No Magic Pill

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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

The shave IS the haircut

Posted by Ben on Sunday, June 14, 2009

It’s done. The only visible hairs on my head are my brows and lashes. Before getting to the pictures, I’d like to thank everyone who donated, attended, and/or just spread the word. A little over a month ago, a couple guys were being guys (online, but that’s beside the point), and in the end, $225 went to the Komen Foundation (I’ll keep the fund page active for awhile so Jay’s pictures can be seen).

So far (a day), so good with no hair, and oddly enough, I kind of like the look and feel (more research needed, especially when working out and/or out in the sun for extended periods of time). If I decided to keep this look, I’ll invest in a HeadBlade, but I want to give this a couple weeks before making that call. For now, it’s very stubbly and feels like chapped skin, which I assume will go away the longer I’m bald and applying lotion. I will say that I like the thought of saving around $150 per year on haircuts.

Lastly, I put together a quick-and-dirty compilation of the videos taken, but it blows away YouTube’s size limits (that’s what she said), so I’ll be doing more editing and hopefully get it uploaded tomorrow, after which I’ll embed it at the bottom of this post.

Now, without (even) further ado…

And as promised, here’s the video (finally):

Still not as cool as this guy (NSFW language), but close.


Posted in Events, Issues | 4 Comments »

Posted by Ben on Sunday, February 15, 2009

It’s being launched March 1. Leigh Peele is behind it. This should be all you need to know to flood that site in a couple weeks. Don’t make me come after you.

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Year in review?

Posted by Ben on Friday, December 26, 2008

Before you groan and click past this, be aware that this is not a resolutions post, nor is it a BS plus-delta analysis. I’m not doing a top-whatever list like everyone else in the world, nor am I doing a best this, that, or the other of this or next year thing. Sure, those are fun reads but ultimately worthless, unlike a forthcoming “littlest things” blog (sometime semi-soon, I promise—funny thing about writing about time management is finding the time to do it).

Many people, though, do use this time of year to take stock of the past twelve months, noting successes and failures, and to decide if anything needs changing, whether that’s physique, work goals, family priorities, and so on. The new year is a convenient reminder for retrospect, introspect, and prospect. After all, everyone over the age of fifty is likely going out to buy a new wall calendar this week. Not to rag on seniors, but they do tend to watch the calender a little more closely than the rest of us, which is understandable. However, isn’t it a little ironic that we still use the turning of the year to make resolutions and such? In this day and age of six- and seven-day work weeks, twenty-four hour customer “service” (if someone real and in this country actually answers the phone), three months of hype for Christmas—hell, two YEARS of hype for the election cycle—why do so many still cling to just this one time of year for a sense of rebirth, renewal, and rededication to goals and opportunities that should be year-round pursuits?

If you’re one for tradition, it’s easy to think back to where you were and what you were doing about this time last year. For me, Christmas was spent with a friend at a Chinese buffet and at a movie. New Year’s was spent out at a club with a large handful of friends. I was wrapping up a run-through of Core Performance, which was a full-body progression from my hamstring rehab. As I was getting the injury back to full repair, I wanted to get it back to full strength and more, so I decided to follow a pure strength program (one of three tracks in that book) for the next four months or so, after which I really tried to open up my training possibilities to include mostly bodyweight and conditioning work—now I’m getting ahead of myself. The point I’m trying to make is, do you remember a particular goal you made for yourself at some point—it has to be something long-term—and can you think of where you were in the pursuit of that goal, say, in March? August? November?

One of my goals was to work on a strength and conditioning certification. From June until sometime in the fall, I studied my tail off, only to realize some of the non-training elements of potential jobs (and more recently some of the shoddy material being published by the organization offering my certification), so I lost steam for working toward a standardized, outdated exam and decided to continue my own casual, more timely and relevant research with maybe some other letters in mind. Another goal was to continue paying down the credit card debt accumulated over the first few years of life after college (yeah, not IN college, AFTER college), and in that regard, I’ve been wholly successful, trimming the budget a little more here and there while getting three of my four cards to below half of their balances, a key tipping point in credit scores and mortgage financing, leading to hopefully buying a house by mid-summer this coming year, especially since there won’t be a market better than this one in my lifetime, most likely.

Of note, though, is that these goals weren’t thought up, mapped out, or pursued at the turn of the year. They simply coincided with my physical and financial conditions, and I decided to take advantage of them as they were presented, not with a new calendar. I’m sure you’ve done the same during your life—sure, there are New Year’s babies (both born and conceived), but people have birthdays throughout the year. I’m guessing you didn’t buy that car just because the year turned over, and I’m pretty sure you didn’t tell your boss you’d rather wait on that raise and/or promotion until the fiscal year ended just so you could help out the books and be able to remember the moment a little easier. At the same time, those emergencies and tragedies in life aren’t so kind as to wait for a certain time of year, are they? So why do so many people do that with their health? Let me put it this way: I’m avoiding my gym at all costs until at least Valentine’s Day and will be working out elsewhere, either at home, at a park, or at a track. I figure that’ll be about how long the most stalwart resolutioners will make it before crapping out and complaining that it’s too hard or there’s no time or their genetics won’t let them make any improvements. The sidewalks will be teeming with new jogging suits, new running shoes, and new iPods *shudder* for a few weeks. Indeed, it’s better than nothing, but the problem is that ninety-nine percent of all this activity is done out of a sense of external obligation. A friend or family member wants company and shared agony, whether they are the asker or the askee, so someone else figures, why not? A week or a month goes by, excuses are made, meeting times missed, and the asker loses motivation because the other person isn’t there to push them—waaaaaaaaaaait a minute. See what I did there?

The motivation, the strength, the drive must come from inside. It has to be a resolution based on a changed mindset, not based on the time of year. I say this because it happened to me, way back when. I grew up as the fat kid to fat parents, and every year, my mother would bring in something around Christmas: a cross-country emulator, a treadmill, a universal gym machine, and so on. About the only thing that got/gets used with any regularity is the treadmill, and that’s for my grandmother’s at-home physical therapy. My brother used the gym machine for awhile but outgrew it. I don’t remember what else there was, but there was always something, and obviously, none of that stuff worked—I was still a fat bastard going into high school.

Conversely, scholastic wrestling season runs from November to March—you can’t wait for the new year to get yourself on track because by then, a good chunk of the season is over, and you’re likely an alternate instead of a starter, so I didn’t have a choice. Later, after three years of inactivity in college, I was tired of, well, being tired and pudgy (again). A classmate mentioned he needed a gym partner, and since he’d used free weights while I hadn’t, I figured it was as good a time as any to learn—that was in August 2000. I remember the month and year not because of a calendar change, but because of a life change. I remember September 2005 not because of a calendar change, but because it was the start of a nearly year-long depression for various reasons (in retrospect, it was a good thing to have happened; it just sucked going through it). I remember June 2008 not because of a calendar change, but because of a mental shift in my approach to training, from to-the-letter cookie-cutter programs to adopting and adapting and audibling (that would be the progressive form of the verb “audible” :D) on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis depending on my physical and mental conditions.

I certainly hope you and yours have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009, but when it comes to the health part, you have a convenient reason to get started right now, but please make sure you do it for the right reasons and with a sense of progression. Ease into it. Sure, enthusiasm is high now, but don’t blow your wad for three weeks and crash. Instead, take that energy and focus it into some research and make a viable plan in the gym and in the kitchen—something you can EASILY maintain—that will let you make tweaks and adaptations over the course of a few months, a year, and more. Then, follow the plan, but don’t get discouraged if you hit some bumps along the way. Everyone does—I haven’t fully trained for three weeks as of this writing because of needing to rest and rehab a shoulder impingement. That doesn’t mean I’m not itching to get back on track, but I’m having to step back and re-evaluate my training modes to where I can sustain a consistent, progressive effort (disregard the movement protocols) for more than six months (my current “best”). Ultimately, I want something that can ebb and flow as needed but won’t completely change, and I want it sustainable for, say, a year or two or four or forever. I hear mimicking child’s play is a step in the right direction, and I have a couple dogs who need running around. Hmmm…

Holiday hangover: the power of holiday tradition, stay within dietary striking distance (aka surviving and staying active), six pieces of pie, Christmas and a question, Archway cookies coming back (and a bun in the oven to justify consumption), forty years after Apollo 8.

Body bits: lifelong moderate activity promotes youthfulness, exercise-induced nausea (it’s okay on occasion).

Edibles: some “greens” recommendations (I’m trying the Trader Joe’s brand—$11!—right now), the story behind General Tso (of chicken fame).

Mind matters: yoga as anger management.

Kiddie corner: no links this time—just tell them to go run around outside and leave the video games for after sundown :)

Fiscal fitness: as if we need any reminders after breaking the bank the past few weeks.

General health: the importance of crunching your health numbers, exercising through illness, three reasons to sleep late (and why you should probably sleep more anyway), why early detection is the best way to beat cancer, caffeine affects men more than women, BPA saga continues.

—Transportation: Toyota quietly going electric.
—Tech stuff: Blackberry’s song-on-the-radio finder, broadband stimulus needs data, 3D-ready HDTV, Milwaukee M-Spector camera.
—Nature: USB device monitors soil conditions, saving The Netherlands, US’s first hydrokinetic turbine installed, smart plug monitors electricity use, interstate smog rules back in effect, ocean pharmacy, cousins biologically okay to marry.
—Miscellaneous: recharging US scientific research, how to fold an origami Millennium Falcon (you’re welcome), Disneyland for dudes.

Git r dun:
—I think my closing paragraph was pretty good this time :)

Posted in Events, General, Motivation | Leave a Comment »

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.

—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.

Posted in Events, General | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Ben on Thursday, December 4, 2008

No, I still haven’t shaved yet. In the back of my mind, I’m toying with letting the whole mess grow out until I get all these puppies adopted since I started the Movember thing right around the time all the pups came into my life (three black chows left and only three weeks until Christmas *wink*), even though someone already said I have a caveman look going on as it is:

I’m thinking more toward a little hair coloring, a cool hat, some sunglasses…

It’s oddly no small coincidence that I just happened to think of the above picture. From my training log this morning:

So I finally decided to embrace a weird correlation I’ve been tinkering with over the past couple months. I’ve noticed that on days when I absolutely cannot get in sync playing Guitar Hero, I really shouldn’t be lifting. For some reason, there are days when my hand-eye coordination just isn’t there, and no matter how easy a song I try to play, I just can’t get it. Those are the days I feel the worst and am therefore very iffy on working out–if I can’t get my fine motor skills to match up with some pretty buttons on a TV screen, how in the world am I supposed to safely complete Olympic and other ballistic lifts? Conversely, on days when I’m nailing the harder songs, I feel better in general (both before and after playing, so it’s not a cause-and-effect, just a correlation) and specifically toward being able to safely lift with maximal intensity.

Weird? Yes. Working? So far.

So, there it is. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m guessing it’s a good indicator of how my brain is functioning—if I can’t get through “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn,” forget it; if I can hit 90% or better on, say, “Rooftops,” then I’m good to go; if I get through any Tool song on “hard” without getting booed off the stage, I’d better be hitting personal records :)

This post from Brad got me thinking about how businesses coordinate their locations. Next time you’re out running errands, take a look at the niche/franchise gyms and weight-loss centers embedded in strip malls and note who their neighbors are. I remember noticing this back near my first post-college gym (in Concord, NC, for those of you in the area). My gym itself was a stand-alone building, but across the parking lot was a pizza place. The drive to and from the gym took me by a weight-loss center seated adjacent to a sandwich place. Is it any small wonder that my current gym (same as the first gym, just a different location) has pizza parties and buffalo wing get-togethers? In the freaking lobby, no less, so EVERYone has to pass through the aroma (now that I think about it, that first gym did that, too—bastards). To hell with people getting healthier—let’s make some money!

A couple things before the links:
—Lyle McDonald has a revamped website but the same kick-ass content. Go there.
—America’s Hat is now letting fatties fly free (well, sort of, based on body volume). Hey, whatever, but ever since I was sandwiched between two mammoths on a flight from Baltimore to Buffalo (coincidence?) several years ago and practically breathing through a straw poked through the sliver of daylight creeping from between the straining lap belt extenders (the only airspace not consumed by blubber), I have no sympathy. I happen to overhang the armrest on most economy-class seats—at my shoulders—yet I can’t say anything about having no elbow room since my hips fit, but if I happened to have a bulbous ass that spills over the armrests into another seat like an over-yeasted loaf of bread baking, I can get cheaper airfare per cubic inch of human mass? I think Michelle needs to comment.
—My Hurricanes fired highly successful (as in won the Stanley Cup) head coach Peter Laviolette this week and hired back former yet also successful head coach Paul Maurice. Huh? The ‘Canes are (barely) above .500 only a couple dozen games into the season, and it’s panic time? This makes about as much sense as the Bobcats hiring Ben Stein—er, Larry Brown. I won’t be surprised if the results are similar.

Thanksgiving leftovers: food fights, leftovers recipes, fourteen reasons to be thankful, in defense of holiday gluttony, in defense of holiday restraint, visual turkeys of 2008, how some spent the morning (I was at the track running with one of my dogs), tips for recovery.

Body bits: keeping workouts short and sweet, fixing your lunge, Mark goes clubbing (talk about primal), two big mistakes, some lower-back pain relief and exercise, corrective exercise defined, proper physioball sizes, body composition defined.

Edibles: Brian’s five for now, “bioengineered” sounds better than “genetically modified” (peanuts still resist), Dr. Eades goes nuts in his photo food diary (here, here, here, and here), milk as a sports drink, health halo paradox (Andrew’s take), organic people, Tony <3 protein powder (and Lyle), eating to beat stress (not), Mark takes on cowpooling (I’m still looking for Charlotte-area people interested in this!).

Mind matters: the business of happiness, the coming neurological epidemic, mental disorders rampant in young adults (this is called “growing up,” ya pricks), body swapping therapy, owning another body, mechanisms of personal perception and identification.

Kiddie corner: early fitness supports lifetime fitness, sports gene testing *face palm* (Ross’ take), training the baseball catcher, pre-natal exercise may reduce epidural need, labor envy (not me), ignorance is bliss for the FDA and the lame-duck President, media (over)use impacts health, pop music trumping lullabies, exercise clothing during pregnancy, parental benefits of an empty nest.

Fiscal fitness: have sex to save money (just remember: kids are expensive), Big Pharma accused of delaying generics, money-saving video games, more people turning to the fitness industry (read: check those credentials thoroughly).

General health: America’s health faces downfall, avoiding exercise immediately before blood work, no-smoke no problem for Big Tobacco, drug samples being bypassed, clinic discloses drug maker ties, medical manners, yes for heroin but no for weed (odd).

—Transportation: EV cycle that won’t get you splatted, first new Lotus in thirteen years, Wheego $19K EV, get your BMW Mini-E EV (if you can), hot rodding hybrids, Detroit downsizing, self-driving scarab, Fisker’s Karma comes around, Boeing’s hydrogen future.
—Tech stuff: nuclear anniversaries, Wiimote musical hack, accidentally awesome cameras, batteries may give way to fuel cells (what could possibly go wrong?), JFK’s magic bullet gets funding, terror tech advances, cell phones as terrorism threat, World Wide Web safer (for now), the trouble with social advertising, surgery-by-text, Facebook for the filthy rich, Logitech makes one-billionth mouse, what NASA has done for you, a decade of the ISS (pictures).
—Nature: the world’s biggest trees, hacking salmons’ mental compass, creative green ideas, our solar submarine, key life-building molecule found, supernova re-run.
—Miscellaneous: prehistoric wound dressing, geeked-out hotels, Canadian diamond rush, the age of big ideas, comic books to save science education, Second Life possibilities, copper theft threatens infrastructure.

Git r dun:
—A strong body is a body in its natural state.
—“Genetics” is just another excuse.
—Firsthand transformation.
—A soldier who refused to torture.
—Knowing isn’t necessarily doing.
—Leave your comfort zone.
—Six keys to killer workouts.

Posted in Events, General, Rants | Leave a Comment »

Movember final product

Posted by Ben on Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yikes. Well, there it is, untouched for just over a month with the exception of some plucking here and there to keep it semi-even (my right side grows a bit more liberally than my left). I don’t know, though—I’ve kind of gotten used to it, but I still don’t like the length. At any rate, people were kind enough to donate a total of $65 on my behalf. Not bad for having no fundraising goal at all. How cool is that? :)

I’ll trim and shave and shape and see what happens in a couple days—no, it didn’t get done today since it was a busy day of the gym, washing all the dogs, getting another pup adopted out (man, the two yesterday were HARD to give up, but there are still three black chow pups available), and otherwise making it through on some iffy sleep. My “weekend” is over now, so since I’ll be back at work for my usual week, I can actually get some stuff caught up on here.

Posted in Events, Issues | 1 Comment »

2009 JP Fitness Summit announced

Posted by Ben on Monday, December 1, 2008

Summit website
Dates: May 15-17, 2009 (actual workshops on May 18)
Place: Kansas City, MO (NOT Little Rock, AR, as in previous years)
Cost: $200 registration plus hotel, food, etc

Major props to the organizers for getting this planned and announced so early this year. If you’ve been to a JPF Summit before, you know what a great time it is, both formally and informally. If you haven’t, it’s a great time, both formally and informally :) The cost is a bargain considering the amount of information you’ll be getting, and that’s without considering the social and networking benefits that come with attendance. If you’re interested in going, please read through the entire website first (there are some specific instructions on hotel arrangements).

Movember update: Yes, I know it’s now December, and I still haven’t posted my final pictures. If all goes well, I hope to get the shaving and shooting (and posting) done tomorrow, but it will definitely be this week sometime.

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Mmmm… turkey…

Posted by Ben on Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well, at least for most people. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of turkey only because of how dry it’s always been with one glaring exception: fried turkey. Oh man, is that stuff good or what? A couple years ago when I was more involved in the audio production side of things at the radio station, I helped produce a cooking show, and as a happy consequence, I was in the studio when guest chefs would come in with samples and wines and such. Needless to say, I always enjoyed working weekends (and I built a sizable wine collection that I eventually gifted out one bottle at a time). One guest chef was Rick Browne, author of Barbecue America and other books, was one of the early regulars (not so much anymore), but he introduced me to fried turkey (I realized later that even earlier when I was working in another department at the station, I’d been at one of his promotional events out in town where I’d had my first taste of fried sirloin *drool*). I wasn’t a fan of regular, smoked turkey before, but after fried turkey, there was just no going back. I highly recommend investing in a deep fryer (I’ll be getting my own, with a lot of other things, when I get my own house).

Regardless of your preference of food, it’s Thanksgiving, which as I’ve mentioned before means a boatload of food for most people in this country (not a huge divergence from the norm, but I digress). Frankly, I’m feeling lazy today (anyone want a puppy?), so I won’t go on another diatribe about the problem of overindulgence or any number of other things. Instead, I’ll just say enjoy the day as you see fit, whether it’s with family, at work, going for a run, eating and watching football all day, or whatever else. If you ascribe to a spiritual or religious doctrine, be sure to take care of those obligations as well. For me, I’ll be taking care of puppies, getting in a long-overdue sprint session at the track, doing a short shift at the station, avoiding my family (trust me, it’s best for everyone), and otherwise—well, there is no otherwise. I’m sure puppies will be taking up the free time, which is fine. They’re a lot of fun, growing like weeds, have great personalities, but still need good homes, so if you or anyone you know within, say, an hour or three of Charlotte is interested, feel free to drop me a line. At any rate, I know I’ll get some extra satisfaction from my track session after reading this today. Yeah, I complain and gripe about strains and sprains and imbalances and trigger points and such, but that story sort of puts things in perspective.

Before I get to the links, I wanted to quickly mention a couple random things:

—I’m officially in the market for a bicycle since the girl got a nursing job with some oddball hours (it’s only a mile each from my place to the gym and the station). I’ll be hitting a local bike shop in the next couple weeks to get fitted (goodness knows I don’t need an ill-fitting bike to cause or exacerbate problems). I’m leaning toward a mountain bike frame with hybrid tires (smooth centerline, knobby edges) since most of my time will be on pavement, but I’d like the option of semi-safe off-road capabilities.
—Tony pointed me to this newfound nutrition-focused blog.
—Yesterday, I started reading The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, partly on the recommendation of a friend who’s also helped me through some of my more debilitating myofascial issues, partly because of those issues themselves (mainly hip and shoulder issues). So far, so good, though some of it still seems a bit quacky for all the ailments that trigger point therapy MAY alleviate, but when it comes to direct soft tissue issues and correction, I’m a big fan. I’ll toss out a review whenever I finish, which will likely be awhile since I’m also thoroughly intimidated by—and therefore temporarily avoiding—the other book that came: House of Leaves.
—Just an FYI:

Body bits: traditional versus functional training (the latter seems to correlate to fitness), help for your deadlift and rack position, stayability versus stability, definitive defiance of “instability” training, fixing your force couples, bicycling in the snow, walking tall (bit late to the party, eh?), a couple body-related bits from Eric (yes, I promise they’re buried in there somewhere), Keith’s WTF contribution, improving movement, two classic must-reads for coaches and trainers.

Edibles: HCFS junk-mails Dr. Eades, Mark tackles bake sales (“C” is still for cookie, dadgummit!), quality trumps quantity, one little Coke (Dr. Pepper, in this case) won’t hurt (note: if you don’t want yours, I <3 Diet Dr. Pepper, kthxbai), kitchen tech, humane foie gras, supplement suggestions, “protein makes you fat” and other gems from Tony, confessions of a food pr0n addict.

Mind matters: don’t let your mind hold you back, nap time, trusted news sources speak volumes about the public, Microsoft examines cyberchondria (Andrew’s take), optical illusions due to eye flicker, could “Truman syndrome” be the height of egocentrism?

Kiddie corner: youth largely unaware of junk food impacts, Nate Green’s first offering (for adolescents and older) is top-notch.

Fiscal fitness: think twice about giving the gift of fitness, hard-times home cooking, elderly foregoing assisted living, turning to inventiveness, South Carolina a leader in balancing budgets (USC saves, less PSA spending, mayors don’t want the Feds, painful but necessary trimming), Atlas Shrugged for the current economy.

General health: drug company round-up (cooking the books, prescription data off-limits, journalism conflicts of interest), fitness tips for differing lifestyles, home repair and fitness, new possible biomarker for heart failure, Americans likely sicker than they think, miscellany from Andrew, metabolism’s dirty little secret, insurance may cover medical tourism, forty years since Love Canal, the newest dope in sports, bad boss –> bad heart, stomach chemical linked to bone formation, your new secretary of Health and Human Services (and the possibility of federally-funded stem cell research), why are drugs ALWAYS the ONLY answer?????

—Transportation: 105 years of the electric starter, vintage iron rules LA Auto Show, Hyundai tries a different battery, diesel is the greenest, a green flying car, Mitsubishi’s EV, Fisker hybrid to use GM engine, Bentley mocks recession, Porsche dilutes the brand, ten cars that mock fuel economy, a top-ten list of songs about cars.
—Tech stuff: the next cryptography battle, turn a scanner into a camera (sort of), Mac virus targets the stupid, touchscreen sketchpad, pushing Microsoft back into startup mode, old-fashioned sleuthing goes high-tech, seeing the previously unseen, Wall-E tech inspired by reality, next-gen ejector seat, graveyard solar farms, a brief history of light, nuclear waste to create universes?
—Nature: ten great biology videos, Moby Dick‘s inspiration anniversary, fish are friends, Mars may yet hold water, teenaged galaxies, quasars hamper young galaxies, Hubble snaps mammoth stars, pondering the design of the universe.
—Miscellaneous: the creatures that ate Hollywood, not sure how I feel about the new Star Trek prequel, ten unconventional holiday movies (along with Colbert Christmas), eco-disaster movies coming, guilt-inducing video games, Random House embraces e-books, physics micro versus macro, futurist ups and downs, the power of words.

Git r dun:
—Some perspective on progression.
—The 10,000 hour rule.
—Reaching a goal doesn’t mean the end of the road.
—Difficult-difficult, difficult-easy.

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Let the comparisons begin

Posted by Ben on Saturday, November 22, 2008

Okay, it’s time to start naming the beard’s look-alike. I think I’ve outgrown the Robert Urich likeness (gotten that since I was sixteen, so who knows).

Took this just after 7am this morning while at the station, so you get the early-morning STFU look as a freebie.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, this thing is… well… I’ll just say I don’t know how people do it permanently. I’ve curtailed my beer consumption since I don’t want to waste any getting lost in the whiskers (at least until I remember to get some straws at the next fast food joint I visit *snicker*). I never realized how unevenly my facial hair grows. It’d take a couple months of steady growth and grooming to get it all to even out, and while it’d work well for the grizzled biker look, I think I prefer a more aerodynamic look. At any rate, I’m thinking I’ll just grow it out completely, then take a couple pictures as I experiment with looks while trimming and shaving it down at the end of the month (unless I’m used to it by then).

This is going to be interesting sitting through Thanksgiving lunch with the girlfriend’s family with this thing. I just hope I don’t lose any turkey in there—well, unless it’ll keep until later. Ya know, now that I think about it, I get to wear this thing through the girlfriend’s birthday night out tonight (dinner, dueling piano bar, etc). Shirt, tie, scrub, awesome. I can’t decide if I want to go ahead and attempt grooming it down or just letting it poof as-is. Probably the latter. I’m feeling lazy today, and I’m sure any pictures from tonight will be roundly mocked regardless of facial hair :)

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Who wants a puppy?

Posted by Ben on Saturday, November 15, 2008

This isn’t going to be a normal blog from me. Long story short, yesterday I came into possession of a litter of nine puppies who were staying out in the weather, which has turned rainy the past couple days and looks to get below freezing through next weekend.



Black – Moe (smaller girl), Larry (boy), Curly (bigger girl); white – Wilbur (runt boy), Rascal (bigger boy); brown – Tinny (darker-faced boy), Zorro (lighter-faced boy); fawn – Scooter (boy), Lyra (girl).

Yes, they’ve been named. I don’t know why. It wasn’t my idea—well, not all of them; I was going to give them all names of some of my favorite literary characters, but Lyra (Northern Lights) and Wilbur (Charlotte’s Web) is as far as I got before the girlfriend got to them, so I had to name a couple on the fly. More pictures on my Facebook.

Right now, they easily fit into half my bathtub, which is where they sleep (for now since I came home from running errands this morning to discover they’d learned how to turn on the water), and my bathroom provides plenty of room to run around and chew on stuff without me having to worry about them messing up the floor (yay tile!). I’m skipping resuming my training this weekend, which was the plan up until this morning after getting maybe three hours of sleep last night (note to self: never have kids), on which I place full blame for my eating two Egg McMuffins this morning. Shame on me (though I did make my weekly farmer’s market run this morning as well), but I’ll be back at it on Monday. Hopefully.

I have no intention of keeping any of them, but I did want to give them a chance to get good homes, so if you or anyone you know in the general Charlotte area is looking to adopt—it’s just over a month until Christmas *ahem*—please feel free to leave a comment below, email me, or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter (can you tell I’m accessible?).


Hey, look! I made it on Mark’s blog! I guess there’s something to that whole “topical” post thingy instead of just, oh I dunno, random crap. I’m SURE it also had NOTHING to do with the fact that (I’m guessing) half or more of the links in my last post were from Mark. Nosiree. Nothing like a little virtual back scratching, eh? Let’s see… he called it “wonderful,” so does that mean I use a similar adjective for one of his posts, his whole blog, or do I just send flowers and a thank-you card?


Now, for the original reason for this post:

Oh yeah, now we’re getting somewhere. In skipping the gym this morning, I was able to go pick up my Harley from its servicing at the dealer. Movember is halfway over, so it’s time to start thinking about grooming (if any). I’ll be okay for another couple days, but it’s going to start getting annoying soon, so I’ll entertain any suggestions for what to do with this scruff (I have a facial hair trimmer as well as a razor, so there are a lot of possibilities).

No links today, but they’re piling up, so be ready for a purge coming soon.

Posted in Events, General, Issues | 4 Comments »