Soylent Challenge – Day 2

Day 2 is closed and no cheating on other treats (Day 1 I finished off a small pack of licorice because I felt the need to chew on something). I occasionally see advertising that is pushing me to want specific foods, but I’m building up my willpower.


Energy: I do feel a bit more energy, but it’s not a surge. Then again, caffeine doesn’t work on me like other people.

Cardio: 55 minutes of walking/jogging the dog + several hours of wallpaper removal, wall prep, sanding, and painting.

Water: 80oz (plus the water in the Soylent)

Approximate Soylent Usage: 4/5 (@1600 calories)

Weight: -2.5 pounds (-3.4 total – much of it no doubt due to shedding water weight)

Craving: Starting to subside – although I do crave spice, it’s not so specific

Soylent Challenge – Day 1

In February I joined the Kickstarter project for Soylent. The creators envisioned a food source that could replace traditional food – fast, cheap, and nutritionally balanced. Our traditional process requires time and energy to prepare and clean up after, which might be better spent in other pursuits.

About a week ago (so 7 months later than expected), the one week pack arrived on my doorstep, but given that I was going to be on the road for the following week, I decided to put it off until yesterday.

Each day’s supply makes up about 2000 calories of food, divided between the processed powder and the oil. You can either make a shake in a blender bottle, or pour the whole thing into a pitcher, add water, and shake for about 30 seconds. Clean up is simple – just rinse/wash the pitcher and any glasses you use.

If you factor in that each day’s meals come down to $9 for a complete, balanced nutritional experience with 1 pouch and a small oil bottle’s worth of waste, it does feel like a very green way to go (although just don’t put Soylent and green together in a sentence).


Flavor: The shakes taste like the vanilla, peanut butter, oatmeal, and whey protein smoothies I used to make when I was trying to gain muscle.

Consistency: It’s smooth, but with a little bit of grit.


September was a horrid month for me as I had an upper respiratory infection for most of it so my workout time was limited and I added about 5 pounds from eating a lot of salty foods (soups, crackers, curry). I also wasn’t very zealous about my water consumption so I’m sure that played a factor into my weight gain. I’ve decided to see how well I can do while surviving on just Soylent and water (with occasional treats as positive reinforcements for achievements).


Energy: I’ve not noticed a significant gain in energy other than the fact that it’s the weekend and I had some goals I wanted to achieve which increased my positive attitude on completion.

Cardio: 45 minutes of walking/jogging the dog + a couple hours of cleaning

Water: 64oz (plus the water in the Soylent)

Approximate Soylent Usage: 4/5 (@1600 calories)

Weight: -.9 pounds

Craving: Chipotle Barbacoa Burrito Bowl

Storytelling Made Simple

20140709_190258_957-EFFECTSLast year, Gary Vaynerchuk re-popularized the importance of storytelling in a social media-driven world. Lots of people scrambled to figure out how they could improve their storytelling skills, while Google went out and simplified the task.

This year has been my “No Staycation” year, and I’ve been incredibly lucky to get to travel for work to a number of locales. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve brought along my Google Glass and shot photos and video with it. I was determined before I went that I would do some storytelling, but invariably I got home and those pictures sat in memory or in my auto-backup on Google+ waiting to be shared.

Now I’ve long said that Google Hangouts was the killer app for Google+ (and it’s been good to me – I’ve received 8500+ views on my Google Hangouts tutorial, which is woefully out of date). But right now I’m giving some serious love to its upstart cousin – Google Stories.

All those photos backed up from Glass or my Nexus 5 have started begging me to be heard. First I got an Auto-Awesome request to approve the movie on the right. Wow YES! No editing on my part, all I did was auto-backup my photos to Google+ (sharing set to private) and then change the privacy settings on this to take it live.

Then came full on Stories. The first one I published was Minnebar 2014 (a convention for developers, start ups, and tech enthusiasts). It was exciting and simple, so I also went through and published photos from a top agent networking event we had put on at Lambeau Field. All I had to do was add text and decide if Google was right about which images I should use (at least 80% accuracy – kudos to their deep learning system).

People asked me – could this be used by agents for listing presentations? My initial reply was hesitance given the timeliness that requires. When I went on a road trip through southern Minnesota and snapped pictures of the flooding, the story didn’t pop up until a week later.

Wednesday night I went out for a walk with my dog down by the Mississippi river. There are some really scenic views and the water is still up a little, so I brought along Glass and snapped some shots when Cerbie would remain still for a moment. The next morning I woke up and Google had compiled the story for me! I just added some captions and re-chose a couple of pictures, and voila. While not quite real time, this is becoming a very usable tool for purposes like listing presentations.

Of course, my stuff is mostly Google Glass, so if you want a real sense of what Google Stories can do, check out: French Polynesia from High Above {WARNING: there are sharks and crazy Red Bull Junkies}

Photoshop Phriday 6: Clean or Dirty Dishes?

dishwasher magnet - Miley Cyrus

Download printable image

Do you have a boring “Clean or Dirty” magnet on your dishwasher? Would you prefer something with some flair? Click on the designs to the right to download the printable versions of my latest creative endeavor.

For this Photoshop Phriday project I’m revisiting a design that my friend Anja had made circa 2005 after Christina Aguilera went through her “bad girl” transformation. Since Miley Cyrus has also decided to cast aside her adolescent mold, I thought it would make a good visual for this old meme.

Given that another child star has gone through his own metamorphosis, I’ve added him to the mix for those of you who might be squeamish about seeing that famous twerk every time you look at the dishwasher.

Dishwasher Magnet - Bieber

Download the printable version

» Download Cyrus graphic

» Download Bieber graphic

Feel free to share these with your friends – just let me know below or on Facebook which one you liked best and if you have some awesome ideas for future projects you would like to see.

State of the Blog

It’s been a couple months since my last post but I’m going to endeavor to be more consistent. I’m going to mix things up and start adding in some vlog entries.

Epic Meal Tim – Island Barbecue

Epic Meal Tim - Island Barbecue SandwichWhile shopping to replenish the fridge, I happened upon an awesome deal on sirloin tip roast. This made me ponder how great it would taste slow-cooked and shredded. Since I’d recently experienced a glut of viral videos as research including Epic Meal Time, I decided it was time to man up and make a serious meal. Hence “Epic Meal Tim” was born!

I picked up a loaf of take and bake ciabatta bread, grapefruit, bacon (because you have to have bacon in an epic meal), dark chocolate chips, broccoli slaw, red pepper, and pineapple. I also spent about 5 minutes in the barbecue sauce section reading labels because half of them started with high fructose corn syrup and I wanted something that would be smoky and spicy, leaving the sweetness for other layers.

The Meat Layers - Barbecue Sirloin Roast and BaconFor the main component, I trimmed the visible fat off the sirloin roast, seared it, and then slow-cooked it for 7 hours with onions, sweet potatoes, and a half a can of root beer (I was out of cider). When it was done, I shredded it with two forks and then marinated it in barbecue sauce

For the slaw, I mixed some honey mustard, freshly squeezed grapefruit, pineapple juice, Caribbean  Jerk seasoning, a couple dashes of key lime juice, and then added a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to the mixture to get it to gel a bit. Just before it was time to compile, I dumped the mixture into a large mixing bowl, added the broccoli slaw, and added a small can of crushed pineapple.

Bacon LayerI cooked 6 strips of maple bacon, then removed the excess oil with paper towels (just because I’m choosing to be epic, doesn’t mean I can’t be moderately healthy). In a ramekin I added about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup and sprinkled @1 tbsp of Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips over it, then microwaved it for 30 seconds and stirred it briskly then dabbed it onto the bacon in strategic points (it tends to harden quickly).

For the bread, I cut a slit like a super-sized hot dog bun and cooked it for 12 minutes before layering the bacon on it and setting it in for 3 minutes more to re-heat the bacon.

After that, I layered over a pound of the barbecue mixture over the top of the bacon, then layered on the slaw mixture. The final layer was sliced red peppers to give it some additional crunch and flavor.

slaw layer added to the meatI then held it and my buddy Bryon sliced it up. I took the second-smallest third (we gave his girlfriend dibs) and was the only one to actually finish mine. Cerbie watched me like a hawk, p. I think I might regret that decision tomorrow, but I have plenty of barbecue and slaw left over for a few days of sammies.

(The photos should all be clickable if you want to see the meal in all its majesty)


Photoshop Phriday – Week 5 – Movember?

Ethan_HawkeDuring November, a lot of guys participate in a ritual of growing their facial hair out. I opt out because mine would look about as skanky as Ethan Hawke’s in “Reality Bites” (right). I feel it’s important to spare the world of such a travesty.

Since you won’t see any charming Movember photos of me in various stages of facial hair growth on Facebook, I thought I would spend this Photoshop Phriday (sorry for missing a week) showing you what you will be missing out on if I were as hirsute as say Robert Downey Jr.


Movember - Me with Robert Downey Jr's goatee

Photoshop Phriday – Week 4 – Super Tim

I’ve made no secret of the fact that when I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be just like Superman. After experimenting with various ways to gain superpowers, I gave up and set my sites on being the next Batman, then quarterback sensation (4th grade to 7th grade), lawyer (8th grade off/on until I found out Constitutional Law was only available as an 8am class at Luther), mild-mannered reporter, and eventually teacher.

This week I decided to spare my brothers embarrassment and picked one that featured only me (and part of my dad) which meant picking a birthday photo since we tended to be shot in group format at most other times of the year. In this one I had just woken up, thrown my clothes out into the hall for the wash, and was presented with my awesome new shirt which I wore as often as Mom would allow. Trying to find an appropriate modern picture to work from, I found the one inset from a recent Christmas where I was similarly sleepy.

Superman shirt for birthday

It’s Time to Rename Columbus Day

Every year we as a nation honor someone who came to this land, oppressed its people, and plundered its wealth. It’s no wonder we aren’t revolting over government shutdown.

Leif Ericson by Gunnlaugur Þór BriemI’m not going to spend this post outlining the travesties that Columbus is responsible for visiting upon this the Americas as you’ve probably seen the Columbus infographic. I’m also not going to back the rightful claim that Leif Ericson had discovered our continent about 500 years before him or that an Irish monk may have been to the Americas another 300 years before him. None of them can hold a match to the people who crossed the Bering Straits land bridge over 10,000 years before that and grew to be one fifth of the world’s population by 1492.

Instead I want to point out that it’s not like we can budget back a holiday. It’s out there and everyone’s planned around it. Instead, we need to rename and re-dedicate it. While I can’t condone the actions of Christopher Columbus, I can commend his intent to push back the veil of what is unknown and risk his life and reputation in the pursuit of it. He’s not alone in that respect, nor are Leif, Sir Francis Drake, or Lewis and Clark. They are pioneers in the field of physical navigation.

Last week Scott Carpenter joined them in Shakespeare’s “undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns.” He and his cohort, living and dead, air and space, should receive the same reverence as Columbus has enjoyed.

Physical navigation is not the only exploration that should be honored. Those who have explored the microscopic and have revolutionized our lives should also be honored. Even Columbus benefited from Eratosthenes’ discovery that the world was round in 240BC, making the voyage much safer than the story my school teachers taught me.

This should be a day where we hold up scientists, technologists, pilots, astronauts, and sailors for their role in making us what we are today. There are a lot of people who share the idea to rename Columbus Day to Exploration Day to honor all of those who have given so much (that way you can pick and choose which ones you want to honor).

Normally I’d reference a link to a petition on, but as only essential staffing levels are currently active, here is a Change.Org petition for re-dedicating Exploration Day you can sign instead.

And for those of you that think this is too hippy for you, think of it this way: Eventually someone’s going to suggest that we honor all these astronauts and scientists in the same way we have 2 days of the year for America’s military. Wouldn’t you prefer to already have a day for it so that the government couldn’t take another day off?

Leif Ericson photo courtesy of Gunnlaugur Þór Briem

Photoshop Phriday – Week 3 – Iron Man 4

This week I wanted to take a break from family photos as I’m working on a large project for a cousin. I had spotted a Geeks Are Sexy post on Avengers as Star Wars characters and thought I should do something along those lines.

While I was always subscribed to the equation DC > Marvel, I thought I could take something from the DC playbook and apply it. I wanted to focus on Loki since he’s back, so I thought about Mordred’s mayhem and Mxyzptlk’s mischief. I then thought about all of the 80s movies that RDJ was in and knew I could probably lift a photo from there, the hard ones were to be Gwyneth and Tom Huddlestone.

Anyway, without further adieu…

Iron Man 4 - Loki's Revenge

Photoshop Phriday – Week 2.5 – Pimp My Crib

I can’t believe I forgot to post for Photoshop Phriday! I received a request today from one of my cousins for a more in depth composition,  so my week 2 version’s fairly simple – pimp my crib!

I liked the babies in sunglasses motif from Week 1 so I found a couple of them (albeit with Andrew’s sunglasses on his head) that I felt worked well with this scene. Yes, that’s a Raggedy Andy doll in the crib with us.

Photoshop Friday - Pimp My Crib