Getting Un-Fat

I have to admit that over the last few months, I’ve been pretty terrible at keeping myself active.  Typical work day would result in me coming home STARVING, going straight to the kitchen and starting up dinner, watching tv, getting online… and it was just an overall feeling of laziness because I was exhausted from work.  Now, I “try” to get to work by 8 so I can get out at 5 to fit a ride in because the sun’s going down earlier and earlier.  I’ve somehow gotten it into my head not to overeat as well.  I’m also going on a fried food hiatus.  Recently, I’ve recognized how often I was eating french fries.  A good two and a half years ago, I seriously couldn’t remember the last time I had a burger and fries.  I wanna go back to that.  My problem is that if you put all this food in front of me, I can eat it.  If you tell me that you’re going to throw away food, I’m going to eat it.

Ever since getting this bike, I’ve been pretty motivated to ride this thing every chance I get.  I hope it doesn’t wear off.  I hope I keep this going for years and years to come.  Granted, I spent more than some would plan on spending on a bike if they’re not a serious rider, but I WANT to get serious about it.  Now that I’ve stated it on this blog, I’m held accountable, haha.  I have to get serious.

I think one trigger for me getting serious about this whole thing was the health checkup they do for free at work.  I think for someone my height, I’m supposed to be down to 165lbs in order not to be called overweight…  I’m currently lingering around 200lbs.  I think according to their chart, if I kept the trend up, I was on my way to being obese.  It was also the first time that they told me I was about to have high blood pressure and I was about to have high cholesterol.  No bueno.  I used to be able to breeze through these stupid checkups.  Now I actually have to pay attention to this stuff.  Maybe I should use my damn health insurance for seeing the doctor on a yearly basis, lol.

Another trigger was Mr. Allan Jamir.  Success story.  We flew up to New York City the other weekend and he confirmed that he weighs less than me.  Allan used to be really fat and unattractive.  When we saw him coming downstairs from his work to meet us when we first arrived, I had to really say, “Damn he looks good now.”  Haha.  I know they walk alot in NYC, but my face is looking fat in pictures.  Good thing I’m behind the camera most of the time.

Also, it was pretty depressing when we were at the UNIQLO grand opening of their worldwide flagship store that all I could fit into was their SIZE 38.  Give me the benefit of the fact that I’ve usually had big thighs because of all the running I used to do.  Their $10 jeans were sort of straight fit for guys with skinnier legs than me.

The last time I was close to 200lbs was like 3 and a half years ago and I was able to get back down to 165.  So I think it’s doable if I can keep this up through the winter.  Speaking of Winter, I bought a bike trainer for 50 bucks on Craigslist to mount my bike on so I can ride when it’s cold outside.  I seriously have no excuse to not workout every day because I can watch TV episodes while I’m on there.

Anyway, here’s to losing a few pounds and feeling healthier.

One Drunken Weekend. BONUS video included!

Whenever the Houston friends come into town, you can expect the “excessive”.  This term was coined during camping last year.  Pre-drinking at Marc’s, Pluckers for wings and beers, then we end up somewhere in the warehouse district.  That was Friday.  Saturday involved pho to soothe the hangover, a brewery tour at the Jester King Brewery for more beer, then Albert and his band had a show which was the first time for a lot of us, then dirty sixth to Mike Canlas’s delight.  Luckily I don’t play golf (yet) so I didn’t have to wake up early like some people.  But we did meet them at Buffet Palace for lunch.  For dinner I was telling myself I had enough of eating out, but we still went to have burgers at Mighty Fine BECAUSE THEY CLOSED RED ROBIN ON BRODIE.  BOOOOOO!  Overall, it was a fun weekend.  Luckily we don’t do this very often, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun when we do.

I brought out the camera to our brewery visit which was pretty fun and relaxing.  I picked up a cheap Velbon monopod several weeks back to help stabilize the camera without having to awkwardly set up a tripod everywhere, but there’s obviously tradeoffs.  It’s very portable, but the footage is still too shaky for my liking.  There’s a good Manfrotto monopod that runs for almost $300 bucks but I don’t think that’s within my budget at the moment.  There’s a ton of camera equipment I feel like I need before we do a lot of travelling soon but I’m just postponing the splurge for as long as possible.  With all this equipment, I still don’t think I have any aspirations of going into video or photography professionally.  I might try a trial gig for fun, if I ever get good enough…  It’d be nice to be able to have some extra cash I suppose.  But I just wanna take nice pictures and video without any pressure from a client who’s expecting quality work.  I don’t really need that added stress right now.

Anyway, here’s the video…

Frank’s Guide to Renting a Car

I think there have been two occasions in the past year (one time during our wedding and one time when we flew to Delaware) where someone got made fun of for paying WAY TOO MUCH for a rental car. I almost forgot about my own little tricks when booking our next trip to Seattle/Vancouver next month.

Tip 1:  Use Hotwire

I like to use Hotwire.com for almost every hotel and car rental I reserve.  For those of you who don’t know works, for hotels, they guarantee you a hotel of certain quality for a really good price within a certain area.  For cars, it’s almost similar, except they guarantee you a certain size car for a certain price.  Catches:  1.) You don’t find out what hotel it is or where it’s located until after you’ve purchased.   2.) It’s non-refundable and it’s probably pretty hard to make changes to your reservation.

Tip 2:  Mess with the Pickup Time

Try moving your pickup time to an earlier (or later if possible) time as long as the total duration of your reservation doesn’t cause you to add another full day.  You might get some different rates based on the pickup time.  Even if your flight arrives in the evening, don’t hesitate to adjust your pickup time several hours before your flight arrives.  Just think of it as showing up late to pick up your rental.  You have up to 24 hours to pick up your car after the designated pick up time.

Follow these two quick tips and you’ll be on your way to success.  We saved almost $200 bucks on the car rental with our upcoming trip to Seattle doing this :-)

Figure 1:  Picking up at 12:00pm

Figure 2:  Picking up at 12:30pm

Of course it was a fake craigslist ad.

I got really excited when I saw this 70-200mm lens on the Houston craigslist on Saturday.  It was even more exciting since we were gonna be in Houston that day.  Finally got a response:

Hi,
Thanks for being interested in buying my Canon EF L 70-200 F/2.8 IS Lens, I will start my email by telling you that I’m currently out of country so pick up isn’t an option . The item is as described , in perfect condition and will be delivered at your home address . Total price will be $850 and the transaction will be made only through eBay because they will handle with all that it has to be done ,the shipping , payment and passing the item in to your property as they have authorization to sign for the item in my behalf . Right now I’m in Italy, just arrived here 3 days ago . Before I left I found a buyer and I had everything arranged . I paid for the shipping and almost sent it to him . But yesterday the buyer that I had asked me to wait another 4 weeks because he suddenly had other priorities and he is out of money for the moment . I can’t wait this long as I’m in the Italy for 3 days now and i really need the money, I am in the moving process , changing the work place and everything … A major issue is that if you want to buy my item you really need to have the money ready for it .
This purchase protection guarantees that the item is exactly as I described ; basically , once delivered , you’ll have 10 working days to inspect it at your home and if you decide not to keep it you will get refunded in no time and they will charge me with the return costs . If the item meets your expectations and you want to keep it you will have to tell them to release me the payment details so I can get paid . If you are interested in this purchase please reply me with your full name and shipping address . After i pass this details to them you will receive an invoice and further instructions as how will you be able to get possession of the item .
Let me know your thoughts .

Warmest regards

Mexican Restaurants That Suck in the Austin Area

In honor of the popular American holiday, Cinco de Mayo, I’d like to highlight Mexican restaurants in the Austin area that I’ve eaten at that suck. (disclaimer: I’m not Mexican)  Granted, a lot of the restaurants here are “Tex-Mex” but I’m not judging on Mexican authenticity here, I’m just judging on whether it sucks or not.  There’s a couple common traits among terrible Mexican restaurants which stick out to me:

  1. Overpriced – Nothing else raises the flag more than expensive Mexican food.  If you’re putting ingredients that cause you to charge an arm and a leg, it’s probably not gonna taste like it’s worth what you paid because it’s Mexican food.
  2. Weak-ass salsa – If the restaurant you are eating at serves some salsa that you can feed to a two month old baby, the rest of your order that you’re waiting on is probably going to be terrible.
  3. Are there other Mexican people eating there? – If the answer is no, it’s probably no good.  This goes for any ethnic food.  If their own people won’t even eat there, it probably sucks.
  4. Do you have to pay for your chips and salsa?  – If yes, leave.

Ok onto my list of Mexican Restaurants that suck in the Austin area.  You could’ve probably guessed some of the options on this list

  1. Abuelo’s (in the barton creek mall parking lot) – We went here a while ago for lunch one time and I just remember it was overpriced and snooty.  I told myself I wouldn’t come back again.
  2. Hula Hut – This place should’ve burned down last 4th of July when it caught fire.  Consistent 45 minute wait for mediocre food.  This place really fits down the same line as Chuy’s since I’m pretty sure they’re owned by the same people, but I wanna say this place is more expensive cuz of the fact that it’s on Lake Austin.  It’s like Chuy’s but add shrimp and a dollar sign.  We saw one table of Mexican guys and they stuck out like a sore thumb.
  3. Serrano’s – Again, overpriced, not that great.  Terrible service on our one visit there.
  4. The Oasis – Probably the greatest offender of crappy food, but great views of Lake Travis. The food is really crappy.  I remember paying 8 bucks for a weak margarita served to me in a dixie cup while we waited.  We’ve only been once, but I’m sure we’ll be back for the view.
  5. Iguana Grill  – Also has decent views of Lake Travis, but I’ve had terrible food on every visit. This was actually the very first restaurant we’d eaten at here in Austin when I was a junior in high school.  My sister had a fly in her enchiladas.  Lovely.
  6. Matt’s “Famous” El Rancho – This one I struggle with because the salsa is actually pretty good.  The food is decent and generous and they serve you an egg on your enchiladas (reminds me of New Mexico), but it breaks my overpriced rule.  There’s always a wait as well.  Service is hit or miss.

So that’s my run down… I’m in no way a “foodie blogger”, but these are just places that I complain about if we have to eat there.  All the places I’ve listed will probably be packed today, so you won’t find me at any of them.

It’s been a while!

I can’t believe it’s been almost four months since the last post. Things just got so busy with wedding planning and work over the past few months that just forgot about this blog.

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So the wedding has come and gone. Definitely a little stressful the week of the big day but Kristine really pulled through with all putting it all together. She made the wedding topper herself, she glued the programs by hand, our awesome place card idea was cut by hand, the bow in her hair was made by her, she did most of the invites, and I don’t think I’ve even started to cover everything she did. I did a bunch of the techie things like printing the invites, setting up the place card thing on photoshop, our picture table cards, designing and ordering the koozies, scanning pics and putting together the slideshows, and blah there was just so much to do that I don’t want to think about it haha.

The day before the wedding was just chaos. It snowed all over the state of Texas and it was looking like tons of flights were getting cancelled and people were going to cancel their plans to drive in. It was really depressing. By like 11 the sun was coming out and it looked much better and we just needed it to melt.

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The weather on our wedding day couldn’t have been more perfect. It was such an awesome feeling to have our friends and family come in from all over the country. Special thanks to our parents, siblings, bridesmaids, groomsmen, godparents and every one else who helped make our day so amazing.

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It was ridiculously difficult to spend enough time with everyone during the wedding reception. Nonetheless, we want everyone to know that we truly appreciated you being there. The mariachis, open bar, photobooth, good food, good music, and Justin freaking Bieber made it the best wedding ever. It’s really hard to put it into words, That’s why we had to have a truly awesome photographer, Stefano Choi, and probably one of the best wedding videographers in the business, Joe Simon. I’m on the iPad so it’s hard to put the links but our pics and video are absolutely breathtaking. We were so glad we picked them. Worth every freaking penny.

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A lot of time, effort, and money went into the wedding and we are so glad it is all over. Married life has been a lot of fun and it’s still a little hard to believe that we’re married. Now on to the next steps in life. A house, kids, haha.. Geez. Life is awesome.

Thoughts of a Coffee n00b

As of recently, I’ve been drinking iced coffees almost daily and it’s really altered the way my head and body feels.  This espresso machine came with our apartment ever since we moved in over a year ago and never really used it because I was using these Senseo pods instead of freshly ground beans and the taste of the coffee was just alright.  But now that I’ve opened up this huge bag of free coffee beans I got from Costco through a work promotion, I’ve been addicted.  The difference with using freshly ground beans is huge.

I’d never used an espresso machine until we moved into this place, but thanks to YouTube, there’s tons of video tutorials on how to properly make espresso, maintain the espresso machine, and also what good espresso shots should look like.  Also, just watching the Starbucks barista here at work (yes, we have our own Starbucks) gave me a clue of how this whole coffee thing works.

So about how all this coffee has affected me.  I’ve had less sleep than I probably was getting a year ago.  I used to be able to wake up on my own with no alarm clock around 8:30 and get myself to work by like 9:30.  But lately, because I’ve had some early meetings where my work status needs to presented, I’ve been waking up around 6:00 doing some work from home, getting to work at like 7:30.  The coffee helps in keeping me up.  But as the work day goes on, I just have this eternal minor head buzz.  And when I get home, I’m way more tired than I ever used to be.  Is the answer to this more coffee?  Probably not a good idea.  But it tastes soooo goooood.  Sooner or later, I’ll need to try to just limit my intake of this stuff to the weekends or something.

Twitter Raffles – How Not To Annoy Your Friends

There’s been an abundance of businesses or people conducting raffles where you basically have to subscribe to them on Twitter and then retweet a particular message to help them advertise.  Well, generally that’s kind of annoying if you’re just a normal friend on the receiving end.  So the way I’ve gotten around that is scheduling the tweets to go out at a time at like 3am when no one’s awake.  I don’t know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, I just scroll through tweets and don’t really care about those that came through the night.  I dunno, maybe that’s just me.

The way that I schedule tweets is through Tweetdeck.  There’s a nice little scheduling button on there which will send your tweets out at a specific time.  I find this really nice if I don’t want to bombard my friends with message after message of my brain farts.

Anyway, if you find my 3am raffle tweets annoying, let me know.  I’m just trying to win a free DSLR camera or a trip to Mexico.

Oklahoma, Get Your Own Freaking Handsign

Stupid SoonersThere’s nothing I hate more than the University of Oklahoma Sooners.  Gah, just look at them!  Doesn’t it make you punch them in the face?!  I’m really surprised I haven’t ended up in an altercation with these people every time we head up to Dallas, lol.  And seriously, Sooners cant show more school pride than turning our sign upside down?  Good lord.  I’m looking for a Longhorn win tomorrow in the Red River Rivalry because these people just don’t deserve it.  They’re soul-less bastards who don’t have any dignity.  Pathetic.  Just pathetic.