New York City Travel Log, Several Weeks Later

Ever since moving away from regularly journaling/blogging and instead actively posting in smaller posts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, I’ve occasionally started a blog post only to leave it in my computer or iPhone notepad in partially finished form. Tonight, it seemed like this might be a good time to revisit one of those incomplete blog fragments and finally post them online. The following was an originally a series of brief thoughts that occurred to me while Sally and I were in New York back for a few days during the second week of November.

This is my second trip to New York City in two years. Before these two trips, I was last here in the spring of 2007. Both of these visits have been heavily laden with nostalgia for the two years I lived here after graduating from Rutgers — as well as some wonderful memories from the few trips back up here after moving back to the DC area in 1998. Ideally, it seems clear that making regular visits is a moral imperative. However, the cost of these trips mean that we simply can’t do this every year. Train fare (the only civilized way of traveling from DC to NYC,) staying multiple nights in a hotel in Manhattan, and the other necessary expenses incurred in a multi-day stay here make this a rather expensive proposition. So, while three trips in three years appears unlikely, maybe we can be back here again in 2024…

One of the things I miss most from my time living in New York is The Strand. It remains a wonder of a bookshop, but it has undergone one significant change in the nearly 25 years since I lived here: the “review copy” section of the basement is no more. One of my favorite things to do when living here was going through those shelves and coming home with a number of recently published hardcovers for far less than cover price. Given the changes in the book industry in the interim, it’s disappearance comes as no surprise. It’s still fun to come in and browse the shelves, but the absence of the review copy section means that coming here just isn’t the same for me. Alas, that’s just something time does to all things…

This trip included an afternoon where Sally and I are off doing separate things. She planned well in advance to join a gathering of women who love Gudrun clothing. I, however, didn’t plan anything on anything in particular while on my own, and started by simply wandering around the area and seeing what I might find. Eventually, I decided that I should go to McSorely’s — an option I considered in advance but hadn’t made any previous decisions about. I suppose I get why people still go there — I mean, where else can you go that both John Lennon and Abraham Lincoln both drank at? — but I wonder if it’s now something where you’re primarily paying for an experience more than anything else. If I lived here still, I wouldn’t feel the need to return. Oh, thank goodness I actually did have cash on me — it’s hard to believe that there are cash-only establishments in this day and age…

One thing we generally didn’t plan in advance for either of our visits was where we were going to eat. When the time to do so came, Sally and I did a lot of just walking around and checking the menus of restaurants as we passed by. Inevitably we would find a place that looked like a great place to try — though on a couple occasions this took longer than we liked. It was kind of surprising how large a percentage of the restaurant didn’t provide vegetarian fare. It was certainly larger than the percentage of restaurants in our section of Northern Virginia not providing meatless meals. Not willing to make any kind of conjectures as to why the weird dichotomy exists. To me, a city as diverse as New York would mean that more restaurants made an effort at accommodating both vegetarians and omnivores…

One of the exceptions to meal planning was a visit to The Cauldron. During our visit list year, we had such a wonderful time doing the potions making class that we made another visit to simply enjoy the atmosphere and the fantasy themed cocktails. Alas, this year’s visit was somewhat disappointing. The place was more plainly decorated, the waitstaff less personable, and the vibe very much subdued. We still enjoyed ourselves, as well as had a great time with an old of mine, Erica, I hadn’t seen in over 10 years, but some of the magic (pun fully intended) we encountered last year vanished…

One return to a favorite from the time I lived in NYC that didn’t disappoint was The Cloisters. It was on our list of places to see last year, but we just weren’t able to get up there. This time, we purposefully set aside a specific date and time to go up. It was everything I remembered. It helped immensely that it was a gorgeous day outside, which made the gardens and balcony overlooking the river…

On our visit last year, we went to the observations decks on both the Empire State Building and One Vanderbilt. This year, we thought that checking out the 30 Rockefeller observation deck would provide an interesting change of perspective. It absolutely exceeded any expectations. Although we visited the top of Empire State at nearly the exact same date and time, the colors from just after sunset were absolutely breathtaking. I don’t think I’ve ever taken as many pictures in as short a time period as I did that night. I don’t recall the exact verbiage from the moment, but while pausing between photos, I said to Sally that the impending environmental collapse and global warming crisis make it hard to be excited about the future, but at least the view before the shit hits the fan is amazing…

If there is one part of this trip I wish for a second stab it, it’s visiting Oscar Wilde. It would have been smart to get there earlier in the day than during the after work rush. It was just one of those places where the combination of decor and drink menu was just awesome. If there was a downside, it’s that it was clearly a trendy place for the 20-something crowd. I think that I single-handedly lowered the coolness quotient of the establishment while Sally and I wear at the bar.

Finally — though by no means the last thing about the trip worth noting — R.I.P. The Slaughtered Lamb and Jeckyll & Hyde. Both of these establishments were casualties of the pandemic during the (relatively) short time between Sally’s and my two trips to NYC. We made to it the Slaughtered Lamb during our first trip, but it was clear at the time that the bar was a shell of its former glory. Despite the fact that both locales were kitschy destinations designed with tourists in mind, I nonetheless had fond memories of both places both from my time living in New York and during a couple of my subsequent visits before meeting Sally. It’s always sad to see a notable physical part of your past disappear, and these two spots were certainly no exception.

At the Start of the 2022 World Series…

29 days ago, Sally and I were sitting in a beer garden in Center City Philadelphia, having a drink, and watching the Phillies get swept by the 88-loss Cubs for the second time in the season. It was their fifth loss in a row, and I was thoroughly convinced that they were going to experience their fourth consecutive late September nosedive and painfully miss out on the postseason yet again. At the time, I felt like that even if they awkwardly stumbled into the postseason, they would be lucky to win one game.

Then, it was if a light-switch had been turned on. With the exception the last two rather meaningless games of the regular season, they got hot and started winning like a team possessed. When the playoffs started, I repeatedly stated that I hated the fact that MLB’s playoffs gave third place teams the opportunity to win a World Series. Even after everything that’s happened over the past four weeks, I still feel that way, but these are the playoffs we now have. So, I have experienced an awesome ironic episode of cognitive dissonance as I root for my favorite team while still feeling as though they’re not even supposed to be here.

It’s like it’s been Opposite Dante Hicks Day for a solid month.

Rooting for your favorite team when you are they are considered the least likely to win it all makes for a far less stressful experience. Having been on the opposite end of that spectrum (the 2011 Phillies,) I would rather my team be the underdog every single time. They are riding a hot streak while playing with house money – what’s not to enjoy?

If that hot streak should happen to suddenly end in the next few games, I am still going to cherish everything about this postseason. A few days back on Facebook, I stated that I had so many different thoughts concerning the Phillies over the past month that I should just compile them all in one blog post. Well, that time has finally come:

  • By far and without question, the biggest and most important moment in this postseason thus far, and the one I cherish most, has been watching the Phillies clinch the pennant with Brandon at a nearby sports pub. A few years back, I got to watch the Eagles win the Super Bowl with him and his mom, but that paled in comparison to being the only two Phillies fans in a bar cheering, hollering, and jumping around in unfettered joy when Harper hit the winning home run in the bottom of the 8th, and then doing it all over again when Castellanos caught the final out of the game.
  • The only thing about this run that I wish could have been a little different is that I’ve mostly watched it without any other Phillies fans. Brandon is off at college (he made a special trip out here for the NLCS-clinching game,) and while Sally has been amazing about accommodating me, she’s not a fan. If I lived much closer to the Philadelphia area, I would almost certainly be going out to a local sports bar to watch the World Series with other fans.
  • Having said that, the way we’ve watched many of the games thus far is likely to be my new default setting for all future Phillies playoff runs: living room party lighting on, the game on the TV with the sound off, party music playing on the stereo, and enough alcohol to dull any anxiety that the game might cause (I said it was much less stressful, not stress-free.) I’m not a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (mostly not my kind of humor,) but I absolutely feel a kind of disconcerting kinship with Mac and Dennis at the end of the Riot Juice scene from the “The World Series Defense” episode.
  • Just before the start of the playoffs, I began writing a blog post talking about my complicated set of feelings regarding the Phillies and the way they qualified for them. I got about 600 words into it, but laziness took over. I’m reasonably certain finishing it won’t be difficult, and it will likely happen at some point in the indeterminate future. However, some time and distance from this postseason will be needed to properly recapture the state mind necessary for completing it.
  • I’ve always known that I have a ridiculous number of Phillies jerseys (over two dozen,) but this postseason has managed to put it in further perspective. I’ve worn a different one on each game day thus far, and I’ll be able to continue doing so for the entirety of the World Series, even if it goes seven games. Having said that, despite the fact I swore before the 2020 season that I would never buy any Phillies jersey with the Nike swoosh prominently displayed on the chest, I may have to purchase one so I could have an official jersey with the 2022 World Series patch on the sleeve.
  • I swore off baseball card collecting back in 2015, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. However, if the Phillies win the World Series, I am going to be the first person in line to purchase the “limited edition” box set celebrating that victory.
  • It’s more a highly unlikely idea than anything else at this moment, but if this does go seven games, I may decide to get a hotel room, go up to Philly to watch the game from a Center City sports bar. The seventh game is on a Saturday night, so the plan is doable. The only constraints are cost, and, frankly, how eager I am to do that much driving in two days. We shall see.

July 13 Infodump

Because I continue to only sit down to post every week or two, another series of otherwise unrelated items:

For the first time ever I am stopping midway through a bookshelf display simply because I’m just not feeling it. I liked the idea initially – creating a scene inspired by The Witcher, with Geralt and Yennefer – but something about the execution right now doesn’t feel right. I’d rather stop, tear down, and start a new one than attempt to figure out what isn’t working, how to potentially fix, and then act accordingly. Given where we are in the calendar, I really should just go ahead and jump directly into my Halloween display…

Heck, if I’m going to put together my Halloween display once I take the half-finished one apart, I should simultaneously just go ahead and put the Halloween tree up. In fact, I visited the local Hallmark store earlier this evening to check out the new ornaments that they’ve already put out, and there are a couple this year that would be great for Halloween use…

I’m continuing my efforts to find a successor to O’Faolain’s as my new preferred hangout away from home. I use the term “successor” very deliberately, because nothing is ever going to replace it. The fact of the matter is that O’Faolain’s was damn near perfect for me. It had everything: the right atmosphere/decor, hard cider on tap, awesome french fries (the most essential requirement,) otherwise decent Matthew-friendly (and Sally-friendly) eating options, TouchTunes-enabled jukebox… it just had everything I wanted in my favorite pub. Each of the three current contenders – The Ashburn Pub, Wicket Door Pub, and Finnegan’s – is lacking in one or more of these aspects. Ideally, my new favorite hangout would be no more than 20 minutes from my house, but I’m going to cast the net a bit wider in the hopes that there’s somewhere else that can top one of those three. Otherwise, it’ll be time to weigh the pros and cons of each and just run with it…

I’ve actually been in something of a funk the last couple days. I don’t think there’s any actual cause for it – it’s just a kind of malaise caused by the current state of affairs and my pessimism/nihilism about the future. These funks started to happen on infrequent occasions a few months into the pandemic, but actually started to subside during the second half of last year when things genuinely seemed to be getting better thanks to vaccines and common sense public health measures, Alas, COVID continues to evolve, with a new variant (BA.5) that the current vaccines and boosters don’t actually seem to prevent you from getting infected with. Despite having had COVID (most likely a different variant) just six weeks ago, I really need to start being more careful again. In fact, another requirement for my new favorite hangout is absolutely going to be outdoor seating – which actually eliminates one of the previously mentioned contenders (The Ashburn Pub…)

Heading back up in Philly in a little over a week to be spend some time up there with Manchild, finally see Keith for the first time in a year, and then see a Phillies game with the family. I wonder if I would experience these emotional funks less frequently if I lived closer to there and could realistically make day trips up there more often… 

Yesterday, I placed an order for the burgundy denim jacket that will become the fifth to be covered in an assortment of patches and pins. I’m actually planning a longer post in the near future about these jackets. They’ve come to represent and mean a number of different things to me, and actually even contribute to my mental well-being. So, yeah, making them the subject of an in-depth blog post seems like a moral imperative… 

Feel the need to state that it has now been two years and eight months since my last haircut. Obviously, much has changed in the interim, but back when I cut my mullet-tail off in the spring of 1995 I really thought that was going to be the last time I would have any kind of long hair. I’m sure that 23-year-old me would be quite stunned to know how long my hair is now…

Finally, in my last post, I wrote about my efforts (or lack thereof) to lost weight since the start of May. Things have nosedived a bit since then. So, tomorrow, I start doing the one thing that I tend to neglect most when I get really off-course in taking care of myself properly: weighing myself each morning and hold myself accountable each day. It’s been over a week since the last time I did so, and the number showing on the scale will almost certainly suck. Hopefully the damage isn’t not as bad as it did when I went off the rails at the end of last year.

July 3 Infodump

It’s been over two years since O’Faolain’s became a permanent casualty of the pandemic, and I still haven’t found a suitable local replacement. Sally works today and Brandon is vacationing with his mom, and pre-pandemic this kind of weekend scenario typically meant spending a large chunk of the afternoon reading, temporarily taking over the jukebox, eating fries, doing some writing, and having a cider or two at O’Faolain’s. Admittedly, given the progression of Covid over the past 27+ months, I haven’t tried very hard to find my new favorite local spot away from home, but today was the kind of day screaming for such treatment.

So, after spending some time reading reviews of nearby pubs, I settled on The Ashburn Pub, where I’m currently pounding this out. Initial verdict: not a likely candidate. The atmosphere isn’t right, it’s a bit on the small side, and while they have cider in bottles, they don’t have it on tap. Furthermore, though there are a few items on the menu that look interesting, overall it isn’t doing that much for me. However, the jukebox is TouchTunes enabled, which is always a major plus. Alas, that isn’t enough, so the search will continue…

Along those lines, while deciding on The Ashburn Pub, a horrifying dystopian thought occurred to me: Red Robin is closer to my ideal pub than most of the other local places I’ve visited or considered. The truly frightening part is that I momentarily gave serious thought to going there. Clearly, unless there’s some hidden nearby currently unknown-to-me gem, Sally and I need to flee the exurbs to someplace that’s at least close to a proper urban area (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) as soon as it’s legitimately feasible…

Earlier this week, over on Facebook, someone who knew me back in high school engaged in some concern trolling with me because of a comment I left on a mutual friend’s post. What I said:

“The events of the last two years make it abundantly clear that women, non-ammosexual parents, blacks, and the LGTBQ+ community would absolutely be justified should decide to burn it all to the ground.

“If that time comes, this cis, straight, white male will help by supplying kerosene and lighters.”

The response:

“You scare me… Anger… justified, chaos and stupid online rhetoric isn’t.”

I am so fucking done with these moderate, “reasonable” assholes. The other side has been stating openly for years that “2nd Amendment solutions” are reasonably on the table should the American left go too far (I saw more than a few people state both in 2016 & 2020 that a Bernie Sanders presidency would justify such a use of violence.) In fact, they puts those words into action and fucking attempted a coup on January 6, 2021. Now, they are insisting that the public January 6 Committee hearings are somply grandstanding. Yet, my rhetoric – which in my mind was clearly a kind of metaphor and contained more than an hint of hyperbole – is a problem? My real mistake was attempting to debate this point with him. I need to remember more often that I’m truly out of fucks and that attempting to engage with such idiocy achieves nothing more than angering me…

By the way, not celebrating anything tomorrow. Nothing has materially changed since the BLM protests in the summer of 2020, women’s rights are being stripped away from them, the insane right-wing majority on the Supreme Court is busy making sure that Christian nationalists pretty much get whatever they want under the guise of “religious liberty,” and in the states where they currently control all the branches of government, the GOP is legally creating mini banana republics that make it exceedingly difficult to actually vote them out of power. Given that these are all signs of a slowly unfolding right-wing coup taking place, and that no one in a position to do so seems to be actively trying to derail it, it seems ridiculous to be celebrating the July 4 holiday… 

Part of yesterday afternoon was spent in downtown Frederick, and despite high humidity and temperatures in the upper 80s, I continually wore one of my denim jackets with the sleeves rolled up. Yes, I’m that dedicated to flying my freeky geek flag. A couple weeks ago, the realiation hit me that the jackets serve as my version of tattoos. The difference is that mine are removable and can be readily replaced with other depending on my mood. In fact, a couple of the jackets are more suitable for certain kinds of personal expression than other. I suppose it’s not surprising at all that Sally so easily readily talked me into adding patches and pins to a fifth jacket, rather than stop at four…

It wasn’t my intent, but for the past two months I’ve essentially maintained my weight rather than continue getting down to my goal weight. So, I have a good idea of what I need to do once I actually lose the remaining necessary pounds. However, I decided to let myself go for the last week of June and for the July 4 weekend. Haven’t stepped on a scale since June 22. Frankly, I am a little scared of what the scale states on the morning of July 5, but I have the utmost confidence in my ability to start doing all the right things again on that day…

That’s all I got for the moment.

‘Red Zone Cuba’ & Deep Hurting

I’ve been regularly watching copious amounts of MST3K and its off-shoot projects for over a year now, and I’ve finally hit something of a brick wall: Red Zone Cuba. On three separate occasions, I have fallen asleep while attempting to watch this movie — picking up where I left off on each subsequent attempt. I know how Ed Wood’s films and Manos: The Hands of Fate are frequently put at the top of the “Worst Movie Ever Made” list, but Red Zone Cuba is something far more insidious.

I can literally say absolutely nothing complimentary about this film. Manos and Ed Wood’s oeuvre provide moments of cheesetastic, riotous enjoyment, but not Red Zone Cuba. Everything about it is dull, ugly, brutish, and inept. The dialogue is dull. The cinematagraphy is ugly. The characters are brutish. The editing is inept. The plot is all of those things combined. I’m reasonably certain that Francis Coleman — the writer, director, producer and “star” of this unholy monstrosity — made life hell for everyone who worked on RZC. This is a movie you show to a person you want to end a relationship with, by first telling them it’s your favorite movie of all time and that you’re excited to see their reaction to it as they watch it. There is no amount of riffing from the MST3K crew that sufficiently quells any of the pain that this movie inflicts upon the viewer.

Yet, I will not let this film win. I am stronger than this movie, and I’m going to finish it, no matter how many times I need to resume it from where I last nodded off. It’s a moral imperative.

(Note: I’m not the only person who feels this way about RZC. Check out this 2018 review from Paste, which is part of ranked list of every episode of MST3K made up until that point.)

One Year Later…

LiveJournal, Facebook, and on this site… I’ve literally lost count of the number of times I’ve made posts like this one:

It’s the issue that has most vexed me throughout my adult life. Since the start of my very first serious effort almost exactly 20 years ago to reach and maintain a healthy weight, I’ve lost, gained, and then repeated the cycle for over hundreds of pounds. There are lots of reasons for this recurring pattern, but when being brutally honest with myself, most of them are truly just excuses. It doesn’t matter how long the healthy part a particular portion of the cycle lasts, it never stops being work or becomes second nature. Eventually, I tire of the effort and default back to eating unhealthily and not exercising enough.

Nonetheless, the good news is that since that Facebook post from last year, I’ve managed to lose precisely 40 pounds, dropping from 241.6 to 201.6. What makes that number even more amazing is my end-of-year attempt to pause the weight loss and simply go into maintenance mode was a disaster that resulted in my regaining 15 pounds, which in turn necessitated spending the first three months of this year simply working them back off. Currently, my motivation remains solid, and tt appears that reaching my goal of 190 lb should happen before the end of the summer. If successful, it will mark the third different time I’ve lost over 50 pounds in the last 20 years.

While there’s literally no doubt in my mind that it will happen, maintaining without significant weight fluctuation will be the serious challenge. I’m already giving thought to how to best attempt it this time around, because it’s always been easier to work my body back into healthy shape. In fact, I’m good at it. However, maintaining my ideal weight… Ugh. It seems like the act of increasing the caloric intake or reducing the exercise intensity puts a serious dent in the motivation. Something has to be different about my mindset or approach this time around — just what exactly is currently unclear.

As the effort to reach my goal and to resolve that dilemma in advance continues, some other thoughts and things related to a full year spent on this effort:

  • Given the number of trips on this roller coaster, it seemed odd that changing the kitty litter recently made me mindful of what 40 pounds equates to. (This thought is something already experienced in some form or another over the years.) Because we have three cats — two of them above-average sized — we go through a 35-pound bag of litter each week. Picking up an unopened bag last week made me realize just how much harder my heart needs to work when lugging that much extra weight. It also made me realize how much it can hurt my back. 
  • Today also marks the last day of the dry planned month mentioned in previous posts. The confluence truly was a coincidence. To be 100% honest, this dry month is actually only four full weeks.Because February is also only four weeks, Sally and I decided that our dry month was in fact February — we just started several weeks late.
  • Hitting the 40-pound mark today was also a happy coincidence, resulting from losing 3.6 lb over the past two weeks. I applied no extraordinary effort during this time, out of the desire to not get fixated on otherwise meaningless interim goals. However, I also made it a point to not skip any exercise or to allow myself any kind of extra caloric intake during that time. That’s coming to a temporary halt this weekend, and there will be no fretting over any of the (temporary) increase in weight resulting from taking a complete break from the routine for 48 hours.
  • One of the things missing from the past two weeks: a meal or a whole day of not worrying about my caloric intake. Typically, there’s at least one of these every couple weeks. I feel as a special shout-out needs to go to my friend Tommie, who is with me at those meals, or on those days, far more often than not. I’m not blaming him in the least for that — it’s all on me. Ironically, I’m almost certainly being the bad influence on him.
  • Amazingly, I’ve been successful over the past four months without regular public accountability posts. In all the years of doing this, it’s the first time the weight has come down without them. In the past, the lack of such posts usually meant the cessation of regular exercise and/or eating properly. Having said that, when the time to transition to maintenance mode arrives, it seems that a return of those posts will be essential (they’ve never been incorporated into a maintenance mode before.)

Tuesday Afternoon Brain Dump

I swear that sometime soon I will do something other than a bullet-pointed post. I actually have a couple items that deserve longer posts all on their own, but until I overcome a certain level of laziness and pound them out on a keyboard…

  • The denim jacket project is nearly complete. Yesterday morning I made my last order for patches to add to them. The fact is that while there is additional space on all three jackets for additional patches, ironing/stitching more onto them would certainly make them look too cluttered. As it is, they may have already crossed that line. While wearing any of the three different jackets (they are blue, black, and olive green) means that I’m not “dressing my age,” they nonetheless make me happy. That is what’s truly most important.
  • Friday is the end of the planned dry month. It actually hasn’t been difficult to not drink. However, I’m not going to lie about one thing: I’m seriously missing having fries and hard cider together. Looking forward to this weekend when that combo is an active option again. Also feel the need to note that yesterday’s Twitter post was in jest, and that there are no current plans to have a drink ready and waiting at 12:00 on Friday evening. Although, I’m not going to say that there’s a 0% chance of that happening.
  • It has now been 2½ years since the last haircut. At this stage, the pandemic is no longer the excuse — the hair is now this long by choice. Admittedly, there are mornings where I miss simply vigorously toweling my hair after the shower and then quickly combing it, but because of liking the current look, extra time on proper hair maintenance is just one of those things that just has to be lived with.
  • A few nights ago, I dreamt for the first time since my teen years a former often recurring nightmare: witnessing the beginning of the nuclear apocalypse. Many of the details in it bore remarkable resemblance to the versions that woke me up in the middle of the night throughout the ’80s. This time around, however, the dreams strikes me as more symbolic than reality-based. I don’t believe that civilization is going to end as a result as nuclear holocaust. Rather, we are witnessing a comparatively slower implosion brought about by global climate change, environmental degradation, the plastic pollution crisis, and a bunch of other manmade factors.
  • In the process of putting together this post (the first few bullet points were actually written yesterday and underwent minor revisions today,) Alito’s draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked. All I’m going to say is this: as frightening as this is for so many in the country (as it should be,) it’s also only the start. Everything about my experience with evangelical Christianity in the mid ’90s absolutely supported the notion that those religious zealots fully believe in Dominionism, and they have zero qualms about forcing their religious beliefs upon you. This is just the beginning. They are coming for LGTBQ+ rights next, and then after that anything and everything that their worldview says is “wrong.” Worse, they have gerrymandered their way into veto-proof majorities in enough states to make it damn near impossible to dislodge the judges who are going to uphold their assault on secular humanist values.It’s only going to get worse… Immensely frakking worse.
  • I’m not going to let the feelings engendered by those religious whackadoodles deter me from properly finishing this dry month. I’m significantly stronger than those fuckers.

More Bullet-Pointed Goodness

As the title of this post states…

  • Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter yesterday brought a drastic, tire-squealing reversal to my fleeing Facebook (at least temporarily.) Facebook suddenly became the lesser of two otherwise extreme evils. I’m going to need to rethink my approach to maintaining an online presence. Using this site far more often remains the core to whatever I decide moving forward, but the fact its that while I have more control over how I post here, posting 2-3 sentence (or smaller) entries on this site doesn’t feel right. Furthermore, I’m not aware at this time of a WordPress feature that allows me to quickly and easily share photos, and tag the location and people I’m with the way Facebook does. Admittedly, Twitter doesn’t have a nice easy way to simultaneously share, manage, and curate photos either, but the smaller posts were right at home there. In regards to the Twitter-sized posts, I certainly should simply get over myself and start putting them on this site.
  • Last year I watched 50 episodes of MST3K and thought that it would be difficult of top it. Last night, I watched my 24th so far this year. At this rate, this 2022’s total will be over 70 movies riffed by MST3K or one its alumni riff groups. The frightening thing is 120 films isn’t even half of what I own. Yes, I own a significant collection of crappy movies containing mocking commentary.
  • As much as I’ve fallen in love with Tears for Fears’s new album, The Tipping Point, I couldn’t bring myself to buy tickets for their show at The Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer. By the time I looked at ticket prices, lawn seats were the only realistic option, and frankly, if I’m going to sit for hours at a concert, I’m going to need a proper chair. I’ll try to catch them the next time a tour brings them through the area.
  • Text from a post I made on Twitter yesterday: “I’m on day #17 of a planned dry month. I don’t think I’ve ever come close to being this dissatisfied with a healthy lifestyle choice.” Seriously, I need to come up with some other coping mechanisms for experiencing this country’s descent into true dystopian authoritarianism. Given that my two favorite means of coping — the other being stress earring — are currently off the table, I need to figure out another means to deal with maintaining awareness of what is happening in the world around me.
  • Rather than simply imply it, I’m going to state it outright: living in America right now must be an amazing analog for what it felt like to live in Germany in 1932. Either that, or we are in fact in The Bad Place.
  • As was true yesterday, more in another post later today, or tomorrow.

Two+ Months Later…

It’s been a couple months since the last post here. So, in a futile effort to play catch up and to jump start yet another effort (in a countless string of them) to post here more regularly, I bring you bullet points!

  • I have once again decided I could no longer in good conscience feed the Facebook beast. I let myself slip back into old habits after making my first such declaration earlier this year before getting reminded why I initially made the decision. Of course, now that I am staying away and making it stick (so far,) along comes Elon Musk and his personal brand of multifaceted toxicity and his Lex Luther-like goal of owning Twitter in its entirety.
  • Text from a post I made on Twitter last week: “Of the possible futures avid 16-year-old SF fan me envisioned inhabiting after turning 50, he never imagined living in a toxic late-stage capitalistic state teetering on the edge of true dystopian authoritarianism pursued by a political party overtaken by Christian nationalism.”
  • Self-assesment after turning 50 last month: the looming dystopian nightmare aside, I’m actually very happy with nearly every aspect of my personal life right now. As always, there are a couple areas of personal improvement I’m actively working on, but otherwise I think 16-year-old me would be thrilled to have had a sneak peak into the man he evolved into at this age. Embracing my inner weirdo and letting my freak/geek flag fly has only made me a happier person.
  • A couple weeks after the mini-vacation, Sally and I made an overnight visit to Staunton, VA, quite possibly our favorite locale for such getaways. We didn’t post anything online during our trip (quite possibly a first for us, but also not surprising given my growing distaste for the array of social media sites currently at our disposal,) mostly because it was “uneventful.” That’s not a damning statement — we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly — but there was nothing noteworthy that hadn’t already happened multiple times during previous visits over the years. Sometimes, what you need when you get away from home is a different kind of familiarity and routine. Staunton is that for us.
  • Clearly, I haven’t been making weekly accountability posts. In the past, this typically meant that I started putting back weight again. Not this time, however. I have now taken off all the weight I put on at the end of last year and proceeded to continue past where I was at the beginning of October. As of this morning, I’ve lost 35.2 lb since May 6 (16.8 since the start of this year.) I’m going to defer any commentary about this until I make my next standalone accountability post 11 days from now.
  • More in another post later today, or tomorrow. (No, really, I swear it will happen!)

February 17 “Weekly” Public Accountability Post

So, it’s been three weeks plus a day since last checking in with one of these — hence the quotation marks in the title for this post. Typically, that kind of time between public accountability entries is bad sign. However, in this case it’s not. I’ve basically been continuing to eat and exercise properly, and as of yesterday’s weekly weigh-in, when this post should have gone up, 9.2 pounds gained during the debacle at the end of last year are gone again. That number was given a rather significant boost by this past week in particular, in which I didn’t allow myself a cheat day as I typically do.

So, tonight I’m treating myself. Sometime this afternoon, possibly as early as lunch, this week’s cheat day begins. Planning on lots of chips, some kind of dinner that’s in no way whatsoever conducive at all to my long-term goals, a couple adult beverages, and almost certainly some chocolate from the carefully monitored “secret stash” in the kitchen. Then, back up on the horse tomorrow.

I earned this, dammit.

Three week gain/loss: -3.4 lb
Total loss since May 6, 2020: 28.2