May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Monday, September 17, 2007Disappointing Phoned In Performance
So I went to this event Friday night, and the mayor of Houston was supposed to take part in the same "opening ceremony" that I took part in. He showed up very late, first of all. And then...
Did you see Time Bandits? You know how, at the end, the Supreme Being finally shows up, and he's this doddering, distracted old man who is so, so completely underwhelming? That's how I felt when our mayor finally dragged himself up to the stage. Underwhelmed. Short-changed on my climax.
I understand that politicians are busy and have to phone in appearances once in a while. But I've seen politicians show up late, to this very same venue even, and still manage to exude the same charisma that presumably got them elected. In this case, the mayor didn't even do that. He just sort of rambled, without even looking at his audience. People who are more familiar with his public persona tell me that he's always like that, though. Lamest: The stuff he ad-libbed was kind of off-message from the stuff that got said before he showed up. And he said unfactual things that made me look at his assistant, who stood in the audience with a bright smile plastered onto her face, and wonder why she couldn't have bothered to do at least some half-ass Google research in the car on the way over.
So, in short, his "speech" was a complete disconnect. As my boyfriend said, later, there was a steady build-up throughout the evening... and then the mayor showed up and it all came crashing down.
Sorry to go on about an event you guys didn't see, but I felt the need to vent. It was one of those things where I get annoyed and then say, "I ought to blog about it!" in the same way that people used to say, "I ought to write a letter!" And then, in this case, I'm actually doing it. Mayor White, you disappointed me. There: blogged, logged, vented.
If you have a big butt...
... and you need some weight-loss inspiration, and you're tired of flipping through fitness magazines and seeing bodies that could never, ever in a million years be your own... Then you should start reading Spanish.
My boyfriend and I were at the grocery store and, for the hundredth time, our eyes were drawn to the Spanish mags. In this case, it was Mira!, which proclaimed, "Las 30 Bubis y Pompis Mas Sexy!"
"Oh my gosh," I said. "I think this says, The 30 Sexiest Boobs and Butts."
"I love your people," said my boyfriend. He took the magazine off the rack and flipped through the pages. "You should buy this. I get to look at it first, though." He flipped a little more. "I might have to look at it alone, actually. God, I love your people."
I bought it and, later that night, I saw the 30 sexiest boobs and butts. Although, actually, it was 15 pairs of boobs, making 30 breasts total, and then 15 butts added to that. Or, if you're thinking about it in Spanish, it was actually 30 separate nalgas (butt cheeks). I won't spoil it for you guys planning to run out and get your own copy. But I will say that I felt some of the Latina celebrities got cheated in favor of celebrities best known in America. (J.Lo. didn't get number one, though, thankfully.)
The big (literally) 30 aside, the most interesting part of the magazine, to me, was the ads. Imagine if you took an American magazine and replaced every weight-loss-product ad with an ad promising to make your butt rounder, your boobs higher, and your whole torso "como una guitarra!" These ads come with multiple visual aids -- photos of round-bootied women with little arrows echoing their shapes.
I realize, of course, that the old-fashioned hourglass figure is as unattainable for some women as In Touch's 20 Best Beach Bodies is for me. And I don't believe that women should be pressured to conform to any ideal.
However, at the same time, I have to say that it's comforting to be reminded that, in some places on Earth, I can be considered kind of close to the ideal. I smile at the thought of walking down another country's street and not having white frat boys yell "No fat chicks!" out the window.
Okay, I admit that I'm just exaggerating for essay effect, here. Y'all know and I know that there are plenty of Latino men right here in the US who will be glad to ogle big-butted girls as disgustingly as you please. Really, I was just glad to get a magazine with celebrities I could point to and say, "Eight more months of calorie-counting and I'll look just like her!"
Weight Loss update, only for those who care:
I was gonna tell y'all that I've lost 24 pounds since May 15th. But then my scale changed its mind and added back 4 pounds over night. And then it took them away. And then it said I weighed zero. So, let's not rely on the scale. Let's say, instead, that I lost two pant sizes since May 15th. I know that's not as much as I could have lost, but I'm still pleased with myself. Good job, me.
How am I losing the weight? Easy! I'm obsessing over it. But not in the bad way. Or, at least, not in a way that I think is bad. I just count calories, and I think a lot about what I eat, and I think about how many calories I burn. And it's fun, actually.
Fun for me, I mean. The other day, I asked my friend Julio if he'd give me his scientific opinion on something. He said okay, because he likes science and is easily gulled. So I confided in him all my worried about BMI, ideal weight, and frame size.
(According to my elbow bone measurement, my frame is very small. According to my wrist measurement, my frame is very large. According to my brother Erik, I have "a big fucking head for a girl." How can I know which weight range is ideal for me if I don't really know my frame size? Why are there endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs, but no Tyrannasauras-Rex-o-morphs, like me -- people with giant heads, giant legs, and tiny, tiny arms?)
So I was talking to Julio about these things, and after a half-hour or so, he said, "You really are kind of obsessing over this, aren't you?" And I said, "Well, yeah, but that's what I do -- obsess. That's how I get things done. How do you think I have the staying power to write a whole book, huh? I obsess!"
So then another hour passed, and I was still just touching on the finer points of my weight loss ideas and issues, and then Julio interrupted and said, "Be honest with me. You're talking to me about this stuff not because it's scientific, but because your boyfriend got sick of hearing it and told you to talk to someone else."
Wrong! Of course not. Hello -- my boyfriend would never do that! Instead, he'd just stop listening, but then keep nodding his head in the most convincing way.
So, guess what I'm going to do now. I'm going to share my information, so that my fellow constructive obsessives can have something to think about on their breaks.
How to Lose Weight, Slowly but Surely
1. First, calculate the number of calories you need to eat daily in order to maintain your current weight. Here's a calculator for that.
2. Once you have that number -- let's say it's 2600 -- subtract 500 from it if you want to lose one pound a week. Subtract 1000 from it if you want to lose two pounds a week. (Doctors say please don't eat less than 1200 calories per day. It's not safe.) So, let's say you're now dedicated to eating 1600 per day. You're going to have 500 for breakfast, 500 for lunch, 500 for dinner, and one 100-calorie snack, let's say.
3. How do you know how many calories you're eating? Either read the nutritional info, or go find a calorie chart, or go to your fave restaurants' web sites and look up the nutritional info of what you want to eat (and be shocked at how many calories are in restaurant food). Can you just eat three 500-calorie pieces of cake per day, plus one 100-calorie candy? Sure you can, if you want to be all jacked-up and unhealthy, and you want your skin to get scabby and your hair to look all dull and stuff. Alternately, you can eat the proper ratio of protein, fat, and carbs, and turn glossy and awesome like a golden retriever in an expensive dog-food commercial. Your choice.
Tip 1: Vegetables, fruits, and watery foods like soup have fewer calories per ounce than meat, cheese, and dairy foods.
Tip 2: You can cut up zucchini and add it to pretty much anything (chili, casseroles, sandwiches, cake, crack pipes), and then your food will have fewer calories per ounce.
Tip 3: Whenever you go to Starbucks, be sure to say "non-fat" in front of whatever you normally order.
Tip 4: Jelly has fewer calories than butter.
4. Do you also need to exercise in order to lose the weight? No, you do not. However, if you count calories but then lie on your ass watching TV all day, you'll probably lose muscle mass as well as fat, and then you'll become a slender blob, and your flesh will feel like that of a green, hairless caterpillar. So you might want to exercise at least a little. The coolest thing about exercise is that it burns calories, and therefore it either makes you lose the weight faster, or else it helps you out on days when you felt obligated to eat more than your 1600 calories. Here is a mathmatical formula for that:
What you were supposed to eat
+ one donut
+ one glass of wine
- 45 minutes of Dance Dance Revolution
= You still did okay today.
How do you know how many calories your exercising burns? With a calculator like this one.
5. Buy smaller clothes. Don't buy too many at a time, though, unless you hit a plateau. I find that, the minute I break down and buy a bunch of new pants, I immediately lose enough weight to have wasted all that money. So only buy a lot of pants if you believe in Murphy's Law or the Alanis Morrissette brand of irony. You might want to save money for new clothes in advance, since you'll need more than you're imagining right now. I mean, you'll need all new underwear, eventually, and maybe even smaller shoes. You might want to look into finding a good tailor in your neighborhood. They can take in your clothes as you lose, and save you a little money.
6. As you lose weight, you'll need to recalculate the number of calories needed to maintain your new weight, then subtract from that new number accordingly. If you don't do this, you'll hit a plateau and then get all whiny and give up.
7. When you've reached your target weight, recalculate your maintenance calorie number, and then just don't subtract from it anymore. So, hypothetically, you could eat the same thing as before, but with four glazed donuts added, because glazed donuts are about 240 calories each. Just kidding. Don't do the donut thing. Just add 1000 calories of carrots, instead.
And there you have it. It's just that simple. I'm crossing my fingers for you. Good luck! 6:06 AM #
Comments:About Mayor White, you would think he would be more excited about MECA seeing as his brother was Robert Avalon - who loved, loved, loved MECA.
# posted by LaLizard : 4:12 PM
I know, right?? They gave him a sculpture that had been designed in Robert's honor, and still he was all like, "Yeah, um, Robert really liked MECA... and I think you were on the board a while back, Andrea, weren't you? And... I haven't been here in a few years, but I think MECA still does the Sunday concerts, right? Oh, they don't? Okay, well... Arts education is very important. So is creativity. Um..."
# posted by Gwen : 4:19 PM
You're right on about the weight loss. All the magazines could just post your article and be done with it...but then they couldn't sell any more worthless info.
# posted by : 12:20 PM
Keri: Thank you for saying that. That's a big compliment because I really felt a strong need to lay it out like that, precisely *because* the media gives us so much mis-information.
I mean, I don't think I'm a stupid person, but it's taken me all these years to learn and understand the simple facts about nutrition. There's just so much (convincing, rational-sounding!) crap to read and hear.
It's embarrassing when I look back on it now, but I was so silly for believing in the Atkins diet for so long. A few select people -- including some of you guys, my readers -- tried to show me the light, but I just couldn't believe it would be that simple.
(Obviously, I can talk about this for days. I'm physically restraining myself from adding anything else to this comment. :))
# posted by Gwen : 1:04 PM
I so know what you mean! I lost 21kg a few years ago and in the process learned how to eat properly, how to exercise and enjoy it and I'm still kinda evangelical about it. I'm even going back to school to learn how to be a dietician!
It's surprisingly simple to lose weight if you stick to a good diet and exercise a bit. It's very hard to stick to that diet because there are so many distractions and hidden crap in foods. So much advertising is dedicated to convincing you that X delicious thing that you think is bad for you, is actually good and you can eat it with impunity, so much that we lose our ability to think rationally about food.
And I could also go on for days, I'll stop now. Generally wanted to say yay you tho.
# posted by araposa : 3:10 PM
Thank you, and yay *you* for making a new career out of it. Congrats on your future existence as a dietician!
# posted by Gwen : 3:16 PM
Oh yeah-- and gah, those stupid sample diet menues that the magazine articles always include. I don't understand the point in that unless you plan on eating the exact menu for the duration of your diet (and then, of course you're back to being on your own when you're off the diet.)
# posted by : 5:47 PM
agree agree agree with all your weight loss stuff up there. i do the same thing when i need to lose weight, and while i'm doing all of that calorie counting and obsessing, i do enjoy it. and annoy the hell out of everyone else.
another thing i do is when i have to buy clothes in a smaller size, i get rid of the bigger ones. that way, i can't let myself slide too much because i don't want to spend money on bigger clothes. because it's ok to buy clothes in a smaller size when you lose weight, but not the other way around. and stuff.
# posted by curvature : 7:11 PM
As far as the yoyo-ing numbers on the scale, I learned from the Hacker's Diet (google it) that the overall trend is more important than the daily weight, thanks to things like inaccurate scales, water retention, and sun spots. You can even set up spreadsheets that will take your daily numbers and give you back a graph. Or do it the old fashioned way with some butcher paper and a marker.
# posted by : 8:00 PM
Keri: Oh, I know. I like how Woman's Day used to do a month-long menu, as the centerfold of their mag. Sometimes it was for dieting, and sometimes it was like "30 Ways to Get the Most Out of Whole Frozen Chickens." And I'd glance at the menus, see that half the dishes sounded heinous, and throw the magazine away. But I always felt sorry for whoever had taken the time to design the menus, you know?
Curvature: Total word up. I'm just like you -- have been removing clothes from my closet as they get too big, then putting them in big bags for the upcoming neighborhood garage sale. Never again, I say to each one. heh.
Anon: That's a good idea. Graphs are good. And scientific!
My preferred method, however, is to memorize the lowest weight and immediately disregard anything higher. :)
# posted by Gwen : 2:20 PM
I learned this non-secret secret of weight loss four years ago. I lost about 40 pounds, but I've gained about half of it back :( I like to eat entirely too much. I applaud you Gwen, for your sticktoitiveness!
# posted by threeRd : 3:07 PM
"...Tyrannasauras-Rex-o-morphs, like me -- people with giant heads, giant legs, and tiny, tiny arms?"
Gwen - you kill me! I had to laugh out loud on that! Thanks!
# posted by : 3:56 PM
Thank you for the weight loss update! I have been doing a similar Eeat Less Than You Burn thingie myself, and it is nice to relate.
I'm currently at what I realize is THE WORST size to try to shop. I'm somewhere in an 18/16/14. This means that I can get the smallest Lane Bryant blouse and wish it were just a touch more tailored or I can get the smallest "misses" size and feel big as a house.
In this case, shopping doesn't help. I need a boot camp weekend (meaning one where I don't end up eating cream sauce) to shove me out of my plateau.
# posted by : 5:01 PM
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