Friday, July 16, 2004

Inconsequential mutterings This is my LiveJournal Page. However, if LiveJournal allows this sort of linking feature, I'm going with that.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Continuing to move in to the new house. All my stuff is here, it's the unpacking that takes a while. Well, for me, anyway. My wife is happily unpacking stuff everyday, all day.

My yogurt making continues. One thing that I have discovered that no one mentions anywhere on the web is that sealed glass vessels work best for yogurt fermentation. I've got a inexpensive Salton yogurt maker that I got for Father's day. It comes with a plastic fermentation vessel, with an annoying indentation for a spoon that I never use, and whose lid just fits on top, and doesn't seal. I preferred to store the yogurt in containers that actually seal. First, I would decant into such a container. Then, I would skip that part, and just ferment in the container that does seal. I got about equivalent results from reusing a 2 lb. yogurt container as I did with the container that came with the yogurt maker. It was definitely yogurt, but of a liquidy consistency, rather like "drinkable" yogurt. I also used an old glass jar, and sealed the screw-top for fermentation. That yogurt comes out much thicker, about the same consistency as store bought yogurt, and not quite so tart as the yogurt fermented in plastic. Since I've been going through about a quart of yogurt every couple of days, it is an experiment I've repeated a couple of times, with consistent results. The way I figure it, the commercial producers seal the containers after introducing the yogurt culture.

Other odd yogurt experiment: I've got some L. Acidophilus pills, never mind why. Just to try, I crushed one of those, and used that to inoculate some pasteurized milk. Still came out yogurt, albeit with yellow spots from the turmeric used to color the pills. Why did I try this? Well, I had thought about picking up some dry cultures, but I didn't feel like making a special trip to a health-food store. I figured, WTF, let me try one of these.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Health


I've been rebounding now for a couple of weeks. I find that I still can't keep up for the whole workout video, so I do what I can. My weight has been stable lately, but I have been snacking a bit much, lately. One positive note is that when I went running this morning, I did feel stronger, once I warmed up a bit.


I've also been continuing to make my own yogurt. I'm saving about 3/4 of the cost this way. I'm still experimenting with the various available parameters. I've got a few variables, including how far I cool the milk after repasteurizing, and plastic versus glass.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

On the etiquette of instant messaging at work:

Here's a typical interaction:

Coworker: Hi?

Lorenzo: Yes?

1 minute wait

Coworker: quick question

another two minute wait

and so on. So, I've got the worst of both worlds. I'm supposed to drop everything, and wait while the slow-fingered formulates the question. And it's usually a question that isn't particularly urgent, and could have been handled fine by email.

It's really annoying. So, here's my set of guidelines for instant messaging with coworkers:

  1. Make sure, before you send an instant message, that you actually need such instant response.

  2. In the first message you send, include the topic of the conversation.

  3. Please don't say "quick question" unless you are looking for a yes or no answer, or something as straightforward. I've had "quick questions" suck me into hour long debugging sessions.


It's not that I am not willing to work with people. It's a question of how much respect do you show other people. If you IM me the way as in the example above, for something not at all pressing, you are telling me that my time is of no value to you. It may very well be the case, but telling me so this way is not a way to get me to happily help you. Showing a lack of consideration for my time in the ways I am complaining about will have the following possible effects:

  • I may be inclined to ignore instant messages from such a person.

  • I will have a negative attitude towards anything such a person wants from me, and I might be inclined to throw up all the red tape I am supposed to.

  • I may add that person to the list of people that cannot see if I am on-line.


It's all about respect, people.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Diet and Health

So, last Friday I got it really hammered home the importance of hydration, that is, drinking lots of water. My wife sometimes would get dizzy spells on quickly sitting up or standing up. She has fairly low blood pressure. As it turns out, the main thing for her is just keeping the fluid volume up. With that bit of info, I could have been saved a couple of big scares. I always took it for granted that running a couple of quarts low on fluid, while not ideal, is not really a problem. I tended to take in most of my fluids in the form of caffeinated beverages.

Of my own problems, I have the annoyance known as IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. I read
this article a couple of months ago, about intentionally ingesting weakened intestinal parasites as way to treat IBS symptoms. Well, that seemed a bit drastic to me. I took a more benign approach. I am eating yogurt with live cultures most days. It has had a very positive effect. Unlike the pig whipworms, though, I find I really do have to eat it every day to maintain the effect. Plain yogurt is a bit sour for me, though, so I sweeten it with a non-nutritive sweetener like stevia, and I'm good. Flavored yogurts are basically a sweet dessert food, looking at the labels.

I'm not a TV watcher (haven't had cable or satellite since about 1994), so it took Slashdot to point me to Alton Brown's website. On his blog, he foreswears high fructose corn syrup and (partially-)hydrogenated vegetable oils. I'm down on that. I have a fondness for what's usually called fruit nectars. I had always assumed they were pretty much fruit juice and pulp. Oh, not so, when I finally looked at the label a few years back. "WTF is high fructose corn syrup? And why is it the second ingredient? Isn't the fruit already sweet enough?" I just had a bad feeling about it then. As to transmogrified vegetable oils, doing a low-carb diet for a while got me back onto natural fats. I was not avoiding them out of any aversion per se, I just found cooking with natural fats tasted better. It's only later that the newsmedia told me how terrible transfatty acids are for me. Heck, I just know short crust tastes a lot better made with lard or butter than with shortening.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Exercise

So, the running is continuing. This fat middle-aged man appears to have lengthened his stride a bit. I am using a pedometer, so I have to enter in the length of my stride. When I started out, it was at 2'6". I used that to pace out a couple of routes, near our apartment, and near my in-laws house. Then, suddenly, last week, the pedometer was not agreeing with what I had measured before. So, a recalibration on a route of known distance puts my current stride at about 2'11". So, I seem to be improving. My energy level is improving a bit, although today, running at 11am, it seemed to wear me down a bit. And my weight has finally turned south enough that I can say it's not just a fluctation within the usual limits.

I also did a bit of research on treadmills, this week. I prefer to run, or jog, really, because walking doesn't really seem to get my heart rate up until I am walking so fast it is awkward. And, I want a surface that is a bit easier on my overloaded knees and ankles than tarmac. So, I checked into treadmills for runners. It was not heartening. I could expect to pay no less that $1k for a sufficiently sturdy model. Yes, I could probably fined one used on eBay for less, but with no certainty as to what it had been through. A bit more research turned up rebounding. Basically, exercising on a minitrampoline. My wife is buying me one for father's day. There was some stuff about NASA's use, etc. I will let you know more after I have been on it a bit. The price was low enough that I felt it was worth a try for joint-friendly exercise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

So, where am I, now? I seem to have adjusted very quickly to family life, with a wife and daughter, after ten years on my own. It is wonderful. Problem is, I just don't seem to have enough energy to enjoy it. For a few years, ballroom dancing was my main form of exercise. Now, feeling kind of disgusted with my waxing waistline and waning energy level, I have started getting some exercise again, and I am starting to really feel the effects of middle age on my body. This is going to be a project, I can see.
I can remember being an obnoxious young punk, laughing to myself at fat, old people waddling along around the track. That karma came due pretty quick. And I know, now, it's not a question of laziness, but of time. There are so many things to do, and I ended up having to reprioritize in order to get the exercise in. We'll see how it goes.
I've got to warn you. I tend to be more expressive the unhappier I am. As much as anything, I write when I need to vent. I am going to try to be more communicative in a positive sense here, as well. Writing out by hand had the advantage of giving time to think. The disadvantage of that medium was that I sometimes had many thoughts I wanted to pin down, but I couldn't write fast enough, and some of the thoughts would fade away. I type much faster than I write, but something typed into the computer has a much higher chance of disappearing forever in a hard disk crash (this has happened). I haven't found it any great loss to me, since, invariably, I find it difficult to read what was appropriate to a painful moment, and so I don't generally go back. But my wife was very disappointed when I lost some journals I was keeping when I was first chasing her. Not that I would have let her see them. <grin>
I just started using Safari Books Online. Sweeeet! I can get through a lot of material this way, without adding to the clutter of technical books I already have both at home and in the office. And the way I work with these books, this works better. It is a lot easier, when I am learning about coding something, or administration, to just switch windows than it is to turn my head to a book that I have propped open with a stapler or other such heavy object.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

So, what do I mean, life with sweeties? Sweetie is the term of endearment that we use in my new family. I recently married a wonderful woman, with a very sweet eight-year-old daughter, and we call each other sweetie.
Every phase of my life, since the advent of the web, has been marked by some communication from me on the web. When I was teaching meditation and spirituality, there was a web page associated with that. When I let that go, and let dance become my obsession, then that was also documented, but on a new site.
Now, after about 15 years of being single, I have married, and I have plunged into family life. More on that as I get inspired to say stuff. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Oh, dear, YAWL.