Friday, October 31

Weigh-in and push-up-date

Doing ok. Mostly holding steady. Technically, I'm down a half-pound to 198.5 this week.

(GSR makes fun of me for counting half-pounds, but I say take the encouragement anywhere you can get it! ;-)

I've decided to totally re-vamp my push-up plan. Ultimately, I don't want to make the investment to do 100 push-ups in a row. So my new goal is 100 push-ups in 5 sets (of 20, math wizards ;-) with 2-minute rests.

Here's another change I've made: I really felt like I wasn't recovering with only one day of rest between workouts. I remembered that back when I was lifting seriously we rested two days between workouts of major muscle groups (chest and arms, back, legs). Plus, I was sore all the time. And it gets harder to build muscle as we get older (if you're not on supplements).

So, I made the change and am much happier. I'm not sore all the time and I'm able to add about 2 push-ups per workout. I've stopped using the 100 push-up challenge weekly sets and am just adding 2 push-ups per workout.

I did 80 pushups last night in 5 sets with 2 minute rests. Not bad. Again, obvious math: if I'm able to proceed without a hitch (bi IF!), I'll reach my goal in 5 weeks. My plan then, for those of you who care, is to take a week off and then go back to dumbbell exercises for my arms, shoulders and back. Maybe I'll alternate some with push-ups. I don't want to lose my hard-gained ability! Something else I'm thinking about long-term is improving the quality of my push-ups. I think they're all legit right now, but they could be a little better. I'm sure they don't meet the CrossFit standard ;-)

For something even more hardcore, check out this CrossFit Journal pdf. This is for the Walter Stokeses of the world (Walter is a beast and belongs to CrossFit in Austin). I'm really only looking for 80th percentile fitness (which Pareto says is achieved with 20% of the work it would take to get to 100% ability). My ideal would be to do 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise 6 days a week (except when training for RAGBRAI ;-).

Wednesday, October 29

Breaking hilarity

I know this will be way too crass and violent for some of you, but some of us, in poor taste, no doubt, think it's hilarious:

A Vote For My Husband Is A Vote For Me Not Breaking Your F---ing Neck

(via Ray Kimball on Facebook)

Sunday, October 26

I say 'O', you say 'bama'

Just when you thought the MSM was totally liberal... The State [SC] endorsed McCain ;-)

(The State really did endorse McCain. The smiley's there for my little MSM joke :-)

They've got good reasons. But, for my part, I view McCain as too excitable to want him as CinC.

McCain supported the Colombian free trade agreement, which is most definitely a good thing, and Obama did not.

Good point about McCain not applying judicial litmus tests.

And good point about McCain challenging his own party.

I don't need to rebut all of those because I've already run the numbers and we know they're pretty close for me on policy, some advantages to McCain and some to Obama.

One way to boil it down is what McCain said in one of the debates. We need a steady hand at the wheel right now...

And I think that's going to be Obama.

(Plus, as I've admitted this campaign, I'm biased to the left and almost always vote Democrat.)

Friday, October 24

Vote for Obi-Wan '08

Politics, esoterica and friends

+ Arianna Huffington says political smears don't stick as well in the age of YouTube. I hope she's right. What do you think?

+ James Carville handicaps the intra-Republican blame game.

+ How to get my nerd vote

Matt's list leans left a little further than me, but I especially agree with 1, 7, 8 and 10:
1. Broadband Everywhere
7. Allow early voting by mail
8. Revamp Copyright/IP law
10. Open government
+ Ebay to ban sales of ivory products in January

+ Nice collection of visual depictions of the relative sizes of the world's highest mountains and longest rivers (via)

+ Jason's had a couple recent posts including his reflections on the food we ate in the 80s (ate-ies) and a nice pic of their youngest.

+ Like me, Jim really likes Facebook (though it sounds like he's a little less adept at navigating it ;-)

+ My buddy, Steve, played along with the Quantum Library game. Thanks, Steve :-)

Tuesday, October 21

Visual Rick Roll for geeks

Remember when I posted about Rick Roll? Well, Macon sent me an awesome Rick Astley Venn diagram!

Chris Vreeland is the genius behind this graphic. He works with Macon at Amplifier. Chris has an old-skool website and a a sort-of blog-thing (his descriptions).

Let's get this thing rolling! ;-)

Monday, October 20

Still catching up...

Debate followup:

+ Analysis: McCain puts Obama on the defensive

+ Warped facts in last presidential debate

+ Lex made this great comment over at Mark's place:
The kind of people who read Zenpundit are not the target audience for the debate. I never watch them. This group — whichever candidate each person is voting for – pay attention to politics and have long ago made up their minds. I know who I am voting for, as does everyone else who reads this blog. We are not part of the group that is undecided until the final weeks of the election.
The whole comment, and then the whole thread are worth reading.

Paul posted this picture:

Funny stuff (and great photoshopping!).

Election resources:

+ including FactChecking Debate No. 3.

+ Common Cause: Holding Power Accountable.


+ I totally want my next personal cell phone to run Android (Lifehacker review). Hopefully we'll get a cost-effective option in the next couple years.

Here's the AP review.

+ I was catching up on some SNL and 'Mark Wahlberg talks to animals' is pretty funny (especially if you like Andy Samberg.

I've got more to say, especially on health and fitness (short version: ok), but I'll save it for next time.

Thursday, October 16

My quantum library

Mark posts about the concept of quantum libraries, the books you read over and over again and learn something new each time. He kindly tagged me so here's my take:
The Bible

Tolkien's entire Middle Earth corpus including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin.

All six of Frank Herbert's original Dune books.

Getting Things Done - This book really helped me to get a few things done, which consequently helped my self-concept and outlook a lot.

The complete work of Thomas P.M. Barnett - might seem a little cheesy, but after reading every word the man has written for more than 3 years I still find myself in almost complete agreement with his outlook on international relations.

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis

The work of Tim Keller
If you'd like to read more lists, click through on Mark's post above. Friends tdaxp and Lexington Greene included theirs in Mark's comments. Friends Shane and Soob also contributed.

Wednesday, October 15

Hated aphorism

+ One of the aphorisms I hate the most: 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' Obvious contradiction: Some things that don't kill us leave us maimed for life. Here's a supporting point I just ran across:
We’ve all heard that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but that is a dangerous oversimplification. Many of the things that don’t kill you can damage you for life.

Tuesday, October 14

Starting to catch up

Well, I'm back from a week in DC, one reason why you haven't seen much here lately. Here are some of the links I've been saving up:

+ My friend, Mademoiselle Le Frog, showed me this video when I was in DC last week. Hilarious! (Some salty language, so not for Christine and her ilk).

Rejoinder: Wishing Roger Moore would come back (in the bridge) is very bad taste!

+ Tom linked this Economist piece on Amory Lovins. For my part, I like Lovins (as I've written before); may his tribe increase! Almost painless efficiency seems like a no-brainer to me.

+ If you care about the presidential race and haven't checked out yet, well, why not? Seems to be the best analysis going by a guy who, among other things, is a successful baseball stat geek (older Newsweek profile here).

+ Mark presents us with this picture:


My comment: Tyranny is a little worse than democracy. The tyranny of the majority is bad, especially when the majority is not using their brains in their personal economic and political choices.

+ Push-up analysis: maybe I'm trying to do too many push-ups. That is, maybe three times a week to abject failure is too many. Back when I was lifting in college (literally half my life ago, which, believe me, I know is part of the 'problem') we only worked each muscle group hard two days a week with two days of rest in between. I definitely have not felt like I'm recovering enough with just one day of rest. So maybe I'll try two. Any pertinent advice?

+ To celebrate their 10th birthday, Google ginned up a retro-search for 2001. Here's mine.

+ My latest TED talk viewing was Jonathan Haidt on moral values and what makes people come out left and right. I don't necessarily buy the whole argument, but it is interesting.

Haidt has a lot of side projects. He wants people to disagree more civilly, and I'm all for that. So much so that I signed the pledge. I mean, who in our circle argues for civil politics more than me?

Strangely, not many people have signed. I'm one of two from SC. Here's one that leaps out at you: the only signatory from Alaska is from Wasilla...

He takes the same moral values angle (he focuses on five) and offers up a ton of questionnaires on I came out moderate on Harm, conservative on Fairness, moderate to conservative on Loyalty, moderate to liberal on Authority and arch-conservative on Purity (quirk in the test or other?)

Lots more to catch up on, but that's enough for now

Sunday, October 5

Bad sports life

Latest exhibit:

Longest World Series Appearance Droughts

By The Associated Press

63 years - Chicago Cubs (1945 last appeared)

48 years - x-Texas Rangers-Washington Senators

40 years - x-Washington Nationals-Montreal Expos

32 years - x-Seattle Mariners

29 years - Pittsburgh Pirates (1979 last appeared)

x-never played in World Series

Saturday, October 4

More politics

+ Tom has turned me on to Fareed Zakaria, who I quoted in a recent politics post (the one about worldview, scary or not?). I just saw his Palin pan from before the debates today. It's a little dated, but his argument still makes sense to me. Sample:
Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start.
+ Charles Krauthammer says Obama's calm, cool and collected and McCain's a gambler, so Obama will win.

Friday, October 3

Current political thoughts

+ Actually watched most of the debate last night. Palin was good, so she outperformed expectations/fears. All she had to do. Biden was fine.

+ I didn't need Vote, but they've got a pretty nice tool. Here are my detailed results. I came out a 88.78% match on issues with Barack Obama and a 87.32% match on issues with John McCain. They're not really that different.

+ I made three notes on the debate, stuff I really agreed with Biden on:
1. what he said on foreign policy, across the board
2. champions of the middle class - tax cuts
3. tying McCain to the failures of the Bush administration
I totally did not buy Palin's admonition to look to the future. We haven't passed the statute of limitations on the Bush administration, yet. Anybody who's connected to it has to continue to pay the price.

+ And, for the sake of truth in reporting: Some facts adrift in veep debate. The Obama/Biden campaign's distortions are disappointing to me, but to be expected, I'm afraid.

Weigh-in and pull-update

Way past time for one of these. Short version: I'm holding steady.

Weighed-in today at 200.5. On the one hand, not making progress. On the other hand, I'm not getting heavier and it took me awhile to gain all the weight, right? Or is that just rationalization?

Anyway, I'm fairly encouraged because I didn't count points on my trip to Austin last week; just tried to take it easy.

On the push-up front, I'm keeping after it, but not making much progress; seriously plateaued. Walter gave me the good idea of 'scaling' if I need to: finishing my push-up workouts with push-ups on my knees, if I need to. So, for example, tonight I did about 70 regular push-ups in 5 sets with 2 minute breaks and finished the last 5-10 on my knees. Don't feel like I'm gaining much here, but will keep after it for now. If you have great advice on how to break a plateau, please send it my way!

Other things to send my way: prayers and well-wishes for continuing to lose weight and get in better shape. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 1

Deeply and closely divided

Jonathan Vaught wisely writes in his Facebook status:
If Twitter is any indication [and I would add, Facebook], on November 5 one half of the country is going to bitterly, violently hate the other half, no matter who wins.
We're deeply divided politically right now. But guess what? The candidates aren't that different. There are things I agree with on both sides. Many others do, too. It's not like we're talking Communists and Fascists here. We're talking degrees of people who believe in free market capitalism and democracy/republic-anism.

Why do we feel the need to draw dividing lines and make them into huge chasms? We take positions, make them out to be more extreme than they really are, villify the opposite positions, and then project everything onto the candidates. It's a no-win system that produces the kind of political shenanigans we get treated to all the time. It's crazy.

Is there any way to fix this thing (not this particular election, which is probably already a loss in this regard)? To make it better?