For posterity - status of a couple of things I have been working on

1. new job - I don't normally post about work here but I have been at a new job for almost a couple months now and am enjoying it.

2. exercise - since it got hot here (Summer) I haven't been going to the gym. I've started running instead. Been doing 1.5km in about 15 minutes every second day and will bump that up to 3km (gradually) when my new running shoes arrive at the end of the month. Focusing on not injuring myself by doing too much too soon. I am also spending more time walking the dogs after I go jogging. Jogging with them is a little stressful as only Lukie can come and he's very disruptive to jogging. :) Once I get in better shape I'll take him with me more, I think. If I can keep this up for another couple weeks I'll give up the gym membership.

3. diet - been trying to eat better... the smell of McDonald's now grosses me out more often than it makes me want to eat there but I still get cravings.

Also, been doing some volunteer work for the Canada Games (in Halifax 2011) and trying to do more maintenance around the house.



HRM Gun Violence

With this mornings news that there was a car-to-car shoot out on Main St. in Dartmouth (see Car hit by bullets in Dartmouth; two charged) it occurred to me that we are in a similar situation I was in when living in Anaheim, CA for a short time in the early-90's. We are living in a city where there are guns being carried by more and more people and the gun violence has become more "public".
How should we deal with this? I started learning about this shortly after being mugged at gunpoint in Anaheim. It was intense, terrifying, and generally made me very cautious about venturing out at night for a while. But, like many fears, I overcame this by educating myself.
Here are some things I learned:
  1. Understand the likelihood of being involved in a gun crime - just because you hear about an incident involving the discharge of a firearm doesn't mean there are bullets flying everywhere. People live their lives in cities that have many times the rate of gun violence we see here and never have problems. See also: HRM Crime Statistics.
  2. Understand your city - it's a fact: gun violence that is in public is more likely to be in one area over another but it is also possible anywhere (look at the stats; compared to the number of people in our area the rate of weapon violence is still pretty low and only some of those crimes involve a gun; fewer still are "public"). Listen to the news and try to learn which areas see the most incidents and what time it happens (it's often during "partying hours" when people have had too much to drink but are not yet burnt out and sitting in front of a TV with a pizza and wings; intoxication is almost always part of the recipe that leads to gun crimes). Can you help? Maybe - check out the neighborhood associations in your area and ask yourself if you have the time and desire to contribute to helping others find ways to live without violence.
  3. Learn to have situational awareness - be aware of what is happening around you; this is a skill you can learn and practice. If you see things like intense arguing, violent gesturing, or a fist fight starting these could be preludes to gun violence. If this is going on between people you don't know and you aren't feeling safe, make sure you have a way to become safe. You might want to consider calling police if you see actual violence (assault, brandishing a weapon, etc -- if you call police, do so from a safe place and not right in front of the people in conflict). See also: mindfulness.
That's all I know except for this: the answer to increasing gun violence is NOT to go buy a gun yourself. The likelihood of this helping you in a situation where you are involved in a random incident is almost zero. Don't be afraid; be aware.
It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me. It's the one that says "To whom it may concern." ~Anonymous Belfast resident, quoted in London Guardian, 1991


No gym week

Well, it's been a while since I was at the gym. This week I am actually not going on purpose and probably won't get back until Tuesday next week. That's a long time to go without the gym when you've been there 4 or 5 days a week for almost a year.
What has changed? I guess I got tired of going every day. That is until Tuesday of this week. I really wanted to go on Tuesday but decided I was "taking the week off".
How have I used my extra time each morning: I still seem to wake up at the same early time (early enough to go if I wanted to) and then end up on the couch after feeding the dogs dozing until 7ish. I feel more rested as a result but my body is starting to tighten up/get sore from the lack of exercise.
I can see this long-term leading to a return to couch-potatoe status and constant inflammation soreness again (Crohn's related, etc, etc). This week off has made me appreciate the gym even more. I can't wait to get back there next week.


Brain Dump

This is just a generic brain dump so I can relax my brain and get cracking (lots to do at work):
- Gym - haven't been going as regularly the last couple of weeks. I think this trend will reverse soon. I let my eating slip, then my energy went with it. I also completely cut out the doctor-suggested supplements although I kept taking my prescriptions (more on this below).
- Supplements - For a while now I have been diagnosed with Crohn's. Sometimes I am not sure that is what I "have" as I don't seem to suffer as much as people typically do with it but they call it a mild case. To deal with it and the associated inflammation (feels like Arthritis) I take a variety of supplements and also some meds. Basically I am taking Celebrex and a b.p. pill to counteract the increase b.p. from Celebrex (my b.p. is very respectable). I also take Calcium/Vitamin D and Omega 3 (fish source) supplements as per instructions by my Rheumatologist.
As most people know Crohn's and IBS have various bathroom-related symptoms. To control these I often use a little metamucil. I have recently added an active Probiotic supplement (jury is still out, this is my second day) taken with breakfast and dinner along with the Metamucil. The purpose is to have both a pro- and prebiotic with my meal which is supposed to aid my digestion and regulate it. The probiotic is supposed to "replenish gut flora". I have no idea if this will work or not but I've done enough research (Server Provides) to want to give it a shot. No doctor was involved in that decision. I'll post back in a month and tell you how it went.
Oh, so I was on supplements for a few months, then off them for a while. I suspected I was doing better on them but wanted to test this and went for a while without. Things gradually went downhill, mostly in the get-up-and-go department... Feeling much better now that I am taking them again and, my fried egg sandwhich this morning not-withstanding, feel like I am getting my proper diet back as well (lots of feedback loops for me when it comes to diet and exercise).
- Sleep - In addition to the above supplements I had been taking Melatonin. A doctor suggested this (one before bed) and I tried it. As part of my test to see if these things worked I stopped. Well, I want to take it again. I noticed that while taking it I was sleepier at bed time, slept deeper, and felt more rested in the morning. None of this is scientific, I mean I stopped taking everything at once, not one at a time, and it isn't like I am monitoring my sleep with scanners. I just know how I feel and go with it.
- Sourdough - the charm is fading somewhat (I no longer talk about it in every conversation I have) but I am still a big fan of sourdough and cooking with it often enough to leave it out and feed it every 24 hours.
- iPhone - best game ever: Zenonia 2 with the Shooter type character; Instapaper is my favourite new app; Stanza is my favourite old app; my cell plan is up for renewal in July so I'm trying to figure out the best phone/data plan or if I even need data. I think I do need text messaging (sort of) as I find it handy at times.
- Simplifying my life - Filing - instead of maintaining a bunch of files, one for each bill/topic, etc. I now just file all papers sequentially into a big accordion file for the year. I have a second file for stuff that I could conceivably need to access quickly (e.g. event tickets). I hope this simplifies my life and takes the pressure off to file everything properly (as has been my habit, but one I could never really stay on top of easily for some reason, for years).
- Simplifying my life - Wonder Hangers - I have abandoned Wonder Hangers! They seemed to actually reduce the efficiency of the closet even though they seemed to create more space. I organize by putting my just washed clothes in on the right... this pushes the less worn ones to the left making it easier to purge. The Wonder Hangers made this complicated


Test post from Google API Sample App

Just testing posting to Blogger with Google API sample app. Trying to learn how to use the Google APIs from .NET for 15 minutes a day (doing this before beginning work on work projects). When doing things like this it is important to set a timer so you don't end up spending 2 hours instead of 15 minutes (gotta get actual work done).


RDP with Linux

I recently started using Linux (Ubuntu) at home but I am an ASP.NET programmer so I needed a good RDP client for working from home. I tried rdesktop which seemed good but had all sorts of problems dealing with full screen mode (I basically want to get as close as possible to the windows Remote Desktop Client).
After some googling trying to figure out how to make rdesktop do what I want (which I thought was intuitive and correct behaviour) I stumbled on Remmina (link is to a page that tells you how to install it with Ubuntu).
I did the two following things when configuring it:
  1. Opened the preferences and added my monitor's resolution to the list of resolutions you can choose. This is so when you go fullscreen it will use the correct res on the desktop you are connecting to.
  2. Set Default View Mode to "Viewport Fullscreen" (again, making it like Windows RDP).
  3. When I set up my connections I set the default res to that of my desktop (see above)
  4. I enabled compression for each connection (very important).
That seems to have been enough to get a perfect RDP experience making my working at home much more efficient!

Quick post

Taking a quick break from work to post here (haven't done it in a long time, stuck on a problem at work... this should help). Brain dump:
  • been gardening with my wife... should have a decent yield of greens and hearty vegetables plus some excellent herbs and tomatoes
  • put up a clothesline at the house with my brother (it was a raining a little but we got it done)
  • trying to go to the gym every day before work; I have been working at home more though, and not bothering to hit the gym... I think I need to go anyway on those days or do a P90X workout or something
  • action packed weekend planned featuring comedy fest, brunch, and a concert (Joel Plaskett is opening for the Bare Naked Ladies)...
That last one should boost my Google ranking, but for all the wrong reasons.
OK, back to work!