Friday, November 30, 2018

Wellness Update - 11/30/18

I'm still dancing around how I want to format these posts. I'd prefer more structure than a free form journal entry. I guess let's break it down by category?

Now Playing: Greta Van Fleet - From the Fires

Now Drinking: Knob Creek single barrel "reserve" and Coke Zero; 1:3 ratio.

Overall: I fell a bit short of my expectations this week. But hey, I can try again next time right?

Work: I have to go to the boss man's office on Wednesday to talk about my projects with India. It's not clear to me why. My request for context has gone unanswered. So of course I'm thinking they're going to offshore the projects I've been working months on out of the blue. Brains are good at sensing danger, I guess.

Social: Eeeh, nothing big happened this week. I talked to more people online, several with the intention of meeting up in the real world at some undefined future point. I got it in to my head to log exactly how much a friend talks to me when we hang out. It feels like she's just present, and everyone else does the conversational lifting. I'm not sure if that's a me thing or a her thing. I'm not enough of a sociopath to do it, but it's probably something I'll notice more frequently going forward whether I want to or not.

Creative: I didn't memorize the "Smoke on the Water" lead, but I can play it fairly accurately. My bends on the B string are still all over the place. I'm pretty sure I'm over bending, but it's hard for me to tell in the moment. I'll keep working on it.

I did a little twitch streaming, not much to mention there.

I've got a craw up my butt to use my 3d printer more. I've asked around for cosplayers and LARPers to ask me to make props. I have a tentative taker, and a few people who're talking like they're interested. The problem with not doing complete costumes is I'm reliant on other people's imitative. But that's part of the point. This could be a collaborative and somewhat social hobby. I think that's good. I'm going to find some decent 3d modeling software tonight and try to make something for goofs. Wish me luck.

Romance/Sex: My self loathing and general thirst are about even. I should probably see to getting laid. I have no plans and I don't expect to go trolling. Hopefully the celibacy can continue until I'm in a healthier place.

Weight Loss: I had hoped to shed 6lbs last week. I managed 4ish. Whatever, it's better than nothing. Way better than gaining.

Exercise: Not walking isn't going to be tenable. My legs and ass hurt from sitting around. There's going to be a Lifetime Fitness opening near me in a few months. I'd like to hold out until I can get a membership there. But I should probably take my recent raise, point most of it at my HSA, and get my ass to the Lifetime I have access to today.

Yesterday I did a set of 6-10-6 at the super-inclined inverted rows. A few minutes later I did a second set of 6-8-6. I'm pretty happy with this. I'd like to get a set with a total of 30 rows in by the next post.

Financial: This is on my mind a lot every other Friday. I'm trending positive, but my net worth is still super in the red. Most of that is my mortgage, then my student loans. But credit cards are higher than I'd like. I'm hoping to pay around $700 a month on one until the balance is zeroed out, then move on to the next. I want to be in a position to zero out my balances every month. The amazon card might be the most difficult. Baby steps. First goal is to take the minimum monthly payment down to under $100 on everything. From there I'll pay off the lowest balance card and work my way up. Having fewer monthly expenses would be better, I think. If nothing else, it's less weighing on my mind. I understand I'll pay more with this approach. My not-even-back-of-the-envelope calculations ballpark this as a three year project. About the same time as my car and debt consolidation loan will be paid off. It'll be a good year for disposable income. Hell, my 401k might even hit reasonable numbers.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Keto "Trail Mix"

I am perpetually lazy. I'm not great at making meals for myself. Here's a quick snack that takes about 5 minutes to prep for a week's worth of eating.

Cube the cheese if needed, then mix all ingredients together. Package about 4 ounces of mix into sandwich bags and refrigerate. In my experience they stay good 5-6 days. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wellness Update Baseline - Pt 5: Mental Health

I'm a mess. A lot of it is rationalized by the previous 4 entries, but I frequently wonder if cause and effect are reversed.

Week before last I thought about killing myself again. I find having Eli (my cat) around with no real contingency plan if I should die is a good enough reason to keep living. Suicidal thoughts seem to pop up a few times a year. In talking to a friend of mine, I found they think about it a few times a month. I consider myself getting off light.

I've gone on about this quite a bit on Facebook. Part of the idea of this wellness update series to help me vent smaller issues before I boil over into a mess of self-hate/self-pity. I've been journaling on my phone a bit, but I'm hoping these posts will get a few voyeurs to hold me accountable to doing it. I've been paying for the domain, might as well use it right?

So, here's where I start giving way too much detail about how I ended up here. Tune out now. You're going to learn about my dick if you keep reading. Come back next time for less discussion of my dong.

I lost a bunch of weight during my divorce. Anxiety and a spat of alcoholism caused ~30 pounds to fall away. I started getting laid regularly, then I got comfortable. I got back to gaining. And gaining. Eventually I reached a new high of 352 lbs.

When you're fat, like for reals fat, you lose about an inch of penis for every 20-40 pounds you put on. I've never been remarkably well endowed, but at my fattest it was a joke. I lost all interest in sex. Pursuit of my other hobbies fell by the wayside shortly after. Eventually I felt like I was just being an asshole by stringing along my girlfriend so I broke it off (there were other reasons, but that's not relevant here). I've lost 40 lbs since then, and while I think my dick is adequate for the job, I'm keeping it holstered to avoid falling in the same trap as last time.

However, my interest in sex is starting to return. So now it's an active choice. On the rare occasion a woman hits on me, it's an act of will to say "Thanks, but not right now." I have a strong desire to participate in intercourse-adjacent activities. So I find myself back on dating websites and hookup/chat places... only I'm looking for a female friend. Boy do platonic conversations not go great there. I hear a lot of women say they don't want a guy to start talking about sex pretty quickly on a dating website but... that has not been my experience. Maybe my personality just sucks.

So, sexual desire is coming back, but it's more of a hassle than a source of comfort. At some point I'm going to realize how long it's been since I've had sex and I'm going to wig out. Thankfully that hasn't happened yet. I should probably see to getting laid before that happens.

For several years I've had a crush on a friend. I've talked about it here previously, actually. Well, that friendship feels like it's suffering because of my crush. Until two weeks ago, it never resolved and that sucked. So I forced it closed. I told my friend why I found her attractive, acknowledged that she wasn't doing anything to lead me on. I apologized for acting uncouthly and expressed an interest in being better friends with her while closing the door on anything sexual or romantic. She said that was what she wanted. From where I sit, nothing has changed for the better; and it might be worse. But communication from her has been shitty forever, so.. I don't know. I'm trying to deal with that tinge of rejection while also dealing with the uncertainty that I might have detonated a valuable friendship. It's frustrating, and part of me wants to walk away. The other part wonders if this is depression making me feel useless and isolated.

Work. Since last I blogged I was reorged. I am now the guy in charge of chatbots and ai at my company. You might recognize those as two very different disciplines. and they are. I'm currently focused on getting something useful out of the chatbot. After that (during that?) I need to get to work on studying AI modeling tools. I have a general understanding on how to build models, but my hands on experience is limited. Still, I'm comfortable in knowing what the process will vaguely look like and that puts me way ahead of anyone else. Should feel good about that, right?

Well, not really. Every thing that should take a few hours to do is dragging out for days. Part of that is me dragging my feet when I don't 100% know how to solve a problem. Part of that is getting management and stakeholders to line up. It's typical work frustrations, I guess. But it triggers the impostor syndrome and makes me question my career path.

I'm handing off a project I spent 5 years working on exclusively. It's currently in a train wreck state, and the idea of someone else looking at that code makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. I'm hours from being found out, revealed as a fraud. I'll tell you about my small dick, but showing you my professional code makes me feel exposed. I guess that's because one I have very little control over, and the other is a central part of who I am? I dunno, insecurities are weird.

The longer I live in Minneapolis the more convinced I become that I will not find a close friend here. It's been over a decade since I've had a friend that I'd get intoxicated with and be able to talk to about anything. I have friends that I trust. Friends that I will tell things to, but none that I feel I impact at all. I long for the ability to walk in the door, make a call (or not) and have someone down for whatever. I think I put too much of this role on my ex-wife. I abandoned my close friends to pursue that relationship (to be fair, most of my close friends spread across the country around the same time). Right now, the nearest person I see in that role lives a state away. It's not great.

So that's me. That's where I'm at. I'm working on all the pieces. It's a lot of plates to spin. But I have a general plan. I know where the problems are, and I'm doing something about them. I'll report progress on Friday, if I don't do a smaller update before then.

Wellness Checkup Baseline - Pt 4: Creativity

To be creative you must first think creatively. To think creatively you just have to be creative.

So this. I'm very frustrated here. I knocked out four or five scenes in a radio play a few weeks ago and haven't touched it since. I sent the first three scenes to some people to make sure I wasn't completely off base with my story. Literally everyone hated the third scene. Unfortunately I have little experience in what needs to happen in that scene, so I know it is the weak. The project has sat idle since I got the feedback. I don't know how to fix it, and I don't want to leave awful in. So I'm stuck. I guess the only solution is to soldier on with my outline and try to create something, even if it's not good. Maybe the next one will be better? I will commit to writing at least one more scene this weekend.

Guitar. I haven't played much. I saw success on Twitch by not playing guitar, and I've come to the realization that I'm bad at it. I run through the 4-5 songs I know by heart unplugged while waiting for other stuff, but if I amp up? Badness. I've been playing for a few years now. I'm pretty sure I should be better than power cords and weak leads. If I want to push this I probably should get a proper tutor. Or I can commit to learning songs that challenge me. Right now that means sitting down for a few hours and learning the lead to "Smoke on the Water." And that idea makes me kind of sad. Still, I think that's what I'll do. My goal for Friday is to be able to play "Smoke on the Water" completely, with no reference. After that I want to commit "White Rabbit" to memory. At least that song I can play from reference.

Twitch. I guess this goes here. Do I want to take Twitch seriously as a creative endeavor? I enjoy producing a stream. When people are watching and chatting, I have a great time. If I have multiple people talking to each other on a stream, it's fantastic. I clearly don't have the personality to do a solo entertainment show. I think I'd make a good ringleader, and probably a better producer. Finding interested participants is probably something I should think about while working on my social life. I'm really happy that I got twitch affiliate status without being a pretty lady, a pro-gamer or a goddamn cartoon character. I don't know if they can take that away if I lose viewership, and I'm kind of afraid to go back to streaming shit where I can't get 3-4 friends to tune in/participate. On the other hand, I've got all this gear sitting around doing basically nothing while I wring my hands. Twitch is a big ball of "I don't know" at the moment. 

Wellness Checkup Baseline - Pt 3: Social Life

Yeash. This is a big one. Little makes me feel like a loser more than... well, being a loser. It's mostly my fault, I am fairly distant. My sense of humor is based on being weird. I enjoy playing devil's advocate. I'm a huge dude. I'm a bit pervy. I don't take criticism on certain issues well. It all combines to make me difficult to be around.

So this is the state of affairs, starting from the least solid connections...

Romantic interests. I have none right now. I'm working really hard on being more attractive, and loving myself. This shit is on hold. I have cut ties here pretty hard over the last 6 months. Describing that probably warrants it's own post, some of it will probably spill into this one.

Internet friends. I have a bunch of these. People I met playing games in my teens and twenties. People I keep in touch with after one or the other has moved away. They're great. I can think of two people I've known longer online than I have in person that I consider among my closest friends.

Polyamory people. I've met quite a few people in the poly community. I always feel awkward interacting with these people. They're all very loving and kind and well... I never know how to respond to an embrace; if you take my meaning. We'll circle back to these guys when I start talking about my recent attempts to get out more.

Close acquaintances. There's maybe a dozen or so people I'd invite to a party. I'd expect a third of them to show up. We'll exchange pleasantries and whatnot, but I don't see those relationships growing any.

Core circle. It feels weird calling these guys my core circle. I don't think I'm in any of their core friend groups. If I am, I don't know how they manage so little face-to-face interaction. I see two of them weekly. I did a great job making things weird between me and one of them by crushing too hard and admitting to it. I've recently renounced my crush in an attempt to hopefully become better friends with her, but... I'm pretty sure I ought to walk away entirely. That relationship doesn't seem like it'll ever be satisfying. I'm trying to give it some time to heal from the years of strain I caused, but right now the friendship seems terminally vapid. The other person is kind of in a weird spot because of my crush; and he also lives a million miles away so we're not likely to grab a drink after work. There are about a half dozen others in that circle; and none of them seem particularly interested in doing stuff regularly.

So I feel lonely a lot. That's a hazard of working from home full time, I suppose. I guess if I really wanted I could squat in an office at the workplace campus, but since I'm not working with anyone it always feels like I'm on a different pace from everyone else. It's weird.

What am I doing about it? Well, there are several people in the polyamory world who I think like me. The problem is the line between friend and lover tends to be blurry in poly and I'm in no shape to be a lover right now. I went to meet up with one lady the week before last. The passes were obvious and persistent. She's great people. If I were feeling better about being me, I might have taken her up on it. But I don't. So it was awkward. We're still talking and I'm trying to get her to come snowboarding with me this winter. We'll see how that goes. Anyway, meeting up with her felt pretty big to me. There's probably two other people in a similar situation that I'm probably going to try to become closer friends with. I'm a little concerned about the "you're giving me attention, we should sleep together" idea while I'm in this position. I'm interested, of course, just not interested right now. Walking that line is rough.

A friend has asked to accompany me to "sexy" parties. I think she wants the tourist version of polyamory and it's overlap with kink, as well as some general male attention (that isn't from me). And I'm happy to oblige her. I am kink curious, there are a few things on my bucket list that I'll have to get to these parties to find participants for. I've been to a few. They range from a curtained off section of a bar where all the PG-13/R rated stuff happens, to full on orgies. I don't think I need to see another orgy. Good on whoever enjoys those, but it's not my scene. The bar stuff can be a bit much for me, but I suspect if I get to a place where I'm secure with my body in general I'd enjoy it more. Play parties would be the middle ground there. You essentially mingle for a few hours, then find someone you think is interested to act out a scenario with you. I don't think I'll bring my friend to those but... I am looking forward to the day when I'm okay being at one.

Snowboarding is a fairly solitary adventure. You might chat a bit on a lift or something, but it's not a great mingle opportunity for me. I did bowling a few years ago. I haven't really kept in touch with anyone from that. The other group sports that I'd be a little willing to participate in tend to revolve around beer - which I can't drink due to keto. Ever been the only sober person at a party? It's not great.

The only other idea I have is heading to D&D/Pathfinder events at the local nerd shop and meeting people there. Some of my closest acquaintances came to me that way. If I keep trying I'm bound to find people I care for that care for me, right? The problem is my gaming dance card is pretty full. If I walk away from the aforementioned friendship I'll free up a couple nights a week to pursue this but uh... now that I think about it that also means whatever social life I have in meat space will be dead too.

I have no fucking idea what I'm doing here.

Wellness Checkup Baseline - Pt 2: Weight Loss

Weight loss is where most of my focus is right now. I'm right on the line between morbid obesity and good old fashioned obesity. This week I've isolated between 39.7 and 40.3 BMI; so like... right on the line. Today's weigh in was 314.1 lbs, but I expect to be back to 309.4 by the end of the weekend. I had some emotional eating yesterday and today. Today was better than yesterday, tomorrow should be solid.

I'm doing keto. I take a fairly hard-line approach, usually. I shoot for as close to 0 non-fiber carbs as possible. Right now I'm not logging my food, but I'm confident I'm well below 1,800 calories most days.

My diet is largely cheese and nuts. I try to get a salad a few times a week. The last few weeks I've been getting my protein from red meat, but that's not ideal. I'll get some chicken and pork this week.

So far I've lost about 40lbs on keto. I'm trying not to set a hard, "this is when I'm done" goal, instead playing it milestone by milestone. I'm trying to be attractive to people I find attractive, and I'm trying to find a weight where I'm not disgusted by my reflection. I don't know if those are healthy reasons, but whatever.

Rewards. I used to get chewed out all the goddamn time for being food motivated. No one's around to chew me out anymore. I have been treating myself with pizza for major mile stones. I haven't had a milestone I've considered major for a bit; but I am coming up on "two-topia"which is a big deal, and after that is my lowest weight since getting divorced - with a more healthy means of weight loss. So that's probably two pizzas in the next month or so. Coincidentally my birthday and New Years are next month, which are ripe cheat days anyway. Handy!

Wellness Checkup Baseline - Pt 1: Inverted Rows and Other Exercise

If you know me personally you've probably heard me talk about trying to get in better shape. I feel I need improvement in a few areas: social, mental, physical, and creative. Pretty much the entire spectrum of wellness. I'm going to start keeping track of my progress here. Maybe you'll help hold me accountable? If nothing else, it'll be positive to journal it. I'm going to do several posts tonight to talk about where I am right now. I'm breaking them apart because some topics people won't want to hear about, and one giant post will be entirely unreadable. So let's start with exercise.

One of the things I'm doing is Inverted Rows. It's supposed to build arm, shoulder, and back muscles. Here's a picture of what they should look like for a fit person.

Taken from
The arms are supposed to be directly under the bar. It's not practical in my condo, but even if it were I can't manage that. Here's what I can manage.

Starting Position Arms are fully extended, tip of the triangle is about my armpit.
Ending Position. Elbows are locked at 90°, triangle tip is just below my pecks.
Gah, look at that egg shaped fuck. Anyway, right now I can manage about two sets a day of 5-7-5. I was previously doing these at a more inclined angle, and could do 20-40-20 once a day or 20-25-20 twice a day. 

You'll notice from the pictures my feet are resting on the door frame. I am doing my best not to use them for leverage, but my heel is basically a fulcrum. Not much to do about that until I can get myself lower. 

I'm not walking so much anymore. It's cold out, and my shoes are not well insulated. I did about two miles today, and my toes were so cold they hurt. So, that's enough of that I think. I'm talking to a friend about snowboarding some this winter, but that's an expensive habit. I'm pretty sure my board needs waxing and I think I need new snow pants. Doing jumping jacks and burpees and such are out of the question here, but I do have a "gym"access through the condo. It's just a place with concrete floors, with no neighbors to disturb under me. That's probably all I need right now. There's a Pokemon Go gym next to the actual gym, so I end up there pretty much every day. I just need to throw some clothes in a duffel bag. Easy.