MonthApril 2018

A Year of Loss

A year ago, I decided to try and lose weight. Again. This wasn’t the first time that I’ve done a diet, only to fall off the wagon a few months later. Still, I was tired of having my clothes feeling tight, not being able to get anything from anyplace but a big and tall shop, and I was worried about my health. Penn Jillette stated on his podcast that he realized he was having to take so many drugs to compensate for the fact he was overweight. That hit home with me. I didn’t want to have all the health problems with my family history if I could help it.

Somehow – somehow – I have managed to keep the willpower to stay on track for a full year. Everything I’ve read led me to the most basic rule of weight loss – “Consume less calories than your body burns.” So, I fired up a calorie counting app I’d used before and started my budget. This time I followed some rules.

  1. Track everything. Even on days when I knew I was going over, I still put everything in my food log.

  2. Manage budget on a weekly basis. I strove to keep under every day, but my main goal was to be under my calorie budget for the week. If I knew I was going to have a party or a team lunch, I made sure to “save up” extra calories earlier in the week.

  3. Weigh myself once a week. – Before I’d weighed myself daily, but there’s too much fluctuation on a daily basis. It’s discouraging. Weekly weigh-ins gave me a better idea of how I was actually doing.

  4. Enlist help. – The Brother was nice enough to help me with this, which was a good thing because he’s the one I do my grocery shopping with. Having someone asking me if I really wanted that package of cookies or chips helped when I was sitting on the fence.

  5. Accept defeats. – There have been weeks when the scale went up instead of down. I needed to understand that those were tactical defeats, not strategic ones. Losing a battle does not lose the war.

  6. Have short and long term goals. – My first short term goal was just to hit 300 lbs. That took seven months to hit, but it was a lot easier to work to that then the 200 lbs. long term goal. I need both to keep my motivation up.

  7. Celebrate wins. – When I hit one of my short-term goals, I have a “bye” week. It’s a week I can eat as I want without worrying about calories. I still track everything I eat during those weeks.

  8. When in doubt, say no. – This was one of the harder lessons, as I love to eat. If I had a doubt whether I should eat something or not, I had to make my default setting as “no.”

  9. Understand that this is a way of life. – This lesson came much later from an episode of Squirrel Report. If I want to keep the weight off, I’m going to be counting calories for the rest of my life. Even when I hit my long term goal, I will still need to count calories.

So, how effective has this been for me?

Starting weight: 355 lbs. Current weight: 261 lbs.

Starting pant size: 56 Current pant size: 44

Want. So Much Want.

So, in case you were unaware, I have recently paid off my car loan. That freed up some cash in my budget. Being a believer in the Dave Ramsey system, that additional cash is probably going back into savings. Still, there are some guns I saw during my latest excursion to the gun store.

  1. S&W M&P 2.0 – I want the full size and the compact to replace my current carry guns. The fact that I’d only need to invest in new 15-round mags for the compact and a couple of new holsters is also high on my list of pluses.

  2. Bond Arms Bullpup (aka Boberg) – I just want this as a gadget thing. And for some people to think I work for HK when I load the mags. (Non-gunnies, ask the gunnies for clarification)

  3. A higher end EBR – I’ve got a very basic S&W M&P-15, and I’d like something a bit better. Honestly, I’m half tempted to find an FS2000. I love the look and feel of those. Failing that, I’m thinking hard on a Sig MCX or a Tavor.

  4. A good and pretty 1911 – I love the look of 1911’s. I wouldn’t mind one as a BBQ gun. Probably need a pretty holster to go with it.

  5. A good stainless steel full size .357 revolver – I’ve got a decent snubby, but I’d like a full-size one. Probably a GP-100, but I wouldn’t say no to S&W.

  6. A good lever action in .357 magnum – Because everyone should have a cowboy rifle.

There’s a bunch more I want. I’d love one of Ruger’s new pistol carbines, but I wish either Ruger or someone else would make a magwell that would take M&P magazines.

Ah well. Dreaming is easy. Budgets are hard.

Florida Baseball Sucks, So Let’s Keep Propping It Up

The local fish wrapper decided it needed to reply to a recent WSJ article on how professional baseball sucks in Florida. Full disclosure: I’ve been to exactly one Rays game, and I’m not a huge fan of baseball to begin with. So, why am I writing about this?

Because the same Tampa Bay Rays that is being sued by the players union for not spending enough on the team is busily trying to get the local governments to pony up for a new stadium down in Ybor.(That’s pronounced EE-Bore for those of you not familiar with Tampa.)

That’s my tax dollars going to prop up a team that has trouble selling seats already. That’s my tax dollars going to yet another public stadium with false promises of it being a boon to the area economy.

Bread and circuses.

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast

Last weekend the girlfriend and I had the first “your folks and my folks” dinner at her place. This was the first time my family had been down to her place and got to meet her family and cats. Yes, it was a success. Particularly when my family got to meet her hairless cats.

For dessert, my mom brought chocolate cake. Very good. Very rich. About half of it left over. The next morning, there was some facetious discussion about the possibility of chocolate cake for breakfast. Maybe not so facetious. Anyways, I was going to make a reference to Bill Cosby’s bit, but found out that the girlfriend never saw that routine. That was quickly remedied.

She was amused, and I think more tempted by the chocolate cake.

Metal Tuesday- Brother’s Choice

Something Old and Something New

So now the Mssr. Ward is updating his blog again and it the anniversary of my entrance into this world has come about again, I have been requested to provide another Metal Tuesday.

As in the past, it behooves me to share music of a slightly more… aggressive nature than Derek would provide.

Something Old

To start off, here is an older black metal song: Silence of the World Beyond by A Canorous Quintet) from 1996.

A Canorous Quintet – Silence of the World Beyond

I just realized this album is old enough to drink.

Something New

I like technical death metal. I really enjoy its mixture of aggression, technical skill, and creativity. Rivers of Nihil are a newer band and their latest album is very good. This song is from their latest album and contains a sexy saxophone solo.

Rivers of Nihil – The Silent Life

Surprise Third Entry!

Not everything I listen to is heavy and aggressive. Here is a wonderful rock song for everyone that did not care for the previous tracks.

Think of it as a audio unicorn chaser

Good Tiger – Where Are The Birds

CDC and Guns

One of the big complaints from the game b control side is the restriction on the CDC from researching gun violence. What the law prevents is the CDC from doing research to promote gun control. The reason was simple – we shouldn’t be politicizing something like the CDC.

“But the CDC would be an unbiased source!” Really? Then why would they fail to publish all of the data they collected in the nineties about firearms used in self defense.

Oh look, the data shows that DGUs far outstrip felonious uses. And at the same rate Gary Kleck estimated during the same time period – about 2.5 million uses a year. Other, more recent, studies are showing about 100,000 DGUs annually.

If Congress decides to give into pressure and remove its current restrictions on the CDC for studying gun violence, then it should also mandate that ALL research paid for by public funding be published. Including the raw data sets before a researcher decides to “massage” it with some bizarre statistical tool or another.

State of Writing

With me being in physical therapy for the last few weeks, my fiction writing has slowed to a bare trickle. Still, I’ve managed to put some words together. It also doesn’t help that I’ve had to completely overhaul one project, and lost a bunch of the original writing in the process.

Still, as of April 2018, here are the current projects I’m working on:

  1. Promise to the Magic Heart – This will be novel-length fantasy series, and probably a trilogy of books. My original idea was to mix the storyline with flashbacks (like Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series), except I’m not that good. So all the flashbacks were yanked for the first book, and then promptly eaten by Scrivener. I think I’ve got some earlier drafts, so I’m not completely screwed, but it’s a setback.

  2. Irregulars 3 – Outlining stage

  3. The Legion – Military sci-fi; not sure if I want to do a series of novels or a series of novellas (like Irregulars). I have the basic story, it’s just a matter of putting keyboard to word processor.

  4. The Clans – Urban fantasy. This is most likely going to be like Irregulars with short novellas combining into a bigger arc.

I’m hoping to get to writing more, but we’ll see if the personal and work lives let me.

And I really should try to actually sell some of this stuff.

Diversity Is A Good Thing, As Long As You Know What To Diversify

Reason put out this article earlier this week on the dangers of Silicon Valley’s burgeoning ideological conformity. Let’s look at the first couple of paragraphs:

quote When it comes to software, Silicon Valley understands the threat of monocultures. If 100 percent of computers run the same code and malware authors discover an exploit, 100 percent of computers will be vulnerable to the same attack. Fortunately, the way to reduce such risks is straightforward: Increase diversity.

quote Alas, this insight seems limited to software. Technology executives have yet to fully recognize the risks posed by the potent political monocultures forming inside their own companies.

The problem is that so many who push “diversity” fail to understand what they need to diversify. For these tech companies – and other places pushing diversity for diversity (cough, universities, cough, literary circles) – they are mistaking the biological for the mental. In essence, they are saying because they have both golden labradors and chocolate labradors, they are diverse – and they don’t see the problem when large numbers of their dogs die off. For tech companies, the biggest threat from this failure to recognize they are not really diverse is going out of business because they’ve alienated enough customers.

However, the same issue is impacting the RKBA. I keep hearing how we do we get more women, POCs, young people, etc. involved in the gun rights battle. Too many times, I see the RKBA making the same mistake of substituting outward diversity with inward diversity. You can’t invite people with one breath, and with the next demand they immediately conform to every thing you believe outside of RKBA – such as God, abortion, economics, and/or the current issues of the day.

We’re not breeding stronger livestock, so we shouldn’t be looking for biological diversity. We’re trying to breed stronger ideas, so we need ideological diversity.

Wall Street Journal Tries To Look At the Smart Gun Issue

The Wall Street Journal decided to examine the smart gun issue. It seems the authors of the piece can’t figure out why no one on in Silicon Valley is willing to fund smart guns, and dismisses the concerns of gun owners and RKBA activists.

For example:

quote For decades, firearms companies have refused to sell smart guns because of glitches in some early models, as well as a backlash from conservative gun-rights activists, who fear the technology will prompt state legislatures to mandate it broadly. The activists say their fears were confirmed by a 2002 New Jersey law requiring all handguns for sale in the state to have smart-gun technology once it became available. (emphasis mine) Smith & Wesson’s parent company said last month it was still wary of making smart guns.

Excuse me, but this isn’t a case of activists making an unsubstantiated claim. I would call that empirical evidence.

Further, the authors have to pull out that this would stop a highly publicized event:

quote But in theory, a gun with a fingerprint reader or RFID technology might stop murderers like Adam Lanza who used guns purchased and stored by his mother, and to a greater degree prevent accidental shootings and suicides.

Did they even read how this tech was supposed to work? First, Lanza’s mother took him with her shooting. Are you telling me that an RFID reader or fingerprint scanner would have stopped someone already granted access? About the only one of these claims that has some merit is accidental shootings. My problem is that: 1) the situations prevented are already rare and 2) the lives saved may be outweighed by the number of lives lost because tech failures preventing people from defending themselves. Oh how can you quantify that people would be put in danger by tech failures? How many times has the fingerprint scanner on your phone failed to read in good conditions? How many times have you had to rescan a badge for entrance because the reader was being temperamental?

Here’s my take on the smart gun issue. I’m a geek and I love technology. However, I don’t trust governments not to abuse any advances in smart gun tech to restrict the rights.

Metal Tuesday- Gemini Syndrome – Stardust

This band, like so many, was brought to my attention by The Brother. And as usual, he was very correct that I would enjoy it. So, of course I’m going to share.

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