Friday, October 10, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's Working

My bacon and egg diet is really starting to pay off - I've lost 14 pounds, my cholesterol is down 43 points, and my triglyceride count is down 69 points (!). My fasting glucose level is a little high, but I've found some research that explains this curious phenomenon, and I'll make some adjustments before my next glucose test.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


At the end of last year, I set a goal to make it to my CrossFit Box fifty times in 2014 - essentially, once a week. It sounds like a very modest goal, and it is, but it seemed ambitious at the time. You see, since running in the Tough Mudder in May 2012, I hadn't trained very much: my wife and I had a new baby, I had developed plantar fasciitis from poor/over-training for the 'Mudder, and general life-clutter and stress had ushered in a period of unshakable inertia. My gym attendance had fallen to nothing.

By the Fall of 2013, I had put on weight and slowed down considerably. Around Thanksgiving, I had a moment of grim, mortal self-perception: As I was carrying my toddler up the stairs, I realized that I was short of breath. Wow, I thought. I am really, really out of shape. And more, I thought: "this little boy is my most active kid - he needs and is going to need a lot more from me physically than I can give him in this state. I've got to do something about that. I'm not getting younger."

So this goal was different from the outset, because it wasn't for me. I needed to make a change in order to provide something for someone else. The practical goal was modest, but the underlying reason was profound. And I think that this was a crucial difference that aided me in my journey. We hear a lot about how we should "do it for ourselves." That mindset is ultimately limiting. When we account for others in our endeavors, we can unlock so much more of our potential and purpose.

It's little more than halfway through the year, and already, I've essentially reached my goal:

Achieving this goal has had unexpected benefits: since April, I've been using an online tracking tool to record my workouts and body metrics. And I've seen some pretty remarkable results in that short period:

In short, the simple, clear, and unambiguous goal to make it to the gym for my son's sake has snowballed: I've lost weight and changed my body composition; I'm going to the gym more often, striving to improve my workout scores, eating better, and generally improving my quality of life in almost every way. That's huge.

Most importantly, though, now I can haul my (bigger) toddler up and down the stairs, toss him around, flip him upside down, and chase him around, no problem. Back to the way a dad should be.

Start small, be consistent, hold yourself accountable, and do it for a real reason. It makes all the difference.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CrossFit Works. Period.

Twice-a-week, one-hour workouts. Nothing more.

Time Frame: 3 months
Weight: -2.0 lbs
Body Fat: -3.4% 
Lean Mass: +5.2 lbs

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Why I Love World Cup

Costa Rica! Fantastic! Fans of England, Uruguay and Italy barely acknowledged your presence in the group. I am guilty of this personally and I apologise. You proved us wrong. Well done. 
- An English Soccer Fan
What other professional sporting event features this kind of magnanimity?

Friday, June 6, 2014


Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. --Tom Landry
I don't like football and I despise the Cowboys, but this quote has real wisdom.

Monday, February 24, 2014


So Princess Buttercup married Humperdinck after all, and the Prince decided not to kill his Bride. Instead, Florin's newly-anointed power couple have conspired together in order to take the crown of Florin for themselves, and to consolidate power over Guilder. All that while having depraved three-way trysts with Count Rugen.

The Prince & Buttercup are not without problems, however: the Albino's body lays undiscovered in the fire swamp, having been clubbed by a bar wench for being too creepy. Who knows what the ROUS will do with the corpse. And Vizzini, with his wealth and acumen, has sided with the king and strives against them. Ultimately, though, Vizzini realizes that he cannot match Humperdinck's maneuvering. In a desperate gambit, he switches allegiance to Humperdinck. And the king, found to have visited Miracle Max one too many times, must step down.

Meanwhile, Westley still longs for true love, but his turn as the Dread Pirate Roberts has corrupted his soul, and he lives only as a mercenary to the highest bidder. Poor Inigo Montoya is gone, having been discovered dead under mysterious circumstances following a relapse into alcoholism. Did Humperdinck and Buttercup have him killed?

It looks like only Fezzik can save the day, but he has been curiously missing thus far. 

Oh, haven't you seen House of Cards?

(My mid-season review is here). 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

House of Cards, Falling Down: A Mid-Season Review

Obligatory notice: contains spoilers --the mgmt. 

House of Cards is a show that delights in its own cynicism, and Kevin Spacey's charm keeps his monstrous character perversely appealing and entertaining in spite of his abhorrent traits. His smiling, soulless portrayal of Francis Underwood alone makes the show worth watching. Halfway through season two, however, the rest of the drama is beginning to creak under its own weight.

Doug Stamper is an absurd character: on one hand, he is so extremely disciplined and loyal as to cover up not one, but two cold-blooded murders committed by his boss, manipulating the FBI to do so. Somehow, though, he is simultaneously sloppy and stupid enough to sleep with the one person who could truly bury Underwood. This contradiction strains credibility beyond belief.

The prostitute, the most expendable person in the chain that links Russo's death to Underwood, is still alive, and instead Underwood kills Zoe Barnes to protect himself. As happy as I was to see her go (she was just so annoying), it makes no sense. But if we accept it, still, there are problems: discouraging Rachel from getting involved with the church group seems extremely short-sighted: shouldn't Stamper let her forget her old life, and get her thinking about a new one? Tightening his grip on her seems surest way to get her to rebel. 

Here's another question: what is Claire's long game in sowing dissent between the President and the First Lady, using Christina Gallagher as her pawn? How do the Underwoods gain by fostering marital discord between the Walkers? It just seems like lazy intrigue, and beneath her as the shrewd and ruthlessly calculating woman introduced in the first season. Similarly, Remy Danton sleeping with Congresswoman Sharp is another example of soapy drama that doesn't seem to have much future.

President Walker has little charisma, no folksy charm, no fierce intellect, and lacks a convincing will to power. Why is he president? The show casts him as one of its weakest characters, which also strains credibility.

Apart from the Underwoods, one other bright spot of the show is Gerald McRaney's Ramond Tusk as Frank's primary antagonist. McRaney seems comfortable in the role of villainous rich eccentric, having done a turn as a similar character in Deadwood. Unfortunately, the show can't seem to maintain the quality of its antagonists: portraying Feng as a depraved billionaire seems like a hackneyed and superfluous trope.

I hope that the second half of the season addresses these shortcomings and answers my questions, because together they are sinking the show in my eyes right now. If I find no satisfying surprises and answers to these issues, I will be hard-pressed to tune in for a third season.

Final note: Netflix on Comcast sucks. Also, too.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year, Part II: Quote of the Day Edition

"The sooner you start building your monster truck of life, the sooner you can start ramping and running over shit with it. Nobody is going to drive one up to your door and hand you the keys."

Friday, January 3, 2014

He's Still On The Hook

While catching up on some internet reading, I came across an old article the other day.
If you want to look kindly on Bush’s presidency, you can fairly say that, while he deserves significant blame for ignoring warnings of an Al Qaeda strike and the housing bubble, the disasters of his tenure were not entirely his fault. But what did he do? His economic policies exacerbated income inequality without producing prosperity. His massive increase of the structural budget deficit, which ballooned to over a trillion dollars before President Obama took office, left the United States less fiscally equipped to respond to the economic crisis he also left his predecessor. He initiated a costly war on the basis of both mistaken and deliberately cooked intelligence, and failed to plan for the postwar period. His policies not only ignored the crises of climate change and a costly and cruel health insurance system, but made both much harder to solve.
It came up because I was reading a more recent piece by Chait in which he unpacks recent comparisons that Obama has drawn to Bush the Lesser. Basically, Chait exposes this as so much nonsense.  He shows that Obama never enjoyed any support from the Republican party, whereas Bush did not face a sustained and unified opposition for the first five years of his presidency. This was not because Bush was less partisan or more centrist, but because democrats in Washington made a political calculation to negotiate in order to appear bipartisan and win concessions. As Chait argues, it was only when Bush began to push his second term agenda to privatize Social Security that democrats abandoned this posture.

Both pieces are worth a read.

Thursday, January 2, 2014