Monday 26 June 2017

Diet & Exercise update - Week 25

Well, my 'new' (restarted) diet regime got off to a fairly good start last week, mostly due to not being able to eat very solid foods after getting a tooth extracted on Thursday afternoon!. Although I haven't yet restarted doing 5BX daily exercise sessions or weekly squash with the kids, I did reach my daily step-count target of 12,000 steps on four of the days last week. I didn't do much walking on the day I got my tooth extracted, or over the weekend. As I couldn't eat too much anyhow, I took the opportunity to do two days of my mock-'fasting mimicking diet' (FMD) plan on the weekend. While the overall carb, fat and protein ratio is fairly close to that published by Dr Longo, I don't try to mimic the micro-nutrient or other compositional aspects of his commercialized diet regime. As I take a daily multivitamin, calcium and Vitamin D supplement, I'm not too worried about working out the finer details of my diet's nutritional makeup. I also intend to just utilize my version of FMD on two days every weekend, rather than Dr Longo's FMD schedule of five sequential days every month or two.

This week I plan on walking at least 12K steps every day, and to start doing daily 5BX exercise routine again in the evenings. Next weekend I'll be driving up to the lake house with DS2, so he can stay there with my parents during the two week school vacation. DS1 is staying home this vacation to study for his HSC exams (his trial HSC exams start in the third week on next term). As it is a three hour drive up to the lake house, I'll need to make sure I do enough walking on those days.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 20       38.8       63.6     21.4    118.9      3,371    104.6      6,563
Week 21       33.3       62.9     21.0    105.7      3,056    104.4      6,957
Week 22       20.4       61.6     22.4    123.8      3,390    104.9      8,962
Week 23       32.2       69.6     13.3    106.7      2,840    104.5      6,471
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,808    105.2      7,258
Week 25       20.6       61.3     24.5     63.7      1,894    103.0      8,406

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Friday 23 June 2017

Ouch, That hurt my wallet (and my mouth

Had a 'fun' day off work yesterday - got some fasting blood tests done in the morning (covered by Medicare), in preparation for my visit to the eczema/immunology specialist in two weeks time. And then had an after lunch session with the dentist to get a premolar tooth extracted (it had two previously rounds of expensive root canal therapy by two different dentists, which didn't fix the problem).

I was told the extraction would take about an hour, but I ended up being in the 'chair' for almost two hours. Aside from some small pricks getting the initial local anesthetic injections, the whole proceed was quite painless, although uncomfortably. It involved the tooth extraction, 'grafting', a few stiches, and then an x-ray to check the final result. I'll be going back for a short visit in a couple of weeks to get the few stitches removed. This two hour marathon session cost just under A$1000, but at least there was a lot of time, effort and materials involved. A large proportion of the bill was covered by my employer-funded health plan, so my 'out of pocket' was under A$200.

There was somewhat greater pain involved when the local wore off. I'm on soft/liquid foods only for a couple of days, and taking some pain-killers today. Hopefully it will have 'settled down' by tomorrow morning.

Later in the year I'll need to have some more expensive work done to insert a 'prosthetic' tooth in the gap. Makes me wish I'd done a bit more cleaning and flossing of my teeth during the past forty years!

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Monday 19 June 2017

Diet & Exercise update - 2017 Weeks 7-24

Well, 2017 has so far been a diet disaster ;(

We had a very hot and humid summer, and my eczema got quite bad due to a heat rash, so I've been feeling unwell, lethargic and irritable. I'm not sure if being unwell was the main cause, but I found it impossible to stick to my diet, and I had been buying confectionery whenever I went grocery shopping, and then eating lollies in the evenings as 'comfort food'. The heat rash and eczema also reduced the amount of walking I was doing (at least until the weather cooled down in May), and I haven't been doing my weekly game of squash due to my skin.

Overall, my weight increased from 97kg at the start of the year, up to 105kg last week! Considering I had got my weight down to 89kg this time last year, it is a really bad result.

A recent course of antibiotics and prednisone seems to have finally gotten my skin back under control, and I've been walking a bit more since the weather cooled down in May. I managed to stick to my diet plan last weekend, so I intend to stick fully to my diet starting from.... NOW! Hopefully doing a weekly blog post might also help motivate/embarrass me into sticking to my plan.

I won't bother listing all the weekly stats for 2017, but the overall figures from weeks 1-24 and the past week are below:

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Weeks 1-24    37.5       64.1     18.3    118.9      3,019    102.1      6,025
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,803    105.2      7,258

Goes to show what a few hundred extra calories every day, and a lack of exercise will achieve ;(

I'll start reporting weekly figures again from now on. Wish me luck.

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Making money Bitcoin 'mining' is harder than it looks

Well, for one thing I'm not really 'mining' Bitcoin -- I haven't bought the hardware normally used to 'mine' new Bitcoin (apparently you have to have access to really cheap electricity to make it worthwhile - hence the big mining 'farms' are located close to cheap sources of hydro or geothermal power) and are only running a mining app on my home laptop that works as part of a cloud-based 'pool'. At least it is generating a few thousand Satoshi each day (unfortunatey a Satoshi is only 1/100,000,000th of a Bitcoin!) and every time the modest threshold is reached some Satoshi actually get transferred into my CoPay 'wallet'. So far I've had 22 transfers of around 5000 Satoshi, with my total Bitcoin balance reaching 0.00113797 BTC (worth around A$3.57 at today's rate). And I'm pretty sure the cost of the electricity used leaving my laptop turned on overnight is more than that amount ;(

And my other attempt to 'earn' Bitcoin via an app on my phone was a total rip-off. Having wasted time clicking on ads (which I'm sure earned the app developer some money), the 'payment' of the first 400,000 Satoshi I'd earned never arrived in my Bitcoin wallet. And all attempts to get 'help' were ignored by the developer.

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Thursday 15 June 2017

Electricity costs going through the roof

Electricity has been in the news quite a lot this year in Australia. South Australia had power blackouts during the Summer when an unusual weather pattern produced lots of cloud cover and no wind -- making their high reliance on wind/solar 'renewal' power supplies problematic. Normally they'd have managed using 'surplus' power from neighboring states (Victoria and NSW), but some issues with the instate load-sharing system apparently meant this wasn't possible, so some 'planned outages' were required. A lot of unhappy South Australians, and a lot of media discussion regarding whether the problem was due to over-reliance on 'renewal' power supplies, without adequate base-load supply or a means to store power (Elon Musk got in the act by offering to sell some 'cheap' battery storage to Australia), or whether it was just due to a problem with the interstate transmission system...

Anyhow, aside from supply issues, the cost of electricity to consumers has already been increasing faster than inflation for many years, and some even larger increases will soon bite. A just received an email from my electricity supplier showing my 'old' rates and the 'new' rates that will apply from next month. The head-line 'peak' rate is rising from ~54c per kWh to ~59.2c per kWh (an increase of 9.6%!). However, the reality is even worse, as the 'shoulder' and 'off-peak' rates will be increasing much more - 'shoulder' period electricity is increasing by 24.4% (!!) from ~21.6c per kWh to ~24.4c per kWh, and the 'off-peak' rate (used to heat up our hot water tank at 1-2am) is increasing by an eye-watering 36.5% (!!!!) from ~12c per kWh to ~16.4c per kWh.

Overall, based on last quarter's electricity bill, our mix of off-peak/shoulder/peak electricity use, and the total amount used, our overall bill will be increasing by around 18.8% from next month unless we take some drastic energy-saving measures. We've already time-shifted our normal electricity use as much as possible from peak period to shoulder (by not using the washing machine during the evening 'peak' hours), so now we'll have to look at reducing the amount of power used. Looking at our hour-by-hour energy use (fortunately the data is readily available online these days), it appears that when we were running the pool filter it uses around 0.5 kWh, so I definitely have to only run it for a couple of hours daily rather than non-stop. It was also noticeable that when the family was away during the school holidays, the household 'baseline' electricity use was around 0.25 kWh each hour (probably due to leaving the refrigerator running, a few 'security' lights on, and the various TVs and computers left in 'standby' mode. And the water-bed heater) When the family is at home the 'baseline' power use is around 0.25-0.5 kWh per hour higher, probably due to leaving some lights on during the day, and having more laptops/tablets etc. left plugged in to charge up etc.

I'll have to start actively checking that computers, TVs etc. are turned off rather than left in stand-bye mode during the day, and checking that no lights are left on during the day or when everyone goes to bed. We'll see how much of the hike in electricity prices can be off-set by being more frugal with our electricity usage...

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Lost and Found

When I went shopping on Saturday I found that I'd misplaced my daily-use credit card. Aside from having to use another credit card (that I normally use only for online purchases) that I didn't know the PIN number for (so I had to show my driver's license as ID) I was left scratching my head wondering what had happened to my credit card.

My last clear recollection of using it was taking it out of my wallet and putting it into my shirt pocket to walk downstairs and get a snack from a vending machine at work on Friday afternoon, so I had to look around the house to see if I'd taken it out of my pocket on Friday evening and left it lying around the house (no), then look in the washing hamper to try to find the shirt I'd worn on Friday and check if it was still in the shirt pocket (no), then look in the car to check if I'd put it in with the parking lot pass on Friday evening (no). By this time I suspected I might have put it on my desk at work and not put it back into my wallet, so I checked my work desk this morning - no luck. I thought it might 'turn up' in the next couple of days, so I went online and put a 'hold' on the card, rather than marking it as 'lost' (which would have meant waiting a week or two for a new card, with a new CC number).

Luckily DW phoned me a few hours later to say that she'd found my card in a shirt pocket - somehow I'd dropped my shirt in the towel hamper by mistake! I've now taken the CC off 'hold' and learned my lesson - from now on I'll take my wallet with me and put the CC straight back after using it, not put in 'loose' in my shirt pocket.

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Thursday 1 June 2017

Net Worth: May 2017

My net worth decreased during May, mostly due to weakness in the stock market and my share portfolio holding of bank and oil/energy stocks doing particularly badly. The estimated valuation for our house only increased slightly, as the Sydney real estate market has definitely come off the boil. As usual I have used the 'book value' for my rural property, with only a slight increase due to some capital expenditure (materials for a retaining wall so we can add a car port to the side of the existing shed). My retirement account increased slightly, due to contributions rather than any gain in the investments.

DW is still looking for a new job, and the hours of her casual employment as a 'nanny' have been substantially reduced.

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