Need to start running outside

Been doing great on the treadmill, but need to start actually running outside.. at the very least on Wednesday afternoons and possibly some mornings, as well as my long run on Saturday or Sunday. I had an app for my iphone that I used last year for some bike rides, so I decided to try it out for running/walking. Seems to work pretty well, though I need an arm band for my phone so it can get a GPS signal without me needing to hold the phone.

Walking at EveryTrail


How To Lower Your Calories Without Starving

aka Working Out. Plain and simple there is no other way. Your body needs x amount of calories to maintain itself. These can be figured out from the link in the other day’s post. If you eat consume more calories than this maintenance level you will gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than this maintenance level you will lose weight. The approximate number of calories in a pound is 3500 calories. So if you can manage to consume 3500 fewer calories in a week than your body needs, you will in theory lose one pound. If you can manage to consumer 7000 fewer calories in a week than your maintenance levels you will lose two pounds, etc.

Now let’s say your caloric maintenance level is 1600 calories. To lose one pound in a week you would have to lose 500 calories per day. That means just through dieting you would have to eat 1/3 of what your body needs in a week just to lose one single pound. Now to me, there is not finishing everything on your plate, and then there is stopping eating before you are satiated. If I feel hungry I get anxious, grumpy and obnoxious, so cutting out one third of my food to the point of losing a single pound is ridiculous. But let’s take this further. To lose two pounds in a week, you would need to cut out 1000 calories from your diet. Again assuming you are at 1600 calories, this means cutting out two thirds of the food you need for your body to maintain itself. To take this one final step further, let’s then assume that you are needing to lose weight in the first place because you are eating MORE than your caloric maintenance needs. So if you are already at 2000 calories a day and now needing to cut back to 600 calories a day, this is downright starvation and any basic dietitian will tell you that your body does not like to starve. You can only starve it for so long before it starts fighting back through drastically lowered energy, replenishing required fat and carbs, muscle atrophy, etc. But beyond that, your hunger will never feel satiated meaning you will feel hungry all of the time!!

And thus we arrive at exercise. I run at 6.3mph for 40 minutes with a 5 minute cooldown at 4mph. This results in a net expense of 535 calories according to the treadmill. Doing this five times a week nets me a total caloric burn on the treadmill of 2675 calories. If I simply eat my maintenance level of calories in a given week, I will lose 3/4 of a pound every week just running. This means you are feeling satiated, your body and metabolism are getting the amount of calories you need to operate, and your body will burn the fat when going into a metabolic state to make up for the rest. I also add in 4 days of weight lifting for anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the day. Figuring out those calories over the course of a week weight lifting contributes an additional 2100 calories burned over the week. So now between weight lifting and running I am burning 4775 calories a week which at maintenance caloric levels translates into 1 1/3 pound lost every week.

Now we can start looking at dieting!! We need an additional 2225 calories shaved off our diet every week to hit a 7000 calorie deficit. Divide that up by 7 days and we are looking at around 315 calories per day that needs to be cut. At 1600 calories per day of maintenance, you are now needing to reduce your diet by a mere 1/5th of it’s calories. This is generally not even enough to leave you feeling hungry and is still more than enough to provide both the energy and protein needed to build muscle and keep going throughout the day.

So you can see where we go from practically starving ourselves to lose a pound of fat a week to cutting back just a little food and losing two pounds a week. You can technically extrapolate this out as far as you’d care to go: run for workout for 7000 calories a week and cut back on 2500 calories for a heavier individual and you could be close to 3 pounds a week. Sure this doesn’t sound as impressive as shows like The Biggest Loser where they lose 10-15 pounds in a week, but doing 2-2.5 pounds every week for just two months amounts to 16-20 pounds. Even at obese levels 16-20 pounds is going to make a night and day difference to how you feel and look.

Most of my information has come from the National Institutes of Health. My actual caloric needs and burns are figured out based on my activities and running.


Disney to buy Marvel

In things that I NEVER expected to read this morning, this would probably have been top on the list if I was given a choice. Yes you read the title properly, The Walt Disney Company is buying Marvel Entertainment.

BURBANK, Calif. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company (DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (MVL) in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration.

Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.

“This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories,” said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney.”

“We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,” Iger said.

“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel’s properties.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch.


Windows Movie Maker Now With iPhone Support

Finally Windows users have a way to work with iPhone videos. For those who don’t know, the iPhone 3GS is actually a capable video recorder. It records to 640×480 at 30 frames per second and with an empty 32GB iPhone you can easily record a few hours to the thing. The problem has been there was no simple way in Windows to edit the videos or send them to DVD. Sure you could download various shareware or freeware apps, or buy one of a dozen video editors, but this seems like such a pain when on a Mac you can just use the built in iMovie app to edit and publish.

Enter the newest version of Windows Live Movie Maker. When run on a Windows 7 machine, the newest version of Microsoft’s video editor supports additionally AVCHD, MPEG-4, and most importantly for iPhone users, Quicktime formats. I almost did a double take, but sure enough.. I drag my iPhone movies into a new project and they show up perfectly on the timeline. Unfortunately this still leaves XP and Vista users without an easy solution for the time being, but hopefully come October and those numbers will begin to dwindle rapidly.


iTunes, Album Art, ID3 and Windows 7

One of the beautiful things about Windows 7 is not only the system’s native ability to playback AAC files, but its ability to natively read the MPEG-4 tag data in the files as well. Mind you I still use iTunes exclusively as my jukebox, but when/if I need to do actual file level work on my music, being able to sort it in Explorer by artist, album, song, etc in libraries in Windows 7 makes it much nicer to work with. When it works.

MP3 Data Not Showing Up

Check that your ID3 version is v2.3 or lower. For some odd reason Windows 7 still can’t handle ID3 v2.4. In iTunes you can show the “Kind” column and sort on it to quickly list all of your MP3s, select them all, and then right click on the and select “Convert ID3 Tags…”. Don’t worry, iTunes does the conversion non-destructively so it keeps all of your tag data intact.

AAC Album Art Not Showing Up

If you are having a problem seeing your album art in Windows 7’s Explorer and you use iTunes, you might be having the same problem I did. It appears that if I right click a bunch of songs and say “Get Album Art” iTunes will download the art but not actually put it in the file. I am guessing it keeps it on the disc and then just references it in iTunes. Regardless, what I did to fix it is to use iTunes’ downloading feature, then do the following:

  1. If Album Art isn’t already visible, click the fourth button from the left on the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Make sure the “Selected Item” is showing artwork in the bar. If it says “Now Playing” click the arrow to the left of it to change it to “Selected Item”.
  3. Select the songs you want to download art for, right click and choose “Get Album Artwork”.
  4. Now here’s the trick to get the art working in windows. Doing this an album at a time, highlight all of the songs in the album, right click on the artwork in the lower left window, and select copy. With the songs still highlighted right click on the songs and choose “Clear Downloaded Artwork”. Finally right click back in the artwork window (where it should now say “Drag Artwork Here”) and choose paste.

Doing this I have had a 100% success rate in my album art showing up properly in Windows 7’s Explorer window including (and especially) in libraries and Windows Media Player. Even better, the album artwork now shows up properly in my DLNA players including my PS3.


2 + 2 = ???

2 + 2 = 4. It’s one of the very first forms of addition we are taught. It’s also by no coincidence one of the first forms of multiplication that we are taught. I think this is why it is also used in explaining the simplicity of a problem being correct or the absoluteness of something.

“The same as 2 plus 2 equaling 4.”

“You can’t change that just like you can’t change 2 plus 2 equaling 4.”

But does 2 + 2 really only equal 4? Does it not also equal 16/4? Or how about 104736/26184? Any math professor can tell you it equals 3.999999999? Heck, it even equals 2 + 2 itself!

Now it may seem like I am arguing semantics here, but there is in fact a point to be made. Questions and problems have multiple answers. Some are obviously correct and some a matter of perspective with mere variations on the simple answer. There are also answers that are wrong, and no amount of arguing the point will change that.

So how do you know if your answer is just a rather creative way of solving the problem instead of just flat out incorrect? Much like actual math, you have to still solve through. You still need unquestionable proof that your answer was indeed just a unique (but still correct) way to approach the problem.

Now this might seem like an odd subject for me to spend so much time on, but really it’s how I have spent most of my life. You see, I don’t like playing inside of the rules. I like answering “2 + 2 = ???” with the variety of answers given above. I like explaining to people why those answers are correct (even if they don’t believe me). While it may seem like a needless complication, many times answers such as “4” are not readily available, and it is in fact a more logical step to make your way to “32/8” instead. Again it seems like semantics, but in reality there are still enough differences in the answer (no matter how small they may be) that this particular answer might be better suited for that particular problem. Of course this isn’t always the case. Sometimes (many times?) it really is just making extra work for yourself. This is definitely something to be careful of.

So why all of this? What does it mean and where is it going? Basically I am needing to approach a number of difficult and important decisions. The “easy way” as I like to call it involves making things easier on myself, but at the same time requires concessions that I am entirely uninterested in making. Some may call it stubbornness or bullheaded, I call it finding interesting solutions to seemingly straightforward problems.

Either way, you will read it head eventually. As always. Stay tuned.



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20 Years Old

Rush – Hold Your Fire is 20 years old this year. You know, there isn’t a single album EVER…. that I’ve listened to more. If there is one album/song that I would ask be played at my funeral, it would be this. Everything from Prime Mover to Time Stand Still pretty much describes my life up til now to a T. I just hope those of you reading this can take as much from this album as what’s lead me to this point until now. For a glimpse as to what’s held in this tell all tale… read this:

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath,
Before I start off again
Driven on,
Without a moment to spend
To pass an evening
With a drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin
Id like to pause,
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim —
Who learns to transcend —
Learns to live
As if each step was the end

Time stand still —
Im not looking back
But I want to look around me now
See more of the people
And the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment
A little bit longer
Make each sensation
A little bit stronger
Experience slips away…

I turn my face to the sun
Close my eyes,
Let my defences down —
All those wounds
That I cant get unwound

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause —
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain,
Whose ship runs aground —
I can wait until the tide
Comes around

Make each impression
A little bit stronger
Freeze this motion
A little bit longer
The innocence slips away…

Summers going fast —
Nights growing colder
Children growing up —
Old friends growing older
Experience slips away…


Do I still like comics?

A question I receive a lot since starting the store is “Do you even still like comics?” It’s funny that this is asked.

Years ago, when I pictured myself opening a brick and mortar shop, bringing it to the point of success of being able to have that as my full-time job, I envisioned it probably how most aspiring store owners envision it. Sit around and read comics, ringing up the occasional (but hopefully not too occasional) customer and living the high life. In short, not only would I still love comics, but I would get to spend more time with them than ever.

So what is it like now that I have a shop with no walk-in customers, no one to wait on in that sense. What is it like while maintaining a primary full-time (and sometimes beyond full-time) job? When you have a full-time job, obviously your free time is minimized, and when you fill your free time with more work your free time is basically decimated. You also find that you want to avoid playing with the stuff during your free time that you work on during your work time. This has been true of computers for years.. Hell, over a decade now. I still play around with computers and go through the occasional periods where a particular game tickles my fancy, but for the most part computers have not been a source of entertainment or enjoyment for me for quite a while. And now for the past year, comics fall into that same category, they haven’t been a source of entertainment for me, at least not consistent entertainment for quite a while.

But that really doesn’t get to the point of the question now does it? Do I still like comments? No, I still love them. There is a part of me that is still 12 years old walking into Polaris Comics for the first time, picking up the newest Sensational Spider-Man (part three of Kraven’s Last Hunt that B. Dalton didn’t carry). Looking at racks and racks and racks of new comics. As many books as B. Dalton and Waldenbooks had, this is how many comics Polaris had, at least how it seemed to my 12 year old eyes. The thing about it is, when I read comics, when I actually have time to sit down and enjoy them, it might as well be 1987 all over again because the sense of wonder and escapism is identical. About the only thing that’s changed over the years is the understanding of what comics are capable of, and the types of stories that you can enjoy while reading comics. It’s no longer just about super heroes or action of adventure or horror. As you look around our store you’ll find romance, drama, mystery, young adult coming of age stories, a whole variety of the different stories comics are capable of telling. I’ve learned that there is plenty more out there to enjoy than just superheroes and action.

With that being said though, there’s still nothing like sitting on the couch and reading through a run of Iron Man or Green Lantern on a late rainy evening with the windows open and a breeze blowing through. The same type of night that twenty years ago planted this seed of owning a own comic shop into my head.

You can’t always go back, so sometimes it’s just better off to leave a part of yourself back there so you can on occasion return and visit from time to time.


Here we complain some more about IE and CSS

bah.. so I want to fix the width of some dropdown boxes.. it will usually (though not always) be smaller than the width of the text in them. Firefox and Opera handle this fine, expanding the actual list of options when you activate it so you can see everything. IE 6 and 7 however don’t expand when you activate it so the list is just cutoff and looks sloppy.

granted it’s not part of the css standard. So IE is actually behaving properly with CSS.. you’d just think MS would go the extra mile for usability.. well ok, maybe not.