Sunday, December 22, 2013

the savior generals: matthew ridgway

much can be found on the internet about matthew ridgway.  he died during the summer of 1993, when i was probably at a high school basketball camp getting ready for my senior year season.  i had never heard of him until i read the savior generals.  i may have heard mention of his name, but if anyone came up to me and asked me who matthew ridgway was, i would not have been able to give an answer.

yet, my life and many others, is influenced by what he did for 100 days in korea.  today, i spend a lot of time fiddling around, texting and talking on my samsung phone.  two summers ago, we were all entertained by gangum style.  many people love and drive hyundais.  all the people in south korea can live their free lives because of those 100 days ridgway spent regaining territory and saving people living south of the 38th parallel.

what was so special about ridgway that gave him the capacity to save the korean war?

he lead from the forward.  he was a soldier's soldier.  he dressed like the soldiers he lead.  he kept a grenade and first aid kit on him all the time - giving way to the name iron tits.

he didn't alienate mcarthur.  he was savvy enough to not speak ill of mcarthur.  he was also savvy enough to follow his civilian leaders back in washington d.c.  he installed competent colonels below him and allowed the less-competent to have desk jobs back in the states.  he also ensure that when he communicated to his leaders, they in turn did not leak any information to the press.

he gave the troops a reason to fight.  he gave them a vision about what the world would be like if the chinese communists were left un-checked.  he talked of commitment to allies and to the recently formed united nations.  he spoke of congress funding the war.  he even put the why in the context of the survival of western civilization.

he changed tactics.  he consolidated the line.  he fought at night and had air superiority.  his supply lines were reliable.  he also knew that the communists would not be able to keep their supply lines in good shape

as i read this chapter, i got the impression that mcarthur just left the troops to their own and that they were set adrift and disorganized once the communists came pouring down the peninsula.  all that the military really needed was a solid, steady hand - and in ridgway, they got that.

one final parting thought about ridgway.  it seemed the consensus, prior to ridgway taking command, was that the united states could simply drop a couple of nukes on korea and be done with it.  but others, including ridgway felt that nuclear escalation was not the best way.  russia has exploded nukes of their own - it was the dawn of the cold war - and nuclear escalation was a real risk.  sure millions ended up dying the old fashion way, but had nukes been uses, my guess is that number would have been far higher.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

the republic of pirates by colin woodard

the republic of pirates by colin woodard is the best pirate book i've read.  it was detailed and placed the right amount of emphasis on historical facts without drowning the reader in dates, names and places.

for me, there were a few things that stood out as well as a few things that i was curious to learn about.

first off - why did people turn to piracy.  this book answers that question quite well.  privateering was essentially government-endorsed piracy.  so when the wars between france, england, spain and the other countries ceased, so did the privateers income.  and not only that, but the reader must also realize that the sailor's life was practically worse than a slave's life.  this was the other's other point about why people turned to piracy.

one example the author used to illustrate how bad a sailor's life was, was about this young boy who the captain beat quite savagely for 17 days!  he beat him, whipped him, made him eat his own stool and when the boy finally spoke, he asked for something to drink.  the captain ran to his quarters and then returned with a cup of his own urine and made the boy drink it.  the boy finally died.

so, the lack of authorization to privateer at war's end and the abuses suffered by many, some sailors were practically forced to piracy in order to survive.

the author also goes into some detail to tell the story and legend of henry avery.  this pirate lived a couple of decades before the caribbean pirates and probably inspired many of them to turn to piracy.

another reason for piracy had to do with the english government.  this was one of those new things i learned.  when the house of hanover assumed power, many loyalists to the house of stuart became pirates.  in fact, some pirates disagreed with each other because some pirates wanted to attack english interests while others did not.

in summary, each pirate had his reason for piracy.

the democracy of the pirates was quite interesting.  although the book was marketed to indicate that the caribbean pirates were actually early american revolutionaries, the book didn't quite make the connection.  there was no evidence that some pirates eventually contributed ideas to the american revolutions.  true, the form of democracy the pirates practiced was revolutionary, but i didn't see any other strong connection to the american revolution.  in fact, it seems the british citizens in america were the most strong-willed people who had the greatest effect on the downfall of the golden age of piracy.

woodes rogers - what a tragic life.  his story is interesting and sad, but, again, he didn't come across as the man who brought down the pirates.  the subtitle of the book is: being the true and surprising story of the caribbean pirates and the man who brought them down.  woodes rogers is apparently that man.  but in the book, his role wasn't as strong as the sub title would suggest.  true, he had a vision to reform madagascar and the pirates there; and true he lead a company to the caribbean to end piracy, but when he actually got there, he seemed way more reticent than expected.  the royal navy abandoned him shortly after arriving at nassau.  the people he had to work with were lazy and ultimately he was afraid vane and the other pirates would return to kill him.  sadly, after all his money was spent, he was cast into debtors prison and eventually died and was buried in nassau.

most of the pirates expired around 1718-19.  but the one pirate who outlasted them all was charles vane.

links and other info
first off, read the book - it's worth the read.

secondly, visit his website:

thirdly, nbc is doing a mini-series on blackbeard which will be based off woodard's book.  nbc began filming it in puerto rico about a month ago (link).  the series will be called crossbones starring john malkovich.  i'm looking forward to that!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

samorost 1 & 2

about ten years ago, i came across a really neat and addicting game called samorost.  i had forgotten what the name of the game was and i spent the last couple of days digging around for it.  i finally had to search top game lists from the last ten years before i found it.

i replayed samorost 1 today ... it took me 10 minutes.  i remember playing it the first time and taking me much longer.

i plan to dink around with samorost 2 later this weekend.  this game came out a couple of years after samorost 1.  i can't remember if i played it or not.  i'm thinking i did.

in further research, it appears a much larger and longer samorost 3 is set for release in the near future (link).

if you dare, you too can check out samorost 1 and samorost 2.

Monday, October 28, 2013

halloween reading on a dark and stormy night

grab a cup of some warm delight, settle down in your leather chair, open your tablet and read these stories ...

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Visit to read your favorite Edgar Allen Poe story or poem
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
The Pale Man by Julius Long

Monday, October 7, 2013

the savior generals: william tecumseh sherman

i've already reviewed a previous chapter about sherman in another book written by vdh (link here).

the main point the savior generals makes that is different from the soul of battle is sherman's concept of total modern war.  let me begin by quoting sherman along with hanson's assessment.

sherman said, "they dared us to war, and you remember how tauntingly they defied us to the context.  we have accepted the issue and it must be fought out.  you might as well reason with a thunder-storm.  war is the remedy our enemies have chosen."  sherman was a "missionary ... bent on teaching the entire south his version of a moral lesson."

hanson further assesses sherman, "no civil war commander possessed a more astute appraisal of the nature of contemporary warfare, how to form and pursue grand strategy, and the critical nexus between war, civit society, popular support, and electoral politics.  and few american generals have since."

words to describe sherman's thoughts on war: modern, total and merciless war; cruelty, hell, ruin, howl, smashing, breaking and ravaging.  in sherman's words, 'the only principal in this war is, which party can whip.'  he further states, 'i propose to demonstrate the vulnerability of the south, and makes its in habitants feel that war and individual ruin are synonymous terms.'

on actual fighting, sherman chose a different calculus.  while grant looking only at body count and population base, sherman focused on the north's superiority in many other aspects: in manufacturing 23-1; in arms production 10-1; in rail and telegraph infrastructure 2-1 ... these stats bolstered the known population ratio 22-9.  sherman chose to focus on the prior stats rather than the latter, especially in light of the north's public opinion of the death rates grant was suffering.

it's funny how many native southerners still feel slighted by what sherman did.  there is no doubt the natives still value gallantry over the value of life itself.  sherman rather chose to value life and by stabbing at the pride of the south, won a war and saved a nation.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

honey & cinnamon: the benefits

this is a direct copy and paste from a friend who reposted this on their facebook page. i bolded the sections i found particularly interesting.

It is found that a mix of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus.Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder....who knew?

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it's delicious too!

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root.

GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.

WEIGHT LOSS:Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

CANCER: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. be sure to click SHARE so it will store on your personal page.

Friday, September 13, 2013

the savior generals: belisarius

flavius belisarius: the man who almost reunited the western and eastern roman empire; the man who saved byzantium time and time again and who allowed it to endure 900 years after he left the earth.

who knows what the world would be like had his emperor justinian allowed belisarius more room and resources in the mission to reunite the old empires.

in his second chapter in the savior generals, hanson delves into the life and battles of belisarius and how he saved his emperor time and time again.  these two men's destinies would forever be linked.

let me first quote a paragraph from toward the end of the chapter.  this paragraph summarized the three decade-long mission that justinian envisioned and how his best general - belisarius - almost single-handedly attained that mission.  "a thirty-year career (529-59) saw the last of the romans fighting to save the beleaguered eastern empire in mesopotamia against persians, only to return home to rescue his emperor justinian from the nika riots in the hippodrome.  then he left for north africa and in months destroyed the centurylong vandal empire whose ravages had so dominated the last thoughts of saint augustine.  after that he sailed for sicily, and for a time reclaimed the idea of a roman italy from the mediterranean to the po - only to go eastward again to meet the persians, and then back again to a collapsing italy, and then back to constantinople to internal exile, trials, and humiliation, only while in forced retirement to save the city from a raid of huns - and earn a final rebuke."

in each of the campaigns, belisarius was able to overcome hordes of forces with a very small force.  he was extremely smart and savvy in his approach in out-smarting the enemy.  much like i did with themistocles, let me list out the words that were repeatedly used to describe how belisarius accomplished his mission over and over and over again.

calm in battle, knew difference between tactics and strategy, skilled in counterinsurgency, winning the hearts and minds of local populations, restraint, tactics-morale-generalship, learned to carefully deploy his limited forces against numerically superior opponents, show both force and mercy to locals, did not rashly commit his outnumbered forces, methodic, moderation brings salvation, insurgency, audacious, hit enemy hard and quickly at opportune times, he is quoted as saying "not by the number of men, and not by the measure of one's body, but by the valor of the soul, war is decided", popular icon, mythic status, legendary character, personal habits, clemency, honesty, lenient, saintly conqueror, personally attended his wounded, replaced lost equipment of his soldiers at his own expense, treated personal property sacrosanctly, avoided alcohol-womanizing-bribery, resilient, dynamic, tactical brilliance, personal magnetism, faithful, planner, constantly sought to adopt, improvise, and invent to make up for what he lacked in manpower, usually lost small and won big, confident, not susceptible to panic, neither vain nor prone to softness.

what amazes me is his character.  after all the battles he fought for justinian, he never sought to overthrow him.  it appears there were always rumors that belisarius sought power and for that justinian would always undercut his best general, but belisarius never took advantage.  even when he was old and was recalled out of retirement to fight off the huns - if there were ever an opportune time to take command for himself, this would be it - but he did not.  he was always in the service of his country and emperor.

vdh and other historians wonder "what if" the plague that hit the empire at the worst time had indeed not hit them; and if justinian would have used belisarius to the fullest extent if somehow the old roman empire were reunited - what the world would look like today.  instead, the western empire fully crumbled and the eastern empire was able to survive another 900 years - long enough for the renaissance to begin.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

the savior generals by victor davis hanson: themistocles at salamis

it never fails ... every time i read a victor davis hanson book, i feel smarter.  more importantly, i learn something new almost every time i read one of his books.

this book is about five generals who didn't start or end a war, but rather who saved wars from being lost.

the five generals are themistocles, flavius belisarius, william tecumseh sherman, matthew ridgeway, and david patraeus.

i read this book fairly quickly while on vacation this year and so therefore did not get a chance to really soak it in.  now, i'm reading it a second time through to understand better why and how these savior generals were able to do what they did.  i was going to do one big post, but have decided to consolidate my summary as i finished each chapter.

themistocles at salamis
vdh sets the scene by describing the persian hordes and xerxes running ram shod over the greeks.  no persian army had ever extended so far into greece.  the great spartan king leonidas (who everyone is familiar with because the story of the 300 is told and re-told) is dead.  yes, that was a brave fight by the spartans at thermopylae, but now athens and the rest of greece were facing annihilation.

in steps themistocles with a daring idea ... empty athens and place the entire fate of greece in the hands of the athenian navy to fight the persians instead of retreating to sicily.  the navy parked in the straights of salamis and then essentially tricked the persians into fighting.  once the persians engaged the greeks at salamis, it was all over.  the smaller, more maneuverable ships smashed the lumbering persian navy to bits.  xerxes and his hoardes were sent packing back to persia.  xerxes left mardonius to try and 2nd and 3rd offensive.  but mardonius was eventually "crushed" as well by the 70,000 greeks and thus greece was assured freedome from persia.

many historians agree about the impact of the battle of salamis on the world's history - it allowed greece to continue to grow as a culture, directly impacting western civilization history.

a number of things allowed for the victory at salamis.  sure, the greeks had their backs up against the wall, but it really was the cunning, ego and drive of themistocles that allowed athens and sparta to win.

first was themistocles background and heritage.  this guy was a scrapper.  he had no rich parents to dote on him. he fought and he used every means he could to get his way.  let me list several words vdh used to describe themistocles: outsmarted the betterborn, intelligent, ruthless energy, studied and prepared for more diligently than did his advantaged rivals, mobile and serpentine mind, rascally busybody, clever, limitless troublemaking, multifacted leadership, diplomat, calm in battle, unabashed cunning, deceit, the most gifted strategist that classical antiquity ever produced, arrogant, absolute confidence in his own wisdom and leadership, schemed to ostracize his rivals, faked omens to frighted the more pious into his fold, unprincipled behavior, rogue, foresight.

second, in light of the finding of silver in a mine, themistocles was able to convince the people to invest in a navy - to give the silver coins to the lower class and let them participate in the defending of their country.  to offer another vdh quotes, "he somehow persuaded the assembly to build enough ships to ensure a fleet that would reach two hundred triremes.  how a radically democratic politician could persuade his own constituents to pass up such easy money in the here and now in order to invest in an unproven navel program against a distant enemy, we are not told.  but themistocles' navel law proved a monumental turning point for athens, not unlike, in the american experience, the passing of the selective training and service act of 1940 that squeaked by in the house of representatives in august 1940 by just one vote - and just in time, on the eve of war."

third, going back to the character of themistocles, he not only was able to get his navy, but then was able to convince the people not to flee to sicily, but to fight at salamis.  once there, he was able to deceive the persians into pursuing the greeks at salamis and even without their entire force.  he tricked xerxes into sending his best contingent forces to chase the greek retreat - which never came.  themistocles was then ale to smash the persians to bits at salamis to their "utter and complete ruin."

the aftermath of themistocles' life is a bit sad.  the same attributes which helped him be a savior for his fellow greeks also contributed to his downfall.  he was forgotten and eventually ended up in persia where he presumably was going to be forced into service of the persians to fight the greeks, but not before he committed suicide.  vhd also goes on to demonstrate that athens fully embraced themitocles vision of an athenian navy, even though they would not admit it was because of themistocles.

i'll conclude with the vdh conclusion, "quite simply, without the savior general themistocles, the world as we know it today might have been a very different place indeed.  victory at marathon in 490 had alarmed themistocles while most other rejoiced.  defeat at thermopylae had encouraged him when most greeks fell into abject despair.  before salvation at salamis there was no free greece.  after themistocles' victory, there were soon to be few foreign enemies in the aegean.  his dream of an ascendant athenian maritime was assured - and yet along with it a deadly rivalry with sparta on the horizon."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

the fate of the signers

happy 4th of july!

take some time today to read this excellent speech by rush limbaugh's father ...

our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

a letter from 'a freeman' - november 24, 1775

guardians of liberty
Your exertions in the cause of freedom, guided by wisdom, and animated by zeal and courage, have gained you the love and confidence of your grateful countrymen; and they look to you, who are experienced veterans, and trust that you will still be the guardians of America. As I have the honour to be an American, and one among the free millions who are defended by your valour, I would pay the tribute of thanks, and express my gratitude, while I solicit you to continue in your present honourable and important station. I doubt not America will always find enough of her sons ready to flock to her standard and support her freedom: but experience proves that experienced soldiers are more capable of performing the duties of the camp, and better qualified to face the enemy, than others; and, therefore, every friend to America will be desirous that most of the gentlemen who compose the present Army may continue in the service of their Country until liberty, peace, and safety, are established. Although your private concerns may call for your assistance at home, yet the voice of your Country is still louder; and it is painful, to heroick minds, to quit the field when liberty calls, and the voice of injured millions cries, to arms! to arms! Never was a cause more important or glorious than that which you are engaged in. Not only your wives, your children, and distant posterity, but humanity at large, the world of mankind, are interested in it; for if tyranny should prevail in this great Country, we may expect liberty will expire through the world; therefore, more human glory and happiness may depend upon your exertions than ever yet depended upon any of the sons of men! He that is a soldier, in defence of such a cause, needs no title. His post is a post of honour; and although not an Emperor, yet he shall wear a crown of glory, and blessed will be his memory!

The savage and brutal barbarity of our enemies, in burning Falmouth, is a full demonstration that there is not the least remains of virtue, wisdom, or humanity, in the British Court, and that they are fully determined, with fire and sword, to butcher and destroy, beggar and enslave, the whole American people. Therefore, we expect soon to break off all kind of connection with Britain, and form into a grand Republick of the American United Colonies; which will, by the blessing of Heaven, soon work out our salvation, and perpetuate the liberties, increase the wealth, the power, and the glory, of this western world.

Notwithstanding the many difficulties we have to encounter, and the rage of our merciless enemies, we have a glorious prospect before us, big with every thing good and great. The further we enter into the field of independence, our prospect will expand and brighten, and a complete Republick will soon complete our happiness. "Blindness seems to have happened to Britain, that the fullness of America might come in;" and we have every encouragement to "stand fast in the liberties wherewith Heaven has made us free." Persevere, ye guardians of liberty! May success be your constant attendant until the enemies of freedom are no more; and all future generations, as they successively tread the stage of time, and taste the joys of liberty, will rise up and call you blessed.

A FREEMAN. Cambridge, November 24, 1775.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

the first week's observances and food

i'm here in kuala lumpur on business, so most of my waking hours have been in meetings and day-to-day business.  so, i'll focus on the hours outside of work.

i've gone out to lunch every day.  my co-workers always ask me if i miss western food or if i want to eat western food.  i quickly say no.  i want to try pretty much anything that is not western.

the first day we ate a place called dragon-i.  it was chinese.  i was explaining to my team about the east side cafe where i grew up (orhpan annie's now) and how my family always ate mandarin chicken.  of course they didn't understand what mandarin chicken is ... so i said it was a lot like sweet and sour chicken.  then they understood.  they ordered for me at dragon-i.  we ate something very similar to sweet and sour chicken.  we also ate a kailan bowl as well as a roasted duck plate.  a lot of places here will bring the food in bowls and then everyone serves themselves the food on the plate.  i loved the chicken, the kailan and the duck - it was really delicious.  and of course we had dim-sum - always so tasty.

oh - chopsticks ... i was a bit nervous about the chopsticks, but i didn't want to be the wimpy american who couldn't eat with chopsticks.  so i did my best.  my team told me that if i could pick up a roasted nut, then i was good.  i was able to pick up the roasted nut quite easily.  i'm proud to say that i've not once requested silverware when there were chopsticks to be used :-)

the second day was a team builder day.  so my team along with a sister team went out for lunch at a very nice restaurant located in the hotel at which i'm staying.  it was a dim-sum spread with rice and salads.  the conversation was really nice and we all got to know each other very well.  for desert, they ordered me some durian pancake.  durian is a local fruit - they call it the king of fruits.  but apparently it has a very strong smell to it.  i had heard rumors from my boss and other people to not try the durian.  but i tried the durian pancake anyway.  to me it tasted like a strong onion with a hint of mango.  they all gave me strange looks when i told them it tasted and smelled like an onion.

after lunch, we did some team-building exercises: building legos, marshmellow tower and chinese pictionary.  it was a lot of fun.

after work on the second day, i went for an hour-long walk around the central park.  the walk was very nice and had spectacular views of the twin towers.  one thing i thought was quite odd was seeing someone take a picture of a woman who was dressed in a full-body burqa - i mean, what's the point of taking a picture if you don't know who you're taking a picture of?

the third day's lunch was with my team's old team lead as well as the team's current team lead.  she took us to this chinese place - i had some noodle dish and really enjoyed it.

then on the fourth day - friday - we all went to an indian restaurant.  it was very delicious - we ate some fried cauliflower, shark meat and then some spicy lamb.  the lamb was good, but too spicy for me.  i ended up sweating for 10 minutes!  there was also some flat bread to eat along with the meal.

yesterday was saturday - i was going to go to batu caves, but my ride fell through, so i stayed in the hotel catching up on my chess tactics.  i couldn't go outside because of the very thick haze and smoke from all the fires in indonesia.  i ate a full dinner on saturday at the hotel.  i had hainanese chicken, cheese sticks and pistachio cheesecake.

then today - sunday - i went with a friend and her family to visit the genting highlands.  we were going to go to malacca, but the smoke and haze is even worse down south.  so we went up into the mountains.  the road was steep and curvy.  our first stop was at the chin swee temple.  i really enjoyed walking around the temple and reading of the many levels of hell.  we even walked up the pagoda half way before we decided we had enough climbing.  after the temple, we headed on up to the top of the hill.  when we got there, we walked around a bit, ate some brunch, then walked around some more and then decided we'd see enough.  after that, we drove back down the hill a way to a mushroom farm.  seeing how the chinese grow mushrooms was quite interesting.  after that, we drove back down into the haze to visit batu caves.  we climbed the 300 or so steps and walked around the massive limestone cave.  it was pretty amazing.  i liked the chinese temple better mainly because it was cleaner.  batu caves was quite dirty.  after batu caves, we went to central market and did some shopping.  i got some gifts for my kids and wife.  and then they drove me back to the hotel - i was very tired.

besides seeing all the neat attractions, i also really enjoyed hanging out with and talking to my friend and her family.  she has two kids the same age as my two youngest.  they treated me very nicely and even called me uncle.  the youngest taught me a complex version of rock, paper, scissors.  what made it so extremely difficult to win was the ever-changing rules.  as soon as i would win, he would come up with a new weapon to play.  he is a smart kid and it was very memorable playing chage ... that's charge without the 'r'.

and that was the first week in kl.

i have four more days here and then i fly back to houston.  i miss my wife and kids.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

the way over

i got to bush intercontinental, checked in, got my boarding pass and walked to the gate.  the goodbyes to my wife and the kids was a bit emotional, but we all survived.  the security check wasn't so bad.  this was my first time in janet napolitano's naked machine.  then i headed for my gate and when i arrived, i found that the flight was going to be late - 90 minutes late.  my layover in los angeles was only going to be for two hours - that's a problem.

i waited in the terminal.  got my book out, read a bit, walked around, checked the flight status, read my book, walked around, checked the flight status, read book, walked, checked status, read, walk, check ...

the flight really was late.  we boarded - i was in business class - my first time in the leather, comfortable seats with lots of leg room.  i sat next to danny brassell phd - america's reading ambassador.  i had never heard of this guy, but apparently he's pretty popular around the nation.  he gave me a bookmark / business card.  we talked about the book i was reading (the savior generals), the author of the book (victor davis hanson) and who he is.  i think danny wrote the name of the author down.  then we chatted about things; travel, hometowns, etc.  then the flight took off and danny fell asleep while i read.

i get to los angeles and i need to get to the tom bradley international terminal.  i hadn't been to lax since 1997.  in hindsight, i could have and should have just walked from my landing terminal to tom bradley.  but instead, i waited for the bus to pick me up and drive me over.  the bus, which was supposed to come by every 10 minutes, didn't come by for over 20 minutes.  when i finally get to tom bradley, i have about 20 mins before my flight to hong kong leaves.  i get to the cathy pacific counter to check-in and they say that everything has been closed down - i can't get on the flight.  even if they let me, the security check-point has closed - bummer.  she gets me on the next day's flight out of lax.  i'm in dis-belief and i walked around the fairly empty terminal in a daze.  i call my wife, let her know what's going on.  then i find a quite place to relax.  i end up sleeping on a restaurant soft bench for the night.

i wake up around 6am local time, i get up and walk around.  the terminal is pretty quiet.  the other 50 or so people who also spent the night are starting to wake as well.  some people came really prepared - they found a nice spot on the floor next to the windows overlooking the tarmac and then made a nice bed of blankets and bags and fell asleep.  the morning goes by slowly.  i found a spot and read my book.  soon it is afternoon; i get some lunch at panda express.  after lunch, i head down to the cathay pacific counter and see if i can get on standby for the 2pm flight.  i get on, wait two hours and then come back to see if they will let me on.  they do!  they issue my boarding pass and i proceed to the security check.  there is some more waiting outside the gate and then i'm finally on the plane.

the business class is full of quasi-cubicles with a seat that fully reclines.  there is also a 15 inch computer screens built into the cubicle for watching movies and listening to music.  the flight supplies a very nice set of head phones too.  the flight is over 14 hours.  during the flight, i read, listened to music (depeche mode's new album), watched two movies (argo and the hobbit), ate a full course meal, a full course breakfast and then i slept for a few hours.

the flight arrived in hong kong at around 5pm sunday local time.  after i got off the plane, i had to go through another security check before they let me into the main hong kong terminal.  i walked around a bit, checked the place out and then found a nice place to rest.  i was able to connect to the wifi network and then talked to my family via tango (like facetime).  then i dozed off for a few hours.

i woke up around 3 or 4am monday morning local time.  i couldn't sleep anymore.  got up, walked around some more, then charged my phone and read some more of my book.  i went to my gate and waited some more.  while i was there, i logged on to my work computer and made a couple of phone calls - one to my wife and kids and another to my parents.  after a while, this lady comes and sits across from me and starts talking - it turns out she too missed a flight and now she was catching the same flight to kuala lumpur.  she is from penang.  nice lady, but her english was a bit rusty.  the plane arrived, we got on and then 4 hours later at 12:30pm kuala lumpur time, i finally arrived.

i made my way off the plane, caught a tram to the main terminal, then made my way to immigration, had my passport stamped and then proceeded to the baggage claim.  the people looked very different - even from hong kong.  malaysia is a muslim country and so i saw lots of women dressed the the full body burka.  i stopped at the currency exchange, then got my bag.  from there, the mandarin oriental hotel 'limo' picked me up and took me to the hotel.  the drive was about 45 minutes.  i was amazed at all the construction going on - it was everywhere!  the roads were nice, but that was expected as we stopped every 15 minutes to pass through a toll booth.  the hotel is in the city center.  as soon as i stepped out of the car, i had someone getting my luggage and escourting me to my room.  check-in was in my room! i didn't have to go to the front desk.  someone was waiting for me the moment i stepped out of the car; they escorted me to my room and let me in.  the room was nice and clean.

i unpacked, showered and then logged on my my laptop to see if my team could receive me at work.  then i walked to the office and met everyone.  my host showed me around the office and went over safety protocols and then introduced me to many people who i've worked with before, but never met in person.  it was fantastic finally putting a face to people i've worked with for so long.  my head was spinning from the jet lag, but i survived those first four hours.

at around 6pm that evening, i logged off, went back to the hotel, called my family, talked a bit and then ordered room service for dinner.  then i crashed for 3 hours, before getting back up for an 11pm meeting (with people in houston).  i was so tired, i was able to get right back to sleep.

my first day in kl was over.

Friday, June 14, 2013

waiting for a full day of travel

i thought i'd do a travel log of my trip to kuala lumpur.

my flight from houston leaves for los angeles at 9:30pm; which will begin a 26 hour and 4 minute journey to the opposite side of the world.  it's 6:00pm here on a friday night, while it is 7:00am there on a saturday morning.

i've got my bags all packed; i've got two books ready to read - my goal is to have them read by the time i come back - 1 book for the trip over and 1 book for the trip back.  the first book is the savior generals - the latest from victor davis hanson.  the other book is david mccullough's 1776.  i'll (hopefully) post a book report on them when i return.  i've got one other book i need to report on - peak performers by charles garfield.

while i'm in kl, i've got a full schedule of meetings and one-on-one and all the various teams and groups ... pretty much everyone in the company that works over there.  i've been working with some of these people for years, and i'll finally get to meet them in person.

i'm staying at a really nice hotel: the mandarin oriental.

handling jet lag should be interesting.  i'll get into my hotel around 12pm sunday afternoon, but my body will feel like it's 11pm saturday night.  i've been told that when i get to the hotel, to NOT take a nap or anything like that - rather, i should start walking around.  the hotel is right by a large park and a large mall - so i was told to go walk around the mall.  i figure if i can stay awake until around 7:30pm sunday kl time, then i have a chance at beating the jet lag fairly quick.

while i'll be plenty busy with meetings all day, reading email at night as well as having evening meetings with houston people, i still plan on keeping up with my chess goals.  i will have all day saturday and sunday next week as well.  i'm behind on my 52 game quest this year, so i'll be trying to get several (at least 10) games in (30 5 time).

i'm a little leery of going outside the city for sight-seeing.  the one thing that really interests me are the batu caves and it is just north of where i'll be staying for the two weeks.

well, that's about all for now ... just dumping some thoughts for now.  next post (hopefully) will be when i get to kl.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Brooks GTX 2013

It seems that I'm getting a new pair of running shoes every year now.  I bought my first pair of GTX last April and I bought a new pair a couple of weeks ago - I went with the GTX again.

It's always amazing the feel the difference between the feel of an old shoe and a new shoe.  The new pair feel as light as a feather and are very comfortable.

These days, I walk 4 miles every morning with my wife.  We usually can get up and walk for an hour every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  When our schedule allows, we are able to get 4 miles in on a Saturday and / or Sunday.

Other days, when I'm feeling really good, I'll run 4 miles ... I'll run at a very good clip for 60 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds.

One final word about the shoes ... I was a bit disappointed that they only had one option for 'color'.  I'm not a huge fan of the green accents.  I liked the orangish-red accents from last year's model.  I am glad they keep them in black ... I don't like white running shoes.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Second-Shower Phobia

Do you fear the second shower? You've already showered in the morning. You've shaved; you've washed and combed your hair; applied deodorant and you're ready to go for the day.

Then during the course of the day, you become sweaty because of the humidity or because you had to run from a rabid dog or you had to change a tire or your exercise workout occurred at night.

Now you're home again and face a dilemma: do you shower again or wait until morning? You might argue that the sweat has cleansed your body and when it dries you are actually clean! Or that you didn't sweat THAT much and that the shower can wait until morning. Or you're just too lazy to undress, shower and get out clean clothes. Perhaps you live in Arizona and since your house number is even, you can only shower on even-numbered days. Whatever the excuse, you fear the second shower. You're a second shower phobia.

I'm here to help you overcome this fear of the second shower.

STEP 1: Lift your right arm all the way above your head so that the armpit is fully exposed. Then have a friend sniff in the general vicinity of the armpit. The friend should promptly pass out. Be sure to place pillows around the area so your friend doesn't break a neck.

STEP 2: Sit down on a towel and then proceed to lick your leg. It should taste like a pretzel. An alternative method is to have your dog (if you own one) smell your legs. If he licks them, then there's a good chance you taste like salted pork.

STEP 3: Once your friend has regained consciousness, have him or her smell your hair. He or she should still be dazed and confused when he or she awakes, so compliance shouldn't be an issue. Again, be sure pillows are near by as he or she will faint at the smell of your greasy hair.

STEP 4: Take all your clothes off and place them in a pile. Then sniff the pile like you would a bouquet of roses. Be sure a barf bucket is close by because you may toss your cookies. Dry heaves will soon follow.
If none of these steps have convinced you to shower (thus effectively making you overcome your second shower phobia) then proceed to the next step. If you no longer fear the second shower after step 4, then proceed directly to the nearest bathroom and commence cleaning.

STEP 5: Place your back to a wall in your home. Or if you have a hardwood floor, lay down on the hardwood floor. Now attempt to get up. You should notice that there is so much grime on your body that it is actually sticking to hard surfaces - you are basically a giant piece of masking tape. If you are normal, this should gross you out and cause you to jump right into the shower.

If none of these steps help you, then you have far greater issues to deal with. You need to address these issues by attending a simple hygiene course at the local community college. Alternatively, you can elect to be a full-time street bum.

Friday, May 3, 2013

the kind of help mothers need

this morning, while driving into work, i decided to listen to some rolling stones.

one of the songs i played over and over again was mother's little helper.  if you're not familiar with this song, it's quite catchy and has a really good message.  go ahead and take a listen:

now for some analysis.
- the "mother's helper" is really just an escape from the pressures of daily life - drugs.
- today, mothers might not use drugs to escape so much - they turn to wine, a tv show, books or other things.

but i want to take one more step back ... why is there pressure?  is there a way to prevent the pressure in the first place?

let me jump right to it: mothers (and people in general) are too busy.  and to what end?  what are you trying to achieve?

a recent post over at becoming minimalist, discussed four ways minimalism can improve parenting.  number two in that list was, "it reminds you to guard the calendar and say 'no' to a lot of things"

he went on to explain, "Parents sometimes feel that we have to take our kids to every activity and enroll them in every sport. But, in case you've forgotten, you can’t do everything. We have to learn to say “no” to many good things so we can say “yes” to the things that are more important to us at that time. Manage your calendar well. You are the gatekeeper."

i submit that the kind of help mother's need today is an eraser ... and then use it liberally on your calendar.  furthermore, take the time to decide what is really important in your life and focus on that.  else they (you) might end up like the mother in the "mother's little helper" song ...

life's just much to hard today
i hear every mother say
the pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
and if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
no more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
they just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the minimalism movement

Around Christmas time 1988, I was chubby 12-year old kid. During those days, my parents, sister and I drove down the hill and a few miles to my grandparents’ home to eat tasty treats, visit and watch a movie. This was an annual event which took place the during the week after Christmas, but before New Year’s.

I don’t recall how many years in a row we did that, but I do remember three of the movies we watched: The Mission, The Last Emperor and Empire of the Sun. Mission and Empire of the Sun had a profound impact on me as a kid. But one visual from Empire has remained with me to this day.

After Jamie and the POWs leave the air field prisoner camp and hike days and days, they arrive at a sports stadium. It is filled with cars, pianos, golf clubs, dressers and lots and lots of statues … . The visual was stunning – here are these starved-to-death British citizens, who just a few years ago “had it all”, then it was taken away and now here all of it sits – theirs for the re-taking. But they don’t need it. They need water; they need food. If ever there was a poster for the ‘why’ of Minimalism movement, this would be it.

As has been noted over and over again on the minimalism blogs, the movement is not about getting rid of stuff and living on less; rather it is about thinking about what joy and happiness means to you.  In my lifetime, happiness has meant having it all: the fancy car, the nice house, nice clothes, the pool ... all that.  But what we have learned and are still learning is that having possessions does not bring happiness.  Consumerism and all the gorging that goes with it only leaves people broke and empty inside.

Minimalism forces you to ask what it is that make you happy?  What are your priorities in life?  What should you spend your money and time on?  Do you really need all those possessions to achieve that goal of lasting happiness?

Living on less strips away all the irrelevant and unimportant and leaves only the truly valuable and worthwhile.

James Allen said, "The man who shrinks from self-crucifixion can never accomplish the object upon which his heart is set ... the sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify; to burn out all that is useless and impure"

And when all the useless has been burnt out, the pure gold - the pure joy is left.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Excel Links

I'm not an Excel expert, but sometimes I pretend to be one.  And in those times, I usually do what every other "Excel expert" does: Google

But some sites are good for the advice repeatedly and I'd like to list those as part of my Tech Tuesday series.


And if you don't find what you're looking for at those sites, always Google ... and if you don't find it then ... well, you may not be able to even do it at all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yard of the Month

This muse was from six years ago, when we lived in a home that had a quarter of an acre back yard.

This morning I mowed our yard ... it is a HUGE yard and takes me over two hours to finish. I'm not big into yard work. I do the minimum and spend the rest of my time combing the hair on my chest and back.

This week, our neighbors down the street received the "Yard of the Month" prize. Their reward: A sign posted on the front lawn that says, "Yard of the Month" I don't know if they receive prize money for this or not. The main reason they do the YOTM stuff is to encourage people to keep their yards nice.

What kind of people pursue these accolades? Perhaps it is the lady of the house that pushes the man to work so hard. Mrs. Gibson down the street must have shoved poor Hal into a corner and threatened him.

"You listen and you listen well chump! I want that prize! You better pull through this month or else!"

Hal would melt to the floor sucking his thumb.

Every morning when I go out for my jog, I see Hal out there slaving away. A couple of weeks ago, he was up at 5:30 in the morning planting red tulips! I waved to the poor fella. He took one look at me and vomited all over the flowers (I had my shirt off). Tough luck. I was about 50 paces from Hal's house when I heard Mrs. Gibson.

"What in the Sam-hell are you doin' boy?! Get the hose and start cleaning this up! I want these tulips planted YESTERDAY!"

The car door slams and Mrs. Gibson peels out of the driveway and passes me going 45mph in a 35 zone. Poor Hal.

Then last week while I was mowing, I saw ol Hal out there mowing and trimming his yard too. It was a hot and humid day. I stopped several times to drink water. One time I saw that Hal had stop to rest too. The poor chap ... Mrs. Gibson came storming out the front door hollering at Hal. This time she had a whip. She snapped that thing over Hal's head and he jumped five feet in the air. In a split second, he had thrown down his lemonade, put his hat on and started the lawn mower. Mrs. Gibson was screaming at the top of her lungs, while Hal was criss-crossing across his velvet yard looking behind him every other second. It was a sad sight.

I hope for Hal's sake he wins the Yard of the Month next time.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

april nature

we had quite a nice walk today
found a very cool turtle (three-toed box turtle)
enjoyed some beautiful and fragrant flowers (lantana & night-blooming jessamine)
tasted a handful of wild dewberries

Friday, April 26, 2013

Writing Initiative

Somewhere along the way, I lost the time to write.  Life gets busy.  I used to keep a journal religiously, but now it gets updated every so often.  I still intend to keep a regular personal journal, but I also feel the need to write more outside of my journal.

Today I was inspired by zen habits to write more - why you should write daily

Thinking about this a bit more, I feel motivated to write about some topics I have opinions on as well as to let out the inner muse in me.  I think it will also help me in my work and personal life as I think things through.

So, I'm going to try this and see how it works ... I have very low expectations, but we'll see.

Mondays will be Musings (see past musings here)

Tuesdays will be Tech - I'll write about some aspect of technology that is cool; opine about something I've read at wired or tech dirt or wherever; maybe even talk about something I'm doing at work.

Wednesdays will be Whatever I want to talk about.

Thursday will be Thankful For day.

Friday will be Fantasy; where I fantasize about what I would change in the world if I were supreme dictator. Sometimes it might be a true self-inquiry about what it is I would or could change in my life.

I'm not sure I'll write so much on Saturdays or Sundays.

Of course I'll continue to blog about other stuff (minimalism, diet and exercise, what I'm reading, book reports, etc).  And I'll continue my photography series.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

trees removed in last 4 years on boylston street

 i was curious to see what the bombing scene looked like before the bombing.

google maps shows a nice quiet boylston streen with lots of young-looking trees. (the big picture) shows a similar view with no trees.

according to this article, those trees died a few year ago (supposedly between 2009 when the google image was taken and 2010 when the article was posted).

the last picture below shows at least some trees are still alive - you can see the branches.

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Report on Brisk Walking ... just as good (even better) than running

I was a big runner up to about 4 years ago.  The goal was to run a marathon, but a persistent stress fracture forced me to reconsider the amout of running I did.  I later found out that my back is so whacked that it was causing mis-alignment of my hips and therefore the cause of my constant right foot/ankle/knee pain.

Over the last two years, I've turned to hour-long (4 mile) walks and I've found that I really enjoy them and the pain is non-existent.

This year, my wife and I have started a habit of getting up at 4:45am 3 times a week to go on a 4 mile walk with the dog.  We love our time walking.  This is an activity that we both can do well into our retirement.

Half Sigma / Lion of the Blogosphere is always good at pointing every time a person dies at a marathon race.  And, yes, taken in isolation, most people think a death at a marathon race is very rare.  But think about this: when was the last time you remember someone dying in football, baseball or basketball?  Cycling?  The only example I can recall is Len Bias.  Whereas, if you google 'marathon deaths', you get quite a few articles and examples.

Anyway - the whole point of the post was to point out another study that bolsters the opinion that walking is better than running.  And by "better" I mean it is good for you and sustainable.  You get all the benefits of running without the stress on your body and heart.

Link: Brisk Walking Equals Running for Heart Health: Study

Monday, February 4, 2013

spring in february

there are blossoms everywhere and it's only feb 4

normally, these blossoms come out in march

Monday, January 28, 2013


 our friends came over tonight.  they brought their new puppy - cooper.

cooper and our friends' other dog - missy - played with our dog - fritz.

after about an hour of playing around, cooper found a nice cool spot on the tile, nudged his nose in the corner and fell asleep.

i love the 2nd shot ... with is big furry paw
cooper is an airedale.  when our dog fritz moves on to the next life, we're thinking of getting an airedale.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

pinewood derby 2013

we have two official cars this year.  one for my son in webelos and the other for my son in the wolf den.  this is my oldest son's last pinewood derby car and my youngest son's first pinewood derby car.

we consulted a "professional" pinewood derby car-maker.  we'll see how well i've ... ahem ... we've followed directions for making fast cars.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shangri-La Diet in a Nutshell

Reading Seth's blog post (link here) led me to this forum (link here) where on this page of that forum I found the following two summaries of the SLD:

The theory seems to be that the body finds 2-300 excess calories and can't figure out where they came from, so shuts down your hunger and resets weight setpoint over time. Kind of like your body thinks you went from eating slim pickin's in winter to having plentiful food in just knows you are getting more energy from the food you are currently eating so it can up the metabolism and lower the weight setpoint since it figures you found a good supply of chow and wants you to keep eating without getting fat.


The idea is that flavourless calories do NOT give the message of abundance, as they would in nature. So the body reduces the weight setpoint as a survival mechanism in hard times. Once your body weight is sitting above your setpoint, you naturally are not hungry, you eat less and your body loses weight to the setpoint. If your actual bodyweight is sitting below your setpoint, you are excessively hungry and eat until you regain to where your body wants to be. A protective mechanism.

How many times have we lost 5 or so lbs below where we usually sit, through a major struggle of restraint and intake reduction, then blow it all in a fit of uncontrolled appetite and eating and regain the weight? I know that 148-152 lbs is a huge sticking point for me and the first time I started SLD, I slid right past that point, going from 150-146 in a few days and then remaining with the lowered appetite for months, as I lost to my goal of 133-135 lbs. Took only 3 months. It was rather amazing.

Seth Roberts took the theory of the impact of flavourless calories on setpoint and bent it in various ways to try and "trick the brain" into lowering the setpoint. He tried things like flavour without calories, calories without flavour, using a flavour that is sometimes taken calorie free, then combined with calories at other times of the day. "Platinum Calories" as devised by one of the forum readers is a twist on the theory. It is based on the idea that fat calories provided alone will provide calories without triggering any insulin response at all - not such a strange concept around here. They are tasty (coconut oil in coffee, "oilmilk" - oil and water blended with lethicin, as examples), but I never found them as effective as the flavourless calories. Bulletproof coffee is the same concept - lots of fat without any other dietary calorie sources, and hence satiety that lasts for hours.

I want to try this one more time using Spectrum's refined coconut oil.  I think I saw a jar of this at the local Kroger, selling for about $7 or $8.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the perfect week failed miserably last week

so after that post, on tuesday i went out and lifted weights ... nothing aggressive ... just some bench pressing, bicep curls, etc.  i was fine all day long until the end of the day.  the pain in my left neck/shoulder area was extreme.  i assume it was a pinched nerve.  i could hardly turn my neck and at night, i was in extreme discomfort.  it took about a week for the pain to subside.

this sort of thing regularly occurs when i lift weights.  i'm just not sure i want go through this again for the 100th time.  i may just focus on simple push-ups and sit-ups along with long walks and spinning.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

the perfect week

this would be my perfect week:
- i followed my planned workout routine; weights mon, wed and friday morning with 30 mins of spinning tues, thurs and saturday.
- i ate minimally every day, eating when i need to and not ever out of boredom.
- playing two chess games during the week and annotating them
- 20 tactics every day

if i could accomplish those goals in a week, i would be pleased.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

day 2 of getting in the groove

today was ok.  i felt horrible in the morning ... headache, grumpy, head in the fog.  so i drank some caffeine via crystal light, and then i took some migraine meds.  i waited a couple of hours and then i ate 4 jimmy dean patties.  finally by 3pm, i was feeling good.

dinner was at 530pm, which was scalloped potatoes, meatloaf and veggies.  after dinner i ate 3 tart cookies.

as expected, the after-dinner itch came around.  i drank a full bottle of water, and then waited an hour before drinking some hot blueberry/vanilla tea with some agave  in it.  that seemed to do the trick ... its 11pm as i write this and no cravings or itches.

i now begin an extended fast that began at 6pm and will go all through friday and will end saturday morning at breakfast.

thoughts on fasting

so i did pretty well yesterday.  my goal was to not eat until 6pm.  i drank lots ... water, tea, crystal light.  i went on a walk early in the morning for 30 minutes and then on another walk in the afternoon for 30 minutes.  when i got back from the walk at about 4:45pm, i was really sleepy-tired.  by 5pm, i was in one of those dazed-in-a-trance states and i just sat on the couch.

a little after 5pm, i got off the couch, went into the kitchen and ate some chips and cheese dip.  then i ate dinner with the family at 6:30pm - we ate this ham-green olive-swiss cheese salad and some breadsticks and cheese hotdogs.  i had mostly salad with 3 small breadsticks and one hot-dog.  i then ate some almond roca candy.  i was satisfied and it was just before 7pm.

then about 90 minutes passes and all during that time, i'm feeling fine.  but right at 8:30pm, after the kids and i have been watching lotr:fotr, i get this itch.  there is no better way to describe it.  it's an itch to eat something. now, i would normally drink a lot of water or tea, but at 8:30pm at night, i really worry about having to pee at 1am in the middle of my sleep.  i've got to do something about at 8:30pm itch.

some potential solutions:
- drink tea; but maybe not in such a big cup ... and drink it while playing chess or doing tactics
- listen to music

the bottom line is i've got to just eat a simple dinner and then be done until 6pm the next day.

i'll see how tonight goes.  i think i'm going to try the smaller portion of hot tea if i get that itch.