Geezer

I’m feeling kind of old today.

Long hours behind the computer made me into a modern version of the tin man. Almost immobile, definitely inflexible.

What makes you feel old?

Kudos to you if you’re still young enough to not feel old yet.

And kudos to my massage therapist who helped take at least 45 days off my knees. They still feel like stiff, yet wobbly knobs, but hopefully that feeling will go away.

And hello to my fellow old people!

Until tomorrow my friends…

Is the World Really That Bad?

These days, it seems like the world has gone to absolute shite. There’s seemingly so much violence, hatred, and lying. It is easy to feel that the world is terrible. I know I sometimes feel like it is.

I once read a quote by Eckhart Tolle that loosely said something like “If you think the world is against you, it will be.”

Even though I don’t always feel comfortable out in the world, and I certainly don’t always think about the world as being a warm and fuzzy place, sometimes, the universe smiles at me. Well, often times the universe smiles at me. Does the universe smile at me because I am paying attention and smiling back or because I’m special? I am hesitant to say that I am terribly special, so it must be the former reason.

Allow me to share two mildly heart warming stories from the past two days:

Yesterday:

I was driving along on my somewhat long commute to meet two students. I was just sitting at a stop light, not singing along to music or doing anything in particular, when I casually looked over to my left.

There was an old, rusted, silver mini-van, with several people inside. The driver, a skinny, young woman wearing a colorful head wrap and tank top shirt, leaned over the front seat passenger and waved and smiled, rather enthusiastically.

I looked, then squinted, trying to make their faces out more clearly. I didn’t recognize anyone in the car. The passenger then smiled sweetly and warmly. I returned the smile, with the same genuineness, mixed with a lot of confusion, to be honest. They then casually returned to talking amongst themselves and eventually drove away, like they really were just waving and being friendly strangers. They didn’t ask me for change or directions or anything. I suppose that they were just being nice. Smiling back was a welcome departure from the typically dirty looks I give other drivers.

Today:

Today, I had a bit of a mental block, so I went for a walk. I walked along the nearby trail, which passes a high school. When I got close to the fence of the school, I saw two teenage girls, mimicking walking and then jumping up and down. I thought they were mocking me. The shirt I was wearing was kind of tight and I am not a size two, so I kind of thought they were mocking me for walking and / or being chubby.

As I got closer, I could see their faces and hear their voices clearly. One shouted “YOU GO SIS!” and the other shouted, jumping up and down and cheering FOR me, “I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.”

I was so taken aback that I almost failed to wave back! It was so odd! It went against every negative expectation that I have about interactions with both strangers and teenagers, and these people were both strange AND teen aged!

I waved back and smiled. My head became so uplifted! I smiled all the way back home. I felt encouraged (something that I sorely need these days). I felt like the universe cared about me and was sending me little pats on the back. It was lovely. My mood was improved for the rest of the day and continues to be lifted until this very moment.

Thanks, universe. You’re not so bad.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

My Dirtiest Secret

Here’s the thing: I am not clueless in the kitchen. Through years of trial and error (and watching lots of celebrity chefs on tv), I have actually become quite adequate, dare I say, creative and good, in the kitchen.

I have skills! Finally. Thankfully.

But, I still eat out more often than I’d like to admit and I still eat stuff from the box sometimes. Eating baked good type things from the box is HORRIBLE to me, except for two exceptions: 1) boxed strawberry cake and 2) boxed brownies.

I have no idea why I absolutely love the taste of *only* box strawberry cake. I mean, it’s moist and delicious and slightly artificially tasty in a way that I cannot duplicate at home. For any other flavor, I prefer the cake I can make at home.

I have a bit more of an understanding about my affinity for boxed brownies. Way back in the day, when I was more broke and more skinny, making brownies on Sunday meant that I had a tiny little bit of dessert to eat with my sometimes sad little meals throughout the week. I have a picture of me, standing in the kitchen of one of my first apartments, making brownies, luxurious and thick hair carefully pinned back to avoid contaminating my tasty $1.79 worth of chocolaty investment.

Nowadays, I have a bit less hair and a bit more fat. I also had to shell out a bit more money for the box of brownie mix, but it is such a fair trade, to be able to make an entire dessert in less time than it takes to heat the oven.

Perhaps, one day I’ll be a famous food blogger. If that happens, I would like the 3 people who read this to keep this secret just between us.

What is a food thing that you secretly enjoy, even though, for some reason, you have some shame about it?

Until tomorrow, my friends…

P.S.

My secret to making these brownies extra delicious is to stir more walnuts into the batter, up to a quarter cup! Shhhh!

Free Advice for Sale

I was just scrolling through Facebook, and I saw an ad for a weight loss and exercise program. Yes, ANOTHER ONE.

I get why there are so many programs. Each one has an approach that will help their target group of consumers.

And people respond well to certain personalities and styles. I, for instance, enjoy the female badass vibe of Jillian Michaels and the humorous antics of Tony Horton. I also love the no talking style of Tracy Anderson.

I’m not paid to endorse any of those people and if I were, it would be a shame because I’m still fat. But you get the idea.

But the Facebook ad made me think about all the advice we can buy online, in the form of training programs, books, etc.

While exercise and nutrition training programs are great and useful, there are some simple things that you can do to get you started on the right track. I’m going to share some of those things with you here, now, totally FOR FREE.

1) Try to move around during the day.

Do you know that it’s kind of difficult to get in 10,000 steps a day, if you work a desk job at least. Start with trying to get 3,000 and then challenge yourself to take just one more step each day thereafter. Just noticing how sedentary you are is a way to change your behavior.

2) Eat something that is a green vegetable at every meal.

Today, I ate Thai takeout leftovers (don’t judge) but I steamed a small head of broccoli florets to go with it. Getting in your veggies can be hard, but if you develop some awareness of your lack of vegetable intake, you’ll likely improve.

A friend of mine once showed me a tray of vegetables he kept in his fridge, with the goal of eating them all in a week. I looked at the tray in horror! But I’m pretty sure he’s healthier than I am. He would just open the fridge, see the tray of vegetables, and sometimes just eat some raw, right then and there. Can’t get much easier than that, right?

3) Cook at least 75% of your own meals.

I can personally say that doing this has a good chance of helping you get healthier and lose weight. Not only will you consume less weird shit (you probably don’t have Blue#3 sitting in your cupboard waiting to be poured into your food, right?), but you will likely eat things that are simple to make and have fewer courses.

When I go out to eat, I usually have some bread (it’s free and delicious, so of course I eat that shit, nom nom nom); then I have a main course and wash it down with soda, and of course I don’t want to be rude to the waiter and not order dessert! What am I? Some kind of rude skinny person? No, of course not!

But, when I’m at home, even though I’m an accomplished baker (humble brag), I do NOT bake bread and brownies to have with my dinner. I eat the dinner and go do something else. Calories saved.

4) Keep going even if you screw up one day.

This is the one I struggle with a lot. I am still working on telling myself to just keep going and trying, but I often fall off the wagon.

5) Stress less.

Stress is an agent of the devil! The devil in hell and the devil of your mind, whatever you believe in. Stress is a bad thing!

My body has reacted to stress in the craziest of ways, including insomnia, hair loss, etc. Stress screws up your hormones and screwed up hormones mean FAT FOREVER. Don’t do it, boys and girls…dont even get me started talking about how delicious a brownie is after dealing with Tom in Accounting all day. Uh, go away TOM! Avoid Tom and stress as much as you can.

6) BONUS: Go to sleep

Guess what you’re probably not doing when you’re asleep? That’s right, eating.

There you go. Some free advice that you could have paid someone to give to you and I just delivered it, like an angel of sarcasm.

What’s your best healthy living advice? Leave a free comment below and tell me.

Until tomorrow my friends…

People are the Worst

Yesterday, I was driving down one of the busiest streets in Houston, and I saw a chubby, hairy arm sticking out of a beige SUV.

The chubby arm was attached to a chubby hand and the chubby hand was texting.

That’s right, a left side, chubby hand attached to a chubby arm was hanging out of the driver side window of a beige SUV, precariously texting, while driving down Westheimer.

People. Are. The. Worst.

Texting while driving is bad enough, but to do it with your left hand hanging out of the car is even more distracting. How am I supposed to stay focused when I think your cheap, non-iPhone device might fall out of your hand at any moment?

Calm down internets. It was just a joke. I respect all phones, but their owners are sometimes kind of dumb.

Have you seen anyone doing anything particularly stupid or hazardous lately?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Thoughts on the Movie: “The Neon Demon”

Have you seen this movie?

I just finished watching it and I can’t say that I’m terribly impressed.

I’m sorry, Keanu. I know that you’re so awesome and you were in the movie for about 4.5 seconds, but I still am apologizing anyway.

But really, whoever wrote this story should apologize.

To all of us. Right now.

When I first saw the previews for this movie, I thought I wanted to see it because it looked visually stunning! I didn’t go see it in the theater, but even on the small screen, I can say that the visuals are gorgeous. The colors, the lighting, the moodiness…its all gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

I even think the acting was good and believable.

But the story…honestly, I think it’s a little half assed. Sorry not sorry…

One of the main characters is in some kind of cult (I guess?) and that’s never explained either explicitly or even with a few hints! And turns out, the behavior related to the cult is the most shocking and most interesting things to happen in the whole movie.

Hellllllo? More details please, writers!

Not to mention, the main character is woefully under explored. We don’t get to find out jack diddly from her other than she’s been told she’s pretty a lot and her parents are dead.

I am not one for Hemingway levels of back story and details, but damn, at least tell us enough to want to care about her when her eyeballs get eaten twice by two girls.

Oops, spoiler alert up above, ha ha!

Have you seen it? What did you think?

I’m about to Google it and read an article or review from a more savvy person who can interpret to me.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous looking movie with a confusing plot and little character development and less than 5 minutes of Keanu Reeves, then this movie is for you!

Until tomorrow my friends…

Binge Watching

Tonight I am binge watching some of the Marvel movies. I am doing this because a few days ago I saw the Black Panther movie and I just fell back in love with the entire set of movies.

As a kid, I did not watch many movies and I certainly did not read any comic books. So, I really only have the current movies to go by to understand what the upcoming movies will be about. So like a very good student, I am refreshing all of my knowledge before the upcoming movies this summer.

What are you doing tonight?

Happy Friday!

Until tomorrow my friends…

Voting Early

Today, I participated in early voting here in Harris County.

It was kind of an exciting experience.

I usually go to voting during off hours, very early in the morning. Today, like a dum dum, I went at lunch time.

When I exited the car, several people came up to me and told me who they were and asked for my support. It was kind of like being famous, people rushing up, trying to get my attention. No one asked for my autograph or asked me to sing, though.

Voting itself was uneventful, thankfully. The machines are not touch screen but they kind of look like they should be, so that was weird.

Afterwards, I asked for an I VOTED sticker. I put it on my forehead because I just like to advertise how much fun participating in your government is, especially since people who look like me have not had the right to vote for all that long. It’s been several decades, but for me, it’s still exciting!

Go out and vote y’all!

Until tomorrow my friends…

3 Reasons Why I Loved “Black Panther”

By this time, everybody and their momma has seen the new “Black Panther” movie, so I hope it’s safe to write about it. I don’t want to be that guy who spoiled things for others.

I had been avoiding most social media coverage of the film to make sure I did not accidentally read any spoilers. Aside from watching the trailer and seeing all of the excellent reviews, I knew almost nothing about the movie.

I finally saw it on Tuesday and I LOVED IT. Here’s why:

Women Warriors

This movie broke with the tradition of a muscly/smart/rich/kindhearted/some combination of the four White dude being the savior of everyone in the film. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love muscly/smart/rich/kindhearted White dudes probably as much as anyone else. I love the other Marvel movies (Thor, IronMan, etc.) and I even love the DC movies (even though, shame on them for not doing more with the latest Superman story, but I won’t get into my disappointment about that).

HOWEVER…
I am both Black and female and of course it was a welcome surprise to see Black female leads playing WARRIORS and SCIENTISTS. I won’t spoil it for anyone else, but OMG GO SEE THIS MOVIE. No matter your color or shape of your genitals, it’s amazing.

To be honest, I actually CRIED when I realized the warriors were women. Yes, I sat in the movie theater and cried real tears of joy. I was SO EXCITED to see Black women being the warriors. Is this what it’s like to be a White dude watching “Star Wars?” OMG I can finally relate. I GET IT. The shit’s super exciting!

I can also honestly say that I never *truly* understood how important it is to see representations of yourself in media until yesterday. I have read countless magazines and never felt the pressure to be skinnier, or lighter, or have a specific kind of hair. I usually feel nothing. I am writer, so I have always focused on the written content of printed media instead of the photos.

But, to actually feel SOMETHING when you see people in media who look like you, wow, that’s amazing. So I cried. Now the internet knows about it and I don’t care. Go see the damn movie. I’m going to see it again.

The gentlemen in the movie are lovely (Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan are both intellectually and physically amazing, for sure), but THE WOMEN make the movie. Lupita, Letitia, Angela, all of them, I love them.

Beautiful and Rich Cinematography

When you go see it at the theater, try to see it in IMAX if you can. I just happened to see it in IMAX because the movie timing fit my schedule, but what a happy accident. Seeing it on such a huge screen, I felt enveloped in all of the colors and emotion of the story. I especially loved all of the high tech and fight scenes. It’s a beautiful experience, both visually and emotionally.

The After Effect

I actually took a mid-day break from work to go see the movie because I wasn’t feeling well and I was in a deep funk. I couldn’t concentrate at all, so I figured it was worthless to just keep sitting at my desk, getting more and more frustrated.

After the movie, I felt so lifted and inspired. Sometimes I am a pretty staunch cynic, pretty much walking around in my own atmosphere of logical reasoning. But after the movie, the first thing I did was drive to Starbucks and engage a STRANGER in talking about the movie.

I did not drink or eat anything during the movie because I have a bladder the size of a peanut and I couldn’t bear the thought of missing a millisecond to go to the ladies’ room. So, at the end of the movie, I was parched. The drive-thru attendant asked me how my day ways, and I YELLED “IT IS GREAT! I JUST CAME FROM SEEING BLACK PANTHER!!!” GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I was on some kind of weird high! I told her to go see it and after she responded with a nice, but cordial, response, I said again, “NO, YOU REALLY MUST GO SEE IT.” It’s like I’d found the cure to melancholy at the movie theater and it was my job to tell everyone about it.

Those are my top three reasons for loving “Black Panther.” It is amazingly well done and it truly deserves all of the praise that you read about on the Internet. I hope you, too, will go see it…and again, and again, and again, and a fourth time for good measure.

WAKANDA FOREVER

Until tomorrow, my friends…