Big Fat Queer

August 30, 2010

Maybe I Need to Drink More

In my 20s and 30s I used to be a heavy drinker. I mean heavy. On some days I might drink the equivalent of two six packs of beer or the better part of a fifth of liquor. Most days I drank some. For a couple of years after that I stopped drinking altogether. In the last 20 years I would describe myself as a light drinker. I don’t drink every day and sometimes a couple of weeks go by without a drop of alcohol. On rare occasions (like a couple of Fridays ago when I went out with friends – I blogged about it here) I drink a lot – for me. But nothing like the old days.

Time magazine just posted a study that says that heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers. Moderate drinkers live longer than heavier drinkers though. I’m not even a moderate drinker. I guess I should step it up.

Yesterday I recovered from my Saturday at Montauk by watching tv and not much else. I had an onion omelet at midday with high protein, high fiber, low carb toast. For dinner I had two chicken thighs with a coconut milk curry sauce, steamed broccoli, and carrot/mango soup. Note to self: next time try a 2:1 ratio of carrots to mango. I did an even amount this time and probably too much mango.

Today I had a salad for lunch and some mixed nuts in the afternoon. Tonight I will have some low carb pasta with pesto sauce. I had basil left over from when I made Eggs in Purgatory, so last night I made a pesto. I usually like pine nuts with it, but I couldn’t find a small amount and the large amount was very costly. So I used almonds and it tasted fine. I will toss it with angel hair pasta tonight and some protein on the side. I haven’t decided which. Also I’ll have a salad.

Before the day is done I expect I will have walked a mile and a half.

August 29, 2010

Surf’s Up!

Montauk Surger Triptych

I went to Montauk yesterday as I mentioned I might in my last post. It was a beautiful day, mid to high 70s, clear sky and I was there at the peak of afternoon surfing. Ditch Plains beach, which is one of the main surf areas of Montauk, was crowded with surfers and sunbathers. I shot video until my battery died. There were a lot of good, long rides and at times the surf was rough. But as far as I could tell nobody got hurt. I only took a few still shots. The the shots in the triptych above were about a second or two apart.

One of the reasons I like to watch surfing, live or on film, is that it is something I cannot do. Similar for dancing. I haven’t been in years, but for about a decade of my life I was at the ballet frequently, often multiple times in a week. I don’t have physical grace or courage, or coordination for that matter. I am a klutz. Often watching entertainment or commentary or such things I think to myself, “I can do that.” While I might admire it, I don’t stand in awe of it. Things like surfing or dancing I do stand (or sit, or fall) in awe of. One great thing about Montauk surfing, and it may be universal for all I know, is that all kinds of people surf. There are young, in-shape guys like the one pictured above. There are also guys my age with beer bellies, and some of them, due to their experience, can out surf the younger dudes. And there are women. There were several women on the waves yesterday and some young girls. It was a great day.

After I finished shooting I decided to walk to the main town area of Montauk, which is only a few blocks of shops and motels. It is about two miles from Ditch Plains beach. It was a cheap day trip and I wanted to keep it that way. I get vouchers called Transit Checks every month. In addition to my monthly Metro Card that gets me around on city buses and subways, I get enough Transit Checks to cover my twice monthly commute to Long Island. These come out of pre-tax income so I save about 40% over retail when you figure the tax savings. However, I don’t always go to LI twice a month so over a period of time I have extra vouchers. So round trip only cost me $3 out of pocket, and I spent about $20 in cab fare round-trip to and from the train station. And one of the secondary points to the trip was to get in some good scenic walking. So off I went.

I have walked most of these beaches before, but never continuously from Ditch Plains to town. About two thirds of the way the beach turns really rocky. For a while there is enough space between the rocks that you can walk on sand, though the steps become somewhat serpentine. Then the rocks become very dense and very challenging. One of my favorite things about Montauk is that much of it is the way nature leaves it, and some of it is not hospitable to human traffic. This stretch of beach is that way, and once I got past the crowds of Ditch Plains, I probably only saw a dozen or so people spread out before I got to the town beach where all the motels are. I could have turned and walked back a mile or so and called a cab, but that would have eaten up time and the chance to have a nice meal before the three and a half hour train ride back.

I wasn’t panicky, but I thought I might have made a mistake. This was obviously going to be a challenge and a bit of a physical obstacle. I usually make sure that I do my walking in areas that, should I have a problem, there are people around who can help or get help quickly. Here, if I fell or injured myself in some way, I might lie there for a while before I could get help. Also going on required a lot of physical effort, more than I usually expend, and for a sustained time. What the hell. I saw that above the rocks just below the bluffs was a sand shelf that I could walk for a while. I climbed up there, which wasn’t easy since the sand kept falling away under my feet, but I got there. I was tired already. As you probably well know, walking barefoot in sand is not as easy as walking on a sidewalk in shoes. After a while I got to a staircase going up the bluffs. I looked up and the top landing was separated from the bluffs by about ten feet from erosion. It might be a nice view, but right now I wasn’t interesed in view. I sat on the lower step and put my shoes on because it was rock for the next 50 yards. Smaller rocks than the ones I had avoided for the last 100 yards or so. I maneuvered gingerly, using my cane and I finally got past the rocky area to sand beach. From there it was about a half mile to my destination, the cheap place to eat. I felt good that I had faced what, for me, was a big physical challenge and got through it. The amount of work spent on that two mile walk probably equaled the equivalent of five miles of city walking. I did wake up in the middle of the night with a cramp in my leg. I applied some heat, took Advil and went back to sleep for eight more hours. Today I am doing as little as possible.

The cheap place to eat is a little stand that sells burgers, dogs and fried seafood. I had the fried seafood dinner, shrimp, scallops, clams, flounder. The flounder was a little sub par, but the shellfish was great. And it was less than $15. In the morning before I left I had steak and eggs and rye toast. On my long walk on the beach, I felt like my blood sugar was lowering, and this was definitely not the place to have a crash, so I ate my emergency Pay Day candy bar. Snickers is not a good idea on a day out in the sun because the chocolate gets runny. There is a nice fudge shop in the town area of Montauk and I brought home a small square of Amaretto Chocolate fudge. I ate that for a midnight snack. This morning my blood sugar was good, so whatever carbs I ate yesterday, I burned. I did not have any insulin all day.

Here are a couple of other shots from yesterday, and no that is not my foot. My foot is stubby and gnarly. This is a perfectly shaped foot with a high arch. The guy is not badly shaped either.

Footprint

Pink Shorts

August 27, 2010

I’m a Travelin’ Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigfatqueer @ 9:45 pm

I saw Elaine Stritch perform the song above on Broadway in Elaine Stritch At Liberty. I performed it myself way back in 1976 in a musical revue called Oh Coward, after the author of the song, The Master, Noel Coward.

I’m not traveling far, mind you. Today it was a mere 35 miles and I was never more than 10 miles from home. I have mentioned on this blog before that I am accumulating footage for a video project about Manhattan’s rivers and the life on and around them. I have shot footage from shores of the island over a couple of months. I still want to shoot from other boroughs looking toward Manhattan. I also want to shoot from the bridges that have walkways. While the weather is good I will accumulate footage and I’ll probably edit when it gets cold and I will need indoor projects. I sometimes get comments or messages from people wanting me to do more videos out and about in New York. I love those videos but they take time. They can take from 20 to 50 hours or more to shoot, edit, score, etc. This month my two most viewed vlogs (one with almost 4,000 views and one over 5,000) were done on an iPhone and were shot and uploaded in less than five minutes. I’ll do the New York videos, but they come much more slowly.

Today, I shot footage for my project on the Circle Line, the boat that sails a three hour cruise around the island. The weather was gorgeous and I shot over an hour of video, and about 250 still shots. It will take a couple of weeks after I shoot all the footage just to cull it down to a manageable amount. I occasionally travel incognito as a tourist. I don’t mind if people think that, although most New Yorkers would. I am well behaved and pretty much keep to myself and my cameras. The real tourists though… all right, I know it’s an easy target. And to be honest most were well behaved and well groomed. Some were even beautiful. But there were a few who would be right at home at People of Walmart. And there was a lot of needless yammering in many tongues. I was a bit annoyed at the people who would rush to get their picture taken with something in the background requiring them to shove me out of my niche I staked out early without so much as a “howdy do?”

But the piece de resistance, it if isn’t too outre to use French here: A man in a wife beater, as he was disembarking, sidled up to his girlfriend or wife or whatever, who was wearing a short dress, and dug his fingers into the crack of her butt. After which… he sniffed his fingers. Now that is damn classy. I wish Mr. Noel Coward had worked that into his lyrics.

Just before getting on the boat I had a minor hypoglycemic crash and I stuffed my face with an emergency Snickers. About halfway through the trip I was feeling low again, so I had a hot dog, the snack bar having no healthy choices. But I walked about two miles today and I moved around a lot on the boat. When I got home my blood sugar was normal, so I needed the carbs.

Tonight I will have a burger on high protein, high fiber, low carb bread.

Tomorrow, if I still feel good when I get up, I am going to take the train to Montauk, just for the day, and shoot surfers. I included some surfing footage in my Montauk video a couple of months ago. But when I was editing it I thought I would like to do an entire video just of surfing. I hope the waves are good and the surfers are out in force. I will have some seafood while I am there and it may be fried, but I also am not renting a car so there will be walking. I have mixed some nuts and dried fruits to take along to keep me nourished as I walk and shoot.

Here are some still pictures from the trip today:

August 26, 2010

Eggs in Purgatory

A couple of days ago my dear friend Diana (PrincessDiana161 on YouTube, @PDi161 on Twitter) posted a picture on facebook of a dish called Eggs in Purgatory. I had never heard of it, but it looked delicious. I looked it up and found several recipes, but it is basically taking your favorite marinara sauce and putting eggs in it and letting them poach 3-5 minutes depending on how well done you want them. Diana suggested adding onions, garlic and pepper flakes, which I did. I really onioned it up. You can serve it over mashed potatoes, pasta, whatever you like. I had it over angel hair pasta (Dreamfields low carb).

I am of the opinion that most food is better with a little runny egg yolk on it, so I poached them for only about three minutes. As is the case any time you make something for the first time, there are improvements I can make. First, my sauce was a little too thin. Not too thin for pasta, but I coudln’t make wells in the sauce to put the eggs in, so I just poached them on top of the sauce. It worked, but it would have been neater with wells. Also my heat was not evenly distributed, so one egg was runny and one was not so runny. Also my plating was not as neat as I would have liked.

Nevertheless, it was delicious. I have lots of marinara left over, so I froze it and will use it again. I had a red leaf lettuce salad on the side with balsamic and olive oil.

I walked a mile and a half today.

My three day weekend has started. The weather is supposed to be nice and I have a couple of video projects in mind, so I will be doing a lot of walking.

OMG Potato Chips!

Leftovers

Some of the partners of my company had a luncheon today for whatever reason, but often whey they do they order a sandwich platter with various crap on the side (cookies, potato salad, fruit). After the luncheon they put the leftovers on a table in the staff lunch area so that the goodness trickles down. Ah noblesse oblige! Ok, I’m using a bit of hyperbole, but I usually decline partner leftovers. Today I noticed they had potato chips. I haven’t had a potato chip in a long time, so I ate one, then two… then I ran away.

It is a cliche, but it is hard to eat just one. Potato chips are the perfect junk food gateway drug. First of all, anything made with potatoes from gnocchi to vodka is so tasty. Add the crispness, the fat, the salt and voila! You have me hooked. And eating just one more isn’t so bad. Then just one more, then after you have eaten about a couple hundred of them, you think “What have I done?” And the guilt makes you eat some cheese just to atone.

For lunch today I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich on pump. I also had the other half of an avocado from yesterday and part of a white peach, which was pithy and mealy and not very tasty. Oh yes, and two potato chips.

Tonight I am making Eggs in Purgatory. More about that later.

August 25, 2010

Fat is Good

Well, some fat. The conventional wisdom that so much of the health-care and food industry perpetuates is that low fat diets are good for everybody. They probably are, for some people, for example people who have normal blood sugar levels and high blood fat levels. They probably should eat less fat and more complex carbs.

But I am the opposite. My blood sugar is elevated and my blood fats are extremely low. Thus I think it makes sense for me to eat more fat and less carbs. But mostly the good fats from nuts, olive oil, avocado and for me it seems coconut fat is good. I went back to having some coconut oil and/or milk every day this week and I can tell a difference in my appetite. From what I read, medium-chain triglycerides (like coconut oil) are metabolized into energy almost as directly as carbs, and not immediately stored. But they don’t raise blood sugar, at least not for me.

I will monitor the levels because as a diabetic, I don’t want to risk any elevation of blood fats above normal, but as long as I can tolerate the good fats, I am less hungry. I learned that earlier in this project, but I drifted away from it.

Today for lunch I had a ham sandwich on pumpernickel, half an avocado and a tomato. For an afternoon snack I had a Golden Delicious apple. For dinner I had another of the same sandwich and a vegetable puree of yellow squash, onions, carrots and lima beans with some coconut milk and sriracha.

Before bed I will have a small frozen berry and coconut milk and coconut water smoothie.

I walked a mile and a half today.

I have a three day weekend coming up. My energy levels have improved this week. I don’t know how much of that is diet and how much is the demise of infection agents. I have some ideas of things I want to video since the weather is supposed to be really nice. It involves a little travel around bodies of water.

August 23, 2010

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Earlier this evening I pitted a large bowl of fresh cherries by hand with only a paring knife and my fingers, which are now quite red. I put them in the freezer (the cherries, not my fingers) with some fresh pineapple chunks. I will be using some of this cold fruit to make a smoothie with coconut milk in few minutes.

I am feeling even better today than yesterday after a busy day at work. For lunch I had some roast chicken thigh and some raw vegetables. I had no breakfast or snacks during the day. For dinner I had organic peanut butter on Finn Crisps and the last bowl of home made vegetable soup from this weekend. Later I will haz my smoothie.

Though it was rainy and dank all day, I walked about a mile and a quarter.

I feel like I am more on track like the early days of this blog. I don’t know if feeling better is the cause or the effect.

August 22, 2010

I’m Feeling Better

Rest is a wonderful thing. Not just rest from physical activity, but rest from stress.

One of the reasons I am so looking forward to retirement is that I always have so many projects and ideas in the works that I can’t keep up. The ideas come much faster than my ability to execute them. Time is the most precious thing in my life right now. Because of that my weekends are often spent working harder than I do during the week. I feel guilty when I just relax, but as I mentioned earlier this week I have not felt in top form. So this weekend I slept late, took naps, didn’t feel pressed to work. During waking hours I watched movies and read. Light reading, which is rare for me. I usually read nonfiction and usually pretty dense with ideas. This weekend I am almost finished with Band Fags, a novel about growing up gay in the 80s. Although the protagonist is about 20 years younger than I, I identify with a lot of the situations he faced being gay in high school in middle America. The discovery, confusion and humor are expressed wittily (as a gay author should!) and they ring true for the most part.

So I have relaxed and tonight I don’t feel the fatigue and I have a normal temperature. So that is good.

I have read some of my older posts and compared then to now as far as what I am eating. I have let my portion sizes creep up and I need to watch that. Another thing that I did pretty consistently then was include coconut oil or coconut milk in my diet most days. I haven’t been doing that lately. I will return to that tomorrow. I think the fat from coconut quickened my metabolism (and there is some research to support this). I also think it reduced cravings. And I happen to like it. So tomorrow the coconut returns, and I should step up the exercise now that I am feeling better.

I am taking the next two Fridays off work, so I will have three four-day work weeks around a three day weekend and a four day weekend at Labor Day. The rest will do me good. The fall is going to be quite busy at my job.

August 20, 2010

Dear Readers

Filed under: Eat Less; Move More — bigfatqueer @ 9:50 am
Tags:

I have not posted much this week. I haven’t felt very well. Nothing serious, but in the evenings after work I have been tired and had a low grade fever most nights with some minor body aches. It is some mild virus or some sort of inflammation. It isn’t enough to keep me out of work or anything, but it has given me a week long case of the blahs.

I haven’t pigged out, but I have eaten what is easiest to get to, which often means foods processed to some degree or take-out. So I don’t think I have gone backwards, but I am standing still. Really more sitting still, kind of sprawled out and torpid. Not a pretty sight

The work day ends early today and the weekend is here. Just in time. I think I will make a big pot of vegetable soup and drink a lot of water and watch movies. I’ll try to walk a bit. Exercise can help clean out toxins.

Anybody know any good anti-inflammatory foods?

August 17, 2010

Just a Quickie

Filed under: Eat Less; Move More — bigfatqueer @ 9:13 pm
Tags:

I worked in Long Island today, so I got up early and had a long commute. I’m tired and need to go to bed soon.

I had a chef salad at work. Tonight I ordered chicken souvlaki and ate the chicken and half the pita bread, and all of the delicious tzadziki (cucumbers and yogurt). It came with a large Greek salad, but I was too full to eat it. I did have a couple of chocolate pretzels this afternoon. I walked about a mile today during my commute.

Perhaps I will have more to say tomorrow. I’m so exhausted from keeping up with the news about Zsa Zsa (/sarcasm).

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