Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rock

Back from Boston. My reports about the seminar will be up later this week, once the muscle soreness dissipates enough for me to type comfortably. Kidding, but only just. The weather was perfect; rainy day yesterday for the seminar, sunny day today to explore Boston. Here are two more pics from outside the Museum of Fine Arts. I initially took these because the rock reminded me of the Ogri character in the late 70s Dr. Who series The Stones of Blood. When I got back to a wireless connection, I did a web search for Taihu rocks and realized just how beautiful this specimen is.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How to Save $17


Got to Boston yesterday, checked into the hotel and then decided to take in some sights. It was too late to go to the MIT museum which closes at 5:00pm, but the Museum of Fine Arts closes late on Fridays, so that's where I headed. Problem was, they don't allow bags, and they wanted me to check my backpack. I asked what I was supposed do with my laptop, and they wanted me to get a plastic bag from the giftshop and carry it around in that. Um, no, thank you. So I got a refund for my ticket and saved $17 by not going to the Museum of Fine Arts. Took some pics of the art outside the museum instead.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rude

Despite the fact that I e-mailed them on Oct 5 and asked them to stop putting my blog posts on their forums, The Weigh We Were is still doing so. That's just plain scummy behavior. Anyone know how to stop this from happening?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back

Hadn't planned on going to the funeral, but thanks to my sister, who realized it was logistically possible, and the wonderful Midwest Airlines, who have bereavement rates for US-Canada travel as well as very kind and helpful agents, I found myself on a plane four times in less than one day yesterday. I flew Kansas to Milwaukee and Milwaukee to Toronto, cabbed to funeral home, traveled with family to the cemetery and then to the shiva house, cabbed back to the airport and flew Toronto to Milwaukee and Milwaukee to Kansas, all this in about twenty hours. Left my home at 3:45am Monday morning and was back by 1:15am Tuesday morning. Not much sleep in between, except in short naps on planes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Baruch Dayan Emet

For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; -- 2 Samuel 14:14
Not the first time I've said Baruch Dayan Emet on this this blog, although once per year is quite enough. Relative died this afternoon, losing her second battle with lymphoma.
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. -- Psalm 49:12-15

Assorted Things

MMA Writing: Came back from the bar around midnight to find an e-mail from my sis. Doctor says that relative might not make it through the night. Didn't feel much like sleeping, so I got productive and did some MMA writing. My UFC 77 Musings and Spoilers are now up at Straight to the Bar.

Useful Quotes: "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do." —- Dale Carnegie
"One of the most difficult exercises to accomplish with good form is kicking oneself in the ass."
--Mahler, on the JP Fitness Forums, 9-27-2007.

Fashion plate: The other day one of my colleagues comes up to me at work. "Cute top" she says, "Is that Chico's?" Have you seen the prices at that place? I'm a teacher; that means KMart, Target and the softer side of Sears. :-) Nice to know my clothes look five times more expensive than they really are. I didn't tell her that, btw, I just said no and smiled.

Why I adore the comment threads at Cr0ssfit: Because they can be an island of sanity in a universe of questionable aesthetics. Over at this post, comment #37, a woman asks what she should do to "slim down and not bulk up", because she doesn't want her arms to be "manly". Among the responses she gets: "The excuse of not wanting to work out for fear of looking too manly is what is known as a cop out." (Comment #59 from KeithW at CrossfitNYC) and "You will have fabulous, strong, muscular feminine arms, which is absolutely gorgeous and attractive." (Comment #77)

Lastly, from Friday's post comes yet another inspirational CrossFit vid from CF.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Glum

I went and filed the walk-in police report this afternoon. Got a little lost on my way to the police station, but finally found it. The two officers that helped me were very nice. Nothing they can do, which is not surprising - I don't even know when the person hit my car during that day - but nice always helps. Standing there in the sunshine staring at the crumpled metal I could see that it was worse than I had previously thought. I've been avoiding looking at it because it upsets me every time I look at it. I was told that the official report for the insurance company will be available for download in 5-7 business days.

Glum as a marsh-wiggle today. Between my relative (I'm told they're trying some new chemo that has a 10-15% chance of success) and the car and students I am worried about and other stuff... clearly my stiff upper lip needs some work, because towards the end of the day my boss stopped me in the hall to ask if I was ok.

I'm just grateful it's finally Shabbat.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Numbers

Arrive work: 7:30am
Depart work: 7:30pm
Chicken breasts: 2
Brussels sprouts: .5 lbs
Protein bar: 1
Donuts: 2

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkin Non Loaf

Got home at a half decent hour because someone asked me for a ride, and I could not in good conscience tell them to wait till 7:00pm. Stopped at the new k0sher Subway on my way home and picked up a turkey sub for dinner. I hadn't been there before, and I'm glad my observant students now have a place to go and grab a reasonably healthy snack.

Once I got home I went on a cooking mission. Chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, snow peas, and right now there's a pumpkin non-loaf in the oven. By non-loaf I mean that it's in a cake pan rather than a loaf pan because my loaf pans are too small. I don't like nuts in baked goods, so I removed those, and I had no pumpkin pie spice so I went freehand on the cinnamon and nutmeg. And I forgot to grease the pan, so it may not come out of the pan when it's done. Let's just say that my baking days are long behind me, eh?

Speaking of good things to do with pumpkins, Roussel has an interesting protein pumpkin concoction here. Canned pumpkin is at $1.18 per 15oz can, so it's pretty economical too.

Turns out there are security cameras in the parking lot, but on that particular day they were not pointing the way I needed them to be pointing to catch whomever hit my car. I called the insurance company and they said I need to go to the local police station, file a report and get a case number, and then call them back with the case number and they'll take it from there. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if the car needs to be in the shop more than one day. I'll get a rental, but how will I get from the shop to the rental place? This is where a spouse would come in handy. :D

I am tired. As soon as the pumpkin non-loaf comes out of the oven I am going to finish up some grading and go to sleep.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Car

So I get out of work after ten+ hours to discover that someone swiped the side of my car, leaving the area above the right tire bent and rippled and covered in white paint/dust. They didn't leave a note. Considering that 1. my car is pretty much the only big ticket item I own, and 2. I love that car, I am not in a good mood right now. I'm resisting the urge to drown my sorrow in udon noodles.

Work and more work. Recreation consists of listening to the cds of the new Vach3s novel while driving to and from work (there's an audio sample at that link, go listen). I think the first time I read a Vach3s novel was in 1987, I was in high school and found Flood at the North York Public Library. It was a black paperback, with a front cover blurb from Playb0y (really) that said "revenge novel of the year". I picked it up because I liked the blurb, and because the font was small and the book was thick and as a fast reader, I wanted something that would last me a couple of days. I've bought most of the Burke novels over the years, but they are packed away in Toronto. I'm going to bring some of my books back with me when I go home to visit this year.

Good stuff elsewhere:

An interesting article at Junkfo0d Science, with Part II here.

The October rant (with vids) is up at Stumptu0us.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hopeless Romantic

The most romantic thing I've read this year:

Found at MMA Madness via Bloody Elbow: UFC fighter Brand0n Vera on how he met his wife: "I heard somebody beating on a speed bag and beating the hell out of it. I looked up and it was her."

Isn't that sweet? I've never seen this guy fight other than on highlight reels, but I hope he has a great fight at UFC77.

I had planned to drive to a powerlifting meet this weekend. I've never been to one, and this was a mere 4-5 hours drive away. An 11 hour work day on Friday followed by a massive thunderstorm Saturday morning derailed the plan. *sigh* I'm told there's a local meet on Nov 10, so I'm going to go to that one instead.

I went back to Gym One this morning after a very long absence. It was quiet thanks to the aforementioned thunderstorm. I was reminded of why I chose it in the first place. It's small, and the owner is nice, and it has a power cage. I checked when my membership is going to expire, and found I have till early November. The renewal price is good too.

47 minutes of cardio. I can't remember when was the last time I did that much cardio voluntarily in one shot. Ten minutes on the recumbent bike - there are no upright bikes - and then 37 minutes on the treadmill. I just kept walking and walking, ending with an incline of 5% and a speed of 4mph. I don't run on treadmills; I have a vision of flying off the thing and ending up as a Wile E. Coyote blotch on the far wall. I had a lot of things on my mind that I needed to walk off, and good songs on the shuffle. Every time I thought of stopping a better song came on, so I kept going.

Gym One shares an entrance with a spa, and on the way out, the women at the spa's front desk were talking about how a bakery had opened a couple of storefronts down, and some female gym goers were going there after their workouts and then sneaking back to their cars so that no one would see them with cookies or cake or whatever. I said that this was just stupid: sneaking around in order to have a cookie? Are you a adult or a three year old? You want a cookie, have the damn cookie and get on with life.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Work Vignette

When one of my co-workers has a birthday, he or she brings in food and leaves it in the staff room for everyone to enjoy. Some people bring healthy stuff, some people bring non-healthy stuff, whatever. Everyone has a copy of the birthday list, so if you want to avoid the staff room on these days, no problem.

Anyway, one day I was a bit short of food, so I went down to the staff room hoping for chopped veggies. No such luck: there were bagels cut into quarters, and donuts cut in half, and cream cheese, and candy corn and assorted chocolates. As I surveyed what was left, the co-worker who was sitting at the table says to me morosely: "Come, eat, get fat."

I picked up a quarter bagel, carefully put cream cheese on it, ate it, looked at her, and said "I don't care". She stared at me. I picked up a half donut, took a bite, "My blood pressure is 90 over 60, my blood work is great, I've been heavier and I've been lighter, and in my family the skinny people die first," I finished the half donut.

She was still staring at me like I was some sort of alien. Then she said, sort of ruefully, "Everyone has f*ckim, this one is my f*ck. It really stresses me."

I wanted to tell co-worker to deal with the stress by lifting some weights rather than inflicting idiot comments on the rest of us, but I refrained. Co-worker looked miserable enough as it was. Would I have eaten the quarter bagel and half donut if she hadn't been there? Probably not. I would have gotten something better from the cafeteria. But I have some buttons, and when they get pushed the old me responds first. Mind you, at one point I would have eaten an entire bagel and an entire donut in front of her, but I am older and mellower now and I don't kill flies with a sledgehammer. :-) Anyway, I don't think she'll make that comment to me again.

Linguistic Note: "F*ck" does not mean the same thing in Hebrew as it does in English. As per this 2005 post at Treppenwitz, it is "a fairly benign Hebrew expression meaning 'mistake'".

Some Days

I get home and realise that:

1. I am not getting to the gym tonight;
2. I forgot to roll the Torah scroll forward for tomorrow morning's Rosh Chodesh reading;*
3. I missed (again!) the free shipping + hat offer deadline at EFS; and,
4. Randy C0uture is retiring.

Bah! Some days I just shouldn't bother.

*Ok, this is one of those Jewish things: on Mondays & Thursdays we read the Torah. There are also special Torah readings from a different part of the Torah scroll on the first day of a Jewish month (which tomorrow is). This morning's Torah reading was from Genesis 6:9-22 and tomorrow's special reading is from Numbers 28:11-15, so the scroll needs to be rolled to the correct place, and then rolled back to Genesis for next Monday. Longer explanation here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Overcooked

This has been a day for long search strings. Someone from Morocco got to this blog with : "is 176.4 pounds considered overweight". And then someone from the United States got here with "my right shoulder hurts and is weaker then left". I don't think I was helpful to either one.

I'm blogging while grilling chicken breasts. Maybe getting the smallest grill in the store wasn't such a great idea? The problem is that I have a tiny amount of counter space, so anything larger would have been awkward. One is plain and I marinated two in some soy sauce & honey to see how they would turn out. Not that it matters; they'll turn out like chicken breasts always do - overcooked.

I've decided to do NROL's FL I as my program for the next three months. I need a change. I feel like a complete slug and totally unworthy of my old programs. It depresses me to look back in my training log and think of all the things I can't do. I've enjoyed reading about this blogger's experience with NROL, as well as this sub-forum at the JP Forums. And since I bought the book back in February 2007 - just because I liked the writing style - I may as well get my money's worth out of it.

Relative? Still in hospital. My mom? Still spending every day at her side. (And I do mean every single day.) It makes me so angry, especially since my mom is not this relative's only living relation. Relative has two financially-stable brothers and two financially-stable children, damn it, and they should be shouldering some of the load rather than just standing back and mouthing platitudes about what an angel my mom is. There's an old Middle Eastern proverb: one parent can take care of ten children, but ten children can't take care of one parent. I think about it a lot these days, usually while stuffing carbs into my mouth.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rusty Bars

Woke up early, went out for breakfast, then went to an interesting class at a local synagogue. Came home, changed clothes and went to the gym I visited the other day. Didn't push it; went slowly and thankfully neither the left shoulder nor the left hip did any objecting. Four sets of squats with ab work in between (10x45lbs, 10x45, 10x60, 10x70), four sets of flat bench presses with ab work in between (10x45, 10x55, 10x60, 10x65), 10 minutes on the rower and 15 minutes on the treadmill. I did something that I never do, which is choose one of the built in programs on the treadmill. I picked a spiky but not insane program. Almost flew off the treadmill at the end because I was distracted by subtitles on one of the tv screens. It was showing De Niro and Gooding Jr. in Men of Honor, which is great to watch if you're feeling whiny when you really have nothing to whine about. I hadn't planned to use the rower and the treadmill, but I just felt like moving more today. I've been indoors so much lately, either with long days at work or just being a homebody.

Gym was quiet. The entire weights area looks like a holdover from the early 70s, down to the exercise posters and ancient Nautilus machines. There was a ton of rust on the bar I was using for squats. I only realized after I was done the squats that the bench press bars were nice and clean. I'm swapping bars next time. The locks didn't fit the bars very well.

I like the cardio area, even though I'm only going to be using the rower, treadmill and upright bike for my intervals. It still has upright bikes and rowers. The brand new gym I visited last week was mostly ellipticals and recumbent bikes. Apparently people find upright bikes too hard now. The other thing I noticed is how little padding the benches in this gym had compared to brand new gym. I think I like these benches better.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Boxing Deprived

Why can I not find a single sports bar in my area showing this boxing ppv? Harrumph. I was looking forward to seeing Barrera's last fight. Nothing against Pacquia0, but I'm sentimentally hoping that Barrera wins this one and then retires on a high note. Looks like I'll be curling up with the aforementioned brain book and following the fight on Bad Left H00k instead. On the positive side, this means I'm not supporting HB0 with my hard-earned money. As far as I know, the sexist twits still have the policy of not showing women's boxing.

Observation: any weekend day in which I get out of bed and am up and about before 6:00am will be a good day. Two reasons: first, my weekday wake up time is 5:45am, so a 6:00am weekend wakeup does not screw up the schedule. Second, because I get a feeling of accomplishment when I look at my watch at 8:00am and can say to myself: I've already done x y and z, it's going to be a great day. X, y and z can be pretty much anything: meal prep, morning walk, returning library books. The important thing is that something got done and finished and I can remove more things from the to-do list.

I looked at yet another gym. No hanging heavy bag, but it has C2 rowers and a cage which - mirabile visu - is NOT in front of a mirror. It also has old but serviceable weights, decent locker rooms and no moronic advertising. I asked the man at the desk if the bars were 45lb bars and how much the dbs increment by, and he turns to the woman beside him and says "I don't think she'll need an orientation". :-) They gave me a one week pass to try it out starting tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

My freezer is stuffed with healthy meals ready to defrost and cook. Feels good. Now let's see if I follow through and actually defrost and cook and eat them.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Talking to the Wall

So I'm on the phone to one of my elderly relatives. (I called him, out of sheer politeness, to see how he was doing. That was my mistake.)

He: Do you still look the same as the last time we saw you?
Me: I have no idea how I looked the last time you saw me.
He: You looked great. Are you still keeping the weight loss?
Me: I exercise, but I don't really pay attention to weight.
He: *silence*

Shortly thereafter during the same phone call.

He: You know who lost 80 lbs?
Me: Who?
He: Joe; isn't that great?
Me: Well, if it makes him happy that's great.
He: He was 360 lbs, he wasn't walking right, that's not healthy. He's going to lose 100lbs.
Me: Well, if it makes him happy that's great.

The thing about talking with elderly relatives is that you can't use profanity. Bah.

Gym Search Continues: Updated

Update: This is Not a Weight Loss Blog, so if you've come here for advice on how to become scrawnier, please go elsewhere. I wanted to make that clear, since I discovered, via my stats, that this post was excerpted in its entirety over at the forums of a web site called The Weigh We Were, which bills itself as a collection of weight loss success stories. I never signed up with this web site nor did I add my blog to their site, and I find it peculiar that they would put my entire post on their forum, stripping the links to Ironmind and the JP Fitness forums in the process. I understand that on the web anyone can link to anything, but grabbing entire posts? Then I did a quick search and discovered they've been doing this quoting of entire posts since September 11. I e-mailed them and asked them to remove these posts. I'll update when and if they get back to me.

Actual post starts here=> Over at IronMind, a report from the recently concluded world weightlifting championships. Check out the lovely pic of American lifter Melanie R0ach, who did better than she did "ten years and three children ago". (Via this thread at the JP Fitness Forums.)

I went on the 24HF website the other day and got a 7 day pass to try out their gym. As soon as I printed it I realized that the pass was only good from 8am to 9pm. So I sent them an e-mail telling them that I signed up for this pass because I wanted a place that would be open outside these hours. To their credit, they e-mailed me back within the hour and called me back within two, telling me that they'd leave the pass for me at the desk and I could come by after 9pm. So I did. The good part is that they have a cage. The bad part is that there are no rowers or a heavy bag, and the in-store advertising is revolting. Not only is there a ton of Biggest L0ser claptrap, but also an annoying "Get to size six sooner" poster. Why the heck would I want to be a size six, sooner, later or ever? Makes me want to take a marker, cross out the words "size six" and insert "weakling" instead. :-) (Which I do not do, of course, because I am a capitalist with a healthy respect for private property.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wow. Again.

Another sweet video (and adorable picture) on Cr0ssFit. What a great mother to daughter example. "Got it from my mama" indeed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Women's Hearts

An informative, readable and valuable post about women and heart attacks by the Ambulance Driver.

Connectionless

My internet connection died last week and the earliest available service appointment was for tomorrow. I must be setting a record for number of technician visits. Back to the coffee shop and its free wireless until things are fixed.

Two 12+ hour work days in a row. However, today was a half day, and there is no more work for the rest of the week due to the Jewish holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Next week is a normal week and I am looking forward to having a week with no holidays. Yes, really. The Jewish month of Tishrei has several holidays and I am feeling a bit holidayed-out.

I'm deciding between staying with Gym One - the membership expires in a month - or going with Gym Three. Gym Three has a squat rack but no cage and no heavy bag. However, the location is superior to Gym One, the locker rooms are very sensibly designed, and the weights area seems woefully underutilized.

My employer has asked me if I'd be willing to go to Israel for ten days in Jan 08. It's going to be a ton of work around the clock for those ten days, but the prospect is appealing, and not just because I'd be in Jerusalem for two or three of these days and might have a chance to visit my old training grounds. (Which would be a huge motivational boost for me right now, and get me to train even on the 12 hour work days.) I've said yes, conditionally, but employer has yet to get back to me on whether those conditions are acceptable to them.

Having finished the Atlas bio, I am reading a book about neuroplasticity: Doidge's The Brain That Changes Itself, recommended by my sister. So far so good.

Interesting reading elsewhere:

Canadian health care on my mind because relative is still in hospital defying the odds.

A mother-daughter hunt.(via TFS Magnum)

A discussion of attitudes towards MMA fighter Gina Caran0 (via Bloody Elbow)