This blog of mine and a bonus fat update

I’ve decided that it’s time to give the entire site an overhaul. As groovy as the Cooper black logo is, the overall design of the site is stale and a bit cluttered, as some sections have been neglected and others are a bit too buried.

I also need to find a way to make the running posts optional. Or maybe start a running blog. And then start running again.

My current thought is something like this:

  • Come up with a new compact logo that can sit in the top-left
  • Remove the entire set of menu bar items along the top
  • Add a left sidebar with simple links to all the usual stuff (archives, etc.)
  • Have “noteworthy items” in the right sidebar
  • Continue to post the usual nonsense for the actual blog part in the middle
  • Try to allow for a “customized feed” so people can skip stuff of little interest to anyone but me, like my running updates (or maybe post them elsewhere, like in a journal or a private/separate blog)

This is going to take a while, and I’m going to try to make it work with my current theme, GeneratePress, because I have grown so used to it (and it works well). For now, I will be frequently playing around with different fonts and things that are easy to change on the fly.

BONUS FAT UPDATE: I have hit a high of 179.7 pounds. This is ominously close to 180 pounds, which would be a bit devastating to hit psychologically. Today I weighed in almost two hours earlier, which usually results in the weight being higher. I watched the numbers flick past 180 before settling back to…179.7 pounds (again).

This week I have returned to work and I have experienced an odd combination of stress, frustration and simple boredom. I have partaken of crackers, but not excessively so.

On the other hand, I’ve gotten very good at not eating anything after dinner. Yay on that. I am also drinking more water, as I find more than a little (diet) soda now seems to be giving me heartburn.

Further incentive on losing weight: I have a bunch of old t-shirts that still look great but are too snug to wear right now. I tried on a pair of cotton shorts I normally wear in the summer–they are a size 31 waist, which is one size higher than my usual 30–and could not do up the button. It was physically impossible. I was embarrassed. But I vowed not to buy new clothes that would fit–I’m not going to backslide and give myself an out in the battle against fat.

I will lose the weight. Just weight and see (ho ho).

Of Easter candies past

As I am still trying to lose weight, I am opting out of indulgences this Easter, but I can still wax nostalgic on the candy I enjoyed in days past. Here is my reminisce, in handy list form:

  • Cadbury Creme Eggs: I used to buy three-packs of these and eat all three eggs at once. Well, one at a time, but one after the other. The thought of doing so now makes me queasy. These were and are super rich. One is enough. For the entire year. Maybe longer. But as a kid, I loved these.
  • Chocolate Easter Bunny: The hollow ones were never as much fun as the solid ones, although the fact that they could make “hollow” chocolate amazed me as a kid. The solid ones, on the other hand, these had some serious heft. Eating one (starting at the ears, of course) was something to be tackled over multiple sessions, gnawing away like a dog with a chew toy. Thinking about it now makes my jaw tired. And to be honest, the chocolate wasn’t great, but I was not a discerning young lad.
  • Cream Half Eggs: I can’t remember the name of these, and today you can probably only get them via established brands, such as Oh Henry, but back in the days of yore, these eggs (flat on the bottom, so shaped like an egg cleaved in two from end to end) had a creamy filling that wasn’t as sickly sweet as the Cadbury eggs, but were still yummo and probably my favorite of the bunch.
  • Marshmallow Eggs: Never a real favorite, but I never turned one down.

You may notice this list does not include Peeps. That is deliberate.

If I do have a snack on Easter, it will probably be a bowl of low sugar cereal. Woo.

The first day of spring 2021

It was actually yesterday, so I’m late, but here is a summary in handy list form:

  • It was cool
  • It was wet, especially in the morning
  • There is still a pandemic

Today–the second day of spring–was different!

  • It was even cooler
  • It rained a lot more
  • The pandemic was mostly unchanged, though

I actually don’t mind the rain much–I went out in it twice today. But I am looking forward to fewer showers and more sun, being able to go out wearing a t-shirt and shorts and things being green instead of dead. I have had my fill of winter for another year, especially one spent wearing a mask in every public space.

Finally, here’s a flower so this post isn’t just me complaining about the weather:

The unbearable-ness of being

It’s been awhile since I actually just rambled about something on the blog, so here I am posting words and stuff.

I feel behind on the Making Art Everyday thing and have not, in fact, been making art every day. This month switched to people, and it started okay, with the different facial features. I missed Friday, which was bad, then I missed Saturday, which was worse. I caught up on Friday and Saturday, which is good, but then fell behind on Sunday, then Monday and now Tuesday.

I’m not sure if I’ll do anything tonight, which means I’ll have to catch up on three days:

  • Heads
  • Happy
  • Sad

It is appropriate that it ends on sad. I am sad. This may change, we’ll see. But right now I am anti-inspired. And looking at the hair sketch still makes me weep. I may have to redo it even if I never do another drawing after that, just to know it’s been replaced.

I have no more thoughts on this so I’ll end here. Perhaps I will post again soon. Perhaps it will be an amusing cat.

Or maybe I’ll post an amusing cat RIGHT NOW.

Drawing a Day, Day 7: RADISH

Such a tiny vegetable, such a giant pain to draw. The actual radish part was easy but once again, leaves are my nemesis. I ended up going with a pruned look and even then I had to stop before I gave the radish Don King hair.


The inevitable result of drinking and computing

Drinking soda, that is.

I am left-handed and as such I always have a coaster to the left of my keyboard with a beverage in it, to slake my thirst as I toil away looking on the internet for the very best cat pictures to post.

There was always the inherent risk that one day I would knock over the beverage, causing at the very least a big mess and possibly damaging computer-related stuff at worst.

That day was today. It was the classic nerd scenario–I had eaten a few Goldfish crackers (I know, I know) and because my left hand was covered in fish residue, I reached over crossways to get my drink with my right hand and managed instead to knock it over, as if I’d spent the afternoon imbibing Jim Beam and not SodaStream Diet Cola.

The cola spilled over the left third of the desk and onto the Alex set of drawers next to it. It ran down the sides of both sets of drawers. It pooled onto the carpet. It dribbled onto the handles of the drawers, which are cutouts and not actual handles. Worst of all, it sprayed all over my MacBook Air, less than a month old.

The first thing I did was unplug the Thunderbolt cable to the Air and tilt it to let the liquid pour off. I rushed it like a trauma victim to the kitchen and toweled off the case. I then set it on the counter and opened the lid, not knowing what to expect.

Inside it was dry–not a single drop had gotten into the interior, not even a tiny bead of cola along the edge anywhere. The Air survived. Yay.

The only other real casualties were the two boxes of Sharpies, which got soaked with cola. Fortunately, the soaking stopped short of penetrating all the way through, so the Sharpies emerged dry.

The clean-up took about half an hour and on the plus side, I got a spot out of the carpet while I scrubbed away at it. I have checked and re-checked every affected surface, and I’m reasonably confident I got everything.

As for keeping a beverage on the computer desk? No more. But what if I get thirsty? Will I need to start using sippy cups? Have to actually get up to get a drink? Install a water fountain?

No, instead I put a fresh coaster on the window sill to my right, which will now hold my beverage. If I knock it over there the worst casualty will be the carpet, which will not (to my knowledge) short-circuit and require costly repairs if cola lands on it.

Let this be a lesson to everyone: You can’t have nice things. Unless you make sure they won’t fry your electronics.

Dreams (not the Fleetwood Mac song)

I had four dreams last night and remembered them by inventing an acronym for them: CPAP (not to be confused with the device that assists people with sleeping):

  • Cat: In one dream I had a cat, and I was cleaning its food dish and was vaguely upset that the cat might be sick. The cat, a gray short hair, curled up in a giant plastic tub that was apparently its bed (?), but also had water in it. She didn’t seem to mind. This was a mildly upsetting dream. The same dream later featured me at a coffee shop, inexplicably with the cat.
  • Personnel: I was at work, but it was Dream Work, not actual work, and everyone was different or at least I don’t recall them being my normal co-workers. I was in a hallway with a co-worker, as we had apparently been working on something together and a couple of management types were there. A third co-worker was also there. The management types were suggesting that certain improprieties had been committed, and I began thinking over whether I had done anything I shouldn’t have done. I came up with nothing and the co-worker and I walked off, while the third one stayed behind, seemingly about to be punished for some unspoken sin. The impression I got was he had done something like watched porn on the job. This was kind of a dumb dream.
  • Allergies: I looked down at my arm and saw a few silver spots on it. I held the arm up and noticed more silver spots appearing. In the dream I guessed it was an allergic reaction, though silver spots are a dream allergy AFAIK. Then the dream took a turn for the very weird as my arm turned entirely translucent, allowing me to see light through it. I woke up at that point, but my final thought in the dream was something clever, like, “This is weird.”
  • The fourth one I have suddenly drawn a blank on, but it started with P, so it may come back to me. I told Jeff all four dreams, but he doesn’t remember, either. Note to self: Write these things down at the time, other people’s memories may be no better than your own. :P

2021, the year of fat

It shouldn’t take much effort to lose weight in January because I tipped the old-e-scale at a hefty 174.2 pounds this morning.

I’m blaming the mid-evening pizza. And chocolate milk. And general lack of activity.

But this year will be different!

In theory.

Also, these are healthy because they’re “low fat”, right? I’m buying a case of them at Costco to help me lose weight this year.

Inevitable “Goodbye and good riddance to 2020 aka The Year of the Plague” post

I never wondered what it would be like to live through a global pandemic and now that I am living in the midst of one, I can say that I was right to never wonder about it. I mean, it could have been worse than it is–here we are less than a year* (!) in and already multiple vaccines are being distributed, promising an eventual return to something that might resemble what we used to consider normal.

With that as a frame of reference, I suppose we can be grateful for the following in terms of how things went.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Could Have Been Worse: A List

  • The virus could have been much deadlier. Even a fatality rate of 5% would have wreaked havoc across the world (that would equal around 16.5 million dead in the U.S.).
  • Trump could have been President of the entire planet instead of just the United States
  • It could have been even more easily contagious. You think getting people to wear masks was challenging? Imagine if people had to completely isolate to prevent the spread. On second thought, don’t imagine it. You may never sleep again. :P
  • Transmission by murder hornet (credit to Tick for this one)
  • Vaccine-proof
  • Rewires brain to accept all conspiracy theories
  • Causes a really itchy rash in the worst possible spots

Anyway, it looks like here in BC the vaccine rollout is expected to take until Fall 2021, so roughly 9-10 months. This means that all the measures currently in place will likely remain in place for most of the upcoming year. It sucks, but I’m sure it will build character or something. Here’s to some kind of normalish existence returning before we bring on 2022.

* Never has a year felt so paradoxically long, where days and weeks felt like they stretched on forever, and yet also felt to have gone by in a blur

New Year Resolutions 2021: Let’s get small

Let’s face it, I am bad at keeping my resolutions. Let’s assess my success with the ones I made for this year, and then move onto making shiny new ones for 2021.

Note that I did not anticipate 2020 being THE YEAR OF UNENDING HORRIBLENESS when I made these resolutions. I may have been a bit more modest in my goals if I’d known. Perhaps.

  • Drop to 150 pounds. Grade: D. I am currently tracking on being up for the year. Massive failure, though with some hope for doing better in the future.
  • Be creative. Grade: B. I didn’t really write fiction (I committed to NaNoWriMo then failed to produce a single word), but I did Inktober again, took lots of photos, kept up fairly well on blog posts (don’t count the number of cat pictures). I feel I could have done more if I had been disciplined, so I only give myself a B.
  • Exercise at least three times a week. Grade: C+. I actually did not too bad here, but the wheels came off when the days started getting shorter, and the year ended with me being saddled with Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Read at least 26 books. Grade: B. I will likely end the year with 20 books read and a few more close to completion. This is one where the pandemic completely disrupted a routine (reading on my daily commute) and I never found a good way to adapt. I actually ended up doing most of my reading this year in the bathtub, which turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant way to read. But I do not have baths ten times a week, so I did not hit 26.
  • Eat better. Grade: C+. Maybe I ate marginally better, but there is still work to do.
  • Start stretching. Grade: D. I just didn’t start. But now I have orders to, with my foot injury, so there may be hope for 2021.
  • Investigate other careers. Grade: C+. I started on this, then the pandemic happened and while I haven’t stopped entirely, my pace in terms of investigation has slowed down.
  • Just generally improve. Grade: B-. Considering how awful this year was, I’m happy with a B-.

A pretty middling year. Goodbye, 2020, and good riddance!

My resolutions for 2021 are perhaps the most modest I’ve ever had. We’ll see if I can meet them.

  • Drop to 160 pounds. Maybe by setting my sights lower I will achieve more!
  • Be creative. Keeping this one from 2020:
    • Do one of the following every day (more than one is even better):
      • Write a blog post (Note: Jogging/treadmill workouts do not count)
      • Write some fiction
      • Draw something (maybe Inktober52 would be a good start)
      • Take a photo
      • Write a song (new for 20201)
  • Read at least 20 books. Down from 26. With COVID-19 likely to be a big factor for most of 2021, I think this more modest number is achievable.
  • Exercise at least once a week. Down from three times. Again, setting my sights low to see if I can do more.
  • Stretch. Any stretching at all.
  • Be kinder to everyone, including myself