thursday already? Better write something.)
Well, training camp's started and you know what that means: pointless blathering about the Browns. I'm going to gloss over the draft pick who's holding out (though given the number of people who've just utterly failed in the NFL I wonder why a kid fresh out of college thinks he'll do just as well against the pros and deserves a metric shitload of money before he plays a down) and focus on Jeff Garcia.
For years in San Francisco, Garcia's been a good quarterback. Not quite championship caliber, but good for getting a team to the playoffs consistently. Now that he's in Cleveland, I think the question is: Is Garcia really as good as people think he is, or does his skill consist of playing behind a strong offensive line? I have this sinking feeling that I'm not going to like the answer.
August 03, 2004:
Advantages to swimming:
- Good workout
- Easy on the knees, which are genetically programmed to go bad at some point
- Occasional cute girls in swimsuits
Disadvantages to swimming:
- Cold water
- Lack of corrective lenses leads to a distressing number of false positives on the cute-girls-in-swimsuits front
- Increased appetite
That last one's the one that gets me... it doesn't feel like I'm really burning a whole lot of energy while I'm in the pool, even though I'm in there for about an hour. When I'm at home I can at least make a second portion of whatever I'm having for dinner; if I go out with friends, on the other hand, I start getting nervous looks and they check to see if they're missing any silverware. I'll grant you, I'm not quite at a Dave-at-Quiznos level of feeding frenzy, but sometimes it feels like it. I was even willing to risk an Eat 'n' Park roast beef sandwich the other day.
Hopefully the reason I'm staying the same weight is because I'm building muscle at the expense of fat, not because I'm making up for an increased metabolism by sucking down even more calories.
August 02, 2004:
Given how poor my memory is, especially when I'm having a few beers, I'm going to start writing stuff as I think of it during the weekend. Pictures will go up Monday night in all likelihood, Tuesday night at the latest.
Saturday, 10:10 AM: A lot more people showed up at Jillian's last night than I thought would, and as an added bonus I even remembered a lot of them. I was kinda nervous coming in that very few people I knew had said they'd be there; I tend to do the blending-into-the-wall thing when I don't know anybody.
But anyway, I was there for about four hours (the smoke started bugging me at about 11) and got to do some catching up. A lot of people are married and/or have kids, even more than it seemed like from the Yahoo group. Given the amount of baby/young-kid pictures floating around I started to feel like I was in the minority for not having a podling.
There are also more than a few people getting degrees right now, and that's great -- knowing how much trouble I had coming out of East, I was afraid some others who were supposedly not as smart as me would have passed on college.
Oh yeah, about that whole "smart in high school" thing... I had to learn the hard way that it doesn't necessarily carry over into real life, or even college. Anyone out there who didn't go into massive debt for a history degree just to not use it, congratulations: You're officially smarter than me. I know everybody's just being nice to me, but I don't get paid to take the SAT over and over again :)
Anyway, thanks to Patty, Tanya, Heidi, Keith, Daniella, Dan, Larry, Brett, Alyssa, Melissa, Thom, Jenny, Angie, and everyone else who I forgot I saw last night -- you can join me in blaming the beer if you're not on the list. Blaming the beer is much better than admitting I have a memory like a seive :)
Saturday, 12:15 PM: I just watched Grosse Pointe Blank a week or two ago. I wonder: If I tell people I'm a contract killer, would any of them give me a pen or tell me it's a growth industry?
Saturday, 11:10 PM: The reunion dinner was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I was afraid I'd feel like I was on the outside looking in (this is me, after all) and wind up wasting my time, but it turned out really well.
I was mostly just catching up with everybody since I haven't spent any serious time in town in a decade, but after an hour or two it felt really normal, instead of like it was some special occasion. People didn't even seem to mind when I ran around pointing my phone at everybody :)
All I want to know is, when the hell did we all become grown-ups?
I've decided I want to go to the picnic after all; I want to spend a couple more hours with everybody before I go back to Pittsburgh, and get more pictures for the reunion page I'm making (it'll be up at jasonfleshman.org/ehs2004 by Monday night).
This is turning out so much better than I thought it would. I'm really glad I decided to do this.
Sunday, 7:40 PM: I'm back in Pittsburgh now, and I'm currently uploading the pictures to the site so I can get the page ready. All that's left to do is caption the 33 pictures I took at the picnic and it'll be ready to go.
The picnic really drove home how many people have kids. It's incredible how many people have three or four, let alone just one. Most of them were well-behaved, too. One pair of brothers (I think they were Melanie's) were playing at the water fountain, and the younger one decided he wanted to drink from the spigot on the side. He stuck his face under and told his older brother to turn it on.
Two seconds later, he was running crying for his mom. As an adult in the area I probably should've done something before the kid got a faceful of water, but it was too entertaining to pass up :)
Anyway, a few people were kicking around the idea of having an informal mini-reunion every year, since the Yahoo group would make it pretty easy to do so. And Patty wants to have a 15-year reunion instead of waiting until our 20th in 2014. Both sound like really good ideas right about now.