Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

On the death of a child..

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

From a Twitter friend, truly heartbreaking…

A loose, side braid…

Categories: Family

Santa Letters

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I love that my kids write Santa letters. I especially like that they want to help others as well; however, I’m not sure why Elena thinks tropical Haiti needs blankets but whatev.

Elena's letter

Elena’s letter

Zachary's letter

Zachary’s letter

Zachary’s is cute because our local water tower was just re-painted. He wants to make sure Santa sees it on the trip.

Feel free to get them anything on the list.

4 months and counting…

December 3, 2012 5 comments

In July, my weight fluctuated between 285 and 290. When you’re that heavy, five pounds is pretty much inconsequential. I was scheduled to have my annual physical and was not particularly concerned. I had been this weight for years and it hadn’t been an issue.  Sure, I had been diagnosed with diabetes a year earlier, but I was on medication. No prob. I could eat the same as before and let the meds do their job. Right? RIGHT?

Let me step back a little and explain what diabetes mellitus type two is. From Wikipedia:

Diabetes mellitus type 2 (formerly noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes) is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. This is in contrast to diabetes mellitus type 1, in which there is an absolute insulin deficiency due to destruction of islet cells in the pancreas. The classic symptoms are excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% of cases of diabetes. Obesity is thought to be the primary cause of type 2 diabetes in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease. (emphasis mine)

The recommendation is for your blood sugars to be below 125 and your HgA1C to be below 7.

I last tested for it the previous year and my HgA1C was 9.2. I was ready to see how far it was down. The physical itself was uneventful, except for the fact that, turning 50, I now had to face tests and procedures that, heretofore, had not been necessary (don’t ask. It involves a camera and one’s ass). I waited eagerly for the results (okay, I wasn’t particularly eager, but as I mentioned earlier, unconcerned).

I got the call from my PMD and got the result.


I was stunned. This couldn’t be. I took my meds religiously. My blood pressure was controlled well by meds, as was my cholesterol. Why hadn’t my diabetes? I researched some more and I talked to my doc some (one advantage to working at the same place as your doc is that you see them all the time and get free face-to-face time with them) and found out that DM type 2 has some pretty significant issues that manifest itself in many nasty ways. Such as:

  • a ten-year-shorter life expectancy.
  • two to four times the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • a 20-fold increase in lower limb amputations (!!!)
  • blindness
  • kidney failure
  • cognitive dysfunction and dementia
  • increased infections
  • sexual dysfunction
  • frequent infections


Here I was, with two young kids, probably eating myself into a state where I would not see them marry and have children. I got scared. So I started talking to bariatric surgeons, since getting the surgery was the quickest way to resolve the issue. After much deliberation and constant talking with friends, and most importantly, my wife, I decided AGAINST the surgery.

Either path would have been difficult, but I chose the slow painful way over the fast painful way. I am still on this path and and have reconciled myself to being on this path the rest of my life. I made very small changes.

  • I switched to a smaller plate at dinner
  • I ate less rice
  • I stopped eating fast food
  • I brought lunch most days
  • I started working out 10 minutes a day twice a week
  • I went and signed up, not for a gym membership, but a personal trainer

Now, four months later, I have increased my workout regimen to 30 minutes of elliptical five days a week, 30 minute training sessions three days a week and Pilates one day a week. I have maintained the dietary changes I listed, but, unlike the surgery (which would have prevented me from eating some foods and beverages), I am able to have whatever within reason. I have a great time with my trainers and even though Pilates is hard as shit, I want to keep it going. I’m down to 242 and have given away all my larger sized clothes. I have no end point in mind, because there IS NO END POINT. I don’t have a target weight, I have a target number.

About four weeks ago, I re-tested my HgA1C.


Now excuse me while I work out.

Stop already.

November 2, 2012 1 comment

Stop calling me.
I already voted.
Stop asking for money, I already gave.
Yes, I know this is an important election but if you don’t stop sending me 50+ emails a day or 20+ robocalls/texts I swear I will vote for the other guy.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Can we have some semblance of normalcy, please? Can we put a cap on the amount of money that’s allowed to be spent by candidates and Super PACs? It seems that the $2Billion+ dollars spent could be put to better use than trying to elect one of two candidates that, at least for me, are lukewarm choices at best.

Can we strip all party designations so people don’t know what party they’re voting for? It seems to me that most people on either side of the ideological spectrum vote for the party rather than the candidate. Imagine an election where the candidates are chosen BY THEIR PLATFORM rather than by what “team” they belong to. I am so tired of football politics where it’s us vs. them. It should be which candidate most closely follows your beliefs and priorities. 

We have become so entrenched in this mindset that we cannot do anything close to resembling a proper civil discourse. It’s all insults and party-produced talking points. I’m sick of it.

I long for the days of relative civility, the time of Tip O’Neill, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Paul Simon, and even Bill Proxmire and his Golden Fleece award. I may not have agreed with some of them, but at least we didn’t have robocalls and the internet back then….

Vote for the Whig Party candidate!

Ideology and Congress: A historical perspective

Categories: Family Tags: , , , , , ,

DHS Warns of ‘Hacktivist’ Threat Against Industrial Control Systems — Krebs on Security

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

For those of you not in the technical field, this is scary stuff. It basically means that a determined person (or group) can access and control some of our most basic infrastructure elements by using undocumented access points that are called “backdoors” that are potentially unguarded.

These units control power stations; flight control systems, military equipment and nautical equipment. If any of you are interested in a career in IT, go into security. There is a tremendous need and a lack of good people.

DHS Warns of ‘Hacktivist’ Threat Against Industrial Control Systems — Krebs on Security.

Categories: Family

Shark Tank cracks in Dubai

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Hosted by

Maybe I’ll skip going to the food court today….

*UPDATE 08-23-2012* I was informed by numerous Twitter followers (that means YOU, Mitch J.) that this is Photoshopped. Oh well, it’s still a cool image.

Categories: Family

Philippines Ranks First in Business English Index (Proficiency) YAY!

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

From a GlobalEnglish Press release:

The Philippines was named the world’s best country in business English proficiency, even beating the United States, according to a recent study by GlobalEnglish Corporation.

GlobalEnglish has released early this month the results of its annual Business English Index (BEI), the only index that measures business English proficiency in the workplace.

For 2012, results showed that from 76 represented countries worldwide, only the Philippines attained a score above 7.0, “a BEI level within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks.”

“This is particularly interesting because the Philippines, a country with one-tenth of the population of India, recently overtook India as a hub for call centers. Over 400,000 Filipinos are now employed in call centers, roughly 50,000 more than in India,” the study said.

The Philippines, which scored 7.11 and the lone country in the intermediate level, were joined by Norway (6.54), Estonia (6.45), Serbia (6.38) and Slovenia (6.19) in the top five.

GlobalEnglish noted that a country’s business English capability is an indicator of its economic growth and business success.

“It is not surprising that both the Philippines and Norway—the only two countries in the top five in both 2011 and 2012—are improving their economies, based on the latest GDP data from the World Bank,” it added.

Meanwhile, struggling economic powers (Japan, Italy and Mexico) and fast-growth emerging markets (Brazil, Columbia and Chile) scored below a 4.0 in business English proficiency, placing them at a disadvantage when competing in a global marketplace, the study said.

It also pointed out that shifts in global talent have put even English-speaking countries at risk.

“Surprisingly the BEI score for global workers in the U.S. declined from 6.9 to 5.09 since the original 2011 BEI benchmark, which is attributed to a majority of test takers being foreign-born engineers and scientists,” the report said.

Rest of the world ranked beginner and basic level

Based on a scale of 1-10, the average 2012 BEI score across 108,000 test takers around the world is 4.15 which is lower than last year’s 4.46.

Nearly four out of 10 (38.2 percent) global workers from 76 countries were ranked as business English beginners, meaning that, on average, they can’t understand or communicate basic information during virtual or in-person meetings, read or write professional emails in English or deal with complexity and rapid change in a global business environment, the study said.

Meanwhile, the majority of global workers (60.5 percent) from the represented countries scored between a 4.0 and 7.0, below an intermediate level, indicating an inability to take an active role in business discussions or perform relatively complex tasks such as presentation development and customer or partner negotiations, it added.

GlobalEnglish stressed that the 2012 BEI which showed a lack of business English proficiency is threatening the productivity of companies, industries and country-specific economies this year.

“Poor Business English skills are bad for global businesses and this year’s Business English Index suggests that many companies will be hard-pressed to achieve their desired performance goals during 2012,” said Tom Kahl, GlobalEnglish President.

“Addressing English skills gaps and ensuring that employees can immediately perform at the necessary proficiency level should be viewed as a strategic imperative for multinational businesses, as Enterprise Fluency, the ability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate within global organizations, can deliver significant financial upside,” Kahl added.

Headquartered in Brisbane, California, GlobalEnglish works with multinational companies – including Cisco, Procter and Gamble, HSBC, Phzer – to support performance in business English across the workforce around the world.

Here’s the list of the 10 best and worst countries in the world for business English proficiency based on GlobalEnglish’s 2012 BEI:

10 Best Countries:

10 Worst Countries:
Cote d’Ivoire
El Salvador
Saudi Arabia