Goals for 2014

29 12 2013

I’m not typically one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do have some things I want to accomplish this year, that I’m going to throw out there for accountability purposes:

  • Weigh less than 210 by the end of the year. Possibly 200.
  • Be able to carry on basic conversations in Spanish
  • Be able to surf
  • Brew a drinkable batch of beer
  • Develop more of a social life




Back, Maybe?

20 09 2013

I’m feeling somewhat motivated to start blogging again. Not that anyone will notice.

A lot has happened in the past three years. I married Amy at the end of 2011, and she moved to California. We now live in Encinitas. I also found my birth family last year, and they are amazing! Sadly, I also experienced the death of both of my adopted brothers. I’m probably going to post a bit more about those things soon, but in general, my posts going forward will be less of a personal nature, and instead focus on fitness and the occasional political rant.

Speaking of fitness, after reaching a low weight of 197 about 3 years ago, I started gaining it back. By the time I got married, I was up to 225, and by the beginning of this year, I was up to 253. This was all pretty much due to me falling off the wagon, both with diet and exercise. Since the start of the year, I’ve been weight training pretty consistently, despite a nagging shoulder injury (tendinosis and impingement), and my diet has been more on than off. I currently weigh 234. My goal is to get down to 215 by the end of the year. I’m pretty motivated to get stronger and lose some fat.





Weightlifting goals

18 09 2013

Here are my short and longer term weightlifting goals, relative to my body weight. I hope to reach the short term ones by the end of this year, and the long term ones sometime next year. The plan is to do this both through increasing my strength and dropping some fat.

Short Long
Squat 1.5 x BW 2 x BW
Deadlift 2 x BW 2.5 x BW
Bench 1 x BW 1.5 x BW
Overhead .75 x BW 1 x BW




A couple weeks of milestones

24 09 2010

The last couple of weeks have seen some significant milestones.

On September 13th, my kids moved to Italy with their mother. Perhaps “moved” isn’t the best word for it, because it’s a temporary thing; they’ll be back in 3 months. I’m excited for them to experience this adventure, but I miss them. Their internet access is sporadic, so I can’t talk to them very often. I AM going to see them in a few days, so that will be good.

September 16th marked a year since my first date with Amy. I still remember it vividly, especially the nervous excitement I felt. I already knew I liked her from the conversations we’d had, and the first time I met her in person, there was an immediate attraction. We spent several days together, going to a Weezer/Blink 182 concert, the Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld, the beach. I was so unhappy when she had to return to Utah, not knowing what the future would hold due to the distance, but I knew that I wanted to spend more time with her. Since then, it has been an amazing ride. I still feel the same nervous excitement when I’m about to see her, and the same sadness when it’s time to part. She made the last year the best in my life so far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.

The 20th marked the date that my divorce from Melissa became official. There was no particular sadness associated with it. We first decided to get divorced nearly a year and a half ago, and I moved out more than a year ago, so I had processed it, and we’ve both moved on (obviously). We chatted briefly when she was at my place with the kids, and we both acknowledged regret at the things that went wrong, but we’re both happy now and wish the best for each other. Looking back, I was definitely unhappy, but the good times stick with me more than the bad. I’m especially thankful for the 5 fabulous kids we had together, and my only significant regret in all of this is that I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like now.

Finally, today, after what seems like ages, I broke the 200 pound barrier. I don’t remember for sure the last time I weighed less than 200 pounds, but the most recent it could have possibly been was in 1994, which was my first year of marriage. I had initially hoped to break this barrier on September 1st, and I got within a couple of pounds of that, but a trip to Seattle and 10 days with my kids derailed me a little bit.

So what’s next? I knew that at 200 pounds I’d still have a little fat around my middle, and I do. My best guess is that to get as lean as I’d like to be, I’ve got another 10-15 pounds to go. Possibly more. Part of me wants to focus on building muscle for a little while, but I’m pretty sure that if I do that right now, I’ll gain a lot of fat at the same. So for now, I think I’m going to continue to focus on losing fat, but a bit less aggressively than what I’ve been doing. I’m going to just continue to eat healthy, be active, and weight train without a specific goal until the beginning of November. Then I’ll see where I’m at and set my next goal. Ideally, I’d like to finish losing before the holidays, so I can use them to start my bulking cycle 🙂

Weight: 199.5
BF%: 22

Jan 1st starting weight: 232.5
Starting BF%: 31





A little help from my friends…

21 04 2010

As many of you probably know, for the past 7+ months I’ve been dating Amy, a truly amazing woman who happens to live in Logan, Utah, where I grew up. I spent quite a bit of time with her over the holidays, including taking my kids to meet her for the first time. A week after I returned to California, Amy came home to a nightmare: her basement was filled with a foot of water, and was continuing to fill. As she describes herself on her blog, after spending a few minutes trying to take care of it herself, and nearly freezing in the process, she realized she needed help and called a local company specializing in that kind of thing. They were soon on the scene, and after assuring her that her homeowners insurance would cover everything, they proceeded to move everything out of her basement, pump out the water, pull up the carpet, and remove all of the baseboards and the bottom two feet of drywall.

A few days later the insurance adjuster shows up and informs her that, due to the flood being from the bursting of an outside pipe that was not properly winterized, they weren’t going to cover the damages. At all.

Amy is a single mother of two just struggling to get by in this economy. Her ex-husband hasn’t paid her a penny of child support in more than a year. Just coming up with the money to pay the recovery company is a challenge. Paying someone to restore her basement is out of the question. And so, 4 months later, the basement is still mostly empty, with gaping holes in the bottom of all of the walls. Because the bedrooms for her two boys were in the basement, and are currently unusable, every night they sleep on Amy’s floor.

This summer, when I visit Amy in Logan, I’m going to take a crack at putting her basement back together. The drywall needs to be replaced, the carpet needs to have the pad replaced, and the walls need to be painted. I’ve done plenty of painting, but I’ve never done much with drywall or carpet.

What I’m hoping is that I have friends and family in Logan that can help out. If there are enough of them, maybe we can even get it over with quickly.

I’ll be in Logan next from May 6th to May 9th. If you’re reading this, and know something about hanging drywall or laying carpet (or even if you don’t!) and would be willing to help out, let me know by posting here or by sending me an email myopicrhino@gmail.com. If you want to help but can’t make it then, I’ll be back again regularly, so let me know anyway. Thanks in advance to anyone who volunteers, and if you don’t, well, I love you anyway!

Update!

I’ve had a great response. Thanks to those who did! I’ve had a few people say they couldn’t help out in person but they offered to donate, so I set up a Paypal fund to do that. Anything I receive will go to purchase drywall, paint, etc., to complete the project. Thanks again to everyone!

Update #2!

Looks like we’re going to do this Saturday May 8th starting about 10 am. I’ll get in touch directly with everyone who responded, but if you’d like to join us, just let me know!





Car woes

26 01 2010

I’ve been having problems with my Mini Cooper lately. It actually started last summer. While driving, typically while idling or at low speed, the electrical systems would just kind of… hiccup. The lights, radio, indicator, etc., would momentarily turn off, the needles on my gauges would all dip into negative territory, and the power steering would get tight. The car wouldn’t stop running, though, and within a second or two, everything would return to normal. Occasionally, the hiccup would seem a little harder than normal, and this would cause the clock and trip counter to reset.

Once, I went to start the car, and everything lit up and then it went completely dead. I tried jump starting it to no avail. I took the battery out, assuming it had gone bad, but its indicator showed that it was still healthy. I put it back in, and magically, the Cooper started again.

These problems have continued intermittently since then. Recently, the power steering started randomly going out while driving. Turning the car off, removing the key, and then starting it again would fix this problem. Occasionally , when turning off the car, all of the electrical systems would go dead again, but always, within a few minutes at most, it would suddenly start working again. Always, that is, until last night.

When I got home from work, I shut off the car, and I could immediately tell that it had died. I tried restarting it again, but nothing happened. “Fine, I’ve seen this before, I’ll come back out in a little bit, and it’ll start.” A half hour later, I tried and… fail. Another half hour, an hour, a couple of hours… fail, fail, fail. At that point, I started to think that in the morning, I’d be calling a tow truck to have it taken to the dealer, but that maybe I’d get lucky and that after a good night of sleep, it’d start working again.

At this point, I should probably explain my aversion to just taking the sumbitch in and having it fixed. First of all, it’s long out of warranty, so I’ll be paying for it out of pocket. Second of all, I’m doubtful that anyone other than the dealer is going to be able to figure out what is wrong with my cooper, and the dealer, besides being freaking expensive, as you’d expect, is also highly incompetent.

So I get up this morning, optimistic that it’s going to work, and walk out to my garage. I use the key fob to try to unlock the car remotely, and nothing happens. Not good. I get in and try to start it, and once again… fail. Still not wanting to take it in to the dealer, it occurs to me that when this happened the first time, maybe disconnecting and reconnecting the battery caused the system to reset somehow, so I decided to try that again.

First problem: the battery is in the boot, which is unlocked via the fob. I don’t know of any other way to open the boot. But since that’s where the battery lives, surely there must be a way to open the boot when your battery is dead, right? So I climb into the back seat, start reaching around in the boot, and find a ring. I pull it, and the boot opens.

Second problem: disconnecting the battery requires a wrench, and all I have is a screwdriver. All of my wrenches are still at the house. I try just twisting the terminal connectors off, but they are on there good and tight. As I start to think about how far I’m going to have to walk to get to a hardware store, I notice the jack kit. Unfortunately, it didn’t contain a wrench, but when I put it back, I noticed a small foam container next to the battery. I pulled it out, opened it, and sure enough there are several tools, including a wrench of just the right size! So I get busy loosening the terminal connectors, but just then, I happen to look up and notice that my dome light is on.

Really? That’s all it took?

Turns out, yes. I got in, tried to start the car, and… success!

I’m not mechanically inclined at all. I really have no idea why just messing with the battery a little fixed my problem, but it did, and for now at least, my date with the dealer has been postponed.





Giving thanks

27 11 2009

This is a day late, but inspired by my favorite person in the world, I thought it’d be appropriate to mention some of the things I’m thankful for.

First and foremost, I’m thankful for my children, Rebi, Evan, Ellie, Ty, and Nate. I’m so very proud of all of them. As they get older, they continually impress me in every way conceivable. I love them and consider my part in bringing them into the world and raising them by far my greatest accomplishment. They’re all better than I ever will be.

I’m incredibly grateful for Amy. This has easily been the most difficult year in my life so far, but having Amy unexpectedly come into my life has been the silver lining. She is smart, beautiful, funny, sweet, sexy, and loving, and she makes me happier than I thought I could be. I love her and everything about her.

I’m lucky to have a great group of friends and family that have helped me get through the tough patches this year. I’m impressed and touched by the empathy and compassion I felt from so many of you. I’m not going to name names, but you know who you are. Those of you who have judged me harshly without knowing all the facts can suck it.

I’m thankful to have a fantastic job, especially with the current economy. Not only do I get paid to do something I genuinely enjoy, but I work with a great group of people that I actually like.

Finally, I’m thankful for Amy’s neighbor who left their wireless network open so that I could post this. Thanks, whomever you are!

Update:

After posting this, it occurred to me that I was remiss in not mentioning that I’m thankful for Lissa. Despite the divorce, she has had a profound impact on my life. We had a lot of good times together, and I learned a lot from our relationship together. She has been one of my closest friends, and she certainly deserves much of the credit for the way my kids turned out.





Origins of a name

2 11 2009

I’ve been asked a few times where the name Myopic Rhino originates. To answer that, I need to go back to high school.

Back then, my friends and I had a little band called Deviants, for whom I played the drums and sometimes even sang. We rarely practiced, but we wrote a lot of songs, and even put together an album called Lunatic Lovers Lane, which we distributed to maybe a dozen of our friends. Most of our songs had meaning, but a few of were outright goofy, such as Spaghetti for Breakfast, or Megan, a polka with lyrics such as:

Megan, Megan, Megan
We’re glad you’re not a pagan
Megan, Megan, Megan
We’d shoot you with a ray gun
Megan, Megan, Megan
We’re glad you’re not a pagan
Megan, Megan, Megan
No lunch with Ronnie Reagan

After my mission, Greg Bair – one of the founding Deviants – and myself briefly flirted with the idea of starting another band, slightly more serious than Deviants. Greg was reading Jurassic Park at the time, and inspired by a line about the triceratops being nearsighted like the rhino, he suggested that we call our band Myopic Rhino. Sadly, other than writing lyrics to a few songs, we never actually did anything with the band.

Fast forward to… oh, I dunno, 1997 or so. I was just getting started on the Internet, visiting a few game programming websites. I eventually found the forums and wanted to start posting. Needing a cool sounding alias, I searched the recesses of my mind and came across our old band name. I’d always loved the name, and since we never really used it, I thought I just as well put it to use. I soon started my own website, called Myopic Rhino’s Game Programming Savanna. Soon, the name was pretty well known among the hobbyist game development community, especially as GameDev.net rose to prominence.

As my professional career has advances, I’ve switched to mostly using my real name, but since Myopic Rhino (or myopicrhino) is unique, I still use it as my screen name for many websites, including this one, Twitter, and even Facebook.

So thanks, Greg, for coming up with an awesome name that has served me well.





Anyone out there?

26 09 2009

I’m not sure anyone is still reading my blog at this point, but I think it’s time I started updating it again.

Since I posted last, there have been some major changes in my life. Well, really, one major change, and a lot of little things associated with it. After more than 15 years of marriage, Melissa and I decided to call it quits. I’m not going to go into the details of the how or the why here, but any friends and family are free to contact me directly if you’d like to talk about it. Suffice it say that we still get along, and there was no catastrophic event. We just decided that we work a lot better as friends.

The divorce won’t be final for a while, but I moved out a few weeks ago. I’m living alone in an apartment in Escondido. Lissa is still in Temecula with the kids, though she’s going to be moving back closer to San Diego at some point.

I’m rapidly adjusting to single life – something which I’ve never really experienced before – in some ways more than others. Two of the important discoveries I’ve made so far are:

  • You should never wash your favorite black shirt with a towel
  • Actually connecting the gas to your gas dryer makes your clothes dry much, much faster

I can’t wait to see what else I learn in the months ahead.





Catching up

17 09 2008

For the sake of providing some context for this blog, as well as catching old friends up on where I’m at today, here’s a whirlwind tour of the past 20ish years. It’ll probably still be boring.

Career

After graduating from high school in Logan, UT, in 1990, I attended Utah State University for a year, majoring in Electrical Engineering. Like most of my friends, I then embarked on a two-year LDS mission to South Korea from ’91-’93. Upon coming home, I returned to Utah State for a year, switching my major to pre-med Biology, with the intent of becoming a chiropractor. While attending school, I worked in various crap jobs, before eventually landing a job as a security guard, which if nothing else helped with school, since I had plenty of time sitting around doing nothing.

I married Melissa in March of ’94, and around that time, some friends introduced us to a business opportunity that turned out to Amway. We fully bought into it. I dropped out of school so that I could have time to build my business while working full-time to support my new family.

Three years later, I took a good hard look at my life and realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Although we’d been relatively successful with Amway, we’d actually spent more money that we’d made, and the business had grown stagnant. I was still working as a security guard, which was clearly a dead end. In early ’97, Lissa and I made the decision to put the business on hold (and were soon free of the brainwashing and able to break away completely), and I decided to return to school.

We’d moved to Salt Lake right after getting married, so I enrolled at the University of Utah. I briefly considered returning to pre-med, but ultimately felt that, at 25, with 3 kids already, I was too old and had too many family responsibilities to start the 10+ year process of becoming a doctor. Instead, I chose to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a game programmer.

At the same time, I finally quit the security job, and took a much better-paying (relatively speaking) office job at CompHealth, where I worked with insurance companies to verify physicians’ credentials and investigate their malpractice history.

During the summer of ’97, I started frequenting game programming websites and chatrooms. I met quite a few people that would eventually become influential in my life, chief among them Kevin Hawkins. Towards the end of that year, I started a small website, dubbed Myopic Rhino’s Game Programming Savannah. I continued to be actively involved in the online hobbyist game programming community. Eventually, a group of us, including Kevin (who also ran a small game programming site), started kicking around the idea of joining forces and creating a new game programming site. That plan saw fruition when Sweet.Oblivion launched in November of ’98. With frequent updates and an edgy tone, we saw immediate success, quickly forming an active community and becoming one of the top 4 hobbyist sites almost overnight.

A month later, a week before Christmas, I lost my job at CompHell. I’m convinced it was gender discrimination, but couldn’t prove anything. Lissa and I decide that I should just focus on school for a while, and she’ll work full time.

As ’99 progressed, Kevin and I started talking to the owners of 2 of the other 3 “big” hobbyist game programming sites. We decide that there’s a lot of duplication of effort, and that if we joined forces, we could create a better site, serving the whole game development community, and all spend a lot less time working on it (LMAO). We work really hard for several months, and on June 15, GameDev.net is launched. It eventually becomes the largest game development site. I’m still involved today, though not as actively. Fortunately, we found a group of amazingly talented and dedicated people that now operate it.

Rewinding slightly, in May, I landed my first job as a programmer, at ROI Systems. There, I mostly work on Telnet emulation software for several platforms including PocketPC, and get my first experience in the wireless industry. ROI was a nice, small, privately held company, and they were very flexible with my class schedule.

At the beginning of 2000, due to the success of GameDev.net, we got contacted by Prima Tech, who was starting a series of game development books and looking for potential authors. Kevin and I agreed to do an OpenGL book, despite the fact that we both had limited OpenGL experience (hey, I was taking classes!). Needless to say, fitting a book in while attending school and working full-time wasn’t easy, so it took us a while, but by early ’01, OpenGL Game Programming hit the shelves. Despite being pretty mediocre (in retrospect) the book did really well, and had a profound impact on my career. I continued to write books in my spare time for the next several years, co-authoring Beginning OpenGL Game Programming, OpenGL ES Game Development, and More OpenGL Game Programming, as well as contributing to many other books.

By July of ’01, things at ROI had changed. They’d been acquired by Wavelink, who was desperately trying to go public. And in an effort to streamline, they decided to lay a bunch of people off, including me. That same month, I completed my B.S. in Computer Science at the U of U.

With my degree, a couple of years of programming experience, and lots of “extracurricular” experience, I resolved to finally get a job in the game industry. Less than a month after leaving Wavelink, I started at Avalanche Software, a console game developer in Salt Lake (now a part of Buena Vista Games). It was clear that my book played a huge role in landing me the job.

At Avalanche, I mostly worked on tools – not surprising for a neophyte in the game industry. I worked on Max and Maya plugins, as well as standalone tools, that helped create a new asset pipeline that would be used in all of their games, the best-known of which was Tak and the Power of Juju. Unfortunately, Avalanche hit a rough spot in 2002, and in the fall, they let a bunch of people go, including me. The game industry as a whole had been hit hard that year, and in Salt Lake alone several studios had failed. That translated to a lot of game programmers looking for work, most of them more experienced than me, with very few open jobs to fill.

Things were looking bleak, but then, in January of 2003, I got a call from a recruiter at Qualcomm in San Diego. They’d found my resume online, and wanted to know if I was interested in joining a new team developing 3D technology for cellphones. I knew nothing about Qualcomm, but I loved San Diego, so I decided to check it out. A month later, had moved and started working as there as one of only a handful of people in the graphics group. Over the next three years, I was deeply involved in the evolution of handheld 3D gaming and graphics. In addition to development, I also began to become involved in technology evangelism, educating developers about and encouraging the adoption of new technology, especially OpenGL ES.

In February of 2006, I decided to leave Qualcomm to take a position in the handheld group at ATI (working remotely from my home in Temecula), whom we’d been working closely with. I was the first engineer on what eventually grew to an amazing group of people. Our focus was on developing tools, samples, and demos, providing education and support, and otherwise promoting our forthcoming line of OpenGL ES 2.0 hardware, based on the graphics core used in the Xbox 360.

AMD bought ATI at the end of 2006, but my work was largely unaffected. However, AMD struggled financially, and in May of 2008, in an effort to cut costs, they decided to dissolve my team, laying off most of the non-engineers, and assigning the engineers to other teams. Rather than do that, I decided to explore other opportunities, and in June, I opted to return to Qualcomm, to my old team, which is now much bigger and has expanded its role to include multimedia rather than just gaming and graphics. And things are very good.

Personal

Whew, that went on WAAAY longer than I anticipated, so I’ll keep this part brief.

In March ’94, I married Melissa, who had been one of my closest friends for 7+ years, and whom I’d grown very close to through letters over the course of my mission. She is an amazing woman, and calling her my better half is a gross understatement.

We lived in Logan briefly before moving to a tiny apartment in South Salt Lake. Literally at the first opportunity after getting married, we got pregnant, and in January ’95, R (I’m gonna follow Lissa’s lead and stick to initials for the sake of privacy) joined our lives. She’s now 13, and attending Palomar Community College. Yes, she’s a smartey. They all are.

We moved to a bigger apartment in West Valley, and in March of ’96, our oldest son E was born, followed by our second daughter L in April of ’97. We moved back to South Salt Lake, to an even bigger apartment, just in time for our next son, T, to be born in June of ’99. We moved back to West Valley and joined the home ownership club in September of 2000. Then, in June of ’01, we were joined by our youngest son and final child, N.

As mentioned above, we moved to San Diego in 2003, me in February, and the rest of the family in June, after we sold the house and finished the school year. Initially, we rented a house with a pool, but the owner was psycho, so we moved to another house a few months later. Both were in Rachno Penasquitos, in North San Diego County. By 2005, we were feeling pressure to buy, but we couldn’t afford a large enough house where we were (it easily would have set us back over $1 million), and prices kept going up. We ultimately decided to buy in Temecula, which meant a long commute for me, but was much more affordable (if only barely) and moved into our current home in March of 2005.

Alright, I think that’s enough for one post.