Everquest and other oddities

I’m a religous news fanatic. I read CNN.com, Yahoo! News, and Slashdot on a daily basis (some many times a day). I’m going to start sharing some of the interesting stuff I find. Read on for more …

First off is this story about the economy of EverQuest. It talks about how the per capita income of the fantasy land in EverQuest is roughly $2,200.00 a year per person, which would put it at 77th in the world if it were a real country (right behind Russia for Pete’s sake!).

Being somewhat of an Economics enthusiast (if there is such a thing as one) I find this both intriguing and amazing at the same time. It opens up whole new doors – for instance could I make “Miesterland” and start selling access, etc. to make my own country? Can countries exist without borders? Can countries exist without any central government (as some would argue EverQuest does)? It’s mind blowing.

In other news the bible is set to become more politically correct. Phrases, such as the “Sons of God”, will be replaced with PC terms, such as “Sons and Daughters of God.” I’m not an extremely religous man, in fact I hate organized religion, but I find this to be a GOOD thing. This means that the church is finally agreeing in some compacity to join the rest of us in the 21st century. It’s a small concession, but who knows maybe they’ll finally admit they fscked up during World War II…

The term terrorist.

I knew it, I just knew it. A recent CNN.com story tells how the Russian government is saying the helicoptor described in the story was downed by “terrorists” in Chechnya. Read on …

Now we all know about Chenya and the past clashes with Russia. Many would call people fighting to have their own separate state “Freedom Fighters” or at worst “Rebels”, however, with the now over extended term “terrorist” (thanks to much Washington rhetoric) the Russians claim they are “terrorists.”

For a long time now I have thought that the Palenstinians were most definately the aggressors and your typical “terrorist”, however, I now can see that they are fighting for a cause – while I in NO WAY agree with their means – I do see a clear cause (if you don’t know why they are pissed off about Israel you need to go back to history 101). I know this point is not viewed by many, but I’d like to pose a question for you people out there who are totally against me: Were our founding fathers terrorists?

By today’s standards: yes. Here are the similarities between the Palestinians, Chechans, and ourselves …

  • All oppressed by governments where their views are not represented (Israel, Russia, and England)
  • All resorted to violence as a means to bring notice to their cause.

I’m sure the term “terrorist” wasn’t around for the Boston Tea Party, but if a bunch of Palestinians went out and sank a ship the term would most certainly be applied today …

I’m just warning people they should watch out, we are just now entering what I see to be the most oppresive time in history. Besides life wouldn’t be very interesting without upheaval, unrest, revolution, and evolution.

Losing Weight

So I’ve decided it’s high time I started eating healthy and losing some weight. While many overweight people are inclined to lose weight I feel that I’m a little different and will follow through unlike some. Read on for more…

I used to be skinny … really skinny. I came to college at a strapping 175 (keep in mind I’m 6’5”) – in other words I was a twig. I’m now pushing the scales at 240. Luckily, I’m tall and can hide the weight – usually when a person gains 70lbs you notice.

The Goal
So what am I going to do? Well any leader/manager knows you first have to set a realistic and quantitative goal. “Eating healthier” isn’t a goal, but on the other hand “Not eating red meat” is. “Losing weight” isn’t a goal, but “Losing 30 pounds” is. So for my first two goals I’m doing the above. I’m cutting out red meat and aiming to drop 30 pounds.

The Research
I’ve taken in a ton of information from various sites on the net and from a friend, who recently won his battle to become a healthy fit person (congrats!). Below is a mixture of what I’ve read and what I’ve been told helps people lose weight.

My first step is something that you don’t need to do, but something that was recommended as an “experience” and serves as a way to get you thinking in a healthier sense. You spend 10 days cleansing yourself. What does this mean? A few things …

  • No red meat, fish, or pultry.
  • No sweets.
  • No dairy products.
  • No refined grains (no bread).
  • Minimal salt.
  • No nicotene.
  • No caffeine.
  • No alcohol.
  • No drugs (duh).
  • No vinegar.

It seems a little restrictive, but since I like veggies then I’m ok. My friend recommends salads with olive oil some pepper and a little salt. For my first meal I took some romain lettuce, snow peas, a few slices of cucumber, and some of my friend’s olive oil mixture. I also threw in some water and a few grapes. I must say I’m pretty full. After the 10 days is up you just give up red meat mainly and stay away from fast food as much as possible.

Next for exercise you’ll find most sites recommend doing high cardio workouts and limiting your bulk building workouts at first. This makes sense to me – I don’t want to have big muscles hidden under a bunch of fat. Most books recommend you do some warmup, then a sustained workout keeping your heartrate at a certain point based on your weight, age, etc. – then you have a cool down period. Some use treadmills, but since I have a bad lower back I stick to the low impact stationary bikes. Pretty much the same workout only no impact. To begin with I decided to spend a little time in the weight room to get my muscles’ attention and then 20 minutes on the bicycle. When lifting I stick to the “back & bi’s”/”chest and tri’s” ruitine that is familiar to most people. I just do the main exercises and don’t get too crazy – my main goal there is to tone not become the Incredible Hulk.

The results
Well, thus far there aren’t much. I’ve been weighing myself daily, but am going to make that a weekly ritual.

Please note that I am not a fitness expert. I’m merely sharing some life experiences, this is NOT to be used as a guideline for you to lose weight. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise and/or diet.

Year in Review

Taking the lead from my boss I decided to spend a little time reflecting on this last year. Here goes …

The following is a short list of the things that changed my life, for better or worse, this year.

To begin with I made the decision to go part time at Care2.com and back to school fulltime. This decision was based on a few things … Melissa (my girlfriend at the time), fraternity, and my desire to graduate college – not necessarily in that order.

March brought a trip to Mexico – the only other country I’ve visited besides Canada – for Spring Break. Needless to say I had a ton of fun. It was one of the high points of my year for sure.

Next came an aweful breakup with Melissa and a very odd summer for me. I spent a lot of time working with moonie and hanging out with Lynn.

School Time! Near the middle of August I took over as VP of Finance for Sigma Tau Gamma and got us out of debt with National (a first), breaking things off with Lynn, winning Lynn back, and becoming elected President of my Fraternity.

During all of this I also managed to somehow pull a 3.7 – a personal best for myself. Not sure how I did this – between bar nights, Fraternity, and coding I found time to study apparently.

This year finds me at the helm of my Fraternity, taking a whopping 9 credit hours, and coding even more for Care2 (I started working a little more) among other things. As Matt pointed out many have thought this year was a total bust. While my stock portfolio might agree with the others, I agree with Matt in that every year has good points – some of us would rather focus on the good stuff.

Goodbye 2001 – Hello 2002!

Drastic Measures

The other day I took a drastic step to establishing financial freedom – I cut up all my credit cards. I kept one, my structure card – which never has over a 100.00 balance on it. The rest I destroyed. It felt good! Credit debt is the only thing keeping me from the better things in life – namely a house and a car 🙂

Marking mail as spam in Mutt

I use the wonderful MUA, Mutt, and suffer (like most) from spam. I often get reoccurring spam from the same address … here is a short HOWTO to make your email spam free.

As mentioned earlier I use Spam Bouncer to filter most of my email. However, some still gets through to my inbox … to help rid myself of this I did the following.

First here is what you’ll need on your system:

  • PHP
  • Mutt
  • Procmail

Next you’ll need to put the following in your .procmailrc:
@@@SMARTY:TRIM:PRE@@@

Next you’ll want to download this script and put it in your path somewhere.

You’ll also need to set DEVNULL to ~/.devnull (ie DEVNULL=~/.devnull) in your .procmailrc.

Finally, you need to create a small mutt macro to mark email as spam … put the following in your .muttrc.

@@@SMARTY:TRIM:PRE@@@

Now when you hit F1 the From: address will be added to the file ~/.devnull. This is when procmail takes over – all email addresses in .devnull will be sent to /dev/null. So if the email address appears in the From, To, Cc, Bcc, or Reply-To headers the email will never reach your inbox. Email me if you have any questions.