Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weigh-in: Week 16, -1.6 pounds

This was more like what I was expecting. More exercise, less eating ... eventually it will develop into results. Next week should be good too: tonight I am supposedly playing four hours of volleyball (regular match, makeup match, subbing for two separate four-person teams).

Measurements did not go down, though ... what I figure is that for my waist, I'm slowly getting to the point where I can relax it completely. (Sucking in my stomach as a habit over the years of carrying excess weight leads to it not wanting to relax completely, and that can change it a half-inch or more.) My thigh probably did shrink and I just found the spot that is really the biggest to measure this time. When I did the Discovery Health Challenge, their book suggested that I measure my thigh three inches from the top of my knee, I think, so that I'd get a consistent measurement each time. I might do that, not sure ...

Additional measurements:
waist 39.5 (+0.25, -3.5 total)
thigh 23.375 (+0.125)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Well, not like you might think. I mean, the job thing, sure, but that's not a problem for right now.

The problem for right now is ... what's my reward? You know, for losing weight. It was going to be a Kindle (I think ems suggested this), but see, there's this thing about DRM, and mysteries (not the book kind), and Amazon not clearing them up for you.

Now, I'm not allergic to DRM like a lot of techies are – I mean, I have a 360, and of course the DRM is terribly executed there (it cost me hundreds of hours on Bejeweled, just as well, that achievement probably wasn't worth it anyway) – but I do have my limits. And I like to read. I have books from some of my college courses, probably even from when I was a kid. I might want to keep books for a while.

And when there are still all these limits around that Amazon doesn't really know about in the first place and can't clarify for you in the second, well ... I'll probably like the Kindle, and at some point in the future I'll probably want another one. If I can't be sure I can read my books on both devices (or on alternate devices) ... the last thing I need is another pile of outdated electronic crap in my house. (No, really. Would you like a 100-disc CD changer? How about a two-deck VCR? A 20-year-old analog TV?)

sigh. Back to the drawing board ... perhaps literally, now that I have Photoshop ...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weigh-in: Week 15, no change

Well, something threw a wrench into my weigh-in plans, so this week, my weight is based off my last week's weight at home. It seemed as though my work weight in the afternoon had been about 6 pounds heavier than my home weight in the morning, but last week, I weighed 174.4 at home and 182 at work. I wrote it off to daily variation and figured this week would clear things up ... but now without a work weight, we'll just have to use home weights.

Obviously I did work out this week, and I was careful with my calories, so it might seem as though I should have lost weight ... but my home weight climbed up right after last Wednesday and has been gradually dropping down. I suspect I'd weigh about 180.5 this week at work if I went back to weigh in.

No matter. Even if this is less progress than I've made, if I keep working, the weight will drop from here.

Additional measurements:
waist 39.25 (down 3.75 overall)
thigh 23.25 (first measurement)

Epic ride

104.96. That's where the odometer stands today. (I may go back and recalculate the 64 miles, knowing that it was less than that, but anyway ...)

It was 64 on Monday morning. Decided to meet some friends and ride the Monon a ways. Now that I have this free time, I thought I'd ride out the 146th Street ridepath to the Monon and then down to meet them. No big deal, it's 8 miles from here to the Monon, so an extra 16. If we ride for 10-15 miles, that's 30 at most. I've done 30 before, but at a leisurely pace. Then again, I wasn't tired afterward, so I could do 30 quicker miles.

I set off at 3:45 or so, intent on beating the traffic. (Unfortunately, I have to cross 37. There's no bridge or underpass. not fun.) Cut across, up through a neighborhood, onto the ridepath. It's pretty good for the most part; quite a few driveways, six or seven intersections, but it's very doable.

And then I realized my error. We were meeting at 96th. It's 8 miles to 146th.

oops. So tack an extra 10 miles onto that trip, and now it's 40. Doable, probably, at least if I ride it carefully. So I use a little more caution, and I end up at the 96th trailhead at 5:30. The trip calculator says 13 miles in one hour at 12 mph. Right. I'm assuming the clock stops before the speed indicator does ... anyway, I wait as we gather. ems is caught up at work, so we leave a little later than planned. (This would be somewhat important later on; fortunately, not nearly the complication it could have been.)

So then we ride down to the Central Canal towpath and out toward Michigan. Not so much fun - it's considerably narrower and is light gravel over packed, hard dirt, because, well, it's a towpath. (Which is how things went up and down a canal in the old days. Not sure why it isn't paved now.) I say I need to turn around, we head back in the other direction, ems parts way so she can head home, and Candace and I head back to 96th.

I take a quick break, Candace goes back to her car, and I head home. First problem: it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 8:30. Dusk is falling soon, which means I should get off the Monon to avoid the magic barriers that close it. (joke.) Actually, it means I need to head home quickly, so that I'm not out in the dark with nothing to show myself by. Second problem: 13 miles again. No way can I make it in an hour.

I speed off up the trail, making really good time, but I can tell that my legs aren't as fresh as on the ride here, and the Monon heads generally uphill toward 146th. I clear the last hill and make it onto 146th. 9:00.

hmm. Oh well, the die has been cast. Off I go, watching traffic more carefully (right-turning traffic now approaches from behind me, making side roads more dangerous) and making better time, at least I think so.

146th is much more hilly than the Monon, though, and each hill seems higher than the last. I use the last of my water, feeling a little dehydrated (should have filled up at 146th), and push on.

As I cross intersection after intersection, I notice it's slowly getting dark, but it doesn't seem too bad ... until I realize my vision has adjusted well and it is dark. I can see headlights before I can see cars. And I have a black T-shirt, dark shorts, a dark backpack ... at least I have reflectors.

Allisonville is the first tough crossing, but I catch a break: no one turning right or left across my path. I struggle up the final hill, then back through the neighborhood.

The path ends on 141st, and now I must cross and ride on the road for half a block, then cross 37. I wait for a break in traffic, and again my luck holds: no cars approach from behind, and a car on my left waits to exit the frozen yogurt place until I pass.

Wait in the lane for the light to change ... on green, the car in front pauses for what seems like a minute. I can't accelerate yet lest I hit it, but I can't wait for long or else I'll never make it across. The car finally goes, and is turning right: another good sign. I am somewhat visible from the headlights behind me, and with the car turning in front of me, it has to slow down so I can catch up, and it slowly reveals me. I sprint across, onto the shoulder, and then onto the ridepath on the south side of 141st. (Another lucky break: no one waiting to exit the strip mall.)

The rest of the trip was easy. I pull into the driveway, open the garage, put the bike away, and ease inside. Change into comfortable clothes, refuel (Calorie Count says I burned 2000 calories: I won't be eating all that in one night) and rehydrate, put a hot water cat on my lap to soothe the muscles, and then head off to bed after the Advil kicks in.

Verdict: 40 miles in 5 hours of riding. Average speed on the 13-mile trip home: 11.7 mph. Time: 1:06:54. (Again, the time doesn't match the speed and distance.) Calories: 1415. (Yeah, I might believe that, but not without a monitor. I'll stick with 600 or so per hard hour of riding, thanks.)

I'm glad I did it, but won't do it again any time soon. My legs are a bit sore today, and I doubt I'd sit on the saddle very well. I still felt a touch dehydrated. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. (After the weigh-in. Hope this gets me back to making progress: I think my home weigh-in was too light for some reason, but it'll balance out eventually.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7: Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 1

Well, yeah. So. Marc-Andre Fleury was not awful (actually, he was really good), Chris Osgood was not great, the Wings were not precise, the Pens were not rattled. (The Wings fans are booing, which is disappointing. I think they should simply be quiet.)

Malkin gets the Conn Smythe, easy choice. Crosby was neutralized most of the series and Malkin more than carried his share. (Including in PIM.)

Not sure what Babcock didn't get done this game. Seems like some of it was coaching, at least. Got to hand it to Bylsma, keeping Pittsburgh on track after a disastrous Game 5.

The five-year rule is still in effect, so that's really all I have to say. (And yes, that means I'm limited in what I say about the Wings until 2017.)

If you're a Pittsburgh fan, congratulations.


Here we are again. For the second consecutive June 12, I have my time to myself again.

But what a change it's been. A year ago, my severance had run out and there weren't a lot of fish on my lines. This time, well ... I have a few more resources.

My boss is very, very angry. Basically, someone well up the chain decided that my position is no longer needed. Unfortunately for him, that's not the case, but unfortunately for me, right now his opinion is the only one that matters.

So he had to let me go. But he did very right by me. Our paths may cross again, should things turn around. If not, well, it was 11 very nice months, and I've learned a lot from working there. I also have more people I'm proud to call friends.

Monday, or perhaps a little later in the week, I'll be back on the hunt. For now, I'm watching a miserable hockey game ...

but hey, look at the bright side ... I've got lots of time for riding!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Weigh-in: Week 14, -1.5 pounds

A pretty good week this week, but that's to be expected considering that I rode 30 miles on Saturday and didn't crack 2000 calories once, not even on that Saturday. (Context: my target is 2000. Calorie Count estimates that I burn 2320 in a normal day, so from a metabolic perspective, I'd be losing about 0.6 pounds per week plus what I get from exercise.)

At home, I've finally dropped below 175. My waist is still in the neighborhood of 40", which actually is to my benefit in terms of a weight goal, because that suggests I still have a reasonable amount of fat to lose. I would guess I could get down to a 34" waist or so. 160 as a weight goal was somewhat in question, especially as a work weight, because of the weight I would add through muscle, but it seems as though I might get closer to 160 than I thought.

Not as much volleyball this week ... I've yet to play more than one match in a day, and we didn't get a full match in this week because we lost the first two games and couldn't stick around for a third. (Something to keep in mind: if you count team sports as expected exercise, keep in mind that you don't have as much control over the exercise you get ... especially if it's formal competition with a coach and everything. We don't have that.)

I think my summer appetite has arrived. Slightly bigger meals make me feel very full, and some days I just don't feel like eating a ton. If I keep riding and get back to the Y regularly (with hockey ending Friday, I should stop making excuses next week), I might be making some good progress the next few weeks. It'll be interesting to see what I look like for the family reunion in July.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 6: Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 1

Once again, Pittsburgh won the game it had to win. This time, it was a one-goal game ... the Pens jumped out in the second, added an insurance goal in the third, and then clung to their lead for dear life as the Wings roared back.

The goaltending was pretty even: I thought Osgood played better overall, but he allowed a soft goal and a somewhat weak goal; Fleury gave up only one goal, a tough play that probably wasn't on him. (To be fair, without help from Scuderi and a post, it could been 2-2 in regulation ...)

Once again, the role players didn't contribute much. Staal is not quite a role play. Kennedy's goal definitely counts, but you could match that with Draper's first of the playoffs. There was one play where Crosby fought valiantly in his own end to blunt a Detroit rush, worked the puck free, laid it to center ice ... and watched as it slid to a Detroit defenseman. He can't be at both ends at once, guys.

The officiating was dreadful. Apparently Bettman has slept through the entire series, either that or Brian Burke is now in charge of officiating. They don't call anything any more: blatant trips/holds/obstructions ... at least it's terrible both ways, so the Wings don't have to stretch their weaker PK unit and the Pens can shut down Detroit's faster players, but still, if I wanted to watch '90s hockey, I'd break out the VCR.

Each team has defended home ice, and here we are ... for the first time in 54 years, Hockeytown will host a Game 7. (Believe it or not, that counts all three sports: the three seven-game series the Pistons lost and the '68 World Series all ended on the road.) Strangely enough, in 1955, the home team won the first six games as well.

Game 7, 1955? Detroit 3, Montreal 1. The Wings outscore the Canadiens by 7 in the Series and win back-to-back Cups against Montreal.

Detroit holds a four-goal edge over Pittsburgh in the series. Is a three-goal win possible? I'd say not, barring a cataclysmic breakdown, and the Pens already had that in Game 5.

I stick to my early prediction: Wings in 7. Detroit 2, Pittsburgh 1, Osgood gets the Conn Smythe.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

NBC sucks

So ems texts me and asks me if I'm watching tennis on NBC. Of course I don't notice because I'm out of the room or whatever. So she calls, all excited, it's in the fifth set. I'm thinking hmm, Federer let Soderling hang around for two more sets? She says no, Federer's losing in the fifth set.

Whereupon I discover that she's watching last year's Wimbledon final. Except that she doesn't realize it. (She's not much of a tennis fan, so it's understandable she didn't pick up on details about the match.)

The problem is that Federer dispatched Soderling quickly, and of course the guide will show French Open Final for the entire time ... but instead of showing a crawl at the bottom of the screen to let you know what's going on (like every other network in the world would), or putting something up on the screen, NBC stupidly airs part of that match unedited ... complete with their "LIVE" text at the bottom of the score.

Why is this bad? Well, imagine that you don't know much about tennis, so you figure you'll watch the French Open for a bit. You tune in to see this. You don't know clay or grass or what, you don't know any of that, so you're watching this epic match, and all excited ... and then when it's over, NBC cuts back to Federer talking about the jackass fan. You don't realize what happened. In fact, you might be confused. Why is Federer smiling if he just lost? And if there's no one to explain it to you, it might discourage you from following the sport.

Okay, that's a lot of words. A better explanation? It's bad because it's clearly incorrect. That was absolutely not live. NBC should know better, except that they haven't done a good job on sporting events since they lost the AFC games to CBS. The only reason they do NHL games is because the NHL is desperate and NBC isn't paying rights fees, and they're doing the Olympics because they tricked the IOC into a long-term deal back before the IOC knew what it was doing. (I mean, not that they know now.)

So anyway, NBC Sports sucks. again.

Update: ESPN sent me a survey about tennis coverage. I told them "don't be like NBC", oh yes I did.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5: Detroit 5, Pittsburgh 0


Okay, first of all, Pavel Datsyuk is not worth 3 goals per game. He's not. Second, you can't draw too many conclusions from a single game.

However, if you look at what happened in Games 1 and 2, and then look at this game, I just don't see how you can say Pittsburgh can win in this building. I'm not even sure they can beat Detroit in Game 6.

For the first few minutes, Pittsburgh played well, as they have in virtually every game. Kronwall took a silly penalty early in the first ... and the Penguins did not score. In fact, they didn't have many chances. The presence of Datsyuk on the penalty kill made a huge difference.

After one, it was 1-0 Detroit, with Kunitz in the box for a silly penalty (somewhat questionable). The Pens kill that off, and ... give up a goal on that shift, even-strength. That might not have been too bad, but then Gonchar took a dumb penalty, and it was 3-0. Malkin penalty, 4-0. Kunitz penalty, 5-0, and that was that.

Well, Pittsburgh had a few more penalties left in them, including 3 misconducts in the third period, and once again, they're lucky the NHL doesn't care about discipline - imagine if Malkin had been suspended for Game 3?

I'm not really sure how much of it was youth, how much was frustration, and how much was the realization that they simply aren't good enough yet. (They can still win, sure, but they're not the better team.) For that, you could forgive Crosby and Malkin a little frustration. If Hossa had stayed in Pittsburgh, this would be an even series at least, and with Datsyuk out, the Pens might have won it by now. But he went to Detroit, and right now, it looks like that was a good move.

I think Bylsma has to throw this entire game out. None of this ever happened. He has to tell the team that Datsyuk will be healthy for Game 6, so the Pens have to come out hard, keep the pressure on, take the lead, and hold on. Fleury has to be solid. One of the "grit" players has to step up. (That doesn't narrow it down much ... which is the problem with filling your roster with that kind of player.) I don't think Pittsburgh will take stupid penalties at home, but then I thought they'd come out tough today, and they only played 18 minutes of good hockey.

Emrick is talking about how the Wings have made statements against three teams this season: against San Jose twice, against Chicago twice, and now. I can't argue with that. The Wings showed how well they can play at home, and with one on the table if they need it, they've put up a pretty convincing case for their 12th Cup.

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Pitttsburgh 4, Detroit 2

Better get this in before Game 5 starts ... it's a little more difficult because the 'p' on my keyboard doesn't want to work. No, really. Not sure what that's about ...

This is the game that I thought Pittsburgh would have in Game 3. Unfortunately, it means that the Penguins are the team with momentum coming into Game 5. The one positive thing Detroit can take from the game is that Pittsburgh had to win it: witness the 2008 Finals, when Detroit stole Game 4 and basically ended the series.

Having said that, it was the one game in the series so far where Pittsburgh clearly carried both the flow and the score. The second period was a series of Detroit mistakes and Pittsburgh goals ... something that the Wings could not do in Game 3, when Pittsburgh left the door open.

It's possible that Detroit is feeling the fatigue of the schedule, but somehow I don't know that this is any different than past years ... 4 games in 6 nights vs. 4 games in 7 nights on some occasions. Sucks a bit, but then Pittsburgh had the same schedule, and even if some Pens are younger than some Wings, Pittsburgh has older players too and they didn't seem to suck.

I also think it does a disservice to the game Pittsburgh played, implying that if the Wings were fresher they would have been toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh. (Now that entire part of the keyboard is going out. sigh. Probably a cord problem. Back to typing on the laptop itself.)

Detroit has laid eggs in the playoffs before, and they have the experience to put this behind them. Pittsburgh still has to win four of the last five games in the series, Detroit only had to win two. Win tonight, and they've got two chances to wrap it up. With Datsyuk coming back, I wouldn't bet against them.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Weigh-in: Week 13, -1 pound

The unofficial weigh-ins begin. I figured this would be a good week from what I'd seen at home, and I was right ... of course I've only lost 0.5 pounds over 2 weeks, but then it could be worse, right?

14 pounds in 13 weeks, just staying ahead of "even". Caught a tough break tonight in terms of weight loss: volleyball was rained out, so zero matches instead of three. Next week we make up our sixes rainout (well, one of them, that leaves this week to make up). Not sure what happens with ems' fours team.

Of course I ended up shopping instead – semi-necessary stuff, that is. Couldn't find our book for book club, but I did pick up a couple of classics (A Separate Peace and Of Mice and Men; I've read the former, don't think I've read the latter) and a teach-yourself-guitar program for the laptop. Then it was off to Costco, which wasn't my fault, it just happened to be on the way home from the bookstore, and I do need to go. (Razor blades. boo.) Now I need a chest freezer.

Looking forward to another good week ... if the rain keeps up, I'll have to hit the Y something fierce. After the Cup finals are over, of course!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3: Pittsburgh 4, Detroit 2

Well, nothing much really changed: the officiating was pretty bad (inconsistent calls at both ends, both refs and both linesmen inexplicably missing too many men on the ice for 20-30 seconds), neither team really played well, and the home team caught a couple of breaks and won. Or put another way, the visiting team did not make enough breaks for themselves.

The only thing that really surprised me was that it wasn't a blowout ... but then again last year's Game 3 wasn't either. Pittsburgh just isn't good enough to blow out Detroit unless the Wings flat-out collapse, and they've shown no signs of doing so. Case in point: two-on-one, Crosby draws the D and feeds ... Chris Kunitz, who whiffs badly on the shot.

Pittsburgh acquired too many "grit" players; granted, there weren't many Hossas around, and the one they had chose less money to play in Detroit, but still, they don't have enough talent around Malkin and Crosby. They can win this series, but they'll have to grind it out. No wonder Malkin was frustrated in Game 2 ... he just doesn't have the luxury of playing with the same talent that Zetterberg does.

Fleury was better in this game. I don't think either goal was really his fault, and he played well during the part where the Wings were basically holding Pittsburgh shotless.

Just like in 2008, this was a winnable game for Detroit, but they got outplayed. Hopefully Game 4 will also be like 2008.

Weigh-in 12: +0.5 pounds

Sorry, this is very late ... ems bugged me about it Friday or maybe even Thursday and I ended up forgetting again.

Anyway, this was the last of the official weekly weigh-ins. The next official one is the 24th, three weeks from tomorrow. We're doing unofficial weigh-ins weekly, to keep the rhythm going, so I'll continue to blog weekly.

My home numbers are staying pretty consistent, so I'm not too worried. As we getting into biking some more, that'll be more burned calories, plus I have three volleyball matches tomorrow (two of them are fours).

Overall, 13 pounds in 12 weeks. Mostly consistent, no really bad weeks, not the pace I'd hoped to set, but then again, I haven't tried to set a faster pace, so I'm getting out just what I'm putting in.

We'll see if I can drop 4-5 pounds a month ...