One year heart attack anniversary

One year ago today, I had a heart attack, and figured I should reflect and share some updates here.

  • Since my second Automattic sabbatical (May 2 – August 2), I walk an average of 20–25 minutes per day.
  • I’m not as strict on diet as I was a few months after the heart attack, but I still avoid beef and pork. (If I have chicken, it’s in the form of eggs.)
  • From early last month (September), results from blood tests are within range. My total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels are low. Relieved.
  • For tracking medication, I switched to Apple’s Health app.
  • I got COVID-19 vaccine boosters in February and September; the latter was the bivalent vaccine. With both boosters, I experienced side effects like fever, chills, and elevated heart rate. After the first, I went to Urgent Care — and later, the Emergency Department — as a precaution because my Apple Watch warned me of an elevated heart rate while I was inactive. A doctor confirmed it was only side effects, and I should use acetaminophen.
  • I had a CT angiogram, and there is “no aortic aneurism or dissection“. Thankful.

As of now, the cardiologists still don’t know why I had a heart attack, but I’m pleased we’ve prevented another one.

Nappy time with Binaural for iOS

Binaural works well.

Binaural beats can help you relax, meditate, sleep, or even concentrate.

Binaural is the simplest, easiest to use binaural beats generator. Just pick a frequency, hit play, and it’ll do the rest.

I took a short break before a final hour of work this afternoon. Selecting an alpha frequency and medium rain setting, I placed headphones on my ears, sat in our comfortable bamboo rattan chair (which can lean back and rock a bit), and passed out within a few moments for fifteen minutes.1 After the noise stopped, I woke up and felt refreshed. Incredible, and free. Give it a try.

Aside: I wrote this post a few months ago.

  1. I used the built–in timer in the Clock app. For the option When Timer Ends, choose “Stop Playing”. Binaural also has a timer if you buy the IAP for $2.99. I wrote this before the feature was added on November 12, 2014. 

The gimp I am

My left foot has been hurting a lot the past few days, so I’m finally going to the doctor tomorrow.

I have no idea what causes the pulsating pain. Inflammation of tendons or ligaments? (I can barely put weight on it, and I can’t point my foot toward my knee like the other one.)

My first opt-out at Burbank Bob Hope Airport

After reading a bunch of posts from a former TSA agent (Taking Sense Away, hosted at, I’m finally convinced to opt–out every time I fly. Why? If he and other TSA agents call people who opt–out “smart passengers”, that’s good enough for me.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank obviously isn’t as busy as LAX, so it was a good opportunity to see how this would go.

I spoke with nice TSA screeners. I voiced my anxiety about my stuff going through the x-ray machine, then the screener — let’s call him “John” — who was about to pat me down eased my fears and we walked over to it to gather my things.

John explained the process thoroughly, and asked me if I wanted a private screening before proceeding. I politely declined while gazing forward at other passengers, noticing that nobody else opted out. All while a stranger felt around me with latex-covered hands.

I’m relieved John didn’t linger on any areas. He also asked about my right foot since I was limping, and hoped that I felt better soon.

The only awkwardness I can remember is John exhaling/grunting every few seconds during the pat down. His breathing was somewhat labored. (He was a bit heavyset, so I hope it’s nothing serious.) The entire process seemed to take about five more minutes than if I went through the millimeter wave scanner.

I’d like to think he earned his paycheck, and I’m glad to stop putting my health into technology that hasn’t been thoroughly tested.

The 4-Hour Body and slow-carb dieting

On January 3rd, 2011, I started the slow-carb diet as recommended by Tim Ferriss through his latest book, The 4-Hour Body. I’ve jokingly went into the diet because “I just want to lose enough weight so my stomach doesn’t jiggle when I brush my teeth.” (Thanks Kevin James!)

I loved The 4-Hour Workweek, so when I saw Tim’s next book soon to be published, I got excited.

While I recommend the book to get a broader image and background, here are the rules:

  1. Avoid “white” carbohydrates.
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over again.
  3. Don’t drink calories.
  4. Don’t eat fruit.
  5. Take one day off per week.

I guess you can read the main part of this chapter at Gizmodo. You can also read a sample chapter at (a well-written introduction, in my opinion).

I’m also taking suggested supplements (500mg of calcium twice a day and 500mg of magnesium every other day[2. I talked to Paul Stamatiou and he suggested this since the IU intake from Tim’s magnesium suggestion might be too high for a daily dose.], respectively). I was trying to eat guacamole for potassium once a day, but I sometimes don’t get around to it, so I’ll pickup a bottle of potassium the next time I buy groceries.

  1. Even though I love rice, bread, and potatoes (fries), I’ve dealt with it.
  2. Since I’m on a routine during the week regarding school, this is fairly easy.
    • Breakfast: 1 cup of Fresh and Easy liquid egg whites (26g protein)[3. I believe this is cheaper than Eggology, so I’ll stick with it.]
    • Lunch:
      • At school: 3-item plate at Panda Express[4. It’s on campus. Too easy. It has to be more conducive over Carl’s Jr or Taco Bell.], consisting of mixed veggies and three chicken selections
      • Home: 26-30g protein by way of prepackaged burger patties from F&E, a plateful of pre-washed spinach, and 1 cup of black/pinto beans (14g protein)
    • Dinner: 26-30g protein by way of prepackaged burger patties from F&E, a plateful of pre-washed spinach, and 1 cup of black/pinto beans (14g protein)
  3. I rarely opt for soft drinks, so this wasn’t a big deal.
  4. Aside from smoothies from Jamba Juice or Robeks, and an occasional banana, I didn’t eat too much fruit.
  5. Yay for cheat day! If I remember, I keep a text file I edit throughout the week with food I’d like to devour on cheat days.

I realize that this sounds fairly bland, but I don’t need to emphasize epic meals during the week. I’m simply trying to maintain the habit, and my epic meals will occur on cheat days. I’ll try to add some variation to the kinds of meat I buy in the future. After all, I really don’t cook too well.

Since I started (52 days ago), I’ve lost 10 pounds and dropped one pant size. Tim notes that while losing fat, you’re gaining muscle, so the scale won’t reflect that.

My problems

  • I haven’t measured myself regularly. When I made initial measurements, I used a slightly pliable metal tape measure, but it’s so annoying, I haven’t done it in awhile. I’ll order the Orbitape Body Mass Tape Measure right away. (Nick Momrik loves his Withings WiFi Body Scale, but it’s pricey.)
  • I don’t drink enough water when I’m at school. I need to buy a sturdy, reusable water bottle.
  • I don’t think I’m eating enough protein. Tim says it’s safe to snack on 5-10 almonds, but I shouldn’t be hungry between meals.

To be continued

While my schedule has helped keep me on a routine, these past several weeks have flown by very quickly. I’ll continue to stick with the slow-carb diet in hopes to get back to my figure in high school. 🙂

P.S. I know I didn’t include my actual numbers. I’m keeping them relative because I’m slightly ashamed of how bad I’ve gotten.


Ankle problems on someone else's wedding day

A couple nights this week, I experienced leg cramps. One was a bit more severe because both sides of my leg — calf and whatever you call the opposite muscle — cramped somehow. How do you stretch both simultaneously?!

I don’t stretch (exercise) enough.

  • Thursday night, I decided to stretch my legs before going to bed. I think I stretched gently. I didn’t try to force it.
  • Friday morning, my left ankle felt “odd.”[1. My right ankle is my bad one, which I broke in high school. I still have one pin in my ankle.]
  • By that night, I’d give the pain 4 out of 10. I had a slight limp.
  • It’s finally getting cold here in Los Angeles, too, so that might be another factor.

I knew where this is going. It would take 4-7 days to recover.

If I didn’t have upcoming events, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Unfortunately, I’m photographing a wedding today.[2. By that, I mean it’s wonderful that I’m photographing someone else’s wedding, but unfortunate that I’m having ankle problems.]

All I could do is pray. I prayed for bearable pain so I can capture Judith and Rob’s wedding day.

This morning, I’d consider my prayer answered. (Thank you.)

I have a few more hours before I head out, but I have faith I’ll endure through the subtle chaos. As for the rain, everything is indoors and the couple hasn’t brought up concerns, so I won’t dwell on it.

P.S. Yes, I realize I need to see a specialist about my ankles. When I get health insurance, that’s at the top on my list. For the record, I photowalked the streets of Philadelphia, New York City, and Brooklyn for about five days. It had to be 4-5 miles/day. I’m glad my ankles didn’t go out.

There goes my ankle again

Yesterday morning, I felt a familiar pain in my left ankle. Doesn’t my right ankle have the pin? Yeah, but I don’t know why this happens. My left ankle is feeling brutal right now. I can’t put any weight on it without pain.

I was going to hang out my cousin and her boyfriend in Hollywood all afternoon with a Canon EF 135mm f/2L lens (rented from BorrowLenses for two weeks). Now I need to stay off my ankle and hope it goes back to normal by Monday.

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