No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Festivus for the rest of us

Posted by Ben on Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Even though I’m not a fan of Seinfeld, I can’t deny its influence on popular culture, including the advent (and semi-underground cult following) of the Festivus “holiday.” Since I missed the one day around this time of year that I actually do tend to recognize—the winter solstice—and since it’s not quite New Year’s yet, let me extend to you a happy Festivus. I don’t have a whole lot to say this time except to say that no matter what you do or how you do it around this time of year, do it your way, and enjoy it. For me, that means a budding tradition of hitting a Chinese buffet and a movie on Christmas Day (I could be an honorary Jew, I suppose), though I’m not impressed with the cinematic offerings that are supposed to be in theaters. Hopefully I’ll stumble into something that’s not just horrible.

I’m kinda looking forward to the inevitable glut of people at the gym in the coming weeks, though only if they come in as I’m leaving or vice versa. In my own training, I’m approaching week three of, well, nothing, though I did put together a program skeleton the other day that I think will continue the conditioning work I’ve been doing since May while re-incorporating a pure strength component, all while addressing re-emerging posture issues. Speaking of which, my shoulder impingement is almost completely gone thanks to all the rest, and I’ve taken this time off as an opportunity to gain a little weight that I lost early last month around vacation time and for some reason just could not get back, which I’m fairly confident contributed to my lackluster training performance over the past month or so. I know, I know, eat more, plain and simple—I just needed more calories—but for some reason, I couldn’t do it without feeling like mush, so I’ve replenished the stores, so to speak, and I feel a lot better for it. I’ve also gotten much better sleep of late as the puppies continue adapting to a semi-normal sleeping, eating, and relieving schedule (one more got a new home Sunday afternoon, so only three pups and one adult dog left to re-home). I will say that despite having not trained in a couple weeks, my days have still felt very full with work, household chores, errands, dogs, and so on and so forth, and though I know I’m not—and don’t intend to become—a parent, I feel like a got just a hint of a taste of what a lot of parents’ days are like, so I’ll be putting together a post about how to do just the tiniest things day-to-day to keep your physical and mental states in check without sacrificing your health. Parents: I don’t envy you :)

Stuff for the season (think after-holiday sales): Christmas trees in space (and the earthbound variety), Mark’s gift goodies (and a Primal Blueprint preview), stuff Tony likes, Andrew’s take, Polar’s latest HRM offering, SanDisk pummels iPod, this is a teapot, some gifts for gearheads, a fashionable bicycle helmet, a Charlie Brown Christmas sequel(?!?!?!), the evolution of Santa, give yourself the gift of fitness (with a side of accountability), NYT diet book suggestions (you probably DON’T want these).

Body bits: a few movement modifications for the overhead athlete, a look at body image training, “sports massage” growing (*pssst* it’s really active release and trigger point therapy, which is awesome), isometrics for the frequent flyer, cold-weather GPP, dealing with shin splints (or you could spend more time barefooted), antagonist stretching (not a literary tool).

Edibles: pairing cheeses and libations, cold-weather snack suggestion (I am SO there), uses for almond meal, more on why fruit juice sucks, love/hate for broccoli, two new sweeteners approved, a couple flavor boosters, diabetic diet recommendations may need tweaking (no s***).

Mind matters: workplace gyms lift mood, the courtship and marriage of obesity, the price tag of happiness, remaining true while creating something new.

Kiddie corner: why kids’ birth months affect athletic prospects, obesity signs before grade school, robotic babysitters, more sleep helps car insurance rates (duh).

Fiscal fitness: government banking on “sin taxes,” OMG cheap fitness!

General health: top health officials stepping down, more muscle mass improves cancer recovery, the science behind “fifth taste,” pain worse if it seems intentional, lemurs may hold clue to AIDS cure, DSM getting a fifth edition, pharmaceutical cosmetics (hide your daughters), pot potency climbs, a vagina is not a clown car.

Geek-out:
—Transportation: a solar Prius, Volt engine factory on hold, if Apple designed a car, Hurst takes on Viper, 1100-hp supercar, ten cars on some wish lists, human fat as fuel(?), eleven years of the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, a case for increasing the gas tax, Carolinas’ Amtrak service booming, WhiteKnightTwo makes successful test flight.
—Tech stuff: world’s first computer rebuilt, Altair anniversary, Apple ditching Macworld (too trendy but Jobs to still give keynotes), Google shutters science data services, more troubles for Middle Eastern Internet, mobile-friendly Wikipedia, mobile search wars, mobile app store wars, device disables drivers’ cell phones, cell phones used at third-world tricorder, electric grid could handle more renewable energy, NYC’s LED street lamps, tracking molecules’ movement.
—Nature: free-range chimp research, middle-latitude wave heights increasing, coal more emissive than oil (why it may not matter), earthquake in Dixie, live magma observatory (oops), HD look at volcanoes, new light on dark energy, USGS planetary maps, life in Martian caves, Jupiter moon hints at giant’s composition, Saturn moon life-friendly, water in a galaxy far far away.
—Miscellaneous: Aztec calendar stone, newsworthy name of the year, one shot at infrastructure spending, a happier date for the WTC, Mailman Steve’s fight against junk mail, why things sync up.

Git r dun:
—A world-record deadlift.
—Eight “ah-HA!” moments.
—The human machine.
—Life lessons from The Karate Kid.
—Real-life Rocky montage.

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