Clearwater Analytics Developer’s Conference 2018

On Friday, October 19, 2018 I had an incredible opportunity to attend Clearwater Analytics’ Developer’s Conference (DevCon). They allowed their employees to invite a friend and thankfully, I have a great friend who works there who invited me as his guest.

Keynote

The keynote speech was titled “Idaho Technology – Past, Present and Future.” It was a fantastic look at the big key players of technology in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Simplot, Hewlett Packard (HP), Micron, T-Sheets, Metageek, Cradlepoint, and of course Clearwater were just a few of the companies I remember getting a mention. Coming from a company that was spun out from Hewlett Packard (I currently work for Perspecta), it was great to see our heritage on display. However, I couldn’t help but think: “How are we going to get Perspecta on the radar like HP is?”

I thought I would take a moment to write about a few of the seminars that I attended and what I took away from them.

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Central Oregon Road Trip, Labor Day Weekend 2016

Every year my partner and I try to make it to Bend, Oregon. We fell in love with the town in 2011. We’ve been every year since (except for 2014).

The town has a lot of great things to offer. There are great restaurants. One of our favorites is Deschutes Brewery’s Public House. I don’t drink but they have really good food. Now that I am going through this lifestyle change I am thankful they have some great salads on the menu! I really didn’t want to gain the 15 pounds I lost last month back because of poor meal choices on vacation!

In addition to great restaurants, Bend is a great launching point for sightseeing. Crater Lake National Park is just a couple of hours away. When we go to Bend, we always go to Crater Lake! It is one of my favorite places on Earth. There is something about the crisp air and the gorgeous blue water that calls us to come back every year. It doesn’t hurt that Crater Lake Lodge has great food! We’ve only ever been there when they are serving lunch, unfortunately. Hopefully, one of these days, we’ll be able to stay at the lodge and have breakfast and dinner. I also am dying to be at Crater Lake during sunrise, golden hour and sunset!

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Crater Lake was PACKED this year. The fact that it was the day before Labor Day did not help! It took forever to even get turned off of the main highway onto the entrance road. It took us over an hour to get up to the entrance pay station. Thankfully, once past the pay station traffic wasn’t too bad. Many of the viewpoints were super crowded though. Thankfully, we have stopped at all of them on our many trips so we just went on to the next one when one was too crowded.

The past few trips that we have made to Bend we have taken a route that allows us to stop by The Painted Hills near John Day, Oregon. The two times we have stopped at The Painted Hills it was raining. This time we were greeted with gorgeous blue skies. To tell you the truth though, I kind of like my pictures of The Painted Hills from our last trip better than the ones I took this time. I may grow to like the ones I took on this trip in the future. I am very critical of my own work and tend to hate it for a while. Most likely because I spend a lot of time fussing over them before I publish them. At a certain point I become sick of them! It could also be because I worked harder on the photos I took the last time. Even though it was cold and raining, I stood out there with the camera on the tripod and even used a light meter. This time it was freestyle shooting all the way.

Because we have made a trip to Crater Lake and The Painted Hills before, I decided to try something different this year. I decided to try my best to take more photos of the details. To do this, I opted to use my telephoto lens instead of my wide angle lens.

The next time we are in Bend, I want to spend more time taking photos of the actual town. More so than I have in the past. It’s a beautiful town. Not too big. Not too small.

If you’re interested, I created an album on Flickr for ALL of the pictures I have taken at Crater Lake. I decided to create this album so I don’t have to send people multiple links to see all of my Crater Lake photos!

Right now I am in a “I hate these photos!” mood, but I hope they’re decent enough for you to enjoy!

Shadow in a Hat

Shadow in a Hat

I do like to pretend that I am abstract artist. I love to put pen and paper together and just see what happens. Last night while I was doing this I looked at the piece and didn’t see anything. I rotated it 90 degrees and saw a hat. I then thought it would look fantastic on our cat Shadow. After digging through the thousands of pictures that I have taken of this cat I found one where he was looking straight at me.

I think the colors of the hat in the original are much better. I haven’t quite figured out how to get scanned ink drawings to look great. Regardless, I think the final piece is fun. Maybe even wall worthy?

Going through “The Change”

I grew up differently than everyone else. We didn’t call housework “chores.” Housework was referred to as “You do this right now or I’m going to bust your butt, mister!” We didn’t call punishments “demerits.” We had “Go out there and cut me a hickory switch! If it’s not good enough I’ll make you get another one! Then I’ll make you wish you got a good one the first time!” Long, but effective!

Fast forward a few years to me between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. I got the opportunity to go to a summer camp with the Upward Bound program. The first few days I felt like I had went to a foreign country. The counselors used terms like “chores” and “demerits.” There was an imposed curfew, lights out and bed time. If I had stayed at home that summer I could have stayed up all night long if I had wanted to. This was an interesting change to my lifestyle from home.

Fast forward to August 13, 2016. I have been on this bariatric diet for two weeks now. I think I have been doing a fantastic job. Have I lost any weight? I don’t know. Have I cheated? Oh, absolutely! We all do when we’re dieting, right? Right? You had better have answered YES to that! However, there is a night and day difference between what I was eating and what I am eating now. I haven’t raided the vending machine in two weeks. Okay, I went one time because I didn’t bring enough food for my 10 hour shift at work. I got beef jerky. Then I realized how much sodium was in one package. I won’t be doing that again!

I have finally realized, truly realized, that there is nothing in that vending machine that is even remotely healthy. Not even the granola bars. Just because it is a healthier option doesn’t mean it is a good option. That machine haunts me! I can hear it calling me from my desk. When I am sitting in the break room during my lunch break eating a salad I hear it calling me.

“Andy! Andy! Andy! Come and get some Ruffles! Just think about how good they will taste! Don’t stop at one bag! You know one bag isn’t going to be enough to satisfy your craving!”

I stare at it. I look at each and every item thinking: “Would that really be that bad?” Then I stop myself. “YES! Andy! YES! It would be!” I really want some Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips. I want them with sour cream and onion dip. I want an entire family size bag and tub all to myself! I can’t though! Not even one chip!

I went to the grocery store three times last week. I had the hardest time shopping. Prior to starting this diet I had gotten into a bad habit of buying freezer meals. At the time I didn’t think I was buying terribly unhealthy food. It was either something from Trader Joe’s (they have an absolutely amazingly delicious selection of frozen Asian food) or the organic section of Fred Meyer. After starting this diet I REALLY got to looking at the sodium, fat and carbohydrates in the nutrition facts. It was shocking!

This diet truly is a lifestyle change. If I am going to have bariatric weight loss surgery, I have got to make it a permanent change. Going out to eat will be happening a lot less. Preparing food at home will be happening a lot more. It’s a good thing my partner and I love to cook (we just wish we had more time to do it … and a cleaner kitchen to do it in)! It’s one of the hardest lifestyle changes I have had to make. Even harder than getting used to being away from home at summer camp. At least with summer camp I knew there would be a time when I would get to go back home and resume my normal life. I can’t ever go back to my previous eating habits! Maybe I need someone to beat me when I eat the wrong things? We’ve got plenty of bamboo canes!

Even going through the grocery store is a new battle. Even if you stay on the outside perimeter of the store. Every aisle I go down I see everything differently. I don’t see what they’re trying to sell me. I see one of the following: carbs, sugar, fat, sodium. Canned soup? No, it’s canned liquid salt. Suddenly Salad anyone? How about Suddenly Fat! I think not!

One would think that they could order a tuna sandwich from Jimmy John’s, right? That sounds healthy. OH NO! 1,700 mg of sodium. I had no idea it was a salt lick. Maybe that’s why it is so good? I won’t even talk about the carbs! 2,414 mg in the Italian Night Club (my personal favorite). 3,534 mg in the Gargantuan. How did I or anyone else not instantly die after eating the Gargantuan? Goodbye Jimmy John’s. I will miss you!

I still have a long way to go before I am eating right! I am doing good right now, but it could be a whole lot better. I am eating better foods, but I still need to work on portion size. An omelet recipe in the South Beach diet cookbook calls for 3 eggs. Says that it serves 2 people. Mind boggling! I used to eat 3 eggs in my own personal omelet. I need to focus on eating while I am eating. We still sit in front of the television for dinner. Perhaps it’s time to go get the table cleared off once and for good!

I just wish these cravings would go away! I am really wanting a pizza from Costco right now. I want to go out for Mexican food! I want Chinese food! Jesus, take the wheel!

NOTE: In regards to the first paragraph. I was spanked for misbehaving, but it was not abuse. It was included as a humorous way to tie in other thoughts in this entry.

Goodbye 425

Apparently, I have decided to have weight loss surgery (WLS). For years, I have railed against the idea of having WLS. I have been frightened by the thought of having WLS. I always thought I could lose the weight on my own. I have always thought WLS was for the super morbidly obese. News flash, Andy. You weigh 425 lbs. You ARE super morbidly obese!

I am 30. I will soon be 31. Tick tock. Time is running out. I want to lose weight. I want to enjoy my 30s! I can’t in my current condition. I want to be able to climb the stairs, hike the trails, take the spectacular photos that I can’t take right now because my weight hinders me from being upwardly mobile.

My health is rapidly declining. Last year I found myself in the hospital diagnosed with blood clots. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I developed a hernia a few months ago that has further hindered my mobility. I am extremely fortunate that I don’t have diabetes! I really don’t want to wind up with anymore special conditions!

Two of my good friends who also happen to be coworkers have been positive influences in my decision. I have witnessed their amazing transformation. Not just in their size, but in their mindset. They are more determined, more outgoing and happier!

Two months ago I started on this journey. A couple of weeks apart from each other I attended two WLS seminars. One at each of the major hospitals in the area. After going to the two seminars I made my decision on which provider would be better (I went with the provider that has been doing the surgeries the longest). After the seminars I made an appointment and I met with a surgeon. The surgeon HIGHLY recommended that I have a gastric sleeve. I had initially wanted to have gastric bypass. The surgeon said that he would do it, but he really believes the sleeve would be better. He said that due to my size, it would be much riskier to do a gastric bypass. From what I gather, more surgeons are highly recommending the gastric sleeve now. So the current plan is to do the sleeve, but we do have some time to change our minds.

Since I don’t have $30,000 to pay for the surgery out-of-pocket, I do have to go through insurance. My insurance company requires that I go through a 6-month doctor supervised diet. Two days ago I had my first appointment with a dietician. I will be following the South Beach diet plan. I am well equipped. My wonderful sister-in-law bought me a stack of South Beach diet books. They are full of valuable information. In addition my dietician provided me with meal plans.

Another requirement of my insurance company is that I go through a psychological evaluation. I did that yesterday. While I won’t tell you the results of that test (because it will probably show that I am crazy). I will tell you that if you are planning on having the surgery, be prepared. It was a 3 hour long session at a psychologist’s office doing testing and discussing my entire life history with a psychologist. Not an ideal way to get your day started!

In a couple of days I have to go to the hospital to have an upper GI tract X-ray. It’s a good thing that I liked to eat chalk when I was a kid!

I am going full on with the South Beach diet on Monday morning. It’s going to be hard for me. I don’t think it’s going to be hard to give things up. I think the biggest problem I am going to have is preparing fresh food. I have relied on ready to go meals too much lately.

It’s definitely going to be a long and quite possibly a difficult journey. I want you with me for it. I have been wanting to get back into blogging for a few years now. Perhaps this is the best reason to make myself do it! Please excuse the default WordPress theme. I plan something much better! Please, watch this space! Thank you!

Edit 8/13/16: Before I published this I forgot that when I was in the hospital last year I weighed 464 lbs. I don’t know if that is my heaviest weight, but it is the heaviest weight I have ever had recorded.

Central and Western Oregon Road Trip, Week Before Labor Day, 2015

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Lake Owyhee Day Trip (7/20/14)

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Wallowa Lake Day Trip (7/5/14)

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Skyline Drive (10/22/13)

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St Michaels, Maryland (10/21/13)

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