Archive for September, 2012

I always feel a twinge when something living gets destroyed, but in this case I’m in full agreement with our neighbors, who decided the towering row of out-of-control, top-heavy and increasingly teetering giant birds of paradise growing on the south side of their house needed to come down. Proof of how awesome they are: they even gave us a heads-up as to their plans and asked if we were cool with it.

So when I heard a crew arrive this morning and begin to make preparations for the plants’ removal, I grabbed a cam for before and after shots from the same vantage point (click them for the bigger pictures):

With Endeavour’s morning arrival in Los Angeles delayed, I scratched plans to bike up to the Observatory for her impending fly-by and instead just parked an adirondack chair atop the roof of our house and camped out until she arrived.

Here’s a still of me and Endeavour taken by my timelapse cam, followed by a photo of Endeavour across Micheltorena Ridge to the west. Last but not least is the brief YouTube clip of the timelapse of me biding my time until Endeavor shows up right near the end:

I have one simple rule regarding my daily diet routine. When I step on the scale each morning I do it one time and one time only and take the numbers it gives back to me. Step on. Read. Step off. If the scale says I’ve gained five pounds since I weighed myself yesterday? Then I gained five pounds since I weighed myself yesterday. No double-checking.

I broke that simple rule this morning. Not because the news was so bad. But because the news was good. WAY too good.

Yesterday I weighed in at 203 pounds — a new low and completely legit.

Today, I figured I’d rebound up about a pound or so into the 204 zone, but when I stepped on the scale it very quickly showed me something that filled me both with glee and doubt:


One part of my mind did joyful backflips as I went wide-eyed at such a surprise descent to so ginormous a milestone: Two-hundred-point-six!

But the rational part of my consciousness shook its side of my head vehemently and told me that can’t be right. That I must’ve stepped on precisely during a microcosmic and momentary flux in the earth’s gravitational pull.

I hesitated for a moment, both sides battling. And stepped on again. This time, the scale said:


Which is what I expected in the first place. I wasn’t at all disappointed with the new number. I was bummed that I broke my rule. It’s happened in the past, going both ways.  Over the course of the 30 pounds I’ve lost since March, I’ve had sudden inexplicable swings of upwards or downwards of three or four pounds, and I haven’t blinked. As I continue on my way down to my goal of 190 by the end of the year they’re destined to happen again.

But there’s something about the sacred 200 mark that I just wasn’t ready to embrace and accept. It was like a gift that came too early or wasn’t yet deserved. I want it to be legit rather than a fluke. Sure, I’ll get there in a couple/three weeks, but without the help of any gravitational anomalies.

My thanks to the Blogfather Tony Pierce for this inciteful post, bringing this riveting and heartrending presentation by comedian Anthony Griffith to my attention:


So our pumpkin patch has had a lotta false starts. There’ve been tons of blooms and lots of pollination resulting in plenty of pumpkins that started strong only to stop growing after a couple/three days and die. As such, we only have three pumpkins that have made it out of that danger zone, but hey… at least we have something to show for the effort, yes?

Of those three one that’s barely softball sized is too well wrapped up in the vines to get a scale in there without risking damage (I’d guess it’s somewhere between 1 and 2 pounds). The other two are both large and accessible enough to warrant me getting their weigh on today — the smaller of the duo on our kitchen scale, and the larger one on our bathroom scale (after it tilted the kitchen scale).

The pumpkin on the right, at 4.425 pounds actually got off to the quickest start, but has since slowed its progress, whereas the pumpkin on the left at 14.4 pounds (nice!) quickly surpassed the early bird and keeps on growing (click to biggify):

How cool would it be if this dynamic duo ended up as our very own homegrown jack o’lanterns this Halloween!?

All my life I have been pull-up challenged… barely able to get my chin up over the bar more than two times (and that’s with a bit of a jump up to the first one, and not going down all the way before the second). Now, I’m in an educational program that includes a strong emphasis on upper body strength and I’ve no choice but confront the phobia I have for that exercise and get myself fit enough to crank a few out.

Given my admission at being a lifelong pull-up failure, the first five you see me do in the doorway in this video below may seem like a miracle, but sharp eyes will be able to spot my secret weapon (certainly it’s more visible in the slower second five): a heavy-duty resistance band I purchased online (here at

It’s without a doubt a total game changer. Up until its arrival I’d been trying to increase the strength in my arms shoulders, back and chest primarily with push-ups, TRX Suspension Strap exercises, and by getting my chin over the bar and doing static hangs for 15-20 seconds. This giant rubber band, choked around the bar and looped under my knee, literally turns my 205 pound body into about 140 pounds, allowing me to repetitively do the full range of a pull-up motion and actually work the muscles involved.

Right now, 10 is pretty much my limit, but I’m doing 10 to 15 sets a day, basically every time I pass by the doorway. Before long I’ll be getting stronger doing 15, then 20, then 25… then who knows: maybe 3 or 4  or 5 on my own without the band. That’s literally something of which I NEVER thought I was capable. But now it’s literally within my reach.

The scale this morning read 204.2. Subtract that from the weight of 234.8 from which I started this downward journey on March 1 and the result is I crossed over the milestone of 30 pounds lost.

In terms of my overall goal, I’ve changed things up a bit and gone with a longer view. These past few months my aim has been to lose four to five pounds a month, but since that’s what I’ve proven to be averaging across this past half-year, rather than continue to go for short yardage, I instead went deep down field with my next deadline. My aim now is to reach 190 pounds by January 1, 2013.

New Year’s resolutions don’t get any better than achieving them on day one.

PS. To celebrate, I bought a pair of 36-inch-waist pants yesterday. After 25-plus years of never buying anything less than 38s (at best… 44s at my heaviest point), that was REALLY nice.