Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fixed in my Mind with a Determined Resolution

This post is brought to you by a killer headache and sore throat, Classic Sinatra: 1953-1960, and Alma 47:6.

I’ve never before kept a New Year’s resolution for longer than a few months. To be fair to me (which I have half a mind to do), that’s because I was reaching for the stars (write a best-selling novel, read my scriptures for 15 minutes daily, be nice to my sister, etc.).

This past year, I wanted a successful resolution to hang my hat on, so I resolved to create one. As a result, my two New Year’s Resolutions for 2009 were simple:

1) No hamburgers at all, and
2) Soft drinks only every other week.

I’m proud to announce that I haven’t had a hamburger all year! I didn’t even eat one when my sister picked me up from the airport with a Sonic burger with my name on it. It may have been rude of me to refuse, but then again, that particular resolution never stuck.

I’m also proud, though slightly less so (see “Caveats and Addendums” below), to announce that I kept to my soft drink reduction resolution so well that I forgot for months at a time that I was allowed to drink it.

Bottom line: Victory is mine!1

Caveats and Addendums: I ate at Taco Bell2 a good amount at the beginning of the year to make up for the lack of processed beef in my diet3. I understand if you think that means I was cheating. However, I haven’t had any since September. Now, that’s change you can believe in.

I occasionally binged on soda. Like the week where I drank three 2-liter bottles of ginger ale (no regrets!), or the week where I finished off three six-packs of off-brand fruit-flavored sodas. But those were only two belly-bursting, acid-reflux-inducing weeks, and they fit quite conveniently into the letter of my law.

Also, I may or may not have cooked up eight strips of bacon all for myself on two separate occasions. Within the same month.

Conclusion: If you’re going to make New Year’s Resolutions, make sure to include a “gimme”. Like being nice to your sister.6

1 Dang it, YouTube! Where are your 3 second clips of Stewie claiming victory?!?
2 Mmmmmmm. Cheesy double beef burrito. A whole artery meal for 99 cents!
3 Why outlaw hamburgers and not Taco Bell, you ask? Well, first of all, I wanted to live through the year, not kill myself out of frustration mid-March. Second, at The Border, I can more easily control my portions with their scrumptious value menu. Hamburgers, on the other hand, come with fries and a soft drink. At many places (Red Robin, Whataburger, Mighty Fine, etc.) those burgers are too big all by themselves, and at Red Robin (I love you dearly!), you get unlimited fries. Unlimited. Fries. I always eat myself into a Royal Red Robin Burger coma. So, the true evil is in hamburgers, not in my complete lack of self-control.
4 Yes, Jason Crandall, you inspired my hamburger resolution.
5 Looking for the notation for footnote 4 in the blog? Yeah, it’s not there.
6 If you’re an only child.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A new player in town

A new player in town

Comcast consistently has some of the worst customer service ratings of any company anywhere (and isn’t available at my home). Time Warner is just kind of annoying. A new internet provider in town would be welcome.

Is CLEAR’s mobile WiMAX network up to the challenge?

A legitimate mobile internet option?

CLEAR puts its best foot forward with this innovative technology. Anywhere CLEAR provides coverage, you get connectivity for your laptop or desktop. Anywhere.

It makes me drool a little.

The coverage (for all services) is pretty limited for now, but includes lots of locations in Texas (very good for me), and I expect it to expand to more major cities (and hopefully to all airports) in the near future.

Once you get the $50 USB WiMAX device, or select the new WiMAX option when buying a supported computer, you can connect. You can also provide internet for up to 8 Wi-Fi enabled devices (including other computers), but it’s not cheap. You need to buy the $140 CLEAR Spot device, and need to have the main machine and its WiMAX enabled device turned on. CLEAR Spot has a 2-3 hour battery life, and it can also work while plugged in directly ($20 wall adapter, $20 car adapter). Its Lithium-Ion battery will, of course, eventually wear out ($30 for a new rechargeable battery).

So, again, it’s not cheap, but ohmygosh it’s cool.

Now I just need to buy a computer with a battery life longer than 3 minutes.

A home internet replacement option?

Clear vaunts itself as an alternative. You plug in their $70 modem to a power outlet, and they beam the internet to the modem, which you connect to your computer or router. There doesn’t appear to be anything indicating that it would not function the same way as existing wired internet options.

How much?

I like both the Home and Mobile, $45, 6.0 Mbps download, 1.0 Mbps upload, unlimited data options.

I don’t really consider the lighter Home options ($25, 1.0, 0.5 -&- $35, 3.0, 1.0), or the $35, 6.0 Mbps download, 1.0 Mbps upload, 2 GB / month options to be relevant.

They’re also offering lifetime rates, which means that you keep the same low locked-in rate for as long as you continuously keep the service. If you move to an area that doesn’t have CLEAR coverage, and you cancel the service, then you lose the rate for good.

What is CLEAR Voice?

VOIP service through Clear. In my mind, it’s irrelevant. Feel free to look around.


I’ll leave this to the FAQ: “Your CLEAR connection is very secure. Unlike WiFi, CLEAR technology uses a licensed 2.5 Ghz frequency and OFDM transmission protocol for a very secure connection. The combination of licensed frequencies and OFDM technology provides a very secure connection.”

So, tell me, what’s important to you about your internet connection?

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Message

We all know that it’s pretty funny when the drunk guy at the office party photocopies his butt (unless you are the person who has to clean it). It’s even funnier when he gets fired later.

It’s slightly less funny when a government official in a kid’s movie drops trou for a 2 second butt-scan, a la drunken photocopy. My niece’s exact reaction was “Eeeeeeeeeeeew!”, and not in a good way.

Thank you, Monsters vs. Aliens, you ruined Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not a creature was stirring

It's 10 PM, and in a house with four other adults and four children, I'm the only one who is still awake. 10 PM!

I suppose you could argue that when my nephew was just crying for the last 20 minutes, that he was awake. You would, however, be wrong. I know this because in the last two days, he's taken two afternoon naps, and cried through every minute of them. (It's okay, buddy, I used to have dreams about Windows Vista, too. Scared me to tears.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Living Boring

Some people live green. Some live long and prosper (and it has nothing to do with length of life or actual prosperity). Some people Live Strong.

I, on the other hand, am living boring. No surprises. No pets. No extravagant expenditures. Unless you count getting married. And if you knew the thought process that is going into keeping those wedding-related expenditures from becoming extravagant, you wouldn't count it.

What this means is that I have almost nothing to write about.

I'm eating better, but that's only three words.

I'm exercising more, but I plan to publish my thoughts on the 30 days of self-mutilation (a.k.a. cardio and strength training) all at once.

At one point, I had lost 4 pounds, but I ate a lot in the last three days. A LOT.

You're bored now, aren't you?

Mission accomplished.