My Fat Computer Life

 

I want to confirm something.  Bill and I are fat computer guys.  Literally. Allow me to break down the credentials:

Fat

These days, Bill and I weigh about 340 pounds (each, not combined). It hasn’t always been this way– well, for Bill anyway. He was tall and lanky, skinny as a rail when I met him 30 years ago in ninth grade home room.

I have struggled with obesity my entire life. Growing up, maternal love was largely expressed with food in my family. And I was showered in love. My Mother and Grandmother were both exceptional cooks and taught me a great deal. My Mom had an office job, so my grandmother babysat me most week days. Grandma was a German immigrant, she brought European baking techniques (I think that mostly means lots of butter) and she made some of the most beautiful and complex multi-tiered wedding cakes I have ever seen. She was a one-woman show in her wedding catering business, and was in high demand. She made traditional hors d’oeuvres with a southern twist. One of my favorite fusions was profiteroles stuffed with chicken salad.

I don’t just love to eat.  I also love the aesthetics of food… the colors, smells, and variety.  I love the schematic nature of recipes- a perfect combination of science and art.  I love the technical challenge of making the best tasting version of whatever it is I am preparing.  I came by it honestly, my mantra (which I saw on a bumper sticker) became “Love people. Cook them tasty food”.

John's fridge
               John’s fridge

I was a cook at a pizza restaurant through high school.  My first college room-mate, who was from Molokai, introduced me to Hawaiian-Korean cooking techniques (yes, sweet & sour spam is a thing).  I worked for IBM for 12 years, and during that stint, I was exposed to lots of different regional and international cuisines.  I traveled a lot, and loved checking out the restaurants and specialty/ethnic grocery stores wherever I went.  Being from eastern North Carolina, I have a deep love affair with smoked pig meat.  It goes on and on, and I’m probably starting to bore you. So, let me just boil it down to it’s essence: I have a passion for food and cooking. Also, my self-control isn’t great.  If a little bit is good, a lot must be better, right?

Computer Guys

Back in junior high, Bill and I instantly hit it off when I told him I was really into computer games on my Commodore 64.  That’s when Bill introduced me to software piracy.  I know that sounds bad, maybe it was.  Every Saturday, we were regulars (and the only “kids” among mostly adults) at the local computer “users group”.   Everyone brought in their collection of programs and video games on 5 1/4″ Floppy disks, and frenzied trading ensued. At one point, I remember running Fast Hack’em with four 1541 floppy drive units daisy chained off a Commodore SX-64.  The stuff dreams are made of!  One day soon, we will write more on the topics of the hacker ethic as well as vintage Commodore computers.

Bill and I both have techie B.S. degrees.  His in computer science, mine in computer engineering.  He’s been a software developer for a long time.  I have been a computer geek since… let’s just say WAY before it was “cool”.  I don’t know if it’s because I revel in being a generalist, or because I get bored easily… but since graduating from college, I’ve done just about every computer job there is to do.  Tech support, QA test, software and hardware development, project management, technical writing,  I was the manager of a software development team for a couple of years at IBM before I decided to jettison from the “corporate world”. I owned my own consulting firm for a while.  These days, I just call myself an “IT guy”.  I still play video games.  Only three of them, currently (Hearthstone, Rocket League, and Minecraft).  One day when I get to know you better, I’ll tell you about my fascination with them.

OK, you are fat computer guys.  So what?

Bill and I will blog about all sorts of subjects, but what I really want to write about are the topics that I know the most about:  technology and weight loss.  I want to start by saying, I have no formal training in health and nutrition.  But I have done a tremendous amount of research and experimentation over the past 30+ years.  I have been “dieting”, with successes and failures, all of my life, since I was 12 years old (to make a weight limit so I could play little league football).  I think I’ve tried it all in terms of weight loss.  My personal highlight reels include what I call my two “massive weight loss events” (MWLE).  The first one happened in my late twenties, where I lost 100 pounds in a little over a year.  The second one happened a few years ago, in my early forties, when I lost 150 pounds in just under a year.  I even managed to keep it off for a couple of years.  Maintenance is the hardest part.  Extremes are easy for me (once I get going).  It’s finding a “happy medium” that I find really challenging.  I have gained about half of the weight back from the most recent MWLE.  I am currently striving to find a groove where I can get back to my ideal weight, slowly and healthfully, while still enjoying some indulgences.

I registered the domain name fatcomputerguy.com a couple of years ago. It was just after a time of great change in my life.  Along with MWLE #2, I was finally really moving on from life after divorce, and started dating again. I had “escaped” from corporate america and had a new job at a cool company (a natural food coop grocery store chain). I was writing again, even though it was just a journal, I was getting myself ready for a blog and maybe one day a book. I created the site thinking it would be an ironic name for a guy who was no longer physically fat, but deep down inside will always be a “fat computer guy”. I thought the name represented a type of ambassador between (often annoying) health food hippies and overweight “frozen burrito washed down with a beer” techies.

And so that is my hope for this blog.  While we continue our fat computer lives… we will share recipes, trends, geeky topics, motivation.  Both for ourselves, and you, the reader.

I will always love cheese sticks and video games.