No help for it: bring out the burgers

Despite downing 2 protein shakes every day and eating everything that’s put in front of me, I’ve not gained weight — muscle mass or otherwise — which has been my objective. Instead I’ve lost almost 10lbs since the beginning of the year.

While I realize I’m not getting anything except derision from most of you about this ‘problem’, it’s quite frustrating for me1. My options seem to be decrease my physical activity (running 7.5 miles in an hour like I did this morning can’t be helping) or I need to rather drastically increase my caloric intake. Since decreasing my activity is unlikely to happen, it’s time to bring out the burgers. This is sure to make my already borderline cholesterol worse, but maybe, just maybe, I can get back up to a buck-sixty this time next month like I was at the beginning of the year. Gotta have goals!

1 Can I claim this is a 3rd world problem? I mean, not getting enough to eat is a common 3rd world problem… I’m joking!2

2 Yes, I’m totally going to hell for footnote 1.

Isilon 2011 Performance Review: Far Exceeds Expectations

Last week I received my first annual review from my tenture at EMC Isilon and I was ecstatic with the result: Far Exceeds, the highest rating. The rating description reads:

Far exceeds goals in all areas. Has depth of knowledge, competence, and reactivity that are not often equaled. Recognized by all as an expert. Quality and timeliness of results occur despite challenging circumstances. Takes initiative. Makes challenging goals and fulfills them. – Exceptional Performance

My favorite take-away from the review write-up were these two sentences:

Even as a performance test ninja, your focus is measuring and reporting on the results, investigating, and automating. You took this to a new dimension by fixing the code yourself, getting it reviewed, and collecting compliments from development in the process.

This excerpt excites me both because it recognizes my work on that pesky TCP problem I fixed (well, Max fixed the core problem, I just identified the problem and mitigated the symptom, but still) and because it includes my “title” of Performance Test Ninja.

I will say, however, that this rating merely continues my trend of being a top performer that I started at IBM. (It’s not bragging if it’s true, right? Right?) It’s not hard to do a good job when you love what you do and the people you work with.

Chili con Carne

When I mentioned to Mom that I was making this dish tonight, she asked for the recipe. Instead of typing it up for just her, you get to share in the goodness.

Chili con Carne

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb stew meat
  • 1 lg onion, sliced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 14oz canned tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp sweet chile sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15oz canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper

Note: This recipe takes 3 hours to cook so wait until a cool day when heating up the house isn’t going to be an issue. I make a double batch and share the goodness around!

  1. Heat oil in oven-safe pan on stove-top. Cook beef until well seared. Remove the beef from the pan.
  2. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato juice and tomatoes and bring to boil. Return beef and add chili sauce, ground cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in preheated 325 degree oven for 1.5 hours or until beef is almost tender.
  3. Stir in the beans, oregano, and parsley and adjust seasoning. Cover and return to oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice.

From Cook’s Library Low Fat cookbook, p64 (which was given to me by Renee, Robert, Wally, and Darrel as a housewarming gift waaay back in 2003!).

Gas prices aren’t high enough

Anyone who has purchased a personal vehicle in the last 10 years, new or used, that doesn’t get at least 30 mpg on the highway has no room to complain about gas prices. Note that I’m not making a judgement about anyone’s use of any vehicle, no matter how abysmal its efficiency1, just their lack of leg to stand on when it comes to gas prices.

I’m all about personal freedom – buy whatever car you want – but I’m also about personal responsibility: if you bought a car for commuting with shitty gas mileage, that’s your fault. My 2004 hybrid gets between 40 and 45 mpg in hilly Seattle. Between the gas efficiency and how infrequently I drive my car (I commute by bus every day) I fill up the ~10 gallon tank once every 3 months.

I assert federal gas taxes should be more than double what they are now with the proceeds going to assist individuals with the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles. And I’m not talking about the ridiculously low bar for efficiency used in the “cash for clunkers” — 18 mpg is not an acceptably high bar.

Lowering gas prices is great political pandering, particularly in an election year, but is addressing the symptom, not the problem.

1 At least in this blog post.

Alphas and Betas

It may take two to tango, but there can only be one leader of the dance.

Most relationships have an alpha and a beta. In my experience though, it isn’t one person leading all the time, but rather people taking the lead in different areas. Maybe someone is alpha at the finances and the other is alpha in social situations. And like the term “expert”, being an alpha in an area is a localized phenomenon. Just because you’re a financial planning alpha in one relationship doesn’t mean you won’t be the financial planning beta in another.

Chris and I have been dating for around 5 months now and one of the most interesting things about our relationship is that we’re both alphas in many of the same areas. This is a fun experience because it gives me the opportunity to let someone else take the lead in an area I’m use to controlling. And I’d like to think vice versa, although the man still had a hard time walking through doors I’ve opened for him!

So far it’s been a fun dance. Although we each have our moments of back-leading, its still a fun twirl out on the dance floor.