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I feel the urge to freshen up.

I haven’t decided anything, but I’m going to leave this basic template up for a bit to see what I think. Anybody wanting to offer their 2 cents or more, feel free.

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Tip For The Day

I have two laptops on my desk, one running Vista and the other XP (for dull, work-related reasons). Both are connected to external monitors, so I’m surrounded by four screens. And the monitors are big enough that I sit several feel away, recliner tilted back, wireless keyboard on my lap, tapping away with the world slightly in front of my elevated toes.

This isn’t important. I just wanted you to envy me. For once.

But, obviously, my laptops are deskbound generally, plugged in and not going anywhere soon. Sometimes I wonder about my battery life, and whether I should unplug the computer and let it discharge once in a while, but now I know that’s not what I should do.

I should take it out and leave it out. I did not know this.

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Brave New Worldish

I have a friend, an old friend, who lives in Arizona. Talked to him yesterday, as a matter of fact.

After college, he sowed some mild oats, bounced around a bit, jobs and geography, before going to graduate school in his mid-30s to get a Master’s degree.

He returned to Arizona, got a job in his chosen field, and has worked for the same company more than a decade, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. No vacations for him, not in this field, but he’s used to it.

He drives a 30-year-old pick-up truck, and assumes he always will.

He pays cash for everything, except when he orders over the phone (over the phone), flowers or gifts, that sort of thing.

It’s a rotary dial phone. And it has the same phone number either he or his family has had since that truck was brand new.

He wouldn’t know how to turn on a computer. He hesitates for a moment in conversation, trying to think of the phrase “Web page” when describing the mysterious thing his company has.

“I wouldn’t know how to answer a cell phone,” he told me.

This may strike some of you as odd.

And some of you are prepared — RIGHT NOW — to organize a religion based upon worship of this man.

I just find it interesting. Particularly as newspapers disintegrate and the Kindle prepares to totally destroy the publishing industry.

I’m comfortable with this world. I have no particular affection for old trucks, old phones, or even bound books, unless they’re mine. I’m not getting a Kindle anytime soon, but mostly because I don’t need to spend the money and someone will improve on it, release the written word from the clutches of Amazon and suck the “D” out of DRM one of these days and I can wait. I’ve got lots of stuff to read right now.

I’m not even all that comfortable with cash. I tend to lose it.

But my friend is not alone, I suspect, and I also suspect that these neoLuddites aren’t all senior citizens, reluctant to learn something new when their remaining time on the planet might be spent golfing or napping or playing with children. Or chatting with some little, little dog.

I certainly worry about my friend, being clueless about the way the world works, but I’m also fascinated. This isn’t exactly life off the grid, but surely it’s life out of the culture stream, and honestly there are rare moments during the day when I just want to dial, just one more time.

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On This Day

Today is the 35th birthday of People magazine. FYI.

And the 75th birthday of Ralph Nader. Howard Hesseman, Dr. Johnny Fever himself, is 69, which is weird.

It was on this day in 1860 that Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Cooper Union speech in New York, making him an instant (for the era, People magazine not around) national celebrity and leading him to the White House.

And then there was the February 27 Reichstag fire in 1933, giving conspiracy theorists everywhere a handy metaphor.

Three lovely women also celebrate birthdays today, Joanne Woodward (79), Elizabeth Taylor (77), and Chelsea Clinton (29).

OK. Four.

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Happy birthday, spousal unit. So what if you made one teeny error in judgment 26 years ago? It’s not like you’ve whined about it. And sometimes I make you food and stuff.

love love

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The Final Fourth

Someday I may just start writing titles, then filling in the rest of the stuff. That appeals to me for some reason.

The above title amuses me, since it’s one I’ve seen lately and because it has, in this case, as many meanings, I guess, as I feel like applying.

For one, it sort of sums up yesterday, a day in which I spent eight hours writing extensive documentation about the life of my son. At the end, or probably at some point in the middle, it struck me that it felt an awful lot like what 12-steppers call a fourth step, a moral inventory, a review of dark corners, dusty corners, shadowy corners. Corners and corners. More corners than you can count.

Fourth steps are considered valuable but not particularly fun. There are some wounds to be debrided and freshened, in other words, letting blood flow freely, and it can leave one a little anemic at the end.

And then there’s a fifth step, where you find another human being and tell him or her all about it, but that’s another blog.

For me, delving into chronology was exhausting and…I’m actually going to leave it at exhausting.

And I suppose, if you consider winter the fourth season, which you’re welcome to do, we awoke to a wintry blast this morning, with some snow, one assumes a last gasp. So there’s that.

Mostly, though, I’m thinking about the Fourth of July.

One particular Fourth, in 1985.

I’ve been editing video for about six weeks now, a project inspired by the death in December of an old friend. After slapping together a YouTube memorial to him, suddenly the videotapes I had sitting in boxes began to bother me.

I bought a video camera in 1984, supposedly to document my baby daughter, in utero at the moment but expected soon. But really? I wanted a video camera.

And I hauled it around everywhere, documenting moments, particularly those involving my friends. Almost of a dozen of us from college were in Seattle at that time, huddling together in small apartments, learning the city and drinking lots of beer.

Smoking a lot, too. Wow. We all smoked a bunch back then.

So I spent some time putting hours of raw footage of parties, parks, airports and plays together into a 30-minute DVD, and in the middle was a chapter I called, as it turns out, The Final Fourth.

July 4, 1985, we went to Discovery Park on a sunny day, ate fried chicken and tossed a Frisbee. It’s only part of the story, and part of the DVD, but maybe my favorite part.

It’ll mean nothing to most of you, except maybe a funny look at 1985, some perms, some big glasses. And a glimpse of Puget Sound, and a baby. The guy in the beginning is me. The baby is Beth, held by the man who stood up for me at my wedding. The beer appears to be Budweiser, but then.

The lady in light blue sitting by the baby Beth is Julie, who celebrates her birthday tomorrow. FYI.

And some of you will recognize faces from long ago.

I do, and did. In fact, I smiled at those faces, smiled so hard my face hurt, and at the end of a long, hard yesterday I watched it again, hurt again, in a good way.

The Final Fourth from Chuck Sigars on Vimeo.

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Not That I Told You So…

…but I did.

Some previous studies have found that low carbohydrate diets like Atkins work better than a traditional low-fat diet. But the new research found that the key to losing weight boiled down to a basic rule _ calories in, calories out.

(Source: Associated Press via Newser)

The sad news for all us is that even with close monitoring in this study, most of the participants couldn’t keep the weight off. Says more about our culture and the high-calorie food available everywhere we look than anything else, I think.

Still, I feel a little redeemed, or at least affirmed or one of those fun words. I still feel a little funny every time I stick a chicken breast on a food scale and write down the weight in grams, but it struck me as the only way. So far so good, too.

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Looking Over My Shoulder

My son compliments me a lot. Enthusiastically and relentlessly, sometimes, since he tends to perseverate in all things to the point of shut up now, thanks.

A few weeks ago, as he does a lot, he went on and on about how trim I was looking, lean and fit.

This is true, of course.

And, obviously, all of his life he lived with Fat Dad, so this is new and exciting. And nice, with the above exception.

But recently I’ve felt like an insult waiting to happen, that is:

Your momma is so fat…

(I am momma for the purposes of this)

Your momma is so fat that she lost 30% of her body weight and still maintains a Body Mass Index slightly above 25.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR, PEOPLE.

The point being that I have room to move, southerly speaking. If you just look at the highly problematic BMI chart, I could actually weigh 135 pounds before I was statistically underweight.

I would not reach 135 pounds, since my family would have done a Caloric Intervention long before that, but you see my point. It probably wouldn’t hurt to lose a few more pounds.

And, as I wrote a while back, that elevated blood sugar level from my recent physical has nagged at me. Prediabetic? Your momma.

Maybe it was an aberration, and maybe I’m a little paranoid lately (I am, and with good reason), but I decided that it was a waste of a brand-new year to spend 365 days without losing a little, so I decided to pay attention and make changes. Minor changes. Nothing serious. Even 2 pounds a month over the course of a year adds up (to 24; I have a calculator).

So my scale this morning informed me that I’ve lost 22 pounds since January 1. My scale is free to say whatever it wants, of course. I happen to believe that weighing myself on New Year’s Day morning only tells me what I ate on New Year’s Eve, so I lop off 5 pounds right away.

Still, given my state of mind, and despite honest efforts to keep indulgence to a minimum and continue daily exercise, it seems a bit much.

Which only fuels my paranoia. So now I think I’m dying of a prediabetic fat-dissolving parasitic malignancy, but I try not to let it interfere with having a good time.

What is really going on, I suspect, is that a year and a half of daily, reasonably vigorous exercise has tuned up my metabolism. Works for me, and furthers my goal of achieving Viggo status before long.

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(Viggo Mortensen, age 50)

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(Me, age 50)

I know, I know. Like we were separated at birth. Weird.

So I only worry a little, and mostly I’m grateful, and even for John with his odd compliments. As the other day, mentioned above, when he went on and on at how great I looked, and then topped himself:

“It’s as if someone Photoshopped an old guy’s head onto a young guy’s body.”

As if.

Viggohood awaits anyway. Since goals are good.

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