Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for January 5th, 2006

Habit #1: Pop

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

For two decades, I’ve had a pop (soda, soft drink, fizzy, whatever your local vernacular calls it) next to my keyboard every time I sit down to compute. I’ve been doing this since the family got a computer when I was 14. It got worse in college; I covered an entire wall with my discarded Mello Yello cans once every semester. Once I hit age 26, my metabolism slowed way down, and the weight started to pile on… Give it up completely and switch to water? I… can’t. I know that’s a cop-out, but that’s my problem; I can’t just give it up cold turkey. So just switch to diet pop, right?

The problem is, I can’t stand diet pop. I absolutely hate it. To me, it’s ass in a can. But I have to switch, because I’m consuming between 450 to 750 calories a day on just pop. (We’ll conveniently ignore the state of my teeth for now.) So I’ve done a lot of taste testing research, and here’s my list of diet pop for people who can’t stand diet:

  • Diet Dr. Pepper: Surprisingly close to the real thing. Must be the prunes.
  • Diet Pepsi with Lime: The lime is a blatant cover for the already citrus-y taste of diet sweetener.
  • Fresca: I didn’t even know this was diet until about a year ago! A pleasant surprise, because I’ve always liked it. Recommended.
  • Diet A&W Root Beer: If chilled to within a degree of zero celsius, it’s very hard to notice this is diet, and goes down smooth.

If you absolutely can’t stomach diet pop, then at least try Coke C2. I highly recommend this for anyone first starting their journey: It’s Coke, but with half the sweet (and therefore half the calories). It’s not terrible, and slowly gets you adjusted to the taste of pop that doesn’t have 150 calories of sweetener.

Posted in Weight Loss | 4 Comments »

Where did Trixter come from?

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

Seriously, where did my handle “Trixter” come from, anyway? I’ve had the handle since 1986, long before the rock group existed. Some people think it’s because I knew software piracy tricks (cracking games, or at least figuring out how to copy them leaving the protection intact). Others think it’s because I knew programming and VGA hardware tricks during my active stint in the demoscene. But, honestly, I was taking a subway into Chicago to buy comic books with some high school friends in 1985, and “TRIXTER” was spray-painted on the inside of the subway car. It stuck in my head, and I used it as my first BBS login handle. Anti-climactic, I know.

Now you know the truth… which is why I can’t let you live.

Posted in Demoscene, Software Piracy | Leave a Comment »

A System of Weights and Measures

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

I’ve tried to lose weight in the past, and there were two main obstacles:

  1. It was beyond my willpower to change my habits cold turkey
  2. After a while, the weight loss would stop or reverse, even during periods of regular exercise

The longest stretch I’ve ever been able to go was about 8 weeks, and then one or both of these would boot me off the path to improving my appearance. So I’ve come up with two plans to combat my biggest hurdles:

Don’t measure weight loss to track your progress; instead, measure fat percentage. A “good” problem to have when exercising and losing weight is to hit a plateau, because it means you’re gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat. However, even though I know this, it usually throws me off (“Why did I *gain* weight the last two weeks?”). So we bought a digital scale that also measures fat percentage. This neat trick is performed by having you stand on two metal plates while it zaps you with low-current electricity, then measures your body’s ability to conduct said electricity (which is affected by how fat you are). Your weight may go up and down, but your body fat percentage almost always constantly declines, so that’s what I’m going to pay attention to.

Changing habits cold turkey: Don’t. It’s not possible. Instead, you have to make very small changes, maybe one or two a week, until you don’t notice you’ve changed. Baby steps, my friend. Baby steps.

In future posts, I’ll be documenting the slow and gradual changes I’ve been making. Hopefully, other overweight computer nerds will be able to benefit from anything I discover.

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Raw Sewage!

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

(As opposed to cooked sewage?)

Some of the most wonderful lessons you learn in life come from owning a home. And by “wonderful” I mean “craptastic”. A week ago I went to get some laundry out of the basement and noticed a terrible smell, and noticed that, slowly but visibly, raw sewage was seeping out of the drain in my floor. I knew it was sewage because of the smell, but moreso because of the chunks that came with it. What chunks? Use your imagination.

So I tell Melissa to stop running all water and hope for it to die down and seep back into the drain. It does, so I chalk it up to the heavy rainfall and melting snow we recently had. Then Melissa empties the bathwater from two floors up, and all hell breaks loose: The sewage is actively running out of the drain and spreading toward the clothes, the walls, the doorway… I couldn’t do anything, and it hit the carpet on the other side of the wall and was wicked all throughout the carpet.

The plumbers who rooted (routed?) the sewer main told me that the problem was caused by tree root balls. Evidently, in older neighboorhoods, tree roots can be attracted to cracks in the pipes and actually grow into the sewer main (how this doesn’t compromise the pipes, I’ll never know). So that’s what happened. The best part was that house insurance didn’t cover it, because the cause of the damage was external to the home. So, out of pocket right after the holiday spending, three digits for the plumbers and four digits for the cleanup crew. Cleanup crew? Yes, raw sewage in the home is a biohazard that shouldn’t be cleaned up by mere homeowning mortals because sewage can cause Cholera and other wonderful diseases.

And by “wonderful” I mean “craptastic”.

Posted in Home Ownership | Leave a Comment »

I can’t keep going on this way

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

What do you get when you combine:

  • a love of computers, video games, movies, and television,
  • a penchant for soft drinks,
  • and no athletic motivation whatsoever?

You get a very fat nerd, that’s what. When I graduated high school, I was 6’2″ and 125 pounds:

Jim at Soundtraks, 1989

(Click images for full size.) I hope this doesn’t sound vain, but I thought I looked pretty good for a nerd. Today, however, I am twice that age, and sadly, twice that weight:

Twice The Weight, 2005

It’s causing me health problems, as my knees and back are constantly bothering me. But more disturbing, it’s causing me social and emotionial problems that I can barely talk about with anyone, even my wife. Every day I avoid looking at myself for too long; I dress myself in baggy sweatshirts and jeans; I never stand up straight; I avoid looking people in the eye; I even avoided a major MobyGames function because I was ashamed to be a “spokesman” for MobyGames looking the way I do.

It’s got to change, and like all New Year’s resolutions, I resolved to do something about it. I have to, or I’ll just keep on being miserable. Melissa has been in Weight Watchers for two months now and is doing great; more importantly, she’s exercising every day and has improved her health so much that she no longer needs one of her prescriptions. It’s fantastic — now I need to follow suit.

So how does an overweight nerd shake 20-year-old habits? Gradually. I’ll talk about the little steps I’m taking in a later post.

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First Post!

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

Many of my friends have told me over the last year that I should maintain some sort of blog. They won’t shut up, so here I am, being dragged kicking and screaming out of the world wide web of 1994 and into the Ajax Web 2.0 blogosphere. And I really hate buzzwords and multiple links per page! Damn you for making me do that!

Actually, I have other motivations for starting this, the primary reason that it is somewhat therapeutic. More to come.

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