Friday, April 30, 2010

Rockin' cable

For the first time ever, I'm rockin' digital cable. I've paid for just basic cable before which gives you the networks, but I've never had the full lineup except for a year in grad school when I was "borrowing" it. I can't say it's going to be a good decision for me financially since it's another $60/month, but I'll be able to watch sports.

I'm also hoping it isn't too big of a time suck because I'm not as outgoing as I probably should be.

The dude showed up on time and I probably could've gone back to work, but it's Friday. The roofers are here though so there isn't any peace and quiet. They'll be here early tomorrow to make sure everything is well protected in case it rains over the weekend.

I'm going to test out cable with pizza and NBA playoffs. You know I'm a 10 year old kid when I get excited at the thought.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Decisions, decisions.

I had an appointment with an allergist this afternoon. The good news is my blood pressure is 110/66 and my resting heart rate is 54 bpm. The nurses asked if I exercised or ran much. Heh. I think the key is I'm not a huge fat ass. Anyhow, the bad news is my allergist can't do any more for me. He can keep me where I am, which is just ok, but I need to see an ENT doctor to explore sinus surgery. It has worked for my mom and for a few friends, but it's not guaranteed to work for me. I'm doing ok, but I wouldn't mind doing better. I can't remember the last time I was able to breathe freely out of my nose. Of course, they might find nothing and then I went through surgery for nothing.

I think I'll schedule the appointment and see what the doctor has to say. The most it'll cost me is some time and a co-pay.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bullying at work

There are a lot of Japanese people at work in our alliance and some of them have an old school view of managing and discipline. One company has a very experienced and well-respected manager and a fresh-out-of-school knucklehead. The manager is always yelling at the knucklehead, but today he went a little too far. The knucklehead fell asleep in a meeting. After the meeting, the manager rushes up to the knucklehead, yanks him roughly by the hair and gives him a slap on the shoulder. He then starts talking brusquely in Japanese. There weren't too many people left in the room, but I caught it all and was too shocked to do anything. The knucklehead looked like he was going to cry, but he took it stoically and then took another nap during the next meeting.

I feel sorry for the knucklehead because he's too young to know anything and most people in the alliance are pretty experienced. The knucklehead is pretty weird, even for a Japanese dude, and cooks rice at work.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beans with meat

For dinner tonight I made beans with meat.  I used chicken sausage and some kind of bacon.  It's called smoked jowl bacon and seems to be nearly all fat.  I probably have too much meat in the dish, but it was tasty served over brown rice.  Beans and rice are complementary proteins so it's good to eat them together.

I've now banged out 30 recipes so I'm 30% through my recipe task in my challenge.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fitness update

My scale told me I gained four pounds of fat this week which I'm having a hard time believing, but my week was light on cardio since badminton is done and I had to skip volleyball and basketball because of my finger.  It's only been about a week since I injured it and I think it needs another week to heal before I stress it.

I seem to be yo-yoing around 23% the past few weeks so it's possible I've hit a plateau.  I know I need to add in some more vigorous exercise.  I'd like to start hiking again, but the hikes posted have been longer than what I'd like to do for my first hike of the season.  I need something in the 5-10 mile range.

Friday, April 23, 2010

All my plants are alive.

Everything I've planted is still growing.  I thought my red delicious apple tree was dead, but there are some new branches growing out of the base of the trunk.  I thought my Earliblue blueberry plant was dead, but it has green growth as well.  I just need my Bartlett pear tree to put out some flowers and I'm good to go.  I think the blueberries will grow something for me to eat, but I'm not sure about the fruit trees.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Food update

I made some wheat bread with my bread maker to provide bread crumbs for
spaghetti and meatballs which used pasta I made by hand.
I also made leek bread:
The next day I used my deep fat fryer to make fried chicken:
Everything turned out really well though the spaghetti and meatballs took three hours from start to finish. I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken. The leek bread is pretty spongy and reminds me a little of the onion buns you find in Chinese cooking. I didn't think the fried chicken was that greasy, but my dinner companion used a paper towel to blot her portion.

I knocked out three more new recipes so I'm making good progress on my challenge.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sesame pork in garlic-cream sauce

Dinner came out of the white trash cook book tonight and turned out well.  I made sesame pork in garlic-cream sauce.  I got some pork tenderloin at the store, cut it up and broiled it with oil and sesame seeds.  The sauce is butter, garlic, milk and cream cheese.  I think it actually turned out pretty well.

Here is the pork:
and here is everything mixed together:
This recipe is new for me so it counts for my challenge.

Fitness update

Even though I jammed my finger playing basketball on Thursday, I had a pretty good week from a health-perspective.  I didn't make it to badminton, but I did get to volleyball and basketball.  I also ate pretty well and jumped rope and bounced on my trampoline in the mornings.

As you can see from above, I'm as light now as I've been in the nearly three years since I started keeping track of my weight and body fat.  I was also able to bring my body fat percentage down near my record low which means I lost 3.7 lbs of fat this week.  Not too shabby.

I'm feeling pretty good from a health-perspective and my energy level is much higher than it was during the winter.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Without my glock."

I had an epiphany this morning. I realized that I'm happiest when I'm exercising. Sure, it's nice to have lots of money, to get laid a lot and to do whatever you want, but it seems I need to be active to be happy. It doesn't surprise me given my possible ADHD. I'm always moving at least a little bit.

Maybe one problem for me in CA is that I wasn't exercising much. I was working until pretty late and didn't find as many athletic activities as when I was in grad school. I did better last summer because I was hiking two to three times a month. This year I've been doing my Bethlehem activities and I think it's helped in general.

I think I'll have to make sure I'm active this summer. When I do P90X, I'll be exercising an hour a day six days a week. If I hike on the seventh day, I should be set. I've also started walking during lunch and feel better for it.

It would help if I weren't so damn hungry all the time though. I need to wait until my metabolizes stabilizes or I'll eat myself into an early grave.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"I don't want to wake up on my own anymore."

I need to play volleyball more often because I'm sore in strange places.  My fingers are sore and so are a couple of tendons in my arms.  It's good for me to play multiple sports though.  I just wish they didn't go until 10.  Sure, 10 is early for most people, but is getting near my grandpa bedtime.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Aerials in the sky."

I was a lazy dude tonight and didn't go to badminton. I probably should've, but I didn't really feel like it.

I was pretty stoked to get a check on Saturday from my mortgage company. It turns out my escrow had too much money so they refunded me some. Pretty sweet. It's all going to my new roof, but it's money I didn't expect.

Someone asked if Blogger sucks for me as much as it does for her. I'd say yes, but it's not a big deal for me since my site is pretty simple. I mainly post stupid shit and some pictures now and then. I'm not trying to make money from it so it doesn't really need to look nice. It's kind of like me: not much style.

I wonder if I'm going to wake up at 4 tomorrow morning like I did this morning. I've got a dentist appointment so I can't sleep in like I did this morning, but I don't need to get up at 4. I haven't really gotten on a good schedule out here yet.

It seems like Roy is going to miss the playoffs with a knee injury. The Blazers have had quite a bit go wrongly this season, but they still won 50 games and are guaranteed a trip to the playoffs. Hopefully people will get healthy this summer so they can challenge for a title next season. I'm hoping they can find a backup PF and some more slash and dish wings in the draft and in free agency, but those dudes don't really grow on trees.

Today marks my one year anniversary at work. I figure I should celebrate by staying up 30 minutes later than usual.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Picante pork chile

Sweet. I've completed 25% of my new recipe challenge because I made picante pork chile out of my white trash cookbook.
I served it over Spanish rice. It turned out pretty well, but I'm not sure I would make it again. It's quick and tastes good, but I think there is other stuff I'd rather have.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

50 questions that will free your mind #3

More questions to answer for my challenge.

Question #3: If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

There are a couple of questions implied within this question. The first is, why do we follow rules? Most of us would prefer to whatever the heck we want, but we don't. I think we've agreed to the social contract and obey as many rules as we can. We may not like it, but it may be the best way for everyone to get along efficiently. If everyone did whatever they wanted, we wouldn't be productive and there would be mass chaos. People can't really be trusted to do the right thing since we're inherently selfish.

Nothing is truly free and requires hard work. Most of us would rather just lounge around all day, but then who would feed us? How would we earn money to enable our rest and relaxation? We don't like working forty hours a week or more, but if we don't, then we go without. The trick is to find work which is enjoyable. I've tried to avoid getting a job-job as much as possible and have had pretty good luck. I went to grad school to get a degree which gives me a fair amount of freedom. I gave up roughly six years of earning in order to do so, but I don't regret that choice.

I think we like things we don't do because we're rarely satisfied. I think most of us are convinced our lives would be better if they were different and we would be wrong for the most part. Our happiness is not likely to be solved by having more stuff, but rather by having more meaningful interactions. Some of my favorite things to do, like sports, hiking and going to the beach, are not really that expensive. I just need to pay for transportation and for some equipment. I just as guilty as the average American of getting caught up in consumerism though. It's tough. I think some of us are evolutionarily programmed to be pessimistic because our dissatisfaction motivates us to work. We don't work for the enjoyment, but more to enable us to do stuff.

I really think I should simplify my life in order to concentrate more on what I like and less on what I don't like. I need to be more active and definitely need to be more outgoing.

Trouble with sinuses

I've got to get my sinuses cleaned out. The weather was great this weekend, but I wasn't able to enjoy it much yesterday and today because I had a crazy sinus headache. It happens when the weather changes rapidly because my sinuses seem to act like a barometer. I slept in quite a bit this morning and then took a three hour nap this afternoon. I was going to hit up this IBL game in Albany, but I'm too lightheaded to drive or do anything which requires concentration.

Super weak. I've got an appointment coming up with my allergist later this month. I'll have him check for polyps and then see about scheduling a time to get them surgically removed. I've suffered long enough. If my insurance company won't cover the surgery (they prefer you to go on antibiotics even though they aren't as effective), I'll find a way to pay for it myself. It's starting to impact my quality of life and that's not cool.

At least the Blazers beat the Lakers in LA.

The Marauders by Charlton Ogburn, Jr

One of the tasks in my challenge is to read ten books on World War II. From movies, I know more about the war in Europe than in the Pacific so I'm trying to find good books about what went on in Asia. I hit up the library a long while ago and found The Marauders by Charlton Ogburn, Jr which is about a provisional American unit assigned to prevent the Japanese from taking India through Burma.

The book is only three hundred pages long, but it took me three months to finish it because it wasn't that engaging. The author was part of the unit as a radio officer and describes what he experienced pretty well, but had trouble connecting up parts that he did not actually witness. A lot of the accounts are pretty jumbled.

However, I'm embarrassed to admit, I didn't even know the US fought in Burma so I did learn something new. Burma is pretty rugged so they had to hike through the jungle using mules and horses as pack animals. I got to thinking what would happen today. Would we still use ground forces or would we send in a few gunships to strafe the Japanese?

I think I'll do more research on books to find from the library. I just grabbed this one because it had an interesting title.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fitness update

Good ol' regression to the mean.  I didn't exercise much this week because school was out so there were no town activities.  I didn't change my eating habits though so I chunked out a little.  I think last week's measurement was probably not all that accurate since it was radically different from previous weeks.  I don't really look any different and the conductivity measurement can be influenced by humidity.

In any case, I think I'm doing ok fitness-wise, but I need to be more diligent about being active every day.  I need to start walking around campus during lunch, but I've got a lot of 1 PM meetings.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Lighten up."

I drove down to Fishkill today to attend some meetings down there and to meet with some of my colleagues. It's about 90 miles each way so it's not close, but it's not a terrible drive. I try to go down twice a month since it's often easier to talk to people face to face rather than via e-mail or over the phone.

I went out for lunch to the Peza Bistro. I had a reuben with some fries. It was ok, but not great. It counts a new restaurant for me. I also remembered I hit up the Tomato Cafe the last time I was down there three weeks ago, but I forgot to count it as a new restaurant. I've now hit up four new restaurants so I'm making good progress in my challenge.

It was close to 90F today which is pretty damn warm for April, but I don't think too many people were complaining.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"...rambles in my head."

I feel like my brain is infected by devils.

"All my life I've been considered the worst."

Tonight I made lamb kabobs using a recipe from the booklet which came with my Weber grill.

They turned out alright though the orange taste was a bit strong. They marinated for an extra day because my friend wasn't feeling well yesterday so I grilled them up tonight. I would make the recipe again.

The recipe is new to me so it counts towards my challenge.

Today at work certainly could've gone better because I got my performance review. I shouldn't dwell on it, but let's just say my boss doesn't even consider me average. Ouch.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"A worthless fuckin' Buddha head."

Last night I was reading from Progress Paradox and a chapter on living wages really hit home. Despite the crappy economy of the past few years, the US is still pretty affluent yet you can work an honest forty hours a week and be considered poor. I know you make your own way in life, but it doesn't seem right to not be able to live on an honest wage. The book advocates raising the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour. Since the work year is roughly 2000 hours, $10/hour works out to $20k/year which isn't great, but is livable especially since you wouldn't have to pay much in taxes. A higher minimum wage would raise prices, but I think most people buy too much stuff as it is. Wouldn't you feel better about shopping if you knew the person who made your crap or grew your food is able to feed his own family? Maybe if you're a WalMart shopper, you might focus only on the low prices and not the social consequences. You pay just as much, but not all the payment is monetary. The environment and community take a hit as well.

Rather than turn this post into an anti-WalMart rant, let me focus on the social justice aspect of raising the minimum wage. I think most of us would believe that everyone has a right to pursue his own path of happiness. While we don't want to give too large of a handout, we should try to level the playing field by ensuring you have a chance if you work. To compensate for higher prices and whatnot, I would scrap most public assistance programs since they would no longer be needed. Besides people who don't have much know how to stretch a dollar better than the government. The government rarely does anything efficiently and it might help restore some pride if people are able to work themselves out of poverty or debt.

I feel strongly enough about this issue, I'll write my Congress folk. I doubt anything will happen, but I'll be optimistic since a small rolling pebble can set off an avalanche.

I noticed some jerks had gnawed a bit on a couple of my new trees in the backyard. I gave them a good spraying with Repels-All tonight, but I'll probably get some wrapping over the next couple of days. I didn't spend my Saturday afternoon buying and planting trees just to feed the rabbits. I figure they're the culprits since the bark is chewed down low. If it were deer, I think the new branches would be gone. I've been watching my trees carefully and I think all but my red delicious are going to make it for sure and that dude has been having problems since late last summer. It was pretty healthy when I planted it, but faded quickly.

School is out around here so the roads were nice and empty this morning and work was pretty empty as well. I'm not complaining since it was a little quieter.

The national championship game is on right now, but I'm not sure I feel like watching. I might hit the hay early. I'm certainly tired enough.

I got a letter about the Spansion settlement today. It seems the rumors were true and the lawyers are only going to take 25%. However, Spansion wants to recover the money it spent on health insurance for us after it let us go. I'm just going to assume I get nothing so if I get anything, it'll be a welcome surprise. I need to stop counting my financial chickens. This Thursday is going to be interesting because: it's payday, I'll find out if I got a bonus, I might get my patent bonus and I'll find out if I get a raise. I'll try to have no expectations here as well to avoid crushing defeat and disappointment.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"I'm so crazy."

Today was not quite as exciting as yesterday, but still productive.  I didn't go into work, but I did a bunch of laundry, played some computer games, read, took a nap and watched some basketball.

I brewed up some roast pork in the crockpot:

It was pretty tasty served up over some rice.  The meat fell right off the bone and was nice and tender.  I added a bunch of vegetables so it's healthy.

For the heck of it, I made some brownies:

Both are new recipes so I'm up to 23 recipes for my challenge.  I wonder if I can finish this task up by the end of the year.

"Today was a good day."

Well, yesterday was for sure.  We'll see about today.

I woke up in a pretty good mood which got even better since I set a new record low for body fat since I've been keeping track.  Sweet.  I then played some computer games, got cleaned up and hit the grocery store.  I was able to find a spray mister and everything on my list.  I wore my 5 Fingers over there.  They're comfortable and work well.

You can see from this picture that my neighbors are in the Easter spirit.  I'm not sure why everyone in the Albany area is down with inflatable seasonal items, but they're pretty common. 

After lunch, I did a half-ass job of raking leaves in my yard and drove the short distance to Hewitt's to get some plants.  My original plan was just to get a raspberry bush and maybe one pear tree.  Well...stuff was on sale and it was a nice day so I got a Belle of Georgia peach tree,
an apricot tree,
a Santa Rosa plum tree,
a raspberry bush,
a Kiefer pear tree,
a Bartlett pear tree
and a Gala apple tree.
The apricot, plum and peach trees should be self-pollinating, but it was recommended I get another variety of each for bigger and better fruit.  Heh.  I don't have enough room and I wanted a variety of stuff in my yard.  I might've put the Kiefer pear too close to my sewer hookup, but I think it should be ok.  I had to guesstimate where my property line is, but I'm not going to sweat it.

I watched Butler take on MSU and was happy to see Butler advance.  The game was pretty scrappy, but that style was expected for a high-stakes college basketball game.  The players have the heart, but not quite the talent.  NBA players are more polished, but more professional so they don't quite get into it as much.

While watching Butler-MSU, I made some pretty tasty meatloaf using ground bison and ground turkey.  I added some Bhig Bear hot sauce, but it didn't make it too spicy.  I really need to get some Dave's Insanity Sauce because that stuff definitely leaves an impression.  I know you can order it online, but I might just wait until I hit up a town with a Wegman's since they definitely carry it because they're the most awesome grocery store ever.  Damn their no-compete clause with Price Chopper.

I watched the first half of Duke-West Virginia, but then switched over to see the Blazers jack up Sacramento in Sac-Town.  The Blazers were pretty listless and the bench played poorly as a whole.  I blame Bayless because he isn't really getting it done.  He's not a great shooter and doesn't seem to make his teammates better.  I'm not sure why they drafted him since he's a short combo guard at best.  That style works for Monta' Ellis, but he can actually shoot.  Anyhow, the starters got it done and the Blazers got the W so it's all good.

You can see from the picture, I have to watch the Blazers play online on's League Pass Broadband because I don't have cable. It works pretty well, but I'd rather watch it on a bigger screen in high definition.

I planted six trees yesterday so I'm 60% through my tree planting item in my challenge.  I guess I could count the raspberry plant as a "tree" for this challenge, but why?  I can definitely get some evergreens to fill out my front and side yard to provide more privacy during the winter.

For some reason, Blogger changed how pictures are uploaded and it's made it trickier to get stuff to look nice.  I'm tempted to move my blog to another host, but moving it sounds like too much work so I'll stay here for now.  I think Google needs to work on their Ajax programming for sure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fitness update

I must've prayed to the correct gods this week because I set a new record for my body fat percentage at 22%.  If you look at the upper end of the scale, I was once rockin' 32%.  According to my calculations, I lost 5.8 lbs of fat this week.  I'm not sure I believe I lost that much, but I did do all of my exercises.  I jumped rope and bounced on the trampoline every morning and I went to badminton, volleyball and basketball.  I can tell I'm getting into better shape because I'm no longer really sore the day after.

I didn't eat all that well during the week because I did gobble up some candy, but apparently it didn't matter.  We'll see how this achievement holds up next week since there isn't any late night athletics because the schools are out on Easter vacation.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"I can't be fixed..."

Today was better.  I'm still cheesed off by my colleagues' behavior and general unreasonableness, but it was too nice of a day to be pissed off.  I even went out for lunch with a couple of folks from work.  We hit up Creo' which is an upscale restaurant not too far from work.  I've never been there before so it counts as a new restaurant for my challenge.  I had a chicken sandwich with some fries and the sandwich was really good.  I'd definitely go back there again.

I managed to avoid going to a single real meeting today which is pretty tough to do.  Fortunately a couple were canceled.  I'm not sure I would've gone to them anyhow.

It's going to be even nicer tomorrow so I need to think of stuff to get and keep me outside.  I need to rake some leaves, but perhaps I'll hit up the nursery to get a pear tree, a blueberry plant and maybe a raspberry bush.  I know I should be saving money for my roof, but I found out today I should be getting around a grand for submitting a patent a couple of weeks ago.  A hundred dollars' worth of plants isn't going to make a big difference.  I'll ask them about ordering up winterberry holly as well so I can try to shrink the pond in my front yard.

I think I'll dig a spot for my herb garden as well.  I'm not quite ready to plant because it hasn't been above 40F for every night the past couple of weeks.  I can wait a little bit longer and still be alright.

This warm weather has got me thinking about motorcycles.  I have an item on my challenge list to take a motorcycle riding program.  I wonder how much it'd be for a used bike.  I know they aren't the safest things in the world, but you need to own your fear; you can't let it own you.  I'm a pretty careful dude and I wouldn't get a crotch-rocket.

The Blazers got jacked by Denver last night.  Weak sauce for sure, but Portland clinched a playoff spot earlier this week.  I'm hoping I can find a place to watch the games.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Not enough evidence of my soul."

  • I ate a lot of candy today - enough that I got the shakes after lunch.  I'm not sure why I'm weak-willed when it comes to sugar, but I need to get on the wagon.
  • I got my NY tax refund today so I'm slightly less poor.  I just need to get my federal return and I'll be good to go for my roof assuming I get some sort of bonus this year.
  • It's warm and sunny out so hopefully my pond will dry out.  I took a look at my trees and I think my Japanese maple will make it, but my red delicious tree still looks pretty sad.  It had a bunch of insects crawling on it as well so I'm not too hopeful.  Maybe it will prove me wrong and recover.
  • I hit the dentist this morning to get a night guard and a lingual retainer for the bottom.  Their water tastes funny and I got pretty tired of chompin' on contact paper, but it's important to get the fit of the night guard correct or it'll cause more problems.  My dentist mentioned getting braces to close the gap on my right side, but it doesn't really bother me and I'm too poor.  I already dropped serious change on InvisAlign a couple of years ago.  It'll have to be good enough.
  • Grooveshark has a pretty cool April Fool's Day joke going on.  At least I hope it's a joke.