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December 16th, 2009

10:53 am - Elves
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

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November 20th, 2009

03:52 pm - Aggressive
Felt bad for Ian last night. Took him to basketball. The group he was playing with all seemed to know each other and were generally much better than him. He got the ball once, started to dribble, lost control, and passed it off. Most of his teammates were hot dogs who eiither drove to the basket or shot from outside. Few passes.

Again I tried to drill into him about being aggressive. I don't know how to teach him that. It's hard to know where that comes from. I'm not naturally aggressive or pushy, but I've never had the same issue when it came to sports. I always fought for the ball and was confident even when I was outmatched. It may stem from the fact that I played with my close friends a lot. Few of Ian's friends are very athletic, and they certainly don't spend much time playing sports. He plays often but mostly by himself, or Lia, or me. If he does play with a friend they just shoot or play Pig. Basketball, the game, is tough because it's so physical and there's so much of a group dynamic that can't be replicated with one or two players.

No matter. He and I are going to play some basketball this weekend!

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August 25th, 2009

03:43 pm - End of an era
Since April 22, I've been posting private messages to this journal recording what I eat and any thoughts I had regarding my diet.

It has worked surprisingly well. Something about writing everything down makes it click mentally. Knowing someone is watching, even if it's just me, keeps me, mostly, in line.

It's been 4 months and I've lost close to 20 pounds. I feel good. I certainly look better. 190 pounds is still pretty high for me. I figure about 15 pounds more would be perfect. I'm setting my final goal for Christmas. At my current rate I should get there.

I'm not giving this up, but I'm switching to a new tool. I discovered FitDay.com. It allows me to record my daily weights, measurements, foods, activities, and even a journal like this.

Entering the foods can get a little tedious, but once they're in I can get an idea of the carbs, calories, protein, and vitamins I'm getting. I can even add customized foods. The more I add, the easier it is, because I can just go to recent foods and check them off. It's not incredibly accurate because I never really know how much of which food I'm eating. Did I eat 3 ounces of chicken or 4? How many blueberries was that? But it's surely more accurate than what I've been doing here.

I think at least as important as the accuracy of the program is the newness of it. Something to keep me excited about the process. Stick to something too long and it becomes tedious.

What's been a real eye opener is the number of calories I'm eating. Rarely much over 2000. While I concentrate on low carbs, the de facto result is low calories. That's really the point: high nutritional content per calorie. Keeping the insulin down is no doubt an important and healthy result as well, but in the end burning more calories than you're eating is what weight loss is all about.

Hopefully I'll still find reasons to write to this journal even though I won't be visiting as often.

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June 15th, 2009

01:07 pm - Dad
Lia started calling me "Dad". It's sweet how she says it, but I miss "Daddy". She's going to be 4. Ian's voice is just barely perceptively changing. Puberty's right around the corner.

Lia slept in our bed last night. As I held her little hand and waited for sleep, for an instant reality hit me like a knife to the gut. Life is going to happen to my little girl. Pain and work, and boredom, and boys, and death, and complications, and old age. When you think about it, without any of the usual filters, it's really really scary. And there's little dad can do, but love love love her.

It's in moments like this that I wish I believed in God.

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May 20th, 2009

01:31 pm - Bikes
I've been planning to add bike riding to my exercise regime for a while, but the weather has not been cooperative.

I used to be quite the bike rider back in my early Taiwan days. I was the odd man out in general among the populace, and specifically among the Westerners, for riding a bicycle rather than the more popular scooter. In fact, many Westerners even looked upon the scooter with disdain, preferring the "cooler" motorcycle. Never mind that in the stop and go traffic of Taizhong having a vehicle with gears and potential speed made very little sense.

Personally, I felt pretty cool on my bike. I was getting exercise, albeit in the midst of choking exhaust, and I could make it to my destination pretty much as fast as my motor-driven companions. In fact that bike even helped me stand out and get noticed by the woman who would eventually become my wife.

There were disadvantages of course. I would inevitably end up at my private English classes exhausted and sweaty, particularly during the long and sweltering summers of Taiwan. Also I couldn't have the girl of the moment or the woman who was eventually to become my wife sit on the back of the scooter and hold me tight, an important Taiwanese courtship ritual I rue missing out on.

My bike days culminated in my trek across the width of Taiwan, from Taizhong on the west coast to Hualian on the east coast. I was in pretty good shape considering it was 2 days uphill.

My bike days ended abruptly when my bike was stolen outside of the post office. I needed to get a scooter anyway, since I started a real job with something of a commute. Driving around in a scooter was fun, but I did miss that sense of superiority and the exercise. Even after I quit the office job and went back to teaching, I kept the scooter. Hard to go back. I fell in love with that old 2-stroke blue scooter with the scorpion on the front.

Nowadays, the only time I bike is when I take the kids through the path at the local graveyard. It's nice there and we get some minor exercise, but I'm hardly much of a biker anymore.

I seem to have gotten diverted from my original train of thought. Last night the weather was right and conditions were perfect to take the bike out and get some exercise. Of course I couldn't get going until the kids were down around 9:30.

There were a few things I did not anticipate:

1. How dark my neighborhood is. There are very few streetlights. I was pretty paranoid about the cars when I was in the street. The sidewalk wasn't much better. There were places where the sidewalk suddenly turns into grass and it's hard to anticipate where in the dark.

2. I had forgotten there's an issue with my gears (or chain, don't know what's causing it). Every four revolutions, the bike would skip. I had to keep anticipating this and stop pedaling or suffer an annoying jolt. This was especially bad going up steep hills.

3. Going down a particularly steep hill, my eyes started to water. Suddenly my right contact just blew away. Suddenly it became even harder to see. Either I kept one eye closed and lost my peripheral vision or kept it open and saw a fuzzy cloud around every object. The latter was the lesser of the two ocular evils.

4. As I sped down the same steep hill, I hit my back breaks and they completely gave out. There I was with just one back up eye and one back up break. Not a great position to be in in the dark among traffic.

5. on top of all this, it was really tiring. I wasn't out much more than a half an hour, but I came back to the house seriously wheezing.

Anyway, I won't be kept down. I'm going to try to get my bike fixed this weekend and plot out a brighter route. If I can keep from getting killed, I'll be a better man for it.

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May 6th, 2009

03:22 pm - White Rabbit
Saw a gorgeous woman on the train this morning.

But first...

I take a train each morning for about a half hour to Market East Station. From the regional train station it's a short walk underground to the "El" station at 11th and Market. El stands for "elevated" because for much of the route it rides above the streets, though it is in fact underground through the city itself. I take the El to 2nd street and walk to work from there.

Saw a gorgeous woman on the train this morning. Only got a brief look as I boarded. I think she noticed my gaze, but I always think that. I found a seat a few rows back from her. Could see her hair and maybe an ear. I was looking forward to seeing the rest of her when we got off. I opened my book and forgot about her for the time being.

I don't know why I feel compelled to establish that each pretty girl I see is acceptable from all sides, but it's sort of a compulsion. Should it matter to me that the girl with the exquisite neck in front of me has a pretty face too? Yet, I feel the need to know. Chalk it up to biological imperative again. I probably won't mate with this female, but just in case I better check that any offspring won't be stuck with skinny legs or crooked teeth.

When we arrived at Market East, I started to collect my things then noticed that she wasn't getting off. Damn! I made a quick calculation: the next stop, Suburban Street, was only a few more blocks west and still close to the El line. I gambled she'd get off there and went back to my book. The train slowed, but by the time I looked up she was already by the door making her escape! I jumped into the aisle and cursed under my breath at the slow-moving commuters. I didn't see where she went, but guessed it was up the nearby stairs. Yes! I saw her at the top making a left. As if by design, a crowd swarmed on the stairs before me. I plodded upwards hoping for a break. I lost her. I turned left peering around but didn't see any sign of her. It's a big, crowded place. I didn't have much of a chance so I headed towards the El slightly dejected. Suddenly, I spotted her about 50 yards ahead going through some doors. It wasn't quite in the direction I was supposed to be going, but I'd gone this far.

I followed her up to street level and within half a block I had caught up to her. She was wearing heels, a black skirt, and black stockings. Shapely legs, nice waist. Yes, good breeding material. I mentally added her to my list of worthwhile females come the holocaust. I slowly passed her getting the full effect. Lovely hands too. As I got in front of her I was still very aware of the comforting click of her heels behind me. I crossed Chestnut Street and turned around, getting a good look at her coming towards me and reaffirmed that all important anterior angle just to be sure. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. I think she noticed my gaze, but I always think that.

On Chestnut Street there's a bus that goes by that will take me essentially to the same place the El would have, only slower. My mission complete, I let her disappear into the crowd. I plugged back into the real world, just a few minutes lost from my excursion.

Later that day I was informed by a coworker that the El had been closed from Center City to 2nd street all that morning. She wondered if it affected me. I told her I took the road less taken, and that made all the difference.
Current Mood: predatory

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April 22nd, 2009

12:41 pm - Joe of the Future
Holier crap! It's been even a longer while. So many inanities left unrecorded...like tears in the rain.

If I accidentally delete an "L" and then go back and rewrite it, is it the same "L"? Philosophic quandary for future Joes to ponder since no one else reads this.

I feel compelled to remind the reader how aware I am that no one is reading this. However, if I'm the only one reading this who are these disclaimers for?

A Lia update is well overdue. She was reciting "Old King Cole" to me. She replaced "fiddlers" with "Violin". Leaves me stumped. Is that how the teacher taught it, or did she immediately replace in her mind the unfamiliar term with the more familiar violin that her brother plays?

She currently counts trilingually. Spanish up to 9. English up to 19, but she skips from 14 to 18. Chinese up to 16. But she skips 9 and 14.

She seems to be aware how innately amusing she is to me, and says everything with a glint in her eye expecting and receiving the inevitable chuckle.

She's affectionate, though quite stingy with the kisses. We get along very well when we're playing, but she takes an almost sadistic pleasure in reminding me how much she prefers the company of Mommy.

I could sit and watch her sleep for ages.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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March 15th, 2007

12:26 am - Time
Crap, it's been awhile.

Funny, my words always seem so inane when I'm writing them. But in retrospect, I really do enjoy reading them. So either I'm a better writer than I think I am, or a worse critic than I should be.

Hint: Readers are encouraged to choose the former.

Anyhow, I vow that from this time forward I will make every effort to record every inanity that occurs to me.

Peek-a-boo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQME_fCapVg

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November 22nd, 2005

02:54 pm - Pounce
Ian has a weekly assignment to make sentences out of his spelling words. In school this was one of my favorite assignments. My chance to be Woody Allen. Of course I was a bit older. Ian's in 2nd grade so his sentences are good, but realatively uninspired. Until last week when he had to write a sentence for "pounce". He wrote:

My daddy weighs many pounces.

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November 2nd, 2005

10:12 am - I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
Last week it rained. It rained Friday. It rained Saturday. It rained hard Saturday. It continued raining through Saturday night. Sunday it drizzled.

Sunday morning I look out my back door, and I see a hole. It's pretty big as holes go, about three feet in diameter. It's filled with water so there's no way to test how deep it is, save if you jump in.

So I jumped in. It was deeper than I expected, well over my head. I would guess I was about 10 feet down when I touched the bottom. When I reached the bottom I noticed a something rubbing against my face. I grabbed it. It was a rope. The rope, I found, was attached to the bottom of the hole. I gave it a big tug.

What I apparently did, was pull out the bottom of the whole. The water started draining out and I was going with it. I was sucked into a bigger hole. Although it was pitch black, I could tell it was bigger because I couldn't touch the sides anymore. I was also no longer surrounded by water, but I was plummeting at an alarming rate.

I fell for a long time. It's impossible to say how long, having nothing to gauge its passage. I clearly expected to smash into something hard at any moment. Terror eventually subsided and boredom became my most common feeling. I slept as often as I could. Sleeping in freefall is remarkably comfortable.

Eventually I slowed and then stopped, just floating. I reasoned that I must now be in the center of the earth and that gravity was now pulling me in all directions at once. There I floated, and there I died

If only the hole had turned out to be 7ft deep and simply the remnants of an old septic tank. That actually would have been pretty convenient. I had been ripping up part of the driveway that extends into my yard and a big hole would have been a perfect place to throw all of the pieces.

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