Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mythology Zoo

Here's a little midweek mythological menagerie. How many can you name? Can you think of any creatures we could still add to our zoo?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Measure Up Monday - Week 4

I was in training classes in Schaumburg all this week, learning to work with eXtensible Markup Language, or XML. One of the amenities of the training facility is a spread of free doughnuts, bagels, and muffins every morning. If that isn't enough, they offer cookies or ice cream during the afternoon break, and bring in a free Chinese food lunch on Wednesday.

The commute to Schaumburg helped me deal with the morning goodies. I barely made it to class on time each day, and didn't have time to sit around being tempted. I brought along some fruit to eat at the afternoon break, and exercised some control on free lunch day, so I didn't do to badly.

However, the weekend included a couple of family pizza gatherings, and a birthday party, so this morning's weigh-in had a level of suspense. But it turned out to be right on target with a 2 pound drop for the week.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Friday, April 25, 2008

Joke Friday

There are a lot of folks who can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in the USA. Well, there's a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for this is purely geographical. Most of the oil is in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming and Alaska. But all the dipsticks are in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Far Out!

That exclamation is the catchphrase most often associated with John Deutschendorf, better known as John Denver. He was one of the most popular artists of the 1970's, and his music had an impact on many. His music was often heard in our house, and I learned to play quite a few of his songs. I recorded a few of them and put them on YouTube so I could post them here.

"Prisoners" is not one of his better known songs, but I think it is one of my favorite ones to play. It appeared on his "Rocky Mountain High" album in 1972. I became aquainted with it much later in my 'Way Off Broadway' days with Carl and Jim.

"Grandma's Feather Bed" was always a fun one to play for the kids.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" is John Denver's signature song, and the one that rocketed him to fame when it was released in 1971. Maybe Emily will learn the chorus and stop singing "Hallelujah".

Thanks for listening.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Convention Damage Control

One of the aspects of attending the WorldWide Convention is free food all day long. There is a breakfast buffet at the hotel in the morning, buffet tables on the convention floor set up with a variety of cuisines (italian, oriental, etc.), a huge booth set up by Menu Management that serves McDonald's newest products all day long, and sweet tables with irresistable deserts. Practically every night there is a different department dinner you are expected to attend including a coctail hour, food at some fabulous restaurant, and free flowing wine. Then, each night is usually capped off with a few rounds of drinks in the hotel bar.

Walking helped to offset some of the above. The convention center is just across from the hotel, so I walked to and from the convention each day. Also, our booth this year was at the far opposite end of the hall, which is probably 3 to 4 blocks long, so in all, I probably walked about a mile each day just travelling to and from the convention.

I also tried to be sensible about all the food. I usually tried to leave some on my plate, and sometimes skipped the breakfast buffet in favor of a couple of pieces of fruit. I also avoided the nightly bar bashes, only staying for one drink or passing on it completely.

The end result was that after 10 days of exposure to unlimited food, and some careful calorie counting over the weekend since I've been back, I am able to post a weight loss today. It only averages to 1 pound a week over the last two weeks, but it is still progress in the right direction.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Friday, April 18, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Convention Starts

Today is the first day of the convention. It took a lot of preparation over the last couple of days, but we're ready. Saturday night we celebrated with a department dinner at Fultons Crab House in Downtown Disney.
Sunday, we hosted a lot of VIP tours in our booth. Our booth is pretty cool. When you arrive, you enter a theater where you are shown a 6 minute 3D movie that uses computer graphics, and live 3D film from the Romeoville restaurant.The final scene shows a 3D rendered vision of the restaurant mockup we have in our booth, and then the curtain opens, and you walk right into it.
The rest of the booth has individual stations where you can talk to people about the benefits of the "D-10" platform, which is what we call the system we are presenting.

There's no scale in my room, and I've been avoiding the health club facilities :), so I don't have any statistics to report this week.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Convention Setup Day 1

Today was our first setup day at the Innovation Center booth in the Orange County Convention center.

The booth itself is already constructed, but we needed to install kiosks, registers, and a bunch of other restaurant IT. You can see that the convention hall doesn't look at all ready for a Monday opening. It's amazing how it all comes together in just a couple of days.

We managed to get most of our stuff installed and set up today, despite the fact that some last minute changes forced us to uninstall and reinstall the kiosks. Tomorrow we'll finish up and do some testing. We have to be ready for VIP tours on Sunday.

After we wrapped up for the day, we went over to 'the crate'. The crate is a long standing tradition at the Worldwide Convention. It is sponsored by a different department each convention, and part of the tradition is finding out where 'the crate' is this year. From the outside, 'the crate looks very much like many of the other huge wooden crates that get shipped to the convention floor.

But when it gets opened up at around 5pm each day of convention setup, inside you'll find party lights, a CD player, chips & pretzels, a refrigerator fully stocked with beer, and a frozen margarita machine.

The convention center is not air conditioned during the setup days, so this provides a nice way to relax and cool off at the end of the day. It also give you a chance to meet up with some of the people you know from other departments, some that you may not have seen since the last convention.

Joke Friday

A German tourist walks into a McDonald's in New York City and orders a beer. The local guy in the line behind him immediately gives him a verbal jab, "They don't serve beer here, you moron!"

The German fellow felt embarrassed, however he turned to the New Yorker with a surprised look on his face and begins to chuckle.

"And what's so funny?" the New Yorker demands.

Oh, nothing really, I just realized, you came here for the food!"

Welcome to Florida

I'm here in Orlando, Florida at the site of the 2008 Worldwide Convention. The flight down was really bumpy for the first hour. The flight attendants tried to get up and serve beverages, but they couldn't and had to sit back down. I heard from someone else that was on the same flight that the air sickness bags even got some use today. Fortunately nowhere near me. The rest of the flight was comfortable, except for the man in the middle seat next to me, that kept falling asleep until his head drifted over and bumped my shoulder, which would wake him up, and he'd sit up straight until he fell asleep and did the same thing again 10 minutes later.

I'm staying at the Rosen Centre hotel. My room is on the south side, overlooking the pool. It's very nice and is only a short walk from the convention center. Tomorrow I'll be heading over there to work on setting up the booth.

Here's a couple of pictures and a link to the Google map view of where I am.

Rosen Center on Google

Monday, April 7, 2008

Metabolic Hysteresis

No, that's not a real process or property, but a name I made up to describe what always happens when I start a weight loss program. Hysteresis can be described as a property of a system to have a delayed response to a change in an input. This seems to be what happens to my metabolism when I first reduce my food intake. It just keeps cranking along at its normal pace, resulting in a larger weight loss than the reduced calories can justify. I always end up losing more pounds in the first week than I should. But eventually my metabolism catches on to what's happening, and adjusts itself down to compensate. Sooner or later, it will force me to face the dreaded "E" word.

I've been monitoring my calories pretty closely, using an online calorie management website called The Daily Plate. It allows you to enter in every thing you eat each day, and computes the total calories, fat, protein, sodium, etc. You can look up foods from a database of thousands of brands and restaurants. Or you can create your own food item from the list of ingredients in the database. If your favorite lunch is the BananaDanna sandwich, you just enter 2 slices of pumpernickel bread, 1 banana, and 2 oz of Dannon yogurt, and save it. The next time you enjoy your BananaDanna, just click on it from your saved meals, and it gets added to your daily list. There are more bells and whistles on the site, some of which require upgrading to the subscription version, but for now the free site does everything I need.

One of the tools is a calculator that uses your age, weight, activity, and weight loss goal to compute your daily calorie target. For me to lose about 2 pounds a week, that comes to about 1700 calories. I've managed to stay on target most of the time. Saturday, I didn't record anything, but I'm confident that I didn't stray too far from the center line. Cheeseburgers and cinnamon coffee cake put me over on Sunday, but my weekly average aligns pretty well.

Daily Average1733

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Friday, April 4, 2008

Joke Friday

Healthy Eating

An 85-year-old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last 10 years, mainly due to the wife's interest in health food and exercise.

When they reached the Pearly Gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion, which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi.

As they "oohed and aahed," the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost.

"It's free," Peter replied, "this is Heaven."

Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges every day, and each week the course changed to a new one, representing the great golf courses on Earth. The old man asked, "What are the green fees?"

Peter's reply, "This is Heaven, you play for free."

Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out.

"How much to eat?" asked the old man. "Don't you understand yet? This is Heaven, it's free!" Peter replied with some exasperation.

"Well, where are the low-fat and low-cholesterol tables?" the old man asked timidly.

Peter lectured, "That's the best part -- you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like, and you never get fat or sick. This is Heaven."

With that the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, shrieking wildly.

Peter and his wife both tried to calm him down, asking him what was wrong.

The old man looked at his wife and said, "This is all your fault. If it weren't for your bran muffins, I could have been here 10 years ago!"