Monday, July 31


Paul has a good post on his Someday/Maybes. I commented a few of mine that I thought I'd repost:

+ write a book. does it matter which one?
+ get back in shape (in progress...)
+ be a chillin' old person (the goal)
+ front a band
+ ride RAGBRAI again
+ climb Kilimanjaro again
+ visit Ireland

How 'bout you?

Friday, July 28

Lance on RAGBRAI

Ok, maybe I should commit to ride next year. Lance promised to ride the whole thing.

Not very much

+ I like Howard Dean. I'd like to see him shake those Dems up a little. But calling 'Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an "anti-Semite" for failing to denounce Hezbollah for its attacks against Israel' is going too far . (That's coming from someone who has been called 'anti-Semitic' before for being critical of Israel.)

+ Please, please, please let Floyd Landis be innocent...

+ I don't need another boardgame. I don't play the ones I have. If I did, I wouldn't have >50$ to drop on Viktory 2. That said, it sounds like a cool Settlers of Cataan-type game plus Naploleonic-age fighting in the vein of Civilization, but designed to take only 4 hours. And the story of his development of the game is really interesting.

Thursday, July 27

Guess the subject of this post (and answer in the form of a question ;-)

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how the Ken Jennings dissed! thread that I put up on MetaFilter turned out: 41 comments, basically positive. Even had a comment from someone who'd met Ken in RL, back in his pre-Jeopardy-celebrity quiz bowl days. Maybe I turned some more people on to Ken. At any rate, I feel I've done my duty to geekdom.

While I'm at it, I may as well point you to the original MeFi Ken Jennings blog post.

And, since I've already jumped the shark on all of this Ken-stuff, I might as well link his very informative page on Wikipedia.

Voice mail to email

My system for leaving myself quick, usually reminder messages had been to call my own cell phone voice mail and leave a message. But when Cingular changed their voice mail system, calling your own number puts you right into retrieving voice mail. You can leave yourself a message, but you have to navigate the menus and, as I'm often in the car, I didn't want to fool with that.

Yesterday I saw K7 profiled on Lifehacker and thought it might make a good solution to this problem. They email your voicemail to you as a .wav attachment (or your fax as a .tif).

Another good thing about this is my notes to myself come right through my email, on my computer, where I've got my organizational system (such as it is ;-) handy to write them down, schedule, etc.

And, of course, you know me well enough to know this is a free service, right? ;-)

Anywho, if you want to leave me a voice mail (that will come to me as a .wav attachment to an email), fire away: 2zero6-666-492zero (breaking it up a little on the off chance that some telemarketing harvest-bot could pick it up in all numerals).

Ken Jennings fanboy

Me, that is.

I've been trying to decide if any Brush with Fame besides meeting Mister Rogers in person ranks higher than trading email with Ken... Any suggestions? He's definitely above tapping Arnold Schwarzenegger in Munich.

Anyway, in the continuing saga, Ken links to some guy at Huffington Post who called AP and asked them what their problem was. They said 'blasts' wasn't a good word choice, otherwise, they were fine with their article.

But when you get past my hours of email-deleting last night, not all the news is bad. had 573,000 pageviews yesterday, up just slightly from last Tuesday's, um, 1,800. I assume many of those people actually read the original blog article and called off the hounds. Four thousand new signups for the trivia mailing list. Some Brainiac pre-orders, looks like. An outpouring of on-line support and snickering from bloggers, who love it when those dead-tree fogies in the "MSM" screw something up. So, in the end, we probably gained quite a few new readers.

A few people have asked what Jeopardy! or Random House thought about the whole thing. I haven't heard from Jeopardy! and can't imagine that I will. They're very kid-gloves and need-to-know with contestants and ex-contestants alike. I did e-mail them a quick loyalty oath, avowing that I had no grudge against the show and am bewildered by the whole kerfuffle. As for Random House, my editor's only response to the New York Post story was, "Would it killed them to have mentioned the book?" Yeah!

My favorite response came from my father-in-law, who forwarded me a study showing that the brain's ability to detect sarcasm and irony doesn't develop until age six, and in 25% of the population, never develops!

Fine, but did they all have to email me on the same day?

And that's all I'm ever going to say about that. Hopefully, by tomorrow, our traffic will be down to something sane, and I'll be able to open the message boards again and actually post something interesting.

Ah, celebrity... she is a fickle, fickle mistress...

And one more thing I missed before. I notice, belatedly, that Ken had a post entitled Me and my little Brainiac . I love his allusive titles! This is a reference to everyone's favorite Mormon children's fiction, The Great Brain series.

Wednesday, July 26

The Ken saga continues...

Bought a USA Today at lunch today (not for this purpose). You guessed it: top of the Life left column: 'Bites the hand...' Unbelievable. You know, except for the part that's totally believable.

More on Ken

+ 1st of all, and most importantly, Ken emailed me! That's right. I'm bad!

I emailed him about my MetaFilter post and he wrote to thank me and to say that it didn't bug him too much.

My father-in-law will be so impressed that I exchanged email with Ken!

+ 2nd, Google News search lists 207 articles on Ken 'blasting' Jeopardy. But, it also looks like a few people are picking up on the fact that those were jokes.

Tuesday, July 25

Ken Jennings = smart. Michael Starr, AP = stupid [updated x2]

Remember that satirical Dear Jeopardy letter that Ken Jennings wrote and I linked? Here's AP's headline: 'Jeopardy' Champ Ken Jennings Blasts Show. Unless they're doing satire themselves...

I'm afraid they're probably not, though. Turns out Michael Starr at the New York Post 'broke' this nonstory.

I know that because I went over to see if Ken had a comment. He does. I can't tell if he knows AP, including US News and World Report, have 'picked up' the 'story', so I'm writing him now...

Stupid nonnews...

[Update: Only an injustice this great could bring me out of retirement on MetaFilter!]

[Update 2: Jaq picked up the story, too.]

Summer cleaning

+ Top 15 Title Tracks is a great idea for a post.

+ Brad sez:

Brain development isn't really completed until the age of 20 and that alcohol (even moderate use) can seriously damage the long-term growth process during that stage. For the same kinds of reasons that pregnant women shouldn't drink, teens shouldn't drink.

I hadn't put that together before and it's a really good point.

+ Did you hear the one about the snake that was saved by surgery after swallowing a queen-sized electric blanket? I laughed out loud twice while listening to the interview with one of the attending vet-surgeons on NPR.

+ I'm really enjoying Ken Jennings' weblog. On top of being a trivia master, he's also funny, to me, in a geeky sort of way. He's got a weekly quiz that I don't even try to participate in, but I do like to read the answers afterwards.
  • He asked: What do literary characters Charles Darnay, Tom Brown, Jane Bennet, and Fyodor Karamazov have in common? This post, including the fascinating answer, is a must read for Christine, in addition to having some funny answers.
  • Another one: What "unusual distinction" was shared by eight movies: Grand Hotel, My Little Chickadee, The Red Shoes, Shane, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming, Spider-Man, and Good Night and Good Luck? The answer.
  • Hilarious Dear Jeopardy letter which elicited the following correction:
Also, from our July 19 column: we regret the insinuation that Mr. Alex Trebek is a robot, and has been since 2004. Mr. Trebek's robotic frame does still contain some organic parts, many harvested from patriotic Canadian schoolchildren, so this technically makes him a "cyborg," not a "robot." regrets the error.

+ defective yeti has a couple of funny posts: Why they need a sitter for the Squirrelly instead of... and World of Needlecraft.

Let me do a couple that are a little more serious here at the bottom (Anybody still here? Hello?)

+ Coming Anarchy had a really interesting post on which president did the most to win the Cold War: Truman, Nixon, Reagan, or GHW Bush?

+ And, finally, a link I've been saving up for too long, the title of which sears: The New York Times as Al Qaida's counterintelligence arm.

See ya next time...


Pretty sure the twins had a good birthday. A couple of notes:

+ Saturday morning Wil was singing 'all things go, all things go' repeatedly (from Sufjan Stevens' 'Chicago').

+ Christine put up a spread of photos called Big 7 over at Picasa Web Albums. Warning: only go look if you like excessive cuteness, including toothless wonders ;-)

Sunday, July 23

More Floyd

He won the Tour. Amazing.

Something cool about Floyd I've picked up in a lot of the stuff I've read. He likes Deep Thoughts. That's got to be a good thing.

Long profile from Ouside (found via Matt ). It's got a really cool part where they talk about how they figured out Floyd needed more burst capability and trained for it:

on a steep, Tour-type climb, New Floyd will ride 3.7 miles per hour faster than Old Floyd for those five seconds, enough to open a gap of eight meters.

The good old US of A was looking pretty thin there for awhile with bad showing in international competitions like the World Cup and Wimbeldon (maybe it's the 'W's! ;-). Nice to cap this one, along with Tiger's win in the British Open today.

Saturday, July 22

Landis is back!

Based on everyone else writing off Landis after he bonked on Wednesday, I wrote him off, too.

Then he went nuts yesterday. He told his team he was going to attack from the start and they begged him not to. But he came to win. He attacked on the first climb and never stopped and never looked back. He caught the breakaway the GC was content to let go and did all the work. With 22 kilometers to go, Landis was riding by himself at the front of the whole Tour. He finished first for his first Tour stage win (including bonus time).

tdfblog's summary of the Landis coup. Floyd moved himself from 11th to 3rd in one amazing ride.

tdfblog's Stage 17 wrapup.

Landis' doctor wrote up the data from his bike computer (wattage, cadence, 70 BOTTLES OF WATER, etc.).

Floyd was, appropriately, ABC News' Person of the Week. They note that Floyd is waiting for a hip replacement.

Today, Landis ran the third fastest time trial of the day and reclaimed the yellow jersey 59 seconds ahead of the rider in second place.

Unless something goes horribly wrong (which it could on this insane Tour), Floyd Landis, the pride of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, will win the Tour de France tomorrow.

Thursday, July 20

The heat: Lebanon, SC, and Le Tour

+ If Tom's right about the President's strategy re:Lebanon , then it at least makes sense (even if Tom doesn't think it's going to do much good).

+ Yes, I did work the route truck yesterday on maybe the hottest day of the year here in Columbia. Realistically, I probably spent about 3 hours outside in the heat. It was hot! I think I handled it pretty well - drank plenty, ate a little more than my target 1500 calories, and wound down early last night. Woke up on decent time feeling pretty good this morning.

Mainly, it gives you even more respect for those for work outside in the heat all summer round, 100 degrees or not. And for the welders who work in full clothing in corrugated tin buildings with little breeze for 10$ an hour...

+ Blast! Floyd Landis bonked out of Stage 16 yesterday, falling 8 minutes behind. He's making a charge today, but it's unlikely he can make up that much time...

Speaking of Bethy...

Speaking of Bethy, she and I have been having a conversation about my going bald (which I don't think I am, lest you worry). She said she saw some bald spots on the top of my head. I said good. She asked why. I said because if I lost my hair I wouldn't have to cut it any more. But she said she didn't want me to go bald because she wanted me to win the best looking daddy contest (something she made up, but you get that point), and she didn't think I'd look very good without hair.

Then, last night she was looking over me shoulder (or maybe I was looking over her shoulder if she was on my lap) while I read Lifehacker. She asked what the picture was of and I said cigarettes. She asked... all together now... 'Why?' ;-) I told her it was an article about how to not get cancer. She asked what cancer was and after that explanation, asked what the other ways (besides not smoking) were. #2 was Don't weigh too much.

I told you all of that to tell you this: She asked if I was losing weight so I wouldn't get cancer. I said no. Then she asked if I was losing weight to win the best looking daddy contest. And I said... 'Something like that.' ;-)

Tuesday, July 18


Floyd Landis has the Yellow Jersey. Wouldn't it be something if an American won again postLance?

To live

That Forbes 150 cheap places to live rich link has been circling the intarweb for a while now. Places from the list I might like to live: Iowa City, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte. Not too adventurous, huh? Places I've lived in before.

Apart from those, it's the Midwestern college towns that appeal to me the most, though I probably wouldn't live there: Champaign-Urbana, Madison, State College. Chapel Hill (not Midwestern) is nice. Charlottesville (VA) is supposed to be, too.

Hendersonville, NC was on the list, too, where my in-laws live.

Monday, July 17

The only bad part about listening to music...

The only bad part about listening to music as I work here in the office (I was listening to Built to Spill on MySpace) is that I can't hear Wil singing in the kitchen while he draws. He was singing 'Life in a northern town', which had me thinking that I have done all the fathering I need to do. Then he was singing something else I couldn't identify. When he came in here for more paper, I asked him:

Me: Whatcha singing Mr Buddy?

Wil: The music from Magmoor Caverns [in Metroid Prime, for GameCube. He doesn't play it. He just watches me play it, but it's been two weeks, at least...].

Then he proceeded to sing a few bars for me.

In the words of Ben Gibbard, 'Be still my heart!'.

Needless to say, I'm no longer listening to music in the office. I'm listening for strains of Wil...

Friday, July 14

Weight loss update

My family and I are doing weigh ins on fridays. My news is good. Here are some excerpts from my email to them:

i started counting 10 days ago at 210. like i said before, i think that number was a little artificially high b/c of a hard weekend ;-) last friday i was down to 206. today: 202.5 so, i've 'lost' 7.5 pounds so far, and 3.5 since last friday! woo hoo! way to go, me!

to further toot my own horn, i've been doing really well. i was sub-1500 calories yesterday, including a whole serving of Teddy Grahams that i got to treat myself with after supper b/c i'd held back so much.

now, don't worry: i don't have any illusions about continuing to lose weight at this rapid pace. i fully expect it to taper off to 1 or maybe 2 pounds a week. but i sure am enjoying it for now. and i really should be able to be down to 190 by Cory's wedding, 10 weeks from now, right? so, while my conservative goal was 11 pounds in 11 weeks, i've already lost 3.5 of that, or 7.5 if you start the two days earlier. so, my more aggressive goal is 190, a total of 20 pounds. if i can lose 2 pounds a week for the next 10 weeks, i'll be at 183! wow! that would be so amazing! it will be amazing when i get there, in 10 weeks or 20.

i feel so empowered by counting calories and making better choices. why, oh why didn't i start this when i first hit 200?! oh well, that's in the past.

We're doing it, people! If your numbers aren't as good, let this be an encouragement to you. I'm not starving myself. I'm not eating rice cakes (though male metabolism is different, proviso, etc, quid pro quo, ad nauseum...). I'm not really exercising (that will need to come later, for good health, but not necessarily weight loss). You, too can lose at least a pound a week!

Tuesday, July 11

Google/Wikipedia tangent

When I was putting together that NPR post, I got sidetracked in an interesting way searching for chimpanzees and gorillas. The Chimp reserve is near Lake Tanganyika, in my beloved Tanzania. Come to find out it's the second largest lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest (in both cases after Lake Baikal in Siberia) (and anoxic).

Come on... How can that be? What about Victoria? She's Africa's 'largest lake, the largest tropical lake in the world, and the second largest fresh water lake in the world in terms of surface area' (the largest being, of course, Lake Superior , unless you count Michigan and Huron (!) together...).

By the way, here's a map to help orient you (I lived near Bukoba in the northwest corner. Took a steamer from Mwanza).

Other trivial goodness (from the lake article):
  • Lake Manitou, located on Manitoulin Island, is the largest lake on a freshwater-lake island.
  • Over 60% of the world's lakes are in Canada; this is because of the deranged drainage system that dominates the country (the obvious joke, here being, of course, I always knew that about Canadians... ;-).
  • Finland is known as The Land of the Thousand Lakes (actually there are 187,888 lakes in Finland, of which 60,000 are large) [ map (Man, look at all those lakes...)] (Turns out, Finnish drainage is 'immature'. ;-).
  • Minnesota is known as The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes [map (Isn't it cute! ;-)]
Stop. How could anyone possibly read those last two sentences and not want to know exactly how many lakes Minnesota has? That would be insane. How'd the Wikipedia author/s put them together like that and not resolve it? Is this some kind of trick?

Google. Answer: 11,842 lakes in Minnesota (10 acres or larger in size). However, I doubt that's the standard for the Finland answer, as that number. This website claims more than 15,000 lakes for Minnesota, but that's going by a different definition, say:

a "lake is not classified by size or depth as some may suggest." In fact, a lake may be defined as an enclosed basin filled or partly filled with water. In general, a lake is an "area of open, relatively deep water that is large enough to produce a wave-swept shore."

At any rate, Minnesota, though having the bigger moniker, is far behind Finland in lakes while being only about 33% smaller in land area. Of course, Minnesotans are famous for self-aggrandizement... ;-)

(But, seriously, Finland is much farther north and, like Canada, better situated to take advantage of glaciation...)

Makes me wonder: how would so many lakes affect Finnish culture? Of course, Finland is very sparsely populated, so maybe there weren't enough people to have an effect on...

You remember that Finnish ('one of the few majority European languages that is not of Indo-European origin') was a major influence for Tolkien's Quenya, right?

Enough! Stop the madness, before I start riffing on something like Proto-Indo-European!

It's alive!

Paul has posted the picture from our lunch last week. Reposting it here:

You don't mind me direct linking and 'stealing' Google's bandwidth,
do you, Paul? ;-)

Like I told Paul in the comments over there: That picture would look better if Carol was in it instead of taking the picture ;-)

See, folks: the Internet is bringing people together! ;-)

(Why do I post in winking smileys?)

NPR book and music

Heard some good stuff, then found some good stuff, which elicited more hearing.

Let's do the 'heard' first. Great piece this morning called Books to call in sick for (which would be a good idea for Christine to steal for her bulletin board). Guest was Nancy Pearl who, apparently, is a celebrity librarian (!) with her own website and action figure (!) who has written Book Lust and More Book Lust. She was very articulate on the air with Steve Inskeep.

The book that interested me the most, though I feel like a tree-chaining, Earth-Firster, friend of Jane (or Dian) ('little ditty, bout Jane and Dian' ;-) admitting it, was A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, especially the part about him getting accepted into the group as a transfer alpha male at 21.

She didn't actually mention it on the air, but
To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World sounds like the kind of book I would like.

When checking the NPR website, I saw their Song of the Day was Atoms for Peace from Thom (Radiohead) Yorke's new, solo album The Eraser. Now I'd seen song from this album a lot on Hype Machine and hadn't listened yet, but I thought 'what the hey'. When I saw the album described in the mini-review as 'laptop-electronica', I was more interested. I liked this song and may look/listen into the album.

Saturday, July 8

Today's post on calorie counting

(Excerpted from an email to my familial compatriots, in case anyone who's reading this cares to be updated.)

I'm doing ok on calories with Christine and the twins out of town: 2000 yesterday and 1743 today. Took myself out to Chinese one last time, and only ate half of the entree, but that's still a lot of calories!

Something else that really seems to help is not eating a 'prepared' meal. So far I'm doing fine with servings of fruit and carrots. Tonight I had a cheese stick. I wonder if there's a bigger temptation with 'prepared' meals to overdo the ingredients and the portions... Maybe cutting down the number of 'sit down' meals a day is a related way to help. My breakfasts seem to be fine: oj, Special K with milk, bagel with honey, black coffee. My snacks seem to be ok: 5 wheat Ritz and an apple. No additional snacking and keep my lunches and suppers under control and I should be golden. I like things to taste good, but I certainly don't need much variety, do I? ;-)

Yesterday, I posted on my weblog that I wasn't eating that healthily by just counting calories. But that's not altogether true. The other hand holds the fact that a ton of health problems in this country are the result of obesity. Kick that one and you've kicked a good chunk of them.

In other health news, I bought Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix last night to try and help our family get in some fun exercise. It's pretty fun. I've probably played around 3 hours or so. I beat the game on easy today (The actual game-play is lame to me, but Wil will like it). Now I'm going back through the individual dances to get an 'A' grade on 'Normal' difficulty (and reminding myself where Bethy gets her perfectionism ;-)

Catching up omnibus

What, exactly, does omnibus mean, anway?

Time to catch up on all those links I've been saving

+ Matt has a nice revision of the new MasterCard logo to incorporate the One Ring.

+ Curzon has visual evidence for global warming based on the diminution of women's underwear ;-)

+ Mike Davis seems like a decent guy to me. I wish him well at U of Alabama-Birmingham.

+ The Six Most Feared but Least Likely Causes of Death
  • First, what I'm really afraid of is pain, like torture or prolonged disease, not dying. Instant death = no problem.
  • Second, it's funny that we're afraid of things that are so remote - airplace crashes, shark attacks, murder, falling to death, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters - while we embrace the things close to us - tobacco, food, the couch, alcohol, cars, guns, bad sex, and drugs - that normally kill us. Goes back to that chapter in Freakonomics about how we feel safer relative to comparatively dangerous things we can control a little v. statistically normally safe things we can't control at all.
+ Video's not the great, but I sure do love Set adrift on memory bliss , especially the use of that Spandau Ballet sample. I like this kind of early hip hop predecessor of mashups.

+ Ken Jennings' last two trivially alusive titles are awesome! Can you name the reference? (Christine already identified the second on in a previous comment.
+ More good names from The Hype Machine:
  • Future Kings of Spain
  • New Duncan Imperials
  • Cone of Silence

tdaxp podcast

Dan Abbot from tdaxp is the first guest on Phil Jones' new podcast .

+ Good to hear Dan's voice. I was looking forward to that. Phil's accent, much as I try to resist such determinations, is really nice.

+ Dan says watching Tom's brief 'changed the direction of his life': started him weblogging and changed his career path from Computer Science PhD to international relations, politics, and psychology.

+ Ooh, man, Phil! That was a nice connection between computer science/network/systems view of the world.

+ Dan says Libertarians and Conservatives have a common distrust of the motives of people - individuals and groups. Tradition tells us what hasn't led to the destruction of our society.

+ Whoa. Then Dan calls out a 'bad' culture, Lakota Sioux,  where their values led them to ruin. That's pretty cheeky!

+ Dan goes on to say that [paraphrase alert!] superior cultures beat inferior cultures via Darwin-like natural selection based largely on internal coherence. Seems like you're trying to have it both ways here, Dan: 'Beauty. Culture. God.' from your old masthead. Call it 'values'. And Darwinian superiority of certain cultures.

+ Dan says Lakota and Dakota culture were both predicated on plenty of space to walk around in. So was Western Culture. But we were the one with the 'guns, germs, and steel' to take the space.

+ Phil does a nice job of teasing out the ideas and asking questions like 'Would you want to put it that way?'.

+ Dan advocates Jesuit syncretism in China v. Benedictine purity. Theologically, I disagree.

+ Ooh! Good question, Phil, about hierarchy in the Catholic Church v. Federalism. Dan says the Catholic Church is more successful than the Protestant Church by any measure. But which one is more like the Federalism you extol, Dan? Not to mind, what counts as 'Christian' on a scale from minimal to devoted? Lapsed Catholics and Jews still self-identify by religious 'culture'. Lapsed Protestants self-identify as 'Jedi' ;-)

Friday, July 7

Today's healthy eating post

1. First of all, that 210 pounds might have been an anomaly after a hard eating and drinking weekend/holiday. I'm already back down to 206 this morning. Don't worry. I'm not paying too much attention to it. I'm going for steady weight loss and lifestyle change.

2. That said, I guess I really shouldn't call this 'healthy eating', since I'm not really paying much attention to nutritional recommendations. I take a multivitamin every morning, anyway, for whatever good that does. And I get 3 servings of fruit a day (usually OJ, pineapple, and an apple). No problem getting grains in: Special K, bagels, pasta, breads, buns. Vegetables are a problem. I eat a serving of baby carrots everyday, and, after that, it gets pretty sketchy. Really, most properly, I can only say that I'm counting calories. Oh well. That's the task for now. I'll worry more about nutrition down the road.

Here's some good news: I emailed my plan to my family and 6 of them have joined me so far. It especially makes sense since we're all going to be back together for Cory's wedding in 11 weeks. Our minimum goal is to lose one pound a week for the next 11 weeks. Care to join us?

3. Saw a link to nutrition calculators in the Gmail ads in the family calorie counting thread and clicked through. 5' 11" @ 206 pounds today makes my BMI 29. They say the goal is between 20 and 25.

They also have a calorie calculator for men (and women). My weight maintenance number according to that is 3029 calories. Have I really cut my caloric intake by more than half? Toward the end I was hitting the ice cream, soda, chips, and pizza pretty hard. To lose a pound a week, eat 500 calories less than your maintenance weight. 2500 should be easy, right?

4. Much better success yesterday staying under 1500 calories. Half a Hard Lemonade and eggs and ham for supper instead of chicken and rice and sauce and a whole Hard Lemonade made the big difference. Here's hoping for another <1500 day today.

5. One of the great dangers for me in lifestyle change has always been quitting once I've started to make some progress. Once the psychological pressure lets up, I usually ease up and then cave all together. I really don't want to do that this time.

6. Got the 'go ahead' from Christine on buying Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix to help with exercise. This may seem ridiculous to some, but I think it's going to help me. Also found out that you can get the original DDR for PlayStation One, which we also have. So, if we like DDR:MM and want to branch out, we'll probably go back the PS direction. There's even a Disney one (for C and the twins).

Once more unto the breach, dear friends...

Tom debunks energy myths again:

+ The truth is, our consumption per thousand dollars of GDP has declined dramtically over the past 30 years, making oil far less crucial to our economy. In 1973 it stood at roughly 1.4 barrels/1kGDP. Now it stands at roughly 0.7 barrels, or a decline of roughly 50 percent...

+ Our total oil consumption has risen only from about 17 million barrels a day in 1973 to about 21 today.

+The real issue for many is one of imports, which stood at only 5 mbd in 1973 and now sits about 11 mbd, so shifting from about one third of our oil use back then to roughly 60% now.  

Still, about the only thing dumber than describing that as an addiction is calling for independence. C. Fred Bergsten, director of the International Institute of Economics, calls the notion "ridiculous," because it implies that "price doesn't matter, that you'll pay any amount to decrease your reliance on imports--and that would be crazy."

+ Instead, Bergsten, like me, calls for more cooperation between us and rising China (with its skyrocketing demand for foreign oil), calling us "natural allies" because we're both big consumers sitting on the same side of the table opposite OPEC.

+ But if we stopped all imports from the Middle East, wouldn't the Middle East stop being a security issue? Well, as one expert points out in this piece, we don't import any Iranian oil and haven't in decades. So much for that theory of disconnectedness leading to security.

+ Autarky in any form is not a realizable strategy in an interconnected world

Thursday, July 6

More on 'un-American' sports

+ My worst (World Cup) fears have come to pass: France-Italy final. Ugh. Zidane scored again. Sheesh.

I continue to think diving is ridiculous and unmanly. There's got to be a way to get the right fouls called and not flop like a wuss...

As all Cubs fans know, there always next year, or World Cup four years from now in South Africa. Let's hope for a better US showing and something more interesting than this year's final (which I'll still be watching Sunday at 2).

+ On to the Tour, where George Hincapie is 5 seconds back of the yellow jersey after 4 stages.

Ok, that was depressing...

Man, this 'eating right' thing is always harder than you fear, aye?

I tried to watch what I ate yesterday, recorded it all, made lots of healthy choices, and still came in just under 2000 calories. That's not gonna cut it. The biggest offenders? Supper of a reasonable portion of chicken, white rice, and sauce and a Mike's Hard Lemonade. Guess I'll have to split those (lemonades) with Christine 'til their gone, then not buy anymore, then maybe switch to a small glass of red wine at 26 calores/ounce. Maybe I'll have to cut out alcohol all together if I want to lose weight! Whoa!

The hunger piece is ok so far, but I expect it to bite me any second, especially as I cut back even further.

Two pounds lighter on the scale this morning, but that's just a fluctuation and you're not really supposed to pay attention to the daily results, but rather to the 5-day average.

I am seriously thinking of buying Dance Dance Revolution:Mario Remix for our GameCube tomorrow night to help with some fun exercise. We'd been thinking of getting it anyway. (What do your think, Christine?)

Finally, for this post, my latest cogitation on health to my sister (all stuff you know):

i think that's one reason so many Americans don't do better at health: it seems impossible: eat the right amount of calories with the proper number of servings from the right food groups and exercise 6 days a week while being bombarded with food messages, not to mention scientific studies that prove we don't really know how all of this works, plus fad diets and photos of 'beautiful' 'celebrities' who aren't healthy either and yo-yo up and down and smoke and drink and do drugs but get a personal trainer and a personal chef and surgery and go to the fat farm.

Wednesday, July 5

Happiness is...

finally getting to meet Paul and Carol Stokes, having lunch with them on their way through town, and getting to post about it first! ;-) It was a pleasure to meet such a fine couple!

They were the ones who had the camera, so they can trump me if they post the picture. ;-)

Unfortunately, we only got to meet for an hour. :-(

(Healthy living update: ordered off the Weight Watchers menu at Applebee's. 370 calories max shrimp and steak skewers with some good tastes. Good job, me :-)

Complete photographic Meadeness

It's not very often we can all be together in one place, but we accomplished it this past long weekend as a surprise for my Dad's coming up 60th birthday and a slightly belated 35th wedding anniversary. Christine put up the pix, which I pass on for your edification ;-)

LOVE that pic of the three boys in their Batman shirts!
Lots of pretty girls wearing pink that day.
Thankfully, this picture is the one game of Settlers that I won.
We did a review of my dad's life by decade with little, representative gifts.
Wil's missing both top front teeth these days.
Aah! I may die of handsomeness!
Bethy had Girl Scout Twilight Pirate Camp last week and continued to dress in her pirate bandana.
Bethy sez 'yes, it's nice to be a beautiful princess' ;-)

(btw, this is my first look at Picasa Web Albums. Looks pretty good...)

Lifestyle change

Today begins a sincere attempt to change how I eat. I've tried a few 'diets' with little result. It's past time to make a lifestyle change. That's the smart thing you see people recommending. I've know that for some time but just didn't want to do it. So I'm going to try it. I wish I could say, with Yoda, that I'm choosing 'do' over 'do not' instead of 'try', but I'm not that confident.

I've decided to go with Jeremy Zawodny's geek diet method: track calories and weight in a spreadsheet. I am guardedly hopeful.

Bottom line: I don't want to be as fat as I am or fatter. Though my daughter and son steadfastly insist that I am not 'fat', which I greatly appreciate, I'm pretty sure that means, for them, 'not as fat as what we consider to be fat'.

This is a work in progress. I weighed 210 this morning. I'm 5'11" with small bones (my mom's lies to me when I was 12 that I was big-boned notwithstanding). My perfectly reasonable goal is to lose a pound a week until I get down to at least 170. Still need to figure out what my daily calorie consumption needs to be. Still need a better idea of what my target weight should be. But today is the day to start, after vacation and a holiday.

My entire family was together yesterday at Apple Hill for Dad's 60th birthday. We'll gather there again in 11 weeks for Cory's wedding. I want to be 11 pounds lighter by then. Not to show my family or whatever. Just because it's a good benchmark.

Well wishes and prayers are appreciated. Advice is not.

Tuesday, July 4

More World Cup video

Ugh: All European quarter finals. Ugh: Italy. Ugh: France.

Check out video highlights.

But, really: don't you think it's kind of dumb, too, that France and Italy are both 'the Blue/s'? We could have an all-Blue final!

And, since Zinedine Zazou Zidane seems up to some of his old magic, this 9+ minute highlight video of him.
  1. Has anyone ever had a better complement of spin moves? It's not that flashy, but it sure gets the job done. When you spin by the keeper with the ball... That's pretty sweet.
  2. I like how a lot of times he out-dribbles some guy/s and then makes an easy pass.
  3. I think one of the moves I respect the most is the great controlling touch in traffic.
  4. You have to like the good old give and go.
  5. The way the pros can bend the ball - left, right, and down - is crazy. Zidane has some free kicks in this video that are as good as any by Beckham.