Saturday, August 25, 2012

I bought the magic beans, now where’s my beanstalk?

 

Can I share a little rant here?  I don’t want to open myself up for public ridicule, but I’ve always considered myself a savvy (or cynical) enough person to not to be sold a false bill of goods.  So right now I’m a little surprised that I let myself be duped by some 21st century snake-oil salesman.

My only defense here I suppose is that when you’re desperate enough, you’re going to pat logic on it’s head and tell it to run outside and play, it’s getting in the way of things.

I am like…50 pounds overweight.  And that’s on a good day.  I pretty much have been so for the last decade (though in the last few years, it’s either gone up 4-5 lbs or down 1-2).  I’ve written about it here before, insisted I was losing the pounds ‘for real’ this time, and then things went nowhere (as usual).  I’ve never stopped hoping for some sort of miracle though; don’t we all love miracles?

So a few weeks ago during a ‘work from home’ day, I shut off my laptop promptly at 4pm & flipped on the tv.  ‘Doctor Oz’ was on, I’ve probably seen his show twice.  (But I know all about the man, a respected doctor and surgeon, and one of Oprah’s personal gurus.)   Still, I’m just not into him.  I grabbed for the remote to switch the channel when I heard him say something about a ‘miracle in a bottle’ and “you’re saying these people did nothing and still lost all this weight?  These weight loss numbers are astounding!”  Wait--what? 

Some so-called medical expert was on there, detailing a study done on a group of chubby people in Scranton, Pa.  They were given a dose of pure green coffee bean extract 30 minutes before every meal, and were instructed not to change their diet or ‘up their exercise game’;  yet at the end of the 12 week study, they all lost weight, an average of 18 pounds each, 10% of their body fat.  Dr.Oz was very impressed with the results & told his audience that this is a wonderful discovery.  There’s no reported side effects, the extract isn’t expensive, but be sure to buy it PURE, in a vegetable-capsule form. 

 

“The great and powerful Oz has spoken—now go!”

Now normally I’d hear something like this & think “I need to research this on my own first, and maybe in a couple months if no one has reported growing an extra arm or head…”  but then I remembered that a few months previous, when the great & powerful Oz told his fatter watchers to load up on raspberry ketones, it sent their price soaring thru the roof (and off the shelves of every pharmacy for months).  So I flipped open my laptop again and jumped on Amazon.com—I found them!  And just as the wizard specified, ‘pure’ extract in vegetable capsule form.  I patted myself on the back for my quick actions & promptly ordered a bottle.  No wait, Amazon—I want TWO bottles!  Heh heh!  

Fortunately, I didn’t have a long wait; they arrived in just a few days.

Back in June, anxious for some real motivation, I joined a ‘Weight Race’ with a few others in my office.  Friday mornings we report our weight, and a chart is sent out showing your current numbers, your loss or gain for that week & a final column showing your success (or failure) to date.   I had ended my first couple weigh-ins actually going up a pound, before finally losing 2, 3 & then 5 pounds total.  Then things stopped—and for the next few weeks, no change.  (Miriam, one of the others in the race says “you’re not gaining—and you’re still ahead of everyone else!”  which is no real help, it only means we’re a pretty sad group.)  But now I had an ace in my sleeve, my magic beans!  I begin doing just as the doctor ordered—800 mgs with a glass of water, twice a day (and 30 minutes before eating).

Bean Week 1:  No change.  Well, this stuff doesn’t happen overnight.

Bean Week 2:  No change.  Well, a little more exercise wouldn’t hurt either.

Bean Week 3:  No change.  I HAVEN’T HAD A LOUSY CARB IN DAYS, EITHER!

So here’s my dilemma; I only have enough of those infernal pills to last me 7 more days (I ordered a month’s supply).  If I go thru my final week’s supply & still see no results, do I admit I’ve been suckered?  Or do I say 'wait I haven’t been suckered enough, it’s only been a month & that was a 12 week study’? 

THAT’S the question; I’ll come back in a week & let you know if there’s been any changes, and what I’m going to do next.  (And hopefully this is the last time I let someone sell me some miracle in a bottle!)

Well, it’s now week 4 & there’s been a change alright, I’ve gained 2 lbs. from a week ago.  Time to stop looking for answers in a bottle and get busy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

It’s Friday in the Teepee: on your mark, get set—go!

 

Friday morning, 7:00 am.  I start work in a half hour, but I’m in no hurry…this is a ‘work from home’ day.  It’s been a long week, but yesterday I pretty much got caught up with everything (aside from a ‘code generator’ process I’ve been working on in my spare time) so I’m anticipating a peaceful day.  I finish dressing and turn down the volume on the tv, I’ve heard quite enough news chatter.  Ah, that’s better.

As I’m pouring a cup of coffee, I think “why don’t I gather up this week’s laundry & take it downstairs?  I’ll avoid the weekend rush for the washers & do my folding at lunchtime.”   It’s fifteen minutes before I sign on to my work account.  I start at 7:30 sharp, and we have a lot of eagle eyes in our group.

I quietly close my front door behind me as I head down to the basement with my laundry basket.  Everything is very still, and it feels like 3:00am more than 7:20.  But when I get downstairs and walk into the laundry room, I see Jim & Theresa, two retired people from the second and third floors, standing by a pair of chugging washing machines and shouting at one another to be heard over the noise.  Jim sees me.  “DOUG!!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING DOWN HERE?  SHOULDN’T YOU BE AT WORK?”  

I reply “No—NO I’M WORKING FROM HOME!  NEVERMIND, I’LL COME BACK LATER!”  Jim says “DOUG WAIT!  TELL THERESA ABOUT THE DAY YOU SAW THAT WOMAN FROM #209 DOWN HERE IN HER UNDERWEAR!”  Theresa yells “HER NAME IS BRENDA, I HEARD SHE WAS A HOOCHIE!”  I shake my head & point at my watch—“I GOTTA GET BACK UPSTAIRS, TALK TO YOU LATER!”   Jim says “DOUG WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW, ALL THE OLD FOLKS DO THEIR WASH ON FRIDAYS!  HEY LOUISE, C’MON IN!  DOUG WATCH BEHIND YOU!”   (I almost knock over some old lady when I turn to leave, where’d she come from?)

I have five minutes to get back upstairs with my basket of dirty clothes, get online & log in to work.  Rats.  Aside from that hiccup in things though, I still anticipate a quiet day.

No sooner am I signed on though, my work-screen begins flashing—I’m getting instant messaged by 4 people.   “Doug remember the OTP stuff you did for us?  Guess what we’re sending you!”  “Doug priority, call me ASAP”   “Doug can I call you?”  “Doug are you in the office today?”   Sigh!  

Around ten minutes after I get into things, someone knocks on my front door.  It’s not even 8:00am, what the heck?   It’s Bill Morris from the second floor.  “Hi Doug, Jim says you’re working from home today…chuckle!”  I like Bill, he’s a quiet man in his seventies, but ends every sentence with a chuckle; maybe it’s a nervous thing.  I tell him yes, I am working from home, what’s up?

He says “Can you set me up so I can send email from my computer?”  I tell him yes, sure but he has to wait until I go to lunch.  He tells me it should only take a minute.  I tell him it will take several, but it will have to wait until noon.  He says “That’s fine, no rush…chuckle!  I want to send this drawing I made to Ridell Sports for a new football helmet.”  Wait, a drawing?  I ask him if he has a scanner.  He tells me no, he has a modem.  “Bill, maybe you’d better send it by regular mail.”   He says “What’s your degree in?”  

It’s now 8:10am, and I’m ready to call it a day.  This weekend can’t get here soon enough!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

If third time’s a charm, I need to get myself to the nearest (Native American) casino

 

Y’know, I don’t consider myself a superstitious person (after all, it’s the 21st century and my downstairs neighbor & her mean black cat moved out over a year ago and I avoid ladders like the plague) but sometimes you can’t help but wonder if there’s something going on that science or Google can’t explain.

This morning (after looking outside and seeing all that rain and deciding I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything) I made some coffee & turned on my computer.  I was surprised to find an email from Pam at ‘Go Retro’ (a popular blogsite that focuses on our pop culture past, I’ve long been a fan; click here to see it); she let me know I won the “Mad Men Giveaway”!

Mad Men Cookbook

 

Soon, I’ll be making Chicken Tetrazzini, jello salad molds and martinis with the best of ‘em!

I know you’re probably shaking your head or rolling your eyes or both, and thinking “you won a lousy cookbook so what” but what makes this exciting (to me at least) is that I’ve never entered a contest until this past summer, when I entered two of ‘em, and just so happened to win that first one as well. 

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The other contest was held by the good folks at Jacob Bromwell, who had a Summer BBQ Giveaway.  I won a fancy pair of barbecue tools, which I gave to my sister Shawn and her husband Jim.  They do a lot of backyard cooking, and feed me plenty  

 

So of course it’s just a random (but fortunate) coincidence, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to it than that.  Y’see, I won that first contest not one week after I got myself a good luck talisman, I kid you not.

Shortly after the demise of my next-door neighbor in 404, the guy in 408 joked that someone must’ve put a curse on the floor of our building.  (In the past year alone, the guy in 401 set his arm on fire while cooking, the woman who lives in 402 passed away in her sleep, and the cute Afro-American girl in 403 ran out of here screaming when her computer monitor exploded.  And then there’s my neighbor’s heart attack in 404, and the bouncer in 405 who got carted off to jail for selling drugs--well, that was in 2010, but still).  Seeing how I’m in 406 & next in line apparently, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to hang a good luck charm on my front door.

But maybe this dream-catcher is doing more than stopping the bad spirits & other negatory juju from getting in here—for all I know, it’s sending some good luck my way too!

I think the next contest I enter will be the HGTV Dream House Giveaway, or anything that involves a truckload of cash.  In the meantime, thanks again Pam!

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