Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Night Before Thanksgiving (Fort Wayne)

I hadn't been down to the night before Thanksgiving lighting ceremonies in several years. I either had to work, or it didn't occur to me to go. But my friend Heidi asked me if I wanted to go, and since it would have been something to do AND I didn't have to work, I said yes.

Our plan was to meet at Coney Island, a restaurant that has been downtown for almost 100 years. The prices are amazing, and it's possible to have a meal for well under $10, including tip. I had a coney dog, a bag of chips and a little eight ounce bottle of Coke (they're so cute) for less than $4. The place has fun signs, like, "In 1897 in this spot, nothing happened here."



Well, the line was out the door. It was 4:30 p.m., and the place has always been a popular spot. With several thousand people gathered downtown, it makes total sense that it would be crowded. After about a half hour wait, we did get a place at the counter (they have wooden stools). We ate and chatted and I took a few pictures. It was too crowded for Heidi to go around the place and take pictures, because every single table was full.




It seemed bitterly cold, but we ventured out onto Main Street to see the first lighting of the Aunt Millie's bread building. We then walked east to see Santa and his reindeer lit. The lighting display has been around for a long time. It used to be hung from a department store called Wolf and Dessauer's. The store went out of business a long time ago, but the lighting display lives on.



We then turned a corner and followed the crowd down the street to the Wells Fargo building, and another lighting ceremony.





It was nice to see so many people downtown, and nice to see food and drink vendors along the sidewalk. It seemed very big city, and there were other things going on as well. Hollypop was a pop-up boutique highlighting small local businesses. An office space was open, and each individual office had a business located in it. I guess it was in it's second year, but I'd never heard of it. It was a great idea, however, as to get people downtown, they also need to have retail as well. It was a novelty to be downtown on a Wednesday night and see things to buy.

And this is a picture of "Mad" Anthony Wayne (the guy the city is named after) in front of the Christmas tree in Freimann Square.




Heidi has to work early in the morning and she was getting tired and left, but I went back to Hollypop and made a short video.

It was a nice way to spend an evening, and it was nice to see my hometown downtown area lit up and all those people walking around.

On Black Friday, I went back downtown and got some additional pictures, but I also drove by the University of Saint Francis and got this picture of the Bass Mansion, which used to be the school's library. It's a pretty awesome building on the inside too.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Catching Fire--It Improves on the Book

So since I'm such a fangirl, I actually went to an 11 p.m. showing of Catching Fire. I wasn't really aware there was an 8 p.m. showing, but I went with two friends, and both had to work earlier. But there I was, in my "May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor" shirt that a friend got me for Christmas last year. The woman at the popcorn counter loved it and told me so.

But anyway, on to Catching Fire. The book goes into a good amount of detail before getting into the Quarter Quell. The movie is a bit more prompt. Katniss is in the woods with Gale, and she aims at a turkey. But it looks like a guy. To her, at least. She freaks out and Gale comforts her.

It's time for the Victory Tour, and that part is true to the book. Less than ten minutes in, the three finger salute goes up from District 11, Rue and Thresh's district. Before the tour, however, President Snow pays an unexpected visit before the tour, and tells Katniss that people throughout Panem aren't happy. The most unsettling part is Snow shows Katniss, via a hologram, a kiss that she and Gale shared. She's still supposed to be in love with Peeta, and Snow isn't quite convinced that Katniss is. He's also concerned about the threat of rebellion.

So the gang is back in District 11 for the tour, and an old man gives the three finger salute. Everyone else follows suit, and the old man is killed, execution-style.

Things don't get any better during the rest of the tour. Katniss has bad dreams: a little girl goes up to her and says someday she wants to volunteer to be a tribute.

 Then, when the Quarter Quell is announced, saying the victors will be reaped from the existing pool, Katniss runs off and sits in the woods. She talks to Haymitch, since he is the only other living victor, and says this time, they save Peeta. The reaping scene with the three of them is unintentionally funny, with one slip of paper in the bowl for Katniss, two slips of paper for Haymitch and Peeta. However, Effie Trinket is devastated. And the tributes show their anger during the interviews on stage with Caesar Flickerman. It gets worse when Peeta reveals that he and Katniss are married anyway, and that she is pregnant.

During Katniss's time on stage, she is forced to wear what would have been her wedding dress. She twirls, and it catches fire. When the flames go out, the dress has turned into a mockingjay outfit.

The Quarter Quell kicks off, only this time, the other tributes are seasoned veterans. Allies must be formed, and Katniss picks Wiress and Beetee. She's also teamed up with Peeta and Finnick, who has chosen Mags, a much older woman.

This time, the arena is in the tropics. There aren't as many touching scenes in this arena as there were in The Hunger Games. Mags sacrifices herself by running into a poisonous fog. Katniss and company struggle with dehydration and trying to figure out how to avoid the poison fog, angry monkeys, and the other tributes.

The movie pretty much follows the book, so if you've read the book, you know how the movie ends.

I'll be honest--the movie was great, but I really, really liked The Hunger Games the best, out of all the books. And of the movies, I still like The Hunger Games the best. There were more poignant moments in that movie. But this movie adaptation works. And I'll probably see it again.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another Apology

Yeah, I said on Facebook that I would review Catching Fire for my Saturday post. I think I'm late with the Saturday post, and sorry, it's not about Catching Fire. I review books on Fiverr.com and I had an 811 page epic to review, and I didn't read as much per day as I should have. It didn't really hold my attention like the first book in the triology did. And I HAD to get it done. And thanks to my former computer guy, I no longer have Microsoft Word on my computer. And saving my Apache Open Office document as a Word file didn't work. And I had to put in an eight hour day at work...nine if you include the hour I took for lunch (where I read part of the book I was reviewing.)

I just got done cleaning up the tub where I puked. It was sudden, and fierce--like Linda Blair in The Exorcist vomiting. I don't know if it was the juice, or that Marie Callender's chicken pot pie. I made a really yummy juice out of red cabbage, apples, oranges, celery and frozen cherries, and it all went down great. But just about 20 minutes ago, I had an urge to go to the bathroom, which wasn't surprising, since I had just ingested probably 20 ounces worth of fruit juice. Well, I took a very runny dump, but I noticed I felt nauseated. I kept swallowing and swallowing, knowing I was going to puke anyway, and I did. I sincerely hope this was just a one-time thing; perhaps the fruit juice and the pot pie not mixing together. Or maybe I'm getting the flu; some idiot customer at work kept coughing and coughing around me. I really, really hope that I don't have something more serious wrong with me. My appetite is down again, and I'm veering back and forth between drinking my homemade fruit and veggie juices, and eating chocolate and other assorted junk food because nothing sounds good to me. At least the fruit juice is really good. But so was the pot pie. Let's hope this is it. I haven't thrown up in months, and Lord knows, I cannot afford another polyp or anything else serious.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's Another Installment of Where Do You Meet These People?!

I'm sitting here waiting for dinner to be done, and realizing I need to update the blogs. So here's another one of WDYMTP.

Subject: Female
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
How we met: Facebook friend suggested we friend each other
Relationship/friendship length: Nine months

So I write erotic fiction, and was lucky enough to realize that if Fifty Shades of Grey could be popular, I'd best be promoting my erotic fiction. So last summer, that's what I was doing. My ex-boyfriend suggested I friend one of his friends. She was a politician, and since she wasn't getting any coverage from the local news outlets, I offered to do a story on her. She was thankful. Then, a few months go by, and she contacts me, saying she has an opportunity for me.

That opportunity was getting into a local adult novelty store and selling my erotic fiction there. I accompany my friend and her assistant/friend to the bookstore, where my friend takes over and sets pricing. I'm broke, so the store gives me a check to buy copies of my book, especially after it's discovered that a small women's expo is going to be held in a couple weeks at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. My friend calls the event coordinator, and gets a deal for the novelty store owners, who are in over their heads, both financially and how should I say it: business-wise? Logic-wise? Common sense-wise? Picture your grandmother and grandfather running a store full of stripper shoes, spandex and lube, and you'll get the idea.

So the only problem is the fact they've guaranteed the event coordinators that they will have a REAL-LIVE author signing books at the booth. However, I work on the weekends, and in order for me to get time off, I have to ask for it 30 days in advance. This event is less than 30 days away. I thought I remembered asking my friend if I could be there from 10 a.m. to noon, since I had to work at 12:30 p.m., but she said no. Apparently, a radio station was doing a live feed, and it was going to be between noon and 2 p.m. THAT'S when I should be there, she said. It took me a few days to secure time off, because my department manager had to notify the zone manager, and the zone manager had to contact one of my co-workers to see if she would cover for me. While I'd love to have a wealthy husband to support me so I could do whatever I wanted 24/7, like my friend and her assistant can, I have to work for a living. So it took me a while to see what time off I could get. I could come in a bit later on Sunday, but Saturday, the high holy day of retail, was out.

I had the check from the store, but I put off depositing it because I was sick. I woke up on a Thursday, feeling kind of out of it. I went to the mall, since I didn't have internet at home anymore. While I was there, I had to go to the bathroom, and had a bloody bowel movement. Then, I had another one. I felt justified about staying home the next day. I slept most of the day, and didn't get the check cashed until Saturday. The friend's assistant came by Friday and offered to deposit the check, but I said don't worry about it.

So Saturday, I deposit the check, planning to order the books a few hours later. I called my friend, and she was very upset that I hadn't deposited the check. Apparently, a bloody bowel movement was NOT a good enough excuse for taking the day off and not cashing the check. I didn't see what the big deal was. I'd ordered books from Lulu.com before, and they worked weekends.

When I got my days off all straightened out, my friend was mad. She insisted I was incommunicado for a week while I was trying to get my time off figured out. It was more like three days. There was nothing to report: I was waiting for my department manager to talk to the zone manager, who was trying to contact my co-worker. Was I supposed to call and say, "hey, no news yet?"

I finally got the books on a Wednesday morning. I called my friend and said the books were in. She asked if I could deliver them to the store that day. I took them over there before my class started. I went upstairs to the the owner's office, where my friend showed me the pictures the store took, and what they were going to take to the women's show booth. My friend then said since I couldn't be at the book signing on Saturday, they found someone who looked like me, who had my build, who would sign my books for me.

And that's when I exploded. A fucking STUNT DOUBLE to sign my books? Oh, hell no. HELL NO. World War III erupted in front of the owner and his wife. My friend and I screamed at each other. I was absolutely furious that I'd brought the books, only to be told this. I had to go teach class, so I took off. I called a friend of mine, and told her what was going on. We discussed options. I didn't want the store to own my books.

I taught class, and went back for round two. I went back and demanded to buy back my books, at cost. My friend thought I'd lost my mind. We yelled again, this time, just in front of the store owner. His wife and her assistant were hiding in the dressing room. My friend said I'd left her with no choice to get a stand-in to sign my books. I told her that was like saying Brad Pitt was going to be at Glenbrook, then the day of the visit, show up with a Brad Pitt lookalike. She then said, "honey, you are NOT Brad Pitt." Okay, so I'm just some nobody writer, but I don't care. If Joe Blow is going to do a book signing, I want to see Joe Blow, not Joe Blow's brother, who looks a LOT like him, or Joe Blow's neighbor, or Joe Blow's cousin. Who wrote the fucking book? Who proofread, edited it, proofread it again and shot the front and back cover photos?  ME, that's who. And she had the gall to get a complete fucking stranger to sign MY books? So we yelled at each other again, and she gave me two choices. I can't remember what the other one was, but she said I could sign my books right then and there. So I did. She also said, "sign 'em pretty." I could have killed her.

The next day, we met for about three hours. I got to hear what an ungrateful bitch I was, and how I was passing up such a great opportunity, and why the hell wasn't I so excited about this? Well, because it's not Book Expo America, or even Tapestry, but a very small women's expo. And it's Fort Wayne. And, this store was not Barnes and Noble. Having my books at a tiny local adult novelty store was not going to change my life. THAT'S why I was not excited. I was smart enough to know this, and didn't want to waste valuable energy thinking that it would. My meltdown put them back 18 hours, according to my friend. I was asked time and again why I wasn't so totally, completely, wonderfully excited about this. I guess I should have told them flat-out they were making way more out of this than what it was.

But they went on. The store owner didn't want me to show up on Sunday. He wasn't even sure if he wanted to carry my books. Blah, blah, blah. The ironic part of all this was that my "friend" said I needed to gain more confidence and stand up for myself. She even suggested I put a really raunchy ad on Craigslist, in order to gain more fans on Facebook. She also said I should go out to bars as my alter ego (I write under a pen name). I said I wouldn't do that. The whole idea of a pen name is to create an identity that you can write under. People maybe wouldn't read erotic fiction written under my real name, but they might read it under another name. Having a pen name allows me to be more uninhibited, in a creative way. I couldn't make her understand that, so I basically sat there like a lump, listening to lies and half-truths from this woman. I realized this was another huge woman trying to make me feel like shit. I noticed the way she treated her husband and her friend. They seemed to be her assistants. And I wasn't about to become one of her servants. I was becoming more and more leery of morbidly obese women with attitudes.

So I show up Sunday, and I'm the first one there. I was told not to bring food, but they came in with candy. As an extra dose of humiliation, I had to write an apology letter to the store owner, and buy gift cards for the store owner's wife and her assistant. Yeah, I could barely afford gas, yet I had to shell out some MORE money. (I sent the letter to the owner, which pissed him off again, because I didn't seem sorry enough. I tried to explain myself, but that didn't work.) Getting back to the present, I get to the booth on time, and looked around at a booth packed full of spandex, candles, massage oil, paddles, stripper shoes and other accessories. We were about a hundred feet across the aisle from the main adult novelty store in town, which had previously been the only type of merchant of its kind at the show, until Grandma and Grandpa Naughty came in to spoil their show. But it was a joke. Yeah, our booth had the author (me) but our main competitor had a young, athletic girl working a stripper pole. Their booth wasn't crammed full of stuff and had a young, hip-looking guy running it. Our booth had five cows and a bull. The store owner's wife was wearing a dress they sold at the shop. The store owner's assistant was wearing a similar outfit. It was early March, and they were wearing spandex dresses they were too heavy for and no pantyhose. Their white, white legs were a contrast to the black and pink frocks. The store owner's wife looked like an aging hooker. And my "friend" was concerned about ME wearing the right outfit! I looked WAY better than any of them did. The store owner, since he wasn't allowed to bring in chairs from outside the Memorial Coliseum, parked himself in the back of a mini-van which was on display a few feet away from the booth. He and I never exchanged a word. I made nice, and talked to people, and was my best perky self. I talked about my book, but to no avail. No one bought a copy. My "stunt double" showed up. She gushed about the book and said they almost sold a copy on Saturday, but since the store wasn't able to accept credit cards at the show, they couldn't make the sale.

Now, if I'd shown up and rented a booth of my own and was unable to accept credit cards, my "friend" would have screamed at me. But because this was grandma and grandpa and they weren't experienced in these matters, it was okay. But I was furious. Why bring a shit-ton of crap to a trade show and NOT BE ABLE TO PROCESS A FUCKING CREDIT CARD? How much do those card readers cost? How much does a smart phone cost if you get a contract? Not very fucking much for either one. I left the show to go to my other job, with my "friend" and her assistant following me out of the Coliseum, no doubt to make sure I was actually GOING to my job.

Since then, I've not spoken to either one of them. For all I know, the store threw the books out. I know I'm never going to see a dime of profit from that place. I went to The Bookmark and asked them if they would carry my books, and they said yes. And the profit margin is much better there.

Here is a photo of the "stunt double author."



This is the photo of the store owner.

Please note: friends have looked at the stunt double, and say she looks NOTHING like me. And I do NOT have a tattoo over my left breast.

Aftermath: As a result, I'm very suspicious of morbidly obese women who want to control me. I'm also suspicious of people who want to "help" me.

P.S. That bloody bowel movement led to a colonoscopy which led to a right hemicolectomy. If I ever see that woman again, I'm telling her that the next time I feel ill, I'm taking time for myself, and everyone else can go to hell.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So I Bought a Juicer ...

After watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead probably a dozen times, I finally went out and bought a juicer. I had my heart set on a Breville, the same kind that Joe Cross used in his documentary, but at $300, it wasn't in the budget. I'd set some money aside, but it seemed like there was always an emergency coming up, and I had to use the money for something else.

But I won a gift card for my cookies at work, and after buying Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead last week, and watching it twice in one night, I got a Bella juicer from Target. Because I had the gift card, it set me back less than $40. I stopped off at the store and bought some veggies and fruits, and I plan to try it tonight.

If you are interested in juicing, I highly suggest you rent this movie. It's a documentary, but very well done, and funny. And it makes sense. Find out more here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sorry.

It's 12:19 a.m. Wednesday. I was getting ready for class tomorrow and totally forgot about updating this blog. But at least I am ready for class. That's it for today.

Friday, November 8, 2013

It's Another Guest Post From Elaine!

Wikipedia is Useful for at Least One Thing...

Some people go looking for blog prompts when they can't think of what to write about on their blog.

Not me.

I've tried that, and it hardly ever works. But, sometimes I just can't find any inspiration. Or, I've got plenty of inspiration, but I know if I write about what is inspiring me at the moment, I'll just end up ranting and sounding like a loon.

What do I do when that happens?

I click over to Wikipedia. Goodness knows, it needs to be good for something. And that's all the editorializing I'll do about the Wiki for today, because I'm really trying to avoid getting belligerent here right now. Maybe I'll write about it some other time, when I really feel like going full howl. But not now.

Anyway, as I write this, it just turned into October 28 in my time zone about 40 minutes ago. Which means that I should at least be trying to sleep. But, there's a storm coming in, I've got a headache, and I've been having some really strange dreams lately. Right now staying awake seems to be the better alternative.

And so, I'm looking at the Wikipedia page for October 28. Just, you know, to see what happened on this day in history. That's one of the things I'm really geeky about. I like knowing, on any given day, what has happened on that day in history. Or, depending on how far back we're talking, on approximately this day in history. You know, calendar changes and all that. Which is yet another topic for another time.

Anyway...

Now, I don't really trust that Wikipedia is completely correct in these entries for each day of the year. But I figure most of the dates are probably more or less in the ballpark. Close enough, at least, for government work, as my father used to say.

The first thing about October 28 that catches my eye is that it is a day for milestones related to universities. In 1538, so Wikipedia tells me, the first University in the western hemisphere was establised, the Universidad SantoTomas de Aquino. Clicking over to the wiki entry on the university, I discover that this was originally an Roman Catholic seminary run my the Dominican Order and was made an official university by a papal bull issued by Pope Paul III on this date in 1538.

And then, in 1636, the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay colony voted to establish the first college in what is today the United States. We know that school today as Harvard University, named after John Harvard.

October 28 is also, so Wiki tells me, a day of earthquakes, at least in Japan. On October 28, 1707, the Hoei earthquake hit the nation, causing over 5,000 deaths and perhaps the last eruption, 49 days later of Mount Fuji. The quake has been estimated to have been around magnitude 8.6. Then, on the same day in 1891, another quake, this one estimated to be about magnitude 8.0, hit Gifu Prefecture. It was the laragest quake ever recorded inland in Japan. This quake is known as the Mino-Owari earthquake.

A few years before the Mino-Owari quake, on October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. This was probably a much more popular thing than what happened on October 28, 1919, when the Senate followed the previous day's action by the House of Representatives in voting to override President Woodrow Wilson's veto of the Volstead Act, which established Prohibition the following January, making it illegal to use alcholic beverages for other than medicinal or industrial purposes. Prohibition was not repealed until 1933. The interesting thing about all of this is that when Prohibition went into effect on January 17, 1920, so the story goes, it took all of 59 minutes for the first known violation of the Act to occur. I think that should have been a hint that separating people from their alcoholic beverages was probably not going to work out all that well.

On October 28, 1958, John XXIII was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. On the same day in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended with the world relieved that there was still a world in existence. And on October 28, 1965, construction on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, was completed. Building of the arch had begun on February 12, 1963.

And those are just the things that strike me as interesting on a quick read-through of the list of events for October 28. Just in those things that interested me most, there are possibilities for at least 9 or 10 potential blog posts lurking, more than that if you consider side topics suggested by the different events. Side topics such as my own experiences in earthquakes (having lived pretty much all my life in California, I've had a few expereinces with quakes). Or the whole question, posed by Prohibition, of whether or not it is really possible to legislate moraltiy.

You get the idea. I could have chosen any day of the year. Wikipedia has an entry for each day of the year with events, birthdays of the famous and the not-necessarily-so-famous, and a list of those (theoretically) famous people who died on that day. Or, instead of a day of the month, I could have chosen to look at the page for a year. Or a year in movies, or in music, or in television. That is one thing about Wikipedia - there's a lot of information there if you're willing to fact check, and not take Wiki's word at face value. For example, if I were writing a serious piece on any of the topics I've named above, I would have made sure to fact check names, dates, and locations, at the very least.

There is more than one way to arrive at topics to blog about. But, as methods go, I like my Wikipedia method a lot more than going off in search of writing prompts that are all to often either silly or way too personal to write about on a blog that God and everybody can see if they want.

Not that I don't get personal in my blogging from time to time. But, you know, TMI is a real problem on the Internet, and in blogs, and some of the blog prompts I've seen can potentially send the writer places I'm really not willing to go in my blogging.

Which, I suppose, brings up another interesting topic for a blog, one that I might use one day: How much information, really, is too much information to share with the whole world in a blog post or a comment on Facebook or a message board or in a comment on someone else's blog?


Stay tuned. I just might tackle that subject one day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

ACPL Author Fair

Here's one more plug for the Author Fair, Saturday, Nov. 9 from noon to 4 p.m. at the downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library. There should be 62 authors, maybe even more, who will have information about their books. The Bookmark will be selling the books, so no need to worry about bringing cash, because they take credit cards. I will be on a panel discussion about e-publishing, and that starts at 3 p.m. and runs until 3:50 p.m. Dean Robinson, of Summit City Noise will be at my table during that time. Talk to him about his work.

My books Served Cold: Tales of Revenge and Redemption and Anything For Georgetown And Other Stories will be available for purchase. I will also be giving away FREE SAMPLES of the latest erotic romance I'm working on. You can also enter for a chance to win one or both of my titles. "Served" is what I call semi-autobiographical revenge fantasy fiction. If you've ever pissed me off, you might be a character in one of these stories. A former bully from my middle school/high school days ends up being a character in one of the stories, and he ends up dying in a plane crash. (The plane crashes into the high school I attended and postpones classes for a while--obviously a fantasy of mine.)

"Anything" is erotic fiction focusing on the fetishes of spanking and tickling. So if you are into unique foreplay, you might want to give this one a shot.

Friday, November 1, 2013

One of My Biggest Fears

I came across a picture on my Facebook feed today, and I should have saved it, but I didn't. On the left was a flabby, tattooed guy, who looked like he was taking a "selfie." On the right was a chiseled, nearly skinny guy with guns draped all over him. The caption on the left said, "this is sexy." The caption on the right said, "this is not." I frankly thought both pictures were gross-looking and said so. The flabby guy was unappealing, because he was flabby and tattooed, the chiseled guy looked a little too skinny, and the guns didn't help.

So what does this have to do with one of my biggest fears? Well, I'm afraid of becoming morbidly obese. I'm already obese. My BMI is right on the borderline. I've been trying to eat better, and I've definitely been exercising more. I've been eating at least two servings of vegetables/fruits a day since the doctor said I could eat what I wanted after I had my surgery. But I know how I can be, and I'm scared. It seems like the only way I can lose weight is on the Atkins diet. But I don't exactly enjoy eating a bunch of meat. But I notice that I do feel different. Sometimes it's hard to eat a lot of meat, and I end up not eating a whole lot during a day, because the thought of eating protein is tiresome. So I try to have a variety of protein: fish, pork, red meat, poultry. I try and prepare it ahead of time. I've been using the Crock Pot a lot more. I put a roast in it before I go to work, then when I come home, I have a hot piece of meat waiting for me. So I've been having a good chunk of roast with a salad, usually. Or, I'll have chunks of baked chicken breast with a salad. Lots of salad. And the other day I bought some cranberries, because they are low in carbohydrates. They are pretty tart, and I use stevia, which is calorie, carb-free and natural, to sweeten them up a bit. Today, or rather yesterday, I didn't do too well food-wise. But I've realized that when I indulge, it really doesn't make me feel as good. I have to be careful eating greasy foods. Soda has become a laxative. So that incentive is helping me to eat a bit better.

And then there are some people I know.

I've lost two friends to complications from morbid obesity. I lost a third friend last month. The family is not sure if she died of a heart attack, an overdose, or if she had throat cancer. Yes, she was very overweight. The family may never know. I know people who are morbidly obese. I see people all the time who are morbidly obese. And maybe this is not politically correct, but I'm getting tired of seeing really fat people. And that includes me. I don't like my belly. I've always had a bit of one, even when I was skinny. I think it may be something I'll have to live with. I have my mother's torso, and I have my father's skinny calves. I may never get down to 110 pounds again. That's okay. But I know I've damaged my body. I had surgery earlier this spring to remove a good-sized polyp and half of my colon. The surgery was expensive. I recovered well; nearly three months later, I was walking around at Cedar Point. But the surgery scared me. I'm wondering what else is going to go wrong with me. I hope I have better insurance by then.

But the photo I saw on Facebook really kind of bothered me. But I guess I shouldn't let it bother me. Everyone has a different standard of what they find attractive. Some women like guys with lots of tattoos, some like facial hair, some like tall guys, some like short guys, bookish-looking guys, biker guys, athletes, and so forth. But the flabby guy being described as being sexy really did kind of get on my nerves. I'm thinking it was posted probably by some fat guy, fed up with seeing chiseled male models. I guess it might be the way I feel when I see some really skinny chick with large breasts. I know they are implants, because naturally skinny women usually don't have huge breasts.

I know I can change my body. Some people have been saying I've lost weight, even though the scale hasn't been proving it. But maybe the scale is wrong. It frequently says "error" when I get on it, and I have to weigh myself two or three times and see what the number says. When I was going to the gym regularly last spring, someone asked me if I was losing weight. I wasn't, but I had to have been toning up.

I've seen "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" several times, and when I went to Meijer's, they had a copy of it. So I bought it, and I'm in the process of watching it for the second time tonight. The message makes a lot of sense, and I have got to get a juice. I really want a Breville juicer, but I don't think I can afford a $300 appliance right now. I'll probably have to settle for a cheaper model, and just DO IT--that is, start juicing.

It's getting so when I see a person of average weight, or is actually skinny, I almost have to stare. Because it's the exception anymore. Someone I know went on a trip and a relative asked her if she was going to go on disability. This person said no, even though she's unemployed for most of the year. She says she knows she needs to lose weight, and she just needs a couple of months (her words) to get into shape. Trust me--she's going to need more than a couple of months. She needs to go on "The Biggest Loser." And I work three jobs and I exercise way more than she does. What the hell does she do all day while she's collecting unemployment that she can't fit 15 minutes of exercise in every day? Since I've been teaching more, the gym at school is closed by the time I am done with my day. So I drive into my driveway, and I jog around the block just north of my house. Sometimes I go around the other block. If I take the long way, it's seven tenths of a mile. If I take the shorter block, it's a half mile. I try and do this four times a week. If I take the long way, I've added nearly three miles of jogging to my exercise plan. If I take the short way, it's two miles. Either way, I'm increasing my exercising.

But I don't like the way my body looks (well, actually, it's my torso. I'm okay with almost everything else) and I've learned that I'm really sensitive to carbs. Eating protein and veggies definitely made me feel different. The slightest amount of carbs cause my body to shut down, or else just hold on to the carbs for dear life. I bought strips to see if I was burning ketones. I can't eat more than 50 grams of carbs a day. If I eat more, the strips won't change. If I want to see the strips change color, it's about 30-40 grams of carbs I can eat, and no more. I need to get more strips, because I'm out.

So this isn't politically correct, but fat acceptance is starting to piss me off a bit. If we make it okay for people to weigh 400 pounds, and to roll around in those electric shopping carts and scooters, what the hell will we as a nation look like in 20-30 years? Yes, maybe women can't be a size two, but that doesn't mean it's okay to be a size 28 either. People are screaming about Obamacare/ACA, but we really, truly don't give a shit about our health. We don't want to pay for our own, and we don't want to pay for others.

But think about that the next time you look at your paycheck. We are all paying for it. Sure, people pay into disability, but if you allow yourself to get too fat to work, why do you get to watch cable television all damn day while I scramble working three jobs and grade papers on my day off and try to pay my bills, and not have spare cash?

This is a long post, but it's something that's been bothering me for a long time. I don't like the way I look, and I don't like looking at jumbo-sized men. I'm not attracted to jumbo-sized men. And I know the kind of man I I would like to hang out with will not want to hang out with someone like me. Because I'm too big. So I've got to work on myself, both inside and out. Because I'm terrified of being morbidly obese. I'm surrounded by cautionary tales.