Monday, May 30, 2005

New Diet Week

Yay, new diet week. This week, it's almost a certainty that I will be at Coldstones or Dairy Queen by Saturday. Yep, ice cream is on tap this week. Woo hoo!

Last week saw minor cheating, but not too bad. The biggest offense was dark soda. But my primary goal is to drink less soda in general. So, when I did eat out, I resisted dark sodas, mostly in favor of things like lemonade. At home, there were times where I needed a soda and dark was my only choice.

I did more excavation in preparation for the path project, and got in four or five walks with the dog, including two with Rachel at the same time, as well as one additional walk with Lori and Rachel without the dog.

I think all the work has added muscle to nearly offset any weight-loss, but I feel good and I feel committed to the diet and hopefully there will be some visual difference in my gut soon enough.

Found a flaw in the diet, though... no warm brownies covered with vanilla ice cream as both items are not allowed at the same time. Guess I'll have to add a combination-week after I lose about 10 pounds.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lose Some Weight, Fat Ass

MSNBC.COM -- Robby Gordon says Danica Patrick has an unfair advantage and the crybaby says he won't race again until it's fair. What's unfair? She weighs less.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Use Viagra and go blind?

MSNBC.COM -- Sounds similar to that other old wives tales about boys and blindness. Sadly, yes, I swung at the low hanging fruit. No pun intended.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

80's Humor

link above. windows media player.

Donald Trump in four degrees

True story. Someone I know who works at a studio tells me their co-worker came back and related the story to them. Seems their co-worker was in a studio eatery and was in line to pay for their food and saw someone they knew. They called out to them by name saying 'Hi.'

The person looked at them funny, as did the second person who was with the first person. The person cautiously said 'hi' back and that was the end of the conversation.

Only later did the co-worker figure out that they in fact did not know the person they had said 'hi' to... the person had been a candidate on one of the seasons of 'The Apprentice' and it only occured (horrifically) to the co-worker a bit later while they were eating.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Murdered Man's Last Blog Entry Identifies Killer

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS -- A woman's former boyfriend shows up at the apartment where she and her brother lived. She wasn't there, so he waits for her. While he's waiting, the brother posts in his blog that he doesn't understand why the guy is there and wishes he'd leave. The ex-boyfriend later kills the brother and then kills the sister when she returns later that night. His alibi doesn't hold up and when he's shown the blog posting, he admits to the killing. Spooky/creepy.

Hide Your Anti-American Sentiment on Porn Sites

NEWS.COM -- Websense announces that the Department of Homeland Security will begin using its product to keep ICE employees off of inappropriate sites and protect its network from sites containing malicious code. Well, on one hand, that's all well and good. On the other hand, I hope there's an ICE team that has free reign of the internet to be looking out for terrorist communications no matter what website they might appear on. Also, I hope that someone tells them that Websense will just stop working, with no warning, no notice, no alert, if you go over your license limit. And then anyone can see any website or use any tool or protocol without limits until it's restarted.

It's a decent enough program, but it's got some annoying flaws, that being one of them. I would have recommended it work the other way... if you have a license for 100 computers and computer 101 connects, don't just stop working, just block computer 101 from accessing the internet entirely. Trust me, that would get people to upgrade much quicker. (Because it just kept stopping without any explanation, we figured it was broken. Even though we now know otherwise, it still sticks in our mind as being "broken" and so we dumped them and are going with a different content filtering solution here where I work.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Checks suck

MSNBC.COM -- It was bad enough when you had to stand behind someone at the grocery store who hadn't even pulled their checkbook out of their purse until the entire order was rung up... only to then push the glasses up on their nose to squint at the register and then look around the store for some clue as to where they were... now it's turning out to be very easy to rip people off... all you need is their checking account number and routing number, both found on any check. With those two pieces of information, you can write checks in their name. Keep that in mind the next time you pay anyone with a check... how well do you trust the person receiving your check?

There Will Always Be More Cake

Well, I always read about how diets fail, how people abandon their diets, how people hate their diets and how maybe the diet works for a long time, someone loses a lot of weight, but then the diet ends, and then all the weight comes back.

I've been mildly unhappy with my weight for a looong time, been drinking Slimfast for years, but anything else I tried, I would abandon, or cheat massively on and then feel really bad about it. And then there would be the substitution diets where you were supposed to eat certain other foods instead. That would be fine until i ran out of those foods, or until I saw something that looked really good that I was depriving myself of.

The hardest part is all the crap that people leave in the breakroom. There's always parties, there's always doughnuts on Fridays, and there are many well-wishers in the congregation who believe the best way to thank us is through baked goods. It got to the point where I'd be eating a piece of cake and be looking forward to the second piece, or worse yet, being sad because I knew that after I finished this piece, I would eat another, but when that piece was done, then I would be done eating cake.

So, I created my own diet, The Rotational Diet. The key to this diet is "There will always be more cake." It works to strengthen willpower, gives you a great boost of self-esteem and self-confidence when you successfully say "no thank you!", gives you variety, lets you continue to enjoy chocolate frosting, and it avoids that feeling of being deprived that leads you to find yourself in the underground parking lot at Ralphs downing a Starbucks iced frappucino while eating hostess cupcakes.

What you do is select groups of foods that give you trouble... they're foods that you have easy access to, have a particular weakness for, the ones where you think about when you'll make your next trip to the breakroom to have more.

For me, I chose four categories: cake and all things cakey, ice cream, cookies and dark soda, doughnuts. Each week, I can eat from one of those categories. Which is a lot more positive than thinking about the three categories I'm depriving myself of. At the same time, then when a bunch of things are presented, I can pass over them thinking "Not this week." and feel really good about myself and my willpower.

Why? Because in a few weeks, the food I'm passing over won't be off limits. At the same time, it's helping my willpower. Saying "no" to something 75% of the time helps me ultimately say "no" to piece #2 or cookie #3 on the weeks where it's not off-limits. It doesn't always work that way, but I'm finding myself being a little more reasonable, because there will always be more cake.

And if you do cheat, it's less likely to (a) be a big deal or (b) be as big a transgression. I've also found that people are conspiring against me and sometimes the only options during a week are not the options I'm allowed to have. I'm able to say no and think about how I'm helping my body and working towards my goal.

It's a very slow diet, but I've seen modest results and that's inspiring, too.

(You might ask "Why dark soda? Many light sodas are equally bad for you." This is true. Cookies by themselves seemed such a small category, so I added dark sodas to that week as well. I find that it's not always an even trade, especially at restaurants. Sometimes they don't have a light soda I like, and sometimes it just serves as a reminder to me to be a little healthier and I'll go for lemonade (often no free refills), milk or water.)

And every Monday, I get to look forward to a new mix of potential goodies that week.

(Doughnuts are my weakness, I'm most likely to cheat with them. But only by cutting off tiny pieces. But the biggest proof that this is working is the decrease in doughnut consumption on the doughnut-ok weeks.)

As with any diet (and here's the part that stinks), exercise is also a must. I'm trying to get better about walking the dog. Yesterday the baby was up, so I carried here in one arm while trying to hang on to the dog with the other arm.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

New Diet Week

This is mostly a reminder for me, or anyone else on my little diet plan.

This week (beginning Monday), the following is ok:
- cake, cheesecake, pie

The following is off-limits:
- doughnuts and any other sort of bakery pastry type thing
- ice cream
- cookies and dark sodas

I will try again (try) for three walks with Barkley. Last time I said that, I got two in. Hopefully we can do three this week.

I weigh more now, but I'm hoping it's muscle. I put probably ten hours into my ill-fated attempt to create a walkway. Lots of hard work in the hot sun. I'm officially temporarily a redneck, annoyingly enough.

"...except where contractual obligations exclude the use of passes."

I have either George Lucas or 20th. Century Fox to thank for the fact that today I had to see Kicking and Screaming starring Will Ferrel(sp?). While it was humorous and had its good points, it was no Star Wars. Which was what we intended to see but have still not. Lori has a magic card that gets us into any movie. Except apparently Star Wars. We've never been turned away with this card. Usually sliding it through the window changes the demeanor of just about any sullen teen-aged movie ticket seller. But not today, as we were rebuffed. But, out of the house, cookies packed and the little one with grandma, we weren't about to leave the air conditioned theater. So, we saw something else. And I wouldn't recommend this movie. It was good enough, light-hearted enough, predictable enough, but in the end, I didn't think it really came together as well as it could have.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Say, what?

Lori and I just watched an episode of "Without a Trace." At the end of the episode, a credit card flashed up with the Warner Bros. shield and it had a little ribbon on it that read "50 years of Quality."

Now, everyone on the planet knows that I used to work for Warner Bros. While I was working there, they were celebrating 75 years.

Which means... was their first 25 years crap? Or did some auditor come to the conclusion that 1/3 of everything Warner Bros. has done has been crap? Because if that's the case, that's a really lowball estimate.

The Look of Defeat

Defeat sits outside my door haunting me. It's a giant hole in my front yard. It's four hours last night and six hours this morning before deciding that the project was beyond my abilities. It's scraping up Lori's SUV manhandling a tiller in and out of it. (First off, when did they stop calling them roto-tillers? Second off, rent from Home Depot after 6 pm and you get to keep the thing until the next morning. Third off, clean off your tools before you bring them back. It might be on something you sign, but who reads that stuff anyhow? Fortunately, they waived it.) But now I have a big hole in my front yard and part of the markings of a new patio and path.

I think I'll put up a sign soliciting any yahoo that drives by in case they want to finish it for cheap.

Are we doing this?

I guess we are.

Seriously folks, in a white-off, I would probably only beat you two by a hair(color).

And two of us grew up in Washington state, so at least we can use that as an excuse.

I had to delete your guys' comments off Rachel's website because someday I hope she'll go back and read about her early years and I don't want to have to try to explain to her what daddy's friends were trying to say. (If she finds this website, I'm screwed.)

Ok, gotta go, Lori's making me cookies and has a spoon for me. I love how she doesn't even try to get the extra cookie dough off the spoon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dumbest thing I've heard in a long time...

WIRED.COM -- Because the studios are so worried about people being able to copy DVDs, everyone is trying to figure out a way to make themselves a load of cash by coming up with the solution. Even stupid people.

A group of stupid people in L.A. have proposed adding an RFID tag to every DVD. RFID tags are found in most car keys these days, and are starting to appear on shipping pallets. It's a quick and easy way to wirelessly identify something.

Anyhow, their idea is that when you purchase the DVD, you imprint the DVD by putting your finger on a fingerprint reader which transmits your fingerprint to the RFID tag embedded on the DVD. Then, to watch the DVD, you have to put your finger on the fingerprint reader on your DVD player.

This is so fudicrous* for so many reasons.

  1. If I die, my family can't watch their DVDs, unless they keep my finger in the freezer.
  2. Your DVD player doesn't have a fingerprint scanner? Oh, that's right... their plan would involve everyone buying new DVD players.
  3. Could it account for changes in finger size? For instance, could Rachel still watch her favorite DVDs as she grew older and her hands got bigger?
  4. How could I imprint a DVD I bought online?
  5. The RFID tags in car keys have already been cracked. How long would it take before someone figured out how to re-imprint the DVDs?
  6. So I couldn't loan my friends my DVDs?
  7. Would Blockbuster have to keep my fingerprint on file electronically?
  8. etc., etc.

This is one case where I'm glad it costs $1,000 to file a patent. (Something I learned this morning trying to figure out how to monetize the great idea I have. Which is not stupid at all.)

*Not a spelling mistake, but a new word I made up.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Good morning!

It's one of those mornings... woke up at 7 am, which was odd for a Sunday morning. Thought I'd try to go back to sleep. After laying there forever, I decided to get up. I looked at the alarm clock... three minutes had passed. It was obviously time to get up.

So now I've been up for about two hours already this morning and it's been a beautiful morning. It's in the mid-70's and clear outside. I walked the dog, cleaned the back driveway, planted some flowers and trimmed the rose bushes and brought some roses inside.

Our sunday school class is having a picnic in the park and they could not have picked a better day.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Criminal Tip of the Day: Tip Line

Ok, so from NUMB3RS we learned tonight that the more tips to a tipline, the harder it is to figure out what's real and what's not. So if you're ever wanted for a crime, start calling the tip line. Or make sure someone else is, because if you just stay at one pay phone reporting false locations eventually they'll track down your real location.

Or course, if the FBI asks a mathematician to consult, that will all be for not.

I've seen the light.

Deep Fried Twinkie - a pretty good treat. I recommend it.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Criminal Tip of the Day: Get Business Cards

MSNBC.COM -- *sigh*... an article detailing a sting that netted a mass of fake law enforcement ID cautions people to be on the look-out for fake IDs, but warns they are as well-made as the original and that you can only tell the difference if you ask for a second ID and they can't produce it. Thereby suggesting to criminals that they should be prepared to show a second form of confirmation for their fake ID. At the same time, the organization that made the bust actually doesn't even have proper credentials themselves, having been formed during the creation of DHS and still waiting for their new ID's. Question... what's the hold-up? Is the ID-making company backlogged from all the fake ones they're making or something?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Lost Ground

This weekend was a killer. After a recent really encouraging visit to the scales, this weekend seemed designed to counter that. A major project at work required me to work an extra 14 hours between 5 pm Thursday and 4 pm Saturday. I was at work on Thursday from 8 am to 2 am the next day. Then back at 10 am, stayed until 5 pm, then back again at 10 pm, staying until 4:30 am. I had a bit of a cold before the weekend and by Saturday afternoon, I was pretty much shot. I went home Saturday feeling really sick and skipped church and skipped Ryan's dedication. I hadn't eaten much all day Saturday and that evening I stayed on the couch, dozed a little while watching the rest of Back to the Future II. Then I did some chores since I hadn't helped around the house in a few days, felt a little better, made some soup and began watching #3.

The family's been sick and the really twisted hours didn't help any. Nor did access to mostly bad-for-me foods. Even though they were supposed to be off-limits, I ate cookies, ice cream and doughnuts last week, and consumed several dark sodas, mostly just at the end of the week when everything went screwy. And, I paid for it. Probably about half my gain was lost (or half my lost was re-gained, depending on how you look at it.)

So, things should return to normal this week and I need to put the plan back into play. Got up at 5 this morning and walked the dog. Saw a small possum sitting (like a dog) in someone's driveway. That was kind of cool. Barkley and I got closer to it and it just opened its mouth at us. I don't know if it was tasting the air like a cat does, or if it was ready to bite or hiss. Barkley seemed curious but not antagonistic and the possum looked small, so we didn't stay around too long, because I didn't want to upset it. Hopefully get in two to four more walks before Friday.

And the food... this week is ice cream. If it makes sense, there will be a trip to Coldstone's this week. It's been too long. But, if there's no time in the week or weekend to do it, oh well. But... back on track with the diet... no doughnuts, no cookies, no dark sodas, no cake. It's not a difficult diet. Just being sick and being sleep-deprived really dimishes my already pathetic will power.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Real Live Mech

Ok, I've had this website address sitting in my inbox for some time now. Basically these guys are building their own robotic exo-skeleton (think Mech Warriors from the old Japanese cartoons). Seems like a costly project, but should be interesting.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Hello, future

Ok, so you already guessed that I watched part of one of the Back to the Future movies today. I think it's interesting and/or highly coincidental that there was a link today on the homepage of about a party being hosted in the future (from when I typed this) at MIT. (Link above.) They're asking people to advertise this party for months and years to come, hoping people will travel back in time to attend. I wish I had thought of this.

I dunno if anyone will attend, but I think Time Travel is a really fascinating subject and that they did a really great job of trying to make the science of it work in the Back to the Future movies.

It doesn't even need to be able to fly...

...but would someone please make a car as cool as the Delorean? Ok, so there are some nice Ferarris and Lamborghinis, but why can't other car manufacturers make some daring and cool cars? I supposed the Crossfire is interesting, but I didn't even care about it until I heard about the design philosophy behind it (every line changes from in to out or out to in), but I'm still lukewarm when I see one. And the Magnum... cool name, dumb car, tiny tiny back window.

Monday, May 02, 2005

My SSN has a six in it, too.

Ok, so let's see... the ones I know about who've lost my information now include Lexis-Nexis, Ameritrade and Time Warner. *sigh*

Of course, two of the three credit reporting bureaus still list Time Warner as my current employer. Guys, it's been several years.

It's all useless. Let's just all get barcodes on our foreheads.

Oh, wait, rapture and stuff.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

No Criminal Charges to Be Filed???!!?

MSNBC.COM -- It was a familiar story... a woman (in this case, Jennifer Wilbanks, 32) leaves the house (to walk the dog, to go jogging) without her cell phone or wallet days before a major event (her due date, her wedding) only to disappear. We'd seen it all before. Everyone was mentally gearing up, getting all excited about the upcoming event. And then... she doesn't return. The guy (boyfriend, husband, fiance) calls the police. The community comes together to search, relatives appear on TV after cameras are stuffed in their face, pleading for the safe return of their daughter.

And the rest of the country sighs and says "Oh, no, not again," knowning the outcome will always be the same. The body is eventually discovered and after six years of what feels like foot dragging and obviousness to the obvious, the police finally charge Scott Peterson.

Only, this time, that was not the case. After leaving the house without her keys, wallet or cell phone, Jennifer Wilbanks got cold feet. But not in the normal sense, she went for broke. Or as my friend Kevin would say, she went f'ing gonzo. I cannot come up with strong enough words to describe the stupidity of this woman. I think everyone in the nation should get to slap this woman upside the head.

First, she somewhere comes up with enough money to have her hair cut, as well as money for a cross-country bus trip from Atlanta to Albuquerque (we'll leave the annoying spelling of this town as a possible future rant). But, to make matters worse, when she gets to Alberdirgy, she calls police and describes two men who abducted her and the blue van they were driving. The family is notified, celebrates, thanks police and the media and the community, many of the 600 wedding guests and the 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen who all participated in search. And then she admits it was a hoax, there was no kidnapping. (Because who would kidnap such a freaking nutcase?)

The family retreats into their home, embarassed and probably pretty ticked. In the first of a few parts of the outcome I really love, the step-father and an uncle are dispatched to Alderquirky to retrieve her and fly home. The family members, hopefully, busy with their lawyers drafting up new wills, adoption papers for the son-in-law and acquiring restraining orders to keep Miss Looney at least 500' away from them at all times.

I really feel sorry for the fiance. First, it's a major blow to his self-esteem. Second, he knows that even as her family comforted him, in the back of their minds, and in the forefront of the minds of the rest of the country, he was suspect numero uno. Third, where does he go from here? Do they make up? If so, does he have a life-long chore of making sure she hasn't cheeked her medication and that she has showed up for her counseling session? Or does he have to unwrap everything they've co-mingled, from family and friends to housing arrangements to probably banking stuff? I really feel sorry for this guy.

My favorite part of the article showed us something they never taught us in journalism class, but should have. You can write an article that's entirely factual but still insert so much opinion into it. They taught us in math that statistics can be completely manipulated, but they should teach a module on editorial manipulation in "straight" news story writing. Anyhow, this is how the article ended (this is copyright MSNBC, but they'll delete the story from their website in less than two months and I wanted to preserve it):

Ryan Kelly, owner of the Park Cafe a few blocks from Wilbanks’ house, which gave out coffee and sandwiches to searchers, said he was glad Wilbanks was alive and healthy.

“But that being said, this is one of the most selfish and self-centered acts I’ve ever seen. We saw her parents, and you could see the anguish in their eyes. It was terrible,” he said.

“I don’t care where you are — unless you’re in the Amazon rain forest, you’d know everybody was out looking for you.”

No criminal charges are being filed. I think they should, not to mention she should be billed for the police's search and rescue services.