Tag Archives: Sports

Beginnings and ends

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.

Insanity: Day Three (not)

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.

Insanity: Day Two

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.

Insanity: Day One

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.

Challenge accepted.

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.

The season comes to a close

The football season, that is! Tonight’s the last game until fall – boo. I’m sure we’ll find a way to keep ourselves occupied in the offseason, which is the real season on the ranch. Tonight we’ll have pizza, subbing for brisket, and guacamole, and chips, and other assorted crap that is suitable for noshing during a Super Bowl.

The flats started last month in the barn are all up. Tomorrow I’ll start the flats of tobacco (for mom) and keep working on the reconfiguration of the frames in the front garden. And f still refuses to rain, more dragging hoses to the trees to try to keep them going. The grapefruit and the orange out in the orchard are striking quite the pathetic poses, as are the lemons. Sad, but I figure they should be able to pull themselves out of it. After all, citrus farmers down here have had trees go through this kind of oddball weather and still produce a crop.

Today I began the first fermentation of the wine (riesling), in the bucket, airlock on, waiting for the yeast to get busy. In a week, time to shift it to the secondary fermenter, and maybe start another round of beer. If only I could drink any of it…

Ending the weekend with a blast

Of football! AFC and NFC championship games, both of which went down to field goals. The Patriots squeak in on a missed field goal, after a rather lackluster performance by Brady. That was followed by a very messy game in San Francisco that went into overtime, with the Giants finally coming out on top after the second muffed punt by the 49er’s return man (Williams) gave them a short field (again). It’s going to be a great SuperBowl game. I hope.

Bowing out

Boo, Green Bay. That was one mighty poor performance on the field today. You didn’t look anything like the team that seemed as if  it might go undefeated. You did, however, look like the team that went to Kansas City and got themselves beaten by the Chiefs, of all teams.

Time to root for the Patriots – although it’s fun to see the 49ers back into the swing of things, and it would really interesting to see a Harbaugheddon (Harbhowl?) and watch Jim and John square off with one another.

Closing in

The turf on the field at Eastern Washington is red. Blood red. Or, if I were in a jollier frame of mind instead of becoming more miserable by the second because I feel like total crap, a holiday-flavored red. It isn’t enough that I’m watching FCS football on a Friday night while fixing someone’s photo gallery that they’re completely hosed, but my eyeballs have to be bleeding as well? I thought the Smurf Turf at Boise was bad, but this is even worse. Too bad it isn’t snowing out there to cover it up a bit.

The late-round attempt at tomatoes and peppers was a failure, unfortunately. Things were going fairly well, but then we went to Disney for the day, and although I’d left the ends of the hoops open to get some airflow, but keep things toasty inside, the winds were horrendous and picked up the (weighted down) plastic and flung it up and off the hoops. By the time we arrived back at the ranch, it had already been freezing for several hours, and the unprotected plants were history. The sugar snaps seems to be hanging in there, and I pulled up all the peanuts yesterday and today  – a fine crop of late round peanuts, too, it appears.

For the rest: the garden has been put mostly to bed for winter, such as it is. We’ve had several weeks now where we’ve had at least three straight nights of freezing weather – the last round took us into the mid-teens, in fact – and experimentation for the season is over. The garlic is fine beneath its cover of hay, and the sugar snaps we may begin harvesting in the next ten days or so. Other than that, there are some leeks and carrots in the ground, and a few stay cabbage or broccoli plants (I’m not quite sure what those tiny plants are and I’m too lazy to dig out my planting roster). I’m debating whether to start some more cabbage and broc and cauliflower, but I know one thing I must do is get the parsnips in before the real winter blast comes in late January/early February here, as the frosty weather will make them sweeter than they usually are.

An aside here…I know the most overused/overrated word this year was “whatever”, which for my money only narrowly beats out “Palin”, but could we vote “Are you kidding me?” as the most overused/overrated phrase? Perhaps as a tie with “I know, right?” as a top annoyance? Thanks.

No progress on the garlic steppes as yet, but there’s still almost an entire year to get that put together for next year’s garlic season. Right now I’d like to get the remaining frames built out and filled so things will be ready to go as immediately as possible for spring. I’m planning more sweet potatoes next year, fewer varieties of tomatoes, just a handful of pepper varieties, and only a couple of varieties of cukes – all things that performed well and tasted better than others, and in many cases, varieties that took tops in both categories. I’m ever hopeful that there will be no disasters (deaths, cancers, surgeries, etc.) to knock another season out of whack, so in addition to my please regarding overused words or phrases, how about we add a little cooperation from the universe to that?

Wabbit season

Duck season! Football season! Yay!

About damn time. College kicked off last night and continues through the weekend, the NFL begins next week, and soon we will be awash in games. I watched – or, rather, listened while helping paint one of the bedrooms – to South Carolina stomp all over Southern Miss, and then USC make it past Hawaii. As for Towson and Indiana? Yeah, right.

Anyway, the painting. Someone who shall not be named decided one of the bedrooms needed to be painted a different color: radiant sun, to be exact, although to me it looks like an off-white sort of color, but who am I to say? It will take a couple of coats, since it’s lighter than the current color, but it’s good exercise for me, even though by the end of the taping around the baseboards and the subsequent painting in that area, I was getting a bit sore. Still, with that part done, the rest is fairly easy, just rolling away, and we should finish today. Just in time for some Georgia person to arrive and stay for a few days.

And it’s time to go back to cooking a bit, too: this afternoon, stir fry, with chicken and lots of veggies, and scallion noodles. Since we will have people in the house this weekend even though we are not doing a big gathering as in years past, I’ll be brining a butt today so it can go on the smoker in the wee hours and be ready for Saturday afternoon’s more traditional kickoff of a slate of college games. We also need more bbq sauce. And I think, just for fun, we’ll do a bit of chicken as well, as it’s been forever since I’ve done any smoked poultry. Chicken breasts alone are tricky, as they’ll go from tender, moist, and delicious to rubbery dried out nastiness in no time, so perhaps a whole chicken is in order (but I’ll have to rig something so the chicken doesn’t drip on the porkalicious goodness that will be in the smoker before it). Applewood smoked chicken quesadillas for leftovers, anyone?