Thursday, December 20, 2012


So the weight loss thing. Yeah, that turned out to be an unexpected adventure. As I've mentioned previously, I tipped the scales at 232 on October 27. I took a look at myself and decided I didn't like the fat, out of shape John nearly as much as the fit and slim John. So I embarked on a diet and exercise program to fix or at least address the problem. This morning I weighed in at 198.8. This is the lightest I have been since around the time A.J. was born.

So how did I do it? Denial and hard work. Denial of any and (nearly) all food cravings that weren't on the "approved" list. That meant no burgers, pizza, fried chicken, french fries, egg nog, etc. until I got it under control. I replaced the "bad", high fat foods with more reasonable fare. Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice meals, Smart Ones, and lots of chicken noodle and chicken and rice soup. Chicken breast and vegetables for dinner.  Calorie intake anywhere from 1000 to 1500, sometimes less.

Also, it meant a serious rededication to exercise. I hit the gym HARD. Weight training and 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week. Hard, hard work that paid off. I also dusted off my pedometer to keep track of my daily steps. I set a minimum of 10,000 steps every days, but ended up averaging around 17,000. With my stride, a mile is equivalent to about 2000 steps, so yo can get a picture of the miles traveled.

So, the take away?  You must first understand that I know how my body works and what it is capable of. I know that I can lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off if I stay focused. When I lose focus, I gain the weight back. The second thing is that I had a goal in mind. It was not necessarily to get my weight below 200 pounds. In fact, I am more comfortable at around 210, which is where I may settle. No, my goal was to be in shape for the return of Bloodline hockey. When we trained for Mount Whitney two years ago, I developed an amazing (for me)  lung capacity and overall cardio-vascular fitness. I could stay on the rink without getting winded. It paid off late in games and I wanted to be able to compete at a high level when we returned in January. I am there right now and I can't wait to get back into game action.

At the end of the day, please realize that weight loss and increased exercise are not something to be taken lightly and for that matter, too seriously. Don't obsess. If you gain a pound or two, don't fixate on it. The goal is long-term and if you stick with your program, it will happen.

And, most importantly, know and listen to your body. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know your limitations and don't ignore them. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to fall off the wagon once in a while. Don't miss out on meals with friends, potlucks and all of the enjoyment of the holiday season. You can get back to it tomorrow with a vengeance.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Facebook as a safe haven.

Like many of you (all 15 readers), I spend a bit of time on Facebook. My main goal with Facebook is to keep up on the lives of people I would not normally have time or opportunity to interact with. Sometimes I regret that decision when I run across someone who doesn't quite grasp the concept of TMI (Too Much Information), but in general I enjoy learning what is important to people.

Facebook is like the TV in that respect. If you don't want to watch it, turn the channel (hide the post or hide the person). I often do that because the topic either doesn't interest me, isn't relevant to me (I don't really care what you listened to on Spotify). I try to stay away from judgmental or snarky comments to people who don't "get" me because I have learned that in life people aren't necessarily entitled to my opinion and that too many people's interpretation is not very nuanced so my intent is not grasped.

Take my recent decision to "hide" people on Facebook who chose to post political comments. I made it plain that I would hide anyone and everyone who made a political post. Not because I agreed or disagreed, it was just that I had grown weary of being bombarded with political nonsense. The reality of it was that I hid a disproportionate amount of people whom I happened to agree with. After the election was over, I brought all 72 people that were previously hidden back into the fold on Thursday the 8th.

You see, I consider Facebook to be a de facto safe haven. I see it as a barbecue in my backyard where the conversation should be light and comfortable The main point is that we're enjoying one another's company and there is no benefit to create or engage in controversy. I know some people see any social network as a place where they can act as they feel comfortable. The problem I have with that is that too many people are comfortable being jerks. Too many people feel it is their God-given right to vent their spleen and get in your face, but I also have the right to remove them from the premises so as to not allow them to ruin my party.

In the end, I've determined that Facebook for me will be a safe place to interact with people. My lack of controversial topics or refusal to engage should not be seen as a condemnation of those of you who think the opposite way. On the contrary. If that's your idea of the purpose of Facebook, then by all means you should do what feels right to you.

For me, it's a safe and friendly place to visit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

This is different

Well, interestingly, I did not start the photography thing back up with any gusto, though I did take a few interesting ones here and there. I've posted one here from a little jaunt down to Laguna Beach back on Thanksgiving weekend. Just a little thing to get me back in the swing.

I did have some success in the weight loss arena. I tipped the scales at 208 this morning, which is about a 24 pound loss since October 27. That includes Thanksgiving and a couple potlucks in the mix, so I think it's pretty good. I've been hitting the gym about 4 or 5 times per week and that's been the big thing to find consistency. Generally, AJ is with me and Mark comes with us when he isn't working. The main issue that I've been dealing with is shoulder pain. My right shoulder keeps getting tweaked because I try to lift too much weight when I'm still cold. I need to remind myself that I'm 50 years old and not 25! I feel pretty good and hope to stabilize my weight and exercise routine.

Finally, I'm looking to get our Roller Hockey team started again. We want to return Bloodline back to its former greatness and I hope the guys are ready to give it a try. We shall see quite soon.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Let's try this again

I think that post title has multiple meanings for me at this point of my life.

First, I am slowly getting back into photography, but at a different level than before. I think I put too much pressure on myself when I attempted to try a 365 project/blog. It was OK for the first 100 days and then it went sideways. I think there were two issues. On the one hand, I think I made my project into a chore. Oh...I HAVE to take a picture today and get it posted instead, I GET to take a picture and post it today!

I also became my worst critic and felt as if I didn't get the perfect shot every day, then it wasn't worth the effort. Once that happened, I gave up. In fact, when I went to scenic locations, I had no desire to capture the scenery, especially if I'd already been there before.

So, for now I'll start by sharpening my Photoshop and other editing skills. Going through all of my old photos I can definitely see improvement and areas where it is obvious I got lax or indifferent in my composition and subject matter.

The second meaning for me is my health and weight. About a year ago I was in the best shape of the past 15 to 20 years. My body fat percentage was around 12% and my weight was down to around 210. I had unbelievable stamina and it culminated with a near effortless climb of Mount Whitney in August of 2011. I did Whitney again this year and it was a little tougher this time around. My weight was around 215, but my body fat was around 25%. My endurance was OK, and I really did not get too winded, but it was definitely harder this time. Well, the bottom then fell out and I got on the scale last Sunday and was horrified to see that I had ballooned all the way to 232 pounds.  I have no idea what the body fat is, but it's got to be around 30%. So Kim and I embarked on a diet plan. I was at 225 this morning and feeling better (about myself anyway) than a week ago. I'll be back in the gym today and after that, who knows?

It's good to be back. Maybe I'll have photos to post soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I have recently started messing around with High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. It's kind of an interesting technique that requires either specialized software or someone who is an absolute wizard at post processing in Photoshop. Since I am no Photoshop maven, I purchased Photomatix tone mapping software. Keep in mind that I am just beginning to learn how to use this software, but as a way of kick-starting this blog I threw this one together. It has a ton of flaws in it, but I wanted to get a post up before I went to bed.

In the mean time, here is a nice shot I took at Laguna Beach today.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Be back soon

Since I gave up the 365 project, I have not been out doing much day-to-day photography. I have not lost the love of photography, just the dedication. My plan is to begin post some of my latest stuff including some things I've been trying using post-production techniques.

I may also comment on some things that I'd rather not share on Facebook for the whole world to see.

For the 15 of you who followed me and stuck with me while I was going through transition, thank you!  I will post less often than daily, but the quality should be quite a bit better and certainly more interesting.

Please do me a favor and comment when I post. You guys are my new motivation!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 202 Remembering 4th of July

I was gong through some of my recent photos and found this one. That was a really fun day and it capped a great week.

             f/32; ISO 100; 30 sec. exposure; 41mm focal length