Thursday, January 31, 2008

had to do a double-take on this one

I had to do a double take on this headline: W.VA May Offer Gun Training In Schools... I thought this had to be a mis-print, or maybe they meant something completely different. But no, it means exactly what it says. In order to increase the number of hunters in the state,because apparently they feel there is a shortage, West Virginia may add courses on gun use and safety to 7th-9th graders.

Because really, armed 12-14 year olds are really what we need more of in this country.

The proponents of the plan argue that the guns will be equipped with dummy ammo, and that knowing how to use a gun properly will reduce violence. WTF??? I think it will just help them get better at hitting what they aim at.

It seems to me that you would just make school shootings that much easier. Now you don't have to smuggle a bulky rifle in to the building, just a backpack full of ammo. And you will know how a rifle works, and how to hit a moving target.

Peachy. What are these people thinking?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

incremental progress

I weighed in this morning. 141 pounds. While still way over my target, healthy weight of 128, it is 5.5 pounds less than I weighed in at on January 7th, when I started my new eating regimen. I have cut out almost all white flour, white sugar, white rice, white pasta from my diet. I am eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. My alcohol intake is marginal to non-existent. I still have a little chocolate, but like one piece at most...

I am still walking with the pedometer. I am up to 4000 steps a day, or roughly two miles of brisk walking. I was walking 2300 steps a day as part of my regular routine, so I have managed to squeeze another 1700 steps a day with not too much time or effort. I am not sure how much I can increase this, as time is now the big factor. To walk much more, I would have to carve a real chunk out of every day to devote to it.

Still, I am pleased with even incremental progress. I have dropped some weight, and have increased my activity. I'm cooking more and eating better.

Friday, January 25, 2008

a different view of things

Yesterday I attended a Web Accessibility conference put on by JHU. By and large, it was helpful, if a little disheartening. I came out feeling I have a ton of work to do on the websites I manage.

One workshop really opened my eyes to the difficulties of modern-day living with a disability. I attended one session where the two speakers were blind. It was in a conference room, with us and the speakers sitting at one of the big oval tables. They brought a laptop and had an LCD projector hooked up.

The presenters were experts with their laptops, experts at navigating software, and the web. Yet, there were periodic glitches in the presentation that were clearly frustrating for them and us. Imagine having to find a missing alt tag in an html document, without looking at your screen. Imagine trying to fill out an online survey, with a question that spans 5 columns and 50 rows... Imagine talking to a room full of people who are nodding their heads politely at your talk, but you can't see them doing that. Try to hand someone a business card across a 10 foot table, when you can't see them. It was humbling.

I have been bitching because I have to make a website 508-compliant, a website I didn't create and can't change too much on. It never really dawned on me what a huge difference such efforts make to actual people. In the last census, a third of Americans said there was a disabled person in their family. A third. Suddenly it seems worth the effort.

Monday, January 21, 2008

10,000 steps

I have been wearing a pedometer for a week. I am averaging 3000 steps a day in my normal day to day routine. This includes walking the dog, the tiny amount I walk during my workday, walking the half block and back to the parking garage, etc.

The next part of the program is to increase my step count by 20% each week until I reach the target of 10,000 steps per day. I had no idea how far 10,000 steps is, so I looked it up. It's 5 miles. So to be a non-sedentary individual, I need to either walk 5 miles per day, or burn 500 calories per day in active exercise. Neither appeals to me, but the walking at least seems achievable.

Of course, being the QUEEN OF ALL BAD TIMING, I have picked the coldest part of the year to start my exercise plan. I loathe the cold. Seriously. Truly. Deeply. So I believe I am going to look like a madwoman at work, trying to achieve 5 miles of walking by roaming the halls of my building so I don't have to go outside at all.

We'll see how it goes. Any improvement has got to be better than nothing, right?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

GO Chargers, GO Packers

My team, the Ravens, isn't in the post-season, leaving me to root for other teams today. And in a complete luxury, I am watching, not 1 game, but 2! Yup, football from 3pm - 9:30 or so. I am rooting for the Chargers, because they are the underdog, I dislike the Patriots, and my brother lives in San Diego and it would make him happy for his team to win. I am rooting for the Packers because I really like Brett Favre, and I would like to see him win it all this season.

Of course, I would have been happier being in the position to root for the Ravens. Now that we have a new coach, maybe things will improve. If nothing else, I love that they hired Harbaugh. Because he is my age. And they keep commenting on how YOUNG he is to be a head coach. I LOVE IT!!! He is making me feel younger already.
He also has lips. Brian Billick did not have lips, a fact that always reminded me of the Muppets. I don't want to think of Muppets while watching football. So things are looking up already.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

way to go, Viriginia!

We are a country at war. We are in the midst of selecting our candidates for president. There is serious economic turmoil going on. So, what is Virginia concentrating on? Trailer hitch testicles. Yup, those fake rubber testicles you see hanging off some trailer hitches. Apparently we need a law banning them, at least in Virginia. Because a dad had to explain to his daughter what they were, and was uncomfortable. "Well, see honey, that truck has BALLS!".... so the dad complained to his State delegate.

A serious issue, definitely needs the state legislature involved. Same delegate, by the way, who wanted to ban low-sitting trousers.... I'm glad he's concentrating on what's important.


Friday, January 11, 2008

long distance commuting

Yesterday, I did what I consider a "long-distance" commute. I left the house at 4:30am. I drove to BWI, catching a flight to Houston, TX. I took the underground inter-terminal shuttle (a teensy tiny 4 car metro, with each car capable of seating 4 people) about 1500 feet. It let me out in the basement of the Marriott hotel attached to the airport. I took two escalators upstairs, picked up my meeting badge and materials and went directly to the meeting room. The meeting was the Technology Summit of the Information Resources Group meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges (yes, that is a mouthful). They split us into tables, assigned us topics and had us working all day in mini-groups and large groups on the assigned topics. We didn't even leave the room for lunch; they brought it in for us. At the end of the meeting, I went back down the escalators, back into the teeny tiny tram, up some escalators and back to the terminal. I caught my flight back to Baltimore, picked up the car and drove home. It was almost 11pm when I got home.

In all that time, I never was outside. I was in transit or at work so by my definition, it was the longest commute EVER.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

the end of an era

Joe Gibbs has resigned as coach of the Washington Redskins. I have to say it makes me sad. While his last few seasons were less than stellar, he has had a wonderful career. And he is one of the true gentlemen of football. No yelling obscenities from the side lines, no bullying players or officials. Just quiet, gentle Joe, getting the job done.

Football could use a lot more like Joe Gibbs.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year, fresh start

Happy 2008! It's a brand new year, and that means a clean slate to me. Fresh start. It's like a shiny new notebook, nothing but blank pages and possibilities. I kicked it off with a vacation to the Outer Banks of NC. We stayed in a big house, with lots of nice stuff, with some of our favorite people. The universe provided a couple of picture perfect days, dolphins playing in the waves, beautiful nearly empty beaches. We ate to excess, drank a bit, talked a bunch, and relaxed a ton.

It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how damned lucky we are. We have good jobs, good friends, a nice house, a terrific child, time to take a vacation once in a while. Life is GOOD.

May the new year keep it rolling.