Some changes

I made a few decisions last week.  The first is that my transition day where I switch from work to home, I would go ahead and eat “regular food”.  I went a little overboard in this.. on the drive up I had hot dogs, and at home I had some corn dogs, as well as my regular soup meals.   I ended up with 2,473.  However, the previous day I only had 825 calories, so the two day average is 1649, which is still a bit higher than my 1500 calories or less goal.

I also decided that I’ll let myself have one other day each week to have regular food, but in moderation.  This week, I chose Saturday, during which I had a a footlong Subway Steak and Cheese sandwhich.  Despite that (and a FiberOne bar) being the only food for the day, I had 4 cups of Creme Soda at my parents and 2 cups worth of Dr. Pepper.  Altogether, I had 1,980 calories for the day.  Those were the two “high calorie” days.  If  I had moderated my soda usage during Saturday, it would have worked out much better, calorie wise.

I also have weighed myself in at 202lbs, a 2lb swing since last week.  While 2 pounds is small enough to be just coincidence, seeing the lower weight gives some positive reinforcement. 

Progresso also makes a soup with similar nutrition values called “Chicken and Wild Rice”, which I am trying out this week.  It’s somewhat cheaper than the Select Harvest varieties, and seems more readily in stock.  The Chicken and Rice that I get from Campbells is frequently out of stock.

Food and soda

I’m starting to get some caffeine withdrawal.  That shouldn’t be too bad.  When I went through this in August, that takes a day or two to overcome.

No, the big thing is the limited food diet.  One of my coworkers has been hitting up Taco Bell constantly, and they’re all talking about fast food foods.  Tom, who lives on nuts and berries, brought in a steak last night to eat.  Everyone had some form of beef meat.    I think I need to look at adding a healthy “dry” snack to my diet.  Or, I could look at some of the creamy soups that might not be quite as healthy, but still within bounds.

I had thought about adding a protein drink like “Muscle Milk” to my diet, but some of those have more calories than the soup I’m eating and similar protein content.  Plus, they aren’t really filling.  Better to go with something solid.

Weigh In

I checked my weight at the gym today.  I gained 6lbs (3%) since November 2nd, bringing me to 204lbs.  This will make reaching 190lbs by the end of the month much trickier.  My desired goal is 180lbs, but I don’t have a set date for that.  According to halls-md, my recommended weight is between 125lbs and 164lbs.

30 Days Of Soup

This morning I had part of a sub and then later, some KFC.  My Dr. Pepper has a couple sips left in it, but once that is gone, it’s gone.

Tonight into tomorrow begins my “30 Days Of Soup”, a 1-month diet plan where I eat nothing but soup and crackers for 30 days (to end at midnight on February 1st).  The soup and crackers will be of the healthier, low-fat, low-sodium variety.  I have been sticking to a partial soup diet previously.  I would eat soup while at work for the week, but then when I would go home on my extended weekends, I would eat whatever was convenient.  For the TDoS, I will stick to my soup and crackers for all 7 days and nights of the week.  I will also be cutting soda back out of my diet during these 30 days, sticking to a variety of healthier drinks.  I also plan to get back onto a regular exercise regime.

In addition to a better shape physically, I am hoping to regain some focus in other areas.  One growing concern for me over this last has been my increased use of social websites such as Reddit, Digg, and Facebook.  I find myself filling up my time by constantly obsessing over what is posted on these sites and coming up with short replies and status updates for these sites.  So in order to free up that time, I have instituted LeechBlock on my computers to prevent access to these sites.  In order to disable leechblock, I have to enter a 32-character random phrase that changes each time.  I haven’t fully blocked facebook, but have restricted the amount of time I may spend on it in any given week. 

My Life In Cars

On the way down to work, I was pondering how much I’ve spent on vehicles over the years.  Now, in this, I didn’t want to count “generic maintenance” like oil changes, tires, alignments, and spark plugs.  Actually, for all but two of my vehicles, I never did any sort of preventive maintenance on them.  I bought them and drove them.  When I first started out, I did experience a rash of flat tires, but I suspect that this is due to them being so well used when I got the car and me not replacing them.   I also understand that insurance can be costly and changes from vehicle to vehicle.  It also changes from driver to driver and gets relatively cheaper as I get older.

The first portion of this is ramblings, but later I get into story telling mode. Skip to the end to see my summary.

1997 – 1998:

These first three vehicles were provided to me by my family and were “hand me downs” from my sisters.  I tried to get the order and years correct as much as possible.  I won’t count these vehicles/years in my total.
81 chevette
 - dinged it up and sold it
1998 – 1999:
red car from amanda
 - died at breezewood intersection
power wagon
 - never died, forget what happened to it, probably sold
1998  $400
some white boat – $400 tagged
 - think dad got it, then laura when I bought my next car.

1999: -$50
oldsmobile calais
 - paid $350 for car + tags
 - about $100 more getting it inspectable
 - hit a dear near Christmas
 - insurance cut a check for $500 — $50 gain

buick skyhawk – $600 tagged
 - engine went out, replaced for $200
 - engine went out again, replaced for $300 this time
 - stopped working again, sat for a while
 - bought a ford aerostar for ~$800
 - transmission went out, junked it
 - i got this while the skyhawk was down, but before the jeep
jeep cherokee – $500 + $100 tagged
 - after several months of driving, engine went out
 - drove my dad’s boat
 - got engine replaced for $500
 - skyhawk died around the same time as the jeep needed its engine replaced
I got skyhawk working again.  My friend Curt helped me rip computers out of junkyards and we finally found one that worked.
Then, a friend was driving it and a piston rod broke in it.  The car was junked after this.

For some reason, the Jeep was acting up again — electrical issues.  I parked this at my parents and bought the Ford Probe off of my Dad for $500.  Call it $600 to get tags transferred.  I believe this happened in 2002.

Deployment, 2003.

While I was gone, my Dad took the Probe in and got it tuned up for me at some unknown price.

Let’s see.  I spent a lot on this car.  This was around the time that I was learning it was nicer to keep a vehicle running than to replace it.  I really liked driving this car, and it only broke down on me once, toward the end of its life.

In 2004, the car would shake around 65mph and had an exhaust leak.  On a recommendation, i took it to Lashlees and asked them to look at both issues.  They charged me $400 for the exhaust work and when I asked about the suspension, they said “oh yeah, that’s really bad and could kill you.  It will be $600 if you want us to fix that.”.  I was furious because I would rather have had them fix the suspension issues than a noisy exhaust.

Faced with this, I was torn between spending more money on the Probe.  At this point, i felt i already had too much into one vehicle, based on past experience.  So I decided to spend $500 and bought a VW Fox from a friend of a friend.

About 3 months later, a wheel came off the Fox on the turnpike, nearly killing me.  Instead of loose lug nuts, it was a loose axle nut.  The force of this caused the suspension to get messed up, very similar to the issue the Probe had. 

I was now out of money.  I had spent my “car fixing money” on the Fox and was now worse off than before.  I got the Fox towed to a friend/mechanic and parked in his yard.  I was going to be deployed again in a few months and would use the money from that to get it fixed.  Having no recourse, I continued driving the Probe.  It gave me no issues as long as I watched the speed.

During my 2004-2005 deployment, the Fox got fixed for $100 and the Probe sat idly by.

I came home during a bit of leave to drive the Fox around and the linkage went out.  I was stuck with 3rd and 4th gear.  I also had a bad battery, which meant it would drain out a lot and need push/jump started.  Disgusted, I parked it and made arrangements to get the Probe fixed.

After that, the Probe got $500 pumped into its suspension by the one mechanic and was ready for me when I got home.  The Probe was now up to $1500.  I traded the Fox in for a snowblower.  The person I traded the Fox to got the linkage fixed, replaced the battery, and then rolled it into a ditch.  That car was bad news all around.  I had $600 into the Fox, but got about $50 worth of a snowblower out of it.

After two deployments, I had little money to work on my vehicle.  I ran tires till they were bald, didn’t change the oil, etc.  The car kept running, but did need some muffler parts replaced, and a bit more suspension work.  In all, I put in about $200/year in various repairs during 2005 and 2007.  At the end, the radiator hose blew out, which I had to replace.  It turned out that the head gasket was bad and dumping coolant into the exhaust system (and exhause into the radiator system).  I had $1900 into the Probe.

I parked the Probe and got my sister’s car for free, which she had got from Dad.  We didn’t even do anything with the title.  Later that year, I got a job and bought the Kia Sportage.  Laura wanted nothing to do with the old car, so we got it junked.

In the meantime, in 2006 I bought a Jeep for $500 and put a new used engine in it for another $500.  This was for the business.  I put another $200 into it, discovered it had transmission problems, and drove it to a Junk yard and got $300 out of it.

I ended up selling the Probe for $500, which took my $1900 down to $1400. 

2007 – 2010:
I bought a Kia Sportage for $3100 tagged.  A few months later, the transmission went out of it and I ended up putting another thousand into it.  After that, I didn’t have to do much to it for a while.  In the summer of 2009 I experienced some issues with misfiring, which lead to a number of troubleshooting repairs.  First I fixed a hole in the exhaust for $50, then spark plugs and wires and even a timing belt.  I had a friend help me with all of this, so I had about $150 in this.  The issue ultimately turned out to be a coil pack for another $55.  Then things were good.  I added some manual locking hubs for $150.

In the meantime (late 2009, we purchased an 89 BMW for $1100 tagged.   I added a set of brakes for $10 and new struts for $120.  I also paid $100 to a friend to help me get it fixed when it broke.  $1330 into the BMW.  This is used as a spare car.

In 2010, I started experiencing a rash of various issues with the Kia. The BMW came in usefule for these.  The alternator went out, costing me $340 (got ripped off), the starter coil went out, costing me $90 (put it in with the help of a friend), the rear brake drum went out costing me $230 (garage/labor).  Also in that mess, the other coil pack acted up an cost me another $60.  I also had to g
et the rotors turned down for another $40.   The problem was that each of these issues (except the rotors) was a show stopper and all happened within a three month period.  So: 340+90+230+60+40=790.  I have $5155 into the Kia for a 3 year period.  This, by far, is my most expensive vehicle.


year    vehicle    cost    average    per month
1998    white boat    $400.00       
1998    calais    -$50.00       
2000    skyhawk    $600.00       
2001    ford areostar    $800.00       
2001    skyhawk repairs    $500.00       
2002    jeep cherokee    $1,100.00       
2002    ford probe    $600.00       
2003    deployed    $0.00       
2004    ford probe repairs    $400.00       
2004    vw fox    $500.00       
2004    vw fox repair    $100.00       
2005    vw fox trade    -$50.00       
2005    ford probe repairs    $500.00       
2005    ford probe repairs    $200.00       
2006    ford probe repairs    $200.00       
2006    jeep cherokee    $1,000.00       
2006    jeep repairs    $200.00       
2007    jeep junk    -$300.00       
2007    ford probe repairs    $200.00       
2007    ford probe sell    -$500.00       
2007    kia    $3,100.00       
2007    kia repair    $1,000.00       
2009    kia repair    $405.00       
2009    bmw     $1,100.00       
2010    bmw repair    $230.00       
2010    kia repair    $790.00       
    13 years    $13,025.00    $1,001.92    $83.49
    9 vehicles           

Yes, in 13 years of purchasing and driving 9 vehicles, I spent about $13k in vehicles, or less than $85/month.


(5:10:25 AM) me: it’s been busy all night here
(5:10:27 AM) me: i don’t like it
(5:11:41 AM) Kirsten: I’m sorry john
(5:11:47 AM) Kirsten: I’m buying a mandolin this week
(5:11:56 AM) Kirsten: then I’ll play a tune and send it your way
(5:12:16 AM) me: Is it the world’s smallest one?


I did some research into
the name itself a few years back. I don’t remember too much other than
it was very tricky to track down. I essentially had to look into the
two parts of the name separately. You can also find people running around with
either Hogenmüller or even a few Hochmüller names.

So I tried to find it all again, and while didn’t have
this useful information the first time around, it does now. According
to it, “Hoge” is the North German version of Hoch.


And in fact, they now have the Hogenmiller surname itself represented.


Dutch: partly Americanized occupational name for a miller located in
the upper part of a community, from Dutch hoge ‘high’ + an English
translation of molenaar ‘miller’.

Of course, I am not an etymologist, now do I speak German. My
“research” was primarily of interest because of how rare the Hogenmiller
name is. There are roughly 2000 of us in the US.

Eating out of house and home

More and more, I find myself posting small updates on facebook rather than long updates on here.

Here’s a summary of what’s been going on:

  • Got a cat (Silver) and a dog (Buster)
  • Bought a really awesome house in Bedford
  • Took a vacation to St. Marten, not impressed
  • Have been fixing up the old house in Everett to turn it into a rental.  The windows won’t arrive until mid-December.

Anyways, I often have to pick up breakfast at one of the fast food joints.  I have, however, been interested in trying Safeway for food.  They have a deli-like section with chicken, soup, salad bar, and various sides as well as some tables and chairs setup.  So today I figured I’d go get some of their soup and maybe some sides.

It turns out that the only soup they had at the soup bar was an Italian Wedding Soup, which is ok, but not what I wanted.  Now that I was taking a closer look at what they had, I realized it wasn’t much.  The IGA in Everett has more selection (but they don’t have an eating area setup).  Anyways, I got the two chicken strip deal – 2 pieces of chicken, 2 sides, and  a fountain drink for $3.99.  The price was pretty good.  The food was not.  I did like the Mac-n-Cheese, and I managed one piece of chicken, but it was fairly dry.  By this point, I was highly disappointed  with Safeway as an eating establishment.

Then I fired up my laptop.  There was “safewaywifi”, but once you got connected, it required a username and password, and does not appear to be for public use.  I thought it would be since there is a small Starbucks stand inside.   At this point, I saw nothing of value in being there and tossed the rest of my food before heading out.

Website Maintenance

Some (ok, none) of you may have noticed that the website has been down for a few weeks.

The combination of WordPress and Gallery2 have been really slowing down the server in ways that affect other server users.

So I shut down the site to give them some breathing room and am redoing it as a MovableType powered site.  A lot of things just aren’t working right now, so please bear with us.  I’ll soon have the Gallery site back up as well.

Also, please update your bookmarks — this site is now known as  Later, Robin will be hosting her pictures and posting to here as well.

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Honeymoon Pictures

Videos and photos from the honeymoon are up.
If you are very diligent, feel free to check out the additional “raw” photos (these are the 148 extra photos that I didn’t think made the cut).
Additionally, I have a collection of videos from the resort.  Most of them are from a show the Entertainment Team put on: