Thursday, May 31, 2007
The DVD itself, is pretty well done, the music is horrible, but you can see, hear, and understand all of the information as it's presented. Mike and Eric do a good job of explaining the reasons, and uses of the movements, and an excellent job of actually teaching the movements themselves.
As an athlete with some fairly significant mobility issues, this DVD addresses my issues: tight hips, hyper-mobile lumbar spine, tight hamstrings. I have used movements from M2 before my last 2 rowing practices, and I have felt longer and more relaxed in the boat. Results in the long term will have to wait for the long term.
The only criticism I have (music aside) is that it would have been helpful to have an insert, or section of common ailments, and progressions to remedy them, but the product itself is not lacking as much as it would be nice to have this added feature.
In summation, any athlete or coach that doesn't already have a strong working knowledge of dynamic flexibility (and if you have to think about that answer, the answer is "you don't") needs this DVD. I know this is a strong statement, but I firmly believe that after 12 years of rugby and 3 years of rowing, mobility (or problems associated with a lack there of) has held me back more than anything else. So far this has been money well spent.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Work has been crazy, so I have had to dispense with the blogging for a bit, but they cannot suppress free EXPRESSION! I will be free! FREEEDOOOOMM..
Right, so on to business!!
Big doin's saturday.
Saturday is always a big day, we have practice first thing in the morning, then we go out to breakfast (usually the wife and her teammates and I and whatever strays and hobos I can attract with the offer of free food) This weekend I got to have breakfast with my wife, and her Pops.. bonus, he paid. woot!
The wife and I rearranged the furniture in our office/second bedroom. Not really good times, but it looks much better. We did have to put down my old desktop 'puter. Poor old guy was still limping along on windows Me. I know, I know, I work in networking.. I should be ashamed. Some day (soon) he will be replaced by a laptop. Something not very spiffy that I can use for basic web based work stuff and maybe playing Black & White now and again.
There was a Nap, and then off to the gym!
It was squat day, and I hit a single for 315! double woot! somewhere out there is a 145 lb female scoffing, but cut me some slack. It was off a 14" box and up until a few weeks ago I didn't have the flexibility to back squat properly at all. I think on a day without practice and spending the morning shifting furniture, there's more there.. time will tell. The wife got in on the box squatty goodness, and we had a good time.
We hung out with my father-in-law some more on monday. He and the wife had a long talk about rowing, and he helped me order some sculling oars (this time I paid) triple wootness!
That's really it for my weekend.
I hope yours was great!
Mad props, and shout outs to christine who this past weekend kicked some serious butt (2nd in the bench and dead at a Push-pull meet) and who is going to demoralize another blogger in "the Great Pudge Off '07" Take some time to send some encouragement her way.
the hacks are coming, back to the grindstone.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Espn.com has a new MMA section, and a good article on Chuck Liddell. Chuck is an eminently like able guy who happens to beat people up for a living. Chuck is very good at his job. I am intrigued by MMA. For several reasons. The first being that combat sports are the most basic measure of athleticism. You have to be a balanced athlete to win a fight/grappling/wrestling match. The second being that the skill levels in MMA (UFC and P.R.I.D.E. in particular) are impressive to say the least. Third and finally, maybe it's because of the nature of the sport, or the newness of professionalism most fighters are fairly humble. There is no need to talk, because you can fight, or you can't. You can take a punch, or not. The proof is on the mat, and they know they could get beat at any point by nearly anyone, and that keeps the showboating to a minimum.That is very refreshing in a sporting world inhabited by Bonds, Moss, and T.O.
However, that does not mean that the MMA is easy to watch. I have seen some horrific injuries the few times I have watched MMA on Espn and Spike. Spectacularly broken collarbones, Kimura locks applied with vigor (and shoulders destroyed). Sometimes I feel like the rise of MMA is a return to true masculinity (see the Liddell story) or maybe it is "human cockfighting." My opinion waxes and wanes. I guess it really depends on what develops from it. Time will tell.
Have a great long weekend, probably no blogging till tuesday.
Former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick called the current England rugby team "a bunch of fatties." Now Fitzy was never a skinny player himself (as career front row players are not wont to be), and neither are the current England bunch. However I think he's confusing the point. The problem is not girth, the problem is fitness. If you look at the front row players selected for this weekend's test Nick Wood, Mark Regan, and Stu Turner, only Turner appears softer than Fitzpatrick was during his career (and as a Tight-Head prop he should be the biggest man on the pitch). Fitzy is an icon in the world of rugby. He was arguably one of the most successful captains in the modern game, and may have been the best player at his position (either him or Keith Wood). He's one of the two players early in my career that I wanted to emulate (Richard Loe being the other.. which may explain a few things to folks I played with and against) He's an honest pundit of the game, and I respect his opinion, but say what you mean, and express it like a grown man. They are unfit, they can't get around the field is what you mean."They're a bunch of fatties" is not. That's just not how a sporting icon should speak, besides, I don't recall him calling out Os Du-Randt's physique after South Africa beat Fitzy's All-Blacks in the world cup final in '95.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
1) The father of Josh Hancock (the cardinals pitcher who died recently in a tragic drunk driving accident) is suing Mike Shannon's Restaurant. For folks who don't know Mike Shannon, he was a ballplayer for the Cardinals, and is currently a broadcaster for the Redbirds. For years he was the legendary Jack Buck's announcing partner. He is a truly beloved figure in Cardinal nation. This is not going to go over well with fans.
2) It seems manipulation of magazine covers isn't just for the ladies any more.
Apparently Men's Fitness slapped Andy Roddick's head on the body of a model. I can't verify it, but I certainly believe it. What a strange world we live in where a "world class athlete's" physique "doesn't appear athletic enough." Everyone needs to be jacked, even if it's counter indicated by their sport. I thought it was the height of absurdity when in 2004 they bulked Luke Skywalker up (see pictures) but this blows that out of the water.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I purchased a copy of Magnificent Mobility so expect a review of that shortly.
My De-loading phase is over, I hopped back on the heavy iron last night, to great effect. Good times there. I am officially stronger than I was before surgery (not quite in PR territory though.. Yet!)
I've been reading a lot of Elite FTS of late, and I have learned a ton. I'm working on incorporating the training knowledge/methods, while training with specificity to my own goals. It's tricky. Dave Tate, and most powerlifters know how to move weight, but you have to weight cost benefit. How much training time vs. how much benefit. I am working on finding that balance. Also, let's be honest, I'm not strong enough to need to concentrate that much to make gains. My goal is 300/400/500 (raw) once I get there, maybe I'll increase my focus.
there are some fairly interesting nuggets in this T-nation article.
The wife and I went up to Mt. Vernon last weekend. Went to an Oyster farm, picked up some fresh shellfish, did some hiking and generally had a great time. I made some Cioppino for supper sunday, it was so very good.
I had to skip my row this morning, I had an early meeting, and while I could have gone out, but with the time crunch wouldn't have been productive. I'll go out friday morn.
that's all I've got for now.
Adios seeyalater guhbye!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Fred (cat): Named after Fred Flintstone
We got Fred when I was very young. I don't remember him much, except that he was the first animal that I remember feeling really connected to. My stepdad not so much. He and Fred did not get along. I don't really know what happened to Fred.
Commander (Dog): Named by my Uncle, apparently some 70s reference.
Commander was my uncle Michael's dog before he was ours.. in the 70s.. Commander had issues. In his lifetime, without seeking medical attention, and without ill effect he ate: 1 box of mothballs, 2 square feet of plywood, 3 square feet of linoleum, enough fiberglass insulation to insulate 1 large doghouse (after eating the linoleum and plywood that covered it). He dug a 2 food deep hole under his dog house and used that for his house. Commander was particularly fond of knocking me down and barking in my face. I had genuine disdain for that dog. I swear he was part Hyena.
My uncle took him back after a couple years.
Patches (Dog): She had patches of white, give me a break, I was 8.
Patches was actually MY dog. My dad got her when I was just a kid and she was just a pup. She was an English Sheppard or sommat, and like most working dogs was very smart. One day my step brother and I were up a tree and calling the dog (we were kids, and it was pretty mean) She backed up, got a running start, and ran up the tree. She was the greatest dog ever. She died when I was a teenager.
D.C. (Cat): Damn Cat. (Named by my father)
D.C. was a pain. He'd attack your feet while you were sleeping. Sit on your face. He carried a chicken bone around for 2 weeks trying to emulate the dog (Patches), and would defend the bone fiercely if you tried to touch it. She would bark far more than she meowed. She would sleep with the dog, and a few times as a kitten we caught the dog nursing the cat (though both denied it till the bitter end).
Cinnamon (Dog): Brown dog, female, seemed to make sense.
Cinnamon was really my brother's dog. She was a little terrier mix. Fast, high energy dog. After the Commander debacle, my Mom and Step-dad decided to get a puppy and not take on anyone else's problems. We brought her home from the pound when Chico was 3.. I think. Well behaved dog.. mostly. She would fight with any dog that got in her territory, no matter what the size. She would run away from home if given 1/4 a chance. Catching her was impossible. My brother could because, like I said, she was HIS dog and would come when called. You could bribe her with food if you were fast enough, otherwise you just have to wait till she decided to come home. She lived to be 20, and really shook up my brother when she passed.
Nikita (Dog): Named by Ex-girlfriend.
I had Nik in college. My girlfriend at the time got her but she bonded with me right away. As soon as the girl and I stopped seeing each other, Nik started to show her displeasure with the girlfriend.. with poo. So the girl gave me the dog, and I was so completely unprepared for it. I was gone too much, and not responsible, but Nik and I had a summer together while I looked for someone to take her on that wasn't totally sketchy (She was part Rottweiler, and that draws a rather unsavory crowd). We were more friends than owner/pets, which was a revelation to me as my father had always owned working animals (hunting dogs or Sheppards) and my step-dad demands obedience from his animals. With the girl's help, I found her a home with a family and a barn, and I gave her up.. She could still be around.
Basil (Ball Python): Named after Basil McRae.
Basil was a great snake. Loved being held. When he was a baby he'd sit in my shirt pocket, with just his little head poking out. He scared the crap out of a couple LDS missionaries who came knocking one day when he crawled out of my shirt pocket to sniff them a bit. Basil never really liked to eat, and I had to force feed him more than is healthy. He died of an intestinal blockage.
Ramona (Tortoise): Named after Ramona Quimby.
I got Ramona for my wife for her birthday. This was before we were married. She used to run around the house, and was really a major part of our lives. She was the first real gift I gave my wife, and the first thing we did together as a couple was pick her out. I bought the tank and all the stuff and put a little stuffed turtle in the cage with a bow on it. The wife came home and was so excited, we went out to get Ramona that night. The wife loved that turtle fiercely. We thought Ramona would be around for marriage (she was), Kids, and even Grandkids. She went into hibernation and got an upper repertory infection. We got her to the vet, but it was too late. I am not sure I have ever been so sad for the passing of an animal.
Tenzing (Cat):See Below.
Last October we decided that we were no longer mourning Ramona and it was time for a new pet. We went and looked at some Turtles, and a few lizards (I really wanted a bearded dragon) and at the last minute we decided to swing by a cat adopt-a-thon held by the human society. The wife was in denial, but I knew if we went, we were coming home with a feline. There were a few cats, and loads of kittens there, and we picked up a little black guy with a white "scar" on his face and mittens and boots of white. The first thing he did was climb up as high as he could on my body and look around like a mountaineer on a summit. We named him Tenzing after Tenzing Norgay. He's been around the house scratching, going up on the kitchen counters where he's not allowed and generally doing cute kitteny things. He loves it when you blow softly in his face, and it makes him drool, just a little.
Raisin (turtle): Named by wife, I liked previous name (Flash) because it reminds me of the Dukes of Hazzard.
last week the wife adopted a turtle that one of her students was having trouble taking care of. I imagine there'll be more to this story one day, but that's it for now.
There were others, like the chameleon that I had for a week before my step-mom's cat ate it, who were too short lived to be of note, or fish which aren't really that interesting, and lots of pets owned by step-family, but they're not worth mentioning.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I remember being 12 and unsure of my own manhood. At that time gay was an insult, and the whole thing was 'icky.' Now that I am a grown man, I know what it means to be one, and no insult will alter that. I have also come to learn that most things sexual are 'icky' in some ways (particularly if done right.) I have friends, teammates, and professional contacts that run the spectrum. I once fooled around with a girl, that dated a girl that dated me. I don't understand the animosity, and I certainly don't understand trying to legislate rights away from good people.
Two of my wife, and my, good friends are gay men. They live together, and have for some time. They are simply, and singularly the happiest couple I know. They could be separated by the Federal government with two weeks notice at any time. One of the guys is not from the U.S. one is. The one who is not has a work visa. If he were to lose his job, for any reason, he would need to find a company to sponsor him within 2 weeks. If he cannot, he gets sent home. If they were a man and a woman they would probably already be married. They would both be citizens and everything would be dandy. Playing rugby I know several people who married specifically to stay in this country. It saddens me that these guys live with the possibility of separation hanging over their heads. They belong together, and a few weak people's small mindedness should not get in the way of that.
There is no threat to marriage. My marriage is not threatened by other people marrying for love, money, greencards, reproduction, or for fear of dieing alone. My personal belief is that marriage is a religious ceremony, and as such should not be recognized by the federal government at all (remember that whole wacky separation of church and state we used to have). All of us should get a recognized domestic partnership contract written up. Let the government recognize the legal agreement, let the clergy classify marriage.
Monday, May 14, 2007
In this wide world people have debated the qualifications of many things as a "Sport." Is baseball a sport, or a game that requires athleticism, is there a difference? Are "combat sports" (boxing, wrestling, MMA) sports? Are the different modes of racing sports? What if you're in a boat? On foot? On a horse? In a car? All of these things require athleticism (bowling and poker do not, skill and athleticism are different.. but that's another afternoon's discussion/rant). In all of the above activities contestants are aided by some form of athleticism, some athletic modalities more than others, but which are important, and how much is enough dependence on athleticism?
A powerlifter's VO2 max is generally pitiful. Marathoners generally have trouble lifting spirits let alone weights. They are both athletes, but by my book neither of them are 'Fit.'
Fit is a binary state of being. You either are, or are not. If you can't run a reasonable distance without needing supplemental O2, you're not fit. If you can't do a day's worth of manual labor, if you can't carry a fairly heavy object out of your car and into your house, you're not fit. If you can't reach down and pick something up off the ground without pulling a muscle, if you lack the coordination to get out of the way of (or ideally catch) an object thrown at you, if you can't balance an object while opening the door to get in the house, if you can't climb up a boulder, or tree, or steep incline, you're not fit.
The ambiguities come when you try to define, what's a "reasonable distance?" around the block? 1 mile? 10 miles? how heavy is "fairly heavy?" 1/2 body weight? Body weight? 2x body weight? How much work do you have to do, how far and how fast do you have to climb?
Everyone has an opinion, and people value the things they do well over the things that they do poorly. Our egos get in the way of assessment. I am as guilty as the next person. I never see myself as fit enough, and I am nearly as hard on others. There are always chinks in the armor. Mistress Krista's rant of the month
talks about loving your body, fiercely. I feel like I do. My body for all of its faults listens intently to what I ask of it. To the demands and stresses I place on it. Aesthetically it is mostly a product of genetics, and so aesthetics are virtually meaningless. But it's abilities, those are closely tied to what I have asked it to do, and what I've fed it. It grows and shrinks. It is balanced, or not. I takes in oxygen efficiently, or not. It is strong and weak. It is what I have made it. I still find myself pushing my standards. The fitter I get, the stronger I get, the higher my standards go. Where are your standards?
A.M.- Sleep in. I just cannot make myself get up on monday mornings. I know this about myself, acknowledge, move on.
P.M.- Erg 3x1000m or 6x500m or 5x (10/225 deadlift+250m)
A.M. - Practice. big boats.
P.M.- Lift (upper body) Pull-ups, bench, bent barbell rows, Dumbell military press, face pulls, swiss-ball walkovers, russian twists.
A.M.- Practice. single.
P.M.-Lift (olympic) Snatch, clean-jerks, split jerks
A.M.- Practice. Back in the big boats.
P.M.- sled dragging tire tossing fun!
A.M.- optional row. 4x500 in the single with long rest intervals. Last week, I slept in.
P.M.- was going to boxing class, but spending so much time away from the wife with the learn to row classes is not fun, so last week I did a circuit( 5 pull-ups, 10/225 deadlifts, 10 push-ups, 10 jerks with 115)x5 no rest. I'll probably do this circuit or something like it till the class is over.
A.M.- practice. back in the single.
P.M.-Lift (legs). I start with squats. I change every 8 weeks from front olympic squats, to back box squats. Right now I'm 2 weeks into back squats. Then pull-throughs, and either one legged squats or reverse hypers (alternating weeks.)
Sunday: rest. glorious rest.
There may be some Monday, or Friday morning practice sessions, but I'll play those as they come.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
Just before president's day weekend our dishwasher shot craps. At dinner with my in-laws, it was suggested that we take advantage of the president's day sales and procure ourselves a dishwasher. So we went to home depot, and made some inquiries as to a dishwasher. We found one we liked, and laid our money down.
They said delivery was free, which sounded alright to me, and the fact that they would take with them our existing washer sold the deal. In two weeks time, on the very day my brother was to arrive from Wisconsin, they would deliver said washer. All was right with the world.. or so it seemed.
The day before the day arrived, and the delivery folks called and said they would be there between 9 am and 1 pm the following day. There was some snow that evening, but most of it fell before the phone call verified they would be there. The wife took a personal day from work (at great expense) and waited.. 9am.. no one 10 am.. nope 11 still nothing 12 pm we're getting nervous, but still no one. 1 pm and the phone rings. It's the delivery people, they tell my wife, sorry, because of the snow (that was long gone by 6 am) they could not make her delivery, the next available date is 4 weeks hence, what day would be good for her?
The wife replies rather.. curtly. Along with questioning the parentage of the person on the phone she inquires to why, when the snow had started falling at 3 pm and mostly stopped by 5 pm did the person on the phone still confirm delivery? Also, why when most of the snow fell the day before, did they wait until 1 pm to call and tell her no one would be there. She could have gone to work had they called at a reasonable time. No one can respond. They go round and round. I get a call from the wife, she is frustrated to no end and bawling.
I call the corporate call center. I immediately ask for a supervisor. I ask her the above questions, she doesn't know. She can't help me, there is no one above her I can speak with. We go round and round, I am logical, but fairly merciless. It's not her fault, but at the same time she's getting paid to serve me as a customer, so I am trying to figure a way around the system. I have enough experience having worked at a few call centers to generally find the way around the system. These poor people have no recourse. They suggest I go back to the Depot. I suggest to this woman that she find a new job, because the one she has is simply awful she has no information, no recourse and can help.. no one.
I go back to the depot after work. I explain to the person there that one of three things is going to happen: 1) I am walking out of there with a dishwasher at no further cost, 2) I am walking out of there with a scheduled delivery for a weekend day in the next 10 days, 3) I am calling my lawyer either to sue them, or to defend me because if I come home without one of those things, I'll be getting divorced. The woman behind the counter laughs. We discuss our options a little bit (she was very nice) they decide that they will give me a model on hand for the price paid. I call the wife (this one's stainless, got to be sure that's ok). She mulls it over and decides "sure." Great! I sign 364 things and wheel my new dishwasher out to the truck. Stainless dishwashers are not light, but I get it up in the pick-up without too much trouble. I drive home. It is now 6:15, I have to pick Chico (my brother) up at the airport at 8:20. Plenty of time.
There is a slight problem: there is currently only me, this thing is heavy, and I have to get it up a flight of stairs, through two doors, down the hall, around a corner, through the door of our condo, and around another corner and into the kitchen all by myself without bashing the building, or scratching the stainless. Oh well, what the heck, this is why I exercise. I take all of the cardboard off the washer (it was falling off anyway), and I wrestle the thing all the way to the front door of the building. I sit back, and cradle the thing in my lap while I get the door unlocked, I finagle it through the second door and down the hall, and set it down in the hallway. I go in the condo, and lock the cat in the bedroom. I go to remove the existing dishwasher, fairly confident in victory.
I open the dishwasher to take out the screws that hold it in place. I look at them they're Torx. For those of you not familiar with this type of screw, instead of - or + shape it's shaped like *. I don't have a torx screwdriver set. I run out the door and head to the local hardware store (which closes at 6:30, it's now 6:27) I park in the first spot I see and run 3 blocks to get there. I get there just in time, plunk down $6 for the screwdrivers I need, then head back.
I get the screws removed and start to slide the dishwasher out.. it sticks. I try wobbling it back and forth.. no dice. I take a closer look. The previous owner put in the dishwasher then had ceramic tile installed. The floor under the dishwasher is 1/4 in lower than the floor in the rest of the kitchen. The dishwasher won't come out, there’s not enough room. I say a few swears, and get to work. I start prying and unscrewing bits and pieces of the dishwasher, it's broken already, so who cares. It takes me nearly half an hour of bending and breaking this thing to get it out, but I get it. I remove the plumbing, turn off the breaker to keep from getting electrocuted, and disconnect the power. I carry that heavy S.O.B. (somehow heavier than the new one) out to the back porch. I plumb up the new one, and connect the power. I slide it in and screw it down. I try it out.. I'll be damned, works. There's a little leak, but I fix that no problem. I am covered in water, muck and god knows what. It is now 8:10 and I live 30 minutes from the airport. I hop in the truck, as is, and pick up my little brother.
Every weekend hence the wife says "we need to get that dishwasher taken down to the dump." Every weekend I agree, then we never do it. This weekend with folks coming over, it had to happen. So while she was bringing lunch to a friend of hers who was stuck at the Seattle High School Tennis tourney this thing ends as it began, me and the dishwasher. I picked it up, went to the dump and dropped that sucker off. Hopefully.. hopefully that ends the saga of the dishwasher.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Otherwise I'm having a good day (so far).
Rowed out to Ballard and back this morning. The boat was moving well, and the water was flat.
I have a good cup of coffee, and work is busy enough without being slammed.
Happy friday.. apparently.. who knew.
Opening day races are tomorrow!
I will be on the bank watching, the wife will be racing. Opening day is always a good time, and really has to be seen to be understood. This year the racing won't be too exciting. The UW looks to win most of the collegiate races, and the master's races are mostly local teams, but the atmosphere is always fun, and the venue is truly one of the best for rowing. The spectators are literally right on top of the course (you can get an idea from the picture to the left) and it gets louder and louder as you get closer to the finish line. U-Dub students are always into it. It's a blast. Hopefully the rain will let up.
Have a good weekend!
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Christine talks about the life of a competitive lifter (Power Lifting and Girevoy Sport). Training, Diet, injuries, as well as coaching and playing football. A good read written very openly and honestly with a good dose of humor and self-awareness. It doesn't hurt that she's going through a lot of the things I just went through in the past couple years: retirement from one sport, shoulder troubles, finding yourself through lifting heavy stuff.
My good friend from way back blogs.. occasionally. She has an interesting perspective and a great wit.