Saturday, February 26, 2005

Black and Tan

Ahhh... Nothing like sitting down on a quiet Saturday night with a smooth beer. Tonight's brew is a Saranac Black & Tan, a bit more stout than when you get a B&T at a bar but still a nice little swig of pleasure. I've had a total of maybe two beers tops in the last two months. I haven't really missed it since I've been in "denial of pleasure" mode anyway. But I'm awful happy to have the opportunity to enjoy this little interlude again. I've taken beer for granted ever since I turned 18, I think. Even when I was afraid I might be a bit of a problem drinker, I never stopped having a beer fairly regularly.

I don't know if I've ever really appreciated a good beer like I do right now. And, thanks to being more than 20 pounds lighter than I was a couple of months ago, the intoxicating side-effects are kicking in after only a few sips. Who could ask for anything more.

This first week at maintenance hasn't really been much of a change. I kept pretty much to the program I had been on. I didn't add the frappucino until Friday night. And tonight is the first beer of the week. So technically, I will have only added 9 points to my previous weekly average. Which explains why my weight has kept falling.

The hardest part of the week was tonight at dinner, serving up the Pizza Hut pizza to the kids. I was THAT CLOSE to stuffing two or three oily, cheesy, bready pieces into my face in quick succession. Took a couple of deep breaths to calm myself down. Oh, and a banana to fill up the space.

I realized sometime this week that Days at Maintenance was going to be a little ponderous, so I've switched over to Weeks at Maintenance, going from DAM to WAM. I'm hoping that eventually , MAM or YAM might make more sense. But I still don't think the Weight Watchers lady will get it when I say "WAM DAM, thank you MAM."

Weeks at Maintenance (WAM): 1
Last Weight Watchers Weigh-in Weight (4W): 166.4
Last Home Scale Weight (HSW): 165.0

Friday, February 25, 2005

Even more words

Webmaster J has posted my latest ramblings about '24' on his site. Check it out if you're interested in near-incoherent silliness... (Link to Unofficial 24 page just to the left here


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Grad school plans

One of the myriad plans I currently have in the works is my enrollment in grad school. It has been a long-festering goal of mine (hmm…festering seems to be emerging as a theme on this blog…) to go back and get an advanced degree in something. Of course, from one year to another, the appropriate something has varied widely. Environmental Studies would have been a contender for many years, Communication or Journalism or Theater or even Graphic Arts might have been the appropriate choice because of a couple jobs along the way, and of course Business or Information Systems would have made sense at virtually any time. I’ve even thought about Med. School just to be contrary (and given how little sleep I get, being a doctor wouldn’t adversely effect at least one aspect of my life).

A degree in advanced beer drinking was jettisoned somewhere along the line, though I'm pretty sure there are California universities that offer such a thing.

After much research, I found the perfect program virtually right across the street. In the fall, the plan is to start as a part-time student at U of R in their Master of Liberal Arts program. This is a very flexible program with few admission requirements and the apparent ability to structure a very individualized degree trajectory. My thought is to take one class a semester for the first two or three semesters, see how that goes, and then possibly up the number to 2. Even with that relatively lackluster schedule, I should be able to wrap up the degree in three years.

Hopefully, by then, I’ll know what doctoral program I’ll want to pursue (if any). Yes, it is my (not-so-secret-now) dream to be called Doctor Timberline someday (though as originally invisioned, the call was supposed to come during some horrendous emergency where I would be the only one around to take the heroic steps necessary to save the day). I have my eyes on the Public Policy program at VCU and the American Studies program at William and Mary. Both have pluses and minuses and dovetail with my undergrad degree. But three years is a long way off and plans have a way of morphing on me over time. So we’ll be plotting the course of these plans one semester at a time.

Of course, all of this is dependent on the folks I asked for recommendations filling out their little recommendation forms and sending them in. You know who you are, people! Please help me get started! Thanks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


This might amuse the journalists in the crowd at least a little. A month ago, I pitched a story to the magazine I write for about a businessman who has come to the rescue of a local theater company. He bought the theater building last year and began laying out big bucks to upgrade the facility. I pitched the story to my editor in an email that was titled something like, “Theater finds an “angel.” My editor loved the idea and gave it the green light.

I filed the story yesterday, on the same day that said editor leaves me a voicemail saying (completely seriously): “we need to get a picture of the subject of your story. Perhaps we could go to a rehearsal and get a shot of him in his angel costume?”

The picture in my mind of this very serious, somewhat awkward, middle-aged corporate president dressed up like an angel made me laugh out loud. Instead, maybe they can use a picture of him in a suit and just Photoshop the halo in?

Bring on the vices!

Well, according to the Weight Watchers scale, I just squeaked out my 20 pound goal on Sunday. So yippee! Maintenance has now begun.

And those good people at WW have already anticipated my every need. Wouldn’t you know they already have a maintenance plan? And, darn it, if it ain’t relatively easy to follow.

Under the core program, you have 35 “flex” points to use every week (or 5 every day), so that you don’t JUST have to eat fruits, vegetables, sticks, twigs, and Weight Watchers brand non-food. For instance, a 1-cup bowl of cereal (that isn’t Fruit Loops) counts for 2 points. I have been very conservative with these points, only using them for the aforementioned bowl of cereal a day.

Not even for WW could I stop my cereal in the morning. Ever since my pre-teen days when I would throw down 3 or 4 bowls of Cap’n Crunch every morning, I have been eating cereal. For a weight loss plan to work for me, cereal must be allowed, dammit.

But, by keeping flex foods to cereal only, I’ve only been using 14 points a week. The official maintenance plan suggests you add 4 points a day of food back into your diet to maintain your current weight. The folks at the WW office I go to suggested I start with just 2 points a day and monitor how that effects me from week to week.

Since I’ve always been a neer-do-well of sorts, I’ll be implementing this in a slightly different way. Two food-related vices I’ve given up as part of doing WW are beer and Starbucks frappacinos. Not too long ago, I would have a mocha frappacino every single day (which I’m sure didn’t have anything to do with me being 20 pounds overweight…)

So the first step of maintenance for me will involve two “allowances:”

Alcohol: 2 regular beers (@ 3pts each), or 3 light beers or glasses of wine (@ 2 pts each)
Fraps: 1 grande Coffee Frap a week (@ 6 pts)

This will add 12 points to my intake and is very manageable. It also only changes my diet in terms of liquid intake. Messing with solid food makes me nervous at this point. I fear changing actual meals will be a slippery slope whereby I’ll start saying, oh, I can have one piece of pizza every couple of days, and then a month later finding myself on the kitchen floor late at night, scarfing pork rinds by the handful, washing them down with gulps of Dairy Queen shakes.

Days at Maintenance (DAM): 1
Last Weight Watchers
Weigh-in Weight (4W):
Last Home Scale Weight (HSW): 166.0

Friday, February 18, 2005

Recent words

If you're interested in the Richmond theater scene, here's my latest review:
Theatre IV's "Patchwork"

And for fans of the best TV show on the air, here's a link to commentary on the show, alternately written by the esteemed webmaster of and myself. I'm particularly proud of my comments on Hour 8, mostly because I snuck in a long-festering jab at an old girlfriend. Here's the main page:
The Unofficial 24 Page

Thursday, February 17, 2005

First, lose 20 pounds

It wasn’t really planning to lose 20 pounds. I knew I wanted to trim some fat but thought I would use my usual strategy: an aggressive (if unstructured) exercise plan and weeks of desperate dieting. This has served me well over the years – well, sort of: I’ve lost the same 15 pounds three or four times over. The process of quick loss and subsequent gradual gain has become annoyingly familiar.

This time around, my lovely wife asked me to go to Weight Watchers with her. Something in my male consciousness balked at this idea just on principal. Somehow I had the ingrained notion that WW meetings were just support groups for fat people. But I also figured it couldn’t be any worse than anything I was likely to dream up on my own. The weigh-in at the first meeting was an eye-opener: 187.5 pounds for someone not-quite-5’10” is portly and way too close to medically obese. Suddenly, WW had a more distinct appeal.

The first meeting wasn’t like I imagined (which was a “Hi, I’m Dave and I’m fat.” sort of scene…). The leader was cute and perky and pregnant. Her advice made sense and was based on real-world experience. Some of the people at the meeting had made significant changes in their weight (and life) on the program. I didn’t smirk once and never felt the urge to run screaming from the room.

Change for me since that first meeting has been dramatic. I chose to do the “Core Program,” which doesn’t restrict HOW MUCH you eat (the Counting Up Points method), instead restricting WHAT you eat (mostly fruits, veggies, lean meats – that is: only good stuff). My weight fell precipitously. I lost almost 10 pounds in the first two weeks. By week 6, I had lost 18 pounds, earning me my WW “10% loss” keychain. This past Wednesday, at the 6 ½ week mark, the number on our home scale read “167.0.”

I’m not really sure how low my weight might go on this program. But pending my Sunday weigh-in at WW and the official confirmation of a 20-pound loss, I’ll soon be moving into maintenance mode. And here, my friends, is where the rubber will hit the road. I’ve lost weight before but I’ve never kept it off for very long. In the way that an alcoholic keeps track of how long they’ve been “dry,” I want to start keeping track of my time “at maintenance.” So here goes:

Days at Maintenance (DAM): T-2
Last Weight Watchers
Weigh-in Weight (4W):
Last Home Scale Weight (HSW): 167.5