Exercise, Day 31, 32, and 33.

I weighed in at 222lbs today – I keep forgetting to do so on Monday morning, but hey, forward progress, yay!

On Monday at my unit picnic I played volleyball for about 45-60 minutes. The sand was hot, so barefoot didn’t last long and my feet hurt for about 12 hours after. I also got sunburned – my new nickname might be lobster arms. To be expected for a troglodyte like me.

On Tuesday I lifted and didn’t do cardio. My bench was a pyramid this time, from the bar to 265 and back down:

Bar (45 lbs) – 8 reps
135 lbs – 7 reps
165 lbs – 6 reps
185 lbs – 5 reps
205 lbs – 4 reps
225 lbs – 3 reps
245 lbs – 2 reps
265 lbs – 1 rep

…and then did 245 again for 2, 225 for 3, etc. down to the bar. I was actually a little tired after this, so it’s better than just the climbing side of a pyramid. That, and my shoulder doesn’t hurt. W00t!

I also did 3 sets of 35 reps each of calf raises and toe raises, as well as 3 sets of 12 fly curls at 150 lbs and some incline crunches – 3 sets of 55, 50, and 45 reps respectively.

Wednesday I played an hour of wallyball with some folks from my flight. It was 3 on 2, so we gave the side with 2 a single bounce off the floor to balance the game. It did the trick, and we both scored back and forth pretty evenly. Plus fewer people means more running around, which equates to more calories burned, better cardio, etc.

I did notice that my left ankle (which I had surgery on last year) was sore, and feels a bit uncomfortable today. I might have to get that looked at.

Exercise, Day 31

Today I kept working at the benching routine I started this week, and had a spotter for my top weight since my wife came and worked out with me. I did:

Bar – 8 reps
135 lbs – 7 reps
165 lbs – 6 reps
185 lbs – 5 reps
205 lbs – 4 reps
225 lbs – 3 reps
245 lbs – 2 reps
265 lbs – 1 rep

My wife did a set of 8 with the bar, which seemed a little too easy for her. We added 10 lbs and she did the next two sets of 8 reps each at 55 lbs. After that, we went outside and jogged. She made it half a mile before needing to rest (overheating more than anything else), then we walked a quarter mile, then she ran almost a half mile back before having to walk again. All in all, she did great for someone who has run maybe 3 or 4 times in her life. I’m proud of her.

When we got back to the gym, I did 3 sets of 35 calf raises, and 3 sets of 35 toe raises, and finished up on the bike. Not a bad day, and I didn’t need any assistance with 265. We’ll see how Friday goes – and my wife and I may start running in the mornings soon.

Exercise Day 30

So on Monday I tried a different lifting routine. I did:

Bar – 8 reps
135 lbs – 6 reps
165 lbs – 5 reps
185 lbs – 4 reps
205 lbs – 3 reps
225 lbs – 2 reps
245 lbs – 1 rep

…and I tried doing a rep at 275, since 245 felt easy and I was not at all tired, but I couldn’t move it. Not a matter of endurance; I just didn’t have the strength. I also did 10 burpees and decided any more and my heart would explode. I then ran 3/4 of a mile, walked until I hit 15 minutes, and biked for 20.

So failed at my max weight there, but on the bright side – no shoulder pain. W00t!

Exercise, Day 27, 28, and 29

Well, I suck. Not only have my exercises scaled back a bit, but I have also been lazy in recording them. That being said, here are the last three days of exercise that I did:

Day 27
Bench Press – 225 lbs at 7, 5, 4 reps respectively.
Then my flight went on a 1.1 mile jog down to where there was a donut-selling fundraiser, where the boss bought everyone donuts (I did not have one), and then they all ran back. The guy who ate 3 donuts was the second person to make it back to the gym. Dude eats pizza and chicken wings on a daily basis and outruns most of the folks in the unit. Go figure. I jogged part of the way back, and then walked when I reached the point where I felt I might injure myself.

Day 28
Bench Press – 225 lbs at 7, 4, and 4 reps respectively.
Decided I am done with Benching for a little bit, til this shoulder pain goes away. Then I am going to dip down to 205 and start from there with a new regimen I was looking at recently (5, 5, 4, 3, and 5 reps in 5 sets respectively), and continue adding 5 lbs per week til I get back to where I was before (I should be doing 245 lbs right now, but my shoulder still hurts). After benching, the flight played 4 rounds of wallyball (volleyball but in a racquetball court), which lasted about an hour (we did alternating sets of 10 push-ups or 10 situps every 5 points until we hit about 60 of each, then just played til we were out of time).

Day 29
No benching; I was too late to start and my shoulder needs a break regardless. The flight again did wallyball (too hot outside this time, and it was optional, but we all played) for about 5 games over the course of an hour. My team lost every game, but it was still fun and good for a lot of laughs. I work with some odd people.

Future workouts will involve gradually increasing distance on running as I can, and starting next Monday I will attempt to get back into lifting. I am going to start incorporating squats as well, but from a low starting weight (135 lbs) using the same rep system as benching (5, 5, 3, 4, 5) and adding 5 lbs per week. I can squat about twice that much, but my form sucks and I don’t want to injure myself.

Exercise, Day 26

Yesterday I jogged half a mile toward the gym, felt like crap (hey, I’m old and falling apart), and then walked the remaining half mile.

Bench Press: 240 lbs, 3 sets of 6, 4, and 4 reps respectively (I think I am going to change things up next week; I seem to be reaching my limit for now)
Incline Crunches: 3 sets of 55, 50, and 45 reps respectively
Toe Raises: 3 sets of 35 reps each
Calf Raises: 3 sets of 35 reps each
Fly Curl: 165 lbs, 3 sets of 12, 12, and 10 reps respectively (I think I need slightly longer breaks between sets)

Then I hit the bike for 20 minutes, and walked a little less than mile to the school to pick up the little ones before walking home. I weighed myself earlier this week, but in clothes – I seem to be somewhere around 225 right now, so it looks like I finally broke that 226 barrier. We’ll see if that sticks.

Gun Control

There’s probably not a day that goes by where we don’t see something in the news somewhere about gun control. A school shooting happens, people on the left call for gun control, people on the right say more guns could have prevented it. People on the left say we need more gun control, people on the right say we need to enforce gun laws that are already on the books. People on the left want to spend more money to add more laws that won’t necessarily change anything, people on the right don’t want to spend the money to make effective the laws the existing laws they say need to be enforced.

I suppose I should preface the rest of this by saying that I lean liberal (if you have read any of my other political or religious blog entries that should be obvious) and that I think gun control is a good thing. Now, before any rabid frothing-at-the-mouth begins, let me clarify that – GUN CONTROL, not BANNING GUNS. Now, I will admit that I disagree with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment – their interpretation of it requires ignoring the text and smacks of blatant illiteracy. That being said, it has been interpreted as an individual right and that isn’t going to change (at least not in our lifetimes). We might as well just strip the line that mentions a well-regulated militia entirely, as with the current (and probably lasting) interpretation, it just adds confusion.

So let’s go ahead and start with some things that I and the gun lobby/right-wing/etc. can agree on. First, gun ownership has been interpreted as an individual right. Second, guns aren’t going anyway. Third, if we were to make guns illegal, only criminals would have them (and yes, normally-law abiding citizens would become criminals if they kept their guns under those circumstances; it’s a fact, get over it). Fourth, as correlation != causation, we can accept that in situations where gun ownership has decreased and violence has decreased as well, we cannot say that a lack of guns was the cause for the decrease. Fifth, responsible, enforceable, and enforced gun control laws are a good thing.

Next, some things that I and the gun control lobby/left-wing/etc. can agree on. First, limiting gun ownership to non-felons, responsible adults, and mentally competent individuals is a good thing (I’d like to assume the right would agree with me on this as well, and I am sure many would). Second, as correlation != causation, we can accept that in situations where gun ownership has increased and violent crime has decreased, we cannot say that an increase in gun ownership was the cause for the decrease. Third, responsible, enforceable, and enforced gun control laws are a good thing.

We all know (at least I hope we all know) that democracy doesn’t work if we simply shove views down each other’s throats. We cannot force gun-control advocates the just suck it up and hope they will give up and go away. Likewise, we cannot just force gun-rights advocates to just suck it up and give up their guns and hope they will give up and go away (we do love our guns, after all). Ignoring the fact that neither side will just go away, neither one of these options is a solution to gun violence. We need to find a middle ground that we can all at least begrudgingly accept is not going too far against our wishes. We need a middle ground that will reduce gun violence as much as possible without infringing on people’s individual rights.

Gun violence is never going away completely. To be perfectly honest, nothing we do, short of surgically removing from every human being the parts of the brain that make violence possible will eliminate gun violence. Our focus needs to be on reducing gun violence. The only way to do this is responsible gun control, put into place by a combination of psychological and reasonable background checks, gun safety education, and basic marksmanship training as prerequisites to actual gun ownership. Let’s go ahead and break out what I mean by each of these.

Psychological checks should be basic – we cannot put everyone through a complete evaluation. It simply isn’t feasible to begin with, and for some people would be completely unnecessary. Start with a basic check for warning signs. If there are more than what could be considered a reasonable number of possible red flags (reasonable in that an average person who would not likely ever flip out and go on a rampage might have a few of them), elevate to a more in-depth evaluation. If a person cannot make it through those two, then likely we don’t want them owning a gun anyway. Now, I recognize that this system would not be perfect, and so certain individuals who might otherwise be totally fine could get red flagged out of gun ownership. For this reason, individuals should be allowed to appeal their results. Get a private evaluation, and have the results compared by a higher authority. Do not limit the number of times an individual may appeal except by a reasonable waiting period between appeals (3, 6 months perhaps?). Also, make the appeals process paid for on the appellant’s dime. If they can’t afford it, I am sure the NRA would be happy to step in. Your dues/contributions to them have to benefit you somehow, right?

Reasonable background checks should also be very basic – if you do not have a felony on record, pending criminal charges of any kind, or a psychological marker on record indicating that giving you a gun would be a very bad idea, you should be able to pass the background check with flying colors. In order to streamline the process, all pending charges, recorded felonies, and psychological markers (specifics of those aren’t necessary – just having that such things exist in your record serves the purpose and protects your privacy) should be required to be entered into a national database. If such items do exist on record and have not been entered, the agency/individual which/who failed to enter those items should be at least in some part criminally liable for any crimes committed by an individual who slips through the system (with willful and neglectful caveats to determine severity).

Gun safety education should be a simple, basic class with at most a nominal fee that covers things every gun owner should know – proper storage of your weapon, basic gun mechanics (this is the safety, etc.), treating your weapon with respect (not pointing it at people as a joke or waving it around at the gun range like a deranged idiot), and so on. Basically, everything we should expect people who have proper respect for deadly weapons to know.

Marksmanship should also be basic but involved two parts – the first simply being able to hit the target most of the time, rather than the wide swath of background behind them that could include innocent bystanders. The second part of marksmanship training should include who not to shoot at, much like cops get. Admittedly, there should not be many situations for which random Joe gun-owner should need to utilize this training, but this is about reducing incidents of gun violence. It should also include some basic legal training as to who represents a legitimate target for deadly or possibly deadly self-defense, and training on how to disable a target who might not be likely to keep trying to kill you with a bullet in the leg. Training should be focused on when you need to kill someone in self-defense vice simply injure them so you can escape (taking of course into account that these are often split-second decisions and that if it comes down to “he’s gonna kill you” you should take less time thinking about where to shoot him and focus more on making sure he can’t kill you).

These are the four aspects I think proper gun control should encompass. You should require the box checked or certification (as applicable) in each of these four areas to be authorized to purchase a gun, and each item should be repeated if a certain amount of time has passed since you last accomplished them (say if it has been 2 years, you need to redo marksmanship and gun safety – perhaps an abridged re-certification course) in order to purchase a new weapon – except of course the quick background check that should be accomplished each time (since it is just looking for flags, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if the system is set up correctly). Old marksmanship and gun safety training certifications should not stop you from possessing a weapon; merely from purchasing a new one.

If you at any point have criminal charges being filed against you, it should be a requirement to notify the authorities that you are a gun-owner. If your charges are not for any violent crime(s), there is no reason your guns should be taken away (temporarily, pending the trial process and possible sentencing). If you have a violent felony on record, your right to own a weapon is forfeit unless that record is expunged. If you have a psychological evaluation that amounts to “holy shit, don’t give this maniac a weapon”, you should have your guns taken away until such a time as you are given a clean bill of mental health (at which time the weapons should be returned to you).

If you own guns, and someone who is not legally allowed to have guns of their own or has not completed the requirements for gun ownership gets hold of one or more of your guns and uses them, you should be liable to at least some degree (barring of course having the gun stolen from you or something else deemed beyond your control). This could be as simple as a small fine for negligence (the guy found your case unlocked and had the gun on him but didn’t do anything with it) to being found criminally complicit (you gave the guy a weapon so he could use it in commission of a crime). Personally, I think that would encourage people to be more careful with their weapons.

Now, all of this will cost money if we want it to be at least in part taxpayer subsidized (I envision costs similar to getting a driver’s license for the final certification, and reasonable costs for each step along the way). I realize that not many people want their taxes to go up, but who objects to taxes that provide them with a benefit they actually want? You’re a gun-rights advocate? Your tax dollars are going to ensure that people can exercise their right to bear arms in a safe and responsible manner. You’re a gun-control advocate? Your tax dollars are going to ensure that people who should not own guns do not, and that those who do know how to properly and respectfully exercise their right to bear arms without putting others at risk.

I don’t know about you, but that looks like a win-win situation to me. But then again, that’s just my two cents.

Disappointment

Well, after much excitement, I have to say that my final view of ESO is one of disappointment. The game has nice graphics, lots of great dialogue with decent – good voice acting, some cool gameplay concepts, and so on. In short, it is a game with much potential.

Potential however is useless when playability does not exist. I cannot get the game to load properly now. I can log in, and then it freezes with my character staring at whatever they were last staring at. I have reinstalled my graphics drivers, cooled my system down, completely reinstalled ESO itself – a monumental task for those who have done it – all to no avail.

At this point, I am done. They will not be receiving any more money from me at this time. Perhaps some point in the future the issues will be fixed, but after having sent numerous crash errors in with no response I am not holding out hope. I am honestly at a loss as to how anyone is able to log in and how they can continue charging people who cannot even play the game due to system crashes.

Yes, you read that right – system crashes. The game craps out so hard it brings my entire system down. Meh. I guess it’s time to look for a new addiction. Shame that one only lasted a month and a half or so. I am not sure if I got my money’s worth.

Exercise, Day 25

I had a pretty full workout on Wednesday, although I was utterly spent when I finished. I did not get to the Fly Curl or Shoulder Press, as both machines were occupied.

Bench Press: 235 lbs, 3 sets of 7, 5, and 5 reps each
Toe Raises: 3 sets of 35 reps each
Calf Raises: 3 sets of 35 reps each
Incline Crunches: 3 sets of 55, 50, and 45 reps respectively

28 minutes on the elliptical and resistance level 10, with 4-minute 5/10 degree alternating inclines. I had a reported 426 calories burned and about 2.43 (ish – I don’t remember if it was .43 or .44) miles covered.

I don’t work on Friday, so whether or not I hit the gym will depend on how I feel. I really should, so hopefully I am not in lazy sack mode.

Exercise, Day 24

I am liking my gym less and less. It is right next door to my work, which is ridiculously convenient, and they also recently decided to go to 24-hours. Great idea, right? Well, it would be, except the execution has been piss poor. We got booted from the gym at 1600 yesterday (halfway through my workout) and made to stand outside while they registered the 20+ people who had not yet registered their ID cards so they could just “badge in” after hours. Then everyone had to re-enter and resume their workouts after being madde to stand outside for 20 minutes, so that the gym staff could initiate their policy of requiring ID cards to be scanned outside to allow access after 1600.

My problem with this is that most people here leave work between 1500-1530 to get changed for and work out – which means they finish between 1630 and 1700. There are individuals manning the desk at the gym until at least 1700, and yet they choose to boot people mid-workout and lock the doors for ID card access only at 1600. I think this place is run by monkeys, and not the Shakespeare-writing type. Anyway, here is what I did before departing early to finish cardio at home.

Bench Press: 235 lbs, 3 sets of 8, 5, and 4 (or 5, I can’t remember suddenly) reps respectively
Incline Crunch: 3 sets of 55, 50, and 45 reps respectively (and man, that last set hurt)
Toe Raises: 3 sets of 35 reps respectively
Calf Raises: 3 sets of 35 reps respectively (my calves were on fire as I finished the last set)
Fly Curl: 160 lbs, 3 sets of 12 reps each
Shoulder Press: 130 lbs, 3 sets of 8 reps each

Exercise, Day 23

Ok, so I am getting lazy with my updates – this one is from Friday. I hit the gym and did a portion of my usual workout, but my shoulder was sore and I was feeling dizzy, so it was short.

Bench Press: 230 lbs, 3 sets of 8, 7, and 4 reps respectively
Incline Crunch: 3 sets of 50, 45, and 40 reps respectively
Toe Raises: 3 sets of 30 reps each
Calf Raises: 3 sets of 30 reps each