Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sports update

This week hasn't been too kind to me.  I came in last in fantasy football.  I started the day off strongly, but had a poor finish.

I bowled just ok tonight.  I wasn't there last week so I was a little rusty.  I started off with a 124, then a 129, but finished with a 114 for a nightly average of 122 which brings my seasonal average down a fraction of a pin. I can still round up to 124, but I'm not happy that I missed a lot of spare balls.  I need to focus more.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Simple logic tree

Can you walk?  If yes, then take the stairs, fat ass.  If not, then take the elevator.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trip out to Oregon for Thanksgiving

I finally got around to resizing and posting my pictures from my trip to Oregon for Thanksgiving this year.  I spent the first half of my vacation in Portland at my parents' house.  I played a lot of cribbage and hung out with my family and a couple of friends who were available.

The second half was spent in Lincoln City which is on the coast.  It rained the first and last day we were there, but not much in between so I was able to get some walks in.  I really like the sound of the ocean and it was relaxing.  The rest of the time was spent watching college football, eating and hanging out with my extended family.

The beach house my mom's brother rented was cool and was certainly large enough for the lot of us.  The food was excellent.  I didn't keep to my pseudo-paleo diet, but it's all good.

You can find the picture vomit here.  All pictures were shot with my Droid X.  I plan on using my next patent award (there are two in the works) to get a DSLR, maybe something like this Canon.  I think I'm ready to upgrade to something beyond a point and shoot.

You can find life philosophies anywhere

I've become a big Brandon Sanderson fan and recently read his The Way of Kings which has become one of my new favorite books.  It's a fantasy book and one of the mottoes of one of the groups in the book is "Life before death.  Strength before weakness.  Journey before destination."  I'm not sure why, but that motto resonated strongly with me and it fits in my idea that you need to do as much as you can when you can because you never know when your last day will be.

Cooking with coconut oil

After reading the article on saturated fat, I ordered up 108 oz of coconut oil from Amazon.  I tried it out Thursday morning when I used it to fry up an egg and then I used it again this morning with some scrambled eggs.  The stuff is pretty interesting as it's solid in the container, but melts quite quickly.  It has a very strong coconut smell which I don't care for, but the taste isn't quite as strong.  It's a little overpowering so I might reserve it for baking.  It does have a creamy taste and is rich so it might take your digestive track some time to get used to it.

I like this brand since it is organic and hexane free.  Hexane is a long carbon chain and somehow the food industry has convinced the USDA that anything with carbon can be considered organic.  While that statement is true in the chemical sense, it's not really in the spirit of "organic" food.  Read your labels people and do your research because a lot of companies make their money by effin' you over.

Apparently, you can also use coconut oil for hair and skin care so maybe I'll try that out.

Butter is high in saturated fat as well, but the most healthful kind comes from pastured cows and that can be tough to get.  I think I like using butter better for my scrambled eggs so I may do a half and half mix.

The article also mentioned that palm oil is nearly as good for you as coconut oil.  Amazon has this vegetable shortening and this red palm oil that I think I'll try out when I'm less poor.  Those who know me well know I love a challenge and I'm trying to see how healthful I can eat while not overly reducing the variety of my diet.  Cooking involves a lot of experimentation and is a good way to spend my time.

Disclaimer: I am the proud owner of four shares of Amazon stock so I tend to buy most of my stuff from there when I can.  Feel free to shop around and let me know if you find better deals elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sports update

I had some Monday night shenanigans which allowed me to come in first again.  Most importantly, my brother came in last because he left a lot of points on the bench.  He's still leading for the season, but he's $2 poorer now.  Hell yeah.  My NO crew has been good to me and the gravy train should continue.  I need to find another quarterback though.

I didn't bowl all that well tonight, but I wasn't really in the mood so I shouldn't be surprised.  I bowled a 133, a 124 and a 123 for a nightly average of 127.  I didn't bowl below my average in any game so that's cool.  We only won one point though so I think we're tied for first with the team that beat us tonight.  Oh well.

P90X is going well and I'm back in the groove.  I'll have nearly all of it finished before I go to Portland for Christmas so my "final" results may not be as good as they actually are due to holiday piggin' out.  I think I've still made good progress over the past three months so I'm not complaining.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Today was a yoga day according to my P90X schedule.  I gave up on using the P90X yoga disc a few weeks ago because the workout is too long and is too advanced for me.  I've actually been surprised by how inflexible I am.  I might be able to touch my toes, but it would be tough.  If I'm sitting down, I can't sit cross-legged with comfort and I'd be hard pressed to get within a couple of inches of my toes in a sit-and-reach.  I'm able to do it standing because gravity helps.  Heh.

My parents gave me a beginner's yoga disc a couple of years ago so I use that one instead.  I feel very relaxed and centered after using it, but still a little frustrated since, while it's good to be strong, you can't access that strength if you're inflexible.  Ask a meathead bodybuilder to make his forearms parallel to the floor.  Now ask him to rotate his shoulders so his arms are above his heads keeping the same angle between fore and upper arm.  He probably can't do it.

Anyhow, I think the solution is for me to do yoga more frequently or maybe to warm up a bit before I do it.  I'm really concerned that my hips are inflexible since I had arthritis there when I was in second grade.  It was explained to me that I was growing too fast, but one more I woke up and I couldn't make my legs move.  I could feel them, but couldn't rotate at the hips.  It was a huge barrel of laughs.

Hmmm... maybe biking or some track work could open those bad boys up.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nutrition and health

Many longtime readers know I obsess over few topics more than nutrition and its impact on my health.  I have reached a point in my life where I'm not young enough to overcome a bad diet so I have been doing a lot of research on how best to live.  Fortunately, there are many of us out there so I don't need to look too hard.

Lately I have cut back and nearly cut out gluten since consumption leads to digestive issues, excess visceral fat storage ("wheat belly") and it is an appetite stimulant.  I have also cut back on sugar for many of the same reasons.  I have felt pretty good and I think that these diet changes have led to a reduction in overall chunkosity.  However, I can do better.

It turns out my wheat farming uncle has also given up on wheat/gluten so we had a lot to discuss over Thanksgiving.  He sent me a couple of articles on why saturated fats are good for you and why some carbs are worse than others.  I've read them and, while the second one was poorly written, believe the story they're telling.  I'm not a medical doctor, but I believe I have a good BS detector and I feel that my scientific and engineering training enables me to parse through data.

Both articles argue that our bodies run on very specific fat and that, if they can't get this fat, they'll make it out of what is available.  Fat is needed to make us go, but the authors argue that it's saturated fat (butter, animal fat, coconut oil, palm kernel oil) not vegetable oil we need.  Fat is able to make fat from glucose, but it then does not free up that fat to do its regular job so that fat needs to increase which leads to obesity.  I know I haven't parsed the argument in a coherent fashion, but you can read the articles for yourselves.

I think the basic idea behind nutrition is fairly simple - your body needs very specific components and, if it doesn't get them, it'll encourage you to eat until it does or it'll take what you input and try to convert it.  However, these conversion processes are often inefficient and prevent your body from operating at its peak so your body expands which leads to chunkin' out.  The easiest solution is to provide your body with what it needs and what it needs is what it has evolved to eat - meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and other easily gotten foods.  We certainly didn't evolve to eat Hot Pockets.

Another argument made in the articles concerns cardiovascular health.  Doctors have long argued that a low fat diet is essential for a healthy heart.  Apparently, that statement is partially false.  Your heart needs saturated fat to run and if you starve it of those fats, then it'll collect fat around it as an emergency and this fat leads to coronary trouble.  You want to maximize your saturated fat intake while minimizing your vegetable fat intake.  You really want to avoid any oils which have been hydrogenated since those are the worst.

The second article argues we really want to maximize our calcium, vitamin D and saturated fat intake.

For more information and prove, read the linked articles.  Question everything your doctor tells you because many studies are sponsored by the food industry.  Don't trust the USDA since their principal mandate is to promote US agriculture.

You might have pieced together that a gluten free diet that is high in saturated fat is a paleo diet.  I think that diet makes the most sense to me so I will try to follow it the best I can.  I have already started having a fried egg every morning for breakfast since our bodies also need cholesterol to run.  I still eat rice, but will cut back on other baked goods.  Will I adhere to this diet strictly?  Hell no because there isn't much fun in that and it's not going to kill me to have a cookie now and then.  The goal is to make wheat, sugar and bad fats the exception rather than the norm.

The source of our food is just as important as the kind of food we eat so I encourage you to get truly organic food.  Don't worry about the USDA or QAI rubberstamped "organic" which is generally BS, but go after products from pastured or wild animals since it will be more nutrient dense, better for the environment and better for the animals.  It makes sense that we should eat animals that live how they've always lived rather than ones who have spent their lives in a cage.  This lifestyle will cost more money, but there is a fixed cost to everything so you'll be correspondingly reducing the cost to the animal, to your health and to the environment.  You'll also be eating more locally sourced foods which is better for the economy.  Farmers' markets are easy to find and often have tasty stuff at a good value (not necessarily cheap).

In my Amazon binge, I set up a subscription for a quarterly delivery of 108 ounces of coconut oil to use in cooking and apparently, hair care.  Heh.  The first author doses himself with two tablespoons of coconut oil each morning which sounds pretty hardcore.  I think I'll just use it to fry up my egg and other stuff.

This post is not meant to convert anyone since I believe we all must decide for ourselves how we want to live.  However, you must accept the consequences of all your actions and not shy away from what needs to be done.  I encourage every reader to give up gluten for one week.  Weigh/measure yourself before and after and try to gauge your mood.  The first couple of days will be tough, but you should feel better by the end.  If you can't live without baked goods, then buy einkorn flour or maybe gluten-free flour.  I'm not a fan of the gluten-free stuff because of the texture change.  The breads are all a little soggy and I'd rather go without.

If you do this or any other experiment, let me know by commenting since it is an iterative process.  I'll update on the coconut oil when it shows up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sports update

The week started off well since Brees and Graham got it done against the Giants.  I ended up crushing my brother and my dad to win fantasy football this week.  Hell yeah.

This morning marked the first time in about ten days that I did some serious exercise.  I sucked ass and was dragging throughout the entire workout.  Hopefully I'll get back into it so I can keep up the good progress I've made.

Tonight was a bowling night.  I started off with a 145, then a 141, but finished with a pathetic 94.  We tied the first game, won the second, but lost the third and total pins.  We're still in first place, but I'm not happy that I crapped out during the third game.  I haven't been bowling in two weeks and my hand swelled up, but that's not a good excuse.  Oh well.  Next week is another week.

My night's average was 127 which bumps my seasonal average up slightly to 124.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fitness update

I missed the fourth Saturday this month due to my vacation, but that's alright.  This month wasn't that kind to me, but I didn't go backwards too much over my ten day break.  I ate a lot of gluten products and didn't exercise much, but I don't think I overate even on Thanksgiving.

I need to be more diligent this month to get the trends headed in the downward direction again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I've been in Portland since Saturday and we'll go over to Lincoln City for the weekend today.  It should be fun though the weather sucks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Poor physical discipline

I ate four cookies today at work and I'm not happy about it.  Some dude was celebrating 25 years with IBM and there were cookies in his honor.  I'm not sure why I had any, let alone four, but I guess I was hungry and hungry for sugar.  A sugar addiction is just like any other so I guess I had a relapse.

I felt sick almost immediately so I guess I had done a pretty good job of weaning myself off wheat/gluten.  I got a headache almost immediately and I feel pretty cruddy now.

I had been doing a pretty good job, but apparently not good enough.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sports update

Aaron Rodgers continues to roll and with him goes my brother.  He jacked us, but I managed to squeak past my dad for second place.  It's still just the first loser though.  I left a decent amount of points on the bench, but it wouldn't have affected the outcome.

I bowled pretty poorly tonight.  My initial 112 was one pin worse than the fat high school chick who doesn't stop yapping.  I picked it up during the second game with a 130, but I still failed to pick up a lot of spares.  The third game was a little worse with a 123.  My nightly average was a 122 which dropped my average just slightly to 123.

I had a hard time concentrating tonight and I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because we were bowling in the middle lanes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

No more muttonchops

Until this evening, I was rockin' some muttonchops:
My facial hair is coarse so it starts to itch after a while so I shaved it off:
After the holidays, I'll shave my head bare again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quack attack

For the second straight season, Oregon has ruined Stanford's perfect record.  Kick ass.  I didn't go to Oregon, but my parents both did and I was born and raised in Portland so I root for all things Oregon, especially against all things California.

I only caught the first half last night which is too bad since they really poured it on in the second half.  My housemate went to Stanford for grad school so I was able to razz her this morning though it didn't faze her much.

Andrew Luck also had a pedestrian game so his Heisman hopes took a hit, but he doesn't play in the SEC so he was unlikely to win anyhow.

Oregon has a great chance to go to the Rose Bowl, but they need to jack up a pretty solid USC team.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday morning ramblings

Jerry Sandusky is a sick bastard and I hope he rots in hell.  I'd like to hurry his ass there, but it's up to the courts to deal with him.  The dudes rioting to support him and Paterno are even sicker.  It's bad enough that this dude was molesting kids on the campus and in the athletic facilities, but now we find out that many people knew about it and hoped it would just go away.  Sports are fun and are a nice diversion, but they are not more important than anyone's well-being.  The grand indictment was linked on and I could only get part way through the description of victim 1 before I got physically sick.  That mess just ain't right.

In lighter news, here is an interesting article on the future of consumer electronics.  The author makes some good arguments about how touch screens are not responsive enough and that we're used to using touch subconsciously.  I use Swype on my Droid so I have to look at the screen, but I don't like tablets because the keys are unresponsive.  It'll be interesting to see what the future brings.

In case you were thinking of giving up on life, read this dude's RageComic.  Despite my cynicism, I found his story pretty uplifting and inspiring.  I hope I can pwn some noobs when I'm in my 80's though I'm a little worried that the US will be a fourth world backwater at that point.  Anyhow, it's important to keep the bigger picture in perspective and to not dwell too much on the low points.  "This too will pass."

Sugar and einkorn

This morning I was sad to see that my waist chunk grew by 0.5 inches over the past week.  I had been pretty stable at 36", but not this morning.  This week was a recovery week in P90X, I ate a lot of sugar (ice cream, gluten free banana bread, einkorn cookies) and I had some gluten (einkorn pasta, einkorn cookies).  Any of those could increase the chunk, but I'm thinking it was the excessive sugar.  I've been eating vegetarian this week, but I haven't been eating enough so I've been snackin' on the sweet stuff.  The more of it I eat, the hungrier I get.  Weak sauce.

The einkorn wheat flour worked well in the cookies.  They taste just like they should except they're a little chewier and a little denser than with hybridized wheat.  I'm not sure if my blood sugar spiked because of the wheat or the sugar.  My housemate got some einkorn pasta and I tried some Thursday night.  It tastes just like regular wheat, but is a little denser.  It's definitely a transparent substitute though I'm not sure if the gluten is going to undo the progress I've made since going mostly gluten free.

I'm going to make pizza dough with the einkorn flour tomorrow so I'll get a better sense of what happens since I'm going to cut way back on the sugar.  The rest of the banana bread went into the freezer and I'll limit myself to just one cookie per day.

The cool thing is the man boobs have greatly reduced by going gluten-free and that's always a good thing.  I'm pretty ripped outside of my spare tire and that fat will be the last to go.  Unfortunately, visceral fat is the worst for you.  The good news is I know what I can do to get into shape so I just need to have discipline.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sports update

My brother beat us again in fantasy football so he's definitely up on the season.  He has Aaron Rodgers who is having a pimp daddy season.  Forte played poorly so I held my dad off for second place.  There aren't any better dudes that I could pick up so I stood pat this week.  Hopefully my guys can get it done so I can win again.

I started off bowling tonight with a nice 158 and then followed it up with a 162.  I'm rollin' now and then I bowled a... frickin' 96 in the third game for a nightly average of 139.  My season average moves up a little bit to 124.  Strikes turned into 9's and spares turned into 9's.  It's amazing what a difference a mark makes.  Fortunately, we won two out of the three games and won overall points so we increased our lead over second place.  I'm bowling for fun, but I'm competitive so I want to win.

I'm also currently the worst dude so I'd like to keep bowling well over my average so I can pass someone.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lack of mental discipline

I banged off a few items from my to-do list last night, but woke up lethargic this morning.  Even though it's later than the clock says, I wanted to stay in bed.  I stumbled down to do my P90X workout, but I wasn't really into it so I gave up after about 30 minutes.  I'm in the recovery week and today's workout was the enigmatic Core Synergistics.  I don't think Tony really understands kinesiology since he keeps referring to "stomach muscles" and talks about how his workouts target the whole core.  Maybe, but a lot of the these workouts put you into an awkward position with strain on your spine and that's not how I roll.

I think part of the problem is I'm ready to be done with P90X.  It's lost a lot of its appeal because you come to realize it's quantity over quality and it's pretty much the same three movements slightly repackaged.  Those three movements are effective, but you don't want to overdo it or mental fatigue will creep in.  Tony also can be really grating after a while.  For instance, one of the workouts in Core Synergistics is superman/banana.  Both of those are excellent core workouts and it's good to switch off between them.  However, he has you switch every few seconds so you don't have time to get set.  He also seems to get off on watching the crew struggle to quickly switch between them which makes him a grade A jerkoff.

Anyhow, I better stow this bad attitude or today is going to be a long day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Salvation through discipline

I think a lack of discipline is what is causing many of the problems facing the US and its citizenry.  Since I'm not yet Lord of the Universe, I'm going to need to lead by example.

I've broken discipline down into four categories:
  • mental - I will find alternatives to TV watching and I will not give up on something because it's too hard or challenging.  I will also focus on wanting less.  I have plenty and need to be satisfied with what I have.
  • physical - I will continue to exercise daily and I will stay away from sugar, gluten/wheat and processed foods.
  • emotional - I will keep my temper in check and be more forgiving of the mistakes of others.  I can still desire perfection, but I should do a better job of handling failure.
  • financial - I will buy only what I need and will focus on getting and staying out of debt.  I will need to make some hard choices given my limited resources.
I put some of these categories into action yesterday, which was one of my most productive days in a long time. I woke up, did my P90X workout, checked on work, started a load of laundry, went over to Lowe's to get supplies, rehung the curtain rods in my bedroom, went to the grocery store, went to another hardware store to get rope caulk, caulked up some of my bedroom windows, did my German lesson, made red lentil curry for dinner, checked on work, etc.  Maybe I just described your typical Saturday, but I didn't stop moving until dinner.  I then made some banana bread without wheat (I used almond flour and brown rice flour) and watched the first half of the terminally boring LSU-Alabama game.

I had been putting off fixing the curtain rods so I had good mental discipline in getting some things around the house done.  I had financial discipline at Lowe's and only got what I came for.  It's like a candy store for me and I was seriously tempted to get a new electric drill and rotary saw, but I got the drill bit set instead since my current drill is good enough for the drilling I do.

This morning, I got up early, did my P90X workout, checked on work and then brushed the driveway and deck.  I also collected some kindling since it's starting to get cold.  Before lunch, I'll start getting some of the ash out of the fireplace.  None of this stuff is all that exciting, but I need to work hard at being active at home.  I work pretty long hours at work, but that doesn't mean I should laze away the weekend.  Some of the stuff I did was actually pretty relaxing.

I think having this kind of structure, the discipline of discipline if you will, will be good for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sports recap

My dudes didn't really come through for me this weekend so my brother won by 20 points or so.  My dad played a lot of the wrong people so I did manage to score second place, but I was just the first loser.  A lot of my main homies had a bye so I didn't have much to choose from.

I bowled a crappy 101 to start tonight, but then picked it up with a 143 and a 158.  The 158 was actually the high game that game for the 7 of us and two of the dudes we were bowling against have really high averages.  They both bowled over 210 the game before.  We managed to scrounge up three out of four points which should keep us no worse than second in the league.

I'm working on being more consistent, but it's tough.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gluten-free cooking

So far this weekend I've made two things gluten-free - amaranth carrot raisin cookies and buttermilk pancakes with buckwheat.  I found the cookie recipe on the back of my Bob's Red Mill amaranth flour.  They turned out ok, but the texture is a little strange.  There are no eggs or butter in the recipe so I'm not surprised.  I'm not sure I'd make this recipe again.  I would probably take an existing oatmeal chocolate chip recipe and just swap out the wheat.

My family has a really tasty buttermilk pancake recipe and there is a lot of nostalgia attached to them because we ate them about once a week when I was growing up.  I think we only used a pancake mix one time when we were at a cabin near Mt Hood.  Anyhow, I tried this recipe this morning swapping buckwheat flour for wheat flour one to one by mass.  The color changed to this brownish-purple, but they tasted pretty good.  The taste is a little different from what I'm used to so it was a little strange, but I would definitely do this swap again though I might exchange some of the buckwheat for arrowroot or tapioca starch or maybe almond flour to lighten the pancakes.

I usually get pretty tired after eating buttermilk pancakes because of the dairy and wheat, but I'm feeling good now so this switch to mostly gluten-free has been a good one for me.  It may not be an effective or necessary diet for everyone, but I'll just worry about myself.  I hadn't been eating much bread the past few months anyhow so it hasn't been a huge sacrifice and if I'm jonesin' for some rolls, I'll just eat them and pay the price.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fitness update

It's about that time.  I made some good progress this month thanks to P90X and going gluten free.  I miss bread like crazy, but I can always reevaluate my diet when I get ripped.

I like the new downward trend of these plots, but I get a little cheesed off since last year undid a lot of big gains made in 2009.  Oh well.  I just need to keep up with the diet and work hard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sports update

NO came through with a big win over IND so I scored major points and had enough to squeak by my dad for first place in fantasy football.  My brother came in last by quite a bit so I can trash talk him.

I bowled pretty well tonight.  I started off with a 167 which is my new season high.  I then bowled a 124 and a 127.  The third game was going poorly until I rallied with a few marks in a row.  My nightly average was a season's best of 139 and now my season average is up to 120.  My goal is to get my average up to 140 by the end of the season, but it's going to take some work so I might start bowling more often to get some practice in.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I was only able to do 1.75 pullups for my pre-P90X fitness test which is under their requirement for starting the program.  I've been doing it anyhow, but I haven't seen much improvement in my pullup strength over the past six weeks and it's frustrating.  I'm not sure if I'm not getting much benefit out of those exercises because I'm not able to bang them out, sort of a chicken-and-egg situation.  Hmmm...

After I finish P90X, there's another fitness test so I'll see how many I can do then.  There are some "50 pullups" or "25 pullups" programs out there so maybe I'll give those a try.  I still need to bang out the 100 pushups and 200 squats programs and I think I'll try the 150 dips.  The program I found online does them off a bench or chair, but I have an actual dip station so I'll use that.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trip to Washington, DC

Last weekend, I took the train down to Washington, DC to visit my cousin and his family.  His parents, my aunt and uncle, were also in town so I got to see a lot of relatives.

Saturday was my second cousin's 11th birthday party.  We went bowling at Fort Scott and had some bowling alley pizza which was actually pretty good.  My second cousin invited a mess of his friends to join us.  While they were a little rowdy, they were actually pretty well behaved.  I bowled a 133 and then a 141.  My cousin, who's a light colonel in the Marines, overbowled for some pretty crappy scores.  It's nice to remind people that bowling is more about finesse.  My aunt bowled pretty well, too.

On Sunday, I took the metro over to Fed Ex Field to watch Washington lose badly to the Eagles.  The Eagles hadn't been playing well up until this game, but Wrecks Grossman found a way to give them some confidence.  The seats were awesome and I went with a college friend who lives in DC.  The weather was great, but I got a little sunburned.  The field is definitely a paean to greed since everything is sponsored.

On Monday, I finally got to walk around the Mall and visit the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of American History.  I had been to DC about five times before, but never got a chance to do touristy stuff.  The Washington Monument was closed for repairs due to the earthquake from earlier this year.  The Reflecting Pool was all torn up as well.  The memorials were pretty cool and I think the Korean one was my favorite.  The museums were awesome and were free as well.  There are plenty more for me to check out during my next visit.

On Tuesday, I went to Arlington Cemetery in the morning with my uncle.  His uncle is buried there.  He was a submarine captain of the USS Redfin.  The Cemetery was pretty moving and there is a... gravity to the place since it is enormous.  It took a while to walk around, but the weather was nice so it wasn't a big deal.  We saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

That afternoon, I took the train back to Albany.

I had a great trip.  It's always nice to visit family and I think every American should visit DC to get a sense of our history.  "Freedom is not free" and we should remember that saying as we go about our lives.  We're lucky to live in the US and we have to remain vigilant that this country doesn't turn to crap.

DC is a cool town and you don't need a car since the Metro is efficient.

Picture vomit can be found here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I started off poorly with a 98.  My footwork was a mess and I was leaning over.  I righted myself and recovered with a 154 in the second game including two strikes in the last frame.  I finished well with a 129 for a 127 nightly average which brought my average up nearly two pins to 118.

I just need to be consistent with my approach and follow through and I'll get my average up around 130.


Son of a gun.  I got waxed this week and came in third/last by a large margin.  I was at the Phi-Was game so I didn't follow many of the other games, but my dudes came up short.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I think my sugar cravings have subsided.  They had cider and doughnuts at a work function yesterday and I wasn't even tempted.  Kick ass.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My slide into crappiness continued tonight.  I started off poorly with a 97, then a 129 and then a 107 for a nightly average of 111 which brings down my seasonal average to 116.  I pretty much stink and have trouble staying consistent.


My dudes did just ok, but I managed to hold off my dad to stay in second place.  My brother won big.

Oh well.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

P90X Day 28 comparison

The P90X program suggests taking pictures on Day 28 to compare with Day -1.  While these pictures look kind of stupid since I'm trying to maintain good posture, I think they should some subtle improvement.  My body composition scale tells me I've lost 3 lbs in these four weeks, all of them fat.  I'd like to lose 1-1.5lbs of fat per week so I'm off target, but not by too much.

I think I have a little more definition in my torso, front and back, but you can judge for yourself.

I've still got a ways to go, but I'm fairly pleased with my progress to date.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

P90X recovery week 1

Today marks the end of the first phase of P90X for me.  I'll admit that I didn't do everything.  I have skipped some of the X Stretch workouts and I sometimes cut the Yoga X ones short.  For instance, I only did yoga for about 30 minutes this morning because I wasn't feeling it.  I could tell that if I continued, I'd get hella grumpy and I don't want to start my weekend off in a bad mood.  I think I get grumpy because I'm not that flexible and I fall over a lot.  90 minutes is also probably overkill for yoga so I might look for a shorter workout.  I'm sure I can find one that would be just as effective.

The recovery week also has two sessions of Core Synergistics.  This workout has a bunch of exercises for the abs though Tony mistakenly refers to the stomach.  Dude, the stomach is an organ not a muscle.  Anyhow, the individual exercises are pretty good and effective, but the workout doesn't flow.  He's also more annoying in this video than most of the others and it has Dreya.  While I like to admire her butterface body, she's a teacher's pet in most videos and it's grating.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the strength workouts since I find those ones more effective.  Overall, I'm glad I'm doing the program, but it's going to be tough to finish all 13 weeks since we're talking about more than six hours of exercise a week.  It'll be easy to get burned out which is one of my biggest complaints about the program.  A lot of people bitch about the nutrition program, but once I saw that they designed the diet around their overpriced and likely ineffective supplements, I ignored it.  Nothing says you have to do everything they say.

I found one site which tried to list all the ways P90X is overrated.  Sure, it's not perfect, but it is an effective program because Tony does a good job of coaching.  If he didn't keep talking, I think it would be tough to complete the entire workout.  Maybe some of the workouts are overkill, but the idea is to use this 90 day program to get into better shape and then it's up to you to find ways to maintain.  Our bodies are efficient at maintaining equilibrium so it's up to use to adjust the level of that equilibrium.  Do we want to be pudgy or ripped?  Sure, you can get ripped without being fit, but I have done enough research on my own to be able to judge that the P90X exercises will be effective.  They're nearly all bodyweight exercises like pushups and pullups and those have been proven to be safe and effective.

That same site claimed that the program has you do endless crunches.  Honestly, I don't think I've done one single traditional crunch.  There are crunchy frogs and in-and-outs and leg climbers, but those are different.  It makes me wonder if the dude really did the program or is just bitchin' to pitch his one routine.  Sometimes people get their panties in a bunch when they see someone else is successful.

Tomorrow is Day 28 and we're supposed to take some pictures to show improvement.  I'll post them with a comparison from Day 0 to show the difference.  I think I look leaner and stronger, but I'll let you be the judge.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My dual flush is slightly less awesome

I like my dual flush, but sometimes the button for the 0.9 gallon flush sticks so you get the maximum flush.  The made the buttons artsy whereas they should've separated them by something to prevent this occurrence.  I'll see how it goes in the next couple of days, but it seems to be sticking more frequently so maybe I can get a new lid.

If it comes down to it, I'll just lift up the lid and press the button.  I'm going to wash my hands anyhow and the underside of the tank lid isn't that funky.  I don't like having to do that, but I'm pretty serious about water conservation.  So serious I flushed the toilet five times this morning to test out the button.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I bowled piss poor tonight with a 118, a 101 and a 119 for a nightly average of 113 which dropped my seasonal average down to 117.  I got out-bowled by a couple of 'tards one lane over.  Awesome.


I got crushed this week and it wasn't pretty.  None of my dudes did all that well so it didn't really matter who I played.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why I bank with a credit union

Bank of America and Citibank have been in the news this weekend for new fees.  BofA has decided to charge people $5/month to use a debit card as a debit card unless they meet some high account balance minima.  Citibank is charging $15/month for basic checking unless account holders meet unlikely criteria.  I'm sure the kind of people rockin' previously free checking are the ones able to keep $15k in the bank.  I read online a few months ago that most Americans would struggle to come up with $2k cash with one month's notice.  I'm not sure I could do it, but it depends on the month.

I have no formal economics training so perhaps I'm misunderstanding the situation.  Banks used to loan out money at 10-15% and pay <6% interest which gave a revenue margin of 4-9%.  The actual profit margin would be smaller depending on defaults, operating costs, etc.  4-9% gross margin sounds decent to me and banks also had other revenue streams since they could invest money.  So...what happened?  Well, it seems banks went from making smart loans to loaning money to anyone who could sign his name.  What happened then?  Well, it turns out that poor people can't afford $1M mortgages so they defaulted and the banks took it on the chin.  With the help of lobbyists and some dumbass Congressfolks, they were able to get a big ol' taxpayer bailout.

Then some banking regulation went through which limited how much the banks could charge merchants for processing debit card transactions (Durbin was gettin' a handy from retailers like WalMart).  The banks decided to make up for that lost revenue by stickin' it to poor and working class folk (nearly one and the same now).  I'm not sure I want the federal government regulating how much banks can charge merchants for card transactions.  The merchants were passing those costs onto the consumers and the idea was the new savings will get passed down to us.  Really?  Is that in the bill?  What's to stop WalMart from pocketing the difference?

What the hell has happened to this country?  When did we become this greedy?  I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but I'm worried we're headed for an implosion of epic proportions.  You've got an ever-widening gap between the rich and everyone else, you've got Congress openly taking handouts from lobbyists and you've got rich people crying about class wars whenever someone mentions taxing the rich.  The marginal rate on rich people used to be obscene, but it was ok because they could "get by" on what was left over.  Now?  You've got rich people making money at the expense of everyone else.  I'm all for allowing people to make as much as they can, but that doesn't mean we can't tax the crap out of them to fund needed programs.  If you own more than one house or a car that cost more than $100k, don't come crying to me about class warfare.  You're just a greedy douchebag and little of that money will save you when crap hits the fan.

Gingrich was one of the key dudes to turn the Republican party from one of compromise to one of opposition.  They now oppose nearly everything the Democrats do out of habit and stall bills just to say they can.  Is that tactic really helping everyone out?  Now you've got the Democrats retaliating with similar tactics which is making it tough for anything to get done.  The Founders probably intended for slow deliberation, but not stalling just to score political points.

I wonder how many people actually see a bright future for this country.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


My dudes finally came through this week and I coasted to a convincing win over my brother and my dad despite Brady's four touchdowns and Welker's big day.  Darren McFadden is running hard and is proving to be one of the better backs in the league so it was smart of me to draft him.  I also have Brees and Fitzpatrick at quarterback.  I have Finley for GB and he scored three times.

Unfortunately, Atlanta and Matt Ryan are stinkin' it up so I need to find a backup QB.


I put my new ball to good use tonight by bowling a 163 my first game.  The ball is heavy (16 lbs), but doesn't feel too bad since the holes were drilled to fit my hand.  My footwork was off the second game and I bowled a pukey 104.  I picked it back up the third game and bowled a 139.

My average for the night was 135 which brings my seasonal average up to 118.

We scored four points tonight with three wins and total pins so I think we're in decent shape.

Some dude bowled a 300 a few lanes over.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fitness update

I started P90X on the 12th and I've lost a pound each week I've done it.  Not too shabby.  I'm definitely getting stronger and leaner though there is still a lot of chunk around the middle.  That chunk will be the last to go, but I'm pretty sure I can get rid of it if I stick with the program and eat a little better.

I'm going to go off wheat for a bit to see if I feel better.  I didn't do a very good job of staying off the sugar this week so there is another area I can work on.

I now know what maggots look like

I saw a metric assload of them in the compost bin.  Pretty nasty as they were squirming around.

Even worse, I got swarmed by mosquitoes when I went outside to dump the compost.  I guess it's fault for going shirtless.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kindle books through my library

I just read on Fark that OverDrive now supports Kindle which means I can get selected ebooks from my library.  Sweet.  They even have GRRM's latest book though seven people are waiting for it.  I guess the library is only allowed to "loan out" two copies at a time.  I guess that's fair.  I should bring my Kindle home from work so I can download some more books.

Yoga X

I gave Yoga X another shot this morning and the yoga blocks made all the difference.  I was able to "do" more of the poses without falling over as much.  I didn't finish the DVD because the last 15 minutes are ab exercises and I do plenty of those with Ab Ripper X three times a week so I don't want to overdo it.

I think I'm grumpy afterwards because the yoga is releasing toxins from my body.  It's good to flush them out, but it's an unpleasant feeling.  Heh.  Maybe that's just new age bull spit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I grabbed a 15lb ball for tonight.  I bought a 16lb ball, but it won't show up for a few more days.  I think this ball is closer to the ideal weight because I had much better control.  I bowled a 123, a 104 and a 125 for a 117 average.  My cumulative average for the season is 113 which is not great.

I'm hoping holes drilled to fit my hand will boost my score by another 10-20 pins.  I had a couple of gutterballs tonight and some other bad balls due to poor grip.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Capitalism at work

I'm going to visit my cousin in DC in the middle of October and decided to get some tickets to see the Eagles play the Redskins.  I got on StubHub since they have a great selection and a convenient process.  I found some seats just a few rows up the field and bought them.  They're expensive, but that's too be expected.  The tickets came this afternoon and see that they were marked up 152%!  Crikey.  I'm definitely in the wrong racket.

However, it doesn't really bother me because I had the opportunity to pay less to sit further away.  I only make it to a few sporting events per year so I don't mind shellin' out.  It just sucks to see by how much you got gouged.  At least I got a parking pass.


I had my annual physical this afternoon and it went pretty well.  I clocked in about ten pounds heavier than at my last one, but I launched a preemptive strike by telling my doctor that I know I need to lose some and that I started P90X last week.

He's having me get blood drawn tomorrow, but they don't test for vitamin D because the insurance companies won't pay for it.  I guess I'll get tested through the mail when I next visit Portland since New York is one of the few states to not allow blood work via the mail.  Weak sauce.  I'd like to baseline my vitamin D before it gets gloomy and then I can check again later.

My finger checked out ok.  He said I jammed it pretty good and may have even fractured it since he found a bone callous, but the recommended treatment is the same in either case - ice, anti-inflammatories and rest.  I asked if it would be ok to box and he wasn't sure.  I need to find out if my finger will be under any stress.

He also recommended I visit a dermatologist to get a skin cancer screening.

I like my doctor since he's not fat and he's a cool dude.

Fantasy football update

My team score 140 points this week, but I lost by 23 points to my dad.  I handily beat my brother, but second is really just the first loser in our three man league.  Brees and Fitzpatrick got it done, but Charles got hurt early and Gates had a goose egg.

My dad has Brady and Stafford and his other homies did enough to build a commanding yield.  He's won twice in a row now so he must be stopped.

Dual flush toilet

Today I worked from home so the plumber could install my new Toto Aquia III dual flush (ADA-compliant).  One flush is 0.9gal while the other is 1.6gal.  The toilet is pretty cool looking and was a little more complicated to install than my Toto Drake since the plumber had to drill into the floor tiles.  He got it set up and I... uh... tested it out a few minutes ago.  I was able to flush down some dooker with the 0.9gal, but that flush setting is nominally for piss.

I highly recommend Toto toilets.  They are a Japanese company with the toilets made in China and Vietnam, but they outperform anything else on the market.  You can order them up from online places like

A picture of my new toilet post-install and pre-dooker:
You can see the two flush buttons on top.  You can also see my rockin' woodsy wallpaper which transports you from inside to crappin' outside in the woods.

I'll hold off on home improvement projects until I posse up some money to get LED tube bulbs for the basement to replace the flickering and noisy fluorescent bulbs.  The bulbs are $75 each and I also need to remove the ballast.  I expect to save a few bucks a year in electricity and they won't flicker or hum.


I'm sure most of you have heard that Netflix is splitting off its DVD by mail service into some lame-ass Qwikster (what is it 1999 again?).  I've been a member of Netflix since 1999 and it's gone from awesome to pretty cool to hmmm... I have a pretty decent home theater setup with my big ass screen so I prefer to watch stuff on DVD or BluRay since I get the nice picture with lossless audio.  Streaming is convenient, but the video is compressed, the sound is two channel stereo only and the selection is pretty poor and, apparently, random.

I'm not quite sure what to do going forward.  I think I'll keep the DVD by mail plan going forward since I like having something to watch 1-2 times a week and I think I'll cancel the streaming part.  It's only $8, but it's something I can do without.  I'm not happy that two services --> two companies with two different queues.  I read it has something to do with studio prices, but that's Netflix's problem; I'm looking for maximal convenience.

I canceled cable a couple of months ago and I don't really miss it.  I can still watch football via over the air channels and I can get League Pass when/if the NBA starts up.  I have Amazon Prime, but their free selection is pretty lame and the rentals are kind of expensive.  Yeah, $2 doesn't sound like much, but it's over the internet so it's not going to be HD and it's not going to have the rockin' sound.  I didn't get a 10' screen for the basement to stream compressed video with tin can sound.

What I don't understand is that, while technology advances, media offerings shrink.  You've got restrictive cell phone plans with data caps.  Sure, let me buy a 4G phone that lets me download video at 14Mbs (what my colleague got at work with his Bionic), but... uh oh.  Hit the 2GB data cap (I'm actually grandfathered in to unlimited).  Not cool.  I know these companies have to make money, but why did they lay thousands of miles of optical fiber?  Are we really bandwidth limited at this point?  Why is 3Mbs considered high speed internet in the US when other countries are over 100Mbs?

Maybe I'll go up to two movies out at once with Qwikster and have my housemate get the streaming plan.  Hmmm... In any case, Netflix has really crapped the bed this year and are likely to run themselves out of business with a year or two.  They had a great idea, but in a market with next to no barriers to entry.  Can they really compete with Amazon or iTunes for streaming when Amazon and Apple have billions in cash?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

X stretch

Every seventh day of P90X offers a choice between resting and doing X stretch.  I highly recommend you do the stretching.  I did this morning and I feel loose and relaxed.  A lot of the moves come from Yoga X, but they're a bit easier in this workout so you can practice your form which should make Yoga X easier.

This workout also reminds me of how inflexible I am.  I can't touch my toes under any situation which  means my quads and hamstrings are tight which means I'm not going to have an optimal stride length.

Yoga blocks would've helped out here, but they haven't shown up yet.

This workout is close to an hour, but goes by fairly quickly and it seems like a good way to start a lazy Sunday.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kenpo X

This morning was Kenpo X and let's just say that it's good that I don't get into physical fights because I don't really know how to punch or kick.  At least I don't know how to do it Tony Horton's way.  I was kind of surprised that he just jumped right into stretching in the beginning without warming up.  I've always been told that it's a bad idea to stretch cold muscles so I'll do my own warm up before I do this routine again.

It was a lot of punching and kicking as you might expect.  Will I be a pugilist after 90 days?  Heck no, but I plan on taking some boxing classes as soon as I get my finger looked at.  I also want to take some martial arts classes, but I need to find the right one.  I'm not sure what that is, but I'll know it when I see it.

I did get a good workout this morning and worked up a decent sweat.  I tried out my Lightload Towel for the first time.  It's pretty absorbent, but the ones I got are too small so I ordered up some of the larger sized ones.  They're pretty cool so you should check them out.  I was looking at another microfiber towel when Amazon recommended these instead.  They're pretty cheap and definitely effective.  Why do I need more than one absorbent towel?  Well, I sweat a lot and I work out every day so one towel would probably not fully dry out in time for the next workout despite my dry basement.  Yeah, I sweat buckets.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yoga X

This morning I got up at 5 to do Yoga X.  I wasn't pleased to see it's a 90 minute work out and I was even more cheesed off that he just jumps right into it.  I guess that's why it's X for eXtreme and not B for beginner.  I did about 45 minutes' worth and then gave up.  Why?  Not because I'm a little baby, but because I fell over so much I wasn't really stretching or relaxing.  I'm about ten times grumpier now than when I woke up and that's not cool.

I'm not sure what to do.  I poked around on the internet and a lot of folks, dudes especially, struggle mightily with Yoga X.  Some replace it with cardio or stretching or just go for a run while most say to tough it out since yoga is really good for you.  I once read that most injuries occur within range of motion, but strengthening your stabilizer muscles is always good and will improve your performance.  There is also a shorter Tony Horton yoga DVD called Fountain of Youth, but it seems to be out of stock.

I gave up after the vinayasa (?) part with the movements and the warrior and the dogs so maybe next week I'll skip ahead to the static stretches so that I can improve my balance.  I probably should get some yoga blocks as well.

I know that it's good to challenge myself with new things, but I also want to use my time effectively and don't want to spend 90 minutes falling over.

Heh.  Most of this post has been rationalization, so I guess I should get some yoga blocks and give it a shot again next week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Tonight, at league night, I tried out my new shoes.  They saved my $3, but didn't really help my game since I bowled a 99, a 129 and a 77.  Yeah, the last one was pretty pukey.  I think I'll need to get my own ball just for consistency.  The one I had this week didn't feel quite right and was definitely on the light side.

Running average = 111 if I round up.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

P90X - Initial measurements and fitness test

On Monday, I'll start up P90X so today I took some measurements and did the fitness test though I didn't rest after each test since I didn't want to spend 40 minutes.

  • Weight = 195.2 lbs
  • Body fat = 28.1%
  • Chest = 38.75"
  • Waist = 36.5"
  • Hips = 40.0"
  • Right thigh = 22.0"
  • Left thigh = 23.0"
  • Right arm = 14.5"
  • Left arm = 14.5"
  • Resting heart rate = 62 bpm
Fitness test:
  • Pullups = 1.75
  • Vertical leap = 10"
  • Pushups = 20
  • Toe touch = -2"
  • Wall squat = 70s
  • Bicep curls = 11 with black resistance band
  • In and outs = 27
  • Heart maximizer = 0min - 146 bpm, 1min - 100 bpm, 2 min - 94 bpm, 3 min - 84 bpm, 4 min - 87 bpm

Trip to St John, USVI over Labor Day weekend 2011

This past weekend I drove over to Boston to catch a flight down to Miami to catch another flight to St Thomas, USVI.  I took a cab across the island to the Red Hook ferry dock and then I caught the passenger ferry to St John where I spent three nights at the Westin.

I met some people on the ferry so I had company for meals which was cool because I traveled down there myself.  The Westin was pretty nice, but I would definitely stay in the villas rather than the hotel portion.  I would also not recommend going to St John in September because it's the down season and a lot of restaurants close then.

I spent all of my time relaxing in one way or another - eating, drinking, swimming, snorkeling and hiking.  The island is fairly mountainous so it wasn't advised to walk into town, but you can catch a cab for $5-6.  Sure, it'll add up, but renting a car is a pain the ass for sure.

I drank more than my fair share of rum, but wasn't hungover at all since I have a high tolerance for rum.  People drink beer, but most people ordered up mixed drinks.

The food was good, but expensive.  There didn't seem to be a local cuisine and I was told there isn't much of a native fishing industry.  Everyone there speaks some form of English and the USVI are part of the US so you don't need to change money.  I would recommend bringing your passport because you need to go through customs on your way home.

It was hot and humid there so be prepared for it.  It rained for maybe a total of five minutes, but I imagine it could get pretty hairy during hurricane season.  A friend of mine recommended a hat so I got a boonie hat from Columbia.  I question my choice of a black one since it's a sun hat, but it did the job.  I got a tan without being in any danger of burning.  I recommend bringing two or three bottles/cans of sunblock since prices are much higher on the island.

Most places prefer cash so bring roughly $100 per person per day unless you're going to eat at your hotel for every meal.

I went snorkeling Labor Day morning near Little St James which is a private island and then over at Mingo Key through Low Key Diving.  I wanted to go SCUBA diving, but my allergist wouldn't sign off due to my history of sinusitis.  It was a good call since my ears plugged up pretty quickly in the water.  I didn't see as much sea life as I did in Hawai'i, but it was still fun.  The water was a little choppy, but the captain loaned me a dive vest to help keep me afloat.  If you think you'll go snorkeling more than two times in your life, I would recommend getting your own gear.  The rental gear I used was just ok.

After snorkeling, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went hiking around the island on the Lind Point Trail.  I hiked to two different beaches, Solomon and Honeymoon, but didn't stay since I had enough of the water from that morning.  Hiking when it's hot and humid requires a ton of water and I actually ran out on the way back so make sure to bring more than what you think you need.  There are also a lot of bugs so bring bug spray.

The views were great, but I was happy to get back to take a nap.

All in all, I had a great trip and I highly recommend St John.  If I were to do it again, I'd make sure to have at least three full days so I could take a day trip to the British Virgin Islands.

After a lot of work this morning trying to copy code from the internet, I've got the slideshow finished.  Check it out.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Last night was the first night of my bowling league.  A dude at work had an opening on his team so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Bowling is fun and it's something to do in the winter that's out and about.

The league isn't cheap, $15/week, but you get to bowl three games.  I'm going to buy some shoes this weekend since you can get them for $25-50 and the lanes rent them for $3 a pop.  The league will go at least twelve weeks so I'll come out ahead very shortly.  I'm tempted to get my own ball, but I don't know.  That might actually imply some skill.

I bowled a 127, a 131 and a 100 for a 119 average which is pretty pukey, but it is what it is.  I definitely need to get my finger fixed since it's on my bowling hand.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Never Gymless Day 50

Morning: core
  • (15 V-ups, 15 blue band slams, 10 blue band rotational twists, chinnies to burn) x 3
I'm not sure I ever did a proper V-up.

Today is the last day of the Never Gymless program.  I think that it has been successful because I feel much stronger.  I weighed myself this morning and I lost 2.8lbs of bodyweight (1.2lbs of fat) and 0.5" of chunk from around my waist.  I think I've lost more fat, but I'm not going to argue with the scale.

I'm no longer convinced that strength training alone can lead to significant weight loss so I recommend adding in a lot of cardio activity.  I kept meaning to, but never got around to it.  My fundamental problem is that I'm lazy and that I like to eat.

I'll take about a week break and then start up P90X. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Never Gymless Day 49

Evening: explosive strength
  • (8 front-clap plyometric pushups, 12 squat jumps) x 4
  • (10 blue band one-arm pulls, 20 medicine ball ankle hops) x 4
The pushups weren't too bad.  I think I could've tried a back clap on a couple of them, but I don't want to risk breaking my nose if I face plant.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bum deal

I got a call from my allergist today and it's a no go for SCUBA diving.  Son of a gun.  I was looking forward to going when I'm in St John this weekend.  Oh well.  It's a good thing I checked because I could've messed myself up something fierce if I had gone diving.  I'm not sure if I'd blow in my eardrums or not, but it's not something I'd want to test.

I'll still get to go snorkeling so it's all good.  I'm definitely not going to complain since there'll be plenty of stuff to do there since I've only got two full days.  I plan on relaxing as much as possible and soaking up some rays.

Never Gymless Day 48

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles), leg press, hamstring curls) x 4
Evening: EIT5
  • (run for 60s, pushups for 60s, squats for 60s, rest for 60s) x 4
I actually did alright with this workout.  I was knackered, but I was able to run pretty far and I was able to bang out some quality-form pushups.  I felt lighter on my feet than the last time I ran.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Never Gymless Day 47

Morning: core
  • (10 crunches, 15 blue band pull throughs, 10 blue band rotational chops) x 3
  • plank: 91s, 80s, 82s
I set a new personal plank record this morning with 91s.  Not too shabby considering I could barely do 30s when I first started this program.

Evening: maximal strength
  • (3 wide grip pullups, 3 glute-ham raises) x 4
  • (5 one-armed pushups, 3 one-legged squats) x 4
  • (3 elevated-feet pike presses, 5 blue band good mornings) x 4
  • (3 bodyweight tricep extensions, 10 one-legged medicine ball calf raises) x 3
My legs are still pretty sore from yesterday's squat marathon, but I was able to do my tricep extensions using a chair which is closer to the ground than the ledge I've used in the past.  I definitely getting stronger.  The pullups were easier as well.  I could nearly do two real ones.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Never Gymless Day 46

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles), leg press, hamstring curls) x 4
This workout is a bit stale, but I followed it by serving tea with a 5lb weight.  Holy moly.  I definitely felt that stretch.

Evening: ICT 10
  • (30 bodyweight squats, 10 band high pulls, 10 band chest presses) x 10
I was able to complete this workout in 21:10 with splits of 2:08, 2:15, 2:17, 2:14, 2:11, 2:11, 2:10, 2:05, 1:51 and 1:48.  Yeah, I was actually able to speed up towards the end.  I had hoped to break 20 minutes, but that would've been tough.

My legs and wrists are pretty sore, but in a good way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Never Gymless Day 45

Morning: explosive strength
  • (8 front-clap plyometric pushups, 12 squat jumps) x 4
  • (10 blue band 1-armed pulls, 20 medicine ball ankle hops) x 4
It's too bad I don't have my fitness rings set up yet because this workout regime is a little light.  I definitely feel stronger for doing it, but I'd like to add some whole body exercises.

Fitness update

I think I'm sort of just maintaining right now, but I'm not where I'd like to be so that's not a good thing.  I've been doing my strength exercises with regularity, but I've been eating too much.

I'm planning on signing up for volleyball through the town for September so maybe that will help.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Never Gymless Day 44

Morning: core
  • (15 V-ups, 15 blue band slams, 10 blue band rotational twists, chinnies to burn) x 3
This routine has gotten a little stale so I think I need to add some more exercises to it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Never Gymless Day 43

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles), leg press, hamstring curls) x 5s x 4
Evening: EIT4
  • 50m sprint, 25m bear crawl, 25m crab walk - 15 min
I did 5.5 cycles, just like five weeks ago.  However, I miscalculated on the field so I ended up sprinting 75m, bear crawling 25m, crab walking 25m and backwards running 25m.  You might say I went 50% farther than before, but the tough parts went from 50% of the total distance to only 1/3.  I did improve, but certainly not by 50%.  In any case, I felt pretty good except during the crab walk because my triceps tightened up after about 15m.  They get worked pretty well during the maximal strength workouts.

This workout also helped partly erase a fairly crappy day at work.  I was also pretty stoked that I was able to restrain myself from eating some free candy despite my coworker eggin' me on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Never Gymless Day 42

Morning: core
  • (10 crunches, 15 blue band pull throughs, 10 blue band rotational chops) x 3
  • plank: 84s, 74s, 71s
I set a new personal plank record this morning.

Evening: maximal strength
  • (3 wide grip pullups, 4 glute-ham raises) x 4
  • (3 1-armed pushups, 3 1-legged squats) x 4
  • (3 feet-elevated pike presses, 6 blue-band good mornings) x 4
  • (4 bodyweight tricep extensions, 10 medicine ball 1-legged calf raises) x 3
I was nearly able to do two real pullups, but was dragging through the rest of the workout.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The best laid plans...

My new fitness rings came tonight and I started to set them up.  I got one ring on one strap when I realized that my plan of setting them up in the basement was a stupid one since my basement's ceiling is only about 8 feet tall.  I'd be able to do pushups and low ring activities, but few of the high ring stuff and I certainly wouldn't be able to do inversions or handstand pushups.  Hmmm...

I really should've thought this situation through a bit more carefully before shellin' out the dough.  For all of my analytical skills, I can be pretty impulsive.  I'm rarely impulsive at work so maybe there's a conservation principle working with my personal life.  Gah.  I could try to mount them on my garage's ceiling, but I'm pretty skeptical that any hooks or whatever would hold my weight since I want to do some snatching.  I could mount them outside, but then I wouldn't be able to use them during the winter.

I think my best bet is to get a weightlifting rack or cage or whatever and put it in the garage.  I'm not sure how that's going to work with my car, but I could figure something out.  I can always take my car out of the garage for a workout.

Crikey.  Cheap racks are still $400.  Fudge.  Maybe I could brew up something homemade instead.

I'm really kickin' myself for not thinkin' this through.  I got pretty stoked when I saw they would come today.  Somehow I thought I could make them work down in the basement, but what's the point of only being able to do about a quarter of the exercises?

Never Gymless Day 41

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles), leg press, hamstring curls) x 5s x 4
Evening: ICT9
  • (burpees for 60s, chinnies for 60s, divebomber pushups for 60s, lunges for 60s, medicine ball slams for 60s, rest for 60s) x 3
This workout was actually pretty tough and I worked up a hefty sweat, mainly due to the burpees and the chinnies.  I hadn't done the divebomber pushups before so they worked my upper body muscles in a new way. I'm not sure I would've made it through another cycle, but I think that speaks more to my sorry conditioning than a tough workout.  Hmmm... to be charitable, maybe it's a little from column A and a little from column B.

A whole lotta nothing

in audio form...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Never Gymless Day 40

Morning: explosive strength
  • (8 front-clap plyometric pushups, 12 squat jumps) x 4
  • (10 blue band 1-arm pulls, 20 medicine ball ankle hops) x 4
It's too bad that my fitness rings don't show up until Monday because I'd like to expand this workout with a couple more exercises.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Updating my web page

I felt like get a "real" webpage up so check out the changes to BigMonkey's Big Adventure.  Yeah, I know monochrome with like 50 words of text and a couple of drop-down menus isn't going to drop any panties, but I'm just starting out so it's all good.

If you have HTML reference sites you like, please let me know.

Never Gymless Day 39

Morning: core
  • (15 V-ups, 15 blue band slams, 10 rotational twists, chinnies to burn) x 3

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Never Gymless Day 38

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles), leg press, hamstring curl) x 5s x 4
Evening: EIT3
  • (400m sprint, 20 medicine ball slams, 60s rest) x 6
I was able to do this workout in 20:35 with splits of 3:21, 3:19, 3:25, 3:22, 3:34 and 3:34.  I only beat the previous attempt by 1:30.  The sprints were a bit unsatisfactory because I felt slow and heavy.  It's hard to describe, but I didn't feel like I was moving that fast.  I wasn't able to run the whole lap up on my toes because my feet still aren't used to the stupid trail shoes.

I did feel pretty good afterwards because I put some work in, but I feel that my conditioning hasn't improved as much as I expected.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Downed tree

I had a little excitement this morning as I was leaving for work.  I started to go down my driveway when I realized that the rotten tree finally fell over:
Unfortunately, it took another tree with it so I had to bust out my saw to make work of it.  The good news is the saw went through the tree like a hot knife through butter.  I then used a little elbow grease to move the rotten tree off the driveway.  I guess I'll let it decompose there since I have no use for rotten wood.

Never Gymless Day 37

Morning: core
  • (10 crunches, 15 blue band pull throughs, 10 blue band rotational chops) x 3
  • plank: 77s, 75s, 71s
I was able to up my plank time by about 10s.  Sweet.

Evening: maximal strength
  • (2 wide grip pullups, 2 glute-ham raises) x 4
  • (4 1-armed pushups, 4 1-legged squats) x 4
  • (5 elevated-feet pike presses, 6 blue band good mornings) x 4
  • (4 bodyweight tricep extensions, 10 1-legged medicine ball calf raises) x 3
I'm getting stronger, but not quite strong enough to do a proper 1-armed pushup.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Never Gymless Day 36

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles), leg press, hamstring curl) x 5s x 4
I added a couple of lower body exercises this morning.  The leg press involves pushing on a wall with one leg at a time.  The hamstring curl involves squeezing an exercise ball with my heels towards my butt.  A lot of people neglect working the hamstrings so this exercise is a good one.  When I get my fitness rings set up, I'll add a couple more static exercises.

Evening: ICT 8
  • 5 body rows, 10 medicine ball slams, 15 burpees, 20 jumping jacks - 10 cycles or 20 minutes, whichever comes sooner
Thanks to the stupid burpees, I was only able to bang out 5.5 cycles.  The actual workout requires 5 pullups instead of the body rows, but I can barely do two pullups.

I'm definitely getting stronger, but I need to work on my conditioning.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Never Gymless Day 35.5

Morning: maximal strength
  • (2 wide grip pullups, 2 glute-ham raises) x 4
  • (3 1-armed pushups, 3 1-legged squats) x 4
  • (5 elevated-feet pike presses, 6 blue band good mornings) x 4
  • (4 body weight tricep extensions, 10 1-legged medicine ball calf raises) x 3
I felt great after this workout.  I was able to add another pullup and glute-ham raise and the other exercises went well.  I did most of them on my new anti-fatigue mats so the cushioning forced me to use some more stabilizer muscles which is always a good thing.  The stronger those are, the less likely I am to get injured.

My triceps are really sore now because of the tricep extensions.  The goal is to lift yourself up just using your triceps.

This program is definitely working well for me and I recommend it to anyone looking to get fit.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Never Gymless Day 35

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles)) x 5s x 4
I think I may be ready to add some more exercises to this workout.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Never Gymless Day 34

Morning: core
  • (15 V-ups, 15 blue band slams, 10 blue band twists, chinnies to burn) x 3
My spine still pops when I do the V-ups.

Evening: explosive strength
  • (8 front clap plyometric pushups, 12 squat jumps) x 4
  • (10 blue band arm pulls, 20 medicine ball ankle hops) x 4
I tried out my new mats this evening and they worked really well.  I got them to soften my landings when I jump and to protect my floor.  They have an added benefit - my feet or hands sink in which forces me to use more stabilizer muscles.  After the plyometric pushups, my wrists were sore and after the squat jumps, I could feel some soreness in the outsides of my knees.

I can definitely tell this workout regime is working because I feel strong and I'm starting to look strong as well.  Unfortunately, working out a lot increases the horniness and makes me feel like smashing people at work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Audio rambling: exercise

I think everyone who reads this blog knows I'm a big fan of exercise.

Never Gymless Day 33

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles)) x 5s x 4
Evening: EIT 2
  • (10 burpees, 50m sprint, 10 plyometric pushups, 50m run backwards) - 15 min
I was able to crank out 5.5 trips which is a 29% improvement over my attempt five weeks ago.  Sweet.  I tried to do clap pushups for the plyometric pushups, but quickly gave that up.  I didn't exactly sprint either, but I moved as fast as I could.

I feel pretty good now so it was good I got out and about.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Never Gymless Day 32

Morning: core
  • (10 crunches, 15 blue band pull throughs, 10 blue band rotational chops) x 3
  • plank: 61s, 64s, 62s
I'm starting to get the hang of the rotational chops even if I can't do a real one.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Never Gymless Day 31

Morning: ICT 7
  • 100 burpees
  • 2 min rest
  • 4 min tabata squats
  • 4 min tabata pushups
I was able to do the 100 burpees in 17:05 which is not great considering some people can do 50 burpees in two minutes.  However, I worked up a wicked sweat so this workout was definitely tough.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend recap

Not a whole lot happened to me this weekend, but that didn't stop me from bangin' out another audio rambling.  Check it out.  Somehow I sound just like Hank from King of the Hill.  I swear I'm not puttin' anything on.  I have good ears so I tend to adopt whatever accents I hear.  I work with people from all over so I must be incorporating all of them.  Fantastic.

My new webcam should show up tomorrow so I can Skype with better video.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Never Gymless Day 30.5

Morning: core
  • (15 V-ups, 15 blue band slams, 10 blue band rotational twists, chinnies to burn) x 3
My spine still pops with the V-ups and my hips pop with the chinnies.  I guess I'm still a little crooked.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Inaugural rambling

Heh.  I'm having way too much fun with this microphone.  I think the quality is really good, but I'm not an expert.  I guess I'm glad that the mic is directional since it doesn't seem to be capturing any background noise.  My house has a lot of echoes, but they don't seem to be captured as well.  Kick ass.

I have no idea why I sound like I have a bit of a Southern accent.

New domain

I got a bad ass USB microphone to help with my Rosetta Stone German so I thought I'd also give podcasting a shot.  My friend recommended getting a domain through Tiger Tech since they also provide 10 GB with no bandwidth restrictions for about $7/month.  I'm now the proud owner of  Sweet.  I'll still keep this blog here, but I'll upload podcasts and pictures to my new domain.

Any suggestions for free/cheap web layout software?  Any requests for podcasts?  I think I can ramble on about just about anything.

Never Gymless Day 30

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles)) x 5s x 4
Evening: explosive strength
  • (8 plyometric pushups, 12 squat jumps) x 4
  • (10 blue band arm pulls, 20 medicine ball ankle hops) x 4
I hit a milestone today since I was actually able to clap during the plyometric pushups.  There wasn't much margin, but it was a definite clap.  Sweet.  I'm definitely getting stronger.  I just need to curb the bad eating habits and I'll be set.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Never Gymless Day 29

Evening: EIT 1
  • (12 burpees, 24 pushups, 36 squats, 90s jump roping) x 4
There are only 5 EIT workouts so this week I cycled back.  I was able to do this workout in 26 minutes even whereas it took 39 minutes the first time around.  A 33% improvement is definitely pretty good.  I think I could've done even better except for the stupid pushups.  I'm still not quite strong enough to do them for conditioning.

The next time I would change 90s jump roping to 100 rope turns so that there's an opportunity for me to reduce my time even further.  In any case, I sweated up a storm and feel pretty good.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Never Gymless Day 28

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles)) x 5s x 4

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Never Gymless Day 27

Morning: maximal strength
  • (1 pullup, 1 glute-ham raise) x 4
  • (3 1-armed pushups, 3 1-legged squats) x 4
  • (3 elevated pike presses, 3 blue band good mornings) x 4
  • (3 bodyweight tricep extensions, 10 1-legged medicine ball calf raises) x 3
I did fewer squats this week than last because I focused on dropping my ass closer to the ground.  I didn't quite do a pistol, but my thigh went a little beyond horizontal.  I decided a maximal strength workout should focus on more effort fewer times.  My pullups were also closer to legit so I'm definitely getting stronger.

Evening: core
  • (10 crunches, 15 blue band pull throughs, 10 blue band rotational chops) x 3
  • plank: 62s, 62s, 61s
My green band broke this morning so I had to use the thicker blue band.  I'm actually a little sore from the rotations.  I guess that's a good sign.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Never Gymless Day 26

Morning: isometrics
  • (wall press (3 angles), overhead press (3 angles), bent over row (2 angles)) x 5s x 4 cycles
Evening: ICT6
  • (100 rope turns, 10 plyometric pushups, 15 medicine ball slams, 20 lateral jumps over medicine ball) x 8
I did the 8 cycles in 31:15 which works out to be less than 4 min per cycle which isn't too bad.  I was sweating like crazy so I definitely got a good workout.