Archive for January, 2009

Inflammatory Remarks

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The thing that I remember most from a class I took on cardiovascular disease is that atherosclerosis, which is the first step towards heart attack and stroke, is an inflammation process. Luckily, there's a good marker in your blood which can be easily measured.

"That factor is C-reactive protein, or CRP, a blood-borne marker of inflammation that, along with coagulation factors, is now increasingly recognized as the driving force behind clots that block blood flow to the heart. Yet patients are rarely tested for CRP, even if they already have heart problems."

Incidentally, I had my cholesterol checked last week and also requested a CRP test. Cholesterol was normal (a big change from a year ago) and CRP was below average, which is good. 

via Personal Health - New Thinking on How to Protect the Heart -

Multitouch Android

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The G1 currently doesn't support multitouch (like the iPhone) which makes navigating maps and resizing photos less intuitive than it should be. However, somebody just did some very cool work and put together a solution to the problem, +1 open source.

Multitouch G1

via Full Working MultiTouch on the T-Mobile G1 Android Phone « Luke Hutchison.

Ready for Geotagging

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

I started using an unlocked HTC G1 (the Google phone) a few weeks ago and think that I'm going to keep on using it instead of my iPhone 3G. Amongst many other nice things, it has satisfied my need for a good GPS device for geotagging photos. Between the ability to run applications continuously in the background and a removable battery (that goes for eight buck on eBay), it can handle running for a week straight and replace my standalone GPS for hiking and backpacking trips. The nice integration with EveryTrail (here's a track from walking back to the car today) is also a plus.

another new year, another set of resolutions

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

So the whole OKR thing really didn't work for me last year. I've realized that I actually like vague goals that I can satisfy in many ways; in 12 months many things seem to come up that change the playing field.

Overall, I had a great last year. Joey and I lived in Switzerland for 3 months, which was something we had wanted to do for a while. We also visited Seattle for the first time in January. I took a month off of work in October and then talked myself into a job that more closely fits my skills while Joey passed his quals and is now officially in the phd program. He also got his first, first-author paper accepted into a major journal and I took an art class at our local community college.

Joey and I both became vegetarians, and are eating organically grown vegetables from (and almost our backyard!). We cook 99% of our meals at home and make most things from scratch - ridding ourselves of processed foods.

Lola has become much more mellow and was fantastic on our road trip to South Dakota. More importantly though, the cats didn't have any major surgeries this year!

We also made great strides on finishing our back yard although that project is still far from complete.

So all in all things have been good.
Here are our specific resolutions from last year:

  • become bilingual - totally ditched this one. Joey and I both realized that this just isn't that important to us. We got by just fine in Switzerland with English, gestures, and simple words. We did well enough that it seems better to spend our time on more worthwhile things.
  • run 1000 miles this year - soo.. the thought behind the idea was sound, but the actual objective wasn't completed. I am now in much better shape than I was at the beginning of the year, and Joey and I are also eating much better than we were. (becoming vegetarians who focus on natural food made the latter very easy). I am going to count this as completed because the spirit of the goal was achieved.
  • have the dog and cats get along - we made a big change this year and Lola now stays inside the house while we are at work. This has made life with all of the animals infinitely better. She no longer tears up the yard, and instead sleeps and guards all day. The cats and dog are inside together, an no one has been eaten yet, so I would say they are doing much better at getting along. Lola also goes to doggie daycare twice a week to help get rid of her excess energy.
  • be able to walk the dog off leash around the block - i am abandoning this goal. Lola is a good dog, but I don't think she will ever not run after a tempting squirrel - at least not until she is so old she can't run anymore (ie never)
  • be able to take the dog to school for a whole day - i tried taking Lola to work with me again, and it was a complete bust. Joey had better luck though and is able to take Lola with him when he isn't working in the lab. Unfortunately, he has been doing a lot of lab work lately, and dogs just don't fit there. Having consistent doggie daycare times and keeping Lola inside makes this goal less important though.
  • finish all major housework - we made great progress here, but it all moves slowly. During my month off of work I made a lot of improvements to the organization of the house and Joey and I have put a lot of work into the backyard. However, there is still a lot to be done.

This year, I have a lot of things that I want to accomplish, but I am only going to highlight a few:

  • explore more 3d art projects - I really want to keep pursuing art. I hope to take a sculpture or welding class and make some great pieces this year.
  • get a six pack - It is going to be awesome. Wish me luck.
  • volunteer and donate - More things in my life are now under control, so now is the time to start really giving back.
  • keep working on the house - We really need to get things more organized and under control so that we can go on a...
  • camping/backpacking frenzy - I really want to do more camping, hiking, and backpacking this year. (I've never done the latter) Going out with Lola is fun, great exercise, peaceful, and beautiful. I don't think we will stray far from home this year as Joey already has conferences in Quebec, and Denver and so far I have to go to Boston. However, there are a ton of great areas in northern California, so I don't think we will be lacking in any way.

That sums up the gist of everything.
I think this is going to be a great year (and it better be as I will be turning 25!)