15 lbs gone, another 20 or so to go!

Posted on February 10, 2006 by

Meals are very nutritious and healthy (white meats, salads, nuts, cheese), cutting back on the coffee (down to 1 or 2 cups a day, decaf when I can get it), and taking my vitamins.

I can already sense the shrinking of my “love handles”, a feeling that brings with it a great sense of accomplsihment! I am moving forward along my belt, and I can now wear a couple more shirts that I have, for the past while, been unable to fit into without popping buttons or stretching them…

Of course, I am aware the pace of weight loss is now about to slow considerably and I will be tempted to break free once in a while, but I am trying to persevere. Went to the movie theatre last night and ate only a handful of brazil nuts that I picked up at the Bulk Barn just before I went in. BUT… I missed the popcorn! Oh well, once things get under control and at a reasonable level, I can add some treats once in a while.>



Oakland, CA adds "Fast Food Tax" to help garbage cleanup

Posted on February 9, 2006 by

article today describing Oakland's attempts to cub the cost of litter by taxing fast food restaurants. They are not putting a tax on the food, but on the restaurant, based on size. It amounts to an average tax of about 63 cents per day for restaurants, all the money from which will go toward salaries of cleanup workers in the city.

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce doesn't like it, saying that the tax will be passed on to customers, many of whom are low-income.

OK, I'm a left-wing, tree-hugging, small “L” liberal who can (and will) debate the need for society to help the poor with the hardest, crustiest, cold-blooded right-wingnuts out there, but I don't believe what I heard…

If I am a “low-income” person or family, I should be buying groceries and eating them at home, not wasting my few dollars at Rotten Ronnie's choking down a burger and fries. The cost of picking up all the litter is being carried by the city, which has to tax the people to pay the workers, so one way or the other, they will have to pay. I would rather see a tax on the fast food restaurants, that way it is paid by those who eat there.

Now along this line (this is where I get a little more radical…), to make people start re-using mugs or thermoses and cut down on litter, the government needs to step in and add an incentive such as imposing a tax on all disposable cups (i.e. Tim Hortons, McDonalds, etc.).

Of course, this is just my opinion! -) >



Pink Floyd Redux…

Posted on February 4, 2006 by

Luther Wright and the Wrongs, a Kingston, ON band (FYI – Kingston is also home of the Tragically Hip, Don Cherry, Doug Gilmour, Kirk Muller, and Dan Akroyd – not to mention me for 5 years!), is the artist behind this loaner album. He said “Don't think about it too much, just listen.”

Well, let me tell you, at first I was taken a little by urprise by the sounds. But, soon the lyrics I have enjoyed so many times over the years started to bring it all together for me and my foot started tapping, fingers started snapping, and oh yeah, I even started singing along (yeah, scary thought)!

The funny part of this whole things is… Luther Wright and the Wrongs remade Pink Floyd's “The Wall” album in a very peculiar way… in BLUEGRASS! What a hoot, and I like it! OK, in all honesty, I have an exceptionally eclectic taste in music anyway…

So, Rob gave me a little history behind this album… Luther Wright apparently, like most people with any taste in the world, is a huge Floyd fan. He always thought he could hear a bluegrass sound “trying to get out” whenever he heard the album, so he wrote away to Roger Watters and asked if he could do the project. Roger replied with two words – Good Luck!

The album is called “Rebuild the Wall” and on it, they covered all 26 of the original songs from the two CD release, but manage to keep it on one disc by cutting out a lot of the special effects and background action. They also play with the whole concept by showing their wall made out of haybales rather than bricks… Oh yeah, and if you are a PC type, they also toned down some of the lyrics for a more PG14 audience…

I stopped off at John E's office after receiving it (John is an even more eclectic music buff than I am, and has spent many million dollars more than I trying to feed his addiction), and he had never heard it. After a few minutes listening, we started talking about the concept. Turns out, he loves it and pointed me in the direction of a release by David Grisman (Bluegrass performer) and Jerry Garcia (yes, the Deadhead himself) called “So What” that covers Miles Davis and John Coltrane songs in bluegrass, complete with mandolin riffs… Unreal! My eyes (and ears) have been opened! And I thought Phish doing Gin and Juice was twangy… -)

Anyway, if you have never heard one of your favourite bands covered in a completely different sound, try it, it is quite an experience!>



Ontario man on Ralphbucks mailing list

Posted on February 2, 2006 by

An Ontario man received a $400 Ralphbucks cheque despite the fact he has never lived or worked in Alberta.

Hey Ralph, I spent 2 hours at the airport in Edmonton in 1985. At least I was actually there! Can I have a cheque too?

You know, no matter how rich the province is becoming, many people still remember when it was still just poor dirt farms which were the recipient of considerable aid from other provinces, including the maritimes, the area of the country the Alberta government and our new Prime minister seems to think is a depressed welfare cesspool with a “culture of defeat”. It was only a few years ago that maritime farmers were shipping hay out to their farmers during the draught. But apparently memories are short.

They complain about “Western alienation” (well, at least they did until one of their boys finally won an election), yet they snub the rest of the country by simply doling out cash to try and keep the masses happy. I guess it is an Alberta way of thinking (Mr Harper's daycare plan must have been devised from the Ralphbucks idea – it isn't a plan, it is a payout). Personally, I think that $1.4 billion is wasted going out as “payouts” and might have been spent mending a few relationships with other provinces or at least beefing up some of the social programs Alberta has been cutting under King Ralph.>



Great US article explaining to Americans how Canada has NOT "gone right-wing"

Posted on February 1, 2006 by

Canadian Guardian's Blog

In his article Conservative win not big Canadian lurch to right, John Nichols makes some very valid observations about the state of Canadian politics after the last election.

Very astutely, he advised his readers that although Canada now has a Conservative government, it is a minority and was elected with only 36% of the popular vote, which means that 64% of the country voted for more left-wing parties. If it werent for the flawed “first-past-the-post” system we use

He also points out that of the people who voted Conservative, 54% of them voted strictly for a change, NOT because they support right-wing policies. Only 41% admitted voting for them solely on their policies. So, 41% of 36% = not quite 15% of all the Canadians who voted (really the only ones who count, the rest obviously don't care!) support Conservative social policies…

Glad to see at least one American is taking notice! -) >



IE 7 Beta 2 isn't half bad… but sure ain't perfect!

Posted on February 1, 2006 by

Internet Explorer 7, BETA 2 … Being a Firefox fan, I am always a bit leery of IE because of the security holes, but I like some of the features.

First, it has a built-in RSS/Atom feed reader, so feed pages are formatted in something other than XML source! -)

Second, our web-based mail from work has lots of IE-only features that make it much simpler to use from away.

Third, it has now incorporated tabbed browsing. Now I know this has been standard on Firefox since forever, but it is a nice feature for IE to have because of the above-mentioned reasons I use IE…

There is a better pop-up blocker, a “phishing filter”, and some other features. It is still pretty new, so I haven't found all the new gadgets yet, but…

One thing that is REALLY sad is the built-in search box… You can choose from all kinds of search engines to use in it, EXCEPT Google… the ONLY real search engine and Microsoft's newst big competitor in the IT world… go figure! I am trying to find a way to insert google as my search tool, but it isn't working. Personally, I think it is a cheap scam by Micro$oft to get more hits to their crappy search engine.>



Why do people think they have a duty to convince me low-carb is bad for me???

Posted on February 1, 2006 by

I get really tired of defending the image of Atkins/low-carb lifestyles from people who seem to think it is nothing but steak and chicken wings. That really is annoying and was spread by people who really don't know the lifestyle at all. These same people quote studies that show cholesterol shooting through the roof, kidneys failing, brains exploding, and big toes suddenly getting up and marching off on their own are so false it scares me to think people believe them.

The lifestyle is very healthy when done correctly, and it works!!! I went from a size 40 to size 34 waist in 5 months. I had more energy, slept better, and felt better than I had in many years. Add to that the increase in self-esteem and you have quite a winning combination!

Before starting the diet, my doctor asked me to get blood tests to use as a baseline to ensure I was healthy. I did it, and then again after 6 months of low-carb lifestyle. My second set of blood test results are on file at my doctor's office that show my triglycerides were cut in half, bad cholesterol dropped and good cholesterol went up in that 5 month period while I was completely low-carb. So much for all this evidence of “unhealthy” low-carb lifestyes. My doctor's words: “Keep up the good work!” and “There is nothing wrong with your kidneys and this diet will do nothing to cause any problems in a kidney that were not already present.”

Naysayers can think what they want, even preach what they want to other people, but please don't waste my time trying to convince me low-carb is unhealthy. I have heard it all before and proven too many people wrong to listen.>



Low-Carb again!

Posted on January 31, 2006 by

I have gone back to old faithful – Atkins. I know, there are all kinds of you out there who are experts and say it doesn't work, it is unhealthy, blah, blah, blah, I say listen to my story before you make your judgement.

I am a sedentary creature. I like eating crappy foods, playing on my computer, reading, and watching TV… pretty much in that order! Since I am not going to suddenly change my entire lifestyle and start running marathons every second weekend, changing my diet is a much more realistic goal. Again, before you start flying off the handle with all those sensationalist news reports, read on!

My previous success story begins like this…

January 1 2003 – Aidan is born. My weight – 238 lbs (I am an unimpressive 5'8″ tall).


January 2, 2003 – Decide to do something about my weight so that I can actually see my kid graduate from high school

January 15, 2003 (or so), meet with my doctor. To quote my doctor:

“There is nothing in the Atkins diet that will hurt you more than being overweight”

January 16, 2003 – Start Atkins.

For the first few weeks, I undergo “Induction”, a process that converts your body's functions to burn fat instead of carbs. Works like a charm!

January 31, 2003 – Have lost 17 lbs already! I become obsessed with that purple colour on the keto sticks and the continued downsizing of my clothing…

For the next few months…

Following the Atkins approved diet regimine (as opposed to the incorrectly reported one where we eat only meats…), I eat real, relatively unprocessed foods like meats, eggs, cheese, salads, vegetables, nuts and berries). No evil carbs like bread, rice, pasta, and especially NO SUGAR!

To quote my wife:

“You eat healthier when you are on Atkins than when you start to slide away from it”

May 13, 2003 (My Birthday) – 183 lbs – that's a loss of 55 lbs in 5 months!

Over the next few years, I maintain my weight by avoiding the worst carbs, although the odd popcorn binge creeps in.

Spring, 2005 – Nadine is pregnant again. Appears the only physical activity I actually enjoy enbough to want to engage in regularly has consequences…

During the pregnancy, I start gaining weight again. I like to pretend it isn't happening, but those waist sizes don't lie. An entire rack of really nice work pants are all but unusable right now…

December 23, 2006 – Natalie is born. I notice a “growing” trend -> new child = weight gain…

January 29, 2006 – Back to the grind. Induction starts today!

January 30, 2006 – I love purple! Ketosis is your friend!

I'll keep this updated during my highs and lows through the winter!>