Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eating things that don't make me want to die

I've been finding gradual weight loss to be more difficult than I expected.  Over the past month or longer my weight loss has been so gradual that I've basically just maintained my weight.  Maintaining weight is hard enough and I suppose that's an accomplishment itself, but it's not really what I'm going for yet.  I'd still like to lose a bit more weight before I get to a point where I'm maintaining.

I think that a lot of the problem is that when I was on the strict diet, I began to forget what it was like to eat delicious food; food that made me happy.  I still had incredibly strong cravings for sugar and unhealthy things, but I could resist simply because I was telling myself that I don't eat those things anymore—or at least not right now.  That was challenging, but achievable.  Now, I allow myself those things occasionally, and that seems to be the problem.  Eating healthy food is even more unappealing than it was before, because I remember exactly what it's like to eat things that don't make me want to die, because I ate those things just last Friday.

So I think that as much as it pains me, in order to lose a little more weight, I'm going to have to go back on the strict diet for a little longer.  I should probably do this sooner rather than later, but I suppose I'm not in a huge hurry as long as I'm not gaining weight, which hasn't happened—I've kept things under control.  It seems that in theory, whether I maintain my weight now or lose some more first and then maintain that lower weight, the difference between the two options is just a one-time cost of pain and anguish.  The annoyance of maintaining the weight will be very similar regardless of whether I'm at 216 or in the 200s.  I can deal with one-time costs.

Now I just need to decide when I'm going to start back up again.  I do not look forward to it.

Yeah... no.

I got my estimate for what it would cost to repair my old TV last night: $1,024 plus tax and the $95 I've already spent on having it diagnosed.  I paid $1,000 for the TV and a receiver and a set of speakers and a sub in the first place.

Yeah... no.

I've already ordered a new TV anyway.  It's a lovely 55" Samsung LED LCD.  I will have it next Tuesday.  Admittedly, it was a bit more than a thousand bucks.  (Anyone want a broken 52" DLP?)

Congratulations! You are Japanese.

I saw this Facebook quiz titled "What type of Asian are you?"  According to this survey, my friend is Japanese.  This does not seem like the sort of thing that requires a quiz.  I imagine that the quiz goes something like this:

What type of Asian are you?
1. What ethnicity are your parents?
[  ] Chinese
[X] Japanese
[  ] Korean
[  ] Other / mixed

Congratulations! You are Japanese.

(I'm not even going to start on how obnoxious Facebook quizzes are...)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I am more and more annoyed that people whose job it is to repair things will seemingly do everything they can in their power to ignore requests for estimates or anything resembling them.  I just asked a TV repairperson for an estimate of whether my TV is likely to be a "small problem" or a "big problem" and he wouldn't even give me that.  My request was just ignored, as if I hadn't said a thing.  This seems to absolutely be the norm.  No one is willing to guess at anything unless it's a big project that requires them coming out to your home to assess things.

I try to be as reasonable as possible, saying that a wild guess is fine and that I understand that the full extent of the problem can't be diagnosed without actually investigating, but it doesn't help.  (I make estimates of things for a living.  I'm still bad at it.  Everyone is.)


Today I am 10,000 days old.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Delayed instant gratification

Two weeks or so ago when I placed my last grocery order with Amazon, I checked to see if they had Jim Gaffigan's latest DVD in stock.  The main Amazon.com store did, but it was not available for delivery with groceries for a few days—many Amazon items are available in as little as four hours in the Seattle area through Amazon Now, as well as a full selection of groceries.  Had I just ordered it two weeks ago from the main Amazon.com with the slow super saver shipping I'd already have it by now.  But instead, I waited so I could get it with the ultra-fast Amazon Now delivery.  It became obvious very quickly how little sense this delayed instant gratification made.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


So, my TV is on the fritz, to use a nontechnical term.  The menus appear scrambled, and it won't pick up anything from either the HDMI input or the component inputs (I haven't tried any others).  The "replace lamp" light is on.  So, at a minimum, if all that needs to be done is to replace the lamp, the repair cost will be $150 or so.  But those symptoms do not appear to be a problem that would be caused by a faulty lamp; it sounds like something else inside is broken.  It looks vaguely like a damaged MPEG stream, sort of like if you have a corrupted video file or there's a minor problem with digital cable or satellite TV.  So, I'm wary of spending a fairly large sum of money to probably not fix the problem.  If I have someone come to my house to fix it (it's huge; there's no way it's getting taken anywhere), I imagine that including parts and labor it will cost me at least $500.  That's getting quite a bit closer to the cost of getting a brand new TV than $150 was.  I don't have any major problems with the old one other than the whole it-not-working one; it's a fine TV.  The picture was good, but it's 1080i rather than 1080p, only has one HDMI input, and is otherwise a few years behind the times.  Plus, of course, a new TV would come with a warranty.

I'm at least considering just replacing it, but I'm not sure yet.  I'm fairly certain that I can get a decent deal for being a Microsoft employee; I'll need to see what my options are.  The very popular Sharp Aqueos 52" LCD is $1,300 full retail; I don't think I can justify repairing a four-year-old TV for $500 at that price.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


The short version:
Augustana—All the Stars and Boulevards: 5/10
Duffy—Rockferry: 7/10
E.S. Posthumus—Cartographer: 7/10

I picked up the first CD by Augustana, All the Stars and Boulevards.  It was suggested to me many times by various sites and people, often because I liked OneRepublic.  I don't really see a resemblance; the two bands sound strikingly different.  In this case, that's a disappointment for Augustana; the album is fairly bland.  It took me a while to really decide what I thought of the CD because none of the tracks really stood out.  Instead, they all blur together, and I still can't tell most of them apart.  I'd say that the best ones are Mayfield, Bullets, and California's Burning, but overall I'm not really excited by the CD.

I also got Rockferry by Duffy, which it a bit better.  It's sort of like R&B for white people.  She's at various times soulful, sultry, introspective, and upbeat, which at least keeps things different.  It's perhaps not my preferred style of music, but it's a nice diversion.  I love the single Mercy (video), and Rockferry and Serious are good as well.

Finally, I got Cartographer from E.S. Posthumus, an album I've been waiting many years for.  Like Rob Dougan's Furious Angels, there are two discs: one with vocal versions of the tracks, and then one with mostly instrumental versions—and just like Furious Angels, the instrumental versions are much better.  The vocals on the first CD are a bit bland and generic, and some of the more interesting portions (mostly loud strings) of the underlying music have been toned down or removed entirely so as to not conflict with the vocals.  But overall, the second CD is pretty good; it's just not as varied and exciting as E.S. Posthumus' previous CD from half a decade ago, Unearthed.  My favorites on here are Oraanu Pi, Mosane Pi, and Vorrina Pi (all of the instrumental versions are marked with the suffix "Pi").

I'm not sure what all I'll move onto next.  I'll probably check out X&Y by Coldplay, and then maybe P!nk's latest album, Funhouse, which should arrive today with my groceries.  Beyond that, I'm not sure yet.

Back on the Segway again

The weather has warmed up a bit, and now with no scheduled personal trainer appointments, I can start taking my Segway in to work more often.  I rode it for the first time in many months on Thursday, and it was a great feeling as always.  It's faster and more responsive now that I'm actually under the max weight limit in the instruction manual.  Everything came back to me as soon as I stepped back on; there was no period of adaptation or uncertainty.  Just like riding a bike—or so I hear; I still can't ride one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Love letters to Hitler

I've taken one of my work computers over to some guys on the Windows team so they can poke at it—it had a problem upgrading to the latest version of Windows 7, and they of course would like to prevent other people from running into the same problem when Windows 7 is finished.  I have this weird and unfounded fear that they're going to email me back and explain that setup failed because of all of the love letters to Hitler and midget porn videos I have on the hard drive, despite the fact that of course it's a work computer and everything on there is safe and cool.  (Note: I also have neither of those things on my home computers.)  I have no reason whatsoever to be worried about handing my PC over to them, other than perhaps a chance that they screw something up and I have to reinstall everything from scratch.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The product I work on for a living, SharePoint Designer, is now free. It's like I've gone back in time five years and every project I work on is freeware again, except this time someone's paying me to do it.

Now, once again, nothing that I produce directly generates revenue of any kind. It's kind of weird yet comfortable.

Ignoring advice

If there's one thing that I'm great at, it's ignoring advice.  I've gotten some fairly mixed and varied tidbits and suggestions since my breakup with Jason in January... things from "you should date as many people as possible" to "you should sleep with as many people as possible" to "you should distance yourself from Jason to avoid being hurt again" to "you should stay away completely because he's controlling you."  I appreciate the thoughts, but I haven't taken any of your advice.  Look on the bright side, though: I always leave open plenty of opportunities for "I told you so."

I certainly haven't been seeking out dates or casual sex, so I've completely ignored that advice.  Neither of those things are Travis.  And I certainly haven't distanced myself from Jason.  I'm not sure if a day has gone by since we broke up that we haven't talked at least a little.  It was important to me that even as I lost a boyfriend, I kept a friend, and I've succeeded.

One of the more unexpected conclusions that I came to is that I have no problem with the idea of "friends with benefits."  I was against it at first as being no different from casual sex, which I do have a problem with, but now that I have the context of having had a relationship, I can clearly see a difference, and it's hidden somewhere in that word "friend."  Of course, the word "friend" is quite imprecise, but the conclusion that I came to is that Jason is a close friend, and he still meets all of my selective criteria for someone that I'd want to have sex with: friendship, respect, trust, caring, and a deep attraction.  A stable courting relationship should encompass all of those things, but right now I feel that I don't require that person to be a boyfriend.

So we went for it.  A month or so after the breakup, we decided to give friends-with-benefits a try, with the condition that it would end immediately if either one of us felt that it was negatively impacting our friendship.  (I didn't intend to keep secret this development for my own evil intentions, but I did want to respect Jason's privacy, so I waited until I had the go-ahead to post.)  So far, it hasn't; I'd say that if anything it's improved our friendship.  It's a very good excuse to see each other in person from time to time.  At first I questioned the wisdom of going through with this given how much it hurt to break up in the first place, but I decided that I didn't think that whether or not we're still hanging out occasionally was really going to affect how I feel next week too much if he tells me that he's fallen for someone new.

And so far, it's been enjoyable.  A couple weekends ago I picked him up at home Friday night and didn't take him back until the wee hours of Monday morning.  We spent the whole time together, playing World of Warcraft, watching Futurama, and enjoying a host of other more interesting activities, accomplishing roughly nothing that was productive and generally just being extremely lazy.  (Best temporary roommate ever?)  I could use more weekends like that.  Maybe it was artificial, or superficial, or some other badficial, but it was the happiest I'd been on a weekend in about as long as I could remember.  Right now, I'm glad I've been ignoring your advice.

Currently listening: Duffy—Rockferry


This year for April Fool's I replaced one of my websites that I use to keep in touch with friends from college, IvoryTower, with a fertilization and pregnancy community, OvaryTower.  It wasn't my idea, and I appreciate that most everyone role-played along and pretended to be baby-crazed woman stereotypes for a day, and made it a success.  I heart April Fool's.

(These communities really do exist, by the way.)

Currently listening: Augustana—Mayfield