the long and winding stair

I haven’t done stairs in a while, thought I’d start up again today.


Forgot what a workout it is. Thought I’d start out “easy” and only do 5 reps (I used to do 10). By the 3rd rep I was starting to breathe hard, but the 4th I was sweating, by the end of 5 my legs were burning and a little shaky.

1 stairs rep is starting at the 6th floor, walking down to the 1st, then back up to the 6th.

Have to work my way back up to 10 reps, I’ve gotten out of shape (though I haven’t gained any weight, at least – I’m still about 145).

My goal is to get in better shape, build a little muscle, and maybe lose 5 more pounds, get down to 140.
Ideally I’d like to have at least a modicum of muscle… I’m not looking to look like a cage match dude or anything, just maybe be able to lift a bucket of kitty litter without struggling…

winter spring cleaning

I’ve been using my morning time to clean, been going through boxes of old documents and throwing/scanning/filing them as needed.

I’m also trying to pare down my electronics, sold my old Sony eBook reader to Scott today, Lyn’s taking my old scanner, sounds like Ben will probably buy my MacBook when I get my new Mac Pro in 3 weeks. He might also buy my old projector.

I have a machine I was building to be a Linux multimedia box, even has a cable-ready card and USB IR receiver… dunno what I’ll do with that, maybe keep it, maybe give it away…

There’s a small pile of old cellphones and accessories I should probably drop in the donation tube at work…

When I get my Mac Pro, I can also get rid of my old Dell desktop, maybe give it to my dad or something.

Sarah will probably take my old Apple (pismo) Powerbook, it just needs a new battery.

I need to see if my mom still wants my old Dell laptop, I can clean that up for her (needs a new battery).

Ben mentioned there’s a company that will replace the power cells *inside* a laptop battery for half the price of buying a replacement, sounds like that might be a good option for replacing those batteries.

I ordered my Mac Pro with the “recycle an old computer” option, so Apple will send a label so I can toss an old computer (I’m thinking the old 386 Compaq laptop running Windows 3.11) into a box and bring it down the street to FedEx where it will go to silicon heaven.

Magazines… I have so many. I want to keep the Make magazines, but I have years worth of Wired, the entire run of Mac Addict, a few years of Maximum PC, and a few others. Maybe my brother or someone would want the NewType anime magazines… not sure if anyone would want the Wireds or others…

Clean, Clean, Clean!

Random thoughts

Sugar cubes are cool.

Something about the precision, a box full of perfect little cubes, is tremendously appealing.
Each cube is so satisfyingly shaped, four grams of pressed sugar.
I can see why Brits are all about “one lump or two?”
In America we usually just grab the oversized sugar dispenser and just pour away.

Saw Cloverfield on Tuesday. It was good, very entertaining and fast-paced. Really gave a fresh feel to the giant-monster-attacking-a-city genre. With the first-person perspective of a hand-held camera, it is an experience midway between “Blair Witch Project” and one of those Universal Theme Parks roller coaster rides.

The special effects are almost uniformly excellent, there were only a couple shots that stood out as blatantly CGI, like with the news footage of the soldiers on the ground, it seems like the creature CGI was lit wrong or the wrong focal depth or something. Maybe it was just that since it was news footage, the camera was more stationary and not flying around. One person in our group felt ill from the constant shaky-cam, but I was fine with it.
Well worth checking out if you like monster movies or disaster movies.

If you do go to see it, look for an easter egg in the right-hand edge of the screen at the last scene (a flashback).

A snack I am fond of:

Cappuccino Cream of Wheat

1 packet Quaker Instant Cream of Wheat
1/2 tbsp French Vanilla Instant Cappuccino Mix
hot water

Nutritional Info:

Calories: 128
Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: 195mg
Carbohydrates: 23g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 4g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 235mg

Hastings Cakes

I had an idea for a recipe, so I tried it out the other day. Sarah was over and she liked it too.

So I thought tonight I’d cook some up, and this time take pictures. Here is the recipe:

Hastings Cakes

(French toast meets English muffins – Battle of Hastings, get it?)


  • 1 Lite English Muffin
  • 1/4 cup eggbeaters
  • 1/8 cup skim milk
  • cinnamon
  • cooking spray

Mix the eggbeaters, milk and cinnamon.
Pull the English muffin in half.
Heat a frying pan to Med-Low heat.
Spray the pan with cooking spray.
Dunk each half in the egg mixture and then put it in the pan.
Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Can be topped with maple syrup, jam, or whipped cream if desired.

Nutritional Information
Servings: 1
Serving size: 2 Hasting Cakes
Calories: 130
Fat: 0g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: <1mg Sodium: 130mg Carbohydrates: 26g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 3g Protein: 11g Calcium: 100mg If you do Weight Watchers, that works out to 2 points. Not bad for a quick breakfast. (yes, I burned them a little in the last photo, I didn't follow my own directions and had the burner on high. Whoops. They still came out ok.)

Critically Ill

My phone is dying.

The battery life was sucky, I tried getting a new battery, it seemed to help a little.
After a while, though, it seemed just as sucky again.

Now it has a habit of shutting off randomly, despite saying it still has charge.

On the way to work today, I plugged it into my car charger, but it looks like the charge didn’t take.

So I’m in the market for a new phone.

I’d like to get a pay-as-you-go one, since the cheapest contract plans are $40/month… that’s a lot for the 15 minutes a month I usually use the phone. Currently I have T-Mobile, which is so-so…

There are unlocked phones on eBay, if I get one that uses SIM cards, I can just pop my card in the new phone and keep using the same pay-as-you-go plan as before.

My requirements for a phone:
– excellent battery life
– small form factor
– bluetooth
– a decent camera would be a plus

Anyone have any suggestions?

eye tinkering

This morning I played around with one of the eye images I took yesterday.
(Since I’ve started getting up early, I have free time in the morning to do whatever)
I did it with Pixelmator, which I bought the other day cheap as part of a bundle.


Levels adjusted

Center cut out to black, levels tweaked a little

Desaturated and then colorized one solid color

Now it’s time to feed the cat and go to work. =)

How labelling works

I did some reading on how nutritional labels are done, it’s pretty interesting.

The Elements of Food

Let’s start out with the elements that make up food. No, I don’t mean carbon and such, I mean Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. Like the Greek idea of the 4 elements, those 3 elements are what are mainly considered for the labeling of food. There are other minor things, like vitamins, but Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates are the big 3.

Presence by Subtraction

So when a food is analyzed in the lab, they usually determine chemically the fat and protein content. Anything left over is considered carbohydrates.

Probable Calories

Kilocalories (as they are referred to in the lab, or Calories, on packaging) are usually calculated by approximation. This means rather than measure the specific caloric content of a food, the previous data about Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates (which was calculated by subtraction) is used. Take the protein and carbs and multiply them by 4, and take the fat and multiply it by 9. Add that up and you have your total Calories.
4*carbs + 4*protein + 9*fat = Calories.

A few months ago I made a simple JavaScript calculator to play with those numbers.

Round it Off

Numbers on the label are usually rounded, for ease-of-use.
Foods under 50 calories are rounded to the nearest 5-calorie increment, foods over 50 calories are rounded to the nearest 10-calorie increment.
For other nutritional info, it is usually rounded to the nearest whole number. Values under .5 can be shown as 0, and values between .5 and 1 can be shown as “<1”.

This is interesting because by rounding, a package with .49 grams of fat per serving and 10 servings would have 4.9 grams of fat in the package, even though the fat is listed as 0 on the label.

I’m not clear on if rounding occurs before or after calories are calculated, if it is before, than that package would contain 44.1 more calories than that shown on the label, since the fat was rounded off.

Some interesting information, anyway.

Oh, and if alcoholic products were labeled (which, sadly, they aren’t) in addition to Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates, Alcohol would be included in caloric calculations, which is 7 Calories per gram.

nutrition rant

One thing I noticed (which I mentioned below when talking about sugar) is that the more I try to understand and nutrition and adapt it to my own diet, the more critical other people are.

People initially criticized me for using Weight Watchers, since it’s an oversimplification. Now I use my own measurements, and they tell me that I’m not doing it right, because I’m not incorporating glycemic indexes into my dietary calculations. They criticize me for relying on the nutritional label for data, saying that the “sugar” line is meaningless. They tell me that you shouldn’t bother tracking your sodium intake, because it has no effect on health unless you are sensitive to it.

I’m trying to be positive, to feel good about myself, but I have to say, it’s damn hard sometimes when everyone is overwhelmingly negative with their feedback.

It’s very tempting just to tell them all to fuck off. Of course, that’s not right either, since they are *trying* to be helpful, even if the only way they know how is to point out all the weaknesses in my calculations.

I *KNOW* they aren’t perfect. I am dealing with spotty data, imprecise measurements, approximations, and estimates. But it is the best I can do, unless I want to devote most of the day calculating before I can eat anything. I like the system I have. Yes, it is flawed, but it’s easy to track, and gives me a fair amount of information.

So if you have helpful suggestions, things that you use yourself, of course I’m interested.

But if all you want to do is point out the flaws in my system, or espouse theoretical practices which you have never tried yourself, then I have to ask you, in the politest terms possible, to please fuck off consider your words.

sugar funk

I’m feeling kind of bummed…

I’ve been tracking my daily nutritional intake, trying to eat better, and one of the goals I set for myself (which I have stuck to pretty well) is to have less than 50g of sugar a day. For this, I go by the printed nutritional labels, which list sugar content as a line item.

I was feeling pretty good that I’d managed to cut most of the sugar out of my diet.

However, my girlfriend was pointing out the other night that me thinking this is an accomplishment is stupid, because ALL carbohydrates are sugars, so reducing the amount of “sugar” as shown on the label is meaningless, since the overall carbohydrate number is all sugar.

I feel helpless now, I mean, I don’t have the lab equipment to do my own food analysis (the lab guidelines book alone is $500), so all I can do is go by the labels…

Sigh… just when I thought I was starting to learn something about nutritional guidelines.

I’m thinking what I need is better literature…