Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vegetarian chili in the slow cooker

I kept up the slow cooker theme for tonight's dinner, but this meal turned out much better than last night's.  I felt like eating vegetarian so I tried out this recipe for vegetarian chili.  I have to say it turned out really well and tasted great over wild rice with a little cheddar cheese mixed in.  The tofu adds bulk and there is enough chili powder to provide some kick.  I sweated a little bit while eating it and I have a pretty high spice tolerance.

This recipe makes 75 new ones so I'm three-quarters of the way through my challenge.  Sweet.

I'm too young for white

Today just keeps gettin' better and better.  I noticed quite a number of white hairs in my beard and in the hair above my ears.  Sweet.  Not only am I getting older, but my body has decided to skip the gray phase and go straight to white.

I'm fucked in the head

I'm not sure what's going on with me.  Maybe it's too much sugar or maybe too little exercise, but I'm not feeling it at all.  At the risk of throwing a pity party here are some song lyrics that represent what's going through my head.  It ain't pretty.

"Whomsoever I've cured//I've sickened now.  And whomsoever I've cradled//I've put you down."
"I'm only faking when I get it right."
"How would I know//that this could be my fate?"
"Cause I'm a piece of shit, it ain't hard to fuckin' tell."
"All my life I been considered as the worst."
"I want to leave, I swear to God I feel like death is fuckin' callin' me."
"I set off running//to wake from the dream."
"I begged their forgiveness//I wish I was dead."
"I prayed for God's mercy."
"Slowly drowning through my own abuse//Nothing changes anymore."
"Thought I'd taste the freedom long ago//Not the man I was before."
"Dragged down by the undertow."
"The bitterness and disgust that is me//If you choose to reach out to lend to me//I'll chew off your hand."
"I'm not beggin' for your fuckin' change//I'm just beggin' for a fuckin' change."
"I am once was//that is me."
"I believe I can see the future//Cause I repeat the same routine."
"I think I used to have a purpose//But then again//That might have been a dream."
"I can't remember how this got started//But I can tell you exactly how it will end."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Citrus salmon in the slow cooker

I thought I would cook some salmon tonight because it's good to eat fish at least once a week. I searched online for an interesting recipe and found one for citrus-flavored salmon in the slow cooker. Gah. I do not recommend this recipes. The salmon was cooked fine, but the sauce added no flavor which is surprising because I used OJ and lemon and lime slices. I pretty much wasted some good citrus fruit that I could've juiced instead.

A picture of the offending meal:
At least I banged out another recipe towards my challenge.

The origin of my family name

For the past few years, I've known that Wahl was not my dad's family's original family name and that the name was switched at Ellis Island from Rabben to Wahl. The reasons given were because my great-grandparents didn't speak English and wrote out the name of the fjord near their family farm or perhaps the dude at Ellis Island gave them a new name.

My dad and his brother went to Norway earlier this year to check out from where we come and got the real scoop. My great-grandparents left Norway because my great-grandfather was not the first son so he wasn't going to inherit any land. Norway is not exactly teeming with arable land so he set out to America to seek his fortune. He spoke fluent English and new that robin was a wimpy little bird so he took his neighbor's family name, Wahl, which connotes strong Viking resolve and toughness.

I have to admit this origin story is much cooler than the ones that had my ancestors as dumbasses who moved to the US without knowing any English. I tried to find out if Wahl really is a Scandinavian word, but failed. My dad has a picture of the sign for the Wahl family farm which was right next door to my ancestors'. I'm definitely going to have to visit Norway to check it out.

I've got a cousin, Chris, who could've been Christopher Rabben. Heh.

Fitness update

Another week has gone by with some chunkenin'.  Gah.  I undid any benefit from tennis last weekend by eating poorly this week.  The weather is getting colder so I find myself getting hungrier and hungrier.  Halloween is tomorrow so I helped myself to some candy this week.  Yeah, I know that sentence doesn't exactly make sense, but I rationalized feeding my sugar addiction.

As you can see from the plots, I've pretty much undone most of the hard work over the past year.  Crikey.  The only good news is I'm getting stronger, but getting stronger doesn't mean I'm getting healthier.  I probably should go back to Phase I of the South Beach Diet, but I can't be arsed.

I've found I haven't had much motivation for much of anything lately.  I'm not sure if it's the weather, the fattening or just general malaise.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Medical hypocrisy

One of my (many) pet peeves is fat doctors and nurses.  I don't want to hear some doctor pushing four bills telling me to lose some weight.  I don't want a fatty nurse scoffing at my weight and/or heart rate when she can barely get out of her chair.  I take my GP's advice seriously because he's in shape.  He told me to drop 10lbs when I saw him earlier this year and that's what I'm trying to do.

I know white trash may not know better, but surely people in medicine should.  Doctors need to be able to give tough love, but they can't be hypocritical.

The best laid plans...

The NBA started up this week and some of you know I'm a huge Portland Trail Blazers fan.  I even signed up for NBA League Pass to watch all their games.  I had vowed to watch every game, but my resolve crumbled last night before the second game because I was exhausted.  Portland plays roughly 3/4 of its games in the Pacific time zone so most games don't start until 10-10:30 here.  Sure, 10 isn't that late, but I need to get up around 6 to be at work in time to get work done before my meetings start.  I'll try to watch as many games as I can, but I'm beating myself up a bit because of my weak will.

Portland is 2-0 though they haven't played a good team yet, just a couple of ok ones.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How much is needed for retirement?

My friend told me about which can track all of your financial accounts and help provide some guidance on how to get out of debt *cough, cough* or on how to save for retirement.  You punch in your age, your income, when you'd like to retire and how much you want to have each year.  The program assumed I'd live to 90 and told me I would need about $3.6M if I wanted to rock the equivalent of $80k per year.  Hmmm...$3.6M sounds like quite a bit so I re-ran the numbers.  I said I would get ~7% return and suddenly I only needed to save something like $2.5M.  Crikey.

I try to max out my 401k, but I'm not doing much beyond a little stock trading.  What do people do to save for retirement?  If I'm crazy, I might think I could count on a little from Social Security and possibly a small inheritance from my folks, but the latter would require me forcing my brother to sell our parents' house to split the profits.  I don't think he reads my blog anymore, but my plan is to just give him the house since he's more likely to put it to good use.  I think it would be nice to keep in the family, but who knows?  My parents are still young yet.

I guess I should start socking more away, but I need to put it somewhere I can't reach because otherwise I'll spend it.  I have an IRA so I should start contributing more, but I make too much to get a tax benefit.  I'm also worried about what to do with the money once it's in the account.  I can buy stock, but those could just as easily lose money.  I guess I should find a fairly conservative fund which will give me a solid 5% return.

In order to free up money to be saved, I need to stop spending money.  I'm hoping Mint's dire predictions will keep me in line because self-discipline hasn't worked at all to this point.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fitness update

 My body measurement tape showed up in the mail yesterday so I can add back a measurement of my "waist."  I'm actually measuring my love handles right at my navel.  The measurement is fairly imprecise because the love handles have quite a bit of give to them.  I adjust the tape until it's tight, but not squeezing.

I was using my ex's tape in CA, but didn't get my own after she moved out.  P90X has you measure your waist, biceps, thighs, etc. so I figured it was time for me to get my own.

I can fit into 32" waist pants because they sit below the flub.  Heh.  I guess guys can have muffin tops as well though, for me, it's just the chunk on the sides that flabs over.  I've done a pretty good job on the gut.

The scale tells me I've lost nearly two pounds of fat over the past week, but there is probably considerable error in the measurement.  I still haven't reversed the upward trend, but my knees are feeling better daily so I hope to be back to "baseline" by the end of the year.  We'll see.  I'm going to play some tennis this weekend and will gauge how much stress my knees can take.  Hopefully they're strong and stable so I can start hiking again.  The weather is turning, but I don't think there is snow in the mountains yet.  Once it snows, I'll try out snowshoeing because I haven't done that before.  A friend has a pair I can borrow and I'll practice by tromping around in a field or something just to get used to them.

I probably would've lost even more fat this week if I had eaten better.  It's tough when you live by yourself because you have to do all the cooking and I don't have the time and energy to be chefin' up something every night.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wellness update

I've been feeling better physically the past couple of days because I've been consistent with my exercises.  It also doesn't hurt that I went to the chiropractor yesterday since I always feel better after the adjustments.  Each morning I jump rope, doing jumping jacks on my mini-trampoline and then do pullups.  I got a wide grip bar to complement my Door Gym so I can do a variety of grips now to try to work all the back muscles.  At night I do my prone Bruggers with 10lb kettlebells and then do five wall squats with one kettlebell.  Three times a week I do my 100 pushups pushup routine.  I finished week 1 without any trouble and start week 2 today.

I'm definitely getting stronger in my core and in my upper body, but my right knee still feels a little off.  I guess it's just going to take some time to fully recover.  I'll play some tennis this weekend to get some much needed aerobic exercise.  Hopefully it'll hold up since I don't want to go back to hobbling around.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The world is headed towards nowhere good.

I just read this article on Cracked and, while it was funny, it scared me quite a bit because it's true.  It explains why people buy bottled water, why people pay a premium for Apple and why we're all fucked in the end.  Sure, you can make the case that Apple products offer some unique value, but face it.  A lot of people buy them just because they say Apple on them.  I don't know if there is an alternative for the iPad, but I like my Droid X better than the iPhones I've seen and I know you can get better MP3 players than the iPod.

Anyhow, it's amazing how well marketing works to convince people their are scarcities when we have more now than ever.  People are obsessed with what they don't have when they don't realize how much they really have.  There are people in the US most would consider poor who have cable and a car and enough to eat.  There are people around the world literally eating dirt to stave off hunger.  Crikey.

I need to follow my own advice and focus on what I have.  I need to be more skeptical of the products I buy and I need to learn to entertain myself with things that are mostly free especially when the weather is nice.  Sure, it's nice to laze around and watch football, but it's more fun to throw a real football around or go shoot some hoops or whatever.

Old shit can still be funny.

I know this video has been out for a while, but I just watched it and I laughed so hard I started crying. Not only is it funny, but it's true.

I needed a good laugh.

Holy shit. There's more. This one makes fun of the Evo.

Nearly at my breaking point.

Crikey.  I need to do something to get out of this rut.  I haven't been doing much other than working and work is sucking donkey balls right now.  I thought my knees would be better by now, but I think it's time to stop babying them and time to start being more active.  I need to get out and about more, but I'm having trouble staying motivated.

Today was one of those days where I wasn't sure, if I had a gun, if I would shoot myself or shoot everyone I saw.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Slow cooker chili

Today's slow cooker adventure was chili. I have a good chili recipe from my friend, but I thought I would give this one a try. Meh. It was ok, but nothing special. The recipe calls for tomato puree which I interpreted as tomato paste, but I think I should've used tomato sauce instead. I put plenty of spice in and ended up drinking a whole mess of water.

I served it over corn bread so the meal wasn't a total loss. It also counts as new recipe 73 towards my challenge.

Earlier in the day I made some applesauce since New York grows pretty decent ones. My dad has an awesome recipe which calls for gravensteins, but those are hard to get out here so I used mcintosh and honeycrisp. I don't like peeling so I borrowed my colleague's old-timey apple peeler and corer.

You impale the apple and then a razor blade on a spring-loaded clip peels the apple as you rotate it. At least that's the theory.

It worked ok on the smaller apples and cores them well, but failed on the large honeycrisps. It's fast, but creates quite a bit of mess and doesn't seem to get the peel near the core at the top and bottom.

I haven't tried the applesauce yet, but I'm sure it's at least adequate.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apple muffins

After dinner tonight, I made some upside down caramelized apple muffins or whatever using a recipe from the New York Times.  I used two large honeycrisp apples and I will definitely not make this recipe again.  The batter didn't mix with the apple stuff and was dry and bland.  Weak sauce for sure.

At least I polished off another recipe towards my challenge.

Cryin' out one eye

My eyes have been watering a lot lately, but for some reason, it's mainly out the left eye.  Pretty crazy actually.  Maybe I have eye cancer.

Fitness update

I'm not sure why, but it seems like the last three weeks were an aberration rather than their own trend.  Crikey.  I really need to get my fat ass in shape and to reverse my fattening.  I've just about undone the hard work over the past couple of years ago and that's not cool.

I've mostly kept up with my morning exercises this week and polished off my crunches challenge.  I'm still not doing enough cardio though.  Crap, I could just write this post using auto-text since I say the same thing every week: Boo hoo hoo.  I'm getting chunky.  I better exercise more.  Heh.

My knees are feeling better, but the weather is turning so my outdoor activities are dwindling.  Once it snows, I can try out snowshoeing since I haven't done that before.  I'll start up P90X at the beginning of next year, but I was hoping to have a better base by then.

I think I am getting stronger, but I'm just building muscle under the fat.  I could always eat better, but work has been stressful and I usually lack the discipline to stay away from crap under those circumstances.  I've been hungrier as the weather has changed since I think my body is telling me to store up some fat from winter.  Heh.  Way ahead of you, buddy.

I was going to make a grocery list now, but it's not good to make those when you're hungry.  I'll make sure to hit up the grocery store after a meal rather than before to cut down on the crap I get.

I wonder what I should slow cook tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From where does the money come?

As most of you know, it's election season here in the States and money is flowing like crazy into candidates' coffers.  One question that struck me is from where does this money come.  Does it come from individuals?  If so, a lot of people are out of work yet they can scrape together money to donate?  Maybe it comes from businesses.  If so, why don't they use that money to create some new jobs?  You figure that every $1M could pay for 20 decent paying jobs.  It may not sound like much, but every little bit helps.

What annoys me is there is no shortage of anything yet the economy sucks.  Maybe I don't know enough about economics, but it's obvious trickle-down does not work.  Rich people tend to stay rich by holding on to their money so giving them more isn't going to help.  If you want to stimulate the economy, you need to give more money to dumbasses like me.  We'll go out and buy iPads and big screen TVs.

I'm actually pretty worried about the future of this country because we seem to have lost our way.  We used to buckle down and tackle big public works projects, but now you have the governor of NJ pussying out and killing the tunnel project.  It would've created a lot of jobs, eased congestion and allowed more people to commute into NYC from NJ which could encourage more people to live in NJ which would increase tax revenue get the point.  Are we really the same country that fought on two fronts during WWII?  We seem to be spending more time and effort improving Afghanistan and Iraq than Detroit.  Let's take care of our own before trying to solve the world's problems.  And for fuck's sake, let's stop supporting Israel.  I don't care if they balance out the Middle East; their settlements are illegal at best.  What kind of moral high ground are we taking?  Let's use however much money in aid we give Israel to create some jobs here.  The government can build some solar plants or maybe invest in battery research.  It doesn't matter.  I don't want another cent going to militaristic knuckleheads.  We don't owe them anything and the money can be better spent here.

All this partisanship is killing me as well.  The president should be trying to bridge the parties rather than going out of his way to antagonize the Republicans.  Sure, most of them are corrupt idiots, but you could say the same about the Democrats.  You have two sides of the same shitty coin.  You get people completely out of touch with reality.  Are people in Delaware really going to elect someone who had to go out of her way to say she's not a witch?  Are people in Nevada going to elect someone who thinks Sharia law will rule in Flint, MI? Crikey.  What kind of idiots do they think we are?  Who the hell believes this shit?  The Democrats aren't much better and seem hellbent on giving handouts to lazy folk.  I'm all for giving people a helping hand, but help them get back on their feet, don't just help them loll around.

Let's get some more political parties so we can better represent people.  I'd like to see a couple of centrist parties, a strong environmental party, whatever.  Rational debate is good for this country, but what we have now is two idiots jawing at each other.  You've got Republicans using "stimulus" as a dirty word when it seems like TARP will do no worse than break even and may even make money.  If enough of us buy shitty GM cars, it'll definitely make money.  You've got Democrats passing a half-assed healthcare bill when we need insurance company overhaul.

The good news is some American know-how with hard rock drilling helped free the trapped Chilean miners.  That story just goes to show what can happen when people pull together for the greater good.  I'm convinced we could have a great healthcare system, great education while minimizing our impact on the environment if we tried.  It seems we've turned into lazy fuckers more interested in the Jersey Shore than actually making a difference.  We throw up our hands and lament it's too expensive to do good work.  Bullshit.  It just takes some sacrifice and some long-term strategy.

The government could put a shitload of people to work fixing roads and updating our ancient energy infrastructure.  We waste a ton of electricity due to our antiquated power grid and most roads are 90% potholes despite the ubiquitous construction.  Maybe they should try actually building quality multi-layered roads like the Germans instead of just slapping down another layer of asphalt.  Why do we no longer build for the future?  Don't buy a recently built house because it was probably slapped together in a short time and will not likely survive another decade.

Heh.  I think I've used up a fair share of cliches, but I worry that Americans are no longer motivated to do right.  We've become content and complacent so I'm hoping this latest recession will spur people to reevaluate their priorities.  The housing bubble was fueled by speculators who thought they could get rich simply by buying a house and letting it appreciate.  Since when did get-rich-quick schemes ever work?  You had to know there would come a point when everything would implode.  Crazy.  Are we destined to fade into obscurity?  Are we going to become China's bitch?  If we don't wake up, I think we will and sooner than we think.  China already owns a big portion of our debt and is making noises in Southeast Asian.

My company has a fab in Germany so perhaps I should request a transfer for a year or so to take a break from the shittiness here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Two hundred crunches

Tonight I banged out 203 crunches in my last set which means I completed my two hundred crunches task.  I followed the scheme of the Two Hundred Sit-Ups site and even finished a week early.  Sweet.  I was feeling pretty good during the "max" set of column three of day 1 of week 6 so I decided to see if I could make it.

Can I guarantee that every crunch was textbook perfect?  No, but I feel that they were all close enough and that I didn't cheat.

Sweet.  It feels good to accomplish another task, but my abs are really sore now.

I am a financial dumbass.

I am a symbol of all that's wrong with Americans from a financial perspective.  I have managed to parlay a six figure salary and generous friends and family into a mountain of debt through an inability to rein in my spending.  I don't know why I feel obligated to spend every penny I have, but I do.  I have lots of cool stuff which is hardly ever used.

I don't need to declare bankruptcy any time soon, but I realized this week, I'm on very thin ice and that I better keep my job for sure.  Buying house hasn't helped, but my bigger problem is my spending habits.  I already cut Netflix back to just one movie out at a time.  Will saving $5 a month make a difference?  Probably not, but watching less discs will use less electricity and it also reaffirms I need to make sacrifices.  I was getting the NY Times delivered daily.  I was going to cancel it completely, but you need to call them to do that so I cut back to getting it only on Sundays.  I'll try that out for a bit and then see if I want to cancel completely.  I'm also forgoing League Pass so I'll just watch the Blazers illegally online.  I'll probably cancel cable after the Super Bowl.

None of the above is really all that major except for maybe cable so I'll need to have discipline not to buy anything unless it's necessary or adds value to my house.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Asparagus piss

It's well known that eating asparagus leads to piss which smells funny.  What about my spunk?  If I want to be considerate should I down a gallon of pineapple juice if I eat asparagus?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Green chile pork

Sunday means football and slow cooking.  Tonight's dinner was slow cooked green chile pork.  I left out spicy from the description because it wasn't that spicy despite me using three peppers.  No matter because it was definitely tasty and worth making again.

I served it in biblical tortillas with cheese, Spanish rice, black beans and guacamole.

I've now polished off 71 recipes towards my challenge.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Grilled scallops

I felt like having some seafood for dinner tonight so I followed the recipe for grilled scallops posted by a former coworker of mine who likes to cook.  I used lemon juice instead of grated lemon peel, but it ain't no thang.

I think the scallops turned out well and were flaky without being chewy which means I didn't overcook them on my Foreman Grill.  The rice took longer to cook than expected and the kale was a little chewy.  I read in the NY Times that kale is one of the healthiest vegetables out there so I got some from the grocery store this afternoon and boiled it up.

I probably ate too much and the pineapple is not allowed during Phase II of the South Beach Diet, but I'm not too chuffed.  I've been doing well with my exercises so I'll work off any excess from the small amount of pineapple I ate.  It provides a nice contrast with the peppers and scallops.

I would definitely make this recipe again.  It's also the 70th towards my challenge so just 30 more to go.

Minimizing the role of health insurance companies

To me, one of the biggest problems in the US is the rise in power and importance of health insurance companies.  Some of my loyal readers might know I was against the health care reform bill because it did not get rid of the prominence of insurance companies.  The US is a mostly free market so they have a right to participate, but I would like to see health insurance be more like car insurance, something you have to protect you against catastrophic injury.  They do have catastrophic health insurance in some states, but it's nearly as expensive as a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan.

The real problem is the free market does not rule in US health care.  Can you shop around for the best doctor for your price range?  No, because you have no idea what they charge.  Does all of your money go to the doctor?  No, the insurance company takes a huge cut.  How else do you think UHC made enough money to overpay its CEO?  Have you ever tried to get treated without insurance?  No, because some doctors won't even see you because they worry you'll be a dead beat or something.

Without insurance companies, healthcare could be just something else you can research to find the best care for your dollar.  Feeling sick?  You can go to the doctor's office and pay $50 out of pocket for the visit or whatever.  You wouldn't need to fill out an excessive number of forms unless you were going to use your catastrophic insurance.

You might say, "Whoa, dude.  $50 a visit is pretty steep.  Where am I going to get that scratch?"  Firstly, the money employers currently pay to the insurance companies would go to you so your salary would rise.  Secondly, the money you pay to the insurance companies out of your paycheck would go to you so your salary would rise.  Thirdly, the government could offer a tax credit on health expenditures over $5k.  Fourthly, think of all the procedures or treatments the insurance companies do not cover.  Few will pick up preventative medicine so you're already spending more money than you think.  Fifthly, the frickin' copays for most visits are already $20-30 so it's not like your healthcare is currently free.

I honestly believe a minimal presence of the insurance companies would drop prices overall which would allow more people to afford care and I think more people would be able to afford to go in for preventative treatment.  Equally importantly, you would have control over which doctors you see or which hospitals you visit.  You would no longer get hassled about whether your injury is due to an auto accident or something work related.  If you don't claim workers' comp then it's by default something you should cover out of your pocket.

I think it's a myth that people would spend more money than they do now because the employers' cut could be given to the employees' pocket.  Also, think of the administrative savings if you mostly eliminate the middlemen, especially middlemen who are interested in increasing their profits rather than ensuring your health.

I'm no economics or social policy expert so I welcome other viewpoints.  I'm just sick and tired of being treated like a potential deadbeat when I go to the doctor.  I'm also sick of worrying about whether a doctor I visit is in my network or whatever.  I should have complete control over my treatment.  Also, I should be responsible for maintaining my medical records so that my care is portable.

Fitness update

I had high hopes for this week's measurement because I've been doing my morning exercises, my crunches and my spine exercises.  Unfortunately, I ate a bit of crap this week and it's impacting the results as my body fat crept up a little.  I'm still not convinced the fat measurement is accurate because I pass the jiggle test.  Don't worry ladies I'll post some shirtless pictures once I start P90X.  I'll warn you so you can position a fainting couch because you know you're going to swoon.

My knees are feeling a little better though are now a little sore from my new spine exercise of wall squats.  The orthopaedist said to avoid squats to avoid aggravating the early arthritis, but my chiropractor taught me how to squat without putting pressure on my knees.  Squatting facing the wall forces you to maintain good posture and prevents your knees from going over your toes which is critical.  In fact, afterwards, my knees are sore on the outsides rather than inside which I think indicates I'm strengthening the tendons which keep the knees stable.

Yeah, yeah.  I probably should trust the ortho dude over the spine guy, but I think the ortho guy is part of the new American medical movement where they try to shuttle people through as quickly as possible and also give you fairly generic advice.

Providing light for the poor

A Facebook friend posted an interesting video highlighting the Soccket, a soccer ball which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.  Apparently, a lot of Africans use kerosene lamps at night and it's known the fumes are bad for them and bad for the environment.  The ball has a magnet inside a coil.  When the ball is struck, the magnet moves through the coil inducing a current.  The resulting electricity is then stored in a battery.  The claim is 15 minutes of play can power an LED light for 3 hours or perhaps charge up a cell phone though it seems strange that poor people would rock a cell phone.  Anyhow, the downside is the ball is a little heavier than regulation and the system is unlikely going to provide enough voltage to power major electronics.  However, it's a great idea and LED lights do not require much juice.  If these soccer balls could provide kids with exercise and energy and reduce the amount of kerosene burnt, we all win.

For those wondering how poor people are going to afford the ball, they'll get it free if richer folk buy enough.  Not a bad idea since it's helping people out without giving them a handout.

The ball was conceived by four Harvard engineering chicks in a class so score one for the Ivy League.  It's good to see American innovation is still alive.  Longtime readers know I'm a big proponent of powering our vices with exercise.  My challenge list requires me to purchase a pedal powered system - I would pedal a bike to charge up a battery.  I could restrict myself to only watching TV if I've pedaled up enough juice or something like that.

It would be great if American parents required their kids to power their computers or cell phones with this ball or something similar.  I bet you could store up a lot of juice from the impact of a bat hitting a baseball.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feelin' better

I had my chiropractor appointment yesterday morning and I feel better after those.  Going to the chiropractor has been one of the best decisions I've made recently.  I feel much better and I certainly feel less crooked.  Nerves control everything and the positioning of the spine can affect those nerves.  I've also learned how to properly stand up and sit down so my core should strengthen.

Going isn't cheap, but it's affordable and definitely worth it.

Hopefully my good mood will survive the weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What the hell happened to me?

I used to be a moderately happy dude, but now I'm just angry all the time.

Asparagus tart

Last night, I made an asparagus, cheese and tomato tart using a recipe I found online.  It turned out alright, but didn't look anything like hers.  Mine is chock full of asparagus while hers looks a little more uniform.  I couldn't get the pastry dough to roll out and I was hungry.

I would make this recipe again, but I would use about a third as much asparagus and more tomatoes.  I had plenty of cheese.

I've now finished off 69 new recipes.

Home cookin'

On Monday night, I polished off another task - I did not eat a restaurant or buy food from a restaurant for 30 consecutive days. When you live alone, it's tough cooking for yourself every day, but I managed to scrape by. I did eat a taco bar lunch provided at work, but I didn't pay for it so I'm not going to count it against the challenge.

I think I'll celebrate by getting a burger or something tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apricot pork chops

Sunday during football season means dinner cooked in the slow cooker. Tonight's dinner was apricot pork chops with sweet potatoes and curried quinoa. The pork smelled good while cooking, but ended up on the dry side. I think I should've stirred the pot a bit more during the day. The yams were tender though so it wasn't a complete waste.

I don't think I can recommend this recipe.

This recipe is new to me so I've plowed through 68 new recipes towards my challenge.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fitness update

Another Saturday, another body composition measurement.  I dropped my body fat percentage slightly, but my weight went up quite a bit.  However, only half a pound of the 2.6lb increase is fat.  Not too shabby and it's probably because I gave in and ate some cookies and candy this week.  I'm not sure why I backslid, but I don't really regret it.  I'll never make it by denying myself completely.

I did my morning exercises and crunches with regularity, but I still haven't added in significant aerobic activity.  I was going to go hiking today, but my knees still don't feel right and I don't want to reinjure them.  Perhaps they feel weird because they're weak, but I do feel like they're getting better day by day.

I think I'll be good to go to start P90X at the beginning of next year.  I expect to make significant progress then, but I think I need to get into better shape before then so I'm not completely blown.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fuck Blogger to hell

I just spent the last twenty minutes banging out a long ass post and Blogger couldn't even fucking publish it properly nor auto-save drafts so it's gone into the ether.

Fuck it all to hell. I'm not going to rewrite it because it was all spur of the moment. It was pretty good stuff as well.

I've been considering moving to a different blog publishing site, but I'm lazy.

I thought maybe it saved a draft or something, but it's empty. Goddamn it. The whole point of this blog is to capture my spontaneous ramblings. I put down some pretty decent stuff about environmentalism and politics. Fuck it. My night was going alright, but now I'm pretty pissed.