My current desktop:
The approach is pretty minimalist. Emerge gives you desktop-right-click access to a fully customizeable apps/config menu that includes your Start menu and you have various applets like the clock/program launcher, the usual task tray, and running programs icons along the bottom. These are see through and "click through" except where icons are. I find this very visually appealing and it provides a different computer experience than I get at work.


Thoughts on being busy at work

When you are busy at work it is inevitable for most people that they will begin using more sloppy, short term methods of planning and executing tasks. Examples:
  1. Not planning in a formal system like a todo list manager or using Outlook tasks... this also means that short, medium, and long term planning lists are being ignored
  2. Taking short cuts when executing tasks (software developers know what I mean, here)
I would argue that 1, above, leads to a less organized approach to work and the lack of attention to important tasks that are not considered urgent in the short term; 2, above, leads to defects in the project and creates areas that need to be cleaned up and/or fixed later. In both cases a person is severely comprising long term effectiveness for short term perceived success (meeting an arbitrary deadline is a typical reason to rush but so is being overwhelmed with tasks that are not all prioritized clearly). Because of this it makes sense to stick to a process that leads to tasks lists being maintained correctly and reviewed regularly even during periods of being busy. And really, for most people, aren't we always "busy"? If you are not, and it isn't by choice, you are either doing something right or you have bigger problems.



http://sqlite.phxsoftware.com/ I am thinking of using this for my new http://dev.repulsemonkey.com site (which will mostly be tools). It is a serverless DB but supports SQL queries, etc.


Latest theory

My latest theory on the whole McCain/Palin thing. I think McCain is going to impose a draft by executive order (is this possible?) as one of his first actions in office. He requires someone to run with him that doesn't suspect this (or at least wouldn't oppose it) and is doing ANYTHING he can to get elected. Palin serves nicely in the vp role when considered that way.

Seems scary. Unfortunately, I am often fairly close to the mark when I have these creepy predictions.

According to this article an act of congress is required to reactivate the draft: Selective Service System. Since adult males are required to register, it's not that crazy to restart the draft and US forces are spread thin.



Weight Watchers

I am on weight watchers now and am very excited about losing some weight and having fun while doing it (I guess I love optimizing what I eat based on points, etc). Tonight I discovered activity points. I did a half-hour of hard work on the elliptical with a heart monitor and earned SIX points! That's the equivalent of a basic McDonalds hamburger (stupid choice) or about 4 normal sized apples (say). It is also 6 slices of good bread or a whole wack of popcorn, and so on. Exercise is good. The trick is not to eat up all your activity points. :)



Activity update

Other than mowing my lawn, I haven't really been up to much lately. I really do need to do SOMETHING to get more exercise so I think I will sign up for Badminton again through the city. I think it starts in September.

Knee is still sore (it was killing me last night).

Also, the CPAP machine seems to wake me up after about an hour with the feeling that it is trying to kill me or something. Not really liking it.


Camping in the rain (and how I lost weight)

Our camping trip this weekend was basically a rain-soaked tarp-fest. Just the way I like it. :)

We got there Friday night and set up camp. There were about 9 of us at a few different sites, but 5 of us were ajoining. We stayed dry the first night but that morning it rained, starting around 7AM. Just a light shower.

We flew into action with the tarps and set up a really nice two-tarp tent system over the campfire and food prep area (tarp was high enough that we could have a fire under it, and peaked. The arrangement was a little wonky so we gradually fine-tuned it and removed any places where water would pool, etc. End result was a nice tarp shelter that was roomy and comfortable.

The rain went from light showers to real rain (especially late at night) so by Sunday late afternoon people were fleeing the campground in droves. Not us. :) We did some further work to deal with water and hunkered down. That night the rain was heavy. About as heavy as anything I have sat through in a tent before.

So what does one do on a weekend like this for exercise? Well you can walk in the rain or just sit and visit with fellow campers. I had intended to do a hike that park has attached to it but ended up just visiting, sitting, eating and relaxing. The funny thing is that I came home a few pounds lighter than when I left despite eating like crazy as often as I wanted, spending most of my time sitting, and so on. I am pretty tired despite all the relaxing so maybe I was getting exercise after all?


Mindfulness exercise

The next time you are eating something you enjoy, take the opposing view and decide you really dislike that food. Try and understand how someone else could really dislike something you really like. When you are done, please resume enjoying your food. If you'd like to go one step further, eat something you dislike and try to see why some people really enjoy it.


Exercise Log: weekend update

Yesterday was nice. I got a lot of rest on Saturday morning and then we drove to my uncle's cottage where I got a lot more rest. At some point I took one of the dogs for a 40 minute walk and watched him get covered up to his chest in mod so thick it was slowing him down, he then flopped around in a ditch of stagnant water (I know, I am a bad dog owner) and eventually he got some swimming in in the Bay of Fundy to wash all that mud and slime off.

Today, I am hoping to get some further exercise in but I am not sure when since I have a full day planned. I should get at it.


Exercise Log: Thursday night sucess

Finally. Seriously.

I finally got some exercise time in. I am doing some sweating now... I got a few crunches in (gotta strengthen my abs to take pressure off my back) and easy pushups.

Another highlight: did a bunch of the opening exercises I learned while taking karate a while ago... yeah that felt good. :)

Exercise (not) log: Tues, Wed, Thurs?

Tuesday night I was working on something out of the house and couldn't get exercise in (was wiped when I got home, my cold was back and acting up).

Wednesday: desk, appointments, desk, sitting, bed... Yeah, no exercise. I had a good reason but still no exercise.

Thursday? I sincerely want to exercise tonight. I have an appointment at the bank after work but should have the rest of the evening free to exercise unless something comes up.


Exercise Log: the weekend and Monday

The weekend was interesting... we had house guests the entire time and socializing stuff to do.

On Sunday, I actually got lots of activity in as myself and my financee's father did some work around the yard (insulated a crawlspace under an extension that was never done properly and fixed a big problem with crumbling mortar at the base of our chimney).

It felt good to work outside and it wasn't too hot. No real cardio was involved, though. I really need to get back into the machines in the basement. My diet has been terrible lately as well.

Last night, no sleep...


Last comic standing

I am becoming a huge fan of Last Comic Standing and really, really want Sean Cullen to win. Me rooting for Sean is like the kiss of death but I'm doing it anyway (sorry).

Last night's performance by Papa CJ had it moments but went too far, too fast. I think he was thinking "OK, pull out all the stops, this could is my last chance". He gambled and lost. I thought his routine showed a good understanding of an LA audience's love of edgy/extreme humour and he really engaged the crowd but overall he was a little too crude for people going to the taping of a prime time tv show. So you have to give him kudos for trying, and I think he's got a shot at really making it in stand-up as he gets more experience.

Paul Foot: I think he got nervous and didn't bring his A-game. Too bad because he's REALLY funny.

Iliza Shlesinger: she could easily take this contest... her timing is excellent and she is HILARIOUS... also brings new material quite often and shows a lot of experience.



Exercise Log: Monday night

While I didn't do any formal exercise, last night was not a total write-off... I might have gotten a total of an hour (maybe 45 minutes is more accurate) of walking in over the course of the evening. I also slept for 6 hours continuously (no waking up, nothing) as I did the night before last (note: this is really, really amazing for me).

There was some work I had to do related to a sort of cash for change vending machine type business I am part of so I walked to and from there and also walked the dog after dinner for a bit. Not intense exercise but considering the weather here I did OK (VERY muggy).

Tonight I need to clear out a crawlspace under a house extension at our place so we can insulate... I'll be hauling out a lot of crap and working in terrible conditions so this should count as exercise (lots of heavy stuff under there) as I know my heart rate will be up. I can't wait to return to the treadmill/elliptical/inversion table/pushup regime I had going on but stuff needs to get done around the house and it is good that I am getting some activity each day for now, I guess.

Considering my schedule and lifestyle, the best chance I have at weight loss (and this is for health issues, I really need to figure this out over the next few years) is to control my eating. That is going to take some work. I have made big changes over the last couple of years but I still have lots of bad habits. I am more mindful of them than ever now, though (e.g. being aware of my eating instead of just mindless about it) and that is leading to reduction in the amount and frequency of stupid eating.


Exercise: weekend update

We went camping Friday night so I spent most of my time after work getting ready and setting up camp with my S.O.

The campsite was a nightmare though, so on Saturday we packed up to spend the day with my family at a cottage instead of camping.

I didn't get a ton of real exercise but I did do some walking, gear lugging, tent setting up/tearing down, and we did a ton of housework last night. I feel tired but relaxed after this. Part of the cleaning was supposed to be in the store room where my exercise machines are but we never got to it... I was able to get things to the point where I can get in there an exercise soon, though. Maybe I will be able to get to it tonight, if not then tomorrow night (I think I need to sand our deck tomorrow night so that might be my exercise).


Exercise Log: Thursday night writeoff

Last night was rough. In a lot of pain like my worst days before Celebrex. I realize it can only do so much. As a result I was having a hard time just sitting on the couch let alone exercising. I feel bad for missing a day on DAY 2 but that's life.

The weekend should be interesting and relaxing. Instead of doing badly needed house maintenance tasks we are going camping. I hope to get some walking and swimming in for exercise and also to spend a LOT of time sitting by a campfire. On Sunday we are coming home early and plan to do some chores that day (or at least buy supplies to do chores... I'll see what happens).


Exercise Log: Wednesday mow

I am going to start exercising every day but Friday again and trying to use this blog to keep myself honest... The lawn REALLY needed a mowing last night so that was my exercise. I know it isn't a crazy cardio workout but considering it was around 30 thousand degrees out and it took me over an hour I'd say that will have to do for my workout. Tonight, I am planning on hitting the elliptical. I have to clean up the exercise room again as this period of downtime allowed some boxes to get piled up around the equipment.


Solutions for 47" LCD on desk

I am writing this blog entry because I couldn't turn up anything in a quick google search on this topic and am interested in what others have to say. Maybe they will find this blog and get back to me.

I have a 47" Viewsonic LCD TV (1080p) on my desk and use it as both my work monitor (when I work at home) and as a home theater screen. I don't mind the set up: I am sitting about 1m away from the screen and as long as I keep my back straight and head up I get a pretty good view of the monitor. I have a slouching problem and find having this large monitor in front of me helps keep my posture correct as I don't slouch for the previously stated reason.

My question is I would like a desk that is more user friendly. I am thinking a large dining room table with an integrated keyboard tray (sliding) that runs almost the length of the table (I might want to keep on it, for example, my work notes, a second keyboard for a laptop, etc).

I would also like to maximize the distance between myself and the screen. Another 0.3m would probably do the trick.

Anyway, if you have any unique desk/workstation/home theatre solutions, let me know. I am interested. And, yes, I know this sounds crazy to most people reading this. :)



So, apparently, I also have sleep apnea (65+ s.a. events per hour, according to a test I took). This means I need to wear a mask to bed that provides continuous airflow to my lungs keeping my airways open. I guess the plan is that eventually, this will allow me to sleep enough to feel rested. This in turn will lead to weight loss (if I work at it) and lowered blood pressure. Weight loss and being rested tend to combat sleep apnea so maybe I won't need to use the mask forever.

I do feel well rested but also groggy. Like the feeling you get when you slept too much or are spending a day or so being really lazy and napping all the time (if you suffer from a sleep disorder you'll know what I mean). I take this as a good sign that the machine was working last night, even though it was a little annoying and I took it off a couple times.

Anyway, I will report my progress here.

Re: working out - still not back on a steady workout schedule again but I do try to at least get 30 minutes of walking or other light exercise a day and I've been eating better.



OK, everyone likes chips... everyone. I don't care if you say you don't like chips, we all know you do. Anyway, when you are trying to cut down on sodium nothing really works for chips. They are all pretty salty, even the reduced salt ones.

That is, until last night. Getting groceries after work we discovered that there is a flavour of Kettle Chips called "Unsalted". And they are. And they are delicious.

They are still fattening but at least they aren't salty.

Tired this morning. I haven't been getting my workouts in but I have definitely been sleeping better. Still it's Friday after a week that flew by. Looking forward to the weekend (sort of, we have a busy schedule lined up).


Wednesday night health update

I have about 20 minutes while my desktop workstation reboots so I thought I would do a quick update on health issues and some other stuff.

Last night I went to my first badminton session since taking Celebrex (I missed last week). WHAT a difference! I could run down the shuttle, twist to hit the thing, etc. All with only minor pain/stiffness. I had a really good time and wasn't totally sore afterwards.

This new treatment is letting me sleep much better as well. I am feeling really, really rested even on nights where I only got five hours of sleep (or whatever). I mean I am used to waking up every 20 - 60 minutes in pain and needing get up and walk it off, use the washroom, rearrange the pillow, etc. Now I might get up once or twice to use the washroom. Things aren't 100% perfect but I am very good at handling the type of pain I experience overnight so the little that remains is hardly even worth mentioning.

For a while, I thought the Celebrex had stopped working but it turns out I was just having a couple of bad days in a row. Feeling fine again now since Saturday.

One last thing: I finally got myself a massive flat-screen. It's a thing of beauty. I will be using it for my work monitor soon enough.


Rough night

Just an update re: my entry last night... Yeah, Celebrex might have helped but I still woke up with a crazy set of back spasms... I was yelping in pain when I woke up./ I ended up trying to sleep sitting up on the couch from 3am till 5:30 or so (up at 5:45). All in all, last night kind of sucked although I at least got to watch a few minutes of some show I can't remember before I nodded off (and this happened several times!) so I guess it wasn't all bad. :)

Very tired/sore today. Still not as bad as before Celebrex but definitely not the ultra-relief I was getting used to for the last week. If I continue to not get relief I'll try 400mg instead of the 200mg I am taking now (once a day w. dinner).


Missed Badminton

Something came up tonight and I didn't end up going to Badminton. Kind of missed it as it would have been my first pain-free night (or so I thought, see below) since I started going and I had a lot of excess energy to burn off. But I ended up not going, and don't regret it. I had a wonderful night.

But (always a "but") I have been stiff/in pain, getting worse all day. I took Celebrex at dinner as usual, but it hadn't seemed to kick as late as 9:30. I didn't feel like going to bed at that point and wanted to get some exercise so I hit the elliptical (I had done about a 20 minute walk in the morning but wanted to get some more exercise in, for sure).

Anyway, after about 5 minutes on the elliptical it became clear that my knees were "cracking" on each revolution and it was getting worse and freaking me out. So I jumped on the treadmill and got a good 20 minutes in. My knees seemed fine there.

I worked up quite a sweat and am very relaxed after being wound up all night. My back continues to be sore, though, and my knees are kind of achy.

This is really disappointing as the Celebrex has been working really well lately. I think maybe I overdid it on the weekend. I also didn't sleep deeply last night because I was wearing that sleep apnea diagnostic kit. Oh, well, I still feel much better than before, so that's what I am focusing on. :)


Monday - weekend update

I feel like my life started over this weekend. The Celebrex has made peace with my body. Gone is the racing pulse and upset stomach (for now, anyway). For the first time in a LONG time I was able to be on the go, getting tons of stuff done, for both weekend days and I feel relatively good this morning.

I am tired but it is a normal tired. A "I worked in the yard all day" tired, not a "run over by bus" tired. This is incredible.

Anyway, no need for exercising this weekend, I did a TON of stuff around the house and yard and loved every minute of it.


Celebrex - short honeymoon

Hmm, night two with Celebrex was not so great but not so bad. I took it right after eating instead of right before. We ate around 7pm. Around 9:15 I got back from a one hour walk with the dogs and a friend and my back was doing the usual spasm/ache thing it would after that. Not quite as severe, though.

Sleeping was difficult but much easier than without celebrex. I had a little aching/stiffness and was woken up once by muscle spasms but on the whole it was a walk in the park compared to normal. I also had an upset stomach. I noticed both times I took it that I spent the night running to the washroom (well two or three times). I can live with that if it means mostly pain free sleeping.

The doc said I could go to two capsules if one wasn't working so I think I'll try one again tonight and if it doesn't work I'll try two on Saturday night.


Celebrating Celebrex

Wow, here's to Pfizer...

As much as I have raged against pharmacorps trying to get us all hooked on their junk in the past, I have to say this stuff REALLY works. Or it worked last night, the first time I tried it, anyway.

My rheumatologist prescribed it to me yesterday and I took one with dinner, as suggested. It took an hour or more to kick in but didn't start wearing off till 3 or 4AM and even then I just had a dull back ache and mild stiffness compared to my usual circle of hell level of back spasming insanity. :)

So basically I got a GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP. If you know me this will blow your mind. I was actually so excited at being pain free that I couldn't stay in bed and had to get up and move around the house for a while to calm down. Once I did hit the sack I was comfortable and pain free for the first time in years. What a relief.

I am hoping there are no issues with taking it re: my GI tract and I can keep my blood pressure under control. AND that it keeps working like it did last night. I'll post here with updates.


badminton is OK

I had an appointment with my rheumatologist today. She said the latest xrays confirm I have some type of rheumatoid athritis related to inflammation. This and the sacroilitis diagnosis make sense together. That would explain the extreme pain and stiffness I fought through at Badminton last night; still worth it though. :)

Anyway, now to combat this she has asked me to take Celebrex. I am not sure if it will cause GI tract problems for me (Ibuprofen does) so I have some samples and will get the prescription if this works. I am looking forward to sleeping through the night and REALLY hope this med lets me do that. If not there are other options like biologics.

I asked her if I can continue with badminton as I am really enjoying it (I was worried the impact would cause problems for my joints and spine, etc). She said it is OK but jogging/running are out so I'll keep it to a fast walk on an incline on the treadmill (this is OK, I guess).

Celebrex can raise your blood pressure and I am already on the verge of high b.p. so I need to really cut out sodium. Weight loss will also help with everything (lower b.p., take pressure off inflamed joints, etc). Unfortunately I am the opposite of a hard gainer. I have a LOT of trouble losing weight (I know everyone says this but it really is the case for me and I have a history of weight loss efforts that did succeed but more slowly than you would expect despite extreme calorie control and high exercise levels).

To deal with this I am considering trying a low GI diet... apparently, this should work really well for people who have trouble losing weight and have the same issues as I do (see above). I'll try to track it here so I can be accountable for my diet now in addition to exercise.



OK, for the last few weeks my exercise routine has been disrupted. No excuses. I let fatigue, chronic pain, and a lack of free time impact my commitment to exercise. The fact is the longer I go without regular exercise (more than just day to day walking and house/yard work) the worse the fatigue and pain/stiffness gets so this is really no reason to stop working out. Also, exercise helps energize me which leads to better use of what free time I have.

So I don't have any good excuses.

I did get some exercise in over the last little while but not the regular, daily workouts I had been doing for a while. I managed to get a good workout in last night, though, and think I am back on the plan again. Tonight, badminton.



Another missed night

No exercise last night either except a brief jaunt with the dogs (like 15 minutes). I am playing badminton tonight for 2 hours, though, so that might make up for it.

Tomorrow morning I am going out of town till Saturday on training and my schedule might not permit exercise but I am going to try to just work out in the hotel room, should be no problem, and watch the amount of bad food I eat.


Weekend workouts

After a week of missed workouts I figured "why shape up at this point?"

This week was kind of strange. I missed Thursday night, again due crazy fatigue. I think I have had a bug all week because I have been *ahem* spending a lot of time in the room with all the fixtures, if you know what I mean. Now, for a guy with Crohn's to say this it means he's spending like 7 hours a day in there or something.

I seem to be feeling better now, though... Anyway, Friday night I don't normally exercise (it's my "night off") but decided to because I missed Thursday. I was still feeling tired but got in about 30 minutes split between the treadmill and elliptical plus I did some pushups, dips (a few), and bicep curls and shrugs with the dumbbells.

Saturday I again didn't exercise (I did go see Jill and Matt Barber play in Mt. Uniake, which was awesome) and Sunday (today) my exercise consisted of lots of housework and yard work. Not crazy workouts, to be sure, but considering how I've been feeling lately it was better than nothing and I am feeling better.


Wednesday night - another miss

Continuing the tradition of being too tired to work out on Wednesday nights, I reluctantly abandoned all hope of exercising last night. I was exhausted. I mean bone-tired. Like falling asleep while eating tired. And sore. I think I just needed a quite, relaxing night which is what I got. Tonight will be better.



I just have a second for this. Last night was the first night of a badminton group I signed up for (run by the Recreation department of the city I live in). It was a lot of fun and good exercise. They are 2 hours sessions, very informal. Just find a doubles group that needs someone and rotate in.

That will be my exercise on Tuesdays from now until the class ends (8 weeks, I think).


Monday row

Exercise today was not super intense. I did three sets of ten minutes rowing and despite saying a week or so ago that I was going to work with my body weight I did some dumbell work (paired, standing bicep curls and lots of shrugs with a few tricep pumps to round things out... I just did a few tricep exercises because I have severely overworked them in the past when getting back into weight lifting and paid the price).

So not much to report, just a good day.

I did research the muscles used when rowing on the Concept 2 (or any decent rower).

Weekend workouts

The end of my third week went like this: Saturday I did a lot of running around and by the end of the day I felt like I had done enough walking (walked the dogs for about 30 - 40 minutes in the evening as well), Sunday I did a bit of housework and walked fpr a little under 1.5 hours (to and from a short birthday celebration for my friend's daughter). Lots of light activity although Sunday's walking was brisk, especially on the way there (definitely just above the comfort zone for most of it).

This concludes my third week of exercising every day I can besides Fridays. I have missed a couple days or done a light workout a couple times but overall I am happy with my efforts and will continue them.

I feel better. My back issues are still driving me insane but not as much as before and not as much during the day (nights are slightly better too but still an issue). I feel stronger and feel like I am slimming down (really, I haven't actually lost much weight but that is a secondary goal).

The one thing I have finally learned, I hope, is that staying fit is a life-long thing. I can't just slack off for years at a time (and it is easy to do that). I have to exercise now, and forever. :) And eating well is a big part of that. I don't need to be a health food freak but it is definitely harder to get a workout in with a belly full of greasy, salty, low-nutrition food.


Thursday workout

Quick post as I need to get back to work.

I did manage a workout last night but it sucked. I got in a little over 15 minutes of rowing on the concept2 and some push-up and easy dips. The highlight was that the push-ups were horizontal on the floor. Until last night I hadn't been able to do "real" push-ups without severe back and shoulder blade pain so the strengthening is already working. I have also been sleeping better although I still resort to the recliner when I get too sore in bed. Still better than roaming the house all hours of the night in search of relief and being exhausted all the time.


Wednesday - not a washout

OK, I didn't work out yesterday. It was pretty late when I finished work and I wanted to go to bed early. A workout didn't fit.

I was also celebrating the fact that I asked for my girlfriend's hand in marrige and she accepted! So now I am a fiance. That was a good reason to do something other than work out. :)



Wow, Monday was a write off... my back spasmed from Sunday night till I went to bed Monday night. Wasn't easy to deal with. Exercise was out of the question (besides, I was on the go till like 8pm).

Despite the insane back issues I slept well although I had to get up at 5AM. My day just ended with a workout (it is 9PM here, almost). Yeah, long day. But the workout felt good. I didn't want to let another day go by without one.

Did some push-ups, 30 minutes on the elliptical (first time I completed a 30 min program since I started exercising again!), and some time on the inversion table hanging upside down. I got in two sets of 5 crunches.

It still feels funny to do crunches on the inversion table (you'll only know what I mean if you try it... your gut seems to flex the WRONG way).

Anyway, I got my workout in although I am shy of a full 45 minutes. Time to watch The Biggest Loser. :)


Sunday was a long day

Activity log for Sunday:

  • 7:30 - 8:30 - clean kitchen, do dishes, take out green bin stuff, leave to get friend
  • 8:30 - 12:30 - ate breakfast at home, began and completed bottling of two batches of beer with friend (~120 bottles worth) (bottling involves lots of bend, stopping, leaning, etc.); drove friend home
  • 12:30 - 14:45 - ate reheated lasagna for lunch (delicious!), showered drove to grocery store and did full grocery run, spent time reading outside
  • got home, took groceries in, helped put them away
  • 14:45 - 16:30 - walked the dogs with a friend (longer walk than normal) for about an hour in total
  • 16:30 - 22:00 - helped make and ate dinner, napped on couch for about an hour, sat on couch for a couple hours using laptop and generally being uncomfortable while my back gets worse and worse (this was really the first time today I was off my feet for a significant amount of time)

I feel like I did enough today that a workout is not necessary. So after all this activity I should be surprised my back is sore? I have to remember that while working out makes me feel good most of the time, I still have various problems that can't be fixed with it and those problems are still going to xxx my back up whenever they feel like it. Exercise is really important but it isn't a cure. I think I'll keep at it, though.


Saturday workout

Stepping it up to 45 minutes/day. I got in 15 on the treadmill, 20 on the elliptical, and 12.5 on the rower... Going to do a set of push-ups now and I did some pull-ups under the treadmill before I got started. I also do arm circles for minutes at a time when working the treadmill at low intensities (if you've never done these just circle your arms while they are extended and keep doing it for several minutes reversing direction every so often --- feel the burn).

I had to stop the treadmill before the 15 minute mark as I was getting the pain in the hip joint feeling again (I will stop when this happens and I am hoping that will take a little longer each time).

The rower is good as it seems to be a full body workout including some back mobility and ab conditioning.


Thursday night - had to get it done

Just have a second to blog this...

I didn't get much exercise Wednesday night. Last night I ate a massive meal and drank a few beers (long story, had to be done) so I NEEDED to workout.

Doing 40 minutes on the treadmill and elliptical after drinking a litre or so of homebrewed English Bitter and a Corona is not pretty, especially when you felt like I did (I am talking exhausted). I put my head down and got it done, though. Felt great afterward and slept well. Good think I don't need to drive to a gym to get a workout in . :)


Wednesday night - another miss

Fatigue and soreness got the better of me last night. I just didn't have a workout in me. I'd like to say I did some Yoga or something but all I did was take one of my dogs for a really nice, leisurely walk (about 30 minutes). The way I look at it, at least I did something active for myself and the dog. Better than nothing. I got lots of rest last night as well and am looking forward to tonight's workout.


Tuesday night row

I tried to do 40 minutes on the rowing machine (I have a Concept 2). Didn't really make it. I need to work up to that. I did get about 25 minutes in over the course of 30 minutes. I did some (many, for me) push-ups and tried a few crunches (they are still hard because of my back but I'll get there). I also tried a few lunges but the area of my leg (where groin meets thigh) that was aching on the rowing machine didn't like lunges either. I am really tired (long day) and feel like I did enough tonight so I am going to cut this workout off without getting a full 40 minutes. Life goes on. :)

Two weeks in

I am two weeks into my new "Exercise every day but Friday" habit-forming adventure. So far I missed one day (a Saturday) but figured that was justifiable because I was 100% on the go (including lots of walking) all day and was exhausted (I have Crohn's which can be tiring but anyone would have been tired after that day).

They say it takes three weeks to really form a habit so I am really trying to not miss a day until that point (and even then I better have a really good excuse).

Here are some general observations:

  • No one is as active as they think (except athletes).
  • Exercising "enough" is only possible if you want to do it and it is easy to do it. I have chosen to exercise at home (I have machines for cardio and focusing on using my own body weight for strength training) so that I have no excuse not to do it. If it is 10pm and I haven't worked out (this came up last week) I can still hit the basement and get it done.
  • Starting a workout is easier than thinking about a workout. Just DO IT! If I am tired, I let myself off the hook by saying "just do what you can, give it 10 minutes". Something is better than nothing. I usually end up finishing the workout.
  • I am not focusing on eating much. I am always trying to clean up my diet but it is important to not change too much at once. I am more interested in fitness, the weight loss will come with the increased activity, the diet will improve as I seek to get fitter.
  • If you have arthritis or Crohns exercise MAY help. It has definitely been helpnig me... I am sleeping better, have more energy, and less pain (in general). I did have a really rough night after walking for over an hour the other day but this is to be expected with Sacroiliitis (my latest diagnosis for why my back and everything else hurts).
  • Let's see if I can keep this up for one more week and then I'll be in habit-formed territory. Seeing a 7lbs. weight loss on the scale this morning compared to when I started is a big incentive (I know this can be deceptive).

Finally, I just want to say that if you have been in shape but are out of shape, just get moving and get back in shape! I feels really good and your body will remember all your moves! :) Even if you have health problems, you can do something. Talk to your doctor and see what is safe. Sure, I am in pain after workouts but I am in pain after I set in an easy chair for 20 minutes too! Which option do you think will lessen the severity and frequency of pain in the long run?


Monday Night - tired

Tonight's workout was a challenge. I didn't get around to it until around 9pm after a long day and very little sleep (lots of back pain) the night before.

I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 20 on the treadmill. I kept my speed low on the treadmill (back hurts when I jog today) but did 12% for two minutes and reduced by 2% every 2 minutes through the workout (when I hit 0, I would push back to 12%).

Did some time on the inversion table. That thing is amazing. You have to work your way up to it, though. You can't just jump on and hang upside down with your heart pounding from the workout and stay there very long. You get more used to it over time.

Do an ab workout on an inversion table also takes some getting used to. I haven't done a real core workout for a LONG time. So it would be nuts to just start firing off reps even if I could (I have done it in the past and suffered for it). I'll work my way up slowly with a very small range of motion. It won't take long to be doing real crunches (raising hands to knees).

Sunday workout - walking the dog, pushups

Weekends are a time to relax and spend time with friends and family but you have to get some exercise too. On Sunday a friend and I walked the dogs for a little over an hour. That left me needing to fill in about 10 minutes of exercise since I discount walking as 50% for time and am working on 40 min per day as my new plan now.

To make up the time I did some stretching and some pushups. I am not ready to do normal push-ups in quantity yet so I use the stairs.

Placing my hands on the 4th stair or so I do 10 very slow reps (forehead to the stair above my hands). After 10, I move down to the next stair without leaving pushup position and do 5 more, then then next stair and do 5 more. My goal is 10 reps on each stair, 5 times. Eventually I will be able to 150 push-ups in the normal position and when that gets too easy I'll leave my hands on the ground but position my feet on the stairs and work them up through reps.


Saturday workout - shovel snow, Daniel-san

I took Friday night off, as per my plan.

This morning I did some light snow shoveling and played with the dog (requires lots of bending down to get his fetch toy and throw it, and he will do that ALL day). I was working for about 30 minutes, so I will credit myself at 50% with 15 minutes of exercise, leaving me with 25 to go (moving up to a 40 minute workout today).

I plan to do some cardio but have to do some cleaning first. :)

Meditation is improving. I find I get into it a little more rapidly these days and enjoy sitting for longer each time .


Headboard installing IS exercise

Last night my workout was a 20 - 30 minute dog walk and then, after dinner, we attached our new MDF (heavy) headboard to the bed frame. It's king sized and there's JUST enough room to turn our bed around in place so there were lots of adjustments, mattress shifting/moving, lugging of tools, etc.

I am one of those people who would LIKE to be handy but really needs to work at it. I have (mostly) the right tools but lack experience. This means everything takes longer.

Anyway, with my arthritis (or whatever it is) I was really feeling all the bending, lifting, reaching, etc. But in the end it was worth it. The headboard looks great and I was active last night (and sore today). :)


Got it done

I managed to get a workout in tonight. I really didn't want to miss two days in a row. I spent the day having back spasms so I am exhausted now and was when I started. I feel better than when I started the workout, though. :)

Time to meditate for a while.

Tuesday was a miss

Tuesday night wasn't a workout night. I wanted to all day and finally got around to it just before 9pm. I went to move the latest Democracy Now to my mp3 player and it wouldn't connect. Hmm, low batt... No, new AAA and no charged rechargeables. I searched the house for a good AAA that wasn't in some more important use (god forbid I disable a remote control) and put my rechargeables on the charger. The universe didn't want me to work out, I guess.

OK, the batteries were an excuse. I was just really tired and had a long day. Tonight will be better. Bring on the cardio! I am just worried every day I let it go, it is easier to let it go the next time. I am comforting myself with the fact that I did a lot of walking, some lifting, and a physio session that day (and had xrays, bought hardware to attach a headboard to a bed frame, worked, and so on).


Monday night

Got a good workout in tonight. Did some pull ups using the crossbar on the treadmill... working my up to a chin up bar, maybe. Used the inversion table again and it felt good... just stayed on for a minute or so (seeing if this helps/hurts and gradually phasing it in).


Easter Exermacise

So I missed a day. I normally take Friday off (or at least it will be "normally" once I have maintained this for a while but I want to workout on weekends (maybe more so). But I missed Saturday. I basically was out the door soon after waking and breakfasting (and cleaning the kitchen) and was on the go visiting and running errands till 10:30 at which point I was exhausted...

When I got home I was really too tired to hit the machines. I should have done it anyway but bailed. I DID walk for about an hour or more throughout the day but it was no cardio workout.

Highlights of today:

  • Stepped it up to 35 minutes (adding 5 more minutes a week till I hit 1 hour).
  • Did 20 min on the treadmill (jogging at 3.4 when I could and walking the rest of the time) and 15 minutes on the elliptical on some program I can only follow for about 8 minute before it out does me (I just keep going at the best pace I can).
  • Did some push-ups on my usual square but moved down to the next one for the last 5.
  • Set up my old inversion table and got upside-down till it started to hurt (or was it a stretch?). I am just about to research if that thing is good for me or not (sounds like it should be). If it is I will start doing crunches on it.
  • Been working on the exercises I got at Physio last week, one of which is a cat stretch (yoga thing) that feels really good after the cardio.

One more thing: looking into getting a chin-up bar with the goal of being able to do one well-formed, non-rushed chin up by my birthday (June 22).


Another boring exercise blog

I am just making these entries to motivate me to exercise every day (I guess recording it publically motivates me, not sure why).

Last night, despite the pouring rain (it wasn't that cold) I went out for a walk with a friend and our two dogs... The dogs loved it. I would like the walks to be longer (like an hour) if I am replacing cardio but last night was rainy and windy, I was tired, and it was better than nothing.

I am taking Fridays off so tonight, no work out. Resuming on Saturday.


Another workout

Got another workout in tonight still only 15 min each on the treadmill and elliptical. Also did 30 push-ups in a row. Used to be able to do way more but it's a start.


Yesterday I went to see a rheumatologist for the first time. She advised me that I probably have Mechanical (Osteo) Arthritis along with Crohn's.

In addition to some more xrays and CAT scans of my spine, she recommended Calcium and vitamin D as well as Physio (already made an appointment).

I also learned through my own research (actually, I already knew this) that the best thing I can do for myself right now is lose some weight. So last night I portion controlled my meal and hit the treadmill and elliptical for 30 minutes then did some push-ups on the stairs (normal ones still hurt too much--- I used to be able to sets of 20 to 40 until the cows came home). I was uncomfortable the entire time but such is life (most people are when they start exercising).

My goal is to get 60 minutes of exercise a day. Starting out at 30. I will include walking the dog, yard work, etc. as exercises at first (can use half my time for that so I don't get lazy about cardio and strength training) but eventually I want 60 minutes of straight gym-type activity. My goal is to be able to jog with my dog at some point (the impact of running kills me right now because all my joints and back ache like crazy) and definitely to be surfing even occasionally by August/September (I mean paddling out and catching waves, not just the half-assed attempts I've been making since the pain really started coming on).

Anyway, time to get to work.


Productivity System

Just wanted to blog some major points about my personal productivity system in under 5 minutes before I start work. Note: you may see GTD-like terms but my system is not really strict GTD, I have just borrowed some good ideas:

  • For a PDA, I use a Timex Datalink USB watch and some software I wrote to convert my Google calendar to appointments I can load into the watch. It is mostly "read only" during the day but works fine for me. I can see my schedule and contacts; I can get reminders and alarms; and if I don't have paper and pen on me I can take notes (text entry is really not that bad on it for small notes).

  • Ubiquitous capture: I normally carry some 3x5, unlined index cards around in a snack-size ziploc (just fits) and also carry a pen (both in my pants pocket normally). At the end of the day or week or whatever I "process" them. I will often keep grocery lists, important todo checklists, etc. on there as well and occasionally will leave them on my computer desk or laptop keyboard as a reminders.

  • I use a coil bound Blue Line for meeting note capture and a scratch pad. I normally transfer everything on the page that is required into an email to myself or some type of document for later use and cross off items so transferred so I know I have them captured elsewhere. For scratch pad notes (e.g. phone numbers, etc) I do the same or just turn the page and start fresh when a page is full or I need to go to a meeting.

  • Calendar: I use Google calendar all the time and download Ical backups as part of my watch calendar updating software (see above). I normally set email reminders for important meetings and get an agenda in my inbox as well.

  • Inbox on desk: I normally work at home so I have a separate inbox for home and work. This is basically a cheap, dollar store, tiered system consisting of three levels. Level 1 (top) - my personal inbox for all bills, notes, documents, etc. Level 2 - Personal "hot file" area. I keep any ongoing stuff (e.g. quotes for work around the house) in files here as well as dropping in processed documents that need to be filed... I normally file as soon as something is done but late at night the file drawer makes one of our dogs yap (no idea why) so I tend to to throw things into the Level 2 tray and file en masse. Level 3 - "hot file" for work... I keep a client file I am using in there with the current document (a report, standards doc, todo list) binder clipped to the front of the file.

  • Long term file storage for all files is done in filing cabinet, one for work and one for personal. I currently don't have a work filing cabinet as I am using some file dossiers but need a filing cabinet soon. I just don't generate much paper for work as I am a software developer and prefer to work on the screen when I can.

  • Finally, I use TODO List (http://www.abstractspoon.com) to manage client info, long term todo lists, packing lists (e.g. for trips), and so forth. Everything yuou can imagine goes into this system. I am gradually trying to get to the point where I use it for everything but have some issues around printing off info from it and so on.

That's about it. One day I will look back on this and laugh just as you are laughing (mockingly) now. :)


reality/game show idea

People will send in an audition tape to the producers of themselves
speaking in a fake accent... the selected entrants will then have to
perform various tasks (like opening a bank account, asking for help in
a store, participating in a book club) while using this fake accent
and while wearing a hidden video camera... the person who can go the
longest without being found out or confessing what is going on (it is
ok to laugh like crazy as long as you stay in character) advances to
the next show. They are paid in proportion to the amount of time they
can keep it up. Producers would screen out professionals and focus on
people with crazy accents.

Short post

OK, I am on the job here so just a quick post... I made it through Christmas and New Years without suffering major issues due to Crohn's. I think the snow shoveling has helped (light exercise on a regular basis).

I have a lot on the go right now but am sure things will ease up soon and I can once again take a couple hours here and there to relax and enjoy life...

The Bhutto assasination really got to me as I think it is all too easy to see the unseen hand of U.S. backed and funded government of Pakistan here acting through its secret service (who, incidentally, seems to be in bed with A.Q.). It'd be nice to see the US really try to encourage Pakistan to have democratic elections and maybe do more to ensure their funding isn't entirely spent on military stuff but, unfortunately, the US has no real interest in that beyond playing lip service to it as an ideal.

Wish I had more time.