Last July, I went through phase one of my “Jason makeover.”  At that point, I had lost about 70 pounds, and decided it was time to update a few things.  Like replacing my ancient glasses with contacts and morphing the boring side-part hairstyle I had since the seventh grade into a stylist-recommended contemporary style complete with highlights and “product.”

After that little excursion into image enhancement, I purchased new sunglasses at one of those little mall kiosks.  I joked with folks at work the following day that the girl behind the sunglasses counter was much more pleasant and engaged with the “newer, sexier” Jason than she would have been with fat, frumpy Jason.  And, in truth, now that I’m down about 110 pounds from January 2005, the reaction of strangers to me has been noticeably different than it was in, say, 2004.  I get more smiles, for example, and more people than I remember will look me in the eye as I pass them in public places.

And now, I notice another change.  I am no longer in the habit of eating three or four meals a day at fast-food establishments, but I do often head to the drive-through to purchase a refreshing beverage.  And since I’ve upgraded from the Kia to the Jeep, the reaction of others has apparently changed yet again.  Twice now, the window clerk (including, happily, a hot young girl) even chatted at length with me — something that NEVER happened before.

Yes, people are superficial.  I guess I just never realized the extent of it before.  The way people treated 270-pound, unstylish Jason driving a messy Kia is noticeably different from the way they treat 160-pound, more image-conscious Jason driving a clean Jeep.  Fascinating. 

New wheels

On a frigid day in January, 2001, I purchased a new car.  It was a 2001 Kia Sephia, black, with none of the fancy options.  Although the Sephia was a reliable little car, it was … well, a little car.  With none of the fancy options.  And in the five years I drove it, I […]

Continue Reading

Book browsing

I had an interesting experience this afternoon.  While browsing at a local bookstore, I lingered for a while in the current-events section.  It’s always fun to see the latest polemic du jour, and I was not disappointed with the selection of throw-away titles that promised to tell the “real truth” about the Iraq war or […]

Continue Reading


I’ve lately grown into the habit of working on my writing-related work from a local coffee shop.  It’s refreshing to get away from the distractions of home; at the coffee shop, I can simply plug in and type.  With mocha and free wireless Internet.  Heavenly. Occasionally, this new venue provides ample fodder for the people-watcher […]

Continue Reading

Lent has arrived

Part of the wisdom of Catholicism is the opportunity the Church extends to the People of God to deepen their faith through the mechanism of the liturgical year.  Lent has returned, and at Ash Wednesday, we are challenged to resist Lent’s derogation into the merely routine, and to grow in faith and in wisdom despite […]

Continue Reading

Simulated lessons

Off and on over the last four years, I have participated in online political simulations — either based on some sort of Web forum, or through Yahoo! Groups.  I was originally attracted to the idea because I thought the sims would provide an interesting counterpoint to the conventional wisdom of political scientists, about the structure […]

Continue Reading

Buyer, beware

I admit it: I do a lot of Internet-related transactions.  I purchase and sell things on eBay; I buy products from Web-based merchants; I purchase subscriptions for online services.  And I usually don’t have too much trouble. But last week was different.  In the space of two days, I was hit with three unexpected transactions […]

Continue Reading

Oh where, o where, are the Olympics held?

Ahh, the Olympics. A symbol of human solidarity in a world rent by bloody factionalism. A chance to see athleticism at its most pure and noble and inspiring. A forum for non-violent and friendly competition among nation-states. An opportunity for the talking-head glitterati to inadvertently demonstrate that the emperor of cultural correctness wears no clothes. […]

Continue Reading

Customer service … ?

This afternoon, I stopped at the local outlet of a major national retailer.  My purpose: To return a book I had purchased a few days ago, that I forgot that I already owned. I assumed that this would be a relatively painless operation.  The book was unopened and in perfect condition, I had a receipt […]

Continue Reading

Site reset

Today I switched my Web/e-mail host from ValueWeb to Site5.  I have no problems with ValueWeb — I was hosted by them since 1999 — but I wanted more e-mail flexibility, and Site5 provides it at a cheaper cost.  So here I am.  Consequently, there is a complete reset of all data at, although […]

Continue Reading