“Getting fit” is often synonymous with “losing weight” in most discussions. Back when I was setting up this blog for a long term eating style experiment I was in pretty good shape. My strength training was a bit of a crap shoot but my cardio was as tuned in for me as it had ever been; I ran my first (and to date only) marathon at the end of that planning period. I therefore didn’t see it as a weight loss experiment but as a fitness and longevity experiment. I therefore sought to quantify my fitness in as concrete a way I could. What I came up with was holding myself to a military fitness standard (link).
I was away for a week so couldn’t do my Linux craptop experiment. Sorry, but I refuse to be beholden to a ten year old laptop while on travel. So now, today, is the second day that I’m using this as my primary machine for when I’m browsing the Internet and doing things while I’m watching TV on the couch. Yes that seems like a limited subset, but I spend a good amount of time vegging in that state so it’s not as insignificant as it seems. I’ll have a thorough breakdown of my experiment at some point but by far the biggest nuisance I have that is driving me crazy is the lack of trackpad gestures.
When gestures first came out for laptops I thought they were mostly gimmicky, but once I had my first laptop that really had them I was hooked and didn’t know it. Now that I’m trying to use a laptop without them I’m finding it very cumbersome. It’s not a total loss however because this trackpad has the beginning of gestures in the form of scroll bars on the right and bottom sides. I can simulate the scrolling to some extent which is a big part of my gestures, but it really isn’t the same thing. How did we live without gestures all this time? At least Linux Mint Mate 18 supported these limited gestures out of the box for this ancient laptop.
Sometime in 2016 the Linux Action Show podcast on a yarn decided to run both a modern and then a contemporary version of Linux on ten year old equipment. As luck would have it along with my other eccentric hobbies I also have a classic computer collection. One of the computers in my collection that I ran across recently is a Dell XPS M1530 from late-2007 (specs). I bought it as not too crappy but not so great home laptop suitable for browsing the internet, doing my home finances, et cetera. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I guess, I have decided to try to use this laptop as a modern browsing computer for a little while. With a 2.6 GHz Intel Core2 Duo and 4 GB of RAM it shouldn’t do too bad, especially with the 4 GB of RAM. I’m going to run Linux Mint MATE18.1 to give it a fighting chance. Ubuntu and Cinnamon require a bit more graphics and CPU horsepower and while the 4GB of memory should allow it to hold its own to some extent, the ten year old processors and graphics cards will suffer. MATE on the other hand is far lighter weight and more streamlined.
Probably the biggest hiccup is going to be the battery. This is the original battery from ten years ago. I doubt that it is going to hold up well to being unplugged. That’s okay though, I’ll be able to leave it plugged in while I’m using it without much inconvenience. I’m not going to make this my primary laptop or anything so if I can only use it while tethered to the couch then so be it.
I’m currently finishing up patching the system, getting printers setup, and doing software installs for things like Chrome. I look forward to playing around with this in the coming weeks and reporting on it. In fact I’m writing this very blog post in FireFox on it right now while the OS patches continue to progress…
Yesterday I had a tongue in cheek conversation with a friend about our resolutions. He asked me what my resolutions were for this year. I stated: “To not exercise, eat continuously, and try to add thirty pounds of fat…I’m trying the reverse psychology thing.” Knowing my penchant for trying new things it isn’t totally ridiculous that he took me literally, but I quickly corrected that notion before I got a call from one of my family members asking what the hell I was thinking about. I used to do resolutions, but I don’t, that doesn’t mean that the roll over of the calendar isn’t a good occasion for me to double down on trying to dial it in.
I never heard of Yohan Ferrant’s “do nothing” bread until the post showed up showing pictures of another member’s experiment with in back a few days ago. I love no-knead bread, and the it sounded like this was very much like the NYT recipe but without yeast and with whole wheat flour. I decided to follow the recipe exactly as stated on The Northwest Sourdough Blog’s article on the topic (link).
When I first started baking bread from the New York Times “no knead” recipe and the Tartine book I used a modified dutch oven type of configuration. I didn’t actually have a dutch oven, so I had oven safe bowls and a frying pan. I got good results not not exactly the look I was going for: I didn’t get the tearing or the oven spring. I’ve experimented with several ways of adding steam to the oven, using cast iron dutch ovens et cetera to try to get those perfect ears. What I really needed, it seems, was a better size dutch oven and to keep it simple.
October 16, 2016, when I got back from my honeymoon, I said I was going to be emphasizing a fitness focus by looking at using a goal accountability report card. Really this is getting the tempo for doing these things more into 2017 and beyond. Work and life took my eye off the ball but it didn’t stop me from actually keeping the report card. What’s the point of an accountability exercise if you only do it when you know you are going to score well? That’s like only going to the doctor when you are healthy. The sobering reality is that right now I’m failing on my five goals, but I didn’t need a report card to actually tell me that.
Tomorrow is the Space Coast Marathon. The Space Coast Marathon was the first, and at present only, marathon I’ve ever run; way back in 2012. About a year ago I decided to try to run it again in an attempt to run it three times and get a bonus medal. That was a scaled back version of the original “plan” to run it every year and get all seven medals as part of a series. After a solid start for a few weeks then half assing it a few more the whole plan crumbled. After countless weeks of not doing any exercise at all I decided to do some light yoga and go for a couple mile walk yesterday and today I’m feeling tightness everywhere and an irritated knee. The day before I was supposed to run 26.2 miles I can’t even do a workout routine that most people in their end years can do or walk (not run) even a tenth that distance. I’m not pissed, I’m just over it.
It’s not that being able to run a marathon makes you fit. There are marathon runners that die of heart attacks, have major joint problems, et cetera. Of course *not* being able to run a marathon doesn’t mean you are fit either. But at this point I couldn’t even run a 5K or a 10K. My strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and so on are back in the toilet. Something in the 2011/2012 time frame really had me going strong with running and for the first time in my life actually enjoying exercising. Every year after that has been at best doing fitness in fits and starts, and it shows.
I don’t need to be in marathon training shape, but I do need to be at some level of fitness in excess of where I am now. As I have probably lamented before, this is the age where it is most important for me to keep up on body maintenance. While it’s important to do so throughout ones life, this is the beginning of the declining years. The body is resilient and can make up for a lot of bad behaviors, but every year after your 30s it gets harder and harder to build back up. Every time I try to get back into working out, albeit briefly, I’m quickly reminded directly of this fact. If I don’t get my shit together I may be able to live into my 100s but it’d be as a part-bionic pharmaceutical held together miserable mess. That’s not what I had in mind for my objective.
I am very early in the Linux .NET development experiment. I am pretty busy with work and life so that I don’t have a ton of time to play around with these things. Having come from a background where most of my recent development (last several years) has been technologies other than .NET I have a double hurdle to clear: getting used to .NET and getting used to doing .NET on Linux. Therein lies the rub.