Very Rational Things I Believe

01.31.2007 | 2:00 pm

A Photo Contest Update from Fatty: I’m really enjoying the photos you’re uploading as part of the Fat Cyclist Photo Contest. You’ve still got time to submit your entry, so check out yesterday’s post for instructions on how to Join Flickr, Join the Fat Cyclist group, and then upload your photos.

Once you’ve done that, you ought to just look at the photos as a slideshow (click here). I’ve done that a couple times, and I’ve gotta say, it’s one of the most rewarding contests I’ve ever set up. Thanks for your photos, and keep ‘em coming!

I Am Not Superstitious
I am a very clear thinker. I behave rationally, and entertain no superstions. For example, while it is true that I will never cross the path of a black cat, I do this because I simply do not like the path the black cat has taken – not because I see the path as ominous.

Similarly, I do not believe that walking under a ladder causes harm at a psychic level. Rather, I choose to never walk under ladders out of safety concerns.

If I knock on wood, it is because I like the texture of woodgrain against my knuckles, not out of some silly notion that I can ward off bad luck.

If I wish on a star, it is merely because I have empirical evidence that stars have magical wish-granting powers.

As I said, I am purely rational.

As a clear-headed, logical person, I can also assert with perfect confidence that the following items — each of which I unreservedly believe — are not dieting superstitions, but are in fact self-evident, reproducible scientific phenomena, each impacting how and whether my diet works.

Grapefruit is Magical
Of all the diet-related things I believe, this is the absolutely most important one: grapefruit is magical. I have found, time and time again, that grapefruit has the ability to make me lose weight. I eat a grapefruit before going to bed, and my weight is down in the morning.

I’d say it’s “just like magic,” except for one thing: it’s not like magic. It is magic.

Of course, there are rational explanations for this, in addition to the fact that grapefruit is magic. Here are the reasons:

  • Grapefruit is acidic. You eat this fruit with lots of citric acid in it and the acid starts dissolving your fat. Like battery acid on butter.
  • Eating grapefruit is hard work. To eat a grapefruit, one must expend considerable energy. One must cut the grapefruit in half. One must cut around the circumference of the grapefruit for each of those halves. One must then attend to the labor of spooning out each of the sections (I’ve broken into a mild sweat at the mere prospect of this labor). By the time one has completed this effort, I estimate that one has burned more than 2750 calories.

Some people (by which I mean “stupid people who look for arbitrary reasons to disagree with me) make the foolish counterclaim that eating grapefruit before bed actually only helps me lose weight because instead of eating a bowl of cereal and bag of chips, I’m eating a grapefruit.

 Those people are fools.

Grapefruit, I praise you, and thank you for your magical ability to help me lose weight.

Dieting Gods are Vengeful
Another absolute truth in dieting is this: As you diet and train, you begin to attract the attention of the Dieting Gods. As you fastidiously follow the religion of self deprivation, they reward you with your heart’s desire: weight loss.

If you cross the Dieting Gods, they will make you pay.

As an example, suppose you have been strictly adhering to your diet for three weeks, as I have. The Dieting Gods would reward you with some significant progress — I am down 11 pounds.

I know, however, that — having shown faith and devotion — if I were to slip up (eat half a candybar, say) I would reap the dieting whirlwind, in the form of these three punishments:

  1. My appetite would increase threefold. Once I have shown dietary fecklesness, the Dieting Gods would curse me with a wild abandon. The Hunger would come upon me and I would eat anything that came within my easy reach (everything in both the fridge and the pantry are to be considered “in easy reach”).
  2. My despair would take the form of “despondant consumption.” Any of you who have ever said to yourself, “Well, my diet’s screwed today; no point in dieting the rest of the day.” And then, the following day, you find yourself thinking that you’ll restart your diet the next day. And so on, until you are 10 pounds heavier than when you started the diet in the first place.
  3. I would gain weight. This is a direct curse from the Dieting Gods and is not a result of having eaten myself into a coma.

The Mantra is Meaningful
As I diet, I find myself saying, over and over, “One Hundred and Forty Eight:” my goal weight. This is because if you conciously utter your objective — whatever it is — often enough, that objective seeps into your subconcious, which is where the action really is.

Some would say that the fact that I have never reached my goal weight — nor lost any weight at all for that matter – while using this method is a clear indication that this mantra is useless. To them I say, “Shut up, stupid.”

The Scale is Just Plain Mean
It is widely known that bathroom scales are inhabited by Pixies that have been banished from their magical Faerieland after being convicted of accounting fraud. These Pixies — unrepentant criminals from a folk that are mischievous and unreliable to begin with — then tell us how much we weigh. Rest assured that any time you show a weight loss the morning after a night of heavy drinking and eating, this is just a Pixie giving you a jolt of irrational pleasure so that the following day when you show a nine pound gain, your disappointment and horror will be that much more exquisite.

When You Eat Matters — A Lot
Did you know that a recent scientific study conducted at Yale University proves that after 7:00pm, food actually trebles in its caloric content? Don’t believe me? Look up the study yourelf. Totally factual. 

So what very rational things do you believe?

PS: Today’s weight: 168.6. The Dieting Gods are smiling on me!

PPS: Just in case I haven’t been in-your-face enough about it (not super-likely), I’m a finalist in the Best-Kept-Secret Category for the 2007 Bloggies Award. You know how much I want to win? A lot. Please vote for me.


Show Off Your Best Biking Photo, Win a Big Prize

01.31.2007 | 12:01 am

A Very, Very Frazzled Note from Fatty: When I started this photo contest, I thought it would be cool to host the photos on my own site. It turns out that was sheer foolishness. I used a software packaged called Gallery, which evidently used so much server power as to set off all kinds of alarms at my web hosting service.

They shut me down.

So I spent a few minutes hyperventilating, then I begged to be put back online (see how useful begging is?). They agreed, providing I get my server usage under control.

So I uninstalled Gallery (Stupid Gallery) and created a new group on Flickr (a free photo hosting site owned by Yahoo), called — cleverly enough — Fat Cyclist.

And now I’ve edited today’s post so that the instructions work with this new gallery. For those of you who posted with the old gallery, I’ve already uploaded your photos into the new gallery.

Kenny’s Dilemma
Kenny Jones is one of my best friends, and is without question the hard-coriest cyclist I have ever met. He was one of the four cyclists in The Jack Mormon Militia, the first singlespeed team to ever win the 24 Hours of Moab.

Kenny is also the owner of Kenny’s Photo, a great photo lab that develops prints for both Internet customers and for locals.

Kenny’s had an ad up on my site for some time, and recently I started pestering him that it’s time to give up some schwag. I proposed he sponsor a contest based around one of the following ideas:

  • Choose Kenny’s Tattoo: Readers send in their ideas for Kenny’s first tattoo — what it should look like and where it should go. Kenny’s wife, having read the Very Helpful Comments this blog tends to attract, wasn’t super-keen on this notion.
  • Get a Pull From Kenny: A random contest entrant gets to attach a bungee cord to Kenny’s bike for the duration of this year’s Leadville 100. The thing is, I would have totally rigged this race so that I win. I suspect there would have been questions about how that happened.
  • A Photo Contest: How about if we had the first-ever Fat Cyclist Photo contest, where readers can upload their best bike-related photo, and the winner gets a big ol’ enlargement of their photo and $100 in credit at Kenny’s store? That wouldn’t be as cool as knowing that because of me, Kenny will always have a Fat Cyclist logo tattooed on each of his kneecaps (cuz I would have rigged the tattoo contest), but we can live with it.

And so it was settled. Today, we’re kicking off the first-ever Fat Cyclist Photo contest.

What You Can Win
The winner of the contest (you, natch) – selected not at random this time, but by Kenny — will get a massive print, professionally-enlarged (16″ x 20″ or 16 x 24″, whatever makes sense), mounted on black foam board,  and sprayed with a texture spray that also protects it from UV rays. Shipped to your door, as long as you live in the US.

The winner also gets $100 credit at Kenny’s store, good toward Internet print orders.

So this prize is worth more than $150. 


Whatcha Gotta Do To See (or Submit) Photos in the Contest
Whether you’re going to submit a photo or just want to see what others are entering, you’re going to need to register with Flickr. Also, to see all the photos, you’ve got to join the Fat Cyclist Group. Luckily, that’s relatively painless. Just do this:

  1. First, to and follow the standard signup rigamarole to get registered. Luckily, it’s free.
  2. This step is important. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to see all the photos: Once you’ve registered with Flickr, you need to join the Fat Cyclist group. That’s easy: Just go to and click Join this Group. Now you can see the photos for the photo contest at

How it Works
If you know how to use Flickr, you can skip this part. If, like me, you’re still totally novice to Flickr, here’s how you upload a picture.

  1. Go to the Flickr Upload page:
  2. Browse for your photo(s) – you can enter up to three photos in this contest. Photos are automatically resized, so don’t stress about having it be a particular size before you upload it.
  3. Click the Upload button at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Enter captions for each of your photos. Be interesting and descriptive. If you can’t be both, be one or the other.
  5. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
  6. Now you’ve got to make your photo part of the Fat Cyclist group. To do that, from your “Your Photos” page (you should be there already) click your picture. You should see options of what you can do with that photo above the picture now.
  7. Click “Send to Group” to make a menu drop down. From that menu, choose Fat Cyclist.
  8. OK, that’s it.

Your photos should be added to the gallery pretty much immediately.

Kenny will choose a winner this Sunday, and I’ll announce it on my blog on Monday. So you have a few days to enter.

A Plug For Kenny (and For Me, Too)
Whether you enter the contest or not, check out Kenny’s ad toward the top of the sidebar (right below the ad where I obnoxiously beg for  your Bloggies vote). He’ll give you $10 off your first order if you’re willing to admit you read my blog. Is it worth $10 to make that admission? You’ll have to make that choice yourself.

You know what? I’m excited to see what photos you submit.

Though I plan to continue to push Kenny to do the Tattoo contest next time.

PS: Today’s weight: 169.8, which is a loss of 3.2 pounds in one day. This tells me one thing: I must’ve gone to bed dehydrated.


01.30.2007 | 8:55 pm

Well, that was interesting.

Evidently, the Gallery software I put on my site last night is meant for the following:

  • People who have their own webservers and unlimited server cycles and throughput.
  • People who have so few visitors that server cycles and throughput don’t matter.

It’s not, evidently, meant for for someone who usually gets around 5000 pageviews per day and is currently getting about 60% more than that because of the whole bloggies thing.

In other words, my web hosting company shut me down for a couple hours earlier this evening cuz I was being a hog.

Sooo, for right now I’ve taken down today’s earlier post and am uninstalling Gallery.

Stupid Gallery.

I’ve stored all the photos so far and plan to put them back up as soon as I figure out a better way to do this contest.

Suggestions on how to do this contest using something like Flickr or Picasa or whatever would be massively appreciated (I don’t currently use those sites and so don’t know an elegant way to have lots of people post and be able to view contest entries).

If Dad Likes It, It Must Be Lame

01.29.2007 | 11:12 am

As a kid, I thought that hamburgers at McDonald’s tasted wrong. Same thing for any other restaurant. The meat just didn’t taste right.

What I was not used to, it turns out, was the taste and texture of beef.

Why? Because at my house, all the red meat came from elk and deer. Similarly, we ate a lot of fresh trout. And a lot of pheasant and duck.

My dad, you see, is an awesome hunter / fisherman. It’s what he loves, he’s extraordinarily good at it, and it is a joy to watch him in action. He catches fish after fish while everybody else stands around the stream or lake, joyless.

He has killed — with bow and arrow, not rifle — at least one elk and deer pretty much every season since he was a teenager.

He had his prostate cancer surgery timed last year so that it would be right after the archery season, giving him plenty of recovery time for next year’s fun.

I am convinced that his one great wish in life was for me to be a hunter like him. And there were some early indications that I would be. I’ve inherited his talent for fishing, and used to do pretty well in 4-H archery competitions.

But I don’t care for hunting or fishing. I’m not against them; I just don’t have fun doing them. Not interested.

Why not? Maybe it’s a carryover from a teenage rebellion thing — if Dad likes it, I don’t. Maybe it’s that I backpacked so much elk meat back to the truck from where Dad cleaned it that I can’t help but equate hunting with manual labor.

Maybe I’m just lazy.

My Turn
So now I’ve got kids of my own, and I — like my Dad — am trying to share my passion (for bikes, not eating) with them. Here’s how it’s working out so far:

  • The 13-Year-Old: My oldest son is quite possibly the most centered, ethical, honest person who has ever been born. He is smart, he is kind, he is friendly without being obnoxious. He and I share the same sense of humor, and we love working on the computer together. But he does not care about bikes at all. He doesn’t have a bike, and doesn’t want a bike. As I badger him about giving riding a try, he gently declines, trying hard to not hurt my feelings.
  • The 11-Year-Old: The athlete / academic in the family, my 11-year-old son will in fact go out on a ride with me. But that’s the only time he gets on his bike. And when we ride, he finds a reason he needs to go home soon.
  • The Twins: I bought matching sparkly pink bikes with baskets and tassels for the girls’ birthday last October. They seem oddly suspicious of these bikes, as if they were objects to be feared. The girls still prefer to be towed around in the bike trailer. Together. At age 5. Which is a good workout, I’ll grant you.

Where Did I Go Wrong?
Let me know if I’ve missed something, but I thought all kids are supposed to love bikes. I thought parents just gave their kids a bike at some point, and the kids started riding them all over the place, delighted in their newfound speed, mobility, and freedom.

So how come none of my kids care about bikes at all?

I have some theories:

  • Spandex Avoidance: I go out riding in tight black shorts, stiff-soled shoes, and a brightly-colored, stinky jersey. How could they help but worry that if they start riding they’ll have to dress up like that.
  • Pain Avoidance: I come home from bike rides all scratched up, bruised, and frequently with a dislocated shoulder. That doesn’t look like fun.
  • Suspicion: I say vegetables are good, when it’s quite clear to my children that vegetables are gross. By extension, if I say biking is fun, biking must suck big time.
  • Blog Fear: Dad writes about every little bike-related thing that ever happens to him, and then his invisible Internet buddies pile on. They don’t want to be a part of that.
  • Helmets: I always make my kids wear a helmet, even though the rest of the kids on the street get to ride without helmets all the time. My kids probably avoid riding in order to avoid peer ridicule.
  • Too Many Tips: As I teach my kids to ride, I’m constantly giving them advice. Useful stuff I have gleaned over years and years of riding. If I were learning to ride a bike, I would hate to have me as a teacher.
  • A Curse: My father placed a curse on me that my children would be  interested in biking to the same extent that I like hunting and fishing.

Has anyone else out there been trying to get (or, better yet, been successful in getting) a reluctant child to get interested in biking, or am I alone in this?

PS: The photo contest begins tomorrow. Make sure you’ve got your best biking photo ready to upload.

PPS: Hey, I know I’ve beat this to death over the past couple days, but just in case you haven’t, take a few minutes and go vote in the Bloggies. I’m in the “Best Kept Secret” category, waaaay toward the bottom of the list.

PPPS: Today’s weight: 173

The Best of the “Open Letters To…”

01.28.2007 | 9:58 pm

A Very Special Note from Fatty: Last week’s contest to win the ridiculously cool Twin Six Speedy Jersey was huge. I’m really glad that I long ago learned my lesson and no longer force myself to actually choose an entry I like best, instead going for the extremely-clever selection technique of choosing a random comment, and if I like it, it’s the winner.

This time, the first random comment I landed on was Diego Noronha’s, who had the good sense to post the 63rd entry. Diego, email me with your address, and I’ll get that jersey to you. Hey, send a photo of you sporting this jersey when you get it, wouldja?

Another Very Special Note from Fatty: Tomorrow I’ll be launching the first-ever Fat Cyclist photo contest, provided I manage to finish figuring out this Gallery software. Kenny’s Photo (hey, check out the ad in the sidebar) will be giving the winner $100 credit in prints at his site as well as a professionally enlarged and sprayed print of your winning photo — as in 16″ x 20″ or 16″ x 24″, whatever works best with the shot. How’s that for cool? As usual, entering costs you nothing. Start looking for your best cycling-related photos now!

A Less-Special But Hopefully Somewhat Clarifying Note From Fatty for The Folks Surfing Here From the Bloggies Site: Here at Fat Cyclist, rather than asking my advertisers for money, I ask them to fork over some of their product or service. Then I give it away in a weekly (unless I get lazy) contest. This way my advertisers get a bunch o’ bounce for their buck, my readers discover that my advertisers have really cool products, and I get…um…I get…uhhhh…I get to not have to figure out where blog income fits on my income taxes. It’s Win-win-win! Huzzah!

So just in case you haven’t already made up your mind in voting in the Bloggies’ Best-Kept Secret category, feel free to ask yourself, “Of all the blogs I read, which is most likely to actually give me something in return?

Not that I’m trying to bribe you or anything.

At least, not at the moment.

Although, now that I think about it….

The Best of the “An Open Letter To…” Series
Little by little, I’m trying to move some of the popular entries from my old MSN Spaces site over here. Today I’m going with my “Open Letter To…” stuff (by the way, check out To Whom It May Concern, another one of the Bloggies Best Kept Secret finalists. This blog does excellent open letters three times a week).  

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