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The Worship of Questions
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Date:2009-09-01 23:35
Subject:nature 99, nurture 0

The researchers are perfectly comfortable with, and don't mention any suggested conclusions to be drawn from, the fact that they observe variable degrees of self-control and guilt in children as young as age two, and that the variation doesn't show any correlation with parenting methods or styles.

They observe it, and five seconds later you'll see them hemming and hawing over the role parenting plays in teaching morality.

Err, perhaps I still overestimate them; more likely those are the more conscientious and intelligent ones. Probably the majority of people have all the observations available to them: children's innate sense of responsibility, and innate norms that actually match ethical individualism: not to use others as means to your ends. But people also have their innate bias towards exaggerating control, and optimistic exaggeration of control over their offsprings' characters and thus lives, so they can obseve the innate morality and then boldly contradict their observations two seconds later.

The article is short, the description of the observations is fascinating: Guilt is a dropping feeling in the tummy.

Guilt and Atonement on the Path to Adulthood, The New York Times,

“Even if you don’t have that sinking feeling in the tummy, you can still suppress impulses,” Dr. Kochanska said. “You can stop and remember what your parents told you. You can stop and reflect on the consequences for others and yourself.”

But what if your child lacks both self-control and guilt? What can you do? And should you feel guilty for doing a lousy job of parenting?

Well, you could blame yourself, although researchers haven’t been able to link any particular pattern of parenting to children’s levels of guilt, says June Tangney, a psychologist at George Mason University. But Dr. Tangney, who has studied guilt extensively in both children and adults, including prison inmates, does have some advice for parents. (To offer your thoughts on parents and guilt, go to nytimes.com/tierneylab.)

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Date:2009-08-30 18:12
Subject:make sushi

A few days ago Natasha told me that she'd been reading about how to make sushi and she felt we should do it. I, smarter than escargot, said 'Sure!'

I had this internal un-critically-examined model of what is involved in making sushi. 99% of the task is about how to select and slice up the raw fish. The rest is, well, I already said - 1% of the job.

So we found what looked exactly identical to a RANCH 99 market in downtown Phoenix yesterday, and we bought a hefty king filet of salmon, which the fishmonger assured me was sushi grade. Natasha, being the one who did all this profound research which I believed must be robust in arcane detail, executed the task like this: "Ok Kirez, go find and buy some fish. Make sure it's sushi grade and can be eaten raw!" (I wonder if the pharaohs assembled 100,000 slaves and said, "Ok. Build pyramids!", because I'll spoil the story here, it ends up working just fine.)

We also bought Mischka some massive brontosaurus-looking femur bones coated with rich red bits and full of marrow. The two bones weighed 7.4 pounds. Freaking awesome!

I'm eager to see Natasha's insights into the slicing of the sushi. She's very excited about the preparations. We've bought nori (seaweed for the rolls, which she had me select), chopsticks (these have been lacking in my life the last year), wasabi, soy sauce, and the bamboo mats for making the rolls. Also, rice vinegar and rice. We bought clams as well but those weren't for the sushi.

She remains excited and throws herself into the sushi preparation. As I said, I had naively believed that 99% of the challenge is in selecting and slicing the fish, but I totally ignroant had already selected the fish.

She covers the bamboo rollers in plastic. I make the wasabi using a powder and adding equal parts water, which I'm surprised to learn is a BETTER wasabi, and less expensive, and which will last near indefinitely and allow you to make exactly the amount of wasabi you want, at any time. Also, making wasabi this way is like cutting onions but harder on the eyes!

Then Tash says to me, "Okay, cut the fish!" She didn't know anything about this internal model I had about What Constitutes The Massive Skill Set And Learning Curve Of Making Sushi, so she issues this command with zero sense of self-consciousness. I'm alone in my amusement.

So I got out my favorite knife, which is, contrary to all rational expectation, the bread knife --- very long, very slender, and very sharp, thank you Cutco. And Tash dictated to me the sizes of the pieces she wanted, and I cut them. (how high do you want these pyramids, pharaoh? Pharaoh points at the sky. Oh, ok.)

She assembled the rolls: vanilla-American flavor, with cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, salmon, rice, the nori. I grabbed the camera and took a few photos. The dog sat loyally and watchfully at our feet, and of course she got some sushi too.

Just uploaded photos via email to Facebook, behind the cut.
8 +/- n photosCollapse )

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Date:2009-08-16 14:25
Subject:Slumdog Millionaire

I didn't expect to like this movie, which made my experience all the brighter.
* * *

Slumdog Millionaire achieves a remarkable effect with an imperceptibly light touch: a bright, life-affirming sense of life, in an ugly, gritty world and amidst the harrowing conflicts the protagonist confronts. There is serious ugliness in the movie, but the overall atmosphere achieves lightness and love within the gravity and suspense. Perhaps similar can be said of Life Is Beautiful and Amelie.

But that's starting soft on Slumdog's virtues!

The movie is a character-based movie, so it stands or falls on the strength of Jamil's character. But Slumdog doesn't muddy the waters -- its theme is starkly simple: the success of a boy, innocent and benevolent, who is unswervingly and indomitably persistent.

The story is entirely foreshadowed in his early characterization: in a world of ugliness, and cornered and abused by the evil people around him, he gets locked in an outhouse right at the moment he desperately wants to be free. What does he do? Nevermind how disgusting the world around him is! He jumps straight into the shit and fights on, and comes out triumphant. How does the world respond? It immediately punishes him again. And yet, he persists; we see his lack of anger and vindictiveness -- and again he succeeds.

What kind of emotions does his world evoke in us? How dark is it? We see his evil brother as a foil, and we see the evil people around him, all of which are quite realistic. We ourselves feel anger, horror, and the hopelessness of his world. But Jamil persists seemingly unscarred. Toward the end even the girl he loves has given up and rejects him --- but he persists. And his strength is both their savior.

Jamil's strength, the theme of the movie, is communicated with further delicious detail: look at him. Look how mousy and simple, slender, how unchallenging and unaggressive his facial expressions are. Look at the big, famous TV star towering over him, playing with him like a cat with a mouse -- and the brightest light of this characterization, the nickname that sticks to him: The Chaiwalla, the tea-boy. A position even lesser than a bus boy in our culture. The exquisite characterization continues: we see his consistency repeatedly, in the face of so many challenges, so many insults.

The movie opens with this scene and continues returning to it: we see an inadequate, mousy, ungraceful boy, intimidated, scared, utterly outclassed by the TV game show host. In the end, with no tricks of camera or special effects, just the weight of the story's trajectory and Jamil's heroism, we see a lion.

Objectivists can do even better at specifying the heroism: it's beyond persistence. Jamil's heroism includes honesty and, dare I say it, psycho-epistemology: unflinching commitment to the simple facts of what he knows. Because there is no strategizing, no manipulation or poker playing in Jamil's repertoire, it brings his indomitable will into greater relief.

Yes, the storyline contains strokes of luck. Jamil is struck by bad luck over, and over, and over throughout his life. Even in his final episode of triumph he is struck by bad luck. The luck, you see, plays both ways -- as in real life. It's true that the magnitude of his triumph depended on a stroke of luck, but even this conclusion slights the real story we see.

Whatever luck we witnessed paled in comparison to the little boy, who in abject poverty and desperate circumstances shows benevolence and courage as a child, and then grows into a veritable freight train of willpower.

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Date:2009-07-27 18:15
Subject:blood glucose control update

April-May 2009: average BG = 156.9, STD DEV = 75.5

June 2009: average BG = 112, STD DEV = 58.8

July 2009: average BG = 126.5, STD DEV = 66.2

average daily total of injected insulin: 54.5 units

Motivationally, I'm an absolute wreck right now. I have near zero direction or discipline and can barely keep myself going.

Blood sugars have been rollercoastering, with multiple weekly extremes in the 36-38 range. Only one of these had severe mental breakdown symptoms --- I felt myself falling down a slippery slope into a dark pit, realized what was happening too late, was clawing at the sides and finally made the consciousness explicit: "Oh no this is a sever hypo, quick get up and save yourself", and severe physical weakness and pain hit right at the same time -- and I actually did it, I walked to the kitchen and started eating a frozen juice concentrate. I thought Tash saved me, but in fact she found me in the kitchen incoherent but doing the right things. I couldn't remember most of that period, some of it came back though.

Too much of the day I'm listless. I'm not sure what I can do to force myself back on track. Workouts have been sporadic, though I just had a period of 3 workouts in 4 days that were pretty decent. My shoulder is injured which precludes most everything I want to do, so all I did was running and rowing.

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Date:2009-07-26 19:43
Subject:R U

R U --
this code is almost universal in its possible usage media: email, sms, phone, or shouted / rough whispered / hissed in a crowded/loud public environs; similarly, its economy is sweet for visual transmission such as hand signal, scratched on a wall or window, etc.

Its generality requires some contextual cue, however, so if the receiver has reason to believe that the sender needs *specific* information, the receiver may be anxious as to which specific info is prioritized.

"R U?" is short for:
Where are you? How are you?

and in its most specific possible intent, What is progress or status of current objective?

...all of which are intuitive depending on shared context. It's a fabulously useful and economic signal.

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Date:2009-07-20 17:32
Subject:russiandoctors.org/forum hacked

The forums for the Russian American Medical Association are very valuable to freckletash, she's used them extensively in preparing for her exams and some networking.

Today they got hacked by, according to the claim, Kurdish hackers:

Click on the image to see the full size version.

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Date:2009-07-19 11:14

I've gotten a sense of alienation from seeing this number 36 and that it applies to me. These numbers became oppressive after 33, I think. Like suddenly that invisible opponent in the ring with you is packing another 20 pounds behind his punch: Whoa! Where'd THAT come from?!

About five entries I've been wanting to write for the last 5 days and still haven't gotten to it...

But yo it's my birthday, look at me!

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Date:2009-07-17 22:30

That's my wife.

For me, it's the happiest place on earth because of how much she enjoys it. Getting to experience her experience of it -- that's priceless.

I can't believe how wonderful my life is. I'm shocked when I think through the illogic of how much good luck I have and how little it results from the things I work for. I mean, it's like I aim at a target, shoot, I believe everything should work just right, I miss the target drastically and manage to knock a tin can into a Rube Goldberg machine that pours me a Latte and sticks $1000 in my pocket. And my life seems to be a maddening continuity of this event happening about three times a week.

I only realized at the end of that paragraph that they made a movie like this once: Forrest Gump.

Which completes the circle, doesn't it? If you ever asked me which movie protagonist I most resemble, you wouldn't expect Forrest Gump to make the top 100, would you? But there it is, a box of freaking chocolates.

Oh, she simultaneously wrote a post about Disneyland and beat me to the punch of using that photo. Hey -- I got that photo in ONE SINGLE SHOT. I mean, she walked up and said - "wait! I want you to get a photo of me jumping in the air", she gave me about one second and jumped, I snapped, and that was the output. The previous and following photos are totally different locations.

Ha. So sometimes I shoot and get exactly what I want. Still, that Forrest Gump insight is frightful in its accuracy.

I told her in a chat message, "You CANNOT use that photo to blog, it's MINE, I'm using it!" and she didn't see the chat, she walked in at that second and handed me her laptop with her post written in it, for me to preview, and I started cursing as I saw the image because I wrote the chat too late.

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Date:2009-07-16 00:32
Subject:The Sporting News writeup

The Sporting News posted a good piece
From late in the article,

For the viewer, it was the kind of compelling blend of unblinking physical horror you get from watching the last mile of an Ironman, but with the "Festivus Feats of Strength" curiosity and creativity of the aforementioned competition full of dudes named Magnus. I joked with one of the competitors that that the games would be on ESPN2 in five years. He shook his head. "Three." At the very least, as a spectator sport, it has raw potential, especially if they continue to serve three dollar beer and keep the whole low-carb carnival feel to the whole thing.

Scandinavians, by the way, were out in force and proud with it. Mikko Salo of Finland won the men's division, Annie Thorisdottir of Iceland placed 11th in the women's division overall, and the Danes provided moral support from the stands.

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Date:2009-07-15 23:30

Strange that I never knew this ("Monadnock" was the name for an architectural project by Howard Roark pivotal to the plot in The Fountainhead). The only monads I ever knew about were all related to Spinoza's metaphysics.

A.Word.A.Day: Inselberg - noun: An isolated mountain or hill rising abruptly from its surrounding. In US it's known as a monadnock.

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Date:2009-07-06 00:52
Subject:crayola, not conservative enough

I just bought my wife a box of 64 Crayola crayons. I know her well... and I knew this was a perfect gift for her. (She's stressing right now over her exam in ~32 hours.) We'll be traveling in the car, this will be perfect for her to play with in addition to studying.

But the real motivation was to give her referential definitions for color vocabulary. It's no good trying to describe "lilac" or "sienna" to her, then looking for something in the environment to point to.


The color names have changed substantially. Where is indigo? Where is teal?

They've invented "mauvelous". "Granny smith apple green" (which isn't). The "tan" is actually closer to a "British tan".

Oh, this is frustrating. Who would have thought the Crayola corporation would take the arrogant role of linguistic activism?

(freckletash doesn't care the slightest, she's jubilant, playing with her crayons!)

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Date:2009-06-30 23:55
Subject:June blood glucose control - big success

Big month: I got back on an insulin pump, with a new Minimed Paradigm 722.

I also tried the 4-5 day Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) trial, in which my blood sugars were recorded every 5 minutes for 4.5 days straight, enabling me to see what actually happens to my blood glucose in response to food (different kinds of foods), sleeping, waking, and exercise. We were able to see and quantify exactly the big jumps in blood glucose when I a) ate wheat, b) exercised, c) woke up. We were able to confirm that my BG stayed steady while I slept.

Anyway, my important numbers, from my public google spreadsheet:


One severely bad, unlucky day that skewed my numbers somewhatCollapse )
As a result, my numbers got badly screwed up in that one day. Otherwise, June has been a wonderful month, and very probably the best control I've experienced since I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic 15 years ago.

AVG BG and STDEV to June 12
I'm on the 12th day of June, with an Average Blood Glucose of 108.95 and a Standard Deviation of 47.86.

About June 1st, I wrote:
Here's the beauty: AVG = 93.7777
And the beast: STD DEV = 54.577
...which will only grow larger, unfortunately.

In fact I did much better in June than I had reason to expect. I'm very happy about this.

My goal, now, is to persist in this hypervigilance.

Back in May, I was fantasizing about how Type 1 diabetic youth could have, for example, their characters in MMORPG, Second Life, the Sims, etc, be diabetics --- and integrate their scoring on blood glucose control with their characters' success and capacities. This woud be easy to setup, and bring the same kind of hypervigilance to their real-life health and even survival.

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Date:2009-06-29 00:55
Subject:photos of the new pentagon

Just a couple photos.

Until Friday I was somewhat frustrated with our progress. On Friday afternoon I sat down with the architect in his studio and we hammered stuff out.

Over the phone, the architect was hopeless. In person, and while working in his archi-cad, he was much better.

But he was frustrated and started whining that he couldn't concentrated. I got up and took a break, when I returned, his approximately 20-year-old, mexican, bilingual assistant was in his seat.

Then the work really started moving. The architect was hopeless at articulating his thoughts or ideas, he was slow to get conceptual stuff (as best I could tell), but when we started working in the CAD software, he got better and the conversation got better.

Then he got out of the way and let his uneducated assistant take over, and the work suddenly accelerated dramatically... and actually got done.

At one point, I was prompting the architect: "Look, I am sure your software has snippets we can cut and paste, drag and drop, to represent toilets, showers, sinks, and other features. You should even have a mop sink and water heater, and windows. Let's drop those in there so we can have numbers and sizes attached to our thinking."

He got vague, "Yeah, definitely, we have those, and we'll do that."

When I returned and his assistant was on the computer... all that stuff got populated and placed in about 5-10 minutes. Duh.

What does this guy do? Acts like a hippy with his long stringy hair and baggy jeans. His more professional, more articulate, faster, and seemingly in every way more competent, uneducated assistant, was ten times the architect he was in every measure that I could perceive.

I'm tempted to fire the architect and cut a moonlighting deal with his assistant.

From ArrowheadCF-new-empty-box

From ArrowheadCF-new-empty-box

From ArrowheadCF-new-empty-box

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Date:2009-06-29 00:29
Subject:don't fire the specialists yet

had to combine several disparate elements into a single graphic.

this resulted in over-styling them. having a hard time escaping from that.


Also, it looks a lot more over-styled when I look at it outside GIMP, eg on a web page, than within the canvas.

Also, I wish I were an artist. I love the ideas and concepts I come up with, I've never been able to realize them, so instead I end up crufting together stuff like this.

4-5 more examplesCollapse )

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Date:2009-06-28 00:52
Subject:trajectory unfulfilled

Charles Darwin has a posse; This entry has a trajectory

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Date:2009-06-25 21:45
Subject:tomato soup

freckletash's meals are so good that it's difficult to match them by going to good restaurants.

Tonight - something she just dreamed up:

7 large tomatoes
1/2 sweet potato (large)
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes
3/4 of a 16 oz. italian sausage (the kind flavored with anise), diced large

She grated the sweet potato, added to melted butter in a frying pan with a tablespoon of water, and simmered for 1/2 hour. While it simmered she fried the sausage.

She poured boiling water over the tomatoes, and after 30-40 seconds, pulled the skin off. Then she grated them by hand.

She added the sausage to the sweet potato and butter, turned the heat up till it boiled again, then mixed in the grated tomato sauce. After everything was boiling she added diced garlic and spices and simmered for another 10-15 minutes.

Served with basil, sour cream and toast.

Unbelievably good.

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Date:2009-06-25 07:52

Tash and I are visiting California for about 10 days...

  • July 7th, Tash takes step 2 in her medical licensing exam. Step 2 involves professional actors, playing 'patients' with conditions, and the examinee must demonstrate her clinical skills. This can only be done at 5 regional centers throughout the U.S.

  • We'll visit with radiantsun and mhat

  • July 8th, 9th - visiting mudita and Kathy in Carson City, NV near Lake Tahoe

  • July 10th, 11th, 12th - The CrossFit Games

  • July 13th, Monterey, Carmel and PCH southbound... so Tash can have a bowl of clam chowder. I'm only half joking. She's been wanting me to take her back for the clam chowder for, oh, about 10 months.

  • July 14th - Disneyland!!!

We've considered climbing Mt. Whitney, seeing the Redwoods, or spending more days visiting crossfit affiliates. The ferry to Catalina Island is interesting, as is hiking with geeks on a Sunday (but Sunday will be at the Games). We'd like to visit the San Diego Zoo, but doubt we can fit it in.

Right now I'm trying to wrap my head around Disneyland; I needed a small attitude adjustment. Tash will be ecstatic the whole day. I know this is perfect for her and how much she'll love it, so I've sold myself on it. I'm looking for any little tips people can give me on how we can get the most of it. I've barely read a single page on it so far... I learned about FREEPASS! which is pretty cool, minimizes waiting in lines. Is there a way to get discounted entrance tickets?

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Date:2009-06-22 13:31
Subject:hello kitty burpee

For songofapollo, RE: workouts including HK "Hello Kitty" Burpees

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Date:2009-06-19 09:29
Subject:the enigmatic author

Here is the ABOUT THE AUTHOR page for the New York Times Bestseller Your Religion Is False.

The website lists the author's purported name as Joel Grus.

Otherwise, he is that cliche: a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Perhaps he's a would-be cult-leader, a narcissistic attention whore salivating at the imminent adulation of groupies of, er, thoughtful people. Hence his self-conscious restraint.

It's more likely the author is in fact a group of people, a collaborative effort. Otherwise the next-best explanation is a lone individual impossibly fathered, illegitimate and anachronistic, by Mark Twain and Woody Allen. Thankfully in his work, Grus more resembles the father.

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Date:2009-06-13 09:58
Subject:the crossfit diabetic: before and after

Ambitious title, but all I'm giving is an excited preview.

2004-2007: I used the pump with Novolog and Humalog insulins (at different times).

2007, March: I went off the pump and switched to injections of long-term insulin, including both Lantus and Levemir

2008, January: Found and started training in CrossFit

2009, June: Returned to using the pump.

From 2004-2007, and indeed from 1996-2001, a combined total of 8 years of using an insulin pump, my basal rates remained consistently at or above the convenient unit of 1.0 units/hour. I vary that rate depending on sleep and activity schedules, so that I might go to 1.5 from 05:00 - 07:30 (historically). I spent more time at 1.1 and 1.2 and 1.3 units/hour, but during more active times and when I was training, I could spend 70% of my time at 1.0 units/hour.

In changing from Pump W/ Novolog, to Injections W/ Levemir (March 2007), I could not compare the effectiveness of Levemir to Novolog; the context and process muddled this comparison, and I never really saw it. I then had to change my injection schedules over time, and my injection amounts, and I never saw a clear change due to my adoption of CrossFit as my training methodology.

(My training methodology prior to January 2008 had been 70% distance running, 20% swimming, with small bouts of bodyweight strength training in the form of pushups, dips, handstands, rock climbing.)

Now I've been CrossFitting for 1.5 years, and I've started on the pump again, and we have the AFTER PICTURE: A basal rate of 1.0 is clearly too high. I am going low constantly, repeatedly. I am now being forced to lower my basal rates, the dominant rate is probably going to be 0.8 units / hour.

My basal metabolism is markedly more insulin sensitive due to my crossfit training.

The implications for insulin dependent diabetics are significant, meaningful; but they are even more profoundly meaningful for type 2 diabetics and pre-diabetics. The control sample was not "couch potato with high glycemic diet"; the control sample was extremely fit, healthy distance runner, swimmer, climber.

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Date:2009-06-12 09:39
Subject:AVG BG and STDEV to June 12

I'm on the 12th day of June, with an Average Blood Glucose of 108.95 and a Standard Deviation of 47.86.

As I've said before, those two numbers tell the story. My AVG looks super, but the STDEV shows I've gone hypo way too much.

The more interesting story is that those frequent hypos, by my unconventional hypotheses, are correlated with the extremely productive creative thinking sessions I've engaged in recently.

Yesterday's hectic day had 11 blood sugar readings between 6 am and 11 pm. I said I went hypo 4 times, which seems exaggerated, we only see 3 hypos:

22:53:00 93
21:07:00 71
19:51:00 53
18:08:00 77
15:48:00 151
12:48:00 44
11:55:00 105
11:23:00 41
10:00:00 147
8:43:00 148
6:04:00 109

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Date:2009-06-12 09:27
Subject:veterinarian pharmacology

So, veterinary medicine is not just a better political-economic model for health care than what we've got for humans...


Tash has been suffering from allergies (welcome to the Sonoran Desert!) and probably exacerbated by the high-power air conditioning which causes me to dive under a blanket at random times throughout the night, and keeps her sleeping under three blankets, in Phoenix, in summer.

I'm not sure which method will work best for us: internet, Mexico, or veterinary pharmacology.

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Date:2009-06-12 09:18
Subject:first crossfit WOD on insulin pump

Near the end of an intense day, I'd just gotten my insulin pump attached, and clients arrived to workout earlier than expected.

I managed to send myself hypoglycemic in the confusion, for about the 4th time yesterday (which means I no longer had glycogen stores to fuel muscle exertion through the bulk of work in a workout that takes beyond 20 seconds and through the ten-minute range...)

A new person at the gym whom I wasn't expecting, required a lot of attention and time; and instead of taking everyone to the track (another client strangely arrived very late), we stayed at the gym. I hadn't worked out at 06:30 -- canceled on Stoker, my workout buddy by text message at 06:00, sorry Stoker! -- so I was thinking of starting everyone and doing a deadlift workout, which I can fit in between sessions of attending to everyone else.

Tash said I needed to do a met-con workout instead of power lifting; I pointed out that I had to take care of everyone else. Then, with our plans thrown awry, and with a lighter load because a few clients were out of town, we finished one group and the second, lighter group was scheduled to do:

3 rounds for time,
400 meter run
21 kettlebell swings - 53 lbs
12 pullups

...which is a relatively quick / short met-con (I expect to do this in about 7:30 - 8:00 minutes)

I was able to join them (these clients had never done a workout with me before or seen me do a workout). I did FAT HELEN, using a 72 lbs kettlebell and chest-to-bar pullups, just like the European CrossFit Games Qualifier.

I unhooked my recently installed insulin pump, put it on the table, Tash ran the timer and called 3-2-1-GO!, and I did my first CrossFit workout on insulin pump therapy. It's possible the hypoglycemias and glycogen shortage slowed me down, but I finished in 9:51, which is plenty fast for FAT HELEN. Heavy KB swings are slower, but I did break my sets, once on the 2nd and twice on the 3rd set, and my forearms were fatigued causing me to break the pullups to 3-4 sets on the lat round, possibly due to the glycogen fatigue.

Those 72 lb (2 pood) kettlebell swings absolutely smoked my forearms -- and I didn't notice what they'd done to my trapezius until I sat at the dinner table and tried to lift a mug of milk. I now know that heavy kettlebell swings hit the traps more intensively than power cleans or deadlifts.

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Date:2009-06-12 08:57
Subject:goodbye needles, goodbye schedule

My new, Medtronic-Minimed Paradigm 722 insulin pump arrived yesterday, late in the busiest day I've had in months.

After two years and four months of injecting 3 x Levemir (every 8 hours) per day and between 5-9 Novolog injections per day, I'm off the Levemir schedule. I no longer have alarms programmed for 06:00 a.m., 14:00 and 22:00. (I could sleep in!)

I popped the box open, tried to ignore the volumes of documentation, put the battery in the pump, filled a reservoir from an unused, large, American vial of Novolog, attached to an infusion set...

...and had forgotten how to rewind & set the motor to the reservoir's fullness/position. (Apparently the memory that was guiding me on these operations was built as much from the old Minimed 506 and 507 as from the newer Paradigm series that I only used from late 2004-March 2007.) I took a few minutes to remember how to do that -- the very brief instructions I *had* managed to glimpse had thrown me off, because I had seen a warning NOT to use the REWIND feature (if x, y and z, which didn't apply).

I got the infusion set placed in my side... right in the old site on my love handle, which is going to have to move around a lot more now that I know about the interference from scar tissue. The canula went deep and hurt, and I felt it for at least 90 minutes after I'd installed the infusion set.

That's the problem. How am I going to find sites where the canula doesn't hit up against muscle, causing both pain and impeding insulin infusion? I'm going to have to switch to a different infusion set, which inserts the canula at a low angle to the skin instead of perpendicular.

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Date:2009-06-06 17:48
Subject:a fat grace quickie

The workout: 3 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible in a limited time) of very heavy Clean & Jerks. Warmup with 5 x 135 lbs and 2 x 185 lbs, then the first was a 3 minute AMRAP of 225 lbs clean & jerks. I only completed 6 (surprise to me, I thought I'd get more than 10 and possibly 12-14).

Then (already pretty thrashed) I did the 2nd set, AMRAP in 3 minutes of 185 lbs clean & jerks. Toward the end I got angry and aggressive. This is something which frequently happens to freckletash but not me.

Normally, of course, you're used to having control over your behavior. So experiences like this where you suddenly become aggressive and shouting without any apparent control over it are odd. (Cool observer remained somewhere inside watching the uptick in frustration and impulse.)

This was at the Luke AFB super-secret fighter pilots' gym. I'm still trying to zero in on how the General who runs Luke got intro'd to CrossFit. It's extremely cool that he's so solid in his support of it, unlike the vast majority of the govt's smurf nation.

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Date:2009-06-06 14:38
Subject:Plandomization by Greg Everett

"Plandomization" - Fantastic article by Greg Everett in Performance Menu - consistent with my approach to CrossFit programming. His article is well-written, funny as hell, with many quotes begging to be excerpted.

I've been working on explicating in a training manual, as well writing the actual planned workouts for beginners, for a few weeks now. My approach is more specific and easier for other trainers to adopt and use.


Generalization Specifically

So we have this thing called CrossFit. Its intention is to create fitness, which has been defined by Greg Glassman as increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. That’s fancy-talk for being able to do more shit in less time.

CrossFit is a somewhat nebulous program involving “constantly varied, if not randomized, functional movement performed at high intensity.” This notion of randomness has become an eclipsing focus of many CrossFit athletes and trainers. Quite possibly this is because approaching training randomly effectively masks a lack of programming ability and gives one a false sense of programming expertise. Anyone can throw a list of exercises and numbers on a whiteboard; far fewer can create workouts that, over a given period of time, ensure an athlete accomplishes his or her goals.

An entirely random approach to training, in my humble, lowly, uneducated opinion, is a mistake. Being prepared for any random task is not the same thing as preparing randomly for any task. The importance of this point cannot be overstated.

Being prepared for anything means balancing and improving equally, on average over time, the range of athletic traits.

This balancing of traits is done by improving one’s weaknesses without sacrificing one’s strengths unnecessarily until every trait is within a reasonable range of equality, at which time elements can be trained in a more balanced fashion (although emphasis of certain elements during certain times will continue to allow greater progress even in a reasonably balanced athlete). How does one improve one’s lacking elements of fitness? By emphasizing those elements in training for given periods of time—not necessarily continuously—until they’re no longer weaknesses.

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Date:2009-06-06 13:19
Subject:what 24 hours of normalcy looked like

BACKSTORY: I was diagnosed with diabetes in September of 1993. In 1996 I went on my first insulin pump, a Minimed 506. The pump, market conditions and the state of diabetic care at that time are all fascinating, but that's another story.

I went off the pump in 2001, and from 2001-2004, depending on work, I could switch back and forth between "multiple daily injections" and using the pump. I think I went back on the pump nearly full-time in early 2004. I ran out of supplies in March of 2007, while I was still in Siberia, and I've been on injections since.

My pump infusion sites suffer from the same problems, however. The latex canula will sometimes hit straight against muscle and fail to deliver (somewhat painful, too). My love handles, where I keep my pump infusions (sides of navel don't work), have strings and pockets of tangible scar tissue.

* * * * *

My blood sugars from the past 28 hours.
My appointment was at 10:00, and right before the appointment I checked my BG and was hypoglycemic at 49:

20090605 - time - BG

9:12:00 131
10:00:00 49 HYPO at beginning of appointment
11:15:00 57 HYPO at end of appointment
14:12:00 74
17:14:00 101 dinner: mushroom-chicken-cheese-walnut-creamcheese soup
21:14:00 54 ...oops. Hypo.
23:30:00 97 bad snack: 6 cookies & milk; watching documentary on 20th Century history of technological innovations


6:02:00 122 ideal waking BG
9:04:00 88 ...managed the very difficult wake-up successfully
10:20:00 155 ...maintaining, 155 is just slightly high. Perhaps stress from meet with contractors? (excitement & consequential, important)
11:53:00 50 Brunch: edamame, bacon, yogurt, tomato juice
13:08:00 77 (i.e. almost 10 minutes ago)

AVERAGE BG for this period: 87.916

Those last two numbers tell the story. I started making this argument -- about the importance, relevance and value of standard deviation -- in early 2004. It seems an endocrinologist who is also an IDDM got on board and started publicizing the same message in 2007, it has been carried by at least one influential diabetic blogger, and so I hope the idea will soon get widespread adoption.

There was a DiabetesMine competition for best product or development ideas, and I had intended to submit my arguments for the adoption of STANDARD DEVIATION as a more important metric of insulin therapy / blood sugar control than HbA1c, but then I read in the same DiabetesMine about the doctor in Washington who had started championing STD DEV in 2007, so I didn't bother.

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Date:2009-06-06 09:31
Subject:20 hours of normal

It's too soon to really get my hopes up, but for the past 20 hours I have achieved near perfect blood sugar control.

I made one small change in technique, on the insistence of a diabetic educator I met with yesterday.

I have been doing all my injections in the same smallish areas for years. I have thick lumps of scar tissue there. I also have fat there, which is why I do the injections there -- everywhere else on my body, the muscle is too close to the skin.

The assertion is that scar tissue has *certainly* been impeding the absorption of my insulin. And by my own documentation, a common complaint is that insulin escapes back out the injection point, due to scar tissue.

It's only been 20 hours, but I have NEVER achieved a string of perfect blood sugars like this. For delicious irony, I was also fitted with a CGMS yesterday, in this appointment with Grace.

My first ever CGMS -- what I've dreamed of since 1996. It will measure my blood glucose on a continuous basis for at least 2.5-3 days, to let us see in detail all the fluctuations that I'm not able to see while sticking my fingers to measure my blood sugar every couple hours.

All of this is really exciting, but so far 20 hours and counting of perfect blood sugar control... that's, in my experience, miraculous.

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Date:2009-06-04 03:29
Subject:training the unready

This was a note I wrote to myself, unedited.

Many people need to be pushed, and pushing them really is exactly the right thing to do. There is an occasional rare instance when it's not the right thing to do, hence this note to myself:

10. Beware of the boy who cries wolf. You'll end up pushing him hard. The trainer always tries to find balance on the question of "more intensity" and "more caution". The boy who cries wolf will cause you to err on the side of too much intensity. Let him cry wolf, and let him undertrain. Do not try to be a better conscience for him than he is equipped with. It is in the nature of things that you cannot make a student into a better person than he has the potential to make himself to be, this is an appropriate humility teachers must learn.

Obviously I have someone specific in mind. I think I may just ask him in the future, "Boy, do you think this is the kind of pain you want to be able to push through, or is it the kind of pain that means you've exceeded your limits?" I think this should work as an invitation to decide his own level of success.

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Date:2009-06-04 01:49
Subject:the usual unusual, barbell goofiness

These made my stomach sore, as in, abdominals sore from intensive contractions.

The exercise needs a name. By components, it's a forward roll made very awkward by holding the barbell, followed by a "rollup" or "sit-up squat", followed by a thruster.

A couple of those made me see stars.

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Date:2009-06-04 01:44
Subject:vision, lost and found

For several weeks we thought that the diabetes had put me down particularly hard.

On April 1st I woke up with my vision blurry, and the blurriness didn't go away.

As of the last two days, my sight is nearly back to normal; I tested at an ophthalmologist's with 20/20 again today, which is a little better than what I'm actually seeing. The appointment was actually scheduled to remove a chalazion, an inflamed sweat gland in my eyelid.

Diagnosis was difficult because only one of my eyes works properly. End of March, I was working underneath a citrus tree, sawing branches, and I got sawdust in my eyes, particularly my right eye which is my sighted eye.

It took a while before I suspected the sawdust and the vision loss a few days later.

A confluence of circumstances made this case difficult: 1) only one good eye, so what seemed to be general vision loss was only vision loss in one eye; (Something which I could suspect, but ophtalmologists had difficulty seeing for themselves) 2) the blurry vision varied, sometimes approaching extreme blurriness, an astigmatism causing blurriness similar to 20/400 (apples and oranges, except for the experience of blurriness), sometimes I could read enlarged text; 3) the blurriness did not follow the pattern of astigmatism you would expect from the pressure of a chalazion on the cornea.

So it was actually variation in my blood sugars, causing variation in osmotic pressure in my lens, impinged by the chalazion which was directly center and on the top of my cornea, causing my sometimes extremely blurred vision. This was a pattern only I could infer.

Anyway, today I was able to read a book with normal text without reading glasses.

It was extremely scary, fearing for a few weeks that I was losing my vision.

While my vision went bad, I comforted myself in that, while I could not see details, I could still see movement well. So I could still track my clients' technique in performances; it was only detailed resolution that was lost.

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Date:2009-06-02 00:11

From the first day of a new BLOOD GLUCOSE LOG spreadsheet,

24:00:00 54
23:15:00 31
21:00:00 70
18:45:00 108
15:30:00 52
12:00:00 136
9:10:00 64
7:30:00 125
6:00:00 204

Here's the beauty: AVG = 93.7777
And the beast: STD DEV = 54.577
...which will only grow larger, unfortunately.

Both numbers will grow, sadly.

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Date:2009-06-01 22:46

I caught (severe!) typos in my blog posts tonight, on the wall where they're projected about 6 feet tall by 9 feet wide, where Tash is playing Russian movies from her youth for me.

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Date:2009-06-01 22:33

June 1st.

Today was our second wedding anniversary. Life for Tash and I has gotten better and better, and better.

Also, Mischka's birthday.

We started buying what is reputed to be one of the top-three dog foods in the world for her a few months ago. It sits, unused. She eats cuts of meat from the meals Tash prepares, she eats raw chicken, raw pork, raw beef. Clients bring her bones and pigs' ears. We often put cheese and raw eggs on top of her food. Her behavior has changed in the last couple months -- she is increasingly submissive, eager to pleae, always concerned about what we want her to do and how to pleae us. If we signal discipline, she obeys immediately. Sometimes she'll try to hide something from us, but at the same time trying to ingratiate herself.

Today: very early workout. Workouts for clients today included tabata sprints on a local track; Diane (deadlifts and handstand pushups); tabata sled pulls; overhead carries with intermittent clean-and-jerks.

* * * *
I looked a fitness gym's sales manager straight in the eye and with the same overly-serious tone seen in my writing here, I said,

"Cholesterol in your diet does not cause nor correlate with blood serum cholesterol levels. And blood cholesterol does not correlate with, nor does it cause, heart disease. We've known this to be true for decades, the data has always been clear and has never suggested otherwise."

* * * *
Tash and I swam in the pool, in the dark, tonight. I love the turquoise water lights and the stars overhead. If you translate this, it's equivalent to "walks on the beach in moonlight." Every bit as cliche and as true as any pain you felt today; deal with it.

She cooked a beef roast and salyodka pod shuboi, our favorite salad and possibly the best meal on earth. And another big dish of edamame. I'd already had champagne; Tash doesn't drink alcohol.

Oh, and safeway's ice cream is better than Breyer's. The chocolate moose tracks is to die for. We also love the chocolate chip cookie dough, but Tash took a break from it this week, we picked up some butter pecan.

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Date:2009-06-01 22:17

This morning I finished a brunch of steel cut oats with apples, pecans and a tiny bit of raisins, with milk.

I'd probably already drunk 2-3 cups of coffee through the morning (around my seven sets of heavy front squats, where heavy means two-hundred and seventy-five pounds for sets of five, well below parallel.)

And I thought: not enough fat, the meal needs more fat.

When I considered this thought through blog-consciousness, I realized: this reflects enlightenment. Not bad, gorilla-soph.

"Fools toast each other's wealth, whereas sages toast each other's health." - Geoffery Miller,
who has shown that even an intellectual trendy and mostly submissive can get a fantastic chunk of social science dead right.

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Date:2009-05-31 11:23
Subject:last chance qualifier for the 2009 CrossFit Games

Now the evaluation process begins.

More than 100 formal submissions. One technical point tht came up quickly: YouTube limits videos to 10 minutes, and many of the video performances were over 10 minutes, so people were directed to use Vimeo.

Here are my time estimates:
Workout 1
3 Rounds for time of:
10 Deadlifts (275lbs men / 185lbs women)
50 Double-unders

Workout 1 should be performed in less than 6:30 to be competitive. (I wrote this before I examined the results of the Mid-Atlantic Qualifier, in which the fastest performance was 6:36 and more than 23 competitors finished in less than 6:59. There is one eager beaver declaring his time as 2:57 before videos have been examined.) I think I can do those 10 deadlifts in 30 seconds. 30 deadlifts x 275 lbs in < 90 seconds and 150 double unders in < 90 seconds... may be physically possible. But seems unlikely.

Workout 2
1K Row
50 Thrusters (45lb barbell men and women)
30 Pull-ups

Workout 2 should be performed ...also in less than 6:30 to be competitive. I don't have much experience with this workout, I'm embarassed to say. Looking now at the Calgary / western Canada qualifiers, I see that the #1 time was 6:09, and 5 men finished in less than 6:30. I predicted time based on my own 1K row (3:10ish), 50 thrusters (1:20) and 30 pullups, but I am far from competitive in pullups, they're one of my biggest weaknesses. I'd expect to see guys who, if not in competition, could do all 30 unbroken after the 1000m row and 50 thrusters. Personally, I'd have to break those 30 into 3-5 sets.

Workout 3
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps for time of:
Power Cleans (155lbs for men / 105lbs for women)
Pull-ups (Chest to Bar)
KB Swings (24kg men / 16kg women - A 55lb DB men / 35lb DB women can be substituted if no kettlebell is available)

Workout #3 -- I can't predict this one, there's a lot of transitions in there and I find myself unable to predict it. Looking at the Northeast Qualifier results, the #1 time was 10:30. Let's say under 11:00 to be competitive, I think the guy who pulled this 10:30 was exceptional.

So totaling all three workout times, we're looking at guys performing under 23:30 to be competitive. What will be cool is if we see a legit performance in the 22:00 range. Then we've got a monster who isn't on anyone's radar, like the Finn, Mikko, from the European Qualifier.

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Date:2009-05-30 22:24
Subject:NSW group 1

Not sure how I feel about this.

It's a government contract directly with CrossFit HQ to provide training at Naval Special Warfare Center / Group 1; it's the 5th contract, at the absurdly low total price of $29,590, with a per unit price of about $5500. That's cheap.

CrossFit's history of training with the SEALs is a little complicated. NavSpecWar, you must recognize, is comprised of sickening, worthless bureaucrats directing zealous, hardworking commandos. It's the bureaucrats, for the most part, who buy the training, and they've made more mistakes than they've scored hits.

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Date:2009-05-30 22:07
Subject:big fat greek cheap a la carte, and squats

At My Big Fat Greek Restaurant on Mill Ave in Tempe, I love getting a big side dish of Gyros meat with tzatziki sauce for $3.50. No junk, just meat, a little green garnish and tzatziki sauce. It's at least 8 oz and possibly more. Fantastic deal, perfect size for a meal. Somehow I doubt they realized they were offering an ideal meal as a side dish for three-and-a-half bucks.

Brunch this morning was also near perfection:

  • bacon

  • leftover pork kebab / shashlik -- unbelievably good

  • mediterranean cheese style yogurt (I recently found Fage greek yogurt at Costco, which I'd been lusting for but unwilling to pay $4.59 / 12 oz, and determined that in fact I strongly prefer the Trader Joe's Mediterranean Cheese Style Yogurt)

  • a piece of raisin bread toast w/butter

  • big dish of edamame

I recall thinking this morning how simple this meal was, somewhat unusual in its composition, and yet so perfect for me, hence noteworthy.

* * * *

Today Dean and I shot two instructional videos on the air squat, with Tash. I may have erred on the side of too much detail, but I believe they're quality.

"Too much detail" depends on the audience, right? Dumbing down the instruction can be done in person. I think it's legitimate to explain the WHY of the essential anatomical coaching points of the squat. So I included that. They provide a unifying theme to the many and disparate instructional priorities in teaching the squat.

I'll explain: Squats are difficult to teach for one simple reason; we are atrophied. Our bodies are systemically misshapen and have habituated inhibited movement patterns, because of our excessive chair-sitting. Several of the most important core muscles of the body are dysfunctionally shortened or lengthened by sitting in chairs. Hence the teaching points of the squat:

  • heels down, heels just wider than shoulders

  • toes out and knees wide, femurs parallel to feet

  • CONTRACT the lower back muscles ("Put your tail in the air!") (anterior pelvic tilt)

  • chest up (contract rhomboids and upper erector spinae)

  • KNEES WIDE (adductors are shortened from chair-sitting)

  • DEPTH / RANGE OF MOTION: get below parallel, meaning, the crease in the hips drops below the top of the knee

All of these ponts need to be emphasized and often drilled through multiple sessions (up to two weeks of squat therapy for many people) for one single reason: systemic atrophy (I say "movement pathology") from lifelong sitting in chairs.

I can imagine other crossfit trainers saying that I'm going into too much nuanced or arcane detail, but I disagree. The observation that we are systemically atrophied from chair sitting is common knowledge and practically a mantra among personal trainers. However, the observation of how all the essential trouble points and thus emphatic teaching points of the squat originate in this atrophy, seems to be unique to me. I think the unifying theme is helpful, so I'll leave it in.

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Date:2009-05-30 12:06
Subject:Online, video qualifier for the 2009 CrossFit Games

To qualify for this year's CrossFit Games, the world was broken up into 18 regions, with the USA broken into 11 regions -- California comprised 2 regions itself. See the map here.

The process had some disturbances along the way, including a controversy in east Canada because the CrossFit Trainers who were coordinating the event and deciding the workouts were also three of the top athletes in the region. This gave the possible appearance of unfair advantage or impropriety. One of those three trainers, the petite Jodi Bainbridge, wife of Anthony Bainbridge and co-owner of CrossFit Fredericton, has the national record for Canada for heaviest female deadlift -- at 3 times her bodyweight. When the first workout in the Eastern Canada Qualifier was a one-rep-max deadlift, you can see how the already questionable arrangement of athletes competing in the event ALSO being the organizers of the event, was pronounced enough to stimulate cries of Foul!.

As the Eastern Canada brouhaha played out, Jodi and Anthony and James Fitzgerald ("OPT") removed themselves from that competition, and CrossFit HQ announced a LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER that could be performed by ANYONE, including athletes that had failed to qualify in their own regional qualifiers. The performances on the three workouts are to be recorded on video and submitted via YOUTUBE.

So everyone's been waiting for this final throwdown, and over the next few days, there will be a lot of videos to watch of athletes trying to perform these three workouts within the 24-hour period from the minute they were posted online, which was at 0600 this morning.

FROM the 2009 CrossFit Games website:

There is one last chance to qualify for the 2009 CrossFit Games.

Below are three workouts chosen from the pool of regional qualifiers. All three must be completed before 0600 PDT on May 31st, 2009. They can be performed in any order, spread out throughout the 24 hour period. All three workouts must be videotaped.

Workout 1 (from the MidAtlantic Regional Qualifier)
3 Rounds for time of:
10 Deadlifts (275lbs men / 185lbs women)
50 Double-unders
For a video description of the standards, click HERE (note that the description of this workout starts at 2:00 into the video)

Workout 2 (from the Canada West Regional Qualifier)
1K Row
50 Thrusters (45lb barbell men and women)
30 Pull-ups
For a video description of the standards, click HERE (WOD 4 in the list)

Workout 3 (from the Northeast Regional Qualifiers)
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 3, 2, 1 reps for time of:
Power Cleans (155lbs for men / 105lbs for women)
Pull-ups (Chest to Bar)
KB Swings (24kg men / 16kg women - A 55lb DB men / 35lb DB women can be substituted if no kettlebell is available)
Description of the standards video ... [wmv] [mov]

To be considered for the Last Chance Qualifier, you must email your times (each workout alone and the total combined for the three) and the link(s) to the video(s) to lastchance09@crossfit.com before 0600 PDT on May 31, 2009.

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Date:2009-05-30 11:31
Subject:what, me update? The ugly wake-up

Trying to restart (blogging) with baby steps.

Most days are near perfect. Seriously, I mean that, despite the following which is the ugly part.

Almost everyday I wake up sick, in pain, and miserable, due to the following weird dynamic between my sleep cycles and my insulin schedule. My body preps itself to wake based on the wake times it has already adapted to. This prep process includes the big cortisol release, which amps up blood glucose.

My sleep cycle gets set mostly by my need to inject Levemir (long-acting insulin) at 06:00. So my body revs up at about 5:15-5:30, my surging blood sugar sickens me and wakes me up by 05:30. I take my blood sugar, and it's usually high, which pisses me off. CRITICAL: I don't think I fully understand what causes the inconsistent morning highs. It's about 67-75% of days that are like this.

Of course, if my surging blood sugar at ~5:20 keeps waking me up, what happens next? Naturally, my body adapts to the expected wake time of 5:30 (I've been laying there with my dreams disturbed by the feeling of sickness, coming conscious, slowly realizing that my BG is high and that's what's wrong.)

You would expect a continuing feedback loop, pushing me to earlier and earlier wake time / prep process / cortisol release. My morning schedules, I believe, short circuit that. Some days require big correction. Some corrections knock me out, and I roll with this, because I don't have a client until 08:00. Most days I have clients at 06:30, 07:00 or 07:30 so my actual Jump Up and Hit It Hard times vary.

The inconsistency seems to confuse my body's adaptation. About 1/2 or 1/3 of the time, I wake up at 04:30 with my blood sugar amping up high ---- presumably in anticipation of the 5:30 wake up which was caused by antiicipation of the 06:00 wake up. Many days, this HIGH is 280-330, which is a crushing blow to my AVG BG and STANDARD DEVIATIONs, which lately are the most important numbers in my life.

The next 2 hours is made miserable by the timing and effect of corrective insulin and the pressures of my morning's activity. I take Novolog, my preferred fast-acting insulin, to correct my high blood sugar. Because of the "dawn phenomenon" (this whole body-prep process which amps up BG and also decreases insulin sensitivity), the insulin takes a long time to act.

I lay back down, feeling sick, and the Novolog makes me drowsy and finally knocks me out about 45 minutes later --- about 5-10 minutes before I have to jump up out of bed and get ready in < 20 minutes. This is extraordinarily difficult: to rouse oneself from a smothering insulin surge. I hate it.

The ordeal doesn't always end there. If I have a "date" to workout with someone, at perhaps 06:30 or 07:00 or 07:30, the insulin surge makes me extremely weak. Once in a while, I'll be unable to force myself through the workout. This has happened about 3 times in the past year. The mental effects are much clearer, as I'm slow and muddled. Sometimes, I have planned a client's workouts in advance but cannot remember what I planned, which can be very frustrating.

* * *
Want a happy ending? Most of this misery (not all of it) is caused by my insulin schedule of injecting Levemir. I do three daily injections of Levemir, which is unusual. The insulin is designed to be injected once every 24 hours. The marketing hype promises that you can inject it once and have a stable, even delivery, keeping your blood sugar level in the absence of meals (you take care of the meals by injecting a different, fast-acting insulin).

I found that Levemir does NOT offer a stable, even delivery over 24 hours. I had to switch to TWO injections a day. I still experienced a curve -- less delivery at the beginning, then heightened delivery, then waning delivery. If you get this big curve over a 24 hour period, you have very poor blood sugar control. If you break up the 24 hours into 2 curves, you get some overlapping effect, which mitigates the different deliveries. I have had to break it up into 3 overlapping curves. Hence my Levemir injection schedule, at 06:00, 14:00 and 22:00.

The happy ending: I'm restarting on the insulin pump very, very soon. Insurance is reviewing my claim / prescription data and will confirm in about two weeks. This is going to be a tremendous improvement to my life.

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Date:2009-01-17 18:10
Subject:The common denominator

I posted this to http://crossfitLP.com of course, but I wanted to subject myself to possible criticism and reactions from y'all. My WordPress blog is broken in a way preventing comments, which is frustrating me. Seems to be some URL_encode problem, but that's beyond me and I haven't fixed it yet.

From 20090117-venn-diagram

Imagine training a 6'8" tall professional basketball player in CrossFit. What do you suppose his snatch grip looks like on a barbell? How do his dimensions play to deadlifts? How do the strengths of a basketball player contribute to performances like Wall Ball shots, burpees, clean and jerks, and front squats? And -- what of the baseball player? Golfer? Tennis player? Football player? The wrestlers?

The truth is we see greater differences between individuals in all of these sports, than we see between, for example, the wrestlers as a group and the basketball players as a group. There are certainly common denominators within a group's patterns of movement: lo and behold, a common denominator is keeping the hips lower and needing to move the hips explosively while coordinating aggressive action with the spine and shoulder girdle.

From 20090116

That common denominator is true of all athletic performance, and is essential to the learning and performance of CrossFit movements.

From the trainer's perspective, it remains true that individual differences are always more significant when discovering and training an athlete's most efficient and most powerful form and finding the cues that will key the correct movement, or the hitches that are preventing it.

The upshot is gold: the only group difference that matters is athletes versus non-athletes, which is to say, functional performance versus atrophy.

CrossFit's movements occupy a central position very clearly in the overlap between all variants of performance. I won't be imperialistic and label the common ground as CrossFit. The common ground is functional movements. CrossFit's efficacy lies in its exclusive employment of these functional movements; we don't dilly dally with extraneous, non-functional movements. This fact distinguishes CrossFit most powerfully from systems which, to the gullible, may look similar, like PX90 or HIIT.

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Date:2009-01-01 01:20

Lithium from Rayne Gray on Vimeo.

Ending the year on a curious note; a twenty minute metcon of AMRAP 400 meters and OHS. The back end of Kirez's shorts ripped wide open on the first rep of the 5th round. What to do? He considered quitting, looked behind him; solution: took his shirt off at the end of the next run, wrapped his long sleeve undershirt around his waist. Kudos for finishing, but it probably cost him the last round of OHS.

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