Review: The Story of Sushi

The author has no affiliation with the California Sushi Academy. He paid for all sushi consumed in the course of his research

This book made me crave sushi for the entire week that I was reading it. I’m a sushi fiend so this isn’t surprising, but it was a little odd when I was reading at 8 AM. This had been on my wish list for a long time. According to my Library Thing I got a copy in 2009, but I have no recollection of owning it. I know I didn’t read it. So I was happy to find a copy on Amazon for .99 and it also hits “Z” on the ABC Challenge.

As much as I enjoyed the info that I learned about sushi through Zoran, Kate, Marcos, Toshi and the others, I enjoyed the people. Although this was a work of documentary non-fiction, it read like a novel at times and the central figures were key. Toshi, the pioneer of American sushi; Kate the unsettled student; Zoran the teacher who is disappeared back to Australia midway through the semester; Takumi the former JPop singer.

Luckily for this sushi fiend, little beyond the author’s explanation of mold’s role in miso and sushi rice made me think twice about the food I devour. I fell in love with sushi at the tale end of my first stint in Japan but never really had a huge interest in its creation. I don’t think I’ve made sushi since a friend’s obon party in August… 2002! This book made me curious about some of the behind the scenes and probably made me a more educated consumer at the sushi bar.

Disease isn’t the only problem. Humans like to eat yellowtail, but yellowtail also like to eat yellowtail.

Of the author’s comments on fish that’s the one I loved the most. I’m picturing carnivorous yellowtail on the sushi bar. I really enjoyed the background on the rice as its status in the US is so different to its standing in Japan.

I’m glad to see the Toshi’s California Sushi Academy is still going (despite an awful website) and to “see” Kate and company on Corson’s site.

GoTheDist: 2015 week 1

I hate you Mother Nature. I’m probably not going to get 285K steps this month due to the polar vortices/Alberta clippers/whatever you want to call it. I’m OK with that because:

  • I’ve been to the gym 4x this year including 3x while sick and am en route to obliterating my bike goals
  • I’ll get as close to 285K as I can and make it up later in the warmer months
  • I brought lunch 4x this week. OK, that slightly contributed to steps fall off. I wasn’t walking to get lunch and it was too cold to go out just for a walk. But, yay not spending $9/day on lunch.
  • I’m onto my 3rd book. all of which have been non fiction.

A good start (minus the cold) to what will be a good year.

Review: 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived

On the one hand, I’m thrilled that I’m finished with one book and actually reviewing it less than two days  in to 2015. On the other hand, I’m tempted to call this book at least 91 people too long, although that’s probably not fair.
I once overheard  someone I work with say that a website designed by a committee is a camel. I think the same can be said for a book about a subjective matter written by this many people. The more I think about it, I think “influential” might be the wrong word. To me, influence means they inspire people to act like them? Did some have an impact? Yes. But does anyone actually want to *be* Godzilla?
The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived by Allan Lazar, Dan Karlan, Jeremy Salter. A library book I started eagerly on December 31, 2014 and I finished today at the gym. Normally when I’m adding time to a workout it means I’m hooked into the book and want to finish it. This time I just wanted to finish it.

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#GoTheDist: 2015 goals

And I ran out of room in that post…

2015 goals:

  • Steps: 3,400,000 steps
  • Miles Walked: 1,500
  • Miles Biked: 400

and some explanation:

  • I really wanted my steps goal to be 300,000/month but I’m really not sure that’s attainable in shorter months and don’t want to fall short of my goal. I actually think 3,500,000 might be achievable but not sure on the math so 3.4m it is. This works out to ~283K/month.
  • Miles walked: I like this number and I think it’s achievable. No wizardry
  • Bike: this seems to be in line with an increase over 2013 (335.83) where I had a reasonable year at the gym. In order to get gym reimbursement I need to go 100x/year (50/6 months) and I average between 4-5m when I go, so I think this is reasonable.

Now to set up my spreadsheet

#GoTheDist 2014: Complete

Despite starting 2015 with a day of complete sloth, I’m very proud of myself.

Totals for December:

  • 269,271 steps
  • 110.97 miles walked
  • 31.99 miles biked

Totals for Q4

  • 826,110 steps
  • 340.76 miles walked
  • 31.99 miles biked

Totals for 2014

  • 3,262,378 steps
  • 1355.08 miles walked
  • 200.09 miles biked

Nope, the bike didn’t get over 200 on purpose because if it had I would have gotten December (and therefore Q4) to 32. But it did start a good trend that I hope to continue and improve in 2015.

How did I do vis-a-vis my 2014 goals?

  • Meet or exceed my #GoTheDist goals. Done
  • Specifically, exceed my Q4 2013 GTD totals. Done
  • I’m not sure LoseIt’s 147 days is realistic, but 2014 is the last year I will start overweight. Not done. But I’m in a place where I’ve set steps to make this happen for 2015 so I’m OK with this.
  • Learn to cook. I’m already laughing at myself for this one, but I really wish I could. I think it would make some food choices better. This isn’t goin to happen, but as part of a general saving money effort, I’m going back to bringing lunch and may try to incorporate cooking.
  • Get back to a regular gym schedule. It sounds cliche, but I feel good when I go. So I need to GO. Not done. But I’m in a place where I’ve set steps to make this happen for 2015 so I’m OK with this. See below for more detail.
  • Relax. Keep doing what I did last year. It (mostly) worked and I’m on the right track. Done

So on to 2015

I’m really making it the year of me and want to be better about going to the gym. I have a new app (Runkeeper) and some non numeric goals.  But I also want to keep up walking. Decisions, decisions. While rereading posts here to find some reasonable gym/biking goals (see below) I remembered mini goals help me so back to that.

Some thoughts/mini goals:

  • The 3,262,378 steps is an average of nearly 275K steps per month. That’s amazing considering a few months where I really struggled. Mileage wise that works out to nearly 113 miles which is about what I figured. My personal goals were 1100 miles and 2.5m steps so I am more than thrilled with that.
    • My spreadsheet was a great in motivating me to walk more. So I’m doing it again in 2015
  • I want to finish C25K. I don’t think it will happen, but I want to try it again.
  • I want to hit my goal weight. I’ve finally set one to make that happen. Not sure yet if I’m going to stick with LoseIt or go back to Weight Watchers. My target date is December 31, 2015 but I think I might be able to hit it sooner.
  • Achievmint is great bribery.
  • Speaking of bribery and money, in addition to spending money at the gym and not going, I’m missing on the gym reimbursement from work so I’m going to the gym 100x this year.

On to 2015 goals….

2014 Year in Review: Bookworm Edition

I fully accept that I’ll never be as good as Liz at book reviews, but I want to do better in 2015 than I am in 2014 which is five finished reviews and 27/30 Tumblr drafts that were unfinished book reviews. So for 2015 I’m “stealing” Sally’s year end template and will keep that as a working draft.

In the mean time, here’s my look at 2014

Books read: 54

Unfinished books: 9

Currently reading: 7 (one truly active, three semi active, three that likely need to go to the dead letter file)

I’m thrilled with those and already looking forward to my 2015 challenge. Will I read 54 again? No. Will I complete the A-Z challenge and then some? I think so. One of my 2015 resolutions is more time reading and I look forward to that.

Some more thoughts:

  • In breaking it out as I did below, I realized two things:
    • I’m missing a few titles. Ill try to edit the post when I find them
    • My non fiction/fiction splits weren’t as bad as I feared. That said, I read too much crap
    • Those I didn’t finish had about the same genre splits, but some interesting reasons:

FOOTBALL

  • Against Football– that wasn’t a book, it was a poorly written and edited rant
    NON FICTION
  • All the Centurions – good stories, not a good writer. Got bored
  • Christmas Miscellany – nothing new here, got bored quickly despite reading in December
  • Happy Hour is for Amateurs – don’t remember
  • Inside the Dream Palace – tried to read too many about the Chelsea in too short a time.  Not a binge subject
  • The Social Employee – don’t remember
  • Wedding Babylon – don’t remember
  • FICTION
  • Brooklyn Noir – don’t remember at all
  • Chasing the Dime – no idea as I love Connelly, but I tried this one 3x

On to those I did read, with notes in bold….

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mini goals met

Who says a  week of sloth at the beach isn’t a wonderful thing. Sometime during the week I:

  • destroyed my 2014 reading goal. At 52 as of today with one in the works and other likely to come. And then 7 unfinished. Good run in 2014.
  • Miles: beat my personal and #GoTheDist Q4 goals, My December #GoTheDist goal
  • Steps: On track for 250K and maybe even 275K steps.

Life is Good.

2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge

2015 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

2015 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

43 books read as of December 12, 2014 and with a week’s vacation to come, I’ll do well by my 2014 goal, even if I cheated with fiction.

Liz’s post got me thinking about a 2015 goal and I wasn’t sure where I was going since without the Bosch series, I don’t really have a prayer of repeating 2014’s numbers. Then I came across Sally’s 2015 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge post (with more info and registration here) and I decided that could be a lot of fun. I think it will also help me personally with reading new titles in the year they come out, which I haven’t been good with of late.

Rules:

It’s an alphabet challenge! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.

You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles. For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles the word with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.

Need some help finding titles to match the alphabet – Jandy’s Reading Room has a wonderful list to get you started.

Books can be read in any order and all formats – print – e-book – audio – are acceptable for this challenge!

Here is my list – many I have planned already from my TBR pile (in italics means I haven’t read them yet) – the rest I will update as I go. Maaaybe I’ll even get back on track with reviews, but in the mean time here’s a link to my books in the challenge on LT. I’ve tried for a good balance between fiction and non and I’ve also included a few that I really want to finish. A few are 2015 new releases and some have been on Mt. TBR way too long

ETA 3 January: bolded books are ones I’ve actually read along with date

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#GoTheDist 2014: November

Skin of my teeth.

My tiered goals for November were: 250/275/300K steps and 100 miles.

November totals*? 255,599 steps and 105.71 miles.

Never stressed so hard for 250, although July was close. But I did it. Thanks to some temperate weather days.

*Subject to minor additions as I putter around the apartment

Totals for Q4 so far: 556,734 steps // 229.75 miles. Well on track for 750K // 300 miles that was my Q4 goal. To be honest? I don’t know that 250K is going to happen in December due to work, weather and travel, but I’m going to try. My tiered goals are 225/250/275K although I’ll be tickled pink with hitting 250. Keeping mileage at 100 even though I only need 70+. 100 may be iffy but we’ll see.

Now to think about 2015. Steps wise and book wise. I’m at 43/45! 2014 has been good for goals. Well, some. I still haven’t hit Goal.

#GoTheDist: October 2014

sometimes I swear 31-day months are harder to get steps in than 30 day months. I think it definitely has to do with the perceived cushion of the extra day.

Final numbers:

  • 301,135 steps
  • 124.04 miles walked

Whee!
It wasn’t easy. I set a mini goal of not ever falling on the wrong side of 10K steps needed per day, but it happened due to some traveling and two days with fewer than 4K steps. But two walking tours helped me, including 12K steps in a ghost tour on Halloween. I entered the home stretch of this past week needing 11K+ steps/day to get 300K and I finished strong:

  • October 27 – 11,629
  • October 28 – 10,991
  • October 29 – 11,804
  • October 30 – 11,094
  • October 31 – 12,359

I’m fewer than 450K steps and 76/176 miles from my Q4 goals leaving both very doable. I’m going to keep to my optimistic goals (275K steps, 100 miles) for November as I believe they’re attainable and will give me cushion against a December full of work/vacation/holidays. I know I may not see another 300K month until March, but I’m OK with that.

On to November…