March 19th, 2003


jezel's Birthday

Tuesday was jezel's birthday, so Monday night I drove in to Seattle to pick up one of the presents she had asked for. I dropped by her place, and hung out for awhile, and then when leaving, discovered that I had left my Jeep's dome lights on. Damnit. Dead battery. (I'm planning on replacing this battery at the next oil change. When my alternator went it, it probably took part of the battery with it, as it takes very little time to drain it now.) So I spent the night sleeping on her front room futon.

Tuesday morning I jumped the Jeep off of her car, and drove back home to take care of my cats and shower. I wasn't feeling really well, and between that and the fact that I work short days on Tuesdays anyway, I called in sick. A small nap later, and then back to Seattle to help her celebrate. I helped her do some shopping, and also went to Toyland in CapHill so we could each pick up some supplies (not for each other).

Then I went off to my weekly piano lesson. Since I had not done much practicing this week, Mr Henry ran me thru sightreading exercises instead. They were hard work and hard concentration, but fun and effective. I think I'm going to ask that we do those more often, as I can tell that one of my biggest weaknesses is actually being able to read music. I've been memorizing my practice pieces, and then using the printed notes as reminders. If it was text, I would be considered almost illiterate.

Anyway, after the session, I met up with her again, and we went to pick up her friends D & I, and then the four of us went out to eat at the Olive Garden in Northgate.

One concerning thing, as the day passed, my legs got more and more sore and more and more stiff. I know the cause, but if I didn't I would have been very concerned. As it was, I was starting to wish for a cane by the end of the evening.

Ouch. I can barely walk.

I woke up in the middle of the night (as I often do), to discover that the muscles that the hip adductor machine has worked were almost immobile. Several gentle stretches while breathing and relaxing thru the burn got me to the point where I could get up and walk.

This morning was a little bit better, but not much. I've been hobbling around my office rather slowly. It gives me much more sympathy for people with CFS and similar conditions.

Work Frustrations

Work's been pretty frustrating. The new clampdown on "cost controls" has made it basically impossible to buy anything, even something so small as a desktop UPS, without going through two levels of management approvals. We're spending more money making sure we don't waste money than the money we save. Idiocy. What makes it doubly annoying is the whole idea of "costs savings" for us. If we actually manufactured a product or sold a consumer level service, and used the revenues to feed back into the business, it makes sense to say "the slowed economy has reduced our cash flow, and so we need to cut back". But we don't. We're an R&D company. We are given possibilities from our upstairs masters, and say "we think we can turn this into a product, it will cost N dollars to find out". At which point we are sometimes told "go ahead and try, here is the money". But having them later come back and say, "keep working on the same stuff, but we're not giving you as much money to do it with", well that means that either projects will fail, will be cut back, will go slower, or will actually consume more money to succeed, or some combination of all 4.

Why is it that every geek and tech-head in the world knows this, and apparently not a single corporate executive in the Western world is able to grasp such a basic concept? What the hell do people study when they get those precious MBA's?

Fifth session. Back and triceps.

This was my first "middle of the day" session, where I fit my workout into a "long lunch" from work. Originally it was going to be at noon, but Jeff (my trainer) asked if we could move it to 11am, since he is taking the Kirkland Police exam this afternoon.

I've reached the point where I would have quit if I was doing this by myself. But I am not going to quit so long as I have these (not cheap) prepaid sessions scheduled, and I can keep tricking the "don't want to do no more" parts of my mind by signing up for more whenever it's not paying attention.

I was still pretty stiff in the legs, which didn't help, but I did pretty good this time, I think. We did deadlifts, barbell rows, dumbbell tricep curls, and closehands pulldowns. Several times, especially in the deadlifts, my limiting factor was the gripping muscles in my forearms, or the little control muscles around my back and shoulders, instead of the actual "target" of the exercise. But that's ok, that's why free weights are so much harder than machines, and all those little muscles need to get stronger too. Arguably, it's even more important that they get strong than the big muscles.

Next Friday is the last major group, and then we start the cycle over again.

When walking back up the stairs to my cube at work, I introspected the "pain" in my legs, and realized it really wasn't pain at all, at least, not like the skin sensation of "something is damaged". It's just "lots and lots of sensation" deep in my muscles.

I think maybe it's the proprioception nerve endings that are being overstimulated. By what? Donno. Maybe swelling or new metabolic activity in the muscle fibers. The more I read, the more I realize that we know so very little about something as basic as muscles and exercise. There is lots of "everybody knows" and "received wisdom" is that just piles of contradictory horseshit. We don't even really know what "stiffness" is! Part of the problem is that there are so few independent and pure researchers in this realm, and every theory that gets advanced gets instantly turned into a low value high profit pill, and/or a machine to be sold on late night TV.

In the meantime, I'll keep working out.
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