Goodbye Pops

There are four reasons I like having a new/good gaming computer.

First, gaming is a way to recharge. Like reading, it is typically something that I do alone, and that energizes me.

Second, I enjoy gaining mastery of a system or process. I like figuring out how a game works and becoming skilled at it.

Third, I like having a good computer because it means more time gaming and less time waiting for things to load, or dealing with things crashing. I’m going to have a lot less free time soon, and I don’t want what little gaming time I have to be spent in frustration.

And fourth, it gives me a way to connect with people and have fun with them that isn’t super exhausting. Even when I’m playing with people, there’s enough distance (probably due to a lack of body language) that it doesn’t require as much of me.

I love playing games with people online. I like multiplayer role-playing games in particular, and I like being able to support my teammates and help them succeed. A few years ago, I joined an amazing guild that spans numerous games and is filled with people I enjoy gaming with. The guild’s credo means that everyone is generally kind, supportive, and mature.

Pops was in the guild before me. He has been in Gaiscioch for as long as Gaiscioch has been on my radar. To me, he embodied the guild’s principles. He was kind, patient, funny, and great to hang out with. Admittedly, he could be brusque and a real jackass sometimes… but it was because he cared. He legitimately cared, and he didn’t want to mince words or dance around any subject because he didn’t have time. Instead, he pushed people to be better to themselves and to each other, and he was… good. He was a good guy.

He passed away earlier this week, and we had an in-game memorial for him earlier today. We sat around a campfire and took turns sharing memories and thoughts about Pops.

I haven’t been to a funeral in a few years, but I’ve been to a fair number, and I’ve had a lot of people in my life die. I think that Pops is the first online friend that I have gone through this with. I didn’t know that he had a terminal illness, but Fog shared that Pops told him when he joined the guild. Pops literally lived every day as if it was his last, because it was supposed to be. He lived 6 years longer than the doctors said he would.

Because our guild is so large and diverse, it isn’t uncommon for guild members to die. But Pops was the first that I played with regularly. I’ll miss hearing him on Discord and playing with him. The world is a bit dimmer without him.

I will miss him.

New computer

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A few weeks ago, I built a new gaming computer. My long-suffering Lenovo y510p laptop was around 7 years old, and while it’s a great gaming laptop, these things don’t last forever.

I had been having trouble with it for a couple of years. Certain games would make it overheat and crash, but I just didn’t play those games and turned settings down and got by. But last year, I reached the point where the number of games that I wanted to play, but couldn’t, was higher than those that  I could play.

So I built a new machine. I had thought about buying one instead of building, but you save so much money building, which meant fewer months of saving up money. And today, the last piece came in: a new keyboard. Subsequently, I’m writing a blog post.

  • Intel Core i5-8600k 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor
  • Asus – Prime Z370-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
  • G.Skill – Trident Z 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
  • Crucial – MX300 525GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
  • Seagate – Barracuda 2TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Gigabyte – GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB WINDFORCE OC 6G Video Card
  • Phanteks – Enthoo Pro M Tempered Glass (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case
  • EVGA – SuperNOVA G3 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
  • ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM
  • Ducky Shine 6 keyboard
  • Microsoft – Windows 10 Home

I’m super pleased. I decided not to get the highest-end video card, and I haven’t yet upgraded my monitor. I plan to get a new monitor later this year because mine is going dim after however-many-years it has been. But the video card needs no upgrade, as it turns out. I’m running everything on maximum settings, and I even have some add-ons installed for Elder Scrolls Online that make it even prettier, and I’m getting at least 60 FPS in everything. This has been an unmitigated success.

The only challenge that I ran into is that my external hard drive was corrupted. It looked like it still worked, but when I tried to transfer all of our photos to the new computer, it failed. Thankfully, I had everything backed up through Carbonite, and they had backed up before whatever/whenever it was that the external got corrupted, so I was able to restore everything going back to 2005. That would have been pretty heartbreaking to lose all of our pictures.

Now I just need to get used to this keyboard. I’m still managing around 90 words per minute, but I’m making a lot more errors than I would like. I do enjoy the feel and responsiveness of it though, and I look forward to doing more writing with it. It is higher profile than I’m used to so I may need to get a wrist rest.

 

Onederland

It took another 11 days, which indicates that my weight loss is slowing significantly, but here we are.

  • Starting weight: 240
  • Goal weight: 190
  • Current weight: 199.8

I was at 190 pounds at the end of my freshman year of college. Just 9 more to go to reach my goal.

Given that I have been maintaining a caloric deficit for the last week, I suspect I’ve still got some water weight hanging around. Let’s see if I can stick to keto for another few days to drop that off.

Heading to San Francisco for a couple of days

I’m still continually surprised by the life I lead. It’s so awesome, and I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve this beautiful house, or April, or our friends, or my awesome job, etc. etc.

God is good. April and I sat in the front room yesterday morning and just looked out the window at the birds for a while, enjoying the peace and each other’s company, and I want to hold onto that memory forever.

I’m heading to SF to spend a day with our CEO, the head of products (my boss), and the head of product marketing to talk about Adaptavist Learn and plan our next steps.

In other news, I’m down to 200 even.

  • Starting weight: 240
  • Goal weight: 190
  • Current weight: 200.6

For those keeping score, my weight loss has slowed down; that’s only 3 pounds in the last 2 weeks. Now that I’m normal weight, I keep eating non-keto stuff 1-2 times a week, which breaks keto and slows my weight loss. But I feel tons better already, and I still anticipate hitting my goal weight this spring. If I wasn’t going to SF today, I suspect I’d be at 199 by Wednesday. As it is, I’ll probably eat Chinese food and other stuff that will spike me back up and it’ll be another 1-2 weeks.

Oh, one last thing I want to write down so I remember it: last week I volunteered at Campbell Elementary for a STEAM night (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Kids came and there were 5 rooms with different activities, plus free food for them and their families. Campbell doesn’t have a PTA, so a few area churches have pitched in to fill the role that parents might at other schools.

I don’t know why I was surprised by this, but I was surprised by how nice the teachers were. I guess you have to be pretty nice to survive as an elementary school teacher, but for some reason, my mental image of a teacher is: exhausted, burned out, cynical, bitter. I wonder where that comes from? It certainly wasn’t evident at Campell. I didn’t really do much (signed people in at the front door), but I was happy to contribute and I hope I get another opportunity to volunteer there in the future.

Edit: Oh, also, for future-me, this is the week you got a Helix mattress and it’s going pretty OK. It’s comfy but still kind of smells weird. I think we made the right choice getting it.

Week 16 on Keto…ish

I hit my first milestone on January 20th: normal weight. For my height, I dropped out of the overweight category at 209 pounds.

Once I reached normal weight, I became less strict with my diet. That weekend, I enjoyed some cake at April’s birthday party. I had some Thai and Chinese food and pizza over the following weeks. Just a few nights ago, April and I went to a movie and I ate a LOT of popcorn.

But I’m continuing to track and log every meal (and tubs of popcorn), weighing what we’re making, eating a salad for lunch most days, and making sure that I stay under my calorie goal. CICO (calories in, calories out) is king.

  • Starting weight: 240
  • Goal weight: 190
  • Current weight: 203.7

What I’m finding is that dropping off keto makes me retain water, but because I’m maintaining CICO, I’m continuing to burn fat and lose weight. And then I go back on keto, and around 4 days later I drop the water weight and see a whoosh on the scale. I’ve “lost” about 3 pounds this week (2.1 in the last day), but I’ve been at 206-209 since Feb. 3. I was actually losing weight over the last two weeks but retaining enough water that it didn’t look like it.

So that’s encouraging. Weighing myself daily has actually had a really positive impact on my weight loss mindset. I can see a clear connection now between what I eat and the impacts of those foods, and that gives me an additional sense of control. I know that certain things are going to make me retain water and my weight will go up, and that’s OK because I know that 4 days of keto will drop that water back off and the fat loss will become evident.

The less-positive realization I’ve had is that I can’t wait to buy some new clothes. I’m cinching my jeans so much with my belt that they won’t stay buttoned. April and I are going to hit up some thrift stores today, find out what size of jeans I wear now (I’ve lost 2.5 inches there, but I’m skeptical that this means I just switch from 38″ to 36″ jeans). I think I’ll probably be down another 0.5-1 inch once I hit my goal weight, so I don’t want to do the full wardrobe replacement yet.

The Vivoactive 3 watch is helping, I think, but Garmin’s software sucks in general. I’ll write a separate review sometime on the Garmin Index Scale, Vivoactive 3, and Garmin Connect, their incredibly buggy software interface. That said, I do like the watch, and it is helping me keep better track of my calorie burn.

30 pounds down

1 pound left until I’m no longer overweight.

20 pounds until my goal weight.

A week from today, my Garmin Vivoactive 3 ships. Maybe. It’s already over a week late, and I don’t really trust United’s Mileageplus to follow-through since they already missed the first date.

You might be wondering, if I’m losing weight without some sort of device to track steps and whatnot, why am I getting one now?

The answer is two-fold. First, because my miles were expiring and I wanted to use them before they all went poof. Second, because I want an easier way to keep track of my heart rate during activities compared to wearing a chest strap. And third, because I think the data it provides me will help me stay balanced going forward.

One of the interesting things I’ve discovered over the last 11 weeks on the keto diet is that I rarely struggle to stay under my calorie and macro goals. This high-fat diet leaves me pretty satiated, and I don’t have much trouble avoiding ice cream. (Avoiding rice is another matter, so I pretty much have to stay away from Thai and Chinese restaurants if I don’t want to blow my carb goal for a day.)

The challenge I have is eating enough of the right stuff, particularly when I’m active. Right now, I’m only having around 1,500 calories a day, and I feel fine. But if I burn 800, I absolutely need to eat more. And if I don’t do a good job of tracking how much energy I’m burning, then I may not eat enough. Typically, when people exercise and don’t track their calories, they end up eating more than they burned, but because I’m using MyFitnessPal to log everything I eat, I am firmly sticking to the calorie goal.

I’m also really curious to see how many calories I burn during regular activities. For instance, I’ve read that standing during work hours, like using a standing desk for your computer, can burn 400 calories in an 8 hour day. I certainly feel it in my legs, but do I need to eat more those days? Or did I just burn an extra 100-150 like I do during yoga? I can handle a 100 calorie deficit (a couple pieces of dark chocolate), but 400 is more than I have for breakfast, and 2/3 what I eat for lunch or dinner.

I look forward to blogging on March 16th to see if the trend of the last 11 weeks continued and I have hit my goal. March would be a good time for that.

  • Starting weight: 240
  • Goal weight: 190
  • Current weight: 210