Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Government has been murdering its own citizens for as long as we’ve had government..."

Jesus... this is just kind of horrible.

Via The Agitator » Blog Archive » Iran:
"We may never know with 100 percent certainty whether the election was fixed, though it sure seems that way. But one thing we sure as hell know now, the Iranian government’s reaction to those protesting the results has shown it to be wholly and morally illegitimate.

Government has been murdering its own citizens for as long as we’ve had government, particularly when the people begin to pose a threat to those in power. The difference is that now, the entire world is watching.
Iran’s brutality is on display for everyone to see, archived for history, in a way that we didn’t have even in Tiananmen, and haven’t had for most of human history. That, at least, is progress."

I'm Vulcan, clearly.

Tuvok (Character) - Quotes:
"Lieutenant Tom Paris: How come I always see you down here eating alone, Lieutenant?
Lieutenant Tuvok: I prefer to read, rather than engage in...what do Humans call it? Short talk?
Lieutenant Tom Paris: Close enough. You don't make many friends that way.
Lieutenant Tuvok: Perhaps. "

John Hodgman absolutely owns the Radio & TV Correspondent's Dinner.

In a totally geeky way, of course. Brilliant though. 14m far exceeds the amount of time I usually devote to internet video, but I was thoroughly amused...

Via Publick Nuisance - Score One for the Home Team:
"Our good friend John Hodgman deserves a standing information superhighway ovation for his performance at the Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner this evening..."

Training - V-Diet Results and the next four weeks.

Phase I/28 days/4 weeks - dropped 5.5kg, 2" off my waist
Phase II/14 days/2 weeks - dropped 2.5kg, 1.5" off my waist
Total for the program - 8kg, 3.5"
V-Burn Bodyweight Circuit time dropped from 44m to 30m.

Departures/variations/things I did wrong - missed one wkout in the first 4 weeks, the first V-burn bodyweight circuit. Poor planning/ran out of time on a Sunday night. Missed 4 protein shakes, out of 148[? I think] in Phase I. Ran out of time at night/slept in too long. Passed on the optional Fiber Choice tabs after the first week. Made my gastric system do strange things. Midweek of week 2 I stopped adding the milled flax seed to my shakes. That stuff was just... foul. And I couldn't choke down any more. Missed one NEPA wkout, in the fifth week.

As far as supplements, I ordered the big pack from BioTest as recommended/required. Living in Japan I paid through the nose on shipping and then got hit again a week later [didn't know it was coming] with another 80-100 bucks worth of customs fees. So the initial package is what I had, all I had, including Phase II. When it was gone, it was gone. No restocking for fiscally disadvantaged me. The Hot Rox and Superfood both lasted exactly 4 weeks - after which I had some generic caffeine tabs and fatburners I used in the AM and pre-wkout. The Surge Recovery lasted for 5 weeks and the Metabolic Drive protein lasted all six. But I ate more instinctively in the last two weeks, Phase II, which meant not eating quite as often as recommended. Lastly, I've only got a pullup bar and about 105lbs [52.5lbs each] of Selecttech DB's so my loads were light on my heavier/low rep exercise days.

But despite all that, I'll call it a success. Reversed the backsliding I started in March pretty effectively, blew past some previous plateaus and got me to my lightest weight in 4 years in Japan, probably in 5 overall. Maybe got me to the point I was at - albeit briefly - about 6 years ago. As always, I wanted more in less time - no patience, that's me - but this was good. Also I found it really did reset my taste buds and the way I think about food quite a bit. My cravings were for all healthy foods, and I really don't have any desire at all to scarf down junk. Otoh, if I never have a protein shake again, that'll be OK. Burned out quite a bit on those, to be honest.

It's four weeks till I go on vacation for three, so for the next month I'm going to mix things up a bit and go to an all bodyweight routine. Around the 'net there are a bunch of different "challenge" programs people have designed - the original was 100 Pushups, but there's also 20 Pullups, 200 Squats and 200 Situps. The programs are designed with 6 week training protocols, but since I've only got 4, I'll start on Week 3 and see if I can hang. Foundational, no-nonsense stuff. Mostly strength-endurance, but I'm sure I'm still very much in need of it.

Maxes from testing last Sunday, one set endurance max - 8 Pullups, 28 Pushups, 31 Situps, 40 Squats

Next 4 weeks
MWF - Pushups/Squats/Bas Rutten MMA Workout/Neck [bridging, isos, neck nods, shrugs]/Rehab work - dislocates, facepulls
TTS - Pullups/Situps/Forearms-wrist-grip work [wrist curls/x, time holds, grippers, levers]/X-Stretch [from P90x]/Rehab work - disclocates, facepulls, bridging

Diet/Nutrition wise, back to whole foods. Going with a primal/paleo/low carb style eating plan, which is ultimately, for me, I think, best both short and long term. Best resource on that is, I think, The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson - with a small concession to a carb up on the weekends, a la' Di Pasquale's Anabolic Solution/Metabolic Diet, in the form of sushi, most likely. I figured while in Japan, I should make the most of quality, inexpensive sushi while I can. Typical 3-4 meals per day maybe... egg dish for breakfast, salad for lunch, beef/poultry/pork/fish for dinner. A healthy snack in there somewhere - nuts probably. Wish I could get decent jerky around here though. No junk.

So... overall. It's been about 15 months since I started working out again. And despite some layoffs/backsliding/half-assing here and there I've managed to drop about 14kg and 8" off my waist measurement. Good, but only a little over halfway where I want to be be. I'd like to drop another 8kg or so and another 3-4" off my waistline. About 81kg would put me right around/in-between my college and military weights, which worked pretty well for me. So, that's a decent goal.

In layman's terms, in the last 15 months I've gone from "fat fuck" to "chubby bastard." Wiping out the worst of the shame and self loathing accompanying said condition. [There's always some there... I was raised Catholic, it can't be helped...] I hope in the next 6 months to get from "chubby bastard" to "in shape." After that, maybe another 6 months could get me to "freaking awesome." Gambaremasu.

Yes, I made a graph. In lieu of pics. I'm kind of a dork.

[Still not "after" enough to be putting up before/after pics. Once the satisfaction of the "after" outweighs the shame and embarrassment of the "before" I'll do that... but not quite there yet.]

The graph kind of tells the tale.

Consistent, albeit slow progress from last April to about the end of January and February of this year. That was the point where I burned out on P90X and my workouts became less consistent. February was also where the parties, farewell and otherwise, started. March and April were abominations, PT and diet wise. Numerous end of the year enkais, beginning of the year enkais, birthday parties... plus the mental and emotional malaise of the Mrs back in the US on her job hunt resulted in me taking refuge in the local 7-11's fried chicken, chips and beer. Beginning of May I had my last enkai of the season and into the V-Diet on 5/11.

[A bit more] Training 362.

After a 2 year layoff, due to multiple injuries later compounded by laziness... first day back training... Rusty and not pretty, but gotta start back somewhere...

MMA Training - First Day Back from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.

[password is my full first name]

Damn farmers parking in the middle of the road.

Eh, as much my fault, I guess. Biking home on one of the smaller side streets some neighborhood folks decided to park their Japanese mini-truck right in the middle of the road...

I decided to try and bike by the side - when I clearly should've just gotten off the bike and pushed around it [THE-MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD, I repeat... and a small road, at that...] but as I tried to work my way around, my wheel caught the side of the road and I tipped over into the murky, water filled ditch... glad I was only a minute or two from home.
From 2009-06-20

Most annoying was the trio of old folks picking their weeds... "Daijobu? Daijobu?" - Yes, I'm fine. Been better if you didn't leave your vehicle in the middle of the street, but hey...

Eh, road rash always looks worse than it is... I'll live. Funky picture though.

Friday, June 19, 2009

31 Funny "Reasons to Keep on Living."

More at the link. | 31 Reasons to Keep on Living:
"13. Craig Ferguson, host of CBS' Late Late Show, is the funniest fuck on television...

21. Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, was on Conan the other night and he talked about how he's not very discriminating when it comes to dating. 'If I was attracted to an anti-Semite,' he explained, 'I would sleep with her. I would. Absolutely. I'd be in bed with her and I'd be hearing stuff like, 'You Jew bastard,' 'You vile money lender,' and I would keep going.'

Larry David exists to say stuff life that for the rest of us, thereby serving as a relief valve for the rest of humanity. His latest work, Curb Your Enthusiasm, returns to HBO this fall...

No matter how bad your life is going, it pales in comparison to the life of Walter White of the AMC drama, Breaking Bad. Walter was an accomplished chemist whose colleagues have all gone on to high-paying jobs, but the only work Walter can find is as a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He's been diagnosed with stage-three lung cancer. He's got a teenage kid with cerebral palsy. His wife just gave birth to a baby (an accidental pregnancy). He's in debt up to his cancer-ridden lungs, so he resorts to cooking meth.

Watch him slowly morph from husband, father, high-school chemistry teacher, to Scarface.

Season 3 can't start soon enough."

The Solutions.

Details at the link. All smart, sound and filled with win. So they'll never be implemented, of course.

Interview with Radley Balko Part V - Ideas Special Report
"Q. Having run through a fair number of problems, let's turn our attention to solutions. What are your top 5 ideas for reforming the criminal justice system? What are the most significant obstacles preventing them?

1. Changing the federal government's role in the criminal justice system...

2. Ensure that scientific evidence in the courtroom is actually scientific...

3. Community policing...

4. More liability for police and prosecutors who misbehave...

5. End the drug war..."

Training 360-2.

360 - NEPA 30m light shadowboxing
361 - DB Sumo DL, DB Push Presses, Lat Pulls, Hand walkouts [from knees]
NEPA - 20m x 2 bike ride around town/bank and back
362 - last wkout in the V-Diet, results tally tomorrow... BW Circuit 6x10 - 30m [2m faster than last week] - Jump Squat, Hand Walkout – from knees, Single-Leg Deadlift – arms out to sides, Plyo Push-Up, Jumping Jack, Reverse Lunge – twist, Pike Push-Up, Squat Thrust

Mmmmm... college.

Overheard Everywhere | So I Joined the Rugby Team:
"College girl: I'm so ready for my first homoerotic experience!

New Paltz, New York"

True love.

Overheard in New York | If Gossip Girl Were Written by Real New Yorkers...:
"Boyfriend: I wouldn't marry you. I would pay for half and give you a ride to the clinic.
Girlfriend: Baby, that's beer money. Just push me down the stairs and we'll go out.
Boyfriend: I love you.

--84th & 1st"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Japan takes another swing at weird sodas - "no calorie" Coca-Cola + plus with green tea/catechin flavor.

Actually not bad, and certainly not the abomination that was Pepsi Blue Hawaii or Pepsi Ice Cucumber. It was a little smoother than regular diet coke, but I couldn't really taste any green tea flavor at all. This absence of green tea flavor was in fact confirmed by two Japanese folks, to ensure it simply wasn't the result of faulty gaijin taste buds.
From 2009-06-14

I've cut my soda consumption way down these last 2 months or so, but every once in a while I crave a bit of carbonated caffeine. This wasn't too bad a way to get my fix.

Cutest thing ever.

Overheard in New York | Tonight's Movie: P.S.- I Thug You:
"Large, intimidating thug: So you think you're grown up, huh? You think you're a man?
Small boy: (nods)
Large, intimidating thug: Then why don't you get a job? Move out?
Small boy: Cause I love you!
Large, intimidating thug, more quietly: Well, I love you too.

--Downtown A Train"

Radley Balko waxes eloquently and succintly on problems in modern day law enforcement.

More at the links.

Law and Order: Interview with Radley Balko Part I - Ideas Special Report:
"Q. In your work, you've frequently reported on police abuses and the appropriate role of law enforcement in a free society. Though you're often writing in regard to specific controversies, I wonder if you have any general criticisms of the American criminal justice system. What's wrong about where we're at? What are the most urgent improvements you would recommend?

I think the main problem is too much attention to numbers and statistics, which I think has been largely driven by the 40 years of "get tough on crime" rhetoric and slogan-based crime policy we've been getting from politicians. Everyone wants to boast about declines in crime statistics. But the focus on raw numbers has created some perverse incentives, from beat cops through mayors and police chiefs.

Ed Burns, the former Baltimore narcotics cop and co-creator of the HBO series The Wire talks about this often. Drug cops are evaluated based on how many people they arrest, and what quantity of drugs they seize.

Take what was saw in Atlanta after the Katherine Johnston case--the 92-year-old woman who was killed in a botched drug raid. Drug cops in Atlanta had quotas of drug arrests and seizures they had to meet each month. So there was a rush to meet the quota...

Prosecutors get re-elected or move on to higher office when they put lots of people in prison. They rarely get credit for choosing not to prosecute someone in the interest of justice. That's not to say it doesn't happen. But there's rarely any professional reward for doing so. In fact, they usually get flack for it, particularly in high-profile cases. Prosecutors are also rarely sanctioned for bending or breaking the rules. They're virtually immune from lawsuits, even if they convict the wrong person, and even if prosecutorial misconduct was a major factor in the conviction. So you have all this pressure on winning convictions, with little sanction for going too far..."
Law and Order: Interview with Radley Balko Part II - Ideas Special Report:
"Q: You've criticized the militarization of law enforcement. It's a topic The Atlantic covered in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting, when police departments all over America began encouraging a SWAT team mentality among regular officers. Why is this war mentality a bad thing? Aren't there heavily armed bad guys who are literally causing war-like casualties in urban neighborhoods?

The military is trained to kill people and break things -- to annihilate a foreign enemy. The police are charged with protecting our rights while securing the peace. Those are two very different missions, and it's dangerous to conflate them. But that seems to be what's happening.

...We're dressing police officers in military attire, giving them military-grade weaponry, training them in military tactics, then sending them into American cities and neighborhoods and telling them they're fighting a war--be it the war on drugs, or a more generic war on crime. That's not a healthy development for a free society. People who live in high-crime areas are still American citizens with rights. They aren't the foreign residents of an enemy nation..."

Only politicians and bureaucrats could possibly think this makes sense.

Follow me here...

The U.S. in their hugely fear-based overreaction to the events of 9/11 made it exponentially more difficult for foreigners, mostly tourists, to come to America. Result? A 12 percent drop in tourism receipts and a loss of 390,000 related jobs...

Congress responds! With a P.R. campaign!

Funded by charging foreign travelers an additional fee.


You can't make this stuff up.

Hit & Run; Erecting Barriers to Remove Them - Reason Magazine:
"The problem this bill is allegedly intended to solve? "Overseas travel to the United States has decreased significantly" since Sept. 11, 2001, partly as a "consequence of erecting barriers to travel." The funding mechanism by which this new non-profit P.R. firm will counteract these barriers to entry? As DRJ of Patterico's Pontifications points out, part of it will come from ... a new $10 fee assessed on every foreign traveler."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Training 357-9.

357 - NEPA - bike commute 2x20m
Romanian DB DL, Atlas Pushups, Lat Pulls, Knee Raises

358 - NEPA - 30m shadowboxing, bike commute 2x25m

359 - Upright Row w/ext rotation, Pushups, RV Lunge, Russian Twists
NEPA - 15m shadowboxing


*Same stuff, different President.  More of that HOPECHANGE.

Hit & Run: Obama Blocks Access to White House Logs - Reason Magazine:
"Another blow to transparency:
The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions. Despite President Barack Obama's pledge to introduce a new era of transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied's request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present."

Dissent is terrorism, according to the DOD.

See, if you simply disagree with the powers-that-be, and exercise your constitutionally guaranteed right to protest, that's TERRORISM.  Obvious, in hindsight.

The Agitator » Blog Archive » Morning Links:
"Defense Department quiz for new employees describes political protests as low-level terrorism."

Defense Department sees protests as terrorism -
 "Among the multiple-choice questions included in its Level 1 Antiterrorism Awareness training course — an annual training requirement for all DOD personnel that is fulfilled through Web-based instruction — the department asks the following: 'Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorist activity?' To answer correctly, the examinee must select 'protests.' The ACLU wants that changed immediately, and it wants corrective information sent to all Department of Defense employees who received the training.

The ACLU letter notes that this is particularly disturbing in light of the long-term pattern of government treating lawful dissent as terrorism. In the Bay Area, my colleagues and I reported exactly this in 2003, as the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center fed local police agencies information on protests, with catastrophic results. Two years after that, it was the California National Guard."

Police dogs also untrustworthy, full of nonsense.

Maybe not all the time, but enough...

[Dogs can pretty much be trained to "alert" whenever their handler feels like it... how that becomes admissible evidence just astounds me...]

Hit & Run ; Super-Powered Police Dog Proves a Paltry Pooch; People It Imprisoned Exculpated - Reason Magazine:
"Incredible story from Orlando, where police and prosecutors were apparently convicting people of violent crimes based almost exclusively on the "testimony" of a police dog whose handler claimed has extraoat rdinary powers.
"Last weekend, we looked at the case of Bill Dillon, the Brevard County resident imprisoned for 27 years before DNA tests set him free...

At least two other men suffered the same fate — and another shared link: a dog.

Not just any dog. A wonder dog helped convict all three men: a German shepherd named Harass II, who wowed juries with his amazing ability to place suspects at the scenes of crimes.

Harass could supposedly do things no other dog could: tracking scents months later and even across water, according to his handler, John Preston"
Judges and juries apparently bought this crap for years. It finally came to an end when Judge Gilbert Goshorn ordered the dog to perform a basic tracking test after Preston claimed the dog had alerted to a suspect's scent at a crime scene six months after the murder. The dog failed.

So far, three people have been cleared after collectively spending more than 50 years in prison, all of whom were convicted primarily due to the dog's alerts, despite other evidence exculpating them. Florida criminal justice activists say there may be as 60 more people wrongly convicted thanks to Preston and his dog."

Understanding Tattoos.

Via Tattoos |

"1. Tattoos theoretically could be thoughtful additions to your appearance. Unfortunately there are thousands of tattoo parlors (many open 24 hours) and people just don't have that many thoughts. So most are stupid.
2. Tattoos are permanent. Your motivation/blood-alcohol level is not.
3. Tattoos are now as edgy as a padded watermelon."

Hilariously disturbing.

The rest are equally screwed up, and funny, as well...

The 6 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Science - Page 2 |
"...In 1954, two scientists named James Olds and Peter Milner found the pleasure center of the brain, dubbing it "Engorgeopolis." [citation needed] They theorized that they could stimulate this area by administering an electric current, and tested their hypothesis by wiring up a rat's brain and providing the little guy with a lever to control the shocks. Soon the rat was banging on the lever up to 2,000 times an hour, missing work, skipping meals and losing its temper with the children.

In 1970, Robert Heath of Tulane University refined the Olds and Milner discovery to test his theory of reversing homosexual behavior through pleasure center stimulation. That's right, Heath wanted to zap the gay away. Unable to locate a readily available supply of gay rats for his experiment, Heath went ahead and found a homosexual male's brain to dig around in.

The subject, B-19, was hooked up just like the rat in the pleasure study. At first Heath administered controlled amounts of stimulation himself, but then handed the pleasure button off to B-19 and allowed the subject to be the lord of his own electric bonerjam.

And stimulate he did. In one three-hour session B-19 pressed the button 1500 times until. According to Heath, "he was experiencing an almost overwhelming euphoria and elation and had to be disconnected." At that point, we're amazed his dick hadn't burst into flames.

Heath's theory was that B-19's sex drive would be so jacked he'd have sex with anything, and for Jesus' sake, why not make it a girl? This being 1970, this was clearly the part of the experiment where you bring in the whore.

When introduced to the female prostitute, however, B-19 did nothing for an hour until the prostitute initiated a sexual encounter herself. Nevertheless, Heath called the experiment a success, having proven that with enough electric shocks directly to the brain, a gay man will have sex with a woman as long as he's locked in a room with her for an hour and can't leave.

And that's why there are no more homosexuals around today."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Japan is fun - *Updated.*

Click here -

Via The Agitator » Blog Archive » Morning Links


Small world... turns out that the husband of one of the women I teach with, he works for the ad company that produced it. It's part of an annual competition, apparently - the 1-Click Awards.

If you go here you can see some more stuff. Also, if you know what "kancho" is, and click on the proper place, you can see some more fine Japanese crazy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I do have some weird shoes.

But they are awesome. A pair of moccasins as my school shoes here in Japan [far right.] Two pairs of sneakers, or what I use as sneakers, my entirely awesome Vibram Fivefingers, one for hot weather, one for cold [left, bottom.] Two pairs of Vivo Barefoot's - a dress shoe model and a sandal. And a pair of Dopie's flip-flops/rubber slippahs. All designed as minimal footwear, to improve health, balance and strength of feet using thinsole tech.
From 2009-06-14
I may have given this entirely too much thought. But screw it, it works for me.

[And now my wife shall laugh in my general direction. And I'm okay with that.]

Training 354-356.

354 - DB Sumo DL, DB Push Press, Lat Pulls - Neutral Grip, Hand Walkout from Knees

355 - 30m shadowboxing

356 - BW Circuit x 6 - 32m [3m faster than last week] - Jump Squat, Hand Walkout – from knees, Single-Leg Deadlift – arms out to sides, Plyo Push-Up, Jumping Jack, Reverse Lunge – twist, Pike Push-Up, Squat Thrust

30m shadowboxing

8 Pullups [clean/no kipping], 28 Pushups, 31 Situps, 40 Squats - tested my 1 set endurance max for my next training protocol, starting a week from tomorrow.

For the hell of it, since I tested out pullups, I rested a bit then tested chinups...  15 months ago when I started out PT'ing again, I could only get a pathetic one rep.  Today, no kipping, clean reps, I got 13.  So yeah, progress doesn't suck.

Watched - 6/2 thru 14.

Daily Show, Colbert Report, The Ultimate Fighter, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Closer...

Breaking Bad - pretty nice season finale. Got picked up for S3... be interesting to see where it goes.

Burn Notice - season premiere and the second ep of the season. Rockford Files + MacGyver, as usual. Way fun. Bruce Campbell continues to rock, as always.

Rick Steves PBS travel show - Northern Ireland, Athens, Peloponessia, Wales, Iran. Greece looks awesome.

Grill It with Bobby Flay - Beef Burgers, BBQ with Bobby Flay - Season 1, Iron Chef America - Wild Boar... The Food Network has some great shows. Totally the wrong ones to watch while you're still dieting.

Watched a whole bunch of Derren Brown specials that I hadn't seen - Russian Roulette, Lecture, Seance, The Gathering, Evening of Wonders and The System. Man, I dig on Derren Brown. Proof positive that people, and by people, I mean me, don't really understand why we make the decisions we do, and all the rationalization, justification and projection we put on things. Fascinating magic/psychology/coolness. Reminded me how cool his book was too.

Bunch of MMA - UFC Countdown, UFC 99, Strikeforce - Lawler Vs Shields, WEC 41... all really good shows. Have to say of all the fights I was probably most impressed with Nick Diaz Vs Scott Smith at Strikeforce. Diaz has just become a fantastically effective striker.

Pharmacratic Inquisition - Great documentary on the astronomical and pharmacalogical explanations for religion and Christianity. A lot of themes and ideas I've read elsewhere succintly summarised and well presented. Plus a few things I'd never heard before - like the belt of Orion as the the Three Wise Men and the aminita muscaria mushroom as the probable genesis of the easter eggs tradition, plus the amanatira growth cycle explaining the Adam & Eve myth. Really fascinating stuff.