Spammers Attack

Over the past week I’ve had a problem with spammers hitting my comment form hardcore both here and at 2 Hole Cards so hard it was crashing the web host server. They had to disable the sites and it looks like the spammers have moved along. Just to help out for future attacks, I’ve upgraded to the latest and greatest testing version of WordPress and added Spam Karma 2.3 as a new plugin.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Space

I love my 50 inch LCD wide screen TV.

I love my 13 inch wide screen MacBook.

I just hooked up a 19 inch wide screen high definition display as my primary monitor at work and moved my normal 19 inch to a secondary monitor. I’m not quite sure I like the wide screen display. If I was watching movies all the time it would be awesome, but this is work and I’m using applications and browsing the web.

When it comes to browsing the web I’d rather have vertical space than horizontal real estate. There aren’t many web pages that look real great on a wide screen. Studies have shown (don’t ask me for proof) that humans prefer to read shorter lines of text. I know I read it somewhere. A couple of hours after setting things up, I’d have to agree.

I want to scroll up and down as little as possible. With a wide screen display, there is a lot more vertical scrolling. I’ve rarely ever had to scroll horizontally when browsing web sites, so I don’t like all the extra horizontal space.

Just rotate the display you say? No thanks. It looks goofy next to the normal monitor and is way too tall. If I had two wide screen displays rotated I think it would be great. But I don’t.

What do your prefer?

Knock Knock

One thing I don’t like about being a homeowner is all the knocks at my front door. Everybody wants something. Yesterday it was some young kid looking for signatures, donations, and people to write letters to the Senator for the Michigan trash problem. Now that the weather has warmed up it seems like I’m getting a couple of people a week at the door.

Eliminate the Big Numbers

One of the weaknesses in my game right now is the dreaded “big number.” I’ll end up taking an 8 on a hole and lately it seems to end up being the last hole of the day pretty often. On Friday I shot 46-42 with an 8 on hole #18 at Swan Valley. Saturday I shot 39 and didn’t record anything but 3s, 4s, and 5s on the scorecard at Twin Oaks back nine. Sunday it was 47-45 at Currie Municipal West in Midland again with an 8 on #18.

Today is the first day for one of my golf leagues, so I’m looking forward to it. Last year in this league I took the trophy for low actual of the year with one under par 34. All 27 holes at Twin Oaks are wide open, so I can play a simple grip it and rip it style of play. Wish me luck!

Charting Golf

I’ve been keeping track of every round of golf I play since 2000. I’m a little weird like that. Does anyone else do this? I don’t keep track of putts, birdies, sand saves, or anything extravagant like that. Date, course, and score are what I save into a little spread sheet which is has a sheet for each year, and then a stats sheet which gives some averages. I use Google Docs and Spreadsheets so I have easy access to the file wherever I have an Internet connection. Today Google added the ability to insert charts in spreadsheets, so I figured I’d have a little fun with it. Click each chart for a larger version.

This first chart shows my average 9 hole score by year. I’ve come a long way since I started playing golf seriously back around 2000. I like the downward trend in scores!

Average Score by Year


The second chart shows the number of 9 hole rounds I’ve played each year. Looks like the previous chart is definitely affected by this chart. The more I play, the better I get, and the more my average drops.

9 Hole Rounds by Year


This chart shows the number of times I’ve shot in a certain range each year. Looks like I haven’t been in the 60s in quite some time. Now if I could eliminate the 50s that creep in once in awhile I’d be happy.

Scoring Frequency


The final chart just shows the best and worst scores each year. Last year I managed a 1 under par 34 during league play. Hopefully I can improve on that by a stroke this year. I’ve already beat last years worst score by 2 strokes, which isn’t something I’d like to do.

Best and Worse Scores of Year


If anyone is interested in the spreadsheet I use, I can try to explain it and make it available for download. The only goofy thing is when I enter a new year, it takes a little spreadsheet knowledge.

Whiffs

It didn’t take long to fail at one of my goals for the 2007 golf season. Yesterday I went to Valley View Farm Golf Course. After 5pm right now they have all you can golf with cart for $15. It’s supposed to be $30 for a two-some, but the guy let me get away with the rate for just myself.

I started on the back nine, hitting two in the water and taking a 9. Shot 2 more balls in the water on the round and also lost a ball somewhere in the open (it must have plugged on my drive). I managed to make a birdie on #18 and somehow ended up shooting a 46. Not bad with 5 penalty strokes and the 5 shots from drops. I started out a little rough on the front nine. Took a double bogey 6 on #1, then hit my tee shot into the water on the 180 yard par 3. Ended with a 6 on that hole. From there I made a nice string of bogeys and pars.

On #8 I topped my drive which barely cleared the water in from of the tee box. Pull-hooked a 3 wood, but it caught a tree and dropped down. Tried to make a dumb shot out of the trees and nearly missed the ball. Duffed a wedge into a little dip in the fairway where water sometimes runs through. At this point I’m not quite sure what happened, but I missed the ball twice in a row. Ended with a 10 on the hole. Hit a horid push slice on #9 off a tree and who knows where it ended up. Played a provisional off the tee right down the middle. Why couldn’t I do that the first time? Ended with an 8 on the final hole for a total of 51! OUCH! 18 strokes on the last two holes to break 50 in the wrong direction.

I starting driving back to 10, but a group had just teed off and I saw some people on the holes in front of them. With the scores I had just shot, I decided to call it a night. I played 18 holes of ugly golf in 2 hours. At least I got to enjoy the weather…

H&R Block Knows the Value of a Customer

I usually do my own taxes, but with the sale of pokerchiptricks.com and all of the other miscellaneous income from web sites this year, I was more than a little confused. I started with the free TaxCut federal version from H&R Block. Once I got to the part for State taxes, I went ahead and purchased the Michigan version for $24.95. My credit card ended up being charged twice for some reason.

After completing my taxes to the best of my ability I figured it was probably a smart idea to have a tax professional do them. I called H&R Block on Wednesday of last week and made an appointment for Thursday after work. I stopped in with my stack of receipts and records. An hour and a half later I was walking out the door with some homework. I forgot about some of the home business use deductions/expenses I could take. I called back the next day, giving the amounts I came up with. She said everything would be done and I could stop in after work.

So I stopped back in and spent nearly another hour having her explain everything to me. She said it was one of the larger piles of paper she had seen for a tax return. If I had gone with my TaxCut run through I would have had quite a few mistakes, so I’m glad I had a pro take care of it. After a $40 coupon, it cost me $625 which I think is a bit high, but H&R Block has their Guarantee thing which is part of that total price, so if they made a mistake, they pay for it, not me. They charge according to the number of forms and everything too, so with a complicated return, the cost goes way up.

The tax professional I worked with and the woman working the front desk were both very courteous to me each time I came in or talked to them on the phone. Overall I had a very good experience at their office and was surprised how friendly they were considering it was the last couple of days of tax season.

This weekend I jumped online and sent an email to customer support explaining my position with the double charge for the state version of their software and also asking if I could get refunded for both charges since I went in to one of their offices and paid a pretty penny to get my taxes prepared. A day later I received a message explaining I would be refunded for both charges and they didn’t ask me anything. Not a single question about what office I visited (they may have looked it up on their own) or anything. I don’t know how many other times I’ve had bad customer service experiences where the company didn’t realize the value of a customer and word of mouth. I’ll highly recommend using H&R Block to anyone in the future.

Tax Day 2007

I just mailed out checks for my 2006 taxes and estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2007. Are your taxes done?

Fatblogging

A few months ago Jason Calacanis started a flatblogging revolution. He challenged bloggers to work on their health and fitness, writing about it along the way. Well, I’ve been working out consistently for over a year now and haven written about it in awhile. Back on February of last year, I wrote about my weight nearly hitting 200. Today I’m just shy of 175 and have been there consistently for the past 4-6 months.

Getting fit has made me a lot healthier in many areas of life. My total cholesterol was 191 and my HDL was 39 a year ago. At my last check 2 weeks ago, those numbers were at 154 and 48. On Friday I had my body fat tested with the caliper pinch things. They took a measurement from my chest, abs, and thigh. I only have 8.5% body fat which was pretty surprised to find out. My mom bought me a new scale for Christmas which tests body fat and that thing is constantly giving me numbers in the 18% range, which just goes to show how horrible they are.

So how have I dropped over 20 pounds and turned to a healthy life style? What does my routine incorporate?

Probably the biggest factor has been the change in what I eat. I used to eat out all the time. Two double cheeseburgers, a small fry, and a 6 piece nugget from McDonald’s? Sure, that sounded like a good lunch to me.

Breakfast

I will usually have one (or a combination) of the following:

  • Bowl of some type of whole-grain cereal.
  • Waffles with low fat syrup.
  • Bagel with cream cheese.
  • Oatmeal

Morning Snack

Almost always some type of fruit. Either 2 bananas, a couple of apples, pineapple. or cantelope.

Lunch

Either a turkey sandwich, leftovers from a previous dinner, or breakfast style burritos that I make on my own.

Afternoon Snack

Usuualy trail mix, granola, almonds, or walnuts.

Dinner

I eat a lot of chicken and fish these days. I cook it several different ways to keep it from getting old. Once in awhile I’ll whip up some pork chops, steak, or some other type of beef meal.

Night snack

This is usually where I cheat and eat something bad for me. Although I do try to eat some fruit at night as well.

Eating breakfast every morning and spreading food out throughout the day helps a lot. I try not to stuff myself during any one meal. You don’t have to be religious in your eating habits, you just have to realize what you are putting in your body. Eat something “fatty” once in awhile to keep yourself sane. I also use whey protein to get some of that extra muscle building power. I use it in smoothies (which I always have after weight lifting), milk, and oatmeal.

Workouts

Two or three times a week I lift weights which usually includes bench press, curls, triceps skulls, close handed bench press, and dips. Sometimes I’ll do a few other movements. Ab work is done three times a week for about 10 minutes each time. You don’t need to kill yourself doing thousands of sit ups a day. Make sure to use good form in your movements and target all areas of your abs. Keep rest periods short and crank out the workout to get it over with.

I do cardio 5 or 6 times a week with one of two of those days being some type of high intensity interval training (HIIT). I run, bike, and use my elliptical machine. I’ve also started to do a little swimming in preparation for a couple of summer triathlons I’d like to do this year. I bought Total Immersion after several recommendations and reviews, so I’ve been slowing going through the drills learning correct form and how to swim. I’m not so good at the whole head under water and breathing part.

So there you have it…this is how I do it. What type of workouts do you like? Any tips you’ve found useful in your own quest to become healthy?