Please Stand By for a Moment While I Make a Couple Big Life-Affecting Changes

03.6.2006 | 3:55 pm

Believe it or not, people (by which I mean “more than one person, though not many more”) who are considering writing a blog of their own have asked me for tips on how to make their blog successful.

I always offer the same three pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t blog about blogging. Writing about the consternation you are experiencing because you have nothing to say is an excellent exercise, which you should then immediately delete without showing to anyone, ever.
  2. Be about something. If your blog is about your entire life, it will probably be interesting to your family and closest friends (I’m being generous by including your closest friends in this list), and nobody else.
  3. Write often. Don’t make people come back and read the same thing over and over. I mean, really.

I present this list because today’s post breaks all three of these rules. I’m blogging about my blog. I’m not writing about biking, nor my fatness. And I’ve been irresponsibly flaky in my post frequency for the past several weeks.

What I’m doing, in short, is making a long-winded excuse for the fact that I’m really preoccupied with two big ol’ scary things in my life right now. One is a decision I need to make, the other is something I have no control over and just need to wait for more information.

It’s hard to be comical, punctual, and on-message when stuff like this is happening.

And of course I’m being vague here. I’m sorry for the coyness. I will likely be able to talk about one of these two things tomorrow. I’m not sure about the other one. Probably end-of-week for it.

Things will be back to normal soon. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself, while taking deep breaths into a brown paper bag.


PS: I forgot to check my weight today.

PPS: Does anyone know why people used to take deep breaths into a brown paper bag as a treatment for panic? Did it work? Why is this practice no longer in widespread use? Did you use a search engine to find your answer? Is it fair to say that all quests for knowledge now start with a search engine query? Will someone please just knock me out with a hammer, blackjack, or other blunt object, please?


  1. Comment by Tim D | 03.6.2006 | 4:10 pm

    There are two reasons why the brown paper bag thing has died out
    1. The panic induced by not finding a brown paper bag (BPBs) to breathe into was much greater than the original panic.
    2. Serial panicers took to hoarding BPBs to overcome no 1, leading to a world wide shortage thereof, and a subsequent switch to plastic.
    Hope your big ‘n’ scary aren’t too big ‘n’ scary.  Here’s my advice.  Tell your friends, your true friends will support you and still be you friends (although they may hnot ride with you anymore).  Stick to the cross dressing til you are really sure.

  2. Comment by joan | 03.6.2006 | 4:18 pm

    Sorry to hear things are tough right now.  The reason for
    breathing into a paper bag is because many people hyperventilate when
    they panic.  Hyperventilating causes you to breathe off too much
    carbon dioxide which makes your blood alkaline and brings on symptoms
    of a panic attack – so it’s just a vicious cycle.  When you
    breathe into a paper bag, you’re re-breathing the coarbod dioxide in a
    much higher percentage than is available in ambient air thus
    ameliorating the panic symptoms.  Plus, when you feel better, you
    can pop the bag and scare the bejesus out of someone else!

  3. Comment by Zed | 03.6.2006 | 4:57 pm

    That was for panic, eh? I always used it to get rid of hiccups. Maybe that explains why it never worked.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 5:03 pm

    I’d stay away from Tim’s advice on the plastic bags.  They seal to your mouth a little better than the paper bag, and the resulting severe shortage of breath will make it difficult to ride up hills, jog, drink coffee, or continue to live.  And I know how much you like riding on hills…
    On your problems – don’t worry about them.  On the one thing, a shot of pennicilan from the free clinic will take care of it, and as long as your wife doesn’t find out, you’ll be fine.  On the other thing – it’s just fat.  An enormous fat tumor because you are so fatting fat.  But look on the bright side of it – you can just paint a smiley face on it, and tape some glasses to it, and tell everybody it’s a bad case of adult onset craniopagus parasiticus.  Which is probably even more bizzare than that huge unsightly lump of fat, but much cooler in a weird "I’ve been to Rocky Horror Picture Show 540 Times" kind of way.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 5:05 pm

    Hmmmm… didn’t code the link right.  Try it again. 
    Craniopagus parasiticus.
    Because having it once, just isn’t enough.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 5:09 pm

    Here, let me help you:  Don’t waste your time looking for the needle when you can have the whole haystack!  Go for all four!!  If you were still near a White Castle, I’d say go for all five!
    Seriously, I hope your angst is over soon.

  7. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 03.6.2006 | 6:03 pm

    The mecchanism is to lower your O2 saturation and slow the breathing to normal in a panic or anxiety attack. In a hyperventilation situation, you actually need to drop O2 sats a bit to regain control of your respiration.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 6:09 pm

    Breathing into a bag is not a treatment for panic per se but rather for associated hyperventilation.  Something to do with carbon dioxide.  You could also just breathe through your nose.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 6:14 pm

    How could I have forgotten this?  If you must breathe into a bag, use a Banjo Brother’s Pannier.  Their Grocery Pannier would be excellent for this purpose, as would their commmuter panniers.  The wedges might be a little small for it, but depending on how badly your lungs are ravaged from ganja smoking, ya big mountain biker, then the medium wedge might have enough capacity to do the trick. 

  10. Comment by Carolynn | 03.6.2006 | 7:05 pm

    I am standing by.  I like it that my computer pops up a little notice that your blog is new and available to me.  My prediction:  Today will be a great day for you.  And for lots of us because of that.(contrary to previous writer,) BPB was great for hick ups – something about the CO2.  Mom

  11. Comment by Zed | 03.6.2006 | 7:26 pm

    See, and nowadays I just resort to holding my breath for a lengthy period of time when I get the hiccups. It’s a lot easier than getting someone to scare you, and you don’t even need a paper bag.

  12. Comment by James | 03.6.2006 | 7:47 pm

    Yo Elden- Can’t help you with stuff outside your control, but as for the decision: Clinchers, definitely clinchers. Tubies just aren’t worth the hassle.

  13. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 8:35 pm

    I hava a lot of blunt objects–baseball bats, rubber hammers, lead pipe, and/or a sock full of pennies.  You make a decision which one you want, and I’d be happy to swing by and bludgeon you with it.  No need to thank me for one more big decision, or for the offering of a little old school anesthesia.
    You’re welcome.

  14. Comment by jim | 03.6.2006 | 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the blogging advice AFTER I started one.  I am pretty sure that I have broken every FC blogging law.  So I guess I will be wating for my hit counter to jump as my mom logs on later today.
    Sorry about life’s drama. I hope resolution comes soon and in good form.

  15. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 10:16 pm

    So you’re finally seriously considering that sex change operation, eh.  Good for you. 
    P.S. I know EXACTLY what dug is going to post regarding your blog entry today.  Unfortunately, I have no way of proving that the post he will leave is the one I am anticipating him leaving.  Maybe I’ll just leave the first letter of every word of his post: Titbtyhew.

  16. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 10:20 pm

    Did Cannondale offer you a job with their ad department?

  17. Comment by Unknown | 03.6.2006 | 10:21 pm

    Did Cannondale offer you a job with their ad department?

  18. Comment by Sue | 03.7.2006 | 2:52 am

    I have a hammer that can be used effectively on yourself and I find it quite handy when I can’t take anymore.  If all else fails, do what my husband does and just ram your head into the nearest headboard or wall.  That usually does the trick.  Love cruisin through your blog

  19. Comment by Unknown | 03.7.2006 | 2:56 am

    Take your time, catch your breathe (or breathe in to a bag) and focus on what’s important for you, both making that one decision and taking in the other that you don’t have control over. Good luck Fatty. And may I suggest alcohol instead of a hammer to the head?

  20. Comment by TIMOTHY | 03.7.2006 | 3:14 am

    Mickey Rivers (the baseball player) once said: 
    "Ain’t no sense worrying about things you got control over, ’cause if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying.  And there ain’t no sense worrying about things you got no control over, ’cause if you got no control over them, ain’t no sense worrying about them."
    Remembering that always helps me out – and my wife is an officer in the military, so we have given up control over large portions of our life.  Not just a job…it’s an ADVENTURE!

  21. Comment by Unknown | 03.7.2006 | 4:30 am

    Hyperventilating frequently results from panic.  Breathing very quickly lowers the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood.  HCO3 + H = H20 + Co2.  You can see by this chemical equation that lowering  the CO2 causes a shift in the bloodstream of the acid/base balance.  You begin to get dizzy, lightheaded, numb & tingly all over, and eventually pass out.  Breathing into a paper bag causes you to "rebreath" the exhaled CO2 from your last breath, thus slowly increasing the CO2 in your bloodstream back to normal, and alleviating your symptoms, which, in your panicked state you and your family are confusign with a stroke.It is not frequently used anymore, because breathing into a paper bag lowers the level of oxygen that you are breathing, eventually making you hypoxic, which is bad for your brain cells among other things.  The best way to treat it is to just stop hyperventilating (breath slowly and deeply).  Having a family member who is aware of what is happening help to coach you works well.  I didn’t use a search engine for this. I learned this in medical school.  GOod luck with yoru decision.

  22. Comment by Juliet | 03.7.2006 | 5:12 am

    Hang in there fatty!
    There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.

  23. Comment by Unknown | 03.7.2006 | 6:43 am

    I guess you’re considering shutting your blog down too.  Errorista, Rocky . . .

  24. Comment by Unknown | 03.7.2006 | 9:30 am

    I have a big ol’ baseball bat here if you’d like a nice bashing on the forehead. EVERYONE wants to hit a celebrity!

  25. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 03.7.2006 | 12:02 pm

    People blow into paper bags so they can pop them, thus relieving their stress by distracting themselves with the action of scaring the hell out of the person they pop it behind.

  26. Comment by Unknown | 03.7.2006 | 2:36 pm

    Taocat – Can anyone really understand Mickey Rivers? Is that what he really said ?

  27. Comment by uncadan8 | 03.7.2006 | 6:49 pm

    We’re with you, Fatty. Hope everything works out okay. We’ll be glad to see you back again.

  28. Comment by TIMOTHY | 03.7.2006 | 11:03 pm

    Boz – I gotta admit that I didn’t actually hear the words myself, I read them – maybe they had someone fluent in Mickey Rivers translate….

  29. Comment by Unknown | 03.18.2006 | 7:06 am

    Dear Fat Cyclist -
    thank you so much for continuing to provide such a delightfully laughter-provoking (and exercise-inducing) blog. Best of uck w/ the move, new job, etc. And congratulations to your spouse on her collection of negative results!
    The paper bag ‘trick’ works (I know of one instance where a large grocery bag was placed over the head of the ‘victim’, and it successfully calmed the victim down.
    Everything that follows is surmise, so take it w/ a grain of salt. [No, I didn't look up the answer on the web. The idea of a simple paper bag having such a significant effect really fascinated me. ]
    When some people panic, they breathe really fast and hard (fight or flight response kicking in, likely to get those fast-twitch muscles thoroughly primed for a few seconds of wild anaerobic effort). If a person hyperventilates too much, the result is wooziness and sometimes passing out. Covering the head w/ a paper bag or breathing through a paper bag will reduce the concentration of oxygen in the ambient air, so that hyperventilation isn’t such an issue. The body will generally respond by breathing more calmly, and the crisis passes. Of course, having something else to focus on (breathing through a bag or breathing in the dark inside a bag) other than the event that caused a person to panic in the first place, likely helps a lot, too.
    Thanks again!
    Kafryn (somewhat of a geek, needless to say)


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