321.8

Weigh #2

I'm almost 3 weeks ahead of schedule for my Lose It or Lose It challenge. Not too shabby, sadly, getting ahead doesn't really help with Lose it or Lose It because I still have to lose another 3 pounds this week (and it just so happens to be Thanksgiving!).

I'm pretty sure I can knock off a few pounds this week, even with Turkey day. I'll be going to the gym tomorrow, perhaps Wednesday morning, and definitely Saturday and Sunday so it should be too much of a bother.


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330.jpgYou may recall that before I got married I realized that I needed to get back on the bandwagon and shed some weight. The good news is that I did, in fact, lose some weight (enough to look good in my wedding photos) but the bad news is that we had lots of great food during the honeymoon.

That, in and of itself, wouldn't have been a problem if I had gone back to the gym after returning home. I didn't. I also didn't stop eating like a mad man, and now I've gained all the weight I lost before the wedding back (and then some!).

loseitorloseit.jpgWhat is a fat guy to do? Why, turn to a webapp that a smart Philly area developer just launched called Lose It or Lose It. The idea is simple: you decide on a goal (mine is to lose 30 pounds in 10 weeks) and the app lets you decide how much money you're willing to lose should you not meet that goal ($200 in my case). You weigh in every week, and if you don't hit your goal you are penalized a small bit. At the end of the 10 week period you get back all the money you put up if you meet your goal. If you don't meet your goal you get back the money you put up minus any penalties.

Fairly simple, I think. Check out my profile here. I'm certain that by mid-January I will be at least 30 pounds lighter (and I'll fit into more of my Hawaiian shirts!).


Wedding/Honeymoon pictures

Marisa and I got married a couple of months ago and I haven't put up any pictures! We took a bunch both at the wedding itself and during our honeymoon. I've collected some of the pics I like best in this post, but if you want to see them all they are on Flickr:

Here are the ones that I thought I would highlight on the blog:

The Wedding

First, we'll start with the wedding pictures. Most of these were taken by our good friend, and great photographer, Albert Yee (I'll point out which ones weren't!).

Marisa snaps a pic of me

This first picture was taken by yours truly. Marisa thought that perhaps she would have enough time to take her own wedding pictures.

Some random dogs showed up

While Marisa and I were exchanging vows I thought I saw a random dog walk past. But I knew that no one had brought a dog with them. Turns out the neighbor's dogs stopped by to wish us well (this pic was snapped by David Kirpan).

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Ah, the pro pictures begin!

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Marisa has a very large family.

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I don't. Behind me are my brother and mother. Behind Marisa are her parents and her sister.

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Raina played a song before we said our vows.

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About to take the plunge.

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Different people. Different shoes.

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Kissing! In public! Shocking.

Hands, touching hands

My good friend David Kirpan manned my camera during the ceremony and managed to get this picture. Good job, Dave!

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Marisa, being Marisa, made all of our wedding cakes herself. Here you see a destroyed flourless chocolate cake (which we made on Fork You once, video and recipe here).

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My relatives made the trek out to Philadelphia to attend (ain't they nice!).

My mom, her brother Robert, and her sister Maryellen

My mom, her brother, and her sister.

The Honeymoon

Bennington Pottery sign

The whole honeymoon plan was founded on visiting Bennington Potters (for Marisa), and so that was our first stop.

The Goodwill Store

Marisa also loves thrift stores, so we had to go here.

Another moose

All around Bennington they had these painted Moose. This one is the covered bridge moose which features a picture of the bed & breakfast we stayed at painted on its flank (I thought that was pretty cool).

No Service

My iPhone (and Blackberry and wireless data card) got no service for most of the trip, which was actually quite nice.

Steeple

A nice steeple. I just like the way this picture came out.

The Inn

The first place we stayed at in Vermont was the Inn On Covered Bridge Green, which was just lovely. Norman Rockwell used to own this house... though we didn't actually stay in the house proper. There is a little honeymoon cottage in the back (which used to be called the 'corn crib') that we stayed in. I'm certain that Marisa and I will be back to this place again.

Postcard material

This is what was painted on that moose.

Brownies

We left Vermont and went to Lake Placid, New York and stayed at the White Face Lodge, which was very nice indeed. They had brownies waiting for us in our room. You can't beat that!

Lake Placid

I thought this was a picture of Lake Placid, but I'm pretty sure it is actually Lake Mirror... either way it is pretty.

Free bubbly

Since I booked the Honeymoon package we also received some free champagne. It was pretty good.

Marisa with an armful of jars

Of course Marisa bought some jars.

Flag and cannon

And I demanded we visit some historical sites! This is Fort Ticonderoga.

We're cute!

Us being cute.

I assume this is Hurbert

A cannon.

Can you find Marisa?

The Kings Garden which is right next to the Fort. We actually happened to visit when some sort of farmers' market was going on so we managed to buy some vegetables.

Stickers

We also hit the Billings Farm & Museum which is neat (and I only heard about it because I was listening in on someone else's conversation at the Vermont Country Store).

Moo

This was outside of some tourist trap that we ventured into (and where we bought some rare Cabot cheeses that aren't available in these parts).

The Egg

The Egg in Albany, NY. Since we were driving through Albany I thought it would be fun to take the Capitol Building tour.

Library

The Library in the New York State Capitol.

Lights on the Airstream

A string of lights on our Airstream trailer.

North to Alaska

We stayed in an airstream (the one pictured above) at Kate's Lazy Meadow, which is surrounded by beauty. Marisa and I were both glad we only booked one night, however, since the trailer was tiny!

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I thought this was a cool picture.

The Married Couple!

And there we are being cute again!


A honeymoon in food

As we sat down to our first real meal of the honeymoon I thought it would be a great idea to snap an iPhone picture of each meal I ate during the trip. I always have my iPhone with me, and I'm always taking crappy pictures of my food with it so clearly this idea was meant to be.

Sadly, I would often be so hungry that I would either: start eating before I remembered to take a picture OR finish eating before remembering to take a picture. I did, however, manage to snap pics of 22 meals over the course of 8 days. Here they are, in order consumed from the earliest to the latest:

Bennington, VT

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I'm not sure who thought putting the insides of a chicken pot pie into a bread bowl was a good idea, but they were absolutely correct. This was our first real meal of the honeymoon and we had it at the Perfect Wife. Very good, and the prices were reasonable.

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One of the great things about staying at a bed and breakfast is that you get both a bed AND breakfast (genius!). We were the only guests at breakfast our first morning, so I couldn't refuse the big bowl of fruit (not a fan of fruit). I covered it up with yogurt and only ate the cantaloupe.

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After the disappointing fruit (which was only disappointing because I don't like fruit, mind you) the good innkeeper at The Inn on the Covered Bridge Green made up for it with some delicious eggs benedict.

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Our lunch stop was the Blue Benn Diner. If you're ever in Bennington, VT you have got to stop at this tiny diner (it is one of those dinners in a train car). The hot chocolate was great, as was the...

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Eggplant thing that I got. I asked the waitress what she would recommend, since the menu is huge, and she said the stuffed eggplant was the way to go. She didn't steer me wrong.

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Not having enough colonial experiences in Philadelphia we decided to have dinner at Ye Olde Tavern. The pictures aren't great because that place is dark. I mean, seriously dark. These were some cranberry fritters that we got whilst waiting for our meal. Pretty good.

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The cheese plate was the highlight of the meal for both Marisa and myself.

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I ordered the tournedos of filet mignon, which is filet mignon topped with lobster served with béarnaise. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't mind blowing either.

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This was our last breakfast at the good old Inn on the Covered Bridge Green and it consisted of lemon and blueberry pancakes. They were good, sadly I had a childhood trauma involving blueberry pancakes (watch me tell the story of my trauma and eat some blueberry jam!) so I didn't really enjoy them (though I soaked them through and through with maple syrup, which seemed to help). The bacon was very good.

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We spent a lot of time in random stores during the honeymoon and the Vermont Country Store has got to be the most random of them all. However, the Bryant House Restaurant that is next to their location in Weston, Vermont is very good. I had the Yankee Pot Roast open face sandwich. I wish they could FedEx one to me tomorrow. Very tasty.

Rutland, VT

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I thought the Mountain Top Inn and Resort was a little more rustic and secluded than it actually was, but they make a mean french dip!

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Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice makes the best pancakes I have ever had in my life. Above you see an order of their sugar and spice pancakes. After we finished our breakfast I turned to Marisa and said, "We have to have breakfast here again tomorrow." Read on to see if we did! (Spoiler alert: we did, and it was just as good).

Hanover, New Hampshire

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We somehow found ourselves in New Hampshire where we saw Fame (don't ask). I was craving some Asian food so we stopped at Yama II. This soup was tasty but super hot.

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The pad thai was very good, indeed. The place really had a 'college town eatery' vibe that I dug.

Rutland, VT

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I told you we went back! This time I had the breakfast sampler with pancakes, two eggs, two pieces of bacon, and two sausage links. And a maple syrup chaser.

Lake Placid, NY

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Kanu is the restaurant inside the Whiteface Lodge, and it is very good. Not pictured were two appetizers that we shared: a mac and cheese to die for and some very good grilled scallops. My entree was the pulled pork which was porktastic. Sadly, the baked beans weren't cooked all the way through so I didn't eat them. The cornbread was good though.

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Breakfast was included in our rate at the Whiteface Lodge, so you can bet your bippy that we had breakfast there. Best of all it was a breakfast buffet (and a very good one at that). I must have eaten seven of those cinnamon roll things.

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At this point Marisa decided that we hadn't been eating enough vegetables ("Wait, bacon ISN'T a vegetable?!") so we had some raw veggies and hummus for lunch.

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Milano North is responsible for this, and it was much better tasting than it looks in this picture (it kind of looks like gagh, which you might know as Klingon Blood Worms). Marisa wasn't a fan of her dinner, but they did give us a free dessert (which I devoured before my iPhone could snap a pic).

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One bagel, two toppings. Madness!

Mt. Tremper, NY

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I did not have high hopes for Brios, but my chicken parm was very good. There were a few too many screaming children here for my taste, but that isn't the restaurant's fault.

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When we saw that the menu featured four different types of multigrain pancakes we knew we had found the right place for Marisa (damn, hippy). The omelet was very good, and the toast was fantastic (they bake their own bread). Sweet Sue's is worth a stop if you ever find yourself in Phoenicia, NY.


The Kindle Pocket Guide

kindlepocketguide.jpgI'll level with you, I was pretty sure my first book was a fluke. I mean, really, who wants to read a book I wrote? Well, it would seem more than a few people bought my WordPress book (I just got my second royalty statement which included a nice check, which is pretty darned good since most folks don't earn back their advance) so maybe I know a thing or two about writing them thar books.

I've not been shy expressing my love of Amazon's Kindle 2 . I really think that Kindle, for the moment, is the best eBook reader money can buy (the Sony Reader looks nicer, but getting a book onto the damned thing sucks). That's why Cliff, my editor at PeachPit Press, thought of me when they wanted a book about the Kindle.

I found out that my Kindle book, The Kindle Pocket Guide, was available for purchase on September 26th. I was a little busy getting married at the time, and then I was off on honeymoon, and so I am just getting a chance to write about it.

This book is interesting in that it is only available as an eBook (I know this was a risk, but I thought it was appropriate) so we'll see how many people out there with Kindles are interested in learning some tips and tricks about the device (both the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX are covered... Amazon was nice enough to announce the DX while I was in the midst of finishing up the first draft of the book, so that was fun updating it!).

If you have a Kindle (or the Kindle iPhone app!), want to know a little bit more about it, and like my writing style you should download a copy.

Oh, and since my mom (hi, mom!) won't be buying this book any time soon here is a screenshot of the dedication:

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And the acknowledgements:

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312.jpgIt is Monday, and you know what that means! I subject myself to the terror of posting my weight on the Internet for all to see. When we last left Scott he was rocking the scales at 322, not a good weight. What will the scale have to say today?

Well, you already know it said 312, which means I've shed 10 pounds! Hurrah! It is very funny what working out + eating right will do for you (truth be told I'm doing the first phase of the South Beach diet in order to kickstart the weight shedding, but it still counts darn it!).

Here's to next week!


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322.jpgPart of me getting fit again is posting my weight here, on the blog, every week.

I'll weigh myself every Monday and post it to the blog that evening. While this is a little embarrassing at the moment (I had pledged to myself that I would never be over 300 pounds again... but hey donuts happen!) I know that this really helped in the first time I decided I needed to shed some pounds.

I'll be using the wonderful Weightbot iPhone app to track my weight (because I'm a dork), which is where the lovely graphic for this post comes from.

It can only go down from here!


An update on Scott Gets Fit

More like Scott Gets Fat! See what I did there?

My all time low was 281.1 way back in August of 2007. That's 2 frickin years ago! Sadly, I've gained some weight back since then and I know exactly why:

  • I stopped going to the gym regularly
  • I fell back into bad eating habits (more on that in a minute)
  • I wrote two books

See, when I'm writing a book I tend to forget about everything else (including watching my weight). It is fine, really, since I can eat whatever I want, gain a few pounds, but know that once I'm done I'll go back to the gym and eating sensibly and all will be fine.

That's not what happened.

Despite finishing my latest book (which I hear will be available for purchase soon) I didn't go back to the gym. I continued to have a couple of sweet treats a day (if one sweet treat is good, isn't 3 so much better?). The end result is that I've gained back about 40 pounds of weight, which makes me a little sad.

However, now that I am getting married in just a few weeks I have motivation to get back on the getting fit bandwagon. Today marks the start of phase 1 of the South Beach diet (NO! CARBS! 'Til the wedding!) and I am back to hitting the gym. In fact, I am going to see if I can't go to the gym every day from now until September 26th (we'll see if I can keep that up, but I will go at least 5 times a week).

I've lost this weight before, and I know I can do it again (at least I'm still well below my heaviest and my clothes still fit.. which is important!).

The key to success, at least for me, is having a goal. I don't know how much weight I can reasonably lose before the wedding, so I am setting a goal of 50 pounds in 6 months. That seems more than reasonable to me and it'll bring me 10 pounds below my best weight!

Here's to getting fit... again!


I interviewed the Wiggles

The Wiggles. Kids go crazy for them, and until recently I had very little idea who the heck they were. That all changed last week when I sat down to interview them for my day job (yes, I was in the same room with them even though it might not look that way in the video).


They were nice guys, and I enjoyed chatting with them.

When I joined Comcast I wasn't expecting to interview anyone, but it turns out I quite enjoy it (I'll leave it up to you whether or not I'm any good at it!). Here's a link to the YouTube video if you're reading this in a newsreader or something.


Counting Heads

countingheads.jpgAs far as I'm concerned there are two types of SciFi in this world: the kind that gently explains all the new words and concepts to you, and the kind that just throws you in and forces you to figure it out as you read. Counting Heads is definatley one of the latter, and boy is it worth figuring out what the hell is going on.

I read a lot of SciFi (probably too much) and I can't recall the last time I was so obsessed with finishing a book. The story is far too complicated to explain to you (and that's half the fun of read the book) but if you're into clones, corporate espionage, and nanobots you should pick up a copy of this book.


Tweet blog

I'm a sucker for new, shiny things.

On an unrelated note, I just created a new Typepad blog called Tweet. Why? TypePad created a new theme called Pico that is aimed at 'microblogging' (that's the new, trendy word for moblogging, or posting pictures, videos, and links with little commentary to go along with them).

Since I often clutter up Blankbaby with random pictures from my iPhone I thought it might be nice to post those in one place (which automatically posts them to Twitter, hence the title of the blog).

I'm not sure how long this blog will last, but I pay for the pro account level at TypePad so I can create as many blogs as I like here so I figure why the heck not.


What I've been reading on my Kindle

I heart my Kindle, and as many of you know I've in the process of writing a book about the Kindle for PeachPit (I only mention it now because I am fairly certain that it will, in fact, be published at some point next month).

After finishing my last book (which you really should buy, if you haven't already) I really didn't feel like writing much of anything, so I went on a reading binge. It seems like that is my natural reaction after writing a book because I did the exact same thing this time around (though the book isn't finished just yet, we're still in the editing process... but I'm such a fantastic writer that I need little editing. That sound you hear is my editor, Kathy, laughing her head off).

One of the unfortunate side effects of this is that Blankbaby lays fallow, so I thought why not write up a post about the books I've read in the last few weeks? Heck, I'll even link to them on Amazon so that if you want to read them yourself I'll get a little kickback (hey, I need to support my reading habit somehow!).

Currently reading:

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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.

I'm reading this at the moment (though I'm reading the Kindle edition, which Amazon won't allow me to link to with my associate link for some reason) and so far it has done a fantastic job of convincing me that no sane person would ever venture into the Amazon to look for anything. The word 'maggot' appears far too often for my comfort, and yet Grann has so far spun the tale of English explorer Percy Fawcett's obsessive search for the Lost City of Z in a truly fascinating way. Grann even goes as far as retracing Fawcett's route himself.

I haven't finished reading this one yet, but all signs point to it being one of the better books of non-fiction I have read in awhile. If you aren't squeamish I suggest you check this book out (I would lend you my copy, but sadly that is one of the areas in which buying the physical book is better than the Kindle version).

Recently Read:

These are the books that I have recently finished reading (all on my Kindle, of course, and the vast majority of them on the Kindle DX).

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How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

I had no idea who Steve Hely was before I started reading this book, but I so enjoyed it that I did a little looking into his history. Turns out he was a writer for the Late Night with David Letterman, which explains why I found his sense of humor to be so entertaining (though now he writes for American Dad, which I don't find to be all that funny).

This book tells the tale of guy who gets laid-off from his job writing college admission essays for wealthy kids and decides to write a Serious Work of Fiction. Here's the kicker: he thinks all the Serious Fiction writers are full of crap. He comes up with a list of rules that he follows while writing his book to appeal to the sort of person who looks for the Oprah Book Club sticker on a book's front cover, all in an effort to be a best selling author.

I won't ruin the book for it, but let's just say that it turns out getting on the New York Times Best Seller list doesn't solve all of life's problems.

There is a physical edition available, if you prefer your books to take up space.


The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam and The Good Thief's Guide to Paris both by Chris Ewan

ewanbooks.jpgThese two books (a third is on the way) make up the Charles Howard series of mystery novels. Charles Howard, the main character, is a mystery writer by day and an international thief by night (though he isn't as impressive as the thief character in his fictional series of mysteries. Confused? Don't worry, it isn't as confusing whilst you're actually reading the books).

These books are very entertaining, and very quick reads. I don't know why I don't read more mysteries, but the Good Thief Guides have shown me the error of my ways.

It doesn't hurt that Chris Ewan is a Mac user, has a blog, and uses TypePad just like me (makes me think that I might have a novel or 5 in me as well!). Pick up Amsterdam or Paris (though you should read Amsterdam first) if you're looking for a nice light read.

The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. Green

spywhohaunted.jpgOh, Simon R. Green. He is something of a guilty pleasure for me. I've read almost everything the man has written, and I buy every one of his new books without even glancing at the summary to see what they are about... and yet... he really doesn't write all that well. Don't get me wrong, he has some fantastic ideas and he presents them in a very interesting and entertaining way, however, his ideas are often much better than his prose. I will give him this, though, the man has lots and lots of imagination (he reminds me of Piers Anthony in that respect).

Anyway, I'm not going to bother explaining what this book is about since it is the third in a series and none of it will make sense unless you've read them. Suffice to say I enjoyed reading it, but this type of book is the perfect argument for the Kindle. It is fun to read, but you'll never re-read it again so why take up valuable space in your home storing it for who know how long? However, if you want to buy a hard copy don't let me stop you.

So, that's what I've been reading. What about you?