Sunday, April 11, 2021

All that Faff

 I think I have a new addition to my favorite words list: faff. It could serve as shorthand for the title of a Shakespeare comedy, "Much Ado About Nothing" 

It's running on the advertisement bar during today's Manchester United/Tottenham soccer match. It is a good short word with a context of being inconvenienced; unnecessarily being subjected to worry, strife or extra work to achieve a simple result.

Faff tickles my love of efficient words. I clearly see the irony in this as I tend to write in a longer-winded prose; often having to edit for faff.  Such a word adds colloquial flavor while not being overpowering. 

That said, I'll not burden this post with more faff, but y'all should try it out!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

New Space, New Workout

 The last few months I've been working on my basement. The 1960s paneling and horridly worn and musty carpet had to go. I improved the lighting, reinsulated, hung drywall and installed vinyl plank flooring. The space feels much more open and useful. I'm now getting set back up down there. 

Yes, I'm still part teenager.

I moved my murder of electric guitars (I think a group of guitars should also be called a "murder" just as with crows; counting, black or otherwise) back to the basement from my room and have set up a drum kit I bought shortly post-divorce. In the interest of being thrifty, I added a free couch and chair. 

I like neither the couch nor chair and have already relocated the chair to college housing. I even delivered it for the kid. The same will occur for the couch when spring shows up.  Really, furniture improvements are needed throughout the house, but it's one of those things I can be patient about.

Behold the shortlived chair and fugly, the couch

I'm mostly interested in keeping the basement an active space. For Christmas, which was shortly after the painting and flooring were installed, I bought a ping-pong table for the kids and I to enjoy. We mostly play some form of winner stays, alternating the losing player out for another. My son and I tend to play more casually. My daughter usually has her "game face" on and has taken most of the wins so far methinks.

They are here to Pump. You up!

Lastly, I set up a small workout area complete with cardio (old school fan bike), weights and suspension trainer and a few other accessories such as this fancy Stealth core trainer planking board that lets you play planking-related games on your phone to distract you from the hellfire sadistically (but voluntarily) imparted your core.

I picked up an inexpensive weight bench with a pull cable assembly a few years ago. It had mostly collected dust; then Covid hit. I had it in the garage over the summer. I'd get some lifting in before or after a walk/run. The cold weather and finished basement also allowed me to move this indoors. 

The initial setup was only meant to pull weight down; as in lat pulldowns and triceps extensions. In my motivation to augment my workout setup I bought an additional cable and pulley. Removing the leg curl portion (who uses that anyway when you have a Swiss ball and lunges) I installed the pulley in it's place. This has allowed me to clip the extra cable and add seated rows, curls, weighted side bends and even front cable squats to the mix. 

I also picked up some different grips, including a triceps rope and single hand grips. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to working out!  I do have to say I think the favorite addition though has been the suspension trainer. Really, it just hangs from the wall but the burn from the chest presses, rows, squats, curls, extensions etc. is great. Also, being at least a late spring/early summer chicken now, I tend to prefer the body weight exercises. They seems to be less risky on the joints and help me feel comfortable moving in my own skin. It also keeps me from trying to lift like I'm still in college. That type of lifting just leads to more "setbacks", largely on account of my crappy right shoulder and various levels of back and knee pain.

yep, pretty much. From The Best TRX Exercises For Beginners | Fitness | MyFitnessPal

The workout most recently has been to alternate between the bike and each of my lifts. I've been using playlists with songs of three to five minutes. I'll pedal for one song and then do, say, my chest exercises; super-setting with a core abdominal/back. I keep moving and get in 3-ish sets of 12-ish reps. When that song is up I'll hop back on the bike. I try not to slack off and find myself huffing and puffing usually into the second biking. 

While not as social, I'm definitely enjoying being able to play my music without headphones, sip ice water from a cup, and even work out without a shirt on. 

Maybe my favorite part is my cooldown. It makes for an interesting challenge to get all hot and tired and then try to play double kick rolls and rock out like Animal on the drums.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Zoom Meeting Sessions: Metallica "Nothing Else Matters" Solo


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A Couple of Home Gym Add-ons

By now most of us are accustomed to having to work out someplace other than the gym. Here in MN gyms have been shut down for the last four weeks along with restaurant indoor dining, schools, etc. while we weather the second wave of Covid infections. 

I was getting into a pretty good habit of going for a jog a few times a week and working out with my home gym equipment in the garage. I was also walking to lunch on a regular basis; a two mile loop up to the local service station for a banana and some manner of protein. The shop even stocks some hard boiled eggs so I don't have to get a roller dog each time. However, I must admit a cheddar-wurst is a bit of a treat for me (I skip on the bun as they're usually overly bready anyway). I only had one suspect occurrence with the juevos where it looked like they had a run in with a mushy banana and I opted to stay away for a little while. Fortunately, I caught the bum eggs before they gave me a bum...bum.

Digressing, the onset of the proper MN winter has stifled the outdoor fitness program. Fortunately, I got my basement painted and flooring installed in time to move the weights inside. I also have an exercise bike to help with some of the cardio. Also, I've brought some warmer gear to work for continuing my hard boiled egg hunt. The mask wearing is also beneficial on these colder walks.

One nice part of my setup is I have a cable for doing pull-downs, standing rows and triceps presses. Oh I love hitting the triceps. I was using the bar that came with my setup for triceps presses. It was working, but I was missing the extra flex/squeeze I got from using a rope. Easy enough, I found one reasonably priced on eBay; now I'm sitting here typing with pumped up arms :).

The next add-on I have yet to test out. It's the Stealth core trainer. I thought this would be a fun one for the kids and I. Essentially, it's a platform on a pivot. This allows you to swivel about while you do those painful planks. The setup has a resting spot for your phone and an app for the Stealth allows you to play different motion sensitive games; hopefully distracting you from the violent shaking and the burning your plank is causing you.  I'm saving this torture device for Christmas, but will let you know how it goes!

The Stealth...person not included.

It's important to keep it interesting when working out at home. For me, the lack of people and activity creates a challenge to get motivated. Maybe it's the crowd mentality, but it seems to be easier to workout when others around you are doing the same. Still, isn't part of the idea of working out to be able to handle adversity? To be able to push comfort zones and find ways to stay motivated? Things are definitely weird at the moment, but maybe that just means it's time to challenge ourselves to keep our motivation.

It will take a little time as the Covid-19 vaccinations roll out, but eventually the gyms will reopen and we can get our collective sweat on. Here in MN, spring will show up sooner or later; sometimes in March, sometimes in mid-May, occasionally for one week in January. I'll be able to run my happy trail around Normandale lake. Until then, I mean to make my little basement home gym, with it's mix of iron and plastic wrapped concrete weights and butterfly attachments that no one in their right mind uses any more and my fan bike with a seat that makes a certain part of me fall asleep, a place I look forward to being. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Awesome Spicy Pickles


I've been walking over lunch to the local convenience store (~1 mile away) and trying to pick up something modestly healthy for lunch. This is one of the gems I'm liking snacking on. They have just enough heat to keep it interesting and only 15 Calories.  They're a little more expensive online, but here they are

Note: there's probably a market for those who want more brine.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Few Other Mask Wearing Benefits

 Since we manufacture product at work, I haven't missed a beat on going to the office. Thus, I'm also wearing a mask a lot. Here's a list of my mulling other advantages to mask wearing (top 10 style):

10. Walking by the work bathroom is less, uh ...noticeable

Particularly after lunch. We should totally leave some matches or spray in there.

9. It's much cheaper than orthodontic work, or a rhinoplasty for that matter

8. Fewer mints need to be handed out to coworkers

Yeah, no comment here.

7. Ventriloquism just got a lot easier

Because we all need a creepy doll in our closet for loved ones to find.

6. We're bringing sewing back

Even I tried sewing a mask...I failed :(

5. Loud talkers are now a little quieter

4. Also filters out wildfire particulates (and keeps in sneeze particulates)

It's a win-win-win for everybody! Although so is avoiding mixing flamables with gender reveal parties.

3. Your eyes are now your best facial feature

But we already knew that.

2. On the go exfoliation

Save time and money!

1. My mouth is now ready for winter

Seriously, it gets cold up here in Minnesota. Like, choke on the air cold.