New year, new attempt at losing weight

So after the new year I’m (again) trying to lose a few (40) pounds. I’ve made a realization this time when I started counting calories. I’m using the Myfitnesspal app (yes I’ve changed my password), and after I started counting for a couple days, I noticed something. The reason that Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, and all the others try to stay under 300 calories per meal is that…they know. They know you’re going to snack.

Look at any of your “normal” meals, and realize that you probably eat 500-600 calories (easy) per meal. That’s probably outside of whatever you drink with it. Now add in a candy bar or a bag of chips during the day, a drink or two after work, a late night snack and bam…you’re nearing 3000 calories. No wonder almost all of us gain weight!

Today I had an average breakfast (no coffee w/ sweetener…just plain iced tea), a light lunch with ice water, a snack (candy bar), a Lean Cuisine dinner meal, with 1/2 a serving of veggie-based crackers & 2 beers when I was out with a friend.

2390 calories!

My goal is 2070, and with linking the Myfitnesspal app to my FitBit, it gave me an additional 371 calories based on steps that I could add and still be “under my limit”. So if you count the steps I took, I’m *51* calories under my limit. So basically I’d be maintaining weight at this point. So I get it. They figure if you only buy their products, you eat about 900 calories a day in meals, 2-3 snacks a day (2-300 extra calories) and add in a beer at the end of the day & you’d be at about the 1800-2000 calorie limit.

I’m going to either have to invest in a chef, or really start counting what calories I eat for meals & snacks. I refuse to get any larger so it’s either buckle down & count…or starve. I think counting is probably the best way forward. Maybe I’ll try the Mediterranean Diet. Pass the steamed broccoli & olive oil please.

A guy from the US learning Gaeilge

I decided to do an entry on my desire to learn the Irish Language or Gaeilge.

A lot of my friends have wondered why I would want to learn a “dead” language. It turns out that “At least one in three people (~1.8 million) on the island of Ireland can understand Irish to some extent. Estimates of fully native speakers range from 40,000 up to 80,000 people.” [1]

One of the biggest challenges for me personally was that growing up learning English, I can’t understand the pronunciation of a lot of the words right off the bat. I look at the words “Dia duit” and I don’t get “gee-uh gwitch” out of it at all. I also didn’t want to start mispronouncing anything if I tried to speak with someone when I was in Ireland and look like a “Plastic Paddy”. I have to go back 5 generations on my mother’s side before I have any Irish heritage so I’m not going to be visiting relatives over there or anything. Speaking to someone in their language and screwing it up wasn’t something I wanted to portray as a US citizen either.

One of the things I was curious about being in tech was an easy way to start to learn how to “type Irish” so I could take notes in class. I spoke with one of my instructors and found out that using an iPad with Swype installed & the Gaeilge keyboard chosen allows you to slide a stylus across the keyboard & it will try to predict what Irish word you are trying to spell including the fadas.

The great part about taking notes this way is that holding the spacebar down with the stylus will allow you to quickly switch between English & Gaelic. This way you can Swype out “Dia duit – ‘gee-uh gwitch’ – means: God to you” on your tablet even if you’re in the same spot as me & can’t read your own handwriting.

I also found some information on DuoLingo.com about typing Irish letters including the fada on a USA QWERTY-layout keyboard. It can be found here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4278237

One good thing about living with all this technology is the ability to put the CD’s from our Irish book into Itunes so I can listen to someone pronouncing the words over and over without having to annoy someone asking them to repeat something dozens of times. It’s allowed me to learn to say “Tá sé go deas bualadh leat” (Tah shay go jas boo lee at) and a few other ones that have proven difficult for me as I start out.

While this isn’t the easiest thing I’ve done and it definitely puts me out of my comfort zone, it’s something I’d really like to continue. So if anyone out there wants to learn with me let me know!

-Slán go fóill

 

[1] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_the_Irish_language

Moving & Technology

So something I hadn’t thought about when moving until today was the lack of technology. Of course I’ll still have my phone but I’m moving on Saturday and I will be without internet for a week at my house. I will obviously live but it got me thinking. A lot of us rely on technology to do our day-to-day tasks like pay bills, chat with friends, look up directions, or just find a good restaurant. Many of these tasks have been transferred to our phone but there are things that are just easier when you have a keyboard.

Typing this blog entry would have taken forever on a phone, or I could let google/siri/whathaveyou try to translate my speech. Either way it is much easier to type out my thoughts and surf on a cable connection than a phone connection.

All in all it’s not the end of the world. I’ll be back online on Saturday the 22nd, and the blog will be down for a week. No big deal.

First working python code!

OK, so I decided I would write a temp converter for my first python program. It took me a few tries but it’s running now. It’s probably not the best way to code it, and I don’t have error handling in it but it runs!

Next steps:

  • Throw in an if statement for anything below absolute zero to return a message and exit
  • Return comment in response to an if statement for appropriate clothing to wear at the temperature entered
  • Error handling

If you have ideas of easy things to code for me to practice please let me know. I’ve already got one idea of a countdown to a specific day for a former coworker’s retirement so I may work on that this weekend too.

Code: http://pastebin.com/ZAtqqbab

I miss you Patrick

Today I went to the wake for one of my best friends in the world. Patrick and I met when I started playing softball at a church my sister attended. Both of us were football fans and liked to razz each other over the fact that our favorite teams are in the same division. This made for some interesting conversations and Sunday afternoon’s while we cheered on our teams. The more we played on the softball team, and the more we hung out the better friends we became.

We started attending the same men’s small group for church, and as we lived near each other, we would take turns driving over to the pastor’s house. Over the months, these trips gave Patrick and I a time to share a lot of our lives and the struggles we had. We realized that a lot of what we had gone through in life, the other person had gone through as well. Patrick knew more about my life, my past, and my struggles than anyone in the world. He became my best friend and confidant for anything I needed advice on or was working through.

Patrick fought brain cancer a few times and suffered through brain surgery, chemo, radiation and still had a swagger about him that most people couldn’t hope to pull off. Although he didn’t share much about the cancer, I knew that it was always something he thought about. Near the end of his life, he was struggling with a few things and was having a hard time with them. We went out to talk one night and had a few drinks, talked about life and what he was struggling with. A few months later I received a call from him because we hadn’t hung out lately. I kept saying I needed to call him back, needed to catch up and say hi, but life was busy and it kept slipping my mind. A few weeks ago I found out he was in the ICU and his wife said that it wasn’t looking good. Within days he had passed on.

Tonight I went to the wake and seeing his wife and his mom, and hearing how he had the same thoughts running through his mind about needing to call me to catch up hit home. You’re not guaranteed tomorrow. You don’t have time to do stuff “later”. If you care about someone or you want them to know you’re thinking about them, you need to tell them now. Care about the people in your life and let them know you do. You may never get the chance to tell them if you put it off until “later”.

I’m sorry for not staying in touch better Patrick. I can only hope you knew how good a friend you were to me. Godspeed my friend.

Sexism & Harassment

Not sure why I’m writing this, other than to give my own opinion. A few things were said today regarding sexism and sexual harassment in the conference arena, and while I agree with most of the items mentioned one of the links provided in the stream stated that telling someone that they are attractive (or not attractive) was offensive. While I can see the assault, rude comments, unwelcome advances, and the like as something that should be dealt with, I felt this went too far.

Regardless of where you are, be it work, school, the mall, the bar, a conference, or walking down the street, you are in public. If someone finds you attractive, and pays you a polite compliment (for example: “You are very attractive and I’d like to get to know you”), you can politely thank them and say you’re either interested or not. At that point they know where they stand. If you automatically take offense to the first thing they say, and were to berate them for having that opinion of you, I feel that would be out of line.

While you’re entitled to your own opinion, and you may not be attracted to that person, they are a person as well, and deserve the same respect that you would like them to afford to you. If they do not approach you and pay you that compliment, a connection could be lost. I believe that while respect must be adhered to, the “time and place” is irrelevant in most times (yes I know, hitting on people is sometimes tacky, see funeral, divorce court, etc.).

What should be adhered to at all times is respect. If you respect the person you are speaking to, they should respect you back. You can think of how you would want someone to talk to your son/daughter/sister/brother/mother/father and if they are showing that level of respect, respond accordingly. If not and you want to slap them senseless, that’s on you.

Stupid users or stupid us? Yes.

Today while working I noticed that I was starting to drift into the “stupid users!” thoughts. What causes us to do this? Yes I understand that you may not know how to reboot your system, although the methods haven’t changed much in the last decade or so, but that’s not the point. We as IT Professionals can start to run down this path of “Well what do you mean you don’t know how to configure your local firewall!? It’s on your computer!” Many times we work inside of a larger organization who’s main business is something other than IT. You’re going to be dealing with people who are very smart in what they know. They may be someone who is a banker, or a doctor, or a lawyer. They are very good at determining what is going on in their profession. What they are not proficient at is knowing how configuration files should look, or how to write a batch script, or why when they go to a website all of the sudden you want to reload their computer.

All they know is that something inside the box you gave them is holding up their work. They want it fixed and they want it fixed now. You getting frustrated at them is not going to make them any happier. Now I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, because after working on the helpless desk for over five years I know that sometimes you can’t just keep taking the beating they’re giving to you. The idea is to get them working, off the phone, and out of your life as fast as possible. You may not know how to fight a court case, underwrite an insurance policy, or treat a patient, but they do. If you can work together and get the problem solved faster it’s going to go a lot easier on everyone.

Let’s all try to stop calling them “stupid users” and maybe they’ll stop calling us “stupid IT”.