“Hacking is the practice of modifying the features of a system, in order to accomplish a goal outside of the creator’s original purpose. The person who is consistently engaging in hacking activities, and has accepted hacking as a lifestyle and philosophy of their choice, is called a hacker.”


Bob Bickford, computer and video guru, defined the true essence of the hacker as “Any person who derives joy from discovering ways to circumvent limitations.”

I get to hack computer code at work all the time , that’s one of the things I love about my job. Taking someone else’s code and bending it to my design.

Things that I regularly hack: code, electronics, dead devices, and now my own body. Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve electronic probes or anything like that.

Think of you body as a system, it has certain rules “these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system…some of them can can be bent. Others…can be broken” (-The Matrix). In order to manipulate the body and hack it, you must first discover the controls and how they operate. My focus control has been on energy and the digestive/metabolic system. My body has too many energy reserves stored as fat; I don’t need them now since I have good food security.


Control 1: Hunger


Control 2: Activity Level (the output)


Control 3: Food (the input)


Control 4: Emotion


With these 4 controls in mind we’re on the way to right thinking on how to hack your own body.


Potato Casserole Like Grandma

Years ago, when Eliza and I were young, we went to her grandma’s house for Easter dinner or a baby blessing or something. She made the best cheese potatoes I’d ever had and have been asking Eliza to make them for me for years. With my interest in cooking over the last few months, and morning 9am church, I decided to try and make them myself. It was kinda made up on the spot but I’ll preserve what I did here.

Brent’s cheese casserole potatoes

  • 2-3 lbs Yukon golds (or other med starch white potato)
  • 2 c white sauce (butter, flour, milk)
  • 2 c cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Add potatoes.

Wash and lightly peel the potatoes. Slice to about 3/8″ thick rounds. Peeling is optional and mine didn’t actually need it when done; the peels were thin enough to not affect the flavor. Lay in 3 long rows of a 9 x 13 pan. The slices should slightly overlap like a fallen-over stack of cards.

Make cheese sauce.

Melt 2 T butter, add 2 T flour, continue heating on med-high until color slightly darkens. Add 2 c milk and stir to combine until thick. Add half the cheese. Use a soft melty cheese like Gruyère/Swiss, or cheddar if that’s all you’ve got.

Pour sauce over potatoes, top with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes. When done, let it cool for a bit so the sauce thickens. Yum.

How I imported my old Xanga Posts

It involves downloading some software to run some code that visits each of your xanga pages that captures and translates all the text there to a WordPress formatted file. Manually fixup the xml from the file and import that to the wordpress blog. Why would you want to do this? WordPress is open, free, and has a supportive user base. If it ever happens to shut down, they make it easy, and free, to download your blog for use somewhere else. You finally own your data again (unlike stinky Xanga).

Here’s what I did:

  1. See, there’s this guy I know… Actually, I don’t know him but he’s still cool because he wrote this awesome page converter for Xanga. The xword program he has is out of date and didn’t work for my blog. I had to use the command-line tool rebol-view with his xanga.r file (both listed on his page).
  2. Once the program completed processing, it spit out an xml file in wordpress format. I signed up for a blog ( and found their import function under Tools > Import. The import failed because xanga inlined lots of stray html which isn’t well-formed xml.
  3. Next came the manual fixup of the myfile.xml. I had to close a bunch of <p> and other html tags so some of the formatting got lost, especially in the comments sections. After that, I imported again and all is well. See my 57 postings from 2005 to 2008, I also categorized and closed comments on the older posts so they should be in an ok archival format.

It’s been real nice to revisit myself from 5 years ago. It’s all posted here if you’d like to browse around. I think I’ll be formally closing my Xanga account soon.

Let me know if you have any questions on the import.