It’s a pretty well established fact that I lose weight when I follow through on my goal to keep track of everything I eat. That fact has been firmly tested by the fact that I have lost weight while keeping in that habit, and have gained it back when I’m not paying attention to what I eat. It’s pretty good empirical evidence.
In order to make it more convenient to count the calories of what I eat, I use an application called Calorie Counter on my Droid, linked to FatSecret. Since I always have my phone with me, it only makes sense to use it to record what I eat. It’s helped me immensely (when I actually track what I eat).
I’ve also been trying to get my finances under control, at least a little bit. It’s a very long road, but I need to start by reducing my spending. In the same vein as my calorie counting, my first step is to track everything that leaves my metaphoric wallet. I downloaded an app called Xspenser to my Droid that will allow me to track all of my expenses and is linked to a web service of the same name. It also has the “honor” of being the first paid app on my phone. The first thing I entered into it was the purchase of the app itself. Entering items into the database is easy, and the site offers reports and such. I don’t have enough info in it yet to run a realistic report, but I should soon enough.
I’m hoping that I can get some helpful data out of this, and use it to head in the right direction.
As part of my new compulsive need to organize my apartment, I’ve decided I need to make a list of all the essential things I need to keep for cooking and/or entertaining. Since I’m almost done with the bar (yes it’s taken me over two years now), I started a list of what I want to keep on hand as a minimum.
- Vanilla Vodka
- Whiskey (Jack Daniels)
- Whiskey Sour Mix
- Captain Morgan Original
- Captain Morgan Silver
- Root 100 (Root beer liqueur)
- Diet cola
- Root beer
- Orange juice
- Coors Light
- Newcastle Brown Ale
- Killian’s Irish Red
- A Riesling of some sort
It’s a start, I definitely need to polish the list a bit better. Combining this OCD list with my push toward preparing my own meals – not necessarily healthier, but definitely cheaper – naturally leads into making a list of ingredients, condiments, seasonings etc. that I will want to keep in the kitchen.
- Red pepper flakes
- Worcestershire sauce
- Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- Garlic salt
- Garlic pepper
- Parmesan Cheese
- I started this list tonight so it’s obviously just off the cuff and there’s more I’m missing. I also didn’t list regular salt and pepper because I’m just going to assume they’re given. No sugar in my cooking, at least until I figure out if I need to bother with substitutes (because I’m diabetic). I don’t enjoy baking anyhow.
- I rebooted my Astrid task list on my Droid and now I’m trying to get back in the swing of exercise and productivity. It’s going all right, though I’ve been off my diet for the last few days.
If anyone feels like commenting or if anyone actually makes their way to this post, what are your essentials?
Out of all the best world-building authors that I’ve read, one thing that interests me the most is the way hints to the greater history and world background are dropped along the way. Tolkien’s world is the perfect example (as always), with all the work he put in to the history of his world. Historical and geographical allusions are seeded throughout all the stories he set in that world. Even the Silmarillion, which is ostensibly a history, refers to people, places, and events that aren’t specifically explained.
What do I mean by this? I love the concept of a fully fleshed-out world. I know a lot of people who prefer a universe that appears to be lived-in, and that’s a good state to reach, but to me the complete world is the way to go. What that also means to my work is that I tend to be a guy who just writes histories and never actually gets around to the story at hand.
It’s probably just my secret dream to be an archivist.
I’ve decided that in order to get anything done, I need to get a tad bit more organized. To that end, I created a daily task list to complete, along with a set of deadlines for articles and blog posts. I don’t think I’ll put the schedule itself up here, that way when I fail to meet it nobody will know but me. I know, the accountability won’t be there if I don’t share the schedule, but I don’t know if I’m up to it yet. Time management will be an issue (as usual for me) – this post is going up much later than I expected since I had to cram everything in at the end of the night.
The intended result is that I will get my apartment in order, start writing again since it has been too long, and actually complete some of my stagnated projects. I think I’m starting out at a good place, but I didn’t do all that well the last time I put myself on a schedule.
In other schedule related news, the Sabres released their 2010-2011 schedule. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to at least one game this time around. I’ve been trying to find a game in the Columbus Crew schedule to attend this summer. And to wrap it all off, I was delighted to receive the 2010-2011 season schedule for the Geva Theatre in Rochester – especially since they’re doing The Music Man, which I’ve always wanted to see live.
The US Men’s soccer team plays to advance tomorrow morning (of course while I’ll be unable to watch at work). I’ll have one eye on the scoreboard.
I felt that I should chime in with my thoughts on the whole Facebook privacy hubbub. There are many places to catch up on the actual background to the argument, so I’ll just link you on over to Lifehacker’s Facebook tag which has a glut of information about it. This NYTimes article is also a good start.
Why do I care, you ask? Well, I do have a Facebook account (as evidenced by the link at the top), and I do care about what information about me is available to the world. However, as I’ve been “bad” about participating in social networks, there really isn’t any information out there that I haven’t shared on purpose (at least on these social network sites). Mostly what I use Facebook for is as a self-perpetuating address book, the one place where people add themselves and I can keep tabs on them without putting any work into it. I don’t participate in Facebook any more than I participate in Twitter, which is to say, I post on there every once in a while.
Unfortunately, though I don’t use it for much, Facebook’s privacy issues driving people away from the site may mean that the little use I have for it will disappear in the near future. My Myspace account is by all rights dead – I never touch the thing. I’ve never used Twitter to keep up with people I know in “real life” – I think there’s only a couple of people I follow on there who fit that category. I use Twitter more as an information stream, and I believe that’s all it will ever be for me.
Hey, maybe Diaspora will be the next big thing? I think what I’d really like is a way to have people end up in my Google contacts somehow without me specifically searching for them.
The other day I was listening to Fast Karate for the Gentleman and they were talking about a couple of the games they were playing. I can’t remember the specific game that made me think of this (probably Bayonetta or something like that), but Dave mentioned that he thought Assassin’s Creed 2 was too easy to be any fun. This is a very foreign concept to me, since the difficulty has a very low impact on whether I like a game.
I’m not sure when it happened, but a section of the video game audience began to desire games that were harder and harder to complete, almost like a punishment. I can’t really speak to anyone else, but for me there is a low threshold of difficulty in video games where they become a chore to play instead of being fun. I know for Assassin’s Creed 2, since they used that as an example, I’ve had more fun watching my brother play and learning the story than I’ve had playing some of the twitch-style games. I don’t know if I’ve just lost a lot of my reaction time, but if I have to struggle to advance in a game, I don’t have fun. One of the Christmas presents I received was Dragon Age, and I’ve been engrossed by it. Mass Effect was the last game I’ve played that has held this much fun for me, and part of it is that at least half of the game is role playing and strategy.
This isn’t that deep of a concept, I’m just worried that games may trend to being more about the difficulty of the action instead of the depth of story and just plain fun gameplay. Maybe if more independent game studios get out there (since there are a lot of tools popping up for that kind of thing) we can get a more heterogeneous video game landscape.
That’s right, I graduated from high school in 2000. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time when I look at the number of years, but when I think about everything that happened in these last ten years, it feels like a long time.
I spent much of the decade at university, first at RIT and then at St. Bonaventure University. All in all, it took about 6 years to get my degree (Bachelor of Science, Computer Science – I started as a Computer Science major at RIT, transferred to Information Technology my second year, and transferred back to Computer Science at St. Bonaventure). Mostly it took that long because I lacked the motivation to do my best work, so I struggled through any of the classes that I didn’t like. Part of my issues at RIT was that my professors were all research-type people, and just teaching theory, mostly. I loved the rest of my experience there, however. Some of my best friends in the world came from my time at RIT, though I’ve been dropping the ball lately in my duties as a friend. Once I transferred to St. Bonaventure, I got the opportunity to take classes from people that worked in the field since some time in the 70’s. That was a great change, and once I worked through my issues I finished there (though the liberal arts courses at Bonas were not very much fun either).
As far as employment went, the summer after I graduated high school I worked at the Olean Times Herald in the mail room. At RIT, I worked at Gracie’s (one of the cafeterias on campus) for a couple trimesters, and met a ton of people, including my friend Kevin. Oddly enough, we lived next door to each other in our freshman dorm, but didn’t really become friends until we worked together at Gracie’s. The summer after my first year at RIT, I worked at Dal-Tile in Olean in the factory. There wasn’t anything special about it, but it was a good experience, anyway. Then, in 2002, I worked as a summer contractor in the IT department in Dresser-Rand. It was the best job that I had so far, not coincidentally because it was the first one I had in my own field. In 2003, I fell apart and withdrew from RIT. I needed to pick up a job to fill the time between then and the fall when I started at St. Bonaventure. I picked up a job at Alcas doing data entry, and met someone who was very important to me for a few years. From 2003 to 2005 I worked there, and went back to Dresser-Rand at the same time during the summer of 2004. In 2006, I graduated from school and started all the fun of a job search. It took until that fall, when I worked for a company called Mellon Technology for a couple of months, until I was hired by Dresser-Rand full time, and that’s where I’ve been since.
Throughout the decade I ran a handful of different sites, none of which had any content, really. I built a few computers, started playing World of Warcraft in 2008, and that brings us up to date. It was an all right decade, but as I don’t really have any other comparison than the two that I lived through before I graduated from high school, I’ll have to wait until next decade to really get a good perspective.
I’m making bold predictions for this year. I don’t think I’ll be actually kicking some ass, since that’s never really been an issue in my adult life. No, what I’m referring to is the fact that I think I’ve come up with actual achievable goals for the year. These goals aren’t just really easy to complete, either; they are things that will improve my life and further my goals in the future. Somewhat like a stepping stone, as it were.
With that in mind, here is the list of what I intend to do this year.
- Walk at least one mile per day.
This is one of the habits that I dropped over the last year and a half. I need to get back into walking every night, and I figure at least a mile is a good easy number that I can meet. I also have a neat little program called CardioTrainer that can track me with GPS on my Droid.
- Record all my calorie intake.
This is the first step I want to take toward a healthier diet. Recording everything I eat gives me a better idea of what I’m doing right and/or wrong. The Droid is also helpful in this case, with an app called Calorie Counter.
- Plan meals at least one week at a time.
Meal planning is a good way to save money by budgeting for groceries and it also will allow me to eat healthier by actually cooking. It also lets me avoid eating randomly, which I know from experience just leads to junk food.
- Set up automatic savings deductions from my paycheck.
In theory, I should get at least a cost of living raise this year. What I plan to do is take most of that and set it up as an automatic deposit into my savings. It will force me to have some money set aside and not immediately wasted.
- Schedule cleanup for the apartment.
As a rather unorganized person, I need to set up a schedule for cleaning my apartment, doing my laundry and other such chores. I tend to let things get out of hand and then spend a lot of time catching up.
- Write something every day.
This doesn’t mean that I have to post something every day. In order to be productive and actually improve my writing, I need to actually write. To that end, I will be writing at least something every day.
- Take a picture every day.
I have a nice digital camera; it’s high time that I put it to use other than on vacations. I want to take a picture of something every day that I can post to Flickr. This probably means that I need to take my camera places that I normally wouldn’t, but that’s probably good for me as well.
There are a couple of other things I have planned, but I don’t think I’ll start them until later this year when I’ve managed to get in the swing of the ones I’ve listed above. I’ve managed to pull off all my goals for the first two days of the year, but it’s not like that means anything.
- Tomorrow I’ll be posting my thoughts on the first decade of the 2000’s.
Last year was a pretty mediocre year event-wise, and a really poor year as far as personal goals went.
From 2007 into most of 2008, I was doing really well as far as exercise and eating right. However, at the end of 2008 I started to fall into bad habits, and 2009 was just bad. I was completely out of control. This led directly to me dropping my writing productivity. In fact, I think I only posted a handful of things all year. As for other things, I purchased a bunch of wood and hardware to build a bar, worked on it once, and never touched it after that (I worked on it today, though!). I didn’t finish any video games of note, though I did accomplish a lot in WoW – my brother and I started running instances, helped a bunch by the new Dungeon Finder.
Work was all right…I didn’t accomplish much of anything special. I did travel to Missouri and Oklahoma to set up some new offices, so that was pretty fun. I did a lot of programming, but I don’t think I did anything special or learned all that much, which is always my entire objective.
All in all, it wasn’t a great year. I don’t think it was much of a terrible year, though I hated it for some unknown reason. Tomorrow I’m going to post a little rundown of my goals for 2010. I plan on kicking this year’s ass from here to next year, and I’ve tried to actually set up measurable and attainable goals (not flimsy vague resolutions).
A month or so ago I started running a D&D game with a handful of people from my family. It’s the first game I’ve ever run, so I’m not sure I’m doing all that great as a DM. I think we’re all having fun, though, and that’s what is important. We’re doing Keep on the Shadowfell since my cousin had the module already. It’s been pretty interesting, especially since we have a pretty big mix of ages in our group – 16 to 40. I feel a little underprepared since I’ve had to kludge up markers and such for the mobs, but this is all good practice and I can only get better.
I really need to get back out walking at night. Vacations seem to do me in as far as motivation goes. Surprisingly enough, I like walking in the cold, so the advent of winter is only a good thing for me. I still wish I had a bike again.
I bought a Motorola Droid the day it came out, and I still love it. I’ve still got a lot of apps to try out, and I want to write some in-depth reviews of the ones that I have. I do want to make a special point to recommend Calorie Counter and Aldiko (ebook reader). I’ve used them a lot so far. Google Voice is turned on for my account now and I’m playing with that as well.