Archive for September, 2011

New poems: Deciding to shelve tattoos for now, getting busy, pondering the universe

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

8-21-2011 — So Long For Now, Ink!

So Long For Now, Ink!
My flirtation with you
Was brief but acute.
I considered
On my arms,
My inner forearm,
Even on my back,
But two questions stopped me cold.
Is it really me?
Is it a reflection of me?
To both, no.
Instead, I will consider rings on my fingers.
They can be removed.

8-25-2011 — Time to Get Busy

Time to get busy
Off my butt
Idleness, the Devil’s Workshop.
I was 18 yesterday
Am 38 now.
Double my life
And I’ll be 76
If I’m still alive.
Life is a short, brief, wispy vapor
So much to do
So little time
No more mourning
Self-pity sucks
I remember that Des’ree song:
You gotta be…

9-3-2011 — Life, World, Universe

Life, the world, the universe
An endless, ever-changing
Matrix of information
To know it all
Frustratingly impossible
Today’s knowledge
Tomorrow’s relic of non-sense.

Post comments here or e-mail them to


Richard’s Battle of the Bulge, 9-27-2011

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I weighed myself a few days ago and am at 262 pounds. That’s 100 pounds more than my target weight of 162. That’s the same I was last week; good news is, I haven’t gained weight.

When I graduated from voice interceptor school at Goodfellow Air Force Base in April 1998, I was down to 158 pounds. Still, I’ll shoot for 162 and see where it goes from there.

I have not been able to exercise as much lately as I’d like partly due to having some congestion and feeling a little under the weather. Add that to 54 hours per week working and your body tends to tell you to spend your off time recuperating. Still, I’m hoping this week to hit the gym at least once and get back into walking.

I had wanted to exercise at Snap Fitness yesterday for my trial week, but they were running behind schedule and didn’t get there in time to unlock it. No worries once I received their explanation. I have looked around and even though Snap is small and doesn’t have a shower room, it looks to be my best bet for a fitness center.

My eating habits aren’t perfect yet, but lately I’ve been much better about practicing moderation. One helping and that’s it. It’s also beneficial to drink more water and more fruit juice (I love grape juice). And in the past week, I’ve had fast food twice. Yes, it would be better to say none, but that’s much better than what it normally is. This weekend I made guacamole from scratch and a Mexican dish called Chilaquile. I ate both in controlled portions, thankfully.

I offered some of each to my future ex-wife when she came over to pack up some of her possessions and asked for honest assessments. She told me the guacamole was a little bland (which, frankly, I agreed with that) and she liked the Chilaquile so much she asked for the recipe. (Jennifer’s an excellent cook, so her culinary opinions are important to me).

Where did I get the recipe from? From the back of a Kroger shredded cheese package. Same place I got the rice dish I tried. And the guacamole recipe came from All Recipes.

The nice thing about having leftover Chilaquile is it means I won’t be stopping at McDonald’s on the way in to Kroger.

Again, let’s remember: while there are exceptions here and there, losing weight and even maintaining it is straightforward: 1) drink a lot of water, 2) make healthy, moderate food choices and 3) get lots of exercise. Knowing is easy; applying is a different story.

If I can get done what I need to quickly enough, I plan to leave for Frankenmuth early so I can park at Kroger and go on a walk to get some exercise.

Post comments here or e-mail them to

September 22, 2011

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

My food intake today mirrored yesterday–a Double Gulp, some cookies (for some energy to wake up since my day began at 4:45 a.m.). Then for some more energy (since I’m not a morning person and didn’t get a lot of sleep last night), I had two almond Hershey bars. Also drank a liter of water, about a liter of Diet Dr. Pepper and then at lunch had some leftover rotini pasta with spaghetti sauce (store-bought) with some tortilla chips sprinkled on top. And a banana.

I had intended to go exercise once work was over, but I didn’t want to use gas to drive down to Clio and by the time I drove home I felt too exhausted to walk. I took a nap but kept getting woken up by texts and the cell phone. I felt like pulling a Jack Bauer from 24 and going dark.

Should I have walked? Yep.

Maybe I can still walk this evening. Don’t know. We’ll see.

When I got home, I had two egg sandwiches with a slice of cheese on top. Then this evening I had three slices of toast with butter and strawberry jam. Drank some grape juice, milk and now am drinking water.

I told myself that the chest congestion meant I should take it easy, but now i wish I’d pushed myself. Once I get some work done for the newspaper, I just might go for a walk.

It is safe to say that I like eating food for the same reason alcoholics like to drink and sexaholics like to sleep with anyone who’s willing. I keep telling myself I’m hungry, and there’s this urge to eat something that tastes good. The trick is to take your time eating, enjoy it, and give your stomach ample time to send your brain the “I’M FULL!!!! STOP EATING!!!” signal.

So, for now, I slowly work to quit looking like one of the infamous McGuire Twins.

Post comments here or e-mail them to

My quest to lose 100 pounds starts now

September 21, 2011 1 comment

I’m 38 years old and am about 5’7.5″ tall (I prefer to round it up to 5’8″). Due to some changes late last year in my personal life, I went on a stress binge and dropped about 30 pounds from 265 down to 235. At one time, I was at 229 and could feel my jeans getting very loose and my t-shirts fitting without slipping out of my jeans.

And then complacency sat in.

I didn’t walk as much and I didn’t practice moderation. Too often I treated myself to Chinese food buffets (a gargantuan vice for me).

About a week ago, I weighed myself and saw I was at 265 again.

Absolutely unacceptable.

A few days ago, I weighed myself at 262 and have decided to use that as a reference point. My goal is to lose 100 pounds and go from 262 all the way down to my ideal weight of 162 pounds. This was the weight I was in the service, although at one time I exercised so much I was down to 158 pounds.

So now, I begin again.

My approach is simple: exercise regularly and fervently, drink lots of water, exercise moderation and avoid snacking on things that are very surgary or fat. My Mom tells me to eliminate sodas, and perhaps someday I will. Practice weekly weigh-ins instead of daily, as per a suggestion from my wiser-than-her-years friend Stephania.

And blog as a way to hold myself accountable.

Today was mixed. I got up at 4:45 a.m. and on my way to work bought a Double Gulp and two double chocolate chip cookies from 7-11. I drank two 20-ounce bottles of Diet Coke and almost a liter of water but didn’t exercise due to feeling worn down and tired. I do plan to get some exercise tomorrow after work. I ate some leftover rotini with spaghetti sauce and kept it at one portion. When I got home I had tortilla chips, cheese and salsa. It is now 8:33 p.m. as I write this, and I am going to see if I can either eat nothing else tonight or have perhaps a single egg sandwich.

Richard Zowie is a Christian, father and writer who is sick of being overweight. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Richard Zowie, Paper Mate fanatic, reviews Paper Mate’s Silhouette Elite, 300 RT

September 15, 2011 1 comment

Those who know me know Paper Mates are my favorite pens. While I have been known to write with Zebra pens also, Paper Mates still remain my favorites. Why? Maybe because I’m weird. Or maybe because they have a nice grip, write well and don’t cost too much.

So, I would like to review two of the most recent types of Paper Mates I have purchased. You know the drill: I will summarize the pen, tell you what I liked and didn’t like and then tell you overall what I think.

Paper Mate Silhouette Elite

I actually bought this several months ago. Paper Mate had gone about a year without issuing a new pen. Or, at the very least, there were none in my area. I was indeed in misery as I do not like the Profiles (the 1.6-mm ballpoint is far too wide and creates thicker lines), and I already had enough Profits. I had purchased a few Zebra pens. Some I liked and others I didn’t really like.

The Silhouette Elite comes in white and is offered in black, blue and red. It’s a 1.0-mm ballpoint.

What I like about it: It has a very sturdy construction (unlike the 1.2’s and the Profiles) with a metal clasp that stays securely in a shirt pocket. Once the initial waxy newness wears off, the rubberized grip is very comfortable and helps you settle down and do some decent writing. And, it’s very aesthetically pleasing and has a practical, but elegant look.

What I don’t like about it: The black-ink SE’s tend to leak ink–not into your pocket, but when you write with one, the initial lines have a tiny extra glob on them and smear easily. The ink tube itself is white, meaning you can’t see through it to see how much remains.

Overall, I’m more than willing to tolerate what little I don’t like. I give the Paper Mate Silhouette Elite 4 out of 5 stars.

Paper Mate 300 RT


I bought a pack of these about a month ago at a Davison, Mich., Kroger. When I saw it was a new Paper Mate pen, I gave in and decided to try it.

What I like about it: I loved the old-style Paper Mate BP Silk Writers (which have been discontinued), and this seems to be a modern version of it. The barrel is a little thinner but still a comfortable rubbery grip. The clasp is secure and when I write with this, my handwriting is very good. And despite being a new pen, it’s not that expensive.

What I don’t like about it: It has the same annoying white ink tube that you can’t see through.

Overall, I like the 300 RT a lot. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Post comments here or e-mail them to

A few thoughts about the NFL season

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Tomorrow night the NFL season begins when the Green Bay Packers will take on the New Orleans Saints (I think the Saints will win). A few things I think will happen this season…maybe I’ll be right, or maybe not:

…Some have picked the Dallas Cowboys to go 9-7. I like Dallas’ offense but even with Rex Ryan heading up Dallas’ defense, I remember how bad it was last year and am not sure Ryan can turn it around so quickly. (Ironically, Ryan is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy “Bounty Bowl” Ryan)…

…Many believe the Philadelphia Eagles will finish first in the NFC East. I think it will all come down to Michael Vick and whether he has matured and if he can really step back and quarterback instead of just scrambling around…

…Will the Dallas Cowboys finally get corporate sponsorship for Cowboys Stadium? All I know is it won’t be Philadelphia Cream Cheese Stadium…

…Frustrated with their lack of getting their own stadiums, the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders will discuss doing what the New York Giants and New York Jets do–share a stadium. It’s either that or you have the San Jose 49ers or Los Angeles Raiders…

…And speaking of Tinsel Town, I would not be surprised if San Diego, St. Louis or Jacksonville relocates to L.A. All three want new stadiums, but the Rams would be the sentimental, “prodigal home” choice. One has to wonder, with Atlanta to the not-so-distant north and in a state with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will Jacksonville ever truly be an NFL town?…

…I would not be shocked if the Detroit Lions made it to the playoffs. At all. And if they do, head coach Jim Schwartz should be named NFL Coach of the Year…

…Pittsburgh Steelers headhunter/linebacker James Harrison will receive yet another fine for a vicious hit and will probably receive another fine when he responds by saying NFL commissioner Roger Gooddell is softening up the NFL defenses so much they’ll all be auditioning for the Austrian Boys Choir…

Post commens here or e-mail them to