May. 6th, 2017

mtbc: maze L (green-white)
An online conversation earlier today reminded me of some work I had done ten to twenty years ago back when I was mostly working on government-funded research and development projects. It is now long enough ago that sometimes I forget how very much I enjoyed the challenge of solving various problems in science and engineering, inference and decision-making by devising software-based approaches. I turned out to be very good at it but haven't had to much do it for what must now be a decade or so. It is hard to get good applied research work without a doctorate and while needing enough income to support a family especially as my better work was also defense work that I cannot talk about especially outside the US. So, over the past decade I have done more regular software development: I am good at it but not as great as I am when faced with more need for creative solutions to technical problems.

Having been decidedly obese when I moved to Scotland I find it strange now to be in a position when on many nights I am positively trying to eat a bit more. I suppose that my diet may have had lasting effects on my appetite. For the past couple of days I could have easily eaten comfortably less than what I allowed myself when trying to lose weight. Last night after a perfectly satisfactory dinner I later decided to also have a heavily buttered piece of toast with a generous amount of Gouda, then a few mini creme eggs left over from Easter, but it is not like I was ravenous at the time, the challenge was more to think of something that seemed appealing. On the one hand, I do want to listen to my body about when it feels hungry or not, but I have still been losing a little weight on my maintenance plan so I do not want to be drifting far below even that.

I got to thinking about why, when I have been overweight for so very long, it is only in the past couple of years that I seriously addressed the issue. What switch flipped in my head? In watching a documentary about schizophrenia I came to wonder if it was about control: my best talents are not greatly exercised in my current work, I barely earn enough to get by, I live in a small, cluttered house, maybe my effort toward improving my weight and fitness stems from wanting to successfully grasp at least some facet of my existence and addressing my health was the most plausible remaining option? I do not know. Now that I have generated the hypothesis it doesn't feel as if it obviously rings true but it is also not assaulted by competition with rival explanations. (One of my military projects involved creating software for generating, evaluating, assembling hypotheses.) I thus do now wonder if my diet and exercise might indeed partly be about gaining some control and feeling good about something.

The mention of schizophrenia reminds me of a lady who used to roam the streets around our apartment in Providence, RI. She was often off her medication and would indignantly berate pedestrians and drivers for all manner of creatively imagined slights, sins like trying to sell her into prostitution to workmen down the road. While she was not causing anybody any real harm then it was her legal right to be in such a state. When I would first spy her ranting from the window I initially thought that she was speaking on her cellphone via a Bluetooth headset but her interactions subsequently made the unfortunate situation quite clear.
mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
My son soon turns sixteen and now he has been revising and taking examinations my thoughts have moved to summer work that he could do. I had it fairly easy: through my mother's professional contacts as a book-keeper I got basic clerical work and even some computer consulting for businesses quite early on: it was later when I was an undergraduate that my summer jobs had actually been advertised vacancies. I don't have commensurately useful contacts.

In some initial searching online, compromised somewhat by the awful search interfaces of many sites, I find it hard to find plausible opportunities. I know he's helpful, polite, learns technical detail well, and is numerate and computer-literate, so theoretically he should be sufficiently useful to somebody, especially as minimum wage for sixteen-year-olds is like just £4 or somesuch. We can get him to Perth or Dundee on a regular basis. However, I find it hard to identify vacancies that fit high school students looking for temporary work; it would be nice to not have to fall back to McDonald's or its ilk.

Maybe we actually have to go in and talk to people. Had I planned slightly better we could have stopped in at the Jobcentre Plus in Dundee's lovely Wellgate Shopping Centre this afternoon though perhaps an appointment is required. I wonder if we should have been looking into this matter weeks ago or if word of mouth is key. I should have him talk to his school careers people too: they already find students work experience placements. Our landlord back in Cambridge, England, knew pretty much all the local businesses: I am sure he would have been a great help.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I occasionally mention simple food that I enjoy. This evening I had crispy bacon with mashed avocado and a slice of tomato on brown buns and they were most pleasing. On the side I had a chunk of Double Gloucester cheese.

Today I have an easier time eating a high fraction of my permitted calories: I ate some girl scout cookies after lunch and this evening I eat some macarons made by [personal profile] mst3kmoxie who also this morning bought us fudge donuts from Fisher & Donaldson, a local baker.

Update: In the end I needed plenty of time and a couple of cups of tea before I could make it through the second half of the donut.

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mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Mark T. B. Carroll

July 2017

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