Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Atkins diet and McDonalds

I keep forgetting to blog this, so here it is.

I'm on the Atkins diet plan (have been, since October of 2002 -- for the most part). It's worked well for me, I've taken off at least 50 lbs of fat, and with a good solid workout program it's helped quite a bit for me toward reaching my goals.

One of the problems with Atkins is finding food, and one of the small secrets I've discovered is that it's really not all that hard -- if you know the right questions to ask.

For example, at McDonalds, the menu is arguably anti-Atkins. Just about everything comes with a bun, and stuff that doesn't is coated in sugar in some form. Or so it would seem.

In reality, it's pretty easy to not only eat Atkins-ready food, but on a much lighter budget than you would imagine.

  • Eggs: You can simply order the eggs like this at the counter: "I'll have 3 round eggs, please." (cost -- in my area, $1.20)
  • Alternatively, you can get a burrito meal and ditch the hash brown -- it's still usually less than 4 bucks. Arguably, the eggs are a better deal.
  • You can also simply order what you want: "I'll have two eggs, scrambled and two sausage (patties or links). They'll get em for you. I recommend the round eggs -- this insures that they're real eggs and I find them convenient to eat. They're the same eggs they put in the sandwitches, so they usually have a ready supply.
  • On the Lunch/Dinner front, I can't emphasize enough that they actually have salads.
  • If you really want to go cheap, however, you can get a big piece of lettuce and a couple of hamburger patties (at least in my area) for a buck by simply saying "I'll have a double-cheeseburger without a bun." -- the double cheeseburger is on the dollar menu, and I usually get two of them (for a whopping 2 bucks, I'm full). It's a bargain. You may have to wait just a tad, but it works just fine for the diet.
It's possible to eat Atkins just about anywhere but a pretzel stand -- that's what I'm trying to say. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The bad boss blog

I've got a good boss. It's not something to be taken lightly (it happens far less than often in IT).

Reading this article reminded me of the the fact: You can't help but come away (if you have experience in IT) by nodding your head in agreement. I think I've had every example they point to in this article. The thing is, most weren't all that bad, with the exception of a moron that used to quote from a sci-fi movie every time I wrote automation.

I'm not going to blog about that, because I'm afraid some other management moron might take that as a good example of management, as opposed to what it was (comical stupidity in action). No, rather, I'd like to share some of my own insight.

If you have a bad manager, you have to look away from your relationship with them and focus instead upon what you're at work for -- solutions to problems. You have to find ways to provide those solutions in the framework that you've been given -- and that might include working with someone who's difficult.

Unless you get fired for doing the right thing (longer story there -- let's avoid that one) you should be ok. I found that having a good relationship with everyone else was a sure way to gain the traction needed with someone who's troublesome. Worked for me the 2 or 3 times that the problems were there.

Anyway, it's a good article -- read it and laugh.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Startling Revelation: "I am Male"

Ok, so it's a sarcastic piece of work. Irreverent, even. Basically, continued commentary on something kind of funny that recently happened to me.

Remember the speech (if you're a nice guy, that is) as a kid you used to get from really wild girls that didn't want to go out with you because they wanted a "real man"? The "you're too nice a guy" speech?

Well, there's an inverse one, I guess. This one I just recently got was essentially "You're married, and I can't hang out with you." Kind of funny and sad at the same time -- this was an acquaintance that I met at work a while back (a couple of years ago) and thought had some spiritual similarities -- maybe they would make a good friend. I suspect if I were a single male or a female, there would be no issues.

At the time, I was kind of busy, but after the recent stuff that happened to me, I started looking up friends (male and female) to stay in touch. Possibly, make some new friends that would help me get a broader perspective on myself and the world around me.

Anyway, the thought process kicked of a silly series -- the "I have a penis" thing, kind of made its way to the top of my consciousness. I suspect I'm going to be using it more and more as a way of driving home some of the silliness you have to put up with if you're a guy that cares in our society.

Yes, I'm male -- "I have a penis" -- let's get over it. That's the general point here. Essentially, it would be nice if there were a way to remove sex, in other words, from the under-tones of normal social operations. I can't say that I am an innocent bystander here -- I joke a lot about stuff and sex is often part of the running gag.

Anyway, in the series of thoughts, I thought about what I might have said to this prior acquaintance to diffuse the future problem that would present itself (essentially, me backing off, not wanting to make anyone uncomfortable, and at the same time thinking "probably not the deepest spiritual contact, after all", at the same time ;). My guess, in other words, is that this disclaimer (joke) thing is completely unusable.

But, it's still funny.

WARNING: Contains graphic sexual connotations -- please don't get your panties in a bunch if you're the type to be offended by the words "Penis", "Farm Animals" or references to inanely stupid guy movies, all in the same place. Without further ado, click on the following to read my DISCLAIMER: I HAVE A PENIS.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Communicating with friends

I've been spending less time blogging lately -- and more time trying to connect with people I've met over the past few years.

This past year has been a bit of a rough one from a spiritual perspective, and one of the things I've decided is that I haven't kept the friends updated and with me that I should have. On that front, I've discovered something interesting. The guys are no problem to connect with -- no baggage, they understand that I'm saying hi.

The topics they usually want to talk most about are:

  1. Cars
  2. Technology (cars are a subset, but a big enough one to merit their own entry)
  3. Politics
  4. Sports
  5. Sports
  6. Sports
On the short list, you might have a close friend, in which case you can talk sometimes about stuff like
  1. Family
  2. "The Wife"
  3. Housing projects
  4. Hobbies
Really close friends can finally hope to bridge the gap of things like your sex life, spirituality, personal development and so on. The point I'm driving home is that I have very few male friends that will focus on such items -- certainly not outside of one on one situations. Group bonding is almost the exclusive domain of the first group.

Unless you count church -- specifically Sunday school situations, in which case you rarely get the kind of depth that you really need. Usually you get canned material, dumbed down concepts and so on. I've actually given up on Sunday school for my personal development -- the last scenario involved some jock-strapped moron who kept making sports and sport team references to spiritual growth issues.

Sorry, I rarely find the simplified rule-sets of sports to map into the complex multi-dimensionality that the complex "game" of life tosses your way. Actually, what I find instead, is that watching a game of sports is enjoyable for several reasons:

  1. You know the score -- the "losing" team is easy to identify. Pick the losing team in a game of divorce, for example. Right, you now understand why coaches rarely are employed as marriage-counselor gurus.
  2. Everyone can easily tell what's going on. Unlike the complex game of life, sporting events present the observers with easy to judge situations. It would be unthinkable, for example, for someone to get to the end of a Browns game, and have one of the referees simply call the entire game because he was in charge. This kind of stuff happens all the time in real life.
  3. Everyone can easily identify who is on what side of the good/vs/evil equation and so on. No need to guess like in real life.
These kinds of things make sports a bad paradigm map for something like spiritual growth. Unfortunately, talking about your growth issues with someone who's trying to bring Mickey Mantel into the conversation tends to dampen it a bit if you can see where I'm coming from here.

So I gave up after a few tries, trying to find a Sunday school situation where true spiritual growth would be the topic on the table. Instead, I used a couple of good friends and my wife as the place for this to happen, and it (mostly) works. The problem is monoculture.

Now we're back to the real issue at hand. The culture of being male in this country kind of goes contrary to the direction of focusing upon spiritual growth. It's really bad, actually, for a lot of guys from what I can tell. Since women can, in fact, easily focus upon stuff like that without worry, they tend to (from my experience, so far) be a lot further down the pike.

This arms them to better survive difficult situations, but doesn't help you if you have any kind of male-centric things to talk about (much). The problem is perception oriented. Thinking you know what it's like to be a guy in this society is akin to believing you know what it's like to be an airline pilot cause you've seen it done on TV.

These are all observations (and general ones at that), but I think some of you are silently nodding your heads in understanding. Where is this headed? I don't know.

I'll talk more about it in the next blog entry.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy New Year

Well, it's another year. This will be an interesting year. If things stay somewhat stable in my life, I'll be very happy.

Spent the better part of new years day talking with my brother Art. Art and I are pretty close these days, which is amazing, because growing up, and until slightly after we graduated high school, we were more like arch enemies than friends. Laughing new years day, because he was telling one of his daughters that she would someday be friends with her little brother (She wasn't buying it, and probably I wouldn't have either, if you could go back to that time and tell me).

Funny how these things happen.

One of the funniest things is how much alike we are for stuff that's clearly built "into the ROM" (ROM in computer speak is "read only memory", meaning stuff that's baked into our character before we're born). For example, playing solitaire, which he's never seen me do, he clearly pointed out that I had not stacked the cards a particular, anal-retentitve way, just before the game ended. This was FreeCell, by the way, which we both enjoy.

In Linux, when the game nears the end, you can just get the cards sorted out, or you can stack them neatly in their respective 4 king piles -- and for some stupid reason that I can't explain, I like to do this, even though the number of extra moves can be somewhat tedious (okay, we're talking a computer game here -- probably about 10 extra mouse moves, big frickin' deal). Art and I do this instinctively -- even though we've never played the game in front of each other until the other day, that is.

It would be kind of silly, if it weren't for all the other stuff that's very similar. Other experiences with my adopted son lead me to believe that the whole nature versus nurture debate has some grounding more in the nature side than I would have wanted to believe. Such is complex life...