Monthly Archives: April 2007

A Week of Dietary Thrift – Synopsis

At the risk of sounding repetitive, here is the list of my homeade lunches for the week. 

  • Monday:  I kind of cheated here…  I made my lunch Sunday Night, but my boss bought me lunch on Monday (a chicken salad sandwich), so I didn’t eat my prepared lunch until Tuesday.
  • Tuesday:  Peanut butter sandwich on wheat, cooked spinach, an apple, a carrot, and a cherry yogurt.
  • Wednesday:  BBQ’d chicken leftovers, peanut butter sandwich, apple, carrot.
  • Thursday:  Pasta Mix with marinara sauce, succotash, and chickpeas, apple, carrot, yogurt.
  • Friday:  Pasta Mix with marinara sauce, succotash, and chickpeas, apple, carrot, yogurt and a peanut butter sandwich on wheat.

By Friday I was actually bringing in too much to eat in one sitting! 

Overall I’m happy with the results.  Homemade lunch seems a lot more appetizing right now than it did before.  I’m no gourmet cook, but the food I  packed actually does make me feel better than some greasy Chinese food or a fast-food pita pocket.  It did take a bit of effort to make sure I made the lunch the night before; when I had crashed on the couch at 10PM watching some rerun of Scrubs, lunch was the last thing on my mind.  I found that making lunch and dinner at the same time was an efficient way to get my lunch ready while avoiding the conflict of interests at 10PM. 

I’m going to say this excercise was a success, even though technically someone bought me lunch on Monday.  (Of note:  I did come quite close to failing on Wednesday, when I actually forgot to bring my lunch with me to work.  I had resigned myself to purchasing a lunch, but luckily I was able to contact my neighbor/co-worker Greg and ask him to grab my lunch for me on his way in.)

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Posted by on April 29, 2007 in Garbage In, Garbage Out


A Week of Dietary Thrift

     In general, I try to pack a lunch for work to avoid wasting money on the mediocre food that is available for purchase near my office.  But when I’m busy, I have a tendency to leave my lunch-packing for the morning, when I’m usually rushing around trying not to be late.  In this state it usually doesn’t occur to me that two slices of bread and a banana do not constitute a fulfilling lunch.

     As the second trial in my effort to learn self-discipline, this week I’m going to commit to making an appetizing, multi-course meal for every work day.  The ground rules are as follows:

  • Every day this week I will bring a homemade multi-course meal to work.
  • On no day will I purchase lunch at work.
  • Each meal that I pack should be appetizing, and have multiple parts (no more plain bagels with water for lunch).
  • I need to make my lunch the night before.  Making it in the morning could theoretically satisfy my requirement of eating well at low cost, but part of the goal here is to de-convolute my crazy mornings.
  • I’m allowed to cook for multiple meals ahead of time, but I need to pack each individual lunch the night before.

     As with my 7-day running test, this exercise doesn’t necessarily have implications for my subsequent lunches.  I’m just trying to force preemptive lunch-packing to be a more natural part of my routine. 

     Alright!  I’m off to the store to get some grocery supplies for my lunches!


Posted by on April 22, 2007 in Garbage In, Garbage Out


A Week of Fitness – Synopsis

This morning I went out and completed my seventh consecutive day of running, as it was foretold. I think this excercise had the intended effect… It was tough to get myself out there each day, but by the end I was planning my days around the run a bit more. I actually did my 7th run first thing this morning because I didn’t anticipate wanting to do it after a busy Saturday. In the end I was subconsciously scheduling time in for running, and that’s exactly the point — I want it to become second nature again.

I don’t know if I will keep this up, and I don’t know that I need to. For now I’ll set a tentative goal of increasing my weekly mileage by 10%-15% for 4 weeks or so. Of course, increasing my mileage will be a lot easier if I do run everyday, so I’m going to try to keep it up for as long as possible, even if I continue doing shorter runs.

A few noteworthy highlights of the week:

  • Monday I was running in 7 inches of snow in white-out blizzard conditions, Friday I was running in shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt.
  • Thursday I decided to play games with Bads and Bats in the time where I had originally planned to run. I ended up eating a large Thai meal at 8:30, and then running at 10:30. Running that soon after eating didn’t hurt as much as I was expecting, which I think bodes well for my current fitness level.
  • On Monday and Wednesday my run was followed by light lifting and then swimming, which was tough but felt great afterwards.

I noticed that Zappoman likes to put up nice charts of his exercise program… Of course, I’m not as diverse an athlete as he is, but I like the idea, so I’ll put up a little chart since I did accomplish this week’s goal.

Week of Fitness Mileage

Total Mileage for the Week: 14.9


Posted by on April 21, 2007 in Garbage In, Garbage Out, No Easy Days



Vader Finds Religion

I recently learned that the Washington National Cathedral Cathedral  has a gargoyle/grotesque of Darth Vader, which you can also see close up here.

Darth Vader

It would be super cool to go to church one day and see the priests, dressed as sith lords, approach the altar to the tune of the Imperial March played on the giant organ… or maybe that would be scary.

Thanks to O’Foghlú for the link.

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Posted by on April 19, 2007 in Entertainment


Dear Sister

I really enjoyed the SNL Digital Short this weekend:

I swear this is what it’s like every time I go home for Thanksgiving.

Author’s Note:  The video has been removed from YouTube, apparently due to copyright violation…  But it was also removed from NBC’s website in light of the VA Tech shooting this week…

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Posted by on April 17, 2007 in Entertainment


A Week of Fitness

My first excercise in self-discipline is going to be a feat of…  uh…  excercise. 

This week, starting today (April 15), I’m going to run every day for seven days in a row.

But you talk about running all the time…  Shouldn’t you try something harder?

You’re right, I do talk about running alot, because it has played a big role in my life.  However, I have not run consistently since last fall, and even my “consistent” running has been rather haphazard for several years.  Beyond that, the last time I ran seven days in a row was in 2001, almost six years ago (I keep a running log).  Yes, this is something I should be capable of, and something that would be good for me; at the same time it’s something I just never do.  That’s a good place to start my discipline practice.

Here are the ground rules:

  • I will run for at least 10 minutes each day, for 7 consecutive days.
  • I will not use weather as an excuse not to run (that’s a shame, given sunday’s weather forecast calls for 7 inches of snow in my area).
  • I will run even if I do some other excercise (e.g. swimming).

Ten minutes per day (about 1-1.25 miles) isn’t enough to get me into serious running shape, but one week isn’t enough time to do that no matter what my workout schedule is.  The point here is just to get moving persistently despite how I may feel on a particular day.  This activity may have implications for subsequent running, or it may not, but I have not trained how I want to for far too long, so I have to try something.


Posted by on April 15, 2007 in Garbage In, Garbage Out, No Easy Days


Practice Makes Perfect

For a long time now I’ve felt been stuck in a rut.  I have goals, but I find myself making little or no progress towards those goals.  Worse yet, I seem to be losing my ability to accomplish goals that I used to take for granted.

An easy example is running.  Many years ago, I ran every day, without fail.  A lot has changed since then, so I don’t expect to be able to run quite so much now.  I’m usually able to attribute my running, or lack-thereof, to external factors.  “I’m not running now because I’m a fair-weather runner,” or, “I am running now because I have to get in shape for a race.”  In either case I do it because of circumstance, rather than as part of a plan.

A more recent example is that I have extreme difficulty reading scientific literature at my job.  In general, I can read 1 paragraph before I literally lose consciousness and take a 2-hour nap (don’t tell my boss!).  The advent of coffee in my life does some to ameliorate this, but again my performance is not consistent.

Running and reading are two things I’d like to be good at.  They are both things that I start many of my days intending to accomplish, but more often than not I do neither.  This lackluster consistency is ubiquitous in my life now… in work, in exercise, and even (perhaps paradoxically) in leisure activities.

I don’t think I’m inherently bad at work, excercise, or leisure.  It’s more a lack of discipline.  I realize now that I have not had well-developed self-discipline anytime in my adult life.

And that’s OK.  Discipline isn’t something we’re born with.  We have to learn it.  Everyone learns differently, and I know from personal experience that I learn best by example, experiment, and practice. 

So, over the upcoming indeterminate period of time, I’m going to practice self-discipline in small, well-planned, exercises, until I get it right. 



It dawned on me that the meanings of some of my categories might not be immediately obvious, so I added some explanations to my About page.

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Posted by on April 13, 2007 in Garbage In, Garbage Out


Immunity Immunity

I have to clear the air about my recent claim that I don’t get sick for more than 24 hours.  Some of my colleagues have been giving me flack about this post, and considering that I did come down with a headcold last week, a clarification is probably in order. 

I do get sick (obviously), and my claim that I haven’t been sick for more than 24 hours in 2 years has alot to do with what your definition of “sick” is.  Now, I’m not trying to play games with semantics here.  Rather, I have a long history of being bedridden with nasty sinus and broncial infections for periods of up to 2 weeks, even for “simple” infections.  Given that history, if I do have some infection, but I can still get out of the house and function, I consider that a win.  My claim had less to do with boasting my “incredible” immunity than with proud reflection of the fact that my body seems to handle illness alot better than it used to.

So yes, I do get sick.  And yes, that dried out “under the weather” feeling does last more than one day.  I do maintain, however, that I have gotten pretty good to keeping that bedridden, miserable, can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t speak, wish-I-were-dead phase to one-day or less.

Stay healthy everyone.

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Posted by on April 10, 2007 in No Easy Days