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Saturday, December 22, 2007


Much thanks to my bro and his wifey and the rugrat for the Wii DDR system for solstice gifts. Woot!!My wife and I are already rockin to it (they left only a little while ago) and I've got a great sweat going on. The music for DDR Hottest Dance Pary is a decent selection. I'm sure more tracks will open up, but for now, I can't complain, especially with a few happy hardcore speed tracks mixed with some slower ones that Karen can groove to that require a little less coordination (sorry hun ;) ).

I'm so very happy.

Anyway, first post here in a while, so I'm glad to have a nice one before I post a few upcoming ones that will be a little less than nice.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Craack, ungh, splrsh, shuullllll

The title represents my onomatopoeia representation of the glorious sounds of death that can be found in Manhunt 2. If you don't know what Manhunt 2 is... um, wake up and smell the geek coffee. ;) Err... well, I didn't know until a couple months ago. I was checking out some trailer on youtube and saw sidebar videos with trailers and other captures from Manhunt (1, but before there was a 2, it was just Manhunt I'm sure - naahtahmean?). I watched and was shocked and in love. The main character sneaking up on peeps and murdering them in such brutal and violent ways that I didn't know that kind of violence got on video games. Whew. Then I read a comment about Manhunt 2 and its being banned in the UK... I had to check that out. Sure enough, it was banned because of was given an AO rating - that's Adults Only for the newbs. My response. "And?" Adults Only!! Now, if only parents would get their shit together and shops wouldn't cave in, then kids would not have such easy access to games and adults could actually have some adult only gaming fun without nosey fucks interfering. So, as a cop out Rockstar Games made changes to the game to make it M rated (that's Mature to the newbs). Have to be 17 or older to buy, versus the 18 or older for AO. I'm fricken 35 and I'm relatively well-adjusted, who the hell are they to tell me what I can play? Urgh. That pisses me off.

Anyway, I bought the game anyway... I want brutality. It's damn fantasy. It's not real and my mind is not going to act on it. I know for a fact that kids do act on their game training. I teach kids who are playing some games that frankly their parents should be slapped for letting them play. I love Grand Theft Auto, but a 13 year old kid should not be playing it. A married, well educated, average Joe isn't the issue. So I'm playing the game, a few hours of play time - hey it's a hard game for this guy - and I've seen the changes. The execution scenes have been altered (as the word on the net is) such that they are all washed in a red tint and blurred, covering so much of the detail that's it's really mostly hinted violence. I'm actually pissed and offended by it, but I still enjoy the game. Rockstar sold out. The game would still sell like mad if they kept the AO version, frankly the difference between 17+ and 18+ is a little silly. I realize M is like an rating from the MPAA (don't even get me started on that terrorist organization) and thus AO is meant to be like X (or XXX since X was done away with so that a triple-x rating could seem worse) and I'm fine with that, but why on earth does that really cause releases to fail? Ok, I realize a lot of adults would feel weird walking into a store to buy real pr0n (not that bullshit tease softcore crap you find on old-school skinemax), but I guess that's a whole different topic.

Blah, I'm ranting and rambling.

There's apparently a version floating around in torrent land that is the uncensored release, but I only saw info on the PS3 version... and even if there was one for the Wii, I'd not hack my Wii just to be able to do it. When I first put Metroid Prime 3 Corruption Wii in my system, it said it was installing something that warned that if I had done any modifications to my system, it might stop working. Yikes!

So, tonight I believe SNL isn't new since the TV writer's strike is still on, I'm hoping the wife won't mind if I play some more. Hahaha, she'll likely need to go to bed first though. When I first put the game in the night I got it, to just check it out, I had the option of a little tutorial on how to use the Wiimote and Nunchuk... it just had me move the parts in ways to cause thing happen - uh, yeah - but the sounds were obvious. The sounds of crunching or bones and popping body parts causing blood splatter. The sound really bothered her. It cracked me up. You could see what appeared to be blood splatter on the screen, slowly dripping, but it was dark. In any event, she's an audibly annoyed person. It did not set well. Thankfully the headphones have a long cable.

Other than the annoying censorship of the game, I despise that they ignored lefties. I have to have the Wiimote in my right hand because all the primary weapons end up in that one. Damnit, I'm a lefty, I should have the options of switching, even if only because it's a lot harder for me to control certain actions with my right hand. What idiot forgot about something as simple as that???

Still... great game that will provide hours and hours of brutal, bloody, mental violent fun. And some of my students had the gall to call me square last year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dumbldore is gay... and some people are just assholes

Perhaps it was intentionally not "big news", but I mostly only caught that Harry Potter author JK Rowling announced that Hogwarts headmaster Professor Albus Dumbledore was gay by chance listen on the news. I was shocked at the announcement, but frankly, after reading Deathly Hallows, who is really shocked about the fact??? For real. As a young wizard he totally had a boy-love relationship with Grindelwald. My only disappointment is that there wasn't a better hint. No need to explicitly state it, as it really had no bearing on the story, but I had a feeling and it would have been cool to have just a tiny hint more to make a better educated guess. But so fargin what? I still found the book amazing and will forever be happy I was pushed into reading the series. Bravo JK.

The second after I heard the news, I knew for a fact that the ignorant masses that are homophobes would freak out about it. Boy did they. I'm looking right now at the comments section to a posted article at The Leaky Cauldron where I see lots of support, but lots of ignorance and homophobia.

To bring things closer to home... I have played the Harry Potter Trading Card Game for years. Actually, I've had it for years, but rarely play. It's a fun game though. I joined a Yahoo! group for players of it and have gotten some info and advice from the list. It's a low traffic group, but still served its purpose. This morning however, the original creator of the group sent this final message to the group:

Due to Rowling's decision to turn HP into a series for homosexual
propaganda, making the series unsafe for children, this group is being
shut down.
Um, you asshole! I realize she created the group, but in the real world, if a group thrives even without the direction of the creator of the group, who is the creator to destroy it? Especially since the server is was supported by was not hers.

In any event, I was shocked to see such an abrupt message and that when I went to check if the group was still there, it was already gone, so she really did kill it off quickly. I'm honestly guessing she wanted to hurt it by making sure we couldn't easily get the member list so if a new group would be created, the previous members could be directly invited. So I responded to her in a not nice way - screw it, homophobes are not deserving of respect when they do something specifically to make negative issue of homosexuals - and then wrote to one of the group members who is much a group leader. Another person already started a new one and he was added as a co-owner (a good idea BTW, in case someone flips out - I got booted off the LG-V6000 group because I made a comment about the group creator making some religious comments) so he invited me.

I was in the car going out to lunch with my mom a few years ago, possibly even 6 or so. She had the radio on a Christian talk show. They happened to be talking about how evil Harry Potter books were and how kids should not be allowed to read them; they should be removed from school, and all that stuff. I asked what my mom felt about it (being an evangelical xian) and she didn't really have an opinion. I don't recall too much more, other than stating the positive the books have done even to get more kids reading (statistically debatable from what I've heard) and questioning if she had a problem with The Lord of the Rings -something she knew I had had interest in strongly for a very long time. She hadn't formed an opinion. As of last year, I'm certain her opinion was aligned with the rest of the religious zealots. It's a shame. She even talked my dad out of wanting to see Order of the Phoenix at the drive in. Eh, what can I say. The point is, the wingnut fervor died down for a while, or at least wimpered, and now they are at it again - and it has hit my inbox yet again.

So yeah, Dumbledore is gay. It's cool, and it's not... it just is. Being an asshole is a choice, however.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Short winded power

I hate the blogger doesn't have a trackback feature. Gr.
Anyway, just ran into this ditty:
Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative, Set to Power Third World

This is kick ass. Of course they don't tell us how to make the low wind generator. What annoys me though is that all these ideas are always "for third world countries"... um, hello? We can all use renewable energy sources. How about making it cheap and easy on the home front (assuming "home front" means the US to you as well). My porch gets all kinds of winds that would make a few of these babies rock (or hum I suppose), so since I live in a developed country where a bunch of eejits drive Hummers, I'm not targeted for energy saving options. I want off the grid.

One day, when I have a mouse with a workshop, I swear, I'll put all this info to use.

I followed a link by a commenter on the above page and viola, an idea I came up with independently a couple years ago... well, very similar.
Micro Wind Turbines
My actual ideas revolved more around the idea of having a bunch of pinwheels. I think that's what they're called, I'm too lazy to look it up. Basically small light aluminum or paper wheels on sticks that kids blow into or let the wind blow into to spin. I wall of those on my porch would look kinda neat and likely not sound any more disturbing to neighbors than the wind chimes on others' porches.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cough cough cough

Burlington city counselor Ed Adrian has proposed that Burlington's Church Street Marketplace be smoke free. This is something that for years I've been hoping someone would do. Yeah, I guess I should be someone who tried to get this going, but not being a politician and having to earn a living get in the way of all the social causes I would like to get into.

Anyway, I was going to let the issue rest in the hands of the counsel and others who could make it to open meetings, but then my local list had people who were actually sticking up for smokers violating our lung freely downtown. I couldn't resist... had to write to the list:

If I had a spray bottle with arsenic in it and I sprayed people with it downtown, I'd be arrested. If I spit on someone, I'd possibly be arrested. If I hit someone, I'd be arrested. So why is it that a smoker's right to put their poisonous cloud into my lungs is so often defended by smokers and non-smokers alike? Does seriously believe that people who smoke around others are not doing harm? Still?

I'm also sick of the "the government is always trying to protect us from ourselves" argument. That's shortsighted at best. How about protecting children from you? We're at the point of arresting child predators just moments after the [thought] crosses their mind to offend, but a smoker can directly pollute every child's lungs around them with impunity.
And step a few feet away from the smokers? Why? I suppose if you can't move away from my fist fast enough then it's your own fault if you get hurt, right?

Just Church St.?!?! Be happy it's not being pushed all over the outdoors. When I go running on the *bike path* - you know, sort of an epitome of where to try to be healthy - there are people smoking. Nothing like the smoke and related chemicals burning my lungs when I'm gasping for air as it is, or having to hold my breath til I nearly lose it.

We've had no less than two smokers living in our apartment building whose smoke and odor seeped into our entire apartment.

I have never smoked in my life, but I grew up with smokers around me, so I believe I'm paying much the same price with my own respiratory problems.

No, sympathy for smoker's rights just doesn't make any sense when it amounts to allowing them to choose to poison others.

I believe that smokers are specifically committing acts of assault on others when their smoke interferes with them in any way.

So, as I always do, I write a long winded response to issues that matter to me. And now it's here.
I decided to not attack the same counselor on his intent to support lowering the drinking age at UVM to 18. How friggin stupid is that? For another time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

School mugg

I haven't had a school picture taking in a very long time. Actually, that's a lie. I had one taken last year, but they didn't offer a comp package of pix I could actually see and I didn't buy the yearbook (might still get a left over one though). Oh, I'm still lying, I had to get a new picture for my ID at UVM this summer. Man, I'm just full of lies aren't I? Well, the point is that I have an actual useful picture of myself that is up to date... and frankly, I think shows the weight loss I've accomplished in the last 5 months.
The scanner did a crap job, so I had to correct it like mad, and sadly, they didn't do any other "corrections", ahem, so I did them too. Not a bad picture. I haven't compared it to my previous pictures, but my face is definitely thinner. Yay! Now I'm waiting for my new school ID with this picture. Who knows when. This package came pretty quickly. The wife's school hasn't even done picture day yet.
I'm relatively sure I'm violating some copyright issues by scanning and posting this picture, but I don't care. I didn't ASK for the package, it was offered. I didn't sign anything, I figure, it's me, I own me, so if someone captures me on film, I reserve the right of reuse of those images. I somehow doubt they'll come after me though. They seemed cooler than the previous photojocks that did the school picture service... who didn't offer teachers squat - not even the option to buy a set of pictures. Sheesh.

Indigestible maze

Last night, even though I still have a cold and the wife still have lingering symptoms, we went to the Great Vermont Corn Maze. We go at night because it's just more fun being lost in the dark. ;)
We;ve gone for the last few year, I think 4 of them counting this year. The sign at it even says to expect it to take at least an hour and a half. Rob and Nicole took about that long, but they always finish quicker than we do. However, it took us about two hours, and we asked for more help than I am personally comfortable with asking for (from the employees). However, I feel like the maze was much too complicated this year, or worse yet... too many loops. Way too many loops! It's still a lot of fun. Errr... actually, after about an hour I realized I was becoming dehydrated and a little light-headed, so I was getting as little nervous about that. We were caught in a couple spots where I wondered how long it would be for someone to find me if I just fell. Hehe... exciting!

This is the Google Maps location for it. The detail is lame, obviously... but that bigger patch field is where (I believe) the maze actually is.

View Larger Map

I do try to get the post card for it each year so I can actually see the maze from above. We can sometimes figure out some of the places we got lost (or just highly annoyed). So, for your enjoyment, I'm posting the postcard for this year. It might be a spoiler, but I think they aren't doing any more night mazes with this one (only day time??), so you've been warned, try to blur your eyes if you plan on heading to Danville Vermont for this year's maze. And if you want to see some more detail, click through.

The downside... we might not go back. $9 per adult!! Yes, $9. Cheaper than a movie, it turns out, but frankly, we're a little baffled by how they chose to raise the price so high recently. They've got to be making a killing on it. I bet a lot of the workers are family volunteers (or getting some bonding time) for the few evenings they do it, but that's what "farming life is about" isn't it? Anyway, like everyone else who have a local yokel niche, they always feel justified in upping the cost to locals in the name of "spend your money locally", and we eat it up. For $7.50 a person we can go to the drivein for 2 current run movies bringing our own food. Oh well, I'm sure next year we'll go anyway, and they are relying on that. It is seriously good frustrating fun and they do a great job. Just keep us financially struggling folk in mind.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Big Bright Ball, Bantam Bright Bike

So the last few days I've made a point of riding the motorcycle to work. The mornings are colder (and getting colder) but the afternoons are too nice to pass up the opportunity to take two wheels for the commute home.

First the ugly. About half way into the ride, I'm cold. I can't afford (or am wary of spending the money right now) gloves that are better insulated (and waterproof), so I wear some leather winter gloves, which are good until a certain point - usually about 25-30 miles into the commute. Also around 30 miles into the commute I hit pea soup. The news says it straight up: "Visibility of 10 (I'm assuming miles) in Burlington, visibility of 0 in Montpelier", which means visibility of 0 in Barre, since it is basically a soup bowl. This, of course, scares the wife, so I don't bother telling any more when I'm kissing her goodbye for the day that the weatherman has declared that I shan't be capable of seeing anything. Hahaha. Ahem!

The truth is, I can see enough, but obviously the concern is about them seeing me. You know, them are the morons who even though the conditions are sketchy, they are still chatting (or texting) on their phones while driving, or worse, just really too stupid to be on the road at all... they types that I run into (not literally) at least once every other day that nearly pull over into me as I'm passing or cut me off short after they pass me. They are a concern, but I'm aware and constantly vigilant.

That leads to the title of the entry.
Big bright ball is the sun. Traveling south from Burlington to around Richmond the sun has been huge and glaring down on me. Yesterday and the day before the sun was nearly blinding, so I was looking mostly down at the road. Today, however, the sun was even larger, but something in the sky (pollution?) made it less powerful and it looked awesome. I could watch it and at a few times, as usual, I wished I had a head mounted camera for taking some killer pix. Oh well, another project to work on when I finish learning electronics... yes, too many things.

Bantam bright bike refers to my bike (bantam as an adjective, though it's not really diminutive -unless you compare it to the sun :) ) and its new bright orange paint job. So as I peak some of the I89 hills, I should be like the sun. Nice. The chuckelheads wouldn't accidentally cut of the sun would they? I'm the brightest thing on the road, man! Seriously, I see mostly stock like colored bikes in the morning, Suzuki blues, HD and other cruisers in typical black and some Honda reds, but nothing nearly as bright as my orange. No excuses.

So, after school I'll head back home and be just another thing in the nice bright sun of the afternoon, but that sun will make the sparklies in the paint job twinkle - I like that. Though the bike really needs to be washed and waxed again.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Strings of Ineptitude

I had my first violin lesson today in two weeks. Since the last lesson I have just not had time to put in proper practice... and frankly, it shows. I'm embarrassed when I struggle on some of the things I do when I'm working with Julia. I'm only a few months into this, but still I feel like I should be better than I am, and I'm positive my wall is my lack of regular daily practice. I don't know how adults do this. I've found that I have a choice when I get home from work... I can workout or I can practice violin. The working out is important because it's working. My weight is getting back under control and I'm feeling like I will get to my goal. But I chose to learn violin because I want to be good at it. I love the violin. When I am playing well (it does happen from time to time) I'm happy and excited and everything looks positive, so it's not like I'm torturing myself.

Sadly, so often I get home too tired for either. I still try to get the run in though because trying to learn violin when I want to sleep is bad, running...well, I lose all choice in the matter when I'm pounding the pavement for an hour or so.

I leave my lesson sometimes just hoping that she doesn't feel like I'm wasting her time. Sure, I'm paying for it, but still. I don't even know where I should be skill-wise by now. Perhaps I'm over criticizing myself, or perhaps I truly am just too lazy to get my ass to the level of ability I should be at. They say, all over the place, to not expect to actually be good for at least a couple year. I just can't let myself believe there's any one thing that takes two years to just be competent at. I tend top pick thing up quickly... though I also tend to pick up too many things quickly.

She did recommend a couple sheet music books to get that have more familiar and interesting pieces to play. We'll see. Right now it might be a little more money that I should spend, but I'll look up the prices. She also loaned me a book. Maybe I'll scan some pages so I can get it back to her right away.

The good news is that even though I have some serious struggles, I am still ever so happy I've taken up this challenge.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Children of Hurin

I finally finished reading Children of Hurin this evening. Wow. If you're a Tolkien fan, I would have to say you can't pass this one up. I read the Silmarillian a while ago, but don't recall this story specifically. This book, released back in May or so (I ordered it relatively soon after release) is a more complete telling of the tale of the tragic life of mostly Turin, son of Hurin, a lord of Dor-lomin, tucked in the north-west of the land of Beleriand, which is west of the Grey Havens (where the Elves of the fourth age travel to leave the land of Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings tale***). Anyway, the story. Hurin is captured by Morgoth and tale is that he's kept alive, but that his kin will be forever cursed. Oh boy, he's not kidding. One of my "labels" for this blog is "Murphy's Law" because that's a great label for much of my life... stuff just always goes wrong. Enter Turin and I have found kin of the misfortuned like rarely before. That said, you might find yourself wondering if you love Turin or hate Turin. I did. I felt it all. The book follows him from childhood, being hidden from his homeland in the hidden city of Elves (in case you didn't know, the Elves aren't particularly loving toward men) into adulthood and being a leader in all ways. Turin is a brat, a hero, a whiner, a leader, a master, an ill-omen - he covers the full range of why Elfkind doesn't trust mankind.

A serious tragic twist happens later that even caused me to drop my jaw (though I wasn't really shocked, half expecting it about half a chapter or more earlier) and say "holy crap". There were a few parts of this story that made me smile, but mostly it was sad and left me feeling loss. I loved it.

I would say it's a relatively short book, but since I'm a slow reader, it was long enough. I bet an average reader could finish this in a few sittings. It was written in a way that was easier to read than Silmarillion, but was still written much like JRRT's other books, with strange linguistic wording and descriptions, but that's part of what I've always liked about reading Tolkien. It does make me want to pull out Silmarillion again and do a re-read, but I still have The Lord of the Rings sitting with a bookmark waiting for another re-read, along with other books. We'll see about that. For now, it's just another thing to invigorate my want to get back to playing Lord of the Rings Online (I have a lifetime subscription to the game, so referral payoffs don't benefit me, but you could contact me if you know me and if you hook up through my referral, their site says you can get in on the same founder pricing options I had, $199 lifetime or $9.99/month).

***Update: 9/6/7: Um, yeah, I felt a little uncertain and stupid when I posted some info above (the ***). I was uncertain about the compared location of Beleriand versus "Middle-earth" as we know them from tLotR. So, being the slight perfectionist I am, and not wanting to look stupid, I did some research. See, I've read the Silmarillion, but it's been a while, and apparently many people are confused about this, so on The Encyclopedia of Arda site, specifically Where in Middle-earth was Beleriand? they have the answer... though you still need to sorta figure more out. I actually had to pull out my Silmarillion book (1st American Edition/printing) with its large map in the back to compare thing. The end result, Beleriand was mostly destroyed, or more it's west coast in "The War"... thanks Morgoth. So an eastern mountain border of Beleriand is now the western most mountain range in Middle-earth (Ered Luin), but the Third Age. I'd need to refresh my memory (or ask a Tolkien expert friend of mine) where exactly the Elves (and Bilbo, Gandalf and Frodo end going) leave for specifically when they leave the Grey Havens. This is why these books warrant re-reads. So much information. I love it.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Monster play

It's hard to find time to play, but I'm still loving playing Lord of the Rings Online. I sneak in a few hours here and there. Long weekends (like this - Labor Day Weekend) make it a little easier, I just play on Saturday night. Tonight (actually, that would have been a couple hours ago to be Saturday) I played for a little bit. When I logged in I saw the option to play in Monster Play mode. I knew I'd be able to eventually, but last time I played that option was not selectable. I don't know too much about it, but I knew it'd be cool to try out, so I selected it.

You have the choice between 4 monsters or so... maybe it was 5. Thee appears to be two Uruk-hai options, a leader and an archer, a spider, and a couple others... I forgot already. I selected an Uruk-hai archer dude, see picture to the right. His name is Akulnakh. I gave him a surname, but
off hand I can't remember it. Whoopee really, it doesn't matter. Unlike player characters, you don't get to customize the monsters. No biggie. The truth is, I was not too impressed with that monster play. It seemed like I had to travel far too much to accomplish quests, but I
also didn't select a bunch off hand. This picture was taken before I had received around a total of 10 quests. I only finished two of them, and not even finished. I started them, I guess you could say.

After playing for about an hour with him, I logged out and went back in as Torbrand, my hobbit burglar. He's the main character I play with, and since he's only up to level 14 by now, it shows how little I actually play. The good news is that as long as this game stays alive, I'm likely good for a very long time - and my lifetime subscription will indeed be worthwhile. Anyway, I wasn't interested in playing him tonight, I primarily wanted to log him in to get a couple pix. Both are taken in Budgeford, where I last time I ended play after my first two fellowship quests. I'm more in this game to play alone... that's my style, but it just so happened by great luck that two different people were searching for fellowships for the exact quests I wanted to complete. It worked out just great... hey, perhaps I should have taken a group picture, hehehehe. Anyway, the first pic is of Torbrand (in the beta I called him Brand - like my Halfling Rogue in D&D - but someone beat me to the punch to get the name in the final release) flexing in front of some random hobbit habitat. The second is pulled back a bit... he's waving hellow to you. I tried to get him to yawn, but it didn't work for some reason... the yawn would match how tired I am right now - as soon as I'm done writing this entry, I'm going to bed.

If you happen to be a LotRO player, in the first server on the list (see, I don't pay a lot of attention, I think it starts with E... it is one of the original servers, left over from closed beta), post your PC name... perhaps we'll meet in Middle Earth.

Better yet, donate some money to me so I can buy a kick ass gaming card. I'm playing this on my laptop. It plays just fine, but I can't turn up the visual efx and features like I'd like. I'm sure I'm missing a ton of details and beauty in this. The visuals of this game are just stunning, and I only hope I get a system that has the beef enough to power it all. Eh, I'll include one more picture... it's just a farm picture with a nice sky and rainbow in the background. The weather system is cool... I had killer rain one day, but there seems to be more rainbows than IRL. ;) Anyway, my guess is that the details would be better and I bet the trees would even be moving the wind, not to mention more detailed characters and baddies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My first instructable is a site I like to visit, usually through make blog, that has all kinds of, well, instructables on all kinds of topics - how-tos if you will. Some are super cool, some are lame, and some are just amazing, though well above my financial or know-how to do. I've wanted to make one for a while... and I just did.

I set up a bell system at school to go off during the day for block beginnings, endings and warnings, etc using spare parts and a spare laptop running linux. Read it all there:

Simple distributed scheduled bell system

Check it out, I think it's a fun read... leave some comments (there or here).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vicks Vapo Rub

So, NFL player Michael Vick has finally plead guilty to being an asshole. Ooops, I guess just to killing dogs that he had set up to kill each other. Wooopeeee... right?

Why is this here? I hate football. I loath professional sports, for the most part... pampered, over-paid social leeches... kinda like Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton.

No, I'm posting because he states that he "has found jesus". Argh!!! Do Christians actually buy this shit? Oh, wait... yes, they do. I know some who personally will likely hate him for the evils he did against animals raised to be murderous sport fodder, but they will sure find a place in their hearts for him since he found jesus(R)(tm).

So, my message to Vick, and anyone else like him expecting that they are above the laws and above general morality, and then declaring they found religion (I guess he was atypical in that he didn't find Allah, as is apparently more common for many blacks in prison... but I'm guessing more poor black men, as Christianity is the capitalist's religion) , is that I hope a baddass, abused battle dog named "jesus" is set to rip you apart. Let it be a lesson. I'm not a PETA freak [I in fact despise PETA], but in this culture dogs are off limits for game killing. I hate dogs - I'm a cat person - but I'm getting tired of the current culture, often pushed by hip hop, of obsessive immorality while also claiming jesus... yar, and yes, glamorizing vicious-bred dogs!

All that said, Vick isn't the only shithead involved in all of this. If his partners are getting off and all the people who were betting and attending and letting it happen are just as guilty. Plea deals or not, there should be justice. I'm tired of seeing celebs getting away with murder, especially in a case where that is literal.

Oh, Lindsey... you're trash.

Don't think I'm attacking Vick because he's a black man. Trust me, if you know me, you know that couldn't be the case... I hate celebs equally. ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bike Beautiful Expensive Orange

So, the majority of the bike repaint is done. As of yesterday all but the lower cowl/scoop has been painted with the orange and color shifting paint and polishe. The scoop is being a bitch with the fiberglass repair, so I'm not freaking about it. I rode for a couple months in the spring without it at all... so woop dee doo, for now. I also still need to do the airbrushing of the "extras", but I've not decided anything other than what's going on the tank and I'm still trying to figure out what the best masking method will be. I'm going to freehand as little as possible.

The ride after this picture, with the wife on the back was plagued though. We were going to ride to the bike shop (Land Air... I'd link to them, but I'll explain why not in a moment). About 1.5 miles away the bike started revving like a mutha. I sorta freaked, but knew Karen was freaking worse, not the least by the sudden death grip on my waist. This happened after a red light. I couldn't shift down and didn't know what to do, so I thankfully had a shoulder I could pull over into after cutting off the engine. I pulled over and shut her down. We got off. There was smoke coming from somewhere below. I figured, let's let it cool off a bit and try again.

A few minutes later I restarted and it immediately revved to redline. I cut it off right after. Nervous, I called said shop asking for advice. Eventually it was clear I'd need to bring it in. (I have brought my bike to them since I got it 5 years ago or so) I ended up getting a tow sent by AAA, though I don't have RV coverage, so I was going to have to pay for it myself. I figured $45. That sucks, but so would pushing the bike 1.5 miles through some of the more busy traffic in the area.

Tow guy was nice. We got the bike to the shop... fucking $75!!!! I was robbed. It made me sick and I wanted to throttle someone. So, if you are in the Burlington area, you likely already know this, but fuck Handy's. Plain and simple. I've always hated them with a passion, but dude, $75 to tow a bike 1.5 miles. I pushed the bike onto the lift, held it steady and helped get it strapped in. How on earth... whatever!

The guys in the shop were able to get it in within about 10 minutes or so. After a little bit they came out to say they got it started (oh, I forgot to mention that the battery had mysteriously died while I tried to start it while on the phone with the shop to let them hear what was happening - the bike didn't start, obviously). The revved up on him and he didn't know why. He looked and noticed the choke was on. Well, yeah, it was on because I was trying to get the bike started again... thinking there was a fuel issue. He slid the choke off and it ran normally. He came out and reported the find. In hind sight, I think when I FIRST started the bike up, I left the choke on a little to let it warm up some more and forgot to shut it off. Stupid... stupid stupid stupid!!! Anyway all had a good laugh. They noticed the battery could use a charge and test. So they did that. When all was done we waited for the brass tacks. I figured maybe $30 or summat. No, the fuckers charged me $70... a full hour of labor. Um, they started a bike, turned off the choke and stuck the battery on a charger. Wait time for a charging battery is not labor. And for that matter I could have bought a new battery for half that, on the spot. So, someone screwed me over by not mentioning they were gonna rip me off. I've trusted that place for 5 years and even planned on buying my first NEW bike there. I'm not having serious second thoughts. I'll note that the service guys who were there last year wouldn't have done this. They've never screwed me over like that. I'd right a letter to them, but in case I change my mind, I'd rather not be "that guy"... might be hard to get a good deal on a bike. So, after the easily $250+ to paint the bike (paint, paint gun, sandpapers and other stuff), I paid $145 to find out that I left the choke on a little bit. Yeah, I'm pissed.

On the bright side, I did my commute to work this morning. The only bad thing to happen was that the bike needed to go into reserve about 30 miles from where I was going... but it didn't just suck up the fuel. I switched it after a couple kicks from the engine and it slowly died. I pulled over, threw open the choke and got it started, but it was a scary moment. Yar! I love this bike, but I really really really want a newer more modern bike. I passed 32222 miles on my way home. 33K is just around the corner.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fitquest 8/20/07

Fitquest is sorta coming to a close. The real plan was to loose about 20 pounds over the summer. Where that 20 pounds started from, I don't recall. Fact is, I sorta meant for it from my max weight, pushing 199 around April or May. that would mean being down to 179 by summer's end. As of this morning, I'm at 180. Yup, 180 pounds. Pretty close. I start work tomorrow, but I guess one could say that summer is still going on. I know I'll have a hard time keeping up with such a good running routine, since running in the morning is better for me, but needing to leave for work by 6:30 or so makes it a little difficult. I suppose I need to find a way to get in at least 30 minutes when I get home. Only half the time, but hey... one great thing that appears to have happened is that my metabolism has returned to some extent and I've started eating less. So, worst case is that I think I can maintain the weight until I get into something more rigorous.

The true end result is getting into pole vaulting shape, meaning preferably in the 165 pound ranger and building up my upper body strength again.

Let's just hope the stress of the job doesn't cause weight gain again. That would just suck, and likely kill my willpower.

So, this morning I ran northbound on the bike path. I didn't stop at the turning point, just kept going. It ended up being the 4 mile mark (it's not MY 4 mile mark, just a mark on the path marking 4 miles north of Oakledge Park). I'd guess this trip is about 6-5 miles, so not too bad. I took it a little easier. Oh, but I actually ran it all... including the uphill of Battery Park, so heya, it really made up for the couple minutes I took to stop at my friend John's to return a thumb drive.

So, I'm not saying fitquest is over, but I might not be posting about it as frequently as I did this summer. It all really depends. Though now that I think about it, if I have at least one student interested in doing the martial arts afternoon activity, I could work on making it more physical and get a good workout from that as well... he (the one I'm thinking about) could certainly use it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Some Weeks of Busy

So, long time no post. Last week we were in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, hiking from AMC hut to AMC hut. From the main road (I forget which road it was) we took the Valley Way trail to Madison Springs Hut. Pretty easy hike, but my hiking companion/brother-in-law kept getting sick. He began his kicking the smoking habit a couple days before, so I'm sure the withdrawals were hitting him. His father caught up (he was hiking with my wife) and he stayed with him while Karen and I finished up the hike. Slower than I like... much slower, but we made it together, which would be the last hiking bit we did together during the trip. Trust me, it works out much better that way.
Anyway, The next morning we (myself and two other guys that go on the trip as well, Colin and Lloyd) left in the rain and wind and fog to hike mostly ridge to Mount Washington. Whew, it was amazing. The wind was great. We were warned to not hike the peaks, but I wanted to. We didn't. I think we summited one though. We did go to Mt. Washington. There was about 20' of visibility. Who cared. We were completely soaked and just looking forward to a hot treat to eat. I had a turkey rice soup. It was pretty good. As I was hanging out near my wet bag, my mom showed up behind me. I knew there was a chance of her showing up, but didn't expect it, since the weather sucked so bad. She and dad took the Cog Railway up... couldn't get a refund or reschedule. The Cog is a scam man... super expensive. In any event, it was great seeing them up there so randomly. They live in Vermont also, so popping over to Mt. Washington isn't just a joy ride. There wasn't much time to visit, as they only had 20 minutes before the train left. Mom got a shot us dad and I (look right). (They drove up the next day, with nice weather)
After spending some time at the summit, the boys and I headed the 1.5 miles back down, to Lakes of the Clouds hut. Even though we spent a good deal of time at the summit, we were still the first of the Madison crew to get there.
The next morning we took off for Mizpah Springs Hut. We went over every peak along the way. It was nice weather pretty much the whole way. However, my solar USB charger didn't appear to build any charge in my MP3 player [more on that another time perhaps?]. We even took a few good long breaks, leap frogging a couple groups twice.
Getting to the hut as soon as we did gave me ample time to get some great reading in on Last Child in the Woods, a book I'm reading for a grad course I'm finishing up over the semester. I actually finished it that night and was able to start in on the second book I brought with me that's been sitting waiting for a read (and another on my summer reading list), The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien, posthumously or course. [I'm still reading it, slowly. It's a quick read, but I'm a slow reader. It's a dark tale so far.]
Ahhh... we're not done yet. The next morning was the trooper of the mornings. The boys and I slacked getting out... actually Colin slacked, it appeared, and I was waiting for Karen to pack up for some reason. She's always among the last to make up her bed in the morning... not last in the group... last of all, hehehe. We got going down the Crawford Path toward Crawford Notch, where the boys would take off early for home and a tennis match. Within an hour of being at the cars, the rest showed up. Karen and company planned on driving around to the Zealand parking lot instead of finishing up the hike, which was another 5 miles or so, I think. I had no intention of driving around. Blasphemy!! So I hiked it alone to Zealand Falls Hut. I actually took the side path to Mt. Tom Spur, which added another mile to the hike. I do not know how I did it, but I had a quick hike of it, still whipping even those who drove over, except for a couple of them who were dropped off first.
The next morning I was happy to get going and get to the car... I drove to a store to get drinks to be ready for the rest when they finished. They were all filing in at the end of the trail when I got back to the lot - good timing. We went for lunch. Oh, and if you don't know the area... nothing is close to anything. We had to drive around to pick up cars that were strategically posted in multiple places and then join up for Pizza. All of this took nearly two more hours.

After a day or two of recovery at home, I finally got back to working on the bike repaint project, which I started the prep for over a week before we left for hiking. The repairs just took forever, and frankly, as of today, they are still being worked on. Most parts are painted, cleared and cut/polished. Niiiiiice. (Pix later). But dammit, I chose to re-repair the tank dents and the bondo mix was torturing me. Not curing fast enough. And the lower scoop/cowl has a huge crack I fixed before, but accidentally sanded right through and the fiberglass repair kit's epoxy mix sucks. I'd mix it and it takes days to cure instead of the hour or so it should take. So, tomorrow I might try to finish the last two parts, but it'll have to all go just right. Thankfully the paint gun and compressor are working out well enough. A little loud, but my downstairs neighbor hasn't been around when I'm working on it.

All this in a quick rush to finish up projects for school, starting work next week and more. A book report, a project plan, I need to lesson plan for one more class and a few more things. I'm excited to get back to school (now listed as a Special Educator in the books... and I just sent in the stupid fee for my provisional license/endorsement) but I'm not happy about my break ending.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Solar USB charger... whatever

So I know I'm a newb with working with electronics, but still. I want a solar powered USB charger to bring on the hiking trip, but I refuse to pay the ridiculous prices for commercial ones. Last year I saw this: Build a solar iPod charger and only last week ordered the listed parts to build it, including getting a soldering iron, my first.

As you can see, it's not a hard project, relatively straight forward.
However, it doesn't work. I must have done something wrong, but frankly, I have no one I can ask for advice. The author didn't list any contact methods.

So, I've sent out a panicky email to the friend who suggested it and hopefully he'll have some clues for me. Since the hike is 5 nights long, I'm pretty much screwed in having some tunes to listen to while I read at night - which I need to drown out the snoring of other hikers in the huts.

Fitquest 8/4/07

Riding. I'm so glad I got my bike fixed this spring. I'm saving my knees for the hiking trip next week, so riding the bike helps a little. If I ride hard it hurts my knees, but I put just enough to not hurt. About an hour ride yesterday and just over an hour today.

The bike seat is killing my ass though. Whew. I'll suck it up, as a new seat that'll likely feel better is looking like around $50+ and it's just not that important.

Fitquest 8/4/07

Riding. I'm so glad I got my bike fixed this spring. I'm saving my knees for the hiking trip next week, so riding the bike helps a little. If I ride hard it hurts my knees, but I put just enough to not hurt. About an hour ride yesterday and just over an hour today.

The bike seat is killing my ass though. Whew. I'll suck it up, as a new seat that'll likely feel better is looking like around $50+ and it's just not that important.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

WTF - spam blogger???

What the hell is wrong with the world when my lame ass blog gets bot selected by the system as being a "spam blog". I know I don't add much to the world in general... I mean, who really cares about my Fitquest, and certainly no one is commenting on anything... but still.

Anyway, I'm sure since I submitted the "dude, I'm real" request to get the verification process taken off, I'll be a normal blogtard again, but for now, sheesh, insult to injury.

Fitquest 8/2/07

Yar... missed yesterday, err... Tuesday. Tuesday and today I just did Hip Hop Abs. Yesterday I had a team meeting at school, so I didn't do a morning workout, and frankly, didn't do anything later either. ;)

Today's Hip Hop Abs was doing the Total Body Sculpt workout, which is a single ~45 minute workout. Not too bad. It mega humid today, so I was sweating pretty good.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fitquest 7/29/07

A week and a day and we're off to hiking in the white mountains for a week, so I'm debating when to take a fitquest break - need to save the knees.

Yesterday I just did the bike path on my, well, bike... :) Good ride.

Today Karen and I hike Worchester Mountain. I tried something new... not complaining about it being slow or there being lots of stops. Eh... not sure it worked for me, but it could have been worse.

Anyway, I sure was tired. It took most of the hike up to kinda wake up. I stayed up trying to read the new Harry Potter, but I was tired then - more tonight.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fitquest 7/26/07

Meh, standard run. Went to Oakledge park via the bike path. Wasn't too bad. Nice hot day - I love running in the heat. Sometimes I think I think too much about my running when I'm running. It's better when I just pay attention to my breathing and try to lose myself in the music or thinking about something else. Makes the run less laborious.

The nice thing is that my weight is still hovering/fluctuating between 185-187. That relative consistency is nice. Body fat percentage is also fluctuating between 21%-23%, which is a BIG difference, since that's really a matter of 3-4 pounds, which I guess actually makes sense with the weight variances.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fitquest 7/25/07

I felt like I needed to put some power into the workout again, so I biked the North Ave route to the high school to get some 100m sprints in. The ride was smarter than the bike path ride there for sprints, since the knees hurt less.

There were two kids there, from what they were talking about it seemed like they were heading to college for their first years after summer. Distance runners. While it's great to keep track of laps, I have never liked running longer distances on a track. Ick.

So, I got in 4 100m sprints:
1 - 13.84s
2 - 14.28s
3 - 14.38s
4 - 14.62s

Not too bad. The first one is about 1/10th of a second faster than my previous fitquest fastest, and the rest were respectably good enough.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fitquest 7/24/07

Note to self - be more up front with the wife when planning an exercise oriented outing. Saturday I asked her to go riding on the bike path with me. We did, for a little while when I realized she was less interested in the exercise aspect and I wasn't interested in the "looking around at the lake and stuff" aspect. Arguments ensued and I didn't end up getting that ride. Thankfully after things cooled off I did ride out to get groceries so I took the long way and got some exercise anyway.

This morning I got out for a run. I'd been putting it off a little because of the knee pain, but I don't like putting it off. Hell, my weight is even looking like it's doing something more steadily. I might have to thank my sister-in-law. I commented last week that I don't like to eat in the morning before I run because I hate the feeling of food in my stomach when I run. Yuk. But she reminded me that the breakfast jump starts the metabolism. Doh... how could I forget that. So I've been eating a granola bar before I run in the mornings. My weight last night (yup, an evening weighing) was 187. Hehe, 12 more pounds and I'll no longer be lying on my driver's license.

Anyway, I'm pushing a little further on my runs, trying to get farther in the same amount of time. I bumped into the Math Department Head on the bike path - he's a great guy - so I stopped and chatted a little... and it threw off my time a little. I think I ended up doing a 65 minute run (remember, I often end up walking up one of the hills, at least part way).

Good stuff.

Uncle Chris pt 2, the proof

We did take pictures when we visited the neice. Actually, the room was full of people, but I think we got a few nice pictures and here is one. She's so tiny. And in case I didn't say it before... I forget, her name is Mollie... which I read before I heard, so it kept going to my mind as "Millie". I better get that out of my system.

Mom is good and everyone is home now.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Uncle Chris

Last night at 10:30 pm, I became an uncle. My youngest brother Rob and his wife Nicole has their first child, a girl. It was actually about 12 hours after the first call he gave us that her water had broken. No one knew how long it would all take start to finish.

I don't think I'll post much personal info on them or her... not really up to me. So, if they update their blog with the details, you can get them there.

In any event, I'm very happy for them. We'll be heading there to meet her this morning.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bach to me

Yesterday Julia put me through a test of sorts. I forgot to bring my scales practice sheet in with me - I was transcribing it more neatly to another score sheet and left it at my laptop. She opened up Bach's Sonata No.1 and picked a spot and told me to play and name the notes for a few measures. It was slow as death and I did make a few fundamental mistakes that I was able to self correct with a little verbal nudge, but I did pretty well in her opinion. Coolness. I want to ask her how I'm progressing... slowly, right on, quicker than the average beginner adult... something. I might not want to know. Thankfully I do know I'm having fun with it.

She did say it was time to move on, so she had me buy the Wohlfahrt Melodious Studies book. I picked that up this afternoon. I didn't get a chance to practice today, so tomorrow I'll be sure to put some time in on it.

Update, I had a chance to try the new book out... um, yikes. It has me jumping from the A string to the G string in ways I'm not comfortable with yet... more practice for sho'.

Fitquest 7/20/07

I'm wondering if there's even a point in posting daily accounts of my activities other than keeping me honest. I'm thinking of moving to a weekly, but that would mean I need to log my stuff on paper, and if you ask my wife, that's likely to either not get done or become another pile of mess at the foot of my folding laptop table.

Anyway, shortened bike path north to high school run, but instead of turning off to the high school I ran down to the beach area to find out how much it costs to rent kayaks (Karen REALLY wants to do that). $20 for two hours. A little steep, but really not that bad, as long as it comes with the safety vest. :)

I retrieved Karen's bike from the shop as well, so perhaps tomorrow we'll do another ride in lieu of a run.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fitquest 7/19/07

Yay, I got my ass out of bed earlier this morning. Perhaps I can keep doing that. I like to run early, I just hate being up early in the morning. So I got out at 9am instead of the typical 10am. I suppose if I didn't stay up so late it'd be a lot easier... but I like staying up late. Lord of the Rings Online always calling my name.

Anyway, I ran the bike path northward. No high school stop this time, I continued on about a half 2/3 of a mile farther (I don't feel like mapping it right now) before turning back.

While on the return run I caught David walking the path... very cool. That SOB just looks thinner and thinner each time I see him... he looks great, so he's kinda giving me a little more hope.

The new running shoes are breaking in well. The feel is comfy and my typical foot pain is no longer, other than the standard pain of running 6-7 miles.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fitquest 7/18/07

Tired tired tired morning... that and sore shins (shin splints), so I happily did Hip Hop Abs again. Double dose, and this time I tried a lot harder to keep my mid section tight.

It was pretty good. I still don't get the burn from the actual "dancing" though. Funny how the second DVD mentioned "not sitting and doing crunches, etc.", but the last 5 minutes or so of it actually are on the ground. Not doing crunches, but still doing similar type activities. I did get a burn from that. Frankly, I used to do crunches and other stuff to a tight burn each time. I didn't mind it so much, but in the end, I don't recall it doing much. I believe I'm getting a fat burning process with this. Hey, the weight is trickling off, and the body fat percentage is coming down ever so slowly. I'm hoping all of this fitquest stuff is putting me in a place where my metabolism does some work itself, and the 10-17 pounds of fat I hope to lose starts to come off a little faster. 2 pounds a week would be nice, but I can't rely on that. Let's face it, I like food and even though I'm eating less and eating smarter, I still like some less than healthy stuff.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fitquest 7/17/07

Wow, entering my info only 30 minutes after getting home form the run.

It was a North Ave to the High School run day... only 2 miles each way... even that felt long. But the sprints were nice. The new shoes still have breaking in to be done, but I did feel better. My previous pair was size 9.5 or 10 (I don't feel like looking). These are 10.5. The 10's just didn't feel right.

So, on to the sprint times:
1 - 100m 13.94s (see, already 0.03 better than my previous best first ;) )
2 - 100m 14.12s
3 - 100m 14.59

All said and done, still not too bad. One of these days I'll get to the track fresh without the 2-2.35 mile run first.

I did see a funny thing running home. Some guy on a gixxer flew by me (toward me) and only seconds later flew by me (from behind). A few seconds later and the cops were right in front of him (coming at him) with their lights on. All said and done, while he took off to get away, there were likely 4 squad cars that were trying to find ways to cut him off. Who knows if he got away. I hope he got caught. He was likely doing about 50+ in a 30... just not cool in a neighborhood area, give the rest of us riders a bad name.

Now back to some summer stuff for the day.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fitquest 7/16/07

Yesterday I got Karen out on the bike for about a 14 mile round trip ride. Scary was that we passed our downstairs neighbor heading back on the bike path. Why scary? She left only a few minutes before us, meaning she got pretty damn far... she was running. Made me feel kinda lame. But hey, all in good time. Did I mention that I was never a distance runner? I HS I ran the 400m and 4x400m primarily and the 4x100m, with a spattering of 200m , 100m, thrown in for points from time to time. Oh, and obviously the pole vaulting. Distance to me was running a whole mile.

I also got am email from Shawn (the head track coach) with some info for me regarding pole vaulting. I joined the National Pole Vault Coaches Association and perused some of the training vids on the site. Incentive!

Today I did my bike path south route. I took it relatively easy during some of it. I was wiped out for some reason. I think the bike ride in the sun took a lot out of me.
I ended up walking for probably about 1/4 of a mile of the run, actually likely closer to 1/2 because I often walk part of the uphill return, as it often kills my knees, and it's really only the path up from College St. to Battery Park.

Oh oh oh... and I got new running shoes. The others, I swear were killing my feet. They are about 4 years old, perhaps 3, but that's pretty old by today's product standards. I've likely put well over 200 miles on them. I don't know what I should be able to put on flats, but road running helps kill the treads.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Busy day

We were supposed to go hiking this morning with a friend, but he called at about 8:30 to double check, based on weather reports. They said it was a 40% chance for thunderstorms where we were planning to go, and at that moment, it was raining here... I hate to START hiking in the rain. We decided not to go.

I was sorta hoping to have a valid reason to not go anyway because I was happy to have a day where nothing was scheduled and I could get my wife to go out with me on the bikes for a ride. We did. It was relatively slow and relaxing, but it was a decent workout compared to hanging around the apartment. ;) On the way back we stopped off at the repair place and she left her bike to get a new gear shifter installed and a tune up. Hopefully she'll get it back soon. I'd like for her to join me in my workouts. She's no runner, but if she rides while I run, it'll be good. I'll also have someone to be my starter at the track for my timed runs.

We got home and had some quick lunch type food and I decided to play some more Wii sports. It still cracks me up that I can work up a sweat playing that game, but I love it.

I also finally registered in a straightedge forum I've been sorta checking out for well over a year. Actually, I had it in an open tab i my browser, and more specifically the main page... not the forum, but I had it there to make sure I didn't forget about it. My list tends to just be as convoluted as my regular bookmarks... thus the primary reason I rely so heavily upon session restore in FireFox. I also waited to join until I read a few posts about the brand of sXe supported there. Some sXe forums are adamant that in order to be sXe you must be in the hardcore scene, either listening to hardcore or buying it or going to shows... all due respect, but that comes off as just a marketing ploy to me. I tried to like hardcore. I found a group that I do like called Isis, but then I found out they are really "Sludge" more than hardcore... whatever the hell
that is. Anyway, they have a remix album that is totally ass kickin dark ambient meets hardcore meats I don't know what. And since they aren't edge, hehehe, then it's doubly pointless to point out as an effort to appreciate hXc. So, I tried... I don't like hardcore, I don't like punk... I just don't.

I also called Bob at Napa about the paint situation... grrr, Tuesday morning he said he should have an answer. I guess I'm slacking anyway, I still need to sand down some parts, especially the panels I let the paint solvent sit on too long and they got a little eaten up. GRR. I might have to bondo the indentations and such - quite annoying. I suppose I should to it tomorrow, but I need to get started on the computer room redesign.

Crap, and I didn't get in any violin practice time. YAR!!!

Isn't summer vacation grand?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bound to happen

Last night, whicle watching a movie on the couch, I was laying on my side with my right arm bent and standing upward. Karen was leaning up against me and ended up applying more pressure than was likely good... my shoulder dislocated. It didn't hurt, but freaked me out. I told her to get off my arm and I slowly rotated my arm to get the4 shoulder to pop back in. She started to cry. I guess one might think that two surgeries on the shoulder would have made it much better, but the doc said it, there's always the likeliness of it happening again. I guess the good is that it took a couple years for it to happen.

So, this means I need to take a few days of being really careful with that arm and hope that it really was just about the wrong pressure at the wrong time. I knew that was the way it would happen also. I'm always careful when my arm is bent just so. I still don't feel comfortable with some positions, so I freak out. I also test the limits a little bit from time to time - it always seems fine - and pull it back. I know it's not as strong as the other shoulder.

Of course now this makes me worry about my plans for pole vaulting in the spring. I need to strengthen the shoulder and keep it tight. I'm glad it's my right arm and not the left. It might be hard to take it easy while playing the violin if I messed up the left shoulder.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fitquest 7/13/07

I'm not a quick learner... or I'm just stubborn... but I'm still sore today. I also slept in later than normal... long night last night, we went the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the drive in.

I ran anyway. The shortened bike path north route. I could feel my muscles (and fat) bouncing in a few places that proved quite sore. There's really nothing more than can be said about it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fitquest 7/12/07

The knees and shin splints need a break today... badly. So, I did Hip Hop Abs, but just one of the DVDs. I realize that I need to pay more attention to keeping my abs tight while doing the workout. That's hard, but I'm guessing that's the real trick to it all.

Anyway, 30 minutes on that and I felt like I need some more, so I turned on the Wii for the first time in a while. As always, if you do it right, the Wii Boxing is a fun workout. I bounce around and shout at the TV when my Mii isn't doing what I am. I swear... someone needs to make an actual boxing game for Wii that does real boxing moves, and not just a bunch of moves that twitchy kids can pick up easily. Even better would be a martial arts game that has the Wiimote, nunchuck and two additional connections for the feet... technology is there, someone's gotta be able to do it.

Anyway, yeah, so Wii boxing, bowling, tennis and baseball for a little while, I think about 45 minutes. Not too bad... but I gotta say, I was still plenty sore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fitquest 7/11/07

I thought I'd change it up today. I rode my bike path north to the high school path on the bicycle this morning. I figured if I rode, I'd have more energy to do more sprints. Well, I did sorta. Actually, the bike ride kinda hurt my knees and shins and tired my quads out more than thed run normally does. I had more energy, but I was more sore.

I only got 3 100m sprints in.
1 - oops, I missed the stop button on the stopwatch... but it had to be either low 14s or possibly even a nice 13.something... but I really can't say for sure.
2 - 14.35s
3 - 14.60s, and it hurt.

My knees hurt enough that I rode home the North Ave way. It's a 2 mile ride versus the 2.35 mile path. In case you didn't know, I also live upstairs... so walking the steps up kinda sucked as well.

I think I might need to take a running break tomorrow. Hip Hop Abs perhaps? I dunno.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fitquest 7/10/07

OK, I cheat. I just wrote yesterday's fitquest entry a moment ago. I've been busy with other things, so I don't get around to immediate posts. This one is the same day though (july 10th).

I had to go to Barre to meet with my teaching team to plan some new behavior models to use during the next year... and a few other things. That meant I didn't get home until around 5:30. Half of my ride home I was trying to figure out what I'd do for my workout though. It's pretty much how I'll have to deal with it when school starts up again. Yuk!!! I prefer running in the morning... less people around.

Anyway I decided to just do a run. I did this path but only going to Harrison Ave. then turning back. I don't feel like making the map for it right now... sanoodi doesn't really have a good editing feature to take previous paths and alter them.

It was HUMID like mad. Soup all the way. I had to lift my t-shirt collar up over my mouth and nose a few times so I didn't suck down a family of flying insects that were swarming the path. That said, it was a good (if not shorter than I could have done) run. I was also think about how I am getting back into decent shape already and that when the NH White Mountains trip comes in August - as long as my knees hold out - I'll be in great shape and might give the boys a serious run for their 19 year old money.

Oh, and I weighed myself before showering... 187# and 21% body fat (tanita scale).
I didn't eat a lot of food today, but still.. that's a positive measure. Obviously it means nothing really until it's a stable weight, which it is not yet. But positive motion nevertheless.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fitquest 7/9/07

Short and sweet. Ran the northward path of the Burlington Bikepath somewhat unenthusiastically. The intent was just to get to the track and do some sprints. Since my speed has increased a little over the long haul... and I'm getting farther faster, I figured I'd have good reserves for the times sprints. 2.7 miles later and eh... I felt ok. The weather has been super muggy. If I didn't mention it before, I love running in hot weather but not humid. Nice dry heat. My other fave is around 75 deg C and rainy.
Anyway, I got in 3 100m sprints:
1 - 13.97s (the same exact time I got the first time I did a 3 100m sprint set)
2 - 14.22s
3 - 14.41s

So, my worst time was better than the previous worst time. I think Wednesday I'll bike to the track and see how much better I do without a 2.7 mile warm-up.

What appeared to be 3 young siblings showed up at the track right before my last sprint. They ended up at the long jump pit. I gave a quick piece of advice to one boy who ran the majority of the length of the runway, losing speed nearly halfway down, that he might get a longer jump if he shortened his approach. Then I left... to return on the 2.7 back home.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lucky lucky lucky... shut up

So, today is 07/07/07 (no matter where you are viewing this on the globe) and all day during news casts have been commentaries about this being a "lucky day". Couples getting married in Vegas and all over because it's a "lucky day". For crying out loud people... you are stupid!

7/7/7 is a cool day, as numbered representations of days go. Not as cool as 6/6/6, hehehe, I'm sure xians all over were a little shaken that day. However, I can't say there's much really notable about the date... if I recall correctly (and I'm too lazy now to look it up for reals) today is Prince's birthday - erp, forget it, I looked it up and damnit, I was a month off. Yeah, it's that kinda year.

So, back to the nutjobs who are superstitious about something that is already knowable. Yeah, unless someone thought human civilization would be gone by now, it was already known that the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year into the new millennium. OMG, just wait until 2077, people will really lose their minds. Whoa, how about 2777, man thing will just be rockin. And 7777? Ferget about it... the party of the 78th century. Man-bot will marry man-bot hoping that their binary nuptials will be praised by all the good luck in the multi-verse.

Am I making too big of a deal about it?
I guess I made my point then.

I did accomplish a good chat with the guy (Bob) at NAPA this afternoon. I'm planning on repainting my motorcycle. He's gonna put in a call with the paint tech peeps to figure out what will be needed to create the color plan I want for my bike. I was disappointed to find that I'll likely not have a cheap method for airbrushing some detail work on it, but I guess we'll see what happens.

I started to repaint my mini toy model of the bike with a bright orange from my minis paint selection. Doesn't look so good... not smooth, but hey, it's just for fun. Hopefully I can start painting the real thing by late next week.

Fitquest 7/7/07

I didn't even want to run today... just didn't feel like it, but I'm trying to stick to it. I might not run tomorrow... too many commitments, so perhaps I'll squeeze in a Hip Hop Abs workout.

So I did run. It wasn't bad. I beat the rain and had excellent weather.

I was actually not expecting to run this far. Most of my runs have been closer to the 4-5 mile length... I'm slowly getting back to what I'd call the 8 mile in around an hour run... yeah, slowly. But when I got to where I normally get (see, I run out for about 30 minutes then return) I had more time than normal. So I kept running and kinda slowed the pace a little to get to Oakledge Park at about the 30 minute mark. I did end up doing a few minutes of walking... perhaps 5 overall. I was tired and my muscles were feeling wasted.

Actually, I didn't run this exact route. I had to stop by my friend's place to check on his cat. The distance is about he same and I'll reuse this route so I call it a wash.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Fitquest 7/6/07

Yeah, a mundane entry, but I need to try to enter them all. The run today was the same as the 7/4/07 run, but instead of heading toward downtown Burlington, I just completed the return trip home. I believe it's a longer run, but I don't feel like making the map for it right now.

I believe this is my shortest post.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Catching up on random stuff

Transformers - Karen (the wife) and I went to the Monday 8pm showing... a whole day earlier than I originally expected to be able to go. We liked it. I liked it as LOT. Sadly, half of my friends hated it. I'm a music snob, but not really a movie snob. I guess my expectations are more easily met. The trailers made me fear that the Transformers would be too clinical and frankly, robotic. Thankfully after more of them came into play, their personalities came out. Could have been more, but it was there, so I was happy about that. The efx were amazing. The 3d models were insanely good. I wish they gave us a bone with some slower transforming shots. For years I wondered about the literal transformability of them. Probably 5 years ago I started to try to model Astrotrain (my triple changer Decepticon) in Lightwave 3D. I gave up because I struggled with a few details and didn't have a lot of time for side projects that were only for experimentation. Anyway, it would have been a little lame compared to even the Beast Wars or Beast Machines models.Those Canadian [Mainframe] modelers know their shit.

Anyway. The only problems I had with the movie were more about the cinematography - the fast pans and fast action made it nearly impossible to really get to take in the transforming action. Seriously... when we were kids, wasn't that one of the most important points of the cartoons? "How did they do that?" I also detest gun violence... and there was just far too much rat-a-tat-tat machine gun action for me.

The picture above is the costumed I made for the annual Halloween party our friends put on. I spent a solid two days on those costumes after some initial work. They could be better, but I lacked the funding to do a few things I would have done better... not to mention ideas I thought of while making them. The picture also really sucks... I have some that are nicer, but don't show the whole top to bottom of them. Oh well.. perhaps we'll pose some day just for a better picture. :)

There... movie covered. July 4th comes with fireworks, but in Burlington they are on the 3rd. I like that. We go to them every year, and sometimes friends join us. This year, we joined up with Jonathan and his new girlfriend (yeah, I said it) Lauren, and her friend JP. I think we both think that his new girlfriend is a pretty good choice. I like her a lot. She's pretty young, compared to us, arguably a solid two generations behind us, but she's "older" than her age. I like that she speaks her mind, and actually has a mind. Much more so than the typical person of her age I've run into over the last 5-6 years. She also just fits in with the group easily... so I'm happy for him and happy for us. Of course, she goes away for grad school in a month. I guess we'll play it by ear.

I just realized I need to post some more politically oriented stuff. I'm getting soft and I wouldn't want the one or two readers I have to think I've lost my edge. ;)

Fitquest 7/5/07

Simple today... I didn't want to run. So I again did the dual Hip Hop Abs blast. I tried harder to concentrate on keeping my abs tight through more of it, but damn that's hard. I suppose it'll be easier as they get stronger again and I start to get a nicer set of abs under all the flab. The good is that I get winded and sweaty during the total of about 53 minutes of activity. I'd love to know how many calories I'm burning, but I'll live.

I weighed myself after the shower and I was down to 189, which is what I was at before the workout... one should NOT weigh themselves that often... but it's a habit. However, the 189 is nice... I'm hoping I can maintain the downward more than the typical upward jolts. If my target for the summer is 170 lbs., I need to make some other choices to lose more quicker. Pros say losing about 1lb a week is healthy, but I'm hoping that by building more muscle that it'll do some of the work for me in a healthy way. I'm also trying to eat less. 3500 calories a week is a pound, so if I'm burning an average of 500 cals/day during the week, that alone should be a pound off, then limit the food by trying to cut out 3500 cals a week... by the time I get back to school, I should be pretty close... only 8 more weeks though, so that's only 16 pounds - not my goal. I guess to be honest, if I get the body fat % down to 18 or so, that would be good. But still, the weight is an issue for the pole vaulting. that said, I don't intend on getting up on a pole until fall, so I'm sure I'll be battling this crap all year unless I can get it back to my younger self metabolism.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fitquest 7/4/07

This was the first time I ran south this year on the bike path. Frankly, I like it more, since there's more sun and I literally run close to the lake for a good deal of it. When I run all the way to Oak Ledge Park, it's nice because there's easy drinking water and some other niceties. The north bound one also has its charms. It usually depends on how far or for how long I'll be running.
Anyway, here's the map:

I did stop off at Quarterstaff Games to chat with Jonathan about gaming stuff, then I went to the garden to check on some progress on the plants (I just realized I never mentioned the gardern in my blog, I'll have to post some pix from it... before during and current). I have a serrano that's coming along nicely and the tomatillos are getting huge... err.. the plan, not the actual fruit.

I digress.

Weigh in was still around 190 lbs..

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fitquest 7/3/07

I decided to mix it up today and not run. Actually, in part because me knees are starting to feel the toil. I should start lifting some as well. I'm supposed to have fitness center access at UVM since I'm enrolled in a Continuing Ed course, but I'm afraid of running up there only to be turned away. Perhaps later in the week... plus it doesn't open until 11:30am, which is a little silly. Mid fricken day to me... I prefer to work out earlier if possible.

So, today I threw in Hip Hop Abs. No, I didn't buy it... let's just say I got it form a bunch of acquaintances. Ahem. It's actually a lot of fun. The instructor (Shawn T??) is energetic and not all too fake... sorts plays himself I think, so it's fun. The moves are funky-esque but not something I'd do on the dance floor. Doing those moves on the actual dance floor would make me feel like Ronald (Patrick Dempsey) from Can't Buy Me Love when he accidentally watched the PBS show about African tribal dances instead of American Bandstand or summat, and then did those moves at the high school dance... at which time he was the popular guy, so all the tools copied him like he knew something new. Oh... high school dances... hahaha.

Anyway. I've worked out to Hip Hop Abs before, once or twice, but it's been about a month. The first DVD has about a 30 minute ab routine. I did it and felt like it wasn't enough, so I put on the second DVD for the second routine which was a little less than 30 minutes. I can't say my abs are burning still (about 10 minutes after finishing), but I got a great sweat on, and did feel some of a burn during. I suppose I need to tuck my hips more meaningfully and so forth... so next time I'll work harder on that.

Maybe later today I'll lift the dumbbells a little bit... I need to get some more strength in my arms again... the biceps are looking a little pathetic.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fitquest 7/2/07

Two days ago, the day after fitquest entry one, I spent the entire day working on repairing the inside of my motorcycle tank. This entailed emptying the tank of fuel, rinsing the tank, washing it with a cleaning solution, rinsing that, preparing the inside with another solution, rinsing that, drying the tank thoroughly (as in bone dry) and then coating the inside with a rust preventing chemical. The tank is seriously difficult to empty, which meant that it required tons of shaking and tilting and rolling. The workout I got seriously made up for not actually running, did I mention the times? I started around 12:30 or 1pm and didn't really finish until around 8pm.

The next day, as in yesterday, I could barely walk. Sore legs back and everything. I'm sure some of that was delayed pain from the sprinting the other day, but still. So, today was my first official exercise day back.

I still had a lot of soreness, but not enough to hold me back.
I did a short route to the high school track:

Even thought I was sore, I decided to try myself out with a 400m sprint to start. Yikes!
400m - 78.91s

Very disappointing. I don't know what I should have expected, but I was hoping to be closer to 70 seconds. Of course, I did just finish a 2 mile run to get there, but still. The sore quads were a factor, but I can say that I had a good stride until the 200m mark, where I slowed for typical race pace, but when I hit the final stretch, I didn't have the juice to kick it in. I didn't go all out, ala old school Chris... where I puked after many a 400m meet race, but I did push.

I walked it off with a walking lap around the track and sorta wandering around, contemplating the performance - preparing for the next sprint, which was just going to be a 100m. By now I had no good expectation for that sprint, but I had to put myself into it. I did some stretching. My quads had tightened up quite a bit. By about the 30m mark, I could feel them really hurting to the point that I shortened my strides. I wanted a good time and a hard workout, but it wasn't worth pulling a muscle, so I slowed it down.

100m - 15.16s

Not even close to the other day, but considering all factors, it wasn't that bad.

On the 29th (fitquest day one) I asked my little brother (is 32 little?) to do a 100m sprint timed... I think he's in better shape than I, not to mention, weighs significantly less. I wanted a basis to judge my times on. He didn't seem interested. Oh well.

Till next time. Tonight we go to an early showing of Transformers - I hope to do a review of sorts... maybe not.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Fitquest 6/29/07

As I have mentioned before, I want/need to lose some weight. One is the obvious, I gotta get rid of this gut and regain my youthful athleticism, but more recently I've decided that I need to get back into pole vaulting shape. If I'm going to coach pole vaulting at school next year, I want to be able to do it. All too often I've seen (including in my experience) pole vaulters being taught by people who've never done it. There's nothing wrong with that... technique can be taught. The other goal... getting my 1oom time down to something I can challenge the faster guys (and girls).
Oh, and if I can get my 400m back below 60 seconds, I'd be pretty damn happy. Our fast runners would still wipe the track with my ass, but hey.

The fitquest label for my blog will be me posting my exercise regiment and other fitness related stuff, I suppose throwing in my weight from time to time would be good too. Obviously the weight issue is only part of the picture, since I'll be gaining muscle as I lose fat, but really... even that excuse has sucked out for me.

I also plan to post links to maps of my runs and stuff (all thanks to google maps and the genious coders at Sanoodi ... more for me to track, but hey, if you're around, perhaps you'll accidentally bump into me. If I don't post a map, it's possible that I didn't care to, or that I just ran the same path as last time.

Today's weight: 191 lbs
The run:
approximately 5.4 miles round trip
The sprints:

  1. 100m - 13.97s
  2. 100m - 14.08s
  3. 100m - 14.5s
Commentary - those times don't suck IMNSHO for a dude my weight and age and apparent fitness level, but my aim is to get down to a 11 or 12 second 100m. Likely a pipe dream, but I also ran in flats instead of spikes... I really should try to find my old spikes. The Burlington High School track is quite nice, but without blocks and spikes, I figure my time might be up to .2-.4 seconds slower.

So, there's fitquest entry one.