Dec 4, 2012 - Exercise    No Comments

Day Two of Weightlifting

I went back today. I was sore in my upper body after last time, and I suspect I will be again after today! I think I’m going to focus on my upper body for the next few weeks, because I’m quite embarrassed about how weak I am!!!

12/4/2012 Starting Weight 350
All sets of 10 reps unless otherwise noted
Leg Press 320 340 360
Vertical Press 80 85 80×5
Compound Row 110 120 125
Lat Pulldown 80 95 115×5
Preacher Curl 50 50×9
Overhead Press 50 50 50
Nov 30, 2012 - Exercise    No Comments

Day One of weight lifting

I bought a membership to The MAC sometime in January. I went once in February. And then nothing, until November. I decided I better use it, since I’m paying $30+/month for it. Today I drove to the 24-hour location in Fairfax, figuring there would be nobody there, and I was right. As I’m starting out I don’t want everyone to see the big fat guy working out bench pressing 10 lbs. They have some really cool looking machines there.

I’m going to be posting the results of my lifting as a way to record them somewhere so I can see the progress I’m making, along with the secondary benefit of making this public hoping it will hold me more accountable.

11/30/2012 Starting Weight 350
All sets of 10 reps unless otherwise noted
Leg Press 300 320 340
Leg Extension 80 80 80
Seated Leg Curl 80 80 80
Vertical Press 80 80 65×5
Lat Pulldown 80 95 110
Compound Row 125 125×6

Its incredible to see how remarkably weak my upper body is. I plan on mixing up the routine slightly every time I go in for the next month or so.

Apr 10, 2012 - Awesome Stuff    1 Comment

Somebody That I Used To Know

Have you heard “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye? If you listen to popular radio you have. I’ve recently become addicted to this song. I heard it for the first time a few days ago, when I cut into the chorus I thought “Does Sting have a new song?” Seriously, dude sounds kinda like that Sting guy.  I’ve been so hooked to this song; I can’t get it out of my head and I’ve probably contributed at least 10,000 of his 147 MILLION YouTube hits. The vocals are amazing, haunting almost. And the music is interesting; do I catch some xylophone in there?

For those who haven’t heard this song, on its most obvious level its a song about a failed relationship. Of course, in many broken relationships there are two sides to the story…

Gotye’s version of the story

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over

And then the chorus

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

And now Kimbra’s side of the story

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
Part of me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

This is some powerful stuff. I’m sure almost everyone that I (currently) know has experienced one side or the other of the end-of-the-relationship spectrum. Heartbreak is a universal feeling and the artists capture this emotion authentically; I can almost feel it inside me as though I am one of the characters in the song.

The visual effects in the video are interesting, though I’ll admit I don’t get it. But then again, I’ve never been that bright. All I know there is a LOT of body paint and the artists must be very patient people to have endured this for the video shoot.

This song is probably already one of my favorite songs ever and is definitely worth a listen or twelve!

Dec 28, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

What I hate about primary season…

OK, besides all the commercials that constantly bombard us, here is what I hate about primary season. This year you have all these GOP candidates (and other years also Democrats) speaking negatively about their opponents. “Romney isn’t a true conservative” or “Paul is an anti-Semite” or whatever. What happens when somebody wins the nomination? If this former candidate now endorses the nominee, how credible is that? “Oh back last week I said Romney wasn’t conservative enough, but now I support him as our party’s candidate”. Jussayin.

Dec 18, 2011 - Products, Reviews    1 Comment

GoGroove Panda Pal Speaker

So I’ve been looking around for external speakers for a Kindle Fire, in anticipation of receiving such a device for Christmas. I came across this speaker on Amazon. It looked so cute! The reviews were good, and for about $20 seemed like a pretty good deal.

It arrived yesterday. I opened it up and was surprised to see how small it was, about the size of a small orange. There isn’t a lot in the box: the speaker, a mini-USB cable, and a picture of a panda you can color… you know, if you have kids. On the bottom of the device there is an on/off switch, and a door for 3 AAA batteries (not included, optional). The 3.5mm headphone jack has a short cord that wraps around the panda when not in use. On the back is a mini-USB port, which you connect to the USB port on your computer for power if you so desire.

Using this product is easy, you provide power either through the batteries or the USB cable, and plug in the headphone jack into the appropriate location on your device. I did not have batteries so I did not test this feature; I have no idea how long batteries would power this. I plugged into the USB port on the computer and tested this speaker with both my Android powered phone, as well as my laptop computer.

I must say I was impressed. This is a tiny speaker but the sound is good for what you get. Serious audiophiles need not apply, but a serious audiophile I am not. The sound output through this from both my phone and my computer were significantly improved. I tested first on the phone using the default Music application playing “The Most Beautiful Girl In The Room” by Flight of the Conchords, then on my laptop, playing a variety of songs from my iTunes library, as well as selected scenes from the movie Moulin Rouge! The big criticisms I have from both my phone and laptop speakers is the low volume and lack of bass. This works.

If I had any criticisms to this product it would be the following: the cord is too short, limiting how far away the speaker can be placed from the source, and it isn’t rechargeable. To be fair, before I ordered this rechargeable wasn’t anything I was concerned about, but I came across another speaker on Amazon that IS rechargeable and in hindsight this would be a great feature. For anyone looking for an affordable solution to portable sound, I would recommend this.

Dec 15, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Being a nurse (is really awesome)

The NCLEX-RN exam, as I have told many people, is the only exam that made me cry before, during (yes, DURING), and after taking it. I took and passed the boards a year ago today, and I’m using this anniversary to reflect upon my experiences over the past year and being a nurse in general.

I feel very grateful that I was able to finish nursing school and pass this exam. There isn’t a single day that has gone by in the last year that I haven’t thanked God for where I am now, and for the people who have been in my life to allow everything to fall into their places the way they did. My job is challenging, but at the end of the day, despite  the occasional complaining, I have a feeling of satisfaction. I feel like I’m doing something real and important and useful in my life and in the lives of others. These feelings exist even when it seems the patients aren’t receptive to change; at least I can say I tried.

I am grateful to have a real job career. I have a job where I started accruing paid leave from my very first day. Paid leave! I have health insurance. I have a 401(k). I make significantly more than the minimum wage (or less, think cab driving days) that I’d been accustomed to over the past dozen+ years. These were foreign concepts to me before.

I hear complaints that nurses don’t make enough. Yes, we work hard, and maybe should make more, but I’ve made twice as much this year as I have any other year in my life. Its hard for me to argue that I am not compensated fairly. Complaining would make me an ingrate.

I have made a number of very good friends both in nursing school and since landing this sweet job. One such friend is Rhonda (the name has been changed to protect the guilty), who asked for a shout-out while I was writing this. Of course I’ve made friends in any job I’ve ever had but for some reason I’ve always felt that the connections I’ve made with my peers in nursing have been on a deeper level than other jobs I’ve had. I remember talking with my friend Josh about this a few years ago while I was still in school. I honestly can’t put into words the exact feeling. Perhaps its has something to do with the fact that oftentimes we are dealing with potentially life-or-death situations, as opposed to trying to make sure our customers are getting their soft shell taco supremes in sixty seconds or less, that bonds us in a different way. Or perhaps this is something I’ve created in my head and is merely a figment of my imagination.

I hope I can remain healthy enough (both physically and mentally) to do what I’m doing for a long time. Being a nurse is awesome, really awesome.

Sep 11, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

10 years later…

Here we are, September 11, 2011, 10 years after our nation suffered the most devastating attack of terrorism in our nation’s history. I lay here in bed, after having worked last evening and being due back at work in a few short hours, and while I am mentally and physically exhausted, I cannot sleep. My mind is filled with racing thoughts, remembering what happened on that Tuesday morning. I’m sure almost every single one of us remembers what happened that day in great detail. Who could forget? I remember the events of that morning quite well.

At the time I was living in Muscatine. I was the manager of the local movie theatre and we had a meeting in Des Moines that day for all the managers. My plan was to leave several hours earlier than I needed to so I had time to stop at the casino in Tama and win some money. As I was getting ready I got a call from one of my employees, Junior, asking if I had heard the news about some plane crashing into some building in New York. I turned on the news and watched. There was a lot of info that we just didn’t know at that point, and there was a lot of speculation regarding what had just happened. Until the second plane hit. At that moment I realized, nay, we all realized, the nature of what had occurred. We were under attack. WE WERE UNDER ATTACK. This was no accident. This was a deliberate act perpetrated by men who wished to hurt us, to damage our collective psyche.

And damage us they did, at least for a while. Personally, I cannot see an airplane up close and not immediately be overcome with anxiety. As time passes the feelings gradually become less intense, but the effects still linger with me. For quite a while after the attacks I worried about the possibilities of more horrors happening. I know I’m not the only one. Just last evening at work a coworker mentioned how she felt nervous that something might happen today, the anniversary of the attacks. And we live in Iowa. I know nothing will happen to us in Iowa.

Imagine how those who experienced person loss that day feel today. Those who lost family members or friends that day. Or those who were there and survived. I feel for those individuals, who have suffered so much because of the events of that day.

I feel grateful that the person behind this, Osama bin Laden, has been eliminated. Yet I did not celebrate his death. How tragic that many rejoiced upon hearing the news of his demise. However, symbolic as it may be, bin Laden’s death  has provided some amount of closure to a painful situation. Yes, I just said bin Laden’s death was symbolic, and I’m sure you’ll agree, for who among us truly feels as if the threat against America has vanished? But like I said, I’m glad he is gone. The United States made a promise to find him, as a matter of justice, to the thousands of people who perished on 9/11, and find him we did.

Every year on the anniversary of the attacks we hear the familiar refrains, something along the likes of “Never Forget” or “Always Remember”. I am positive on this milestone anniversary, 10 years, we’ll hear more of it. And I hope that it is something that we mean, and not just something to say to sound as if we care, for this is one of the most significant events to happen in the lifetimes of people my age. We must never forget what happened and honor those who died.

Sep 2, 2011 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

Uncategorized Posts

Well I’m going through my blog and I’m trying to categorize all my uncategorized posts, and I’m wondering why I’m wasting my time doing this.

Sep 2, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Revising History

I’m generally not a fan of revising history, but as I look through my blog here at some of the things I’ve written over the years I find it necessary to do just that. Some things are private and at one point in my life didn’t mind sharing with everyone, but now because of my job or my family situation I don’t feel they are appropriate to be made public. Others have to do with my marriage to Kate, and although we get along and I wish her nothing but the best, didn’t feel that it was appropriate to still have posted online.

Dec 31, 2010 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Goodbye 2010

So 2010 has been quite a year for me. I’ve been really busy with work and studying and such and haven’t done a very good job of keeping up on anything. Lots of stuff happened in 2010, and now it’s over. I’m looking forward to having a great year in 2011.