The household's high-speed Internet line went out last week, and just got fixed this afternoon. So I'm trying to catch up on e-mail, blogging, news sites, and all the other bad habits I've picked up in the last few years.
Other than the curling up into a fetal position under the computer desk, and the occasional high-pitched shriek of anguish, I don't seem to have had any withdrawal symptoms at being off the Net for an extended period.
And -- of course -- the e-mail stack actually contained real news:
I sold a short story. First since I started writing and submitting again last year. To a small-press anthology, REQUIEM OF THE RADIOACTIVE MONKEYS, that will be published later this year.
AND... I heard from the fellow who, a few years ago, took out a film option on "Death and the Ugly Woman", a story I had in one of the SWORD AND SORCERESS anthologies. He's (finally) gotten some serious interest on producing a sword-&-sorcery anthology-series for television. So "D&TUW" may eventually end up on the screen. (Or not. "Serious interest", in Hollywood-speak, can be pretty fragile.)
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts may be on the right track for developing a male birth control pill:
"When researchers at the foundation, its scientific operations merged with UMass in 1997, wanted to better understand how they might be able to prevent men from reproducing, they decided to look at pond scum."
Full story here.
About two-and-a-half years ago, I found the needle on the bathroom scale edging very close to the 200-pound mark.
I cut back on serving sizes, and on snacks and desserts. I also started putting half-diet, half-regular soda into the big mug I carry around at work, instead of all sugared soda.
Worked pretty well. Over about six months, my weight dropped down into the mid-170's. And it looked like I might progress on to my target weight of 165. (The height/weight charts at my doctor's say my ideal weight would be 155. But the last time I was actually at 155, I was falling over from dizzy spells and thinking things like "Brain tumor; they'll probably amputate.")(That was the summer of 1978; boy, that summer was just one endless episode of Fun and Happiness after another....)
But after that six months of fairly steady weight loss, with no change in what I was doing to try and lose weight, the weight loss stopped and my weight stabilized at about 175.
For about a year. Over the last year, still with no change in what I'd been doing, I've slowly crept back up to about 185 pounds.
My metabolism has apparently betrayed me ("Bad metabolism! Bad!"), shifting to my disadvantage.
So, in an effort to both burn more calories and kickstart the metabolics into a faster-burning rate, I started exercising regularly at the beginning of January.
Progress report for that first month: Weight loss... zip; the scale's still in the 183-185 pound range.
But the good news is that body fat seems to be shrinking: the stomach looks a little smaller, and feels a lot firmer. And doing a pinch-test at the sides of the waist is producing a smaller pinch. So I think an increase in muscle mass is replacing some of the weight formerly known as fat.
I'm not too concerned about the weight, if it goes along with an improvement in body condition. When I was working out regularly at a gym, about ten years ago, my weight never got below 180, but I looked (if I may say so) Pretty Damned Good.
So my goals for the year are: 1) try and get weight down to 175 or less, and 2) get in good enough condition by 2006 to post a beefcake photo here without embarassing myself.