Halloween

So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get MMS working on my phone. Clearly, I’ve not been trying that hard. Anyway, today I got it working. Currently the newest post on my other blog:

http://weethomas.wordpress.com/

 

Check it out. You main learn something. . .

Hey, What Happened to Your Diet Plan Thing?

Good question. I haven’t really written anything about it and I stopped my usual tidbit in every post about what I weighed in at or how my week went diet and exercise-wise. So, time for a brief update. In the past month, my gym time has diminished significantly. I’ve gone from being at the gym 6 days a week in September to average 1 day in October. My eating has been haphazard. I went off the low carb when I reached 205lbs at the beginning of September and in two months I’m pretty much at the same weight – just weighed in this morning at 202.2lbs. By haphazard eating, I mean that I’ve not been actively maintaining the right balance of food or a specific caloric target. I just eat when I get hungry or going out and since I’m no longer on the low carb thing, my alcohol consumption has gone up from where it was during the summer.

Recently though,  I decided to really give the drink 8 glasses of water a day thing a serious try. For some reason, it’s seemed harder to do now than it did in the summer. Though I suppose when you’re in the gym almost every day, you tend to dehydrate pretty often so getting in that much water is much easier. Also recently, due to various reasons, I’ve been eating around 1500 calories a day. Now, I don’t think I’ve yet made it to 8 glasses (or 64 ounces total) of water per day. I’ve been drinking from 16.9oz bottles and just filling them when empty and I think at best I’ve been getting through three bottles a day. One trick to help manage weight long term is to drink a glass of water before eating and after eating. It works as a form of appetite control in two major ways. First by satisfying your thirst – which many people confuse with hunger and eat when what their body is really telling them is that they’re thirsty and secondly by starting to fill your stomach so you get full on less food.

Now, for whatever reason, I didn’t actually feel like my appetite was changing. The first day that I drank three bottles, I also ate two footlong subway sandwiches and according to a couple online sources, that was about 1750 calories that day. Anyway, this morning, I just happen to look in the mirror and notice that my abs are a lot more visible (when flexing or sucking in my stomach). Which just floored me. So I got on the scale and yep, down a couple pounds since my last visit but also my body fat percentage went from 24.6% to 22.4%. According to my last log entry, on 09.02.2011, I weighed 203lbs at 24.6% bodyfat. So, that’s 49.938lbs of fat. Now, my body has 45.2928lbs of fat. So though I only lost 1lb of weight in 2 months time, I’ve lost 4.7lbs of fat.

So, some takeaways from all this:

  • My September workout routine really helped to build lean muscle while burning fat.
  • Though it didn’t seem like anything was changing (unlike the summer where I dropped 10-15lbs depending on where you start counting), my routine did have an effect.
  • I was worried that getting to the bodyfat percentage where I’d have nice abdominal muscle definition would result in me being very skinny and at 185lbs. It appears that I can maintain my current weight and still reach that goal.
  • I need to resume my workout routine, especially now that I see it’s been working all along!

Winning and Losing

I play the game pretty well most of the time. Sometimes though, I get complacent or take ridiculous risks. It’s awesome when they pan out or can be salvaged, feels bad when they don’t. In my last post, I mentioned words with friends and lamented that the woman I’m currently dating hasn’t sat in the winner’s circle in a while. Well, that all changed that night. I knew where the inflection point was in the game too. She’d taken an early lead, but I’d come back and it wasn’t something too far away. Play the game smart and with a bit of luck, I could turn it around. But I got greedy. And decided that I was going to help out lady luck. And instead of going for the small word defensive high scoring play, I went for a long word open low scoring play, in a bid to grab some good letters at the expense of giving up a triple word score. She took the triple and all I got were vowels. . .and an ‘S’. Don’t get me wrong, an ‘S’ is great, but in a sea of vowels, even I’m limited with just what I can do.

So I went on to lose that game. And I felt bad about it for a while. And I had to think, did I feel bad because I lost? No, clearly not. I’ve lost in WWF (words with friends) many times before (including to her). Didn’t feel like this. So, no, that wasn’t it. Whew, because I’ve always felt I was a good loser and if there is one thing anyone hates more about having their worldview destroyed, it’s when it’s their own perception of themselves. So, ego still intact. Hmm, what could it be? Did I feel the loss wasn’t justified? No, I took a risk, a dumb risk and. . . ah – that’s it. I felt that I made a dumb decision. Plain and simple. I didn’t just take a risk that didn’t pan out. I didn’t just try a strategy that didn’t work this time around. I did something which I immediately recognized afterwards as being dumb. And experiencing the results of that always burns. This is good to know. If I can remember this well, it can prove useful in the future. My subconscious has a way of telling me when I know I messed up. I may not logically realize it, but emotionally, it is there.

Of course, the question now becomes, do I still experience something similar when I make a dumb decision, but through chance or luck, don’t actually suffer any negative consequences? Not that losing a WWF game is necessarily a negative consequence, just in this case the game turned so neatly around that move that it makes attempting to evaluate moves afterwards very hard to do (I’m going to write a gripping novel that centers around WWF. It will sell millions. I will become rich!).

I’m the Beast of the East and the Best in the West

Seriously, you can look it up. Under Wee Thomas in the dictionary – well, as soon as they get around to adding me to the dictionary or at least creating my Wikipedia page. Frankly, I have no idea what’s taking so long. Short story long, I am awesome. Why am I awesome, let me count the ways:

  1. I have awesome friends. When I last attempted to enumerate people I consider friends – true friends, not people that I know through others and happen to spend time with them because of our mutual friendships – essentially if all it takes for you to disappear from my life (or vice versa) is someone else dying, we’re not really friends are we? (assuming I did not kill or engineer the death of said person) – I didn’t get past using my fingers and toes. And I thought about this for a while and found that I’m mostly happy with it.
  2. I am killer at words with friends (within the current group of people that I play). A lot of my acquaintances and a few friends play the game. Every once in a while, someone I haven’t played yet starts a game with me. There are a few stubborn people who play 5-10 games before they apparently give up – I suppose it can be soul crushing to lose every time. Only those that manage to beat me from time to time continue playing. And those games are awesome. I’m even dating someone in the winner’s circle. . . though she really needs to step up her game. I actually had a discussion with a couple people almost a month ago about playing against women that you’re dating. The unanimous decision, beat them as hard, mercilessly and often as possible.
  3. I’m dating an awesome woman. Seriously, pure awesome. Aside from allergies – just how often can a guy come close to killing someone in a month. I’m going to have to stop cooking until I have a complete inventory of everything on the bad list. There is one issue. . . she’s a dog person, I’m a cat person. I will be getting a kitten soon. Who will be trained to be an attack cat. I’m currently formulating the training regimine.  For now, we’ll see how things go. Frankly, cats are too cute for anyone to resist. Also, my attack cat will be trained in a foreign language.
  4. I’m making progress on my research work. This is good, because progress equals getting closer to being done and being done means that my parents stop bothering me about when I’m getting done, and start bothering me about something else. Frankly, I’m not sure what that something else would be . . . Buying a house? Getting married? Becoming the Godfather?
  5. I can flip like the best of them. That’s right, I bought a “non-running” car with a few cosmetic issues for a song. The issue, blown fuse. No joke. The big cliche in diagnosis – “When you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras” is even funnier and more ironic if you knew the full context of the purchase. Sadly, only one other person will ever know this, though by the time she gets around to reading this blog, she’ll probably have forgotten.

That’s the list for now. I would continue, but my good deed for the day is

My Big Weekend

So,

I bought the m3 sedan. It’s a year older than my current one though with about 30k less miles. It did not run, as advertised. . . until a couple hours after I got it home. At the moment, all that is holding me back from having it inspected are the front corner lights, brake lights, reverse lights, and driver mirror. Those are pretty much the only things holding me back from selling the car as well. Even better, my landlord has been on the lookout for a nice sporty sedan. We’ll see how he feels after a test drive later this week. It would be great if I sold it to him. I’m perfectly happy being paid in free rent. And that said, I don’t think my landlord is fully aware of my financial situation. He’s now sent me more ads for potential cars to buy (as in now, before I even sell this one). Or maybe he just forgets, after all I went from selling of parts of my old m3 to deciding to keep it and buy back parts to buying an entire car all within a couple months.

And as happy as hearing that engine purr and being behind the wheel of an m3 made me feel once again, this weekend had more than that. I got to spend a good amount of with the woman (yes, she’s not a girl) I’ve been dating. We’re still learning more about each other and so far, very much like what we’re finding. Well, apparently I could do with a bit less clutter in my life but managing 4 cars comes with lots of parts that don’t really go anywhere else until they’re on the car or sold.

Last week did see me miss a lot of my workouts. And while I’d adjusted my food intake to still generate a caloric deficit, I need to get back on the horse. I’ve set a new goal, running a 5k in 25 minutes with a reach goal in doing it in under 22. The 25 minute goal seems very feasible, extend my initial 5 minutes at 8.5mph to 10 minutes, followed by ten minutes at 7.5mph and the last 5 minutes at 6mph.  I think I could reach being able to do this on a treadmill by the end of November. Next, I’ll need to train myself to be able to set and follow a specific pace while running outside. I haven’t figured out if my phone would be good enough for this.

And my research plods on as always. Which reminds me that I need to call my mom to give her an update on my progress. Hmm, I wonder what car I’ll take to go visit them for thanksgiving. . .

Money and Dating

So, among the taboo topics to discuss on a first date or at all unless in a committed relationship, with the feds while cutting a deal, or Bernie Madoff are finances and money. But yet they factor in so many things. For example, the man is typically expected to do the heavy lifting initially in a relationship and perhaps let things peter out towards parity as time goes on. And mostly, that’s how things have been in my relationships. And likely for that reason, I never really gave it much thought – though I’m starting to think it played a role in ending my last relationship.

But anyway, I’m now in a situation where she pays some of the time and even that some of the time just feels weird to me, especially given that we’re still in the “dating” stage of this relationship. Another thing – I tend to not carry cash. Just a habit that I’ve evolved. So, one way that we’ve handled the inevitable who will pay for this jockeying is for her to suggest that she take care of the tip and me to acquiesce. There is even one place in particular where I’d directly ask her for the tip, because she tends to carry cash, and my relationship with the bartender is such that he either doesn’t charge or under-charges me for drinks, doesn’t let me pay up front, so I much rather leaving him a large tip on my way out. And given that I don’t carry cash (usually), doing this can be an issue if I”m unprepared.

So, anyway, I ask and she hands me some money, but the guy leaves midway through the night and so I’ll have to catch him some other time. But then she refuses to take the money back. And not wanting to make an issue out of it, I didn’t really push that hard. It makes me wonder because this isn’t something that I would think should bother me, yet in some way, it is. And I wonder if it is due more to me typically being the one in the relationship who pays for things or typically being the one in the relationship who makes more money (I’m not at the moment).

From what I know of my ex, she (prior to me) was used to being that person – either the more financially dominant one in a relationship or at least having things 50/50. Just various circumstances around the time we were in a relationship put her in such a position where I was ahead. One thing that I advocate as being bad for a relationship is a significant imbalance of power. That can come from many things, one person moving to be in a new city with the other, having to leave your job to advance the other person’s career, being in very different places life-wise (just starting college versus just entering middle management). And while logically, money should be a part of that, I’d never really considered it.  But perhaps in addition to money being on that list of power imbalancers, there should be a category for perceived or implied imbalance – like what I’m feeling now and what I think my ex felt at times in our relationship.

I don’t for a second think that this is actually an issue or going to be an issue for us, but it does illuminate some things for me and make me question some of my own perceptions and worldview. I have opinions and ideas about certain things even though I have not experienced those situations or have real context to base my thoughts upon. I will definitely give things a bit more thought before doling out advice or complaining in the future.

Am I Stupid?

I have an appointment to see a car tomorrow. The car currently does not run, the owner claims there is some electrical issue, though he’s not yet completely outlined everything he’s done to diagnose it. There are a few other cosmetic issues which will allow me to attack his asking price. Frankly, it would be awesome to be able to get the car. Unfortunately, doing so will dramatically stretch my budget. There is already a trip to Vegas in the works and I’d recently started buying up parts to fix another car so I will really need to be able to hold firm if my asking price is not met – assuming I want to try and purchase the car. It is tough because it could very well be a relatively simple problem to fix which will allow me to nearly double my investment once sold.

Well, so I went to see the car, and made an offer. Perhaps I could have gotten it for a couple hundred less, but I’m semi-committed to buying it in a couple days. And. . . I don’t exactly have all the cash to do so. I can borrow money temporarily, but that will need to be paid back, the sooner, the better. If I could sell my laptop for about $500 less than what I paid (1.5 months ago) and my awesome projector for $50 less than what I paid (almost 1.5 months ago), that will cover just about all that I’m borrowing. But I’d still need another laptop, much cheaper yes, but still likely in the $300-500 range. I suppose the other thing to do would be to sell off a few parts that I bought to fix up my broke car since I’m not actually going to be doing anything with those for a while anyway. That would help cover the replacement laptop, rest of the borrowed money, and leave me a to spend in Vegas.

I will definitely need to line up a part time job now. There is just no way getting around it. But I’m 90% sure that I know what’s wrong with the car. And assuming that I’m correct, I could be ready to sell it by the end of the month and make back all the money leaving my pockets plus more. This is going to be a big gamble. . . a big one.