Wednesday, 19 January 2011

#397 - The Thrashing of The Bottles

Do you recall me bragging about my smart phone in my previous post? Well, actually I was indirectly bragging about myself - because I wanted to prove that I'm smarter than my phone. Well, as it turns out now, I'm a bit more durable as well... That LG GW300 piece of crap lasted just a few days past 6 months - which is probably also the warranty period. 

Anyway - that's not the point...
As part of my journey towards a slightly healthier lifestyle, I've invested in a home trainer and a stepping machine - which I've installed in front of a TV so I can train my body AND my soul... Those machines allow me to get some exercise on the many rainy days we have in Holland. However, I need some room...

That means that, at long last, I will be getting rid of the last remains of my collection of empty whisky bottles. I've already managed to say goodbye to a lot of bottles a few years ago, but now it's time to bring the last few hundred whisky bottles to the glass bin. I'll be sad to see some bottles go (the design of some bottles and labels is quite beautiful - at least I think so), but at least I won't have to dust them off on a regular basis any more. 
(Once every two years before Christmas - that's regular, right?)

However, before I throw them out, I want to make sure that I record every tiny little detail in the Distillery Data section of Malt Maniacs - on the profile of the distillery where that whisky was distilled. This will be the last chance I have to record small details that might distinguish that particular batch from an earlier or later version. So, you'll be seeing some very detailed "bottle profiles" appearing in the DD section in the weeks to come. Hopefully, we'll find a way to include the information in the MMMonitor as well.

Sweet drams,

Friday, 14 January 2011

#396 - My Smart Phone

Now, free with a bottle of GlenWonka

One of the biggest problems of being as smart as me is that it's surprisingly easy to outsmart yourself. For example, on the way home from work around 15:00 PM (yeah, I only work part time - because I have only my own lard ass to support) I always pass a "Kentucky Fried Chicken" fast food restaurant. That's right, we have those in Holland as well. Once every two or three weeks I used to pass the restaurant in an unusually hungry mood - and then I would buy a burger or wrap, convincing myself that that would be my meal INSTEAD of my regular evening meal. Needless to say, around 19:00 or 20:00 my stomach usually had little trouble convincing my brain that I REALLY should eat something. So, Over the last decade and a half I've outsmarted myself to the tune of 32 additional and pretty useless kilo's (reasoning that I used to weigh around 80 kilo's and I was in tip-top shape at the time).

But how do I know that I'm smart, you ask? Well, thanks to logical reasoning - and the dozens of IQ tests I took as a confused teenager. I won't go into the details of my teenage years right now (that's a treasure trove of material for a website on its own) and why I took all those IQ tests, but in the end it took surprisingly little cheating to arrive at the desired end result: that I have an IQ of at least 400. [Legal notice: actual numbers may appear larger in the rear view mirror of one's mind than what is actually supported by historical evidence.]

Anyway - back to how I know I'm smart... Well, since a while, I'm the proud owner of a smart phone. It says so, right there on the box - and I'm sure they wouldn't dare putting it on the packaging if the fact wasn't scientifically established, right? So, I'd like to present the fact that my phone is smart as the first half of my case. Now, although my smart phone has many features, it can't get on the internet yet - for example to access the Malt Maniacs Monitor. I, on the other hand, can. Therefor, I'm even smarter than my smart phone. 

Beat that, Nietzsche!

Alas, as I mentioned my uncanny smartness has lead to the current overweight - and I'm still resolved to work off a sizeable chunk this year. (Which is REALLY smart, my doctor tells me...) So, thanks to the "distance measuring" web site that I mentioned in my last post, I'm now taking long and brisk walks through the park or along the beach. (Amsterdam is only 25 kilometres from the beach and easily reached by bike or train. And while I'm told that "taking long walks on the beach" is supposedly a favourite hobby of romantically inclined women of the female persuasion, I can assure you that there is little less romantic than the sight of me dragging my excess lard across the beach. Fortunately, with the weather conditions we're having right now, the beach is usually mostly deserted - AND I have to drag around 3,6 less kilo's of fat. The scale now says 108,4 kilo's, two weeks into the new year. I'm on course so far...

Sweet drams,

Sunday, 2 January 2011

#395 - The Best of Intentions

First of all, the very best wishes for 2011 to all!*  
(* = these wishes apply to everybody, but only remain valid until somebody does something that pisses me off, in which individual case these wishes are revoked automatically. No further action is required on the part of the piss-offer.)

So, one of my good intentions for this year was to buy me one of those fancy Giant Power Heidelberg Electric Belts I had seen in an advert some time ago, but when I visited the local electric belt store they told me they had just ran out. Anyway, I did not let that deter me, so I decided to start with the next best thing: walking. You might think that that's hardly a very impressive way to start a healthier regime, but I'm afraid that the amount of excess weight on my bones has grown so much out of control that those bones would have to process fairly big impacts with each step if I started running on pavement right away. So, I'm going to start nice and easy...

And as luck would have it, I recently found the Dutch site
The concept is utterly simple - but brilliant. With the help of Google Maps / Earth you can easily plot several different walking / running / cycling routes in your area and the site tells you the exact length / distance of the route. So, I've now set out several routes in the area through nearby parks, varying in length between 2 and 10 kilometres. I plan to take two stiff daily walks from now on, and I can now easily choose a route based on the weather conditions and the amount of available time.

It's a shame the web site only has a Dutch interface, but the idea is so simple that I'm sure there must be sites in other languages as well that provide this information / service in your language. Nevertheless, the site is just a shell around Google Maps, so as long as you remember to choose the "hybrid" view the Dutch site might work for you as well. Just in case you have good intentions for the new year as well, here's how it works;

2) find the entry field below "Ga naar" (4th line from the top in the upper left corner),
3) enter your address and hit the magnifying glass (or drag the map there),
4) choose the "hybrid" view from the options in the upper right corner (OSM, OCM, etc.),
5) zoom in to the required detail view,
6) click once on the point where your route is supposed to start (front door, office, etc.),
7) add points to the route by clicking on the map where-ever you change direction, 
8) remove points by clicking on a point (your cursor changes to a hand when you hover)
9) The overall distance is indicated at the upper left; "Afstand: 3620.30m (12 punten) ".

That value means that the route is over 3,5 kilometres long and leads you along 12 points. Simple enough, eh? I know from experience is that I need some feedback to stay motivated, so knowing that a certain detour adds exactly 600 meters to my walk helps.

I'll be doing much more than just revising my diet and taking long walks, but I'll get back to that in future reports. I know I'll have to take small steps and change my routines and schedule after every few kilo's of weight loss, so for now I'm aiming for a first goal of 105 kilo's. When I weighed myself yesterday morning, the scale said 112 kilo's, so I'll have to lose 7 kilo's in the weeks that lie ahead. If at all possible, I'll try to make at least 10,000 steps every day - which should equal some 8 kilometres a day for somebody with my short stubby legs... 

I'll also be spending some time on the home trainer and stepping machine each day, so I hope to reach my goal of 105 kilo's by the end of February... If that works, I'll open a very special bottle of whisky from my reserve stock before I start working towards the next goal; getting under 100 kilo's. (The ultimate goal is 75 kilo's, but that's long term planning...)

Sweet drams,