Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fitness Update: End of February

Well, it's the end of the month which means it's time for a photo update and another blip on the graph. I did quite a bit of exercise this week: I used the elliptical trainer twice since it was raining, rode my bike once and did my strength training three times. I lost a little bit more than a pound, but my body fat increased slightly. Gah.

As you can see from the picture, the top part of my chest is fairly lean. It tapers down like an inverted triangle until about an inch or two above my navel. Then the belly fat takes over. Due to my sex and body type that place will be the last from where I lose weight. I think that I'm making decent progress so I just need to keep on keeping on. I definitely need to cut back on sugar.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts on Houston 98, Portland 94

Portland traveled to Houston to battle it out for fourth seed in the Western Conference. Portland got off to a good start in the first six minutes, but then imploded until the third quarter when it made a run to keep the game close. Portland had a chance to win it in the fourth quarter, but ran out of gas.

Portland imploded for the usual reasons: poor perimeter defense, poor shooting, poor free throw "defense" and an inability to keep Houston off the offensive glass. Portland had no answer for the quickness of Aaron Brooks and couldn't match the toughness of Luis Scola. No Greg Oden meant a thin front court so Channing Frye was called upon to back up Przybilla to predictable results. Portland doesn't have anyone as tall as Yao, but he wasn't able to get it going until the third quarter.

The first quarter also featured some of the most egregious flopping (by Portland) that I've ever seen. It even rivaled the Maggette flopping and he is notorious. I agree with Matt Bullard, the Rockets' color analyst, in that the NBA needs to crack down on flopping.

Individual notes:
  • Brandon Roy had his usual solid game with 24 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. He complained to the refs quite a bit and hasn't learned that they tune him out pretty quickly.
  • Steve Blake shot poorly, but still ended up with 9 points, 7 boards and 5 assists. Steve was the recipient of a lot of tipped balls from Yao. Steve also was unable to stay in front of Brooks.
  • Joel Przybilla played 30 minutes of fairly solid defense and grabbed 8 boards, but wasn't able to keep Yao's hook shot from falling though in his defense, I don't think there is anyone in the league that can block that shot.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points and grabbed 8 boards, but took too many outside shots and failed to take it inside against the smaller defenders.
  • Nicolas Batum got more playing time with 27 minutes and 14 points. He only grabbed one rebound and his defense wasn't as good as usual.
  • Travis Outlaw shot 50% from the field and scored 15 points, but grabbed only 3 boards and played his usual matador defense. He needs to be more active overall and not settle for an outside shot every time down.
  • Rudy Fernandez missed all three 3-point shots he attempted and only scored 4 points. Portland could've used a good game from him.
  • Channing Frye played nearly 9.5 minutes and did jack-diddly. Well, he did pick up 3 fouls. I hope Oden comes back soon so that Frye goes back to the end of the bench. He's too thin to play center and isn't a great power forward either since there is no "power" to his game.
  • Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez and Shavlik Randolph each got 4-5 minutes of burn, but none did anything of note.
Not a great start to the road trip and it seems like Portland thought it would have another easy game like against the Clippers.

Afternoon bike ride

It wasn't raining today so I got on my bike and rode down to the Stevens Creek Trail. I didn't stop at the end there, but went on through to Shoreline Park and rode around there for a bit. I would guess that I rode for about 15 miles. Not too shabby and I feel pretty good all things considered.

Here is a picture of the Bay from Shoreline Park. Yeah, I know it sucks, but you'll live.

Crockpot fun

My friends in San Diego have a crockpot so I thought I'd get one too because you just put a bunch of stuff in it, turn it on and come back in a few hours.

Below is a picture of a stuffed green pepper. It is vegetarian and pretty damn tasty:
4 medium to large green bell peppers, with tops and cores removed [any bell pepper will work]
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c shredded jalapeno jack cheese
3/4 c salsa
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c chopped green onions
1/3 c uncooked rice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Combine all ingredients (not the peppers of course) in a bowl. Spoon filling evenly into each pepper. Place in crockpot and put the lid on. Cook on low 4-6 hours.

The dish below is chicken thigh stewed in salsa. You put a layer of salsa down, then the chicken (breast or thigh) and then cover with more salsa and cook on low for 4-6 hours. It was pretty good, but a little watery and didn't have a strong flavor. You would use this chicken as filling for burritos, tacos or whatever. I used only medium salsa and think I might try hot next time and maybe add some peppers and onions.

You can also slow roast food in a crockpot so I'll have to try that out sometime. It was one of the few kitchen gadgets that I did not own and only cost me $10 since I had a gift certificate to Amazon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Unemployment plan

No, I don't plan to be unemployed, but I am so I need to figure out how to fix the situation while maintaining my sanity.

Here is what I have so far:
  • Make a daily schedule. It sounds like overkill, but it's what my dad recommended and he was out of work for a while. If you don't have a plan for each day, then you'll do nothing and just laze around.
  • Get out of the house at least once a day. Getting out and about will force me to keep a good schedule, stay clean and should help alleviate the depression.
  • Exercise often. Exercising will also stave off the depression and, if I ride my bike a lot, will also help me get out of my apartment.
  • Apply for at least three jobs a week. I need to use the shotgun approach at this time.
  • Cut all unnecessary expenses. Is Netflix necessary? Not really, but it isn't that expensive and will give me something to do. I might cancel my TV service. It's less than $15/month (just gives me access to local channels) and isn't necessary now that football season is over. I won't be able to go out to eat much and I'll have to cut back on snacks.
  • Find a new place to live. I can stretch out my remaining cash if I can cut back on my biggest expense - rent. I'm a bit picky about where I live though since I need more quiet than most people. I might have to sacrifice noise for reduced rent.
Nothing on this list sounds like much fun except for the exercise, but it's all necessary. I was out of work for about three months at the end of 2006 when I was looking for a job out here, but my rent was much less. I do remember the frustration and depression though and I'd like to avoid those feelings this time around.

Officially unemployed

Well, the rumors over the weekend were true and today I was notified that I am out of a job. I didn't get squat for severance except for back vacation pay (something like three days) and salary for today since it's my last day. Heh. I'm not happy with how work handled all the tough situations this year, but it doesn't really matter now.

I have been looking for a job for more than a month now and had an interview a couple of weeks ago, but now I need to intensify my job search. I have enough cash to last four months with nothing more coming in and at my present burn rate. My rent is my biggest expense and I can certainly reduce it, but if I need to leave the state for work I don't want to have to move more than once. I don't really want to leave the Bay Area, but I gots to eat. I qualify for unemployment insurance so that can give me another one or two months which is good. I'm pretty sure I can find a job within four months, but you never know. This economy is pretty bad and most companies are laying folks off rather than hiring. Hopefully the government can stimulate the economy. Hell, they should bail me out since I'm out of work due to the banking industry's incompetence.

My main goal now is to stay positive while I look for work. I also need to think about what kind of work I'd like to do and what happens if I move into another field for a couple of years. How easily can I move back? Is that something I should think about or just take what comes? Tough questions will need to be answered.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Job hunting

Gah. Hunting for a job in a down economy sucks serious monkey balls. I last looked for a job during the fall of 2006, but my trouble then was that I was looking for a job in the Bay Area only. Now, I have to be open to the possibility of relocation, which sucks because my family is primarily on the West Coast. I spent eight years in upstate NY, but may need to go back there since making money to live >>>> geographical preference.

I know the economy will turn around sooner or later, but I'm afraid that it's going to be much later. Not a whole lot has changed since I was first furloughed, but I guess it really hit me this weekend that I need to find a new job.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fitness update

Well, well, well. This week I was able to reverse the upward trend a bit. I got my weight to drop by almost 1.5 lbs and my body fat to drop by nearly a whole percentage point. I don't think my scale is that accurate when it comes to body fat, but I think the direction is correct. I would certainly like to get back to where I was last fall and I think it can happen if I bike three or four times a week and continue to bounce on the trampoline and do my strength work. The weather is improving so it would be nice to get back into ultimate frisbee as well.

Some people ask why I make these updates with graphs and pictures and I say that they provide a lot of positive reinforcement. I can see the difference. I can look at the graph and see that the holidays are not great for my fitness. Sure, it's tough to believe these week-t0-week differences, but I think any real trends will be borne out over time.

Thoughts on Portland 108, Atlanta 98

Atlanta has a pretty good team and plays Portland tough or at least they did last year. Atlanta is a fairly small team, but Oden is still out with a knee problem. The first quarter started off like every Portland game - little defense by Portland and the lead by the opponents thanks to hot Atlanta three point shooting. Portland clawed its way back in the second quarter thanks to an aggressive Aldridge. I've been screaming at him to drive to the hoop rather than shoot those stupid fadeaways and he finally listened to me. Heh.

Portland pulled away in the third quarter and coasted a bit in the fourth. Portland's defense sucks, but they grab nearly every defensive rebound which limits their opponents' scoring. Portland was much more active this game and seemed to have more flow.

Individual observations:
  • Brandon Roy had a typical game with 27 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers. He even played respectable defense and didn't complain too much to the refs. He is an awesome player though I wish he'd pass more in the fourth quarter.
  • Steve Blake played his second game after a long absence due to a shoulder injury and steadied the ship with 14 points and 5 assists. He shot poorly from beyond the arc, but keeps the team on an even keel and solidifies the rotation. He is underrated by most folks.
  • Joel Przybilla got the start in Oden's absence and responded with 6 points, 10 boards and 2 steals. He seemed to hurt his hand and didn't really play much in the second half.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge finally got aggressive and drove to the hoop. It led to some easy shots and 24 points and 11 boards. He needs to have this kind of energy every game and Portland will then be in every game.
  • Nicolas Batum shot poorly, but had a lot of energy and two really cool blocked shots. He needs to work on his shot and should drive more in the meantime.
  • Travis Outlaw only took 5 shots, but still scored 12 points and more importantly, grabbed 6 boards. He even had a nice rejection of Smith. He didn't try to do too much and let the game come to him. I think he's happy he didn't get traded, but I don't know anything about anything.
  • Rudy Fernandez finally got on track with 19 points and 4 assists. He took and missed a lot of three pointers, but was more active around the basket and made some nice cuts. He's only going to get better as he gets used to the American game (go and watch footage from last year's Olympics).
  • Channing Frye is now the backup center with Oden hurt so he got some playing time. He didn't do much and scored 2 points and grabbed 3 boards. He's 6'11", but likes to shoot from the outside and does not play great post defense. He probably won't be resigned this summer.
  • Sergio Rodriguez only got 11 minutes of playing time and didn't really find a rhythm.
  • Jerryd Bayless goes back to being the third string PG with Blake back and only got 2 minutes of burn. He needs to continue to work hard in practice and shoot a million jumpers over the summer to get ready for next year.
  • Michael Ruffin, the newcomer, got 17 seconds of action. Woo hoo.
Portland played a lot of the second half without a traditional PG and it seemed to work out since both Roy and Fernandez can handle the ball.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bike ride

My friend and I needed to get the lead out this afternoon so we went for a bike ride. We started at my place and biked down Evelyn until we caught the Mountain View portion of the Stevens Creek Trail near Landels Elementary. We biked north on the trail until we hit the bay though there was another detour along the way since we missed the turn-off for the trail. Anyhow, the trail is pretty nice and lets you avoid a lot of traffic. There were a lot of people biking, walking and running and the weather was nearly ideal - not too warm, but sunny. I'd estimate that we biked about 15 miles which isn't too bad for a couple of couch-potatoes. My legs are a bit sore, but I think I'm alright. I feel pretty good mood-wise because I've got some endorphins running through. Exercise is good for what ails you and I need more of it. It's not like I don't have the time.

Below are some pictures taken at the end of the trail. I've got my dorky bike safety gear on, but if it keeps me safe, I don't care how stupid I look.

On the way back, we stopped at 7-11 for some sort of Gatorade product which definitely hit the spot.

I think I'm going to bike this trail three times a week if I'm not working to get some exercise and to get out of my apartment. The real loop, without the detour, is a little under 12 miles which should take about an hour or so of bike time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stuck in limbo

Still no word from work about what's going down. At this point I'd almost welcome a layoff, especially if it got me a fat severance check. I think CA law requires one, but I'm not sure if that's true if the company is broken up piecemeal. It's definitely not true if the company goes bankrupt.

I'm starting to go a little stir-crazy as well with this mental inactivity. It's nice having time off, but seven weeks with no money coming in is pretty rough.

Hopefully the government can jump-start the economy so that I can get back to work.

For those out there thinking I'm completely just sitting on my ass, I have been looking for a new job and even went on an interview. Nothing doing so far and that sucks. There just aren't a lot of jobs out there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jonesin' for sugar

I can tell that I've fallen off the wagon a bit because I'm really hungry for sugar. I just plowed through a bottle of apple cider in less than two sittings and I could go for another bottle right now. I probably should go back on Phase I of the South Beach Diet to cure me of this addiction. It's not much fun, but it is definitely effective.


On Saturday night, the small prep sink with the garbage disposal in my apartment got clogged with asparagus pieces. Asparagus should never go down the disposal because it's fibrous, but it wasn't intentional. Anyhow, the sink would not drain and I couldn't run the dishwasher either because it (stupidly) drains into the disposal rather than into the waste pipe for the kitchen.

I spent most of Sunday trying to unclog it. I got an auger, but that didn't work because the exit port for the disposal is below the blades. I tried a can of pressurized gas which forces water at high velocity, but that didn't work either. The worst idea was putting in drain cleaner. Asparagus is pretty tough and not that susceptible to the weak base (ammonium hydroxide?) in drain cleaner. It just created a huge pond of chemical funk in the sink.

Fast-forward to early this morning. I was woken up at 4 AM by some alarm beeping and could only sleep for another hour. I got up and decided to take the disposal apart to fix it. The disposal is connected to the waste pipe by a short connector pipe. I unattached the connector pipe from the disposal and a lot of water drained out. That got me thinking that the clog was not in the disposal because it came out of the pipe. Fortunately, the waste pipe can freely rotate so I could move it aside and use the auger to poke at the clog. I couldn't push it all the way out because the bore head for the auger kept getting caught on something. I did the best I could and reattached everything and ran the sink. Partial success as the water drained out, but too slowly to call it good. Since it would drain, I put in some more drain cleaner and waited fifteen minutes before flushing with hot water. All of a sudden the water drained out quickly with a glurp noise. Success. I guess I had poked the clog enough to loosen it so that the drain cleaner could attack its attachments to the pipe or something like that. I tested the sink a bit more since I wanted to make sure it drains as quickly as it should and it seems to drain even faster now. Sweet. My other option was to call maintenance, but I didn't want to chump out like that so I'm glad I was able to "fix" the problem.

Now if only I could "fix" my underemployment...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fitness update

Well, well, well. You can definitely see that my time away from work has not been kind to me as the plot is trending up towards the bad zone. I've nearly undone six months' worth of fitness. Shame on me. I really need to start exercising more. I vow to get significant exercise every day next week. Hopefully that will reverse the chunky trend.

It is interesting to note that there is much more fluctuations in my weight than my body fat percentage.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another two weeks

I got a call from my boss this afternoon and I'm furloughed another two weeks. Fan-fucking-tastic. Who the heck knows what's going on? It sure as hell isn't me. I'm already going stir crazy so I'm not sure how I can handle another two weeks. I'm thinking of driving somewhere, but it has to be somewhere cool and somewhere cheap. I've never been to Vegas, but I'm not sure that I'd like it and I don't know how cheap it would be. I mean, it could be as cheap as I want, but what's the point in that? Would it make sense to go to a gambling city and not gamble? Heh. Maybe I could go gamble my life savings and see if I can increase it.

I'm finding myself coming unhinged and I don't like that feeling.

Thoughts on Golden State 105, Portland 98

I'm almost too pissed off to type up a recap of this game, but maybe it'll be cathartic so that I can go to sleep. Portland always has trouble against GS in Oakland and tonight was no exception. However, the refs called a terrible game and somehow fell for all of GS' flopping. Even the GS announcers were commenting on the calls. Portland also threw the ball away 18 times in the first half yet had a pretty decent chance to win it at the end because GS doesn't know how to close out anyone. GS also went to the free throw line 43 times against Portland's 17 trips and made 39. For some reason, Portland's opponents always shoot better than their average for free throws. Crazy.

Individual notes:
  • Brandon Roy got it done with 37 points on 14 for 21 shooting. He got very few fouls called for him even though he got hit quite a bit. He'll be in the All-Star game, but I hope he doesn't play much because he needs the rest.
  • Sergio Rodriguez had a terrible first half, but a pretty good fourth quarter and ended up with 10 points, 7 assists and 4 boards. His defense was just ok, but that's good for him. He had some good drives, but too many head-scratchers.
  • Greg Oden was limited due to foul trouble thanks to flopping, but still got 8 points and 11 boards in only 18 minutes.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge shot well and got 20 points. Unfortunately, he fouled out in the fourth quarter and once again failed to take advantage of his height over Maggette.
  • Nicolas Batum was a non-factor with 4 boards in 14 minutes. He looked overmatched from the beginning so it was good he didn't play much.
  • Travis Outlaw got 12 rebounds, but missed 11 shots in a row. He has no game around the hoop unless he's dunking it which is a shame for a 6'9" dude with crazy hops. He is an enigma wrapped in a riddle and you never know if he's going to save you or sink you.
  • Rudy Fernandez shot poorly in the first half, but rallied with some crucial 3's in the fourth to end up with 9 points and 5 assists. He also got fouled a lot, but got no calls.
  • Joel Przybilla did his usual lunch-pail work with 6 boards and tough defense in 19 minutes. I wish he had more of an offensive game though to keep the other team's defense honest. He sets good picks, but can't roll because he'll fumble the ball out of bounds.
  • Jerryd Bayless didn't have it tonight and didn't play much. He's still learning and needs to work on his outside shoot. It's pretty flat.
  • Channing Frye got 2 minutes of burn thanks to foul trouble for Oden and Przy. He's most likely a throw-in on a trade and won't be back with Portland when his contract is up if he's not traded.
This game was one that got the blood boiling because Portland came out flat. It would be nice to see them play with energy. I think Nate should mix up the starting line-up to find something that doesn't get Portland into a deep hole.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Awesome trade for Portland

Portland has too many players fighting for playing time and not enough attitude. Voila.

Unemployment depression

The lack of work has finally got to me this week and has hit me pretty hard. At first, it's kind of nice having some time off. It's a lot easier to run errands during the day when everyone else is at work. However, once you realize that you have time off without pay, it puts a damper on your fun. I would've loved to have visited friends in Hawai'i or elsewhere, but can't spend money that I need for food and rent. Super weak.

What also sucks is that I don't really know what's going to happen at work. The company has been trying to sell itself and may be successful, but what does that mean for me? Will I still have a job? I'd like to think that I'm indispensable, but that's probably just wishful thinking. Let's say I don't have a job. Fortunately, CA has a generous severance law so I should get two months' worth of scratch, but that might only last me two to three months since it's expensive to live out here. The economy is generally in the crapper and there aren't a lot of other jobs out there.

People from work have been leaving in droves now so maybe they won't need to lay anyone off. Heh. I've also seen a crazy amount of LinkedIn activity by my colleagues. That definitely can't be a good thing.

I'll try to stay positive since I still have enough cash for a few months and the economy will turn around.

Thoughts on Portland 106, OKC 92

This season has shown several of Portland's flaws: poor perimeter defense especially on the pick and roll, poor free throw shooting and little movement on offense. It seemed like another typical Portland loss was brewing during the first quarter, but fortunately OKC is a young team and is playing the second of a back-to-back. Portland couldn't keep Russell Westbrook (!) off the offensive glass, but got it done in the third quarter and early fourth quarter to put away the Thunder. I think it was more a case of OKC running out of gas rather than anything Portland did, but a win is a win. This game definitely could have used Steve Blake.

OKC has a solid nucleus of Durant, Green, Weaver and Westbrook and should be a pretty decent team next season. They certainly aren't as bad as their record suggests.

Individual notes:
  • Brandon Roy played his usual solid game and got 22 points, 6 boards and 5 assists. More importantly, he didn't really whine much to the officials. He still looks for his own shot too much, but it worked out well tonight.
  • Sergio Rodriguez played only 20 minutes and had a pretty poor game. He dribbles purposelessly and passes the ball to the wrong teammate. He had his usual matador defense (ole!) and couldn't keep Westbrook in front of him. He seems to be the odd main out when Blake returns.
  • Greg Oden only played 24.5 minutes, but scored 16 points on 8 of 10 shooting, grabbed 10 boards and blocked 3 shots. He also altered many more shots and tipped balls to his teammates. He got into foul trouble, but fought through it and seemed to have more fun out there. He's making great progress this season and will only get better. Don't forget that this season is only his second of high level basketball since he just played one year in college and his first year was wiped out by injury.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge shot too many jumpers, but ended up with 11 points and 10 boards. He's becoming one of my least favorite Blazers since I think he could be playing a lot better. He's fast and tall so he should be looking to drive to the hoop more rather than settling for outside shots.
  • Nicolas Batum played just 12 minutes and never really found a rhythm. He did play credible defense on Durant.
  • Travis Outlaw shot well and scored 21 points and dished out 4 assists. Unfortunately, he only collared 2 boards which is a crying shame for someone with his athleticism. For some reason he only goes to the hoop to dunk. He doesn't really have a nice touch around the basket and plays indifferent defense.
  • Jerryd Bayless had a great game with 12 points and a career high 8 assists. There are concerns that he can't run the point, but he was able to tonight. I'm not sure if that's because he was going up against another rookie, Westbrook, and some weak sauce called Watson, but he got it done. He still drives into too much traffic, but he's learning to look for his teammates rather than throw up a crazy shot.
  • Rudy Fernandez shot poorly, but scored 13 points and was more active on offense and helped run the show in the third quarter. He got fouled quite a bit, but none was called. He's an international rookie so he's not going to get a lot of love from the refs, but some of the fouls were pretty obvious.
  • Joel Przybilla played his usual solid defense and hit all his shots for 6 points and 13 boards in only 24 minutes. He also had 2 steals. He played without his left wrist wrap, but apparently there are still broken bones in that hand. He's a great rebounder and boxes out well. Hopefully Oden can learn from him.
Portland has a game tomorrow night against Golden State. I had planned to try to get tickets back in December, but the craptastic economy through a huge monkey wrench into those plans.

Monday, February 9, 2009


The weather wasn't all that great yesterday, but I needed to get out of my apartment so I went and saw Coraline. I'm glad that I did because it was well-done, but I forgot that it's better to pick a time when there won't be as many little kids. 4:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday is definitely not that time.

The movie was shot in 3D and your ticket cost a bit more so that you could get some cool 3D glasses. The 3D effects were great. There is one scene where some birds are flying around and they look to be right in your face. I saw a couple of kids reach out and try to grab them. The animation is stop-motion which means they position the puppets. Take a shot, move them a little bit and shoot again. The motion is pretty smooth and is what was used for The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.

Coraline is a children's book written by Neil Gaiman and you might think it's too dark, but that's just by our watered down Disney standards where nothing bad truly happens.

All and all, I highly recommend Coraline, but more for the animation than the story.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Underemployment and focus

One of the problems about being underemployed is that your routine is disrupted. You suddenly have a lot of free time, but for the wrong reasons as you're not getting paid (unlike vacation). The pressure of not working makes it a bit tough to enjoy the time off. Hopefully work will turn around next week, but I still think I need to be a bit more disciplined and structured.

With that thought, here are my priorities:
1. Stabilize the job situation. This could happen if my current employer is acquired or if I find a new job.
2. Improve fitness/health. I think some of my "depression" comes from not exercising enough. I should take more advantage of the mild California weather.
3. Find a new place to live. My current place is expensive and I'd like to find a house to rent so that I don't have any immediate neighbors. Of course, I need to get #1 out of the way so that I live somewhere reasonably close to work.
4. Get financial situation under control. This point is directly related to #1, but I would feel a lot better if I had a larger nest egg. I need to start saving more money and see where I can cut expenses. Do I really need to pay for TV now that the football season is over?

Fitness update

No beefcake picture this week, but I did measure myself on the scale this morning. You can see that my body fat went up and so did my weight. I guess sitting on my ass at work this week wasn't all that great for my fitness. I think the stress from my job situation is also playing a role.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chicken dinner

I'm off work again today so I had time last night to cook something a bit more complicated. I decided to make roast chicken. I checked my How to Cook Everything Cookbook by Mark Bittman for a suitable recipe and found one using parsley and onions. I roasted the chicken according to instructions and it tasted alright, but that was mostly because it was a free range chicken. The parsley didn't seem to add enough flavor. The meal was still pretty good because I had mashed sweet potatoes and fresh pineapple to go along with it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Funny XKCD comic

The comic strip below cracks me up on many different levels.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The job market

As many of you know, things are going all that well on the job front for me. I was furloughed for all January and only get to work this week as I'll be off again next week and don't know anything past that. Woo hoo. Anyhow, it's been a little weird being back at work the past couple of days. Firstly, my brain had to be jump-started yesterday so that I could contribute and secondly, few people at work want to talk about anything other than whether or not there are any other jobs out there. Apparently, you can't even trust a job listing online because it may be for a ghost job. Super weak. It's hard to look for a job when nearly every company out there is laying people off.

News from work

The CEO at work resigned yesterday so we've got an interim dude. I wonder if that's prelude to a deal... I hope something happens to provide some stability one way or another. I don't like being in work limbo.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl food

As nearly everyone knows, yesterday was the Super Bowl. I was rootin' pretty hard for the Cardinals, but that crazy interception return at the end of the first half and some stupid personal fouls in the second half did them in. Props to the Steelers for staging an end of the game drive with a pretty cool catch. Dems da breaks, but I don't think Arizona will be back next year. They'll just be a year older. Larry Fitzgerald is the pimp daddy of receivers though.

Below is a picture of the corn bread I made. I used white whole wheat flour which is "better" than white flour, but not as tough as traditional whole wheat. Traditional whole wheat tends to make pretty chewy bread and this corn bread should be lighter. It was tasty for sure.

I got four bunches of red mustard greens at the farmer's market. These were stir-fried with a little olive oil and some fresh crushed garlic.

One of the main courses was grilled pork spareribs. I got them from Dittmer's so you know they were tasty. Unfortunately, I over-cooked them by about 10 minutes, but they were still good.

The second main course was chili made with ground chuck from Dittmer's. I didn't spice it up too much, but it was still good. It made a bunch so I know what I'll be eating for lunch this week.

I made a bbq sauce for the ribs. It smelled pretty acidic, but was more palatable after reduction. I snuck in some Dave's Insanity Sauce to give it more of a kick.

Here's everything on my plate. You can see chips and lime soda in the background. I was in crap heaven.

I "made" a marionberry pie for dessert. I just poured marionberry pie filling that my folks had got me in Hood River, OR into a pie crust. It was a little sour, but tasted great with homemade vanilla ice cream (not pictured).

I ate way too much yesterday, but it's all good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thoughts on Portland 122, Utah 108

Portland was at home against the Utah Jazz tonight and took care of business, winning 122 to 108. At times it felt like it was Portland versus Deron Williams, but he didn't get any help from his teammates. Utah was missing Kirilenko and Boozer while Portland was short Blake and Webster. Portland was aggressive all night and had a lot of dunks. Portland had 28 assists for the 43 made baskets so they were definitely moving the ball around. A lot of folks called this game a big game, but I think they're all big. You play to win.

Individual observations:
  • Brandon Roy had a quiet 30 points and 5 assists. Sometimes you don't realize how many points he has until you check the boxscore. He also kept his mouth shut and didn't hassle the refs too much.
  • Sergio Rodriguez got the start again for Blake and had a terrific first quarter. I'm not sure why McMillan has to take him out after six minutes, but he does. Sergio ended up with 9 points, 7 assists and 2 steals. He shot well and had a couple of nice alley-oops to Rudy.
  • Greg Oden had a pretty miserable game with 5 points in 11 minutes. He was hampered by foul trouble from the beginning and never really got into it. He will need to learn to fight through early foul trouble, keep his position and keep his bleeping arms up.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge didn't shoot well, but scored 14 points, grabbed 6 boards and had 4 assists. He seemed a little more aggressive going to the hoop, but that mainly happened when Millsap got into foul trouble.
  • Nicolas Batum had a great first quarter and showed why Portland cannot trade him. He ended up with 16 points in 25 minutes. He usually only plays about 18 minutes, but McMillan let him run a bit more. I'd like to see him play as much as he can. He's young, he has long arms and he can defend slashers. Williams didn't do much after Batum picked him up.
  • Joel Przybilla showed why you can never have too many talented big men. With Oden in foul trouble, he needed to step up and he did with 14 points and 17 boards. He also played tough defense and scored a "dunk" with his right wrist/forearm. He plays hard and doesn't complain much. When Oden is rolling, Joel rides the pine, but I think he's ok with that. We'll see when his contract is up in a year or two.
  • Rudy Fernandez finally had a good shooting night and scored 13 points and had 4 assists. He threw down a couple of Sergio's passes so he should be ready for the dunk contest. He seemed more active tonight and didn't just hang around the three point line.
  • Jerryd Bayless had a rough night and didn't seem to slow Williams down much. He scored 4 points and had 4 assists, but also drove into traffic a few times. He needs to work on keeping his head up to find the open teammate.
  • Travis Outlaw had 11 points and had a good fourth quarter, but he needs to play well all game long if he wants to stay with Portland. He's not as good around the basket as he should be given his height and jumping ability.
  • Channing Frye, Ike Diogu and Shavlik Randolph got garbage time burned and each scored two points.
A good win by Portland against a decent team. Utah has a pretty poor road record though and seems really soft. Portland heads out for a tough road trip.