Health and Fitness (what it's like having neither!)

Here are some health and fitness updates:

Moh's surgery 


  • After finding out I had basal cell carcinoma on my right ear, I had Moh's surgery. That was on Wednesday.
  • Now it's Saturday and I have had a cold since Friday morning.
    • No one else in my home has a cold.
    • The ONLY place I have been for over a week is that clinic, a pharmacy where the staff were masked, and a small convenience store near by to purchase a snack.
    • Anyway, I've got that going for me. I had a great nap today and it seemed to help.
  • For anyone dealing with post surgery wound care, I really would would say to check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viiLbz-jSwo
    • Reviewing it let me really take care of the dressing on my own. I have incisions running in two directions as well as a central area where the actual tumor was so there's a bit of ground to cover. My dressing today went really well and it looks pretty tidy, considering I did it myself using a hand mirror for reference.

Dietary changes

  • I also started logging my food in MyFitnessPal. I have tried this in the past but tended to cheat or get sick of it. 
    • Typically, I'll get tired of weighing and measuring so this time I am guesstimating.
    • Typically, I'll cheat a little by not logging late night snacks or cheat meals so this time I am logging everything.
    • Typically, I'll get discouraged because I am not losing weight quickly enough, so this time I am focusing on the process of tracking my means and not worrying too much about what my weight is.
  •  What have I learned so far?
    • I tend to go out to the kitchen frequently during the day to eat little tidbits. Chocolate covered almonds, a slice of bread with butter, etc. These really add up and are just emotional eating. I don't need to do this.
    • A lot of my calories were consumed before bed in this uninhibited snack fest. I have stopped that now, and am planning out a snack that lands inside my calorie goal for the day.
    • Keto might be BS. I have lost weight using every conceivable method. I am leery of any "diet" which can lead to disordered eating. Eating a mostly normal diet (e.g. what you grew up thinking was healthy) has worked for me as long as I don't eat too much. Eating smaller portions, snacking less, and exercising might be the key here, people. 
    • So far, by understanding the times of day when I am really hungry and keeping my meals smaller when I am not has let me stay inside the lanes while still enjoying the food I like. I am eating way less butter, though. 
  •  Where is this going? I hope I stick with this until I have changed my thinking about food but I might be the type of person who has to always weigh themselves to keep myself honest. 
  • Why am I doing this? 
    • A lot of my health issues are exacerbated by being heavier. Think arthritis and general inflammation.
    • I have noticed a considerable lack of energy and difficulty with basic tasks that used to be easy. 
    • I have been working longer hours and so I am not getting my daily walks in. I can't eat as though I am getting lots of walking done and it's shown in my expanding waist line and increased weight.
    • I want to be here for my son's high school graduation at beyond.  




UFOs in the news

What a strange time to be alive. I really think the world keeps getting "weirder" as I get older and I am not sure if that is just how every person sees things as they age, or if our stretch of time really is the strangest time to be alive so far. 

It started in 2017 with the NYT article about UFOs (archive.today link).

I read the article, reviewed the videos, and checked out the UFOs chatter on Reddit.

Why? Well, several years ago, I saw an extremely bright green meteor that had a lot of nickle in it streak low across the sky and off to the horizon when I was out in the yard with my dog. It was low enough that I heard it sizzle (https://earthsky.org/space/whoosh-can-you-hear-meteors-streak-past/).

This really freaked me out. It lit the area up like the day. It was "otherworldly". I became obsessed with understanding what I had seen. Over the course of time, I eventually found out this was a fairly common meteorite burning up and the nickle caused the green flame. The sizzle is totally normal as well. While I was trying to figure that out, I learned a lot about UFO sightings and the pop culture around UFOs. This just comes up when you search for "glowing green orb that sizzled".

Once I found the true explanation, I stopped looking and forgot about all this sort of thing. Then 2017 comes along with the article and videos and I thought "I wonder what r/UFOs is saying about this". And I was in the rabbit hole.

I would like to just not think about this at all but it keeps coming back up in the news. Lately, even Chuck Shumer is in on it, putting forward an amendment to a military spending bill that reads like science fiction: https://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/schumer-rounds-introduce-new-legislation-to-declassify-government-records-related-to-unidentified-anomalous-phenomena-and-ufos_modeled-after-jfk-assassination-records-collection-act--as-an-amendment-to-ndaa

At this point in time, we have government discussing it, mainstream media covering it, scientific experts holding conferences on it, and more and more people who "want to believe". Where is it all going?

Either this is a mass delusion which has reached the highest levels of government (and, let's be honest, that happened with Qanon) or its a real thing in our world. 

I don't have enough data to know for sure but I'm keeping an eye on it and wondering if we have merged so much with virtual reality, in the intellectual sense, that it could be affecting our connection to base reality. As we lose our visceral grounding, our consensus reality becomes more aligned with what is online. If that is made up, so is our consensus reality but we make decisions based on this shared framework. 

Are we too close to this merging to see it objectively?


Coping with stress when there is no time to relax

 I have a lifestyle which can be stressful for me. 

It might not be stressful to others, and might seem incredibly busy to still other people. Probably I'm just leading a normal life for a married person with a child and a full time job. But regardless, stress can build up for me. 

 One of the things I find aggravates my perception of this stress is an unrealistic expectation about when and how I should be able to relax. This weekend, for example, I spent a lot of time doing things I might not have chosen for myself. I enjoyed some of them, others were more like chores, but none of it was particularly terrible to do. I even got to take a nap today.

 But I feel no more relaxed today than I did coming off the week on Friday afternoon. I feel like a weekend should recharge batteries but maybe it is my own personal issues leaving me almost dreading the week to come.

 After doing some soul searching, I think it comes down to physical activity. I am simply not getting enough exercise. For a while I had been walking 45 minutes a day in addition to my normal activities, then things got busy at work and instead of finishing off at the same time every day (roughly) I ended up working until my son got home from school. This is the time of day I normally hang out with him, get some chores done, and make dinner. All of this means no time for that 45 minute walk. 

 I had also been trying to get that time in on the treadmill in the evenings if I wasn't getting time outside after work but somehow that fell by the wayside as well. It's a feedback cycle. You get tired from stress, which leads to exercising less, which leads to lack of stress maintenance, which leads to more stress. 

 Time to break the cycle. I am going to try to get on the treadmill again if I don't hit activity (steps, essentially) goals during the day. I can try doing this before bed. I realize you aren't supposed to exercise before bed but some fast walking on a treadmill doesn't seem to interfere with sleep at all for me. I will also try to do more pushups, stretches, and other exercises during the day as a break from sitting at my desk. 

 I'll report in here in a while to see how this is all working out. 


Gaia finds candidates for interstellar ‘Oumuamua’s home

 See: https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Gaia/Gaia_finds_candidates_for_interstellar_Oumuamua_s_home

I am not an astrophysicist but reading between the lines it seems unlikely that:

  • this piece of space debris would interact with some many systems as opposed to getting caught into orbit (gut feeling)
  • originate in a system without some type of larger bodies since the hypothesis is this might be a natural object that has flaked or chipped off something else after a collision (or be a technological relic)

Combining this with the competing theories of the nature and behaviour of the object, I think it remains in the realm of possibility that this was either a relic or active interstellar piece of tech. Do I think that is likely? No, not at all. But I do think it makes sense to at least continue to entertain that as one possible explanation.

 If the result of the Gaia analysis was "it started out here, there's a bunch of rocky exoplanets, doesn't look like it interacted with any other systems and coming here was a fluke" I would change my tune.


Like a very tired phoenix, this blog is rising from its cold, damp ashes

After years of trying different blogging systems which mainly focused around generating the blog and uploading it (or variations on that like the systems where you commit stuff to a git repo and it builds remotely or Obsidian Publish) I have returned to ye olde Blogger and found I have content here going back QUITE a ways. 

 I was going to flatten it all but I think I will leave it. 

In doing this, I have been struggling to come up with a good reason to blog. I want to write things, and publish them on the web, as a way of clearing my head. It isn't evident that this has value to the rest of the world but writing publicly does seem to alter the way it feels to write. 

My current issues:

- health - found some skin cancer on my ear, cardio health is in the toilet from my last bout with COVID, and I need to deal with my posture and terrible eating habits. 

- tech - is a reckoning coming for ChapGPT in court with all the copyrighted docs they used to train 

- weather - Edmonton, the city I live in, is sitting above zero with very little precipitation during a time of the year when we expect dustings of snow interspersed with bigger snowfalls and temps at least -10c during the day; what is the next spring and summer going to be like after a Winter like this?

 - meal planning, meditation, walking the dog, it's all fair game to write about here - the fact that no one but me will ever stumble on this means writing here is pretty low stakes. :)