Tater’s Takes – Writer’s Block Edition

July 21st, 2010 by Potato

I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours as I try to cram out (at the last minute, of course) some papers for an upcoming conference. It’s been a nightmare because, amongst other reasons, the ridiculous copyright policy of the conference means that we have to submit papers that are different enough from what we usually write that we can still have freedom to use our own work elsewhere. It’s hard enough to hammer out a paper in the first place, then to have to try to do it in the literary equivalent of a funny accent…

Anyhow, I’ve been battling with yet another nasty case of writer’s block — something that seems to hit me far too severely when it comes to my professional writing. I think Wayfare hit the issue on the head: I worry too much about how the work will be received for professional stuff and just lock up, whereas on my pseudo-anonymous blog I can just hammer away at the keyboard and not even worry about proof reading since I don’t have that much invested in it. Nothing to do but just try to get over it. In the meantime, Netbug suggested I take a quick break and put up at least a Tater’s Takes post, so here you go.

On the health/diet front, I found out that my scale got miscalibrated somewhere along the way. I’m not sure when it happened, but it was reading high by 3-4 pounds, which means I’ve really only gained about a pound from when I started. Still, wrong direction, but not quite as bad as I had thought. The last week was decent but not great: I’ve been watching what I eat more, but still had a few doughnuts at work through the week. I’ve started writing down my meal plan for a ~3 day period, and have been sticking to it reasonably well, and including lots of healthy stuff like vegetables and oatmeal, so that’s been good. I only had two good long bikerides in the week, but considering the week I’ve had, that’s pretty good (I plan on retrying the 36 km trip around Fanshawe Lake once these stupid stupid stupid papers are in).

“Today” though has been hell on the diet: I’ve resorted to undergrad cram tactics, pounding down full-sugar Coke & Red Bull and eating nothing but junk food to burn through the night. 3940 calories in the last 24 hour period (I don’t know what I consider a “day” anymore — best to try to stick to the subjective view of time the rest of you hold), which is simply not an efficient way to produce written words. As soon as the caffeine starts to wear off, I’m right into the head-bobbing vertigo stage of sleep deprivation, so I’m really hoping these stupid papers get finished soon.

In the news, BP’s latest cap attempt actually appears to be working. The stock shot up, then slid back down on perhaps fears that the shutting-in of the oil may have put too much pressure on the parts of the well below the ocean floor, causing oil to seep out (in a way that could be very difficult to control).

Also finance-related, a quick note that I sold my H&R REIT yesterday. Thanks to falling behind on my thesis and staying a grad student longer than my scholarship said I should I know that I’ll need to be raising cash, and also H&R is starting to look fully valued to me, so out it goes. Again, this isn’t a case of not liking the company, just thinking that the price was getting high enough…

I was going to look into the new Ontario “eco fee” tax this weekend and blog about it, but it looks like the negative publicity and poor roll-out has lead to it being canned… for now.

After running headlong into Bell’s very restrictive 25 GB data cap in May, I had to complain to any that would hear me that the $2/GB charge was very obviously excessive, and in no way actually reflected the incremental cost of that data usage. Plus, of course, the comparison to Rogers’ slightly more generous 60 GB cap (and 5 years ago the cap was also 60 GB, long before most users started watching videos on the internet, or Bell/Rogers themselves started rolling out video-on-demand portals). Netbug sent along an article that looks at this issue for US ISPs and concludes that indeed, most of the cost structure is composed of fixed-cost infrastructure type spending, and there’s no support in the ISPs’ business model for the caps and data charges that have been rolled out. Congestion issues are also unlikely to be the reason for the fees, since if congestion at peak times was the issue, the ISPs should instead implement time-of-use charges.

2 Responses to “Tater’s Takes – Writer’s Block Edition”

  1. wayfare Says:

    That is a terrifyingly specific number of calories.

    Terrifying because it is so specific that it was most likely calculated by adding up the number of calories found on the back of all of the coke cans and candy bags within arms reach of your desk.

  2. Potato Says:

    Plus an estimate for the pizza and frozen yogurt I had (which didn’t have handy nutritional information).