Monday, July 28, 2008

Today was not a good day

As nice as yesterday was, today was bad. I woke up in a bad mood since I woke up cold because the blanket was crooked. Work was pretty stressful and I had a bland lunch of the pasta from last night and broccoli. I spent most of my afternoon in meetings, the last of which lasted until nearly seven. I hurried home, grilled some steak and wolfed it down. I think it tasted good, but I'm not really sure because I ate it pretty quickly.

It turns out that I can't pay my rent with a credit card yet because their online payment is in the pilot phase. Uh...yeah. There is no way I'm going to link my bank account to my apartment complex. That's just asking for trouble. I also asked maintenance to fix my smoke detector and replace my kitchen faucet. I think they were in my place during the day, but did nothing but leave my hallway light on. Thanks.

Hmmm...does this post qualify as complaining? I did say last week that there would be no more whining, bitchin' or complaining.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Today was a good day

I try not to have "Dear Diary" type entries to this blog because I think they're lame, but today was definitely a good day. I didn't make as much beefcake progress as I had hoped, but that's ok since I haven't been able to exercise properly. I rode the exercise bike for twenty minutes this morning riding as fast as I can for one minute, cruising for the next minute and then repeating the cycle. A little fartlek (pronounced fart-leek according to my Swedish boss) on the bike. My knees feel pretty good and could handle the intensity, probably because they didn't have to bear much weight. I hit Target for some supplies, but forgot super glue. Oh well. I can pick it up later this week. I then hit Trader Joe's for groceries. It wasn't too busy and they had some decent stuff available. I spent most of this afternoon cleaning the kitchen and the dining area and then went swimming for a bit. The pool is heated in my complex and they have a spa as well. My knees really appreciated the spa. There was even a bit of eye candy, but she was attached to a knucklehead. Most of the people there were there to sunbathe rather than swim, but they did get in towards the end.

Dinner was whole wheat pasta with red sauce, ground turkey and red and yellow peppers. I also had a salad of sweet lettuce, goat cheese and balsamic vinegrette with a vanilla yogurt, blackberry and banana smoothie. I used Trader Joe's organice marinara sauce and do not recommend it. It was pretty bland even though I added chopped tomatoes, italian seasoning and summer savory. I'm definitely not going to get it again. Ground turkey doesn't add much flavor either. Next time I'll get a sauce with more in it and some italian sausage. Dessert was a small bowl of unsweetened gravenstein applesauce.

Phase II is treating me alright. I'm more or less eating like I did before the diet, but using only whole grain bread products and cutting out as much sugar as possible. I don't crave sugar as strongly as I did before Phase I and I'm being pretty vigilent about not buying sweet snacks in the first place. I believe that I'm definitely laying the foundation to get ripped by the end of the year. Once I can start exercising properly, I'll get my ass to the track and sprint until my legs fall off.


I've been pretty tempted to learn how to play the guitar. I suppose I should pick up drumming again since I used to play and I'll probably bring my set down from Portland when I get a house, but if I did play guitar, I'd like to play this kind of music. I like the heavy, driving, grinding stuff.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 30

Day 208:
Weight = 190.8 lbs (-0.6 lbs)

Body fat = 28.0 % (+0.4 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1836 kCal (-6 kCal)

I think I look a bit leaner, but the numbers don't seem to indicate that as my body fat has slowly been increasing. I think the big problem is that I cannot properly exercise which explains why my resting metabolism has been slowly decreasing. I was able to get on the exercise bike twice in the past four days and I walked around SF a bit yesterday, but it's not enough. My heart rate didn't go up that much because I need to keep the intensity low until my knee strengthens.

I also moved into Phase II and started eating carbs and fruit again which will slow down the weight loss, but I'm thinking that the lack of serious exercise is hurting me the most.

Well, I'm not going to worry about the numbers too much. I'll continue to eat properly and will exercise as much as I can. My leg won't be gimped forever.

Phase II has led to some... uh... interesting interactions between insoluble fiber and my GI tract. It's good to be able to eat a wider variety of foods and I don't really miss sugar that much so Phase I did the trick.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sugar rush

I had my first serious sugar tonight after more than two weeks without it. I decided that I can have one dessert a week until I get ripped so I bought a peanut butter cookie at the farmer's market and then got some chocolate milk to go along with it. I feel... weird, I guess. I don't feel quite right so I think next week I'll have just one thing of sugar and maybe it'll be an ice cream cone or something like that.


I was poking around The Consumerist today and found an article on sneaky ways to save money. One of them is to automatically move money to a savings account when you get paid. I realized today that I spend more money than I make. I've got a cushion from my bonus and tax refund, but I need to work on spending less, especially since I'm saving up for a house. My rent is pretty expensive, but my mortgage will probably be a bit more per month and I'll have new and unexpected expenses.

The good news is that I've almost paid my car off. Once that comes off the books, I'll be in pretty good shape, but I still should keep a better eye on what I spend. Times are tough so I should work on saving up an emergency fund. I think my job is safe for now, but who knows what could happen in six months?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Doctor's appointment

I went to PAMF for my knee/ankle appointment and was seen by the physician's assistant. She definitely knew her stuff and tested the mobility and flexibility of my knee and ankle by moving my leg in strange ways. Nothing she did hurt until she pressed pretty hard on the outside ligament. No big deal since it just indicates some light bruising. She was efficient and professional so I was pleased with my appointment. I didn't even have to wait long either.

She was pretty impressed that I didn't tear anything and said that I have flexible ligaments. Sweet. She was also surprised that I didn't rip my Achilles and said I was pretty lucky. The good news is that I'm going to be just fine. The bad news is that I'm restricted to low impact exercise for the next three to four weeks. That means no basketball, no tennis, no badminton and no frisbee. I can ride the exercise bike until my legs fall off so I got on for twenty minutes before dinner tonight. I didn't ride all that hard, but I did feel some stretching in my knees. Walking is definitely low impact so I'll start walking to and from work next week.

This injury will slow down my beefcake progress, but it won't permanently affect me so it's ok. It has reminded me that I need to make sure the muscles around my joints are strong to prevent future injuries.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Economic ramblings

As most people realize, the US economy is in the crapper and the stock market is down. However, many of my coworkers say, "Don't worry. It'll get better. It always does." Really? Why should we expect a big turnaround? Which industry is going to drive that? We've outsourced quite a number of them to other countries. Sure, alternative energy companies are poised to boom and it's about time, but will that really help the economy?

I don't know anything about anything and even less about economics since I never took a formal class so anything I say here is probably wrong. Inflation is increasing so everyday goods and services are getting more expensive. That leaves less money for entertainment, luxury items, etc. Let's say the solar industry booms and electricity becomes cheaper. Is that really going to put a significant amount of extra money into people's pocket? Maybe it depends on where you live. My electric bill is between $25-30/month and about half of that is fees and service charges. My cousin's electric bill is probably $100-200/month because he lives in Phoenix and has to run two air conditioners during the summer just to stay solid. How much cheaper can his electricity get? It'll never be free and even that bill is peanuts compared to his mortgage or car payment.

I think the tough times are hear to stay so people will just need to cut back on the inessentials. Unfortunately, too many people will have to decide between food and heat this winter.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Start of Phase II

Well, I had fruit and carbs today and I think that I'm doing alright. I will say that it is ... uh ... interesting what happens when you get a lot of fiber after not having any for two weeks. I think you guys can fill in the blanks.

My allergies are killing me today, but I think it is unrelated to the change in my diet. I hope it is. I was doing alright before. Hopefully I'm not allergic to wheat.

South Beach Diet, Phase II

No, don't worry. I'm not going to update my blog daily with the food I eat in Phase II, but it is nice to have fruit and carbs again. It's hard for me to tell exactly how I'm reacting to their reintroduction because my allergies are killing me. I'm developing a wicked sinus headache. I think it's because of the pressure change. It was pretty warm last week and then has been cooling off the past couple of days.

I'll try not to eat too many carbs and fruit so that I avoid shocking my system. I had hot multigrain for breakfast with blackberries and a banana. The fiber should help slow down the absorption of sugar. I'll make a whole wheat pita sandwich for lunch today.

We'll see if I can continue to get beefcake during this phase. I'm pretty sure that I can and it'll be easier once I start exercising again. My knee and ankle are feeling much better, but not quite 100 percent.

Monday, July 21, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 14

Breakfast: Sausage and cheese
Lunch: Meatloaf and salad
Dinner: Burger in lettuce, a glass of milk and salad
Snack: String cheese
Exercise: None

Ah. Today is the last day of the restrictive Phase I. Super ultra mega sweet. I'm definitely ready for carbs and fruit, but I feel pretty good and don't really crave sweet stuff anymore. I also like being leaner. I've gotten beefcake enough that my pants don't fit quite right anymore. Sweet.

Tomorrow I can start adding in carbs and fruit, but in moderation. I hit Trader Joe's after work tonight to get some supplies and had great luck. They aren't as expensive as I remember or maybe Safeway is a lot more now than before. I got several bread products and each is made from 100% whole grain with low to no sugar. Whole grain means a lot of fiber which should keep the glycemic load pretty low. I got some organic multigrain hot cereal that will cook faster than my steel cut oats. I got whole wheat tortillas for fajitas tomorrow night, whole wheat English muffins for breakfast and also got some whole wheat pitas for sandwiches this week. Not a bad haul and just about everything was reasonably priced. Even though the carbs are coming with a lot of fiber and are from multigrains, I can't eat too many of them. I'll have to keep an eye on my fruit intake as well.

I'm going to allow myself one dessert each week and it can be whatever the heck I want. I haven't decided if I should get something tomorrow to celebrate or if I should wait for the weekend to get something from the farmer's market. I think I'll have better luck if I get a single serving of something. I don't have enough willpower to not plow through an entire bag of Oreos or a whole cake or something. There is a stall that sells small cheesecakes. Maybe I'll give one of those a try.

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 13

Breakfast: Sausage and cheese
Lunch: Burger in lettuce, a glass of milk and salad
Dinner: Meatloaf, salad and a glass of almond milk
Snack: Peanut butter
Exercise: None

Ah ha. Just one more day and then I can have sugar and carbs again. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 29

Day 201:
Weight = 191.4 lbs (-3.0 lbs)

Body fat = 27.6 % (+0.2 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (-1)

Resting metabolism = 1842 kCal (-22 kCal)

Ah ha. Super sweet. I wasn't able to exercise at all this week because my knee and ankle are still sore/weak, but I did manage to lose 3 pounds and even lower my visceral fat by one unit so the diet does get rid of belly fat first. Kick ass. My body fat percentage went up a little bit, but that could be in the noise. However, my resting metabolism is dropping which is not a good thing because it means I'm not burning as many calories during the day, probably because of my inactivity.

These numbers prove to me that the South Beach Diet works. I am wholeheartedly sick of Phase I, but it'll be over tomorrow night. Weight loss will slow in Phase II, but I think that's a good thing. You want to lose between one and two pounds a week steadily rather than five all at once here and there as your body really does not like drastic changes. Hopefully it won't slow to nothing though.

Where do I want to end up? As I mentioned before, I'd like to be "cut," "chiseled" or "ripped." I don't want to be cartoonishly strong, but I'd like to lose more fat. My spare tire has definitely deflated quite a bit, but it's still there. I'm pretty happy with my progress so I included a picture of me smiling since those are very rare. You can also see that I'm rockin' some serious bedhead.

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 12

Breakfast: 3 egg omelette with cheddar, green onion, tomato and ham
Lunch: Turkey "sandwich" in lettuce and salad
Dinner: Meatloaf, salad and a glass of almond milk
Snack: Glass of milk
Dessert: Sugar-free chocolate mousse
Exercise: None

Ah. Just two more days. It was good to have something other than just salad.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New exercise program

As a follow-up to the last post, I've been thinking about how I'm going to get ripped. I will continue to follow the South Beach diet, but I know that I need to add an exercise component. Walking to work is great, but shouldn't count as exercise. I need something to increase my resting metabolism so that I burn fat when I'm at work. My body composition scale measures resting metabolism and I record it, but I haven't been posting it with my beefcake updates. I'll start doing that tomorrow.

I've been reading online and a great way to increase your resting metabolism is to incorporate interval training. Your body is very good at equilibrating to a constant load so you need to vary the intensity of the exercise or the muscles used. Interval training might involving running as fast as you can for 30 seconds, walking or jogging for 90 seconds and then repeating the cycle. Apparently, if you can do more than five or six cycles then you're not running hard enough. Heh. Obviously my knee can't take another more than a stroll, but it's not going to be sore or weak forever. I need to find a track around here where I can do this. I used to be pretty fast, but slowed down as I got heavier. I can still be fast in bursts, but I'd like to be able to be fast all the time. It'll make frisbee and basketball more fun for sure. I might need to get some new cross-training shoes because mine are pretty old and a bit worn out. I need new basketball shoes as well so I probably should make a trip to Foot Locker and open up the wallet.

Also in my research I came across the unfortunately named Swedish version of interval training, fartlek. My boss is Swedish so I'll have to ask him about it. It means speed play, but sounds like something you wouldn't want to discuss with your grandma.

No more crying...

No more bitchin'. No more complaining. No more whining. I am determined not to let life's frustrations slow me down. Sure my knee hurts, but it's not going to hurt forever so I'm not going to dwell on it. Yeah, I'm still a little chunky, but there isn't anything stopping me from changing that except a bad attitude. For too long I've let myself feel sorry for myself and that ends today. I've got a pretty good life so I should enjoy it.

No regrets.


For some reason, I'm pretty grumpy this morning. It could be because I didn't sleep that well last night or that I'm eating breakfast (a very tasty omelette) nearly three hours after getting up. I think it has to do more with my knee though. It was doing alright yesterday and felt pretty good this morning, but is really sore after going over to the farmer's market. The market is only two blocks from my apartment and the street isn't that long so I didn't even really do that much walking, but my knee is acting like I just ran back-to-back marathons. I've got an appointment next Thursday so I can get it checked out, but I hope that it hurries up and heals. As many of you know, I'm not the most social dude, but even I like to get out of the house on the weekend.


South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 11

Breakfast: Tuna fish and shrimp
Lunch: Big salad from cafeteria at work
Dinner: Burger in lettuce, salad and a glass of almond milk
Snack: Peanut butter
Dessert: Sugar-free chocolate mousse
Exercise: None

I was jonesin' for something sweet today so I got some sugar-free chocolate mousse from Safeway when I went grocery shopping. It's from a company called Sans Sucre (without sugar in French) and uses sucralose (Splenda) instead of real sugar. Meh. Sucralose leaves a funny after taste in mouth and the chocolate taste couldn't overcome it. Sucralose doesn't spike blood sugar so it's compatible with Phase I. I think I'll wait for real sugar next week.

I don't think my sugar cravings are quite gone so I should really stay in Phase I a bit longer, but I'm not sure that I can. I know that I don't want to because I'm ready to start eating fruit again. I should be able to keep my blood sugar under control with whole grain carbs and small amounts of fruit. Once my leg heals up, and it feels better today, I should be able to start exercising again. My goal is to get ripped like John Rambo in case I'm called upon to rescue some American P.O.W.'s from Southeast Asia.

Just three more days and then I can enter the less restrictive Phase II. Ah. I can't wait.

Friday, July 18, 2008

An interesting socio-economic idea...

I was talking to a colleague the other day about gas prices and he mentioned that they aren't high enough. Rather than the government setting bogus gas mileage requirements for cars, he'd like to see the government increase the gasoline tax and let the market determine which cars sell. Maybe you buy a truck for those six or seven times you go skiing. You don't really care how much gas costs then, but if you commute every day and gas is $10/gallon you bet your ass you'll be driving the most fuel efficient car possible. He thought they could reduce the income tax proportionally so that people don't end up paying more.

I like that idea quite a bit. I think we should eliminate all taxes except those on resources. You shouldn't be taxed for making money, but you should pay for the right to use a resource since those belong to all. Maybe a 20-30% tax on everything sold except for food and then reduce income tax to next to nothing unless you make more than $1M/year. The best way to get someone to use less of something is to make that something expensive. If we're worried about running out of oil, then make it nearly prohibitively expensive. People will drive less or market pressure will bring electric vehicles to the road sooner.

I also think the government should give everyone a credit towards health care. You can then spend it on a PPO, HMO or whatever health care you want. Once the money comes directly from the consumer, then there'll be pressure to reduce prices and improve customer service.

I'm sort of talkin' out my ass now, but I agree with my colleague that our choices should never be restricted. Some choices should be costly, but we should still have them available.

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 10

Breakfast: Tuna fish and shrimp
Lunch: Big salad with smoked salmon, chickpeas and kidney beans.
Dinner: Three egg omelette with ham, cheese and green onion.
Snack: Peanut butter
Exercise: None

Gah. I'm definitely sick of salad now and I spent a good part of today thinking about eating birthday cake or just regular cake. I've also noticed that I'm hungry quite a bit no matter how much cheese or protein I eat. I think my body is ready for some carbs. I've probably changed my metabolism a bit and thrown it into starvation mode. Maybe that's why I've lost the belly fat, but what's going to happen when I start eating carbs again? Will I gain the weight right back?

Just four more days...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 9

Breakfast: Two fried eggs
Lunch: Big salad with imitation crab, chickpeas and kidney beans.
Dinner: Broiled flank steak, asparagus, salad and a glass of milk
Snack: Cheddar cheese
Exercise: None

Damn. I'm seriously sick of salad and cheese. I can't wait for Phase II when I can eat some carbs. I'll get some wild/brown rice and whole grain carbs at the store this weekend in preparation. I'll be able to eat oatmeal for breakfast as well and finally fruit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 8

Breakfast: Tuna fish with shrimp
Lunch: Big salad with imitation crab, chickpeas and kidney beans.
Dinner: Taco salad with a glass of milk
Snack: Turkey and mozzarella
Exercise: None

Hmmm...I think I'd give my left nut for a candy bar or maybe a bowl of ice cream. I'm pretty sick of eating salad and really could go for some carbs right about now. I've got six more days to tough out and I think I'll be able to make it, but I'm pretty sure two weeks is about all I can handle of this phase. Hopefully I won't go sugar crazy when I enter Phase II. I've lost some belly fat and I'd like to keep it off. My pants are pretty loose now and I feel a bit better. My digestive system doesn't get as...uh...distressed either. I'm not sure if that is because of the diet or the lack of non-solid dairy. I'm not complaining though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Frustrations with American health care

As you know, my left leg is pretty sore from the trauma of my basketball-induced injury. I went to the Urgent Care on Sunday and got some x-rays, but it's still sore and I want to make sure that nothing is torn so I decided to make an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. I called this morning and the woman on the phone was pretty rude. Their first response boils down to "What do you want?" or "Why do you need to see the doctor?" That's a fair enough question, but when you ask it, don't imply that I'm a hypochondriac. Also, when I tell you that I think I've found my chart number, don't interrupt me as I read it off to ask for my last name. The administrative people associated with this hospital/medical group are actually pretty rude. The nurses and doctors are alright, but always rushed. I guess there are just too many people in the Bay Area.

Unfortunately, the soonest appointment is a week from this Thursday during lunch. Oh well. I think I can tough it out until then. I think my knee is ok, but I want to make sure and I also need to get a treatment plan for getting my leg joints back into fighting shape. My right knee is starting to get a little sore now because I am overcompensating.

The good news is that I was able to get my ankle splint into my shoe so I don't have to wear flip-flops to work. My feet got a little cold yesterday.

When to buy....

As most of you know, I'm saving up to buy property here in Sunnyvale. Thanks to a loan from a good friend, I'll have enough to make the minimum down payment. Housing prices around here have also fallen into my range (< $500k) and are still falling (~ $450k). My original plan was to buy near the end of this year since my lease runs through this December, but I've been reading online that the housing market isn't likely to bottom out until late 2009 or early 2010.

Hmmm...should I stick to my original plan or wait a bit longer? I can renew my lease as month-to-month in 2009 and that'll give me more time to save up money, but my rent is nearly as expensive as a mortgage and I think that I'm ready to live without any adjacent neighbors. Also it's hard to gauge exactly when the bottom will hit and I can always offer low-ball bids. If I wait too long then more people will be able to afford houses so there might be some competition.

I've got a few months to decide anyhow, but if anyone has any advice, lay it on me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 7

Breakfast: Tuna fish
Lunch: Big salad with smoked salmon, chickpeas and kidney beans.
Dinner: Broiled flank steak, asparagus, salad and a glass of almond milk
Snack: Turkey and goat cheese
Exercise: None

Ah ha. I'm halfway through Phase I and I think I'm doing alright. I still get hungry for sugar, but the cravings aren't that strong. I haven't lost as much weight as anticipated, but I think I was in better shape when I started than most dieters. I've lost some belly fat and that's always appreciated. I'll be glad when I can eat more food to add some variety back to my meals. I'll still eat a lot of salad though since I've gotten used to them.

I read that the weight loss slows down during Phase II, but hopefully I can continue to lose. I'll need to make sure to exercise and that means getting my knee and ankle back to fighting shape.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 6

Breakfast: 3 eggs, scrambled with milk, shrimp, goat cheese and green onions
Lunch: Taco salad
Dinner: Broiled flank steak, asparagus, salad and a glass of almond milk
Snack: Glass of skim milk, turkey and goat cheese
Exercise: None

I just realized that they replace the fat in skim milk with sugar which gives it the same mouthfeel. Unfortunately, I'm not supposed to have sugar now. That may be why I'm still jonesin' for it a little. There isn't a lot of sugar in milk and I think even Phase I allows for some during the day. I think I'll start buying whole milk since there isn't that much fat and it should be less adulterated.

I definitely think the diet is working since I look leaner, feel healthier and don't crave sugar quite so strongly. Just 8 days to go in Phase I.

Back from the clinic...

My leg was hurting a bit more today than yesterday so I grabbed a book and headed over to the "Urgent" Care clinic in Mountain View to get it checked out. I put urgent in quotes because the only urgency is on my part. The clinic is in a nice new building, but feels like the Third World because you have to wait forever. Firstly, you sign in. Then you wait. Then they call you up to get your insurance information. Then you wait a lot longer. Then they take your vitals. Then you wait a helluva lot longer. Then you get taken to a room. Then you wait. Then you see the doctor. She poked and prodded my leg and couldn't believe that I did no obvious structural damage when my leg folded unnaturally. I got some x-rays taken of my knee and ankle and everything looks ok except my fibula has a strange jog in it so I need to call back tomorrow to hear what the radiologist has to say. I also got a neoprene knee sleeve and an air split. I can nearly walk normally now with the sleeve so that's good. She said to give it rest and to stay off it so it looks like no sports for me for a couple of weeks for sure. Bummer.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 28

Day 194:
Weight = 194.4 lbs (+0.6 lbs)

Body fat = 27.4 % (-1.6 %)

Visceral fat = 10 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1864 kCal (+10 kCal)

Wow. I would definitely say that this new diet is working since I lost nearly two percentage points of fat in one week. The weight gain is misleading because I was dehydrated last Sunday from my hike in Marin. I weighed myself last Tuesday and was 196.something lbs so I probably lost about two pounds. Not too shabby. I think I look a little leaner as well. I know that I've got a ways to go, but I'm making good progress. I'm definitely going to stick with this diet to see how beefcake I can get.

I didn't get too much exercise last week and I'll get very little this week because my leg is still sore. I'm going to make an appointment to get it checked out just to make sure that everything is ok. It's possible that I have a small partial tear so I want to be safe.

Metal Gear Solid IV

I bought this game for the PlayStation 3 a few weeks ago and finally made some time to get into it. It's pretty damn cool. It's an action game, but the goal isn't to kill everyone. You have an easier time if you're stealthy. I suck at it, but that's ok. The graphics are awesome and the story is cool as well.

The PlayStation definitely has some pretty cool games. When I save up some money, I'll get Soulcalibur IV and Gran Turismo.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jedi Mind Tricks

Over the most recent holiday weekend my friend Joe told me about a pretty ill rap group called Jedi Mind Tricks. I checked out a few of their tracks on YouTube and it's fan-fuckin-tastic. They have great beats, good samples and smooth flow. They rap about stuff that matters as well instead of bitches, cash and cars.

Check out Heavy Metal Kings, Tear it Down, On the Eve of War, Razorblade Salvation and Uncommon Valor.

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 5

Breakfast: 3 eggs, scrambled with milk, imitation crab, goat cheese and green onions
Lunch: Taco salad
Dinner: Broiled flank steak, asparagus, salad and a glass of almond milk
Snack: Glass of skim milk and part-skim mozzarella
Exercise: None unless hobbling around counts

Breakfast was pretty damn tasty, lunch was leftovers and I tried a recipe from the South Beach book for dinner. I marinated flank steak in Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, lemon juice and tomato juice. The recipe only called for two hours of marinating which probably wasn't enough so the meat wasn't as tender as it should've been. I simmered the asparagus, but I think I overcooked it a little because it wasn't quite crisp. No big deal.

When I was looking in my cookbook, I saw some recipes for desserts that looked pretty good so I haven't quite cured my sugar addiction, but I think that I want it less than I did last week. I've got enough willpower to make it through the remaining nine days without any trouble.

Farmer's market and the South Beach Diet

Gah. It's tough going to the farmer's market in the summer when I can't eat any fruit. Blackberries are now in season and looked really tasty, but I had to keep on walking. It's all good. I'll be able to eat fruit in about ten days so I can get some next weekend.

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 4

Breakfast: Tuna fish
Lunch: Big salad
Dinner: Taco salad with a glass of unflavored almond milk
Snack: sliced ham and part-skim mozzarella
Exercise: None thanks to last night's fun.

I was going to make a lettuce taco which is a taco using a lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla or taco shell, but the lettuce refused to cooperate so I just piled everything on. I used ground bison with green chiles, cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, onion, lettuce, tomatoes and some sour cream. It was definitely pretty tasty.

I think the diet is working because I feel leaner and I don't crave sugar as much as I did earlier this week. I still wouldn't mind a piece of chocolate cake or maybe some key lime pie.

Friday, July 11, 2008

White trash piss me off

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood because my left leg still hurts from last night's injury or maybe it's because I accidentally got some hot/cold cream on my balls, but white trash really piss me off. I'm not even sure the best way to describe white trash, but you don't need to be white nor poor. I guess it's more of an attitude or way of life. White trash are the kind of people to feed their kids Wonderbread and beanie-weenies regardless of how much money they make. White trash are the kind to have grubby little kids running around with no discipline. White trash have no class and no manners.

White trash are the people that were behind me driving home from the store. There is a section where two lanes become one. My lane is the one that stays and they decided to drive next to me until the last minute and then zip behind me. They rode my ass until I started to turn right into the garage for my building. The driveway for this garage is steep so you don't want to take it at a high speed and there are often people walking from their cars. I guess I didn't turn in fast enough because the white trash bitch in the passenger seat yelled, "Hurry the fuck up" as they drove past. Classy.

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 3

Breakfast: Tuna fish
Lunch: Big salad with grilled chicken
Dinner: grilled chicken and a salad
Snack: Roast beef and part-skim mozzarella
Exercise: Played basketball for twenty minutes or so until I hyperextended my knee while falling. It's too bad because I was playing good D. I blocked three or four shots.

We'll see what happens now. I'll continue the diet, but with my hurt knee and ankle I'm not sure how much exercise I'm going to get in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 2

Breakfast: Two organic eggs, scrambled with spinach and cheese
Lunch: Roast beef "sandwich" (lettuce instead of bread) and a salad
Dinner: grilled chicken and a salad with a glass of plain almond milk
Snack: Roast beef, part-skim mozzarella and a little bit of peanut butter
Exercise: Walked to and from work (4.2 miles round trip) and did some strength training with my resistance bands

Phase I of this diet is a little bit like detox since I'm really jonesin' for some sugar. I'm sure the feeling will pass in a day or two, but I do feel a little weird. I want to get in shape so I'll tough it out.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

South Beach Diet, Phase I: Day 1

Today is Day One of fourteen days of Phase I of the South Beach Diet. No simple sugars for me for fourteen days. It's going to be tough, but I think it's necessary so that I can lose the spare tire from around my middle and prevent a minor metabolic syndrome from developing into diabetes.

I will record what I eat for the next two weeks to help me stay on track.

Breakfast: Two organic eggs, fried
Lunch: Roast beef "sandwich" (lettuce instead of bread) and a salad
Dinner: "Burger" (lettuce instead of a bun) and a salad with a glass of plain almond milk
Snack: Roast beef and part-skim mozzarella
Exercise: None since no one showed up for frisbee

I was hungry for something sweet this afternoon, but the feeling passed. It's too hot for me to think about food now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Otter web cam

You can watch the sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium here. They're pretty funny and I could spend hours watching them tool around.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monterey Bay

My college friends, James and Carrie, are staying in Monterey for two nights so I took today off and drove down to hang out. We met around noon and got some food at a restaurant on the ocean. All of us had crab in our meal and I had a seafood salad to satisfy my upcoming diet. Then we tooled over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent the rest of the afternoon there. We saw otters and sharks and other fish. It was pretty cool and was fairly crowded. We also saw a harbor sea out in the Bay, but he dove before I could get my camera ready and didn't surface anywhere we could see.

On the way back to their hotel, I got an ice cream cone because I was jonesin' for a little bit of sugar. It was a scoop of chocolate chip in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone.

The pictures suck because the fish and otters move pretty damn fast.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 27

Day 187:
Weight = 193.8 lbs (-2.6 lbs)
Body fat = 29.0 % (+0.4 %)
Visceral fat = 10 (no change)

It seems like I have lost quite a bit of weight from last week, but I think most of that is just water loss from being outside in the sun all day yesterday. My body fat percentage did creep up a little, but that could be in the noise since I'm not sure how accurate my scale is to begin with.

Due to the holiday weekend, I didn't get much cardiovascular exercise in because people were out of town. I did walk to work twice last week and did my strength exercises, but no frisbee and no basketball. Hiking yesterday made up for some of it, but not enough.

I've made pretty good progress since I've started seriously trying to lose weight, but I'd like to pick up the pace. The central fat is an indication of metabolic syndrome and I do not want diabetes. I think that I'll start to see some great progress once I incorporate a better diet, which will happen on Tuesday because I'm going to Monterey tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Visiting with college friends

Today was spent hanging out with three of my college friends: Joe, my roommate for the first two years, James, my roommate for the third year and Carrie, James' wife. Carrie is a year younger, but also went to Carleton.

I drove to Palo Alto to pick Joe up and then we drove up to San Francisco to pick up James and Carrie. We drove to Muir Woods and were lucky to get a parking spot. We walked through the forest and then did one of the longer hikes. I'm guess we hiked for about 2.5 miles or so. By then it was lunch time so we drove to Sausalito and found a pretty cool place on the water where most of us got sandwiches. Then we drove to the Marin Headlands and hiked around there - maybe another 2 miles or so. On the way back to San Francisco, we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge to walk out onto it. We didn't go even halfway, but it was enough.

In the pictures of the Bay you can see a lot of windsurfers.

It was foggy in the morning, but it burned off quickly and we were able to get some pretty cool views. I took a lot of pictures which I've thrown up in here without captions because that will take too long.

It was great to hang out with them and we were talking like we had just seen each other rather than the few years gap.

Joe is the tall dude and James is a bit shorter than me.