punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

And now for some good news...

Man, those last few entries were pretty depressing, huh? But man, do I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Nothing like confessing and purging guilt. No wonder the Catholics like it so much.

But, I seemed to have defeated the "pending doom flu," because it never came. By Saturday, even though I was in some spiral of depression, I was glad that I wasn't sick. I totally credit my care of myself, staying warm even when I "didn't need to," and all the vitamin and herbal supplements I took. I am glad, I was scared there for a while!

Then I cleaned out a TON of paperwork I had lying around. Most of it was just old bill statements, receipts, and notices of change of address. I must have shredded and tossed two bags of trash from my den, and although it doesn't look THAT much cleaner, I am glad I don't have piles of paper all over my desk like Cosmo from Jeff MacNelly's cartoon, "Shoe." Of course, I didn't throw out all of them. I only tossed what I assumed was safe to toss, which were bills for stuff that were over a year old. And I saved even some of them. The rest went into a large box that I will be using instead of my desk, because honestly, I don't go through those old papers much, but need them about twice a year to pull up a bill dispute of some kind. Honestly, it amazes me when some utility company claims I never paid them, and I have a canceled check to prove it. Or a previous bill that shows I did pay them (Sprint used to do that a lot). Sometimes American Express sends me a bill for $0.00, and then the next month, they have two bills and a late fee. Uh ... no? Hello! Yes, that's YOUR fault, thank you. Thank goodness I only use Amex for emergencies (plus $7.99/month for a credit protection/checking service which I adore). But sometimes they are a pain.

We also dropped Sprint as a long distance carrier. We got sick of them. See, we have three phone lines. Two of them we pay for, and the third one Christine's company pays the bills. Sprint's billing system is totally whacked out. In a complicated series of repeating problems I don't want to relive, they often double-charged us, charged us for the wrong line, or they couldn't quite figure out how to "automatically" bill us via the credit card (once they cut off our service because we didn't pay because they forgot to charge us). On top of this, when we asked to go to a different plan, they'd screw that up, too. So we went to Verizon, and switched to a flat-rate long distance and local bundle plan for both lines. I figure this will save us $25-50/month, even though we don't really make many long distance calls. It was just the fees of Sprint on TOP of our local plan, plus the double-charging, constant hassle, and who knows what else. This comes at a good time, since we really need to save money. I am wary, though, because I deal with Verizon at work, and they hire some pretty dumb-ass people. But we've had Verizon for our local calls and voice mail, and those haven't failed yet.

I have also lost some weight, so my new eating plan is working so far. My plan? I let Christine dictate my diet (she's using Weight Watchers, so I just "piggyback" on her "points" system), eat mostly healthy frozen dinners (for dieters, with premixed and balance proportions), and try and stay off of bad food. Part of my logic was to analyze WHY I ate badly. I eat badly because I hate eating. I always have. I don't get hungry (a condition I have had since I was 12), so the only time I know to eat is when I get dizzy. Then I cram whatever is the easiest, pre-made, least labor intensive food near me. Which is usually junk food, and then I just overate because I was so starving. I think I started to do this when we were really poor from 1991-1993. My body thought I was living in a feast-or-famine environment, so it craved high-carb foods, and stored them in body fat because it didn't know if I was going to get a meal again. This made my blood sugar go up and down, and was totally messing me up. I just never thought about it; I have always looked at eating as a "distracting necessity" like going to the bathroom or sleeping. True geek thinking, there. So, two weeks ago, I started to measure my weight with granularity of daily measurement. I have done this before, and knew my weight could fluctuate as much as 15 pounds in a month! When I'd go see the doctor, I'd get "you have lost weight!" or "You need to loose weight!" and I'd think, "check me next week, the cycle changes." So I am not sure if I have lost weight, or I am in a down cycle, so I will have to stick with this for at least a few months to try and gather if my body will get me down to my first goal: cross the 300lb border. My weight has been as high as 323lbs, but when I started this new way of eating, my weight was at 315. This Sunday (which is considered a goal weight day), I was down to 308. This morning, I was up to 310 again, but that's been happening a lot, and I still think the trend is downward in scale. They tell you not to measure your weight daily, I guess because you'll get discouraged, but I kind of need to see trends. I consider this to be "purely scientific," so I don't take anything personally. I think I'd get concerned if it got back up to 315 or higher again, but I won't "give up" the diet unless I think it's bad for me. At least I am eating BETTER, whether I loose weight or not.

My plan is to set "goals" in amounts I made up, based on my past "thresholds." First, I'll be happy to cross 300 into the 200s. Then my next goal will be 285, then 265, 250, 240, and finally stop at 220. I have seen what I look like at my "ideal weight" of 180, and that's TOO skinny. I looked terrible. Look at this picture. That's me at 186, when I was 18 years old, at my full height, with the same bone structure I have to this day. I look like a cartoon with a huge head on that skinny body. I think once I start getting down to 250 or so, I might try ... although the concept is making me giggle with ridicule currently ... to work out. At least build some muscle mass. Right now, I get a good workout just climbing a flight of stairs, and to try and exercise beyond just my day-to-day needs to get around would be kind of a strain. besides, I have this mental block that I totally hate exercise (thank you, childhood PE/Gym trauma!) and I just want the diet to work first, than hopefully I'll have extra energy I don't know what to do with, and then maybe ... no, I am so in denial. I just hope I get some magical desire to exercise from a dues ex machina or something.

Also, I upgraded my main Linux box, which was Red Hat 7.3, to the new Red Hat replacement, Fedora (Core 1). It went really well, although I found out it didn't like my network card. Luckily, I had spares. Through this upgrade, it fixed a lot of stuff I messed up originally, and it wasn't slower than the previous Red Hat, unlike Microsoft, which can eat and eat resources like a hog when you upgrade. But this isn't a technical journal, so enough of that.

Last note, I have been speaking with someone off and on about having a real sci-fi convention in the DC area. I am going to keep the names anonymous here, because he (or she) wants this to be quiet for now until we know we're really going to do this. Let's call the person "Felix." Felix has experience running conventions, and hobnobs with people in the industry at other cons. Recently, Paramount approached Felix via complaint on "how come there are no real sci-fi cons on the East Coast?" Apparently Paramount is sick of one well-known Trek con, and bemoans the fact that there are no fan-run, sci-fi media conventions that attract a lot of people. This has been the complaint of Hollywood about the East Coast for a while. I agree. Most sci-fi cons around here are 1500 people or less. Felix doesn't think the convention will even be planned until 2005 (with a possibility of a 2006 for a first con), and this works well with my writing schedule. Felix has already been approached by a new hotel and convention center they are planning near Potomac Mills, but we're not sure if their target opening date of 2005 is realistic, because they haven't even broken ground yet, and construction projects around here are strapped for labor because of the boom. But I am VERY excited about this. This is what I have always wanted to do, and see in the area. Being part of it would be a thrill.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000281.html
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