Monday, September 29, 2008

Ohio would be PERFECT for this

There is one project that would jump-start the Ohio Economy and put Ohio on the map for some years; High Speed Rail.

California is attempting to build a high speed train system that would connect Anahim, Los Angeles, Fresno and San Francisco. They have launched a $9.9 billion state bond offering to finance the proposal.

Ohio needs to do the exact same thing. Such a train system would connect Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Phase two could connect Toledo, Akron/Canton and the South-East Appelachian area. Phase three could go to Indianapolis, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is what's wrong with blogging

People post crap. They make a "huge issue" of "something important" yet don't do due-diligence to research it. Then they look like idiots for barking about something that is a non-issue.

Case in point: Ars's Apple's patch release policy is a concern for enterprise IT (be sure to see Gandhim3
's comment
further down the page). Anyone who has a responsibility with managing a bunch of machines (whether Windows, Mac, Linux, Sparc, etc) has the responsibility to read the documentation and learn the recommended methods of management. It's called common sense and "Best Practices".

In this case, anyone w/o their head up their ass would know about ARD. And if you team it up with a neat little piece of hardware called an Xserve with OSX Server and a little bit of reading you find out there's an entire community of people doing this. And they have discussion forums too: Apple Remote Desktop Forum, Mac OS X Server Forum.

Neat, huh?

It's articles like these that remind me why I quit reading Ars a few years ago. Maybe I'll delete it from my rss feeds yet again.

P.S. I love that "Dear sophisticate IT manager morons..." :)

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My photo at the Rubin Museum of Art

One of my wildlife photos is being used with an exhibit at the Rubin Museum of Art, in New York.

It's in their "Family Programs" Bhutan exhibit The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan.

Sichuan Takin (pronounce Tock-in)

For those that have never heard of a "Takin"; Takin Information.
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My Photo's famous!

One of my Portland Photo's has been used in a local visitor's guide!

Columbia River, taken a tourist lookout point on our way to visit the Columbia area and Mt. Hood on an Eco-Tour in Portland, OR.

Personally, it's not "one of my best". It was early in the morning, hazy. But the Eco-Tour was an absolute blast. I'd do it again in a heartbeat the next time I'm out west.

Here's a link to the visitor's guide.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

2nd week of 5x5 Report

This is my report after doing 2 weeks of the Stronglifts 5x5
Beginner Strength Training Program. I intend to post regular updates that detail how it's going.

Oh Gawd I'm sore

My whole body is sore; legs, ass, back. The only solace I have is it's a "good sore". It wears off late in the the 2nd day (ie the day after you lifted).


Some things I've learned:

  • Make sure you have everything in your gym back the nite before. (I lift first thing each morning)

  • Don't leave home w/o your notebook to know which routine you should do, and the weights you should be using (I did)

  • My gym needs another squat rack

  • People that use the smith machine for squats, I have to try not to look at them like they are chumps

  • My gym needs more 2.5lb weights

  • That prone position for 90 seconds makes my whole body shake! It literally pulls all the last remaining energy I've got straight out of my body


How'd I do with my basic goals?

  • I did not miss a workout! Check!

  • I did not falter and mis a rep! Check!

  • While both of those made me feel good, I have to realize I'm using extremely light weights; the level of impressiveness is directly relational to the amount of weight you are using :)

    I made 1 consequential mistake this week. I forgot my "gym card" so I didn't know what weights I should be lifting. Rather then drive all the way back home @5:15am, I guessed; luckily I guessed high, and was able to do the weight. This made my squat and bench jump more then it normally would have from my week 1 results.

    Overall, I'm having difficulty not adding more weight. I am feeling very confident I could do significantly more weight on the deadlift. I have to work hard to resist the temptation not to throw another set of 45's on there. I keep telling myself "use light weight to learn proper form, and build slowly. The thing is, I'm not conditioned for slow. I want my code compiled quickly. I want to drive vehicles quickly. I want to see my fat be 10% and my squat near 300lbs and I want it now! ;)

    I am also having difficulty deciding on the weights to warm up with on the squat. Friday, I did: bar-barx5,bar+20,+20,bar+45 x 5,bar+45+20 x 5,bar+45+40 x 5. I think those were too much. I was more worn out by the time I completed the 5x5 squats then I've ever been. I don't know if it was because I did too many warmups that sapped my energy; or maybe it's because of the additional weight, or maybe it was because it was Friday morning and I was just plain tired from the week of work. I don't know.

    My progress

    Pre-Start specifics

    My Weight and Fat Percentages
    WeekWeightGutBody-fat [1]
    [1] using's measurement method

    5x5 Week #2 Results

    Here is how I managed to do, weight-wise:

    How much I've lifted
    Deadlift145Inverted Row3xFDeadlift155


    My muscles are harder, sorer. My legs are stronger - I've noticed I'll do stairs 2 at a time like when I was much younger, without thinking about it. Though my fat percentage says it's lower, I'm not feeling it. I'm not seeing it either, my body looks as fat as it's looked for many years now.

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    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    1st week of 5x5 Report

    This week I started the Stronglifts 5x5 Beginner Strength Training Program. I intend to post regular updates that detail how it's going.


    Because I'm out of shape. I'm in my late 30's. I feel like I have a body of someone in their late 40's. I sit at at desk all day writing code. When I do get out (to mountain bike, hike, hunt, gardening, housework, whatever) I'm sucking wind and my back is sore.

    I know my core is out of shape. I can feel it.

    When I've tried some of the stretches that are recommended in the 5x5 forums I've found that I have great limitations in my lower back, hips and thighs. My range of movement in all of them is pathetic.

    I think all of this is related to me blowing a disk out a few years ago in my lower back. I believe my body wasn't meant to sit as much as I regularly do. I'm trying to undue years of this and institute a framework that I can exercise by for the rest of my life. ie "fix the core".

    My Goal(s)

    1. First one: just to do this, 3 times x week, like you are supposed to. That means waking up on time, getting to the gym on time. Going to bed on time.
    2. Second one: increase strength 5x5 @200lbs squat (or more) at the end
    3. Third one: use this to work toards decreasing my fat percentage to 10-12% over the next year or two.

    Starting weights?

    My first difficulty has been determining what starting weights to use. When I looked at the spreadsheet that people often use to track their progress (downloadble from the Stronglifts website on the 5x5 page, the bottom), I felt I could definitely lift more then it's starting weight on all exercises.

    The question remainde: could I complete a 5x5 with a heavier starting weight? It doesn't matter if I can squat a max of 250lbs. If I can't do it 5x5, that's not where I needed to start. And if I can't do it with proper form, it doesn't count either.

    I decided to go with the bar and 2 45's. That's 135lbs total. I figured "I should be able to do this".

    After reading the stronglifts website, I found the mantra "Start light, focus on correct technique and add weight progressively. " so I knew I was on the right track.

    At the moment I'm more concerned about form. I know I can lift more weight than this, but I want to train myself to have correct form and posture. Yes, I'm trying to undue years of messing around in the weight room (ie smith machine) off-and-on.

    Starting Information

    Pre-Start specifics

    Pre-Start specifics
    Body-fat19.6% ([1])

    5x5 Week #1 Results

    5x5 Week #1 Results
    Squat135 Squat140 Squat155
    Bench135 Overhead Press [2]140 Bench155
    Barbell Row [3]100 Deadlift135 Barbell Row135

    Fat Results

    Week #1 Fat Results
    Body-fat19.6% ([1])


    Overall I feel good that I completed the first full week. And I feel great. Friday taking the stairs at work, my legs didn't burn. My back didn't ache at the end of the day from being in the chair so much! I noticed I think my posture throughtout the day might have been more upright. Forcing myself to get out of bed @5am (and go to bed @9pm Sunday evening) is rough. There sure is a huge difference in the amount one can squat using the smith machine and not. I am glad I am finally not using it.

    There is a new guy at the gym, doing a similar workout. We are intersecting on the gym's loan squat rack M&F. Not good. It slows me down.

    I've found the B-workout, with the deadlifts, is a much faster workout then A. The dips, holy hell, do they end up zapping every once of energy I have left at the end of the workout (and by then, there's not much left let me tell you).

    I'm sore. Yes, I admit it. I lift first thing in the morning. I get up @5am and drive to the gym. The rest of that day, I've not been sore. But about the afternoon of the next day, my ass my ass my ass!! So that evening when I get home from work I stretch and stretch and rub and stretch. I'm considering trying to implement some stretching/cardio/yoga on the Tuesdays/Thursdays inbetween each workout to help.

    I did not "watch what I ate", however I did try to eat something more then 3 times/day. Which, by the end of the week, I had to! I was hungry about every 3 hours. Not the "I'm bored" hungry, the "my stomach feels empty and is now growling" hungry. I'm not too concerned about what I eat. My meals usually consist of:

    My normal daily diet
    Bowl of oatmeal, glass of v8, green tea Leftovers from prior evening dinner or a baloney/turkey sandwhich, apple, banana, veggies, yogurt Roast, Chili, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Pork, Spaghetti, veggies (steamed++), salad. Rarely desert.

    So now I'm supplementing with a piece of fruit and maybe a granola bar @10am and 3pm. One day I ate a pre-dinner at 5pm. Dinner's normally at 6:30 (depends on when I get home from work too).

    This week was also more difficult on the diet; my wife made a pan of Apple Dumplings the Sunday before I was to start this. It's a rare thing - about once every year or two. So each evening through the week we had Apple Dumplings ala-mode for desert.

    [1] using's measurement method

    [2] I actually did Power Cleans here (ie going from the floor, all the way above my head, on each rep). Woops!

    [3] Barbell Row or Power Cleans, your choice according to 5x5, just remember to alternate

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