Walk to Rivendell – Eowyn’s Challenge

I may not have noted it here, but I had a check-up in March that included the report that I have really high cholesterol. How high? Don’t ask – really bad all the way around, especially the triglycerides. So my doctor said I could go right on a cholesterol-lowering drug, or I could try the diet and exercise route for a while. I thought I’d go the diet and exercise route.

During the first six weeks, I ate extremely well (lots more fruit than usual), went to the gym pretty regularly and walked about 1.5 miles per day (I’m walking to the trolley now rather than take the bus that stops down the block). I lost about 12 pounds.

In mid-late April, I developed a nasty sinus infection and started to slack off. I walked every day, and avoided things like candy and cheese (these are some of my favorite foods and they can really add to your triglycerides).

In May, assorted stressful things happened and I started showing signs of yet another episode of gastritis/irritable bowel. I started eating ginger snaps and mint chocolate ice cream, both of which are very soothing during periods of stress, but not good for dieting. Also, we had company, ate out a lot and went to many family parties. Despite all these things, I managed to loose about 2 pounds, and the stomach problems pretty much went away.

This week, I found kind of a cute online support system for people trying to loose weight. It’s called “Walk to Rivendell.” Some folks have broken down the LOTR books and estimated that it’s something like 485 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell. We want to see if we can walk that many miles between March and mid-December (the opening of Return of the King). I estimate I’ve walked about 125 miles since mid-March, meaning I’ve walked the distance between Hobbiton and the Great East Road (near Bree).

So Friday I have another blood test, and I’ll get the results next week. I’ll find out if my triglycerides are headed in the right direction, or if I’ll need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. In any case, I’m working to keep my activity level up and my food intake down. [[(2015: Well, I did need to go on Lipitor. After a few years of walking here and there, I started walking pretty seriously in 2012 and have walked over 2,500 miles since then. Still fat though, but at least my back feels a whole lot better)]]

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Really Neat Test

I love those online quizzes, and read about a doozy over on theonering.net. It’s something of The Ultimate Geek Test. I scored a 37.47, which made me a Major Geek. I sent them some suggested questions, particularly since those of us who still use DOS daily aren’t give enough Geek points for that. I also submitted one in honor of a long-time aquaintance:

Played poker with Bill Gates

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Fiction Writing Fictio

I’ve been fighting writers block (or not) for most of my adult life. I’ve been writing fiction since I was a child. I collected a bunch of rejection slips from various editors over the ’70s, so I stopped writing. I “relapsed” into writing a little in the late ’80s and early ’90s, got a few more rejection slips, but sold one story, “Muse of Fire,” to Midnight Zoo, a semi-prozine, back in 1993.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing fiction. When I returned to college a few years ago, I finished my English Writing degree, and was lucky enough to have one really good English teacher (Chuck Kinder) at the end of my senior year. He was very supportive. But, when I was unemployed after college and had lots of time to write, I really didn’t write all that much. I submitted my best story to Asimov’s, but it seems to have gotten lost in the slush pile because I never heard back.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of lots of stress, I found myself thinking of a mainstream story I’d started during my return to college. I’ve been working on it pretty steadily, and while it’s going off in some directions I hadn’t planned, I’m still writing. I seem to do my best work on the bus – I actually outlined the rest of the novel over the last two days, and have written about 10,000 words over the last month. I seem to be doing my best writing when I have no time left to be writing!

Then, today, I found a story I’d written about 10 years ago, a companion piece to “Muse of Fire,” has just been accepted by Triangulation, a little fiction journal edited for our local SF club. Diane Turnshek says she has rejected a number of stories, and is really pleased with the ones she’s accepted.

So I guess it’s time to dust off that other story and resubmit it to Asimov’s

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Thoughts on the Lord of the Rings Adaptation

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a couple of months, and finally finished it today.

I posted a link to this essay on TheOneRing’s movie board, and it launched quite a vigorous discussion.

Speaking of flicks, we saw X2 today. It was pretty good, though the editing was a little loose and the screenplay could probably have benefitted from having fewer characters and a little more focus. The opening sequence in the White House is quite phenomenal.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Letter to the Editor that Wasn’t Published

Back in early March, Jim wrote a very good letter to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on the history of US-France relations. Unfortunately, at about the same time, the PG wound up printing a very similar letter with even more historical tidbits. However, since Jim’s was still a good letter, here it is:

 

Our Congress has done a number of silly things over the years, but some of their actions in the last week have been so childish that they make many of us feel ashamed of them. Changing the name of French Fries and French Toast in the cafeteria to Freedom Fries/Toast was a childish waste of time (especially given all the important things they should be addressing).

And the latest move by one representative to pay to bring home the remains of WWII soldiers is both silly and insulting. The claim that, by not agreeing with us on this issue, the French somehow don’t appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers in WWII makes no sense. It also seems to imply that those of us in this country who don’t agree with President’s Iraq policy somehow don’t appreciate the actions of our soldiers in WWII. This is absolute nonsense. This is a different war, with different circumstances, and supporting one doesn’t mean that you have to somehow support the other. Nor do other countries — including allies — have to agree with us on every issue. Despite Mr. Bush’s statements, those who aren’t for us in every issue aren’t somehow enemies (and can in fact still be friends)

Also, all those folks who are jumping on France over this issue need be reminded that, while France owes us a debt of gratitude for what we did for them in WWI and WWII, we owe them a debt of gratitude for our very independence. Without France’s backing, we’d have never broken free from Britain in the Revolutionary War. (Yet of course 10 years later, when a new French government was involved in a very different war, we (wisely and rightly) did not back them and did not go to war at their side.)

(Jim Mann, early March 2003)

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Santorum Says…

The folk(s) over at uggabugga (thanks to Leslie Turek for linking to that one!) found even more unbelievable quotes from my (gulp) senator Rick Santorum

I wish I had the time to track Rick’s gaffes. Unfortunately, I don’t. But if anyone else has seen anything particularly vile (which should be pretty easy given his 10+ years of making public statements) that Rick has said in public, send it along and I’ll link to it here.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Letter to the Log Cabin Republicans

[[When I get on a roll…]]

Dear folks,

I cannot comprehend a greater oxymoron in this day than “gay” and “Republican.” I’m naturally something of a contrarian, but this is too much, even for me!

I used to vote more often for Republican candidates than Democratic candidates, but cannot bring myself to vote Republican anymore.

Why, just this week, one of the leading Republican senators equated incest and homosexuality (something I wrote both to him and to our local paper (http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/letters/20030424lets0424p1.asp) to disagree with vehemently).

And, apparently today, our government’s representative at the UN will abstain from voting in favor of not discriminating on basis of sexual orientation.

Gay rights issues, on a federal level, will continue to fail so long as Bush and friends are in power.

I have a lot of respect for Log Cabin Republicans, but you’re fighting a loosing battle for the forseeable future. Help the rest of us “out” the Republicans next year so we can all have a saner federal government!

Laurie D. T. Mann
http://www.dpsinfo.com

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Letter to the Post-Gazette

I adapted the letter I wrote to Santorum, and it was
published in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/letters/20030424lets0424p1.asp

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Letter to Rick Santorum

Yes, he’s (gulp) my senator. In fact, he grew up about three miles from where I live now, a fact that does not surprise me at all, given the regressive politics of many people in Mount Lebanon.

Here’s a letter I wrote to him today:

If you can’t comprehend the difference between consensual sex between adults and incest, many other Americans can. Hopefully, they will remember that the next time you are up for re-election. I know I will, and deeply resent your intrusion into American’s bedrooms. I continue to be deeply ashamed of your “representation” of Pennsylvania. Your attitudes epitomize the old slogan “Pennsylvania has Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in the middle.”

Your views are much more in touch with the religious leadership of progressive countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Have you considered moving?

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Oops, They Got Me!

Ohhhh, the indignity of it all!

Just today at work, I complained to co-workers that no one has any good April Fools Day jokes anymore. The Pitt News had a so-so April Fools Day issue. There was nothing particularly funny on the Web. Mebbe it was the war – no one seemed to think anything was funny.

At the end of a long day, I popped over to The One Ring, the LOTR Movie fan Web, and my jaw just dropped when I read this.

I dashed into my friend Laura’s office. “We have to postpone our trip out to California next year – Return of the King is being delayed until next May!”

We commiserated for a few minutes – we’re both dying to see ROTK, and had decided to go to the annual Oscar party theonering.net throws. But not now – not if ROTK can’t even be up for any Oscars.

“This movie’s not out yet, and I’m already tired of hearing about it,” grumbled my boss, as she passed by Laura’s office. She’s a very dear person in most respects, with this one little blind spot.

I forwarded this lamentable news to my husband and daughter, then looked at the press release again. Something about the date caught my eye…

I clicked on a link in the story and found that, yes, I’d been had!

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog