Friday, April 18, 2008

Training 12.

Yesterday - sleep @ 2310 + 20m guided relaxation mp3

DB one arm hang snatch [both arms] - 20x10, 40x5, 45x5, 50x5/5/5
DB front squat - 40x10, 70x5, 80x5, 90x5x5x5
DB Bench - 40x10, 80x5/5/5/5/5
Seated dips - 3xfailure - 17/10/9
DB shrugs - 105x3x15

6 eggs w/cheese
1 pork chop
3 pieces of steak
2L water
1L coffee w/equal, cream
100ml diet soda

Bed @ 0030 + 20m guided relaxation mp3

Days I wish I had my camera...

Today was the bukatsudo presentation, when all the kids in the various sports and other clubs at school give presentations to the new 1st graders to show them what they're all about. Judo, kendo, b-ball, table tennis, art, etc, etc. All giving little shows and putting their best, choreographed and speechifying feet forward. Brilliantly adorable. I need to just start keeping my camera with me all the time. I now get the appeal of cell phone cameras.

I just get a cell phone camera without the, you know, cell phone part.

So people couldn't bother me all the time.

You know, it's hard work being this anti-social.

"...the key is to be open to new ideas."


[And that would make four links there today. That site can be addictive.]

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"“I think the key is to find something you love and to do it,” I said.

“But how can you know what you would love to do?” he asked. “How can you find that?”

“That’s a good question,” I said. “I don’t have a good answer. If you had told me a year ago that my vocation was to write a personal finance web site, I would have laughed. The idea would have seemed absurd. I think the key is to be open to new ideas. To be in a state of readiness. You want to be receptive to even the oddest thing that might come your way.”

Wayne nodded.

“You want to be able to recognize an opportunity when it appears,” I said.

“Yeah,” said Wayne. Just then, Kris called us inside to dinner.

Wayne and I never did finish our conversation. In a way, it feels like the continuation of a discussion I had last week with my friend AJ. She, too, is in her mid-thirties, and at a place in her life where she’s not sure which direction to go.

“I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,” she told me.

Few people do."

"...the truth is that the things that are priorities in our lives are the things we actually do."

"...It’s one thing to say something is a priority, but it’s another thing to do it."
Via: Get Rich Slowly

From a trifecta of great articles I read there today.

Do not feed the trolls. [Internet and Elsewhere.]

Facing and Fighting Financial Trolls ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"...Other examples of behavior you might see in external trolls include:

* You might have a goal, and have a plan to pursue it despite the risk involved. The troll in your life focuses on the obstacles, on the reasons you can’t achieve it: “You don’t know what you’re doing”, “Think of all the things that might go wrong”, etc.
* Perhaps you admire other successful people. Trolls often resent success: “Warren Buffett go rich on the back of others”, “Bill Gates is a crook”, “Rich people don’t work for their money”
* Some trolls complain all the time. They complain about their jobs, they complain about their lives, they complain that they don’t have money. They complain, but they rarely take action. Complainers are poisonous..."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Improv to Yes.

Great article. Much more at the link.

The Power of Yes: A Simple Way to Get More Out of Life ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"...I made excuses not to do things because I was afraid of what might happen if I accepted.

I made a resolution. I decided that instead of saying “no” to things because I was afraid of them, I would “just say yes”. That became my working motto: “Just say yes”. Any time anyone asked me to do something, I agreed to do it (as long as it wasn’t illegal and didn’t violate my own personal code of conduct). In the past six months, I’ve put this philosophy into practice in scores of little ways. But the power of “yes” has made larger changes to my life, too, has exposed me to things I never would have done before.

* Soon after I started saying “yes”, a GRS reader offered to provide free wellness coaching. My gut reaction was to say “no”. But I caught my negative thinking. “Just say yes,” I said to myself. So I did. Working with Lauren, my wellness coach, has been an amazingly positive experience.
* One of my friends works as a career counselor at a nearby university. Recently he asked me to present a talk to graduating seniors about the basics of personal finance. Normally I would refuse out of hand, but only because I am afraid. I said yes. Though the presentation fell through, the copious notes I made will serve as the basis for many future articles.


* A close friend asked me to go see a band I’d never even heard of. On a Thursday. At midnight. This was totally outside my comfort zone, but I said yes. The experience was fantastic. We had a great conversation, and then I got to discover The Black Angels and their wall of sound.
* I don’t know anything about table tennis, but when my former soccer coach stopped by to recruit me for a local club, I agreed to join. It’s been fun learning the sport, and getting re-acquainted with his family. (I was once good friends with his son.)

These things will seem minor to the extroverts here. But for me, these were big steps. These experiences were new, and I wouldn’t have had them if I hadn’t forced myself to just say yes."

Training, Day 11.

Yesterday - bed @ 2250, 20m guided relaxation

Bas Rutten MMA Workout/Thai Boxing/2m Rounds/30m

4 eggs w/chs & mayo
Shake - 3 eggs/coffee/cream/sugar free cocoa
2 porkchops
6oz tuna/avocado/tomato/mayo/wasabi
2.5L water
1L diet soda
250ml coffee w/Equal & cream

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Well, it made *me* laugh.

Balloon Juice:
"This primary has sucked the will to live out of me, and unless Obama unveils a comprehensive plan to bugger every child in the country, he is still my choice over Hillary.

I should probably also point out that the election really isn’t at stake. Hillary has already lost, she just doesn’t realize it yet. But you know the press, they want their little race, so the show must go on."

Training, Day 10.

Yesterday - Bed @11, 20m guided relaxation

Single arm DB Snatch - 25x10x1, 45x5x5
Chins - 1,1,-1,-1,-1
Single arm rows - 3x45x8
DB FSquat - 50x10x1, 80x5x3, 90x5x2
Bench - 40x10x1, 80x5x5

500ml coffee w/Equal+cream
Shake - 3 eggs/sugar free cocoa/cream/water
4 salami sticks, 2 chs sticks
Chs slice/mayo
Shake - 4 eggs/sugar free cocoa/water
2L Water
700ml Diet Soda

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yeah, that must be it.

I weep for America sometimes.

Pop Quiz: What's the Scariest Thing About This Conversation?

Girl #1: Wow, The Ring and The Grudge were like the scariest movies!
Girl #2: Yeah, I know!
Girl #1: Japanese people are good at scary movies like that. I wonder why?
Girl #2: Probably because of Vietnam.


Overheard by: k

via Overheard in New York, Apr 15, 2008

Never ever, ever, ever, ever, go to Dubai.

In fact, common sense would seem to dictate you avoid that whole Middle Eastern area just on general principle.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > John Walters Just Got an Erection:
"The United Arab Emirates has figured out how to win the drug war:
A father-of-three who was found with a microscopic speck of cannabis stuck to the bottom of one of his shoes has been sentenced to four years in a Dubai prison.

Keith Brown, a council youth development officer, was travelling through the United Arab Emirates on his way back to England when he was stopped as he walked through Dubai's main airport.

A search by customs officials uncovered a speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003g - so small it would be invisible to the naked eye and weighing less than a grain of sugar - on the tread of one of his shoes.


One man has even been jailed for possession of three poppy seeds left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport. Painkiller codeine is also banned.

...A 25-year-old Briton who was found with a similar speck in one pocket as he arrived on holiday has been awaiting sentence since November.

Meanwhile a Big Brother TV executive has so far been held without charge for five days after being arrested for possessing the health supplement melatonin.

The authorities claim to have discovered 0.01g of hashish in his luggage."


1950s Folgers Coffee Ad.

The 1950s were a weird time.

To quote Bill Hicks - "...and you wonder why we're so fucked up? You know, as a society..."

Training, Day 9.

Yesterday - bed at 2240, 20m guided relaxation audio

Bas Rutten's MMA Wkout/30m/Thai Boxing [10-2m Rounds]
15m stretching
Chins/Pushups/Squats circuit - 1x max
Neck nods 40x all directions

Shake - 3 eggs/inst coffee/sugar free cocoa
Grilled chicken/cheese salad [Subway]
500ml coffee w/Equal, cream
500ml diet soda
3L water

Possibly the finest excuse ever.

They should let him off just because of the creativity of his BS.

Area 51 "mission" excuse - Boing Boing:
"Antonio Patrinostro, 43, was arrested last week north of San Francisco after ramming three cars and causing minor injuries. Apparently, he told police that he was on a mission for Area 51...
"Patrinostro "told the officer that the vehicle could fly if he went fast enough...

"He was under the influence of cocaine, Valium and marijuana and stated that it was a top secret experiment with his doctor for Area 51 and the government," she added. "He also stated that he was working for a cure for AIDS by taking the drugs.""

Personally, I think your brain in the future is sending messages back in time to your past brain in order to let you know the decision you'll make.

You know, in theory.

Brainscans of future thought - Boing Boing:
"Researchers using brain scans have shown that decisions are made in the subconscious several seconds before we're even consciously aware of them. Scientists at Berlin's Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience used fMRI to watch their subjects' brains as they were asked to tap a button whenever they wanted to. Turns out, the prefrontal cortex lit up seven seconds before the volunteers ever hit the button.
..."It seems that the brain is making the decision before the person themselves," (says neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes.)"

He will never get any at all, but it was worth it.

Almost Like She Thinks I'm a Smartass

Guy #1: I think I fucked up my chance with Jen.
Guy #2: Why what you do?
Guy #1: Well she's religious, and she sent me a text today that says "I get real emotional on Good Friday." so I write back 'I get real emotional on filet-o-fish Fridays.' she hasn't responded since.
Overheard by: James Jameson

via Overheard Everywhere, Apr 14, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Real questions for when the military testifies before Congress.

Fred On Everything:
"...Congressmen will—do—ask the General puffball questions, after which they will do whatever the President tells them to do. I can make no criticism of this. It is the American way. Still, may I suggest a few questions I would like to see the General, any general, asked?

1) General, five years ago the Commander in Chief said that combat operations in Iraq had ended. Since this isn’t true, the Commander in Chief was either lying, delusional, or simply a fool. Which do you believe to be the case?

2) You have said on various occasions that Iran is meddling in Iraq, that it is supplying weapons, fighters, and training to the warring factions. Others have charged that the United States is meddling in Iraq, that it is supplying weapons, troops, and training in Iraq. Which of these assertions do you believe to be the more accurate? Have you seen any evidence of American involvement?

...4) Permit me a personal question, General. Have you ever said anything but “yes” to anyone who could affect your chances of promotion? Can you give us examples?

...Can you give the Congress a reason to believe that anything other than your career matters to you?

...6) General, years from now, when you loll in some sunny clime writing your memoirs, perhaps having served as a handsome and chiseled Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, tens of thousands of enlisted men will be living with colostomy bags or white canes or missing legs or the ruins of faces. Does this in any way bother you?

On second thought, I withdraw the question as irrelevant. Pardon my foolishness, General.

...9) Critics of the military say harsh and, I am sure, unjustified things, such as that generals are simply hired murderers and have no more honor or morality that hit men for the Mafia. I want you to understand that I do not for a moment believe this. I am sure that you would not kill thousands of people you don’t know on command of some nonentity, and then accept strange-looking medals for doing so. To rebuke those voices that say such ugly things, would you give us an example of a country you would not attack if ordered to? Name something you would not do for another star?

10) Will you explain the surgical use of a five-hundred-pound bomb in a densely populated suburb?

11) General, if an Iraqi army attacked your home state in an endeavor to impose democracy on the United States, killed thousands of your fellow citizens, and left your daughter of seven years screaming as she died of burns, what would you do? Would you accept Islam with gratitude and embrace democracy? Or would you fight the invaders? Would you spend the rest of your life trying to kill as many of them as you could, in any way that you could? Just curious..."

Training, Day 8.

Single Arm DB Snatch [alt arms] - 1x10x25, 3x5x40, 2x5x45
DB FSquats - 1x10x50, 3x5x70, 2x5x80
DB Bench - 1x10x40, 5x5x70
Dips - 3xf - 12/11/9

6 scrambled eggs w/cheese
4 salami sticks, 2 string cheese, pack of mixed nuts
6oz tuna w/mayo
Shake - 2 eggs/sugar free cocoa
2.5L water
1L diet soda
250ml coffee w/equal

Tomorrow - add stretching, more vegetables, more water, less caffeine.

Inspiration of the day: ChickenTuna's BodyBlog - Crap Pushers Letter:
"Hello There!

Were you trying to push someone who has taken on the challenge of a fitness goal, into eating some crap? This person has set out on a mission to get herself in the best shape of her life. This requires eating some food that doesn’t taste as great as what you are offering and it is very difficult and challenging to say no. It is a very very difficult sacrifice to make in giving up all the more delicious tasting foods in pursuit of a fit body and it becomes even more difficult when people like you constantly question what she is eating and and keep offering her more crappy food to eat. The crappy food you are offering may taste so delicious but the very sad and unfortunate truth is that it makes our bodies look like total shit. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is true.

Even if this person doesn’t need to lose any weight, the crappy food will STILL make her/his body look like shit so it’s not only about gaining or losing weight, it’s about staying fit. Here is a person trying to accomplish a very difficult goal of getting and staying in great shape, and you come along and try to throw her/him off course. How about giving her a little support instead ? This process is very challenging.

If you want to eat crap go right ahead,.. we all make our own choices but there is no need to try and drag others down with you. Or maybe you just don’t realize that eating crap makes you look like crap (many people don’t know that) and you think it is just genetics or aging that causes us to have dangling lard all over our bodies? It doesn’t have to be that way. Start eating right as well, and you will soon see how nice you will start to look and feel and you will see that it is worth giving up the crap. There is no doubt that it SUCKS saying no all the time to the pizzas, the cookies, the cakes, the ice cream and such. It really does SUCK.

As delicious as all the crappy foods can be, they don’t come close to being as fun as it is to walk around in a lean, hard, tight body and look good in any piece of clothing. The right food will give you this look and feeling…foods such as plain chicken, oatmeal, fish, and vegetables..."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

That's just ridiculous! A man 6'11.5" is not supposed to be winning fights with spinning back kicks!

"In the evening's Main Event, Defending K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Semmy Schilt defeated challenger Mark Hunt.

It had been more than six years since Mark Hunt's incredible 2001 World GP Tokyo Dome Final performance, when the New Zealand boxer dispatched K-1 stars Francisco Filho, Stefan Leko and Jerome LeBanner to become the first non-European K-1 World GP Champion. Hunt wanted very much to score another upset tonight, against the juggernaut that is Semmy Schilt.

Schilt towers a full 33cm/13" taller than Hunt, but from the bell the scrappy Kiwi undertook valiant attempts to overcome this disadvantage -- leaping forward to throw the right overhand punch to the delight of the crowd. Hunt also strived to control the distance with low kicks. Alas, Schilt threw low kicks as well, and unfortunately for Hunt and for underdog fans everywhere, Schilt's kicks were a heck of a lot harder, and there were a heck of a lot more of them. By midway through the first round, Hunt's left leg had been brutalized.

To make matters worse, Hunt also received a hard left knee to the chops late in the round. As the seconds clicked down, Schilt went all-out, and at the clapper delivered a spinning back kick smack into his opponent's midsection. Hunt fell in a heap and lay there with pain tattooed on his face. A most convincing KO win for Schilt.

"We practiced the spinning back kick in training," smiled Schilt in his post flight interview, "but I didn't know it would work out so well. I'm glad I won because he was also a GP Champion, so now I have beaten all the active K-1 Champs!""

Training, Day 7.

No PT today.

1L coffee w/Equal+Cream
3L water

Goals for the week
- At least 3L water per day, no more than 1L of coffee/soda combined per day.
- Begin incorporating stretching/meditation daily.
- I have to start getting more rest/recuperation time. Given that I'm up at 630 everyday, the goal - this week - is in bed by 11. Eventually I'll work it back to 1030 for a full 8 hours. Should be easy - what's easier than sleep, right? - but in the real world that means breaking my incredibly dysfunctional, near obsessive-compulsive web surfing habit. Gambaremasu.

Extreme Cycling.

So earlier this week, cycling home in the rain from work, my tire caught the curb wrong and I went ass over tea kettle.

[That's a technical term.]

You ever watched a boxing/kickboxing/mma match, and a guy gets dropped, and his head bounces off the ground and he pops right back up?

Yeah, that was me, except it was concrete.

Odd, cause it didn't really hurt, even though I smacked it pretty good. And I didn't bruise at all really - well, my head leastways.

But it probably did a little damage, as the next day my neck was pretty damn sore.

I'd chalked it up to starting back working out, but the Mrs more accurately pointed out it was probably from, you know, landing on my head.

Honestly though, the reason I'm posting up the pics is I was damn impressed with how good the close-up shots from my camera were.


Ceremonies, ceremonies, ceremonies...

Japan is a great lover of the ceremony.

To the right we have the farewell ceremony for departing teachers.

And then, an hour and a half later we have the welcoming ceremony for the new teachers and staff, below.

The band practicing for the next ceremony, two days later, to welcome the brand new first graders to the school.

And of course, once they saw me taking pictures, practicing stopped, students converged and the peace signs come out.

The student welcoming committee above, the parents and officials to the right, and brand spanking new deer-in-the-highlights first graders.

And there was, of course, one more ceremony the next day, where the 2nd and 3rd graders welcomed the 1st graders to the school and all the teachers introduced themselves. Sorry, no pictures from that.


Another annual tradition at school is the moving of the desks. Teachers rotate from grade level to grade level, so this necessitates [warning-Japanese logic ahead] that teachers move their desks. Not their things, but their actual desks. Full of their things. Lifted and rotated around room.

[Oh yeah, that's my locker over there.]

So, for the last few years I've had my desk over by the computer station with all the printers and whatnot. Never rotated or moved, but this year they worked me into the rotation and now I'm up at the front of the room.


So the gods of Japanese hanami [cherry blossom watching] heard me mocking the tradition to my wife - honestly, annual flower watching? - as the next day I went to school and my fellow teachers informed me that the lot of us were going out to the local shrine to check out the sakura.

So in the interest of fostering those good work relationships I of course headed out with. On the plus side, I went to lunch, drank beer and then went back to school. And got paid to do it. My job rocks.


End of the school year, so that means end of the year enkai! Copious food and drink for all...

Course that also means personnel transfers and retirements. Really, the more time I spend in the Japanese school system, the more it reminds me of the military. Teachers are transferred every year by bureaucratic fiat, according to the needs of the "service." And every unit has a "hail and farewell" party for the year.

So this year we lost about 5 teachers, including our very cool VP, pictured at right. Good guy.

And we lost one of the English teachers. He'd actually only been subbing for another teacher who was on pregnancy and maternity leave for about the last year and a half, so he was never gonna be permanent, but he was a really good dude and I'm gonna miss him.

This was his first teaching job out of college, so it was kinda cool to watch him find his feet and his style over the last year and a half. And I got to help. It was pretty damn awesome.

They even had me give him his farewell bouquet. [This is Japan, so that makes it not gay to give flowers to dude.]

And we have one teacher, who's not exactly transferred, but he'll be working at the teacher's union 99% of the time. Since he didn't rate a farewell bouquet, they stole some plastic flowers off the wall and stuck them in a fish. Gotta love Japan.

Tsuyazaki Jr High.

You can actually see the reflection of me taking the pic, if you look close enough. My school...