Monday, June 30, 2008

Dairy --> Grumpy

After all these years, I've finally figured out why I can be moody. It seems that any time I eat or drink a lot of dairy (cheese, ice cream, milk, etc.) my sinuses fill up (dairy encourages mucous formation). Filled sinuses lead to sinus headaches and sinus headaches lead to feeling crappy. Feeling crappy leads to being grumpy and being grumpy leads to being depressed.

For those who like flow charts: Dairy --> extra mucous --> sinus headaches --> grumpy --> depressed --> impatient --> bad day.

I was a bit peckish this morning at work and let some people have it. It felt good at the time, but isn't a good strategy overall since there is no room for lone wolves in high tech.

The simple solution is for me to cut dairy out. I'm not allergic to it because I don't feel like throwing up or crapping after consuming it, but it doesn't seem to be doing me much good. My brother has the same problem, but it's worse for him so he avoids it altogether. I love cheese too much to cut it out, but maybe I should cut back. I can get calcium from green vegetables.

Pasta dinner

Tonight's dinner was organic linguine with a red sauce made from tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, fresh spinach and ground bison browned in minced garlic. I had a salad consisting of sweet lettuce, carrots, goat cheese and balsamic dressing. Almond milk was the beverage. It turned out alright and more importantly was really easy to make.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


My blog is mainly a collection of lighter topics, but every now and then I feel like writing something a bit deeper. As most of you know, I am a pretty private person. I'm honest and will answer questions posed to me, but I'm not likely to volunteer much information about myself until I really get to know the other person. I think that comes from a fear of failure which comes from the pressure I was under growing up. My parents always treated me well and my brother and I never wanted for much, but there were a lot of expectations put on me. I was always expected to succeed and if I didn't, I didn't get beaten down, but they would be disappointed. There is nothing worse for a kid than to disappoint someone. Consequently, I withdrew a bit and didn't try to do too much because I was worried about what would happen if I failed.

You'll also never hear me talk about middle school or high school with any fondness either. I went through puberty very early and was 5'11" in sixth grade so I stuck out quite a bit. I had bad skin as well and was one of the smartest kids in school. That means that I got teased and picked on. No one tried to beat me up because I was much bigger than everyone else, but words can hurt more than a fist. Some people crave attention, but I doubt those people are 15 year olds. Young kids just want to fit in and be part of the group.

I think the last few years I've finally realized that it is ok to fail because the journey or process can often be more important than the end results. It's ok if I never get completely rocked out, but I shouldn't stress out about it because I can have fun getting in shape. I shouldn't quit on the off chance that I might not succeed. It's also ok if I don't get a fantastic house later this year because I can have fun learning how to fix one up. I know it's a lot of work, but I've always wanted to learn to be handy and this situation seems like a good opportunity. Besides I think I would get more satisfaction living in a home that I improved rather than one that was nice to begin with. Of course, I'm not going to do anything stupid and try to rewire the house or install a new toilet, but I should be able to do all of my own flooring, yard work and finishing.

I have also been working on being more outgoing. I know that I need more "cave time" than most people, but that doesn't mean that I should stay at home all the time. I like pressing the flesh at the farmer's market and I like playing frisbee and basketball because I get to interact with people that I don't work with. I think we learn quite a bit about ourselves when we interact with others as they serve as a foil. I also should get out to do other activities with friends: go to the beach, go to museums, go to plays, etc.

Recently I have been working on being myself and not trying to please everyone. Even though I'm working on having more tact, I'm still going to be a bit obscene, coarse and irreverent, but that's ok. That's just who I am. I have a lot to offer as I have interest thoughts, I'm pretty sharp and I'm pretty funny in a dry, caustic and sarcastic sort of way. I need to realize that not everyone is going to like me and if they don't, it's ok. It's not necessarily my fault and why should I want to hang out with people that don't like me? I won't go as far to say "their loss," but I'm not going to get too worked about it.

I don't need to be the best person ever; just the best person that I can be.

Heh. I think I mentioned that 2008 was going to be the year of self-improvement for me and I think that I'm off to a pretty good start. I'm getting into better shape and I'm socializing more. It also seems like I'll have enough money to get some property at the end of the year. It'll be great to have a place to call my own.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 26

Day 180:
Weight = 196.4 lbs (+1.0 lbs)
Body fat = 28.6% (-1.1 %)
Visceral fat = 10 (no change)

Well, well, well. I managed to work out every day last week doing my resistance training, walking to work, playing ultimate, playing basketball and going hiking. I think it paid off because, even though I gained a pound, I lost more than one percentage point of body fat. Super sweet. I'm really starting to see some progress and that's exciting. I know that I still have a ways to go, but I have a plan in place to get there and I am confident that I will be rocked out by the end of the year for sure.

I think I know what to do for the exercise component and Jen loaned me her copy of the South Beach Diet so I can start eating more efficiently. I love me some sugar, but it isn't doing my body any good so I need to cut it out and then slowly add a little bit back in.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Flyin' food

For brunch today Jen taught me how to make crepes. They turned out well and I was even able to flip them using the pan. Two of the pictures capture crepes in mid-air and one is creeping out in a third.

2008 NBA Draft

The NBA draft happened this previous Thursday night and the Portland Trail Blazers made out like bandits since their GM, Kevin Pritchard, is awesome. In fact, he is so awesome that a new term was invented to describe how he swindles other teams out of good players and picks: Pritchslap (play on bitchslap for those who are slow). Heh.

I've been a die hard Blazers' fan since Day 1 since they are the only pro game in town. They went through a rough patch since their meltdown against the L*kers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals, but they're on the right track now.

Portland had the 13th pick and drafted Brandon Rush, a pretty good shooter out of Kansas. They traded his draft rights, Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts for the rights to Jerryd Bayless (Indiana's 11th pick) and Ike Diogu. Bayless is a skinny dude, but can shoot and might be able to play the point in the NBA. He was projected to go higher, but fell because teams aren't sure how he'll fit in. Brandon Roy runs the offense so Bayless will just need to guard the opposing team's point guard. Diogu is a power forward who brings rebounding and hustle. He's not a great player, but he'll get it done off the bench. Portland gives up a good shooter in Rush, a mediocre point guard in Jack and a benchwarmer in McRoberts. It depends on how good Bayless becomes, but this deal is low risk because Jack was never in the long term plans, McRoberts was just a warm body. Maybe if Rush turns into a 10 year All-Star, Portland will regret dealing him, but I doubt it.

Portland bought the 27th pick from New Orleans for $3M and used it to select Darrell Arthur. His rights and the rights to Joey Dorsey (Portland's first second round pick at 33) to Houston for the rights to Nicolas Batum, the 25th pick. Batum wants to come over and play for Portland next season. He's a slasher and is pretty athletic, but is young and perhaps a bit thin for the NBA. Portland's wings are pretty crowded, but they haven't found their SF of the future so perhaps Batum is it. I'm not crazy about this deal, but Paul Allen (the owner) is rich so $3M is nothing, Arthur is unknown and Dorsey's skills are replicated by Diogu.

Portland used its second second round pick, the 36th pick overall, to draft Omer Asik and then traded him to the Bulls for three future second round picks. It's unclear if Asik would've come to the NBA this year if ever given the cash in the Euroleague (tax free to boot since the team pays that) and the future picks can be packaged to move up in the draft.

Portland used its third second round pick, the 55th pick overall, to draft Mike Taylor and then traded him to the hapless Clippers for a second round pick in 2009. Taylor was unlikely to make the team so we got future help instead.

Overall, this draft is pretty solid, but we still have potentially four PG on the roster without a definite starting SF. I'm still excited since Oden will play this season and I think the team has a great plan in place to be in the playoffs next season and beyond. There might be a trade later this summer to clear up our roster glut and to take advantage of Raef LaFrentz' fat expiring contract.

Friday, June 27, 2008

All in the family

My dad's only brother is the CEO of Laika, which used to be Will Vinton Studios (think Claymation California Raisins) until Phil Knight bought it a couple of years ago. He's mentioned in this article about their upcoming movies. They seem to be focusing on stop-motion which is what was used in The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride. I think it's pretty cool that they're going to opposite direction of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, but I wonder how successful they'll be.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cars and the American people

I walked to work yesterday and it always gives me a chance to do some thinking. My mind usually wanders around, but yesterday I was thinking about cars and high gas prices. Strangely enough, my boss, a coworker and I had a discussion about hybrids. My boss drives a Prius and my coworker was thinking of what to get in the next year or two. He has an older Accord, but it still seems to be going strong.

People judge a car on price, looks, utility, efficiency, size, power, environmental impact and reliability. We Americans are pretty greedy and would like to maximize all of the above. However, in recent times, we would buy a car on looks, size and power alone and damn utility and efficiency. To me, a car needs to have a specific purpose: what am I going to use my car for most? Am I going to be hauling crap every day? No? Then why should I get a truck? If I'm only going to haul stuff once or twice a year then I can rent a truck without too much trouble. Do I really need four wheel drive in NorCal? Do I ski? How many times do I need to ski a year to justify the added cost and decreased mileage of 4x4? It's pretty strange to see people at work commuting from 20-40 miles away in big trucks and SUVs. I can understand if you have kids, but maybe you then get one commuter car and one minivan or station wagon or whatever.

People then say, "Oh, I need a big car in case I get into an accident." Huh. Not really. There are some accidents that you will not survive no matter how large your car is and there are some so minor that it doesn't matter. Sure a bigger car can impact more momentum, but today's cars have pretty effective crumple zones. Most SUVs are based on car platforms rather than trucks (definitely true for Lexus, BMW and Mercedes) and are therefore less stable. They are too tall for their width and are at a high risk of rolling over and that's when you can get really messed up since it is possible to have a one-car accident (maybe you swerve to miss hitting a deer).

My boss said that he wants a car with a lot of power so that he can better handle his daily commute on 101. I think what he really needs is a car with good acceleration. Out here you need to be able to react quickly in case that dumbass two lanes over decides that he really needs to take the next exit regardless of whether there is room in front of you or not. A powerful car is not necessarily agile.

With high gas prices, people are now looking to get more fuel efficient cars. Some are stupid enough to overpay for old Geo Metros, but others get sucked into the hybrid myth. Some hybrids get worse gas mileage than their equivalents because they are paired with larger engines. Some hybrids only improve the mileage by 5-10 mpg which does not justify the extra $5k nor does the emissions reduction make up for the fact that a hybrid is chockfull of lead-acid batteries the production of which is terrible for the environment. Also, the transmission and engine is fairly complicated on a hybrid so the reliability is questionable.

I think Europe and Asia has it right: smaller cars that are agile to better handle the old, narrow roads and diesel engines. Sure, diesel costs more than regular gas, but a diesel-powered car can get nearly double the mileage of its gasoline-powered equivalent. A Prius will get you anywhere between 40 and 50 mpg combined city and highway. I read a Consumer Reports or Autoweek article that said you can get 45 mpg combined city and highway with a well-designed diesel. It costs less than the hybrid, they've scrubbed the sulfur out of the fuel so it doesn't pollute as much and they fixed the problems with cold starts, etc. Diesel engines have been around the longest and are very well understood. To me, they represent a great bridge between the gas guzzlers of today and the hydrogen or electric powered cars of tomorrow.

I would seriously consider getting a diesel hybrid. I bet one of those could get around 70-80 mpg if done right which means putting the electric motors on the wheels so that there is no power loss along the transmission axle. I'm not sure why more hybrids aren't designed that way. There are less moving parts, they are more efficient and you can use the electric motors to brake.

Honda just announced production of hydrogen cars. However, where the heck are we going to get hydrogen? It is found in oil and gas wells, but I think those are pretty well tapped out. You can easily make hydrogen from water using electrolysis. However, that requires a fair amount of energy. From where will it come? How will we save the planet if we convert gas-burning cars to hydrogen-burning cars + coal-fired plants? Maybe we can use solar plants to generate the energy necessary to make hydrogen, but why don't we then just make electric cars to use the electricity directly? If you're pretty smart, I suggest you direct your brain power to creating lighter and more fuel efficient batteries and solar cells that can be spray-painted onto cars or integrated into their skin so that your car can charge all day long in the parking lot while you're at work or whatever. There is definitely a lot of money to be made there.

The US is a relatively new country so our highways are wide and can easily accomodate overly large and overly powered cars. It has taken high gas prices to get people to actually think about what they really need and that is a bit depressing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RIP Great Uncle Dale

When I got home tonight there was a message on my machine from my mom. My dad's Uncle Dale had passed away early this morning. I guess he went in his sleep in a chair in the living room with a cat on his lap. That doesn't sound like too bad of a way to go. He was 88 and lived a pretty good life though his only kid, my dad's cousin, is a bit of loser. Well, he's a pretty big loser, but that's a story for another time.

I remember going over to Uncle Dale's for a Christmas party every year when I was younger. He and his family lived in Vancouver, WA and their house had some pretty cool toys. He had a CD player years before they became popular. I remember that he always had tons of candy at his place and I would get sick from it, but I guess that's part of being a kid.

It's too bad that I didn't get to see him before he went, but he didn't suffer and that's all that I ask.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend food

I had some great food this weekend and I remembered to take pictures.

Here is Saturday night's dinner with Jen: grilled steak, salad, rice, bread and chocolate and vanilla almond milk.
We also made banana bread
and strawberry ice cream. I should have sliced the strawberries more finely, but it still tastes good.
This morning's brunch was homemade buttermilk pancakes, bacon and home squeezed orange, banana and pineapple juice. Two oranges, one banana and half a small pineapple went into making that largish glass of juice.
Tonight's dinner was meatloaf
and salad, bread and chocolate and vanilla almond milk. The meatloaf looks a little green because of the spinach I added.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mental filters

Everyone has a filter between their brain and the outside world that keeps private thoughts private. For some reason, my filter seems a bit coarser than others'. I'm pretty well-known to say the "wrong" thing at the "wrong" time. I claim that I'm misunderstood because what I say makes sense in my head, but apparently not in others'. I wonder what that says about me. Do I speak without thinking? I don't know that my brain ever stops and that contributes to my wanderlust and my impatience. You could say that I lack tact, but I wonder if I don't sometimes lack empathy as I can be a bit less emotional than most people.

None of this means that I'm an uncaring robot, but maybe that people need to realize that I don't always mean what I say the way that most people would understand it.


I'm thinking of getting another tattoo at the end of the summer, but I'm not exactly sure what to get. I think I'd like to get an animal. Scary bear or lone wolf?

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 25

Day 173:
Weight = 195.4 lbs (-0.2 lbs)
Body fat = 29.7% (-0.6 %)
Visceral fat = 10 (no change)

Ah ha. The weight loss from last week's frisbee tournament was maintained this week as seen by the deltas above. Sweet. This past week, I only walked to work twice and went on an easy hike yesterday. I have been eating well and eating less too. Getting into shape requires both exercise and a good diet and I'm starting to see the benefits. Considering that I didn't seriously start until about four months ago, I think I've made great progress. I can't get too complacent though because I'm not quite where I want to be. The spare tire around my waist is deflating, but is still there and I still feel a little "soft" in my core.

I think that slightly soft core might be contributing to my less-than-ideal posture or vice versa. I may need to visit a chiropractor to get things realigned because the muscle memory might be too strong to overcome with just stretching exercises. Hopefully she won't make the change all at once. My hips would probably spasm and that doesn't sound like much fun.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Morning "fun"

I was just finishing gassing my car up this morning when I heard a thunk. It's a hard noise to describe, but it sounded like something very heavy, yet a little soft hitting the pavement. I look over to the next island and notice that this old guy had fallen. Another guy there noticed the same thing and we both yell for someone to call 911. The guy is trying to get up, but I tell him to stay down and take it easy. He's conscious, but seems a little disoriented. His wife is in the passenger seat and doesn't even know what's going on so we get her. She doesn't seem to know what to do with the situation so another customer talks to her to keep her calm.

I notice that the clerks are on the phone so I go in to tell them the situation. They're on the phone with the 911 and the dumbasses on the other end are asking all sorts of questions. Just get your ass down here, damnit.

I go back out and notice that the man is bleeding so we get some towels for his head. Fortunately, there is a fire station just three blocks down so they send some EMT and a fire truck and got the guy stabilized. It seems like he got dizzy in the heat and fell over. Hopefully he didn't have a heart attack.

He threw up while the EMT dudes were checking him out and I guess that can be a sign of dehydration. This was at 9:45 this morning, but it was still wicked hot out. It's 17:15 now and it's still really warm. Hopefully it won't be like this for the rest of the summer.

Hot, hot, hot

It's not even 8 AM and it's already wicked hot. I thought I read somewhere that Sunnyvale has never had a 100 F day, but I think that's wrong. My Google-Fu has failed me completely because I cannot turn up any record highs. I thought I saw some 106 F, but seems pretty warm since it's usually breezy around here.

Anyhow, hopefully it's cooler north of San Francisco or I'm going to fry.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pictures from last Saturday's ultimate tournament

One of the participants has a really nice camera and took some great shots seen here.

More pictures taken by a different dude can be found here.

I was on the purple team and am in a few pictures. I think I'm pretty easy to spot since I'm distinctive looking.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Me vs Brett Favre

One of my coworkers told me this afternoon that I look like Brett Favre since I haven't shaved in a while. You be the judge...

I'm not so sure. My face looks a bit longer than his, but that could be the camera angle (I took the picture myself).

Consequences of getting in shape

I realized yesterday that I've lost enough weight or trimmed down enough that my pants no longer fit. They aren't quite falling off, but they aren't too far from it. I guess I'll have to invest in a belt.

I walked to work yesterday and it gets easier and easier each time though I think I need to vary my route a bit so that I have something new to look at. I don't listen to music while I walk so I'm left alone with my thoughts.

Another guitar heavy track

I can listen to the Deftones' Battle Axe all day long:

I want to sleep if you are awake
Still making believe that you aren't at all crazy

And if you don't believe I think you should
You make me so proud!
Still you love to think you have always been this way...butyou're all wrong.

And you only sleep when you've lost cause
Well I still believe that the cause was always me.

And if you don't believe I think you should
You make so proud!
Still you love to think you have always been this way

Well I'd love to think you will someday feel the same
And you love to think it will always...always...
If you still believe it will always be this way...well you're all wrong.
Yes you are, insane...
I think I like just about any music with a driving beat, a heavy guitar and repetitive lyrics.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ridin' dirty

I think that I'm ruggedly handsome at best and I'm fine with that (no dysmorphia for me, bro). I think I can add to that image with some stubble. The hair on my head and face is really thick - maybe twice as thick as most people's and it leads to a lot of razor bumps even when I use an old fashioned single blade razor. It doesn't matter how often I wash my face or what I use to do it, if I shave, I will get the bumps and they're pretty annoying because they look bad and they itch.

I'm wondering if there is some way to maintain a permanent five o'clock shadow since I don't really want to grow a beard. It's too hot and too scratchy. I've got a personal hair trimmer that I use for keeping nose hairs in check, but maybe it has an attachment for helping to maintain enough facial hair to keep the ends above my skin, but not enough to make me look like a bear.

Firefox 3

I downloaded Firefox 3 about 15 minutes ago and have been trying it out since then. I'm not all that impressed with how it looks and can't tell if it's more or less bloated than Firefox 2.

In any case, it's better than Internet Explorer for sure and AdBlock Plus is my friend.

NBA Finals

Well, obviously the L*kers didn't show up to play tonight, but I don't think it would've mattered much. They weren't going to win the series. As a diehard Blazers' fan, I'm pretty stoked that LA lost, but it would've been nice for the Western Conference to represent.

The big problem was LA's defensive philosophy. Radmanovic is too slow to guard Paul Pierce and isn't enough of an offensive threat to make Pierce work on defense. I would've put Odom on Pierce since Odom has great lateral speed and long arms. Also, if you follow any basketball, you know better than to leave Ray Allen alone behind the three point line. You certainly shouldn't leave him to double up Garnett. I guess Phil Jackson isn't that great of a coach after all.

LA's offensive philosophy needed some work as well. The Celtics decided not to let Bryant drive to the hoop and collapsed on him as soon as he got into the paint, but none of the other L*kers did much to get open. Gasol pretty much disappeared, but he's a pretty soft player.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Possible domestic abuse

I live next door to a Korean couple in their late 20's (my guess). They're pretty quiet and I don't hear much noise from their place except every now and then I hear a lot of arguing, their dog barking, some crying and stuff crashing. It happened again last night at 11:30 and woke me up, which sucks, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't want to get in the middle of anything, but I'm not going to stand by if he's whuppin' on her.

The dude is one of those quiet types who never surprise you when they turn out to be bad apples. He actually looks a little like the Virginia Tech shooter.

Hmmm...I guess I can't do anything unless I hear her cry for help (unfortunately, I don't speak Korean) or see him hit her. If he does, he better watch the fuck out because I will not hesitate to take him down. I read yesterday about police in some podunk town had to shoot a dude who was beating a toddler to death on the side of the road. Apparently, passersby tried to stop him, but he just pushed them away. What? How strong could he be? Don't you think two or three people could keep an adult from beating up a toddler? You could pretty much just dogpile him and keep him pinned to the ground. If I had been there, I would've found a convenient piece of wood or something and knocked his ass out. Of course, if he was tripping on something like meth there isn't too much you can do because those people are crazy and wouldn't feel anything.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New template

I changed the layout of my blog a bit to separate out the posts from the sidebar. I think it's a little more readable now.

I also added a blogroll to the sidebar where the most recently updated blogs are at the top.

Too much sun

For those who missed it, I played ultimate frisbee for nearly seven hours on Saturday and got pretty toasty. I put on sweatproof 50 SPF sunblock, but must have missed a few spots - mainly in creases. The backs of my knees are lobster red along with my wrists and my ankles. I think just about anywhere the skin flexes quite a bit (near a joint) I got red. Fortunately I have my Sooth-a-Caine, but I can't apply that at work unless I take my pants off and I don't think it's going to be that kind of party.

We'll see if this redness leads to any pickable skin because that's quite a bit of fun.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sinking in the quicksand of my thoughts...

Dinosaur Jr's Quicksand is one of my favorite songs of all time:

I'm closer to the golden dawn
I can't believe the wagon's gone
It's history
I'm living in a callous realm
Where others seem to dig it
Just too much reality
I'm frightened by the total goal
I'm drawing to the ragged hole
And I ain't got the wagon anymore
No, I ain't got the wagon anymore
I'm the twisted name on Uma's eyes
I'm living proof of Cindy's lies
Of destiny
I'm drawing between the light and dark
Where others see their targets
I can't see anything
Should I leave the engine on
To listen to that mountain song
Sinking in the quicksand of my thoughts
And I ain't got the wagon anymore
Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death's release
Oh, oh, oh, oh...
Not too stable
Hanging by a string
Can't face the thoughts
No wheels will bring
I gotta go
It's bad enough being at home
Without a way to leave the damage
Is gonna show
If I don't explain
What you oughta know
You can tell me all about it
At the next ball show
I'm sinking in the quicksand of my thoughts
And I ain't got the power anymore
Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death's release
Oh, oh, oh, oh...
Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death's release
Oh, oh, oh, oh...
Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death's release
Oh, oh, oh, oh...

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 24

Day 166:
Weight = 195.6 lbs
Body fat = 30.3%
Visceral fat = 10

Interestingly enough I actually got my visceral fat number to nudge down a notch, but my body fat went up from last week. The significant weight loss is most likely water loss from yesterday's fun and sun.

I removed the goals because they're pretty much meaningless. I'll eat right and exercise until I die and whatever weight I am is where I am. I think that's a better plan than trying to target a specific weight or body fat percentage. I'm not even sure how accurate my composition scale is anyhow.

No pictures today because I'm feeling lazy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ultimate frisbee tournament

I played ultimate frisbee for more than six hours today. Google, Facebook, Apple and Yahoo organized a hat tournament, but we didn't end up drawing teams out of a hat, but that's alright. We played five games and lost the first four, but won a pretty epic battle during the last game. I played well in spurts, but developed calf cramps during the fourth game. I took 500 mg of ibuprofen and toughed out the fifth game. It was a lot of fun and the weather held up - about 80 F with a nice breeze. I'm sure that I got more sun than I should, but I put on 50 SPF sunblock. I think my friend Yvonne uses 75 SPF or something, but 50 was the highest I could find in sweatproof and I sweat a lot.

My neck, feet, knees and calves hurt right now, but it was worth it because most people there were pretty nice and it was good to get out and get some exercise. Hopefully they'll hold something like this more often and it'll get easier as I get into better shape.

Fat assery

Multiple people and multiple internet sources have told me that I should be closer to 180 lbs given that I'm just a bit shy of six feet tall. I'm much closer to 200 lbs now and will admit that I'm not completely rocked out. However, I'm still not exactly sure from where those twenty pounds will come. I think ten of them can come from around my waist, but what about the rest? My legs are pretty solid and so are my arms. I've got a big ol' fat head, but I don't know if you can lose weight from there.

I think the best thing for me to do is to stay active and to eat properly. Whatever weight I end up after doing all that is my ideal weight by definition. I don't think I'll ever be a skinny guy, but that's ok by me.

I know that I've posted similar thoughts earlier, but I was thinking more about it today.

Good deed for the day

There was a homeless woman chillin' on the sidewalk outside of Walgreen's who asked me for some spare change when I walked by to pick up my prescriptions (go go allergy meds). I never give money to the homeless because I'm afraid they'll spend it on liquor or drugs. Instead, I bought a $1 pack of fake cheese and pretzel sticks and gave that to her on the way back to my car. She seemed genuinely happy and started chowin' down so I felt pretty good.

Even though the US is going through a tough economic time, I still believe there is more than enough food and resources for everyone. If I was rich, I'd feel guilty buying my second European vacation home when there are people sleeping on the streets or begging for food. Does having nice stuff actually make us happier? I don't think so, but maybe it does for some people since we've been conditioned to be good little consumers. Witness all the people queuing up to get an iPhone. I've seen one in action and they're alright, but not worth $400 nor worth waiting in line overnight. What happens if you're not the first person to get one? Will you be any worse off than you are now?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dentist appointment

I feel like every dentist appointment is really just an experiment to see how many tools can be shoved into your mouth before you choke. Fortunately, no cavities were found and my teeth are now minty fresh.

My allergies are killin' me today and I've got a lot of funk in my throat so I was worried that the cleaning would activate my gag reflex which would produce allergy funk all over. Somehow I managed to avoid it, but I feel like I could sleep forever. I need the Hibernol from an old SNL skit with Chris Farley.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vermilion Part 2 by Slipknot

I really like this song:

She seemed dressed in all of me
Stretched across my shame,
All the torment and the pain
Leaked through and covered me.

I'd do anything to have her to myself,
Just to have her for myself.

Now I don't know what to do,
I don't know what to do
When she makes me sad.

She is everything to me,
The unrequited dream,
The song that no one sings,
The unattainable.
She's a myth that I have to believe in,
All I need to make it real is one more reason.

I don't know what to do,
I don't know what to do when she makes me sad.

But I won't let this build up inside of me.
I won't let this build up inside of me.
I won't let this build up inside of me.
I won't let this build up inside of me.

A catch in my throat, choke,
Torn into pieces, I won't. No.

I don't want to be this but
I won't let this build up inside of me (won't let this build up inside of me) x4

She isn't real.
I can't make her real.
She isn't real.
I can't make her real.

Ultimate frisbee

I decided that I needed some cardiovascular exercise so I left work "early" today and went over to Sunnyvale Baylands park for some ultimate. I can tell that I'm in better shape because I was able to run pretty hard for most of the game and didn't have to suck too much wind. I played just ok, but I got some exercise and socialized with people outside of work which is always a good thing.

I brought my digital camera. Unfortunately, I was too far away to get some good action shots, but that's alright. I like how my self portrait turned out and I've even got a bit of a Steven Seagal look goin' on.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I've been doing some serious thinking the past couple of days and I think that I'm going to shoot for a condo or townhouse here in Sunnyvale. They're cheaper and certainly less work. I ran over my finances and I don't think that I can afford a real house because the mortgage would eat up everything. I think I can get a decent place with inside laundry for less than $400k, which would lead to a mortgage payment of about $2500/month. That's not great, but not terrible. Of course, I'd have to pay the HOA, but that would still leave some money left over for vacations and whatnot. If I get a house then I won't have enough money to enjoy it.

The only problem is that I don't do too well with people living above me so I hope I can get a townhouse or at least the upper floor. We'll see.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Food and fitness

As many of you know, I'm trying to get into shape or more "beefcake." Though weight isn't the best indicator of fitness, it can be used so my goal was something around 190-195 lbs (I'm currently around 200 lbs). It was brought to my attention that for some 5'11", I should weigh somewhere between 160 and 180 lbs depending on my frame. I would hazard that my frame is more on the robust or rugged side of the spectrum so perhaps I should be targeting 180 lbs.

The question is now: from where will that weight come? I'd like to keep the muscle that I have so it should come from fat. There is no fat on my legs and very little on my arms and shoulders so that just leaves my torso [cue fathead joke]. Do I really have 20 lbs of fat around my waist? I might believe 10 lbs, but 20 lbs seems like a lot because, while fat is energy dense, it's not mass dense. Hmmm... I think my best plan is just to continue working out and eating right.

The next question concerns eating right. It was also brought to my attention that, while the food I blog about looks and is really tasty, it is high in calories. I do eat a lot of animal fat and that is the fat we should avoid. I have been cutting down on the amount of food that I eat, but I should also change the type of food that I eat. I know that I have breakfast covered: a bowl of oatmeal and a banana. I don't think anyone can find fault with that. Lunch is usually leftovers and dinner often is as well. That means that I need to change the type of food that I cook. I'm always down for trying new things so perhaps I should dust off some of my cookbooks. I'm not sure which cuisine would be considered lighter though. I know that fish is lighter so I should have that once a week and I suppose I should cook a vegetarian dish once a week as well. Meat should be used as a flavoring rather than the main dish, both for health and for ethics. I, obviously, don't have any problems eating meat, but I think I should certainly eat less.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Burger dinner

I often make burgers because they're pretty tasty and are easy to make. I was feeling a little lazy today so that's what I had for dinner. In the picture above, you see the burger with the trimmin's (barbecue sauce, gouda, mayo, mustard, tomato and pickles), corn bread and mashed potatoes. My drink was half a glass of chocolate almond milk mixed with half a glass of vanilla almond milk.

Above is the raw corn bread in the pan. The recipe comes from my aunt Nancy (my mom's only sister) and makes a soft corn bread.

The ingredients:
  • 0.75 c cornmeal
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 0.75 tsp salt
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 0.25 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T melted butter
The instructions:
  • Blend gently together.
  • Do not overstir
  • Bake in a 8" x 8" buttered/greased pan for 20 min at 425 F.
It should look like the above or maybe a little darker if you like it that way. You can also drizzle honey on top before you put it in the oven, but I'm trying to cut down on my sugar.

The above picture shows the burgers after 8 minutes on the George Foreman grill. I only lift up the lid to melt some cheese on top.

The burger ingredients:
  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • Ground mesquite flavoring
  • Dried minced onion
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • A few drops of Dave's Insanity Sauce
  • Crumbled feta cheese
The instructions:
  • Mix together in a bowl.
  • Divide mixture into four parts.
  • Form into slightly squashed balls.
  • Cook for 8 minutes on Foreman grill or barbecue on a "real" grill.
Other ingredients that are tasty:
  • Ground buffalo
  • Ground lamb
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Minced spinah
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Tabasco sauce

High speed rail in CA

I just read in a Digg article that high speed rail might be on the ballot in CA this November. Super sweet. Possible routes can be found here. It's about effin' time the US got a better rail system. We're years behind the rest of the world thanks to the influence of auto makers. There should be high speed rail links from Vancouver, BC to Seattle to Portland to SF to LA to SD on the West Coast and certainly along the NE corridor (Boston to Virginia?). It would be pretty cool to go from SF to LA in less than three hours or SF to Portland in less than six especially if they price it competitive to flying.

Rail travel is the most efficient form of moving people and new trains can be pretty easy on the environment in terms of pollution, but I'm not sure I want to be on a train going 200 mph if there is a chance it might hit a deer or something.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 23

Day 159:
Weight = 200.8 lbs, 5.8 lbs too heavy
Body fat = 29.4%, 4.4 percentage points too fatty
Visceral fat = 11, 3 points too fatty

Ah ha. My weight stayed about the same as last week, but my body fat went down 0.8 percentage points which is pretty significant. I managed to walk to and from work three times again last week and I'm definitely starting to see the results. Sweet. I don't know how much skinnier I look though and I've still got a ways to go. My body fat percentage goal is 25%, but that's still pretty chunky. The composition scale will read higher body fat if you're muscular, but it can't be that far off. My arms and shoulders are getting really strong now. I just need to tone up the rest of my torso.

Unfortunately, there are only three weeks left in this six month challenge. I am making pretty good progress though so I might need to extend it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Fashion SWAT

Fashion SWAT is a feature at Something Awful where they make fun of themed pictures they find on the web.

The most recent one is about some wool fetish site in Germany. Enjoy.

More contextual fun

Gmail thinks I have a bedwetting problem because the most popular contextual ad for me is for UnderJams. I don't know how the cougars I meet on Date-A-Cougar are going to deal with my problem though.

Business attitude

As I was walking home late last night, after a long meeting at work, I started to wonder if I'm cut out for the business world. The job I have now is my first "real" job and it's been a learning experience to say the least. I can handle the science/engineering end without any trouble at all, but I'm still getting a hang of office politics. My biggest problems are I don't like to be micromanaged and I can't keep my fat mouth shut. Fortunately, my boss is awesome and walks the fine line of micromanaging and ignoring quite well. He also shields us from the upper management shitstorms which is much appreciated. The other part is because the filter between my brain and my mouth is too coarse to prevent all the stuff rattling around in my head from spewing forth. I have gotten better. I used to be completely tactless and now I might say that I lack tact. I need to improve further though if I want to be successful because you need to be able to collaborate effectively in technology and science.

I don't have much patience for inefficiency or bullshit and there is a healthy amount of that at work. Meetings never start on time and always need to be rebooted when higher level managers walk in. You also need to massage a lot of egos or they won't work for you. A former co-worker told me about a book he read once called, "How to get people who don't work for you to work for you" or something to that effect.

Don't get me wrong; I like my job and I'm happy there. I guess these thoughts come bubblin' up after being at work for eleven hours with most of that time spent in meetings.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Inflatable car

I would definitely consider buying an inflatable car though I'm not sure I want to test out the theory that you can drive it off a cliff and survive.

Friday morning observations with a bullet

Nothing terribly earth shattering:

  • 87 octane gas is down to $4.34/gallon from yesterday's $4.50/gallon
  • It seems only one-third of the people biking in Sunnyvale wear helmets
  • High gas prices haven't changed people's habits of racing to red lights

I spent my walk in this morning thinking about what I would do if I had some property. I think it would be cool to build a small guest house in the yard that was totally off-grid: solar-powered with composting toilets and recycled water. I'm not exactly sure how that would work, but I'm sure it's possible. It would cost a pretty penny, but talk is cheap.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Long-tail bikes

With the price of gas going up, up and up, I'm thinking about eventually getting a bike that can haul stuff. You can get trailer hitches for regular bikes, but that seems like a kludge to me and I'm all about the right tool for the right job.

The bike shown here is a Kona Ute and sells for about $900 which is a lot of money, but not when you consider that it could save you $30/week in gas. I go to the grocery store once a week, but it's less than two miles away. I usually buy two grocery bags' worth of stuff and that could easily fit on the storage rack of a long-tail. I would need to get some cargo pods or something similar, but I'm sure those aren't too hard to find.

Of course, I need to hold off on the big purchases until I make the biggest purchase of them all early next year, but I can start saving up money for something like this. Biking makes a lot of sense financially and healthwise, but unfortunately, people out here drive like they're dumb, drunk and blind. At least they'll soon be doing that in Geo Metros and not Hummers, but that transition will take some time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Holy moly part 2

On my way home from work today I walked by the same gas station I mentioned this morning. 87 octane gas is now $4.50/gallon. I wonder why it went up by $0.14/gallon in less than ten hours. Crazy. I was thinking of driving on Friday, but now I'm not sure that I can afford it. In all seriousness, I'm going to have to rethink my plan of getting a nicer place far from work since it seems there is no end in sight to the price increase. Hmmm...

Holy moly!

I noticed that 87 octane gas is now $4.36/gallon this morning on my way to work. Christ on a stick! It was $4.26/gallon on Sunday.

It's a good thing I'm walking to work often and it's a good thing that I own Exxon-Mobil stock. I wonder how much higher gas has to go before people stop driving trucks, SUVs and other inefficient cars. I read an article yesterday saying that the Detroit automakers are laying off tons of people and GM is thinking of selling Hummer.'s a little too late for that. Americans like everything big except for their bills so you better start making more efficient cars if you want to survive.

I'd really like to see low-sulfur diesel cars here soon. A modern diesel car can get roughly 50 mpg and they no longer produce stank or have trouble starting in the cold.


Gah. I woke up with more funk in my throat this morning. There must be something in my bedroom that is setting me off or maybe I'm chewing on my blankets.

It looks like another nice day out so I'll walk to work. Unfortunately, nice days = allergy days so it's hard for me to get too excited. I wouldn't mind a few days of rain to wash the pollen out of the air.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Layoffs and fitness

There seems to be a lot of layoffs going on in Silicon Valley. I'm ok, but you never know what'll happen out there. The tech industry is going through another change and who knows how it'll shake out. It never hurts to keep an ear to the ground and to make friends with people in the solar industry.

I walked to work again today and feel pretty good. I'm definitely getting stronger/fitter. Sweet. I wonder when I'll hit my fitness targets. It's no longer a matter of if, but has become when. I should've been walking to work since I moved out here. I would've been ripped by now.


In case you are wondering, feel free to comment on anything and everything that I write. I don't screen them.


Tonight I made curry for the first time. It didn't quite taste like I think it should, but I might've put the coconut milk in too late.

The ingredients: organic chicken thighs, red bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet onion, broccoli, bamboo shoots, yellow sour curry paste and coconut milk. You mix everything up and serve it over rice. It was pretty spicy, but tasted a little rich.

It made quite a bit so I know what I'll be eating this week.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Ugh. When I woke up this morning my throat was full of funk. I must've been grazing at a landfill in the middle of the night or something. My allergy meds have done a pretty good job of keeping me on the level this year, but this weekend has been different and I'm not sure why. Maybe there's something in my apartment that is setting me off. Who knows? I'll drink some orange juice. Hopefully the acidity will dislodge whatever crap has taken up residence.

I probably should lay off the dairy today as well.

Go go contextual ads

For some reason, the most popular contextual ad for my Gmail account is Date A Cougar. Uh...yeah.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday morning comin' down

Ah. That's a pretty good Johnny Cash song. In fact, I like all of his non-Jesus songs. They're definitely good for road trippin'.

I just talked to my folks on the phone. They got back from Italy and France on Friday. I'm a little jealous because it sounds like they had a great time. They were in the Lake Como area of Italy and drove to Provence in France. They stayed in three star hotels and rented a car so they could visit the small villages that are in that area. That's definitely the way to do it and is how I like to travel. I'm not really down with the packaged trips. I want the freedom to go wherever the heck I want.

They did come back to some bad news though: their fridge died about a week before they got home so they lost more than $300 worth of food since they had steaks and smoked salmon in the freezer. Bummer. I would be pretty pissed since it's a pain in the ass to replace condiments and other stuff like that. Their kitchen redesign starts this week and should be finished by the end of July.

I was going to drive up in July to surprise them, but I think I'll do it in August. Of course, it's not a surprise anymore because I told them, but that's ok. I'm actually pretty bad at keeping surprises because I get a little impatient. It'll probably take more than ten hours to drive up there, but I'll split it up over two days. It won't be cheaper than flying since gas is expensive, but it'll be more interesting for sure. There is a lot of stuff to see along the way. I might drive up the OR coast as well since that's pretty cool. Maybe I'll drive to Coos Bay/Gold Beach the first day and then up to Portland the next. Coos Bay is a little more than halfway, but I'm probably good for six or seven hours of driving in one day. I guess I'm just sick of flying. You have to snag a ride to the airport, you need to get there early, you have to deal with all the other travelers and you have to spend your time in a cramped cabin. Plus, it'll be nice having a car when I'm up there since my parents both work. I might take some day trips while I'm up there or maybe down to Bend to visit my cousins. Who knows?

It's nicer out today than it was yesterday, but my allergies aren't any better. I've been hacking up something like a cat with a hairball.

Language poll results

Well, the "masses" have spoken and Spanish narrowly edged out Chinese for my recommended next language to learn. That's probably a good thing since I think Spanish will be easier to learn since I won't need to learn a new alphabet. I need to figure out how to learn it. I could take classes at a community college, but that might not work with my schedule. I could also try to use something like Rosetta Stone, but it is a little on the spendy side.

Hmmm...I'll have to give it more thought. I will follow through though so do not worry.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 22

Day 152:
Weight = 200.6 lbs, 5.6 lbs too heavy
Body fat = 30.2%, 5.2 percentage points too fatty
Visceral fat = 11, 3 points too fatty

Well, shoot. I lost about a pound and a half over the past week, but did not reduce my body fat. I shouldn't read too much into the numbers because I look leaner and the body composition scale isn't that accurate - at least the fat monitoring isn't.

I managed to do some sort of exercise every day last week including walking to work three times. Not too shabby. I've been keeping up with my strength training and added in an abdominal exercise. That won't help me lose fat, but it will make my midsection look leaner. Having a strong core helps with sports and every day life. that I think about it, I don't see much of a difference between the pictures from today and last week.