John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk

Weekly round-up

Hmm, another week, another LJ update...

My main news is that I've decided to make another attempt to lose weight, by eating more healthily. The main aspect of this is that I've cut out Coke (I had one can last Sunday, and none since then), partly motivated by the recent PVP storyline. My new plan is not to drink "real" Coke at all, and try to avoid diet varieties too (I've drunk that twice in the last week). When I was talking to my dentist a while back, he said that the fizz is actually more damaging to your teeth than the sugar, which surprised me; he suggested drinking through a straw, or limiting myself to no more than one can a day (preferably none).

The other aspect of this is that I'm making more of my own meals. So, I'm trying to have a bowl of cereal for breakfast each day, rather than grabbing a can of Coke and a chocolate bar from the newsagent on my way into work. Similarly, I'm making my own sandwiches, rather than buying them; I don't think there's much direct difference there (although making my own is significantly cheaper), but it avoids the temptation of thinking "Hmm, I'll get Coke/chocolate/crisps/doughnut while I'm here". And in the evening, I'm cooking my own dinner rather than going to a chip shop or phoning for pizza. When I say "cook" I mean "bung ready meal in the oven for 20 minutes" rather than using actual ingredients; I'll start with the simple stuff, then work my way up from there. Similarly, I'm not calorie counting, just trying to avoid stuff that's obviously crap (even if does taste so very nice).

One implication of all this is that I'll probably be avoiding pubs for the time being; I'm not cutting back on alcohol per se (since I don't drink that much of it), but I don't think that replacing Coke with cider will do wonders for my waistline. More generally, I've found in the past that any of my self-improvement plans work well up until I break the routine for some reason. E.g. if I resolve to do daily press-ups, I can keep that going for months, and do more each day, but then if I skip a day because I've given blood (which is a valid reason) I suddenly find that there are more and more reasons not to re-start it (e.g. working late at the office). So, best to avoid temptation there.

As for the Coke withdrawal, I'm certainly sleeping better than I used to. When I went off to France at the end of January for the company ski-trip, I was sleeping on a sofa in a sleeping bag, rather than a bed, so when we were all having breakfast someone asked me how I'd slept. I said "Not well, but then again I never do; I can't remember the last time I got 8 hours continuous sleep". Since I gave up Coke (and vastly reduced my caffeine intake), I've been getting 8 hours sleep every night, and getting to sleep quite quickly. The drawback is that I do feel more tired during the day, which has reduced my motivation to go swimming at the sports centre. However, I'm hoping that this means I'm just dealing with the backlog of fatigue that I've been masking with caffeine, so once I've dealt with it I'll be more alert again. It would be good to drag my hours round to a more sensible routine too; a typical day for me recently is "Get up at 11am, leave at noon, get into the office at 13:30, leave at 22:30, get home at midnight, go to bed at 3am". When I was an undergrad, I only had Coke/chocolate occasionally (mostly because of limited money), so it was a special treat to go to the vending machines. And I used to be a lot healthier back then, getting up early in the morning, and going running during the day. So, hopefully I can get back into that lifestyle.

Meanwhile, it was Red Nose Day on Friday. I haven't really paid much attention to that in previous years (and haven't worn a red nose since I was about 15), but one of my colleagues came round on Thursday trying to get people involved. She persuaded a couple of the other guys to dye their hair red, and got me to wear my Spider-Man costume for the day. I'd hoped to lose a bit more weight before I put it on again, but it wasn't as embarrassing as I'd feared, and I raised 85 quid from it, so it was worth it. I then suggested custard pies as another fundraiser (starting with the afore-mentioned colleague), which raised another 30 quid. Some photos are here, for anyone who's interested.

I haven't got any further with my decorating plans, but I've decided to focus on getting my accounts up to date, so I think that will keep me busy for the rest of the day.

Aside from that, I'm doing general maintenance on my freelance applications (mainly ComCount, RoomPlan, BioDome, and my books database front-end), based on the new techniques I've learnt recently (as used at work). I think these are all good changes, to make the applications more robust/secure, but it does mean that I spend a lot of time programming without actually improving the functionality. In a way, it reminds me of the Tower of Babel. The first time I read that story, it didn't actually mention anything about different languages; the basic gist was that people wanted to build a tower up to Heaven, but each new generation said "We've got a better design than the old one, so let's tear it down and start again" so it never actually got finished. A bit like the "hare and the tortoise" story, I guess. Ah well, there are only a finite number of changes to make, so I will eventually finish them.

And finally, I've solved the mystery of why some credits (for TV programs) were being cut off on my TV before - it turns out that a lot of programs are now broadcast in widescreen, and the 4:3 "pan-and-scan" area isn't always wide enough to get everything in. In particular, Smallville and Stargate (SG-1 and Atlantis) are filmed that way. So, something to bear in mind if anyone's considering buying a new TV.
Tags: computers, decorating, diet, flans, swimming, tv

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