Sunday, December 31, 2017

What to name the new old car . . truck really?

The deed was done.
The California Bureau of Automotive Repair's (BAR) Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)- Vehicle Retirement (AKA Cash for Clunkers) sent me a voucher good for $1500 when I take the dear old Banana Boat to the scrap yard. They didn't make it easy. It was supposed to be easy but it wasn't.
I went to the official website. I am not sure why, but there are unofficial ones for some reason.
I filled out the online application form. It was supposed to take 4 weeks to process.

While I waited Social Security sent me just a taste of my disability back pay so I was able go to the DMV and pay the past due registration. 2 years worth $359, yikes! Then I went for a smog check. It had been using oil, I thought. I had to add oil every 1000 miles or so and none was on the driveway so I just assumed it was burning oil and wouldn't pass smog. But it did pass. The smog check guy said my new tags would be in the mail in a couple of days. Weeks went by and the new tags and registration never came in the mail. I sent an email to the DMV. They emailed me back telling me that because I paid the registration before getting the smog certificate it would take 3 more weeks from the date of the email to process instead of 3 days. Huh, I thought.

Meanwhile the BAR sent me a letter telling me that I was good to go but I needed to send proof of low income to qualify for $1500 rather than the $1000 already rich folks get. The letter also said to hurry before funding runs out. My disability (SSD) each month plus what's called SSI ($30/mo in lue of food stamps) still adds up to an amount way below the poverty line. I sent my docs in.

Two weeks later the BAR sent me a letter telling me that I was good to go but I needed to send proof of insurance for the 2 years before I sent in the application. This was because it was not registered when they checked, because I paid registration before smog (yes I called with my explanation, no help there). You can still be approved if your car is not registered as long as you have paid for insurance and it passes smog. So I am out $359 for registration I didn't have to pay, great. I did use the roads and such so guess I owed it. The letter also said to hurry before funding runs out. It took a little persistence, I made some calls and managed to come up with documentation in the format BAR required. I sent it in, waited.
The tags and my new registration came the next week.
Almost 2 months after I applied, the CAP voucher came in the mail. Yay!

The search for a replacement vehicle was on. In the post before this one I went over some of my goto's like eBay and Craigslist. I have purchased cars with each of those in the past and was sure it would work again. Also in the last post I included links to candidate vehicles. I haven't checked but those links might be dead. Craigslist deletes after so many days. Anyway there were many possibilities in my price range that looked to be really nice cars. The week before the voucher came I found 3 or 4 nice ones. As you might has guessed, as soon as the search turned serious those great deals were sparse. sigh. My search parameters did change. The amount I was able to spend including any fees and taxes was $300 less than anticipated. Also part of the reason I am on SSD is that sitting gets painful after and hour or two a day. Even putting up with a bit of agony my travel range is 60 or 70 miles each way.  That narrowed my search. Pickups and bigger SUV have the best long term reviews. Besides I don't drive that much anymore. No reason to drive all scrunched in a low headroom sedan or coupe?

To make things worse once I started making inquiries I turns out most of the ads are bogus. You send a text or an email asking to see the car, if they reply at all, they reply asking you to email their sister (or someone) who is really selling the car. I quickly learned to spot the fake ones. Weird phrasing in the ad or a private party ad with just one photo that was professionally shot. Real people use a cell phones to shoot the pictures.

Finally got a hold of a real person. An old guy up in Lake Isabella selling a 1990 Mercedes Benz.  Those have some head room. Older than I'd like, the photos it looked okay. He couldn't tell me much about it. He was one of those guys that go to the big car auctions in LA. The thing is too old to go all the way to Isabella in the Lincoln to see it (at least $20 in gas) then if it was good impose on who for a ride up there to get it?
I have bought cars 2 different times sight unseen through eBay.  Both times I took the train pick them up and it worked out fine. Different time in history I guess.

Only a few people in my area sell their own cars it seemed. The newspaper was useless as was eBay this time. The free Camera ads tabloid that you find at convenience stores didn't have anything for me. The BAR said to hurry before funding ran out but in my experience opportunities will present themselves if you take your time, keep your eyes open and don't get desperate. This works with ladies too, opportunities for romance. That kind of opportunity comes up, unfortunately I am better at picking up on the clues and following through in other areas. Like buying cars. But I digress. I convinced myself that if I missed the funding window I could reapply in the next quarter. No heater this winter, suspension, or windows that work in the Lincoln were things I have had to deal with and could continue work around for a few more months if need be. Craigslist became more about grazing than searching. I found a lead that responded within an hour with a phone call. I called the seller back (more about cell phone weirdness in a minute). He turned out to be in my neighborhood less than a mile away. Arranged to meet him the next morning.

Let's call him Rudy, met me and handed me the keys "let's go for a test drive".  He had just rinsed it off so it was clean. The 1999 Infiniti QX4 was 18 years old had not been garaged. It looks shiny in the picture but the clear coat has mostly worn off. The interior is clean, it sounded good and drove well. As soon as we were on the street he says "It's not a salvage title we spun it out on the freeway down south a couple of years ago, insurance replaced some of the body panels. Mechanically it's all good". That was a weird thing to lead with. Like he's worried about it. I asked why he was selling it "I just finished restoring my Mini Cooper". "My roommate works out in the oilfields in Lost Hills and wants something better on gas". Roommate is code for boyfriend or husband. This guy was close to my age. In his 50s I guessed. Younger gay people tend to say 'partner' when they feel the need to be vague. Whatever. As they say, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. When we got back to Rudy's house I asked to look under the hood. I'm not a great mechanic but have done many repairs and can spot obvious problems. Sometimes. It all looked good except for a thick coating of what appeared to be axle grease on the top of the radiator. 3 or 4 tiny beads of green antifreeze sweating through it. "Oh my mechanic found those little leaks and put that stuff one there, said it would seal it".  He immediately said he would have the radiator replaced.  He was asking $1900 I offered $1800 if he had the repairs done. He agreed to have it done and hold it for me. Parts of the deal seemed fishy the radiator thing, 'not a salvage title' thing and something else he wasn't saying, but $1800 won't buy you much car these days and this seemed more or less doable. And the heater works, And the windows go up and down. 2 summers (18 months) of pulling up or pushing down windows by hand was enough.

This was on the 17th of December, so a week before Christmas.  I called him a couple of times to check the progress. Each time the phone would stop and an automated voice would say something about searching for subscriber. They the ring and the call went through. I assumed it had something to the other guy working in lost hills. Different area code or something. I wasn't ready yet but that he went ahead and had it smogged for me. Something I'd have to do to transfer title anyway.

I called the salvage/recycle place (scrapyard) at the special number provided to find out the hours of operation and other details. They have several locations in the state and so one recorded message to answer all questions. The first thing the recording said was that the program had unlimited funds. They must get many people like me stress over the time crunch. I'm sure it's a lie but saying it saves everyone worry over matters that are out of anyone's control.

On Thursday Rudy called to say it was done and that it cost him more than anticipated and could I go the full $1900. So now things are starting to feel scammy. I had looked up the cost of the radiator and surprisingly they go for $55-$60. They aren't hard to install but that doesn't mean that a mechanic wouldn't charge a couple of hundred to do it. I had looked him up on the internet and he sells insurance at AAA. Just the kind of guy that would have a line on cheap repair work and smog certificates. Quid pro quo or like that. Hmm.

Okay fine I said. $1900. Logistics came next; taking the Lincoln to the scrapyard then the resulting check to the bank then meeting up with him. I have 3 guys I know to ask for a ride. One doesn't have a car right now. One works in an office 8 to 5. The third guy is also disabled but and has the time but whines like a little bitch whenever he drives me places. It happens once a year or less; it's not my fault that he never asks anything of me. So that's me whining about other people whining. There's always Uber or Lyft. I looked it up and $8 from scrapyard to my bank. Cool. Rudy said he would drive the QX4 to work with him and could pick me up at my bank on his lunch hour. That was nice of him. Also that if I had AAA they are also an official DMV outpost. We could do the deal right there and I could get the paperwork out of the way all at once. I was planning on getting AAA again for the towing. Must have if you drive an old car.

Friday was a slow day for me. What with it being the last work day before Christmas places were closing early. Scrapyard closes at 3:30 normally and I missed it. That's my story anyway so I put it off till the Tuesday the 26th.  Rudy didn't like it but I assured him I wasn't flaking out so it was fine.

I have owned a number of cars over the years. I get kind of attached to them but they always depart in the anticipation of a new one. Each is it's own adventure. This was the second Lincoln TownCar. The first one I got was my dad's. I got it when he died (ironically at his 80 birthday party). This one belonged to Dan an older friend of mine that wasn't like a father to me so much as a . . .well like an eccentric uncle. His family an extended family of mine. I had gone to high school with 2 of his kids and we are still thick as thieves when we get together. I've gone on vacations with them, the whole thing. Dan and I had our own relationship as well. I produced a cable access TV show that he hosted for 18 months or so and we had other adventures. I was quite fond of the old coot. If you think this post is long I'll have to write that adventure one one of these times. Anyway when he died a couple of years ago at 84 I got the Lincoln. So I am a little more sentimental about Town Cars than I might otherwise be.

I rarely have any place that I have to be in the mornings, or any other time for that matter. I do try to get up or at least be awake by 8 am everyday. They say routine helps keep you sane. Not sure it's working but one has to try. Being in a hurry and having details to attend to is the thing I am really out of practice with. I'm up, full of coffee and prescription medications before 9:30 so plenty of time to turn in my voucher and get to my bank by noon. I started to call Rudy over the internet with Google Hangouts. It's like what they call a VoIP phone. It's free and I have a regular type handset, the kind you can really hold onto, that plugs into my computer. But the internet was going off and back on all morning. I got through once but got cut off. Weird.

I have heard plenty and even looked at the app but it's finally time to try Uber for myself. Drivers I know prefer Lyft but Uber was $1 cheaper that day so Uber it is. I find the android app and start to load it on my phone. My phone is too old for the app. I change a few setting; it want's to load but not enough memory. Fuck. I thought you could request a ride from a browser but I'm not a morning person and the website only wants to sign up new drivers that day it seemed like. My iPad is old but it had the app before and so I downloaded it again. Great it still had my info and payment settings. I tap in the locations. I'm looking for where you put in when you need it. Before it lets me confirm, it wants a different form of payment. PayPal not good enough anymore? I tap to go to the next screen but nothing happens. Damn the internet is out again and made the iPad freeze. Restart the iPad. Unplug and replug the modem to get it going again. I launch the Uber app again and there's a little map showing me that he is almost there. WTF? Now! is the only time you can hail a ride? Gee Zus.

I emptied the car of all my stuff the day before and had all the paperwork ready. Hoping I have enough gas in the tank off I go on the Banana Boat's last journey. I get to the place, lots of signage but nothing says "Office Here" or any of that. I park and walk into an office trailer that is a lunch room. I am directed to the building next to the truck scales. That makes sense. I go in and it's one of those 'don't rob me' setups like in a bank or ghetto liquor store. The counter lady behind the thick glass tells me to drive onto the scales. Scales? The voucher is a flat $1500 but whatever. After 3 days off there is a line that goes down the street of semi trucks and other trucks loaded with scrap iron. I wait in line in the middle of the road's two way left turn lane.

No sign of the Uber car. The line is so slow that I put it in park and walk around the parking lot looking for, I think the app said, a corolla. I am no fan of physical exercise. I don't have anything against walking. These days however with the damaged spine some days I can walk a mile or more but more often lately after 30 minutes on my feet I am bent over in the shape of a question mark. It took me 2 days to recover from the last art walk. I didn't even have my cane with me. Shit. It's 11:30 and I am still on the street in the line of trucks. I better call Rudy and tell him I have been delayed. My phone started to do that thing where it has to look for the subscriber but this time it says it's roaming and says I have to enter a calling card number or make a collect call. What? I try again, same thing. It's a free phone with not a lot of minutes but I rarely use it so. I remember getting a text telling me that it was good to go for another month. I thought.

Finally it is my turn on the scale. I was was really putting out the a stranger in a strange land/kindly/old hippy vibe that day. That is what I was feeling in one way. In another way, kind of intuitively, I was working my audience. I handed the clerk my paperwork through a little window in the side of the building. She asked me if it was tan or white. I said buttercream, it looks light yellow to me. That's why I call it the banana boat, because it looks like a banana cream pie. She scoffed. Websites that claim to know about such things call it Ivory Metallic or Pearlescent Ivory Parchment. Okay, whatever.
Here is the wikipedia description of the Town Car.

I pulled it forward where a man in a hardhat looked it over with a checklist. He helped me remove the handicapped plates. That was it. In the office they had me sign and fill out a number of papers, then handed me a check.

I asked the clerk to use their phone. The instructions I got in mail said more than once that a ride home was my problem. She said the phone wouldn't fit under the glass so called Rudy for me. She said he said he'd be there in a few. Nice, and on his lunch hour. I waited outside. As he drove up I though it was a different SUV. It looked smaller. He drove us to his office where he signed me up for AAA. $49 is not bad if you need the towing. He took plastic for that sale and a check from me that I had printed for the car. The DMV counter there only took cash so I had to I had to find a branch of my bank. The registration was complete when I turned in the plates that had been on that car . . SUV and attached my handicap plates. Rudy had been helpful through the whole thing. Didn't make sense that he'd pull a scam at his workplace. Still, he kept giving me the feeling of the cat that ate the canary. Especially after our business was complete. Idly scanning the big open office as I waited in line he was staring at me intensely from the other side for way too long. Who knows? People are goofy.

1999 Infiniti QX4 vs 1997 Lincoln Town Car - Cartier

Specifications QX4 Town Car
Turning Diameter - Curb to Curb 37.4' 44.1'
Wheelbase 106.3" 117"
Overall Length 183.9" 219"
Width including mirrors 72.4" 76.7
Overall Height 70.7" 56.9"
Curb Weight 4275 lbs. 3997 lbs.
Maximum Towing 5000 lbs. 2000 lbs.
Head Room: Front 39.5" 39.1"
Leg Room: Front 41.7" 42.6"
Leg Room: Rear 31.8" 41.1"
Trunk/Cargo 82 cu.ft. 22.3 cu.ft.
Trunk/Cargo hidden from view none 4.3 corpses

These numbers were gathered from a few different sources. I wasn't going to do the measuring myself. I'm 73, or by some accounts, 72 inches tall and can easily see across the top of the QX. It is a foot taller in round numbers. A yard shorter. Wow. A chunk of that was lost in rear seat leg room. I never sat in the rear seat of the old one so am not likely to in this one. Shorter turning radius is a good thing.

Early assessment: It is a truck and rides like one mostly. Still a softer ride than the TC after the shocks were shot.  Nice to have a working heater and window regulators. Seats are leather, worn but comfortable. I am out of the habit of terrestrial radio and it's too old to have bluetooth. Reused the cassette adaptor and bluetooth receiver I used in the TC. Routine of audiobooks and NPR on accastion reestablished.

Downsides, scary things:

  • At first I thought the interior lights didn't work. It has 2 dome lights. Both were switched to the neutral position. I had noticed the little dash light showing that not all the doors are closed. Recloseing or slamming them closed doesn't help. This must have something to do with the wreck Rudy mentioned. This means that the interior lights are always on or always off. At some point in time I will investigate with tools. Till then stick on led lights are cheap. 
  • There are more dents on the outside than I noticed at first. Rear spoiler fin is missing. 
  • It has not been garaged so the clear coat is gone from the hood and other places. Flat not glossy is okay. Makes it less conspicuous. Less likely to be stolen or broken into. 
  • Just one key. I am a clutz at times and like to have a spare. It's the kind with a chip in it. The dealer wants over $200 for a spare. Floyd's will make a duplicate for 'only' $69. Blanks are under $10 on eBay but the cheapest a local locksmith will charge is $75 to cut and program it. YouTube has a couple of different work arounds. 
  • The key fob door opener thing doesn't work. I pointed this out to Rudy and he suggested a new battery. I put in a new battery and nothing. Then I accidentally pressed the red panic button on it. That works. Maybe just get a replacement.  
  • The ignition switch is not consistent as to what works with it off or on. This and the door thing may be related to a bigger electrical problem in the making.  Hope not though. Those kinds of repairs can be expensive or impossible. Let's hope not. 

Now the big question: What to name it?
Something will occur to me or I'll get a good suggestion that isn't a snark.

Addendum: I think addendum is what you put instead of P.S. when it's not a letter.
The cell phone thing. As a duly authorized poor person I qualify for what was called an Obama phone. Society runs on information and communications. Where would underpaid workers come from if you couldn't call them up? How are debt collectors supposed to find people? It's not like there are still pay phones everywhere. If someone makes enough to live on you have to pay them more. Underpaid workers are the backbone of capitalism.

Anyway, what you get is the cheapest recycled pay as you go type phone available and something like 100 minutes and text messages per month. I found a company called Budget Mobile that offered 100 megs of data too. Yay. I lucked out and the one they sent me also would connect to wifi.
After I got home I tried using the cell phone again. Still roaming, no calling out. Budget Mobile hadn't sent me an email since I got the thing a year and a half ago. I found and old email and clicked on their address. No website. I checked the newsfeeds. No news about them. Hmm. Then I did find an old press release from 6 months ago saying that they getting out of the lifeline phone business. But if not this month I do remember getting the 'you're good to go for another month' text message from them. Then it made the chime telling me that I had gotten a new test message. Slowly I realized that it was on wifi at the house. That was text messages going to my google voice number. Google voice is app and web browser based not cellular if you are on wifi. It is cellular if you have cell service and aren't on wifi. I must have been using it wifi only for, who knows how long. I did call the lifeline program; they found that I was already approved and in the system for this year but could not find my number. Told the Indian phone bank guy that it was on Budget Mobile and he said they had been out of the system for a while.

Here in California the Lifeline program (CLP) is better than other places. The phones themselves are not special but I found Virgin Mobile offers unlimited voice and texts plus 2 gigs of data per month. Obviously I didn't use the lower amount but I guess it will be good to use the gps map thing sometimes. I signed up with them so CLP will send me a new application to restart the approval process again. I will send them poverty docs like I send to BAR and wait for a phone to arrive in the mail. Till then fingers are crossed that the QX lives and doesn't leave me stranded far from the non-existing pay phones of legend.

Addendum Addendum: I may be able to rig the old phone or iPad to function over wifi as a phone in the meantime. So if I do get stranded but am near a McDonald's or Starbucks or place with free wifi I won't be totally SOL.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pre-Crusher Requiem for the Banana Boat

2 months ago I told the new doctor that those medications made me sick before. "This is a different formula, you'll be fine". I wasn't fine. The newer new doctor doubled the dose. Living became nightmarish. Before I came to my senses and stopped taking them, steam started coming from the dash vents of my car, fogging up the windows. 

The Banana Boat, as I call her, has been a faithful steed. Taking me to appointments and social engagements for the last couple of years. During the months of no income, no maintenance was done on her. 3 of the 4 electric windows don't open. The suspension is shot.  Both side mirrors are held on with tape. Then on Sunday this started happening. 

The first trouble with overheating was 2 summers ago. I got it stopped that time and have carried a half full one of those water cooler jugs in the trunk ever since. Just the other laundry day I considered taking it out so I could fit more dirty laundry in there. Giant car, giant trunk so I left it in.
This time the leak is in the heater core that supplies engine heat for use to heat the cabin and/or defrost the windows. The heater core is a miniature radiator that lives inside the dash. When it isn't leaking steam into the vents it will defrost. 

First line of defense is a stop at the auto parts place on the corner. Stop leak bottle that says right in the label that it will stop heater core leaks. Yay. My 20 year old car is still new enough that it doesn't have a radiator cap. I had to unclamp one of the big hoses on top of the engine to pour the stuff in. It didn't work. More steam. Try again with a different brand. The label said you don't have to clean the system out first but I did anyway (hey I know I should have the first time but I was dizzy and weak from the medication remember). It didn't work. Those were ones I had used successfully in the past and cost $5 & $9 dollars each. The next options on the shelf $32-$46 each and didn't claim much more on their labels. One did say something about special fibers. Like in oatmeal? One last try. I bought 2 different of the cheaper ones and used them both. Didn't work. More steam.

So I do have some income now (SSDI) but it really isn't much more than the nothing I was living on before. I do have 38 months of back pay coming one of these days . The lawyer gets his $6K for the $1K worth of work his office did. SSA has sent me many letters giving details about the balance. Some saying most of the rest has been deducted for vague reasons. It may work out the way it should but I have no way of knowing. Nothing to do but wait. 

This is the 3rd car I have had of this body type. 92 Lincoln TownCar, 2000 Crown Vic Police Interceptor, This 97 Town Car. The 92 had the same problem; it cost $40 for the replacement core and $400 to have it installed. I could probably come up with the $40. 

Even if I do get the full amount of back pay I am due it may be the last time I have a ship come in. I thought the bad medicine had done me in a few days ago. The other physical limitations are limiting other ambitions for gainful enterprise. I have to continue my personal austerity program to make whatever the final amount is last. Either way, fixing the Banana Boat up for more than basic drivability is sending good money after bad. Looking around the internet for ideas I found a U shaped bit of hose with metal tips to install in place of the core. It was $15.99 plus $8.45 shipping on eBay. Love me some eBay sometimes, when time is not an issue. Local auto parts places didn't have any similar options online. Driving 20 miles overheating at each stop to shop in person wasn't practical. I found on a chat board just for Lincoln Town Car owners one guy that used a 3/4 inch brass elbow for PEX water pipes. Another chat person claimed he used the plastic kind and it worked for 3 years. PEX is heat rated, but why risk it? Anyway the Lowe's is only 2 miles away, the brass elbow and 2 screw type clamps were less than $5. 

I am feeling so much better than I was; 2 days without the bad medicine. Still getting pretty dizzy and fatigued; I had to do the fix in 5 minute bursts. To get the old hose off I had to cut it from the old heater core. No turning back. I used one of the new clamps and one of the old ones (see top picture). Refilled the water and started the car. So far so good but at idle it was going to take a while for heat and pressure to build. I took a short drive around the hood. Success. A peak under the hood and no water leaks.

I accepted an assignment to feed two dogs while the owner is away. Both dogs combined may weigh as much as my 9 lbs Chihuahua Lit'll. But tiny guys need love too. Just 3 miles. A straight shot up University Ave. When I got there the heat gauge showed the regular heat. I looked under the hood anyway. The legs of the elbow just aren't long enough. The hose with the original clamp had popped off. I put the new clamp on that side and refilled from the jug in the trunk. I got home and it seems all good. Ta Da! 

Till the weather turns cold anyway. 

I hope I start feeling well enough to do the dishes without taking a lie down in the middle. Today was encouraging. Tomorrow will be better. Best case is that I will get the back pay I earned and will be able to afford the gym a few times a week. Build up that core strength as the gym regulars say. What with the spinal damage I don't see me as a walker. 

I need to have a car or something. My hope is to become an SRK FUVer. Even if they launch as they have planned one of those won't be available till next summer. The wait for social security disability ruined my credit but I have time to figure out some financing. 
In the meantime here is the plan. Cash for Clunkers will pay $1,000 ($1,500 low income, whatever that means) for my old Town Car. But I wasn't able to keep the tags current hoping that paying late will work out right. The other rules are kind of sticky too. Still it's a nice car for a fixer upper. I've sold worse cars for more. It starts and drives. Just doesn't have the smooth ride, heat or windows that move. Pretty easy fixes for a gear head with some tools. 
I have had decent luck buying cars on craigslist and eBay. Fingers crossed that a good deal is available when the time comes. And that I can weasel a ride to pick the thing up. 

I sit high in the saddle so a truck or van or something with a high ceiling. 

I am skeptical about this one. Looks nice in the picture. 

I took the train to Hanford to buy the Police car. 4x4 sounds like too many moving parts

This one is just adorable.

Know a guy that has had good luck with his

Don't pimps drive these

If I could only sit to drive I could make money doing the Uber or Lyft thing

Anyway, first things first. Talk to my mechanic. Check the used car reviews on Edmunds and Cars. Then wait for back pay day. 

UPDATE -- - - - - - Oct 27
Oct 22nd I applied to the BAR (no the other BAR) for their vehicle retirement program

Oct. 27th I went to the DMV and renewed the registration. 
2 years at once was $359 OUCH! I could have sworn it was just one year. 
I needs a new smog cert. Damnit. 

Dec 2nd The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District hosts a thing called Tune In and Tune Up where you can get a free smog check and\or assistance in finding repairs if you don't pass. I called BAR and supposedly it won't hurt my application that it was registered and smogged after the application was filed. It takes something like 8 weeks to process them. 
The trick to this is getting there early enough to get the $500 coupon if needed. I am not a 6AM type guy. 

Also I stopped taking the medication that was making me so sick. Took a week to start feeling better. Pretty much over it now and on to the next illness and dysphoria. 

UPDATE  - - - - - Oct 31st
I went to get the banana Boat smogged today. It passed! 
This means that I will not need to go to the 'Tune In Tune Up' event in December. However if BAR or someone else doesn't buy it by February I will have to register it again. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Temporal Myopia

Since being diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 10 years ago, in 2007, I have read a boat load of articles on the topic. The views from Neuroscience, neuropsychology, psychiatry, cognitive science, pharmacology and psychology all have valid points to make. There are even quasi scientific hypotheses that have good points to make too. A favorite is the hunter vs farmer theory. Especially nice about that one is that it down plays the 'disorder' part of the usual descriptors. There is no attention deficit to it really. It's too much attention if anything. Focus is the issue. 

The mainstream industry classifications recognizes 3 kinds of ADHD. 
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-HI), Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PI), and Combined Presentation  (ADHD-C). I have ADHD-PI, many just use the old term ADD to label this type. Another one has 7 variations. Sometimes it's on a spectrum with genius at one end and asperger's at the other. OCD is also common in some of us. Perhaps somewhere deep in the literature is a description of  the actual processes and how they differ. Problem is; after 9 or 13 minutes I'm done with reading. My mind wanders and I get frustrated having to re read the same passages over and over. 

Internet groups have let me in on what some other people experience. Some are super smart folks that have managed to leverage their cognitive uniqueness into exceeding expectations. Many have long histories of trying fitting in as square pegs in a world of round holes. They and the other people in their lives experience much sadness and frustration. Addiction, craving neurotransmitters is also too common among adults with ADHD. For some reason I was spared that. Too much drink or drugs and I get bored or it makes for an unpleasant confusion. Not that I didn't spend a number of years in one kind of stupor or another. Unlike some who hit bottom, with all that entails, I simply got tired of it and rarely do it now. I don't know how it breaks down compared to the rest of the world but the percent of high IQs appears similar, perhaps a bit higher than the norm. 
I am in the high IQ part of the demographic is my guess. It is hard to say. By our nature we ADHDers are forced to figure our way around things other people take for granted. Workarounds and creative problem solving are a way of life for us. Often we end up with much more facility with creative problem solving than other people generally. It could be intelligence or just practice. Easy to think outside the box when the box is just another of the hundred concepts passing through. 

My understanding of what all of this means to me has been stalled. Why my life has turned out so differently than other people's have? Why was it I didn't finish school? Why did I never have children? I love children, I did great the time I worked for the YMCA. Now that I think about it; deep down I knew something was up. I just didn't know what. 

I have sometimes, over the years, loved women deeply and passionately. Just never someone I was dating at the time. Why have I never had a deep relationship or cohabitated? I eat and sleep and have emotions. Some people respect me for my intelligence. I made my living for 30 years by my wits. The work was often meaningful or stimulating in other ways. Not a lot of money or that kind of success, but that's never been very important to me. Why was that never a big goal?  Part of it is philosophical by way of reason and a nurturant nature. Some is my spiritual calling. Part of it is luck of the draw outcomes of actions I have taken or didn't. Previous posts indicate some of the role obesity has had. How does this whole ADD thing figure in? Before I was diagnosed I was always about some project or other. The sense of purpose that it lends to life and days. Not the even 10% of projects get completed before I lose focus and move on. A friend helped me start a bathroom renovation in 2001. In 2014 I got started on phase 2. One sections still doesn't have cabinet doors. I'm much better about projects I get paid for. Women aren't projects or problems to be solved. 

My approach has always been that your life partner should be your best friend so I have had women best friends that never become lovers or any of that. Or vice versa. Sometimes I or she didn't feel it, sometimes it is like there is a taboo about making that transition. But there have been what seems like a hundred variations on rejection and misunderstanding. Too many to list here. One thing is that as I get older things I sense become more intense. Music becomes an earworm much easier. Pretty much all stimuli echoes through me like an earworm. Women are such a full mind•body•spirit experience even before romantic touch happens it can be intimidating. To mitigate you turn off some senses, then the experience is not genuine and that has problems to it. 

In 1983 I went to massage school. It was a kind of calling to do the good that can be done with that form of communication. A have a drive to distribute my dna like every male of every species. The pleasure and relief of sex acts is also compelling but more often than not left me longing for a deeper connection. I had hoped to learn from massage the pieces of the puzzle that that were missing from my ability to connect and be intimate with women that I was attracted to. What I did learn was a world of joy and satisfaction from non-sexual intimacy. However in the end the work I loved burned me out because the moral and ethical boundaries that made the work possible only drove me further from the intimacy I craved.  

Add a kind of social blindness to what is described below. I have a few solid platonic besties men and women. That is all I had for many years. The attitude towards me of some people who have known me for decades remains a mystery. For some people “strict father framing” is written into their dna so a person who is different, nonconformist by choice or disposition, is reviled for wanting respect or even sympathy. So maybe it is them. I'm nice. 

I have friends that tell me about sex that they enjoy. Role playing I guess is the general term. Dressing up and pretending to be fictional or playing with fear and control like in the 50 shades book. Only in that book I am told that the women is really in control, they have safe word and all of that but the woman in control is just one variation. I don't know, I have never liked being controlled or controlling others. I know that on the regular 'not role playing' level women and men find excitement in giving each other the business to heighten anticipation. Cheating in marriage is a way get a buzz from control issues more than disloyalty or any of that, sometimes. This is all so foreign to me. I used to think it was because of my lack of the sex frequency that makes other people look for adventures in sex. The other day I stumbled onto another thing that relates back to ADD. In a mini rant on facebook that other day I posted this "It turns out that what I call my 'cognitive uniqueness' is a neurological predisposition that makes me more immune to binary thinking and opinion holding than is average. Momentary passions notwithstanding I find both of those things to be a crooked path to understanding.  . . Always being in observer mode has it's downsides. Like when strong action is required, women need to be cajoled or accentuation of conflict is required for making a story interesting, setting up a joke or going viral on social media. . ." 30 years ago I adopted the habit of foregoing opinions whenever possible because that are an intellectual dead end. More often than not. (this book). Turns out that it was more about giving in to my true nature. Failing to present myself in a compelling way to women was/is about me just assuming that they can see and feel what I feel. As I indicated earlier sensory input, natural drives and intuition can be overwhelming. Mystified when they do not see/feel it too. More than the corny old joke: "Women need a reason to have sex, Men just need a place . .". I still feel that a romance should somehow develop on it's own. It shouldn't need to be an expressed opinion that true affection is called for as much as sexual gratification. I am clearly wrong about that. The next paragraphs go into the in-the-moment processes I need to work around to make it happen. 

I caught a break last June when I stumbled onto this video. Russell Barkley, Ph.D., has written over a dozen books and more than 150 scientific articles related to the nature, assessment, and treatment of ADHD. 

I agree with some of what he is saying. It's a blind spot I never knew I had. I'm still working on understanding the outline of what it is in my instance. 
He is also thinking about it in a linear way when it is not only a spectrum but happens in a 3D space. He speaks in absolutes when everything I have seen or heard indicates that each case of ADHD is unique, especially as we age.

What a revelation this has been for me. Like the physiological blind spot, punctum caecum, where the optic nerve passes through the retina. If you don't know to look for it, it's still always there, you just never knew it was there till someone told you. I know I have read about this aspect someplace but the metaphor he uses makes all the difference. 

Side note: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - inattentive type (ADHD-IT) is the official name my type of cognitive uniqueness. The naming of this condition come from the mental heath bible called DSM-5. This product was originally developed in the 50s so that psychologists and psychiatrists could have a common standard for billing insurance. The main complaint is that it is used for more than just billing codes, it's based on symptoms, not causes. Everything in it is by default a disorder or malady.    Anyway those descriptors for what is going on with me fall short. They are imprecise and create unnecessary negative biases. Jessica McCabe that does these videos is kind of what you think of when you think of ADHD. She's hyper, but is getting some good info out there. So I choose to use ADD because it's easier to say and type. Also if you had ever met me, hyper is not a way you'd describe me. I actually prefer Cognitive Uniqueness as a way to describe it. This leaves open many possibilities and glosses over the 'disorder' aspect. Unfortunately it leads to having to explain. I ain't gots time for that mr mundane brain person. 
Intuition: What I learned a few months earlier about how intuition works flicked on the light bulb over my head. The movie this trailer is about was a revelation. It explains so much, in non-new age terms, about why my approach to doing massage was so successful for so many years. I trusted my intuition, which wasn't plugged into the big kahuna brain of the universe. Well, not on all levels anyway. I was using all that my brain had collected without passing through what we call in hypnotism 'the critical mind'. The time blindness concept explains why I had been drawn to massage and other occupations that could be done intuitively in-the-moment rather than through another process. Once I had used the various functions of graphics software enough times that I didn't have to think about what to do next I was off to the races with that 10 year career. This also probably explains why having a project to work on has always been so central to me. It is a way to add focus before I knew about the medication. Adderall doesn't add a sense of purpose so projects remain crucial. 

The process of discovery of just what this ADD thing is and how it relates to me has been a long slow process. Every new revelation extrapolates back through my personal history resetting my image of who I am. The latest batch of enlightenment has been great and also quite terrible. What Barkley was talking about has to do with living in the moment but also planning the next moment. Most people do this seamlessly. For some of us the short term memory that makes it possible to plan that next minute just doesn't get there on time. I love making plans and keeping them. 

There is another aspect of ADD called hyperfocus where you fixate on something digging more and more data out. In the Hunter vs Farmer model the reason for that it is helpful when stalking or running down prey. Or in the case of gatherers; scanning the horizon for edible plants and zeroing in. 

I struggled to memorize lines for a plays I was cast in in high school. Just like most kids. These days I am lucky to remember anything verbatim, even if I work at it. This explains why I did so much study and took all those classes then never did do much with hypnosis. If you have to you can read the suggestions off of paper once the subject is in trance but before that you have to be confident and can't stumble trying to remember what comes next. The short term future blindness Dr. Barkley talked about. I did do a hypnosis stage show and hope to again if physical therapy works out. The part where I do the induction on the volunteers just killed me. At least I now know why and can figure out a workaround.  I suppose when I started to have an interest in hypnosis when I was 12 or so it was me trying to figure out my own brain. 
I've been going to comedy open mics for a couple of years and getting mixed and unsatisfactory results. A couple of months ago I let go of the idea of memorized bits and just say what comes to mind. Results have been good overall. My mood is a limiting factor so as soon as I can figure out this 'how to proceed with my life business' in the next post, and my new doctors prescribe the ADD medication again, consistency can return.

The terrible part has to do with what got me to where I am today. It's lame to blame a cognitive brain condition for my troubles. It sounds too much like an excuse. I have always lived by my wits like I said. "If I only knew then what I know now" echos through my mind a lot lately. But I didn't know then. When I was a kid they had Ritalin I guess, but corporal punishment was more the standard approach at the time. Techniques to finesse your brain into a place where executive functions come at the right place hadn't been developed. They are not all that advanced now. But now that I know that workarounds are needed I can let my subconscious and intuition know so they can get to work on it.

There are other things about my existence that can be traced back or along sideways to this topic but that is enough for now. All this focusing has me worn out.  


Another ADHD blogger 
Why I don't stress too much about not being a reader of books
A visual representation (infographic) of what it's like.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

That Butt sitting pain thing update

For over a year I have carried this special seat cushion around with me when I leave the house. No one has asked about it. One or two folks have. The rest are polite I guess, infirmity in others is so awkward, or they just don't care. Some people are nosey so you'd think, but no. — Originally  posted this on facebook in 2014, I have upgraded the cushion and still carry it wherever I go. — I was reminded of this last night when it came up in conversation.

I have blogged about this before but in the last few months much of the mental confusion has gone and with strict reduction in carbohydrates the mental fog has lifted too. Mostly. Depression? Meh. Less would be better but things are looking up. An updated review has been brewing in my head so here it is:

I have a pain at the location of my ischial tuberosity (sitz bones) the bones that support you when you sit. It feels like the gluteal muscles have no tone and just squish out of the way. But I stand and walk fairly well. Sometimes the pain starts right away but with physical therapy to build up the surrounding muscles and the special cushion I devised I can now go an hour or so, sometimes two, per day before pain starts to get too intense to think. Pain, anti-inflammatory or other medications have no effect on it.

I have brought this to the attention of a dozen doctors and others in the healthcare industry. None have offered a diagnosis or told me I was deluding myself. One pain specialist doctor did treat me with cortisone. It had no direct effect so we can rule out inflammation. I did experience a slight involuntary twisting sensation in my legs but the pain doc didn’t respond to my questions about this. The other medicos changed the subject to my damaged spine but gave no reason that just the gluteal muscles would be affected. A couple of neurology and ortho doctors have said they might consider doing and operation on my spine to repair crushed discs and impinged nerves if I lost 100 pounds. Then suggested that losing 100 pounds alone might relieve the symptoms. Likelihood the surgery would help were about 50/50 with worsening at about 25% probability. When pressed if that relief metric would include the butt thing they changed the subject.
Changing the subject seems to be the industry wide response.

This has left me, a non science guy, to come up with a hypothesis or three to explain the butt pain with no way to prove or disprove them.

I have neuropathy associated with diabetes. This started 16 yrs ago when I first was diagnosed with diabetes. It has gotten incrementally worse over those years; the trouble I have walking sometimes is probably linked to neuropathy. A variant called proximal neuropathy can effect larger muscle groups like in the buttocks. In a deep dive into medical surveys and studies all I came up with was essentially ‘Yeah it could happen’. No known cure. One of the Neurologists did what is called a ‘Nerve function test’ on me to document my neuropathy. He only spoke Italian so I am not sure what he found. I have come to know that few top level doctors choose to work in the bad air and cultural vacuum that is the southern valley of California. The ones that accept MediCal (medicaid) here are at the bottom of that barrel.

In 2004 I contracted to drive out to and around Wasco Ca. every night/365 for 6-8 hours starting at midnight. I took this contract because that is when the dizziness, dark depression and mental confusion started. I could function alright but the kind of consistency expected in more ‘interactive with other people’ kinds of work would not have worked. I wasn’t in the best place to do the physical lifting part of the job as smartly as I might have. The pickup I bought to do this had seats that were only a little softer than a wooden bench. There is a condition called weaver's bottom. Weavers got it in the old days from years of sitting in one place on wooden chairs. Athletes like cyclists get it too. They call it Ischial Bursitis and treat it as an inflammation caused by friction from using those tiny bike seats. I have established that what I have now is not inflammation but it may have started that way. There is also a tearing of those muscles that can occur from improper lifting. If you keep your back straight to protect your spine, tearing of those inflamed/damaged butt muscles can occur since they are taking so much of the load.

Besides decades of obesity the hard seats and too many hundreds of hours behind the wheel on too hard shocks are likely the cause of the compressed discs and arthritic lower spine that is the basis of why I was approved for social security disability.          

Add to this mix the drugs I starting taking around 1996 or 97. Statins. They are a point of much controversy. Many contend that the only documented good they do is possibly in helping a few percent of men under 70 who have already survived one heart attack. Other studies that are funded by the 35 billion dollar a year industry around this one class of drug are highly speculative. On the other side about 25% of people who take statin family drugs report adverse reactions and no lessening of heart disease risk. Diabetes and the mental confusion I experienced has been linked to statins in many peer reviewed studies but no definitive tests have been developed. Most common are complaints of muscle pain and damage. Ironically this can include the heart muscles.

The intended function of statins is to reduce cholesterol in the blood. The idea being that too much increases the risk of atherosclerosis blocking blood flow to the heart and brain. The myth that dietary cholesterol has an effect on serum cholesterol has been throughly debunked. Your body makes the cholesterol it needs. This means that the amount of cholesterol in your system is what is natural for you. Nature makes mistakes but not across the board and only after the industrial revolution. Cholesterol is part of every system of your body except your bones. Every nerve fiber relies on cholesterol for it’s functioning. The human brain is 60 percent fat, over 25 percent of that is cholesterol. Cholesterol is also a component of your muscles. It helps bind them together.
The real culprit in heart disease is stress and the cortisol your body produces in response. Too much cortisol too often damages the walls of your blood vessels. Cholesterol is the main patching material brought in to repair the holes. Much in modern society causes stress but it also drives productivity. You can avoid stress and most of the risk of heart disease through lifestyle changes. The main one being not participating in the rat race. Striving for that dream or even basic survival requires that you do. While I often have had high lipid levels shown in my blood tests; other tests like ultrasound imaging show little evidence of heart disease. I’ve been off statins since 2009. I meditate and have never sought wealth. The last 3.6 years of waiting on Soc Sec Disability and the 10 years working graveyard were quite stressful so guess I’ll have to see.  

This leads me to believe, granted with no actual tests or evidence, that the degradation that statins wrought on my brain and other systems likely is a contributor to the damage to my butt muscles. Either directly or indirectly.

Not knowing the pathology for sure is one level of disappointment. Not having any treatment for what has sidelined me from life these past years is a different level of disappointment. If only it were the only one.

Also found on web, but who the hell knows? I doubt that Medicare will pay for it:
Prolotherapy is one of the promising treatment for ischial tuberosity pain. In this treatment process dextrose solution is injected at the damaged tissue areas which then allow increasing fluid flow on those particular tissues and causes inflammation on those particular areas. It increases the blood flow and repairs the damaged part by boosting the immune system on those affected cells.

Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell procedure produces mild inflammation on the affected ligaments to promote self-restoration of these tissues and reduce associated pain. Stem cells therapy promotes tissue healing by utilizing regenerative cells which obtain from patient’s own stem cells, just like natural process of our physiological system.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fat since . . . pt.2

A lot going on in my little world lately.

On June 27th I went to a hearing to determine if 3+ years after applying I qualify for the Social Security Disability (SSDI) I paid into for 40 years. The doctor giving his opinion of my medical state gave all these details of the damage to my spine. Repeating many times the phrase 'pathological morbid obesity'. He was 2000 miles away and has never met me. He concluded, after looking at my records, that 'pathological morbid obesity' and age would prevent my condition from ever getting better. In his experience age and obesity were irreversible in situations like mine. Gastric bypass was the only possible way to mitigate the 'pathological morbid obesity' to relieve my symptoms. Maybe. The judge said at the bench that my application was valid. It's all about waiting for the paperwork to process so I can afford to to be limited to laying here on my back 90%+ of the time.  

A few days later I had an appointment with yet another orthopedic doctor. When I made the appointment it was difficult to get in. His staff made me repeat back on the phone that I wasn't seeing him just for a disability report*. I was trying not to be too hopeful but a real diagnosis from a doctor able to treat me is a dream I've had for years now. A great retort to what the hearing doctor said. As usual this guy didn't address the ischial tuberosity pain I have when I sit more than an hour, sometime up to 2 during any one day. He said that even if he did operate on people as overweight as I am that it probably wouldn't help my back pain and other issues like neuropathy. 
He asked about whatever else I had tried. I had been to a pain specialist 2 summers ago. That dr gave me 3 cortisone shots with no results. New dr wanted to know if I wanted to go back. I said I did not like the pain specialist dr. New dr asked so I explained "He is like the chiropractor I used to work for. No matter what you come in for you were prescribed adjustments 3 times a week till your insurance benefits ran out." New dr explained that he and the pain dr get paid to do treatments not just doing exams like he was with me at that time*. Long pause . . . . 
Did he not think an operation would help me or did he think my insurance wouldn't cover it*?
I told him that physical therapy does help with the back pain for a while, sometimes. He wrote me a prescription for PT and sent me on my way. 
When I first got there his front desk people made me sign a paper that said something about him never prescribing narcotics. Then again in the exam room the nurse prepping me made the point that he never writes prescriptions for any medications. "Wait, they told me at the front desk . . " Pain meds are no help with the butt pain. The back pain does get bad enough that oxy or one of those is needed. Only once this year so far but mother fuck, that opiate addiction thing has nothing to do with me but at some point is going to literally leave me in a world of hurt. 
*For-profit healthcare is a big hole of suck. 

Anyway back to the grain free WOE. Internet chat groups have helped me a lot in understanding adult-adhd and statin damage. Lots of links to articles good and bad. So far, each of the major variations of low carb eating have such "True Believers" that even describing my short term, off program, experiences has gotten me booted from a couple of groups. One of the biggest groups I am still in is all about keeping the American Diabetes Association diabetes management guidelines. So far I have only been warned but am on thin ice. I don't know why I care. There are so many WOEs that have better track records than ADA has. For some people anyway. 
In the last week I have noticed some new things related to not eating grains, beans or potatoes:
  • I still use a little bit of sugar in my coffee and tea. Something those true believers would blanch at. 
  • When I was weighed at the new ortho dr's office I saw that I was down 15 lbs so far. The last time I was down to 330 was years back. 
  • Lobedo got less and less in the last couple of years. What with being depressed, older and in a prolonged state of suspense and shame. I've had beg to get by while waiting on SSDI. To my surprise a number of time during the last month I have woken up ready for action, if you get my drift. The sensory charms of women make me feel all sparkly inside again. 
  • Not a whole lot of more energy but I do find myself getting up to do busy work around the house. Who knows? the years of domicile neglect around here may start to fade away. 
  • I have switched to what I assume is a more natural appetite rather than carbohydrate induced cravings all the time. 
  • The lightheaded and dizzy feeling every morning became kind of rare a few months ago. It's back.  
  • Gout attacks that got bad for a while have calmed. Could be that much of the stress of the hearing is gone now that it's over. If I am in ketosis it is a side effect. 

Then I read about one thing that happens when ketosis kicks in, that may account for a boost in the general feeling of wellbeing, reduced brain fog and appetite. Beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB is let loose in your blood stream. It creates a euphoria, kind of like the drug ecstasy (GHB). Evidently without the bad side effects. 

Keto evidently has some possible bad side effects but the good may outweigh them or not be relevant to me. One reason I was considering the blood sugar diet. It's less intense that way. I had this quack doctor years ago that wanted me to take the diet drug fen-phen after it was found to be dangerous but before it was banned. He said the odds of a fatal side effect from fen-phen were 1 in 15,000. The risks of suffering and/or death from obesity were just a matter of when. 

The clear headedness is a double edged sword. I think my addiction to carbs started at a such a young age and has been worse for me than other people because of ADHD. A way of self medicating to buffer the extra noise in my head. Euphoria and energy lately but also overlapping stimuli that I remember experiencing at other times in my life. Before I was diagnosed with adhd. If I get enough sleep and then caffeine I get a bit of the focus I was getting when I was prescribed Adderall. That is why I am able to get back to doing this blog. On the other hand I am more easily distracted than I was. You get CRS at a certain age too. 

Just as if I wasn't coming up with enough conflicting articles and studies the brain fog could also be type 3 diabetes. They are using low carb on alzheimer's people with good results. 

As I ended with in the last instalment I am hopeful that I won't have to use one of the methods that require a lot of tracking of this and that. Not only am I not predisposed to that kind of thing I do have faith in the principle that human bodies are self correcting. Removing the irritant of excess carbohydrates and the bad stuff in modern grain hybrids may be the key to letting my body heal itself. 

I have also been watching many videos on YouTube on these topics. One of the many medical doctor experts said some things that made no sense. She said the she tells her patients not to eat anything that grows underground. They are all full of carbs like potatoes. So no carrots or onions. She's just plain old wrong about that. She also said one thing that made a lot of sense. She drew an analogy between carbohydrate sensitivity and sensitivity to the sun. Due to factors beyond your control like heredity. Similar to the way redheads have to avoid the sun as much as possible. Some people can work up to hours of exposure. Still other darker complected people can tolerate lots of sun by comparison. It's the same with carbs and grains. You have to find the level of exposure that works best for you. 

The proof will be if I survive this new WOE and continue to lose weight and feel well.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fat since I was a Kid

The last time I saw 190 lbs. in 1973
I finally figured it out.
Why I’m so fat.
Why I’ve always been so fat.
I think I have, 
I need to give it more time but so far it's looking good.

The the first thing is that after I stopped eating grains; hunger and brain fog virtually went away. Blood sugar readings haven't been this low in years. That was before I managed to purge all of the bread, pasta, potatoes, beans etc. from my cupboards. I've lost 10 lbs already and the only measuring of food I've done was experimenting with grain free bread recipes. 

I have tried numerous diets, programs and ways of eating (WOE)s since I was 8 years old. I have never looked seriously at WOEs like Atkins, Keto and Paleo because something about them never seemed right. I thought self righteous vegetarians could be tiresome, some of those keto-folks, oy.   
Around 2012 I came across the book "The End of Diabetesby: Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It was a too harsh regime WOE for me to try but the idea of carbohydrates being the bad guy got stored in the back of my brain. 
It was the year before that, in 2011, when I read "Wheat Belly" by Dr William Davis. My extended family mom Sylvia was shocked by the idea but I tried cutting out all gluten anyway. 30 years of loose stools and leakage just stopped. About a year or so ago the longing for bread and cake got to me and I started eating wheat again. Bowel trouble came back too but intermittently. 

I read little more on low carb dieting over the years. The old Weight Watchers (see below) was low carb & low fat. About a year ago, almost instinctively, I started using different kinds of squash in place of potatoes and/or pasta in many dishes. When I tested; my sugars didn't spike. You want a reading between 99-130, mine was over 300 sometimes.
Then I read that there are ways to do low carb that lead to weight loss too. I was fed up with the problems of using insulin, besides the hassle of needles and blood sugar finger stick tests. 

I had done and liked Dr Michael Mosley's 5:2 fasting diet. His latest is based on the same science but geared to blood sugarThen I saw the documentary “What’s With Wheat?” on Netflix. I was intrigued but skeptical, much like I was with gluten. Decided I had give it a go myself to see. I inched toward carb intake reduction over a couple of months. Gout attacks became quite frequent because of the dietary changes and increased stress in other areas of my life; but there was no turning back. 

A week or so after the last slice of french and most other grain products left the house I started to notice a change. Was I going into Ketosis or just detoxing from grain? The brain fog was gone for whole days at a time. This last week my vocabulary has folded back out to where it used to be. My mind and imagination is filled with color and flashes from times past and present. Like areas were getting blood for the first time in years. Then it wouldn’t slow down. My brain keeps loading in data and processing the patterns. Oh yeah, that is how my brain used to work. ADHD. Too much neural traffic? Hope not. 

Oh shit.
I’ve been eating way too many carbs (and everything else) my whole fricken life to dampen the effects of the ADHD. Self medicating. Fuck!

It's easy to see a progression isn't it? As kid too much stimuli was unpleasant. I was a kid and couldn't express it, parents or teachers may have felt something was not right but the resources were not available in my town in the early 60s. So I found eating made it feel better. The result was obesity and the psychological baggage that brings with it. Low self esteem + adhd + underdeveloped social skills compounded the psychological damage. More obesity. This lead to undiagnosed or treated sleep apnea by the early 80s. Sleep and oxygen deprivation increased the side effects of adhd and lethargy. So more obesity. In the 90s statins became available to treat high cholesterol. This medication started to damage my musclesbrain and possibly lead to diabetes

Wait a minute, let me track back on some of this.

The carbohydrate paradox. Hunger, leads to carbs, leads to insulin, which makes more hunger so more carbs so more . . 
I've been fighting 2 addictions plus the psychological mishegas. Just as I have said all along, beyond my control. Not a moral failing. Damnit!
So far it's just early results. I know better than to count on it yet. What I have done so far is just cutting out grains not the Keto or Paleo thing, as such. Where besides very low carb intake you also increase fat to 70% of calories. I have always eaten too much fat, in the form of dairy products mostly. Fried food (I literally spent my childhood in a fast food place). My hunger is so much less lately that I haven't been eating cheese as much either. No fried food yet. I have fish in the freezer and grain free breading recipe I should try. Many grain free recipes call for lots of eggs and oil. One bread recipe calls for a cup of nut butter. Another one calls for 8 eggs in one loaf of bread. Once I am settled into the current WOE I'll investigate those in more detail. Man-o-man there are lots of variations.  

More backstory:

They are mostly passive aggressive about it my presence these days but many, especially svelte people, still hang onto the notion that obesity is a moral failing. We are modern day lepers. "If you would just eat less and exercise more you undisciplined scum of the earth Idiot"! These people fall into types. People because of metabolism or whatever just naturally eat less and move more. People that aren't hard chargers at the gym and eat whatever they want and maintain a normal weight. People that have OCD about diet and exercise and due to the nature of OCD maintain a dim view of people who do not share their obsession. Then there is a large contingent of self haters that go from one diet to another, kind of aimlessly, chasing a societal norm for reasons usually shame based (not usually me, but this is where it starts to get complicated). Lots of people watch their weight because they are conscientious people and don't harbor ill will or have harsh judgements towards the obese. 
Even so, kissing a fat person is not the first choice for most people. Not even a face as pretty and plump as mine. 

I don't think it is as common as it was at one time but I know personally 7 people who have had versions of gastric bypass. I walked one friend through the surgical process as a support person. 2 of the people kept the weight off long term. My own sister is a great success story. All traded the health and appearance benefits for a way of eating (WOE) enforced by gastric pain and distress of different kinds. I don't know all the particulars.

My mother was very loving but hid some big neurosis behind a charming bigger than life personality. She was my biggest fan. This came with a subtext of "Too bad no one will ever love you because you're fat" (you don't ever get over shit like that). Overweight for her was a non-starter. In the 50s diet pills (speed) were available from many doctors by prescription. This worked for her so well that when my older sister started putting on pounds at puberty mom made her take Black Beauties too. 

I was 8 when she took me to my first diet doctor. I don't know if any of the handfuls of pills he had me taking were amphetamines. Having to eat strange weird tasting food in odd amounts every 6 hours did not leave me enchanted. The rectal exam in the darkened exam room has stuck with me. Or was it the scared angry vibe coming off the nurse who was there to witness that nothing strange happened?

To get me interested in exercise dad took me for golf lessons on Saturday mornings for a while. Yep, ya really burn up the calories hitting a bucket of balls on the driving range. The pro never did take us for a round of golf. The local YMCA had a gym and various classes. I liked the olympic sized trampoline decades before they had home versions. And the giant pool with the overflow edge. It didn't work. I am still not a fan of physical activity. Me + ADHD + any games or exercise does not add up to something I look forward to. I recently had a gym membership that I did use for 3 or 4 years. The thing of changing machines and routines every few minutes then taking a swim then steam did work for me. 10 minutes of stationary bike is all the cardio I could handle before crushing boredom set in. That may be more than a person needs anyway. 
The Truth About Exercise .

Weight Watchers had a special teen group that met to trade stories of doing the diet from the teen perspective. I think I was around 16. Despite the lameness of the meetings it did work. The constant measuring, tracking and cans of tuna with only mustard for lunch finally got to me and I let it go. The Weight Watchers WOE is not protein based the way it was then. I tried going to a meeting a few years ago. Just like when I was a teen I don't really have peers. There doesn't seem to be other people like me in this part of the world so sharing stories about making and eating food for and with spouses and children was useless to me. There was a creepiness to it also. 

The strangest one. I think I have posted about it before. Daily injections in a doctor's office of some hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. It was supposed to mobilize your fat like it would if your body needed energy to form a whole new human inside you. Personally I think it was the 500 calories per day of food intake that caused the weight loss. I was young and had a physical job transporting people to medical appointments that made it too stressful after a while. Even though I was young and stupid my 19 year old self did finally figure out the scam. Maybe that was when I stopped trusting doctors. 
Being blinded by wishful thinking has not been exclusive to my teens however. That one ended early because of an indescribable pain just below my sternum. The next year I found out that pain was pancreatitis

I have let go of the dieting idea for years at a time. 5 years or so ago my collection of medical woes got to the point that I did diet to get me from around 356 to under 300. That too is documented here I think. The goal that time, more than anything else, was specifically to deal with my sleep apnea. As per usual my healthcare providers gave spotty help and advice. Even with the CPAP strapped to my face every night I was having chronic fatigue and brain fog. The weight loss didn't help. All the info online (I am also dubious of .gov and .edu but good info is out there if you are willing to take the time to find it) sources said that for every 10 or 20 pounds you lose you need a sleep test so they can adjust the CPAP settings. Even after losing over 50 pounds my doctor refused. Demoralized I lost interest in weight loss. In 2014 I was close to death when a different sleep apnea dr ordered a new sleep study and prescribed a BiPap machine with a much more effective mask setup. Quality of life quintupled immediately. 

After a week in the hospital and nearly dying in 2001 I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was well controlled with oral meds till 2014. It is difficult to recall all of the trouble I've had with pain, muscle damage, brain fog, weird goings on in my gut and the side effects of medication over the last 10-15 years. The thing of being dizzy and lightheaded the first 6 hours of the day and after meals ruled my life for 12 years. Again the medical community had no diagnosis of treatment for this. By the first of this year I was down to 3 oral meds for high blood pressure, gout etc. and it came down to controlling my blood sugar by injecting more and more insulin. 100u of long acting in the morning and up to 30u of short acting 15 minutes before meals with a blood sugar stick test 2 hours after each meal. (I've been diligent but all the precise timing and tracking is no more pleasant than when I was 16) The POS endocrinology doctor I see said with those high doses he might switch me to a twice a day super strength insulin. This is after he tried to get me to take a med that would have killed me. Fortunately I looked it up and told him no. "Why didn't you tell me you had pancreatitis?" "For one thing you didn't ask and my medical records are right there in your hand". 
This ended up longer than I had intended but I want to make an addendum. Since at least 1975 I have been what is called in some spiritual traditions a "Seeker". Exploring without assumptions what lies beyond words and forms but also what practices and approaches to living in the world are harmonious and natural. This means I have done daily meditation (adhd notwithstanding) in many forms for most if that time. Investigated and tried many things. The 10 years I did massage for my living was a big part of that seeking. I have studied hypnosis these many years also and have found an approach to using trance that relies on the self healing nature of the human body and mind. My search for a way to lose weight and heal has kept an eye on the possibility of using intrinsic self healing. This new WOE may lead there. 
More in the next installment