“Just Because I Don’t Care Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Understand” – Homer Simpson

Hi. Remember me? I haven’t written since August 22, and even then it was…let’s say enigmatic.  Sorry.  Not very.  But sorry.

A lot has happened. A lot hasn’t. I can’t really remember where we left off. Let’s write stuff as it comes to mind…

  1. An update on Dad. He eventually got out of the hospital from the issues I wrote about back in July. But more has kept happening. He’s had another smaller-concern hospital stay related to a blood pressure issue. As of the time of writing, he’s still in there, which seems like it’s been two days too many for a simple thing that they identified and just need to figure out how to treat. It’s the kind of thing that if he’d talked to his GP it would’ve been at MOST an outpatient visit. But he went in Monday night and by the time this posts it will be Friday. In general he’s doing much better though. I’m sure he wishes all of this was behind him more than anyone else. UPDATE/EDIT: Dad was released on Friday night. I wrote this on Thursday.
  2. I’ve lost 50 pounds. On purpose. I decided that when I turn 40 (this upcoming May) I didn’t want to be obese anymore. And that’s what I was. I was at a weight/height ratio that qualified as OBESE. Not just fat. So I radically changed my diet, and I’m 50 pounds down from obese.  Now I’m just fat.  But soon I’ll be a healthy weight for my height. I started somewhere north of 240 and I’m presently 187, as of this morning. I can walk up stairs without being winded again and my pants fit–and I can actually find my SIZE of pants in the store now, too. It’s kinda nice.
    And I didn’t exercise. There’s no fucking Fitbit or Dipshit or any of that involved. No gym membership. Not even any running in place. I’ve kept my EXACT SAME routine and just changed diets. Exercise is for BODY BUILDING, not for weight loss. I’m planning on exercising too, once I hit my goal weight…but so many people go to gyms then get upset that they’re not seeing results while still eating cheeseburgers every day–that’s because IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. I switched to a largely plant-based diet (though I do still enjoy meat occasionally) and have kept an eye on calories. That’s IT. That’s ALL I did. And there’s no reason you can’t if you want to (unless there’s some weird-ass medical reason).
    Healthy for my height is anywhere between 144-176. When this started I thought, “I’d be happy at 180.” Now that I’m close and can see the results, but also the remaining gut…I’m thinking 165. Shouldn’t be too tough. I was 240+ in July.
  3. I had a surprise trip to the dentist last week when one of my front teeth just cracked in half while I was sitting at my desk at work. I wasn’t eating or anything. Just felt some pressure poked it with my tongue, and the next thing I knew half my tooth was in my hand. So they rushed me in same day and filled it in. I hadn’t been to the dentist since I had the oral surgeries in what I now realize was 2017(!). I forgot that afterward my mouth feels weird for up to two weeks because it’s not used to having a guy’s whole hand in it, moving my lips around. (Well…not on a weekday…) So I’m kinda feeling twitchy in my face this week.  Oh well. At least there’s a tooth where there’s supposed to be one.
  4. I’ve gotten pretty seriously into Bob Dylan in recent weeks.  I’d avoided doing so for years. But he keeps coming up in my life where I expect him the least so I gave in to fate.  I bought the “complete collection” boxed set that came out in 2013.  And a few other things. No collection is ever really “complete,” especially when the artist is still working. It’s been a fun journey. I decided to log it at a different blog, where I go into more detail. It’s here, if you’re interested–I hope you are.
  5. You may also be wondering what the hell happened to my podcast, Empty Checking. Well…the same thing that happened to this blog. Personal shit took the fun out of it, so it kinda went on hiatus. But it’ll be back. I’m toying with an episode right now, and soon enough it’ll be uploaded.
  6. I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’d almost stopped picking up books for a very long time when I started getting migraines. But with those having seemingly largely receded (which I think has been mostly due to GREATLY reducing my caffeine intake), I’ve started reading again.  Here’s what I’ve had my nose in:
    1. “Presto!” by Penn Jillette – This book has been a big help in my weight loss journey and I mostly started it because I just wanted to know more about Penn and how he got so thin. It’s a great read even if you don’t want to lose weight.
    2. “The Unseen World” by Liz Moore – I love Liz Moore. Possibly too much–although I’ve never Googled her interests or photograph, so I feel like it’s not TOO too much… She wrote a book in the early 2000s called “The Words to Every Song” that I bumped into in a Borders bookstore (RIP) and learned that she’d also written a CD called “Backyards,” which I immediately snapped up as well because the book was great. Then I lost track of her for too long and when I looked her up again she’d written two more books with a third on the way.
      I bought both of the ones that are out and I’ve completed this one. It’s beautiful. It’s misleadingly described about being about artificial intelligence, and yes that’s IN the book…but it’s actually the story of a daughter’s relationship with her father who is dying with Alzheimers and has a mysterious past. It’s a story about love, the lies we tell each other, forgiveness, hurt, and a little bit of artificial intelligence right at the end. Highly recommended. Looking forward to reading the other book as well (“Heft”) but haven’t cracked it open yet. She’s got a new one coming out in January that I’m excited about, too. I just wish she’d also do another album…
    3. “Saturday” by Ian McEwan – Abandoned. For the second time. I picked it up when it was new in hardback and tried to get into it but just couldn’t. Decided to try again because I’m a different person than I was in 2005…but I don’t think I even made it as far into the first chapter as I did 14 years ago. I had the feeling that everything I was reading would ultimately have no bearing on the overall plot and was just in there so McEwan could show people how well he could describe a fucking room. Tedious. And I know I’m the only person in the world who’s ever called it that…but damn… Authors, it doesn’t matter how beautifully you write if you never get around to telling your fucking STORY. (That said, I want to give one of his other books a fair shot sometime.)
    4. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins – In progress and enjoying it. I’m told there’s a movie of it, too, and I’ll probably watch that after I’ve finished. The book struggles with jumping around in time either too much or not enough to be a good gimmick. You forget that you’re supposed to be paying attention to the dates so you know where you are in the timeline–and that gimmick kinda sucks in print. Especially when the events are only separated by a couple MONTHS instead of years or decades…  (Even if the chapters started with “two months ago” instead of “September 15th” it would be an improvement.) But beyond that, it’s a very good story and I like it. I’d say more, but I don’t feel like I have enough of a handle on it to get into the plot.
    5. “Unfaithful Music” by Elvis Costello – Declan MacManus’ autobiography. (Yes, I know his real name without Googling it.) I’m a big fan of Costello’s and waited way too long to read his book. It’s very good in that every chapter feels like it could’ve started the book and you get lots of cool life-stories from Elvis along the way. It’s not quite linear and reads more like you’re just listening to him answer questions about his life and tell stories. And those stories are very entertaining. Good insight into what was going on in his head during some of the big periods of his career and elsewhere.
    6. I’ve also got Tegan & Sara’s new book, but I’m only a little bit into it. So I don’t know what I think yet. And I’m still unclear on which one is Tegan and which Sara, but it’s like that with twins.
    7. Pending – Pete Townshend’s new novel “The Age of Anxiety” is sitting on my coffee table, waiting until it can have more of my full attention. Also Nicole Krauss’ recent book in sitting quite near to it, right on top of some George Saunders I haven’t quite gotten around to yet…
  7. I’m writing some new music. I’ve got an album’s worth that will be put together for some time in 2020. Should be a good one. A bitter and angry one. But a good one. Details to come on that when more happens.
  8. Seeing Sloan tomorrow night. Canadian rock band that my brother has liked for a long time, but he just got me into a few years ago. They’re really good if you’re unfamiliar. They always put on a good show. Should be fun.

I feel like there’s a more serious post to be written about all the stuff I have been avoiding writing about since posting my depressing little poem in August. (Which has since become a song you can download here.) But it also feels like that’s not anyone’s damned business and I don’t want to write about it.  So…we’ll leave it there.