March 2018 Update

It’s that time again! Just got home from our monthly Budget and Goals dinner and I’ve got some updates on goals!

Entered Sweetwater Cabin Lottery: There is a small, private spring and cabin in the heart of the Ocala National Forest, rentable by the week. It’s one of the only springs I’ve never been to in Florida, mostly because you have to win a lottery to even pay to reserve it. Threw in my entry for this year–here’s hoping!

Posted Weight Loss Blog: In case you didn’t see, I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past few years! Read about it in my recent blog post.

Finished Reading Leaders Eat Last: As part of a work book club, I finally finished reading Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. A common selection for leadership, it’s a really good basic look into what powers actual motivation and how you can respect that in your leadership style. Worth a read for sure.

Performed Some Car Maintenance: Typical stuff, but changed the oil in the Fit myself for the first time (thanks for the assist Erik!) and had the tires rotated and balanced (a good combo with oil changes as a rule of thumb). Next month I’m rolling it into the shop for some major, milestone work: all new brake pads and rotors, a brake fluid replace, a complete transmission fluid flush and replace, and new spark plugs.

Planned Charlotte / Blowing Rock Trip: In an effort to see some possible move spots, I’m taking a trip with Vic for an extended weekend to see Charlotte for a couple days and chill in Blowing Rock in between. Too much driving but should be a good time.

Continue reading “March 2018 Update”

How I Lost 70 Pounds (And You Can Too!)

 

I’ve never been a smaller dude. I had a pretty average build throughout grade school and never paid much attention to developing healthy habits. I started putting on the pounds in college as I had less and less structure to keep me away from bad habits. Starting a full-time desk job continued the increase, both from the lack of activity and the increased stress and pressure to eat out and snack. I was a motivated person back then, but food was a comfort through bad days and bad times.

By the end of 2013 I’d grown as a person, been put in charge of a team at work and bought a house, but I was still turning a blind eye to the weight (then around 245). Christmas photos started to get under my skin and clothes shopping was a nightmare but I was pretty comfortable with my life overall and didn’t have a lot of motivation to change. Besides, I knew the only way to lose weight was to develop a love for salads and exercise all day and that was a nonstarter. I maintained a weight of just under 250 (my peak) through March 2015.


I‘d always joked that some medical issue would be the motivation I’d need to lose weight, but I wasn’t expecting it to actually happen. One stressful Sunday about halfway through March, I started experiencing pain in my left big toe. I remember walking around my neighborhood unable to put pressure on the right side of my foot. That night the pain was so bad I couldn’t fall asleep; I’d jolt awake every time my toe would move or even brush against the covers. I rode out this swelling for four more days, working from home the best I could with my feet in a tub of cold water for hours at a time.

Continue reading “How I Lost 70 Pounds (And You Can Too!)”

​February 2018 Update

Budget Updates: In our efforts to continuously approve, Rob and I augmented our budget tracking to include a record of our amount over/under budget for each month. We also added a “now” column to record the actual amount in each savings and checking account just to stay aware of the bigger picture.

ART and Massage: I’ve been kind of on-and-off-again about massages; they seem to help by lower back issues but they’re a little expensive. To try to get back on track, I got a handful of one-a-month visits scheduled through summer. On the kind and helpful advice of one Colson, I also kicked myself into gear about finding a permanent solution to these nagging pain issues. After searching around for an ART provider I came across a PT in a sports medicine / gym facility and attended an eval session that really could not have gone better. She walked me through everything, sated my appetite for a high understanding of the issue and way in which we were going to tackle it, and her prescribed exercises assure me it’s being taken seriously. Also a bit expensive, but looks like I’ll be hitting that 2x a month for a little bit.

New Videos: I released a couple fun project videos in February: a Celeste video walkthrough of a difficult level and a montage of footage from all of my Florida Springs trips from the past several years. I probably need to commit to a little less editing and perfectionism for the actual ROI I get out of this, but I’m glad to have made both. Check ‘em out!

Car Maintenance: One of the larger goals I have this year is to get my 2010 Honda Fit all of its appropriate high-mileage (80k+) maintenance (and I’m still figuring out all that entails). This month I tackled some easy stuff: new engine and cabin air filters and a new battery.

Landscaping Refresh: I put a good bit of work into redoing the landscaping around the front and sides of the house in October 2014, but I haven’t really had to do much since then other than nips and tucks here and there. This winter we had a few freezes and it was enough to knock out most of the potted plants. We all spent a Sunday picking up several new plants (mostly crotons) and rearranged the original brick tree ring. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but it looks really nice right now!

New Dentist: The state dropped my normal dental insurance last year and forced me to choose a new provider. I made sure my current dentist was on the supported providers list and signed up during open enrollment. As soon as the new year kicked in, my current dentist dropped the plan. That launched me on a fun adventure of calling around, surfing a terrible provider listing, and finally finding a small family practice north of campus. Only, I couldn’t actually make an appointment until I called my insurance, “selected” them as my provider, and waited for them to fax a form to the dentist proving my eligibility to schedule an appointment. Insurance!

Continue reading “​February 2018 Update”

Florida Springs Video

Throughout the last decade or so, I’ve had the privilege of visiting most of the springs in Florida. I had a lot of personal, amateur video lying around, so I thought I’d throw together a little fun clips video to share my adventures. Enjoy!

Celeste Summit B-Side

One of the best surprises of 2018 so far has been Celeste, a tough-but-encouraging platformer by the developers of Towerfall: Ascension. I bought it after reading reviews on launch day and was enamored by its music, style, gameplay…really everything about it. Get it, play it; you will absolutely love it.

I may have more words on this game later, but check out a little video I put together this weekend on one of the harder levels in the game: the “B-Side” of Chapter 7, “The Summit.” I snapped video of every screen via PS4 capture and stitched them all together showcasing each screen’s first attempt, a death montage, and the screen’s successful attempt. Enjoy!

January 2018 Updates

Hey all! Some quick updates from me, trying to get in the habit of reflecting on what I accomplished or did in the month prior.

  • Built Go-Bags: In an attempt to make travel a little less painful, I built out a couple “go-bags”, one for electronics and one for toiletries, that are already packed with anything I’d need to stay overnight for a few days anywhere. I used them on a quick trip to St. Petersburg to see the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert (which was excellent!) and they worked out really well.The electronics bag: lightning cable; micro USB cable; portable battery pack; 4-port USB wall charger; iPad 12v wall charger; Nintendo Switch USB-C car charger; an Apple Watch charging cable; and a pen. The toiletries bag: clippers; toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss; deodorant; a razor; a small mirror; band-aids; a tiny tube of sunscreen; a microfiber cloth; and a seal-able wet bag.
  • Taxes Done, Refund Received: I’m usually pretty fast on this, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it fast enough to receive my refund in January. 100% of it into savings, as usual.
  • Held a LAN Party: Taking advantage of my boycott of the Super Bowl, I threw together a quick Halo: Master Chief Collection LAN party Sunday night instead. I was prepared for my rosy memories of chaos, hushed whispers of tactics, and cries of excitement to be let down, but despite all odds I felt transported back to the heights of our church meet-up LANs and generally had just a complete blast. I hope to be able to put together a larger and longer (heyo) attempt with MCC, especially after the next patch.
  • Nights and Weekends Planning: Off to a good start! Using our “Home Nights” board (over only three nights a week), we completed games 2-7 of Charterstone, played through the main story in Celeste, sat through Baby Driver, started Stranger Things S2, watched half of Planet Earth II, played through both expansions of Forza Horizon 3 (that 4K patch tho), and dove back onto the Wii U to play through New Super Mario Bros. U. Likewise, our “Weekends” list has helped us plan for and sync on visiting Kennedy Space Center, hitting up all four Disney parks before our passes expired, catching Pokemon Go community events, planning dinners with friends, and even cooking meals. I’ve found it pretty stressful when my night comes up and nothing calls to me, but it’s something to work on.

(And now that it’s 2/19, I should probably go ahead and post this. >_>)

2017 Highlights and 2018 Goals

Welcome to 2018! It’s hard to believe half of January is gone already. Today I’m enjoying the day alone (MLK Jr. Day off) and taking advantage of the focus and freedom before the barren wasteland of no-holiday-Spring kicks into gear. After some cleaning, gaming, organizing, and bike riding, I figured today would be a swell day to write about the status of my 2017 goals and some thoughts on what I’d like to accomplish in 2018.


2017 Goals in Review

Budget Update: Budgeting and general money-stuffs went pretty well in 2017. I started direct-depositing most of my non-essential earnings into savings (check) and ended up saving quite a bit more than I did the year prior (double-check). In general, auto-hiding that money even though it was only a quick transfer away helped me focus on the amount I was budgeting for spending. Saving is awesome, and I’d highly recommend prioritizing it more if you can manage it.

Vacations: Planning vacations for the year ahead was killer and it completely worked for us. Those plans gave us something to look forward to no matter the time of year, and they all turned out much, much better having been planned in advance. We were able to chart out more mid-trip destinations, score better deals on lodging, and budget time off much more effectively. Traveling constantly, even if the destinations were just a couple hours away, also really made the year feel jam-packed with adventure and fulfilling exploration. I thought the constant travel might feel overwhelming (we even tried to plan to only go out every other weekend) but it ended up being so motivating that I wanted to go out most weekends. It helped tremendously to have a checklist of destinations (more on that below). Some years will be less predictable than others, but planning in advance paid off more than I was expecting.

Continue reading “2017 Highlights and 2018 Goals”