Well, I haven’t lost any weight. But I’m not particularly concerned about it just yet. The reason is that I feel like I have been taking care of myself physically.

Peter-man and I have been doing daily push-ups, and we had a contest on Sunday to see who could do the most in one day. I got 500! I definitely couldn’t have done that a few weeks ago, especially considering that I wasn’t sore the next day.

I got a new cheap digital watch for Christmas, and I have been using it during my runs. It made me realize that my standard run was shorter in time (and distance, it turned out) than I thought it was. So this morning I decided to run out thirty minutes before turning around. Here was my route:

View Larger Map

I set out at 6:30am, when it was dark, so I got to see the absolutely beautiful sun rise, and the cityscape as well, from atop Diamond Heights.

I was getting frustrated by a recent slew of minor injuries. Minor ankle sprain thing, minor ab strain thing, minor knee hurty thing. But this time instead of just resting to cure the injuries, which is also important, I have asked for Mags’s help in giving me physical therapy to do for injury recovery as well as injury prevention. And I have been sticking with the PT routine pretty well.

So, adding all of that up, I feel pretty good, even though I’m not dropping the pounds yet.

I think my body is better adjusted to the exercise after this three-and-a-half weeks, so I can hopefully expect to be injured less often as well as be able to do more. I feel confident that, given the time and motivation, my body will allow me to complete a ten-mile run. Maybe this weekend?

I was feeling a bit restless and needing to get out of the office today, so I took the afternoon off.

After picking up a book from the library and doing some reading while eating lunch outside in front of Canyon Market, I headed home. It was a beautiful day today.

I brought the book into my bedroom and continued reading. And while I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while, there were two problems: The book was a little bit depressing (I’d be surprised if it wasn’t) and I wasn’t outside. I knew I’d kick myself if I finished the day without getting outside for a significant amount of time. I walked out to the living room and sat by the open window. I looked outside and felt a mild sense of melancholy wash over me as all I saw outside were houses, and houses, and more houses. I needed to see something other then civilization.

So I headed to Glen Canyon Park on my bike, sans helmet, wind blowing through my hair. I packed light: just my keys, wallet, knife, and bike lock. I left the cell phone at home. Good choice!

My first general thoughts were: wow, beautiful day. It really was. It was the perfect temperature. I locked my bike to a pole along the main path and started hiking up the hill. It was about 3:30 and I wanted to see the sun on its way down from an optimal position. I was cheered by the folks that made eye contact and responded when I said “hello.” After a few short minutes, I got all the way to the top of the hill and found a nice bench to sit down on. I made myself comfortable and laid down.

Then I noticed the constant whir of cars driving along O’Shaughnessy Boulevard. I noticed the noise from the airplanes, and the really annoying noise from some sort of weed whacker in the distance. I was still glad I came, but it definitely soured the experience a bit. I thought, “why can’t we have a peaceful bit of nature right here?” There should be restrictions on noise if it means that one can’t find a bit of nature near their home to relax in.

And then a friend arrived. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a six-inch stalk with purple flowers attached to it disappear into the ground. My interest was piqued. After a couple of minutes I discovered that it was just what I thought it was – a little groundhog or other similar furry guy that lives in holes. Every so often, he would pop his head out of his hole to take another few nibbles of grass. While I was still conscious of the annoying noises of modern civilization, I stopped caring as much while I was observing the little creature just a few feet from me.

Overall, it was an excellent afternoon off of work. And I realized that this park might be even more enjoyable right around the time when the sun comes up – same park but less external noise.

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Yesterday, I was out with Mom near her place, returning with her groceries in a City Carshare car. We were waiting to turn left at Monterey and Foerster. All of a sudden, we hear several harried beeps coming from a car across the intersection to our left. We look, and there is a car flying around the corner, out of control. He swerves left, now going west on Monterey. Rather than coming to a stop, he stays on the accelerator, swerving back to the right and very soon runs into a tree.

I quickly pulled into a nearby parking lot, got out, and started running to see if they guy was OK. Unfortunately he had backed up and drove off, car smoking.

His car was smoking so much that I figured the first policeman that saw him would pull him over. I start on my way again, and only a block away I see him again, dirt and grass wedged in his car grill. This time I was able to get his license plate number. I pulled over and called 911. Halfway through my short conversation, I heard sirens.

I am guessing he was caught. It didn’t look like he did too much damage to the tree, but he certainly should be held accountable for reckless driving. Besides that, there was clearly something wrong with him that I am sure he could use help for. Hopefully the police were able to connect him with the help he needs.

After my monster workout a couple of days ago, I am finding it hard to muster up motivation to work out. I think I need two things to succeed:
– no hangovers. Hard to avoid on New Year’s Day, even though I didn’t drink much on NYE.
– early to bed, early to rise. Mags just left for a week this morning for work out of town. This involved going to bed late and waking up early. This shall be fixed tonight! And I’ll still work out tonight, after I feel a bit more “with it.”

Today’s weigh-in: 159.5 lbs.
Goal weight for February 1: 150 lbs.
Pounds I must lose per day to reach this goal: .297
Calorie deficit needed per day: 1,039
Hours on the bike trainer today: 1
Minutes biking on city streets: 50
Minutes running: 43
Miles run: 4

Here is today’s running route:

View Larger Map

Happy New Year!

Our honeymoon is over and so is the holiday visit to the East Coast. In between the two I got some form of the flu that was one of the worst illnesses I have had. It lasted about a week.

With all of this comes a few extra pounds and also some restlessness – the need to move, to feel the cold air, to breathe hard, to be sore. Basically, I need to get back in touch with my body after all of this.

I have stayed pretty fit and healthy ever since I took off about 50 pounds a few years ago. But I never did get all the way to my end goal. So that’s what I’m going to do here, cliche or no.

I don’t have a detailed plan as of yet. But the idea is to exercise as much as I can without injuring myself. I want to run. A lot. And my buddy Peter-man gave me a bicycle trainer. So I can use that when I don’t feel like going out into the weather, or if I have limited time. I can do calisthenics in the garage and also hit up 24-hour fitness. So, I just want to make sure I exercise a lot every day, and within a couple of weeks I may put together a more structured plan based on what I know works.

As far as diet, I want to eat healthy stuff like I usually do, allowing myself the occasional treat. I’ll probably have to set up a set of rules for this so I don’t have a slippery slope problem.

I want a big component of all of this to be data and blogging. I want to track my runs, including their times and their routes. I want to track my weight daily. And I want to take pictures of my progress.

Exciting times! I know I can do it, and I could use all of your encouragement!

I find myself getting more and more jaded about what goes on in our society. So I felt the need to share my feelings about recent goings on.

Juan Williams was fired from NPR for a bigoted remark about Muslims he made on the O’Reilly Factor. And, in the society we live in, we have people writing in to NPR – not just Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, but actual listeners – to voice their displeasure at his firing.

If the remark had been made about African Americans instead of Muslims, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. All but the fringe would just say, “Yeah, OK, of course that makes sense. Dude’s gotta be fired. Why are we even talking about this?”

Usually I don’t like NPR; their reporting is often called “liberal” but unfortunately that is far from the truth. They parrot all of the establishment assumptions about things like the moral integrity of our political elites. But at least in this case they’ve done well.

Elsewhere…

I am really glad to see Meg Whitman down 8 points in the polls, according to KPFA morning news. It really gives a little bit of hope for our society. She has spent $141 million of her own money on this governor’s race, and it’s not going to buy her the election. Jerry Brown, by contrast, has spent about a tenth of that and is winning. Sure, he’s not perfect – he is likely far from it – but he is also far from being as bad as Meg Whitman.

Also, I heard today that there is a Tea Party movement in Europe. God help us…

And, I watched a few news reports about the French protests. I personally think the protests are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Interestingly enough, the things that I have heard about the protests have included people saying “Of course, everyone knows that the pension age must be raised. However, the unions have to save face.”

Really? They _must_ be raised? There is no other possible place in the budget that can be cut, or taxes can’t be raised?

This reminds me of what is going on right now in San Francisco. The MUNI workers (bus drivers, etc) are being scapegoated by local politicians for MUNI’s woes, saying that their salaries should be lowered and benefits cut. I’m not the biggest fan of MUNI workers, but we’re looking in the wrong place for the source of the problem. Almost no one is bringing up the possibility of greatly cutting the salaries of managers and politicians. For instance, MUNI head Nat Ford makes over $300,000/year. How is this not a problem?

That is all.

Computer games used to be just a waste of time for me. Sure, they were fun, but they did me more harm than good.

When I heard that Civilization V was coming out in September 2010, I knew I had to play it. But these days, the only computers I have are a Macbook and an Eee PC. Both of these computers are woefully underpowered for the task. Something surely had to be done…

I have loved the entire Civilization series. It is truly engrossing and it is really fun to build an empire from the ground up. Besides that, I feel like I am missing out on experiencing the art form of our times: video games.

So, I set out to get a gaming computer. For a while I thought I would get a gaming laptop. But, with my budget being limited (about $600), I knew that I could get so much more in a desktop. I had a few requirements: lots of RAM, small physical size, Windows 7 (I didn’t want to use a nine-year-old OS, and I wanted Direct X 10), decent video card, low power usage, and quiet.

Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Shuttle barebones: case, motherboard, 250W PSU
  • AMD Athlon 2 64-bit 2.9Ghz dual-core processor
  • 4GB PC8000 RAM
  • Radeon 5700 1GB video card
  • Wireless NIC
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

For my hard drive I used an old 120GB IDE drive that I had sitting around. I also used an old DVD-ROM that I had sitting around.

If I had another $250 to spend on it, I’d get an SSD as my hard drive and up the RAM to 8GB.

Since Civilization V won’t be out for another couple of months, and because it won’t be the only game I’ll ever want to play, I went onto the Interwebs to see what else I should get. I perused the past few years of top games on ign.com and decided to get Company of Heroes (an RTS from 2006), The Witcher (an RPG), and Empire: Total War (an RTS/TBS hybrid).

So far, Company of Heroes has arrived. I played it for about an hour or less last night. It seems like a pretty solid game. I like how the soldiers take cover.

I realized this morning that I actually really like the fact that it is a desktop computer and not a laptop. We don’t have a desk at home. Well, rather, we are using my desk as our dining table. My big 24″ monitor lives, covered, on a side table in the living room. We uncover it when we want to hook it up to a laptop for a movie or some such. Because we don’t have a desk, I need to borrow the dining table when I want to game. This means moving everything over there and plugging it all in, and unplugging it and putting it away when I am done. This will result in more “intentional” gaming sessions and less gaming because it is just so easy to start. This means less time wasting and procrastinating through gaming, which is a good thing!

Although, when Civilization V comes out, I am pretty sure I am going to have to set aside a weekend to play the hell out of it. Also, I think I should try to organize a small LAN party. I can throw an Ethernet cord down to the garage. With folding tables, I think I can get maybe an eight-person LAN party going. Ah, just like old times…

Because it took me 15 minutes to figure it out, and because Google was no help… to get the mysqldumpslow command installed on FreeBSD, use the databases/mysql51-scripts port.