Category Archives: food

Being Less of a Fatty

I graduated highschool weighing around 165 lbs.  By the time I graduated college I was up to 178.  On January 1st, 2014, I came in at 192.

As of yesterday, I’m down to 172.

In the past I’ve tried various ways to lose weight.  I’m not the world’s most motivated person, and I hate working out.  It’s not that it’s painful, it’s just so incredibly boring.  “I’m just gonna go run for an hour…. on a machine with a rotating belt… and stare at a wall.”  Maybe if Minnesota weren’t a frozen wasteland, and running outside were more of an option, it wouldn’t be so bad.  After failing to train for a 5k several times, I decided there had to be an alternative way.

My neighbors
My neighbors

Step 1. Eat Better

Food is delicious.  No, seriously.  Have you ever eaten and Fogo de Chao?  If yes, I don’t need to explain the word “meatgasm” to you.  And the Melting Pot?  Skip the fondue forks and just give me a ladle.  I don’t even care if it results in third degree burns.

The quality of food I normally eat is not exactly “healthy”.  A double stacked bacon cheeseburger with a side order of sweet potato fries is mostly on par with a normal dinner.  Oh, and don’t forget an appetizer!  The starting point for being more health conscious has been making small adjustments to what I eat.  Side of fries?  Replaced with a side salad.  Large soda usually refilled twice?  Water.  Burger?  Well, that stayed.  Any time I’ve tried to go 100% with my meal options, they stop being so tasty and I give up.

Step 2. Eat Less

I eat fast.  Stupidly fast.  On one of the first dates with my now-girlfriend, I finished my entrée before she finished cutting her chicken breast.  Maybe that speaks more about her cutting capabilities, but I digress.

My eyes are almost always larger than my stomach, but I also hate leaving an empty plate.  Reminding myself that my stomach doesn’t need as much food as I normally order before opening up a menu has helped me to keep my portions smaller.  Also to help curb my appetite I’ve also been drinking a lot more water, all throughout the day.

Step 3. Optional Workouts

Working out is great for you, but like I said, I hate it.  For the past few weeks I’ve tried to run on the treadmills in our apartment facility.  In the past I’ve treated working out as a work/reward system: workout, eat something not necessarily good for me but delicious.  The problem with that has been it being a net-0 system.

Losing weight, for the most part, can be simplified down to an easy equation: burn more calories than you consume and you lose weight.  Working out burns off more calories, and the reward is now the endorphins that flood my system afterwards.

So delicious...
So delicious…

Step 4. Sweet Sugary Drugs

One of the biggest things that has helped has been a mentality change.  I’ve mentally classified sweets and sugary snacks as “drugs”.  “Drugs” encompasses anything that tastes delicious, makes me happy, but isn’t good for my body.  Beer & ice cream are now on the same plane.

It’s easier to say “no” to something when you can look at it and think, “Yea, that’s delicious, but it’s not good for me.”  Do I still eat junk food?  Of course I do!  Just not as frequent and in as large of quantities as before.

Step 5. Moderate

The important thing has been to moderate everything.  If there is an option to take stairs over an elevator, I’ll do it.  One beer instead of two.  Salad instead of fries.  But as my father once told me, “Everything requires moderation, even moderation itself.”  My will still isn’t strong enough to always resist snacks, or being lazy for a day.  Instead of breaking, I allow myself to bend.  A day off from the strict regime is totally fine, and I can get back into the swing of things the next day.  I’ve found this is exceptionally helpful in keeping up with things long term.

 

With these things in mind, I’ve lost 20lbs.  While I don’t consider this journey “done”, I’ve been exceptionally happy with the progress.  Hopefully be the time summer rolls around I’ll be ready to sport a new swimsuit!

Urban Eatery with a side of Scattered

Erin and I really like to go out and eat, and the Twin Cities have more than plenty of fun places to choose from. It’s nice to have a list of fun places to go, so I’ll be tagging posts with fun places to eat as “TCeats”.

This weekend we had the opportunity to stop by Urban Eatery. I wasn’t expecting much from the name, but was pleasantly surprised by the free valet parking as we arrived. The interior decor was quite fancy, but it still had a sense of fun with chalkboard walls and specials hand written on them. The meal itself was delicious, and most certainly not overpriced. The only thing disappointing was the dessert. I had the hot apple crisp with ice cream, and while it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t I consider worth getting.

Scattered is simply how my brain feels. Over the past 4 days I’ve been pitched 3 app ideas. I think they all sound cool, but I’ll definitely need to work on focusing on each idea. Two client projects are coming to an end, so that will definitely free up time. Tonight I go to bed with the giant giraffe pillow pet I bought Erin. He’s big and fluffy, and hopefully provides a good night sleep.

20121104-230854.jpg

Want an Izzy scoop with that paint?

This posting will probably end up having a timeline similar to that of Momento. Today Erin and I took Tucker to his very first puppy training class. While he wasn’t exactly the best trained, everything needs a first step. There was adorable Golden-doodle there, who I’m sure my mother would have loved.

And her name was Bella!!
Puppy face!!

On our way home, we stopped by Izzy’s Ice Cream. It’s a fun little shop that adds an “Izzy scoop” on top of a single or double scoop of ice cream, which is pretty much just a baby scoop. It’s a cute novelty, and gives the shop a unique feel to it. I grabbed an M&M scoop with Pumpkin on top. Delicious!

Izzy scoop!

Over the weekend we started painting our apartment. Not wanting to go with full colors in each room, we decided instead to do accent walls in the office, the bedroom, kitchen, and living room. I think the colors turned out nicely, though it turns out we picked the same colors that theme the Sherwin Williams store.

Well that’s….. familiar
Before
Working on the 2nd coat
After 3 coats
Kitchen in progress
They see me rollin’
Hand trimming the ceiling
All done!

I’m really happy how the few spots we’ve done (ok, mostly me) have turned out.  Erin does a great job at trim work and cleaning up, and I consider that a fair trade since I do the rest.

Last week I finished the final book in the Hunger Games series. They are definitely fantastic books, but I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It was very….. different than what I was expecting. I’m happy to be getting back into reading books though, it’s a pleasure that I’ve forgone for too long. I have a few more books lined up on my Kindle, and we’ll see how long it takes for me to finish all of them.  Since I just watched John Carter today, I found myself wanting to read the books.  It turns out Amazon has all 7 books for just 99 cents!  Score!  Looks like I’ll have bus reading material for the next few months.

There was a one and a half hour gap between that last paragraph and this one.  It turns out when migrating my WordPress installation the database got set to read-only mode.  Sadly I didn’t realize that and attempted every fix on the sun before discovering the error in my database permissions.

Anyways, back on track, I recently ordered a shavette in order to get into the world of single blade shaving.  It definitely provides a close shave, but in a few spots I got a little…. too close.

Nicked myself with the shavette

Apparently I’ll need to work on my technique, but shaving is something I certainly don’t mind putting time into, as I find it to be a quite enjoyable way to start/end the day.

Now I need to start getting ready for the weekend.  Erin and I fly back to Chicago on Friday for her cousin’s wedding, but since that isn’t until Saturday I get to spend Friday night with Brad and Danny.  Looking forward to seeing them and riding in Brad’s new car!

Social Butterflies

This weekend has been a blast, and both Erin and I have been having awesome social adventures. On Friday we hit up the Shout House with Jake and Samantha. There was a short stint where they just belted out a Disney songs.

Unda the sea!!!! Unda the seaaaa!!!

Before going out though, we cooked up some great dinner! Well, at least I did. Erin is usually the house/apartment cook so I thought it would be nice to return the favor. On my work lunch break on Thursday I picked up some goods from the downtown Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. Fresh corn on the cob, peppers of various colors, and hand picked tomatoes accompanied white rice and chicken.

Such a colorful dinner!
Mood lighting, and a guest appearance by the GoKart Labs cup

Today (Saturday), Erin and I brought Tucker to visit Chad and his family in Saint Anthony. We all played in the back yard for about two hours, and I was easily the most worn out by the end of it. A quick power nap was a great way to reenergize. Then this evening Sam and Mike stopped by for some burgers and other miscellaneous food things. (Side note, they do GREAT frontend web development.) In preparation I stopped by the local liquor store, Big Top! I find it humorous that it’s called Big Top, and the logo is literally a circus tent. They do have a fantastic micro-brew section, both local and domestic.

The store says “No Cameras”, but…….. oh well

In my preparations I failed to get cheese for the hamburgers. I’ve never been a fan of having cheeseburgers, so much so that I had a whole shopping list for dinner and didn’t even write cheese down. A quick jog over to the nearby gas station and I was able to grab some. Along the way I was able to get a quick panoramic photo of our apartment building.

The sun caused the rest of the photo to darken (to balance the light)

It’s been a great weekend with great people, and I look forward to a lazy Sunday tomorrow.

Pumpkins!

Another week has gone by and it’s been a blast! I had the chance to grab a drink with Miles earlier in the week (a former GoKart employee) and this weekend Erin and I made our way out to Stillwater for their annual Harvest Fest! Erin’s friend from Marquette (and mine since), Matt, was able to join us and we trekked out in the mild rain.

Largest was 1,465lbs
The winner!
And the losers.

Stillwater is a fantastic little down, and is the kind of place I hope to be able to have a family when I reach that point in my life. We saw giant pumpkins, though my favorite attraction was the chili cook-off! For $10 you get to try 12 different chilis, and at the end you vote for while you think tastes best. Chili #2 was made by a Chicago transplant and his friend, so while their chili wasn’t the absolute best, it was definitely in the top two for me and I voted for them because of their Blackhawk pride!

Chili number 3 out of 12

Sunday was very relaxing. I wiped Matt’s Macbook Pro clean so he could sell it, and drove it back to his house on the NorthWest side of Minneapolis. There aren’t many snow-free days left, so any chance I get to drive the Camaro around is one I won’t turn down. We also made kabobs when he was over on Friday night. We used the gas grill on the roof and they turned out perfectly!

They smelled so good
Garnished with a side of sweet potato fries and strawberries!

Tucker is doing well. He’s starting to use the bathroom outside more, as I think we made the mistake of training him TOO well to use his potty matt when inside overnight. Oh well, he’s still only 9 weeks old so I can’t expect much from him. I look forward to our drive home on Thanksgiving, not sure how that will turn out, but hopefully it’s not too bad. We’ll be driving with one of Erin’s family friends, Pat. He’s a nice kid and I’ve met him before, and he attends the U of M up here. I get to drive through the campus every day on the buss on the way to work, and it’s exciting seeing the student attire change as the temperature drops. There are still a few crazies who wear t-shirts and shorts, but I doubt it will remain that way for long.

My two adorable roommates

Tonight for dinner Erin made some tomato soup from scratch and it was DELICIOUS! Blended tomatoes, vegetable stock, onions, and other stuff I don’t even know. It was amazing and was topped with two grilled cheeses. I think my favorite part about living together is the fact that I get amazing food all the time!

Homemade!!

Finally I ordered a new Macbook Pro Retina yesterday. It’s weird, because even though I’m insanely excited for it now, I know some day I’ll be an old man with kids and a house, and will laugh at the measly excitement I get from purchasing some piece of technology. Or maybe I’ll still be the same boy who got excited over his N64 when his parents Santa got it for him on Christmas. Either way, it’ll be sweet when it arrives, and I plan on having a whole weekend of re-doing my home network!

Breaking When It Should

Everything breaks, that’s just the nature of life.  It’s something you just need to learn to accept, and once you accept that you can learn to work with it.  There is a very important piece of our world that breaks quite often.  That’s right, I’m talking about fuses.

While working on putting my motorcycle back together, the electrical system suddenly stopped working.  I didn’t have time at the moment to look over everything, but I had some time today and two things.

  1. Occam’s Razor holds true
  2. Sometimes Honda likes to hide fuses in random spots

There is a fuse box on the front of my motorcycle, right underneath the headlight.  There is also a rogue fuse that is clipped inside of the ignition solenoid wiring harness.  After tracking that down I found it to be blown, and while it’s a bit of a pain as I don’t have any spares at the time, I’d rather have the fuse blow than have to replace all of the electrical mechanics that could have been fried.

Tonight Erin and I also were fortunate enough to have dinner with one of my former coworkers Nate, and his girlfriend Toni.  We went to Matt’s Bar, which is a bit of a famous place in town.  They are home to the Jucy Lucy, which is two hamburger patties with American cheese melted in the core.  It is absolutely delicious, and matched with a pitcher of Summit and a basket of fries, it makes quite the meal.

The bummer news of the week is that I tied for 3rd place in the CloudSpokes challenge I competed in.  Since my code wasn’t accepted as a winner, I’m free to do what I want with the source written for the contest, so here it is!  It’s definitely not the prettiest code, but it was a fun challenge in storing OAuth tokens in a postgres database, and then using those access tokens to transfer information at a later time.  Maybe when my server is behaving better I’ll do a write up the project, but for now I’m just releasing the source.  If you want to see a working implementation, check out e2b.herokuapp.com.  User credentials can be deleted at any time, so if you become uncomfortable with the access that the webapp has, you can revoke their access.

No one is going to be able to read this for another two weeks anyways, but I’ll keep trying to post so that there is content once this server is WAN accessible again.

My Sweet Valentin

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes you lean back and say “Yea…. great day”.  It started off with Erin and I visiting the Lyric @ Carleton Place to sign and finalize our lease for September.  While it will result in a small increase in rent, it’s definitely going to be worth it and I’m looking forward to having much more space AND a dedicated office.  After that we swung by Bonnie’s Cafe to have brunch.  It was extremely tasty and I definitely wouldn’t mind becoming a regular there.  Bonnie’s is a hole-in-the-wall kind of place that only accepts cash.  There is a small wait staff, but I think that is part of what creates its appeal.

The “Around the Clock”

Upon filling our bellies we headed back to our current apartment to clean.  It had gotten a little messy during the week, but two hours of teamwork cleaning got it back into shape quickly.  Groceries were stocked with a trip to Kowalski’s, a quaint 24-hour grocery store on Hennepin Ave.  At 5pm I left to pick up Valentin and bring him over for dinner.

But who is Valentin, you may ask?  Last week GoKart Labs gave it’s employees the opportunity to work alongside Habitat for Humanity for the day.  While on site I met several great people, willing to donate their time while asking for nothing in return, and one of those individuals was Valentin.  He explained to us that he was a French student who came to America for the sole purpose of learning English, and the host family he was staying with told him that if he didn’t plan on doing anything he would end up being quite bored sitting in their house all day, every day.  I must say that I find it extremely admirable for someone to donate their time helping people in a country outside of their own.  He could have opted to sit in a bar each day, and drink away his time here, but instead he found people in need and offered his help.

Picking up Val almost felt like a first date.  There was the awkward drive to the house, a house I had never seen before and only had the address.  When I arrived the host mom and a few other people were outside.  “Uhh.. 3558?”, I sheepishly asked as I stepped out of the car.  “Yea! You must be here for Valentin”, host-mom replied.  “He’s just inside. VAL!!!!”  He quickly ran out, greeted me, and we turned to head off.  Though, I wasn’t sure about his stay here, rules that had to be followed, things like that, so I kindly asked the family, “So… does he need to be home by a certain time or anything?”  I realize he’s a full grown adult, but I tend to honor the requests of the head of the household when possible.  She kindly said he could come back whenever he pleased.

Back at our apartment, I started grilling hamburgers while Val chatted with both Erin and I. We learned he has a pilot’s license (only for gliders and small planes), has a girlfriend back home and is excited to see her, and many other fun facts.  My initial attempt and making grilling the hamburgers on the stove-top skillet/grill was a failure, and Erin had to make sure I knew how funny it was that I could simultaneously burn the outside while keeping the inside completely raw.  She kindly took over and grilled many good burgers, as well as three brats that we picked up from the deli.  Lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheese were all prepared as toppings, though I passed on the cheese.  Unless it’s a Sobelman’s, no cheese for me.

Oh, and of course beer.

After dinner the three of us discussed music, Erin made a round of Gin & Tonics, and we talked about some of our favorite movies.  One of my coworkers, Kevin, invited us over to his place for a bonfire.  Another drive through this new city and we arrived, meeting a bunch of new people who were all extremely friendly.  I was quite happy, as several of them were developers, so we were able to “nerd it up” and talk about technology, videogames, etc, all while having a few and sitting around a nice fire.

Bonfire @ Kevin’s

Before I knew it, it was 1am!  Not wanting to stay out too late and be exhausted the next day, we headed home.  Today Erin and I are planning on visiting the MN Food Truck Fair, and I’m sure we’ll get to see Valentin again before he flies back to France in two weeks.