Monthly Archives: December 2016

Good Riddance, 2016. No, Seriously, F*ck You.

They say you are what you eat. In that case, 2016 must have eaten a bag of dicks. I can think of very little good to say about this year, whether globally, in the entertainment world, politically, or even personally. Sure, you gave us The Force Awakens (OK, technically at the end of 2015) and Rogue One, then you killed Princess Leia. You gave us the first female presidential candidate from a major party, then gave us…well, you know where that one is going. You gave us the awesome Kate McKinnon, then stuck her the not-bad-but-not-necessary Ghostbusters. You took Prince, Glenn Frey, Greg Lake, Keith Emerson, David Bowie, George Michael, Paul Kantner and Too Many More, yet Bieber survives.

Seriously, f*ck you. Right in the ear-hole.

apple-watch-badges-2016-smallAs for me personally, well, it wasn’t much better. Oh, sure, work was OK, the pups were awesome, but it was pretty much a forgettable year for me. The wrong people entering my orbit, the right ones leaving it. Mediocrity. About the only good thing I have to say about the year is that I stayed on track pretty well, fitness-wise. Hit my numbers on the Apple Watch every single day (those are my badges for the year on the right), pulled down around 12 million steps/7400 miles on the FitBit (final numbers pending). Rode my bike 50, 65, 80 and 100 miles, plus many shorter rides. Had some good hikes and paddles. Got my total weight loss to 80 pounds. Bought clothes in sizes I never thought I’d see again. Shopped like a banshee – fitness gear, computers, yard stuff, clothes, shoes (always shoes). Rode my motorbike. Built a new area for the pups. Helped a woman in a bad car crash, and nearly killed myself in the process (and this was just a couple days ago – 2016 almost got me, too; the lesson learned is that if you’re the first one to come across a crash in the middle of the night, mind the downed power lines when rendering aid)(on a side note, I found out later that the driver was relatively uninjured; however, sadly, this morning – just 3 days later – I came upon another accident in almost the same spot [emergency services were already there], and that driver was killed – slow down, people, because 2016 is out to get you).

OK, so I guess there were some good things. It just wasn’t great. I want great. Next year at this time, I want to say, “Holy smokes, this year was amazing!” Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. But I guess it’s not just going to happen on its own – I need to give it a nudge in the right direction. So, 2017, this is me, nudging.

Don’t fail me, 2017. There are only so many bags of dicks you can eat.

See you on the other side – of the calendar, that is.

No More F*cking Around.

donutOK, I think I’m over my Holiday Pity Party. Yeah, it sucked, but it always does, so there’s no need to obsess on it. And by “obsess on it” I mean “fall into bad habits”. I’ve been half-assing it at the gym for a couple of weeks now – still going, but not using my whole ass. That changed today. Up early, hit it hard, and it felt pretty good. People ask for my advice all the time; it’s time to start following it myself. I get it; it’s tough in the winter especially to stay motivated. It’s cold out, it gets dark at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and everywhere you go, someone is shoving tasty, tasty junk food towards your word hole. So, yeah, I fell off the wagon. Jumped off. And did a somersault in the process, and stuck the landing, although the Romanian judge only gave me a 9.8. Well, that’s done. Back on the Bowflex, back to the weights, back in the floor doing the Perfect Pushups and Ab Carver. Taking my supps. Cool sculpting every morning. Logging all my foods (and picking good ones in the first place). I (evidently) have enough strikes against me as is – long work hours, unusual personality, loads of responsibility – I’m not going to allow being a fat ass be one more thing that people critique/reject me for. So, pick up a weight, or get the hell out of my way.

And now, because I love them so, some numbers:

macros

These are my Dietary Reference Intake numbers, according to the USDA. This is interesting to me – I consider a day where I get more than 50g carbs a Bad Day. If I get 100g carbs, it’s a Very Bad Day. But according to the Big Giant Heads at the USDA, I’m good for between 400 – 500g carbs per day. Now, I also get far more protein than is indicated here – I shoot for at least 100g, but ideally, more like 150g (especially on a heavy-lift day). And, of course, my daily calories are under 2000, unless I go on a junk food bender (like I did Monday)(dammit). I am a little light on the water – usually, I get about 100 ounces a day; according to the BGH, I should up that to about 125 ounces. That’s easily doable.

Of course, these numbers are not hard-and-fast, and your mileage will vary. Like all things, use them as a guideline, and do the best you can. The only way you’re guaranteed to fail is to not try in the first place.

Current mood, on a scale of Debbie Gibson to White Zombie…it’s ThunderKiss ’65.

Addendum: Back on track.

totals

A little high on carbs, but those came from a banana (22 carbs) and 3 protein bars. So, more-or-less healthy carbs – no donuts or anything particularly tasty (although I love bananas, and they’re practically a treat for me). Although, as noted above, 60g carbs (51 net) is waaay lower than I could allow myself. Now, to just keep this up…forever. Oh, and I’m sure the keto flu will hit me again – ugh. Worth it.

Another Day.

wsb-new-550So, yeah. Meh. The usual. Every year, I say, “Next year will be different”, then next year comes, and it never is. I guess in an uncertain and sometimes frightening world, it should be reassuring that some things never, ever change. So, to that end, I was at the gym at 3 o’clock this morning, as always. Not a soul there – but I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. Normal people are with their families or sleeping or whatever at 3 AM, especially on a holiday. So, I just tell myself I’m pleased with my motivation and dedication, versus thinking, “Wow, this is pitiful”. At least I made good use of my time, and I’ve been keeping the diet on track for the most part – dodged a few bullets over the weekend, that’s for true.

And the pups and I had our traditional holiday walk this morning. That’s the other thing that’s consistent – a holiday walk with my boys (and of course, they had presents – gotta spend my money on something [that I don’t end up having to return]). On the WSB, basically me, a hobo or two, and one or two other pitiful and/or motivated people. To have 20K steps in by 9:00 AM – worth it. I was also lucky enough to get another awesome pic of Blackjack & Tonka. Like the amazing sunrise photo from a couple of weeks ago, shooting dozens of pics yielded a handful of good ones, and one that I was able to work my mad computer skills on to make something special (and you can click it for a larger version). In fact, I think I’ll take both of these, have them professionally printed (maybe on canvas) and framed. Ars Gratia Artis.

So, I guess if I want next year to be different, I’m going to have to make it so – it’s not just going to happen. Message received, Universe – I’m already on it. And in related news, someone sent me this today:

cost

Yeah, that sounds about right.

No One Ever Had Much Nice To Say.

22thousandmilesAnother week, another pile of steps. Over the weekend, I crossed over 22000 total miles. Twenty-two thousand. Not many miles if you’re a car, but a lot of miles if you’re a pair of legs. I’m also rapidly rolling up on 33 million steps – I should hit that tomorrow or the next day, depending on my level of motivation. The oh-so cold weather slowed me up a little bit, and because I’m focusing more on weights than cardio right now, my step count is down (although my overall fitness is most likely up). In any event, a crazy amount of activity. Buying the FitBit was probably the single best fitness decision I’ve made, apart from deciding to get off My Huge Fat Ass™ in the first place. If you’re serious about making a change, get a FitBit, AppleWatch, Garmin, whatever. The numbers become addictive and motivational, and I honestly don’t think I could have done it without the gadgets.

Oh, and the Bowflex weights are awesome. I’ve been knocking out lots and lots of reps with them; I’ve probably doubled the overall number of sets I get in a day (and I generally get 20 – 30 sets at the gym doing various movements). Between the weights, the M5, the Ab-Carver Pro, Perfect Pushups, P90X3, biking, kayaking, hiking, a decent diet and so on, I guess you could say I’ve turned things around. Next stop: 9Round just opened a kickboxing center near me. This is something I’m super-interested in. We’ll see.

alpineswissIn other shopping news, the Envy laptop is now complete, with the arrival of a new AlpineSwiss bag. Super swanky, and at $300, it ought to be. I always hated my old bag – it was just a generic bag that did the job, but just wasn’t that great, and certainly wasn’t swanky. This bag is awesome, plush, and perfect for my portable nerditorium. I also bought protective cases for the external DVD/R drive and external hard drive – so, I’m all set to hit the road now. Have laptop, will travel. And the more I use the new laptop, the more I dig it – money well spent.

watchmen

Y’know, I’ve never really been a fan of My Chemical Romance, because I’m not a 15 year old girl with cutting issues. However, I got mildly turned on to them via the closing credits of the awesome Watchmen film (seriously, great film), and their cover of Dylan’s Desolation Row. (Side note: if you’re a Walking Dead fan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Negan – plays The Comedian in Watchmen, and is awesome. Side side note: Morgan and Lauren Cohan (Maggie on TWD) play Bruce Wayne’s parents in Batman V. Superman, directed by Zach Snyder, who also directed…wait for it…Watchmen. See how I tied that up with a pretty little bow?). Anyway, back to MCR – not particularly a fan, but then this came up on my Super Awesome YouTube Good Job Playlist™ this morning, and I have to say I’m hooked. An upbeat, toe-tapping song about death? Yeah, sign me up. Plus, the video is clever and humorous, and a great dichotomy to the subject matter. OK, I’m easily amused.

Push It, Push It Real Good.

statsWell, I did end up breaking 400K steps last week – barely, but it still counts. I’ve only had one other 400K week this year, and that was the first week of January. In digging through my logs, I found out that this is the fourth 400K week I’ve had. I need to shoot for 500K. That’s more than 71K steps a day (on average) – the mind and body are willing and able, but I’m not sure the clock will cooperate. I’ll need to start with another 100K overnighter at the gym – perhaps this weekend.

As you can see, sleep is still an issue with me. I’m not sure there’s much I can do about that – I just don’t sleep. When you’re doing this fitness thing, there are 5 checkboxes you must hit: diet, exercise, water, stress & sleep. I’ve got diet, exercise and water down, no worries. Stress and sleep, no so much. I guess I need to figure something out there, but sleep and I have always had a tenuous relationship, and I’m just not sure that’ll ever change.

weightsSpeaking of exercise, the UPS gal showed up yesterday with some big, heavy boxes. I’ve been needing some weights – I have a couple of sets of steel dumbbells, but they really aren’t heavy enough for me – these Bowflex SelectTech weights are pretty awesome – they adjust from 5 to 52.5 pounds per dumbbell, so I can use whatever weight I need for the specific exercise I’m doing. And with the stand, they don’t take up much space, and the stand makes it easier to use – no bending down to the floor. I have to admit, Bowflex makes some pretty awesome gear, and now I can just grab a weight when I’m on the phone or whatever, and knock out a few reps. Yay, me!

Random Access Memories.

coolidge-park-pups-622The boys and I had a nice walk this morning. It was flippin’ cold, but that’s when the boys like to get out. Not a long walk, just a breezy 3 miles from the North Shore to downtown and back (and, just occasionally, I get an amazing photograph, which I make even better with my mad Photoshop skills – click the pic for larger). Of course, the boys had to announce their presence to the waking world:


You should hear that in the middle of a dark, moonless night. I’m sure my neighbors love me.

hustleLast week, I took part in the Workweek Hustle Challenge with some of my FitBit friends. I love these challenges – super motivational (as you can see). I normally pull down between 200K – 250K steps per week (which is still pretty impressive; fitness guidelines say you should shoot for 10,000 per day/70,000 per week), but during the challenge, I got 316K steps in just 5 days, and I’m on track to hit 400K for the week – a number I rarely hit. Still need to get about 15K more tonight, so I guess I’ve got a date with the Bowflex. The Marquis de Sade of exercise gear. I love the Bowflex, but holy cow, that thing just kills me. I guess that’s the point – no pain, no gain, no size 29 Calvin Kleins. Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll be invited to join any challenges in the near future – I kinda left everyone in the dust, although a couple people told me I was helping them find their motivation. Whatever it takes, kids. Get off your ass. Do it now. Not tomorrow, not January 1st. Now.

Mac G4 - Weird, cool, and an awesome paperweight.

Mac G4 – Weird, cool, and an awesome paperweight.

The new computer is officially at 100% now, and it’s awesome. Crazy fast. Like, stunningly so. I picked up external 1TB and 4TB drives to make backups/recovery images of both the new machine and the new laptop, and it’s amazing to me how cheap they are. A 4TB external drive was $129. I can remember spending close to $500 for a 60 megabyte drive way back when, and my nerd friends being dazzled that I had that much storage. And these drives are tiny; about the size of a deck of cards. So, I’ll lock them away in my firebox and put them in the barn for disaster recovery purposes. I seriously have so many redundant copies of my data – the removable drives, my RAID NAS, an external cloud server, Dropbox, and if all that fails, my old machine, which I’ve packed up and put in the barn (along with the carcasses of at least a half dozen other machines). Speaking of the old machines, I’ve got a G4 that I need to do something with. It’s so cool, I can’t just toss it, but it’s completely useless now. Even my 5-year old iMac is practically useless, but that’s another story. So, I want to make an art project or something out of the G4. Not sure what – maybe load it up with Bluetooth speakers and sound-activated lighting and control it with my now-defunct (thanks to the FitBit buyout) Pebble smartwatch. Frick, I’m a nerd. Stay tuned.

So, anyway, in going through the computers over the past couple of weeks, I found so much…stuff. I’m a digital packrat. Tens of thousands of photographs, GoPro videos, every SMS I’ve ever sent or received. I have a box with a BlackBerry, 2 old iPhones, probably 4 iPods, and then my iPad, Galaxy Note, Kindle, Surface, blah, blah. So. Much. Stuff. Still, looking at all those photos, videos and whatnot was – I dunno – interesting. Memories, lots of memories. Sadly, more bad ones than good ones. Gotta work on that.

This week, I need to get cracking. I’ve been pretty good, diet-wise, but not as good as I should be. I think tomorrow will be a liquid diet day. Maybe a couple of days. We’ll see. Because of the cold and the rain last week (and a busted door), I missed a couple of days at the gym, but I’m back on track as far as that goes (buying new workout clothes helps with the motivation), but I’m still not doing too well at logging everything, and that’s when you get in trouble (and yeah, that cinnamon bun at Panera probably didn’t help, either). So, tomorrow, back to it. Hit the gym hard, mind my macros, and send stupid 2016 away once and for all – maybe 2017 will treat me with a little more dignity.

Oh, despite missing a couple of days at the gym, my Apple Watch streak continues. 121 days to go to 500 straight days. I’ve got this.

Moves & Changes.

mainx24Y’know, you can go off-diet from time-to-time. A cheat day. Whatever. But this weekend, I desecrated my diet. With good reason, though – it was MainX24 and the Mutt Strut. I haven’t been in a couple years – last year, I could barely walk, and the year before – well, I don’t remember (OK, of course I remember). But I made up for it this year. Without going into the embarrassing details, Friday night, it was Starbuck’s at the Read House, City Café, and Ben & Jerry’s. Frick. But Saturday, oh my. Starbuck’s (again), Mean Mug, The Hot Chocolatier, and Good Dog. Oh, and Jerry’s Sugar Shack, but I behaved there. Amazingly. And I had my carb-blocker, so I really hope that it did some good. Luckily, the weather cooperated, other than being a little cold and gray. Lots and lots of steps, but I don’t think enough to offset the diet pillaging I did – so, I guess it’s liquid dieting this week. Yay. Nonetheless, a good weekend, and just what I needed after that big boulder rolling after me for the past week.

In Big News, totally unexpected, my new computer showed up Thursday (in fact, I’m using it now). No shipping notice, no nothing. No point in recapping the grief I’ve had with HP (I mean, really, how hard should it be to get a spare AC adapter for the new laptop?). Anyway, I was nowhere near prepared for the transition – I expected I’d get a shipping notice, and that’s when I’d get cracking. But it just showed up. Now, I’m glad it arrived, but really, that’s annoying. So, I got it set up Thursday, and started copying the data over from the old machine. That alone took 2 full days – it ran around the clock while I was gallivanting Friday and Saturday. Then, Sunday, the real test. Using LapLink to transfer all my programs, settings, etc from the old machine to the new one. Amazingly, it went pretty smoothly. I’ve never actually done this before; in the past, I just built a new machine from scratch, but I just had too much stuff to do that this time. All the important stuff – Photoshop, Zend, Xenu, Office/Outlook/Expression, Dropbox, transferred pretty much without a hitch, although I had to tinker with the Credentials Manager to get my passwords working correctly. I also had to noodle with iTunes a little bit, and manually remove some old drivers and install the new SteelSeries keyboard and mouse. Luckily, I had the new laptop to use to read how to solve problems as I found them, and now I’m about 98% or 99% back to normal. And great merciful crap, is the thing fast. Like, really, really fast. Boots up in about 15 seconds, and applications – memory hogs like Photoshop – just scream. That’s what 32GB of RAM buys you. I still have to make recover discs, get the backup running properly, and ghost the NAS like it was before, but really, far, far less painful than I expected.

I’m debating taking the boys for another photo session with Santa this week. The last one was OK, but I think I can do better. Plus, I have to return something at the mall. I hate that – unshopping. Especially something expensive, because I know that means someone is going to lose their commission. But, y’know, gotta do what you gotta do. I hate this time of year. Anyway, watch this space – may have new photos of the boys with Santy Claus.

Now, back to the Big Box. I kinda feel like I’m on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise with all the gadgetry – all I need is a green chick, and I’m all set. Warp speed, Scotty – there’s no intelligent life here.