Archive for the ‘Little Victories’ Category

So, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.

All I can say is “What took you guys so long?”

Some three years ago, there was a brouhaha at the local rag. Former chairman Harold Miller had put the kibosh on printing a same-sex engagement announcement. I took them to task at the time… you can find that here. The landscape has certainly changed… and for the better. Justice Kennedy has written a great summation in the majority opinion that reads:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

As for me, I’m happy for my friends who can finally experience the legal protection I have always enjoyed. I’m happy that they can now be considered the next of kin and not denied access to their partners by bigoted family members. I’m super happy that they get what they deserve after fighting for so long.

I’m sure there are people who will read this and react negatively. If that’s how you want to roll, be my guest. That’s the beauty of this country… you can express your feelings without legal consequence and today more people can do it than ever before.

It’s a legal victory. Now it’s time to win the hearts and minds of the close-minded bigots.

Yes, I'm flying the Jolly Roger

Yes, I’m flying the Jolly Roger

Avast, me hearties!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I thought I’d get that out of the way before I got into the meat of the post.

In a surprise move, it’s about grog. Or booze, or hooch, or whatever else you feel like calling it.

I’m not a big drinker. I feel that once I turned 21, the fun wore off. As such, I haven’t minded not being able to drink on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of those things with a bypass. They do warn you that your tolerance is impacted post-surgery.

They weren’t lying.

See, Supportive Partner Woman got some news worth celebrating yesterday. After work, we adjourned into the Nerd Lair, she opted for tequila and I opted for my old standy, Jagermeister.

Normally, I’m feeling buzzed after three or four shots.

Not last night. One shot, I was lightheaded, flushed and feeling very warm.

So, moral of the story is that I have to be really careful if I opt to drink and should never drive.

In other news, iOS 7 landed yesterday afternoon. So far, it has a lot of features I like. There’s a few that are going to take some getting used to. It’s a little more stripped down, so I’m going to miss the subtle touches, but I’ll survive. Since I’ve only had it for a day, I’m not prepared to pass judgement.

Oh, and finally, I covered over 26 miles last week. That was a goal of mine… I still don’t know how some folks can cover that in a day and still be alive afterward, but maybe that’s just me. I’m trying to break up the training between walking, the dread mill, and the elliptical. In that regard, SPW and I tried a new rail trail (to us) yesterday and got an exact 5.000 miles in. Felt pretty good, although too much walking really does a number on my ankles. Just need to get them stronger.

At any rate, hope you have a great day, ye scurvy dogs!

Song of the Day: Take Me to the River – Talking Heads

Currently reading: Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler

So, I had my four month followup with my surgeon yesterday.

I was pretty worried that things had blown up… as I said, I have been struggling here of late and I feel myself backsliding to my old eating habits.

Imagine my surprise when Dr. McPhee used the word “remission”.

As is, “Brian, you’re doing great… your diabetes is in remission, you’ve exceeded your weight loss target for four months, and your blood work looks great. Do you really want to throw that away for a Tastykake?”

I remember looking at him and saying to myself, “Say what?”

Then it sank in and I was overcome with this sense of relief.

Then joy.



I have achieved my primary goal of having bariatric surgery.

It kind of makes all I went through in the program worthwhile. All the tears I shed, the pounds I shed and regained and shed again. The physical pain of the surgery itself. The digestive issues post-surgery.

If I had to do it again, no question. It was all worth it to hear those words.

I would be horribly remiss, however, if I didn’t thank you all for your support. Yes, you, my friends, family, and even you, anonymous reader. Your support has given me the strength to get this far. I thank you with every fiber of my being. One of the things we were told before surgery was that you can never underestimate the need for a powerful support system.

I have that in spades.

Thank you so much.

Onto the next challenge… keeping the beetus in remission.

Song of the Day: The New Song – Howard Jones

Currently reading: Hidden Order – Brad Thor

It's like a modern interpretation of the Tower of Orthanc... without the orcs.

It’s like a modern interpretation of the Tower of Orthanc… without the orcs.

So, many of you have probably read of my struggles with a certain cable and internet provider. Two days ago, I was ready to storm the Comcast Center in Philadelphia… HQ of the Evil Empire. Every time I’m in the City of Brotherly Love, I keep looking for Saruman looking out from the undistinguished building. And the architecture isn’t really inspired. It’s kind of like a blocky, 974 foot phallus.

Fitting, seeing as it’s the HQ of a company that likes to give you the shaft at most opportunities.

I’m writing today, though, about a generally positive experience I had with Jared, a member of  Comcast’s Executive Care Team. See, apparently my post on Tuesday ruffled some feathers at Comcast and they were quick to call me and ask me to return their call.

I waited until yesterday morning, giving myself a night’s sleep to cool off. My call was answered by a real, live human being who didn’t sound like he was somewhere in Bangalore. Jared listened as I explained my situation, was very quick to apologize for the manner in which I was brushed off, and in about 15 minutes had restructured our plan so we wouldn’t have to pay more for less service.

In other words, real world math. Best part is I’ll still get BBC America (Doctor Who) and NBC Sports (Formula One).

I really hate having to bitch, but sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case, I was assisted by someone who was courteous and professional. If I had to hazard a guess, Comcast keeps the good ones in reserve. At least my story had a better resolution than this one.

Map of last night's route

Map of last night’s route

Last night I managed to accomplish a goal of mine. I managed to walk the perimeter of Red Rose Commons (local shopping center) while on my break from work. I’ve done the half loop in many forms, but this is the first time I’ve done it and managed to do it in under 30 minutes. It was a big deal because I wasn’t wearing my Beasts, but rather my NB 857 trainers. Feet still felt pretty good and no sign of any blistering. I can deal with that. It seems that my ill effects from Saturday’s New York excursion have gone away. Other than my sunburned head, of course.

My other accomplishment dealt with my mom’s old KitchenAid mixer. A few years ago, she forgot it was plugged in and while pushing it back on the counter, she managed to turn it on while the dough hook was in the bowl. To make a long story short, mixer went *boof* and we had to get her a new one for Christmas. I took possession of the old one, figuring I could look into fixing it.

Stripped and broken gear, surrounded by a LOT of grease.

Stripped and broken gear, surrounded by a LOT of grease.

I did some research on and off over the last couple of years and I found that I could probably repair it, I would just need time and parts. I finally got around to tearing it down on Monday. I found, under the greasy nightmare, that the design had functioned as intended. A nylon worm gear had stripped and broken. The fact this item was designed to fail kept the mixer from serious damage and made it very fixable. So, went to Amazon, ordered a gear assembly, a gasket, and food-safe grease. Grand total for the parts was about $18 including shipping on the gasket. It should sell between $100 and $120 after it’ all fixed up. It’s a KitchenAid, after all.

So, there you have it. Accomplishments mixed with some actual service from Comcast. A pretty good day.

Oh, and in case the good service from Comcast wasn’t enough of an apocalyptic harbinger, I got an email triumphantly informing me that Sinbad was going to be at the Keswick Theatre and I should “Act now” to make sure I got tickets. Now, nothing against Sinbad… I always found him to be amusing, but if you’re datamining a profile of me, I’m pretty sure Sinbad’s not on the radar. I think this is a sign that the smart computers are getting ready to take over the planet.

Better start watching Doomsday Preppers for some tips on how to survive the end of civilization.

Song of the Day: You Dropped a Bomb On Me – The Gap Band

So, I weighed myself today.


The first time, I came up with 279.8. I was so excited I went running for a camera.

It's a little grainy, but it says 281.0

It’s a little grainy, but it says 281.0

The second time? 281.0. Since it’s such a big milestone, I decided to be conservative and go with 99 pounds lost.

99 pounds.

Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Let’s put it into perspective… that meansI’ve lost a weight equivalent of slightly greater than three Explorer 1 satellites (first US Earth satellite). Explorer 1 weighed in at just under 31 pounds.

I’ve lost greater than the body mass of actresses Kristin Chenoweth (88 pounds) and Mila Kunis (95 pounds).

And I’m not done.

It hasn’t been an easy journey… it’s going to be a challenge for the rest of my life. That being said, it’s a challenge I don’t want to back away from. I’m feeling better every day, my clothes are baggier (and I’m OK with that), and I bought my first ever compression shorts. Never thought I’d see the day. I’m regaining the lean muscle I lost when I couldn’t work out. I can be on a treadmill for 45 minutes at 3.5 mph and still have my heartbeat under 115.

It’s kind of cool, actually. I just wish I had done it sooner… maybe before diabetes really messed with my feet and I entered the realm of morbid obesity. The other thing I’m pleased to see is that my BMI is finally back on the scale, as opposed to being off the charts in a bad way.

At any rate, I’m keeping it short today… just wanted to share the good news. Hope I can report 100 pounds soon.


Song of the Day: Lawyers, Guns and Money – Warren Zevon

Greetings from cow country!

As I drove to the gym this morning, I was stuck behind a slow-moving tractor pulling a manure wagon. It made me think that there aren’t many places left where this is a common occurence. However, smell aside, I like living where we live. On a quiet night, we can here the cattle lowing at the farm down the road. It’s peaceful. It’s bucolic. It can stink to high heaven. But it’s our home now.

I took a half day vacation to handle a few projects for my mom (and to get a blessed haircut), so after my gym session with the boys (totally killed it, too… had the treadmill up to an 11° angle and up to 3.7 mph for a stretch) I headed to the bustling metropolis of Reading, PA.

Now Reading is somewhat infamous for being among the most dangerous towns in Pennsylvania (per capita). It’s a city of around 75,000, lots of city issues, i.e. unemployment, drugs, gangs, prostitution, political corruption. It’s a regular ray of sunshine. My travels did not take me downtown today. I spent part of the time in the suburb where I grew up, and I gotta say, it’s a lot scarier than I remember. Old mom and pop places that I remember have been replaced by tattoo parlors, check cashing places, Walmart, etc. Farm fields plowed under for housing, all the typical stuff you see these days.

It made me sad… I’ve only been out of high school 24 years and the mall I worked in is now I place I will not willingly set foot in.

But, I still have family in the Reading area, as does Supportive Partner Woman (Photographer of great skill!), so it’s a necessary evil that we visit there from time to time, and no, the evil is not seeing our familes, but seeing what has happened to our home town.

One of my daily routines is to visit the Reading Eagle website on a daily basis just to see if I know anyone who got shot, stabbed, or otherwise. I do this every day. There’s just something wrong with that, ya know?

So, I got to my mom’s, moved a big flowerpot for her (and didn’t throw out my back FTW!), and put in her window screens. I don’t see mom as often as I should, but she was really surprised with the changes in me since my operation. She even liked my Beasts. I was very proud of her as she didn’t try to push food on me, as she used to. She understands that my capacity is limited and I appreciate that.

After that, off to work. Now, as for the weekend, SPW will be working (and I might have to work Saturday… the jury is still out on that), but she will be taking time on Sunday to shoot pictures of her parents’ class reunion. As for me, I have to take my mother to a viewing. In a surprise move, she’s not really thrilled at the thought of having to drive into the hood by herself, but since the deceased was the mother of a close family friend, I’ll do it. Dolly was a sweet lady and will be missed.

Next weekend, though, is the Dreaded Yard Sale. This year, all proceeds from the sale are going to Team AllEars and from there to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Should make for interesting writing at the very least. Maybe the fact that the proceeds are going to a good cause will stop some of the cheap bastards from trying to haggle over a nickel.

I doubt it.

Song of the Day: You Just May Be the One – John Flywheel

P.S. As I was at the gym this morning, the “music” channel was playing something from Justin Bieber, prompting me to say, “Is there a volume setting lower than “mute”?

I wonder if SPW ever thought of doing this for me?

I wonder if SPW ever thought of doing this for me?

Haven’t written for a few days. To be honest, I haven’t wanted to do much more than sleep. Consequence of the liquid diet, I’m sure. No energy. That’s beside the point. 48 hours from now, I’ll be hopefully all recovering and mainlining the morphine like nobody’s business. I’ve had to promise that I won’t let Supportive Partner Woman (Page designer of uncanny skill!) confiscate my phone. Apparently, some folks feel that any status updates or texts that I make while high will be amusing.

I’m not sure how to take that.

Anyway, I had to work last night and wanted to stop and pick up some unflavored protein powder on my way into the office. I trudged through SaveMart and located what I was looking for… some strawberry flavored powder as well as the unflavored powder. As I walked out of the door, my nose was assaulted with the smell of freshly baking pizza from the pizza shop across the way.

That’s just not fair.

At all.

Anyway, as I was getting ready for work, I thought, “What the hell?” and actually attempted to button my jeans at the waist, rather than the hips. To my surprise, it could actually be done. Go figure. It wasn’t comfortable in the least, but it’s a little victory. I’m all in favor of those.

In other news, the unflavored powder mixes pretty well with tomato soup. I’m looking forward to trying it with regular chicken broth… it will be less sodium for sure.

So, one more work day tomorrow, then I’m off for four weeks. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted, and even some scale pictures when it finally stops saying, “One at a time, please.”

Thanks again for all the support.