Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

The front window at Zaro’s

September 14, 2010

Check out the window at Zaro’s in Grand Central. This is the kind of crap you have to pass by on a regular basis if you spend any time in Manhattan. It’s a dieter’s nightmare. Thankfully I’m strong now. Long may I remain so. And hey, isn’t it about time I planned an eat-whatever-I-want day in Manhattan?


Goodbye Size 40s!

September 13, 2010

Here’s me modeling all the size 40 pants that I’m about to Freecycle. Do you know why I’m about to Freecycle them? I’ll give you a hint: I don’t have enough fashion sense for it to have anything to do with whether they’re in style or not. No? How about this: it’s also not because they’re worn out. Some of them are too worn to wear to work, yes, but if that were the only reason then I’d just use them as hiking pants.

Give up? OK, I’ll tell you. The reason why I’m Freecycling these pants is because…

They’ve gotten way too loose! WOO HOO!!!


September 11, 2010

Here’s me burning the pile of junk food that I accumulated during my last weeks at Goldman Sachs.

Day One Hundred Twenty-Six

August 24, 2010
Morgan and Ben snoozing on the couch after Morgan's wisdom teeth removal

Morgan and Ben snoozing on the couch after Morgan's wisdom teeth removal

I got up at 6:00, after a night of barely sleeping. I need to get a bigger tent. This one is OK only if it’s dry. When it rains, I have to curl up so that the blanket doesn’t touch the side of the tent, and I can’t sleep properly.

I had a glorious eat-whatever-I-want day breakfast, then drove to Fayetteville. I was about an hour early for Morgan’s appointment, so I went to Starbucks to grab a chai and use their wi-fi. Big mistake. I don’t remember the last time caffeine hit me so hard. I suppose that it was because of all the hiking during the weekend, followed by a stressful five-and-a-half hour drive in the rain, followed by a night of barely sleeping. In any event, I was shucking and jiving like a junkie as I waited with Morgan’s mother and boyfriend while the dentist pulled her wisdom teeth.

We got Morgan home and chilled out with her, watching the Futurama movie and bringing her spoonable foods. I ducked out at lunchtime to get pastry and cookies at Provisions, run through the beer samplings at Middle Ages, and grab a burger at Nick’s. I came back to Morgan’s and ate there.

I stayed with Morgan until around 5:30 and then, feeling a desperate need for rest, drove back to the family homestead in Oneida. I took my niece and nephew out for a walk while we still had sunlight, then went down to Pepi’s to grab a pizza. I played Ms. Pac Man and Space Invaders while I was waiting. There’s nothing like the classics.

I ate pizza and two cans of Pepsi, and felt overstuffed. I tried to drink my celebratory beer, but was only able to get through about a third of it before passing out.

The Ceremony of the Changing of the Belts

June 2, 2010

Out with old, in with the new. HELL YEAH!

Tea Tasting

May 13, 2010

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Tonight’s tea history and tasting event was the perfect embodiment of my goal for this blog because it provided interlinked opportunities to examine and redirect my relationship with food. I geeked out on the analogies between tea and beer. I lost myself in the flavor profiles of the different varietals and the different things they did on my tongue. I got some great ideas for preparing tea in order to better enjoy its flavor. And I passed up a perfect storm of bingeing opportunities.

The first hour of the two-hour event, presented by Dae of The Tea Gallery, was a crash course on the nature of tea, its varieties and its history. I don’t remember a lot of it, but it did make me more eager to go read the books I have on the subject. There were some particularly memorable stories: the emperor from around 300 BC who was obsessed with the benefits of tea; the legendary farmer who fixed up the temple and was rewarded with a dream showing him the path to the fine tea trees; and the legendary monk from whose eyelids sprouted the first tea trees!

I was interested to hear that some of my favorite teas, such as Keemun, are categorized as red teas rather than black. The thing that made my ears perk up the most, though, was hearing that at least one variety of tea is aged. I immediately associated this with beer, although it seemed unlikely to me that tea aging would involve anything like the microbial processes so important to beer. Later I was to find out differently!

After the talk the audience had the opportunity to taste one white tea, two varieties of Oolong, and a Keemun. Just like beer tasting, the order went from lightest to darkest. So I went from the white to the lighter Oolong to the Keemun to the dark Oolong.

It was interesting to me that I found the light Oolong to be more bitter than the Keemun. Again it reminded me of beer: it was very much like moving from a pilsener to a nut brown. I generally don’t care for pilseners because I find their hoppy aspect to be sharp, without any body to blunt it. A good nut brown, on the other hand, has a roasted, full-bodied flavor that feels round and savory. In the same way, I think that the bitterness of the Oolong was far more exposed than that in the Keemun, so I appreciated it less.

What I found even more interesting was that my friend Karen had the opposite reaction: she thought that the Keemun was more bitter than the Oolong! Dae confirmed my sense that, again as with beer, there are different flavor constituents to tea, and that because taste buds vary, different people taste those constituents differently.

I lingered around the delicious-looking assortment of treats that had been selected specifically to pair with the teas served. For a beer geek and foodie like me, this was sort of like a spacecraft maintaining position just short of the event horizon of a black hole. I’m feeling strong right now, so I was able to abstain with relative ease, but if you stood close you could have felt my engines thrumming with the power required to sustain my orbit.

I had some more Keemun and geeked out with Dae. As it turns out, there is a type of tea that is very much analagous to beer in its aging process: Puer. Like the early Belgian beer styles that depended on environmental yeast, Pu’er aging depends on the bacteria in the environment. According to the Wikipedia article,

The process used to convert máochá into ripened pu-erh is a recent invention that manipulates conditions to approximate the result of the aging process by prolonged bacterial and fungal fermentation in a warm humid environment under controlled conditions, a technique called wòdūi (, “wet piling” in English), which involves piling, dampening, and turning the tea leaves in a manner much akin to composting.

After downing quite a bit of Keemun, I finished with more geeking with Michael at the dark end of the Oolong table. We talked about the tea roasting process, which seems to me very similar to the way malt is roasted in different ways to bring out different flavors in beer. When I sniffed the dark Oolong, the roasted coffee overtones of some stouts came to mind.

Michael also gave me some interesting information about tea steeping. It turns out that the appealing flavors of tea comes from the oils in the leaf, which are near the outside. Again this reminded me of beer, which depends on steeping the resins out of the hops! But back to tea: steeping it for a long time, or using chopped tea leaves, makes the tea bitter because it draws out the inner, less desirable portion of the leaf. This led to advice about reducing or eliminating the amount of sugar I put in my tea, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for years. Michael recommended using more tea leaves and steeping for a much shorter time — that way I’ll get better flavor, and hopefully I can get away with not using sugar.

The whole point of this blog is to redirect my obsession with food. One of the key techniques is to throw my energy into alternative ritualization. What better way to do that than with the highly ritualized act of appreciating a cup of tea?

Shadow-Boxing: Before

May 4, 2010

Late last year, my personal trainer friend Mel gave me a recommendation for building up my chest and shoulders: do shadow-boxing with three-pound hand weights. I thought this was a fantastic idea, so I tried it. It was a great workout, but I couldn’t do much because I was in the middle of a six-month period of debilitating asthma. I would start to wheeze almost as soon as I started. I kept trying, and was building up my strength gradually, but it never amounted to too much.

Then I figured out the source of my asthma — the radiator vents in my apartment. Once I cleaned them out, the asthma went away. Ever since then I’ve been able to breathe and sleep properly, and those two things alone have radically improved my quality of life. And boy oh boy, what a difference it made with the shadow-boxing!

Then, about a month ago, I made another discovery. One night when I was feeling particularly strong after a calisthenics routine, I decided “What the heck, I’m going to try doing some shadow-boxing on top of this.” I did, and what a difference! I exerted myself twice as much during the thirty-minute routine, and had twice as much left over at the end. Hindsight was twenty-twenty: to do such an intense routine, I had to warm up first! And the calisthenics routine was a perfect warmup.

So now I only do shadow-boxing right after a calisthenics routine, and it’s going great. My strength, speed and stamina are ramping up, and I’m looking forward to lengthening the routine and moving up to heavier weights before long. But for now, I just wanted to post a record of where I am: very clumsily flailing about, getting a great cardio workout but not knowing a thing about what I’m doing.

How To Drink Orange Juice

May 1, 2010

If you’re a foodie like me then you’ll understand my desperate need at this time to make the most of every eating experience: to suck the marrow out, as it were. The more I wallow in my sensorium, the more satisfaction I’ll derive from eating the sensible foods.

Running the Gauntlet

April 23, 2010


Here is the gauntlet* I had to run yesterday in order to get from the spot on Stone Street where I connect to the free public WiFi, back to my office at 85 Broad.

Look at all the happy people with their yummy, yummy beer. Mmmmm. Look on the tables. There are also burgers and fries with ketchup. And…

Excuse me, I need to get a napkin to wipe up all this saliva.

I’m back. Where was I? Ah yes. …and some of the best darned pizza in the city — gosh those people at Adrienne’s really know how to do eggplant right. And chips with sour cream and guacamole.

I have a notable reaction when I see all these people eating all this food. Most of the people look to be in pretty good shape, so a pang of jealousy shudders through me: “Why can’t I eat that stuff? Those people are eating that stuff, and they’re not fat!” Well, those folks don’t have what the kids nowadays with the hair and the music are calling “eating disorders”. And I do.

I don’t eat like other folks. I gorge myself because it feels so damned good. Once, while I was working at the dining hall as a student at Cornell, a co-worker looked at me while I was eating and said “Hugh is the only person I know for whom eating is the next best thing to sex.” I considered for a moment, then nodded my head in agreement.

So when you go out eating with me, it may be a very fun time because you may catch a contact high from my intoxication with food. You might not notice the sheer quantity of food I eat in my exuberance. It seems to me like a Good Idea to eat x, while the average person is happy with y. The ratio of x to y deviates nontrivially from unity. And that is why I can’t eat the same things as those people — at least not right now. Because when I was eating those same things during the last few years, I didn’t stop where they stop. And now I have to pay the piper.

When I regain a level of fitness I can live with, then I can eat the same things as those people — in moderation. Until then I have to remember that there are reasons why I can’t. And even if there are metabolic reasons why those people might genuinely be able to eat more than I… tough. I need to play the cards I was dealt.

*”Gauntlet”, not “gamut” — I mixed my metaphors while speaking in the video.


April 22, 2010

Good morning!

I had a fantastic walk. Right out of the starting gate I saw some black crow-like birds that I think were ravens. I recently looked up the differences between crows and ravens, so these birds’ splayed wingtip feathers and distinctly non-crow-like croaking call gave them away.

I love to see the azaleas and lilacs blooming more each day. The sweet scent of the lilacs grows less subtle and I smile proportionally more.

I saw two rabbits and had to text Grace to tell her. It makes me happy that rabbits make her happy. I got out my camera to get shots of the second one but it shied away before I could.

The ravens, lilacs, azaleas and rabbits would have been plently to make me glad I got up. But the best reward was waiting for me at the golf course: a second chance at a photo op with the great egret.

The bird was standing in the water trap where I’d first seen it yesterday, inclining its head forward attentively while looking down into the water–presumably for breakfast. I shot two rather uninteresting videos from farther back. They showed the egret failing to adopt the aforementioned stance; I think it was leery of me.

Just as I got as close as I dared to get, the bird decided that I was a little too close. It flew off, but only a little way. I got a good video of it prowling around and then soaring back to the original spot. Apparently it decided I wasn’t enough of a bother to forego fishing.

So I refocused and got the best video of them all. It shows the egret prowling and swooping around the trap and eventually soaring away.

When I got back I was thrilled to weigh in at 246.5. That’s a serious weight drop. Again, though, it’s just water weight. It will level off soon and then the real grind will begin.