The Crotchety Old Man

Nov 29, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Learning Curve

Those of you who know me will attest to the fact that I’m a bit slow.  Though it applies, I’m not talking about my jogging speed. For some reason it takes me a while to figure things out that others pick up right away. For example, I was one of the last people to figure out that I was gay. It’s true. Despite mountains of evidence, I was twenty-one years old before I realized what practically everyone else knew by the time I was sixteen or seventeen. Some of this slowness is a result of having learned the wrong lessons earlier. Right or wrong, once I get something in my head, it takes quite a lot to change my mind.  …

Nov 23, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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Off the Beaten Track

Counting grad school, I’ve worked in the same small academic field of study for nearly three decades.  Because I’ve skipped it for the last few years, the conference I attended in Jacksonville, Florida last week was a homecoming of sorts.  It was also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with colleagues I’ve grown close to over the years. These friendships are special. Aside from our common interest in family resource management (the broad term for our field of study), we have similar jobs. We also share many of the same interests, challenges, and frustrations–and of course, know a lot of the same people. In other words, we have a lot to talk about. Early in my career, attending one of …

Nov 20, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Glass Houses: Revised

Today I got an e-mail from my editor about Glass Houses. Her page-long message included an eleven-page overview of her suggestions and her version of three re-worked chapters.  A hard copy of the edited manuscript  is on the way and should arrive Monday or Tuesday. The message and summary are effusively positive. The more she worked with the manuscript, the more she fell in love with the story.  One reader down, a couple of million to go. After reading over all her suggestions, I have to say I’m more than pleased. Most involve combining and re-arranging chapters.  In a few places, she’d like to see me add some dialogue. The hardest are her suggestions for me to write more about …

Nov 19, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Educator of the Year

Regular readers know I spent most of the past week at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  I’ve been a  member since 1989, spent several years on the  Board of Directors, and served as President in 2000.  It’s a great group of which I am proud to be a member. Yesterday at the awards luncheon, I received the Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year Award.  I thought those of you who know me as a writer, dieter, and exerciser might enjoy learning a bit more about my day job. For your reading enjoyment, here is the write-up that appeared in the program for the awards luncheon. As major professor and mentor at the …

Nov 17, 2011
By Michael Rupured

A True Convert

This week I’m attending a conference in Jacksonville,  Florida.  Earlier in my career–back when flying was a pleasant and enjoyable experience–I wouldn’t have even considered skipping.  But the last few years its been held in locations too far for me to reach by car, so I stayed home. It’s great catching up with colleagues I haven’t seen for several years.  Time marches on. Everyone looks at least a little older.  Like most of the rest of America, quite a few have gained weight, too. Travel completely disrupts my new healthy lifestyle.  Eating out once or twice a week when I’m at home makes it hard to lose weight.  Eating every meal out is a recipe for disaster. As with my …

Nov 14, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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Slow & Steady

I’m happy to report that the bathroom scale shows I lost a pound and a half this week. That’s still about a pound and a half more than six weeks ago when I hit my low weight.  Still, after a month of gaining a pound or so every week, I’ll take it. Coincidentally, I joined the gym about six weeks ago. Even though my percent body fat has only dropped by point-seven percent (0.7) since then, the timing suggests the weight gains are the result of an increase in muscle from all the exercise I’ve been doing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s an easy case to make. I haven’t done anything even vaguely resembling exercise since …

Nov 11, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Cool Running

As you know, for the last eight weeks I’ve been using the Couch to 5K (C25K) app on my Android to run three times a week. My partner did the same program on his iPhone. I’m not totally up to speed on the differences between the two versions, but it’s obvious to me that the iPhone app is vastly superior to the one I have on my Android. For reasons I’ll never understand, I have to limit the number of apps I download to my Android to avoid running out of room. I had to delete several apps to add C25K. The Weight Watcher’s app is too big for my phone, no matter what else I delete. Consequently, I keep …

Nov 09, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Time Change to Believe In

Last weekend we switched back to Standard Time. Few things mess with my head more than a time change. This year has been especially hard because I can’t figure out how to move the clock on the stereo in my car back an hour. Consequently, I’m always thinking it’s an hour later than it really is. Frankly, setting the clock up or back does little more than piss me off.  Everyone talks about gaining or losing an hour. Whatever. In the end, we still have just twenty-four hours in a day. No matter how you cut it, that’s just not enough time to get everything done. Forget shifting things around an hour. I’m ready for a time change I can …

Nov 08, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Confession Time

Yesterday I had an appointment with my regular doctor. Because of cholesterol medications, I see the doctor about every six months to make sure my liver is okay.  For the math impaired, my last appointment was in May. Regular readers know I’ve made quite a few rather significant lifestyle changes since May.  Back then, I was riding my bike at least three times a week and had just joined Weight Watchers.  I hadn’t yet started running, gone to a Zumba class, or joined the gym. My doctor is absolutely wonderful. In fact, I love her. Seriously. She’s that good, especially when compared with the two I fired before I found her. She’s either a tremendous actress or sincerely cares about …

Nov 05, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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Just Do It!

For the last fifteen years, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on my ass. I blame my desk job, the weather, television, genetics, my partner, friends, pets, the way I was raised, and the crime rate–just to name a few. Coming up with good excuses is my true gift, as easy for me as breathing. Besides my ability to craft a great excuse, I’m also extravagantly thrifty.  I blame a decades-long period of self-inflicted poverty.  I’ve never minded spending, even when I didn’t have money to spend (hence the self-inflicted poverty).  But when I do buy something, I tend to use the hell out of it. After wringing every cent of value from my purchase, I toss it in …

Nov 02, 2011
By Michael Rupured

On Motorized Shopping Carts

Last week I ran into a coworker I don’t see all that often. He’s lost more than twenty pounds since I saw him last. We stopped to talk and complimented each other on our slimmer waistlines. We talked about our motivation. Like me, he’s dealing with minor health issues that will either improve or go away all together if he just loses some weight.  He also admits that while better health is a good reason, the real motivation for his change in eating and exercise habits is a desire to avoid becoming one of the people you see riding those motorized carts at Walmart. I’m also motivated by the folks I see at Walmart. However,knowing some of those riders have …

Nov 01, 2011
By Michael Rupured

The Zumba King

Honestly, there are few things I dislike more than exercising.  One of them is sweating. Getting hot enough to sweat is another. As you might imagine, these dislikes pose quite a challenge to my desire for an active lifestyle. In truth, I abhor an active lifestyle. If I had my druthers, I’d spend every available hour on my ever-expanding ass in front of the television eating pizza, fried chicken, and every imaginable flavor of ice cream.  But alas, after giving that lifestyle my best shot for a number of years, I discovered it wasn’t really working for me. I’ve tried to be more active before. Riding my bicycle has been the only form of exercise I could even pretend to …

Oct 28, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Stuck!

Three weeks ago, I all but finished writing Addicted, my first work of fiction. The main elements of the story are finished. All that’s left is to write a chapter or two to wrap things up. I would have finished it three weeks ago, but I couldn’t figure out how to get from where I was to where I wanted the book to end. It’s not a case of writer’s block. If it was, I wouldn’t even be able to blog. I’m just stuck. I’ve been stuck like this before. The first time was early in the process of writing Glass Houses.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to advance the story. After reading a draft, …

Oct 26, 2011
By Michael Rupured

My Chihuahuas

About this time three years ago, my partner finally convinced me that we needed a dog. Having had cats and tropical fish for most of the previous three decades, I was enjoying a pet-free existence. Having always had a dog, my partner felt differently. After five years of him begging to get a puppy, being the sweet man you all know me to be, I finally relented. The only dog he’d ever heard me speak highly of was Fuzzy, a black, long-haired Chihuahua my godmother had when I was growing up. Fuzzy was the cutest little dog I’d ever seen. He died young, somehow the result of having knocked up a Labrador Retriever. My godmother kept his progeny, Simmy (an …

Oct 23, 2011
By Michael Rupured

On Becoming A Gym Rat

I never saw it coming. Nobody who knows me or who has ever known me would have predicted it, either. I have become a gym rat. According to the Urban Dictionary, a gym rat is: One who spends entirely too much time partaking in muscle building, strength training, cardiovascular, or aerobic activity. Specifically, one who does so at a health club or gym. Believe it or not, I now hit the gym six days a week. Sometimes it’s just for a one-hour class. Today I spent almost three hours at the gym. And no, smartass, I’m not just watching the men lifting weights. My personal trainer, Armand (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable so that it rhymes with …