More birthday musings

The ancient netbook is on Day 3 of a Windows Update. After two full days, it finally showed what it found: 290 patches.

That must have been the slow part; it’s currently, after a mere 6 hours, 100 patches down, with 200 or so to go. It could be another full day before this round is done – and I anticipate several more runs before the system tells me it’s all caught up. Those should be much, much quicker.

There’s probably another analog to health here. The longer you let things slide, the longer and more effort it will take to determine what issues are present, let alone resolve them.

Part of me wonders if this is wasted time, because my plan is to swap in an SSD and I may be resinstalling from scratch. If the thing had a larger screen I’d skip straight to the latest Windows 10.


I pulled out and fired up an ancient netbook I last updated two years ago to see if it’s still functional. Yes and no.

When the Acer Aspire One was released in 2008, the eight year-old Windows XP was the dominant OS, and was finally feeling solid with service pack 3. Vista had been out a couple of years but remained unpopular, and Windows 7 was still a year or so away. XP was designed for much less capable hardware than 2008 was capable of, but the netbook category was a step back: lower resolution, slower chips, less memory, and dirt cheap.

Fast forward to today. My phone can run circles around the Acer in every respect, but the latter remains pretty capable. It runs Linux well, and I’ve installed early versions of Windows 10. It’s currently running Windows 8.1.

With an early Atom processor, 1200×600 pixel screen, one gigabyte of RAM, and its original 5400rpm spinning hard drive, there are some things it’s just not going to do well.  Like Windows Update – it took over two days just to gather the list of security updates it needed. 1Gb RAM on XP wasn’t ample, but it was decent. The early Atom chips are 32-bit only, so even though you can theoretically install 4Gb of RAM, you’ll be lucky to get 3Gb of it working, and 2Gb is the most they recommend.

You can’t even install the latest Windows 10 on this thing without upgrading the memory. 1Gb isn’t enough for a modern Windows OS. Windows 8.1 will run, but will run better on 2-3 Gb, and is only fun to use on 6-8Gb on a 64-bit CPU.

So, why bother? It’s not a terrible machine, all told. Built in webcam, built in LAN port, decent keyboard.  It’s still a testable box, especially with Linux. As an older machine, it doesn’t have a locked BIOS like newer tablets and laptops, so there’s more flexibility in changing (earlier) OSes. We always have a need for testing on older hardware.

So, cutting a long story a bit short, I looked into upgrades. 2Gb of memory costs about $15. An SSD will vastly improve disk operations, which is crucial with that little memory, and I have an old one I can swap in, costing nothing.

Why the long post about a computer? Perhaps it’s a birthday thing, but I’m getting older, and parts are creakier, but I’m not ready for the scrap pile yet. I’m working to renovate myself inside and out, making the most of what I still have. I’ve always appreciated computers that can be upgraded, however minimally. My wife made a desktop computer last for close to ten years through periodic updates to memory, hard drives, graphic cards, flash card readers, and so on. For a long time, I couldn’t wait to replace my equipment; three years felt like forever. But as the PC industry has matured, the machines gained longer and longer useful lifespans. As long as you aren’t into gaming, in which case you’re replacing video cards every few months, even a ten year-old computer can still hold its own in some tasks. Whether you WANT to continue using it is an ongoing question. For my wife, the old gray mare of a PC wasn’t keeping up with the newest Windows, the newest Photoshop, and the newest high-resolution images from a digital camera they couldn’t fathom in 2008. But someone else could receive that computer and make use of it happily, if all they need to do is browse the web and use Microsoft Office.

Starting again

Weighed 461 this morning. Ate poorly yesterday, from gas station snacks in the morning to with Jack in the Box and Randy’s Donuts around 11pm.

I had a 12p-1pm meal of thick cut pepper bacon and eggs with butter and avocado mayo, with a splash of olive oil. Heavy, heavy on the fat. I want this to carry me through to the end of the day. As of 8pm, it’s worked pretty well. I’m not at all hungry.

I prefer starting around 4pm so this is a bit early for me, but I’d like to get to bed earlier tonight – I was up too late last night, and that led to waking up later. With the earlier dawn, I’m waking up earlier whatever time I go to bed.

Making that decision to act, and following through until bedtime, is the hard part for me; if i can make it to the next morning with most of the first day under my belt I’m usually okay.

I have a 2 hour massage on Saturday; that would give me close to three days, with a good head start on reducing inflammation. I’d love to be at least 10 pounds down (water and gunk) when that happens. The massage tends to hurt less, and the muscles get better attention.

free food ain’t free

There were treats after a work meeting today: gourmet cupcakes. I had two, which is two more than I should have had.

Aside from that and a bar of 88% cacao chocolate, though, my food choices today weren’t bad. I ended the day with two eggs, two pats of butter, and a small baggie of bacon I brought from home. I resisted the vending machines, and steered clear of sodas. So, a slip but not a plummet, with a quick recovery and a strong finish.

For my first day back, I got my second wind. it’s been a long day, but I got a lot done. I should be able to finish my week’s tasks, despite the three sick days.

inflammation down

I ate a bit yesterday, keeping it fairly low carb. Macadamia nuts, pork rinds, Parmesan crisps, eggs, coconut and olive oil. Ate my last meal late, around 10 pm – sausage and cabbage. Nice fatty meal.

Didn’t sleep well at all, but still up before an early alarm. Took honey to work at 8 am, parked for about an hour to let the worst traffic subside, and left around 9. Was in the office around 10:30.

I was down another pound this morning, to 451. That 20 pounds down since Saturday makes a big difference.  Much less inflamed; fewer muscle and joint aches.

I may have come back too soon; time will tell.  But I’m glad I made it in.

ups and downs

Last week my sweet tooth got out of control. I took too many trips to the vending machine on Friday. Saturday was better – we had dinner at a Korean restaurant, and I skipped the soda and plenty of veggies – but I was feeling lousy and we didn’t leave the house until early evening.  I felt something coming on throughout the day, and by bedtime it was full blown – burning throat, congestion, etc.

Beyond a mere man cold, it’s taken four days before I felt something break. I feel weak, but better now, after the latest in a series of long naps and sleeps. I tried working from home but my brain has been largely fogged up and I’ve had zero energy. I’ve not been eating much, a mix of fasting and fat fasting. Eggs, parmesan crisps, nuts, oil, and avocado, with some high-fat yogurt.

The weight swings are a struggle. I reached a high of 470 pounds by Saturday. Most of the week I’d been hovering around 460, but the late week binge brought in a lot of inflammation.  The four days of illness and downtime have brought me down to 452. I still feel a bit bloated, but nothing like last weekend.

The more consistently I can eat properly, the better my progress. I’ve been in a holding pattern for months, but even there the high weight has largely declined. I’m looking forward to the next milestone, pushing below 440. I’ve come so close. I do want to do a big push, but I also want and need to reduce the arc of the pendulum. Tossing sugars and grains for even a solid month would go a long way toward that.

Fast Day 2&3

46 hours in. Feeling hunger pangs…or are they? it’s something, anyway. I haven’t decided to eat, but I do have eggs, mayo, and macadamia nuts on hand. I also have less healthy stuff, so for now I’m pressing on. I have water and fasting tea and salt on hand. (nope, I needed some macadamia nuts….which led to some chocolate. and more chocolate.)

Blood sugar was 106 a half hour ago, and 110 a little before noon. It’s come down 50 points from my recorded high two days ago, when I was snarfing chocolate Cadbury eggs, Hershey layers, Monster energy drinks, and Krispy Kreme.

My highest blood readings of 2017 have been in March (149, 154). Last week, with the Amish whoopie pies, and this week, with the Krispy Kreme and CVS candy run. My lowest was during the previous fast, at 58, the day after the glorious day five Keto meal. I want to do better at blood monitoring when eating as well as when fasting; right now I’m capturing mostly the extremes during eating.

I basically called it at two days. Sadly, once i started eating, I had trouble stopping. Will start again tonight, or tomorrow. Haven’t had a lunch with my honey in a while.

Day 2

Noticing a bit of achy pain in my right shoulder.

I’ve been taking hits of Himalayan pink salt and drinking Yogi fasting tea along with water.

Been peeing a lot.

Pretty typical, actually.

Closing in on Day 2

It’s almost 4pm, the end of day 1. Blood sugar is 110 (3:45p).

I weighed 461 this morning – down a pound from yesterday morning. I ate a bunch of junk prior to that, so I expected to have inflammation and such, so being down a pound was good news. I expect a bigger drop tomorrow. Bathroom breaks are already up significantly over yesterday.

The first day tends to be the easiest, depending on what time I begin; I still feel fed  (if not full) from the day before. The more I do this, the longer that “no, I’m good” feeling endures before I get that empty, calm feeling. When I start very late (10pm – midnight) I might feel the challenge beginning on day 1. So far, I don’t feel hungry.

It can depend on what I’ve eaten prior to calling the start time. When I lead into it with a bunch of crap, the mental change is a relief; the body is starting to believe that it’s getting a break. Each time’s a bit easier. It’s still better to launch into a fast from a good-food foundation, but my body’s happy to start regardless. Mentally, it’s been more of a challenge to cut myself off and embrace the fast, but once I do, I feel the changed state. Gratefully. The cravings are muted, the demands derailed. Food’s off the table for the moment, so focus elsewhere.

My sleep hygeine needs work (again, or still). Staying up way too late, but waking hours before the alarm…only to feel hammered when the alarm rings and hit snooze a few times. Legs have been swollen – not surprising – but not weepy. I weighed around 461 – a pound down from yesterday, so I halted the rise. Had I not started the fast, I would have expected another gain of a pound or two. Today should see a decent drop as water exits.

I bought several hundred alcohol wipes, and ordered some more lancets and test strips from Amazon. I should be covered for a few more months.

So far, so good. I’d like to go until at least Wednesday morning, or 6.5 days.

snarfing sprint to the next fast

Yeah, another banner day (week?) of pre-fast binging.

Weighed about 462 this morning, so up 22 pounds from the end of the last fast. And I undoubtedly spotted myself a couple more pounds prior to starting the watch on this fast, at 4pm. For the record: two Monster Ultra energy drinks, a 32-ounce Mountain Dew, four Krispy Kreme donuts, a Fajita Pita and nacho cheese big taco from Jack in the Box, and some cadbury eggs and Hershey Layers chocolates.

I didn’t eat the entire bags of Hershey.  I haven’t thrown them out, but I am tempted to drop them on the break room table. I have other chocolate in my cabinet, but that’s 88% cacao and relatively safe for Keto eating .

One of my goals this year is to flatten out the yo-yo’s peaks and valleys by improving my food choices between meals. I’d rather lose less in each fast if it means  gaining less between fasts. I think my body would appreciate the greater consistency.

I’m also striving to change the way I talk about my choices. Less negative talk, improved framing, fewer extremes. I catch myself saying “I hate…” and follow with “hate’s an extreme term” and rephrase to more accurately reflect what I’m feeling about whatever prompted the original thought. I’ve frequently gone overboard on purpose, so it’s a habit I’d like to overcome. Not arguing politics online has helped. Driving? Well, I do live in southern California. But even there, changing “you maniac!” to “oy; not the best lane change” defuses some of the irritation. As does reminding myself when I haven’t demonstrated the best driving as a way to cut someone else some slack.

So…I’m about 4 hours in. 4pm has been a starting point for several of my fasts.  By the time I wake up tomorrow, around 8am, I’m 16 hours in, which is where the body starts to get busy. The first 12 hours are almost a gimme – a minimal Intermittent fast. I tend to feel at least somewhat full for the first 24 hours. Well into day 2 is when the transition is most keenly felt, but with a 4pm start time, I’m 40 hours in when I wake up and most of the worst has already passed.

I next meet with IDM next Wednesday. I’d like to fast from now until then (and beyond). That would put me on the downslope of day 7. It would also get me through the first couple of days of the new workweek and give me potential momentum for a fast over seven days.