Archive for July, 2006


Monday, July 31st, 2006

Mom took my brother’s jetta to get a car wash earlier today. On her way back, she filled up the tank. it was nice of her. she decided to ignore the “premium fuel only” sticker, but i guess the gesture was nice. anyway, she gets back and asks me “Does the rearview mirror need to be pushed away from you?” I’m in the middle of getting our realtime feed back up and running, so i’m not really paying attention. She asks me a couple other questions to the effect of “what do you want for dinner?” while i type frantically on my laptop. it’s 12:30pm. finally, i can’t take it anymore, so i get up and move to another room.

Fast-forward to 6:00pm. We’re driving to dinner in my brother’s jetta. Mom points to the rearview mirror, “you see? there’s something wrong with this mirror. the color is darker . . . ”

For a second, i ponder a trial of bread crumbs, a subtle way to lay down the answer. ah, to hell with it. “mom, it’s because the back window is tinted.”

You learn something new . . .

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

I’ve never been a fan of penn station mainly because it’s ugly. really ugly. underground and really ugly. it’s basically a huge basement with linoleum floors. I could never understand how it became more popular than grand central until today.  It turns out that penn station wasn’t always a shit hole.

rack’em: 900

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

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blah blah blah blah blah, dammit!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

So, i’ve been trying to communicate something to my family for a while now. Honestly, i’ll say that i haven’t been clear in this attempt to communicate with them. in fact unclear and incoherent is how i would describe it. And, it’s not that i lack what i consider to be good arguments, it’s that, by the time i try to relay these points, my blood is at such a high boil that i lose my ability to do anything but sputter utter nonsense.

I have to admit, I started this post with the intention of laying out my arguments and reasoning regarding this particular communiqué, but as i endeavor in this task, it appears i have reached a small island of clarity. Sitting here typing, reflecting upon memory and reviewing past family stories, it occurs to me that any and all attempts are completely futile. there is nothing i can say that will result in understanding. no clever analogies or stirring metaphors will carry this message in a bottle. in fact, subtlety is probably best avoided. no straight talk or heart to heart will cure this familial pandemic either. this barrier is time everlasting. immoble. inert. we might as well be called argon, xeon, and radon.

This is not a problem of words. The problem is best characterized as  a difference in principles and a lack of ability to comprehend a) what a principle is and b) what a difference is and c) who to accept differences in principles.

So where does this leave me? This battle cannot be won. However, I refuse to concede.  So, where do i go from here?

Hesitate and Die

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Today was three weeks in the making. I tipped the scales at 160.5 last night, went to bed with little to eat and drink and woke up feeling pretty good. not too achy, not too weak. skpped the morning cp of water. skipped breakfast. had to be under 160. just hopped into the shower and got on the bus.

The ride to work was a bit long. The stomach started growling a bit. felt a little woozy. seventy minutes is a long way to go on a parched mouth and empty stomach. anyway, we rolled into campus and i headed straight for the scale, stripped down and weighed in. 160.75. good. the offical scale is a pound lighter than the one in the locker room. I head out and get on the official scale and balance it out. half a sliver left of 160. sweet. didn’t even have to run any weight off. I called the attendant over as a witness, got the measurement, dressed and quickly found the closest donut.

One donut, one banana, one cliff bar, and some orange juice and i’m feeling better than i have in weeks. Now, just needed to wait for 11:30 game time.

I leave my cube at 11:00 and head over to the gym to warm up and stretch out. a five minute run. stretch. a little jump rope, stretch. feeling good, time to get the game face on. I don the bandana.

Contestants Ready

First event, log press: a 120lbs “log” that you must lift from the ground and press above your head as many times as possible in 60 seconds.

Log Press: Stepping up to bat

We draw numbers to see who goes first. I luck out and get to go last. knowledge is key. Matt goes first. He puts the log up 5 times. Some other dude goes second, i think he got 3 or 4, then Will goes. 11. wow. that’s a lot. My turn. So, the key to this event is the pelvic thrust. you want to lock your hips as you pick the weight up off the ground and get it to just below your pubic bone. once there, you want one big pop of your hips to get the weight moving out and up and then catch it on your shoulders. if you do it right, you’ll be in a half squat and then your legs are set up to propel the weight up and over your head. complicated, i know.

I step up to the platform. take a deep breath. It’s been a while since i’ve had an audience. I remember my crew days. The pre-race jitters. I feel that kind of excitement again. a tingle. It’s been a while. except now it doesn’t make me nervous. it makes me smile. it makes me want to laugh. i ponder throwing a peace sign and thanking everyone for coming out cause they could have been anywhere in the world . . . i think better of it. stay focused. it’s game time. step up to the log. deep breath. get down. hands on. 1 . . . oh but a peace sign would be so cool . . . 2 . . . shut up and focus . . . 3 . . . careful. get under it, jason . . . 4 . . . use the legs . . . 5 . . . 6 . . . whoa, had to work for that one . . . put the weight down . . . deep breath . . . deep breath . . . 40 seconds . . . pick it up . . . 7 . . . 8 . . . 55 seconds . . . 9 . . . time. what’s a brother to do? Move on to the next event.

Sled Pull: 200lbs sled pulled toward you through the sand from a sitting position

Sled Pull: Contestant Ready

The order now switches to reverse points. so, whoever is in the lead goes last. unknown dude gets 17 seconds, matt pulls 23 seconds or so. my turn. this event is all back. you can start out compressed through the legs, but that’s about it. after that, you want nice long back movement. stretch out grab the rope, pry open with the back and repeat. I start. i finish. 14 seconds. pretty good. Will goes 16 seconds. sweet. back in the game. bring on the next event.

Crucifix Hold: 20lbs dumbbells held at arms length to you sides for maximum length of time.

Recent Events 051

Matt goes first. He shucks the shirt. he means business. 30 or so seconds. unknown dude puts in for about the same time. Will is up next. it’s a long hold. 53 seconds. 53 seconds. holy cow. alright. clear the mind. get to that special place. there is no weight. just me, my arms, and a whole lot of people. and, lift. There’s no trick to this one really. you just lift and hold . . . lift and hold . . . 20 seconds . . . breath . . . 30 seconds . . . inhale . . . exhale . . . breath . . . 40 seconds . . . the arms start falling . . . breath . . . falling . . . hold it . . . hold it . . . . focus . . . deep breath . . . use your core . . . inhale . . . ooooooooooph. 51 seconds. so close.

Medly event: Pick up two 95lbs dumbbells, walk 100ft, put dumbells down and drag 200lbs sled back 100ft.

Medley Event

So, this is it. one more for the tie. I go first. Only trick here is to keep the feet moving. Here we go. get down, hands on. lift. movemovemovemovemovemovemovemovemovemovemovemovemove drop weight. pick up the sled. pullpullpullpullpullpullpullpullpullpullpull . . .. finished . . . “keep going!” shit. i missed the line. pullpullpullpullpull. finish. fuck. i still have the fastest time so far, but fuck.

Will is up. he picks up the weight. he isn’t moving as fast as i was. i might have a chance. he grabs the sled and gets to the other side. it’s going to be close. very close . . . i lose by .13 seconds.

So, it looks like i’m not the strongest man under 160. damn. oh, well. maybe next year.

Many thanks to the team for coming out to support me. sorry i didn’t bring home the trophy. Special thanks to boss 1 for the videos and boss 2 for the pictures. next year dammit. next year.

YAFS (Yet Another Family Story)

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Since family stories seem to be the subject of conversation lately, a new category and another story:

Background: my aunt is old school.  old school in the sense that she prefers the typewritter to a computer. old school in that she thinks voicemail is more efficient than email. Actually, come to think of it, everyone in my family, save myself, believes voicemail is more efficient than email. I’ve often tried to convince them otherwise. Citing facts like one can read faster than one can speak or listen and an increased level of clarity in one’s message. there’s no chance of mixing c’s with d’s or v’s, no m’s vs. n’s, etc. Usually, these arguments are met with wide-eyed-you’re-a-crazy-tech-person look of fear.
Setting: My brother and i are having dinner when his phone rings.  He doesn’t pick up. Immediately after his phone stops ringing, mine starts to ring. That means’ one of two people: my mom or my aunt.  It’s the later. I pick up.

aunt: Jason, next year your cousin christopher goes to college. when do schools usually start?
me:  All schools are different, it depends. Schools on the semester system start around the beginning of september.  schools on the quarter system, usually a month later, but not all semester schools start on the same day, and not all quarter schools start on the same day.

I spend the next few minutes explaining the concept  of semester and quarter systems and that not all schools start on the same day. She’s frustrated. I’m not giving her a straight answer. Straight answer being yes or no. My family gets frustrated with me when i try to give them the truth.

me: for example, columbia traditionally starts the day after labor day.
aunt: so, semester schools start the day after labor day?
me: no, columbia starts the day after labor day. Other semester schools start around that date.
aunt: and schools on quarter systems start a month later? so, october 6th?
me: they start *around* a month later.

The conversation ends with me offering to look up the start dates of various schools and getting back to her on it.

So, the next day (the day before yesterday, actually) i check out various start dates for schools and call her up to relay the fruits of my research, y’know, cause i’m the only one in the family who knows how to use a search box. Anyway, she doesn’t pick up, so i leave a message.
Yesterday, i see my aunt as she’s picking up my cousin from my house. she says unto me:

aunt: Jason, the next time you leave a message, could you speak more slowly?  I had to replay your message three times before i finally understood you.

I sense opportunity.

me: ok. well, i could email it to you next time.

haha! point!

aunt: oh, no! i don’t read my emails


In honor of Jeng: 700

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

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good luck and god speed, jeng.

Navigating by the ads

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

conversation with mother:

mom: you guys don’t provide links to my scottrade anymore
me: huh?
mom: I used to go to yahoo finance and my scottrade was there in the upper right hand corner. it was really convenient. now, i have to type ‘www.scottrade’ to get to my scottrade.

So, it looks like for that one visit, mom got a different ad on the page. i wonder how many people have this use case in their models. does this fall into some category of click-fraud? Does our branded search pay us more if a user clicks on the ad or only based on impressions?

Eye on the prize

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Apologies for the lack of updates lately.  Life has been put on hold for my impending candidacy for the Yahoo! Strongest Man, also known as Geeks Hurt Themselves for Trophy. competition to be held next week.

For those who don’t know, there will be four events:

  • Log Press – 120lbs
  • Crucifix Hold – 20lbs dumbbells
  • Sled Pull – 200lbs
  • Farmer’s Walk/Farmer’s Walk-Sled Drag medley – 90lbs dumbbells, 200 lbs sled

So, yeah, that’s what i’ve been up to, lately. Although, conditions only really allow me to train on the log press and crucifix hold.  Oh, and practicing my best lou ferrigno impression.  The state of hair is making me lean toward sporting some head gear for the competition which begs another question: american-mike bibby-sweatband style or euro-rafael nadal-bandana style? i don’t think my head will fit into a hat no more.

The other aspect to this whole thing is the need to make weight.  The weight classes are 160 and below, 161-200 and Open.  I was 166 two weeks ago, this morning  i checked in at 163. This whole gaining mass/losing weight thing is, well, lame.  And if i don’t make it, i get to play with the 200 pounders. Anyway, I’m at the point where i need to start cutting down on food intake, so, don’t be surprised if i’m overly-grouchy the next few days, it ain’t roid rage, i’m just hungry.


Thursday, July 6th, 2006

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