Thursday, November 29, 2007


I can't think of anything profound to say, and it's really time for me to go to bed. So I'll just resort to some gratuitous cuteness. At my parents' house there is a chipmunk that likes to steal a drink from the dog's water bowl when nobody is looking. I caught him one morning when I happened to have my camera.

At this point he doesn't see me.

I like how in this picture you can tell that he's seen me, and he's like: "Ruh roh! I'm outta here!" And he was. Before I could get any closer he ran off.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SPC - What I Wear 4

This month's theme for Self Portrait Challenge is "What I Wear". Since I spent Thanksgiving in Arizona, which usually seems to be very sunny, I thought I would post of a photo of me wearing my sunglasses. The last two days I was there, however, it was pretty doggone cloudy. Nonetheless I shall proceed. There's a good bit of sun here in north Texas as well, but the sun in southern Arizona is intense. I mean, it makes sense, it's a desert fer cryin' out loud. I don't know if it's the altitude or what, but the sun can be very brutal there, especially in the summertime. Got to protect those peepers.

I wish I had planned this shot better so I could have had a more impressive scene in the shades, like some mountains or some palm trees, but this was literally taken 5 minutes before leaving for the airport to come home. So instead you see my parents' front yard. There's always next time I guess.

To see what other are wearing, visit the SPC website.


Monday, November 26, 2007


On Saturday we went spice shopping. That's right - spice shopping. One time when I was here my mom had this bottle of the most amazing cinnamon I had ever smelled or tasted. Since oatmeal is one of my new dietary staples, and I sometimes like to add cinnamon to my oatmeal, I asked if we could go to the spice emporium.

This place is about an hour south of Tucson. When you walk in the door you are hit by an amazing aroma that is a blend of the hundreds of different spices that they sell at this place. They have all kinds of spices, from the basics to the obscure. When we got there there were only about 3 people there, but by the time we left the place was packed. I got some Vietnamese cinnamon, green chile powder, dried green chile pieces, Chinese five spice powder, mole poblano powder, and some green salsa. After I told my mom to smell the Alder smoked sea salt she had to buy it, and she gave me half. We put some on the steak we had that night, and it was great. I can't wait to try the cinnamon in my oatmeal!

Gotta love palm trees in November. It was actually kind of chilly, though!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Taking It Easy

So far it's been a good, if lazy, Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving dinner was just me and my parents this year. I thought my sister and brother-in-law would be here, but I thought wrong. New jobs mean non-existent vacation time. It's the first time in quite a few years that we haven't had Thanksgiving dinner with lots of people around. I tried not to overindulge, and I did a little better than many times in the past, but I did eat just a little bit too much. Of course, I'm very thankful that I even have the chance to eat too much when so many people in this world don't.

The weather has been a bit cooler than I was expecting. Thursday was very warm, about 80. Since then it's only been about 60. Jacket weather!

Friday I did hit the stores at 7 for a little Christmas shopping. 7PM, that is. It takes a lot more than the promise of shopping among hordes of people to make me get up early on a vacation day. I actually did get a couple of Christmas presents bought, so I have that going for me, which is nice. I have spent large parts of the rest of my time here watching football games. In fact, it's pretty ridiculous at this point how much football I've watched. It should taper off some now, since there aren't any pro games that I'm interested in tomorrow. Although I do feel a little guilty about being so non-productive at the moment, it's also kind of nice to not have to worry about being anywhere or having to turn in homework.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

7 Random Things About Thanksgiving Me

I've been doubly tagged for this meme, by Anne and Elissa. So I guess I better do it!

Here are 7 random things about me:

1. I used to like cauliflower, but I don’t anymore. Ever since I figured out that it looks like mutant broccoli it’s freaked me out.
2. I’ve never been to Ohio.
3. My DVDs are alphabetized, but the plastic and cardboard cases are in separate alphabetized sections. That’s because if you mix the cardboard cases with the plastic cases they can be kind of hard to remove from the shelf.
4. My CDs are alphabetized too.
5. Despite the last 2 items, I’m actually a fairly disorganized person. One look at my desk at work or my house will show this.
6. I haven’t been clean-shaven in over 6 years.
7. I’ve never had a broken bone.

I’m not going to tag anyone for this because just about everyone I know with a blog has done this one already.

If you're in the U.S. have a happy Thanksgiving! If you're elsewhere have a happy Thursday!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give Up The Funk

Ugh. Yesterday my olfactory system was assaulted in a way that it rarely has been before. Somebody at work smelled absolutely putrid. This smell made Baby Powder Man seem like a dream of heaven itself (Baby Powder Man has become mostly a non-issue. He's able to work from home now, which he does quite a bit). We are in the process of moving from one floor to another at work, so I am in temporary quarters until about the middle of December. I've been in my temporary spot for about 3 weeks. Yesterday was the first time this awful incident happened. The fact that I'm in a new area made it difficult to determine where the smell was coming from.

I'm not even sure I can describe this odor. It smelled like a man does when he doesn't take a shower. For like two days. It wasn't straight B.O. It was B.O. plus sweat plus old man smell plus bad cologne plus yot. Basically it was like I had a dirty armpit right under my nose all day.

I usually eat lunch at my desk. Yesterday I'm afraid that was impossible. I guess I could have tried to eat while only breathing through my mouth, but I do like to fully taste my food. Smell is an important component of taste. I gave it a good try, but I just couldn't do it. I went downstairs and ate in my car in the parking garage. And then went back up to stink city. If I had a laptop at work I would have moved in a heartbeat, but I'm tied to a desktop. I tried to dissipate the funk with the fan that I keep in my cubicle, but to no avail. It didn't help that I wasn't entirely sure who the offender was. By the end of the day I think I may have figured it out though. Luckily this person does not seem to be in the office too much. If this happens again I don't think I'm going to be able to handle it. I better stock up on air freshener.

On a completely unrelated note, check out this temperature drop (you can click on the image to see a larger view). We went from 70 last night to 39.9 tonight! Looks like something approaching fall is finally here. Good thing I'm going to Arizona tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SPC - What I Wear 3

The theme for this month's Self Portrait Challenge is "What I Wear". For this week's photo I wanted something that shows that "what I wear" is now fitting better! I've been able to go down one notch on my belt. There's a line where the buckle rubbed against the leather when I had to use the next larger belt hole. It's kind of hard to see, though. But also look at the holes. The one in the middle is all ratty-looking on the edges from the belt being worn using that hole. So I'm seeing some results. I'm thinking one more notch ought to do it!

To see what other people are wearing, click here.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Update on the Weight

I owe you all an update on my weight loss quest. It’s working! I have lost about an inch from my gut! So I’m down to 34 inches from 35. I’m not sure how much weight I have lost because until last Monday I didn’t have a scale. I never really had the need to buy one when I had my previous job because I could use the big one in the shipping department or the one in the gym when I wanted to know my weight. When I was unemployed, buying a scale wasn’t real high on my list of priorities. I saw one at Target last week and it was only $6, so now I have one. I have to say that I most likely weighed less than I thought I did when I started my weight loss program, because I doubt that I’ve lost 12 pounds since October 24th. In any case, I will be happy if I can drop about 10 more pounds.

I used this calculator to determine how many calories I should consume in a day. I want to lose 10 pounds by January 1st, so the calculator indicated that I should be consuming about 1700 calories a day to lose 1 pound per week. I have been tracking everything that I eat every day. I have been using this site to calculate calories for things that aren’t labeled, like fruits and vegetables. The site is very extensive – so far I’ve been able to find anything I’ve been looking for. It also has an extensive list of fast food items. At this point I think I am getting used to this level of consumption. On some days I feel satisfied even before I get to that level of calories. When I get to the point where I want to maintain my weight, I think it may even be kind of difficult to eat the 2200 or so calories per day that I will need! Fruits and vegetables are so low in calories compared to their volume.

I suppose I am trying to limit my carbs to some extent, but I’m not cutting them out completely. A lot of the limiting happens automatically when you see how many calories refined carbohydrates have. It’s important to consume some carbs to maintain good nutrition. Oatmeal is my new cereal of choice. I’m not completely banning anything from my diet. If I want to hit the candy jar at work, it goes into the calorie spreadsheet. But the amount of calories contained in sugary stuff does limit how much I eat, and I don’t crave it as much as I used to. I’m also trying to keep a good nutritional balance, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for empty calories.

I used to be very skeptical of the effectiveness of counting calories because I tried to lose weight by limiting calorie intake one other time and it didn’t seem to work at all. However, that was in the days before the Internet and good information on the calorie counts in some foods was very hard to come by. It was also much harder then to find information on how many calories I should be consuming to lose weight. I can now see that the amount of calories I was trying to limit myself to back then was too high for me to lose weight.

The other change that I have made is to increase how often I exercise, although not by a great deal. I used to use the Nordictrack 3 times a week for a half hour, which came out to about 230-240 calories per session. Now I’m using it every other day and shooting for 300 calories per session. I’ve stepped up the intensity a little bit too. It’s taking me about 35-37 minutes to hit 300 calories.

My pants fit better already, which is great. It’s satisfying to see this finally work, when I’ve been unsuccessful in previous attempts. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a challenge. My mom tends to keep lots of high calorie stuff around the house, not to mention that there will be trips to In N Out Burger. There’s also usually lots of beer in the fridge. If I can stick to my plan despite those hurdles, I should be able to stick to it no matter what.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fall Has, Uh, Fallen?

The leaves are finally starting to turn here. Oaks are kind of hit or miss on fall color. Some years you get amazing color and other years you get - brown. It's still a little early to tell what the oaks are going to do. Now maples on the other hand - there's a tree you can count on for good color. Here are a few photos! The non-autumnal part of all this? It was 80 degrees F when I took these photos. I was wearing shorts and flip-flops.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

X Marks The Spot

I know it's prolly not the safest thing to do, but this morning on the way to work I took some photos while driving. I've had my camera in the car the last couple of days. This morning there was this crazy "X" in the sky and I just had to break out the camera. I guess it was a couple of airplane contrails that crossed. Or something.

And then after the "X" I saw this. I'm like Towelie, I have no idea what's going on.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunset 11/13/07

Beauty of a sunset tonight. Oh, and don't go to Target when you have a buzz. Trust me.


SPC - What I Wear 2

This month's Self Portrait Challenge is "What I Wear". This photo is of the only piece of jewelry that I wear, my college ring. At lots of schools I don't think rings are that popular, but they are at this one. Just about everybody gets one - both men and women (although I actually work with someone who went there and doesn't wear one, which is pretty unusual). It is kind of cool to run into someone else wearing one because you already have something in common. This school is very steeped in tradition, and the ring is one of them. You can read more about it here.

Here's a closeup that shows some of the detail:

To see what other people are wearing, visit the Self Portrait challenge website.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Puzzled No More

Today I will post about something a bit less contentious. I finished the puzzle I was working on! I kind of went nuts and worked on it for about 3 hours Friday night and about 4 hours on Saturday. When my eyes started crossing on Saturday I kept going because I was so close to finishing. The time recorded on my stop watch was 7 hours and 39 minutes, and I worked on it about 2 hours last Sunday, so my total time was about 9 hours and 39 minutes. Which seems like a lot! It was fun though; I think I will get another one to work on at some point.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rant Time

Alright, I have to go on a bit of a rant here. I’ve tried to stifle it, but I can’t. I just need to get this out of my system. And it’s all the more appropriate on Veterans Day.

Last Tuesday was Election Day. Do you know what percentage of registered voters in my county actually voted last Tuesday? 7.64%. That’s 7 as in less than 10. That is absolutely fucking pathetic. You hear people all the time talk about how “freedom isn’t free” and “you should thank a veteran for fighting for your rights”, etc. You know what those phrases are? Words. A bunch of meaningless words. If people really believed that, they would vote. Do you know how many people around the world would kill just to have that opportunity? I know of at least three people who read this blog who either live in or have lived in places where people couldn’t vote, and it wasn’t all that long ago either. Within the last twenty years in fact. And people here just don’t care. Couldn’t care less. Go eat a Twinkie and watch TV. I heard America’s Funniest Home Videos is on. And I never want to hear you complain about what’s wrong with our country again.

People in this country walk around with their chests puffed out about what a great democracy the United States is. How great can it be if so many people just throw away one of our most basic rights? Is it any wonder that politicians don’t have the slightest bit of concern for the average person? Not even half of the people in this country care enough to cast a vote. Look at this list. The US is number 139 out of 172 in election turnout since 1945. Utterly pathetic.

48% is bad, but I can possibly some concede some arguments about why that isn't a complete disaster. But 7.64%? What. a. joke. And I know you’re probably thinking “Who died and made you the election police?” Well, this is my opinion and it’s as valid as anyone else’s.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A To Z Meme

I have been tagged by the smart, talented, and beautiful Vedrana to share this A to Z meme. This one is a bit different than the other ones that I have done because only the letters are provided. I have listed some words that describe me to match each letter.

A – Art – I love art in all kinds of forms.
B – Blogger – I never thought I would be one, but after doing this for 2 years plus I guess it’s definitely a part of who I am.
C – Curious – I like to think about why things are the way they are.
D – Diet – I am currently very focused on what and how much I eat since I’m trying to drop a few pounds.
E – Exercise – I am also focused on exercise as part of my weight-loss plan.
F – Frugal – My maternal grandfather was a very frugal person, which I think to some extent came from living through the Great Depression. I think I inherited this quality. I think it’s important to have some money saved up for a rainy day, and this has served me very well.
G – Geography – I love maps. I used to look at my dad’s National Geographic atlas for hours at a time. I love Mapquest!
H – Headaches – I have suffered from migraines since I was about 14 years old. Luckily I have been able to control them quite well with medicine for about 13 years now.
I – Introverted – I’m much more inwardly-focused than outward when it comes to dealing with people. Talking to people I don't know can make me nervous.
J – Joking – I like to joke around with people. It can be a good way to defuse some of the tension of interpersonal interactions.
K – Knowledge – I love learning new things.
L – Lazy – I can be really lazy sometimes. Like every Saturday.
M – Movies – I like movies a lot although I don’t watch as many as I used to.
N – News – I like to know what’s going on in the world. I get most of my news from the Internet rather than television though.
O – Outre – What can I say? I’m a weirdo.
P – Photography – One of my favorite hobbies. I could take photos all day if I had the time.
Q – Questioning – This goes along with the curious/learning thing.
R – Reading – I read almost all day. I don’t actually read that many books, I seem to read mostly magazines and things on the Internet.
S – Shy – This comes from being introverted.
T – Travel – I love to travel, but a lack of money keeps me from travelling much right now.
U – Unusual – I have a weird sense of humor, and lots of people think I’m strange. Have I mentioned that yet?
V – Vacation – I love vacations. Who doesn’t?
W – Ween – I love that band!
X – X Man - I can be somewhat mysterious, I don’t reveal a lot about myself to just anyone.
Y – Yada yada – Once I feel comfortable around someone I can talk their ears off.
Z – Zymurgy – I’ve been known to brew my own beer. It’s a cool combination of cooking and science project.

If you want to do this meme, consider yourself tagged!


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

SPC - What I Wear 1

The November theme for Self Portrait Challenge is "What I Wear". In general "what I wear" is a bit dull and boring, so this month will be a challenge for me. For week 1 I have decided to take a photo of some of the typical clothes that I wear to work. It's standard corporate-drone wear - Dockers and a polo or button-down shirt. This kind of stuff is designed not to offend, to keep the wearer from standing out. It says you're "one of us". Who wants to see a picture of that? So I tried to freak things up a little even though my clothes are comfortably numb. And even though I recently complained about my gut, that's not my gelatinous midsection sticking out in this photo, it's the shirt poofing out, I swear!

To see what other people are wearing, click here to visit the SPC website.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's Puzzling

Today I did something that I haven't done in years. I started working on a jigsaw puzzle. My cousins gave me this puzzle about 4 years ago for Christmas. It has been sitting on my floor ever since. I've been wanting to work on it for a long time, and today I was doing some cleaning so I figured it was time to get it off of the floor. As you can see I haven't made much progress so far. Oh well, if it waited 4 years what's a little more time?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Benny Lava

You all know that I'm all about teh multiculturalism on here, so I thought you might enjoy watching this Indian video.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Day Late And A Dollar Short

I know it's a day late, but I didn't get around to baking my owl cookies until tonight. These don't exactly fit my new diet, but it just wouldn't be Halloween without them, and I'm giving a bunch of them away. Happy Halloween!

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