Water Diet?

About seven years ago, I resolved to ignore any desire and to forgo any offer of fast food to the extreme of even refusing to enter a McDonald's to use its restroom. For the first few years, I was successful, but later on, I was more relaxed on this personal dietary policy. I started to participate in base fast food affairs again, but to a point. Then a few years ago, I returned to my fling with Dunkin' Donuts. It doesn't help that I've only recently taken coffee somewhat seriously. Still, I don't routinely drink coffee as a casual beverage or for its bitter, over-sweetened flavor; I only drink it when I need it (on the order of once a week), which is different than my approach to alcohol. With alcohol, it's completely reverse. I do not drink beer or wine, etc., for their utilitarian effect, but for flavor and taste (mainly because light-weights like me can't hold alcohol well, but then again, I am stereotypically not expected to).

I am now turning to devoid myself of soda (I had unsuccessfuly tried this before), potato products, and junk food (namely sugar conglomerates like soda, chocolate, and cookies). I was going to declare it a vegetable-and-water diet, but it wouldn't be correctly named. I don't know what kind of name it deserves besides simply "eating well," but I do know that I'll get right on it as soon as possible ... just after I finish these last two Entenmann's donuts for breakfast.

(I've been consistently drinking about 2.4 L of water a day.)

Bike Ride in Western Brooklyn

Click to enlarge.

Today was an unsuccessful attempt to break my personal record of about 26 miles from the Bike Ride in Southern Brooklyn with Chin. I managed to go only about 25 miles today, but this time there were slopes involved (kind of). In did three laps in Prospect Park. (There was apparently a race going on, but casual cyclers were in the way. At least I was.)

Today's neighborhoods include Flatbush, Park Slope, Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton.

This map was generated using MayMyRide.com.

Google Map of Brooklyn, for context.

Deceptive Statistics (Is There Any Other Kind?)

In the New York metropolitan area, we are blessed with having a plethora of inferior newspapers, from the New York Daily News to the New York Post, to the Metro and AM New York, just to name a few. (I consider The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal quality newspapers.)

Starting this week, I began picking up the free Metro and the free AM New York, which was intended to be nothing more than a newspaper (if you can really call it that) to be read during one's commute. The Metro is has about half the number of pages as AM New York and it is just about the most poorly written newspaper I have ever read, anywhere. (Even the English Taipei Times in Taiwan is better written.)

The following comes from yesterday's AM New York and today's Metro, respectively. While there is probably nothing wrong with they way they portray things, it just goes to show that statistics really can be made to show anything. Click to enlarge:





From the AM New York, though, I was exposed to Ken Ken number puzzle, which I find particularly entertaining.

Bad Day Starts Before Midnight

1. I had trouble sleeping last night. I went to bed a bit late, at around 9:30. I couldn't fall asleep. Habitually using the iPhone as my alarm clock, I had the iPhone nearby so I decided to browse the App Store and go through my iPhone Settings. I inadvertently locked my SIM card out of my phone, which apparently happens after three failed attempts at unlocking it. (The default passcode in the United States, it turns out, is 1111, according to Apple's support pages.) So there I was stuck, unable to place or receive phone calls or do anything else over the cell network. I had my WiFi though.

2. I still wasn't able to sleep, now especially with this problem on my mind. Not sure what this Locked SIM problem was, I searched online to find solutions. Someone somewhere said it was possible to reset the passcode (using a PUK, or Pin Unlock Code) by either going to AT&T's website or calling Customer Service. My problem was I hadn't created an account. So I attempted to create it ... until I get to the step to validate my phone by sending it a text message (which I couldn't receive because I was locked out!). It was an interesting Catch-22.

3. By that time it was around 12:30. I figured I'd try to sort it out in the morning and I tried to go back to sleep. After rolling around in bed for another hour or so, I decided to look up the AT&T Customer Service number and try giving them a call (still on my SIM-locked iPhone). I had GV Mobile (which uses Google Voice) on my phone, and I wondered if it would place my (800) call. Well, it turned out it wouldn't because the way Google Voice works is by calling both the number I wanted to dial and my own phone and then connecting the call; I had forgotten about that. Then, I remembered that Skype can place (800) number calls for free. Tried Skype over my WiFi and it worked. Surprisingly, after being on hold for what felt like 10 minutes and listening to a barrage of AT&T advertisements, I was talking to someone on the other end of the line.

4. I straight up asked him for my PUK, which I had to memorize because I did not have a pencil or paper ready, and I couldn't directly type in the code while in the Skype app. In the end, the code worked. Great!

5. By 2:00 am I decided to go to my computer and charge my iPhone, which was at its 20% marker with its bright red battery indicator. By 3:00, I was on the sofa and managed to sleep about a sound hour, before needing to wake up for work at exactly 4:18.

6. I made it to the subway a minute or two early, looking forward to continuing my half-sleep on the train. Maybe I was expecting too much. There were two real-live hobos, one on either end of the train car, and there was a disheveled man sleeping lying down on one of the benches. There was spit everywhere on the floor around him. To add to the mental discomfort, one of the train doors was jammed so it kept making a disturbing mechanized moan whenever the doors tried to open. There were also two guys who got on the train shortly after I did, who sat across from one another, and who were speaking loudly in a non-English language. I guess I could have easily moved to another car. But it was routine; I had my usual spot and I did not want to leave it.

7. Desperately needing a coffee more than most other days, I made my trek to the usual Dunkin' Donuts. The sky was dark and gray, and it was raining pretty well. Then, I went to catch the LIRR, which was also non-routine this morning. Track change caused confusion. The people were divided between two platforms, not knowing which is the correct one. Do we trust the modified sign, or do we trust the physical train waiting where it usually sits? It turned out it was the latter.

8. I saw perhaps the saddest thing I'll see today as I walked the mile from the Hicksville station to the office. I saw and heard a pigeon slam into the sidewalk from out of nowhere. I have no idea why it happened. Through its beady eyes, the bird looked as if it were crying. Even I, who usually detest pigeons, felt some compassion. I probably should have attempted to rescue it. I feel guilty that I did not.

Bike Ride in Southern Brooklyn


Chin and I went for a bike ride in Brooklyn today, which, for me, totaled to a little over 25 miles. We were out for about 5 hours, not all of it actually riding. (I had only planned on go 13 miles today. Geez.)

In the past, I had ridden along Belt Parkway to the Floyd Bennett Field and US Navy Reserve area only once. Last time (probably about 3 years ago), I was too afraid to continue across the Marine Parkway Bridge by myself. Today, on a whim, we pushed forward and visited the dismantled Fort Tilden and the beach on the Rockaway Inlet.

We passed through the Coney Island (with Astroland!), Brighton Beach, and Sheepshead Bay neighborhoods.

The map was drawn using walkjogrun.net, recommended by Btan.

Google Maps, for context.

Virtual Taiwan Trip

My sister and mom flew out of JFK last Friday night to Taiwan.

Equipped with two digital cameras, an iPod touch (with charger!), and a Lenovo S10, my sister will have more than enough to keep us updated on her adventures. She has been writing extensively about what's going on over there, with commentary and photos.

mpcow BLoG of RSTs

It's like a virtual Taiwan trip for me, while I am at home manning the fort and at work making the bucks.

Minimize to Dock Icon in Snow Leopard

I just check out the Mac OS X Snow Leopard settings and you can minimize windows into the icon in the dock, rather than to the right half of the dock. It's nice if you have one or two open windows per application, but it can get pretty uncanny if you have, say, 23 open Photoshop files.

This goes hand-in-hand with the new style of Exposé in the later builds.

Day Trip to the Highline, Etc.


1. I saw two Maseratis today. I have never seen one before today.

2. We went to go see the newly opened Highline Park (thehighline.org) from 9th Ave and 14th Street to 20th Street. We doubled the walk by going back because it was incomplete and was too short of a walk in the park. A few photos here on Flickr.

3. Back at 14th Street, we went to 12th Ave and walked the Hudson River Park up to 23rd Street.

4. From 12nd Ave we walked crosstown to Union Square, down Park Ave where there was a street festival, and onward to 2nd Ave.

5. Someone on the street asked if we knew where Ave A was. Surprisingly, we actually knew where to direct her. (Do you?)

6. I was wearing my Dragon Day 2009 t-shirt in the Lower East Side, and someone mumbled, "Cornell." Wow.

7. For lunch we had three styles of potato--home fries, French fries, and mashed potatoes.

8. Over three-and-a-half miles today.

Omega S1 ("Small Car") CAD Page

I woke up this morning with the urge to update my usumbs.com/cad page with the Omega S1, or "Small Car," I had created last fall at work on AutoCAD. See "About One Real Week of Work."

I had intended to put up step-by-step drawings of my progress. Then I realized all my files were on the Lenovo netbook that my sister took with her to Taiwan. I guess it'll have to wait. In the meantime, though, it might go something like this. Most of these were taken on the iPhone.

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Apartment Lease Starts Today

My apartment lease in Ithaca starts today. I should go up there and visit sometime this summer.

What's up with Tumblelogs?

For someone who made the switch to an actual blog, is having a tumblelog (via Tumblr) redundant? It was fun as it lasted, as they say.

I use this blog to post personal thoughts and ideas, I use Twitter (@USuMBS) to share daily musings, and I use Engineerography Blog to write about a more topical and public matter. I even use Flickr to organize and share my personal photos. (I have a Picasa Gallery that is dead and a MobileMe Gallery that I am not sure how I should use it. And I don't do videos [yet].)

Then, I aggregate everything to Facebook. I think that's being plenty virtually social. But is there anything else that I should jump on the bandwagon for? I may just give up on finding a niche for my tumblelog. Does anyone actually read it? Hmm.

Blogger Retrospection

I started looking back at my older posts on Blogger. This post will have been my 218th post here, taking into account everything. Already this year, I have posted 63 times already, with an average of 10 to 11 posts a month, or about 3 posts per week. That is a good amount, I think. Whether the content I choose to share or write about is worth your time is another matter.

I remember I had wanted to move away from Blogger (because, frankly, it sucks as a blogging engine) several times, as in "The Move to Tumblr" and "BLOG@WP."

Then, one day, on April 10, 2008, I felt the urge to write, "Revisitation." But my return to blogging (posting regularly) really began with this post from April 13, 2008: "Damn You, Apollo."

Now, writing for USuMBS Blog and Engineerography Blog has become a habit.