Of lifting weights and discovering muscles

A little over a week ago I finally did a full dumbbell exercise workout — 11 different exercises working all major muscle groups. I am using a pair of 10 pound dumbbells and so far they seem to be about the right weight. The workout takes about 40 minutes or so with the breaks between sets eating up a good chunk of that time. I expected to feel sore afterward and I did but whoops, I completely forgot to warm-up beforehand and ended up paying the proverbial big price for it. I pulled a muscle in my right arm hard enough that fully stretching the arm out hurt a fair bit. The pain persisted for about four days before subsiding. On Thursday I finally decided to do another full workout and this time all went well — I was again left sore but avoided self-injury. Hooray for common sense.

I’ll probably do another workout tomorrow (to celebrate Easter, y’ know) then work in my jogging program through the week. I expect to feel sore, tired and cranky but in the best shape of the past 25 years.

Writing exercises #14 and #15

Two more writing exercises to add to ye olde pile:

Three Parts (scenes). I may spin one or two of these scenes into a full-fledged story some day. You get zombies, the search for love and space drama. Variety!

Follow the Tracks. This one is unprecedented for me. I took an unfinished story that was abandoned 17 (!) years ago and finished it.

They can also be found on the Writing exercises page.

New header image, balance and harmony restored to Internet

I finally fixed the header image for the current (Techmania) theme, as the original was not sized correctly for my desired page width. Exciting stuff, to be sure. For now I have chosen a creepy forest road that was included as part of Vista’s sample picture collection. I will probably replace it with a badly tiled picture of my cat at some point. Enjoy!

A drinking game

Here’s a fun drinking game you can play.

First, get in your car or whatever vehicle you happen to have and get on the highway. Start driving the speed limit.

Every time a vehicle passes you, take a drink. NOTE: You will get VERY drunk and CRASH your car. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY.

If you’d like an alternate version of this game, try this:

Take a drink every time a vehicle passes you that is going more than 30 km/h (20 mph) over the speed limit. NOTE: you will still get VERY drunk and CRASH your car, but it will take a bit longer and there is a chance you may arrive at your destination before this happens. See previous disclaimer.

Whoopsie

Yeah, so much for National “Write something every day on your blog” Month. Good thing I made that up because I can now say there was a typo and “month” should read “week” (darn my clumsy fingers) and I exceeded the minimum by a fair margin.

I will have more to write shortly. In the meantime I have added a very exciting “Currently” listing so you can see what stupid forms of entertainment I have chosen at the moment. Enjoy!

Two more writing exercises — #12 and #13

Two more writing exercises. The first one is a scene told from two different perspectives and frankly, it’s kind of crappy. The second is a complete short story based on three items produced by a plot generator:

Your Fault
Superhero Go Home

On the run again

Spring is only six days away. It is time for the trees to bud, the flowers to bloom, the Greater Vancouver area to receive another official snow warning (damn snow) and for me to ponder activities of an outdoor nature that involve more than walking to the store and back.

I went to Forerunners this afternoon. It’s a specialty running store with an impressively large wall of running shoes. The staff is friendly and appears to know their stuff which is helpful because every pair of runners I have bought in the past has been based on looks alone. Most of the time that got me by but a few pairs back I bought some where the left shoe absolutely murdered my foot. I stubbornly kept wearing them instead of doing the sensible thing and taking them back for a refund. I think it’s just one of those guy issues. That shoe was going to bend to my will. Except it never did.

This time, since I’d be getting shoes specifically for jogging and since I’m not…ah, as young and flexible as I once was, I thought it might be a good plan to put aside cost and looks and just get shoes that wouldn’t kill my feet. The young woman who assisted me measured my feet, made me crouch up and down, stand with my feet apart and cough twice. Okay, the coughing I did on my own. She brought out four different pairs of shoes of various brands and widths and I tried them on, often wearing one of each brand per foot. I’d walk around the store then go out and jog in them for about a half block. I did this enough to actually work up a very light sweat. Embarrassing.

In the end we both agreed on the New Balance MR769STs or as I call them, my pair of lemons. You can see them here (Flash required). They come in silver/blue or white/yellow. I got the white/yellow hence my clever nickname. I have never spent over $100 for a pair of running shoes before. In fact, I scoffed at those who did. My current pair cost $30 and have lasted weeks. Weeks! But I have to admit, the new runners feel really nice. They fit like a glove (as recommended) and have the kind of support and spring that you get when you invest $70 more.

I’m hoping they last till I’m 80.

I have a jogging plan to start out with — the Couch to 5K Running Plan — and now a nice pair of shoes. I just need a place to jog! I could create a route in my neighborhood but this area is kind of hilly and I’m not too keen on running on sidewalks or roads. It’s going to be hard enough on my body without making it even moreso. On the plus side, a route through the neighborhood would keep things interesting, especially if I mixed it up a bit. But for now I think I will stick to dedicated running paths. The closest I could find is about 12 blocks away at China Creek Park (North). I checked it out a few days ago and the jogging path there is dirt but covered with bark so it doesn’t turn to mud when it rains. It had a nice springiness to it, firm but yielding, like a nice girl on a second date. While there I watched someone jogging around the path. And I mean around it — he stayed just off the path all the way around the park. People are weird.

Here’s a satellite view of the park courtesy of Google maps. I have embellished the image slightly for your edification. I am tentatively planning on starting the jogging regime next week and will have my first report then.

China Creek Park

I am officially a statistic, hooray!

February jobless rate rises to 7.7%.

Canada’s unemployment rate rose to 7.7 per cent in February, when 82,600 jobs were lost, the fourth consecutive month of declines.

The February drop pushed the national unemployment rate up half a percentage point, from 7.2 per cent in January, Statistics Canada reported Friday. The jobless rate has not been this high since it was eight per cent back in August 2003.

Economists had been expecting February jobs losses to come in around 55,000, and for the overall unemployment to rise to 7.4 per cent.

Good times.