It's hard to see, but I've got a lot of moles on my arms. In fact, I've noticed many more this summer. Not good. An increase in moles is a possible symptom of skin cancer. Weak. I better get them checked out soon.
I have a big keloid scar on my right thigh from a hiking accident in Alaska around July 4, 1995. It's hard to believe it's been 14 years, but I guess I'm gettin' old.
I put snail cream on it nearly every day and it's helped reduce the size and sensitivity, but it still looks pretty bad. I have other keloids from that same accident. My mom thinks I get keloids due to a small amount of Cherokee blood in my lineage.
Yesterday I went hiking up Hurricane Mountain and down and up Nun-da-Ga-O Ridge with the Hiking Mates from Meetup.com for a total of 10 miles. I knew a couple of people in the group, but the rest were new which is good. The weather was fantastic and so were the views.
It was a little steep going up Hurricane, but nothing too difficult. The summit is flat with a closed off firetower. You have a 360 view of the Adirondacks and I got some great shots of the changing leaf colors.
We went back down and then up Nun-da-Ga-O Ridge. It also has some nice views, but the trail isn't very wide. Going down was a little hairy because it was steep with loose soil so footing was sketchy. My knees were also pretty sore since I haven't been that active recently. I'm ok now, but I probably should get them checked out since I'm too young to hobble like an old man.
One of the hikers had a bad ass mapping GPS unit, the Garmin 60CSx, with her. It records all sorts of cool stuff so I'm going to order it. It'll track your route, compute your total mileage, elevation gain, pace, etc. It takes AA batteries which is great because then you can carry spares with you. If you get special software, you can download your track and post it. That would be a great way to share the hike with others.
I got my DVD recorder hooked up to my antenna so I can watch TV in my home theater. Here is Miami at SD in 10 feet of 1080p comin' atcha.
Most of the channels come in, but FOX craps out a little bit every now and then. I think that problem will go away if I put an antenna on the roof. That's on my to-do list, but I've got many things ahead of it.
I've got a pretty sweet setup in the basement goin' on so I can't complain about anything.
Shoot. My weight is staying down, but my body fat percentage shot up. It could be because it's cold out and humidity does change the reading, but it could also be the crap I've been eating this week. Not cool.
I need to find a sport to do during the week. I'm going on 10 mile hike today so that should help, but I definitely need to get more active.
I ordered a glass and metal A/V component stand from Best Buy. It came yesterday and I set it up tonight after dinner.
Firstly, I had to wrangle the 92 lb box down my narrow basement stairs from the garage. It nearly fell and I probably did my back harm, but I got it into the finished portion. It took me over an hour to put it together and to get it into place. It needs to sit under the window for optimal reception. If I ever get an antenna on the roof, I can move this unit into the corner so that it's less intrusive.
The powered antenna is on the top shelf, the DVD-recorder with tuner is on the next shelf, then my PS3 and then my receiver is on the floor because the center speaker wire isn't long enough to move it back. I'm going to get a new A/V receiver so I'll take better care of the cords and wires then.
I think it looks better than before and I probably sweated off a few pounds putting it together. Those who know me know that I sweat a lot when I concentrate. It seems counter-productive, but there isn't anything I can do about it.
I'll test it out tomorrow night to make sure everything is still working right.
Today's picture is from the parking garage next to my allergist's office. I went there this afternoon for a follow up appointment after I finished my antibiotics course. The doctor looked up my nose and couldn't find any polyps. Sweet.
I now know that my blood pressure is a respectable 115/68. I haven't had a checkup in years so I probably should find a primary care physician. I've been too lazy up til this point.
Today's picture is of tonight's dinner: shredded Asian beef on cabbage from this recipe. I like using my crockpot on football day because it's less work. However, this meal was pretty disappointing. It smelled good, but the meat was a little bland and the cabbage was even worse. I would serve it over rice, but I'm not going to bother making it again because I think I can do better.
I do seem to have bad luck with food that smells really good, but doesn't taste like much of anything.
The weather is great so I went for a bike ride this morning. I had planned to bike just five or six miles, but I got "lost" in some subdivisions and ended up biking closer to ten miles. No big deal since I need the exercise. I should get a GPS unit that can map out where I've been so that I can see where exactly I went. I navigated using the sun to get home so score one for evolution.
There are some really nice houses within a few miles of my place. My place is alright, but these are a lot nicer. They're too close to each other for my tastes though.
I definitely want to get some real bike shoes so that starting from a dead stop doesn't take 90% of my brain capacity. I'll add those to my list.
I'll admit I'm a copycat. A friend is doing Project 365 so I thought I would too. It'll help me achieve my goal of at least one blog post per day.
Day 1 contains goodies from Lowe's. From left to right: multipurpose snips, work gloves, an assortment of pliers, 1/4" wire mesh, a crowbar and an 18" adjustable pipe wrench.
I just put the pipe wrench to good use in "fixing" my sink as I needed the wrench to undo what I did yesterday. The sink with the garbage disposal is draining very slowly and I thought the pipes were clogged. Nope. It's the disposal. I've got some Liquid Plum'r in there right now so hopefully that'll do the trick.
I only took four pictures at last week's US Open men's semifinals, but that's more because the matches were interesting than I was lazy.
I saw the Federer-Djokavic match, but didn't take any pictures.
Here is a view from my seat. I'm in the second row from the top, but I still have a pretty good view of the court. This picture was taken before Nadal's match with del Potro which explains the yellow shirts.
Nadal's match with del Potro is about ready to get started. Nadal seemed to have a lot of energy in the beginning, but didn't put up much of fight, losing 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Jack Nicholson is getting help lighting his cigarette from security and some lady.
I was killing time between matches on this patio out of the sun which happens to be on the suite level. Jack came out for a smoke and the twenty of us chilling there got a brush with celebrity.
His cigarette is lit and he's puffin' away.
The security dude kept the onlookers away. I can respect that attitude because Jack is there to enjoy some high quality tennis, not to talk to knuckleheads.
The pest remover came over this morning and told me that the squirrel in the trap is dead. I guess he had gotten into some of the D-con we put up there before realizing they were squirrels and not mice. Weak.
I saw another squirrel up in the ceiling this morning so we reset the trap. Hopefully she didn't eat the D-con, but she probably did because squirrels will eat just about anything.
I really don't want any of them to die in the ceiling. Fortunately the D-con forces them to seek out water.
I was out of town last weekend so it's been two weeks since I've updated on my fitness. As you can see from the graph, I made a large improvement in body fat percentage with just a small weight penalty. It's not shown, but my visceral fat dropped from "10" to "9" (arb. units). Sweet since I lost two pounds of fat.
I haven't been that active this past month thanks to my antibiotics course and the weather, but that should change soon. I've got my bikes back in working order and I have a powerful bike light so that I can ride at night with at least a non-zero probability that I won't get hit.
I think I have been eating much better though. I don't eat nearly as much and I hardly eat crap at all.
I'm still nowhere near my fitness goal, but I'm getting there.
I asked my cousin about the FBI requirements for their physical fitness test (PFT). According to him, you should be able to do 45 situps in a minute, 50 pushups with continuous motion, run 300 m in 46 s and run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes. Each test has just five minutes in between so it's also a test of endurance. I used to run sprints in high school so I think I can handle the 300 m dash though it's been a while. 45 situps is less than one per second which is doable. I would need to get beefier to do the pushups and would definitely need to improve my cardiovascular fitness to complete the 1.5 mile test. Of course, a lot of people can run 2 miles in 11 minutes, but that's not the point. The point is to be able to do all of the above.
One consequence of owning a house is you need to take care of it. If the toilet backs up, it's your problem not your landlord's. Fine, I accept that because I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Anyhow, I have a mouse problem in my hot tub room. At least, I thought it was just a mouse problem. I contacted my real estate agent for a pest remover. She gave me the name of a guy from the home inspection service I used that she had recommended. I was surprised that they did pest removal too. It turns out that he moonlights as a pest remover. He's licensed, but it's not his full time job. That should have clued me in, but I thought I'd give him a chance because I'm a nice guy like that. I tend to believe that everyone will give his best. I guess I'm a slow learner.
We agreed to meet at 5:30, but it turns out he showed up at 4:30. I don't know why he got there early or what he did while waiting for me, but I'm not that thrilled that he showed up an hour early. He placed some mouse traps baited with peanut butter and then we went to look in the hot tub room. He placed more traps and then I mentioned that I could see the jerks in the ceiling through some holes they had chewed and that they didn't look like mice. I raised the possibility that they might be squirrels since mice usually stay low and out of your way. He immediately agreed and told me he would have to go home to get his squirrel trap. Frickin' great. I told him over the phone that the jerks were in the ceiling.
On his way out to his car, he brought up the subject of my lawn. I know it sucks, but I don't care. I told him I take care of it myself and he mentioned that his son could mow it for $60 every two weeks. Wait...what? I told him that I wasn't interested in anyone cutting my grass and he gave me a pitch another few times until I walked away.
We also decided to push some pieces of D-con into the ceiling (before I raised the possibility of squirrels) and he asked if I had a knife. I went back into the house to get one and heard him say, "Here's one." I had to rush over to stop him from cutting poison with my bread knife on a cutting board. I told him he was nuts to do that and he picked up another cutting board. Christ on a stick. What part of "don't cut poison in my kitchen" is unclear?
What really cheeses me off about this whole situation is it seems like he's more interested in finding or generating more work than the job at hand. I can understand that he needs to feed his family, but I'm not as stupid as I look. I should've not set something up once he said that pest removal is his night job. Just about everyone my real estate agent has recommended has been a dud. The notable exception is the sewer people she recommended. Those guys did a great and professional job. The mortgage broker she recommended was a dumbass and hasn't returned my messages.
I also asked her for a general contractor's information. She recommended someone and I said I needed to evaluate exactly what I wanted done since I'll try to do as much of the demolition myself since it's pretty easy. She wrote back asking if I contacted him. When I said I was still thinking she said she'd give him my number so he can call me. Heh. Good luck since I changed my number. I don't like pushy people and her attitude seems to suggest that she's going to get a cut.
I've learned my lesson and contacted some coworkers and friends for recommendations. I need to get information from people I trust. It sucks that I need to be suspicious since that's not really in my nature, but I don't want to get ripped off. Fixing my hot tub room and insulating it could be a pretty big job so I want to make sure it's done right the first time.
I checked the squirrel trap after work this afternoon and the sunflower seeds (the bait) were gone, but no squirrels. I guess some other dudes got to them first. I put more seeds in so we'll see.
My home theater setup is pretty sweet, but the projector doesn't have a TV tuner. Every TV these days has a tuner built in so you can't buy external ones anymore. I could get a TiVo, but they're expensive and require a subscription. My friend has a DVD recorder from Toshiba that has a TV tuner and 1080 p output via HDMI. I borrowed it over the weekend and tried it out tonight in combination with my powered antenna.
It's pretty damn sweet and I get nearly every channel that I get upstairs. FOX is weaker, but I'm going to try to move the antenna closer to the window. I get CBS without breaking a sweat and they have the Superbowl this season so I'm good to go there. I'm going to order up my own unit. I'm definitely going to try it out with football this weekend. Even if FOX doesn't come in perfectly, I can still watch football on CBS during the day and I can catch the late game on NBC.
It's good that there are relatively low cost solutions to my problems. My goal is to have the basement pimped out by the Superbowl so that I can have some people over.
Yesterday, I drove down to Queens to catch the two men's semifinal matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium. I saw Nadal pack it in against del Potro and I saw Federer "squeak" by Djokavic. Both matches were over after just three sets, but Djokavic was much closer to Federer than Nadal was to del Potro.
I sat in the second row from the top, but still had a good view of the court. The weather held and I even got a sunburn. Parking was easy and, at $18, was not overly burdensome. It was definitely a cool experience that I want to repeat.
A lot of celebrities were there including Jack Nicholson. I was killing time outside between matches when he came out for a smoke with a lady friend and a security dude. He passed by me within about 8 feet. I didn't say anything to him, but I did take a couple of pictures that I'll upload later. I think it's the closest I've ever been to a celebrity. A couple of people tried to talk to him, but the security dude chased them away.
It's pretty sad, but I really look forward to payday. Of course, all my money is spoken for, but it's still nice to see my bank account increase for at least a little bit. Heh. I am a greedy bastard for sure.
Most of you know that I'm always sayin' that I'm going to get my fat ass in shape. Well, this time I really mean it. I found a pretty cool site at military.com. I don't know if I'll ever get a six pack, but I'm determined to lose the gut. I'm going to follow their advice by eating better. They recommend drinking a lot of water in the morning to jump start the metabolism. Even if that doesn't help, I don't see how it'll hurt. I already eat breakfast every morning, but perhaps I should start mixin' up some protein shakes for my afternoon snack instead of cheese. I definitely need to eat more fruits and vegetables.
I am thinking about becoming a reserve police officer or possibly joining the FBI since I can do that in any town (job portability can never be overrated). I don't worry about the brains part, but I would need to pass a fitness test. You need to do a certain amount of pushups, a certain number of situps in a minute, run 300 m in a certain time and run 1.5 miles in a certain time. I'm not sure what those numbers are, but I couldn't do more than 20 situps after work nor could I do more than about 10 pushups. Pretty sad, but at least now I've got a goal.
If I want to be a special agent for the FBI, then I need to join before I turn 37. That's 3.5 years away. Weak.
The site gets major props for specifically stating there is no such thing as spot reduction in their six pack article.
When I woke up this morning, my nose was actually free and clear for the first time in a long while. I guess the antibiotics have done their thing. My forehead still feels a little clogged though, but maybe that will take longer.
Most people today at work were talking about the news that the company that owns GLOBALFOUNDRIES, ATIC, is going to shell out $4B to buy Chartered Semiconductor. GF had just announced its second customer a few weeks ago and will soon have about 150 more once the deal closes later this year. It's a great pickup since Chartered has a lot of solid assets.
It's nice to finally work for a company that makes smart decisions rather than buying shitty companies for no reason.
Since I had the day off today, I thought I'd make something more complicated than usual. Breakfast was freshly squeezed orange juice, organic bacon and french toast with strawberries and syrup.
I got the bacon from the meat sellers at the Delmar farmer's market. I got one pound which ended up being just six slices. They were cut almost as thick as a ham steak, but tasted great. Not cheap, but I don't eat bacon that often so it's not a big deal.
I used whole wheat bread for the french toast and I think that might've been a mistake as it doesn't absorb the egg mixture as easily.
I have no idea why the picture shows some white stuff.
Lunch was some leftover alfredo stuff, but dinner was barbecued organic hot dogs, curly fries, fruit salad and baked beans. I got the hot dogs from the same seller at the farmer's market. They're beef in sheep's casing and look kind of strange because they aren't hot dog-colored. They tasted good though so I'm not complaining. Actually, I put on enough Coleman's mustard, the kind where you mix the mustard powder with water, that I didn't taste much else.
I had some raspberry-chocolate fudge from the farmer's market for dessert.
It wasn't quite a real barbecue, but it was close enough for me.
Since I put my bike back together, the weather is nice and I need the exercise, I went for a 5.5 mile bike ride around my neighborhood. I tooled around the townhouse subdivision to get everything straightened out and then hit the road. My knees are a little sore, but I did alright. I need to get some real bike shoes and bike pedals since it's hard to get my feet on and off my pedals when I have to stop.
People around here aren't really used to bike riders because they either honked at me or passed by me within just inches of space. Not cool.
I did find an awesome park about two miles away. It has eight tennis courts with lights, non-regulation basketball courts with lights, a pool, a bunch of baseball fields, a bunch of non-regulation soccer fields, volleyball courts and pavilions. Sweet. I wish I had found it sooner. It would be a great place to have a big ol' barbecue since they have grills next to the pavilions. Maybe I should see if my group wants to meet there before it gets too cold.
I should've put everything back together before filling out my claim form because I discovered that my nice LED bike light is missing. Gah. The money I'll get from my other missing and damaged stuff should cover it, but it's still pretty annoying.
At least my bikes are back in working order. I need to put air in the tires, but I'll do that before I go for a ride. Maybe I should go for one today to get the lead out.
I made a promise to try a new recipe every week. I felt like cooking something in my crockpot because it's easy and usually makes a lot of leftovers. I searched for interesting crockpot recipes and came upon this one for chicken alfredo. I didn't use chicken thighs, but that shouldn't matter.
It came out just ok. The real problem can be seen from the picture. What color is the pasta? It's not white which means the alfredo sauce broke down during the long cooking. I think the oil separated out. The sauce tasted just a little strange. It's hard to describe. I think it's because I was expecting more of an alfredo taste than what I got. At least I got a healthy amount of vegetables with the meal.
This recipe is not a keeper. I'm on the lookout for good crockpot recipes. When winter rolls around, I think I'll try to find a crockpot chili recipe.
I just saw this blog entry that states the average home price in Detroit is less than $13k. Why aren't speculators buying up these properties? For the amount I shelled out at closing here, I could've bought three average houses in Detroit. You could rent the houses out for $250/month and probably still turn a profit.
Crud. My inactivity has really paid off with a decrease in weight and an increase in body fat percentage. That indicates that I'm losing muscle mass and that's not good. I care more about the fat content than the weight. I need to get active again, but I may need to wait until I finish my antibiotics course. I should at least resume my lunchtime walks at work. Walking may not sound like much, but it's great exercise. In fact, I think it's sufficient for most people trying to lose weight.
The wall separating the finished and unfinished portions of my basement is not load bearing. I could remove it to make room for a pool table downstairs. It would get rid of most of my storage shelves, but I have more than enough room elsewhere in the basement, let alone the house.
Hmm...an interesting thought. I suppose I should make some measurements and think about what sort of flooring I should put down.
My newfound fiscal irresponsibility is going to lead to a lot of fun. I'm determined to enjoy my time as much as possible. If that means being buried under a mountain of debt, no problem. You can't take it with you eh?
I've managed to pass a couple of hours by reading a book and just ate a burger. Hopefully it'll stay put in my stomach.
I wouldn't mind living in another country for a couple of years. It would be cool to live in Europe. GLOBALFOUNDRIES has a fab in Dresden, Germany. I'm not sure how I could get there though since they don't seem to have assignee programs anymore.
I'm trying to avoid logging on to Facebook because it's a massive time suck. So far I've lasted a day. It's tough, but it'll be good for me.
I think that I would be happier here if I exercised more regularly. I need to find some leagues. There is a tennis center not too far from here so maybe I should join up. It's indoors so I'd have something to do during the winter. With my new plan of fiscal irresponsibility, I can afford the membership.
I'll start cooking more interesting stuff and taking pictures. I don't want my blog to turn into a journal of despair. I used to have a goal of trying one new recipe every week. I think I'll try to get back to that.
I'm not well enough to concentrate at work, but maybe I'm ok to get my bikes back into working order. I'd like to go for a bike ride this weekend. I need to get the lead out.
It can be hard moving forward when you keep reliving past mistakes. That might be one reason why I don't sleep well at night.
I woke up in the middle of the night and was a turtle's head away from crappin' my pants. I also felt like puking too, but fortunately held it off. I went back to sleep and woke up with my alarm. I still felt sick so I e-mailed my boss to tell him I likely won't be in at all today. I slept another three hours and I still feel sick. I think it's due to the side effects of the antibiotics I'm taking. One big one is nausea and the other is diarrhea mainly because the antibiotics kill off all bacteria, good and bad. Fun fun fun. I still have another thirteen days to go. I'm supposed to go to the US Open next weekend to watch men's semifinal matches. I'll knock on a lot of wood to be healthy for that. Super weak. I've been eating yogurt with granola every day to build up the probiotics.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do today. I'm definitely sick, but not so sick that I can sleep for 48 hours. I've got some books I can read, a Blu-ray movie and there is always the internet. I can price out components for a gaming/multimedia computer.
I'm thinking of getting a natural latex mattress. They're a bit more expensive than regular mattresses, but I really like my latex pillow. Does anyone out there have experience with these kinds of mattresses? I'll try to find a store around here that carries them so that I can try them out.
I think some weekend I should paint my spare room so that'll be ready when I upgrade my bed. It's currently yellow which is a pretty nasty color, but I'm not sure what to paint it. I guess I'll have to ask some women because guys don't know anything about that. Maybe a light color would work. If I feel a little better today, I can steam off the small amount of wallpaper that is around the window.
Less than a week til the first football game. Sweet.
Crud. It looks like a great day out and I think the weather will be good for the long weekend as well. Damn these antibiotics. I had two hiking options for tomorrow and a day trip to Rhode Island, but I had to turn them all down because I wasn't sure how I'd feel. You definitely don't want to be out hiking if you've got the dookers.
I've decided I'm going to let myself go further into debt to better enjoy life. I already bought a house so I didn't need to worry about protecting my finances. I need to make sure that I don't dig too deep of a hole, but I don't want to sit at home or whatever just to save money. I need a new bed and I'd like to put together a gaming/multimedia computer to mate up with my bad ass home theater. I'd also like to get a work truck, but that requires some cash. I guess I'll become a revolver rather than a transactor.
The moving company is going to cut me a check for $175 for damages suffered. That's exactly what I asked for so I guess I should be satisfied.
My left nostril was bleeding tonight. I'm not sure why, but it was more like bloody snot than just blood. I hope that means some funk is leaving my sinuses.
I left work a little early today because I had a headache. Maybe it was the bloody snot working its way out.
My 401k contribution hasn't gone through. It usually takes just a few days, but it's already been a week since I got paid. Weak.
My first mortgage payment went through. Out of the money I shelled out, only 13% went towards the principal. Weak. A good fraction goes towards escrow to pay next year's tax bill and for primary mortgage insurance because I didn't put 20% down.
I'm paying about $1k/month more than I would if I were renting. That doesn't really sound like a good deal from a financial perspective, but I like the feeling of home ownership. The psychological boost is worth more than than the money lost.