Day 27: Full Day of Poker

"What, then, is the mistake people make, seeing that everyone wants a happy life? They take the instruments used by happiness to be happiness itself, and so abandon the very thing they are seeking. For the chief point in a happy life is to be solidly secure and unshakably confident of that state; and yet they gather up the causes of anxiety and haul, no, drag those burdens behind them on life’s treacherous journey. For that reason they recede further and further from what they seek to attain, and the greater their efforts, the greater the hindrance they create for themselves. It is like hurrying in a maze: their very haste impedes them"

– Seneca, Letters 44.7

Spent the entire day in Columbus at The Hollywood Casino. I played in one of the Summer Classic Poker Tournaments. Unfortunately I got a bad table and the cards didn't cooperate. Oh well. Unfortunately I busted midway while my friend continued. We drove together so I had to wait for over four hours. I spent the time on and off writing or walking. Got a lot of steps in. I look forward to getting on the bike tomorrow.

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Posted by on August 12, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 26: My Brother’s Keeper

"Friendship creates between us a shared interest that includes everything. Neither good times nor bad affect just one of us; we live in common. And no one can have a happy life if he looks only to himself, turning everything to his own advantage. If you want to live for yourself, you must live for another. This sense of companionship links all human beings to one another; it holds that there is a common law of humankind; and if carefully and reverently preserved, it contributes greatly also to the maintenance of that other companionship I was speaking of, the one within a friendship. For he who has much in common with a fellow human will have everything in common with his friend."

– Seneca, Letters 48.2-3

Today I had to drive my brother back to The Seidman Cancer Center to prepare for the radiation treatment. I got up early and got my five mile walk in then headed to his house. When I got there I found he had given me the wrong time, off by an hour. I drove to a nearby park and pulled out the Esteban guitar that I keep in my truck and played some old blues.

I took my brother to Cleveland where they gave him a CAT scan and created a mask to wear when he gets the radiation. I took him to a late lunch in Little Italy. It was there that we had a serious talk. My mother's agoraphobia affected each of her eight children in various ways. The triplets were hit hardest. I let him know that I would work with him so that he could drive himself to Cleveland. At one time I was like him. The only way to beat it is repetition. I will let him drive until he is comfortable and buy him a Garmin. If his immunotherapy goes on for months I need him to be able to drive there. It all sunk in. We had a great lunch and both felt good about it.

The experience drained me along with this summer cold so I just came home and napped. I feel better and everything is going well. On day thirty I will do a video and weight update.

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 25: Tai Chi

"We are ungrateful en masse. Let each one question himself: there is no one who does not complain of someone's ingratitude. But it cannot be the case that all have a complaint unless all are an object of complaint: therefore all are ungrateful. Are they ungrateful only? They are also all covetous, all malicious, all fearful, especially those who appear to be daring. More than that: they are all selfish and all without scruple. But there is no reason to be angry with them; pardon them, for they are all mad. I do not want to refer you to generalities, such as: "See, how ungrateful is youth!" Who, however innocent he is, does not wish for his father's last day; who, however reasonable he is, does not look forward to it; who, however dutiful he is, does not dream of it? How few there are who dread so much the death of an excellent wife as not to make calculations? What litigant, I ask, after being defended, has retained the memory of so great a benefit any longer than the last hearing? We all agree in asking: who is there who dies without complaint? Who has the courage to say on his last day:

I have lived my life and run the course that fortune gave me."

– Seneca, On Benefits 5.17.3

I've come down with a summer cold and laryngitis. It's kicking my butt. I slept in and will be taking a nap later.

A while back I started getting interested in Tai Chi. When I was young I studied Tang Soo Do, a Korean style. At the age I am now I was more interested in a softer more internal style. That is Tai Chi.

I bought The Great Courses course on Tai Chi. It's great and I've been moving through it slowly and purposefully.

I found there is a credit course for it at the local community college. I signed up for it. I can't wait for it to start in a few weeks.

What I'm doing isn't just about weight loss. It's about becoming healthy. I'm hoping Tai Chi will help with flexibility and balance.

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 24: Language

Got up early and got my walk in. Had a number of chores and then some free time. Perfect day for a bike ride. Did a short one of twelve miles just to loosen up the legs. During the ride I thought about language.

I have a lot of hobbies and each of them have their own language. A weak player in chess is a Patzer or fish. Chess has so many unique words that it takes a long time for a new player to catch on. Terms like tabia, fianchetto and Zugzwang(not to be confused with Zwischenzug).*

In poker it is donkey. In cycling it is a Fred. A man over two hundred pounds is a Clydesdale and a heavy woman is an Athena.

I could go on and on but I find language fascinating.

Zugzwang: The obligation to move, when any move at all will be bad.

Zwischenzug: An in-between move. For example, instead of re-capturing, a check may be given first.

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Posted by on August 8, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 23: Day off

Decided to take a day off. The wife and I watched Netflix and I noodled on the guitar. Tomorrow I plan to hit the gym hard.

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Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 22: Interests

I have a lot of interests. Growing up chess was my first love. Even working 10-12 hour days I found time to play in The Cleveland Industrial Chess League for the German-American team.

From my late teens to mid-twenties I studied Tang Soo Do (a Korean martial art).

For thirty-seven years I worked long hours listening to books on tape and dreaming of doing everything.

Retiring and taking care of my dying brother I was still able to go up to Maryland and teach banjo at workshops.

Everything fascinates me and since my mother's death in 2013 I feel the weight of time. I feel as though I have time but no time to waste.

I have an old MG Midget that I bought new in 1979. I've been meaning to restore it for the past twenty years. I think it will be a good Winter project.

My friends are telling me that I do too much but I feel like a starving man at a buffet.

I think if I can find the right balance I can do so much. I'm curious as to how many plates I can spin.

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Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 21: Class II

Comparison is the thief of joy
Teddy Roosevelt

Finally!  The weight is moving enough that I have dropped down from Obese Class III to Obese Class II.  My BMI has moved down to 39.9.  I don’t put a lot of stock into BMI but it is a yardstick nonetheless.

According to this I will be at my ideal weight 170.  That sounds a bit insane.  My goal is to get below 200 and ideally 185.  Perhaps when I get there I will change my perception.  I’ve been fat a very long time.  As I have told people, even my watch has stretch marks!

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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 20: Time Balancing

My brother’s time at the Cancer Clinic was promising. He has a mass in his ear, cancer in neck and chest. He will get focused radiation on his ear to relieve symptoms. Then either traditional chemotherapy or immunotherapy. I’ll have to take him to Cleveland every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two weeks for radiation. If he gets immunotherapy I’ll have to take him there twice a week. This has been going on with family members for six years.

I can’t let this derail me. I’ll have to get to the gym first thing in the morning or be prepared to go late. I’ll have to prepare proper food to eat. I need to work around this time and avoid the bakeries of Little Italy that are just around the corner.

I’ll also have to remember to have a guitar with me.

It’s all good. The weight is coming off. I can’t let anything derail it.


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Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 19: Update

At Seidman Cancer Center. My brother is the goofy one in the background.

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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


Day 19: It’s Working

For the past few days weight loss stalled. When I’ve failed in the past it got to me and I gave up. Now it makes me more determined. When I stall I will walk a little more, eat a little less and not give up. It worked. This morning I’m down 16.2 pounds! I feel good

I look nasty as I haven’t shaved in a week. I hate beards (on me). They are scratchy and make me look old. I look like an old drunk at the end of a three day bender. Still, It motivates me. We went to Aladdin’s yesterday for Kibbe and Beef Kafta Rolled. I was tempted to eat a little more but the itchy face reminded me that I don’t want to look or feel bad any longer.

I have to take my brother into Cleveland and The Seidman Cancer Center again today. We have to see a radiation specialist. Next week it is immunologist. He cancer is Stage 4a. It’s been going on for two years. Feels much longer.

What I’m doing is working. I’m in good spirits. I just have to keep on keeping on

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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Uncategorized