Friday, July 01, 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

I received this as a forward in email.  Some of the ideas are interesting.   

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why?  Simple!  The people demanded it.  That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

If you forward this to 20 people then in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.  This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2.  No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.  Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AT&T buying T-mobile is a bad idea.

There are currently 4 large wireless providers.  AT&T has agreed to purchase T-Mobile for 39 Billion.  You've no doubt read about this in many other places. 

There is a good breakdown of the pros and cons of the merger from Tim Karr

Here's a few thoughts I have about it.
1. The merger is guaranteed to cost people jobs.  Practically all T-Mobile stores and kiosks will be put out of business, in favor of already existing AT&T stores and kiosks.  Many of the admin and support staff that perform the same function at the two companies will end up being cut from T-Mobile, because there is already someone to do that at AT&T. 

2. AT&T worked real hard to brag about how 95% of the country was already covered by their network when Verizon was pointing out that it has better coverage of 3G than AT&T.  T-Mobile will not increase the amount of coverage that AT&T has.

3. T-Mobile uses a different technology than AT&T, so the fact that more towers will be in the same area will not increase the bandwidth available for AT&T customers.

What I believe this actually comes down to is that AT&T is buying the customers that T-Mobile has.  When there is enough competition in the market this is not an issue, because the customer that didn't want service with AT&T in the first place and went to a competitor can just leave AT&T and do it again.   This time however I'm not sure they will be able to.   T-Mobile has historically been the cheapest wireless provider which has drawn in many price conscious consumers.   Now those same people will be tied to AT&T with the cheapest option off the table when looking to leave.  They will be forced to pay more.

I'm sure I'm not the only one asking this, but are those customers worth $39 Billion?  Is that a good price to pay for that many wireless customers?   I expect a percentage to leave, my guess is that between 25% and 50% of them will leave as soon as their contract is up.  Anyone whose contract runs out between now and the merger may already jump ship and choose a different provider.  

Would the $39 Billion be better spent upgrading the 4G network?  Isn't that enough money to cover the entire country in 4G?  Doesn't the 4G network stem the tide of customers already leaving and open the doors to new customers looking for faster service?   Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know what's going on behind closed doors, I don't know for sure what happens in those meetings.  An invest and be the best strategy is a slow way to get customers.  However, it pays to be the leader, to be the best.  Those are the things that keep customers longer.   Retention is cheaper than earning new customers, and I have a feeling that AT&T is going to lose in the retention battle.   It may jump out in front with a big purchase of customers, but it will also have $39 billion less to invest in improvements, which just means that they will leave.   

Verizon, I think you've got it right.  Continue to invest in improving your network and stay better on price than AT&T, many of these customers will be yours, and when they are, they will stick around.

Diet - Week 4

The slow carb portion of my diet is completely gone.  I have continued eating healthier.  My breakfast is still for the most part carb free.  I've found that I am full longer when I don't eat toast or cereal at breakfast time.

My lunches and dinners are still low in carbs.  I've cut bread except for once a week subway night.  I've gotten used to eating soups without any crackers.  That's probably huge considering I used to eat an entire sleeve of Ritz with a bowl of soup. I did have nachos one night, and I had a DQ blizzard on Sunday, which is not a cheat day. I'm still trying to keep all soda out of my diet.  I've started drinking green tea during the day.  I haven't had a craving for the carbonation like I used to have.  I don't think the green tea is doing that, but that has been what I've started drinking in place of diet pepsi.

In line with the 4-Hour Body I'm fine with my calories fluctuating and not being the same every day.  Since I'm not on board with basically using laxatives on my cheat day to make sure all of my extra food is gotten rid of I've decided that my cheat day is bigger than a normal day, but I won't let myself eat just as much of anything as I can.  I have let myself eat any types of food without concern on that day, just not to an absurd quantity.

I have continued to try and work in more exercise.  I'm trying to use muscle building as a way to make me stronger and look better.  I used to be a running machine, and I still love and want to run, but I am trying to do more with weights than cardio.  I'm sort of following the minimal workout to biuld muscle that is listed in the 4-Hour Body.  I'm pushing myself to max for shoulder press, pull downs, leg press, and bench press.  I've definitely been pushing hard because my muscles ache for days after a hard workout.   As the weather has gotten nicer I'm also trying to get out and do more outside.   Sunday for example I took the kids to the park and ran for about 15 minutes.  I'm not sure how long it was, but it felt good.

Today was another weigh-in day.  I still have not had a big drop in weight.  However it's down another pound.  In 4 weeks I'm only down 4 pounds, however, I'm down 6 inches total, and 2 of those are from my waist.

I'm happy that progress is still moving in the right direction.  My plan for the next week is to eat well, exercise well, and drop 2 pounds.  It would be the first 2 pound drop in weight, but I'm going to see if I can make it happen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Slow Carb diet - Week 3

I am no longer following the slow carb diet strictly.   I interpret that as a good thing though.    The purpose of the 4-Hour Body is to experiment with your body.  I have been eating much less white carbs.   I have had a few sandwiches, but not any toast by itself.    I have only had pasta on cheat day.  

For the most part breakfast still consists of eggs, onion, beans (red, black, or pinto), spinach, and peppers.   I find that when I eat a nice breakfast of this stuff I'm full all the way until lunch without needing a snack.   I also have been feeling very much awake with this as my food.

I have cut most soda out of my diet.   I occasionally have a diet pepsi, or diet mountain dew, but usually only if I'm going to drive.   I have not bought a case of either in over a month.

I am not a caffeine free nut.  I drink coffee every morning, and I will have an occasional cup of tea.

I am trying to include more exercise.   Every Monday my kids go to gymnastics at a gym, and I get to work out when they are there.   I am also trying to get another workout in during the week.

This past week I ran about 3/4 of a mile on Saturday, the first running I've done in a while.  Monday I lifted a few weights and then ran on a treadmill for 15 minutes.

Today is my weigh in.   I've done OK.  I'm only down 1/2 an inch total, but it's all in my waist.  My pants are starting to fit me a little better, instead of me spilling out of them.   I expect that in the next 2 weeks I'll need to start wearing a belt.  That is awesome.    I am also down 2 more pounds.   I'm thinking it was close to 3.  I got on the scale and it teetered back and forth between the two numbers.   I weighed myself several times and each time it teetered on the number.  I decided to go with the more conservative number.   I'd rather be honest about how much I'm losing than lying to myself.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where I'd like to go

There's not really a reason for this post. It's just a thought that crossed my mind.  

There are places in this world that I would like to visit.  Kind of a travel bucket list.   I'd like to get to all 50 states, but that's only kind of a like to.

I definitely want to get to:

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Brazil, something about Sao Paolo has always interested me.
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Germany
There are several more that would be nice, but these are the ones that really have a hold of me somewhere deep inside.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

No more slow carb

Yesterday was the 2 week weigh in.  And although I'm disappointed that I didn't lose more, I'm not giving up on losing weight.  I've just decided to move on from the strict slow carb diet.

My planned changes include adding fruit back into my diet.  I'm not a huge eater of fruit, but I plan on eating it occasionally, the way I did before.   I do still plan on keeping out white carbs as much as possible, no rice, pasta, or bread.   My breakfast of eggs, spinach, beans, and onions has made me feel full until lunchtime.  I plan on keeping this as often as possible.  

I am going to continue getting exercise when I can, and weighing/measuring myself every Tuesday.   I may not lose weight as fast as the Slow Carb diet was preaching, but I already wasn't losing weight like that.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Slow Carb diet - Week 2

Week 2 weigh in was today.  I was looking forward to it.  Week 2 went a lot better for me than week 1 did.  I cheated less throughout the week, I exercised and did a little more than week 1.  I cut almost all diet soda out too.  I even feel better.  I thought this is going to be a good week to weigh-in.

It turns out I am down another 1.75 inches in measurement, but I didn't lose any weight.  Is it just water weight hanging on me?   Did I actually grow enough muscle to offset the measurement differences?   Am I doing something wrong?  

I know that weight is not the only measurement to take into account.  My waist size dropped again, and one of the biggest reasons that I am doing this is because it has gotten too big, but still I want to see the weight number go down too.   I have enough fat to lose that I expected at least something.  I weighed myself 3 times, the same number came up all 3 times.   I don't get it.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Slow Carb cheat day.

This is the first day that I'm actually counting as a cheat day.  I haven't actually been 100% true to the plan so far, but I've been holding mostly true.

I haven't had bread, potatoes, rice, or noodles, except for the one meal out. I did have ice cream twice.  Not the best way to follow the plan.   I also had half an apple one day because my son only wanted half of his.

I had planned on not being too bad on cheat day, but I may have overeaten a little bit.  I wanted to get all my cravings out of the way.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Slow Carb diet - Day 13

I made a scrambled egg concoction again.   This is by far my favorite thing to eat in the morning. I definitely prefer it to the cereal that I used to eat.  I feel full longer, and more awake each day.
Today I sauteed 1 cup of spinach, chopped onion, kidney beans in a non-stick pan with a little cooking spray to prevent it from sticking.   I then added 2 eggs with red pepper flakes and a bit of cayenne pepper.

I had a salad with iceberg lettuce, spinach, kidney beans, turkey breast, onion, and a little western dressing.  It's not oil or vinegar based, but I hate those types of salad dressing, so that is one place that I have to compromise with the slow carb diet.   It's not the normal Ranch dressing that I would have used anytime in the past 10 years.
I also had 3 stalks of celery and a handful of baby carrots.

Erin made an awesome stir-fry for dinner tonight, it was amazing.

Tomorrow is the cheat day and I'm looking forward to chips and salsa and Mexican food from Chevy's

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Slow Carb diet

I haven't had an opportunity to blog about my current diet this week.  I will try to wrap up several days into one post.

I had a good breakfast, eggs and beans.  Lunch was not good.  I had a lunch meeting at work and ate a sub like sandwich with some chips.  After work the kids had gymnastics and we had to run to Menards to pick up a Wardrobe, so dinner was a horribly fatty Frisco burger from Hardees with a medium fry.
I walked on the eliptical for 30 minutes while the kids were in gymnastics.   According to the machine I burned 400 calories.

I weighed in and took my measurements.  After yesterday I am very happy that I did well.
I did really good eating today.  Breakfast was beans and eggs.  Lunch was chili, and dinner was a subway sandwich with a few chips.  I'm a little disappointed that I had bread at dinner.

Another good day.  I had to be at work half an hour early today, so I got up a little earlier to get breakfast and lunch ready.   Breakfast was eggs and beans.  Lunch was left over turkey breast and some frozen veggie mix of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Dinner was an omellete with beans and onions and green pepper.  I also had about 1.5 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.  I had some dessert tonight, a couple of scoops of Moose Tracks ice cream.
I did a set of 10 curls with 30 pounds of weight.
I did a set of 30 squats no weight.

Breakfast I had eggs and black beans.   Lunch I had Campbell's vegetable beef soup I took out all of the potatoes and added half a can of black beans to it.  Dinner was a big salad with iceberg lettuce, spinach, yellow pepper, onion, kidney beans, cashews, and chicken breast.  I also added a little Fat Free Western salad dressing.
I did 1 set of pushups to failure with a 5 down and 5 up cadence.  Much slower than I normally do pushups, I think I was at 17 with I couldn't move anymore.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Slow Carb diet - Week 1

Week 1 of the slow carb diet came and went.  I started it on Sunday, but have decided to make Tuesday my weigh-in and measurements.

As far as the slow carb diet officially goes, I'm not going to follow it 100%.    For the first week I was terrible at following it because I was on vacation and ate carbs on about half of the days.  I skipped fries and baked potatoes several times, but I did have some bread.  I did no extra exercise this week at all. Which in case you are curious means I did almost no exercise.

Weight.  Down 1 pound.
Inches. Down 2 inches.
Waist. Down half an inch

I am excited that I was able to make progress in the first week despite eating out for 5 days in a row.  I believe that being more aware of the food I'm putting into my mouth has as much of an effect as removing the white carbs does.

A couple things I've noticed.   Without breads, potatoes, and noodles in my diet I've had less of a sweet tooth.  I have consciously had less diet soda to drink, but I've also had less of a craving for it.   I have increased my water intake to more than 2 liters a day, (I refill a 1 liter bottle and drink it more than twice).  I did lose half an inch from my stomach, but it feels like even more than that.  I feel a lot less bloated than I did before.

I am continuing to read through The 4 Hour Body and plan to start adding more exercise in for Week 2.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slow Carb thoughts - Part 2

Last night Erin expressed concerns for me being on this diet.   She's worried about me, and my previous post that stated that she was upset that we couldn't do the diet together was just me misreading the situation, something I do fairly frequently.

This morning I got an email from my ex-wife also concerned for me being on this diet.  

I am very blessed to have people concerned about what I'm eating, and even concerned that I'm choosing the wrong diet.

I woke up this morning with a killer headache, as bad as when I've had caffeine withdrawal headaches, in the past, only I haven't stopped drinking caffeine.  

The rest of this week I will not be eating the slow carb way.  I'll be out of town and know that I want to treat myself to a couple of restaraunt meals that include carbs.   I'm going to re-evaluate my food intake and maybe stop the slow carb diet.   I was always told not to give in to peer pressure, but my wife holds a lot more sway over me.

Slow Carb day 3

I had a decent night sleep.  I didn't get up until 6:45 this morning, I was hoping to be up at 6:20, but I was so tired that I started hitting snooze.

Breakfast - 7:20 AM
2 egg whites, 1 egg, a handful of black beans, about 1/4 diced yellow onion, a handful of spinach.   

I made myself a scramble.  I used more black beans today than yesterday.  Further reading about the slow carb diet says I shouldn't be snacking, and my nutty snacks are really high in calories, so I'd rather fill up more at my meals than be hungry between meals if I can.   I also am drinking coffee without creamer for the 2nd day.   Today I used a little more vanilla than yesterday and it tasted better.   I still added my Sweet and Low, I don't think I'll be able to get away from that.

Snack - 10:30 AM
I was still hungry around the normal time that I snack, but not as much as before.  I brought one hard boiled egg and a handful of baby carrots.  They did the trick and filled me up until lunch.

Lunch - 12:00 PM
I brought some of the left over chili from last night for lunch today.   It has more broth in it than the Cambpell's chili I had yesterday, but I didn't mind not having the crackers.  

Dinner - 7:20 PM
I was really hunger by the time I got home from work at 6, but I still had to make dinner.  Erin had marinaded some chicken breast, so I threw them in the oven for 45 minutes and cut up some veggies for a salad.   It had iceberg lettuce, spinach, red peppers, onion, black beans, kidney beans, about 10 almonds, and some Lite Western Dressing.  I ate the chicken breast on the side.   My wife concocts the best marinades, especially for a garlic lover like me.

The long amount of time between lunch and dinner is hard to do.   It seems like forever, and even if I bring a snack to work to have in the afternoon, I'm usually hungry enough at lunch that I eat it.  This was always the case, even before I started the slow carb diet.  It's only day 3, but my drooling over chocolates and other things that I can't have has already lessened, although I am craving a plate of Nachos from Moe's

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Slow Carb thoughts

As I started reading the 4 Hour Body I wanted the results he has been talking about and it excited me enough to jump right into the diet before I had finished reading about it.   At the least I will be eating more healthy than before, but I may not it quite right to start with.

My biggest concerns going into this is cutting carbs.   I am a carboholic.  There was a skit, I don't remember if it was SNL or MadTV, but it was about a carboholic who ate spaghetti sandwiches.   That could have been made about me without being a joke.   I could eat spaghetti with Garlic bread and potatoes.  So switching to a low carb diet is being a huge change.

Starting this was actually a big problem for my wife too.  She's upset that we aren't doing the same diet.   I'm all for doing the same diet, but I wanted to try this one.  She is mad because she doesn't want to do a no carb diet. And I think she's right that anyone can definitely lose weight with almost any diet.  And maybe I'm being duped by Tim Ferris and how he's able to sell the results in his book.   The only other thing I've read that made me want to try it as much as this is the Body For Life plan.   I loved everything about the Body For Life plan, except my body couldn't take the strenuous workouts that it called for, I broke down and couldn't make it 90 days.

The timing for starting the diet is odd, it may even be bad.   I decided that I wanted to start getting the benefits and weight loss now, even if i have to stop following it for a short time, I want to get in the habit of doing it.   I started on Sunday, but this week I'm going on a mini-vacation with my wife.   Three days on the road I expect that I'm going to break some rules.   I'm going to do my best to make good conscious choices, but most likely I will break the rules more than once.

Eating on the road is another concern of mine.  Every other Friday I drive to pick up my son and I'm gone for at least 4 hours after work, so I grab fast food on the way.   However the fast food places don't have slow carb options.  I read about a Chipotle diet yesterday that sounds like a good eating out option.  There is a Chipotle and a QDoba in town where I work, but they aren't good to eat and drive.  I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do on those days.   I may bring myself a second smaller meal to work and eat late in the afternoon before I leave, then find a good slow-carb option at a restaraunt a few hours later when I'm in the town where I pick up my son.

Slow Carb day 2

Yesterday I did finish making my pot of chili for today.   I also hard boiled 4 eggs.   I'm hoping the eggs work better as a snack for me, especially since I don't have a problem eating them without salt.

I had to be up and at work by 7 today, instead of my normal 8, after yesterday's big deployment.  I was up at 5:45 to get ready and make breakfast.

Breakfast - 6:20 AM
I had 2 egg whites, 1 egg, black beans, and half an onion. I tried making it like an omelette, but it fell apart a bit so I ate it out of a bowl like a scramble.  

I also tried doctoring my coffee different than normal.  Instead of using creamer I used a little bit of Vanilla extract and cinnamon for flavoring.  I still had to use my two pink packets of sweet and low.  I tried to go without it, but I really need the sweetness to get the coffee down.  This won't be something I'm able to do all the time.  I don't know that mentally I could drink the coffee this way without a lid.   However on work days I cover my cup and can maybe trick myself into believing that it has creamer in it.    Also when I have my second cup in the day I'll use creamer because I don't carry the other items to work with me.

Snack - 10 AM
I was hungry earlier than normal today.  I'm going to attribute that to my abnormal morning today.   For snack I grabbed 4 mushrooms,   Mushrooms take up a lot of space to pack, but don't fill me up a lot.  I also had 2 hard boiled eggs.   I was planning on keeping the 2nd for an afternoon snack, but I was too hungry.

Lunch - 12:30 PM
I brought a can of Campbell's Firehouse chili to work with me today.   It's not too expensive, it's pretty thick and it tastes good.    In the past soups have basically been a delivery mechanism for crackers.   Most of my soups end up being a crackery paste.   Eating all these soups without crackers is going to be a big change.    Heck the simple act of cutting out potatoes, bread, and crackers from my diet will probably save me a lot of calories.  The chili worked well for me for lunch.  The thickness of it prevented me from wanting crackers.  I also liked not having to pick out anything from it.

Snack - 5:45 PM
A handful of cashews and a few carrots.

Dinner - 8:20 PM
After work we had things to do tonight, the kids had Gymnastics and we had an hour drive we had to make before dinner.   I ate 2 bowls of chili.  I added a little shredded cheese to the first bowl, but my wife talked me out of adding any sour cream.

I didn't drink any soda today.  I had been drinking 1-2 cans a day.  At one point in the afternoon I craved it a little, but I didn't give in.

I'm not sure how or if sleep will affect this, but I went to sleep somewhere around 11 PM.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Slow Carb diet

I've been reading "4 Hour Body" by Tim Ferris.   Yesterday I decided to start the slow carb diet.   It turns out that most of my food is carbs, and although I don't eat lots of high fat food, I do eat tons of carbs.    This diet will definitely be a challenge for me.  

Without being sure how it will go my original goal is 2 weeks.   I want to do my best to stay on it for 2 weeks and post about it every day.

On Sunday I went to Flat Top grill for breakfast.  It is something my wife and I have both been wanting to do for a while, and I was excited that we were finally able to.   My first meal of the day however I broke the carb rule.  I had some potatoes, pinapple, and a mini-muffin.   The majority of my breakfast was an omellette with a lot of spinach, broccoli, black beans, and onion.  I had two turkey sausage links on the side.

I had to work on Sunday so lunch was going to be something easy, however, work didn't go the way it was supposed to and it dragged on from 1PM until 7PM.    My lunch ended up being a lot of snacking.   I ate mushrooms, and baby carrots with hummus.   I also had some lunch meat by itself.

Since work took so long dinner plans also did not work out.  Originally I was going to make chili for supper but we didn't have all of the ingredients.  Then by a stroke of luck we were invited to my wife's Aunt's house for dinner.  She is a good cook so I was looking forward to it, but work was not done yet.  Erin went without me.

I only snacked on things until after 7.   My stomach was growling hungrily at me, but I was too busy to take time out to make a meal.   I grabbed a handful of peanuts, cashews, carrots, and mushrooms trying to hold me over.   Finally I ate dinner.   I had a can of Campbell's vegetable beef, and I pulled out all of the potatoes. I think half of the content is potatoes.  Not surprisingly I was still hungry afterwards.   I ended up eating some more lunch meat.  

I definitely need to plan meals better.  With this rather drastic change in eating I don't want to leave it until the last minute to figure out what I can eat.   If I do then I'll be more likely to cheat and eat carbs.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Charter schools better than public schools.

I read on FoxNews another story about charter schools outperforming public schools.  By now the problem should be clear.  The way public schools are run does not measure up.   There needs to be changes and they need to happen soon.  

The no child left behind legislation has ruined schools.  Once the school is ruined enough it can be taken over by a private charter that does better. 

Don't wait for things to be ruined.  Fix them now.  Do things the way charters are doing them and make that the standard.   Clearly they have a proven method for performance.   If the no child left behind legislation actually stood for anything it would not only allow schools to change to the same model as charters it would force them to.   The numbers don't lie, there is a better way and it's being done in the same area with the same students and winning.