personal

Medium

I started blogging on Medium. Silly me. I guess I’m more easily influenced than I’d like. I even thought – if course I’ll use Medium. Why would I try to roll my own?

Then I decided to gob back and read my blog to see what sort of things I used to think. On my personal blog. Dummy.

Gear Reviews

Soylent, day a lot after.

I did Soylent for a week. It went pretty well!  I lost weight and stopped feeling shitty after 2-3 day, as well as had normal/clean poops.  The first few days were not so.

I believe I was a bit sharper mentally, mostly from cutting out sugar.  I had no giant leaps of awesomeness, so I suppose I wasn’t deathly allergic to anything in my normal diet.  Because my wife cooks awesome meals and Soylent was a bit of work to make, I went back to a conventional diet.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to cut out Mountain Dew. Probably not.

Anyway, gear reviews.  As you all follow my blog religiously, since I write in it religiously, I’ll let you know how my backpacking trip went.

Also, I went on a 6 day backpacking trip to Glacier National Park.  At the end of May, my mother in law died.  It’s been pretty rough for a bit.  Meg went to Italy for 2 weeks and said I could stay home and watch the dogs. I went backpacking instead in attempts to find myself, or recharge my chi, or just  have a good time.  I go a little more gear crazy than I go most things crazy.  I have a Google Docs spreadsheet with all my gear, the cost, and more importantly, the weight.  I got my base pack weight to ~15lbs.  Total starting weight was ~26 lbs, and end weight was ~18 lbs.   I splurged in some unnecessary places, but that should be fixed another time.  On to the GEAR!

Lightheart Solo Tent

tent

This was my first time with this tent.  I was pretty stoked to use it.  It lived up to expectations.  I got it from Lightheart Gear, and I’d recommend it to almost anyone.

It uses trekking poles as supports, so I’d recommend using trekking poles, or the tent will just be a dead weight on the ground.  The tent itself is 29 oz, and with the PVC top support and stakes, it comes out to a hair over 2 lbs, at a seam-sealed cost of $280.  This is quite competitive with best-in-class big brand tents, which are ~2.5 lbs and can be $100 more.  And don’t we want to support mom and pop shops instead of the big brands?  Maybe.  Anyway, the tent packs down super tiny, especially as you will be trekking with the support poles instead of carrying them.  It has an integrated rain fly, which as you can see in the picture, can be pushed up on pleasant evenings.  It got pretty cold on my trip, so the fly was always down.  It’s really a double wall tent, with mesh all around + rain fly, so even though there was plenty of condensation in the cold weather, I never got got wet.  My hands did get pretty cold packing it up in the morning, but that’s not the tent’s fault.

All in all, I’d give the tent an thumbs up.  If I could change anything, I’d perhaps add some top vents, but without adding any weight or bulk, which is probably not possible.  I don’t think you can do better than this tent for 3 season backpacking.  For me, (5’8″, 160lbs) there was plenty of room to stretch out and fit all my gear inside the tent as well.  This was good, since there were plenty of goats that wanted to eat my shoelaces if they got the chance.

The footprint is larger than some other tents – it’s not freestanding, so you need to stake it out in windy or wet conditions.  If you have to share small camping spaces designed 2 tents with a group needing 3 tents, it make things a little tight.  We managed, but it was more cramped than we liked.

Verdict : A+, will use again

Osprey Exos 46

pack

I probably shouldn’t review a pack that is discontinued.  I’ve had it a few years, and used it on a number of trips, so I should say something good about it.  Measured weight for this pack is 2 lbs, 4oz.  I took off the top, and it was 2 lbs even, but then put it back on after my packmates mocked me for trying to shave off ounces.  I shouldn’t listen to them though – their packs started out ~50lbs vs my ~25lbs, so they were just jealous.

At 46L capacity, it’s a good deal smaller than many other packs.  This just motivates me to shave off bulky gear.  After packing everything for our 6 day trip, I still had room to spare somehow, unlike my 65L and 90L companions.  The 90L companion did bring battery powered speakers to go with his iPod, so I suppose we had a bit of a difference in philosophy.

The pack is very comfortable for me.  I hear it’s not so comfortable for chunkier people, so I better keep watching my weight.  <25lbs is great with this pack. I’ve done with closer to 30lbs, and it starts getting a bit uncomfortable.  There’s pretty much zero padding in the belt straps, and minimal in the shoulders, so it’s really not designed to cope with heavy weights…and with only 46L available, there’s not room for it either.

The volume measurements do NOT include the capacity of the pockets, and the large back pocket is perfect for stowing my Lightheart tent + stakes, as well as rain shell and insulating layer as necessary.

On this trip, I (for the firs time) ditched my compression sacks.  I put my sleeping bag in first and let it naturally compress into the crevices in the bottom of my pack, packed my food around it, and did the same with my clothing bag – didn’t compress it, just put it in a drysac and let it mold to whatever shape the rest of my gear pushed it into.  This was the right move for me in this pack – it felt super spacious.

The only noticeable downside is that the belt straps either stretch or slip – when the weight is in the mid twenties or higher, I have to readjust the straps fairly frequently.   This can get annoying, but the pack is still comfortable.  With some weight removed, the problem is mitigated.  I’ll blame myself for bringing too much stuff, rather than blame the pack for not pulling its (and all the rest of my equipment’s) weight.

Especially after some food weight was gone after the first day or two, the pack rode like a dream.  I think this is my third trip with the bag, and it’s still going strong.  Unless I go on a longer cold-weather trip that requires bulkier gear, this should be my go-to bag for a long time.

Verdict : A-, will keep using.

MOAR GEAR REVIEWS LATER, MAYBE.  I’m a bad blogger.

 

soylent: day 1

my pee is bright yellow after a soylent lunch.

If you are unaware, soylent is this thing.  It’s not mostly people, but I suppose you have a little people in it.

If you don’t know how to click a link, it’s a food replacement.  You end up with a (without additives) fairly tasteless and bland shake which has all the calories and nutrients you need to survive.  The actual product isn’t shipping yet, and it’s actually cheaper to make a variant yourself, so I did that.  I’m not planning on a total food replacement, but I might do that for a week or two to see how it feels.

The plan is vaguely to get ~900 cal a day from my soylent concoction, and the rest from dinner and Mountain Dew.  Dinners will mostly be meat and greens, so my soylent mixture is built with that in mind.

The first batch tasted pretty bad. I think it’s because I drank half of it for lunch-ish, then went to the store to get iodized salt and salt substitute (for potassium).  I added that directly the half-remaining portion, as well as some powdered strawberry flavor and orange juice.  I didn’t taste anything in between.   I don’t recommend doing that; it tasted salty and acidic and weird.

I started making a batch for tomorrow.  I realized I was a dummy for making a super salty shake last time.  This time went much better…the oats I food processed I let food process for much longer, so it was much finer and resulted in a less oatmeally type shake and a more, less-oatmeally type shake.  I put in a serving of juice concentrate, hoping it’d make it taste like that.  It didn’t really, but the mix ended up being pretty palatable.

When time came to take it out of the blender, I made a mistake.  You just have to lift up, and the blender/spinny thing attached to glass comes up, ready to pour into whatever you’d like. I somehow managed to untwist the glass from the base (probably through the twisting I was doing), which resulted in the glass coming up, the base and blades staying down, and the soylent pouring out the bottom all over the floor.  Oops.

I salvaged enough, dumped the shitty tasting soylent I made early with too much salt and orange juice,  and am finishing the newer batch tonight.  After the dishwasher finishes cleaning up the mess, I’ll make the real batch for tomorrow.

My stomach feels a little weird already…strangely heavy for how little it seems I ate by volume today. Maybe that’s called being full.

time warp

You may now feel free to travel back into this archive to the beginning of 2005!  Old blog archives have now been moved to this blog.  You don’t see them on the front page here because they have older dates, dummy.

Special thanks to Xanga.com, which is moving to some new non-free blogging scheme, so the old site xanga.com/ihaveablog is no longer available.

They did provide a wordpress-happy-style xml file to upload to here, which appeared to work flawlessly.  I need to find something to go through the externally linked photos and pull them into the local gallery so when photobucket kicks the photobucket those photos won’t disappear.  There’s a moderate chunk in the middle of the old blog where all the images were lost, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

I take no responsibility for what old me used to think, feel, and post.  Old posts have the author “ihaveablog”.  I still have a blog, but its not ihaveablog

wakey wakey

Oh hello again.

I updated the theme.  If things are wonky, sorry.  By update, I mean I downloaded a theme update, which overwrites some of the customization I did.  Since I’m baller, I edit the theme in ways I’m not supposed.  Since it’s been awhile since I edited it, I have no idea what I need to change to make everything flow prettily.  You can deal with it. I noticed nothing after page 5 (or maybe 7, who knows) was showing up, so you, dear reader, were deprived of reading my old-old posts.  Don’t confuse that with my old-old-old posts, which are all on my Xanga page (link on side).  My Xanga page isn’t dead, I just have no idea what my password is. Also, Xanga?

bitcoinvalue

I would be rich if I had bought Bitcoins awhile ago.  I’d also have been rich if I bought Apple stock (or Microsoft, or Google, or invented the Internet + Global Warming).  It’d be nice to be rolling in cash. Here’s what the most-recent Bitcoin bubble looked like (picture on the right).  Nice and bubbly, right.  I still could mine for bitcoins (google it, nerdypants.  I’m not here to hold your hand).  I’m sure I could get a couple, hold on to them for years, and become a m/billionaire.

However, I won’t. Maybe I will to keep the bitcoins for myself to spend on, something.  I guess it’s mostly drugs that people use to be them, but maybe that will change soon.  The issue is simply exploitation.  The bubble to the right is people treating these things like a commodity.  Maybe commodity is the wrong technical term for an economist (or maybe not), but you know what I mean.  Bitcoins are about as worthless as a dollar bill.  People don’t buy and sell dollar bills (well, they sort of do, but nevermind).  Use currency as currency, and stop trying to get rich quick this way.  You most certainly can get rich speculating, but it’s at the expense of someone else.  For your to make billions of other-coin off of bitcoin, you are taking someone else’s money.  They may simply be dumber than you, or potentially just less lucky. Regardless, it’s just redistribution of wealth between people who usually can’t afford it.

Basically, work hard, work smart, but don’t be a douche.  You douche.

Here’s other interesting things that I won’t write about now, and maybe never.

the mormon missionaries visiting being married moving to illinois grandmother in law dying mother in law diagnosed with terminal illness losing friends gaining friends being bored at work quitting work drama getting new job being brilliant being stupid living with uncle/cousin in law buying a house towing 2500lbs in an STI getting an STI selling a car normally selling a car to one of those WE BUY YOUR CAR sketchy places in paterson

a lot has happened. ive been really tired. im not as tired now.  if you want to hear about them, come at me bro

banerandy

hearts and kisses

 

vote now

Abstaining from voting (or just plain not voting) should be seen as a message.

Abstaining would probably fall more into the conscientious objector camp, while not voting falls into the apathy camp.

Either way, it points to a flaw in the system.  However, since the 60s, voter turnout hasn’t always quite been in decline.  It dipped during the 80s, and is now in the mid 50% range.  So, historically speaking, people for the past half-decade have had a similar level of interest in voting.  Even though our party system and campaign process is utter shit, it’s been that way for awhile…nothing particularly new there.

When we compare US voter turnout to other countries, we look much worse.  Sampling countries with non-mandatory voting shows us Austria with 92% turnout, Iceland 89%, German 86%, Brazil 83%, Norway 81%, Israel 80%, UK 76%, and even our favorite lazy, no good country France with 76%.  The 50-60% of US looks pretty poor, especially for the country founded on democracy while Europe was still tinkering with monarchy.

People are lazy across the board.  I think lack of participation in voting points to issues in the system.

I don’t vote, because I have never found a presidential candidate worthwhile.  I believe I’ll vote in local elections, but to date, I’ve moved almost yearly, and never in the same town, so have never been much for learning all a town’s politics on short notice.  Someday, I’ll get there…

economics and sexbots

One of the search results leading to my page (according to my stats page) was “middle aged sexbots”.  I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I’m clearly doing something very right.

I’m a proponent of working towards a post-scarcity society.  I believe the unemployment rate will continually creep upwards, and I think this is a very, very good things.

However, in the world’s current economic structure, I understand how the end result is a very bad thing.

Without jobs, people tend to struggle to make money to survive.  However, I believe with current technology, we can pretty easily feed, clothe, house, and power the world…if all barriers to those things were removed.   Politics, religion, and general shittiness of people prevents that from being realistic.  I know governments try to work to resolve these problems, to mixed results.  I don’t have short term solutions, nor do I have long term solutions…but I believe in working towards the long term.

If we come to a place where we automate all the jobs people used to need to spend all their time on, we become free to explore new areas of art and technology.  If we have robots that build our houses, and robots that grow our food, clean our things, assemble our devices, drive our cars…a lot of jobs will be lost.   However, the productivity still remains, and society still benefits from that work being done.  Food is being grown and products are being assembled.  Why does it matter what is doing the work?  People’s need to work becoming obsoleted should be embraced and funneled to better purposes.

I’m not going to address any issues with moochers, people sucking the life out of the system, and so forth.  I simply wish people would embrace the concept of increases in productivity and automation being a good thing long-term.  Right now, instead of the blessings of these innovations flowing to society, they mostly flow to those at the top.   Few people grow rich, instead of masses gaining increased quality of life.

Recognized how much quality of life has increased since a century or two ago.  Even the poor in first-world countries have cell phones, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing.  The poorest among us can often live at a higher quality of life than the lord of a city-state.  We stand on the shoulder’s of giants, and should keep pushing in that direction.

People will always be lazy and mooch, but many people will also take personal responsibility to make the world a better place.

Buckminster Fuller set a good example in that regard.  He invented and built things, and had them patented…not to become rich off of the royalties as those participating in the current system try to do, but so that that plans would be available to the public when they were ready for it.

People may be ready soon, or they may never be ready.  I still think it’s important to do good things that will improve life.  Maybe I will never reap the benefit of my own innovations, but someday, someone might.

i herd u like emotions

I’m a pretty emotional guy, but I think I used to be a lot more expressive about it.  I remember having a few breakdowns in college, screaming and crying like a girl, having my brain shut off, and almost passing out from my overwhelming FEELINGS.  Those feelings mostly revolved around how much I hated my college.  Maybe some first world problems right there, but it was how I felt, and I expressed that. Though I did hate the school I went to (conservative christian environments for the not-win), I had a good community of guys, support of friends, etc etc, and I recall having more positive expressions of emotion.

After college in the REAL WORLD, that started tapering off.  I had people around, but continually connected to them less and less.  I still was an emotional guy, but couldn’t express it so well.  I “knew how” to argue “properly”, communicate with people, and make my thoughts known, but I did not connect to my own thoughts and emotions.  I could just play the role, and not with much feeling expressed to other people.  After a bad breakup, things got even worse.  It wasn’t about her in the end; it was about me.  I know that because I became friendly with her again, but still did not connect my emotions to my expressions.  It wasn’t particularly healthy, but neither the end of the world.

This is the part where I talk about how my wife reconnected me with some of my emotions.  She grew up in a significantly more emotional environment than I did, probably in both positive and negative ways.  She got me to reconnect with myself (and still does…I have to practice it daily or I can lose it), and not in a way I thought would be positive.

Anger.  She was a very angry person when we first met…orders of magnitude more than she is now!  That’s good, or the getting married thing probably wouldn’t have worked out.  In her past, when you felt something, you expressed it.  I don’t think that’s always good….but I err far too much on the side of not expressing anything that I feel, and communicating my thoughts on a purely intellectual level.  She had ups and downs with my family, and she expressed plenty of emotion about that, and I received plenty of emotional communication from my parents…but I spent all my time and energy parsing through her and their emotions and trying to intellectualize solutions than to consider how I myself felt, and express those feelings to either party, both which love me greatly.

So what were my breakthroughs?  Anger.  It connected me to myself.  I’m not calling what I’ve done good or bad; I’m simply acknowledging at this point they worked to create a more positive ME.  Even if it is bad, I LIKED it, and felt good about it.  All that happened was I ripped the legs off of  a table, and proceeded to use the table legs as a club to destroy the rest of the table.  That was some time ago…maybe a year or year and a half.  I don’t even remember why…I just remember purely expressing my emotions.  As a male, testosterone can make those expressions more on the violent side, but it felt good to have emotions connecting to my brain.   I felt pushed too far, and acknowledged my emotions, and acted on them.  When I was a kid, I got angry, and wrapped glass bottles in a big towel.  I went up into the woods, and smashed the bottles on rocks.  I wanted to go up and just smash the bottles on pure emotion, but I knew that was dumb because then I’d be littering, hence wrapping them in a towel so I could dispose of them properly.  Little me knew better sometimes than adult me.  Sometimes you need to express things.  Maybe through tears, maybe through smashing things,  maybe through smiling and dancing.

I can’t recreate my table-smashing fervor all the time, or I’ll have no furniture, but I learned that emotions which are deemed “bad” must be acknowledged.  It’s part of the human experience that I believe God shoved into our skulls.  I don’t know why, but that’s how it worked for me.

Understanding how to connect to my own emotions helped me both connect to my then-girlfriend now-wife, my family, and also helped me learn to build appropriate emotional defenses during arguments with loved ones.  I can love them, care about what they are saying, and still appropriately feel my own emotions and allow them to color my behaviour and arguments, remaining true to what I believe, loving others, and coming to positive resolutions.

 

married

Oh hello.  I got married.  Writing here hasn’t been much on my mind.

In the coming days, I’m planning on opening up about some personal stuff, that perhaps some religious/spiritual minded people don’t usually, or maybe they do and I just don’t care, just like you won’t care.

I’ll plan on talking about the lead-up to getting married, getting married, crying a lot, and cursing out your fiance and telling her you’re cancelling the wedding.

I might talk about smashing coffee tables in anger or ripping shirts off in anguish (but not in a sexy way).

Finally, how bitches be crazy, or maybe not.  And how fun/awkward an all inclusive resort can be.

So far it’s been fantastic, if I’m allowed to call 2 weeks fantastic.  It’s like having a live in chef/maid/sexbot.  Don’t worry, I put up shelves and fix broken stuff, so she gets something out of it too.