Balancing the scales of my life. And the ones under my fat ass.

Another 3 mile run this morning. Two 3-mile runs in less than 12 hours, after an absence of god knows how many weeks, has made my legs a little sore, but nothing I can’t handle. I don’t need to do much for the rest of the night, aside from walk to The Phoenix to see Mogwai. That’s tonight; tomorrow is another Hot Docs screening, followed by yet another on Thursday. Busy week, and I don’t think I’ll be seeing much of home.

It should  be a good test for me, actually. Clearly I need to try a new pattern since the current one is leaving me, well, fat. I am now 45 pounds overweight, and the heaviest I’ve been since…let’s see, since the 23rd of forever. The pattern’s a familar one, harking back to my Delano days when my weight last peaked: work crazy hours, go home, eat something terrible, get up early the next day, repeat. The increase in working hours gets the better of me, as I lose both the energy for exercise and the patience to eat something healthy. If it were happening for one or two days at a time, that would be one thing, but I’ve just accepted the fact that a 12-hour work day is now the norm.

So what happens to the rest of that day? If you take away boring crap like getting ready for work, commuting, taking out recycling, blah blah blah that still leaves about 9.5 hours. I sleep about 6.5 hours per night, so I have 3 left to play with. So that becomes the crucial eighth of a day in which to get shit done, and therein lies my conundrum. Here’s what’s left to do in the day:

  1. Eat
  2. Watch TV
  3. Read
  4. Blog
  5. Exercise

Those things are in approximate order of priority. Now, before you accuse me of being a shit husband, I do spend time with my wife, but Nellie’s hours are just as bad as mine (if not worse) so it’s not as if she’s sitting at home on the couch at 5:15, sighing and lonely. The first two items on the list are spent together. They are usually also combined into one exercise, sadly.

Why that priority? Well, eating is obvious, though my eating habits aren’t the best when time gets tight. But one thing at a time. Watching TV isn’t a real priority, except that it’s one of the few things I get to share with my wife, and the few shows that I watch I really like and if I don’t watch them that night it’s unlikely I’ll be able to catch up later. The PVR helps, but I still watch the same amount of TV in a given week, so it’s moot. Anyway, I watch maybe 2-3 hours a week, so TV’s only eating into about 30 minutes a day.

The next three are the root of the problem. See, I have this obsessive need to keep up to date with my interests. And I have a lot of them. According to Google Reader I scan about 500 news items each day from my 200+ news feeds. Throw in a few daily-read sites, the 85 people I follow on Twitter, and the omnipresent books and magazines, I spend a lot of time consuming information. I like to do this. I feel compelled to do this. I have news feed categories for books, economics, entertainment, friends, humour, movies, music, news, politics, opinion, photoblogs, sports, tech, toronto, travel and TV, and I like knowing about all of those things. But you can imagine what happens: by the time I finish reading this stuff, and then blogging about something…that’s it. I’m done.

So I’m faced with a trade-off: exercise for an hour a day, but read less or stop blogging. Alternatively I could find a job that requires less hours, but I don’t see that happening. I like my job and don’t think I’d be happy unless I was in a job like this one, so…here I am. I’m back to eating into the obvious time sink: information consumption. If it means spending as much time exercising my body as I do exercising my mind, that’s probably not a bad thing. But feeling like I’m getting dumber…that’s not going to be a good feeling for me.

So back to why this week is a good test: if I make sure to run each morning, my commitments during the week (which I usually keep free due to the afore-mentioned compulsion) will keep me away from the computer at night and I’ll see whether hitting the ‘Mark All Read’ button on thousands of news items makes me break into a steady twitch.

Now if somebody could rig up a way for me to attach a netbook to the front of a treadmill and let me click my way through my feeds, then I’d have somethin’…


Despite not having nasal passages clear enough to support running, the  no-chocolate thing seems to be doing some good. Lost 1.5 pounds last week.

  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 224
  • Weight this week: 222.5


I’m just getting ready to start the intensive session of my course. Just finished unpacking and having a snack, building up some energy before class begins at 1:00. This week won’t be pleasant — the topic is corporate finance — but I believe it’s the last tough course, and the third last overall.

[tags]fatblogging, mba[/tags]

"Immigrants, liberals, weirdos, atheists"

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve completely forgotten the whole fatblogging thing. Just as well; not much has happened since it slipped my mind back in November. Stayed pretty much the same, went up around Christmas came back down to about 224 where I’ve been sitting for weeks. The cold this past week hasn’t helped anything. I’m hoping to start running again on Tuesday, maybe.


Watched the remake of 3:10 To Yuma (imdb | rotten tomatoes) today. It was pretty good indeed. I don’t normally care much for Russell Crowe, but I think he was well-suited to this role and Christian Bale was great as always. Funny how a Brit and an Aussie would play two cowboys, no? Anyway, it was a solid film, especially if you like westerns.


This article in the New York Times [via Richard Florida] contains some interesting insights on the threats to science in the U.S.:

Many Americans remain ignorant about much of science, the board said; for example, many are unable to answer correctly when asked if the Earth moves around the Sun (it does). But they are not noticeably more ignorant than people in other developed countries except on two subjects: evolution and the Big Bang. Although these ideas are organizing principles underlying modern biology and physics, many Americans do not accept them.

“These differences probably indicate that many Americans hold religious beliefs that cause them to be skeptical of established scientific ideas,” the report said, “even when they have some basic familiarity with those ideas.”

Florida takes issue with this explanation:

This is not just a question of religion, many Americans are more than skeptical, they dislike, are fearful of and are angered by the institutions which develop science and help provide the broad eco-system of innovation. They view leading universities as places filled with “immigrants, liberals, weirdos, atheists” and so on, who’s views are antithetical to “family values.”

I’m not sure I agree with Dr. Florida’s theory, though I admit I have no data either way. It simply seems easier to accept the religious influence suggested in the article, as I know the that schism exists in the U.S. I cannot, on the other hand, figure out how the opinion described by Dr. Florida could have taken hold. I’m not saying it didn’t; I would just be stunned if it had. Stunned, and even more fearful of what’s happening south of the border.

[tags]fatblogging, 3:10 to yuma, richard florida, new york times, science, evolution, big bang[/tags]

"This is my first torture."

The weekend of awesomeness continued today. We both slept in a little before going for breakfast at Fran’s and picking up groceries on the way home. We dropped the bags and walked over to the Scotiabank theatre to see Rendition (imdb | rotten tomatoes). It was ok…a little heavy-handed and too scattered to really flesh out most of the characters, but worth watching. Weird part was the couple in front of us. They alternated between fooling around and taking phone calls. It was distracting and, frankly, confusing. And the dude had Sideshow Bob hair. Anyhoo.

After the movie we decided to stop at Smokeless Joe’s for a couple of beer (Great Lakes Pumpkin Spice Ale for Nellie, Hacker-Pschorr Dunkel Weiss for me) and a late lunch. We got there at 3:40 and the place was empty. I mean, literally empty…even the staff was nowhere to be seen. Finally a guy showed up; turns out they don’t open until 4, but he let us stay. When we left 90 minutes later only one other customer had come in, so it was like we had the bar to ourselves all afternoon. Fun.


Late last night we finally watched The Last King Of Scotland (imdb | rotten tomatoes), and I’ll say the same thing every other critic and person I know has said: pretty good movie, but Forest Whitaker was amazing. Pretty decent performances all around, and a good job recreating the Uganda of the time, and Kerry Washington is my girlfriend du jour, but really, it’s Whitaker who steals the show. As usual. Looking at the man’s imdb profile it’s almost hard to believe he hadn’t won many awards until this film. He should have won an Emmy just for his role on The Shield two seasons ago.


Christopher Hume, the Toronto Star’s architecture critic, wrote up our building yesterday. He gave it an A, which is nice to hear.

Sitting on the northwest corner of Church and Adelaide Sts., this is one of the most elegant condo towers in Toronto. It isn’t fancy and the materials – glass and steel – aren’t expensive; what makes this building attractive is the elegance and simplicity of its form. At 45 storeys , it’s one of those rare structures designed to take advantage of height, indeed, height is what makes it so appealing.

Up close, there’s just enough detailing to maintain a sense of engagement. Glass Juliet balconies, perforated banding, operable windows and other touches enliven surfaces that could otherwise be sterile and boring. Just as important, the utilitarian functions have been hidden away from the main facades on Church, Adelaide and Lombard. Keeping in mind that the original proposed site was the park surrounding St. James’ Cathedral (which would have been disastrous), the final location across the road and slightly north is perfect; a rare happy ending.

The design and integration to the neighbourhood were almost as important to us as the unit itself. We’re glad it turned out so well.


  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 222
  • Weight this week: 221.5

I did get to the gym three times this week and did lots of walkin’ around the city this weekend; I believe what kept me to a scant half pound dropped was the steady influx of Hallowe’en candy to the office

[tags]rendition, smokeless joe’s, last king of scotland, forest whitaker, girlfriend du jour, spire condominium, christopher hume, toronto star, fatblogging[/tags]

And a bucket of my finest diet pepsi on ice

I am the hold steady:

  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 222
  • Weight this week: 222

Break-even’s about as good as I could have hoped for last week. Time was hard to come by and I spent a couple days at the IFL, which never helps. It should get a little better now, though, because…


I finished my paper today! Well, just about. Still have to proof it and throw SW’s revised references in at the end, but I believe we’re pretty much done. To celebrate I went downstairs and ran three miles. To keep the good times running tonight I may just watch a movie and fall asleep on the couch. Woot.


Last night’s Canadiens game was another good ‘un. Well, kinda; Montreal jumped out to a three-goal lead early in the game but let the Penguins back in it, finally allowing the tying goal with two minutes left. No joy in overtime, so it went to a shootout…16 shooters later someone finally scored, and thankfully it was Montreal. That was the first time in a few games they played a tight one…it was hard on the nerves. I’ve come to like the blowouts.


Robert Ouellette wrote a column today in Reading Toronto entitled Why I Am Cancelling My Globe And Mail Subscription And Why You Should Too*. I agree with that sentiment; I canceled my subscription long ago, partly for the reasons Mr. Ouellette describes (environmental concerns, lack of compelling content, abundance of ads and increasingly pro-war editorials) and partly in protest over their decision to charge paper subscribers to access online content.

Interesting side note: the asterisk in the article’s title points to a confession by Mr. Ouellette in which he states that he may be biased against the Globe because he occasionally writes an architecture column for the National Post. While his first three objections would apply to most any newspaper subscription, I should think that his objection to “fear-driven ‘dogs of war’ [having] their way in the paper’s editorial room” would sour him completely on the Post.

[tags]fatblogging, mba, reading toronto, robert ouellette, globe and mail, national post[/tags]

I'm not sure I even care to be that disinterested right now, to be honest

Despite my recent inability to spend more than an hour doing school work, I have decided that today will be the ne plus ultra of schoolwork days. The ne plus ultra, I tell you. I am well-rested (I slept until 11 yesterday and 9 today), well-fed (just got back from breakfast at Over Easy), well-stocked (did grocery shopping after breakfast) and well-prepared (have two computers at the ready). I have no excuse not to get a lot done today except for sheer, unadulterated disinterest.

Don’t put it past me.


I know this headline shouldn’t make me laugh — it’s really quite tragic — but I couldn’t help myself. From the Globe and Mail:

Indian Official Dies In Wild Monkey Attack

If you’re gonna go, go while defending yourself from an army of wild monkeys.


  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 223
  • Weight this week: 222

Looks like I managed to correct last week’s blip.

[tags]mba, over easy, wild monkey attack, fatblogging[/tags]

"A misanthrope is a bugger who hates every other bugger."

Oh dear.

  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 222
  • Weight this week: 223

Not so good. All that talk last weekend of exercising and healthier eating devolved into working long hours and going out for drinks every night. Today I ran three miles as a sort of penance. Shame is a great motivator; ever wonder why I blog about how fat I am?


For the last couple of months, after I’d complained for the umpteenth time about UpCountry not delivering our bed, I started to get hits on my blog from people querying “upcountry bankrupt” and the like. I guess that was early warning; yesterday The Toronto Star reported that UpCountry has declared BankRuptcy. Glad we finally got our bed when we did; I guess our problems may have been less about their stellar incompetence than about their desperate attempts to remain solvent.


We spent the afternoon watching a couple of movies:

  • The Proposition (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was violent and dark and moody and beautiful and jarring. Written by Nick Cave and starring some awesome talent (Ray Winstone, Guy Pearce, Danny Huston, Emily Watson, John Hurt), it was as artful as it was bloody. Reminiscent of the final scenes of Unforgiven.
  • Still on the dark side, Half Nelson (imdb | rotten tomatoes) is all Ryan Gosling, carrying a movie about a drug-addicted junior high teacher on his back. There were other good performances as well, but Gosling just owned this one, and it was a tough one to handle. He seemed just desperate enough to make it painful, and just caring enough to make it tragic.

Nellie’s now watching Mallrats just to shake off all the downer.

[tags]fatblogging, upcountry, the proposition, half nelson[/tags]

I'm surprised we didn't get two Ugly Betty rip-offs

Back to a North American diet & schedule = half a pound gained.

  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 221.5
  • Weight this week: 222

I only got to the gym once this week and haven’t been eating well, so this isn’t a big surprise. Must be a little more diligent about both. Must must.


We went out for dinner and a drink with CBGB last night and bored them to death with stories of France. We went to Volo, in part because I wanted to avoid seeing the Leafs-Canadiens game until I could get home and watch it on the PVR, and Volo has no TV. Or so I thought; turns out there’s a small TV above the bar, but I was able to avoid looking at it for the whole night. Finally, though, I heard someone say “it’s tied 3-3 going into overtime” so I just gave up and watched. The Leafs got a makeup call in overtime and scored on the power play, keeping Leafs management jobs safe for a few more days at least.

While I hate seeing the Canadiens lose to the Leafs, it’s not a bad result for Montreal to leave a hostile building with a point, especially when their goaltender had an off night, they were turnover prone and their opponents were playing desperate hockey, despite being only three games into the season. Most other teams would have shelled them last night, but Toronto’s D let them stay in the game…Montreal even hit the post in overtime on their own power play. Anyhoo, it’s on to a tougher test next week: Pittsburgh Tuesday.


I have to say, this season’s new TV shows have been rubbish so far. I decided to give a few a try and, while I haven’t yet sampled the entire list, I’ve been pretty disappointed.

  • K-Ville: cops in post-Katrina New Orleans. Interesting premise? You bet. Sadly, it’s formulaic and predictable and an utter waste of a great actor: Anthony Anderson.
  • Bionic Woman: I love Katee Sackhoff as much as the next guy breathing human, but she’s not in the show that much. The star, Michelle Ryan, is stunning but she can’t act. The special effects look dopey, the supporting characters are awful cliches…ugh. This show was the biggest disappointment of the season.

I haven’t gotten to Life, The Big Bang Theory (which I hear has a laugh track…how 80s chic!) or Dirty Sexy Money yet but I’m not hearing great things about them. Most other new shows Nellie’s watched have been shite as well. I’m about to give up on Heroes, and I’ve already walked away from 24. Even Friday Night Lights is scaring me a bit…the first episode of season 2 was drifting into O.C. territory. That’s network television for you though. The next season of The Wire can’t arrive soon enough.

[tags]fatblogging, canadiens, leafs, k-ville, bionic woman, life, big bang theory, dirty sexy money, the wire[/tags]

Les vacances sont fini

My parents have flown back to Nova Scotia, so the vacation is now officially over. We’ve set about recovering from the time away and resuming our daily lives. We both have tomorrow off and plan to relax a little, but soon it’ll be time for the office and the gym and groceries and bills and blah blah blah.

We had one last farewell to the festivities last night, having dinner at Fieramosca with my parents and my aunt and uncle from Guelph. Now every member of my immediate family, and Nellie’s, has been there with us at least once. It was, as always, a terrific evening and a good way to cap things off.

Actually, getting my parents to the airport on time was a bit of an adventure. We booked a car from Autoshare to drive them and Nellie went across the street to pick it up. After fifteen minutes she still hadn’t shown up (the car is parked right across the street) so we were all puzzled. Ten minutes after that I was starting to get a little worried, but five minutes later she appeared. See, the downtown core was slammed today: Nuit Blanche has shut down some streets and both the Toronto waterfront marathon and the Run for the Cure were on today. This meant road not only closures, but also that thousands of people who’d just finished running were trying to drive out of the city…and we were already thirty minutes behind our (conservative, admittedly) schedule. Calling a cab would’ve taken too long so we drove anyway; after crawling along Queen Street we thought we were home free on University…until we saw that Word on the Street was blocking the entirety of Queen’s Park. Apparently it’s festival weekend in Toronto. Anyway, after a slight diversion around WotS we booted up Avenue and cruised to the airport, arriving in plenty of time for their flight. We think.


I saw some really great places on our trip — highlights include the view from Domme, walking around the old centre of Sarlat, the rooms at the Relais Franc Mayne and pretty much all of Paris — but the five days spent at the chateau with so many friends and family, in such a phenomenal location, for such an auspicious occasion, is really what I’ll remember about the trip. It was just one great memory piled on top of the next. As I said before, it was a once-in-a-lifetime happening. I can’t believe it’s only been a week since we left. Already I miss it terribly.


One more good thing about France:

  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 227
  • Weight this week: 221.5

Yup…I actually lost weight, despite a steady infusion of pain au chocolate and booze. I may have lost even more than those 5.5 pounds but put a bit back on once I arrived in Toronto.

Clearly I need to spend more time in France.


Given how many times I’ve watched these two movies, I can’t believe I didn’t notice this before now:

“The (toy) bear that Jack Ryan brings home to his daughter at the end of The Hunt for Red October is the exact same bear that Bruce Willis brings to his son in Die Hard (both films were directed by John McTiernan).”

[via John Sakamoto]

[tags]fieramosca, autoshare, nuit blanche, toronto waterfront marathon, run for the cure, word on the street, relais franc mayne, domme, sarlat, die hard, hunt for red october[/tags]