Cost Benefit Analysis

So, I started a new diet and exercise routine with the initial self gratifying goal of getting back six pack abs. And for a couple weeks, that was pretty much the only benefit I really saw in it. I’ve certainly experienced some of the downsides – return of my repetitive stress injury in my ankle due to the significant increase in jogging that I do now. It originally started from regular playing of volleyball combine with soccer and jogging too. Luckily, because I’m not currently in a volleyball or soccer league, the amount of jumping I do (I tend to become the blocker/spiker or goalie/defense) I do hasn’t changed much and I don’t have to worry about the return of the shin problems as well.

Some point out that my diet is pretty restrictive and thus very hard to stick to. For the most part, that is not actually the case. I can manage with what I’m allowed to eat and a couple of my favorite dishes can be easily made using what’s on the acceptable list. The tough part though is snacking. I tend to be lazy about grocery shopping – pretty much only do one large trip at the beginning of the month and one smaller trip in the middle. So, aside from not having enough cheese cubes to satisfy my snack cravings, there is actually very little else I can have (as a snack) that I actually want. So while meals are usually where people go wrong, in my case, snacks could be my biggest Achilles heel (as if I didn’t have enough foot problems).

In the past week though, I’ve come to find some other benefits besides those of a purely physical nature. I’m actually eating less – perhaps due to the restricted food choices and not always feeling like cooking (which is weird, a couple years ago I was fine cooking almost every other day), but that’s going down which means my monthly food cost is also decreasing. I’m also fitting into more of my clothes purchased some time ago which means that I won’t have to spend as much to refresh my wardrobe. Furthermore, I’m getting back into decent shape (well, better than before) whose benefits while a bit more intangible are no less real.

Aside from the diet, I have made some changes to the tech in my life. I’d been working on a multimedia setup for my bedroom and recently purchased a pocket projector. While I’m not enthused by it’s one hour battery life on reduced brightness (makes movies or anything with dark scenes barely watchable without the AC adapter), it otherwise seems to be ok. I’d purchased a roku box to give that device a shot. At some point, the main projector in my living room will die and I expect to replace it with an HD capable proejctor. Currently my media device is an original xbox running xbmc. However, video output is only composite (no HD) and some 720p titles can’t be played (too much decoding work for the xbox to handle). So, the plan is when the projector gets replaced, to replace it with an HD capable media device.

Given that my pocket projector has both analog and digital outputs, I thought roku might be a good first step to play around with an HD media device. And while it seems to handle streaming video ok, most of my media actually lives on network attached storage and would require a lot more configuration on my end to work with roku. Furthermore, even the lastest roku device does not support all the media formats that my movies and tv shows are encoded. So, I need a replacement. I’d been considering boxee as a next step when I noticed that the Logitech Revue (a google tv) device has been reduced in price to $99. Given that my roku cost the same amount (and has a 30 day return policy), I think a swap is in order. From what I’ve read, the google tv should support more of my media (technically all of it, the revue has been hacked to run Android – I can install an android media player which supports all of my files). While google tv is lagging behind in terms of available partners, it can browse the web (and presumably playback flash and html 5 content). I’ll verify it’s ability to access Hulu once it arrives.

Now, as promising as this all seems, I did notice a slight flaw in the bedroom media thing. Since the living room projector is a full-size one and thus very bright, it puts out enough light whereby I can comfortably move around, see the remote, even quickly read over something or eat without having to turn on the room lights. I think the eating part will be the hardest to translate to taking place in a bed. Also, that pocket projector is pretty noisy. Coupled with the AC (though this won’t be a problem once the summer is over), it is pretty hard to hear things from the projector’s speaker (which isn’t the greatest either). So I’ll need to invest in a set of those as well.

Now, I’d also been planning on purchasing a tablet pc to take over as my primary computer. Of course, it will be interesting to see my usage of it between the revue actually having a built in web browser, especially when it makes the move to the living room (and the xbox goes to the bedroom). However, my screen configuration has been delayed by yet another month and I’m unable to wait any longer. So, I’m going with a Sony Vaio Z. This is my first Sony. . . I may have briefly owned one for a week once in my undergrad, but aside from my first laptop (a compaq) and the disaster that followed it (a Dell), I have been solidly thinkpad for the past 8 years. This marks a big departure for me but I’m hoping the power and lightness of the Z will make up for not having a tablet (though the tablet I was getting wasn’t a thinkpad either).

Still, with all these changes, I will be left over with a variety of tech which I no longer really need that were purchased in anticipation of a different technology scenario. Hopefully I can unload them without suffering too much of a loss over the next couple weeks.

Turning back to my exercise/diet, my recent NYC trip has left me at 208.2lbs. On the other hand, I’ve definitely lost a few inches on my waist, a bit on my chest and thighs. Biceps remain the same. I didn’t get in my third hour of running this past week, but I plan on doing an hour each day over the next 5 days. I still think it is possible to hit my target of 185 by the end of the month.

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This day is too relaxed

I weighed in at 205.4lbs this morning but forgot my gym clothes when I left for school. I suppose I could go jogging after I get back home. I’ll need to see if I can find a route that would be about 4 miles. While I ran 5 yesterday, outdoor running is always a different beast.

I had an informal interview with a startup company this morning. They seem interesting though I’m not quite sure how exactly I’ll fit in. I guess it is one of those thing where if I want to pursue it, I’ll really need to spend time on my own immersing myself in the technology until I find the thing that sparks my interest. I guess I’m lucky in that way – I can usually find something interesting across a wide variety of fields. Problem solving skills tend to have universal application.

The only thing left to do today, aside from getting some research work done, is finding a place to crash for Wednesday night in NYC. This will be my first real sightseeing/fun trip to the city. All my other ones have been part of school trips or quick in/out affairs (like for my cousin’s wedding several years ago).

Start of a New Week

Well, technically the week (for me) starts on Sunday. But nevertheless today is the start of something new since it marks me switching my workout regimen to one composed mostly of cardio. As I mentioned a few days ago, this will be comprised mostly of running. I got my first hour in today on the treadmill. Only ran for 5 miles, a bit less than I expected. But when I think about it, it makes sense – I am out of shape and even so, wasn’t too far off my pace the last time I ran a 5k. As my loyal reader knows, I plan on doing this three times a week.

However, this week may be problematic. Wednesday and Thursday will be spent traveling to and from NYC as well as spending time there with a few friends. This leaves tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday to get the remaining two days of running in for the week. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem though. I expect I can handle it Tuesday and Friday, especially since I’ll be spending a lot of time on campus on those days anyway.

It would appear that my initial weight loss on the low carb diet has slowed. I’m hoping the combination of cardio and diet will set things ablaze again. It’s my goal to hit 200lbs by the end of July and reach my target of 185 by the end of August. While my biggest concern through all this is my fat loss, it will be interesting to see which of my old clothes fit again. Buying suits is such a hassle for me that being able to fit back into ones I purchased a couple years ago will be a major coup for me.

Busy Busy Weekend

Well, a long one at that.

Thursday afternoon, I’d left the lab to go home to cook a late lunch. As I was settling down to enjoy my third helping while watching an episode of HIMYM, I got a call from a friend of mine. “What are you doing. . . right NOW?” “Umm, eating lunch and watching HIMYM”. “Want to go sailing? We’re leaving like now”. So I grabbed my trunks and a towel and hightailed it out of there. And the sailing was fun. I didn’t do too much, aside from help man the jib sail and pack up stuff afterwards, but it was pretty relaxing, the stars were great, and we did get some good waves.


Then today was the Pittsburgh Vintage Car Association’s car show (and I guess qualifiers or runs of cars that will be in the grand prix tomorrow). It was a pretty amazing event, though I was a bit worried that I’d make it, having to creep in traffic for nearly 45 minutes. My car absolutely hates idling. . . the temperature gauge just keeps creeping up. I’m starting to think the radiator needs to be replaced (or if I’m lucky, one of the coolant hoses), but that’s a topic for another blog.

My car seemed to have gotten a lot of interested lookers. I even met yet another guy who’d just narrowly missed buying it by a couple hours. I’m really glad I scheduled a morning meet with the previous owner. I also got to check out a lot of the cars that would race in the grand prix. I’d thought that racing would be something I’d like to do next year, but it seems that all the race cars are dedicated race cars. They all have pretty standard roll cages, race seats, lightened for racing (ie minimal interior). I don’t remember (though I’ll need to check my pictures and video) any of them carrying license plates which means they are not street driven. I guess I may just stick to autocross for now.

And continuing with the doing new stuff this weekend, tonight I’m heading out to Wexford to check out Cabana bar. I’ve heard some things about it – very nice establishment, expensive drinks, and cougar den. Some friends and I have talked about going, but they’re all out of town this week. So I’ll be the front man. Go in, scout the place, and make my recommendation on whether it is worth a repeat visit.

And as usual, an update on the diet plan. I weighed in at 206.8lbs today. I’ve decided to modify my exercise routine a bit. My plan is to run for at least 1 hour, 3 times a week. We’ll see just how well I keep up with that and whether it accelerates my fat burning.

The Silent Rejection

I weighed in at 208.2lbs today and I swear this post looked much longer when composed on my phone.

Recently I have found myself in the unusual situation of having to inform women that I don’t see a relationship in our future. Unusual in that women are typically the ones doing the rejecting and I tended to apply a strict set of rules when deciding which women to approach. However, I’ve recently relaxed my adherence to those rules and have found myself in situations that I did not even anticipate that the rules were previously shielding me.

The latest example concerns a young woman I met slightly over a month ago while she was celebrating her birthday. I got her number, we texted a bit and made plans to go bowling. From when I picked her up to when I dropped her off, I always felt like I was being kept at arms length. I never did get that feeling that there could be more between us than hanging out. She was going away that weekend and a couple days later texted me about my plans for the following week. I responded that I didn’t have any and got nothing back from her. So I took it as a further sign of disinterest and promptly forgot about her. Then last night, in what appears to be a drunk text, she asks why I don’t like her. And I had to decide do I respond or ignore. But I thought about it and felt if I were in a situation where it bothered me enough to ask, intoxicated or not, I would want an answer. So I told her.

I get people being nervous on dates. But sometimes it doesn’t click. Last year, I went out with another women whom at first seemed distant. But by the end of the date things were much better. So much so that though I’d not yet gotten that I’d really like to see where this goes feeling, I felt I should give it a chance. And I would’ve done so, had I not met the women who would become my latest ex. Still, I wonder, should I even have responded? Our should it be like a breakup – keep it short, clean, and no follow ups?

Pheromones are in the air

I’ve come to the conclusion that women give off detectable pheromones at certain times. Sorry, but I font know about guys. what motivates this conclusion is the memory if this past weekend and done if my previous relationships.

So, in my entire dating life, I know I have missed lots of signs, clues, and hints from women directed to me. I an in no way a perfect nonverbal communication machine. But once I have picked up on the initial interest, I have never made a move that was not wanted. In fact, somehow, I always knew the right moment to kiss someone our lead them to the bedroom. Oh, and guys, you should make a habit of asking (later) when did you decide to kiss me/sleep with me?

Trust me, if you have gotten that far, there is nothing unusual our awkward about the question. The answers help you hone your instincts, learn more about your partner, and even yourself.

For example, last Friday night. We’d been sitting next to each other, flirting and chatting, and enjoying the evening. Then she asked a question, I looked at her and in that moment it was as if time slowed down. I felt her fingers on my legs stop, the small posting of her lips, flare of her nostrils, and knew immediately and instinctively to kiss her. We moved towards each other in synchrony, as if we’d set our watches ahead if time and an invisible and silent alarm had gone off.

I don’t even remember what the exact question was about. I think it was something silly and fun. There was nothing that someone dotting across the room with binoculars retained on us could sees and say to themselves aha, they are going to . . . the way I often predict what is about to happen in the shows I watch because 60% of the dialog and action is telegraphed by the rest. But I knew and she knew.

Or like the first time my ex and I made love. We didn’t have sex on our first few dates. Despite several of them involving us watching movies our playing games at my apartment. And it’s not like our hands and lips ee kept to ourselves at all times. But on that day, as I kissed her in my arms, I knew. And when I asked her afterwards, she confirmed that my intuition had been right

I could give example after example. But I’m convinced that pheromones are the lowest common denominator. Something was in the air.

I weighed in at 209.6lbs today. Though it was mostly my daily that I didn’t lose anything this week. The weekend was a bust – way too much carbs were consumed.

Fun, Work, and the Meaning of it All

Yesterday I weighed in at 209.6lbs. Today, 209.2. That’s still up from my low at the beginning of this week and kind of disappointing. I was expecting bigger losses this week and instead I’m going too end up in the same place. I wonder if it’s sure to my exercise level. I’ve not really done any this week.

I’m driving today to an arts festival for hours away to hang out with this girl I met a month ago. For some reason, things have not aligned to let us spend time together. I actually decided to stop texting and chatting with her after what happened last Friday. I felt if she liked me enough, she would find a way to make it work out and try to set up an alternative. Then to my surprise, a couple days later, she does exactly that. So, I figure she deserves this chance.

Yesterday though, using that sense that tells them when men are happy, my ex called me to “apologize” for accidentally dialing my phone last night – had no idea how it happened. Apparently she has deleted my number from her phone and only knew it was mine by cross checking with her handwritten records. Given the last time she accidentally called me and panicked when she realized who was on the other end, I called an internal bullshit.

Anyway, she took the opportunity to chat, then let me know she’ll be coming to town in a couple weeks for a friends wedding and maybe we could grab coffee and chat. I agreed to it. Perhaps it will be good for me. I still have feelings for her and everytime they come up quickly remind myself that things will never work between us. Too many bridges have been burned down. Earth salted, and mines set for good measure between us.

I’m getting to a point where I can finally redo my thesis proposal. Which is good, because everyone is write concerned about when I’ll be done and what I plan on doing. My ex ex girlfriend’s (with whom I’m still friends) mother yet harbors hopes that we will get back together and I will stay here forever. Right now I’m just gently letting her down. I’m not sure how a detailed explanation of why her daughter and I only work as friend would help. If anything, giving her the gregarious may end up making everything worse. In a way, it was like I broke up with her too.