Wednesday, February 28, 2007


There is a saying that advertising is an attempt to make you feel you really "need" something you didn't even know existed. DanActive appears to be one of those products.

The commercials have only just started appearing during the morning news, and my impression from the commercials is this:

  • There are microbes in your intestines. You need more of those microbes or you may die. Drink this stuff because it is laden with microbes!
Doesn't that just make you want to run out and buy some? It costs $2.50 at my local Lowes Food store. I'll save you some time and money ... pour a glass of milk. Set it on the counter. Come back to it next week!

Friday, February 23, 2007

A $15 Bribe - Fuhgeddabowdit

In the mail recently I received a flyer from Marlboro. Inside it contained coupons worth $15 to purchase cartons of smokes. I seem to get one of these about once a month although it has been tapering off. Camel used to send them to me, too.

This is part of the aftermath of have quit smoking. I have been quit now for 7 months and still have no desire to start up again. The change in my life since then has been enormous, and all of it to the positive!

Since quitting I have gained a lot of weight. The "right kind" according to everyone, since it is muscle. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, weight is up, body fat is down. This comes from lifting weight 3-4 times a week, plus walking and hiking at least 4 miles on both Saturdays and Sundays.

Of course, to put on weight I needed to pay attention to the foods that I was eating. When I first began weights I started to chow down on anything and everything. But then a problem surfaced, or more accurately bulged. I got a terrible sized belly, or at least worse than it used to be, according to some people (beer belly, donch'a know!). So I had to watch and eat the "right" foods and eat in the "right" way. In other words, I went on a diet.

With the exercise I started to get natural highs going. Y'know, that burst of energy you have at the end of a really good workout. By rights you should be ready to sit and rest, but instead you want to start dancing or some other high-energy activity. I'm looking forward to summer when the pool is warm enough!

Along with the improved body appearance and energy comes a vastly improved self confidence. I've never been one to have low self confidence, but the difference now is that I act on it. That includes getting out more often and meeting many new people. But even with the new confidence I'm still not a great people person, which is why last weekend wore me out so badly.

Not that I'm going to let being worn down last weekend stop me from gearing back up again this weekend. After all I've had a week to regenerate. Tonight I am going to something, not sure exactly what. The eVite listed a location and said something about 200 people would show up. I've only come across 1-2 people that I've asked about it and it sounds like a social event that is not a "going to a bar" type thing. Looking at the Yes list, I know at least 1-2 people who will be there.

And finally by meeting so many people and renewed confidence and health my dating is starting to pick up. That can only be considered a good thing. Unless of course I end up on a date like this one!

So, those coupons from Marlboro are a pretty cheap bribe, and not nearly enough to take away all of the fabulous changes I've made for myself. I just wonder why I didn't quit 20 years earlier?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Funky Weekend

This past weekend was really quite funky for me. For someone who is not particularly a social butterfly I had enough socializing to last for quite a while. By yesterday I was completely worn out, exhausted and in an odd sort of way, settled into a combined satiated-yet-yearning mood.

It started Thursday with my first meetup with the Sci-Fi group. It was in a pleasant coffee / snack shop and about 10 people showed up. We talked about lots of sci-fi stuff, mostly centered on TV and movie entertainment, but occasionally venturing into other types of media. Unknown to me, the new Dresden Files show is based on a whole series of books by the same name. I guess I live in a cocoon or something! In any event, I spent the evening having fun with a group of people, not a one of whom I knew, having fun and talking about a subject I enjoyed.

Then Friday arrives, and it is time for the monthly reading group gathering. I've been with this group, hit or miss, for a couple of years now. The original intent of getting together was to share with others the various books that we had read over that past month. With this being gay men, the books were generally themed as gay. But, with the exception of S. (who would droll on for an hour over the 7 historical/biographical/etc books he had read...ugh!) at most we would only have 1-2 other books. So other media came in, especially after the film festival and we now discuss all sorts of gay entertainment.

This was more fun socializing. This time though, I knew at least half of the people there, so it was much easier. But now we've got 2 nights in a row of meeting new people, socializing and in general being an extrovert. If you don't understand just how hard this is for someone, then I think I might just hate you, because 2 nights put me into deep exhaustion!

Oh, but we aren't done yet! That only gets us through Friday. Saturday was hike day, and I had signed up to hike through Duke Forest. This group was smallish, around 10 people ... I suppose the 40 degree weather kept most at home. As usual with THOG hikes, almost everyone was new, with the exception of Harry. Everyone is nice, but my already strained reserves are put to yet another test ... more new people.

I've come to learn that if Harry is on the hike, then it will be an actual hike. Many of the "hikes" that THOG have turn out to be not much more than a walk in the local park. That might be fine, and now that I know how the group works I can go or not go, but I really prefer to have some exertion in the hike. And where Harry is involved there usually is. The hike in Duke Forest had us climbing over rocks and working to avoid going into the frigid river. Plus what was originally a 1-2 hour hike ended up at 4, and us going to the local watering hole afterwards. Ahh! Socializing at it's best!

We're not done yet! On the way back from the bar, I decided to stop in at the Raleigh location for pleasures of the skin. Umm ... I haven't done this since I was about 22. And it doesn't seem to have changed all that much. And just what led me to stop, I don't really know for sure. But suffice it to say that I've probably added another $100-200 to my fine, and it was worth it!

Sunday comes along, and it's all finally caught up with me. I pretty much figure I just need to hole up for the day and recuperate. Anti-climatic as it is, that is what I did. I did my taxes. Then I updated my TiVo so that it was no longer hacked. This is so that it would get the latest versions of the software. With the screwed up time change approaching, I wanted to make sure it was properly set. I'd go into withdrawal if my favorite shows didn't get recorded!

Okay, so I know that I've wanted to be a party animal. At least I like the idea of it. But just a few days of it, and very mild days at that tell me that I'm just not cut out for it. But ... and this is a big "but" ... I do not plan on slowing down much. I need to get out and meet more people, hopefully finding some who want to spend large amounts of time with me. That won't happen if I don't get out there.

And in reality, even for as worn out as I felt after all that, it felt great!

Friday, February 16, 2007

A few months back I came across a web site called To be honest, I cannot remember exactly how I crossed it's path, but I'm glad I did. It seems to be one of the greatest socializing sites around.

Here is the concept: A person with an interest starts a group. That interest can be anything, from dancing to hiking; movie genre to making your own movie. Once you create the group, it is available for other people who have the same interest to join. In this way, people with similar interests and geographically local can get to know each other.

What makes this better than other social network sites, such as MySpace, is that it is designed to help people new people meet face-to-face. Thats a pretty cool concept for something over the internet (I know, it shouldn't be a new concept, but ...). The organizer of the group will schedule a "meetup" someplace, usually a coffee shop depending on the type of group. People RSVP to the meetup and then show up. Strangers (new members) are almost always warmly welcomed. In the Raleigh-Durham area alone there are over 400 different groups.

As I said, I came across the site several months ago and have joined several groups. The Single Gay Professionals was the first one I joined, and it was also brand new so I've been to all of it's monthly gatherings. Initially I thought the emphasis was on "gay professional" but in reality it is more of a "professionally single" group.

Another group I belong to is the Triangle Hiking and Outdoor Club, which has hiking events during the week and at least 2-4 each weekend. I usually try to get in a hike each weekend at one of the local parks, nature areas, or like this weekend at Duke Forest. With over 1400 members in this group, each hike is generally 10-15 new people that you get to meet.

Last night I attended my first Raleigh-Durham Science Fiction meetup. Since this was my first visit I was not at all prepared for what might be discussed. I scanned my bookshelf and audible library to remind myself of what I've read over the past few years. As it turns out, the discussions were all over the board, although predominately television and film centered. I wish now that I had brought along something to take notes, because there seems to be quite a bit out there that I've been missing!

Also fun is gathering to play boardgames, something I haven't done much of since living in the dorm in my USAF days. The Triangle Games group has something every weekend someplace and I'm learning of new board games I've never heard of before. And of course even more new people!

Of course, not all meetup groups are worth joining. There are several that sound quite interesting to join, but then you look at the details. There might only be 2-3 members total. And/or there have been no meetups scheduled. Although the site does have discussion forums for each group, it is not really designed for that, and can be kludgy to use.

All in all, if you are wanting to meet new people in your area, this might be a good fit for you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What to Do in an Emergency has posted a translation of the new "safety" signs from our Homeland Security department. To be honest, I was only able to decipher a single one of them for what the supposed "real" message might be.

Take a look, have a laugh! And remember, if your destination is obliterated, pull over and watch the awesome light show!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hey Christi Lucas: Pay Your Bills!

So the telephone has been ringing quite a bit lately from a toll free number. Google says it is a bill collector. Groan! It would appear that Chrisi Lucas is behind on more than one bill.

Who is Christi? I have no idea, except that she tells creditors her phone is my number. I got her name from the creditor at 800-299-8301, who then promised to update their records. They have not called back.

Then last night, the call was from 866-488-4299 and googled it as another creditor. This one was obnoxious. I answered and a recorded message said "Press 1". I did, was put on hold for about a minute, then another recording came on and said "No operators are available outside of business hours. Please call during ...". The politest creditors I've ever seen!

This reminds me of a few years ago when a creditor (Toyota) chose my phone number based on my last name (it is a somewhat unusual name). They wanted Angela with my last name, and just looked in the phone book and chose mine (probably the only listing).

The creditor would start calling, I would tell them nobody by that name here and they would go away. A couple of months would go by and they would start calling again. This happened 5-6 times, and each time I would get angrier with them to fix their records.

Finally one day I contacted a friend of sis, named Angie. I explained to her what was happening, and she sent me an email that I could use the next time they called:

Next time they call, tell them I think the car sucks. It's been nothing but trouble, and I'm not sending you another penny.
The unfortunate part to this little story is that I never got a chance to play it out to it's end. I ended up about 5 states away and got a new phone number. Too bad I ended up with another dead beats phone number.


Todays Work & Family column had a very interesting question, which is how to avoid dating gold-digging men. This is something that I would expect is not only a problem with higher earning women, but gay men too.

The advice and/or answer seemed fairly common sense:
A: "There's no formula for warding off gold-diggers," says Nicole Williams, New York, a speaker and author on career development for women. "They come in all shapes and sizes, income levels and status." Before getting involved with someone, be clear on a few screening criteria. Look for men with goals of their own, a history of self-reliance and a willingness to pick up the check, Ms. Williams says. Consider resorting to old dating rules; "If a man has asked you out, he pays."
That makes sense. After all, if he can crack open a wallet and is self-reliant, then he probably does not need someone else to pay his way through life.

So how does a person avoid falling into this trap? When I am on a date I enjoy spending money on them. I think for me the problem seems to arise when it is expected that I pay for it all.

Unless he has pecs and abs to die for ... and then I think it goes by a different name!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

DST Change: We'll Soon Pay

Does anyone remember 2 years ago when energy prices rocketed upwards? Especially gasoline prices in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina? Everybody was screaming bloody hell about what it was costing to fill up the family chariot on gasoline.

Our faithful servant politicians in Washington were moved to act. After all, they had to do SOMETHING! So they did, and passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This was of course a huge boondoggle. In many ways it mandated (or failed to mandate) in so many ways that it actually caused prices on gasoline to increase dramatically this past summer! (See MTBE liability provision absence). Plus all the tax provisions and deductions made the tax code that much harder to figure out (I do my own taxes and was major frustrated last year!) and more expensive to comply.

The biggest dunderheaded idea in the bill was the provision changing the dates when Daylight Saving Time would be observed. The time was increased by a couple of weeks on each end. The purported reasoning was that DST would save energy. My own retort at the time to that line of reasoning was: "If it is so great, then how about we just go to DST 100% of the year?"

So as a preview of what a lot of people are going to experience in a little over a month from now (March 11), I predict that:
  • Computers not patched will be changed manually on March 11, but will change themselves again on the normal date. Repeat again in November. That is 4 manual changes!
  • Everything that changes automatically will also have to go through 4 changes. That would include VCRs.
  • Businesses are going to be especially struck by the expense for these changes.
Our politicians had to something, anything to solve the energy problems. Too bad they never think through on these decisions. The only question now is, how long before this change in dates is revoked (again!).

So come March, expect to hear lots of news stories on the impending time change.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Running To Cadence

One of the harder parts of this new fitness freak out that I'm doing is getting into some sort of rhythm doing cardio. I know cardio is important, and even enjoy it when I do get going. The problem seems to be getting started. Once I get going I often enter into the "zone". Problem is just in getting there.

One of my regular features is to take a good long walk, usually 4-5 miles. The puppy is in tow and she loves every step of it. So do I!

There is one road that I've added that is a new row of houses going in. Round trip from end to end is around 1 mile and I've decided this would make an excellent strip to get in some running. There is no traffic, no house or people, it is all to myself. At least it used to be.

Now however house are starting to be built. At least 2 of them look like they will be completed in the next few weeks. No matter, I figure I was running along the street before anyone came along so I get squaters rights. Plus there is the bonus that as houses are being built there is a good supply of men building them, providing the occasional beefcake view.

When I start running, I switch from an audible book to several running cadences from the military. Once of my favorites is this one, Ding Dong. For some reason when it goes to "chorus" of "ding dong, dingy dingy dong, HEY!" I slip into some sort of Rocky Balboa trainer sessions with a deep step in my run and fists striking out front. It probably looks silly, but I don't care because it feels especially good!

I'm looking forward to this summer. Some houses will be completed, so maybe there can be a sorta Desperate Housewives thing going, only with husbands! And still construction on new houses, but now with crews working topless because of the heat! And ... of course ... me running through the middle of it all!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Onwards Toward Rip'd

Today I had my first checkup since I went onto this health kick. I am really loving the results. Very briefly, the checkup is something that my employer provides. It is a basic pulse and blood pressure check, ride a bike for a few minutes, and talk about diet and other healthy living.

Since my last visit 4 months ago I've gained 8.5 pounds, and that was in addition to the 22.5 pounds on the prior check. Remember, I am wanting to gain pounds so this is a awesome success.

But there is another measure that makes that weight gain even better news. My body fat percentage went down. I've dropped 1.2% and now measure in at 13.2% body fat! In short, all the weight gain is in muscle. Ooh boy!

I think this summer I need to host a few pool parties. What better way to show off, except maybe by dancing shirtless on top of the bar!

Friday, February 02, 2007

We've Got A Majority, SIR!

A new poll by Harris Interactive indicates that a good majority of the U.S. population believes that gays should be able to openly serve in the military. Plus, a plurality think the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is policy is wrong and they don't agree with it:

A new poll from Harris Interactive found that 55% of Americans think gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

By comparison, 19% of the 2,337 Americans polled said gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve "only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret," and 18% said they should "not be allowed to serve in the military at all."

We are making progress! And depending on how you read these numbers, it would show that a full 74% of the American public believes that gays should be able to serve in the military in one manner or another, whereas only 18% believe in that whole shunning business.

When broken out by age group, the only category that was not in a majority about openly serving were the seniors set, over 62. But even at that it was a large percentage at 69% when combined with serving in any capacity.

I think what we need right about now is a television series along the lines of Hogans Heroes. Only in this sitcom some characters are gay and avoiding the colonels in a wildly slapstick fashion. Shultz walks in and catches Hogan and Lebeau in some face sucking and he shields his eyes "I see nothing. Nothing!" (Okay, so now you know why I'm not in Hollywood writing TV shows, even though I can enter a GLBT script-writing contest here!)

So we continue to march forward and gain acceptance in public. It will take a couple more years until being gay is ubiquitous with being left handed. No big deal. There will always be bigots out there that won't like us, but then there are still lots of racists and/or anti-semites running around. We will just keep marginalizing those fools, though!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

That's What I Want

Here I have been working out like crazy to get a bigger chest, and it turns out that all I needed to do was to use grandma's lavender scented shampoo and soap! According to this article, all I needed to get some bigger tits was to use certain oils:

Lavender and tea tree oils found in some shampoos, soaps and lotions can temporarily leave boys with enlarged breasts in rare cases, apparently by disrupting their hormonal balance, a preliminary study suggests.
That's not to say that all the gym work has gone to waste. I've increased my chest size from 37" to 43" and am quite happy with the results and I'll still work for those tits from hell! I just didn't know there was a shortcut!