Eclipse bound

solar-eclipse_1024.jpgI’m about to end 4 days of living in bachelor “paradise” (quotes because I really miss my family tons) and head to Kearney, Missouri for the once in a lifetime chance to see a total solar eclipse. I’m super excited, have the glasses, and can’t wait for the Earth to fall into the shadow of the moon. I’ve been a little bit anxious about the weather – silly, I know because it’s not like I can control the weather or anything – but according to the latest Weatherbug forecast for Kearney, tomorrow is supposed to be partly sunny and the chance of rain that has been in the forecast all week is now gone. It’s raining like cats and dogs this morning so hopefully the rain is early and will move out by the time the moon moves in front of the sun tomorrow around 1pm-ish. Really, that’s the only time that the clouds need to get out of town and let the show happen.

The weather forecast for home is 50% chance of rain, so I’m especially glad that I sprung for the hotel and am traveling the 3 hours for a shot to see a total eclipse because it sounds like it’s going to be cloudy and rainy here at eclipse time. Plus we’re not in the path of totality and with it so close, how could I not go?

Whatever the result, it should be fun and I’m super pumped to see Heidi and Anna again after they’ve been gone to Anime Fest in Dallas since last Wednesday.

In the meantime, here’s my favorite tweet about the eclipse.

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1812-Measuring-Tape-in-Eights.jpgSo today I finally admitted that I need to buy new pants. This was partially because my I am super hard on pants and they were wearing out around the leg cuff, belt loops, and, in one case, the butt. But it was largely due to the fact that I am having a hard time fitting into them these days. I started the year out with great ambitions to lose weight and at least get back down to where I was about a year ago when I had lost 20 pounds and was feeling super good about myself and how I looked.  Then the summer happened and I stopped caring and I gained it all back with a few more just for good measure.  For most of the year, I have been hovering in the low to mid 240s, but recently I have been flirting with the 250 mark and much like love for Janet Jackson, that will never do.

I know that a lot of it has to do with my state of mental health, which for most of the year has not been great. As Heidi pointed out to me today (and as I well know), I do a lot of emotional eating. If there’s sweets around, I will eat them, usually to excess, as if they are the only sweets I will have for the rest of my life. Also, the cafeteria at work, despite going through a massive remodel, is somehow even more lacking in healthy options.

I also have not been exercising at all. Today, I made a point to walk to the library and back, which is a 2 mile round trip. I also mowed the yard for the first time since Memorial Day weekend (I know) so I’m ending my day with just over 14,000 steps. I know that exercising will make me feel better, even mild exercise would be better than nothing, but I’ve been feeling so shitty that I can’t even manage to push myself to even start anything.

So it’s not surprising that I have mixed emotions about getting new pants. I love to get new clothes, but the fact that they had to be bigger than what I was wearing now was a bit disheartening.

To say 2017 has been a hard year for me is putting it mildly. I’m not sure that I’ve felt the specter of depression as much as I have this year since college. I know how to deal with anxiety – I’ve gotten so good at it that I can practically do it in my sleep – but I’ve forgotten how much feeling like shit saps your energy and makes you not want to do anything and makes you go nearly 6 weeks between yard mows. I didn’t shower today at all – something that very rarely happens – and I am tired pretty much constantly. The littlest things set me off. Like the fact that when I was pulling the car in the garage tonight I have not replaced the tail light that broke months ago. Then I saw the grill that has not been used at all this summer and I think about how most people are outside grilling and sitting on patios and decks having fun and I’m sitting here writing a blog post about how I feel like shit 90% of the time.

I don’t want sympathy or pity, but this has been ramming around in me for months now and it comes out in random ways like getting mad at a cat or telling myself stupid shit that I know is not true. Don’t worry – I have a good therapist and am on good meds, the meds being part of the reason I can’t lose weight, I just know it. When I sufficiently distract myself, I can have a semblance of a normal life but it doesn’t last for long.

I will be okay. And I will get better, even if it’s only by inches. And at least I’ll look good while I’m getting better.


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Lighten up or toxic masculinity?

I saw this on Facebook this morning and my first reaction was a chuckle which was followed quickly by “wait a goddamn minute.”friends for 7.jpg

I get that graphics like these are meant to be funny, and a part of me does think it’s funny. But the larger part of me really gets pissed off at this kind of stuff. This graphic implies that men cannot be close without there being some sort of sexual element to it, which I think really hurts men in the long run. Most, not all, but most men are very lonely because we have been taught that cultivating relationships with people other than our partners is not important. Fortunately, I have a spouse that recognizes that and encourages it. There is little more satisfying to me than a good friend that I can talk with who sees me, flaws and all, and still chooses to be around me. I am fortunate to have a few of those in my life. My life is infinitely richer for their presence, and there’s no hint of sexual in any of those relationships.

Implying that there is a sexual component cheapens the entire thing. Even gay men have close male friends with whom they are not sexual, so even when it IS gay, it’s not.

I know it’s just a stupid Facebook picture, and I should just chill the fuck out. But this really hit a nerve for me and is indicative of the toxic masculinity that is pervasive in our society, a type of masculinity that is only emboldened by the current political environment.

So should I lighten up and take it in the spirit it was meant? The person who posted it certainly meant no harm in it as I know they are very pro-LGBT and they tagged their current boyfriend in it, saying it was him and all his friends. In that respect, I should lighten up. But I will never stop fighting the perception that men can’t be close without there being a sexual component. Regardless of orientation, it’s simply NOT TRUE.

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gravity.jpgRecently, my wife and I both backed the Kickstarter for the Gravity blanket, the weighted blanket that is alleged to help treat, among other things, PTSD, OCD, and anxiety related disorders. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, but what won me over was the science behind it. Well, just watch the video.

I am actually quite excited to be getting a 25 pound blanket, even though I suspect at first it might feel like one of those lead lined smocks they put over you at the dentist when they X-ray your mouth.

I feel very overstimulated these days and I’m taking whatever I can get to help ease the anxiety in my life. Also, I’m trying to become more mindful and if this involves any sort of meditation, I think the blanket will come in very handy.  Unrelated to Gravity, I’ve also decided that I’m going to try to keep up my yard a little more and practice mindfulness that way as well.  The yard is such a beast but even a small amount of taming will do it (and me) some good I think.

You can back this Kickstarter for the next 50+ hours and get your very own Gravity in late September/early October 2017. The cheapest level is the $189 level (the $169 level is sold out) but I think this is a small price to pay to have another weapon in my armamentarium for my ongoing attempts to quell anxiety and stress in my life.

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Kylie white vinyl extortion

A friend of mine who lives in Northern Ireland messaged me through Facebook earlier this week asking if I had heard about the white vinyl release of Kylie Minogue’s 2001 album Fever. Re-released in a limited edition run available exclusively at the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, he said he was willing to pick one up for me, much like he had the limited edition blue and red vinyl releases of Madonna’s True Blue and Like A Prayer.

FullSizeRender.jpgSince it was the first time it had ever been available on vinyl, especially in this special edition white vinyl, we both expected it to fly off of shelves. And that’s exactly what’s happened – it has disappeared from Sainsbury’s in no time, but a large number of those have found their way to eBay. And in the transfer to eBay, inflated to what to what I would consider extortion level pricing. Here’s a small sampling.

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I love Kylie, and I love the Fever album, but I have better things to do with my $60-100 than pay exorbitant prices for something like this on eBay. Although my mantra is “buy the colored vinyl, you’ll regret it later if you don’t”, I am just going to wait and see if my friend can come through for me. If not, oh well.

Breaking news from the “water is wet” department – the secondary market sucks. From concert tickets to limited edition vinyl, it is not in the spirit in which I’m sure Kylie meant for the record to be enjoyed. It sucks that people are basically buying up the record with the only intention being to sell it to fans that are willing to pay an arm and a leg for it. To paraphrase Christina Crawford – I am not one of those fans.

Now if it were Madonna…that might be a different story!

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The anti Jack Sprat

Jack_Sprat.jpgSometimes I wish that I was one of those people with depression that when they were depressed, they had no appetite and ate nothing at all. I’m quite the opposite, eating everything in sight trying to fill a void that can’t possibly be filled. I just stepped on the scale and I know it’s the end of the day and you should never do that but I am at an all time high for weight. This has got to stop.

The trouble is that when I’m struggling, like I am now, I think that eating things that taste good will make me feel better. It’s not true and never has been true. It’s just a self fulfilling prophecy really. I eat a lot to try to feel better, then I end up gaining weight which gives me more ammunition to feel bad about myself.  It’s so bad right now I don’t even pretend like I’m being good because I’m totally not.

But I have to try to find a way to, as Cher would say, snap out of it. It’s not good for my physical health or mental health. I can feel my pants not fitting right, all of my T-shirts are just a little too tight. I guess I’ll have to up my exercise game, but I don’t feel well enough to do that.

Excuses, excuses I guess.

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A second chance

300x300.jpgBen Rector’s “Brand New” made my best-of 2016 compilation and has been a favorite of mine ever since.  I discovered it back in January of 2016 and found out about it only because Bandsintown app was recommending his Des Moines concert to me.  I tossed around the idea of going to the concert, but I couldn’t really justify it because I didn’t know that many songs and it was general admission and even though I go to a lot of general admission shows, I really don’t care for them all that much. At nearly 45, give me my damn seat.

Today I got another notification from Bandsintown that Ben Rector had announced a concert nearby – and when I say nearby, I mean EXTREMELY nearby. He’ll be at Iowa State University on August 23rd, which is about a mile from my house. Hell, I could walk there, but it’ll probably be so hot that I won’t want to.

Since he’ll be so close, I decided that I’m going to go this time. Based on the timing, it looks like it’s part of a “welcome back students” type thing, but who cares? I still don’t know many more of his songs than the Brand New album, but I have some time to change that.

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