Among the many COVID-19 memes drowning out seemingly all other online content these days, one that NewWifey(tm) showed me kinda stood out: “You’ll either emerge from this as a Fit Monk, or a Fat Chunk“.
Guess which one I seem destined for? Here’s a hint: it’s not “Fit Monk“.
I blame NewWifey(tm) for this. Whenever I asked her, “Would you like pizza and ice cream with a 6-pack of Sierra Nevada for breakfast?” she always said “yes”. How am I supposed to keep from gaining weight if she keeps doing this to me?
Some of it I did on my own, of course.
Sometimes Often when I’m on the air and have more than 3 minutes between mic breaks I think, ‘I bet I could run upstairs, make an Alfredo sauce, and get back down here before my next newscast.’ And you know what? I can! And I do! I don’t just make it, either. I then drink it from a very large mug with a very wide straw for the next 15 minutes…and then do it again.
You know how much I gained since March? I’ll tell you. I ordered a pair of hiking boots and a pair of dress shoes online earlier this month. I ordered the same model of each that I already own, in the same size. When they arrived, neither pair fit. I sent them back in a fit of pique, along with a snarky note decrying the company for changing their sizes. They sent me back a polite, but clearly passive aggressive, answer suggesting I consult their fitting chart before ordering next time. I immediately shot back a huffing retort suggesting they go take a flying fuck in a rolling donut. (10 bonus points if you know the literary reference.)
Then I consulted their fitting chart.
My feet got fat. Like, between a half and a full size fatter. That would explain why I needed to replace my old ones. The side seams had split on both.
It would have been nice if my aggressive corpulence was confined to my feet, but of course that’s not the case. This high carb, high fat, alcohol soaked diet I’ve been favoring lately seems to have had an effect system-wide. I guess I just didn’t notice immediately because my entire wardrobe for the past 4 and a half months has been a pair of Spongebob elastic lounge pants and a Hefty Lawn-and-Leaf bag with arm holes cut out.
But one day the bag tore and I had to walk, topless, to the garage to get a new one. And that meant passing the one full-length mirror in the house.
‘Hey, when did NewWifey(tm) replace the mirror with a poster of Butterbean…oh shit!‘
That was two weeks ago. In a panic I went to my closet and pulled out a work outfit. Nothing fit, not even the socks! What if we get called back to our radio studio next month? I’ll have to go in cartoon sweats and an oversized baggie!
Time to turn this ship around (a more than apt metaphor).
Some may remember that about 10 years ago when I decided to lose weight I had great success on a low carb regiment, so that’s what I’m diving into again. I also took all the laundry off my Nordic Trak and stationary bike, and hooked a cattle prod up to a timer so it would zap me if I spent more than an hour on the PlayStation.
Two weeks in and I’m off to a good start, down 8 pounds at this morning’s weigh-in. And a lot of cattle-prod burns on my ass.
Another thing that’s helped is distracting myself with other activities so I don’t immediately think ‘kitchen!‘ when presented with 5 minutes of down time. To that end I’ve dusted off the ol’ Gemeinhardt and started butchering scales again, and also challenged myself to finally, FINALLY, get that picture of a hummingbird I so desperately wanted.
I’ve wanted to take a decent photo of a hummingbird ever since last year when, after 3 weeks of trying, all I managed was this:
Granted, that is probably one of the best pictures of a hummingbird wingtip ever taken. But perfectionist that I am, I wasn’t satisfied.
So this year, rather than relying on a basket of hanging flowers partially obscured by a jagged maze of porch railings, I purchased an actual hummingbird feeder – and more importantly – learned how to use it. My first inclination was to fill it with maple syrup, figuring the more sugar the better, right? And who can resist maple syrup, anyway? But NewWifey(tm) tactfully pointed out that I’m an idiot, so I went online to see what the little buggers actually would go for.
Turns out they exclusively drink sugar water. These must be American hummingbirds. So I mixed a 25% solution and filled ‘er up, and it took every ounce of self control I had not to stick a straw in it and empty it again. I placed it on our back porch rail, then set my camera up on a tripod about 10 feet away, along with a chair. Then I waited.
What the fuck was wrong with these guys? There was a TEN DOLLAR WALMART BRAND HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER sitting right there in the open, free for the taking, and no one was rushing to be first in line. I sat for the better part of two hours, finger on shutter, sweating in 90 degree heat, and nothing. Just some carpenter ants that managed to wriggle into the feeder holes and immediately die in the sticky solution. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.
“Maybe try taking a shower” NewWifey(tm) yelled out the window. “You smell like cat piss. And wear red. I heard hummingbirds are attracted to red.”
I went inside and hosed off, donned a red KC Chiefs sweatshirt, red Tabasco sauce lounge pants, and a red NJ Devils cap, and sat back down behind the camera.
Not 15 minutes later:
In your face, ghost of James Audubon!
(Geek stats: Nikon D5500, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/3200, ISO-800)
Ok, they’re not the greatest hummingbird pictures ever taken. But they sure beat last year’s wingtip shot.
Over the next few days I had fun taking pictures from different angles, with different light, etc.:
And one incredibly lucky handheld shot:
Seriously, that was like trying to capture a bullet in flight.
I then had the bright idea to put the feeder between me and the camera to see if I could take a selfie with one. Of course, as I was setting it up one of them swooped in and photo-bombed it:
After introducing himself thus, he gorged for a good minute then flew off.
I set my green plastic chair back by that planter and waited.
Sure enough, 10 minutes later he was back. But for some reason the sound of the camera’s shutter spooked him this time, and faster than I could believe possible he spun and shot off the other way. All I got was a Silence of the Lambs poster:
Eventually he – well, all of them – got used to the setup (or got too hungry) and just ignored the noise. But by now the sun was setting, and I only got a few where the bird was lit at all well. I purposely put myself out of focus for effect (and to spare you having to look on my vile countenance). Here’s just two of them:
If I ever need a profile pic I think I’ll use one of these. Who doesn’t like seeing someone getting a humm job?
In other fauna related news, I got a new bee:
That rather garish looking beast is a Neat “King Bee” microphone. I’ve been growing increasingly embarrassed at how the little headset microphone I was issued makes my voice sound on the air. It was ok back when we were all thinking the work from home mandate would only last a couple of weeks. But now that it looks like we might not be back in our studios til September, earliest, I decided to pull the trigger on a decent mic. And that, despite appearances, is a very decent mic indeed.
I actually recorded a brief sample to my desktop, but apparently you can’t add audio cuts to your WordPress blog unless you pay for an enhanced membership (and not at all to Diaryland). Which I ain’t doin’. I can hear my dulcet pipes any time I want, for free. I looked in to some of the audio sites that I could upload and link to, but the free versions all erase your stuff after only a few days. So…sorry, ladies. You’ll have to stroke it to something else. Try Barry White. I’ve been told he’s a close second.
Hey, you know what? Writing all this has kept me out of the kitchen for almost two hours!
I must rectify that immediately.