Category Archives: personal

posts related to my personal life


In the last month or so since I posted, I’ve continued on with my flip phone. I haven’t changed anything else really “smart-device”-wise, but I have been trying to intentionally do things in my free time other than watch TV or play a game on the computer, and in particular lessening the latter. I’ve not cut it out entirely, I’ve spent some time playing Baldur’s Gate 3, which has been a lot of fun, but I’ve tried to limit that to one or two sessions a week.

At first the main thing I inserted into the extra time was reading. Between spending a week at the beach (always a place I do a lot of reading) and the extra time I’ve spent on it otherwise, I finally completed Rhythm of War, meaning I’m all caught up on the Stormlight Archive. I’ve started a couple more books since then, one fiction book and one non-fiction, and hoping to keep a good pace going. When I finish this post, I’m going to go do a bit of reading to that end.

In the last few days, I started messing around with my guitar for the first time in many years. At first I just took it out of the case and fiddled around a bit, but also went ahead and ordered some things to get it in better shape. The strings on there were probably overdue to be changed out back when I had last played it, and, like I said, it’s been years since then, so I ordered some strings, some oil for the fretboard, and a couple other things. Everything had arrived by the time I got home from work yesterday, and so upon getting home I got it cleaned up and restringed and had a good long session getting to work on relearning things. There’s a ton I’ve forgotten and my calluses and finger strength aren’t what they need to be, but stuff is coming back to me as I play.

I’m not going to overcommit myself such that I burn myself out, but for now I’m saying every day get it out and mess around a little bit – 30 minutes or something like that. Should be easy. Same for reading. They’re just things I need to make sure I do. If I spend more time, great. Both yesterday and today I spent a couple hours, basically until my fingers were hurting. They sting a bit as I type this, but, I’m just reminding myself that’s a good thing… the calluses will come!

The other personal adjustment since I last blogged is the diet I started about 3 weeks ago (I’m in the latter half of the 3rd week now). That’s been going pretty well. It’s basically just calorie counting via the Lose It app. I’ve found that I have an easier time doing that than the slow carb thing I used to do. The last time I did that, I just found it too restrictive. I like to be able to have something with carbs in it if I really want to. Anyway, I’m roughly 10 pounds down since the start, and I’m generally not feeling like it’s too horrible. The hardest bit of the diet so far was a work lunch meeting yesterday where I had to say no to a free dessert – and watch other people eat said dessert – and you know, also order something reasonable for my meal. Honestly though, apart from feeling a little bit hungry throughout parts of the day and in the late evening, it’s not been bad.

My next adjustment will involve adding a bit more to my daily routine. I have two things I want to add, and I’m not yet decided whether I will start them both at the same time, or do one and then start the other a week or so after. Those things are stretching and some sort of exercise.

I’m going to make myself do the thing I don’t really want to and set my alarm for earlier so that I can do those things before work. I think starting out the day with some stretching and exercise will be good. So, the stretching will for sure start this weekend, and the exercise may or may not start with it. When I start the exercise, I think at first I might alternate days jogging and walking. Then before too long I need to get back over to Soldierfit a few times a week after work. A big plus to the exercising will be I’ll be able to add some more calories into my meal plan – because I’m already getting the defecit that I need- the exercise isn’t to help with weight loss, it’s for health generally.

I’d like to think I’ll make more time for blogging as well, so I don’t find myself posting when I suddently realize it’s been a month since I last posted and decide to post again for that reason a month from now.

In any case, I hope to have more progress to speak of in the coming weeks.

Oh yeah, and the flip phone continues to serve me well. There will be a development there soon as I decided to change to something else that will better suit my needs while still serving my goals of not spending very much time on my phone, but I’ll tell you a bit about that next time – which will hopefully be in the next week or so.


Just over 2 weeks in, I continue unabated.

I decoupled all my work related stuff from my iphone and moved it to my work iphone. I can’t get rid of it, because you know.. work. But it sits in my laptop bag and is only used for work related things during work hours.

In my personal life, my iphone sits in a corner until such time as I finish removing accounts from my Authy authenticator app over to my yubikey. I’ve moved a few of the ones I use more frequently already – I’m going to move the rest in the next couple of days, before I head off for the beach this weekend. Truthfully I’ve not touched the phone at all since about a week ago when I saw the battery had died and I hooked it up to charge. Once I get the authenticator stuff off it I might put it in my desk drawer for a bit to make sure I don’t discover I forgot something before I sell it on ebay or somesuch. Sure, the screen is finicky, but someone will probably be willing to pay something for it despite that.

I also plan to roll back the other smart devices in my life – ditch my Amazon Echo devices apart from my FireTVs. I might get rid of the cube eventually because it has the always-listening Alexa – the stick for the tv in my bedroom requires me to hit the button. At any rate, I don’t plan to stop using streaming services, so I’ll be using some sort of device for that. As I may have mentioned in my previous post on the subject, I don’t intend to get rid of ALL technology in my life, just to roll back.

I have several smart lights that tie into Alexa, but once the Echos are gone they will function as normal lights when I flip light switches. My Alexa-enabled coffee maker will work fine just as a coffee maker as well – I basically never use that functionality anyway – pro-tip: don’t buy one, it’s a waste of money. Then there is my smart lock, which I also rarely use because it’s on my front door I almost always enter my house through my garage. And that’s pretty much it on the “smart” front.

I had wondered if my iPad use might go up with getting rid of the iPhone. While I’ve not actually checked the screen time to compare before and after, it definitely doesn’t feel like I’ve been using it anymore than I was. If it’s gone up, it’s only been a marginal amount. I’m pretty pleased with that. I’ve found that having the stupid flip phone makes it easy to not distract myself by looking at a phone when I’m sitting with people or out and about. Texting isn’t that bad, but definitely I keep myself from writing any diatribes to people.

My next step after that will probably be a temporary thing, like eliminate computer usage apart from what I have to do for work for a month. When I’ve done similar things with like a particular app/website, such as Facebook, in the past,I’ve found when I come back I spend less time doing it. I could do with spending less time on that stuff. If I’m feeling really ambitious I might say no tv/movies either – basically eliminate screens entirely for that month. We’ll see – I’ll have to pick a month.

Beyond that I’m not sure of the best steps. Some of what I’d like to accomplish would probably involve moving. But finding what I’d like to find would probably be a bit of a challenge. I’d like to live in a community with a decent amount of walkability – or maybe bicyclability – but that isn’t like… in a city. I don’t know if it exists in the world today. But it just seems weird to me that so little of what I do is near to me – and I have to get in a car for awhile to do most of what I do.

Anyway, I’ll try to keep the updates coming – and I have a couple other ideas of things to write about that I just need to take the time to sit down and write. With any luck I’ll get myself to do it before too much longer.

Resist Convenience

I’ve been listening to a lot of videos and podcasts recently about how the advancement of technology is increasingly disconnecting us from the natural world. It’s something that I’ve thought about before, but recently it’s been increasingly at the forefront of my mind.

Something about the way that I live just doesn’t seem normal. By the standards of modern society it actually is quite normal. I do work on a computer, sometimes in an office, sometimes from home (that latter part having only recently become normal). I live in a house, in a small development with a bunch of neighbors who mostly do the same. I sometimes talk to a couple of my nearest neighbors, but for the most part I am unfamiliar with them. Most of what I do is on a screen, whether for work or pleasure, or for educational purposes.

Technology improves our lives in many ways. It’s not that it is inherently a bad thing, but much of the time I think we find ourselves being enthralled by it. Scrolling through Twitter endlessly, searching for an argument with some anonymous person. But is it a person? It very well may not be. One irony of the internet is that when we interact someone there, we may do so forgetting that a real person is on the other end of our cruel words – but we also can’t be sure that the things we’re seeing posted were actually written by humans at all – bots increasingly muddy the waters of online discourse. (See the “Dead Internet Theory”:

That’s unnatural. How are we meant to come to a common understanding if we can’t even know that we’re engaging with something real? Aside from that, the internet has connected people with fringe beliefs into communities that justify those beliefs. For example, flat earthers. Pre-internet, those who truly believed in a flat earth were less numerous than they are post. The spread and pervasiveness of pornography has increased tremendously, never more than a few clicks away when temptation strikes. It creates a world where the fake is easier than the real. The advancement toward virtual reality threatens to move that line even further. Why do work to better your life when you can just load up whatever life you want and pretend it’s the real thing?

There’s also the simpler matters of disconnect from nature. We wake up to alarm clocks to get to a job at a particular time, which really has no bearing to anything meaningful. Whether the sun has risen or set has very little impact on us. Our time is so arbitrary that for large portions of the year we pretend that if we change the time on the clock for one hour we are somehow creating an extra hour of daylight (I did the math, the sun stays up the same amount of time either way). Just the other day someone was telling me that she can only eat meat because she’s convinced herself it comes from the grocery store. Most of us know next to nothing about working the earth.

I don’t know how to get to something approximating “normal” as I conceive it. But a start is to take small steps and experiment with reducing or eliminating certain types of technology. For me, going “all the way” has some serious challenges. I work in Information Security – that is going to necessitate a certain amount of exposure to computers. But, it’s also not necessarily about taking it all the way – just getting closer and learning what technology I can have a healthy relationship with, and what I can’t.

My first experiment is a simple one. My iPhone’s touch screen recently started glitching out, becoming increasingly difficult to use. At first I started to look toward replacing it with a new one, but then I recognized an opportunity. Do I need a smartphone? Is my relationship with a smartphone a healthy one? I honestly think the answer to both questions is no. And so 3 days ago I pulled the sim card out of my iPhone 11 and placed it into a Nokia 2780 flip phone. It’s a much simpler phone, and let’s be real, it’s still pretty technological, but it’s a real step back from current technological advancements. No scrolling through Twitter or news apps. No watching videos (ok, technically it can but the experience is terrible). Sending text messages is far less convenient. Abandoning a cell phone entirely would make it very hard to live in the world today, so this is also a good example of what I want to achieve generally. Roll back to the maximum amount I can without creating serious hindrances in my life.

Maybe I’ll keep at it. Maybe I’ll fail. Like I said, it’s an experiment. I could decide I can’t stand not having a smartphone and pick up the iPhone 15 when it comes out in 2 months. But, I think it’s worth the attempt.

Time and Place

The initial rattlings in my brain that are ultimately culminating in this post began doing their thing a little over a year ago. That’s not to say that it’s something I’ve been perpetually thinking about, but it does seem to have been coming to mind a bit more frequently of late. In 2017, just after Thanksgiving, I took a trip out to Burbank, CA, where I had lived for a few years. I wanted to see some of my friends, and I was also really excited to go and visit the church that I had gone to during my time there.

When I had first moved to Burbank (actually, I guess at first I was in Glendale, but, same general vicinity), I knew basically no one. I didn’t have high hopes to find a church that I thought I would like, because I’d tried for years here in MD and was constantly disappointed by what I found – so why should it be different in CA, I thought. Well, as luck, or perhaps divine providence, would have it, my web search yielded a result that sounded pretty promising. I decided to go and check it out.

I immediately fell in love with the place, and the people that I met there. The very first service I was invited to go watch a marathon of the new season of Arrested Development. In a move that was actually pretty uncharacteristic of me, surely driven by my desperation for human contact at the time, I took up that invitation to hang out with a bunch of people that I didn’t know at all – all of whom would become friends of varying degrees for the next few years.

The entirety of my time in Burbank, I considered that church to be a godsend. It was exactly what I needed at that time in my life – and I’m quite glad it was there, and for the friendships that I had, and, in some cases, still have. I needed a place where I was free to doubt. I still need that. It was a place that seemed pretty accepting of everyone, no matter where they stood. There were times during my time there where I felt maybe they leaned a little too heavily into politics, but for the most part, I felt they did a good job of not preaching politics and just helping people to wrestle with their faith.

My memories of the church were very fond, and then, last year, I went to visit. I actually intentionally planned to be there for 2 Sunday mornings because I wanted to go to 2 services there – I was super stoked to go. I tried to make sure that people knew I’d be there as well, so they could plan to come to the service if it were at all possible. So, I spent the first day with the friend that I was staying with, and then went with him to church the next day… which is where my disappointment began.

The first thing that I noticed was that the message seemed to be considerably more political in nature than they had been back when I was going there. It still had some of the challenging theological content that I always enjoyed, but seeing the political intermingled with it was distasteful to me. One thing I am quite sure of is that Jesus did not come to endorse any political message – in fact he seemed to avoid it whenever possible – he dealt with humans at an individual level, and left the government to its own devices. It was disheartening to see this. And from the handful of video streams I’ve watched parts of since then, it’s only gotten worse… every time I’ve tried to visit in with the church online, I’m struck by how every week they seem to go after evangelical Christians, and also conservatives. These are the people from whom I actually learned concepts like “othering” – treating people who are different than you as less than, or as the enemy. These are the people I constantly heard talking about how this shouldn’t be done, who criticized evangelicals for doing it to homosexuals, etc. It seems so painfully obvious to me that they are otherizing Christians with more traditional beliefs, as well as conservatives, and they are completely blind to it. I see Facebook posts where some of these people assume to know the hearts of conservatives, and seem to assume the worst possible intent.

The other disappointing thing while I was there was that some of the people who I thought would be excited to see me, or want to talk to me a bit at least, didn’t seem to. There were really two that kind of hit me hard… I mean, it wasn’t like it made me depressed, but I was really bummed by it. One was the pastor, who I had hoped to grab lunch or coffee with – but I’d have settled for just a longer than a couple minute small talk chat during one of the two services I was at – but, that didn’t happen either. The other was one of my friends who I had considered to be one of my closest friends while I was out there – I had let him know well in advance I was coming, and so I was hoping he’d make a bit of time for me – but, again, didn’t happen so much. I’m not saying he’s a bad friend, it’s entirely possible I just always considered him closer than he considered me – I mean, he was way more established out there than I was. It just made me realize that the world has changed, and whatever I had out there really is no more.

I don’t know what the point of writing all this out is, but… I guess maybe just to reflect on what was.


This blog has quite a lot to do with the sermon at Church today. That said, what I write here isn’t going to be particularly churchy, but I was definitely struck by the message today in a way that I haven’t been for quite a while… and it kind of spurred me to action.

The main thing that was compelling to me was the audible illustration used to demonstrate the point… playing music without any sense of rhythm… and then also without any rests. It really struck me for some reason.

I’ve often heard people who have accomplished a lot say that they plan their days. For some reason, that’s something that I’ve always resisted. I don’t want to be locked into anything, I just want to take things as they come and do whatever it is I want to do in that moment. I’ve always considered myself to be spontaneous, and I’ve always sort of taken pride in that. But I think that I’ve been wrong about it.

It’s far from the first time that I’ve thought about this idea, which I guess we can say is the idea of living intentionally. I’ve tried to do it in narrow aspects of my life before… most notably with dieting, etc. One of the things that always struck me back when I was in and out of jobs while doing the TV thing out in Burbank, was that when I wasn’t working I seemed to get less “personal work” done than I did when I was working. Having no structure at all I think led to not achieving any meaningful results.

It stands to reason then, that my lack of any kind of real structure in my personal life is likely the reason that I’m not achieving some of the things that I want to do. And I do want to do them, but, based on the things I actually spend time doing, you probably wouldn’t know it. And so I’m trying to change that.

Today I went out and bought a weekly planner… which is something I have absolutely never done before. Earlier this evening, I wrote out fairly detailed schedules for what I will be doing this week. Of course, there are some blocks of time in there to just relax and do what I want to do in that moment, but most importantly, I have at least an hour scheduled to work on writing my novel every day this week. In fact, I just finished spending slightly over my allotted hour working on it before writing this blog. This blog is another thing that I have time allotted to on a daily basis (30 minutes). So we shouldn’t have days where I forget to post anymore, because I have a specific time I am meant to be writing them. It is conceivable though, that I will have a day where I have some special event going on and so planning in a scheduled time to blog that day may be impossible. But in general, you will probably be able to tell how well I am doing with sticking to this by simply looking at how regularly I am blogging.

I’m kinda looking forward to it, but I’m also nervous about it… it’s so contrary to the way that I’ve always done things. I’m simultaneously worried that my schedule is too detailed and also not detailed enough. I’m sure I’ll learn how to adjust things as time goes on… and I guess that’s the important bit… not to let myself discouraged if I mess things up a bit early on. I’m happy that I got writing done tonight… when I sat down to do it because I had just written it in this book about an hour beforehand, I really wasn’t feeling like I was in a place where I could write, but I wrote about 1100 words – plus some notes.

Here’s hoping that I can start to do that on a regular basis… and maybe on a night where I feel like I’m really in a good writing place I can crank out 2,000.

Anyway, I wish you all a great week! I’ll write some more here tomorrow.

The End of an Era

What era? The era of eating only meat and vegetables.

I ate a lot today that I could not have had before, but I stayed at my allotted calorie range.


Breakfast? Greek yogurt with strawberries.

Lunch? 2 slices of pizza

Snack? Brownie

Dinner? Ahi Tuna, asparagus, and spinach


I came in basically right at 1500 calories by my best estimates – those were assisted by the Lose It app.


I am really interested to see how this affects the scale tomorrow. I kind of anticipate an increase? Which I don’t look forward to. But I think the carbs and such will increase water weight a bit… it won’t be REAL weight gain, but I think it will be an increase on the scale.

This morning I was still not back to my lowest weight since I started trying to lose, but it was headed back that direction. Ultimately, it will be whatever it is. I’m going to give this a try at least until the end of the year and if I’m displeased with the results, I can reassess then. Of course, I’m not making any kind of additional commitment here. My commitment is to keep trying to lose weight until I see the scale display my goal: 165. The method I get there through at this point is just going to be whatever I decide to try… so if a few weeks into this I feel like it’s going completely awry, I might change it earlier than I intend to. But I hope not. I hope this way works well for me.


I’m going to do my first run in awhile tomorrow as well. That will maybe earn me some bonus calories if I want to use them. I’m hoping that I’ll start to see my run performance improve now that I’ll have some carbs in me for fuel. We’ll see.


These will stop being diet related at some point, I swear… But it’s what’s on my mind at the moment, so… you’ll have to deal.

Days Ninety-Nine and One Hundred

…99 …100!


Ok so I could play it off like I meant to not post yesterday, but that’s just not true. I forgot again, and this morning I had no time to do a post, so, I’m just combining them into one… and… as a special surprise, I’m cutting the diet off a day early.

Why? Well, continuing through the end of the month was sort of an arbitrary decision, and I had debated a lot if I would go to 100 or the end of the month. Since it was only a matter of 1 day, I decided why not just go to the end of the month.

Well, at the time, I hadn’t realized there’d be a Halloween event at work, and, well, I’d like to be able to indulge a little bit there. So I’m ending things a day early.

Now, I will most definitely still be on a diet… calorie counting will be the name of the game though, not outright bans on most foods. I will still follow some rules I’ve got in my head most days (like generally I’m not going to eat things like chips), but I’ll make the occasional exception, mostly on the weekly cheat day where I’m allowed some extra calories.

I guess the idea is, slow down the weight loss a bit and migrate a bit more toward a sustainable way of eating. I think my goal will cease to be 2 pounds a week and start to be 1 pound a week. If I see those results I’ll be happy.

I was sort of scared of changing up because weight loss had been going real steady the last 3 weeks or so, but then this week it’s pretty much halted. Changing up the diet may help.

Let’s see here… Things I haven’t had in 100 days:

French Fries
A Sandwich
Cheese (kind of a lie, some small bits slipped in)
Milk of any kind
Anything with added sugar or sweetener (probably messed up at some point on that, but generally)

There’s a lot more things. I’m psyched to get to have some of them. Korean BBQ is coming my way soon. Beer is coming my way on Thursday. A couple slices of pizza are coming my way for lunch at work tomorrow.

Anyway, blog posts will continue… but no more of this number nonsense. 100 days is enough!

Day Ninety-Eight

98! Only a few days left now, and then this diet will be left behind… at least until 2019, at which point I may revisit it, depending on how things go. But, if I can settle into something where I continue to lose weight, but more gradually, and I can eat a bigger variety of things, well… that will be worthwhile.

I downloaded Mars Edit to start typing up my posts on, this is really the first time I’m using it. I’m only sort of getting a first glimpse, but I kinda like it. Seems like it integrates with WordPress really well. I’ll have to play with it a lot more in the coming days.

After Day One Hundred and One, I will be changing up what I do here. Hopefully it will be more interesting… and also hopefully it will be consistent. I’ve worked hard to try to make sure I post every day. Obviously, it hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve gotten pretty close to it, and I at least made up for the missed posts the following day.

I suspect that less people are reading these now since it’s no longer being posted to Facebook. Perhaps no one is. If you’re out there still, let me know!

Day Eight

Alright, week 2 begins!

Temptation was about as strong as it could ever be at work today in terms of what was available, but I didn’t really have to try to resist it. I’m not always good at sticking to things, but when I really make a decision to do something, most times it’s not too hard to stick it out. So, sure, I wanted a bun and cheese for my burger… and also some french fries to accompany it. And maybe a margarita and 2 or 3 beers… all of which were available, and free of charge. But, I wasn’t going to throw in the towel on this just a week in. I knew if I did it, I’d just cheat more tomorrow. And reading over that, that’s a lot of calories I saved myself. And I had forgotten to mention the funnel cake I totally would have had as well. Man, I wonder if anyone will ever solve the mystery of how I gained all this weight.

Otherwise it’s more of the same for me today – feeling pretty good.

Day Three

So I can tell you… adding bulletproof coffee to the mix didn’t seem to make things any better. Most of today was still pretty rough in regard to how I’m feeling physically. Still tired, brain still mushy. I will say that I’m starting to feel a little bit better over the last hour or so. Hopefully that transitions into tomorrow.

I also have been feeling a bit lightheaded today, which means my blood pressure is probably a bit down (which is good, it was up when I went to the doctor on Monday). That’s one of the big motivators here – I’ve tried a few times to get to a point where I could come off the medication altogether (I think I was pretty close once), and I certainly don’t want to have to increase it. There’s also the fact that I’ve been starting to close in on my highest weight again (though I think I’m still in better shape at this point then I was then regardless – think I’ve got a bit more muscle mass making up some of that).

So here is what I’ve been eating:

Breakfast: 3 hard boiled eggs

Lunch: Baked chicken breast w/ onions and mushrooms

Dinner: On monday it was more of that chicken breast, yesterday it was a pork chop and sauerkraut, tonight… remains to be seen. It’s not a terribly diverse diet.

Today was the first day that there were “temptations” in the office aside from the things that are always there (chips and the like) – but free meal-like food was there. I didn’t feel any strong temptations to get it, so I think I’ve got sufficient motivation for now.