Monthly Archives: December 2006

8 Week Challenge

My wife and I challenged each other to get in shape in time for our 11th wedding anniversary (February 28). That gives us 8 weeks, starting today, to start exercising with earnest and eating better. We both did the Bill Phillips “Body for Life” plan about 5 years ago and it really did help us from spinning out of control. We eat well, have low blood pressure and are in generally good health.

My motivation is with my new look I want a “new body” to go with it. I want my wife to look at me with out having to squint to see the “old me”.

I took a “before” photo from the front and from the side. I’ll take one each Sunday and compare them over the next 8 weeks to remind myself just how far I have to go. I debated with myself about posting this, but I figure I’ve got everything to “lose” so…

Week 1

Weight today: 217.8 pounds

One of these things is not like the other

Steve in 2004As some of you may know, a lot of things changed for me in the last four months. I got a new job, a professional certification, an office of my own (yeah!) and most of all a new look. The photo you see at the beginning of the post is a picture of me from 2004 that I used on my weblog for years. It is also a pretty accurate “self image” or what I expect to see in the mirror each morning and indeed, has been exactly that for 30 some years. I’ve looked this way since maybe high school where my hair was very standard: short, cropped, parted, boring.

I don’t look like that any more.

Steve in 2006

I’ve worn my hair long now for six months and added a beard at the same time, two things I’ve never done in my thirty-six years of life. I’ve had bad moments with the hair, wondering if I look like a “hippie” or just a sloppy head floating inside a sweater. While this isn’t the best picture of me, it’s pretty representative of what I look like today. I catch myself, from time to time, looking at a stranger in the mirror. It’s a little disconcerting, to say the least. Overall, I’ve decided that I like the new look and the new me. Last Thursday, Tammy and I went to Chesterfield Eye Works and I picked out a new pair of glasses and new dark lenses for my old frames. I’ll upload some new photos when they arrive.

Christmas Wrapup

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Santa's Sleigh

Santa’s Sleigh,
originally uploaded by warwick.

We had a great Christmas with Tammy’s family in Des Moines, IA this year. If it was up to me, we do it the same way every year except I’d remember to wash my hands more often as I picked up a nasty sinus infection. Yuk!

We arrived on Saturday and stayed through Tuesday morning. Tammy and I had a great time watching Blair and Mary (Tammy’s sister) prep their house for Santa’s first visit. Their daughter/our niece Julia was finally old enough to understand the concept of Santa but Blair and Mary handled it well. Santa would only bring her three presents because “that’s how many Jesus got on his birthday”. That allowed her to understand some limits on gifts, reinforce the role of Jesus in Christmas celebrations and also explain where the big pile of “stuff” came from.

I took a bunch of pictures with a new camera, a Canon PowerShot S2 IS that I picked up from Amazon earlier in the week. It’s a fantastic camera, purchased mainly so we could take better pictures of jewelry for a catalog for Tammy. The PowerShot also does movies in full 640px480p which makes them easy to shoot and watch later. If your in the market for a camera, your first stop should be the [Digital Camera Resource Page]( Jeff’s been doing reviews for *years* and keeps the format the same, allowing you to easily and accurately compare cameras, features and quality of pictures. The site (and Jeff’s review) helped me understand that there was little difference between last year’s PowerShot S2 IS and this year’s S3 model. That meant that I could get a great camera at a closeout price.

I got some great gifts, starting with the trip to Des Moines. Tammy bought me the *best screwdriver* I’ve ever used, a Craftsman model with a bit reservoir and an easy change mechanism. No more losing bits! She also got me Polo Double Black cologne, new drill bits, the Ken Jennings book “Brainiac” (review coming soon) and a great sweater from Banana Republic.

In all, the best Christmas ever.

BlogTag: FiveThings by Bill

bbum’s weblog-o-mat: “I have had a lot of near misses. See #2 (and #3, for that matter). Stuff just seems to happen around me and I generally manage to land on my feet. I have been within 100 feet of lightning strikes 5 times, I have seen 4 tornados in person, I have been in about a dozen car accidents, a handful of nasty bike accidents (stitches, etc), broken my arm and ankle, had stitches on my knee and hand (twice, iirc), torn up my ankles badly enough to require crutches several times, have watched a lamp randomly explode in flames in our house, have very nearly blinded myself with hot solder twice, have been in two major floods, been in swarms of locusts (twice — midwest — hard to call it a plague, though I bet the farmers would have disagreed), lost a family house to a hurricane (Ivan), been attacked by poisonous snakes twice (dog saved me once, I jumped in time the other), been stung by a jellyfish badly enough to end up in the emergency room, etc…” Listens

UPDATE: The Terms of Service did [change!](

I received an email from one of the two staff members at [](, a fledgling local news reporting site that looked like junk mail but was actually real. I tested the system by actually visiting the site, reading the terms and conditions and then sending a reply email.

Bob Korpella wrote back, addressing my concerns in his real voice, not one inspired by legalese, with the intent to make changes:

> “But, having said that, let me say I took another look at our terms and conditions. I originally read them from a publisher’s point of view, to protect us from accusations of copyright infringement. Reading it from a writer’s point of view … eye-opening! And you are right. It does sound like we want to steal ideas and market them as our own. So, I am revising the terms this week. Gone will be all the legalese and clutter. I will write them in simple English and basically present that we respect the automatic copyright afforded to an individual’s writing and photos. We simply want a non-exclusive right to display that material on our site and want members to know that others will have the opportunity to download, print or email the material. I don’t want to steal anything from anyone. I really do want people to have a voice and I feel that is a great way to do that.”

If anyone is willing to make this kind of effort, they deserve a look from local readers and, if the changes pan out, participation.

Netflix: Why didn't I do this years ago?

Considering that I’m usually a bleeding-edge techie, I haven’t been a Netflix subscriber–until yesterday. After morning coffee and discussion with our friend the [non-profit development pro from St. Louis]( as she’s called by Greg, I bit the bullet and signed up for a $14.99 a month plan. It gives me two DVDs at a time and unlimited per month.

I won’t bore you with the details on Netflix since their [‘about us’]( page does a pretty good job of giving you the high points. Here’s the way I see it: Netflix will keep me in movies for less than premium channels on cable would cost and *I* get to pick the movies.  The best part is that I can queue up movies and let the system work for me.  It’s like a time-lagged TiVo.
Right now, the newest movie in the “Pirates of the Carribean” series is in the mail, due here tomorrow or Wednesday.  I’ll post a mini-review after we’re done.