Thursday, July 14, 2005

Good Byes, Bench Presses and Bombers

I met my classmate A this morning for coffee. She's a very sweet person, and she is leaving next week to go back to the USA and teach in a small community. We talked about all sorts of stuff (her upcoming marriage figured prominently). One of the things about being in a small program is that as soon as you get to know the people in the cohort ahead of you, they have to go away...

The strength loss I've been expecting since I came back to the gym showed up today. Unsurprisingly, it was on Chest/Push day. Seems I can take a week off and not lose anything on hams, quads, or back, but chest is another matter entirely. My max set for flat bench presses was supposed to be eight reps of 40 Kg (88 lbs), but I failed at six reps. Annoying, since failure is not the goal on any of my sets. Man-in-charge was not worried, citing the layoff. We'll see how tomorrow's quad workout goes. On a happy note, Chest day is where I am closest to the weights I was lifting a year ago, which I am grateful for, because progress on chest is S-L-O-W. Chest day is the only time I wish women had a bit more upper body muscle mass. Guys definitely have an advantage on that one.

Two happy things happened: first, a t-shirt I bought two week ago fit perfectly. It was a little tight when I bought it, but I wanted something more snug than my usual floppy gym t-shirts. The reason is so that when I lift, man-in-charge can catch small form breaks, like me not retracting my scapulae or not keeping my middle stable. I think I will buy another one if this one survives the laundry. Second, while pulling up my jeans (which are getting looser!) I discovered that I am one (one!) notch away from the end of my belt. I have had this belt for ages, and I never thought I would ever close it on the 2nd last notch. Amazing.

NiceGuy, which I will henceforth call VirginiaRugbyGuy, was there today. He told me he's planning to run a half-marathon next week. Just for fun. :-) I am not a running (or cardio) person by any stretch of the imagination. I am somewhat in awe of all the running bloggers. I admire someone taking on a challenge like that, especially someone who has some serious muscle on him. He wasn't sure if he would finish. I wished him luck; I hope he finishes, which, if I understood him correctly, would mean a personal best.

My Gallstones bookmarks file is growing by leaps and bounds. By the time this is finished I'll be able to sketch the human digestive system from memory. Too bad I'm not taking any anatomy courses; I have enough info for three university papers by now. I found this a site that has a explanation of the surgery, with diagrams. Very useful, since I'm one of those people who needs to know every detail of what's going to happen.

I faxed a slew of documents to the insurance company this morning and am now waiting for their response. My preference would actually be to not do the surgery right away, but instead agree that if the inflammation returns in the coming year I could still be covered for it. This would give me time to try alternative therapies. I don't know what I will do if they say, "we'll pay for the surgery but only if you do it now, and if you don't then we don't cover you for future gallbladder problems". It seems to me it would be in their best interest to let me try other stuff at my own expense first.

While doing my daily read-through of weight and fitness blogs, I found this post, whose writer is "stunned" that the terrorists that carried out the London bombings were British-born. Now, I do NOT, repeat and double underline NOT, mean the following sentence as a criticism, only an observation: I do not understand why people are surprised. London has been a safe place for Islamic radicals for some time now. Writing in the Telegraph last week, Mark Steyn noted:
Did we learn enough, for example, from the case of Omar Sheikh? He's the fellow convicted of the kidnapping and beheading in Karachi of the American journalist Daniel Pearl. He's usually described as "Pakistani" but he is, in fact, a citizen of the United Kingdom - born in Whipps Cross Hospital, educated at Nightingale Primary School in Wanstead, the Forest School in Snaresbrook and the London School of Economics. He travels on a British passport. Unlike yours truly, a humble Canadian subject of the Crown, Mr Sheikh gets to go through the express lane at Heathrow.

Or take Abdel Karim al-Tuhami al-Majati, a senior al-Qa'eda member from Morocco killed by Saudi security forces in al Ras last April. One of Mr Majati's wives is a Belgian citizen resident in Britain. In Pakistan, the jihadists speak openly of London as the terrorist bridgehead to Europe. Given the British jihadists who've been discovered in the thick of it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia, only a fool would believe they had no plans for anything closer to home - or, rather, "home".
The Counterterrorism blog has a good post on this as well. Recently, retired Metropolian police chief Sir John Stevens stated that: "intelligence officers believed that up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people had passed through Osama Bin Laden’s training camps, some of whom returned home to become potential Islamic terrorists." They didn't go there to toast marshmallows. And lastly, I'll point folks to the Daily Ablution blog, which does a good job of laying the um, smackdown on an article in the Guardian. As a Canadian, I fully expect to see a terror attack in Canada at some point. Canucks have trained in al-Qaeda camps too.

By the way, that Netanya suicide bombing I mentioned yesterday has claimed its 5th victim, Moshe Maor Jan. He was taken off life-support today. His wife is eight months pregnant with their first child.


At 1:15 AM , Anonymous Jerry Ryan said...

Cool gallbladder link. Hope your surgery goes well. Hope even more that the alternative teatments work first.


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