Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fitness update

Since basketball ended, I've been struggling a bit to stay fit.  I tried doing some calisthenics, but I don't think they're enough.  I joined a club where I can play squash and I think that helped, but I jacked my knees up last Sunday hiking so I didn't make it this week.  Bum deal.

There is a disappointing uptick in the chunk this month, but the past couple of weeks are going in the right direction so I think I can lose five pounds of chunk next month which would put me near my record low fat.  I've been eating pretty well and have been able to cut out gluten and sweet snacks with a few exceptions.  I'm going to eat homemade stuff people bring to work, but nothing storebought.

You might notice it's been five years since I started this challenge.  In those five years, I've lost twenty pounds of which all are fat.  I've also lost six inches from around my gut.  I think that's a big accomplishment, but I think I can get down around 180lbs with ~20% body fat and a navel circumference of 32 inches.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hike up Noonmark and Round Mountains

On Sunday I hiked up Noonmark and Round Mountains which are in the Adirondacks.  You can park at the lot on Ausable Rd just off Rte 73 near Keene, NY.  The weather was nice and the bugs weren't too bad, but I jacked up my knees coming down.  I'm not sure if they're defective or it's just because it's the first hike of the season, but I had to hobble the last couple of miles back to the car.  It's been three days and they're still sore.

The hike was a little more than 7 miles in total and my moving average was a slow 1.8mph due to the elevation gain and my bum knees.

Anyhow, the route up to Noonmark is pretty steep, but you get some awesome views of the Adirondacks as you'll see in the following pictures.

Pointing the way to the top.

I threw a gang sign at the top of Noonmark.

The USGS marker on Noonmark.

View 1 from Noonmark.

View 2 from Noonmark.

View 3 from Noonmark.

View 4 from Noonmark.

View 5 from Noonmark.

View 6 from Noonmark.

View 7 from Noonmark.
Throwing a gang sign on top of Round Mountain.
Noonmark as seen from Round.

Elevation profile.

Route seen in Google Earth.

My friend took this one with his superior camera.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

50 questions that will free your mind: #14

Question 14: Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

No, I think it's been more previously seeing creative and now seeing insane.

Project Tree: Day 125

Friday, June 22, 2012

50 questions that will free your mind: #13

Question 13: Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Yes, without hesitation.

Project Tree: Day 124

Magnitude of debt

I realized today that my monthly payments on non-mortgage debt related to my house, money borrowed from my 401k for a new roof and money from my parents for closing costs, adds up to roughly one MacBook Air.  Crazy eh?

I could've bought a cheaper house, but I wasn't told I couldn't fold in closing costs until the last moment thanks to my shady mortgage broker.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

50 questions that will free your mind: #12

Question 12: If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

I guess the assumption is this baby would be able to understand me and to take my advice to heart.  In that case, I would advise the baby to question everything.  I feel a lot of trouble in the world is caused when people stop questioning and start blindly following.  Are people asking why hedge fund managers make $500k/year when they contribute nothing to society?  Are people asking why elections are decided by which candidate has the most money?

I feel we learn the most when we ask questions.  We should continuously try to figure out why and how things work.

Project Tree: Day 123

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Project Tree: Day 121

Logan's Run

Netflix is refusing to send me Game of Thrones so I've been pokin' around for other stuff to watch.  Logan's Run was listed as a must see science fiction movie, but it stole nearly two hours of my life.  It stars Basil Exposition as Logan and he tries to find Sanctuary.  The visual effects are terrible, the dialogue is even worse and the acting is worse yet.

There are few non-whites two hundred years into the future and no woman wears a bra.  You do get to see some titties so this movie isn't a complete waste, but I highly recommend you stay the hell away from it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Project Tree: Day 120

Turkeys in the yard

The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham

I saw this book in my local library's fantasy section and checked it out because GRRM recommended it.  He may be milkin' the crap out his Fire and Ice Series, but he knows fantasy.  Abraham has worked with GRRM before on some Wild Cards stories, but I prefer this writing of his.  The first part felt like it was heavily influenced by Martin's Fire and Ice Series, but quickly morphs into its own work.  It's epic fantasy without much violence.  I mean there is still violence, but it's more implied than anything and described as graphically as in Martin's books or Abercrombie's.

I highly recommend this book and will check out his others.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Project Tree: Day 117

Attack of the yard jerks

A rabbit who lives in the yard has taken a likin' to the Burkwood Scotch Broom and has jacked it up:

The jerk knocked down most of the plant and I'm not sure why.  I saw him munchin' on it earlier this week so I busted out the Repels All.  It should've scared him off, but maybe it just pissed him off.

Squash injury

I joined a fitness club so I can play squash against some of my colleagues.  I've gone twice now.  The first time I was sore for three days and last night I was doing alright until I slid and jacked up my big toe.  I think my nail got caught in my sock and peeled back or something.  It is a little painful, but nothing debilitating.

You can see the flesh under the nail is a weird color.  I'm hoping the nail doesn't fall off, but we'll see.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This movie got off to a slow start, but gathered steam quickly.  The visual effects were pretty hokey with lots of wire work, but, even though this movie was about kids with telekinesis, I found the characters' actions to be believable.  They started off with a couple of funny pranks and then someone went too far which shows that power definitely corrupts.

This movie also had a Rampage vibe to it which is a big plus in my book, but might throw some people off.

I recommend this movie if you like or at least don't mind gratuitous violence.

Iron Council by China Mieville

My mom recommended this author and I saw the book at the library so I grabbed it.  I didn't realize it was the third in a series, but I guess each book is fairly self-contained so it wasn't an issue.  Perhaps more of the logistics of the world would've made more sense, but it doesn't take long to catch on.

This book is weird fantasy, but I like it.  It's gritty and the characters are well-fleshed out.  There is still some magic, but it's not the hokey stuff of Tolkien.  The world created has a steam punk feel, but it's more like steam punk meets Soviet Russia.

I recommend this book and this author.

Project Tree: Day 114

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Project Tree: Day 112

Track work

Well, it wasn't pretty, but I was able to do all twelve laps without walking.  My fitness level has been declining since basketball ended, but I think this morning is a step in the right direction.

The stats:
  • 3.12 miles in 28:24 for a pace of 9:06/mile which is within spitting distance of my target of 9 min miles
  • 6.6 mph average speed with a max of 13.4 mph - ouch
  • 166 bpm average heart rate with a max of 181 bpm so you know I was working
I think the slow top speed is because I didn't walk so I didn't recover as quickly.  It's definitely something for me to keep an eye on and should be a good indicator of my fitness level.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Project Tree: Day 111

Arrested Development: Season 1

I've been streaming these episodes via Netflix while eating dinner.  The show is pretty cool, but feels a bit dated because these episodes are nearly eight years old.  I didn't even recognize Michael Cera and kept thinking it was a waste that Portia di Rossi is a carpetmuncher.

I appreciate the lack of a laugh track since those are one of the big reasons I don't like to watch network TV.

I recommend this season.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Project Tree: Day 110

Maria Full of Grace

Gah.  Another bad recommendation from Netflix.  This movie is about a woman from Colombia who decides to become a drug mule.  She's fairly hot, but she's no Sofia Vergara.  I was zoning out during some of the movie, but it was another one where I didn't really care what happened to the characters.

I do not recommend this movie.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Project Tree: Day 107

Wild turkey

I guess the turkeys like my yard because of the pond in the front.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Project Tree: Day 105

Screening off my neighbors

I don't want to see my neighbors' back deck when I look out my bedroom's northern window so I hit up the garden store to get some privacy shrubs.  I ended up getting and planting three Emerald green arborvitae.  They should grow around 12 feet tall and around 6 feet wide so they'll eventually block my window.  I guess they grow just one foot a year, but maybe I'll get lucky and they'll grow faster.

From the picture, you can see they'll get some sun which should help.  The acidic needles should also keep that yard mostly free of weeds.

I think my property line is actually another ten feet from the shrubs, but there are already a lot of trees there.  I'm not sure why the previous owner did not extend the fence down this part of the yard.  Maybe he didn't want to cut down any more trees than necessary.

Track work

My GPS watch says I ran 3.1 miles in 29:30 for a pace of 9:29/mile.  I averaged 6.3mph with a max speed of 13.1mph.  My heart averaged 156bpm with a max of 175bpm.  The pace is faster than last time because I jogged both cool down laps.

There is still work to do to get faster.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Project Tree: Day 104

Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber

Yep, another Star Wars Expanded Universe novel.  I suppose I ought to take a break from these books, but some of them are pretty good.  This one started off promising, but it's really just a Star Wars zombie book and I think I've had enough of zombies the past couple of years.

I cannot recommend this book, but it's more for subject matter than writing style.