Don’t Mourn…Organize

One of the things that has been irking me recently is that people who support Trump and even some of those who didn’t, keep talking about the many protests around the country as if they are about “whining” or being sore losers.  That is a great way to shut down their voices.  Look I’m not one of those, “he’s not my president”.  For better or worse he is the duly elected President of the United States.  I will support his agenda…as much as Republicans supported Obama’s.  Obama won Electoral and Popular votes, and Republicans stymied him every chance, so should we.  Republicans threatened to not even allow Hillary if she was elected to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, I think we should too.

Getting back to what these protests are about.  It isn’t about the fact that we lost, it is about what we stand to lose with a Trump presidency.  Already there have been hundreds of hate crimes committed.  I shared the fear that children are feeling as related to me by my sister who is a social worker at an underprivileged school.

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The point of the protests is to let Muslims, Women, the LGTBIA community, Hispanics, African-Americans, and the WORLD, know that America may have made a mistake, but there are still friends and allies in this country.  These protesters got off the sidelines to let their community know that there are still people who will defend their right to exist in this country.  That hate may have won a battle, but it will not win the war, because it never has. Trump brought the KKK out of the woodwork and into the light, and it is these protesters who are going to ensure they have no safe-haven, not through violence but through ensuring their message remains one to be ashamed of.  That can only be accomplished by making your voice loud and heard.  You know, by taking to the streets in larger numbers than them.

It is, however, not enough to just protest.  This is where Republicans constantly beat us Progressives and Liberals.  They didn’t get the election results they wanted with Obama, so they set about trying to ensure it would be harder for his supporters to vote.  Long lines at the polls is not a symbol of how great our democracy is, though it is great to see so many people willing to wait to just cast a vote, long lines are a symbol of a failure of governmental efficiency.  Sadly, it is intentional on the part of certain people.  There were more polling places closed this election year and many had shorter hours.  That was by design.  I don’t believe the election was stolen from Hillary, but I do believe there is a movement to make it harder for the poor and minorities to vote, you know supporters of Democrats.

So we as Progressives and Liberals need to go to work.  Organize and fight back.  Not with violence as they have, but with institutional change.  We must keep our elected representatives in check.  We must run for local offices.  We must motivate our community to stand with us.  We must ensure that in two years Republicans lose the House and two years after that they lose The White House. I mourn for now, but as I said in my Facebook post, I’m getting my ass off the sidelines.

Office Kitty

Our office cat is really smart.  He has trained me to open the door for him.  Here’s how it usually goes (and just did a few minutes ago).

I call him Pumpernickel Jazzpaws.
I call him Pumpernickel Jazzpaws.

He will walk outside my office and begin to meow.  I walk into the hallway and he makes me open the door to our storage room.  I believe this is his way of making sure I know he wants a door open.  Once I’ve opened that door he will meow at me and begin walking towards the back door.  Our office is located in a house that is zoned for office work.  So we actually have a backyard.  The garage has been converted into a mini warehouse and we have a warehouse manager working in that office; this is where the backdoor is located.  He walks me all the way across the house, meowing and looking over his shoulder to make sure I’m following.  Then he walks to the door, sits down in front of it, and waits for me to open the door.

He does this almost every day.  Since it’s hot in Texas we can’t open it all the time, because we have to leave it open, so there are times when I have to tell him no.  I assume during these times he feels that I’ve forgotten all the training we’ve gone through and that he’s disappointed in me.

It’s funny because he doesn’t ask our warehouse manager to open the door.  Though she’s sitting right there, he walks across the house and finds me.

He will also occasionally walk across the office to get me and make me follow him to the “living room” so that I may pet him there. Seriously.  He will walk into my office, meow his “follow me” meow and plop down in the middle of the floor so that I may pet him.  He is very spoiled.  I also think he believes he is my boss.

Has anyone else been trained by their cats?  Do you have an office pet, and does he run things?

Week off

I took a week off of the book tour because I went to lovely Playa del Carmen (near Cancun in Mexico). It was 90% business but the 10% fun was awesome. And since I enjoy my business, it was probably more like 100 percent fun. Such a great time and such great people. More energized than ever for the coming year. It’s going to be an amazing 2014.

Diabetes Update

I meant to post this update earlier, but just kept putting it off.  Back at the beginning of October I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  3 months later my glucose levels are practically normal.  I went from risk of everything bad  associated with diabetes, to “you should be totally fine as long as you keep up the good work”.

By the numbers:

Before: glucose 239 mg/dL
After: glucose 104
Normal (65 – 100)
 
Triglycerides: you don’t even want to know
After 119
Normal < 150
 
Before: Hemoglobin A1c 8.5%
After: Hemoglobin A1c 6%
Normal: (4.0 – 5.6)

It’s Just a Problem I Need to Solve

I did all that in 3 months.  I lost 20 pounds, feel better than I ever have in my life, dropped down to a size 32in waist in jeans (still tight, but give me a few more weeks) size medium in t-shirts (holy crap I haven’t worn those in years) and the ability to do more pull-ups than I ever have in my entire life (I’m not giving you the number because it’s still a ridiculously small amount).

How did I do this?  I just changed my diet and kept exercising.  I broke the problem down into 3 distinct goals that I gave myself 6 months to achieve.  I did that because I’m supposed to get my blood work done every three months (though after this next test I may be able to only have it done every 6 months – if I keep the numbers down).  For the first 3 months the goal was eliminate drinking, breads, and keep sugar under 35g per day.

Continue reading “Diabetes Update”

Goals for 2014

I really only have two personal goals for 2014.  One I want to read 52 books, and two I want to hit my new target weight of 185.  I also have one professional goal: create a program.

Read more Books

Based on my Goodreads stats I’ve read 28 books in 2013.  This is down from 30 in 2012 and 47 in 2011.  So I’m planning on pushing myself to read 52 books, or roughly a book a week.  I’ve got quite a few on my shelf to read, because even though I only read 30 books, I purchased a whole lot more.  A brief glimpse of the books I’ll be reading:

  • Zealot by Reza Azlan
  • The Consuming Instinct by Gad Saad
  • Survival of the Prettiest by Nancy Etcoff
  • Drive by Daniel Pink
  • Quiet by Susan Cain
  • Just Babies by Paul Bloom

Not to mention I’m going to catch up on the multiple Robert Parker Series, Kathy Reichs, John Sanford, Robert Crais, and of course my Star Trek books.  I just need to make sure I read more than I purchase this year. Yeah, like that will happen. I currently own close to 850 books, Based on my purchasing history, I’ll hit 1000 books in 2016.  I need to purchase a house by then.

Get in Better Shape

2013 will be remembered by me as my big turning point.  It was the year I was diagnosed with Diabetes, the year I quit drinking, the year I tried (only tried for now) to become gluten-free.  I hit my target weight of 199, so now I’m aiming for 185 (a pretty good UFC weight class).  Part of me wants to set myself some crazy goal like, try out for American Ninja Warrior, and depending on how much I progress in 2014, I still might.

I started to get more serious about my eating in the last 3 months, but I still have a ways to go before I’d consider myself eating healthy.  I need to cut out red meat, go full gluten-free, and seriously make pizza a once-every-two-months treat instead of a comfort-food-when-I’m-depressed meal.

My biggest roadblock is that I need to get pumped about cooking.  I get home and the last thing I want to do is spend 30+ minutes prepping and cooking a meal.  Once I overcome that hurdle, there will be no stopping me.

Professional Life

I’ve learned quite a bit about databases this year.  My goal for 2014 is to create my own simple program.  I’ve got an idea for a simple asset-tracking program.  I’m learning PHP right now and hopefully by summer I can create this program and see how it works.  I just really want to see if I can do it.

So that’s my look forward to the coming year.  We’ll see how I do.  In the years that I’ve been writing these down, and publishing them I have to say I do try harder to achieve them, and I while I may not hit every goal, having something to aspire to really helps.

Hope everyone has a great 2014!

2013 In Review

I always like to review the year and the goals I set for myself personally.  Here’s what I’d hoped to accomplish for 2013 and I have to say, I didn’t do too badly, though I can’t take credit for everything that went my way.

Health Goals: good news and bad news

I did quit drinking and I finally hit that goal weight I’d set for myself back in 2012.  I now weigh 199 and have gone down another belt size.  I haven’t had a drink in 3 months.  Now the reason for this is that I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  That forced me to change my eating habits and workout a bit more.  I also no longer suffer from acid reflux.  I haven’t gone back to the doctor yet to see how my sugar levels are, we’ll see what she says in January.  Hopefully I’ve got it under control and won’t need insulin shots or anything like that.

I have to say quitting drinking is incredibly hard and if it weren’t for the fact that my pills explicitly say I could potentially die, I probably wouldn’t have quit.  I really miss bourbon.

Level up professionally

I discovered this year that I actually can do pretty much anything I set my mind to.  I’ve talked myself up and bragged about how good I am at times, but this year I actually was tested.  We had a fire last year around Thanksgiving at my work.  We lost our server and the ability to do orders and run reports.  This is the type of emergency situation that I’m apparently built for.

I created my own reorder system using spreadsheets.  I would periodically download our reorder points to bump them up against sales, and thank science I did!  I used these reorder points to construct a system where we would download stock counts from the individual stores, use some excel magic and voila!, purchase orders.

I then found a way to get new items entered into our store’s systems (because before we’d enter them into the server and broadcast that data).  I was quite proud of that day.

Then I focused on getting our new system up and running.  A little history, we’d been trying to get a new point of sale system implemented for about 3-4 years.  No one believed we were ever going to actually have it.  In fact, I spoke with a manager in June who said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”  To which I responded, with nothing but ego (I am kind of arrogant), “It was never implemented before because I never made it a priority.  Now it’s my priority and it’s going to get done.”  He probably still didn’t believe me.

The first store went live in either late August or early September.  By the one year anniversary of the fire all stores were live.  I didn’t do it alone, I had help. Had we not hired Nick as a backup IT guy, it definitely wouldn’t have been implemented. But, and no one would disagree with this statement, if I hadn’t taken over the project we still wouldn’t have the new system up and running.

I taught myself SQL to help with the implementation.  Our biggest setback was that data wasn’t correct in the database due to how it was converted.  So someone needed to learn how to do it, and I did.  I’ve also taught myself how to write batch files and do automated processes.

That project, and all that I’ve done since our fire, have shown me that I can do nearly anything.  I figured out how to put everyone in the right places so we could get this project done, and we did it.  Learning SQL was an amazing experience.  Now I understand how our database is put together and how the program uses queries to get us data.  That is an invaluable bit of knowledge.

Personal life: still no girlfriend

There’s not much more to say to that.  I haven’t been celibate, but I haven’t found anyone who is what I’m looking for.  At least not one who’s single.  I meet a decent amount of girls who are smart, nerdy, into the same movies, books, etc, but they’re married or dating.  Not cool world!

2013: I think I liked you

I’ll post on New Year’s Day my goals for 2014.  It’s been a pretty good year when I think about it.  I’ve always been so invested in my mental abilities that the challenges I’ve faced this year have really been satisfying.  I love learning and discovering new things, and in that respect 2013 has been fantastic!  Sure I found out I have diabetes, but I lost weight, am eating healthier, and I have affordable health insurance!

I look forward to what 2014 holds!

Why America is Obese

Note: I’ve been wanting to post this for 2 years,  this draft was actually mostly written last year.  I finally decided to publish it after getting my diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.  I don’t mean it as an excuse (I know full well many of the reasons I developed Diabetes and was working to eliminate them, I just didn’t do it soon enough or go far enough), I mean this post to try and get a better conversation started on why the MAJORITY of Americans suffer from obesity and diabetes.

This is an issue that comes up quite often in the media.  Americans are overweight, why and what can we do about it?  The answer is simple, just kidding, it’s ridiculously complex.  No seriously, it is.  Here are a few of the reasons that are commonly given for why Americans are obese:

  1. Don’t exercise enough
  2. Too much fast food
  3. Too much processed foods
  4. Lazy
Those all sound good, but I think they’re actually symptoms rather than the problem.  The problem is the American system of employment. Continue reading “Why America is Obese”