Friday, September 28, 2007

Inspirational Videos

In the comments on the last post, M@rla posted a link to a absolutely gorgeous clip from CrossFit. This gives me the perfect excuse to link to a couple more, including one that just got posted today. These are the clips I keep on my bookmarks toolbar and go to for inspiration. The first five are clips that I think should be viewed by as many women as possible, especially those who think that fit+female = using 2 lb dbs.

Annie Does Josh. A classic.

Chicks Jerk Heavy Too. This is the one that was posted today. Beautiful.

Nicole & Zac Go for a Total. I'm running out of superlatives.

Nicole v. Glover.

Bodyweight Overhead Squats - Redux"

Brandon's Bad Day. I watch this one when I'm feeling particularly lazy and need someone to call me on it. Unfortunately, the only people who can call me on it are a 15+ hour flight away. :(

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Movie Afternoon

Half day at school today because of the eve of Sukkot. I stayed around for an hour to help a middle schooler and clear some paper from my desk, then headed to see Eastern Pr0mises at a local movie theater. The theater wasn't busy since it was a 3:15pm showing. Me and a few older couples: no talking, no cell phones going off, no idiocy.

The movie was excellent. Good drama/action movies that don't have stupid endings are a rare thing these days. I haven't seen a movie in a theater since 300, and I don't bother unless there's a reasonable chance that I will enjoy the experience enough to make up for the stupidity of fellow movie goers. I've liked Mortensen's work since G.I. Jane (egads, that was ten years ago), and Cassel's work in Brotherhood of the Wolf (six years ago, time flies), so I was reasonably confident that I'd like this film. A couple of violent moments at the beginning which I initially classified as the "by golly those special effects people have to account for every pint of blood they requisitioned" philosophy, but after a little reflection I think they were appropriate. The much discussed fight scene lived up to expectations. So, don't bother reading the reviews or looking at the imdb before you see it; there too much chance of hitting a spoiler. Just go.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

O Rage o Desespoir

Or something like that (if the link doesn't work, see Corneille's Cid, Act 1, Scene 7). Never miss a chance to stick in an overwrought literary reference rather than title this post "Rejection" and be done with it.

I discovered that there was a small powerlifting team/gym not too far from me, so I called them up and e-mailed and asked if I could come by. I heard back yesterday: they currently have 10-14 guys so there is no more space. So much for that idea. It's a private space so I respect the selectivity, but I were them I would have at least had me come by and have a look and meet the group, so that they could make up their minds on the basis of my training skills, not my e-mail skills.

To be fair, they did tell me that if I agreed, they could pass on my e-mail to another group that's starting up, and that group might have some room. So something might still come of this. I'm just mopey because I was looking forward to training with a serious group of guys again, and there was nothing on their web site to suggest that there was no space currently available.

In other news, I decided to go to Boston in October for another seminar. Some people use their disposable income to buy furniture, I spend mine on lifting seminars. :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

UFC 76 Musings & Spoilers - Short This Time

Just back from the bar. I didn't take notes and I'm very tired, so this will be short. Lovely lovely card. Every single fight was worth the cover charge. In fact, by the time the T.Griffin/Tavares fight ended I decided that I had gotten my money's worth, and everything else this evening was gravy. Made me wish I had brought SqueamishGuy to this card rather than the previous one. Not that this one didn't have blood, it did, but the fights were better overall. Who says you need a title bout to have a good card?

I had gone to the bar on Friday afternoon to make my reservation and got to pick my table again. My tablemate this time was a man who didn't say much, except to ask me what time it started and whom I liked in the first fight. I had my back to him for most of the evening (so I could face the screen, not so I could be rude) so there wasn't any interaction after that.

Notes from tonight:

Can ufc please stop showing celebrities in the audience? Other fighters, yes. It was nice to see Jackson, GSP and WSilva, and I wouldn't mind seeing their reactions to the fights. But of what use are actors who should be on What Not to Wear? Blech.

The first televised fight, TG/T, was non-stop, and I felt sorry for whomever was fighting after it because it would be hard for them to measure up. I like TG. I figure it must be frustrating (just a bit) to have people cheering and then realize as you look up at the screen that they're cheering for Randy Couture. Note to TT, saying "I win" after fight before the judges decision has been announced is silly and makes you look sillier. To his credit, he was classy about the decision after it was announced.

Fitch-Sanchez I have been looking forward to for awhile, and going by my general rule that the guy coming into the octagon looking more relaxed is going to win it, I expected a Fitch win. I worried that he'd be weaker because of the trouble he had making weight, but I dismissed it once it said on the screen that he used to captain Purdue's wrestling team. Wrestlers deal with making weight, so no worries. Sanchez looked intense though. He's not one of my favorite fighters, because I took a dislike to both him and Koschek in the blithering leading up to their last fight, but after this fight I'd like to see him fight again. And he was classy afterwards also. Except he shouldn't bother telling fans not to boo. If you exude class long enough they'll shut up and start supporting you.

Griffin-Rua... oh my that was just lovely. But why the heck was Rua so tired from mid -second round onwards? I expected FG to win this one, because he looked happy and excited and his pre-fight promos had the right attitude about them. Heck of a way to win: submission just before the end of the 3rd round, after you've shown everything you can do and bled for the victory also.

Jardine-Liddell. They were on their feet for pretty much the entire fight, which I mention only because, after the diversity of the rest of the fights (up, down, every which way) that was what stood out in my mind. No, I'm not happy. I like CL and I really wanted him to come back strong after the loss to Jackson. (I like Jardine too, as you already know if you read my UFC66 report.) I wish it hadn't a split-decision. Made me wish it had been a five round fight so that there would be a more definitive ending. What I disliked even more than this result was the reaction of some of the people in the bar. Some nitwit was badgering his friends, saying something to the effect of "It was worth it just to see Chuck lose AGAIN. To some guy named Keith WHO?" I felt like turning around and telling him, "That would be Jardine, you nitwit, the guy that beat that Griffin guy who just sumitted Rua." Why is it that the stupid comments are made by the most out-of-shape guys?

Edited: I forgot Machida-Nakamura, because I'm exhausted, and because my main memory from this fight is the parasol... Seriously though, not a bad fight, just compared to TG-TT not as exciting.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quitting Quote

In the ring, I see fighters quit or give up all the time because it feels at that moment like it's the easiest option. I always tell them the easiest thing is actually to make a stand. The act of fighting, of facing what you have to face, in reality lasts only a few minutes. Otherwise, you have to deal with and live with the consequences forever. -- Teddy Atlas
I'm about halfway through the Teddy Atlas autobiography, "Atlas: From the Streets to the Ring: A Son's Struggle to Become a Man", and I'm enjoying it very much. I'm jotting down useful quotes along the way.

I'm scrambling to get everything I want done before Yom Kippur starts. It ends around 8:00pm or so tomorrow, and once it does I'll head off to the local sports bar for ufc76. If you're observing YK, have an easy fast and may you be sealed for a good year. If you're not observing YK, enjoy the warm and sunny weekend. Not too many of these left before winter.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Odds and Ends

I don't buy health & fitness magazines as regularly as I used to because I don't have time to read them. But there's one way to ensure that I will spend my hard-earned $5 on MH, and that is to put Jas0n Statham on the cover. The article isn't bad either. :-) This issue also has an interesting piece by Aragon about food myths.

My gym membership to Gym One expires at the end of November and right now I don't plan to renew it. I think I lost interest the day they took down the real heavy bag and put up the wimpy one. Yes, they have a power cage, but with the current left hip issues I'm not going to be squatting for some time. If I don't find a place I like and within a reasonable distance from home or work it will be home workouts for awhile.

I went shopping for fruit and veggies this evening and decided that I need to cut down on the protein bars. I love the taste of the Balance Gold chocolate peanut butter bars, but I go through them way too fast and they encourage me to not bother prepping real food. $4.98 for a box of six at the local Walmart tends to add up.

I have Friday off this week, so tomorrow is the last work day before the weekend. Saturday is Yom Kippur. The plan is to head to the local sports bar as soon as the fast ends and watch UFC76. No company this time. Unless some non-squeamish person presents themselves between now and Saturday night, which I doubt.

We have a guest from Brazil visiting at work, so I googled to try and find out how one says "welcome" in Portuguese. Didn't find it, but found this very useful study guide site.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thirty Percent

According to the latest doctor-speak, relative has a 30% chance of recovery. How the hell do they calculate these odds, anyway?

No exercise yet this week. Left work too late both yesterday and today. So I'm back in lazyass territory, since there's nothing stopping me from getting up at 0430 and going to the gym in the morning beyond my love affair with inertia. Yesterday when I was in my car I actually had a thought in my head that went something like this "What if I gained all the weight back? Was I that unhappy being fat? Why all these expectations? I'm never going to go back to Jerusalem anyways." which was followed shortly thereafter by a much clearer thought: "Are you a complete effing idiot?"

Yes, apparently, especially when I don't get enough water or sleep.

I'm going to do one of my exercise dvds and go to bed early. Not much to choose from as I only own two, it's either this one or this one.

Monday, September 17, 2007


No change in anything of note. Relative still in hospital, I'm still stressed. I'm no longer limping and range of motion is better, but there are still enough twinges along the left hip and knee that I haven't gone back to the MA place.

Nutrition was great until I left work today (at 7:00pm, I might add) and then went to hell in a handbasket (the nutrition, not me). The air-conditioning at work wasn't functioning for most of the day. At the last meeting of the day I had someone tell me I looked "wilted". Just what I needed to hear.

This post and clip at Blo0dy Elbow made me smile. No, it definitely doesn't make the process easier. :-)

Current favorite portable second breakfast: Fage 2% yogurt with a packet of Simple Harvest oatmeal sprinkled on top. Stats: 290Kcal, 21P, 38C, 8F.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Depressing Post; Skip at Will

Talked to my mom earlier today just as she got back from the hospital. She's been there every day, 8-12 hours each day since relative Q went in. Apparently when the doctor heard that relative Q has a son who lives a five hour flight from Toronto, the doctor said "He should come". Which is, of course, doctor-speak for "We think she's dying". When I got home I read Cosgrove's cancer diaries off the Liftstrong cd I bought awhile back. They were an unexpected but useful thing to find on that cd. Then I had a mini-binge consisting of a Balance bar and rosemary bread.

Damn this is a depressing post.
How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not
-- Unetaneh Tokef
The above is a part of the Jewish High Holy Days liturgy. You can read more about it here and listen to the Leonard C0hen song "Wh0 by Fire", which is based on the same prayer.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nine Hours

Nine hours of sleep later I'm still in pain. Less pain than yesterday, so I'm not complaining. Besides, there are people in my family with much bigger health problems than a screwed up leg.

Relative Q is still in hospital and family mood in Canada is pretty low. Her son flew to TO to be with her, but no sooner did he land than he got a cold, which means he's not allowed to see her because her immune system is so fragile. I talked to him on the phone for about an hour yesterday, commiserating about the situation and talking about fighting. He used to wrestle greco-roman competitively, so he's the only relative I have with whom I can discuss MMA without his eyes glazing over. He wrestled at superheavyweight; he and I are the two grandkids who got the maternal grandfather's propensity for weight-gain. It seems to come with an affinity for strength training, so as far as I'm concerned it was a good genetic deal. :-) When I told him about the injury, and the fact that it occurred during the warm up, he said that at our age we have to warm up in order to do the warm up. Man's got a point. :-)

Good reading:

An article about the Transtheoretical Model of Change.

A 2001 webcast by Dr. James Pr0chaska about Helping Populations Progress Through Stages of Change. Well worth the hour and fourteen minutes. I bookmarked this a long time ago and can't remember how I got to it. I think it was by googling for Dr. Prochaska's name after seeing his book "Changing for Good".

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Waddling into the New Year

That would be the Jewish new year 5768, which begins tonight at sunset. I'm actually happy that I decided not to fly to Canada for the holiday because sitting on a plane with this hip would have been very painful.

To sum up: standing still and walking hurt a little. Sitting and getting up hurt more. Getting in and out of a car, or doing anything where I have to move the left leg sideways & up hurt a lot. The pain does not discriminate between side of the hip, butt and hamstring. Going up stairs hurts, going down stairs hurts less. If it doesn't feel way better by Sunday (after a few days of rest and ice) I'll call the doc for an appointment.

The good thing about injuries is that they remind you that you should have taken your fish oil and should have used that foam roller you got, instead of letting it collect dust in that corner over there.

The good thing about this injury is that I'm learning a lot more about what connects to what. Every "Oh, if I move my leg this way, the ouch moves from here to there" tells me something new. I'm frustrated that I can't do a groin stretch - you know the one with the soles of your feet together? I've never in my life had a problem doing that one, but right now my left leg will not get into that position.

If you're celebrating the New Year tonight, I hope you have a year of health & wealth (I'm a capitalist and I'm injured - can you tell?). If you aren't celebrating the New Year tonight and you're not injured... have a good training session and squat something heavy for me. :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Last weekend I had the bright idea to try out a martial arts class, Krav Maga, to be exact. A local school has an intro class once per month, and paying for that class gets you a free week of classes thereafter. I enjoyed the intro, although not enough to write them a check on the spot, but decided to come back this week for the free classes and see if I like it enough to continue.

Just before the class I was standing in the front desk area, and someone asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this. "No," I said, "But that hasn't stopped me before. What's the worst that could happen?" (Yes, those words came out of my mouth. Insert obligatory remark about tempting fate here.)

We started, as so many MA classes do, by running around in a circle. I could feel my left leg beginning to get tight. But did I stop? Nope, I'm too vain for that. So I kept going. Then the instructor told us to do side steps, then drop and do pushups, then sit ups, then get up again. So I did, and when the running around re-started, I could feel the leg getting even tighter. But I continued. And then he asked us to do walking lunges.

So I lunged, except I don't think you can call it a lunge if you only go down and don't manage to come up again because your left leg refuses to support you in your stupidity any longer.

And that's the sorry tale of how, five minutes into the class, I limped out of it in pain. I spent the next half an hour gingerly trying to walk upright and gently stretch things without the shooting pain returning.

Limited success, but I did finally limp out to the car (which, thank god, is not a stick shift) and looked damn funny trying to get into it. Not before I asked the owner if we can move my intro week to next week. He said yes, and I told him that if I wake up tomorrow and the pain is gone, I'll come back tomorrow. At the moment, sitting at home and wondering how much extra time I should allot to getting dressed in the morning, I don't think I'll get back to the MA place before next week.

So what is it? I have no idea and I'm too tired to research tonight. Pulled muscle? Screwed up ITB? All I know right now is that the pain is on the side and back of my left leg and hip, and that I can't raise my knee to my chest while standing or pull my heel to my butt.

Moral of the story? If your body tells you to slow down, don't be an idiot and keep pushing. And if you have a choice between a nice pleasant night of deadlifts and a martial arts exploration... well, you can figure that one out for yourself.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hummus Basar

I forgot to post this photograph when I came back from Jerusalem. It's hummus basar: hummus is the yummy chickpea stuff, basar is Hebrew for meat, and the dish has hummus and spiced ground beef on top. This picture was taken on my last Friday afternoon in Jerusalem, enjoying a lunch with my friend B. at Pinati restaurant. The name means "my corner" and the restaurant is on King George Street. We sat outside. The restaurant is tiny, and there was a line of people waiting for our table. Whenever I think of a perfect combination of protein and fat, I think of hummus basar. It's a bit sad, because we both were heading off to locales where hummus this good does not exist.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Stresses Major and Minor

Woke up at noon today; I was so tired from the week. I had been setting multiple alarms every morning because there are few things I hate more than being late. So today I lazed about and then headed out at night for a little shopping. I found an Under Arm0r HeatGear women's top on the clearance rack for $5, and four pairs of Under Arm0r socks (made in the US, slightly irregular) for $7, so it was a productive shopping trip. Speaking of UA, I like this Bo0m Bo0m Tap commercial and the microsite they built to go with it.

I was going to write a post about how my lack of progress in August was a direct result of my lack of focus and intensity since I returned from Jerusalem, but the inimitable PastaQueen has already written a good one on the subject and put it succinctly: "I've only lived in my own body, so I can't speak about anyone else with 100% certainty, but I know that when I show up and do the work, I get paid." What she said.

This seems to be a day for stressful phone calls: first I hear from my family that the relative who finished chemo for cancer a few months ago is back in hospital; the lymphoma is back and things are described as "worrysome". Since relative's children live out of town, my mom has been on bedside duty in the hospital, which worries me because my mom is the duty-bound sort of person who takes care of other people before she takes care of herself. They're referring to it as "the situation". As in "did you hear about the situation with relative Q?". Then a former classmate calls: seems her employer just screwed her out of the job she was promised by deciding that a newly hired, less experienced man will fill the position. She knew it was an old boys club (not a single woman in the entire section) but she didn't expect them to pull this. She was angry but she's got the right attitude about it: she's going to make herself even more indispensable this year, walk away on her own terms and leave them SOL. Good for her. Serves those dishonorable dimwits right.

Gym Two still hasn't put up the heavy bag. When I joined they had one. A week or two later it vanished. I was told that it had collapsed, and since they were in the middle of renovations, they had decided not to replace it until the renovations were complete. (No, I don't see the logic either.) Renovations are pretty much done, and still no heavy bag. Maybe they're afraid it will scare off the new frou frou clientele that the renovations were intended to attract?

I found out that a new community center is opening not far from me and that it has a gym, so I went one evening last week to check it out. The good: it is spacious, the locker rooms are gorgeous, there's a squat rack, two flat benches, one incline bench, and one lonely rowing machine. The bad: there are a gazillion treadmills and bikes and not one person that looks like they're serious about their training (and that includes the staff).

I decided to try out some martial arts classes starting next weekend. It will have to be an outstanding experience for me to join up, because the price is $110 per month, which I find a bit steep. But if I had a class to go I'll get my butt out of work at a decent hour (she said hopefully).

Food was fine this week, hydration was on and off, and exercise was entirely at home due to the hours I spent at work. *sigh* I love my work, but I do know that spending my entire life there is not a good idea.