• Playing Serious Catch-Up

    Morning weigh-in: 189.0#, 14.0% BF

    Today I followed “weigh-in protocol” (do it pre-shower), and it looks like my body fat is back in the normal range. So, there’s that…

    Reading: I got two books on maps from the library, but they are surprisingly boring.

    My computer project du jour is to bring my photo database, and my  Flickr account, up to date. I’ve been downloading from Dropbox into Shotwell (my photo program), doing a bit of curating and then uploading the keepers into Flickr — I am now getting close to the end of 2014,  with thousands of photos to go. Sigh.

  • Push-Ups and Oatmeal

    Morning weigh-in: 188.5#, 12.0% BF

    I haven’t been getting much exercise lately, except for my morning push-ups, but I have been eating a oatmeal every day for breakfast — “oatmeal” in this case meaning steel cut oats, with a little butter, cinnamon, a touch of maple syrup, and at least two fruits (apple, banana, blueberries): nutritious, very filling, and it keeps me full for a big part of the day. I suspect that the oatmeal has something to do with my weight loss, but I have no answer for why the body fat is down, my actual body is about what it was. Usually the body fat percentage is a proxy for my hydration level, low BF meaning I’m dehydrated  — usually because of a few beers the night before, but there have not been that many beers since the weekend — so I’ve taken to drinking a few glasses of water every morning, just in case. (I’ve broken my weigh-in protocol lately, weighing myself after bathing rather than before; since the body fat measurement is based on electrical resistance, my wetted skin may be confounding the measurement.)

    Other than that, not much has been going on. I’m once again in a difficult period with my skin, it’s been raw and sensitive, and yesterday was a bit of a crisis: I moved a bunch of heavy, dusty boxes at the Museum’s archive building, and between the dust and the sweat I had myself a real reaction. Oy. I left early and sat in the backyard getting some sun — it was a sunny and record-warm day, as opposed to the current cold and rain.



  • The Challenge: A Follow-Up

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 10.5% BF

    I don’t know, maybe it was the burger & beers… I went for a walk in the falling snow last night, and somehow ended up at Brew Works — I know, right? Go figure…

    The Push-up Challenge: Well it’s been at least a month since I started, and things went pretty much the way I expected — I can see, or I pretend to imagine I can see, some new bulk and a bit of definition in my pecs, a little less so for my arms, but nothing really dramatic. (Strangely enough, my upper pecs seem to be growing the fastest, so I sort of look like I have very high chest muscles, ending just a little below my collarbone. Kind of a weird look… Luckily I’m still wearing my winter sweaters and long sleeve shirts for now, and since I’ve still got plenty of chub it’s all kind of hidden anyway.)

    I’m still thinking that a hundred push-ups is not enough of an overload, and a month is not enough time, for real muscular improvement. I am currently doing 130 push-ups a day, in two sets of 65, and will continue doing so for now, adding reps as I my strength allows.


  • Back From Montreal

    Got home yesterday, after a five-day trip to Montreal with John & Donna — pictures and fuller report to follow. Today was spent getting back into the swing of being home; Anne did stuff around the house while I volunteered at the Canal Museum. We also ate a lot of fruit and vegetables today — a long weekend of heavy food (poutine, anyone?) took its toll and we needed to change direction.

    Reading: Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. Anne read this, loved it and recommended it to me, and I’m simply devouring it. It’s the story of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to King Henry VIII around the time he married Anne Boleyn. I’m almost done.


  • Some Mapping Fun

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 13.0% BF

    Just got back from a walk over to Southside, where I took a few pictures of the new parking garage being built. I just updated OpenStreetMap by adding the new buildings on New Street and removing  the things they replaced (the Maze Garden). I’ve been doing a little bit of cleanup on OSM lately, mostly of things I find causing errors in my routing program — the connection between American Parkway, North Braddock Street and Dauphin Street (with the D& L Trail overlaid over the lot of it) in Allentown has been my biggest “problem child,” but I think I’ve got it mostly un-buggered.

    (My own routing database is now out of date — and therefore incorrect — but downloading the data and then running all the post-processing is so tedious I may just fix the database by hand.)

    Storm yesterday, but a few people showed up for Anne’s ukulele practice, including Julie G who brought a bottle of North Korean brandy that she’d picked up duty-free many years ago. It was …interesting, and I’m glad I can say I tried it, but I’ll make a point of never drinking that stuff again. “Rotgut” doesn’t even begin to describe it…


  • Science!

    Morning weigh-in: 189.5#, 13.0% BF

    “Science!” — that’s what I yelled in the kitchen this morning, after taking the final gravity of our new brew. It came in at 1.006, which means that our beer is probably about 2.1% ABV. Not exactly deadly, but it definitely tastes good. It should be ready to drink within a few days.

    My next task is to clean up the brewing equipment in the basement, maybe do a trainer ride, and get the 5010 ready for a snow ride tomorrow.

  • The Morning After

    Morning weigh-in: 189.5, 13.0% BF

    Here it is, the day after Pearly Baker’s 23rd Annual Superbowl of Chili in Easton — how can you tell I’ve been to all of them? …wait a few minutes and I’ll tell you — as well as the day after the Eagles win Super Bowl LMXXIIEIEIO. Philly still stands, as does the Valley, though both a little worse for wear.

    I don’t really have that much to say, so here’s what I said ten yeas ago.


  • I Get Mail!

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 13.5% BF (must have been that midnight egg-salad sandwich)

    I get emails here, mostly spam, and mostly through my Contact Form, which then sends the messages along as emails. Things are usually quiet unless I post, but I’ve been posting almost every day lately, so I’ve been getting one or two every day, lately. It’s kind of funny to watch the evolution of the subject/content, as I slowly ban certain spammy words or phrases when I notice a pattern — I used to get way more than one or two, the low-hanging fruit is all blocked, and sometimes the ones that do get through make so little sense they just can’t be useful to the sender. Here are a few that I haven’t erased yet, most of this batch actually look like they’re supporting some business plan, however poorly thought out:

    Subject: We Will Like To Get Some Information?
    Message Body: Hey, I hope your day is going well; we are sending this message to acquire more information…To find out more about us, please visit our website at: [redacted for your benefit]


    Subject: just a though
    Message Body: GoodMorning, I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of [redacted]? its a place where you can purchase digital marketing services for extremely cheap from freelancers.
    I just wanted to ask you about it since I know that as a webmaster or business owner (like myself), you’re always looking for ways to save a few dollars on services like online marketing etc.
    Let me know what you think about it. I’ve used many gigs on there so I wanted to know your thoughts.I do recommend it though!
    I love your site! Have a great day!


    Subject: Improve Your Websites Rank in Google
    Message Body: New link building Software builds links to your website whilst you sleep. Save hours of manual labour and get your site ranked page 1 in Google in days. Submit your links to 1000’s of sites on complete autopilot and get a massive increase in traffic to your website. Try it out for a limited time at a special discounted price. Take a look at this powerful software in action; [redacted]


    And just today, my sad new favorite:

    Subject: Is It Too Late To Join The Bitcoin Revolution?
    Message Body: Bitcoin has increased in value by over 3000 in the last few years alone. The Crypto World is exploding with potential right now – this is the time to start and profit! Find out more; [redacted]


    Kind of click-baity, but at least they aren’t the word salad I sometimes get… I don’t use anything like Captcha, but I have blocked entire domains and blocks of IP addresses, as well as a whole lot of words and phrases — can you guess any of them from the above examples?

  • A Sudden Silent Slowdown

    Morning weigh-in: 189.0#, 13.5% BF

    Not much exciting going on today: I got up, got in my exercise, did some laundry and some housework, yadda yadda, basically running through a pretty boring to-do list which is now done. Anne is off doing historical research, the house is quiet. I may work on the bike later, I  might walk over to Southside to do some OpenStreetMap mapping. Ho hum…

    This is probably the calm before the storm though, since we’re going to visit my parents this Saturday, and then Sunday is the 23rd Annual Superbowl of Chili in Easton.


  • Exploratory Fat-Burner

    Morning weigh-in: 190.5#, 14.0% BF

    Got in a good ride yesterday, going upstream on the towpath. I only went about 20 miles, but with the snow and the soft mucky conditions, it took almost four hours of hard work, so I feel I got a serious ride — and since I went out to a less fully developed portion of the D&L, there was also a bit of adventure and exploration in the mix too.

    From Bethlehem I went west to Canal Park in Allentown, then north on some local roads and trails until I picked up the towpath again, off of Dauphin Street a little south of Catasaqua. I rode this to Race Street, and here my true exploration began: we normally turn right and then left here, to continue north on Front Street; I have contended that there is a bike path somewhere nearby we could take, while Anne feels that Front Street is the way — maybe the only way — to go.

    It turns out that we’re both right, though first I had to make a wrong turn and end up on RR tracks for a mile or so, before realizing that there was a bona-fide towpath just a few yards out of sight to my right. I was riding on the ballast, cursing whoever it was that thought this was a good cycling idea — uh, oh look over there, there’s a real trail and it’s so much easier! I got that sorted out and continued on my way, but even this trail deteriorated after a while — nothing too bad for mountain biking, but it was certainly not straight, smooth and flat towpath anymore either, and definitely not ready for a loaded touring bike. Still, I was having fun even if the going was rough, but then I came to a spot where a construction crew was putting in a bridge. I got around them, but past the construction site the trail was pretty chewed up from all the equipment; that, I decided, was my turn-around. (I’d wanted to go all the way to the 21st Street Bridge in Northampton to prove it could be done, but since I was within a mile of the Northampton portion of trail — which I was already familiar with — I figured I’d seen what I needed to. Besides, I was starting to get tired.)

    The ride back was pretty uneventful, though I did stop to note where I should have accessed the towpath in Catasaqua, and I did have to stop at a train crossing in Allentown. Back on the regular towpath at Canal Park, a snack break at the last lock before Sand Island, and I was home in no time. I then took a brief nap…

    We went over to Two Rivers in Easton last night, to catch up with Judy. Nice night, good beers (I had their oatmeal stout) and good conversation. I slept like a log when we got home, and I was surprised and disappointed to find I didn’t drop 20 pounds overnight. Today was volunteering at the Canal Museum, and tomorrow it’s going to rain I think.