No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Half-@$$ing it

Posted by Ben on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Including a lunch break, I got to spend four hours sitting at the DMV Monday morning to resolve an issue regarding my license plate. What’s that say about my visit that *I* had to take a lunch break? Long, boring story: the DMV sent me a notice back in September about an insurance stop on my vehicle stemming from July, odd since I’ve had my insurance policy for five years with no breaks. I called the DMV at the time, found out what needed to happen to fix the problem (a faxed piece of paper from my insurance company), called my insurance company to let them know, was told the paperwork was processed, and I went about my merry way. This past Saturday night (of course), the girlfriend gets blue-lighted in my truck for having a revoked license plate, which gets confiscated on the spot. Interesting. I got to be one of “those” people by taping a piece of paper in my back window that read “Tag Applied For,” not entirely true but just as effective as “Tag Lost” or actually writing my tag number on the paper. Good times.

The DMV opens at 8am, so I was there a little after that with about fifteen people in line ahead of me, but it moved quickly (I have to say that the DMV itself was pretty great, and rarely after first opening was there a line of more than three people). It took only fifteen minutes of actual paper and computer work to process my stuff at the DMV. The four hours came from waiting on my insurance company to fax a single piece of paper that I was told would take (first call) ten minutes, (second call thirty minutes later) up to an hour, and (third call ninety minutes after the first) “we’ll put a ‘rush’ order on it.” Three hours in, I aksed the service rep if I could go get some food since I’d skipped both breakfast and coffee that morning, not thinking it would be an all-day affair. I left in my tagless vehicle, came back a half-hour later, and played on my BlackBerry for another thirty minutes (no way I would’ve made it that whole time without it) until the rep told me the fax had come through (she was great as well, checking for the fax every ten or fifteen minutes while handling other customers). I walked out with a new license plate and without about thirty bucks.

I’m not entirely sure who dropped the ball back in September, but someone obviously half-assed their job, whether it was my insurance company or the DMV. I’m sure my insurance company sends their faxes out through a processing facility as some sort of cost-cutting measure, but four hours for a piece of paper? Really? Come to find out some other insurance company had claimed me and then dropped me (both without my knowledge), which flagged my plates with the DMV and started this whole mess. Still, it could’ve been worse.

As another example of half-assing, someone at one of the forums I frequent recently posted this little gem of a video. Trust me, all the cracks about seizures and air-humping and douchebaggery ensued. Kinda kills any faith you had in Guinness records, no? I’m just waiting for Gentilcore to get hold of it and make some kind of “he accidently the whole thing” remark. Even to the completely untrained eye, this has to look incorrect (the “record,” not the “accidentally” thing), yet the guy doing, well, whatever he was doing seemed proud of his, um, accomplishment. I’m sure his parents were, too. What, no “I’d like to thank…” speech?

It’s easy to point out when other people half-ass their work, whether in the gym, in the kitchen, or in general life, but what about ourselves? It IS Thanksgiving season, after all—no, Christmas season doesn’t start until the Friday after Thanksgiving, so for all of you all giggity-goo over trees and presents and radio stations already going to an all-Christmas format, get over yourself. Been feasting a little early? Maybe skipping proper warm-ups? Stretching? Sleeping? Not setting your scapulae properly in your lifts? *raises hand on that last one* It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus, this time of year for sure, but also any other time for a variety of reasons (puppies come with long-term exercise plans). The next six weeks will be tough on your will power, but don’t half-ass it. This time of year always invokes thoughts of Bob. Don’t be Bob.


Traffic and content note: The link on Mark’s Daily Apple sent my site traffic through the roof, up nearly fifteen-fold for a couple days before returning to somewhere near sanity, so thanks to those thirty or so readers from the weekend ;) Since the blog relating health and finances got some attention, I’m going to add a section to the links called “fiscal fitness,” which will focus on financial issues related to healthy living, primarily how to save money while keeping fit (may be a tad sparse at first), though I’ll probably tend to throw some of these in with the other categories sometimes (this category will likely include stupid trainer stories since hiring an ignorant trainer is a HYOOGE waste of money).


Body bits: learn to deadlift, save your wrists, your back during the squat, the importance of the rotator cuff, more from Keith on “frozen” shoulders, think twice about running winter races (maybe just try running like a kid), something old and new from Mike, more on unrealistic body image, Tony succumbs to his manhood every now and then (but manages to save himself), NFL combines are poor standards for fitness, wants versus needs.

Edibles: mmm… olives and other goodies, how to make dried fruit, pain in the grain, Trader Joe’s = awesome, immortal hamburgers, make cake in a coffee mug, the energy scam, the acai berry scam, how families approach food, calories should be counted like pounds, a birthday in canning, Paul recommends a book, post-workout fasting, food companies make false claims (gosh, no, really? shocking), Dr. Eades lays into the government’s new nutritional standards board (I have some amateur experience at this).

Mind matters: mental tug-of-war inside the womb, “Mirror’s Edge” hacks proprioception, driving therapy (I can attest to this big time).

Kiddie corner: three keys to youth athletics, more women giving birth at home, a wake-up call to parents (and another), a missing link in proper education, antipsychotics get a bad rap (the hell you say).

Fiscal fitness: words fail me (because I’m still laughing), South Korea is latest medical tourism destination, more illnesses untreated due to costs, skip buying gingko biloba (but maybe spring for grass with help from Google and Uncle Sam), seeing the doctor online (for real), what happy people DON’T do (hint: we’ve discussed this before).

General health: an excellent Q&A from Dr. Eades, the role of fitness in healthcare, primal versus paleo, GP versus specialist, correlation versus causation (again), more statin insanity (from Mark, from Mike, from NYTimes), headphones and heart devices don’t mix, more on Google tracking epidemiology (’s take), bone marrow may battle AIDS, nanomaterials are safe (though we don’t know much about them *rolls eyes*), more bad news for plastics, beware those off-label pills, President-elect as fitness role model, more evidence for a link between waist size and death risk, time change can put you at risk (aside from being unnecessary and completely annoying).

—Transportation: smaller auto show still looking ahead, speed limit inanity, how the Volt will save GM (because this ain’t the way to go), Dodge EV race possibly fixed, Toyota struggling, BMW’s expensive EV, Honda’s EVs are looking better, Lincoln stuck in the 1980s, VW’s diesel in the desert, Japanese minicars (with help from Nissan), some rare but hopefully good news for Detroit, tricks for Tesla, ten coolest Bond cars, Pentagon clears flying-car project, biofuel startup bucks economy, speed dummies not in a patrol car, a 140mpg hybrid scooter, stoplight gadget for two-wheelers, solar hybrid yacht, the yummy spaghetti that is Tokyo rail, nuts and bolts hampering Boeing, Airbus uses its inside voice, plugging boarding-pass loopholes.
—Tech stuff: Ushahidi launches in the Congo, ten reasons iTunes sucks, why the iPhone barely beats a rock (another reason), relief from a BlackBerry, Flash decaffing Java, Gates chases Jobs for “big brother” status (at least you won’t get sick *snicker*), a pictorial history of Windows, how to recover your Google account or switch altogether (with video chat), OpenID confuses users, some pros and cons of Guitar Hero World Tour, Honda’s robo-legs (Joe wants this used for Olympic powerlifting), solar-powered ice maker, gadgets that Minority Report got right, gadgets the cell phone killed (and here), firefighting with Web 2.0, YouTube goes to boot camp (but without geotags, I’m sure), classic instruction manuals (here and here), secret rocket balls, neighborly WiFi, recession drives green electronics, protective directed energy, USB 3.0 screams, petaflop this, space station recycles urine, RIP Phoenix (’s take), and why is the NYTimes website blank in Opera but fine in IE and FF (yes, this one’s for me)?
—Nature: dark matter found (maybe), Census of Marine Life progress, genome hacking could resurrect woolly mammoth (did no one else read Jurassic Park?), lawnmowing with goats, shockwaves plant planets (like these and these), sonar legally more important than whales, coal-fired power plants thrown in limbo (but definitely more expensive), our ancestors’ brains may’ve been bigger than our own, ten great animal videos, magnetars are a little less weird.
—Miscellaneous: happy belated anniversaries (Times Square zipper, steel, a still-standing video game record, transfusions, standardized time), the science of scent, Oxford’s annoying sayings, clothes linked to your Facebook etc, “instant survival” inflatable house, “School of Rock” meets Harvard, remembering Michael Crichton (here and here), how science is like democracy, weirdest POOP sent to Wired, Bear Grylls is good TV (yes, I just said that), LEGO can’t copyright in Europe, Wired’s best headlines (NSFW), best fictional doomsday devices, Bond villain lairs, rare microphotography resurfaces, the Clock of the Long Now.

Git r dun:
—Do what works for you, not for someone else (and don’t disparage others for not seeing things your way all the time).
—Thoughts on being the best.
—Do you need a push, a pull, or a nudge?
—Achieving your goals and success, Fass-style.
—Finding inspiration from others.
—The Charter for Compassion.
—Shaking hands with the devil (not really a motivator, more just a good story).
—Don’t believe in maintenance.
—Strategy trumps brute strength.
—F*** you, cancer (Andrew answers).


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