Tuesday, September 29, 2009

End of the House Project

As is so often the case, the anticipation and newness of a project wear off/diminish once the new situation is realized.
This is the case with the new Nordstrom country house.
The "new" is beginning to wear off.
They are becoming comfortable in their new surroundings.

All of the planned painting and cleaning is complete (except one room, planned to be dealt with later).
And, suddenly, it seems, my services are no longer needed (unless the phone rings...).
Which is fine.
I knew this day would come.
I do not feel badly.

I wanted to help Fej and Refinnej as much as I could as they moved into/fixed up their new house.
As I have said, I am very happy for them.
So now, I have did what I kuud.
The time is past (for now) for doing any more.

I feel good about how much I was able to do.
Had I been stronger, I could have done more, or at least, done more sooner (instead of stretching my efforts out over two weeks).

Now it is time to get back to my "normal" schedule.
The down side of the house project was my workouts.
I missed 33% of my workouts last week. (1 out of the planned 3).
THAT bothered me.
But I was trying to balance carefulness with ego/id/hubris.

So ..... this week, I was determined to get back on my program.
And, thus, Monday the planned workout was the Inner parts of the "Inner-Outer" system that I am following.
For me that means tummy, back and chest.
My "core", as has become the current popular vernacular.

And this particular workout included my new (to me) exercise that I love to hate - deadlift. (the first is squats).
I have only been doing deadlifts for about three months.

The deadlift is a very simple, caveman type of exercise.
You load a long bar with about 150 pounds.
Then you lift the bar/weights from the floor to a standing position.
Then you lower the bar/weights to the floor again (or nearly so).
Done. (well, rep one is done)

During the time you are standing - with head up, shoulders back, back straight - your arms are down.
You do not try to lift the weight any higher than waist level or so. (depending on how long your arms are.)
But this simple exercise works almost your entire body.
It works directly or indirectly your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, abs, upper back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest and forearms.
That is pretty much all I own.

Today is Tuesday.
I walked this morning at 5:20 AM.
When I woke up, my hams and glutes were stiff, my upper back was sore, as were my rhomboids (middle center back muscles).
All testimony that I had a productive workout yesterday.
Woo hoo.

Tomorrow is arms and legs.


According to former president Jimmy Carter, I am a racist. (whatever, exactly, that is...)
Since, according to this former (PTL) president, anyone who disagrees with current president Barack Husein Obama is a racist.
Therefore, since I disagree with nearly all of the policies, and philosophies of Barack Husein Obama, according to Mr. Carter, I am a racist (whatever that is...).
I am of the opinion that Mr. Carter is of diminished mental acuity and should be institutionalized for his well-being, as well as that of the nation as a whole.

I am proud of my new status.
I have never been a racist (whatever that is...) before.
So I am pleased to be identified with those who disagree with the current president and his ilk.
I am doing everything I can to prevent the success of his policies.

Looking forward to 1-20-2012.

In God we trust.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Friday Workout...

... was cancelled.
By mee.
I was still tired.
From the workout at Jef n Jen's house on Thursday.
And I was a bit sore from my Wednesday weight workout. (not unexpected from my first workout after a two-week layoff)

It was supposed to be arms and legs again today.
But the idea of doing my planned 120 lunges with 20 pounds in each hand, then going north to the country and doing umpteen more on a chair or ladder while painting or taping, did not appeal to me.
So I wimped out.
I may do the workout tomorrow (Saturday).
Or not.

Wee will see how I feel after todays chair-climbing games.
I do not know how many times I stepped up on and stepped down from the metal chair that was my elevation assisting mechanism today.
But I did a few.

I do NOT like to miss workouts.
Just like I did not (NOT!) like to miss a run, back in the day.
But I am trying to learn how my aging (:( ) body responds to stress. (exercise is a kind of stress)
I am well past trying to impress anyone (if that is/was ever possible) but I do still have an ego (more properly an Id).
Because of this, I feel compelled to keep myself in as good physical condition as possible.
To "impress" me.
This helps my self-esteem.
The problem - if this even is one - is that I physically cannot do as much as I used to.
I get tired sooner than I used to.
That is one reason I stopped running.
I could do the effort but it was literally burning up my muscle mass.
And I was running ever slightly slower.
(I freely admit that one reason I love/loved running was the endorphin rush that lasted for hours after the session. I get a lesser high from a weight workout.)

All of this is not unique to me.
It is common with all older people.
Some just sit down and take up knitting or checkers.
But I feel compelled to fight it kicking and screaming all the way to the casket.
My rocking chair (symbolically) is just a place to rest between workouts.

The new country house is coming along.
Just a couple more closets to paint.
Then the final movage can be done.(some clothes and bedroom furniture is yet to arrive)
The grand babies are in turns, delightful, cute, perplexing, bratty, sweet, funny, loud, silent.

Rachael is my favorite lately. (I think I told you this already)
Mostly because she has blossomed from a shy, quiet little muffin who silently stared at me while clutching her mommy's leg, to this little angel, with long dark hair, big brown eyes, who talks to me freely with this little doll's voice.
I could watch and listen to her all day.

I am delighted for my kids for their pleasant acquisition. (as I have said)

In God we trust.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Computer Date of Up

Let the Royal Chronicles show that a new video card was installated in my loyal computer without incident.

DETAILS (at the risk of TMI)

Up until last night, my computer monitor had been driven by the on-board video processor on my motherboard.
It was good/fast enough for 90 percent of my needs but occasionally I would see behavior that indicated that it could not refresh the screen fast enough.
I am not a gamer, so I don't need the fastest, hottest, super-megagigapeta video processor available.
But I wanted the most video bang for my bucks.

After carefully looking at what kind of slot I have on my motherboard (PCI express x16), I researched the different video cards available.
I wanted an ATI processor, because ATI is owned by Advanced Micro Devices.
I am partial to AMD/ATI because they are not Intel. (my CPU in this computer is an AMD Athlon.)
All of my computers (I have owned three) have had AMD processors.

Intel is the largest pc CPU maker in the world (80+ percent).
I tend to shy away from the biggest companies in certain market areas.
So I don't buy Nike, Coke, Levis, Microsoft, Dell, or Intel stuff.

(One exception to this is Walmart because their food prices are so much lower than those of any other grocery seller.
But I hate that most of their non-food stuff is made in China, so I buy very little other things there.
Unfortunately, almost EVERYTHING is made in China, no matter WHICH store you go to, so it is hard to boycott everyone and buy what you want/need.)
Alas, my video card was "made in China".

(I don't shop at Target because they banned the Salvation Army from ringing bells at their doors during Christmas. I only shop at Kroger rarely when necessary because the president/CEO is a Democrat -but their store is only 2 1/2 miles from my house and they are open 25 hours a day, so it is handy in an emergency.)
My, how I digress...

AND I needed the video card to have an ATI processor that Linux recognizes (it has trouble with some of them).

With research all done, I selected my video card from one of my favorite vendors online.
It arrived yesterday.
I was preoccupied with helping Jef n Jen move into/paint their new house still.
So I spent a couple of hours helping them again.

But when I got home, my plan to install the new card today, dissolved.
I got curious.
So I shut down my trusty computer and opened the hood....

Even when "off" my computer is on at some minimal level so I pulled the plug and put it to sleep for sure.
I took the slot cover off behind the special, high-speed PCIe x16 slot, extracted the new card from its anti-static, Faraday bag, and carefully inserted it into its new, narrow home.
It popped in without incident.
Woo hoo.

I plugged my monitor into the DVI slot with the handy, included VGA/DVI adapter, and held my breath.
I plugged the power cord into the computer again and depressed the power button.
Start up as usual.
I looked anxiously at my dark monitor for signs of workage.

I looked over the English section of my instructions again. (the instructions were written in 16 other languages in addition to English.)
"In order for the new card to work, you must disable the on-board video processor. See manufacturers literature for details."

After some poking around in "manufacturers literature" I found that I had to go into the BIOS and change a setting.
In order to do that I had to plug my monitor back into the VGA socket on the motherboard.
Ah, the familiar opening screen.
DEL gets me into my BIOS.
I find the place I seek, make the change, SAVE and EXIT.
Plug my monitor BACK into the new video card.
Hold breath.
Press START.
The usual startup printing.

The start up went normally (as it should have)
Linux woke up normally.
I went into my system file to see if my kernal actually was seeing my new video card.
Lo and behold, there it was: ATI Radeon HD 3450.
Ta da.
I am very happily.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

House Busyness

[typos corrected]

I extended my planned "week off" from weight lifting to a second week because I was busy every day doing house pilates.
Or it sure felt like it.
I am helping Jef n Jen get moved into their new house.

Bending, twisting, standing, squatting, stepping up on the chair, stepping down from the chair, keeping arms above your head for extended periods, climbing up the ladder, balancing on tiptoe on the ladder, climbing down the ladder - you get the idea.
And there was a little weight lifting thrown in when we moved the washer and dryer, and the antique dresser (very solid real wood), and other smaller things.
Oh, and the mattress.
Most mattresses are big, thick, heavy, floppy things.
They are like trying to move a dead elephant around.
Anyway, I have been busy.
And even though I have only been working half days, I still get tired.
Nap-takin' tired.

But I am enjoying helping my kids.
A new house is a wonderful blessing and theirs is especially so, in my mind, because it is big enough to accommodate all 7 of them.
And then some.
And being around my grandbabies is amusing and fun.
My new favorite is Rachael.
She is three, she told me.
Besides being cute, she talks.
And she has this little doll voice that I could listen to all day long.
Autumn is trying to talk along with the rest of her older siblings but she (to my ear) only manages a presentation of unknown tongues.
Keeping her binky in her mouth while talking does not help.

Yesterday, Monday, I resumed my weight workouts.
It was arm and leg day.
I lifted 75,500+ pounds.
Not bad for the first day back at it.
I am going to try a three-day-per-week system for a few weeks and see how I respond.
The four-per-week plan was productive and I feel like I gained some weight from it, but it was very tiring.
So I am going to dial the load back a notch and see if I can sustain it longer.

This new plan is actually just a modification of an older plan that I developed several years ago.
I call it an "inner-outer" plan.
Legs and arms one workout, chest, back and shoulders the other.
Two alternating workouts.
While I work the same body areas on each alternating workout, I do different exercises for those areas, so I don't get stale.
And, if you are paying attention, you will see that with this 3-per-week plan, I will work arms and legs twice one week and only once the following week, and conversely, I will work chest and back once one week, and twice the following week.
We shall see how I respond to this scrambled pattern.
Stay tuned.

Looking forward to 1-20-2012....

In God we trust.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New House Busyness

Jef n Jennybeans have been trying to get settled in a new house for several months.
Maybe longer than that.
But finally (!) they closed on this house

out in the country north of Huntsville.
It is a nice house in many ways.
It is not the "ideal" house that they had designed originally, but who of us get to do what I did when I had the chance to design a new house from a blank sheet of paper?
But this is a "nice" house.
It is big enough to house all of their darling babies and their various toys and musical instruments.

I have been looking forward to them getting settled in a house that suits their needs and that they feel comfortable in.
So I am happee for them.

Soooooo, even though this week was supposed to be my first week back into my workout schedule after my scheduled week off, I am not doing the exercises I had planned.
I am helping clean and paint the new castle in the boonees with them.
While the efforts I am expending are not those planned, they are sufficient to make me very tired each day.
In addition, I have another tax class this week.
So I must save some of myself for that evening event lest I fall asleep there.

It is fun/interesting to spend some time with my grandchildren.
They each are a unique individual with a singular personality and amusing little mannerisms.
My new favorite is Rachael.
She is about 3 or 4, and a most comely and delightful little person.

I will only have this opportunity to help J n J in this way.
Once they get settled they will not need my help.
So, as BHO says, "America, this is our time; this is our moment"
Thus, I will resume the heavy exercise next week.
And savor the times I can spend with my children and grandbabies.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

And The Doctor Said....

I was born and raised in southern California.
I spent over 20 years there.
I learned early to love the warm, sunny weather.
Especially along the shore of the Pacific Ocean.
I spent minnee Saturdays walking, lying, playing on the hot, tan sand of the SoCal beaches.
Zuma, Malibu, Point Dume.

I was there.

And I still like to spend a little time in the sun.
I said all that to say this....

The price for time in the sun is the aging of one's skin if one is not careful.
And the possibility of skin cancer.

In recent years, my sister and some others have expressed concern about a couple of "spots" on my ears.
So, in response to their repeated expressions of concern (and my curiosity) I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist.
Yesterday was the appointed time, and he made quick work of a full body look-over.

The verdict.
No skin cancer.

There was one small "pre-cancerous" lesion on my left ear.
It was zapped with nitrogen.
Gone. (well, gone in a week or two.)

I am pleased and a little amazed at this result.


The new speakers were introduced to the congregation Sunday morning with little fanfare.
There were a couple of positive comments expressed to me privately.
(the Bishop likes them.)
Other that that, no one said much.
That is a good thing in the world of live audio.
I good sound system should be almost invisible to most people.
It is then left to those few of us with 'golden ears' to assess the clarity, range, and quality of the sound reproduction equipment.
I like them.
That is good enough.

In God we trust.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ta Da (again)

Let the Royal Chronicles show that the new church speakers have been installated and wired.
I spent about four hours yesterday climbing in and out of the church attic finding, cutting, stripping, preparing, and connecting the wires to the new speakers.
It was an educational experience.

The bad news was that I had to go up into the attic.
But I knew that was part of the mission two years ago.
The good news was that there was WAY more space to work in the attic than I expected (I could stand up in the center of the attic, where I had to do most of my work).

Since I used two different wires, that were connected to two different speakers in the "old" system configuration, after I connected them to the new speakers, I had to find which channels on which amplifier (we have two) they were connected to.
The plan was to have each of the new speakers connected to the left and right channel of the SAME amplifier (the monitor speakers are connected to the other amp).
It took a bit of trial and error to figure out which amp connected to which wire.
But I figured it out.
The good news about the amp channel chase was that I could do that in the nice, air-conditioned part of the church building. (on the floor)
No more attic work. :)

Now that the wiring is done, just a few small details remain to be completed (painting the new shelves, installation of safety wires to keep the new speakers from falling out of their new wall-holes, installing some cloth baffle covering to better control sound reflections in the shelf cavities).
These items are not urgent, but I will tend to them in the next week or two.

I am veree pleezed with the progress so far.
And I am glad to have the attic part of it overwith.

In God we trust.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Busy Times

[typo corrected]

I have a good exkyoos for my lack of postage lately.
I have been busy.

In addition to my four-per-week workout schedule, I have finally started on a major project at church.
The church project is the installation of new speakers in the auditorium/sanctuary.
The planned installation location for the new equipment was/is in the front wall on each side of the stage/platform.
Putting the speakers in this location required that we cut a large hole in the wall, build a sturdy shelf behind the hole, set the speaker on the shelf, and cover the hole and speaker with a nice piece of cloth.
Times two.
Two speakers, two holes, two shelves, two cover cloths, etc.

Because this plan required such major surgery on the front wall(s) of the church building, I was reluctant to begin without the Bishop's/pastor's assistance.
He gave the approval many months ago.
And the board of trustees authorized me to purchase the equipment at that time (2007).
But I was timid about banging holes in the church building walls on my own.
I kept waiting for someone with more experience and authority to work with me.
But everyone was too busy or forgot . (until I reminded them, then they forgot again.)
So.... the project dragged on and on with no progress.
Weeks became months and months became years.

Finally, I promised myself that THIS YEAR I would begin and finish this project - on my own, if need be.
Well, it turned out to be if need be.
The other brethren who were willing and good to do the work around the property, were busy repairing the basement after our flood. (a water pipe broke in the basement and flooded the entire room with about three inches of water.)
I helped a little in the basement work but not nearly as much as some of the other men.

Anyway, the speaker project was mine, it seemed.
I am the sound guy, so speakers and such stuff are my area of responsibility (my "place in the body" some might say).
Not complaining here, just stating the facts.

So, after much procrastination, I set a day that I would drive over to the building and begin measuring and cutting.
I started building the "picture frames" for the cloth covers two weeks ago and put the cloth on them last week.
I cut one of the holes in the wall last Thursday and built the shelf Friday.
Due to my advanced age (I guess), I can only work between two to four hours before I become tired (and working on, and going up and down, a step ladder for most of the party is even more tiring).
I knew from past experience that the first part of a multi-part project was always educational and exploratory, thus it took longer than the same group of tasks would take if one had to do them on a regular basis.
The second hole/shelf took about half as long.

So.... yesterday morning I installed the second speaker, hooked their assigned wires to each of them and did a brief sound test.
The first motive was to see if they worked at all. (they had been sealed in their shipping boxes for a year and a half...)
The second motive was to see how they sounded.
The third motive was to see if they provided the desired coverage for the room.

The results of the tests are in.
The new speakers each work.
Woo hoo.
The new speakers (from Carvin) sound MUCH BETTER than the old one (a Bose).
Woo hoo.
The frequency balance and coverage of the new speakers is MUCH BETTER than the old one.
I sat in several locations while a music sample was playing - front corners, rear corners, front center, rear center, middle outsides, center middles, the sound room, etc. - and the sound coverage of all frequencies was even and balanced throughout the room.
Better high frequencies, better low frequencies.
Woo hoo.

All that is left to do is to climb up into the attic and connect the wires from the old speakers to the new speakers.
Hopefully that can be accomplished this week.
I am very excitedly.


April 15 th of 2013 was my last year to work for HR Block. I disliked the corporate pressure to make us call customers to try ...