How Oracle’s Ellison Drove a Java advocate to .NET/C#…

October 26, 2010

You don’t know me. Larry Ellison certainly doesn’t know me. I am a nobody. A typically esoteric strange developer coder type nobody. But still a nobody in the big picture of industrial software platforms.

Yet, there are enough of me, of nobodies, to eventually matter. And thanks to Ellison, Jobs and Ballmer, I am now planning to use FLOSS Mono influenced MonoTouch to produce .NET/C# apps on the iPhone. That’s the only way I know to punch each of them in their groin while simultaneously maximizing _my_ market value. Jobs has to _hate_ my choosing to use .NET/C# on the iPhone. Ballmer has to hate I am doing anything on the iPhone. And Ellison loses the mind-share of a disillusioned Java enterprise developer. How does this help Oracle long-term?

And I know I am not the only Java developer like this. In fact, I am seeing lots of nobodies out there…enough to eventually make a difference emergently. If my attention moves away from enterprise Java and into, say, .NET/C# via MonoTouch, how does that help Oracle long-term? And if enough of us move away from Java and into whatever else is out there, Java heads towards the same fate as FORTRAN and COBOL. It will still exist. It will just do so in obscurity while its descendants thrive. Perhaps that’s the future. Java’s descendants; Android and .NET/C# via MonoTouch. How does this help Oracle long-term?

I’m not a star Java developer with a blog about how awesome Java is. I am just one of those mundane day-to-day enterprise application code sluggers that has been happy with Sun’s FLOSS directions in and around Java and OpenOffice for years. And then Oracle/Ellison purchased Sun. And I tried to stave off the feelings of dread I had about what might happen as Sun was consumed and digested by the Oracle/Ellison behemoth. But the staving didn’t work. And an internal motivation threshold was crossed. And I am now actively pursuing a .NET/C# future. First in MonoTouch. And then, in MS’s own products as they are introduced (as opposed to Java) where I’m responsible for architecture and design decisions. How does this help Oracle long-term?

I am not an Ellison fan. I’m not into the psychologically immature narcissists (probably adjectively redundant) that seem to plague US technical corporations (I don’t know if the same occurs elsewhere). I particularly don’t care for Oracle/Ellison, Apple/Jobs and Microsoft/Ballmer. Maybe it’s because I cannot relate to them and their corporate juggernauts. It’s probably why I remained a Sun fan. I like underdogs. I wasn’t very keen on Scott McNeily, Sun’s original CEO, as he seemed to be a personality alignment wannabe for those others. However, he stepped down and was replaced with Jonathon Schwartz. And he was my kind of guy. Unfortunately, he was left with quite a mess upon his arrival. And in spite of that, he was able to achieve some great progress, at least for those of use who value FLOSS. And he was able to communicate pretty effectively with his development community. Schwartz fell away as Sun entered the great maws of Oracle. I trusted Schwartz.

And as I watched Oracle digest Sun, I became aware that I was no longer comfortable with Java’s future as I didn’t trust Java’s new steward. How OpenSolaris was treated was one of the earliest signs. Then, there was the activity around Apache.

So, I began to think about “What’s next?” I couldn’t help but notice all the activity around Android. I became interested in moving in that direction. Oracle helped push me further into that interest by suing Google for software patent infringement within Android. Nothing gets me more anti a company than for them to offensively use software patents. Okay, maybe ANYONE using the DMCA as a censorship mechanism might get me hotter, still. So, how does their litigation help Oracle long-term?

And then there’s OpenOffice. Oracle’s behavior in this area is just atrociously apathetic. And then they have made things even worse in the way they treated those who might be able to be liasons to help bridge themselves into the FLOSS community’s new LibreOffice. Instead, they acted like the community clueless corporate hacks I had feared they might be. Guess which nobody isn’t in alignment with, isn’t going to advocate for and will run from the NOracle as quickly as possible? Is Oracle even thinking long-term?

Since I currently own an iPhone 3G and my two year contract doesn’t expire until April, I decided to look at developing an app for the iPhone. As I investigated creating the app, I invested two weeks into researching what my options might be. And that was my first real foray into “Objective C”. I happened to get  a copy of “Head First iPhone Development”. I was immediately put off by Objective C. And then I recalled Jobs requiring I use it (or C or C++) to make apps for the iPhone. So, I began a hunt to see what other options existed.

And that’s when a friend pointed out MonoTouch. I investigated and liked how comfortable it felt. So, I have taken a series of very low risk and low cost choices as I move to generate my first iPhone app using MonoTouch. And thus far, I am VERY happy with what I have discovered. Plus, if Windows Mobile 7 takes off, I have leveraged my iPhone experience to help me eventually do .NET/C# development on Microsoft’s new mobile OS (which is the most likely one for Nokia to pick up now that they have offed Symbian).

All in all, I am a nobody. And as such, I have to hedge my bets. And thanks to Oracle/Ellison, I have decided to go explore other ways to hedge my bets as opposed to endure their hegemony. .NET/C# are now mature enough. Mono is FLOSS free enough. And thanks to Oracle/Ellison, it appears that Java has begun its eventual decline into the same status as COBOL.

As to Android, that’s just second nature to my existing Java experience. Of COURSE I will be producing apps for that. It’s a slam dunk. And knowing that producing apps on Android is annoying Oracle/Ellison’s juggernaut, bonus!

Java-like code remains in my future. It’s just descendants of Java; C# and Android, which will be my new partners.

So long Java, and thanks for all the FLOSS!

October 3, 2010

Well, the week and the weekend got away from me – I am in preparations for moving from N. Richardson to Las Colinas (N. Irving). So, I won’t be addressing any of my diet plan items in this post. And it may be another two weeks before my personal life/time settle down where I can spend the time to generate an in-depth post about my diet plan.

Instead, I will just provide a list of links to all the blogs I am following and from where I am getting most (~60%) of the information I am using to inform my own diet and exercise design choices. The list follows:

Until next week…

Fit Fail – Diet Designs

September 26, 2010

Summary:

In the 90 day window I have from my poor bloodwork results (detailed here), I am adjusting/adapting/re-designing my diet. I am going Paleo. I have a prioritized set of “rules” I will be following, with the higher priority (i.e. more restrictive) towards the top and the lower priority (i.e. more permissive) towards the bottom.

Details (story):

In the last 12 years, I have tried numerous diets. Most have been some variation of low-carb. Those work for me to remove weight as that was my measurement; my focus. However, I love carbs. Much more accurately, I love Life cereal, chocolate chip cookies (especially BJ’s Pizzookie), chocolate cake and dark chocolate covered almonds. And these things are not driven by cravings. They are driven by my strong and deep emotional and social associations I have with these food objects and time I share with those about which I care. Just being up front that no matter what diet I choose, I will not be giving up the above items permanently. I can and will restrict when I get to have them. But I WILL have them again.

Thanks to my recent blood work results, it appears I must be even more attentive to the details of my daily diet. The last year of just being “moderate” apparently wasn’t good enough. So while that might work for others, it appears I have to be more diligent about attending to my daily diet needs (as well as augmenting with exercise).

I have chosen to “go paleo” for 90 days. I have not tried the paleo diet explicitly. I have been close to it, but not directly on it. My best friend, Bill, has been on it for 9 months and has had some remarkable results. My admiration for his results has me inspired to try it, at least for 90 days.

So what’s the paleo diet, you ask? The wiki has a good entry on it. And as with any diet, it has numerous variations. And as I implement what I think is important to the diet, I am relatively certain a new variation will be birthed. The version that I am starting with first is located here. And I will be modifying this list over time into my own list, generating less of a good/bad frame and more of a degree of alignment frame.

My personal diet plan is a mild re-interpretation of Panu’s (Dr. Kurt Harris) list.

Personal Diet Plan Rules/Guidelines:

  1. Always eliminating all foods containing gluten grains (i.e. wheat, rye and barley) and any of their derivatives (i.e. flour, germ, powder, etc.)
  2. Always eliminating all foods and drinks containing sugars (i.e. sugar-cane, sugar-beet, high-fructose corn syrup, milk lactose) – excluding freshly squeezed juice
  3. Always ensuring generation of enough vitamin D through daily skin exposure to sun and/or D3 supplements
  4. Mostly reducing to very small amounts non-gluten grains (i.e. rice, corn, etc.)
  5. Mostly eliminating snacking and practicing some form of intermittent fasting
  6. Mostly eating better fats (i.e. animal flesh fat, whole cream, coconut fat, avocados)
  7. Mostly replacing grain and/or seed derived (cooking) oils with fat based oils (i.e. butter, coconut oil, animal fat and/or ghee)
  8. Mostly eating ruminant animals (i.e. beef, bison/buffalo, lamb) – have smaller percentage come from eggs and fish
  9. Mostly ensuring Omega3/Omega6 balance strongly favors Omega6 (i.e. fish oil supplements)
  10. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating processed foods – strongly prefer eating foods in their natural or cooked state
  11. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  fruits (i.e. apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, plums, etc.) – including their freshly squeezed juices
  12. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  legumes (i.e. peas, beans, soy, peanuts, etc.)
  13. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  nuts (i.e. walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, macadamia, etc.)
  14. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  night-shades (i.e. potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, etc.)
  15. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating dairy (i.e. cheese, cottage cheese, butter, cream, sour-cream, etc.)
  16. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating and/or drinking caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.)
  17. Rarely (all but eliminate) drinking alcohol (i.e. beer, liquor, wine, etc.)

Obvious Missing Elements:

Pork, fowl (chicken, turkey, etc.), artificial sweeteners, extremely dark chocolate, etc. I will address these in a future post. They are mixed in both being valuable and being tricky.

Common Misperceptions:

These are worth clearing up ASAP as they were surprises to me.

  • Corn is a grain, not a vegetable
  • Potatoes and Tomatoes are night-shades, not vegetables
  • Peanuts are legumes, not nuts
  • Consuming (good) fats is essential to maintaining higher brain function into one’s later years
  • The fear of the link between red meat and cancer appears to be largely nullified gluten grains have been substantially reduced and/or eliminated from the diet (more on medical diet myths in a later post)
  • The calcium justification for drinking milk to avoid osteoporosis appears to be largely nullified gluten grains have been substantially reduced and/or eliminated from the diet (more on medical diet myths in a later post)

Macro-nutrient Caloric Ratios per Meal (+/- 5%):

  • Fat: 65%
  • Protein 25%
  • Carbohyrdrates: 10%

Fundamental Principles Influencing the Design of My Diet Plan List:

  1. The closer to the paleo-orthodox end of the spectrum (which spans from paleo-lithic to neo-lithic), the more excess capacity the immune system gains to fight systemic issues (i.e. allergies, outbreaks, ph-balance, etc.)
  2. Affects on blood-glucose (sugar) directly influence insulin sensitivity, hence the use of the glycemic index is very helpful in choosing health and fitness effective foods
  3. Supporting an active lifestyle requires both the proper selection of foods in the diet combined with the proper timing of their consumption to maximize hormonal benefits.
  4. Life happens. Exceptions occur. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Anniversaries, birthdays, vacations, etc. are special. And for most of those, all the above rules/guidelines my be broken for a meal, a day or even a week. The rules above for for living during all the non-exceptional times. The challenge is to find the right threshold to define an “exceptional” event. And that likely requires defining them prior to their occurring, not on the fly. Otherwise, it’s very easy to slide further and further out of alignment with the rules/guidelines.

In my next post, I will start addressing each of the diet plan items, going into much greater depth about what the item means to me…

Fit Fail – Bloodwork Breakdowns

September 19, 2010

Summary:

From my recent yearly physical, I received a poor grade on my blood work. My “health consultant” (doctor’s PA) prescribed a statin (Crestor) for my pre-CVD (CardioVascular Disease) “high” cholesterol and an anti-diabetic (Metformin) for my pre-diabetes high fasting blood glucose and elevated HbA1c. I have 90 days before I am to be re-tested. I’m going to get a much better (i.e. healthier) grade by NOT using “health consultant’s” prescriptions, but by using self-discipline, support and my critical thinking skills.

Details (story):

I got back the results of my bloodwork on Wednesday (blood drawn on Aug/23) and got some pretty undesirable news. Given the figures and my MD’s PA’s interpretation was that my cholesterol is bad (LDL is too high and my HDL is too low), my fasting blood glucose and HbA1c is too high. Ugh! Here are those undesirable numbers (where they are over or under the end of the recommended range / over or under change from last year’s numbers):

  1. Cholesterol, Total: 214 (+14/+57)
  2. LDL-C: 162 (+62/+57)
  3. HDL-C: 39 (-1/+2)
  4. LDL-P: 2984 (+1984/)
  5. Small LDL-P: 2414 (+1887)
  6. LDL Size: 19.9 (-0.6)
  7. Large HDL-P: <0.7 (-4.1)
  8. HDL Size: 8.3 (-0.9)
  9. LP-IR Score: 46 (+1)
  10. Glucose, Serum: 107 (+8)
  11. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c): 5.6 (+0 – top value of range – 6.4 or higher is considered diabetic)

There are some desirable numbers (measurement / over or under change from last year’s numbers):

  1. Triglycerides: 66 (-9)
  2. Vitamin D, 25 Hydroxy: 40.2 (first time measured)
  3. C-Reactive Protein, Quant: 0.5 (0.0)

What does all those numbers actually mean?

It turns out it largely depends up on who you ask. For example, my doctor’s PA interpreted these numbers to mean I have high cholesterol and need to be on a statin. And I have high blood sugar and HbA1c which means I am pre-diabetic. And if you ask the pharmaceutical industry, you would find they are the ones who funded the studies and marketing material my doctor and his PA have read, accepted and promote. And given the average person’s lacking taking responsibility for their personal health, it means that most of their patients just willing accept their newly diagnosed disease state and just begin popping the problem solving pills.

However, I am choosing to interpret them a slightly different way. I am choosing to see them as opportunities to make some adjustments to my list of the most important areas of managing  and maintaining healthy happy longevity (i.e. fun filled active old-age). They are listed in order of importance; i.e. their degree of influence in over-all fitness and health:

  1. Attitude – reducing stress and projecting a free, happy and successful possible future
  2. Sleep – repairing and growing basic physiological and neurological building blocks
  3. Breathing – maximizing and generating excess capacity in immune system function
  4. Diet – fuel for both the body and the brain
  5. Exercise – hormonal and neuro-chemical factory activation and pumping system

While I have listed them in order of influence, they all intricately depend upon the others. Having an effective (empowered and non-victimized) attitude is pretty moot if one has crappy sleep patterns and diet, regardless of how good the breathing and exercise patterns might be.

How did I get to this (blood work) state?

My numbers this time last year were awesome (according to my doctor) compared to those from this year.

  1. Did I really lose that much ground in one year?
  2. On my list of “Happy Longevity Influencers”, where did I go wrong to produce this bloodwork state?
  3. How can I feel confident about disregarding the “profession” (and pharmaceutical conglomerate marketing) advice I have received and just “do my own thing”?

1) Did I really lose that much ground in one year?

The answer isn’t simple, but can be summed up as probably. The first assumption to challenge is the objectivity of the numbers themselves. It turns out that even though the blood is taken from me in a fasting state, that does not mean the resulting measurements are precise. In other words, if I were to go in the next day in a fasted state, have blood drawn and the same numbers produced, some of the measurements could be substantially different (first 10 of the 11 listed above). Some would have very small differences (HbA1c, C-Reactive Protein and Vitamin D).

This same effect can be experienced by getting on the bathroom scale to measure my weight and body fat percentage. I can get up one morning, get on my scale 10 times in a row, and receive a different weight and body fat percentage every time. Granted, the measurement would fall in a range. For example, my weight might be 205.1, 205.7, 204.9, 205.2, etc. So, what’s my actual weight? The bathroom scale cannot tell you accurately. It can only give you an approximate answer with a +/-1.1lbs accuracy. To get a scale with an accuracy that has a smaller approximate range, you have to pay substantially more for it. And you have to frequently calibrate it with a known weight quantity just prior to using the device. It’s very accurate. And pretty darn inconvenient. And expensive too boot.

As a result, I do not put near the value in measurements 1-10 (or Triglycerides) as they have too much day-to-day fluctuation. If my insurance company paid for it, I am sure my doctor would be more than happy to take a series of measurements to get a tighter feel for the actual numbers. My insurance company won’t pay for it more than once a year (unless it’s for diagnosing an unusual problem). So, the single measurement is used with too much weight compared to it’s actual value accuracy.

And that leads use to the second assumption to challenge; that high LDL is “bad” or “undesirable”. And I don’t hold that assumption. I choose to imagine that nature wouldn’t have put a “bad” thing in us. The immune system is not “bad” just because a person has an auto-immune disorder (i.e. allergy). It’s just indicating there is some systemic issue that needs to be addressed that until address the immune system is going to react to a particular way. Said slightly differently, when one solves the root cause in the system, the “allergy” goes away because the immune system no longer has to “make do” with it’s current more stressful and undesirable response.

If one makes the assumption LDL is desirable and good, then one has to investigate why the liver choose to generate so much of it? In other words, rather than reduce my LDL directly using a statin, why not try to find other causes which might actually be responsible for the liver’s pathological response of producing high levels of LDL (and that’s assuming that I am not genetically predisposed to high levels of LDL in the first place which is a whole different tangent)? Back to this in a moment.

The next assumption to challenge is that lowing one’s LDL leads to a reduction in all-cause mortality, not just lowering one’s CVD risk. It turns out that there are a number of studies showing while statin use does seem to reduce CVD risk in middle aged males (not females), all-cause mortality goes UP. Translated, it appears that statins have a very limited affect on preventing CVD in a small age range of males while actually increasing non-CVD types of death to INCREASE!

If we return to the original question, “Did I really lose that much ground in one year?”, I want my answer to be based on the variables that have a longer term profile. And HbA1c seems to be the better candidate. And that variable did go up. And that variable is being found to have a strong correlation to all-cause mortality, not just the onset of Type 2 diabetes. So, I’m drawing the conclusion that I’m worse off than last year regarding my longevity goals.

2) On my list of “Happy Longevity Influencers”, where did I go wrong to produce this bloodwork state?

I was fine with my attitude and sleep. However, prior to the last 12 months, I did breathing exercises daily, played soccer once a week, practicing Yoga 2-3 times a week, went to CrossFit Plano 5 times a week, was on a pretty strict version of the Zone diet, did not eat mammal meat and was off of caffeine (no diet coke or iced tea). And then basically stopped all of that in the last 12 months. I just enjoyed a relaxing time not worrying about any of these areas strongly (large change in my personal life). I shifted to a low-carb-ish diet with at least one exception a week. And I didn’t work out more than once or twice a month, if that. It was not accidental. I chose to let go of all my old patterns. I wanted to restructure my life and wanted my patterns to re-emerge according to my new life priorities.

As a result, my insulin sensitivity dropped substantially. However, because I was eating large amounts of protein, I never lost much in the way of muscle tone or muscle mass. I just grew a nice large belly. I went from my comfortable size 34 pants to my comfortable 36 pants. And of course started sporting an additional 10-15lbs of weight almost exclusively in my mid-section. And then I didn’t really do anything special prior to my physical. Hence, my bloodwork being indicative of my imprecise diet combined with almost no exercise.

3) How can I feel confident about disregarding the “profession” (and pharmaceutical conglomerate marketing) advice I have received and just “do my own thing”?

In my research on statins, I was not please to see so many side-effects. And some of the side-effects have long term consequences related to physically intense activities. I am not willing to live with some of those possible consequences.

Additionally, I have been able to alter my numbers in these areas prior to now. So, I am convinced I can change them again using similar techniques that have worked for me previously.

Lastly, I have skin in the game and a deadline. I have to do the work to produce results within a relatively short time frame. That is very motivating to me.

What am I doing to do now?

I have continued my intermittent fasting and that seems to be having positive results in stopping my weight gains. However, it does not seem to be taking the weight off (even using my low-carb approach). And I find my current fasting schedule to be pleasing from an eating standpoint.

However, while I will continue with my intermittent fasting plan, I am now making some very large adjustments. More about these in my next post…

EagleEye – PS3 Gaming with PC Keyboard/Mouse (part 3)

September 5, 2010

So, I finally got to play BFBC2 (BattleField: Bad Company 2) with my EagleEye and a cheap USB keyboard and mouse.

I decided to dive into the single player game just to get my feel of the controls. I died quite a bit in the WWII Japanese scenes. I kept having to adjust the sensitivity of the game so the mouse would feel good. I played for about an hour.

Conclusion: It’s no where near as accurate or effective as playing with a mouse/keyboard on the PC. However, it is many times more effective than playing with the PS3 controller.

I then dove into BFBC2 multi-player. It’s quite a different game on the console. You can tell the skill levels are MUCH lower. And it was trivial to rack up some serious pwnage in just a couple of minutes. I experimented playing around just to get the feel of the game. I played for about an hour and enjoyed the experience over-all. It was certainly not as tight at the PC experience. However, I could actually get into playing the game on the PS3.

Summary: The EagleEye is a winner for me, at least with two hours of play in BFBC2. However, the initial cost of getting it to work was way too high.

In my next post, I will share what my expectations were which ended up being quite a bit too high compared to what Penguin United eventually delivered…

EagleEye – PS3 Gaming with PC Keyboard/Mouse (part 2)

September 3, 2010

Arising early on Saturday morning, I skedaddled out to BestBuy and bought the cheapest USB keyboard I could get. My goal was to test everything before making a commitment. And besides, the keyboard would work or not. There is only so fast I can actually click buttons.

I got back home very excited. I got the EagleEye out and reviewed the small single sheet of instructions provided. They were pretty sparse. I was too excited to care. I got the software (micro-sized) CD into my laptop and then plugged in the naked EagleEye; no keyboard and/or mouse plugged into it yet. I then carefully looked at the BFBC2 manual and slowly mapped the keyboard keys to the appropriate slots in the very rudimentary windows application that popped up. The text of the paper instructions were not clear. The application GUI was clearly designed and written by a hardware oriented person. It sucked. It didn’t follow standard windows GUI API customs. It misused radio-buttons, text boxes, etc. As I tried to make sense of the different bits of unclear English, I started having concerns about how to get things functioning. There’s a note about having to define all the key slots even if you aren’t going to use that particular PS3 button. And all the slots are empty. There isn’t a reasonable set of defaults provided from which one might override (or if there were, it was certainly unclear how to access them).

Thus began the 8 hours of fiddling around with the following loop:

  1. Plug in EagleEye to PC
  2. Run key map application (crap UI)
  3. Remove EagleEye
  4. Attach keyboard/mouse to EagleEye
  5. Attach EagleEye to PS3 (at main screen)
  6. Start BFBC2 (BattleField: Bad Company 2)
  7. Try out the key configuration, which didn’t work quite right (the WASD keys were not working even though they were mapped to left analog joystick)

This quicky got quite laborious. After many loops (+10) and interruptions (have other things to do on a Saturday than dedicate full time to this), I finally figured out the issue. The keyboard arrow keys cannot be assigned without blocking the WASD keys. So, once I changed the left control pad’s four buttons to the keypad (8462), the WASD keys worked. And I was out of time. I was  not able to actually get any play time. It was all burned up getting the EagleEye working. Naturally, I was a bit frustrated. I wouldn’t get another chance to try it out until late Monday evening.

So, thanks to some very crappy software written by a hardware company and some weird anomaly around using the keyboard arrow keys, I finally got the freakin thing working.

And I will share what happened when I got to play both single player and multi-player BFBC2 on Monday night in my next post…

EagleEye – PS3 Gaming with PC Keyboard/Mouse

August 30, 2010

I’m a PC gamer bigot. I admit it. In fact, I am quite proud of it. Well, except for the Wii. It rocks…for holidays with the kids. Otherwise, it dutifully collects my apartment’s dust for me. However, that’s as close to console gaming I have been willing to go in the last 4 years.

I got a PS3 two years ago. I got it for the Blu-Ray player. I wanted it to also be a game machine. However, I tried BioShock. And while the graphics rocked. Gameplay sucked. And it was not because of the content. It was because of the EFFIN controller. Console controllers. They are MADE to ensure competent PC players do NOT play consoles. I’m convinced of it.

Then, at this year’s E3 (2010), I heard about something called the EagleEye. The claims being made were that you could attach a computer mouse and keyboard to this device, plug it into the PS3 and you wouldn’t have to touch the abysmal POS that is the PS3 controller. That got me excited. So, I signed up for Penguin United’s email list and watched both YouTube videos available. I waited with baited breath for mid-July, the time frame they were giving people at E3. Mid-July came and went and nothing came via email. I resorted to scanning the comments on the YouTube videos to glean whatever information my OCD brain could find on a new release date. I posted comments and emailed the company asking (begging) them to send out an email to their distribution resetting expectations. Nothing.

And then Monday, Aug/23rd, I got an email saying they were taking orders. I hopped on their site and had an order squared away in no time. I was to get it on Friday or Monday. I avidly watched my UPS tracking number and must have hit the UPS site several thousand times a day. And on Friday, Aug/27th, the web-site said it was at my apartment’s office. Naturally, I raced out of work, got it from my office and ran to my apartment.

I tore it open and pried it out of it’s multiple layers of packaging. I finally had it in my hand. Whoohoo! However, I now realize it is going to require a PC to “program” the initial configuration. And then I can use it on my PS3. And I had girlfriend activities scheduled for the remainder of the evening. I wouldn’t get a chance to do anything with it until the morning. Plus, I didn’t have a (non-wireless) USB keyboard or mouse. So, I would be trekking out to purchase those before getting to dig in.

I was SO excited, though. I couldn’t wait to obtain BFBC2 (Battlefield: Bad Company 2) and try it out on the PS3. I loved it on the PC. So, it would be the perfect test to see how well the EagleEye performed.

Story continued in next post…

Keeping my commitment (to myself)…

August 29, 2010

Well, it’s Saturday night at ten to midnight. And I have not posted anything this week. My commitment I have made is that I must make at least one post here between each Sunday morning at 12:00am and the following Saturday night by 11:59pm. I’m cutting it quite close to the line, huh?! 🙂

I have lots about which to write. I just didn’t manage my time well enough today to make a salient post. I’m sensing I will more than make up for it this coming week. Especially in and around my new PS3 toy, the EagleEye.

More later…

Fit Fail – Intermittent Ingestion

August 19, 2010

Summary:

Timing my meals (and lack of meals) is more important than what’s in the meals (not intended to imply that meal content is unimportant).

Details (story):

Okay, so in my last post, I talked about how I am not happy about my current weight, waist and general fitness level. In this post, I’m going to share details around how I am managing the timing of my meals.

The technique I am using is called intermittent fasting. It can just as easily be called intermittent ingestion/eating/food-loading/etc. The basic idea is to have periods of time where the digestive system is operating to convert food into things needed by the body followed by periods of time where the digestive system essentially stops operating allowing other physiological processes to operate (ex: immune system to address and “cure” area of active inflammation). Or said a different way, it’s to stop having the digestive system operating all the time and allow other natural body processes to operate at higher levels.

For me, the primary processes I am aiming are:

  1. decreasing insulin resistance (or said in the positive, increasing insulin sensitivity)
  2. intra and inter cellular garbage collection

Improving my insulin sensitivity will result in my being able to burn body fat more effectively and in there being less body fat being stored. There are numerous secondary health benefits to eliminating this primary symptom of metabolic syndrome.

Removing the cellular garbage is something I had been following for awhile. The basic idea is the cells in our body slowly but surely become filled with bits of garbage left over from inter-cellular processes. These bits of garbage are eventually removed by the immune system so as to reduce and prevent future inflammation and damage. However, because modern man keeps the digestive system operating around 24/7, the immune system has far less capacity for this critical function.

The analogy I use when explaining this idea is to imagine sitting in a restaurant with me, alone. We can chat and have no problem talking with each other. However, as the restaurant fills with people, it becomes noisier and it becomes more and more difficult to talk with me, to the point we eventually are yelling. And the dialog consists mostly of, “What? Can  you repeat that as I could’t hear you?” This is an analogy of the activities occurring within a cell (restaurant = cell, couples = all the intra-cellular processes operating with their attendant bits of protein garbage) and between cells (restaurant = organ, couples = all the inter-cellular communication processes operating with their attendant bits of hormonal garbage). So, when the immune system has extra capacity (which occurs when the digestive system “shuts down temporarily”), the bits of protein and hormonal garbage are collected and eliminated. When this happens, the intra and inter-cellular communication is less noisy and less prone to accidents and more robust to handle system issues.

So, back to the main idea, intermittent fasting. It appears there are benefits to fasting as little as 14 hours. However, I’ve never been one to do the minimum. And it appears that the optimal threshold is actually 24 hours. This is not the same as a fasting day. That would result in a +30 hour fast (assuming Monday as a fast day, from the last snack at 10pm on Sunday night to the first bite of breakfast at 8:00am on Tuesday morning is actually 34 hours). To make it easy, I figured that I could make it 24 hours +/-2 hours. By doing that, I have set up the following schedule. MWF, I only eat dinner aiming at 6:30pm. TThS, I eat all three meals stopping by roughly 7:30pm. Sunday, I split the difference by skipping breakfast and having lunch no earlier than 12:30pm. Again, all these times are really anytime plus or minus 2 hours. This schedule gives me an average of 24 hours of fasting separated with 24 hours of eating. Since I will be sleeping during both, it’s really 16 hours of awake fasting and then 16 hours of awake eating (since I don’t currently know how to eat while I am sleeping).

I started this eating pattern/schedule on Monday, Aug/9. I was feeling mildly hungry by mid-afternoon. And then I ate at 7:15pm (had an evening appointment that pushed me out further that night…but I am covered by my +/-2 hours). Tuesday was normal eating three meals. Wednesday was easy. I wasn’t ever hungry. I was ready to eat, but not starved, by the time I ate on Wednesday night at 6:00pm. Thursday was normal. And then Friday was the first time I was a bit challenged. I didn’t get to eat until 8:30pm. Actually, I knew I was going to have an issue with that, so I had a tiny snack at 7:00pm to tide me over. I was pretty hungry by the time 5:00pm arrived. I was feeling it strongly by 7:00pm. It was weird, though. It actually felt good to be “hungry”. And then it felt awesome to eat the snack at 7:00pm and the meal at 8:30pm. I deeply enjoyed both, more than usual. It’s almost like this schedule pattern is changing my appreciation for and enjoyment of my food. And that’s just awesome!

Saturday was fun. I enjoyed it. We had an evening social event and ended up eating until 10:00pm. That was later than I had wanted. However, I have given myself permission to change my window to +/-4 hours on the weekend to accommodate just this kind of social schedule eating challenge. I then didn’t eat until 2:15pm on Sunday after having attended soccer practice. And then Sunday was awesome with me finishing up eating around 8:30pm.

Completing the first week was cake. It was so very easy which is going to be important for me if I intend to keep using the intermittent fasting tool for more than a 4 week experiment. I also like how flexible it is turning out to be. The diet I am on is an Atkins-like low-carb diet. I like being able to wander off diet during a meal or two and then have a fast reset within 24 hours. I have to be careful I don’t go crazy and just abandon my low-carb diet just because I am intermittent fasting. However, I like being able to have a piece of cake at some of the birthday parties that occur around me. Or occasionally having a small piece of dark chocolate after dinner.

I will update again next week with my progress. I am hoping to figure out this blogging tool more effectively, too. I don’t exactly know how to embed links to other web-sites, add tagging, add images, etc. I will figure it out over time. For now, I just want to keep my commitment of writing here at least once every week. But, that’s for a different blog post.

Fit Fail – Wardrobe Weight Woes

August 10, 2010

Summary:

I’m committed to becoming fully fit (more than healthy) by experimenting with and making substantial changes in my diet and exercise regimen.

Details (story):

I just moved my favorite pair of work khaki slacks to the “Fit Fail” clothes rack in my closet. It’s my kinesthetic/visual way of ensuring I am explicitly conscious of no longer comfortably fitting in my 34s. That I feel the pain of failure as I move them from the daily selection rack to the “you’re too fat to wear these now” rack. And sure, it’s the first of my 34 slacks to go. However, previous “non-slacks” clothing fit fails have lead up to this event; favorite pair of summer shorts, many awesome shirts too tight in the gut, swimming suit, etc.. Over the last year and half, I have put on over a stone (English measurement for 14lbs – sort of sounds better, and worse). UGH! Why? And more importantly, what do I do to rip it back off and return to my best measurements I have achieved yet, 189.5lbs and 18.5% body fat (28 day average)?

There’s lots of reasons (i.e. bad habits) why I gained 15 pounds over the last 18 months:

  1. Let work stresses justify not having to maintain my health/fitness activities
  2. Stopped doing weekly Yoga (reliably every T, Th and S)
  3. Started drinking at least a half gallon of diet caffeinated soda a day
  4. Slowly slipped away from being strict on my low-carb diet (lots of vacations, birthdays and holidays)
  5. Stopped doing many of my daily supplements
  6. Used my mega-dosing on fish oil to justify not having to do other health fitness activities
  7. Stopped working out regularly (very occasionally, sporadically)
  8. Stopped my daily measuring of my body fat, weight, blood pressure, etc.
  9. Refrained from constructing new motivating health/fitness goals
  10. Started making my new romantic relationship a higher priority
  11. etc.

These reasons have cycled in my head in an infinite loop, hindering small bits of action I would sporadically take. Back in April, I committed to refocusing on dropping the excess body fat and weight as soon as I returned from my Mexico vacation and my son had returned home. And now here I am a week into my commitment (my son left Monday night).

I took my body fat and weight measurement on Tuesday morning, Aug/3rd – 23.2% at 211.4lbs. I have not been this heavy in almost 6 years.

I was able to successfully get back on low-carb again (Atkins-like) and remained so all week. I retook my measurements Sunday (yesterday) morning, Aug/8th – 23.6% at 207.2lbs. It was pleasing to see my weight go down, even if it is only mildly correlated to my dietary adjustment (no exercise…yet).

It’s small progress! Just enough to help me feel good about having an explicit goal. “Which is?”, you might ask? 18.0% at 185lbs ASAP.

However, low-carb is not good enough for me. It just has not worked as well this time as it has worked in the past, both when I was strict, and the change in my ability to be strict (having a huge social life make it downright difficult…OMG a birthday celebration of a friend and/or family member happens every week for me). I have tried numerous diet programs; Body for Life, Atkins, NHE and The Zone. I have flirted with but have not committed fully to a number of other diets, the most recent of which would be one called Paleo, or “The Caveman Diet”. Luckily, my best friend (one of 4), Bill, loves experimenting and has been on Paleo for +4 months. However, he also became a consistent CrossFit workout machine at the same time. So, it made it difficult to see if the Paleo choice was really impacting his ability rip off fat while retaining muscle mass. Recently, he made a diet adjustment. He stayed on the Paleo diet food selections. He changed his eating pattern, i.e. when he ate, to something called Intermittent Fasting. And some amazing things began to happen to him in less than two weeks. Fat started dropping off while he kept his muscle mass. His energy levels seemed to go up. He was able to have more diet-fail events (ex: half gallon of ice cream), and see no undesirable impact to either his body fat percentage or his weight. This piqued my interest, to say the least.

So back to me and my goal. I researched this so-called “Intermittent Fasting” notion (simple Google search). And after about an hour of reading through multiple sites (my favorite thus far is leangains.com), I was very happy with what I saw – people eating ordinary foods (no deprivation, no low-carb, no Paleo, no NOTHING) and losing body fat. They were eating “bad foods” (ex: bread), “terrible foods” (ex: Twinkie), and not having the same negative effects they were having just months before by eating the same foods. “How?”, you ask?!

Simple – it’s not what they ate but WHEN THEY ATE IT!

CE’s Health/Fitness Guideline #1: Focus much more on WHEN I choose to eat and much less (for now) on exactly WHAT I am eating.

Interested in knowing more about this? Well, either Google it for yourself. Or, wait for my next post where I will outline in detail what I am doing and how I am approaching experimenting with “Intermittent Fasting”. And I am still not “exercising” (more on that next post, too).

CE’s Motto: I am and those I care about are being free, happy and successful through better choices in living, loving and learning, today and every day!