Or at least Mars. Twelve and a half hours left until Curiosity (hopefully) touches down on Mars. One day – and I hope this is within my lifetime – we will send people to Mars. I’ll be staying up late to catch NASA TV covering their “seven minutes of terror”, and even the 14 minute wait for transmissions from Mars to reach us here won’t be anywhere near the delays of NBC and their atrocious coverage of the Summer Games.
I made a run to the store so I could spend the day cooking and loading up the freezer. Mom and my aunts will be heading to the mountains at the end of August, and of course they will need good stuff to take with them. That means quiche for that journey, in addition to some of the riesling I made and bottled previously, to enjoy on the deck of the cabin, among other things. Since I was working in the kitchen anyway, I also made some chicken quesadillas for the freezer for me, to make an easy meal I can grab after working out in the heat – baked some lime chicken and used some homemade salsa inside each one along with the requisite mexican cheese mix. That should work out to be handy.
A controversy in one of the women’s epee semifinal matches at the Olympics today: a South Korean fencer lost to a German due to what looks really looks like a clock error. With one second left, the fencers were tied. On the restart, the German attacked (as she had to, since the South Korean had the priority). The clock, however, appears to never have started, resulting in additional time for the German fencer to finally make the touch. Buzzfeed had an excellent post about it, with graphics, and Deadspin has a post up about it as well. It was heartbreaking to see Shin waiting and waiting on the piste, something required since leaving the piste would have conceded the decision from the judges – and an interesting point was made during the entire episode, something I did not know: in order to formally appeal, there is a fee to be paid, and this applies to every Olympic sport, apparently. My guess is that it is designed to weed out the whiners and divas filing frivolous appeals. The appeal was denied and the German fencer went to the gold medal match, where she lost to a fencer from the Ukraine. Shin wound up fencing in the bronze medal match, where she lost – but received a standing ovation from the crowd, and rightly so.
This image, taken from after officials attempted to escort Shin from the piste, after she refused, and after she received a yellow card for that refusal, sums up the agony and the loneliness of the wait.
NBC, as usual since no US fencers were involved, showed none of the matches at all, despite the fact they were going on live and despite that one was the gold medal match (and the Google doodle today was for women’s fencing!). None of the talking heads on any of the channels made a single mention that I could find about this rather unusual turn of events. Their live feed of fencing also went dark during the bronze medal match (Shin versus Sun, of China), with “An error occurred. Please try again later.” message, which sums up nicely another abject failure for NBC during these Games. I did manage to catch the gold medal match once their feed recovered.
On the NBCSN, they gave us about five minutes of women’s judo action, as one of our athletes received a bronze medal. That’s all we get on tv. They also showed about the same amount of time for men’s shooting, and I swear they cut away from the last shot that decided the medals, but I may well have missed it, since some of NBC’s coverage is like driving through a one-light town: blink, and it’s gone.
Kind of a productive day on the ranch. Seeded some flats plus some frames, fed the bees, did a little weedwhacking, played with the dogs, made a good lunch. And then, the time suck: Olympics.
I see the next fortnight (as the British would say) as a less-than-usual outside kind of work time period, although I’m not a huge fan of what most people would consider some of the marquee events (basketball, tennis, soccer). NBC graciously provided about three minutes of US men’s fencing – enough to see one of our guys lose and be out of it (another guy in the same event also lost, but alas, nothing of his matches). About 20 minutes of shooting (women’s skeet), not live, and only that much because it was a gold medal for the US. Some water polo, handball, table tennis, fencing, archery, rowing, and field hockey made it into the mix, but not a ton. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs. Since I have Directv, I could watch the live streams of events I’d like to see – except I also have a satellite for internet, and you only get a certain amount of transfer each day before they start ratelimiting you. I did watch the men’s sabre gold medal match, complete with total freezes of the stream (except, amazingly enough, for the ads). The #nbcfail hashtag on Twitter is there for a reason.
So I’m stuck with NBC’s less-than-stellar coverage of the Games, and it’s almost impossible not to know the outcomes of events they refuse to show except during the primetime taped segments – and sometimes it’s impossible because some talking head on NBC will announce the result. Sometimes they’ll announce the result right before they go to taped coverage of the event they’ve just told everyone about – but only after yet another ad break. It’s silly, stupid, and annoying. That’s not even including some commentary I could give about a few of their talking heads. Ryan Seacrest? Keep him on American Idol and New Year’s presentations, and that way he’ll be out of my face.
Oh, and by the way, NBC: it doesn’t have to be all Phelps, all the time. He’s a man, not a machine, and it was inevitable that he would lose at some point. It couldn’t have been that surprising that he lost to Lochte, since he also lost to Lochte during the Olympic Trials. We don’t need a constant rehash of all his races between 2000 and now, and it would probably make Lochte’s family and fans feel better if there was more talk of his win versus Phelps’ loss. It would also be nice to skip all the human interest stories. You could trim an hour and a half of that and replace it with actual other sports coverage – taped as it would be.
Almost done. After starting off the day with the dispatching and burying of a chicken before morning coffee, I did some company work and watched Olympic coverage, managing to find quite a bit of fencing on, with some archery – including the men’s team event matches, way to go USA for the silver!) – and some handball and beach volleyball. I managed to find in the DVRd early morning hours the women’s 10m air rifle final, which mom judged to be quite boring. The primetime stuff on NBC tonight is tape delayed and already decided, so unless there is nothing else on, I won’t be watching much of it, as I’ve been following the #Olympics twitter feed and already know the results. I also managed to get out and refill all the gas cans around noon when all the soccer and basketball started, none of which interests me. The tricky part will be finding a time period in the coming days to do some mowing before we’re knee deep in grass again.
More jaw stretching shortly. Counting down to the point where it makes more sense to pull the rest of my teeth than to keep working on them, and there will be no dentures for me if I can’t open my mouth. I’ve given up enough foods over this crap, and I’d prefer not to have to be restricted to a completely liquid diet.
I still cannot figure out why, with London only five hours ahead of us, NBC couldn’t show the opening ceremonies live. Tape delayed wasn’t terrible, but the talking heads talked way too much, and the ad-fest was annoying. Still, there were some rather amusing moments (the Queen and James Bond), some rather geeky moments (Sir Tim Berners-Lee), and some great visuals (young athletes lighting the cauldron, which itself formed from 200 individual petals, and the shot of the Olympic rings from the ISS). So begin the Games. In this day and age, almost every sport will get television time, even if those times are rather weird and on the oddball channels. How often do we get to see archery or fencing or competitive shooting here? The fact that these will be on at all will make hunting them down worthwhile.
Ends: one of the chickens needs to be dispatched, so mom tells me. She – the chicken, not mom – is laying about under the palmetto bushes, not going for treats, and it appears she’s on her way out. The last time one got this way, it was somewhat prolonged, since we didn’t know what the hell was going on with it. Now that we’ve seen it before, we know it’s unlikely she’ll recover from whatever it is – old age, perhaps – and it’s better to take care of her now instead of allowing her to slowly starve to death, or suffocate because she gets crop-bound. Later this morning, I’ll go dig a hole, then take up the ailing girl, talk to her a bit, and make it as quick as possible. Then I’ll return her to the soil to join the girls who preceded her. It’s a bit sad, but it is truly the cycle of life on the ranch.
I decided not to wait until Sunday to restart things – why delay the inevitable? So, it was back to day one this afternoon, which kicked my ass again. I wound up stopping a couple of times, and at the very end, my throat was so warm that I was quite literally wheezing, with a very distinct hooting noise coming out with every exhale. A little ice on my neck took care of that, although my mom said, “Why don’t you try something else that’s not going to kill you?” instead of this.What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll pass out, cool down, and my throat will release so I can breathe. Piece of cake.
One thing I am proud of this time: I did not stop during the suicide drills, and made it through each set of those. The jumping for power squats and basketball shots was causing my left knee to twinge, so I skipped the jumping part of those and just did the squat/up portion. Still a worthy workout on the quads and glutes, and by the end my legs were on fire.
There is nothing quite like pushing yourself – after all, you never know what you’re really capable of until you do.
Another day without a workout. One good thing: a visit with the ENT today, who gave an all clear: everything looks good, feels good (no lumps or anything in my tongue, mouth, or neck that he could feel). I have two CT scans on the 2nd, and I’m hopeful those will come back clear as well. We’re still on a 6-month rotation for visits to the various doctors and for scans, and maybe next year we can get back to yearly.
Today, though, more pain from the dental work and a couple of teeth that will be the next two to be pulled. The jarring from the jumping is a killer. So, new plan: restart on Sunday to give it a couple more days to calm down.
In the meantime, we’re still watching the floodwaters recede, slowly but surely, from the two feet or so that dropped in when Debby did Jacksonville. The bees survived high and dry, thanks to good placement of the hive. The chickens…well, chickens are not that bright, so they looked like drowned rats for a few days since they were not always smart enough to get in the coop and out of the rain.
The garden: the garlic has had it. After the fast, high heat, then a lot of rain at the beginning of the month, and now this rain, a lot of it is rotted. There may be some that can be salvaged, but for the most part, I’m counting it as a loss. Next season, I won’t be planting nearly as much, and only ordered a total of 20 pounds from Big John’s. This will give us a lot more room for tomatoes, once the frames are reworked. The remaining tomatoes out front are likely dead now, and the cukes were pulled two weeks ago after the first rounds of rain killed them off.
Looking forward to a reboot of the garden!
Today was supposed to have been day three of the insanity workout here at the ranch, but as it turns out, jumping around after significant and painful dental work is something better avoided. So, off schedule today and perhaps even tomorrow, depending on how this dental business clears up for me. I’m hopeful tomorrow will be a better day for rattling my head around as I go through the workout.
Cardio power and resistance. A better name: “F&$&(ing cardio, pushups, and burning legs”
Seriously, the warmup alone would probably be enough for most people who are looking for a little light workout and some stretching afterward. Those of us who are crazy continue past this:
Jogging, power jacks (jumping jacks, except the down motion is a squat), log jumps (think of jumping laterally over a hurdle), 123 Heisman (three steps to the side, knee up, like you’re posing for the Heisman), butt kicks (run in place, kicking your heels to your butt), high knees (run in place, this time bringing your knees high to the front), vertical jumps (jump high, land in a squat position).
Three rounds of that, successively faster each time. Stretch. Then the real workout.
This session had a lot of different pushups: V pushups (butt in the air, as if you were about to do a handstand, but instead you do a pushup), moving pushups, where on the up motion you move from side to side, a pushup where you curl your knees up to your elbows and point your hands in toward one another, something that works your triceps, drills where you do hop squats and then do into regular pushups….lots and lots of pushups. And triceps. Quite a lot of jump/squats. Globe jumps, jumping from a squat position to the right, back, left, then front, touching the floor with both hands each time. More, more, more, and faster each time, although I couldn’t keep up with the third round pace and keep form, so I slowed down a bit. There is nothing wrong with going a bit more slowly, as long as you keep moving. The biggest problem most people have is getting off their ass and getting moving.
Almost 40 minutes of this, with several stops and some modification of exercises, and I was gassed at the end. It feels good to push yourself to the edge and then just a tiny bit past that. The only soreness I have is a touch in my right upper calf, but it isn’t enough to affect any activity.
Tomorrow: cardio recovery. It’s a focus on cardio, but not as intense as the last two days. From what I’ve seen previewing it, it’s still a good butt-kicking session. And that’s just fine with me, since I have a dentist visit coming in the morning to finish a root canal – it will take my mind off that.
My brother had mentioned that he was (with a group at his work) doing the Insanity Workout. I’d also happened across one of those informercials for it during a late night migrating accounts for someone, and it looked interesting, although not a “workout” in the sense of hitting the gym and weights has always meant for me. The workout uses plyometrics and body weight only, along with a metric assload of cardio, and looked like a challenge.
Those who know me know that one thing I do not need to do is drop a lot of weight (5’4″, with a weight that fluctuates between 108 and 112, generally to the lower side). That said, ever since this cancer nonsense started, what I have found is that my endurance/stamina took a greater hit than I thought, even this far out from the first round and two years now from the second. I find when I do my outside work on the property, I work for a good period of time, then have to take a break – when I get really hot, my throat tends to start closing up, thanks to the surgery and radiation. I then go back out for more work, but the time I can spend on whatever task is at hand is less than before, with another break coming sooner than I’d like. Repeat a couple of times until it’s clear my body is signaling it’s ready to stop. So, I may work outside much of a given day, between 9 and 2 or 3, but almost a third of that winds up being rest/recovery.
Looking over this Insanity stuff, it looked quite a lot like the conditioning I used to go through when I played softball in high school. I can’t allow myself to even hope that I’ll get to that level again – too much damage thanks to cancer (fuck you, cancer!) but I can at least work to get to the best level I can be with the limitations imposed by the treatments I had to endure.
Today was day one: plyometric cardio circuit. The warmup is about three minutes and is fairly intense even by itself. If you’re not sweating a bit after the warmup, you’re not pushing hard enough. This is followed by a stretching session and lunges, and then the real workout begins. Suicide drills, power squats, mountain climbers, ski downs (think side to side mini squats, as if you’re a skiier weaving through a slalom), stride jumps, and football/basketball stationary sprints, basketball jumps (simulating picking up a basketball and shooting it, following through on the motion), pushups, ab work, and some boxing motions (jabs, uppercuts). Another stretching session to cool down, and then it’s over.
Equipment needed: none, although a heart rate monitor would be a good idea, and a pad for the floor if you tend to slip around on certain moves. A towel is also massively helpful, as this will bring out buckets of sweat.
Caveats: if you have chronic knee problems, this is probably not for you unless you manage those issues well. I have knee issues from my softball days, but keeping excellent form prevents most problems from cropping up and rendering me unable to walk. There is a lot of jumping around in this, as well as quite a lot of lateral movements, and it may not be suitable for everyone because of the stresses these moves will put on the joints.
Overall, I only had to stop for a few seconds a couple of times, and during the third round of each group of exercises, I could not go as fast as the trainer. That’s fine, though, as form is better than speed in this case, to avoid injuries. Some of the exercises proved to be very difficult, due to the slice and dice they did on my back and side for the lung removal and from the muscle/tissue removal from the neck and shoulder: the last round of pushups, for instance, I simply could not complete, managing only one instead of the complete round. I expect this to get better, and I was pleased with the first day’s effort. When I’m working outside and my body is telling me it’s time to stop, I try to go just one step further before doing so: pull one more line of weeds, haul one more load of mulch, or do one more whatever. That attitude helps when attempting workouts like this.
So, is it worth it? After only a single day: yes.
Tomorrow, something called cardio power and resistance, which should prove interesting.