Recently in Goals & Motivation Category

Native RPMs for Phusion Passenger


Recently, I was asked to ghostwrite a blog post on the Phusion corporate blog. I’ll excerpt the relevant portions:

We are pleased to announce native Linux packages for RedHat / Fedora derived RPM distributions, including RHEL, Fedora, CentOS, and ScientificLinux.

…And the note at the end…

These packages are currently being maintained by Erik Ogan and Stealthy Monkeys Consulting. Questions, comments, patches, and pull requests are always welcome.

I’m pleased to finally be able to announce this project. I’ve been noodling on it since October. I’m also looking forward to working with them in the future to keep the packages clean and up to date!

Creative Outlets

A Flower Formed
A Flower Formed
Originally posted by Erik Ogan

(I'm going conveniently ignore the fact that this photo was taken on September 24th, and I haven't even picked up my camera in the intervening month, and couldn't remember if I'd processed the photos already (I had).)

A month ago, Chiara and I took a 1 day glass-blowing workshop1 at Public Glass2. I had a blast! It's something I always wanted to do, and I'm so glad to have finally tried it.

I'm also hooked. The malleable, glowing medium is completely fascinating to me. It feels wonderful just play with it. We didn't have time for true play in the workshop, but I can see some of the possibilities already.

Sure, there's some danger: burns, improperly cooled glass exploding in your face, burns, severe dehydration if you don't pay attention, burns. But proper technique and awareness go a LONG way toward mitigating the chances of all of those.

I knew at lunchtime on that first day that I wanted to take the full class. The next Glassblowing 1 class started at the end of October. With travelling, all the other brouhaha that goes with the holiday season3, and work stress I decided I couldn't really take a class that ran from the end of October until the beginning of December. I resigned myself to waiting until the new year.

...But not very well. I realized that I was very much looking forward to the class, that I could use the creative outlet, and that the class schedule fit my travel schedule perfectly.

So I jumped. Yesterday was the first class. It was all pretty much review of the workshop, but we got to practice things several times, and there was a lot less hand-holding. It's a larger class than the instructor expected, so some of the exercises and practice felt a bit rushed, but in general I'm VERY happy that I decided to do it.

Next week I blow my first (unassisted, starter) bubble. Hee!!!

EDIT: Dur! Photo is now public. *sigh*

1 Chiara found a card for Public Glass at Café Centro a few months ago, and I wanted to jump in and take the class that was starting immediately, but she wisely pointed out that the single day to dabble and see if we enjoy it before committing to a 5 week class was probably prudent, this was the first weekend workshop held since then.

2 If you have any interest in this kind of thing (and are local) I strongly recommend taking the 1-day workshop. The description on the website doesn't do it justice, it's a very condensed version of the 5-week class, so you really get a good hands-on overview of basic glass technique.

3 I only just realized that some of my perpetual trepidation over the holiday stress, and the busyness of the season probably comes from growing up with my mother's business. Mid-November to January 1st is orders of magnitude more crazy than the wedding season ever could hope to be. Huh, whaddya know about that?

That was "two" when I started writing this entry.

  1. It took me a while to realize that the reason that my messenger bag wouldn't stay put on my back anymore is that my back is a lot more rounded than it used to be. I need to tighten the anchoring strap again, but even when it was loose before, it never really did this.

  2. The 36" pants now fit very well, and I've been forced to buy some jeans and shorts to match. I bought them as cheaply as possible, since I don't plan on being this size very long ("past performance is no guarantee of future results." Thanks to GALT, those words will be imprinted on my brain until I die), and after an abortive attempt to find some at Ross, I ended up getting some "Levi Strauss" (I'm pretty sure that's their bargin (lower quality) "brand") at...Penny's? I think so. The interesting thing is that I got a pair of both "Regular" and "Relaxed" fit (which seemed a bit snug, but I figured they'd fit longer.)

    Now that they've been washed & worn a bit, the "Regular" cut fit me much better. I can't remember when I could last fit into the "Regular" cut Levi's. They look pretty good!

  3. Chiara found a piece of paper with a bunch of numbers on it. Measurements taken almost exactly a year ago. My neck, chest, bicep, waist, hips, thigh & ankle. Apparently it's somewhat standard to add up the differences and use that as some kind of metric. News to me. Anyway, I've lost 21.5" all told. That makes it sound impressive.

    Also, I gave a bunch of dress shirts to Goodwill a while back because I realized I'd been buying the wrong size for a long while now (Since just after high school. Dumbass. Non-clothes obsessed nerd. Same thing.) They'd fit me again.

Speaking of clothes and measurements, can someone explain to me why I'm fitting 36" waist clothes, when neither my hips nor my waist measure anywhere near that? The smaller of those two measurments is still about 6" more. It makes me paranoid that there's a global conspiracy to deflate sizes to make everyone feel ok about being part of a morbidly obese society.

Break Out the Black Balloons


There must be something about Thursdays & 50. This week's fifty is even more exciting (to me, at least) than the last.

I've lost 50 lbs., officially.

Last week I had exactly 3 lbs. to go to reach that goal. I figured the best course of action would be to set myself up this week to make it an easy thing to reach next week. Especially with the 3 day weekend coming up. Instead, somehow I crashed through it losing 3.8! Normally, I'd reserve this kind of thing for my [M]otivation filter, but I'm too excited.

Right about this time last year, I was 50 lbs heavier. I'm also officially off my 5-ish month slump. I am tracking my food again, and holding myself accountable. In the last month, I've lost 10 lbs.

Actually, that last bit has me just a tad concerned. If this pace keeps up (I don't think it will), it'll mean that my body is almost certainly cannibalizing muscle mass to keep up. This is not what I want.

More than likely, though, my sudden jump to 60 miles of cycling/week (105 last week, thanks to my "Bike to Work Day" whim) is the real culprit. It may also be my 5 month hiatus has reset my glycogen stores, so what I'm really losing is mostly water weight. The argument against that is that I recently discovered that I didn't "hold steady" for the last 5 months, as I originally believed. I lost. But the trend was impossible to discern from the sawtooth pattern from which it came until I sat down & looked at the long view. Really, I'll only get alarmed if this pace continues unabated.

And, in the grand scheme, this is a good problem to have.

[M] ...By the Skin of My Teeth (UPDATE)


40.2 lbs lost.

My next goal is the next lower bracket of Points™®©. That's only slightly more than a pound further from here.

My next goal is going to allow me less food. Somehow this doesn't seem right.

Actually, my next real goal is to fit comfortably into the 36" waist pants I got for Xmas. I could get them on in Dec, but they were just outside the comfortable range.

UPDATE: Pants basically fit and are comfortable -- almost. They're pleated, and the pleats don't lie flat, so I'm not quite there yet. But I'm definitely closer.

[M] Frustration & Observation


First, the frustration: I've been trapped in the mid 220's (anywhere from a pound (-and a half) to a very small fraction thereof shy of 40 lbs. lost) for a while now. (Yes, I don't care if you can do the arithmetic). Well, I guess I shouldn't say "trapped." I'm still watching what I eat, but I don't generally journal what I eat for more than a few days at a time. And I've proven to myself on more than one occasion that I need to write it down. The devil's in the details, and knowing how much freedom I have left for the day often colors my options for dinner. Plus, I've completely given up trying to plan my day in advance. If I don't track, I eat still better than I used to, but I don't necessarily eat well enough to continue losing.

Yet, for some reason, I can't seem to get back into the habit. I've also stopped drinking water, stopped taking a vitamin, getting my vegetables, etc. I think part of my problem is that I did "well enough" for a while without following every little guideline, or even most of them (I know some of the female WW folks are casting dirty looks my way right now. I'm sorry that evolution is stacked in my favor (or, at least, against yours), that it's hard for me to get back the excitement of the first few months. Tracking EVERYTHING I ate, copiously drinking 48 fl.oz. of water, etc. This is something I need to come to terms with, or I'm going to be "trapped" here a while more.

The observation is something on the flipside. It should serve as a motivator, but hasn't as of yet. I had what the WW-folks would call a "non-scale victory" (or something like that, I don't feel like looking up their terminology). I went to see Chiara this weekend in Vancouver (she flew straight there from Atlanta between 2 business trips). On the way there I had a middle seat on a 2hr flight. This caused me quite a bit of consternation, but I knew I could survive a 2 hour flight.

When the time came, I was pleasantly surprised. I won't say I was comfortable, but I was quite a bit more comfortable than I've been on trips past when I was stuck in the middle. It occurred to me after I deplaned that a good portion of that change was probably due to the 5" I've removed from my waistline. That made me feel good.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Goals & Motivation category.

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