In maintenance mode

It’s been a really long time since I wrote any kind of update on my weight loss quest; I guess that’s because once I lost the ten pounds I gained last summer, I stopped freaking out about it. I’ve kept it off, but I’m not shedding any additional weight like I wanted to. I’ve been running outdoors lately, which I’ve decided is vastly different (in a good way) from running on a treadmill. So, I’m planning on doing more of that and spending less time at the gym, which served me very well all fall and winter. This has also solidified my plan to, once my gym contract is over (January 2011! Christ.), switch to a gym that doesn’t lock you into a contract. Month to month, baby.

I still use my phone’s calorie counter app but like I said, it’s not making me lose like it would if I were exercising a lot more. At this point, I’m just maintaining my weight. Still, I’m very happy to at least be doing that. I really wanted to start Weight Watchers, which has worked wonders on a co-worker and a couple friends, but it’s just not fitting into my budget right now. I’m trying really hard to save money for my upcoming trips to Chicago (Memorial Day weekend) and San Diego (June 21-26).

Congrats to Brandon

My lack of exercise last week caught up to me. I gained a couple pounds back as of this morning. At least I continued Couch to 5K and the elliptical Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and tonight. I have to work harder. If only I could convince myself to go the gym every Saturday before improv. That hasn’t happened yet.

After the gym tonight, I am taking Brandon out to dinner to celebrate. His lab is being published in Investigating Ophthalmology and Visual Science, a trade journal in his field. This is very cool, because they have worked really hard to get published since Brandon started and it’s finally happening. It sounds like the more you have findings published, the more credible you become and the more credible you are, the more likely you are to receive grant money. And Brandon’s job is funded by grants, along with all they do at the lab. Like study eye cancer and stuff. Congrats to Brandon, who will be getting third billing on the piece.

On Sunday night, Plum St. Productions is meeting together to talk about some important upcoming projects. It sounds like something exciting is cooking and I’ll be reporting on that here once it’s out there. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go to Cincinnati for the meeting, but I am hoping it works out. It’s been too long since I’ve seen the folks of Plum St.

Making further progress

I am not doing so bad on those resolutions. Yesterday I started a book and today I found out I lost a little more weight. I have lost 13 pounds since Oct. 12!

The book I am now reading is “Whip It!” and I have to say, so far I like the movie character better than her paperback counterpart. The book’s narrator is just mean. But, I’m only around 40 pages in. Perhaps she sweetens to more of an Ellen Page standard at some point, although I am doubtful.

Speaking of “Whip It!” look at what I got for Christmas this year:

OMG

Ohmygoodness. You have no idea how excited I was to open that box. I had roller skates on my wish list this year but I didn’t really expect anyone to shell out the cash for them. And purple, even! Thank you, Owen and Jamie, for loving me this dollar amount’s worth! (And thank you, Michael Scott for that one). They said they were going to get me these along with the movie, but it turns out it’s not on DVD yet.

Last week I started Couch to 5K, a running program that, in theory, trains you for a 5K in nine weeks. I downloaded an iPhone app for it (one of the three apps I have now been willing to pay for). Brandon got me an arm band for my phone, so I strap the phone in, open the app and start the day’s run. Until you are more used to running (around week 5, as far as I can tell) the program has you alternating running with walking. A scary man’s voice tells you over your head phones to run, and then a minute or so later it tells you to walk. The app lets you play your iPod’s music through it and when you’re done with your work out it gives you the option to post a braggy message on facebook. I start week 2 tonight and will be running 90 seconds, then walking for 2 minutes, running, walking, etc. I am not a runner, and I was so sore all last week from doing what was essentially a mere 9 minutes of actual running three days a week. It’s a lot different from the elliptical machine, but you’re supposed to vary your cardio routine. Too bad running doesn’t burn as many calories. Thanks to Jessie E. for telling me about the program; she begins week 2 today as well.

Also, Brandon got me a work out game for the Wii in an after Christmas sale online. EA Active should be coming in the mail today or tomorrow, and then we’ll both be able to work out at the same time for a change. I got a Marshall’s gift card from Brandon’s brother and used it over the weekend to invest in some new work out clothes and a yoga mat. I do aerobics in our living room and our scratchy carpet does me no favors.

Another thing I bought this weekend is this:

I actually went to a sporting goods store of my own volition

College friend (and The Sleeper Hit reader) Jessi D. told me her thoughtful boyfriend picked up a set of these bicycle pedals for her to use at home. He also helpfully suggested she take them to the park and sit on a bench reading a book, pedaling away, to see how many odd looks she got. I am all in favor of this idea (videotaping = a must). I took these babies into work only to discover they don’t fit under my desk very well. Some furniture rearranging is needed. I tried to smuggle them into the building surreptitiously, but alas, there was one witness. He looked at me kind of funny.

From my family for Christmas, I was lucky enough to get not one, but TWO Hungry Girl cook books. I’ve been making one recipe from them every week night. Brandon likes what I’ve made so far, so that helps. It’s hard to lose weight without the support of the people you live with. In fact, with all this outpouring of love from my friends and family, I best be skinny come my birthday.

Year in Review: 2009

This was the second year of The Sleeper Hit’s existence, and this blog documented a lot of changes in my world in 2009. Granted, 2008 was my first year in a new city, living on my own, buying a car, etc. But 2009 brought lots of new things as well. After all, 2009 was the year I decided to make movies and actually did. As I did last year, here is a recap of the inane and the important, a.k.a., the things I deemed worthy of blogging about.

January: Brandon started his job at OSU. Coincidentally, we stopped cooking dinner in the apartment around the same time. The pipes in our old place froze. Obama was sworn into office. I started the screenplay for “Beacon Alley” (untitled at the time) and read lots of books about how to write screenplays. I cut nearly a foot of hair off, and so did Brandon. The Sleeper Hit turned one year old.

February: I left my car unlocked and someone rifled through it and stole my faceplate but not my stereo. I discovered Club Trillion and did not do much work for a of couple days. Owen and Jamie found out they would be having a girl, which I totally called. I discovered my undying love for curry and finished writing “Beacon Alley”.

March: I began seeking donations from local businesses for the movie but got poor response. Casting for “Beacon Alley” took place this month, starting with heroine Becca and ending with villain Melissa. Brandon and I went apartment hunting and found our new place near campus. I switched from Live Journal to WordPress. I joined and promptly quit Twitter. A generous friend donated some gift cards to use to buy food for cast and crew on shooting days. I bought a high-def camera. Filming for “Beacon Alley” began.

April: Brandon bought me a new faceplate for my car stereo. Surly Girl allowed me to film at their place. Filming took place every weekend this month and I woke up shaking with fear every day of it. During the actual filming I felt awesome, and even better after we wrapped for the day. I named my production company Wilmer Productions, an homage to Owen’s former Willow Films. We made t-shirts. I juggled moving out of our old apartment with the final days of filming. It was slightly stressful.

May: I chose the name “Beacon Alley” after taking a photo of a street sign by our old place. Editing began. I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law with my aunt. I ran into many technical issues and discovered the importance of lighting. I got the idea for my web series, “Paper Cuts”. I threw a cast party to debut the trailer of “Beacon Alley” and scheduled the premiere with Studio 35. I watched the “Glee” pilot and flipped for that show before the rest of you bitches. Count it. I re-joined Twitter and saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

June: Saw the Decemberists with Brandon after he won tickets from CD101. I began casting for “Paper Cuts” and met my muse, Taylor. Editing of “Beacon Alley” continued, and I wrote the first four episodes of the show. Met Monsterbeard who advised on my scripts. Watched a lot of web series. My beautiful niece was born. Participated in Cincinnati’s 48 Film Project and met the awesome folks of Plum St. Productions: love at first shoot. Michael Jackson died.

July: Production of “Paper Cuts” began as editing of “Beacon Alley” wrapped. Showed episodes one and two before the movie at the premiere, which was well attended to my relief. My blog stats hit an all time high the week of the premiere as people googled “Beacon Alley” after presumably seeing it on the marquee at the theater. Brandon and I planned a fall trip to Colorado.

August: Filming of “Paper Cuts” continued and involved casting new extras for each episode, one of which included child actors. It was weird. Brandon dressed in a borrowed tiger suit. I had a last-minute cameo in episode six after a friend had to cancel her role as a bridezilla. Filming wrapped at the end of the month. I lamented majoring in journalism rather than engineering or nursing or some other field that is still hiring.

September: Realized I had somehow gained ten pounds over the summer. Brandon’s gallbladder attacked him in his sleep. Went to Ft. Collins, CO and San Francisco, CA to visit friends on my first-ever vacation as an adult. I tried to write a one-hour TV show pilot while in California. Got one of the worst sunburns of my life.

October: Plum St. Productions exploded into prominence. I helped them with their short film, “Gnomewhere to Hide” and loaned them my camera. Got an iPhone and began using it to help me lose weight. Brandon got his gallbladder removed and his parents paid us a visit for Halloween. Became obsessed with roller derby after seeing “Whip It!” and visited a retro rink by the interstate.

November: Spent time with my dad on a sad anniversary. Spent Thanksgiving in Chicago with Brandon’s family again, saw Second City. Became very interested in both improv acting and stand up comedy (influenced partly by seeing “Funny People”). Started announcing my weight loss progress (or regress) on my blog. Actually lost some weight.

December: Visited my mom’s parents in Cleveland with my brother and his family. Lost the ten pounds I’d gained over the summer. Brandon got new glasses. Wrote 2009 Year in Review. Oh, wait…

Weigh-in time and Chicago re-cap

There’s good news and bad news. I have lost eight pounds since Oct. 12. The bad news is, it’s been almost two months since I started the iPhone diet and I’ve only lost eight freaking pounds. I am glad I haven’t gained anything back, and those pesky ten summer pounds are almost gone, but I would like to see another 13 or so go away. I am setting a goal to lose another five pounds by the end of this month. Surely that is a low enough bar that I even I can measure up.

I have started watching NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and I am completely enthralled. These people are pretty big to start with, and they’re losing pounds in the double digits every week. I realize they’ve got more to lose, but they are also working way harder than I am. Team Amanda!

Being sick all week didn’t help or hurt my efforts. I didn’t exercise but I didn’t gain weight either. Now that I am recovered I’m heading back to the gym tonight for the first time in over a week.

Chicago was amazing. I had a great time and got to spend more time with Brandon’s older brother and sister-in-law then I’ve spent before, and we had a great time wandering the city, the four of us. Amy is a very funny person and we have more in common than I thought. And Brian looked through the music on my ipod and discovered we have a few bands in common, to our mutual surprise. As before, Brandon’s parents were extremely generous to share their Thanksgiving with me and I enjoy their company.

We stayed at a hotel with a great location, the same one from last year, on Water St. very near Michigan Avenue. We spent a lot of time on Michigan, which I have come to know very well after three Model UN conferences in Chicago, two family trips, and now two Massengill holidays there. Oddly enough, the Model UN conferences were all held at the same Water St. hotel and took place in November each year, the week before Thanksgiving.

We did lots of Christmas shopping, ate Gino’s pizza after waiting in a long line, visited the Signature Room of the Hancock Tower, watched a Tennessee football game in a sports bar and went to Second City. Seeing Second City has been a dream of mine for a long time and I finally got to do it. The famous improv theater is the former stomping grounds of many SNL alums and other comedians including Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and tons of others. The actors we saw were so talented. There’s some local improv activity here in Columbus, I recently discovered. One of my actors in the Parental Discord video (see post below) is an improv actor. I thought it was ironic that I cast a comedian in my first and only dramatic piece to date. His troupe, “See You Thursday,” is performing twice this month at Wild Goose Creative on Summit, on Dec. 11 and 18. I’ll be checking them out one of those two evenings. Bonus: If you are feeling really adventurous, they are offering beginner improv classes starting Jan. 9.

Here’s some pictures from the trip:

Me outside Second City, called "Improv Harvard" by Vanity Fair, as you can see from the quote behind me

Obligatory photo of "the bean"

Amy and Brian at Gino's East

View from the Hancock's Signature Room

Brandon's parents at Maggiano's, where we ate Thanksgiving dinner

We had awesome weather until the morning we left

Brandon loved Chicago and said it would be cool to live there, but the 11 percent sales tax is a real bee-yatch.

I immediately regret this decision

I’m very sad that just yesterday I promised my half dozen readers that I would be posting my weight loss/gain progress/regress because today I got an unpleasant surprise. Earlier this week I saw that I had lost seven pounds over all, but that number has been reduced, as of this morning, back to five. That five… I can’t seem to move beyond it. Grrrr. I’ve been working on this since Oct. 12 and next week is Thanksgiving. But, losing five sure is better than gaining five more, and it’s a start. Yesterday I was on the elliptical machine for 50 minutes, and burned round 600 calories. You don’t do that three to four days a week and not lose anything, so I just have to keep at it.

Off to Cincinnati tonight. Tomorrow I am going to my friend Becca’s bachelorette party at our friend Rachael’s house. Then on Sunday, it’s attempt #2 on Abby’s video. We will have one hour to shoot it, as it has turned out, with everyone’s busy schedules. I am really going to have to keep everyone on task, including myself.

One large cheese pizza

So, one of my two actors with speaking lines got sick Sunday morning, and we couldn’t find a replacement. We’ll be filming Abby’s video for class this Sunday instead. I felt pretty bad because Brad told me she baked a whole bunch of food for yesterday’s shoot to thank me for helping her out. Not to mention she’d made it to Cambridge before getting my message. Trying to do nice things for people will make you feel like a terrible person, as it turns out. The guilt…

I have been on the iPhone diet for over a month now and I have not lost more than that initial five pounds. I keep gaining and losing the same two pounds over and over, despite working out three four days a week and reducing my caloric intake to 1,500. I have a feeling it’s because I am cheating on the weekends, although I would think I would still be losing more despite that. Anyway. I am committed to trying harder, starting this morning. Brandon and I cleaned out our fridge over the weekend and bought only healthy groceries, but there’s still some (non-diet) pop left over from the meeting at my dad’s house that I have to resist. I did a very poor job resisting it (and a good deal of a large cheese pizza) over the weekend. Maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked about my lack of progress.

I got to get all dressed up for a gala on Saturday night. I was asked to do some freelance photography for a big environmental organization and they paid for my ticket to the dinner event. I took Brandon with me and we got to eat some good food and meet some really nice people. Sadly, we forgot to ask anyone to take our picture together, so the best I can do is a photo Brandon took of my hair, which I did myself for the night. Afterward, we went to the R Bar in the Arena District for Christine’s birthday party. We only stayed an hour or so and left around 10:30, and being near Nationwide Arena made me think of and miss my favorite hockey fans Doug and Chandra, so I called Chandra on the way home. I found out she applied to nursing school and has told her work she’ll be leaving at the end of the year. I am happy for her. She has had a hard time finding what she wants to do as a career, something I can relate to after years of being so sure. I told her I think she’ll be a great nurse; she is a good motivator and I can see her making people work hard to get better.

Thanksgiving is next week and Brandon and I will be going to Chicago like we did last year. I am very much looking forward to it. Last year, it was just me, Brandon, his brother and his dad, but this year since his mom is done with nursing school, she’ll be coming too, as well as Brandon’s other brother and sister-in-law. The gang’s all there! We might get to go see Second City, which is basically a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to see them, since they are considered a huge starting point for future stars of SNL.

Look, I blogged today

Tonight Brandon and I are going to go see “The Men Who Stare At Goats” at Studio 35. I have no idea what I’m getting into. All I know is Brandon cracks up every time they run a trailer for it on TV. Tomorrow I’ll be playing catch up around the house and Sunday, Brandon’s coming to Cincinnati with me for the first time to help out with the production of “Gnomewhere.” Pretty cool he’s coming along.

Wednesday was my dad’s birthday and so I talked to him on the phone for almost an hour about how I’m doing. Happy birthday Dad! I also celebrated his birthday by going to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law in his stead. Sigh; at least he got a birthday lunch with a friend.

I’ve worked out three nights this week and I’m going to the gym tonight, too. Brandon says he is proud of me for sticking with it. I still swear it’s the iPhone.