Thursday, June 9, 2011

Weight loss updates

Hey friends, I've been particularly busy with my new job, takes me from 6a to 6p every day of the work week.

An update to my diet plan. Since may 23 I've lost 12 lbs of pure fat, and 4 inches of total mass from various areas of my body.

I've discovered that not having any sort of diet soda during the day is helping immensely...apparently Aspartame contains chemicals that promote fat storing, so good on you "diet" coke

Monday, May 23, 2011


Now sitting at my computer, the end of day one, it wasn't so bad. High protein breakfast, Tuna salad for lunch, burrito bowl with no rice for dinner. And jesus did I drink a lot of water.

I took my measurements last night....biceps, thighs, waist and hips. The total number was 187. This is a data point I'll be tracking each week. As soon as my calipers come in the mail I'll get an estimate of my bodyfat percentage to track as well week to week.

I weight in at an embarrassing 293.5 pounds this morning. The good news is that isn't my high for the past 6 mo.

My goals with this regimen are three fold: In 3 months I want to be healthier than I've been since high school. In 6 months I want to be able to take my shirt off in public without giving myself a complex. 1 year from today I want to [goal redacted to protect the innocent]

Goal one involves a drop of 40 lbs, goal two means getting to sub 20% bodyfat. Goal three goes beyond both of those.

These may seem lofty, but I don't care, I'm going for it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A New Venture

*blows off dust*

I'm planning on using this space to track my "body reconfiguration" as outlined in the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. I will spare the public my "before photos" and instead use the blog to track daily/weekly weight, weekly inches and BMI measurements and other data points. I'm not savvy enough nor do I believe I have the time to do Daily updates regarding photos of my meals...but I will be taking them and uploading the most shameful in a weekly post.

Thanks for being an unwilling participant/motivator In my change.

A large "before" post is forth coming...I still have some planning to do.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

in which the terrible tale is told

now that my long nightmare is mostly over I feel I can step back and recount the events of the past 3 or so months leading up to my enrollment in NCSU masters in aeronautical engineering program.

We begin our tale with my being laid off from my employment of 2 years and moving back in with my parents. The job market wasn't getting any better, mind you this was at the crescendo of bank failures, the credit crunch, and skyrocketing unemployment. It was agreed upon amongst my close family members that secondary options, such as continuing education, needed to be explored. On what was basically a whim I registered for my GRE to be taken in early november. Since then I began to piece together the process for applying to NC State's graduate programs.

The week before my GRE test was scheduled I made a trip out to the school (roughly 4hr drive one way from my parents home in the mountains) to discuss entrance requirements and financial aid. Skipping forward to just after my GRE's were taken I began the process of getting recommendations, filling out requisite forms and applications and preparing for the late November (the week before thanksgiving) deadline for applications. Come that day I had all my documents in for the application and the very next day in the mail all (based on what I was told when I visited the aid office) the documents I would need to apply for a Stafford loan.

It is now the second week or so in December and I receive notification by email that I have been recommended for admission by the engineering department. This was good news but by no means a guarantee of enrollment. I promptly contact my loan officer at the university to check on the status of my loan papers. I am told that there is nothing to be done until I am fully accepted by the university. To give some idea of the time-line, the first day of classes for the second semester is January the 11th.

We move now to the week before Christmas, I receive notification via email that I have indeed been accepted by the university as a potential full time student, pending my enrollment of course. Hurrah says I as I contact my loan officer once again to get the ball rolling. There is news on this front thankfully but it is not good. Apparently there are other forms that I needed to fill out, three to be specific, a independent status verification worksheet, additional tax information worksheet, and the Graduate Benefits and enrollment form. The first 2 are quickly filled out by me and prepared for delivery on the 21st. The latter form is more complicated; there is a section for me to fill out then the form must be delivered to my graduate program office, filled out and signed, then forwarded to the financial aid office.

It is on the 21st that I am informed that the university and all its offices will be closed beginning the 23rd and ending on January the 4th. Faxing these forms seems to be the best bet. The tax forms get to the financial aid office promptly and are entered into the system. I am unfortunately unable to get confirmation of receipt by the graduate office before they close so I had a very relaxing Christmas.

Let us not forget that during all this time I need to find a place in Raleigh (4hrs away from home) to live and to arrange for my move.

Try as I might there is nothing I can do to move forward on my loan and without my loan I wont be able to register for any classes as there is a tuition hold on my account. So come the 4th I have a slew of phone calls, emails, and even campus visits to nail down the particulars of my enrollment 1 week before classes are scheduled to begin.

Bad news, it is Monday the 4th of January and the graduate office doesn't have the fax of my form yet! The silver lining to this cloud is that it usually takes 24 hrs for faxes to the office to be delivered (>.>). On Tuesday my father and I make a trek out to Raleigh with the primary intention of securing living quarters for myself. Along the way I am plastered to my phone making sure the form issues are dealt with. By the end of the day I have an apartment to live in (come later that week of course) and assurance that the form has been filled out by the graduate office and sent to the financial aid office.

Wednesday the 6th comes and goes and the financial aid office sees hide nor hair of the form. This is because the graduate office chose to deliver the form via the campus mail system, a process that can take upwards of 3 days. I am running out of time and well if I'm honest I broke down a little over the course of the next few days. Resolved was it that I was to move out to Raleigh 1 day early, coming out with the items taken to my parents home on Thursday with the hope of resolving my enrollment that day in person. On my way out I encouraged the graduate office to take a copy they had made of the form (and not informed me of the availability of said copy) and fax it to the financial aid office. I arrive on campus at 12:30 PM and seek out the graduate office secretary, who wouldn't return to her office till 1:15. As it turns out the form was not faxed so a second copy was made, to be delivered by me directly to the financial aid office.

That afternoon, roughly at 3:30 pm I received an email that my loan had been awarded in the full amount and that the tuition hold had been removed from my account. I made my way over to the library to register for my classes online, relief pouring over me.

But I was not done. Every graduate level MAE (mechanical and aerospace engineering) course available to me was full or on waiting list as well as a math course required by my degree. Allow me to put this problem in perspective; it is in my estimation not a very common occurrence for graduate students to be dropping classes especially in the second semester. Were I not to be enrolled for 9+ credits (that's 3 full classes) I would not receive my full loan award. Without my loan I would be unable to live on my own in Raleigh and thus unable to attend whatever classes I did get into. I would be forced to defer enrollment to a later semester and everything that I had done in the past 3 months would have been completely nullified.

There is, however, a happy ending to this terrible tale. As of this posting the class cap for all engineering classes has been raised, allowing me to enroll in 3 MAE courses, 1 MAE seminar (1 credit) and remain on the waiting list for my Math course.

By my own admission I am not an optimist. I like to consider my self an objective realist. My very nature precludes me from looking on the bright side when there remains obstacles in my path. Throughout this whole ordeal I was in a terribly foul and doom-saying mood. Never did I consider giving up, however, and in the end, it worked out.

Now I can get on to the important task of worrying myself to death about my academics and finances :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

PODS fail

so when moving out of my apartment in New Bern north carolina back in august, instead of hiring a moving company or renting a truck to ship my shit out to my parents home in Asheville North Carolina (376 mi, important to the story later) my father convinced me to do PODS, which will bring a storage container to where you are, you load it up, they pick it up and store it and will(supposedly) ship it to a destination of your choosing later on. First month and the pickup was ~$250 and its about 100 a month to keep storing it in Greenville, NC, roughly 45 mi from new bern.

Having now found a place to live in Raliegh for my attending NCSU its time to move my stuff from greenville to Raleigh. I get on the horn with PODS this afternoon to arrange the details. OH snap theres an additional fee to move it to a different location that the origination. First off, I never specified a delivery time or location, this is bullshit but Im hearing them out because im not expecting much and it will be worth it in the end.

The estimate comes back, for the 84 mi trip from greenville to raleigh, the fee will be, ~$1000 and it will take a min of 8 days to get there.

the why? Well apparently pods storage facilities are franchises and they would need to "transfer" my tiny ass container from the Eastern NC franchise to the Raleigh Franchise for starters, at least 4 days. Then 4 days to get it from raleigh to...raleigh. The fees are some bullshit to protect loss of business for franchises or some such shit.

more bullshit: its only $100 fee to abandon my shit, and practically free to drive out there and pick up my own stuff from the container, which I will be doing in a uhaul over the 3day MLK weekend.

They've since called me back after geting yelled at saying that they'd do it for half but it would still be cheaper to hire some guys to go and pick it up and put it in my apt for me.

Lets put a kicker on this. A moving company came to my house in Ashville, packed up my furniture (I packed everything else) unloaded and carried everything up to a 3rd floor walkup in New Bern and set up my bed and dresser and bookcases for $800.

The long and short of it, dont use pods, do it yourself or treat yourself and hire a moving company

Sunday, June 14, 2009

more musings

Just as an update to my last post, it was revealed to me during my Online DND campaign with the Fancy Bastards ( that there are over 30 race choices and more than 15 classes in 4.0 dnd.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Roleplaying Stereotypes

I've been playing RPGs on the computer and console for many years, but only playing paper and pencil dungeons and dragons for oh maybe 6. Its been only recently, the past few campaigns or so, including those played at college where I've taken a more active interest in Roleplaying my character.

In the first campaign I ever dilligently roleplayed for the Dungeon Master asked me if I had rp'd before because I was pretty good at it (the dm was a big RP game runner, World of darkness and other such white wolf games). I honestly had not, but I replied, "I have a very good fantasy/sci-fi background which I use to build a characters personality"

now why would I start off this post about RP stereotypes whith such a story? Well it relates to an almost constant argument I have with a friend of mine down here that i play DND with almost every week. Since 4th edition DnD has come out, we've bickerd back and forth about the removal, reversal, and other such changes to the classic archetypes many of us learned the game with.

I personally dont take issue with the game mechanics changes. Hasbro/Wizards is trying to take a brand with bad connotations and a small player base and bring it to the mainstream. And to to that they've done things such as, remove negatives stat bonuses from character races, introduced more varied races and classes, and made precedent for almost any wacky/inane combination you can think of all in the name of increasing the player base by "upping the fun" As I said, this doesn't bother me. What does bother me is that such mechanics allow for people to go against what I will call the RP Stereotypes.

What is an RP stereotype by my definition? Its an idea, an archetype, widely held, usually inspired by fantasy writing or older versions of rpgs. Example: All drow can assumed to be evil. All undead can be assumed to be evil. Orcs are dumb, Elves are frail. And nowaday's new players dont have that sort of indoctrination into such archetypes, primarily because they aren't included in the game mechanics. All player races have no negative stat bonuses, so you have no idea what a races weakness is. There is an epic destiny (read, prestige class) where you become a lich (specifically an archlich) so as you may fight evil for eternity. I use that example specifically because I have a major problem with it. The process of becoming a lich is a process by which a wizard of the day would shed their humanity, literally and figuratively.

To rant about another problem I have in this vein, there are so many new wild and crazy character races, they just aren't feasible. The idea by my understanding is that the character races are supposed to be common enough that those cultures can raise "heros." Humans, elves dwarves, all make sense, but shifters, genasi, devas, and goliaths? They just dont fit into my (now admittedly antiquated) world view.

Dont get me wrong now friends, I'm not angry enough to stop playing. Its just that it kinda rubs me the wrong way. In the effort to essentially make more money, the publishers are contradicting the source material, going against the established narrative.

These are just my jumbled thoughts.