Sep 99

wally world

this evening, i decided that i wanted to make smoothies, seeing as the health kick i’m currently on just could not continue without a fruit-and-ice concoction to loosen my bowels and leave strawberry seeds in my teeth. and, considering my current method of chopping fruit into small bits consists of hacking at them with steak knives and whacking them with the flat of a cleaver, vis a vis Martin Yan, i needed the osterizing power of 16 speeds and 450 watts. so i picked up a blender whilst i was at wal*mart, the redneck mecca.

but the real reason i was at wallyworld in the first place was that, in order to legally enjoy a fishing trip with my brother, consisting of sitting in a small, rocking boat, drowning worms and killing brain cells, i needed a state fishing license. strange as it sounds, at 8pm on a saturday night, the place to go for a fishing license, not to mention all the other sundries one could ever need, would be wal*mart.

and i was not the only one at wal*mart tonight. about half the mouth-breathers in the county showed up to wander around, with all the young ‘uns in tow, in total disbelief of a store so large as to have posted maps, and so anachronistic as to sell shotguns and bullets, but not beer. i swear it was like a scene out of ‘night of the living dead’ – aside from the screaming children and celine dion music on the p.a. system.

so i finally found the aisle with blenders, mixers, and toaster-ovens, after winding my way through at least half a dozen aisles filled with nothing but women’s underwear – and not the frilly, attractive kind one might find oneself staring at, enjoying the private knowledge of sneaking a look at the secret underthings. no, it seemed this collection was formulated specifically to effectively disable the sex drive of anyone in the vacinity, let alone the wearer. then i was inexplicably lost in sporting goods for a while, which was fortuitous, as i did need to stop off and get a fishing license.

after finally stumbling onto kitchenwares, i was stunned at the array of blenders available at the local wal*mart. just how many speeds does one need? 10? 12? 16? and what of engine wattage? i finally picked out an osterizer 12 speed blender with a 48 ounce container and 450 watts of ice-crunching, fruit-juicing power power power. this thing is tough – it has more wattage than my stereo. the lights dim when i’m using it. i tried it out on various speeds with a single ice cube before going full-speed ahead with a smoothie. the ice cube danced, spun, and eventually was rendered into its component molecules by the frappe cycle.

there were blenders there, though, with all glass containers – which i was too afraid i would break and never be able to find quite the right replacement part – or which had only two speeds, but still cost twice as much as the others with 8 times as many. to be honest, i can’t hardly tell, other than the amount of noise emanating from the shaking silverware drawer and the visible vibration of all the items on my counter, the difference between speeds. i only really use the low speed to get things going, and the highest speed to do all the work, so i could probably do with one of the two-speed models.

but there’s nothing quite like having all the options, bells and whistles and all that rot.

so, with my new fishing license tucked into my wallet, and my new osterizer under one arm, i headed to the supermarket to get some fruit to test this bugger out.

how exactly does one pick out a pineapple, anyway?

Sep 99

Bill Gates, Tandy coverboy

while rummaging through some old magazines, i came upon the December, 1984 issue of BYTE magazine. staring back at me from the back cover was William H. Gates III, sitting in front of a Tandy computer, running the first issue of MS-Windows. the picture being one of the silliest i had ever seen of the richest man in the world, combined with his personal endorsement of a Tandy product, made me laugh out loud.

bill gates and his tandy 2000

“Designing a revolutionary concept in software demanded a computer with extraordinary performance. The Tandy 2000 delivered.”
— Bill Gates
Chairman of the Board,

Bill Gates has been at the leading edge of personal computing from the very beginning. His company is a leading producer of microcomputer software.

“Our newest software product, MS-Windows, is an integrated windowing environment. It will let personal computer users combine individual programs into a powerful, integrated system.

“When we set out to design MS-Windows in color, we knew that the Tandy 2000 computer would let us turn an extraordinary product into a work of art. The graphics are sharp and crisp, and gave us a degree of creativity like nothing before.

“Our engineers were quite impressed with the processing speed of the Tandy 2000’s 80186 microprocessor, too. And while the finished product will utilize the 2000’s Digi-Mouse, the well-laid out keyboard has helped us speed through the design stage.

“We’re proud of our work. So when we want to show someone how great MS-Windows really is, we give them a demonstration. On the Tandy 2000.”

Isn’t it time you enjoyed peak performance from a personal computer? Go ahead, watch how much faster today’s most sophisticated programs run on the high-technology Tandy 2000.

of note:

the screenshot has windows running in 16 colors(?), showing ‘reversi’ (othello), a file browser, a calculator, and a representation of a 5x5x5 color cube on the screen.

the copyright at the bottom shows ‘MS’ as a trademark of microsoft, this was before they trademarked ‘windows’. ‘windows’ was considered a generic term.

windows is a ‘windowing environment’ not an operating system.

Sep 99


I somehow fail to express my short-lived gratitude at being slapped in the face. The rosy, blotchy bloom quickly rises, squelching my regards -an utterance- an apology.

You lent me impulsive emotion, intimate sensation, something best not blasphemed by self-infliction. In rendering my Likeness now, a smile perches on the edge of outrage; my Image is unperturbed, but far from the calm serenity it conveys.

Time heals my wound, but not the memory of impulsive contact, flesh pulverized by flesh in an exhilharating sensation. Never to be captured or relived, the memory serves me well as I venture, reluctantly, into the walking sleep and am delivered once again into novocaine reality.

Sep 99

slim down with the ramen diet!

i’m fat. tubby, chubby, a chunky muffin.

i’ve been this way since i finished college and moved on to the ‘real world’ (and not the one mtv would like us to believe in, where beautiful college students and dropouts all live together happily for awhile in a big-ass house that someone else pays for and get in little arguments about who’s not sleeping with whom, and everything ends up just being cute and obnoxious and nothing at all like your life will ever be). i know that my problem, along with the millions of other americans who are, like myself, overweight, is that my caloric intake is greater than my energy expended – and not due to a glandular or genetic predisposition like some people would like to believe.

don’t get me wrong, i believe there are a lot of people who just cannot, for varying reasons, lose weight. i am not one of these people. i am fat, and i know exactly why. i eat too damned much, and don’t exercise enough.

and this is not a cry for help. i don’t want richard simmons’ chubby ass beating down my door, insisting that i jump around like a fool and listen to oldies while he soothes my crying eyes with some little speech about the thin person screaming to get out from inside me. kiss my ass, simmons, big as it is, and get out.

i work at one desk all day, then come home and sit behind another one, futzing on the computer. granted, this is how i make my living, but still, if it’s not sitting at the computer – like i am right this very moment, damn – it’s lounging on the couch, watching television.

and so, i’m going to change that. i’m going to lose some weight, finally, instead of packing it on, eventually to reach critical mass and start burning brightly as my fuel supply is burned off in the great, gravity-driven furnace of my own hugeness.

i have actually started working out on a regular basis – stairmaster (which royally kicks my ass at the lowest setting), stationary bike (good thing it’s stationary, because i can’t ride the actual mobile kind at all), and freeweights. every other day i do that, and on off days, i lie on my back watching tv and try to catch my breath. actually, i do sit-ups and crunches until i can’t stand any more, then wait for the next commercial and do it all again. not a bad routine, methinks.

but still, the results can’t come fast enough. i must examine my lifestyle, and compare it to the only time in recent memory that i was actively losing weight – my first two years in college.

bulking up on a hearty diet of depression, self-loathing, and ramen noodles, i supplemented my own weight-loss plan with regular doses of malnutrition, dehydration, and a will to survive like that of a lemming waddling ever closer to a cliff. but i didn’t exercise, and i certainly didn’t do aerobics to oldies music. i vegetated then as now, soaking in my own juices, bathed in cathode-ray-tube beams, barely seeing the light of day. and, in all, i lost about 25 pounds in 18 months.

i’ve gained it all back, of course, in spades. i’ve gone from the steady post-pubescent spread that every man will eventually have to accept to a point where i’ve gained almost two pants sizes in less than a year and a half. it’s not that gaining weight is a problem – i expect i’ll be a chunky muffin the rest of my life, short as it probably is, it’s the rate of acquisition that’s troublesome. i started out with a nice, round buddha-like belly that my female friends felt was comforting in a teddy-bear, reminds-me-of-my-dad kind of way, to a when-are-you-due, and-what-are-you-naming-them, filling out my t-shirts and the pleats in my trousers in places i wasn’t comfortable with.

i can track all this by the belt i wear, and refuse to replace. it’s an old, worn leather strap with only a few holes in it. i can tell that a year ago, i was on the smallest hole, and was that way for a while judging by the permanent dent in the leather. since then, though, i’ve crept past one, two, three holes to where i’m holding steady now. the biggest clue, of course, is the pants i wear, or rather, don’t, because i can’t squeeze my ass into them any more. my wardrobe is dwindling because i’m too stubborn – or thrifty – to go out and buy new clothes, with the slightest chance that i might be able to still fit into the khakis i bought just a few months ago still on the horizon.

and so, i have before me my future: a package of top ramen, chicken vegetable flavor. included in this handy little shrink-wrapped noodle brick are 14 grams of fat, 1580 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, and 8 grams of protein. all told, about 380 calories. not too bad for an entire day’s sustenance, if you consider that’s two servings – not that anybody ever eats just half a brick of ramen anyway.

i can deal with that. a little malnutrition can’t hurt too much. not that i haven’t gone to some extremes before. for two weeks about 8 months ago, i fasted. didn’t eat anything, but drank lots of water and orange juice – the later only after about passing out after work one day. and i managed. not too shabby, for someone who hadn’t gone a day without a meal his entire life up to that point. will power, that’s the ticket.

so, now all that’s left is to work out the depression angle. i’m not doing too badly on that front, watching way too much tv and avoiding human contact, i think i can manage to get to the suicidal thoughts stage in a few weeks. by that point, i will have started losing some water weight through dehydration – munching on raw ramen and heightened sodium intake will do that.

note: the author wishes that you all know he is not suicidal, does not condone crash dieting or fasting to lose weight, and does not enjoy eating top ramen. he is, however, a little on the overweight side, and working on changing that.