It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, but rather than concoct a lengthy Welcome Back post, I figure I’ll just dive right in and start posting again.

TotalBiscuit, perennial StarCraft II commentator, has some thoughts on why used game sales might be a bad thing for the industry, and his argument has merit that I hadn’t considered. You should watch the video and hear his points for yourself, but the basic gist is this:

  • Used game sales only benefit the used game peddler (i.e., GameStop), not the developer or publisher that really deserves the money
  • Unlike a lot of other industries where used sales are common (DVDs, music CDs), game makers not don’t have much alternative sources of revenue than new sales. DVD movies have box office sales, rental revenue via Blockbuster, Amazon and iTunes, and even television syndication rights. Music artists have concerts, radio licensing and other royalties.
  • While books are more similar in their lack of alternative revenue streams, games require patches, customer service, and other live game costs associated. That money has to come from somewhere.
  • We already have a distribution system sans used games on the PC with Steam, as well as on Android and iOS.
  • On the aforementioned PC and mobile platforms, we generally see lower prices and deeper discounts. Is this because even that deeply discounted sale price is going largely to the developer/publisher?
  • Digital distribution is the future, which will ultimately kill off used game sales for good. It’s just a matter of time.

His final point, which he concedes he doesn’t have a good answer to, to ask why Microsoft feels the need to cause themselves pain and force the point right now, when digital distribution will eventually be the norm. Given that console cycles happen so infrequently (and some suggest that this generation might be the last!), and that midstream changes away from used game sales would be difficult, I would guess that Microsoft and Sony are both under significant pressure from large publishers, who with rising development costs are probably looking for any means necessary to raise the needed cash.

So I find myself perhaps a convert – maybe used games are a bad thing!

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I wish I wrote often enough or intimately enough on this blog to express how radical the curve balls that life can throw you can be. Exactly one year ago, embarking into 2010, I would never have suspected that I would be making the commitment I make today: I will run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, on May 1, 2011.

Over the past year, I have pushed myself into better physical shape. Recently, I have hit a bit of a wall and recognized the need to recommit myself. Thanks to this realization and the advice and encouragement of good friends, I decided that seriously engaging myself in the training and preparation needed to run a full 26.2 miles would, at the very least, provide a shock to the system, hopefully for the better.

I begin training this Monday, bringing to it what progress I have made in reshaping myself over the past year. If I succeed here, I can promise I’ll be far closer to my personal fitness goal than I’d have previously imagined.

Wish me luck.

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I’m fairly strictly libertarian with my views of marriage, that consenting adults should be able to associate as they like and call it whatever they choose (“marriage,” “friends with benefits,” etc.). This obviously could be called a pro-gay marriage argument. In debates with people who favor traditional marriage, the issue always eventually leads to “Well, then, what about polygamy? Would you be fine with that, you heathen?!” And yes, I generally say I would — whatever consenting adults choose to do and to call it is fine, so long as it doesn’t hamper my ability to do the same.

The argument in defense of traditional marriage is usually something referring to tradition, to majority preference, or in some cases even religion. I’ve never given much credence to any of them, but I recently stumbled on a novel take on the subject that impressed me. It doesn’t ultimately change my opinion, but it’s without a doubt the most cogent defense of “one man, one woman” that I’ve yet seen.

Marriage has been for years a way to ensure an equal distribution of males to females. Attraction develops from ancient rites of selection which favored those that were stronger, faster, and more likely to survive. However, as a requirement for society to develop, we suddenly need “experts” in various fields not directly connected to survival — i.e. the person good at farming may not be “attractive”, the person who knows how to predict the weather may not be “attractive”, and so forth. We’ll call these “beta mates”, and under a non-rigorous system they would simply never mate, and therefore have much less reason to participate in society — depriving it of their expertise.

There is another factor, as well. Historically, it has been shown that in unstructured environments, a greater number of females mated than males. The deduction to be made is that females will flock to a male they consider attractive, accepting the presence of other mates in exchange for the higher attraction and potentially stronger offspring. That we don’t see this as often nowadays is precisely because of the point I’m about to make:

Structured monogamous marriage is a method of distributing males and females equally, and provides all mates (“alpha” and “beta”) with a reward for participating in society — the “alphas” benefit from the additional expertise brought by the “betas”, and the “betas” have a very high chance of successful mating. This was for quite some time enforced through arranged marriage, and I would even make the argument that arranged marriage is what made civilization possible.

Polygamy would lead, ultimately, to alpha flocking again, and greatly reduce the encouragement for beta experts to contribute meaningfully to society. I would further argue that we have begun to see the effects of this in the USA with the considerable reduction in the sanctity of marriage and a (I would postulate) corresponding drop in technological leadership worldwide.

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Current Weight: 190 lbs.


Changes to my lifestyle to be more healthy and fit involves more than just exercising more. Less Tex-Mex, fewer pizzas, and more healthy stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m always trying to integrate new recipes and foods into my diet, and a few occasionally stick out as both easy to put together and pretty darn tasty. I definitely want to highlight a few here, starting with a delicious (albeit a bit simple for some people) turkey sandwich recipe.



  • 2 slices Orowheat Whole Grain Bread – 180 calories
  • 1 tbsp Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil – 45 calories
  • 1 tbsp Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard – 15 calories
  • 2 slices Sara Lee Baby Swiss Cheese – 87 calories
  • 4 slices Sara Lee Honey Roasted Turkey Breast – 50 calories
  • 1 cup Green Giant Baby Carrots – 53 calories

Total Calories: 430


Spread the mayo on one slice of bread and the mustard on the other slice.

Lay 2 pieces of the turkey on one slice of bread so that it covers the whole slice. Lay on the two pieces of cheese, then top with rest of the turkey and finally the other slice of bread.

Measure out the baby carrots (I just use a large handful, though).

Wrap the sandwich in a paper towel and put in a Ziploc bag. Put the carrots in another bag or small Tupperware container, and you have a healthy, portable lunch!

Like I said, it’s a pretty simple recipe, but I love it and probably have it a couple times a week. You can include a banana or salad with low-cal dressing for a bit more balance, but for me, turkey sandwich and carrots make a great, medium-sized meal.

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Current Weight: 193 lbs.


My iPhone died on me yesterday, underscoring my reliance on Apple’s product as a central part of my fitness efforts. As I drove home, unable to call anyone or log calories, panic began to set in… how would I be able to keep track of my progress? Was I so reliant on my little smartphone that I would instantly start gaining weight without it to tell me what to do??

As it turns out, my panic was a little over the top, but it definitely made me realize a few things about the way I have been doing things. It’s been great to turn my fitness goals into a numbers game, and to use the ubiquity of my mobile phone to keep track of it all. But while apps can help me watch my calories-in vs. calories-out, record my runs and organize a week’s worth of weight lifting routines, the changes that I ultimately see have nothing to do with what’s inside Apple’s tiny, rectangular device. I’m not going to start putting on the pounds and losing the progress I’ve made without my iPhone, unless in response to it being gone I immediately starting eating junk food everyday and only go outside to walk to my car. The technology is a tool to reshape my eating and exercising, and for me the ability to work the numbers, organize my routine and see the slow progress day-by-day helps immensely.

For other people, it might be something else, but I’m a geek (with a little OCD thrown in for good measure). And for me, suddenly not being able to do all the things I’ve come to rely on my mobile phone for is like driving on the road without a speedometer. Sure, it’s a little scary, but it’s not the gauges that make me a safe driver. It’s my not speeding more than 10 mph over the limit when my radar detector goes off! Wait a sec……

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Current Weight: 194.5 lbs.


I’ve begun to see getting in shape and losing weight in terms of a number of different metrics. How much I weigh is an important one (though not necessarily the most important), but also how much weight I can do in exercises, how far can I run and how often do I run. Besides those relatively objective metrics, I’m also aware, painfully at times, of more subjective measures like body image, self-confidence, appetite and energy level. I plan to write more about how different metrics motivate me, and especially the different geeky and obsessive ways I keep track of some of them, but this post is about the one everyone seems to focus on most: weight.

I weigh myself every day. I do it every morning, and in the exact same way — I wake up, strip down to my boxers, use the restroom, and hop on the scale. It’s probably not the best scale, and I’ll occasionally get slightly different results depending on how I stand, so I make it a point to get on and off three times. If two of the results match (which they usually do), I record that number; if not, I take an average.

Now, people say you’re not supposed to weigh yourself every day, as if there’s an obvious right or wrong way to do it. I’m assuming that’s because our weights tend to fluctuate from day-to-day depending on a number of things, and it’s the overall trend we’re supposed to be interested in, rather than any one day’s result. That makes sense, I get it, but frankly I’m intelligent enough not to get too bent out of shape because I weighed 189 lbs. on Sunday and 194.5 lbs. on Monday (yeah, I pigged out for the LOST finale… sue me!). I’ll admit there have been some days — sometimes a string of days — where my weight seems to climb or stay high and it’s a bit demoralizing, but it’s not enough to outweigh (no pun intended) my primary reason for daily trips to the bathroom scale. Consistency and quantity of data. By weighing myself every single day, it quickly has become a part of my morning routine rather than something I have to remind myself to do. It also provides me 7x more information on my weight than someone who weighs in just once a week, so if I miss a day it’s less of a big deal. Finally, morning weigh-ins aren’t the only thing about me that are routine. I usually go out to dinner on Saturday nights, probably eating more than on an average weekday evening. If I weighed myself once a week every Sunday, logically I would routinely record a higher weight than I do the rest of the week. I could change it up and weigh myself only on Mondays or Tuesdays, but at some point part of me would begin to subconsciously game my own system and actually eat less the day or night before. That’s all well and good, but my weight at any given time is just an indicator, a metric, and doing something one day a week just to try to rig the result doesn’t benefit me in the long term.

The most important part of tracking your weight, in my opinion, isn’t how often you do it (though I think I’ve made a compelling enough case for doing it daily). It’s that you do it consistently, like you would a scientific experiment. Control for as many variables as possible — time of day, clothing, choice of scale. Don’t pee out every drop of urine you can on one day, then hold it in on another, then hop in the shower and scrub your skin raw on another. Weight is an important metric, but unlike your bench press or weekly running average, it’s only an indicator of other things like body fat and muscle mass. So, track it consistently, but don’t let it ruin your day. It’s just a stupid number.

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Starting Weight: 218 lbs.

Current Weight: 192.5 lbs.



Hi, Nate here, and I want to tell you a rather… personal story, starting, oh, around four months ago. As some of my friends may know, I’ve been on the job hunt lately. That fact is neither here nor there, but prospect I found interesting in a number of ways was as a Special Agent with the FBI. In January of this year, I applied and passed its Phase I testing — a written test for aspiring agents — and was promptly greeted with a rather sobering piece of information:

“To ensure that FBI Special Agents are fully prepared to meet their responsibilities as leaders in the law enforcement community, applicants must pass a standardized Physical Fitness Test. The test consists of four mandatory events that are administered in the following order:

  1. Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
  2. Timed 300-meter sprint
  3. Maximum number of push-ups (untimed)
  4. Timed one and one-half mile (1.5 mile) run”


Thus, my application to the FBI was officially put on hold, pending my submission of a Self Assessment demonstrating my ability to pass the official Physical Fitness Test. The next morning, for the first time in years, I got on the bathroom scale, and did not like what I saw (see the Starting Weight at the top). As if to reaffirm that number, my initial attempts at “self assessment” saw absolutely dismal results. If I wanted to have a shot at ever becoming a Special Agent, I needed to get to work, pronto.

I decided standing there and then that everything would change, and I would shed 50 pounds of ugly fat. Four months later, and half of that is lying in the dustbin of my former life. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s not about to become a breeze for the second half. But I figure that along the way, I have found a few things here and there that have helped me eat better, exercise more, manage my intake/output, etc. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I could definitely do things better, but what I’ve been doing so far has worked for me.

Some of the things I hope to discuss on this newly inaugurated F.I.T. blog:

  • Motivators
  • Difficulties
  • Gadgets & Apps
  • Recipes
  • Exercises
  • Apparel
  • And much much more!


I have no idea who reads this blog anymore, or who might in the future. But I want to hear from people! If you have suggestions, questions, words of encouragement or otherwise, I’d love to hear all of it. Hopefully these posts will show up in my Facebook feed, but if you’d like to arrive here more directly for one reason or another, feel free to come back to, or if you’re only interested in fitness-related posts. Even if all this writing is ultimately nothing more than my own personal monologue about my progress, I hope it serves as a reminder and motivator to me never to give up.

Now… back to work!


DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed physical fitness instructor or personal trainer, and anything I say on this blog is intended solely as my personal opinion and what I feel has worked for me. I would strongly encourage anyone planning to start a fitness or weight loss regimen of his or her own to consult his or her physician.

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Still coming down, harder than ever. I’m unofficially calling the party canceled.

And yeah, that guy’s van is stuck.

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And so life intervenes!

The eggnog is pretty much done, and I was just waiting to whip in the whites until shortly before the party, but otherwise it’s ready to go. Likewise the angel food cake is resting upside down in its pan, and I was going to blog about it when it came out, but…

It turns out the party may get canceled! That’s right, Christmas Eve may be canceled, or at least dramatically scaled back to an extent that would quite obviate the need for two dozen chocolate muffins AND wassail on top of creme brulee, sugarplums, and everything else.

Why shut down the party? Ironically, it’s the exact thing you always hear eeeeeverybody wants this time of year:

A white frickin’ Christmas.

Oh, and it’s getting bad alright. Behold my poorly cobbled together time-lapse photography:



So further cooking efforts are put on temporary hold, pending more info on the party. Which means if it DOES happen, I’ll just have that much less time to cook (or be forced to drop something).

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This dish is pathetically simple to make and tastes wonderful as a holiday side dish. It all begins with:

That’s right, Sweet Corn Bread Pudding. Yeah, that’s a can of cream style sweet corn in the middle.

Oh, wait, you thought I meant “Sweet Corn Bread“?? No, no… this is “Sweet Corn Bread Pudding,” and it still tastes great. By the way, if you don’t own a cast iron skillet and you ever really cook much at all, you should pick one up. I got that fine beast at Walmart for $15, I believe. Two handles, even a slightly pursed lip on one side for pouring. Just watch out, they can get fiery hot.

So you take the onions and spices and sweat them for a little in the skillet. Meanwhile you take everything else and mix it up (I’d add the bread towards the end so it doesn’t get too soggy). That leaves you with:

(I added the bread after this was taken)

Add the mixture to the skillet, toss the whole thing into a standard 350 oven for half an hour or so, and when it comes out, you’ll have THIS:

Absolutely you gotta let it cool a bit before touching it. The cast iron will retain its heat for a long time, so it won’t cool so fast you’ve got cold bread pudding. But even if you do, just pop the whole thing back in the oven for a couple minutes and voila.

Next up, Angel Food Cake!

Oh, and the sugarplums from yesterday needing to be coated in sugar? They turned out great:

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