trying to get back at it…

but up too late last night. BUT I do have a handle on the technique I tried so many months ago…it is a genuinely interesting approach. But can I nail down the details?

Workout notes: weights only;
pull ups: 3 sets of 5, 5, 2 sets of 10
rotator cuff stuff (usual)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 10 x 170 (almost empty gym)
incline: 10 x 135
decline: 10 x 165
military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 standing (dumbbell), 10 x 180 machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
usual abs, 2:30 plan sucked a bit less than normal.


May 21, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, weight training | Leave a comment

The honesty of sports (one attraction)

I was reading the track and field Facebook page and one young man (22 years old) asked the following question: “I run a 58 second 400 meter right now…is it possible for me to run 46/47 seconds a year from now?”

The responses could be summed up as follows: “well, if that 58 seconds came after no training, then, it is POSSIBLE but unlikely. If you’ve trained to get that 58, then “no”, it is all but impossible to ever reach that kind of time. How about aiming for 52 and being happy with each new PR?”

And THAT is the kind of honesty that is all-too-absent from outside of sports circles…you see students with ACT scores in the teens admitted to engineering programs, students who literally cannot add fractions admitted to computer science programs, etc. ..and then said programs are chastised for having high dropout rates! Sure, every once in a while the unlikely does happen but that is the extreme exception, not the rule.

My being a head case Today I shuffled my 5 mile course, running the uphills as hard as I could and walk/jogging in between. My goal was to run each hill hard enough to HAVE to walk when I got to the top. I finished the workout with a 1 mile jog and I felt reasonably good afterward.

But usually one of two things happen after a workout:

1. I feel tired, exhausted…and I complain that I am out of shape.
2. I feel good, and then feel guilty that I didn’t push myself hard enough…I feel as if I’ve gone soft, mentally and emotionally.

Talk about being a head case…

May 8, 2018 Posted by | education, Personal Issues, running | | Leave a comment

Entitlement mentality science and “Incels”

I love the movie Amadeus and I especially “like” the Salieri character (who wasn’t like the genuine historical composer at all). In the movie, Salieri, while famous during “his day” and very successful by any standard, was insanely envious and jealous of Mozart and his abilities…an ability that Salieri could see before anyone else.

“All I ever wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing… and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn’t want me to praise Him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?”

And THAT is “entitlement mentality” in action, and oh did I ever have it while growing up.

I really, really wanted to be a good athlete …especially to be a good football player. I did all of the extra stuff: lifted weights since the 8’th grade (you’d think that I would be good at it by now!), ran the steps, ran with ankle weights (the thing at the time), did sprints, etc. I did drills..taking off out my stance over and over again.

But..time and time again, I got my ass handed to me by more talented people.

I still remember before 9’th grade; a friend saw me doing bench presses in the weight room. He asked me what I was doing and I told him. I had my “max” on the bar (about 170). He said “let me try that” and BOOM..right up..first time he ever touched a weight. I took me MONTHS to work up to that!!!

Now riddle me this: guess which one of us went on to start for the Georgia Tech football team for 3 years in a row (fullback)???

One time in practice, he flat ran me over and tripped and fell. So I got “credit” for the “tackle”..he looked down at me and asked me if I was ok. I said “yes” but that was a damned lie…I was seeing stars.

It just felt so “unfair”.

Yes, my parents..who grew up in grinding poverty in the Depression Era tried to tell me how good I had it: not poor, plenty to eat, school, no serious diseases, safe place to live… but the message fell on deaf ears at that time. Didn’t my deity KNOW how badly I wanted to be a good football player? (ok, I am sure that others didn’t want cancer, didn’t want to be paralyzed, didn’t want to be raped or molested, etc. but I was way too wrapped up in myself to think about that)

Thinking about that part of my past still disgusts me.

But…what helped me was to embrace science. Some simply are born with more genetic ability to do some things (and that I got A’s in high school calculus without cracking a book didn’t register with me…I thought that others either didn’t try or weren’t interested).

It was nothing personal; it was just the genes you were born with (and ok, the great athletes do train incredibly hard..not to beat me, but because they are competing against other great athletes).

Still, the entitlement mentality disgusts me (and it is said that what bothers you most in others is what you don’t like in yourself).

I see it in some students (some think that they are entitled to a “good grade”). I see it on social media: some think that they are entitled to be listened to or to have their opinions taken seriously.

And yeah, at times, I still see it in myself.

Example: my wife has a charming way of bending over; she bends at the waist, at the knees and sticks her big, round butt out..from behind she has the “open for business” look. But while she is a good sport most of the time, there are times when she is not “in the mood” for a pat or feel…and I have to respect that..not matter how tempting. I doubt if ANYONE is “in the mood for that” 100 percent of the time. But I “feel” entitled.

And that leads me to the “incels”. “Incel” means “involuntarily celibate” and they are angry that they can’t get sex from women. Ok, it is my guess that many of them simply don’t like what they are capable of attracting. Yes, that works both ways….I’ve had women complain about not being able to “buy a date”, though they reject men who are not educated enough, have bad teeth, …and they haven’t worked on their social skills (e. g. listening for a change..instead of trying to dominate the conversation 100 percent of the time). And it is my guess that some of these men could do better by working at it..but they would have to want to change.

Yes, some guys are naturally better at attracting women. But there are things one can do if one wants to get better at it but these things require conscious effort. And anger is not attractive!

Seriously…life is not a “James Bond” movie; she isn’t going to want to sleep with you within the first 5 minutes. And the woman you are dismissing because she isn’t curvy, or too heavy..or maybe a bit older than you or perhaps of a different race might turn out to be a fun, interesting person. And if you show genuine interest in her life (instead of deliberately working toward your own goal), who knows?

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Friends, Personal Issues, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

hanging on

I admit two things:

1. The fatigue of last weeks 24-30 hour bug is still with me…somewhat.
2. The foot is not 100 percent well; it was still oh-so-slightly sore from yesterday’s 7 miles.

Today’s workout was ok though sluggish: 2200 yards: 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 swim/drill, 200 in 3:36, 100 in 1:50 (fading), 100 back, 100 breast, 100 swim/drill, 7 x 100 on the 2:10 (1:50 each; one “lazy” one), 100 back.
I got through it ok with no “pop”.

Bike: 38:50 for 10 miles; I started so damned slowly it took me almost 5 minutes to go the first mile; didn’t average 15 mph until mile 7 (28:00). I was kind of dead afterward and ended up taking a nap! Had it not been spring break, I would have had do have done only one of these activities.

Politics: is sure looks as if Lamb pulled it out in PA-18. But he was the right kind of candidate for THAT district. The Republicans can spin it any way they want to, but the shift is toward the Democrats, though we should realize that the “red region” Democrats will be more conservative than I would like.

Personal Tomorrow, Barbara and I will have been married 22 years. We celebrated yesterday as we’ll be on the road. We went to one of our favorite restaurants and exchanged cards…and we got each other the same card! That is hilarious…

(the theme: seeing your spouse in a crowd coming toward you and just feel good when you spot them)

March 14, 2018 Posted by | bicycling, Personal Issues, swimming | , , | Leave a comment

This funk is becoming normal…

I have been in just a weird mood. Some of it is related to my personal life (no worries..”First World Issues”) but some of it, I think is about our country’s social situation.

I’ve heard about polarization and yes, there were times when this country was even more polarized (think: civil rights era, Civil War). But get a load of this:

Yes, one current wrestling “villain” (aka “heel”) is the outspoken liberal!

And yes, if you listen to the comments, it is “those libs” who try to tell us “how to live our lives”…which I suppose means that they want to teach creationism in their public schools, discriminate against gays under the law (yes, there is fine line between “freedom of private association” and what a public business is permitted to do), etc.

And those who ARE of liberal mind who have the means often leave such places to go where they fit better:

We’ve talked to death the fact that America’s rural areas have been emptying out and filling up the big urban areas across the country. Within those urban areas, liberals are not well represented in the suburbs in most cases; voters there tend to be older, married, white homeowners of a distinctly reactionary bent. In other words, the author is right that there is little organized liberal presence in a lot of these places…because most of the liberals are gone.

Where, then, are these liberal ground-up organizations supposed to come from? As the second quote reveals, Democratic campaigns have a kind of “surge and recede” dynamic; they fan out across the country for election years and then pack up and return to California and the East Coast until the next election. That’s ineffective. The problem is that there’s a reason all of those people live in California, New York, Boston, and DC – they’re probably from the Muncies and Rockfords of the world and they got out the second they could. Going back simply reminds them of why they left.

Not to make the author personally responsible for solving this problem, but there must be some reason she’s at Harvard. Certainly University of Illinois would be equally happy to have her. Oh, right, I forgot: central Illinois sucks. That’s why she’s not there.

Who’s left on the liberal side of the spectrum in these unorganized places where the Democratic presence has atrophied? You’ve got younger people who are itching to get out and generally do so at the earliest opportunity. Then you have the 30-55 aged liberals who are living in a sea of red for job-related or personal reasons. Most of them are pretty tired of showing up to school board meetings in Keokuk, being outnumbered 25 to 1 and ostracized for suggesting that maybe the Bible isn’t a science textbook. If you’ve never had the experience of being in a small town and being one of a small percentage of educated liberals, you very well might believe that it’s possible to rally these people into action. But if you’ve had that experience, you’re probably not eager for more of it.

And while I find the company of *some* conservatives to be pleasant, they tend to be conservatives of a certain type. They can read a graph, know basic terminology and can rebut my argument with facts and reason (or at least attempt to 🙂 ); they “play by the same rules”.

So..enjoyable, fruitful dialogue is difficult to come by and more and more, I am keeping opinions to myself

And some on the left are downright shameful. (I say *some*)

I still believe that these are an ignorant, misguided minority. How dare THEY tell me what I am allowed to hear!

And yes, I know, not everyone is entitled to a platform, and people have the right to make the case to “not choose this speaker”. But once they have the proper invitation, those who WANT to listen to what the speaker has to say should be allowed to. And yes, this means even, say, a Bible club creationist speaker.

Anyway, the current situation depresses me.

On a positive note

The heel is continuing to heal (pun not intended). After weights, I had a treadmill walk and the pain was, well, just enough to be noticeable at times. In most times, I wouldn’t notice or think about it much.

weights: usual PT, pull ups (2 sets of 5-5-5, 2 sets of 10), decline presses (10 x 135, 10 x 165), incline presses (5 x 155, 10 x 140), military presses: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm, goblet squats: 10 x 50, 50, 60 (to the bench).

Abs: 50, 24 twist crunches, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 3 sets of 10 moving bridge, 30 seconds of boat, head stand (decent), 2:15 plank (tough final 15 seconds) side planks.

Walk: started out slowly (3.5 mph), moved pace up gradually, finished 3 miles in 44:09, 5K in 45:30. Varied incline from 0.5 to 3, 0 to 4 then 4 back down to 2, then 0.5. The heel felt the best at about 3.9 mph, and at 2.0 incline. (strange that it likes a slight incline better than flat).

This IS encouraging.

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Underestimating the long workout’s effect on my mood

Sunday (or Saturday) has often meant “go long”; 3-5 hours of running or walking (or some of each). I can’t do that right now due to my heel (I feel it just a seems to be tolerating what I am currently doing though).

In the past it has meant a long swim (3000 -5500 yards). But that won’t happen tomorrow as I have not built up to that yet; I am hoping for 2200.

So, while I can mix and match workouts (example: 40 minutes of lifting, 1:05 of cycling, 50 minutes of walking) it isn’t the same as that long, steady effort and the brain chemicals aren’t there.

Hence the “sort-of-funk” I am in..just a bit. Oh, the weather is now sunny and I’ve done many fun activities that I’ve very much enjoyed. But I am not getting those endorphins.

I do have some mundane tasks to do tomorrow though.

March 4, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues | , | Leave a comment

A remarkable first week and basketball game

Once again, Barbara has gone on a lengthy winter trip; if memory serves she has done this since 2015. It isn’t a bad time to go as she gets to miss 2-4 weeks of the Illinois winter and one of the more hectic parts of my academic year.

And interestingly enough, instead of being mostly alone, I’ve been more social than normal. Yes, I am dealing with a heel injury, but I’ve also returned to swimming; a long lost friend. I am also getting more into yoga; last Tuesday I had a double class (yoga for the back, then partner yoga) followed by dinner with my teacher.

Then came Valentine’s day.

Ok, that wasn’t exactly true this year. Yes, it was a couple of days after some snow:

Then I went out to dinner (ok, burgers and fries) with my yoga teacher and then to the Bradley vs. Illinois State basketball game. Ms. V. is an ISU alum and I took her to that game last year, where Bradley got blown out.

This year, Bradley is improved and ISU had one starter out and one hobbled with a sore knee. Therefore, Bradley held ISU scoreless for about the first 6:30 of the game and, built the lead to 16 points. ISU fought back gamely but Bradley won 70-58.

Ms. V. wore her ISU shirt with pride…but as the game wore on, she threatened to make me walk home. 🙂

Early action.

This was Bradley’s second best crowd (7700 or so) for the season; but this wasn’t the sell out that this game used to be. Then again, ISU won the previous 8 games in this series so..maybe this might become a genuine rivalry again?

Two days later (Friday): I went to dinner with a dear friend. Afterward, I went to catch the second half of the Bradley women’s game vs. Evansville. The first game (at Evansville) saw BU build up a 60 point lead (not a misprint) and coast to a 117-59 win.

When I turned on the radio…Evansville was a head and lead 31-30 at the half!

In the second half, Bradley upped the defensive pressure. Still, the first 4 minutes of the second half were very competitive. But eventually the short handed Evansville team wilted under the pressure and BU went on a 25-2 run, getting open looks at 3’s, uncontested lay ups, steals etc.

BU outscored the Aces 42-14 in the 3’rd quarter (10 minutes). The Braves emptied their bench in the 4’th but still outscored EU 20-2 in the final quarter (EU was running on fumes).

I was happy for Bradley but I also remember Evansville having a competent women’s team last year. This year has been a nightmare of injuries for them. Oh well; Bradley (both the men and women) had to fight through such adversity in previous seasons.

Today and tomorrow: dinner with Tracy tonight; then tomorrow more partner yoga and lunch with Ms. V.
Somewhere I should get some work done, I suppose. 🙂

February 17, 2018 Posted by | basketball, Friends, Personal Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rotten Mood but…

I was in a rotten mood this morning…for no good reason.

Doing some mind stuff thinking “you know, this anger will kill you…you’ve got a ton to be grateful for” and getting in a good (but not great) workout helped.

Now during the workout, I’ve noticed that some of the guys, who I probably outweigh by 40-50 lbs, are stronger than I am. Ok, they are on the order of 35 years younger too, but still, I don’t like how weak I’ve become. Oh yes…slow..I am gradually starting to accept that.

Workout: usual PT (4 sets for each rotator cuff exercise)
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (not that bad this time)
bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, 8 x 175 (so-so..not the worst)
incline: 10 x 135 (good hips)
military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 180 (90 each arm) machine
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 (each arm) dumbbell, 2 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer
goblet squat: 10 x 53 kettle bell (to the windowsill)
Then walking: Froggy (3.7, up ever 2 minutes; 0.5 incline, 14:57 mile 1, 27:41 mile 2 (14:57, 12:44). Got a decent sweat going
goblet squat: 10 x 53 kettle bell (to the windowsill…felt good after the walk..)

Now to think about complex analysis

January 19, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Onward to finals

Today: 4 mile walk (Cornstalk classic) after weights; later yoga with Ms. Vickie.

usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10; later ones were easier), bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 185 (couldn’t try for 7), 10 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military: 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 90 machine. Rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

Ah…now to finish up writing up exams. I’ve got time.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | Personal Issues, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Blues and greens…

Well, the Senate passed their version of the tax bill. My guess: the Republican House will rubber stamp it…but..we shall see. I think it is done. But you never know.

But..I have a pretty walk on the way home from the office:

I was struck by the colors.

I shot this through my office window sort of as a joke (my wife is in Florida and posted a genuinely pretty sunset photo) and liked the reflection; you can see the photos that I have on my office board. I sometimes post “fake office wall” photos but this is genuine.

I saw some Bradley Basketball too:

The Men beat a decent Eastern Illinois team and looked reasonably good in doing so.

The women pulled away at the end to handle Illinois-Chicago, in a high intensity game that saw lots of diving for lose balls, players hitting the floor, etc.

This is Kaboom, the Bradley mascot. It is a gargoyle; the name “kaboom” comes from what the Bradley radio announcer yells when someone dunks the ball.

Workout notes:

I did shuffle 5 slow miles on my own though.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | basketball, Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, running | , | 3 Comments