Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A Surreal Weekend

It has been an oddly surreal weekend.   A very enjoyable one to be sure,  but surreal none the less. It started on Tuesday night while talking with tamile and roswyne.   The idea came up of going to Fargo for the weekend.   It was just a random trip or anything the was a charity fundraiser being hosted by the same group that puts on one of our favorite annual conventions,  Corecon House the person it was for has long been a major fixture of the convention and is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. He has also been battling cancer,  which as it turns out is a very costly endeavor in the United States (more on that later)

So planning the trip turned into something of a cluster fuck.   Which I guess in a lot of ways is why I don't like to plan trips at the last minute. It started out as a day trip four hours down spend the day and the  four hours back.   For the record I hate trips like that.   You spend more time driven then you do at the place you are driving too.   It seems wasteful and like stupid idea to me. So I started exploring a few options for crash space. With little to no effort found crash space for Friday and Saturday.   Roswyne was comfortable. Being down that long or being tied to our schedule, so she made other plans.   I tried to adjust what I had started to set up to accommodate what she needed.   Which didn't work out at all.   So rather than  taking one car that could easily have fit 5 people we traveled in separate cars and honestly hardly saw each other over the course if the weekend. In the end I guess it wasn’t to big of a deal one way or the other. By all reports she had a good time and I had a good time, which in the end is the important part.

In our car was tamile,  naivara and myself.   Now normally naivara suffers from a condition jokingly called carcolypse,  you put her in a moving car at highway speeds and she is asleep.   That didn't happen  on the drive down which lead to one of the better discussions the three of us have had since our break up as a trouple. The three of us talked about a lot of different things and I think we were able to clear the air on a lot of things.  tamile and I also found a fair amount of time to talk this weekend as well. I think it put the two of us back on a better track for our relationship in a time that we really needed it.  Honestly I think tamile and I need to make a point of taking car trips of a minimum of 4 hours on a regular basis.  We both tend to talk with each other really well and open up while trapped in a car moving over 100 kilometers per hour.

The point behind the trip like I mentioned was to help support friend who is undergoing treatment for cancer.  Now this wasn’t for moral support, this was about financial support to help cover the cost of his care.  I heard a few numbers tossed around over the weekend about exactly what his treatment was costing.  All of the numbers seem to me to be ridiculously high (1 quote went as high as half a million), but I have been assured by Americans who are familiar with the system that they are certainly within the realm of possibility.  As a Canadian and someone who has grown up with socialized medicine this completely boggles my mind.  Now thankfully in my friend’s case he does have medical insurance coverage.  I don’t know to what extent it will be covered it wasn’t really any of my business.

Another friend who I saw while down there had also just undergone a major medical incident and had spent two weeks in intensive care.  She had no coverage, so she is going to have to pay for that all out of her own pocket as I understand the American system.  The cost of that stay is going to follow her around forever.  The amount of money it would cost for a two week stay in an IC unit up in the hundreds of thousands am sure.  

I did some quick googling and they even have a special term for this type of debt “Medical Debt”   The link will take you to the Wikipedia page that discusses the term.  After this weekend I don’t think I have ever been more thankful to be a Canadian.  Sure we might have long wait times to see a doctor at the emergency room, but I would rather sit around for 8 to 10 plus hours to see a doctor then have to work for the rest of my life to pay of the debt that was incurred because of the visit.

If you are reading this and would like to help out my friend house please visit House Is Where the Heart Is  page to make a donation. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Goals for 2016

I don't like to make resolutions for the year ahead.  I much prefer to think of them as goals for the new year. 

With that in mind I also make sure that they are SMART goals.  If you are not familiar with the idea of a SMART goal here ia a quick primer

Specific (Goals must be clear and unambiguous) 
Measurable (Results must be able to be measured in some way, for example, the number of products sold each week, or the percent completion)
Attainable (Goals must be realistic and attainable by the average employee)
Relevant (Goals must relate to your organization's vision and mission) 
Time-bound (Goals must have definite starting and ending points, and a fixed duration)

I'll be keep these in mind as I write my own goals for 2016.  Looking at the list means of each letter you can see that they were intended for a group or organization but that doesn't make them any less valuable to an individuals goals.

  • Complete Zombies Run couch to 5k:
 This is to be completed by tamile's birthday June 20th.  It will go a long way towards my own journey of health. Completing this has also been a long time goal for me as well, and it is one that I will see completed at long last this year.
  •  Build to a weekly exercise routine
 I find that I easily fall in a routine that lacks exercise.  So much of my life and the things I enjoy are sedentary that I need to work to actively make physically activity apart of my daily / weekly routine.  By January 16th I will post a weekly schedule that will show my intended out routine.  Then by the end of January I'll post a follow up to show how I've been doing on it.

  • Get my drivers license.
I've had my beginner's license for a long time at this point and it is time I get off my ass and be able to drive on my own.  Far to often there are things I miss out on because of my inability to drive myself to them.
  • Lifestyle Skills  and Power Exchange
There are a number of different skills that fall in to the kink lifestyle that I have dabbled in.  I really want to take the time to learn to make use of these skills in more in-depth.  I want to be able to use them in scenes at will, without having to take the time to for example look through a book as I'm working. 

An important part of those lifestyle skills include developing a relationship with someone to whom I can have an on going power exchange relationship.  I have parts of that style of relationship with two people at the moment but know that it could be so much more.

  • Clear attendance record at work.
 This is a simple one.  All I need to do is not miss work and it will take care of itself.
  •  Successfully launch and fulfill Casting KickStarter
 This one is far more complex then the last one.  It would take many posts to explain it all and everything that is required.
  • Complete test and prototyping for Gnome Care and continue working on other games
 If I want to be successful in the world of game design I need to always be working on projects.  It isn't enough to just make a single game and then start on the next one.  I need always be working on the next game, the next project.

  • Develop a regular meditation practice
 A few times over the last couple of years I have started to try and set up a meditation practice.  The times I have started the practice I have very much enjoyed the experience and felt better for it.  I want to be able to develop a practice that allows me to tap into that experience.

Anyways those are my goals for 2016.  It took me longer to post them then I had intended, but they were up and posted before the end of the first week.  So I'm happy with that accomplishment.  

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Wall

I was going through an old thumb drive the other night looking for a project and delete off the old crap that was on it when I came across something I had written.  It was originally written on May 2nd, 2008.  I never did get beyond the Wall that I face at the time.  Post surgery as you will already know I am way beyond that wall now.  Still I found it interesting to reread something from then.

So as you can see from the graph above I’ve been battling a plateau for roughly the past two months at this point.  For me the plateau has been 360 or as I’ve come to refer to them as ‘The Magic Number or The Wall’.  At first I thought I was just having a lazy week after having a good work.  Then I started looking at more closely as it continued for several weeks and knew I had to off hit a plateau and that if I was serous about this that I would have to take steps to break through. 

            First off I want to address the terminology being used because I really don’t like it.  A plateau is some where that mountain climbs stop and take a rest, may take a few pictures and enjoy themselves, for them it is a goal.  For people trying to lose weight a plateau is a point of frustration it is something that stops us and gets in our way.  It certainly isn’t something that we strive for or reach for.  So I say lets call it what it really is a wall.  Its something that we have to push through or climb over, it is in the end something to get past.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way and are speaking the same language lets get on with the blog.

            It’s my opinion that in order to beat something it is best to learn as much as you can on the subject.  That way you have the best possible tools to achieve your goals.  So off to the internet I went, I learned that ‘walls’ apparently come from two different possible sources.  One of the possibilities even claims that other is a biological impossibility.  I’m by no means a medical expert so I won’t even try and guess who is right in this and just present them to you as two separate concepts. 

            The first theory I came across on why have these walls when working to lose weight goes something like this.  The body needs a certain amount of calorie energy to get through the day. After all it has to do the basic things that we all feel are so important to continued life like Heart pumping, Lungs expanding and contracting, the kidney’s filtering and so one.  As we cut down our weight the amount of caloric energy we expend to stay alive goes down as well.  . 

            The next theory is the so called “Starvation mode” and it goes something like this.  Our body detects the reduction in calories and interprets that message as meaning that food is scarce.  So it goes in to what could best be described as a sort of power saver mode and saves any extra energy it can.  It makes sense in a lot of ways to me and would be a good survival method if food really was scarce.  Sadly in this case the body is miss-interpreting the message. 

            Some people say that the second one is biologically impossible, like I said earlier am not going to try and figure out who’s right and who’s wrong.  In the end the reason this happens is less important then what to do about it when it does happen.  That’s the real reason am sure many of you are reading this blog entry so lets get right in to that. 

            During my search every link I clicked offered me a new method to push through the wall or in some cases several of them..

Change things up if you have been focusing mostly on cutting back the calories then switch to focusing on burning the calories through exercise or vice versa.  If your already doing both try changing the amount you’re working out and increasing the intensity and or the resistance.

If you are not already doing so start a food an exercise log,  Keep track of everything you eating the calories too when possible.  Also including in that what you do for exercising.  It gives you a good picture of what your doing and not doing so you can really examine the changes you’re making to your life styles.

Change some of your eating habits can help so try reducing the carbohydrate and fat in take and eat more protein calories.  Just be sure to keep the daily protein calorie intake under 25% of your calories.  You can also try having days that are less restrictive in your diet plan.  That will sometimes help to keep the pounds coming off this is sometimes called Zig Zagging the calorie intake.  Along the same lines you can also adjust the sizes of the meals you eat through out the day and have several smaller meals / snacks through out the day.

I want to close with one site I came across that encouraged you to hang in their and keep it up.  Even though your not losing weight at the rate you might like, it is likely that your still losing although gradually.  This suggestion struck me personally as the height of stupidity and that it would only lead to further frustration.  So don’t just hang in there do something about it make changes and try in things.  Push through that wall and remember there will be another one at some point you broke through this one and you will break through the next one as well.

Your friend in weight loss who won’t give up and hopes you don’t either. 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Birthday dinner surprise

Tonight's birthday dinner turned into something a little more for my youngest daughter

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A life time of Star Wars

Disney World, 1989, age: 14,
the woman in the photo is my grandmother

First off there are no risks of spoilers here I haven't seen the movie yet and I've also stopped reading anything Star Wars related on the internet.

Star Wars has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  When the first movie came out on May 25, 1977 I was a year and half old.  The story I've always been told by my mom is that I was taken to the first movie at the driven in because my mom couldn't find a babysitter.  I have absolutely no memory of this at all, but I would like to imagine that I was spell bound staring at the screen watching the bright flashes of light flash a cross the screen with each blast shot.

Of course I realize that as a 1 and half year old I likely couldn't even see the screen and I certainly had no concept of what was happening in the movie.  What I would have known is that my mom was excited and happy.  Knowing what I know of kids that likely would have made me happy as well.  Either way it is mostly speculation the only fact I can confirm is that I was there.  The rest of the movies in the original serious I remember seeing in theaters as well.  Although I don't remember much about them personally.  I do recall seeing Return of the Jedi at Grant Park theater with my neighbor, although I have no clue why I would have seen it with him.

Star Wars toys fueled my imagination easily as much any of my other toys.  I remember grand adventures played out in my backyard where the falcon would land in the grass and my action figures would battle it out in what to them was waist high grass.  It went to encourage me to start reading other adventure books, and guild my friends through adventures of our own.

In many ways it shaped the person I am today.  A love of Star Wars lead to a love of Science fiction in general.  From that I discouvered role-playing games and in turn fandom.  There isn't a day that goes by in my life when I don't interact with someone I might because of my time in Fandom.  Granted that isn't to hard to say since I met my wife through fandom :)

by the time the second three movies that came out I had two daughters that I could bring along with me and introduce to the world of Star Wars.  Of course they had already seen the movies we owned the VHS we were savages.  But the thought of reading the scroll at the start of the Phantom Menace always brings a smile to my face.  Some jerk in the theater "shhhh" us as we were reading quietly to hear.  The people around us were so offended by his action that they started reading along with us.

Now with the new movies about to start I'm happy to say that I have a ticket in had for my grandson and I can't wait to take him to see it this Sunday.

Thank you George Lucas for bring a universe to life and having such a huge impact on my life.