Sunday, April 19, 2009

A quick word about living in the Southern USA

Friends there's no escaping the bigotry and the hatred, nor the scornful glares of those people who think their purported moral superiority transcends basic human decency.  Even a mild dose of this bullshit is enough to ratchet my mood from slightly anxious to seething cynicism.

An anecdote to highlight my frustration:

Yesterday at a gathering of friends my wife and I shared a conversation with a youngish grandmother, aged around 50 or so.

The event was to commemorate the recovery of a neighbor's daughter whose foot had been crushed in a car accident.  The injured girl was projected to be off her feet completely for 20 weeks and at just over 10 was able to hobble around with a brace on.

Sunshine and the cool sweat-covered drinks made the affair pleasant and calm.  Though most of those in attendance were strangers I felt like I was in the company of friends.  Now the young grandmother was interested in sharing stories of travel and adventure.

She talked about a 6 week journey across 30 states with her grandparents.  We spoke of the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas on the honey moon.  We shared with this woman the taste of noodle soup in Bangkok, the mangrove swamps of Costa Rica, our various trips to Europe and a certain midnight stroll across the dark continent.

As we shared I made an off hand remark that our honeymoon was last year.  Our two and a half year old daughter ran around on the grass making people smile and soaking up attention like a sponge, as usual.  The wheels began to turn in the head of our fellow story teller and rather than have her struggle with the implications I explained.

"We were only married last year, and Alex was born before that."

Straight, simple and perfectly mundane.

"But is she your daughter or?" The woman asked.

"As far as I know," I joked.  Her expression turned sour and she did not laugh.

From that moment the lady who had spoken with us, who had been delighted to hear about our lives turned utterly indifferent and quickly shifted her attentions to every other party guest EXCEPT for my self, my wife and our daughter.

This is why atheists get angry at christians.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

18in4 is BULLSHIT!!!

You hear me? 18in4 is a scam, a total scam, an utterly vapid attempt to shill people out of their hard earned cash in exchange for false promises and a physical impossibility.

The guy that runs 18in4 is apparently having some success because the mother fucker's ads are showing up on my blag!!!

Let me break down the sheer physical impossibility of this feat:

The Task: Lose 18 lbs of body mass
The Time: 96 hours

Now a guy my size burns roughly 2500 calories per day just to maintain my weight. Over 4 days that adds up to 10,000 calories or a little UNDER 3 pounds of fat even if I ate absolutely nothing.

If you wanted to kill (legitimately) 18 pounds of fat, which is far better to do over the course of a few months instead of days, you would need to burn a NET of 63,000 calories. In 96 hours. That's a freaky ass 656.25 calories PER HOUR for the entire duration assuming no food and no sleep.

For reference during the course of the Gigacalorie project I have burned on average 710 calories per DAY as of day 73 (which incidentally is today) and this has lead to a net weight loss of about 13 pounds.

In order to burn the full 18 lbs you would literally have to be on the treadmill at jogging pace for 96 hours with no food and no sleep and i can't even imagine the collateral damage to your joints, liver, kidneys and sanity by the end of such an evil (though grandiose) plan.

Allow me to reiterate. The 18in4 DIET PLAN IS A PIECE OF SHIT SCAM AND YOU ARE A GULLIBLE ASSHOLE if you fall for it. Yes it's only about 20 bucks but for fuck's sake KEEP YOUR CASH.

But let's consider what would happen if you wanted to lose such an amount of weight in such a short amount of time. While I doubt you could hit the full 18lbs you could probably reasonably burn 3-4 with serious effort and a very limited caloric intake. We're still talking 5 hours of exercise per day or a serious bout of high altitude hiking but that's doable. You could subtract some pounds by lowering the amount of water in your system though that's not safe or really productive (water is weight but it's not something to try and live without.)

All in all the thing to remember about any sort of weight loss endeavor is this: slower pace that you can manage and maintain is always better than a crash diet followed by a rapid weight gain. Progress that lasts is REAL progress and gimmicks that strip away a few pounds in a short amount of time will always revert back to your old self (or worse) unless proper care is taken to maintain your losses.

Don't waste your money on this 18in4 bullshit, get a month of gym membership and make a real change in your life instead.

Or buy a tapeworm.


I did some more digging and wasn't able to find a full break down of the plan but I was able to infer some interesting stuff.

Now I mentioned water as a way to shed some pounds (to no lasting effect) but I neglected to consider FECES as a possible source of neutral poundage as well.

Apparently this is leaning towards one of those detoxifying plans that makes you flush out your intestines and the several pounds of fecal matter contained herein.

So in essence the plan is telling you that by emptying your septic tank you now produce less shit. Brilliant.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Week 9 Update: Only one more weight update per month from now on.

So I marked the occasion, this being the 64th day of the Gigacalorie project by tidying up my progress marker. It's just a simple Excel spreadsheet that tallies up my daily contributions, weekly totals and my average progress per day and per week.

It was interesting to look back at the past 2 months, for which sweaty rides home and constantly aching muscles have dominated my schedule. Beyond the initial 'breaking' of my daily routine I have consumed 4 containers of protein powder, 12 gallons of milk (skim all the way baby!) and my workout/post-workout water consumption is probably something like 14 gallons of water.

Now granularity is nice but there's no real secret to what I am doing. You push the body hard enough and primal forces carry you the rest of the way. There are a few additional forces that make the task at hand both easier and harder. I'll start with the bottlenecks and conclude with the boons.

First and foremost, as I have said before, the enormity of burning 1 million kilocalories is as daunting and vast as the horizon inside the eye of a hurricane. Every day that I work out I come home and gleefully tally my progress like a pasty gamer tracking his experience points onto worn out graph paper.

Today the total stands at 42,930. Two months of cardiovascular brutality and anerobic malevolence done to my person has brought me 4.293% of the way to my goal. Or you could say I only have 95.707% to go until I am done.

Hell and damnation it's almost unbelievable. I could have moved a volume of bricks the size of my house (solid mass, not hollow) BY HAND in the same interval. Or I could have walked to texas and back by now. That would be a decent workout in and of itself but no, I am making scandalousy slow progress by the usual standards. It's terrifying of itself but when you consider that I am actually 8 Mcals AHEAD of schedule (more than 2 weeks progress at the alloted rate) it is all the more frustrating.

So there's that, and the physical toll is not much better. My arms, legs and back ache more or less constantly. My hands tremble at the keyboard and my voice is strained when speaking to clients, my wife and my daughter. I am the alarm clock whose snooze button has been pressed many thousand times too many.

Finally there's the whole body image issue to consider. My current progress (assuming naively that it's all net calories) equals about 12 pounds of body mass. My actual weight loss dipped down to ten pounds a few weeks ago and has since flatlined at around 8. Maybe that's positive because I am growing muscle or my bones are miraculousy hardening into granite from my considerable intake of bovine lactose but I sure as shit don't 'feel' like I am much lighter.

Natalie and friends swear I look different but my mental self portrait as a chubby guy with moderate body hair has yet to be at odds with its optical counterpart. I try to assuage my anxiety with the intellectual notion that even if I'm not flinging fat particles at escape velocity that at least I'm getting healthy and that's a noble goal without the secondary side effects of increased social acceptability.

There's just not enough positive reinforcement. But there is some, which I will outline now before things get too depressing.

Perks include getting to see scantily clad sweaty chicks of various levels of attractiveness on a tri-weekly basis. This might sound shady coming from a married dude but it's nice to add a simple addendum to my mental assessments of the girls around town. For years it has just been 'well i'm not gonna bang that girl' and hopefully in a year or so i'll be able to append: 'but I could if I really wanted to.'

I guess that sounds shady from any perspective but it motivates and I need all the momentum I can muster.

Secondly food tastes so fucking good when you're starving that it's not even funny. My second greatest meal of all time was a hot bowl of noodle soup on the fringe of Bangkok's red light district in no small part because I was ravenous at the time. Don't get me wrong if I could get it that soup would be my breakfast every day that I didn't feel like fresh pad thai but being hungry as hell made it all the better. Now thanks to my jacked up metabolism I am more or less constantly hungry so most of what I eat tastes great.

Some might consider that a negative aspect but I try to see it as a constant opportunity to make the right choice and reach for the banana instead of the bacon. (Side note: I have actually had banana wrapped in bacon and it's quite good)

Finally, and I know this was included in the negatives already, but what little progress I am able to measure cheers me greatly. It never ceases to amaze me how much effort, will and saline go into my weekly regimen and I need look no further than my bicep for proof that I am doing something right.

What once lay undefined amidst a slab of adipose tissue I can now trace with a finger or pinpoint with my eyes. It's not that much, a little crest of whipcord rising above a sea of pudge. Yet however much the body and mind wail for attention and results I can take solace that my little friend is already there to greet me.

All I need to do is keep feeding him and he will grow to dominate my self-image. I'll also need every scrap of muscle fiber I can wield to hold up my own ego when I triumphantly announce my victory in some format or another.

According to the projected outcome that date will be Feb. 1 2014. However at my current rate I will be toasting my victory with a frothy protein shake more than one year early. If I can sustain this rate of expenditure I may just modify the terms of the project.

I think I'll wait a year or two before I make that canonical though.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Short Task is AWESOME!!!

So I came across Short Task the other day and found myself intrigued by the setup. Here's a brief explanation of how it works.

Solvers: get paid small amounts of money for doing relatively small tasks. Bigger tasks, or more tedious tasks, get paid more.

Seekers: Supply tasks to be completed in exchange for money.

Now I did some perusing and there were a lot of .02 and .05 dollar tasks that required bookmarking or voting on certain sites to increase up thumbing and popularity. There were also more that asked for positive reviews on certain sites and organizations.

Solvers: Pay small amounts for small tasks that aren't really compatible with hourly pay structure.

It's kind of like an alternative botnet. Instead of assuming the risks and infrastructure to usurp PC's and then bend them to your will in order to commit click fraud or inflate traffic to a site you just micro-transact the whole thing. It's paid crowdsourcing!

Seems pretty easy but I am a little concerned because the registration page is not at all encrypted so I am hesitant to actually sign up with legit info. Maybe I'll sign up one of my alter egos to take it for a spin.

Update later once I have the opportunity to do it some justice.


Well ho-ly shit, for once my skepticism has failed me. I just spent 5 minutes doing an article for one of the short tasks about posting an article on (on my sock account, since they haven't secured the info page yet) and here's the results.

2.50$ for less than 10 minutes of work. That's what I call a score!

I highly recommend that others take a look and try it out for themselves. It's not a get rich quick scheme BUT for all the out of work people this could be a serious boon for scraping together some quick cash between gigs or just something to supplement with during off hours.

Thumbs up on stumbleupon and high marks via word of mouth. This one's on me, Short Task.