Sunday, February 28, 2010

"I whisper in your ear..."

  • The US took Canada to OT in Olympic hockey, but Crosby proved too much. No worries since silver is still pretty good. I forget that hockey can be pretty exciting since the action is fast and furious.
  • Sons of Anarchy is an awesome show. Dutch from The Shield made a guest appearance on a few episodes. The show does raise a few interesting questions about how we fit into society and why we choose to follow rules. I wish I knew how to ride a motorcycle and the reaper tats are pretty cool, but the jackets look kind of lame. I hope I get a Rambo knife to carry around like Jax though I doubt I'll get a chance to use it.
  • About ready to be a year older. I don't really like to celebrate my birthday because I don't like to be reminded of getting old. I don't think I'll ever be ready to die so I hope medicine invents a way to keep me alive for a long ass time. Maybe I'll freeze myself.
  • "All the demons in my head won't leave me."
  • I'm looking forward to my road trip later this year. It'll be good to get out and about and to see the Deep South. I hope to get to a few beaches as well since I like to listen to the ocean.
  • I wonder how I'd end up if the US spiraled into anarchy. Would I be a victim or someone who takes over? I like to watch post apocalyptic movies because I like to think about how I would handle the situation. I like to think I'd be one of the leaders, but it's hard to know how you'd react in situation until you actually experience it.

Project 365: Day 151

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Black Winter Day"

  • This post's title is from a Jedi Mind Tricks song since I'm a big fan.
  • It's snowing out now and my front yard looks pretty cool. I think I would enjoy the snow a lot more if I had one hundred percent confidence in my roof. I got a recommendation for a plumber I hired so I should be good to go once the weather improves. I'll have him estimate a metal roof, but I'm pretty sure I can't afford one. I'm not sure for how long I'll be in this house so I probably should play it safe and get some thick 30 year shingles.
  • Friends of mine down south have had a fun couple of days with heavy snow and power outages. I've been pretty fortunate this winter. I probably should get my bike powered generator set up before next winter so I've got guaranteed backup power. Of course, I'd have to peddle my ass off to charge it up, but I need to get my fat ass into shape.
  • As a pre-birthday celebration, a friend invited me over for fajitas, Lost and cupcakes. Sweet. An awesome night for sure. We also watched some of the Winter Olympics. I know people can get into some of these sports, but I can't. The speedskaters don't look like they're going that fast and I don't know enough to appreciate their technique.
  • I had big plans for this morning, but I think I'll take it easy. I need to clean up my kitchen and do some laundry. I'll probably go into work for an hour or so this afternoon. I need to hit the library to renew some books since I can't seem to remember my login information.
  • The fajitas friend told me my blog has gotten a bit boring so I'll see what I can do to restore the entertainment. I should definitely post more than the stupid Project 365 pictures. I'm already sick of it, but feel like I should plow through just to prove I can. I'll try to post my thoughts every day.

50 questions that will free your mind #2

Grindin' down on 50 questions that will free your mind.

Question 2: Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Hmmm...this question is actually appropriate to me because I can be a bit of a coward. Growing up, I was under a lot of pressure to succeed so there are some activities I didn't try because I was scared of failing. Sometimes I would just play it safe since I couldn't handle the disappointment.

I would say things are different now and I'm a bit more adventurous. I still have trouble dealing with failure, but I'm learning to accept I can't be good at everything and, no matter how hard I try, there will always be someone better than me out there. However, it doesn't mean I shouldn't try my best because I owe it to myself and my ancestors to maximize my potential.

To answer the question, I'd say it's worse to never try because we can learn as much, if not more, from our failures as from our successes.

Project 365: Day 150

Fitness update

Even though my only exercise this week was shoveling snow for 2.5 hours Wednesday morning and playing 1.75 hours of basketball Thursday night, I still lost more than a pound of fat this week.  Sweet.  I still eat too much sugar and have been jonesin' for it since the Super Bowl.  I'll probably need to go on a sugar detox diet soon, but I was given some cupcakes last night and I can't let those go to waste eh?

I need to maintain the fitness momentum I've been building this year.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Project 365: Day 149

101 items in 1001 days update

This morning, I was able to do two consecutive chinups. Sweet.

Just 48 more to go.

Wat pomp.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project 365: Day 147

A picture from the same place as last night, but there is definitely a heckuva lot more snow.  I can barely see the tire tracks from yesterday and it took me a few minutes to slog out to the mailbox.
A couple of trees which normally line the driveway are bent over partially blocking it.  I slept poorly last night because the snow made a really loud sound when a big chunk hit my roof.  Heh.  Or it could've been some big ol' branches falling.

In any case, it looks like I'm snowbound.  Since I could've gotten myself up four hours ago to start shoveling, I'll need to take a vacation day.  I wanted to save as many as possible for my Memorial Day road trip, but one day shouldn't make a huge difference if I can connect two weekends.

Today is a day where I really wish I had a badass truck.  I could bust through the snow like they do in the commercials.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project 365: Day 146

We got a fair amount of snow today and are supposed to get a bunch more tonight. Badminton was canceled though I didn't find out until I drove through the slush to the middle school.
My poor Charlie Brown hemlock is weighed down by all the snow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Project 365: Day 145 and 101 in 1001 update

Last night I finished Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I don't know if it's a true classic, but an entire horror myth is based on the book so I'm going to count it towards my 50 classic books task.
I think most of us are familiar with the story of Frankenstein and his monster. Heh. Read the book and you'll realize everything you thought you knew is wrong. The monster isn't a knucklehead nor was he created in a laboratory in a castle with a dude named Igor helping out.

The book is alright, but I had to push myself through some of the slower parts.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Project 365: Day 144

Tonight I made roast beef using the recipe from last month, but with rosemary instead of oregano.  It tasted good, but not as orgasmically good as it was before.  Hmm...I don't think rosemary is the big difference; maybe it's the cut of meat.  I couldn't find any chuck roast at the store.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Financial dumbassery

Many of you know I'm a financial dumbass. Well, it hit home this afternoon as I was filling out my taxes. Since I bought a house, I thought I'd get a significant fraction of the $8k tax credit. Unfortunately, my relocation bumped my income up enough to reduce the credit below $3k. Still sounds like good money eh? Heh. Well, it would be except I need to pay taxes on the same relocation so I actually paid less than I owed which cut into the credit. All of the preceding includes deducting mortgage insurance. I had switched my deductions to 10 last year to maximize cash. D'oh.

I shouldn't complain since I am still getting about $1.5k. I need to fix my roof and I've heard from people it could cost between $5 and 10k. I have jack shit saved up so I was counting on my tax refund plus any money from a settlement with Spansion. I got word yesterday, they've got roughly $11k per employee allocated, but I don't know about the lawyers' cut nor when I'd actually see the money.

Son of a gun.

Fitness update

Too much sugar and too little effort has lead to some chunkening:
I need to get back into good habits since I'm undoing a lot of the hard work from January.  Gah.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Project 365: Day 143

Overly ripe bananas mean it's time to chef up some banana bread.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Project 365: Day 142

This disc, Sons of Anarchy: Season 1: Disc 1, finally came today. I've had it near the top of my queue for more than six frickin' months.

It was definitely worth the wait since it has a great combination of sex, tattoos and violence.

I know the picture's blurry, but I'm not sure how to fully use my camera.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Project 365: Day 141 and 101 items in 1001 days update

Tonight I made Potage Creme de Tomates et de Pommes de Terre out of my The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman. It had to chill before I could blend it so I'll try it for the first time for lunch tomorrow.
This recipe is the tenth this year so I'm 10% done with my 100 recipe item for my 101 in 1001 challenge.

2-18-10 update: I had some of this soup for lunch today and it's bland as all get up. Super weak.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Project 365: Day 140

We got a fair amount of snow today.  On the left is a shot out of my garage.  You can see I did a great job of shoveling before driving into the garage.

Hopefully I'll be able to drive over the snow tomorrow.

On the bottom is a bonus shot of my neighbors' February Tree all lit up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?"

  • For the first time ever, I followed the directions for the smoked salmon pasta I like and used a shallot instead of green onion.  I think I prefer it with green onion, but it was still tasty.
  • Some old lady is convinced my number belongs to her daughter and has been calling a few times a day.  Fortunately, caller ID saves me the hassle of talking to her because, when she hears my voice, she hangs up.  I'm not sure why she thinks her daughter is suddenly going to answer, but I'm hoping she gives up after a while.
  • Engineering drama is the worst kind.  I caught a mini-lecture this afternoon for something I didn't do.  I'm involved, but I didn't initiate anything.  Why I need to be told my bosses need to follow the proper channels is beyond me.
  • I made a list of things to accomplish today and I'm doing a pretty good job.  I naturally tend towards laziness so I need to find ways to fight it.
  • I'm ready for warmer weather.
  • I still haven't finished Frankenstein.

Project 365: Day 139

With quite a bit of help, I put together my dresser.  It looks nice, but the drawers are nearly unusably shallow.  I was able to jam in all my clothes though.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Project 365: Day 138

I finally made it over to check out my friend's new place. She has about half an acre, but has much more usable land than me because a huge chunk of my property is wooded. Her house is cool (and cold).

You can see she has enough open space for a volleyball net so it looks like her place will be the spot for summer barbecues.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

50 questions that will free your mind #1

One item in my challenge is to answer all 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. No time like the present so let me get down to it while I'm doing some laundry.

Question #1: How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

I'm 33 and will be 34 shortly, but I certainly don't feel nor act my age. I was told last year I looked like I could be an intern (college aged) and I've been told I could be in my late 20's. Sometimes I act like I'm 10, but I would say if I didn't know how old I really am, I'm 26. I have some wisdom from experience, but I'm still finding out what I like to do. Maybe it's because I've been unsettled the past few years or maybe it's just because I don't really want to grow up. I still feel like I have a good chunk of my life in front of me which makes sense since I plan to live forever. Some people have told me they would get bored if they were immortal, but not me. Can you imagine what the world will be like in 100 years? Even if it were apocalyptic, it would still be an experience.

Project 365: Day 137 and 101 items in 1001 days update

This afternoon I made the bacon and swiss dip a coworker's wife made for my Super Bowl party.  Tasty stuff.  It counts a new recipe for my 101 items in 1001 days challenge as well as the picture for today.

I left out the almonds because I don't like them.  It still tasted great.

Fitness update

Gah.  The tasty food from the Super Bowl is not helping my fitness though the upwards trend started a couple of weeks ago.  I did make it to badminton and basketball this week, but my diet has a bigger impact than my exercise routine.  My visceral fat even rose one unit so I need to cut back on snacking on crap.  Hmm...tough to do.  I may need a sugar intervention.

Project 365: Day 136

My neighbors still have their Xmas tree up and lit.  I couldn't use the flash because I didn't want them to know I was taking a picture.
This tree is actually in their living room.  My camera doesn't have a great low-light setting.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Project 365: Day 135

Lots of snow was predicted for yesterday and last night.  It snowed a little bit early yesterday morning, but melted by the afternoon.  The forecast didn't change so Bethlehem canceled athletic activities so no volleyball for me.  Bum deal.

Here is what my backyard looked like this morning after zero inches of overnight snow:
I'll never be able to dig myself out of this blizzard.  Heh. 

I was too lazy to open the door so I took the photo through the glass and the screen.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Project 365: Day 134

I had a couple of Amazon certificates laying around so I ordered up some goodies.  Amazon is having a promotion with a free month-long trial to Amazon Prime so I got my stuff in only two days:
I've used the Moving Men before and they're great.  You just slide them under heavy furniture and it slides around pretty easily.  If I sign up for cable, I'll need to move my TV and the stand is pretty heavy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

101 items in 1001 days update

Finally. I was able to do a real pull-up this morning. I couldn't do a chin-up, but I think I'll get there soon enough. Can I do fifty consecutively to satisfy my challenge item? Doubtful, but I'll give it a shot.

Project 365: Day 133

Tonight's dinner was reheated chicken wings and grilled chicken.  Yeah, I know there is a lot of yellow on the plate, but I ate the grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Project 365: Day 132 and 101 in 1001 days update

I completed half of an item by hosting a Super Bowl party. The Saints won so I'm pretty stoked. I didn't see much of the first half because I was busy chefin' up some tasty food. Eleven people made it and there was more than enough alcohol and food for everyone. Everything everyone brought or made turned out well.

Here's a picture post clean-up:
People helped put stuff away so it didn't take too long. The kitchen is messy, but I can take care of it tomorrow. I've got a few bags of chips to plough through and about 8 quarts of chili to eat.

You can also see a picture of my deep fryer. I tried a new recipe tonight for honey chicken wings. I didn't try one, but I think people said they were pretty good.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Project 365: Day 131

I had some time to kill this afternoon so I put together one of the nightstands.  It took a lot less time, effort and brain power than the bed and I discovered it's actually a drawer.  Sweet.

If I have time, I'll do the second one later tonight, tomorrow or maybe Monday.  I need to get my bedroom back in shape so I can resume jump roping.

Project 365: Day 130

For some reason, the neighbors across the street cut down the two huge trees in their front yard:
Yeah, I'm lazy and took the picture out of my car on the way to work.

Fitness update

I took a small step backwards this week since there wasn't any badminton (planned) nor basketball (schedule goof-up).  I gained just half a pound of fat so it's not a huge step back, but I had hoped to continue my good progress forward.

Note: I'm not body dysmorphic and I only "obsess" over these numbers because I'm an engineer.  I like to be able to quantify my progress in many ways.  Overall, I'm feeling great and healthy and was able to avoid excess sugar for three days at work.  Work can get stressful and certain people always have a big ass bowl of candy on their desks so it's tough to resist.  I see self-discipline as a big part of my fitness challenge.

I still can't quite do a pull-up, but I'm getting really close.  I got my lower lip to the bar, but could go no further.  I need to work on strengthening my forearms since they give out first.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One more day to regret.

Today's theme music is brought to you by Mushroomhead.  When I woke up, I would've blown my brains out if I had a gun handy.  Really?  Hmmm...probably not, but I didn't feel very motivated to do much of anything this morning.  I slogged through the morning at work and ate lunch alone.  Some people looked like they might want to come sit with me, but changed their mind once they saw my expression.  The rest of the day was craptastic, but I did get some good news on an experiment I'm running.  I guessed correctly and the structural images look great.

I'm hosting a Super Bowl party this weekend so it should be good food mixed with a good game.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Project 365: Day 129

My exercise and diet regime is paying off.  My arms are starting to get ripped:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Project 365: Day 128

I got my new bed set up over the weekend which means I moved my old bed into the spare bedroom to use as a guest bed:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Project 365: Day 127 and 101 items in 1001 days update

Another day, another recipe.  I've now tried seven new recipes since the beginning of the year.  Not too shabby and I'm making good progress on my 101 items in 1001 days challenge.

Tonight I made "Pork chips with Prunes and Cream" from Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World cookbook.  I was going to make it last night, but didn't...uh...feel up to it.

Here's the recipe:

2 T butter (preferred) or extra virgin olive oil
4 thick pork chops
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 fresh thyme sprigs (I used "regular" thyme)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly mashed (I used minced garlic from a jar)
1 cut not-too-dry white wine or cider (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cup pitted prunes
0.5 to 1 C heavy cream
Chopped fresh chervil leaves for garnish, optional (I don't know what the heck "chervil" is so I left it out)

1. Put the butter in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat.  When the butter melts, add the pork chops and brown them well on both sides, rotating them in the pan so they brown evenly, turning as needed and sprinkling with salt and pepper.  When they are just about browned, after about 10 minutes, add the thyme and garlic.  [Note: it'll start to smell really damn good at this point.]
2. Pour in the wine and scatter the prunes around the pork.  Cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily, but not violently.  Cook just until the pork chops are tender, 20 minutes or so, or until their internal temperature reads 145 F.
3. Transfer the meat to a platter, reduce the remaining liquid slightly and stir in the heavy cream until the consistency is right.  If you know what the hell chervil is, go ahead and add it.

Here is what it looked like just before step 3:
I served it with mashed yams and the meal was goddamned awesome.  I plowed through it in about ten minutes while still savoring every bite.  I would definitely make this recipe again.