Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The crappy economy

I've gone out to eat a few times the past week and have really noticed how empty restaurants are these days. In Mountain View last Thursday, there were bored waiters hanging out on the sidewalk trying to will people in. DishDash in Sunnyvale was also pretty empty. They only had part of the back room open.

It makes me wonder what people are doing with their money. Let's assume that most people still have their jobs. They're most likely still getting paid as much. Sure, the stock market is down, but I don't think too many people's disposable income is tied to the market. I guess people are worried about losing their jobs and are sockin' away cash for the rainy days to come. That sounds like a strategy I should follow, but it doesn't sound like much fun.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Afternoon at Half Moon Bay

Yesterday Tara and I went to Half Moon Bay for the afternoon. We were supposed to leave before lunch, but she had some work to finish up. No worries since the ocean would still be there.

On the way there we hit some traffic on Hwy 92 with people going to the beach and more people hittin' pumpkin patches in anticipation for Halloween. We got there hungry so we hit this cafe for lunch. The food was just ok and the service was not very good, but it's all good. Then we hit what I thought was a kite store. It turns out that it's more of a tourist/toy store than a kite store. They happened to sell kites despite the name "Lunar Wind Inventions." I didn't see any kites I liked, but we got a couple of plastic buckets and shovels.

We drove a short ways to Poplar Beach. You can park there for free and there are Port-a-Potty toilets. The sand was smooth, but the water was ice cold. We threw a frisbee around for a bit and then tried to build a sand castle, but the sand wasn't quite wet enough to stay in place so we sat on the beach listening to the ocean. I thought I had put on enough sunblock, but apparently I missed a few spots so I got a little burned.

Once the sun started to go down, we went back to the Peninsula and hit up this place called Jeffrey's for dinner. It has a stupid name, but is definitely a place worth going to. It's an old-fashioned burger joint that a co-worker told me about, but one that I had yet to try. You order at the counter and then they bring your food out. They have a toppings bar so you can fix up your burger to your satisfaction. They'll even cook your burger to your preference. The milkshakes are good too and the prices aren't bad.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday and it was pretty warm there even though it's nearly the end of October. I can see why many people want to live in the Bay Area.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 43

Day 299:
Weight = 193.0 lbs (+2.6 lbs)

Body fat = 26.4 % (-1.2 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1857 kCal (+21 kCal)

Hmmm... I seem to be in some zone where I trade off weight for body fat. Interesting. I didn't work out enough last week - I hit the track for my sprint work, but mainly just bounced on my trampoline in the mornings. I need to find a way to get more physical activity into my day.

No picture this week because I'm feeling lazy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Steak and the World Series

I got out of work early to catch the first game of the World Series between the Phillies and the Rays. My work friend came over and I grilled up a steak, made mashed sweet potatoes, cooked some rice and put together a salad. The steak turned out well though it was just a tad dry for some reason.

Even though the Rays were at home I didn't think they'd win because Hamels was pitching for the Phillies and he can get it done. TB has a great bullpen though and kept it close, losing 3-2. They went out meekly in the ninth though. I think they'll have a better chance against the other Phillies' pitchers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday ramblings

I was going to post a picture of my dinner, but the batteries in my camera died. I decided that I need to eat less wheat since I think it messes with my GI tract a bit. I brewed up a pretty tasty salad with sweet lettuce, smoked salmon, red pepper, goat cheese, carrots, peas, chickpeas and balsamic vinaigrette. Definitely tasty. I also juiced two apples and a pear - probably too much sugar, but it's all good since I hit the track this morning. My sprint work is definitely good for me. It helps me get going and burns off any funk from the previous week.

Work has been a little stressful because the economy sucks and our stock price is trading below book value. We're a great value, but mainly to someone who would buy us and sell us off piece-meal. I don't think my job would survive as-is if that happens, but I can't worry about it. Well, that's what I tell myself, but it still gnaws a bit in the back of my brain.

I think I'm even more worried about the upcoming election. I've already voted and I'm sure you can tell that I voted for Obama. I can't marshal up any reasons to vote for McCain, especially after he chose Palin for his running mate. She strikes me as someone who isn't altogether grounded in reality. I am worried that the anti-intellectualism of the past eight years will propagate forward until Idiocracy comes true. If you haven't seen it, check it out. Then go "family style." Heh. I think I should watch that movie again along with the 40 Year Old Virgin. I need a good laugh.

I spent this weekend relaxing. I didn't clean up the kitchen as much as I should have nor the rest of my apartment, but it's all good. I caught up on my sleep so I should be well rested for the week ahead. I caught some football today, but my fantasy dudes didn't do well so I don't think I'll win. I did win four of the first six weeks which gives me a lot of bragging rights, but fortunes can change quickly. I drafted pretty well though, but I need to pick up a more productive tight end for sure.

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 42

Day 292:
Weight = 190.4 lbs (-4.6 lbs)

Body fat = 27.6 % (+1.3 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (-1 unit)

Resting metabolism = 1836 kCal (-36 kCal)

Hmmm... I lost nearly 5 lbs, but my body fat increased. My back was bugging me for most of last week so I didn't do any exercise other than bouncing on my trampoline each morning. I'm not sure why I lost a lot of weight though. Maybe I wasn't eating much. I hit the track this morning and I'll try to get back on my regular exercise schedule for this week to keep my body fat trending downward.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Do it yourself failure

I decided to try to make my own shampoo using this recipe. I'm sure that it is time tested and all that, but my problem is that I don't really have a concept of how much a regular shampoo bottle can hold. It turns out it can hold 2 cups minus a little bit, but the recipe makes 2 cups plus a little bit. Consequently, I was unable to stir it up well. I tried it out in the shower this afternoon and it still seemed to work well though it didn't lather up much. I think next time I'll make just half the recipe.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 41

Day 285:
Weight = 195.0 lbs (+2.2 lbs)

Body fat = 26.3 % (-1.1 %)

Visceral fat = 10 (+1 unit)

Resting metabolism = 1872 kCal (+18 kCal)

Very interesting numbers for this week. I gained a couple of pounds which seems to be mostly muscle given the significant decrease in body fat percentage, but somehow my visceral fat went up a little. I managed to lose fat from around my muscles, but gained some around my organs? Heh. The only accurate measurement here is my weight and that one is the least meaningful as an indicator of health.

I definitely think I'm getting leaner though I need to eat less sugar. I kept up with my sprint work, trampoline work, strength training and played basketball and tennis last week so that should explain the metabolism boost. Unfortunately, I jacked up my back playing basketball and it hasn't fixed itself yet so I'm going to skip track work this morning. I don't really want to because I get a lot out of it, but I'm not sure sprinting is the best medicine for a sore back. I'll try bouncing on my trampoline to see if that can realign things.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Better living through chemistry

Thanks to my allergies, I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. When I was a kid, I used to sleep like the dead. You could shake me, punch me, pour water on me or whatnot and I wouldn't wake up. That all ended when I went to college.

I take a lot of medications for my allergies: Allegra as an anti-histamine, Mucinex to thin down mucous, Singulair and Nasonex (nose spray) to keep my passages clear. I also take aspirin every day for my heart/joints, TJ's Joint Formula for my joints and Juvenon for general well-being. All of that helps me get up to "normal" rather than miserable if I skip medicine. I recently started taking melatonin at night to help me sleep and it works like a charm. Almost as soon as I chew on it, I get really tired and am able to fall asleep faster. However, because I'm able to sleep better, I want to sleep longer so it's been a struggle to get up in the mornings. It doesn't help that it's pitch black out either.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Super sweet. Today I paid off my car loan to my parents. They bought the car for me in OR so that I wouldn't have to pay CA sales tax. I was able to pay off $21k in 21 months. Not too shabby. Now that "extra" $1k per month will have to go towards a down payment for a house and then the house and then home improvement.

Hopefully I can scrape together the money because this falling market has brought some really nice houses into my price range. I found a couple yesterday that look good on paper: 1400 sq feet, two floors, not too far from work, in great shape, 4 bed/2 bath, for just a hair under $500k.


Tonight's dinner was lobster ravioli from Trader Joe's on top of baked polenta with marinara sauce and red peppers. I also had a salad of lettuce and goat cheese. Not too shabby though the red sauce was a bit watery for some reason.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beefcake Challenge: End of Week 40

Day 278:
Weight = 192.8 lbs (-0.6 lbs)

Body fat = 27.4 % (+0.3 %)

Visceral fat = 9 (no change)

Resting metabolism = 1854 kCal (-4 kCal)

It seems that I'm hitting a plateau because the last couple of weeks have had random fluctuations in weight and body fat percentage. That's ok because I think I'm looking a heckuva lot more beefcake and have the pictures to prove it. My track work is helping quite a bit and so is my bouncing. I didn't play basketball last Thursday because I was giving my back a break, but I'll try to play this week. I've been eating a bit more sugar than I should, but nothing egregious.

All in all, I think my diet and exercise plan is going well and I should be at least semi-ripped by the end of the year.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just bounce

I read about the benefits of jumping on a trampoline when I was researching exercises to strengthen knees and ankles. I've got pretty strong muscles, but I'm worried that my joints aren't strong enough to cope, especially the ones that have undergone some trauma.

I got the above 38" mini-trampoline from Amazon and it came last Saturday so I've used every day for a week now. On work days, I use it right after I get up to provide some energy. I read online that up-and-down movement helps cycle lymph around your body. I don't know about that, but bouncing is fun and relaxing. It helps get my posture better aligned and my legs feel stronger. It's good exercise too, but I don't jump for more than about ten minutes. That might be equivalent to fifteen minutes of jogging, but it's hard to say. I don't work up a sweat doing it.

I don't bounce off it because it shakes the floor and I don't want to disturb my downstairs neighbors early in the morning. When I get my own place next year I can bounce as high as I'd like.


Fall means applesauce to me so I got the recipe from my dad and got some organic apples from the farmer's market.

Here is the recipe (I simmered the apples with a stick of cinnamon):
Makes ~ 2.5 quarts
14 gravenstein apples (about 4-5 lbs, don't use any other kind of apple)

1/4 cup water

1 Tbl lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Peel apples; quarter them; remove the core; rinse off any nerdlies; and put in stockpot.

You can slice the quarters to make the cooking go quicker.

Add water and cook on medium low covered about 15 minutes until the water gets boiling.

Turn heat down to simmer and cook another hour covered, stirring with large spoon every 15 minutes.

Use potato masher to break down the softened apples to the desired texture.

Add lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon.

Mash and mix ingredients well and let simmer another 10 minutes.

Spoon applesauce in mason jars, using a funnel to minimize the mess.

Seal with mason lids and let cool at room temperature for an hour or so.

Cool further in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Freeze the jars that you won’t dig into right away.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Strange mood

I've been in a strange mood all day and I'm not sure I can explain it. It's not necessarily a bad mood, but just really strange. I wonder if it's because the weather is changing. Changes in pressure always put me off.