Weekly Video–Yosemite National Park Time Lapse

Last week I posted a video by Anson Fogel called “Cascada.”  Incidentally, Anson Fogel is quickly becoming one of my favorite filmmakers.

This week, I’m posting a time-lapse video of Yosemite National Park made by a group called Project Yosemite.  As before, for best results maximise the screen, turn the lights down, and turn of the volume.  Enjoy!

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Inspiration

I found this photo, with the quote, on The Chive a couple days ago.  I found it inspiring, and wanted to share it.

Ali

My diet went well for the first week.  My calorie count went over on Friday and Saturday, but my overall weekly calorie count was less than my budget, so that’s good.  Also, small success: according to my mother in law’s scale, I have lost a pound, and am currently at 224 lbs.  This means that I’m on track with my goal, which was to lose a pound a week.  So that’s good.  I feel it’s important to celebrate one’s successes, no matter how small.  So, here’s the celebration:

Photo on 2013-03-25 at 15.46

And that’s quite enough of that.  Other good things too:

  1. I’m eating breakfast more regularly.
  2. I’m drinking much less soda, and eating much less dessert/”junk foods.”
  3. I’m getting better at choosing the healthy option, rather than the quick/easy/tasty (sometimes) option.  Consequentially, my fast food intake has gone way down.

I have a few things to improve on, of course.

  1. Keep the daily calorie counts under the daily budget.
  2. Lower percentage of fat in daily intake.
  3. Make exercise a regular part of each day.

Here’s the insidious thing about Lose It!  I just realized that they lower your daily calorie budget each week.  So, last week my budget was 2,434 calories per day.  This coming week, my budget will be 2,428.  Not a huge difference, to be sure.  But I have a feeling I’m going to have to get better at making conscious food choices, and also start exercising more.

If you’re into the numbers, here is a summary report for last week:

Weekly Report for week of March 18, 2013

Daily Summary
Budget Food Exer. Net +/- Weight
Mar-18-13 2,434 2,051 2,051 -383 225
Mar-19-13 2,434 2,332 2,332 -102
Mar-20-13 2,434 2,744 536 2,208 -227
Mar-21-13 2,434 2,409 2,409 -25
Mar-22-13 2,434 2,890 2,890 456
Mar-23-13 2,434 2,811 2,811 377
Mar-24-13 2,434 1,800 1,800 -634
538 calories under for the week
536 exercise calories burned this week
Lost 0 pounds this week

 

Nutrients
Fat (g) Carb (g) Prot (g)
Mar-18-13 82 206 66
Mar-19-13 37* 266* 108*
Mar-20-13 97 326 143*
Mar-21-13 45 401 122
Mar-22-13 131 309 135
Mar-23-13 91* 291* 57*
Mar-24-13 69 188 67
Totals 552 1,987 698
Daily Avg 78.9 283.9 99.7
Percent 32% 51% 18%

Hoping for a Healthier Me

This post will be just a bit different from my norm.  The pitfall bloggers face is becoming whiny, and I’m going to try not to do that.  However, I do want to talk briefly about my attempts to improve my physical fitness.

It’s always hard to start; this applies to both a new workout plan, as well as a new blog post.  I opened my lap top, pulled up a new document, then sat there for about 5 minutes, staring at the screen, as the idle cursor blinked at me accusingly.  I knew what I wanted to do; I just didn’t know how to start.

This is me my sophomore year of college.
This is me my sophomore year of college.

A bit of a parallel, truth be told, for my recent endeavors in the area of physical fitness.  I know what I want, and even what I want to do.  I’ve just had trouble getting up the gumption to start.  The funny thing is, it hasn’t always been like this.  If you would run into me on the street, as I do my daily thing, you’d never guess that I ran cross-country and track all through high school and college.  I was never exceptional, but I wasn’t bad either.  I was captain of the boy’s cross-country and track teams three times in high school, and ran a solid 18:30 5k; I even broke 18 minutes once, and ran in the 17:50’s.  I could do 1600 meters (a mile) in 4:40.  College cross-country got off to a great start.  I ran the last race of my freshman year, a 5 mile distance, in 28:05.  You can do the math.

Things started to go downhill after that, fitness wise.  I didn’t run my sophomore year; I started to struggle with willing myself to get out the door and run the miles.  I’ve always enjoyed food; during college, it was easier to eat the junk then to force myself to eat healthy foods.  After I graduated and started working, it got even harder to want to make the time to go and do something as uncomfortable as exercising.  Currently, I’m married with an 9 month old son, and I work about 50-60 hours per week.  Physical activity and exercise do not play a large role in my daily or weekly routine.  I’m not massive, but I am obese for my height, and I’m out of shape.  Basically, I’m a “Big Guy.”

A (slightly less than flattering) more current picture.
A (slightly less than flattering) more current picture.

Being a Big Guy has made some things difficulty for me.  I get tired more easily, because I’m out of shape and I have more heft to lug around.  I’m not able to enjoy the physical activities that I take part in, like rock climbing, as much because I’m not physically up to the task sometimes.  I’m also a bit embarrassed by how I look; I really don’t enjoy taking my shirt off in public at this point, which makes swimming in the local river not quite as fun.  Most of the rest of my family is pretty fit, and I feel bad that I can’t keep up with them, and then I worry that I’m slowing them down.  Most of the time, when my brother and my dad invite me along on something, I tend to try to get out of it because I can’t keep up with them.

Basically, I’ve had to face the ugly truth that a) I need to do something about the physical predicament I find myself, and b) the choices I have made have landed me here.  I’m writing it so that my reader’s can keep me accountable, because I know that otherwise I will start with enthusiasm, and then taper off as the effort becomes harder, and I start to lose interest.

So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are the facts.

When I went into college in 2005, I was 19 years old.  I wore a medium t-shirt, and size 32-32 jeans.  I weighed in at 155 pounds, and stood 5’11”.  I could run a mile in under five minutes, and could run without stopping for at least an hour.  Today, I’m 26.  I wear a large t-shirt, and my jeans size is 36-32.  I weigh in at around 225 pounds, and I’m still 5’11”.  I can’t even begin to tell you how long I could run at a stretch, or what my mile time would be.

I know I’m not going to get back to the bean pole-like 19-year-old I was; in fact, my wife has told me that she doesn’t really want me to lose that much weight (I believe she used the word “scrawny” to describe how I looked back then).  I don’t think I could get back to that anyway.  I wasn’t finished growing back then; I’ve gained a lot of fat since then, but I’ve also gained some muscle and grown up a bit too.  I guess my thought is, though, that I’d like to get back under 200, and also get stronger.  I know I’m still going to be a “Big Guy.”  My feeling is, if I’m going to be big, I’d rather it to be muscle.

My dad used to say that “A wish without a plan is just a dream.”  His point was that unless you came up with a series of steps to get where you wanted to go, you never would.  So, I’ve decided to try to loose 45 pounds at one pound per week.  I recently got my first smart phone, and I’m using an app for my iPhone called Lose It!  I heard about this app from a WordPress blogger that I just started reading last night, Fat Guy to Tri Guy, for whom it had excellent and inspiring results (by the way, you should definitely check out his blog.  Very inspiring).

So far, the app is helping a lot.  I’m starting to choose food based on its health value.  I’m also drinking more water.  I’ve yet to start adding exercise to the mix, but that will come.  I do feel like I’m constantly hungry, and I have a feeling that if it all goes downhill, that will be the reason for it.  Still, I’m optimistic.

So, here we go!

The Big Guy can still climb, but I'm looking forward to how it will feel to climb when I've lost a bit of the Big.
The Big Guy can still climb, but I’m looking forward to how it will feel to climb when I’ve lost a bit of the Big.

Anson Fogel’s “Cascada”

Eli and I were browsing Vimeo today, looking for cool outdoor films.  This is one of the things we enjoy doing together.  I love the cinematography, the story, and the amazing feats; Eli loves the music and the moving, shifting colors.

We found a short film by Anson Fogel, who is a new addition to the Camp IV Collective crew (other members of Camp IV Collective include Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk).  At any rate, it’s called “Cascada,” and documents a group of kayakers exploring South American waterfalls.

Impressive stuff.  Stuff that makes your skin crawl.  Eli and I watched, enthralled.  I’ve linked to it below.  For best results, turn the volume up, maximize the screen, and enjoy.

Daddy and Eli Test a Baby Pack! The Deuter Kid Comfort II

360x500_3163_KidComfortII_StormAnthraciteWay back when Melissa and I first found out that Eli was on the way, we started “Bean Updates” on the blog.  In the first one, we talked about the baby carrier we wanted for taking the baby hiking.  We raved about how much we liked the look of the Deuter Kid Comfort II pack.  If you need a reminder, you can read that post here.  And here is an image of said pack, just to remind you.

We finally got Eli’s pack (joined REI’s co-op while we were at it.  More on that later).  As soon as we finished paying, Melissa and I looked at each other, and pretty much simultaneously exclaimed “We need to test it!”  So that afternoon, we pulled on our hiking clothing, loaded our gear, strapped the Tiny Boy into his car seat, and headed for the closest hiking terrain–which happened to be Pocahontas State Park.

Let’s face it, Richmond does not have the hiking resources that Harrisonburg did.  In Harrisonburg, we could have driven 30 minutes in either direction, and had our pick of Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington National Forest.  Richmond pretty much has Pocahontas State Park, located about 20 minutes away.  Despite being comparatively small, there are plenty of hiking trails, it only costs $5 to get in, and turns out to have a very nice campground.  It was the perfect place to put the new pack through it’s paces.  We decided to hike the Beaver Lake Trail, a 2.5 mile loop around a scenic lake.

Just getting started.  So far, so good.  You can see the super-convinenent side opening seat, that allows loading wiggly passengers from the side, rather than trying to "thread the needle" from the top.
Just getting started. So far, so good. You can see the convenient side opening seat, that allows loading wiggley passengers from the side, rather than trying to “thread the needle” from the top.

Eli wasn’t too sure about the pack at first.  This is a kid who hates being strapped down, and would rather be out scooting around under his own power.  Sitting still is not his idea of a good time.  Once we got him in the pack and moving, he loved it.  He was able to be up and get a good view of the area around him (he loves being able to see).  He was also able to be close to mommy and daddy.  Mommy was right there, and could come up beside the pack to talk to him.  He loved it when I would bounce him around, and the steady rocking as we walked eventually (almost) put him to sleep.

On my end, I loved the suspension system.  The hip belt made it easy to care pack and baby.  Honestly, it felt just like carrying my standard climbing pack.  The pack has a clip on the side, which allows easier loading of the occupant.  Instead of having to “thread the needle” and place a wiggling child into the carrier straight down from the top, the side can unclip, and the pack can be loaded from the side.  Much easier.  The shoulder straps inside keep the tiny passenger securely seated in a very comfortable seat.  The trunk length is also adjustable, so 5’4″ Melissa can carry the pack, and 5’11” me can take over easily at any time.  The pack stands on it’s own as well with a retractable stand.  And the small looking pack underneath the child’s seat is actually quite roomy, and can swallow a daypack amount of gear pretty easily.  It’s also hydration system compatible, so I can clip my camelback water bladder into a hidden pocket.

The suspension system is very comfortable, and very easy to adjust.
The suspension system is very comfortable, and very easy to adjust.

I wish it had better carrying pockets for a Nalgene sized water bottle.  While there are mesh pockets, they are better for carrying bottles, baby toys, and sippy cups.  A standard sized water bottle would not fit.

Despite the shortcoming I mentioned above, we already love this pack!  We are anticipating a lot of good use out of it, both with Eli and with future little brothers and sisters.  This pack fulfills everything I’ve come to expect from Deuter!

The pack stands on it's own, but always be nearby when you have stand it up.  A determined, wiggle passenger could turn it over pretty easily.
The pack stands on its own, but always be nearby when you have stood it up. A determined, wiggley passenger could turn it over pretty easily.  That pack under the seat is bigger than it looks.
Eli gives this one his seal of approval!
Eli gives this one his seal of approval!

The Past 9 Months

Glancing at my blog, I can see that the last real post I wrote was when Elijah was born.  So what have we been up to for the past nine months?

I’ve been working pretty hard at my job.  The agency I work for answered 78,000 calls for service in the 2012 calendar year.  I started there as a “Blueberry” (a probationary EMT; called a “blueberry” because of the baby blue color of the uniform shirt) at the beginning of June.  I cleared preception and became a “Blue-Shirt” (a cleared provider; cleared providers wear navy blue polo shirts during the summer and gray button up uniform shirts in the winter) at the beginning of August.  I spent the first 5 months on the street assigned to the transport ambulance.  Basically, I shuttled patients from the hospital to home, or from the hospital to the nursing home, or from the nursing home to a doctor’s appointment.  Starting in January, I moved to a 911 Emergency ambulance.  I work with a paramedic, and answer 911 calls around the city.

I was rated as fully effective in my November performance evaluation, and I also was told that I had driven around 3,000 miles since I started in June.  I actually went to Google Maps to figure out where that would put me; basically, if I started in Virginia Beach and drove 3,000 miles, I would end up in the vicinity of Seattle something like three days later (if I drove continuously).

Blueberry shirt!  Academy begins...
Blueberry shirt! Academy begins…
IMG_0144
It’s a strange picture, I agree. In my defense, I was very bored when it was taken.
Ambulances posted under a bridge.  I was crew on 78.
Ambulances posted under a bridge. I was crew on 78.

Melissa has also been working hard.  She found a job at a small daycare/preschool called Messiah Lutheran School, in the nearby town of Mechanicsville.  She’s working about 20 hours a week currently, but recently got a promotion.  Basically, when the lady in charge of the school isn’t on site, Melissa fills the position.  But enough about work.  How about some fun stuff?

Elijah is a joy, and has really grown up into a happy, curious, enthusiastic little guy.  We call him Eli for short.  He’s got a great personality, and loves people.  We’ve discovered that he loves the water, and swimming is one of his favorite things to do.  Looks like we’ll be going on lots of family trips to the river this summer!  I could write and write and write about him, but I think I’ll just drop a bunch of pictures in.  Here, in mostly chronological order, is our first 9 months with Elijah.

One of our first weekends living in Richmond.  We went to the Virginia Science Museum.
One of our first weekends living in Richmond. We went to the Virginia Science Museum.
DSC00008
So little!

Melissa and Eli, the "Flying Bunny."  Out for a walk in Maymont Park.
Melissa and Eli, the “Flying Bunny.” Out for a walk in Maymont Park.
Watching a Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball game (minor league home team).
Watching a Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball game (minor league home team).
Who can resist that face?
Who can resist that face?
Yup, he's a waterbaby.  He actually loves it, and I promise, no babies were frozen in the making of this picture.
Yup, he’s a water-baby. He actually loves it, and I promise, no babies were frozen in the making of this picture.
Growing up, and becoming quite the smiler.  Chilling out in his ride.
Growing up, and becoming quite the smiler. Chilling out in his ride.
All snazzed up for my sister's wedding.
All snazzed up for my sister’s wedding.
Family Portrait
Family Portrait
Enjoying a day in Charlottesville with my family; that's my youngest sister, my brother, and my mom.
Enjoying a day in Charlottesville with my family; that’s my youngest sister, my brother, and my mom.
Elijah visits daddy at work!
Elijah visits daddy at work!
Richmond Christmas Parade!
Richmond Christmas Parade!
Christmas shopping for mommy.
Christmas shopping for mommy.
A family walk in the park.
A family walk in the park.
It's too cold to swim, tiny boy!
It’s too cold to swim, tiny boy!
New crib!
New crib!
Such a dapper little fella!
Such a dapper little fella!
Just a morning spent lounging around in a diaper, watching Baby Einstein.
Just a morning spent lounging around in a diaper, watching Baby Einstein.
Sticks and dirt are fun!
Sticks and dirt are fun!
Another family walk (yes, we go on a lot).
Another family walk (yes, we go on a lot).
Eli and Mel encounter a goat!
Eli and Mel encounter a goat!
A very recent picture (this just happened earlier this morning).  First time on a bigger kid swing!  He loved it!
A very recent picture (this just happened earlier this morning). First time on a bigger kid swing! He loved it!

So that’s Eli.  It’s been a bit of a hard transition for me, moving to Richmond.  Richmond is a city rich in historical significance.  You can’t drive around here without encountering reminders from the past from any number of eras.  Patrick Henry gave the “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” speech here.  Richmond was the major objective of the Civil War.  So on and so forth.  However, Richmond does not have much when it comes to mountains.  It’s a river town; so if you’re a kayaker or fly fisherman or trail runner, it’s a great town for you.  For those of us like me, who crave the high, exposed crag-like places, it’s a bit rougher.  However, I’m getting by.  Leaving Shenandoah NP and George Washington NF was hard, but Richmond has a great park system, and I’m steadily finding the green spaces.  So there will be adventures to write about this spring.

Richmond skyline at night.
Richmond skyline at night.

 

 

 

 

Well…That was a Good Nap…

I must apologize.  Forgive me father, for I have sinned.  I have been an unfaithful blogger.  It has been…darn near 9 months since my last post.  

 

The simple fact is, life called and I had to answer!  So I took one of those infamous blogger breaks.  What also contributed do my long absence was lack of internet at our apartment in Richmond.  It’s hard to post when you can’t connect.  Still, that’s not a good excuse because we didn’t have the internet at our last apartment in Harrisonburg either.  

The better excuses are my work and my family.  I’m working as an EMT currently; I work anywhere from 50-60 hours per week currently, which doesn’t leave much time for anything else.  Since the blog is also about outdoor adventures, and they are a bit fewer and more far between since we moved to Richmond, there hasn’t been much to write about.

The other excuse is Elijah; I’ll post about him very soon.

In the meantime, take this as my promise that the posts will start coming more regularly.