Archive for August, 2012

The first of three flowers finally opened up today in our as-yet-to-be-determined squash patch (I’m pretty sure they’re pumpkin, but there’s a chance they could be butternut). If you look close, positioned behind the flower’s pistil is a honeybee wasting no time getting the pollination process started.

Fingers crossed as hot weather — of which we are having right now — can cause trouble for any vegetable development. Case in point, the sun veritably melted this flower before mid-day.

Me in 2000 as a 270-pound stand in for Bob's Big BoyBack in January 2006 when I was sitting very uncomfortably at 263 pounds, I signed up for a free account on and began monitoring and controlling the calories I put in and put out (by way of visual reference, the picture at right was taken in 2000 when I was closer to 270 at the time).

Six months later I stood on a scale that read 208 having removed 55 pounds.

It was inconceivable that I’d gotten down to a weight I hadn’t been at since my early 20s. But in hindsight what was more unbelievable was that I stopped so short of my then-original goal to lose 10 more get below 200 pounds for the first time since high school.

I shouldn’t say unbelievable because I know why I stopped. Getting down those last pounds to 208 had been arduous and frustrating. Losing the first 45 had been a relative breeze, but I’d hit the wall at 220, and losing that last 10 was real mental and physical work. Plus, I was rightfully proud of myself for getting to where I did — and I felt damn good about it.

What’s another 10 pounds, I rationalized.

Not much, really. Unless you start going back in the wrong direction, which I did, to about 215. I maintained that for well over a year but by 2008 I was back up in my 220s and eating a LOT of junk. The only thing that kept the rise in check was the 6,000 miles of bike commuting I was doing annually up until the middle of 2010, when I opted to start working from home. At that point, the biking literally evaporated and the weight really started to add up. In a couple months I was up into the mid-230s, and I briefly marshaled the resolve to diet my way back down to 220. By October 2010 I was there, but so was that wall again.

And back up I went. I was two-hundredfucking-forty when I struggled through the Rio Hondo physical agility test a year ago. Seven months later when I stepped on the scale at 234.8 on March 1, with the academy set to announce its start date on any day, I grabbed the reins and took control again. This time I didn’t even think about the wall. I welcomed the wall. I dared the wall to beat me.

Last week I hit 208. This morning the scale showed me 205. To counter the picture I led this post with, here I am July 10 at about 210:

This time, I’m not stopping until I get to 194 — the significance of which has to do simply with that number being about three-quarters of a pound below what the intractable Body Mass Index chart indicates as a “unhealthy” weight for anyone 6’2″ tall. I’m healthy now, but all my adult life I’ve winced at being categorized by the BMI as “obese.” Certainly at 263 or in that picture I was physically. At 208, statistically.

I won’t be anymore. Not physically. Not numerically.

I watched about 90 minutes of this Olympics. Some men’s diving. Some women’s beach volleyball. A few qualifying heats on the track. Some of the women’s marathon. It made me sad to be so apathetic, but it can all be summed up when I turned on the TV this past Sunday thinking I might watch the men’s basketball final — even though I knew the US beat Spain 107-100 because it was long over and already in the news.

Instead of the game I got Al Michaels, Doc Rivers and whoever is the headcoach of the Philadelphia ’76ers previewing the “upcoming” game and talking about how Spain either needs to hold team USA to 80 points or find a way to score more than 115, otherwise it was going to be a blowout. 107-100 was obviously not a blowout, but at that point the game was still 90 minutes away from airing. I changed the channel. Watched the last few minutes of the already-seen last-season finale of “Hell on Wheels.”

I know NBC struck ratings gold with its tape-delayed, condensed, US-centric version of what happened over those 16 days in London, and that makes me sad. Because it validates their methodology of serving up the glorious games as reheated leftovers. And the irony is that TV seems to be succeeding with a model that’s been killing print media, which struggles to make their products worth picking up and reading the day after. But that lack of immediacy that’s slaughtered so many newspapers and magazines is now working for broadcasting.

Perhaps my hindsight is rose-colored, but I remember when the Olympic events were aired when they happened — not exclusively, but substantially. Back then it seemed given that few shows on a network’s schedule were so sacred as this fortnight every four years and preemption was the rule, not the exception. I’m not sure when it changed. Maybe it began in 1988 in Seoul. Maybe 1992 in Barcelona. I can distinctly remember it in Atlanta in 1996, much to my incredulity. And it’s just gotten worse since.

NBC’s success at failure can only mean this is how it’s  going to be from now on. In 2016 I’ll be able to count on turning on the TV and see a packaged version of an Olympic event in Rio that’s already yesterday’s news.

Count me out.

Count me out.

A ridiculously hyper-stylized iPhone image snapped during our walk with Ranger this dawn, captured from LaFayette Park Place looking northeast, with the moon and Venus even closer than yesterday morning.

Out in the backyard this morning to let Ranger out for a pee, I found Venus, the Moon and Jupiter aligned across the northeastern skies and fading into the dawn’s early light. Having skeptically snapped it with my iPhone I was later surprised to find all three visible (Jupiter, barely) in the image, annotated for your viewing enjoyment (click it for the slightly bigger picture):

  • Moon: 239,000 miles away
  • Venus: 25.8 million miles away
  • Jupiter: 390.6 million miles away


Yep, 24 hours after busting below my previous low-low (and needing almost a month to do so), I achieved my third-stage goal of 208 pounds — and did it 24 hours ahead of schedule.

This is the first time since starting this diet in March that I’ve actually hit my target on or before the deadline. Come to think of it 08.08 is the obviously appropriate date to achieve this milestone, which represents the lowest weight I attained during my 55-pounds lost between January and July of 2006.

Four short weeks ago, the pumpkin patch was just a row of sprouts:

Here’s where we’re at as of today. My how we’ve grown: