Monday, February 22, 2010

Changing Favicons

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Quick tutorial. Ever wanted to changed that Blogger image that sits next to your URL? That's called a Favicon (short for Favorites Icon) and you can switch that out on your blogger profile.

To change it is simple enough. I used a little program called Gimp as my free photo/graphic editor, but I'm sure virtually any paintshop-like editor will do.

Next, create a 16x16 pixel image that you like and think will show up well enough. Save this image as whatever.ico (.ico is the icon file extension apparently), upload it somewhere (I have several websites that I can use, but perhaps picasa is a free option? Google around and I'm sure there's a quick fix for finding a hosting place to link to.)

Once that's done, go to your Blogger options and select your layout, find the /head tag (that is enclosed with < and > tags) and paste the following code right before that /head tag:

<link href='http://your-URL-here/image-name.ico'
rel='shortcut icon'/>

Just replace the URL with the one for your image.

You're finished! You'll need to reload your browser for it to probably show up.

PS. http://www.iconj.com/icon_generator.php is a place to host your favicon if all else fails, but I didn't care for it, it seemed to keep cropping my image.

Have fun and I'll be posting soon about the relaunch of my website: BlackPrint

Monday, February 15, 2010

My San Antonio Spurs

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My mounting frustration with my favorite basketball team will now overflow into this blog. Where to start. I guess I'll start by saying that I don't think the sky is falling just yet, the season hasn't gone quite as hoped, which is crystallized over the majority of wins coming against sub .500 teams and at home.

The reason I don't think the sky has fallen is because there is so much talent left on the team, Timmy has looked in full MVP form all season long so we know he has plenty of gas in the tank thanks to Coach Pop's coupon cutting and saving wear and tear in various ways (sit him in back-to-backs, not as much preseason action, etc). Tony hasn't been himself due to various nagging injuries like his season long plantar fasciitis in his left foot, a couple ankle injuries in the same foot and now a strain in his left hip flexor, that's encouraging because that means he isn't playing to his full potential and now he'll get some rest through the All Star break. Manu has progressively been improving through the season, his attack game is strong and now his shot is streakily finding its way.

Dejuan Blair has looked like a genius draft day steal and George Hill is looking far more advanced than you'd get out of a normal 2nd year player.

Those are the shining bright spots in my view. The glaring sore thumbs? The most obvious place you have to go is Richard Jefferson. Dear Lord, I thought we were getting Scottie Pippen but we've been handed that scrub in the gym wearing goggles and booty shorts. His confidence looks like HE was the one standing at the altar and not his fiancee. I don't know what's keeping him from connecting in games but he looks lazy and distant, as if his energy was stolen by the Grinch. I'm hoping he can find his place and can't help but think he'd be a better fit on the 2nd team with Ginobili and Blair, the games RJ does come alive seems to revolve around his driving and uptempo, so I'd like to see Roger Mason get the start and you can have Manu, RJ , Blair, Hill (who is also starting) and Bonner get some fast game going.

McDyess is looking far more comfortable in the system now, he's knocking down his jumpers and looking smoother on defense. The biggest challenge for this group more than anything seems to be closing out games, I'm not sure how many times I've watched a 10 point lead late in the 3rd or even in the 4th dwindle into a big fat loss. Certainly not the trademark I've come to expect from a defensive oriented team. I think the first problem was when Pop gave the reins to TP, maybe the thought was nice but the reality is that the Spurs need to be a halfcourt team that serves up a complimentary uptempo game when necessary, not the other way around. Because our offense sets up our defense, as soon as a shot goes up on offense 4 guys fly back on defense to prevent any fast breaks or transition mishaps, but that can't happen when you're trying to run D'Antoni's game, there's too many moving pieces to feasibly control.

So, what would I like to see? Slow down the offense, send 4 back after shots and start grinding teams down. Just as importantly, cease the careless turnovers, see the floor and take care of the ball, hit the open man. I'd like to see Pop play Roger Mason more as well as get Blair more minutes, the last few weeks Pop's gotten stingy with his minutes. Lastly, I want to see less RJ if his game doesn't deserve it, there's nothing worse than watching a space wasted on the floor by a guy who isn't working hard on the floor, I can live with mistakes at full speed, but not lackadaisical play. Laziness is not tolerated by Spurs fans.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vengeance is Mine

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Recently saw "The Edge of Darkness" starring a wrathful Mel Gibson. I think we all have seen the previews enough to know that someone kills Mel's daughter and he goes nuts. While the movie was decent (I'd wait for the DVD if I were you, but Mel is still great onscreen), I'd rather talk about retaliating and renegade justice. Is it ever okay?

Me, I think there does come a time for vengeance. I'm not always okay with letting the law sort things out. However, I also acknowledge that it's at my own legal expense to carry out such actions. If someone assaults my friend and they wish to "take it to the streets"? Yep, I'm probably going to do that. I realize it gets even more complicated if you have a family, can a man afford to risk getting locked up in something that doesn't involve his family? I guess for me that gets situational, but I think what I would want to convey more than anything is that I'm going to protect the people I care about, because if I'm willing to protect my friends, how much more will I protect my wife and children? Or does the face of adversity make each of us less actionable?

There should certainly be a limit, murder is no good, no one is worth throwing your entire life away, unless it's the apocalypse or your very life is being threatened. Do you have a limit, or is it always best to let the official law enforcement handle such things?

Monday, February 1, 2010

My favorite ridiculous things said about fitness / health / weight loss

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"I think I want to lose fat and gain muscle."
Oh, is that all? It's akin to shouting that you want to own a 3-story house but not spend a lot of money. Or perhaps you'd just like to eat whatever you want, never workout and yet have Brad Pitt's abs from Fight Club.

Okay, I understand that people are just stating their goal, and that goal is to be lean and defined. In order to lose fat you need to be in a caloric deficit (expending more energy than you consume) as well as using your muscles (lifting weights). You *could* just eat less and you would certainly lose fat, but without lifting weights you'd also be losing muscle mass (this is why marathon runners are so poor on muscle, and why sprinters are usually very muscular (they lift)).

In order to gain muscle, you need to lift weights and eat at a caloric SURPLUS (taking in more energy than you expend), because you can't build a 2nd story to your house without the raw materials. Now we all know that just eating more will give you fat (fat is the body's energy reserves, what it stores for a rainy day), so you need to be lifting weights in order for your weight gains to mostly be muscle gains.

The other additional component is giving your muscles enough protein to maintain itself.

"My fat is mostly in my mid-section, everything else is okay so if I could just lose the weight from there I'd be fine" - guys. OR "blah blah blah THIGHS" - girls.
There's a reason you think that's the only place you're storing fat, it's because that's where we're biologically programmed to carry it (the gut for guys, the thighs for ladies). But believe it or not, the rest of you is covered in fat as well and there's no such thing as "spot reduction", where you get to workout a specific area and the fat from only that area comes off. Seriously, how would you get your neck fat off if that were the case? Can you imagine doing 1000 "neck crunches" a day? Me neither.

Fat loss/gain is systemic, it slowly comes/goes and you don't get to pick where it comes/goes from. Unless you get liposuction, but that's gross and unhealthy. At a certain age your body stops producing new fat cells, so the remaining ones just expand/contract according to your diet. Therefore, I cannot imagine the havoc you wreak on your body by deleting fat cells like that.

"I can eat more after a workout without worrying about it being used as fat."
Not so much. While what you consume after a workout will certainly get quickly used for repairing your muscles, you were eventually going to eat anyway and your muscles would have then used that for repair. Eating quickly after a workout just ensures optimal repairs, but the reality is that a calorie consumed is a calorie consumed, no matter when you choose to eat it. There is no cheating your metabolic rate.


Now, these all sound frighteningly familiar for me because I've pretty much said each one of them at some point. Yes, I am the guilty ridiculous party....and so are you! :)