22 December progress

I am keeping the walks short so I am being a bit more deliberate. The first mile was deliberate and I decided to try for a couple of miles. Yes, I felt tingles and I rolled afterward. But I stopped prior to the onset of pain.

Later, I went to the basement and assembled a weight plate holder. Looks better. Eventually the basement should be redone but I don’t want to start that project so long as the gyms are closed..or rather, so long as it is a bad idea for me to go to them.

I have the plates. Now I need to get strong enough to use all of them.

I’ve become what I hate

No, I am not a believer; I am a rather open atheist. But there is some wisdom in religious texts and I turn to Romans, 7:15:

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. “

(ok, taken out of context just a bit but it will do)

I used to hate the “hall monitor.” And now, as I look at social media and see some of the risks some are taking, including those who claim to take the virus seriously, ….and when some of these get the virus and describe the effects….well, some thoughts I should just keep to myself, though I have little sympathy for our “leaders” who disregarded the rules and got it (example, example)

It appears that “follow my example” type of leadership is obsolete.

Now there ARE some examples of outrageous behavior:

But when a regular person gets it: there are many factors, most of which are unknown to all but a handful: maybe they got infected at work by a jackass like the one in the above video, maybe it was that low probability event infection; maybe it was from another family member or careless member of the bubble, etc. Our failure is really collective:

“Structural issues are, almost by definition, much harder to fix than simply asking people to do the right thing. It’s easy and cheap to yell at people for getting together for Christmas — especially when they really shouldn’t be doing it. Closing down bars and supporting them economically, in turn, requires both political and financial capital.”

But, back to me. The itch to judge others harshly is strong. After all, MY life is disciplined.

1. I am employed with the option to work remotely.

2. I have health insurance.

3. I have no kid living at home; only an elderly spouse.

4. I have no strong family pressure, and if I did, I am enough of an @sshole to just cut them out. I have the means and job to be reasonably self-sufficient, and well, the number of people I actually like is limited. I can “do without” support from people who insist on making unreasonable demands. In fact, if anything, this pandemic has relieved me of having to socialize.

5. I have the internet; I’ve enjoyed bantering with social media friends.

So, the “do not judge” and “walk a mile in another person’s shoes” is good medicine for me; be helpful when I can (among other things).

But to let you know what *I* do…exactly…so you know that I am “walking the walk”:

A sum total of what I do outside the house:

a. work from my solo office (really just me and I close the door)

b. walk outside on sparsely traveled streets and sidewalks.

c. Grocery/drug store run when needed (brief, only necessities)

d. Take out food; quick in and out and eat at home.

e. Doctor visits (not many; one as a support person)

f. A brief, (1 hour) socially distant visit with a bubble buddy (who has tested negative and is herself, very careful)

g. Blood donations (and I get antibody tests)

That’s it: TV sports, books, zoom meetings, home gym and walks/runs.

Yes, there is my spread. Basement needs to be redone but I won’t do that until the gyms have opened (safely opened) and I have a place to workout while it is getting redone).

Covid: our sorry response.

There is plenty of blame to go around. One is our tepid government response:

“The truth, as Covid-19 has shown us, is this individualistic approach doesn’t work well for public health (even if it does serve us well in other areas). The alternative to not taking collective action is more death. The countries that have done the best against Covid-19 — including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and, to a now lesser degree, Germany — all approached the issue collectively, leveraging government aid and public health systems to let people stay home without losing as much income or health insurance, to test and trace infections, and, when necessary, to close down to stop the spread.”

Individual response? Sure, we were pretty bad here but:

“Despite that, officials across the country have by and large resisted shutting down again. Many of them, instead, have cited another culprit for Covid-19 spread: private gatherings. New York, for example, put out a PSA to stop “living room spread,” and the state published data suggesting households and private gatherings are driving 74 percent of coronavirus spread.

It’s true private gatherings and households are driving some transmission. Most experts agree Thanksgiving dinners likely led to a surge on top of a surge, and similar Christmas and New Year’s events likely will too.

But that’s why at least some experts believe there’s a need for more focus on systemic action, not the individualistic approach. “People, in general, are horrendous risk assessors — we’re awful at assessing risk,” Daniel Goldberg, a medical historian and public health ethicist at the University of Colorado, told me. “I hate to say people can’t be trusted, but.”

There are other problems with this framing. For one, the New York data doesn’t separate within-household transmissions from social gatherings — so the 74 percent figure includes someone spreading Covid-19 to the husband he lives with (not as avoidable) and someone spreading the virus to someone he invited over for drinks one night (very avoidable). This also only includes the cases that New York could actually contact trace, and it’s much easier to trace transmission between family and friends in a household than strangers in a bar.

The big problem, though, is that there’s nothing unusual about Covid-19 spreading among people who live together. It’s typical for the bulk, even the majority, of the transmission of any disease to happen within households. If you’re infected, the people you live with or come into close contact with at home are simply likely to get it too. That’s how pathogens work. What matters most, though, is where that virus originated from in the first place.

To put it another way: People couldn’t infect others in their homes if they hadn’t picked up the coronavirus in bars, restaurants, or other public spaces. So if these places weren’t open, individual choices to gather — including over Thanksgiving and Christmas — would be of far less concern. There would simply be much less virus out there jumping from person to person.”

Yes, the onus is on us when the government is so weak, but then again, people aren’t going to follow directions, though it might be easier to do so if the government, well, plaid businesses to stay closed and payed people to stay home.

Of course, too many “leaders” set dreadful examples.

And, this kind of thing sickens and kills remotely. If you need a spreadsheet to see it, your emotional response won’t be as strong.

But the vaccines are on the way. That is great news, but we’ll still need to social distance and wear masks for a while. Why? Well, if a vaccine is 95 percent effective, it means that one is far LESS likely to get sick with an exposure. But if exposure goes up, that increases the chances of getting sick. The idea is that we need BOTH less vulnerability to getting sick once exposed AND less exposure.

Too many Americans have this idea that measures such as masks and vaccines are perfect instead of risk mitigators. (witness the stupid “why do you care if I am not wearing a mask if you are wearing one” remarks).

There is good news though: fewer new cases today than in the past few months; hopefully this is not mere “statistical noise.”

Post one: workout

I call this photo: “reducing the concavity of my demise curve.” That is, I am try to slow the rate of my decline.
Yes, I am at an age where this inspires me..and NOT in a “aw, look how cute Granny is” but more …damn, she is nice looking and STRONG. (genuinely). Ok, adding all of those “oversized but really not that heavy” bumper plates to that trap bar lift is for show. Yes, she does pull ups..and on her Instagram feed she admits to putting a bench to come to rest on between reps.

Ok, what about my own (less impressive) workout? (and I might make an adjustment)

pull ups: 4 sets of 5 (quality sets) with hip hike/rotator cuff recovery.

bench press: 10 x 134, 2 sets of 3 x 184 (brief pause), 2 sets of 4 x 170, 1 set of 5 x 165

trap bar squats: 1 set of 10 x 134 neutral, 2 sets of 10 x 134 deficit (technique)

shoulder press :3 sets of 10 x 48 (up 4lb); seen above, 1 set of 5 x 102, 1 set of 5 x 96 barbell

rows: 3 sets of 10 x 134 trap bar

back outside: 1 set of 10, 4 sets of 5 pull ups (to get to 50 reps total)

push ups: 50, 20, 10 (50 maybe too sloppy?) Was a bit fired up about jury notice..I got it deferred to June when COVID might be a bit down.

Not quite right

Basically I wasted the day watching football and basketball; My Illini got routed 56-21 (it was 21-21 at the end of the first QUARTER) but Bradley (men) pulled it out over Miami-Ohio, winning 69-68, scoring the winning basket with 18 seconds to go.

Workout wise, I felt “off” from the get-go.

Deadlifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 1 x 224 (neutral)

FOUR misses with 301 (low handle; I could get it an inch or two off put could not get it to that 6 inch point where the high handles are).

Then: 5 x 274 high handle, 5 x 254 low handle. That’s ok..at least I got a workout.

Then a 2 mile walk to make it in time for kick off for the very good Northwestern vs. Ohio State game (22-10 Buckeyes; NW did well and lead until the very end of the first half.

Physically, I feel a bit tired; not quite up to snuff. No good reason.

Freedom! (sort of)

Well, we start up again on January 28. I am going to take some time off and think about my own mathematics.

I did a weight workout in the morning and an easy stroll is “just above freezing” temperatures this afteroon.

Weights: pull ups: 3 sets of 10, then 2 sets of 5 with 5 singles after each (50 reps total)

bench: 10 x 134, 1 x 194 (got it!) 4 x 169, 5 x 164, 6 x 159 (all with pauses)

rows :3 sets of 10 x 134

seated shoulder: 3 sets of 10; 2 of these were with 48 lb. dumbbells (2 kg instead of 1 kg at the end)

40, 30, 10 push ups and headstand (ok..a little bit off)

Then the stroll later. I walked through Bradley park, up the sidewalks to Cornstalk hill. 19 minute pace. I felt the piriformis…a little bit.

Almost done

I still need to enter final grades…

Yesterday: weights only;
pull ups (Ragged, sets of 5, singles, enough to get to 50..I was cold)

bench press: ragged; 10 x 134, 7 x 159, 8 x 159, pauses
trap bar dead: 10 x 134, deficit: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, high handle: 10 x 234

shoulder press: seated: 3 sets of 5 with barbell: 1 set with 96, 1 set with 100 (44 kg, 46 kg), 1 set of 10 x 44 lb. dumbbells.

dumbbell rows: 4 sets of 10 x 60 each arm
plank: 2:30 rough.

Today: 5k walk again; went fine; some tingles and then rolling, etc.

I am old and out of touch

First: my reduced workout: 5K walk in chilly but sunny temperatures. My piriformis was ready for me to stop. I rolled it afterwad.

Yes, it was chilly.

Social issues: With respect to the pandemic; yes, I’ve been one of those who has saved money, SO FAR. Reason: I stayed employed, nothing terrible has happened and the pandemic has had me staying home; no games, etc.

There are a lot of us, evidently. And so, appeals such as “what would a 2000 dollar stimulus check mean to you and your family” generates a shrug from many of us.

Yes, I voted Biden for a variety of reasons and am delighted that he won. And yes, I know that lucky has played a role and my being ok for now, and not everyone has had such luck.

So I’d love to see a “pay the businesses to stay closed and people to stay home” stimulus for a while and I’d be willing to pay higher tax for that.

But, the Democrats really struggled in the downticket races and there are many reasons why. And as far as the “new blood”: too many of them cannot distinguish “activism” (as ineffective as it often is) from politics:

“Both Obama and the African-American congressional whip James Clyburn blamed “defund the police” for repelling critical voters. In response, Ilhan Omar wrote “it’s not a slogan but a policy demand,” while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chastised Obama for missing that the whole point was “to make [people] uncomfortable.”

As a party Democrats emphatically support African-American calls to combat police brutality, and to reform law enforcement in fundamental ways. But, pace Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, the whole point of an election is to win over your constituents—or lose the ability to effect real change in areas like policing.”

See that? “The whole point was to make people uncomfortable” is no way to win an election, at lest outside of D +15 Congressional Districts. I’d think that President Obama is better versed on that than she is.

The rest of the article I quoted from is pretty good too; I can recommend it.

Old School Values This widely spread op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (about Jill Biden and her title) got lots of people up in arms.

Personally, the article appears to be written in a way to provoke rather than to persuade; it actually kind of reminds me of leftist attempt to “convince by insulting” and so falls flat, unless its intent WAS to insult on the behalf of the right wing and the “who does she think she is” crowd.

I’ve already stated what I thought about people who self refer with that title (overcompensation). But I’ll go a bit further: I think my values are now out of touch with society values in many ways. Here are a few:

  1. Humility is good (in most situations anyway); let the praise be genuine praise from others.
    But in this era, it seems to be common to tell others how you are “smart”, “bad ass”, “awesome”, etc. This is especially bad on Twitter.
  2. If standards are changed such that it is now easier to do, the prestige of doing it is lessened. Example: marathons. I remember a time when a 3:30 was an average to a below average time and courses closed in 4-5 hours. Yes, that means my marathon “career” would have been over for at least a decade, probably more. But marathon finishers, well, the average one at least “looked in shape.” And yes, the same applies for honorifics.
  3. It is good to know something about a subject before expressing an opinion on it, and no one is entitled to be listened to. If you want an audience for your opinions, how about actually learning enough to where you know what you are talking about so that people actually WANT to hear them?
  4. If one wants to be regarded as a peer, one needs to actually BE a peer.

But alas, these do not appear to be popular ideas to express. I suppose it is a bit like this:

A little bit of failure

Well, today was the day I was going to back off of pull ups and get 200 on the bench. Wrong. What I forgot: when I last got 200 lb, it was a “touch and go”, and not a pause.

My spotting pins saved me. Gads..it looks as if I should have gotten it.

Here I am, doing seated shoulder presses with 44’s.

Workout (late start)

pull ups: 30 reps (sets of 7, 5, singles) with rotator cuff stuff

bench: 10 x 134, 1 x 184 (harder than it should have been)

misses with 200, 195, 194 (really)

2 x 184 (very hard..way harder than before)

3 sets of 5 x 164 (all reps were pause reps)

back outside for 4 sets of 5 pull ups.

trap bar practice: 3 sets of 10 x 134 (worked on deadlift technique)

shoulder presses: 3 sets of 10 x 44 dumbbell, 5 x 96 barbell

3 sets of 10 x 134 trap bar rows

40, 30, 10 push ups then easy headstand.

Took a while.