Walking To My Doomsday

June 30, 2010

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part 2.

Will Strasburg Live Up To The Hype?

June 29, 2010

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What is the deal with all the hype? I mean the guy has a .500 record so far in the bigs. What is all the fuss about? Another conspiracy by ESPN to overhype a young player before he has proven a thing?

Of course I am talking, just like everyone else is, about Stephen Strasburg.

I am already getting sick of Strasburg Mania. He is outpitched last night by Tim Hudson of the 1st place Braves, and all you hear about is Strasburg. Never mind the 5 hit gem that Hudson threw, how he surgically dismantled the pathetic Washington Nationals.

Strasburg for the All Star game! Wow, he has what 5 starts? And a 2-2 record? Sounds like all star stats to me. But the idiotic fans, most of which know nothing of baseball will vote, (it normally coincides with the baseball card market and value and popularity of players and has nothing to do with their actual performance on the field) so it will be interesting to see if he makes it in.

So before you all go out and spend all of your hard earned money on Strasburg rookie cards, let’s look at the facts

  1. The Nationals SUCK. They have some nice young talent but they are still a horrible team with no real pitching, very average hitting and average defense. This could change drastically in 3-5 years IF some of their draft picks continue to pan out and the organization would spend some money and get some better players into the house
  2. Strasburg is a pitcher! Why all the hype about a pitcher. I have a few words for all of you. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Dontrelle Willis, and yes even Carlos Zambrano. All of these guys viewed as super studs and where are they now? All it takes is one arm injury and that is it, it is over. I would lay my money on a hitter any day over a pitcher.
  3. He is 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA. Strasburg can put up great numbers all year but it gets back to point #1. If the club can’t score and can’t play defense, he can’t win games no matter how good he might pitch.
  4. They need to be careful with him. Gone are the days when guys pitched complete games every night out. He will be on strict pitch counts every night and they will not overwork him. The Nationals cannot afford to. Can you imagine the gloss we would all be hearing if he got injured? Man it would make the Tiger Woods saga look like a back page story …

Of course I could be wrong, he could break Cy Young’s record of 511 wins … but I highly doubt it.

Go Nats!

Why Did General McChrystal Quit?

June 28, 2010

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There has been a lot of blather on all of the electronic media about the resignation of General McChrystal. Mostly the discussion centers on whether the President should have fired him or not. Although this can be an entertaining pass time, the President did not fire him, he offered his resignation which was accepted. For most people this is a distinction without difference, but it is actually very important. By resigning, the general did not have to accept blame for any failures of his policy or of his judgment and the President can avoid an inquiry by the Senate.

Let’s look at the last activity first. Anyone who has been approved by the Senate for a position, must also be reviewed by the Senate to be removed, except by death or resignation. As a four star general, McChrystal was doubly approved by the senate, first for his stars and second for his command. Even with his party firmly in control of the Senate, the President would have to present evidence (at least some of it publically) as to why he and the Senate had wrong in appointing this man to this task. Remember, for a general, firing is a dishonorable discharge, which mean forfeiting his retirement as well as the disgrace of the action. That is why you can count on one hand the number of general officers discharged from duty (namely McClellan by Lincoln and MacArthur by Truman).

Now on to the blame issue. Many conservative spokesmen have focused blame for this entire episode on the President. As the Commander in Chief, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his generals. That is why he has authority over them as a civilian. Regardless of whether I like the outcome of this last week, the President is not to blame for what happened. If he had not accepted the resignation, he would have been retaining damaged goods as far as the congress, the media and more importantly the troops were concerned.

The general is responsible for his own actions. I feel that the mistake he made was allowing a reporter from Rolling Stone Magazine into his inner circle for what appeared to be about six months. Over that time period, any number of minor things can add up to become embarrassing. If you have not read the article, you can find it at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236. It is an amazing article for many reasons; it is the longest article that Rolling Stone Magazine has ever published about anyone who was not a rock star, it adds up to very little content compared to the firestorm of commentary that it has generated, and it is self contradictory.

Let’s summarize the content.

  1. The general complains about attending an official dinner with a French minister, and un-named advisor calls the minister gay.
  2. The general is trying to prepare for questions from Vice President Biden, and un-named top advisor slurs the Vice President’s name to “Bite Me”
  3. The general met with the President early in his presidency and a “source” reported that the genera described the President as uncomfortable and intimidated by the uniform officers.
  4. Four months later at a one-on-one meeting with the President, the general suggests that the President was unprepared and unengaged. No source is sited for this quote.
  5. The general’s staff likes to poke fun at the civilians involved in the war effort, except Hillary Clinton. This is portrayed as a direct attack at the President.
  6. The general wanted more troops. When this report was leaked it was the general’s fault. Ambassador Eikenberry sent a report that was critical of the general. When that was leaked it was the general’s fault.

All of this adds up to nothing.

The article is self contradictory because it states that the general was guilty of being a mouthpiece for the Bush administration and equally guilty of not being a mouthpiece for the Obama administration

The article suggests that the general’s career should have ended long ago, specifically as a result of him being the commander during the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident and cover up as well as his part in the command structure during the prison abuse events in Iraq. The direct connection to general McChrystal is established for the Pat Tillman incident, his part in the power structure for the prison abuses is simply darkly insinuated.

The real reason that the general was pushed into offering his resignation was ultimately because of a perceived failure of his strategy. The implementation of a medal for “Restrained Bravery” for not firing upon suspects based on where they are standing caused the loss of confidence of his soldiers. His inability to show progress created doubt in the political forces that exist. And finally, he did not provide the President with what was promised in the campaign, a way out of Afghanistan. Failure of strategy, even with limited loss of life, has always been a career killer in the armed forces. The only quicker way out is to disobey direct orders – but then you get fired.

How To Reduce The Stress in your Life

June 27, 2010

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Bubble Wrap

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I’m a firm believer that lowering the stress in your life will help you live longer.  The best way to do this is to make your attitude more positive.  But how do you do this?

Work to live, don’t live to work. I work for a great company and enjoy my career.  However, I don’t let it consume my life.  When I’m away from work, I try not to think about it very much (other than those time when the phone rings at 2 AM and I have to help resolve a production problem).

Get a hobby. Having a hobby can take your mind away from problems for short periods of time.  It can be following a sport, mountain climbing, or stamp collecting.  It’s not terribly important that the hobby is, just that there is a hobby.  I have a few hobbies in my life.  Obviously, The Soap Boxers is my biggest hobby, and I am also a rabid baseball fan.

Spread happiness. A good mood can be contagious, so try to spread it around.  I generally try to get a few people to laugh every day.  I like to pipe up with a random “whutup, dawg?” as a greeting as some point in the day.  It’s a complete departure from my normal manner of speaking, and usually catches a person off guard.

Make your workplace a less dreary environment. Like it or not, you will spend a lot of time at work over the course of your lifetime.  First and foremost, find a way to get along with your co-workers.  They don’t have to be your BFFs, but if you can comfortably chat with them around the water cooler, it will be easier to work with them when the stress level is higher.  If you have some control over your work environment, customize it to make it less of a downer.  I have worked in a cubicle for the last 13 years.  I’m one of those people who over-customize their cubicle.  I have a parade of small animals lined up on my cubicle walls.  During a high stress situation, looking up and seeing the T-Rex stalking the squirrel puts a smile on my face.  My co-workers are also amused by the animals.

Music, baby.  MUSIC. Music can be a huge key to happiness.  There are a few “happy songs” that can pull me out of just about any bad mood.  Off the top of my head – Take it Easy by The Eagles, Let it Be by The Beatles, Fins by Jimmy Buffett, and Cheap Seats by Alabama.  If I can get those songs going through my head, my mood will almost certainly improve.

Finally, realize that some things are simply beyond your control.  Example: you have plans to go to a baseball game this weekend.  There’s a massive storm cell threatening the area.  If your city gets pounded by the storms, the game is going to get rained out and your weekend will be ruined.  This is a bad situation – but what are you going to do about it?  You can’t control the weather … so just let things unfold and make the best of the situation.  There’s no point in getting stressed out over something as uncontrollable as the weather.

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Puzzled

June 26, 2010

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The running back started to the left, then cut back to the right and had just broken into the open field when the television screen went dark – along with all of the lights in the house. The blizzard had been causing intermittent power outages, but it soon became apparent that electricity would not be returning tonight.

Steven immediately focused his attention on the highest priority task. He grabbed his crutches and hobbled around the house in search of a portable radio. He was convalescing at Amy’s house and was still figuring out where things were located. Ten minutes later, he was in possession of a state of the art boom box, circa 1985. The radio was even equipped with dual cassette decks (for easy dubbing, according to the manufacturer). Steven popped open the battery compartment and saw that he would need 4 D batteries.

His battery search bore fruit when Steven stepped into Amy’s “game room”. The room held dozens of board games, puzzles, golf clubs, a croquet set – anything you needed to have a good time. Steven could spot a cache of batteries on the top shelf of a closet in the room. He put all of his weight on his strong leg and reached above his head. He was able to reach the batteries, but they came down in a less orderly fashion than he would have preferred – the box of batteries conked him on the head on the way to the floor.

Steven grabbed a handful of D cell batteries and quickly had the radio tuned to the game. He looked around the room and saw that the pieces to a jigsaw puzzle had been laid out on coffee table in the middle of the room. Amy was crazy about puzzles – there were probably a hundred of them in the closet.

Steven decided to take a shot at the puzzle while he listened to the game. He took a seat on the floor and positioned his legs under the table. He began the task by separating out the outside pieces.

Two hours later, the football game was over – and Steven was becoming increasingly frustrated at the puzzle. He had only been able to put together bits and pieces of the outside of the puzzle. He had assembled some interior pieces, but he struggled to figure out how they went together. He had one chunk that pictured snow capped mountains, other pieces that showed a herd of elephants, and another portion an amusement park in a state of neglect – with roller coaster tracks that had begun to break into pieces and fall back to the ground. Other pieces didn’t seem to fit at all.

Steven was lost in his thoughts as was started when he heard the sound of a cough coming from the doorway. Amy had returned from work.

Steven smiled and looked up at Amy. “Finally, someone who can answer the great mystery of the universe. What the heck is this puzzle supposed to be.”

Amy laughed before responding. “Oh, dear. I hope you haven’t wasted much time. Those are all the extra pieces I found on the floor of the closet when I did spring cleaning. You’d got parts of at least a dozen puzzles.”

One Man’s Dream

June 25, 2010

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The fisherman cast his line into the water and grabbed a cold beverage from the cooler.  He cracked open the beer and  took a sip.  Truly, there was nothing in this world that was better than fishing from the river bank on a lazy summer day.

“Hey, Slugger, look alive.”

Slugger McCoy shook himself away from his day dream.  He was the designated hitter in this game, and his mind tended to wander between at bats.  He really wished that he could play in the field and be more involved in the action.  Even better, he wished he was fishing from a river bank on a lazy summer day.

A few minutes later, McCoy was taking a practice swing and stepped into the batter’s box.  A fastball came flying toward him at 95 miles per hour.  Slugger took a mighty swing at the pitch.  The bat made solid contact with the ball, propelling the white sphere into the center field bleachers.  Slugger pumped his fist as he rounded first base.  When he reached home plate, he was buried under a pile of humanity, as his teammates congratulated him and celebrated the team’s first title in thirty years.

“Paging Dr.  McCoy.  Dr. J.B. McCoy, please call extension 182.”

Dr. J.B. McCoy shook himself awake from a cat nap in the doctor’s lounge.  He had just finished a marathon surgery and the page likely meant that he would be heading back into the OR and picking up the scalpel again.  McCoy enjoyed his job – the money was good, and knew that his work had saved the lives of countless patients over the years.  He was at the pinnacle of his profession.  Still, every now and then, he wished he could have been a bit better baseball player and been able to play in the major leagues.

When McCoy answered the page, he found out that he was needed for an emergency surgery.  There was no time to waste – he needed to report to the OR on the double.  “I can sleep when I’m dead,” he muttered.  McCoy quickly finished his coffee and headed toward the operating room to save another life.

Jack McCoy felt a tug on the line and was now completely awake.  He’d only had a couple of nibbles all day, but this one seemed like the real deal.  He and the fish renewed the timeless battle between fish and angler.  Over the years, Jack McCoy had quite often been on the winning side of the battle – but many other times had seen the fish escape to live another day.  This time, McCoy emerged as the victor, reeling in a five pound bass.

McCoy was enjoying his retirement – spending many lazy summer days fishing from the riverbank.  Still, he couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if he had followed his dream and gone to medical school instead of following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and becoming the third generation owner of the local hardware store.

Throw Back The Marlins

June 24, 2010

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The Florida Marlins seem to be in the news a lot this year.  Earlier in the year, All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez was benched after showing lack of hustle on a play.  Ramirez accidentally kicked a ball while fielded it, then allowed two runs to score as he ambled after the ball.  Ramirez then lashed out at manager Fredi Gonzalez, as if Ramirez was the victim.  After Roy Halladay’s pefect game, the Marlins announced that they would be selling unused tickets to the game (and there were many of them, as is the case with all Marlins home game) at face value – effectively killing the value of the tickets that had been purchased by die-hard fans who actually attended the game.

On Wednesday, the Fish fired manager Fredi Gonzalez in spite of the fact that the Marlins were actually still in contention – in spite of the ongoing efforts of ownership to trade good players whenever they get to the point of earning a large salary.  It’s not the first time that the Marlins have axed a manager who was producing solid on-field results.  In 2006, the Marlins had a payroll of just $14 million – lower than the salaries of several players, and 1/5 the payroll of most team.  Nonethleless, first time manager Joe Girardi led the team to a 78-84 record and kept them in contention for a playoff spot late into the season.  This was substantially better than anyone would have expected prior to the season, and Girardi was named National League Manager of the year.  By the time the award arrived on his doorstep, he had been fired.  Things worked out OK for Girardi, though.  He’s now the manager of the Yankees.

What got me riled up the most, however, was the news that the Marlins were bribing their fans to cast All-Star votes for the Marlins.  If you case 200 all-Marlin ballots, you get two free tickets to a Marlins game.  If you cast the most ballots, you get access to a suite at a Marlins game.  The Marlins say that other teams also make a push to have fans vote for their player, but Florida is much more aggressive than other teams.  I don’t even like the fact that people can easily vote 25 times online because of how it dilutes fan voting.  Having a team actively encourage ballot box stuffing makes me sick.  I wish Major League Baseball would step up and protect the integrity of the game.  If teams engage is this sort of activity, ban their players from the All-Star game for a year.  Maybe that would put sportsmanship back into the equation.

Maybe this would be a good time to start discussion contraction again?

 

THE RESIN BAG

Two of the most dominant pitchers in baseball toed the rubber on Wednesday night.  Stephen Strasburg face another cupcake team when he took the mound  against the Royals (having faced the woeful Pirates and Indians and the mediocre White Sox in his first three games).  Strasburg struck out nine and walked none, but did allow nine hits (all singles) in six innings of work, allowing just one run.  However, Brian Bannister of the Royals combined with the bullpen for a shutout, giving the Roayls a 1-0 win.

Ubaldo Jimenez was in search of his 14th win when he faced the Red Sox.  Jimenez was rocking and rolling early in the game, but ran into trouble in the sixth inning.  A flare down the right field line by Marco Scutaro put the Sox ahead 6-5 and sent Jimenez to the showers (actually, to the bench, where he watched the rest of the game).  It was by far the worst game of the year, statistically.  In spite of that, my friend Lazy Man at Lazy Man and Money came away impressed with Jimenez.  The Rockies took Jimenez off the hook by rallying against Papelbon in the ninth.  Homers by Ian “Stewie” Stewart and Jason “Jason” Giambi sent Colorado fans home happy with an 8-6 win.  The Rockies go for the sweep tonight when they send Jason Hammel to the mound to face off against Daisuke Matsuzaka.

I’m not much of a soccer fan, but I was following the ESPN Gamecast of the USA game against Algeria yesterday.  I had discussed various scenarios with occasional contributor Fulton Christopher, and when England went up 1-0 against Slovenia, we knew that the US was going to need a win to advance.  A surge of pride went through me when the news of Landon Donovan’s late goal splashed across the screen.

Across the pond at Wimbledon, news of Roger Federer’s near defeat at the hands of Allejando Falla in the first round was the buzz on the first day of the tournament  .  Down two sets, Federer rallied to beat the Colombian in five sets.  The tournament’s top seed struggled again in the second round, with Serbian Ilija Bozoljac taking R-Feds to four sets. 

On Wednesday, the big news was the match between American John Isner and Nicolas Mahut of France.  The match actually began on Tuesday.  It was suspended because of darkness and was resumed on Wednesday.  They played the entire day on Wednesday before the match was once again suspended because of darkness.  At the end of the day, they were tied 59-59 in the fifth set.  For those who don’t follow tennis, you typically play to 6.  The match is demolishing many records, and the length is unfathomable to everyone.  Matches simply don’t last this long, ever.

It will be interesting to see how the winner fares in the next round.  Conventional wisdom would be that they’ll be easy prey for an opponent – but only time will tell.  Both players are also playing doubles, and will play their first round doubles matches shortly after their singles match is completely – assuming that it doesn’t continue until the end of time.

I Love My “Dumb Phone”

June 23, 2010

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I love technology as much as the next person.  Yet, when it comes time to pick a cell phone, I always end up with the model that has the fewest features.  No “smart phone” for me.  Why?

  • Price – Those extra features cost money.  You pay more for the phone, and you pay more for data plans.  Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of “quality time” with my phone, so it’s really not worth the extra cost.  Seriously, I can wait until I get home to check Facebook.
  • Battery life – Those extra features also drain the battery.  My current phone will last about five days between charges.  Honestly, I’d sacrifice some features of the phone if I could squeeze an extra day or two out of the battery.

So, what do I look for in a cell phone, then?

  • Battery life – As mentioned above, I’m always concerned about battery life.  That’s the second thing I look for in the details about a phone (price being first).  If the battery life isn’t at least 100 hours on standby, I won’t consider the phone.
  • Incoming text messages – This is a pretty standard feature any more, but that wasn’t always the case in the past.  I keep up with sports and a few other things via 4Info’s free text messages.
  • A card game – Every now and then, I do find myself with time to kill and nothing but my cell phone to entertain me.  Blackjack is my favorite of the card games, but Poker works pretty well, too.  My current phone has a demo of a poker game.  It lets me play two hands before quitting.  That’s good enough for me, since I rarely play more than a half dozen hands at a time.  Despite not being an expert player, I somehow turned by starting bankroll of $1500 into $20,000.  I suspect that the computer players are really bad.
  • No flip phone – I absolutely hate flip phones.  I much prefer the “candy bar” style.  For the better part of a decade, I used a few different Kyocera models.  My current carrier doesn’t carry Kyocera, so I have a Samsung A-737.  The Samsung is a slider, which I don’t like as much as the candy bar phones, but prefer to the flip phones.

I’m frugal when it comes to my cell phone.  Here are a few more money saving tips.

  • Check for discounts – Nearly every national carrier provides discounts for my company’s empoyees.  The lone holdout seems to be US Cellular.  I actually prefer US Cellular’s service, but withouth the discount, they are a bit more expensive than most other companies.
  • Record your own ring tones – A lot of money is spent on downloaded ring tones every year.  But with the right software, you can easily record your own ring tones.  Take an MP3 and use something like Audacity to take out the best chunk of the song and use it as a ring tone.  I have a rather extensive collection of MP3 (legally obtained from my own CDs) and have created quite a few ringtones.  Currently, my ringtone is Runaway by Love and Theft, and my morning alarm is 1969 by Keith Stegall.  In the past, I’ve used Hello, Goodbye from The Beatles, for obvious reasons.
  • Buy accessories online – Whether it is a car charger or a carrying case (a holster, in my case), I buy accessories online.  You pay a fraction of the cost for an identical item.

St. Andrews On A Budget

June 22, 2010

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Being the golf fan that I am, I just returned from my second trip across the pond. I organized a golf trip for a group of my buddies to the Home Of Golf. St. Andrews Scotland.

St. Andrews is the friendliest place I have ever visited, and I have been to quite a few places. The people are great, the town just breathes history, and if you are a golf fan, it is a trip that must be taken at least once.

But today, I am going to tell you how you can go twice for less than you would typically spend if you book a trip through one of the over-priced tour operators that make a living taking your money and socking it to you.

Yes, just like last time, I planned the entire trip for the group using nothing other than the internet and email.

If you are going to play the Old Course, the best way to get a tee time is to get up at O dark thirty the first Wednesday in September and send a completed ballot form via email to the St. Andrews Links Trust requesting a tee time. You have to also request times on two other courses. My preferences are the New Course (which was designed by Tom Morris in 1890’s) and the Castle Course, which is a David McKlay Kidd design (of Bandon Dunes in Oregon fame). The Castle Course is on the other side of St Andrews and has some spectacular views and spectacular holes.

We continued our golf by going to Cruden Bay, which is up the Northeast coast about 2 and a half hours from St Andrews. We also played North Berwick and Crail, two more classic seaside courses. Crail was established in 1786, funny to think they were playing golf on a course a year before our constitution was officially ratified!

You can contact all of the other courses directly and get your tee times once you have the St Andrews times locked in. You will receive your St Andrews times via the mail typically the first week of October.

Then it is time to line up a place to stay. Avoid the hotels, stay in one or two spots! There are a ton of Bed and Breakfast Operations as well as what we use, self letting. Basically we rent an apartment or you could also rent a house for a week. The advantage is the cost goes down substantially per person, it feels more like home with the amenities, and truth be told you are not going to be in your room much anyway … unless you stay where we do.

I almost hate to divulge my secret but we stay in a second floor apartment overlooking the 18th green on the Old Course. It is the very last building on the right side of the 18th fairway when you are watching the Open Championship coverage next month. Cost per person for the week … about $300. Cost to stay one night at the Old Course Hotel with a view of the course? The same amount.

The other smart decision is to hire a van service to drive you around. They will do airport transfers, take you from your door to the golf course and back (and usually stop off at some nice sightseeing or local pubs along the way back home after golf) and it avoids a lot of hassle – driving on the other side of the road, getting lost – plus you can have a pint on board and enjoy the views. The cost is about the same as if you had to rent vans yourself and then you would have the pain of driving still. We use a Rowan Travel. They are a small but five star outfit. Our driver Tom is the best, I would recommend them to anyone.

Cost for the trip with airfare, all golf, place to stay, van service, money for food and drink ran about $3500 a person, and in our case airfare from the Midwest was just over $1500 of that this time. Of course if you are going to load up on souvenirs, bring more money. The SAME itinerary through one of the travel sites, the only difference being you are staying in a high dollar hotel … hope you are sitting down … $8700.

So after watching the Open this year, if you get the itch, drop Johnny G a line, I would love to help out if you are planning your own trip to the Home of Golf!

How Can I Lose Weight?

June 21, 2010

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This is a question that most people have asked themselves after they have reached the age of 40.  Well, I am past that milestone.  I don’t really ask that question, but my wife has the odd desire for me to live a long life, with her.  So I have to address this question just like everyone else.  The answer is simple and I have been told this by many professionals in both the physical fitness arena and the health care arena.  If you really want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more.  It is that simple.  If you just diet, you will lose some weight, but will plateau, and everyone cheats.  If you just increase your exercise, you will increase your calorie intake as well.

My efforts since my 40th birthday have been to reduce to single helpings, mostly for thing I really like, such as pasta, eliminate empty calories, specifically carbonated beverages (alcohol and non-alcohol) and walking, at least walking to work (I only live 2.2 miles from my work).  Walking does not seem like much, but it does add up.  Except for last fall and winter when I went on several business trips, I had been gradually losing weight (272 pounds down to 249).  I regained all that I had lost in those 5 years plus gained more on those trips.  This gain was due to deviating from the three actions I was taking; I stopped walking to work, the facilities I visited were much smaller than my normal work site, and I ate way too much including the liquid candy.

I took a new job last September which is the reason for the business travel, but it also has resulted in a significant increase of hours at work.  When I get home, I do very little around the house and have found myself on line, playing or reading.  This inactivity coupled with the poor habits I am living have really made it hard to drop significant weight.  I have lost some (5 pounds) but this does not even get me back to my 40th birthday weight.

My wife has proposed a solution (okay, she has proposed a lot of solutions, but this is one I think I can act upon).  This solution does not include me accompanying her to the gym every day, and one that will not prohibit my wind down activities when I finally get home.  The solution is a treadmill desk (http://www.treadmill-desk.com/).  The idea is to use that treadmill that has been sitting in the corner or basement while doing quiet activities.  We have a slightly used treadmill.  I have actually used it during football season while I am watching the games on TV, especially when the weather prohibits walking to work.  The idea is to set up a desk at the treadmill, put your computer on the desk, and walk at a slow pace as you surf or play.

As an engineer, I cannot see spending the money the equipment advertised on the page noted above.  I also have to invent my own solution to the desk compared to the $39 solution linked to that site as well.  I plan on constructing a desk out of inexpensive material (assuming that I have the computer and treadmill).  I will post those plans (I assume no liability if you copy me and something bad happens).  And I plan on attempting the walk across America documented on the site.

Again, as an engineer, I will track different things.  I will track an actual road path (starting at the customs loop outside on Houlton International Airport in Maine on I95, switching to I80 just outside of New York City, and travelling all the way to San Francisco California, maybe taking side trips to visit points of interest along the way which could give me extra fodder for writing) with specific stopping points annotated (we will have to see if it will be weekly or monthly).  I will track miles covered, calories burned, and current weight.  Although this will be embarrassing (at least the weight portion will be), I will release this information periodically.  There will have to be lots of graphs, tables and maps (and maybe some pictures).  I will only count time and distance on the actual treadmill desk, so walking to work and treadmill work at the gym or on travel will not count.

I don’t want this project to supplant my weekly submissions to the Casual Observer, rather I want it to be a supplement.  I fully intend to use some of my treadmill time to write this column and work on my next book.  I might even try the short stories that Kosmo has suggested.  By setting aside time every night, I have no excuse to avoid writing.  On line games will be rather difficult since they require a lot of mouse work.  Typing is much easier than controlling a mouse while walking.

Wish me luck, or better yet, join me on this trip.  Based on the pictures I have seen, there are other columnists at the Casual Observer who could benefit from this activity (not Kosmo).

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