QotD: What was my favorite subject in school?

In the semesters I didn't have a computer class, I'd have to say math was my most favorite subject. Once I got into having regular computer science-type classes, those classes were by far my favorite. Is that any surprise to anyone? ;)

Thinking back, I wish I had stayed awake through my history classes. I find the subject a lot more interesting now than I did back then.

Smoking, Losing Weight, and Making It Matter

I can relate to Daisy's post about getting her significant other to stop smoking. I went through a similar experience with my dad many years ago. I eventually gave up trying to make him quit.

In a similar vein, I have personally struggled with my weight for nearly as long as I can remember. At six, I remember being as skinny as a beanpole. Somewhere along the way, I gained an abnormal amount of weight. The weight kept piling on over the years—all the way up to 300 pounds! For someone who is 5 foot 7 inches tall, this is not a healthy weight to be!

Not too many people have made an issue of my weight to me, though I personally had some bad experiences because of my weight. I also had people like my mom give me all sorts of mixed messages. "You're fat, but here, eat this food that's not so great for you." Is it any wonder I was confused?

I had done nothing about it for many years until I had kids. At some point between Jaden's birth and Gracie's birth I realized that I had a vested interest in losing weight: I wanted to be there for my kids. Not just there, but I wanted to be able to keep up with them. I wanted to be healthy. Heck, I just want to live long enough to see grandchildren, or even great-great grandchildren.

I suddenly had a reason for changing my behavior. I had a reason that matter greatly to me personally: my kids. I then started exercising, eating better, and losing weight. I have made some permanent changes to my diet: caffiene is notregularly imbibed. Same thing with sodas—diet or otherwise. I won'tsay sugar is never consumed by me, but I'm a lot pickier about how whatkind of sugar and how frequently I consume it.

The weight has crept back on as my motivation wanes—mostly in the exercise department. I trying a different diet—one with a bit more variety than Atkins—though exercise has been an on and off thing lately. I am trying to walk at least 30 minutes three times a week right now. I know that I need to do more. I need to rediscover that motivation that got me started in the first place.

At least my own actions I have some control over. However, I realize I cannot control the actions of others. Even my own kids. 🙂 There are three basic things you can do here, based on some advise I heard on Dr Joy Browne:

  • Ignore: This is hard, given we're talking about smoking. The best you can do here is set some boundaries about where it is not acceptable to smoke. I'm sure this will have to be neogitated.
  • Bribe: If he doesn't have the internal motivation to change, give him some external motivation for it. This has to be "positive" and something he really wants. Be careful not to confuse a bribe with a threat here.
  • Leave: If smoking bothers you that much, you can always always threaten to leave until he quits smoking. Of course, do not use that threat lightly. Only use it if you have the intestinal fortitude to actually follow through.

No easy answers here, of course. This stuff is never easy.

Hanging Out at the Gym

Gracie Lounging around At the Gym

You Can't Make Me

My wife took my son in for his annual exam with the pediatrician. Physically he's doing fine. She asked about behavioral problems. The only thing my wife mentioned was "him and his ddaddy are both stubborn and butt heads a lot." That little bit of information was enough to unleash a torrent of this is likely what's happening—she was fairly accurate—and here's what to do about it. The scary part is that if the situation doesn't change, Jaden could very easily become a vengeful, spiteful teenager. No, we don't want that.

Both of my kids are stubborn. It probably doesn't help that my wife and I are both stubborn as well. Our kids can't help but be stubborn squared. ;) It will require us to change our methods of discipline as we really don't want that. There was a local class she suggested—a class taught by a friend of my wife—as well as a book called "You Can't Make Me."

I'll have to get a copy of this book and read it as I need all the help I can get. 🙂

You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded): Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Will

Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

If Drugs Were Legal

Everyone should watch this video about what would happen if Drugs were Legalized, regardless of what side of the issue you're on. It's an hour long, and fortunately Google lets you download it for later viewing. It is 231mb, though, so only high-speed connections need apply.

What's In It For Me?

The only reason anyone does anything is because there is something init for them. You may not know that or be willing to accept it, butit's universally true. Even Mother Teresa, who probably helped peopleuntil the day she died, got something out of helping all those people.What she got out of it is what kept her motivated to keep doing it.

Aparticular action may have consequences that far outweigh what you getout of it. For example, smoking. You may get a fantastic feeling out ofit (or avert bad feelings, e.g. cravings), but it has terribleconsequences (e.g. cancer). Another example is attempting to relate to my mother. While mymother raised me, she did her best to make sure I went to a good schooland get off to college with a running start. However, at some point hergrasp on reality became questionable. She can be downright hateful,especially when she drinks. Unfortunately, that has happened a lotsince her mom passed away. She is truly a toxic person to be around. Ihave nothing to do with her anymore.

And then there's my father, which is the real subject of this post. My parents have been divorced since I was two orthree, so not having a relationship with my mother has zero effect on my father. It has been nearly 15 years since I've talked with my father.The only contact I've had was an email recently. He may have tried tocontact me before that (likely via email), but I have forgotten those times. I certainly wasn't ready to talk to him then. Not sure I'm ready to talk to him now either.


My father was very different from my mother. He was generally more even keeled than my mother, but probably the biggest thing is that he wasn't there all that much. Even when I lived or stayed with him, he wasn't "there." Oh sure, he may have physically been present, but I have a hard time remembering any meaningful interaction I had with him.

There are some things he did that for a very long time, I was angry at him for doing. I am not going to go into details here. That anger has kept me from wanting to have any contact with him for a very long time. Between the passage of time and a change of perspective on my part, I simply can't be angry anymore. I'm done.

Even getting past the anger, I come back to the question: What's in it for me? Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to this question. However, ifand when I am ready to move forward on this, I need to have ananswer to that question. Right now, I simply don't know.

Serendipity

One of the things I really like about Vox is that it seems to encourage serendipitous reading of other people's blogs on Vox. You can see in real time what other Voxers are doing. For example, I posted a backdated article originally from my other blog and within a few moments, I had a piece of feedback on it! The same thing happened with another posting I did. I then went and read their blogs and added them as neighbors. Sweet!

I am glad I signed up for Vox and decided to use it for a more personal blog. Seems like a really good place to do that.

Where's PhoneBoy

I've now added a perhaps voyeristic feature to my other blog: a statusmessage from twitter. I'd add it here as well except there isn't a way for me to add a block of Javascript to my Vox site. I've left some feedback for the people at SixApart about this. Maybe they'll add the ability to add a Twitter block at some point.

Twitter isan SMS-based service where you can update a group of people with asingle text message or a short message from the web. The message isthen sent to your buddies over SMS and is available to be queried overthe web. People can "subscribe" your presence and you can "subscribe"to other people's presence. You receive the updates over SMS.

I'm sure the carriers absolutely love Twitter because it drives theuse of text messaging. Too bad more people I know don't use it.

While they haven't released an API for it yet, they have madeavailable two kinds of badges: one using Flash, the other usingJavascript. The Javascript-based method was released this past week andis what I am using on phoneboy.com right now. The badge gives you mylatest status from Twitter so you can get an idea of what I'm doing right now. And all I have to do to update it is send a brief text message.

Mining for Gold--In your Inbox

I'm sure like most of you, I get a lot of spam. Hundreds of messages every single day. I have multiple places to look through as well. Most of my personal email gets forwarded to Gmail, though a "cache" of this email exists at my ISP as well. Problem is: that cache has a spam folder that has grown quite large.

I don't trust spam filters. Nothing's perfect. Even though Gmail's spam filters have a fairly low false-positive rate, I've had it miss enough emails that were important. So I periodically go through the Spam folder to make sure it didn't catch anything. The spam filters at my ISP are much worse: pretty much everything is identified as spam. And to make things even worse: my ISP doesn't forward all my email to Gmail (either that or Gmail rejects it as spam). So I have mail in more than one place!

I think I'm going to shut down the email cache at my ISP and just forward everything to Gmail. It's too much work to sift through this cache.