It’s Been a Long Time Coming

I got to disclose the SNSLocker ransomware fully to the FBI last Friday. I caught a late break in research when someone pointed me to a software package that could decompile the virus, reversing it back to source code. So I was able to give them the attacker’s name, age, email address, IP address, password, and the source code to the virus, website, and database. They were quite impressed, and now I’ve got a point of contact there where I can quickly disclose just about anything going forward, and said agent will also be able to quickly acquire warrants to put us on the right side of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. I meet with them again in three weeks, and in the meantime I’m going to do a partial disclosure on bluesoul.me going over the tactics used.

One thing I was not factoring in while becoming more active: Becoming more tired, which leads to sleeping later, which leads to missing the train. I missed it for quite nearly two solid weeks. It’s cost me one badly cracked windshield from being on the interstate so much more. Sorry about that.

On the health front, things are going quite well. If I wasn’t drinking quite so much water, I might have a better idea of what I actually weigh right now. I got below 170 quickly, but since then I’ve hovered right around it. However, with logging food on the Fitbit app I can get a rough idea of how much fat has burned off. And I can feel a difference physically; squishy parts are becoming less so, my calves have put on a lot of muscle mass. That thing I said about hitting 10,000 steps for three out of three days, when I’d only hit it once in the prior six months? Since then, it’s gone up to fifteen out of the last seventeen days.

In the past, I’ve always tracked only one half of the weight loss equation. I would set a calorie limit on the day without the context of how many calories I’ve burned in the day. I’d used the FitDay software which had an activity tracker, but it was required to be all manually input, and was based on averages. Now with the Fitbit that can track calories burned in real-time, I’m able to get that critical second half of the story without really having to do anything. It thought it over and came up with a number of calories to burn in a day, which it set at 2,722. How many I should consume in a day is just a matter of how quickly I want to lose weight. If I’m fine with losing a pound a week, the number to eat would just be 500 calories less than what I burned. Some days I’m burning 3100+ calories, and I’m not really interested in eating 2600. All good, I’m just losing a bit more fat that day.

Diana may well have a new job starting next week or the week after. The new job may well be with my agency, about a hundred feet from my desk. The new job may well be a 50% pay raise. Needless to say, we’re both pretty excited about this. She and I have worked together in the past and we work well together. This also has the chance to be a big step forward for her professionally, she’ll be able to learn from some very intelligent, successful women. It’s also going to significantly kill the cost-savings of staying in Albuquerque. I get a discounted train ticket. But both of us together would be $200 a month. Then it becomes a question of about $300 a month for three hours of commuting a day. I value my time above a dollar an hour, personally. One of my coworkers let me know about a really nice apartment on the north end of Santa Fe, the price is about where all the apartments are, which is high. But the pay raise will help with that too, and start to make the business of commuting more than a little foolish.

Power On

You know, on those power toggles where it’s represented by an I and an O? I remember which is which by saying “O for Off.” Try not to think about it too much.

So I got my Fitbit surge about six months ago, and the goal it sets for you is 10,000 steps per day. I hit that one time, in April on Nutanix day.

I’ve hit it three times in the last three days.

In fact, I’ve only hit the “5 miles walked” goal for the first time this week, which I’ve also done three times in the last three days. Critically, the goal for calories burned was getting met less than once a week, probably 0.3 or 0.4 times a week by eyeballing it, and only over 3,000 calories burned twice in six months. Except, you know, for the last three times in the last three days.

I woke up yesterday feeling half-dead. I preemptively let myself off the hook if I didn’t increase my cardio numbers or even hit 10,000 steps. My legs were worn all the way out. My right calf felt like there was a rock in it. But what surprised me is what a good mood I was in. I think there’s some serious biochemical changes happening, more testosterone if I had to guess. I feel, and this may be out of character for me, significantly more alive. More mentally sharp. More friendly. It’s wild. And despite half-dead, rock-in-calf feeling, I ended up walking over 13,000 steps for 5.5 miles.

I did end up buying some new shoes. It’s not an area where I spare expense but I actually found the low-end of the Asics product line to be more comfortable than anything else. Low-end here meaning about $70 on sale. Prior to that I’ve been wearing some Olukai slip-ons that were little more than dressy skate shoes. I didn’t plan much of this out very well, it’s been rather spontaneous.

Yesterday was also the first day in recent memory where I went all day without any stomach issues. I think we’re onto something. Outside of being lactose intolerant, I was still having a lot of problems. It’s looking like the Clif Builder’s bars I’ve been eating are out. They’re lactose-free, but soy protein isolate is notoriously hard for the body to digest, and it’s the first ingredient in said bars. I picked up some Kind bars and had one yesterday instead. It still did a good job as an afternoon snack and while it has soy protein isolate, it’s towards the middle-to-bottom of the ingredient list. That amount seems doable for my body.

I gotta say, that makes the protein bar section of the grocery even more of a word search. Probably 75% of the bars are out right off the top due to the use of whey protein isolate. Now the ones with soy protein isolate high up the list are out too. You don’t see a lot of casein whey bars. Maybe I’ll give up and go to jerky or something.

So in other news, I’m turning over all the info I got on the SNSLocker ransomware to the FBI. It was a particularly inept job of ransomware, and the final result is I have the guy’s full name, age, email address, IP address, the source code to the payment & decryption website, a dump of the database of victims including their IP address, and a number of them are in the US, meaning the FBI can at least start the ball rolling. I’m supposed to meet a couple agents for lunch in a week or two, whenever they can squeeze in the hour trip up from Albuquerque. It’ll be a nice attaboy to put on my list of accomplishments. The Trend Micro blog covered the story and at least linked the tweet that I wrote at the time of the initial research.

There will be a full post-mortem of SNSLocker on bluesoul.me after I finish the disclosure process.

One of my self-serving complaints that kept me from getting anywhere fitness-wise was that “I don’t have that much time when I’m home, so I want to spend it how I want.” Which is partly true, I don’t have a lot of time when you subtract dinner and a shower. But I was not using the time in a productive manner, and I’m using productive very loosely. Anything that would make me happy could be considered productive. It was mostly time spent dicking around on Reddit. The last 3 nights, I’ve been on the computer for maybe a total of 15 minutes. I do not feel deprived. Right now the plan is for the weekend to be the time for rest, recuperation, and fucking around. We’ll see what happens, the weekend isn’t too far away at this point.

Five Green Rings and Two Dead Doves

So, let’s get this out of the way. I exceeded expectations yesterday.

Crushed yesterday, for real. #fivegreencircles

A photo posted by @bluesoulsez on

I’m making use of every function of the app now. I went ahead and bought the Aria scale as well, it’s not too overpriced for including body fat percentage (even if only a rough approximation) and I know myself well enough to know the integration with the app will make me actually use it. I’m using the food log and tracking water consumed. I’m pretty sure it’s everything the app offers outside of run tracking because I’m not running yet.

With all the extra walking yesterday, I consumed 2100ish calories, but that’s fine because I burned over 3,000. That’s a significant deficit, enough to average 1.3 pounds of fat burned in a five-day work week.

I was talking to Diana about this yesterday, from an evolutionary standpoint, we’re good at a lot of things, but out biggest strength might be walking. Early man would bring down a yak or a goat or what have you by walking behind it, never letting it rest, pelting it with stones and throwing spears until it got back up and the chase began again until the animal finally keeled over from exhaustion. We’re not the best runners, but we’re the best walkers on the planet.

So when I got the scale set up (hey Fitbit, make your applications respect Windows text scaling, please.) I got my first number back. 173.2 pounds and 24.7% body fat percentage. I did some mental arithmetic on where I wanted to be, which is 135 pounds as I was when I was about 18, and let out an audible “Fuuuuuuck.” That’s like 40 pounds. But I did a little more math, 173.2 less 24.7% is 130.4 pounds of “lean mass”. 135 pounds would be 3% body fat which is a great number if you’re a hypertrophy bodybuilder. I’m actually looking for something around 14% body fat. That works out to about 149.4 pounds. So a little under 25 pounds to lose assuming lean mass stayed the same. That seems much more doable not only from a mental standpoint but from a physiology standpoint. I couldn’t figure out where 40 pounds would come from. That’s like, a leg.

I feel pretty good this morning, could’ve used some more sleep. Still fighting heartburn and general stomach discomfort in the evenings. That’s one of the things I’m hoping gets solved along the way.

I received a reddit message this morning that I was made a moderator of /r/ransomware, which I requested about a month ago. That’s exciting, I have big plans for it since /r/malware isn’t really suited for discussion on removal. I’m gonna work on that for the rest of the morning ride.

Dead Dove Dot Jpeg

I don’t know what I expected. I didn’t expect it to go well, this thought of exercising at work. I’m fairly blown away at how well it went. I had a few things I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted to walk at least 250 steps each hour. I almost accomplished that, I did so in 7 of the 9 hours. One hour was entirely taken up by a meeting, and the other was where I had substituted additional resistance band exercise. I don’t think there’s honestly much that can be done for those hour-long meetings, call it a necessary evil.

I wanted to do my exercises, the full 3 sets, 15 reps each, six exercises. That didn’t happen, I only managed one set. It’s going to take a little balancing of my time to manage more. Also, dress pants are not condusive to doing squats. Impossible.

I wanted to try incorporating Pomodoro better in my day. I’d bookmarked Tomato Timer a while back but never really got into it in earnest. Oh, I’ve got way too much to do, I can’t be splitting my day into 25-minute chunks. I used Pomodoro all day today, and I was far more productive than a typical day. During those 5 minute breaks, I figured out a path in the building that not only involves just over 250 steps, but also incorporates four flights of stairs. All total, I climbed 29 flights of stairs today, and I’m going to end the day at about 33 flights. The exercises take about three minutes, so I can actually fit both the walk and the exercise in one five-minute break. I also managed two walks between 15 and 20 minutes.

I need to remember this day, remember how I’m feeling right now, 9400 steps into the day. Because I’m not going to feel this optimistic some days, hell maybe even most days. Ten thousand steps sounded unreasonable not even twelve hours ago. Now I’m going to hit 11,000 before all is said and done. This is coming off of short sleep and bringing earplugs to the train thinking I was going to sleep. I can do this. I can look forward to this. I feel really good. And I wish I could bottle up the sensation.

It’s going to work just fine in these warm months, that Florida upbringing has me saying the hotter, the better. I’ll have to figure something else out in the winter for the long walks. Maybe I’ll be able to do some sort of routine within the office building. Even if I was willing to face the cold (I’m not), there’s the matter of typical pileups of snow and ice around the route.

My GTD article was seemingly finished when this revelation of Pomodoro actually working well came to pass. I’m going to review the article tomorrow and see if it makes sense to include. Then I need to double check all of the links and make sure they work and are sufficiently useful without leaking any data. I’ll end up posting it in a couple of places when it’s ready to go.

Any Place Aimed, Go

Ever have your stomach bother you so badly that you ended up reconsidering your life choices?

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Sometimes I feel like I just pinball from one illness to the next. At least on this one, I don’t have to worry about being a hypochondriac. You don’t imagine almost throwing up, having that acid climb all the way up into the back of your mouth.

I’ve been thinking it over and my best guess is it’s a combination of two things. One is acid reflux, brought on from being overweight and overly sedentary. The other is stress.

Isn’t that odd? I don’t feel like I have all that much to be stressed out about. And yet I notice it, carrying way too much tension in my head and my shoulders. The logical place to look for sources of stress would be my job, but I have trouble coming up with much. We finished one big project, the next one is going to be much slower to roll out by design (we don’t get to start in earnest until August). Maybe it’s impostor syndrome. I feel like I’m over that, though.

Maybe it just has to do with getting up earlier than I ever have in my life. The thing with that, I’ve thoroughly acclimated to getting up by 5:15 and certainly no later than 6. Two weeks ago I worked out of the Albuquerque office for two days, meaning I didn’t have to leave the house until 7:35. Contrast that with my 6:05 cutoff to leave most days. I could not bring myself to fall back to sleep that morning.

I think I’ll solve a lot of problems by losing weight. I also remember that common advice, which is don’t announce that you’re going to lose weight. The idea there is that your brain isn’t terribly clever and will substitute words for actions and reward you with dopamine, even though you haven’t actually done the work yet. At the very least, don’t write about it until you’ve started, which I did last week, adding multiple breaks from my day to get up and take a walk. The long one is about 20 minutes, and there’s a shorter one that’s about 10 minutes.

Fitbit recently updated their app and added a couple of new metrics. They want you to get up and take at least a short walk (250 steps) every hour, from 8 to 5. (I may integrate this with [Pomodoro](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique), doing two pomodoros and then going for a walk, then repeating.) They also want 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. I’m pleased to say I managed that last week. 10,000 steps per day seems quite far away still, which is funny because it was effortless when I worked at Best Buy and I was still overweight then.

I also have some resistance band exercises I’ve picked that I can do in my office. I don’t have the paper handy but I believe it’s six exercises, three sets of 15 reps each, three days a week. I need to figure out the best way to incorporate them into the day.

This is one of those things that should be simplified by moving, as I currently leave the house at 6:05 AM and don’t get back until 6:35 PM, and I’m in bed by 9:15. That doesn’t leave much time. If we were up here, I wouldn’t have to leave the house until 7:30, I’d get home by 5:15 and not have to be in bed until 10:45. One way or another, that’s an extra 2 hours and 50 minutes. I could do an awful lot in that time. I still think we’re making the right decision in the short term by staying in Albuquerque, but I’m aware of what I’m giving up for low rent.