Friday, February 27, 2009

The Great Big Fat Bet is ON!

I'm jazzed. I've bet $100 (now sitting in a special PayPal account) that I'll lose 10 pounds by April 1st.

Two of my friends are competing against me. Well, actually we're competing against ourselves; we'll all get our money back if we lose the 10 pounds.

Last time I posted about this I weighed 142.6, and was trying to maintain that until the bet started, but lo and behold I lost two pounds in the interim! I have no idea how. So I had to start at 140.6. And today, *simper*, I am proud to say I'm at 140 even. 9.4 pounds to go...

The others started off with a bang, losing almost a pound the first day, and I got a little worried, but both of them had an off day yesterday, so I think I'm actually ahead now. I can't believe it! I was hoping to have some of that fluffy watery fat to melt off early on, but apparently that all went back when I had the flu.

I should make a progress graph for us! That would be fun.

I highly recommend this approach--I've never been so motivated.

[BTW, that's a picture of the scale I'm using, it's an Omron body fat measuring scale. I like it a lot.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get over yourself, already.

I discovered another bad habit!!! And I thought I only had one.

I thought I'd count breaking this bad habit toward Goal 80--developing 5 good habits. Because it's my goal list, and I get to say.

As some of you know, I am a professional singer in New York City. I sing solo stuff here and there, but most of my work is with ensembles, some of the best anywhere, and it's really a lot of fun. Unless I go off half-cocked, as I too often do, about tuning.

It's a lot easier for a group of violins to tune and blend, because they sound more or less the same. It's harder for a group of singers, because not all the voices sound alike. Those of us who can really blend our voices with everyone else and tune to the nth degree are on the A list. Those of us who can't, even though they might be really good singers, well...let's just say nobody wants to stand next to them in a group (or in worse cases, hire them).

Sometimes I get really hacked off when I think people aren't even trying. The sound just comes barreling out of them, as though they had no idea it takes a whole different technique to sing ensemble than it does solo. And a lot of my friends have absolute pitch, which means that they can pull any note out of thin air any time they want. I don't--I have to find a pitch in relation to all the other pitches I'm hearing at the time. The problem with having perfect pitch, though is that it makes you kind of inflexible (though some can adjust, a lot of them don't, and then it drives you crazy, especially when their "A" isn't a 440 "A", it's a 445 "A" or a 435 "A").

But don't have to have perfect pitch to be vain about your tuning ability. Prime example: Moi. I'm pretty good at it, and I think I have a pretty good reputation in that respect. On the other hand, I sometimes think, "What if it's ME?" And it very well could be, I have to admit. (My friend POD has a post over on Thuffering Thuccotash about this flying finger of frowny-face coming back to point at your own self. Her post actually started me thinking about this!)

So this is my bad habit: making terrible faces when the tuning goes awry. Sometimes to the point of putting my hands over my head. I just think it's probably really unprofessional, and so far it hasn't done anybody any good whatsoever, that I know of.

Starting last Sunday morning I really tried to keep a poker face, and for the most part I succeeded. I nearly jumped out of my chair once, when during a tuning discussion one of my friends said "Is that the place you were making a face about?" "WAS I MAKING A FACE??" I cried out. She said not really, she was only looking at me from the side. Apparently even a slight puckering of the lips passes for making a face. Apparently my reputation for making faces is at least as big as my reputation for impeccable tuning.

What I'm hoping is that with controlling my outward reaction I can control my inner reaction a bit and not get so control-freakish. (Except about controlling myself.) And I'm going to start carrying my Korg tuner around again and monitoring myself. Just to make sure it's not me...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More on the Great Big Fat Bet...

We have about got our Fat Bet underway. So far four people have indicated that they would commit.

The plan is to lose ten pounds in five weeks, at $10 a pound. So I have to cough up $100 into an escrow account, and if I don't lose the 10 pounds, I lose the $100. I don't know what your financial situation may be, but that's a motivator for me. And if I do lose the 10 pounds, I get my money back, plus a division of whatever lost bet money may be in the escrow. So it's a Lose-Win situation.

The start date should be coming up here shortly as soon as we get our act together.

I have a little problem right now in that I just got over the stomach flu, and lost a bunch of weight. My weight this morning was 142.6, down a pound from the last weight I recorded back in December. (I had gained a bunch during January when I was being bad!) So right now I'm trying to just maintain that weight until it's time to start. If it creeps up a little bit, that's all right with me.

I have a feeling that a lot of exercise video reviews are in my blogging future. Stay tuned...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Melissa's Blah Post

I got the worst stomach virus this week. And I was TRES bummed that I didn't get to sing the concert Wednesday night. They did all right without me, though. The NY Times review was great. But I really wanted to sing the pieces, especially for an audience. Rehearsing is great too, but I feel like a big part of the experience is the rapport with the audience.

There was a recording made for possible broadcast (the dress rehearsal was recorded too, so I might be on at least part of it). If I get a copy of it I might post an audio clip. Or a link, if it IS on radio.

I still feel awful. I got up and made myself oatmeal today, which is the only solid food I've had except for half a piece of toast last night. Then I promptly went back to bed because I felt terribly blah and the oatmeal didn't seem like such a good idea. But I feel lots better after a nap.

I've had more sodas this week than I usually do in a year.

Hope everyone stays well!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fat Bets

I read this article in the Times the other day: Put Your Money Where Your Fat Is. The more I thought about it the more brilliant it seemed.

So a friend of mine is also interested in the idea, and we're currently thinking about ways to make the bet fair. She's a lot smaller than I am, but I think we have sort of the same body situation. Not obese, but carrying an annoying amount of extra.

Has anybody else done anything like this? Any suggestions on how to calculate fair goals? and (referenced in the Times article) seem to be good resources--I checked them out.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What if you gave a funeral and nobody came?

I was all worried yesterday about getting too tired, because I had a long rehearsal (of really hard music, it turned out) and then a concert. And this morning I had to go in at 9:00 and sing a funeral.

I was relatively okay--I needn't have worried so much. My practicing and exercising has been paying off in increased stamina.

I was unprepared for what actually happened at the church this morning. Nobody came. The only people there were the priest, me and two altar boys. And the funeral home people. And of course the deceased. So I stood there and sang away into the void as best I could. I felt so sad. I wanted to do a good job anyway.

Apparently the elderly lady for whom I was singing had arranged her whole funeral, including flowers, and prepaid the entire thing and arranged to have it in our humongous gorgeous church. She had a son, I know, who was unable to attend. And apparently nobody else.

I think there's a lesson in this somewhere...

Back to the OLD Comments

THAT didn't last long. I decided the new comment thing added no value, so I ditched it. Sorry for the inconvenience!!

There was a VERY neat feature that linked your comments to your own last blog entry, but unfortunately it only works on WordPress and some other blog thingy I've already forgotten. But Blogger isn't it.

So we're back to normal!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kewl Updates!

I just found an interesting way to manage comments through So I went through all the processes, which weren't that hard, and now you'll notice the comments have a radical new look. You can also rate comments and reply to them.

Just thought I'd try it for a while and see if it is value added or just a nuisance.

In other news, not so kewl but good anyway, I'm doing fairly well getting back on the discipline track.

I mysteriously pulled something in my back, so that I felt for a couple of days like I had a broken rib or something and couldn't breathe deeply without it hurting. So I decided to do just some Sun Salutation sets and a minimal practice yesterday. (I was pretty vocally tired with squealing at the TV during the Superbowl, anyway. By the way, I think that's the first Superbowl I've ever actually sat down and watched. I was at a party.)

Today I'm gearing up for a slightly longer practice and a real Yoga workout. It sure makes you feel good! I have a heavy day of singing ahead--long rehearsal and then concert, so that will be plenty of vocal workout for the day.

Also I cleaned the kitchen. Yay! And flossed. It's not all that hard; I realize you just have to be mindful. I'm such a forgetful person--sometimes I forget to eat. (You'd think I'd be less portly.)