December 2012 Post


I’ve been busy since the disastrous national election, and, really, even before then.  Like most Americans who believe the U.S. Constitution remains in force and provides, along with the Bill of Rights, the only valid model of governance for the United States of America, I will continue to work to ensure that the U.S. remains a free republic, those holding high elected and politically appointed office who wish to transform this nation into something that’s a cross between Zimbabwe and socialist European kleptocracies notwithstanding.

Job Change

Back in the fall of this year I changed jobs.  The hapless, incompetent, and mercurial flunky who’d been placed in supervisory role at former place of work, after more than a year in that position, failed to develop any competence of her own or any understanding of the work done by those whose work she was supposedly hired to supervise.  I was no longer willing for my good work to lend credibility to that fool’s failed tenure as a manager.  Every other person employed in the facility, by virtue of their competence, willingness to work, ability to function as a team member, was and is that supervisor’s superior.  I interviewed for and obtained a job closer to the house (that’ll save about $1,000/year in unreimbursable gasoline expenditure) that registered as a promotion and resulted in a raise in pay.  The fact that the agency for which I now work seems to foster a positive orientation to reality, value competence, and manifest a little common good will was, in sum, the real reason I took the job, but the savings and raise comprise an additional happy providence.

Christov’s Three Criteria

Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed three simple criteria for quickly evaluating other people in the workplace.  The core concepts are not original with me and I owe much to the reading I’ve done over the past few years on human development and various approaches to mental health counseling.  They are as follows, and are assessed in the order presented because those that follow are dependent upon those that precede them:

  1. Is the person oriented to reality?
  2. Does the person exhibit competence to perform whatever he or she purports to be about?
  3. Does the person exhibit basic good will toward others?

The second and third, competence and good will, do not always follow the first, orientation to reality, but I don’t think they can exist without it.  Furthermore, competence is something that one develops over time, frequently after the person has taken more than one wrong turn – for instance attempting to study a subject for which he or she has no real aptitude and in the face of resultant failure in that endeavor, choosing a more suitable field of study.  Here, it is the orientation to reality that overbalances sentiment and allows the person to discern the proper path by apprising him or her that the present course will lead to no good end.  The man, woman, or child who is oriented to reality (in children, this is something developed over time intellectually and experientially by means of observation, consequence, and [ideally] good parenting) and who is developing or has developed a variety of competencies is capable of recognizing reality-orientation and competence in others and, having gained so much thereby himself, also wishes (or becomes hypothetically capable of wishing and aiding) others well and may assist them in that pursuit.

As an experiment, use these criteria to assess the people in your workplace and social environment.  Self interest (which includes the well-being of your children) may dictate that you distance yourself from those who do not meet this simple standard.

Weight Gain

Since September, I’ve put on about five pounds of belly and buttock flab.  My goal for the month of December was to lose five pounds by Christmas, but I only managed to shed about half that.  I’d been bicycling less frequently than during the lead-up to that 50-miler my friend Adrian and I rode in early September.  I’ve had a wretched cold for about the past two or three weeks (off and on, but worst during the past few days) that has kept me off the bike.  Cold winter Tennessee air makes the snot run like water out of my nose when I ride, anyway, and since I’ve added a pound of snot in my sinus cavities during this illness to my five pounds of body fat, the prospect of all that running out my nose and down my face and cycling togs during moderately intense exercise activity is not a happy one.

Probably my one New Year’s resolution is to exercise more and return to Weight Watchers eating habits.

Root Beer Barrel Candy

Weight Watchers allows one point for one ounce of hard candy.  I did bestir myself sufficiently during our family Christmas visit to the Midwest to drive with my brother-in-law to Farmland, Indiana, where I bought three pounds of root beer barrel candy to keep at the office.  While at the Farmland General Store, I sampled horehound candy, which I found not entirely unlike root beer candy, but had a slightly bitter aftertaste.  I would have bought some, but I was already emotionally, if that is the right word, committed to buying the candy for which I’d come in search.  The only other place I’ve found root beer candy in bulk is Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but I’d rather drive to Farmland, Indiana, than Gatlinburg, Tennessee, any day.

The Old Year

The new year, 2013, is upon us.  Who really believed space aliens would come and fetch away their devotees, or that the stone age Mayans would accurately predict when the great creation’s winding would come undone and release cataclysmic geological, climatological, and spiritual forces rending the fabric of all we know?  Honestly, that’s just silly.

So here we are.  Today, our congregation will hold its last worship services for the year.   We don’t have what 19th Century literature seems to indicate was called a Watch Night Service, where the congregation meets around midnight on New Year’s Eve to confess and repent of sins of the old year and to pray for guidance and good providence for the new.  Sounds like a good idea, though.

A New Old Car

In November I found and in December I bought a new used car – an early model Volvo all-wheel drive Cross Country station wagon with only 106,000 original miles on the drive-train.  My justification is that AWD will be useful to me in my new employment, the purchase price was well within my budget, and I like a station wagon.  After much debate with myself, I’ve decided I cannot justify holding on to Thursday, my 1997 Volvo 850 five-speed sedan, for the next 12 years in order to give it my son when he will be learning to drive.  I’ve offered the car for sale to one of my brothers for his oldest boy, who will be heading to college next fall, but my brother reckons the sedan’s mileage, a mere 205,000, is too high.  So, if you know someone interested in an extremely reliable manual transmission Volvo sedan, get in touch with me.  I have all service records for the car since 2005 and the timing belt and other service is all current.


This week I ate a couple of big meals – Sunday evening at Ruby Tuesday, I ordered an Alpine cheeseburger with onion rings and also consumed two or three plates of salad from the salad bar.  The following evening, at Doros’ and Chrisa’s, I ate two plates full of pretty much everything Chrisa’d cooked, then two huge helpings of dessert – one a trifle and the other eclair.  Tuesday morning, I weighed-in at close to 177#.  That’s not all due to having overeaten on Sunday and Monday.

Since I got sick in late May, I kept eating the same amounts of food but exercised less.  I’ve also been eating more snack foods than usual – gotta quit that.  I’m now trying to increase the exercise and reduce the amount of food I’m eating.  If I can’t manage this, I’ll be heading back to Weight Watchers.

Brief Update

Weight Watchers Amnesty

Because I’ve put on about four, maybe as many as five pounds since Thanksgiving (November 2010) and realized my eating habits have reverted to those of the average hog, I returned to Weight Watchers after an absence of nearly two years.  When I left WW, I’d earned a lifetime membership because I reached my target weight and kept the weight off for the (now forgotten) length of time specified.  I understood that it could be maintained by showing up and weighing-in once each month.  Several events occurred that kept me away – surgery, buying a new house and moving into it, school, occasional kayaking, and so forth in conjunction with the developing mobility of our little boy which has made fatherhood considerably more intensive, interesting, and free-time consuming.

I wound up skipping two or three months, and recall being told by one of the volunteers at the weigh-in reception table “if you miss a month, you have to pay for that month when you come back.”  Believing that, I just stayed away because I am way to cheap to pony up 30 to 40 bucks to pay off a weigh-in “debt.”

Last Saturday I showed up to find out whether there was some kind of amnesty program that would let a lapsed lifetime member come in from the cold, so to speak.  I walked in the right-hand door of the Lutheran church building (the left door has still not been fixed after about three years) and looked for my membership card in the Lifetime Member designated cardbox.  Not there.  Didn’t look good for amnesty.

“Chris, your card is in the back – wait a second, I’ll get it,” one of the women (whose name I am ashamed to say I’d forgotten and still don’t recall) said making eye-contact with me as I turned to the reception table.  When she came back, I asked whether they had some deal whereby I could start weighing-in again without springing for nearly (the card indicated) 24 months of missed weigh-ins.  The woman said that I had been mistaken about having to pay for each month missed.  All I had to do was pay $10.00 for the current weigh-in and $10.00 for each subsequent weigh-in until I got back within two pounds of target weight.  Their scale showed me at 2.6 pounds above the target weight.  All in all, not as bad as I had expected.

Train Table

Soon our little boy will celebrate his third birthday, and we have been looking on Craigslist to find a used train table to set up his Thomas and Friends trains and tracks.  I think I’ve found one with a bunch of extra track fairly cheap in a neighboring county, so will try to look at it this weekend, although I’ve got a bunch of deadline work to get done before next Monday.  If you’ve got a used train table and other stuff your kids aren’t using and you’d like to sell cheaply, give me a ring.


I’m continuing my work at the location that takes me past Industrial Park Lake, but that will hopefully end this month as the new guy is getting his official training this week.

Sore Shoulder, Election Results

One of my shoulders feels like it’s been crushed. I cannot sleep on that side. The pain is low-grade, but constant during my waking hours. Since losing and keeping off about 17 pounds over the past eight months, I’ve been experiencing more aches and pains. Did body fat mask the pain? Better to be without the fat. That shoulder, in fact, that entire side of my body has hurt since a seven mile walk I took in February. Used to be walking kept me free from pain. I am thinking about discussing it with my doctor or consulting a chiropractor. That shoulder’s hurt the last three or so times I’ve paddled.

I phoned the county election commission this afternoon and found that nobody had won the office of Constable for Seat 7, or districts 19, 20, and 21. The woman who answered the telephone said although write-in votes had been received, they were not counted because the candidates named were not qualified candidates because they had not registered with the commission prior to early voting. Spontaneous, write-in voting evidently has no legal effect. That should be made clear someplace on the ballot.

This evening as I was loading the car with boat and gear, I thought it would be nice to stay home tomorrow with my wife and infant son. But I went ahead and loaded up because I know if I stay home, I will accomplish nothing, will waste time with the computer, my wife will become annoyed with me because I will not be doing useful things, and I will wish I had gone paddling.

With this shoulder, I don’t think I will set out to do anything difficult tomorrow.

SATURDAY MORNING: On my way out, I decided to stick around the house to glaze and paint those back windows.  Temps’re supposed to be mid-80s today with a breeze.  Probably won’t have another comfortable day like this until Autumn.

34″ Waist

Ironman over at the Rogues’ site will question my masculinity, but I’m pretty durn happy to have got my waistline down to 34″. First time in eight or so years I’ve been able to confidently buy and wear trousers that size. At my fittest and thinnest, age of maybe 31 or 32, I had a 32″ waist. Probably won’t happen again until I’m also readier for somewhat narrower digs. Nevertheless I feel pretty good about this.

Weight Watchers has been effective. I’m allotted 31 points to maintain my weight, but some days I don’t eat that many, some days one or two points more.

Lifetime Member & Other Stuff

I’ve made it to Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. Means I got down to my target weight, maintained it for six weeks thereafter, and now no longer have to pay to attend meetings. Monday night, I weighed in at 169.8 pounds, fully clothed. I’ve got to work out more, but have been doing better this week with the aging Solo-Flex resistance trainer, something called The Perfect Pushup, abs, and another device called the Gripmaster. Finger, hand, and forearm strengthening exercises seem to work in preventing elbow tendonitis, which can be, and has been for me, extremely painful.

We’ve got house guests scheduled for visit this weekend through next Wednesday morning, but I’m planning to spend most of Saturday on a lake, paddling.

Our infant son’s thriving, and clearly enjoys having nonsense songs sung to him, appears to enjoy conversational sound-making and responses, like’s peek-a-boo, and likes the get-you game. What a great kid. Caution-Lady took him to a professional photographer Tuesday, so we’re going to have to shell out some money to pay for a lot of photos because the will all be so beautiful or cute it will be difficult to choose just a few.

Last night, Caution-Lady and I had our first date alone since the baby. My mom came over and looked after the small one. We didn’t stay out long. Ate supper at a golf course on the other side of the county. But we enjoyed our time out together, and we laughed about goofy stuff, talking, during the ride back to the house.

Today’s exercise goals are abs, chest, shoulders, triceps.

Yesterday, I ordered a cockpit cover for the E68, having read K7Baixo’s Alabama paddling report on FKO reminded me I needed to get one. Keep the bugs & snakes out of the boat.

My wife wants another child, and I want another boat. This time, I’m thinking Seavivor Greenland Solo, but I’d like some more information about the Intrepid Traveler. I’ve called the manufacturer, left a couple of messages, but have heard nothing back from him, yet. Heck, if any of you folks in the blogosphere have either of those boats and want to sell them, post me a comment here.

I also sort of like the Folbot Kodiak, and the Folbot Cooper.  Because I’m pretty rough on my boats, the Kodiak’s probably a better choice.

Later: Here’re a couple of pages of stills from one of my favorite movies, Metropolis, that I found while searching for an image of the film’s Babel Tower visionary guy to illustrate a remark I made in a post at the Folbot forum.

Also: This afternoon I got a call back from Logan Fleckles of Seavivor, and we spent some time talking about his boats.  Really an interesting guy.  Turns out the Intrepid Traveler is intended for larger people.  “Think ‘football player,” Logan said.  He’s got one Greenland Solo in stock, a red one, but unless I won the lottery last night without knowing about it yet, and without having purchased a ticket, I think my beloved Caution-Lady would balk at the $3,200.00 plus expenditure.  Bummer, yes?  Here’s a review of the Greenland Solo by one of the guys at FKO.  Those are Paul’s pictures of the boat linked above.

I Ate A Fishstick

I’m allergic to fish. Gives me anaphylactic shock, like bee stings affect some people.

So, last night I went to a business meeting at Barnchurch after supper at home with Caution-Lady and Little Squall. The group normally eats an evening meal together every Wednesday night before the bible-study or before the business meeting. Because I still had some Weight Watchers points left (around eight of them) after my supper, I asked if I could help myself to some of the leftover food on the kitchen counter.

I got a sweet-roll that tasted like it had been made with pop or Kool-Aid, which was a surprise given the fact it looked like a cinnamon swirl with a hint of color rolled up in it. I got a cold, bready piece of pepperoni pizza that came from a supermarket. I took two of three remaining index-finger sized fried cheese-sticks. Common courtesy dictates that one should never take all that remains of an item. I ate the sweet roll first, because I wanted something sweet, while on my way to the table.

Sitting by Doros, the Barnchurch pastor, I took a bite of the first cheese-stick. It didn’t taste right. “Is this a fishstick?” I asked, “I’m allergic to fishsticks.” Doros responded by taking and eating the other one of what my half-witted palate had tentatively, belatedly identified as something with trace amounts of fish meat in it (the fishstick was exceedingly bland). I thought I might as well eat the rest of the fishstick I was holding. “I’ve got an epi-pen in the glove compartment of my car, if I start choking or fall over, just stab me with it.” Then we joked about my not having “one of those James Bond vzzzt-things” in the glove box. I made a fork with my right fore and middle fingers, jabbed at my chest, and said, “Vzzzt.” As the meeting got underway, after scripture reading and a prayer, I tore off and ate pieces of the pizza slice in an attempt to feed inconspicuously because I was the only one at the table eating.


I did notice an allergic reaction, slight swelling in my throat, slight pain in my chest, and what became by the time I got home a sharp headache and a feeling in my body like the smell of mercury from a smashed thermometer.

Although I’m not a member, I spoke up at the meeting. Honestly, I should have been born without a tongue in my head. The church voted (finally) to move into a building at Stepford that seems to be the most reasonable means of obtaining a breathing space as Barnchurch tries to figure out where it goes from here. Also, the group made another good decision.

Only on the drive home later did I recall the word defibrillator.

Several Things

First thing is the image above – I’ve been meaning to scan front and back of this calendar page for weeks, now. Morass. Turns out to have been derived from a Dutch word. Funny that the example sentence is an adoption sentence. A baby’s a good outcome. We didn’t find ours among the rushes, however, I’m hoping to have him out in the RZ-96 with us by September, when the weather’s still fine but not as punishingly hot as August. Seven months – should have a good baby pfd by then. I like this one from Salus – have a look at the demo-video.

Today Frasier, the ninth season on DVD, arrived. We already have the other seasons, so this completes our collection. Although I enjoy the show, sometimes I can’t watch because I’m too embarrassed for the protagonist. Sometimes I get up and leave the room before Grammer’s character makes the gaff I know is coming. I know, it’s silly. Probably not DSM-IV behavior, but strange. We hadn’t seen the first two eps from season nine, and I was able to sit through them both in their entirety. Cricket hunting. That was funny. Grammer played Frasier sometimes like a cross between Herman Munster and Jack Benny.

Another thing about Kelsey Grammer – doesn’t he bear a striking a resemblance to the late Bob Hope. I suspect they’re related.

Yes, I know my dad was not what is known popularly as a saint, although there’s a possibility he may have fit the biblical def – I’ll have to wait and see. I was still pretty steamed when I wrote that blog entry. When next I vent about family here, I reckon I’ll have to expect family to read it. D’oh!

Caution-Lady’s a little worried about the weather for camping this weekend – 50% chance of thunderstorms Friday, and 40% chance that night. She’d like us to stay in a motel that first night, then in the tent Saturday overnight. Getting her to camp-out at all is a big step, and probably more so with our infant son. I’m still debating bringing the redboat (a single) or the blueboat (a tandem). The tandem takes up a huge amount of space, even when packed in its bags. Either way, if we take a boat, we’ll have to rent a van or SUV. I’ve got to get that taken care of today.

Then gotta get my expedition headshave for no-hassle camping hair.

Weighed-in yesterday (it’s now Tuesday morning), and hit 169.4 (or something like that) on the scales fully clothed, although I had emptied my pockets and exhaled. Up 1.8 pounds from last week, but then I wore light-weight shoes, t-shirt, and shorts.

1 6 9 #

Today at Weight Watchers I weighed-in, beating my goal of 170 pounds, fully clothed. I started at about 187 pounds in early-mid-December, 2007, so I’ve made good progress. In the best shape of my life, during my middle-thirties, I weighed about 165 – 167 pounds, walking about seven miles, five times a week, and weight training. Alas, slaving for the State, marriage, and now El Ninito make a return to that obsessively disciplined lifestyle unlikely.

At 44, I’m feeling a little weak and pencil-necked at this weight, and have made up my mind this is enough. I plan to eat about 31 or 32 WW points per day to maintain or gain a little. My friends Fat Tony and Math Doc are probably laughing themselves sick, and preparing some form of clever mockery, or, more likely, torture, as you read this.

This morning I pretty much finished up the grad school application process. I experimented with driving the posted speed limit on the freeway – 70 mph or, if I recall this correctly, about 114 kph. Like driving in a whole other universe – a thoroughly relaxing, enjoyable drive, pretending to be just another anonymous motorist. got lost in Murfreesboro, but eventually found the Fed-Ex store. On the way in to the office, later, I also kept the vehicle’s speed pretty close to the legal limit. Andreas, aka Kapitan von Klepper would probably commend my, probably temporary, relinquishment behind the wheel of soulish narcissism. Actually, I’m surprised I was able to do it. Probably stems from tiredness and the desire to avoid a crash.

Turns out I had to also provide transcripts from the Baptist seminary. Three of the five or seven colleagues I’ve asked to send recommendations have done so, and three’s all I need. Maybe another couple recs will get in tomorrow. Very frankly, I think it’ll be a miracle if I’m accepted since I haven’t got any management or administration support in this matter.

Also, although I wrote an autobiographical “goals and mission” statement as directed in the application instructions, I probably included enough truth to incense divisional management and others of their sort. On the other hand, miracles sometimes happen. Depending on whether I get into the master’s prog, I may publish my heroic-sounding self-disclosure here.

During tooth-cleaning this afternoon, I overheard my dentist tell his assistant, “Look what good teeth he has.” Good’s gotta mean something other than straight, even, and pearly white. We also discussed theology, specifically holiness, society, Dispensationalism. My dentist opined, “Dispensationalists are antinomian.” But are they?

Heck, I’m probably antinomian, and I don’t even adhere slavishly to every tenet of a particular theology. Makes me uncategorized fauna of sorts in the theological garden.