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Getting into shape, getting healthier.

If you weren't aware, I've been working out lately after getting a wellness profile done via work and finding out I wasn't exactly in good health. Well, I had my second fitness profile today. The first one was on April 17th, so a little over 2 months.

Now, time for fun with numbers!
* My weight went from 199 to 191 - a drop of 8lbs.
* Lean Body Mass from 140.5 to 144.2. Lean body mass is how much your bones, muscles, organs weight.. so this means I gained 3.7lbs of muscle.
* My Fat Mass went from 58.5 to 46.8, a loss of 11.7lbs of fat.
* BMR from 2000 to 2042, a result of the muscle gain
* BMI decreased from 28.5 to 27.4
* VO2Max increased from 37.7 to 40.4, so I'm getting more athletic
* Biceps strength increase a lot - from 58lbs to 86lbs
* Sit and Reach from 7.2 to 13.1in
* 3 site skin fold body composition from 29.4 to 24.5. The individual measurements were my chest decreasing 28mm to 20mm, abdomen decreasin 47.5mm to 35mm, and my thigh stayed same at 32mm. The sum of skin folds is a decrease of 20.5mm, which is nice.
* The only number that went in the wrong way was my systolic blood pressure. My bp went from 131/90 to 136/80. At least my diastolic is back to a normal range. Now to get my systolic down.
Went on an amazing cruise, made a lot of new friends. Lots of stories, pictures, but I just can't find the time to put it into words.

Just got back from working Furry Connect North with the Dorsai. Finally met northing after all these years and had a good time talking with him and going to lunch with him.

Flew toracub in to visit/work FCN with me. That was good as always, but kinda too short.. although it helps that I saw him two weeks ago over Easter...

I'm tired and meh. Time to go soak in the jacuzzi tub and finish off that bottle of wine from the other night and relax.

April is near

I'm finishing off March in the (almost) best way possible. Mayercraft Carrier. I can't wait, I'm so excited! It's going to be even better than last year. A lot of the artists I'm very interested in seeing. It's a longer cruise. I'm with even more people I know. There's only one way it could be better.

April is right around the corner. I think I have every weekend planned out. Going back home for the 4th/5th. For Easter, I'm flying out to DC to spend time with toracub from the 10th to 13th. The next weekend I'm on call, which of course means a2andy is having a wine party. I'll have to get someone to cover for that night for me.

The weekend after that toracub is flying here and we'll be working security w/ the Dorsai at Furry Connect North.

I'll also finally get to meet northing after all these years!

The next month and one week will be good. I can tell.


Well, this has been an interesting month. I knew it was going to be insanely busy, but I didn't realize exactly how busy it'd wind up being.

Starting it off with evil_dwagon's funeral wasn't exactly in my plans, but then again someone passing away is never planned. The funeral was very well attended. Funerals are always very difficult for me, but a friend passing away unexpectedly was new for me. On the way back we stopped and bought a lot of cheese. We also made a fun detour since a friend of ours left her purse in our hotel room and decided that texting us saying not to stop at a porn store was a good idea.

Last weekend was the Dorsai Irregular's invite only convention Thing. This year was Racy Thing and was held in Indianapolis. toracub flew in the afternoon on Thursday Mar 5th. A large group of us went out to dinner at Mac's Acadian in Saline. It was Canada Week and I decided to splurge and get a fresh lobster. It was yummy but it was quite a bit of work! a2andy took pictures and you can check them out this link. There are some cute pictures in there.

We drove down to Indianapolis. It's like going back 50 years in time! It was entertaining when Tora and I were checking in. We had requested a king and had an interesting exchange at the front desk:

Lady: "So it's just you?"
Me: "No, it's me and him" *points at Tora*
Lady: "Oh, so you want two doubles?"
Me: "Nope, we want a King"
Lady: *pauses*
Lady 2 who is making the cards hand a card to the other Lady saying "here's one for two doubles"
Lady: "They want a King"
Lady 2: "Oh..."
Lady 2 programs a card for a king and hands it to the other lady
Me: "Can I get another key for Him?"
Lady: "Oh, sure.."

Of course giza and creatureshock were standing there for the exchange and later on Giza goes "I just wanted to yell at HOMOS!!! during that exchange"

I guess they're still not quite used to that whole idea down there!

Thing was fun. Lots of alcohol was consumed and I got to meet some people I had heard plenty about but never met. It was a fun time and nice and relaxing.

I had convinced Tora when booking his airline tickets to stay a couple of days longer so I could show him around Ann Arbor and also take him out to Gigi's with Andy and Chani. So, Monday night we ventured out to Gigi's and there was much debauchery. It was easily one of the most fun nights I've had at Gigi's. Of course Andy brought the camera and took photos. You can view all the photos here.

Some Photos from Gigi'sCollapse )

Unfortunately, I had to drop Tora off at the airport on Tuesday to fly back to DTW, which sucked majorly and made me sad. However, it was great to spend more time with him outside of working cons and helping him move. It's really no surprise to anyone that I like him a lot.. so saying goodbye and not knowing when I'll see him next always sucks.

Right now I'm down in Cincinnati, OH working security with the Dorsai at A&G. It's been rather mild so far, which is always good, but on the other hand it's been interesting. It's a 2nd year con and they are unorganized. I have a lot of homework due Monday but I really have 0 motivation for class right now and I don't find the class all that interesting which makes it even more difficult. *sigh*. I'm really quite burned out on school, but I need to finish.

After this, I have one week of being on call and then I go on the Mayercraft Carrier.. aka the John Mayer cruise which will be a great way to wrap up the month. After that, who knows what'll be going on..
(I posted this elsewhere, but I'm posting it in my LJ too.)

I can't even put into words the tremendous hole in my heart right now. I had only met him earlier last year, but in the time I spent talking to him while I was working security with the Dorsai at Anthrocon and FurFright along with talking to him online was always a lot of fun.

Here are two photos from FurFright 08:

Here's a photo from the Shore Party at Anthrocon 08. It's him making absinthe which I consumed a large amount of: http://alienz.net/temp/DSCN0509.JPG

Even though I was just getting to know him, Furp was an insanely nice and caring person. We chatted a bit off and on about relationships and life. I was looking forward to the DI Thing convention in a couple of weeks because I knew he was going to be there and we'd get time to chill and chat some more, outside of dealing with drunk people at conventions.

Speaking of drunk people, my favorite stories always revolved around what he would do to people who were being drunk and stupid. There were the stories of giving people two aspirins and telling them to 'chew on them' and other humors medical things.

And of course, Furp's badge ribbon from Anthrocon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenreaper/3230071501/

It's going to be quite hard for me now, knowing that I was just getting to know Furp and I won't have the opportunity now to become better friends. He was an amazing person, a great friend, a caring guy who was there when you needed something. He'll be missed by everyone and some things won't be the same without him.

Death By Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I've always been a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson.. but I'll admit I had never read anything by him. I've always seen clips and videos of him that impress me. For instance, talking about spaghettification with Ryan Watt or Slacker Astronomy's impromptu interview of him at AAS highlight his attitude, enthusiasm, and humor when it comes to Astronomy. I think that is one of the main reasons why I enjoy him - he's able to teach people about the Cosmos with humor and interest.

Anyways, the first book I've read in a while was his book - Death By Black Hole. It's actually a collection of essays he has written for Natural History. This kind of shows throughout various parts of the book because he talks about the same thing again or uses the same joke again. Since they are all essays, there isn't much flow to the book or a real central message. Regardless, the book was a great read. It's also scary that a lot of the things he talked about I already knew.. I guess it proves that I'm more of a geek than I realized.

Being that it's the International Year of Astronomy I plan on reading a couple of more books this year that relate to Astronomy this year. It's also looking to be a busy year for the Astronomy Club. I hope that stays true, as club membership has been dwindling the last year or so.

Oh, and speaking of videos, Daily Show 2007, Neil not leaving the Daily Show (a couple of days ago) until he solved the rubik's cube, and him talking about hate mail from 3rd graders about Pluto.


Timothy Ferris

Timothy Ferris was the speaker for Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor Reads author presentation. If you don't know who he is, he's the author of numerous books, including "Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers are Discovering the Wonders of the Universe" and numerous PBS series such as "Seeing In The Dark", "Life Beyond Earth", and "Creation of the Universe". I got to attend a special reception with a (quite small) group of people prior to him speaking, since we hosted a large group of public last week at the Astronomy Club @ EMU.

pictureCollapse )

It was very cool to meet him. He's a very nice guy and fun to chat with. It was interesting to hear him speak, as I realize he's quite a liberal person. He spoke about his new book coming out later this year, which is about politics and Liberalism (not in the sense that americans use it). At one point, he mentioned proposal 8 passing in California and how disgusted he was with that. He also mentioned he worked as a volunteer with the Obama campaign for a while now and was at the Inauguration.

He mentioned a joke about debating with a Jesuit recently and the Jesuit saying something about the church and science and him asking why it took a thousand years. I didn't quite catch the joke, but I wondered for a bit if brotherguy was who he debated with!

During the Q&A someone asked him about crowd wisdom and how that'll play out with climate change and he commented that it's interesting to him the public opinion regarding it. He said it was as if you had a pond of fish in which the fish started to die.. and on one end of a pond some guy was pouring black tar into the pond and when the tar was analyzed - sure enough it was killing the fish. However, all of a sudden a group of people with their own TV network appeared and said yes it killed them but lets continue to investigate all these other scenarios while doing nothing at all about the man pouring the tar in.

He truly is an amateur astronomer - he only took 1 astronomy class in college! Anyways, it was great to meet him and chat privately about our observatory at EMU and being an amateur astronomer myself.

BTW, If you own a blu-ray player, the blu-ray version of "Seeing in The Dark" should be coming out soon and will be stunning. I watched it on PBS in HD and that was amazing..
The All-Sky camera I talked about in this post is giving me some major trouble. It appears the stupid video processing box has locked up when attempting to do some tweaks to the capturing. That means I get to try to get someone to power cycle it up there or make a trip up to Lapeer, MI in the near future. The next group trip I won't be able to go to because it'll be when I'm on my cruise. Go figure. I really would like this thing to cooperate with me and quit being a PITA! Anyways, for those curious soles, here are the 3 best videos I have from 2008. VideosCollapse ) My dream would be to own one of the SBIG cameras.. but they run anywhere from $2k to $8k.. but They Are Amazing.
A year ago I worked MagFest 6. It was, well, quite insane. Not only was it my first convention, it was also my first time working security with the Dorsai Irregulars. As I said in my previous post, this is thanks to scs_11 who is a member, along with Rene Gobeyn. I work with scs_11 and Rene is the MACC Data Center Coordinator, so needless to say I see him quite often too. Both of them are members of the DI.

So, MagFest 6.. we had cops show up with shotguns, we had attendees having lampshade parties, phones being stolen, people getting alcohol poisoning... The report started off saying "Despite the presence of police with shotgun and full riot gear, Magfest was much smoother this year." so that should give you an idea of what the convention was like and how bad MagFest 5 was compared to 6. The best part for me was meeting a lot of new people who were working: Colin, giza, Gooch, Skippy (drzaaron), Deja and Steve, Max, rebelsheart, Creature, toracub, Chilly Mouse, Kasi, Da Bear..

Next I worked Technicon (Mar 28-30) in Blacksburg, VA with a subset of the crew above.. that's also the first time I met Crimson. And JJ/James I believe. Oh and Quazi. I spent a lot of time talking with toracub during Technicon which was fun.

After Technicon came the big one - Anthrocon (June 26-29th)! Anthrocon was loads of fun and a lot of work. This was my first-ever Furry convention and it was awesome. In addition to a lot of the crew above I met the Claytons, Dan and Kay Jarrell, Mark Osier, Ann and Bob Passovoy, Gary Bratzel, Grant Millard, Gerry Felipe, Sam Gobeyn, Marnie (gooch's wife), John and Joanne Hall, Russ Hershler, Tina, Alex, Heathyr Lamb, and probably others I'm forgetting. Anthrocon was a lot of fun and working with Sam to do elevator control was a blast. Oh, that's where I met evil_dwagon.

Next was FurFright (Oct 17-18). I met boomeroo (Xander) and mrianti there. Again, fun was had by me.

I just got back from working MagFest 7, which was - oddly - quiet this year. Even with a lot more people than last year, we had very few big incidents. The biggest one being some idiot who didnt get the hint that the hotel wasn't joking when they said if he showed up again he'd be arrested... (twice). toracub and I spent some time away from the convention.. once to go check on his parent's cats and then on Saturday to see his current place, future place, where he works, and his local area. We grabbed lunch at Five Guys which was quite tasty! I had a lot of fun at MagFest, even though I was pretty miserable for a lot of it. My sinuses did not adjust well to the really dry air and gave me nothing but problems.. I probably should have done more to properly treat it then, but I didn't have my normal drugs and didnt want to go out to get any. I'm paying for it now, however. Fever. Severe congestion. Cough.. yeah, it's a lot of fun. Regardless, I got to spend time with the people I basically only see when working conventions and it's always nice to spend time with them.

So what's in store this year for conventions I'll be working?
March 12-17: A&G in Cincinnati, OH
April 24-26: Furry Connection North in Novi, MI
July 2-5: Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, PA
FurFright in Oct- this depends on who else is working it

In addition, March 6-8 is the Dorsai Irregulars Thing which I'll be at (although that doesn't count as working). toracub is flying in early to drive down with me and flying out late to spend some time around A2. a2andy and I will be taking him to Gigi's Monday night I'm sure. I'm looking forward to Thing and getting to show Tora around my area :)


Well, well. 2008 was an interesting year for me. The first part of the year was definitely pretty shitty. After that, things started to get better.

In summary, I got two people out of my life that were causing a lot of emotional problems for me - Rob and Chris C. It's funny how shortly after all of that happened, I was coming to my shrink without really any big problems. Prior to that, it was always something about one of those two that was causing me a lot of issues. The biggest realization out of that was that Rob really just isn't a good person. Some people really don't deserve a second chance. Getting that out of my life was a big help to things.

What else occurred in 2008? Hmm, well I went to (and worked) my first convention ever - Magfest - which started my working with the Dorsai Irregulars to do security at conventions. Much thanks to scs_11 for causing me to have no vacation time left at work ;) But really, that's been a lot of fun. It's entertaining to tell people what I do on my vacations.. but I've met a lot of cool people doing it so far. More on Magfest and conventions later.

I also bought a house. That's coming along nicely, except for the fact that I still have a lot of crap to unpack. Clearly it's stuff I don't really need, but a lot of it is like stuffed animals and decorations and stuff. Hopefully I'll have a housewarming party in the future and things will be done by then. I've gotten almost all of the carpet in the house cleaned. Next year, there are some drywall pops I need to take care of and some rotten wood to be replaced outside. Aside from that, I need to caulk and seal the windows better.. they're an obvious source of cold air. The heating bill in this house is not fun, but, that's what I get for buying a big house..

I finally got my Sentinel All-Sky Camera installed and running in Lapeer, MI. I'm still tweaking it to this day.. that's the problem with only being up there a couple of times each year. It's recorded some nice Meteors so far (when its working properly). At some point I hope to have it automated more, because right now I have to VNC in and view the events.. a lot of false positives caused by clouds, insects, etc, and over a very slow cablemodem it's hard to process the events quickly.

I got into Geocaching which I enjoy quite a bit.. too bad it's so freakin cold out right now or I'd be doing it more.

I was asked to be (and honored to be, and was..) a groomsman in jk651's beautiful wedding.

I think those are the major things I can think of in 2008. I might be forgetting things, but, thats what sticks out in my head right now.