Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 35

Day 243:
Weight = 191.2 lbs (+0.6 lbs)

Body fat = 27.7 % (+0.8 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1841 kCal (+0 kCal)

I didn't get too much exercise in the past couple of weeks, especially this past week due to work. I was able to play basketball Thursday night though. After weighing myself this morning, I headed over to Fremont High School for some fartlek. The high school is less than two miles away, but I won't be going back there again. They have a track, but it's just a thin layer of dirt and sand and there are no lane markings or any other markings. I jogged a warm-up lap and then sprinted what I thought was close to 100 m four times. I was only fast on the first one since I walked back and sprinted again without any rest. I had hoped to do at least five iterations, but I didn't want to give myself a heart attack. It was also the hardest I've run in nearly two months so it's ok. I don't need to or expect to get into shape all at once anyhow. I walked a cool-down lap and then came home. I'll check out Homestead High School in Cupertino next week. Cupertino has more money so maybe they have a better track.

The good news is that my knees held up just fine. My right knee is a little sore, but that's from an injury in college. I think I'm finally starting to break up the scar tissue. I'll hit the sports chiropractor in September to see about getting everything aligned and to get my joints strong.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A strange thought

When I was in Portland, we plowed through the fifth and final season of The Wire. For those of you not familiar with the show, it is pure awesome. One of the central characters on there is Detective Jimmy McNulty and I realized this morning that I really identify with him. I'll be careful not to spoil anything, but there is a scene where some FBI profilers are essentially describing McNulty: highly functional alcoholic, has problems with authority figures, etc. and I thought, damn. If I hadn't stopped drinking a few years ago that would describe me perfectly. I definitely have problems with authority figures and it has made work a bit... uh... interesting at times. I really don't like to be micromanaged, but fortunately, my boss is awesome and is pretty hands-off for the most part.

Anyhow, there is another scene in that season where a drunken Bunk tells Jimmy, "You're no good for people, man." Heh. Sometimes I feel like that describes me pretty well. I don't necessarily see it as a complete negative. I think McNulty and I sometimes lose sight of the consequences of our actions in our quest to make things right. Some people have called it selfishness, but I don't think that's quite right. Selfishness implies that you consider and then discard the feelings of others. I think this situation is more that we become so focused on the goal that we lose track of what happens along the way. Shoot. I wish I had a better way with words because the thoughts seem more profound in my head than what I've got typed out.

I know that I'm a good person, but I think that I need to work on being more aware of other people's feelings and how my actions affect them.

I've disabled comments on this post because I'm not really looking for feedback. I'm sort of thinking out loud.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Can't sleep

I'm exhausted from my drive down, but I haven't been able to fall asleep. It's nearly midnight and I'm still up. Yeah, I'm sure most of you are awake now, but I usually go to bed before 11 because I get up before 6.

Maybe I'll do some more reading. I need to find a pretty boring book though.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vacation: Day 3-11

I got back from OR just after lunch time today. I had a great time on vacation visiting my family. We played a lot of cards (cribbage and pinochle), watched the fifth and final season of The Wire (best show ever on TV) and ate some decent food.

It was good to visit Portland, but it's strange to get culture shock in your hometown because you're not used to seeing only white people. There are also a lot of new housing developments and former ghettos are now prime real estate.

I brought rain with me the first three or four days. It was 100 the week before, but rained heavily just for me. Gah. I guess no trip to Portland is complete unless it rains unexpectedly.

I tried to follow my diet while up there, but did have pie and ice cream on a few occasions. I got exercise so I don't think I lost too much ground.

I took a fair amount of pictures so this post will be image intensive for sure. I'll just summarize the highlights of each day.

Firstly, my parents are renovating their kitchen in a major way. It used to be an ugly ass orange and yellow so they ripped out the flooring and the cabinets. Unfortunately, due to delays, it wasn't even close to being done when I was there so my style was cramped a bit. Below are some pictures of its current state. The kitchen faucets were installed towards the end of my visit and look good.

Secondly, Toby, my parents' bichon, is as funny as ever. I didn't get too many Fort Toby shots, but I got as many as I could. Amazingly enough, he is even greedier than I remember. He circles around looking for snacks and stuff to munch on. He really likes people, barks fiercely at the mailman and likes to look out the window. He can unzip zippers.

Day 3:
My brother and I drove up to Portland from Sunnyvale in around 11 hours. It's about 670 miles so we were bookin' it. I drove around 500 miles because I get too bored in the car if I'm not driving. We stopped for gas, piss breaks and lunch at In N Out Burger in Redding, CA. Protein style cheeseburger for the win. Below is my "before" shot on the day we left.

Day 4:
My brother and I hit Costco up. I got a blanket for my bed and a couple of cutting boards. We then picked my mom up and hit a running store, Foot Traffic, where I got a pair of Asics running shoes. I'm going to get back on the track to help get my fat ass in shape and I needed a good pair. This store is pretty cool. They videotape you walking on a treadmill to get a sense for your walking/running style. I'm pretty neutral though I've got a mild case of duck feet. The shoes are wicked comfortable and well-cushioned.

Day 5:
My dad took the day off so we went for a hike in Portland's Forest Park, which is the largest park within city limits. There are probably thirty miles of trails, but we did a seven mile loop. My knees held up pretty well, but I was tired by the time we were done. My blisters were a nice red as well. The first picture is of an "electric gun" that was in the backseat of a car parked at the trailhead. You can see by the picture on the box that it looks like some sort of military weapon. Weird. Maybe they were shooting hippies in the park. As you can tell, I always rock the high socks when I'm hiking.

Day 6:
My dad and my brother both took this day off. The whole family had breakfast at Zell's in SE Portland. My family liked it, but I didn't. I have some crazy bad luck with breakfast joints though so don't listen to me. Anyhow, my dad, my brother and I packed up three bikes and drove to Hood River to do the Hood River to Mosier trail. It used to be part of the old Columbia Gorge Highway, but they sealed it off and now it's a bike and running path. It's only 4.5 miles long, but has some hills. I got going 30 mph on the way down the hills and only 6 mph up them since I'm out of biking shape. The water shown is the Columbia River which separates OR from WA. Back in the day, it was one of the wildest rivers in the country, but all the dams took care of that.

Day 7:
I met my friend Daniel for lunch at Marinepolis Sushi Land in the Broadway area. You can't beat tasty and cheap sushi. Before that, I hit Lloyd Center for a shirt and some boxers. I have lost enough weight that my boxers, pants and shorts no longer fit well so I'm slowly replacing them. I got another polo-type shirt for work because it was on sale.

Day 8:
I went to the bookstore with my mom and got Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. My allergies were buggin' me so I spent this day reading and relaxing.

Day 9:
We went out to breakfast at the John St Cafe in N Portland with my uncle Dale and his new wife Dovie. It was good to see them and my uncle always has funny stories.

My dad, my brother and I hit the Nike outlet store in N Portland and I got a nice pair of basketball shoes and some dri-fit shorts so I'm good to go now that my knees are ok.

Day 10:
I drove the 270 miles from Portland to Medford in about 4.5 hours. I stayed at The Rodeway Inn which was perfect: clean, cheap ($55/night) and chockful of cable channels. My room is shown below. It's a real king, not two smaller mattresses side by side. I had pizza from Abby's Legendary Pizza. While not legendary, it hit the spot. Also shown is my "after" picture. No, I didn't shave the whole time I was there.

Day 11:
I woke up early, had my free continental breakfast and hit the road. I drove from Medford to Sunnyvale in less than six hours which is pretty good considering it's 400 miles. I guess that's what happens when you drive a bit over the speed limit.

Below is a shot of everything I bought in Portland.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 34

Day 236:

No numbers this week because I'm still up in Portland. No photos either for the same reason. I'm not sure I'm going to continue with the photos or not. One friend says they look vaguely pornographic because of the poses and the fact that you can't see my face. Hmmm...they do a good job of showing my fitness progress or lack thereof. I think that I'll make a poll to see if the masses (my three or four loyal readers) want to see the pictures or not.

I did get some exercise this week (hiking, hiking and biking), but probably not enough. I've had more sugar and simple carbs than I should as well, but it's vacation and I'm not really craving them. I was thinking of going back on Phase I for a week, but that doesn't sound appealing to me so I'll stay in Phase II and start adding in real exercise. I'm not sure what my knees can handle, but I'll find out. I was able to hike and bike without serious trouble, but I haven't subjected my knees to any side-to-side type motion. Maybe I'll play basketball this Thursday and see how it goes. I got some new basketball shoes yesterday at the Nike outlet store so I'm good to go. They're lighter than my old pair, pretty snazzy looking and were only $60. Sweet.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tasty conveyor belt sushi

I met up with my friend for lunch today at this conveyor belt sushi place, Marinepolis Sushi Land, near Lloyd Center. My friend works about five blocks away and Lloyd Center is within walking distance of my parents' place. This place is pretty damn cool. You sit along the counter and sushi goes by on a conveyor belt. The plates are color coded which determines the price. Most sushi is $1-$2 and tastes damn good. I picked up the tab for both of us and it was $12 for nine plates. Sure, I'll get hungry later, but that happens no matter where I eat sushi.

If you're up in Portland, you should definitely hit this place.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Borrowed bikes and my nuts do not mix

My dad, my brother and I went for a bike ride between Hood River and Mosier today. I had to borrow one of my brother's bikes since I didn't bring mine. He told me not to mess with the seat because he had it professionally adjusted so I had to ride as is. I was doing alright until the way back. Too much chafing for sure. He and I are almost the same size, but just off enough for it to be pretty uncomfortable down there. I should get some bike pants for sure.

The ride was good if not short and my knees held up pretty well until the very end. They're a little sore, but I think that's due to inactivity not damage.

Blisters and pinochle

I got blisters on my heels from my long ass hike last Friday and they still weren't healed when I went on another long ass hike today. Now they're sore and seeping. Nice. There's nothing like dripping pus all over.

The good news is that my mom and I whupped on my dad and my brother in pinochle. We were just coastin' the last hand, but played it well enough that they went set to end the game. Sweet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Oregon observations

It is definitely strange to be back in Oregon. I grew up here, but haven't lived here permanently for fourteen years. Portland was in the midst of a heatwave until I showed up yesterday and it rained heavily this morning. There was thunder and lightning as well which was pretty cool until I realized how close it was when I was walking to my brother's place for breakfast. People don't believe it, but it can rain any time in Portland. I don't care if it's 120 out and cloud free. It can rain in the next five minutes.

People in CA definitely drive more aggressively than in OR. I drive pretty defensively in Sunnyvale, but was passing people left and right in OR. I was also one of the faster cars on the road and I was only doing 5-10 mph over the speed limit. In CA, that would make me one of the slower drivers. It's good not to get cut off all the time though.

Housing is much, much cheaper up here. There is a townhouse/condo/converted apartment for sale near my brother's apartment: 1400 sq ft, two bedrooms, two bathrooms in a great neighborhood for ... $289k. The same place down in CA would probably run close to $1M. My parents' house is alright, but is in the most desirable neighborhood in Portland so is worth quite a bit for around here. It'll be worth even more once their kitchen is done which can't happen too soon for my tastes.

The other thing I noticed about OR is how white it is. My brother and I played a game. We counted how many cars had non-white people in them from Tualatin to my parents' place in NE Portland. We passed hundreds and hundreds of cars and counted five to six non-whites. It's pretty strange especially after coming from the Bay Area where whites are a majority, but less than 50% of the total population. It's a bit strange to get culture shock in your birth town.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 33

Day 229:
Weight = 190.6 lbs (+1.8 lbs)

Body fat = 26.9 % (-0.7 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1841 kCal (+17 kCal)

It's too early for me to take pictures since we're going to drive up to Portland today, but the numbers above tell a pretty good story. I set a new personal record this morning for body fat percentage by 0.2 %. It's strange, but these numbers are nearly identical to the ones from two weeks ago. Maybe I'm on an every-other kind of cycle. In any case, hiking eight miles on Friday certainly helped though I've got blisters on my heel. I've been eating just ok so I'll probably fire up Phase I again after I come back to make sure I don't bring any bad habits down with me from Portland.

Vacation: Day 2

My brother and I drove up to Rockridge, a neighborhood in Oakland to meet up with our cousins for brunch: Kerry, her husband John, their two kids, Molly and Olivia and Lucie and her husband Brent. Lucie is supposed to have her first baby any day now. We went to the Rockridge Cafe which is supposed to be a good place, but was just alright. The portions were a little on the small side and some people ordered more food just to feel full. It's the kind of place where people go to be seen, but it isn't anywhere I'd wait forty minutes though.

It's pretty rare to catch me smiling in a picture. I don't remember what was said to get me to laugh though.

The original plan was for my brother and I to take BART into SF to poke around, but my allergies were killin' me so I dropped my bro off at Berkeley and drove home. I did some laundry and packed while he tooled around the city.

We grubbed on grilled steak for dinner, watched some preseason football and then some of the Chappelle Show. Sweet. I also barely beat him in cribbage so it's 3-1 him. I'll get my revenge in P-town for sure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vacation: Day 1

I'm taking vacation from today through 8/25. My brother flew in from Portland last night and we went to Rancho San Antonio County Park to go for a hike. We got there late morning so it was pretty toasty out. We did the PG&E trail plus another one for a total of about 8 miles. My knees held up pretty well until the very end and are a little sore now. We didn't take enough water so we got dehydrated.

No, we don't look anything alike, yes, I do have bad posture, yes, I do sweat a lot and yes, I do look dorky with my socks pulled up, but it keeps my shins from getting bit or scratched.

I got beat twice in cribbage and was skunked the first time so I'm 0-3. Weak.

We went to DishDash for dinner. I had the shish kabob and my brother had tabsi. The food was great, but it was loud and crowded since we were on the "ghetto" side of the restaurant where they put the kids and walk-ins.

We watched Cloverfield last night. It was a little better than Jumper because the cameraman character said some funny things, but it was still a pretty piss-poor movie.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 32

Day 222:
Weight = 188.8 lbs (-2.0 lbs)

Body fat = 27.6 % (+0.5 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1824 kCal (-16 kCal)

No pictures this week because I'm feeling a bit lazy. I'm losing weight which is a good thing, but my body fat crept up a little bit. That's alright since the general trend seems to be still downwards. The fat loss will pick up once I can exercise more seriously which should happen within two weeks or so. I can't wait.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fun with oats

Note to self: Dumbass, check the number of servings the directions make before you start cooking so that you don't make a week's worth of oats all at once.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Political leanings and political ramblings

The upcoming presidential election has gotten me thinking about where I am in the political spectrum. I used to identify with the Democrats because my parents lean that way, but I'm not sure either major party truly represents my views. I think I'm the closest to libertarianism, but I still believe in government to provide national defense, a system of roads, etc. I also believe in decriminalizing "victimless" crimes like recreational drugs, gambling and prostitution. I don't know if I would go as far as allowing untested drugs on the marketplace or untested medical procedures, but I think people have the right and responsibility to make their own choices. Who am I to legislate how someone spends his free time? As long as someone's actions do not interfere with my rights to life and liberty then I don't really care what they do. Sure seatbelts and motorcycle helmets save lives, but they shouldn't be mandatory. If you want to ride your crotch-rocket on the freeway without a helmet, then be my guest. I guess it's a bit self-selecting anyhow because many of those who take those risks will end up road pizza.

It would be also nice to get the police solving real cases rather than busting people for pot. Rapists go free while some dude is serving 10-20 years for something that really isn't wrong. It's currently criminal, but that doesn't necessarily make it wrong.

These days it feels like the government exists to perpetuate itself rather than to protect and improve the lives of its citizens. I can honestly say that the US is going downhill and it seems like the process is only speeding up. We live in the most technologically advanced age ever and people are still homeless and hungry.

If I had to choose between McCain and Obama, I'd pick Obama, but he has no major accomplishments. He represents major change, but change for the sake of change is not really what this country needs. We need a return to honesty and integrity. Bush is pretty much a lying sack of shit, but we were stupid enough to vote for him twice so shame on us (though he probably "stole" the first election). I would be ecstatic to vote for a politician who actually told the truth about his political views and plans and who didn't try to satisfy everyone. It's not going to happen. If you ask you the best way to solve the mortgage crisis don't ask me what I think. If I ask how can the US regain the technological lead, put some thought into your response. I don't want Election '08 sponsored by MTv. Give the rest of us some credit. Americans are dumb, but not that dumb. Raise the level of discourse. I don't want to see ads with Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and other vacuous media whores.

I'd really like to see the discussion centered around a few key topics:
  • Iraq: As in when are we going to get the fuck out? Have we messed up that country enough? It certainly hasn't helped with oil prices and Saddam is long dead so I'm not sure what's left to do.
  • The environment and renewable energy: How quickly can we convert our fossil fuel plants to solar, geothermal, wind and wave? When can we blow up dams to let the rivers run wild? So what if they flood? Don't build your house ten feet from the river bank then.
  • US' dependence on driving and flying: Where is my high speed rail? Why are we far behind Europe? Sure Europe is more dense, but I'm not necessarily asking for a rail link between East and West Bumfuck, but it would be great to have something that ran from San Diego to Seattle or Vancouver, BC and it would be great to have something run from Boston to DC. Why don't we take some of that money we're pissing away in Iraq and build up our infrastructure? Two massive projects like that would certainly generate a lot of construction jobs.
  • Healthcare: How soon can we get the insurance companies out of the equation? I want doctors making medical decisions, not insurance adjusters. I don't want to wait for three hours just to get my vitals taken. Why are prescription drugs more than double in the US than Canada? If we were a less litigious society, we could reduce the number of bullshit malpractice suits and reduce the overall cost. Sure doctors mess up from time to time and you should compensated if it was due to negligence, but if the procedure is experimental or risky then there is a chance it can go wrong. Don't dilute the legitimate cases with stupid shit.

El hombre come

I finally installed Level 1 of Latin American Spanish from Rosetta Stone and then ran through the first lesson. It says I only got 99% of the lesson right, but it didn't catch the one it said I missed - el hombre come. I said it, but I guess the free headset doesn't have a great mic. Oh well. Their concept is definitely interesting. It is complete immersion with no translation. You learn by associating the words with images and by repeating after native speakers. I can also say/understand stuff like Ellos nadan and Las ninas corren. Oh and don't forget that El hombre cocina and La mujer bebe.

I'll try to go through two or three lessons a week. There are only four units, but hopefully it won't go too quickly. I'll decide after finishing finishing this level if I want to continue. I'm a little skeptical that I can learn Spanish in just three levels, but who knows? It's worth a shot and learning is always cool.

I can't roll my r's so I know I'll mispronounce any word that requires it like corre.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I am a bad man

For an after lunch treat, I just ate an Oreo ice cream bar. I don't know why I was hungry for sugar, but I've been pretty good the past three weeks so I indulged. It only had 18 g of sugar, which isn't terrible considering that I eat very little sugar otherwise. I guess it can be my dessert for the week.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Free haircut

My hair was getting long so I decided to cut it. I didn't feel like paying to get a real haircut so I shaved it all off.

Here is the before picture. I look grumpy because I found a lot of wiry gray hairs on the side of my head.

Here is the after picture. I look "happier" because the evidence of aforementioned gray hairs is now in my trash can.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 31

Day 215:
Weight = 190.8 lbs (no change)

Body fat = 27.1 % (-0.9 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1840 kCal (+4 kCal)

Ah ha. Now the numbers are showing my progress. This body fat percent of 27.1% is the lowest it has ever been since I started recording it. Kick ass. Hopefully it will continue to drop as I add back in more vigorous exercise. This past week I walked to and from work twice and rode the exercise bike three times with some interval training. I also did some strength training to get more beefcake. I think I'm definitely leaner though my posture sucks. I definitely need to get that "fixed" by the end of the summer.

My knees are doing much better, but they still complain if I work them too much. I've got a couple more weeks of low impact exercise to go and then I'll test them out with something more strenuous. I'm not sure what though. Ultimate on a lumpy field is probably not a good choice nor is basketball on a dirty court. Hmmm... maybe I can try some light jogging.

I'm still more or less following Phase II of the South Beach Diet and it's working. I no longer crave sugar and passed on dessert yesterday at lunch though being full was probably the main reason. Even when I eat sugar now it doesn't taste as good as it did before. Huh. I wonder if maybe I'm just not eating the right desserts since I haven't had any ice cream.

Half Moon Bay

The doctor and I went to Half Moon Bay. We lucked out with pretty nice weather. We had lunch at Sam's Chowder House and the food was pretty tasty. It was windy, but still pretty nice. I think I got a little sunburned, but not too badly.

I even saw two dead seals on the beach.

The woman below fell out of her kayak. She was ok since the water wasn't that deep.