Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 19: 23 Pounds

I'm starting to notice differences in my appearance and, of course, how my body feels, but so far nobody else has. That's to be expected. 23 lb. loss on a person in the low 200's or so would definitely be noticeable but from 305 where I started, it won't be readily apparent to the casual observer just yet. This duplicates the phenomenon I'd experienced BINT (remember what BINT is?). I had consistently lost weight for almost 3 months before co-workers and casual observers started noticing. And soon after, it became gasps from people who hadn't seen much of me that summer. Some people thought I was sick. It may be the same this time 'round. No worries for sure. I'm not doing this for attention. It's for me.

I will likely change up my overall weight loss and fitness development strategy in order to avoid complacency or boredom, it's what I did well BINT and if you think about it, it makes sense, especially in regards to a workout routine to get the most benefit out of each gym session. I do want to record what I've done so far and will continue to keep a journal throughout. Good data is only good if you can use it. If you leave it to just memory, it can easily become lost so it's best to write it down.

Let's start with exercise. I've wisely decided to utilize the assets I have on-hand and I now do 25-30 minutes of cardio at the Fitness Center at work...while on shift, of course. This mimics BINT when I did stair stepping using the group home's basement stairway almost every shift. Now it's a very professional grade stationary bike with computerized progress monitor. It says I burn anywhere from 200 to 300 calories each pop but who knows. All I know is I am a sweaty mess and nearly passing out after each session, but I'm determined, and have even let my co-workers David and Eric know I am self-committed to doing it at 3:00 each shift.

Like BINT, I've found that working out is an excellent new addiction that I now look forward to. Like then, I become entranced while working out to my favorite high energy tunes, but back then I was restricted to a heavy and bulky portable cassette player and scratchy, well-worn cassettes or staticy FM radio. Now I have a tiny, virtually weightless iPod Shuffle and crystal-clear digital music I can add to cheap-cheap.

As far as food goes, here's a typical day's meals:

Breakfast: (around 10:00 pm) 8oz glass of V8, 50 calories.
Lunch: (around 2:00 am) Spinach and Romaine lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes, onion, baby bella mushrooms and Claussen pickles drizzled with 2 tbsp. of Kraft Tuscan dressing cut with 50% lemon juice, 130 calories. Turkey kielbasa, 2 oz., with pan-seared cabbage in beef broth and mustard, 145 calories.
Dinner: (around 8:00 am) Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth, 50 calories. Ground turkey stuffed peppers, 355 calories.
Snack: Gala apple, 110 calories.

Total daily calories: 840

Yes, I know this is low. I track it all on myfinesspal.com and it tells me that too. But, you know, it's what I did BINT. And back then too, I just ignored the "helpful" detractors and "advisers" and did what felt right to me. And that's what I'm doing again. Of course it won't stay this low forever, but while I am empowered by the Phen and my pink cloud, I'm riding it 'till I can't, or won't, ride it no more!

I've been watching some really inspirational documentaries like "Forks Over Knives" and "Food Matters" which have become new nutritional mantras to aim for. Very much like Susan Powter's and Covert Bailey's TV spots did BINT. Back then fat was the enemy. Now it's animal-based diets and processed foods. Still adds up to them same thing overall: eat smarter and eat less.

So I march along, singing a song, knowing that although my journey has just begun, I think I'm actually headed in the right direction at last. I just have to keep my eyes on the road ahead and watch out for those pot holes.

Pot holes filled with delicious cold, frothy beer, er, I mean poison.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 13: 17 Pounds

Talk about accountability. That's right, instead of some vague title like "Progress Report" or "Weight Loss Update" which could possibly allow for some excuse in not losing, I'm posting the total lost right up there. Up front and personal. This should make it clear that this new initiative is my number one goal. No more messing around.

Here's my strategy so far:

My inspiration is my self-visualization of a soon-to-be (well, perhaps up to a year?) renewed status as a thin and fit man. But I hold dear to the memory of my success in the past, mainly in the years 1992 and 1993 so I've used many of the practices and experiences of that time as a blueprint for guiding me in my new endeavor.

I've started to refer to those heralded years as BINT, an acronym for either "Back In Ninety-Two" or "Back In Ninety-Three." It's a common thing for me to think about a decision and reflect: "What did I do BINT?" or "BINT, I did such and such..." Of course I only have my own recollections of these past actions and sometimes they can be a little cloudy, but when I focus I can almost imagine I'm back "then," like in a time machine, setting down a foundation for a healthier lifestyle.

So with the visualization of a positive future and the lessons learned in a hard-fought past, I'm forging ahead, day-by-day, towards my goal at transforming reality into what I know it should be: a world with me thin and fit.

I hawk on about "frame of mind" and "visualization" because I've learned it's the number one most important objective in achieving success: the belief that it's obtainable and the unremitting commitment to the end goal.

I've watched a lot of YouTube videos featuring people who have embarked on a weight-loss challenge only to hear them start to say things like: "Well, I cheated today, but that's okay, I deserve it." or "I bought chocolate and it's dark chocolate so that's good for you I guess, right?" And you see it in their faces. That little twinge. That flicker in their eyes. They've starting to lose focus. And, of course, before you know it, they stop posting videos. And it's been two years, no updates. It means they failed. Nobody films failure videos.

Another big thing is having a strong support system. BINT, I had Wayne. He didn't even know it most of the time since it was kinda unconscious even to myself at the time, but I looked up to what I saw as his incredible enthusiasm for his own goals and the energy he put into achieving them. Wayne had an almost fanatically zealous approach to getting a task done. And I knew I needed to have this attitude as well if I were to achieve my goal. Plus, I valued his opinion and perception of my character. Due to the smashing glass incident, I knew I needed to step up to the plate to show him I could grow from that and be a better person. I didn't want to let him down.

I have no such support system embodied by another person this time 'round, but I do have the ability to eliminate any negative influences and detractors. Namely Ric, of course. And, he has pretty much been taken out of the picture. I figure if I have no cheerleaders rooting for me, I sure the hell am not going to have those rooting against me. I do actually use one imaginary "cheerleader" in keeping me on track, though...

It's me. Well, the imagined spirit of me, BINT, of course. I keep this photo on my fridge. He's there to provide both encouragement and admonishment. It was taken by Wayne the morning after we'd arrived at my parent's time-share condo in Mashpee on the Cape. Right around this time of year, 1992. This would place it about a week or two after the smashing glass incident but before the Mother's Day start of my weight reduction plan. So this is a "before" picture.

In the present, I'm still in the early stages of my journey so my fridge contains many of the good items I've been buying this past fortnight but also harbors a few baddies in there as well. Things like Stouffer's French Bread Pizza and Great Value Battered Fish Fillets. His deadpan stare keeps me on task. He looks like he'd cut a bitch if you crossed him, so I better not. Especially in abstaining from alcohol. Of course, that stuff holds no lingering outpost in my refrigerator.  He, and I, won't allow it.

So, as far as the day-to-day meal plans and exercise regime, it's basically the stuff every good weight loss site recommends. Plenty of water. Low-fat and low-carb whole foods. No refined or processed junk. Cardio exercises regularly. Positive energy and attitude. To these steps I add my own, perhaps the most important one:

No excuses.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hop On The Bus, Girls!

Her Majesty, the great old pink bus Priscilla, Queen of the Desert has arrived in Orlando. And in fabulous drag queen style, of course!

Tonight was opening night here in Orlando for "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"- the musical, and if the first night audience reaction is emulated for the remainder of their visit here, I think they'll be able to call it a tremendous success.

Of course, being a rabid fan of the early 1990s Australian film (saw it like 8 times!) and its soundtrack CD being my absolute favorite, I had high expectations and was a bit concerned on how true they'd stay to the storyline of the film. Turns out, I needn't have worried. The performance captured all the best costumes, music pieces, and quirky characters from the movie. When it did deviate, it was only to tie in more up-to-date references (the movie is as old a hag as Bernadette, my dears) or incorporate some very imaginative dance moves and musical numbers.

So, anyway, just like the film, the show stars three drag queens (well, actually, technically, two drag queens and one trans woman) who make a road trip across the Australian interior from Sydney to play a gig in Alice Springs. Unknown to the other two, Mitzi has in fact planned the trip in order to fulfill a promise to visit his wife and finally meet his 6-year old son. Now the film has a lot more of an opportunity to develop characters and plot since, unlike this live performance  was not a musical. So, of course, since this is a musical, the characters personalities do come across as a tad flat and 2-dimensional. I think if you hadn't seen the film, you might be a little disconnected from some of the more emotional elements.

But what the story lacked in depth it made up for in really energetic set design and drop-dead-fabulous over-the-top costumes. Most were right from the concepts as portrayed in the movie but many were unique to this show and all were executed flawlessly.

Some of the numbers that really caught my eyes and ears:

The opening with "Miss Understanding" spazing out in homage to Tina Turner.

An imaginative funeral flashback scene sung to "Don't Leave Me This Way."

The "Material Girl" number where we meet Felicia and those hot muscled men.

Hey, wait a minute, I'm pretty much naming every number! Well, they really were ALL good, but to be fair, here are some of the truly inspired ones:

The mullet-sporting, bad eye-shadowed, butch fat woman in the roughneck town bar. Hilarious!

OMG! The ping-pong ball scene! I was wondering if they were going to dare to include this. Not only did they, they really played it up beautifully pairing it with the song "Pop Musik!" Get it? "Pop" Musik!

Towards the end, they did a really cool "quick transition" number simulating the gals' performance at the Alice Springs casino by having various cast members portraying the trio, facing an imagined audience in reverse so their backs are to us, as a moving curtain streams across the stage making them seem as if they magically appeared in new costumes singing a more-and-more sped up musical number. They did flub slightly on the second transition but picked it up wonderfully from there. A really unique and fun illusion.

All during the performance I worried a little about the audience's reception of the show since it looked from my vantage point, front orchestra (yes, much better seats than last week's opera) that it was mostly old people. Well, it is Florida, right? The numbers were tightly timetabled (since there were about thirty songs!) which meant applause was withheld or tepid for most smaller performances. Not for a large portion of the rear orchestra and balcony though who en masse clapped for almost everything. Their enthusiasm was infectious. Avid fans following the tour or just a gaggle of us local gays as a group? In the end though, my culture-starved Orlandoans gave the cast a rousing standing ovation.

I guess even redneck retirees can appreciate a man looking absolutely fierce in a spectacular sequin gown.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Confluence

Merriam-Webster's describes confluence as meaning: a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point. This defines well what I've coordinated recently in regards to, once again, taking on the beast within.

I alluded to it in the last post. I'm at a confluence of perfect timing designed to give me the arsenal to defeat my enemy: myself. Well, at least that part of myself that perpetuates and fosters such "a terrible despite" towards my healthy progress in life. Namely, my abuse of food and drink.

Here's what's gone down:

Despite what I said in the previous post, my doctor did in fact do something to initiate a paradigm shift on Wednesday. Three important medications were added or tweaked to my drug regimen; all three having a singular goal: to get my weight down.

  • Synthroids were increased from 50 mcg to 75. This drug compensates for hypothyroidism, the decreased production of thyroid hormones which help regulate metabolism. The pill provides synthetic  thyroid hormones, increasing metabolism, decreasing appetite and boosting energy levels.
  • Metformin was increased from 500 mg to 1000 mg per day. This assists in maintaining blood sugar levels. This keeps my diabetes under better control and, as a side effect, will help in weight loss.
  • Phetermine was introduced. This is like the glorious days of PPA with even more of a punch. PPA in Acutrim and Dexatrim, a staple in my medicine cabinet and instrumental in assisting me to loose weight and keep it off in the '90s has been unobtainable for over a decade now. But this shit is PPA's daddy. And, though not cheap considering it's a controlled drug and it requires monthly visits to a doctor, it works even better than PPA ever did for me.

Already I've experienced the powerful effects of these changes. Especially the amphetamine-like phentermine. I'm right now looking down at my belly and confidently bidding it farewell. Oh not immediately, it takes time, but it will be gone. Indeed.

Another important component of this confluence is alcohol abstinence. It was vital in '92 to my successes of that year and it's just as essential now, if not more so. With the doubling of metformin, there's no room for playing Russian roulette with potential lactic acidosis. Combined with the multitude of other ill effects of this noxious brew, I'm eliminating it altogether. I had been been reducing my metformin intake on days I'd chosen to imbibe thinking I'd trick my system to avoid acidosis. This has caused my A1C to rise, making my diabetes more prescient making cravings for starchy consumables, like beer, more prevalent, making my blood sugar spike, making....well, you get the picture...it's an endless cycle. And the horrible all-day hangovers, the increase of fatty deposits in my liver, the games it plays with my blood pressure and even the rising costs of the shit all spell out one conclusion. Beer - You're Outta Here!

Finally, as usual every year, my birthday inspires me to look at myself objectively, without rose-colored glasses. Or, more accurately in my case, funhouse-mirrored glasses which distort my image and make me look thin and fit. Time to see me for what I've become. Yes, sure, spend a minute or two shrugging and shaking my head, perplexed at how it got this far, but then definitely declare that it goes no further.

So come with me on what will no doubt be a fascinating ride through my personal funhouse. We better fasten our seatbelts! And like another beloved theme park ride, I hear someone (is it me?) shouting out "This time, I think...I think it's going to work!"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Life Will Be That

Rachel: Listen your cheeseburger is a bit too well done. 
You don't mind do ya? Unfortunately, that's life! 
Cheyenne: You know what the problem is... Rachel? 
Rachel: What? 
Cheyenne: Without realizing it, we go from an age where we say: 
"My life will be that" to an age where we say: "That's life."

-Quote from the movie "This Must Be the Place"


So I went to my doctor's yesterday morning thinking "Okay, so she's gonna look at me all perplexed wondering why I just don't do the right things." But after I got done with her, I realized that it's not her perplexed and acting confused, it's me. "What the fuck are you doing?" I ask myself. And I've been asking this question every day for over a decade and a half now.

I guess you could call the last almost twenty four hours the final key to unlocking a simmering urge. The urge to get real and start living life again.

It wasn't anything in particular that the doctor said or did, you know. I think it's just that I'm somehow now able to see my life through the eyes of another person. And it's like when you drive down the road and see someone on the sidewalk and think "Damn, they're fat!" or "Why are they wearing that?" or "Poor thing, look how pitiful." It seems we're able to make snap judgments about the life choices of total strangers, while speeding past them at fifty miles-per-hour, that we can't seem to make for our own selves and the choices we've made.

So I've come to the realization, as my first step towards recovering my lost self, that I have to take an active role in shaping not only what is to come, but also, what is.

This is the essence of the dialog quoted above. We grow into an age of complacency and lowered expectations. We throw up our hands in resignation.

But I now choose to instead throw up my hands in celebration of what will be.

And what will be is the start of the best time of my life!

Monday, April 08, 2013

My First Live Opera

A couple of weeks ago, I got a discount entertainment offer from Travelzoo for $24 tickets to the Orlando Symphony Orchestra's presentation of the Puccini opera "Madama Butterfly." Having never attended a live opera I jumped on this deal. Also, as it was Sunday matinee performance, it fit in with my work schedule well.

I was a little tired going into the Bob Carr for the 2:00 pm showing yesterday afternoon, but the energy was palpable and I was soon feeling wide awake. The theater was packed! I never knew opera was so popular here. Admittedly, the audience was mostly of the blue-haired set, but there were a fair amount of middle-aged folks like me. As expected, not too many younger people, but there were a few, some families too including some pre-teen kids...I bet they were thrilled. I wonder if they were wishing it was a Justin Beiber concert rather than a hundred-year-old opera in Italian.

My seats were up in the balcony. I could have chosen orchestra seats in the same mid-range distance from the stage for the same price but I thought I'd get a different perspective than the last few times I'd been here. My acrophobia wasn't lovin' it. I was right on the edge. And it was about a sixty foot drop. Won't come up here again, I thought to myself. I made do though and it wasn't long before I had another complaint.

I've mentioned previously about the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center's abysmal features: small and tightly packed seats which are old and creaky, horrible acoustics and sound, bad air conditioning that keep the place just barely comfortable, a pitifully tiny stage and an incredibly dull 1970s minimalist decor. Well, probably because of the unsuitable orchestra pit, or maybe just the Orlando Symphony's weird staging choice, they placed the orchestra on the stage behind the performers. It wasn't that bad, really, but I was hoping for something a bit more traditional for my virgin viewing.

In preparation for this event, I read up on the plot synopsis of the performance in order to avoid being confused or clueless about what was going on on stage, but, I soon found out, I needn't have worried since there was a discreet digital projection of subtitles high above the action so we could understand what was being sung. Nice, but I found that after a while, it became a bit distracting so I only used it to get some of the general themes of the plot as it unfolded. The dialog was written, I guess in the fashion of operas of the early 20th century, in very flowery and poetic prose so you really didn't need to catch every single word since much of the wording was superfluous or redundant. Plus, just watching the performers' faces and body language informed you best of what was going on.

The poor sound of the theater really was a detraction for me. Being up in the balcony, I got a more muted audio experience. But it may also have been the performers and their lack of skill and confidence. I felt the male roles were especially weak. Shu-Ying Li as the lead, Cio-Cio-san did a really nice job but in an opera that, IMHO, has only one really phenomenal aria, I felt she could have done better with the famous "Un bel di."

I was also disappointed by the staging and costuming. I was expecting better. If I were the Artistic Director, I would have really expanded the visual pageantry. The fact that the setting was a post Meiji Restoration Japan and its revolutionary focus moving towards a modern era along with the romanticism of such an over-the-top love tragedy dealing with teen-angst, cultural clashes and unrequited love culminating in suicide.

But despite the flaws, I did enjoy the performance. My left knee was complaining about being in a cramped position for three hours but it was a welcome change to get out into the world and experience a little bit of culture.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Stupidest Space Goal Yet

So I had to re-read an article from my news feed just to be sure it wasn't some sort of belated April Fool's joke. The president, inspired by a plan by Florida Senator Bill Nelson, wants NASA to capture a small asteroid, pull it into Earth's orbit, and land astronauts on it by 2021.

Now, I'm all for increasing the focus and budget of our space exploration program, manned or un-manned, but is something like this really qualified to be called space "exploration?"

It sounds like the equivalent of some lazy couch potato filling a cooler full of beer and plopping said cooler next to his seat in prepping for an afternoon of watching the game on TV. Rather than go out to the fridge in the kitchen and "explore" that environment for his shallow needs, he brings the source to him.

Sounds like exploitation, not exploration.

You know some fucking corporate interests are behind this. They probably already have drawn up plans on how best to mine the fuck out of this lifeless rock which, according to the article, will be parked somewhere next to the moon.

Maybe in 100 years we could have a whole array of asteroids orbiting earth, easily plucked clean of any commercially-viable minerals. Oh, and since they'd be visible from Earth (with simple telescopes) let's have them emblazoned with corporate logos or advertisements!

And would you feel comfortable with big chunks of iron and stone hurtling around in orbit? If one came barreling inward for a close encounter, how would they stop it? We'd be toast.

I'm pretty sure JFK didn't have hair-brained schemes like this in mind when he challenged the scientific community to step up their quest to expand the possibilities of manned space exploration.

Obama has other more grounded goals in mind for his legacy. He's already shown he has little patience for the decidedly delayed gratification timetable of manned space exploration. This week's declaration only earmarks a pitiful $100 million per year increase to achieve this farce, even though it would take many billions to actually pull off.

Yet another "small step for Man, and an even smaller step for Man's future."

Friday, April 05, 2013

Death: A Big Thumbs Down

I don't follow many celebrities on Twitter but one I did, put out really great tweets that I looked forward to with relish. I practically relied on his Netflix streaming suggested movies in order to plan what to view next.

I'd been a fan of Roger Ebert's since the early PBS show days. At that time in the late seventies/early eighties, TV film critics were usually either obnoxious pricks (the Jew-fro sporting, bushy-stachin' Gene Shalit) or pretentious prissies (closet-case Rex Reed). Roger came from a journalistic background and it was evident in the way he presented factual and credible criticisms of the films he reviewed. His soon-to-be classic "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" was not merely a gut reaction by an overpaid eccentric  it was quantified by clear and concise literary comments on specific reasons for his yeas or nays. Hi rapport with his reviewer partner, sometimes adversary was always civilized and despite if they agreed or not on any particular film, they conveyed a sense of mutual respect and affection that came so well across on screen.

After Gene Siskel's passing, Roger found a new side-kick in Richard Roeper. I'm probably not alone in thinking the chemistry wasn't quite the same but the reviews were just as honest and explanatory as before.

It was noticeable in the '90s as well, that Roger was undergoing some physical changes as well. He lost a dramatic amount of weight and later admitted he had been battling cancer.

As he, and the rest of us, embraced the new technologies of the new millennium  he seemed to have bettered his cancer and took on new vigor in blogging and tweeting his way into the hearts and minds of millions of long time fans like me and no doubt hoards of younger ones as well. His film reviews were available in newsprint, television, and on the internet. I'm sure his smile or frown was an incredibly powerful tool, but it seemed he avoided being used by the studios or the media and spoke of his own free will. Surely his reviews were respected enough in the industry as to potentially make or break a film's box office.

Yesterday, I learned this morning, we sadly lost Roger to his long-time enemy cancer. My last tweet of his is a link to his blog announcing his cancer had returned and he was limiting his regular blogging and tweeting. But it expressed hope that he'd be soon endeavoring on new projects.

Whether this was truly his intent or was a way of saying goodbye we'll probably never know.

To the Grim Reaper I give a big thumbs down for taking away a true American treasure too soon. To you, Mr. Ebert though, you get a big thumbs up! You'll be truly missed.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Good Night, Sweet YouTube

As you may have heard, YouTube will announce the winner of the Best Video Ever contest, which, unbeknownst to anyone has been going on for 8 years now, tonite at midnight.

Then, they'll delete the billions of losing videos from their servers and go off-line for a ten year hiatus.

It's true! It's not an April Fools Joke. Yes, I know they do an April Fool's joke each year but this time it's the real thing. Watch:



Oooh, I hope I'll be randomly chosen for this little gem:

SCRAPBOOK: February 2001, First New Orleans Visit

Two years before my Koyaanisqatsi move, Jay decided to move back to New Orleans, his original hometown, and I drove the Ryder truck with him, his cat and all his worldly possessions there. Here we see shots of Jay and his old friend, soon-to-be-girlfriend and live-in lover Regan. This was way before Regan and I later locked horns but I think you can see she's only being polite in her partaking of my very touristy activity choices.





SCRAPBOOK: October 2001, Park Central Apartment

At first I couldn't tell when I'd taken these pics. I'd lived at Park Central from December 2000 to January 2003. But in the bedroom shot, I could make out that I had my old 15" Shamrock monitor which I'd upgraded October 27 of that year with a 17" Hansol. And I see I have the Grand Canyon snowglobe on top of the monitor. I'd bought that during my trip to Arizona the first week of October. Microsoft Money is a great archive!




SCRAPBOOK: December 2000, Moving Out

Ric had moved out of our apartment in October to move in with Gary. I left, as seen here in December.


SCRAPBOOK: Fall 2000, Beerfest At Universal Citywalk

I don't think they have these anymore but they were fun while they lasted. This was like the second annual one or something like that. With me are Jay and his friends. I can't remember their names. How sad. Sadder still: It's a new century and the millennium belly emerges.


SCRAPBOOK: 1998 and 1999, Assorted

Wrapping up the 90s. Isn't this exciting? No? Oh well...

Not sure if this is '98 or '99 but it's one of our DM gang outings to Islands of Adventure. EDIT: Oh it must be 1999 since that's the year IOA opened.


Here it's definitely Thanksgiving 1998 while I'm visiting up north. Here I am with my brother and my nephew at their house in Bellingham, Mass.


Here are my fellow managers at DM in 1999.



SCRAPBOOK: October 1998 (and 1999), Halloween Dress-Up

Roger, my boss at DM, threw a Halloween costume party at his home in Polk County. I dressed up as Monica Lewinsky, complete with cum-stained blue dress. (I used sparkle-infused white paint)

My then roommate Claudia took these pics of me at our Spinnaker Road house before I set out for the party.


Here's a pic around that same time of our office costume party. I'm one of the "camper/victims" from that year's popular "Blair Witch Project." Roger is the guy in full blackface dressed as the QB of his fav team the Steelers. With the large African American employee population he fell under decidedly mixed reviews on his costume choice.


CORRECTION: This office party pic is actually from 1999, a year after the Monica pictures. Actually, you can see I had gained weight over the course of that year too.

SCRAPBOOK: May 1992, Cape Cod Weekend

Here's Wayne on the tennis courts during a weekend visit with my parents at their timeshare in Mashpee, Mass.


Wayne and my dad.


Me trying to look "kateebo."

SCRAPBOOK: Summer 1992, Drag Queen Debut

I'd already posted a few of these pics in 2008 but they're smaller and less sharp.

This was a photo op of me in full drag taken for fun but also to show off my weight loss so far. I think this was when I was about in the low 200s. I'd continue to drop another 20 to 30 pounds and keep it off for a good 6 years or so.

My then-roommate and best friend Wayne helped me with the make-up, outfit and played the photographer cum faux paparazzi.






SCRAPBOOK: July 1985, Munich

I took at least a roll of film's worth of pictures, I'm sure, but these two are really the only ones I have left worth scanning. Sadly, I didn't even take any pictures of the person I was visiting. I'm wondering why. I can't remember. Was it his request to not be photographed? Could be. He was like that.

Here's a gate in central Munich, which, back then was in the country known as West Germany. My notes have it as being built in 1391. It's called Karlstor.


Here's an historic palace of some Barvarian nobleman, it's called the Residenz.


Only 2 pics this post, but I was in a scanning mood so I have plenty more lined up.