Tuesday, March 27, 2007


With the trip to Spo-vegas last weekend, and a trip to So.Cal. for work this week/weekend, I have been crazy busy. So the options were, not get in the usual 8-10 workouts a week, or get in the "complicated ones" (Rowing, GPP, lifting) while I'm here, and do what I can in California. So I have Sunday thru Wednesday morning to get in 2 lifting sessions, 1 GPP session, and 3 rows. I'm about 2/3 through the rough water and I am Exhausted. The lifting sessions are done, the GPP workout is this afternoon, and I've gotten in 1 row. I had to sleep in this morning. It was a bit too ambitious. I'll get in the GPP session this afternoon then in the morning I have 2x1k, 2x500, 2x250. All in the single. Shouldn't take me too long. I'm going to get up early and do them on my own so that I can get to work early. I'm flying out tomorrow afternoon, and things are going to be nuts here. The rest of this week will be LSD recovery or light weight circuit, try and get recovered from this 3.5 day onslaught.

Jen's Gym
cool blog, lots of video, seems to be a nice, with it person, loved the St.Paddys link to the dropkicks on youtube. I'm not such a believer in crossfit, but then I've never really tried it. I like some of the theories, but in practice I think it's incomplete (as are most things on their own). Any way, check it out.

blogage is going to be a little light for a couple of days, I'm goin' to disney land!

I made some cornmeal crabcakes last night they were super tasty! (if you want the recipe, just ask)

Oh, and I've updated my profile, It's still incomplete, there are so many great movies and bands that I just rattled off as many as I could off the top of my head (I didn't even bother with books, because great books are too numerous) so check in on that from time to time, things will update.

One more thing... It happened again. I got fed up, went to getTar bought some clippers and shaved my heed.
Sorry mom.
She hates it.
I still have time to grow it out before my baby brother's wedding in August (if need be).
I just recognize the guy in the mirror more when he has no hair. I don't know why, it's almost compulsive

Monday, March 26, 2007

Go Zags.

This weekend I was in Spokane for a boat dedication, and one of the coaches was kind enough to give me tour of their new facilities, which for the size of the school are exceptional. The rowing erg room is really impressive, but I was more impressed by the weight room. Of course everything is new, but there isn't a lot of empasis on gizmos and gadgets. Lots of squat racks, lots of lifting platforms, everything you need, and a few fun things. They had a full set of kettlebells, and a Quadmill which was pretty cool. I tried it out and it's very challenging (how effective it is... I can't say). Overall, it's no secret how the Zags have made 9 straight NC2A tourneys, hopefully their success will continue.

Product review: Ultimate Offseason training Manual.

First off let me say that Eric Cressey is a very smart guy. He is one of the most innovative minds currently working in strength and conditioning today. His Ultimate off-season training manual is a great (if pricy) resource for it's intended audience. The intended audience seems to be ball sport athletes, their parents, and coaches of small programs. There is great information on athlete assessment, and the mistakes people make when designing an off-season training program. The manual does a great job in breaking up the off-season into 3 segments. For me these segments would be: "Recovery", "Assessment & Improvement", and "Conditioning." The author designates them by their time frame. Either way, these are important points that are missed by many athletes and coaches. The manual also does a great job emphasizing using the off-season to become a better athlete, to have an OFFseason, rather than a second season. While, I do recommend this book to anyone who is either an athlete or coach who does not have a strength and conditioning coach designing a program for them, there are a few weak points. The author specifically points out that a lot of these theories don't exactly apply for endurance athletes, and he does a good job of calling out the points that do not. However, I hoped that he would have an appendix that gave some information on how someone (like me) who's participates in a sport on the aerobic end of the spectrum, and who's year consists of 1-2 major competitions every 2-3 months could train more effectively. I understand Undulating Periodization, but if I didn't and I just dropped a benjamin, I'd be happier if that information was included, and not something I looked up online for free. Overall, it's a worthwhile investment.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Exercising on the cheap..

G.P.P. is both old and new, trendy and underground, valuable and utter crapola... like most things depends on application, and depends on whom you ask. So as is my wont, I gave it a try, and surprisingly (or not) I really liked some of it, and some of it was crap. But that's getting ahead of ourselves.

Let's start with the equipment:
4 mid-sized nonfunctional truck tires.
1 roll duct tape
2 sandbags, or kettlebells, or big funky rocks.
rope around 20ft of
1 16lb sledge hammer (optional)
cost:( assuming like me you can get the tires for free)
$60 (with the sledge hammer)
$20 without.

The workout:
20x overhead tire tosses (moderate pace, swing between the legs and extend fully, try not to let one land on my head)
50x sledge hammer swings (Full swing, full speed, not so sure about the effectiveness, I'll have to play with form and volume)
farmers walk (100 yards each way up/down hill w/ 2x75lbs in bear hug grip)
Sled drag (100 yewu/dh, 4 tires, facing away, ropes in hands, holy lactic acid!)
Sled drag (100 yewu/dh, 4 tires, facing tires, ropes in hands, pulling, see above)
Tire discus (20x each hand)
Sled drag (100 yewu/dh 4 tires facing away, ropes around waist)
farmers walk (50 yard obstacle course, work on stabilizing load around corners, very tough)
75x sledge hammer swings (seems a fair warm-up/cool down, and it's fun)
Next time I'll record times and rest time (I forgot my stopwatch)

I am not a big believer in high rep lifting, or in lifting objects in the same modalities that you would lift weights (as Alwyn Cosgrove calls it 'yard work training'). Doing a military press for 35-100 reps as a training method is counter productive whether it's a dumbell, or a big f-ing rock. However, dynamic movements (tire tossing, kettlebell swings, and the like) are very beneficial for athletes, and cannot easily be replicated in a normal gym environment. Also, things like sled dragging, and farmer’s walks are excellent for athletes in high intensity interval sports to gain muscular endurance, and lactic acid tolerance. These are simple movements that require a full body effort, which is of great importance when doing this kind of work. Doing this type of work with a less than full body movement is not challenging enough. Most gym-type movements that require full body effort are either too complex (Olympic lifts) to endurance train, or are far too demanding on stabilizing muscles (squats) so that as the stabilizers fatigue, and form breaks down before the full benefit is realized. So far the GPP work above seems to be allowing a significant training load without the same dangers. Effectiveness, it's still too early to tell.. but it sure is fun.

Fine print: I am a reasonably trained adult, I do not recommend this workout to.. anyone. I am not an expert, don't do what I'm doing. I am crazy. Those wishing to gawk at the weirdo can email me and I'll tell you when and where. If you happen to grab a tire and start chucking it while I'm not looking, I can't be blamed. Don't sue me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is that really a verb?

Last night driving home from work, I got a call from my brother-in-law. We'll call him J.P. "What resturaunt are we going to tonight for your birthday?"
"I don't remember, why?"
"It isn't (censored) is it?"
"Actually that sounds right."
"Oh man! I was nailing this chick that works there." (nailing? really? is she a vampire?)
"So I take it you're no longer.. um.. 'on good terms."
"So I'll not be ordering what you are, just in case she spits in both of them to make sure."
"She wouldn't spit, it's her boyfriend who works in the kitchen, he sure would."
"Right, so I'm double super not ordering what ever you do."

Good times.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to make an obese teen:

Take 1 pudgy kid, tell him he's on a diet and needs to restrict calories. He doesn't eat breakfast. Eats small but junky lunch at school. He feels tired and unable to exercise, gets home from school binges, and falls into a food coma till dinner. Feed again. Go to bed. rinse, repeat. By going on a diet we've:
slammed the breaks on metabolism.
Reduced fruit and veggie intake (see study)
Piled all the calories into a short time span just before bed.
AAND the kid has no energy to get in the little exercise he was getting before the diet.
It wasn't just me.
See the ADA study.
Like everyone else teens need to be taught to change their diet rather than go on a diet. Restricting food is bad, it actually makes you fatter. It's a zero sum game. Eventually you are so starved you make bad choices, you feel guilty, you over compensate, and everything keeps spiraling until you give up.


After my shoulder surgery, I did yoga a couple times a week (helps that the classes were free). It was exactly what I needed at the time. My shoulder had loads of scar tissue that needed mobilization. My upper body was very weak, and body weight was more than a little challenging. As I broke up the scar tissue and regained my strength I outgrew yoga. Eric Cressey has a great article on yoga, and Pilates for athletes (it's firm but nice). Mike Boyle, not so nice. I am inclined to agree with both of these gents, but with qualifications. For the untrained, to work on specific mobility issues, or as the occasional recovery exercise yoga is great, but there are risks involved. Right now the risks are not worth the rewards, but that could change.

As an aside, I'm having a damn spiffy morning. Hope you are too!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Awwww Yeah..

Somethin so bad, feelin so good.

Weekend weirdness.

On fridays I work out at a local boxing gym. I was most of the way through the workout, doing some heavy bag work very intently working on my footwork. I snap out of my focus to see a black man in street clothes looking at me. He looks like a shorter sort of strung out version of Kevin Garnett. He's got a chipped tooth, he's smiling very broadly. Julia, the woman who is running the place, starts talking to him. I can't really hear what she's saying, the music's loud. I just assume this is a guy who walked in interested in working out at the gym, and doesn't know who to talk to. So I go back to hitting the bag, assuming that she'll explain to this guy how things work. Suddenly they start yelling. Julia is telling this guy to leave, and two other students run over to them to get this guy out the door. I whip my gloves off just in time to see the guy sort of slap, shove one of the students. Suddenly everyone is on 11. The guy is out the door. People are holding people back; the guy is screaming crazy stuff. He's punching his hand, and making a lot of noise. Sven, a guy who I've worked out with before is calling the cops. I describe the guy black jeans with a weird wash on them, black long sleeved t-shirt, jordans, scraggily facial hair, and a chipped front tooth. Everyone calms down and we lock the door. the guy dumps the trash can and walks away. The cops came later, I took off. Weird day. I still don't know what that guy wanted. I am pretty sure he won't be back. I feel bad that I assumed that guy had reasonable intentions. All that aside, cappy's is a really cool place. A place where you assume, even if the guy is kind of mangy looking, that he has the right intentions.

Saturday was St. Paddys, and being so close to my birthday, the wife and I decided to have my birthday dinner on saturday. I was a vegetarian. For 10 years. Just recently, I have looked at my diet, my ideals, and a few other things and decided that I was going to no longer be a vegetarian. I have no interest in eating red meat or poultry, but seafood (most of it) is sustainable, and well managed. So for my birthday dinner I had what was, and may become again my favorite food: king crab legs. So tasty. We just made them at home. I made some clarified butter, we had some raw and some grilled oysters, and a salad and some tasty bread. It was fantastic.

Today.. today is my birfday. 32. I don't feel much different than 25. I hit snooze an extra time, shaved, and the cat and I became poop brothers. He in his litter box, and I in the toilet right next to him. He was faster, then again he doesn't wipe.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I am a huge fan of Frank Miller's comics. Sin City was great, V for Vendetta was fantastic, the Dark Knight books are everything I thought comics could be. I am intrigued by 300. Not just because I think the story of the Spartans at Thermopylae is one that everyone should know, but because the training that the actors and stunt folks underwent is something that I would love to take on. The idea that hard work, blood, sweat, tears, pain, failure, and redemption are the things that make sport and physical culture worth our time. Transcending those things brings us closer to divinity. It is not the flexing in the mirror that makes one great; it is your trail of sweat on the floor. In a world where so many things are wrapped in something else, your limits are your limits and if you can push past them, then you are a greater person. If you can help someone else push past theirs, you are a greater being. You sacrifice a small part of your own identity to become something greater. That is the reason for participating in a team sport or event. Anything else is a waste.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Specialization is for insects.

I was having a conversation with my friend CES and he sent me a quote. Lets see how I fare.

A human being should be able to:

change a diaper >check no problem

plan an invasion >I could.

butcher a hog >Sure, wouldn't eat him if I had the choice, but I could.

conn a ship >starboard, Port, fore and aft. sure.

design a building >You want that in cad or pro-e?

write a sonnet >Got a degree in literature chumpy, no problem.

balance accounts >You just said "should be able to" right, not "always remembers to?"

build a wall >I can frame one out of wood and drywall, or pile up some rocks like my ancesters

set a bone >set my own nose.. a couple of times.

comfort the dying >here's hoping I never have to.

take orders >Sir, yes sir!

give orders >Done.

cooperate >with some better than others.

act alone >better at this one than most.

solve equations >everything up to calc.

analyze a new problem >every day.

pitch manure >Yup.

program a computer >VB, XML, SQL

cook a tasty meal >I can cook several.

fight efficiently >Wha'd you say 'bout my mama!?

die gallantly >As patton said "any poor bastard can die for his country, that's not the hard part. The trick to winning a war is to get the other poor son-ofa-bitch to die for HIS country!"

Specialization is for insects.

Pimp my planet.

This may be a meaningless gesture, but funk it.
While action is better, gestures are better than nothing.
I have been struggling with this issue for a while now. I want to switch to a vehicle that uses biodiesel. I drive 50 miles a day, and do so in my beloved pick-up. Which puts out more than it's share of carbon. I have been looking for someone, ANYONE to build a light pick-up in diesel, and sell said vehicle in the states.
No dice.
You can either buy a small petrol truck or a big honken diesel. A big honking truck is not practical for where I live, but something in my redneck DNA makes me damn near depressed about the prospect of not driving a truck. I have been thinking about just getting the entire power plant on my old truck replaced, but how, and what would that cost?
What's an environmentally conscious hill-billy to do?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Take my life, take my land...

I watch a bit of T.V. but getting as early as I do leaves me with a bedtime of 9:30 maybe 10 on school nights. So, I only watch a few first run shows: Rome, Good eats, Mythbusters, CSI, and Iron Chef. I tend to come into cool shows a bit late, and more and more it's well after they're canceled. Three prime examples: Firefly, Arrested Development, and Family Guy. All great shows, I own all of the dvds of all 3 and all were canceled mostly because of crappity time slots.

Arrested Development was given to me by my brother. I thought the first 3 episodes were kind of lame, but it get's better as the characters flesh out.

A.D. reminded me of Firefly, if only because Jason Bateman looks exactly like Nathan Fillion. Firefly always intrigued me, but it was on at 8pm on Friday. Now I know it's a sci-fi show, and we nerdly types aren't supposed to have a social life, but I did (so sue me). I didn't catch this show until after I had seen Serenity on HBO, then went back and watched the show on dvd.
Family guy is the show so nice they'll have to cancel it twice. Which makes me think, if a good edgy show comes to a studio, and they’re too big of pansies to really back it, why not release it on dvd first, drum up some buzz and THEN put it on t.v.

We are inundated with media. It's everywhere. People are crapping out clips on youtube so fast I'm surprised youtube can keep up. Most of the media out there is nonsense, twinkies for the soul. However, because it is so ubiquitous and available, things that the networks/moviestudios/music honchos deem un-saleable are still there for the asking. This has already happened to the music business. The big studios keep churning out the same crapola, and the people with taste are looking elsewhere. the question remains will people keep looking? Part of me is cynical and believes that people will feed on the slop they are given, and anything resembling work to find something, anything else/better/different will be too much for the girthy masses. But maybe not. Hopefully, as the means of production get dispersed the big corporate outlets will choke under their own weight, and people will go back to making things because they think they are quality, not just because they test well. Here’s hoping.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You're not stealing a ham. You're just a fat kid, aren't you fatty.

I was a fat kid. My whole childhood. At age 8 I weighed 80 lbs. By 10, 130. By my freshman year I weighed over 230. I was fat. I never got any exercise, I ate too much, and too much of what I ate was crap.

My life changed when my high school gym coach (also the football coach) actually encouraged me to go out for the football team. I had been a natural athlete as a kid, but participating in sports meant time with my step-dad, and I had long since decided that sports weren't worth so much 'quality time.' In high school, things were different. I was autonomous. My parents had all but given up on doing anything but damage control with me, and focused on my brother. I got to have sports, but no longer had to deal with all that had entailed before.

I was painfully out of shape, but as the season, and practices wore on I did every sprint, push-up, and lifted every weight I was asked. Which for almost all of summer practice my sophomore year meant staying out on the field after my teammates had long since finished (and after some of their parents had already picked them up). It took my entire sophomore year, and most of my junior, but I was an athlete again. I was a 'good' high school athlete, a little weird, but my weirdness was overlooked, because I could play. I virtually ignored the social aspects of high school, because I was awkward, and shy, and couldn't understand why anyone would want to be my friend in the first place. Who'd want to be friends with the fat kid?

Really I was just waiting to get to college. I got a few looks from some D II colleges to play football, but I hurt my knee my senior year and they stopped looking.
After I finished rehabbing my knee and missed the entire wrestling season, I found rugby through a family friend and was instantly hooked. Here was a sport that was physical, but also required each player to think. It had this great secret society feeling about it, and just seemed cool and european. The only school I'd applied to happened to have a great rugby program. Through 4 years I became a very good college rugby player. I had some ups and downs in the 8 years I played after that. I spent most of that time trying to eat and lift my way back up to that magic 230 mark (oh irony of ironies).

Now I'm retired from rugby. It took 2 operations to put humpty dumptie's rotator cuff back together. It took over a year before my shoulder functioned normally. And has taken a year after that for me to rebuild my foundation. Now I'm out of shape, and kinda fat.. again.

I am still 5'11, weigh about 215.
I can bench just under my bodyweight, and pull (deadlift) just under 2x bodyweight (405). I can do 5 chin-ups in a row. I have found rowing (in Seattle, it sort of finds you) and I love it. I've won a couple races, but really I can't identify as a rower. I don't have the body type of a rower, and would rather look like Dave Tate (see the picture below) than Brian Volpenheim. I feel like I am starting over. I retired from competing, but I'm not done being an athlete. I am looking forward to seeing just how strong, fit, powerful I can get.
Life is a work in progress till it's not.

Dave Tate (not me)

Brand Spankin' New!

Here it is, fresh from the farm new blog.
Pretty sweet eh?
Ok, I haven't really done anything with this thing.. yet.
Let's start slow shall we. Here's a dump and description of my 3 favorite blogs (which will give some insight into what I intend to do here)

Numero Uno:
I, Asshole
S.J.'s more than excellent blog, about, well.. everything and nothing. About Life for lack of a better. Very funny, crass, witty, well spoken and honest, above all honest. A really excellent read (fair warning at times very NSFW). May contain references to funginas, mongoose pron and B. Spears.

Zwei (by a hair's breadth)
Mistress Krista. Her blog about all things, and all things iron. Very intelligent and witty site about lifting heavy things. Funny, and academic at the same time. Very smart and informative without prostletizing or talking over her readers. Great site for anyone looking to get fitter, or lift heavy things. Made for a woman, but strong enough for anyone. Would be in the top spot, but she's just not as prolific as S.J. (that and she doesn't live in my neighborhood)

Male Pattern Fitness
Lou Shuler was a managing editor for men's health, and men's fitness. He's written some great books on the iron game, and writes a lot of good stuff about fitness, fatness and everyones favorite team your 2006 world series champion St. Louis Redbirds (he's from my home town of St. Lou). Good dude, and great blog.

There it is, wit and wackiness, honesty, lifting, life, fitness, fatness and probably a bit about my favorite sports teams, music and shows on the T.V. That's sort of what I'm shooting for. Who knows this could end up a blog about happy slapping, or Spanish cheese making, but only time will tell.