The latest

I hate Wii fit. I curse at my trainer (female) – and make horrible, lewd remarks at her every day. My ‘core’ muscles are sore. My calves hurt. Though I got my best Wii Fit Age today – I’ll say it’s -4 relative to my chronological age and leave it at that. It’s my personal record, so far. That being said, it’s not too hard, doing my 30 minutes of Wii Fit every day – though it takes closer to 40-45 minutes to actually do, with all the menus and clicking things and so on. The (newly unlocked for me) ‘rhythm boxing’ plus the snowboarding exercises are actually really fun. I’ve set the most aggressive weight loss goal it will let you set (without it yelling at you) – four pounds in two weeks I believe. I don’t know if I’ll make it. My weight is up and down all the time, so it’s hard to say. Maybe some kind of water thing – I drink caffeinated beverages constantly, now I’m trying to drink more water?

My new job is great. I’ve been very busy this week. My concern – and I’ve noted it to a few friends – is that I’ll end up sopping up the aggregate ‘Brady demand’ that’s out there, eventually, and then work will decrease. It’s possible. Not much I can really do about that but if I have to cross that bridge, well, I guess I’ll have to figure out something then. Frightening thought.

I got ‘out of’ work today around 4pm or so – which was pretty nice. I know I’m still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of this new deal, so how it’ll work out is still completely up in the air. But I absolutely love it, so far. When I finished up with work, I did some chores, then came home. Now I’m thinking of puttering around with my Ubermail project, or maybe playing some GTA. First things first – I’ve got to do some dishes.

New Job!

Well, today is my last day at my current job. It’s been quite a rollercoaster, working here, but I felt it was time to strike out on something new…

…or something old. Very old, in fact – a recurring theme throughout my career.

I’m going to be self-employed (again).

I never knew it, but apparently I’m some kind of serial entrepreneur. I wouldn’t have thought of myself that way, but if you look back, I’ve done it like three or so times. This will be my fourth.

Something about it just keeps me pulling me back. I’m sure it’s making me unemployable as hell, and the money sure won’t be steady, but I think I’ve got enough work lined up so that I should be able to hit the ground running. I’m hoping to also start to get myself a little healthier, too – exercise right after breakfast every morning, healthier lunches, etc.

I’ve gotten such a nice collection of emails from my coworkers at my soon-to-be-former employer (which is one of my soon-to-be-clients!), as well as people walking in and wishing me well – I’m really honored. And there’s been a lot of interest expressed in working with me in my new endeavor, so I’m pretty excited.

It’s gonna be a tough road out from here – but I think I’m up for it.

And expect more blogging. I will probably also redo this site because it looks way too generic right now.

Gym update

I have now gone twice this week, and burned somewhere around 850 calories or so. I’m pretty happy with that number, but I am still going to try to go a third time. I am convinced that the machines I like are all calibrated differently, because this time I was sweating by the time it was done, and I didn’t even make it through my full 45 minutes (also the gym was closing, so I had to cut it short).

I have also been trying to drink more water. It’s great, except I have to friggin’ pee all the time. Plenty of advice says to drink more water, but no one says anything about the fact that you’ll be peeing every 30-40 minutes, or how to deal with it. In my industry, it’s really hard to deal with.

I read a very good article about “nutritionism” on the NY Times website. So I’m trying to eat more vegetables, reduce the meat (a little – just making it less important in my overall meal!) and most importantly, try and get rid of more of the crazy chemicals and such in my diet. Thus far, it’s not hard – it’s just inconvenient. And where I know I’m going to get bitten is that my food is going to start to go bad. I’m going to have to go to the supermarket more often – and that will be annoying.

My weight was, if I remember correctly, pre-workout: 182-1/8. No progress there. But I guess there wouldn’t be, yet, and the water consumption might be messing with those numbers.

Gym & Day Laborers

So, first off – I went to the gym yesterday! YAY! Small victories must be celebrated, I suppose. I decided I should do 45 minutes, instead of 30, and here’s why:

  1. In case I miss one, I would at least end up going twice for 45 minutes, and end up doing 900 calories of work.
  2. If it takes me 5 minutes to get ready, and 10 minutes to go to the gym (or vice-versa), then I do 30 minutes at the gym, then the same commute back home, I end up spening 1 hour in order to attend the gym for 30 minutes. This is a 0.5 efficiency ratio. Inefficiency is bad. Instead, I spend 1 hour and 15 minutes in order to go to the gym for 45 minutes, which is 0.6 efficiency.

I may even try to step it up to 1 full hour, in order to realize a 0.66…(repeating) efficiency. I don’t feel dead or tired or anything today – so why not? Although I think I’m at the ‘sweet spot’ of efficiency and everything right now. We’ll see. I have to remember to always make small tweaks, not big changes, until I can start hitting some goals. Current weight: 181.5. Ouch.

Next off is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. When we hear the debates about illegal immigration and day laborers and such we think about California and Texas and farm-work and such. But I live in a nice little area of Queens called Astoria – bordering Long Island City – and I’ve found that it’s here, as well.

Lately, I’ve been taking a different path to get to the train – that no longer passes the Dunkin’ Donuts and goes out of my way, because I’m trying to save money and so on and the Dunkin’ Donutses suck in my area (My old ones were awesome – fast, efficient, nice. These suck, they’re slow and they fuck up my order all the time). Anyways, now I end up passing a little hardware-store – a sorta mini Home Depot. And I keep seeing a ton of Mexican guys lined up outside of there, drinking coffee and chatting with eachother. I suspected that hanging out outside the hardware store was a convenient place for them to pick up work, and one day I saw a van pull up across the street – suddenly everyone started running over to it! Today, I saw another van pull up and the guys run over to it, and the dude in the van started saying something something “pintura” – which I think means Painter. So he was looking for someone to help him paint. He was some kind of commercial vehicle, with a logo on the side and everything.

So I’m weirded out by this whole situation – these guys are prepared to do an honest day’s work (I assume) and I’m sure are getting paid less than prevailing wages. The various vans that drive up get labor for cheap… but now we’ve knocked out the potential work for all of the legal US citizens in this line. Because if the dude in that one van that picks up his painter can now charge less than a dude who doesn’t – well, we consumers will always pick the cheaper, so we’re forcing his hand.

What do you do? Embracing law-breaking or bending is bad – this is one of the many lessons that Prohibition taught us. So we either need to legalize this, or find a way to regulate it.

So I don’t know what the best solution is, but what we’re doing now is not working. My gut says, make a way for people to come here and work, that’s relatively streamlined, and simultaneously do better enforcement on the labor side…I just hate the idea of getting all involved in this guy’s van though. How convenient is it for him – he drives up to where he knows the workers are, says I need a painter, and gets a painter for the day. Am I going to make him record that he used painter Joe Blow and paid him $X …? I guess. You have to do that for whatever business you’re in, too bad. I feel like the real violations of these laws happen here, at the guy-with-van level. Any place big enough to get ‘noticed’ will be careful about any kind of illegal work. So do we send enforcers to this dude’s van? Chasing around a whole bunch of dude’s vans? I dunno. Maybe the better way to do it is at the homeowner-who-hires the Van level. But he’s not going to want to call the INS or USCIS (new name?) on the guys working on his kitchen, is he?

Things I actually like

Well, lots of negative reviews and blather from me lately, so how about something a little more postive –

First. Camino, the browser. I have run it for a while (a week-ish?) and it has not yet crashed on me. v.1.0.3 . This is particularly good, for me. It’s not too crazily resource-intensive. It doesn’t degrade much over time. Alas, I can’t use all the great debugging extensions that Firefox can use, and that is very, very unfortunate. But I haven’t lost work – and that’s huge. As one might recall, I don’t like browsers very much. And Camino annoys me as well. But, as of late, it has annoyed me less than most of the others. I still feel that the finest web-browsing experience one can have seems to be Firefox on Windows, which is blasphemous of me to say, but I feel it’s true. But Camino is my new browser, until the Firefox people can get their collective shit together and put out a version for OS X that doesn’t suck as much as this one does.

Next up – I bought myself a copy of Star Fox for the DS as a little ‘gift’ to myself for ‘being good’ – whatever that means. Anyways, after having come off a bad spate of games I worried that this oen might be the same. But, in fact, it is not at all! It’s quite good – but I should note that I am one of the shittiest fighter pilots alive, so perhaps take my words with some salt, a little paprika, and a sprig of thyme.

There’s a “strategic” view where you use the stylus to draw the paths you want your ships to take, and can tap on areas of the screen to scan them, then when you end your turn, your units all move. It’s a great non-rectilinear take on strategic stuff, and could end up making something interesting in its own right. But as for Starfox, it makes a great way to send your different fighters off to do different tasks.

Then there’s the regular, old-school fighter-pilot-ing. Simple controls – stylus on screen. You get a nice analog response with this setup, and though it doesn’t feel completely 3-dimensionally free, it is quite good. You can cruise around a 2-D square, and you have a relatively tight timespan to do it in. But it makes a challenge, and is fun.

The plot leaves a bit to be desired, but stuff does seem to happen, and it is advancing interestingly enough.

All in all, I’m glad this one sucked less.

And, finally, gym attendance. Sucking worse than normal, now. The problem is that my time is so very very limited and the few minutes I do have to do with what I will I need to be spending productively, for whatever definition of the word ‘productively’ suits me at the time. And gym attendance is good for me and all – I don’t doubt that – but there are other things I need to be working on. The latest thing is my new authentication initiative It’s finally something for me to fiddle with that’s small enough that I really can reach my grasp all the way around it and get it to be exactly whatever I want it to be. I hope I can get it to the point where I don’t have to say, “oh, that part doesn’t work yet, coming soon” – and for the most part, it does work, and as advertised. The next issue – and the one that really killed me with NetServOS – will be getting Developers to develop for it. And of course, making it pretty. But I have plans for both of those things, for which you shall have to stay tuned…

You Fail It, Pt. 2

New Browser Of the Day: Camino. It’s actually somewhat fast, it renders things okay and works okay, and hasn’t made me very angry yet. Firefox (esp. on the Mac) had made me very angry. I even tried to downgrade to, which still caused anger.

I did not go to the gym last night. My excuse: I felt a bit ‘blue,’ so I killed Nazis instead in Call of Duty 3. Which was fine, but man that game is getting exhausting. I spent 20 minutes methodically killing Kraut after Kraut, and working my way over to a secure position. I start running out of ammo, I’m offing so many krauts. And then I die. And I do the same thing, except faster, and there are fewer krauts to kill!? What’s going on here? And it hit me: since there’s no ‘health’ meter, slow patience would _always_ win against a finite number of enemies – you can never die if you only get popped once and then go hide. So all you would have to do is be very, very patient, and you will eventually prevail. That wouldn’t be any fun.

So instead, we have an infinite number of enemies. They keep coming back, over and over and over again, spawning from some mysterious generator point, never to be stopped until you walk over some invisible line which says they should stop spawning. I found that I could kill upwards of say, 50 or so Nazis and advance, or as few as around 3 – so long as I went to the right place that the computer wants me to be in, the generator is halted.

This is, unfortunately, very very lame. Already the game runs on rails, preventing you from moving to (what I consider) are tactically more strategic approaches to the goal at hand – instead, you have to go the way the computer tells you. And your “allies” (I put that in quote because I really believe they are secretly in cahoots with the Germans) keep getting in your way, or not helping you.

But, it is pretty, and the sound is good, and the controls are interesting – I find that I rest my forearm on my knee to keep my arm from tiring out, and I can keep the Wii Remote focused on the screen OK. If I need to have a sip of my drink while I’m playing, I hook the Nunchuk cable on my right pinky, and drink with my left hand. It’s not bad.