Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The "Honeymoon" Phase of #JuliaRoberts2015

Getting married has honestly been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. The idea of committing ones-self to only one other person for the rest of your life seems like the kind of thing that would be terrifying, but so far I have been completely fine with it.

"The One Where They Got Married" #juliaroberts2015
Posted by Jacquie Watkins on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Even though the day-to-day events of Julia's and my life since we got married are basically unchanged (finalizing wedding stuff obviously notwithstanding), everything feels very different. Getting home and seeing Julia's beautiful, smiling face is that much nicer, going and running errands as she recovers from her excellent party on Saturday feels like no effort at all. I know we're still fully in the "honeymoon" phase of the marriage, but I think we are both acutely aware of the fact that this is going to take work. More importantly, Julia and I should easily be able to put aside our minor squabbles and disagreements, and focus on what really matters, our life together and our mutual happiness.

We are still fully entrenched in post-wedding business, like writing thank yous to everybody who was SO generous this past week, with their time and with their love, and our friends and family have proven to us just how much they care about our future together. I can't wait to get started!

At what point do we change #JuliaRoberts2015 to #JuliaRobertsForever?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bliss (The Aftermath of #JuliaRoberts2015)

Wow. There is nothing like a wedding to make a guy feel loved. I have about a billion thoughts and feelings going through my head right now, and I need about 4 more hours of sleep than I got last night, but it has all been so incredibly worth it.

I'm going to need several weeks or even months to process this past weekend, and to sort out all the thank yous, acknowledgements, and hugs that my friends, family and everybody else deserve for helping to make Saturday the best day I've had, ever. This won't be the last thing I write on the matter, and today it won't even be very long. Due to the incredible depth of my distraction in the last week, my work has been somewhat neglected, so I'll be focusing hard on making sure everything I need to do is complete before going on the honeymoon next week.

I just want to say I am so very grateful to everybody in my life for the incredible amount of support, friendship, love and kindness I've received in the last week. I will never forget the way I felt and still feel; I have a blessed life.

Pictures are just starting to trickle in, you can check out Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what people have been putting up. I'm just so excited to see what adventures will come next for Julia and myself!

A photo posted by Brian (BL) (@mystical_wizard) on

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weight Loss (How I Am Breaking The Pattern)

One of my favourite things to do is open up and talk about things that are going on in my life. If you want to hear about me in more detail, I convinced my co-hosts on Ottawhat? to let me talk about myself for an hour this week (listen here).

But that's not what today is about. Today, I want to tell you what's been going on with my weight in the last month or so. You can see all the past stuff I've written about Soylent here, but this isn't really about Soylent either. This is all about my weight, and health.

Trust me, I was too small.
For the majority of my adult life, I have weighed between 230 and 250 pounds. Most health experts will tell you that for my height, that makes me about 50-70 pounds overweight. This puts me just a smidge past overweight, and into "obese" territory. For almost a year, when I tore my ACL in 2010-11 and couldn't do any real physical activity, my weight actually dropped down as far as 190 pounds, and I honestly looked like a skeleton. That is my "healthy" weight, so I know that I can't depend on a measure like BMI (which doesn't take density or body structure into account) to measure my health. Buoyancy is dependent on density, and I would drown if I tried to float, so I know I'm pretty dense.

All of that being said, in the last few weeks, I have been cycling to and from work about 70% of the time, and I have also not been taking a lunch. Instead, I have been having one serving of Soylent around 12:15 PM every day, in addition to breakfast and whatever I eat in the evening. The result of this is a pretty drastic drop in my weight since the second week of July, as you can see here.
The last month of weight measurements.
Luckily for me, since I first bought a WiFi-connected scale in February 2014, my weight has been a known quantity as long as I stand on it every day. What I saw from the last 18 months is that what I had been "doing" to lose weight, wasn't doing much. Even Soylent and cycling, as you can see from the graph above (starting at the end of June), weren't really having any effect on my weight.

The thing that finally started me down the path you see on the right side of the graph is a pretty simple change, that is, using this graph. I am currently using the measurements from my scale, and feeding them into the graph described here. It keeps a moving average of the last 10 days (so 9 days ago is weighted at 0.1 in the average, 4 days ago is weighted 0.6, etc., and today is weighted as 1). What this means, as described if you read the article above, is that if you have an off day or eat a whole pizza, it doesn't completely ruin your weight trend, because you will still have a string of good days before it that are factored in to your weight.

What I've been trying to do with this information is keep the blue line up there below the red line. That makes weight loss incredibly simple, and it means that I can in theory eat whatever I want on a given day, just that I have to be healthy overall. As you can see, I went to a birthday party last weekend where I ate a little bit too much. Where that would normally be a huge discouragement, with this data available, I can see that as long as I put work in to make up for it, everything will be fine.
This was a really good, too big meal, from 2012.
What all of this really comes down to is that to lose weight, I have had to limit what I eat. I don't necessarily need to eat healthy foods, but that definitely helps. Even more than losing weight though, this has come from a desire to be healthier. I know that I just plain eat too much food. At home, I have a lot more control over what I eat, and that really helps, but restaurants are becoming a bigger and bigger pain to eat at. The problem that I end up having is: the portions restaurants give you is WAY too big. Any restaurant worth its salt (heh) will know that the economics of food mean that they will make more money if they give you bigger portions. As meals (and servings) get bigger, you can charge more for them, and the only downside is that it's WAY too much food for any one person in one sitting.

What I have to get into the mindset of doing is mentally setting aside some of the food on my plate when I'm at a restaurant, and knowing ahead of time that I actively shouldn't be eating all of the food I'm given. At the moment, I treat the food on my plate at restaurants as a goal, even though I stop being hungry very early in the meal. I think, if I can keep up these measurements and motivations, and actually change my restaurant habits, I can keep this up and get to a weight where I feel a little better about myself and feel healthy all the time, as opposed to feeling like I should eat a salad more often (because salads are the worst).

That being said, as a work food replacement, Soylent has been unbelievable. It's all I'm eating at work these days, and it's been filling enough that I don't need to eat any snacks before lunch, and I don't feel starved biking home if I only have one small portion in the morning. Although I still don't love the sucralose taste.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Polished Chrome

That's fancy!
Well, it's finally here. The new look for UnwindMedia.com is ready to go, and you can go and take a look now! I am really happy with how it's turned out, and it is now quite a bit easier to see information about the shows on the network.

I'm getting married this weekend, and going on a honeymoon the week after, so if this blog goes dark for a few weeks, please don't be surprised. Episode 67 of Future Chat is the last one until I get back in late August, but we are doing our best the next few days to prepare new episodes of Ottawhat? to come out while I'm gone. Hope you're having a great summer!

We spoke to fire dancer and actor Zoe Georgaras this week on the show. We learned how she got introduced to fire dancing, how fire safety and good insurance...
In this episode, we discuss the possible coming shortage of medical isotopes and decay rates, we learn a little about Nick's work with gold, and we can't...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Website 2.0 is in Private Beta!

Unwindmedia.com 2.0 is almost upon us!
As I mentioned yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, there's a medium/big re-skin of UnwindMedia.com coming very soon. I've been researching podcast network websites and taking cues from some of my favourites, and there's also some brand new custom code pulling strings behind the scene to make adding new shows and hosts much easier should that ever be a thing that needs to happen. These changes would also make moving websites much more straightforward, in case THAT is a thing that ever needs to happen.

Below, you'll find links to Future Chat and Ottawhat as always, and if you've been waiting patiently for Feedback: The Music (I know I have), we want to take some time to really get it right. Hopefully there will be more to share soon!

On this episode, we sat down with Megan Honey, an up-and-coming standup comedian who will be competing this summer in a couple of comedy contests at Absol...
In this episode, we discussed T-Mobile's new Uncarrier US-Canada-Mexico roaming plans, Sweden buying trash from Norway, and Mike doesn't believe you could...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Taylorette1989 is Over, and What is a Podcast?

#Taylorette1989 is done. No, we weren't able to get Julia into Taylor's inner circle (although this did happen), but I think both Julia and myself learned a lot about life, love, and what's important to us in the last 6 months or so of trying. I'll be writing a bit in the near future about my experiences trying to capture the attention of probably the most widely recognizable entity in the world at the moment.
Pictured: 6 months of hard work and dedication, and we get some pixels hosted on taylorswift.com!
There are a couple of really interesting secret things I had been doing for Taylorette that I'm excited to share in the coming weeks, but for now, I'm looking to the future. I have some big plans once the summer is done and all the wedding and honeymoon craziness is behind us. I miss making videos every week, and it's obvious to me that I haven't done enough to let my friends in on what I'm working on these days, so I'll be trying to do more of that too.

Another fun project that I think it might help me to talk about is sharing some of the things on the internet that entertain me on a regular basis. Most people I talk to bounce around viral videos and things that pop into their Facebook feeds, whereas I tend to follow the work of individuals and groups of creative people on the Internet, keeping track of what they're up to on a regular basis. I'm excited to talk about those people and what I'm able to learn from them, and I hope you'll enjoy it.

I'm still going through my week's supply of Soylent. As expected, it isn't something I think I can realistically have to replace ALL of my meals. That being said, I do like it (minus the artificial sweetener) and I have been able to not bring lunch to work for the last 2 weeks and get along just fine.

In the meantime, Ottawhat? and Future Chat continue to soldier on with their usual episodes, you can subscribe to them and listen to the latest episodes down below. It has come to my attention that even people who are close to me are not aware that Future Chat is a podcast. First of all, it seems like those people probably just don't actually know what a podcast is (really any episodic video or audio conversation or documentary could be considered a podcast). Second of all, if it's been a while, I would encourage you to check out one of these two shows, we have a lot of fun making them and really try hard to put together something anybody can enjoy.

This week, we sat down with training librarian and new mom Jessica Dubois. She told us all about her experiences with part-time online learning, her...
This week on the show, we discuss all the latest goings on around Pluto, the ramifications of the leap second, and how you might not get Windows 10 for a...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dear Taylor, Love Rob

She's kiiiiind of a big fan.
Dear Taylor,

You've got a lot going on. Last month, a letter you wrote on your blog helped potentially millions of young musicians to get paid during Apple Music's 3-month free trial. Not to mention that you've been on a world tour spanning 7 countries and several continents since May. How you find the time for a 4th of July celebration with so many of your friends this past weekend is totally beyond me.

Anyhow, the reason I'm writing this is to let you know about your most incredible fan. She's my fiancée, and her name is Julia de Carlo. Last year, when your 1989 tour tickets went on sale, Julia decided she would have her bachelorette party at your concert that is happening tonight. She bought 5 tickets to the show the day they went on sale, and sadly she wasn't able to get 5 seats together (but the girls will work something out).

Almost immediately after those tickets were bought, I decided that I needed to do something big to try to show you just how much Julia is looking forward to your show and potentially meeting you. I thought hard about it for weeks and decided to coin the name #Taylorette1989 for the entire bachelorette weekend. In February, I released the first video I made to tell you and our friends all about Julia's bachelorette, and her love for you and your music. She even made her Tumblr all about her love for you and her excitement for this concert.

Julia is such an incredible person, she's smart, cute, funny, sexy, adorable, fun, outgoing, generous, loving, loyal, and she's an incredibly inspiring elementary school teacher. If anybody deserves a little face time with you, this woman does. I would do absolutely anything to help her see her dreams realized.

So, that first video and other #Taylorette1989 video projects have been shared a ton on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, but obviously it was going to take something truly special to get this message to you. Julia and her fellow Taylorettes have really gone all out making signs and costumes for your concert tonight. You can search #Taylorette1989 on Twitter to see what I'm talking about. I've done everything I can to help, but at this point all I can do is hope that tonight, the stars will align and she will get a chance to meet you.

It was my birthday this past Saturday, and all I've really been wishing for is that Julia's wish to meet you will be granted tonight. I hope with all my heart that her excitement will be enough to bubble over and you'll be able to see just how much she loves you as an artist and a person.

Thanks a lot Taylor, from myself and from Julia, and I hope tonight and the rest of your world tour is incredible!

Love Rob

ps. Here is just some of the noise Julia and her Taylorettes having been making lately!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Things to look for when buying a laptop

I've bought many computers, and I've helped friends shop for many more. They don't always take my advice, but when I do, they're generally happiest with the following things:

Must Haves
  • 8GB+ of RAM
  • Newest or 2nd newest generation Intel processor
  • More than 1366x768 px display
  • Battery life rated for more than 4 hours (preferably much more)
Important but I guess not critical for all people
  • 256-512 GB SSD (So worth the slight extra money)
  • 1080p or better display
  • Backlit keyboard (this is such a crucial feature more laptops should have these)
  • HDMI port is really convenient unless you're all about the wireless
  • Get a light computer, weight is pretty important unless you plan to just plunk it on a desk
  • Touch screens are pretty affordable and they will be nice to have in the future
Other Tips
  • Spend $100-200 more than you think you should (you'll thank me in 4 years when you've spent $50 a year on a better computer)
  • Buy from a place that will accept returns, and preferably a place that will service the computer in their store (man the Apple Store is great for this)
  • Don't be afraid to return a computer if you don't like the way it feels
  • Start a backup plan for your important files today. If you computer falls in a lake, you should be sad/angry, but you don't need to lose anything
  • Talk to your friendly neighbourhood tech guy. Odds are he's bored of his computer and will have fun looking at what's new and talking to you about it.