Terminal Tennis Elbow

Despite best efforts this morning, Diana and I got to the train station later than we hoped. All the open tables were gone, and now I’m using the new MacBook in a position that the Surface Pro was really having trouble with. Huge improvement, and this was just the test it needed with a couple of days to go in the return period.

Normally I’m working on websites in the morning. Honestly, the past few train days it was more planning and getting various tools installed, like Laravel Valet. I decided on two projects, one to be worked on at home and one to be worked on while on the train.

The home project I’m calling Rings, after the Aesop Rock song of the same name. It’s a wheel reinvention, but a necessary one. It is meant to reproduce much of the functionality of the CoreManager package, which is a web package used to manage private World of Warcraft servers. CoreManager does work, but it’s pretty ugly, very insecure, and generally in need of a full rewrite, and I’m happy to give it a try. So far I’ve got the ability to register a new account for the server, and you can log in on Rings and be taken to a dashboard that, currently, doesn’t do squat. But that’s fine, the logon was a heck of a thing to figure out since I had to replace Laravel’s authentication stack with a setup that would work with my WoW server.

The project I’m working on while on the train is called Kirby, also after the Aesop Rock song. This is a project that Diana and I discussed months ago, and was sort of tabled without a resolution. Now that she’s on a new career path, and I’ve had a change of heart with regards to web design, I’m happy to take it on. Essentially, it’s a thing to manage Diana’s sewing projects, with pictures, tags, measurements, comments, and so on. I can see a long-term plan with it that’s really social and interesting.

There’s a third project brewing in my head, a second attempt at a site I tried to build in 2007 or 2008 and failed, aimed at the perfume-maker and aromatherapy community. The framework I’m building with seems perfectly suited for this project, and now it can be done in a much safer way too.

I’m having this internal debate on whether or not “going easy on myself” is actually doing myself any good. From a mental standpoint, sure, I should probably not give past me (or present me) so much shit. But physically it’s probably not a good thing.

The walking every day ended abruptly when I had an object thrown at me on the sidewalk from a vehicle doing about 40 miles an hour. Three guys, they threw a little red ball, like a stress ball. Soft, but less soft when traveling at that speed. Knocked my headphone out of my ear. It still pisses me off because it killed my enjoyment of something I was really into. Much as I said I would not let it affect me, I have not walked down that street since. That’s been a couple of months, now. My weight has gone back up slightly, though not a full reversion to where it was. Diana and I have been playing a fair bit of tennis. We both had to get new racquets since the car was broken into. I got to pick up my new one on Saturday and it’s just what I was looking for.

There is, after a long radio silence, progress being made on our house. The pad and plumbing are in, and the slab will be poured his week. Then things are going to start moving rapidly. I was shocked to hear during our construction meeting, that they are still targeting the house to be finished before the end of the calendar year. They’re actually targeting late November, which means about two months end-to-end. That seems aggressive to me, but what do I know? I suspect it will be mid-to-late December.

I think my review on Friday set me up in good shape to get stuff done today. The first half of the day is wide-open, too. I’m envisioning a good day, here. It’s been about three straight weeks of spinning my wheels between outages, long weekends, and being sick. There are about 6 really productive weeks left in the year, and I need to make the most of them.

Stole a Mac, Call that an Apple Jack

I’ve been out sick for the last two days, and I’m pretty sure whatever I got was contagious because there’s been a ton of people out. It’s been a lot of sitting with the dog, half-watching nature documentaries and half-hoping my head would stop pounding. Not sure what it is, but I feel mostly over it today and I’m mostly just irritated I had to burn two days of sick leave.

Went ahead and grabbed a 13” MacBook Air last night. I was hoping Diana would make use of the Surface Pro 3, but it doesn’t sound like she’s terribly interested, so I’m gonna put it up for sale I guess. I think I’m going to try to get her to use it at least a little bit, see how she likes the stylus and such before committing to that. If she doesn’t want it, it’ll offset almost all of the cost of this machine. Initial impressions are really good, I’m really happy that it’s got an SDXC slot, that simplest route to expandable storage.

I have no regrets about buying the SP3, it was the nicest laptop I’d ever owned, except for its inability to actually sit on a lap. Now that using it in that manner is more and more likely, and given the change in workload, it’s just not the right tool for the job. Not getting hung up on buying new gear to help me either be productive or relax on my own time is important. Diana pointed out that this could be seen as an extension of keeping work at work. I have a very good test lab setup on my computer at the office. There’s no reason anymore to extend that to what I’m doing on what little off-time I am afforded.

I also spent a little time playing the FIFA 17 demo and my theory that the odd-numbered years are the ones to pay attention to has held true for the seventh consecutive year. It feels really incredible. I played a match with all the assists off and won 4-1. I’m gonna play the hell out of it when it drops, Tuesday after next.

I’m getting a bit disgusted with not only the lack of progress on the house, but the sheer lack of communication. I get that to them it’s just work, but for me it’s the biggest purchase I’ve ever made in my life, by far. It deserves more than three phone calls over as many months. So far I haven’t had a single person on this home-buying process that committed to weekly communication with me even come close to doing so. What has happened to the value of a person’s word? These are all people older than I. They are, by some measure or another, professionals. If you aren’t going to come even close to honoring a commitment, maybe you shouldn’t have made it in the first place. I think I’m going to call today and raise a little Hell.

There’s a book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog! that is some 130 pages on the concept that procrastination is bad, and you should get the least desirable task out of the way first. Right now, my frog is my email inbox, which badly needs processing. Not doing it is interfering with my weekly review. Not to mention, one of the applications which is now available to me with the switch to OS X, Omnifocus 2, is very much reliant on keeping up with that weekly review schedule. I don’t have high hopes for today, but if I can get that out of the way, I’ll call the day a success.

It seems like our ISP’s network finally stabilized yesterday. We had a solid week of sporadic packet loss, sometimes dropping out entirely, the worst of which lasted an hour in the middle of the work day. At least it wasn’t just us, pretty much all the agencies were affected. The post-mortem on this will be a lot of fun.

Going to be an interesting day today, but I very much need to get a lot of stuff accomplished and close out the week strong. Let’s get after it.

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel this chair…

We’ve managed to catch the train for about three weeks straight. Time that I’d spent in the past writing or doing malware research has instead been used to sharpen my web development skills. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, I’m not looking to change jobs, I just enjoy it and I didn’t like that I’d eliminated it from my life.

Earlier this year, Aesop Rock released a new album, and one of the tracks really connected with me.

The drifting away from the things that you used to enjoy, used to consider part of your fabric of being, part of your soul, and that initially that drifting away was temporary, then a protracted hiatus, then you’re saying “Well, I used to do that.”

I don’t want to overdramatize my love-affair with web-design, but I built my first webpage in 1997. That’s almost 20 years ago. For comparison’s sake, I played guitar from my 13th birthday on to my first semester in college, so about five and a half years. I derive too much enjoyment from it to deny myself of it on some weird professionalism issues.

Whether I’m doing the work for myself or someone else is really secondary to the creation element. I’m learning how to do things the right way in my language of choice, and I’m building little applications that exist only on this tablet I’m writing from. They’re built for an audience of one, and they do exactly what I need, and want, and nothing more or less. At some point I’ll expand that scope, but making peace with the fact that I enjoy it for the sake of creation, has been useful. I’m not getting hung-up on justifying the hobby with being able to monetize it. If I come up with a million-dollar idea, fantastic. Those probably won’t happen unless I’m creating in the first place.

One of the problems I’m having with the new train situation is that Diana and I have been sitting together every time, which highly restricts the seating options. Sometimes I don’t get a seat with a table, and it makes for a very awkward setup, trying to use my knees as a table and having my legs and feet go to sleep. I’m debating getting a different laptop to accommodate. The Surface Pro 3 has been about the best laptop I’ve ever owned, but for the lap part of laptop, it fails spectacularly. Since I’m no longer doing any really specialized Windows work, I’m strongly considering a MacBook Air or Pro. I really enjoyed by Early 2008 MBP, and about all I am going to be using it for anymore is writing, web development, and general surfing. Most of the “gee whiz” stuff on the SP3 is stuff I haven’t really used. And it still holds most of its value. I could get in for not much more money and probably be much happier on the commute. As I’m currently crunched up with pretty much my whole lower body going numb, it’s very intriguing indeed.

Single Entendre

So we came down on the side of taking the train. I had to admit that the stress incurred by driving was exceeding the enjoyment I was getting of being home a little earlier. And costs are in favor of the train, too.

This comes just as I’m starting to get creative urges again. I have one project I’ve committed to, getting a new website going for a childhood friend that’s become a popular stand-up comic. But that’s going to be a collection of off-the-shelf software, and I don’t see it being terribly involved in the long run.

I’m not sure what the project is going to be that wins the battle of attracting my interest. I think it’s going to be something with The SCP Wiki, but it’s not going to be Project Foundation, the name that was given to a full wheel reinvention of the website, all functionality. I indicated to them that I’m not willing to put in that much effort until they at least begin the process of incorporating, to reduce the liability I would have of being associated with it.

But there are other things that could be done that don’t involve the full commitment of that wheel reinvention. Honestly, I think it would be a wise mental separation to make this creative outlet something that is not tech-centric. I wrote a post back in April that laid out a plan for a new site, and that is the most intriguing thing to me at the moment. I like the name SCPrompt, as it works two ways. I think I’m going to pitch that to staff in a more concrete manner, and I can build up some of the infrastructure regardless. So there’s a bit of a tech element, but it’s largely peripheral to what the actual creative endeavor is.

On a related note, one of the technical staff wrote a pretty incredible program to save essentially all the information from a Wikidot site, which Wikidot itself doesn’t even fully allow for. This has some pretty major ramifications for the feasibility of an eventual migration. It’s one important piece accounted for, but there’s a ton of logistical ground to cover, and I don’t currently believe there’s enough discipline from the administration to do everything that will need to be done.

Over the long-term, there will probably be a successful implementation of Project Foundation, either through the Russians finishing their Starforge project or me finishing the Redpool project. The Russians and I have entirely different skillsets so it’s not really a waste to have both of us working in two different directions.

I think that is easily enough decided. Work on my friend’s new site in the short term, build up SCPrompt as a short-to-mid term thing, and if nothing happens with regards to incorporating, I might just do it my damn self.

It’s been a little bit, hasn’t it?

Today has Diana and I both taking the train instead of driving to work, a statement that indicates how much has transpired over the intervening months.

Diana’s job search concluded successfully in late June. She’s working with me again, in Santa Fe. Her desk is about a 30-second walk from mine. It’s a significant pay raise, plus a full 40 hours a week. Combine the effects of both and her pay has doubled. But so far, from my position, it’s well more than double the work for double the pay. It’s been a bit difficult to watch. Even if the last job was overall a crappy gig, she was at least able to largely leave work at work. That hasn’t happened with any consistency since. She tells me not to worry about it. That’s, uh, difficult.

With the increase in pay, as well as the fact that we’re now both commuting, I insisted that we get an apartment in Santa Fe to reduce commute time, while we try to find a house. We put a deposit down on a really nice 2-bed deal north of the city, and the house search began again in earnest as we waited for a spot at the apartments to open up. Then I made a mistake, or so I called it at the time.

I saw what houses go for in Albuquerque.

Diana and I will occasionally go to a good-sized park a couple miles away. It’s got a tennis court, basketball hoops, and a nice big area for the dog. It’s a good combination of open and shady. It’s a really nice park.

I could get a 4-bedroom monster of a home, with a front door that faces that park, for less than a dilapidated 1-bedroom in Santa Fe. Seriously. There’d be enough money left over to buy a new car.

At that point, it became a question of balance, cost versus commute with a vague idea of “quality of life” being at its highest at some point in that balancing act. Unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the area, there isn’t much immediately around Santa Fe in three directions. We looked around, but choices were slim and still overpriced for what they were.

Rio Rancho became an option, it knocks about 15 minutes off the commute each way, and several friends, current and former coworkers had all recently bought there because of what you could get for the money. I found some listings and we headed over there on a Saturday to look around.

Way up on the northern border of the city is the established community of Enchanted Hills, with a lot of good offerings for the money, and just northwest of that is a community so new that if you drop in with Google Street View, it’s all dirt with some roads roughed in and a construction office trailer. What it is now, is one of the few places in this part of the state offering affordable build-to-suit homes.

We drove in because one of the homes was for sale, but we ended up stopping in with the home builders office and they gave us a little walkthrough of what they could provide. This was a game-changer. I hadn’t given building our first home any serious consideration because I thought it would be about $300,000, not half that.

Long story short, we had the design appointment a couple weekends ago, picking out paint and carpet and all those things for our new home. It’s happening, and in the intervening time with Diana’s pay increase, we’re able to save up quite a bit of money. The mortgage payment will work out to an increase in living expenses equal to about one of Diana’s new checks, but now she gets paid weekly instead of bi-weekly. The other new check can go to savings, or paying credit cards, or all the other stuff we’ve been able to do at an accelerated rate. We’re hoping to be in the new place before Christmas, but it’s going to be close.

The builders, incidentally, told us that we could get the same plan that we really liked built in Santa Fe…for an extra hundred thousand dollars. That was really the last straw. The only place still building in Santa Fe is about 20 minutes from work. So shaving 25 minutes off the commute for $100,000? I can’t make that trade-off in good conscience. The extra cost would be a significant burden, and have us back to treading water.

I feel like we’ve made a good decision there.

I’d thought work was going well until about two weeks ago. Apparently my boss had a different opinion for months, and I wish I’d known. Now I have to struggle to make things right between now and early November, or we’re in real danger of every happy thing I wrote above being taken away.

I’m toying with the idea of us taking the train every Thursday. We’ve both been working 7:30-4:30, but Diana is expected to be able to stay late on Thursday for a meeting. Right now, the time to sit and write would be put to good use. I’ve been driving two hours a day every workday for over a month straight. It’s a better commute than some people have, but it still stresses me out. It would cost $20 a day, though. So $80-100 a month, which is a tough sell for something in which I have to leave ten minutes earlier, but get home a full hour later.

On the other hand, it’s a rather therapeutic time. It’s hard to quantify the value of it. Would it be “money well spent?” Debatable, but then again I have a hard time determining such things.

What if I need it to work through the problems that will make the difference in keeping the job? Then the train becomes worth quite a lot of money. I know we’ll be taking it tomorrow, as well; there’s some construction going on that reduces I-25 to one northbound lane, and we saw the traffic jam span over a mile yesterday on the way back home. I really don’t need the stress.

I’m starting to question if I need the stress of driving at all. It was one thing when it was occasional, once a week or so. Doing it for a month straight has rather taken the charm out of it. But is the stress worth it to be home relaxing an hour earlier? Probably. Even if I’m not doing much of anything with the extra hour, the feeling I was experiencing of only having about an hour to myself was pretty rough.

There’s no reason it needs to be an all-or-nothing, right-now decision. I’m going to have to think about it for a bit. The fact that I’m already approaching 1200 words means it’s probably worth doing more frequently than what’s been happening lately.

I haven’t talked to a mental health professional. Haven’t even tried. I said I would, and lately, not doing it feels like I’ve been unfair to myself. I should make the call, at least to get a referral. It’s not going to be immediately available anyway. With how I’ve been feeling lately, I’m even reconsidering my aversion to medicating the problems, which is a major personal paradigm shift. I’m not sure if it’s just a desire for escape from the way I’m feeling.

I need to do whatever it takes to keep this job, to prove I can do what’s desired. The future of more than just myself is depending on that.

I know that if I can hang in and prove to be the right choice, Thanksgiving is going to be pretty spectacular. But I need to improve every day between now and then.

I’m going to be writing again on the way home, but since it’s going to be largely about work and topics I can’t discuss freely, I won’t be posting it. But it’s going to be useful to me, just the same.

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.