Operation Kitty Poo Poo – Four out of Four

Today was a great day in our household. Why? Because Crash managed a perfect four point stance without having to have his feet positioned by yours truly. I even had time to snap a picture for everyone’s enjoyment. Needless to say it is a very happy day. in our house.

I finally resorted to using a motion detector to listen for when Crash was heading into the bathroom. He’s caught on that the beeping noise triggers me running to the bathroom and I think he does it frequently just to see me run around. This has resulted in Lauren and I forming a tag team. When I hear the chime she double checks from her view point in the living room to see if the has ran back out already.

Though last night he did slip one past me when he went number two. I think after a few more days we will be ready to add water to the bowl. Once he is using the water in the bowl then we are all set to remove the bowl. Also, the picture should answer anyone’s questions about the logistics of how cats go potty in the toilet without getting it everywhere.

Saying Goodbye to an old Friend

Where do I start? We met back in my sophomore year of college. I was looking to experience new things and happened across a new friend in the process. We worked well together and they lit up my life in ways no other had before. But today that long relationship that had survived numerous jobs, a cross country move and more than a few ups and downs came to an abrupt end.

My original Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer sits idle, having fallen ill lately with a bad case of Frozen Mouse Syndrome. In it’s place sits a sophisticated Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 2.0, which is wireless and features a horizontal scroll wheel. Not to mention a leather palm pad as well, which is nice. A part of me feels sad. Oh sure I’ve thought about leaving my old friend before, but I figured we would always make it through the tough times, but this time it was too much.

So today I say goodbye to an old friend and hello to a new one.

Operation Fat Ass: Month 2

We have finished month 2 at a local gym in Dallas, and are now entering the third month of Operation Fat Ass. The second month was spent mostly in limbo. I used the month to evaluated my next step. I’ve stuck steady in the mid to high 230’s as far as weight goes (238 this morning) so I’m still down about 20 pounds since new years. Mainly this last month has been spent learning how to gain muscle, burn fat and what types of exercises/foods will sufficiently help in obtaining those goals. Below are a few things that I’ve learned.

  1. You can either workout and diet to gain muscle or workout and diet to burn fat, but you can’t do both at the same time. The type of diet and exercise it takes to seriously put on muscle will not burn a lot of fat, while the type of diet/exercise to burn fat doesn’t put on muscle (and sometimes reduces your muscle mass).
  2. Eating many small meals each day instead of three large ones helps to speed up your metabolism. Anyone else get tired around mid afternoon? The problem with eating three large meals each day is two fold. First, it causes your insulin levels to shoot up and down in high highs and low lows, which is horrible (insulin levels is one of the main tenets of the Atkins diet). Second, by keeping your body consistently fueled your metabolism remains active throughout the day. What happens when you go long periods of time without eating (say 5 hours between lunch and dinner) your body thinks you can’t find food and both slows down the metabolism and hangs onto all the energy (fat) it can. I’ve actually increased my caloric intake, but reduced my weight over the last few days by eating every 2-3 hours.
  3. Calories aren’t necessarily your enemy. It all depends on where you are getting your calories from. Right now I try to take in most of my calories in protien with carbohydrates following in priority and finally a small portion coming from good fats (ie. Yogurt). I eat about 2000 calories a day and I lost a few pounds over the weekend not doing much of anything.

Over the last three days I’ve been keeping meticulous logs of what I eat. I eat every 2-3 hours and I can honestly say I don’t get lethargic during the day like I used to. I instantly noticed that I don’t yawn throughout the day and I’m generally more focused. Below is a rough outline of what my diet is now – though I must admit eating every two hours from 7am to 9pm is crappy. I’ll most likely start eating every 2.5-3 hours.

  1. 7am – Small bowl of cereal (1 cup cereal + 1 cup skim milk)
  2. 9am – Granola bar
  3. 11am – Meal replacement shake (large protein shake with bananas and such)
  4. 1pm – Baked chicken breast and a yogurt
  5. 3pm – 1/2 cup of Tuna and a granola bar
  6. 5pm – 6 inch turkey/ham sub from Subway
  7. 7pm – Yogurt and a granola bar
  8. 9pm – 1/2 cup of Tuna

I stick to fish and chicken throughout the day because they contain pretty much no fat, they taste decent and are loaded with protein (which your muscles love). On the days I workout I move the protein shake to 7pm, which is after I work out to help with recovery. It’s a lot of work and focus to eat this often, but after a few days I’m getting into the rhythm and it’s working out fine for now.

Operation Kitty Poo Poo – Followup

Kitty had his first accident the other day. I heard of another approache that made sense to me, but ended up not working out very well. I think it was because I had pushed him too quickly into this step after he was used to the bowl. The new method is to put plastic wrap over the toilet with some kitty litter on it. I guess the idea is that it forces the cat’s feet onto the toilet lid.

Also, I’ve had a few questions about training the cat to flush the toilet and whether or not this is transferrable (ie. the cat will use any toilet after being toilet trained). First, it isn’t recommended that you teach the cat to flush the toilet. Cats LOVE fresh cold water and this is what they get when they flush the toilet. I’ve heard horror stories about large water bills, etc.

Second, from what I have read and heard the training is transferrable and cats know from that point on to use the toilet. You basically have to do what you do with litter boxes: show them where the new toilet is and let them sniff around. I have even heard of people traveling with their cat and the cat would use the toilet in the hotel room without incident.

Iraqi Constitution

The usual news outlets are buzzing about the new Iraqi constitution that was passed. I’d like to make a few points about this document before we move on. I say the following because, as usual, the media is to quick to gloss over the facts and break things down for easy consumption (after all we’re morons).

  1. The new constitution is interim. This means that it’s merely an in-between until elections can be held and a real constitution can be completed.
  2. Nobody, that I know of, has seen the actual wording of this document (more on this later).

First off, don’t get me wrong, I think this is a good first step towards establishing a more Democratic nation in Iraq. I use the word “more” because the chances of an Arabic nation being truly Democratic is somewhat of an oxymoron in my opinion. We just need to remember that this is just the first step in what will likely be a long process.

While surfing the net I found a site that has, what it reports, as a scanned copy of a rough draft of the constitution. The very first thing that struck me was that it, basically, lays the ground work for a civil war. It says that the Federal Republic of Iraq will consist of two regions: The Arabic Region and The Kurdish Region. There’s a bright idea. By breaking the country into two regions based on ethnicity you’re just asking for trouble.

At any rate, the document is only 13 pages and an easy read. I suggest everyone read it over since this is basically all we have to show for the billions of dollars we’ve spent and the hundreds of lives lost. Unless your a Haliburton CEO – if you are then you also have a few uncontested multi-billion dollar contracts to snuggle up to as well.

Operation Kitty Poo Poo – Toilet Training Your Cat

We are officially in Stage 4 of Operation Kitty Poo Poo, whose objective is to train Crash to go to the bathroom using the toilet. The entire process is going to take about two months, but in the end will be completely worth it. We already have got a self-cleaning litter box so that we can stop tracking after our cat uses it and it seems to be working pretty well till now, but either way, we want to train our cat to use the restroom. For those wishing to undertake this process I have outlined how to be litter free below.

  1. Move your cat’s litter box into the bathroom. Some cats may be extremely fussy about the location of their litter box. If this is the case start by moving it half way to the bathroom or moving it into the bathroom a little ways at a time. You will want to leave the litter box in the bathroom as usual for about a week. I’d also close off access to the cat’s normal spot so that it doesn’t get any ideas and start going to the bathroom on the carpet where their litter box used to be.
  2. Start raising the litter box a little bit at a time. This gets the cat used to jumping up into the litter box. Some cats will not require this step, but the fussier ones will.
  3. Move the litter box on top of the toilet. I used strips of velcro to secure the litter box to the toilet lid so that when the cat jumps up and down from the litter box he doesn’t knock off the litter box. Once the cat is used to this operation you can move onto the next stage. I recommend a week or more at this stage.
  4. Get out your tape measure and meaure your toilet. Lift up the seat and meaure the inside of the rim. Drive down to the local pet supply store and buy a metal bowl with a decent lip on it that measures a little bigger than the inside rim of your toilet. Take it home and make sure it fits with the seat down (very important). Fill the bowl about half way with kitty litter, place it in the toilet and put the toilet seat down.
  5. This stage is really an extension of stage four. The cat will continue going in the bowl. As they do scoop out used litter at least once a day and do NOT refill the litter. The idea is to get the cat used to not having any litter at all. During this stage you will also want to keep a close eye on when the cat uses the bathroom. Follow them in and begin by placing their front two paws on the toilet seat. Once you have trained them to do that you do the back to legs.
  6. Eventually, the cats are going to the bathroom in the bowl without litter in perfect four point stances. It’s time to remove the bowl entirely.

This may sound like a lot of work. Well, it is. But, it also results in you not having to clean a litter box ever again. One last thing before you start training your own cat. You may be tempted to teach the cat how to flush the toilet as well – don’t. The problem is that cats love fresh water and the sound it makes so they tend to flush over and over for the fun of it leaving you with a huge water bill.

Connecting Vonage to a Wireless (WiFi) Network

I have subscribed to the Vonage service for about five months now with no complaints. The service is relatively cheap for the unlimited business service ($49.99/mo.) and is never down. Of course there are drawbacks to the service, such as when the Internet is down the phone is down. The same goes for power outages. When coupled with a cell phone, though, these problems largely become null.

I had been plugging along quite nicely until my business necessitated a fax machine. Personally, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t use sites like https://googleonlinefax.com/send-fax-from-gmail/ these days, it makes it so intuitive. Anyway, not wanting to have a fax machine parked next to the Vonage router and not wanting to string a 100 foot phone cord through my apartment to the office I decided to take drastic measures. A quick trip down to the local Staples turned up a Linksys wireless bridge that I planned to plug the Vonage router into. This would enable me to connect to my WiFi network with Vonage from any room in the apartment. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Despite positive results from other Vonage users I could not get the bridge to work properly. A distributed antenna systems integrator delivers best-in-class signal performance.

On to plan B. I did some research and found that I could share my WiFi card’s connection with one of the RJ45 cards in my workstation. With this method I assumed I could plug my Vonage router into the RJ45 ethernet card in my workstation and route things from there. I’m happy to report that it worked just fine and my Vonage router is now happily connected wirelessly through my workstation’s shared WiFi card.

Of course, this got the ol’ brain churning. I did some browsing on sites like  https://www.seriftv.com/best-long-range-tv-antenna/ to see what more I could do. The possibilities are really endless from here. Any laptop with a WiFi card and a WiFi scanner could easily turn a vonage router plugged into a DC/AC inverter into a cell phone. Even better, you can buy Vonage’s “soft phone” software and simply plug a headset into your laptop and use that to connect to your Vonage service.

I've fallen for my blender

My parents bought me a new blender for my upcoming birthday. It’s amazing. 450 watts of pure blending power provided by the good people of Oster. The gift is a result of months of complaining about Lauren’s crappy plastic blender that couldn’t blend baby food if it wanted to. I’m not debating whether or not to make the blender an honored guest at our upcoming wedding. I suppose the bartenders will have their own.

Lauren and I have slated Wednesday night as daiquiri night. We’ve got a lot of vodka, a ton of ice that is just begging for some daiquiri mix. Combine that with my amazing new blend-o-matic and Fox’s The O.C. and you’ve got the making of a great night.

In other news Lauren and I visited my parents over the weekend. I’m a little miffed that my car somehow gets about 34 mpg on the highway and only about 23 city. Considering it’s a 4 cylinder stick you would think it would do better in the city. Of course this may be caused by me dropping it into second while going 40 to zip around some old hag in the left lane. The good news is the trip netted me 3 joyous hours at Boyne Mountain. I’m happy to report that I didn’t fall once. I did have a close call on the Medows run. Whoever let their jackass 8 year old kid in a black diamond should be shot. Sadly, after 3 hours of prime weather and even better snow (40 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and 10 foot base!) the main runs were overrun with idiots who think they can ski/snowboard. News flash, if you still snowplow down the mountain at 5mph you are NOT ready to go on black diamonds or even intermediate hills.

Finally, I’d like to announce that I’ve bought, redesigned and relaunched a BMW enthusiast site called BMWZ8.net, which aims to be a hotspot for BMW drivers around the world. So far I have photo albums, discussion boards and BMW related news. I’ve got about 5 other solid sites in the works that are small niche community websites that I will be launching in the coming months. I’ll keep you all posted.