Monday, December 31, 2007

WOD-Deads and Handstands

Was going to do Nancy . . . . but didn't have enough time, and went all metabolic on Saturday, so went for deadlifts:

10 x 135
5 x 155
5 x 155
5 x 155
5 x 155
5 x 155

Note: this was very easy. I took very little in the way of rest, 2-3 minutes at max.

Next time I must go to 165 at least. I think 175 would even be better.

Skill Practice: Handstand till I couldn't handstand no mo! Should work on heavy shoulder presses to get strength up for HSPUs.

And it used to be just the food that sucked . . .

Now they've managed to make something basically very fun (I've always liked flying in and of itself, I'm not driving, I can have a drink, read a book . . . ) into a sucky experience from end to end. Oh, they may have frequent flyer programs but I don't know anyone who wants to fly frequently . . . .

Megan (can I call you by your first name?) links to some new dipwaddery by the TSA (previously noted by Mr. Massey).

True story: Coming back home from LA this summer, we had to fly out of LAX. Coming in wasn't bad, but when we needed to check in, at some point in the process we needed to drop our luggage off for some or another random search. Like many public places, unfortunately, what you are supposed to do isn't clearly marked, and there weren't many people around. Except for the yeller. As we shuffled through our line, she pointed and said something and when the customer in front of me asked what she said she yelled at the customer to put her suitcase in the pile. Now it wasn't a pile, but it did look pretty ad hoc. And this wasn't a "command voice" type of thing, but sounded like "obey now" type of thing.

And as a note, I'm one of those people who while kinda sloppy in a lot of every day things (desk, sometimes inside of my car) I superorganize for trips. I make sure I have money, tickets, id, etc., all right there and available. I want to make things as seamless and painless as possible. I found this screaming very very weird. All that the woman in line in front of me wanted was some clarification.

Now, here's the thing I haven't seen talked about, but do the airlines like this new security? Is this how they would do it? Or does it help them do one thing they didn't get to do before: call all irate passengers a security threat? To what extent are they accomplices in making flying so miserable for anyone but a solo man to fly? (I joke about the men, but men typically don't need makeup, and they will use the hotel soap and shampoo.)

I mean, if the airline just wants you to get on and shut up and take your flight does this help them? I mean, its not like they ramped up the customer service to make up for the grief we're getting outside the "wire" before we're let into the Airport. Not to mention the whole idea of not letting folks into the airport unless they have a ticket . . . . (which is incandescent stupidity . . . because the 9/11 losers had perfectly good plane tickets. There's not a THING they are doing now that would have caught them. )

Would any other service or transportation industry agree to hassling its customers in this fashion?

As has been said before, this is security theatre. It's the going through the motions. It's not actual security and it goes on with the tacit, if not actual, approval of every airline.

Gee, I've twice as much to say as the blogfaddah

Because I would have answered in two words . . . . six letters total . . . yeah, the 4 and 2 breakdown.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hey Ladies! He's available!!!

Man, this stuff writes itself.

Marilyn Manson will start the new year as a single man.

Yes!! You were looking for a date for New Years?

The goth rocker's marriage to model and burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese officially ended Thursday, and the two were "restored to the status of single persons," according to a judgment filed in Superior Court.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!! I don't know what's funnier: That the dude was married, or that you get "Restored" to the status of single. "Well, you was married, but now you's back to your original condition" Minus wear and tear . . . . hmm, what's bluebook on a 40-ish tax attorney?

Von Teese, whose real name is Heather Sweet, and Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, have entered a marital settlement, but terms of the agreement were not disclosed for privacy reasons, court papers said.

Um, just what did the wedding announcements say? "Dita (Heather) will be wed to Marilyn (Brian) . . . .

Too bad I can't read the wedding announcements: "The groom wore his trademark creepy contact lenses . . . . "

And please. If there's anything funnier than a shock rocker named Brian . . . it would be one named Vinnie Furnier.

. . . . .

Manson later told Spin magazine he was devastated over the breakup.

"She said she had tolerated the lifestyle because she hoped I would change and threatened to leave if I didn't," he said.

Manson, 38, is now dating actress Evan Rachel Wood, the 20-year-old star of "Thirteen" and Across the Universe"

Man! She was just trying to change the dude!! Way uncool!!!

Fun. The best part of celebrity is the poking of the fun.

Thanks Manchester

Plano TX Suffer on Saturday:

Painstorm XX

Brought to you by: Karl Steadman and the good folks of Crossfit Manchester UK.

One minute at each station with a running clock as with Fight Gone Bad. You get one minute off after each 5 events and rotate from A to B to C to D and then do it again for a total of 40 minutes of work time. If you can’t do muscle-ups set the rings at a height where you can do a jump assist through the transition. If you can’t do handstand pushups do pushups with your feet elevated as high as you can go.

Rotation A
1 – Handstand Pushups
2 – Muscle Ups
3 – Air Squats
4 – Sit Ups
5 - Pullups

Rotation B (36 lb KB)
1 – 2-Hand KB Swing
2 – KB Snatch (L)
3 – KB Walking Lunge
4 – KB Snatch (R)
5 – KB Goblet Squat

Rotation C (95 lbs)
1 – Push Press
2 – Sumo Deadlift High Pull
3 – Split Jerk
4 – Power Clean
5 - Thruster

Rotation D
1 - Burpees
2 – 10 Meter Sprint (we subbed mountain climbers)
3 - Pullups
4 – Military Press (we subbed pushups--or pressups for you who speak the original English. . . )
5 – Row (Calories)

Mods: Handstand pushups, 45lbs on press station, 12kg on kb station, and I subbed one arm swings for the kb snatch.

Score: 510.

And thanks to my lovely Mancunian friends who thought this up. Twisted Evil

Wasn't a bad workout. At least I wasn't last . . . .

Friday, December 28, 2007

And on the plus side . . .


I’ve been pretty snarky about why someone shouldn’t be a lawyer (you’re only an attorney if someone has hired you . . . )

But let’s go over why you might want to . . .

Money: You can make a decent living. You may not make stratospheric amounts of money, but most of the lawyers I know who are decent at what they do make a fair living. By fair, I mean $100,000 U.S.D. There are those who make much more and some who make less. And because you work by the hour generally, you can determine how much you make. You may not be fantastically rich, but you should be comfortable.

Small Business: If you work for yourself or in a smaller firm you are now a small businessman. It has its hassles for sure, but it also has its perks: Get there when you want. Leave when you want. Need to be out for something? Who cares? Now most of my lawyer friends who practice law do work hard. I.e. put in a full day. But, they don’t have a boss (other than the clients which aren’t the same, at all). I once worked at a place where my boss would have a Friday afternoon drink. Yes. Friday afternoon, somewhere around 3 pm, he’d have a glass of scotch. And so would I. If you’re a grown up, that’s a nice end to the week.

Bookish Work: If you’re a fan of bookish work, i.e., you’re the teensiest bit nerdish, but aren’t technically oriented, law is nerd work for the innumerate. Really, if you don’t like reading, don’t go into this area of work. But if you do, that’s about all you’ll do. Sure, there’s some writing, but at some point, you may even get out of that.

You Can Help: Some of the things you do will really help your clients. It won’t happen all the time and the law is a frustrating beast at times, but there will be some days where everything goes right, the heavens part, and the beams of goodness will rain down on you.

Mental Challenge: If you work in a technical area of the law (such as anything with a tax component, but by no means limited to that), the sheer puzzle of it all can be challenging and fun in its own way. A stunt man friend of mine (odd saying that, but it be true) said “oh, that sounds like fun” when I told him what I do which made me laugh. It is fun, if you like chess puzzles or that kind of thing. So yes, there can be a certain mental satisfaction. Furthermore, if you’re in this kind of job, you aren’t really doing “adversarial” work. Constantly being at loggerheads with someone might be your cup of tea, but I was very glad to find something where I didn’t feel I was against someone every living minute of the day . . . ‘cept for the IRS that is.

Not just for kids anymore . . .

The lovely Katie waxes a bit about something that is a peeve of mine: Animation = For Kids.

It starts in this post where she says she hates Shrek. Her reasoning is something like this: "for a kids movie its inappropriate: it has adult cynicism and snark as well as some vulgarity."

To which I agree about the cynicism, snark and vulgarity. Which should clue one to the fact its an adult's movie. Why do I say this?

1) The whole movie is an "anti" fairy tale. Shrek isn't doing something out of the goodness of his heart, but to keep his swamp.

2) All the movie references are either adult movies: i.e. the "Matrix" jump spin that Fiona does, or are just generally making fun of fairy tales/Disney.

3) The prince has "short man's syndrome". That's a kid's joke?

The problem I think is that animation in general is perceived by about everyone to be a "kids" genre. I really wish I knew who was responsible for this nonsense distinction. So the "Grave of the Fireflies" is a kids' movie? Set in WWII Japan, and it involves the death of children's mother by firebombing?

Or Brad Bird ("The Iron Giant" and "The Incredibles"): "Animation is not a genre".

Which is exactly right. It's a technique. Assuming animation is for kids would be like assuming film is only for adults. That would be odd to say the least. The reason for using animation is to free the story from certain reality based constraints. If you can draw it, you can show it.

I mean, I can go back to all sorts of examples: The Looney Tunes which made fun of Carmen Miranda were for kids? No, they were originally shown at the evenings as well. The joke wasn't a kid's joke, because a kid wouldn't have cared for a Carmen Miranda movie. They'd be at the Saturday shows.

Some Crossfit Goals . . .

20 consecutive pullups
200lb back squat
275lb dead lift
Full Angie
Full Murph
Fran <6 @ 65lbs
5 head to floor HSPU

And no burpees . . . . (I admit, this is aspirational . . . not actually attainable and I've probably hit the trip wire on the COJM)

COJM = Curse of Jeff Martin . . . see this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mashed Barbara

After nearly a month of sluggish behavior and general ungentlemanly conduct I didn't feel like I could traipse through a whole barbara so I mashed this together:

3 rft

10 pullups
20 pushups
30 squats

10:42 (this included the call from the wife in the midst: "exer gasp cising gasp Al gasp most gasp done gasp call gasp you back gasp?)

one high point: first set of pullups were unbroken. Sweet.
Second set 5, 5, then 5, 3, 2,

Push ups were dreadful.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Sluggard slacks off!!

If a slug slacks off, is he now active, is that not a double negative?

Cfit warmup:

3 x 10 x pushups, ohs, situps, supermen

Plus: Samson stretch both legs x 3, shoulder stretches including gentle passthroughs, and holding the bar overhead in a snatch grip and slowly moving hands closer together overhead while maintaining shrugged up shoulders.

WOD was 150 burpees, but at pack scale that's 75 delicious delightful burpees


yay me 'cause I HATE me some burpees . . . .

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mmm. Lubbock.

Okay, so back from a delightful trip to Lubbock, TX. Okay, so I'm lying about the part that doesn't involve the words "Lubbock" and "Trip".

It was a trip to visit family of the "not mine" variety. That kind of trip needs its own word, and it should be German. Something like "Schadentrippen" or somesuch that means a weird combination of boredom, duty, and annoyance all mixed together on trips to family.

Why? Because families are full of fun like this:

Uncle tells grandmom: "So and so (my wife's mother) has really let herself go".

Now, should this have ended here? Yes. It did not.

Grandmom tells Father in Law (wife's dad): "Uncle told me that so and so has really let herself go. "

Now, again, should this have ended here? Yes. It did not.

Father in law (wife's dad) tells so and so (his wife, mother of my wife) "Grandmom told me that Uncle told her that "you've really let yourself go".

Hmm. Let's count the villains, shall we?

Uncle: For being intemperate with his remarks. He should have realized grandmom would blab. Regardless of the truth, even if he thought he was right, it was an unkind thing to say.

Grandmom: Yeah, she coulda stopped this trash cold. Shoulda taken that to her grave, but did she? No. So she shows that her own son is a lout, and she too, repeating the allegations.

Dad (wife's dad, husband of so and so): Oh yeah. By the time it got to him, he could have protected his wife from an unkind remark. Did he? Nope. Thus making the circle complete.

Yay Family!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

'cause, see, it's all in the marketing

Okay, so the ad shows some firebirdy thing.

But is that what they're selling? No no no no!!! You're enticed by the sporty lines of some GMish vehicle and when you back off, you're presented with . . . . drum roll please:

A standard issue Serial Killer Van!!! Whoohooo!!

So you want to be a law and roll star . . .

Its easy and fun!!!!!

I started thinking about this because of a friend of mine who asked about law school. And for background, think of someone who has a $500,000 bidness, and makes 200k a year.

Just follow these easy steps!

1) First, graduate college with a high gpa. And not just any college, but one the top 20 would recognize. I say this facetiously, but you're entering a world of credential snobs, and I mean snobs. I interviewed with lawyers and firms who reeked of arrogance towards me. I would be there in interviews defending things like graduating in the top 20% of my class in a highly competitive environment and going on and getting high marks in my LLM (tax) coursework. Oddly, if you get into a top law school, I get the sense that if you graduate anywhere above say, oh, bottom third, you'll still get opportunities that fourth tier law school grads can only dream about.

2) Max the LSAT. Take a prep course. I was too poor at the time to do that. Poor aside(Funny lunch story: Sitting there and talking about my first time skiing and how my first trip down the mountain was basically me sliding from fall to fall. I'd ski 40 feet, crash. Rinse lather repeat. Says friend at table: Didn't you take a ski class? I was like "Princess! I didn't have ski class, I had cousin Dave!" If you ever get money and didn't have it, remember what it was like and then remember that's 80% of the good and decent folks in this country.)

If you want a real career in law, graduate from a top 20 school with decent grades. This gives you the most options. You can teach, you'll get great offers from top law firms, etc.

3) Don't be on a second career, or at least be under 30 when you get to the law firm. For some reason, the odds are against you. But if you think about partner track, it makes more sense. If you graduate from college at 22, then go to law school, you come out at 25. You work like a dog for 8-10 years, make partner, and viola, you're a partner at 32-35.

3) Be happy with detail work. As you progress, you do less and less of the scut work, but at the beginning, you have to know that you're not going to be dealing with the high fallutin' legal theories you became so enamored of in law school, but rather the nitty gritty of reading a contract and digging through cases (And while electronic searching has its merits, neither Lexis or Westlaw have managed to make something as easy as an "index" when it comes to searching through their online warehouses. Yo! Westlaw! Check out them Google dudes!! They run them some righteous search brother men!!

4) If you can't do that, graduate from a top tier state school. Grades will matter a lot here. I've heard tell of folks who could have gotten into Harvard but instead of crushing debt o rama, went to State U, graduated high in the class and then got some of the same offers the Yalies got. But if you do that, make sure your state school is something the big firms recognize.

Now, there are other ways to the top. For instance, a lot of top law firms started out as second or third tier law firms who through grit and perseverance and super duper hard work, became the go to guys when the going got tough and the cliches got going. I'm simply describing the most direct way.

And remember, after all this hard work, you'll be granted the opportunity to do more . . . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Now that's just mean.

Was at the mall today doing some xmas shopping. I should have taken a picture, but when I walked by the "differently abled" parking spots, I noticed they had spaces for them, alright . . . where they could parallel park. Sheesh. That's just insult to injury.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I love me some GPS

I know that linking to Insty is like coals to Newcastle, but what the heck.

He says he's pretty good at finding things or rather finding his way around. Fair enough. I am too.

But here's the thing. That's not all a GPS is good for. I have a GPS navigation system in my 2004 Acura TSX. It was a splurge and I really only got it because I was able to buy a car with EVERYTHING for the first time in my life. And at first I thought it was a fancy toy and I would not get much use out of it, but I've come to use it for many many more things beyond simply getting from point a to point b.

Note: I also once was invited to a focus group where we tested lots of in-car GPS systems. The Honda/Acura one was NOT one of those which was a shame. It made me appreciate how good the one in my Acura actually is.

Rerouting: One of my favorite features. Say you come to a blocked road, or somesuch. If you miss the spot, the gps automatically reroutes. This is great when the one way/blocked street thing comes up. Or my favorite: the traffic jam. If I hit severe, we're all stopped, the freeway is a parking lot, traffic, I can bring up the home address and drive off in another direction vectoring closer to home. I can cross neighborhoods regardless of their layout without endless backtracking because I turned down something that turned out to be a cul-de-sac. ( Is "cul-de-sac" French for street testicle? Or because it's usually in a suburb, lack or loss thereof, of said testicles?)

Mileage and Gas: My gas tank lets me know how many more miles I can reasonably go before running out of gas. With the GPS I can tell how close I am to various landmarks (home, work) and determine where I get gas, rather than buy from whatever place I need to impulse buy from.

The Last Mile: I find myself many times knowing how to get everywhere, but the last few bits of the drive. With the GPS I'll set it to the address and drive off the way I want to go (the routes aren't always what you'd choose.) But when I get close, I'll get all the turns and twists laid out on a map in front of me. Including which side of the street to look for some itty bitty address or store. All this without having to stop and consult the map or ask the wife while she's administering a little back seat parental justice.

Places/Things: Sometimes, I want to find a bank or atm nearby. Bingo!!! I find me some cash. This works well if you're cheap like me and want to get cash from your personal bank, rather than get out a $20 with the $1.00 surcharge.

On the run: If I'm out and my wife wants me to get something from somewhere, its been pretty common for her to call me with the address, or vice versa and plug it in, see the location of the thing I'm looking for, and viola, I get there without having to write down a bunch of instructions and translate from wife (okay, then go three more streets, turn left at the light and it will on the corner across the street from the Wal-Mart) to husband (Head west past Elm, then turn South on Parker, and at the next intersection it will be on the North West corner . . . )

It's a Gadget: Gadgets are inherently fun. I have fancy flashlights ("Its made out of aluminum and has rubber o-rings to keep out moisture!). I have fancy music players. This is the 21st century. We deserve 21st century maps. This is a fancy, interactive, 21st century map.

These are just a couple of the things you can find yourself doing with a GPS.

Update: Mr. duToit has a similar experience . . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If you're gonna sail the Queen Anne's Revenge

Well, I suppose if you must drive a pirate mini-van, really then your only option IS the Ford Freest-Arrrh.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well, no emitting of a fine red mist . . .

The wife checked the blood pressure for me . . . at the dentist today they said I had 140 over 90 . . . nooooo, so wife the nurse (Helllloooooo Nurse!) rechecked at home.

blood pressure 122/70
heart rate: 51

Thank you Crossfit!! (Then again, I did all the work . . . )

Riddle me this Beatman . . . .

For the life of me, I can't figure out why in the middle of "Bang on the Drum" by Todd Rundgren . . . there's a bass solo.

(Allow me to digress and express my love for the English language . . . if I were a musician playing at the lake . . . I could have played bass at the bass tournament . . . or as someone pointed out . . . we chop trees down . . . so that we can chop them up . . . )

Sunday, December 9, 2007

You had me at "Go Speed Racer . . . "

Oh Oh Oh Oh!!!! John Goodman is Pops!!!! Brilliant!!!! Susan Sarandon is mom?

I had this religion professor who was one of those very nice hard asses you come across once in a while. Getting an A in his class was hard. Not malicious hard, he simply made you work for the grade. Now it wasn't like I was the greatest student ever, for I lacked consistency, just every once in a while, I did rise to the challenge. A lot of the time it wasn't worth the bother.

He was this kind of neat guy. He had this long ass beard. When I first heard that Indigo Girls song "Closer to Fine", about the professor of philosophy with a beard down to his knee, that's who I thought of. He reminded me of an Extra from the "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (one of the finest Westerns ever produced, imho.) Thin, kinda hillbilly looking, but very nice. Once when a friend of mine and I stopped by his office for some reason that escapes me now, when we showed up, my friend who got a B in his class and me, who managed to get the A, he looked at us and said "Well hello Summa and Magna!" (We're talking a year after I took the test, he knew how many As and Bs he handed out . . . and to whom.)

Anyway, he was telling us a story in class once, about how he was doing this "Beat" thing, you know, Kerouac, espresso, in Dallas, Texas of all places. (And sorry, but you might have gotten away with that crap in NYC, but in Dallas in the early 60s that s*** was brave.)

But the story was about how he went to see (in his beat regalia) Clayton Moore . . . yeah, the Lone Ranger. And how you couldn't hear a pin drop, with all these Hippies and Beats showing up to hear this guy talk (I'm not sure what the point of the story was, it was World Religions, I was thinking it was about Jesus addressing the multitudes . . . but that was a different class, at least in depth it was a different class . . . )*

So when I heard the Speed Racer music . . . I knew what he was talking about. The story may be crap . . . but I am sooooooo there.

*This was the professor who took off for spelling. Okay, so lots of them do. With this guy, he didn't just take it off once, but every misspelled word. And in the land before spell check and lots of handwritten papers, this was deadly. As said by a friend of mine: "I think I might have gotten the C if I could have spelled Ecclesiastes properly . . . . "

All they had was salted . . .

Actual item on shopping list handed to me by my wife:

unsalted elephant . . .

yeah, I didn't ask the butcher . . . .

Friday, December 7, 2007


Amen. Hahaha!!! This is something I think is funny, and not really in the Ha Ha way, even though it strikes me that way when I'm in a black humor.

Here's the deal. The law is about reading. Lots and lots and lots of reading. And writing things. And arguing. Sometimes. And researching.

So, if you don't like reading, and you don't like arguing, you ought to look at something else. And I don't even mean litigation arguing, but rather a semi-literate defense of your position.

What's funny is the level of romanticism that attaches to being a doctor or being a lawyer. What they don't show is the level of boring. Reading about depreciation is boring. It just is.

They also don't show you how ambivalent the law is with regards to your client. There are rarely clear cut answers. Furthermore, if you litigate, you don't want clear cut. Otherwise, half the time: you lose. And I disliked the pettiness of most of the disputes: one side simply felt like doing something else. Maybe you got to represent them. Maybe not . . . . .

Worse, is when you do transactional work. You'd like some clear cut answers . . . so that you're not waffling your client later on down the road: "Well, we were pretty sure you could do that, but turns out, ya can't! Who knew!?"

Most civil litigators seem to fight over a "he said she said" type of fight anyway. (nless you're in insurance defense. Then you're trying to point out why you shouldn't pay . . . and don't say that in a pejorative way. Assuming everyone one is either a crook or conversely a saint won't get you very far.

Point is, you need to know what lawyers do on a day to day basis. And if you don't like THAT sort of thing, don't go into law. Because like the lady says, you'll be a LAWYER for at least a while. Other options do open up, but you won't know about them till you get out and they tend to be rare on the ground. Even worse, I think, is the nature of law school to blind you to anything but 99% of the litigation model as a career path. But that's a whole 'nuther post.

"A foolish consistency . . .

is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."----Ralph Waldo Emerson.

(Just an aside, before I rant on consistency. . . . would you . . . if your middle name was "Waldo" . . . make sure everyone knew it, so that they didn't confuse you with the other Ralph W. Emersons?)

Still, let this not be a "foolish" consistency.

While I have been very pleased by my Crossfit progress over the year, there are things that could be improved.

Cheif among them consistency . . . tempered by my tendency to bite off more than I should chew.

Now here's the thing with consistency: If you practice something small, but correctly, you will make more progress in the long run, than if you try and do all the hard stuff first. This happens in music and almost any other thing you do. Yet, being human, and being a tard, I tend to push push push until I get frustrated at my seeming lack of progress.

So it is with Crossfit:

When I started: All buttercup and puppy scaled wods.
Now: Almost always pack, a few porch, and a couple big dog.

Strength: Up in all categories, as far as I can tell. For instance: I failed at a 167lb back squat, but not 6 weeks later knocked out 3 x 175.

Deadlift is probably somewhere near 225-235 (I actually ran out of weight at home, where I'd normally test this).

Those are the ups.

Downs: My shoulder: I think that trying to 'grease the groove' is part of what caused my pullup issues. Had I simply stuck with the wods and not done 20-40 extra pullups a day, I might have avoided the rotator cuff issues. As of now I've had some soreness for 6 months. Physical therapy helped a lot and I was doing full training and then an insane pullup/dip workout (10 rft of 10 pullups 10 dips) gummed it back up. To me that meant that the first time around I wasn't fully healed. So, I'm taking the next 12 weeks off overhead (okay so I did one itsy bitsy overhead squat last night, is that so wrong?). I may need to lay off pushups too, I don't know. I've gotten contradictory advice on that.

Knee: its kinda weird. Makes noise. As far as a runner goes, I've always had rock solid knees. Occasionally, I'd get some itb soreness, but they'd always resolve, and once I had what I think was runner's knee, caused by a patella tracking problem, but a little bit of quad strength work (isometric wall sits) cleared that up in like two weeks. But I think I torqued my knee slightly doing cleans or such and I think that the high volume of squats make my kneecap ever so slightly sore. So it's been weird. Not painful really, just more noticeable. But that can be how things start.

So, I've got my dents and dings. In a year, that's not bad. My back rarely gets sore anymore, because I know how to deadlift with proper form (not perfect, just better) and I know why my back gets sore from squats (losing the lordatic curve too soon after parallel, i.e. "buttwink", most likely from tight hamstrings).

So realistic goals for el proximo ano:

Rehab the shoulder COMPLETELY.
  • Continue with the phys therapy stuff I know how to do
  • See about the Active Release Techniques that folks swear by
  • Increase my pullups in a logical fashion
Keep proper form and watch squat volume to care for knee.
Apply extreme effort to Pack workouts, and step onto the porch once in while.
Work in heavy lifting to increase my ability to do the wods as Rx'd.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just making it up as I go along . . .

Didn't feel like getting into a whole bunch of rigamarole, so just knocked out:

50 front squats, 65lbs = 3:35

If I can get the bar overhead w/o shoulder pain, I could try this, 1st with say, 35lbs and see if I could get 50.

Could be fun . . . .

Michael--I owe you buddy . . .

Did a couple things:

Warmed up by running for 15 minutes, pushups, situps, air squats, 3 x 5.

Then goblet squats as form work/skill practice.

5x25, 30, 35, 40, 45,
Then 10 x 60.

The only reason I did 10 on 60lbs, was because I was still feelin' frisky.

I think I might work that into a homemade wod today.

Ended finishing up with "Michael"

As rx'd, its 3 RFT-- subs in parens.

800 meters (on treadmill)
50 situps (35)
50 back extensions (supermanses)


Not a bad time. I think had I been feeling like choking out the other 45 situps and back extensions, I could have still come in less than 24, but I'm not sure. And running on the treadmill is not running. I don't know what it is, but it's not exactly the same. I've heard various theories, no wind resistance, etc, but to me, the big difference, is that the mill does some of the movement. So when your foot hits the ground, the mill assists in the push you make. I.e., its easier. But you go faster because your cycle time i.e., your turnover rate is much quicker. . . And technically I did half miles, because that's how the treadmill counts.

I can also tell the difference in my arse, because this workout is one of the first ones I did as Rx'd (and one of the only.) But the first time I did it at the gym and not the treadmill, you realize the hideousness of it. An 800 meter run is what I'd calll "long fast": you have to run it really fast, but it's still long enough that you can't go balls out the whole way. But because its a fast run, there's lots of glute pulling action (i.e., your butt works hard) and then you do the supermans, which start taxing your glutes even more, so that when you go out for your second 800 meters, your quads are fine, but you can't get your legs to go because you got no arse left. In fact, I think this WOD is 800 meters simply because it takes 400 meters to get your legs back under you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not just no, but hell no . . .

Courtesy of Prof. Beyer's excellent site, he alerts us to another of the DIY articles on estate planning.

Like I said in the title, not just no, but hell no. Don't. Do. It.

Anything you do yourself is a fraction of the cost of paying a professional. And if you don't do it for a living, you probably do it crappy. Thems the breaks man. Sorry. If you don't do it crappy, it had better be a damn fine hobby. But who does estate planning as a hobby? That ranks right up there with doing double entry bookkeeping just for fun. "Oh man, I just love it when the debits and credits sum up!"

I can come up with several reasons not to use these "will kits" to do your own estate planning.

1) You won't get it right.

There are 50 states. Each has its own set of laws regarding estate distribution. The book you are reading MIGHT take all of them into account. I mean, for instance, here in Texas, did you specify that you wanted unsupervised probate? Did you make sure the executor gets to serve without bond? And did you put the self proving affidavit at the back? Thought so.

2) Even if you're a lawyer, you won't get it right.

At my current position, which I like to refer to as "not strictly legal . . . . . " I've spent the past four years reviewing wills and trusts. About 10% of those are what we refer to in the bidness as "good".

One of the problems in law, and probably all knowledge professions, is that you don't know what you don't know. When I first started working in estate planning, I thought I had a handle on it. I was sooooorely mistaken. And I did it for a living! Granted there were extenuating circumstances for my former crappitude, but they don't bear repeating. Lets just say I managed to hook up with some legal eagles who remind me of the Fezzig Quote: "Ever hear of Plato? Aristotle? Moronth." These guys are seriously stout and they showed me the multitudes of errors I had inadvertantly been committing. Even with a law degree. Even with an advanced law degree in taxation.

But regular Joe lawyers will tell their clients they can do wills. And they can give you a basic document that most likely works. And they don't consider all the things that a top shelf planner does. What do you go to your primary care physician for? Yeah. The cold. What do you go to the cardiac surgeon for? Yeah, thought so. Your will is not a cold.

Remember, the whole phrase is "Jack of all trades, master of NONE". And we are talking about lawyers here.

3) It could cost more in the long run.

And really, I'm not opposed to someone doing a little bit of law for themselves. There's a lot that someone can do and I don't want this to sound like I'm trying to protect the guild. It's just my honest opinion that you won't do it well, you probably won't do it right, and your best hope is that if you screw up, the court takes pity on your family who has to live the consequences.

If you screw it up, and there's a high chance of that, you may cost your family more in court costs and legal fees than it would have cost you to get the will done right.

The going rate around these parts for a will, with decent tax planning in the back, all the nice bells and whistles is somewhere between $1-2,000. Yes, pricey. I agree.

Now, what does it cost for you to do your own will, and then have your family have some lawyer explain to the probate court "what you really meant"?

Hourly cost for the attorney: (We'll go low and say she's a $200 an hour woman): okay, so you meet with her: 1 hour. She prepares the court filings 1 hour. She researches whatever weird issues your "freestyle" will has caused. 2 hours. She goes to court on your behalf. 1 hour. Yay. You've just spent $1,000.

And I'm assuming she gets it done in those 5 hours. I think I'm being highly unrealistic (on the low side) about the time it will take her to fix things. If she doesn't, the bill just goes up. What if there's a contest, i.e., someone else is arguing for a different interpretation of the will?

Getting a professionally done will is some insurance against this kind of scenario.

Those are some of the reasons, and I'm not even getting into the very human issues, such as interpreting all law in your own favor. We all do it. I've got relatives that do that. Or when they don't like the result, believe I must be lying or something, that the result I'm suggesting can't possibly be right.

Update: I've been thinking I've been a bit harsh. In fairness if I'm not opposed to folks self-helping and want to prevent the guild mentality, I ought to get the book and see if it would work for someone. Although, I loved the reviews on Amazon. All universally positive. It doesn't appear that any of them is a lawyer. I have no idea how you'd recognize sugar from shine-ola in that case. Penny wise and pound foolish can apply here too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Holy Crap

Oh my lord. I second the motion. Follow the link to youtube. That was spooky and I watched it at work with no sound.

Of course, its brought to us by our friendly neighbors to the North.

Now, I gotta tell you this story to tell you another story: The company I used to work used to take everyone to Canada for training about every other year. They'd bus everyone up there (or fly those of us from the hinterlands) and we'd do some training and try to make a dent in the amount of available Canadian beer.

But someone bought some smokes. And man, they had hard core warnings on the sides. I mean, here in the ol' U.S. of A, the warnings are kinda variable and contain this kinda mushy legalese sounding pablum: "The Surgeon General has determined that Smoking is most likely not the best of things you could be doing for yourself" I jest, but they used to say "Hazardous to your Health". I mean, so what? Margarine is hazardous to my health.

That simply wouldn't do for our Canadian friends, no. Their packs of death sticks, coffin nails, and lung tarrers would say things like "Smoking causes lung cancer". And "You will die from the diseases smoking causes." I kid, but not by much.

Who do you love . . .

Okay, so riddle me this bat man, say you hate chimpymcbushhitler. I mean, he talks and you want to scream. Or say you think that Hillary Clinton is the foulest harpy that ever walked the earth.

(Although I swear the Yahoo news link I clicked on said "Democrats criticise Bush" not Clinton the first time I read it.)

Do you still trust the Iranian Mullacracy more than either of them? Because that seems to be the track that gets taken. If you trust the Mullocracy more than Bush, why? If you trust them more than Hillary, why?

Or how about this: if there were no WMDs in Iraq (and lets just say that getting intelligence out of a closed totalitarian society is, um, tricky, and that rarely do you get anything like "Please address it to "Nuclear Research Facility, department of very large bombs and icky icky chemicals, yek do seh chahar Xiabune Khomeni (formerly Xiabune Shah), Esfahan, Iran"*

And one of the reasons is because of faulty intelligence . . . how is the NIE report on the state of the Iranian nuclear program going to be better?

And just a further aside, I do, for the record, think the Republican Guard is a terrorist organization. That way we can avoid saying what they do is an act of war.

*I had to Anglicise the farsi because I can't write the Persian characters any more.

Monday, December 3, 2007

En Fuego

Zamboni. On Fire. On the Ice. Kinda like that Pat Benatar song. Or a curse by a mythical superhero: Oh Firey Zamboni!! (do I repeat myself? What do you call a superhero that doesn't exist?)

Oh man, I got the burnin' zambonies . . . .

And the Blue Oyster Cult song . . . was he burning FOR her or FROM her. Would make a bit o' difference, I should think.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Look Ma! No Arms!

Since I'm still watching the rotator cuff situation, I did a version of something I picked up from Kempie, via TMoney on the Brand X Site.

500M row (400 meter run)
12 bw dead lifts (135lbs not bw, not close . . . about 45 lbs off)
21 box jumps 20" box (weight bench, 18")

11:43, 3:29/4:04/4:10 good consistency last two rounds, but big drop from the first . .

Sure wish I had a rower so I'd know where I really sat behind TMoney and Kempie.

Now here is something I did try.

In my quest for power, on the second round of box jumps, I broke them into 7/7/7 but cycled faster and took a brief rest in between.

Now, I can't figure out the 35 second drop in the second round, perhaps the run? But I think I kept the pace up well.

Didn't barf, but I should have tried harder to. :-)

Update: This is actually "Christine", a benchmark workout. :-) Did not know that. Also, note that the deads and the pulling on the row would be a crossfit evil: the uncomplementary duo, like Helen, where the heavy kettlebell swings destroy your pullup grip . . . .

Now playing: Charlie Parker - Bloomdido
via FoxyTunes

Birthday WOD-Cleans

Okay, missed this at CFit Plano, TX, so I did it at home:

Hang Squat Cleans: 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
Increase weight between sets

so it went like:

125 (I think this should have been a failure, but it pissed me off so I just hiked it up and got under it)
130 F (true failure ;-))

Something about it being from the "hang" position, made this seem harder than I think it would have been normally. Also, this was a workout in the the garage, so I was using hte the wal-mart special weights. I kid thee not.

They have some serious drawbacks compared to the nice bumpers we have at the gym: they are metal, so dropping them is not much of an actual option. That means if I get in trouble and need to dump them, I can't. So, mentally, I don't want to get into situations where I might have to drop them.

They are also shorter (smaller diameter) than typical olympic plates, so deads are pulled from about 2 inches closer to the ground. When you're trying to get your butt and back arch in the right place, that makes a big difference.

Today I think I'll try a version of a workout I saw Kempie post. Should be um, fun!

Oooh oooooh that smell!!!

Okay, impulse buy: some electro tranceishness from CD World. Good stuff. Though, the divisions among the trance, progressive trance, etc., I have no idea. Then again, I don't know where Country Music ends and Western Music begins . . . . Somewhere south of Bluegrass, but North of Western swing?

Oh, and as to the smell, I'm guessing, some of the franchisee requirements for owning an independent record store include employees with non-natural hair colors, various pierceotats, and most importantly: the stench of patchouli. Why? Like fruitcake, the lure of patchouli is lost on me. Could someone please 'splain?

My brother is the best pastry chef in the village!

Oh yes . . . it unleashes a mighty Mixer-fu . . . . the chocolate cake I made for my own bamn dirthday cake is delish.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy Birthday To ME!!!

Well, happy birthday to me today!! Wooot!!!

Got a cookbook, a kitchenaid mixer (double woot!), "Spiderman 3" on dvd, and "Heroes" first season on dvd.

Mmm, cooking and superheroes . . . .

So if you're inclined, give a shout in the comments. I've not got a lot of visitors, but all y'all come from odd and varied places. It'd be nice to hear from you!

Oh noes we gots features!

Mr. Scalzi has purchased some sweet sweet tech. Of course, the comment thread brings up the mac/pc and buy vs. rent music, and I think something about Steve Job's nipples . . . . yeah, it goes there.

But can't we all just get along?

Thing is, I agree with Mr. Scalzi about the subscription music service and the cool flexibility of his new device. That said, I don't mind being the Apple eco system. Its not because of stupidity, but because the relative worth of certain features are more valuable to you than others.

I've seen lots of mp3 players that have more features than an ipod. But. They were nightmares to load. Or took some serious geekitude to get it to work.

And I'm no stranger to serious geekitude. If you used to play computer games in the dos/windows 3.1 era, you know what I mean. Remember when games never worked? Seriously, you knew that going into the drive was something that was going to crash your computer most likely. I had my interrupts memorized. I knew how to access all the dipass memory setting each game required. Oh yes, my pretties, each game would access memory differently than the others and you might have to set the memory yourself. "Day of the Tentacle" was an awesome game, just a pain to get going the first time. Or maybe your chip wouldn't let the game play. I could never get XCOM to work on my Cyrus PC.

(Funny aside, but I hate George Lucas for the Star Wars desecration, but shoot almighty, if Lucasarts didn't put out some fiiiiiiine games. )

I even wrote a front end script which made a load screen so I could save myself some time when I wanted to play Flight Simulator rather than Doom. So yeah, I can knuckle around some tech.

That said, I've also tried to use just about every sub $99 digital video editor and they were all teh suck. Okay, here is where you don't get to say "Well, if you'd have used Vegas Video . . . " Yeah, and if wishes were fishes, the homeless would smell like a tuna cannery . . . .

As I got along in life and started having less time than work and money, dickin' around on the computer didn't hold as much appeal as it did at one time. It's just a fact of life. You can afford Carling Black Label and Ramen when you get out of college . . . . but how come you don't eat it? (Of course, I'm just beggin' the gods of contrariness to send me someone who claims that's all they've ever eaten ever!)

In any event, the Apple I've got (mac mini, the headless beast!) has never so much as hiccuped when I did a little vid production. I can email, play the music, blah blah. Its great. Furthermore, the graphics on the console games are so close or better than some PC games, there's not the compelling reason to have a PC that I once had. Though I would dearly love to see some of the Baldur's Gate type games on XBox . . . (Yeah, macs play games. Sort of.) Another pointless aside, but am I the only person who thinks that the optical mouse was a step back from the rollerball mouse on FPSs like Doom? I could do this cool wrist flip and be going 180 degrees where the optical mouse just made me turn slow enough to get fragged . . .

But, I agree, that's one badass piece of Kit Scalzi's hooked himself up with.