Birthday Revelations, or On Turning 32

 Birthday Revelations, or On Turning 32  General, Rant  Comments Off on Birthday Revelations, or On Turning 32
Nov 242008

Today is my 32nd birthday.  32 times (or so) around the sun, 11,687 days (give or take).  And as I come to the realization that I’m older (even though it doesn’t feel like it), I’ve come to another realization as well.

I’m fat.  I’m not going to candy-coat it with the word “overweight” because the harsh reality of it is that I weigh too much, and it’s entirely my fault.  I haven’t even stepped on a scale in at least the last 6 months, because I’ve been trying to avoid this realization.

So: Beginning on December 1st (because I know myself, and there’s no way I can start this plan before Thanksgiving), I’m going back on a diet.  Probably Weight Watchers to start with, and maybe South Beach if I’m not losing weight consistently enough.  I’m also going to start exercising a minimum of 3 times a week.  I’m horrendously out of shape, so I’ll have to start with walking at first, but (and I know this is almost a cliche phrase for anyone starting this kind of thing) I’m serious about it this time.

For my beautiful wife and potential children (once we start having kids), who don’t need a husband or father dead from a heart attack at 40.  For my wallet, which honestly doesn’t need the drain of supporting a 280+ pound human, with all of the shit food that I eat on a regular basis, the breakfat tacos and sandwiches on the way to work instead of a good home-cooked omelette because I’m too lazy to wake up an extra 30 minutes early, the lunches at restaurants because I’m not thinking far enough ahead to pre-prep meals, either for cooking at home or for bento to bring with me to work, the dinners that I eat out because I don’t feel like cooking even though all of the ingredients are already in the fridge adn/or pantry.  For my body, because it shouldn’t have had to carry around the extra 100 pounds it’s currently shackled with (and has been for far too long): my ankles hurt all the time, I get winded climbing up a flight of stairs, my back aches, and my GERD certainly isn’t getting any better.  But most of all, for me.  Because I’m tired of looking in the mirror at my fat self every day.  Tired of feeling run-down all the time. Tired of deciding to not attend events because of the potential physical activity required.  Tired of the coughing fits after eating because of my acid reflux.  Tired of limping into the shower every morning because my heels hurt.  Tired of resizing clothing patterns because I’m 6-8 inches bigger than “extra large”.  Tired of paying more for the fabric needed to make those clothes that I’ve had to resize.  And tired of having the low self-esteem that I seem to have shackled myself with after my initial “Freshman 15 40″ (which also gives you a clue as to how long I’ve been fat).

Having started on this path in the past, and failed several times, I know that this won’t be an easy goal to achieve.  But I’m sure that with the love and help of my family and friends, a lot of determination, and a good low-fat cookbook or two, I’ll be able to get the weight off this time, and keep it off.

And who knows?  With all the Egg McMuffins I’m not going to be buying any more, I may finally be able to save up and buy that new laptop I’ve wanted for the last year or two.

School food sucks, and a rant about cooking

 School food sucks, and a rant about cooking  General, Rant, Recreation  Comments Off on School food sucks, and a rant about cooking
Oct 112006

Not that I have much experience in the former; it’s been about 11 years since the last school lunch I ate. However, I think it’s a fair to assume that kids still eat all kinds of crap food on a regular basis; I know I did when I was in school. Heck, I still do today, although on a much more reduced scale.
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time for a rant

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Apr 192006

It’s been a very long time since I wrote my last rant. Mainly because there hasn’t been much need for it; I haven’t gotten angry about much in the last while. But that has all changed now.

And the target of my rant this time: abbreviations, shorthand, “chat speak”, whatever you call it.

I’m sick and tired of people using chat speak. A large part of my job involves communicating via instant messenger, and it irritates me to no end when I get a message that says “take 15” instead of “can I take a break?” or “what did u say about that maint?” instead of “what did you say about that maintenance?”. I spent a lot of time in school, learning how to spell words and put them together in an order that makes sense to almost everyone. I also know that everyone I message during my shift has completed at least 12 years of school, and should definitely know how to put all of the words together in the proper order, and with all of the letters due to each word.

I can understand if you’re using a device where it’s tedious to type all of the words (like a cell phone, sending an SMS message), but come on… If you’re using a full-size (or even laptop-size) keyboard, there’s no excuse not to type all of the letters in a word. And since it’s never (no, never) necessary for anyone to send a question to me in less than 10 seconds, especially since I’m almost certainly going to take at least twice that long to read, understand, and answer your question, take some time, relax, think about the question you want to ask, and type it out in a grammatically correct way: subject and verb, capitalization and punctuation.

Sending messages that look like a 12-year-old who’s off his Ritalin and using a cell phone to send SMS messages just makes you look like an idiot.

TV Quality

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Jul 042005

So on Saturday night, I watched the second half of the new Doctor Who series (the 27th series; that doesn’t include Paul McGann’s 2-hour stint in the Fox movie, and yes I’m a big nerd).  And I started to realize that I’m not impressed these days with most TV that I watch; Doctor Who was a surprising breath of fresh air in comparison to the pap that is aired on most American TV stations.  It’s a shame I have to resort to downloading all of the “good stuff” from the Internet.

But let’s look at the list, shall we?  This is a sampling of the shows that I’ve watched in the last year or so, not all of them “new”, that have stuck in my mind as particularly good.

And that’s about it, unless you count the cooking shows I watch (Good Eats has consistently been good since it started, The Naked Chef and Oliver’s Twist were both excellent, and I really like Molto Mario).  But if you look at the list, it’s mostly short-run shows, and most of those are from the UK (Doctor Who, Spooks, and both Jamie Oliver cooking shows on BBC, Hex on SkyOne).

What is it that makes “American” TV so bad in my eyes?  I think in part it’s an over-concentration on so-called “Reality TV”.  But that can’t be the entire reason; there are 24-hour Big Brother channels in the EU, which is way more than we have here in the US.  So I think the major reason just may be that most American TV has to last an entire US viewing season.  And a lot of shows just seem to run out of ideas halfway through that viewing season, somewhere around 15 episodes, which is much less than the 20-22 episodes that most series run per season.  And here’s the deal: I’d be perfectly happy if TV producers limited their series’ productions to 10-15 episodes per season/series (or even less!) if they were higher quality.  Just take the budget allocated for all 22 episodes and reallocate it for 15 episodes instead.  Make fewer, higher-quality shows, instead of stretching three months’ worth of ideas into 6.  If nothing else, it would encourage me to go outside and exercise instead of sitting on my ass doing nothing (the latter, of course, almost certainly being what the Networks want; more eyes for their precious advertising).

Hell, I could shave nearly 6 hours off of each season, per show, just by watching the DVDs (or downloading the episodes, sans commercials, from the Internet).  Allow me to quote the all-knowing Wikipedia:

Commercials take airtime away from programs. In the 1960s a typical hour-long American show would run for 51 minutes excluding commercials. Today a similar program would only be 42 minutes long. In other words, over the course of 10 hours American viewers will see approximately an hour and a half more commercials than they did in the sixties. Furthermore, if that sixties show is rerun today it is almost certain to be cut by 9 minutes to make room for the extra commercials.

I’ve certainly enjoyed watching Millennium, The Pretender, Babylon 5 and Farscape on DVD (or an equivalent media/format); it’s much better than sitting through 12-18 minutes of ads per hour.

I hate ABC

 I hate ABC  General, Rant  Comments Off on I hate ABC
Jan 082005

So I discovered late Wednesday (well, it was technically Thursday morning) that ABC is apparently showing Alias on Wednesdays now instead of the Sundays that served so well for the last 3 seasons. OK, I’m fine with that; every show needs a change of scenery eventually.

But those bastards in charge of scheduling have just ticked me off. Instead of a nice easy timeslot that makes it so I can record other shows (like CSI:NY or Good Eats, both of which start at 9:00), Alias apparently runs from 8:01 PM to 9:02 PM.

Guess what, ABC? This means I won’t be watching Alias live, or even recording it with my DVR. It means I’ll be downloading the episodes each week from the Internet and burning them to CD (or DVD, I haven’t decided yet). So your advertisers don’t get my eyeballs. If it weren’t for Alias, there wouldn’t be anything I’d watch on your network, and because of this scheduling crap I won’t even need to tune to your channel at all. I may just delete it from my TV, because lord knows I need more reruns of… um… what is it that ABC shows again?

Ah, yes. After a quick trip to, it appears I need more Bachelorette, Jim Belushi sitcoms, and “Wife Swap,” whatever that is. No, I think I’ll be taking advantage of the fact that there are lots of people on the Internet that are really good at capping and posting TV shows. I’ll get to skip the wonderful commercials (18 minutes per hour these days, you know), and I’ll have nice, archival quality, HDTV widescreen caps of the only show that’s worth watching on ABC.

I think I win.