I have to eat HOW much?

Over the past four years I’ve been trying to gain muscle mass, to no avail. Benjamin keeps telling me that I need to eat more. Little did I know how much more.

I spent some time googling this weekend and realized that according to a best-guess estimate, I should be consuming rougly 2200 calories a day to maintain my current weight based on my usual physical activity (which doesn’t include marathon training, just going to the gym and lifting 5 days a week). Furthermore it appears that to gain muscle mass I should be consuming between 3000 and 3300 calories a day.

Those numbers didn’t mean too much too me – while I always read nutrition labels, I’ve never been a calorie counter. A quick calculation of what I ate yesterday shows that I consumed under 2000 calories. That will never do.

So today I’ve been trying to eat more than usual and keep track of it all. Thus far: my usual post-workout protein shake, low-fat yogurt, Clif bar, whole-wheat spaghetti & meat sauce (that would have been lunch), a coke (I went for the regular instead of the Coke Zero that I usually have), a meal-replacement shake, a package of All-Bran Bites, and another coke (two cokes in one day is an oddity). Total calories thus far at 4pm: 1441. At this rate, I won’t make it past 2000 calories today either and I’m already stuffed!.

Granted, maybe since, apparently, I’ve been getting along with a bit less than 2000 calories a day up until now that I probably don’t need to get all the way to 3300 to gain some mass, but even the upper 2000s look like they might be a challenge.

On a related note: today’s workout rating: 6 out of 10 — not one of my better days.

ADC: 3M Half Marathon

Yesterday was the 3M Half Marathon, the 6th race in the Austin Distance Challenge and we didn’t run it.

Saturday early afternoon we went downtown and picked up our racing packets. Man – 3M sure knows how to pile stuff into those bags! That night Benjamin was having massive stomach issues, reminiscent of those that almost put him in the ER about a month ago. We set our alarms in the hopes he would be better Sunday morning.

Sunday morning he was better but not in a position to run a mile, much less 13. I put him back to bed and decided what I should do. Could I run? Physically, yes. Should I? B and I agreed from the beginning that we would run the races as a team, to the point of slowing down for the other person during a race if they weren’t up to snuff. I also knew that if I went and ran the race, B would understand but be really bummed. After weighing everything I opted not to run and thus have both of us forfeit the ADC for this year.

B felt almost back to normal Sunday evening. The last time he got his acid reflux prescription filled they gave him the generic form of his usual meds and he’s been having some issues ever since then. We’re thinking Sunday’s episode may have been related.

None of it is Benjamin’s fault, obviously, but to be honest, I’m bummed. I keep asking myself “did we give up too easily? should we have tried to run it anyway?” Looking back on it I can say I would make the same decision so I suppose that says something.

The next race in the ADC is the Freescale Marathon. We’re still hoping to run it.

DMCA: The law was on our side

I’m not a big fan of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). I think it goes too far to protect the rights of copyright holders over fair use and the public good. That said, the DMCA was on my side this week.

Early last week Kelly emailed me and said that a website (name and link withheld to protect the guilty) had copied verbiage from the Peel, Inc. home page. This was irritating, galling, and funny all at the same time. It was particularly irritating as the offending website was owned by a direct competitor in Peel, Inc.’s newsletter business in the Houston area. Furthermore it was galling in that they had copied text form our website verbatim stopping only to replace our company name with theirs. The funny part was that they not only copied the front page of our website verbatim, they copied the text from another of our competitors in Houston too! After looking at it I determined they had copied the text from an older version of our website circa March 2006 so the offending text had been up for around a year.

This is where the DMCA comes into play. The DMCA specifies that ISPs who host infringing material are can be held liable for the infringement if they do not take action to have the content removed. Classically this has been used by the RIAA and MPAA to force them to remove content or shut down the hosting service for clients who illegally post copyrighted music or movies. The DMCA, however, covers all copyrights, not just that for digital media. After finding out that our text had been ‘borrowed’ I composed a DMCA Notification and sent it to their ISP via email and fax on Wednesday the 10th. The notification includes copies of the offending material and samples of the copyrighted material, where each can be found on the web, and of course the name of the allegedly offending entity.

Side note: locating someone’s ISP is not as simple as one might expect. A whois will tell you who the domain name is registered to, but often not who is hosting it. Looking up the IP address of the web server will yield who the address is registered to but that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t leased the address out to someone else who is doing the actual hosting. I’m not clear what would happen if you send the DMCA Notification to the IP address owner and they were simply the upstream provider of the hosting service. Luckily it didn’t matter, the address owner was doing the hosting.

After being notified, the ISP is suppose to forward the Notification to the offender and alert the Notifier (that would be us) that the ISP is acting upon the Notification.

It took a whole week but yesterday evening the ISP forwarded the DMCA Notification to the offending party and gave them 48 hours notice to remove the offending content or their access would be terminated. About 18 hours later the offenders removed not only all of our copyrighted material but also the copyrighted material from our competitors that they had swiped too.

Side note: Alternatively the offenders could have sent back to their ISP a DMCA Counter-Notification if they believed that the material did not infringe on our copyrights. Not sure what happens after a DMCA Counter-Notification is filed. Does it turn into a he said/she said situation with the ISP? Do you have to file suit to enforce your copyright against the offender? I’m glad we didn’t have to find out.

My goal wasn’t to be a bitch to these people (although I did enjoy the power trip) but honestly, if you’re going to compete with someone, don’t copy the entire text of their homepage and put it on your own. Come up with your own content to post on your otherwise crummy website.

2006 PBC Rating: 1!

Earlier this morning I had a call with my manager and received the news about my 2006 Primary Business Commitment (PBC) results – I got a 1!

For the uninitiated: At the beginning of each year, IBM employees write down their goals for the year and put them in the PBC tool. At the end of the year employees write up how close they came to achieve those goals and submit them to management who reviews them. Also at the end of the year management gets together and rates employees according to how well they did compared to their peers. Ratings can be one of the following

  • 1 – Extraordinary
  • 2+ – Exceeded Expectations
  • 2 – Solid Performer/Met Expectations
  • 3 – Needs Improvement
  • 4 – Your Ass Is Getting Fired

Because PBC ratings are tied to bonus payouts, the number of 1s and 2+s are limited – generally at a 3rd line manager level.

I’m excited for several reasons. First, and most obviously, it is great recognition within IBM and the Security organization. Second, it increases the percentage of bonus payout I can expect to get assuming IBM and SWG performed well enough in 2006 to hand out bonuses. And third, having a good PBC rating makes it easier for my management team to let me become a mobile employee for our move to Denver as they can see that I’m a solid performer.

Woohoo! :)

My work is in the news!

My behind-the-scenes work at UPS made it to a technology magazine near the end of December: Tracking Digital Identities: No Holiday for UPS. I was the IBMer sent up to UPS in 2003 to resolve some major performance issues in their environment before they went live. We were able to solve their problems (obviously) and I received a Tivoli Manager’s award Q4 2003 for my contribution to the success of the project.

One of the things I find frustrating about working on corporate-infrastructure software is that very few people have any idea what I do first-hand. Most computer-savvy folks won’t have even heard of the software I work on since it isn’t a desktop application like MS Office. It is complicated more by the fact that my role is performance, not development — I don’t make the product go, I make it go faster (maybe I need to make that my tagline on my work email). It was nice to see an article highlighting IBM Tivoli Identity Manager (ITIM for short) being used at a customer that I’ve directly helped.

The New and Improved Five Year Plan

A month ago I posted an entry about our Five Year Plan which ended up more like a Six Month Outline. Over the past couple of weeks some events have occurred that have solidified some of the unknowns and have allowed us to make some more concrete plans.

The big news: I’m happy to announce that Benjamin was accepted at Johnson and Wales University into their Hospitality program just as he was hoping for. We received the letter in the mail mid last week. This tidbit alone was enough to start the ball rolling for the updated plan since we know we’ll be in Denver for at least 4 years.

Benjamin’s last day at Compass Bank will be April 30th. We’ll be moving to Denver May 18-24th. We’ll fly back for the Garcia family vacation the first part of July. I’ll fly back to Denver post-vacation but Benjamin will stay in Texas helping his cousin Annie with her wedding plans until the wedding day at the end of July. I’ll fly back for the wedding and we’ll both fly back to Denver together. Benjamin has orientation at the end of August and starts classes on September 4th.

Between now and mid-May things get a little crazy. We’ll probably be living in an apartment or condo while in Denver — something with likely much less space than we have now. We’ve decided that instead of renting a storage building in Austin to store stuff or renting a moving truck to move the stuff to Denver only to store it – we’re selling just about everything in the house prior to the move. What we’re thinking of is a garage sale in February to get rid of a lot of smaller items that we don’t need or use. In April we’re having a going-away party at the house during which we’re letting folks know that most everything you see in the house is for sale – scope things out and keep items you like in mind. A couple of weeks later we’re going to have a mini-estate sale for our friends and acquaintances letting them come in and make an offer on whatever they like (virtually all decor, some furniture, beds, lamps, kitchen items, lawn mowers, lawn furniture, patio furniture, you name it) and take it home with them. Early May we’ll likely be having another garage/craigslist sale for everything that no one else wanted – including the Mustang. That should leave us with only a dozen or so good-sized boxes that we can pile in the Fusion or ship to Denver via UPS ground.

That leaves the house. Nothing much has changed since the last update a month ago. The current plan is still for Eve to move out of the house around August and two friends are discussing if they want to rent it (once again – you know who you are :). This is an area that needs some attention but right now we’re waiting on the two friends to see what they want to do before we explore other options.

Right now we’re in hurry-up-and-wait mode. We need to fill out Benjamin’s FASFA but we need to file his 2006 Tax Return first. We can’t file his 2006 Tax Return until the various financial institutions send us the EOY statements. <sigh>

Updates to follow as things change…