Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the day after

this picture was taken december 26, 2005.

i chose it because it epitomizes the day after christmas.

caveats: in 2005, we spent christmas at my in-laws place along with 4 other families ... 16 people in total, so the amount of trash was significant for that reason

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Mediocrity

christmas light - dec 23, 2012

This muse was from Christmas of 2008.

For years, my wife has been asking me to put up outdoor Christmas lights. This year I decided to break down and try. After burning a hole in my wallet, I brought home a few boxes of lights.

I had no plan. I figured that if I simply strung up a few lights along the front eves, it would suffice. If I had time, I'd throw a few over the bushes and call it good. It would be gloriously simple. The kids would call me a hero and the neighbors would approve of my holiday cheer. It would be one of those houses you drive by and think "Oh, how nice" and then look at the next house.

As I began my project, I quickly grasped the complexity of the physics required to string lights along our high-arching eves. I also became conscious of the fact that I had one outlet to work with. All my estimates were falling very short.

"Well, I'll take this one step at a time" I thought to myself. "I'll string up the middle section, hook it up to some lights on the bushes and then take it from there." I began to work. Soon the middle section was complete and one set was on a small bush. I took an accounting of what assets I had left and what still lacked. I was two sections and three bushes short. I had one power strip, upping my outlet capacity to five, but I was all out of extension cords. I was also out of lights for the eves. The 50 foot estimate had doubled to 100 feet. I would have to buy at least another 50 feet to complete the project! The prospect of going to the store to buy more lights dampened my holiday spirit like seeing all your eggnog get dumped down the drain. I lost all drive. The whole project sputtered and came to a complete halt.

The sun set and the moment came to turn on the lights. The kids were outside. I flipped the switch and the kids squealed with joy. I walked out to the street and bowed my head in shame of the half-"butted" effort I gave.

Jim, our neighbor, came outside to take a look. "Looks good so far Rocky! When you going to finish it?" I hesitated and then mumbled something to the effect of "in a few days." But I knew it wouldn't be done this year. The eves above the garage and above the left side of the house were black holes. No cheer emanated from the sides. But the middle 50 feet and the one bush shone gloriously. I felt like Charlie Brown bringing home a dumb ole Christmas tree whose needles were falling off and could not support a single ornament.

But at least our young kids loved it and I guess that is what's important.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Freakin' Hairy

This muse was from July 2007 and it sill gives me a chuckle.  I wrote this under another handle - Apollo.

I enjoy running. I don’t run every day, but I try for 3 times a week. In high school, we’d run cross country in the fall. Since school started at the end of August and beginning of September, we began to train in the latter end of summer. Usually we’d run without our shirts … we were studs. Back in the day, I gloried in my chest … it had a little hair. But times changed and I soon didn't like the hair on my chest. By my freshman year in college, I was shaving … my chest. It’s all gone downhill from there.

The other day, I was out on a brisk 5 mile run at 6:30 in the morning. It is very humid and hot where I live. About half way through my run, I shed the shirt and I feel as light as a feather. The only problem is the negative consequences of me running in public without a shirt. My first victims were two women walking opposite of me. “Oh my word Megan, would you look at that!” Megan covered her mouth and let out a gasp. As I approached, the other woman started gagging and heaving. When I passed, Megan, who had stepped off the sidewalk and was backing away from me yelled, “PUT YOUR SHIRT ON YOU FREAK!!”

After I passed them, I thought I heard one of them dial a number on her cell phone. I was running through an upscale neighborhood, so maybe these women were just haughty. Two miles later, a mother and daughter were walking their dog. I drew near them. The little girl looked startled and hid behind her mother. The woman looked at me for a split second and then lowered her head and started coughing uncontrollably. The dog turned aggressive and barked rabidly. I stopped and asked the woman if she was OK. The dog kept barking and the woman was trying to hold him back. “I’m fine” she said. She tried to look up, but when she did, she’d get this strained look in her face and then dry heave like Gollum.

The bright side is that I make loads of money off my hairy chest (and back). You see, it’s so thick and smooth that my wife got the idea that we could sell it as pillow-stuffing. We got the idea when I had fallen asleep one evening and the next morning found that our dog had cuddled up in the small of my back. It took a minute to find him. Every week, we get out the hedge clippers and go to work. Once we've sheared off 20 lbs. of the stuff, we ship it to a Swedish firm who turns them into pillows. They call them Apillos … a play on my name … Apollo.

You should see the commercials. A woman in silk pajamas demonstrates the comfort of the Apillo while a low, seductive voice explains the aura of it. “The Apillo will soothe your aching head. Made of 100% man-silk, the Apillo adjusts to the shape of your neck and head giving you the best sleep possible.”

The Apillo costs $59.99.


Monday, October 8, 2012

new art in office

the latest piece of art from daughter hanging proudly in my office.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson

My pace of reading books has slowed tremendously.  I was just reviewing the last several books I've read ... last year at this time, I was still reading the Patrick O'Brian books and had about 5 books to go to finish the series before the end of the year.  This year, I've only managed to polish off about five books, yet here we are in the 10th month.

A couple of things have contributed to the slow-down.  I got off to a great start with End of Sparta, but then the book just didn't hold my interest.  Along with that was our very long summer trip coupled with the fact that I moved work locations and can no longer take the bus into work  ... I no longer have those two hours a day to read.

But over the last two weeks, I've taken this book with me everywhere I went and read while I had time.  I read it more at night as well as during lunch.  Today, I finally finished it ... after four months!

It was a good book.  It started off really good; slacked considerably in the middle and picked up a bit toward the latter part and in the end.  End of Sparta is about the Battle of Leuctra and then the first invasion into Sparta to free the helots.

I found the discussion on phalanx tactics used in the Battle of Leuctra to be quite fascinating.  The wiki entry for the battle does a good job explaining the change in tactics and how that change won the battle.  Hanson does a great job setting the scene up for that change in tactics.

The aftermath of the battle sets up a number of sub-plots for the rest of the book.

Then after the battle, the book slows considerably as the long wind-up for the invasion begins.

They finally decide to invade Sparta and break them forever and when the begin to muster, the book becomes more interesting again.

They break the Spartans, free the helots and help them begin their own democracy.  Of course, liberty is never easy or clean and there is consternation on the part of Epaminondas' army about this.  They figure it will take a few more years for the helots to work things out ... after all, they've been in slavery for over 300 years.

There are a few dialogues and passages in the book that I found interesting and I'll copy those here.

The first one comes from when they armies are mustering.  The main character, Melon, is addressing some of the men, and one of them asks him a question.

"So, Melon, do you really believe our Epaminondas should have settled up with the king?  Do you think his harsh words caused a war?"

"Melon frowned and went on, though he sensed his general was not serious, was teasing rather than learning from him.  "Of course not, my general.  Name a war, Pelopidas, that was an accident - just one that broke out over a wrong word."  He was soon stammering, worried that a big man like Pelopidas, leading an army to war, had little idea why they were at war at all.  So Melon pressed him further.  "Listen, my commander.  The men of the Peloponnesos invaded our land because they thought they could.  And, by the gods, we had done nothing to persuade them otherwise.  Why not?  We lost Koroneia.  We stumbled at Nemea.  Tegyra was only a small victory.  For years when you build women's barricades rather than raise shields chest-high, you send a message: that lesser men either cannot or will not keep the Spartans out."  Melon found his words were clearing his own head, putting into some sort of order what he knew in his breast.  He could not have stopped if he wished to.  "So for our part, why do you think Boiotians march this morning?  Only because Leuktra taught us that we could - and these red-capes to the south cannot keep their enemies our like they have the past seven hundred years.  Had we lost at Leuktra, not a northerner would be in the ranks with us today."

"Melon, the lone vine pruner on Helikon, had an audience and so he lectured the general on why his army was following him.  He thought states were like people, and knew people well enough up on Helikon - both how to keep the bad off his land and to enlist the good to help him.  "Most men have no belief, either good or bad.  They follow only the winners.  So they claim we are liberators and follow you, Pelopidas, because they think you can do what you promise.  If you cannot make them rich, then at least make them proud to lord it over the losers.  But stumble and most will damn you not just as weak, but as bad also.   Remember Backwash in the assembly.  Just like at Leuktra, if we win, he'll claim us as disciples.  Lose - and he will put the nooses around our necks.  Back home, right now he's waiting and tapping his foot as we march here.  Most men are like that: They pass on risks to be safe and liked."  (pp. 349-350)

And then there was this passage regarding thoughts on the price of victory ...

"Victory, the wealth of peace, proves as deadly to states as does defeat.  Is that man's doom?  That as we struggle to plane down the edges for the young, old men forget that their own blisters and cuts from these knots and burls made us the savvy carpenters we are?  That smoothing the splintery grain for our children only ends up smoothing them, so that they know nothing of the rough to come?  That in our wish to be good we ruin those who we wish to help, because we cannot let them suffer as we did when we have the power or the wealth to stop it?  That law of iron explains the fall of families and the poleis as well.  Did their Pythagoras have any answers for all this, since - Melon knew - his vanishing Zeus did not?"  (pp. 353-354)

The last section I marked, I marked because I read on the wiki entry for Epaminondas that some history critics felt that he did more harm than good.  Although his intent was to free the helots, he in fact, according to the critics, left all of Greece in disarray and vulnerable.  And by the time Phillip of Macedon came to power, and then later his son Alexander the Great, they were able to quickly and decisively conquer all of Greece.

Seemingly in response to all of that, Hanson had this to say in chapter 36: "Alkidamas turned to them and looked over at Melon.  'Are we ready for our climb up to the sanctuary?  Don't worry about our Melissos or whatever his name was or shall be.  I too believe that he may not quite be a killer, although he proved to be a killer enough still.  We did our best to tame him so he wouldn't learn just our warcraft but also the rule of law, our nomoi, as well and the voice of Pythagoras, which I think I heard in him beneath his strange speech.  What he does with that knowledge rests on his soul, not ours.  The One God sorts it all out in the end.  Enough; each man fights the battles of his own day.  Ours are mostly over, and his will begin soon." (p. 415)

You would have to read the book to know that the Melissos he refers to is Phillip of Macedon who served under and learned from Epaminondas as a young man.  He later returns to Greece and wins a decisive victory over Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea.

And one last note ... a monument of a lion was erected at the Battle of Chaeronea (wiki link here).  Earlier in the book, Hanson envisions two monuments of lions erected at Messene - representing Chion and Proxenos.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Barry's Afraid

Does he need to take a leak?

Is he afraid of some testicle lock-box?

Is he trying to protect himself?

I mean ... talk about bad optics.

The man who holds the nuclear keys should never been seen in this position.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Representation Without Taxation

"I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car.  I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage." (link)

"We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom.  Please help."  Follow this link to the full background on this plea from Henrietta Hughes.

"Oh it's such a pleasure to see you Mr President. Thank you for taking time out of your day. Ohhh, gracious God thank you so much! UAGGGGAAA", "Mr President. I am at Edison State college at my second semester . I have been at the same job at McDonalds for 4+1/2 years because of the fact that I can't find another job. Do you have any plan to make them give me any better benefits than what I already receive?" (link)

Today, the news came out that Romney said (back in May 2012) that 47% are dependent on the government.  The media and the Obama campaign are trying to make this into a gaffe.  But the reality is, people have been talking about this subject for a long time. People agree with Romney and are finally relieved to hear a politician actually saying something people have been thinking for years.

I started off this post with three comments from Obama voters - three people who are part of that 47%.

There are a couple of solutions to this problem.

1. In order to vote, you have to show that you paid federal taxes.

2. Or, as Scott Adams (Dilbert) wrote back in June 2011: "My recommendation for putting a safeguard on the state of the union is that every adult citizen should pay federal income taxes, even if it is just one dollar per year. For the benefit of the country, it is important to blur the line between rich and poor. By analogy, no one cares that senior citizens get discounted movie tickets, but it would be an issue if the tickets were totally free. Every theater would be clogged with senior citizens and the theater owners would go broke. There’s a huge psychological and practical difference between discounted prices and free."

Another thought - when Obama said, "you didn't build that", referring to people who didn't build the infrastructure all our businesses are seemingly run on, by all means, he should have been talking to the 47%, not the 53%.  The 47% didn't build any of that, because they paid no taxes.  On the other hand, the 53% who did pay taxes, in fact did "build that."


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

30/30 Run/Walk

Over the last several weeks, I've been trying to complete the full cycle of running 3 minutes and then walking 3 minutes for a full hour - which would mean I would run a total of 30 minutes and walk for 30 minutes.

There is a series of trails behind our house ... I'd go about two loops around the outer trail.

What would typically happen is, I'd get to about 21 minutes (total) of running and then I could only walk from that point on.  I'd go about 2 or 3 times a week ... and no matter the situation, weather or my energy level, by the time I complete my 7th run cycle, I could no longer run ... it'd be just before I completed the 2nd loop.

Then we had a cold front move in ...the humidity down; temps went from mid to upper 90's to upper 80's and lower 90's.  On Saturday, we had a high of 86 and I was able, for the first time, run the entire 30 minutes ... in other words, I ran 3, walked 3 for the full 60 minutes.  And it was wonderful!

Today, I had to take the car to the mechanic.  Since I had no ride home, I just ran home.  I was able to get up to 27 minutes no problem.  I love cold fronts in the fall!

Also - just to note - I'm take up to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day now.  I mix two tbls in with a regular-sized sports drink bottle, and then I dump in some crystal light.  The ACV makes the CL quite zippy!  I noticed, that after I upped the ACV intake, all my mosquito bites seemed to vanish in a matter of days.  Also, it seems the fungus is continuing to recede.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Toenails August 16

I've not been so diligent with the ACV.  But back in February/March, when I was a bit more diligent, the toe nails seemed to improve - especially the right big toe.  The left big toe improved, but then I injured it and it's been pretty discolored for a few months.

I plan to be more diligent with the ACV, but wanted to get another 'baseline'

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Smoothie Recipe #1

I love smoothies.  Here's one that I've been making quite regularly lately:

1 banana
handful of ice cubes
1 to 2 cups of low fat milk
1 Dannon Pure yogurt
2 Crystal Light packets (usually one is Energy and the other is Fruit Punch flavor)

We have a BlendTec ... I choose the "smoothie" button - it mixes on super high for about 40 seconds.

It is about 340 calories.

New Year

Every year, the 4th of July feels like the beginning of a new year.  Summer is in full swing; vacation trips are beginning and ending and it is a good time for reflection.

Our vacation trip just ended.  We have a few other family events this summer before school begins again.  Also, every July, excitement begins to build for the college football season.  By the time August rolls around, the excitement grows more and then in no time, the season begins.  Baseball playoffs begin; basketball begins again, then you have the four big holidays.  In my opinion, the year begins July 1.  From July 1 to January 1, the weeks and months are packed full of wonderful things.

With that in mind, I begin a new year of sorts.  I joined the gym yesterday and started working out today.  I recommitted to myself to get into better shape.  I can't just rely on trying to minimize calories.  I've found that strategy doesn't work well.  The walking is great, but it doesn't burn enough calories.  I need to beef up the muscles and burn more calories.

So my plan, at least for the next few months, is this:
4:50am - get up, drive to gym
5:15-6:15am - work out (M/W/F cardio days (W=basketball); Tu/Th/Sa weights)
6:15-6:30am - shower
6:30-7:30am - commute to work
4:30-5:30pm - commute home
5:30-6:30pm - M take dog on walk, Tu/Th take boys to gym to play basketball or shoot around, W rest, F open.
6:30-10:00pm - M family time, Tu/Th dinner, chess club on line, W Boy Scouts, F open/date night

I plan on using my fitness pal again - to track what I'm eating as well as posting my exercises and weigh-ins.

My goal is to get to 180 ... to be a "fit" 180.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The NBA (Fart) Finals

How dumb are the team names in this year's finals?  Both names are related to farts.

I'm not rooting so much for the Thunder as I am rooting against the Heat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Alien 1979 and Oatmeal

My memory is a little fuzzy since I was so young ... but I think my older sister was getting married and for some reason only my parents could go, so my oldest brother stayed with my sister and me until my parents got back. He was in college at the time I think.

It must have been a Friday night ... he rented and watched Alien.  The scene below horrified me and my sister so much that we wouldn't eat our oatmeal the next morning.  The video doesn't really show it, but I think the dude was just eating something resembling oatmeal.  So my sister and I made the connection in our minds that eating the oatmeal would cause an alien to burst out of our chest.

Anyway - Prometheus is out now and one of these nights I plan on checking it out.  Looks just as good as 1979 Alien.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Nigel Davies had a great post (as is almost always the case) on his Chess Improver Blog.  His recent post is about a OpEd piece in the New York Time entitled The Amygdala Made Me Do It.  This general topic of the science behind our decisions is very fascinating to me.  It has implications for pretty much everything in any one person's life - especially mine.

Having dabbled a bit with the concept of changing a habit (it's much more difficult to simply drop a habit; you must change it instead), I've found that it indeed works.  You just have to stay focused on it long enough.  It's worked for me before, but then I slipped back into 'bad' habits.  However, a few good habits have stuck.

Anyway - I was preparing a "productivity" minute for my job and I decided to discuss this simple formula for changing a habit.  Here it is below:

1. Identify your habit's routine

  • every habit has a basic pattern
  • routine, reward, cue
  • identify the components of your loop

2. Experiment with different rewards

  • rewards satisfy cravings
  • to figure out which cravings are driving a habit, change the reward and keep experimenting until you figure it out.
3. Isolate the cue

  • isolating the cue is vital
  • take note of 5 things when you 'crave' the bad routine/reward
    • location
    • time
    • emotional state
    • other people you're with
    • the immediately preceding action
4. Have a plan

  • now that you've figured out the loop (routine, reward, cue), you can shift the behavior with your plan (new habit)
  • when I see a CUE, I will do ROUTINE, in order to get a REWARD
5. Look for keystone habits

  • where do you begin to change your habits?
  • focus on keystone habits - those habits that have the power to start a chain reaction which shift other patterns in your life
  • ask yourself: which habits are most core to my self image?
More info at

Monday, May 28, 2012

Midway & Memorial Day Weekend

Cable TV was a luxury for my family when I was a kid.  I don't know when cable TV was invented, but my parents didn't get it hooked up until the mid-80s ... I don't even remember the exact year.  If I were to guess, it'd be 1985 or 1986.  Anyway, the coolest thing about cable TV were the movies!  Back then before TBS was a comedy station, it was a movie and Atlanta Braves baseball station.  So I would spend my summers watching movies on TBS and then flipping back and forth between WGN and TBS watching Cubs and Braves baseball.

With Memorial Day weekend, TBS would usually air the movie Midway or Tora, Tora, Tora.  I loved these movies!  My parents would often remark that my (much) older brothers would replay the battle of Midway with these little wood blocks.  I remember finding those blocks in our first home's garage.

On Saturday, my wife took one of our kids out on a date and errands.  While they were out, my oldest son and I were watching TV.  We started watching the Texas Rangers plays, but then started flipping channels and landed on the AMC channel which was playing Midway.  We caught it about half-way through - right in the thick of the battle.  I didn't know if my son would like such an old movie, but we watched and he was hooked. Yeah, the special effects aren't great ... or the original film footage they spliced in was kind of grainy ... but it was still great action and it was history.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Tipping Point was a very interesting read.  It read quite a bit like a marketing guru how-to book more than anything else.

This book talked about quite a few things ... Hush Puppies, the STD epidemic in Baltimore, the crime wave in New York city and how it all came to a halting stop, suicide in Micronesia, teenage smoking rates, Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, Gore-Tex, the rule of 150, Airwalk shoes, the Good Samaritan 'test' and on and on.  The book was full of stories and what it was about those unique stories that made them examples of tipping points.

And this essentially was the author's point ... that we tend to think we need complex solutions to our big problems, when in fact, all we need is to think about the situation a bit ... really understand it and then more often than not, a "band-aid" solution will fix it.

His closing remarks in the afterward were very interesting.  He said that with the explosion of the Information Age, we all need to beware of isolation and information overload.  The people who will really help us in this new age will be the Mavens.  If we can find Mavens, then the market or epidemic you are trying to start will be successful.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Restaurant Rave: Mooya

Get the Iceburger!
I'm a sucker for a good burger every now and then.  Steak-n-Shake and Culver's are two of my favorites.  Last summer, I ate at In-n-Out for the first time - that was pretty good too.

So when I saw a Mooya open up just down the street from where I live, I decided I needed to check it out.

After a Cub Scout pack meeting one night, I took my boys to Mooya to get some shakes.  The shakes were pretty good.  I like Culver's better.  Of course, being an ice cream fanatic, I'm fairly picky about my ice cream.  But the boys loved it.

A week or so later, another opportunity presented itself to go to Mooya.  This time I ordered a burger and fries.  Generally speaking, I try to have a bare minimum to nothing in the carbs category - so I was feeling a little anxiety about getting a full burger.  I figured I could just eat everything but the bread.  But as I was ordering, I found that they sell what they call the "iceburger" which is just their normal burger, but the buns are replaced with giant pieces of iceberg lettuce.  I was very happy with the iceburger.

Their fries are pretty darn good too.  So if you see a Mooya near you, go check it out.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

In 22 days, I ready 655 pages - about 30 pages a day.  But in reality, when I did read it, I would read 40 or 50 pages at a time, so I read this book over about two actual weeks.

The first two books were suspenseful and enthralling.  This one had all the suspense and thrill too.  But as I was reading it, I wondered if it really was going to be predictable or not.  I had this feeling about how I knew the book was going to end, but at the same time, I wondered if that is what the author intended and therefore was going to throw a major curve-ball at the end of the book.  It was that way for about the first 3/4ths of the book.

But by the time Blomkvist is rescued from the Yugoslav hit-men, I knew how the book was going to end.  Up the that point, I was teetering between "predictable ending" vs. "curve-ball".  After Blomkvist survived and the trial started, I wasn't in suspense as much.  The best way I can describe it is how I feel playing a long chess game.  Who is going to win remains in doubt for about the first 20 to 30 moves.  But then one player begins to gain small advantages and then reaches a tipping point when you know what the outcome is going to be.  From that point on, it's just a matter of finishing the game.  That's how this book read for me.

Now, the last part of the book was a bit unexpected.  I had completely forgotten about Niedermann until he entered the scene again at the very end of the book.  The last 30 or so pages were like the last big firework in a 4th of July fireworks display.

I'm selling all three books to Half Price Books tonight - I don't really want these books sitting around collecting dust and I don't think my wife will want to read them.  Also, I found all three movies (Swedish versions) on Netflix.  Not sure I'll watch them, but I'm tempted.

If I can find them at HPB tonight, I plan on getting Tipping Point, Outliers & Blink - all three by Malcolm Gladwell.  I keep running into articles citing one of these books - it must be a sign.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Shoes!

The soles of my old Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10 shoe were wearing extremely thin.  I've been suffering the last few weeks and months with this 'ol boys.  But they have served faithfully the last few years.

I think I got them back in 2009 or maybe early 2010 - can't quite remember.  But they have a lot of miles on them.  Go ahead and click on the picture and take a look at that sole ... its worn out.

My new Brooks GTX arrived.  These are the trail version of the Adrenaline GTS shoes.  The GTS shoes are up to version 12 now.  So I guess that means I probably bought my GTS 10's back in 2010.  Anyway, the GTX is a trail show - more durable, the sole is beefier, the shoe is made of Gore-tex and is more resistant to water.

I'm really looking forward to my 4 mile walk today.

Just a quick update on the diet ...  I had tried intermittent fasting several months ago after reading fitnessblackbook and eat-stop-eat.  I came across a new blog - leangains - this week.  He talks extensively about the good things of fasting.  He also mentioned that LISS - low intensity steady state - while fasting might be better at burning more fat than HIIT.  So this week, I've been eating once a day; waiting 18-24 hours, walking 4 miles between meals and then having a dinner of mostly protein.  I've never felt better!

My mind is clear; I LOVE my 4 mile, hour-long walks with my dog Fritz every day.  And when I finally break my fast, I feel full really quickly and therefore eat less.  Now when I fast, I still drink lots of water.  And when I eat, I try to have mostly protein.  This week started off at above 217.  I last weighed in on Thursday and was at 213.2.  My wife's birthday was Thursday - we went out to eat.  And then we went on a date last night - out to eat again.  And I've not weighed in the last two days.  But today I'm fasting again until 6pm, and then having a light protein dinner.  Tomorrow morning will give me a good indication of how this week went.

Also, I have this goal of walking 4 miles every day for 1 year.  So far, I've walked 4 every day this week; I started Sunday night.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Soul of Battle Part 3

I finally finished the 416 pages of The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny by Victor Davis Hanson.

The third part was about George S. Patton.

Let me first start off with noting some pages that I earmarked ... these quotes really struck a chord with me.

A quote from the Iliad: "Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard.  We are all held in a single honor, the brave with the weaklings.  A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who had done much." - Homer

This next quote shocked me.  Hanson had been discussing extensively the short-falls of Eisenhower and Bradley and the other generals - how they would not listen to Patton, but that history has since proved Patton was spot on with his assessments, strategic plans and tactics, time and time again.  He should have been the supreme allied commander in Europe.  And just what did it cost the world for not listening to Patton?  This is the shocking thought Hanson describes, "we should keep the issue of urgency in mind.  Patton's entrance into Germany meant - whether or not his infantrymen knew the full extent of Nazi atrocity to the east - not merely 'the end of the war' and a cessation of killing between Germans and Americans, but rather a halt to the entire Nazi industrial plan of killing innocents.  When he stopped, thousands died; when he advanced, the day of salvation was nearer."

Just how much life could have been saved had Patton been allowed to continue into Germany in August 1944? Hanson continues, "more Jews would be gassed from the time Patton closed in on the German border in late summer 1944 until the May 1945 surrender than had been killed during the entire first four years of the war."

That quote has spooked me ever since I read it.

They called him Blood n Guts because of his bombastic way of speaking, but in fact, had he been allowed his way, blood and guts of millions would have been spared.  Along those same lines ... I don't know if this analysis has been performed, but Hanson seems to make the point that if Patton had his way, the European war would have been over in the fall or winter of 1944 instead of May 1945.  If that is the case - had we won the war in 1944 and then turned our full attention to Japan - would the war in Japan had ended before August 1945?  Before the atom-bombs were dropped?

Anyway - the book was amazing - I could read Hanson all day.  The amount of knowledge in that guy's head is mind-boggling.  Sometimes I wish I could have discovered him in high school - I would have probably considered a different major in college after reading his books.

His epilogue summarizes the point of the book well.  In all the history of the world, three armies rapidly assembled; were convinced that what they were going was morally right and then they went out and accomplished the mission - destroying tyranny.  Each army was perhaps the most deadliest army in the world at that time - frightening many.  But when the mission was accomplished; they laid down their weapons and went home just as quickly as they took them up.

The next book in the list is the last of the Millennium Trilogy: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  We'll be spending the day at the beach on Saturday - I might be able to get a lot of reading in then.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bombers Over Houston!

We've seen lots of WWII airplanes fly over our home.  I am a little kid when it comes to WWII planes.  I am used to hearing the commercial jets fly over as they land at George Bush, so when I hear the deep rumbling of a WWII plane, I run outside to take a look.  We usually hear them when Wings Over Houston air show is running (October).  But every once in a while, we get one that flies over at times other than October.

All the ones I've seen thus far have been fighters.  Today I heard the big rumble of a B-17.  I grabbed the camera and ran outside and snapped a shot.

Someday, maybe I'll be able to afford taking a flight on the B-17.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: One Hour Air Conditioning

About a year ago, we signed up with One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating.  We pay a monthly premium and in return, we get two check-up services per year - one in the Fall and one in the Spring.

Last year, after we returned home from our Summer vacation in August, we found that the AC wasn't working.  We knew there was a leak in the coils, but we weren't sure how long it would last before the leak became too big.  So by August of 2011, the coils needed to be replaced - there was no reason delaying the replacement anymore.  We paid a lot, but since we were on the premium service, we received their "discount".

Fast forward to about three weeks ago.  We had the technician come out for the annual Spring check-up.  He checked both the upstairs and downstairs units.  They are both about 17 years old, but they still passed with a fairly clean bill of health.  So we were good to go for the Summer months.  Then, about 3 days passed and the upstairs unit stopped working.  We called One Hour on a Friday night (March 16) and they said they couldn't get a tech out until Sunday - fine, no problem and we scheduled the visit.

Sunday March 18 - all during church services, I kept an eye on my phone waiting for the 30 minute heads-up phone call.  Nothing.  We got home at 2pm.  Still no call.  I called them at 3pm to see if a tech was coming.  They said he was on his way.  Then my wife gets a call on her phone stating that they don't do work on the weekends.  That really surprised us.  So we called them back and they said they just merged companies and there was a mis-understanding ... something about one company not doing weekend work and the other doing weekend work.  But the bottom line is they reassured us the tech would come ... eventually.

The original appointment was for between 12 and 4pm.  He showed up between 8:00 and 8:30pm.  We had put the kids to bed and he quietly worked on it.  The circuit board was out and wasn't sending a signal to the fan to turn on.  I had checked earlier, outside, and the pipes from the outside unit were iced over.  He said he had a universal board ... it would cost $700.  Oh well.  He went to install it.  He came back downstairs and told us the universal circuit board isn't compatible with our unit - he needs to special-order the part.  That's fine.  So he jimmy-rigged it to by-pass the broken board so at least the AC would run.  We really only needed the board for the furnace to work.  He leaves around 10pm and said they would call us to schedule a follow-up visit.

Monday March 19 - no phone call from them.

Tuesday March 20 - I call them; explain the situation.  They tell me the part should be there this week and that they can go ahead and schedule the appointment.  We schedule it for Friday March 23 between 12-4pm.

Friday March 23 - I get home early from work.  One tech shows up - it's not the original tech we had requested.  It turns out this other tech is there to sell us a new AC unit.  I politely explain that we're not buying a new unit at this time.  This was at 1pm or so.  3:40pm - still no call from One Hour.  I call them and tell them that the tech still hasn't showed up and that we are leaving the house and that we will not be there after 4pm. So he puts me on hold to see when he can schedule the visit.  While I'm on hold, I hear the motto "Always on time ... or you don't pay a dime"  When he comes back, I ask him about the motto.  He said something for every 5 minutes the tech is late ... some amount of money is deducted up to $300.  Cool!  That's about half the cost of the circuit board.  I explain what happened to us on Sunday March 18.  He makes a note of it and says someone would call me to discuss.

Monday March 26 - the appointment is for - you guessed it - 12-4pm.  This time, the tech called ahead of time and showed up within the 4 hour block.  He did the work - did a great job.  Then we sit down to talk about the invoice.  I explained to him all of the above.  I told him I was ok paying (now $617) the bill, but that if something could be done about it now ... if I could get $300 knocked off it, then it would help.  I'd rather get the $300 knocked off first rather than having to pay in full and then try to chase down the $300 later.  Anyway, he gives me his supervisor's phone number and I call him.  I explain everything to him - including that no one called back after I had originally told them that they were late.  I said I'd like to get the $300 off up front, if possible.  The supervisor told me it wasn't $300 ... it was the whole bill!!  Wow!  Even better.  So I gave the phone to the tech and the tech talked with the Supervisor.  He hung up and zeroed the bill.  It didn't cost us a dime - just like they had said.  I was very impressed.  I was ready for a fight, but there was no fight - which was very, very pleasant.

So - I give One Hour 4.9 stars out of 5 stars.  If it weren't for the scheduling SNAFU, they would remain perfect in my eyes.  But the fact that they owned up to that problem and kept to their word - that we didn't pay a dime - it made up for the scheduling problems.

I fully endorse One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating.  If I were a rock star or a professional sports athlete or a radio/TV personality, I'd probably be endorsing them on the radio or TV right now.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Diet & Exercise Routine

The diet and exercise routine that I have currently posted will work for me.  I've played with this routine many times before and got it to a point that I felt it would work and help me shed the pounds.  But the last two weeks have been brutal and I've been eating like it's the holidays again.

The deal is, I can follow the routine when I am focused on it and life is not too busy or hectic.  But when work and family activities and weird schedules get in the way, I forget my plans and then I find myself where I am today.

I need to simply make my diet and exercise routine a habit.  I've made other habits and they've stuck ... because I placed the proper amount of focus on making that thing into a habit.  Now I need to do the same for my diet and exercise routine.  I may use this blog to help me stay focused and on track over the next 30 days.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Soul of Battle Part 2

There were so many things discussed on the second part of the book.  Indeed it was about William Tecumseh Sherman, but it wasn't only just about his march through the South, but it was also about the man, a bit about his background, and why he, of all the generals, was the perfect candidate to finish the Civil War with his unprecedented march.

I can't recall everything that I found fascinating with the second part of the book, so I'll just write what I remember as having struck me as significant.

The Man - he was essentially a failure for most of his life.  He attended West Point with several other future generals.  He served many years in the military, but only as a captain.  While others saw battle in the Mexican-American War, he sat on the side-lines and saw no action.  He experienced failure as a banker and businessman.  His wife came from a wealthy family and thus he felt he needed to "strike it rich" to support her lifestyle.  He was one of the founders of LSU.  He eventually was recalled into the service.  But after a short while, he suffered a mental breakdown.  He then, miraculously, survived the battle of Shiloh.  He eventually lived to carry out the march that this book discusses extensively - the March to the Sea and then the campaign into the Carolinas.

The March - Hanson discusses how several people, including Grant and Lincoln, probably would not have agreed with Sherman's march into the South.  But he was given leeway to do as he chose.  He cut off his supply lines and his 60,000 plus army marched through the South, living off the land and plantations while obliterating the Confederate nation and those who supported the Confederate army.  His idea, in a nutshell, was to bring war to those who started it.  He felt that he needed to reveal the hypocrisy of the South's way of life.  The South - or the elite plantation owners - wanted to preserve slavery.  And they sent thousands of young men to defend that way of life, many of which were not slaver-owners.  Sherman proposed to strike at the heart of the desires of those elite plantation owners - their property.  If they had nothing left to hold on to, the war would be over - slavery would be over.  And so his army, marched deep into the South and on to the sea, virtually untouched, while they burned and dismantled everything.  For the next one hundred years, the South would despise Sherman's name.

The march would not have happened were it not for the unique experiences of Sherman - his failures, his past, his recent successes.  It would not have happened were it not for Sherman's desire to expose the hypocrisy of the South.  His soldiers, who were from the mid-West, not the East, caught onto his idea and caught the vision of the march.

When it was complete, over 100 million dollars of damage was done (which would be over a billion dollars of damage in today's dollars).  The South was ruined, and with it the capacity to wage war.

There was so much that Hanson covered in this second part and I'm sure he could have gone on and written an entire book on Sherman.  Again, I'm glad to have read more of Hanson's books, as I have learned more about a man, a war and our nation's history.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Found: xkcd

I try not to be too consumed by all the stuff I consume.  So I try to keep my RSS reader fairly clean and I keep my focus on things that I really like.  Stuff gets added; stuff gets dropped.

Today I added xkcd.

Here's a sample, which I picked because of the reference to chess and Calvin & Hobbes:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 2012 Painting

My kids are very talented - they get it all from their mother.
#1 paints and draws well and plays the clarinet very well.
#2 also has a good eye for drawing; is a great writer and is very athletic.
#3 & #4 are still fairly young and their outstanding talents are yet to be identified, but we can see certain things that lead us to believe they have just as much budding talent as their two older siblings.

I will be posting a few of their pieces of all their art.

This one below is a painting #1 just finished last week.  It will be a Mother's Day present for the two grandmas.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cornered by Blather

This "muse" was from several years ago when I worked in a cubicle and I would get frequent passers-by.  Nowadays, I have my own office with a full-fledged door!

I wanted to post this in light of today's Dilbert


One of the toughest situations I face every day is being cornered by a blathering idiot.

The other day at a social gathering, a bag of hot air blows over my way and kicks up a conversation. "How ya doin' Rocky?"

I barely nod my head and begin to open my mouth to respond, but in that split second he starts up his bagpipe. "Yeah that's great! So my son made the football team. Yep, he's only a freshman and he made first team. We're real proud of Roy. Gonna be an all-American."

The bagpipe continues to issue steam. Every fifth sentence, I attempt to interject my own comment. "When I was in college, I played ..." Bagpipe blows louder for several more minutes. I try again, "Oh yeah, I remember when ..." Bagpipe shouts out to a passer-by and then says to me, "What were you sayin'?" "I was just going to say that I remember ..." "That reminds me" and the Bagpipe is going full-steam ahead.

Ten minutes later, I shout out to an imaginary friend and say goodbye to Bagpipe "I'll catch you later Bo!"

The key to dealing with a blathering idiot is to head them off before they gather steam. Usually, thinking up a good excuse to suddenly leave a conversation is vital to extricating youself from the corner.

When you're at your office desk and a blathering idiot enters, you can accomodate them for a few minutes and then pretend a meeting notice from your calendar just popped up. "Uuuhoop, sorry Brian, gotta run to a meeting. I'll talk to you later." Then you proceed to an office on the other side of the building and hide for 30 minutes.

The unexpected cell phone call will work too. You can pretend it's on vibrate and act like someone just shot you in the hip. "Oh man! Don't you hate it when the phone shocks you! Let's see who this is. Ooo! I need to take this call. Excuse me." Then you get up and rush out of the office like it's on fire. Head to the nearest exit and call your wife in case the blathering idiot follows you.

Sometimes you can instant message an ally to rescue you. Have him come over and pretend that he needs you to sign some important papers at his desk. Then promptly excuse youself from the blathering idiot and run like h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

If you fail to come up with excuses and extrication plans, then you will be forced to endure long, boring conversations. When the blathering idiot finally runs out of hot air, you will then have to endure several minutes of awkard silence interjected with several concluding remarks. "Well, that's one heckava story Jim." At this point, Jim is supposed to say, "well, I better get back to work" but no ... he lingers like a noxious fart. You may try to wave it away, but it spreads and endures. And with each passing moment, more and more brain cells are expiring. Eventually you marshall the courage to stand up and pretend like you're leaving. This causes Jim to release his grip. You're free.

Finally Jim leaves and you can breath freely again. While you can, you begin to jot down ideas for rescuing yourself the next time a blathering idiot corners you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Exploding Whale

Here's an oldie, but a goodie.

Problem: dead whale on the beach and it really stinks.
Solution #1: cut it up and bury it. Nope. Too hard and time-consuming.
Solution #2: burn it. Nope. It'd probably smell really bad too and add to global warming.
Solution #3: blow it up with dynamite. Awesome! Outcome: raining chunks, blubber all over everyone in the vicinity, damaged car and most of the whale is still there!
Final solution: bring in the bulldozer.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Soul of Battle Part 1

I started reading The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny by Victor Davis Hanson.  This book has been in my queue for quite a while.  It is divided into three parts, each about a military general Hanson admires: Epaminondas, Sherman and Patton.

I've decided to provide a quick summary of each part as I finish it.

I just finished Epaminondas last night.  I've read other Hanson books before and have read bits and pieces about Epaminondas.  But after I read the 120 pages about him in this book, I was left hungering for more about this incredible person.  The Greek and Persian history is drenched in conquest and continual war.  You often hear about the Spartans and the Athenians.  But rarely do you hear about the Thebens and their decade of liberation.

The Wikipedia entry on Epaminondas (if you want to hear how to pronounce his name, click here) is very interesting and provides a lot of information and historical background.  I learned quite a bit more about him reading the wiki entry after having my interest piqued by Hanson.

As usual, I found Hanson's writing amazing.  I love the way he writes and describes things.  Every time I read one of his books or articles on the web, I get this swelling feeling of pride in Western culture and civilization.  His descriptions of Epaminondas and his BC 370-369 winter liberation of Peloponnesia were very enlightening.

Before reading this first part of the book, I didn't know much about what his latest book was going to be about (The End of Sparta).  But now that I know the context of this book, I am even more excited to read it.

The next part will focus on William Tecumseh Sherman - another general I've heard bits and pieces about, but am nevertheless excited to read even more about.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Apple Cider Vinegar

One of my favorite parts of the day is reading Seth Roberts' blog.  Today, he linked to earth clinic.  Wow - what a site!  After spending almost an hour at the site, I arrived at the conclusion that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the cure-all for just about everything.

I first heard of ACV last summer when my sister-in-law suggested that my wife and I soak our feet in a concoction of ACV and Listerine.  My wife tried it for several weeks, but I made her stop because the house was beginning to smell like used shoe - literally - it stunk like a dirty shoe.  She disagreed with me, until she walked into the house one day and realized that I was right.

What Seth linked to today was about toenail fungus and what to do to cure it.  ACV was the solution.  However, I didn't see any posts or comments that ACV had to be mixed with Listerine.  Some people said that by simply putting ACV on a q-tip and applying it to the nails, that that would cure the fungus.  But the comment that caught my eyes was the one advocating the ingestion of ACV.

One person said that by ingesting ACV - 2 teaspoons twice daily - that their fungus has gone away.  Upon further reading of the site, it suggests drinking 2 teaspoons of ACV diluted with 16 oz. of water per day, that one would lose weight.

Therefore, having had a severe toenail fungus problem as well as striving to lose weight, I plan on adding ACV to my diet.  To start off, I think I'll try 2 teaspoons with 16 oz. of water twice daily - once in the morning and once at night.

Below are pictures of what my toenails look like today.
Left - 2/28/12

Right - 2/28/12

Monday, February 20, 2012

King's Gambit by Paul Hoffman

Since this book is about chess and the chess community, I wrote the review of this book over at my chess blog.

My review here.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest should arrive in the mail later this week or early next week.  It comes out in paperback tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The first quarter of this book read much like Dragon Tattoo.  It did a lot of setting up, but it wasn't really exciting or gripping.  The foreshadowing parts where you enter the world of Zala and his ilk gets you interested, but when the scene shifts back to Blomkvist or Lisbeth, it just moves slow.

Until just now, I had forgotten that Lisbeth spent the first quarter of the book travelling around the world.  Again, other than just setting up the background, the first part of the book just didn't hum along very fast.

But once you get past that, the book accelerates and is hard to put down.  This one was much better than the first.  The theme is still gritty, but there is much more intrigue and suspense than the first - at least that how it felt to me.

Also unlike the first one, this one ends quite abrubtly.  I remember reading the last few chapters of Dragon Tattoo and thinking that it was taking forever to finish.  This one, however, came to a halting stop.  Thankfully, Larsson publishes the first few pages of Hornet's Nest to somewhat alleviate the shock at the end of the book.

I bought the first two books in paperback.  Hornet's Nest comes out in paperback on February 21.  So I plan on reading King's Gambit until the 3rd book comes out in paperback.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dis-jointed Week

I held to my routine on Monday and Tuesday ... but Tuesday was unusual.  I was over my cold, but my stomach just wasn't feeling well.  I had some bowl issues as well - which I suspected to be due to the CO.  So on Wednesday and Thursday, I did a bit of a fast - kind of going back to some old habits.

Essentially, I didn't eat anything all day until dinner time.  I just drank water, Crystal Light and hot herbal tea.  For dinner, I'd eat my fried eggs and an avocado.

I didn't do any exercise on Monday.  On Tuesday and did some weight lifting and a little bit of jump rope.  On Wednesday and Thursday, I did 45 mins and 60 mins of spinning (stationary bike).  So the calorie reduction combined with the cardio workouts has caused me to drop down to 211.

Overall, from January 3 to today, the decline has been steady, interspersed with spikes.  The upper horizontal line is 220lbs while the lower is 210.  The red lines indicate the time period between January 3 and 27.  The yellow line indicates the trend.

I've not been hungry the last two days.  But I don't know how much the CO has played in that assessment.  I plan go back to the CO next week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coconut Oil Links

My main staple for "tasteless calories" as I'm doing the Shangri-la diet again will be coconut oil (CO).  CO is not tasteless - it definitely has some taste to it.  Last summer, when I first heard of the benefits of CO, I texted my wife to see if she could pick up some at the store.  She happened to be at a friend's house and this friend buys and sells virgin CO in bulk - she's a big believer in CO - what are the odds?  So my wife asked her friend if she knew where she could buy CO.  Naturally her friend offered my wife some of the CO she buys and sells.

When I got home from work that day, I tasted the CO - directly into my mouth.  It wasn't too pleasant.  It tasted like I just took a bite of a bar of coconut flavored soap.  So I put it in a smoothie and the taste was still there.

So when I take my CO, I will always pinch my nose and then drink and swish water in my mouth to get the taste out.  By the time I un-pinch my nose, the taste is either not there at all or there is only a faint hint of it.

Yesterday morning, before I started my 'routine', I weighed in at 215.5.  Then I successfully went through my routine yesterday ... hunger wasn't an issue at all.  However, I am getting a cold - it started yesterday - so I felt a little weak by the time I got home from work at 5:15pm.  I ate an apple and then took the dog on an hour-long walk.  I felt just fine after that.

This morning I weighed in at 213.4.

My main question yesterday, with regard to CO, was how much coconut oil should I ingest daily?  Yesterday, I took 2 tablespoons at 8:00am and 2 more at 3:00pm.  I wasn't sure if that was too much or too little.  Before, when I was taking ELOO, I think I took about 4 tablespoons a day.

This link suggest 3.5 tablespoons a day.  That same site as a lot of other good info on the benefits of CO.

This link is heavy on the benefits of CO for the brain and for curing cancer.  But at the very bottom, the author suggests 2 to 4 tablespoons a day.

This link is excellent!  Not only does it confirm the 3-4 tablespoons a day, but it has a very succinct list of all the benefits of ingesting CO.

By the way, all of these links are from the first few hits from a google search (click here to see all the search results.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I got sucked into this one with everyone else.  Several months ago, I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about these books.  I didn't think much of it at the time ... he piqued my interest, but at the time, I was just starting to get into Patrick O'Brian.

So when I saw that Daniel Craig was starring in the English re-make of the movie, I decided I needed to read the books (I like the James Bond movie and I think Craig is the best Bond ever).

It started out really interesting.  In between sections and chapters were little stats about abuse of women in Sweden.  I began to realize the author was going to make a point.  Now - I dove into this book cold-turkey.  I didn't really do any research on it before I began reading ... I just picked it up.  So I wasn't really prepared when a few parts got quite graphic.

After I finished the book, I read on wikipedia that Larsson wrote these books because he felt bad for not stopping a rape of a girl when he could have.

Other than the graphic parts, the book was quite good and entertaining.  Larsson does a good job painting a picture of the story.  However, the one thing I was somewhat expecting, was a complex plot-line with lots of twists and turns.  This didn't meet that expectation.  In fact, one of the first thoughts that popped into my mind was that Harriet was still alive and was, indeed, the person sending the flowers.  The details of how that story fits, of course, meandered and was the "meat" of the story, but I was somewhat expecting something different - more complex.

Anyway - overall, it was a good book.  Mentally, I file this book in the same folder as Dan Brown's books.  I plan to finish the trilogy ... I'm reading Played with Fire now.

SLD 2012

The weight is back - especially after the holidays (Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years).  I've been doing lots of reading on Seth Roberts' blog as well as other sites.  My exercise options have been limited and I need to make minor changes that are sustainable for the long-haul, but that don't interfere with life in general.

So I'm firing this blog back up again ... to track; to post thoughts; to book-mark important things I've read and found.

The day after New Year's, I weighed in at 220 lbs.  Through exercise and not eating cookies, I've backed off that weight a bit and am now at 215 lbs.  I need to get back to about 175-180.

Today, I tested the feasibility of ingesting virgin coconut oil while plugging my nose and then rinsing with water.  It worked out quite well.

Here's the plan:
After waking up, eat 3 fried (in butter) eggs - at around 5:30am
Next would be two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil - at around 8:00am
Next I'd drink water while an hour passed.  Then I could drink my Crystal Light at 9:15am
Lunch would consist of an apple and protein - 12:00pm
Next would be another two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil - at around 3:00pm
After getting home from work, I'd exercise (long walks, spin on the bike and weights) - around 5:00pm
Dinner would be light and made mostly of protein - at around 6:30pm
The day would be capped off with a Diet Canada Dry - at around 8:30pm

Weigh-ins are crucial for me - so I will usually weigh-in every day after I wake-up.