Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I'm only doing weekly summaries from now on. Time is valuable and putting 1 thing a week that's kinda not terrible is better than constant farting noises as I pretend to write properly.

Friday, September 14, 2012

BTFC Day 32 - Thursday

Day 32

  • Breakfast - Half Muffin(0)
  • Snack - 1 Donut (0)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - 2 slices pizza, thai chicken curry (small) (-1)
Sleep - 12:15 am to 7:30 am - 7.25 hours - (+1)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: 0
Weight: Not known

What wakes you up in the morning? Or, more importantly, what do you want the answer to be?

Right now, my answer is the ever depressing "work". If it wasn't for work I would sleep in until at least 10am and be perfectly content doing that. Well, mostly content doing that. Sleeping until the last second always feels really bad, you know? Today I set my alarm for 10 minutes later than normal and had to rush even more to get out the door in time. Hell, I forgot my deodorant (luckily I have a backup stick at work). What I do know is that mornings like today are contagious, unless you actively fight them, they get worse and worse. Soon I'll be waking up at 7:45 and then 8:00. My workday start will be pushed from 8:30 to 9:00. Then I'll be at work until 6:30. What happened to my plan to wake up at 6 and be at work by 8 everyday? I need to fight for that plan again.

The best way to fight will be to change why I'm waking up.

What I want the reason to wake up to be:
  • Exercise - nothing makes a day better than starting it with exercise
  • Cooking - making a healthy meal in the morning really helps you feel prepared for the day
  • Side Project Work - this is work that excites me (sexually), and making time for it in the morning could really give a boost. Instead of scraping for time at the end of the day when my brain has seized, why not take the time in the morning?
Hopefully this pans out. Hopefully these blog posts start going up at 6:15 am as my coffee is brewing and I'm still sweaty from a run. Time will tell.

BTFC Day 31 - Wednesday

Day 31

  • Breakfast - Muffin(+1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - Strawberry Banana Protein smoothie, perogies, bean burritto (+1)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 7:30 am - 6 hours - (0)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: +2
Weight: Not known

A pretty unremarkable day, wake up, work, go home, work some more. The good news is that I made progress on my first order objects (work well, eat decently, work on side project well). But I've made little to no progress on second order objectives like waking up earlier, changing my schedule so that there's time for exercise or anything TRULY productive like that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BTFC Day 30 - Tuesday

Day 30

  • Breakfast - Muffin, Yogurt + Flax (+1)
  • Lunch - Cobb Salad, Grapefruit Juice, Cookie (0)
  • Dinner - Muffin, Bean wrap (+1)
Sleep - 1 am to 7:30 am - 6.5 hours - (0)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: 1
Weight: Not known

I love being busy. It's a sad fact that if I have nothing to do I start self destructing. The trouble is I have to maintain a very fine balance - too little work and I'm sad, too much work and I'm stressed. Being really stressed doesn't bother me very much, but it's not good on my friends or girlfriend. They're probably right - it's not healthy to be constantly behind the 8 ball. The only reason I see to maintain a balance is so that I can do things properly. I hate "finishing" something and wishing I could do it all over again properly.

That's how I feel about my degree actually.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BTFC Day 29 - Monday

Day 29

  • Breakfast - Muffin (+1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies, Apple (+1)
  • Dinner - Egg, Yogurt + Flax, Mushroom Soup, Protein Banana Strawberry smoothie (+1)
Sleep - 1 am to 7:30 am - 6.5 hours - (0)
Exercise - 3.0 km in 15:50 minutes, some negatives (+1)
Day Score: +4
Weight: 226

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 4 Summary

Ugh. Terrible week. I'm going downhill man!

I fell completely out of my routine, didn't get very much work done, didn't work out very much, ate horribly and generally was bad at life. This type of thing will not continue (with any luck).

This has happened enough times for me to step up and take notice, there's something wrong with how I'm doing this. Can I blame the fact that I wasn't at home for a week and a half? Maybe, but it's a pretty bad excuse. I just lack self control for a significant portion of my day.

Gotta train up somehow right? For starters I'm going to use reddit less. That's what I'm going to get done this week.

Wish me luck.

BTFC Day 28 - Sunday

Day 28

  • Breakfast - Muffin (+1)
  • Lunch - Club house sandwich, fries and beer (-1)
  • Dinner - Butter Chicken (-1)
Sleep - 2:30 am to 9 am - 6.5 hours - 0
Exercise - Ultimate (+1)
Day Score: 0
Weight: 227

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BTFC Day 27 - Saturday

Day 27

  • Breakfast - Muffin (+1)
  • Lunch - Breakfast sandwich (+1)
  • Dinner - Meatloaf, cabbage, eggs, chili (0)
Sleep - N/A am to N/A am - hours - (0)
Exercise - None
Day Score: +2
Weight: Unknown

This is another catchup post

BTFC Day 26 - Friday

Day 26

  • Breakfast - None (-1)
  • Lunch - Muffin, Yogurt, Sausage (+1)
  • Dinner - 2 Bean Wraps (+1)
Sleep - 1am to 11am - 10 hours -(+1)
Exercise - Tabata - 6x10 pushups, 15x10 situps, 8x10 squats, 2x10 negatives (+1)
Day Score: +3
Weight: Unknown

This is a catchup post. I'm falling behind!

Friday, September 7, 2012

BTFC Day 25 - Thursday

Day 25

  • Breakfast - Muffin (+1)
  • Snack - 2 Donuts (-1)
  • Lunch - Curry (0)
  • Dinner - 1 slice pizza, burger, fries and beer (-2)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 7:30 am - 6 hours - (0)
Exercise - None (0)
Day Score: (-2)
Weight: 228 lbs

Well, it's quite obvious that this hasn't been the best 2 weeks. Last week was going really well and then I went way off the rails. My weight is back up. My exercise is slow and back to where I started and my appetite is up. Couldn't have gone worse. I feel like kicking myself in the ass - this was a terrible week 2.5 to 3.5

What's there to do now? Be better and focus more. No more eating a lot just because I'm eating out. No snacks at home and designated, healthy meals that won't leave me dying for more food.

BTFC Brief Absence

Day 20 - Day 24

Things didn't go well. I will be posting shortly for Day 25 - Thursday. There will be no weekly summary of week 3.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

BTFC Day 19 - Friday

Day 19

  • Breakfast - None (-1)
  • Lunch - Shawarma (-1)
  • Dinner - Shawarma (-1)
Sleep - 1 am to 7:30 am - 6.5hours - (0)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: -4
Weight: Unknown

Not the greatest day. Actually in terms of day score, this is probably my worst day ever. I'm really not beating myself up because it was the end of a really long week. Overall it's been a good week and tomorrow will be better. Because I say so.

Friday, August 31, 2012

BTFC Day 18 - Thursday

Day 18

  • Breakfast - Tim Hortons large double double and breakfast sandwich (-1)
  • Snack - 1 donut, 1 cookie, 1 apple (-1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, quinoa, veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - 2 slices pizza, chicken burger, onion rings, pop (-2)
Sleep -1 am to 7:30 am - 6.5 hours - 0
Exercise - At home Tabata
  • 7 sets of 7 pushups
  • 3 sets of 6 pushups
  • 10 sets of 12 situps
  • 10 sets of 8 squats
  • 8 sets of 6 jump tucks, followed by a 10 and a 12
  • Score:+1

Day Score: -2
Weight:Not known

yeah I ate some pizza and fast food. It was delicious. And jump tucks suck. And I'm tired. How are you?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

BTFC Day 17 - Wednesday

Day 6

  • Breakfast - Yogurt + Fibre (+1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa and Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - Pasta (+1)
  • Post Dinner - Beer, chocolate almonds (-1)
Sleep - 2 am to 7:30 am - 5.5 hours - (-1)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: +0
Weight: 218.8

After work - I was beat and just needed to crash. Hell, I feel like that right now. Energy levels are hard to sustain with less that 6 hours of sleep. I knew there was a reason I had that rule.

You gotta play the long game. Doing more work isn't always the answer, sometimes it's better to get some rest. Two hours of hard work is not worth it when you miss 2 days due to general sleepiness.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BTFC Day 16 - Tuesday

Day 16

  • Breakfast - Yogurt + Flax seed (+1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - Lamb + Pasta, Protein Veggie shake (+1))
Sleep - 1 am to 6 am - 5 hours - (-1)
Exercise - 15 seconds on 15 seconds off for 5 minutes, sprinting (+1)
Day Score: +3
Weight: 221 lbs

Yes I got less than 6 hours of sleep. But dammit I don't care. The late evening that led to that late bed time was really productive and I managed to cross a bunch of things off of my to-do list. I also followed my day plan perfectly, up at 6, workout in the morning, get to work by 8. The plan was to workout again in the evening but I just couldn't, I was completely and utterly exhausted (so I did other, more mental work).

This was a great day. I woke up when I wanted to. I worked out like I wanted to. I knocked the hell out of my to-do list like I wanted to.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BTFC Day 15 - Monday

Day 15

  • Breakfast - Yogurt + Flax seed (+1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - Tomato Lamb Pasta w/ Cheese (+0)
  • Snack - Cake (-1)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 8 am - 6.5 hours - (0)
Exercise - Tabata at home - 10 sets of 6 pushups - 10 sets of 10 situps - 10 sets of 8 squats - 10 sets of 2 negatives + 3 leg raises (+1)
Additional - Bike ride - 25 minutes, varying intensity (+1)
Day Score: +3
Weight: 220 lbs

Working on the self control baby. Today's step was on the way home from work I resisted getting pizza - it was really hard cause I had the toonie in my pocket and was really damn hungry. Felt good man. Unfortunately I kind of undid it when I had a slice of cake at around 11pm. It's been sitting in my fridge for ages. Taunting me. Mocking me. And I'd just finished riding my bike for the first time in several weeks so I felt good no matter what.

So far this week feels a lot better. I'm sticking to my to-do lists, I'm making progress on my projects and I exercised twice in one day! Additionally thanks to a new wake-up technique I am starting my days at 6am.

Week 3 is going to be an excellent week - I can feel it in my bone.

Monday, August 27, 2012

BTFC Week 2 Summary

Week 2 finds me still trying to find a groove. Everything goes reasonably well when I'm at home, housesitting seems to throw me out of whack. The solution? Plan better. Next time I'm housesitting I'll bring more food from home and see if I can work on biking to work (which would be at least 10km each way).

Thoughts on the week - I find my self continually embarrassed to exercise outside. I feel like the 20 seconds on / 10 seconds off exercise looks ridiculous. Is that a legitimate worry? Why do I even care what random dog walkers think of me?

Eating continues to be a problem - I find I have low self control once I let a "bad" thing into my house. Once it's in the house, I just snack on it when I get a tiny bit peckish - it's not good! Self control doesn't come easily to me. Lord knows how I quit smoking.

On to this week's goals:
  • Exercise 4 out of 7 days - Incomplete (3/7)
  • Eat right 65% of meals - Incomplete (42%)
  • Weight Trend Down - Incomplete (Up)
  • Only sleep less than 6 hours once - Incomplete (twice)
Wow - that's not good at all. For the record my weight went from 228.8 on Day 0 to 218.8 on Day 7 to 223.2 on Day 14.

Week #3's goals are going to be the same as week 2:
  • Exercise 4 out of 7 days
  • Eat right 65% of meals
  • Weight Trend Down
  • Only sleep less than 6 hours once
This week's posts:

BTFC Day 14 - Sunday

Day 14

  • Breakfast - Scrambled Egg + Lamb (+1)
  • Lunch - Popcorn (-1)
  • Dinner - Pasta with Mushroom Beef Tomato Sauce (+1)
Sleep - 4 am to 11 am - 7 hours - (+1)
Exercise - 10 sets of 6 pushups, 10 sets of 14 sit-ups, 10 sets of 7 squats, 10 set of 2 negatives (+1)
Day Score: +3
Weight: 223.2

My weight is just not going in the direction I want it to. It's very frustrating. Actually it's not. I know my weight goes up and down no matter what. There is reassurance in that I'm getting back on track with my goals and follow through. A lot of talk does nothing but actually eating better and working out? That does a lot.

Went to Costco yesterday and grabbed some milled flax seed, apparently high in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. I got it because it fits in well with my plan to make muffins for the morning. First step is to buy muffin trays! But for now I'm mixing the flax seed in with some yogurt for breakfast. Every little bit helps right? Week summary coming soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

BTFC Day 13 - Saturday

Day 13

  • Breakfast - Sausage/Potato/Asparagus Hash (+1)
  • Lunch - Coffee (+1)
  • Dinner - Hot Dog, Barqs (-1)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 10:30 am - 9 hours - (+1)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: +1
Weight: 224.2

Holy crap my weight went up! I didn't drink THAT much pop. My weight fluctuates like nothing else. More inspiration to work harder? Or a slow decline into failing at BTFC. ONLY TIME WILL TELL. Also I completely forgot about my week goals and I have a feeling it's not going so great. Personally I blame a lack of planning. And commitment. And sleep. And any number of other excuses.

Disappointed face.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

node.js and the mySQL Library Part II - mySQL Function Row Values

Okay so last time I mentioned these two things, it was the super-noobie question of how to access object variables. Surprisingly, I'm answering the same question again today.

This time is slightly different, last time it was just really simple field names like "lastName". But what if you make a more complex query using one of the built in mySQL functions? In my case I had a Date Time value, and only wanted the time. Instead of trying to parse the string manually, I used the inbuilt mysql function "TIME".

This was further complicated by my query being an inner join. It looked kinda like this:
SELECT TIME(p.joinTimeStamp), a.accountNumber FROM accounts a INNER JOIN people p ON p.ID = a.ID;
So to get this information out of the nodejs mysql library I tried
Then I tried adding escape characters
Maybe I need to escape the escape characters?
Yeah, none of it worked because I'm bad at javascript.


rows[ 0 ] [ ' TIME ( p.joinTimeStamp ) ' ]
Learning is fun right?
And for the record node.js is awesome
as is the mysql library I'm using
and this blog post for solving my problem.

Excel Macro Open Workbook Problem

Problem: I have an excel VBA macro that opens a new workbook, but the code stops there - works if I step through it

Super annoying problem in excel. You write some VBA code to do fantastical things, you test it out and it fails as soon as it opens another workbook. First step in the debugging is to step through the code and see where it fails. Obviously it works because you're fantastic at writing code. The next step is to swear at Excel for making your life hell and swear to quit your job and move to the woods. Hill people are happy people right?

Before you get your cast iron pan and axe, try this: Is this macro activated by a keyboard shortcut? Does this keyboard shortcut include the "Shift" key? Change the keyboard shortcut so that it no longer includes a "Shift". Does it work? Yaay!

tl;dr - if the macro stop inexplicably when opening another workbook, try taking the "Shift" out of the keyboard shortcut.

If that doesn't work I can't help you. I'm not very good with VBA (yet).

BTFC Day 12 - Friday

Day 12

  • Breakfast - 1 Muffin (0)
  • Lunch - Lamb Melt, Chips, Cake (-1)
  • Dinner - Cheese/crackers, mussels, Caprisi Salad (-1)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 9:00 am - 7.5 hours (+1)
Exercise -
  • 10 sets of 6 pushups
  • 10 sets of 12 crunches
  • 10 sets of 7 squats
  • 4 sets of 2 negatives
  • +1
Day Score: 0
Weight: 221.2

Yeah! Finally weighed myself again. Too bad it wasn't great news. Oh well at least I did some exercise. Recently I've found that the home workouts aren't stressing my cardio system enough. I can't do more pushups (the last one is a damn struggle), situps might have really bad technique due to getting tired. Maybe I should turn the cycle into 15/5 for those two?

Another problem is that I don't want to be too noisy while doing my workouts. I live on the top floor of a triplex and some exercises (like tuck jumps) are really loud. 200+ lbs coming down is not silent. I'm also too embarrassed to do these exercises outside. Maybe that's just a mental block I'll have to overcome. :(

Friday, August 24, 2012

BTFC Day 11 - Thursday

Day 11

  • Breakfast - Muffin (+1)
  • Snack - 1 muffin, 1 cookie, 1 donut (-1)
  • Lunch - Shawarma (0)
  • Dinner - Chinese Family Dinner (-1)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 7 am - 5.5 hours (-1)
Exercise - Absolutely none
Day Score: -2
Weight: Unknown

Family dinner at a chinese restaurant. Tons of food. BUT! Not that much temptation. I don't know if you're aware of this but Jellyfish is nasty. And there's way too many meats that just...come from animals. I mean that's literally the only thing I know about them. Isn't that a bit weird? "What's that?" "Meat" "Oh.." It's like dialogue from a mildly racist sitcom.

My day scores have been pretty low lately. Being away from how has reduced my ability to prepare lunches and dinners. I've given myself +1 every morning for my breakfast but I'm calling that decision into question now. Store bought muffins aren't that great. And they are made with processed flour. Bad week. Bad bad week so far.

There's only one thing to do - be better tomorrow. If I can stay focused I can do this and meet my goal. I've got 25 lbs of fat to lost. More if I want to gain some muscle mass. Is it possible? Yes. Is it easy? No. Is it healthy? Hopefully.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BTFC Day 10 - Wednesday

Day 10

  • Breakfast: A muffin (+1)
  • Lunch: Curry and ice cream(-2)
  • Dinner: Burger + Ceasar Salad (-1)
Sleep: 9pm - 7 am - 10 hours ( +1)
Exercise: None (0)
Day Score: -1
Weight: Unknown
I went for a nice walk with my girlfriend, that counts as exercise right? Didn't have any damn time and I did the best that I could. Even with skipping most of the items on my daily to do list, I was barely able to get a decent amount of sleep.

There needs to be a trade off between bussing and biking. Right now I'm always bussing to work and getting a lot of reading done (which I really like), the trouble is that there's no "mandatory" exercise in my day. Always bike one way? Bike to work, bus home, bus to work, then bike home? Crazier things have worked. Probably.

BTFC Day 9 - Tuesday

Day 9

  • Breakfast: A muffin (+1)
  • Lunch: Burger + Fries (-2)
  • Dinner: 1 slice pizza, bean wrap (0)
Sleep: 2am - 7:30 am - 5.5 hours ( -1)
Exercise: None (0)
Day Score: -2
Weight: Unknown
I really need to get it together. I've been slipping like nothing else. Not even updating this blog on time right now! Goddamit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BTFC Day 8 - Monday

Day 8

  • Breakfast - Muffin (+1)
  • Lunch - Quinoa, Meatloaf, Veggies (+1)
  • Snack - Cake (-1)
  • Dinner - 2 slices pizza, bean wrap (-1)
  • Snack - Cheese + Crackers (-1)
Sleep - 1 am to 7 am - 6 hours -
Exercise - 20 minutes of Tabata home workout - pushups, ninja tucks, bicycle crunches, low jacks (+1)
Day Score: 0
Weight: Still unknwon

It's been a rough day. I'm going to bed. Better post tomorrow.

Monday, August 20, 2012

BTFC Week 1 Summary

Yay - one week down!

This would probably be better if I set goals each week that I could review. Week 2 goals at the bottom of this post.

Week one went reasonably well, I managed to exercise 3 out of 7 days (4 times if you count Ultimate). My eating habits weren't the best and weren't the worst. I'm placing a large emphasis on moderation by punishing missed meals on my daily score system. There's also an emphasis on proper sleep (< 6 hours = -1, 6-7 = 0, >7 = +1) because a well rested Engineer is a productive Engineer.

Having meals prepared is a huge help. Currently there are 11 portions of meatloaf/quinoa/veggies in my freezer and I just grab one before heading to work. Since I consider these decently healthy lunches, it's a really easy boost to my progress. Bean wraps for dinner feels pretty good so far. The only hole in the plan is breakfast - I'm debating making a bunch of muffins and - you guessed it - freezing them and chowing down on the way to work. We'll see.

My weight tells a very positive story, but it is a false story. I started at 228.8 and my last weight in showed 8.3 lbs lost. Which is just. Plain. Crazy. I know that a lot of it weight...that got dealt with the next day at work. I don't want to lose 8 pounds a week. That isn't healthy.

Goals I just made up that I accomplished:
  • Exercised 3 out of 7 days
  • Ate right for at least 45% of meals
  • Weight trend downwards

Week 2 Goals

  • Exercise 4 out of 7 days
  • Eat right for 65% of meals
  • Weight trend down
  • Only sleep less than 6 hours once
How is everyone else doing? Keep up the hard work! Or if you're procrastinating/making excuses, get to it fatty!

This week's posts:

BTFC Day 7 - Sunday

Day 7

  • Breakfast - Lamb, Chips (-2)
  • Lunch - None (-1)
  • Dinner - Mac and Cheese (-1)
  • Snack - Cheese and Crackers (-1)
Sleep - 3am to 9:15am - 6.25 hours - (0)
Exercise - Tabata home workout - 10 sets of 6 pushups, 12 situps, 7 squats, 6 crouch/jump/smack knees (I don't know what it's called) (+1)
Day Score: -4

The reason my weight has been unknown the past couple days is because I'm watching my Mom's house and would rather report numbers from only one scale, just to keep things straight. Hopefully when I get back home I'll have some good news on the scale. But not if I keep having days like this. God-damn -4 is a bad score. Is my scoring system too heavy on eating habits? I hope not - what I put into my body is really important. That negative four doesn't feel good man.

One week down. Not the greatest week, but far from the worst (the worst come when I start forgetting that I'm trying to do BTFC). But that won't happen. You guys won't let that happen right? I'm just kidding.

No-one's reading this. And that's okay.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

BTFC Day 6

Day 6

  • Breakfast - V8, Cherries (+1)
  • Lunch - Pork belly sandwich (-1)
  • Dinner - Lamb, Cheese bread, Caprisi Salad, Asparagus, Potatoes, Wine, Beer (-3)
Sleep - 1:30 am to 9:30 am - 8 hours - (+1)
Exercise - None
Day Score: -2

So yeah, didn't get the exercise in. But I think it's okay because I spent most of the day celebrating my 2 year anniversary with my girlfriend. You're allowed to make some bad decisions on days like that though, right? Dinner was awesome - probably quite terrible for you, but still awesome. BTFC was the last thing on my mind and that's alright as long as it's not the start of a slide into terrible eating/exercise.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

BTFC Day 5

Day 5

  • Breakfast - V8 (0)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner - 1 Slice Pizza, 1 Bean Wrap (0)
Sleep - 1am to 7:15am - 6.25 hours - (0)
Exercise - None
Day Score: +1
Weight: 220.5 @ 9:00 pm

The exercise definitely seems to be dropping off eh? Need to get back on that - need to exercise on Day 6 or else I'm way off. I should be exercising at least 4 out of every 7 days, right? My current plan is to get into a routine where I work out every day, switching between Tabata Cardio and Tabata Muscles. A big part of getting to that goal is managing to wake up every day to follow my planned schedule.

General Day Schedule

  • 6:00 - Awake
  • 6:00-6:45 - Breakfast, Tabata, Shower
  • 6:45-7:30 - Bike or Bus to work
  • 7:30-5:00 - Work
  • 5:00-5:30 - Go Home
  • 5:30-7:00 - Dinner, Chores, Relax on the Internet
  • 7:00-9:00 - To-Do List
  • 9:00-10:00 - Secondary Exercise (if possible)
  • 10:00-11:30 - To-Do List
  • 11:30 - Asleep
Obviously this is a non-ideal schedule. On the days where I'm very very tired I can cut the secondary exercise and go to bed earlier. For the record, to-do list items include everything and anything from grocery shopping to cooking to writing some code.
I'll post how to wake a heavy sleeper later. Good luck other BTFCers!

Friday, August 17, 2012

BTFC Day 4

Day 4

  • Breakfast - 2 Bites Meatloaf, V8 Juice (+1)
  • Snack - donut, cookie, banana (-1)
  • Lunch - Chicken Salad Sandwich, Orange Juice (+1)
  • Dinner - 2 slices pizza, meat loaf, quinoa, vegetables (-1)
Sleep - 2am to 7am - 5 hours - (-1)
Exercise - None (-1)
Day Score: -2
Weight: 223.8 @ 11:30 pm

Man I hate days where I don't get a chance to exercise (part of that was extreme tired-ness on my part. Maybe laziness. Anyway, clearly not a good day in any regard. I slept, ate and exercised wrong. I could list all the excuses but they would remain excuses. At least my weight is a reasonable number considering where it was a week ago.

Chin up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BTFC Day 3

Day 3

  • Breakfast - Half chicken breast, cherries, V8 juice (+1)
  • Lunch - Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies, Cherries - Free Salad + Lasagna (-1)
  • Dinner - 2 Bean Wraps, Cherries (+1)
Sleep - 12:30am to 7am - 6.5 hours - (0)
Exercise - Tabata home workout - 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. 10 sets of push ups, sit ups, squats and clean-n-pushes. I managed 5 pushups per set, 15 situps, 8 squats and 3 clean-n-pushes per set on average. (+1)
Day Score: +2
Weight: 218.8 @ 8:30 pm

Okay, so I know it looks like I lost 10 lbs in 3 days. But that's not entirely accurate because my weight does commonly flucuate by up to 5 lbs. I would say I haven't lost any weight yet - I haven't been doing this long enough. Maybe I weighed in at my peak and today was at my low? We'll see where it's at tomorrow.

Either way, I'm going to keep trying. I have a bad feeling that Day 4 is not going to be nearly as successful (since I am writing this on Day 4 this isn't psychic - it's fact).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BTFC Day 2

Day 2

  • Breakfast: None (-1)
  • Lunch: Meatloaf, Quinoa, Veggies (+1)
  • Dinner: Meatloaf, Pineapple (+1)
  • Post-Dinner: 1/2 Chicken Breast (0)
Sleep: 1 am to 7:15 am - 6 hours 15 minutes (0)
Exercise: HIIT Running (5 minutes 20/10, 2.5 minutes 15/15 x2) (+2)
Day Score: +3
Weight: 223 lbs @ 11pm

Things are looking up, I ran my ass off last night which really felt good. I guarantee it was a better workout than Ultimate the day before. Also, there was no late night "terrible for you" snack. The chicken was cooked with dinner but saved because my hunger was satiated.

I'm trying to build a routine, I'll post it once it's actually formalized.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Meatloaf is a frugal staple, but since I have never cost analyzed it before it was a surprise how good it was. The ladyfriend found this recipe so we made it this weekend. We made a triple recipe and it worked out really well. Breakdown below.

  • Ingredients - Cost

  • Ground Beef - 4lbs - $11.12
  • Eggs - 3 - $0.80
  • Onions - 3 - $0.75
  • Milk - 2 cups - $2.50
  • Bread Crumbs - 3 cups - $1.00
  • Others - $1.00
Total Cost: $17.17
Total Servings: 18

I love getting things to under a dollar a serving. Next time I could make my portions smaller and get the number of total servings even higher.

Things I did to Frugal it

First, I didn't use as much meat as the recipe said - this was mainly due to the largest pack at the grocery store being 4 lbs not the 4.5 lbs necessary. I skimped on the milk due to logitistical reasons as well. Milk tends to go unused at my place so I opted for too little instead of too much, frankly it worked out pretty damn well. The best one was the bread crumbs. Instead of paying $2.78 for pre-made bread crumbs, I bought bread that was on sale, dried it out in the oven and shredded it with a cheese grater. From there the question is how much gas did I waste? Honestly I don't know, I may have been net negative - I hope not.

Soon I will be tracking my net present value and posting that - gotta keep the motivation up to get out of the red and into financial independence zone!

Hope all other frugallers are doing well!

BTFC Day 1

Okay, so I've joined the Reddit BTFC competition. I signed up on Monday the 13th so today is technically my second day. To keep my motivation up (and actually blog a little) I'm going to be posting about my progress everyday - but there's going to be a 1 day lag.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: None (-1)
  • Lunch: Meatloaf, Quinoa and Vegetables (+1)
  • Dinner: Shwarma (0)
  • Post-Dinner: 1 beer, 2 hot pockets (-1)
Sleep: From 1:15am to 7:15am - 6 hours. (-1)
Exercise: Ultimate (+1)
Day Score: -1
Weight: 227 lbs @ 11:30pm

Overall my first day was a small loss. Skipping breakfast is generally not good because your body never gets kick-started into burning calories and you get far hungrier as the day goes on. Personally this leads to over-eating towards the end of the day, which is the opposite of what I want to be doing.

The day's exercise was pretty good. Ultimate is like doing High Intensity Interval Training if you do it right. Unfortunately my shifts weren't long enough to get a good workout out of it. Still made myself sweat and scored 3 points, so that's better than nothing right?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

node.js and the mysql library

Okay, so as the title suggests, this isn't a frugal post. It's a programming post about the javascript thingy "node.js" and the related library "mysql" for interfacing with, you guessed it, mySQL databases. Revolutionary stuff.

If you don't care about any of those words, stop reading cause it's boring. If you came here because you googled "node.js mysql row data how the fuck?" then you had the same problem I had. The github post for the mysql library is very good, but leaves out a tiny piece of information: how to actually extract information from your query results.

The github page I'm referring to is here. It's a very handy library and I am not dissing it at all.

Enough talk, just answers. Say you make the following query:

connection.query('SELECT firstName, lastName FROM nameTable', function(err, rows, fields) { // things happen });

Which loosely translates to "Give me all the first names and last names in the table called nameTable and process them using function". Say you get back 100 records (which you can check using 'row.length' fun fact), how do you look at the first name of the 50th record?

Simple: row[49].firstName

That's it. Just record number (where 0 is the first record) '.' then field name.

I may be a dumbass for taking several hours to crack this, but it felt good and I'm sure someone else out there is new to javascript and needs a little push in the right direction.

Hope this helps.

And if anyone who likes frugal things is still reading: homemade paintings are a great way of classing up your home on the cheap!

Friday, June 1, 2012


Everyone should budget if you're trying to save money. It is an excellent first step. Personally, I've been waiting until the beginning of the month to start my budget because I love making excuses. But the month is here and I can no longer ignore my goals. My completely awesome and reasonable budget is below.
  • $750 - Rent
  • $33.60 - Phone bill
  • $22.50 - Gas bill
  • $15 - Electric bill
  • $10 - Internet
  • $50 - Home improvement fund
  • $300 - Food
  • $118.90 - Entertainment
The items from rent to internet are pretty set in stone. Once my contract is up I'm going to negotiate a better phone bill, but what I've got will do for now. The home improvement fund item is an agreement I have with my roommate. Each month we're going to put $50 in a hat and build up some cash to improve our place with. We're going to try to go as frugal as possible with our purchases, but the goal is to make our place nice, not save a ton of money.
Now, the big question is how to actually stick to the budget. In the past I've gotten a bunch of envelopes together and written budget items on them and every month put the money in the envelope. It kinda sorta worked. But not really. This time around I'm doing it a bit differently. Two days before the end of the month I took rent out of the bank and gave it to the roommate. Then I also withdrew the money that is spent freely (Food and Entertainment). I left the rest of the budget IN THE BANK (my fatal mistake last time). Now I've locked away all my cards and I only have $420 for the rest of the month to spend.
I have no real idea of how well this is going to go. Today I spent $11 on groceries. How many days can I make that last? My guess is actually quite a while (3 days minimum). The key is reducing the expenses that I don't really see coming or the more expensive things that I kinda really want (like cleats).
The point is: I have $420 cash to last 30 days. No plastic. No cards. No withdrawals. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Really Have no Business Blogging

Really. I am quite bad at this. I can't post for a week straight, most posts are %100 useless and just written for the sake of being written and my writing style is actually quite bad.

To fix this I'm going to post less.  Much less.  I'm going to actually try to improve my englishing skills and write well thought out posts and maybe, just maybe, I'll include research

So that's all I'm writing today.  I'm going to try to be less shite at this by putting the same amount of time in, just put all that time towards one good post rather than 7 bad ones.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Since finishing school the single biggest immediate change has been the lack of a student bus pass. It was the sort of thing you didn't really appreciate it when you had it, but when it's gone you miss it a lot. Luckily my girlfriend had a bunch of fare savers from before a price hike so I can get a packet of 10 for $20. But still, it's weird having to think about where I'm going, how many zones I am traveling and whether I'll need to use another transfer on the way back.

Like most things right now, using the bus is a medium level of frugality, which is enhanced by using fare savers (and enhanced again by using cheaper fare savers). However, I will not be able to give myself a "high" frugality rating in transportation until I am biking everywhere.

In additional money saving news, I phoned up the National Loan Service people (the guys who administer my student loan) and got them to give me the floating interest rate (prime + 2.5) instead of the fixed (prime + 5). I also figured out that I don't need to follow a repayment plan, I can just throw money in as I see fit. My plan right now is to get my loan (20k) paid off within 12 months. Do you think I can do it?

Spending May 10th:
  • $3.75 - Bus fare. Frugality level - Low
  • $2.18 - Coffee. Frugality level - Low
  • $3.75 - Bus fare. Frugality level - Low
  • $20.00 - Fare savers. Frugality level - High
  • $43.02 - Mother's Day lunch for Mom Frugality level - Low
  • $84.81 - Congratulatory dinner for girlfriend. Frugality level - Low

Spending May 11th:
  • $7.45 - Pizza from Uncle Fatih's (delicious). Frugality level - Low
  • $26.52 - Haircut. Frugality level - Low
  • $7.11 - Latte + Biscotti Frugality level - Low

Eating May 10th:
  • Burger + Ceasar Salad (lunch). Health level - Low
  • Beer x3 (various). Health level - Low
  • Chocolates (snack). Health level - Low
  • Arctic Cod + appy + dessert (dinner). Health level - Low
  • Orange (snack). Health level - High

Eating May 11th:
  • 1/2 a dessert (lunch). Health level - Low
  • Meat Slop (lunch). Health level - High
  • Pretzels + PB (snack). Health level - Medium
  • 3 Pizza Slices + Pop (dinner). Health level - Low
  • Biscotti (snack). Health level - low

Eventually I'll be more frugal and healthy. Eventually...

Weight @ 8:22pm - 221.2lbs

Thursday, May 10, 2012

100th Post

So I definitely considered posting yesterday, but I didn't have the energy to do it so I just skipped it. I wanted to make the 100th post good you know?

Today's Frugal discussion is for all those people who love beer on two levels (it tastes good and it gets you drunk) but have not figured how to reconcile this love with being frugal. At the end of the day, there are 4 options of varying levels of frugality for this:
  1. Worst Case: You drink at the bar or club
  2. Reasonable Case: You buy beer and drink it at home
  3. Money Conscious Case: You brew beer from a kit
  4. Frugal choice: You brew beer from scratch

Brewing beer from scratch is what I did today and it was pretty damn awesome. All told it took about 4 hours, $26 in ingredients and produced about 24L of beer. For perspective cheap beer where I'm from costs $8/2L. If you brew from scratch you can make a much finer brew (but you have to do it right). If it takes 4 hours, it works out to an hourly wage of $17.50 an hour ( 24L * $4/L = $96. 96 - 26 = 70. 70/4 = 17.5).

Granted, this isn't taking into account some other factors like the time taken two weeks from now to continue the brewing process as well as the cost of running the stove/buying propane and running fridges. But, it is by FAR the most frugal way to drink, especially because you can get such a high quality beer out of it. It just takes some care and attention.

To my knowledge you can do the same thing for wine, but I know much less about the overall quality of the resulting product.

Oh yes, and setup cost for the beer is about $150, so after a couple batches you are back into the black!

Spending May 8th:
  • $7.03 - Toothbrush and Floss. Frugality level - Low
  • $4.14 - Coffee w/ Roommate. Frugality level - Low
  • $100 - New dining room set. Frugality level - Medium

Spending May 9th:
  • $30.00 - Pizza. Frugality Level - Low

Eating May 8th:
  • Dried Mangos (snack). Health level - High
  • Pasta + Sauce (lunch). Health level - Medium
  • 1 Pizza slice (snack). Health level - Low
  • 2 Oranges (snack). Health level - High
  • Pasta + Sauce + Cheese (dinner). Health level - Medium

Eating May 9th:
  • 1 Orange + 1 Apple (breakfast). Health level - High
  • Pasta + sauce (lunch). Health level - Medium
  • 1 Medium Pizza (dinner). Health level - Low
  • 5 beers (snack). Health level - Low

On the plus side, I kept riding my bike around. After that long 20km ride the other day my ass hurts and my legs are sore (very different sensations let me tell you).

I'm slowly getting a good hold on this whole "real life" thing. Crazy, no?

Weight @ 12:25 AM - 225lbs - :( I guess that's my punishment for all the beer + pizza.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Glorious Ultimate

Well I didn't wake up quite when I wanted to today, I overslept. Not happy about that. On the plus side, I spent a solid 8 hours working on my project today. From here I biked to an Ultimate game, played my heart out and biked home. Tomorrow I plan on waking up around 8am so that I can really kill the day. Work my ass off and take another chunk out of this project. There isn't much time left and you gotta make hay while the sun shines, right?

Now that all the painting is done the place looks pretty awesome. Makes all the hard work worth it. Tomorrow I'll be buying 1 of the last two pieces of furniture that we'll be getting for the place.
This post is reasonably incoherent. I am really goddamn tired.

  • $4.37 - Coffee and a scone from Starbucks. Frugality level - Low
  • $9.49 - Pre made pizza. Frugality level - Low
  • $26.43 - Groceries - Apricots, Chocolate, Pasta Sauce, Pasta, Juice, Cheese, Sausage, Apple, Oranges. Frugality level - Medium
  • Half a premade veggy pizza (lunch). Health Level - Medium
  • Chocolate (snack). Health level - Low
  • Pasta + Sauce (dinner). Health level - Medium
In general I find that my rating of these things is pretty arbitrary. It's hard to say "high" on anything because most times it could be a BIT better.

Oh well, tomorrow will be a great day.

Weight at 11:42pm - 222.0lbs.

Painting Touchups

So it seems that drunk people don't do the best job of painting. When I woke up this morning it was clear that we had done a half terrible job. The bathroom and kitchen of our place needed severe re-doing. It was embarrassing.

That was my day, patching up the entire place, and then rearranging my room. It took all day. The best part about all day activities is that they are quite nice to the wallet.

  • 1/2 a 3 Meat Frozen Pizza (lunch). Health Level - Low
  • Leftover chinese food (dinner). Health Level - Low
  • 3 beer. Health Level - Low
Wow, I am a goddamned inspiration for healthy eaters everywhere.

  • $36.71 - Electricity Bill. Frugality Level - Medium
We can definitely get our electricity bill lower. It's one of the goals of the new place to be much more energy and consumption conscious. Less eating out, less leaving lights on. Less waste in general.

Weight @ 12:11 AM - 224.4 lbs.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Painting Day

So we spent the entire day painting my new place. I am a tired.

Frugal cause our landlord bought the point and we borrowed most of the supplies. Non-frugal cause we had to bribe our friends with beer and pizza. Long long day of painting.

Spent: $60 on chinese food Night.

Ate: pizza and chinese food and beer.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lazy Friday

Most of the day was spent with half reading/half hanging out with the lady friend. Overall it was pretty good except I recently made some decisions she wasn't the biggest fan of. I'm really split on how to handle the situation. Probably shouldn't get into it here, but needless to say, it's causing me some stress. God damnit.

Anyway, didn't do anything Frugal today. Didn't do anything healthy. I might be going for a run later but I don't know for how long. As usual I'll try for a decent distance/time but I really don't think my heart's in it today.

Can you tell I'm in a shitty mood? Bah.

  • $2.52 - a muffin from Blenz, bought me a place to sit essentially. Frugality level - Low
  • $42.14 - lunch + 2 beers for the lady friend and I at a restaurant. Frugality level - Low
  • Open faced breakfast sandwich - whole grain bread, tomatoes, cheese, egg (breakfast). Health level - High
  • Pretzels + Peanut Butter (breakfast). Health level - Medium but oh so delicious
  • 1/2 Muffin (snack). Health level - Low
  • Greek Chicken Wrap (lunch). Health level - Medium
  • Ceasar Salad (lunch). Health level - Low
  • 1/6 of a burger (lunch). Health level - Low
  • Carrots (dinner). Health level - High
  • Mixed Veggies (dinner). Health level - High
  • 3 Beer (various). Health level - Low
Receipt keeping is going pretty well. So far I've saved 5/7 or so? I mean, I just started. Slowly getting the hanging of it.

Weight at 8:59pm - 221.8 lbs.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Places are Awesome

Recently I moved two stories straight up. The main advantage of this is that I am now shorter than my apartment everywhere - not just select parts of my room and the living room. This change has come with a proportional change in rent, but I think it's gonna be okay. Although it's far from the Frugal choice, I spent 3 years slouching in the shower. It's a much needed upgrade, let me tell you.

Didn't do anything amazingly frugal today, hell I probably messed up with one of my purchases.

Today's expenses are below:
  • $7.02 - A pre-made sandwich and two Babybel cheese wheels. Frugality level - Low
  • $5.01 - Strawberries (on sale), broccoli and a Coffee Crisp. Frugality level - Medium
  • $99.37 - Canvas, paint and brushes for some art my roommate and I are going to make. Cheaper than buying art, not frugal compared to not having art. On the plus side, I bought the canvas at 50% off, the paint at 40% off and everything (including sale items) had an extra 25% taken off. Saved about $45 by buying on sale and with coupon. Frugality level - Low
Eating today was also not the best:
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (breakfast). Health level - High
  • 2 Babybel cheese wheels (lunch). Health level - Low
  • Turkey sandwich (lunch). Health level - Medium
  • A Coffee Crisp (snack). Health level - Low
  • 1/2 a head of broccoli (dinner). Health level - High
  • 6.5 chicken strips (dinner). Health level - Medium
Well, that's about it for now. I'm going to start keeping all of my receipts. Combined with this tracking of what I spend, I'll always be able to find the lowest price I've paid for something.

Weight @ 11:22pm - 220 lbs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm Back!

Alright, so chances are slim that anybody REALLY gives a damn, but I'm going to start blogging again. The main theme of frugality is going to remain but there's going to be a lot more about health and eating habits. Also, there will be a lot more micromanagement. I'm going to post every financial interaction (please don't steal my identity) and everything I eat. This will serve as a handy method of keeping myself honest and a decent record of prices. If I keep all my receipts I'll be able to find where the best prices are and develop my intuition for how much things should cost. All good things.

Every day will have a post outlining expenses, food consumption and exercise. I will also talk about anything I did that I feel is frugal or healthy. There will be additional posts about little craft things that I'll be doing on the side. I still can't write worth a damn, but hey, trying to fix that too.

So much to do. So little time.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Using Things You Have

Recently I got a letter outlining my student loans and that made me sad. So I'm trying to sell some of my stuff on craiglist in the interest of a) Getting a bit of scratch and b) cleaning out some of my crap. As a result I've found that I actually haven't watched the majority of the DVDs that I own.

So now I have two lists: one of books and one of DVDs. I've got to spend a lot of time in the next little while working through all these things. It doesn't help that I'm trying to do less multi-tasking. Ugh. On the plus side, soon I'll be able to sell about 50 DVDs, and that should be worth a little bit. Maybe won't make a dent in my student loans but every little thing adds up, right?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 2


Three things I am grateful for:
  1. My girlfriend
  2. Running into old friends days before they move away
  3. Having a good sleep

Positive Experience:
I went to the bar for an acquaintance's birthday and ran into a large number of friends from high school and elementary school who I haven't seen in ages. One of them was celebrating getting a job offer and was moving out of town permanently. It wasn't like we ever really close, but it was good to see him again before he left town. It was a solid night.



Random act of kindness:
None - I'm an ass.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 1


Three things I am grateful for:
  1. Low rent
  2. A fun weekly tradition for beers with lunch on friday
  3. My foot is healing

Positive experience in the last 24 hours:
Making a nice meal for me and my girlfriend. Due to the logistics of the day she wasn't able to come over as early as previously planned, and our eating schedule was all messed up. Since she was taking the time to come all the way across town to see me, I went to the grocery store, bought a bunch of ingredients and made us a really nice mushroom chicken dinner. Even though I had almost no time to plan and had all 3 dishes cooking at once (4 burners and the oven), it was a lot of fun. Not to mention it felt good to do something nice for her.

Do stairs count as exercise?


Random act of kindness:
I don't think I did one. That's not good.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happiness Before Success

Recently I ran across this video about becoming more productive by being happier. The speaker mentions some methods that can be used to get to this sweet spot:
  1. Write down 3 new things your are grateful for
  2. Journaling one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditation
  5. Random acts of kindness

I highly recommend watching the video, he is funny and charming - a great presenter. This li'l blog post can not come close to doing it justice.

But now, I'm going to give this happiness thing a shot. Chances are that not every single day will get all the things done, but I'll do my best. For example, it's 1:15am, and I'm probably not going to do any exercise tonight. Today will be today 0, just so I don't feel to bad.

Three things that I am grateful for:
Getting a job interview
Being able to have a good conversation with my girlfriend before sleep
Having the solutions to some homework, making it easier.

Positive Experience:
Today I had a job interview that I wasn't fully qualified for. Thanks to spending the past two days madly reading Wikipedia articles related to the job and the company I was able to remember enough of the jargon to impress the interviewer. Despite my broad education there are some gaps, especially when it comes to taking an Operating Systems course. More importantly than the jargon I was able to complete the programming tasks he gave me with minimal effort. Even though one had some syntax errors and a mistake, overall I feel very good about how I held up today. Also, since I wasn't overly stressed about the job I was able to be myself which probably increases my chances.



Random Act of Kindness:
I bought Damien a coffee today.