The Check-in. April 2018.

This month has flown by. One of the busiest in recent memory.

I was out of town every weekend in April doing something. Which was fun, and exhausting. In the spirit of that this post will be short and sweet and totally miss details. Always more to do.

The business didn’t stop me from keeping on those #hashtaggoals.

Political Stuff

In terms of political stuff, I moderated my first debate/town hall/forum for two of the Democratic candidates for IN-4. It was a fun, new experience that I would not mind doing again. I’d wish I would have probed on some of the answers, but I was so focused on getting through the many questions in time for the audience questions that I got sidetracked.

Here is the video for the event!

Podcast

Like all good people who are tragically online, I’ve started a podcast with my cousin, Jay Pavlina! It’s ostensibly about game development and programming, but we touch on some weird, wild stuff as well. Jay explains more here. Check out our first episode! We are recording episode two this weekend, so stay on the lookout for that.

That VG Goodness

Upgraded the setup once again to new degrees of greatness/completely unnecessariness.

Firstly, I got tired of Tim and Matt play streaming in potato quality, so I went to Purdue Surplus and grabbed the best machine they had there for $50. It needed RAM and HDD, and I had that. It proved to be a choice decision as the machine can stream and record in 1080/30 (limitation of the capture device I have) to Twitch.

Second, after trying for a while I was able to snag a gscartsw_lite, which allows me to have all my old consoles connect via RGB without having to switch. This also provides dual outputs so I can hook it up to my upscaler as well as my CRT television. In essence, I can now stream to Twitch, play on the HD TV and play on the CRT all at the same time. It’s very cool! (Like, I think it’s cool) It works, the problem is the SCART cables I bought are of surprisingly low quality and introduce an abundance of noise to the signal. I have some much better (and sadly, more expensive) SCART cables coming from the UK as we speak.

Running

Let’s see where we are this month:
April 2018: 75.1 Miles
April 2017: 30.9 Miles
Difference: +44.2 Miles
Year difference from 2017 (as of this post): +176.7 Miles

Whew, what a month. 2018 is proving to be wild.

On The Beginning of the End or 2012: a Futurespective

Part of this whole “New Years Resolution” nonsense is to address the following year. To take a look back and see how you did on last years resolutions and what kind of progress has been made. Let’s get that out of the way first, close out 2011.

Get into shape – 50% See me after class

I started this so well. I was getting into the best shape of my life. I felt great, I was losing weight. I started the P90x program and was doing it every day. I was half-way through and for some reason I stopped. I got called for jury duty and that little change was enough to throw me off kilter. Day 45 of 90 exactly. I stopped. Which means…

Run a marathon. – Failed

I need to do this. Stop screwing around and just do it. It will always be a loose end unless I buckle down and do it. Dude, sack up.

Become a digital minimalist. – Success! (Well, succeeding)

This has been a gargantuan undertaking. Who knew 24 years of a primarily analog life would lead to so much work?  I am slowly downsizing the whole of everything. It is amazingly boring and time consuming. That being said, there is lights that are being seen at the end of the tunnel. Every little thing I get rid of takes one more rock off my chest. It’s an amazing feeling.

Be more adult. – Rousing Success

This was the big one for me. This is the one I really wanted to focus in on and I think I have done a pretty great job. It is something that, by my interaction at least, is being skipped over for most people. For most of us, as I mentioned in the post right before this one, we are incredibly lucky to live like we do, sure we are human and experience setbacks, but that doesn’t mean we need to complain about every one. That is adolescent. Something my peers should be exiting. Something I want to be done with. That might mean sucking it up and doing something that is painful or unpleasant, but we are nothing if not adaptable. This year I have made a conscious effort to do what needs to be done with little to no complaints because it was was needed to be done (That kind of makes me sound like a hit man, but I promise, I am not a hit man). To be perfectly honest, it hasn’t been easy. It was against my nature. It took stretching and growth, but it worked. An unintended, but welcomed side-effect of this has been that when everyone sucks it up and does what needs to be done, there is no drama (well, little drama). It’s great to see things go so smoothly.

Adapting that “do what needs to be done” mentality, I managed to pull the best grades since Summer 2007: A, A, A+, C (Seriously guys, that C is in ECE 311: Electromagnetics and I am more proud of that C than any of the others) Also, Yes, Mary that is me bragging. If there is one thing I know about Mary it is that she likes to say I always brag (I do not).

This has been the key to my recent successes. If you want to achieve a dream or goal it takes work and most of it consists of not things that are not constantly fun. In closing, this one mental change has transformed my life more than any other thing I have done in recent memory.

OK, on to 2012

Continue Being an Adult

Ok, good job 2011 me, but you are not in the clear. Growth is one thing, but maintaining that growth is something new all together. Regression is an easy thing, and I don’t want to regress. For the first time in a long time I feel my life is back in the right direction and reverting back to my formal bad habits and attitudes would be a monumental failure. This is the prime objective and the one on which everything hinges.

Get Healthy

This one is a comment on last years, but changed in a real way. Getting fit is one thing, but getting healthy is a whole other battle. I want to get in shape. I want to start and finish P90x and I want to continue to work on my running. This NEEDS to be the year in which I run that marathon. I am not getting any younger and there is no time like the present. The other side to this is diet. That is something I never took extremely serious, but it plays an as important, if not more important role in this. These all make up to a healthier me. I actually enjoy living and I want to do it as much as I can. I can’t control what happens to me externally, but I sure can keep the machine in top working order.

To ensure my success in this I am going to be keeping metrics on all the important things and posting them on here. Caloric intake, weight, exercise, dates, times, all of this and more will be updated weekly and a monthly wrap-up post detailing my thoughts and feelings. This will be aggregated somewhere on the blog, and available at large and all those details will be posted soon.

Read More Books

I read. I read a lot actually. The thing is that I don’t read books. I read articles, news, blogs, but not books. The one thing, more than anything else, that can improve your writing beyond actually writing is reading. Seeing different styles and words can help you learn and develop your own sort of style (Do you guys ever notice I use a lot of parenthetical asides when I write? This is part of the style I have created and I got it from reading). Since I have school, I want to make a realistic goal for this. 12 books, 12 months, 1 a month. That is completely manageable. Hopefully this will make me more smarter.

Finish Condensing My Life (Digital Minimalism cont.)

This is by far the most tedious but necessary thing on the list. I have done a pretty good job of becoming unattached to (most) material possessions, but I need to finish the job. I am giving myself a due date.  End of the year I better be finished minimizing. I should be a lean, streamlines, model of human existence. The reason for this is that I graduate in the Fall of 2013. I start senior design in Spring 2013. That will most likely take up all my time. What little free time I have I want to use to secure a job and get a place to live. I can’t be messing around with minimizing stuff. I want to “hit the ground running” as they say. I want to be move-out ready when I get that diploma.

More Music

I kind of started this back a couple months ago, but I need more new music. I used to be on the cusp of new, great music, but it dropped off. This is unacceptable. I love music and need to keep listening to new stuff. My goal is that every month I have at least 10 new albums (doesn’t have to be just released, just stuff I haven’t heard). I hope to share those with you guys, too. On here and via Spotify. I love Spotify. Go get Spotify.

Share More and Better

This blog is now 9 years old. (Wow, seriously 9 years old!) There has been some major changes to the site over the years. Names, and URLs. (So happy I own killertofu.com) With that I haven’t always had the easiest way to proliferate or interact with everyone about content. That is changing with Facebook and Twitter integration as well as the addition of Disqus as the comment manager. Disqus lets me respond to people and let other people respond to other people much easier and let’s you also use your Twitter, Facebook, or Google logins. Streamlined! I like writing and opening up dialogue, but speaking in a room by myself is never ideal. I want you guys, yeah you reading this right now, to join the discussion. I am genuinely interested in what you have to say.

I also want to share more with you guys, more than these long posts. I want to share stuff I watch, read, and maybe some quick photos. I can do that on Twitter now, but it is fleeting. It get buried in the annals of Twitter within a day. I could start a Tumblr, but I pretty much hate Tumblr and don’t have as much control over a Tumblr as I do my own site. So, here is what I’m going to do. I am going to start 2 “sub-sites” maybe they will change over time, but I am going to make something called KT Mini which is little photos and videos I make that don’t warrant a full post. This will all be from my life and not from sharing other internet related stuff. The second is KT Share, which is my Tumblr-esque site. It will have all stuff around the web I think you guys would enjoy or stuff I really enjoyed. These will remain semi-independent and not appear on the front page or within the blog itself. I need to still get this in order, but hopefully this will let me share more with you guys.

 

That’s all I really have for 2012. I am not winning any point for originality, but then again this isn’t about originality. It’s about making my life better and that is something I can whole-heatedly embrace. Look for updates to this site, where KT get’s a little better.
Since Disqus is live right now, leave me some comments. What do you guys think of my goals? What are your goals? Leave ’em!

Addendum

Get a Manicure

This might seem slightly strange, but this has an underlying point. I have had this terrible habit that I haven’t been able to kick: biting my nails. I have tried so many times, that I lost count. I am currently in the middle of the longest run of not biting my nails. I want to end this and not have hands that look like they have just seen war. The triumph for this would be to be actually able to get a manicure. A little effeminate, sure, but it is something I have never been able to do because of my lack of nail length. I want to be a pretty man.

Finish My Damn Short Story

I have had this idea kicking around for a short story for years now. I need to put the pen to the page and finish this. It keeps coming up in my head which means that until I close this loop it will always haunt me. I don’t do nearly enough fiction writing anyway, so it’s something to grow myself as a writer as well. All I need is a good weekend to sit down and bang it out. It needs some research to it, too, despite its fictional nature. Anyway, I will post it here when I do finish it for your ridicule.

Practice Japanese, You Know, if There is Time

This is not so much a resolution, but something I need to do, but it is not the top priority. So, if I find myself with a free moment and everything else is done (yeah right, dude) I want to continue practicing Japanese. I have forgotten so much of it. *sigh*

On Future Goals Through the Lens of Physical Fitness.

My friends will laugh when seeing the title of this post because it is something I have been very vocal about since I started taking physical fitness seriously. I promise this post will not be in the style of dudebro. More this is peek into my thoughts and feelings on physical fitness and exercise as a whole and why I believe it can propel our other, loftier goals.

 

As said in numerous other posts I have not been the most athletic lad growing up. I was always a very skinny kid, but once junior high came around my metabolism decided it needed a rest and has been asleep every since. About the time I hit junior or senior year of high school I was fed up with being as chubby as I was. My weight fluctuates like crazy so in the past years I have gone from weights as low as 155 to as high as 210. Without boring you too much with the past that brings me to now.

 

I live in a country where one of our biggest health problems lies in our gluttony. You would be hard pressed to walk into a store, park, or any other venue where people congregate without running into someone overweight. I do understand that some people have genetic issues where it is extremely hard to lose weight, and I do have sympathy for those individuals, but the majority of us do not suffer from such misfortunes. No, most of us just can’t help but stuff our faces with the myriad fast food choices available at the drop of a hat. If you break it down to its base parts, the issue does not lie with taste, connivence, or speed, but in our loss of discipline. We can’t seem to muster up the will power to abstain from practices we know to be bad or difficult to accomplish.

If you can tell from my thinly veiled attempt to lead you into seeing that obesity is not a problem just for our diets, but due to the society as a whole. The bar to which we hold ourselves accountable to has become deplorable. We used to be a nation who would not settle for second best, but in a few short generations, second best isn’t even an attainable goal.

This past year I have lead a personal charge to not fall prey to the prevailing attitudes. One such attempt has been made on my physical well-being. I didn’t just want to get in decent shape; I wanted great shape. It has been tough. Really tough. Tougher than many things have done in recent memory. I’ve started a program called P90X which is all about intensity and discipline. It’s a rigorous 90 day program where you work out every day and cover just about all aspects of physical fitness. To get the results promised you also have to modify your diet, which you can do with the provided nutrition guide. The thing is that it’s not just the physical endurance you will need to do it, it’s the mental discipline. It is everyday for 90 days. You don’t miss a day.

 

I’m about 40 days into it and there has been days where I just don’t want to do it. It’s physically demanding and some days I can’t seem to muster the energy to start it. There is a line that the host, Tony Horton, says in one of the videos, “Just keep pushing play.” It’s simple, but good advice. Once you start it’s not bad. If you can just hit the play button, the next thing you know another day will be ticked off the list. I want to dispel something I hear quite often which is that some people who exercise often are somehow less effected by the exercise, i.e., the more fit you are the less exercise hurts. Exercising is tough no matter how in shape you are, it’s exhausting, it burns, it’s painful. The point I am trying to get across is that exercise isn’t so much about it being fun (which it very well can be), but about being healthy, living longer, being less prone to disease and injury, and all the other great benefits that come along with being physically well.

 

Being fit opens up a whole new world of things to you. The energy and self-confidence gained will astonish you. It focuses you and gets you motivated to achieve goals that are difficult to see. This may not be of interest to all of you, but there is many parts of this green Earth that are not able to be reached by car, bus, plane, train, or boat. You can see the majesty and beauty this world actually contains, but it’s hard to do that when you have to climb or walk there without being in shape. There is a blog that I ran into recently that chronicled the journey three guys took on their bike from the southern-most tip to the northern-most tip of Japan. They biked the whole way and spent most of it outside. It just seems like such a great journey and those guys can tell you it whipped their butt to do it.

This post probably sounds preachy, but it’s supposed to. The human body was meant to climb, jump, run, and play. That and our brain helped us achieve the dominance we enjoy today. Ignoring half of ourselves is not right. We are becoming more and more a sedentary culture and it will lead to being like those humans in WALL-E. I have never been more motivated, energetic, and productive. I have also never been more in shape. The strong correlation is not an accident, it is what gave us the edge. It’s how we evolved. To fight it is to invite problems into your life. Once you realize this, you will be much happier. I am.

Photo belongs to unframmedworld.com