Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of the Year

Day 365:
Weight = 197.6 lbs (+1.0 lbs)

Body fat = 28.1 % (+0.1 %)

Visceral fat = 10 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1882 kCal (+5 kCal)

Well, this six month challenge is in the books. I wish I was more successful, but holiday snacking set me back a little. However, I think I've laid the ground work to get ripped. I've got a trampoline for morning bouncing, I'm hittin' the track every Sunday and I'm going to start hiking a lot more. I'll play frisbee on Sunday afternoons once football season is over. I got a yoga DVD for Christmas that should help out my back and core muscles. A good friend of mine is moving up here and her boyfriend is a martial arts expert. I'm hoping he can point out some gyms that offer classes that'll help.

I think I've got the will to get into shape so that's definitely a great start.

I'll only post beefcake pictures the last Sunday of every month since I'm on to a different challenge.

Vacation Beard

I haven't shaved since the middle of December so I've got a good vacation/Jesus beard going. I'm not sure what to do with it though. It is still in the itchy phase, but I don't really feel like shaving it off. I think I'll let it grow out some more to at least get to mountain man status. I've got a mullet going on too because my hair is all one length since I haven't cut it since I last shaved it.

When it comes time to clean up, I'll shave the beard off/down, but I'm not sure if I'll shave my head or not. I suppose I should leave it on since I've still got it. I'm not really down with paying for haircuts though. Hmmm...

Christmas vacation in Portland, OR

I've spent every Christmas in Portland since I've been born and this year was no exception. The big change is that the Portland was in the midst of a big ass snowstorm when I was supposed to fly up from San Jose. My first flight was canceled and then my second so I decided to drive up. It took me two days since it's more than 700 miles. I spent the night on the way up in Gold Beach, OR and saw some elk in the parking lot the next morning. Yeah, I know the pictures suck, but I was in a hurry to take them before they bugged out.

Portland almost never gets snow that sticks around, but they were "lucky" to have snow for nearly two weeks. Below are some pictures of my parent's place. You can see there is a serious amount of snow.

Toby is always a funny dog and likes to look out the front window.

My brother and I built a snow fort on Christmas Day since we could. Portland's recycling bins make great molds for snow bricks. It started to warm up before we finished, but I think it looks pretty good.

On the way from Portland to Eureka on Tuesday, I saw a mountain lion run across the road about a quarter mile in front of my car near Klamath. The sucker was moving fast and looked to be pretty beefcake.

Here are a couple of pictures of the ocean near Klamath. It was pretty sunny out when I drove back.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Six Month Challenge

For those in the know, I participate in six month challenges. Every six months I pick an area of my life that I'd like to improve and go at it. All of 2008 was spent trying to get into shape. While I didn't exactly succeed, I think I've laid the foundation and the good habits are there. That means I'll end the beefcake challenge. I'll still try to get beefcake, but won't document it as much. I know some of you love the shirtless photos. Heh. Never fear because I'll take them once a month just to help me keep track, but I've got a new challenge. It doesn't have a catchy name yet, but I think it'll be the whole food challenge. I got The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan for Christmas this year and I've plowed through a few chapters. I was already concerned about from where my food comes and this book reinforces those concerns. I try to buy organically as much as possible and natural otherwise. I would go vegetarian, but I like meat too much.

In the next six months, I will try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, enriched wheat flour and every other processed food. That means I won't eat anything unless the ingredients are simple or the food is homemade. This challenge is going to be tough and I might have to make exceptions when I go out to eat, but I think I can do it. It'll be good for my health as well since Americans ingest too many chemicals. I'm a decent chef so I can make a lot of my own food. I'll have Fridays off and I'll use that day to hit up the natural meat market in Mountain View. It'll cost more, but I'll probably scale back on meat and eat more salads since I can get fresh lettuce every week at the farmer's market. Six months is a long time for me to photodocument my food, but I'll keep track of what I eat and take pictures of the tasty stuff. I think my few readers appreciate food pictures more than the beefcake ones.

If anyone has some good recipes for simple foods, pass them along. I've got plenty of kitchen gadgets so I'll make a lot of my own. I can make my own pasta so that should help. I've got a bread machine too. It seems like Friday will be my cooking day. Sweet. I'm looking forward to this six month challenge. I'll work hard to make sure I have a good variety of food that is tasty.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas. Hopefully everyone is safe and sound and enjoying time with family and friends.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday travel fun

After standing in line at the San Jose airport for more than an hour yesterday morning and not seeing the front of the line, I said fuck the heck and took a cab home. I canceled my reservation (it turns out they canceled my flight anyhow) and drove up to Portland. I spent last night at a Motel 6 in Gold Beach, OR. I took 101 up and drove through a lot of Redwoods National Park. Pretty good scenery. I had lunch in the pot capital of Humboldt County - Garberville. I don't know anything about anything, but there were a lot of hydroponics shops, hemp stores and crunchy looking folk. Last night I grubbed down on fried scallops by the ocean at a local diner. Not too shabby. I like the cheap motels because you know what to expect - a clean room, a big bed, lots of cable channels and free internet. I stayed at the Hilton for IEDM in 2007 in DC and paid six times as much for one-sixth the enjoyment. Plus there aren't fools at Motel 6 with their hands out because they opened the door for you. Damn I hate the concept of tipping.

The drive up this morning went alright until I hit Salem. It was like someone threw the switch since there was snow and ice all over the road. People were chaining up, but I didn't because the pavement was mostly dry. It took more than two hours to go the remaining 50 miles, but I finally made it.

Happy holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crappity crap

There is a good chance that my flight to Portland will get canceled tomorrow morning. I know of two other people now that were supposed to fly to Portland this weekend and won't get in until the 24th. Boo to that. I could try to extend my stay past next Sunday, but I've got stuff to do here.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spam in my Gmail

Here are some of the funny subject lines in the spam folder in my Gmail account:
Only huge boners can reach g-spot
You probably gave wrong number
I need you, urgently!
Ladies like long action
Free love-beast inside you
Give your rocket best fuel
Get Woodstock Hippie arousal
Say Hi! to your new huge pole

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 51

Day 355:
Weight = 196.6 lbs (+1.0 lbs)

Body fat = 28.0 % (-0.4 %)

Visceral fat = 10 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1877 kCal (+9 kCal)
Moderate exercise = 70 min

Gah. I'm starting to get chunky again. I'm not sure why my weight is going up, but it could be because I haven't been exercising all that much due to the cold weather, getting sick and work. It's something that I need to fix with the new year. I had made pretty good progress this year, but undid it a little with the holidays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not a happy camper...

I got an automated call this afternoon from Southwest. It seems I pissed off the weather gods and my flight to Portland this afternoon is cancelled. Of course, being the Christmas holiday, there are no seats until Monday morning so I lose one day of fun time and will not get to see the Seahawks lose to the Jets tomorrow. My dad, my brother and I have made a pilgrimage to Seattle for a football game every year now for the past five or six years. Bummer. I think my dad and my brother will still try to go tomorrow, but the roads are supposed to be terrible headed up north. The Pacific Northwest does not get too much snow where people live so they aren't able to deal with it when they do get it.

My office mate is a cool dude and is willing to take me to the airport early Monday morning. I better think of something good to get him, his wife and his young son as a thank you. I would be willing to take some to the airport early, but not everyone is and I wouldn't expect it. It saves me cab fare. I just hope my flight on Monday doesn't get cancelled.

It's a good thing that I'm working on thinking more positively.

Gettin' sick

All of my coworkers' coughing and sniffling has finally caught up and now I've got some serious sinus funk. Great. Just in time for the holidays. Heh. I think I've got a pretty good immune system so I only get the worst of the worst. I took some NyQuil last night and it knocked me out enough so that I could sleep without trouble. I feel a little better this morning, but not great. I'm not sure how my sinuses are going to take flying this afternoon and I don't know if sitting out in the cold tomorrow at the Seahawks' game is a good idea either. Oh well. I'll have all next week to recuperate.

I'll be in Portland starting this afternoon and will come back next Sunday. It should be fun though the snow will go so no white Christmas for me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not much of consequence...

Here is a cool quote a friend sent around as part of her holiday greeting:
"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars."

I brought the banana bread in this morning and it was gone within a couple of hours. Sweet. My straw poll confirmed that it is tasty stuff indeed and that using whole wheat flour didn't ruin it. Super sweet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Banana bread

I signed up to bring some snacks to work for Treat Week and decided to brew up some banana bread. I only had whole wheat flour so I gave that a try. The bread turned out alright, but the consistency is a little different. It's a bit chewier than usual, but still pretty tasty.

I got some ingredients at Target and they had a sign up saying they will close for nearly all of 2009 for renovations. There is a big ass development in progress there and I guess the current Target is too ghetto so they're going to gentrify it or something. I'll have to find a new store to get my supplies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Last night I played pool with Kristina at California Billiards. It's my third time going to that pool hall and I think it's my favorite in the South Bay. The place is big and the tables are nice. The prices are just ok, but I like to play pool so I don't worry about it that much. The music is sporadic depending on who plunks in money into the jukebox. We had a nice run of Nirvana along with some other good stuff mixed in with some honky-tonk. There is also an interesting mix of people there ranging from the hardcore Asian dudes playing snooker with the bored girlfriends watching to old dudes playing 9-ball to 20- and 30-somethings like me and Kristina.

I'm not sure what got into me, but I was shooting really well. I had plenty of touch and sunk all the easy ones and most of the medium and a good percentage of the difficult ones. Kristina hadn't played in a while, but hit some pretty tough shots as well. This time I grabbed a 19 oz stick instead of the 21 oz that I usually play with because I was told by good players that a lighter stick offers more control.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Vote in my poll on the sidebar to the left.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I didn't get a chance to do my usual Sunday cooking because I was stuck at the 22 nm CMOS short course at IEDM in San Francisco. Yeah, it really was that exciting. Anyhow, I hit the store tonight and got ingredients to make lasagne. I got a pretty good recipe out of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

Here's how to make it:
Heat the oven up to 400 F.
Get a big ol' pot of water boiling.
Brown up your favorite ground meat with some fresh spinach and minced garlic.
Put a jar of red sauce in a sauce pan and season it with Dave's Insanity sauce, thyme, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and anything that sounds good. Add the ground meat mixture when it's done and heat it up slightly to get the flavors to mix.
Boil up lasagne noodles a few at a time and slightly undercook them.
Butter or grease up a baking pan.
Put down enough noodles to cover the bottom. Spread on some ricotta cheese, some of meat sauce and top with grated parmesan and mozzarella.
Repeat to make three full layers of this and then put another layer of noodles down and top with parmesan.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until the top layer crisps up and the lasagne bubbles.
Let it cool, freeze overnight, thaw it out the next day and reheat. It'll firm up that way and taste "better," but that's just my opinion.

You also make a layer of grilled bell peppers or mushrooms or eggplant or whatever. This recipe is pretty flexible and should turn out without too much trouble.

Who the heck is Pedro Flores?

Since I moved to CA in early in 2007, I've been getting calls nearly three or four times a week for Pedro Flores. Apparently he either had my number before me or made one up and it happened to be mine. I guess he didn't pay some bills either because collection agencies are calling him (me). Most of the messages left are in Spanish and they refuse to believe that he doesn't live here. I know the Fair Credit Reporting Act says that they can no longer call if I ask them to stop, but it's hard to enforce because they won't give me their name. They think I'm covering for him or something.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 50

Day 348:
Weight = 195.6 lbs (+3.0 lbs)

Body fat = 28.4 % (+0.8 %)

Visceral fat = 10 (+1)

Resting metabolism = 1868 kCal (+16 kCal)
Moderate exercise = 345 min

I don't understand why I gained three pounds, some chunk and some internal chunk when I walked my ass off last week. Very strange. Sure, I ate some cake, but I ate pretty well other than that. Hmmm...maybe it's delayed Thanksgiving chunk. I don't think I look any chunkier than last week. Very strange.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I stopped eating wheat this week because I wanted to see if my moodiness would improve. Nope. Gluten is not a problem for me. That just leaves dairy. I'll leave that out next week and see how I do. If that doesn't work, then I'm not sure what I'll do.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 49

Day 341:
Weight = 192.6 lbs (+2.0 lbs)

Body fat = 27.6 % (+0.3 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1852 kCal (+13 kCal)
Moderate exercise = 160 min

Hmmm...I'm not going to meet my goal of getting ripped by the end of the year, but that's ok. I'm in much better shape now than I was even six months ago so I have definitely made progress. I still have too much around the middle though.

I didn't get in much exercise over the Thanksgiving break nor much this week. My goal is to get in at least 300 minutes of moderate exercise, but I only got about half that. We'll see if this week is any better. I'm going to try to walk after lunch at work. That'll keep my computer time down and should help me drop about half a pound a week. I'm also going to cut out wheat since I think it is messing with me too much.

From the pulpit...

  • Anyone who turns without signaling deserves to be shot.
  • Anyone who rides a bike without a helmet deserves what he gets.
  • Anyone who takes the elevator instead of stairs whenever possible deserves a heart attack.
  • Anyone who parks illegally in a handicapped spot deserves to become eligible for it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Well, well, well

Work has gotten...interesting. My housing deposit has now become my living deposit. I think I'll be just fine for the next quarter, but who knows what'll happen after that? At least I'm still employed and not out on the street.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving vacation in Portland, OR

Work had a shutdown around Thanksgiving so I used some vacation days to fly up to Portland for more than a week. I spent most of the time chillin' with the family in Portland, OR where I was born and raised.

My dad taught us this game when we were little. My dad, my brother and I played a lot of games because it's fun and leads to a lot of quality trash talking. I took a picture of the final score in all my games. To be consistent, I was always black. As you can see, I won a lot more than I lost. You can also see the Toby cards that Yvonne got my parents when we were together. It's a great picture of him. My brother is giving the finger in some pictures because he was cheesed off that the freight train kept rollin'.


Toby is my parents' bichon frise. He's pretty funny and is one of the greediest animals I've ever met. He's a good dog, but spends most of his time looking for snacks. That's why his head is down in nearly every picture.

Pinochle (pronounced "pee-knuckle") is another fun card game. For some reason, I always partner with my mom and my dad and my brother team up. My mom and I had pretty good cards and applied the smackdown.

Below are some random pictures of food. I didn't take pictures of the Thanksgiving feast, but it was goddamned tasty.

There is no sales tax in Oregon and stores are desperate to unload their goods so I got three shirts and a pair of boxers while I was up. I still need new pants, but I want to see if I lose any more flab before getting those.

Parents' new kitchen
My parents redid their kitchen and I think it looks pretty nice. It's much more open now and more usable.

My uncle Dale's house
My uncle Dale has a pretty damn swank crib up in NW Portland. His pool table plays strangely though.