16 January 2012


Our daughter baby sat for a neighbor Friday night, so my wife and I went out shopping for disk golf disks. The store only had three in stock, so we bought them all.

We went out to play in the Sat afternoon. There are two courses separated by a strip of woods so we play one round of nine holes at each. One of the course is where we went last weekend. There is a sign there that reads, "Disk golf is a walk in the park", which is what it is. The distances are around 150-500ft, where in regular golf in the distances are measured in yards, but similar numbers.

We did okay with the disks, some of the proper equipment. They travel farther on a throw than a play disk for catching, which means our aim, or lack thereof, gets us into trouble. My wife threw one up in an oak tree and it got stuck there about fifteen or twenty feet off the ground. There was a dead tree on the ground nearby so I brought over a long limb that I could hold up high enough to push the disk and get it down.

Earlier in the day there was a monthly tournament there that was two rounds each on the two courses. Turns out that the two rounds we did was a lot for my recovering shoulder.

Speaking of aches and pains. Friday's weight-training session went fine. Weights were not much more than the bar, half what I was doing before I tweaked my lower back, so it wasn't a lot of work, but the back didn't feel worse afterward. Still waiting for it to get better though.

exercise and burning calories

When I mentioned "Sugar: the Bitter Truth" a while back I should have added mention of one of the interesting bits from it.

He had a slide about exercise and weight control. Some of the points of this slide were:

- Working out to burn calories is not practical considering the number of calories in a "a candy bar, juice, or dessert". Not enough hours in a day.
- Toned muscles from "weight training improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity -- because insulin works better in strong lean muscle". Two or three times per week.
- Exercise also "reduces stress and the release of the stress hormone cortisol -- appetite goes down when stress goes down".

08 January 2012

catching up

We spent the last week of the year visiting relatives. I managed to get to a gym there twice, but then tweaked my back again. It's getting quite frustrating that I keep doing that ever since I started training again after the shoulder surgery recovery. Getting nowhere. No progress.

The fun part was that the day of our return flight I was increasingly nauseous as the flight time approached until I threw up in the airport restroom, then on the first (short) flight, then twice more on the longer flight. If I had diarrhea, now then it would have been a most excellent return trip. I went to work the following day (Tues) to get some material return for a telecon, but didn't feel too great. Stayed home the next two days. Stomach is still not 100% today (Sun).

I was cleaning up my office on Fri and found a frisbee, which reminded me of disk golf. Our department is changing buildings, so I have to pack up. We three went out and did nine "holes" late this morning, then had lunch. My wife and I did it once about twenty years ago in Baton Rouge. This course was in San Jose, about a 40min drive. Took about an hour to play with our three frisbees. Our frisbees were the standard throw and catch type. There were a bunch of guys on the course, one woman. They all had bags with multiple disk golf, well, disks. Sort of like regular golf, there are different disks for different purposes. The three broad categories are driver, middle range driver, and approach/putt. I think if we do it again, it would be nice to have a mid-range driver for each of us.

22 December 2011

circuit training day

This morning was circuits, same as Tues. Kind of out of breath though. My wife and daughter have had colds recently, perhaps it's my turn. The back ache comes and goes now. Yesterday it was fine most of the day, then sore last night. Today so far it's okay too.

Last night our daughter asked me why we talk about the solstice, which includes lighting candles (and blowing them out) and talking about the meaning and symbolism associated with the solstice through human history. We have done it on the solstice or on the 24th in different years since she was old enough to understand the concepts. I explained how it was/is so she would have a ritual or tradition to associate with the holiday. One could argue we are re-creating the Christmas holiday without using the label, which is kind of weird considering the holiday came from Yule or solstice celebrations in the first place. We started doing it so she would have a tradition. Traditions are important for children to tie them to earlier generations in a family and create connections within the human community, but difficult ... or awkward at best, for atheists to deal with within a religious society, so it was stressful for us to come up with something we could do that would be appropriate without dogma or abstract ("sciency").

18 December 2011

exercise changes

I went to the podiatrist this week. It's been about two years since toe surgery, but it's still painful sometimes. We discussed the MRI from a few weeks ago. I shouldn't do motions that use weight to bend the toe upward. Stretching it manually is okay, but lunges and calf raises are not, unless I'm wearing shoes that prevent toe bending. That's possible for lunges, but not that great, so I have to cross those two off the list. The orthotics don't seem to do anything when I wear them, but he says they are supposed to help in the long term, but shoes don't fit properly and heel cups don't last with them.

The restriction should also extend to jumping rope. I don't do a lot of cardio work, but walk every day and do rope jumping as part of circuit-training for cardio. If I reduce the walking and stop rope, there's nothing left that I currently do.

I'm supposed to do weight-bearing exercise for my osteopenia/osteoporosis. That's why I started jumping rope along with the weight lifting. I don't know what other weight-bearing exercises there is that is not impact or toe bending.

My wife, our daughter, and I did some shopping around yesterday and tried some stationary bikes and elliptical machines. No one seems to sell rowing machines in the stores. During all this I asked the wife if I should just sell the power rack as used and join a gym, but she said it was okay to get more equipment to avoid the crowded gyms and the things that go along with them.

Ellipticals seem to be the better way to go, based on various web pages, so I bought one yesterday evening that had a smooth rotation and fit us (well, the adults). It's a compact model, but still a big piece of equipment. Had to move some things around in the garage to make room for it last night and spent a good chunk of the morning putting it together. Had to make use of a hammer because a bolt wouldn't line up and a plastic fairing for a joint had broken hooks so it won't stay on. Box the ~100-lb worth of stuff back up and head back to the store or deal with it? Okay... a little fairing is not a big deal.

I tried it a few times, up to a five-minute session. My "walking" pace seems to be 45-47rpm and it's more work than walking. My back has been getting better the past few days and felt 95% today until trying the elliptical, which made it burn a bit on the tweaked side.

Give the gift of "fitness". We didn't know what to get each other this year... the elliptical answered that question. We both have shopping for the spouse done.

15 December 2011

lower back

I don't know what happened this time. I had some hip flexor pain over the weekend due to good mornings on Fri, so I read about the "proper" technique for those, then did some practice ones with no weight on Mon, using that technique but must have messed up a squat or deadlift rep but didn't notice any problem until Tues. Worse on Wed, but still not hobbling, just occasionally painful. Wed's workout was upper body, so that was fine. Looking like today's circuits will be skipped and Fri's lower body will be an upper instead.

Today is the final for my class, so will spend the bulk of the day preparing for that. I could probably skip the final and get a good grade, but would like to do well on it.

I had a second interview with a company last week. They do "bleeding edge consumer electronics" which is a competitive, fast-paced environment. Much different from the research environment. I don't know how I would do in that, plus the company is currently in our city, but is moving soon farther away than I currently commute. I will not be able to work the hours I do now and WILL have to work longer hours, so basically I would have to leave at the same time I do now, but will get home three hours later. As you can tell, this is not an ideal change.

11 December 2011

Dickens Fair

We went to the Dickens Fair today. We have gone the past ... three or four years, but this time was not in costume, just street clothes. We didn't spend very much time there, because we were not in costume and we've been there a number of times before. Same old. In costume it's more interesting because we are more of a part of it.

Over the course of the weekend I set up lights on the house and we decorated the tree inside, but since our daughter is too old to continue the Santa myth, there's not much to the holiday, so neither my wife nor I were that interested in decorating. Well, she wanted the lights up, but wasn't interested in the rest of the process.

Festive lights as images of the sun, representing the continuation of life in the dark and cold of the winter solstice, with shiny and nostalgic decorations replacing the images of the things people wished the coming year to bring don't make a big holiday. I don't know it it's because we are too detached from the rhythms of the year that we aren't into it or just because we have no family here to gather with.